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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Shows Optimism to Win a Fifth Term; Prime Minister Theresa May Meets E.U. Leaders to Gather Support for Another Brexit Extension; President Trump Declares IRGC as a Terrorist Group; Russian Navy Ships Docked in the Philippines; Department of Homeland Security Purge; Migrants In Mexico; Jamal Khashoggi's Death Case Update; The Price Of American Tourist's Freedom; General Khalifa Haftar And Libyan National Army On Offensive To Take Tripoli From U.N. Recognized Government; Cracking Down On Cuba. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired April 9, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: It's election day in Israel and the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's fate is on the ballot. He could possibly win a record fifth term. We will have a live report from Jerusalem.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is heading to the E.U. to master support for another extension as the Brexit deadline approaches.
And later, a dream trip for an American tourist becomes a nightmare abduction, new details about her rescue.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.
Israelis have been voting for about three hours now and what could be a historic election. You are looking at images coming out of Jerusalem. Let's bring those images up, this vote is shaping up to be a referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
If he wins a fifth term, he will become Israel's longest serving prime minister. If he loses, his legacy might be about alleged corruption. He is facing three investigations and possible indictments.
Mr. Netanyahu is also running up against a serious challenger, Benny Gantz who cast his ballot last hour. Gantz is a former military chief of staff and he leads the Blue and White Party. Here's some of what Netanyahu said about the race Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The hours they are late, at the moment we are behind a few seats. Le Pen and Gantz are leading.
NETANYAHU: The only way to close the gap and ensure with certainty is that Likud will form the next government is to have a big Likud. Bring all the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, polls show the two rivals is very close. But Gantz does have the lead. Mr. Netanyahu is looking to drum up the right-wing support and he's doing it with a last-minute campaign pledge. He promised Saturday to extend the Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements.
The move was quickly slammed by Palestinians and some within the Israeli establishment. Gantz said it was irresponsible to use the subject as a campaign promise.
CNN's Michael Holmes joins us now live from Jerusalem. Good to see you again, Michael. So, of course, we chatted about voter turnout last hour. How is it looking now, and what are people telling you about why they voted the way they did in this very tight race?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been a steady stream at this polling place where we are, Rosemary, but it is early in the days as you say at 10 a.m. and it hasn't exactly been crowded yet. We did speak to a poll station officially earlier, he said, no surprise there. It's a public holiday here. It's actually a beautiful day in Jerusalem. A lot of people are probably sleeping in or going shopping before they come.
He expected to get very busy little later in the afternoon. We have spoken to several people they seem to be in this area voting more to the right Likud, and some of the right-wing parties, but that's more a factor of where we are, a fairly conservative area.
We did ask one man who is voting for and he said he is voting for Benjamin Netanyahu. Why we said, and he said security. That's always the big issue here in Israel during any election.
But that's where it's interesting. Because Benny Gantz, of course, of the Blue and White Party, Benjamin Netanyahu's chief challenger, he is a former military chief of staff, the top man in the defense forces. And in his party, there were two other chiefs of staff.
So, Benjamin Netanyahu calling himself Mr. Security doesn't raise and quite as much as perhaps it used to. There is about 10,000 ballot boxes out there, 6.3 million voters will be going to the polls today. The polls will close till 10 p.m. and that's when we'll get some exit polling in some sort of guide to who is doing best, particularly in that all-important head-to-head battle between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Right. And earlier, polls of course were showing it's too close to call, but Mr. Netanyahu might have the edge over his closest rival Benny Gantz when it comes to building a viable governing coalition.
And of course, the help he's received from the U.S. president. What's Gantz being saying about all of this?
HOLMES: Yes, you're right. That polling the last polls we had was Friday, that legally was the last time we could get polling. And there was a variety of polls that came out, basically giving Benny Gantz anywhere from one to five seat lead over Benjamin Netanyahu.
[03:05:04] But as you say, it's all about the coalition building and Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud seem to have enough partners in the other parties to have the advantage on the coalition building.
But it's going to be interesting. There are 40 parties running in this. It's a pretty vibrant campaign but only 10, maybe up to 14 will meet the threshold of 3.25 percent of the vote in order to get seats in the Knesset. And then from that group that both Mr. Netanyahu and Benny Gantz are courting favor.
And at the moment it seems Netanyahu may have the advantage in that. But of course, one of the interesting things, you mention the settlement promise that Netanyahu made just a couple of days ago to take Israeli sovereignty to all of the settlements in the West Bank.
