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Benjamin Netanyahu Robbing Attention from Conference; Non-Stop Fight to Retake ISIS Last Stronghold; Brexit Deadline Tightens; Venezuelans Flee to Get Humanitarian Aid; U.S. V.P. To Call Out Iran At Security Conference; High-Level China-U.S. Trade Talks Underway; Compromise Bill Falls Far Short On Wall Funding; Trump Hinted At Other Ways To Pay For Wall; Journalism Groups Condemning Ressa's Arrest. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired February 14, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: World leaders gathered in Warsaw, Poland that the conference was supposed to address broad security concerns in the Middle East. But a comment by the Israeli prime minister changes the focus of the gathering.
Plus, civilians flee the last remaining ISIS controlled enclave in Syria. We will hear stories from survivors about being trapped in the fighting.
And the British parliament prepares to vote on a series of amendments to Theresa May's Brexit proposals.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.
Well, Iran is the focus of a security conference going on in Warsaw, Poland. The United States is co-hosting that event. The U.S. vice president will speak in the coming hours and he's expected to call out the Iranian regime for its actions in the Middle East.
But before the meeting officially got started, Israel's prime minister caused controversy with a tweet saying he was there to talk about war with Iran. The tweet was quickly deleted.
Well, more now on all of this from our Atika Shubert who is in Warsaw, Poland, and Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Good to see you both.
So, Oren, let's start with you. What has been the reaction across the region to Benjamin Netanyahu's original tweet, and then of course, his correction which put Iran at the focus of this conference.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, at least for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Iran was always the focus of this conference. The U.S. has tried to play as a wider conference about the security and stability of the Middle East.
But when Netanyahu flew to Warsaw, he said at the beginning of his statement, the focus here is Iran. And that's where Netanyahu has wanted to keep this. And we saw that very much with a statement he made after the meeting with the Oman foreign minister.
We've seen Netanyahu in years past use very harsh rhetoric, even bellicose rhetoric against Iran but nothing quite like this where he appeared to openly called for advancing what he called the common interest of war with Iran. Here's part of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): What is important about this meeting and this meeting is not in secret because there are many of those that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: Now he's speaking in Hebrew, but the official translation from the government, as well as what he posted on Twitter was that translation of war with Iran.
Well, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif jump on him on Twitter immediately saying, "We've always known Netanyahu's allusions. Now the world and the Warsaw circus, as he calls it, know too."
Well, Netanyahu quickly deleted that tweet and an official read translation was issued to advancing the common interest of combating Iran, very much softening and stepping away from that harsh language that Netanyahu has very much wanted to keep and will keep as far as he can the focus of this conference on Iran.
CHURCH: All right. Thanks for that, Oren. Let's turn to Atika now in Warsaw. And of course, this Middle East conference as we mentioned was meant to address a broad range of security challenge, that's what they said at least. What's expected to happen on day two of this conference and what all they actually trying to achieve here?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the plenary session is expected to begin in a little under a half an hour now. And Secretary of State Pompeo will make the opening remarks there. As you point out ostensibly, this is a conference about the wider regional security.
So, they are expected to discuss Yemen, for example, issues in Syria, also the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But it's pretty clear the focus is still about Iran here, and of course that was brought home by prime minister -- Israel's prime minister in his remarks yesterday.
And so, the question is, what can be achieved with this meeting. And how is the U.S. going to rally its allies around its position to abandon the JCPOA, a nuclear deal and impose harsh sanctions on Iran. You know, allies like Israel are in strong support of that but others in Europe, particularly less so.
E.U. allies such as France and Germany have not sent their foreign ministers to this meeting and the foreign policy chief for the E.U. Federica Mogherini also not attending. They have sent high-level delegation so they are involved, but it's quite clear that the E.U. still maintains a stance that there should -- there should be support for the Iran nuclear deal, and they're very wary of what the U.S. is doing.
CHURCH: Right. Many thanks to our Atika Shubert there in Warsaw and Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. I appreciate it.
[03:04:58] Well, Iran's foreign minister says the conference in Warsaw is nothing more than a circus. And he also slammed Washington for withdrawing from the nuclear deal last year. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER OF IRAN: For them to return to the negotiating table they're not supposed to bring or take us back to the negotiating table.
We and the rest of the international community are at the negotiating table. The other ones who left, they can come back because it's the United States that is breaking the law. It's the United States that is violating every known international agreement. I think, I mean, you name it. They withdraw from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Mohammad Javad Zarif says other countries are attending the meeting for one reason only because they feel pressured to do so by the United States.
