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Trump Lawyers to Meet with Mueller and Team; GOP Final Tax Bill; North Korea Nuclear Threat; Trump Impacting Central American Migration; Jerusalem Controversy; South Africa's Ruling Party to Choose New Leader; First Fans See "The Last Jedi"; "We'll See What Happens". Aired 5-6a ET

Aired December 16, 2017 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): White House lawyers are expected to meet special counsel Robert Mueller next week as President Trump once again slams the investigator and his team.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus nearing the end of an era. South Africa's ruling ANC party chooses a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the head of the party.

And this --


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When in doubt...


And we'll see what happens.

So we'll see what happens.


ALLEN (voice-over): It's the U.S. president, perhaps one his favorite answers to tough questions.

But what does it mean?

Well, Jeanne Moos takes that on this coming hour.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. We come to you live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell; 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. At CNN World Headquarters, NEWSROOM starts right now.

(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: An interesting meeting will take place in Washington. What does it mean is the question. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are to meet with attorneys for U.S. president Donald Trump and it could happen as early as next week.

HOWELL: The president's attorneys hope it means the investigation into Russian election meddling is almost over. They say all requested documents have been turned over. They say all requested interviews have been completed. And there is no request they say to interview the U.S. president.

However, that is still possible ahead.

ALLEN: Other lawyers in the case say, not so fast. They warn the probe could drag on for months, if not longer. And all of this comes as the president slams the FBI again. Here is CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House with that.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president is ratcheting up his attacks on the investigators who are investigating the White House and Trump campaign officials under scrutiny in the Russia probe.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's a shame what's happened with the FBI, but we're going to rebuild the FBI. It will be bigger and better than ever.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump seized on recent revelations that an FBI agent was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team after sending texts that were critical of the president.

TRUMP: It is very sad when you look at those documents; and how they've done that is really, really disgraceful. And you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it. It's a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that.

ACOSTA: The president then once again denied any wrongdoing.

TRUMP: They're spending millions and millions of dollars. There is absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it.

ACOSTA: Before refusing to rule out the possibility of pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators earlier this month.

TRUMP: I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens. Let's see. I can say this. When you look at what's gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.

ACOSTA: The White House attorney Ty Cobb threw cold water on that, saying in a statement, "There is no consideration being given to pardoning Michael Flynn at the White House." It's not the first time the president has slammed the FBI, tweeting

earlier this month that the bureau's reputation was in tatters, its worst in history. The president made his latest comments about the bureau after hour before he praised federal and law enforcement officials at an FBI academy, where he again blasted the news media.

TRUMP: You see, there's the fake news back there. Look, everybody. Fake news. No, actually, some of them are fine people. About, let's see, who's back there? Yes, about 30 percent.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Robert Mueller's merry band of Democratic donors.

TRUMP: But the president appears to be echoing complaints on conservative media and from GOP lawmakers about the Mueller investigation.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: It's as if when Bob Mueller picked his team he was fishing in the "never Trump" aquarium.

ACOSTA: The attacks on federal law enforcement officials come little more than a year after then-Trump surrogate and now White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted, "When you're attacking FBI agents because you're under a criminal investigation, you're losing."

Democrats worry the groundwork is being laid for the president to dump Mueller.

REP. DENNY HECK (D), WASHINGTON: I think the fact that Bob Mueller removed somebody for those text messages is, in fact, proof that Bob Mueller is committed to undertaking this investigation with the utmost of integrity.

ACOSTA: The president's intense focus on the Mueller probe is yet another distraction for GOP leaders who are trying to pass tax cuts before leaving for the holidays.


ACOSTA: Republicans want to move on the tax plan before incoming Alabama Senator Doug Jones is seated after defeating Roy Moore. Mr. Trump is ready for Moore to concede that race.

TRUMP: I think he should. He tried. I want to support -- always I want to support the person running. We need the seat. We'd like to have the seat. I think we're doing very well on the tax. We'll see what happens.

ACOSTA: While he was criticizing the FBI --


ACOSTA: -- the president had kind words for Russian president Vladimir Putin. One day after the two leaders spoke, Trump thanked Putin for praising Mr. Trump's performance on the U.S. economy -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Jim, thanks for the reporting. Now let's go to Moscow for reaction there. Our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, is on the story for us.

Nic, great to have you with us. Let's first talk about the president's conversation with his Russian counterpart, praising him for his comments on the economy.

