Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

President Trump's Immigration Policies under Fire; North Korea's Kim Jong-un "Open" to Third Summit; Campaign 2020, an Intersection of Faith, Lifestyle and Politics; U.S. policy Barring Transgender Recruits Goes into Effect; WikiLeaks Founder in Custody, Faces Extradition to U.S.; Suspect Charged with Setting Fires to Louisiana Churches; Officer Makes Sure Bullied Boy Has a Happy Birthday. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired April 13, 2019 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They say we have open arms. They always say we have open arms. Let's see if they have open arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A new controversy over a new immigration policy. President Trump threatening to send undocumented immigrants to the very cities that oppose his tough stance on immigration.

Also Kim Jong-un says he is open to a third summit with Trump but under some conditions. We'll have that.

Also:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I might be bringing you more gifts later but I'll see you Sunday for the other birthday party, OK?

ALLEN (voice-over): You'll like this one. A police officer's heartwarming surprise for a child who was bullied. It makes for an unforgettable birthday for the boy. We'll have that this hour as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Welcome to our viewers. I'm Natalie Allen in Atlanta and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ALLEN: Thank you for joining us. President Trump is coming under fire for his extreme immigration

policies. On Friday Mr. Trump said he is seriously considering sending crowds of detained migrants to U.S. sanctuary cities as a way to spite his political rivals for not supporting his border wall.

Sanctuary cities have policies or laws limiting the kind of assistance local law enforcement will give the U.S. federal government on immigration. Usually that means that they will protect undocumented immigrants.

Critics accuse the president of using human beings as political pawns. But Mr. Trump appears to be leaning in to the controversy. We get more from Kaitlan Collins at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can give them an unlimited supply.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump is touting a proposal to place undocumented migrants in sanctuary cities to retaliate against Democrats, shattering his own administration's denials of the policy.

TRUMP: So we will give them to the sanctuary cities maybe to take care of, if that's the way they want it.

COLLINS: Trump making the threat in person, after tweeting earlier that: "Because Democrats are unwilling to change our dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed giving strong considerations to placing illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities only."

Those remarks coming just hours after a White House official said: "The idea was briefly and informally raised and quickly rejected. No one at ICE was pressured by anyone at any time."

But sources tell CNN the president pushed former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to carry out the proposal. She resisted, and the plan was scrapped for legal reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an outrageous abuse of power and public resources.

COLLINS: The president's warning coming as CNN has learned that, during his trip to the border last week, Trump told Kevin McAleenan, now the acting DHS secretary, that if he were jailed or faced legal issues because he blocked migrants from entering the U.S., he would pardon him.

It's unclear if Trump meant it as a joke. But the episode revealed the boundaries the president is willing to push to stop a recent rise in immigration numbers, making his frustration clear today.

TRUMP: But if they don't agree, we might as well do what they always say they want.

COLLINS: News of the attempted sanctuary city proposal infuriated Democrats today.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful the challenges that we face as a country, as a people, to address who we are, a nation of immigrants.

COLLINS: A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is from one of the highest-profile sanctuary cities in California, saying in a statement that: "The extent of this administration's cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated. Using human beings, including little children, as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable and, in some cases, criminal."

But, today, Trump seemed to relish the outrage from Democrats.

TRUMP: Let's see if they're so happy. They say we have open arms. They are always saying they have open arms. Let's see if they have open arms.

COLLINS: The drama coming amid an upheaval at DHS, which is now being run by an acting secretary, acting deputy secretary, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, and an acting ICE director.

A border official announcing that, starting today, they will release immigrants in El Paso to local organizations, because ICE is at capacity. And six of the major border checkpoints are currently understaffed because agents are --

[04:05:00]

COLLINS (voice-over): -- being sent to parts of the border that are facing a surge in migrants.

The president made clear that he believes this sanctuary city proposal would be a punishment for Democrats. But Jim Kinney, the mayor of Philadelphia, which is considered a sanctuary city, said that they would welcome all immigrants with open arms.

