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Confirmation Hearings Get Under Way Tuesday; Confirmation Hearings Tuesday For Sessions, Kelly; Son-in-law Jared Kushner To Be Senior Adviser; North Korea Threatens to Launch Long-Range Missile; Trump Responds to Intelligence Accusations of Russian Hacks; Meryl Streep Blasts Trump At Golden Globes; Impact of Apple iPhone Launched 10 Years Ago; Death of Carrie Fisher Leaves Princess Leia's Future Uncertain. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 10, 2017 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, Donald Trump's very busy week, confirmation battles, along awaited news conference and already a public spat with a Hollywood legend. Also ahead, deadly freeze, frigid temperatures grip onto Europe. These refugees hit especially hard. And later, the decade of the iPhone. We'll look at how the smartphone has changed our lives for better and for worse.

Thanks for joining us, everybody, I'm John Vause. The second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. starts now.

In the coming hours, two of U.S. President-elect Trump's cabinet nominees head to Capitol Hill. The democrats and the Obama White House, accuse republicans of rushing these confirmations before all the nominees have been vetted. Manu Raju has our report

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: They are the absolute highest level. I think they're going to do very well.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: President-elect Donald Trump, confident the senate will approve his cabinet picks even as democrats vow to stop them. This week alone, senators will question nine nominees, including Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General. General James Mattis to lead the Defense Department; and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State. Tillerson's ties to President Vladimir Putin have become a flash point for republicans who want to take a tough line on Russia, but the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tells CNN, that Tillerson is privately reassuring the GOP hardliners, that his views on Russia are mainstream.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: One of the reasons that, you know, Tillerson's going to have so many questions on Russia -- no doubt it's going to be, because the President-elect has expressed some views that have been somewhat out of the mainstream here. My guess is that Tillerson is going to express a much harder line on Russia than we've seen coming from the President-elect. My guess is over time, I hope so, anyway, that the President-elect will evolve some in that regard, too.

RAJU: Trump officials say the nominees have spent more than 70 hours in mock hearings, answering more than 2600 questions all to help republican leaders accomplish their goal -- to confirm at least a half dozen nominees by the time Trump is sworn into office on January 20th. Republicans say they gave President Obama's nominees a similar courtesy in 2009.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Everybody will be properly vetted as they have been in the past, and I'm hopeful that will get up to six or seven. Particularly, the National Security came in place on day one.

RAJU: But democrats say, Trump's cabinet is filled with multimillionaires and billionaires and several have yet to complete the process to be clear of potential conflicts of interests. On the Senate floor Monday, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans held Obama's nominees to a similar standard.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: There's a big difference between 2009 and today. President Obama's nominees made -- met all the standards laid out in then minority McConnell's letter. President-elect Trump's nominees have not.

RAJU: Now, Democrats can't stop these nominees from being confirmed unless some Republicans defect and the reason why they changed the Senate rules to make it easier to overcome a filibuster meaning, 51 Republican senators can overcome a Democratic filibuster and with 52 Republican seats that means that virtually all of these Trump Cabinet nominees are certainly going to likely to get their job. One things a democrat can do is delay them from getting their job by January 20th when the republican leaders won at least six of these Trump nominees to get sworn into office. Manu Raju, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Joining me now, Ethan Bearman, Talk Radio host here in California, and Shawn Steele, member of the California Republican National Committee. Thank you for coming back. OK, Ethan, we have nine confirmation battles this week, which one will the Democrats go to the mattresses on? Which are the most important ones that shows the Democrats are concerned to try and stop if they can?

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO HOST: I think if they're going to focus their energy and they're going to have to with the -- with the rapid nature of these hearings, it's going to be Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. He is the most susceptible because of those connections with Vladimir Putin because of the fact that he is connected and done deals with countries like Iran, Russia, other unsavory nations around the world, let alone his money and the way he hid his board membership with his Russia connections as well. That is the one they should focus on.

VAUSE: Well, also this story in the USA Today, Shawn, that Tillerson -- actually, when he was the top executive at Exxon skirted U.S. sanctions, did business with Iran in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Do you see this as a problem?

[01:05:03] SHAWN STEELE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: I think it could be a problem. We'll see how well he handles it. There is a lot of scrutiny on every one these appointees, but the Republicans are doing exactly what the Democrats did eight years ago.

