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Trump Accuses Obama of Wiretapping; Trump Admin Mired in Russia Controversy; World Famine; Suspected Chemical Attack in Mosul; Trump Admin Mired in Russia Controversy; Trump Accuses Obama of Wiretapping; Father of Murder Victim Fights Illegal Immigration; Tower Made of Timber in Norway. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 5, 2017 - 05:00   ET





JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: According to one source that I spoke to, quote, "nobody has seen him that upset," end quote.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president furious over the controversy surrounding his attorney general and Russia and sent out this tweet, accusing former president Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the election but provides no proof.

Plus: symptoms of a chemical attack, children among many treated by doctors in Iraq as the battle for Western Mosul intensifies. Why the Red Cross is worried about the use of chemical weapons.

And the National People's Congress holds its opening ceremony this morning; on the agenda, China's slowing economy. We'll have a wrap of the day's activities.

Live from London, welcome to our viewers here in Europe, the United States and around the world. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: The Trump White House has yet to provide any evidence to back up explosive allegations the president made against his predecessor, Barack Obama. In a flurry of tweets early on Saturday, Mr. Trump accused the Obama administration of tapping his phones in Trump Tower last year.

A spokesman for the former president, Barack Obama, dismissed the allegation as, quote, "simply false.

A former U.S. intelligence official called it, quote, "nonsense.

Well, the president apparently blindsided his own staff when he charged, quote, "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon Watergate. Bad or sick guy!"

We'll get the latest now from CNN's Athena Jones.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I, along with my colleagues, have been asking White House officials down here in Florida and also in Washington since early this morning to provide some evidence to back up these unsubstantiated allegations that the president made. There is still no official comment or statement from the White House.

But my colleague, Jeff Zeleny, the senior White House correspondent, did speak with a senior administration official in Washington. That official says that the White House colleagues only learned about the president's tweet storm after he began tweeting early this morning.

Now, he often does that. He wakes up and begins tweeting early in the morning, not in any way apparently running these tweets by any of his staffers. This morning he began those tweets at around 6:30 am.

Now, this official pointed to a story on the conservative website Breitbart News that has been circulating around the West Wing which followed up on comments made by radio talk show host Mark Levin (ph) that claimed that President Obama was trying to undermine Trump's Presidential campaign and his administration including through these various investigations on Russia and possible ties between Russians and Trump associates.

And these stories -- or that story in particular -- very much angered the President according to this senior administration official.

And just a couple of hours ago, the president's social media director and an adviser, Dan Scavino, tweeted out a link to that very same Breitbart News story which lends credence to the idea that this could be part of the basis for those tweets from the president. But as you mentioned, President Obama has strenuously denied this through a spokesperson.

Let's read that statement from Kevin Lewis. Here it is.

"A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."

So a very vigorous denial there. And we have already had other former senior officials in the Obama administration point out that a president doesn't order wiretaps. Other officials have said that this is simply nonsense and it didn't happen.


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Athena Jones there.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are also weighing in on the president's accusatory tweets.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska put out this statement, quote, "We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust. And the president's allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots.

A quest for the full truth rather than knee-jerk partisanship, must be our guide if we are going to rebuild civic trust and health." That's from Ben Sasse.

The president's tweets came amid intense controversy over U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his meetings last year with Russia's ambassador to the United States. On Thursday Sessions recused himself from any investigation related to Trump's presidential campaign after his meetings with the ambassador Kislyak came to light.


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Former and current U.S. officials tell CNN the FBI was aware of the meetings because the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, was under surveillance. But later on Saturday, Jeff Sessions went to Mr. Trump's Florida resort to meet with his boss.

CNN's Jim Acosta explains the president is angry that Sessions' recusal upstaged Mr. Trump's address to Congress.


ACOSTA: We can tell you that President Trump was very frustrated with senior staff and communications team on Friday morning just before he departed for Mar-a-lago.

