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The Killer Chemical; Safe Houses for Undocumented Immigrants; Blocking Media Reports; Action Against Human Trafficking; Sharp Message from the Pope. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 24, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN HOST: Exclusive CNN reporting. The White House ask the FBI to push back on media reports about Russia. Up ahead here, why the Fed deny that request.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Police now know what killed Kim Jong-un's half-brother. It is a toxic nerve agent that's more commonly used in chemical warfare. We'll explain.

ALLEN: And private homes are tuned into safe houses. The growing underground network that's ready to help undocumented immigrants.

It's all ahead here. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: Natalie Allen, it is good to have you back.

ALLEN: Yes, good to be back.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. This is CNN Newsroom.

It is 3 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. And in just a few hours' time, the President of the United States Donald Trump will actually speak on stage at an annual gathering of political conservatives. It's called CPAC.

Keep this in mind, though. Just last year he canceled at that event when some conservatives tried to derail his campaign for the White House.

ALLEN: What a difference a year makes. Any hard feelings from Mr. Trump seems to have vanished in the wake of his upset victory in November. Senior Trump official shared the stage on Thursday reassuring the audience of their commitment to the conservative agenda.

Vice President Mike Pence even likened Trump to Ronald Reagan.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe President Trump has given voice to the aspirations and frustrations of the American people like no leader since Reagan. I just knew our new president would reignite our cause and renew it in our own day. And he did just that.


HOWELL: But the Trump administration continues to speak with multiple voices on critical issues sending mixed messages around the world. Listen as the president talks about deportations and trade only to then be contradicted by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before. And they're the bad ones. And it's a military operation.

JOHN KELLY, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Listen to this. No, repeat, no use of military force in immigration operations. None.

TRUMP: With Mexico we have 70 billion in deficits, trade deficits, and it's unsustainable. We're not going to let it happen. Can't let it happen.

KELLY: The relationship between the United States and Mexico is among I believe the most critical in the world. This dynamic trade and relationship has also helped create millions of jobs on both side of the border.


HOWELL: There always seems to be some daylight between the President of the United States and many on his cabinet. But you know, just to play those sound bites back to back, the viewer can see the discrepancy.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Well, CNN has exclusive new reporting that the White House asked the FBI to knock down media reports about contacts during the presidential campaign between Trump's associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence.

HOWELL: Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez broke the story with our colleagues Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz and Manu Raju. Here's what Jim, here's Jim, rather, with more on what they learned.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned that the FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications during the 2016 presidential campaign between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence.

Multiple U.S. officials tell CNN the White House sought the help of the bureau and the other agencies investigating the Russian matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts. These officials said.

You may recall that CNN and the New York Times first reported on this just over a week ago and so far the White House has not commented on the record. I should say that the FBI is still investigating these alleged communications. Several members of the house and Senate intelligence committees tell CNN that Congress is still investigating them as well.

And that investigation has begun. They are starting to collect documents, records, et cetera. They will call witnesses.

Communication between the White House and the FBI is unusual because of decades-old restrictions on such contacts, the request from the White House a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.

The Trump administration's efforts to press Comey run contrary to Justice Department procedure memos issued in 2007 and 2009 that limit direct communications on pending investigations between the White House and the FBI.

FBI director James Comey rejected the request according to these sources because the alleged communications are the subject of an ongoing investigation.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

[03:05:00] HOWELL: Senior U.S. officials were in Mexico Thursday. They found themselves having to answer for Mr. Trump's immigration policy.

ALLEN: Here's senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: the White House trying to smooth out the suddenly rocky relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexico didn't hide its frustrations during Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly's trip.


MIGUEL ANGEL OSORIO CHONG, MEXICAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): We do not agree on the different measures that recently were stated by the government of the United States that affect Mexico. We have expressed our concern about the increase in deportations.


KOSINSKI: Tillerson and Kelly tried to publicly reassure their Mexican counterparts about new U.S. policy.


KELLY: Let me be very, very clear. There will be no -- repeat -- no mass deportations. All deportations will be according to our legal justice system, which is extensive and includes multiple appeals.


KOSINSKI: Insisting deportations will focus on criminals. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no mistaking that the rule of law matters along both sides of our border.

KOSINSKI: An acknowledgment that the U.S. also has work to do.