The hypocrisy of the Democrats saying they're not being vetted, we hear this every single time there's a brand-new President. The new President wants his team put into place, and it turns out that Republicans are using the same language they used against Obama eight years ago. So, they're just -- it's politics at its worst where they're basically both sides are just kind of turning it against themselves, but I think out of all the vulnerabilities, I think Jeff Sessions is going to be in for some tough questions. But as already a couple of Democrats said they're going to go and support him because he's actually still a senator, until he resigns, until he's confirmed.

Tillerson, I don't -- I don't know. He's -- what we don't know is that he's met a whole lot of senators already; he's been to a lot of democrats already. We'll see how well it goes. And but, you know, generally when there's -- one of these senate confirmations, is usually one that gets hurt.

VAUSE: Yeah.

STEELE: One thing gets hurt, something goes bad, something goes sideways. Maybe he's this.

VAUSE: OK. Well, there'll be no confirmation needed for Jared Kushner, the President-elect's son-in-law, who's been tapped to be Senior Adviser in the White House. Democrats are already calling for some kind of investigation here, because of the anti-nepotism laws basically say, you cannot hire a relative to work in the White House. But there are legal workarounds, he may not get paid, he may not be an official title, but is that the best way to have a Senior Adviser in the White House?

STEELE: Absolutely. In this case, Jared's, you know, he's -- he had a silver spoon in the mouth, he's a very wealthy kid, but his father went to jail in his -- in his 20s. He had to take-over his father's empire, did a very --

VAUSE: Chris Christie was the prosecutor.

STEELE: I know, Chris Christie was the one who put his father in jail. And so, you know, he's a deeply religious person and he, you know, winds up marrying, you know, Donald Trump's daughter and creates this beautiful, astonishingly family. Trump has tremendous confidence in him, and you want to have people like Jeff's confidence. Let's not look in to get an angle, not trying to get extra money, not trying to -- what you have is you have two young people, Ivanka and --

VAUSE: Jared.

STEELE: -- and Jared, both of them 35 years old, together they're what Donald Trump's age is. So, it's a good -- it's a good reflection to have somebody in your family that you can trust and get unbiased opinions.

VAUSE: Ethan.

BEARMAN: Yeah, a second real estate magnate, you know, they're going to have shared ideas. But here's the deal about Jared Kushner, there is one great piece of good news about this. It's at least not an Apprentice reality show to find and pick him like so many of the other candidates. I mean, I still have significant problems with Jared Kushner, but he's going to skirt the anti-nepotism laws.

VAUSE: With that in mind, is there a problem with him not being paid to get around these laws? Because, you know, it's in the Constitution, for example, that the President has to be paid, has to receive a salary, so he serves the people and not the other way around and this sends -- so this sets a precedent that if you're wealthy, if you have money, if you don't need a salary, you can get around these laws and you can work in the White House with your relatives.

STEELE: But the precedent was set with Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton had a massive operation in the West Wing. She's the one created the concept that we call Obamacare to this day. She had people working for her that were on the government payroll. And she was a -- you know, remember, when you voted for Bill Clinton, you got two for one; you got him and Hillary.

So, all of that -- all that has been taken care of, it's how much American people will digest. Are they going to be worried about the son-in-law? That doesn't get paid in the White House? I don't think so.

BEARMAN: Yeah, I mean, the first lady is totally different than a son-in-law, but ultimately, I think Shawn is actually right that we're just going to end up because there's going to be so many other issues and scandals, Jared Kushner is going to become meaningless in the end.

STEELE: You're looking forward to scandals?

BEARMAN: Yes. They're coming.

VAUSE: The inauguration is, what, 10 days away? OK, Donald Trump had a meeting on Monday with Jack Ma, he's this billionaire from China. Despite all the rhetoric, all the trade talk, of a trade war in tariffs with China, so this very friendly meeting with Jack Ma, he's the boss of Alibaba, this big ecommerce site. And the outcome of this headline seems to be a promise of a lot of jobs. This is what they said after the meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We had a great meeting. It's jobs. You just saw what happened with Fiat, where they're going to build a massive plant in the United States in Michigan. And we're very happy, and Jack and I are going to do some the great things.

JACK MA, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF ALIBABA GROUP: Small business.

TRUMP: Small business, right? Just small business.

MA: We'll focus on small business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: CNN Money Asia Pacific Editor, Andrew Stevens, live in Hong Kong. So, Andrew, what do we know about the million jobs to be created in the United States? What are the details?

[01:09:26] ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is Donald Trump said that a million jobs are going to be created, that's about it, John. Now, what -- the background is to this, is that Jack Ma who founded Alibaba -- now Alibaba, for those who aren't that familiar with it is an enormous trading platform -- that's an online platform where you buy and sell whatever.

Look at its size, it's bigger than eBay combined with Amazon, it's absolutely enormous. And what Jack Ma wants to do is to get American producers, American manufacturers selling their products on Alibaba websites to the Chinese middleclass. And he was in the U.S., it's something he's spoken about before, he spoke about it in June last year, and this meeting with Donald Trump, basically trying to reinforce that.

The exciting new information this time around, is that he's going to be focusing or he wants to focus, at least, initially on the Midwest. And Midwest, were talking about farmers, agricultural produce, which in China, does makes sense because there's such a big food security issues in China. Jack Ma sees this is a way of creating jobs by farmers being able to increase their produce, to sell to desperate Chinese who want good sort of a security or good clean crops. Whether it happens or not is another thing. And putting a job number on is entirely impossible at the moment.

VAUSE: There's also the issue that Jack Ma and Alibaba not exactly on the best terms right now with the U.S. Trade Department.

STEVENS: Yeah, you could say that. Probably, slightly more intense at the moment. In December last year, the U.S. Trade representative declared Alibaba's website Taobao -- two web sites. One is Taobao, and the other one is Tmall. Taobao is basically like -- almost like a Village Market, you've got literally millions of people selling things online to millions of other buyers.

What the trade representative did, put Taobao on this list of notorious markets, notorious for selling fakes, counterfeits. The size of the counterfeits is difficult to estimate, it's been as high as 80 percent. A sort of going online, you can buy your Gucci loafers for sort of a few bucks; that sort of thing. You go online and just read the number of stories of people who have investigated Taobao, and ended up with fake produce.

Now, what Ali has said to this, John, is that they think this may be politically motivated, given the climate of the campaign -- the election campaign and the China bashing that the U.S. Trade Representative's office climbed on board and slapped this notorious markets designation on Ali. But, you know, there is a lot of big retailers who have real, real issue with the fakes that are sold out of China. I mean there are millions of fakes in China every day. You were a correspondent in Beijing, John, you know better than most just what you can buy, and just how fake it all is, and the range of fakes there. So, this is a real issue. Jack Ma meeting Donald Trump, certainly it's going to help Jack Ma, as he fights this sort of thing, I suspect.

VAUSE: A ton of counterfeit stuff not that my wife ever bought anything that was fake, hands-off on that of course. Andrew, thank you for being with us. Andrew Stevens there live in Hong Kong.

On the issue of the counterfeit goods, let's take a look at the Taobao web site because we did a little shopping earlier this evening, and we actually found a "Make America Great Again" hat, there it is. Just like the real thing. It's counterfeit, though, but instead of costing $25 that it cost on the Donald Trump web site, this one, costs about 2 bucks, maybe $3.

STEELE: You know, I have a real problem with fake goods from any country, fake good in American, or fake good made anywhere. First of all, I'm not sure if Trump has an ownership of that of "Make America Great Again".

VAUSE: Right.

STEELE: If he does, and it's a trademark infraction, the beautiful thing about setting up shop in America, we have a lot of lawyers, we have a lot of laws, and if anybody is caught, any business person is caught selling a fake good, they're facing some serious counter lawsuits. So, the fact they're in America there's going to have to change their behavior, because they can't make money by selling fake goods in America.

VAUSE: I can -- well, we'll see. You can still buy. You can still import it. They're going to stop it, so you can't --

STEELE: Well, yeah, but if you're cheated, you got a case against the person that's given you the bad goods.

VAUSE: Only one percent of goods are inspected at the port they're coming from --

STEELE: Oh, no, the consumer is going to sue.

VAUSE: OK. But with this in mind, though, Ethan this is a big issue for Donald Trump on the campaign trail. You know, he went after China for counterfeit goods for Intellectual Property Theft, which is essentially what this is. But yet today, you know, not a word of it.

BEARMAN: Yeah, Intellectual Property Theft is a major problem. Our economy is highly dependent on Intellectual Property Laws. You look at the entire tech sector, you look at Hollywood and entertainment, you look at even in manufacturing. We have -- we have companies in Iowa that make machines for farming, Intellectual Property there. If -- we haven't done a good job for 20-plus years related to China Intellectual Property. If Donald Trump really does want to help our economy, this is a great way to start. I am deeply skeptical, skeptical of this Alibaba announcement on top of it all. When did Jack Ma become part of the central committee in China and able to trade -- change foreign trade laws in China?

