Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Slams The FBI In Tweetstorm; U.S. Stealth Fighter Jets Join Air Drills With South Korea; Trump May Recognize Jerusalem As Israeli Capital. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired December 4, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president lashes out at the FBI amid renewed accusations that he tried to stop the agency from doing its job.
Military drills on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. fighter jets once again in combat exercises there despite harsh warnings from North Korean.
Plus, we follow up on our exclusive reporting on the migrant slave trade in Libya. This time, CNN takes you to a city in Nigeria where thousands of women have been trapped in human trafficking.
I'm Cyril Vanier live from the CNN headquarters here in Atlanta, thank you for joining us.
With the Russia investigation expanding and Donald Trump's inner circle now in the cross hair, the U.S. president is lashing out. And over the weekend, he actually slammed his own Federal Bureau of Investigation -- the FBI. He tweeted this, "After years of Comey with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation and more running the FBI, its reputation is in tatters, worst in history. But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.
James Comey, the FBI Director until Donald Trump fired him earlier this year, later tweeted this message in response, quoting himself from his Senate testimony in June. He wanted the American people to know this truth: "The FBI is honest, the FBI is strong, and the FBI is and always will be independent." Mr. Trump's Twitter tirade came two days after his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, admitted that he had lied to the FBI about conversations with a Russian official. Flynn also says that he is now cooperating with the Russia investigation.
Meanwhile, another of President Trump's tweets is under scrutiny and this one he may not have even written. The president's lawyer says that he, in fact, drafted with a tweet that brings up questions about what President Trump knew about Michael Flynn's lies to the FBI and when he knew them. Jeremy Diamond has the details.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN REPORTER: Well, the president is especially active on social media this weekend after his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI. He is now cooperating with federal investigators, and all of that, of course, is casting appall over this White House. The president, clearly stewing over this investigation over the weekend, but one of the tweets that he put out -- his personal attorney, John Dowd, is now claiming that it was not authored by the president but authored by this attorney himself, John Dowd, himself.
This tweet, though, is the one that has caused the most problems for the White House this weekend, because it has once again raised the specter of obstruction of justice. In this tweet, the president appeared to suggest that he knew that Michael Flynn, his National Security Advisor, had lied to the FBI while he was still a Senior White House Official. But now, the President's Attorney, John Dowd, signaling that the president did not, in fact, know that, and that the tweet was simply an attempt for the White House to continue to try and put some distance, it seems, between Michael Flynn and the president.
This, of course, has dominated the weekend, but it's a weekend which the president should, perhaps, instead be celebrating the Senate, of course, on Friday night passed a tax reform bill -- the first major legislative accomplishment of this president's time in office so far. But now, again, he will head into this next week with as the Senate and the House seek to reconcile those two bills, instead of with this investigation once again looming over his head.
VANIER: And Jeremy Diamond reporting there. And the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee predicts an obstruction of justice case is in President Trump's future. Senator Dianne Feinstein pointed to Mr. Trump's firing of James Comey as a reason to believe the president tried to obstruct the Russia investigation. Another Democrat, Senator Mark Warner, also speaking out, telling CNN that Michael Flynn's cooperation with the FBI is likely just the beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Clearly, General Flynn and his was in a great deal of legal jeopardy. The fact that General Flynn was only charged with one account, a major count, lying to the FBI, I believe that there are more stories that General Flynn will have to tell about his time during the campaign and during the transition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Weighing in on all of this, CNN Political Commentator and Former Republican Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Andre Bauer; and CNN Political Commentator as well and Professor at Temple University, Mark Lamont Hill. Andre, to you first. When you read the tweet about the president firing Flynn on account of his lies to the FBI, did you feel this was another instance of the president's Twitter account, perhaps, doing him a disservice?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER REPUBLICAN LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA (via Skype): Well, I feel like this week, he had so many major accomplishments. Number one being, the tax bill that that's really where I would have had him focused his time, but we know Donald Trump marches to the beat of his own drummer. And, you know, evidently, he felt -- failed to engage in this discussion. You know, I hate it for the general because I feel like he's a good man who has, you know, dug himself a little bit of a hole that will tarnish his more than stellar career. [01:05:18] VANIER: Mark?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND A PROFESSOR AT TEMPLE UNIVERSITY (via Skype): One of the challenges, I think, for Donald Trump is the Twitter piece. I think Andre and I would likely to disagree on the tax bill, but at the very least I'm sure the president would like to keep the focus on the tax bill. But it gets in his own way, even when he has a potential victory, he manages to snatch defeat from the hands of victory by tweeting, but tweeting uncontrollably.
