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Americans Confused of Which Memo is Right; Cape Town Anticipates Day Zero; Syrian Families Hid in Caves. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 2, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, HOST, CNN: Another warning from the FBI, do not release a memo containing classified intelligence. But the U.S. president is expected to OK that anyway.

NATALIE ALLEN, HOST, CNN: In Yemen, civilians and leaders talk with our Nic Robertson on how the ongoing civil war has changed their lives.

VANIER: A we'll be going ling to Pyongyang, Pyeongchang, South Korea, a week away ahead of the Winter Olympics. How the city is getting ready.

ALLEN: So close to the word Pyongyang but so far.

VANIER: Almost. But it is relative to the story

ALLEN: Yes, it is.

Hello. These stories are all ahead here on CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. You're watching CNN Newsroom. Thanks for being with us.

ALLEN: Donald Trump is expected to approve the release of a controversial memo on the FBI in the coming hours and with it, sources say, the president hopes to cast a huge shadow of doubt on the entire Russia investigation.

VANIER: The FBI does not like this memo one bit. It says it has grave concerns about its accuracy and fears that releasing it could harm its intelligence-gathering. Now a pair of senators from rival parties are raising their voices. Democrat Chris Coons and republican Jeff Flake.


CHRIS COONS, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: We think it would undermine our intelligence-gathering. It would further politicize Congress' oversight role and it risk reducing confidence in key democratic institutions.

This House memo that's been championed it's been read -- excuse me, it's been authored and it's edited by Devin Nunes, is base on misleading and impartial readings of the intelligence. It's striking that we've got a president of the United States willing to take on the FBI and its leadership, willing to take on the Department of Justice and its leadership simply in an effort to try and further discredit Robert Mueller's ongoing probe.


ALLEN: Sources tell CNN the release of the memo is all but certain. Here's more from CNN's Jeff Zeleny at the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump not talking about the extraordinary feud raging with the FBI.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, have you decided if you'll release the memo?


ZELENY: As the president moves closer to declassifying a highly controversial House republican memo accusing federal authorities of mishandling the Russia probe, CNN has learned top White House aides are worried FBI Director Christopher Wray could quit in protest for disregarding warnings against releasing the memo.

He's made his frustration clear, officials say, but has not directly threatened to resign. After returning from the GOP congressional retreat in West Virginia, the president not answering questions about his FBI director.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you worried the FBI director may quit over this decision?


ZELENY: CNN has also learned the president has told friends in recent phone calls the memo could help discredit the Russia investigation by exposing bias within the top ranks of the FBI, but not all republicans agree.


PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This memo is not an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn the Mueller investigation or the deputy attorney general,


ZELENY: The latest showdown between the president and his own Justice Department is broiling Wshington, a day after the FBI warned of grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy. The White House downplaying the magnitude of those concerns. The president and advisers have reviewed the three and a half page

memo to make sure it doesn't give away too much in terms of classification. A senior administration official said who added that on Friday the White House will tell Congress the president is OK with it.

The White House has gone to great lengths trying to showcase due diligence, even after the president was captured on camera after the state of the union address Tuesday night suggesting releasing the memo was a foregone conclusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's release the memo?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, don't worry. One hundred percent. Can you imagine that?


ZELENY: As democrats join the Justice Department and the FBI in saying the release of the memo could pose a national security risk, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the concerns.


RYAN: What this memo is Congress doing its job in conducting legitimate oversight over a very unique law, FISA. And if mistakes were made, and if individuals dis something wrong, then it is our job as the legislative branch of government to conduct oversight over the executive branch if abuses were made.


ZELENY: The memo poured even more fuel on the already politically combustible House intelligence committee. Ranking democrat Adam Schiff accusing the republican Chairman Devin Nunes of altering the document.

Writing, "It is clear that the majority made material changes to the version it sent to the White House, which committee members were never appraised of, never had the opportunity to review and never approved."

[03:04:59] Nunes, a close ally of the president's, who served on the Trump transition team, admitted editing the document. But a committee spokesman called the complaint a bizarre distraction, insisting the changes were limited to grammatical fixes and two edits were requested by the FBI and the minority themselves.

Democrats blasted the president's decision and vowed to keep the investigation alive.


JIM HIMES, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Despite the fact that he claims innocence in it there is no collusion, there is an ongoing effort by this president and by the White House to completely discredit, to stop, to end this critical investigation which is the only way he is going to prove his innocence, by the way, which is the bizarre thing here.


ZELENY: Now, even as President Trump is poised to authorize the release of this memo the FBI is saying they have grave concerns about its contents. The question here is what happens next in this extraordinary confrontation between the White House, the president and the FBI. The FBI director on the job only six months on the job. The Russia investigation still continues.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

VANIER: Joining me now is Michael Zeldin. He's a CNN legal analyst, a former federal prosecutor in his previous life he was a special assistant to Robert Mueller at the Justice Department. Can there be any harm in making the memo public?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: The Nunes memo I think as a threshold matter shouldn't be made public nor should democratic response to that memo be made public. These are both political documents designed to promote a point of view.