VAUSE: OK. Well, the other issue, too, and maybe Shawn you can talk to this. We've had the rhetoric about the trade war and the tariffs on the Chinese good, but yet behind the scenes, we've had this talk of, you know, bringing a million jobs and Alibaba having inroads into the United States. Does that indicate to you that, you know, what is said behind the scenes is not the same as what the public word is?

[01:14:41] STEELE: Yeah, there will always going to be that on-going -- you know, contradiction and multiple messages. At least we have a President that's talking about jobs, and having jobs built in America, and goods jobs in American instead of, you know, hanging out with Beyonce and, you know, the entertainment elite. So, at least we have a President that's focused on the here and now. Now, how it develops and manifest itself, I suspect you look at the person he's had, his trade representative, and you look at some of the economists that he's brought in -- these are really tough people on the way that the Chinese can and have cheated in the past. So, the behavior is, he's got some really tough players and that will be fighting for America.

VAUSE: Ethan?

BEARMAN: Again, I'm just really, really skeptical at this point until I see actual action, and that's been the problem with Donald Trump at this point, I s a lot of words and not seeing a lot of action yet, but we're going to find out in 10 days.

VAUSE: OK. Well, Donald Trump did have a lot of words with Meryl Streep, the actress received a Golden Globe, a lifetime achievement award on Sunday night here in Los Angeles during her acceptance speech; she was very critical of the president-elect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. At about 6:30 on Monday morning, Donald Trump fired back on Twitter, writing this, "Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me, but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never mocked a disabled reporter, would never do that, but simply showed him groveling when he totally changed a 16-year-old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more dishonest media." Let's bring in Jarrett Hill, he's the host of the Back2Reality

podcast, Correspondent for the Hollywood Reporter. Jarrett, the response to Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globes seems to sum up the divisions of the past 12 months.

JARRETT HILL, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER CORRESPONDENT AND BACK2REALITY PODCAST HOST: Absolutely. And I mean, Donald Trump jumping in on Twitter, obviously earlier today and saying that about Meryl Streep it's frustrating because it's quite contradictory to the last thing that he said about Meryl Streep with her being an exceptional actress, and being a great person but being on Twitter, you know, this trended all day and all night last night and people had a lot to say about it. It's challenging to listen to the speech that Meryl Streep did, as I've done multiple times today. And really figure out what she said that was so controversial other than, you know, demonstrating what the President-elect said.

VAUSE: And just for the record, is Meryl Streep overrated?

HILL: I think Donald Trump would disagree with himself according to his Twitter feed from 2015. I'm talking about how fantastic she is, and I mean, I can't find a single person that would say that Meryl Streep is overrated. I mean, she is the best that's ever there.

VAUSE: Shawn?

STEELE: You'll find me as finding her overrated. I've liked some overwork. She spent most of her time giving a nasty political speech that was divisive as ugly, and also unfair and untrue. So --

HILL: Shawn, Shawn --

STEELE: Talk about power, she used her power in the Golden Globes to trash somebody she doesn't like and insulting more than -- more than half of America. And that's why she's going to help get Trump re- elected.

HILL: Shawn, point out to me what she said that was divisive? Shawn, what did she say that was divisive? What did she say that was untrue? I'll wait.

STEELE: She's basically saying that Trump's against foreigners, she's against people of, you know, people of color, she's against people that's from Hollywood. And by making those broad strokes, broad charges, she isolates herself into irrelevancy.

HILL: This is a -- this is a perfect example of what I want to point out because when we use Donald Trump's words --

STEELE: We disagree.

HILL: -- we're told that we're -- that we're testing them and complaining them. Kellyanne Conway said on CNN's air this morning that we need to not listen to the words that Donald Trunp says but really think about what's in his heart. What does that even mean? Like, we have a President-elect that says the things that he says all the time.

VAUSE: Ethan?

BEARMAN: I -- two things. First off, Meryl Streep did a great job because she talked about people's stories and their -- what are called American dream stories of starting out in a sharecropper's cabin and then making great success in Hollywood -- number one. Number two, Donald Trump is spending his time not going to daily intelligence briefings but attacking Hollywood people. Is that really what we want from a president in spending his time doing that instead of going to intelligence briefings?

VAUSE: And he did mock the reporter. I mean, so let's just play the sound bite because you know, he said he never did it. You know, he's continually, you know, tried to deny what he said about the reporter for the New York Times. This was that moment last year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Right after a couple of good paragraphs and talking about Northern New Jersey draws the prober's eye, written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy, you got to see this guy, "Oh, I don't know what I said, I don't remember." He's going, "I don't remember, maybe that's what I said." This is 14 years ago. He's still -- they didn't do a retraction?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So we at least admit that it looked bad. And if that was his intention --

STEELE: Oh, there are plenty of times that Trump does stuff that appears to look bad.