Well, Russia is hosting its own Middle East mini summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the site of 2014 Winter Olympics you'd recall.
Well, President Vladimir Putin will host the leaders of Turkey and Iran in the coming hours. They are expected to discuss Syria, especially the situation in the Northern Province of Idlib.
And our Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Tehran. Good to see you, Fred. So what is expected to come out of this meeting of leaders from Russia, Turkey and Iran to discuss Syria as ostensibly?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think, Rosemary, as you said, they are going to discuss the situation up there in northwestern Syria in Idlib. That is still is a pretty big point of contention between the Turks on the one hand and then the Iranians, the Russians and the Syrian government on the other hand.
Of course, the Russians, the Syrian government, and to a certain extent the Iranians as well would like to take military action there to root out groups that are, for instance, affiliated with Al Qaeda, whereas, the Turks want to find some sort of other solution. They've already said that they want to separate those militant groups from the civilians and try and find a way to peacefully solve the situation here.
So far, that's one of the more difficult things. Of course, one of the other things for us are going to be talking about is what is going to be happening in northeast Syria once the U.S. pulls out of there.
And, of course, we heard from many commentators in the U.S. that they believe there could be a power vacuum if the U.S. pulls out that then could be used by ISIS. The Russians have been saying that's not going to happen. The say the Syrian government forces should move in there as quickly as possible and then take over control over those areas, possibly reintegrating some of those Kurdish forces into the Syrian army.
There is a little bit of contention between the Turks and the Russians and the Iranians about that issue, but certainly it seems as though they could try to find at least some sort of headway in that.
I think one of the things that's going on, and I think it's going to be important to keep an eye on is the relations between the Russians and the Iranians because there is a bit of discontent there.
The Russians recently saying that they don't believe that the Iranians are an ally of theirs in Syria. That's not something that rubbed the Iranians very well. They sort of fell the Russians might be trying to push them out of the equation a little bit, so that's one thing to watch for.
But in the end, they are going to be looking to make headway on those topics and try to at least move forward to a certain degree and essentially trying to get ready for what happens when the Americans pull out of Syria, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Interesting. And Fred, what are the optics of this meeting, of Russian, Iranian and Turkish leaders, particularly as it happens at the same time as the U.S. in Poland host this Middle East conference on regional security challenges, apparently focusing on Iran.
PLEITGEN: Yes. I think -- I think that's a very important question and one that's often overlooked because it seems to indicate at least some of the folks here in Iran, and probably some of the folks in Moscow and in Ankara as well.
But on the one hand, you have that conference going on in Poland. And on the other hand, you have the reality of the Middle East. And the reality of the Middle East is that Russia, Turkey, and also the Iranians are very important players, at least in part of the Middle East, in key parts of the Middle East, not just in Syria but also with relations towards Iraq as well, for instance.
So, they are essentially showing and they are trying to find a way forward to move forward on the Syria topic, while on the other hand, you have that conference in Warsaw, that as you said has been very much slammed by the Iranians.
I was in that meeting yesterday with the Iranian foreign minister and he absolutely ripped into that conference. He said it was dead in the water. He said the U.S. was trying to dictate the agenda to some of these other countries.
And now he is saying that essentially, the Israelis are speaking for all of these countries. So, the Iranians are very much ripping into that summit, saying it's a useless once, saying it's not one that they believe is going to yield anything but also shows a lot of the anti- Iranian stance of the U.S. and of other countries as well.
While at the same time you have that meeting in Sochi where they are looking to make some sort of headway as far as the Syria crisis is concerned, so the optics for the Iranians at least very, very important. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Our Frederik Pleitgen bringing us up to date on that situation from Tehran where it is 11.39 in the morning. Many thanks.
Well, U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters are closing in on the final ISIS stronghold in Syria. This village on the border with Iraq is all that's left of the ISIS caliphate. But the ISIS fighters who remain there are putting up fierce resistance.
[03:10:02] Our Ben Wedeman joins us now from eastern Syria. Good to see you, Ben. Of course, you spoke with civilians fleeing this last remaining ISIS controlled enclave. What did they tell you?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they're telling us is that the situation inside the last enclave known as Baghouz Al-Fawqani is basically unlivable.
In addition to the shortages of food and other basics of life they really -- the really the main reason why they are leaving is not because they want to be free of the grip of ISIS, for instance, we didn't notice unlike in other areas where this war is being waged.
Women throwing off their black veils and suddenly breathing free again. They say what they are doing is fleeing from the intense bombardment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN: Kurdish soldiers, female soldiers frisk the veiled women one by one after they fled ISIS's last enclave in Syria. Bags are searched, scissors, nail clippers confiscated. The soldiers say this morning they found a pistol in one purse.
