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CNN NEWSROOM

Coronavirus Vaccination in European Countries; Crisis in Myanmar; Amnesty International: Uyghur Families Divided by Chinese Government; Growing Number of Migrants are Trying to Cross Into the United States; US-China Talks Get Off to Confrontational Start; Biden Dispatches US Senator to Meet Ethiopian Prime Minister; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Courts Arab Voters Ahead of Fourth Election; FBI Releases Graphic New Video of Insurrectionists Assaulting Police Officers on January 6. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 19, 2021 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. We appreciate your company.

Coming up here on "CNN Newsroom," it wasn't exactly a love affair to begin with as talks between China and the Biden administration are starting off on what sounded like a wrong foot. Hear the (INAUDIBLE) between top diplomats.

Plus, we are hours away now from a new rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, just how will this change things and how quickly. We are live for you in the region.

And the new report accuses China of separating thousands of Uyghur families. CNN has the exclusive information.

Now, the first high level talks between China and the U.S. under the Biden administration, off to a fairly confrontational start, in Alaska. The countries' top diplomats are hoping to smooth relations that were strange during the Trump presidency.

Most delegations have apparently agreed to two-minute opening statements each. But in its 20-minute statement, China warned the U.S. to stay out of its internal affairs.

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken is laying out his agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll also discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks on the United States, economic origin towards our allies.

HOLMES: Now, reporters were being ushered out of the room after those statements, but then Blinken asked them to stay, so he could expand on his remarks, and in itself prompted an angry response from the Chinese delegation.

YANG JIECHI, DIRECTOR, CHINESE CENTRAL FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMISSION: When I entered this room, I should have reminded U.S. side of paying attention to its tone in our respective opening remarks. The Chinese side felt compelled to make this speech because of the tone of the U.S. side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is following developments and joining me now live from Hong Kong. For a diplomatic meeting at a pretty high level, it was somehow less than diplomatic, wasn't it? I mean some pretty extraordinary sound voice there being fired?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it did get off to a pretty rough start. But look, this is the first day of this two-day meeting, the first session just wrapped, we heard from a senior Biden administration official that the talks have been serious, substantive and direct. But wow, that opening was pretty rough.

The opening remarks were this very significant, the first face-to-face meeting between the Biden administration officials and senior Chinese officials. You know, judging from those comments that you heard just now, we saw it, it just descended into this heated confrontation, but it was kind of expected because a tone of confrontation was already set in the run up to this meeting.

It was set earlier this week. We had senior U.S. officials travelled to meet their counterparts in South Korea and in Japan. We heard senior American officials take a hard line stance against China, slamming China for its destabilizing actions.

The tone was set when that quiet meeting took place last week. We had the leaders of U.S., India, Australia and Japan meet, four countries with very fraught relationship with China. And, of course, the tone was set when the U.S. State Department announced sanctions on 24 Chinese officials for their role in undermining democracy in Hong Kong.

So going into this meeting, we were kind of expecting this. We were expecting that sparks would fly and it would be a testy encounter. Michael?

HOLMES: Yeah. I mean, I guess, there are so many levels of strained relationships. Does it seem to be any long-term confidence that they can be matched in a way of substantive agreement? There are so many areas where are differences. There are enough areas where progress can be made.

LU STOUT: Yeah, there are so many areas of differences here, and you know, for those who are hoping for a proper reset in relations or a more polite tone with the new U.S. administration, that is not happening.

[02:05:00]

LU STOUT: I mean, this continues to be a very complicated frenemy- type relationship, unprecedented frictions between these two world powers on a variety of fronts: Trade, tech, Taiwan, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, economic coercion of allies, cybersecurity threats, you know, the list goes on.

And Biden administration, early on, they establish that they will continue with Trump era pressure on China, especially in relation to trade and Xinjiang. But the good thing is they are talking. There is some level of diplomacy going on.

Last month, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, had a phone call with Joe Biden, the U.S. president. One month later, we had these talks underway in Alaska. Day one, apparently, just wrapped. Day two, going on tomorrow, there could be areas of cooperation that they could further explore, pandemic response as well as climate change. Michael?

