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Trump Declares National Emergency to Get Border Wall Funding; Trump Predicts Legal Battle on Border Wall; United States General Breaks with Trump on Syria Pullout; Interview with Gen. Votel, U.S. Central Command, Middle East; Assault Allegation and Salacious Book Overshadow Vatican Summit; Final Push Ahead Of Saturday's Presidential Election; Fact-Checking Trump's national Emergency Speech; Russians Face new Questions On Afghanistan; U.S. DEA Agent Reflects On Capture Of Notorious Drug Lord. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 15, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] HANNAH VAUGHN JONES, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hannah Vaughn Jones in for Hala Gorani tonight. Donald Trump

declares a national emergency to fund his wall on the border with Mexico. Also. ISIS makes its last stand as the U.S. general charged with defeating

them says President Trump is pulling troops out too soon.

And the Vatican braces for yet another sex abuse scandal.

But we begin the program with breaking news on what has been a very dramatic day in Washington. Democrats are already pushing back against

President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency, saying Congress can't let him, quote, shred the Constitution over a crisis they

say simply doesn't exist. Mr. Trump took the extraordinary step to get billions of dollars for a wall along the Mexico border. Congress passed a

by partisan legislation to avoid another government shutdown and included money for border security, but Mr. Trump said that money was not enough.


TRUMP: I went through Congress. I made a deal, I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn't supposed to get $1, not $1, he's not going to get $1. I got

1.4 billion. On the wall they skimped. So, I did -- I was successful in that sense, but I want to do it faster. I could do the wall over a longer

period of time. I didn't know to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster.


JONES: The President is under no illusion about what happens next. Immediately after announcing the emergency, he said we will be sued,

predicting the case will then end up ultimately in the Supreme Court. Let's bring in two of our White House reporters. Jeremy Diamond and

Stephen Collinson.

Welcome to you both. The President acknowledging the battle ahead, saying this will end up in the Supreme Court, little doubt of that. But there was

no concession at all of any loss in signing this border wall bill. Instead it was almost like he was touting victory, a win.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. The President barely addressed that funding bill that he's going to sign today.

He instead focused exclusively almost on this issue of a national emergency as well as all these other topics not related to this issue of border

security that he rambled on about. But what the President was trying to do was to frame this as a win for his conservative supporters. He talked, in

fact, about some of his conservative media allies who he said have been so good to him. From Sean Hannity to Tucker Carlson and others, Rush Limbaugh

most notably. The President here was trying to sell this, to sell this to his base who may be disappointed by the bill that he is signing and instead

saying, look, I am going to unlock all of these authorities and also defending his decision to do this, explaining that past Presidents have

also used this national emergency declaration, while they haven't used it quite in this kind of way with billions of dollars of funding at stake, the

President making the case he is on solid legal ground. He acknowledged the challenges are going to come but predicted at the Supreme Court where he

expects this case will ultimately go, he believes he will be successful.

JONES: Stephen, on that point of President Trump's base, he's obviously betting on his base supporting him on this. It was one of his main

campaign statements, was that he was going to build this wall and Mexico was ultimately going to pay for it. How important is it to him to, a, get

his base on side with what he announced today, and at what risk of alienating everybody else?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Hannah, polls show a majority of Americans oppose the wall and a majority of Americans oppose creating an

emergency declaration to fund the wall. Now, it's true a majority of Republicans and even higher numbers of conservative Republicans support the

President in this action. The President all along has based his administration on the support of 40 to 45 percent of Americans and he's

betting that in 2020, he can win over enough more moderate voters to get back to the White House. I think there has to be a serious question about

that simply because of what we saw in the midterm elections. The inflammatory rhetoric on immigration the President chose to use running up

to November did help him win seats in the Senate, but in the House of Representatives which the Democrats ultimately won was turning off more

moderate suburban voters. Some of those people he'll need to win in 20.

[14:05:02] So, it's a high stakes political bet, but the way that he has positioned himself during his presidency politically, really leaves him no

choice. He couldn't absorb a loss on the central issue that attracted him to Republicans in the first place, the wall. So, this emergency

declaration is very much a face-saving exercise politically, apart from all the huge Constitutional questions it also raises.

JONES: Yes, and one of the main things, I guess, from declaring this national emergency is that funds that will then go to his - wall are taken

away from something else. Jeremy, he was asked this by reporters. It was put to him; how does he justify taking that money away from military funds.

What did he have to say about that?

