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Shutdown Day Two, No Breakthrough in Sight; At Least Five Killed in Kabul Hotel Siege; Israel Seeks Out and Destroys Gaza Tunnels; Thousands Protest for Women's Rights across the U.S.; Vice President Pence to Meet with King of Jordan. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired January 21, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Shifting blame: the U.S. government shutdown enters a second day with no signs of a resolution.
Out in force: women across the U.S. mark Donald Trump's one-year anniversary, calling for change.
Plus a new front in the Syrian war as Turkish airstrikes pound an area in Northern Syria. We will tell you why.
Thank you for joining us, everyone. I am Cyril Vanier, live from CNN HQ right here in Atlanta.
VANIER: So it's 3:00 am on the U.S. East Coast, that means day two of the U.S. government shutdown and there is no sign that it is going to end soon. Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate spent most of Saturday blaming each other for the deadlock.
While Congress will reconvene on Sunday, there is no deal or even a hint of a deal on the horizon. Meanwhile, federal agencies are shutting down. The Statue of Liberty is closed. Ellis Island is closed. Some national parks are still acceptable; that was a White House priority. But services like restrooms and trash collection, anything that requires personnel, will not be available.
The full impact, however, will be felt on Monday morning when hundreds of thousands of government workers will have to stay home, obligated to stay home; and their pay, of course, will be suspended. By the way this does not apply to Congress. Their pay is not suspended.
As for the U.S. president, he had hoped to be at his Florida resort right now, spending Saturday night celebrating his first year in office with a number of high-dollar donors. Instead of that, he is at the White House, according to our sources, worrying that he will end up getting blamed for the shutdown.
He has not been seen in public since the shutdown began but the White House did release a picture of him along with smiling staff members. There you go. His reelection campaign also released an ad ferociously attacking Democrats. And that's just one part of the finger-pointing going on. Here's our Jim Acosta with more.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Conceding they don't know how long the shutdown will last, aides to President Trump are shaming Democrats for closing down the government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a 2-year-old temper tantrum to say I'm going to take my toys and go home because I'm upset about something else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My favorite is still the Schumer shutdown. It's got that nice little ring to it.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But privately CNN has learned President Trump has confided to aides and allies he worries he will ultimately take the blame as the shutdown is happening exactly one year after he was sworn in to office.
ACOSTA: This is the one-year anniversary of the president being sworn into office.
How does this White House feel to have a shutdown one year after the president was sworn in?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Jim, I think it's disappointing that Congress has chosen to shut down the government and particularly Senate Democrats have, at the one-year anniversary. But I --
ACOSTA: No reflection at all of the leadership coming out of the White House?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a reflection, candidly, of the position that many in the Democrat party find themselves in.
ACOSTA (voice-over): On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue ...
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-o.
ACOSTA (voice-over): -- Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is complaining Mr. Trump rejected his offer to start paying for the wall as a last-ditch gesture to prevent a shutdown during their Friday meeting at the White House.
SCHUMER: It's next to impossible to strike a deal with the president because he can't stick to the terms. I have found this out. Leader McConnell has found this out. Speaker Ryan has found this out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats have dug in their heels, insisting on an agreement to protect the young, undocumented immigrants known as the DREAMers in exchange for their help in reopening the government, outraging Republicans.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: There is no reason for this shutdown. We have been and we continue to be willing to work together in good faith on immigration. But that deadline, that deadline is weeks away.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The president stayed behind closed doors, making calls to Republicans while using his phone to blast away at Democrats, tweeting "Democrats are holding our military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can't let that happen."
The president is escalating his rhetoric on the DREAMers, a far cry from the compassionate tone he used earlier this month.
TRUMP: This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love. Truly, it should be a bill of love.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But Democrats are constantly reminding the president of his past comments on shutdowns.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: He said what this country needs is a good shutdown. We don't agree.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Especially when Barack Obama was president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's going to bear the brunt of the responsibility if indeed there is a shutdown of our government?
TRUMP: Well, let me say, who gets fired?
It always has to be the top. I mean problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top. And the president's the leader.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The president was supposed to be at Mar-a-lago --
ACOSTA (voice-over): -- this weekend, celebrating the one-year anniversary of being sworn in to office. Instead, he can hear the protests from the Women's March in Washington right outside the White House.
It was one year ago when the president promised fundamental changes for the U.S.
