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All Eyes to South Korea's Winter Olympics; Jay Lee of Samsung Walks Out of Prison; Philadelphia Eagles Won the Super Bowl; World Headlines; Conflict in Syria; Israel Hands Out Deportation Notices to African Migrants; Kenya Crackdown; Super Bowl 52. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired February 5, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. President Donald Trump calls the release of a controversial memo total vindication. But lawmakers even on Mr. Trump's own party openly disagree with that.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Plus risking everything to escape Syria. We take a look at the desperate and often deadly toll in taking a chance for life.
HOWELL: Also ahead this hour, underdogs making history. The Philadelphia Eagles win their very first Super Bowl title. Wow.
CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and of course, all around the world. We are live in Atlanta. I'm Rosemary Church.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN world headquarters. Newsroom starts right now.
Looking ahead to this week, democrats are pushing to release their own memo, a rebuttal after days of fallout over a republican memo on the Russia investigation.
CHURCH: The republican document claims that the FBI abused its surveillance authority to target an adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
CNN's Boris Sanchez has the very latest.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We hear 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 that 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 the Nunes memo has nothing to do with the Russia investigation and should not prevent Robert Mueller from continuing his work.
I want to play sound for you now from South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The memo has no impact on the Russia probe?
TREY GOWDY, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: No, not to me, it doesn't. And I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now that staement 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 the validity of the Nunes memo and its implication on the Russia investigation, it would be Trey Gowdy.
Now democrats are pushing for the release of the so-called Schiff 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, travelling with the president in West Palm Beach, Florida.
HOWELL: All right. Boris Sanchez with the reporting. Let's get some context now with Scott Lucas. Scott, a professor of international politics at University of Birmingham, live via Skype this hour from Birmingham, England. It's good to have you with us. Scott is always here on the show.
Let's talk about what the democrats will be pressing to do this week to get that memo released of their own to offer counterpoints to the Nunes memo. The House intelligence committee will consider whether to declassify it. But at the end of the day, Scott, it's up to the White House to
release this memo. It comes down to the president. How likely do you think it is for the president to give this OK?
SCOTT LUCAS, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Well, he and his allies are in a bit of a jam because they've overplayed their hand. Let's be clear. The Nunes memo was an attempt to end the Russia investigation. That's what Donald Trump said on Saturday when he called it witch hunt when he said that the FBI was a disgrace.
Republicans yesterday were scrambling to walk that back. Because secondly, the Nunes memo is so badly flawed, even without being the democratic rebuttal. It is so riddled with omissions and mistakes that if I had a student present it to me as an essay, I'd give him an f and kick his or her back outside of the door.
But that means republicans, including as you heard Trey Gowdy from the House intelligence committee, are saying maybe we need to see the democratic response.
[03:05:01] And of course the Russia investigation will continue. When this gets to Donald Trump and when it gets to his advisers, who have been trying for months, not just this past week, but for months to end the investigation, and have even compared intelligence agencies to Nazis in an effort to do that, will Trump accept what will in effect be a defeat for his campaign? Will he raise the stakes even higher by blocking the memo?
HOWELL: I want to talk about the optics of this Republican Party at odds with each other about this memo. The president claims its total vindication and ultimately casts the investigation as biased from the start. His own colleagues, though, say it has no bearing on the investigation. Many of them even downplaying the significance at this point.
LUCAS: Well, that's because a shotgun was fired and it missed. It was very much intended by Devin Nunes, who's an ally of Trump's, who was on his Trump transition team, when he drew up the memo with his staff, that they wanted to discredit the FBI, the Justice Department, and special counsel Robert Mueller.
And that's why you had Trump and Trump Jr. on Saturday saying, we've succeeded, we've done it. That's why Fox News and Breitbart, allies of the president, we're saying the same thing on Saturday. But the problem is that because the memo didn't stand up for a lot of people who know what they're talking about, and because the attack is so serious, because you are talking about either Trump wins or the FBI wins.
That by Sunday, it's like, OK, maybe this battle isn't going the way that we want. And so what you had are republicans trying to protect themselves.
