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State of the Union Address; Trump Condemns Cruel Dictatorship in North Korea; Trump Urges Bipartisan ship on Immigration Reform; Trump: China, Russia Challenge U.S. Interests; Rare Super Blue Blood Moon Will Light the Sky.Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 31, 2018 - 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: Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay.

U.S. President Donald Trump says the State of the Union is strong and he's urging a spirit of unity and cooperation to make it stronger. Mr. Trump spelled out his plans for immigration reform including a border wall with Mexico and declared Americans are dreamers too.

VAUSE: Donald Trump also ordered the detention center at Guantanamo Bay to remain open reversing Barack Obama's order to close it. And the President delivered a very stern warning to North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea. North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.

We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening. Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.

I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Joining me now for more on all this, CNN's Will Ripley standing by in Seoul, Matt Rivers in Beijing and the executive director of the Ploughshares Fund Philip Yun also with us there in San Francisco.

But Will -- first to you. This was an ominous warning from the U.S. president. They're also seen to be an indication he was moving towards some kind of military action here that maybe diplomacy was off the table. And also at the same time, we're learning Pyongyang might be planning their own message for the United States with an upcoming military parade. WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right -- John. All indications here on the Korean Peninsula right now this is a situation that appears to be going downhill rather quickly. I have confirmed within the last couple of hours speaking with diplomatic sources that North Korea will staging a massive show of force of what's expected to be a large military parade coming up on February 8th. I'm talking about hundreds of missiles and rockets including many dozens, I'm told, of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea recently tested.

Now, it's unclear if all of these missiles are deployable or if some might be mock-ups. Obviously in parades they often use mock-ups not live missiles for safety reasons. But to have hundreds of missiles rolling through the streets of Pyongyang, in the words of one of my sources, this is designed to quote, "scare the hell out of the Americans".

At the same time, we've also learned today that all foreign press are being banned from coverage of this parade. Initially we had thought that a number of news organizations including CNN would be invited in to cover this.

Now we have been told that we are not going to be going in to the country. Sources telling me that this may be an attempt by North Korea to control the imagery that the world sees and also to avoid any potential questions about the viability of these missiles.

And this does not bode well given that this will be occurring on the eve of the Winter Olympics. North Korea has already canceled a scheduled inter-Korean cultural performance that was supposed to take place.

They have expressed anger about the tone of the media coverage here in South Korea and have sent a number of warnings indicating that perhaps other inter-Korean partnerships around the Olympics could be now in jeopardy as a result of all this.

Also sources not ruling John, the possibility of another North Korean missile test in the very near future possibly to send a message to the United States which of course, has a large number of naval and strategic forces assembled around the Korean Peninsula.

VAUSE: Will -- thank you. Of course, that raises the question how much did the U.S. President know before he delivered that State of the Union address and how much that may have influenced what he said just a few hours ago.

Matt Rivers -- to you in Beijing, the one success the Trump administration has been able to point to has been China is not even doing what (INAUDIBLE) on North Korea. Given the rhetoric that we heard from the U.S. president now which seems to be all reaction in all our diplomacy, would Beijing be asking what's the point?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, anytime that you hear this kind of rhetoric from the President, that's something the Chinese government are not happy about. They're very firm and consistent in their position that the only way forward here is through not only sanctions but also through eventually diplomatic dialog between specifically the United States and North Korea.

But I think it's worth point out, John, that we have heard this kind of rhetoric from the United States President before. And this is something that Beijing has gotten used. You remember what the President said over the summer. You remember what he said to the U.N. General Assembly.

And so you have Beijing has continued to forge ahead with its stated goal of using sanctions and ultimately diplomacy to solve this crisis. So I don't think that this one speech from the State of the Union will cause the Chinese government to change course.

[00:05:07] What it will do, though is reinforce the position of those with inside the Chinese government and they must have contingency plans in place that they need to know how they're going to respond should the United States go ahead with some sort of limited strike or perhaps a confrontation even larger.

VAUSE: Matt -- thank you. Matt Rivers there in Beijing. We appreciate that.

Let's go to Philip now -- Philip Yun in San Francisco.

Philip, you know, to Matt's point we've heard this talk kind of before but we haven't heard it from Donald Trump while delivering a State of the Union. We've heard similar talk if you go back to George W. Bush and the axis of evil and that kind of thing.

