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Vote and Blame Game Version 2.0; Mayon Volcano Erupts in Philippines; Turkish Military Targets U.S. Allies. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 22, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: U.S. legislators have pushed back the key vote to reopen the government. But will a few more hours make any difference.

GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: Plus, this weekend, they marched together when the midterm elections happen they're calling for women to vote together.

CHURCH: And in the Philippines, a hazardous eruption is now said to be imminent as Mt. Mayon spews lava in 500 meter high southeast (Ph).

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Around the world, good day to you.

The U.S. Senate will return to Capitol Hill in the next few hours trying again to end the government shutdown. The shutdown now in its third day here in the United States. This, after senators adjourn without passing a temporary spending bill on Sunday.

Two democratic sources say that they think the measure will fall short of the 60 votes need to pass.

CHURCH: Republicans are resisting a democratic push to tie DACA to the deal. That's the program that protects thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.


MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: The shutdown should stop today. And we'll soon have a vote that will allow us to do exactly that. So let's step back from the brink or stop victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.


CHURCH: The shutdown is now three hours into its third day.

Ryan Nobles has details now from Capitol Hill on what happened next. RYAN NOBLES, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Rosemary and George, it turned out not to be as late a night as we expected here on Capitol Hill but that's not because there was some sort of grand bargain struck between republicans and democrats, instead they've decided to yet again delay this process extending this vote just a little bit longer till noon Eastern Time on Monday.

This is what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor late Sunday night.


MCCONNELL: Should these issues not be resolve by the time funding bill before us expires on February 8, 2018, assuming that the government remains open, it would be my intention to proceed the legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues.


NOBLE: Now if you listen to what the Senate majority leader is offering it is a promise to Senate democrats and some republicans that will address immigration, and in particular protections for those DREAMers. Those hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to this country to no fault of their own, and were once protected by the DACA program.

But there's been a long sense of a lack of trust between republicans and democrats when it comes to this issue. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona who's been one of the key negotiations from the republican side told me last night after McConnell's speech that he is hoping that the fact the Senate majority leader made the promise to take up that DACA issue before this next deadline for the continuing resolution will be enough to convince the democrats to vote yes.

Take a listen.


JEFF FLAKE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I think here's a lack of trust and that's why I want to stand up afterwards and reiterate and to confirm what the leader has committed to. I do think given the high profile nature of this whole debate that it will be impossible for us not to move on to immigration.

And the democrats still have the spending caps as leverage beyond this time, so I do think we'll get there.


NOBLES: Beyond the back and forth though, between republicans and democrats on Capitol Hill, there is a start reality from the hundreds of thousands of federal government employees across the country who now will not have to come in to work on Monday morning, and that means they won't receive a paycheck on Monday. As a result, they are continuing to remain on edge as republicans and

democrats here in Washington iron out their difference. They are hoping to cast a vote on this issue noon Eastern Time on Monday.

Rosemary and George?

HOWELL: All right. Ryan at Capitol Hill, thank you so much for that.

The standoff now between democrats and republicans has brought stinging criticisms from both sides throughout the first days of this government shutdown, finger pointing that at that time seem to deepen the partisanship.


CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with the Jell-O. That's why this compromise will be called a Trump shutdown.

TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I will not be lectured about our military needs by a five deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs. If you care about our military you stop baiting Kim Jong-un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops and millions of innocent civilians in danger.

[03:05:07] CHRIS COONS, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I think he should instead of throwing tweets from the White House, pull together the four leaders of the House and the Senate on a bipartisan basis today and negotiate.

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: I had no idea that the democrats in the Senate were these dysfunctional. Believe me, I know Washington is dysfunctional, I've been here almost 10 years now. I have no idea it got that bad in the Senate -- the democrats in the Senate.

MARCO RUBIO, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Basically all we do is hostage this all day on every principled issue we have, every opportunity we get.

PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They want a deal on immigration, and then they'll think about reopening the government. It is a shakedown strategy that Senate democrats have been talked into by their base.

LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Somebody better do something quick because 24 hours from now this gets worse and not better, not only do people begin to suffer more but hearts begin to harden.


CHURCH: So let's discuss this Kate Andrews, a news editor at the Institute of Economic Affairs in the United Kingdom and she joins us via Skype from London. Good to have you with us. So we saw this throughout Sunday playing out this pointing the finger of blame both sides. All the politicians were doing this more. If it were going into that, apparently, then coming out with a solution.

