Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump's Agenda for First Full Week; Conway: Pressed Used "Alternative Facts"; Advisor: Trump Will Not Release Tax Returns Yet; British P.M. to Meet with Trump Friday; Trump Presidency Already Impacting Israeli/Palestine Relations; Latest Negotiations to End Syrian Civil War Under Way; Political Fights Await President Trump; Putin Expected to Phone Trump; Will Trump Lift U.S. Sanctions on Russia; Asian Stock Markets Mixed; Georgia Neighborhood Hit Hard as Storms Tear Through Southeast; Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots Head to Super Bowl. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 23, 2017 - 02:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:00:24] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to our viewers here in the United States and, of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm George Howell. It is 11:00 p.m. on the U.S. west coast, 8:00 a.m. in Paris. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

We start by talking about Donald Trump. The new president of the United States, kicking off his first full week of business in the Oval Office. And, look, he has a lot to do.

First up, a meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to talk through key issues of his legislative agenda, like tax reform and replacing Obamacare.

CHURCH: Then Friday, Trump will have his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader, meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The president announced Sunday that he will soon meet with the leaders of Mexico and Canada to start renegotiating NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

HOWELL: Monday is also important for two of Mr. Trump's most controversial cabinet nominees. The Senate will likely vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as the head of the CIA, but some Democrats have been concerned about his positions on surveillance and other issues.

CHURCH: And Senators will also vote on Rex Tillerson's nomination for secretary of state. There have been concerns raised about his past dealings with Russia.

HOWELL: A busy week to say the least. Of course, CNN, the place to be for reaction worldwide.

Take a look there. Stay with us, of course. In the hours to come, we will bring you our

correspondents from around the world with global perspective on Donald Trump's first week as the president of the United States.

CHURCH: And the president gave a speech before his senior staff was sworn in on Sunday.

HOWELL: This time, a Donald Trump that had a softer, a more inclusive tone. Trump promised to serve the American people. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not about party. This is not about ideology. This is about country, our country. And it's about serving the American people.

We will prove worthy of this moment in history. And I think it may very well be a great moment in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And Mr. Trump's first weekend as president was shadowed by Press Secretary Sean Spicer's claims that Friday's inaugural audience was the largest ever.

HOWELL: In fact, senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, defended those false comments on Sunday. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, NBC MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood. Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, it doesn't. Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, has more on the new phrase "alternative facts" being associated now with the Trump administration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: The second full day of the Trump presidency will be remembered at least in part for this new phrase, "alternative facts." You showed it there from Kellyanne Conway, Trump's senior adviser. Her first time standing on the White House lawn for a television interview, speaking with Chuck Todd of NBC, who was clearly taken aback by this phrase "alternative facts." I think to most journalists, that idea would actually be referring to fictions or, to be less generous, lies.

There's only one real set of facts when it comes to issues like the size of the crowds on the National Mall. And that's really what this was all about originally. On Friday, the inauguration here in Washington, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, but not reaching the same crowd levels as President Obama's first inauguration in 2009.

If we know one thing about President Donald Trump, it's that when he sees critical or skeptical television coverage, he gets frustrated and sometimes responds very quickly. That's what happened on Saturday. He was seeing these pictures, comparing the crowd sizes, and he spoke up about it. He talked about visiting the CIA headquarters. And then his press secretary, Sean Spicer, did as well.

Spicer made at least five misstatements in a five-minute-long statement, not taking any questions from the press. Simply coming out to the podium, speaking and then going back behind the curtain. He said nothing further about this controversy on Sunday, and that's what makes Monday so interesting.

Spicer is going to have his first on-camera briefing on Monday, expected to take questions from reporters at the White House. We will see if he doubles and triples down on these so-called "alternative facts" or if he's more forth right and tries to repair relations with the press corps.

Here in Washington, there is a lot of anxiety about what this new administration brings, especially with regards to its treatment of the media. And there are also lots of questions about whether this administration is getting its footing yet. Of course, it's only been two full days.