And what has been the response or reaction to that?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: What President Putin said on Thursday in his annual press conference, it was almost four hours long and he was asked a question about his analysis of how President Trump's doing in his first year in office and he said that he has done fairly well, that he has had some serious achievements and he based his analysis on how well the markets were responding to President Trump. And therefore he said that this was a good indication.

President Trump later that same night picked up the phone, called Vladimir Putin, according to the Kremlin, they talked about North Korea and other international concerns.

But according to the White House, President Trump thanked Vladimir Putin for acknowledging how well that the U.S. economy is doing.

We know that this is something that President Trump criticizes journalists for, for not covering that adequately. But he wanted to thank President Putin for that and he also we're told talked about North Korea; striking perhaps, because neither the White House nor Kremlin mentioned Syria in that equation because we're two weeks or so of peace talks in Geneva were just wrapping up and the U.S. State Department has been very critical of Putin's Syrian ally, Bashar al- Assad, saying that he hasn't negotiated in good faith and looking to his backers like Russia to put pressure on him, that apparently, even though it is a very topical issue in the State Department, that night apparently, according to the White House release, it didn't come up in the phone conversation.

HOWELL: Nic, also wanted to get the optics of the president's comments on the way to the FBI academy, criticizing the FBI saying, quote, "It is a shame what happened with the FBI."

He goes on to say that, "It is a very sad thing to watch."

No real specifics beyond that but this president known for downplaying U.S. intelligence with regards to Russia.

How is the criticism being viewed there?

ROBERTSON: Well, if we look at it through the lens of President Putin, how he views it, we have an insight and he didn't address this question specifically in that-four hour press conference which, again, is really the big opportunity, taking on a wide range of subjects, what president Putin is thinking and what he is thinking about the Russia investigation, the allegations of Russia election meddling in the U.S. elections, that broadly he thinks that these, you know -- that this is running counter to U.S. national interests.

These are people who are opposed to President Trump, who are, you know, running this investigation. Therefore, it is detrimental to the U.S. national interests. So from his view, his views run vaguely parallel on this with President Trump and with some of the Republican critics of the investigation itself.

HOWELL: International diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, live for us in Moscow, Nic, thanks for the report.

Back here in the United States, Republican lawmakers believe they have the votes now to get major tax reform to the president by next week.

ALLEN: It would be the first significant overhaul of the U.S. tax code since the Ronald Reagan era and the first significant legislative victory for Mr. Trump since taking office. CNN's Phil Mattingly explains what is in it.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 503-page, $1.5 trillion Republican tax plan, it is out, officially. Republican lawmakers can now read the thing that they are likely going vote on as soon as Tuesday next week.

The key provisions, we've known a lot of them. The corporate rate dropping from 35 percent to 21 percent. The child tax credit boosted from $1,000 to $2,000. Individual rate cuts across the seven brackets. A lot of things the Republicans have said will be crucial not only to economic growth but also, as they say, helping middle class families. This is something that the Democrats dispute, saying that this bill is far too tilted toward the corporate side, the idea that on the individual rate cut, taking the top income earners down from 39.6 percent to 37 percent is just nonsensical.

But here is the rub. Republicans both like this plan and, at this point, want to vote for this plan. Take a listen to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R), HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN: We took the best of both ideas in here, in many cases, because we had a deliberate timetable we had announced half a year ago, to get this to the president's desk.

We took the text that was closest to where we thought we would end and from that standpoint it's sort of a mix of the House --


BRADY: -- and Senate. It's the way it should be.

MATTINGLY: Now what is amazing is, on Thursday of this week, Republicans were scrambling, particularly in the Senate. They weren't sure how to deal with Senator Marco Rubio, came out as a firm no. Senator Mike Lee, who was with Senator Rubio on his concerns about the refundability of the child tax credit, didn't know where Senators Susan Collins, Jeff Flake were going to end up.

That is no longer a concern. Senator Rubio coming out as a yes because of changes made to that refundability piece. Senator Mike Lee not a full yes yet but definitely headed in that direction. Senator Susan Collins as well.

And what stunned some people on Capitol Hill, Senator Bob Corker, who was a no the first time around, he became a yes, even though no major changes were made to get his vote. That gives Republican leaders in the Senate a lot of breathing room as they have two ill senators right now who missed votes throughout the week, Senator John McCain, Senator Thad Cochran.