So how do both sides find a way to a solution and save face at the same time because noon vote is not looking good.

KATE ANDREWS, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, CITY AM: It's not looking good at the moment although I think what Mitch McConnell has put forward is relatively a good idea. Realistically to think that you're going to have comprehensive immigration reform overnight or a weekend is just not going to happen.

This has been an issue on the people since the years of George W. Bush. Republicans and democrats have not been able to find consensus on it. On the right you have the issue that many people won't take the economic collapse by immigration actually how good it can be, even for native workers. And on the left you have an issue that has been too good of a campaign talking points to say that they will fix immigration. Not many on the left have wanted to resolve it either.

So the idea that you're going to fix it over the weekend is ridiculous. I think what Mitch McConnell has laid out is reasonable, to extend the budget to February 8. And then during this time we will have a serious conversation, and I will not need to get the president still ahead in order to bring it to a vote. That's really crucial.

HOWELL: Before the last year the world has watch on with U.S. politics the many episodes, a great deal of drama that's played out. And now here we are with the government shutdown. Many Americans wondering what happens next. Do I go to work? Do I get a paycheck? I'm curious though to ask the perspective from across the time. How is the world looking on it at this, what is the perspective with the U.S. government shutdown that these political parties still unable to reach a deal.

ANDREWS: Well, the shutdown is in headlines here in the U.K. It's on the some of the front pages and people don't understand that this had happened in the past. It not necessarily we as scary as many abroad might think it is. But it looks like incompetent. Of course, because in the U.K. in particular, there's been such push back on Donald Trump.

It's thought that one of the reasons that he can't visit here on February was because there was going to be mass protest. So it hasn't reflected well for the president abroad. But some people are picking into this and they recognize that this is an issue for Congress been made that it fundamentally confound to the vote of elected representatives. It isn't simply the president's problem at all.

So people are picking up on that and the longer it goes on the more inquiries there will be into who's holding this process back and who's trying to push it forward.

CHURCH: Yes, and what's coming out in terms of blame there when you look at the headlines in papers across Europe, who they think at fault. Do they see the democrats should just give in and open the government, do they see that the republicans should be doing something for DACA at this particular juncture or do they think that Trump should be intervening at this point.

ANDREWS: I think a lot of people believe the president to have more power here abroad than he actually does. That it's not always realized the president gets through except for veto legislation but he himself is not writing it, not realizing that he has to work with the Congress. The checks on the president's here arguably a lot stronger than they are here on the U.K. on say the prime minister.

So I think that a lot of people have put this in Trump's camp. Again, that in some ways it's his own making. The headlines that he's been generating for the past year and before that during the campaign have turned a lot of people against him abroad. So, if something like the shutdown comes up they will immediately going to point fingers to Trump.

But as I said, people recognize that the democrats do have a large role to play in this. And I think the longer the shutdown goes on and the more compromise is that the republicans put forward the harder it's going to be for democrats to say that they have no good reason to at least extend the budget for a little bit of time.

HOWELL: The U.S. president during the campaign ran on, you know, advertising that he's a good dealmaker. He advertised to voters, and certainly around the world.

[03:10:02] Let's listen to the U.S. president in his own words do just that. We can talk about it here in a moment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I make deals. I negotiate. We don't make great deals any more. But we will once I become president. nobody knows the system better than me which is why I alone can fix it.

Everybody wants me to negotiate that's why I'm known as a negotiator.


HOWELL: So, again, the question, we're looking at a government shutdown now. There are other issues around the world involving geopolitics for people who question the U.S. president's ability to negotiate. What is the view on that critical piece that the president always pushes that he's a good negotiator.

ANDREWS: I think a lot of people do expect that on that we've seen, right, through this through the state of the presidency that he has struggled in the area of negotiation. I think this quote that you just highlighted show lots and arrogance and hubris. This is not shocking coming from Donald Trump and everything that we have come to know about him. But it is true and it's concerning and always has been.

I believe back in 2013 it was Trump who was criticizing the shutdown then, saying that leadership comes from the top and not from the first person you have to look at. So it is not wrong to be putting a lot of the pressure on the president too. But based on many reports he was very quiet this weekend for him not reaching out to democrats something he probably should have been doing.

So, you know, once again, we see that Trump leadership skills are falling short. It would be a shame that he couldn't get over to Davos this week. A lot of people criticize Davos including myself, we don't necessarily need the politicians in the world and the big business spending more time in each other's pocket. But it is somewhere that the president should be, and other world leaders are going to be there. It's important meetings.

