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Former FBI Official Says Trump May Have Committed Crime in Firing Comey; Iranian Foreign Minister Hits Back At U.S. V.P.; Iranian Hospitals Struggle For Medicine, Supplies; 60 Million Americans Under A Winter Storm Alert; Wiretapping in the White House; ISIS On the Run; Senator Marco Rubio Slams Nicolas Maduro; President Trump Wants U.S. Troops to Move Out After the Defeat of ISIS. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 18, 2019 - 02:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The idea of wearing a wire into the White House. In an explosive interview, the former acting director of the FBI says the deputy attorney general offered to use a recording device around the U.S. president.

Plus, ISIS fighters on the run, as the battle to push ISIS out of Syria winds down, hundreds of militants are believed to have already fled to Iraq, and --


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: There's no way you're going to stand ultimately in the way of people whose children are starving to death, whose families are dying in hospitals because of preventable diseases and they don't have medicine.


CHURCH: As piles of aid wait to get into Venezuela, one U.S. lawmaker is sending a warning to President Nicolas Maduro. Let it all in or else.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church. This is CNN Newsroom.

Well, details are emerging on why the former acting director of the FBI launched a counter-intelligence investigation into President Donald Trump. In a stunning interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Andrew McCabe says the president's own words triggered the probe.

President Trump asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into the national security adviser and then firing Comey raised concerns of obstruction of justice. McCabe said the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, even offered to wear a wire in his meetings with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: The deputy attorney general offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said I never get searched when I got into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn't know it was there. Now, he was not joking. He was absolutely serious, and in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had.

I never actually considered taking him up on the officer. I did discuss it with my general counsel and my leadership team after the FBI after he brought it up the first time.

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS HOST: The point of Rosenstein wearing the wire into a meeting with the president was what? What did he hope to obtain?

MCCABE: I can't characterize what Rod was thinking or what he was hoping at that moment. But the reason you would have someone wear a concealed recording device would be to collect evidence. And in this case, what was the true nature of the president's motivation in calling for the firing of Jim Comey.


CHURCH: A statement from the Justice Department said Rosenstein never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. The chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is promising an investigation into McCabe's claims.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I know he is selling a book, and we need to take with a grain of salt maybe what Mr. McCabe is telling us. But he went on national television. He made an accusation that floors me. You know, I can imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, this would -- we're talking about getting rid of President Clinton, it would be front page news all over the world.

Well, we're going to find out what happened here, and the only I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out through questioning who is telling the truth, because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning.


CHURCH: Challenges to President Trump's national emergency declaration are already in the works. The state of California is planning an imminent challenge, and U.S. lawmakers are preparing a measure to try to block the president's move to secure funding for his border wall.

But as Sarah Westwood reports, the White House is ready to fight back.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Trump's national emergency declaration has opened up even more divides among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, even among just Republicans who are split on the president taking this approach. Now, Democrats have always opposed the idea of the president building a border wall no matter the funding source. But they also say the president using his emergency declaration power in this way is unconstitutional.

And while some Republicans have expressed some discomfort with the idea of the president setting a precedent by using his emergency powers in this way, others are arguing that there is a genuine national security and humanitarian crisis on the border. And they're also saying that this is not a subversion of the will of Congress because Congress did include some funding for the border wall in the spending package that Trump signed on Friday.

Take a listen to the starkly different opinions expressed by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff and Republican Congressman Jim Jordan on Sunday.

[02:05:04] REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: This is the first time a president has tried to declare an emergency when Congress explicitly rejected funding for the particular project that the president is advocating. And in saying just the other day that he didn't really need to do this, he just wanted to do it because it would help things go faster. He is pretty much daring the court to strike this down.

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: All I know is I -- this is a serious situation. This is a crisis. Look at the drug problem, the human trafficking problem, the gang violence problem. That's why we need the border security wall and that's what the president is committed to making sure happens.

WESTWOOD: Though the White House is prepared to fight legal and congressional battles in defense of the president's move, House Democrats are already working on a resolution of disapproval to try to prevent the president from using his executive power in this way. That could gain some traction in the Senate. But top Trump adviser, Stephen Miller, suggested on Sunday that the president be willing to would use veto power to stop that measure from moving forward if that resolution were to reach his desk.