In the case of Nunes, to promote the president's agenda that the Mueller investigation is a bit of a witch hunt and the FBI has it in for him. They're, you know, prejudiced, if you will, against him and the democrats are response saying, no, no, that's not true.

VANIER: What's the harm in making it public? The republican arguments is, well, let's put it out there. The Americans have a right to know.

ZELDIN: Well, because in its current form it is a short summary of massive amount of data that gave rise to a warrant in the foreign intelligence surveillance court. That information which is highly classified, including methods of acquiring information and foreign countries that may have contributed intelligence to them, that's never going to be made public.

So you're never going to get a good summary of what's in there because it's all classified, so you're going to get a snippet and it's going to be misleading and people are not going to be able to draw conclusions from it.

If there is a problem in the acquisition of this FISA warrant there is an inspector general whose job it is to look into that process and that's what they should proceed under. Or as the FBI Director Christopher Wray asked, he said let me comment, speak to the entire committee under oath and I'll tell you all what you need to know about this application in the FISA process generally and the committee turned him down.

VANIER: All right. So, hold on, Michael. The FISA process for our international audience is the process whereby a secret court approves a request for say, wiretapping and that's exactly what this memo alleged. They say the memo, we believe, according to people who have seen it and according to our reporting, is going to say that the FBI abused its power and showed bias in how it chose to use its wiretapping power because it chose to wiretap a former Trump campaign official.

ZELDIN: Right.

VANIER: Now the FBI has said this is part of their statement, "We have great concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."

Let's fast forward a few hours. This memo is likely to be released. It is likely to show or purport to show bias within the ranks at the FBI. What happens then?

ZELDIN: Well, then the problem is that just becomes political fodder. There is no mechanism that the Congress has set up. And they have mechanisms for it. Before they release this memo they easily could have turned it over to the inspector general of the FBI and the Justice Department and say look into these allegations.

They could have easily exercising their oversight responsibilities could have brought all these people into testify in a classified setting and say we have concerns we'd like to get at the truth of what happened here but that's not what they're doing.

What they're doing is they're doing this...


VANIER: But that shouldn't be summarized. I mean, surely if the memo comes out and it says and it is fact-based and it says the FBI is biased, has been biased against Trump, wiretapped somebody it shouldn't have wiretapped, did so on illegal grounds or at least grounds of bad and misleading intelligence, then somebody -- surely some action is going to be taken. Either the memo will be proved wrong or some action will be taken against the FBI and its agents.

ZELDIN: Right. So what I take issue within your question or statement there is the memo will be fact-based.

[03:09:59] That's what it will be not be. It will be opinion-based based on evidence that will not be made public. And so we'll get the opinions of republicans and the opinions of democrats. We'll never get to see the underlying facts upon which those opinions are predicated and it will be misleading and that narrative...


VANIER: But the lawmakers who have written this memo, they've actually looked at facts. They went into a room who were allowed to read documents and that's what they're basing their memo on.

ZELDIN: No, well Congressman Nunes, who is the author of this memo, has acknowledged that he has not read that intelligence. He has sent staff in there to review it.

VANIER: Right.

ZELDIN: And staff has written this in coordination with the White House it is believed. And so you have a chairman of the committee signing a memorandum saying this is what I believe when he hasn't himself looked at the underlying data. That to me is problematic.

VANIER: All right. Michael Zeldin, thank you very much. That analysis there is very important. You're telling us it's going to be political fodder but there isn't really a mechanism to deal with the memo once it's released as it's likely to be. Michael, thank you very much. We need to talk to you again. Thank you.

ZELDIN: Any time.

ALLEN: And again, that memo scheduled to be released in a few hours.

Now we turn to Syria. A volunteer rescue group says at least three civilians were killed Thursday by bombardments in Eastern Ghouta. The Syria civil defense also known as the White Helmets say the ammunitions contained chlorine gas.

The report comes as the U.S. is again is raising the alarm about chemical weapons allegedly used by the Syrian government. A State Department spokeswoman says there are reports of three chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta over the past month.


HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: We take the allegations of chemical weapons used very seriously and are working with our partners on the ground to investigate the reports. We will continue to seek accountability through all available diplomatic mechanisms, including the United Nations Security Council and the organization for their prohibition of chemical weapons for the confirmed use of chemical weapons by any party.

We call on the international community to hold the perpetrators of these attacks accountable and will speak with the united voice in condemnation.


