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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Warmbier Family Rebukes Trump Over Trust of Kim Jong-un; "TROUBLED WATERS," a CNN FREEDOM PROJECT Documentary; Join the Fight Against Modern Slavery on March 14; Pakistan Releases Captured Indian Pilot; NYT: Trump Demanded Kushner Get Top-Secret Clearance; Butterfly Sanctuary Vows To Fight Trump's Wall; Cardinal Pell Appealing Child Sex Abuse Conviction. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 1, 2019 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00] PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: Hi, I'm Paula Newton, this is CNN news now, Pakistan has released an Indian pilot in a dramatic hand over at the

border of the two countries. He was shot down Wednesday and ejected to Pakistani cashmere. The Prime Minister after spiked contentions between

the nuclear armed neighbors.

A new report about U.S. Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner as Congressional members ordering information. Top security clearance. The

family of Otto Warmbier is criticizing Donald Trump saying he does not hold Kim Jong-un responsible for Warmbier's death in 2017. Now, the family

blames Kim's regime for their son's death and says no excuses from Mr. Trump can change that. Warmbier was held by North Korea more than a year

and died days after he was released. That is your CNN news now. "TROUBLED WATERS," a CNN FREEDOM PROJECT Documentary is up next. You're watching

CNN, the world's news leader.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TEXT: 40 million people live in slavery worldwide. 1 in 4 is a child.

GEORGE ACHIBRA, JR., PROJECTS COORDINATOR, PACODEP: It is very dangerous work for a man. Let alone for a small child. Imagine diving in that brown

murky water. Many of these boys never come back to the surface.

TEXT: In Ghana, 20,000 children work as slaves in the fishing industry.

ACHIBRA: There is no schooling for these boys, only the dangerous lessons they learn on Lake Volta.

TEXT: Traffickers buy children for as little as $250.

ACHIBRA: We are fighting to get these children out of the lake. Why these children?

DOMINIKA KULCZYK, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: This is a traffic kid.

ACHIBRA: Exactly. This is wrong and we have to stop it.

It is 6:00 a.m. in Ghana. These boys have been on the water for a while now, working for the fishermen who bought them. The man they call master.

My name is George Achibra, Jr., Projects Coordinator, PACODEP, I'm working with a project called Nata. Our mission is to see that there is equality

in education. We go on the lake to do rescue missions. We know we cannot save them all. We look for the worst cases, cases where there is abuse and

violence. You will think because the lake is so big it would be hard to find them. But it's not. It's so easy. That is the heart-breaking thing.

When I meet children on the lake, what normally goes through my mind is, god, how can I get these children out of the lake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [speaking foreign language]

ACHIBRA: There are people like my friend who are visiting from Poland. She is here to observe and support our effort on the lake. I try to build

a rapport between me and the master. He brought this boy purposely. Therefore, I can't take him by force. Anything can happen on the lake.

KULCZYK: This is slavery. Why are you not rescuing this child right now?

ACHIBRA: We are not law enforcement, OK. The police can rescue. At the end of the day, the police end up keeping this child in our shelter. We

don't have enough room to keep these children --

KULCZYK: You're limited?

ACHIBRA: Exactly, limited resources. Therefore, if you choose to send these children back to their family, the possibility of these children to

be re-trafficked is 100 percent.

[14:05:00] KULCZYK: OK.

ACHIBRA: OK. We need to let parents see what goes on the lake.

KULCZYK: What is happening here is slavery, and the slavery happens because this person needs to work with children because this is just

cheaper. I knew that to see such picture would be very difficult experience. But when you approach closer and when you see those little

faces and little hands and little bodies, pushed to do the work which is sometimes even too hard for an adult. Then your heart is broken.

ACHIBRA: [speaking foreign language]

GIDEON: [speaking foreign language]

ACHIBRA: I'm asking the guy some questions. His name is Gideon. I'm asking the age of the children. He said he doesn't know the ages of these

children. I began to question the fisherman, the master of these four boys. Using those four children, he's in danger. He can be arrested and

go to jail.

KULCZYK: Nobody really knows, including these children, how old they are. They've been here around six months on this boat, struggling to survive.

The master, the guy who keeps them here, he doesn't know their parents and he doesn't know their age. He doesn't know the name. Just really doesn't

care. Looking at them right now eating cookies, but it seems like something sweet for them, but actually it's the first meal for them since

24 hours. There are some situations happening in the world I'm never going to understand.

