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North Korea's Kim Arrives In Vietnam For Summit; Cohen To Testify Before Congress This Week; Some Republicans May Vote Against Declaration; Robert Kraft Case Puts A Spotlight On Human Trafficking. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 26, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus a CNN exclusive. Clarissa Ward's dangerous journey getting rare access inside Taliban controlled Afghanistan.
We're live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier, thank you for joining us.
VANIER: So we're following this developing story out of Melbourne, Australia. One of the Vatican's most senior officials has been found guilty of child sexual abuse. Cardinal George Pell is the third most important person in the Roman Catholic Church.
His conviction brings the global sex abuse scandal to the heart of the Vatican. Pell has maintained his innocence and they have appealed. The guilty verdict was handed down just before Christmas but a court order had prevented the reporting of his conviction until right now.
Anna Coren is following the case. She joins us from outside the courtroom in Melbourne -- Anna.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, that is exactly right. We have been sitting on this story for more than two months, the reason being there was a suppression order in place to protect a second trial, which ultimately collapsed today and that is why that suppression order was lifted.
Now we can tell the world that George Pell is a convicted pedophile. He was found guilty of child sexual abuse by a jury of 12 Australians. It was a unanimous decision and relates to an assault in 1996 shortly he was the archbishop of Melbourne at St. Patrick's Cathedral, not very far from where we are standing.
It involved two choirboys, two teenage choirboys; one of those choirboys is now deceased. He died of a drug overdose about five years ago. It was because of that death that his other friend decided to come forward to police and report the abuse.
COREN: It's news that will send shockwaves throughout the Roman Catholic church. cardinal George Pell, Vatican treasurer, found guilty of child sex abuse, the most senior Vatican official ever convicted of child sex offenses. The verdict came down in December but legal restrictions meant it couldn't be reported in Australia until now.
Pell, the country's most powerful Catholic, was on trial for assaulting two choir boys in the late '90s when he was archbishop of Melbourne. The prosecution's case hinged on the testimony of one of those boys. He told the court Pell assaulted them after mass, forced him to perform oral sex on him and committed an indecent act with his friend.
He also testified that a month later, Pell pushed him against a wall and groped him.
He said "I didn't tell anyone at the time. I had no intention back then of telling anyone ever."
The other victim died of a drug overdose as an adult, having never told his family of the abuse. The cardinal called the allegations outrageous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE PELL, TREASURER, VATICAN: I'm innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: He didn't take the stand during the trial. Instead, a video of his interview with Australian detectives was played to the court. He pleaded not guilty and his defense lawyer said the accusations were a fantasy. But a jury convicted Pell on all five charges. One of the sexual penetration of a child and four of an indecent act with or in the presence of a child.
It's a shocking fall from grace for one of the Vatican's top officials who has long been an influential if divisive figure in Australia. He rose through the ranks of the church to become Archbishop of Melbourne, then Sydney then a cardinal, before being appointed Vatican treasurer and a member of the pope's informal council of advisers.
But while his star rose in the Vatican, Pell came in for mounting criticism at home as the Australian church became the center of a global child abuse scandal. A national inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse found seven percent of the country's Catholic priests were accused of abusing children between 1950 and 2010. He's identified nearly 2,000 alleged perpetrator including priests, brothers, laypeople and religious sisters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cardinal had given --
COREN: When he appeared in front of the Royal Commission in 2016, Pell faced --
COREN (voice-over): -- questions about whether he had done enough to weed out abuse and get justice for the victims. Now the cardinal himself has been convicted and other survivors of clerical sexual abuse unrelated to the Pell case are elated.
PHIL NAGLE, SURVIVOR OF CHILD ABUSE: Justice is what I thought, justice for the victims. I think that should give everyone that's thinking about yes, whether you'll be believed or whether you will or won't, win the fight. That should give you the courage to come forward and at least be heard.
COREN: Pell's conviction will hurt an organization already battling decades of revelations about pedophile priests. The pope removed Pell from his Advisory Council in December, but the damage to the church may be difficult to repair. Now, this global crisis has reached the top of the Vatican.
COREN: Now we have heard from the lawyer representing the surviving choirboy, who is now in his 30s. Of course it was his testimony that has brought down George Pell. He has asked for privacy. He doesn't want his identity revealed. He wants to protect his family.
But he says it has taken him many years and he has suffered with depression and shame and battled many demons to get to this point.
Reaction obviously coming in from across the country. We've heard just from the prime minister, Scott Morrison, who says this verdict proves that no Australian is above the law. He is calling that, as a country, we must continue to stamp out sexual abuse in all forms wherever it takes place.