HOLMES (on camera): Yeah, a vital one there. All right, Kristie, thank you very much. Kristie Lu Stout for us there in Hong Kong.

Now, as tensions rise with China, we're also seeing President Biden take on Russia in something of a war of words. The Kremlin firing back after Biden took a swipe at the Russian leader. It all started Wednesday when Biden did not deny that Putin was a -- quote -- "killer."

In response, the Kremlin wished him good health without irony, and said that it was clear that the current administration does not want to improve Russian relations, now adding, when it comes to the killer comment, that it basically takes one to know one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): When we evaluate other people and nations, it is always as if we're looking in the mirror. We always see ourselves. We always passed on to another person what we ourselves are, in essence. In childhood, when we argued with each other, we would say, he who calls names is called that himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): The Biden administration is not backing down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: Does President Biden regret calling Vladimir Putin a killer?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, the president gave a direct answer to a direct question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): The Kremlin is now challenging Biden to hold online talks in the next few days, something the White House seems to be pouring cold water on.

France will soon be imposing new coronavirus restrictions. Starting Friday at midnight, Paris and more than a dozen other regions will be given a month-long partial lockdown. Nonessential businesses will be closed and people must stay home or within 10 kilometers of their home. It comes as the prime minister says that across the country, one person is being admitted to intensive care with COVID every four minutes. It is one of the many signs, he says, a third wave has arrived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN CASTEX, PRIME MINISTER OF FRANCE (through translator): The progression of the epidemic is accelerating considerably. We have recorded 30,000 cases yesterday alone and 35,000 today. The number of cases has increased by 23.6 percent in one week. It is becoming clearer and clearer that this is a third wave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): France is one of the European powers set to restart its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the coming days. All of these countries are green-lighting the vaccine again now that regulators have reassured everyone that it is indeed safe and effective. At least 16 European countries had briefly hit pause over concerns about blood clots. But some 20 million doses have already been administered across the E.U. and the U.K.

Melissa Bell is following these reversals for us live from Rome. So, Melissa, I guess this will change the vaccine landscape, obviously. How and how quickly?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on the countries. You mentioned France, but also Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Cyprus have all announced that they will be restarting from today the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine that had now been paused for a few days.

Other countries and I'm thinking here, for instance, of Denmark, one of the first to announce that it was pausing it, had said from the start that they would be pausing it for 14 days while their own national agencies looked in to what some of the effects might be and that question of safety and particularly the possible links to blood clots that the European Medicines Agency has now set aside as a concern.

It isn't an automatic thing. There is, first of all, the decision for the national agencies to decide to suspend it and not to resume it. Then there is, of course, the logistics of getting that up and running.

For instance, here in Rome, we spent the day a few days ago at an AstraZeneca vaccine center just outside of Rome Airport. We watched as the last cases were administered when the news came in that they will pause it here in Italy.

[02:10:00]

BELL: They won't be resuming until after 3 p.m. this afternoon. We were told that that is the case through all of the AstraZeneca vaccine centers in the (INAUDIBLE) province here around Rome. So, logistically, there is a problem.

And then, of course, even once the country starts resuming the rollout altogether, there is that problem and it goes back to the very beginning when the European Medicines Agency has first approved the AstraZeneca vaccine back in January, which is one of supplies.

So, the eight million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were on shelves as a result of these suspensions will be able to be rolled out fairly quickly. But we know that AstraZeneca has been involved in this (INAUDIBLE) with the European Union over its overall deliveries. It felt short in the first quarter. We now know that it is going to fall short on what it had agreed to in its contracts in the second quarter. So it will remain a vaccine that there simply isn't enough of.

Now, of course, there is also the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines that have never seen a pause and have continued to be rolled out in the European Union, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that Europeans are pinning so many hopes on, first of all, because it is a single-dose vaccine, second of all, because the European Union has purchased 200 million doses of it and hopes that this will help make up for those supply problems in the parts of European Union where there have been some.

