Return to Transcripts main page


Gowdy: Nunes Memo Has No Impact on Russia Probe; Eagles Beat Patriots in Super Bowl; Olympic Competition Begins Thursday; Officials Focus on Rail Switch in Deadly Train Crash; Amtrak Blames Freight Train Firm For Deadly South Carolina Crash; Gov't Refuses To Put Three T.V. Stations Back On Air; Eagles Beat Patriots 41-33 For First Super Bowl Title; Advertisers Spend Millions To Reach Massive Audience. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 5, 2018 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. president Donald Trump calls the release of a controversial memo "vindication," but lawmakers even in Mr. Trump's own party openly disagree.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus risking everything to escape Syria. We take a look at the desperate and often deadly toll in taking a chance for life.

CHURCH (voice-over): Also ahead, underdogs making history. The Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl title.

HOWELL (voice-over): 2:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. We are live at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH (voice-over): And I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


CHURCH (voice-over): After days of fallout over a Republican memo on the Russia investigation, Democrats are pushing to release their rebuttal.

HOWELL: The question now, will it be released and will we see a broader picture?

The Republican document claims the FBI abused its surveillance authority to target an advisor of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. CNN's Boris Sanchez has the very latest for us.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We heard from several Republican lawmakers, some of them on the House Intelligence Committee, contradicting the president outright over the weekend.

The president was active on Twitter, saying that the Nunes memo vindicates him and proves that the Russia investigation is nothing more than a witch hunt. On Saturday night, the president also tweeted portions of a "Wall Street Journal" editorial that supposed that there are political actors within the Department of Justice and the FBI.

We also heard from Donald Trump Jr. on Saturday night, who was on FOX News, saying the release of the Nunes memo is like sweet revenge for him and his family.

Despite that, these Republican lawmakers again are contradicting the president, saying that Nunes memo has nothing to do with the Russia investigation and should not prevent Robert Mueller from continuing his work.

I want to play some sound for you now from South Carolina representative Trey Gowdy. Listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The memo has no impact on the Russia probe?

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Not to me, it doesn't. And I was pretty integrally involved in drafting it. There is a Russia investigation without a dossier.

So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an e-mail sent by Cambridge Analytica.

The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos' meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn't have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there's going to be a Russia probe even without a dossier.


SANCHEZ: Now that statement coming from Trey Gowdy is especially significant because even, according to Devin Nunes, he's the only Republican on the House Intelligence Committee that has actually seen the raw intelligence, the raw data that led a FISA court judge to allow the FBI to surveil Carter Page.

So if anyone knows of the validity of the Nunes memo and its implication on the Russia investigation, it would be a Trey Gowdy.

Now Democrats are pushing for the release of the so-called shift memo, their rebuttal to the Nunes memo, which they say provides more information and more context and contradicts portions of the Nunes memo.

We could see a vote from the House Intelligence Committee as early as Monday for its declassification. What is unclear now is whether the president will allow for that memo to be declassified the way that he did for the Nunes memo -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in West Palm Beach, Florida.


CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this is Peter Matthews, a political analyst and professor of political science at Cypress College.

Thanks so much for being with us.

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: Good to be here with you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So President Trump says the recently released Nunes memo totally vindicates him on the Russia probe. But not all Republicans agree with him on that point. Trey Gowdy says it has no impact on the Russia probe and he thinks Mueller's investigation should continue unimpeded.

So what's Mr. Trump talking about?

And what was achieved by releasing this memo?

MATTHEWS: I think that he's trying to use false bravado to act like nothing is -- that he'd been cleared. But obviously he's not been cleared. The investigation is going to be going on systematically by Bob Mueller and others.

And releasing the memo was to attempt to distract from Bob Mueller's investigation. It also actually impunged (sic) the integrity of the investigation because it says, no, the Republican memo, the Nunes memo, says that the FBI and Mueller and them used a role illegal activity in terms of the FISA court surveillance request.

(INAUDIBLE) that the FBI was corrupt. It was anti-Trump. And that's basically made up mostly. You could see that if it weren't made up --


MATTHEWS: -- then they would allow the Democratic memo, which is coming up with the ranking -- House ranking Intelligence Committee member, Adam Schiff, had another memo from the Democratic side, that memo should have been released the same time the Republican memo was released if there was no problem untoward situation.