He believes the latest proposal just shows, quote, "the utter contempt for basic human dignity," and he added that it is just Trump's desire to flout the law and appease his political base -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: More reaction is coming in from the leaders of some of those U.S. sanctuary cities.

The mayor of Berkeley, California, says, "I am shocked but not surprised that once again this president is playing a cynical game with people's lives in order to score political points. To use immigrants as pawns on a political chessboard is outrageous and unethical."

San Jose's mayor says in his city and "Silicon Valley, we happily welcome any families willing to endure such extraordinary hardship and to take such tremendous risk to endeavor to be part of our great country."

And this from the district attorney of San Francisco.

"The fact that such a proposal is being peddled by the leader of the free world is an all-time low for American discourse."

A sample of the reaction from those areas.

The Trump administration announced earlier this month plans to cut aid to several Central American countries which the White House says aren't doing enough to mitigate the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is defending that move by the Trump administration even though State Department statistics show that homicide rates went down and the number of migrants fleeing north dropped after a U.S. aid program was implemented there.

But Mr. Trump decided to remove American dollars from these countries and Mr. Pompeo explains why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Hundreds of millions of dollars spent in Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador and you see the results. You can the results yesterday, you saw them last week, you seeing people fleeing those nations, throwing more money at this problems, which is what I think your question is suggesting, that there's no reason to believe that we get any outcome that is different from the one that we're suffering from today.

So what the Trump administration is trying to do is say we're prepared to help, we're prepared to engage and to support but you, you have to take serious efforts, whether it's Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Mexico for that matter, too. We need those nations to ensure that their people aren't making this dangerous transit across Mexico and coming into our country illegally. That's what we're asking these countries to do; when they begin to do that, America's support will again return.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Let's talk more about the immigration issue with Natasha Lindstaedt, professor of government at the University of Essex, joining us from Colchester.

How are you doing?

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Thanks for having me on.

We have much to talk about. Let's begin with the U.S. cutting off aid to the countries. Mike Pompeo echoing the administration's rationale that cutting aid will help keep people from leaving these countries.

Does that make sense? LINDSTAEDT: No, it doesn't make sense at all and really any study would disagree with that because the aid is actually really critical to providing support services, security services to these countries that are deeply impoverished.

Honduras was almost a failed state at one point and required a growing amount of aid to deal with the drug problem, criminal problem that they have. All these countries have high homicide rates. It is through these programs that we can assist with that, it is not through cutting off aid to them.

That will only exacerbate the immigration crisis and that is why there has been such a spike in immigration from these countries is because these zones have become unlivable for these people. They are incredibly violent. And his strategy of cutting off aid doesn't make any sense.

ALLEN: And President Trump certainly is determined to stem the tide of migrants where they are coming from, these countries we just mentioned, any way he can, even if it is against the law.

The sanctuary cities idea is against the law or shutting down the border, which everyone says will really hurt the economy. But he is not backing down. It shows the boundaries he is willing to push.

LINDSTAEDT: It really shows that he is willing to test the boundaries of both public opinion --

[04:10:00]

LINDSTAEDT: -- and the law in order to animate his base. If you look at public opinion on the family separation policy from a poll of 2018, two-thirds of the country is against the family separation policy. But he doesn't really care about that. He focuses on trying to energize his base with more hardline policies because he thinks that this will win votes in 2020. It will distracts from other issues that are going on.

If you were to look at the same 2018 poll, it revealed that noncollege educated white Republicans, 60 percent approved of his family separation policy and about 50 percent of white educated Republicans.

So he thinks that this is the strategy that will work, by flouting the law consistently and creating more hardline policies, more obstacles for immigration, more opening of deportation cases, trying to turn away asylum seekers, creating a denaturalization force, which is something that I hadn't heard of, they're going after already naturalized citizens.

He doesn't really care about what a majority of the country feels. He is trying to polarize the country as much as possible and this whole idea of using human beings as a weapon and putting them on sanctuary cities, against his enemies, his enemies, he is talking about the American public. It is really astounding.