So when you listen to this, what was your take?

PHILIP YUN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Well, you know, my initial reaction was a lot of the rhetoric, as you said, very similar to what has been said in the past. George Bush had said that. Barack Obama, you know, North Korea is a terrible regime. You've got to be very hard on them because it's justifiably so.

There's something that actually makes me a little bit more worried now about the State of the Union, this one, because of the context. I don't know if you know but Victor Cha is the ambassador-designate supposedly for the United States to South Korea, there is a "Post" story that said he's no longer being considered for that position.

He just wrote an op-ed that came out on "Washington Post" just a few hours ago which basically said that a bloody nose strategy, in other words a limited strike is something that makes no sense at all. And he pushed very hard on that and he said the fact that -- it's been reported the fact that he disagreed with that strategy, the administration supposedly decided not to formally give this nomination.

That says to me that they are actually considering the possibility of the use of force or a limited strike as part of their -- part of their strategy here. And therefore the way that this -- the State of the Union was written could be a precursor -- I don't want to be too alarmist. But it was fairly ambiguous. It could be really a precursor to justifying this kind of military action which does make me worried.

VAUSE: And you mentioned Victor Cha and that op-ed in the "Washington Post". So here's some of it. "If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike and we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind and if Kim is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder which is premised on an adversary's rational understanding of signals and deterrence?"

Essentially he is saying that once you start, it gets out of control and you know, he was -- his opinion, you know, is that there are other military options and there are better options apart from this so- called bloody nose. You said that to you it's an indication that they're considering this military option. Could you take it one step further and it seems that that's the only option they're considering when you look at Victor Cha who's no longer now heading to Seoul as ambassador and what we know just a few hours ago?

YUN: Well, it makes me worried because we don't know who the envoy is going to be. And the envoy then obviously has to be able to say that with a straight face that if the President decides he wants to advance that option that the ambassador, our envoy would support that.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure how many people you're going to find who knows the Korean Peninsula are actually going to agree to that. For most of us the use of military force is not an option. And we've really talked about this.

One of the things that is not discussed is the fact that the idea of deterrence -- the North Koreans are not crazy. They're not irrational. They know if they preemptively attack the United States, they would cease to exist.

And so therefore the idea of us doing a preemptive attack because we think they're going to makes no sense at all. And the idea that we'd be willing to risk hundreds of thousands, millions of lives -- American lives in Korea -- South Korea, Japan and possibly the United States just makes this whole thing a little bit -- makes it reckless quite frankly.

VAUSE: And you know -- and terrifying, to be honest.

YUN: Terrifying, absolutely.

VAUSE: Yes. Philip -- good to see you.

YUN: Yes.

VAUSE: We'll leave it there. We'll catch up soon. Appreciate it. Thank you.

SESAY: Well, in his address, President Trump outlined a four-point plan for immigration reform that includes the wall and a path to citizenship to so-called dreamers but also ending the visa lottery and family based chain migration which he claims has made Americans less safe.

He says Democrats and Republicans needed to work together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion and creed.

[00:09:58] My duty and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American dream because Americans are dreamers too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well here with us now, Democratic strategist Caroline Heldman, talk radio host and columnist and Trump supporter John Phillips -- lots of names to his credit, and Republican strategist Luis Alvarado. Welcome to you all. Good to have you with us after the President's first State of the Union address.

Louis -- to you first, the President taking a move -- or making a move rather that some might call cynical in his discussions of the immigration debate, others might call it politically savvy -- the President very clearly trying to reclaim usage of the word or the term "dreamers" saying as you heard there that Americans are dreamers, too.

Your reaction to that.

LUIS ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it's no surprise that he still has to placate to the base and he has to keep those promises so he doesn't get called the Amnesty Don like some extremists have called him.

But it's important to recognize that he has extended his hand. There is some little bit of wiggle that he's moved from the last month when we met with many legislators in the capital.

The question is now is the hand completely extend? Is it something that's viable where Democrats can actually deal that they're compromising on something? And I think that is still a step or two away. But he's certainly making a claim that he has the power and he has the interest to make a difference in the negotiation in the next 10 days to ensure that we don't have a second closure of the government and that we actually can get past this DACA challenge that we have in front of us.

The reality is that Republicans are now, now while comprehensive immigration when in reality for years have been saying we want piece- meal and I think that's the challenge the Democrats still have to square off.