CHURCH: Right, OK. And we will come back to that point but I do want to talk about Republican Senator John McCain. He blasted his Republican colleagues for releasing the Nunes memo, saying this -- and I am quoting him directly -- "If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin's job for him."

And Senator McCain says he wants to see the Mueller investigation proceed unimpeded.

How divisive could this issue prove to be for the Republican Party?

And will others be emboldened to stand up to the president on this issue, do you think? MATTHEWS: Someone has to stand up, including Republicans, because this issue is much more than the Republican Party. It's divisively the United States of America. It can divide people on the constitutional question. There could be a constitutional crisis because if one faction says one thing and the other one says the other, as opposed to allowing the Mueller investigation, special prosecutor to actually go out and look for information directly without being interfered with by the executive branch, by the president, then you've lost the rule of law.

There is no integrity or accountability and legitimacy on the part of the FBI and it looks like the Republican leadership has tried to impunge (sic) the FBI's integrity, which is very dangerous for the whole country and for the rule of law principle.

CHURCH: All right --


CHURCH: -- right and your touched on this point just a couple minutes ago. The House Intelligence Committee will consider whether to declassify that Democratic memo that essentially rebuts the Nunes memo.

How likely is it, though, that they will vote to declassify it and, if they do, will the White House give the OK to release it because it would need to get the last word on this, wouldn't it?

MATTHEWS: That's right. That's the next step. If the Intelligence Committee votes to actually release it, the White House has five days to either accept the release or to rebut it. And it may (INAUDIBLE) to stop the release.

And I'm not sure that Trump will let that go through because he doesn't want the Democratic memo to come through, come out to the public because that would balance out the picture far more.

Because there's one that (INAUDIBLE) memos on the actual underlying intelligence. (INAUDIBLE) detail intelligence. There's memos and they're picked and -- people are picking and choosing, especially Republican side.

So with the Democratic side rebutting it with more facts, I think that would weaken Trump's argument and put the focus once more on Mueller's investigation of the possible obstruction of justice charges, which are very serious.

CHURCH: Right and you don't think he'll want to see that happen. So what would impact has the release of this Nunes memo had on the Mueller Russia probe so far?

Does it discredit it in any way?

And how likely is it that Mr. Trump will push to get rid of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or special counsel Robert Mueller -- or perhaps both? MATTHEWS: I think it has some impact for sure because it's thrown in questions and people are neutral about this whole issue hadn't known much about it. Now do you think, well, you know what, there is another side of the question and that maybe Mueller is and some of the FBI are corrupted.

So this can sway a certain amount of the population. Over 49 percent, "The Washington Post" ABC poll showed that 49 percent of Americans believe that President Trump did act to interfere with the Russia investigation, which is equivalent to obstruction of justice.

Half the country believe that before this incident.

The other thing is I'm not sure that this would actually go through because it's a process of rule of law and even if it weakens Mueller's investigation a bit, he certainly will have a full-fledged ahead.

Plus Mr. Mueller has a lot of information, a lot of documentation and he's got witnesses. He's got people such as Michael Flynn who has testified to him, has pled guilty. He's got Paul Manafort. He's got so many people on the inside. Now Hope Hicks is being brought in and he's going to be questioning her. In fact, maybe he already has questioned her in detail about what she knew. And she's been at the president's side for many, many, many years. She could have actually spilled the beans as well.

CHURCH: Yes, then no matter all of these things going on, we see Robert Mueller continuing on his path with this investigation. Peter Matthews, thank you so much for your analysis. We appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: My pleasure. Thank you so much, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thank you.

HOWELL: All right, now to one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the NFL Super Bowl.

Did you watch the Super Bowl?

Sunday night's game was a thriller, especially sweet for the Philadelphia Eagles.



CHURCH (voice-over): And those Eagles fans celebrating the team's first ever Super Bowl title. They beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in a game that went right down to the wire. And we wouldn't be surprised if they're still partying in the streets in Philly.