According to one source that I spoke to, quote, "nobody has seen him that upset," end quote, the feeling being inside the Oval Office -- and we had a camera there that was rolling, where you can see officials having a heated conversation with one another -- the feeling inside the Oval Office, according to sources we are talking to, is that the communication team, the press team of the White House had allowed the news of Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Trump campaign and Russian investigation had sort of overtaken the narrative of the week.

They were feeling very enthusiastic after the president's performance at that speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

And from what we are hearing from sources, the president was very upset that Sessions had even recused himself from the case. That was something, according to one source, that the president thought was hasty and overkill. He was hot. He was exasperated over this because he felt that basically they were just giving their adversaries up on Capitol Hill more ammunition by having Jeff Sessions recuse himself.


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: OK. Let's get the view now from Moscow with CNN's Matthew Chance. Matthew, good morning to you. Donald Trump has been accused or

described rather as being frustrated, being angry.

I'm wondering, is an angry U.S. president the kind of man the Kremlin can work with?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I guess not, in the sense that, you know, these revelations that are constantly bombarding the White House and the toxic nature of the issue of Russia when it comes to American politics, that means that from a Russian point of view there's a lot of concern about what affect that will have on the policy of the White House.

Remember, they believed -- Russian officials believed that Donald Trump was going to be a President of the United States who was going to be relatively pro-Russian. He had spoken during his campaign about criticizing NATO, about recognizing Crimea potentially as part of Russia, about cooperating with Russia on a whole range of issue, including international terrorism.

But because of the way the political situation in the United States has developed, there ha been a gradual realization in Moscow that that is probably not going to happen.

Now the Kremlin always said that it didn't view the presidency of Donald Trump with rose-tinted spectacles. But the Russian media was overwhelming in its praise of Donald Trump, looking forward to a new period of warm relations between Washington and Moscow.

That's all now completely disappearing from the Russian media, which is largely state-controlled. And the Kremlin is speaking and the Russian officials are talking in terms of a witch hunt in the United States and propaganda aimed at soiling the image of Russia.

So the idea that this is going to be a close, cooperative relationship, which is an idea that was earlier held, has now vanished.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: So much speculation, Matthew, about the meetings that took place with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Is there concern, though, in Russia that there will be more revelations to come?

And that this particular individual will undergo even more of a character assassination than he's already had?

CHANCE: Well, I think there must be. Obviously, there were a lot more meetings between Russian officials, including Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington, and Trump officials than we earlier understood. I mean, it's emerging almost by the day, that there were more contacts that weren't previously disclosed.

The Russians of course say this is just a normal part of diplomatic activity. Their ambassadors to Washington as their other diplomats have the job of making contacts with prominent people from the United States, particularly people from the incoming -- what was then the incoming Trump administration.

And they say they are doing nothing wrong and that this is just a witch hunt to manipulate the perception of those contacts.

But, yes, I mean, look, this is going to be very difficult to foresee (ph). The issue of Russia is a problem for Donald Trump that does not seem to be going away.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Certainly doesn't. Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow, thank you.

People gathered in support of President Trump in at least 28 states on Saturday. Most of the rallies were peaceful. But inside Minnesota's state capital, six anti-Trump protesters were arrested after clashing with his supporters. Ten people were also arrested --


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: -- at a rally but in California, police there confiscated a number of weapons there as well. Protesters argued with each other at many of the rallies while there was mild fighting reported, just a crumb.

Peter Trubowitz (ph) is a professor of international relations at London School of Economics. He's also a director of the United States Center. He joins me now in the studio.

Peter, welcome to you. Thank you for coming in this morning.

Thank you for having me.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: President Trump is being described by many after these wiretapping allegations as an angry man, a frustrated man. I'm wondering which president wins through, though, is it the angry erratic or the calm, contrived Trump who's perhaps deliberately putting this kind of information out there?

PETER TRUBOWITZ (PH), LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I don't know, I think that Trump demonstrated again yesterday that he can be his own worst enemy.

If the purpose of the series of tweets was to take the story about Jeff Sessions and particularly the attorney general's decision to recuse himself off the front page, off the top of the fold, I think Trump succeeded in doing that but also by making himself the story.

