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Michael Flynn May Have Broken the Law; Immigration Agenda Blocked by Judge; North Korea Developments; California Bill Would Blacklist Builders of Trump's Wall; Kenny G. Explains How Mid-Flight Concert Happens. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired April 26, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:09] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump's team and its ties to Russia -- new questions swirling around one of his former cabinet members. Did Michael Flynn break the law?
VAUSE: With the travel ban already on hold, there is another major legal setback for the White House. A judge has blocked a federal crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities.
SESAY: Plus, cutting the U.S. windpipe with the sword of justice -- tough talk out of Pyongyang as tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalate.
VAUSE: Hello, everybody -- great to have you with us. I'm John Vause at CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay in Los Angeles. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
Just months after he was fired as national security adviser, Michael Flynn is facing another controversy with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers saying he may have broken the law.
Congressional investigators looking into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia say Flynn failed to disclose payments from foreign governments -- a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
SESAY: Well, the lawmakers say the White House has denied their request for documents related to Flynn.
CNN's justice correspondent Pamela Brown reports.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: New questions about whether President Trump's former national security adviser broke the law over payments he received from Russia and Turkey.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Do you believe that Michael Flynn broke the law?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law.
BROWN: The revelation comes after leaders of the House Oversight Committee reviewed classified documents in a private briefing. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, they revealed they've seen no proof showing Flynn, a former top military intelligence official, received permission from the Pentagon or the State Department for the foreign government payments he received.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: He was supposed to get permission and he was supposed to report it and he didn't -- period.
BROWN: And they say he didn't fully disclose the more than $500,000 his firm was given for lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to reinstate his security clearance. Or the $45,000 he received from Russia for an RT-TV speaking engagement. Money Chaffetz says Flynn might have to pay back.
CHAFFETZ: As a former military officer you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate and there are repercussions for the violation of law.
BROWN: Flynn's attorney says in a statement he did comply with the law on the Russia payment saying quote, "General Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of DOD, extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip."
The embattled former national security adviser left amid controversy in February after he lied about discussing sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now the forming acting attorney general Sally Yates, who alerted the White House about Flynn's conversation with Kislyak, will soon testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russia's interference in the election.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We will ask her all questions about Russia, what she knew about Trump ties. Was there any administration effort to unmask people for political purposes? We're going to get to all things Russia in terms of what the administration did and what Russia did.
BROWN: And the GOP chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says the panel wants to question Flynn.
RAJU: Is there any way you give immunity to testify?
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: No.
RAJU: There's no way?
BROWN: Well, Tuesday afternoon, the Senate confirmed Rod Rosenstein. He will now oversee the Russia probe for the Department of Justice. And he has told senators on Capitol Hill, this is according to Senator Chuck Schumer, that he will appoint a special prosecutor if he feels it's necessary.
Pamela Brown, CNN -- Washington.
VAUSE: For more of the legal trouble swirling around Michael Flynn, joining us now from Washington is Michael Allen. Among his many titles, Michael served as a staff director on the House Intelligence Committee during the Obama administration, also international security policy for George W. Bush.
So Michael -- how striking to you was it that this was a bipartisan rebuke? You had the Republican Jason Chaffetz standing side by side with Democrat Elijah Cummings.
MICHAEL ALLEN, BEACON GLOBAL STRATEGIES: Yes, it surprised me a lot. I think it really spoke to the underlying facts of the trouble that General Flynn has gotten himself into. I think he should have known as a general officer in the army that if he were going to take foreign money or visit Russia, he probably should have gotten that cleared, especially since he headed an intelligence agency.
[00:05:00] And so I think the Republican chairman just had to acknowledge the facts as they were and say this looks pretty bad. He didn't say it was illegal per se. I think they're going to have to leave that to administrative or judicial processes. But, you know, it looks pretty bad.
VAUSE: Yes. So how serious though is the legal trouble for Michael Flynn? The bar for prosecution is pretty high though, isn't it?
ALLEN: Yes. I think it's pretty high because they'll have to prove that he intended to mislead or that there was some element of intent. It is plausible to me that maybe in the course of filling out these voluminous forms, all of which -- those of us who have served in government had had to fill out that maybe you forgot one of the sources of income that you had.