HOWELL: Who had one of the best seats?

Well, our Andy Scholes, right there in Minneapolis.

Andy, what a game, right down to the last two minutes. The Eagles -- [02:10:00]

HOWELL: -- pulled it off.

What did you think?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, that's going to go down as one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time. The Eagles and Patriots just traded haymakers on offense. They went back and forth, back and forth, big play after big play. The Eagles pulling out all the stops with a trick play right before halftime with their quarterback, Nick Foles, catching a touchdown there.

Now the Eagles led for most of the game but Brady did lead a fourth quarter comeback. Patriots took the lead but Foles, cool, calm and collected, led the Eagles down, found Zach Ertz for that touchdown, gave the Eagles the lead.

Brady did have one last chance. He threw a Hail Mary as time expired but it would fall incomplete. The Eagles win an absolute thriller 41- 33 and they're heroes. Backup quarterback Nick Foles was named Super Bowl MVP and our own Coy Wire caught up with him after the game.


NICK FOLES, EAGLES QB: It hasn't sunk in. So much is going on right now but this just being in this moment, being with these guys, it will soak in when I get to be with my teammates and family and just to be a part of this, to be a part of Philadelphia Eagles' organization and to be a part of the first world championship. We're very blessed. It's an unbelievable feeling and -- I mean, honestly, right now, it's just -- it's all soaking in. It's unbelievable.



TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS QB: I mean, losing sucks but that's part of it. You show up and you try to win and sometimes you lose. And that's the way it goes.


SCHOLES: Now all kinds of records fell by the wayside in Super Bowl LII. The teams combined for 1,151 yards on offense. That's the most for any game in the NFL in their history, playoffs or regular season. Nick Foles, first player ever to throw and catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

And Tom Brady, he is the first player ever to throw for 500 yards three touchdowns and have zero interceptions and lose a game in the NFL, again regular season or playoffs.

And, George, you're not going to find many people having sympathy for Tom Brady but, man, he sure did play a great game here at Super Bowl LII. And it's unfortunate for him that the Patriots' defense couldn't stop the Eagles offense.

HOWELL: All right, Andy, so people tune in. You watch the game. Some people watch the commercials. Of course, halftime is a big deal. Justin Timberlake performed, even paying special tribute to the host city, Minneapolis, with this moment. Take a look.


JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, MUSICIAN AND PERFORMER: Minneapolis, Minnesota, this one's for you.


HOWELL (voice-over): What a tribute there, a tribute to the legend, that artist Prince, a Minneapolis native.

But Andy, here's the question.

How was that received?

Sort of mixed messages, eh?

SCHOLES: You know, in the stadium, all the people around me were rather impressed with Justin Timberlake's performance, the moment there where he paid tribute to Prince was touching, most people thought. We all thought Justin Timberlake put on a great show. He went -- he actually went into the crowd, took selfies with a young fan and -- no joke, was just in the stands with people, playing his hits. We all thought it was great and, of course, also check social media, George. You know, you can't make everyone happy. There are some people that didn't like it.

Some of the complaints were that there were no cameos, there were no extra artists in the Super Bowl halftime performance, which has kind of been the thing. You know, you usually have a main person and some surprising acts but it was all Justin Timberlake this time around, other than that tribute for Prince.

HOWELL: All right, well, can't please them all but, yes, what a show. Andy, what a show. Andy Scholes live for us in Minneapolis, Minnesota, thanks, Andy.


CHURCH: And the eyes of the world will be on PyeongChang, South Korea, this week for the opening of the Winter Olympic Games. It's not all athletics, though; there is some controversy as well. Fifteen Russian team members will not be allowed to compete even though a sports arbitration court lifted their lifetime ban.

The International Olympic Committee says the suspicion of doping remains.

HOWELL: There is also some political symbolism at these games. North Korea is sending its ceremonial head of state and the Vice President of the United States will also be in attendance there. CHURCH: Let's talk about all of this and Paula Hancocks is in PyeongChang following all the action. She joins us now live.

So, Paula, a lot of symbolism and diplomacy on display ahead of the games.

