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One Year in Office; Trump Accuses Russia of Helping North Korea; Better Relations with Russia Never Materialized; The Art of Drawing President Trump; Trump Agenda Facing Constant Pushback in. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 18, 2018 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles ahead this hour.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: The President's chief of staff admitting the Mexican government will not directly pay for Trump's wall after all and reportedly saying some of the President's campaign promises were uninformed.

VAUSE: Also the self-described stable genius now boasting his perfect results on a cognitive test is why he can deal with North Korea.

SESAY: And year one -- the author behind some of "Time Magazine's" most controversial covers will joins us.

VAUSE: Hello everybody. I'd like to welcome our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us.

I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

VAUSE: With a government shut down looming by the end of the week, the President may be looking to change his hard line on one of his key campaign issues -- immigration.

SESAY: White House chief of staff John Kelly says Mr. Trump has changed his attitude on the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. And Kelly admit candidate Trump may not have been fully informed about his proposed border wall with Mexico.

Kelly says the administration is looking at ways to pay for the wall.


GENERAL JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We have some ideas on how things like visa fees, renegotiation of NAFTA and what that would mean to our economy. So in one way or another it's possible that we could get the revenue from Mexico but not directly from their government.


VAUSE: Joining us now David Siders, senior reporter for "Politico"; Ethan Bearman, California talk radio host; and Lanhee Chen, research fellow at the Hoover Institute and former public policy director for Mitt Romney.

Lanhee -- let's start with you. It appears the White House chief of staff is undercutting the President on what was a rallying cry during his campaign. Kelly also told Fox News there would be no wall that the Mexican government will actually directly pay for.

He also went on to say it will be 700 miles long not the length of the border. And you know, does this raise the question who's actually running the show here? Is it John Kelly or is it Donald Trump?

LANHEE CHEN, RESEARCH FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTE: Well, you know, these were all known facts. These have all been known facts for a while. That first of all building an actual physical barrier along the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border is incredibly challenging and incredibly costly.

And it was also known frankly that Mexico was not going to pay for this or not the Mexican government. Now, there's some liberties people take during campaigns but obviously in this situation what we're seeing is that when the rubber hits the road, when it actually comes time to govern it is a little bit more difficult.

So, I think the challenge here for the President is that so much of his image has been built around these campaign promises, have been built around these issues. What happens now that the base is actually being told these things may actually not happen? That's the big challenge.

VAUSE: It could be a wakeup call.

John Kelly also told the Hispanic Caucus that, you know, that some of those campaign promises made by the President were not fully informed. Here's what he said.


KELLY: As we talked about things, the way this President is and how much he wants to deal with this DACA issue and take it off the -- take it off the -- take it away I told him that, you know, there's been an evolutionary process that this President has gone through as a campaign. And I pointed out to all these members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed.


VAUSE: David -- it was originally reported that the President's campaign promises were uninformed but not fully informed I guess is a little softer. And to Lanhee's point, there is that saying campaign in poetry and govern in prose. But does this go beyond that? DAVID SIDERS, SENIOR REPORTER, POLITICO: These were two substantial

issues on the campaign clearly. And a campaign built on racial rhetoric and on talking about a wall. I think Lanhee is right that he needs to -- his concern or one of his concerns has to be the base and how they respond here.

But he's also dealing with the realities of governing which I guess do require what he called -- not Lanhee but what General Kelly called an evolution.

VAUSE: You know, here's part of the "New York Times" report from a few hours ago. "But in telling lawmakers that Mr. Trump had essentially from the start in promoting a wall and by claiming credit for dissuading him, Mr. Kelly appeared to be voicing a sentiment some in the West Wing have heard him express privately. That it is his job to tutor a sometimes ill-informed president who has never served in public office before."

Ethan -- one thing this President does not like is being thought of as being ill-informed or not informed. Is the clock now ticking on John Kelly or is he too valuable in the White House? Or will, you know Donald Trump, really feel the ire of Donald Trump at some point?

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: I think he's going to feel the ire of Donald Trump at some point. But here's what's so interesting because the right always wants to attack, especially the conspiratorial right wants to attack on things like the deep state.

