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More Democrats Boycott Trump Inauguration; 2016 Hottest Year In Recorded History; Obama Gives Final White House News Conference; CNN/ORC Poll Obama Approval Rating 60 Percent, Trump 40 Percent; Troops Gather on Gambia's Border During Political Crisis; North Korea's Message for Trump; Donald Trump in Wax at Madame Tussaud's. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 19, 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] SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN NEWROOM live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, Barack Obama's final message as U.S. President, "America, it's going to be OK."
SIDNER: Plus, as Donald Trump prepares for his inauguration, a growing number of Democrats say, they will sit out the ceremony.
VAUSE: And the world keeps on warming. Scientists say, 2016 was the hottest year on record.
SIDNER: Hello, thanks for joining us. I'm Sara Sidner, in for Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause, great to have you with us. This is now the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A.
U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office on Friday with almost record-setting approval ratings, 60 percent. And during his last news conference on Wednesday, he defended his decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the soldier jailed for the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
SIDNER: And Mr. Obama shared some warnings and advice for his successor, Donald Trump. A President's farewell message wasn't as hopeful as some would have liked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. In my core, I think we're going to be OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Michael Hiltzik, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for the Los Angeles Times is here to discuss all of what we have seen both the press-conference and some of the comments made by Donald Trump on Twitter, as he does regularly. I want to ask about Chelsea Manning, it was the first question that was asked; it was first question that the President responded to. And, you know, this is something that's been condemned by some on both sides of the aisle, really. Why did he do it? Because he said, yes, he served the time, but was there another message he was trying to send?
MICHAEL HILTZIK, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING COLUMNIST: I think President Obama's views or his position on this is not an outlier. There are a lot of people who are experts in National Security, who are experts in this sort of crime who said that Chelsea Manning's sentence was excessive. Her treatment in prison was inhumane. And she did face trial. She fessed up. She faced trial. She was convicted fair and square and accepted her sentence. The sentence was longer than most people in her position have received. And I think the President took it on board as a lot of experts had said that it was - she had served her time. And that a commutation it's not a pardon, but a commutation was appropriate under the circumstances.
VAUSE: You know, he was in a news conference today with President Obama. I couldn't help thinking how different it was to President- elect Donald Trump's news conference last week, just in style, and in tone, and also in substance. This is President Obama defending the media. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest. It makes us work harder. You have - it made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we're able to deliver on what's been requested by our constituents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Compare that to one of Donald Trump's more recent tweets, he was complaining about a story on NBC, which is essentially detailing companies rehashing old job announcements to curry favor with the President-elect. This is what he posted, "No wonder the "Today Show" on biased NBC is doing so badly compared to its glorious past. Little credibility." How long can this war with everyone continue with Donald Trump?
HILTZIK: I think he can continue the war as long as he wants. I think there is a qualitative difference between his approach and that of President Obama. Look, President Obama's relationship with the press was not entirely positive. In fact, there are a lot of reporters, a lot of journalists who say his was probably the most secretive administration that they've dealt with in 10 or 20 years.
Hillary Clinton's relationship with the press was not great. But both of them, Clinton and Bill Clinton, and the Bushes, and President Obama accepted that the press has a role in our democracy. It's the fourth estate, they may not like what's written, they may not like the way they're treated, but they accept that this is part of the game.
Donald Trump just not seem to have gotten his arms around that. He expects the press to be sycophants and when they're not, he wants to punish them, he picks fights with them. He doesn't seem to accept that they are part of - that we, the press, are part of democracy and we have a role to play. It may not be pleasant but it's there.
[01:05:00] SIDNER: I have to ask you, you know, as a journalist myself and you're in the same position kind of dealing with this. The public has been pretty down on us too. I mean, lately our poll numbers if you look at what they think about us and our approval rating is in the toilet, to be fair. And when he does this, does it really hurt him with the public or do they say, "Yes, we hate the media?"
HILTZIK: I think people who are Trump supporters will go along with his viewpoint. I think what's happened to the press like every institution in American society - the press - we the press have come in for our lumps. We've lost a lot of credibility, and I think one of the reasons for that is that the public gets a better look at the way we do our jobs than they ever have before.
