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U.S. Intel: Russia Trying to Help Sanders Campaign; Warren Takes Aim at Bloomberg's Misogyny; Nevada Caucuses; Coronavirus Outbreak; Cooper versus Blago; Weinstein Trial; Trump to Visit India; Six Countries Added to Immigration Ban. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired February 22, 2020 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We're hours away from a critical election battle. We're learning, also, that Vladimir Putin has not just one but two favorite picks, yes, in the U.S. election.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Coronavirus cases surge. A sharp increase outside of China. CNN is live on the streets of Seoul, South Korea.

ALLEN (voice-over): And a bizarre case that has much of this country riveted. The two children from the U.S. state of Idaho have been missing for five months and since their disappearance, their mom has remarried, fled to Hawaii and now she's been arrested.

We'll have that story from Hawaii. She's never said where her children are. So we'll see where this case goes now.

HOWELL (voice-over): It is an interesting case.

We are live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: Early morning stateside, 5:01 here on the East Coast. And voters will soon head to the polls in Nevada for the caucuses in that state.

ALLEN: Yes. And it comes on the heels of U.S. intelligence officials sounding the alarm that Russia is already meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.

Intelligence officials say the Kremlin is not only working to help President Trump get re-elected, it's also helping to help senator Bernie Sanders secure the Democratic nomination. President Trump is back at the White House now. Earlier in the day, he spoke at a campaign rally where he dismissed the report.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see these phonies. These -- the do nothing Democrats. They said today that Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected. Here we go again. Here we go again.

Did you see it?

A story.

Aren't people bored?


ALLEN: Bernie Sanders was also in the campaign trail. He said he had a message to Russia: stay out of American elections. Our reporters are in Las Vegas keeping an eye out for the latest from all the candidates. Ryan Nobles is traveling with Bernie Sanders. MJ Lee is with Elizabeth Warren and Vanessa Yurkevich has been following the Buttigieg campaign. Let's start with Ryan.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator Bernie Sanders confirming a report from "The Washington Post" on Friday that he received an intelligence briefing that said Russian actors were trying to intervene in the 2020 election on his behalf. But Sanders made it clear, he is not interested in any help from Vladimir Putin.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Putin is a thug. He's an autocrat. He may be a friend of Donald Trump. He's not a friend of mine.

Let me tell Mr. Putin, the American people, whether you're Democrats, Republicans or independents, are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections.

The intelligence community has been very clear about it, whether Trump recognizes it or not or acknowledges or not, they did interfere in 2016.

The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign right now in 2020. And what I'll say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me, you are not going to be interfering in American elections.


NOBLES: This is not the first time that intelligence officials have deduced that Mr. Sanders might be getting help from Russia. The Mueller report stated, in 2016, Russian bots were attempting to help Sanders as well.

But the Sanders team makes it clear that they believe this is not necessarily about helping the senator himself but sowing discord in the Democratic primary and perhaps the leak of this information was designed to hurt his chances in the upcoming Nevada caucuses and into the Democratic primary and beyond.

Still Sanders making it clear that he believes this intelligence report and also, that if he were to be elected president, he would take great steps to prevent Russia from intervening in elections in the future -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.



MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael Bloomberg continues to get heat for allegations of sexist and misogynistic behavior. This was an issue that he was asked about during the last debate here in Las Vegas.

He was particularly pressed hard about this by senator Elizabeth Warren, who pressed him a couple of times to release anybody who might have gone into nondisclosure agreements with him, to release them from those contractual agreements.


LEE: On the debate stage, Michael Bloomberg said that he didn't want to do that, that he saw these as consensual agreements. But today, he reversed course on that and he announced, through his campaign, that they have identified three cases of nondisclosure agreements involving comments that he, allegedly, made.

And we had a chance, actually, to catch up with Senator Elizabeth Warren soon after Bloomberg's campaign made that news. She told CNN that she is not satisfied with this development. Take a listen.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Michael Bloomberg needs to do a blanket release so that all women who have been muzzled by nondisclosure agreements can step up and tell their side of the story in terms of what Michael Bloomberg has done.