DIAMOND: That's right. Well, the President claims he has had some of his generals tell him they believe the funds appropriated to the Department of

Defense would be put to better use with this border wall. He didn't of course name any specific generals who told him this, but he did say that

they told him that, look, some of these military construction projects, for example, which is one pool of money where the isn't going to pull a couple

billion dollars from, that those funds could now be put to use building the border wall. And the President and some of his generals, again, who he did

not name, were behind this idea. One of the crucial things is the President despite declaring this national emergency really failed to make

the case for what it is specifically that backs this notion of the crisis at the southern border. He talked broadly about an invasion of drugs, of

undocumented immigrants, of human trafficking, but he didn't point to specific numbers. When pressed with some of those specific numbers

including statistics from his own administration which show that border crossings are at record lows despite a slight uptick in the last several

months, despite statistics shows undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native born residents, he refuted the statistics and stuck

to the general feeling, general sentiment he has tapped into, not only that he believes, but he has tapped into across the country among his

conservative base to make his case.

JONES: Yes. We're going to talk more later on the program about fact checking what President Trump had to say a few hours ago. Stephen, to you,

what we discuss what this means for the nation, President Trump speaking to the nation on this national emergency. What it means on Capitol Hill for

Congress. He's bypassing them right now.

COLLINSON: Right. We are going to see a constitutional clash. It's certain now that what Democrats will do under the 1976 law that allows a

President to create a national emergency, they will table a motion to terminate the emergency in the House that will pass because the Democrats

can control the House. Republicans who run the Senate will then have no option but to allow that to come up for a vote. There is a very good

chance it will pass the Senate, too. Then we'll be in a situation where the President will use his Presidential veto. It will go back to Capitol

Hill, and then Republicans in the Senate are going to have a tough choice. There are a number of them who are very worried about this idea of the

President creating a national emergency. They fear that a future Democratic President could do so to tackle an issue like gun control or

climate change. But this will be a very tough vote because they will be deciding whether to vote against the President on the core issue that

animates the Republican base like nothing else, and that's immigration, and that's the wall. They've been put in a very difficult position by

President Trump here.

JONES: All right, Stephen and Jeremy Diamond, my thanks to you both.

Let's carry on with this subject. Let's talk about the legal challenges President Trump could face in bypassing Congress, Stephen was alluding to.

We are joined by Joey Jackson. He is the commander in chief. As such he is in role to protect, preserve, defend the constitution. Why is it, then,

that some people are saying that his actions today are unconstitutional?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, let's be clear about something, and very clear. Yes, he is supposed to protect and defend and support the

constitution. This act seems to turn the Constitution its head. What am I referring to? Let's address the issue of a national emergency. A national

emergency sill should be about an emergency. I am not seeing, I think a lot of people don't see the emergency of which he speaks. If you want to

address the emergency on the border and you look over the past two decades, I'm not seeing that the statistics are suggesting there is an emergency.

In fact, if you look at the year 2000 when there was about 1.6, 1.7 million arrests, now if you look here, 2019, we're at about 340,000 arrests.

[14:10:00] So, from 1.7 million to a low of 340,000, despite it up-ticking a little bit, where is the emergency? And so, to the core question, if

you're going to declare a national emergency, it should not be fabricated. It should, in fact, be an emergency.

JONES: Right.

JACKSON: In addition to that, if you want to look at the constitution, the fact is there was a negotiation with Congress for what money he would get

for this border wall. Those negotiations did not net him the $6 billion almost that he was asking for. It only netted him 1.4 billion. He says,

all right, I can't get it through legislation so I'm going to declare an emergency as an end run around that. That's not how it works. In the

United States we have co-equal branches of government. Congress, House of Representatives, 435 members, Senate, 100 members. That's the legislative

branch. The executive branch, that's him, article 2. Then the court. This doesn't seem to be based on stable law legislatively or

constitutionally and I think he's looking at a legislative challenge and a challenge in the courts.

JONES: And this is why both Republicans and Democrats are pretty nervous right now, perhaps even more so Republicans by what he's done because of

this issue of precedence. Is in doing what he's done today in declaring this national emergency more likely down the line for a Democratic

President to introduce more liberal laws by virtue of a national emergency?

JACKSON: See, you have your hand exactly on the pulse. That's the actual core issue. Be careful what you ask for. And we've seen this before.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about, hey, it's fine now when you're a Republican and you're in control and, of course, they lost control of the

House of representatives, but they still maintain control of the Senate. And what happens is, it's all right, they say Republicans will have the

President institute a national emergency. And if the Republicans support this, what happens now when a Democratic President who has a philosophy

contrary to Republicans says, you know what, I'm going to declare, as our Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, a national emergency on guns, right? Now

what's that going to do? I'm going to declare a nationality emergency on something else. So, a President is not there to impose his values.