Because of his own inabilities to be working with democrats right now he might have to miss out on that geopolitical summit. So there are consequences that will ripple throughout the little world when the U.S. isn't able to, you know, be that shining beacon and be able to get its own affairs in order.

CHURCH: Yes, exactly right. Kate Andrews joining us from London, just after 8 o'clock in the morning. And of course that vote is less than nine hours away. We will find out what happens. Thanks so much.

HOWELL: Kate, thank you so much.

ANDREWS: Thank you.

HOWELL: So what actually happens with the U.S. government staying shutdown until that Monday noon vote, what happens after that? We'll have to wait and see. But basically what it means some services continue, some people get paid.

CHURCH: Yes, but most government agencies come to a standstill and a lot of workers get full load.

CNN's Christine Romans has the details.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST, CNN: The last shutdown in 2013 cost the U.S. $24 billion. That was 16 days. This time around forecast with a price tag at about $6 billion per week. Federal workers will feel it right away. During a shutdown most federal agencies closed. Hundreds of thousands of workers will be furloughed or take leave without pay.

But that's not all federal workers. Those deemed essential they still work. Air traffic controllers, law enforcement, national security, federal court staff. But they won't be paid until after the shutdown ends. What about the U.S. military? The biggest loser according to President Trump.

Well, good news the troops have already been paid for January so it would be a prolonged shutdown that would hurt them. A problem wouldn't be realized until really February 1st. And you still get your social security check. That program is mandatory. Your mail would still be delivered on time. The postal service keeps running.

And you can also get a new check and new passport. But move quickly, funding will ran out if the shutdown drags on. You're out of luck if you planned a vacation to a national, a museum, or a monument at least at first. Taxpayer-funded sites will be closed. The Trump administration is looking for ways to keep limited access

where possible. So, who does get paid during a shutdown? Those who have constitutional duties like the president, the Supreme Court, yes, and members of Congress who can't agree on how to fund the government.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.

HOWELL: Christine, thank you for the report.

Sunday marked the last day of the women's march. Protests in the United States and for participants it was a day of political resolve. Thousands of people came together in cities around the country demanding greater equality and rights for women. They took to the streets in cities like Miami, Florida. In Buffalo, New York and in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CHURCH: And that was the scene of the weekend's biggest rallies. Organizers and celebrities they urged women to turn their attention to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections when seats in the House and Senate are up for grabs.


ANNA GALLAND, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MOVEON.ORG: We are marching for a future where there's a place of honor and dignity for everyone. We are fighting for a country where we understand our fates are bound up together. Together. We're all bound up in each other.

[03:14:55] For an economy that lifts up everyone. For access to health care for all. For peace, for our climate, for racial and gender justice, for our democracy itself, for our children and grandchildren. We are marching for the America that has never yet been but will be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is one of the worst times in our history. And that's why I honestly believe that women are going to be the ones that fix it.


CHURCH: CNN's Sara Sidner takes us to the closing rally in Las Vegas.

SARA SIDNER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Representatives of Congress who couldn't be here today of course because of the shutdown I'll give you a look at the crowd here that is watching all of this go down.

I do want to talk a little bit about what this is all about. Because last year without moving your feet and getting the attention of the world. This year is really about strategy. It's about power to withhold and that has been the mantra over and over and over again.

They are trying to flip seats. They've have chosen Nevada for a reason. That reason is it is still considered a battleground state and they're hoping to flip seats here. But they're also very concerned about the shutdown. And here is how one of the organizers had to say about the shutdown and sort of who they feel like is to blame.


NANTASHA WILLIAMS, WOMEN'S MARCH ORGANIZER: So this is the first time in history when you had a unified House and a unified White House that we've seen a government shutdown. And I think this clearly demonstrates the catastrophic leadership that we have in place, right now why it's so very important that we win in 2018.


SIDNER: And some of the other people that you will hear from today and you will hear a performance by (Inaudible) and also Cher will be here as well. But the organizers of women's march have been in full force here.

Linda Sarsour talking earlier to the crowd and getting them all riled up. This is a rally not a march here in Las Vegas but it is a big one.

CHURCH: Thank you Sara Sidner there. We'll take a short break here. But next on CNN Newsroom, the latest on Turkey's military operation in northern Syria. A live report from Istanbul.