If he wants to be the Democratic nominee and he wants to be the President of the United States, then he's going to have to be fully transparent on this issue. We can't have a leader of our party who selectively decides who gets to tell about their history with him.


LEE: And Senator Warren, of course, is looking to get a boost from that strong debate performance ahead of the Nevada caucuses. A reminder that she is going to be spending the evening in Seattle, Washington. This is just one more reminder that so many of the candidates are now looking forward to the March contest -- MJ Lee, CNN, Las Vegas.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: The caucuses here in Nevada are set to get underway in just a few hours. And Pete Buttigieg knows just how well he has to do with black and Latino voters. He hasn't polled as well with this key electorate here in Nevada.

But I asked him in an interview if a good showing here in Nevada and in South Carolina is critical to keeping his campaign going.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Iowa and New Hampshire were an opportunity to demonstrate, not just claim, that we were putting together a campaign that could succeed in urban areas, rural areas, conservative and more Democratic areas.

But it's in Nevada and South Carolina that there's an opportunity to demonstrate that with a much more racially diverse set of voters.


YURKEVICH: But Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg both have the cash on hand in order to keep going through Super Tuesday. One of the issues that the mayor is facing is raising more money.

So a strong performance here in Nevada, just like he had in Iowa and in New Hampshire, could mean that fundraising bump that he needs in order to keep his campaign competitive -- Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Henderson, Nevada.


HOWELL: Now Inderjeet Parmar joins us with perspective. He is a professor of international politics at City University of London, live this hour in our London bureau.

Good to have you.


HOWELL: We know that money matters, certainly, in the coming weeks and the candidates that can't cross that hurdle, they start to fall off. So here's a look at the latest landscape, a snapshot to show you where things stand now. Bernie Sanders well on top there. Joe Biden coming in behind him. Pete Buttigieg rounding out the list on third.

Talk to us about the pressure now that Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Warren face to try to break through and be viewed as an alternative to Biden or Bernie.

PARMAR: Well, that's the really big, big question now, is the clarification of the center of the party or the right of center of the party. The candidates are fighting among themselves really for that kind of poll position. It's very unclear at the moment. And Biden, clearly, is down compared with the others. But I think in

the next two states of Nevada and South Carolina, in particular, he is likely to make a bigger comeback. But even in those states, particularly South Carolina, he's lost probably 10 digit -- 10 percent of the polling that he had previously.

So the big contest, really, is among that group of people. And -- but Bernie Sanders continues to go ahead and continue to lead. And he seems to be building major inroads into African American and Latino communities as well, to add to the youth and to the women vote as well supporting him.

And then funding his campaign with $18 donations, as well.

HOWELL: You touch on this here. But to drive that question further, Democrats here really deciding whether they will rally behind a centrist candidate or a left-of-center option.

Depending upon which way voters go here, do you see the party coming together effectively enough, either way, to compete against the U.S. president and his base of support?

PARMAR: I think in -- you know, you mentioned in your package, 2016 and Russian interference and so on and how Bernie Sanders said actually it's trying to sow discord.


PARMAR: And I think that kind of earthquake which took place under party politics in that year, for a number of domestic reasons, I think it's continuing.

So I think that polarization or the collapse of the center, which occurred in 2016 with President Trump or Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders' levels of support is continuing and has intensified.

The issue now is, of course, what kind of convention are we likely to have in the summer?

And is the Democratic Party going to be unified?

I am not quite sure about that. We will we'll see today in South Carolina and then Super Tuesday as well.

But it just seems to be that, whatever the outcome of the convention and of the election, that earthquake and the tremors which have followed it, I don't think they're going to go away. Because there are fundamental questions about the nature of American society, economy and politics, which have been raised there.

And I don't think they're going to go away regardless of who wins in November.

HOWELL: You know, we show these pictures of rallies at different campaign events. But the truth of the matter, to your point, a lot of family, a lot of friends, they don't talk about it because the divisions here stateside are quite deep.

To the reporting that Russia is interfering to support both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, the two reacted in very different ways. Mr. Trump saying it's a hoax. He says here we go again.