There was a moment where he was silent on Flynn and we thought, hey, wait, maybe this is the moment of welcomed restraint. But instead, it seemed like he just caught on the news cycle and jumped back in. His advisors can't control him. As Andre said, he marches to the beat of his own drummer, and it seems to undermine in every turn.
VANIER: So, here's the problem with that tweet: is that if what is in that tweet is correct -- and we've already pointed out to our viewers that by now, one of President Trump's lawyers, Mr. Dowd, has said that he was the one who wrote the tweet. But, still, as it been the content of the tweet hasn't been disavowed. If what is in the tweet is correct, then that would mean that when Mr. Trump met with Mr. Comey, the then FBI Director, and Comey said Mr. Trump asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn. At that time, the president knew that knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI. Andrew, does that not give you pause?
BAUER: Well, no. What actually gives me pause is: then-Director Comey is sitting with the president of the United States. You know, is he, is he truly concerned about the president saying, hey, you know, don't harm general Flynn. Being the director to FBI, if he had any --
VANIER: That's what a lot of people believe.
BAUER: If the president of the United States was telling him to do something he felt doing, being the director of the FBI, having enough backbone in the years of service, he should have clarified directly to the president and said, Mr. President what do you mean?
HILL: Andre, these aren't necessarily competing claims. You could say that James Comey could've done more and still place significant scrutiny on the president for putting him in an uncomfortable, potentially unethical potion. And these tweets do force us to really consider closely on what was on the president's mind in those meetings, what did the president already know in those meetings, and what were the ethical contradictions of the president's behavior in those meetings and after those meetings.
VANIER: Gentlemen, listen to Senator Dianne Feinstein, a top Democrat on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. This is what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: The Judiciary Committee has an investigation going as well, and it involves obstruction of justice. And I think, what we're beginning to see is putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Andre, how much of a problem do you think that is for the president?
BAUER: The biggest problem right now for the president with these type of things is it knocks him off his game. It doesn't allow him to continue 100 percent to be working on so many things that he promised American voters that got him elected. We still would like to see folks like me, I guess may differ for I still respect him and like him. But things like the wall, we still haven't seen that fully executed.
We haven't seen them continue to, to make as much progress as I would like to see made. So, there is still a lot to be done. We've had a lot of progress; stock markets showing so many gains because they feel comfortable with what's happening. Getting this past week, a major piece of legislation passed is big, but anytime there are investigations, there are people continuing, you know, sort of death by thousand nicks.
VANIER: Mark, what do you think of the substance of the argument here? This is after all, potentially, also, one of the best, if not the best, political week for Donald Trump. He got -- he's well on his way to getting his major legislative accomplishment.
HILL: Yes. No, this could have been a significant week for him, again. I may disagree with the substance of his political victory, but nonetheless, a significant one.
But again, he gets in his own way through these tweets which divert our attention from the matter, which could be debated among both sides in, sort of, civil and more ordinary fashion. But instead, we're dragged down into the muck and mire of political scandal conversations about collusion, conflicts of interests. And these are things that I think are worthy of investigation, and we certainly need to find out more about.
But these seem to be things that the president has self-inflicted -- and while I wouldn't call them a thousand nicks, like that, with some understate the significance of the charges against Donald Trump in a court of public opinion by his political foes. But it's something that I think is wearing down and undermine the president's ability, one: to govern effectively; but two: to position himself for 2018 as a steward of the party as Republicans want to save House and Senate seats and also 2020, to begin to think about his own re-election. I mean, that the American public continues to lose faith in him both as a leader as an honest broker. And I think it's a significant challenge, and so is the rest of the Republican Party.
[01:10:16 VANIER: Gentlemen, Mark Lamont Hill, Andre Bauer, thank you both for weighing in today. Thanks. Let's stay with U.S. politics for a little bit longer. This one was
unexpected. Do you remember the "Access Hollywood" tape, the one in which then-Candidate Trump used lewd, the crude language just weeks before the U.S. election? Well, former U.S. Television Host, Billy Bush, is now breaking his silence after reports that President Trump doubts the authenticity of the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It's sort of a magnet. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Bush has written a New York Times op-ed that says in part, "He said it, and we laughed along without the single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from American's highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time and every single one us assumed was listening to a crass standup act. President Trump is currently indulging in some revisionist history." You see it there and he quote: "Yes, Trump, you said that" -- the title of that op-ed.