[00:05:05] Well, here's John Kelly -- he's acting as a shadow government right now. Is that what we want here in the United States? Or would we rather have a bombastic, loose cannon of a president like President Trump who I have to object to something that was said earlier the realities of presidency has never hit President Trump yet.

He chooses to continue to ignore it. And in this case maybe it's better off that we let General Kelly have a little bit more power in the White House to counter balance some of the borderline insanity that comes out of President Trump on Twitter.

VAUSE: Well David -- I guess Kelly was brought in to bring discipline to the White House. Is this a sign he's bringing some discipline to the President?

SIDERS: I think the fact that he's making these comments public is rather remarkable and uncommon I think to hear from somebody on staff. Staffs don't do that. They don't say about the President that, you know, he was uninformed or -- they don't talk about the differences between reality and governing in the way that you and I do just because of a point that you're making.

And that's really the remarkable thing here.

VAUSE: It also seems that Kelly is the one who had a lot of influence on the President, some flip flop on a compromised deal on immigration and also on the deals with the so-called Dreamers, the children who were brought to this country by their parents. Their status is about to expire because of an executive order by Donald Trump.

And because of that we're now -- you know, the Democrats are reluctant to support a funding bill to keep the government open beyond Friday's shut down when it actually runs out of money.

So Lanhee to you -- the White House actually believes that the Democrats will get the blame for any shutdown if it does in fact happen. But is that a stretch?

CHEN: Well, you know, the challenge here is that Republicans are in control of the House and the Senate. They have the White House. So from a public opinion point of view I think they're in a difficult position.

Now factually this is the case -- Republicans do not have 60 votes in the United States Senate. They will need 60 votes in order to get this funding bill through so they're going to need some help from Democrats.

So that the factual element of this is there; the problem is that public opinion isn't always necessarily focused on the fact of what is there. What they're focused on is the fact that Republicans are in charge of government and if they can't get it funded I do think Republicans will be the ones to pay a price.

VAUSE: David -- is there a possibility that the Democrats overplayed their hand on this?

SIDERS: I think both parties can pay a price. These parties should not forget that the American people don't need to choose between one party or the other to unleash their hatred or their anger.


SIDERS: This chronicled (ph) mess they had demonstrated before they're more than capable of hating everybody in Washington.

I think there was actually a really huge vote that happened in Wisconsin yesterday that does indicate that the Republicans are in bigger trouble than the Democrats right now. And that state senate seat in St. Croix County, Wisconsin that won huge for Trump by 16 points lost to the Democrat. The Democrat won by nine points. That's a 25-point swing in a key district.

VAUSE: Governor Walker said it was a wakeup call which is putting it mildly, I guess.

We had two Republican senators on Wednesday calling on the President to end his war on the media. We had John McCain writing an op-ed in the "Washington Post", Jeff Flake made a speech on the floor of the Senate. Both had a similar message. This is part of what Flake had to say.


SENATOR JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies. And American president who cannot take criticism, who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame is charting a very dangerous path.


VAUSE: Lanhee -- the problem here seems to be that Flake and McCain are pretty much on their own in the GOP.

Not only, you know, fellow Republican Congressmen staying silent but they're actually, you know, helping the President in some ways, for example trying to delegitimize the Russia investigation or the FBI. And other times actually enabling the President, giving him cover, as we saw over the weekend, you know, with the s-hole controversy.

CHEN: Yes. Well, you know, I think you are looking at two senators, you know, Jeff Flake is not running for re-election. John McCain is encountering some health difficulties. Certainly both of them probably anticipate that their time in Washington, one way or the other may be ending soon. And I think that gives them maybe some element of freedom to speak their minds on this.

But it shouldn't be surprising to anybody that the President's strategy has to do with going up against the media. This has been Donald Trump's MO from day one. And frankly, I think the reason why many of his supporters actually like him is because he's willing to challenge these institutions and that's something for better or for worse he's going to keep doing.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, here's the response to the Flake speech from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Listen to this.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's not criticizing the President because he's against oppression. He's criticizing the President because he has terrible poll numbers. And he is, I think looking for some attention.


