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U.S.-Russia; Russia Investigation; Trump Uses State Of The Union To Go All In On Immigration Reform; FEMA To End Food And Water Aid To Puerto Rico; U.K. Parliament Buildings In Need Of Massive Repairs; Rare; Trump Appeared To Enjoy Delivering Address. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired January 31, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. In his first state of the union address, U.S. President Donald Trump told the nation the union is strong and it will take unity and cooperation to make it even stronger. The president spelled out his plans to immigration reform including a border wall with Mexico and declared Americans on "dreamers" too.
VAUSE: He also said he would keep open the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reversing Barack Obama's order to close it, and Donald Trump also had a very stern warning for North Korea.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea is reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.
We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening. Past experience has thought us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us now is CNN's Will Ripley live in Seoul, also Matt Rivers standing by in Beijing. Will, first to you. The ominous words coming from the U.S. president -- if you put everything together here, it also seems to be indications, you know, that he is moving toward some kind of military action, certainly talking a lot more than he has before and after all this is the state of the union, but also Pyongyang, planning a message back for the United States.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I would point out, John, that North Korean officials have told me repeatedly that any sort of preemptive military strike on the part of the United States would force their country to respond with military force. And so, obviously, you can see why a lot of people listen to the state of the union.
Look at the rhetoric coming out of North Korea over the last week where they have stepped up their warnings against the United States, that if any actions are taken, even the joint military drills which have been postponed after the Olympics, once those kick-off again, there could be great consequences.
The North Koreans say all of this is painting a very troubling picture of how -- what had been somewhat an optimistic view just in couple of weeks ago could go downhill very quickly here on the Korean Peninsula. And I do have sources now confirming that when North Korea ANCHORs what is expected to be a large military parade in Pyongyang next week, they will unveil many dozens of their intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15.
In addition to that, we are expecting to see hundreds of North Korean missiles and rockets rolling through the streets of Kim Il-sung Square. This is significant. It would be a very dramatic show of force on the ever of the Winter Olympics in Pyongyang.
One of my sources said that this should be designed to quote, scare the hell out of the Americans. And this is of course coming on the hills of North Korea, abruptly canceling an inter-Korean performance that will schedule to take place here in South Korea, saying that the tone of the South Korean media coverage has been insulting.
North Korean officials have been sending other messages to their South Korean counterpart that other inter-Korean cooperation could now be in jeopardy. All bets really could be off here especially if they feel that they are provoked.
And the speech by the President Trump could, in the views of some analysts, really jab the knife into North Koreans, especially, you know, unveiling and introducing a North Korean defector who has gone on the record in the past, calling for regime change in that country, to have a defector standing alongside the first lady of the United States referenced by President Trump.
President Trump also talking about the U.S. student, Otto Warmbier, who died just six days after being released from North Korean custody. There is concern that the president is building an emotional and strategic case to take this kind of military action. And so now you have North Korea getting ready to put on their own propaganda.
My sources, John, also are not ruling out the possibility of a North Korean missile test in the very near future which could include possibly before or during the Olympics to express their anger about this rhetoric from the U.S. and the military assets that are in this region, both on the peninsula and the waters off of the Korean Peninsula.
VAUSE: It's quickly gone from a moment of diplomatic hope to looking incredibly dire. Will, thank you. Let's go to Matt now in Beijing. Matt, you know, the Trump administration has pointed repeatedly that China is supporting incredibly tough sanctions on North Korea. They have never done that before. They say, you know, this is part of their policy here, you know, towards the North Koreans.
[02:05:00] This was a strategy, get the Chinese on board for diplomacy. But if it seems that the Trump administration is more for the military side of things and not really interested in diplomacy, it sort of leaves the Chinese out in the cold. Does that mean that they will disengage possibly?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I think the Chinese government is going to look at the speech and be very concerned about it. I mean, the Chinese government overall is looking at what's going on in the Korean Peninsula and they absolutely hate it because it is without question the greatest threat to stability to this part of the world.
If the Chinese communist party wants anything more than anything else, it would be continued stability. That said, I think the other side of the coin here is that the Chinese government has heard rhetoric from the president of the United States before in this form. You go back to what he said over the summer at his golf course. You talk about what he said at the U.N. General Assembly.
The Chinese government took that in stride and continue to make efforts through the U.N. to continue to put sanctions on North Korea because they maintain the position that a limited strike should not be on the table. It should not be an option. And the only way forward is through diplomacy on both sides.
But I think this kind of speech given by the president coupled with, as you just heard Will talked about there, the dire circumstances on peninsula, it gives the people inside the Chinese government who want a contingency plan for a potential limited strike by the United States that much more a fire power if you will in the argument.
VAUSE: OK, Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers there live in Beijing.
SESAY: Here with us now, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman, talk radio ANCHOR and columnist and Trump supporter John Phillips, lots of names to his credit, and Republican strategist Luis Alvarado. Welcome to you all. Good to have you with us after the president's first state of the union address.