The press conferences in the Press Center in the White House are broadcast live. When you see, sausage being made -
HILTZIK: -- sometimes it's not very - it's not very appetizing. And I think the dirty work of getting a story - putting a story together and getting it on the air, or in the newspaper, or online is something that can be shocking to a lot of people and can undermine credibility.
VAUSE: OK, the President also had some advice for Donald Trump. Essentially, he said, change is a good thing, but think it through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you're only hearing from people who agree with you on everything, or you haven't created a process that is fact-checking and probing, and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you've made, that's when you start making mistakes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Essentially, he was saying surround yourself with good people, that kind of thing. Is Trump, right now, surrounding himself with good people?
HILTZIK: Certainly the hearings that we've had this week for his nominees for the cabinet have not shown many of those nominees in the best light. I think one thing that President Obama was alluding to is that, Presidents, like CEOs, tend to operate in a bubble. They are surrounded by people who are there to do their bidding. They can get to the point where they're not used to being thwarted, or challenged, or questioned, and that can be unhealthy. We've seen Presidents over the last few decades really - and seen - we've seen presidencies come apart because of that, because there isn't enough air, fresh air coming in, and the press can provide that if you accept that, that they have a role.
SIDNER: I have to ask you about this and we talked a little bit about it before. You talked about the vetting process, and is this going faster than other nominations? It seems that Democrats kind of feel like, things are going too fast and these people have not been vetted to the proper level before they come in front of the committees.
HILTZIK: Well, there are a couple of factors there: one is that there is - there is some reason to suspect that Trump didn't vet these people very well, that they didn't submit themselves to this - to this sort of rigorous process of background checks that previous administrations had done. And then there is certainly the case in several - for several of these nominees that they haven't completed their ethics checks. They're supposed to disclose all of their holdings, their financial interests. That process has not been completed, and yet, the Senate is pushing ahead with these confirmation hearings before all the information is in. And I think you heard in some of these hearings, Democrats certainly have been complaining that, look we don't have all the information we need, and we're not getting the chance to ask all the questions we have. So, yes, I think the process is getting rushed.
VAUSE: Let's take a closer look at exactly what's happening on Capitol Hill with the confirmation hearings. Sara Murray, reports that right now many of Trump's nominees are coming under fire from some very angry Democrats.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Donald Trump appears set to enter the White House without most of his Cabinet picks by his side.
DONALD TRUMP: U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: The Cabinet members we have put together a team, I think the likes of which has never been assembled before.
MURRAY: With just two days until he takes the oath of office, a number of Trump's nominees are getting grilled on Capitol Hill, and publicly splitting with their new boss. Perhaps, the most intense questioning was reserved for Congressman Tom Price, Trump's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, and dismantle Obamacare.
TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY NOMINEE: I believe and I look forward to working with you to make sure that every single American has access to the highest quality care and coverage that is possible.
BERNIE SANDERS, UNITED STATES SENATOR VERMONT: Has access to, does not mean that they are guaranteed healthcare. I have access to buying a $10-million home, I don't have the money to the that.
MURRAY: Price facing sharp questions not only about his plans to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, but also his past financial investment. That's after CNN reported Price bought shares in a medical device manufacturer, just days before introducing legislation that would've benefitted the company.
[01:10:00] PRICE: Everything that we have done has been above board, transparent ethical and legal -
MURRAY: Today, Price insisted he has no idea what stock he owns. ELIZABETH WARREN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS: This is
someone who buys stock. At your direction, is this someone who buys and sells the stock you want them to buy and sell.
PRICE: Not true.
WARREN: So, when you found out that -
PRICE: That's not true, Senator.
WARREN: Because you decide not to tell them wink, wink, nod, nod, and we're all just supposed to believe that?
MURRAY: And said he didn't have any conversations with his broker about his political activity.
CHRIS MURPHY, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT: Why wouldn't you at least tell her; hey listen, stay clear of any companies that are directly affected by my legislative work.
