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U.S. Closes Border Crossing Between San Diego and Tijuana; Mexico Denies Deal with Trump Administration to House Asylum Seekers; Trump Faces Big Tests, Global Summit This Week; Mexico: Those Who Tried to Illegally Cross Into U.S. Will Be Deported; New Accusations From A Pair Of The President's Closest Outside Advisers, Corey Lewandowski And David Bossie; Group Of White South African Farmers Say They Have Been Energized By The Alt-Right In The U.S. And President Trump's Rhetoric; Ukrainian Military Says Russian Gun Votes Have Opened Fire On And Seized Three Of Its Ships Near Crimea; Elon Musk Says He Is Going To Mars; FDA Says Do Not Eat Romaine Lettuce. Aired 7-8 ET
Aired November 25, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: This comes just hours after a sudden closure of a major border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. The closure, U.S. authorities say, was necessary after migrants overwhelmed Mexican police and rushed toward the American side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
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CABRERA: Right now, all roads and pedestrian bridges in both directions are closed at the San Isidro port of entry. This is one of five land border crossings clustered along California's southern border.
In a statement this afternoon, Secretary Nielsen says, some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them. DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons.
All this happening as the incoming Mexican government denies reports that it has reached a deal with the Trump administration to keep asylum seekers in Mexico while they're applications are pending. It's something the President has also been tweeting about this weekend.
Let's get right to CNN's Nick Watt. He just arrived there in San Isidro, California at the border.
Nick, set the scene for us.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, about five minutes ago, I heard from authorities here that they have now opened the pedestrian lanes north and south. They've been closed for about four hours since this incident went around.
Five hundred migrants, they say, on what was supposed to be a peaceful process came to the border. Some of them managed to overwhelm Mexican police on that side.
And according to Kirstjen Nielsen, they tried to climb over what she describes as legacy fencing around this border -- which is, by the way, one of the busiest land borders on earth. She also says that they tried to throw projectiles at U.S. officials on this side, CBP people on this side, so the border was closed for a few hours.
Of course, this is a very busy day, Thanksgiving holiday weekend. People -- I spoke to people who were -- Mexican people who were stuck on this side of the border. They said that they've been across shopping. One lady who works in the outlet malls here goes back to Mexico tonight, and they had to wait for a few hours.
But listen, this is what President Trump promised just last Thursday. He said if we feel that the border gets out of control, we will close it down temporarily. And that is what they did. And the -- it's still closed to vehicles. And as I was driving down here, they actually had roadblocks about two miles up the 5 Freeway, stopping cars coming down.
There wasn't a huge cluster of people here. There were a couple hundred people waiting to get back across. Most people just went about their daily business and didn't stand in line.
There was also a very small group of protesters on this side but nothing really to speak of. But, as I say, Ana, just in the last five or 10 minutes, they have reopened this border to pedestrian traffic only.
CABRERA: That is a --
WATT: No word yet when they'll open it for vehicles.
CABRERA: -- a live update right there as it's -- it's happening as we speak. Good to see that.
CABRERA: Obviously going to impact hundreds, if not thousands, of people who come across that border every single day.
But I'm wondering, Nick, do you see a large security presence there? Because we know that there are U.S. troops there at the border. We know CBP sent in additional personnel to that border point of entry specifically.
WATT: They did. They knew that these demonstrations were going to be happening today on both sides of the border. The CBP said that they prepared for that. They brought in extra personnel. I did not see any military. There are, apparently, around 1,500
soldiers right now stationed along the border here in California, but I did not see any evidence of them. But certainly, a large CBP presence.
And as I say, they closed this situation down. They had roadblocks two miles up the 5 Freeway. This was fully closed down. And they were telling local people here, listen, we'll open it again once we gain control of the situation, once things calm down.
They were trying to work with the people, saying, listen, hang tight. Once it's under control, we will try and open it. And that's why some people weren't standing in line.
But, as you see, it's open now. They're coming back and forth -- Ana.
CABRERA: Nick Watt reporting. Thank you for that update.
I want to bring in CNN's Rafael Romo tracking every angle of this story.
Rafael, Southern California shutting down a border crossing. Just how unusual is this?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, it's very unusual and quite a headache what we have heard in the report that we just had. It's the busiest border crossing point in the entire world.
And, Ana, since we last spoke, we're getting reports that this might have been started by false information being spread on social media, people saying that as long as the migrants got to the American side, they were going to have an opportunity to apply for asylum.