Bernie Sanders, though, stating quite plainly, he is no friend of Vladimir Putin.

Given this news and how we've seen the U.S. president respond to it or try to brush it away, does this in any way undermine Bernie Sanders' momentum as he now has the lead?

PARMAR: I think it could do because, well, there is two things. The Democratic National Committee and the Democratic leadership is clearly very, very worried about the Sanders campaign.

Sanders is challenging the very fundamentals of the Democratic Party's kind of underlying governing concept, its donation base in big corporations and so on. And he is threatening a greater level of state intervention, higher levels of taxation and corporate regulation.

I think that challenges the nature of the Democratic Party from at least the 1990s. So that's one thing.

Second thing is anything to kind of deflect from Sanders could damage his campaign. And I think the Russian interference issue is one of those. And, quite frankly, you know, we've had now three, four years of this. And I am not sure that we've even established that there was any major impact in 2016 and let alone in 2020 of any kind of interference.

And I think it really goes to, it has much any other implications. If anybody is critical of established ways of thinking of American politics.

And, of course, it tries to silence some of those voices who argue that, well, the reason why Russia behaves the way it does is because NATO expanded into what was formerly Soviet territory and threatened Russian security.

So there is a whole number of different kinds of issues raised but it could damage Sanders' campaign and I suspect that, for some people, would be a happy outcome.

HOWELL: Inderjeet, thank you.

Early voting has been underway, again, in Nevada. The caucuses there. And now, the big event is near. Tune in on Saturday at 2:00 pm Eastern time. That is 7:00 pm in London, 8:00 pm in Berlin, for special coverage of the caucuses and the results, only here on CNN.

ALLEN: The coronavirus may be gaining a foothold outside of Mainland China. South Korea has seen an explosive growth in the number of infections. We take you live to Seoul for the very latest coming up.

HOWELL: Plus, more on the arguments American health and diplomatic officials had about bringing the Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers back home. Stay with us.





HOWELL: It is troubling to point this out. But China's death toll continues to rise from the coronavirus. That virus also continues to spread. The second death has now been reported in Italy. And 10 more cases of infection have been found in Iran, which has resulted in five deaths there.

ALLEN: Well, one of the most troubling spots outside of China is South Korea. Members of a large religious group there account for a huge spike in infections, more than 400 cases in just the past week.

HOWELL: And in the coming hours, a team with the World Health Organization is due to arrive in Wuhan, China, the capital of Hubei province. That province is where most of the 76,000 infections have been located. Of the more than 2,300 deaths so far, all but 15 have been in China. Most have been in Hubei.

ALLEN: Well, we have the latest this hour from China and South Korea. Our Ivan Watson is in Seoul, South Korea. CNN's Blake Essig standing by in Yokohama.

Ivan, let's start with you in the South Korean capital. This has to be chilling news.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. The spike in coronavirus confirmed cases, it's more than doubled in the last 36 hours to at least 433 confirmed infections. So far, South Korea has seen two people pass away as a result of this disease.

One of the most recent bits of news we've gotten is that Samsung, South Korea's largest corporation, has confirmed that one of its employees from one of its manufacturing compounds has, in fact, tested positive for coronavirus. And Samsung, in a statement, said it would be taking measures for disinfection and containment of the disease.

One of the biggest areas, cluster areas, of infection has been the central city of Daegu. And in particular, one religious group that was holding prayer meetings there, the Shincheonji religious group, where nearly half of all the infections are thought to be linked to that group.


WATSON: And to religious meetings that were taking place in Daegu, prompting the ministry of health and welfare to say it was calling for self-isolation of more than 9,000 members of this religious organization while also testing hundreds of people for coronavirus. It has also spread to the South Korean military. At least four members

of the military confirmed to have coronavirus, prompting the ministry of defense to cancel all vacation and leave of its service members.

And that's prompted concern for the U.S. military, which maintains tens of thousands of personnel in South Korea, though no confirmed cases yet. The U.S. military has issued orders for its troops not to leave military installations. And it is screening people stepping onto those military installations -- George and Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. Ivan Watson for us there in Seoul. Thank you.