Luis, to you first, the president taking a move or making a move rather that some might call cynical in his discussion of the immigration debate, others might call it politically savvy. The president very clearly trying to reclaim usage of the word or the term "dreamers," saying as you heard there that Americans are dreamers too. No reaction to that.
LUIS ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's no surprise that he still has to placate to the base, and he has to keep those promises so he doesn't get called the "amnesty don" as some extremists have called him. But it's important to recognize that he has extended his hand.
There is some little bit of wiggle he moved from the last month when we met with many legislators in the Capitol. The question is, is the hand completely extended? Is it something that is viable where Democrats can actually feel that they're compromising on something?
I think that still a step or two away. But he is certainly making a claim that he has the power, he has the interest to make a difference in the negotiations in the next 10 days to ensure that we don't have a second closure of the government. And that we actually can get past this DACA challenge that we have in front of us.
And the reality is that Republicans are now -- now on comprehensive immigration when in reality for years we've been saying we want piecemeal and I think that's a challenge to Democrats still have to square off.
VAUSE: OK. There was one moment when he was talking about immigration and for the most part, Democrats have been quiet until this point, but when the president started talking about chain migration which is actually family reunification, Democrats reacted with boos and hisses. And later, Democrat Judy Chu tweeted this. Because it's not true. A single immigrant cannot bring in an unlimited amount of family members. There are no visas for aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. And some need to wait decades to reunite with one family member. One family member.
Democrat Ruben Gallego from Arizona, blatant lies about family reunification and visa lottery. He has zero understanding how this works. John, was the president using alternative facts to build a case here?
JOHN PHILLIPS, TALK RADIO ANCHOR AND COLUMNIST, TRUMP SUPPORTER: No, he is actually quite the mainstream. In fact, I was looking at a previous state of the union address that was given in 1995 by Bill Clinton. And Bill Clinton sounded quite triumphant on the issue of immigration.
I was looking at a speech that Harry Reid gave on the floor of the United States after the first World Trade Center bombing where among other things, he called an end to birth right citizenship and said much tougher things on illegal immigration and the border than Donald Trump has.
What's shocking to me about those tweets that you mentioned from Judy Chu and the other congressman is how extreme the Democrats have gone on the issue. I believe that they did that when the power in the unions moved from the manufacturing trades to government employment and the service sector. That's the galling thing that I see.
SESAY: Caroline, do you see such a shift as he says the Democrats becoming extremists? I mean, I think the feeling as I understand it is this shock that legal immigration is being curbed at least if this -- if this administration was to get it's away.
[02:10:00] CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Correct. I mean, it's being demonized, right? It's not that Democrats have shifted. If you want to talk about the issue with the "dreamers" and DACA, this is a self-inflicted problem. Donald Trump decided to withdraw protection and is now saying oh, we need to fix the problem that he created.
PHILLIPS: Illegal protection.
HELDMAN: Not illegal protection.
PHILLIPS: It's totally illegal protection.
HELDMAN: No. President extended protections to people who grew up here.
PHILLIPS: Which were illegal.
HELDMAN: Who were brought here. Human beings are not illegal and children being brought here not of their own volition, I'm sorry, but those are fellow Americans. I've grown up right next to them. They deserve citizenship here. And President Obama did something quite reasonable and rational that eight out of 10 Americans support, he extended citizenship protections to them.
PHILLIPS: He would have lost in the court.
VAUSE: OK. Yes, but didn't get to that point. Anyway, before the state of the union, the president had the traditional lunch with the network anchors and he told them this.
This is what he said. I'm telling you, the immigration is so easy to solve if it was purely a business matter, but it's not. And I think that's something that I've learned maybe more than anything else. You have to -- you govern with all of the instincts of a businessperson, but you have to add much more heart and soul into your decisions than you ever would have to thought of before.
So, Luis, to you, how much harm do we see from Donald Trump on immigration tonight?
ALVARADO: Actually I'm still pleasantly surprised that he has opened up. Now the reality is that there is still some in the freedom caucus of the Republican wing that are completely against immigration and are the ones that are still pushing Donald Trump not to be so generous as they would say.
So Donald Trump still has the power, still has an opportunity to create a legacy. The reality is I think he understands that if he wants to have infrastructure passed in a bipartisan way, he has to be seen by Democrats as a bipartisan president.
The actual guy who campaigned and said that he is the best negotiator in the world, this is his chance. And that means actually putting aside some of the freedom caucus rhetoric that we have seen in the past few weeks from some other Republican legislators.
There are moderate Republican legislators who actually feel that there is a pathway to making this happen for Americans, not for the "dreamers," because the reality is it's not just good for the "dreamers," it's actually very good for America and it's good for the progress, in the political aspect, the financial aspect, any which way you cut it. We need to to make sure that there is compromise that is reached, that both parties are going to pinch their noses, go to the chambers and vote for it. Then we know that we have something that's actually viable for the country.