ACHIBRA: Tomorrow we will follow-up. We need to get these children out of here as soon as possible. We have to get them rescued.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:10:00] TEXT: Lake Volta is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. There, child slaves work day and night while traffickers send their

children to school.

ACHIBRA: The town here is called Kete Krachi. It was formed after the land was flooded. They built a dam in 1968. It forced 78,000 people from

their homes. All the boats you see on the lake coming are from different fishing communities down here. If you enter the market, there are fish all

over. So, our brothers from the south and western region started to move in to fish. And when they came and they realized the fishing industry is

so lucrative, so that is how the whole system started. He is a fisherman and trafficker at the same time. He is not only using the children on the

lake, but also give them to other people to work with. The kids will be doing their normal duties like fishing, bringing out nets, pulling bamboos

out. The water has come up, so all the sticks in the water have gone down. When they cast a net, it tangles in stumps. So, you see the children this

time around dive in, try to untangle nets in the water.

KULCZYK: Hello, good morning. How are you doing? How is the fishing? Good? Are you heading to the village soon?

Nobody knows how the person, the trafficker, is going to react, seeing people coming over in his life and telling him, look, you can't live this

way. You have to change everything. That's a pretty tough thing to hear.

How long are they going to be working like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 11. They still have some more work to do. They finished up everything around 11:00, 12:00.

KULCZYK: What is the average price for a child? How much do you need to pay?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SLAVE TRAFFICKER (through translator): The kids who are with me, when I go to buy them, let me tell you something. We have a

saying here like you landed a big cow. So, if you get a kid like the proverbial big cow, the price varies from 250 to $500. That's what I pay

for three years.

KULCZYK: What kind of job is the child doing for that money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SLAVE TRAFFICKER (through translator): It varies. Every day they go to the lake to fish for me. They paddle. They dive. And then

they pull the net up and remove the fish from the nets.

KULCZYK: Are you sending your children to school?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SLAVE TRAFFICKER (through translator): Yes.

KULCZYK: I wonder how do you feel about putting in danger children in order to buy food and pay for school for your children?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SLAVE TRAFFICKER (through translator): This is a difficult question, which I need to pause before I can answer. In order to

live, you have to find a way. If one of them dies while working on the lake, I sit down with the parents and we talk. We all know that working on

the lake is very dangerous, and anything can happen. In this world, if you don't set a trap, you can't catch fish.

[14:15:00] ACHIBRA: I think we are on course. We have succeeded convincing the fisherman. Finally, he has agreed to release all the six

children, but not at a go. They still have a few works to do on the lake and farming activities they want to complete. Today we agreed to pick two

boys today, and tomorrow we'll pick two, and then next week we'll pick the rest. We try to look at the alternative for him and he'll go into

agriculture instead of fishing and using children. I think this is the best way because if we give him anything, like money, net, or anything, it

means we are encouraging him to go for more children. But if you are taking him off the lake into grounds work, it means he can't go for profit,

children, and use on the lake any more.

This is a rehabilitation center for trafficked kids. We realize that when we rescue these children and give them back to their family, they don't

really take care of them and end up re-trafficking them. Their life changes the moment we take them off the lake, but still we could do so much

more if we had the resources. Out of the children here, we have 78 out of 110 to be traffic victims which we have rescued from Lake Volta. Your

support that you give us is what we are using to complete a new structure. Junior was living with a parent. He lost his father. Junior, one of the

boys we rescued a year ago. The day of his rescue, 6-year-old boy working on the lake, I mean, it's very sad and terrible. We find one of these days

to go and then maybe interview the mother, what really made her to give junior out to go and then work.

KULCZYK: I'm a mother of two and knowing that mothers are able to sell their children just like that, this is something totally unbelievable for

me.

ACHIBRA: The mother was selling firewood before they can eat. Think, a mother of eight children, so they give junior out to work with one of the

masters.

KULCZYK: Why did you specifically sell junior to give him away?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My daughters are many, my boys are few. The older boy is not here with me. Therefore, it was only Junior

who was old enough to help provide something for the home.

KULCZYK: If you could turn back the time, would you do it again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No, I don't think I would do it again. I've learned my lesson. If I had a chance, I would make sure

adults who use children on the lake for hard labor would all stop. The rate of children who are used on the lake is too much. I would put a stop

to it. Junior may be angry with me, but it was not my making. It was because of poverty that made me give him out. Getting Junior back now

would be a problem. I might have to send him back to the lake.