So there are a number of roadblocks facing the Trump administration before they are even able to touch a single penny of the roughly $6 billion in additional federal funds that Trump had hoped to unlock by declaring a national emergency.

Sarah Westwood, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.


CHURCH: And for more on all this, I am joined by Natasha Lindstaedt, professor of government at the University of Essex in England. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So many explosive revelations in this Andrew McCabe interview. We learned that the president's own words triggered a counter-intelligence probe. But let's start with the revelation that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein apparently discussed removing President Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment after Mr. Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Rosenstein says he wasn't in a position to consider invoking that amendment. And it appears nothing came of it, but what did you make of this bombshell revelation?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, it's incredible. I mean we have a president that people within the government, within the Department of Justice, within the FBI, don't trust. You know there was the revelation earlier that the FBI thought that he may even be acting cooperatively with the Russians in undermining U.S. elections. And so it's not -- in some ways that is surprising that Rosenstein would be suspicious of Trump's actions, that there was a case of obstruction of justice when he fired James Comey.

And so, you know, I mean this just kind of gets to the heart of the issues with this particular president, that there are low levels of trust in his abilities.

CHURCH: Now, we also learned another shocking revelation from McCabe's interview that President Trump did not believe his own intelligence agencies that told him North Korean missiles could hit the U.S. He didn't believe it because Russia's President Putin told him it wasn't true. How concerned should we all be about this disclosure, a U.S. president believing a Russian president over his own intelligence? It's unprecedented.

LINDSTAEDT: It is unprecedented. I mean that's really the only word you can say about it. It is unbelievable that our own president doesn't believe the quality of the intelligence and that would actually prefer to listen to someone who is a dictator and also an enemy of the United States. You know intelligence community has to be able to work with the president. They are supposed to provide him with vital information that is critical to the safety of U.S. citizens.

And if you have a president that is undermining that, that is going around them and choosing to believe a dictator over his own intelligence, it is really quite frightening.

CHURCH: It is remarkable. Now, McCabe also revealed that Rod Rosenstein was apparently willing to wear a wire into a meeting with President Trump. Rosenstein denies he pursued any recording, and a source in the room said Rosenstein was being sarcastic, but McCabe insists he was serious. What do you make of this and what would Rosenstein have been trying to get on tape from the president, do you think?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, I think he actually -- I think Rosenstein was serious. I -- look back at what happened with James Comey in the different meetings that he had with President Trump that he thought were suspicious, that he thought were a cause for concern. And he took very careful notes of all of those meetings because he wanted to have some sort of proof of what was actually taking place. He wanted to make sure he could remember things. And I think that's

the same line of thinking for Rod Rosenstein that when he was going to use this wire, he was hoping to have evidence, some sort of proof, the misdeeds of the president be able to understand further the level of obstruction of justice that was taking place and possibly other events regarding the collaboration or potential or possible collaboration with the Russians.

[02:10:09] CHURCH: Right. And just shifting for a moment, on Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency over funding for his border wall, but he admitted that he didn't need to do this. Let's just listen to how his senior adviser Stephen Miller justifies this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't need to do this. How does that justify a national emergency?

STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE POLICY ADVISER: What the president was saying is, is that like past president's, he could choose to ignore this crisis, choose to ignore this emergency as others have, but that's not what he is going to do.


CHURCH: So how does that constitute a national emergency when the president himself says he didn't need to do this? And what will be the likely legal act come for this?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, it is a national emergency. A national emergency is an extraordinary event where the threat is imminent and where the possible harm could be facing, you know, millions of Americans. I think everybody agrees that this is not a national emergency or this would have been passed much earlier. He has been in power for two years now.

And the issue is because it is not a national emergency and he went off to play golf afterwards, just sort of illustrating the lack of urgency in this situation. And he himself even admitted it wasn't an emergency. There is going to be a lot of legal challenges to this and some of these have already started.