But Michael, the problem is that that vaccine, although it has now been approved by the European Medicines Agency and a number of national agencies, for instance, France and here Italy, it won't actually be delivered anywhere until mid-April. So, it is going to be sometime before those problems of supplies are once and for all put behind Europeans.

HOLMES: Al right, Melissa Bell there in Rome for us. Thank you so much. Now, coming up after the break, we are going to turn to Ethiopia, where there are grave concerns over the crisis in the northern region of Tigray. The U.S. is now sending an envoy. We will have details ahead and the conversation with our David McKenzie.

Also, as Myanmar's pro-democracy protests continue, the U.N. says there are even more human rights abuses. We will have that, as well, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES (on camera): Now, these are security forces in Yangon, Myanmar clearing barricades the pro-democracy protesters had built. They had torched the barricades, opened fire, and detained at least 20 people during demonstrations. That is according to local news reports.

U.N. human rights experts say that Myanmar's generals are escalating the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. So far, activists have counted more than 200 deaths at the hands of police and the military. They say the real toll is likely much higher.

Hundreds of people have fled from Myanmar to India since last month's coup. That number includes some police officers and government officials. The refugees are hoping for safety in India even though the future is uncertain. Our Vedika Sud is there.

[02:15:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: I am standing on the Indian side of the Myanmar international border. I am in Mizoram, one of the four northeastern states in India that shares a border with Myanmar. On the other side of (INAUDIBLE) is the village (INAUDIBLE) in Myanmar.

Speaking to CNN, the chief minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga, says that ever since the military coup in Myanmar, almost 400 refugees have crossed over. This includes police officials, government officers, and civilians. Most of these refugees are sheltered by locals and activists in Mizoram with whom they share close cultural links.

CNN interviewed two police officers from Myanmar who are currently in hiding. They say they fled the country after the military junta ordered police officers to shoot at protesters. CNN cannot independently verify their claims. We did reach out to the Myanmar embassy over claims made by police officials, but have not received a response so far. Security on the Indian side has been tightened.

According to Zoramthanga, the influx of refugees into Mizoram could continue if the political situation in Myanmar does not improve. According to the Mizoram government, there will be food and shelter provided to these refugees on humanitarian basis, but the final decision on the influx of refugees into Mizoram from Myanmar lies with the Indian government.

Vedika Sud, CNN, on the Indian border with Myanmar.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HOLMES (on camera): India is seeing a jump in new coronavirus cases, by the way. It is raising fears that a second wave of the pandemic is gaining momentum there. On Thursday, new infections across the country rose by the most in one day that has been seen in more than three months. But, Maharashtra, which is India's richest state, accounted for two-thirds of that tally. Officials say that coronavirus fatigue might be partially to blame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J.P. MODI, MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENT, SURAT CIVIL HOSPITAL (through translator): There is COVID-19 fatigue from the last year. And people are tired of wearing masks and social distancing. People have started to crowd into places without wearing masks. So cases have increased because of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES (on camera): Now, recent rates of new cases are much lower than those seen in September of last year when new infections peaked at almost 100,000 per day.

When we come back here on "CNN Newsroom," he criticized them, now he needs them. The new approach Israel's prime minister is taking as he tries to secure a win in next week's general election. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:20:00]

HOLMES: Amnesty International says there may be thousands of Uyghur families worldwide separated by China's crackdown in Xinjiang. Their new report says some parents who fled the region years ago are unable to reunite with their children and many fear -- live in fear of returning to try to do so. China denies accusations of human rights abuses and says its Uyghur re-education campaign is about fighting violent terrorism.

But the author of the Amnesty report says the Chinese government wants to gain leverage over the Uyghur population residing abroad, so that they would be able to stop them from engaging in activism and speaking out for their families and their relatives in Xinjiang.

Joining me now from Hong Kong is Amnesty International researcher Alkan Akad. Thank you so much for being with us. I mean, this report really does contain some pretty harrowing stories from parents cut off from their children. What did you learn about how these children are separated and then what happens to them?

ALKAN AKAD, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCHER: Thank you for having me, Michael. I believe it is important to talk about the background of what has been happening in the region to understand why these families have been separated for years.