They both inhabit this land but live in different worlds. This woman only identifies herself as Um Meriam, the mother of Meriam. Her description of conditions in the town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani - bleak.
WEDEMAN: "There's lots of shelling, lots of wounded," she says. The men folk are held apart waiting to be questioned by Kurdish American, French, and British intelligence officers on the lookout for ISIS members and foreign nationals trying to escape among the civilians. Prior to the launch of the offensive on ISIS's last sliver of land Syrian democratic forces officials said about 1,500 civilians were inside.
What's clear is that officials have massively underestimated the number of civilians in the town. Within the last three days more than 2,000 people have left Baghouz Al-Fawqani and there may still be thousands left inside.
Inside and under heavy round-the-clock air and land bombardment. There is no clear picture of the number of civilians killed and wounded. The accounts of those who have escape to this area were those fleeing or registered impossible to verify.
Oudi Matisahla (Ph) and her family were staying in a camp for the displaced inside the town. She says they left with bullets flying for their heads.
WEDEMAN: "Yesterday, rockets hit the camp," she tells me, "they killed civilians. As soon as the planes see movement, they strike. They don't know if they're hitting ISIS or civilians." Hala (Ph) was in the same camp.
WEDEMAN: "There was hunger, fear, bombing, cold," she says, "many women and children were killed, but there was no ISIS there."
As they wait to be trucked to a camp for the displaced north of here there is no bombing. There is hunger, thirst, and misery.
Supplies arrived, they're gone in seconds. Children dazzle in the dust for these crops.
WEDEMAN: And as far as the battle itself is going in Baghouz Al- Fawqani we understand that last night there were intense exchanges of fire between the anti-ISIS coalition fighters and the ISIS fighters. Those left inside as far as their number is concerned, we also don't know how many there are.
We've heard from officials numbers like, 500 and 600 fighters. We know that they are using the tactics that we've see in Mosul and Raqqa. They are using suicide car bombers, booby-traps, suicide bombers, heatseeking missiles, we've been told.
So, it's even though it's a relatively small area I've heard it described as the size of Central Park in New York. It seems that every step is a struggle. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Ben Wedeman reporting there live from eastern Syria. Many thanks to you. Well, there is a major push in the U.S. Congress to end American support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a resolution calling for U.S. forces to withdraw from that fight within 30 days. It is a stunning rebuke of the Trump administration's defense of Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
[03:15:02] The U.S. Senate passed a similar measure in December and is expected to approve this one as well. But if it goes to the White House, it could invite the first veto of the Trump presidency.
Another parliamentary debate on Brexit in a few hours, but with a little more than a month before the U.K. is to leave the E.U. can Theresa May actually pull together a new plan. We are live in London, next.
Plus, Venezuelans force to leave the country for urgently needed supplies. What they are bringing back from neighboring Colombia.
Also, high-level talks, high-level consequences. The latest on the U.S.-China trade talks going on right now.
We're back in a moment.
CHURCH: Airbus is pulling the plug on the jet once described as the future of air travel. Production of the Airbus A380 will stop in 2021. The decision came after Emirates cut back on its orders. The world's largest airline who first flight 14 years ago and since then 234 of the double-decker planes were delivered. A fraction of what Airbus predicted it would sell.
In just a few hours from now, U.K. lawmakers are set to debate Brexit again, even though not much has changed since parliament rejected Theresa May's deal last month. So far, the prime minister has failed to convince the E.U. to reopen negotiation.
Well, CNN's Hadas Gold joins us now from outside parliament in London. Good to see you, Hadas, So, given very little has changed and the E.U. still won't open new negotiations what could possibly come out of this next Brexit debate.
HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Rosemary, it might be Valentine's Day, but it's not clear that Theresa May will be getting a lot of Valentines tonight after these next amendments will be taken up for a vote in parliament tonight.
Now, some of these amendments could actually change the course of Brexit but the main one we're looking at is pretty much the support of the government's position which is that they are going to try to find an alternative arrangement to that backstop, that insurance policy regarding the border. That could, though, mean reopening of the withdrawal agreement that the E.U. has said they will not do.
However, while this was supposed to be a routine amendment there is a possibility that Theresa May could suffer another embarrassing defeat because there are rumors that the hard pro-Brexiteers part of her party may actually vote against her.
[03:20:03] Now while that will not necessarily change the course of what's happening that would be another embarrassing defeat for her that would further weaken her position, her negotiating position with the E.U., which has been telling her over and over again just tell us what parliament wants that we can then figure out what we need to do next.