Certainly, the President is a person who is expected to lead, to have values, but you do that through the legislative process. You don't do it

as an end run when you don't get your way through negotiation. Now you impose a national emergency. The hypocrisy is stupendous here. Oh,

President Obama what is he doing? We had President Trump, when he wasn't President back in 2014, tweeting and saying, President Obama needs to be

impeached for using this national emergency to keep -- with this DACA issue. The hypocrisy is unbelievable. It's going to end up in courts and

I think what will happen in that round is that it should be overturned.

JONES: OK. On that point with the courts, then, the President made no bones about it. He said this is probably going to go in the courts,

probably going to go to the Supreme Court. This is exactly what he had to say earlier.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will have a national emergency and we will then be sued and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit,

even though it shouldn't be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, then we'll get another bad ruling and we'll end up in the Supreme Court and

hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court.


JONES: I mean, it's bizarre, the language and the tone the President took there. You know, this is an emergency, he says, at least, and yet it seems

like it is not going to be moving anywhere, no money at all because it's going to be wrapped up in the courts.

JACKSON: It will. Just to be clear, what happens in our process when there's a lawsuit filed is you have your district courts and you have your

circuit courts which are the court of appeals. Then you have the United States Supreme Court which is the ultimate arbiter of the law. And there

are nine members.

Also remember that this President just appointed two of them. Neil Gorsuch in addition to the Kavanaugh, you remember those confirmation hearings.

He's hoping with a conservative court he will be able to carry the day. I will just say this. It's not only about the ideology and philosophy of

those who sit on the court. It's about what that does for the greater good. The court has to decide, look, we may love the President. He may

have appointed me. We may have a full majority here, but precedent in law, it's called stare decisis, it's been decided, it's precedent, and the

courts are bound to precedence.

[14:15:21] If the courts uphold this, will they then uphold a national emergency on gun control? Pick your issue you can have with something we

don't like. And so, I just think -- and I'm hoping when the courts get this, they don't view it on ideological grounds. They view it and they're

real and true to the Constitution of the United States of America. If they do that, then this national emergency executive order will not be worth the

paper it is printed on.

JONES: Joey Jackson, my thanks to you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

Now, the U.S. President also said he'll be making another announcement in the next 24 hours. This one about Syria and the battle against is. The

top U.S. commander leading that effort says President Trump made the decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria too soon and insists the terror

group is not defeated. Joseph Votel spoke exclusively to CNN's Barbara Starr.


GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND, MIDDLE EAST: It would not have been my military advice at that particular time.

BARBARA STARR, SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The top U.S. commander in the war on ISIS flatly disagreed with President Trump's decision to pull

out of Syria. In an exclusive interview with CNN, general joseph hotel says it's too soon to bring U.S. troops home.

VOTEL: I would not have made that suggestion frankly.

STARR: President Trump announced in December he would be pull more than 2000 remaining troops from Syria.

VOTEL: We have won against ISIS. Beaten them and we've beaten them badly.


STARR: Votel aligning himself, there are thousands of ISIS fighters spread across Syria and Iraq. And the decision to pull out of Syria, leading

Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign last year. Last week, Votel made a stunning revelation that the President did not consult him on the

decision to withdraw.


VOTEL: Certainly, we are aware that he expressed a desire and intent in the past to depart Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You weren't consulted before that decision was announced?

VOTEL: We were not -- I was not consulted.


STARR: Nonetheless, Votel emphasizing he is carrying out the President's orders. This morning Votel stressed military pressure must be maintained

and success relies on the U.S. allied Syrian Democratic forces.


VOTEL: When they are capable of handling this threat on their own without our assistance, that will be another key criterion indicating to me that we

have accomplished our mission of defeat of is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as you sit here today?

VOTEL: We're not there, no, we're not there on terms --


STARR: Votel believes Iran remains the biggest long-term threat to the Middle East. He sees indications that Iran's advance ballistic missile

technology could be a precursor to a more significant weapon.


VOTEL: It shouldn't be lost on anybody that an advanced ballistic missile program could also be used to move weapons of mass destruction or do things

that could very easily be converted over for that.


JONES: Barbara Starr reporting there. Meanwhile, the United States and its allies are trying to deal is a final blow on the ground. A group of

remaining fighters are clinging to a small sliver of land in eastern Syria, corners near the town. Our Ben Wedeman is reporting close to the

"frontline." ben joins us from eastern Syria. Ben, first off, Donald Trump says that ISIS is defeated. He's expected to make some announcement

in the next 24 hours or so. From where you are in your viewpoint, is ISIS defeated?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, not yet, Hannah. But I do think that we are in the final stages of the state that called

itself Islamic, that once ruled over 10 million people between Iraq and Syria. According to a commander with the Syrian Democratic Forces, that

realm has now been reduced to one square kilometer. It does appear that the end to that so-called state is at hand.