VANIER: Syria is warning the Turkish forces who have crossed into Syrian territory as well as those sending air strikes into the country are an occupying force. Turkey launched the air and ground offensive nearly two weeks ago to target the Syrian Kurdish militia and ISIS terrorists in Afrin, a region in northern Syria.

ALLEN: The Turkish government sees the Kurdish groups as terrorist and they view their efforts to form an independent Kurdish state as a threat, but Syria's foreign ministry doesn't accept that as a cause for force.

It released this statement Thursday. "The Syrian Arab Republic affirms that the presence of any foreign military forces on its territory without its consent is aggression and occupation and will be dealt with on this basis."

Since Turkish air strikes began, thousands of civilians in Afrin are trying to escape.

VANIER: Many of them are hiding underground. CNN's Hala Gorani has this exclusive look inside the region.


HALA GORANI, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: For this people of Afrin, life is now underground. This cave, home to 12 people, a blanket on the floor. The only comfort in the winter, darkness. As they crouch waiting for danger to pass.

CNN has obtained exclusive video from inside Afrin. It shows how the threat of Turkish airstrikes has driven families from across the Kurdish enclave into caves and basements. Many her say they've lost family members in the last two weeks since Turkey launch its offensive, and below ground, sorrow hangs in the stale subterranean air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are poor people. My husband was killed. We have no place to go. What are we going to do?

GORANI: Eleven-year-old Jasmine says she lost her father last week, a fighter defending their village.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My dad was killed and me and mom and my brothers are all here in the cave. It is really dark here so we are scared because it is really noisy. They're conducting air strikes. What did we do to them? We are just kids, why is this our fault?

GORANI: This is what they are running from. CNN video shows how air strikes and artillery have shattered the streets. Turkey sees the Kurds as a threat as Kurdish leaders have long sought an independent Kurdish state in the region.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Our homes are destroyed because Erdogan is dropping bombs on us. We lost our homes, our children, nothing is left. Why would this happen to us?

[03:14:58] GORANI: The general manager of this hospital in Afrin city says they're overwhelmed with the number of wounded. On one ward, a mother who mourns her 10-year-old boy, wailing, "How will I ever live without you?"

Doctors say he was fatally injured by Turkish bombing in the city of Tarin. Kurdish officials say squads of civilians have been killed and hundreds injured by the Turkish military so far. Though CNN can't independently confirm the exact death toll.

In a statement to CNN, the Turkish government said they're only targeting terrorists and that sensitivity is shown to avoid damage to civilians and innocent people and to the environment. The U.N. estimates 16,000 people have been displaced across Afrin and

says some civilians are being prevented from leaving by local authorities. With no escape, people are left to find warmth and shelter anywhere they can.

Hala Gorani, CNN.


VANIER: Now police in Shanghai say at least 18 people are in the hospital after a van plowed into a crowded intersection. Authorities say the man was smoking a cigarette and a local newspaper reports that gas canisters inside the vehicle caught fire.

ALLEN: The man who lost control of the van and slammed into the pedestrians. Firefighters put out the fire. Authorities say none of injuries are life-threatening. Thank goodness on that one.

All right. More than 900 miners in South Africa have all been rescued after being trapped for more than 24 hours inside a gold mine. A violent storm knocked out power Wednesday, trapping them all.

VANIER: A company spokesman says the miners stayed close to the shaft in a well-ventilated area where food and water were delivered. South Africa's mine workers union said it is extremely concerned about the incident.

ALLEN: Ahead here, the war in Yemen shows no sign of ending.


NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: The government isn't just fighting the Houthis, it's fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda. And then there is this southern separatists who want their own state. And a multitude of other different small political groups.


ALLEN: That's CNN's Nice Robertson, he gets rare access and finds plenty of blame to go around in his story we'll have in a moment.

VANIER: First, though, a growing divide in the Trump administration about whether to take military action against North Korea. That's next on CNN Newsroom.

ALLEN: And this is what a crisis looks like, Cape Town is running out of water. We'll tell you what the city is doing today to stop this disaster if that's improving.


ALLEN: One of the top career diplomats at the U.S. State Department is quitting. Undersecretary for political affairs Thomas Shannon is the number three person at the agency. He served multiple diplomatic roles around the world during a 35-year career and was deeply involved in many sensitive situations. [03:20:02] VANIER: Shannon says he's leaving for personal, not

political reasons. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praises him as a walking encyclopedia of international diplomacy.

Now his departure is the latest instance of career diplomats leaving the State Department in droves under the Trump administration. Numerous ambassadorships around the world also remain vacant.

ALLEN: One of those vacant posts is to South Korea, arguably one of the most important in the world.

VANIER: And this comes as the Trump administration is deeply divided about how to deal with North Korea.

CNN's Brian Todd has this report.

BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's a worrisome misfire in the middle of a high-stakes standoff with North Korea. The Pentagon confirming that in a live fire test on Wednesday, similar to this one, an American missile interceptor in Hawaii missed hitting its target, a medium ranged intercontinental ballistic missile fired from a plane.

The system is designed to protect the U.S. from any missiles launched by Kim Jong-un. U.S. officials say despite the failure they still learned crucial information about the system, but analysts worry about how North Korea's aggressive young dictator who is rapidly advancing his nuclear program might read the failed American test.


FRANK JANNUZI, PRESIDENT AND CEO, MANSFIELD FOUNDATION: It emboldens them. As long as they continue to advance their missile program, maybe someday they'll accomplish the ability to evade those defenses.


TODD: The failed defensive test comes as sources are telling CNN of a growing division inside the Trump administration about going on offense. Specifically over whether to hit North Korea with a preemptive first strike, trying to get Kim to stop his weapons build- up.

Sources familiar with the dynamics say on one side, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are urging caution, warning the president of the dangers of a first strike.

On the other side, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and one of his top deputies are insisting the Trump team should at least consider a strike and prepare for one. The man Trump reportedly once wanted to be his ambassador to South Korea, former NSC official Victor Cha had his name pulled in recent days because he warned the president's team that a first strike on North Korea could lead to a disastrous war.


PETER BECK, INSTRUCTOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: The conflict and confrontation that he had with the Trump administration underscores that he was not hawkish enough for them, and the fact that he expressed concerns about the blowing (Ph) of strategy shows just how serious the Trump administration is considering it.


TODD: The apparent choice of Cha had drawn widespread bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Prior to his name being floated, he spoke often to CNN about the North Korean threat.


VICTOR CHA, FORMER DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: A preemptive strike is by far the most risky of all the different alternatives for dealing with this missile threat.


CHA: Cha turned down CNN's recent request for an interview, but in an op-ed published Tuesday in the Washington Post, he again argued that a pre-emptive strike could lead to carnage on the ground. A view sometimes at odds with the president and some members of his team who have argued that diplomacy, sanctions and other measures simply haven't worked to steer Kim from building his stop arsenal.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.


TODD: But now some analyst and general are echoing Cha's warning that Kim might retaliate if the U.S. launches a strike.


ROBERT NELLER, MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: It will be a very, very kinetic, physical, violent fight.

JANNUZI: The potential casualties in the first hours of conflict could be in the tens of thousands. And that's a conventional North Korean artillery response. Obviously a nuclear response we could be talking about millions of casualties overnight.


TODD: Another warning from analysts about a bloody nose strike that it would likely undermine America's crucial alliance with South Korea and could bring China into a conflict if the Chinese fear that their troublesome ally in Pyongyang is on the verge of collapse.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

VANIER: The water crisis not getting any better in Cape Town, South Africa. Emergency water restrictions just went into effect there. The city is facing a disaster. It could run out of water just over two months from now. April 16th is the deadline. That's being called Day Zero.

ALLEN: In an attempt to avoid that calamity, residents are now allowed to use only 50 liters of municipal water a day. The crisis is spreading. The indusial area around Johannesburg could face shortages because of low water levels in reservoirs.

So, the clock is literally ticking on Cape Town's water supply.

Our meteorologist Derek Van Dam who has lived there joins us now with more about it. Unbelievable.

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: It is unbelievable. Such a precious resource being that water, Natalie, Cyril. We literally have 72, days, 13 hours, 35 minutes and some change before the taps run dry in Cape Town, South Africa also known as the mother city. Home to almost four million people, including many of my own family and friends.

[03:25:01] Talking to them on the phone just moments before this live hit, I've talked to my mother-in-law. She's actually going to the store right now to pick up 5-liter jugs so that when Day Zero occurs, April 16th, she has something to transport that water from the allocation sites that would be located across the city, roughly 180 of them actually present once day zero actually occurs.

What you're looking at behind me is the Theewaterskloof Dam. This is the largest reservoir dam that supplies Cape Town with about 40 percent of its drinking water.

What you're looking at to my left is actually video on the ground of just how dry that reservoir is. As we speak. So you're looking at a bird's eye perspective to show the year-on drought that is happening. And look at that last satellite image, just how dry it actually is. Incredible.

So the city of Cape Town, what are they doing? Well, they've implemented level six b restrictions effective ton Thursday. That means that resident in Cape Town can only use 50 liters of water or less.

Just to put this into perspective, you and I, we typically use anywhere between 300 to 375 liters a day. People in Cape Town are literally showering for less than 90 seconds, taking that black water in a bucket and using it to flush their toilets only when absolutely necessary.

That really just kind of puts that drought and water crisis into perspective. Look at the year-on drought the annual major dam levels dropping to below 38 percent difference in the Berg River Dam another reservoir supplying water from 2013 to 2017 it is astounding. Literally 26 percent of the collective dams across the city left -- 26 percent of the water left.