As I mentioned, there were two choirboys involved in this assault. One died five years ago. Well, his father wants his lawyer to speak on his behalf. We spoke to her; her name is Lisa Flynn. Take a listen.
LISA FLYNN, LAWYER FOR DECEASED CARDINAL PELL VICTIM: I think there's a lot of emotions around this time given the conviction. I think that our client has in speaking to him today, he has expressed some comfort in the fact that the abuser of his son has been found guilty and has been held accountable. But obviously, this conviction doesn't change the fact that their son is no longer with them and that he suffered incredible psychiatric harm as a result of the abuse that he suffered.
COREN: Yes. We've mentioned that he died of a drug overdose in 2014 and that sort of destructive behavior, it is often so commonplace with abuse survivors.
FLYNN: It is. So in my experience in representing over 100 of survivors of abuse, unfortunately many people do turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with the memories of these corrosive thoughts of the abuse. And so we see really destructive paths that our clients -- many survivors of abuse to go down.
COREN: And I understand that the choirboy, he never ever confessed to his family even when they asked him whether he'd been abused because of his drug use, he said no. So as a parent now learning that he had been abused, they must feel so much guilt.
FLYNN: It is -- it's a feature with many parents. When they do learn that their child has suffered abuse there is this enormous feeling often of -- that they failed to stop it or fail to know what was happening or failed to reach out. But the truth is that it's often incredibly difficult if not impossible for a victim or a survivor of abuse to report the abuse when it's happening or even to understand that what they suffered was abuse and the effects of that abuse. It can take many, many years as a lot of research has shown.
So -- but despite all of that research and in the fact that it is so difficult for survivors, there is this incredible guilt that parents often feel on learning that their -- that their child has been abused. And I think it just demonstrates that it's often not only the victim of abuse but so many ripple circles in terms of how child abuse affects not only the victim but also the family and the friends and the larger community in terms of these acts.
COREN: The surviving choirboy, he was prompted by the death of his friend in 2014 to then go to police. Your client, he must be very proud of this young man. He's really thankful that this has brought justice, some sense of justice. His son won't ever see that justice but there is some comfort in the fact that he was able to get some sort of justice and it was through the actions of the other victim that came forward and showed the enormous courage in reporting it and continuing on through the criminal --
FLYNN: -- process to the conviction today.
So I think that that is -- and our client is very -- take some comfort in that. Hopefully these verdicts will allow more people to have the courage of coming forward and reporting it with the knowledge that they will be believed, that people will investigate these sorts of crimes and that a court will believe them and that the perpetrators are held accountable for the crimes no matter when they occurred and no matter who that perpetrator is.
COREN: That was Lisa Flynn from. She, of course, is representing the father of the deceased choirboy.
From the survivors of clerical abuse we have spent time with over the past week, they are hoping that the conviction of George Pell will prove to other survivors of abuse to come forward. Nobody is untouchable in the church. Obviously we've just also received a statement from cardinal Pell's
lawyers and I'll read that out to you. It says cardinal George Pell has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so. An appeal has been lodged against his conviction and he will await the outcome of the appeal process.
Now tomorrow morning, 10:00 am local time, George Pell will walk through those doors here, at Melbourne County Court. Expected that will be the last time we will see him as a free man. He will then be remanded in custody, taken to prison and will wait to learn his sentence, Cyril, sometime next week.
VANIER: Anna Coren, thank you so much for your reporting. As you say we have to wait the sentencing, also what will be the outcome of the appeals process and what is the Vatican going to say because this is a man who was a close adviser to the pope.
The Vatican is going to have to somehow say something or one at least would think so. Anna, thank you so much.
For the first time in more than five decades, a North Korean leader is making a state visit to Vietnam. Kim Jong-un arrived in Hanoi a few hours ago to crowds of people lining the streets. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, who was the last North Korean leader to visit the country.
Unlike his grandfather, however, he is in Hanoi for a summit for the U.S. president. Their agenda: dismantling the North's nuclear program and what the North might get in return for that. Will Ripley joins us from Hanoi.
Will, for starters, I gather you had inadvertently booked yourself a hotel room not far from Kim Jong-un's.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thankfully I'm staying in a different hotel in another part of town, although I've been outside the hotel where he's staying. Unfortunately, Cyril, a number of American journalists were not so fortunate. They booked rooms in the hotel and spent days setting up their workspace, the White House press corps work space in the hotel.
But when Kim arrived by train at the border between China and Vietnam this morning and found out that all the U.S. press were there, he said, get them out. And guess what, they had to get out. So now a lot of people are scrambling to find workspace.
Kim is used to calling the shots, he does it in North Korea and he's been doing it here in Vietnam and throughout the summit process. The United States wanted to hold the summit in Southern Vietnam in Da Nang. He said it needed to happen up here in far more socialist Hanoi. He got his way.
