Return to Transcripts main page


S. Korea, U.S. Believe N. Korea Missile Launch Failed; South Korea Attempts to Raise Sewol Ferry; Gorsuch Faces Grilling; Health Care Battle; American Family Mourns Loss of Mother; U.S. & UK Restricting Electronics on Flights; Trump Administration is Identifying "Sanctuary Cities"; George Clooney Surprises 87-Year-Old Fan. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 22, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:14] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM L.A.

VAUSE: And we start with breaking news from North Korea. South Korea and the U.S. believe Pyongyang has attempted another missile test in the past few hours, but the launch appears to have failed.

SESAY: It's unclear what type of missile it was, but U.S. officials say it exploded within seconds after it was launched.

VAUSE: Philip Yun joins us now from San Francisco. He's executive director of the Ploughshares Fund and former adviser on North Korea to U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Philip -- even though this missile test appears to have failed, there can still be progress in failure, right?

PHILIP YUN, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Absolutely. The chance -- you learn a lot from a failure, as much sometimes as a success. And the thing is we can expect more in the coming weeks as these military games continue between the United States and South Korea.

VAUSE: You know, on Tuesday, the U.S. military said it was expecting another kind of missile launch. What indications did they have that the North Koreans would do this again so soon after firing four ballistic missiles?

YUN: Well, there is probably some overhead surveillance by satellite so they can look at various launch pads and areas that are very well- known. Some of these tests are actually by liquid fuel so -- liquid fuel rockets which take a while to load. So this is something that they've known for a while.

And also the North Koreans have said that if the United States continues with these military exercises and does things that they consider threatening, they are going to continue to respond. And so what we have here over the last several weeks is basically a tit for tat one-upsmanship between the United States-South Korea on one side and North Korea on the other.

VAUSE: Well, with that in mind, the new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week, "The policy of strategic patience is ended. We are exploring a new range of diplomatic security and economic measures. All options are on the table." This, of course, when it comes to North Korea.

So given this failed missile launch from the North Koreans, what response would you expect now from Washington?

YUN: Well, I think Rex Tillerson is going to have to say all options are on the table. But from what I've been able to understand, he is basically saying that the formula they're going to use are basically more sanctions, and they're going really rely on China.

That's slightly different from what the Obama administration has been doing. But it's a formula that was used back in the mid 2000s by the Bush administrations. Essentially, what the United States is going to do is put more pressure on North Korea with the expectation that China is going to solve this problem.

And this is simply not going to work. It's been tried in the past and has been an abysmal failure over the last ten years.

VAUSE: Ok. Philip -- we'll leave it there. But of course, a lot more on the story as we go through the hour. Philip Yun there from the Ploughshares Fund in San Francisco.

SESAY: All right.

Well, off the coast of South Korea, a salvage team is assessing a system to raise a ferry that sank three years ago. More than 300 people died when the Sewol ferry capsized.

VAUSE: Most of the victims were students on a school trip. Nine bodies still has not been recovered and the ship is currently sitting in about 40 meters of water.

SESAY: Well, our Paula Hancocks joins us now from Jindo, South Korea with the very latest. Paula -- this is an incredibly complex operation, the attempt to raise the Sewol. Tell us about what is happening now.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha -- officially what officials say they're doing today is they are trying to test if they can raise the Sewol. But the expectation is that if they do try and raise it a meter or two and that is successful, then they will continue and try and bring it those 40 meters up to the surface.

So effectively what they have done is they put about 33 lifting beams underneath the Sewol itself and that's connected by about 66 cables to cranes that are floating on docks on the water's top. So what they'll try and do is lift the Sewol. This could take many hours. It could take a lot longer. There is a huge amount of variables, we're being told by officials, that the underwater currents are extremely strong in this part of the sea off the south coast of South Korea. But weather conditions are favorable at this point to be able to do this.

If they're successful, they'll be able to lift this massive 6,800-ton ferry on to a floating dock and then tow it to Mokpo port which is the closest port that can deal with that kind of size of vessel within three or four days it's expected.

But of course this is fluid and it could all change depending on the weather and depending what happens with the operation -- Isha.

SESAY: Yes. And Paula -- we understand that there are some human remains still amongst the wreckage, if you will. And that issue of retrieving those remains is an incredibly emotionally-charged issue for many there in South Korea.