In the city of Tijuana, the mayor saying that several people have been detained for spreading false information that led these people to go around the police.
[19:04:58] Now -- we were talking about this before -- it was essentially a numbers game. There were dozens of Mexican federal police on the Mexican side blocking access to the American side.
Compare that to about 700 people who showed up for a demonstration, at first peaceful but then we saw the images. They started running around those police officers, and then it became a very chaotic situation.
Also getting reports about two people who were slightly injured as a result of the confrontation there with American authorities. There was tear gas allegedly shot at people to prevent that they would get any closer to the crossing points.
Also, some migrants who attempted to cross the border illegally from Tijuana, Ana, were dispersed by officials on the American side. And we have had the reports of two local journalists who we have been in touch with.
So, all in all, the situation is slowly but surely getting back to under control, Ana.
CABRERA: Under control, but not necessarily back to normal. Rafael, you've been tracking, along with all of us here at CNN, this group, what's been called a caravan, coming across Mexico from Central America, trying to make its way to the U.S.
It's our understanding there are up to 5,000-plus of them now. They're in Tijuana. But what more have you learned about this group, their stories, what they are trying to accomplish? Are they asylum seekers?
ROMO: They're mainly asylum seekers. And I've had the opportunity of being in the countries that they came from where the violence is just incredible, people fleeing because their children are being threatened with death if they don't join a particular gang.
So they're fleeing poverty, they're fleeing violence, they're fleeing lack of opportunity, no jobs. Many of them are hungry.
And also, we're hearing from the mayor of Tijuana himself, Ana, saying that they don't have the resources, they don't have the ability to take care of the needs of these people, calling on the federal government in Mexico to send resources because they don't have the money.
And just a few minutes ago, he was tweeting that he doesn't want the situation that happened today to, in any way, be a problem in the bilateral relation between Tijuana and San Diego, California.
He says there's a lot of business traffic between the two points, people who have family on both sides of the border. And most of those things are done peacefully, unlike what happened today at the border, Ana.
CABRERA: There's the relationship between local officials on both sides of the border, but, bigger picture, the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is something we've been talking about this weekend.
Because what we're seeing happen there at the border comes on the heels of what we're learning is a possible deal between the U.S. and Mexico, at least the incoming Mexican government, that would keep asylum seekers in Mexico to wait while their court cases play out in the U.S.
But now, today, Mexico's incoming government is saying, no, not so fast. What more do you know?
ROMO: Yes. We had an opportunity to reach out to the incoming government in Mexico. And they sent us a statement essentially saying, number one, we are not in power yet so there's no way that we can reach an agreement officially, at least, with the U.S. government.
And number two, the statement says that President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador does not want Mexico to become a waiting room for would- be migrants into the United States. He says that they want to, in any case, respect the rights of
migrants, but they don't want to use Mexico as a holding territory and do the work that belongs to the United States.
Again, Lopez Obrador takes office next Saturday, December 1st, so no official deal yet from his transition team, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Thank you so much. We appreciate that reporting. Rafael Romo in Atlanta for us, continuing to stay on top of what's happening there at the border.
President Trump's holiday week, meantime, full of eyebrow-raising headlines. But his week ahead could be a doozy. Trump's week ahead when we come back, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:09:14] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: The President is back at the White House after spending the Thanksgiving holiday at Mar-a-Lago. And what is typically a quiet week instead was a rowdy and sometimes off-key concerto of gull, gusto, and gripes. Here's just a sampling of what happened in the past seven days.
The President locked in. He sent long-awaited answers to the Special Counsel's questions about campaign collusion.
The President fought on Twitter with both a Supreme Court justice and the admiral who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid. The President called into question the legitimacy of the courts and floated asking Congress to remake how the judiciary works.
The President picked the side of a dictator over that of his own intelligence community on whether the Saudi Crown Prince ordered the murder of a "Washington Post" contributor.
Many of those things all happened on Thanksgiving in a marathon phone call with troops serving overseas that doubled as a political therapy session for a president frustrated with some on his own administration.
On the coming week's docket are a high-stakes political rally, a potential showdown on the global stage, and a possible congressional confrontation over border wall money amid what the White House calls a crisis on the southern border right now.
CNN's Sarah Westwood joins me now from West Palm Beach where the President just left a few hours ago.