HOWELL: Plus, evacuations in the Philippines as Mayon Volcano shoots smoke and lava into the sky. We'll have details as Newsroom pushed on.


PATRICK SNELL, SPORTS REPORTER, CNN: Hi, there. I'm Patrick Snell with your World Sport headlines.

The NFL showcase event of the year Super Bowl 52 is set as it will be the defending champion. The New England Patriots returning to try and make it back-to-back titles two weeks from now in Minnesota. New England found themselves 10 points down in the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars when quarterback Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Danny Amendola including a superb catch in the back of the end zone getting his feet down there hanging on to the ball. New England with a 24 points to 20 victory.

[03:19:56] The Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles who are at 38 points to 7 winners in a one-sided contest against the Vikings after the Vikings had taken the lead, the Eagles took complete control 38 unanswered points on their way to the win.

Philadelphia will take on the Patriots in a rematch of the 2005 Super Bowl won by New England.

At the Australian tennis open in Melbourne last year's U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys to the quarterfinals. Keys sweeping past the French flag Caroline Garcia in straight sets three and two. The 17th seeded Keys the only American woman now left in the draw.

And in dramatic Sunday to tell you about in the French champion now. Paris Saint Germain's lead that was 11 points now down to eight. PSG and Lyon will level at one a piece until Lyon's Memphis Depay's got a breathtaking winner deep into stoppage time 2-1 Lyon the final score.

That's a look at your world sport headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.

HOWELL: The so-called ring of fire is living up to its name in the Philippines with a volcano becoming more active.

CHURCH: yes. Thousands of evacuations are underway and flight cancelations are mounting.

HOWELL: Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri following this situation. Pedram, what more can you tell us?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes, you know, it's getting there serious. The level of concern now has been bumped up to a level 4 here across this region. Let me show you exactly what we're talking about here when it comes to the volcanic activity.

And of course the layout is as such. We have the triple threat of volcanoes Mayon, Agung Dam towards the south and we have Kadovar, as well. But I want to talk about Mayon. When you look at the Philippines here 30,000 residents have evacuated across that region. We know the lahar now, the lava traveling upwards of eight kilometers high across this region.

And of course, it is one of the most active in the Philippines in general. But that's not the only volcano we're covering. There's another on in Indonesia. That is Agung 5.5 kilometers high into the ash plume is there some 12 villages have been evacuated. Six-kilometer exclusion zone there with what's happening there.

And then there is another one in Papua New Guinea at the same time with near-explosive activity taking place across this region as well. So you put all this together we know the level of concern now has been elevated to a 4. What does that mean? We know a significant eruption, a hazardous eruption as they call it is likely within the next several days potentially across this region once you exclude and exceed that level of concern.

Now another element of concern is the forecast itself because it brings rain into the mix. Now if you're not familiar with volcanic activity you may not know that rain and water in particular with lava that is as hot as 1,000 degrees Celsius. Put this together it becomes a major, major issue.

Of course, as far as explosions are concerned, Pyroclastic flow, debris flow, and essentially you create what s known as lahars that begin to work downstream and they themselves become like a wet cement consistency that can cause significant damage along their path.

The forecast doesn't look good as far as rain is concern, 40, 60, eventually 80 percent chance of wet weather the next couple of days in the closest large city there in Legazpi.

And of course you bring rainfall on top of an active volcano that's major, major disruption potentially across much of this region. And this is an area we're watching very carefully along with multiple other volcanoes taking place across this region. Guys?

HOWELL: All right, Pedram, thank you so much.

CHURCH: Thank you.

Well, turning now to the conflict in Syria. The U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis says Turkey warned the U.S. it was launching air strikes against Kurdish militia. That's according to Reuters. Turkey hammered targets in northern Syria over the weekend in an air and ground offensive.

HOWELL: Its main target appears to be U.S. allies, the Kurdish YPG. But Turkey says it's also fighting ISIS.

France is calling for a U.N. Security Council meeting after the newest violence.

Following the story CNN's Guy Tuysuz is live in Istanbul, Turkey. Guy, let's talk about the latest. What more can you tell us about what's happening on the ground?

GUL TUYSUZ, PRODUCER, CNN: George, it's day three since Turkey started its operation. At the beginning it was just an aerial operation where they struck targets inside Afrin region, that is in northern Aleppo. As of yesterday the ground operation began. And we saw those tanks that had already lined up on the Turkish/Syria border really start to pound into the Afrin region.