This is the third day of the Trump presidency, now moving into the first workweek. And Donald Trump has a very busy agenda in the days ahead. His aides promising lots of executive actions, lots of news stories that will overwhelm, maybe swamp this current controversy involving the media.

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[02:05:42] HOWELL: That term, "alternative facts," didn't learn about that in J. school.

CHURCH: No, exactly. Yes.

HOWELL: Taking some heat around the world.

A liberal ethics watch group is planning to file a lawsuit Monday against President Trump. In that lawsuit, it will argue that Mr. Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his business.

CHURCH: The president's lawyer denies that allegation, saying that he has taken the necessary measures to avoid any conflicts of interest. The executive director of the group, known as CREW, says in a statement -- and I'm quoting here -- "It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office. He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious," end quote.

HOWELL: Some experts say, as a matter of ethics, they want to see President Trump's tax returns to help them determine if he is avoiding potential conflicts of interests. During the campaign, he promised to release them after an IRS audit was completed.

CHURCH: But now his top adviser, Kellyanne Conway, is pushing this aside a bit more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: The White House response is that he's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care. They voted for him.

Let me make this very clear. Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.

And you know, full well, that Trump -- President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And Conway later walked back those remarks, saying the president is still under audit and has been advised not to release his taxes.

HOWELL: A busy week ahead, a lot to talk about.

Let bring in CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott, live via skype from New York.

Eugene, good to have you.

First, let's go back here. That term we talked about, "alternative facts," the only alternative to fact is fiction. Is that what Kellyanne Conway is suggesting the press and public should be OK with, fiction, especially coming from the White House press podium.

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's certainly what the public and voters heard. You may have seen that hashtag, #alternativefacts, was trending on Twitter much of Sunday evening after her statement. I think this is an opportunity today, at Sean Spicer's first official press conference, at least as they are calling it, to give people the truth they want, not an alternative to that.

HOWELL: We expect politicians to put spin on issues, but I think it was the late U.S. politician, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that said, quote, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts."

Kellyanne Conway also spoke today on the issue of Trump's tax returns. First, saying simply that he will not release those tax returns. Later, Eugene, walking that back slightly with our Jeff Zeleny, saying that as long as Trump is under an audit, he wouldn't release the tax returns. They argue that people don't care about this issue, but the latest polls suggest otherwise.

SCOTT: That is true. There are actually multiple polls, including one that CNN did, that show that more than 70 percent of Americans do care about the tax returns. They want to know whether or not the president has conflicts of interest to international affairs and business because they are concerned that it could influence its policy.

A big problem with what Conway said is that voters didn't care. Even voters who voted for Donald Trump, which we know is not the majority of people who voted, have expressed concern. 50 percent of Republicans would like to see the tax returns to ensure transparency. That's certainly a move that this current administration could make to increase its favorability ratings with people.

HOWELL: Eugene, a very busy week ahead. Trump is set to meet with Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle. What can we expect?

SCOTT: Yes, Monday evening he's going to meet with leaders from both parties. One thing that will come up will be tax reform. This is an issue that he campaigned on and that Republicans have made it very clear that they would like to see prioritized as well.

Also, he'll make some progress, perhaps, in communicating what he would like to replace Obamacare with. That's something both parties and the American public would like to hear as well.

And lastly, I think that he could be making some strides regarding his immigration policy, whether or not he will follow through with those early plans to deport undocumented immigrants who have broken the law, and follow-ups on whether or not he can convince Mexico to build a wall.

[02:10:32] HOWELL: CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott, live via skype from CNN New York.

Eugene, thank you so much for your time.

SCOTT: Thank you.

CHURCH: Mr. Trump says he will meet with the leaders of Mexico and Canada to start renegotiating the North American Free Trade agreement, otherwise known as NAFTA.

HOWELL: Experts say that agreeing on a deal more beneficial to the U.S., well, that will be a real challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We will be meeting with the president of Mexico, who I know, and we're going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA. Anybody ever hear of NAFTA?

(LAUGHTER)

I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA. But we're going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration, and on security at the border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And Mr. Trump is set to hold his first meeting with a world leader since taking office.

HOWELL: That leader being the British Prime Minister Theresa May, set to arrive in Washington Friday for talks with President Trump. She told the BBC they will discuss trade issues, NATO, and the Syrian conflict.

Let's get the view on this live from London. Our Max Foster is live this hour in the British capital.

Max, good to have you with us.

So, the optics here focusing on what always has been a special relationship between the United Kingdom and the U.S., so exactly how important is this meeting for Theresa May?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: It's very important to Theresa May in the context of Britain leaving the European Union, leaving the single European market, and all the economic chaos that could potentially come with that. She needs to provide some sort of alternative and it does look as though Donald Trump is going to provide that by promising a trade deal with the United States. That's a huge boon to her. And that's really the priority going into those talks. She talks about NATO. She talks about the Syrian civil war. But for her, the real political capital that she can get over there in Washington is perhaps discussing what might be part of a trade deal and offering something back to British parliament and to the British public on that, also Europe as well.

But also, she brings something to the table, and that is the ability to project Donald Trump as a global statesman. He could perhaps roll in that whole idea of Brexit into Trumpism, associate the two, both seen as a success from the Trump camp.

But also, potentiality, there's been a hint that Donald Trump may be offered a state visit here to the U.K. And certainly, a stay at Buckingham Palace is seen as something very prestigious. It's something that only the U.K. can offer, of course, and all the pomp and ceremony that comes with that. We do know that Donald Trump is a fan. We'll exactly those things to come up during the talks.

HOWELL: Donald Trump, during the inauguration, made it very clear, "America First," taking a more nationalist perspective, and suggesting to allies that perhaps they should focus on their own interests as the United States will focus on its own interests. So, you will see that there are some differences, clearly, between President Trump and Theresa May. The two don't see eye to eye on some things, like the relevance of NATO, and the importance of a strong European Union even with the U.K. leaving. So, might those topics of disagreement even come up during the discussion?

FOSTER: Well, you wonder. It's certainly something that they do differ on, absolutely. Theresa May did a speech just last week talking about the merits of the global economy, globalization, and Britain being on the global stage post-Brexit. So, she is very strong on that. We also heard the Chinese leader saying a similar sort of thing, whilst Donald Trump is saying something about national interests coming first and protecting jobs. So, that side of their language actually does conflict quite massively, but they conflict on a whole range of different issues.

I think what they're going to try to do on this occasion is find the common ground. We can assume they've agreed on that because there have been discussions ahead of this, and Donald Trump has agreed to have Theresa May as the first European political leader at the White House. She's not going to try to mess that up in anyway way. I suspect that's not going to come up in a very visible way.

HOWELL: CNN's London correspondent, Max Foster, live in the British capital. Max, always a pleasure to have your reporting and insight. Thank you.

CHURCH: And now that President Trump is in office, Israel is making decisions about a controversial settlement. We'll have the details for you still to come.

[02:14:53] HOWELL: Plus, the stage is set for Super Bowl LI. Guess what? A team just a few blocks away from us is going to be in the Super Bowl.

We are live around the world this hour. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(SPORTS REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. The presidency of Donald Trump is already having an impact on the tense relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.

CHURCH: Israel is moving ahead with construction of more than 500 homes in existing settlements in east Jerusalem. Those building permits were on hold until Mr. Trump's inauguration.

HOWELL: Also, sources say the White House is proceeding cautiously with Mr. Trump's pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

CHURCH: For more on this, let's go to our Ian Lee, who's in Jerusalem.

Ian, previous U.S. presidents also proposed to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem only to change their minds once they were briefed on the ramifications of just such a move. How likely is it that we will see the same thing happen this time around? But if we don't, how might the Palestinians react?

[02:19:53] IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we've seen this before with other presidents, as you said. But once the reality of the situation and the region hits, then they usually change their minds or adjust their positions. It is, though, the talk of the town right now. All the major Israeli newspapers have it as their headline, talking about a potential move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. You also have the mayor of Jerusalem saying in a tweet, "POTUS announcement sends a clear message. Jerusalem is Israel's indivisible capital. We are here to help bring the U.S. embassy home."

But we're also hearing from the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, saying pump your brakes a bit, saying that they're only in the beginning stages of even discussing this subject.

We've heard from the Palestinians. The chief Palestinian negotiator said that if this move were to take place unilaterally without negotiations, that they could revoke their recognition of Israel, revoke other agreements.

We know the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in Jordan to talk to King Abdullah. King Abdullah and, both, the President Abbas are against this move, saying they'll work with regional partners and international partners to try to prevent it. They want to see the status of Jerusalem determined through negotiations -- Rosemary?

CHURCH: Indeed. Of course, the concern is the impact on peace talks going forward.

So, Ian, President Trump has invited the Israeli prime minister to Washington next month. What all do we know about the phone conversation between the two leaders Sunday?

LEE: Yeah, this invitation is early in the month. We know that there are three main points that Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted to get across to the president. They are the neighboring civil war in Syria, you have the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, but also, the Iran nuclear deal. Now, Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that is a bad deal. He wants to change it. President Trump has also said that it was a bad deal and also hasn't ruled out looking at changing it, as well, despite some people in his administration saying, you know, listen, let's just keep going with it, we made this deal, let's just stick to it and keep on with it. So, those are things that are likely to be discussed.

But what we should expect to see really is what will relations between the United States and Israel look like going forward? What will cooperation look like going forward? We know, from Donald Trump, he said that Israel will have unprecedented commitment from the United States. So, that gives us a little window on what to expect.

CHURCH: Exactly right.

Our Ian Lee joining us live there from Jerusalem, where it is 9:22 in the morning. Many thanks.

HOWELL: Time to take a check on other stories in the news this hour.

(HEADLINES)

HOWELL: The latest attempt to end Syria's brutal civil war is under way this hour in Kazakhstan.

CHURCH: Turkey and Russia are sponsoring peace talks where delegations from some factions have already met. Representatives from Syria's government, rebel groups and the U.N. are among those attending.

And for more on the talks and the war in Syria, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us.

Jomana, what are the expectations here and what might these talks accomplish?

[02:24:25] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, I think the expectations are not very high when it comes to these talks. No one is expecting anything groundbreaking to come out of them.

What we've heard from all those taking part is that they aim to discuss that shaky cease-fire. If you recall, on December 30th, there was that Russian and Turkish brokered cease-fire that went into effect. It's supposed to be a nationwide cease-fire, but there have been reports of violence in different parts of the country, of both sides accusing each other of violations. We've heard from officials that they aim here to consolidate this cease-fire. And also, there's going to be discussion of the humanitarian relief when they're talking about, for example, areas that are under siege in Syria. There are more than half a million civilians who are estimated to be under siege, and delivering that humanitarian aid to them.

But of course, we have to look at who is attending and who is not attending these talks, Rosemary. Yes, there is high-level representation. We're talking about so many different groups that are present there from the rebel side, the opposition side. But at the same time, there are other groups that are missing. Some of these rebel groups are not represented there. You also have these two groups that are considered to be the terrorist groups in Syria that one would not expect to see them at any negotiating table. That is ISIS and the former al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. But they are major fighting forces there.

A key group that is missing here is the Syrian Kurds, the main fighting forces. The Syrian Kurds are also not present because of Turkish objections to them being part of these negotiations. So, it's a very complex situation on the battlefield there, and we

expect that these complexities will also take place there in these talks.

CHURCH: Absolutely.

Jomana, what about the viability of the presidency of al Assad? Will that be under discussion at all?

KARADSHEH: Well, according to officials to all sides here, this is not going to be on the agenda. These are talks that are purely aimed at discussing that cease-fire. It is purely about the fighting that is taking place on the ground. When it comes to the political transition process or the future of the Syrian regime and President Assad. This is something that we've heard officials saying this is not expected to be discussed, that these talks are not expected to compete. They're expected to complement the political talks that take place in Geneva, those U.N.-sponsored talks that are expected to take place next month.