VAUSE: Ethan -- why would a retiring senator like Flake care about poll numbers?

BEARMAN: He doesn't. That is an absolutely ludicrous response from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary.

[00:10:03] Here's what's going on. We need more smart conservatives to step up -- those who are principled, those with values and moral (INAUDIBLE).

I'm glad to see Lanhee stepping up here and people like Mitt Romney who Lanhee worked for because it's insane right now what is going on in this country attacking the press. It really feels like the 1930s leading up to McCarthyism. We had an isolationist America first policy that was happening then. It really was rooted in racism back then.

That's what we're seeing right now as well. We really need actual value-based conservatives to step up and retake their party.

VAUSE: Very quickly, let's finish on one thing both sides of politics can agree on. Everyone hates Steve Bannon.

The former White House strategist and Trump campaign manager testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. He refused to talk about his time at the White House.

There's some interesting reporting from Axios quoting four sources. Bannon admitted that he had a conversation with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corrella about Don, Jr's infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016.

David -- how big of a problem could that be for the Trump administration.

SIDERS: Well, I think it could be a big problem in the -- depending on what was said and what he knew about it. It could be a big problem. The bigger issue I think is the problem that that was a problem. And that is that -- you know, the reason everybody is upset with him is because he's talking with his lawyer who's conferring with the White House --

VAUSE: Right.

SIDERS: -- while this was going on. That doesn't look good for the Trump administration. And I think that's the political problem.

VAUSE: Ok. David, Ethan, Lanhee -- we appreciate you all being with us. Thank you.

CHEN: Thank you.

SESAY: Well, in the realm of criticism the U.S. President is pointing the finger at Russia for helping North Korea work around international sanctions. Donald Trump told Reuters that China is largely complying with international restrictions of Pyongyang. But he says Russia is, in his words, denting China's actions. The comment was an apparent reference to reports that Russian tankers at sea had supplied fuel to North Korea.

Well, Mr. Trump wouldn't comment on whether he's had any direct contact with the North Korean leader saying quote, "I'd sit down but I'm not sure that sitting down will solve the problem." He added, "We're playing a very, very hard game of poker and you don't want to reveal your hand."

Well, Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul. So Paula -- let's start with the President's claim that Russia is in essence contravening U.N. sanctions against North Korea. Has there been any reaction? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha -- at this point we

haven't heard anything from Russia itself. It's early in Russia but nothing from the Russian embassy in Washington either according to Reuters. So what we're waiting for is how they will react to this.

It's not the normal accusation that the U.S. President has made in the past. They've certainly -- he's certainly slammed China in the past for not having done enough to try and curb the nuclear missile program of North Korea.

But within this Reuter's interview he did say that China was making an effort but all the efforts that China was making and the dents that China was making Russia was effectively making that up.

So a fairly robust accusation leveled at Russia that it will be interesting to hear what they say about it -- Isha.

SESAY: Yes. And as you mentioned China and President Trump saying that indeed, you know, China has stepped up its efforts when it comes to tackling North Korea. The question is whether China's actions are actually a permanent pivot.

Have they permanently stepped up their efforts to put the squeeze on North Korea? I mean what's the view of the analysts where you are?

HANCOCKS: Well, it's a really difficult question to answer for any analyst no matter how long they've been looking at North Korea and the region to answer. I mean certainly at this point China says that it is fully implementing the sanctions that have been passed by the United Nations Security Council.

Without China's input, those sanctions just simply wouldn't work. China is North Korea's largest trading partner. It has the largest border with North Korea; of course, Russia also having a border with North Korea.

But we have seen a little bit scored over the past couple of days that with that summit in Vancouver in Canada 20 countries went to that -- co-hosted by the U.S. and Canada. China was not one of those countries. It wasn't represented.

In fact, the Chinese foreign minister's spokesperson said that that kind of meeting showed a Cold War mentality. So not all is well, it's not smooth sailing between the U.S. and China when it come to dealing with North Korea. But it appears as though the U.S. President's tack at this point is to point a finger of blame at Russia now as opposed to China.