And during all of this there was return rocket fire that came into Turkey. Eleven rockets apparently landed in the Turkish southern town of Reyhanli killing one Syrian refugee who live there, as well as wounding 46. And the Turkish military today and said the positions that those rockets were fired into Turkey from have now been destroyed by artillery fire.

And we're seeing on day three that really this operation is not a small operation. There's a lot of military hardware that is on the ground and above. So far 150 targets have been hit by the Turkish air force.

[03:25:00] So really, a wide, a really big operation that is aimed at trying to eliminate what the Turkish government calls the terrorist threat that is present in that region of Afrin. George?

HOWELL: And again, Guy, important to point out the United States did urge against Turkey carrying out this operation.

TUYSUZ: That's right. Turkey didn't necessarily have the blessing of the U.S. when it decided to go ahead and do the operation but it had been warning not just the U.S. but the major players involved in Syria for a long time that they view the presence of the YPG, that is a Kurdish militia group that Turkey believes is linked with its own domestic group called the PKK which they consider a terrorist organization, to be a grave national security threat.

So this operation has not been a surprise for anyone. And we know that Turkey did in fact inform the U.S. before it started aerial operations. But there was no blessing of any sort from the U.S. for Turkey's operation. But of course, secretary of defense coming out and saying that they do understand that Turkey does have a legitimate security concern when it comes to the presence of the YPG in Afrin, George.

HOWELL: All right. It is a complicated situation there. Guy Tuysuz with the details for us. We'll stay in touch with you as it continues. Thank you.

For a third day now the U.S. government has been closed for business. Next, the future of young immigrants. It's front and center as these negotiations continue to end the shutdown.

CHURCH: Plus, we're live in Jerusalem where the U.S. vice president is talking peace and security. Why not everyone is happy to see him there. We're back with that and more in a moment.


HOWELL: A warm welcome back to our viewers all around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom. It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church.


[03:30:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. You're watching "CNN Newsroom." It is good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: And I'm Rosemary Church. Let's update you now on the stories we have been following this hour. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is in Israel meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two are discussing peace and regional security. Pence is also expected to speak to the Israeli parliament later in the day.

HOWELL: Tokyo is getting its citizens ready for a possible ballistic missile launch from Pyongyang. Hundreds of people took part in the city's evacuation drill in the city center on Monday. These drills have been held across the country since March.

CHURCH: A vote to end the U.S. government shutdown is scheduled in the Senate for noon Monday. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he intends to take up immigration issues by early February if the shutdown is ended first.

The Democrats have been pushing for a vote now on protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. So the question is, will Republicans have enough votes in a few hours to reopen the government until early February?

HOWELL: A lot of questions. Some people are hopeful, but democratic sources say the temporary spending bill won't get the 60 votes that it needs to pass. The senate minority leader said that he's willing to keep working with the Republicans, but no compromise has been reached as of this point. (START VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I am happy to continue my discussion with the majority leader about opening the government. We've had several conversations. Talks will continue. But we have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward that would be acceptable for both sides.


CHURCH: Peter Trubowitz is the director of the U.S. Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He joins us now live from the British capital. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: How do you think this noon vote will go? If it fails and the shutdown continues, what happens next? How can both parties reach a compromise solution here?

TRUBOWITZ: If I had to bet -- I think we'll get a short-term continuing resolution. We may not get it this afternoon, but I think we'll get it in the next couple of days, but it will require some type of a public and I underscore public agreement that before the continuing resolution runs out in February, that there's going to be a vote on some type of bipartisan package regarding the "dreamers".

And I say this because I think this just meets everybody's short-term political needs. I mean, look, Trump needs this because he's going to go before Congress next week, and he doesn't want to go before Congress with a shutdown hanging over his head when he gives his state of the union address.

Republican leaders are going to avoid with some type of agreement being blamed for the shutdown. Democratic leaders will have something to show for hanging tough. But the key here is a public agreement regarding a vote on the "dreamers." And this basically means that McConnell, Ryan, and ultimately Trump are going to have to commit publicly, basically therein lies the rub.

HOWELL: So, here's where we are now, right? So, the rhetoric has cooled down from what we saw over the past two days.


HOWELL: But the big question, where does the U.S. president stand on this? Because again, we've seen this president waffle, change his position from time to time. Mixed messages from time to time. Muddy in the water.