What's the significance of North Korea sending its ceremonial head of state to the Winter Olympics in South Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, it is a very high level delegation that's going to become headed up by --


HANCOCKS: -- Kim Jong-nam and obviously Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, doesn't travel outside the country. He hasn't done as far as we know publicly since he took power. So this is really a very significant delegation that will be sent.

And there may be others that are added to that delegation as we go along. But I want to introduce now our CNN sports analyst, Christine Brennan, also a columnist for "USA Today," to talk about North Korea, to talk about the Olympics.

First of all, I have to mention, this is your 18th Olympics that you're coverage?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Just a few of them, yes, it's -- no, it's thrilling to be here and 18 in a row and this is obviously one of the most important, I think, especially as you mentioned, because of North Korea and the issues with North Korea and South Korea.

HANCOCKS: So the exhibition match that had that last night, the game between the North and South Korean joint team in women's ice hockey against Sweden, they lost 3-1 but was it a good performance?

BRENNAN: Oh, absolutely. Frankly, that it wasn't 10-0, Paula, I think was excellent for the Korean team. This is very unusual, to put two countries that don't know each other, players that don't know each other, different skill levels and make them work together as a team.

I'm not expected the South -- the Korean team now and obviously mostly South Koreans to have any kind of results to speak of. They will probably be the most-watched women's ice hockey team in the history of the Olympic Games including Canada and the U.S., who are by far the two best teams.

But it's -- this is their first Olympics and they're certainly going to get a lot of attention.

HANCOCKS: So if we can talk about Russia a little bit, obviously today the IOC has decided that those 15 athletes and coaches will not be invited to the Olympics, even though their appeals were upheld.

What kind of a mess is this? It's very last minute, it's very confusing. Talk us through it.

BRENNAN: It is. Well, the IOC finally said enough is enough. They had banned about 50 or 60 of these athletes and then all of a sudden, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, like the Supreme Court, so to speak, decided to let some of them back in.

And the International Olympic Committee couldn't figure it out. They asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Paula, even said this doesn't mean they're innocent. Just means that the procedures they looked at, that couldn't prove that they were guilty and the International Olympic Committee today shut the door on those 13 athletes and two coaches. They are not going to be competing here.

It looks like the Russian delegation will be 169 athletes. That is, I think, 63 athletes short of what was in Sochi just four years ago.

HANCOCKS: So how does the IOC come out of this?

Do they come out of this well?

it does seem all quite last minute.

BRENNAN: Yes, it does. It's rushed. I think once they decided to ban the Russian team and then of course the ban means that there will be no Russian flag, no Russian anthem and, of course, the flag not being allowed to be at the opening ceremonies.

I think once they made that decision, they knew they were probably going to get into a quagmire of decisions and appeal and counter- appeals. And I think that's why they shut the door today on this particular -- these athletes. They said we cannot let this go any further.

HANCOCKS: And Christine, one last question, obviously many viewers will be looking behind us and thinking, well, where's the snow?


HANCOCKS: Is this a problem?

There's not much snow right there.

BRENNAN: I can't tell you the number of Olympic Games, Paula, where there have been conversations about there's no snow or it's too warm, fog in the mountains. They always seem to pull it off and I think in this case they will as well.

But absolutely it's an issue because here we are in the mountains and we're seeing very little snow.

HANCOCKS: Christine Brennan, thank you very much, CNN sports analyst.

Well, I can tell you it's certainly not too warm here at the moment. It is cold in PyeongChang. Not a huge amount of natural snow but I just spoke this afternoon to one of the snowmakers. They say that they believe they have enough for the competition. They actually stopped making it in the middle of January, saying that they believe they had enough -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, let's hope so, right?

Paula Hancocks joining us there from PyeongChang in South Korea. We will chat with you again next hour. Many thanks.

HOWELL: A South Korean appeals court has suspended the prison sentence of former Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee.

CHURCH: The heir to the Samsung conglomerate was serving five years on corruption and bribery charges. He walked out of jail Monday and onto a bus to take him to a processing center. The case was part of a huge influence peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Lee had been in jail since August.

North Korea has been using its embassy in Berlin to buy high-tech parts for its weapons programs. That's according to Germany's intelligence chief.