Onto the U.S. and South Korea, which are kicking off large air exercises in the Korean Peninsula -- and the North, as expected, doesn't like it. The annual drills include some of the newest stealth fighter jets from the U.S. North Korea says, the military exercises are a provocation which could lead to war. Less than a week ago, Pyongyang tested what it claims to be its most advanced ballistic missile ever. Meanwhile, U.S. Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, said he's concerned for the security of the relatives accompanying military personnel in South Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm going to urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea. South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour. It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. So, I want them to stop sending dependents. And I think it's not the time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul, South Korea. Paula, the war of words between Trump and Kim Jong-un recently has de- escalated; it's been quieter. But the National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, has been sounding the alarm. Help us understand how dangerous is the situation right now?
PAUL HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, if you looked at what happened just last week, this ICBM launch from North Korea. The very fact that this missile reached the highest altitude of any North Korea missile ever recorded, that is significant, that is a step forward. But, of course, we did hear from U.S. officials as well that with this Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, they were unable to achieve re-entry.
So, they still have some way to go in order to be able to say we can hit mainland United States with a nuclear-tipped warhead and missile, which is what North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un has said they want to be able to say. So, certainly, what we're hearing from H.R. McMaster at this point is saying that time is running out, that we are getting closer to a potential situation where military conflict could be one of the more conceivable options. So, it is a worrying development. But this is what we have been expecting from North Korea.
I don't think many people were surprised that they had carried out another ICBM. There had been a couple of months of relative quiet when it comes to the actual program itself. But at this point, North Korea is testing when it needs to test. It's not necessarily testing just for a political statement or just deterrence; they are making sure that they can make these developments to their ICBM that they need to. Cyril.
VANIER: How close are they to their goal? We know that they want to be able to hit the U.S. with a nuclear missile, how close are they to actually achieving that?
HANCOCKS: Well, U.S. officials have told CNN that they don't believe that they have mastered the re-entry process -- this is re-entering the warhead into the Earth's atmosphere. They believe, at this point, and its initial assessments, but they believe that that could actually had burned up within the -- and broken up within the Earth's atmosphere. So, they're not there yet, but they are very close. We're hearing from U.S. officials repeatedly that they are very close to being able to accomplish what they want to accomplish.
Now, it's important to separate that from the fact that many experts and officials don't believe they will try and hit mainland United States with a nuclear-tipped warhead. North Korea has said that they need the ability to be able to have that as a deterrent, to be able to come to the table and say as a nuclear power. They've written it into the Constitution. They already considered themselves a nuclear state, whether Washington recognizes them as one or not. Cyril.
[01:15:02] VANIER: Paula Hancocks, reporting live from Seoul in South Korea, thank you very much. Coming up on the show after the break, the U.S. may soon recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Why one journalist says Saudi Arabia might be playing a role in that?
Plus, the Irish border and Brexit. Why people on both sides of the border are nervous about what the divide between Britain and the Europe Union will look like for them. Stay with us.
KATE RILEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with you CNN WORLD SPORT headlines. Only Sunday, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City left it late but managed to beat West Ham to make it a record, equaling 13th Premier League victory in a row (INAUDIBLE) by any team in top-flight English football. David Moyes' team shocking the home fans when West Ham went ahead but City came from behind to win it late. There was drama at the 0-2 when David Silva finished the job off seven minutes from time to 2-1. City, it ends that the Etihad Stadium.
Tiger Woods finished the Hero World challenge 10 shots behind the winner, Ricky Fowler. But for Tiger, it wasn't where he finished, it was just impressive that he even finished his hole. And the former world number one will have plenty to smile about. It was a real family affair too with his young kids looking on and seemingly delighted to watch their dad, despite the double bogey, at 10 and 2 bogeys. To the end the tournament, he can reflect on the fact he has successfully negotiated this first stunt since Dubai back in February of last year.
And we forward extraordinary scenes in New Delhi where crickets (INAUDIBLE) in India and Sri Lanka was a delay due to smog. It was so bad that several players wore a facemask, and it raised concerns about the conditions. The (INAUDIBLE) stopped the game three times and even consulted doctors before resuming. The Indian capital has been struggling to cope with pollution for several weeks. And that's a look at all your sports headlines, I'm Kate Riley.