He wanted to travel not by plane, which would have been far less disruptive to rail and roads, he wanted to go by train and then drive and he got his way there as well. So a lot of people believe that this shrewd negotiator, who really
commands his team around him, he snaps his fingers, things get done, not only his team but his country, they think he might also be calling the shots in these denuclearization talks.
They're worried that Trump and his team may not be sufficiently prepared to deal with the North Koreans, who are very savvy, shrewd negotiators led by someone who is used to getting his way, getting what he wants -- Cyril.
VANIER: Let's talk about the substance of the talks. This is all about denuclearizing North Korea. Right now that word doesn't even mean the same to both sides, to the Americans and to the North Koreans.
RIPLEY: That's right. The special representative for North Korea policy, Stephen Biegun, has admitted as such, you know, the U.S. feels that North Korea needs to start taking steps right now to dismantle and rid themselves irreversibly of their nuclear arsenal they have spent decades developing and invested a vast percentage of their resources to build.
And arguably is getting them leverage that has gotten them to this point. The North Koreans view it as a very long, incremental, step by step process. They want reciprocal measures from the United States and they might actually be getting that here in Hanoi this week.
The South Korean Blue House has been dropping hints there could be an announcement about an agreement between the U.S. and North Korea to formally end the Korean War. They need to buy into China and the United Nations --
RIPLEY: -- the other stakeholders in the longstanding armistice agreement to do that.
But it would be a historic moment and celebrated by many of the allies in this region. The concern, though, is that this concession is coming without North Korea actually having to take any steps, tangible steps, toward denuclearization.
The North Koreans could open up their, you know, nuclear sites to inspection, whether it be where they're secretly enriching uranium and they can talk about how the dismantling process is going to begin.
They can announce lower working level talks to hammer out the details of whatever agreement is signed between the two leaders later this week in Singapore.
North Korea has in the past provided lists with lots of information about its nuclear program, demolished the cooling tower at Yongbyon over a decade ago to continue building it and continue enriching nuclear fuel.
And this past May we saw them blow up tunnel entrances at their nuclear test site Punggye-ri, although a lot of experts said that was largely a cosmetic move made for television but easily reversible.
President Trump seems happy with the fact that North Korea isn't launching missiles and conducting nuclear tests. But they still have all those missiles, they still have the warheads. Just because they're not testing them doesn't mean they don't have them. That's going to be the challenge here in Hanoi, is how to convince North Korea to get rid of them.
VANIER: It's a quarter past 2:00 pm in the afternoon in Hanoi on Tuesday and Trump and Kim meet for dinner on Wednesday and then formal talks the following day. You'll be helping us along all of that. Will Ripley, thank you very much, live from Hanoi.
Europe's biggest port is bracing for Brexit. Why Rotterdam is warning of potential unrest and insecurity if there's no Brexit deal by March 29th.
Plus Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser embarks on a five- nation tour of the Middle East. Jared Kushner kicked things off with some harsh words for Iran. Stay with us.
VANIER: Britain's opposition Labour Party is raising the stakes with Brexit, saying it's prepared now to back a second referendum to prevent a damaging no-deal exit from the European Union.
Meanwhile, the prospect of a delayed Brexit looms over Theresa May as she prepares to address the House of Commons in the coming hours -- again. Despite all this, the prime minister says her focus is on leaving on time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As I say, I believe it is within our grasp to leave with the deal on the 29th of March and I think --
MAY: -- that's where all our energies should be focused. Any delay is a delay. Doesn't address the issue, it doesn't resolve the issue. I think there is, as I say, the opportunity to leave with the deal on the 29th of March and that's what we're going to be working on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: The rest of Europe is looking at this and some parts of Europe, many parts of Europe, are worried. The biggest port in Europe, in particular, is worried. Rotterdam works like a well-oiled machine right now and the U.K. benefits greatly from it. But that could all come to an abrupt end on March 29th without a deal. CNN's Atika Shubert explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At 42 kilometers long, Rotterdam is Europe's biggest and busiest seaport in the U.K., is the fourth largest customer here with 40 million tons rolling in and out annually. Now that a hard Brexit looms, Rotterdam port is sounding the alarm.
MARK DIJK, PORT OF ROTTERDAM: Of course we were hoping for a transition period but therefore we said, together with the Dutch customs, prepare for the worst and prepare for a no-deal scenario on the 29th of March.
SHUBERT (voice-over): That could hit British supermarkets first.
SHUBERT: So this is peak loading time at Daily Fresh Logistics. You can see this one is going straight to the U.K. after this. And they run about 150 to 200 trucks a day. But after Brexit, this is all going to slow down.