HOWELL: He spoke with CNN affiliate ARD for a documentary on North Korea's missile program. It airs later Monday in Germany. He says authorities determined that the purchases were made from the embassy for the purposes of supporting both North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

And he said authorities think the parts were, quote, "acquired through shadow buyers or shadow markets abroad, which they then bought in Germany."

CHURCH: We'll take a very short break here but still to come, another deadly train crash in the United States, the third in two months. But officials think they may know why an Amtrak passenger train derailed in South Carolina Sunday, killing two people.

HOWELL: Plus --


HOWELL: -- refugees face a freezing death to escape the war in Syria. We report near the Lebanese border right after the break. Stay with us.





HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Officials are investigating the third major train crash in the United

States in less than two months. An Amtrak train collided with a freight train. This happened in the U.S. state of South Carolina early Sunday.

CHURCH: Two train employees were killed and 116 people were injured. As CNN's Kaylee Hartung reports, investigators now have a clue as to what may have caused that crash.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The chairman of the NTSB brought out a whiteboard to diagram the fatal mistake that led to this crash. As he explained it, a switch on the track was locked with a padlock in the wrong direction, diverting that Amtrak passenger train from the main track onto a siding track and squarely into the freight train.

Now, NTSB investigators have to figure out why -- why that switch was left locked in the wrong position when the trains like Amtrak train 91 travels along that path every day.


This is a question that the CSX Corporation will have to try to help some answer.

CSX is the railroad group that owns, operates and maintains the stretch of track where this crash occurred. So they are responsible for the signaling, the switching and the dispatching in the area.

CSX offered out a statement with their condolences to the families of the two victims of this crash, the conductor and engineer of that train.

While they did that, they did not acknowledge any wrongdoing of their own other than to say they would be cooperating fully with the NTSB investigation.

Another key piece of evidence in this investigation, that would be a forward-facing camera on the Amtrak train that the investigators already have being analyzed in a lab in D.C.


HOWELL: Kaylee Hartung there reporting, thank you so much.

Moscow is picking up after a historic snowstorm hit that city over the weekend.


HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, a grueling race for survival in Lebanon. How people there are battling the elements to escape Syria -- ahead.

CHURCH: Plus thousands of migrants want asylum in Israel; instead they are being offered cash and a plane ticket to leave the country. Why Israel's government wants them out. We're back with that and more in just a moment.


[02:32:16] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Coast to coast across the United States and live around the world this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the main stories for you this hour. Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee may vote Monday to release their response to the Republicans' memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. President Trump claims the document totally vindicates him in Russia but some Republicans are downplaying the memo's impact.

HOWELL: Another deadly train crash in the United States and it's raising concerns about traveling by rail. An Amtrak train crashed into a freight train. It happened in the U.S. State of South Carolina early Sunday. We understand that two people were killed. 116 injured. Officials says that cracked switch was locked in the wrong position.

CHURCH: For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions. They beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in a thriller in NFL's title game. The Patriots and Tom Brady were the defending champs trying for their sixth Super Bowl win but it wasn't to be.

HOWELL: They're partying in Philly. The Winter Olympics kick off later this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Athletes from North and South Korea will compete under one flag. The North disintegrates ceremonial head of state while the United States sending the Vice President. He will also attend the opening ceremony.

Turkey's prime minister has a message for his NATO allies, ignore criticism of the Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria. Now, this comes after seven Turkey soldiers were killed Saturday. It was the deadliest day yet for Turkish troops in what they call Operation Olive Branch. Five of the soldiers died when a missile was launched at a tank near Afrin.

HOWELL: Also, this video. The Kurdish YPG says that it shows the attack. CNN has not yet been able to verify that. Turkey sees the YPG as terrorist. But the Militia are also a key ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS. Turkey's President has this warning whoever is supplying them with weapons. Listen.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (via translator): Regardless of who delivered that rocket system, it seems that they are walking hand in hand with terrorists. And we will share it with all the world when it is confirmed.


HOWELL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan there. Politicians and military action often overshadow the people, the people who suffer the most in the Syrian Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of people had been killed in this conflict. Many of those people are civilians.