If we just even look before with the House and Senate may do though, they'll probably try to pass a resolution of disapproval. Those will probably both pass but not by veto-approved margins. So then it's going to go to some of the legal challenges. And there are challenges coming from the ACLU, from consumer rights groups, from the state of California, and also from private property owners who find this to be, you know, a huge infringement on their rights.

CHURCH: We all watch to see where this all goes. Natasha Lindstaedt, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

Well, a new warning on the reach and remaining power of ISIS. A U.S. military official says more than a thousand ISIS fighters have likely fled from Syria to Iraq in recent months. They may also have more than $200 million in cash.

Now, the news comes as the last ISIS enclave in Syria, Baghouz Al- Fawqani, remains under siege by U.S.-backed forces. And as U.S. troops get ready to leave the country, President Trump says he wants them gone after an ISIS defeat. But Washington's special envoy is trying to reassure allies about the pull-out, saying it will be neither abrupt nor hasty (ph).

Well, CNN's Barbara Starr has been travelling with senior U.S. military officials in the region, and she filed this report from Baghdad.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps more than 1,000 ISIS fighters have fled Syria in the last six months of fighting into the western desert and mountains of Iraq, and they may have $200 million in cash with them to finance future operations, all of that according to the latest U.S. assessment.

All of this comes as the U.S.-backed Syrian fighters with U.S. assistance are struggling to take the last ISIS stronghold in Syria. The big concern now is there maybe hundreds if not thousands of civilians in the area. Many of them, perhaps being held by ISIS, the top U.S. general tonight in Baghdad talking about how little the U.S. may be able to predict when that last stronghold is taken.

LT. GEN. PAUL LACAMERA, OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE COMMANDING GENERAL: It is an active battle. I mean they could capitulate while we're sitting here or it could be several days. I mean there is a lot of fog and friction on the battle field. I mean we're moving at a pretty clip three or four days ago, and then the amount of displaced civilians that are starting to coming out, civilian fighters that we're trying to infiltrate out with families. We slowed it down so that we could do the proper screenings.

STARR: And what happens after the last stronghold falls? Lieutenant General Paul LaCamera, the top commander here says the SDF, the Syrian Democratic Forces, that the U.S. has been backing will have to make some key decisions. The U.S. is willing to continue providing weapons and aid but that may only last so long if the SDF decides its only option is to now align itself with the Assad regime.

LACAMERA: So we're in Syria because of the threat to Iraq. They are our partners in Syria to fight ISIS. Once that relationship is severed because they go back to the regime, which we don't have a relationship with, the Russians we don't have a relationship with, when that happens we will no longer be partners

[02:14:55] STARR: Now that the U.S. is pulling its troops out of Syria, the SDF may have few options. They cannot align themselves with the Turks. They're enemies of course. And if they go with the Assad regime for protection, the U.S. will cut relations with them because the U.S. cannot legally do business with Assad.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Baghdad. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Now, all this comes after a series of tweets from President Trump that led to many like a threat. He said Europe has to take back hundreds of ISIS fighters and put them on trial. If it doesn't, the U.S. will be forced to release them and they could then "permeate Europe."

So let's more on all of this with CNN's Security Analyst Bob Baer, he joins us from Washington. Bob, always great to talk with you. So, it's the first time of course, we're hearing this warning that the defeat in ISIS in Baghouz Al Fawqani won't mean a total end to the terror group.

But now, a U.S. military official tells us that more than a thousand fighters have fled from Syria into Iraq with about $200 million. What are the possible ramifications of this well-funded exodus?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Rosemary, I don't think we've heard the end of the Islamic state by any means. It's simply gone underground. It's become a guerilla movement as it was before 2014. And what you have in Al Anbar province in Iraq are the tribes are very receptive to the Islamic states, simply because they've gotten a lousy deal from Baghdad. And they look at the Islamic state almost as a protector.

And so you're going to see not only the thousands that have fled across the border into Iraq, reforming in guerilla groups. You're going to see more people joining it. And I think that's a pretty safe prediction.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, all this is as coalition forces are closing in on that last ISIS-held enclave in southeastern Syria. But also as those U.S. troops prepare to leave, although Washington's special envoy suggests that won't be an abrupt or rapid operation. Nonetheless, is this really the time to be pulling U.S. troops out of Syria?