But look, you know, it was a pretty significant source of income. I think at a minimum, he was being cavalier and sloppy. It's hard to see him getting prosecuted, but I think he'll get at least some sort of rebuke from the army.
VAUSE: There's also the question of where the White House stands in all of this. Listen to this exchange at the daily briefing with spokesman Sean Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Does the White House believe that Lieutenant General Flynn might have broken the law when he filled out SF-86?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't -- that would be a question for him and a law enforcement agency whether or not he filled. I don't know what he filled out and what he did or did not do. That all happened -- he filled that form out prior to coming here. And so it would be up to the committee and other authorities to look at that. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, is that a credible answer that we're hearing from Spicer. And also is there a bigger story here about the White House which doesn't seem to be cooperating with the investigation?
ALLEN: Well, look, I mean once I think it was a credible answer. It is true that it is the obligation of the individual to fill out the forms truthfully. Maybe there should have been more vetting of the particular candidates that were up for the top jobs.
In other words, someone taking a look at these things and saying hey, look, we saw that you were a guest of Russia TV in 2015. What's the deal with this? And then make some sort of political judgment about it.
But I think his answer is reasonable, which is that, you know, we can't own the mistakes of everybody who has filled out forms on our behalf.
VAUSE: Ok. So with that in mind, lying on an SF-86 security clearance, it's a crime. So then should Jared Kushner -- son-in-law, White House adviser -- does he need a lawyer right now? Because he didn't include the meetings he had with Russian officials on the same form.
ALLEN: I don't have independent knowledge of that. Look, I'm sure they're all working quickly to update their forms and live up to their obligations now that they all have security clearances.
I've seen those reports as you have. I think again, I think a lot of these folks are new to the government and may not know every in and out of what they need to sign. But in due course, I think they'll probably be corrected.
I think General Flynn is sort of an outlier in this case because he knew or should have known what was required of him as a former general officer in the army. And especially when you were all over the news having worked or visited with President Putin in Moscow. So I think it's a special case for him.
VAUSE: Michael Allen -- thank you for being with us.
ALLEN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Much appreciated.
SESAY: Well, President Trump's immigration agenda has hit another judicial roadblock. A federal judge in California blocked part of the President's executive order to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities those that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. The judge found that counties and cities could suffer immediate, irreparable harm if the policy took effect.
Well, the White House is firing back. This just coming in to us minutes ago. "The rule of law suffered another blow as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our nation."
With me now to dig a little deeper, Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas. Gentlemen, as I like to call you, the wise men -- welcome. Good to have you with us.
DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Good to be here.
SESAY: John -- to start with you, judging by that statement and you know, the strong words -- the White House saying "an elected judge unilaterally rewriting immigration policy". The administration clearly stung by this blow.
THOMAS: Yes. I think it's not a good thing. I mean this is yet another example of basically activist judges trying to thwart the will of the administration. By the way, I don't think Reince Priebus mentioned is another Obama appointee.
And you've got to be frustrated for the White House. They're trying to get policy done and the court system keeps striking you down. I suspect the Trump administration will take it as high as they have to go, Supreme Court if necessary to try to get right.
But they did leave the -- the judge left the window open a little bit to certain kinds of federal grants so there might still be slight left, there's still pain that the administration can inflict on sanctuary cities.
[00:09:59] SESAY: Just what do you mean, Obama appointees when we keep hearing from Republican and critics of judges who ruled against this administration making the assertion that judges can't be impartial, that judges aren't following the law, that they are letting politics invade the courtroom.
THOMAS: That is the assertion and I do believe that judges can be political and yes, that's the assertion I'm making. JACOBSON: And then I think it's also largely emblematic of like what Donald Trump previously said with another judge, the so-called judge statement. And I think it minimizes an equal branch of government, right. The judiciary is an equal branch of government to the executive and the legislative branch.
And so, look, I think this does represent a high-profile blow for the Trump administration. This is a president who hasn't been able to execute a legislative agenda through Congress. Everything that he's sort of done is through executive order. He's failed with the travel ban and now he's failing with the sanctuary cities.
SESAY: You know, the rest of that statement from the White House read "Today's ruling undermines faith in our legal system and raises serious questions about circuit shopping." It isn't the White House itself undermining faith in the legal system? And doesn't this have ramifications down the line for how the public sees the judiciary -- John.