In its dying days, ISIS fights to the bitter end. This small remote, otherwise remarkable town on the banks of Euphrates River where it is now

finally cornered, reduced to pin Prick shadow of its former self. By a combination of Kurdish and Arab soldiers backed by U.S., British and French

special forces. And unrelenting coalition air strikes captured in this exclusive video shot by freelance cameraman Gabriel Shaheen.

[14:20:00] It has been hard going with repeated ISIS counterattacks using their usual tactics, boobie traps, suicide car bombs and human shields.

And now at the end, after years of war, ISIS's foes have scores to settle. The Syrian Democratic forces commander Simko, has fought ISIS known here as

Daj, across northern Syria. Daj is finished, he says. We are avenging our martyrs. It's black banner now in his hands.

The battle like the bombing, continues around the clock. These Arab tribal fighters preparing to take open ground on the edge of town. The commander

gives the final orders before they move out. An armored bulldozer designed to take the impact of improvised explosive devices leads the way, and the

troops follow. Flares illuminate the skies. The sounds of battle echo in the distance. The final battle is in its final days.

And it does appear that they are still, these Syrian Democratic forces, having a rough time in this battle. They said today, for instance,

according to one of their commanders, that they were surprised to see civilians coming out of tunnels in that last square kilometer that is

occupied by is. They say they heard on walkie-talkies, the ISIS fighters speaking to one another, speaking in French, English, Russian, Turkish as

well as Arabic. There's rumors that the end is at hand. That, for instance, we are going to be hearing today -- rather tomorrow from a senior

commander who is coming to this spot not far from the front lines to make an announcement, not quite clear, along with President Trump's statements

today, exactly what that announcement is going to be. Hannah?

JONES: Well, we wait to see and we thank you for your reporting on this. Ben Wedeman in eastern Syria.

Still to come tonight on the program, more troubles for the Vatican, it's envoy to France is accused of sexual assault, a new book about

homosexuality at the Vatican is about to hit store shelves.

Plus, Africa's biggest democracy gets ready to head to the polls to elect a President. We'll take you to Nigerians capital for the scene ahead of the

big day.


[14:25:06] JONES: A new allegation of sexual assault rocks the Catholic church. Prosecutors in Paris are investigating the Vatican's envoy to

France. A French judicial source tells CNN archbishop op is accused of inappropriately touching a male official at Paris city hall. The

allegation emerges as the Vatican prepares for a summit on the church's sexual abuse crisis. That starts next Thursday. The same day that a book

alleging widespread homosexuality at the Vatican is set to be published. Let's bring in CNN's religion commentator, Father Beck joins us from Los

Angeles. Father, good to see you. First of all, this Paris investigation that's ongoing right now, what's been the Vatican's response to it given

not just the seriousness of the allegations, but also that in the past the Vatican has been accused of orchestrating a cover up?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGIOUS COMMENTATOR: Well, Hannah, as of now there is no comment because the investigation is active. But let's talk

just a little bit about what is reportedly allegedly said to have occurred. This is a 74-year-old archbishop. He was at a public event at Paris city

hall. It was a mayoral event. And he supposedly publicly put his hand on the backside of an employee, maybe three times is the number that I have

heard. So, they are now filing a charge of sexual assault or sexual misconduct. Well, again, the investigation is still underway, but I think

we have to wait to see what is the response to the archbishop of this. This is a man with a long and distinguished career. He was in Brazil,

Bolivia, Britain, the Ivory Coast.

He's been in Paris ten years. I've heard no other accusations against this archbishop, so it just sounds odd to me you would pick a public event where

you can be seen, if you've never done this before and suddenly decide to act inappropriately sexually with someone. Now, I know intent doesn't

always matter in these circumstances, but I don't know, something about this just doesn't sit right with me until I have more information.

JONES: But given the fact this isn't the first time that allegations such as these have hit the Vatican, one wonders why there's been no response as

yet. We understand there is an investigation underway, but to say nothing is almost -- implies some sort of complicity in this.

BECK: They said there is an investigation underway and we will comment when the investigation is completed. How can they comment until they know

what happened from both sides and the investigation is completed?

JONES: My point being the archbishop in question is imposed the investigation is upped way, he hasn't been recalled?

BECK: With zero tolerance, there is a removal from ministry. I have not heard that has occurred, but we will see what happened. It has been

reported in January, the incident.

JONES: Moving on to the other scandal that is soon to hit the Vatican, and that's the publication of this book. Tell us about it and why it is so

potentially scandalous.