That was seen as a ploy to pull votes from some of those smaller right-wing parties to Likud so that his head-to-head numbers with Benny Gantz and the Blue and White Party would be better.
The risk in that is he might pull some of those smaller right-wing parties below the 3.25 percent threshold and they wouldn't get any seats in the Knesset. So, he could get a short-term gain out of that tactic but a long-term loss because in those parties if they don't meet the threshold you can't be in this coalition, Rosemary.
CHURCH: And that's the thing. I mean, he did it so he could bring over those right-wing voters, didn't he, but it could, as you say, backfire on him and he has upset a lot of people by making that promise very late in the campaign as well.
HOLMES: Yes. It was an extraordinarily big promise to be making at the last minute in a campaign and that's why a lot of analysts and even voters we've spoken to say they see it as a campaign ploy, if you like, rather than something serious.
You know, the idea if he came to any peace settlement it is true and it is widely accepted that major settlement blocks. There's three major settlement blocks would be incorporated into Israel in any peace deal. But Netanyahu wasn't talking about just the block. He was talking about every settlement.
There is more than 130 of them in the West Bank. And if they were to be pulled under Israeli sovereignty were annexed as it were, then that would make any notion of a viable contiguous Palestinians state, all but impossible and just purely a geographical, let alone political sense.
Benny Gantz criticized it as an irresponsible thing to be promising just days out from an election. And a lot of people feel that were Netanyahu to win this election it may slip down his to-do list in the immediate term, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Michael, very quickly, when is the soonest time we'll know get an idea of who is going to win this.
HOLMES: Well, it's interesting in Israel because it could be weeks, to be frank with you. I mean, we'll get those exit polls at 10 p.m. That will give us an idea of who's done best in the head-to-head because whoever is leading in the head-to-head the president then looks at that and says well, who's got the best chance of coalition invites that person to form a coalition.
The exit polling aren't always accurate. They weren't last time. So, we'll get an idea then. But then it's going to be a day or two before they've actually counted the votes and the president calls in representatives from all the parties that got seats in the Knesset, and says who are you going to back. Then he makes a decision.
He can take up to a week to make a decision on who he invites to form the coalition. So, what we will know after 10 p.m. is at least a guideline on who is going to have the upper hand when it comes to that, Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right. We'll be watching to see what happens. Michael Holmes joining us from Jerusalem. Many thanks as always.
Well, Mr. Netanyahu is thanking Donald Trump for declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. The U.S. president announced the decision on Monday, marking the first time the U.S. has ever named part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.
Tehran responded, declaring the U.S. a state sponsor of terrorism and calling American troops in the region terrorist groups.
More now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some vicious reactions already coming out of Iran after the Trump administration designated the IRGC, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. That could have huge repercussions as far as the conflict between Iran and the U.S. in that region is concerned.
Members of the Revolutionary Guard I've been speaking to in Iran have told me that potentially the Iranians could target U.S. bases in the Middle East region. Of course, there are some places where Iran and the U.S. are in close proximity. For instance, in Iraq, for instance, in Syria as well.
Now one of the other things that the Iranians are also doing is they're also trying to make the case that the Trump administration is doing all this to help Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, who of course faces a pretty tough election on Tuesday.
[03:10:02] They say that they believe this is happening a day before this because it's an election gift to Benjamin Netanyahu. That's the case that's being made by Iran's Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif. He says that this is something that's very dangerous for the United
States and could potentially get into another quagmire in the Middle Eastern region. So, the Iranians already really lashing out at the U.S.
One of the things of course that we have to keep in mind is that the IRGC is a hugely powerful organization in Iran. It's not only the elite wing of Iran's military but it's also heavily involved in the country's economy as well.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
CHURCH: British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with her German and French counterparts in the coming hours in an effort to secure another Brexit delay. E.U. ministers are gathering for Wednesday's emergency meeting. All 27 members will have to agree on Mrs. May's request for an extension to June 30.
Well, back in London, cross-party talks have produced little progress, but will continue for another day.
And CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live outside parliament with the very latest. Good to see you, Nic. So, Theresa May to meet with the German Chancellor and the French president to seek another Brexit delay. How is this all likely to play out?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it seems that what she would like to do before she gets to Brussels is at least made sure she is fairly certain about the position of the two biggest players that are in the room.
I mean, if you remember back to the last time, she went to the E.U. 27 when they debated what extension, what conditions they were going to give the British prime minister, there was some dissent in the room. There was a lack of unity, but they did coalesce around an agreed position.