TILLERSON: We underscore the importance of stopping the illegal forearms and bulk cash that is originating in the United States and flowing into Mexico.


KOSINSKI: But today President Trump hinted a different picture.


TRUMP: I said that's going to be a tough trip because we have to be treated fairly by Mexico. You see what's happening at the border. All of a sudden for the first time we're getting gang members out, we're getting drug lords out. We're getting really bad dudes out of this country and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before.


KOSINSKI: Donald Trump famously kicked off his campaign with controversial remarks about Mexico.


TRUMP: They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.


KOSINSKI: Now the White House is trying to put the best face on things.


SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES PRESS SECRETARY: I think the relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now.


KOSINSKI: But Mexico is still insisting they will not pay for a border wall which no one even mentioned publicly today and that they can't be forced to accept deportees who are not Mexican.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What would be most important would be the facts.


KOSINSKI: One U.S. official saying the Americans on this trip did a lot of listening, forced to acknowledge that the relationship at the border is the responsibility of both sides as is accountability.

Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.

HOWELL: For more on this story I'm joined now from London by Brian Klass, a fellow in comparative politics with the London School of Economics. Brian, it's good to have you with us this hour. The president of the United States will soon take the stage at CPAC, but the story right now really is the person who spoke before him, Steve Bannon. Let's listen here.


STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: He's laid out an agenda with those speeches with the promises he made and our job every day is just to execute on that. It's to simply get a path to how those get executed. And he's maniacally focused on that.


HOWELL: Steve Bannon making the point that he is maniacally focused on that. Saying that, you know, obviously he has categorized the media as the opposition party, the enemy which of course we are not, but on stage speaking about this new world order and nationalism, economic nationalism at the forefront, also this word of deconstructing various parts of government.

Your thoughts on what you heard there to the person who has really has the ear of the President of the United States.

BRIAN KLASS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS SENIOR FELLOW: Well, Steve Bannon has a dystopian view of the world. And let's remember the story of the CPAC keynote speaker which was one of Steve Bannon surrogates at Breitbart, one of his main editors, was only rescinded after he made comments condoning pedophilia.

They already knew that he was a sexist Islamophobe who literally used the slogan feminism is cancer. And he was invited to this and Bannon ends up being the star of the show because they had to disinvite somebody who condoned pedophilia.

And this is the real conundrum for the conservative movement is this type of rhetoric, this dark vision of the world. It's very different from the conservatism of Ronald Reagan that put, you know, that praised free trade, for example, and had America leading as a city upon a hill. And instead we're much more looking like a dark vision and dystopian vision of American politics in the rest of the world.

HOWELL: Also, there is information that we're following from a senior White House official who tells CNN the president has assigned the Department of Homeland Security working with this Justice Department to help build a legal case for the travel ban. That's obviously getting some push back from people in different agencies. Is this a search for a solution without a problem?

KLASS: Well, they're going to try to find a way to have the travel ban that was blocked stand up to court scrutiny in the future. So I assume that they'll do what they should have done in the first place, which is run it by some people who actually have some expertise on the law rather than ramming it through with Steve Bannon's approval.

[03:10:08] But I also think that, you know, the approach to ban people based on their nationality especially seven countries with no history of terrorist attacks on United States soil is ultimately misguided because they have a very difficult case to make that there is a security imperative here.

And also, they have a very difficult case to make that this is not related to the blanket Muslim ban that Donald Trump supported in December 2015 when he called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

HOWELL: But what of this particular administration, unlike others that we have seen, this administration basically making the case to other agencies within the United States, we won, we're in charge, do what we say?

KLASS: Elections have consequence and policies change as a result of elections. But democracy endures. And the things that I'm seeing that are really problematic are the attack on pillars of democracy like the media, the independent judiciary which Donald Trump both called so- called justices and also insinuated that he would blame them if a terror attack happens.

The violations of ethics rules, all of these things are anti- democratic. Democratic with a small d. And this is something that's deeply troubling where it's not just about the ebbs and flows of policy change as a result of elections. It's something that's a real challenge and threat to American democracy and I hope that there will be more push back against it.

HOWELL: The president gave an interview to Reuters, one of the biggest headlines coming from that wide ranging conversation, was on the topic of nuclear weapons. Let's listen to the President of the United States speaking on the topic.