TRUMP: This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
ACOSTA (voice-over): That combative tone from that January weekend has lasted throughout the president's first year in office in ways the nation won't soon forget.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. ACOSTA: The president was supposed to celebrate his one-year in office at a fund-raiser at Mar-a-lago but instead he's spending the night here at the White House and sending a video message instead, a video he uses once again to blame Democrats for the shutdown -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
VANIER: So is it a Trump shutdown or a Schumer shutdown? Democratic obstructionism or Republican intransigence? Well, each side is blaming the other. We told you that. The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, says a solution was almost at hand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, here we are. Here we are. Day one of the Senate Democrat government shutdown. We did everything we could to stop them. Put forward a noncontroversial bill that contains nothing, nothing. It even claimed to objective.
It would continue funding for the federal government and secure the future of the State Children's Health Insurance Program for the vulnerable families that rely on it. Bill passed the House. The president said he would sign it. A bipartisan majority of Democrats and Republicans voted for it. The votes were there. The president was ready. The solution to this manufactured crisis was inches away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: On the Democrat side, the finger is being pointed at the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: America and the world are calling this shutdown the Trump shutdown. It's the president and congressional Republicans' responsibility to govern. It's their responsibility to keep the doors open and the lights on around here.
But the Republican leadership can't get a tumultuous president on board with anything and they don't offer any compromises on their own. The breakdown of compromise is poisoning this Congress and it all springs from President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Mr. Trump and Republicans blamed Democrats for endangering the military with this shutdown. But for Senator Tammy Duckworth, a disabled U.S. veteran, President Trump has no place bringing the military into this political argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILL.: I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do.
And I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five- deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for Cadet Bonespurs. If you cared about our military, you'd stop baiting Kim Jong-un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops and millions of innocent civilians in danger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: All right, let's leave this aside for a moment and see what is happening around the world.
Officials in Afghanistan say an overnight siege of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul is now over. They say six people were killed including a foreigner and more than 100 others were rescued.
Itsy this video during the attack. People using bedsheets and curtains to escape. You see it there. CNN senior international correspondent Sam Kiley is following this story from Abu Dhabi.
Sam, tell us a little bit more about the attack, what happened and who we think might be behind it.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Afghan government has blamed the Haqqani Network, which is a network of militants led by the Haqqani clan, has some presence in Pakistan and, for that reason, the Trump administration has threatened to cut off aid to Pakistan because he's saying that they're not doing enough about the Haqqani Network, specifically its frequently behind attacks, particularly in Kabul.
And this attack of four gunmen entered through the kitchen area and immediately began opening fire. Miraculously, there are far fewer --
KILEY: -- casualties that were anticipated, given the scale of this attack and its complexity, went on for 12 hours.
There are, as you say, six dead plus the four attackers. The last one was killed a little over an hour ago, according to the Afghan forces who launched their own special forces counterattack, moving room to room and floor to floor to try and clear these gunmen out.
It is not the first time that the Intercontinental has been attacked. It was attacked back in 2011 and other hotels are frequently picked on for two reasons. The first is there is always the chance that foreigners are going to be there but also they are used a great deal for other conferences.
And that strikes from the government's -- strikes the heart of the government processes, which is precisely what this network, which has strong alliances with the Taliban, is all about, trying to undermine the central government in Kabul and make the capital look ungovernable.
One hundred 53 people were rescued, miraculously, from this whole process over those 12 hours. And among them, there were 41 foreigners. So it could have been a considerably worse, cold comfort, of course, to the families of those who have perished in the latest of many attacks that have seemed to be increasing over the last six to eight months.
There was a very serious series of attacks back in October when 74 people were killed in a large number of different locations right across the country. Again, all aimed at trying to undermine the central government
VANIER: Yes. But as you say, some measure of relief to be had. That death toll could have been higher, given the circumstances of that attack. Sam Kiley, thank you very much, coverage this from Abu Dhabi today. Thanks.
In Syria now, Turkey has launched airstrikes on the Kurdish-held Afrin region. It appears to be an operation to oust the Kurdish YPG militia. But Turkey says it's also targeting ISIS. The YPG are a key U.S. ally against ISIS but Turkey considers them terrorists. CNN's Ben Wedeman is tracking events in Syria from Egypt. He joins me live from Cairo.
Ben, something like this, something resembling this was bound to happen at some point. The Turks bombing the Kurdish militia.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There has been rising tension in that area for quite some time. The operation itself began at 5:00 pm yesterday and certainly in a phrase that Orwell would shudder at, it has been called Operation Olive Branch.