SESAY: OK. Interesting perspective. We're going to hit pause on immigration segment of what the president had to say and talk about the economy. The president certainly taking credit for the (INAUDIBLE). Take a listen to what he had to say.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs including --
TRUMP: -- including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.
TRUMP: Tremendous. After years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages. Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Very quick fact check here. The reality is in 2017, the U.S. had just about 2 million new jobs. The president is referencing the starting point as election in November 2016, little misleading. But in 2016, the last year of the Obama presidency, job creation was 2.24 million. That's kind of below the 2014 peak of the Obama years of 2.95 million new jobs.
It comes to the question of, you know, who gets the credit for the economy? Forty-nine percent give Donald Trump credit for this, 56 percent give Barack Obama credit for the booming economy. So, John, when the president goes out there and owns this, how entitled is he in showing this? Have it on his watch, what is he to do?
PHILLIPS: I'm sure if everything went to hell, the news media will be blaming President Obama and not President Trump. We blame George W. Bush rather than Obama.
PHILLIPS: The fact of the matter is there is a good story to tell of the economy. Stock market is at a record high. Unemployment is at modern lows. We saw consumer confidence this holiday season, at a record high. The real estate economy is booming. And the tax bill which had relatively low numbers when it passed is seeing an increase in its popularity.
The New York Times poll that just came out showed great growth there. And I think that there is a lot more room for growth because Democrats frankly lied about what people would be paying in taxes whereas 80 percent plus will be getting a tax break. As soon as those tax returns start to come in, the numbers for that tax bill
[02:15:00] are going to go higher and higher and higher.
SESAY: Well, the president not just claim and credit for everything you just laid out there, and as I said the sunshine also.
PHILLIPS: Motherhood and apple pie.
SESAY: Also claim and credit for low unemployment among African- Americans claiming that it is at 45-year low, the lowest rate ever been recorded and also citing Hispanic-African-American employment also being at lowest level.
Before you respond Caroline and putting that in some kind of context, take a look at the reaction from the congressional black caucus when the president said it. So the president counts low unemployment among African-Americans. Let's just show our viewers the reaction among congressional black caucus.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It is something I am very proud of, African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: There it is. One clap. So, yes, Caroline.
HELDMAN: So he is looking credit for an economy that has been improving since 2010, and the reason it is improving is because we started in a very bad place, the liquidity crisis of 2008, which both George W. Bush and Barack Obama passed packages that got us out of that. So, yes, the job growth has slowed under Trump compared to the last 12 months under Obama, but neither of them can really take credit for this. This is something that started a while ago. Black unemployment is low. SESAY: But still higher.
HELDMAN: It is still twice as high as white unemployment.
SESAY: Exactly, which is at 3.7 percent.
HELDMAN: And it doesn't mean that Donald Trump isn't a racist. That's how he has been using it. And that's why the congressional black caucus is looking at him side eyed, because, you know, I'm sorry, (INAUDIBLE) the birther movement for how many years.
VAUSE: A rising tide (INAUDIBLE) as well. Get your sailor hat out.
(LAUGHTER) HELDMAN: It has been since 2010.
SESAY: Also point we're making is that according to analysts, unemployment is down because a lot of people have given up looking for jobs.
VAUSE: Well, that's been a long stair to climb.
VAUSE: John and Caroline as well as Luis, good to see you all on this first night of the state of the union. State of the union is bigly good.
VAUSE: Bigly good. Much more on President Trump's first state of the union address when we come back. Did he call out Russia for its interference in the U.S. presidential election? Not hard to guess.
VAUSE: In his first state of the union speech, President Trump called for a big increase in U.S. military spending.
SESAY: He listed foreign threats confronting the us and emphasized his desire for a robust response.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these horrible dangers, we know that weakness
[02:20:00] is the surest path to to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means toe our true and great defense. For this reason, I am asking Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Moscow. So, Fred, Russia barely rated a mention during the state of the union, that may be a relief to Moscow.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
VAUSE: Not so that list of oligarchs and political leaders thrown out by the U.S. Treasury. It took them six months to compile the names. These are meant to be high-profile figures linked in some way to Vladimir Putin. Possible targets for sanctions. American officials admitted have admitted they pretty much did a cut and paste job from Forbes.
PLEITGEN: Yes, that's exactly what they admitted. Also something that the Russians have been talking about as well, that list of oligarchs, especially it was really just the Forbes list of the richest Russians. It was interesting to see also in the press release that came when that list was put out. The Treasury Department actually stated that the main criteria that they have for putting these folks on that list was that each of them was worth over a billion dollars.
Now, there is still a secret annex that there might be some other people listed as well. However, the Russians also did take note of the fact, John, that Steve Mnuchin came out and actually defended that list and the way it was complied and actually also said look, there could be sanctions because of this in the future.
It's something the Treasury Department is still working on. How much credence are the Russians are going to give to that? It is unclear at this point in time.
However, judging by the reaction that we saw yesterday from Russian politicians especially from President Vladimir Putin, he did take a very, very long time to deride the list, to say that he felt that it was against all Russians.