TRUMP: It would be wonderful -- a dream would be that no country would have nukes. But if countries are going to have nukes, we're going to be at the top of the pack.


HOWELL: President has indicated before that -- and he even indicated there it would be better to see a world without nukes, but seemingly a mixed message that the United States will certainly stay on top in that category.

KLASS: It is. And it's troubling because we want a world where nuclear weapons are off the table in terms of their usage. The nuclear deterrent is something that's important to American foreign policy. But at the same time we want the president who cools down the global temperature rather than raising it.

And I think that his fast and loose talk about nuclear weapons both on the campaign and reports during the transition that he repeatedly questioned why can't we use these when briefed on national security matters should be troubling, especially because when we've seen in recent days that Kim Jong-un out of North Korea has used a nerve gas to assassinate a political opponent.

There is a recklessness around the world with nuclear weapons we need to really take care of and address without raising the global temperature on them.

HOWELL: Brian Klass, live for us in London. Brian, thank you for the insight and perspective.

KLASS: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Voters across the U.S. want to meet with their elected officials and they have flooded some republican lawmakers' events to demand it. Some protesters are holding empty chair town halls for the representatives who won't face them.

Here's Ryan Young from the state of Iowa.





RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anger erupting at political town halls across the country. In Covington, Kentucky in a packed room, this protester demanding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hears him out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, we're not protesting the election, we're protesting right to work. We are protesting losing our health care. We are protesting Russian interference in the White House. We are protesting the fact that to get in front of you we have to pay dollars. Why won't you hold a town hall with your constituents? We want to hear from you. We want to talk to you.

MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Was somebody else invited to speak? I kind of missed it...




YOUNG: In Charles City, Iowa, Senator Chuck Grassley came face to face with his constituents. This tiny courthouse filled to capacity. Getting an earful on issues ranging from Obamacare to immigration.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you vote to jeopardize Iowa's quality of education and how is Betsy DeVos a qualified candidate for your vote?

CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: A president gets elected and has to carry out the responsibilities of which he was elected, that that person ought to have the team that they need to get the job done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you think she should be qualified?

GRASSLEY: Well, then we would not have Tillerson being Secretary of State.



YOUNG: In some cases angry voters across the country holding empty chair town halls for lawmakers reluctant to show. Voicing their displeasure by posting missing congressman notices on milk cartons.

[03:15:00] Marco Rubio's constituents printing a life size cut out and hiding his face in where's wall dough puzzles. Seeking him out in his daily routine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought you weren't in here. I saw these missing child posters all over town. Are you going to host a town hall? I'm glad you're OK. Are you going to host a town hall? There is a constituent town hall today. We need to hear from you, senator. Senator, we need to hear from you, your constituents. Are you going to host a town hall?


YOUNG: Some lawmakers defending their absence citing concerns for their safety. Congressman Louie Gohmert telling his constituents in a letter, the house sergeant of arms advised us after former congressman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees that congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed just as happened there.

Giffords responded today saying "I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning my offices were open to the public. To the politician who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this. Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls."

Ryan Young, CNN, Charles City, Iowa.

HOWELL: Ryan Young, thank you. Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, some unsettling details on how the half-brother of North Korea's leader was murdered. Stay with us.

ALLEN: We'll have a live report coming up. Plus, Iraqi forces approach one of their biggest victories yet in the battle for Mosul. Why retaking a destroyed airport is so important to ousting ISIS. That's coming up here. You're watching CNN Newsroom.


KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN world headlines.

Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City just nine months after leading them to the Premiere League title, Leicester one point above the relegation zone with 30 matches left. The 65-year-old Italian guided the Foxes to the title despite them being 5,000 one outsiders at the start of last season. They have lost their past five league matches and without a league goal in 2017.

But his departure comes less than 24 hours after a credible 2-1 loss at Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 times.

Someone else who was the talk of the football world this week over a potential move away from the Premiere League was Wayne Rooney. And on Thursday, a statement was given to the press from the Manchester United forward. The England captain is staying put for now despite speculation this week he was off to the Chinese Super League.

The 31-year-old striker said he hoped to play a part in the rest of the EPL's club season.

Europa League was certainly overshadowed after the breaking news coming out of the Premiere League.