KULCZYK: The most pure form of empathy is not to judge, but be a help. But honestly speaking, what I'm seeing, a mom who is selling a kid away in

order to get money, my heart is broken, and this is beyond my understanding.

[14:20:00] KULCZYK: I saw four children yesterday on the boat, very small, all very hungry and tired. We started talking to the only adult on the

boat, a man. We found out he's a master of these four children. Those children are his slaves. You can't accept situations like that. I mean,

you know this is happening. You act, right? So, this is what we're what we're doing now. We're going to ask him to give us the children. We're

going to see what's going to happen, how he's going to react. I know George, the police man, are negotiating with the master to set the kids

free. I'm really nervous about that. It is an extremely important moment for them.

ACHIBRA: Good, everything is good.

KULCZYK: Oh, man.

ACHIBRA: We made it.

KULCZYK: All of them?

ACHIBRA: Yes.

KULCZYK: They're free?

ACHIBRA: They're free now.

All right, the master of these children were panicked. Yesterday and today when we came, we came with some police officers. Therefore, it made him

very soft. So, after talking for a while, he released them quietly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACHIBRA: I'm proud of Ghana. Ghana is peaceful country. Of course, in Ghana we have a history of slavery. But many people here do not realize

that the situation continues, but with children.

The moment we rescue a boy from the lake, he asks, where am I going?

[speaking foreign language]

Ring the bell for me. Hurry up. I want to introduce our new brothers to you. They are going to be with us. Are you happy? [applause] OK. You

can go back and then continue on your soccer, OK? All right.

[14:25:00] KULCZYK: This is a place full of children who went through hell. Where they are now, they are loved. They are respected. And they

have a new family.

ACHIBRA: I mean, looking at the whole, I think these children are more well treated. They come with -- after we have taken them through the

hospital, the medical screening, Cecilia as a midwife continues from there doing some blood tonic, clean some rashes, skin rashes.

CECELIA: [speaking foreign language]

When they misbehave, I ask if they feel happy here. They say they are very happy because they also get chance to go to school. And -- but the only

thing that they are not happy with is that they haven't got their schooling to go to school. So, I reassured them that very soon they will get their

schooling from their friends.

ACHIBRA: The government is dreaming all things possible. We have something common which we want to do, but we are still struggling to get

some funds to do that. We are going to work as a team, and then we give them numbers.

PRINCE LATIF OYEKUNLE, DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE, KRACHI WEST DISTRICT, GHANA: We have considered the problem critically. In the short term to medium-

term, we are trying to register all the boats that operates on our lakes so at least we know where those owners are. And when a boat is involved in

these kinds of issues, then we can know where to come in to get you. We haven't started implementation yet, but we have discussed it and a go ahead

has been given.

ACHIBRA: With this, I think for some men they realize they are doing the wrong thing and the government now zeros on them and this will stop.

KULCZYK: I feel extremely privileged that I have a chance to be part of this wonderful situation, of which brought people their freedom back.

Every single child I've met reminded me how precious a life is.

ACHIBRA: There are 78 boys that we helped today. That is just a drop in the ocean. A blip on the lake. But for those 78 boys, it means

everything.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: And you've been watching "TROUBLED WATERS" the CNN documentary. You want to take a moment to think about what we've just soon there and

what we can all do in this global community to help those children. Now, there are people in the world so desperate and impoverished that they feel

forced to sell their own children or commit themselves to bonded labor. From that lake you just saw there in Ghana to the brick kilns of India

where children as young as 5 are forced to work from sunrise to sunset to pay off debt.

The countless cities where police operations have uncovered human trafficking and set victims free, CNN has taken you to degrading scenes of

modern-day slavery. We have also seen, of course, those brave problem solvers trying to save vulnerable people from this despicable fate.

CNN FREEDOM PROJECT has brought you these stories in an effort to stop them from happening to anyone else. And so now for the third year running, CNN

is partnering with young people right around the world for what is a student-led day of action against modern day slavery. Driving My Freedom

Day is, you know, a simple question. What makes you feel free? Now, you can answer that by using the #myfreedomday.

Now, we have also heard from celebrities and artists, stars in the world of sport, politicians, business icons. Listen to some of them explain what

makes them feel free.