They're still saying that they have worries about the process by which the surveillance of Carter Page was obtained, they're trying to hold that ground. But on the wider ground, especially the firing of Robert Mueller, they are dancing back as fast as they can.
HOWELL: All right. So, you know, we've been talking a lot about the micro of this memo. We just hope that people can follow the details.
There's a lot to it. It's confusing for a lot of folks. So I'm trying to make sure all of that's clear. Let's talk though about the macro here. Let's talk about the big picture.
With regards to these institutions that conduct investigations, the FBI, the Department of Justice, both agencies that are feeling the heat and the president's son have this to say about them feeling that heat, let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: There is a little bit of sweet revenge in it for me and certainly probably the family in the sense that if they wouldn't have done this, this stuff would be going on. This would be going on at the highest levels of government. They'd be continuing to do it to my father, trying to undermine his actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Scott, the question here, under a president who campaigned as the law and order president, what does this type of pressure do to these agencies? Does it cause damage?
LUCAS: It's not just the agencies, George, it's the entire U.S. system. I want to be clear here. The last time we were in this position was in the 1970s during Watergate. When Richard Nixon tried to curb the FBI, make it provide his information, when he fired the special prosecutor, Archibald Cox when he put pressure on other intelligence agencies like the CIA. Just to be quiet. Now, he failed.
More than 40 years later, we have got a position where Trump is saying that -- you know, apart from a token reference to rank and file, you can't trust anyone in the FBI, you can't trust anyone in the Justice Department. You and his allies are saying there's a deep state coup against me.
Now that goes well beyond what we saw even 40 years ago. And the difference now is, is that some republicans -- in the 1970s the republicans stood up to Nixon and said, we've got to investigate this.
Some republicans are still allied with Trump, and that accusation which is, we will take the FBI down, we will take the Justice Department down, if that is what is necessary to keep this man in the White House.
This is a constitutional crisis, George. Now I want to be clear about this. It's not going to end tomorrow, next week, even next month. But this is a crisis, and we are in it for the long haul.
HOWELL: All right, Scott Lucas with your analysis on this, thank you so much for being with us and pushing through. I can hear you've got the voice going on. It happens to me too, you get some water and we'll be in touch with you, friend, thank you.
LUCAS: Thank you.
CHURCH: A surprise twist in what was South Korea's trial of the century.
HOWELL: An appeals court has suspended the sentence of former Samsung chief Jay Lee. He walked out of jail earlier to be processed out, and less than a year after being sentenced for bribery and corruption. Lee's case put a spotlight on corrupt deals between huge companies and the government.
CHURCH: Paula Newton joins us now from Seoul, South Korea with all the details on this. So, Paula, how was Jay Y. Lee able to walk out of prison at this time?
PAULA NEWTON, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, this was really an appeals court ruling that as you say has stunned this country really and many in the business world. I think you have to think there isn't much that can throw the Olympics and North Korea off the top headlines here. And this story certainly has.
[03:09:57] I mean, this man had been sentenced to five years in prison. He'd already served close to a year for really what was the South Korean scandal of epic proportions. The reason that is also embroiled and brought down eventually the former president here, Park Geun-hye, she remains in prison right now.
What's so interesting here is the fact that he had a few of those indictments were thrown out, another sentence was reduced. He has a suspended sentence for four years, which means that if he doesn't get in any more trouble he doesn't have to go on any kind of probation or anything like that, he has been set free.
Technically, we don't know if he's left prison yet or the courthouse. But this will really stun many in South Korea. Because they thought when this top figure -- you have to think, he is the heir of one of the largest fortunes in the world. And that empire that we have seen grow year after year after year. Samsung, which is the very picture of South Korean progress and the economy for the last few decades.
You know, this was the heir to all of that. And here he was sitting in prison. I should say as well, Rosemary, Samsung says they do not have official comment but referred us, very interesting, refer us to the defense team for Lee.
Saying that they were happy, of course with this reduced sentence and the fact that he was set free, and have yet to even refer this case to the Supreme Court, which they will continue to do for look -- to look for even more remedy in this case.
So a lot of reaction still coming out. This just came out the next few hours. And even reaction on social media. You can imagine it has been quite divided. But some saying that they believe that the ruling against Lee should stand and they wonder what the judge's motives in all this could have been. CHURCH: Yes, and the irony being here he was sentenced to prison for
bribery and corruption. We will look into this a little more, of course, in the hours ahead. Paula Newton joining us from Seoul in South Korea. Many thanks to you.
The eyes and the ears of the world will be on Pyeongchang in South Korea this weekend for the opening of the Winter Olympic Games. The athletes are already arriving in South Korea, but the action behind the scenes has already begun.
HOWELL: Namely politics and diplomacy. North Korea is sending its ceremonial head of state. The United States is sending the vice president as well to be in attendance.
CHURCH: And our Paula Hancocks is in Pyeongchang following all the action. She joins us again now live. So Paula, we talked last hour about all of the symbolism, diplomacy on display ahead of the games.
Let's talk about the significance of North Korea sending its ceremonial head of state to the Winter Olympics in South Korea and the signal that that sends.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Rosemary, it's certainly significant that Kim Yong-nam is going to be coming here to South Korea. He is, as you say the ceremonial leader of North Korea. You are not likely to have the actual North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, coming here. So he is really the closest thing to the leader.
He often represents Kim Jong-un when it comes to overseas trips. Because as you know the North Korean leader doesn't travel. Since he has taken power, he has not left North Korea, as far as we know.
So, certainly, it's showing that North Korea's taking this seriously. They are sending a VIP to South Korea. He may well have other people within the delegation as well. He's really the only one that has been named at this point.
But also interesting to point out that it almost had to be someone like him, because there are a number of other names that you could suggest would come down. But of course they're close to the leader, they have been blacklisted or they have been sanctioned.
So, Kim Yong-nam is really one of those that hasn't been sanctioned at this point. So he is able to travel to come here. But it does show that North Korea's taking this seriously, at least the opening ceremony part of it.
CHURCH: Indeed. Let's turn to the logistics. We know that South Korea has been working the snow-making machines since November. So how's that been going? I look at that backdrop there, it doesn't look like there's a lot of snow around.
HANCOCKS: There's really not, Rosemary. I mean, on the slopes themselves, you can see the slopes behind me, they won't be used for the actual Olympics. But for the last few weeks, months, in fact, you have seen snow-making machines on most mountaintops.
Because they have been feverishly trying to make sure that there is enough snow to actually allow this Winter Olympics to take place. I mean, it's not a problem that South Korea alone has had. You have the same in Sochi in Russia, you had it in Vancouver in Canada.
I mean, it seems to be a recurring problem that at the Winter Olympics there's not enough snow. We will be talking about this for weeks to come.
But I did speak to one of the main snow-making companies. They said that they'd been, as you said, they'd started mid-November to try and make sure she had enough in time. And by January, by mid-January, they thought that they had enough. So they stopped making snow. They're not making it anymore.
[03:14:57] So, they seem confident that there is enough. But of course, when you look at the landscape, there's not the blankets of white that you would maybe expect when you're talking about the Winter Olympics.
CHURCH: I guess we'll see what happens, right. Proof is in the pudding as they say. Paula Hancocks joining us from Pyeongchang where it is 5.15 in the early evening. Many thanks.
HOWELL: It's not only athletics at the games, there is also some controversy to talk about. Fifteen Russian team members will not be allowed to compete, even though a sports arbitration court lifted their lifetime ban.
CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is live in Moscow with the details. Fred, what is the reaction there to this?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: George, certainly is some reaction that is coming in from Russian politicians, from Russian officials, also from Russian athletes as well.
If we just go through it, many of them are saying that they believe this is unfair. However, some of the athletes are saying they're not really surprised by this decision by the International Olympic Committee.
There's one senior lawmaker from Russia's Duma, the House of parliament who is responsible of youth culture and sports affairs, and he's called this decision inexplicable. He said that Russian politicians are actually in touch with some of the Russian winter sports federations to try and make sure that the interests of Russian athletes who still want to go and participate in these Olympics are being protected by Russia.
But of course, one of the things that the Russians are saying, there really is very little time left. We're discussing here the Olympics are less than a week away.
So, certainly, time is running out for these athletes. There's also some athletes who have also commented on this, on Russian state news wires. And they said that they're not really surprised by this decision, they still think that it is unfair.
And basically they're saying they believe it shows the IOC does not really think that the decision by the court of arbitration in sports is valid and is questioning that decision, and therefore has decided to not invite these athletes.
Now, of course, they can still try to appeal, they can still try to make it to the games. But you know, as we've been saying, time certainly is not on their side. As we move closer to the Olympic Games there in South Korea.
So, by and large, what we can see by these reactions pouring in, that the Russians are disappointed, some of them very angry. Like for instance, the spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry who said the IOC should be checked for doping, on one of her Facebook posts, which she does do a lot of.
But there is certainly a great deal of disappointment and anger here coming from Moscow at this decision. Now a lot of Russian politicians, after we had that verdict last week, that these athletes were deemed to not have been proven to be guilty of doping, a lot of them really thought that maybe some of these athletes could participate in the upcoming games.
And certainly it seems as though the IOC has poured some cold water on any thought that the Russian athletes might be able to make it, George.
HOWELL: Again, Fred, 15 Russian team members not allowed to compete even though a sports arbitration court lifted their lifetime ban. Thank you for the reporting and we'll stay in touch for more reaction there, Fred.
Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, the NFL's big game did not disappoint. Patriots and the Eagles battled for the championship in a thrilling record-breaking Super Bowl.
CHURCH: Plus new clues as to what may have caused the latest Amtrak train crash in the United States. The fault in less than two months. We're back in just a moment with that.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN newsroom. The NFL has a new champion. The Philadelphia Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl title, taking down Tom Brady and the defending champs, the New England Patriots.
Our Andy Scholes is in Minneapolis where the game took place. It's cold there, Andy. Let's make this quick. I know the game went right down to the last minute. The Eagles pulled it off. Tell us about it.
ANDY SCHOLES, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. George, I tell you what, this is going to go down as one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all-time. The Eagles and Patriots just trading haymakers back and forth all game long. Both teams pulling out all the stops. The Eagles right before halftime
coming through with one of the best tricks you'll see in the Super Bowl. Their quarterback, Nick Foles, sneaks out of the backfield here and actually catches a touchdown pass.
Now the Eagles were leading this game for much of it until the fourth quarter, when Tom Brady led a comeback, took the lead. But then Nick Foles came right back. Found Zach Ertz for this touchdown right here. That put the Eagles up for good.
Tom Brady would have one last chance at a Hail Mary but it would be unsuccessful. Nick Foles, the guy who was the backup quarterback to start the year, he actually contemplated retiring from the game of football just a few years ago. But boy, I'm guessing he's glad he didn't, he was named your Super Bowl MVP. And our own Coy Wire caught up with him after the games.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK FOWLES, SUPER BOWL MVP: So much is going on right now. But just being in this moment, being with these guys. It's so good when I get to be with my teammates and family. Just to be a part of this, to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles organization, and to be part of the first world championship. We're very blessed. It's an unbelievable feeling. I mean, and honestly right now it's all soaking in. It's unbelievable.
TOM BRADY, FOOTBALL PLAYER, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Losing sucks. But that's part of -- you show up, you try to win. Sometimes you lose, that's the way it goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES All kinds of records were broken in Super Bowl 52. The teams combining for 1,151 yards on offense. That's the most for any NFL game ever. Regular season or playoffs by Nick Foles as we showed you, he caught a touchdown pass and threw three. He's the first player ever to catch and throw a touchdown in Super Bowl history.
And Tom Brady's the first player ever to lose an NFL game when throwing for 500 yards, three touchdowns, and not throwing an interception.
And George, you know, it's kind of hard to feel bad for Tom Brady, he's already won five Super Bowls, he's married to a supermodel. But I kind of feel bad for him after this game because he had one of the most epic games a quarterback has ever had in football history, and he lost.
HOWELL: I think you set it up pretty well there, Andy. OK. So people are talking about the game, they're also talking about the halftime show.
[03:24:58] Justin Timberlake performed and even paid a special tribute to the host city, Minneapolis, with this moment. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Minneapolis, Minnesota, this one's for you!
(JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE PERFORMING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The legend, prince. Minneapolis Native there. Though, the reaction to this was mixed, I guess, depending where you were, Andy?
SCHOLES: Yes, that's exactly right, George. You know, people in the stadium, at least the ones sitting around me and myself, we thought that was a pretty touching tribute. And then we thought Justin Timberlake's performance was pretty awesome.
You know, the visuals were great. He sang all of his hits and even went into the stands and sang with the fans, he took a couple selfies with a young kid, we thought it was pretty good. And then, of course, you go look on social media and the reaction's mixed. You can't always please everyone.
Some of the criticisms of the performance, George, were as that there was no cameos, there was no surprise appearances from any other big popular artist which we've seen in Super Bowls past. So, that left a few people disappointed with it.
HOWELL: In a freezing Minneapolis, Minnesota, our Andy Scholes, fellow Texan pushing through, giving us the very latest there, thank you so much, Andy.
SCHOLES: All right, George.
HOWELL: Unfortunately, the celebrations in Philadelphia gave way to vandalism in parts of the city. We've seen at least one car that was flipped over. Look at that.
CHURCH: Yes. And the mayor's office says fans have smashed windows and torn down light poles and there's a report of a gas station being looted. Some injuries have been reported. Hard to understand, isn't it.
HOWELL: It is.
CHURCH: All right. Well, investigators believe they may know what caused yet another deadly Amtrak crash in the United States. This one, in South Carolina.
HOWELL: The state's governor says the train appears to have been on the wrong track when it collided with a freight train. This happened early Sunday. The accident killed two people, it injured 116 others.
CHURCH: In December, an Amtrak train derailed in Washington State, hurtling off an overpass, killing three people.
All right. We'll take a short break here. But still to come, Turkey responds to deadly attacks against its troops in Syria. We'll have a live report from the region. That's ahead.
HOWELL: Plus, thousands of migrants want asylum in Israel, instead, they're being offered cash and a plane ticket to leave. Why Israel's government wants them out.
Stay with us as Newsroom pushes on.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.
Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee may vote on Monday to release their response to the Republicans' Memo, a memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. The U.S. president, Donald Trump, claims the document totally vindicates him in the Russia investigation, though some Republicans are downplaying the memo's impact and disagree with him.
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 the NFL's title game. The Patriots and Tom Brady were the defending champs trying for their sixth Super Bowl win. It wasn't to be.
HOWELL: Security extremely tight in Belgium as the only surviving suspect in the Paris terror attacks goes on trial. Salah Abdeslam is accused in a shooting or shoot-out in Brussels before his arrest in a raid. He'll be tried later for the gun and bombing attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in 2015.
CHURCH: 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 Turkish 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: The Kurdish YPG says this video that you see here, that it shows that missile attack, though CNN cannot yet independently verify the video that you see. Turkey sees the YPG as terrorists, but the militia are also a key U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS. Turkey's president had this warning for whoever is supplying them with weapons. Listen.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Ben Wedeman is tracking events in Syria from neighboring Lebanon. He joins us now live from Beirut. Ben, another story that we've been focusing on. I want to hear from you the latest information you might have on that Russian warplane that was shot down Saturday and what has happened since then.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was an SU- 25 Russian aircraft that was shot down. It's not clear by what, by whom, but certainly what we've seen as a result of it is an intensification of Russian and Syrian attacks on Idlib province in northwestern Syria.
This is really the last major pocket of anti-regime territory. And it really has been the focus of this intensification, certainly after the shooting down of that SU-25 on Saturday evening. And really, the situation there is desperate in terms of the civilians who are in a sense caught between a rock and a hard place, this intensifying Russian-Syrian offensive in the area.
And also, we must admit that many of the Syrian factions in that part of the country are hardline, to say the least, among them what is known as the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham which is the al Qaeda affiliate even though they deny any more connections with al Qaeda, operates in that area.
So the continuing plight of the civilians in that part of Syria really underscores why here in Lebanon, we continue to see desperate Syrians risking their lives to cross the border into this country.
WEDEMAN (voice over): Michon (ph) tries to distract his 3-year-old daughter, Sara (ph), recovering in a Lebanese hospital.
[03:35:00] Sara (ph) is all he has left. The rest of his family, his wife Manal (ph) and 5-year-old daughter Hiba (ph), froze to death along with 15 other Syrians while crossing the mountains into Lebanon in a snowstorm at night. Michon (ph) has been working in Lebanon for the last 2-1/2 years.
They were dropped off by a 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.
Michon (ph) shows me on his phone pictures he downloaded of his wife as she was found, cradling their daughter Hiba (ph), his mother, and his brother's family -- all frozen to death.
Sara (ph) has just come out of an operation on her frost-bitten 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.
(on camera): The snows 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.
(voice over): It's safer in Lebanon, but life for the nearly one million Syrians who have fled here is hard, ever harder in winter in these makeshift camps.
Perhan's (ph) wife, Patty (ph), is ill. Sickness is but one of the perils in their leaky, cold shelter. Vermin another, he tells me. There's everything here, says Perhan (ph). "Things I've never seen before, rats, mice, everything."
Mona (ph) 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, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL (through translator): Walking across the mountains and taking days to cross the mountains in the middle of winter are a testament to that, the fact that Syria is not safe. Until Syria is safe, until there's a lasting peace, people should not be going back to Syria.
WEDEMAN (voice over): And in this cold, wet, and bleak existence, the day when Syria is safe again seems an eternity away.
WEDEMAN: And as we're seeing with this fighting in northwestern Syria, indeed, Syria, even though the opposition is increasingly pushed into a corner of the country, Syria is not a safe country.
CHURCH: It most certainly isn't. These heartbreaking stories, they're tough to tell. Ben Wedeman, we thank you, coming from Beirut there with that story, appreciate it.
HOWELL: Now, to Israel. The nation is handing out deportation notices focused on African asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.
CHURCH: Yes, the government is hoping to crack down on nearly 40,000 migrants in the country. Some have begun receiving letters that they have 60 days to leave in exchange for $3,500 and an airfare.
HOWELL: CNN's Oren Liebermann across the story live for us in Jerusalem this hour. Oren, the message is pretty straightforward, take the money, get the plane ticket, and get out. How is that being received?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've now spoken with both Eritrean asylum seekers and asylum applicants as well as Sunnis and many of them say they'd rather go to prison. They don't feel that what Israel promises as a safe third country really is safe for them. Plus, that's not their home, whether it's Rwanda, Uganda, or any other country. So, for them, the obvious answer is prison.
Israel has had some 14,000 asylum applicants rejected over the last decade, with only 33 accepted. That makes Israel's rate of accepting asylum seekers one of the lowest in the western world with tens of thousands of applications still unanswered.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): The map of Johnny Goitem's (ph) journey is drawn in scars. The marks when he left Eritrea, the beatings in Sinai, and the wounds when he crossed into Israel where he's lived since 2009.
JOHNNY GOITEM (ph), ASYLUM SEEKER (through translator): I feel like I belong here because this is where I am. I placed my foot here, I am here.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): Goitem (ph) has built a life here, but his family, like thousands of others here, face deportation. He speaks to me in fluent Hebrew.
GOITEM (ph) (through translator): 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 (voice over): Israel has vowed to remove
[03:40:00] some 38,000 illegal immigrants within months, offering to pay them to leave. Most are from 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 Isreal each month until the Israeli army sealed the roof 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 had been accepted, less than one percent, among the lowest rates in the western world. Israel calls them "infiltrators."
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): We are not acting against refugees. We are 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 (voice over): South Tel Aviv is ground zero for this fight and Sheffi Paz, a grassroots activist, is on the front line.
SHEFFI PAZ, GRASSROOTS ACTIVIST: We feel here completely, complete strangers. (INAUDIBLE) of luck kind of occupation or invasion --
LIEBERMANN (voice over): 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 return to their countries. The vast majority from countries the U.S. labels human rights violators.
PAZ: I need a Jewish country. And I am -- I am -- my parents were holocaust survivors. That's my conclusion from the holocaust. Not that they have to give a home for the world, but that they need to fight for my country.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): Others draw a different lesson from the holocaust. Rault (ph) Michaeli works to help Africans apply for asylum. Her parents entered British mandate of Palestine in 1941 illegally. She says a nation built by Jewish refugees cannot turn away others.
RAULT (ph) MICHAELI, ACTIVIST 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, lit bit of responsibility is not moral, not to mention that it's against our Jewish values as a refugee nation.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): In nearby Levinsky Park, I met Awat Asheber from Eritrea. This is where Israel first brought many of those fleeing Eritrea and Sudan. Even at 10 years in Israel, Asheber's goal has never changed.
AWAT ASHEBER, ASYLUM SEEKER: Tomorrow, the next day, it doesn't matter when. The day our country has peace, we will go back. That's what we are waiting for, but no one is going to bring us peace.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): As Israel has pressured these families to live, peace has been hard to find here in the promised land. It just wasn't promised to them.
LIEBERMANN: The government says it will only be deporting single men, that it won't be deporting women, children or families, but they haven't put forward an estimate on how much that number is. Meanwhile, they have added workers to process those tens of thousands of unanswered asylum applications.
In the meantime, there have been a number of groups who have come out against Israel's deportation policy that include holocaust survivors, academics, authors, legal experts, and more. George?
HOWELL: A lot of nuance to this story. Oren Liebermann covering the details and reports, thank you so much for your time.
CHURCH: Let's take a short break here. But after almost a week, the Kenyan government is still refusing to allow free TV stations back on the air.
HOWELL: Still to come, activists fear that country's democracy is being undermined.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Global markets are keeping with the downward trend, started Friday in the United States. You'll recall on Friday that the Dow lost 2.5 percent, losing just over 665 points. The strong U.S. jobs report stokes fears of inflation along with higher interest rates.
CHURCH: So let's take a look at where the Asia markets finished. The Nikkei closed down 2.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite gained nearly three-quarter of a percent, and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng lost nearly one percent.
HOWELL: And let's check the European markets. The FTSE in London, the DAX Germany and the CAC 40 in Paris all down around one percent.
CHURCH: Activists are concerned about Kenya's democracy and political stability. After almost a week, the Kenyan government is still refusing to allow three TV stations back on the air.
HOWELL: The TV blackout started when the Kenyan opposition swore in its leader as an alternative president.
CHURCH: CNN's Farai Sevenzo joins us now live from Nairobi. So, Farai, what is the next step for these TV stations? How can they get back on the air?
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, they have to rely on a private petition, a petition brought about by a private citizen, Mr. Okiya Omtatah, for that to be implemented. The communications authority of Kenya have to be served with a court demand that these TV stations, as you said, six days ago, they were told -- they switched off the stations on Thursday.
They were told to put them back on, and there's been no activity at all, blank screens with a sign "no signal" or scrambled signal. And the TV stations are trying to see if there's a way forward.
Now, there's something else going on in the sidelines of this particular period of TV shutdowns which is that even as we go into Mr. Kenyatta's second term, the atmosphere has become as toxic as it was six months ago when Kenya first held elections in August 2017, and then again in October.
And we're hearing reports that opposition people have been arrested. And at the moment as I speak to you, there's a civil rights march with the hashtag "Not In My Name" at Uhuru Park, people complaining about this. All over Twitter.
One man writes, I can't remember the last time I saw Kenyans across a divide this united against government actions. The world is shocked, the message is clear. Obey court orders and free opposition people. So we're heading into sort of unfamiliar territory for Kenya but it's certainly becoming much more contentious.
CHURCH: Yes, certainly a worry where this all might be going. Farai Sevenzo joining us live from Nairobi, where it's coming up to midday, we thank you very much.