[03:20:02] EPL side Tottenham face again at Wembley Stadium in their last 32-second leg tie. And 10-man Tottenham were knocked out as the Belgians held them to a 2-all draw to go through 3-2 on aggregates, to make matters worse, they were down 10 men.

And that is a look at all your sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley.

HOWELL: Welcome back. We are learning some really troubling developments out of Malaysia. Investigators there saying that the half-brother of North Korea's leader was killed, that he was poisoned with VX nerve agent.

ALLEN: Kim Jong-nam was killed in Kuala Lumpur last week at last two -- at least two women are being detained in connection with the case and authorities are trying to track down four other suspects who may have ties to North Korea and have asked for Interpol's help with that.

Alexandra Field is following the story. She joins us now live from Kuala Lumpur with more. Alexandra, what are you learning about this deadly chemical we're hearing about?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is the first time that authorities here are saying that they determined it was VX agent that was used to kill Kim Jong-nam. They said that after an examination of his body it was found on his face and in his eyes.

This is an incredibly lethal material. They say it's lethal in both a sort of liquid gel form and also in a vapor form. It is odorless and it can kill within minutes, according to some experts. Others say that you can feel an onset of system -- of symptoms within minutes or even up to 18 hours after exposure.

We've all seen that CCTV video from inside Kuala Lumpur's airport when two women approached Kim Jong-nam. Officials here in Malaysia say that they were trained to put the poison on his face and then to walk away with their hands up and not to get it on themselves.

North Korean official have cast a lot of doubt on the investigation saying that it is impossible in their opinion that these women could have poisoned Kim Jong-nam and not infected themselves. Though there are some weapons analysts who say that in the case of some chemical weapons you actually need to combine two chemicals in order to have the lethal combination. Natalie?

ALLEN: All right, Alexandra for us there in Kuala Lumpur. Let's find out more about it now that Malaysian official do believe this VX nerve agent killed him, but just what is it and how does it work?

Earlier I asked Ian Musgrave who is an expert in toxic nerve agents to explain that to us.


IAN MUSGRAVE, MOLECULAR PHARMACOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE: VX is part of a group of nerve agents that work in a similar way. You've probably heard of sarin. Sarin was used in the Tokyo subway attack as a gas.

ALLEN: But it is more deadly than sarin, is that right?

MUSGRAVE: It is much more deadly than sarin. You apply very little of it, as little as 10 milligrams is all you need to kill someone by absorbing through the skin, and similar amounts are required to breathe in as a vapor. It's a bit hard to visualize how much 10 milligrams are.

But it is the amount of material that would cover the head of a pen. It's typically the VX is an oily liquid and it's quite often dissolved in other things. It won't need very much to apply to the skin to cause -- to have enough absorbed to cause death.

ALLEN: The people behind this, Mr. Musgrave, how dangerous was this to carry out?

MUSGRAVE: If I had appropriate safety equipment, not too dangerous. By wearing appropriate safety equipment and/or you have an applicator which will keep the material away from yourself, you should be able to relatively safely attack someone with it.


HOWELL: Now, following the story in Iraq, the military there, it is close to scoring a major victory in the fight for Mosul. Last stronghold of ISIS in Iraq. They nearly retakeen the airport there.

You see this image here, there, that area, that would be a strategic and symbolic victory as Iraqi forces prepare for a grueling push west.

Our Nina dos Santos is tracking this story, this operation live for us in Istanbul, Turkey this hour. Nina, thanks for being with us. This is certainly difficult, it is a grueling fight. But now we do see a very important strategic victory.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Yes, significant victory here because obviously these forces, the Iraqi forces have managed to capture their first foothold on the western side of the Tigress River, in the western part of Iraq, the second biggest city Mosul.

[03:25:00] Now it's not as though they didn't face resistance. But the real fear here is that ISIS may have retrenched into the more densely populated northern and western parts of Mosul where you quite rightfully pointed out, George, the battle is probably going to be far more entrenched in the weeks or months to come from here.

What we know so far from the joint operations command is that the forces have managed to also capture others -- some other strategic assets around the military base in part -- sorry, outside the airport, in particular a military base where they apparently have found large stashes of ISIS weaponry they've managed to destroy.

So far it seems, though, according to the Iraqi Special Forces there have been some ISIS militant casualties. No word as yet on how many fighters may well have been caught up in that battle.