In 2016, the Chinese government launched a new policy and started confiscating passports of Uyghur people in the region on a vast scale. . A lot of families, they have tried to flee the country, fearing that they would not be able to do so in the near future.

And we know that in 2016, China launched an unprecedented crackdown on Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim people in the region. An estimate of one million or more people had been detained in these internment camps what Beijing calls as re-education through -- transformation through re-education.

And now, there is ample evidence that these people have been subjected to torture, ill treatment and solitary confinement, forced cultural assimilation. This mass incarceration has vast implications not only for those people who have been detained in these facilities but also their family members and their children. So, we see that -- yeah.

HOLMES: No, no, no, I understand that. Some of the stories, as you say, are harrowing. So what has happened to these people who had left and left their children with family and so on or were caught outside of the country? These people, their children were being taken away from them and they are unable to come back and get them. If they do, likely, they will be taken into custody, too. It seems outrageous. How many children are we talking about in this situation?

AKAD: If you do basic math, there are over 10 million Uyghurs in the region and an estimated one million, perhaps even up to two million people have been detained in these facilities. So, yes, that makes around one in every two families have been detained in these facilities.

So, you could easily talk about tens of thousands and perhaps even up to more people and children have been separated from their parents. These parents have no idea that their children might be, even if they are alive, safe and well.

HOLMES: So, you got these parents in countries around the world. I know they're in Australia, they're in Malaysia, they're in many countries, Italy and so on, and their kids are somewhere in the Chinese system. The parents can't go back to get them. Otherwise, they will be taken into custody. I mean, is this, as the report suggests, a deliberate tactic by authorities to try to get them back? Have that leverage over parents?

AKAD: Exactly. I mean, these parents are in an impossible situation, as you mentioned. They cannot go back. They cannot bring their children over. And the Chinese government goes through great lengths to cover up what has been happening in the region.

[02:25:02]

AKAD: And this includes intimidating those Uyghurs residing abroad, stopping them from talking about what is happening to them and their family members. Most of them, they are forced to go back to China. When they apply to extend their passports at the Chinese consulates and embassies, they are told that they have to go back to China to do that.

HOLMES: Yeah.

AKAD: So this is basically an attempt to cover up the scale of human rights violations that are taking place in the region.

HOLMES: We got to leave it there. Alkan Akad with Amnesty International is joining us from Hong Kong. Thank you so much.

AKAD: Thank you.

HOLMES (on camera): And you can find out more about Amnesty International's report and CNN's efforts to track down some of those families at cnn.com, and we will have more exclusive reporting in the days ahead.

Now, the U.S. Border Patrol says it has encountered 32 large groups of migrants along the border with Mexico since October. We're talking about groups of hundreds of more. And CNN has learned that more than 4,500 children are seeking entry into the U.S. now in custody.

CNN's Rosa Flores joined one group near the border for the last few miles of a dangerous journey.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the south Texas trails used by thousands of migrants like these unaccompanied teenagers from Guatemala to make their way into the U.S.

UNKNOWN: (UNTRANSLATED).

FLORES (voice-over): And sometimes, they encounter Deputy Constable Dan Broyles as he patrols the border with Mexico.

UNKNOWN: (UNTRANSLATED).

FLORES (voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Kevin gets emotional as he shares that he's been traveling for a month, sometimes without food or water. His father waits for him in Pennsylvania. Seventeen-year-old Alan's voice breaks as he explains his grandma --

UNKNOWN: (UNTRANSLATED).

FLORES (voice-over): -- who takes care of them stayed behind in his gang ridden neighborhood.

Border authorities in the Rio Grande Valley are encountering about a thousand migrants a day, according to a federal source, many of them unaccompanied minors. Evidence mothers and children are on the trail litter the landscape: Diapers, children's clothing, and masks.

(On camera): Documents left behind by some of the migrants tell part of their story. In this case, it looks like a 34-year-old mom from Honduras and her 2-year-old son, they both tested for COVID before leaving their country and tested negative.

So what do you look for when you patrol?

DAN BROYLES, DEPUTY CONSTABLE: Well, what I'm looking for is splashes of color that don't belong in the brush.