SESAY: He's also pointing the finger of blame at his three predecessors saying essentially that, you know, they are to blame for what is taking place on Korean Peninsula.

But he did add this. Let's put up what President Trump had to say. He said, "I guess they all realize they were going to have to leave it to a president that scored the highest on tests." [00:15:00] Yes, that's President Trump tooting his own horn there about his mental capacity to solve the North Korea nuclear and ballistic missile issue. The boast aside though, Paula -- I mean North Korea hasn't actually deviated from its established path of actions since President Trump, you know, took over the White House.

HANCOCKS: Well, that's right. I mean nothing has actually changed in North Korea's calculations. Nothing has changed in the way that North Korea is conducting itself.

The year before the U.S. President Donald Trump took over there was an incredible pace of nuclear and missile testing. And then of course 2017 there was a huge unprecedented once again amount of nuclear and missile testing.

So it's not that North Korea is doing anything different and it's also doing what it has pledged to do. At the same time as having these talks with South Korea and agreeing to play nice, agreeing that coming to the Olympics. It's all going extremely well when you consider they're going to be marching under the same flag having potentially an old Korean -- inter-Korean women's ice hockey team.

But the fact is in North Korea's mind the testing of its nuclear and missile capabilities is separate to that. They have said and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has said they will mass produce weapons and that is likely what they will do -- Isha.

SESAY: Well, President Trump's really going to needs to keep at it with those test scores and see if they really do affect change.

Paula Hancocks -- we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Saturday will mark one year since Donald Trump was sworn into office, to the White House. It's been a year clouded by allegations and investigations with overarching questions did the Trump team conspire with Russia and exactly what role did the Russians play in the 2016 election?

SESAY: It has been the enduring question. For Russia it's been a year of high expectations there. How did it all play out?

Our Matthew Chance reports now from Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It didn't take too long for the high hopes to fade, for disillusionment towards Trump and Russia to really set in.

He may have been portrayed as the Kremlin's preferred candidate but his vision of better relations with Moscow never materialized, victim of an anti-Russian media witch hunt according to frustrated Russian officials.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop spreading lies and false news. This is a good advice for CNN. CHANCE: Are you concerned that the investigations into Russia are

going to turn up more secret meetings?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please stop spreading lies and false news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give us a question?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to give you a question.


TRUMP: You are fake news.

CHANCE: But it's not just insults Russia and Trump shared. Despite denials of contacts details emerged of private meetings between Russian nationals and Trump campaign figures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you arrange that meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and the Russian lawyer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come join me for the show tonight.


CHANCE: Like one organized at Trump Tower set up by a representative of a Russian pop star, Emin. Donald Trump Jr. released his own e- mails showing that he'd be told the meeting was to pass on damaging intelligence about Hillary Clinton.

Did the Russian authorities give your family information to pass on to the Trump administration?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk to my lawyer.

CHANCE: We talked to him. He said he wouldn't comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I wouldn't comment.

TRUMP: Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn't that be nice?

CHANCE: It was that promise to transform U.S.-Russian relations that was one of Trump's most consistent campaign themes.

His criticism of NATO calls for security cooperation with Russia and hints at ending sanctions all made him Russia's preferred candidate.

Trump's failure to deliver amid investigations into collusion and tightening sanctions was all the more disappointing to the Kremlin despite two meetings and numerous phone calls between the two leaders.

Do you sometimes sit in your office in the Kremlin thinking about how badly U.S.-Russian relations are going and regretting the day that Donald Trump was elected? VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: What we see is merely the growth of anti-Russian hysteria. And yes, I regret it. It's a pity because acting together we are more able to solve the acute problems that exist in the world.

CHANCE: But a year on from Trump's inauguration and the grand celebrations held in Moscow as he was sworn in, that dream of a U.S./Russian partnership seems more distant than ever.

Matthew Chance, CNN -- Moscow.


VAUSE: Well, just ahead here on NEWSROOM L.A. there's growing concerns among Rohingya refugees over a deal for their return to the country they fled amid a brutal army crackdown.


SESAY: Hello, everyone.

