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New Day Sunday

Sean Penn Met "El Chapo" For Secret Interview; Mexico Willing To Extradite "El Chapo" To U.S.; Trump Intensifies "Birther" Attack Against Cruz; Thousands Gather In Memoriam Of French Rally. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired January 10, 2016 - 06:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we will indeed be taking you there live, but we do want to wish you a good Sunday morning and let you know we are so grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

For millions of Powerball playing Americans, we are two of them.

PAUL: I know!

BLACKWELL: The dream is still alive.

PAUL: There was no winner in last night's Powerball. I don't know how that happened, but there was no winner which puts the new jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing at $1.3 billion. Yes, you heard that right, $1.3 with a "b"!

BLACKWELL: I'm sure that is going to go up. People are going to rush to those lines. Don't toss your ticket out yet because there are smaller prizes still likely out there. The winning numbers are 32, 16, 19, 57, 34, Powerball 13.

PAUL: Lucky number 13 obviously.

BLACKWELL: All right, new this morning, Mexican drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's story has become even more bizarre, if you didn't think it could. It sounds like a script straight out of Hollywood.

Oscar-winning actor, Sean Penn, met with Guzman in a Mexican jungle for a secret interview all while eluding authorities.

PAUL: So the reason for this elaborate scheme apparently was so Guzman could have a movie made about his life. We talked about that yesterday. Listen to a clip from that interview here and listen to his voice because this is a very rare moment here.

(VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: So we are going to air much more of that translated version in a moment for you. But we do want to get out to CNN's Nick Valencia, who is outside the prison where Guzman is being held this hour.

So Nick, how did Guzman and Sean Penn, this is one of the questions I've been seeing on social media a lot today, how did they connect?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just an incredibly bizarre twist to this already insane story, isn't it, Christi? The interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine conducted by Sean Penn, the actor and activist took place about three months after El Chapo's escape here from the Altiplano prison last summer.

It happened in the middle of Mexico in an undisclosed location in the middle of the jungle, we are told. Penn saying that he was able to contact El Chapo that this whole thing was brokered by a famous Mexican actress named Kate Del Castillo.

Del Castillo interestingly enough back in 2012 took to Twitter to voice her distrust for the Mexican government and her trust for El Chapo. It was that tweet apparently that built trust with the drug lord.

She continued communication with him since 2012 over years even while he was incarcerated and according to Penn it was that relationship that Del Castillo had built with El Chapo that allowed him to meet with the drug trafficker.

As we mentioned that interview was released last night on Take a listen to part of that clip.


[06:05:34]VALENCIA: An incredibly rare moment there. The first interview that El Chapo has done not in an interrogation room. He goes on in that interview to talk about how he entered the drug trade at 15 years old.

He was already in the marijuana fields helping farmers there at the age of 9 saying there was really no other outlet in the poor community other than to enter the drug trade.

So also, this morning, it's important to note, guys, that there are reports that Sean Penn and Kate Del Castillo are being investigated by the Mexican government. We are working to confirm those reports.

PAUL: Yes, a lot of questions online from people about the legality of this and whether there could be charges since he was so wanted and this was a clandestine meeting that was set up in some ways.

So we are going to talk about more of that in a moment, but I do want to ask you about this, Nick, the Mexican Attorney General's Office released a statement and I want to read it to you.

"Since Guzman Loera has been recaptured, the beginning of the extradition proceedings should begin." So does that mean there are steps being taken to get him to the U.S.?

VALENCIA: Yesterday, I spoke to a senior Mexican law enforcement source who told us that the extradition was very likely. We heard hours later officially from the Mexican Attorney General's Office that that extradition will happen.

There are reports that it could take months. Reuters is reporting that the extradition will happen perhaps sometime in the middle of this summer, later this year. We have yet to confirm that either.

We have calls out as well on that, but this is not going to be something that happens overnight. The Mexican government telling us that they don't want to release El Chapo right away.

They've just captured him. They don't -- we can only assume that they want to save a little bit of face here after recapturing him. Now he is back in custody and back in this Altiplano prison, awaiting extradition, it appears to the United States -- Christi.

PAUL: All right, hey, Nick, stick around for us here because we have got another conversation to be had.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let's bring in Paige Pate, who is a legal analyst and defense attorney here. We want to show you the dramatic video of the capture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

CNN crew went inside the hotel where Guzman was held while police waited for backup to arrive and police chased through the tunnels, the sewers there, before they captured him.

But now that he has been caught, Mexico is planning to extradite him to the U.S., as we heard. Listen to what Guzman's lawyer is saying.


JUAN PABLO BADILLO, EL CHAPO'S LAWYER (through translator): Mr. Guzman Loera should not have been extradited to the United States or any other country. What is the reason? Because Mexico has laws that are detailed in the general constitutional of the republic.


BLACKWELL: All right, Page Pate, is a criminal defense and constitutional attorney. Paige, let's start with, I think, what most people asking about and we will get to the extradition in just a moment.

Sean Penn and this actress, Kate Del Castillo they met with Guzman in October. What likely, if any, legal repercussions could they face?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Victor, I don't think they are likely in trouble at all. Normally, there is no problem if you simply meet with someone who is a fugitive. The issue becomes a problem if you give that person money, assistance or help them avoid the authorities.