CHURCH: Now, this video is said to be from rescuers near Damascus. They are desperately trying to free a young girl after her home was hit by a missile.

[02:35:07] There were reports of airstrikes and shelling in the area over the weekend. And with scenes like that, it's no surprise people are desperate to escape the way in Syria. Some are braving potentially deadly weather to cross the border into Lebanon.

HOWELL: CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman went to get their stories and we do have a warning this report does contain graphic images.


BEN WEDEMEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (Mishan) tries to distract his three-year-old daughter (Sarah) recovering in a Lebanese hospital. Sarah is all he has left. The rest of his family, his wife (Manal) and five-year-old daughter (Hiba) froze to death along with 15 other Syrians while crossing the mountains into Lebanon in a snowstorm at night. Mishan has been working in Lebanon for the last 2-1/2 years.

They were dropped off by car on the Syrian side, he says, and were supposed to walk for half an hour into Lebanon and then be picked up by another car. But it was dark, it was snowing and the smugglers abandoned them. Mishan shows me on his phone pictures he download of his wife as she was found cradling their daughter Hiba, his mother and his brother's family all frozen to death. Sarah has just come out of an operation on her frostbitten face. She doesn't know her mother, sister, and grandmother are dead. We went back to the mountainside where they died. They were just a few minutes' walk from the nearest house.

But snow have now melted but this is the spot where the bodies were found. There's still rubber gloves here used by those who took the bodies away. Now, this is a valley frequently used by Syrians trying to sneak into Lebanon. And their deaths here underscore just how desperate they are to reach safe ground. It's safer in Lebanon but life for the nearly one million who fled her is hard, ever harder in winter in these makeshift camps. But Han's wife (INAUDIBLE) Sicknesses but one of the perils in their leaky code shelter vermin another, he tells me. There's everything here he says (Farhan). Things I've never seen before, rats, mice, everything. (Mona) crossed into Lebanon with her son. Her husband went missing five years ago. We were afraid she recalls, we walked for four days over the mountains after paying $700 to smugglers. Some have returned to Syria but others continue to come says, Mike Bruce of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

MIKE BRUCE, SPOKESMAN, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: Walking across the mountains and taking days to cross in the middle of winter are a testament to that -- the fact that Syria is not safe. Until Syria is safe and until there's a lasting peace, people should not be going back to Syria.

WEDEMEN: And in this cold wet and bleak existence, the day when Syria is safe again seems an eternity away. Ben Wedeman, CNN near the Lebanese/Syrian border.


HOWELL: Ben, thanks for the report. Israel is once again putting pressure on African asylum seekers to leave the country. On Sunday, authorities started handing out letters to illegal immigrants. The letters telling them that they have 60 days to voluntarily leave the country before deportation start. It's part of a growing crackdown on nearly 40,000 African migrants that are in that country.

CHURCH: Israel has rejected 14,000 asylum requests over the last decade while accepting only 33 according to the government which says most are just job seekers. Tens of thousands of requests have not been answered. A group of Israeli law experts sent a letter to the Attorney General saying Israel's deportation policy violates international norms. CNN Oren Liebermann takes us into the public battle for Israel's trades.

OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The map of (Johnny Goetam)'s journey is drawn in scars. The marks when he left there in Eritreathe beatings in Sinai and the wounds when he crossed into Israel where he's lived since 2009.

JOIHNNY GOETAM, ASYLUM SEEKER (via translator): I feel like I belong here because this is where I am. I placed my foot here. I am here. Hello.

LIEBERMANN: Goetam has built a life here but his life thousands of others here face deportation. He speaks to me in fluent Hebrew.

GOETAM: They don't want refugees here. They tell you, you're not a refugee. You just came for work. They just don't believe you.

LIEBERMANN: Israel has vowed to remove some 38,000 illegal immigrants within months offering to pay them to leave.