THOMAS: Well, it does but you're forced with a tough trade-off. If you're the Trump administration you have to drive your agenda and if you think the judge is overreaching, you have no choice but to say he's overreaching.
So the judge really stepped forward and now forcing the hand of the Trump administration. It's not the other way around.
SESAY: All right. I want you to listen to what the L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti said in response to a similar statement from Reince Priebus. Basically he's saying that the Ninth Circuit is going bananas. Listen to what the L.A. City mayor had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: This was not the Ninth Circuit going bananas, this is the words of Chief Justice Roberts being echoed back that the Tenth Amendment is something sacred and you can't put a fiscal gun to the head of cities and threaten to take out away our tax dollars because you don't like the way we do our business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: I mean John -- isn't this a dangerous road to be going down. As he said holding a fiscal gun to the head of, you know, city authorities in this manner? Isn't it a dangerous precedent to basically say we'll punish you if you don't follow our lead?
THOMAS: I don't necessarily. I mean I think it's dangerous they're not enforcing the federal immigration laws, you know. So it's they're fault that they broke the rules and now you're blaming the federal government for potentially trying to enforce the rules. I just don't think that's fair.
It would be a lot easier if Eric Garcetti would actually help enforce the immigration laws that are on the books.
JACOBSON: Look, Donald Trump is trying to leapfrog the constitution. It is the legislative branch -- at least the last time I checked -- that controls the purse strings over the federal budget. So it's up to the legislative branch to execute these kinds of funding matters. It has nothing to do with the President who can actually determine these elements.
And so I think that's the larger question. He's not only trying to leapfrog the constitution but he's getting ahead of Congress.
SESAY: Yes. Let's move away from the sanctuary city issue and talk about yet another blow to this administration. I'm talking about the wall. President Trump as we know during campaign season said Mexico is going to pay for it then kind of made a pivot and said Congress needs to make a down payment for it. As we all know, the hope was that, at least from the administration
that they would get some funding from the spending bill that have to be signed to avoid a government shutdown. We're now hearing that they will not be funding for the wall in that bill. Is this a climb down? Is this administration backing down -- John?
THOMAS: Backing down today. I think they're going to regroup. Look, Congress can't agree on what to have for breakfast in the morning, you know. And the Trump administration recognizes they don't want to let the government be shut down over a wall to build. But they can regroup and get back to there.
So they have to agree on what they can do today. And the Trump administration has made it clear that they'll just circle. It's the same thing with the health care. They went in early which was a mistake because they didn't have consensus. Instead of they should have regrouped from the start and built a coalition to strike later.
I think the American people understand that. Democracy is messy. Legislation is messy. And you get what you can while you can get it. And the wall is just not in the cards today.
SESAY: Well, the President said "Don't let the fake media tell you that I've changed my position on the wall. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking et cetera."
Dave -- this wall may get built though what are the chances that Congress is going to give the money to build it.
JACOBSON: Right. And what are the chances that Mexico's going to pay for it because that was like largely the platform that Donald Trump -- right.
JACOBSON: It's not on the table, right. But I think look, I think Congress called Donald Trump's bluff, right. He had this massive sort of ultimatum for repeal and replace Obamacare. He said, look, either you guys, Congress, congressional Republicans -- either you guys repeal and replace Obamacare or I'm just going to let it stay in place.
And now what are we doing three, four weeks later, we're negotiating repeal and replace Obamacare amongst the Republicans. So they called his bluff. They knew that that ultimatum wasn't necessarily real.
Pivot and fast forward to the budget negotiations when it comes to the wall, same thing is happening. Donald Trump blinked and they know that they can get whatever they want out of him because he's not going to stand his ground.
Talk radio host, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh is not happy one bit.
THOMAS: No, he's not. No.
SESAY: Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[00:15:02] RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK RADIOHOST: It looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion in the budget for his wall on the border with Mexico. The Democrats are threatening a government shutdown. It's the same-old, same-old.
And I was hoping that Trump would throw this shutdown thing right back in their face --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: I love how Rush Limbaugh called it measly -- a measly $1 billion --
THOMAS: In the scheme of the budget, it is measly.
SESAY: Ok. All right. You must have like (inaudible) --
SESAY: Moving on. But to the point that he is unhappy, is this the beginning of problems for this president, the beginnings of a high- profile opposition?
THOMAS: I don't believe so. I think the Republicans and his base have a longer time horizon than we in the media do or conservative talk radio hosts.
But I do think that you look at the Rush Limbaughs of the world, the Sean Hannitys of the world -- part of their job they look is to hold the President accountable and remind him of his campaign promises because when you're in D.C., you're in the Beltway, it's easy to drift.
So Limbaugh, I'm sure would vote for Donald Trump any day over any Democrat that could be running against him in four years.
JACOBSON: But look, there is already open warfare between Donald Trump and members of his own party. He went on a Twitter rant attacking the House Freedom Caucus months ago over the fact that they weren't able to repeal and replace Obamacare.
SESAY: And to that point, just to add, this wasn't just about the Democrats being against responding (ph). Republicans are against this as well.
THOMAS: And the Republicans do have problems particularly with the Freedom Caucus and they -- they have this level of purity that some in the Freedom Caucus have is hogtying a lot of the Republican agenda.
JACOBSON: But I think also like Donald Trump recognizes, it would be a bad thing optically for him to have a government shutdown on the anniversary of his 100 day mark. And I think he fundamentally understands that he needs approximately eight Democrats to pass any funding bill through the United States Senate. You need 60 votes to get to goal. And if there is a wall element, Democrats are going to stand up against it.
THOMAS: I do think it's interesting to note that the goal of the administration was to make the border more secure. Arguably it is. Illegal crossings are down. I mean the numbers are looking better. So I think you're eventually not going to see a solid wall. There's going to be --
THOMAS: -- portion.
SESAY: You're budging John.
THOMAS: Well, look if you can't get a wall, I think you have to look at what was the intent of the wall. And see if you get there.
SESAY: But the promise was the wall.
SESAY: I think we agree on that.
John Thomas, Dave Jacobson -- appreciate it.
JACOBSON: Thank you.
SESAY: Round two next hour.
THOMAS: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you. John -- back to you.
VAUSE: Oh, how I miss it. I'll be back next week.
We're going to take a short break.
And when we come back we will head to the Korean Peninsula where a show of force by the U.S. military is being answered by the display of artillery power from the North Koreans. But there could be signs Pyongyang is holding off on a sixth nuclear test, at least for now.
Also South Korea and the U.S. moving parts of the anti-missile system known as THAAD but many are now protesting the move.
[00:18:04] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Quick update for you here on what's happening across parts of North America.
I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.
And look at this around the southeastern United States. You're watching yet another active pattern here for severe storms, generally across parts of the state of Arkansas into southern Missouri for Wednesday. A large stretch here is going to be for hail and win but could still see a few tornadoes and I wouldn't be surprised if you see a few across that region.
But notice the trend turns to be much, much warmer around the most densely populated corner of the U.S. there on say Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We're talking temps climbing out of the upper teens where they stand on Wednesday New York City into the lower 30s in a few spots, a quick trend too.
Washington 25 to 30 degrees. New York City will get close to 30 degrees come Saturday afternoon. And in Atlanta, the warmest days of 2017 upon us over the next several days as well.
Back towards the west, winter in full swing. We're watching for significant snow potentially across the higher elevations of the western U.S. and the mountain west as well.
Havana, Cuba we go around 31 degrees, Mexico City keeps it dry into temps around 30 or so degrees as well. If you have any weather photos, there's a new segment we call "Your Weather View", we would love to share them with you and with everyone as well.
Just get on your favorite social media platform, use the #CNNWeather, whether it's a sunset, a sunrise or anything that signifies the seasons changing, we'll share them with you here on CNN.
SESAY: Hello everyone.
Well, experts are trying to figure out why North Korea did not carry out a sixth nuclear test to celebrate army day, instead Pyongyang showed off its artillery power.
Now a U.S. Defense official says there's evidence of digging at a tunnel entrance at North Korea nuclear site which suggests a nuclear test is not imminent.
Meanwhile the entire U.S. Senate is being summoned to the White House on Wednesday for a rare classified briefing on North Korea. And despite international pressure, Pyongyang is defiant, threatening to quote, "cut the windpipe of the U.S. with a sword of justice".