There were about 10 -- 10 of those E.U. 27 leaders left in the room huddled, those are photographic quite iconic, and some of them even sitting on the floor as this was being discussed.
So, and, of course, you know, center to that discussion among those, sort of, most interested parties to the E.U. 27 are the Germans and the French and they carry most clouts. So, it's a little surprised that Theresa May is going by to see Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
And because she did get some nasty surprises, she didn't get what she wanted at the last go round. So this time she's asking for an extension to the 30th of June. She's put that in a letter to Donald Tusk.
But what we're really beginning to hear and understand, and this is been the position all along, but I think we can see it in a better framing today by comments that have been made over, is that European leaders are saying, OK. Generally dispersed towards giving Theresa May that an extension.
The question being, how long, but they really want to understand the political process that she is going through. This is going to make that extension worthwhile. We got an example of that yesterday and overnight today.
For example, the -- you know, the Irish prime minister yesterday met with the E.U.'s chief negotiator in Dublin. Later in the day the Irish minister called the Dutch prime minister and there was a discussion there about, you know, about the way forward, as you know, United European leaders.
And the Dutch prime minister has said that, you know, that he believes that there is a way forward, that an extension can be possible. Well, we've also heard from Dutch foreign minister today echoing that and saying we need to be able to see what is it that the prime minister is putting forward that can give us confidence that an extension is worthwhile.
So, I think that's we're at. So, for Theresa May whatever she can say to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron would be very important. And no doubt she would try to point to those cross-party talks in London that are happening as her mechanism of some political movement and a reason for a delay.
But as you say, and from what we hear here, Rosemary, those talks in London are not moving along between the parties really at all at the moment.
CHURCH: Yes, that is the problem, isn't it? And if they can't come up with a deal then there's not going to be an extension. That's the problem, isn't it. And how can they possibly come up with a deal when you look at what's before them and the timeline that they have to work within.
ROBERTSON: You know, I think if we look back across the whole process so far, it's been absolutely fraught. It's been driven with differences and arguments, intense arguments. The biggest historic defeat of a government on an issue on that huge vote earlier this year on the withdrawal agreement continues to be defeated.
[03:14:53] So, this is a process that's been driven with descents and division all along, not just in parliament but across the country, you know, latest -- one of the latest polling by our comrades in the Daily Telegraph here, a right-leaning newspaper for a pro-Brexit in its opinion these days, puts population here split.
Forty percent saying we should get out without a deal, and 40 percent of the population saying that actually we should just revoke article 50 leaving the European Union altogether.
That's the extent of the division. So, when we tried to look ahead and made that analysis that you're asking for there. The reality is, this is going to stumble forward.
It's going to be painful, it's going to cause continuing political division, shakeups potentially within the political order, the sort of two-party system within the U.K. over a longer period of time.
But in the short period this extension that Theresa May might get from the European Union maybe till the end of this year with certain strings attached, even though she wants to get out of it sooner if she can get a deal.
I think the reality that we're looking at is a very, very divisive and protect -- protracted process and I don't think anyone can tell you which course that is going to run. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes. It's so problematic. We've watched the chaos, it's unraveling at this point, but we shall watch every moment every twist and turn. We know you shall. Nic Robertson reporting there from parliament. Many thanks to you.
Well, some are calling it a purge. Two officials are leaving top U.S. homeland security post. What is behind this, We'll take a look.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she is willing to do whatever it takes to prevent a no deal Brexit. But it's not a sentiment everyone in Germany shares.
CNN's Atika Shubert is in Berlin.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't so long that German politicians wrote a love letter to Britain, published in the Times that read Britain should know from the bottom of our hearts we want you to stay. That was then.
And this is how Germany's minister for European affairs describes the Brexit process now.
"I say that very undiplomatically," he said, "I don't know if even William Shakespeare could have come up with such a tragedy as this."
To Brexit or not to Brexit has become an exasperating drama for many Germans. In fact, last week, state broadcaster ARD did a call and 74 percent of respondents said they regretted Britain's decision to leave the E.U.
[03:20:04] But that was also a five-point drop from when the question was last post in February when that love letter was posted. And on the streets of Berlin many of the people we ask were simply tired of hearing the word Brexit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (muted) I mean, what else is there to say, not much. Sorry. I think they should just call general elections.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think at this point Brexit should happen.
SHUBERT: It should happen? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, the E.U. and the U.K. have a draft deal, so the E.U. should say, OK, either you take this deal or no deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
SHUBERT: It's really awful, says this woman, at some point you have to draw a line, and we will need to know where they are going. This simply cannot keep extending and extending, she says.