BAER: No. I don't -- you know, what's going to happen is the Islamic state is going to launch some sort of attack in Europe from the United States somewhere to announce its, you know, its presence. And it will also continue to attack Baghdad. And I think that's what the government in Baghdad is worried about. All these people are showing up. There's no political settlement in Iraq that would -- what should I say, squash this movement at this point.

And as long as these political tensions continue, the Islamic state will be looked as a vehicle for resistance. And I just think -- like I said we haven't heard the last of it.

CHURCH: Very sobering. But what about President Trump's request to Europe to take back some of the 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria, and put them on trial. If they don't do that, Mr. Trump is threatening to release them. What did you make of that? BAER: Absolutely catastrophic to tell the Europeans to take them

back. Put them on trial. You know it is not the way this is going to be solved. And as likely as not some of these Islamic fighters are going to back and launch a terrorist attack. This is not the way to bring this conflict to an end.

CHURCH: But then also to threaten to release them if Europe doesn't take them and put them on trial. Does that seem an astounding thing for a U.S. president to say?

BAER: It is a threat against their closest allies. It's never happened before. It's more of Trump picking away at NATO. This completely shocked the Europeans that we would even consider releasing these people and sending back home. Because they're still dangerous, they're committed, and the possibility of them launch attacks, like I said, are very good.

I mean this is just -- Trump has no idea how to bring this conflict to an end. He simply made up his mind that he wants out of the Middle East and whatever the consequences be damned.

CHURCH: And of course, in that same tweet, President Trump said that the caliphate is, in his words, ready to fall. Is he right or is he wrong? What sort of advice is he getting on this?

BAER: Well, as a para state (ph), the caliphate will fall. It will be overrun. But I think it is going to be more dangerous once these people are let loose and driven underground, because it will be impossible to find them in the Anbar province. And a lot of parts to Syria, a lot of them are going to end up in Turkey. I mean it's just -- you know, this is an underground movement at its heart, and it's most dangerous as an underground movement.

[02:20:02] CHURCH: Right. And you think President Trump is missing the point that even if the caliphate falls, that doesn't mean it's the end of ISIS. He is getting advice of that, but he doesn't seem to be processing that information.

BAER: Well, Trump doesn't listen to the Central Intelligence Agency or The Pentagon, both of whom understand what's going on in this part of the world. And if the caliphate should fall, that Al Baghdad should be captured and arrested, that is not the end of it. It is a resistance movement, very much like Marxism. It will continue on until it's -- there's some sort of political resolution.

And he is just disengaging from the Middle East way too fast, and he is going to regret this. And I would say very soon.

CHURCH: Bob Baer, always great to have your analysis on these matters, many thanks to you.

BAER: Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break here. Still to come, Venezuela's standoff over humanitarian aid heats up. The sitting president still won't allow the aid into the country. But a U.S. senator says it will be delivered with or without him. .



IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: With your Weather Watch, I'm CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. Starting off the week across the northeastern part of the U.S. with some snowfall, winter storm pretty active right now, it's going to dump several centimeters of accumulation. In fact, if you're travelling into the U.S., perhaps some delays for you, particularly across Boston and a little further south through New York.

I don't think it will be a huge deal there. Eventually, the storm system actually moves out pretty quickly. This will be a Monday event. And then by Monday evening, this will be all gone. But there you see the winter weather advisories. We're going to a winter storm warning around southern Massachusetts there with some heavier snowfall totals. But it's rain for D.C. right, and into Philly.

This will be freezing a little bit through the early part of the day, and then temperatures will go above zero and will be much better shape. But there you see by Monday evening, this thing is out of here. So it is just a one-day event, but it will be a significant one as it drops accumulating snowfall here, not just for the northeastern part of the U.S. and New England, but parts of eastern Canada as well.

Montreal, we'll see a few centimeters and then another storm system will be moving in. Still February, we can still do this right this time of year and we will as we take a look at temperatures that are beginning to tumble with another drop. In Winnipeg, temperature's about 17 below zero will go above zero and another 16 to L.A. with sunny skies. That will be a nice Monday and fair weather continues through the week.