FLORES (voice-over): He also looks down the paths that lead to the river for signs of life.

BROYLES: This is an indication sign.

FLORES (voice-over): And he shows us the arrows posted by border authorities.

BROYLES: As you can see, that is a homeland security bag.

FLORES (voice-over): And it's one that reads asilo or asylum.

BROYLES: (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

FLORES (voice-over): Walk to the bridge, just two kilometers?

BROYLES: Just two kilometers, yeah.

FLORES (voice-over): What bridge? The bridge near the Rio Grande where immigration processing begins. This is as close as our cameras can get. Border patrol is not granting media access. But with permission from deputy constables who patrol alongside federal authorities --

BROYLES: Precinct Three Constables Office is in charge of approximately 22 miles of international border.

FLORES (voice-over): We've got our eyes and ears on the ground.

Did you come alone?

UNKNOWN: (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

FLORES (voice-over): This teen says he paid a smuggler after a recent hurricane flooded his single mom's home.

(On camera): How much did you pay?

UNKNOWN: (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

FLORES (voice-over): Or about $2,500.

(On camera): How did you get the money?

UNKNOWN: (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

FLORES (voice-over): Was it alone?

UNKNOWN: (SPOKEN IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).

FLORES (voice-over): Broyles job ends here, when he sends the teams off to border patrol. For the teens, it's just another step in an already uncertain journey.

(On camera): On the banks of the Rio Grande, the land mass that you see behind me is Mexico. The man in charge of this portion of the border is Precinct Three Constable Larry Gallardo (ph), and he tells me that there is a constant dual challenge here. Down river is the smuggling of people. Up river is the smuggling of drugs. And the border patrol chief tweeting there is no end in sight.

Rosa Flores, CNN, along the U.S.-Mexico border.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HOLMES (on camera): You're watching CNN Newsroom with me, Michael Holmes. Coming up after the break, the U.S. and China try to have a relationship reset, but it is complicated. Where the two sides disagreed on their first day of talks, we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company. Now let's get you updated on our top story.

Talks between the US and China after something of a rough start in Anchorage, Alaska. But a senior US official says, once the parties got behind closed doors, things were more substantive, serious and direct. China is resisting what it calls US interference in its internal affairs, but the US wants to see improvement on human rights in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The alternative to a rules- based order is a world in which might makes right and winners take all, and that would be a far more violent and unstable world for all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Frank King is a China political commentator and columnist. He joins me now from Hong Kong. And it's good to see Frank.

Some strong words from both sides ahead of this meeting, let's be frank; battle lines drawn as it were. I mean, Antony Blinken said, without rules-based order, there would be a much more violent world. What did you make of the exchange?

FRANK CHING, CHINA POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Michael, thanks for having me on. I think this is a very weird exchange, because both sides said before the talks that they were not going to change their position. And it seemed like there was no point having these talks if each side was just going to go in and state its position and then leave.

And it seemed like from the beginning, the US side - well, first of all, they announced sanctions against 24 senior Chinese officials just before the talks began, which naturally made a negative atmosphere. And then, they agreed that each speaker would have two minutes, and the US side adhered to this and the Chinese speaker Yang Jiechi (ph) went on for 16 minutes.

So it seems like they were not adhering to the rules, and that he was really addressing, not the Americans or even the public, the media, but really speaking to his boss in Beijing, Xi Jinping, and showing his boss how tough a stand he was taking.

HOLMES: It's not a - it's not exactly an August start to all of this in this sort of reset, if we can even call it that. I mean, how strong are the disagreements? How high are the hurdles between these two countries? CHING: Well, they're very high. The US said going in that they want to

talk about Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the Chinese side said, do not talk about these issues because these are China's internal affairs and the US should keep its hands out.

And then, in his opening remarks, the Chinese leader said that the US was invading other countries and slaughtering Black people in the United States.

[02:35:00]

So, it's really an atmosphere that is not conducive to making progress. And then when the press finally left the US side and told the press, now we'll tell the Chinese in private what we've been saying in public. Now how are you going to make any progress that way?