But only the last 10 percent of that are really not even usable because it's very difficult to exact that from the reservoir. So it's a dire situation in Cape Town to say at least, Cyril and Natalie. This is a big story for us. There will be updates in the next several days and weeks to come.

ALLEN: Yes. We'll be covering it for sure.

DAM: Without a doubt.

VANIER: Yes. I know you'll be looking into that, Derek. Derek, thanks for the update.

A 2,000-year old archeological enigma in Peru is badly damaged. A truck driver ignored warning signs and drove right into the world renowned Nazca Lines. You see it there the truck driver deep tire marks and damage three geoglyphs. The driver was arrested. Eventually he was released though, because there wasn't enough evidence that he had actually done it on purpose.

ALLEN: Still, though, the damage was done. The Nazca Lines is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. They spanned about 450 square kilometers. You can see them there, just tremendous. They are enormous drawings of animals, plants and other figures. Authorities now say they are going to increase surveillance so something like that won't happen again.

VANIER: You're watching CNN Newsroom. Still ahead this hour.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We failed you, we let you down. You've all been through a lot and we're sorry for that.


ALLEN: A tearful apology from a town manager to a victim of sexual assault. That story is coming up.

Plus, she left her home thousands of miles away to make a better future but what she got was a life of slavery. We'll have a special Freedom Project report for you coming up here as we push on in CNN Newsroom.


[03:30:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." I'm Natalie Allen.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: And I'm Cyril Vanier. Your headlines today, we're on memo watch now. Donald Trump is expected to allow the release of a controversial memo in the coming hours. The document alleges the FBI abused its surveillance power during the 2016 campaign. The FBI and Justice Department say the memo distorts the fact and could jeopardize intelligence gathering.

ALLEN: Russia's Olympic Committee wants another 15 of its athletes to be invited to next week's Winter Games in South Korea. The 15 are among 28 Russians whose lifetime Olympic bans for alleged doping were overturned this week. Russia is banned from sending an official national team to Pyeongchang, but 169 Russian athletes cleared of doping allegations are taking part as neutral competitors.

VANIER: The eldest son of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is dead at 68. It's an apparent suicide. Cuban state media reports for the past few months, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart was being treated for depression. A nuclear physicist, he was called "Fidelito" because of his striking resemblance to his father.

ALLEN: We turn now to the civil war in Yemen. It has left thousands of civilians dead, countless others wounded, including of course so many children.

VANIER: This war is deadly mix of political allegiances and tribal disputes. And there is no resolution is sight. Our Nic Robertson and his team have gotten rare access inside the country.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Yemen's war (INAUDIBLE) from those who (INAUDIBLE). This 7-year-old (INAUDIBLE) leg was shredded by a (INAUDIBLE) shell.

I was playing with my friends, he tells us. All of a sudden, there was an explosion. Eight of my friends were killed. Shrapnel hit my leg and took off the flesh.

(on camera): This is a prosthetic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, prosthetic limb.

ROBERTSON (voice over): His doctor wants an end to the suffering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are as a medical staff, we (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTSON (voice over): But no one here has the luxury to turn away.

(on camera): He is showing us picture of his son. The Eiffel Tower in the background, Rome, the places his son will never get to go to.

(voice over): His son, 11-year-old (INAUDIBLE) blood still stains the family (INAUDIBLE) where he died in his father's arms.

He is angry, he says. The Houthis didn't just kill his son, they lied about it.

(on camera): This is from a newspaper of a Time. He says the Houthis used this picture of him taking his son to be buried. They said his son was killed in a coalition airstrike. He says that wasn't true.

(voice over): Sitting next to him in the hotel lobby, a southern (INAUDIBLE) soldier.

(on camera): You fought to take back control of the airport. (voice over): He tells me his mother was killed by a Houthi sniper. He is angry with them, but he is also angry with the Saudi-backed government.

We fought the Houthis, he explains, but the government didn't take care of us. It's hard to continue because of the marginalization of the southerners.

(on camera): Understanding the war here that everyone's going through is a little like peeling an onion, layer after layer. The government isn't just fighting the Houthis, it's hiding ISIS and Al Qaeda. And then there are these (INAUDIBLE) who want their own state and a multitude of other different small political groups.

(voice over): This powerful regional government is frustrated Yemen has become a proxy for regional tensions.

They tell me, they want the government and the Saudi-led coalition to get tougher on the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. They also want the coalition to shut down the political groups they backed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very nice to meet you.

ROBERTSON (on camera): How is the situation here (INAUDIBLE)?

(voice over): Yemen's prime minister (INAUDIBLE) casualties from coalition bombing sees Yemen's future in a looser alliance.