[00:05:04] HANCOCKS: That's right. There are nine people who are still missing. The hope is that those remains are still within the ship itself which is one of the major reasons why officials decided that they would try this unprecedented, this massive salvage operation to try and bring the ferry up whole rather than cutting it up into separate sections.

Now we did see one of the mothers of a 16-year-old, Dae Yon-Hu (ph) who lost her life on that day on April 16th, 2014. She is still waiting for her daughter's body to be found. And she has gone out with a number of other family members of those who have been killed or are still missing on to a boat, and they are close by the salvage operation.

Now the ministry itself, the government has arranged for that to be done, which would suggest that they hope that they will be able to see something today. So although the official line is they are just testing whether they can lift it, the fact that they're taking the family members out so far to try and see this salvage operation would suggest they're hopeful that they will be able to do much more -- Isha.

SESAY: Yes, those families have been through so much. Paula Hancocks, joining us there from Jindo, South Korea -- appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, President Donald Trump may be hoping that everyone has forgotten about those unfounded allegations that President Obama actually wiretapped him but they haven't.

But for the second day in a row the U.S. President made no mention of the claim this time during a speech at a dinner at Washington, D.C.

SESAY: Well, instead Mr. Trump is focused on getting the Republican health care plan passed. He told lawmakers they might not be re- elected if they don't vote for the bill. VAUSE: Meantime, the President's Supreme Court nominee is trying to

convince senators he is a judge, not a politician. Neil Gorsuch faced a grilling from Democrats -- questions on abortion, religious right, and also President Trump.


JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: The bottom line I think is that I'd like to convey to you from the bottom of my heart is that I'm a fair judge.


VAUSE: Joining us here now in Los Angeles Democratic strategist Matt Littman, chairman of the L.A. County Republican Party Mark Vafiades, and criminal defense attorney Troy Slaten.

Matt -- let's start with you. Is the marathon long hearing, for the most part it seems Democrats couldn't really nail Gorsuch down on anything. He didn't seem to have any substantive answers.

MATT LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, but the thing for Democrats, and the thing you have to keep in mind is that he shouldn't be up there right now anyway -- right. The Democrats had a nominee who couldn't even get a fair hearing -- any hearing at all.

So if I were the Democrats I would do the best I could to filibuster this nominee. I don't think any constituency within the Democratic Party wants this to go forward. Everybody is against it.

The argument that the Republicans made about Garland was that Donald Trump was in the last year and a half or so of his presidency. So why should he get this done?

VAUSE: Obama -- yes.

LITTMAN: Sorry. Wow.

Donald Trump may also be the (inaudible) in the way it's going with the Russian stuff. But with what the FBI said the other day about Donald Trump yesterday, why even let this guy have a nominee to the Supreme Court by that same token? So if I were the Democrats I would push back on this and filibuster it all the way.

SESAY: Well Mark -- Democrats tried to pull Gorsuch into the controversy surrounding Merrick Garland getting -- trying to get to his feelings on what happened. Take a listen to how he responded.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he was treated fairly by this committee? Yes or no.

GORSUCH: Senators, I explained to you before, I can't get involved in politics. And there is judicial canons that prevent me from doing that. And I think it would be very imprudent of judges to start commenting on political disputes.


SESAY: I mean Mark -- I doubt anyone on that committee expected him to wade into that issue. So is the question more about saying to them we've got a score to settle here. This is more about the optics?

MARK VAFIADES, L.A. COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: It probably. And they shouldn't be doing that because they shouldn't be rejecting Gorsuch because of wanting to settle the score.

The Biden rule, which it is called, dictates that a president in his last year should not be nominating a Supreme Court justice. Biden made a floor speech in 1992. We had most of the other Democrats going all the way back from the time of Reagan and even before saying that there shouldn't be a justice nominee in the last year of the presidential term. So they're just following that.

VAUSE: Ok. Troy over to you on this -- Gorsuch was asked specifically how he would rule if President Trump tried to implement a Muslim ban. This is what he said.


GORSUCH: I'm not going to say anything here that would give anybody any idea how I'd rule in any case like that that could come before the Supreme Court or my court of the Tenth Circuit. It would be grossly improper of a judge to do that.

It would be a violation of the separation of powers and judicial independence if someone sitting at this table in order to get confirmed had to make promises or commitments about how they would rule in a case that's currently pending.


VAUSE: Troy, just purely from a legal point of view, is Gorsuch right?

[00:10:05] TROY SLATEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He is. And this is sometimes referred to as the Ginsburg rule because Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her confirmation hearings made it very clear that a judge during the confirmation hearings can't comment on any cases or controversies that may even possibly come before the court.

So if he were to comment on something like the executive order regarding immigration, executive power, torture of detainees, abortion he may have to recuse himself if he is confirmed and then a case like that comes before him. So Judge Gorsuch did exactly the right thing. It's consistent with the judicial canons.

SESAY: Mark -- I want you to comment on that; and Matt, feel free to weigh in. I mean some would say the American people deserve to know the thinking of the Supreme Court pick.

I mean he waxed lyrical on judicial precedent on those issues, but refused to tip his hand in any way. Some people would say the American people should know something as to the way he would go on certain issues.

VAFIADES: Actually, his answer is the perfect answer for somebody who is up to be a justice for the Supreme Court. They should not know on cases that are pending. A judge's job is not to -- you know, based on his feeling decide how he would go on a certain case.

It's to take a case, to look at the evidence. And based on that, decide if it's constitutional or not. And it doesn't matter. He may sometimes as he has mentioned go a certain way that doesn't even go along with what he believes politically. But that's the way it should be.

VAUSE: If you go to the abortion thing --

LITTMAN: No. There is no Biden rule.

VAUSE: Right.

LITTMAN: Biden never said that a person shouldn't get a hearing. Merrick Garland never got even a hearing.


LITTMAN: What happened today -- Merrick Garland never got that. So if I were the Democrats and I think it's a fair thing to do, I would absolutely filibuster this thing. The Republicans would not allow Garland to even get a hearing. This person -- until Merrick Garland is confirmed for the Supreme Court -- of course --


VAFIADES: You know, Charles Schumer also made a similar floor speech when George W. Bush was coming near the end of his term.

LITTMAN: I love that you're quoting Chuck Schumer because Chuck Schumer also said today that until we know what happened with the Russia situation, we should not allow --

VAFIADES: Of course you --


VAUSE: Troy, I want to ask your opinion on that because you know, this seems to be the strategy now by the Democrats; that there is this FBI investigation into the Trump campaign and alleged collusion with Russia. They believe that Trump should not be appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. Does that actually have any validity?

SLATEN: It doesn't have any legal validity. The President is the President. And it's his constitutional authority to nominate when there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court. So it's up to the Senate to exercise their responsibility to advise-and-consent. And that's exactly what they're doing. If the President was under some sort of impeachment proceeding, which he is not, then that could be a reason to filibuster. But I think right now if Democrats do try and filibuster, they're going to run into a situation where the rules of the Senate could be changed.

And with what is known as the nuclear option, which would change the rules to require only a 51-vote majority to confirm Gorsuch, which I believe is what will happen if there is a filibuster.

LITTMAN: And so what if that happens? I mean so then they would do it the next time when there is another nominee of the Republicans. So eventually it's going happen anyway that they're going to use this nuclear option. So let them do it now.

VAFIADES: It was Harry Reid that made it possible.

LITTMAN: You really love to quote the Democrats.

VAFIADES: I thought you would like that.

SESAY: On the very day the President's Supreme Court pick was being grilled for the President's criticism of the judiciary, the President was saying this. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're also taking decisive action to improve our vetting procedures. The courts are not helping us. I have to be honest with you. It's ridiculous. Somebody said I should not criticize judges. Ok. I'll criticize judges to keep criminals and terrorists the hell out of our country.


SESAY: Matt -- is he deliberately making life difficult for Judge Gorsuch?

LLITTMAN: Well, you know, it's not even about Judge Gorsuch. This is where Donald Trump decided to spend his time is on the Muslim ban, right. And then the health care thing which nobody really seems to like. Instead of concentrating on the reasons where people elected him which are jobs, infrastructure. Whereas, by the way, he is doing this Muslim ban, he is spending all this time.

VAFIADES: It's not a Muslim ban.

LITTMAN: It's not a Muslim ban?

VAFIADES: It's not a Muslim ban.