BECK: Well, it's by a gay French journalist. It's called "In the Closet of The Vatican." and he makes a lot of claims in the book about

homosexuality being rampant in the previous hood. Our editor Daniel Burke whom you know says it is thinly sourced. There are a lot of accusations

made in the book that are not substantiated. One, for instance, he claims that 80 percent of the priests in the Vatican are gay. When pressed by

"The New York Times," how do you know 80 percent? He said, well, one Vatican priest who used to be there who is no longer a priest, told me

that. So, he makes a statement with no research to say 80 percent, and some are saying that's kind of very thinly sourced inappropriate kind of

reporting. However, he does say that there are a lot of gay priests. But I think it's a bit homophobic the take he has. So, if straight priests are

not being celibate, is that any different from gay priests not being celibate --

JONES: Sorry to interrupt you, Father. This is what I wanted to ask you about specifically. All of us accept celibacy amongst priests and clergy

is normal practice. What is the view, though, of the Catholic church on homosexuality, not just clergy, but the Catholic community at large?

[14:30:02] BECK: Well, again, the teaching has always been that homosexuals are to be received and treated with respect. The act is

disordered and sinful. However, that is different from saying a gay priest who is professing celibacy should be treated any differently. Now, in

2005, the church said by policy, it would no longer accept gay candidates for the priesthood. Well, again, some see this as rather homophobic. Why

should you exclude gay candidates if they are going to be celibate any more than heterosexual candidates?

JONES: It's a struggle for Catholic clergy to be gay, then, if homosexuality is considered a sin in the church.

BECK: Homosexuality is not considered a sin. The acting out, the sexual activity is considered sinful. So, if someone is gay, why can't they be

celibate like anybody else and be a perfectly good priest? Say you have 40 percent of priests who may be gay. What about those doing really good

ministry, compassionate ministry to be hold that we're not going to accept you or any more candidates. I mean, it's really, I think, unfair to your

clergy. And I think it's really schizophrenic kind of perspective in the church.

And I think the church has to really consider this very carefully. And unfortunately, Pope Francis has not reversed this. Since 2005, this was

put in place with Benedict and this is still the policy. And I think it's problematic, because it forces these guys to go underground and I think

that's where some of the problem occurs.

JONES: OK. Lots of questions still to come from the Catholic Church. We thank you for your analysis, Father Edward Beck, appreciate it.

BECK: Thank you, Hannah.

JONES: All right. Still to come tonight on the program. More reaction as President Trump declares a national emergency. During his wide-ranging

speech. The president refuted statistics many from his own administration. We take a closer look, next.

Also ahead this hour, what it's like to capture one of the world's most wanted criminals. We'll hear from the U.S. federal agent who helped take

down notorious drug lord, El Chapo.


JONES: It is the eve of Nigeria's presidential election after a campaign at times marked by violence. The contest comes at a critical time for

Africa's most populist country, voters are expected to choose between two men who have emerged as front runners. Incumbent president, Muhammadu

Buhari and former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar.

Let's get the view then from Nigeria's capital, David McKenzie is live for us in Abuja right now. David, what is the mood, then, on the eve of what

is a highly anticipated and significant vote there?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, today is a real calm before the big momentous day. The candidates are banned from doing

any campaigning, so there's surrogates.

And so, Hannah, there are pockets of the country, particularly in Kaduna State and River State and other parts of this large country with a diverse

population that do have a sense of tension ahead of that major vote for the presidential election.

Now, troublingly, the opposition candidate told me that they are suspicious about those who are running this election. Didn't go so far as to say that

they wouldn't think that this is credible before the first vote is passed, but certainly, the stakes are incredibly high and we enjoy it -- we joined

the major candidates on the campaign trail and those last frenetic days trying to persuade people to vote for them.


[14:35:04] MCKENZIE (voice-over): Nigerians like to do everything faster. Louder. Bigger.

MCKENZIE (on-camera): So this is the final stage of this hectic campaign season in Nigeria. Africa's most populous country and this is democracy on

its largest scale. The visit of the main opposition candidate to his home state. And this is what it means to the people.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Atiku Abubakar known simply as Atiku is a former vice president and business magnate.

ATIKU ABUBAKAR, OPPOSITION NIGERIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Nigeria requires my experience. Nigeria requires my capacity.

MCKENZIE: The party faithful has come out by the thousands. For both candidates.

MCKENZIE (on-camera): The crowd, the heat, the passion of the Nigerian electorate and the incumbent 76-year-old Muhammadu Buhari. The president,

this is one of his final rallies.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): But if you look beyond the campaign marketing, there's frustration, too, both candidates are part of the old guard. Both

political royalty of a system that was built on corruption, robbing the masses.