The reality is, at this point in the Senate, they can actually not have those senators attend and still pass this bill. As for the House, they feel very good about where they are as well.

Now what does that all mean?

On Tuesday of next week, the House will vote on this plan. Shortly thereafter, the Senate will take it up as well. Assuming the votes stay where they currently are, the president will have the first overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 31 years on his desk by Wednesday -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.


ALLEN: Well, let's talk about that now with Steven Erlanger. He's chief diplomatic correspondent for "The New York Times" and joins us from Brussels.

Steven, thanks for talking with us. So it looks like President Trump is going to get his Christmas gift on the tax bill.

What does that mean for the president and what does that mean for the U.S. as far as what is in it?

STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, Trump will get his Christmas gift and a lot of wealthy people will get their Christmas gift also. The deficit will go up by about $1 trillion dollars. Republicans always insist it will produce growth. We'll see.

If it simplifies the tax system, that is great. I'm not sure it will. And there are a lot of people in big income tax states, who will be unhappy because their deduction of state income tax, as I understand it, will disappear.

So that this will hurt a lot of more middle class people, who are living in states like California and New York.

But you know, those are states that Republicans don't care so much about, it must be said. After all, people who elected Trump as president, more importantly, they elected a Republican House and Senate and Republicans have put together a tax bill and that's what we're going to get.

ALLEN: All right. We'll see what happens when we get it. When it happened with the Reagan era, eight years, the U.S. moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation. But we'll wait and see on that.

Let's talk about the Mueller team.

We know that Mueller and investigators are going to meet with Trump's lawyers perhaps this week. And we know that the investigators are finished with interviews of White House personnel. Mr. Trump has not been interviewed nor has the vice president.

Is this a positive sign for the administration?

ERLANGER: Well, we'll see what comes out of it. These things are like a black box, I mean, he is obviously preparing -- he's looking, he's thinking about charges. The fact that he is through talking to some people doesn't actually imply that he is getting to the end of his work.

What worries a lot of people is simply whether he will be in office in January, because the rumors go on and on that Trump will somehow find a way to fire Robert Mueller. He has certainly been attacking the FBI, as we've just heard.

This is a consistent theme with Mr. Trump. It is almost an obsession that has a lot to do with the election, which is an obsession of his, and with Hillary Clinton and with the e-mails and his view that everyone is being unfair to him.

And he feels the FBI is partisan. Obviously, Democrats feel it isn't. His own attorney general praised the FBI. But this is one way President Trump has been talking to his supporters to make sure they stay with him no matter what Mueller and the FBI find.

I mean, I find it a little disconcerting that the President of the United States, who is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, is so readily willing to undermine the national police agency. But that is his politics. And he has freedom of speech just like everybody else.

ALLEN: That certainly would be quite the turn if he were to fire Robert Mueller after seven months of investigations and the money --


ALLEN: -- spent there. And be interesting to see how that would turn the Trump administration.

I want to talk about the Alabama Senate race that we saw this week.

Was that a rejection of Roy Moore, do you think, or was that a rejection of Donald Trump, what happened there?

ERLANGER: I think, to be honest, you know, I think it was a rejection of Roy Moore. I think one can exaggerate the impact of the president on this. I think the president's support probably helped Roy Moore.

But it was very, very difficult for Alabamians to vote for a man who was under questioning for such despicable acts. He certainly denies them. But enough people have doubts. The Democrats did get out the vote, particularly of blacks. And you know, Republicans who were nervous of Roy Moore, I would see it more as a rejection of Moore now.

Now in two years' time, when the seat comes up again with a different Republican, we'll see what happens. But I don't see it as a major national defeat. Now it hurts Trump obviously in the Senate because it simply narrows his margin, which is one reason that they are trying to get the tax bill passed before, you know, Doug Jones takes his seat.


ERLANGER: That's right. But it looks like they would pass it anyway.

So I think Trump is worried about that. And I think he was pushing for the seat because he is nervous about his majority in the Senate. But I don't see it as an enormous rejection of Donald Trump. I think we'd have to wait for the midterms to get a better view.

ALLEN: All right. We will do that. Steven Erlanger, as always, thank you for joining us from Brussels.

ERLANGER: Thank you.

HOWELL: The U.S. Secretary of state has a message for North Korea, to stop testing and to start talking. Still ahead, we'll look at the confrontation between Tillerson and North Korea's U.N. ambassador.