VAUSE: But this is particularly bad.

STEELE: But -- no, I don't think it's particularly bad, because I think it's just -- it's just, you know, it's way out of context. It shows him making some (INAUDIBLE) which doesn't even show what the reporter's disability is, and it's something that he's done for years, going back to 2005, it is videotaped that way. And sometimes he refers to himself and that -- using that exact kind of body language. It's a nasty hit, it's mainstream media and the stuff that most Americans don't buy.

[01:20:06] BEARMAN: So I actually went back and watched one of those videos. He doesn't do this with his hand in the video from 2005 --.

STEELE: What does he do?

BEARMAN: He's -- if you will look at the disabled reporter whose hand is like this --

VAUSE: Yes.

BEARMAN: And that's what Donald Trump did in that video. That is not what he does going back 2005. STEELE: What did he do?

BEARMAN: He uses the voice and he makes some other hand gestures but not the specific arm movement.

STEELE: We're going to have to disagree on that.

VAUSE: But Jarrett, you --

HILL: I'm always fascinated about the way that we can take someone's words and replay them, and then that be a liberal media bias. It seems like we're looking at words that he has said, we're looking at things that he has done and demonstrate it in front of an audience and in front of a camera, in front of a microphone, and then pretending like we didn't see what we just saw.

STEELE: It reminds me of Hillary so much.

VAUSE: OK. With that, we shall end it. Jarrett, and Ethan, and Shawn, thanks so much. It's always an interesting discussion, appreciate it very much.

OK. In a programming note here, U.S. President Barack Obama will give his farewell address on Tuesday. It starts 9:00 p.m. in New York, 2:00 a.m. Wednesday in London, and 10:00 a.m. Wednesday in Hongkong, and you can watch it right here on CNN. We'll take a short break. When we come back, a bit of cold snap is gripping parts of Europe, refugees are struggling just to survive. How long the freezing temperatures will last? That's coming up. Also, some relief for Kim Kardashian, three months after she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris. Shawn is very relieved. Thank you. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WORLD SPORTS)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:25:00] VAUSE: French police are questioning 17 people about the armed robbery of reality TV star Kim Kardashian. Officers raided homes in Paris and across France on Monday. The suspects are between 23 and 73 years old. The heist happened back in October while Kardashian was staying in a private mansion in Paris. They stole about $10 million in cash and jewelry.

Severe snowstorms and freezing temperatures are causing problems across Europe and hitting thousands of refugees especially hard. Many in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, are struggling just to keep warm but they have nowhere else to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMIN JAHN, MIGRANT FROM PAKISTAN: Actually, the cold is too much, and last night we didn't sleep. We all -- the people sitting around the fire. And it was too cold, I think it was minus 16, 15, last night. And until now, we are here because the situation is too bad and the snow is falling outside. So, try to arrange something for us and try to open the border. It's our request.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us now with more. So what's the forecast here? How much longer will these -- will the freezing temperatures stay around?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately, John, it looks like it's going to be at least several days and we've got another system that will be arriving bringing even more snow on top of what many of these areas have already seen which has been significant snow. We're not just talking one or two centimeters, we're talking significant amounts of snow. So we've got two separate systems here, both of which bringing the potential force snow to regions of Italy, and then also in to say, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria -- again, a lot of these regions.

Here's a look at the forecast. Again, you can kind of see the spin right there with that first system. It moves but it doesn't move very much and so because it has such a very slow movement, it allows for time for that snow to accumulate up to pretty decent rates. Again, take a look at this, we're still talking widespread say about 10, 15 centimeters. But there will be some areas that pick up perhaps even more than that, maybe up to 20 centimeters of snow.

On the western edge of that, we are looking at some rain mostly for Western France, but Eastern portions will also pick up some significant amounts of snow as well. Then, on to the Western half of the United States, we've been dealing with one system that moved in Saturday into Sunday, bringing flooding rains and also terrible ice storm into portions of Portland, Oregon. But now, we make way for the second storm that goes from Tuesday into Wednesday and this has the potential to really ramp up the threats for landslides and mudslides to a region that's already seen a ton of rain. In fact, lots of areas of Northern California and even Oregon, have already picked up 100 millimeters of rain.