But the key thing they're going to be trying to do from here is to capture power assets towards the north now to try and secure certain infrastructure assets as I said before they head toward some more densely populated parts of the city later.

HOWELL: Nina, those ISIS militants have taken the last several years to build up their defenses in western Mosul, so obviously this will be a difficult fight ahead.

Nina dos Santos live for us in Istanbul, Turkey. Thank you so much.

ALLEN: Well, undocumented immigrants in the U.S. say they are living in fear, but a network of homeowners and churches coming to their rescue. We'll have that story just ahead here.

HOWELL: Plus, one of the most high profile transgender women who also happens to be republican sends a message to the president of the United States.

Three twenty six a.m. in Atlanta, Georgia. We are live across the United States and around the world this hour. You're watching CNN Newsroom.


HOWELL: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen.

Let's update you on our top stories this hour. Malaysian police say Kim Jong-nam was poisoned with VX nerve agent. The half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un was killed at Kuala Lumpur airport last week. At least two women are in custody and authorities have asked Interpol to issue an alert for four other suspects.

HOWELL: Iraqi forces have taken most of the Mosul airport as they fight for the western part of that city. The airport has virtually been destroyed and three years under ISIS control, but it would be a strategic and symbolic victory for Iraqi troops as they look to push that terror group out of its last stronghold in Iraq.

ALLEN: Donald Trump says if the world has to have nuclear weapons, the United States will be at, quote, "the top of the pack." In an interview with Reuters, Mr. Trump says the U.S. has fallen behind on its nuclear weapon capacity and he won't let that stand.

HOWELL: The question is, is this the solution looking for a problem or problem without a solution? Now the senior White House official telling CNN President Trump has assigned the Department of Homeland Security working with the Justice Department to help build the legal case for its temporary ban on individuals from seven countries.

ALLEN: CNN's Jake Tapper and Pamela Brown broke the story. Our Amaka Walker and Michael Holmes spoke with Jake earlier. Here it is.


AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Our Jake Tapper joining us now with all the detail. Hi, there, Jake. So, how is President Trump trying to build a case for this upcoming travel ban?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hi, Amara and Michael. Well, CNN has learned that the White House request specifically the Department of Homeland Security working with the Justice Department to help build this legal case for President Trump's temporary travel ban on individuals from seven Muslim majority countries.

As you know, these countries being Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Now senior White House official tells me that the two agencies are, quote, "are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial and that the seven countries have all been exporters of terrorism into the United States. The situation has gotten more dangerous in recent years, and more broadly, the refugee program has been a major incubator for terrorism," unquote. So this report was requested in light of the 9th Circuit Court of

Appeals conclusion that the Trump administration, quote, "has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States." Unquote.

But, CNN has also learned that some current intelligence officials are concerned about this assignment. First, some disagree with the Trump White House position. Sources telling CNN that the Department of Homeland Security's in-house intelligence agency, the office of Intelligence and Analysis called INA, has filed a report disagreeing with the view that blocking immigration from these seven countries strategically makes sense.

Some DHS officials have said they don't think nationality is the best indicator of potential terrorism.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security confirmed this report to CNN saying, quote, "While the Department of Homeland Security was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you're referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official robust document with thorough inter agency vetting."

Now, it's quite unusual but the Department of Homeland Security went on to disparage its own intelligence division's report saying, quote, "The INA report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It's incomplete, pointed -- it is incomplete, pointed internal discussion about the merits of various intelligence products and whether they have sufficient supporting data from the broader intelligence community is an integral part of developing any official homeland security intelligence assessment." Unquote.

A second issue for many in the intelligence community sources tell CNN is this notion of the Trump White House seeking an intelligence report to try to fit its policy instead of the other way around, forming policy around the data.

Sources also tell CNN's Pamela Brown that there are those within the Department of Homeland Security who have concerns that intelligence at the department might be politicized although the department called that accusation, quote, "absurd and not factually accurate."

Now, according to the senior White House official, however, President Trump and his team are determined to prove that the 9th circuit court argument is wrong as are those in the media and democrats who have made the same argument such as, for instance, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a democrat of New York who appeared on CNN last month and said this.

JERROLD NADLER, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: The various people who have, in fact, committed terrorist acts in this country from 9/11 onward, none of them came from any of the seven countries that are the subject of the president's executive order. TAPPER: Now, the senior White House official tells me that that

argument is, quote, "Using the most narrow definition of the term committing acts of terrorism that you can use."