HOWELL: And now, live to Yokohama, Japan. CNN's Blake Essig is following the story there.

Blake, after a two-week quarantine, a handful of passengers still waiting to get off the Diamond Princess cruise ship there.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. George, at last count, there are actually only 31 passengers still on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. That's compared to about 920-plus crew members who are still on board the ship.

And, you know, the concern with these passengers continuing to come off is the effectiveness of the quarantine. You have infectious disease specialists, residents here in Japan, all calling into question the potential effectiveness.

That all being said, Japan stands by the quarantine that was in place. People who have been disembarking over the past four days have been issued a letter, saying that they have tested negative. They served their quarantine, 14 days, and they are free to move about the country.

Actually, had the chance to catch up with one of those passengers just yesterday just a few hours after she got off the ship to talk about the challenges and the stigma associated with being a passenger on board the Diamond Princess.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There is a lot of stigma. I have my elderly mother at the hospital and she was about to be released. When I explained my situation, they offered to extend my mother's stay. And they requested me not to come.

ESSIG: Did you feel safer while you were on the ship versus being back here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I hear stories like the people won't go to the clinic because they don't want to be recognized as a coronavirus patient. And are trying to cure themselves at home. So it's more scary to be back on land.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ESSIG: And, George, that sentiment was shared by several people that we've talked to, the idea that, on board the ship, people are tested; negative tests, you get off the ship. Here in Japan, Tokyo, Yokohama, people who might have symptoms may not go get tested. So it's very uncertain if, you know, on land here, who has it, who might not.

HOWELL: That uncertainty is the worst part for sure. Blake Essig live for us in Yokohama, Japan, Blake, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: Well, here in the United States, we are hearing about wrangling behind the scenes between the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department.

HOWELL: It's all about how Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship should have been brought back to the United States. And as CNN's Brian Todd reports, there is a great deal of criticism to go around on this one.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A rising toll of coronavirus in America. More than 30 cases now confirmed. Sacramento reporting a new case, someone who recently traveled to China.

The new numbers reported as U.S. officials deal with continuing fallout over their decision to airlift more than a dozen Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers, who had tested positive for coronavirus, on the same planes with passengers who were not infected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you make those kind of complicated decisions, there are going to be different perspectives that are brought to the table.

TODD (voice-over): Officials responding to a "Washington Post" report saying the Centers for Disease Control did not want to fly the infected passengers on the same planes as noninfected people. But the State Department did. And that after arguments, the State Department got its way.

Two planes with infected and noninfected passengers in the same cabins flew from Japan to the U.S. earlier this week. State Department officials didn't deny there was disagreement, saying there was a, quote, "robust interagency discussion."

DR. WILLIAM WALTERS, STATE DEPARTMENT: At the end of the day, the State Department had a decision to make, informed by our interagency partners and we went ahead and made that decision.


WALTERS: And the decision, I think, was the right one in bringing those people home.

TODD (voice-over): U.S. officials say those airlifted passengers who had tested positive were not showing coronavirus symptoms at the time of the flights and that they were segregated from noninfected passengers.

But noninfected people on the evacuation flights also have criticized the decision. Cheryl and Paul Molesky, without symptoms, were concerned about sharing the plane with those suspected of being infected.

CHERYL MOLESKY, QUARANTINED PASSENGER: They were put in a -- in an area towards the back of the plane. And -- but they were just kind of like wrapped in plastic. We had to walk past there to go to the bathroom. Our food was in the back of the plane.

TODD (voice-over): The Moleskys are now in 14-day quarantine at a base in Texas. One public health expert believes the State Department bungled this.

ERIC FEIGL-DING, PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT: I think even if you keep passengers separated in a tarp, it is not an airtight, biolab safe environment in terms of segregating the air and all the potential exposures. It would have been much more prudent to keep them completely on separate planes or fly them back separately at a later date.

TODD (voice-over): Eighteen of the more than 30 confirmed coronavirus patients in the U.S. are from that Diamond Princess voyage, which experts say has been nothing short of disastrous.