MCKENZIE (on-camera): So many young people have complained to us that corruption is killing this country. Do you think you can change that?

ABUBAKAR: Why not? I mean, it's a human vice and there is no human vice that cannot be controlled.

MCKENZIE (on-camera): And you yourself have been accused of these vices. What do you say to that?

ABUBAKAR: Well, I mean, they have not stood the test of time, and there is no public officer that has not accused of corruption vice.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Buhari isn't personally implicated, but his administration hasn't defeated graft and they promised to defeat ISIS-

linked Boko Haram is unkempt.

And there's the issue of age. Both candidates in their 70s, looking to lead one of the world's youngest populations.

MCKENZIE (on-camera): Mr. President, you're going to go to al l of the states of this campaign.


MCKENZIE (on-camera): But some people say that you don't have the stamina for another term. What is your response to them?

BUHARI: Well, I have done it so they can give you another answer.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The sprint through all 36 states in Nigeria has ended. The brutal campaign is over. Now more than 80 million registered

voters are ready to decide.


MCKENZIE: Well, Hannah, one of the key issues here in Nigeria is, of course, security. A few years ago, Muhammadu Buhari promised that they had

technically defeated ISIS-linked Boko Haram. Well, that hasn't been the case. That group has gained ground and there's also been disturbing inter

community conflict in the central parts of the nation as well as other parts of the north/south divide.

Now, I asked that same question of the opposition candidate, he said, well, the government has been a joke, as he put it, in trying to combat those

terror groups. He says that he will do better. And that is something also on the mind of people here in Nigeria. Particularly to the north and

northeast of where I'm standing. Hannah?

JONES: All right. David McKenzie, live for us in the region of Nigeria ahead of that crucial vote tomorrow. Thank you, David.

Now, let's remind you of the latest from Washington. A dramatic day at the White House as President Trump declared a national emergency at the border

with Mexico. His speech was ultimately to declare just that. But it veered two other topics as well from China and trade to ISIS, even to

Brexit as well.

The president also used a slew of statistics. And one reporter in the Rose Garden attempted to pin down where Mr. Trump got those figures, leading to

this exchange.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security primarily. And the numbers that I have

from Homeland Security are a disaster.

And you know what else is a disaster? The numbers that come out of Homeland Security, Kirstjen, for the cost that we spend and the money that

we lose because of illegal immigration. Billions and billions of dollars a month. Billions and billions of dollars and it's unnecessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So your own government stats are wrong, are you saying?

TRUMP: No, no, I use many stats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you share those stats with us?

TRUMP: Let me tell you, you have stats that are far worse than the ones that I use. I use many stats, but I also use Homeland Security. Next



JONES: So, let's take a closer look at the facts and the stats that we heard in that speech. Brian Stelter joins me from New York. Brian, good

to see you, as always.

So the president, in order to justify his declaration of a national emergency, calling on a lot of so say facts to about crime, about drugs

coming across the border. I know you've been doing some fact checking for us. How much of what he said was true?

[14:40:10] BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: He was very loose with the fact, I would say more so than usual, actually. And we know the

president has a poor history in this regard.

What he was trying to do here was portray the border as an incredibly violent dangerous hellscape. For example by saying that when he was in

McAllen, Texas two weeks ago, 26 people have been killed a mile away just the day before.

There was a horrible massacre two weeks ago, but it happened 130 miles from the U.S. border. So that's an example of the kind of rhetoric the

president was employing, using exaggeration and a made-up information.

And the exchange we were watching there between Brian Karem and the president is really revealing, because a lot of what the president says

about the border is contradicted by his own government data. These are hardworking staffers and customs and border patrol and other government

agencies in the United States collecting data.

But what really happens at the border about how drugs really do get in the border? And the findings, of course, are very clear. The vast majority of

drugs entering from Mexico to the U.S. are coming through legal ports of entry, through those checkpoints and other locations. They're smuggled in

cars, on people's bodies, et cetera. But the president denies that and claims that most of the drugs are coming over these unfenced, un-walled

parts of the border.

So he repeated that claim again at this press conference. And it must be demoralizing to the staffers and these agencies that work really hard to

get the facts only to hear the president contradict them.

Jones: Yes. And most people kind of assume at least, that his target audience for this particular speech was his base. His base support across

the country.

Now, one element of the media that props up that base is, of course, the conservative media as well. How was that speech by the president received

by the conservatives?

STELTER: I think for the most part, President Trump's most loyal backers in the press, you know, radio talk shows host like Rush Limbaugh, Sean

Hannity, they're accepting this -- the budget compromise but they're cheering on the national emergency idea. They're cheering this on even

though they know that it could be challenged in the courts.