Sarah, one of the big questions this week, do we expect the President to meet with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Ana, President Trump is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he heads down to Buenos Aires for the G20 summit this week.
[19:14:52] And that's significant because this will be the first time that the President and Putin have sat down since their encounter in Helsinki earlier this year, which was widely described as a disaster when the President declined to go after the Russian President in that joint press conference they had after their meeting.
And tonight, there has been escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia, each accusing the other this evening of provoking an incident at sea. The President was monitoring that situation aboard Air Force One as he traveled from Florida back to the White House this evening. The White House, though, so far not commenting on that.
But the President's relationship with Russia has come under scrutiny, not just because President Trump has declined to go after Russia aggressively, some would say, for Russia's meddling in the 2016 election but also because, according to critics, this administration hasn't done a lot to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea and for its aggression in Ukraine.
So these tensions that occurred in the Black Sea tonight between Ukraine and Russia, that will add another layer of complication to this meeting.
The President at the G20 summit is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid escalating trade tensions. That's another meeting at the G20 summit that will be highly watched.
So when the President travels down to Argentina, he'll have a lot of issues that are starting to boil over on his plate, Ana.
CABRERA: Sarah, the President suggested last week he would be willing to shut down the government over funding for his border wall. Just how dug in is the White House on that stance?
WESTWOOD: Well, the President has said he's open to shutting down the government if he doesn't get funding for his border wall. And this could, perhaps, be his last best chance to do so given that, in January, Democrats will retake the House. And they'll almost certainly try to stop any sort of significant funding for the President's border wall.
The White House has asked Congress to appropriate $5 billion for the wall. That's not a number that Democrats and even some Republicans are thrilled with. The President has said, though, that if there was ever a time for him to do a shutdown, now would be it.
And, of course, he has, for the backdrop for this funding fight, the closure of the largest point of entry along the southern border that's between Tijuana and San Diego. That closure happening today as hundreds of migrants from Tijuana were trying to cross the border this evening, causing tensions between border patrol agents and those migrants.
The President, obviously, has been railing against this caravan of Central American migrants for weeks now, so he will have those images and this as the backdrop for his funding fight. Funding, Ana, runs out on December 7th.
CABRERA: And not even two weeks away. Sarah Westwood reporting for us. Thank you.
With us now to discuss all of this, a former presidential adviser to four separate administrations, both Democrats and Republicans, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen.
David, a lot of tests for the President this week. Which one are you going to be paying most attention to?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the G20 Summit that's coming up is going to be extremely significant because the emerging and possible trade war with China has, you know, caught the attention now of investors and people all over the world.
And there is an economic slowdown that's going on around the world and that -- the robust American economy has been the one thing that has really worked well for the President. And now, he's got to protect that. And how does he thread that needle with the Chinese?
I think his meetings with Putin -- or his meeting with Putin will be significant, not as significant as China. That's the most important bilateral relationship in the world.
He's coming in at a time, too, when many in Europe are questioning his leadership especially after he refused to accept the recommendations or the findings of his own CIA on the Khashoggi case and essentially brushed them aside in favor of Khashoggi.
And also, there is a growing sense in Europe and in much of the world that why is the President not only not listening to his CIA but not listening to the 13 federal agencies that, in the past few days, issued a stark warning, a stark warning, about what's ahead on the climate.
GERGEN: When we've just come through all these forest fires in California and now the storms in the east that we've had, the drought problems that are facing farmers in the future, he's got his hands full. Ana, he really has his hands full.
CABRERA: Yes. And what is your answer to the question of why isn't the President listening to all of these advisers and these experts in these different areas?
GERGEN: Well, I'm afraid that he's -- first of all, he pays more attention and seems to put more credence in the views of Putin and of the Saudis than he does in his own government. And that is obviously very disturbing if you're in the intelligence business, that you're sort of being dismissed out of hand.
And it appears to have, you know, at the very minimum, one can say that -- you know, that he's putting political point, scoring political points ahead of making -- getting policy results.
[19:20:05] There is some view -- I think, right now, it's a minority view, but the Democrats are going to start pushing this -- that perhaps some of his actions reflect his own economic self-interest of the Trump Organization.
I think it's too early to say that, but I do think you're going to find investigations along that line as Adam Schiff has said.
CABRERA: David, a pair of close outside advisers say this president should purge the administration of embedded enemies.