VAUSE: You know, there was one moment when he was talking about immigration and for the most part Democrats have been quiet up until this point, but when the President started talking about chain migration which is actually family reunification -- Democrats reacted with boos and hisses.

And later Democrat Judy Chu tweeted this, "Because it's not true. A single immigrant cannot bring in an unlimited amount of family members. There are no visas for aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and some need to wait decades to reunite with one family member, one family member."

Democrat Ruben Gallego from Arizona, "Blatant lies about family reunification and visa lottery. He has zero understanding how this works."

John -- was the President using alternative facts in his (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

JOHN PHILLIPS, TALK RADIO HOST: No, he's actually quite the mainstream. In fact, I was looking a previous State of the Union address that was given in 1995 by Bill Clinton. And Bill Clinton sounded quite Trumpian on the issue of immigration. I was looking at a speech that Harry Reid gave on the floor of the United States after the first World Trade Center bombing where among other things he called for an end to birthright citizenship and said much tougher things on illegal immigration and the border than Donald Trump has.

But what's shocking to me about those tweets that you mentioned from Judy Chu and the other Congressman is how extreme the Democrats have gone on the issue. And I believe that they did that when the power in the public (ph) earned it in the unions moved from the manufacturing trades to government employment and the service sector. That's the galling thing that I see.

SESAY: And Caroline -- do you see such a shift as he says the Democrats are becoming extremists. I mean I think the feeling, as I understand it is the shock that legal immigration is being curbed at least if this administration was to get its way.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Correct. I mean it's being demonized, right. It's not the Democrats who have shifted. If you want to talk about the issue with the dreamers and DACA this is a self-inflicted problem. Donald Trump decided to withdraw protections and is now saying oh we need to fix the problem that he created.

PHILLIP: Illegal protection.

HELDMAN: Not illegal protection.

(CROSSTALK)

HELDMAN: No, President Obama extended protections to people who grew up here --

PHILLIPS: -- which were illegal.

HELDMAN: -- who were brought here of their --

(CROSSTALK)

HELDMAN: Human beings are not illegal and children being brought here of -- not of their own volition -- I'm sorry but those are fellow Americans. I've grown up right next to them. They deserve citizenship here.

And President Obama did something quite reasonable and rational that eight out of ten Americans support. He extended citizenship protections to them.

PHILLIPS: He would have lost to the courts.

VAUSE: Ok. Yes, but you know -- before the State of the Union, the President had this traditional lunch with the network anchors and he told them -- this is what he said. "I'm telling you immigration is so easy to solve if it was purely a business matter but it's not. And I think that's something I've learned maybe more than anything else.

You have to -- you govern with all of the -- more than anything else you have to use the instincts of a business person, you have to add much more heart and soul into your decisions than you ever would have thought of before."

[00:15:01] So Luis to you -- I kind of mangled that read. But how much heart did we see from Donald Trump on immigration tonight?

ALVARADO: Actually I'm still pleasantly surprised that he has opened up. Now the reality is that there are still some in the Freedom Caucus of the Republican wing that are completely against immigration and are the ones that are still pushing Donald Trump not to be so generous as they would say.

So Donald Trump still has the power. He still has an opportunity to create a legacy. The reality is I think he understands that if he wants to have infrastructure passed in a bipartisan way he has to be seen by Democrats as a bipartisan president. The actual guy who campaigned and said that he is the best negotiator in the world -- well this is his chance and that means actually putting aside some of the Freedom Caucus rhetoric that we've seen in the past few weeks from some other Republican legislators.

There are moderate Republican legislators who actually feel that there is a pathway to making this happen for America, not for the dreamers because the reality is it's not just good for the dreamers, it's actually very good for America. And it's good for the progress in the political aspect, the financial aspect -- any which way you cut it.

We need to make sure that there is a compromise that's reached that both parties are going to pinch their nose, go to the chambers and vote for it. And then we know that we have something that's actually viable for the country.

SESAY: Ok. Interesting perspective. We're going to hit pause on the immigration segment of what the President had to say and talk about the economy because that was the other big bit of all of this.

The President certainly taking credit for the sunshine. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs including -- including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.