Meanwhile South Korea and the U.S. are moving parts of their anti- missile system to a deployment site.
Our Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul.
So Paula -- as I understand it, the U.S. are moving parts of the THAAD system. Is this anything more than symbolic because it's my understanding the system isn't operational yet, not for many months to come.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isha -- this is absolutely necessary. They have to put these parts so they're arriving in South Korea at the location where THAAD is going to be pretty operational.
So this is a significant step in the direction of this missile defense system being fully operational. It's under the cover of darkness we saw those trucks arriving this morning. There were protests, localized protests because many residents simply don't want the U.S. military hardware in their neighborhood.
And we know this according to the THAAD Korean Defense ministry at this point they're saying they want it to be operational by the end of the year. We had heard something sooner from the USFK, the U.S. Forces Korea commander, Vincent Brooks a little earlier suggesting September could be an option.
But this time frame is really changing. We've heard from the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he was here that it has to be as soon as possible to mitigate the threat of North Korean missiles. There's also, just in downtown Seoul right now a protest going on. There are some South Koreans who don't want to see it here.
There are obviously many within the corridors of power in China that don't want it here either. They're dead set against this. They don't want more U.S. military hardware in the region -- Isha.
SESAY: Yes. And picking up on the point you just made about China, is this going to have repercussions for President Trump's efforts to pressure President Xi to rein in Pyongyang now that the U.S. is clearly going ahead with this THAAD missile system, maybe in fact accelerating the effort to make it operational?
HANCOCKS: Well, it's certainly been an issue between Beijing and Washington for some time. Washington's made it very clear all along that this was going to happen. And just a couple of months ago we did see the first elements of THAAD arriving. And that's when it really started to hit home I think for China that this was going to happen.
And we have seen, from South Korea's point of view, China has had an economic boycott which is never officially admitted to against South Korea. Washington has called on China to stop that, to stop this sort of economic retaliation.
[00:20:02] We've seen the figures of Chinese tourists coming to South Korea drop as tour groups have been told that Chinese tourists should not come to South Korea in retaliation. Again, none of this has been publicly admitted by the Chinese officials.
But certainly it is an issue and have been for some time. This is another step along the way. But I think Beijing has known for a couple of months that this was going to happen. That Washington was going to push forward with this anti-missile defense system.
SESAY: All right. Paula Hancocks, joining us there from Seoul, South Korea. Paula -- always appreciate it. Thank you.
VAUSE: China has launched its first domestically-built aircraft carrier. The 50,000 ton-ship is not expected to enter service until 2020. China already has one carrier which was bought from Ukraine and refurbished, part of a Blue Water fleet of potentially six carriers designed to protect China's power and influence way beyond its coast line.
Well, still to come, Donald Trump he still wants that border wall with Mexico even though Congress is refusing to authorize the funding. And now California is considering a blacklist of companies and contractors who work on construction. Details, just ahead.
But for our (inaudible) neighbor to the north, the message is now clear, "No more Mr. Nice Guy" -- the trade smack down over Canadian lumber.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause at CNN's World Headquarters in Atlanta.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay in Los Angeles.
The headlines this hour.
The U.S. says there's evidence of digging at a tunnel entrance at North Korea's nuclear testing site. But it suggests a nuclear test is not imminent.
[00:30:01] And the entire U.S. Senate is being summoned to the White House on Wednesday for a rare classified briefing on North Korea.
VAUSE: U.S. lawmakers investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia saying Michael Flynn may have broken the law. They claimed the former national security adviser failed to disclose payments from foreign government. Flynn was forced to resign in February.
SESAY: And federal judge has blocked part of President Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities. The order would have cut funding in cities that didn't comply with federal immigration enforcement. The judge found those cities could face immediate irreparable harm if the policy took effect.
VAUSE: By the end of the week, the U.S. is once again facing the prospect of a government shutdown unless Congress can agree on a spending bill. Senate Democrats have been threatening to block any bill which earmarked money for the president's border wall with Mexico. Sources tell CNN, Republican lawmakers have given in to those demands and a new proposal includes no funding for the wall. And the White House has indicated, it's willing to accept the deal in return for keeping the government open.