SHUBERT: Whether tragedy or war, it seems many Germans just want the Brexit drama to end.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.
CHURCH: And Britain's imminent departure from the European Union is already having far-reaching repercussions across Europe. It sparked national sentiment and even more extreme views from some sectors.
Barbie Nadeau reports from Milan.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Italy's hard line Matteo Salvini officially kicked off his European parliamentary election campaign today here in Milan. And his side were likeminded thinking. There are leaders from far-right parties in Germany, Denmark, and Finland. Together they want to bring the European parliament towards what they call a common sense Europe.
They're focused on three things. They want to bolster national security. They want to bolster the borders into Europe and they want to increase what they call national identity.
They're basically setting out the plan for a post-Brexit Europe. And they want to be ones to decide where that goes.
Barbie Latza Nadeau, for CNN, Milan.
CHURCH: Well, two Russian navy destroyers and a tanker have docked in the Philippines in what's being called a goodwill visit. It could be part of a power play by the Kremlin. It comes as Manila squares off with China in a territorial dispute.
CNN's Brian Todd has more from Washington.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These ships are a menacing reminder of Vladimir Putin's military ambition, a show of force in the region already in the center of tense relations between the U.S. and its enemies.
The three Russian navy ships are now docked in the Philippines, including two high-tech anti-submarine destroyers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL HAMBLET, RETIRED U.S. NAVY, U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE: I think Putin is looking to give the United States something to worry about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: It's the second time this year that Russian warships have docked in the Philippines. And for America it symbolizes a worrisome shift in alliances in that region.
For decades, the Philippines was a key U.S. military ally in Asia. America kept one of its largest overseas naval bases there. But recently, analysts say, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has started to pivot away from the U.S. toward a closer alliance with Putin, even though his navy is conducting large scale joint military exercises with American forces right now.
Meantime, the Russian president, experts say, is having only moderate success in expanding his navy but he has improved one capability which threatens American forces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMBLET: They've been building new ballistic missile submarines, and they have also been building nuclear powered fast-attack submarines.
HEATHER CONLEY, DIRECTOR OF THE EUROPE PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: We're seeing cruise missiles coming from vessels in the Caspian Sea. They are testing a lot of hypersonic cruise missiles, a lot of them again submarine base.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Putin is jumping right into the middle of a region now fraught with military tension. China has laid claim to several islands in the South China Sea, has even built some islands from scratch and placed military installations on them.
The U.S. has tried to curb China's aggression there. And Duterte whose navy occupies one island in that chain recently threatened a suicide mission against Chinese forces which were spotted near that island.
Experts say Putin is eager to exploit these tensions for his own gain, and eager to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONLEY: His arrival in the Philippines with these three navy vessels is to remind the United States that Russia is a global power, can he separate the Philippines from the United States in any way, can he be a disruptor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: How can America counter this effort by Vladimir Putin to divide it from its allies in Asia? Experts say the U.S. has to stay its course in the region, keep holding joint military exercises with its allies, keep engaging diplomatically with countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia. Make them realize that America is the friend they want to have in the
region and not Vladimir Putin.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Lawyers for former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn released a videotaped statement from him Tuesday. Ghosn is currently in custody awaiting trial on several counts of financial misconduct.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:25:00] CARLOS GHOSN, FORMER CEO, NISSAN: This is a conspiracy. This is not about specific events. This is not about, again, greed. This is not about dictatorship. This is about a plot. This is about conspiracy. This is about backstabbing. That's what we're talking about. And why? So, we can say, why this happened?
Why it happened because there was first, a fear that the next step of their alliance in term of convergence and in terms moving toward a merger would, a certain way threaten some people, or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Ghosn had been out on $9 million bail, but was rearrested last week. His attorneys say the move is an attempt to silence him. Shareholders voted Monday to remove Ghosn from Nissan's board of directors. The directorship was the last official title he held.
Well, one department head is out and another is leaving. Coming up, what's behind the U.S. president's housecleaning at the Department of Homeland Security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people have been here for weeks and they've heard absolutely nothing. It's getting to the point where they are a little bit desperate. Many people are saying is they don't get the chance to seek legal asylum they will try to cross illegally. They do not want to turn around and go back home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Migrants waiting in Mexico to enter the U.S. say they don't believe the U.S. is full as President Trump claims. More on their struggle ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. This is CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
I want to check the headlines for you this hour. Voting is well underway in Israeli elections. Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to be Israel's longest-serving prime minister by winning a fifth term. His chief rival is former military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Poll show a tight race, but Mr. Netanyahu may have the edge forming a coalition.