At least 10 people have been killed in northeastern Nigeria in a series of suicide attacks in Maiduguri. Forces say four female bombers were involved. They attacked markets in an area where displaced people have taken refuge. About 65 people were wounded.

It is not clear if Boko Haram was behind the assault but the terror group has frequently carried out attacks in that area.

VAUSE: A Palestinian teenager accused of slapping and punching two Israeli solders will remain in jail until her case is heard. Ahed Tamimi was filmed assaulting these soldiers outside her home in the West Bank last month. The Palestinians hailed her as a symbol of resistance. Human rights say the girl she should be released because she's only 16. Her trial is now set for the end of the month. >

SESAY: Well, more violence in Myanmar has troubled Rakhine state, only this time the victims are Buddhist protesters instead of Rohingya Muslim. And Myanmar state media say that the police opened fire on the demonstrators killing seven people earlier this week. The United Nations is urging Myanmar to quote, "investigate any disproportionate use of force or other illegal actions that occurred there".

U.N. human rights investigator Yanghee Lee has tried to get into Rakhine state to see conditions for herself especially concerning the Rohingya but she's been barred by the Myanmar government.

So today she travelled to Bangladesh to hear from Rohingya refugees themselves. This comes only days before Myanmar and Bangladesh plan to start repatriating the refugees who are displace by an army crackdown and concern is growing over that deal.


YUNUS ROMAN, ROHINGYA ACTIVIST: Every question to the Bangladesh government to the U.S., to the human right organization, please draw your attentions for the people as a human being in the world because Myanmar is not a healthy country for us.

NOOR HOSSAN, IMAM: Myanmar must give us the compensations for those Muslims they killed, looted, destroyed or fields and cattle. They must return our houses and if they show justice to us then we can go back.


SESAY: All right. Well, let's bring in Brad Adams now who's with Human Rights Watch Asia. He joins me live via Skype from Berkeley, California.

Brad -- good to see you once again. I want to start with reports of more violence in Rakhine state, this time targeting the ethnic Buddhists. More than half a dozen killed.

What does this incident tell us about the Myanmar army and its use of violence against its people?

BRAD ADAMS, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ASIA: Well, it shows that while they can discriminate by targeting the Rohingyas as they have with their ethnic cleansing campaign, they also don't tolerate dissent of any kind.

And there's a long history of Burmese military using force against protesters all over the country but -- including against the Buddhist population in Rakhine state which not only has grievances against the Rohingya and they discriminated against them and attacked them.

[00:25:01] But they've also long felt estranged from Rangoon and Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma; and felt like the rest of the Burmese population even though they're also Buddhist look down on them and discriminate against them.

So they feel like they're the forgotten population. And this is quintessentially the kind of case where Yanghee Lee, the U.N. special rapporteur that you mentioned should be able to go into the country and perform her mandate and investigate exactly what happened. But the Burmese authorities are barring her from entering the country right now.

SESAY: Yes. As you say she's not going to Rakhine state. She will be in Bangladesh and talking to the refugees there.

So talk to me -- given that reality and an inability to see for herself the situation on the ground in Myanmar, what should she be focusing on achieving from the visit to Bangladesh as she speaks with refugees?

ADAMS: Well, it's worth pointing out we're back to the bad old days before the reform period when there was just the military government there, the current military-civilian coalition government.

We all had to do our work. The United Nations Human Rights Watch and others from outside the country because we were never allowed in. And now Yanghee Lee has to go back and do her work from outside along the borders. She will be able to interview a lot of Rohingya. She'll be able to interview the victims of sexual violence, the burnings of villages, of killings, the relatives. She'll be able to see the trauma they faced. And she'll be able to point out firsthand why it's not time for people to go back.

But this is a non-goal (ph) for the government because what she can't do is she can't report on what the government thinks, what the government's arguments are, what the government's evidence is, anything about what's happened inside the country.

And so she will have to present the facts that she hears from Bangladesh. And Thailand when she goes there after her visit to Bangladesh and they're not going to be very pretty for the government.

SESAY: No. They certainly are not. But you know, you did touch on something just now. You made the point about the repatriation process which many have said is premature and it's moving far to quickly.