LITTMAN: So when Donald Trump was running for --


SESAY: I want you to get moving. LITTMAN: He said that he wanted to ban Muslims. Rudy Giuliani said he wants to ban Muslims. You're telling me that he is not trying to ban Muslims?

VAFIADES: Absolutely not.

VAUSE: Ok. Good.

LITTMAN: If you believe that --


VAUSE: Very quickly, because Donald Trump making his final pitch to GOP lawmakers a few hours ago why they should pass Trumpcare. Listen to this.


[00:14:50] TRUMP: The House bill ends the Obamacare nightmare and gives health care decisions back to the states and back to the American people. These are the conservative solutions we campaigned on. And these are the conservative solutions the American people asked us as a group to deliver. We are keeping our promises.


VAUSE: Ok, very quickly, Mark -- for Donald Trump this is a lot more than -- about a lot more than health care. This is about defending his brand. He's great deal maker. If he can't get this through, he is in a lot of trouble, according to a lot of people.

And it looks like he won't get it through. They're 22 votes short in the House and it's got no chance in the Senate.

VAFIADES: Well, Donald Trump is the master negotiator. It's not done yet. And the Freedom Caucus is not ready to sign on to this plan. There is going to be some negotiation between now and Thursday.

SESAY: The clock's ticking.

VAFIADES: The clock is ticking. And they may even have to delay that vote if they want the get that through.

LITTMAN: Well, this myth of Donald Trump being a master negotiator, if he is such a great negotiator, why did he go bankrupt in Atlantic City so many times?

But forgetting that, no one likes his health care plan. The Republicans don't like it. The Democrats obviously don't like it. They're trying to force it through by saying that Donald Trump is going to campaign against the people who vote against it. That doesn't sound like a positive health care plan.


VAFIADES: He's got a health care plan. LITTMAN: Sure.

VAUSE: If you're a 65-year-old and you're earning $26,000 a year, your premiums go up to $13,000. That's a pretty hard deal to sell.

VAFIADES: Well, you would be on Medicare if you're 65 years old.

SESAY: Midterms are coming. It's going to be hard to sell.


VAUSE: Ok. Mark and Matt, as well as Troy -- we appreciate you all being with us. Thank you.

VAFIADES: Thank you,

SESAY: Thank you, all.

VAUSE: Ok. We will take a short break.

First the U.S. then the U.K. banning some electronic devices from the cabins of certain flights -- the deadline of airlines to implement the new rule is just ahead.

SESAY: Plus Wednesday marks one year since the deadliest terror attack in Belgian history. Next we'll hear from a family who lost their mother on that horrific day in Brussels.


VAUSE: Brussels is marking one year since the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium's history. 32 people were killed on March 22nd, 2016 when ISIS carried out a devastating attack in the capital city.

VAUSE: Two suicide bombs ripped through the Brussels airport with another detonating on a metro train.

In the coming hours, the city will honor those who lost their lives with a commemoration ceremony, one at the airport and another at the metro.

SESAY: Well, an American family was caught up in the horrific attack. Four children and their dad were critically injured.

VAUSE: But the family's beloved mother was killed.

CNN's Barbara Starr met with the family in the months after the attack and filed this story at the time about the day which changed their lives forever.


KIANNI MARTINEZ, SURVIVOR OF BRUSSELS TERROR ATTACK: I'm pushing through it every day. It's difficult to go through the pain. But you have to look forward. [00:20:05] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: For 18-year-old

Kianni Martinez, her brother and sisters, there is utter devastation beyond the pain of burned shrapnel and broken bones.

Their mother Gail was killed; all four children and their father, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kato Martinez were among the Americans critically wounded in the March ISIS suicide bomber attack on the Brussels airport.

Lieutenant Colonel Martinez was just back from Afghanistan. They'd been waiting to check in for a flight to go on vacation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Local media are reporting an exchange of gunfire. And they're reporting that this was a bomb blast.

STARR: 35 people were killed, 300 wounded when ISIS attackers detonated bombs hidden in suitcases at the airport departure area.

In their first interview ever, the family wants the world to know what ISIS took from them when Gail died that day.

Tell me about your mom. What do you want people to know about her?

K. MARTINEZ: I live every day because of her. I live every day for her and to remember her and to honor her.

STARR: Kianni says her mother was everything to the family. This young teenager is unflinching.