[02:24:59] CHURCH: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is slamming Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for rejecting humanitarian aid. He was visiting a Colombian warehouse where U.S. aid for Venezuela is being stored. Rubio says the aid will be delivered with or without Mr. Maduro's help.


RUBIO: The aid is going to get through. And I think ultimately the question is whether it gets through in a way that he is cooperative with or in a way that he is not. There are certain lines and Maduro knows what they are. And if they are crossed, I am confident based on everything I've heard from this administration, everything I know about this administration, that the consequences will be severe and they'll be swift. And he is aware of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: All this as the humanitarian crisis continues to take a toll on Venezuelans. Here's our Isa Soares.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For most of her young life, Vangie (ph) has only known hunger. Now, her body is feeling its impact. Frail, irritable, and in pain, she has been unable to keep food down. Her little tummy suffering from severe acute malnutrition, in what was once the world's richest oil nation, just can't keep it in.

She is one of thousands of Venezuelan children leaving home with many being treated at this border city hospital in Bogota. Several floors up on the maternity ward, I meet several women who clearly have some scarcity for months on end.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you eat there, very little rations.

SOARES: I go further down the hall, and on a floor where pain and life go hand-in-hand, I come face-to-face with tragedy.

She is telling me that her baby is dead and no heartbeat, nothing. No life, she is telling me. (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE). Twenty nine, six months, so basically 29 weeks, so -- her baby has died.

This is the toll of the humanitarian crisis Nicolas Maduro denies. The death and despair are not just contained within these hospital walls. I travelled through Old Cucuta and meet others desperate for help. Nineteen-year-old Cleva Salazar (ph) recently arrived from Caracas. He made the journey simply for survival.


SOARES: He says he is HIV positive and desperately needed anti- retroviral drugs, unavailable back home. As he gets a check up, the doctor at the NGO for which Cleva (ph) volunteers me tells me nine of his HIV patients died in 2018, all Venezuelans. Cleva (ph) got out just in time. But getting here has come with sacrifice and the wounds he carries are still fresh. I do my best to delicately ask him if he ever had to sell sex to survive.


SOARES: Isa Soares, CNN, Cucuta, Colombia.


CHURCH: Well, the battle over Donald Trump's border wall goes beyond Washington. Private landowners on the southern border fear a fight with the government is coming, but some say it's one they cannot win. We're back in just a moment.


[02:32:13] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. The former acting director of the FBI says he ordered a counterintelligence and obstruction of justice probe of Donald Trump for a number of reasons including the president's own words. In a CBS interview, Andrew McCabe said the president's request that FBI Director James Comey dropped the investigation into then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Comey's subsequent firing were among the reasons for launching the probe.

The territorial defeat of ISIS likely won't be the terror group's total demise. The extremists are under siege in their last Syrian enclave Baghouz Al-Fawqani. But a U.S. military official says more than a thousand have likely fled into Western Iraq in recent months. They may also have up to $200 million in cash. Sources tell us that CNN police investigating the alleged attack against American actor Jussie Smollett believed the crime was staged.

Another source says police are checking the cellphones of two brothers they believe Smollett paid to perform the attack. Smollett denies the attack was staged. Well, amid the debate over Donald Trump's emergency declaration for a border wall, landowners on America's southern border are waiting to see what comes next and many fear the government will take over their land. Our Ed Lavandera reports.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Along a quiet stretch of the Rio Grande in South Texas, there's a place that's just home to butterflies, hundreds of different species. And Marianna Wright has spent the last two years fighting to keep President Trump's border wall from cutting through the 100 acres of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

MARIANNA WRIGHT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BUTTERFLY CENTER: Here so where they just came and put all these stakes out. They'll be starting on this federal piece of land.

LAVANDERA: Last year, Congress approved the construction of 33 miles of new border barrier in the Rio Grande Valley and construction is about to begin in the coming weeks. Part of the wall was supposed to cut right through the butterfly center leaving some of the property south of the border wall and some north. The government used eminent domain to seize the necessary land to build the wall much to the dismay of the center's executive director.

