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Lawsuits Filed Against President Trump on President's Day; Finger-Pointing Between Andrew McCabe and Rod Rosenstein; Nicolas Maduro No Empathy for Venezuelans; Poland Offended by Israel's Comment; Sixteen States Sue To Stop Trump's National Emergency; Votel Arrives In Afghanistan After Stop In Syria; Honda Plant In U.K To Close, Unrelated To Brexit; President Trump Believed Putin Over U.S. Intelligence; View From The Border; Appealing To The Political Left; America Votes 2020; Weather Forecast. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 19, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Challenging the president. More than a dozen states are suing to put an end to Donald Trump's controversial national emergency declaration.

Meanwhile, the president is accusing top justice officials of committing illegal and treasonous acts after stunning revelations from the former acting FBI director.

Plus, America's top commander in the Middle East talks to CNN and what he is saying about U.S. troop levels in Syria.

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

Well, Donald Trump is back in Washington after a long President's Day weekend in Florida facing a major challenge to his national emergency declaration.

Sixteen states are joining together in a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in Northern California. They claim the president is going around Congress to reallocate money to pay for his border wall with Mexico. California's attorney-general is leading the charge.


XAVIER BECERRA, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: The president does not have the power or the purse. The president can't decide to shuffle money around once Congress has allocated it. That's only for Congress to do. Otherwise presidents over the last 240 years would have been doing the same thing when they don't like where Congress puts the money.

Simply because Donald Trump fabricated a crisis and called it a national emergency doesn't mean that he can violate the separation of powers under the Constitution. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: As you know, President Trump wanted $5.7 billion for the border wall but Congress approved only 1.3 billion for fencing and repairs.

Well, the White House expected legal challenges to the emergency declaration but there are a host of other issues to occupy President Trump's attention.

CNN's Abby Phillip has details.



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president may be considering firing his top intelligence official as he fires back at his former acting FBI director. Chris Ruddy, one of President Trump's closest confidants and the CEO of Newsmax telling CNN's Christiane Amanpour the president may get rid of his director of national intelligence.

CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, CEO, NEWSMAX: The intelligence chiefs including the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats just went before an open session of Congress. And they openly said that they believed the president's policies and efforts in North Korea are going to fail based on the intelligence.

And Christiane, I'm hearing from sources around the White House there is just general disappointment of the president with Director Coats. There is a feeling that maybe there needs to be a change of leadership in that position.

PHILLIP: Revelations about Coats come as the president is lashing out at former FBI director Andrew McCabe following McCabe's explosive interview with 60 Minutes, Trump tweeting, "he was fired for lying and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein who was hired by Jeff Session, another beauty, looked like they were planning a very illegal act and got caught. There is a lot of explaining to do to the millions of people who has just elected a president who they really like. This was an illegal and treasonous insurance policy in full action."

In the interview, McCabe described in detailed discussions with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about using the 25th amendment to potentially oust Trump from office.

Rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president.


PHILLIP: And possibly wearing a wire inside the White House to record conversations with the president. MCCABE: He said I never get searched when I get 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.

PHILLIP: The Justice Department firing back calling McCabe's account inaccurate but not specifically denying the claim that the conversations occurred. "The deputy attorney general never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the deputy attorney general previously has stated based on his dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25 amendment."

All this prompting Trump to retweet one Fox commentator who called McCabe's account an illegal coup attempts on the president of the United States. Trump adding "true." McCabe says Trump's public comments after firing Comey were cause for investigating obstruction of justice. As well as Trump's private pressure on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to include the word Russia in a memo justifying Comey's firing.

[03:05:07] MCCABE: That's concerned Rod in the same way that it concerned me and the FBI investigators on the Russia case.

PHILLIP: All this as activist converge on the White House to protest Trump's national emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border. One senior White House adviser not ruling out that the president might use his first veto of his presidency to override congressional attempts to stop the wall.

And in addition to the drama involving Dan Coats and Andrew McCabe, the White House also experienced even more personnel turmoil over the weekend. The president's pick to be U.N. ambassador Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the post after some concerns were raised about her background.

Now, Nauert's name was announced publicly before the White House had fully completed a vet of her background and like other nominees for the post she was forced to withdraw.