K. MARTINEZ: I think it's important for me to talk about this. At 18 where you're supposed to be going to college, becoming independent, having been prepared for everything by your parents, and then trying to learn for yourself what the real world is like, the real world slapped me in the face on March 22nd. And I'm not going to forget that.

STARR: Kianni was supposed to be in college by now.

K. MARTINEZ: When I heard news that I was awarded an Air Force artist scholarship, the first person I told was momma. And she was so proud.


STARR: Lieutenant Colonel Martinez now raising four children on his own, grieving his wife, and recovering from his own injuries. Photos of happier times with Gail in Europe while Lieutenant Colonel Martinez held a NATO job.

LT. COL. MARTINEZ: I later learn I took most of the shrapnel, all of the shrapnel, because my son took the secondary wave. And he got the burn, the flame.

I didn't lose consciousness. I was blasted forward. And I knew I was bleeding because I felt blood coming from my ears.

STARR: Martinez instantly feared the worst. LT. COL. MARTINEZ: My first instinct was to look for my children and

then for my wife. I couldn't find my son or my two youngest. I heard screaming and I found Kianni. The fact that she was screaming, I knew that she was alive, she was coherent.

And I went to look for her mom. I said I'll be right back. I went to look for her mom. I knew I was bleeding out. And my body was going into shock. So I closed my eyes and welcomed it and figured I would join my wife, my three kids.

But as I was slipping away, I heard this little girl call out to me, "Daddy, don't you go, don't you leave me." And just when I thought, you know, I was enveloped by darkness and ready to go to sleep, I heard her voice and decided to come back.

STARR: Then the unimaginable. Gail, the love of his life, was gone.

LT. COL. MARTINEZ: The story I got from one of the first responders regarding my baby, the youngest one was that they found her in Gail's arms. When they got to her, they told her "We've got the baby now. She's going to be ok." And that's when she looked up to them, smiled and closed her eyes for the last time.

STARR: Lieutenant Colonel Martinez would not learn the rest of his family survived until he woke up in a Belgian hospital. Initially, he could not be moved out of bed to even see them. Military buddies came to the hospital to make sure the children were never alone.

LT. COL. MARTINEZ: They did shifts around the clock, making sure that my children were taken care of, and they -- there was always a friendly face there.

[00:24:57] STARR: Now home is Texas. The family is very slowly getting through its days. The two youngest: seven-year-old Kilani and her nine-year-old sister Nolani recovering from their injuries -- now tiny master chefs in the kitchen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're waiting for the rest so we can put it on top, smoosh it down to straighten it. But they're not (inaudible).

STARR: At physical therapy, 13-year-old Kimo loosens his burned scar tissue that covers his lower body so he can play sports again. This American military family grief-stricken, but honoring their mother killed by terrorists by recovering and regaining the lives they know she wanted for them.

LT. COL. MARTINEZ: I see her in the faces of my children. I see her in this house. I see her in the people that come to help us. I see her in all the things that have been done for us to support us, to help us -- all the good things that happened.

STARR: It's more than just physical therapy to climb this wall. For the Martinez family, total determination to get to the mountaintop and ring that bell. LT. COL. MARTINEZ: That's what I'm talk about.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN -- San Antonio.

LT. COL. MARTINEZ: Good job.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Here are your headlines.

Both the U.S. and U.K. are now banning large electronics like laptops and tablets from airplane cabins for passengers flying for much of the Middle East and South Africa. The ban was prompted by terrorism concerns.

[00{30:00] VAUSE: I think we'll stay with this story now, enough of the headlines.

U.S. officials say the al Qaeda terrorists have figured out how to hide explosives in laptop batteries. Passengers flying from the affected country will have to put any device larger than a smartphone in their checked baggage.

That's what happens when we don't read the script.


ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Every one of the headlines.

VAUSE: Yes, we've got one.

OK, let's bring in Bobby Chacon now. He's a former special agent with the FBI.

Bobby, good to have you with us.

Let's connect the dots here, OK? U.S. official says this is base on intelligence found in recent weeks that an al Qaeda affiliate has developed this new technique to hide a battery. In Yemen, there's the bomb making specialist out of all the affiliates. Last month, there was a raid by U.S. forces in Yemen. They're not saying this officially, but is this where the information is coming from?

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I mean, you can obviously connect the dots and stuff. And so my guess would be, my uninformed guess would be sure, that's where it came from.