Now there are other amendments on the table tonight that could change the direction. Labour has tabled an amendment that says if the government does not come back with a new vote on some sort of deal by February 27, then parliament should take control of the process.
Now there is a fear that Theresa May and the government are trying to wind down the clock into the last minute get closer and closer to that March 29. Cliff said today, pretty much present the members with the situation of either you have to vote for this deal or a situation you might not want either. Extending the Brexit date of possibly no deal at all, and that's not what a lot of people want.
And we are seeing more and more warnings come out from all different aspects of the U.K. community. Just last night a letter came forth for more than 40 of U.K. some of the more senior former diplomats. These are incredibly senior people, including the author of article 50. That was the bill that laid out how a country can leave the European Union.
They were warning Theresa May and asking her to please delay the Brexit process because they warned that the way it's going now could further decrease for standing in the world and they warn of what it could mean for the U.K.'s future.
So clearly, Theresa May has another tough day ahead of her, but we've seen her go through these many times before and it's starting to sound like Groundhog Day but it doesn't seem like much has changed in the position.
CHURCH: It certainly is sounding like Groundhog Day. Hadas Gold bringing us the very latest there from outside the parliament house in London. Thank you.
Well, in Venezuela, the opposition-led parliament is moving to take control of the country's oil wealth.
Self-declared president, Juan Guaido has appointed new boards of directors to the state-run oil firm and its U.S. subsidiary Citgo. The move is intended to further isolating battle of President Nicolas Maduro and possibly undercut his support among Venezuela's military leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): A historical moment for Venezuela. We are not only protecting the assets of the nation, but also protecting and safeguarding one of the most important industries for the development of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: With bridges into the county blocked, U.S. officials say they are making plans to fly humanitarian aid into Venezuela and they are putting relief supplies on the border ready to deliver once it's safe.
In the meantime, Venezuelans are streaming into neighboring Colombia to get whatever food and medicine they can.
CNN's Isa Soares is there.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Every step is a burden. A load they have to carry for miles on end. But even the weight of their cargo does little to hold their tongue. And while the majority across this border legally that some others take a less traveled road. And they will do it out of necessity.
There is no food. Nothing, nothing there, he is saying. Coffee. There is nothing in Venezuela, only sadness. That's what she's telling me.
Yet, 20 minutes away from here on Tienditas Bridge is a warehouse packed full of humanitarian aid waiting to be delivered. Sure, it is just a drop in the ocean, but it's creating a wave of expectation on both sides of the border and with that desperation.
The frustrations evident in every corner of this border town as Venezuelans lineup for food, for money, and for anyway out of this crisis.
He is staying in Colombia but this gentleman here he's collecting some money and he is going all the way to Peru. He is telling me we don't want anything to do with Maduro.
It seems he's not alone. They are celebrating the fall of Maduro's regime premature, after all he's standing his ground with his military still preventing the aid from entering the country but they are heeding the cool of Juan Guaido.
SOARES: Who has been rallying his troops, calling on the people to volunteer and carry the aid across the border on the 23rd of February.
Are you going to help on the 23rd you like?
As you can see here everyone, as you can see here everyone here is prepared to risk their lives to carry that humanitarian aid across the borders.
[03:24:59] And they are counting on the army, the rank and file who too, are living on the edge to walk, as well as stand beside them.
Isa Soares, CNN, Cucuta, Colombia.
CHURCH: Well, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to address the crisis in Venezuela at a speech in Miami next week.
He welcomed Colombia's president to the White House on Wednesday. Both men insist Nicolas Maduro must resign. And they pledge their support for opposition leader Juan Guaido.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great respect for the man that most people, many people think is the real president of Venezuela. He's very brave. It's a very brave situation what he is doing as you know. I've seen what's happened in the streets and I've seen what's happened with executions. So, I really give him a lot of credit.
IVAN DUQUE MARQUEZ, PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA: President Guaido who is the person about to lead this transition in Venezuela has a strong support. And we need to give him even stronger support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: All right. So, let's bring in CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd to talk more about all of this. So good to see you. And Sam, we just heard from President Donald Trump and Colombian President Ivan Duque in the Oval Office, both very supportive of Venezuela's Juan Guaido, the man they see as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
You just met with the Colombian president. What all did he have to say to you?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, as you mention, I just went to a dinner hosted by the Concordia summit with the president of Colombia who stress a few things. The first is that Colombia itself is under a lot of pressure as a result of what's happening in Venezuela.