But one exception is Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter, a far-right wing voice, often accused of racist beliefs. She wants the president to go further

with this border wall. And she say he's given up today. He's failed today. She's called him an idiot on the radio today.

So this is an example of one of Ann Coulter's comments saying the responsibility on this is 100 percent Trump's. And by signing this budget

compromise in the last few minutes, she's saying that he has failed.

So there are signs and around the edges of an eroding support for the president among his loyal media fans. But I got to tell you, for the most

part, what happens is Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, these others, they just move on to something else. They change the subject and they cheer for the

president about something else. That's something we've seen in the past. I suspect we'll see it again on this topic.

JONES: Yes. Speaking about Ann Coulter particularly then, how much of an impact does that have on President Trump? I mean, I heard the other day

that he unfollowed her on Twitter or something. Would he now follow her again just to find out the criticism?

STELTER: He probably hears about but he claimed to the press conference that he doesn't know her. That's not true. She's even spoken at rallies

in the past. He definitely knows her.

But that's the kind of thing oftentimes is in the president, kind of like earmuffs. He puts on earmuffs. He pretends not to hear the criticism or

not to know his critics.

And at the end of the day, his loudest cheerleaders, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham. Those are the programs that have millions of

viewers every night on Fox News. Those are the most powerful people in his corner. And for the most part, they are still in his corner.

JONES: Yes. The president says this isn't about 2020, this isn't about politics. This is just about doing the right thing. We've just heard that

he has indeed now signed that spending bill which means that it will avoid another government shutdown which will please many millions of Americans

across the country.

But in saying that it's not about 2020, which is, of course, just around the corner, then why was it pains to say this is an emergency now. I could

take my time to build this wall, but I want to do it now. Why -- if it's not about politics, why the urgency?

STELTER: He's declared an emergency in the morning and then he's flying to Mar-a-Lago in the afternoon.

You can't make this stuff up. This was in a script for the episode of Veep. People wouldn't believe it. That would be the parity version of

this, but it's real life.

I always go back to the fact that President Trump set up his reelection campaign one day after being sworn in. Everything is about reelection,

everything is about his reelection campaign because he got started on day one. So color me skeptical when he says it's not about 2020.

JONES: Yes. Especially if he kicked it off in 2017, January 2017. And we're obviously in 2019.

Brian, as ever, good to talk to you. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.

STELTER: Thank you. You too. Thanks.

JONES: And as I mentioned earlier, President Trump didn't keep his Rose Garden speech to the matter at hand, specifically. One of the topics he

brought up was Brexit. And the possibility of Theresa May, the British prime minister, getting a trade deal. Take a listen.


[14:45:00] TRUMP: The U.K. and the U.S., as you probably have been seeing and hearing, we're agreeing to go forward and preserve our trade agreement.

You know all of the situation with respect to Brexit and the complexity and the problems. But we have a very good trading relationship with U.K. And

that's just been strengthened further.

So, with the U.K., we're continuing our trade and we are going to actually be increasing it very substantially as time goes by. We expect that the

U.K. will be very, very substantially increased as it relates to trade with the United States, the relationship there also is very good.


JONES: Music to the ears, as you can probably imagine to the British government right now, the cabinet and all those Brexiteers. Liam Fox,

indeed, the trade secretary here in Britain has already come out and welcome those comments from the president.

Of course, the Brexit clock ticking down, will there be a deal or not? More to come on that probably next week.

Now, still to come tonight on the program, 30 years after the Soviet Union's humiliation in Afghanistan, is Russia ready to take a bigger role

there once more? We have the latest from Moscow.


JONES: Welcome back. Earlier on in the program, we told you about the ISIS fighting to the bitter end in Syria.

But now, there's a stark warning about another terror group in parts of the same country, Al-Qaeda. The head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency says

it's growing once more and warned that both Al-Qaeda and ISIS, quote, "exploit ungoverned space to organize and grow."

Meanwhile, Russians are marking a bitter anniversary. It is exactly 30 years since the Soviet Union pulled out of a decade-long war in


Now, the Kremlin finds itself at another crossroads over the country, whether to play a bigger part again, just as Washington hints at

withdrawing. Our Matthew Chance has more.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Memories of Afghan wars are painful. And Russia has 30 years of grief and

guilt. Many of those marching here are relatives who lost loved ones, or veterans who survived the conflict which killed more than 14,000 of their


Men like Sergey Kostitsyn who served in Afghanistan as a young soviet officer, have spent decades coming to terms with defeat.

SERGEY KOSTITSYN, RETIRED RUSSIAN ARMY OFFICER, AFGHAN VETERAN (through translator): Any war is a catastrophe, but there are situations where we

have to act, not thinking about our own security or the misfortunates that are coming. We just had to do it. We had to protect our vital interest.