WRIGHT: They're seizing the land of tax paying citizens and pushing the boundaries of Mexico north of the Rio Grande River or something General Santa Anna was never able to do. Trump is making America smaller, not greater.

LAVANDERA: But the congressional spending bill offered a last minute reprieve to the butterfly center and four others specific locations.

[02:35:02] For now, no border wall in the butterfly center. But a wall will come right up to their property lines and leave a quarter mile stretch of the center's property wide open. But butterfly center officials say they're worried the Trump administration will use the national emergency declaration to keep trying to close the gap and they're worried about what it's doing to the other land owners who haven't been spared.

WRIGHT: This is a shame. This is a national disgrace. And the idea that it's going to happen and produce none of the purported benefit, I mean that's like going and buying a car and driving it into a building. Why would you do that?

LAVANDERA: The butterfly center's legal battles paint a poignant picture of what lies ahead. The congressional spending bill compromise allocates nearly $1.4 billion to construct another 55 miles of border barrier in various locations in the Rio Grande Valley.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got to get rid of drugs and gangs and people. It's an invasion. We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country that we stopped, but it's very hard to stop. With a wall, it will be very easy.

LAVANDERA: Much of this new construction will be on private property which means the federal government will likely have to sue land owners to acquire the land. Down the road from the National Butterfly Center, Fred Cavazos and his family are still trying to stop the construction of the looming barrier.

FRED CAVAZOS, MISSION, TEXAS RESIDENT: And we've had this property for all our lives.

LAVANDERA: Cavazos and his family own 70 acres that will be left south of the border barrier in a no man's land. They've been tied up in eminent domain litigation, but are losing hope they'll stop the wall from being built starting in the next new weeks. So you're running out of time?

CAVAZOS: Yes, what can you do? You can't fight the government. We'll try. We'll try to stop and stall a little bit of -- we can't stop the government. They'll do what they want to do.

LAVANDERA: So the Rio Grande Valley braces for what most residents here say is the unwelcome wall. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Mission, Texas.


CHURCH: Senator Amy Klobuchar is making her way across the U.S. as she reaches out to voters on her bid to become the Democratic candidate for president. Suzanne Malveaux is with her campaign.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a great deal of anticipation and excitement about this town hall that will occur Monday, 10 p.m. Eastern time. It will give an opportunity for the Senator Klobuchar to address some of the issues first hand in a spontaneous format with students, with faculty, Democratic activists, those who are likely to participate those voters in the Democratic primary. And, of course, she's been emphasizing some of the issues, campaign issues on stops.

A very busy weekend that she had three stops in Iowa, the critical state that will hold its caucuses about a year from now and also Wisconsin. That is also a critical stop as well. It was back in 2012, Barack Obama won that state by more than six points. But in 2016, Hillary Clinton lost that state by one percent to Trump. She did not visit the state in the general election. It was a state that Trump visited multiple times and really a missed opportunity.

Senator Klobuchar telling me that this is a place that was largely ignored and neglected. And so, that is her focus here, the Midwest. And it is not so much a focus on this kind of Minnesota nice if you will, but it is more heart land economics is what she calls it and that is the notion that people in the rural areas of America in the Midwest in the heart land should have the same opportunities, education, jobs, and healthcare as the rest of the country. That is her focus.

She is also talking about big agenda items if she were president addressing issues like climate change and bipartisan legislation pragmatic ways of getting things done whether it is actually tougher online privacy laws with Senator Thune, a Republican election, security as well, and other things when it comes to voting rights and things of that nature. She wants to form a movement, a grass roots movement that she believes will build and will build from the center of the country to bring people together.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, it means looking at the challenges that are right in front of us, not looking down at our phones all the time as much as we love them, right, not looking away when we don't want to watch what's on the news in the morning. It means looking at each other dealing with what we don't agree with and looking up at those challenges and meeting them.


MALVEAUX: Some of Senator Klobuchar's challenges are going to be name recognition. She's really just introducing herself to the rest of the country as well as winning over African-American voters, Latino voters as well.

[02:40:01] One thing that has happened, she has quite a bit of momentum out of the gate. Within the first 48 hours, her campaign saying that she raised one million dollars also tweeting that she has received contributions from all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and D.C., and one of the main challenges that will face -- that she'll be faced with desperately trying to get on that debate stage, those first two debates. The DNC setting up the rules and the guidelines.