So based on what I've heard at this point, all they did was meet Guzman and that is not enough to bring criminal charges.

BLACKWELL: All right, Paige, also we heard, you know, first from -- for the first time, from Guzman himself, the details of how he got into this running this cartel. Obviously he has been convicted of crimes and additional crimes for the escapes now.

Should we expect that there will be more charges to come or is he facing so much time that any additional charges would be negligible?

PATE: Right. I think at this point he is facing so much time that the addition of other charges will really make no difference either to his ultimate sentence or the extradition proceeding.

But there is still a lot of more work to be done. They can't simply put on him a plane at this point although the Mexican government has said they are willing to move forward with extradition that is not the end of all the story.

He still has a right, Guzman does, to challenge it in court. So while the government, the attorney general has said let's start moving forward with the process, we still have a long way to go before that process is complete.

BLACKWELL: Nick, let me come to you because this isn't about face for the Mexican government now beginning this extradition process. They wanted Guzman to serve his time in Mexico, even refusing some help from the U.S. to try to locate him after this latest escape. Why now this about-face?

[06:30:00]Is it hoping to avoid embarrassment in the future? Resignation that they cannot contain him inside Mexican prisons?

VALENCIA: I think it's all that, without saying as much, Victor. You know, initially when El Chapo was captured in early 2014, President Enrique Pena Nieto talked about it being an incredible sense of pride.

They wanted to go through the justice system here. They wanted to prosecute Guzman here and now this about-face, but interestingly enough the context of this.

In recent weeks, we have seen a lot of cooperation between the Mexican government and the U.S. government and some cooperation we have yet to see throughout this entire drug war here since 2006 when it really ramped up here in Mexico.

So I think that, you know, this is a significant step between the relationship, between the U.S. and Mexican government and, of course, a huge moment for the drug war and, of course, for the United States who is really, they are eager to have El Chapo back on U.S. soil.

They wanted to prosecute him here and obviously because of past instances and precedents they don't really have faith that the Mexican prison system can keep El Chapo behind bars.

BLACKWELL: Nick Valencia reporting for us live this morning, thank you so much. And Page Pate will stay with us throughout the morning. Thank you both.

All right, tomorrow night, CNN's Anderson Cooper sits down with Sean Penn to talk about his interview with Mexican drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Also coming up, thousands are gathered for a memorial service in Paris right now remembering those killed in the attacks on the offices of the controversial Paris magazine "Charlie Hebdo."

PAUL: Also Donald Trump ramping up his "birther" crusade against Ted Cruz.

BLACKWELL: And in the race for the White House, someone call it political incorrectness, Ted Cruz suggesting voters give Hillary Clinton a spanking.


SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In America, the voters have a way of administering spanking.




CRUZ: I feel confident that I'm never going to have a plane with my name painted on. You know, I'm not going to worry about what the other candidates do. I like every one of the other Republicans running.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted is a nice guy and I like him and he likes me. A lot of other people don't like him, by the way, I must tell you that, but I like him. Why do I like him? Because he has been very nice to me, all right?

But here is the problem. He's talking about natural born citizen. He was born in Canada. And I say to Ted -- as a Republican, I say, because I think it's very important. You got to get it straightened out.


[06:15:10]BLACKWELL: Well, the birther battle between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is heating up in Iowa. Just weeks to go until the caucuses. The Republican frontrunner continues to hammer Canadian- born Ted Cruz over his eligibility to be president.

CNN's MJ Lee is on the trail with the latest round of attacks from Trump.

MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump, on Saturday, training his fire on Ted Cruz, reviving the so-called birther issue, speaking to supporters here in Clear Lake, Iowa, Trump said because Cruz was born in Canada, that could raise some serious questions about his eligibility to be president. Here is what he said.


TRUMP: He was born in Canada. And I say to Ted -- and as a Republican, I say it, because I think it's very important. You got to get it straightened out because you cannot put somebody there, folks, that's going to go in and he is going to be immediately sued by the Democrats.

Because they are saying he was born in Canada. He is not allowed to run for president. And if there's that doubt, don't forget, these lawsuits -- who knows more about lawsuits than I do? I'm the king. I'm the king.

These lawsuits take two or three, four years. You can't have somebody running -- you cannot have somebody running and have a lawsuit and people have already said they are going to bring the lawsuit. They said if he gets the nomination they will bring in a lawsuit as to natural born citizenship.


LEE: Now this attack was a clear sign that Donald Trump understands that Ted Cruz is his biggest threat in the state of Iowa. We are about three weeks away from the Iowa caucuses and Trump gets that in order for him to bring up his poll numbers he needs to go on the offensive against Cruz.

In recent weeks, Trump has also raised questions about Cruz's stance on ethanol subsidies, an issue that is very important in this state where farming is a very big industry. It's looking increasingly like in Iowa it's going to be a two-man race between Trump and Cruz. Back to you.