By charging former President Obama with Watergate-style crimes, what Trump has actually done is raised the question of whether the FBI got court approval to investigate people that were part of the Trump campaign.


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Right, and that would be illegal wiretapping. (CROSSTALK)

TRUBOWITZ (PH): It would be illegal wiretap. So this thing just comes back at Donald Trump. That's why Republicans were running for cover yesterday.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Yes, and talking about Jeff Sessions as well, as much as Donald Trump may be trying to divert away from the Russia story, it isn't going away. He has recused himself, Jeff Sessions, has from the investigation.

But is there now a bigger call than ever before for a special prosecutor, an independent prosecutor, to come in to look at this?

TRUBOWITZ (PH): Yes, we already heard that yesterday. That drumbeat is going to continue. This story has got legs and it's not going away.

And it seems to me that Trump's efforts here, while they may work in a kind of tactical, from a day-to-day standpoint by changing the story, what it does is it reminds Americans that there's an issue there.

I mean, polls are showing that Americans, even Americans who support him, wonder about what the heck is going on with the Russians.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) prevailing theme of dishonesty, even if you are a Trump supporter, prevailing, this theme of dishonesty and distrust coming throughout the White House, even now with the vice president, Mike Pence, being implicated with his e-mail and his use of a private e-mail server for state information and --

TRUBOWITZ (PH): Right, but we need to separate that from the Russia story. But I mean, I suppose, if you are Vice President Pence today, you can thank your lucky stars that the president, your boss, is taking up all the oxygen with the Russia story because I mean, this is, you can see why Pence's critics are charging him with hypocrisy.

I mean, he hammered Hillary Clinton during the campaign for her use of a private server and private e-mails.

And, "Well, it's not exactly the same thing," his use of AOL.

It's pretty damn close.


TRUBOWITZ (PH): Most Americans are not going to -- yes, but most Americans are not going to draw that kind of distinction. That's splitting hairs with an ax. And I think the bottom line here is you live in a glass house, you don't throw stones.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: It's Sunday and everyone is hunkered down at Mar-a-lago in the winter White House, as it's been dubbed at the moment. Donald Trump, the president's there. Jeff Sessions I believe is there as well. Steve Bannon.

What's going to be the tactics looking ahead, sir, to Monday?

TRUBOWITZ (PH): Well, I think there are two possible stories that all occupy tomorrow and Tuesday. I mean, a lot of people were talking about the revised travel ban being announced as early as tomorrow. The particulars are not known there.

But the administration now has every incentive in a tactical sense to change the story by putting that out.

Tuesday, they are supposed to unveil the rollback of EPA regulations. And that will light up things. That's going to generate tremendous attention by the media and at state and local levels as well.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: OK, plenty more to come, then. It's not going away, none of these stories are. Peter Trubowitz (PH), thanks very much for coming in this morning.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the Red Cross says it is deeply alarmed by a suspected chemical attack in Mosul in Iraq. What it means for residents fleeing the city ahead.

Plus the deepening mystery of why senior Trump advisers met with Russia's ambassador but never said anything about those meetings until now.






In Somalia, at least 110 people have starved to death in just 48 hours as a full-blown famine that looms. That's according to the Somali prime minister, who is now pleading for international help.

Millions of people, more than half the country's population, are on the brink of starvation. A severe drought has gripped the country for three years in a row, causing a food and water crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are deeply suffering. We are thirsty. We are hungry. We did not grow any crops on our farms for nearly two years. Some of the families here have not cooked anything since they arrived here. We have nothing to survive on."


HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Somalis are not alone in this devastating situation. More than 20 million people in several African countries are in urgent need of food. They include Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, also South Sudan officially declared famine last month. We turn our attention now to Iraq and the Red Cross says it is deeply alarmed after doctors in Iraq treated a dozen people suffering from signs of a chemical attack, including five children.

For more on this, our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, joins me now live from Irbil in Northern Iraq.