AHMED OBEID BIN DAGHR, PRIME MINISTER OF YEMEN (through translator): The Houthis want session in the north and the radical (INAUDIBLE) wants a session in the south.

[03:35:00] But if you give the Yemeni people a choice, you will find that the majority want unity but in a new form as a federation.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Question is, can the country be put back together? I asked the doctor if people will forgive casualties from coalition airstrikes.

Do you think they will be able to forgive Saudi Arabia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the country will be better than before so all of these injured people, all of these (INAUDIBLE) people, they will forgive -- they didn't -- (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERTSON (on camera): Provided the country goes forward in a positive direction.


ROBERTSON (voice over): He has been at university for a long time.

It's forgiveness in the future that can't come fast enough for many.

(on camera): What we are looking at here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 3D printer that is used to create prosthetic hand.

ROBERTSON (voice over): These two students ordered the printer online from China, learned how to use it by watching You Tube tutorials. They want their country repaired, up and running.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care about political issues. We want roads. We want education. We want to have jobs.

ROBERTSON (voice over): It's a dream, but absent peace remains beyond reach.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Yemen.


VANIER: CNN's "Freedom Project" has been looking at the situation of domestic workers in Jordan where more than 70,000 of them come from other countries. They work long hours to escape poverty in their country and to build a better life.

ALLEN: But as Jomana Karadsheh shows us, many find themselves vulnerable to abuse. She tells a story of a woman who became a slave in her employer's home, and how she fought her way back to freedom.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): (INAUDIBLE) is learning about her rights. Rights taken away from her for nine long years. The 36-year-old now says she knows she was a slave.

(INAUDIBLE) left a life of poverty and farming in the Philippines, she says, for the promise of a $500 a month salary as a domestic worker in Jordan. (INAUDIBLE) says she was trapped in the hell of a foreign country she didn't know, working 17 hours a day in a remote town near the Syrian border.

She knew that her rights were taken from her, but she was afraid of going outside, afraid no one will help her and that her life would be in danger, she tells us.

(INAUDIBLE) says she got $500 the first month, $300 each of the following two, but then the money stopped. Her employer who kept her passport promised to pay her, she says, but never did. Her work and residency permits were not renewed, so she became illegal, facing thousands of dollars in fine that accumulated over the years.

In 2015 after establishing contact with her sister who traveled from Dubai to Jordan, (INAUDIBLE) escaped and made it to Amman, where she says she worked illegally, trying to make up for the past nine years. She tells us what she has been through haunts her, even in her sleep. Wanting to send money to her family, but having nothing.

We met (INAUDIBLE) at the offices of Tamkeen, Jordan's (INAUDIBLE) specialize in providing legal aid for migrant workers. Tamkeen's founder, Linda Al-Kalash, says the road to address is a long one. LINDA AL-KALASH, FOUNDER, TAMKEEM: Many immigrants don't know about the rights. Some of them, they know, but they are afraid to ask. In some cases, they stay in Jordan for a long time without wages, without connection with their families.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Not everyone is a silent victim. Hana is described as a community leader. When the single mother is not working to support her three children back home, she tries to educate others about their rights.

HANA, DOMESTIC WORKER: Our agencies in Philippines just tell us you are going there to be a housemaid and that's it. You have to work. You have to learn how to clean and that's it. They never tell us you have to rest, you have to eat good, you have to have your salary.

KARADSHEH (voice over): There are more than 50,000 migrant domestic workers operating legally in Jordan, another estimated 20,000 are working without proper documentation. Most are expected to do all the housework and childcare for as little as $200 a month.

According to 2016 report by Tamkeen, more than 38 percent of domestic workers interviewed did not receive their salaries on time. It also found that many are deceived by employers who promised

[03:40:00] to pay them at the end of a contracted period but never do.

KARADSHEH: The Jordanian government acknowledges the problem, but it says it's not widespread, it's individual cases. It also says it's working to prevent the mistreatment of domestic workers from turning into a phenomenon of human trafficking.

In recent years, laws have been passed to protect the rights of migrant domestic workers. While not easy to enforce, these laws raised the minimum wage, limit working hours, and employers face fines for withholding travel documents. But not all victims come forward.

AL-KALASH: My message to them, don't be afraid. Go to the police station. Go to the Ministry of Labor. File complaint against this employer. You have rights. It's very important to empower yourself.

KARADSHEH (voice over): (INAUDIBLE)'s case may make years in Jordanian courts. She was deported back to the Philippines in November, leaving behind her long wait for justice.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Amman.


ALLEN: Well, new details in the case of disgraced U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser to tell you about. He was sentenced to life in prison last month after more than 150 women and girls said he sexually abused them.

Now, The Wall Street Journal reports U.S. Olympic officials knew about the abuse claims years ago. It says the former USA Gymnastics president, Steve Penny, contacted Olympic committee officials about Nassar in July of 2015.