Of course, it's a very interesting time, Rosemary, for these talks to be taking place. We are looking at a very different reality on the ground there in Syria, of course.

CHURCH: A very different world, indeed.

Jomana Karadsheh, joining us from Jordan, where it is nearly 9:30 in the morning. Many thanks.

HOWELL: Much more news ahead here on NEWSROOM. Still ahead, Donald Trump soon will be getting his first full week in office. Coming up, what to expect after a controversial first weekend as the president of the United States.

Live from Atlanta, to our viewers across the United States and around the world this hour, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:31:01] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. Well, U.S. President Donald Trump is beginning his first full week in office after a weekend of celebrations and controversies for the incoming White House.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Many potential political fights are brewing in Washington. They're waiting for Mr. Trump.

Our senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju, has more for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me, God.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Moments after he was sworn into office, President Donald Trump and the leaders of Congress were all smiles. But now, he'll have to navigate the landmines his foes are setting for him on Capitol Hill.

Trump is still waiting for the Senate to confirm most of his cabinet with just two of his nominees confirmed on his first day in office. At the CIA on Saturday, he complained that Democrats were holding up a final vote on his nominee to run the agency, Congressman Mike Pompeo, who is expected to be confirmed on Monday.

TRUMP: They're doing little political games.

RAJU: Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who delayed the vote, is fighting back.

SEN. RON WYDEN, (D), OREGON: Mike Pompeo is proposing a brand-new system, collecting an enormous amount of data on law-abiding Americans, including lifestyle information. I think that's the kind of thing you ought to take a little bit of time to examine.

RAJU: Trump is facing more Democratic resistance over eight of his cabinet nominees, including Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department, and Tom Price to run Health and Human Services.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D), OHIO: My concern is that Candidate Trump talked at every rally in my state and elsewhere about clearing the swamp, and this one nominee after another that looks to be the -- a White House full of Goldman Sachs executive retreat.

RAJU: On Monday, Trump's next big test, his pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, faces a vote in the Foreign Relations Committee. That's where Republican Senator Marco Rubio is considering voting with Democrats to try and stall the nomination over his concerns on Tillerson's views on Russia. Rubio is still on the fence.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA: No, I don't have anything to announce on that yet.

RAJU: Later in the week, Trump will travel to Philadelphia to meet with House and Senate Republicans at a party retreat. At the top of the agenda, getting on the same page over plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. Already, some Republicans are pushing back on Trump's recent call to provide everybody with health insurance.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R), UTAH: The problem is you can't do it and overpromise on everything. We have to be very careful because there is a limit to what we can do.

RAJU (on camera): And the health care fight, in a lot of ways, is tied to the nomination of Congressman Tom Price to lead the Health and Human Services Department. In one of his first moves as president, Trump signing an executive order that gave Price, if he's confirmed, more discretion to weaken the law. And Republicans expect him to issue new regulations as part of their overall replacement plan.

Price, however, continues to face ethics questions about some of his financial transactions, and he'll undergo a second day of questioning from Senators in the coming week. Trump will probably end up getting most, if not all of his nominees

confirmed, but Democrats can certainly slow down the process and tie up the Senate before they get their jobs.

Manu Raju, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Manu Raju, thank you.

During the campaign, there were always jokes about the bromance between Vladimir Putin and the president, Donald Trump. But now, Mr. Trump can expect a phone calling from the Russian president in the coming days. The Kremlin calls it a diplomatic necessity.

CHURCH: Mr. Trump has said having a strong relationship with Russia is a good thing. But U.S. sanctions are still hanging over Moscow. And Russia's prime minister says just because there's a new U.S. president, it doesn't mean those sanctions will be lifted anytime soon.

[02:35:13] HOWELL: We'll get into those issues in a moment.

But first, let's bring in Matthew Chance, live in Moscow this hour.

Matthew, before we talk about those topics, first, we know that a phone call will happen. Do we have any indication on when these two leaders might actually meet? Might that happen sooner rather than later?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The expectation is, George, that it will happen sooner. But the short answer is we don't have any firm guidance at this point about when even the phone call is going to happen. It's going to be in the next few days apparently. Never mind, when the first face-to-face meeting is going to happen.