ALLEN: Plus Central American migrants give up on the American dream. Why some say they prefer Mexico -- ahead.




HOWELL: The U.S. secretary of state says that North Korea must earn its way back to the bargaining table.

ALLEN: Rex Tillerson spoke Friday during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Pyongyang's nuclear program. Here's what --


ALLEN: -- Tillerson had to say.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States will use all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression, but our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a resolution.

As I said earlier this week, a sustained cessation of North Korea's threatening behavior must occur before talks can begin. North Korea must earn its way back to the table. The pressure campaign must and will continue, until denuclearization is achieved. We will in the meantime keep our channels of communication open.


HOWELL: So while Tillerson was talking there, his North Korean counterpart was in the same room, listening on. North Korea's U.N. ambassador calls his country's nuclear program an inevitable self- defense measure and blames the United States for tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

ALLEN: Let's dig deeper into this issue with that meeting at the U.N. Security Council. Ivan Watson is joining us from Seoul.

And you were saying earlier, Ivan, that it is a good sign that neither didn't walk out of the room when the other was speaking.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that has been a practice in the past. So in this case you had American and North Korean diplomat both sitting in the same room and in one case actually Tillerson responding to comments and accusations that came from the North Korean ambassador.

So that is at least a sign of some kind of perhaps preliminary step to a dialogue here. But aside from that, maybe a little ray of hope; it was the usual kind of finger pointing, where the U.S. was accusing North Korea of ratcheting up tension on the Korean Peninsula, due to its 20 missile tests this year alone, its sixth nuclear test.

And then, of course, the North Korean ambassador responding in kind. Take a listen to an excerpt of what he had to say.



JA SONG NAM, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR: Our possession of nuclear weapons was an individual self-defensive measure to defend our sovereignty and right of resistance and development from the U.S. -- from the U.S. nuclear threat and the blackmail and if anyone is to blame for it, the U.S. is the one who must be held accountable.


WATSON: Now there was one thing people were looking for and that was Tillerson's comments about the possibility of negotiations without pre-conditions, something that he said on camera in a speech on Tuesday.

And that was essentially kind of rejected by the White House because the U.S. has maintained a position that, for the U.S. to sit down with North Korea for talks, first, North Korea would have to agree that it would ultimately do away with its nuclear weapons program. And North Korea has always said that is a nonstarter.

Well, on Friday at the United Nations Tillerson softened that discussion about possible talks without pre-conditions. So we're not quite sure where exactly the U.S. position is right now on the possibility of negotiations.

But it does seem like he has tiptoed back a little bit from the possible diplomatic opening he had suggested about just last Tuesday -- George, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, thanks, Ivan, Ivan Watson for us there in Seoul, thank you.

HOWELL: For years migrants from Central America have risked their lives for a better life, their destination often the United States but not always. Increasingly now, they are staying in Mexico.

ALLEN: President Trump's tough stance on immigration is having an impact and many migrants say a trip north isn't worth the risk. CNN's Leyla Santiago has more in this report that she and her team filed a few months ago.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day, hundreds cross this river, no questions asked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very easy.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): This is the other border affecting U.S. immigration policy, Mexico's southern border.

It's so easy to cross here, we found people from Guatemala openly crossing to buy cheaper groceries in Mexico.

What we didn't find, the flood of migrants that once crossed here, fleeing violence and poverty in the South America.

The reason?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the new president of the United States, many people forget about a American dream. They don't want to go all the way up there because they know they're going to have problems.

SANTIAGO: For years, migrants who cross the river came from here, about three hours north. This was just two years ago. Migrants on their way to the U.S., packing a freight train known as "The Beast."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only way the immigrants got to get to America.

SANTIAGO: Standing on top of the train today, it's empty. But months ago --


SANTIAGO: -- you would have seen hundreds of immigrants filling the tops of these train cars. So what's changed?

You ask anyone around here they'll tell you part of it is Trump talk. The other part, Mexico is cracking down on immigration coming in from the south.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): The Mexican government now patrols train stations, forcing smugglers to find new routes. The smugglers are also charging more money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since Donald Trump being president, he -- they raise the price up to like 7,000.

SANTIAGO (on camera): But before President Trump how much was it?


SANTIAGO: So it has more than doubled?


SANTIAGO: Since President Trump?