Ben, first of all, just tell us what the circumstances are of this attack and indeed who the victims are.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this attack took place midweek in Eastern Mosul. And of course Eastern Mosul has been liberated by the Iraqi army.

So this projectile, we believe it's a rocket, was fired from the western part of the city still occupied by ISIS toward the east over the Tigris River. And ISIS is believed to be behind it.

And, not surprisingly, the victims are civilians.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 11- year-old Yassed lies unconscious in bed. A rocket lit outside his home Wednesday in liberated east Mosul, leaving him with a concussion and symptoms doctors at this hospital in Erbil say point to a chemical attack.

DR. LAWAND MIRAN, DIRECTOR, IRAQ HOSPITAL: Shortness of breath. Second-degree burn.

WEDEMAN: Hospital director Dr. Lawand Miran has no doubt about what happened.

MIRAN: It is a chemical gas.

WEDEMAN: Twelve people including a month-old baby have been treated for exposure to chemical agents in the first such attack by ISIS since the start of the Mosul offensive last October. Wisam Rashid was in his house when a rocket landed outside.

There was a rotten --


WEDEMAN (voice-over): -- smell, he recalls and there was something like burnt oil. There was gas, no one can breathe in the whole area. We left the house and the civil defense sealed it up.

The U.S. defense department has warned that ISIS has developed a primitive capacity to develop chemical weapons and has used them in Syria and Iraq. The worry is with ISIS desperate and surrounded in western Mosul it won't hesitate to use everything in its arsenal.

The Red Cross is setting up tents in the event there are more chemical attacks. Now, in a statement related to this incident, the Red Cross stressed that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime. Not that that makes any difference to ISIS. Indifferent as it is to the suffering of its victims.


WEDEMAN: Now precisely what chemical agent was used in this attack is not clear. But the doctors at that hospital told us they were informed by American medics near the front line in Mosul that it was mustard gas -- Hannah.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: And, Ben, just bring us up to speed with the very latest on the offensive, the ongoing attempts to reclaim the city of Mosul from ISIS.

WEDEMAN: Yes, Hannah, over the last two days, we've had some very rainy weather. So the offensive took a pause, so to speak. But it is renewed this morning with the Iraqi forces pushing into the Dawabsha neighborhood, which is just south of the Old City. And of course the Old City is where it's believed ISIS is really going to make its last stand. It's an area with very narrow streets and alleys.

It is very difficult for the Iraqi military to enter into that area with their heavy machinery, their tanks and armored personnel carriers. This is all going on at a time where we are seeing massive numbers of people fleeing the city; Thursday, as many as 14,000 people left.

The total who have fled the city since the beginning of the offensive is approaching 50,000. The U.N. is worried that the total number that might flee the city is 250,000 out of a total population of 800,000 -- Hannah.

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: And I wonder about the historic use of chemical weapons in Iraq. It is something quite prominent in the press as well.

But is there much evidence in recent years of chemical weapons used across the country?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly we see evidence from both Syria and Iraq that ISIS has used crude chemical weapons. For instance, it's used chlorine, which is what you would use in a swimming pool. And it's not a deadly weapon but it's debilitating.

And of course going back to 1988, Saddam Hussein in the town of Halabja near the Iranian border, did use chemical weapons there, killing thousands of people.

But the U.S. military as I mentioned in that report before is concerned that for instance ISIS has picked up chemical agents in Syria when they took over facilities of the Syrian government. And may be using some of those chemical agents here in Iraq as well. And the fact of the matter is that ISIS certainly would never hesitate to use a weapon that, of course, is banned under the Geneva convention -- Hannah. HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Ben, we appreciate your analysis of the situation, ongoing situation there in the battle for Mosul and across the country as well. Ben Wedeman, live for us there in Irbil in Northern Iraq, thank you.

Now our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, is following two stories for us today. A cyclone, which is strengthening in Madagascar and the Iditarod race getting underway in Alaska.

Pedram, good morning to you.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, good seeing you, Hannah.