Now, we are talking the possibility to pick up an additional 100 millimeters of rain with really not more, say, John, than about one- day break from the rain. Most of the reservoirs, if you take the average of all of them in California, are already at 100 percent capacity. And now, we're talking about adding on top of that, an additional 100 millimiters or 4 inches of rain on top of that.

So unfortunately, the threat for landslides, the threat for mudslides in addition to just flash flooding are going to remain a threat to at least the rest of the week.

VAUSE: OK. Allison, thank you. The storms also destroyed an iconic tree in Northern California. High winds brought down the Pioneer Cabin Tree over the weekend. The hole of Giant Sequoia was cut in the 1800s so tourist could pass through.

North Korea might be able to deploy a long range missile within three years. Ahead, the options for the U.S. to counter that threat. And later this hour, the death of Carrie Fisher has created a dilemma for the producers of Star Wars. We'll look at the options for keeping Princess Leia in that galaxy far, far away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:32:23] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour.

(HEADLINES)

VAUSE: China and South Korea are denouncing North Korea's missile threat, warning a test could lead to further sanctions. Meantime, U.S. officials are evaluating just how soon it could happen.

Here's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KIMG JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN PRESIDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORERSPONDENT (voice-over): North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, is ramping up his rhetoric, using state media to threaten to test fire a long-range missile at any moment.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR (through translation): The intercontinental ballistic missile will be launched anytime and anywhere determined by the supreme headquarters.

TODD: To grab world attention, Kim Jong-Un could time a provocation, like a missile test, to coincide with Donald Trump taking office, a missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to the U.S.

JONG-UN (through translation: An intercontinental ballistic missile test launch preparation is in its last stage.

TODD: How close is Kim to having a deployable long-range missile? Analyst say gathering intelligence is difficult and that Kim could have it now or it could be three years away.

But U.S. officials and outside experts say there is a crucial part of that capability they believe the North Koreans haven't perfected yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they haven't done is all of the test not only launch the missile but have it reenter for intercontinental rage. Now, having said that, they have done other things that cause us to worry. This, for example, is an example of a ground test that is simulating the heat attached to reentry using another missile engine to burn up the reentry vehicle and approximate the stresses of reentry.

TODD: But as North Korea's technology advances, experts warn a dependable long-range missile in the hands of this violent, brash young leader would be a game changer.

(on camera): If and when he gets that capability, how aggressive would he be? [01:35:10] DR. PATRICK CRONIN, FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: Kim

Jong-Un is likely to be more aggressive with one than without it. The fear is not that Kim will use a nuclear weapon about us he will use conventional force and cyber force and other provocations against us because he thinks we can do nothing about it?

TODD: What will President Trump's options be for countering that threat? Former Defense Secretary William Perry says if North Korea launches a test the U.S. should consider shooting it down.

WILLIAM PERRY, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Certainly, one of those actions could be disrupting the test in flight. That would have to be on the list.

TODD (on camera): If North Korea actually fired a missile toward America or its allies, current Defense Secretary Ash Carter promised U.S. forces would shoot it down. Experts warn hitting North Korean missiles on the launch pad would likely provoke Kim Jong-Un into launching a conventional attack against South Korea's capitol, Seoul, which one analyst describes as a sitting duck.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The Kremlin calls it a full-scale witch hunt. U.S. intelligence accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering a hacking campaign during the presidential election. The Russian foreign ministry says, if anything -- and this is a quote -- "hackers hacked President Obama's brain."

And Jim Sciutto has more details on Donald Trump's response.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SHOUTING)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President-elect Trump ignoring questions about the briefing he received from the intelligence community on Russian hacking of U.S. political groups.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll talk to you about that at another time.

SCIUTTO: This, as a spokesman for the Kremlin says, plans are in the works for a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man who intelligence leaders say ordered the hacks.

Over the weekend, Trump reiterated his intention to seek warmer relations with Moscow, tweeting, quote, "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only stupid people or fools would think that is bad."

Congressional Democrats today calling for an independent commission to investigate the hacking, which U.S. intelligence says it believes was designed to help Trump and weaken his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D), MARYLAND: Our intelligence agencies are warning us and they are screaming, trying to tell us that if we do not respond now the Russians will attack us again.

SCIUTTO: The Trump team, meanwhile, trying to turn the page on the issue, pointing to a series of other high-profile hacks by China and North Korea, and arguing that the Democratic National Committee's lax cyber protections made them an easy target for the Russians.

REINCE PRIBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Granted, we have bad actors around the world and cyberattacks have been happening for years. But we also have an entity that allowed, through a wide-open door, a foreign government into their system.