TRUBOWITZ: Yes, I agree that, you know, Trump is a bit of a loose cannon here. And ultimately, he's going to have to commit because Ryan is not going to be able to commit in the House given the problems that he has kind of on his right flank. So he needs to cover from Trump. And every time Trump gets close to agreeing to this, it seems like he blows it up. You almost at some point, you think that Trump himself actually doesn't want an agreement, that somehow it serves his interests to have this thing just kind of continue on.

I mean, you know, that there's some -- it serves some kind of larger political purpose. And the truth is that every day that the press is focused on the shutdown, they're not focused on Mueller's investigation. That's a good day for Donald Trump.

CHURCH: Yes, interesting you point that out.

[03:35:00] But, you know, you say that he doesn't want to deal on this. We saw how he was in that bipartisan meeting on immigration, that Tuesday meeting where he was saying, just draw it up, put it in front of me, and I will sign it.

He seemed very open to it at that point. But this is the problem, isn't it? Because then he goes back to the White House, his advisers say, no, we're not doing this. And this is the mixed signals that people are getting. What is the major stumbling block do you think to the Republicans getting on board with the DACA agreement?

TRUBOWITZ: Well, I mean, the stumbling block is the far right -- you know, Trump's political base on the far right of the Republican Party. And his problem is that every time he gets close, they scream and yell, and he's got -- you know, he has, you know, advisers in the White House that are aligned with those interests.

And so it presents a problem for Paul Ryan. He's unwilling to move without Trump's political cover. And sometimes you just think. That's why I'm saying, you try to figure out Trump, either Trump likes this drama, it serves some kind of political interest for him, or the tail's wagging the dog here, that his base is wagging him.

And, you know, that those conservatives in the House in particular that don't want a deal on the "dreamers" seem to, you know, have a way of pushing the president at the last minute. But it's possible that that's a misread and that this just simply in Trump's own political mind, this serves some larger political interest.

I don't see how he goes before the country a week from tomorrow saying that the state of the union is strong with a shutdown. So, I think he's got a deal at some point.

HOWELL: But, again, you know where we are right now. The future of "dreamers" is in the balance. The children who rely on CHIP is uncertain. There are Americans who wake up wondering, do I go to work? Will I get paid?

That truly is the state of affairs right now as we wait to see what happens (INAUDIBLE) today if there is some sort of an agreement that that is made. Peter Trubowitz, thank you so much for your time and we'll stay in touch with you.

TRUBOWITZ: Good to be here, thank you.

HOWELL: You're watching "CNN Newsroom." Still ahead this hour, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is likely breathing a slight sigh of relief after her party is one step closer to a coalition government. We'll explain.


HOWELL: Germany's leaders have taken a crucial step towards breaking a long-running political deadlock. The center left social Democrats voted on Sunday to begin formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party.

CHURCH: With their renewed partnership, the parties can begin forming a new government. Mrs. Merkel says she is optimistic and that the most important goal is forming a stable German government.

HOWELL: Let's bring in CNN senior international correspondent Atika Shubert, following the story live in Berlin. And Atika, this is certainly significant for the German chancellor because the alternatives surely would have left her weaker.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is significant and she has avoided a political catastrophe by at least getting the green light to go ahead with this -- what they call here grand coalition talks, but it is not over yet.

First of all, there is the weeks of negotiations. There will be tough negotiations because the social Democrats clearly want more out of this. It's a very divided party, the social Democrats, and their vote barely squeaked through yesterday.

And then even at the end of all the talks, which are likely to happen around in a few weeks, the social Democrats, all of their party members, more than 400,000 of them will get to vote whether or not to approve a coalition deal.

So it is a grueling process. And that means we are not likely to see a coalition government in place until perhaps March, around Easter time. Either way, it's (INAUDIBLE) to go, George.

HOWELL: Certainly, Ms. Merkel, a very important figure internationally. But there in Germany, given all that's happening, Atika, what is the view on the German chancellor?

SHUBERT: A lot of people are now openly wondering if this is going to be Merkel's last term in office. I mean, she has been in power for 12 years. She's one of Germany's longest-running chancellors. So a lot of people are wondering if this is going to be her last term. If it is, who could possibly succeed her?