Iran is now designating the U.S. a state sponsor of terrorism and American troops in the Middle East terrorist groups. That's a a direct response to the Trump administration announcing it will formally classify Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet soon with her German and French counterparts hoping for another Brexit delay at an E.U. summit on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, British lawmakers are preparing to take part in European parliament elections in case the U.K. is still in the E.U. come May 23rd.
[03:29:58] U.S. prosecutors are trying to determine if a woman accused of cunning her way into Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is a spy. They say she was carrying computer malware, detection devices and thousands of dollars in cash. The Chinese international is facing two criminal charges, but has not yet entered a plea.
U.S. President Donald Trump has the Department of Homeland Security in his sight. He is clearing out top officials as his frustration over legal immigration at the Southern Border grows. Those Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, Sunday. A day later the Secret Service Director announced his departure, they have the latest in the long list of cabinet members and staffers to lead the administrations. Kaitlan Collins has more on the shakeup.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The secret service is fantastic.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump pushing out the man he picks to lead the secret service. Sources tells CNN, Trump ordered Mick Mulvaney to fire Randolph Alles, who goes by Tex and has lead the secret service since 2017. Alles was still on the job Monday, but the White House said a statement that he'll be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray to take over in May. Why Trump dismissed Alles is still unclear. Five days ago, after a woman carrying Chinese passport and a flash drive containing malware was accused of illegally entering his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Trump praised to the service.
TRUMP: I could not be happier with the Secret Service. Secret Service has done a fantastic job from day one.
COLLINS: But he also applauded the Mar-a-Lago employee who stopped the woman after secret service allowed her in.
TRUMP: I think that the person sitting at the front desk did a very good job.
COLLINS: Alles reports directly to the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Who was also forced out Sunday after a face to face meeting with President Trump and did in him demanding her resignation.
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, OUTGOING U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I assure the president in securing the border. I'm on my way to keep doing what I can for the next few days.
COLLINS: The shakeup comes as Trump has become increasingly frustrated with immigration. Blaming Nielsen for a spike in border crossings and pushing her to reinstate the administrations zero tolerance immigration policy which he ended last year after a backlash.
TRUMP: We are going to keep the families together, I didn't like the site or the feeling of families being separated.
COLLINS: Sources tells CNN, Stephen Miller played a critical role in ousting Nielsen, but she is not the only DHS official he wants to get rid of. Miller has also push Trump to dismiss the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services as well as the Department's general council, but the next departure could be the acting Deputy Secretary. Claire Grady is technically in line to replace Nielsen when she steps down on Wednesday, but Trump announced that Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will step in.
Sources tells CNN, Grady he has no intention of resigning, and it is expected to force the administration to fire her. Now, CNN has obtained a letter that the outgoing Secret Service director sent to his employees today, claiming that he was not fired as it was been reported. But did note, that several weeks ago the administration reach out to tell them that they are going to quote, make a transition and leadership should be expected across the Department of Homeland Security.
Now, several of those have already happened in recent days, the question is, are there were to come? Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: And Mexico has a migrant program of its own. As large numbers of people attacking the system there. They are waiting to be granted asylum in the United States and have no intention of going home. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports from a shelter in Tijuana.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump has said, the United States is full. And people seeking asylum should turn around and go back home. Suffice of to say at the shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, about a five minute walk from the U.S. border fence, there is no desire to turn around and go home. And there is also some dubiousness about whether the United States is full. There's about 115 people who are staying at the shelter, about 45
tents, life here is very simple, most people of these people had come from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and for Mexico, they want to get to United States, they are waiting for the legal proceedings to take place, where they can go and get a chance to claim asylum, but most of the people have been here for weeks and they've heard absolutely nothing.
Let's get in to the point. For they are a little bit of desperate. Many people are saying if they don't get the chance to seek legal asylum they will try to cross illegally. They do not want to turn around and go back home. Many of the people here are children. You can see they are watching a video right now on a really nice TV set, but don't let that TV set fool you, this is not a particularly nice place, nice people work here and they are doing the best they can, but this building doesn't have a complete roof, rain falls inside. It gets very cold here in Tijuana sometimes at night. It's chilly, and there are holes in the ceiling that leaks. There is also only two bathrooms for men, two bathrooms for women, one shower and there's a long wait for that kind of thing.