CHANCE: It was in the name of vital interests that the Soviet Union ordered its 1979 invasion of Afghanistan to prop up the communist regime

there and to keep the country in Moscow's sphere of influence.

[14:50:08] Within a decade, an estimated million Afghans had been killed, and Moscow forced to stage a humiliating withdrawal. The quagmire became a

potent symbol of soviet failure.

Although that has started to change.

CHANCE (on-camera): But there are still memories here of Russia's disastrous Afghan conflict. But it is increasingly being cast as a

necessary war to fight against terrorism and to protect Russia's national interest.

And as the United States prepares to wind down its presence in Afghanistan after an 18-year conflict of its own, Russia is stepping up its game and

reasserting itself as a major player in Afghanistan.

CHANCE (voice-over): Moscow is accused by U.S. military officials of arming Afghan insurgents like the Taliban which controls vast swaths of

territory in the country. Russia denies it, saying it only has diplomatic contact with the group. And that contact is increasingly public.

Moscow hosting peace talks earlier this month with the Taliban and other Afghan power brokers opposed to the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. With

President Trump ordering the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the Kremlin may seek to fill the vacuum, at least partially.

But another Moscow-led invasion seems farfetched. Despite renewed global competition with the United States, the old soviet failure in Afghanistan

still haunts Russia, even 30 years on. Mathew Chance, CNN Moscow.


JONES: More to come tonight, including his capture was the combination of an almost 30-year investigation. And now as El Chapo faces life in prison,

CNN sits down with the U.S. federal agent who helped take down the notorious drug lord. Stay with us.


JONES: He once headed a criminal enterprise that spanned continents and triggered waves of blood shed throughout his native Mexico.

But now, notorious drug lord, El Chapo, faces the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted in New York this week. It was a victory for

those who spent years hunting Joaquin Guzman after his escape from a Mexican prison.

And CNN's Polo Sandoval spoke to the man behind Guzman's capture.


RAY DONOVAN, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE DEA NEW YORK: There is evil people in this world and then there's Chapo Guzman.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From his days as a young border patrol agent in San Diego, Donovan was making a career out of

tracking down drug traffickers and their tons of illegal product.

Today, he leads the DEA's New York's field office, but in 2012 Donovan set his sights on the biggest target of his career, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

after his first escape from a Mexican prison.

In 2015, when Guzman escaped his Mexican prison cell a second time using this sophisticated tunnel, Donovan and his team had what they needed to

begin the hunt.

DONOVAN: When I see Chapo Guzman, I know who the real person is. I know how he thinks. I know that he is an evil, manipulator who wanted to rule

the Sinaloa Cartel with an iron fist.

[14:55:01] SANDOVAL: Donovan oversaw Operation Third Strike, the multi- agency effort that ultimately led to Guzman's final recapture in 2016.

DONOVAN: The trial and all the chilling witness testimonies introduced the world to the real Chapo, a ruthless killer, money launderer, violent drug

trafficker, manipulator, liar, adulterer.

SANDOVAL: In newly shared insight with CNN about the operation, Donovan recalled how he and his team studied the cartel boss after his 2014

capture. It provided valuable intel used in the weeks after Guzman tunneled out of his cell.

DONOVAN: We knew his habits. We knew his associates, his families, the people that he liked to surround himself with.

SANDOVAL: Ultimately, Donovan's U.S. teams, along with Mexican marines, hunted down their man in early 2016 in the seaside city of Los Mochis. In

this dramatic raid video, you see marines clashing with Chapo's men while the drug lord escaped out a trap door, only later to be captured nearby.

DONOVAN: Imagine how it was when he escaped. We were defeated. We were deflated. We felt like we lost. We put so much effort into it. To

capture him again was a tremendous feat for all of us. And it really was all the different agencies that were involved. There were 22 different

U.S. agencies and federal partners that were involved with his capture.

SANDOVAL: A year later, he was extradited to the U.S. A reminder of that day now hangs proudly in Donovan's New York office.

DONOVAN: His prison number is here. These is the various operations.

SANDOVAL: It features an inmate's shirt worn by Guzman when he touched down in the United States.

DONOVAN: When he arrived here in January, 2017, and his face, what he looked like. He was no longer in control. He lost control. He's outside

of Mexico. He's on U.S. soil. And, to me, that feeling of defeat that we felt when he escaped, that's what he felt at that point.

SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


JONES: And that is all we have time for on the program tonight. Thank you so much for watching this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back

with you for much of next week as well.

In the meantime, though, do stay with us here on CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.