President Duque of Colombia by no means will cease to support for refugees from Venezuela and for Juan Guaido. But we have to remember that Colombia is really struggling to go into to bring its own people out of poverty and to raise their living standards while they are hosting about 1.2 million Venezuelan refugees, which is part of why there is such an urgent need for assistance for those refugee populations in countries like Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere.
He also emphasized that there has been and he's emphasized his public marched today unprecedented diplomatic pressure on Maduro to step down, and that that diplomatic pressure must continue.
If we are going to see the military and security forces really make a calculation that they no longer want to stay with Nicolas Mindoro and instead recognize that the future of Venezuela is with Juan Guaido and a duly elected legitimate president of Venezuela.
CHURCH: Right. And I do want to talk to you about that in just a moment, but I want us too, you've been in touch with humanitarian agencies trying to get aid into Venezuela. What is the latest on progress with that effort?
VINOGRAD: Well, the latest on progress with the kind of two different lines of work that they have underway, one is serving the refugee populations in the surrounding countries. And the other is trying to get aid into the country and doing normal operations within the countries -- excuse me -- from their country offices in Venezuela.
I have spoken with organizations that are working in surrounding countries and treating the refugee populations which are astronomically higher than other refugee crises that we've seen in places like Syria. The numbers are truly staggering.
And what I'm hearing is that the moneys that are needed just to treat those refugees are growing at an incredibly scary rate for organizations like UNICEF, the IRC and others.
And the longer this crisis goes on the larger the refugee crisis is going to be. And we are going to have millions of Venezuelans sitting in countries like Colombia, like Brazil, like Guiana and other parts of Central and South America.
And these not-for-profit organizations are really struggling to collect the money that they need to take care of them while we wait for U.S. bilateral assistance to try to get into the country which is currently stuck at the border.
CHURCH: Samantha Vinograd, always great to get your analysis. Many thanks.
VINOGRAD: Thank you.
CHURCH: Looking down the barrel of a costly trade war. The U.S. and China now in high-level talks trying to reach a deal before a March 1st deadline. We'll have a live update.
And deadline is fast-approaching to avoid another U.S. government shutdown, what President trump has to say about a compromise spending deal.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour. The U.S. vice president will speak in the coming hours at a security conference in Warsaw Poland focused on Iran and security in the Middle East. Mike Pence is expected to pull out the Iranian regime for its actions in the region. Iran's Foreign Minister has announced the summit as a circus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting his own Middle East mini- summit in the coming hours. He will meet with the leaders of Turkey and Iran in the Russian resort city of Sochi. Syria is on the agenda, particularly Idlib province. Last year Russia and Turkey agreed to establish a demilitarized zone in that Northern Province.
In the coming hours, U.K. lawmakers debate Brexit again and suggest the next steps for leaving the E.U. In the month's phone since Parliament rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal, the Prime Minister has failed to get the E.U. to reopen negotiations.
Well, optimistic words from the White House as high level trade talks with China are now underway. President Trump says, they are going very well. The U.S. Treasury Secretary is in Beijing, he says so far, so good. There are reports U.S. trade representatives ought to meet with the Chinese president. But looming over the optimism that March 1st deadline, if the deal is not reached by then, U.S. tariffs could go up to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
Let's bring in our Ivan Watson. He's watching all of this from his vantage point in Hong Kong. So, Ivan, President Trump has indicated that he could move that March 1st deadline to a later date, if the two parties come close to an acceptable trade deal. How does that help the expectations here as these talks move forward?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I guess it takes some of the pressure off. It means that both delegations do not have to negotiate a way out of this trade war between Thursday and Friday, this latest round of high level negotiations. So, it could take some of the pressure off them, especially since, I think, President Trump has indicated that he'd liked to before some final deal is achieved, sit-down face-to-face with the Chinese Leader, Xi Jinping to do it.
And if you look at President Trump's calendar leading up to March 1st, that that deadline that was imposed in the place by the White House. It doesn't look like there's time to put together a U.S.-China summit before that date, especially when you consider that President Trump is scheduled to sit down with the North Korean leader in the final days of February in Vietnam. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Good point. And of course, we know -- all of us know that President Trump is very unpredictable. Does that help really for him -- for the U.S. in these sort of negotiations? It's difficult to know how he's going to move. What he's going to do in these sorts of cases?
[03:35:04] WATSON: Well, in his own words, President Trump is pretty much the best deal maker on the entire planet. So, perhaps if you look at it from his perspective. He thinks that his material approach to deal making gives him an upper hand. The fact is that this has been a long and drawn up process. The worst trade dispute that you've seen between the U.S. and China and in decades and it's had an impact on each other's economies. These are the two largest economies in the world.