VANIER: Top Palestinian officials are urging the U.S. not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They say the move could further destabilize the region, and the U.S. could lose its role in the peace process. U.S. officials say President Trump will likely announce the Jerusalem decision this week. Now, remember, during his campaign, he had promised to move the U.S. embassy there. This is what he said at a pro-Israel conference just last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:20:02] VANIER: With me now, Uri Friedman, Staff Writer at the Atlantic, covering global affairs. Uri, you've been following Mr. Trump's Israel policy, do you get the sense that Mr. Trump is driven by strategy or ideology on this? I mean, is this one move if Mr. Trump were to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, would that be one move in a wider game of chess to advance U.S. foreign policy interest? Or is it the president's deeply held belief that the Arabs in Israel don't have a claim to Jerusalem as their capital.
URI FRIEDMAN, STAFF WRITER AT THE ATLANTIC (via Skype): I think if not too much ideology as more -- some degree of strategy and also a mere feeling that he wants to honor the campaign promises he made. And so, during the campaign, he made a promise to move the U.S. capital to Jerusalem from -- the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. And he's doing that too, kind of, get some backing from his wing base that is often pro-Israel, and also from Evangelical Christians who also support Israel a lot.
And I think, the thinking was, you know, we believe that the whole (INAUDIBLE) Jerusalem are very important to Jews. And so, as a result, we want to do what the Israeli government does is, which is recognize Israel -- Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The issue is that it's very hard to do in practice.
This time will (INAUDIBLE) Donald Trump, who is a deal-maker wants to do the biggest deal there is -- which is Israeli-Palestinian peace. And he knows, that if you move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, you risk that peace process. And so, I think what he's doing is trying to split the difference by honoring campaign promise -- potentially next weekend -- recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli's capital, but not actually moving the embassy, saying that it needed more study. And I've seen that a little of this foreign policy moves not just this one.
VANIER: What would be the advantage, the benefit for the United States if indeed Jerusalem were recognized as the capital of Israel?
FRIEDMAN: Well, you probably strengthen the relationship with Israel. So, a lot of Israel officials do want this. You know, they recognized it themselves. It would feel that the U.S. is kind of saying, we see your point of view.
What -- the other thing I think it would do is, it would say that, you know, the Trump administration is really invested in the Middle East, and that they are supporting their allies. For example, when the Obama struck the Iran deal a lot of traditional U.S. allies, like Saudi Arabia, Israel, and others, felt the U.S. is abandoning its traditional allies in the region. In favor of, kind of, a bit for Iran, and also kind of saying we're going to pivot to Asia -- which is some in the Obama administration said a lot.
And we're not going to focus as much on the Middle East as the U.S. has in the past. And I think one thing this would do is saying -- Trump administration will be saying, we are sticking with our U.S. allies, our traditional allies are there. I think that would advance U.S. interests; where it wouldn't if you subscribe to the notion that the Palestinians and the Israelis just stick for regional in the Middle East, it would not be good I think because it makes it a lot, a lot harder to do a peace deal with the Israelis and Palestinians.
Well, the Palestinians say, you know, we have holy sites in Jerusalem too, we want our capital on the future Palestinian state to east Jerusalem. And if you say Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, capital of the Jewish state, we're just alienating Palestinians and say, well, you've given up on the (INAUDIBLE) process. So, that's where I think it harms U.S. interest or potentially arms them.
VANIER: So, this may actually answer my next question. I was going to ask you why no previous U.S. president -- all the recent U.S. presidents have tried and failed to get peace in the Middle East, between the Israelis and Palestinians? Why have they not seen fit to do this, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? FRIEDMAN: I think because they have recognized that doing that, it
kind of is not an advancement towards peace. What it is doing is saying, you know what, our allies are Israel, we're going to stick with them, we're going to see the world the way they see the world, and we are not really -- we are going to, kind of, prejudge to certain degree the status of Jerusalem rather than letting it wait until a final peace agreement. So, I think that's why they haven't done it, but the Trump administration seems to be doing is saying, well, you know, how did that work out for all those people?
We don't have Israeli/Palestinian peace, so it didn't really help that much. So, they're saying, let's stay with the different process, show that we're really strong allies of Israel and think differently on the peace process. One thing you're seeing that they're doing, which is very interesting, something to keep an eye on is Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law has very good relationships with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salma.
And they have been talking about some kind of regional solution where Saudi Arabia might buy into a peace process, and actually provide billions of dollars to help crop up a Palestinian state, because they would have to struggle a lot beginning to get its footing. So, that's what they're doing. The other administrations have tried to a degree, but not to the extent that the Trump administration seems to be doing, and the time is also very right for that.