SANTIAGO (voice-over): Riding "The Beast" costs her much more. This 13-year old from Guatemala lost her leg when she fell off the train in January. Her dream was to one day make it to the United States. She's given up on that, not because of her injury but...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SANTIAGO: -- because she's heard the U.S. is deporting everyone.

Her family now symbolizes migrants in the Trump era, many choosing to make Mexico their final destination.

SANTIAGO (on camera): So then the talking is working?


SANTIAGO: Impacting Mexico?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Now the problem is going to be here instead of in the United States.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Mexico has seen a 150 percent increase in asylum applications since Trump was elected. But many here don't consider his tough talk to be lasting policy, believing the flow of migrants will soon return.

For Jose Machado (ph), that time is now.

JOSE MACHADO (PH), GUATEMALAN MIGRANT: I beg for money to try to get into America.

SANTIAGO: He begs for money to get to Tennessee, where the 2-month- old daughter he has yet to meet is waiting.

MACHADO (PH): I'll go, try to see my family.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Family ties for some make it worth risking the odds that Trump's tough talk will not turn into action -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Chiapas, Mexico.


ALLEN: A sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code could soon become the law of the land. Coming up here, CNN talks with some auto workers in Michigan, who voted for Mr. Trump. We will find out if they think the tax package will benefit them.

HOWELL: Plus protests in the Middle East turn into more deadly clashes. We have a live report ahead from Jerusalem.

Wherever you're watching from around the world, we're glad to have you here at CNN NEWSROOM, live from Atlanta this hour, simulcast on CNN USA here in the States and CNN International worldwide. Right back after the break.





HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Let's get straight to our top stories.


ALLEN: A key meeting in the Russia investigation could come in a matter of days.

HOWELL: The White House hopes that it will shed light on where the probe is headed and when it will end. Our Evan Perez has this story for us.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sources tell us that the president's lawyers are planning to meet with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, we're told as soon as the coming week, for what the president's lawyers hope will be a chance to find out the next steps in the Mueller investigation.

The Trump legal team, led by John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, is hoping that they can see signs that the end is near in Mueller's investigation. Now they've had other meetings, but here's why this one is of significance.

The White House says that everyone who works there and who Mueller has asked to interview has now gone in for an interview. One of the last happened earlier last week when White House counsel Don McGann sat down for his interview.

The White House has also finished turning over documents requested by the special counsel. There's no request to interview the president or the vice president, we're told. We have a statement from Sekulow and he says, quote, "We do not and will not discuss our periodic communications with the special counsel."

Of course, Trump lawyers know that Mueller could still come back to ask for more interviews and for more documents.

And it's important to note that there's no requirement for Mueller to give them any information. They're hoping he's going to show his cards and there's a chance that he won't do that.

The Mueller investigation is actually moving relatively quickly, compared to typical white-collar criminal investigations that often stretch into years. He's been on the job seven months or so and already Mueller has brought charges against four people, including two have pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI.

But that's not fast enough for the president and his supporters. The bottom line is that the president and Republicans want the cloud of this investigation lifted -- Evan Perez, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: Evan, thanks for the reporting.

Republican lawmakers are optimistic that they can finally deliver a major legislative win for the president with a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code. The final version of that bill was released on Friday and it tries to promise something for everyone. But some may benefit a lot more than others.

ALLEN: CNN's Martin Savidge spoke with some people in Michigan who voted for Mr. Trump to find out what they think of the tax package.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Motor City, I'm reunited with Trump voters talking taxes.

SAVIDGE (on camera): How many of you like the tax plan that you're hearing?

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Things start low.

SAVIDGE (on camera): I got one.

DAVID BIELAT, AUTOWORKER: I guess it's OK for -- you know, It's not a huge savings, but it's a savings. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a savings. Everyone is going to get a savings.

SAVIDGE: Personally --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know about me personally, but for the country as a whole it's going to be a good thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally, I agree it's going to be good, too.

SAVIDGE: What are you going to save?

BIELAT: I'm going to say between probably $1,000, maybe $2,000 a year.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): That might sound OK, but --

SAVIDGE (on camera): It's not a big thing when you spread it over a year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It doesn't move the needle.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): I remind them what candidate Trump promised, breaking from his so-called contract with Americans.

SAVIDGE (on camera): A middle class family with --


SAVIDGE: -- two children will get 35 percent tax cut. That is not what you're getting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think they're going to achieve that, too.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The others disagree, citing all kinds of numbers, especially the standard family deduction which is expected to double.