Fortunately, there have been signs coming from both sides that they've seem to want to ratchet down some of the tension. If you look at the tone of Chinese state media this week, it isn't going out wholeheartedly bashing the U.S. and its approach to these latest rounds of negotiations, trying to has made some goodwill gestures towards the U.S. in recent months. And the same can be said for the U.S., the latest deadline, for example, March 1st was actually pushed back from an initial deadline set by the Trump administration for January 1st.
And now, we've also had President Trump himself signaling that this March 1st deadline could slide back as well, but I don't think anybody can really predict what the outcome of the next 48 hours of talks will be. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. The judge of that certainly global markets are hoping for good outcome here. We will be watching closely. Ivan Watson, many thanks to you, reporting live from Hong Kong.
Well, sources say President Trump will sign off on a border security deal even though he said he is not happy with it. He made it clear, he wants to avoid another government shutdown which would happen, if a spending bill isn't approved by midnight, Friday. But as Kaitlan Collins reports no deal is certain until the president puts pen to paper.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump leaving Washington guessing tonight.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to look at legislation when it comes and I'll make a determination then.
COLLINS: Declining to say whether he'll sign a border security spending deal until he's seen the final package.
TRUMP: Well, we haven't got it yet. We will be getting it, we will be looking for landmines, because you could have that, you know.
COLLINS: Just by claiming earlier this week that Democrats would shoulder the blame for another government shutdown. Trump all but ruling one out today.
TRUMP: I don't want to see a shutdown. Shutdown would be a terrible thing. I think the point was made with the last shutdown. People realized how bad the border is.
COLLINS: The president hinting that if he does sign a deal, he could still use his executive powers to secure further funding for the wall.
TRUMP: Regardless of what I do. You know, we already have as you know, a lot of money were we were building existing wall with his existing funds, but I have a lot of options. Just like we do with Venezuela. We have on the border.
COLLINS: Adding he has options most people don't understand to build the wall without congressional approval.
TRUMP: It's going to happen at a really rapid pace. We are giving out contracts right now and we are going to have a great wall, it's going to be great powerful wall.
COLLINS: The bipartisan compromise includes just over $1 billion for 55 miles of new fencing, far below the 5.7 billion for 230 miles, Trump shut the government down over in December.
GOV. RICK SCOTT(R-FL), SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm really extremely disappointed in amount of money in this compromise. I assume that president is going to sign it. I don't think anybody is interested in having another government shutdown, but he has to be frustrated.
COLLINS: The questions remain about whether the president could be swayed by conservative backlash.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: I'm not happy that nobody should be happy. The president has every right to be angry to so-called compromises typical the DC sewer and swamp and its level of funding for security and safety. The American people is pathetic.
COLLINS: At least one immigration hardliner in the president's corner is framing it as a win for him, pointing to remarks made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when she said, she would only give the president one dollar for his wall.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX HOST: Well try $1.375 billion, she might not want to call it all, but that's what it is. And that's not all bad.
COLLINS: the White House officials have not gone on the record to say whether or not the president will sign this bill. They say, that's because they are waiting on the final text of this legislation to come through. They want to know exactly what's going to be in here. Even if they know a rough outline and what's in it, because the president has been brief, not only by his legislative affairs director, but even from senators who have been calling the White House to pitch the president on this deal.
However, White House officials are waiting for the president himself to come out and publicly endorse this bill, because they don't want to be contradicted by their boss. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: President Trump's former campaign manager broke his plea deal by lying to prosecutors after promising to cooperate in the Russia investigation.
[03:40:05] A federal judge explained, Paul Manafort lied about contacts with a Russian associate payment for his legal bills and information related to another undisclosed investigation. Manafort's lawyers say he didn't lie intentionally. The ruling could mean a longer prison sentence for Manafort. He was convicted of financial crimes and then cut a deal to plead guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering charges.
Tiffany Cross is the cofounder and managing editor of the Beat D.C. and she joins me now. Thank you so much for being with us.
TIFFANY CROSS, MANAGING EDITOR, THE BEAT D.C.: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, let's start with the judge in Washington, voiding Paul Manafort's plea deal with federal prosecutors saying there's enough evidence to show that Manafort intentionally lied in at least three instances to the FBI special counsel and grand jury. And that's when he was supposed to be cooperating with the Mueller investigation. What could this mean for Manafort, going forward, particularly as he waits to find out how long he'll spend in prison?