PRICE: Because the agreement that we have is that she provide a diversified portfolio, which is exactly what virtually every one of you have in your investment opportunities.
MURRAY: Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, also irks Democrats with his views on climate change. He acknowledged human activity contributes to it, but wouldn't say to what extent.
SANDERS: Why is the climate changing?
SCOTT PRUITT, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE: Senator, in response to the CO2 issue, the EPA Administrator is constrained by statutes -
SANDERS: I'm asking your personal opinion.
PRUITT: My personal opinion is immaterial.
PRUITT: To the job of - to the job of -
SANDERS: You are going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment, and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon-emissions is immaterial?
MURRAY: Now, while Donald Trump's Cabinet picks may come out of their confirmation process, a little bit battered, a little bit bruised by and large, nearly all. If not, all of them are expected to be confirmed by the Senate. Just not necessarily on the timeline that Donald Trump was hoping for. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
SIDNER: OK. So, Michael Hiltzik is back with us to discuss this a bit. Most of the tough-pointed, sometimes slaps from - are coming from Democrats. Does that make a big difference for people going, "This is partisan politics? What's the big deal?"
HILTZIK: I think in any of these cases, you're going to see the members of the opposition party ask tougher questions than the members of the President's party, or the majority party. I think that's normal, and certainly, we see this every four years or really, every two years.
The issue is what are the questions being asked, and what are the answers? And I think what the Democrats have managed to do, is show that some of these nominees really have no grasp of the duties that they're going - of the duties of their agency, of their own duties, and some of them are truly insensitive to the appearance and maybe the reality of conflicts of interest, and that's putting this on the record. That's going to be very important as these people start to do their jobs.
VAUSE: Yes, Betsey DeVos for Education was particularly interesting the other day. Let's fish on this, Donald Trump comes into office with record-low approval ratings, 40 percent including our polls, including the NBC/Washington Post poll. Barack Obama leaves with, you know, pretty high numbers, 60 percent approval rating -- his highest number since 2009. Explain to me, how is it the voters essentially rejected a third term of Barack Obama, for a guy they don't particularly like.
HILTZIK: I think if you actually look at the numbers, they voted by 3 million votes to elect a successor to Barack Obama -- they voted for Hillary Clinton. What happened is an artifact of the way we elect Presidents, there's no going back. I think that the real danger for Donald Trump in coming into office with such low poll numbers, and they have been dropping during this transition, is that when a President gets into office and actually has to do things and make decisions, his poll numbers tend to drop, as he goes on. And when you're starting from a very low point, they don't have that far to go before you're in the, you know, you're in the red zone.
VAUSE: Because this is the ploy when he's meant to be his most popular. It's not just before you take office.
HILTZIK: That's right, you would expect that a President coming into office would have the country behind him. He would be communicating hope, and change, and excitement, and anticipation, and this President-elect does not seem to have been able to do that to any great degree. And once he actually has the reins of government in his hands, it's not going to get easier for him.
SIDNER: But when it comes to Barack Obama, he has this high poll numbers. And yet, and the Democrats didn't fare that well either. I mean, now you have a House, and a Senate that are essentially run by the Republicans.
HILTZIK: Well, that's true. Although, the Democrats gained seats in both chambers. I think it's been the case throughout Barack Obama's two terms that his - that public response to him and the public response to Democrats in general have been, you know, have been divided. That he's not seen as sort of a mainstream Democrat so much. He has tremendous personal charisma. I think that's helped him certainly in the last four or six months to really build up these numbers.
[01:15:06] Once it got to the point that he -- he was looking at the end of his -- of his presidency, he got a lot looser. He began to doing things without worrying about bringing republicans onboard, and the public seemed to respond to that in a very positive way, and that's what we've seen.
VAUSE: OK. Michael, thank you very much for your insight. We appreciate it.
SIDNER: Thank you. Appreciate it.
HILTZIK: Happy to be here.
VAUSE: Well, the former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is in a stable condition at a Texas hospital. Doctors performed an emergency procedure to clear his airway.
SIDNER: The 92-year old had an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia. His wife, Barbara Bush, was admitted to the same hospital, Wednesday, experiencing fatigue and coughing.