After years and years of wage stagnation we are finally seeing rising wages. Unemployment (INAUDIBLE) have hit a 45-year low.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Ok. Very quick fact check here. The reality is in 2017, the U.S. added just over two million new jobs. The President is referencing the starting point as Election Day in November 2016, a little misleading. But in 2016, the last year of the Obama presidency, job creation was 2.24 million. That's kind of below the 2014 peak of the Obama years of 2.95 million new jobs.

And it goes -- you know, it comes to the question of, you know, who gets the credit for the economy, why don't we just put up there -- 49 percent give Donald Trump credit for this; 56 percent give Barack Obama credit for the booming economy.

So John -- you know, when the President goes out there and owns this, how entitled is he in doing this? I mean it happened on his watch. What do you do?

PHILLIPS: I'm sure if everything went to hell, the news media would be blaming President Obama and not President Trump. And then George W. Bush for having a bad --

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: The fact of the matter is there is a good story to tell of the economy.

VAUSE: Sure.

PHILLIPS: The stock market is at a record high. Unemployment is at modern (ph) lows. We saw consumer confidence this holiday season at a record high. The real estate economy is booming. And the tax bill which had relatively low numbers when it passed is seeing an increase in its popularity.

The "New York Times" poll that just came out showed great growth there. And I think that there's a lot more room for growth because Democrats frankly lied about what people would be paying in taxes whereas 80 percent plus would be getting a tax (AUDIO GAP) -- started to come in the numbers for that tax bill are going to go higher and higher and higher. SESAY: Well, the President not just claiming credit for everything you just laid out there. And as I said at the beginning -- the sunshine also --

PHILLIPS: And motherhood and apple pie.

SESAY: He's also claiming credit for low unemployment amongst African-Americans, claiming that it's at a 45-year low, the lowest rate it's ever been recorded. And also citing Hispanic, African- American employment also as being its lowest level.

Before you respond, Caroline and putting that in some kind of context take a look at the reaction from the Congressional Black Caucus when the President said it. So the President touts low unemployment amongst African-Americans. And let's just show our viewers the reaction amongst the Congressional Black Caucus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's something I'm very proud of -- African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Yes. Caroline --

HELDMAN: Well, so he's taking creditor for an economy that's been improving since 2010. And the reason it's improving is because we started in a very bad place. The liquidity crisis of 2008 which both George W. Bush and Barack Obama passed packages that got us out of that.

[00:20:00] So yes, the job growth has slowed under Trump compared to the last 12 months under Obama but neither of them can really take creditor for this. This is something that started a while ago. But black unemployment is low.

SESAY: But it is still higher.

HELDMAN: It's still twice as high as white --

SESAY: Exactly

HELDMAN: -- unemployment.

SESAY: So which is it?

HELDMAN: And it doesn't mean that Donald Trump isn't a racist. And that's how he's been using it. And that's why the Congressional Black Caucus is looking at him side-eye because you know, I'm sorry - -

(CROSSTALK)

HELDMAN: -- he's the head of the birther movement for how many years.

VAUSE: A rising tide lifts all boats though. If the economy does well, everyone does well.

PHILLIPS: If you're a sailor, head out there.

HELDMAN: But it has been since 2010.

VAUSE: Exactly.

SESAY: But also important -- with (INAUDIBLE) is that according to analysts unemployment is down because a lot of people have given up looking for jobs.

VAUSE: And that's been a problem -- it's on a decline --

SESAY: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Exactly.

VAUSE: And John and Caroline as well as Luis -- good to see you all on this first night of the State of the Union. The State of the Union is bigly good. Thanks guys.

SESAY: We appreciate it -- thank you.

VAUSE: We will take a short break.

When we come back one policy announcement in Donald Trump's speech was another reversal of Obama-era policy -- ahead, the fate of the Guantanamo Day detention facility.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, in his first State of the Union President Trump called for a big increase in military funding.

SESAY: And he listed the foreign threats confronting the United States and emphasized his desire for a robust response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy and our values. In confronting these horrible dangers we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict. An unmatched power is the surest means to our true and great defense.

For this reason I am asking Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Nic Robertson joins us now from Abu Dhabi with more on this. So Nic -- how will it be seen in Moscow and Beijing? They're only mentioned, being lumped in with rogue regimes and terrorists, and came in with a call for a big buildup in the U.S. military. NIC ROBERTS, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think it

will be viewed as, you know, another carefully crafted speech delivered on a teleprompter by President Trump that speaks to the America First narrative that looks towards America, thinks about America and doesn't think so mu about the rest of the world. So I think in that context, you know Russia and China can look at it in that way -- that this is really the same President Trump that they've been hearing over the past year.