FEIGL-DING: I think the ship was just the perfect petri dish for spreading this virus. Passengers were also in inner cabins, sharing the same ventilation as people in the rest of the ship, even though they were isolated. And a lot of the crew were working elbow to elbow, sharing the same kitchen. They were all sharing the same buffet line.

TODD : And State Department officials, out with a new warning saying that Americans should reconsider taking cruises in Asia for a while, are now saying, flat-out to Americans if you are in Asia and you think you might be sick, don't expect any more repatriation flights back to the U.S., that that's not their standard practice.

They didn't say if that new warning was a result of the internal fight between officials over flying back infected patients from the cruise ship -- Brian Todd, CNN Washington.


ALLEN: Certainly would have been unsettling for the folks on that airplane.

HOWELL: Not to know, yes.

ALLEN: Next here, U.S. intelligence officials warn that Russia is already meddling in the U.S. presidential election not only to help President Trump but also a Democratic candidate. We're live from Moscow with that when we come back.





HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.


ALLEN: Well, let's bring in our Moscow bureau chief, Nathan Hodge. He is following the developments from there.

Nathan, hello.

NATHAN HODGE, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Hi, Natalie. We've been following this and waiting just to see what the Russian reaction is going to be to the latest revelation about the support for the Sanders campaign and what kind of form that may have taken.

But if we have learned anything in the past, we can expect more denials from the Russian government, from the Kremlin. Yesterday, in response to the latest revelations that the Trump campaign was going to be the recipient of Russian meddling and support, this latest report's about what U.S. intelligence officials have been briefing.

A Kremlin spokesperson, yesterday, called these paranoid messages. Now this is kind of playing from the same script that we've seen in the past. The Russians have consistently denied, Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that his country does not interfere and will not interfere in the elections of other countries.

But it's also important to recall how some of these denials have been less than enthusiastic. President Putin said he thought, for instance, the 2016 DNC hack, it wasn't important to know who did it.

But most important, that that information got out there. In other words, information that called into question the American democratic process and the fairness of the democratic process.

And that's what we've really learned from the Mueller probe, for instance, on Russian meddling. The aim of a lot of this has been these disinformation and media and propaganda campaigns is sow discord within American society and deepen divisions within the American electorate.

And I think again because we've seen both warnings about support by the Russians for both Sanders and for Trump, that this seems to be the same kind of strategy that could be at play here as well -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. And the other strange part of this story is that President Trump just doesn't believe it's happening. Nathan Hodge for us in Moscow. Nathan, thank you. HOWELL: One of the biggest concerns for Nevada Democrats is to make

sure votes are counted properly.

Now that might seem like a given, right?

But here's the thing: after the botched caucuses in Iowa, it is a real concern. Those results are still in dispute.

ALLEN: Yes. In Nevada, the turnout was high in the state's four days of early voting. But that's also adding to possible complications. CNN's Dianne Gallagher breaks it down for us.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looks like Nevada's first ever early voting in a caucus is paying off with huge numbers.

But will it make getting results more complicated?

The Nevada Democratic Party nearly 75,000 participated in the first ever early caucusing, nearly the total number of voters in the 2016 caucus, when roughly 84,000 people participated on caucus day.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): In 2008, 118,000 Nevadans caucused in the Democratic race. And while the party celebrated the high turnout, it adds to the uncertainty of whether Nevada is ready for Saturday or if it will be a repeat of the Iowa fiasco, where final results are still pending.

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Our goal is to have a successful caucus and we provide multiple sets of eyes and ears and wisdom Democrat and observations and lessons learned from Iowa so that we can be successful here in Nevada.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Volunteer Seth Morrison raised a red flag early in the training process. Now he's more optimistic, saying things are getting better but worried about lingering issues.

SETH MORRISON, DEMOCRATIC PARTY VOLUNTEER: One is we still don't know any details of the back office, of how the early votes were tabulated, how this tool works. Second of all, there is a massive shortage of volunteers.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The Democrats are scrambling to train caucus volunteers, adding 55 additional training sessions. Volunteers can also try out the much talked about caucus calculator, which Morrison says is user friendly.