VIRGIL IGNA, AUTOWORKER: That's huge. Actually, yuge.

SAVIDGE: Amy, David's wife, isn't an autoworker. She's a teacher and she didn't vote for Trump. She doesn't like the tax plan, worrying for those who aren't rich or even middle class.

AMY BIELAT, TEACHER: Who I believe are going to be hit hardest with this, too. I think we're kind of ignoring that population.

SAVIDGE: These factory workers realize the companies they work for will benefit the most and that's OK by them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm hoping in good faith that they use that money to reinvest in their people, to hire more people, to expand their businesses.

SAVIDGE (on camera): So the thinking is, if the company does better, you all will do better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It brings everybody up, from the bottom up.

SAVIDGE: Virgil, do you believe that?

IGNA: I believe that strongly, yes.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): What about the deficit, I asked, which experts say under this plan will balloon by at least a trillion dollars or more.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Is this fiscally responsible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe not short term, but I'm hoping a long-term.

SAVIDGE: You're taking a risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sure am. I took a risk when I voted for Donald Trump.


HOWELL: Martin Savidge there reporting for us.

The top health agency in the U.S. -- that the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, has apparently been banned from using certain words in the budget for next year, like "fetus" and "transgender" that would be in any official documents for the CDC's budget. This is coming from "The Washington Post."

The seven forbidden words are reportedly "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender" and "fetus," as I mentioned, "evidence- based" and "science-based."

HOWELL: Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control were told about this list at a meeting to discuss the budget. "The Washington Post" says they were not told why those words are banned.

Protests reignited across the Middle East on Friday over a decision by the U.S. president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

ALLEN: Four Palestinians are dead, hundreds wounded in clashes with Israeli forces. Israeli officials say one of the Palestinians killed in the West Bank had stabbed a police officer. CNN's Arwa Damon has more from Jerusalem.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There have been growing numbers of people taking to the streets throughout the Palestinian territories. And with that comes to a growing toll of those who are wounded and those who are killed in the Gaza Strip.

There was one 29-year-old man was shot in the scene of some of the more intense back-and-forth that took place between rioters and the Israeli Defense Forces. A 19-year-old university student stabbed an Israeli border policeman in the shoulder before he was shot and later died of his wounds.

There is a sense that, in the upcoming days and weeks ahead, things will become even more confrontational. And there is also a very intense conversation that is happening between the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, various different regional leaders, as they try to figure out the best way forward and how to capitalize on this momentum that they believe they have, not necessarily talking about momentum in the streets but momentum on a global level.

Remember just a few days ago the Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Istanbul in an extraordinary summit, where they then signed a declaration that they would be recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine, urging other leaders to do so as well.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that they had already begun an initiative at the United Nations to try to nullify America's declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

They are also going to the United Nations to look for alternatives, other nations that could step in and take on that very, very challenging role of trying to mediate talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. There is an underlying sense here of uncertainty; there is, of course, the growing concern of more violence -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Jerusalem.


HOWELL: Still ahead, South Africa's President Zuma will be replaced as the party leader at his political party's national conference. Why this leadership vote is so crucial to his legacy.

ALLEN: Also ahead, a strong earthquake has rattled Indonesia. The latest on the aftershocks shaking the region, coming up as well.





HOWELL: South Africa is facing a pivotal moment. The ruling political party is voting for a new leader at its national conference. The ANC, African National Congress, has run the country since apartheid ended in 1994, when its leader, Nelson Mandela, became the country's first black president.

ALLEN: The ANC helped lead the resistance movement against apartheid. President Jacob Zuma is currently in power but he is in trouble over allegations of corruption and has been at the center of the ANC's declining reputation. Thousands of delegates at the conference will be voting for his successor.

HOWELL: CNN's Dave McKenzie is following this story from the ANC conference that's being held in Johannesburg.

It's great to have you with us, David, let's talk about the frontrunners. One is advocating for an end of corruption, the other, former minister and the president's ex-wife.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that, George, is one question that is being asked right now, is whether Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former minister and ex-wife of Jacob Zuma, the embattled president, will make a clean break if she is voted in as ANC president.

And here is why it is important. The ANC president will be presumably, according to history, at least, the next president of this country when we come to general elections. And so it is a crucial political decision.