[02:40:06] Most of them are Eritrea and Sudan. Two of the biggest sources of refugees in the world. Fleeing war and poverty, they traveled north through Egypt turning east to pass through Sinai. More than a thousand crossed the border into Israel each month until Israeli army seal the route with a fence in 2013. The immigration authority here says it has received more than 50,000 asylum requests in the last decade. Some 3,600 from Eritrea have been rejected, just eight have been accepted. Less than one percent among the lowest rates in the western world. Israel calls them infiltrators.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: We're acting against illegal migrants who come here, not as refugees but for work needs. Israel will continue to offer asylum for genuine refugees and will remove illegal migrants from its midst.

LIEBERMANN: South Tel Aviv is ground zero for this fight. Sheffi Paz, a grassroots activist is on the frontline.

SHEFFI PAZ, ISRAEL ACTIVIST: We feel here completely, completely strangers. And it's the kind of like -- kind of occupation or invasion.

LIEBERMANN: We stroll around her neighborhood at night, the polished shine of the tech hub glimmers in the distance. She says this no longer feels like Israel and wants to see these recent arrivals returned to their countries. The vast majorly from countries, the U.S. labels human rights violators.

PAZ: I really need a Jewish country. And I am -- I am -- my parents were holocaust (INAUDIBLE) that's my conclusion from the holocaust. Not that they have to give -- to give home for the world the world but that they need to fight for my country.

LIEBERMANN: Others draw a different lesson from the holocaust. Reut Michaeli works to help Africans apply for asylum. Her parents entered British mandate in Palestine in 1941 illegally. She says a nation built by Jewish refugees cannot turn away others.

REUT MICHAELI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE HOTLINE, ADVOCATE FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES: Israel was one of the initiators of the refugee convention. And the fact that Israel will deport people to a third country without taking even a little, little piece of responsibility is not moral, not to mention that it's against our Jewish values as a refugee nation.

LIEBERMANN: In nearby Levinsky Park, I meet Awet Asheber from Eritrea. This is where Israel first brought many of those fleeing Eritrea and Sudan. Even after 10 years in Israel, Asheber's goal has never changed.

AWET ASHEBER, ASYLUM SEEKER (via translator): Tomorrow, the next day, it doesn't matter when. The day our country has peace, we will go back. That's what we're waiting for. But no one is going to bring us peace.

LIEBERMANN: As Israel has pressured these families to leave peace has been hard to find here. The Promised Land. It just wasn't promised to them. Oren Liebermann, CNN Tel Aviv.


HOWELL: Oren, thank you. Mexican authorities are describing a horrifying scene they encountered over the weekend. Nearly 200 migrants including 55 children all huddled together in two poorly ventilated trucks with no food, with no water. This video was shot after they were rescued.

CHURCH: Officials say the migrants came from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and were headed for the United States. Three people were arrested for human trafficking.

Well, after almost a week, the Kenyan government is still refusing to allow free T.V. stations back on the air. Activists warned the country's democracy is being undermined.

HOWELL: And for some viewers, it's not the Super Bowl that's the draw, it's the ads that are the big draw. Later, a look at the ones that are getting the most attention. The winners and losers on it. Stay with us.


[10:47:10] HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Activists are warning Kenya's democracy may be in danger. After almost a week, the Kenyan government is still refusing to allow three T.V. stations back on the air there.

CHURCH: The T.V. blackout started when the Kenyan oppositions swore in its leader as an alternative president. CNN's Farai Sevenzo, following the story live from Nairobi this hour. It's good to have you with us, Farai. Let's talk more about the next steps for this television's stations to get back on the air. What happens next?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, the television stations are really relying on a petition brought about by a citizen, Okiya Omtatah, who demanded to of the high court that his televisions be switched on as an individual. Because he told that this Article 33 and 34, that is a freedom of expression and the freedom of the media had been in freeze upon by this shutdown.

So, at the moment, we are waiting for the government to listen to the high court and put the T.V. stations on as the high court demanded just last Thursday at midday. Of course, they haven't done that on (INAUDIBLE) because there were four responses of the petition. Only they're information minister, the interior minister and the attorney general were served with those papers.

But the Kenya communications authority bluntly refused to accept this. In fact, the court servant -- well, we wait over to hand over the papers. We heard was arrested -- detained rather for three hours, his phone was (INAUDIBLE) and they -- somebody told him to go back where he came from and not to state foot of the communications authority again.