You get a lot of regional countries like Saudi Arabia, see Iran and ISIS have greater foes, then, you know, the Israel-Palestinian conflict in Israel. And so, they are potentially willing to act as brokers. So, I think what you're seeing in the Trump administration state, we know tactics didn't work; let's try something new and one of the things is lets, you know, throw up some balls in the air on Jerusalem and see what happens.
[01:25:16] VANIER: All right. Uri Friedman -- and to your point, it is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia has been very silent on this issue so far. We'll what happens during the week. Uri, great talking to you. Thank you.
FRIEDMAN: Great to be with you.
VANIER: Monday is looking like a make or break day for British Prime Minister, Theresa May, to fulfill her Brexit wish list. She is set to meet with E.U. leaders to hammer out the remaining issues in this so- called divorce. The E.U. has warned that this is the last day for Britain to negotiate before the two sides inter-trade talks. One of the issues on the negotiating table, the type of border between Northern Ireland -- a part of the U.K. -- and the Republic of Ireland, who will remain in the European Union. It's a hot-button topic for many reasons. Nic Robertson is here to show us why so much is riding on this.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Below is Middletown, a tiny Northern Ireland village nestled against the river that tracks the Irish border. It's home to about 300 people. They go to church on Sundays, work hard during the week. And right now, they feel well stuck in the middle, in a Brexit tussle. British Prime Minister Theresa May says the U.K. is leaving the E.U. Customs Union and the single market, meaning the border on the edge of Middletown may get harder to cross.
TREVOR MAGILL, MANAGER, MIDDLETOWN POST OFFICE: The mood always was, you know, this is a problem, but it will be sorted, and, you know, the E.U. and the governments will get this sorted.
ROBERTSON: But now, Trevor Magill, whose family has run the village post office here for the past 40 years worries his business and the village could be harmed.
MAGILL: I have all my customers here are from a -- this island probably 60, 70 percent. And that is where that supports the business for this local -- this local area.
ROBERTSON: A few miles away, at Linwood's Food Plant, Boss John Woods, tells me his business has boomed since the peace process opened up the border 20 years ago. His milk comes from the north, the plastic milk containers, from the south. He sells to both sides, employs over 300 people, but if Brexit brings border controls, all that could change.
JOHN WOODS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, LINWOOD: We would just have to abandon exports to the south on our dairy and our bread bakery site.
FRANCES WARD, FARMER: The border just runs down the middle of that road.
ROBERTSON: The middle of the road.
It doesn't matter where I look here, people are struggling to make sense of Brexit.
Tell me when we're crossing over.
WARD: Yes, we're crossing over here now.
ROBERTSON: Fifth-generation farmer, Frances Ward, lives just feet south of the border, owns fields on both sides.
WARD: How do you divide it?
ROBERTSON: What's going to happen in Brexit then, if you got the -- if the line is down the middle of the road?
WARD: Yes, I don't know what will happen to Brexit.
ROBERTSON: There are some 310 miles, about 500 kilometers of border with between 300 to 400 border crossings. And during Northern Ireland's 30 years of sectarian violence, known as The Troubles, many of those crossings like this one outside Frances Ward's farm were blocked by the police and the army.
While few here fear post-Brexit border controls could trigger an immediate return to the troubles, many like John Woods worry about a possible longer-term economic impact on peace.
WOODS: Our success after The Troubles has been not only a good work done by the Peacemakers, but also by increasing employment -- lower unemployment. Lower unemployment pulls in people who may otherwise see themselves outside the system.
ROBERTSON: Like the border, weaving its way to its town and trees, carrying with it a heavy troubled history. The solution for the current Brexit impasse seems set to be anything but straight-forward and just as laden with pitfalls. Nic Robertson, CNN, Middletown, Northern Island.
[01:29:33] VANIER: Coming up, Alabama Senate race remains tight despite child molestation allegation against one candidate. We go to Alabama and speak with the women voters he's trying to win over. Stay with CNN.
[01:33:12] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Cyril Vanier. The U.S. and South Korea have started air drills in the Korean Peninsula, North Korea condemning the exercises. This comes less than a week after Pyongyang tested ballistic missile which proved higher and longer than ever before. White House National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster says time is running out to prevent a war with North Korea.
Donald Trump lawyer John Dowd says that he wrote the controversial tweet, claiming the President fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and to the FBI. That could mean that Mr. Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI about conversations with Russia's U.S. ambassador. Remember, the President supposedly asked former FBI Director James Comey, to go easy on Flynn which could be seen as obstructing justice.