[00:25:00] So I don't think there's any new takeaway in it for either of those countries. You know, I think perhaps if you're Russia then you're looking at it and you see President Trump talking about the need for military superiority.

Or if you're China as well hearing that message that's a very clear indication again of what President Trump has said that he wants to put more money into the military. That's what he's calling for.

But it does, if you're sitting in those capitals, make you very aware that he's putting a priority there. And like you're going to have to consider, if you consider yourself a major world power as they do, you're going to have to put a lot of spending in that area as well.

So I think globally speaking that's how it's going to be interpreted.

VAUSE: Global arms race -- ok. One of the few concrete announcements in this State of the Union was about Gitmo -- it's not closing. This is what the President said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield, including the ISIS leader al Baghdadi who we captured, who we had, who we released.

So today I'm keeping another promise. I just signed, prior to walking in an order directing Secretary Mattis to re-examine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know Nic, that's sort of more symbolic than practical but the symbolism of Gitmo sends a pretty big, powerful message around the world.

ROBERTSON: It does. And also part of his speech is when he talked about asking Congress to give the United States or restore to the United States, the power to chase terrorists wherever they are in e world essentially render them back seemed to be the implication of what he was saying, in those words. But render them back to U.S. jurisdiction or at least put them in a position where they can be questioned by U.S. authorities.

So yes, the optics before had always been that if you -- that Gitmo is a magnet for terrorist propaganda; that the more you sort of put high- valued detainees there, the less you give them access to open trials and put their crimes on public display, if you will, and give them a chance to answer those allegations, then that's just a recruitment tool for terrorists. So you would think that falls back in that category.

But I think more broadly you're going to find a lot of people look at that and say the threat of terrorism irrespective of President Trump's actions is something that's grown. It's a real threat and it needs to be tackled.

What it does do however is perhaps put the United States in a more complicated position with some of its allies with whom it wants to fight against the threat of global terrorism who will find that that -- that the continuation of detention at Guantanamo bay and the treatment of prisoners there legally is something that gives the United States allies a little difficulty legally back at home.

VAUSE: Nic -- thank you. Nic Robertson, live for us in Abu Dhabi. Thanks -- Nic.

SESAY: Well, President Trump is defending his plan for U.S. immigration reform. What that may mean for the nearly two million dreamers in the country -- just ahead.

[00:28:31] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE,(voice-over): Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY(voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:

(HEADLINES)

SESAY: Turning back now to President Trump's State of the Union message and his push for immigration reform.

VAUSE: It was just over a week ago, seems like a lifetime ago, but that's when the government shut down because Congress could not make a deal on the DREAMers. They are the young people who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents; they now face deportation.

Mr. Trump says he supports a path to citizenship for them and he mentioned this during his State of the Union address.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age. That covers almost three times more people than the previous administration covered.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements and show good moral character will be able to become full citizens of the United States over a 12-year period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Well, Bambadjan Bamba joins us now. He's an actor and ambassador for Define America.

Welcome and thank you for being with us.

BAMBADJAN BAMBA, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: Thank you so much for having me on the show.

SESAY: And happy birthday. A little birdie told me it's your birthday.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Turning back to the issues at hand, the president in the State of the Union address speaking quite expansively about immigration. You heard what he said there, that he's open to a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people.

I want, first of all, your reaction to the fact the president has now said it publicly, he's willing to go that route. But there's a catch.

BAMBA: Right. You know, I was listening to the speech today and I was hoping to hear a more inclusive message and recognition around DREAMers and, you know, protection for our families.

So that's why you're talking about the catch. Yes, there's a pathway to citizenship and that's the start of the conversation. But we don't want it to be in exchange for our families being ripped apart. So that's my take on it.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many people who want to be happy that there's a road that they can see. But it comes with all these strings attached.

BAMBA: Correct.

SESAY: Can you share with our viewers a little bit about your story?

You're a DACA recipient.

BAMBA: Yes.

SESAY: How did you come to be in the United States?

BAMBA: OK, I came with my parents when I was 10 years ago from the Ivory Coast, seeking political asylum. And raised in the South Bronx; Virginia; went back to New York for school. Went to high school, middle school, was homecoming king.