Meaning that that definition of terrorist attacks refers only to those attacks in which an innocent civilian was killed. That definition, for example, would not include the Ohio State attack last November when Somali born Abdul Razak Ali Artan after arriving in the U.S. in 2014, attempted to run over and stab 13 innocent people on campus.

[03:35:07] He didn't successfully kill anyone, therefore, Jerrold Nadler's definition would not apply to him.

So, the White House does intend to bolster its case for the ban using a broader definition which will include non-lethal and failed terrorist attacks as well as investigations and convictions of individuals attempting to join or support terrorist groups. Michael and Amara?


HOWELL: And that was Jake Tapper speaking earlier, but really breaking down exactly, you know, what this means when it comes to figuring out those facts.

ALLEN: Well, the president's rhetoric is fueling real fear among undocumented immigrants. That's driving some to build an underground network of faith houses for people seeking shelter.

HOWELL: CNN's Kyung Lah tells us it is a matter of principle and a matter of faith.


KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pounding, sanding, laying the groundwork at this secret home in Los Angeles. How many families would be...


ADA VALIENTE, PASTOR: It will be about three families that we can house here.

LAH: Pastor Ada Valiente walks us through one safe house for the undocumented running from immigration officers. An underground network. Essentially what you're doing is you're trying to hide people. Is that right?

VALIENTE: Well, that's what we need to do as a community.


LAH: On the other side of L.A., another safe house in this man's home. We're not naming him or telling you where he lives because of what's at stake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard as a Jew not to think about all the people who did open their homes and take risks to safeguard Jews in moments when they were really vulnerable as well as those that didn't. We'd like to be the people who did.


LAH: This is beyond sanctuary churches. What we've already seen at this Colorado church offering refuge for an undocumented woman, federal agents don't enter religious houses without approval under a policy put in place during President Obama's presidency.


TRUMP: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear.


LAH: But faith leaders believe that will change under President Trump. Private homes fall under fourth amendment protection and need a warrant before authorities can enter.


ZACH HOOVER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, L.A. VOICE: And something sort of like this.

LAH: Reverend Zach Hoover says faith groups across Los Angeles County could hide 100 undocumented immigrants today and that number could soon be in the thousands.

HOOVER: People will be moving into a place so that ICE can't find them, so that they can stay with their families, so they can, you know, be with their husband, so they can avoid being detained and deported.


LAH: The idea comes from leaders across all faiths in Los Angeles, just days after the election pledging opposition to Trump's immigration orders.


HOOVER: We are not going to stop until we get to the place that God has calling us to.

LAH: People who may not agree with you would look at what you're doing and saying, you're simply aiding and abetting the violation of federal laws.

HOOVER: Look, I'll speak for myself. I feel really convicted that I answer to God at the end of the day, like that's who I'm going to see when I die and I hope that, you know, we can live up to our -- I hope we can live up to who we are. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Pastor Valiente is clear eyed about the risk.

VALIENTE: We're trusting in God that he would kind of help us, guide us to make the right decision.


LAH: It doesn't mean it's an easy choice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is some element we're entering into where I don't totally know exactly what the consequences are, but I know what the moral consequence are for me if we don't act. Like this is a moment to be standing idly by.


LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

HOWELL: The U.S. Justice Department is walking back guidance from the previous Obama administration discouraging the use of private prisons. The spokesperson says the move will give the Bureau of Prisons flexibility on where to house inmates.

ALLEN: The critics say private prisons have more problems with safety and security than public prisons. The attorney general says he's worried about prison overcrowding, which is why he ordered the change.

Well, one of the most well-known transgender people in the U.S. who is also a republican has a message for President Trump.

HOWELL: At first Caitlyn Jenner was quiet after the president changed federal guidance on which rest rooms, which bathrooms the transgender students can use in public schools. But the Olympian broke her silence Thursday with a tweet and a video message. Let's listen.


CAITLYN JENNER, TRANSGENDER WOMAN: I have a message for President Trump from, well, one republican to another. This is a disaster, and you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.


ALLEN: We'll see if he does.


ALLEN: Coming up here, the president speaks out against modern-day slavery. What he says he'll do about human trafficking.