You had the spokesman Dmitry Peskov coming out and saying look, this list essentially says that the entire Russian government isn't enemy of the United States. That's certainly something that didn't go down well with the Russians.
Now there certainly are some oligarchs who are on that list who will be quite concerned about being on that list and what that could mean to them even though it doesn't mean sanction at this point in time. But certainly, the Russians have said they do see this as an unfriendly act. You are also absolutely right, John, to point out that one of the things that the Russians were looking for after that list came out is what role Russia would play in the state of the union address.
If you look at Russian media today, we have been skimming through it a little bit, then that main sentence of President Trump saying yes, Russia and China are rival powers to the United States, that's certainly something that is in the headlines.
There are also some articles that do seem to portray maybe a sigh of relief that there was less about the potential election meddling in the state of the union. There are even some papers here saying it seems as though Trump is trying to sort of push that away from what his first year in office was really about, John.
VAUSEA: He can try, but be sure if it's going to work. Fred, good to see you. Fred Pleitgen live for us in Moscow.
Back with us, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman. She is also associate professor of politics at Occidental College. Also with us, talk radio ANCHOR and political columnist and Trump supporter, still a Trump supporter, John Phillips.
OK, so we had this list of oligarch which seems to be taken directly from the pages of Forbes. But there has also been this strong reaction to decision by the administration, Donald Trump not to enact sanctions on Russia. Congress overwhelmingly passed the sanctions with leader group majority.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill tweeted Congress voted 517 to five to impose sanctions on Russia. The president decides to ignore that law. Folks, that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of the country. John, there may or may not be outrage in every corner of the country, but it's not entirely clear if Congress has any options to do anything.
PHILLIPS: Well, she left out one component of this. It was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.
VAUSE: But it expired, they've expired.
PHILLIPS: I mean, he runs the executive branch, the sanctions will happen. It was supported by the White House.
HELDMAN: Why it didn't happen yesterday then if that is the case, John?
PHILLIPS: Maybe it doesn't happen on Caroline Heldman's timeline.
HELDMAN: Or I don't know. How about the timeline of the U.S. Congress? How about --
VAUSE: With 517 (INAUDIBLE).
PHILLIPS: Look, it's the government. Nothing works like a Swiss clock. I mean --
HELDMAN: So you're saying it's incompetence, that's why he blew past the deadline the whole Russia accountable?
PHILLIPS: What was your side say when Mitt Romney said that Russia is the --
VAUSE: -- Come on.
HELDMAN: Why hasn't he implemented Russian sanctions? Why did he call for the firing of Mueller? Why is he targeting, doing his best to cover up the fact and stop the investigation into his ties to Russia? What does this man have to hide?
PHILLIPS: That's a litany of questions there. And I am sad that you left out the Russian pop star, the Russian Justin Bieber who is apparently the Trojan horse here.
[02:25:00] VAUSE: OK. Here is the reason why the state -- from the State Department of why the sanctions will have to expire and not enacted. Today, we have informed Congress that this legislation and its implementation are deterring Russian defense sales. Since the enactment of the legislation, we estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planed or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions.
OK, but here is the problem with it. The legislation was not meant to be punishment. It was meant to be deterrence (ph) right there. In the title of the act, it is all about countering aggression by governments around the Russian federation and North Korea.
The other problem is that CIA Director Mike Pompeo actually says the Russians when it comes to election meddling has not been deterred.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have concerns that they might try and interfere in the U.S. mid-terms which are coming up?
MIKE POMPEO, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that. But I'm confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election, that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust, that the impact they have in our election won't be great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: When you think about what' happening with this administration, you've got one part of it saying, don't worry, everything is good. Another director of the CIA saying hey, this is a real problem. But, it is total confusion and so what's going on?
HELDMAN: At the end of the day, we haven't done enough to sanction Russia to prevent them from meddling in our elections. We actually haven't taken precautions. We know that 21 states have their state electoral systems hacked during the 2016 election.
We know that Russians infiltrated Facebook and used advertisement that reached 30 million Americans during the election. We have not taken safeguards to prevent this even though five agencies and 17 sub- agencies confirmed that the Russians interfered in our election.
Instead, we have a White House that appears to be capitulating to the Russians which is sending exactly the opposite message.
VAUSE: OK, just stay with us, because we got the State Department saying, don't worry, it's all fine, we don't need the sanctions. You have the CIA saying no, the Russians are still meddling. And now Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, who was a bipartisan punching bag over this issue before lawmakers are on Tuesday.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: We did not waive or delay. There will be as a result of this work --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): They're not implemented yet. MNUCHIN: Again --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): That sounds like a delay.
MNUCHIN: No, that's not a delay. What it was was -- I think you should know, our sanctions are based upon an enormous amount of intel work. Now we will take the basis of that report and look at, kind of as we do in the normal course, where it's appropriate to put sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, just to recap, State Department says, don't worry, just the threat of sanctions working as a deterrent. CIA Director saying no, Russia is not deterred. Treasury secretary saying, (INAUDIBLE).