We'll start off with the Iditarod because it is a little historic here when it comes to what has occurred the last few years. Two of the last three years we've had actually displaced where it typically begins, which is north of Anchorage, by some 300 miles to the north around Fairbanks.

And that's because of the lack of snow in places across some of these regions. This is a race that continues for over a thousand miles. There is some snow expected around the starting point there come Monday afternoon.

But I want to show you some of the ceremonial footage there from Anchorage on Saturday, the snow having to have been brought into the city there. Of course, you see the mushers and the dogs themselves, 2,000 dogs from around the world right there at the ceremonial position for Anchorage, Alaska.

But here's the perspective, because not much snow is needed as you work your way out to Fairbanks, where the start of the race is.

Typically, an even landscape, just about six inches or so is enough for the sled and for the dogs themselves to be able to navigate through. But once you get up towards some of the higher terrain, you get up into the Alaska range there, you have boulders, you have large- scale rocks here that will make it very challenging.

And, again, you need at least three feet of snow. The snow is intermittent in some of these spots. You're getting a couple feet, you work your way into other spots, maybe more than three feet. But that's the challenge left in place across this region.



HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES: Still to come on CNN this hour, the growing controversy over those meetings between Trump advisers and Russia's ambassador, pictured there. It now threatens to overshadow the new administration's agenda.

Plus, the father of this murdered teenager explains his personal fight against illegal immigration. HERE



HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back to our viewers here with me in London and also in the United States and of course around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's very good to have you with us. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones with the headlines we're following for you this hour.


JONES: And a spokesman for U.S. President Barack Obama says there's no truth to allegations the Obama administration spied on Donald Trump during last year's presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets on Saturday saying that President Obama wiretapped his phones. Mr. Trump provided no proof to back up his allegation.

His staff apparently was blindsided when he sent out the tweets early on Saturday morning, including this one, quote, "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon Watergate. Bad or sick guy!"

The president's tweets coincide with a deepening mystery over why senior Trump aides met last year with Russia's ambassador to the United States. Among them was Jeff Sessions, he is now the U.S. attorney general.

Mr. Sessions went to Florida on Saturday to meet with Mr. Trump, who is said to be upset that the Russia story is overshadowing his presidency. We get more now from our Randi Kaye.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was President Donald Trump last month brushing off any connection to Russia. But since he made that statement it's become clear that five of his advisors did indeed have contact with a Russian, this man, the Russian ambassador U.S. intelligence officials consider a top level spy.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in July and September and is now having to explain why he didn't share that during his confirmation hearings.

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: In retrospect, I should have slowed down and said but I did meet one Russian official a couple of times. That would be the ambassador. KAYE: On the heels of that, more undisclosed meetings, this time at Trump Tower. That's where Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner met with the Russian ambassador in December.

Also in on that meeting, the former head of the NSA, Michael Flynn, who was fired for misleading the administration about his conversations with the ambassador. A senior administration official tells CNN Kushner's meeting lasted about 10 minutes and characterized it as an introductory meeting, an inconsequential hello.

Why does any of this matter?

Because at least some of those meeting with the Russian ambassador occurred while the Trump administration's relationship with Russia was under close scrutiny. And despite pushback from the White House, there are still some questions about whether or not Russia influenced the U.S. presidential election.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that Russia's involvement and activity has been investigated up and down.

So the question becomes at some point if there's nothing to further investigate, what are you asking people to investigate?

TRUMP: How many times do I have to answer this question?

Russia is a ruse. I know you have to get up and ask a question, so important. Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia.

KAYE: So what about that growing list of private meetings with the Russian ambassador?

Trump campaign national security advisor J.D. Gordon has disclosed that he too met with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in July. He emphasized there wasn't any inappropriate chatter with the Russians to help the Trump campaign.

And there's more. He says two other national security advisors were also part of that meeting, Walid Phares and Carter Page. More meetings and more denials only leads to more questions.

TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Norfolk, Virginia.



JONES: Assistant head of the U.S. and the Americas program at Chatham House here in London joins me now on set. Thanks very much for coming in, Jacob.

