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North Korea Test-Fires Ballistic Missile; Putin Ready to Meet Trump; Immigrants Fearful of Trump Administration; Clowns Fill Church for Tribute Service. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired February 12, 2017 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier. We're following breaking news out of North Korea.

Pyongyang has test-fired another missile. A U.S. official says it was an intermediate range ballistic missile. Sources say it was launched from a province in the country's north and traveled 500 kilometers and landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

This happened just as U.S. President Donald Trump was hosting Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in Florida. Standing side by side, both leaders made brief statements about Pyongyang's latest provocation.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable. North Korea must fully comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

During the summit meeting that I had with President Trump, he assured me that the United States will always with (sic) Japan 100 percent. And to demonstrate his determination as well as commitment, he is now here with me at this joint press conference.

President Trump and I myself completely share the view that we are going to promote further collaboration between the two nations and also we are going to further reinforce our alliance. That is all from myself.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister.

I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent. Thank you.


VANIER: And CNN's Athena Jones, who was there, has more on that statement from Mr. Trump.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, that's right. We did hear brief statements from Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and an even briefer statement, I should say, from President Trump here tonight at Mar-a-lago, the president's estate here in Palm Beach. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, saying that North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable, saying North Korea must fully comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

That second line there is an echo of a line from the joint statement put out by the U.S. and Japan after those two leaders, Prime Minister Abe and President Trump, had first official meeting at the White House.

In that statement, they urged North Korea not to make any further provocative actions or not to take any further provocative actions and they talked about the need for it to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

So you heard the prime minister echoing that call tonight. He also said that, during the summit with President Trump, Trump assured him that the United States will always come to Japan's defense and said that the president and he completely share the view that we are going to promote further cooperation between the two nations and also we are going to further reinforce our alliance.

After the prime minister spoke, President Trump took to the podium and delivered a very brief statement, saying, thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. I just want everyone, everybody, to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent. Thank you.

Now I can't stress enough that that is a statement that does not at all address what happened. It does not address the fact that North Korea launched this missile. It was a cautious statement, dare I say, a timid statement, not the kind of language that we heard from Candidate Trump or President-Elect Trump, a clear signal that the White House is responding very, very cautiously to this, its first real --


JONES: -- national security test, now barely not even a month into the presidency.

So that is the statements we are getting so far from the White House and the Japanese prime minister in response to this latest provocation from North Korea.

And I should mention this is something that North Korea likes to do. They look to test new administrations. They fired -- they fired off their second nuclear test early in President Obama's first term and their third one just a month into his second term.

So this is not something that was not predictable. In fact, U.S. intelligence picked up on movements in the past month or so, that indicated this could be coming.

And yet we get a very, very brief statement from President Trump, a bit of a longer one from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in this, this first response to a missile launch. Back to you.

VANIER: All right. For more on North Korea's latest missile launch, let's go to Matt Rivers, who's covering this from Seoul in neighboring South Korea.

Matt, how will Mr. Trump's, in particular, short but unequivocal statement of support go down where you are?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you need to take what Mr. Trump said in conjunction with another big, important visit that took place here in South Korea recently. That was when Secretary of Defense James Mattis chose to come to South Korea on his first overseas trip.

I think there's a lot of nervousness here in South Korea and, frankly, in Japan as well, because of what you had heard President Trump say while he was a candidate, talking about that maybe the United States was overstretched in this area, that South Korea and Japan were not really providing enough back to the United States because of the heavy and cost-intensive troop commitments that the United States has in this part of the world.

But hearing the president come out and so unequivocally say that the United States stands by Japan and take that in conjunction with what the Secretary of Defense said while he was here, which was something very, very similar, that the United States relies on its allies in this part of the world to help combat the North Korea threat.

That would be South Korea and Japan, the allies in the region. I think people here in South Korea and specifically government leaders are going to look at that and take that as a positive note, that they can expect help from the Trump administration, expect the continued support of the United States, that the South Koreans have come to rely on for so long now.

VANIER: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said just last month that he could test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile at any time. That's potentially something that could directly threaten the U.S.

How much of a threat is North Korea to the United States at this stage?

RIVERS: Well, there's a lot of questions as to whether North Korea actually has that technology. I think most experts would tell you that, while they are moving towards being able to launch an ICBM successfully, they are not quite there yet.

They've got a long way to go, as evidenced by the fact that many of their intermediate range missile tests, like the one we saw this morning, tend to fail.

We don't know whether this morning's intermediate missile test was a success or failure. The South Koreans tell us they're still trying to work that out. But the fact is that the North Koreans have a long way to go.

And then, remember that, once you build the missile, that does not necessarily mean you can deliver a nuclear payload because there's more technology. First, you develop the ICBM but then the North Koreans would have to come up with the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and put it on top that missile.

That's a whole another step they would need to take. So while they could be a long way away from that point, most experts in this part of the world will tell you that the North Koreans are determined to keep moving towards that point. That is their ultimate end goal and they're not going to stop, because they know that this kind of program, this weapons program, is really their one card to play on an international stage, in an international community that increasingly appears stacked against them.