PHILLIPS: I read that, they're coming. I believe what Mike Pompeo said. I think the Russians will try to interfere in our elections in the mid-terms. I think they did try to interfere in our presidential election this last time around. And it's something they've done before in previous United States elections.
I mean, if you go all the way back to the Kennedy assassination, the Russian government is responsible for a lot of the conspiracy theories that are out there in the ether. I also believe that we are not the only country that they tried to interfere with. They tried to interfere all over the globe. It's what the Russian do and we should be prepared for it.
This is another good reason why we should never ever, ever, ever never consider online voting. And I would frankly shy away from a lot of the electronic systems that have any kind of access to a server.
VAUSE: Caroline, there was a time when Republicans loved the FHI and they hated the Russians. But now, they're not fond of the FBI. A lot of reporting out there that the president is still considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel, investigating the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
And Trump lawyers are now arguing that Mueller hasn't met the standards to justify a sit down face-to-face interview with the president. NBC was reporting that Trump may even order the attorney general to prosecute Mueller and tie him up so he couldn't move forward with the investigation. Rate Mueller's chances of making it to the end of next month.
HELDMAN: Well, I think he actually has a pretty good chance. Lindsey Graham who is a Republican senator said that if Donald Trump fires Robert Mueller, that will be the end of his presidency. I think that would be what would give enough Republicans and Congress the impetus to impeach him.
I think that it's really obvious that Donald Trump is doing many things to cover up whatever connections there are to impede this investigation. I think the most troubling revelation was that Devin Nunes, the memo that that he wants to release, he refused to say whether or not the White House was involved in its creation which is an admission that they were.
VAUSE: On that note, the president was asked about that. It's a memo which is investigating the FBI and their role in the Russia investigation. Democrats say it's cherry picked information. It's totally out of context.
The Republicans say it's worst than Watergate. The president now has the decision of whether or not to release it to the public. He has to make that decision in the next couple of days.
[02:30:00] He was asked about that a few hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to release the memo?
TRUMP: Don't worry, 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, John, 100 percent, it's coming out.
PHILLIPS: Can you imagine that?
VAUSE: OK. John, 100 percent is coming up.
PHILLIPS: I hope so.
PHILLIPS: Listen, I'm the world's biggest supporter of law enforcement. I spend a lot of my time helping out a various police officers association for their charities for fallen officers. I had zero faith at Bob Mueller, I had zero faith at Jim Comey, and who knows what the future may bring but I'll tell you what, I have zero respect for both of those guys.
VAUSE: Oh, wow. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump has done his job.
VAUSE: Case closed. John (INAUDIBLE) thank you. Thanks for coming back. I appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: President Trump is depending his plan for U.S. immigration reform. What that may mean for the hundreds of thousands of so-called DREAMers, just ahead.
VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Thanks for staying with us. I'm John Vause. SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour. Donald Trump is edging corporation on the center immigration reform. He wrapped up his first State of the Union address just a few years ago. Mr. Trump is demanding funding for a border wall with Mexico in exchange for pathways of citizenship for nearly two million immigrants.
VAUSE: Source tells CNN that President Trump has not completely ruled out firing over Mueller. He says Special Counsel overseeing the probe into Russia's election meddling. This comes even as the President is said to be preparing for a potential interview by Mueller.
SESAY: The White House says President Trump has not read the controversial memo by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes alleging FBI abuses in the Russia investigation. (INAUDIBLE) is also Mr. Trump, once that memo release soon despite objections from the Democrats and the justice department. All right. Well, back to President Trump's State of the Union message and his push for immigration reform.
VAUSE: You may remember just over a week ago, the government was shut down because Congress couldn't make a deal on the DREAMers. They are brought to the U.S. illegally as children and now face deportation. Mr. Trump says he will support a path to citizenship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age. That covers almost three times more people than the previous administration covered. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States over a 12-year period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:35:11] SESAY: Well, Bambadjan Bamba joins us now. He's an actor and ambassador for Define American. Welcome. Thank you for being with us.
BAMBADJAN BAMBA, ACTOR: Thank you so much for having me on the show.
SESAY: And happy birthday.
BAMBA: Oh, thank you.
SESAY: And they already told me it's your birthday.
SESAY: Turning back to the issues at hand, the President and the State of the Union speaking quite expensively about immigration and you heard what he said there that he's open to pathway to citizenship of 1.8 million people. I want first of all your reaction to the fact that the President has now said it publicly, he is willing to go that route but there's a catch. BAMBA: Right. You know, I was listening to the speech today and I
was hoping to hear a more inclusive message and recognition around DREAMers and, you know, protection for our family. So that's what you're talking about. The catch. Yes. There's the pathway to citizenship and that's a start of the conversation but we don't want it to be in exchange for our families being ripped apart. So, that's my take on it.