Breakfast this morning for example was chocolate milk and a chocolate doughnut. Dinner will be burritos. There are donations coming in from private people, also from the government here, the city of Tijuana, but there's a lot that need to be done for these people and more and more people are trying to get into the shelter.
There is desperations and that is why they will not go back. Everyone we talk has said we have no plans to go back home. They want to come to United States legally to get a chance, if they don't come legally, well, we are here and people are very candid, they will try to cross illegally. They know that friends and relatives of theirs had gotten into United States, they don't believe United States is full. They know about the Statue of Liberty, the green statue on Liberty Island outside of New York City and they want to part of United States.
Many say they're scared to go back. They need jobs, many of them say (inaudible), and they say they will not give up to go, their quest to get to United States of America. One more thing we want to mention, three people who are here today got sent back here after going through the beginning of asylum hearings, a federal judge just ruled that won't be allowed that here in United States to stay here, it's not clear what will happen to the three people who were sent back here to Mexico.
This shelter will stay open, and the increasing number of family that you must emphasize isn't just men like we saw years ago, this is lots of women and children and men trying to come across. There aren't enough people now (inaudible), who are looking after the asylum process here in the United States with so many immigrants coming in. This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, Tijuana, Mexico.
CHURCH: And joining us once again from Colchester, England is Natasha Linstaedt, she is a professor of government at the University of Essex. Good to have you with us again
NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF GIVERNMENT UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Thanks for having me on.
CHURCH: We are witnessing a purge at the Department of Homeland Security. The secretary essentially fired and the Secret Service director gone a day later, with more dismissals expected and there is clear and sudden hardening of immigration policy. What is going on with the Trump administration? And how will other Republicans respond to this?
LINDSTAEDT: Well at the moment, Trump doesn't feel that whatever immigration policy under Nielsen as what the secretary of Department of Homeland Security that whatever immigration policy she was pursuing wasn't working. They've seen a recent surge as the department mentioned in apprehension of immigrants trying to enter the country illegally. And that has convinced Trump that they need to pursue a much tougher deterrent policy.
Of course, that includes moving towards the separation policy which was particularly popular in the U.S, 66 to 70 percent according to the polls aren't in favor of this, but he believes this will be a much better deterrent to prevent actual, you know, entire families from trying to come in. Previously, most of the immigration was mostly men, leading very impoverished conditions and hoping to find jobs in the U.S. and then send the money back to their families.
In this case you have Central American immigrants leading incredibly violent situations, so they can't really just leave their wives and children there and everybody is coming up, there's rumors that once they get to the U.S. and be able to get papers that can endure some of these hardships, Trump sees it, he needs to deterred this and he needs to pursue a much hard line policy and then Nielsen wasn't capable of doing this.
CHURCH: Right and many say that it was his adviser Stephen Miller who's pushing all of this and presumably that would explain why were suddenly seeing this change.
LINDSTAEDT: Right. And Stephen Miller has always been a key player in the Trump administration. He is always been incredibly loyal to Trump. He goes on TV shows, and he sort of support Trump in the most loyal fashion which is really something that Trump values. But he's also been more vocal and as of late and Trump seems to be listening to him.
He is much more of a hard liner as we already mention. And he felt that the way that Nielsen was pursuing the immigration policy where they were, you know, trying to communicate to Trump that certain things aren't possible. Certain things aren't legal and that they need to be able to work around that. They need to have much more of a deterrent. And trump seems to be listening to this at the moment and that's why we see such a shakeup.
CHURCH: Right, and while this is all going on, why do you think there is so many acting secretary in the Trump administration? What does that reveal about the president's leadership style and why are more Trump insider speaking out about problems they see with Mr. Trump's leadership?
LINDSTAEDT: Right, well, this has been a 15 percent in the cabinet that has step down. You compare it to the same time under Bush, there is only been six people that have stepped down around the same time.
[03:40:00] 25 percent of the cabinet is acting, and what that says about Trump is that he prefer to have acting people in there. Because it's more flexible, they don't have to go through the same rigorous process in getting accepted. And he tends to light to just roll on his own. He wants to dictate, he wants to be in charge.
He is used to be in charge, because he is been, you know, a businessman for so many years, but having acting people, this puts everything sort of in limbo. And it really increases his power in executive authority. And that is probably the best explanation for why we see so many people that had been acting.
CHURCH: Right. And of course while everyone's distracted by all this, they are not talking about the president's tax returns or the Mueller report and we know that President Trump is willing to fight to keep his tax returns private, all the way to the Supreme Court despite the legal requirement to comply and hand them over. How successful is Mr. Trump likely going to be with this, do you think?