What we have seen so far, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces that are dominated by Kurdish forces, they say at least 100 airstrikes, Turkish airstrikes, have already occurred in the Afrin area, which is in the northern part of Aleppo province, a very foresty, hilly area, along the Turkish border.
They say, in addition to eight people killed, six of them civilians, 13 have been wounded. Now U.S. officials say that they have seen around 50 Turkish heavy armored vehicles that -- tanks, armored personnel carriers and others -- along the border.
But we understand, until now, Turkish forces have not intervened on the ground. However, Turkish backed Syrian -- Free Syrian Army forces have entered the town of Afrin, which has a population of about 40,000.
This is a predominantly Kurdish area. Now the real current flashpoint is a matter that is causing tensions to rise, is the recent announcement by the United States in they would be trading 30,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which, of course, is the force that the United States armed and trained to fight ISIS in Northern Syria, that they -- the United States said they would use this force as a border security force. The Turks very angry at that. President Erdogan describing it as an
army of terror and threatening that he would crush it -- Cyril.
VANIER: Ben Wedeman, reporting live from the Egyptian capital, covering that for us, thank you very much, Ben.
And Israel says tunnels dug from Gaza into its territory are a serious threat. It's developed new technology to find and destroy them, including one near a border crossing last week. CNN's Oren Liebermann has more from inside one of these ruined tunnels.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the latest Gaza tunnels discovered and destroyed by Israel about six weeks ago.
Standing in here, you get a sense very quickly of how sturdy this is, from the concrete walls to the ceiling here. You can see here some of the reinforcement. This is clearly an investment of time, money and perhaps, most importantly, building resources. This is one of three tunnels Israel discovered --
LIEBERMANN: -- and destroyed in the last two months, indicating there was not a piece of good fortune or a lucky find. Israel attributes that to its tunnel detection system, which they say is a combination of intelligence and technology but they won't say that much more than that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We assume that there are more tunnels. You can be sure that we are looking for all of them and eventually we will find and destroy every tunnel that penetrates into Israel.
LIEBERMANN: The detection system has in a sense changed the balance here or changed the game here because these tunnels were the strategic threat to Israel from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And Israel has found a way to neutralize that threat. These were used for both attacks and smuggling, a major investment.
Neutralize that threat, Israel being able to find, detect and destroy these has put even more pressure on Hamas, which faces a humanitarian crisis that it is trying to work through and deal with in Gaza.
Yes, Hamas has rockets, by Israel's estimation, thousands of them. And that is a threat to Israel, purely because of the quantity. But it didn't rise to the same level as these tunnels and what these tunnels were capable of doing.
Israel also has a new underground obstacle, a barrier that it is using to neutralize these tunnels. We got our first look at that. One meter thick of reinforced concrete going down a number of meters. They will not tell us exactly how deep with a fence on top, surrounded by sensors.
All of that comes together to try to neutralize Israel's attempt to deal with the threat of tunnels. Destroying these tunnels is in and of itself a delicate operation, especially politically because it raises tension with Gaza and with Hamas.
So they're spaced out when these tunnels are destroyed in order to wait, see the reaction and make the period itself quiets down before moving on to another tunnel. It's worth remembering that since the 2014 war, the last three years or so have been one of the quietest along the Gaza border -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, near Gaza.
VANIER: In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of voices lifted in protest all to send a message to the American president, coming up, how women are fighting back against the system that they say is broken.
Plus the U.S. vice president is in the Middle East, trying to shore up relations with key allies in the wake of President Trump declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Stay with us.
VANIER: On Saturday, huge crowds of women in the U.S. marked Donald Trump's first year in office with protests and a clear message to the president, that it is time now to take women's rights seriously.
The demonstrators flooded the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle and in many cities in between. The mayor of Los Angeles says 500,000 people, half a million, according to him, marched in his city, where celebrities like Ava Longoria and Natalie Portman encouraged the crowds to demand equality and justice.
One year ago, the Women's March organizers and their supporters protests President --
VANIER: -- Trump's inauguration. Now they say that they're focusing on direct action and that it will be speaking with their votes in upcoming elections.
Here's some of what they have to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINN.: The women of America, you said, you know what?
We going to march. On January 21st, we're going to inspire this country. We're going to get people rising up, organizing and getting out there and changing this situation.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, COMEDIAN AND ACTOR: The only way that we are going to make a change is if we commit to change.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Nothing is more wholesome to a government, to a country, to a society, than the increased participation of women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's important to show Congress and the president that we need to be heard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This year, how do you feel, one year later, how are things different for you, your cause and what brought you out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This feels like a protest today. Last year it felt more like a funeral. We were all in mourning, we all got together. There was this quiet solidarity. This feels like anger and resistance.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CONN.), MEMBER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We need to keep fighting. We need to keep working. We need to keep marching so that we can uphold what makes America truly great.