And sources also tell CNN that the president has returned to the drawing board, searching for a permanent nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations.

Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: Leslie Vinjamuri is the head of the U.S. and America program at Chatham House and she joins me now live from London. Good to see you.


CHURCH: So, in the wake of Andrew McCabe's bomb shell revelations, President Trump is fighting back attacking McCabe and his credibility. And now we hear from a friend and confidant of the president that he may fire his national intelligence director Dan Coats over comments he made about North Korea.

What would be the ramifications of just such a move, considering all the other senior advisers that Mr. Trump has dispensed with so far particularly in the intelligence community.

VINJAMURI: Well, I think it would be another sign of a president who values loyalty more than he values the independence and the credible information that's being given to him by those who have been appointed to oversee various parts of the government and especially on this question of intelligence in North Korea.

I think it would undermine a lot of people's confidence in the run-up to that second summit, but the idea that the president doesn't trust his own intelligence agencies I think is one that's deeply disturbing. And we've been seen it for a very long time that from the very get-go the president was willing to attack the intelligence agencies.

CHURCH: Right. And in his 60 Minutes interview McCabe revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein seriously considered invoking the 25th amendment to oust Donald Trump from office, but for whatever reason nothing came of that.

And then in another revelation he said Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire inside the White House to record conservations with President Trump after he fired FBI director James Comey. What do you think will come of these bomb shell revelations?

VINJAMURI: Well, of course some of that information was in the public domain, but it is certainly there in a whole new way now. And the president's reaction has been unsurprisingly very negative.

And so, I think, you know, one thing that we're likely to see is that this will drive the division that we're already seeing in reaction to the general investigations not only by Mueller but more generally amongst the public.

The majority of people I think actually see the range of investigations, and in particular Mueller is being very independent and very credible. And I think in their eyes they conflate many of these different things.

But one push back now we're seeing Lindsey Graham saying that the Senate judiciary committee is going to hold hearings to see who is telling the truth. So, again, the divisions that this will stoke I think amongst Congress on the hill are likely to be very significant.

So, whether it will actually shift out to either in the public or amongst congressional leaders, it seems unlikely to me, but it does demonstrate the very uncertain environment that characterized that White House but still but especially in those first four or five months.

CHURCH: Right. Because late Monday night President Trump tweeted this. "Remember this, Andrew McCabe didn't go to the bathroom without the approval of leaking James Comey." And of course, we know the president has also called McCabe a liar, and says his stories are deranged. He's attacked his credibility.

Will all this be enough to discredit McCabe and distract from the revelations and move it on to the next issue as we've seen so many times before?

VINJAMURI: Again, it's going to keep rearing its head. And the real game changer will be when Mueller finally concludes his investigation and some of that we don't know how much is released into the public domain.

[03:09:58] Separate issues but very much related and I think the question of why the president fired James Comey will be one that's very integral to that report. And it's of course what led to this question amongst those surrounding the president about allegedly or as Andrew McCabe says about whether or not there was a justification for a rethinking the role of the president.

It's dramatic. It's shocking but we've now become quite accustomed to it. And I don't think it's going to go away. It will go away, it will come and go.

CHURCH: Yes. I think Americans are very numb to all of these events these days, but we have to be ever vigilant.

Leslie Vinjamuri, thank you so much for your analysis. We appreciate it.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well as Donald Trump sees it, the crisis in Venezuela is about much more than ending the regime of President Nicolas Maduro, it's about ending socialism once and for all in the western hemisphere.

Speaking on Miami on Monday, the U.S. president called Maduro a Cuban puppet who would rather see his people starve than give them aid. Mr. Trump urged Venezuela's military leaders to allow humanitarian aid into the country and to support opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido.


TRUMP: If you choose this path you have the opportunity to help forge a safe and prosperous future for all of the people of Venezuela. Or you can choose the second path, continuing to support Maduro.


TRUMP: If you choose this path, you will find no save harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything.


CHURCH: And we get more now on the crisis from CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The aid crisis here on the border between Venezuela and Colombia mounting simply, and tension by the day. And Donald Trump's speech in Miami frankly doing what it can to amplify the sense of concern here, certainly.