SESAY: It seems strange to some that the airlines, the airports have been given within 96 hours to comply, that it wasn't an immediate, an immediate call to action, if you will.

CHACON: Right.

SESAY: What do you make of that?

CHACON: Well, I mean, there are operating rules that are agreed upon with the governments and the airlines. I mean, you have to give them a reasonable amount of time to start implementing these kinds of things. So I don't think that's unreasonable to ask them.

And it may be driven by the information. So we'll never know the true specificity of the information that they obtained. So this may be an abundance of caution and they may have felt that 96 hours was OK to give that. It all depends on what was really in the weeds of that information.

VAUSE: You know, there's been some grumbling out there that this ban, if you want to call it a security measure has been politically driven because it's coming from countries in the Middle East. But the U.K. ban, that sort of adds a little bit legitimacy to all of this, right? But what you have with the UK, they've listed flights from six countries and in all that lists, they've included Lebanon and Tunisia. That's not on the U.S. list.

So how do you explain the difference here?

CHACON: Well, I think that all these countries we share a lot of intelligence with each other. And so they're working some of the same intelligence streams that we are. And so the U.S. raid in Yemen may have been a piece of a larger puzzle that the Brits also had many pieces to.

And so when they do the analysis of what they feel they need to do to be comfortable given the information, they obviously thought those were countries where are flights originating from might be more prudent to, you know, put on their list.

VAUSE: The threat was where Britain was coming from, you know, Lebanon or Tunisia.

CHACON: Right, because there are countries that we have on our list that they don't have and vice versa.

SESAY: Let me read you something that an expert from the Berkeley law school was quoted as saying. One potential problem with this approach where you single out countries is that you ignore the extent to which the terrorist threat is kind of stateless. That terrorists have cells throughout the entire world.

I mean, basically what they're saying is people shouldn't actually necessarily feel safer because this ban is in place, because terrorist can operate anywhere and everywhere in this day and age.

CHACON: Well, I mean, from a micro sense, that's maybe true. But from a macro sense, every time one of these things happens, every time a new procedure is put in place, I personally feel like the apparatus is working.

They've obviously found something. They found it credible enough to change procedures or to do something different. To me that tells me that the intelligence people are out there working their streams. They're getting the information, they're making it operational and they're taking -- they're making changes in our policies and our procedures.

And to me, you know, nothing is ever 100 percent. But I think they balance that, and they say, OK, what gives us the maximum amount of protection for the smallest amount of inconvenience to me.

VAUSE: Is this essentially about concern over non-metal explosives which basically most airports, security screens around the world simply cannot detect?

CHACON: Well, no, I think this is more concerned with electronic devices. Obviously, that's why I think it's not necessarily not non- metallic, but I think they are concerned about some of the technologies that have been developed to either secrete things inside these devices, or to make these devices look like the actual device and actually be something else.

VAUSE: Last question. If there is a bomb in a laptop, and it's in the hold, in the checked luggage, couldn't it simply be detonated by remote?

CHACON: Sure. But that might not be the information that they're working on. That might not be why they're making this move.

VAUSE: OK. Good to see you.

SESAY: Always good to see you. Thank you.

CHACON: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you.

All right. Quick break now. The top administration is naming and shaming so-called sanctuary cities. Next, how some mayors defend the decision to protect undocumented immigrants.


[00:36:45] VAUSE: Part of the executive order on illegal immigration, which Donald Trump signed back in January was a directive for homeland security to publicly call out local authorities which refuse to detain undocumented immigrants. A naming and shaming of so-called sanctuary cities.

So now for the first time, the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement tweeted out what will become a weekly list of cities and places deemed non-cooperative.

Places where undocumented immigrants have been arrested on local charges and I.C.E. has then issued what's known as a detainer, a request to hold that person for up to 48 hours, but that request is denied and the undocumented immigrant walks free.

Also, at a state level, Mississippi is one step away from actually banning sanctuary cities. The senate there passed a bill which says cities and state agencies and public colleges cannot be prevented from asking someone's immigration status. The very opposite of the policy in a sanctuary city.

Jackson is the only sanctuary city in the state and critics say this new law is not needed, and it's pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment and racism.