ALLEN: Yes. And all the while, blamed Democrats, he tweeted that they are unwilling to change immigration laws. And he even seems to kind of enjoy making them angry.

LINDSTAEDT: And that is all about getting his base riled up and he knows one of the things that works well with them is to get the Democrats up in arms and because when they respond, he can respond back and this little playing back and forth actually really endears himself to his base. They love it when he fights hard for them.

And he has no attempt ever to think about unifying the public, coming up with a comprehensive immigration plan that everybody can get on board with him. We understand that immigration has been an issue. But that doesn't necessitate trying to create winners and losers and to vilify the Democrats in this process.

ALLEN: Right. I wanted to ask you about that.

Should Democrats hold firm?

Every time he does something like this, Nancy Pelosi comes out and says her piece about it. We just heard mayors from the sanctuary cities giving their opinion on this.

Is there any room for compromise among both parties on immigration?

I mean, clearly the system is broken and all we're seeing is tit-for- tat and tit-for-tat, just keeps going on and on.

LINDSTAEDT: There is actually a lot more room for compromise between Republicans and Democrats in the past, that they understood that this was something that could have been dealt with in a bipartisan way.

Slowly over the last 20 years, the Republican Party has grown increasingly more anti-immigration. If you look at a fairly recent poll, it revealed that 83 percent of Democrats think immigration is a good thing and 38 percent of Republicans think immigration is a good thing.

So it has just become so incredibly polarized, where it used to be something that was just a huge part of U.S. identity that both Republicans and Democrats could kind of get on board with a comprehensive plan and work together on this.

This has become a hill to die on for Trump and the Republican Congress people have become increasingly willing to support him and there doesn't seem to be that much room for compromise at the moment.

ALLEN: Or room for sanity when discussing this issue and not having it be so inflamed all the time. All right. We'll leave it there for now. But I have a feeling that you and I will be talking again. Always appreciate you coming on.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks. Nice to see you again.

ALLEN: All right. Another topic we're following here, six weeks after the second summit between the U.S. and North Korea ended abruptly in failure, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has something new to say. He says that he is open to a third summit but with a catch. He says the U.S. must change its attitude.

And he will give the United States until the end of the year to decide if it wants another summit, speaking before the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang Kim said what is obvious is that if the United States sticks to the current political way of calculation, the prospects for problem solving will be --

[04:15:00]

ALLEN: -- dark and very dangerous.

Let's go to Seoul, our Paula Hancocks always our correspondent on this beat.

Hello to you, Paula.

So how do you decipher what North Korea means by that language and how should it be interpreted?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, it was an interesting speech and really the first time that we've heard the North Korean leader directly talking about what happened in Hanoi and directly laying out what he wants to see going forward.

So the United States can take some heart from this, the fact that he is not shutting the door on these talks, as was suggested a few weeks ago by the deputy foreign minister, saying that Kim Jong-un would decide if he even wanted to bother with these talks.

So he is saying that he will be willing to meet with President Trump again but there are conditions. He said that the United States has to change its way of calculation. He said that he is not willing and not happy to have another summit similar to Hanoi, where they walked away without any agreement.

And he has given a timeline now. He has said that he will give the United States until the end of the year to decide if that is something that they want to do. It is something that he is now trying to hurry this along because North Korea has always been playing the long game when it comes to denuclearization talks or any kind of talks with the United States.

And it is actually the U.S. president who is saying that he has all the time in the world, saying there is no need to rush this and, if they do rush it, then it won't be a proper deal.

So it is also interesting to see that once again Kim is praising Mr. Trump or at least saying that the relationship he has with Mr. Trump is far less hostile than that between the two countries. So once again, even though he is criticizing the United States, he is very careful not to criticize the U.S. leader himself.

ALLEN: Right, we've seen that oddity between these two for months now. So let's talk about a go-between. The South Korea president was just with President Trump.