HOLMES: Yes, yes, point taken. I mean, you can argue that authoritarian systems are pretty good at showcasing their strengths and hiding or masking their weaknesses. In terms of the to and fro between China and the US going forward, what are China's vulnerabilities that the US might exploit?

CHING: Well, I think what China wants out of this meeting is really an ongoing dialog to show that the US and China have repaired their relationship to a certain extent, so they can talk to each other and exchange ideas. And the US going in has said, this is not part of a dialog. They have no plans to have another meeting; this is a one-off meeting. And I think the Chinese more or less accepted this.

Now, if there's any progress on any of these many, many issues they are talking about, including say, Huawei, the tech war between China and the US, if there's any progress on anything and they agreed to meet a second time, then that in itself would be a breakthrough, that this is not a one-off, but there will be further talks.

HOLMES: It's going to be an interesting dynamic going forward; fascinating to watch it unfold. Frank Ching in Hong Kong, got to leave it there. Thank you so much.

CHING: Thank you, Michael.

HOLMES: Meantime, President Biden is sending one of his top congressional aides to Ethiopia to address a humanitarian crisis in the north of the country. David McKenzie has all the details; joins me now from Johannesburg.

What can we expect from the trip, David?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (inaudible) expected this is the most high-level US visit since this conflict began. And if you look at this disturbing footage from Tigray taken earlier this month from Wikro, and the just awful allegations of ethnic cleansing and massacres that have happened, allegations on all sides and the impact that's had on civilians in Tigray, there has been a growing level of outrage of this conflict that has been hidden for several months because of the media blackout. But now people are in Tigray, getting out material like this, and

President Biden now ratcheting up the pressure on the leader of Ethiopia, sending his close ally Senator Chris Coons into the region to have discussions with both Prime Minister Abiy and with the African Union to try and get more aid in to stop the hostilities and possibly get an independent force in there at some point to secure that area.

HOLMES: What leverage does the US have over Ethiopia to try to get something achieved?

MCKENZIE: Well, the short answer is a big number, $1 billion. That's the total amount of assistance that the US was slated to give Ethiopia through all aid in 2020. It's the largest recipient of US aid on the continent.

But it becomes more complicated when you look at Ethiopia and its important strategic relationship with the US; it's long been an ally in the so-called war on terror in previous years. It was a bulwark against Sudan, which previously had hostile relations with the US. So there are a lot of things to weigh up.

But we have seen the Biden administration be more forthright and more strident on issues of human rights. And given the investigations by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and others, of the potentially large scale massacres from both allegedly Eritrean troops and those affiliated with the TPLF, the regional government that is fighting this war with the federal government, there is a lot of questions to be asked, and increasing calls as I said of independent investigations, and at the very least, to allow humanitarian aid in to these people in Tigray.

The Tigrayans, nearly a million people required food assistance even before this conflict started. And it started around US Election Day last year. So for quite a while, the US was otherwise occupied. But now you see the Biden administration really trying to put the pressure on, and Secretary of State last week saying that there could be ethnic cleansing in the country. So I think you will see a lot more news on this conflict in coming days.

[02:40:00]

HOLMES: Yes, it certainly needs some attention. That's for sure. David McKenzie, good to see you, David. Thank you.

Israelis head to the polls next week for the fourth general election in two years; another race - tight race looming. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking a different approach, this time hoping to secure a win by turning to a voting bloc who is often overlooked.

CNN's Hadas Gold reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(VIDEO PLAYING)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just last year, a campaign video like this from Benjamin Netanyahu would have been unthinkable.

(VIDEO PLAYING)

Abu Yair, literally the father of Yair, an Arabic language way of embracing the Israeli Prime Minister. Contrast that with this video from 2015, stoking fear of Israel's 20 percent Arab minority to scare his Likud party base to get out and vote.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The rule of the right is in danger. Their voters are moving in droves to the polling stations. Left wing organizations are busing them in.

GOLD (on camera): This election is expected to be so close that one or two seats could determine who will be the next Prime Minister. That's why you're seeing a possibly surprising sight from Benjamin Netanyahu campaigning amongst an electorate he was previously accused of deriding.