SESAY: It's a -- it leads to a better taste in the mouth of many people who want to be happy that there's a road they can see.
BAMBA: Right. Yes.
SESAY: But it comes with all these strings attached.
SESAY: Can you share with our viewers a little bit about your story. You are a DACA recipient.
SESAY: How did you come to be in the United States?
BAMBA: OK. I came with my parents when I was 10 years old from the (INAUDIBLE) Island and raised in the South Bronx, Virginia, went back to New York for school, went to high school, middle school with Homecoming King. And then when it was time to go acting school, drama school, I realized, you know, technically I was undocumented. So, that's kind of when my parents, you know, broke down what was happening. Most people were thinking, well, you didn't do anything. You were here all of these years but we've had over 10 lawyers, we spend thousands of dollars trying to figure out a path to citizenship. And that's what we're talking about, the system is broken and thank god DACA came along and I've been able to be legal on DACA. And I tell people, I'm legal, you can hire me. Come here on my birthday, you know, just advocating for DREAMers because I feel like -- we feel like people are playing political theater for our lives. Someone described it as poking voodoo dolls, you know what I mean?
BAMBA: And we just -- we just -- we just express that we love this country, this is a country that --
SESAY: Do you feel American?
BAMBA: I absolutely. I feel American, I've been here for 25 years. I think American, people are always like, yo, you're Americanized, you know. But America stands for family, you know, and that's what immigration has been for the -- since the beginning, since the ancestors and even Donald Trump came. It's about, you know, family, this is about -- are we a places that are bringing -- that are allowing people to come in the country who are seeking refuge, or are we place that rejects them and separates them and pins one group against another. SESAY: Take a listen to a little bit more of what the President had to say about immigration. Let's play a little clip, another one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks. We can no longer afford. It's time to reform. This outdated immigration rules and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century. These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise, and one that will create a safe, modern and lawful immigration system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Bambadjan, when you hear the President linked immigration and immigrants, undocumented immigrants with criminality and murder and disaster as he did by talking about it in the context of family reunification which he caused chain migration and the visa lottery system. Again, back to your point about families being ripped apart, how does it make you feel that conflation of the two?
BAMBA: It's really a weaponization of the term because again I go back to what kind of country do we want to have.
[02:40:01] A country that accepts people who are looking for safety or a country that rejects them, that pushes them away, that separates families. And then he talks -- he said MS-13 a lot and I look up MS- 13 and I realized that majority are citizens. So, again, with Define American, we're trying to shift the culture and the conversation around immigration. And as DREAMers which is just like 10 percent of the undocumented population which feel as American, as any other American just without documentation.
SESAY: I'm going to ask you because as you used the word DREAMers, the President used the DREAMers, he did that tonight. And he also, to your point, trying to reclaim it and said Americans are DREAMers too.
BAMBA: Absolutely. I'm American. We're American, and we're all DREAMers and we're all taking it from this word that the American dream is still alive. I believe the American dream is still alive. 800,000 young DACA recipients and millions of others are here living the American dream. I'm an actor, for god's sake. I came here --
SESAY: And you're in Black Panther, that's coming out soon.
BAMBA: I am, and I'm excited about the movie and about what it's going to represent. So --
SESAY: And showing that people who come to the country in such circumstances have a lot to give.
SESAY: Have a lot that they bring to the table.
SESAY: And that's why I made the point about you being in Black Panther because here you are showing and sharing your talent with the world. And we wish you the very best with the film, with everything and hope that your family stays together.
BAMBA: Yes. Me too. That's our prayer, that's our hope and we're going to keep fighting for it until we receive it.
SESAY: Thank you for coming to speak to us, Bambadjan.
BAMBA: Thank you for having me, Isha.
SESAY: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, 200,000 illegal immigrants from El Salvador facing a life-changing deadline, they could be kicked out of the United States in less than years on the immigration changes made by President Trump. CNN's Patrick Oppmann shows us now what they could face when they return.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is how Salvadorans deported from United States arrived back home saying their prayers. For many, it's been years even decades since they left this impoverished and crime-stricken country for a better life in the north. Antonia Argueto waits to catch a glimpse of her son Noel. She hasn't seen him in 17 years.
I'm sad to see my son return because I was so happy to know he was over there, she says. Even though he got paid little at least to send him money for food and now what? Now, many more immigrants face deportation after the Trump administration provoked temporary protected status or TPS for over 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. Government officials say they encouraged deportees remain in El Salvador by issuing them identity documents, finding them jobs, even offering psychological counseling. But many of the TPS deportees may turn around and head back to U.S. Officials here say. They Salvadorans that are already established in the U.S. with their families, he says, with properties and businesses, they are very adapted to that society and it will be difficult for them to return to our country. And then maybe too many people for El Salvador to absorb. U.S. government officials say they are Salvadorans with TPS 18 months before they need to return here in order to make sure the country is ready to receive them. We're talking about 200,000 people, that's more than two-thirds the population of the capital San Salvador. Hard for many people end up returning it's going to strain in already struggling country. Deportees say they face the stigma that they were sent back for committing a crime in the U.S. or that they are returning with piles of money.