PAUL: I want to give you a programming note here. Be sure to watch "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. Ted Cruz is his guest. It starts later this morning at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Well, it has been three years since the Georgia teenager was found dead, rolled up in a gym mat at his high school. Today, the family of Kendrick Johnson are still searching for answers.

PAUL: Also the public square in Paris is packed with people right now. French President Hollande is there as well; gathering for a moving tribute to the people who were killed in the Charlie Hebdo attacks one year ago today.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2016 I'm hoping that somebody, someone -- some people will be held accountable for Kendrick Johnson's murder.


BLACKWELL: Memorial events are happening this weekend in the South Georgia hometown of Kendrick Johnson. The 17-year-old was found three years ago today, dead in a rolled gym mat at his high school. He disappeared between classes the day before.

Local and state authorities ruled his death an accident. They say he suffocated when he got stuck in the mat while reaching for a shoe. A family's pathologist found evidence that it was a homicide. A federal probe has now begun its third year.

PAUL: Reinforcements moving in to join the ranchers protesting in Oregon now. They are still holed up in that building on an Oregon wildlife refuge. Now a group calling themselves the Idaho Sleeper Centers has arrived and they brought long guns with them saying, they plan to establish a buffer between law enforcement officers and the Ammon Bundy protesters.

BLACKWELL: As the Mississippi River swells from record rainfall, hunters are clearing the camps in New Orleans preparing for intentional flooding. You see the city is about to open spillway gates to bring the river's water level down and avoid flooding. They have opened the gates only 11 times in 85 years.

Ahead, remembering the victims. New this morning, Paris holds somber ceremonies for those who died in the terror attacks last year.

PAUL: And also ahead, on the heels of North Korea's nuclear test, the U.S. sends a message of its own. A live report from Pyongyang for you on what the Air Force did in support of South Korea and the reaction in the North.

BLACKWELL: But first, this week's "Culinary Journeys" takes U.S. to Istanbul where an innovative chef has traveled from Denmark to search for a fine pastry and other Turkish foods. Take a look at what he found.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Acclaimed Danish chef, Rene Redzepi, is in Turkey to explore one of the country's most loved sweet treats. It's a three-hour flight from Copenhagen to Istanbul.

The city is a fusion of traditions and cultures and spanning the continents of Europe and Asia. Istanbul's iconic landmarks decorate the city's skyline reminders of a rich and complex history that is reflected in its gastronomy.

(Inaudible) are amongst the savory street food staples while those with a passion for pastry may be tempted by the ever popular (inaudible).

RENE REDZEPI, DANISH CHEF: I've never been to Istanbul. My reason for coming here is food, of course. I always wanted to search out that number one childhood treat, which was the (inaudible). Thin layers of pastry, a nut paste in between, sugar, cinnamon and honey and where else to search for them in its supposedly birth country?

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The best way to appreciate Turkish cuisine is by eating, (inaudible), a spread of small dishes, which is at the heart of the culinary life here.

REDZEPI: Wow. This is pretty wild. I'm pretty overwhelmed.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Known as the laboratory of Anatolian cuisine, (inaudible) is the brain child of (inaudible), who travels the lengths and breadths of the region to preserve the gastronomy of Anatolia.

REDZEPI: Here I am from the cold north of Scandinavia. We eat one big plate of food and lots of it. Do people eat like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a saying that says first week, we get full with our eyes. Turks like to eat and talk about food so it's really, really present.

REDZEPI: It's the DNA?




BLACKWELL: That looks good. Watch the full show at



PAUL: It's 27 minutes past the hour right now. Parisians are marking a somber anniversary in France. I want to show some live pictures here of Paris, The Republic, this was actually I think was last year, as thousands are gathered this morning.

They are remembering that historic day in the city that you are watching here when millions marched in solidarity after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.

You can see there President Hollande and Angel Merkel of Germany arm- in-arm with in other world leaders. Remember that powerful moment a year ago including French President Francois Hollande there. There is Israeli Palestinian leaders in that picture as well.

Correspondent, Jim Bittermann, is there. He is joining us live in a couple of minutes to talk about what is happening in the square this morning. We understand an oak tree was planted there taking one minute of silence.

President Francois Hollande is leading all of the people there and laid a wreath at that square. That square, too, we should point out is quite significant. It's become a central point for the Charlie movement. And it seems to be a constant there with memorials and reverence for these kind of events as they remember, not just the people who were killed in the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks, but, of course, now these past November 13th attacks that killed 130 people at the Bataclan and the restaurants there in France.

It does not, however, seem to stop all of these folks coming out and paying their remains. We will continue to follow this. As soon as we get Jim live there, we will bring it to you.

BLACKWELL: You know, on the one-year anniversary of that attack at "Charlie Hebdo" there was a man who attempted to go into a police station with a knife. He was shot and killed. German police say that they have now launched a raid on his apartment.

It was in the city where he had been living in a housing reserved for asylum seekers. We do not know if the attacker was, in fact, a refugee. It would not be the first time a terrorist posed as a refuge.

Two of the attackers in the November siege in Paris arrived with refuges on a Greek island last October. Let's talk more about this.

We have with us, CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. Tom, still so many questions about this man. Do not definitely or definitively who this man was, if he was or was not a refugee.