Can South Korea be somewhat of a mediator here as we get new language from North Korea?

HANCOCKS: This is what the president has asked Moon Jae-in to do. Whether he can is another matter. We heard after that meeting between President Trump and President Moon from the Blue House that as soon as President Moon got back to Seoul, he was going to try to set up another summit or another set of talks between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in.

And President Trump said, report back to him once he knew how that was going to go. So he is appearing to be some kind of mediator, the go- between. But we've heard a very different opinion from those two leaders as to how they want to go forward with North Korea.

South Korea is happy to have a step by step process. They are happy just for the momentum to keep going. President Trump says he wants the big deal.

HOWELL: All right. Appreciate it, Paula Hancocks.

Another leader out in Sudan as the head of the military council steps down in that country just one day after taking over. We'll have a report on the latest development in this volatile situation.

Plus two high-profile politicians at the intersection of religion and lifestyle in a feud over faith. The vice president and a candidate for president, both from the same state. That story when we can back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:20:00]

(HEADLINES)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ALLEN: A story now at the intersection of three highly personal and highly volatile topics: religion, lifestyle and politics. It involves two high-profile men from Indiana. Our Jessica Dean has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two Hoosiers, one, the vice president, the other, a presidential hopeful. Both in a feud over faith.

PENCE: The truth of the matter is that all of us have our own religious convictions. Pete has his convictions, I have mine.

DEAN: Vice President Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor, reacting to criticism from South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 20 Democratic hopeful, Pete Buttigieg.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not critical of his faith. I'm critical of bad policies. I don't have a problem with religion. I'm religious, too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LBGTQ community.

DEAN: Pence telling CNN's Dana Bash he doesn't have a problem with Buttigieg --

PENCE: I considered him a friend.

DEAN: -- but then taking a swipe at the rising Democratic star.

PENCE: I hope that Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith or attacks on the president as he seeks the highest office in the land.

DEAN: And to Buttigieg's larger point about Pence's beliefs regarding homosexuality, the vice president repeatedly would not answer if he thought being gay was a sin.

PENCE: I'm a Bible-believing Christian.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that belief that being gay is a sin?

PENCE: My wife and I are Bible-believing Christians. We cherish our faith.

BASH: And the idea of it being a sin to be gay?

PENCE: Dana, I'm a Bible-believing Christian. I draw my truth from God's word.

BASH: Buttigieg who's Episcopalian married husband Chasten in an Indiana church last year. He talks openly about his faith on the campaign trail.

BUTTIGIEG: When I talk about my faith, it's not because I believe it should be imposed on others, but it does guide me.

DEAN: Buttigieg lobbed the first volley and his back and forth with Pence during a CNN town hall with Jake last month.

BUTTIGIEG: How could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?

DEAN: He again went after the vice president last weekend in an LGBTQ fundraiser.

BUTTIGIEG: I wish the Mike Pence's of the world would understand if you got a problem with who I am your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir is with my Creator.

DEAN: This all goes back to 2015 when Pence was governor and Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend. Then Governor Pence backed the --

[04:25:00] DEAN: -- Religious Freedom Restoration Act which allowed businesses to cite religious freedom as a legal defense.

The backlash was intense as critics argued it can be used to discriminate against the LGBT community. In his book, Buttigieg called it "prejudice in the name of Christianity." Four years later, he's making the same argument.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm not interested in feuding with the vice-president, but if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he's changed his mind, that it shouldn't be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are. That's all.

DEAN: Buttigieg will be back in South Bend on Sunday for an event his campaign is billing as a special announcement where he's expected to officially enter the 2020 race -- Jessica Dean, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Speaking of discrimination, transgender Americans hoping to join the U.S. military will now face a major roadblock because of a controversial new policy now in effect.

Under the new rule, most openly transgender people will be barred from enlisting unless they serve under their birth sex. Critics call the policy bigoted but the Defense Department says it will continue to treat all people with respect. Officials say the policy does not affect transgender troops currently serving in the military.