Ninety percent of its business is delivering fresh produce across the U.K. within 24 hours. Here's how it works: a British supermarket can call in the morning to Daily Fresh Logistics for an order of radishes, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and, by closing time on the same day, this will arrive on supermarket shelves. That's pretty fast. But after Brexit, it won't be happening like that anymore.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Peter Trigg remembers waiting hours for customs before the U.K. joined the E.U.
PETER TRIGG, DAILY FRESH LOGISTICS: Always waiting, waiting, waiting. So when the day came, we don't (INAUDIBLE) anymore, everybody was happy.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Those waiting days are back. Daily Fresh says it will see delays of 48 hours initially, as truckers will have to fill out eight times more paperwork just to get on the ferry to Britain. Still, it is determined to keep supplying the U.K. after Brexit.
NICOLA VISBEEN, DAILY FRESH LOGISTICS: Two years ago, we still have two years and then after you think, oh, we still have one year. But now it's only one month and you think, oh, that's going to be tight.
SHUBERT (voice-over): No fresh tomatoes may be the least of it and Rotterdam, when it comes to Brexit, the phrase you hear most is hope for the best, prepare for the worst -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
VANIER: Also, news from the Middle East today. The architect of the Iranian nuclear deal unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday. That is Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. He apologized on Instagram being unable to continue to serve but he offered no reason for quitting. Iran's state-run news agency says a parliamentary consulate will
review the resignation on Tuesday. Zarif has been a high-profile figure in Iranian politics, educated in the U.S., fluent in English and he's led his country's nuclear talks since 2013.
Some hardliners threatened Zarif after the nuclear deal was signed in 2015 and he faced criticism again when the U.S. pulled out of the deal just last May.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner says Iran is the biggest threat in the Middle East during an interview with Sky News Arabiya on Monday as he embarked on a five-nation tour of the region.
Oren Liebermann joins us now from Jerusalem.
Oren, what is this trip about?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Part of it is about selling Iran and convincing the Arab countries here that Iran is the biggest threat in the region and the reason that all of the Arab states should align.
Who align with?
That would be Israel and that's the other part of Kushner's visit as he tries to sell the economic part of the Trump peace plan. It's split into a political part, which includes security and economics. The political part remains a secret.
But it is the economic part, incentives for the Israelis and for the Palestinians that's intended to sell the plan.
Here's part of the interview he did with Sky News Arabiya.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: The final status issues are very important issues but people have not been able to bridge them for a very long time. You have the Israeli position, you have the Palestinian position.
And the outcome has to be somewhere in the middle. So what we proposes is something where hopefully both sides can gain a lot more than they give and both sides will have to make compromise. But hopefully the benefits far out weight the compromise. The final status issues willing be addressed in our plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: So that's the most detail he would give --
LIEBERMANN: -- about what's included in this plan, the idea that it concludes all the final status issues and draws borders around Israel. He wouldn't specifically mention a Palestinian state, which, of course, is a requirement for the Palestinians. So the plan itself still faces a tremendous amount of opposition on the Palestinian side and on the Israeli side.
VANIER: I know where you are in Israel, all of this, as important as it might be, is taking a backseat to the big political story in Israel, which are the elections just around the corner in April and prime minister Netanyahu's push to get elected, tell us about that.
LIEBERMANN: For the first time in a decade or perhaps even more, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a serious challenger, who is leading him in the polls.
The political picture in Israel has finally become clear here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): After the dust of early electioneering has settled, the political landscape in Israel has become clear. For the time in years prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party are behind in election polls as the Israeli leader seeks a fifth term in office.
The challenger: his former military chief overstaff, Benny Ganz, whose slate includes former defense ministers and other chiefs of staff, aiming for Netanyahu's image as Mr. Security.
Ganz led the military through two wars in Gaza, 2014 and 2012. To challenge Netanyahu, Ganz merged with another centrist party, boosting their overall numbers and putting them in the lead.
Of course, Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics since the 2009 election. His campaign highlights his diplomatic achievements while dismissing his challenger as a weak leftist and trashing the criminal investigations against him as a witch hunt.
If there is a heavyweight helping out Netanyahu, it's president Donald Trump on billboards with the Israeli leader.
Back to this moment, Netanyahu and Ganz may have the biggest parties but not big enough. They'll have to rely on smaller parties to form a government and here Netanyahu has a clear advantage.
He has a strong right-wing bloc backed by ultra orthodox parties. Ganz has a harder path to form a coalition even if he has the biggest party on Election Day.
LIEBERMANN: There is, of course, a major X factor here, Cyril, and that is the attorney general in the criminal investigations against the prime minister. If the attorney general says that he intends to indict the prime minister on criminal charges, that could shift a few seats and even a small shift in seats in numbers here could change the entire political picture. VANIER: Good to talk to you, Oren Liebermann, live from Jerusalem. Thank you.