The president, though, insists he's still committed to one of his signature campaign promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The walls are going to get built, folks. Just in case, anybody has any question, the walls are going to get built and the wall is going to stop drugs and it's going to stop a lot of people from coming in that shouldn't be here and it's going to have a huge effect on human trafficking, which is a tremendous problem in this world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Donald Trump wants his wall, but it seems he wants to keep the government open, just maybe a little bit more than that. But this might not be the last hurdle he's going to face.
California moved one step closer on Tuesday to blacklisting anyone or any company, which has anything to do with the wall. The proposed law would legally prohibit California from awarding or renewing a contract to anyone who provides goods or services to the federal government to build a wall, fence or barrier along the border with Mexico.
California State Senator Ricardo Lara introduced the legislation. He joins us now from Sacramento.
Senator, thanks for being with us.
Just very quickly, what is your reaction to that news that Congress is not going to fund the initial construction of the wall, at least for now?
SEN. RICARDO LARA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think that's very good news for us. But we know that President Trump is still intent on building this dialogue, that is his wall.
And so, you know, today in California, we sent a strong message that if you want to do business on Trump's wall and you want to work on that, in California, quite frankly, doesn't want to do business with you.
VAUSE: OK. So despite the moves from the White House, obviously this bill which you are proposing and still working it's way, it's heading off to the Senate now, is there any reason to believe that this actually will not become (INAUDIBLE).
LARA: I feel very confident that, you know, again, we're going to move this bill through the process, ensure that it gets signed by the governor. And we send that strong message that, you know, Mexico is our number one trading partner in California. A wall will be detrimental to our economy, to our society and to the fabric of who we are as Californians.
VAUSE: So what it looks like, clearly, is that you are forcing a choice here. There is potentially billions of dollars, which will be spent on that border wall maybe, as much as $70 billion depending on who you were listening to, maybe nothing at all, but there's also billions of dollars in work operating California's roads and highways and infrastructure.
I mean, is the message here simply that at the end of the day, it's just about the money?
LARA: You know at the end of the day, we want to make sure that the businesses that we're doing business with understand our California values. Like you said, we've just passed the very ambience of infrastructure funding bill that is going to provide millions of dollars in construction. These are construction jobs that -- and projects that move California further. We don't want our businesses working on something that's going to isolate us from the rest the world. And we know what this was really about.
I mean, this was really about, you know -- you know really catering to our lowest common denominator of who we are as humans, you know. This is a bulging of phobia. This is about hatred. And this is about our longing of a society that no longer really exists in the United States. One that is homogeneous, one that is against adversity and one that is walled off from the rest of society.
We know that, you know, this is what what really is going on here. And so, you know, at the end of the day, California taxpayers are going to be forced to pay for this wall and we want to protect the taxpayers of California and ensure that we don't invest our money on this ridiculous notion.
We know that a wall already exists. We know that the wall is working. We know that there is security. There is law and order down there. And, you know, quite frankly, we invite the congressional members to come to the southern region of the state and understand the unique -- the uniqueness of it and how a wall would be detrimental to our economy here in California.
VAUSE: Have you reached out to the business community. Has there been any comment on this? Any reaction from the chamber of commerce or businesses which could be impacted by all of this. What are they saying?
LARA: Yes, you know, we've actually have been working with fellow Republicans in the border region. As a matter of fact, the former mayor of San Diego has come out against the wall, just given the fact that it will be again detrimental to the local economy in San Diego. And, again, this is really about our values and where we stand. This is a pivotal moment in our history where we know walls have never worked.
They didn't work in China. They didn't work in Hungary. And they certainly didn't work in Germany.
[00:35:00] So we feel that this is just moving us back towards a time in which you know people wanted to keep us separate. We know that California is the most diverse state in the country. We're the most powerful state in the union and it is up to us to ensure that we protect our American constitutional values and a wall is completely against that.
VAUSE: Sorry to interrupt, but very quickly, how do you answer critics who say this essentially could set a dangerous precedent of political interference, handpicking companies which are favorable to the state in political terms as opposed to simply going out there, choosing a company, clearly on the value of its bid, giving the best value of money for California taxpayers. LARA: Well, we know that there is already large construction companies that have chosen not to participate in the swamp. And, quite frankly, we're not picking winners and losers here.