SCIUTTO: Other Trump advisers claiming that congressional outrage is political motivated.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: I just think there's been selective outrage only because some people want to conflate that with the election results.

SCIUTTO: Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan says any unwillingness by Trump to stand with the intelligence community puts the nation at, quote, "great risk and peril."

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I expect that the president of the United States will recognize that the CIA and intelligence community were established by statute for a very important reason.

SCIUTTO: Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: It's been 10 years since Apple released the iPhone. Just ahead, we'll take a closer look at the impact it's had and what might come next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:41:51] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Time to fire up the CNN way-back machine. The year was 2007 and the launch of a product that would change the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Apple is calling this the iPhone and they're hoping that everyone who bought an iPod will buy an iPhone. It's like having a laptop computer literally in the palm of your hand. This is one really nifty device. Let's listen to how Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Take a look.

STEVE JOBS, FORMER APPLE CEO: An iPod. A phone.

(LAUGHTER)

And an Internet communicator. An iPod.

(LAUGHTER)

A phone.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

JOBS: Are you getting it?

(APPLAUSE)

JOBS: These are not three separate devices.

(CHEERING)

JOBS: This is one device.

(APPLAUSE)

JOBS: And we are calling it iPhone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That was a very young fresh-faced Dan Simon reporting on the launch of the first iPhone just 10 years ago, on Monday. Since then, they have sold more than a billion iPhones around the world.

For more, joining me now in the studio, Paresh Dave, tech reporter for the "Los Angeles Times."

Paresh, thanks for coming in.

There's a long list of everything the iPhone has given us over the years. We have GPS, we can now order Uber. We can stream live and have e-mail and text. If you can single one thing out, what has been the biggest change and the biggest impact that the iPhone has had on our lives that we may not be aware of?

PARESH DAVE, TECH REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Thanks for having me, John.

I mean, first, technologically, the biggest impact is the app store because with we have had this proliferation of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and now millions of apps that allow us to tap into the different powers that the smartphone has, the camera, the GPS, all the sensors. And it spawned this economy of companies. With you have this app economy. Billions of dollars in revenue generated for the apps. I think that technologically is the biggest thing but culturally, I mean, everywhere you go, people are look at their phones and talking on their phones. That's what, you know, Steve Jobs and Apple did a decade ago.

VAUSE: That's not necessarily a good thing. There is a whole generation growing up now -- I have a 12-year-old daughter -- and it's all about the phone. They don't call anybody. It's about the texting and the Snapchat and that kind of stuff. While there has been good stuff. We can order Uber or check our social media accounts, but there is a disconnect too, hasn't there from real society, from contact?

DAVE: Certainly. And there will continually be apps to bridge the divide to get people to come out. You saw what Pokemon Go did last year. And apps like Tinder getting people to meet offline. And then it goes back and forth, and we'll keep trying to find ways to get back to the real world as well.

[01:45:12] VAUSE: If you go back 10 years, even at the time, Steve Jobs didn't expect what was to come. Is there one reason why it did take off in such an unexpected way?

DAVE: I mean, most famously, Steve Balmer, who was Microsoft's CEO at the time --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: A $500 subsidized toy.

DAVE: And what happened is Apple made this out to be this elite device, this thing that people lined up to get. It's something they wanted to have. And it was sort of nature, right? It wasn't a big transition. They had the iPod that had music. Now they had this new device --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: The iPods are now obsolete.

DAVE: But it just added two new features, the calling and maps, and slowly they added more features. They were natural about that transition. It wasn't a big jarring thing for most people. They had masterful events where they rolled out all these products. And on top of that, they managed to make it an exclusive thing, something you wanted to have. It became a status symbol.

VAUSE: If you look at the computing power of the Smartphone now, it has more power than the original space shuttle. And the rumors are an overhaul of the iPhone will be coming. Can lightning strike twice? Can it revolutionize everything we do for the next decade or is that just asking too much?

DAVE: The way I think about it is the Smartphone will probably be replaced by some other device that comes on our heads or implanted in our bodies, whatever it is

VAUSE: Great.

DAVE: That is many more years off. But I think Apple has sold a billion iPhones now. There's two billion Smartphones sold every year. But a lot of the world still doesn't have their first iPhone. There is room to grow. There are a lot of rumors about what this next iPhone sometime later this year we will have. But I don't think they're worried about no one buying iPhones five years from now or 10 years from now. It's still going to be a moneymaker for many more years to come.