You know, she's such a giant on the political landscape here. The other question is, of course, while there's been all this talk about coalition is, who is the opposition? And in the last election in September, the far right nationalist anti-immigration party known as the Alternative for Germany came in third. They wild now become really the official opposition party. And that is quite a prospect for Germany. This is something they have not faced in many, many years. And so many people are bracing themselves for the fact that the grand coalition, if it succeeds, will have to face off with this very anti-immigration party that is very anti-Merkel. So, there will be some very interesting times ahead for German politics, George.

HOWELL: Interesting indeed. Atika Shubert, live for us in Berlin, thank you for the report.

The U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, and Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, are meeting to discuss peace and regional security issues. Mr. Pence is in Israel as part of a Middle East tour.

CHURCH: This trip comes at a tense time. Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. That move was hailed by Israeli leaders but angered the Palestinians who are boycotting Pence's trip.

CNN correspondent Ian Lee joins us now from Jerusalem. Ian, what all can be achieved during this vice presidential visit given the Palestinians' boycott at any meetings with Pence, and Christian leaders don't want to seem to see him either?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's going to be very difficult. Very different, Rosemary, from the trip that he initially planned. But after that Jerusalem declaration, things turned upside down. The vice president had just come through here.

But, you know, the shutdown in the United States is also following him h here to Jerusalem. There's reports in the local newspapers, wondering if the Trump administration can't broker a deal with the Democrats, what makes them think they can broker a deal for Middle East peace? Especially, as you said, after that Jerusalem announcement, where the Palestinians have basically

[03:45:00] said that they don't want anything to do with the United States. They say that they want the United Nations to take their place. That announcement also angered church leaders. I have talking to a number of them and they denounced this declaration by the Trump administration.

You know, Vice President Pence wanted to meet with these local leaders. His agenda was to help promote what he says is the embattled Christian communities of the Middle East, but Christians in Egypt, in Jordan, and here in Jerusalem and in the holy land have said after that Jerusalem announcement that they just don't want to meet him.

CHURCH: And, you know, you have to ask, where does this all leave any future role for the United States when it comes to finding peace in the Middle East?

LEE: It's going to be very difficult because the United States has played such a pivotal role for so long. You know, there are talks that the United States is trying to woo back the Palestinians over to get them back to the negotiating table.

But so far, the Palestinians have been fairly steadfast. They are saying that they disregard the United States, that calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel was a red line for them. So that's just one of the issues that the vice president is going to have to deal with here. Even though it's not high on the agenda from what they tell us, it is going to be one of the things they'll have to contend with.

The other issues that they're going to be dealing with Iran, that's something that that Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as the Vice President Pence have said is an important issue to tackle during their discussion about Iran's influence in the region. Also, the neighboring war in Syria, another topic that they will be discussing. Rosemary?

CHURCH: A lot to cover, but only one side being involved, unfortunately. Ian Lee from Jerusalem, 10:46 in the morning, many thanks to you.

Let's take a very short break. Coming up here on "CNN Newsroom," the lead singer of Kim Jong-un's girl band is in South Korea. How she is helping her country prepare for the Winter Olympics. We'll have that, next.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We got ourselves the most disruptive of wintry weather patterns here across the central portion of the U.S. Blizzard conditions in line here. I am your meteorologist, Pedram Javeheri, following.

Really could be a headache set up here for at least parts of 10 states that are underneath winter weather alerts. But blizzard warnings in places, well, parts of the Dakotas working way into southern Minnesota (INAUDIBLE) Iowa there dealing with (INAUDIBLE) combination of heavy snowfall but blinding winds to go with it. So you put up together and visibility will be really drawing close to zero across some of these regions. So we know disruption

[03:50:00] is going to be (INAUDIBLE) for some of these communities. As much as a foot or 30 centimeters of snowfall could come down across parts of Sioux City. This is certainly a big story for folks across that region. We are going to see some travel disruptions out of it as well. Western U.S. expecting a quieter setup.

Some showers coming in across the I-5 corridor from Seattle towards San Francisco. Highest ranging from around eight to 10 degrees across the northwest to about 13 or so degrees down in San Francisco. Finally seen the trend here for milder temperatures.

Certainly there are some bouts of cold air in the forecast across the far northern portion of the U.S., but it looks like a relatively moderate setup of temperatures for much of north America for this third week of January. Down towards Chihuahua, have 13 degrees. Mexico City, a beautiful January afternoon (INAUDIBLE) 24 with sunny skies and (INAUDIBLE) thunderstorm in 17. CHURCH: North Korean delegation is in South Korea to inspect sites for performances during the Olympics, but their arrival has sparked controversy. CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has more now from Seoul.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A North Korean delegation is here visiting the South Korean capital. As you can see, there is a huge police presence. This is all ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics.