VANIER: CNN has not independently confirmed this report. An attorney for Penny meanwhile declined to comment and the Olympic committee says -- has consistently said that it learned the potential abuse in 2015 and reported it at the time to the FBI.

At least one of Nassar's victims got an apology from authorities who failed to act. Brianne Randall-Gay was just 17 when she reported abuse by Nassar. She gave this emotional statement about that last month.


BRIANNE RANDALL-GAY, VICTIM OF LARRY NASSAR: I was just 17-year-old that reported your abuse to police in 2004. You used my vulnerability at the time to sexually abuse me. I reported you to police immediately and had a rape kit done. The police questioned you and you had the audacity to tell, I had misunderstood this treatment. Sadly, they took your word instead of mine.


ALLEN: Sadly indeed. On Thursday, the manager of Meridian Township in Michigan addressed her. Here's what he told Randall-Gay in a public teleconference.


FRANK WALSH, MANAGER, MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP: I want to start, first of all, with the most important we are here. And that's to apologize on behalf of the community, our police department, to Brianne. We failed you. We let you down. And you don't know how sorry -- I know we've had a lot of private conversations, private apologies, but we felt this need to be done in public, because what happened to you is in public.


VANIER: That was Frank Walsh, the manager of Meridian Township in Michigan. And the Nassar saga in courts is not over. He'll be back in court in a few hours. Even more women are said to give victim impact statements.

ALLEN: The clothing company "Guess" felt the power of "Me Too," the "Me Too" movement in its stock prices Thursday. Shares in the company tanked after super model Kate Upton posted two messages on social media accusing the brand's co-founder of sexually and emotionally harassing women.

VANIER: The man she pinpointed, Paul Marciano. He serves as chief creative officer and chairman for "Guess" clothing. Upton didn't list specifics in her social media post. And celebrity gossip outlet TMZ reports that Marciano denies any inappropriate conduct.

We're just days away from the start of the Winter Olympics. Coming up next, we'll go live to South Korea to see how organizers are making sure the weather cooperates.


VANIER: In one week, thousands of athletes from around the globe will march in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, kicking off what South Korea promises will be the biggest Winter Games in history. International athletes are now arriving at the Olympic Village.

ALLEN: And as you know, the athletes include competitors from North Korea. A delegation of athletes, coaches, and sports officials arrived Thursday. They will march in the opening ceremony and compete alongside South Korean athletes under a unified flag.

Let's go to CNN's Paula Hancocks. She is Pyeongchang, South Korea where the Olympics will be held. It's got to be just a special interesting moment, seeing that these two countries are coming together and, you know, performing under the same flag.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Natalie. I think the one thing that really brings at home is when you see the North Korean flag flying above the athletes' village in South Korea.

Usually, if you fly a North Korean flag in South Korea, you are in trouble, you are violating the national security law, but obviously there are very different times at the moment in this run-up to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. All of the North Korean athletes are now here and certainly there is building excitement in Pyeongchang itself.


HANCOCKS (voice over): There is a lot to toast in Pyeongchang these days. This group of friends is making the most of the local cuisine and the splash of the local liquor. Barbecue and (INAUDIBLE), two Korean specialties that will be in abundant supply for the month of February.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For us as a restaurant, it's a fantastic opportunity to introduce Korean barbeque to the world, so it is very meaningful.

HANCOCKS (voice over): Nick Gasson traveled from New Zealand to help with Olympic preparations. His company makes artificial snow.

NICK GASSON, ARTIFICIAL SNOW MAKER: Natural snow, there isn't much, but what we have been able to make has been really amazing.

HANCOCKS (voice over): Everywhere you look, snow making machines are working overtime. The one thing the organizers cannot control, the weather. They're hoping the games put Pyeongchang on the map. Encouraging the winter pilgrimage to South Korea in years to come.

(on camera): Probably one of the biggest boosts to this region after the Olympics is over is this, the KTX, the fast train than runs from Seoul to Gangnam on the east coast of the country where many of the Olympic venues are in less than two hours. It usually takes around three hours if you're driving. But to be fair, the traffic means that you can take a lot longer. (voice over): Those in the Pyeongchang region feel far closer to the capital now. Improvements in infrastructure many think wouldn't have happened without the games. South Korea says this will be the biggest Olympics in history with more athletes than ever before, even some from the northern neighbor who they're still technically at war with.

A united women's ice hockey team with players from both North and South Korea, suggesting President Moon Jae-in's early claim that this would be the peace Olympics may not be as implausible as critics once thought.

For residents themselves, the games have been good for business before they even start.


HANCOCKS: So businesses and residents right now are saying that they are ready to welcome the world's tourists and athletes. Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: All right, we look forward to it. Thank you, Paula. Cyril?