We're just saying that we want businesses to side with our values. The fact that we're not discriminating against California businesses, we're just saying that every, every business in the country that participates in the -- in the swamp cannot do business with California because they completely is not in line with who we are as Californians and against our values.
VAUSE: Senator Ricardo Lara there in Sacramento. Thanks for being us.
LARA: Thank you.
SESAY: Well, President Trump has achieved one unexpected accomplishment, making Canada mad.
He did it by slapping tariffs of up to 24 percent on imports of Canadian lumber, the kind use to built houses. Then Trump says he had to do it because Canada gives its lumber producers an unfair advantage with subsidies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People don't realize Canada has been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful and so do I. I love Canada. But they've outsmarted our politicians for many years and you people understand that. So we did institute a very big tariff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, it's not the first time the U.S. president has dealt with this particular dispute. Previous administrations have worked out temporary fixes but this presidents wants to show he is, quote, "tough on trade." Canada is not impressed and says it will fight the new fees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: Our view is that these tariffs that the U.S. allegations that somehow we're subsidizing our industry, our view is that's simply wrong.
And in the past, on every occasion, when we have taken commerce department to court, we have won at every level. At the WTO, at NAFTA, the ruling have always been in Canada's favor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: For a possible fallout from this trade test, the U.S. Homebuilders Association says the taxes will raise the cost of new homes in the U.S. by about $3000 each.
Now you've seen the video, time to hear the story behind Kenny G's midair serenade. He tells us what's got him to play.
And you're never too old to go for gold. 101-year-old woman is tearing up the tracks at the World Master's Game.
[00:40:00] VAUSE: Yes, this smooth sounds of Kenny G. We just can't get enough.
The Grammy-award winner, he had a captive audience when he busted out some tunes aboard a flight heading to Los Angeles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(KENNY G. PLAYING SAXOPHONE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Of course, it all went viral on the Internet, but how do this all come about?
So tell us, Kenny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNY G., SAXOPHONIST: Hi, John. Kenny G. from the Philippines. A long flight but not nearly as wonderful of a flight, just the one I have the other day on Delta Airlines, where we raise a lot of money for charity.
And I want to tell you about how that came to be. So I'm sitting in my sit, and next to me is Jane Mitchell and she in flight service for Delta but she's not working that day. So during a flight she shares with me, a tragic story of her daughter's passing at 30 years old to brain cancer. And now she's working with great program that Delta does to raise money. It's a great cost and it's really for life.
And Jane says to me, let's raise money on this flight. I said, well, how?
She says, well, why don't you play your sax for people that donate. I said, well, it's not going to go that cheap, Jane. Sax is not that cheap. So what I though was let's come up with the numbers. So we came up with the number of $1000. If we raise that, I will play and serenade the plane.
Well, we walked down the aisle and the best part of this whole experience was how fast and furious people put money into this basket to raise money for this great cause.
They felt the heartfelt story that Jane shared. The music was there. The feeling that we all wanted to see some really nice things happen at 30,000 feet for a change and we all came together as a wonderful and it was just -- it was amazing.
And so my hats off to Jane Mitchell for all the work your doing for this great cause and also to Delta Airlines for giving us the atmosphere for something wonderful to happen in the sky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: What a great story. I think he already mentioned Delta for about half a dozen times. And the take away, I guess, Isha, there's no such thing as cheap sax.
SESAY: OK. OK. We're going to leave that one. Although, he was serenading you there so.
VAUSE: He's a good sport.
SESAY: He's a good sport. OK, finally this hour, John, something for you.
Winning gold at 101-years-old.
SESAY: But fair. A great grandmother crash the competition as the world masters games in New Zealand winning the 100 meter race in the, wait for it, 74 blazing seconds.
OK, all right, let's be honest. No one else is racing in the 100 plus age group but still.
VAUSE: There's one I might win.
SESAY: Still not bad for someone who just started running a few years ago. Now she says she's going to compete in the 200 meter, the javelin, and the shot put.
VAUSE: And clearly she will win them all because there's no one else 100 years old. Good for her. That's one way. That's a winning strategy.
SESAY: I think so. But let's face it, if I live that long, I'm going to be sitting at home, chilling.
SESAY: Don't leave me hanging.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "World Sport" is up next. And then we'll be back with another of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.