And the U.S. is holding peace talks with the Taliban, a group with views like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When somebody is found guilty of stealing, you cut off their hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, we implement the sharia, we follow sharia instruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: That's not all they do. We'll take you to extremist controlled Afghanistan as part of a CNN exclusive, 36 hours with the Taliban, coming up.
Plus the U.S. Vice president back from Colombia and a meeting on the crisis in Venezuela. We will have his message for strongman Nicolas Maduro. Stay with us.
[02:30:51] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to the news room, I'm Cyril Vanier, let's look at our headlines. Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell is appealing his conviction on child sexual abuse charges. The Jury in Melbourne, Australia found him guilty back in December but a court order kept the verdict secret until now. The charges against the 77-year-old Pell date back to the 1990s.
Kim Jong-un has arrived in the Vietnamese capitol of Hanoi. Kim is the first North Korean leader to make a state visit to Vietnam since 1964. His arrival comes ahead of his two-day summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. The two planned to tackle the issue of denuclearization but both sides say they will not rush it. U.S. peace talks are moving forward with the Taliban and that could lead to a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban are already planning their next move.
CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward got rare access into Taliban territory, where western journalists almost never go. Here is part of her exclusive report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Taliban's focus now is on showing it can govern effect effectively. Across the country, the group has appointed shadow governors like Mawlavi Khaksar. For his security, Khaksar is always on the move. When the villagers hear that he is visiting, they quickly lined up to air their issues. There are disputes over money, and land ownership. Their petition will be dealt with tomorrow, Khaksar says. Corruption is rampant is the Afghan government, the Taliban has a reputation for delivering quick, if harsh justice. The Islamic Emirate has laws, this man says, it has an Islamic Sharia System in place. Khaksar agrees to sit down with us, his bodyguard listens for security updates on the radio. We start out by asking about the Taliban's brutal tactics, and the U.S. concern that they could once again offer safe haven to terrorists.
MAWLAVI KHAKSAR, TALIBAN SHADOW GOVERNOR (through translator): Whether it's the Americans or ISIS, no foreign forces will be allowed in the country once we start ruling Afghanistan.
WARD: Are there real efforts being made to stop killing civilians?
KHAKSAR: Those responsible for civilian casualties are the ones who came with the aircrafts, artillery, B-52 and heavy weaponry.
WARD: In reality, the Taliban is responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in the last three years alone. And what about these suicide bombings at polling stations, for example? They've killed many civilians.
KHAKSAR: We deny this. This accusation is not acceptable to us.
WARD: There are small signs that the Taliban is moving with the times.
KHAKSAR: I listen to the radio, also Facebook, and other media.
WARD: You're on Facebook?
WARD: But it's clear that the fundamental ideology has not changed. So if somebody is found guilty of stealing, you cut off their hand?
KHAKSAR: Yes, we implement the Sharia, we follow the Sharia instruction.
WARD: And if somebody is found guilty of adultery, you will stone them to death?
KHAKSAR: Yes, the Sharia allows stoning to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Now that was just part of Clarissa Ward's exclusive report. She and her team spent 36 hours in that Taliban territory. CNN.com has extensive coverage of her experience with additional reporting, footage and photos, be sure to check that out. And four bridges from Venezuela into Colombia will remain closed for the time-being. Colombia's government closed the spans over the weekend citing structural damage issues.
Meanwhile, self-declared President Juan Guaido is in Colombia for talks with the U.S. Vice President and members of the Lima Group which represents 14 countries in the Americas. The group says, threats are being made against Guaido and they were pretty clear, who they think is responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:35:00] CARLOS TRUJILLO, COLOMBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): There are serious and credible information of threats to the life and personal integrity of Juan Guaido and his family, as well as his wife's family. For Bogota we want to hold the usurper Nicolas Maduro responsible for any violent action against Guaido, his wife, or his family and that only would it be another crime but it would result in an international situation that would force the Lima group to act collectively using all legal and political institutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in the Colombian capitol covering this. Here's his report.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has visit this day to Bogota was really to shore up international support for the self-declared interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido, his opposition leader. Now in a meeting here, there was a show of solidarity with the President of Colombia and many other regional allies, too, part of the region Lima Group here, which declared it's on sort of renewed supported for Juan Guaido moving forward.
Mike Pence announced new sanctions against governors in Venezuela that have assisted in the weekend's crackdown, as the officer tried to get humanitarian aid into the country and said more sanctions could perhaps follow in the days coming. He also said that the U.S. was 100 percent united and behind Juan Guaido. Now, another interesting veiled reference was that no options are being taken off the table, he assured that to Juan Guaido.