LINDSTAEDT: Well it's interesting, because representatives would say there is no way you are going to get access to his tax returns, but what looks like is the Democrats are going to try to circumvent this and go through New York and there is a bill out there that they will try to get access to his New York state tax returns. And whenever his New York state tax returns are, they are going to be very similar to these U.S. Federal tax returns, because he has done most of his business in New York.
And so the Democrat are finding ways around this. There had been a continued to pursue getting his federal tax returns based on his 1924 law that Congress has the right to get tax returns of an individual. Of course, they are going to -- it looks like they are going to say no to this, but that it not means it's going to end up in the court and it could be a long lengthy legal battle ahead.
CHURCH: And will be following it all the way. Natasha Linstaedt, thank you so much for joining us, I appreciate it.
LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is publicly designating 16 Saudis for their roles in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The naming makes those people and their families ineligible for entry into the United States. Khashoggi wrote columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Crowned Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman. Saudi officials eventually admitted Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey last October, but have always insisted the Crowned Prince had no involvement. Well, still to come, the U.N. condemns what it calls a serious
violation at humanitarian law. As rebels in Libya intensified their fight to take down the recognized government in Tripoli.
And an American woman has been rescued from kidnappers in Uganda, but at what prized? That is coming up next on CNN Newsroom.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Two more deaths have been reported following protests outside military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan. It brings the death toll to 10 since Saturday after crackdowns on protestors by security forces. Dozens had been injured in largely peaceful demonstrations, according to human rights watch. Protesters had been calling for the removal of President Omar al-Bashir since December. Crowds had converge outside the presidential palace and the nation's military headquarters responding to a renewed call for protest from Sudani's professional group of doctors, lawyers and journalists.
The fierce fight over Libya's capital is intensifying even further. Following an airstrike by the rebel military on Tripoli's only functioning airport. The U.N. condemn the attack, calling it a serious violation of humanitarian law.
The area in red on this map shows territory controlled by rebel forces. The U.N. recognizes government controls the sections in yellow. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh explains, the recent attacks on Tripoli, a part of a surprise offensive by a renegade general.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This reported strike on Mitiga International airport, the key air traffic hog for Libya doesn't take the pressure on the capital city Tripoli to a new level here. We've seen for days now the forces of General Khalifa Haftar, the predominant strongman of the east of the country, moving around that key city, edging towards the southern suburbs.
There had been perhaps (inaudible), this was a show of military strength designed last Friday to perhaps pressure the peace talks going on being spearheaded by the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez, but it seems to be less likely since he departed the country on Friday and the peace talks appear to have gone nowhere.
The fear being, really that General Haftar could begin to send his forces slowly into this urban environment, whether there are many different competing militias are from pressure on each other frankly for control and it is the main seat of the U.N. recognized government of (inaudible). Frankly the struggle to get control of the country since the exemption (ph) of number of years ago.
Now, many Libyans have lived through chaos since 2011 departure of Colonel Gadhafi, his bloody end and that revolution supposed to herald a new kind of way of life there. the city collapsed into these different systems, feeding warlords, General Khalifa Haftar appears to have a lot of regional support, perhaps from the Emiratis, perhaps from Egypt, perhaps even more reverently some say from Russia and even France possibly silent in background.
Is this emboldening him to make this stock military moves? He seems to have the equipment, he seems to have the momentum at the moment the question is does he have the stomach to end to Tripoli main. And what will happen to those many Libyans living inside that capital city have endured so much hardships over the past years. And they see that worsen yet still. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
CHURCH: the five day kidnapping ordeal is over for U.S. tourist and her tour guide who were taken at gunpoint in Uganda last week. But a CNN's Alex Marquardt reports concerns are being raise about a ransom that was paid to try to secure their freedom.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Free at last, Kim Endicott steps out of a white van. Barefoot, hands thorn likely shaken, but physically unharmed. Welcome home she is told as she arrives back in the camp in Uganda were she had gone on safari to see the areas famous guerrillas, a lifelong dream. Endicott, who is from California and her Ugandan guide John Paul Meringue, were kidnapped last Tuesday as are driving to the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
They were taken away by armed men who later used their prisoner's cellphone to demand a ransom of half 1 million dollars. Ugandan security forces backed by U.S. military support and the neighboring Democratic Republican of Congo freed the pair on Sunday. The kidnappers are still on the run.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The armed captors knew they were being hotly pursued by the joints team of security agencies.