JUAN TOLEDO, DEPORTED FROM UNITED STATES: And I had nothing, not a penny. Only I came here with my clothes. The only -- my pants and my shirt.
OPPMANN: Juan Toledo was deported back to El Salvador in 2014 after living in the U.S. for nearly 30 years. Now he works with a group that assists Salvadoran deportees to reassimilate.
TOLEDO: Nobody was waiting for me at the airport. Nobody. Just myself. I didn't have nowhere to go. And (INAUDIBLE) nowhere. I didn't have a house, I didn't have a family, I didn't have nobody. So we work hard.
OPPMANN: Salvadoran officials say they will continue to help the deportees return with their ability to welcome the countrymen home, they soon be put to the test. Patrick Oppmann, CNN San Salvador.
SESAY: So many people have managed so much unknown.
[02:45:02] VAUSE: A lot of disruption, a lot of uncertainty right now.
SESAY: We're going to take a very quick break. Up next, the U.S. government will stop sending food and water to Puerto Rico. But the island is still in crisis after Hurricane Maria and critics say it's just too soon to cut-off the aid.
VAUSE: And one of the most iconic buildings in the world needs a billion dollar fix up. Details in a moment.
SESAY: Well, in the State of the Union address, President Trump recognized the people of Puerto Rico and other places devastated by natural disasters in the U.S., declaring we are with you.
VAUSE: Well, starting on Wednesday, the U.S. government will stop sending food and water to Puerto Rico which is also with the U.S. more than four months after Hurricane Maria. Details now from Leyla Santiago.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A stunning statement from Puerto Rico's government saying that they were not aware that FEMA would be stopping it's shipments to Puerto Rico of aid, food, and water. Saying not only that they were not aware, they do not agree with that decision. Now, FEMA has just told CNN that they are not stopping the distribution of commodities on the island. And they will coordinate with Puerto Rico to make sure that is a coordinated effort when that time comes.
Let's break down exactly what's happening here, FEMA is stopping it's shipment of food and water to the island on Wednesday. That said, they tell us they have stockpiled the island with 46 million liters of water and 4 million meals and snacks for the island, and they believe that is sufficient as they transition into what they call a long-term recovery.
But let's talk about the reality of the islands, still, about a third of the island does not have a power. Not everybody has access to clean water. So many argue that they are still in crisis mode. FEMA says that it's important to get the economy going again in Puerto Rico. They want people to buy water and buy food to get those businesses going again and have the economy recover. But many argue that they are having to fix their homes, to pay for gas. For generators, if they don't have power and this is still a crisis mode. Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.
SESAY: Well, Brexit is not the only departure being hotly debated Westminster. The UK lawmakers are discussing whether or not to move out on the Palace of Westminster for up to six years. Six years for massive repairs --
VAUSE: It's a big job.
SESAY: Well, for more massive repairs take place.
VAUSE: Cameras are rarely allowed inside the historic palace but CNN's Max Foster was invited to see why multibillion-dollar repairs are needed and why that take six years.
SESAY: It could take less time you get a bonus.
VAUSE: Doesn't work like that.
[02:49:54] MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. But look closely on the Palace of Westminster is falling apart. A rare glimpse inside these walls shows that behind the imposing exterior. Beneath the ornate arches and stained glass lobbies, cracks are beginning to show. The patch and mend method adopted over the centuries, no longer able to keep up. Lawmakers were warned in a recent report that the building faces a growing risk of catastrophe unless urgent work is carried out.
FOSTER: Surrounding around the roof and you get a real sense here about the scale of the problem we are dealing with.
ANDREW PIPER, DESIGN DIRECTOR, PALACE OF WESTMINSTER RESTORATION AND RENEWAL PROGRAMME: Yeah, I mean, what you can see is the damage is caused 150 years' worthy use of our victory in -- you know, cost on (INAUDIBLE) system. They kind of represents what the aging condition of the rest of the building is.
FOSTER: The building has seen prime ministers come and go, some leaving more of an impact of another's. The decades have taken their toll. And the British were House too. Water seeps through the roof in many places.
Well, rare access indeed. This is what the whole project really comes down to. The Commons Chamber where British laws are so famously debated. You can almost hear the noise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the chamber, questions to the prime minister.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime Minister, Mr. Franklyn is denial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker.
FOSTER: This chamber could fall silent for six whole years under a proposal to move MPs out to allow for a multibillion-dollar overhaul.
TINA STOWELL, COMMITTEE FOR RESTORATION AND RENEWAL: This kind of work is what you might think of as surgery to the major arteries and veins, and major organs of this building. What it's not in any way shape or form a facelift or makeover.
FOSTER: It's not until you go underground that you really see why this proposed work is so critical and so complex.
When we come down to the basement and we found the typical sort of problem released, some evidence of a leak here. We've discovered it's coming from a pipe right up in there. But they can't get to it because of this massive cabling, a lot of it don't know where it goes, we don't know what is for. You can't just rip it out because it could cause all sorts of other problems.
The 19th-century building is struggling to keep up with the modern world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's still current (INAUDIBLE) which is in desperate need for replacement.
FOSTER: The tangle of phone lines, not a reassuring sight for anyone trying to get in touch with their MP. Officials would like to make Westminster ready for the future while it's restoring a key piece of Britain's past. Max Foster, CNN London.
SESAY: Still don't get it.
VAUSE: Where would you send the MP's for six years? Like where do they do their stuff? Like --
SESAY: I don't know put them on a cruise ship.
VAUSE: Out of the (INAUDIBLE). Bye, see you six years. Still to come, a lunar event you did not want to miss. We'll have the details of the super blue blood moon, and why it's so special.
SESAY: And President Trump, celebrated economy and he enjoyed the pro --
VAUSE: How he did it, what?
SESAY: So, how State of the Union looked from the sidelines.
VAUSE: After the music to the real thing. It will be a super blue blood moon. I can say a super blue blood moon out of the sky. That's what a typical lunar eclipse happens at the same time as a supermoon and blue moon, see that's how of its together.
SESAY: I'm keeping you about say, a super looney moon.
VAUSE: Twisted off?
SESAY: Other says, this lunar trifecta is the first of its kind in 35 years and won't happen again until 2037.
SESAY: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us and, Pedram, I guess what John desperate to know is --
[02:55:00] VAUSE: Very excited.
SESAY: Who gets to see what and when?
VAUSE: Like here in L.A. how many hours before we get -- this point at hours.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: You guys actually will have the best view. If you weren't so looney, you could get out and see it maybe.
VAUSE: What are you saying? What are you implying young man?
JAVAHERI: Oh, not much at all.
JAVAHERI: You know, I think around 5:00 a.m. is really when you begin to see, it takes shape. You can actually see the entire eclipse take place between just before 5:00 a.m. until it just after 6:00 a.m. local time there in the Western United States. But really the best place to be parts of Hawaii, Alaska, and the Western United States. And there isn't for all of this, and this will be visible for much of the globe.
Is, when you talking about the supermoon, of course, we know the orbit around the earth for the moon is an elliptical one, so, you get, has this quite closer and also farther points. And this particular point, it will be at its closest approach on Wednesday morning. Makes it appear 14 percent brighter, 6 percent larger. And that's just part of the trifecta there, right?
So, we have the blue moon element which really doesn't have anything to do with the coloration of the moon, but it has everything to do with getting two moons in one calendar month, happens typically once every 18 months. Happening twice actually in 2018 which is somewhat unusual. And happening again the first go around here being in a few hours.
The Eclipse part is where with we get the -- a blood aspect of it because of the outline there around the earth as the shadow is cast. You get the oranges and reddish glow on to the moon. But here is where you can see it, around the Western U.S., parts of Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, on Eastern U.S., generally, right before sunrise there. And right around moonrise, across parts of the Middle East and into Asia. But in Europe, Africa, South America, it's a no-go because time wrong guys because it will be already bright outside, so, you won't be able to see it as it plays out.
VAUSE: NEWSROOM L.A. now with a 100 percent more, Pedram Javaheri.
SESAY: Much better show for it, Pedram.
JAVAHERI: Thank you very much for that.
SESAY: Thank you. All right, let's take one last look at the State of the Union address.
VAUSE: Can't go now.
SESAY: And just how much President Trump appeared to enjoy delivering it, and receiving applause mostly from Republicans.
VAUSE: He doesn't even wait a delivery last five (INAUDIBLE) before it. This is why it went over like half an hour. It's meant to go out like an hour and a half. One retweeted out this, "Trump keeps clapping for his own State of the Union speech." Yes, he did that a lot. "Another point of that Trump campaigns live streamer," the State of the Union speech, "will display campaign there his names on the screen." And it did apparently sell you (INAUDIBLE) $25 a pop.
SESAY: Yes, that's right. Then, that was this moment that you made noticed. First Lady Melania Trump, conspicuously breaking a tradition by riding with the White House -- riding from the White House to the Capitol separately from her husband. It was her first public appearance in weeks, and it came force amid allegations Mr. Trump has an affair with a pornstar 12 years ago. And that his lawyer paid for her silence before the election.
VAUSE: Did they travel back together though?
SESAY: I just saw that she left on her own. I don't know whether they --
VAUSE: Her own, yes. Because they haven't been seen in public since this all emerged. And also, Democrat wearing all black and Republican --
SESAY: Wore red white and blue.
VAUSE: -- they got (INAUDIBLE) wore red, white and blue. (INAUDIBLE) fashion.
SESAY: A lot going on. You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: John Vause, up next, we'll have a replay of President Trump's State of the Union address. If you can't get enough (INAUDIBLE), stay tuned. You're watching CNN.