We need to talk about Russia of course, just following on from Randi's report there, but I want to just quickly mention the wiretapping allegations. This is quite unprecedented, isn't it, to have a sitting president accuse his predecessor of a crime.

JACOB: It's hugely unprecedented. And if Obama had accused George W. Bush, if George W. Bush had accused Bill Clinton of this kind of thing, this would be a massive break. But it is sort of in keeping with Trump's tradition that he's established. He's willing to sort of throw out these wild outlandish accusations to either not provide proof or to promise to provide proof and then quietly just sort of (INAUDIBLE).

And let's move on. This is kind of how things work now. It's sort of in keeping with that.

JONES: He's hoping to get away from the Russia story but it is simply not going away. Jeff Sessions has now recused himself from the investigation but there are other people, as we are just hearing Randi's report, that who may now come out and say that they did, indeed, have these meetings with Russians.

One of them perhaps being the president's son-in-law as well.

JACOB: Yes, and, in Sessions' case, the interesting is, there's nothing inherently wrong with a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting with the Russian ambassador. United States senators meet with foreign ambassadors. It's a perfectly normal part of practice, especially those on the Armed Services Committee, on Foreign Relations Committee, to have to do with appropriations related to U.S. military deployments, U.S. foreign affairs and so on and so forth.

The problem is that Sessions said things that were untrue about it in his hearing. He went out of his way to deny any question from Al Franken. Then he explicitly denied any meetings in a written question from Patrick Leahy.

So that's the problem. It's the denials, not the acknowledgement that conversations were had --


JONES: And that would be the difference, then, between Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, as well, that he's never had to go through a confirmation hearing and so he's never had the opportunity to lie or tell the truth or whatever it is under oath.

JACOB: Right. Most people in the West Wing are not confirmed by the Senate. They are appointed by the president. They are subjected to a political security clearance process and they're put in their jobs.

JONES: The travel ban which was much lauded by President Trump a couple of weeks ago and has since been held up in the courts and the like, it's been delayed quite a lot. I know although the president has said that it was an urgent requirement to keep the American people safe, what is the latest in it?

And might we see some development this week, even?

JACOB: The story is that it'll come out this week, possibly as soon as Monday. Last week the story was that it would come out in the middle of the week. Then it was pushed back, apparently -- and this is based on reporting in Politico -- apparently because they didn't want to interrupt the news cycle around the president's joint address to Congress.

So the deadline has been pushed back. Now if this undergoing legal review, if the issue is they want to make sure that it is more legally secure than its predecessor, that's one thing. But to say that they are pushing it back because they want it to have a news cycle of its own, slightly undermines the case that it's an urgent, critical national security requirement.

JONES: And there is also quite a lot of concern amongst Democrats and others who are criticizing the administration at the moment about the sources of information that the president is using -- some allegation that this wiretapping story first came about through Breitbart. Now of course Steve Bannon is his chief strategist and used to be the head of Breitbart as well.

What do you make of who President Trump is turning to to get his information right now?

JACOB: It is very difficult to tell. You can draw these inferences. And I think there have been a couple of fairly strong cases that things that were mentioned or in particular segments on "Morning Joe," on "FOX & Friends," on specific shows have led directly to presidential tweets.

Now how that goes into policymaking is a little bit more opaque and frankly it should be opaque. The president should have a little bit of privacy to determine -- any president, any party should have a little bit of privacy to absorb information. But it is a little bit concerning, the link between Steve Bannon, who was until the Trump campaign, the head of Breitbart and the fact that Breitbart has sort of unprecedented access into the White House.

And, you know, the diversity of sources is another question there.

How broad of a range or opinion is the president taking?

JONES: Yes. Another example of that will be close of course the Sweden stories, that coming apparently from "FOX & Friends" and a segment he's seen the previous day as well.

Very interesting, Jacob (INAUDIBLE), thank you very much for joining us this Sunday morning. Thank you.