MORRISON: The tool is very well designed. It is very intuitive.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): But he does see potential problems for people who aren't familiar with iPads.

MORRISON: Somebody who has not used that kind of technology would find it challenging.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): These slides replicate what CNN saw during a party hosted demo of the calculator. It did not allow our cameras to film the demo. It will have pre-loaded early vote information which will be combined with the choices of people there to determine the winners and losers through two rounds.

The backup if the calculator doesn't work is tedious, a likely lengthy process and manually searching a paper list of early voters' ranked choices. But the chair of the Democratic National Committee says that he believes everything will be smooth sailing come Saturday.

PEREZ: I'm very confident that we have thought of every contingency.

GALLAGHER: Not long after we finished our interview, Seth Morrison went to collect his supplies for his caucus site and was told that he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. A Nevada state party Democratic official tells me that it is standard practice to have their staffers and volunteers sign NDAs because they are privy to strategic information.

But Morrison didn't feel comfortable doing it because it was broad in its language, prohibiting him from speaking to the media at all and also from disparaging the party. He refused to sign it. They offered him a lower level position, he says, that would not require an NDA to be signed.

But Morrison said no thanks and he quit. So Seth Morrison will not be a site lead come caucus time on Saturday -- Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Las Vegas.


HOWELL: Dianne, thank you.

The former governor of the state of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, spoke to CNN after being pardoned by the U.S. president. What he had to say -- ahead.

ALLEN: Also we'll find out why police in Idaho want to talk with the mother of two missing children. The mother arrested on a vacation in Hawaii.





ALLEN: The prime minister of Lesotho was a no show for his court date Friday, where he was expected to be charged with the murder of his former wife.

HOWELL: The former first lady was killed in 2017, two days before the prime minister's inauguration. His current wife has already been charged for allegedly ordering to kill -- ordering the killing, rather, and is on bail.

ALLEN: His office says he went to South Africa because of a medical emergency and will appear in court after his health improves. But a senior aide told the CNN the prime minister had been healthy just the night before and was surprised he did not appear.

HOWELL: The former governor of the state of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was recently pardoned by the U.S. president Trump. He was convicted of a string of charges, including wire fraud, attempted extortion and conspiracy to solicit bribes.

ALLEN: The commutation of his prison sentence has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans in Illinois familiar with his record. Blagojevich sat down with our Anderson Cooper earlier to plead his case for clemency.


ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: I am a political prisoner. I was put in prison for practicing --

I am a political prisoner. I was put in prison for practicing politics --



You're a political prisoner?

Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner. Political prisoners have no undue process and are unjustly jailed, you had a jury convict you.

You had appeals courts looked at your sentencing and you even try -- you even appealed to the Supreme Court twice and they refused to hear you. So you're hardly a political prisoner.

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, first of all, Nelson Mandela went before a court. He was convicted in a court of law. I had --


COOPER: By a racist segregationist -- right, by a racist apartheid government.

BLAGOJEVICH: That's correct.

COOPER: And not a jury of his peers.

BLAGOJEVICH: But if you were to ask him -- I bet if you were to ask Nelson Mandela whether he thought the process was fair back in the early '60s in South Africa, he would say what I'm saying today --

I didn't know how corrupt the criminal justice system was until it did it to me and that was a wake-up call.

Having said that, I want to say one thing about me as governor -- when the cases came to me and I was given files about people who were seeking clemency or pardons, I acted appropriately.


COOPER: Actually, no, they sat on your desk and that's why you were sued. I mean, that is the case.

BLAGOJEVICH: But I did clemencies and I did pardons. I didn't do nearly enough. It wasn't a priority. I would acknowledge that.

I didn't go to the office every day doing that. Instead I was giving health care to all the children, free public transportation to our seniors and to the disabled.

COOPER: Actually, you were holding up money to hospitals in order to get campaign contributions but what, listen, Governor --

BLAGOJEVICH: See, that's -- that's a business lie. They got $8 million from me and I was sent to prison --


COOPER: They got it after you had left. They got it after you had left.