And the top Democrats on the senate judiciary committee sees on this. She said she sees an obstruction of justice case developing against President Trump. Dianne Feinstein pointed to his firing of James Comey, she believes that came after Comey refused to lift the cloud of the Russian investigation.
So next week, in U.S. politics, Alabama voters will decide who should fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate seat. Roy Moore remains confident despite sexual misconduct allegation that had overshadowed the race. But a new survey shows the scandal hurting his support with voters, the Washington Post. The Washington Post -- the Washington Post (INAUDIBLE) polls show Democrat Doug Jones leading Republican Moore -- Roy Moore by three percentage points. The allegations against Roy Moore influencing some voters in Alabama, especially women who may be the deciding factor on this race, Alex Marquardt explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
[01:34:55] ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If there's any middle ground left in this race, anyone who's still on the fence, it is quickly disappearing in the wake of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, particularly, it seems, among women. Kim Dowdle is a lifelong Republican who has never voted for a Democrat. Now, she's not just voting for one, but actively campaigning against the Republican.
KIM DOWDLE, REPUBLICAN SUPPORTING DOUG JONES: I never questioned the allegations.
MARQUARDT: When you heard them, you knew right away they were true or you thought right away?
DOWDLE: Yes. I figured yes, because it's hard for a woman to say that. It's hard anywhere in the country, but especially in the south.
MARQUARDT: Dowdle says she was raped when she was 16, so when the allegations came out, she couldn't bring herself to keep supporting Moore.
DOWDLE: And that surprised me. I was very big and -- I like the guy who goes against the green, I really like the guys who go against the green, but there's a limit. And when you abuse your power in the way that he abused his power, you can't continue to support that.
MARQUARDT: Now, as she goes door-to-door with her signs, Doug Jones is hoping there are many more Kim Dowdles out there. He sees from the allegations putting out an ad quoting President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, saying there's a special place in hell for people who prey on children. Moore has denied the allegations calling them absolutely false and dirty politics.
President Trump himself is standing by the former judge and so are many if not most of his female supporters. Cindy Skarda just moved to Birmingham, and for her, like so many of Moore's supporters, allegations with no hard evidence aren't enough.
CINDY SKARDA, ROY MOORE SUPPORTER: I'm just really suspect that these allegations would come out 40 years later after a man has run for office 68 times. So, I don't -- I wouldn't call it conspiracy, it just maybe makes me question.
MARQUARDT: Was there ever a moment when you questioned your support for Roy Moore?
SKARDA: No. No. I'm very much aligned with his values and his principles and his some posies that he talks about, a secure border, lower government, the repeal of Obamacare.
MARQUARDT: The more campaign has put its female supporters front and center in his own ad and on the campaign trail, including Ann Eubank, who told us it was a different time when these allegations took place, and even if they're true, there are bigger priorities. ANN EUBANK, ROY MOORE SUPPORTER: Roy Moore, we know will stand on conservative principles and Doug Jones is a far-left liberal Democrat, who will vote like the Democrats tell him to vote, and we do not want that.
MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt CNN, Birmingham, Alabama.
VANIER: Still to come on the show, CNN's "FREEDOM PROJECT" taking us to Nigeria where some human traffickers were abusing faith to trap victims. We got a story of survival after the break.
[01:41:03] VANIER: CNN's "FREEDOM PROJECT" is committed to shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery and to amplifying the voices of the victims. Our recent exclusive reporting on slave auctions in Libya has sparked outrage and has sparked action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 400, 700, 700, 800. The numbers roll in. These men are sold for 1200 Libyan pounds, $400 apiece.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: And furthering that push on reporting of modern-day slavery, this week, the "FREEDOM PROJECT" brings you a five-part series on slavery within the Africa-Europe migration crises. In Benin City, Nigeria, thousands of women have been trapped by traffickers who use their faith against them. Now, I have to warn you, some viewers may find the accounts in this following reporting by Arwa Damon disturbing. Here it is.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Blessing blows on a leaf and places it on a bottle. He's come to the chief priest to guarantee safe passage to Italy. She knows it's a dangerous journey but she's desperate.
Do you have kids?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
DAMON: Are they going with you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
DAMON: But you must miss them? You'll miss them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'll miss them, yes.
DAMON: The ritual will culminate in a do-do oath, where she'll pledge to repay the cost of travel to her sponsor in Europe. We're forbidden from filming this final step. So powerful says the priest that when he finishes, its blessing breaks her promise, the spirit will appear in her dream and cut her.