RICHARD E. GRANT, ACTOR: Freedom of speech to me in England where you can say and do whatever you think without being thrown into jail is something

worth more than gold to me.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: What makes me feel free is the ability to be who god created me to be. That's an African-American

woman, and the ability to own that in every space and place that I find myself, and not be concerned about judgment, and not be concerned about

discussions for just being who I am.

[14:30:00]

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, of course, this initiative is very near and dear to many of us here at CNN. Several of my

colleagues have shared their own thoughts. Here's Julia Chatterley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIA CHATTERLY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: My life makes me feel free. I get up in the morning to do a job that I love in an amazing city.

I'm surrounded by brilliant colleagues and I laugh probably more than I should. The anchor monster is free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Thank you, Julia. And you know, of course, I've also given this some thought. And I've had the privilege of working with the Freedom

Project team over the years. And so I want to read you something.

"Last night, I went to bed a slave. This morning, I woke up a free man." That's a quote not from a man from Africa or from Asia, but from my home

country of Canada.

After he was saved from a slavery ring just last month. Now, police say they rescued dozens of workers brought in from Mexico, supposedly making

thousands of dollars as cleaners in Canada. But they were held in squalor. Their passports taken from them, making less than $50 a month.

So, you ask me what does freedom mean to me? It means we all have to take freedom as precious. We need to be vigilant and realize that slavery can

happen anywhere.

Remember to share your story using the #myfreedomday and stay with us here at CNN. I'll be right back with more news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN Center. I'm Paula Newton in for Hala Gorani.

Tonight, it was just a few steps, but it could ease tensions between two nuclear powers. Pakistan releases an Indian pilot it captured during the

week.

And the White House controversy that reaches right into the Trump family, a report that the U.S. president demanded his son-in-law get a top secret

security clearance.

Now, in a dramatic hand over at the border, Pakistan has released the Indian pilot captured on Wednesday. The move was called a gesture for

peace by Pakistan's prime minister after a spike in tensions between the nuclear armed neighbors. Sam Kiley has that report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[14:35:07] SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An Indian war hero returns. His release just days after he was shot down is an

attempt by Pakistan to reduce tensions between two nuclear powers.

His MiG-21 came down in a dog fight with Pakistan whose own air force retaliated against Indian airstrikes inside Pakistani territory. The

humanitarian gesture from Pakistan was met with war-like rhetoric from India's prime minister.

NARENDA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER: India has been facing the menace of terrorism for years. But there is a big difference now. India will no

longer be helpless in the wake of terror.

KILEY: This is an election year in India, but he's committed to retaliation for future terrorist attacks, and that represents a significant

new threat, one that Pakistan, at least publicly, is trying to undermine with reconciliation.

India and her allies blamed Pakistan for backing militants behind years of terror attacks, including the Mumbai operation in which 164 people were

killed 11 years ago. The murder of 18 Indian soldiers in 2016, and a bombing on February 14th this year in which 40 Indians were killed.

Pakistan's government denies any connection to terror attacks, but skirmishes in disputed Kashmir continue almost daily, driving home fears

that the release of the India's pilot maybe just allows in a growing storm.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Sam Kiley now joins us from New Delhi. And, Sam, you've been following this story all day and all evening. Where do we go from here?

Because, of course, there are hopes in a lot of world capitals, I'm sure you've been following, that this will, in fact, de-escalate the situation.

KILEY: Well, I think the hopes would probably be fulfilled at least in the short term, Paula, because both sides in a sense have achieved what they

wanted to achieve.

India has established its self-appointed right for pre-emptive military action that it is taken as striking at alleged terror camps inside

Pakistani territory.

The Pakistanis have shown that they're capable of defending themselves, shooting down an Indian aircraft and then being magnanimous in handing over

the pilot.

So both sides able to climb out of the tree temporarily on this issue. But going forward, I think what's going to be much more problematic,

particularly in a sense for the Indians, but also this does put a lot of pressure on Pakistan.

And that is that this repeated desire to have this doctrine of preemption in the future and apply it in the future, as Prime Minister Modi saying

that any terrorist attack that's on Indian territory will be paid back with interest.

Implication there that perhaps if a terror attack is emanating from Pakistani territory, it may be Pakistani facilities beyond just terrorist

camps that are struck.

Now, that's my interpretation, not a direct threat coming from the Indians. But that's the way it's likely to be interpreted in Pakistan.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has denied flatly that it has any role that there are terrorist base on this territory, much less that they get any support from

the government or the ISI, the intelligence services there. They've made that claim with regards to the Pakistan active in Afghanistan and they've

made that claim for many decades with regards to militant groups active out of Kashmir.