CABRERA: That he needs true Trump believers. One conservative says that's bad advice. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONAH GOLDBERG, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: If you took your advice at face value, they actually want the Republican coalition to be even smaller than it is. And it is already melting away big chunks. It's like Arctic ice caps just melting away under Donald Trump.
And they want to define the Republican Party as blind support for one man rather than a set -- a whole group of ideas. And I think that's a suicidal choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: David, your thoughts?
GERGEN: I think that view is essentially right. If the President were to choose more mainstream people and recruit them -- there's a lot of mainstream people who don't want to go in at this point. They're just -- you know, for all the obvious reasons.
But I do think that being surrounded by people like General Mattis -- frankly, he needs three or four more of General Mattises around him -- who is well -- who are well anchored in reality and can talk to him, adult to an adult or shoulder to shoulder.
And President Trump needs General Mattis. He needs people like that around him. I think that the outside community, Congress -- many Republicans in Congress -- would welcome the appointment of three or four more people who are heavyweights that he would listen to, that he would get his administration back on track.
CABRERA: Do you expect this clash at the border today to help the President now make the argument that shutting down the government is worthwhile if it means more money for the border wall?
GERGEN: I don't think it's going to sway people heavily on the border wall. He's got a series of headaches there. And what we lack right now is a policy and a strategy to deal with this. He really needs to stop blaming Democrats and sit down with Democrats and the Republicans to come up with a long-term plan.
We can do this day-to-day, and, you know, we can see tear gas stories and we can see things that are going to tear -- you know, it really tore our hearts, but the fact is we don't have a long-term strategy.
And it's so obvious that it would be worthwhile for us to put far more effort into building up the economies of Central America as we did with NAFTA in Mexico and make it more desirable for people and safer for people to stay in Central America rather than making these long dangerous treks.
So I just think on several of these fronts, what we have, what unites all of this is there's a lack of firm strategy. And issue after issue, whether it's on China or on Russia or on Mexico or on -- you know, on Brexit and what we want to see out of Brexit with the Brits and on climate -- you know, you can go down the list.
CABRERA: David Gergen, always good to have you with us. Thank you very much.
GERGEN: Thank you, Ana. OK, take care.
CABRERA: Embedded emenemies (ph) -- embedded enemies. Easy for me to say. Two of the President's closest advisers have new details on the people they say are working against him, and they're naming names. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:23:35] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: An update now on our breaking news. Parts of the border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego are back open just a few hours after shutting down. Customs and Border Protections San Diego Office confirms the pedestrian bridges in both directions are open once again.
I want to bring back CNN's Rafael Romo.
Rafael, I know you have some new information on the migrants who rushed the border earlier. What can you tell us?
ROMO: Ana, we're hearing for the first time from Mexican Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete who told Mexican media that as many as 500 people who participated in the violent acts or in the attempt to try to get to the United States will be detained and deported. He told that to a Mexican millennial newspaper.
He also said that this started with a group of instigators who started telling people to essentially do not obey police orders to stay back, to stay behind in Mexican territory, and try to run for the U.S. border.
And as we had mentioned before, there was information, false information, telling these migrants that as soon as they got to U.S. territory, they would be granted the possibility of requesting asylum, something that is definitely false.
There's also a statement from the mayor of Tijuana saying that they don't want to see that what happened on Sunday, in any way, shape or form, be a problem for the bilateral relation between Tijuana and San Diego. There's a lot of links between these two cities, people who have
families, relatives, people who share many things across the border. And he says that he doesn't want what happened, the migrants trying to storm the border, be an impediment to what has been a very successful relationship.
But again, the main news here is that Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete is saying that as many as 500 people, who rushed the border can be -- may be deported back to their countries of origin. Meaning, in Central America, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, Ana.
CABRERA: Now saying those who they can identify will now face deportation orders.
Thank you very much Rafael Romo for bringing us that information.
Today, new accusations from a pair of the President's closest outside advisers, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. As we mentioned they are claiming in a new book that this administration is filled with embedded enemies, people inside the White House working to impede the President's agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, we have seen individuals who, my guess is, not only do they not support him when he was running but probably didn't vote for him on Election Day two years ago.
DAVID BOSSIE, FORMER TRUMP DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: There are people inside the White House who understand and are for this President's agenda and there are those who are there for their own agenda.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter is joining us.