VAUSE: And George H.W. Bush will not be attending the inauguration because of ill health. Also, dozens of Democrats plan to boycott.
Next up, we'll speak to one lawmaker about why he will not be there to watch Donald Trump be sworn in.
SIDNER: Plus, global warming again rears its ugly head. Another straight year of record heat.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN WORLD SPORT headlines. A seven-time English F.A. Cup winner is Liverpool. Th'y're through to the fourth round of the world's oldest cup competition after winning a fourth tip Plymouth Argyle in the third round replay on Wednesday. The Reds will win this in four but all that has changed now. The Premier Team scraping through once again, Jurgen Klopp bringing the changes, but it will be a -- an old hands. He's scored the only goal of the game. The Brazilian Lucas with a firm header. The last time the South American played, you know, scored for Liverpool was seven long years ago. The Pool have Waltham to wonder's next.
Now they say, all good things come to an end. And for Real Madrid, that would prove to be this past Sunday when Los Blancos saw their record, 40-match unbeaten streak came to a rather abrupt end. On Wednesday, it happened again, Real facing Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey quarter final. Included in that squad for this tournament for the first time in two years is certain Cristiano Ronaldo. But CR7 did not score in this one. Vigo would go on to win the match by two goals to one. Two straight defeats now for Real.
The Africa Cup of Nations' hosts Gabon playing out to a 1-1 draw in Group A this time against Burkina Faso with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring once again in the other game, though, Cameroon coming from behind to seal a valuable victory 2-1 over Guinea-Bissau (INAUDIBLE) with the all-important winner then. That is a look at your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.
SIDNER: Rescue workers have reached a hotel in Central Italy where more than a dozen people are trapped after an avalanche.
[01:20:03] VAUSE: Italian media are reporting about 20 people were staying at the property and three are believed to be missing. The area was hit by a series of earthquakes on Wednesday, triggering the avalanche.
SIDNER: Room confirmation that the earth is heating up in an unprecedented taste with no end in sight. Last year 2016, was the hottest in the recorded history and the third year in a row to break that dubious record.
VAUSE: Let's go to meteorologist Derek Van Dam with more on this. So Derek, what's the bad news?
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes John - Sir, it is a dubious distinction, to say the least. The World Meteorological Organization, the WMO, averages the global temperatures across all the continents and all of our oceans. And it claims that we are now 1.1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial averages. And that's not good news. It is very dubious because the Paris climate agreement, set back in 2015, sets to curb our global warning at 1.5 degrees Celsius. So, you can see how we are nearing that very, very quickly. Now, just take a look at this. 16 of the warmest 17 years on record have occurred since the year 2000. To put this into further perspective, the last time the earth had a cold spell or colder than average temperatures, was back in 1911. William Taft was actual -- actually president at that time. And now at 2016, was hot from the beginning of the year in January all the way to the end of the year, December 31st. And wow, was it a warm year but take a look at where the bulk of the warming is occurring.
Check out the Arctic. The Arctic is actually warming at three times as fast and as the rest of the world. So, the bulk of that warming actually concentrated across places like the Arctic Circle. Hard to believe considering how cold it is there right now, but that is weather, not climate -- two separate things. So, what we are starting to notice is an increase in natural disasters. Can we relate those to global climate change, global warming, and the increase of natural disasters? Well, I'll leave that distinction up to you. I can only show you the facts. But we are starting to see strong evidence when we start to link climate change and an increase in natural disasters. I'll leave this with you, Sara and John. The U.S. alone back in 2016 had 15 weather related disasters that cost a billion dollars each. Back to you.
VAUSE: OK Derek, we appreciate that. Thank you.