So if there are going to be any terrorist attacks that emanate from Pakistan, clearly, the opportunity or the probability, rather, for very

rapid escalation into airstrikes coming from India remains an almost certainty. That is the pledge now made by Prime Minister Modi, Paula.

Newton: Yes. And you make such a good point, the prime minister that is now in the midst of an election campaign. So we will see where this will

go on in the next few weeks. So Sam Kiley has been following this story. Appreciate it.

Now, U.S. congressional Democrats are demanding White House documents after a New York Times report about President Trump and his son-in-law Jared

Kushner.

Now, the newspaper says Mr. Trump personally offered -- pardon me, ordered his staff to give Kushner top secret security clearance despite objections

from the White House counsel and the intelligence community.

I want to bring in our Sarah Westwood. She's live at the White House. We've been following this New York Times report for quite a while now. And

it seems that many people were at odds. But have we really gotten to the bottom of why he wasn't getting his top security clearance?

[14:40:59] SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, we don't know exactly why career officials had recommended that Kushner not

receive a top secret security clearance. Just for context, recall that early last year Kushner's interim security clearance was downgraded so he

no longer had access to top-secret material.

Then by May, that top secret clearance was restored, and now we're learning through these reports that President Trump directly asked his chief of

staff John Kelly to restore that top secret security clearance. And Kelly was so unnerved by that directive that he made a contemporaneous memo

acknowledging that he'd been ordered do it.

And then White House counsel, Don McGahn, also made a memo, at the time, laying out what were the objections from the intelligence community to

Kushner getting that security clearance. That included some concerns raised by the CIA. We don't know exactly what those were. So there are

still a lot of questions about why those officials didn't want Kushner to have a clearance, why the president chose to override that advice.

There's not a lot of questions about the legal authority. It appears that the president was on solid legal ground when intervening in this way, but

White House officials did deny that the president intervened, so there are also questions, Paula, about why this process was so misrepresented.

NEWTON: Yes. And it's interesting because, of course, we do have the president's daughter saying on the record that she says there were no

special favors done to her husband. I know they will continue to follow the story from the White House.

Now, for more, we are joined by CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd. She's live for us in Washington.

And I feel that that prelude to you that interview is actually quite short considering, look, you are someone who's had these national security

clearances, these top secret security clearances. I believe you still have one?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't have one, no.

NEWTON: OK. So the issue is here, you know, Sarah just said that the president has the power to do this. So what is the big deal?

VINOGRAD: The big deal is as you mentioned, he has executive authority to grant whomever he wants access to classified information. The underlying

question is, leaving aside the question of why Jared Kushner was -- is serving in a senior role in the White House, in the first place, why would

the president want someone who his own intelligence professionals, his own counsel and his own chief of staff did not deem trustworthy with classified

information, to have access to that information, and to represent the United States.

When you are denied a security clearance or when there are objections raised by the CIA or intelligence community, those typically relate to

counter intelligence red flags and conflicts of interest that the intelligence community assumes could make you easily manipulated by a

foreign intelligence service.

So the big deal is that the president either didn't care or didn't believe the experts who said, your son-in-law might be a risk to you as national

security and giving him access to classified information at top secret level could pose a serious threat.

NEWTON: Yes. Now we'll see if Congress has any luck in getting to the bottom of this.

Samantha, I have to ask you about something else. Quite a dramatic thing involving the family of Otto Warmbier. Now, he released a statement -- the

family released a statement. After President Trump's comments in Hanoi.

Now, his family says, we have been respectful during this summit process. Now, we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the

death of our son Otto. "Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or, they note, lavish

praise can change that."

Here's the thing, Samantha. When the president said that he takes Kim at his word that he didn't know about this and didn't have anything to do with

it, you know, it must have been torturous for the family literally to hear him say that when they are pretty sure that he knew exactly what was going

on with their son.

VINOGRAD: Well, aside from the fact that the president's words are heartbreaking, I imagine for Otto Warmbier's family and friends, they're

also really dangerous. If you think about how much the president has given a free pass to murderers, Mohammed bin Salman and Kim Jong-un, for example,

it is very clear that his failure to directly attribute blame to either of them really just condones more misbehavior going forward. He's opening the

door for them to continue this kind of behavior because he's saying he doesn't believe that they actually did it.