VIOLA DAVIS, ACTOR: I am speaking today not just for the #MeToos, because I was a #MeToo. But when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is our work done?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got one more year, two more years, three more years. In fact, we have our children's future in front of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We stand here because of all the mothers and the sisters and the daughters. The world would be nothing without a woman. Thank you, ladies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: While the U.S. government is in the second day of a shutdown, U.S. vice president Mike Pence is out of the country. He's now in Jordan, the second leg of his trip to the Middle East. In about an hour, he is scheduled to meet with King Abdullah then he travels to Israel later on Sunday.
The vice president's first stop was in Cairo, Egypt, entering his meeting with Egyptian leader Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Mr. Pence says that he raised the issue of two Americans jailed in Egypt.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live now from the Jordanian capital and it is about 10:20 in the morning where you are and welcome, Jomana, to the show. Look, I want to talk about Jordan, of course, where the vice president is now in just a second. But first, if you'll just give us a global look, what surprises me is this. Mr. Trump's policies in the Middle East, he staked them out pretty clearly. It's pro-Sunni, pro-Sunni countries especially Saudi Arabia and vis-a-vis Israel, strong support for Israel, especially with the announcement that they will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Having said all of that, what is the vice president's trip now about?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Cyril, one year on, those points that you mentioned, when I talk to officials in the region here, in Jordan especially, it is really still not very clear to them what this U.S. administration's policies really are when it comes to this region.
Now specifically Vice President Pence's visit, as we have heard from White House officials saying that this is going to be discussing counterterrorism efforts. Of course Egypt and Jordan key U.S. allies when it comes to the fight against terrorism, the situation in Syria they say is also on the list.
But they also -- officials say that they are going to be discussing the issue of Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. They say that is something that it is going to come up. We heard that yesterday, come up in the meetings with President Sisi, also expected it to be on the agenda in his Jordan meetings and White House officials saying that he is going to be reaffirming the U.S.' position from the region, also saying again that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel -- Cyril.
VANIER: And how do Jordanians feel about this?
You have got the vice president on your soil now. And he is about to meet their king.
How do they feel?
KARADSHEH: Well, you know you have got two different positions.
KARADSHEH: You have got the government here. Of course the Jordanians have been very clear as a government in their position when it come to that U.S. move, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Jordan condemned it and really it has leading this diplomatic offensive with Jordanian officials, including the foreign minister, traveling around the world in what the king has described as this effort to protect the rights, the historical and religious rights of Palestinians when it comes to Jerusalem and also trying to rally support, to gather support from different countries for the creation of a Palestinian space with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Now that's the Jordanian position. The king, of course, has duties. He is the custodian of the Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. But it is also a very tough balancing act, Cyril.
If you look at the king, yes, he has to stand up to the U.S. when it comes to this decision publicly. But at the same time, Jordan is really reliant on U.S. aid. And as we have seen, the U.S. remains a very unpredictable ally for these countries. So it is a very tough balancing act for King Abdullah II.
VANIER: All right. We will wanting to know what came out of that meeting then in a few hours. Thank you very much. Jomana Karadsheh, covering this for us from the Jordanian capital, Amman. Thank you.
A legendary French chef, Paul Bocuse, is being remembered as a mentor, a savvy businessman and a leading figure in transforming French cuisine. Bocuse died Saturday at age 91. He was an icon. He became one of the first celebrity chefs, promoting French nouvelle cuisine around the world.
His international culinary empire began in his father's restaurant near Lyons. Spanish American chef Jose Andres paid tribute, writing on Twitter, "The angels will have a feast today. Paul Bocuse has joined them."
Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is known for his romantic love songs and even if you do not know his name, you have probably heard his music, at least at this one.
VANIER (voice-over): His hits, many of them ballads, are often played at weddings. And perhaps now they will be played at his own wedding. He has announced that he is engaged to longtime girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. The two met in grade school when they were 11 years old and they began dating back in 2015.
The engagement comes after a very successful year for Sheeran. The Grammy winner was Spotify's most streamed artist of 2017 and in no small part, thanks to that song that you heard earlier.
All right. That does it for us. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier and I will be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay tuned for that.