SIDNER: Donald Trump seemed unfazed by some Democrats who plan to boycott his presidential inauguration ceremony. He tweeted, quote, "Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago. Looking forward to Friday. #inauguration." More than 50 Democrats don't share the same excitement about Friday and the next four years to come, for that matter. They all announced they would not attend the inauguration after Trump attacked Civil Rights icon Representative John Lewis last weekend. Despite the division and uncertainty on how the festivities will turn out, one thing is for sure, the Obamas will be in attendance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: With respect to the inauguration, I'm not going to comment on those issues. All I know is I'm going to be there -- so is Michelle. And I have been checking the weather and I'm heartened by the fact that it won't be as cold as my first inauguration. Because that was cold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Now, let's talk to one of the congress people who would not going to be there. For more, we're joined by Democratic Congressman Mark Takano. You made your position very clear this Saturday, when you tweeted, "All talk no action I stand with Representative John Lewis and I will not be attending the inauguration." Let me ask you this, what was the final straw for you? Was it the comments he made? Because clearly, Representative Lewis did come out for Trump saying that he didn't think that he was a president that he could stand up for and said he was an illegitimate president, basically.
MARK TAKANO, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM TEXAS: Well, Sara, really, the tweeting - the bully -- the Twitter bullying of John Lewis was what caused me to go public in an emphatic way that I was going to go. I'd made up my mind two or three days prior to that, that I was going to I quietly stay away. You know, it really bothered me that the President-elect didn't show - wasn't showing the requisite humility that someone who had a technical win at the Electoral College should be showing. I mean, after all, Hillary Clinton did beat him by 3 million popular votes and he is behaving as if he had a huge mandate.
SIDNER: Let me ask you this. Do you see President Trump, who is going to be the next president - the 45th President, do you see him as a legitimate president of the United States when he's sworn in?
[01:25:00] TAKANO: He has been technically elected. He is -- he meets the legal test of being the President of the United States. He's been technically elected. And the word legitimate or illegitimate and the quibbling over John Lewis's claim that Donald Trump is illegitimate, I think is, you know, a bunch of word games. Donald -- John Lewis has raised a legitimate point about Donald Trump. And I think what it really is about is his moral legitimacy, the lack of moral authority to lead this country. A President of the United States does not Twitter bully people who disagree with him. There's a certain kind of respect for our democratic customs and our democratic culture that a president of the United States, I think, must observe. And I cannot pretend that this is a normal transition of power -- that we have a president of the United States who does not know how to conduct himself as someone committed to democratic values and a democratic culture. And the new technologies do not give him a pass to behave in the way he is behaving.
SIDNER: I have to ask you this Congressman, because the American public is very concerned, as they have been for quite some time that there is a very difficult time now with people being able to come together especially after this very contentious election.
SIDNER: And if you won't go to the ceremonial peaceful transfer of power, how in the world are you going to be able to work with this new president or at least, those he appoints to his cabinet?
TAKANO: Well, look, I can - I don't have any quibbling over this peaceful transfer of power. I acknowledge that Donald Trump was duly elected by the electors of the Electoral College. At the same time, I have a problem with the way in which he is conducting himself. I mentioned the lack of -- I think requisite humility, the lack of respect for all Americans, and this huge lack of transparency. He is entering office with -- claiming a much different standard for himself than all other presidents - wow, all other presidents from recent -- in recent history. In modern times, they have disclosed their taxes and, you know, have removed most of the doubts the American people have about their potential financial conflicts of interest. This president that is about to enter office, has not done that. But listen, I think those of us in my caucus will find common ground where we can. But we will stand our ground where we must.
SIDNER: Thank you so much, Congressman Mark Takano. And clearly, you want to see the paperwork --
TAKANO: Thank you.
SIDNER: -- and you want to see the policies before you make any further decisions. We appreciate you coming on the show.
TAKANO: Thank you. Thank you, Sara.
VAUSE: And CNN has unique access to Barack Obama's final days in power. Tune in for "THE END: INSIDE THE LAST DAYS OF THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE." The day's Thursday, 5:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, if you're watching from London, that would be 9 a.m.
SIDNER: And while the United States prepares for its inauguration, plans for another one are set in Gambia. But it is uncertain whether the man who won the election will actually be able to take office.
[01:32:02] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Thanks for staying with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SIDNER: And I'm Sara Sidner.
The headlines for you at this hour.