In Washington, students of Georgetown University are trying to repay descendants of slaves who were once sold by the school. The students have voted on a new measure to get it done.

The referendum seeks to create a student fee that would generate about $400,000 a year. And that money would then be used to benefit the descendants of hundreds of slaves sold in 1838. The school's board of trustees needs to approve the bill first.

A new home for Julian Assange; he is now out of the Ecuadorian embassy but he is in British custody. Why the WikiLeaks founder is trying to avoid being extradited to the U.S. More about that. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:30:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ALLEN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.

(HEADLINES) ALLEN: A day after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested, one of his frequent collaborators is now also in custody. Ecuadoran officials arrested Ola Bini. The Swedish man is being held in an investigation into meddling into Ecuador's affairs by Assange and others.

On Thursday as you recall, Assange was arrested at Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has been holed up for almost seven years. The U.S. has charged him with conspiring to steal military secrets.

We're joined by now Salma Abdelaziz.

What do we know about the second arrest that occurred in Ecuador?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, we know his name is Ola Bini. He is a software developer who was living in Ecuador. He has known to come to London to visit Assange several times over the years at the Ecuadoran embassy here.

And Ecuadoran officials accuse him of meddling in the country's internal political affairs in an attempt to destabilize the government. This is, of course, an interesting offshoot, if you will, of the story but it is really a reflection of the larger question, why now, why after seven years of being holed up in that embassy, did Ecuadorian officials finally allow London police to arrest Julian Assange?

And the answer really lies on that relationship between Ecuador and Assange. Under the previous administration, the WikiLeaks founder had enjoyed protection and had been granted asylum and had even been given citizenship to Ecuador.

But the new president made clear he wanted Assange out. He called him an inherited problem. There were new rules imposed on Assange. He had to clean up after himself, he had to take better care of his cat, he couldn't have any visitors, he wasn't allowed access to the Internet.

Assange did not did well with these new rules and the situation inside the embassy became intolerable, according to Ecuadoran officials. They say he would ride around on his scooter, blare music, insult staff, act aggressively.

One official even said that he was smearing feces on the walls of the embassy. So really when we saw those images of Assange being dragged out on Thursday, looking disheveled with the long, gray beard, it was just a reflection of just how bad that situation had gotten inside the embassy.

ALLEN: Right. I mean seven years holed up in one building.

So what is next for Assange and any word on his condition?

ABDELAZIZ: He has really gone from one confined space to another. Of course, he spent those seven years in the embassy here in London and now he is in a prison. It is believed that he is in East London, a maximum security prison, where high-profile suspects including terror suspects are often held. We don't know his exact conditions but you can only imagine that, spending those days and months coming in that prison, if that is the case will be difficult for him, especially after the confinement in the embassy.

And really he is facing here three potential legal battles. One in the U.K. essentially for skipping bail, which a judge found him guilty of on Thursday. That holds a potential sentence of 12 months. The second legal battle, a potential extradition to the United States for charges of computer intrusion --

[04:35:00]

ABDELAZIZ: -- essentially a legal term meaning hacking. And that, of course, is about his conspiring with then U.S. officer Chelsea Manning to hack into U.S. databases and steal U.S. military secrets.

And then there is the third legal battle, which is Sweden. Swedish prosecutors have said that potentially they could bring back their extradition request, which had, of course, expired. So a lot to come here in this continuing story.

ALLEN: Julian Assange, it is such a major global story and, depending on what you think of him, he is either a villain or a hero to some. Salma Abdelaziz, thank you so much, we'll see you again.

The president and former vice president of South Sudan had a dramatic meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. They were at a spiritual retreat on Thursday aimed at ending the violence that has plagued their country. The pope appealed to the leaders to respect the peace deal they signed to end the country's civil war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): And to the three of you who have signed the peace agreement, I ask you as a brother, stay in peace.