GOLD (voice-over): Netanyahu's Likud party has new promises to these voters; peace agreements with regional allies and a cabinet position for a special Minister of Arab Affairs.

TZACHI HANEGBI, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: We are surprised to see that it's working, it's effective, they really believe in cooperation with the Likud. So, we went on with this strategy, and so far so good.

GOLD (voice-over): It may be working. A recent poll by Tel Aviv University found nearly 25 percent of Israeli Arab voters think Netanyahu is the best candidate for Prime Minister. In the village of Taibeh, the tension ahead of this election is evident on the streets, when Jewish Israeli protesters try to convince the locals to vote against the Prime Minister.

One of them yells at passing cars that Netanyahu is a liar, and that they need to kick him out. But she's interrupted by a local man, Asbarka Ismail (ph), who says there's no one like Bibi, only Bibi Netanyahu, there is no one stronger than him.

Not everyone in Taibeh is a fan though. And for some, the disillusionment spreads across the Arab parties as well. Mahmoud Amsha says that, for the first time in his life, he may leave his ballot blank.

MAHMOUD AMSHA, TAIBEHH RESIDENT (through translator): You don't have to be very smart to see that we are disappointed. First of all, violence crimes, murder, the murder of also women and children. Second thing, infrastructure. Third thing, all the unemployed people. You know what, I am at home all the time, because I don't feel secure. Shouldn't they care about me?

GOLD (voice-over): Dr. Ahmad Tibi is a veteran of Israeli politics, a member of Parliament here for more than 20 years. He says it's foolish for an Arab voter to think that voting for Netanyahu will give them power to address Arab issues.

DR. AHMAD TIBI, ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER: Netanyahu is the problem, he is not the solution. He's the - he's real rightist - right ideology with opportunism. But he's a rightist.

GOLD (voice-over): In such a small country, Netanyahu's success may hinge on whether he can convince just enough of these voters to forget the past.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Taibeh, Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom, spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @holmescnn. World Sport starts after this short break.

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[02:45:00]

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": So in a rare interview, the former President George W. Bush speaking out over the Capitol insurrection, telling The Texas Tribune what he saw made him sick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was sick to my stomach, and to see our nation's capitol being stormed by hostile forces. And it really disturbed me to the point where I did put out a statement, and I'm still disturbed when I think about it. It undermines rule of law and the ability to express yourself in peaceful ways in a public square. This was an expression that was not peaceful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That as today the FBI is releasing graphic new videos from the riot, there they are up on your screen now, and they're asking for help for the public to identify 10 suspects - 10 suspects involved in what they call some of the most violent assaults against officers.

The shocking video show the officers under attack and include freeze frames of the suspects the FBI is looking for. I want to warn you though, some of the clips are very disturbing. One of the videos shows rioters grabbing Officer Daniel Hodges' helmet and face mask and smashing his head against a door.

Another suspect caught on bodycam video punching an officer in the face. More than 300 people have been arrested in connection - there it is, punching him right in the face. More than 300 people have been arrested for the insurrection and so far 65 have been charged with assaulting law enforcement.

In addition to these 10 suspects in the videos, the FBI is saying that they're on the lookout for more than 250 unidentified individuals involved in the riot. Joining me now to discuss, CNN contributor and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Thank you, sir. I was deliberately reading slow there, so that people can get an idea of what's in the video, and you see them punching officers, squeezing the mask against the doorframe and so on and so forth, really just horrific behavior.

I appreciate you joining me. It's been more than two months since this insurrection. We're now getting these shocking new videos. And so, talk to me about what we see here and why the FBI wants to get this out.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Well, Don, I mean in the most explicit terms, what we see here is absolutely sickening. You see a vicious kind of orgy of violence that was unleashed upon our fellow citizens, our members of law enforcement, whose job is to protect the Capitol.

And as a member of law enforcement, some - anyone who carried a badge and a gun in the protection of this nation looks at those videos and can't help be anything other than completely sickened.