At the same time in the case of North Korea or in the case of when he said Vladimir Putin, then he believed Vladimir Putin didn't meddle in our

elections. He's just broadcasting that he either didn't prep with his team or didn't digest what they were saying.

I've been with presidents when they prep for these kind of meetings. I am fairly certain that the intelligence community would have flagged for the

president that Kim Jong-un is likely to say he had no role. And the reality that nothing happens in North Korea without Kim Jong-un knowing.

[14:45:03] So, again, President Trump either didn't listen or didn't digest what they were saying. And all that leads to is heart break for the

Warmbier family and, again, condoning this kind of activity going forward.

Newton: And, Samantha, before I let you go, you know, we did have the president walk away from that summit with essentially nothing in the end.

Although we do have -- we do still have in place that freeze.

Now, someone who's been at the national security table, that is significant. Right? And I noticed that perhaps now the spring military

exercises might be off. I mean, is he right, that at least he has gotten somewhere with that freeze?

VINOGRAD: I don't think he's gotten somewhere with respect to denuclearization. He has lowered tensions in the short term by agreeing to

a, quote-unquote, freeze for freeze.

But over the long term, I actually think that the threat has increased. We are facing a diminished defense capability because we have put critical

joint military exercises on hold.

One, North Korea is getting stronger. They're not testing weapons because they don't need them. What they are still doing is producing more weapons,

getting more sophisticated in terms of research and development.

And according to various reports, dispersing those assets so that they're easier for us to find and potentially destroy. From that perspective, I

don't think that the president has really advanced in terms of national U.S. security. He has agreed to a bad deal with Kim Jong-un when we think

about the freeze in military exercises in exchange for the freeze in testing.

NEWTON: You make a good point. At the end of the day, North Korea is still there as a nuclear -- potentially a nuclear arm power.

Samantha, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now, Donald Trump says 100 percent of ISIS territory has been recaptured in Syria. But events unfolding right now on the ground prove

that's clearly not the case.

Now, U.S.-backed Syrian forces -- take a look at this with me -- have launched an operation to clear the last ISIS stronghold near the Iraqi

border. They say the battle will continue until the very last ISIS fighter is dead.

Trump took many by surprised when he made these remarks during his return from that trip to Hanoi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just took over -- you know, you kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in

Syria, now, it's 100 percent we just took over, 100 percent caliphate. That means the area of the land, we just to have 100 percent. So that's

good. We did that in a much shorter period of time than it was supposed to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Now, we're going to fact check the president. Because we get the very latest now on the ground in Eastern Syria. Our senior international

correspondent, Ben Wedeman, has been there to document it all.

Ben, bring us right up to speed because as I understand that this is an ongoing operation.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Three hours and 45 minutes ago, Paula, the final operation to retake that approximately

half square mile area still controlled by ISIS began. That began after days of hundred, sometimes more than a thousand civilians leaving that

area. Not just civilians. Also some ISIS fighters. We saw them today coming out and a group of about 250 people. There were ISIS fighters among

them who were essentially surrendering.

The operation officially wasn't supposed to begin and didn't begin --

NEWTON: Apologies, everyone. We seem to have missed -- lost Ben Wedeman's audio there. But I can let you know he has been on the ground for quite

some time. And as he was saying, it is a quarter square mile. And that can still be very stubborn in terms of trying to figure out where those

ISIS fighters are.

And remember, they are holding those women and children, in fact, many times as human shields.

Now, we want to bring you some new developments in the case of disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell. He was convicted in December of sexually

abusing two choir boys in the 1990s. He has denied the accusations and he's now appealing the guilty verdict.

The court has released video though of police interviews with Pell recorded in 2016. And a warning, some of the descriptions in this story are

graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've planted yourself -- and this is all what's been alleged (INAUDIBLE) I'm saying alleged right off (INAUDIBLE) you've planted

yourself in a spot between those two boys in the doorway in the sacristy room?

GEORGE PELL, AUSTRALIAN PRELATE: On the Sunday mass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And in effect, prevented them from leaving the room.

Now, the boys knew they were in trouble and at that time you moved your robes to one side and exposed your penis.

[14:50:04] PELL: Oh, stop it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) saying your back to the door.

PELL: What a load of absolute disgraceful, completely false, madness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: He was convicted, Cardinal Pell is appealing that conviction, though, for child sex offenses on legal grounds. He's due to be sentenced

on March 13th.