SIDNER: Gambia's political future is in the air. President Yahya Jammeh refusing to step down, saying that last year's election was fraught with irregularities. An army spokesman says Senegal's troops are massing at the border. Adama Barrow is supposed to take office on Thursday. In a tweet, Barrow said, "A new era in Gambia is here at last."
Farai Sevenzo joins us now live from Nairobi with the latest on this.
As I understand it the former president said he did accept at first. What changed his mind?
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORESPONDENT: Well, Sara, it's a story of two inaugurations this week, isn't it? Mr. Jammeh has been in control of Gambia for the last 22 years. He's changed his mind almost abruptly after saying he conceded he said he didn't, and he is using the courts and parliaments to extend his role. But the Gambian people rejected him on the first of December and Adama Barrow is due to be president. At the moment, Mr. Jammeh has been talking to the leaders of the West African states who have been trying to persuade him to leave. But this is a question of a man in power too long. And we know what they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And Mr. Jammeh is a victim of his dictatorship. He has forgotten how to lose gracefully.
SIDNER: How are people reacting to this in the streets after electing someone else and hearing from his president who says he is not going anywhere and wants a new election? Is anyone behind him on this?
SEVENZO: To be honest, that is unlikely. He has lost six cabinet ministers who have fled the country, resigned from his government and departed. The Supreme Court says they cannot rule on endless injunctions and court appeals for new elections. And as we speak, the troops from Senegal and Nigeria are amassing around his borders.
And the mood on the streets? Gambians are actually pleased that the rest of the West African states are poised to force his hand to leave. At the moment, we are hearing reports the army, the former president's army, imploring people to keep the shops open and to keep open the businesses. But that's not happening. The airports are packed with tourist trying to get away in case violence erupts.
And of course, the president-in waiting, Adama Barrow is being protected by the Senegalese and he could be sworn in as president at any embassy in the region, including the Senegalese embassy of Gambia, which is Gambia territory. He has a swearing-in inauguration committee with him.
The day will be dramatic with Gambia. But either way, Mr. Jammeh's days are truly numbered. [01:35:38] SIDNER: Farai Sevenzo, thank you very much. Thank you
for that report. Very interesting.
VAUSE: Turkey's parliament is voting on a constitutional amendment that would solidify President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's grip on power. There's just one more article to vote on in the coming hours.
SIDNER: It could then turn to a public referendum if the vote is close. But if the changes pass, they would allow President Erdogan to remain in power until at least 2029.
VAUSE: The case against Samsung's vice chairman will continue without his detention. A South Korean judge has rejected prosecutors' request to arrest Jay Y. Lee.
SIDNER: They accused him of bribery and embezzlement and perjury in the country's massive corruption scandal. Lee denies any wrong doing.
VAUSE: North Korea may be preparing to send a message to President- elect Donald Trump. A South Korea news agency reports Pyongyang has probably built two intercontinental ballistic missiles and placed them on mobile launchers.
Paula Hancocks joins us live from Seoul, South Korea, with more on this.
Paula, what more do we know about these ICBM's and how does this fit into Kim Jong-Un's plans for 2017?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Kim Jong-Un was quite clear about his plan on day one, his New Year's address, he said he was very close to test launching an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile. You have heard it from the top from North Korea, which is why many experts are saying even though these reports from local media have not been stood up, they are not being acknowledged by officials, it is plausible that they could be close because Kim Jong-Un has said so. They say it's dangerous not to take him at his word considering what he did in 2016, the intense testing of nuclear and the missile program.
This was brought up in a press conference this morning with the defense ministry. Joint chiefs of staff were asked about these reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIAL (through translation): There are reports that show signs of a North Korean missile launch but nothing we can confirm at the moment. As you know well judging it can be launched at anytime and anywhere, we are on alert to maintain our readiness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: This is a line that officials in South Korea have held for many months now, that any testing, a nuclear test could come at any time. An ICBM test could come at any time. Effectively says all they are waiting for is the will of the leader in North Korea -- John?
VAUSE: Also with regard to a nuclear test there is new details about new activity at the nuclear reactor. What are the details there?