Do you know how much you're going to have to pay back?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I don't know.
DAMON: She has put all her trust in her sponsor and her faith. And it's a potent combination that has sent a record number of Nigerian women to Europe. The International Organization for Migration estimates that in 2014, around 1400 traveled. This past year, the numbers spiked to 11,000.
The vast majority come from here, Benin City, where the economy runs on remittances from abroad and women are regularly approached with false promises.
DAMON: You trusted him?
SANDRA: Yes, very much. I trusted him. Most of the times, I don't even -- there are some things I tell you I don't tell my parents.
DAMON: Sandra is talking about her deputy pastor, who told her he had a vision from God that she traveled overseas. Then, he said, his sister in Russia could get her a job in a hair salon. Sandra went willingly, but for added insurance, she took items from her.
SANDRA: My pants, my bra, the hair from my head, my armpits, and my private parts. He said that it is the form of agreement, so that when I get there, I'm not going to run with the money.
DAMON: When she arrived in Russia, the sum was more than she could have ever imagined.
SANDRA: But the first thing she did, she took away my passport, that unless I finish paying her money, $45,000.
SANDRA: Yes, yes, yes, that's what she said.
DAMON: And the only way to pay that off was prostitution. Bound by the spirits in a strange city for the next three years, Sandra's life was hell. She lost count of the men per night. At times 10, 15, 20, even more.
SANDRA: At that process, most of Nigerian girls live their life because it's not every girl that can withstand the pressure of 10 men.
DAMON: She thought about killing herself if only to spare herself being killed.
[01:45:01] SANDRA: There were four, four or five in numbers. They asked me that they need to sleep with me through my anal, and I told them I can't do that. DAMON: They pushed her out a second-story window and she broke her wrist. But she didn't go to the authorities. The trafficker had given the items he took from her to a priest in Nigeria, and like so many, she was afraid of the power of the juju.
SANDRA: It's like a danger to weak girls so we're very careful mostly when you do -- it gots to do with the sensitive parts of your body, they might use it against you.
DAMON: It took Sandra three years to pay off the debt.
SANDRA: The wicked don't have any place here. They have to face the law.
DAMON: When she got back to Benin City, she reported the man and his sister who trafficked her, and they are now on trial.
SANDRA: They were shocked because nobody expected I was in Nigeria, they thought I was dead.
DAMON: This is the church where Sandra was approached. The church's head pastor said the man was a member but not a deputy pastor. And there are numerous disturbing reports of other churches manipulating and abusing faith.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't call them pastors. I call them (INAUDIBLE) in suits. Who would do such?
DAMON: The betrayal that stretched across two continents is now even closer to Sandra.
SANDRA: Even my own father, he said I'm not his daughter.
DAMON: Still, she believes that her father will see her strength.
SANDRA: When he sees my story has changed in a different way, maybe he'll be the one to reconcile with me, maybe he'll be the one calling me, and this my best child. He's my child that God has favored.
DAMON: She's publicizing her ordeal so that others don't have to go through it. Turning her nightmare into power. Arwa Damon, CNN Benin City, Nigeria.
VANIER: And that's just part one. This is part of a much bigger story that continues. CNN's in-depth five-part "FREEDOM PROJECT" series continues on Tuesday when Arwa Damon travels to what is just one of the harshest places on earth, the Sahara Desert in order to find migrants stranded in historic desolation and searing heat as they try to get to Europe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: We're on a mission with the Nigerian Army to rescue stranded migrants. Our convoy will stop when one gets in trouble, the smugglers carrying the migrants will not. Finally, after 10 hours driving through the desert, light signal. The migrants have been stranded here for three days after their truck broke down. There are about 30 in all left to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: You can see Arwa's full report on CNN on Tuesday. That will be at 9:00 p.m. if you're in Hong Kong, 8:00 p.m. if you're in London. It's the second piece, again, in a five-part "FREEDOM PROJECT" series all this week on CNN.
And the heroin crisis in the U.S. is claiming more and more lives every day and we're reporting on that, too. One police officer wanted to rescue the child of a pregnant addict that he had met by chance. We'll have their story after the break.
[01:50:29] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Let's talk weather. I'm Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri and millions -- I mean, tens of millions of people are starting the week, first full week of December on a very mild note here for this time of year, that is about to change. The reason for that is this dip in -- dip in the jet stream here bringing in very cold air across the northwestern portion of the United States, and eventually, all of that shifting toward the East Coast and eventually the Midwest, initially, and then, East Coast. And the trend looks as such here for Monday.