BLAGOJEVICH: I promised -- I ordered it before that happened and it did -- they got it while I was governor. That is not factual.

COOPER: OK. Governor Blagojevich, I do wish you the best. I really am glad for your family that you're out and I --

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't know -- by the way, you were asking me questions. I'm sorry, Anderson. I appreciate you having me on. Yes.


COOPER: But just honestly, I just -- look, I have no problem with you getting out. I think, you know, the president can commute whoever he wants. I just think -- I wish you're besmirching prosecutors who actually -- who are no longer in government.

But you know, prosecutors are important in our system and you were going after the very basis of our justice system which has plenty of problems.

But you know, part of the thing is you got out, you do have an obligation to at least admit what you did wrong and you refuse to do that and you're creating a whole new alternate universe of facts and that may be big in politics today but it's still frankly just bullshit. We got to leave it there.


HOWELL: Anderson Cooper's interview earlier with Rod Blagojevich.

ALLEN: And we'll leave it there.


ALLEN: The judge is ordering the jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial to keep deliberating. This comes after the jury sent a note suggesting they may be deadlocked on the two most serious charges.

HOWELL: The movie producer has pleaded not guilty to first degree criminal sexual act, first degree rape, third degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault. Deliberations are set to resume on Monday morning.

Police in the U.S. state of Idaho want to question the mother of two missing children, who was arrested in Hawaii on Friday. Lori Vallow appeared in court after being arrested on multiple charges, including felony child desertion.

ALLEN: This is a bizarre case if you've been following it. Authorities in Idaho have been investigating the disappearance of her two children. They haven't been seen in five months. Since then, their mother remarried and fled to Hawaii with her new husband where they have been vacationing. Ashley Nagaoka from CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now has more.


JUSTIN KOLLAR, KAUAI PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: If ever there was a case suitable -- you know, our office does not request this on a regular basis, that a person be denied bail -- this is the case that's appropriate for that.

ASHLEY NAGAOKA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): After spending the night in a cell block and wearing the clothes she was arrested in yesterday, 46-year-old Lori Vallow stood in silence as Judge Kathleen Watanabe read the list of charges, which included two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, as well as resisting or obstructing officers.

Vallow's kids, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow, mysteriously disappeared in September. Her attorney, Dan Hempee (ph), requested the judge reduce her bail to $10,000, arguing that Vallow has a home on Kauai, is not a flight risk and not a danger to the public.

DAN HEMPEE (PH), VALLOW ATTORNEY: There is no life in prison or death penalty in this case. So she has a right to bail.

NAGAOKA (voice-over): He also wanted cameras banned from the courtroom because of heavy media coverage.

HEMPEE (PH): Seems like it was maybe a made for media event at taxpayer expense.

QUESTION: Can you tell us something about the children's welfare and if they're OK and if they're still alive?

NAGAOKA (voice-over): Vallow's new husband, Chad Daybell, showed up to the hearing to support his wife and ignored questions from the media. The couple has been living on Kauai since early December. Daybell has not been arrested.

TODD RAYBUCK, KAUAI POLICE CHIEF: We have not received any order that Chad Daybell is part of the investigation or at this time necessarily under arrest. We have no local charges or concerns that there's criminal activity that's occurred here on -- in Hawaii or on Kauai.

NAGAOKA (voice-over): The case has caused quite the commotion in this close-knit community, drawing supporters of the missing kids; 17-year- old Laila Waldman said she attended high school with Tylee Ryan when Tylee lived on Kauai.

LAILA WALDMAN, TYLEE RYAN'S CLASSMATE: I felt really sad because, at 17 years old, you have your whole life ahead of you.

NAGAOKA (voice-over): Waldman's mother says she can't imagine what she would do if her children were missing.

LISA LUCAS, LAILA'S MOTHER: I would be crying all day. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. And I would just be devastated. And I would be doing everything I possibly could to find my kids.


HOWELL: Just a note here, that CNN has made several attempts to reach out to Lori Vallow's attorney. But we haven't received a response.