VANIER: Matt Rivers, reporting live from Seoul, the capital of South Korea, thank you very much. Of course, you'll continue to monitor developments in the region for us.

Earlier U spoke with Christopher Hill, the former U.S. ambassador to that country, South Korea. He's one of the foremost experts on this issue and here's what he had to say about the first North Korean missile test since Donald Trump became the U.S. president.


CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA AND IRAQ: I don't think tonight was a crisis. This was an intermediate missile. We've seen this before, we've seen the range. There may be new elements to it. But tonight is not a crisis. But overall, this issue in the next four years will be a crisis because North Korea intends to have a deliverable nuclear weapon.

And I think, for Donald Trump, it was actually -- this has been a pretty good few days on East Asia policy. First of all, a very successful visit to Korea and Japan by his Defense secretary and then he had a very successful telephone call with Xi Jinping and now what better way to show support and --


HILL: -- solidarity with the Japanese people than a North Korean test.

So I think it has been a good day for the president, in terms of the policy coming ahead. And I think it's pretty clear what needs to be done.

First of all, the alliances with Korea and Japan need to be strengthened. And, in particular, I think the U.S. has a role in trying to strengthen the relationship between Korea and Japan. That has to get better. The alliance needs to be strengthened and it needs to be strengthened

through the delivery (INAUDIBLE) America has at its best, which is this anti-ballistic missile system. And finally, he's going to have to pivot over and work with the Chinese on this, because they need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

VANIER: And he has pointed that out. He has in fact said in no uncertain terms that the Chinese were not helping enough when it comes to North Korea.

HILL: He's also implied it's their job to take care of this, as if he was going to outsource it to China. And I think certainly his conversations with Abe would reveal the fact that no one country could solve this problem. That's why President Bush and President Johnson had created that six-party process.

So I think this has really given -- it's been kind of a dress rehearsal for President Trump in a sort of international context. And I think it's gone -- it's so far gone well. And now he has to put together a strategy.

And I am sure part of that strategy has to be a kind of deep dive with the Chinese on how we're going to manage this because no one wants, in the next four years, North Korea will be fielding a deliverable nuclear weapon.


VANIER: Christopher Hill, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, thank you very much.

All right. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, we'll take a very short break but when we come back, more global news. Hundreds are arrested in cities across the United States. Why immigrants are living in fear of the knock on the door. Stay with us.



VANIER: Welcome back. U.S. immigration officials insist that a series of raids against undocumented immigrants is part of routine enforcement. Federal agents have made hundreds of arrests across the country. And Mexico is now telling its citizens in the U.S. to take precautions. Polo Sandoval has more on the activity from Phoenix, Arizona.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintain that this is business as usual, that these kinds of detention and deportation operations happen on a regular basis, at least about three or four times a year, as part of agency normal operations.

Officials with the United States government saying that in this latest round, they specifically went after people who are in the country without legal status and also many of them violent offenders, with those outstanding removal orders by a federal immigration judge.

Critics, however, are worried that perhaps some of the people with lesser offenses are being grouped with some of these violent offenders and could be on the same track --


SANDOVAL: -- for deportation. The head of the Department of Homeland Security saying and reiterating that it's still business as usual for ICE.


JOHN F. KELLY, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, first of all, they're not rounding anyone up. The people at ICE apprehend are people who are illegal and then some. ICE is executing the law.

SANDOVAL: Secretary Kelly's comments not calming the concerns among members of the undocumented communities throughout the country, including here in Arizona. Many of them fear that the next time they come into some of these ICE facilities, similar to the one that I'm standing in front of, that they could, perhaps, be placed in custody and then eventually deported back to their country of origin.

This is something that they saw play out just last week here in the region, when a 35-year-old woman, who was living illegally in the United States, came for one of those routine check-ins with immigration officials and then was placed in custody and deported south of the border, which is where we found her this weekend.

We were able to have a conversation with her. So, clearly, that is the face of what is an issue that continues to play out throughout the country.

Yes, many of these immigration and detention and deportation operations are not unusual. What is different, however, is this political conversation, this debate that continues to play out across the country -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.


VANIER: Let's bring in David Leopold now. He's in Cleveland, Ohio, a very experienced immigration lawyer.

You're also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and you advise, I should point out, pro-immigration groups on this very issue.

First question, what we're looking at right now, what happened over the last weeks, the deportations, is it different from what used to happen under the Obama administration?

DAVID LEOPOLD, ATTORNEY: Well, the numbers are different. The numbers are much higher. What we're hearing tonight are in the hundreds. And what we're seeing tonight or what we're hearing is that the

largest scale immigration raids in history. Now we're now trying to verify facts, of course. But we're getting credible reports from six- plus states and so what we're seeing, in my view, is the beginning Donald Trump's promised deportation force.

VANIER: But the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ICE, says this takes place routinely two or three times a year and it had been planned under the previous administration.

LEOPOLD: Yes, I read what they said. They put out their fact sheets but they're not telling us everything. They're being very vague in terms of who they're picking up and why they're picking them up.