The delegation includes a North Korean musician named Hyon Song Wol. She is the closest thing Pyongyang has to a pop star. She leads an all-female musical group and she has been the focus of intense media attention here. Some media outlets have even been reporting on what she ate for breakfast and how she likes her coffee.

The visit of the North Korean delegation isn't popular with everybody here in Seoul. The small group of anti-North Korean protesters here, they try to burn a North Korean flag and the police won't let them do it. Also, tens of thousands of South Koreans have signed a petition opposing the move to include the North and South Korean women's ice hockey teams.

The North Korean delegation has been scouting venues like the stadium, looking for places where they could perform during the upcoming Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has agreed to allow North Korea to expand its team of athletes who will be participating to at least 22 athletes.

They will be accompanied by hundreds of musical performers, a Taekwondo demonstration team, cheerleaders and of course North Korean government officials. The South Korean government has invested heavily in this sports diplomacy. They have taken to calling the upcoming Winter Games the Peace Olympics.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Seoul.


HOWELL: Ivan, thank you. This week, the Court Arbitration for Sport will begin hearing the appeals for 39 Russian athletes accused of doping in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

CHURCH: Those athletes and three others have been banned for life from competing by the International Olympic Committee. They are desperate to clear their names. Paula Newton spoke to two of Russia's most beloved athletes.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Olga Zaytseva says her race days are behind her, but the fight of her life is dead ahead. This Olympic biathlon champion has been banned for life by the International Olympic Committee, punishment for allegedly doping during the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

Zaytseva says she's retired and isn't fighting the ban to compete again, but to prove to her children that she is not a cheater.

OLGA ZAYTSEVA, FORMER RUSSIAN SPRINT ATHLETE (through translator): It is a real smear on my clean career and I want it gone. I want my children to never see or hear anything about this. This can't be what they remember.

NEWTON (voice over): Zaytseva has already been asked to return her silver medal from the Sochi Games, but she is appealing along with 41 other Russian athletes who say they didn't dope.

Can you say that you are clean? That you have always been clean?

I am clean, she tells me, and I always have been clean, always.

JIM WALDEN, ATTORNEY, WALDEN MACHT & HARAN LLP: We heard the I'm clean, I'm clean, I have been tested a hundred times.

NEWTON (voice over): American lawyer Jim Walden speaks for Russian whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who will give evidence against the athletes. He does not only represent him, he is trying to keep him alive.

WALDEN: The Russians have been clear that they will do anything to try to find him and silence him.

NEWTON (voice over): Dr. Rodchenkov was the head of the Sochi lab during the 2014 games. He detailed an epic Russian state-sponsored scheme to swap drug-tainted urine samples for clean ones.

[03:55:00] He is now in the U.S. Witness Protection Program, but will testify from a secure location.

WALDEN: Dr. Rodchenkov indicated quite clearly that at some level, the athletes probably had no more choice than he did to participate in this doping system.

NEWTON (voice over): Russia says the doctor gave the drugs to the athletes and they were not aware that they were even taking anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): The fastest man all day.

NEWTON (voice over): Nikita Kriukov is a gold medal winning cross country skier, also banned for life. He says she didn't dope knowingly or otherwise. But with the Pyeongchang Olympics just weeks away, he still doesn't know if he can compete.

NIKITA KRIUKOV, RUSSIAN CROSS COUNTRY SKIER (through translator): I hope this will be a fair hearing and they will listen not only to my words, but to the evidence we will give them, because there is no truth or evidence that I am guilty. NEWTON (voice over): Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren will also testify. His report for the World Anti-Doping Agency laid bare a Russian state-backed (ph) system that allowed more than a thousand athletes to cheat. Russia denies this.

RICHARD MCLAREN, LAWYER, WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: We checked the DNA and the DNA is consistent with their DNA. There is no doubt in my mind that they are their samples and they were the samples that they produced when they were at the Olympic Games in Sochi.

NEWTON (voice over): For now, Zaytseva's medal remains on her wall. It may be silver, she says, but it means as much as gold to her, and she is determined to prove she won it without cheating.

Paula Newton, CNN, Moscow.


HOWELL: All right, we thank you for being with us for "CNN Newsroom." I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Stay tuned for more from the "CNN Newstoom" after the break with Max Foster in London. Have yourselves a great day.