And then when it was time to go to acting school, drama school, I realized, you know, technically I was undocumented. So that's kind of when my parents, you know, broke down what was happening.

Most people are thinking, well, you didn't do anything. You were here all these years. But we've had over 10 lawyers. We spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out a --

[00:35:00]

BAMBA: -- path to citizenship. And that's what we're talking about, the system's broken.

And thank God DACA came along, and I've been able to be legal on DACA. And I tell people I legal. You can hire me. I'm here on my birthday, you know, just advocating for DREAMers because I feel like -- we feel like people are playing political theater with our lives. Someone described it as poking voodoo dolls --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Yes, sticking pins in them.

BAMBA: -- sticking pins. And we just want to express that we love this country. This is a country that --

SESAY: Do you feel American?

BAMBA: -- absolutely, I feel American. I've been here for 25 years. I think American. People are always like, yo, you're Americanized. You know. But America stands for families, you know, and that's what immigration has been for the -- since the beginning, since the ancestors of even Donald Trump came.

It about, you know, families. It's about, are we a place that are bringing that -- that are allowing people to come in the country who are seeking refuge?

Or are we a place that rejects them and separates them and pins one group against another?

SESAY: Take a listen to a little bit more of what the president had to say about immigration. Let's play a little clip, another one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford.

It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century. These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise and one that will create a safe, modern and lawful immigration system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Bambadjan, when you hear the president link immigration and immigrants, undocumented immigrants with criminality and murder and disaster, as he did by talking about it in the context of family reunification, which he calls chain migration, and the visa lottery system, again, back to your point about families being ripped apart.

How does it make you feel, that conflation of the two?

BAMBA: It's really a weaponization of the term. Because, again, I go back to what kind of country do we want to have?

A country that accept people who are looking for safety or a country that rejects them, that pushes them away, that separates families?

And then he said MS-13 a lot. And I looked up MS-13 and I realized that majority are citizens. So, again, with Define American we're trying to shift the culture and the conversation around immigration.

And as DREAMers, which is just like 10 percent of the undocumented population, we feel as American as any other American, just without documentation.

SESAY: I've got to ask you, because you just used the word DREAMers, the president used the word DREAMers. He did that tonight.

BAMBA: He did.

SESAY: But he also, to your point, tried to reclaim it and said Americans are DREAMers, too.

BAMBA: Absolutely. I'm American. We're American and we're all DREAMers. And we are all taking it from this word that the American dream is still alive. I believe the American dream is still alive: 800,000 young DACA recipients and millions of others are here, living the American dream.

I'm an actor, for God sakes.

(CROSSTALK)

BAMBA: And I'm excited about the movie and about what it's going to represent. So...

SESAY: And showing the people who come to this country in such circumstances have a lot to give.

BAMBA: Absolutely.

SESAY: Have a lot that they bring to the table.

BAMBA: Absolutely.

SESAY: And that's why I make the point about you being in "Black Panther," because, here you are, showing and sharing your talent with the world. We wish you the very best with the film. BAMBA: Thank you.

SESAY: With everything. And hope that your family stays together.

BAMBA: Yes, me, too. That's our prayer. That's our hope and we're going to keep fighting for it until we receive it.

SESAY: Thank you for coming to speak to us, Bambadjan.

BAMBA: Thank you for having me, Isha.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK, we'll take a short break. When we come back, it's the lunar event of the year. You don't want to miss it. We'll have all the details of the super blue blood moon. (INAUDIBLE).

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:40:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE: "Blue Moon," get it?

They're singing about a blue moon.

SESAY: Yes, we get it. We get it.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) about a blue moon.

SESAY: Get it. We get it.

VAUSE: How cool is that, hey?

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Yes, yes, yes, we get it.

VAUSE: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

VAUSE: This all about a total lunar eclipse that happens at the same time as a supermoon and a blue moon.

SESAY: You're very confused by this --

VAUSE: I'm (INAUDIBLE) confused.

SESAY: -- I can tell.

VAUSE: OK. NASA says this lunar trifecta is the first of its kind in 35 years. I just stole your read.

SESAY: Yes, it's OK.

VAUSE: Apparently it won't happen again until 2037.

(WEATHER REPORT)

SESAY: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.