And that's why, I think, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti; Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas and the Hispanic Caucus in Washington have called on ICE For transparency. We need to know who they're picking up. We need to know the nature.

When they say they're picking up people convicted of crimes, what are the crimes?

And the reason we need to know is because, if you balance that against Donald Trump's executive order on internal enforcement, the priorities, what Donald Trump had said in that executive order is that they can go after anybody. And that, I fear, is what we're seeing tonight.

VANIER: What are you hearing from the communities that are affected?

LEOPOLD: What we're hearing from the communities is that the Trump administration has instilled panic, has instilled fear. And this is consistent with what they've been doing since they've come into office three weeks ago.

They've been spreading destabilization. We saw that at the airports two weeks ago. They've been spreading panic, they've been spreading uncertainty. You know, that's not what Americans voted for. We voted for a president who would bring us stability. We need a president who cares about how communities are and how communities are sitting in their home, peaceful --


VANIER: Well, I have to correct you there. I mean, voters -- Donald Trump, in a sense, is doing what he said he would do. He said he would be tough on borders and he said he would deport a large number of undocumented immigrants. And he won the election on that platform.

LEOPOLD: Well, he did win the election but that doesn't mean he gets to destabilize the country. And these are people -- the people that he apparently is going after are people who have been here for a long time, people who have never committed a crime in their lives, people who have children, long-term residents of the United States, who have added to the culture, who have paid taxes, who have been part of the system. Look, if Donald Trump wants to go after hardened criminals and

national security risks, I don't think anybody's going to argue with that.

What is causing panic tonight in the communities across the United States, what's instilling fear in families, is the fact that ICE agents are apparently picking up people who their biggest crime was to seek a better life in the United States like so many of our parents did.


VANIER: Just briefly, you've written that Donald Trump's immigration order signed late January, just days after he came into office, was a blueprint for mass deportation.


LEOPOLD: Well, because, if you read it, it's couched in very fancy legalese and couched in terms of, they're going to go after people who have committed crimes.

But if you really read it, carefully, it says anybody is a priority. You don't have to have committed a crime, if you read carefully. You don't even have to have been suspected of a crime.

A low-level bureaucrat over at ICE, for example, can decide you're a priority. It's written so that every undocumented person in the United States can be deemed a priority for deportation. And that is a vast change in policy from what we had under the Obama administration.

And the important thing to remember is that that makes us less safe because if you take ICE's limited resources, of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and you go after some woman who is working in a hotel changing beds or you go after some man who's picking lettuce in a field, you're diverting those resources away from national security risks and from criminals.

Donald Trump tonight is making America less safe.

VANIER: All right. David Leopold, immigration lawyer for nearly three decades now, thanks for sharing your expertise and your insights with us. Thanks a lot.

LEOPOLD: My pleasure.


VANIER: And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll take a very short break. We're back after this. Stay with us.



(MUSIC PLAYING) VANIER: And welcome back. Let's look at the main weather stories from around the world.



VANIER: Now in the show, we've been talking about deportations, about intercontinental ballistic missiles -- medium-range missiles, as it were -- and heat waves. So let's get something lighter now. We've got some clowns for you. They're honoring the life of a 19th-century funnyman. Apparently it's an annual thing.

Our Neil Curry joined the congregation at a London church for a special tribute.



NEIL CURRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A churchyard provides a quiet corner of solitude amid the craziness of London life. But all is not as it seems. Clowns of all shapes and sizes are gathering here for a key date in their comical calendar.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to stick the nose on very soon.

That's his nose and he's excited to get that on.

CURRY (voice-over): They're here to remember recently fallen funnymen and one of the most famous names in the history of hilarity.




CURRY (voice-over): Joseph Grimaldi was a 19th-century superstar who transformed the role and appearance of the clown. He delighted theater audiences across London with high-end profile fans such as Charles Dickens.


CURRY (voice-over): Almost 200 years after his death, Grimaldi's service to silliness is marked by an annual church service in his name. A comical congregation of playful pilgrims pack the pews, donning the dress code of drollery, colorful coats, hats and bow ties.

There's a special clown's prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear Lord, I thank you for calling me to share your precious gift of laughter. CURRY (voice-over): And candles are lit to remember those who have given their last giggle.

But the chucklesome nature of the occasion could barely be further from the so-called creepy clown craze, which terrified people in a number of countries around Halloween last year. For the clown community, it was no laughing matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost three bookings, right, that.

And he lost some work as well, right through it?

I was going out with no face on, no face, and going to do me work at children's shows. They said, please, don't come as a clown because my child would be frightened.

CURRY (voice-over): Clowns at the service are refusing to let such memories wipe the smile from their faces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clowns are the catalyst to laughter. And, you know, as Charlie Chaplin said, "A day without laughter is a day wasted."

One of my mottos is, you see somebody without a smile, give them one of yours.

CURRY (voice-over): With a concluding cackle and another burst of bubbles, Joey Grimaldi's mirthful memory was maintained for yet another year -- Neil Curry, CNN, London.


VANIER: And thank you very much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'm back with the headlines in just a moment.