Brian, I want to take a closer look at this because neither of these guys are inside the White House. So you got to ask, what is their motivation? Are they after money with this book or influence?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: I think they are after both. I think this new book tells us two things. One that the infighting, the back fighting, the victims of the trump White House are still very much in affect. They are still very real. And people who are on the periphery or in the outside of Trump world who want to get back in, they are willing to talk about and that exploit that.
I think it may have tell us is that there's money to be made through this infighting, through these (INAUDIBLE). This is Bossie and Lewandowski. The second book. This is their first book. It was very well received
among Trump's base because it tells a story about a so-called deep state. And the second book tells a similar story. It actually reminds me of that "The New York Times" op-ed by the anonymous senior official remember that anonymous op-ed, we never found out who that was. Well, that op-ed writer was saying I'm trying to help the country, trying to protect the country from Trump. And it is a good thing.
Bossie and Lewandowski now say that is a bad thing. And so I think that will be a very receptive narrative to Trump's fans and the book will do well but among that core base.
CABRERA: You mention narrative, fans. Jay Newton-Small who we talked to earlier said this about the book. What's better for ratings than a comeback, the star of a previous season back to tango with the current stars, it is the Apprentice season five. And hey, stay tuned by season seven, Omarosa will be back. Do you think that is what is going on here?
STELTER: Right. There is an element of drama to this. I don't think Omarosa will be back. But I think Lewandowski or others might sometime still want a job in the Trump White House. Some of that is what is going on here. In this White House, there's not just one enemy's list, there are several enemy's list. And this book shows that, you know. This book presents one version of the enemies list, so-called limousine liberals like Gary Cohn who brought the administration. The book identifies Michael Cohen and Pau Manafort Trump's enemies because they flipped and talked to Robert Mueller.
These are some pretty obvious names on the list. But the others in Trump's orbit, it would say the President himself is his own worst enemies. There are multiple enemy's list.
CABRERA: All right. Thanks, Brian Stelter. Good to see you.
CABRERA: Don't forget Brian's shows is on Sunday every morning on Sunday at 11:00 eastern. That's RELIABLE SOURCES here on CNN.
CABRERA: Meantime, still ahead in the NEWSROOM, we have an CNN exclusive. A group of white South African farmers planning for a race war and say they have been energized by a tweet sent by President Trump. We'll explain.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:37:28] CABRERA: A murder trial set to begin tomorrow for the man accused of plowing his car into a crowd in Charlottesville killing a protester. James Alex Field is charged with killing Heather Heyer as she marked against a white nationalist rally last year.
The hate that sparked that rally has spread and grown around the world. Now a group of white South African farmers say they have been energized by the alt-right in the U.S. and President Trump's rhetoric. They believe they are in danger and the country is heading toward a brutal race war. Keep in mind murders of white farmers in South Africa account for less than one percent of all murders in that country.
Here's CNN David's McKenzie with this exclusive report.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Unite the right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, even if its bloody aftermath a young woman killed by a neo-Nazi, President Trump refused to pick sides.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What about the alt left that came charging at the as you say the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?
MCKENZIE: Facing mounting criticism, the President would eventually condemn hate groups but not before his initial comments were echoed by white supremacists globally.
SIMON ROCHE, SUIDLANDERS: Now these people, these right wingers in the USA restrain themselves in the face of such antagonism, I really don't know.
MCKENZIE: That's an audio message from a South African sent from Charlottesville back home to his followers. This photo places Simon Roche at the scene surrounded by Nazi flags. He is in the corner wearing a hard hat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time is now for you, white men, to arise.
MCKENZIE: And he took to the alt-right media for support.
ROCHE: Help us to continue to fight the good fight.
MCKENZIE: A constant theme --
ROCHE: We represent the white people of South Africa who are presently being told that they can expect to see a genocide.
MCKENZIE: For Roche and his group, the Suidlander, the warning is more than just rhetoric. Under remote farm in South Africa, they are preparing for an all-out race war.
What does it feel like for you to have your family here hiding in the Bushes if this was a real world situation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it would be very disturbing but if you prepare for it, it is not that bad.
[19:40:02] MCKENZIE: It is a drill, of course. Here ketchup replaces real blood. But make no mistake, Roche is deadly serious about his founders' doomsday prophesy. ROCHE: There is a pervasive sense amongst certain sectors of
historically white societies that those societies are being diluted on other peoples' terms.
MCKENZIE: Let's say when you use a term like diluted, I think Nazism, I think eugenics, I think all of these horrible things from the past, why is being diluted a problem?
ROCHE: That's neurotic. The societies are in demographic terms being diluted. We are preparing for take storm like the canary in the coal mine of the same anxieties and distresses that are being experienced in Western Europe and in the USA.
MCKENZIE: So a lot of oxygen comes from supporting the U.S.?
ROCHE: Yea, terrific oxygen.
MCKENZIE: Oxygen in the form of an inaccurate tweet from the U.S. President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it was a tweet from left field. I have asked secretary of state Pompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriation and the large scale killing of farmers.
HEIDI BERICH, INTELLIGENCE PROJECT DIRECTOR, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Is that really, you know, the ends of the day about any kinds of fact or data. Once Trump put out that tweet, attention was drawn to this theory of white South African farmers under attack and being genocided in a way that had never happened before.
MCKENZIE: A South African myth connecting white supremacists worldwide in videos, in chat rooms, on far right websites and in increasingly in the mainstream.
David McKenzie, CNN, South Africa.
CABRERA: We are following breaking news out of Crimea. Ukraine is now accusing Russia of firing on and seizing its naval ships. Details next here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.
[19:46:22] CABRERA: The Ukrainian military says Russian gun votes have opened fire on and seized three of its ships near Crimea. This happened in the Kirk strait. This is a waterway linking the sea of the Asov and the black sea.
Now Russian state media blames Ukraine for provoking the incident saying the ship's entered territorial waters illegally. Today's actions have been escalating a standoff that has been brewing in this area and they are sure to get the attention from the White House. That brings us to this weekend's presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday night, highlighting some of the most pressing national security issues that the President will need he wakes up tomorrow.
And here with us is CNN national security analyst and former national security council adviser Sam Vinograd who helped prepare the Presidential daily brief for President Obama.
So Sam, the White House as President Trump is monitoring what is happening right now in Crimea. What do you think his briefers are going to tell him about this?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So I think they are starting with the fact that President Putin is a creature of habit. He keeps his eye on the price. And ever since he invaded Crimea in 2014, he has been doggedly escalating conflict to achieve his goal of asserting more control over Ukraine.
He is still supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, more than 10,000 people have died since fighting broke out and whether on land, in the air or in sea or even in cyberspace, he is using his favorite Russian recipe of trying to bullying his people the Ukrainian people into submission. This latest incident isn't just about a show of force. It could be an economic strangulation tactic.
This transit point is a life line for a lot of parts of southeastern Ukraine. And the key question now, Ana, is how the United States will respond? We arm Ukraine. We provide lethal assistance but will President Trump stand with Ukraine when he did not confront Vladimir Putin over Russia's interference with American sovereignty when they interfered in our election, will he confront Vladimir Putin when they're together at the G-20 later this week over Russian aggression over Ukraine?
CABRERA: That is one question we hope to get an answer on when he goes and meets with Putin at the G-20 as he is monitoring what's happening now in this region in Crimea, he is also tweeting about what's happening here in the U.S. along the southern border with Mexico. He's criticizing the Mexican government. What do you think is the impact with U.S./Mexico relations?
VINOGRAD: Well, it takes at least two to tango when it comes to border security. And we need the Mexicans on board if we are really going to implement any border security measures that President Trump has in mind.
There are reports that President-elect Obrador supports his Romaine in Mexico policy in the short-term. But if this policy goes on for an extended period of time, he will probably withdraw support because he has other priorities. Obrador campaigned on populist agenda which included given financial resources to Mexicans in need. If he instead has to divert financial assistant to help migrants and their humanitarian needs, that's money he is not spending on Mexicans and on fulfilling his campaign promises. And President Trump has a six percent approval rating in Mexico. So if President-elect Obrador is seen as really doing President Trump's bidding, while they have been helping Mexicans, that could be political suicide.
CABRERA: So you say Mexico is maybe an ally Trump loves to hate. He certainly seems to be loving right now in Saudi Arabia.
VINOGRAD: He does. And at this point we are really sitting at a table for two. Its Trump and Mohammad bin Salman versus all of our other allies that frankly didn't assassinate an American resident in Turkey.
And when the President issued that statement what was it a week ago, that really absconded the Mohammad bin Salman of any blame for Khashoggi's killing. He not only green lit more Saudi miss behavior, he actually dealt another big blow to multi-lateralism.