ALLEN: Well, coming up, the Trump administration is planning to expand its travel ban. And a common theme is emerging. We look at how the new White House policy is affecting even the most successful of immigrants.






ALLEN: On Monday, Donald Trump arrives in India on his first-ever visit as U.S. president.

HOWELL: The president will open the world's largest cricket stadium, he'll open there. And on his way to this new, huge facility that you see right there.

ALLEN: On his way, he will pass by a new wall, which Indian officials say is meant for security. But it will also hide city slums.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The government could have spent that money in a way that is beneficial for the poor.

What is the point of spending thousands of rupees here in building this wall and hiring workers?


HOWELL: During his two-day visit, Mr. Trump and the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will likely discuss tariffs.

Starting this weekend, it could be a lot harder for citizens of six more countries to apply for immigration visas to the U.S.

ALLEN: They have been added to President Trump's initial travel ban. The White House says the list was expanded for security concerns.

Here is the map of the countries affected. The ones in yellow were banned back in 2018. The ones in red are the latest ones.

HOWELL: The six new countries all have significant Muslim populations. CNN's Nick Valencia spoke with a woman, who fears she will now have to leave the U.S. to be reunited with her husband.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since coming to America from Nigeria, it's been a long road for Folake Lawal. Nine years since moving here, she is now a U.S. citizen and living the life she has always wanted, as a doctor.

FOLAKE LAWAL, NIGERIAN PHYSICIAN: I got to the point where I felt defeated. But I'm Nigerian. You don't stay down.

VALENCIA (voice-over): But Lawal, along with thousands of others, are staring at a major hurdle. On February 21st, Nigeria was among the six countries placed on an expanded immigration ban list. Visas that could have led to permanent residency for people from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania also ended.

Critics call the latest ban an evolution to the president highly restrictive immigration policies. The new policy will impact millions of Africans, including potentially thousands from Nigeria.

It feels like punishment, which Lawal says doesn't make sense. Nigerians are among the most successful immigrants in the United States. But the Trump administration says security concerns led them to place the six countries, including Nigeria, on the latest ban list.

LAWAL: Our educational achievements and status doesn't count for anything. That's what it seems.


VALENCIA: It's not enough. LAWAL: Yes. It doesn't count.

VALENCIA: And you are saying that as a physician, with a specialty in infectious diseases.


VALENCIA: Now she worries her husband of three years, who is also a public health professional, won't be able to join her in the States. The couple plan to start a family.

LAWAL: A lot of fear. My phone is ringing off the hook.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Houston-based immigration attorney Ral Obioha says the new ban caught her off guard. She says dozens of her Nigerian clients have gone through the years-long legal process to bring their loved ones, only to get bad news just as they were in the home stretch.

VALENCIA: What's the probability that a waver is going to be and that an appeal is going to be accepted?

RAL OBIOHA, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It's very slim. It's very slim. The whole culture, there's so much to your economy.

VALENCIA (voice-over): People like Ibraheem Osanyin, who owns a Nigerian restaurant in Houston, sees a lot of irony in Trump's latest ban. Osanyin estimates half of the Nigerian Americans he knows support President Trump.

IBRAHEEM OSANYIN, NIGERIAN RESTAURATEUR: The Nigerian government needs to step up and do what they have to do to allow for the ban to be removed.

VALENCIA (voice-over): The Department of Homeland Security gave each country different criteria to get off the ban list.

For Nigeria, better identity management for its citizens and improved information sharing with the U.S.

For now, Lawal, like many others, will face the same dilemma: choose between their talented careers here or reunite with their family somewhere else. When we interviewed her, she was hours away from catching a flight to see her husband. Her goals are clear, even if the road towards them isn't.

LAWAL: That, sometimes, gives you some emotional turmoil, psychological turmoil because it's like, I can't move forward with this.

VALENCIA: Like your life is on pause right now.


VALENCIA (voice-over): Nick Valencia, CNN, Houston, Texas.


ALLEN: Thank you for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell. The news continues here on CNN.