[03:39:57] HOWELL: Plus, Pope Francis says that bad Christians are hurting the church, even saying, well, they may not be Christians at all.

Stay with us.


HOWELL: For Christians who do not live by Christian values, Pope Francis has some fierce words for you.

ALLEN: Absolutely. At a homily in Rome, Francis said Christians who exploit others may as well call themselves atheists.

Our Rome correspondent Delia Gallagher has more on that.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: The Pope's remarks came during a reflection on a gospel passage in which Jesus says not to cause scandal. And Pope Francis said one of the ways in which Christians give scandal is by leading a double life, by being hypocritical.

He gave the example of a business owner who goes to mass and says he's a good Christian, but then doesn't pay his workers a just wage. And the pope says the problem with this is that other people see that behavior and say, well, if that's being a Christian, then it's better to be an atheist.

But the pope in these comments is not advocating atheism over Christianity. He is telling Christians to be better Christians, to live out more coherently what they believe and what they do so that other people who see them will not think it is better to be an atheist.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


ALLEN: We've had a lot of news about Donald Trump this hour. Now we have this. He's vowing to fight human trafficking. He met with activists along with his daughter Ivanka on Thursday.

HOWELL: The president says that he is prepared to bring, quote, "the full force and weight of the government to combat the problem." Let's listen.


[03:44:57] TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. It's a very, very terrible problem. It's not talked about enough. People don't know enough about it. And we're going to talk about it and we're going to bring it out into the open and hopefully we're going to do a great deal to help prevent some of the horrific, really horrific crimes that are taking place.


ALLEN: Well, there is already help coming to one London elementary school where children learn to identify the five signs of human trafficking. Activists hope it will one day prevent a tragedy.

HOWELL: That's right. Our Isa Soares has this story and this installment of the Freedom Project.


PHIL KNIGHT, FOUNDER, JUST ENOUGH: I would love to see a world where you've got a whole generation growing that go, we know about modern day slavery. The reason it's gotten so big is because nobody knew about it.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Former drummer Phil Knight set up his education charity teaching children about modern slavery after hearing the story of a 16-year-old student who had been sex trafficked from Moldova from the U.K. as a young girl.


KNIGHT: I couldn't get my head around it that this could happened. And as only we saw have got deeper and deeper into it that we realize, well, I don't think there is anyone going into primary schools and teaching kid about this type of stuff.

Because it's such a difficult subject matter and you find a school or talk to a school, can we come in and, you know, they start talking one place let -- and really? But once we send them the stuff and they see how we work, we're straightened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens if everything you make your slave do, what happens if I make you do that?


SOARES: Just Enough U.K. has been running schoolwork shops on modern slavery for eight to 16-year-olds since 2013.


KNIGHT: In the U.K. alone now we've educated over 30,000 children and that's going up and up and up with the amount of schools that are now booking in because we've got a name on trust.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mini, mini, mini-mo. Catch you. You look quite strong. You look quite strong. Good. Because today you're going to be my slave. I have a lot...

SOARES: Trained doctor Lyndsay Mackay has been leading workshops for the past year.


LINDSAY MACKAY, PRESENTER, JUST ENOUGH U.K.: With an hour long workshop, we start off with introducing who we are, establish within a safe environment. We then jump back in town just to see the knowledge that children have already of the topic.

Now has anybody heard of William Wilberforce? Twenty years it took for him to get all the signatures he needed to ban slavery.

We go through old place a nanny with them where the kids go up and get up and involved. Through acting different scenarios that could leads to trafficking and how people are tricked into it. So, why have your passport, what does that mean now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't leave the country.

MACKAY: They can't leave the country or they can't leave me.

And then from there we do our five things of slavery.

So, these are the signs to keep you all nice and safe, also the people around you.

SOARES: Lyndsay believes she has firsthand experience of being groomed by a trafficker while studying in Madrid.

MACKAY: I lived in an all-female flat with a male landlord. Within a short month I lived there, I had a guest given to me. I was told I need to go and meet friends. He would get angry when if I didn't, if I went home he would pick me up from the airport on the night, would track me and things like that.

And send me letters and telling me about how I need to go with him and looking at to (Inaudible) especially with the work I was involved with Just Enough. I realized how close I actually was. And if I don't have a supportive family, I probably may have fallen into it.