She will have to hit a one percent mark when it comes to various polls and also being able to -- being able to get donors, 65,000 donors from 20 different states to be on that stage. And so, she is trying to build the momentum, get her name out there and, of course, address all of the questions that will come her way. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

CHURCH: In Haiti, the government is pleading for peace in the streets after days of violent protests. Officials are asking schools, universities, and businesses to reopen on Monday. For more than a week, angry crowds have been demanding Haiti's president step down over crippling inflation and corruption allegations. Miguel Marquez has more.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a tenuous calm here in the capital at this point after nine days of protests where they lit tires in the streets, blocked the roads with boulders, pretty much shutdown the entire city as well as cities around the country. The police now on high alert throughout the entire country, you know, Haiti is known for its hardships for protests, the protest that we're seeing now or sort of part of a string of protests that we have seen over many, many months. We talked to one activist about why this time is different.


EMMANUELA DOUYON, ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTIVIST: Traditionally, people like me, we do not do things like this. We just have a job and we keep living our life. We complain on (INAUDIBLE) on social media, but it's the first time that people who have a job, people who don't suffer from like poverty are on the street and saying it's enough.


MARQUEZ: The prime minister spoke to the nation saying that he called for an investigation into the corruption here called for a 30 percent cut to his own budget, encouraged the rest of the government to do the same, said that government workers should lose their perks and also said that there should be an increase in the minimum wage and would work toward all of those things. What is not clear is whether that is enough. The protesters say that the president himself is ensnared in part of the corrupt culture of this country and they have just had enough.

So what the prime minister is talking about, it is not clear where that fits into what the protesters want and whether the government itself, the president and the various bureaucracies will allow an investigation to the degree that can win back the trust of the people of Haiti. All of that we are waiting to see as there are calls for more protests in the days ahead. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

CHURCH: Coming up next on CNN NEWSROOM, hateful and arrogant, that's what Iran is calling remarks made by the U.S. vice president over the weekend. We will explain why Tehran is so upset. We're back in a moment.


[02:46:23] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the war of words between the U.S. and Iran is getting even more intense. Over the weekend, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called on European allies to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. And he accused Tehran of openly advocating another Holocaust. The remarks drew a sharp response from Iran's foreign minister. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER, IRAN: Yesterday, right here in Munich, Mr. Pence repeated this farce when he arrogantly demanded that Europe must join the United States in undermining its own security and breaking its obligations.

His hateful accusations against Iran, including his ignorant allegation of anti-Semitism against the heirs, of a man, described as Messiah in the holy Torah for saving the Jews is both ridiculous but at the same time, very, very dangerous.


CHURCH: The Trump administration prides itself on its tough stance on Iran. Saying the goal is to starve the regime. The doctors in Iran, say U.S. sanctions are putting lives at risk. Our Fred Plietgen takes a closer look.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When Dr. Sharyar Asgari visits his patients in the intensive care unit at Gandhi Hospital at Tehran, he faces two challenges: diagnosing their illnesses, and then somehow finding a way to get the medicine they need.

"Unfortunately," he says, "since the sanctions hit us, we've been having problems getting special medications, for instance, for chemotherapy and other illnesses. But since our policy is to give patients everything they need, we do our best to supply them. So, this means we have to work double duty."

Hospital staff, say that double duty even involves buying drugs and parks for medical devices on the black market at huge additional costs.

When President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, America also hit Tehran with crippling sanctions. The U.S. claims, the medical sector is exempt from the sanctions.

A State Department spokesperson telling CNN, "The United States maintains broad authorizations that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine and medical devices by U.S. persons or from the United States to Iran."

But doctors in Iran say the reality is different. With international medical companies unwilling to do business with Iran, afraid they might face a backlash from the U.S. The head of the Gandhi Hospital, says some medications have become impossible to obtain even on the black market with severe consequences.