VAUSE: Apparently, people break their iPhones before a launch so they can buy a new one.

Paresh, thank you for coming in.

DAVE: Of course. Thanks for having me, John.

VAUSE: Thank you.

We'll take a short break. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., what will happen to Princess Leia after the death of Carrie Fisher?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:51:26] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Police arrested the prankster suspected of altering the ironic Hollywood sign to read "Hollyweed." The 30-year-old artist surrendered to authorities on Monday. He changed the "O"s to "E"s on New Year's Day. Police say he was charged with trespassing instead of vandalism because the sign was not damaged.

The death of actress Carrie Fisher leaves an uncertain fate for her iconic character Princess Leia. According to "The Hollywood Reporter," the directors of "Star Wars" episodes 8 and 9 are meeting with the president of LucasFilm this week to decide how Leia will fit into future movies.

Joining me to talk about this, film and entertainment journalist, Sandro Monetti.

Thank you. Good to see you. Happy New Year.

SANDRO MONETTI, FILM & ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Great to see you.

VAUSE: OK. This is sad. I mean, obviously, what happened to Carrie Fisher, people are still mourning, but there are decisions that have to be made. They filmed episode 8, but what they decide to do in episode 9 could still impact episode 8. This is complicated how they proceed here, right?

MONETTI: There is a disturbance in the force and what do you do about it now? It's a "Star Wars" summit taking place this week. Clearly, this needs to be a tender and touching tribute to Carrie Fisher. If they get it wrong, it can annoy the millions of fans who loved her so much.

VAUSE: The practical considerations are, if they decide they will get another actress to play --

MONETTI: Outrageous. A total nonstarter.

VAUSE: A nonstarter. Then, they try to minimize her role and use CGI, for example. But

then, that would impact on the script on episode 8. There is a ripple effect no matter what.

MONETTI: Or they kill her off, off camera, even. These are the actions that will be decided. The directors of episode 8 and episode 9 and the producer of the "Star Wars" films will huddle and make this decision. And as you say, there are many options about what to do. Now, as you remember from "Star Wars" episode "Rogue One," we saw a young Carrie Fisher through computer-generated imagery and we saw Peter Cushing, who has been dead for 23 years, but they did a digital performance of him. If they go that way with Carrie Fisher's character, Princess Leia, remains to be seen.

VAUSE: But the technology for that is still limited. It would be hard to carry an entire movie with a CGI character.

MONETTI: It would. But we're not talking about a lead character here. Princess Leia has two key scenes in the next film and maybe one or two in the third one. It's a farewell to this much-loved character. But it takes on a new significance now that she has left us. And their options are many and they have to get it right.

VAUSE: OK, so, you have the technology, which seems limited. I mean, Carrie Fisher --

MONETTI: I wouldn't agree. It's not limited. I mean, industrial light and magic are the best in the business at this stuff.

VAUSE: OK. So, if you look at what happened to Paul Walker, he died before "Furious 7" was complete. They used CGI and outtakes of his voice to finish the scenes. But you also get into the ethical questions of what they are doing here. They are using the likeness of a dead person. They did the same thing with Peter Cushing in "Rogue One." What are the questions here of using someone who is dead to star in a movie?

MONETTI: The questions are, first of all, you go to the family, and that's what happened with the Paul Walker situation, and also with Peter Cushing as well. You make sure that it's got to be sensitive. If the family are behind it, then fine. The next most important thing is you need to dedicate this movie, episode 8, to Carrie Fisher. We loved her. I carry my lightsaber everywhere. Look at this. Just listen to the fans. What we fans want is Carrie Fisher to get the right tribute.

[01:55:23] VAUSE: Although, technically and editorially, and from a writing point of view, you are limited in what you can do, surely with the voice and the script and delivering lines and all that kind of stuff.

MONETTI: Yes, you are. But there have been so many advancements in technology that I think if we're just talking about a few minutes on screen they can do it. And the way Paul Walker's death was handled in "Fast and the Furious" was so weaved into the story in such a sensitive way. These are talented film makers here, writers and special effects people. Plus, these are people who make the films with a great deal of love. So long as there is emotion and love there, combined with talent, she can get the sendoff she deserves.

VAUSE: You think there will kill her off and there will be a Princess Leia in --

MONETTI: There are so many "Star Wars" rumors. There are rumors that this meeting is a smoke screen because she is killed in episode 8. Who knows?

VAUSE: Sandro, good to have you here, and your lightsaber. OK. Let him play.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. Back in a moment with more news at the top of the hour.

MONETTI: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)