We did not work in concert with coalition of countries to hold Saudi Arabia accountable. We went it alone like we did on Iran or the Paris climate accord or other issues. That's going to put a strain on a lot of our relationships including our intelligence sharing ones. We know that our intelligence partnerships have been under pressure because the President's own disclosures of sensitive information and intelligence leaks. And now if you are a foreign intelligence partner you know that President Trump really through the CIA's assessment under the bus. He probably read it and he basically said he didn't care what it had to say.
So if you're a foreign intel partner the benefit of sharing intelligence with the United States has really been diminish diminished.
[19:50:49] CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, thank you very much.
VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Back in just a moment. Stay with us.
[19:55:18] CABRERA: Welcome back.
Elon Musk says he is going to Mars. Well, a 70 percent chance anyway. The Tesla and Space-X founder told "Axios" he thinks he will take a rocket to the red planet. And in as soon as the next seven years possibly even move there.
Meanwhile, NASA is headed there tomorrow. It's the first space mission to study seismic waves on another planet and found out what mars is made of. A NASA sideways craft plans to blaze through the Martian atmosphere and land on the red planet's surface, that's if it can land in one piece. It won't be easy. More than half of all missions to mars don't make it safely to the surface.
It was one of the biggest headlines during the thanksgiving holidays, do not eat romaine lettuce, and we found out earlier this week that an outbreak of e-Coli across the country now seems to be linked specifically to lettuce in California, this according to the FDA.
More than 30 people were sickened in this outbreak. The FDA says it is hoping to create a new labeling system that would require companies to state where lettuce is from and where it's harvested. Vani Hari better known as the food babe and joins me now.
Vani, you have studied where our food comes from quite a bit. So how does an outbreak like this happen?
VANI HARI, CREATOR, FOODBABE.COM: You know, it's a really serious situation, especially when someone like the CDC comes out and says throw away your romaine lettuce. Do not eat it. And there are so many ingredients in the food supply that harm Americans every single day, but when you when the CDC comes out with a recommendation like this, we want to take it seriously.
And unfortunately, lettuce, anything that is raw, unfortunately, cannot be washed off and cannot wash off e-Coli. E-Coli is presented on lettuce and other raw fruits and vegetables by either contaminated soil. You know, E-coli is actually found in animal intestines so it comes through, you know, manure or some type of sewage sludge that gets into the factory farm where the lettuce is being grown, or it can happen with a bird just simply dropping poop on lettuce and it somehow, you know, is contaminated.
And then, what's the worst part of this situation is that we do not have a supply chain check and balance in place. Once your romaine is grown and harvested, it has so many different touch points of contamination possible. You know, that romaine is taken to one factory to get washed. Then another factory to get banged put into different bags of lettuce and then combined with other kinds of lettuce. And every single time it gets cut or washed it touches different machinery so there's so many different points of contamination that can happen. And if we don't know where our food is coming from, we can't really trust it.
And so that's why when I go out and I buy romaine lettuce or any type of lettuce, I avoid the bag and box lettuces and I really go for like the whole head of lettuce. Now, that's not going to always eliminate the entire risk because, again, e-Coli stays present and alive on raw fruits and vegetables.
CABRERA: So you go for the head versus bagged, and that's because it's less processed?
HARI: Absolutely, and the touch points are definitely less. You know, one of the things that we have a problem with in this country is we have things grown in one place and processed in another. So we really can't found -- that's why it takes so long for the CDC and other government officials to figure out where these contaminations are coming from and how to contain it without sickening more people.
CABRERA: What do you see as the solution in order to prevent the contamination in the first place?
HARI: Well, one of the things that we have to just become entrenched with other in America is we need to know where our food comes from, right? We need to make sure that we get it from a source that we can trust. And, you know, that's not going to always prevent 100 percent of disease, but it will prevent some. We also need to reduce the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in our
food supply, the things that are given to livestock like chickens and cattle to make them fatter. And what's happening is the overuse of antibiotics is creating superbugs that can't be treated with antibiotics.
And so that's another point of contention in our food supply that we real very to pay attention to, so when you are out there choosing to buy meat, make sure it's not raised with antibiotics. Make sure you are going to a fast food chain that has actually decided, you know what, we are not going to sell meat that is raised with these antibiotics.
[20:00:06] CABRERA: OK. Thank you so much, Vani Hari. Good information. We appreciate it.