We just heard from two refugees before our conversation, (INAUDIBLE), talking about their desire for citizenship and for justice. You know, this is what they all want. They want to go back to a situation that is going to be markedly different.

But do you see a durable solution contained in this agreement that Bangladesh and Myanmar have settled on?

ADAMS: No, of course not. I mean the purpose of pushing all the Rohingya into Bangladesh was ethic cleansing. It was to clean the country of Rohingyan so the idea that the Rohingya will be welcomed back with open arms, that they'll be protected, that they'll be safe, that they'll have adequate food and shelter is ridiculous.

It's sort of like -- I don't want to sound like I'm over the top but it's sort of like saying that Jews should be returned from outside of Germany at the end of World War II if the Nazis were still in power.

The people who committed these abuses, people in the Burmese military are still there. They're still armed. They've gone unpunished. There've been no serious investigations and the Burmese government is in complete denial. So it would be very, very dangerous to return Rohingya to Burma right now.

SESAY: It doesn't look as if anything is going to stop that from happening. The process is set to begin in days. So what next? I mean what next for groups such as your own?

ADAMS: Well, I don't think that the Rohingya can be forced back. There's too many people. There's 650,000 new arrivals; it's close to a million total.

And past is prologue here. In the 1990s hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Burma. The Bangladeshi government didn't welcome them, tried to push them back and the Rohingya said no we're not going.

You simply can't move that many people against their will. And the fear is too great. And our staff have met so many traumatized Rohingya. You've interviewed them, others have interviewed them -- they're not going to go back willingly unless things change dramatically inside Burma.

SESAY: Well, we certainly seem to be a long way from that. Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch -- always a pleasure, thank you. Thank you for joining us.

ADAMS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, looking at President Trump in a different way -- when we come back the man behind those unique drawings of the U.S. President which are on the covers of "Time Magazine".



VAUSE (voice-over): Welcome back, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause.

SESAY (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:


VAUSE: Donald Trump first appeared on the cover of "Time" in 1989 and over the years he's had a love-hate relationship with the magazine, famously hanging fake covers complete with fake headlines in four of his golf clubs.

These days as president, he regularly makes the cover, but often in a striking stylized form which seems to perfectly capture the political moment. The latest issue shows Donald Trump, mouth open, his hair a raging inferno and the headline, "Year One."

Edel Rodriguez is the man responsible for that and many other covers featuring the president. He's been described as the preeminent illustrator of the Trump era. He joins us now from New York.

Edel, thank you for coming in.


VAUSE: It seems you have this very unique eye when it comes to President Donald Trump. And this cover which you've drawn, it seems to be a progression of that meltdown cover from October of last year. So explain what's going on.

RODRIGUEZ: I think at this point we've already done what he can do, what damage he can do. Before it was a probability. And at this point, it almost feels like a wildfire, where he's just jumping from one place to another to another and people are just going after him, trying to tamp down these flames or trying to tamp down these fires.

And that's where the idea came to me, this fire that's out of control and everyone is trying to control it. But even his own staff can't control it at times. VAUSE: These are very simple images that you're drawing. There's no facial features; unlike other illustrators, you don't mock Donald Trump's physical features.

I remember in August last year, "Der Spiegel" used an image which you had drawn of Donald Trump, he was a Klan member, which was a very harsh criticism of the president and many were surprised that that would actually turn up on the front cover of a magazine.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. That Klan image was something that I made as well. But I think you have to look at the context. That was published a week after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Trump defended neo-Nazis and Klan members as people that were just on the other side, there were two sides to the story.

And I don't think that any President of the United States should be --


RODRIGUEZ: -- defending neo-Nazis in any way whatsoever or Ku Klux Klan members. So I think at that point, when you have someone who defends racism to that degree, at some point you start to think maybe they're racist and I think that's the case here.

VAUSE: These images go viral every time they make the cover of "Time" or "Der Spiegel."

Are you surprised that they've been so widely received and essentially caused so much buzz?

Because there was one controversial cover, it was also for "Der Spiegel," it was the president cutting off the head of the Statue of Liberty.