So on the flip side of that, the mayor of Los Angeles, Providence, Anaheim, Orlando, Seattle and Denver declared Tuesday a day of Immigration Action. A day to embrace immigration and protest the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Michael Hancock is the major of Denver and he joins us now from Denver.

Mr. Mayor, thank you for being with us.

MICHAEL HANCOCK, MAYOR OF DENVER: Just to be clear, you don't see Denver actually as a sanctuary city in the legal sense, but local law enforcement there, they're still not expected to enforce the federal government's immigration policies. Is that right?

HANCOCK: No, we don't believe in actually putting labels on the city of Denver. We believe in our values that we are an open and inclusive city. Our police department has always resisted actually doing the job of the I.C.E. federal enforcement agency. When there are actual warrants where they're needing to pick someone up, our police officers participate.

But we do believe that having an open line of communication with I.C.E. is important so that we can keep violent criminals off our streets. And that's what we cooperate with them around. And we keep an open line of communication with I.C.E. for those reasons.

VAUSE: So explain us to, though, the benefits, though, for not just the illegal immigrants, but also for the wider community, for local law enforcement not to sort of having to enforce these immigration law. It's essentially trying to create this trust between law enforcement and undocumented immigrants.

HANCOCK: John, I think you hit it right on the nail on the head from -- at that first statement. That last statement you just made.

It is important that our local law enforcement build trust with the local community. And in order to do that, we must be very strategic and smart in terms of how we enforce the law. Our officers have a lot on their plate already. With local laws and state laws that they're called to enforce, and then to put the responsibility of enforcing federal laws on their backs would be way more than they can handle.

[00:40:00] We recognize that while we're building trust with the local community, that our law enforcement must maintain good relations and communications with the community while at the same time doing the things necessary to keep them safe.

And we're not going to implement or enforce laws that are not criminal in nature. That don't render people unsafe. We much rather err on the side of quite frankly building stronger relationship with the community and making sure that we're able to keep lines of communication with our community going forward.

VAUSE: Well, the other side of that I think is in some ways is what I mention which is what is happening in Mississippi right now. They're taking a much harder line on illegal immigration, much more in line with the Trump administration.

So do you see this issue which -- it's dividing what is already an incredibly divided country right now?

HANCOCK: Absolutely. First of all, let me say very clearly, it is stereotypes, labels, threats, you know, all the things that are shaming that is going on. None of that is going to work. It's going to make us all less safe than we are. We believe we should be in our cities and across this nation.

What we're looking for is leadership. The reality is that this is a great opportunity for America, from the White House to Congress to state capitols, to city halls across this country for the elected folks to step up and say instead of trying to threaten people, instead of trying to shame cities and urban -- or other municipalities from being a welcome and inclusive place, what we need really is a strategy that does a couple of things.

One, creates a sensible strategy to document residency in this nation. Creates, strengthens our borders so that we can indeed bring the latest technologies to our borders without building a wall, but the technologies necessary so we can survey our borders and make sure that we are doing what's right to properly vet people.

Leadership is what's needed. Threatening people, shaming cities, that's not what's going to work. If we want to remain safe in this nation, we need to make sure that we have leadership that steps up and says let's do right by everyone here. And let's enact laws that are humane and smart with regards to immigration.

VAUSE: Mayor, we will leave it there, but thank you so much.

Michael Hancock, mayor of one of the best cities, one of the greatest cities in the U.S. -- Denver. We appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

HANCOCK: Thank you, John.

SESAY: Now Oscar winning actor and activist George Clooney has melted many hearts throughout his career. Now add one more to the list. 87- year-old Pat Adams told her retirement home she wanted to meet Clooney for her birthday.

VAUSE: The staff sent a letter to Clooney. He actually lives nearby and surprise he showed up with a bouquet of flowers and a birthday card.


PAT ADAMS, RECEIEVED SURPRISE VISIT FROM GEORGE CLOONEY: I just wanted to meet the man. I'd heard so much about him. But I wanted to meet him. And he was charming. I've got those flowers and the card, which I shall treasure. And all in all, it was just wonderful.


SESAY: She is beaming.

VAUSE: And you're writing a letter. Dear George, I'm having my -- oh, anyway --

SESAY: Can you get rid of him and come and sit next to me.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: Some people say I look like George Clooney.


VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

SESAY: In the dark.

VAUSE: "World Sport" is up next.


Thank you.