We'll deal with a rhetoric of it in a minute which was extraordinary in its ambition and sort of geopolitical overtone, but the nub of it really was a direct appeal to the Venezuelan military to essentially turn against the government of Nicolas Maduro and possibly through doing that get some sense of reward.

The U.S. president making it absolutely clear that America knew where military leadership money was in fact hidden, essentially saying they might be potentially targeting it and saying you can have pretty much everything or you can lose everything if you continue to block this humanitarian aid.

Now the speech was given of course to a large audience of Venezuelan ex pats, but Donald Trump also pointed out continually the ails of what he referred to as socialism, pointing towards it in Cuba, Nicaragua too, to trying potentially to combine there appealing to the Hispanic communities of Florida where he needs a victory in 2020, but also potentially casting those more left-leaning Democrats he is likely to face in 2020 as being potentially also allies of socialism as well.

In fact, the most striking quote I remember from him speech was to say that he hopes to soon see the first free hemisphere in human history.

Essentially, sounding like someone for the 1980's facing towards the Berlin Wall hoping to cast off the yoke of socialism or communism from all of South America even though really only two or three countries still have remnants of that in its administration.

But the tension is building here day by day. We are seeing a deadline now next weekend set by the opposition to get humanitarian aid in. USAID has flown extra aid in here. It isn't enough to change the plight of the tens of millions of people inside Venezuela behind me.

But Juan Guaido, the self-declared interim president and opposition leader, has said that aid will enter at the weekend regardless or in the days after it setting the stage for a significant standoff and showdown here.

Donald Trump's rhetoric trying to tear the military away from Maduro. It may well not work. And the question will be, will that deadline pass. Many hopes so without some sense of certainly a volatility if not potential for violence.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, on the border between Venezuela and Colombia.

CHURCH: Following nearly two weeks of violent anti-government protests, the Haitian government says it has arrested eight people, five of them Americans.

For more, CNN's Miguel Marquez has this report from Port-au-Prince.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is real intrigue across the nation of Haiti right now over these eight arrests. Five of them Americans, a Russian, a Serb and a Haitian local.

[03:15:02] The police chief telling us that they were arrested when their cars were spotted by police because they were suspicious. The suspicion, they didn't have license plates on them. They've taken off the licensed plates off their cars.

When they first started to talk to them, they were evasive and didn't cooperate. That's when they started to search the cars. They found automatic weapons. Those are illegal here. That's the reason that they are being held right now.

They found handguns, satellite phones, drones what some Haitians refer to as weapons of war they found on these individuals. But it is not clear who they are, who they were working for and what they are doing here or were doing here. The police chief saying that there is now an investigation into those very questions.

CHURCH: Haiti's government remains in crisis mode. Protesters have been out in force accusing Haiti's leadership of corruption and demanding they resign.

Well, he's already been to Iraq and Syria. Now the top U.S. commander for the Middle East has made another surprise stop on his farewell tour. A CNN exclusive with General Joseph Votel, that is coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The army corps of engineer people came over and they said based on the map, the wall is going to be right here.


CHURCH: How would you feel if President Trump's border wall was going to be built through your backyard. We will hear from upset property owners who are trying to fight back.


CHURCH: A top U.S. commander for the Middle East is visiting Afghanistan. The trip is part of a farewell tour for General Joseph Votel who is getting ready to retire after nearly 40 years of military service. He was just in Syria discussing ISIS and the planned U.S. troop withdrawal.

Our Barbara Starr has been travelling with General Votel and has this CNN exclusive.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Security was tight here in northern Syria when General Joseph Votel arrived on site from meetings with his Syrian counterpart General Mazlum, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The troops that the U.S. has been backing in the fight to oust ISIS from this country.

But General Votel made clear in an exclusive interview with CNN that he still believes ISIS is a threat and a threat directly to the United States.

JOSEPH VOTEL, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: At this point I think they could certainly inspire and you know, perhaps provide some guidance in terms of that. I think we have to take it very, very seriously. They have demonstrated their ability to do this in the past so we should expect that they attempt to maybe do that in the future.

STARR: General Mazlum put forth a proposal in their meetings for up to 1,500 coalition, including U.S. troops to remain in Syria to help the SDF. General Votel making no promises saying that the U.S. was looking at how it could continue to help the SDF but making it absolutely clear that U.S. ground forces more than 2,000 of them will be coming out of this country.

That that withdrawal is going to take place and that is going to put the SDF in a very difficult position. Many people believe it will now have to join forces with the Assad regime and that could end U.S. help for the SDF.

As long as they continue to fight ISIS, General Votel said he would be willing to see weapons continue to flow to them, but if they joined with the regime, the U.S. does not do business with the regime and that relationship with the SDF will stop.

Barbara Starr, CNN, in northern Syria.

CHURCH: Israel summit with Central European leaders has been called off after an Israeli official accused Poland of complicity during the Holocaust. Poland pulled out of the summit in protest over remarks made by the acting Israeli foreign minister who said Poles had collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War.

Our Oren Liebermann joins us now from Jerusalem with more on this. So, Oren, a lot to cover here. Let's start this row between Israel and Poland at this now cancelled summit. What's the latest on the controversy?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was looking forward to hosting the Visegrad group, that's a group of four countries. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. They were to meet for the first time ever outside of Europe here in Jerusalem.

But after this row with Poland that meeting has been called off. Instead, Netanyahu has one-on-one meetings with the other three leaders. Poland has cancelled their participation in what would have been the Visegrad group. That meeting was cancelled. So now it's just the other three countries.

So, what happened here? Well, it started when Netanyahu himself was in Poland and said or was reported as saying, Poles corroborated with the Nazis. Well, that seems to imply the entire nation of Poland. They said that was a mistranslation and it was only certain Poles and not the entire nation.

But that already started this problem with Poland, and Poland said look, we're not sending our prime minister, we'll send a lower level delegation. Then the acting foreign minister in his first day on the job in his first interview was quoted as saying "the Poles suckle anti-Semitism with their mother's milk."

Well, the Poles were furious about that. Calling that a racist comment and unacceptable. And the acting foreign minister in his second day on the job doubled down on in it. In response, Poland said they're pulling out of the summit. And now what would have been the Visegrad group is now just one-on-one meetings with the prime minister.

Rosemary, it's important to note here that this meeting, the Visegrad group meeting would have been a major diplomatic and international achievement for Netanyahu, who was just until a few days ago also the country's foreign minister. Now it's a series of bilateral meeting says Israel tries to fix this issue with Poland and try to keep up good relations with the Poles.

[03:24:56] CHURCH: And Oren, you're also following another story for us, the U.K. has signed trade agreements with Israel and the Palestinian authority. What's the latest on that?

LIEBERMANN: This was an easy decision for both Israel and the P.A. Basically it keeps the same sort of agreements that Israel had with the E.U. But now with Brexit looming Israel and the Palestinian authority they have moved ahead with a similar agreement specifically with Britain.

In both of the statements put out by Britain it says essentially said all of the terms before are still continuing and promised significant savings without the E.U. involved.

For Israel and the P.A. again, this was an easy decision just to keep up a trade relation. The bigger issue is of course on Britain's part as it tries to sign this in the next few weeks with all of the other countries that it's trying to do business with. And that is bigger issue.

Again, Rosemary, for Israel there is another element here and that is that Israel is trying to strengthen its relations with Britain and other countries that are not in the E.U. are critical of the E.U. For example, the Visegrad group that was supposed to be here. So, for Israel it's an easy decision to keep up its trade relations while also taking a bit of a crack here at the E.U. as Britain prepares for Brexit.

CHURCH: All right. Or Oren Liebermann joining us there live from Jerusalem where it is nearly 10.30 in the morning. Many thanks to you.

Ahead here on CNN Newsroom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they want to build a maintenance road in front of the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But they didn't mention the maintenance road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that's what you head about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard about the maintenance road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, your home would not be able to survive a border wall.



CHURCH: President Trump's proposed border wall is threatening homes on the U.S.-Mexico border. We will explain how owners are fighting back.

And the former acting FBI director is also fighting back. When we return Russia, President Trump, and the latest on the allegations by Andrew McCabe. Back in a moment.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour. 16 U.S. States are taking the Trump administration to court to stop the president from using emergency powers to build his border wall with Mexico. They claim the president is going around Congress to reallocate money. It's just one of many lawsuits expected to be filed over the border wall.

The top U.S. commander for the Middle East has arrived in Afghanistan. The stop comes after General Joseph Votel met with U.S. troops and their allies in northern Syria. He says ISIS will remain a threat, but the U.S. Still plans on pulling ground troops from Syria.

Honda plans to close its auto manufacturing plant in Swindon, England in 2021. The plant employs about 3,500 people. Honda's senior vice president for Europe says the closure is not related to Brexit and it's more a response to changes in the global market. The U.K. business secretary calls the decision devastating.

So, now, back to one of our top stories. The U.S. President is taking angry aim at the former acting FBI Director and his own Deputy attorney-general. In an interview with CBS, Andrew McCabe claimed Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to record the president and also invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office.


ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: The discussion on the 25th amendment was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort. The Deputy Attorney-General offered to wear a wire into the White

House. He said I never get searched. Now, he was not joking. He was absolutely serious and in fact he brought it up in the next meeting we had.


CHURCH: The president called McCabe disgraced and said his story is deranged. Then he accused the two officials of planning a very illegal act and getting caught. He went on to claim this was the illegal and treasonous insurance policy in full action. McCabe and Rosenstein disagree on what and how things were discussed, but they definitely agree they didn't act on anything.

Even so, the president apparently taking his cues from a conservative ally on Fox News, quoted him in a tweet. This was an illegal coup attempt on the president of the United States. Mr. Trump underscores "true."

Well, for more on this, I spoke earlier with Josh Campbell, he is a former FBI supervisory agent and a CNN law enforcement analyst. And I asked him about a potential national emergency and how vulnerable the U.S. might be if President Trump believes Russia over his own intelligence.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: There are two aspect to this troubling relationship that President Trump has with his own intelligence community. The first of which being, we know that since he first took office, he's -- any time that he has run, you know, found himself in the cross hairs of investigators for example, he is blasted the intelligence community.

We were called -- he claimed on Twitter that, oh, President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower and he referred to, you know, the CIA as Nazis and gestapo and so he is obviously rankle a lot of people inside the Intelligence Community by blashing out -- lashing out at them. So, that is one aspect.

But the second aspect is, you know, for these intelligence agencies to be effective they have to be believed. When the president of the United States is presented with a piece of intelligence and the Intelligence Community says, we have high confidence Mr. President that what we're telling you is the way the world is.

Again, there is so many public safety national security issues at stake, if the president rejects that, because of -- may be poses political challenges. And the last thing, you know, staying on the topic is that, there is this overarching asking question that many of us have that are really -- we're trying to dig into what motivates the president to accept Russia's world view.

There's this, you know, a theory out there that some have that perhaps the Russians have some type of leverage over him or he has been compromised in some aspect which, you know, a lot of national security scholars are trying to buy into that as he sees this pattern unfold which, you know, maybe, answering that question as far as why he rejects Intelligence Community assessment.

But that's the nightmare scenario, where you have the president who is not believing his own intelligence agency, maybe for sinister reasons, but even if it is not sinister, it does post challenges and as you mentioned in a future threat perhaps, if we are in a crisis situation, and the president has to make tough critical decisions based on the national security professionals what they are providing him. If he rejects that or he undermines them, it poses a host of challenges.

[03:35:05] CHURCH: So, when we're looking at why President Trump is suspicious or distrustful of his own intelligence, it does leads us to that question of whether Mr. Trump is working for Russia either wittingly or unwittingly. Is that a fair question?

CAMPBELL: It is a fair question. You know, folks like me who work in the national security establishment. When this first came to light and people were posing that as a possible theory that maybe Trump, you know, President Trump is compromised. Many of them shook their heads like, there is no way, you know, this Mediterranean candidate kind of scenario or the president is either wittingly or unwittingly working.

Many have evolved on that topic, especially when you recall the president's actions in Helsinki. When he stood next to Vladimir Putin and not only capitulated, but essentially, you know, propped him up on the world stage, pointing to the president of Russia and saying I believe this person. My intelligence community people have told me something different, but this person in his words, told me very strong and powerfully that he denies, you know, interfering in the U.S. Election.

A lot of eyebrows went up. And the behavior of the president ever since then has continued to, you know, have this questions raised. Why is the president saying this things about Russia? And you know, you'll recall, it goes back to the FBI. We obviously know about the investigation into the Trump campaign and the FBI reportedly opening investigation into the president himself, because of these issues.

This is no longer a thing just that, you know, an academic exercise, to try to determine, OK, what is motivating the president. Many of us look and said there are real world issues here that need to be addressed. And again, you know, the ballot box is obviously one area to do that.

But one thing that we also would be interesting is with this new Democratic House Majority now and House of Representative. They've already said that they're launching an investigation to get to the bottom of what is motivating the president. We'll have to stand by and see what they come up with the serious questions that are at stake here.


CHURCH: Josh Campbell talking to me there earlier. Well, long time Trump adviser, Roger Stone is agonizing for -- he's apologizing, I should say, for posting two Instagram attacks against the judge in his case. One referred to his upcoming show trial and accused prosecutors of legal trickery. To ensure he was tried by a judge appointed by Barack Obama.

Now we're not showing the judge, but the picture has the distinct image of cross hairs behind her. Stone has removed the post. Which he says were the work of a volunteer. He is charged with seven counts including lying to investigators and witness tampering.

Well, President Trump proposed border wall would require seizing land from private citizens. And as you can imagine many are not happy about it. Now some along the U.S. Mexico border are suing to stop the Trump administration from building the wall through their property. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.


NAYDA ALVAREZ, BORDER PROPERTY OWNER: I have never seen anybody here cross.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You have never in 40 years?

ALVAREZ: Not at all.

TUCHMAN: Zero people.


TUCHMAN: Nayda Alvarez has lived on this land along the Rio Grande in Texas since she was in second grade. But even though she says, she has never seen anyone crossing unto their land, it didn't stop government officials from approaching her a few months ago.

ALVAREZ: They said they want to build the wall.

TUCHMAN: On your property.

ALVAREZ: On my property.

TUCHMAN: Alvarez has now received three letters from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Asking permission to survey her property. Which she has said no to. But it's all leading to the government offering her a price for her eight acres. And if she turns it down declaring imminent domain and taking it away from her for a so called fair market value.

ALVAREZ: The army corps of engineer people came over and they said based on the map the wall is going to be right here.

TUCHMAN: So this is about, one, two, three, four, five, six, six yards. Maybe that 20 feet from your house.


TUCHMAN: And they want to build a maintenance road in front of the wall? ALVAREZ: Yes. That they didn't mention the maintenance road.

TUCHMAN: But that is what you heard about?

ALVAREZ: I heard about the maintenance road.

TUCHMAN: So your home would not be able to survive a border wall.


TUCHMAN: Alvarez is one of the plaintiffs in a private lawsuit against the president that has been filed by the public citizen consumer group. She says she is despondent on top of possibly losing the house she had live in since she was a child. Her mother who lives on the property in a separate home is receiving hospice care for advanced cancer.

ALVAREZ: I feel in infuriated. I'm mad. I feel frustrated, because all this is out of my hands.

TUCHMAN: Nayda Alvarez plans on continuing to speak out. In addition to volunteering to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit. She is shouting from the rooftop. She painted this message. Hoping President Trump on a recent visit would fly over. He didn't, but the message remains.

FRED CAVAZOS, BORDER PROPERTY OWNER: This is our house. We were raised here.

TUCHMAN: Fred Cavazos and his family also owned land on the Rio Grande.

CAVAZOS: You feel hungry?

TUCHMAN: To make a living they sell cattle and rent out parts of their 70 acres, mostly for people with RV's and mobile homes.

[03:40:00] Cavazos who has been in a wheelchair since suffering an illness two decades ago, says his family earns just enough to make ends meet.

What they've said to you is the wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call it, will be built right here on top of this levy.


TUCHMAN: And the Rio Grande is about a third of a mile, a quarter mile down the road here.


TUCHMAN: So, this is all your land back here.


TUCHMAN: This is where you rented all your properties. And all these people who rent your properties would be behind the wall. CAVAZOS: Yes.

TUCHMAN: A no man's land.

CAVAZOS: A no man's land, right.

TUCHMAN: Cavazos says they're livelihood would be ruined if the barrier goes up, because who want a vacation behind a border wall. He says his grandmother used to tell him never to sell the property. Said it will always provide for them.

CAVAZOS: My dad, you know, fought for his property. During the World War II. He was a tanker man (ph) under General Patten. He spent four years during the whole war. Went through hell for him. And I wonder right now what he would say without the -- they're trying to undo this.

TUCHMAN: But Cavazos says, he will do all he can to try to keep his land. The same with Nayda Alvarez.

ALVAREZ: I'm going to fight it all the way. Even if I have to tie myself up to that big musky tree in the front, but I'm not giving up my land without a fight.

TUCHMAN: Both Nayda and Fred say they have been told construction could begin soon on their property, but that is very unlikely. Lawsuits from private landowners could be a big headache for President Donald Trump. And he's effort to build physical barrier here in Texas and there's precedent for that.

2006 President George W. Bush signed a secure fence act. Which authorized hundreds of miles of border wall. What happened back then was hundreds of Texas residents who lived in the border filed suit and some of those suits are still in court to this very day, almost 13 years later. This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, McAllen, Texas.


CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. Just ahead on CNN Newsroom, U.S. Democratic presidential candidates seem to be moving to the left to win the hearts and mind of the party faithful. But some fear that may not be the right approach to defeat President Trump. We'll examine the debate that is splitting the party. This is next.


CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar reached out to voters at a CNN sponsored Town Hall event, in the key primary state of New Hampshire, Monday night. She presented herself mainly as a pragmatic moderate, a case in point. Klobuchar refused to commit to a government run healthcare system. The so called Medicare for all proposals popular with the party's progressive base.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: -- reservation about supporting Medicare for all.

AMY KLOBUCHAR, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's something that we can look to for the future, but I want to get action now. And I think the best way we do that is something that we actually wanted to do back when we were looking at the Affordable Care Act and we were stopped, was trying to get a public option in there.

And that is a way, if you all remember that debate. That is a way to provide a public alternative that's real, even beyond the exchanges. So, that we can bring down the rates. And then we can look at other options, but we have to start somewhere. And I think we could do much more immediately.

LEMON: So, no Medicare for all?

KLOBUCHAR: It could be a possibility in the future. I'm just looking at something that will work now.


CHURCH: The Klobuchar star is in stark contrast to a Democratic presidential field mostly staking out the left and it may well lead to a set of critical choices in the race to defeat President Trump. Jeff Zeleny reports on a debate that's splitting the party.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That sound you hear on the campaign trail is Democratic presidential candidate moving sharply to the left. For Medicare for all.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Healthcare is a fundamental right. And we will deliver that right with Medicare for all.

ZELENY: To a Green New Deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It should be the moon shot at this generation.

ZELENY: To a new wealth tax.

ELIZABETH WARREN, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time to put a modest tax on the giant fortunes in this country.

ZELENY: The winds of a Democratic primary are blowing fiercely from the left with liberal ideas creating early litmus test and potentially setting up long term political landmines. It's hardly a new divide inside the Democratic Party.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT: Revolution, our revolution continues.

ZELENY: But it's taking on greater significant given the party's progressive shift. And President Trump is already trying to seize on that shift and brand Democrats as extreme.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

ZELENY: While most Democrats resist that label. There's little doubt the energy of the party is coming from the left. Whether its' Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, declaring victory after Amazon pulled its new headquarters out of New York.

CONG. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: We can ask for more, because we deserve more.

ZELENY: Or Democrats calling for the elimination of ICE. The dawn of the 2020 Democratic primary is raising a question about the balance between pragmatism and purity. The divisions are also playing out on the Senate floor. Like last week's vote to avoid a government shutdown. Amy Klobuchar, Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders supported the spending bill. While Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirstjen Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren opposed it. Klobuchar is selling herself as a pragmatic progressive.

Do you feel pressure to sign on to the latest liberal or progressive idea?

KLOBUCHAR: I just look at each vote that we have and make a decision based on what I think we should do. You know, we have the vote on the agreement on the border. And I voted for it, because I thought, well, that is what I would do whether I was running for president or not. Everyone makes their own decision. But you have to be able to be yourself and not just try to be someone different than you have been.

ZELENY: There is an appetite for moderation. A pew poll shows 53 percent of Democrats and independents who lean that way prefer more a moderate direction for the party, while 40 percent favor a more liberal one. Phyllis Weeks, is one Democratic voter hoping the party takes the pragmatic route.

So, you are not looking for perfection. You are looking for someone who can beat President Trump?

PHYLLIS WEEKS, IOWA, DEMOCRAT: Yes. And I don't like this idea of purity on the left. I never have. That the candidates have to be so pure.


CHURCH: Our Jeff Zeleny reporting there and we will be watching to see how the field continues to take shape. Well, right now, 50 million people in the U.S. are under a winter weather watch, warning or advisory. And we will look at which areas could get the brunt of the latest storm system. We're back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Millions of Americans are once again in the path of a strengthening winter storm set to drop heavy snow and disrupt travel across the Eastern U.S. Our Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now in the studio to talk more about this. It's just horrible. IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Its winter continues here,

unfortunately. I think, this time around, Rosemary for D.C. in particular, that's going to be a bull's eye for the heaviest amount of snow. So, you know, what's that going to do to travel. The setup is already here, right, but we are going to have a lot of gulf moisture coming in.

By the way this is the similar set up when you get snow in the south. But the cold enough air -- the cold air is just not that far south, it's a well up to the north. So, that is a good thing for folks who don't have shovels or snow removal equipment here in the south.

But you can see the pink showing up there, that's just an early morning situation. This moisture is going to -- just be all rain for the south. In fact, so much rain that I'm thinking flood potential here, because we have been raining pretty good for the last several weeks, so the ground is saturated. And we'll have on top of that have several inches of rainfall, three to six inches in fact. And that's going to be enough for a certainly flash flood issue over the next 24 to 48 hours.

We look at the pink, already showing up for there for Appalachians that's heading right into the nation's capital. That is a winter storm warning for the potential of four to six inches of snowfall. This would not be today, right? That moistures still on the gulf, it still has time to come in. So, we're talking late tonight and then through the day on Wednesday. I think that will be the worst of it and then ending on Thursday. But it's going to set up interestingly here and that yes, we will get some snow, but then the warm air takes over.

{03:55:13] So, even after the snow, we are going to get some rain. A mess of a forecast. Take a look at here as we put the clock into motion on Tuesday afternoon. There you see the torrential amount of rain coming in across the south and then that moisture heads up and marries with the cold air, and the result will be a lot of snow. Four to six inches, that's a lot for D.C. certainly any time of the year.

New York, I don't think they are going to be into it as far as the heavy amount of snow. In fact, I'm thinking less than an inch potentially, maybe not even that, because I think, the rain will win over here as we head into the day on late Wednesday and then heading into Thursday.

But here it is, four to six inches in D.C. and three to five inches in Philly before we switch over back to some rainfall. So, winter rolls on here. It's a short week, but we missed the storm on Monday. A lot of folks off it, this one unfortunately is going to hit us right where it hurts.

CHURCH: Yes. We'll work through it toward spring, right?

CABRERA: You bet.

CHURCH: Thank you so much, I appreciate it. And we close this hour with an image that closed World War II. George Mendonsa, the U.S. sailor who is believed to be the man kissing a woman in this photo, died Sunday at the age of 95. He was 22 in 1945 when Japan surrendered. Mendonsa later said, everyone was celebrating in New York Times Square. Drinking and raising hell he said. He had seen nurses save troops during the war and grabbed one for a kiss, but she wasn't a nurse. She was actually a dental assistant. Mendonsa was also on a date at the time with another woman. His future wife. Not sure what she thought about that picture.

We will remember that picture for a very, very long time. And thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. Early start is next. For our viewers here in United States and for everyone else, stay tuned for more news with Max Foster in London. Have yourselves a great day.