HANCOCKS: This is from a U.S. think tank called 38 North that study satellite images from North Korea. They are look from October to January of this year and they have seen some changes at the nuclear complex. They say that there are roads that have been cleared of snow and ice. There are certain buildings as well that don't have snow on the roofs, suggesting there is heating within those buildings. They specify there is no steam coming out of the buildings yet, so not as necessarily as far advanced as it might be. But suggesting - all you can do from satellite images -- that there may be plans to restart their plutonium enrichment at the Yongbyon plant. And 38 North says that hasn't happened since the end of 2015 -- John?
VAUSE: They have been suggesting for a while that the plant has been restarted. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Thank you, Paula. Paula Hancocks, live in Seoul.
[01:39:22] SIDNER: Coming up next on NEWSROOM, L.A., Donald Trump has made unprecedented use of Twitter, both before and after winning the U.S. presidential election. So why isn't Twitter benefitting from the publicity he is giving them?
VAUSE: Donald Trump and the Twitter machine. In 140 characters or less, the president-elect can upend decades of foreign policies, spark fears of a nuclear arms race, or attack Meryl Streep. A few years ago, he tweeted this, "I love Twitter. It's like owning your own newspaper without the losses."
These days, the love affair may have cooled a little, but the sentiment hasn't changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing. But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press. And it's my only way to counter that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: For Twitter, that has yet to turn a profit since launching a decade ago, this could be a dream come true. But barely a day goes by without a Trump tweet becoming major news, but since the presidential election, the company says there has been no Trump bump, no increase or surge in the stock price. In fact, the first Twitter-in-chief could just be just another headache.
Nick Bilton is a special correspondent for "Vanity Fair." He's written extensively about Twitter. He joins me now.
So, Nick, what is the reaction in Silicon Valley between this unique relationship between Twitter and Donald Trump.
NICK BILTON, SPECIAL CORERSPONDENT, VANITY FAIR: It's a little mixed. There are some that hope that Twitter shuts down so that Donald Trump can no longer keep tweeting. You know, when I have spoken to people at Twitter certain people say this is the way the system was designed. People can say what they want and we are seeing the number one Twitter user saying what he wants and other people wish that the service has built in protections to avoid things like this happening.
One of the things that's a problem and one of the things I have heard people say is that the thing with Twitter it's an emotional thing you have a thought and feeling and you tweet it out there instantly. And one of the things you see with Donald Trump is a lot of the times his tweets line up close to a news cycle and so he is often tweeting with the same emotion that an average user is.
VAUSE: Is there a reluctance for people to work at Twitter because of Donald Trump?
BILTON: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people I have spoken to have said --I wrote the book on Twitter and have a lot of connection to the early people that started the company, you know, the first 50 or so people that are there. And I have spoken to a number of them and they have regrets about not building in tools to help avoid trolls and harassment. And there are people that don't necessarily want to work for the company because they don't agree with what it stands for with him at the helm.
[01:45:25] VAUSE: There is a surge of harassment on Twitter. There was a study done looking at the rise of anti-Semitism and found that two-thirds of the anti-Semitic tweets were sent by 1600 Twitter accounts. They are likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives or part of the Alt-Right. Twitter was vicious over the election. Is this in some ways driving users away as opposed to bringing them to the service?
BILTON: This is not something just of this election cycle or Donald Trump. Twitter's problem is that it is just 140 characters but there is a lot you can say that is damaging in that way. In Silicon Valley, the DNA of a company is built into a company and the way is it today. Mark Zuckerberg knows what he wants. And Twitter has been through five CEOs in 10 years, and has been in constant turmoil in the product as a result. You have trolls, abuse, and all these things that have never been dealt with. And still today they're not. And in the election cycle, you see that at its best or probably at its worst.
VAUSE: Something which seems strange is why hasn't Twitter cashed in on Donald Trump and his Twitter obsession? Is there more downside to than an upside?
BILTON: The thing with Twitter, a lot of people think that Donald Trump will help it grow and bring new users and advertising and so on. There isn't a person on the planet that doesn't know what Twitter is. They're not going the sign up because Donald Trump is using it. But one tweet can set off a news cycle. You don't have to be on the platform to know what he is talking about. And that is a problem keeping Twitter from being able to grow.