Did that go too far?

RODRIGUEZ: No, I don't think it went too far at all. I was trying to get the point across that we have a president that I believe was killing what I think is the American dream.

Part of the American dream is to come to this country, create a better life for your children. This country has always been a country of immigrants. And with the policies that are being put forth right now, I think that this idea there is an American dream or that people can come here and live a better life, I think it's over for many people in the world.

And even the smallest thing -- I'm a college professor.

Can you imagine people from around the world that would want to send their children here now to go to college or school?

I think there are a lot of people that are afraid to do that. I think that's a shame because I think, in my mind, as an immigrant, this country has always been a beacon to the world. And that is changing in many people's minds right now. VAUSE: Edel, it's been great speaking with you and it's enjoyable to look at your work as it appears on the covers of "Time" and "Der Spiegel" and other publications. Thank you for being with us.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

SESAY: He has a unique eye.

VAUSE: It's memorable.

SESAY: Still to come, almost one year into Donald Trump's presidency, California continues to fight tooth and nail to take down President Trump's agenda.




SESAY: This week as we lead up to the one-year anniversary of President Trump's inauguration, CNN is looking at how different segments of the population feel about his presidency so far. Today we look at the most populated state, California.

VAUSE: From immigration to taxes to the environment, even marijuana laws, leaders in the deeply Democratic state are constantly pushing back on the president's agenda. CNN's Miguel Marquez reports.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The California republic versus President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The resistance is legion.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): One year into his administration ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is a wakeup call.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): - the world's sixth largest economy fighting Trump administration policies on everything, from legal marijuana to taxes to the environment...

JERRY BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: California is not waiting for Trump. We're not waiting --


BROWN: -- for all the deniers.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): -- and the escalating fight over immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to fight and we're going to win.

MARQUEZ: California now an immigrant sanctuary state, a new law limiting cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement, prank road signs welcomed drivers to seemingly another country, the land of illegals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the politicians in California don't want to protect their communities then ICE will.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on FOX News said California politicians who made the law should be held personally accountable. Politicos here aren't worried.

MARQUEZ: Have you ever seen the enmity between California and D.C. like it is today?

BROWN: I wouldn't call it enmity. There are certainly policies that are radical departures from the norm and California will fight those.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The immigrant community finding its voice in the era of Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're actually working harder at galvanizing more people.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): A daughter of Mexican immigrants, East L.A. activist Lydia Avila (ph) says the president, his rhetoric and policies have only emboldened her community.

LYDIA AVILA, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: This is a movement that's not going to be stopped. The president cannot win. He may be there now but he's not going to be there forever. We're going to win.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Equally galvanized, the entertainment industry with its deep pockets and powerful voice.

JEREMY ZIMMER, CEO, UNITED TALENT AGENCY: The power of an idea to change the way people think and change the way people feel is really what's important. That's really what we're fighting for.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, one of the world's largest, says Trump represents a threat to the idea of America.

ZIMMER: We all see that the freedoms and the life we assume we have, the incredible privileges we have to be, you know, raised in this country, to live in this country, we all see that, you know, how fragile it can be.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Cheryl Contee (ph), and activist in the tech community, says it is a fight over principles.

CHERYL CONTEE, DIGITAL ACTIVIST: I think that you're going to find Californians be completely unapologetic about fighting for what we see as California values.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Working from home on her "pedal desk," one footsoldier from among millions across the Golden State, countering, resisting Trump -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, in the California republic.


VAUSE: It could be must-see TV or a total bomb, depending on your politics. The film and TV rights to the bestselling book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," have been bought by Endeavor Content (ph), which plans to adapt the Michael Wolff tell-all into a TV series.

SESAY: According to the "Hollywood Reporter," it's a seven-figure deal (INAUDIBLE). The book's author will be executive producer of the series. No word yet on who will play President Trump, Steve Bannon or anyone else.

VAUSE: It boggles the mind.

SESAY: Oh, Alec Baldwin is getting a phone call.


VAUSE: Good point.

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

VAUSE: I'm John Vause; "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.