Many people in South Africa want to see a clean break from Jacob Zuma, who has faced countless scandals and allegations of corruption and court cases over the years.

The other frontrunner is the current deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is, in some way, a darling of the business community and investors, who has repeatedly said he wants to end corruption in this country --


MCKENZIE: -- but also isn't that popular with the rural voters and some see him as too close to the elite. So a tough choice and a very consequential one happening here this weekend -- George.

HOWELL: So given the history with Zuma, is the ANC party thinking differently now, looking for new faces or still reliant on its veterans?

MCKENZIE: It is a good question and certainly there's very, in a way, brutal factionalism within the party that has prided itself on unity over the last -- more than two decades. This party has a very broad tent. It has all sorts of political persuasions inside it.

But I spoke to a senior member of the party and a former premier and minister, he said that it is time for Zuma to be shown the door.


TOKYO SEKSALE (PH), FORMER MINISTER: Jacob Zuma is in the departure lounge. He is an outgoing president. His wife is greatly expected (ph). We are ready to deal with this problem.


MCKENZIE: Tokyo Seksale (ph) there, who said that, in fact, time is to make a clean break with President Zuma and that regime here. But there is a long way to go, multiple delays and court cases already and this could become a very contentious few days -- George.

HOWELL: All right. David McKenzie, following this live for us in Johannesburg. David, thank you.

ALLEN: Well, people in Indonesia are surveying the damage after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake rattled the island of Java. At least three people were killed. Seven others injured there. People in the capital, Jakarta, also felt the ground shake, about 300 kilometers or nearly 200 miles from the quake's epicenter.

HOWELL: And just looking at the images here, you get a sense of the damage. Hundreds of buildings damaged, including a hospital that moved 70 patients to safer locations. Officials say the aftershocks are being felt throughout the region.


ALLEN: Police in Toronto are investigating the deaths of one of Canada's wealthiest couples.

HOWELL: The bodies of billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman were found in their mansion on Friday. Police call the deaths "suspicious" but they're not describing these as homicides, at least so far.

ALLEN: CNN reporter network, partner network, CTV, also reports that they are not currently seeking any suspects. Sherman founded the generic drug maker Epotex in 1974 and was widely praised as a generous philanthropist.


HOWELL: And Donald Trump has no shortage of catchphrases but there is a new one here. We'll tell you about it ahead.




HOWELL: This particular phrase seems to be the U.S. president's go-to answer for almost any question.

ALLEN: And when we asked CNN's Jeanne Moos about it, she said, we'll see what happens.

HOWELL: We'll see.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure makes predictions about passing the tax bill less taxing.

TRUMP: I think we're doing very well on the tax. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: And you can't help but pardon the president for relying on it.

TRUMP: I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: When in doubt ...

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. So, we'll see what happens.

MOOS: It is the president's favorite answer deployed at the U.N.

TRUMP: As far as North Korea is concerned, I think most of you know how I feel. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: That was in September. Three months later we're still seeing...

TRUMP: We're going to see what happens with North Korea.

MOOS: -- from hurricanes ...

TRUMP: We'll see what happens.

MOOS: -- to health care.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. No particular rush.


MOOS: It's perfect to fill time when the president's in no particular rush to answer. Or maybe he wants to build suspense.

TRUMP: Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: As one critic tweeted, it's like he thinks every question is a chance for a teaser heading into a commercial break.

The phrase is so beloved by the president, that he's used it three times in a mere five-second answer. Again, on the subject of North Korea.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. It's not our first choice, but we'll see what happens.

MOOS: Now, in a few cases, we've actually seen what happened.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.

MOOS: Three days later, Mr. Bannon went bye-bye.

As for then FBI Director James Comey ...

TRUMP: I have confidence in him. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: -- Comey was fired less than a month later.

So, when the president mentions seeing what happens ...

TRUMP: I'm very disappointed with the attorney general. But we will see what happens.

MOOS: -- beware, your job could be eclipsed or, if you're lucky, you could get pardoned.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. Let's see.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Wonder if he uses that with Melania.

Dear, we'll see what happens.

Sounds like something you could say to your kids a lot when they ask you questions.

HOWELL: Natalie, we'll just have to see what happens.


ALLEN: Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. For our viewers here in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next; for other viewers around the world, "AMANPOUR" is ahead. Thanks for watching CNN.

ALLEN: Have a good one.