Now, still to come here, why these beautiful butterflies are at the heart of the U.S. border wall fight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON: All right. Now, have been telling you here, the crisis in Venezuela now involves governments right around the world and that

includes, of course, the Russian government. That's where Russia's foreign minister in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov, met with Venezuela's vice-president,

Delcy Rodriguez. Lavrov says his country's concern that the U.S. might decide to use military force in Venezuela.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEY LAVROV, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): I have to admit that given the methods of the U.S.

administration, everything is possible. I don't exclude that the administration may go with actions that are against all its national norms,

especially given to Elliot Abrams and pointed to be the U.S. special envoy to Venezuela doesn't hide that it's not his job to find any peaceful

resolution and he just escalates the situation that would provoke an explosion and bloodshed in Venezuela to justify military intervention as

the U.S. wishes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Now, a reminder that Russia is, of course, one of the strongest global supporters of embattled Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro. While the United

States and other western and Latin American countries are supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido.

U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall is fueling heated debate right across the United States. But people living on the southern border are

especially frustrated as they fight construction of the wall to protect their own properties.

As our Bill Weir reports, the National Butterfly Center is among those now engaged in what is a very tough battle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL WEIR, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the banks of the Rio Grande sits a 100-acre pocket of life unlike any in North America.

MARIANNA TREVINO-WRIGHT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BUTTERFLY CENTER: For butterflies, it's like that movie "Fantasia." Everything's in bloom in

the fall. And you have to walk and talk with your hand covering your mouth so you don't suck in a butterfly.

WEIR: The National Butterfly Center is the tip of the funnel for these beautiful little migrants, like the monarch, which flies thousands of miles

back and forth from Mexico to as far as Montana and Wisconsin.

TREVINO-WRIGHT: We've got the little skipper right there.

WEIR: As director, the only thing Marianna Trevino-Wright used to worry about was pointing them out to school kids. But these days she gets hate

mail.

[14:55:01] TREVINO-WRIGHT: We get a whole lot of (BLEEP) you and (BLEEP) your butterflies. I hope MS-13 rapes you. A lot of ignorant, awful,

hateful stuff.

WEIR (on camera): For the butterfly people?

TREVINO-WRIGHT: For the butterfly people.

WEIR (voice over): Living here, she's quite used to border security.

TREVINO-WRIGHT: So this, I'm sure, is somebody from the Department of Defense or somewhere else coming to check out this area.

WEIR: But the summer after President Trump took office, things changed.

TREVINO-WRIGHT: They were cutting down our trees, and mowing down vegetation, and widening the road. I said, who are you and what are you

doing? And they said, the government sent us to clear this land from here to the river for the border wall.

WEIR: The plan calls for 18 feet of solid concrete, topped by 18 feet of steel bollards, right through the middle of their property.

Then they saw what this machine was doing to a neighboring wildlife preserve.

WEIR (on camera): And that's what they're using just west of you?

TREVINO-WRIGHT: On the forest. On the National Wildlife Refuge.

WEIR (voice over): When they realized how devastating the so-called enforcement zone would be to their habitat, they sued. And, last week,

they lost.

WEIR (on camera): So what are you going to do now?

TREVINO-WRIGHT: I understand from the lawyers we'll be appealing or refiling.

WEIR: We asked, but the Border Patrol does not comment on ongoing litigation. But, in this letter sent to local stakeholders, they're

arguing for 30 new miles of wall around this area because the Rio Grande Valley typically leads the nation in arrests of illegal immigrants.

What it doesn't mentioned is that those numbers nationwide are way down since 2000. And Marianna says she has witnessed three illegal crossings in

the last six years.

TREVINO-WRIGHT: We absolutely are in favor of border security. If there were a national emergency, why would I drive to work here every day? We

have six children. Why would they allow mom to report for duty on the banks of the Rio Grande River every day unarmed to receive school children

and birders and butterflies from around the world?

WEIR (voice over): Congressionally approved plans would have spared this place, but the president's emergency order trumps all that.

TREVINO-WRIGHT: So we're just watching and waiting every day to see if that machinery shows up here.

WEIR: And all the while, these little guys flutter, oblivious to borders and politics with no idea how fragile their future might be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Bill Weir, CNN, Mission, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: And I really want to thank you for watching the program tonight. But stay with CNN now. Mr. Richard Quest live from New York has "QUEST

MEANS BUSINESS." That's up next.

END