KNIGHT: The most important thing for me was she was able to take all of that knowledge and I love that, and adapt it into her workshop without ever scaring the children because the biggest thing for Just Enough and my rule is it can never shock them. They can never be scared. They can never be worried about what they've seen.

MACKAY: Well, let us know what you thought of the workshop, whether you enjoyed it, whether you'd like something different, what was your favorite part?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The five ways that you can identify someone who is maybe in slavery because I think that's a very helpful thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The presenter was like showing her expressions and she wasn't really shy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just learned more about modern slavery and now I understand.


SOARES: The aim now for Phil and his team it's to spread the anti- slavery message to children worldwide.


KNIGHT: I'm off to America to start building Just Enough USA. We've been asked by the government where else can you build this? If you can do a workshop on you know, a great flat screen in a really, you know, great school in London, could you do the same workshop on the back of a truck in Nigeria with no electricity and stuff?

And I've said definitely because it's all down. And as you saw Lyndsay and the team, it's all down to the magic of the presenter.

MACKAY: So now how many of you believe that one person can change the world? I thought that would happen.


[03:50:00] SOARES: Is Soares, CNN, London.

HOWELL: Such important work that is being done.

ALLEN: What a nice program. I do hope it spreads around the world.

HOWELL: Absolutely.

ALLEN: And we'll be right back.


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Pick a season any season. The United States has got it all this weekend from record warmth over the east to a full-fledged blizzard across the northern plains. Even the potential of severe weather exists this Friday and into Saturday across much of the Ohio River Valley.

A very complicated set up across this region. Let's try and break it down. Here is a look first at the potential record breaking high temperatures over 44 records stand to be broken this Friday. To start off the early weekend with all this warmth, and a significant rush of colder air behind it, these collisions of air masses are allowing for the potential of severe weather.

That's really focused across Indiana and into Ohio. Large hail damaging winds can't rule out the potential of and isolated tornado. Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit.

So, keep an eye to the skies. But on the cold side of the system, we're talking about winter weather. In fact, take a look at the winter storm warnings and blizzard warnings that are in effect across this region.

We'll be measuring this in feet for many locations, upwards of a foot to perhaps a foot and a half. But really what's doing to make it treacherous on the roadways is a strong gusty winds across Minnesota and into Iowa.

Look at the storm system evolving across this region. A very complicated storm system to say the least. Look out for rain and snow.

HOWELL: Welcome back. So, he is sometimes seen, he is rarely heard. We're talking about Steve Bannon, officially the White House chief strategist.

ALLEN: But some say he's actually the brains behind Donald Trump.

Jeanne Moos introduces us to the man critics call president Bannon.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The man SNL portrayed as the grim reaper wasn't so grimace he made a rare public appearance.


STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: You know, I can run a little hot on occasions.


MOOS: You may never have heard his voice before, but you probably have seen cartoons of him holding President Trump on his lap, whispering in the president's ear, being the master puppeteer. Steve Bannon has an announcement. Just a second, the strings are tangled.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's how we wound up with president Bannon and his dummy Donny.


MOOS: President Bannon has his own parody Twitter account, tweeting comments like, "Day 33, Donald Trump still believes he is the president."

[03:55:00] There are impeach president Bannon t-shirts and even a New York Times editorial called him president. The Late Show showed Bannon tucking in President Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Night-night. Don't let the bed bugs bite.


MOOS: But in person, the only thing Bannon flicked was the press.


BANON: Well, the mainstream media don't get this, is that the opposition party.


MOOS: Does the actual president mind all the talk of president Bannon? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe Bannon's calling all the shots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that wasn't true, then a certain cable news fan wouldn't have felt the need less than an hour later to tweet "I called my own shots."


MOOS: Former Obama advisor David Axelrod compared Bannon and Reince Priebus to a song and dance team as they got touchy feely.




MOOS: Perhaps to dispel rumors of turf battles. This was like Bannon's coming out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Steve, you're really a likeable guy. You should do this more often.


MOOS: Get out a little more from that mask SNL put you under.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I have my desk back?

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Yes, of course, Mr. President, I'll go sit at my desk.



MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

HOWELL: Important to point out, though, we are not the opposition party. We are the free American press and we'll keep doing that job.

Thanks for being with us in the CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. Early Start is next for viewers here in the U.S., for other around the world the news continues with Max Foster in London.

You're watching CNN.