CROSS: Well, it doesn't mean anything good. His sentencing is scheduled for March 13. I think he's going to see a lot of problems for him, because Paul Manafort is 70 years old. He's lived the long life of luxury. I mean the relationship he has with President Donald Trump goes back on -- until the early 80's. He had a firm with his business partner, Roger Stone, who was also recently arrested by the FBI.
So these two guys, though Donald Trump is trying to say they don't have a close relationship. He was one of their first client at their firms. So these two guys are looking at a significant amount of time ahead of them. And the thing I find interesting about Paul Manafort, Rosemary, is it wasn't just him. His attorney was also communicating with Donald Trump's legal team, leaking information that he shouldn't have.
So, I think this is cast of shady characters, who is going to have a really challenging time convincing a jury that he does not deserve a lot of time. If it's particularly given that he was colluding allegedly colluding with foreign adversaries in the United States. So, it's going to be a challenge for him.
CHURCH: Of course, while that all goes on, we are still waiting to see if the president signs off on the new compromise border deal. Two sources suggest to CNN that he will, but publicly he's saying to take a serious look at the deal, saying it could have landmines. What does he mean by that and do you think he'll agree to this? What signs are you seeing?
CROSS: I think he will agree to this, because he has to show some sort of credibility with his base. His base as a group of people who do not necessarily have intellectual curiosity. It can sometimes be described as fact averse and so because they may not start their mornings reading the paper, but they read this president's Twitter feed as the gospel. They will believe the things that he says even though the data doesn't back it up. Even though there's no evidence to back it up. They will believe the misinformation that he perpetuates across social media.
So, unfortunately, I think because he has such a strong following that he has no choice but to try to gain some credibility here. For the other side, I think the Democrats actually gave away a lot in this bill. The problem is they're dealing with an unreliable negotiator who moved the goalposts every time.
So the fact that they show they are willing to budge, he could change his mind tomorrow about what he wanted in the bill. And I just want remind everybody that there was a bill like this, was already $1.6 billion in it in December from border security. It was a bipartisan agreement reached by both Houses -- both of the chambers in Congress that he blew up afterwards. So, you know, I hope that he signs the bill, because there were over 800,000 people who went 35 days without being able to feed their family. He owned that shutdown as he should have when he was in the Oval Office with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
I don't think people are going to be so forgiving to go another cycle without pay now. Now he said that he will, you know, he's open to paying for the wall in other ways. Which is kind of ridiculous, because he would literally have to take money from military operations and from natural disaster preparedness funds to fund a wall that by all evidence is unnecessary and that he said Mexico would pay for it.
CHURCH: Yes. Bad smoke making the generals very happy either for sure. We will see what the -- this shutdown on Friday is averted. Tiffany Cross, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
CROSS: thanks, Rosemary.
CHURCH: And we will take a short break here. In the Philippines, an award winning journalist is speaking out about her risk in a libel case. We will have the details for your next. Plus, he's likely headed to prison for life, but here why many say the conviction of Cartel leader, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman does nothing to slow the illegal drug trade.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back. Well, in the Philippines, journalist Maria Ressa is free on bail. She is an outspoken critic of the country's president and had been arrested for cyber libel, the CEO of the online news site Rappler spoke to reporters after she was released from custody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA RESSA, CEO, RAPPLER: For me it's about two things, abuse of power and weaponization of the law. This isn't just about me and it's not just about Rappler. The message that the government is sending is very clear and someone actually told, I recorded this last night, be silent or you're next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Ressa posted nearly $2,000 bail. The news site says the charges are related to an article it published in 2012. She is among several journalists named person of the year by Time Magazine last year and she was also CNN's longtime bureau chief in Manila. Local and international journalism groups and Amnesty International are among those condemning her arrest.
Well, the Egyptian parliament is debating constitutional amendments that could have long-term consequences for the country. The proposals would extend presidential limits from four to six years and reset the clock for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Letting him run for two more terms which means he could be in office until 2034.
Supporters of the plan say it would help stabilize Egypt's economy. Critics argue it's another step toward authoritarianism. Sisi has won two elections since seizing power in a military coup in 2013.
Well, at least four people were killed in a stampede as Nigerian President, Muhammadu do Buhari tried to leave a political rally. These are images of the aftermath. The chaos erupted as supporters tried to follow the president's convoy out of the stadium. Violence has overshadowed the campaign leading up to the presidential polls on Saturday and the general election later this month.
Mr. Buhari on the right is seeking a second term. His top challenger is a Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president.
Well, now to the U.S. where many experts, including Joaquin El Chapo Guzman's own attorney say his conviction will do nothing to slow the illegal drug trade. Mexico's president though has a different view. Our Rafael Romo has more reaction to the verdict.