VANIER: All right, you remember last month when we reported on the worker in Hawaii who reported on that false

[03:50:00] alarm about an imminent ballistic missile attack? Well, he plans to sue the state of Hawaii for defamation. He's already been fired from his job and his lawyer says he's become a scapegoat. Manolo Morales (ph) has the story.


MANOLO MORALES (ph) (voice over): Once the panic had died down on January 13th, state officials including the governor announced that the worker who issued the missile alert had mistakenly pressed the wrong button. On Tuesday, the FCC and the state added that the worker didn't know it was a drill and actually thought there was a missile attack.

MICHAEL GREEN, ATTORNEY: He never pressed the wrong button. He pressed the button he wanted to press. Because the way it came out, he thinks we're in eminent danger within 20-some minutes, we may not be here anymore.

MORALES (ph) (voice over): The state has not released the worker's name but says it plans to.

GREEN: People want to kill him. They identify him as a male, 10 years in the office. They show the back of a man sitting at a desk. It's not rocket science to figure out who it is.

MORALES (ph) (voice over): I reached out to an attorney who also handles defamation lawsuits and he tells me that the state has a wide range immunity against defamation lawsuits.

DAVID MAJOR, ATTORNEY: It provides for protections of the state because if everybody -- every time somebody disagreed with what the state said, they could sue him, it would lead to a huge problem in the court system.

MORALES (ph) (voice over): Major tells me that the worker would have to prove that what the state said about him and the incident was false. Green tells me he might also sue the state for slander and libel.

(on camera): Because they are saying that he made a mistake.

GREEN: No, because they lied about how it happened. It's got to be untrue what they said about him. It's got to be false.


ALLEN: We'll continue to follow that one. Coming up here, Super Bowl weekend is upon us. Some people watch for football. Some people watch for the commercials. We'll have the story about that coming up here.


ALLEN: Millions of Americans will gather around giant TV Sunday to watch the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, depending on who you ask. The best action could happen when they go to break.

VANIER: Some people tune in just for the commercials like this one from Doritos and Mountain Dew where actors Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman face off in a lip sync battle. That's worth tuning in for.

Experts say companies will likely steer clear of politics, instead for a heartwarming or a humorous approach. Either way, the high priced ads are usually worth it for those companies.


TONY CASE (ph), MARKETING AND ADVERTISING EXPERT: Thirty-second spots are going for $5 million this year, but that's only the beginning for advertisers. They spend many millions more on production, on celebrity endorsers, and so this is a major investment for marketers, but what they continue to think is it pays off because of the massive viewership of the Super Bowl.

More than 100 million people watch the Super Bowl, there is nothing even remotely approaching that in terms of a mass audience for advertisers. So, it's money well spent for the brands.


VANIER: I think it's only going to be the second time I watch -- are you going to watch it with me and explain the rules?

ALLEN: Yes, I'll be glad to tell you all about football.

VANIER: So brands are trying to stay away from politics to Super Bowl, but the U.S. president -- ALLEN: Is bragging about his wife being in a big commercial, he says. CNN's Jeanne Moos looks into that.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When an employee from the insurance company Aflac handed the president

[03:55:00] socks adorned with the Aflac duck, it triggered a memory.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A long time ago, I hired my wife to do a big commercial, you know that, right? An Aflac commercial. And I think it was a successful commercial, too.

MOOS (voice over): Little did they know they were taking a voice of a future first lady and swapping it with the voice of a duck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're hurt and can't work, Aflac can help pay your bills with cash.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Aflac!

MOOS (voice over): Imagine her squawking that the at the swearing in.

TRUMP: So help me God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Aflac!

MOOS (voice over): The Trumps were newlyweds when the spot was made and Donald describe to Larry King what the ad folks told Aflac's CEO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Now we're going to supply you with like 25 women and you can choose the one you want. I said, no, I don't want to look at anybody. I want Trump's wife.

MOOS (voice over): She came too with red feet.

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: It was great success. I had a great time shooting it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Aflac!

MOOS (voice over): But Aflac is something Donald Trump has also been. He's flanked (ph) products in lots of commercials.

TRUMP: So we leak race for it, right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Remarkable convenience of the visa check card.

TRUMP: A big and tasty for just a dollar?

You've got to be losing money on this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I get the last bite?

TRUMP: Actually, you're only entitled to half.

MOOS (voice over): Ivana and Donald shared that pie three years after their divorce. His current wife or at least someone pretending to be her was hocking something else on the late show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you feeling, madam first lady?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My life is ocean of loneliness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just promoting my if new fragrance, Ocean of loneliness.


MOOS (voice over): For Melania, it seems like life's been a roller coaster lately.

Given what's been reported about Donald and we don't mean the duck.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


VANIER: That's it form us. Have a great day.

ALLEN: I like the commercial. I'm Natalie Allen. The news continues next with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN.