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North Korean Parades Missiles; Pence Reignites Controversy with Gay Olympian; More Snow, Ice and Rain Hit U.S.; Philly Celebrates with Parade; Father Facing Deportation. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired February 8, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:59] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news right now. South Korea's president says he will meet with the sister of North Korean -- of the North Korean dictator. This comes as Kim Jong-un is parading hundreds of missiles in Pyongyang ahead of the start of the Olympic games tomorrow.

Will Ripley is live in Seoul with all of these breaking details for us.

What have you learned, Will?


Well, we saw those new pictures come in overnight of this massive North Korean military parade. We saw more known intercontinental ballistic missiles displayed than we've ever seen at one time before. This includes the Hwasong-14 and 15, the intercontinental ballistic missiles that were first tested last year in July and later in November. Missiles that North Korea claims could hit the mainland United States.

The intent of this parade, sources tell us, was to try to demonstrate North Korea's ability to mass produce the kind of weapons that could take aim at the U.S. if a war were to envelope. But the scale of this parade, according to South Korean government sources, is actually considerably smaller than what they believed we were going to see. Apparently many more mockups were prepared than were actually unveiled in Kim Il-Sung Square.

One of the possible reasons for the reduction in size of the number of missiles, North Korea having a very hard time getting the type of transporters that are needed to carry the missiles because of international sanctions. Those transporters require things like large wheels, which ironically are harder for North Korea to get than the missile components themselves because North Korea says those missiles are produced domestically.


CAMEROTA: Hey, Will, explain to us what's going on with this feud of some kind between Vice President Pence in Seoul and this gay American Olympian.

RIPLEY: Well, this is Adam Rippon, the men's figure skater, who's had a very public, political spat with the vice president stemming from an interview he gave with "USA Today" last month where he said he doesn't think the vice president should be representing the United States due to the fact that he is known to oppose the LGBT community, even giving a statement back in 2000 that led many to believe he supports gay conversion therapy.

Now, the vice president, according to "USA Today," tried to arrange a meeting with Rippon after this article came out. The figure skater turned him down, said he wasn't interested in talking until perhaps after the Olympics. Rippon, and also men's freestyle skier, Gus Kenworthy, also saying that they have no desire to meet with President Trump at the White House after the Olympics, as is custom.

Now, the vice president is firing back. He's tweeting about this, basically calling it fake news. Let me get that tweet pulled up for you so I can read it here. It says -- actually, I lost the tweet. So I'm trying to find it on the screen here because my notes --

CAMEROTA: I have it. I want you to know -- I can read it for you if you want.

RIPLEY: There we go. All right. Yes, there it is.

CAMEROTA: OK, go ahead, Will. Oh, you --

RIPLEY: OK, I want you to know that we are for you. Don't let fake news distract you. I'm proud of you and all of our great athletes. And my only hope for you and all of Team USA is to bring home the gold. Go get 'em.

Yes, it just deleted from my screen here, but that is the latest from the vice president. So clearly he's firing back against these reports. Doesn't want the world to think that he doesn't support LGBT athletes at the Olympics despite what they're saying.

CAMEROTA: OK, Will, thank you very much.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The problem for him is he shouldn't have said it back in 2000 and he shouldn't have been so strong for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as governor of Indiana in 2015. We're going to have more on this controversy.

[06:35:10] There really is no controversy in terms of what the truth is. The controversy is in how the vice president is handling it. We're going to talk to the reporter behind the story, next.


CUOMO: The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, reignited a feud with an openly gay U.S. figure skater ahead of tomorrow's opening ceremonies in South Korea. "USA Today" is reporting that the vice president tried to set up a meeting with Olympic skater Adam Rippon last month after the skater was critical of Mr. Pence leading the U.S. delegation saying, quote, you mean Mike Pence, the same Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I'm not buying it.

The skater appears to be referencing a statement from Pence's 2000 congressional campaign website that read, resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

And, of course, Pence, as governor of Indiana, was a big proponent of the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially allowed people to use religion to avoid laws mandating equal treatment of the LGBT community.

We spoke with the "USA Today" reporter behind the story earlier this morning, CNN Sports analyst Christine Brennan.

Christine Brennan, it is not the Olympics without you. It is great to have you, as always

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Thanks, Chris. Great to be with you.

CUOMO: Good. So this is a story where we have to get the facts and then deal with the implications. There is a dispute starting with the vice president of the United States about what happened here. Give us the facts as you reported them.

BRENNAN: On January 16th, I had a telephone interview with Adam Rippon, who had just made the U.S. Olympic team. Actually, at the time, the first openly gay athlete to be a winter Olympian from the United States.

[06:40:05] And in the course of the interview, I asked Adam about Mike Pence being the delegation head -- leading the delegation for the opening ceremonies. And Adam did not hold back. And he said, you mean Mike Pence, the man who funds gay conversion therapy? I'm not buying it. And then he launched into quite an attack on not only the vice president but the president of the United States, Chris.

I quoted him and the story appeared on the early afternoon of January 17th, published online, Within one hour I was hearing from the press secretary of the vice president who was very angry, wanted to have a statement disputing this whole gay conversion therapy thing. We, of course, ran the statement. And that was it.

Although, as a journalist, as you know, I continued to report the story. People called me with some details. And I was able then to break the news, what, I guess, what, in the last 24 hours, about the fact that Mike Pence wanted to have a conversation with Adam Rippon and that Adam Rippon declined that invitation.

CUOMO: You had two sources on the intentions of the vice president to meet with the skater. Is that true?

BRENNAN: That is. I had two sources that I mentioned. I also had another source who gave me deep background information and asked that while I heard that information, as you understand the process --

CUOMO: Sure.

BRENNAN: That I not even mention that person as a source.

CUOMO: Great.

BRENNAN: So there's actually three sources.

And I cannot stress enough how people came to me over the course of a couple of weeks. This was one of the easiest sourced reporting jobs I have ever had in 35 plus years of journalism. This was a no-brainer. There was not even a shred of doubt. There should never be as a journalist. But this one absolutely rock solid from the nature of my sources and the knowledge that they had about Mike Pence and the -- his interest in wanting to talk to Adam Rippon.

CUOMO: Well, Christine Brennan, welcome to our world where things that you can report out as true are often denied even at the top echelon.

So now let's talk about why Rippon doesn't want to meet with the vice president. He's openly gay. He's an advocate as well. He referenced the gay conversion. That goes back to about 2000 when the vice president was a congressman and he was supporting funding for services for people who want to change their sexual behavior or orientation. What else could that mean but gay conversion therapy?

BRENNAN: Chris, that's something -- and words are important. I know you feel this way. I, of course, do as well, that it certainly sounds like gay conversion therapy. But I asked the press secretary if she could give me the answer of what that was. And that was back on January 17th in our back and forth when I wrote the first story. And she did not give me an answer on the record.

So she didn't even do that. And I think that's such a key part of this because that's what Pence is saying and that's why he was so angry with Rippon and that's why he wanted to have the conversation with Rippon. Everything stems from that. I'm trying to get the answer to that and the vice president's office just would not give it to me.

CUOMO: Well, it would be easy enough to clear up if that were not what it was.

Let's put up the vice president's tweet for people so that they can see the substance of the pushback.

Headed to the Olympics to cheer on Team USA. One reporter -- that would be you -- trying to distort 18-year-old non-story to sow seeds of division. We won't let that happen. Hash tag fake news. Our athletes are the best in the world and we are for all of them.

That statement aside, when you take what was said in 2000 with what was done by then Governor Mike Pence in 2015 with his very strong support and pushing of the RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially allowed people to use religion to get around government mandates of equality. You put those two together, it's a fairly clear picture for any journalist, is it not? BRENNAN: Oh, absolutely, it is, Chris. And even more important for

this particular story and the conversation of a figure skater and a vice president, which is kind of hard to believe that the vice president cares this much about it. That's the thing that hit me all the way through this, that he was even spending time on this. But you can understand how Adam Rippon, as you mentioned, an advocate, 28 years old, talks about being bullied, talks about how being here he can represent a community and also hopefully for kids who are having some trouble in high school, that he can be a voice and a role model for them. You can understand why then he would be so concerned about wanting to deal with Mike Pence. But he did say that after he competes, he told me this on the 17th, he would certainly be willing to entertain a conversation with the vice president.

CUOMO: And the vice president did try to clean this up to a certain extent. Let's put up his other tweet.

I want you to know we are for you. Don't let fake news distract you. I'm proud of you and all of our great athletes. And my only hope for you and all of Team USA is to bring home the gold. Go get 'em.

[06:45:07] It would be nice, Christine, if there could have been a clean breaks between the politics and the Olympics. Thank you for reporting it. It should be just about the Olympics, but it never is.

Thank you for being with us this morning. Enjoy it. I look forward to your coverage

BRENNAN: Chris, thanks so much. Take care. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: I think the fake news moniker loses some of its punch when you use it every day and you use it wrong.

CUOMO: That's the hope.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Well, I think it's happening.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia is getting ready to celebrate their Super Bowl champion Eagles with a big parade today. The "Bleacher Report," next.


CAMEROTA: More snow, ice, and rain set to hammer parts of the central and eastern U.S.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

Can we now just say definitive this has been a rougher winter?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Maybe Punxsutawney Phil is right. I don't know. We'll have to see. Hopefully this gets over quickly.

Temperatures, Alisyn, this morning, slightly below where we should be. Wind chills, obviously, about the same story, colder than we should be for this time of the morning or for this time of the day.

Now, this weather is brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, packed with goodness.

Maybe a good, warm cup of coffee will make you feel better this morning because, I'll tell you what, it's going to be cold all across the Midwest.

Now, that said, Chicago, Detroit, by this time tomorrow you're in a full-blown snowstorm. A foot of snow. If you live there or travel there or are traveling there, you need to pay attention to this snowstorm It's the biggest one of the year. It doesn't affect the East Coast, but it does put an awful lot of snow from upstate New York all the way back to Gary, Indiana.


[06:50:09] CUOMO: All right, appreciate it, my friend.

The city of Philadelphia ready for a five-mile long victory parade today for its Super Bowl champions. Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

You are out of the cold and into the warm embrace of fans who have waited a lifetime for this moment.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and, Chris, those fans are actually now going to have to go out in the cold to celebrate the Eagles. And officials believe that more than 2 million of them are going to be out there today braving the freezing temperatures to celebrate the team's first Super Bowl title.

This "Bleacher Report" is brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Now, the parade is going to go through downtown and end at the art museum on those iconic "Rocky" steps. Fans will be treated to all kinds of free stuff along the way. Bud Light providing free beer to those 21 or older along the route, one per person. And some establishments also giving out free ice cream, which is nod to Eagles' coach Doug Pederson, who just loves himself some ice cream. Schools canceled in Philly today so people of all ages can attend the parade. It's going to get going at around 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

And, Alisyn, I expect to see much calmer pictures than we did on Sunday night after the Eagles won their first Super Bowl.

CAMEROTA: You do? Because, I don't know, free ice cream, there could be a riot.

SCHOLES: Riots. Ice cream riots.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's right.

All right, Andy, thank you very much.

OK, so listen to this story. This is a professor and a father of three who's been living in the U.S. for 30 years. He is facing deportation tomorrow. We will speak with two of his children about the family's efforts to stop it and how this could happen, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: A Bangladeshi professor living in Kansas for 30 years is facing deportation as early as tomorrow. Syed Ahmed Jamal, a father of three, was detained by immigration agents two weeks ago. He originally entered the U.S. lawfully on a student visa and later obtained many work visas to stay. At the time of his arrest, Jamal had overstayed a voluntary departure notice. So why was he arrested?

Two of Jamal's children join us now. We have 14-year-old Taseen and 12-year-old Naheen Jamal. And the children are joined by their uncle, Syed Hussein Jamal.

Thank you all for being here.

Naheen, I want to start with you, because your dad was about to take you to school two weeks ago when ICE agents came and arrested him. So tell us what happened that morning.

NAHEEN JAMAL, FATHER ARRESTED BY ICE OFFICIALS AND FACING DEPORTATION: So my dad was just about to back out. And we were just about to drive off to school when an ICE officer came and like tapped on the window. So he rolled it down. And then he asked them what -- who they were there for. And they said they were looking for the arrest of Syed Jamal like to deport him.

[06:55:02] CAMEROTA: And was that a huge surprise to your family?

N. JAMAL: Yes. I -- well, I had heard that things like this was going around like America, but I didn't really think it would happen to us.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Naheen, I know you've -- you spoke to your dad. Your dad has been in jail now for two weeks.

N. JAMAL: Yes.

CUOMO: He is a chemistry professor.

N. JAMAL: Yes.

CUOMO: He's, obviously, been, according to you all, extending his visas legally.

So, Taseen, tell us what happened when you spoke to your dad yesterday. What did he say?

TASEEN JAMAL, FATHER ARRESTED BY ICE OFFICIALS AND FACING DEPORTATION: So, yes, when I spoke to my dad yesterday, he was very uncertain of the future. And he wanted to know what would become of us if he was sent. And he told us to stay strong no matter what happened and that in a way he would always be here.

CAMEROTA: Syed, your brother entered the country legally, as we understand it, on an international student visa in the 1980s. He had no criminal record. He has a couple of speeding tickets, you all say. He had an H1-B visa for highly skilled workers. He had been granted a stay in the U.S. under supervision. Do you have any idea why ICE agents have focused on him?

SYED HUSSAIN JAMAL, BROTHER ARRESTED BY ICE OFFICIALS AND FACING DEPORTATION: Well, you know, since 2017, the rules have changed a little bit, because he was considered a low priority individual under the Morton Memo (ph). So he wasn't (INAUDIBLE) supervision program. And starting the Morton -- the Morton Memo is no longer valid, as you know. Nowadays there is -- what they're working with is what's called Kelly Memorandum (ph). So the Kelly Memorandum does not distinguish between low priority or high priority or criminals or not criminals, however you want to look at it. So that's -- so now anybody who has a deportation order, they are -- they are rounding them up, whether it's low priority or not. So that's what, you know -- so they're saying basically, you know, he has a deportation order regardless of whether it's low priority or not. That's -- that's -- that's why (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: Naheen, President Trump has -- has said in the past what we're going to do is get rid of all the people who are criminals, who have criminal records, who are gang members, who are drug dealers. That's who we're going to get rid of.

Your dad is not a gang member. He's not a drug dealer. He's a college professor.


CAMEROTA: What do you want to tell the president?

N. JAMAL: That he shouldn't be taking people who have done nothing wrong.

CAMEROTA: And what happens, Taseen, tomorrow, if your dad is deported?

T. JAMAL: Well, obviously there's going to be a lot of sadness, as you know. No one really deserves to lose a family member like this, especially if it's wrongfully done. And it's going to be very bad if he's taken. And I don't know what my family and I are going to do.

CAMEROTA: Syed, here's the statement from ICE. Here's what they say. Here's their side of the story.

Jamal, your brother, came to ICE's attention in September 2012 following his arrest on misdemeanor criminal charges at Johnson County, Kansas, Jail. He was taken into ICE custody September 11, 2012. He was released from ICE custody on an order of supervision in November of 2012. On May 21, 2013 --

S. JAMAL: Alisyn --

CAMEROTA: The board of immigration appeals dismissed his appeal on that order.

Go ahead.

S. JAMAL: Alisyn, Alisyn, they corrected -- they corrected that statement. They issued a new one. They took out --

CAMEROTA: And when -- and so -- and what does the new one say?

S. JAMAL: My brother has no misdemeanor.

CAMEROTA: There's no misdemeanor.

S. JAMAL: They blatantly lied about that because he has no misdemeanor. He has two speeding tickets, OK? So they -- if you look at the -- they should have corrected the statement. There's no word on misdemeanor there where he -- you know, he has no --

CAMEROTA: That's really important for us to know that clarification.

So how do you explain, Syed? I mean when the president says that he wanted to focus on hardened criminals and drug dealers, how can your brother, the college professor who's been here 30 years, came in legally, how -- how do you explain what's happening?

S. JAMAL: Like I said, they're not separating between low priority and high priority individuals. So they're going after everybody and anybody. And, you know, it's -- it's happening -- it's happening nationwide and it's very sad.

[07:00:01] So, you know, at this moment, Alisyn, one of the things that we're dealing with are -- this is -- this is -- the way -- the way we feel is that usually the immigration judges, they're required to make a decision