ALLEN (voice-over): And then this: the pope knelt down and kissed the feet of the two former rivals in a gesture of peace and reconciliation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Coming up here, he is the son of a law enforcement officer and the suspect in the arson fires of three historically black churches in Louisiana. We'll tell you what led officials to him as we come back here.

Also ahead, the southern U.S. bracing for impact from a stream of severe storms. Find out where they will hit first and where they are heading. Derek Van Dam will have that for us.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:40:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ALLEN: Police in Louisiana have charged the 21-year-old son of a local sheriff's deputy with three counts of arson of a religious building. Three historically black churches were set alight over 10 days. CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell picks up the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: This is what is left of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church here in Opelousas, Louisiana, the last scene to be released by investigators in a case involving fires at three predominantly African American churches in the area.

This church is over 100 years old. And it is now left in rubble. Nothing is salvageable. Authorities believe this is the work of a 21- year-old local resident, the son of a sheriff's deputy, who conducted not only this attack but the two others.

In law enforcement investigations, arsons are among the most difficult to investigation because oftentimes evidence can be consumed in the fire, left in ashes. However, it was in this sanctuary that authorities got their big break. They found remnants of a gas can that the suspect purchased at a local store, along with cloth and a lighter, using his own debit card.

For his part, he faces three charges of arson. Left unsaid is whether this will be deemed a federal hate crime. Investigators tell us that investigation continues.

We spoke to the local pastor who says that although the perpetrator's goal may have been to divide, he has actually united them and that it's their faith that is getting them through. He tells us this church will be rebuilt -- Josh Campbell, CNN, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Such a waste in that story.

(WEATHER REPORT)

[04:45:00]

ALLEN: Some people in Sudan are celebrating after two of the nation's controversial leaders are out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN (voice-over): Cheers erupted after the head of Sudan's military transitional announced he was stepping down. The lieutenant governor took on the role the day before when the long-term dictator Omar al- Bashir was ousted. The ruling military council plans to stay in control for at least two years to oversee transition of power. But protesters want a civilian government now. CNN's Farai Sevenzo is joining us from Nairobi. He has been watching this unfold.

Citizens remain defiant over what they want with the citizen government.

Is the current government listening?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The real problem is that the current government, no matter what clothes they wear or what words they may say, are superseded to be from the military. Late last night we had incredible drama here on the Sudan front.

The head of the military council went on national television to announce that he is stepping down in favor of yet another former military man, Lt. Gen. Abdul Fattah Burhan. And, of course, the situation has not helped to dissipate the tension around the departure of al-Bashir.

Just consider this for example. Since Bashir left, 13 people died. We're getting reports now that 16 have died. Unconfirmed reports that prison inmates in -- this is not all in Khartoum, the capital. These were widespread protests, that three inmates in prison were killed, yet unconfirmed.

But the tensions are very high. And first thing the military council did was impose a one-month curfew from 10:00 at night to 4:00 in the morning. That's been rigorously flouted all over the place, for the last 48 hours.

In that flouting of this curfew law, guns were going off. So we're very concerned about just how much casualties occurred overnight after the people in their protests got rid of not one leader but two leaders.

ALLEN: So many people on the streets and so hope this can remain peaceful. That is not good news that you shared with us there. But let's talk about the people that stay in the streets and want change.

We've seen females in the crowd. We saw one female standing on top of a car, protesting. And she went viral. And a lot of these are young people, that this is a system that they don't want to take into their lives there in Sudan. Talk about that.

SEVENZO: Absolutely. This has been an overwhelmingly youthful revolution. Bashir was 75 when he was forced to leave. But all the universities in Sudan are closed. Most of them are under 30. Most have known no other leader. Yes, that was a very iconic picture of that woman and she is all over Sudan. The CNN team found her yesterday and we're waiting for the footage to come in.

And it is impossible to believe that such youth and such exuberance for freedom. But they have set an example for the rest of Sudan. And what is amazing, the videos that I've been watching this week, of gunfire over their heads, facing every day and yet they go back to the military headquarters. It is an astounding kind of a standoff. But as I say, in a piece

later on today, I'm afraid I can only see one winner in this and that is the people.