HASSAN BANI ASAD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GANDHI HOTEL-HOSPITAL: We have the procedures but we don't have the instruments. And it's very difficult for patients, and maybe lead to death for some patients. PLEITGEN: Back in the ICU, Dr. Asgari is checking on a patient with a heart condition. Manijay Bidar doesn't speak much English, but she did want to convey a message.

MANIJAY BIDAR, HEART PATIENT, GANDHI HOTEL-HOSPITAL: It's very bad for all of people. Why we -- why we have sanction? Why?

PLEITGEN: Instead of asking why, the staff at this and other Iranian hospitals every day ask themselves, how they'll be able to supply their patients with the treatment they need. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.


[02:50:09] CHURCH: Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM. Severe winter weather is bearing down on millions of Americans. We will take a look of where the storm is set to strike next.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN "WORLD SPORT" headlines. We start with what may just to be a pivotal day in the race for the Football League title in Spain, with Real Madrid losing on Sunday against a team of hardly ever wins.

Girona hadn't won a league game since November the 25th of last year, and they sat one point above the relegation zone. But two second-half goals and a league-leading 20th sending-off in his career for Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos. Meaning, a miserable day for the home fans there at the Bernabeu. 2-1 Girona, Real now nine points behind leaders Barcelona.

To Alpine Skiing now, in a weekend to savor for Austrian star Marcel Hirscher. On Sunday, he won the men's slalom at the world championships in Sweden. His seventh gold medal at the championships.

No male skier has won that many since the late 1950s. He's also closing in on an eighth consecutive overall World Cup title. Arguably, the greatest ski racer in history.

Finally, with a race in Mexico City, Formula eased the motorsports of the future, and the latest E-Prix going right down to the line. Now, look at the league's graphic here and how much power they have left. The German, Pascal Wehrlein, had been leading from pole but he was down to one percent. And with a finish line in sight, it drops to zero. As the checkered flag came out, his car just failed him and it's the Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, flying past to him to take the victory in the end.

That's the look at your CNN "WORLD SPORT" headlines, I'm Patrick Snell.


CHURCH: 60 million Americans are bracing for a heavy winter storm. It's already dumped heavy snow on Northern California, now headed to the U.S. Southwest.

Now, meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now with a look at these very nasty weather conditions.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is going to be nasty for today and will continue the next few days. We're really done a breaking winter back after a little rest bite there. But, I tell you what, it is a holiday in the United States here so maybe not so bad for the morning commute.

But if you do have to be up and around, it's going to be a mess. So, we have a front here that extends out a little pressure across at New England. It's raining for the mid-Atlantic in the southeast, but up across the north cold enough for snow, and we got some north of New York. This is going to be for essentially Connecticut, Rhode Island, heading into Massachusetts.

We actually have winter storm warnings here because I think the accumulation will be pretty significant. Where you see the purple have a wintry mix of further south you go, the more you can start getting into a glaze and some icing on the roadways.

For their north you go that's when we were accumulating some snowfall, and we're going to do that at a pretty good clip here. Four to seven inches, by the way, all of this happening today.

This is a quick moving system but it will be memorable for what it will leave behind, at least, in New England. Anyway, look at that, I mean this thing is by lunchtime almost out of the entire East Coast. But we'll have to wait for evening for New England to clear out, and then we're done, right? Well, no.

Another storm is already brewing in the southwest and look at this, this is already going to climb up at Tuesday. We're looking at snow in Missouri, heading into the central U.S. and then continuing to head off to the east. So, if you're traveling along the East Coast, Wednesday into Thursday, we're going to continue with some problems here.

Look at this map. This is the five-day accumulation as far as rainfall. Do you see a little snow for today or a lot in some cases of mess? But tuck of this, this is going to be a mess. Pretty much going to rain every day of the week here across the southeast with very heavy rainfall that at times, Rosemary, we're talking about anywhere from three to as much as five inches of rainfall here. So, it's going to be a messy time of, at least it's rain in the south but in the North Country, it will be snow.

[02:56:04] CHURCH: Horrible.


CHURCH: We want to get through February into March, just spring.


CABRERA: For which March is coming.

CHURCH: All right, thank you so much. Appreciate, Ivan.

CABRERA: Yes, you bet.

CHURCH: And thank you much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You are watching CNN, do stick around.