Now the new U.S. immigration crackdown is raising emotions on both sides of the issue. Some call the Trump administration's efforts cruel. But the man you're about to meet fully supports deporting undocumented immigrants. He lost his teenage son to murder at the hands of one of them. CNN's Sara Sidner has his story.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump made Jamiel Shaw, Sr. a promise.

Has Mr. Trump as President kept his promise?

JAMIEL SHAW, SR., FATHER OF SON KILLED BY UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: Yes. He told me my son's life will not be in vain.

SIDNER (voice-over): Mr. Trump promised that if he became president, he'd do whatever he could to keep other families from experiencing what the Shaws did.

SIDNER: How did you find out that your son had been shot?

SHAW: I heard it, I heard the gunshot and --


SHAW: -- I just knew. All of a sudden, pow, pow, whoa! I remember saying, damn.

SIDNER (voice-over): In 2008, Shaw's eldest son, Jamiel Jr., a standout high school running back preparing for college, was shot execution-style by 19-year-old Pedro Espinoza, who had been released from jail a day earlier on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. But the city did not hand him over to immigration authorities then.

SIDNER: Who do you blame besides the actual person who killed your son for the death of your son?

SHAW: Anybody supports sanctuary cities.

Three gun charges, stabbed people. I mean, he was just say the disciple and live in the country, in the gang database. Come on, man. Do your damn job. All you had to do was get him out of here.

SIDNER (voice-over): Shaw has been fighting ever since to get Jamiel's Law passed, that targets undocumented immigrants who join gangs.

Fast forward to 2015 and Shaw got a chance to hand his proposal to then-candidate Donald Trump. Then in President Trump's joint address to Congress, he recognized Shaw and offered this:

TRUMP: I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE -- Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

SIDNER: Some Democrats groaned and booed the new office.

SHAW: I took it as an insult. Why wouldn't that be a good ideal to have a department set up for those people?

Obama for victims. Obama was using that same money for the DACA people.

SIDNER (on camera): What do you think about the DREAMer program? SHAW: A DREAMer murdered my son. He was brought here by no fault of his own, you know, he grew up to be 19 and he murdered somebody. So, you can't just say blanket that all DREAMers are good people.

SIDNER (voice-over): But critics of Trump's immigration stance say his focus is misplaced, pointing to several studies listed by the Cato Institute, all showing immigrants are less crime-prone than those who are native born.

SHAW: What do I care about the statistic? My son is in a cemetery. I'm not saying all illegals are doing that. But we got enough trouble with Americans and you're going to import more?

SIDNER: One of those studies looking at census data from 1980, 1990 and 2000 show that immigrants as a whole have incarceration rates that one-fifth those of native-born Americans. But Mr. Shaw says statistics wouldn't matter to you if it was your child who was killed.

The man who killed his child was sentenced to death and is serving time in San Quentin prison here in California -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.


JONES: Coming up on the CNN NEWSROOM this hour, China's National People's Congress has opened in Beijing. What China's officials are saying about the future of its economy -- ahead.

Plus, life in what could be the world's greenest building. We'll show you what it's like living in the tower they call The Tree.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now I announce the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China open.


JONES (voice-over): China's National People's Congress opened its annual session in Beijing on Sunday. The Chinese premier outlined the country's goals for the year. A main priority: cutting companies' debt burdens.


JONES: Well, CNNMoney's emerging markets editor, John Defterios, has more now on that meeting. And as he reports, China is forecasting slower growth in 2017.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice-over): In the heart of Beijing, an annual political gathering like no other. Some 3,000 delegates at the National People's Congress brought under one roof in the Great Hall of the People.

But this year a more sobering message as Premier Li Keqiang laid down the groundwork for slower growth.

LI KEQIANG, CHINESE PREMIER (through translator): The difficulties we face are not to be underestimated but we must remain confident that they will be overcome.

DEFTERIOS (voice-over): The economic engine that not long ago cranked out double-digit growth will ease down further to around 6.5 percent, its slowest rate in three decades.

The leadership wanted to manage expectations coming into the Congress, stressing the need for stability, quality, growth and reducing poverty, especially in the rural areas.