ALLEN: All right. We'll continue to watch it closely. We appreciate your reporting and your insights for us. It is tremendous what is happening and we so hope it goes the citizens' way. Farai Sevenzo, thanks.

This next story, I think you'll like it. A rookie cop goes above and beyond to help a bullied child.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We weren't going to let a 9-year old not have a party.

ALLEN (voice-over): What the officer did to turn a lonely birthday into a celebration to remember. That is coming next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:50:00]

(SPORTS)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ALLEN: Talk about going beyond the call of duty. In Michigan, a 9- year-old boy was afraid that no one would show up to his birthday party. So a rookie cop stepped in. Miguel Marquez has our story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OFFICER AUSTIN LYNEMA, GRAND RAPIDS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Happy birthday, OK?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grand Rapids police officer Austin Lynema and 9-year-old Thomas Daniel, fast friends.

LYNEMA: I might be bringing you more gifts later but I'll see you Sunday for the other birthday party, OK?

MARQUEZ: Officer Lynema, 22 years old and six months on the job, saw a 9-year old in need, capturing it all on bodycam video.

LYNEMA: You live in this building?

I was going to a call on Kendall Street and saw Thomas running down the sidewalk trying to catch up to his bus, crying.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So you knew immediately that he was in distress. LYNEMA: Yes.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Thomas, along with his mom and brother who immigrated from Tanzania, was devastated.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Why were you so worried about missing the bus?

THOMAS DANIEL, NINE YEARS OLD: Because I missed school and really, I want to go to school and do my work and have fun.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Thomas loves school, never missing a day.

LYNEMA: Mom wasn't able to take Thomas to school -- she doesn't have a car -- so I asked if it was OK if I brought Thomas to school and she told me it was. And once we showed up at school all my lights were on and everything like that for them, so --

MARQUEZ (on camera): The whole works?

LYNEMA: Yes, everything -- yes. He was all grins.

You want to take a look at them?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Lynema also learned this wasn't an ordinary day. It was Thomas' birthday. LYNEMA: Thomas confided in me that he didn't think that anybody else would show up to his birthday party because he was being bullied at school. He invited his entire class.

What time is your birthday party going to be?

MARQUEZ: Lynema and his partner decided on a surprise of their own.

LYNEMA: I ring the doorbell and he comes out of his balcony and sees me and my partner. He comes downstairs and gives me and my partner a hug.

And so we asked him, hey, where's everybody else at? Where's the birthday cake? Nobody showed up and there's no cake.

Go enjoy those donuts.

MARQUEZ: The next day, Lynema and fellow officers went the extra mile.

LYNEMA: I was able to get permission to get Krispy Kreme donuts for him, personalized "Happy Birthday," a Grand Rapids police goody bag that had shirts, hats, stickers -- you know, all the works for him.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So you guys gave him a party?

LYNEMA: Absolutely, yes. We weren't going to let a 9-nine-year-old not have a party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This will make you smile, Annie and Janice.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The story made the news and now, cards -- LYNEMA: "Thomas, hope your ninth birthday is your best year yet."

MARQUEZ: -- and gifts have turned up from across the country.

LYNEMA: What's in there? Walkie-talkies?

DANIEL: Walkie-talkies.

LYNEMA: Walkie-talkies? All right.

DANIEL: Cool.

LYNEMA: Now, you and your brother can talk like cops.

MARQUEZ: Officer Lynema and Thomas, friends today, possibly partners down the road.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What do you want to be when you grow up?

DANIEL: A Grand Rapids police.

MARQUEZ: Do you, really? DANIEL: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Are you just saying that because he's standing here?

DANIEL: No. I really want to be a policeman and a dad.

LYNEMA: You need help? All right.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Lynema, from a family of public servants, driven to go above and beyond, helping a young man and his family as they begin their American dream -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: So never say all the news is bad. How about that one? So heartwarming. We'll continue right after this, another hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

[05:00:00]