VAUSE: OK, Nick, good to speak with you. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.
BILTON: Thank you.
SIDNER: Trump's unconventional style has brought SOME anxiety to many world leaders. And that is particularly true in the European Union.
Earlier, our Christiane Amanpour asked the Austrian chancellor, Christian Kern, how he viewed Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A couple of days before Donald President of the United States, and he has said many things that worry Europe. For instance, he has talked about the possible breakup of Europe, that he foresees more countries doing what Britain has done. What is your reaction to that and how concerned are European and other leaders there at Davos?
CHRISTIAN KERN, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR: Yeah, we are not concerned about a breakup of the European Union or that other countries will join the United Kingdom. Because what somebody has to accept to know for the president of the United States is that Europe is not a geography or business model that's based on values, respect for human rights, democracy, rule of law, social justice, equal rights for women and men. So, that's -- which is something which is important, precious. But it's fragile, that's true. But I don't have any doubts that every party who is member of the union today knows how important that is for the whole continent, for our welfare, and for the stability of Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:49:05] VAUSE: Coming up next on NEWSROOM L.A., what do you get when you take some hair, some wax and yak fur? Yes, that's what it is, Donald Trump. Something that looks like Donald Trump and Donald Trump's hair.
VAUSE: Come Friday, the president-elect will be moving from the glittering gold Trump Tower in New York to the more stately surroundings of the White House. And for a billionaire developer, he should know that this is prime real estate.
SIDNER: However, if the White House were for sale, which it is not, the real estate site, Zillow, has done an estimation for you on what it would go for on the market. Just shy of $400 million. Only a handful of luxury estates around the world can boast a value that high.
VAUSE: So, the U.S. presidential complex boasts 55,000 square feet, 16 bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, and comes with a very big kitchen with staff who can whip up a state dinner for 140 guests. After a 20 percent down payment, the monthly payments would be about $1.5 million a month.
SIDNER: Won't be doing that. Great.
SIDNER: The world is waiting to find out exactly what the next us president is made of.
VAUSE: As Isa Soares reports, staff at Madame Tussaud's say they already know.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His name is on everyone's lips. Even if he doesn't like what they have to say. If you can't guess who it is, this may give it away. It's his most infamous feature. His golden coif.
This is President-elect Donald Trump as you've never seen him before, up close and personal, and made entirely of wax.
DAVE GARDNER, PRINCIPLE SCULPTOR, MADAME TUSSAUD'S: At the sitting, when we would have met him, we take measurements. So, we go in and we use these anchor points and use the measurements and create the head.
SOARES: From there, Donald Trump's face becomes a jigsaw.
GARDNER: You see the ear part here.
SOARES: And eventually becomes the mold to which wax is applied.
(on camera): Did you enjoy the process because he's not -- his face says so much.
[01:55:07] GARDNER: Yeah. It's like he made my job slightly easier because of his character -- almost it's like doing a caricature and bringing it back.
SOARES: And then the painstaking work of detailing his face begins. For Kelly, that meant finding the right type of hair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hair has been challenging.
SOARES: Part of his came from an animal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a mixture of human hair and yak hair. We use yak hair for the people with white hair. You can't buy white human hair.
(on camera): These eyebrows. Talk to us, what are they made of?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're a mixture of hair in the eyebrows as well. Some synthetic and human hair and a little bit of squirrel for the soft ones. SOARES: Hold on, squirrel hair?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
SOARES (voice-over): From the hair to the skin, coloring is the biggest challenge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used all of these colors.
SOARES: A vibrant palette to recreate a colorful character.
But what will Mr. Trump make of his body double?
(on camera): So, President-elect, do you like the way you look? For once, he has nothing to say.
(voice-over): Isa Soares, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Not sure about the hair.
SIDNER: Check his Twitter. We'll find out.
VAUSE: Yeah, exactly.
SIDNER: We'll see what he thinks about it in due course.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause.
Stay with us. More news after a short break.