High temps in Denver, only four degrees. Winnipeg, three below. Chicago enjoying one last run of mild temps, this could easily be the final such reading as we go over the next several days for 2017. And then, look at this, we get one shot of colder air and a reinforcing shot by later to the week that actually can push us far south as Northern Florida. So, this is an area of interest here we're watching carefully because it is a significant one for the Southern United States, going from the 20s down potentially into the single digits as we approach Friday. And in places like Charlotte, also a significant drop. New York City, from 14 eventually down to six as well. So, winter has arrived or will at least by the latter portion of this week.
The Caribbean, looking at the upper 20s. Into parts of Mexico, 24 degrees. The least city from (INAUDIBLE) upper 20s, and work your way farther towards the south there as it approach Mannaz, Lapaz, and now towards Rio, 29 degrees in Rio with mostly cloudy conditions. We'll leave you with the conditions across South America.
VANIER: Police officers in the U.S. are on the frontlines of the heroin crisis. They see firsthand the human destruction that heroin causes. Well, here, CNN's Ed Lavandera tells us about a chance encounter between a police officer in New Mexico and a pregnant addict that changed both their lives and the life of the baby. Here's Ed's report.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heroin and crystal meth control Crystal Champ's life.
CRYSTAL CHAMP, OPIOID ADDICT: It is everything.
LAVANDERA: The strangling grip of addiction has left her homeless on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
CHAMP: I did give up, you know. I just decided that this was going to be my life.
LAVANDERA: Living in a tent, in the brush alongside a highway.
CHAMP: I know how bad it is, you know. I'm the first one to know how bad my situation is and --
LAVANDERA: For Crystal, the thought of a guardian angel walking into her life was unimaginable. But that's what happened when Albuquerque Police Officer, Ryan Holets, found Crystal and her companion, Tom --
RYAN HOLETS, OFFICER, ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Hello, folks.
LAVANDERA: -- shooting up heroin behind a convenience store in September.
HOLETS: Looks like you guys are getting ready to shoot up over here.
LAVANDERA: Ryan Holets, a father of four wasn't ready for what he noticed next.
HOLETS: Are you pregnant? You shouldn't be doing that stuff.
Yes, it's not every day that I see a sight like that. And it just -- and it just made me really sad.
How far along are you?
CHAMP: I don't know. Eight months.
HOLETS: Oh, my gosh.
CHAMP: And he goes -- and you're -- and you're pregnant?
HOLETS: Why are you doing that stuff? It's going to ruin your baby. You're going to kill your baby.
LAVANDERA: His words brought Crystal to tears.
CHAMP: How dare you judge me? You have no idea how hard this is. You have no idea. And I know what a horrible person I am and I know how horrible the situation I'm in.
HOLETS: Don't grab the needle, OK?
LAVANDERA: In that instant, the moment changed.
CHAMP: His entire being changed. He just became a human being instead of a police officer. LAVANDERA: A crazy overwhelming idea crept into Ryan's mind.
HOLETS: Realizing that she was desperately wanting someone to adopt her baby, I just felt God telling me to tell her that you will do it because you can. You can. And so --
LAVANDERA: Three weeks later, Crystal Champ gave birth and Ryan Holets and his wife agreed to adopt the baby they named "Hope."
HOLETS: I've gotten tired of seeing so many situations where I want to help but can't. And in that moment, I realized that I had a chance to help.
LAVANDERA: Hope suffered through withdrawals during weeks of medical treatment but she's gaining weight now and doing well.
CHAMP: Her father and me love her, you know, very, very much. And we did not give her up because we didn't want her.
[01:55:06] LAVANDERA: But Crystal remains an addict, and admits she's in no place to care for a baby.
CHAMP: I just want her to be safe and secure and, you know, be in a family and be loved, and have a chance, you know?
HOLETS: I am so thankful and blessed and humbled that we're allowed to have Hope in our family.
LAVANDERA: When you think about like what it took for all the stars to align for you to connect in the back of that convenience store parking lot is just crazy, right?
HOLETS: No coincidence. It's like providence. We'll be there for her and whatever struggles that she has, we'll be there. And we'll work through it. That's what makes me happy that we'll be there for her.
LAVANDERA: For Officer Ryan Holets, it's proof that even in the darkest moments, you never know when love and hope will reveal itself. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
VANIER: Well, good luck to Hope. We hope she has a great life going forward. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Cyril Vanier. Rosemary Church is with you after the break. You're in good hands. Have a great day.