HOWELL: Still ahead, brutally cold temperatures greeted fans of the Super Bowl in Minneapolis on Sunday. CHURCH: But now that the party is over, is the cold going to leave with it? The forecast, when we come back.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS BROADCASTER: I'm Vince Cellini with your CNN World Sport headlines. The Philadelphia Eagles celebrating their first Super Bowl championship, knocking off the defending champion New England Patriots in absolute thriller.
Quarterback Nick Foles who wasn't even a starter until late of the season was the game's MVP, throwing for 373 yards in three touchdowns, even catching a score just before halftime. Tom Brady and the Patriots failed in their quest for a record-tying sixth Super Bowl win when their Hail Mary past attempts fail incomplete.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane celebrating 100th Premier League goals today and he will never forget how he got there. Kane scored a penalty late in injury-time to (INAUDIBLE) a dramatic two all draw against Liverpool but it came just minutes after he had another penalty say (ph). It means that Spurs remained fifth in the table, two points and two places behind the Reds.
And in Rugby Six Nations Championship, England have kicked off defense of their title with comfortable win against Italy and Rome. This was not a game they would have expected to lose. They always beat the Italians particularly impressive right from the start. A memorable Six Nations debut for number eight Sam Simmons as England run away with it in the second half. He is fourth twice. England won by 46-15.
And that is a look at your sports headlines. I'm Vince Cellini.
CHURCH: A quick update now on Super Bowl 52. In case you hadn't heard, the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL's champs. They beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Sunday night's record-breaking shoot-out.
HOWELL: What a game. The Patriots defending champs going for their sixth Super Bowl title. For the Eagles, this is their very first.
CHURCH: Wow. The U.S. mid-west is in the midst of some of the coldest temperatures of the season. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is keeping an eye on this at the World Weather Center. When is it going to warm up a little bit?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, we're in the heart of it right now, in the thick of things, so it's going to be at least another week and a half or so before we see a little improvement here.
But, look at this. We're talking about the coldest Super Bowl temps as far as exterior temps are concerned. Of course, this game, Super Bowl 52, was indoors. Look at this, two degrees with the game time temperature, coldest all-time.
What's interesting is top four goes between Detroit and Minneapolis, number five Atlanta, a year from right now it is back in Atlanta, can very well push New Orleans out of the mix and put it as Atlanta being three cities there, part of three cities that hold the coldest temperatures for a Super Bowl Sunday.
But climatologically, you look at your calendar, late January, early February in North America, that is when you expect the thermometer to really drop to its lowest point. And that is precisely what is happening, hence why when they design a Super Bowl venue, they make sure it's indoors because look at the arctic air and look at everything, try to move along,
[03:55:00] the arctic air is in place there for at least the next seven days. In fact, the really good way to look at it as Chicago's seven-day forecast, 18 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, three degrees into the overnight hours. Follow it seven days out and see what happens, after a little moderation comes to 20 and 3.
So, again, shows you we're stuck in the heart of winter here across parts of the mid-western U.S. where four million people underneath windchill advisories, 25 to 35 below zero what it feels like outside. In fact, such wind chills, it only takes a matter of 25 or so minutes of exposed skin to cause permanent damage to your skin, frostbite to set in.
Certainly dangerous to go across some of these regions that we know. Of course, a lot of folks getting out of the venue there in Minneapolis after Super Bowl 52, quickly getting inside again because that is exactly what you have to do this time of year.
But there is a storm system on the move bringing some snow across parts of the mid-western U.S. right around the evening rush hours. That's something we're watching here. You notice the wind chills this morning 15, 12 below in Chicago, working way through Detroit, sits right around zero as well.
Really quickly, leave you with what's happening across Moscow. They've seen some impressive weather as well. Historic snowstorm there brought down 43 centimeters or 17 inches of snow, the greatest total amount in one day. It caused big-time disruptions, but improving conditions in store the next couple days.
CHURCH: All right, thanks for that, even though they're horrible temperatures. Thanks, Pedram.
HOWELL: Thanks, Pedram.
CHURCH: And thanks for watching "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. For our viewers here in the United States, "Early Start" is up next. For viewers around the world, the news continues with our colleague Kristie Lu Stout live from Hong Kong. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.
CHURCH: Have a great day.
[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)