So, we are living here in a very antagonistic atmosphere between, a the government, b, the media and of course, now, c, the high court. We'll wait to see what developments happen today. But I have to tell you that on the sidelines, a several -- we are is several -- opposition I guess, had been arrested.

One, Miguna, Miguna, his lawyer, I spoke to five minutes as it was on to you George, say, he has no idea where this man is being held. They've been trying to find his whereabouts despite the fact the court gave them over 50,000 chilling bail to release him. He -- over the weekend, he has no one has seen or heard from him. So, it's desperately changed times at the moment in the Republic of Kenya, and we'll wait to see what this mandate will give us.

HOWELL: Farai Sevenzo, following the story live for us in Nairobi, Kenya. Thanks, Farai, and we'll stay in touch with you.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here but still to come, America's biggest football game is also one of the biggest showcases for advertisers.

HOWELL: Still ahead, some of the hits, some of the misses ahead on those advertisements as CNN NEWSROOM, pushes on.


[02:51:59] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Well, the time to talk weather across the Americas. I'm Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, and big story is the arctic here across the Midwestern United States. The cold air filtering in across the Southeastern U.S., and there is some snow pushing through with it as well. Very short lived small duration event there but places such as Chicago certainly could see some disruptions going into early Monday, and eventually to Tuesday, as well.

Notice the accumulations minimal but still disruptions possible out of a major hub like O'Hare across Chicago, or even Midway, as well. But notice, the cold air once it linger across the Northern States, the southern half of the country really begins to moderate out the next several days. Well, the forecast there is rather nice, 11 in Atlanta, looking at temps at around two in New York City. Different story or across Chicago highs at minus eight with evening snow showers in store.

And notice, it wants to stay cold for another day or so, and then we finally see a little bit of a break there, especially through midweek. New York City up to 6 degrees with dry conditions expected as we go in towards say Tuesday and Wednesday.

But how about into the Caribbean we go. Kingston, Jamaica upper 20's, Belize City looking at 28 with some showers possible, maybe in the afternoon hours across that region warms spot here will be pot at on at 31 degrees. Lima, a beautiful day, some clouds working away through the region. But 23 or so degrees, what we're looking at and of course, the heat of summer in Santiago, up to 31. Looking at for the month, coming in until 20's, even real (INAUDIBLE) is to the upper teens.


CHURCH: OK, a quick update now on Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL's champs beating the New England Patriots, 41-33 in Sunday night's record-breaking shoot-out.

HOWELL: Patriots were the defending champs, going for their sixth Super Bowl title. For the Eagles, this is their first.

CHURCH: Now, the global stage of the Super Bowl is irresistible to big dollar advertisers. Every year, they spend millions to reach the game's massive audience. But reviews to this year's ads, pretty lukewarm effect.

HOWELL: Some critics wish for more humor and edginess. Here's a quick look at some that got attention. A combo Doritos and Mountain dew ad had Game of Thrones after Peter Dinklage in a fire and ice rap battle with Morgan Freeman. Listen.


MISSY ELLIOTT, AMERICAN RAPPER: Quiet! Hush your mouth. I call your mother, you can't stop me now. Look into me now --


HOWELL: And they lip-synced to post the rhymes of Missy Elliott.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.


[02:54:59] CHURCH: Now dodge got swift criticism online for using a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in a truck ad, but the manager of the King state severe full message of the ad embodied King's message of greatness being achieved by serving office.

HOWELL: Well, Super Bowl weekend is not complete without the chicken wings. And they are stapled food of any good party.

CHURCH: yes, and this year, the National Chicken Council predicted Americans would eat 1.35 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend, that's up 20 million from last year. If laid into end, that's enough wings to circle the earth three times. That's incredible.

HOWELL: You like the chicken wings? Then you --

CHURCH: No, actually. Not enough meat on this.

HOWELL: You got exactly, it's not enough. Well, thanks for being with us for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM, I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM continues after this very short break. Don't go anyway.


HOWELL: The U.S. President Donald Trump, calls the release of a controversial memo --