That's a failed sort of reference towards military force. Many believe here, Juan Guaido doesn't really want it, but he doesn't want the U.S. to say it, they don't even going to think about it and the E.U. in fact eventually they said that they don't want to be part of the discussion as did many others in the meeting here. It's sort of being hung out in the distance perhaps as something that might be considered if Maduro doesn't think about leaving power but a distant prospect.
The key immediate question is what does Juan Guaido do next? It seems at the weekend when they tried to get humanitarian aid they then found out that was met by riot police, in which lives were lost, there's many injured, well there are some cynics that perhaps suggest that was maybe inevitable to some degree, that Maduro's security forces will never going to simply peel away and let that in.
It provided a backdrop perhaps now for a harsher international reaction. Does Juan Guaido stay here in Colombia as a leader in exile? Does he travel around the region shoring up further support or does he go back into the country? He says he's at presents and all, but doesn't really have control of the leaves of power over. He might risk arrest if in fact he returns to Caracas. Key decisions for him ahead, one possible positive outcome for him in the past days is that we've now got 160 or so Venezuelan soldiers who have defected over across the Colombian border to Colombian officials.
But still, a stark challenge ahead of him but at least here international support reaffirmed. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Bogota, Colombia.
VANIER: In six -- and since Nick filed that report, Colombia says 274 people have now defected from different branches of Venezuela's armed forces. A Spanish language television network that was based here in the U.S. says a team of its staffers was briefly detained at the presidential palace and they're now being expelled from Venezuela. Univision's veteran anchorman, Jorge Ramos says he was interviewing President Maduro when their trouble began.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION (through translator): I asked if he was a president or a dictator that millions of Venezuelans don't consider him a legitimate president about the accusations from opposition leader Juan Guaido that he was a usurper of power, about the fraud the opposition considers May 18th, 2018 election to-be, about the accusations from one of his intelligence chiefs that he was responsible for hundreds of deaths, also the accusations of abuse and torture, the presence of political prisoners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Now Ramos says the interview was interrupted when he showed the President videos of children eating out of a garbage truck. Ramos says his equipment and footage were confiscated.
The stakes are high Hanoi, but will anything concrete come out of this week's U.S.-North Korea Summit? We'll be taking a look at that. Plus, while President Trump is in Vietnam, his emergency declaration will face a vote in the U.S House in the coming hours. Will his latest effort to get money for a border wall back fire? We'll take a look at that as well.
[02:42:09] VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump is promising a tremendous summit in Hanoi this week, but experts tell CNN one side may do more giving than taking than giving, Brian Todd explains.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a high stakes meeting that the President is predicting will come down to a personal connection.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right after this meeting, I leave for Vietnam where I meet with Chairman Kim, and we talk about something that frankly he never spoke to anybody about.
TODD: The Presidents' second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un comes with the possibilities of huge successes or a major pit falls for the two men.
FRANK JANNUZI, FORMER ADVISER U.S. NEGOTIATIONS: I think President Trump expects Chairman Kim to talk about denuclearization and peace, and I think President Trump sees himself on the cusp of a great historical accomplishment.
TODD: There's enormous pressure on both leaders to come up with a more substantive deal than the vague agreement they struck more than eight months ago.
MARK LIPPERT, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: It's really a test of Kim Jong-un's sincerity and this will be something that I think is the most important indicator to watch for in this summit.
TODD: Mark Lippert knows something about how difficult it is to reach a deal. Lippert put his life on the line working toward peace between the two Koreas and the U.S.
LIPPERT: I need an ambulance, fast. Get me to the hospital.
TODD: In 2015, a South Korean extremist stabbed him in the face at an event in Seoul while Lippert served as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. He believes a successful summit would be for Trump to get Kim to make specific commitments.
LIPPERT: I think that at a minimum, it would start to define future activities, in other words, freezes on nuclear missile activities, and then l think get at the present program. Reductions, more inspections, things we haven't seen before, In other words, a rollback.
TODD: But Lippert and other analysts say expectations this week are not high given that the Trump Administration seems to have abandoned its earlier request for Kim's regime to agree eat this summit to give a full inventory list of its program. And there's no indication Kim will stop being secretive about what he has. Since the Singapore Summit, reports have come out that North Korea has continued to operate a secret web of missile bases, many of them buried deep in mountains and narrow valleys. Given these challenges, what would constitute a failure at the Vietnam summit?
JANNUZI: If there's no U.S. inspectors scheduled to go into North Korea, if the North Korea continues to manufacture plutonium and highly enriched uranium, that will be a failure.
TODD: Among the concerns by U.S. officials and analyst about President Trump giving away two months at the next summit with Kim is a concern that President Trump might agree to be withdraw at least some U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula. But Senior Administration Officials tell CNN that is not even under consideration, at least for this summit. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
VANIER: In the coming hours, the man once known as Donald Trump's fixer will sit face-to-face with U.S. lawmakers.
[02:45:00] Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, will be grilled by Congress for three days this week, and only Wednesday's hearing will be made public. House Democrats, say Cohen will be questioned on a wide array of topics, and Cohen will go to jail in May after being convicted of campaign finance violations. The president has said he's not worried about what Cohen will say.
Meanwhile, the U.S. vice president is in Columbia. And while Mr. Trump is headed to Vietnam, the U.S. is officially still, in a national emergency. Democrats are fighting Mr. Trump's plan to build the border wall with a key House votes set for the coming hours. All this to say, it's a big week for the Trump presidency. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more from Washington.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is just the first step in the push back coming from Capitol Hill. Later today at the House will be voting on that legislation to try to block President Trump's national emergency declaration to get his border wall.
There will be no drama in the House that will sail right through. They'll send it over to the Senate, and that is where there is a big test for Senate Republicans. Many of whom have been very openly critical of this move by President Trump. The question is will they vote against it? Will they defy President Trump? House Democrats rally in some support last night on Capitol Hill for them to do so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX), VICE CHAIR, HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: There had been many Senators, Democrats, but also conservative Republicans who have sounded the alarm about President Trump's declaration. I hope that they will vote their conscience that they for a moment will put the country above any worry of their own political concerns or futures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And if this passes in the House and Senate. That will be sent to President Trump's desk for his signature. But he has been very clear in advance of all of this that he intends to veto it if it comes to then. If he does, then the conversation will quickly turn to if he -- they have enough votes up here Capitol Hill to override that veto.
VANIER: Siraj Hashmi joins me. He's a commentary writer and editor at the Washington Examiner. So, Siraj, let's start with the basics. Democrats are going to strike down the national emergency in the House, right in the House vote. That's a foregone conclusion, right?
SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: That is a foregone conclusion. I mean, the Democrats control the House right now and virtually, every Democrat in addition to some Republicans who are either moderate or, at least, the constitutional conservative who believe that President Trump doesn't have the constitutional authority to use a national emergency or executive action in this regard to build a border wall, they will probably vote no.
Obviously, the biggest obstacle that they have to come across is what happens in the Senate.
VANIER: Right. So, tell me -- so, let's talk about that. What happens after the House vote? It goes to the Senate automatically?
HASHMI: So, it will have a procedural vote -- no, there'll be a little bit of a timetable here in which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who will basically be the one who brings the resolution to the floor.
There will be about a couple of weeks, maybe even longer seeing as how Mitch McConnell's already supportive of the national emergency. He wants to drag this out as long as he possibly can. And really get in, at least, his constituency in his caucus, the Republican base that if they vote yes, in terms of rejecting the national emergency, they're risking the Senate, at least, of -- you know, withering of power and in the Senate come to 2020 election.
They may not lose the Senate, but because the math simply isn't there working in Democrats favor, but it can certainly hurt them in states like Colorado, even North Carolina where both Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis have, at least, vocalize opposition to the national emergency.
VANIER: Yes, it's a totally different picture obviously in the Senate than in the House, because Republicans have a majority there? That said there are some Republican defectors who say that they would vote against the president's national emergency.
And here is one, Thom Tillis is Senator from North Carolina. He says he's on board with the president's border policy, but he's not on board with doing an end run around Congress.
Here's this quote from his piece in The Washington Post today. "Conservatives rightfully cried foul when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress. Some prominent Republicans went so far as to proclaim that Obama was acting more like an emperor or a king than a president. There is no intellectual honesty and now turning around and arguing that there's an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach. That it's acceptable for my party but not thy party."
And so, he says, therefore, he would vote against the national emergency when it comes to the Senate. How many Thom Tillis is are there out there, do we know?
HASHMI: Well, that's the thing. We haven't done a whip count. We all know exactly how many Republicans would vote against the national emergency. But what's interesting here is that the national emergencies act that was passed in 1976 by Congress gave the executive branch the authority to declare a national emergency what -- for whatever reason and use executive and federal resources to basically execute whatever action they want to.
So, no emergency has ever been used in this manner. So, it obviously, some Republicans seem to be against that. Obviously, many Democrats are. But, we're currently living on the 31 national emergencies at this time. 32 if you want to count the national emergency that President Trump declared on the border wall.
But, just one -- just one thing that's interesting about it is that they didn't really have much objection to -- you know, a president declaring a national emergency about a foreign power, it's only when it happens domestically.
[02:50:46] VANIER: Yes, that's a very good point because the U.S. is actually under 30 plus national emergencies, but most if not all of them, as you point out are related to foreign policy. And they doesn't seem to bother anybody.
In that respect, I mean, one of them is on Burundi, one of them is on the Central African Republic.
VANIER: So, if those are national emergencies for Americans right now.
HASHMI: And the longest one is against Iran right now.
VANIER: Listen, Siraj Hashmi, we're going to have to talk about this again when we get to the Senate stage. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
HASHMI: Thank you for having me, Cyril.
VANIER: And just ahead of this Florida Day Spa is part of a major investigation involving sex trafficking and some powerful customers. CNN is fighting modern-day slavery and you can too. Find out how, next.
VANIER: And the fight against human trafficking is in the spotlight, not least after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was formally charged with soliciting prostitution.
The 77-year-old billionaire's case is part of an investigation that focused on a Florida Day Spa where investigators believe some women may have been victims of human trafficking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: It's about time the country has a real conversation about human trafficking which is modern-day slavery in our midst.
This is not about lonely old men or victimless crimes. This is about enabling a network of criminals to traffic women into our country for forced labor and sex.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VANIER: Now, this is important to us. CNN has a long-standing commitment to standing against modern-day slavery. And we have an upcoming day of action on March 14th that is called, "MY FREEDOM DAY". We're working with students around the world and a central theme is the question, "What makes you feel free?"
So, we've been talking to a lot of people about this and asking them all this same question. Here is how film director Nadine Labaki, answers that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE LABAKI, ACTRESS AND FILM DIRECTOR, LEBANON: I think what makes me feel free is really the fact that you know, it maybe -- it might be a cliche. But be able to talk about whatever I want to talk about, whenever I want to talk about and be able to -- I think, what's freeze me the most is when I am able to really become also the vehicle for other people to express themselves freely.
And be also be the platform for them to express themselves freely. I think -- I think this is where I feel the most free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: That's Nadine Labaki's answer. We want your answer too. Tell the world what makes you feel free. Share your story using the hashtag my freedom day.
High winds, flooding rain, heavy snow, power outages, you name it. It is all on the current U.S. weather map. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now to sort out the forecast. Pedram?
[02:55:11] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Three more weeks, Cyril. Three more weeks until spring arrives officially. It's going to feel nicer here over the next couple of days across parts of the U.S.
But even at this hour, is still watching widespread power outages across portions of the country. We're talking about 198,000 customers now still without power. From areas around say, the State of Oregon into Pennsylvania, and New York State certainly feeling it in the State of Ohio, and also in areas around, say, New Hampshire, dealing with significant outages.
And this number frankly, was up close to 600,000 just a couple of hours ago. Hundreds of severe weather reports and wind-related damage across portions of the northeast. And, of course, a lot of this having to do with the powerful winds that we had in the past 24 so hours.
In fact, wind gusts in excess of hurricane force. That's 120 kilometers per hour would be indicative of hurricane force and we exceeded that in portions of New York State in Massachusetts. Higher elevations also reaching that category and even portions of New Jersey having wind gusts there, pushed up close to 90 kilometers per hour. LaGuardia, widespread cancellations anytime you talk about tropical storm force wind gusts here with a winter storm system. So, pick your choice. 1,000 cancellations across the United States over 5000 delays. And not just the East Coast.
On the western periphery in San Francisco, they had some of the most disruption here because of significant Pacific moisture streaming right into Northern California with it also powerful winds and these storms eventually do end up on the opposite side of the U.S. and cause damage there as well.
But you notice Northern California really seen a blockbuster storm system that is working its way across that region. Now, I do want to take you somewhere else where it is an opposite story, and on a very, very mild and comfortable note. High pressure in charge, this is called a blocking pattern, an Omega block because it resembles the Greek letter, Omega.
High pressure across Central Europe, Western Europe see some activity. Well, to the west, Eastern Europe also some activity. But notice this trend, at least over the next few hours into areas of London. 18 degrees talk about breaking out maybe the shorts and t-shirts in the afternoon hours. Also 18 in Paris. Dublin, you can't complain in February when you're at 13 degrees with sunny skies there.
The trend does bring us back closer to reality over the next couple of days, Cyril, but not a bad forecast and a hint of spring there in the air across places such as London, at least.
VANIER: And maybe we need some of that Omega block over here in the U.S.
JAVAHERI: We do, absolutely.
VANIER: Three weeks to spring. Pedram Javaheri, always a pleasure. Thank you.
JAVAHERI: Likewise, thanks.
VANIER: All right, thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier. But do stay with this, we've got another hour of news starting right at the top of the hour. Stay with us.