MARQUARDT: Today, President Trump tweeting Uganda must bring the kidnappers to justice openly and quickly. Neither the United States nor Uganda paid ransoms, it was the safari tour company that paid in this case. Though we don't know how much there are fears that it would only encourage more kidnappings in the area.
[03:50:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the quickest way to get out of the situation like this to get somebody back, is pay the ransom, but again, it sets a bad precedent.
MARQUARDT: Ugandan police had said that the most likely reason for the kidnappings was that ransom money. Meaning, this looks to be more criminal than terrorism related. Especially considering how easy the handoff of these prisoners appears to have been. For security experts will tell you, only gives more incentive to others to carry out kidnappings. Of course you can't fault the safari company or Endicott's love ones for wanting to do all they could to get her and her guide back safely. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: And we'll take a short break. Still to come, the latest
White House departure brings another acting secretary to the cabinet. All part of the drama which Donald Trump seems to thrive on. That is next on CNN Newsroom.
CHURCH: The Trump White House is intervene to kill a deal between Cuba and Major League Baseball. The administration says the agreement which would have allowed Cuban players to join U.S. teams without giving up their Cuban citizenship is illegal. The deal was initially negotiated under President Barack Obama. And was seen as a big win for international sports diplomacy. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Havana.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It would've been a deal that rose above the political differences between Cuba and United States allowing Cuban baseball players to go play in the major leagues in the U.S. And for the first earn million dollar salaries, and be able to return to Cuba but apparently now that deal is dead.
The Trump administration said that by allowing the Cuban government to keep any of the Cuban player's earnings that that would have allow the Cuba government to continue exploiting these players, and now they will no longer see this deal with major league baseball and the Cuban government to proceed.
It is a huge step back for both for the major league, some of the best players today, playing in American baseball are Cuban, and for the Cuban government, while which needed this cash infusion. Certainly Cuban baseball which has been suffering from defections over the last few years, had hope that this would be a way to hold on to some of their best players. They had just, within recent days, like these 34 players who they said were clear to go play in the U.S.
Now that is not going to happen, because the Trump administration says they're taking a very different approach than President Obama did, when he opened up the way for this deal to happen. And saying that if Cuban players want to come and play in the U.S., they have to do that on their own. They cannot come under the (inaudible) of the Cuban government.
Critics though of this decision by the Trump administration say that this is only going to allow Cuban traffickers, human smugglers to continue to make money off Cuban players, because as it stands now, Cuban players need to go to a third country, and all too often, they are smuggled into a third country, and then brought in to the U.S. by unsavory criminal gangs, who end up keeping a large portion of the salary.
The Cuban government, Cuban Baseball Federation have criticized the Trump administration for backing out of this deal, but the Trump administration is saying that even though this was a sport that unites Cuba and the U.S. that they simply will not allow this deal to move forward. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
[03:55:03] CHURCH: Well, now that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is out and now the acting Trump cabinet member is in. And while many critics say they wish Donald Trump would act more presidential, he seems to thrive on the drama in his administration. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do all these Trump administration officials have in common?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Acting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's acting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether they're acting or whether they are not acting.
MOOS: A temporary word has become a permanent fixture to the Trump administration as the Washington Post columnist tweeted, number of cabinet members who will now be acting lends new meaning to the term political theater. Or how about being asked to write a sad story using only three words, acting cabinet official. (Inaudible) drew a line of acting official ending in the man acting as president. There's no bigger fan of acting then the director of this production, he gives the acting rave reviews.
TRUMP: It's easier to make moves when they are acting.
My acting is doing really great. I like acting, because I can move so quickly. Well, I'm in a hurry, I have acting.
MOOS: In no hurry to have nominees grilled in confirmation hearings perhaps. Something acting doesn't have to endure until nominated for the actual position, but who wants to go through what acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt did. When a mask swamp creature pop up behind him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have met with many of you in person and by phone.
MOOS: And stayed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I catch my breath.
MOOS: And stayed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because --
MOOS: And stayed.
Stayed even with only one eye remain visible or only it's bald head. Till capital police escorted it all as mask protestors out. It's hard to take promises to drain the swamp with a straight face. When confronted by the creature from the Black Lagoon. No wonder the president enjoys temporary cabinet members. It's easier to throw them overboard.
TRUMP: But I sort of like acting, it gives me more flexibility, do you understand that? I like acting.
MOOS: If he likes acting, maybe he consider you know who for his next acting cabinet secretary opening. Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Watch this space, thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter @rosemarycnn. And the news continues next with our Max Foster in London, you are watching CNN. Have yourself a great day.