[03:50:11] RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: He was reputed leader of one of the biggest transnational criminal organizations in the world shipping drugs to the United States and Europe by the ton. Now, Joaquin Guzman faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars. What was El Chapo's reaction to the guilty verdict?
JEFFREY LITCHMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR JOAQUIN GUZMAN: He wasn't stunned. I mean, I think he fully expected this. This case was impossible to win. I think he was convicted before he even came to America.
ROMO: In Mexico City, President Manuel Lopez Obrador says the message to those in the drug trafficking business. Freedom, he says is precious and you shouldn't be causing harm to others. There was a mixed reaction to the verdict in Sinaloa, in Chapo's native state.
He was captured here and he should be tried here, this man said. Security analysts say the blood shed hasn't stop at Mexico even with El Chapo gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you follow the data closely, violence in Mexico has increased in the last two years of last year and a half at historic levels and if part can be explained, because there is an ongoing feud among two or three different cartels.
ROMO: During the trial, prosecutors didn't take any chances. The jury was partially sequestered and it was kept anonymous after roughly 34 hours of deliberations over six days, jurors found Joaquin El Chapo Guzman guilty on all 10 counts related to this role as a reputed leader of one of the largest drug trafficking enterprises around the globe. Who extraditing El Chapo to the U.S. and putting him in jail for the rest of his life change anything. His attorney told CNN, the answer is a resounding, no.
LITCHMAN: The problem with America is, getting rid of Chapo, it has not change anything, the drug flow hasn't change. The violence in Mexico hasn't change. What we need to figure out is why our Americans so hell-bent on doing illegal drugs.
ROMO: This is not the last we will see of him somehow through his son's, who were believed to be running the similar cartel or the remnants of it, we will hear his name again. Back in Mexico City, people reflected on the life El Chapo has lived.
He brought it upon himself, this man said. When he gets sentenced to life. He will be reaping what he sewed. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: Time for a break. Up next, Michelle Obama's Grammy moment failed to impress one critic, the text that left the former first lady laughing.
CHURCH: Well, for some fans, former U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama stole the show with her surprise appearance at the Grammy awards, but there is one person who wasn't all that impressed, her mother. CNN's Jeanne Moos, explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, how everyone's always making fun of mom texts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think the unicorn sounds like?
MOOS: From the mom who can't stop sending animoji's to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I once got a text from my mom, where you're amazing, auto corrected to, you're adopted.
MOOS: Well, even former first lady can't resist while on her book tour, Michelle Obama fondly recounted how her mom reacted to seeing her daughter's surprise appearance on the Grammys. On Instagram, Mrs. Obama described it as, when your mom doesn't think you're a real celebrity.
[03:55:07] MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE U.S.: Marian Robinson says, I guess you were hit at the Grammys.
MOOS: To which Michelle says, did you watch it.
OBAMA: I saw it, because Gracie her sister called me. Did you meet any real stars? I say o told you I was going to be on it. Mom's says, no. You didn't, I would have remember that even though I don't remember much.
MOOS: The former first lady responds with laughing emoji's.
OBAMA: I thought I told you, and I am a real star, by the way. To which, my mom says, yes. I have to tell her, it's like, mom do you realize I am Michelle Obama? MOOS: Then Marian Robinson, the former first lady's 81-year-old mom
is every mom. But you know, what even sweeter than getting a text from your mom, when she is sitting next to you being interviewed and Gail King asks --
GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: What's the best thing about Michelle Obama that makes you proudest?
MARIAN SHIELD ROBINSON, MICHELLE OBAMA'S MOTHER: When I grow up, I would like to be like Michelle Obama.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Isn't she great. Along this Valentine's Day, some people in Japan would rather see cupid fly his arrow in another direction. A small group called the revolutionary alliance of unpopular people have waged in anti-Valentine campaign for over decade now, their mission to end what they call romantic capitalism, were businesses exploit the holiday and romance in general.
And then the women of Japan, many of whom are rebelling against a decades-old tradition where they have to give chocolates to the man. Some companies are even banning the customs fearing workers may get their feelings hurt if they don't get any chocolates.
Well even cows deserve love this Valentine's Day. Cattel, who no longer want to play the field can find potential mates on Tada. A Tinder inspired dating app. Farmers play cupid by swiping right on cows they like, the locals sell my livestock design the app, as a way to peer potential breeders. It features data profiles from 42,000 farms across the U.K. How about that?
Well, thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues with Max Foster in London. Have a happy Valentine's Day. You're watching CNN.