In the major urban centers, the government wants to create 11 million new jobs while raising wages for the average Chinese. Delegates know these are turbulent times with tensions around the South China Sea, a U.S. president who's active on the regional security front and challenging Beijing on its huge trade surplus with the States.

So the man at the top, President Xi Jinping, and his premier, are stressing they have their hands firmly on the tiller to manage uncertainty.

LI (through translator): In the face of profound changes in the international political and economic landscape, China will always stand on the side of peace and stability, oppose protectionism in its different forms and become more involved in global governance.

DEFTERIOS (voice-over): At this annual meeting of the party faithful, that means no bold pronouncements to take home to the provinces, even in the more prosperous east.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Even 6.5 percent is still amongst the fastest growth in the world and we strive to go higher than that. But I believe in the sustainable model of the Chinese economy.

DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Enough, the leadership hopes, to appease those at home and foreign investors who have taken major stakes in China -- John Defterios, CNNMoney, Beijing.


JONES: We turn to Mexico now, where a fireworks explosion killed four people and injured six more on Saturday. It happened in Tultepec (ph), a town just north of Mexico City. That is the same place where a series of explosions at a fireworks market killed more than 35 people back in December of last year.

Mexican authorities say Saturday's explosion happened in a house where fireworks were being made. At least two of the dead are children, who were just 6 and 11 years old.

All right. Stay with us here on CNN NEWSROOM. Coming up next, a modern take on an ancient construction material. Take a tour of the world's tallest building made of wood.






JONES: Welcome back.

We normally think of skyscrapers made of steel and glass but the new wave may be going back to basics: wood. The tallest of them in Norway, although it may not stay that way for much longer. CNN's Jonathan Mann has the story.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Residents at this high-rise in Norway are taking green living to new heights -- literally. At 14 stories and just under 53 meters high, they have taken up residence in what for the moment is the tallest wooden building in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you are in the apartment, you don't realize it's a big wooden building.

MANN (voice-over): Dubbed The Tree by builders, it's one of the growing number of so-called plyscrapers. Built in 2015 almost entirely of sustainable timber, proponents say it is just as strong as concrete or steel and more environmentally friendly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will never totally displace concrete and steel but it is definitely a part of the solution on our struggle toward the (INAUDIBLE) neutral society.

MANN (voice-over): To protect against rain and metal and glass cover the building's exterior with dual internal decks and a rooftop terrace made from concrete.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was necessary to add weight to this wooden building because it kind of -- it damps the swinging.

MANN (voice-over): And architects --

[05:55:00] MANN (voice-over): -- insist the specially treated wood is not a fire hazard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These columns and these CAT (ph) panels, they don't burn. They are so thick that they don't burn. So, actually, this is the safest house in Bergen regarding fire.

MANN (voice-over): The Tree won't hold its tall title for long with even bigger plyscrapers under construction in Vancouver, Vienna and London. It would appear that idea of a tower made of timber is starting to take root -- Jonathan Mann, CNN.


JONES: My Freedom Day is coming up in less than two weeks. Here on CNN, we are teaming up with young people around the globe for a unique student-led day of action against modern-day slavery. That's coming up on March the 14th.

And we have got celebrities to tell us what freedom means to them. Take a lesson.


TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Freedom to me means the freedom to think, to say what I want and to be critical of the government of the day if I want to be. It means the rule of law.

WOODY HARRELSON, ACTOR: I think we should be allowed to do anything we want to do as long as we aren't hurting another human being or hurting their property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom means to me the right to make your own happiness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to do on March 14th, my dear young friends?

What are you waiting for?

Join with me to end modern-day slavery. We will do it together.


JONES: We want to hear from what freedom means to you, too. Do post a photo or a video and you can use the #MyFreedomDay.

And that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones. For viewers in the U.S., "NEW DAY" is just ahead. For other viewers around the world, "IN 24 HOURS" starts in just a moment. Thank you so much for watching CNN, the world's news leader.