But I think what's important for your viewers to understand is what the FBI is doing about this. So you can think about this investigation in terms of kind of the rings of a target, right. So initially, that first broad round up was people who were easily identifiable, and who were clearly inside the Capitol, someplace they should not have been, and were charged with things like violent entry and trespass related offenses.

And then, as they zeroed in on folks who are more culpable and more deeply involved, you saw the conspiracy charges against groups like The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, and things like that. Now, what you're seeing is a real focus on those individuals who were involved in the most violent, the most offensive conduct that day.

And this is a hard process, right? They have to - they see those incidents happening. They're able to key in on particularly identifiable elements like a hat or a piece of clothing or a mask that somebody is wearing. And then they track that indicator through thousands of hours of videotape, to try to follow where that person went on the day of the events.

And now, we're at the point where they're essentially crowd-sourcing the identification of those people. So I really hope that anyone who knows anything about the folks in these videos is reaching out to their local FBI office tonight.

[02:50:00]

LEMON: I just - look, every time I see a video, it's like I'm seeing this for the first time. I can't -Andrew, I just cannot believe that these police officers went through this and that these people actually did this. I just - and look, last time I spoke with the Capitol Officer Harry Dunn, I'm not sure if you saw him - I'm going to play some of it for you--

MCCABE: I did.

LEMON: --but I talked to him about how - he talked to me about what other officers experienced. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER HARRY DUNN, CAPITOL POLICE: Once I had time to sit down, and put it all together, it was just so overwhelming that, here we are giving so much and putting our lives on the line to protect democracy and keep it, and we're being called racial slurs, traitors. And any just weapon that these people could use, the terrorists, they're on the six, they were there to cause harm and they came prepared for a fight, and they hurt us physically and emotionally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, the attempts by Trump allies like Congressman Louie Gohmert and other Republicans to whitewash the attack and to deny it that it was an insurrection, do they just empower the people who did this to attack again, does it just embolden them?

MCCABE: It does, it does. Look, we know that this - what happened on January 6 was an obscene offense against those things that all Americans hold dear, right, democracy and the sanctity of our process of electing presidents and everybody agreeing to fair and free results of an election.

We know now, from the report issued by the DNI this week about the domestic violent extremist threat in this country, that that threat is being accelerated not only by the big lie, the claim that the election was stolen, the grievance around that, but by the people who continue to perpetuate that these folks, these violent extremists are emboldened by the acceptance and the acknowledgement of public people who are - who failed to call them out, who failed to puncture this - let the hot air out of this lie, and who continue to perpetuate these falsehoods to this day.

And I think we're at the point now where responsible Republicans should understand that, by not stepping out in front of this thing and calling it out for what it is, they are part of the problem.

LEMON: Andrew McCabe, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Senator Rand Paul trying to tell the nation's top infectious disease doctor that masks are just theater. I'm going to show you how that went over.

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[02:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Take this, Republican Senator Rand Paul going after Dr. Anthony Fauci, this time on why Americans should continue to wear masks after getting vaccinated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): You're telling everybody to wear a mask,

whether they've had an infection or a vaccine. What I'm saying is they have immunity, and everybody agrees they have immunity. What studies do you have that people who have had the vaccine or have had the infection are spreading the infection? If we're not spreading the infection, isn't it just theater?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: No, it's not--

PAUL: You've got the vaccine and you are wearing two masks. Isn't that theater?

FAUCI: No, it's not - here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts. When you talk about reinfection and you don't keep in the concept of variants, that's an entirely different ballgame. That's a good reason for a mask.

Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater. Masks are protective. And we--

PAUL: If you have immunity, they're theater. If you already have immunity, you're wearing a mask to give comfort to others. You're not wearing a mask because of any science.

(CROSSTALK)

FAUCI: I totally disagree with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: That guy. Experts say mask wearing is still necessary because COVID variants are spreading more and more across the US. Vaccines that have already been approved might not be effective against getting them or spreading them. That's why experts like Dr. Fauci say keeping masks on will protect everyone, vaccinated or not. Senator Paul may be a doctor, but he sure doesn't sound like an expert.

A GOP Congressman, bringing up lynching at a hearing on discrimination, and that's only one of the bizarre remarks coming from Republicans today.

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