But suffice to say that's a widely anticipated meeting, at least here in Russia, it is anyway, as it is elsewhere in the world. One leading Russian lawmaker said this first meeting will be, quote, "The most important event in world politics, a defining moment in history." So, you get a sense of just how high the expectations are amongst many quarters in Russia, amongst politicians, amongst ordinary people as well.

This meeting, this relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin could be a pivotal one, and all of those issues -- or many of those issues that have stood between the United States and Russia over the past several years, in particular, can be resolved in this new Trump era.

The Kremlin, for their part, along with the Russian prime minister are trying to play down those expectations. The Kremlin, a couple of days ago, said, look, Trump is not our man, and it would be a mistake to believe that the relationship between the two countries is going to turn around dramatically very quickly. But behind those public statements, there is a sort of quiet

confidence that things are at the very least going to get a little better.

HOWELL: OK. But, Matthew, there have been other attempts to have a reset with former U.S. presidents, and those resets may have even turned out worse in the end than they were in the beginning. So, is there a different expectation with this particular U.S. president?

CHANCE: I think given the -- I think there is simply because Donald Trump, throughout his election campaign and since he was elected, has been consistent on this one point, which is that he wants to build the relationship, make the relationship better with Russia. I mean, he's said, time and again, wouldn't it be good to have a better relationship with Russia? That's something that's been heard loud and clear here.

He's made very positive signals when it comes to issues that are close to the hearts of many Russians, for instance, the expansion of NATO. Donald Trump has criticized NATO. For instance, the issue of whether or not the United States should recognize the sovereignty of Russia in Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Donald Trump has said he'd look at that. He also said he would look at cooperating with Russia on international terrorism and the conflict in Syria and elsewhere.

So, these are all very positive sentiments that if they're followed through in terms of policy would mark a sort of sea change in the attitude of the United States government towards Russia.

HOWELL: Bringing you the perspective from the Russian capital, our Matthew Chance, live for us. Matthew, thank you so much for your reporting.

CHURCH: Stocks in the Asian markets are mixed on the first day of trading since Donald Trump took office.

CNN's Asia-Pacific editor, Andrew Stevens, joins us live from Hong Kong with a closer look on this.

Andrew, how exactly are markets look something how are they reacting? We said mixed of course, but all this talk about trade.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Absolutely. I think the watch word is caution still, Rosemary. There is some further clarification if you like on Donald Trump's trade policy, which he made hours after the inauguration. In fact, at his inauguration speech, where he very clearly said that U.S. jobs were first and foremost. The "America First" policy, and how that relates to trade. Now, we know that the administration has followed up, at least in a letter, by saying that it would not follow through with the Trans- Pacific Partnership. That's the big multilateral trade deal that was pushed forward by Barack Obama. In fact, it was a key to his pivot to Asia. That is now basically dead in the water. So, you are getting some more clarification. Still, though, the markets across Asia, particularly, are waiting for

hard policy. What it is actually going to be in black and white once the "T"s have been crossed and the "I"s have been dotted. We've seen the trend for Donald Trump to favor isolation rather than globalism, and certainly to favor American businesses in all shapes and forms. That can only be a sort of negative step for Asian exporters, in particular.

So, at the moment, it's still cautionary, Rosemary, waiting to see how that policy actually unfolds.

And If you'll look at the numbers, the Nikkei down 1.3 percent. I should point out that was also helped by a weaker dollar. The yen getting stronger, and that always hits Japanese exporters when you get a stronger yen because it eats into their profits. That was helping there.

But there again, the dollar is related to what Donald Trump has been saying, and he's been saying that he doesn't really favor that much of a stronger dollar, so we're seeing a bit of a sell off on the dollar as well.

[02:40:30] CHURCH: A cautious and mixed reaction there on Asian markets.

Andrew Stevens joining us from Hong Kong, where it is 3:40 in the afternoon. Many thanks, Andrew.

STEVENS: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, dangerous weather takes a heavy toll in the U.S. southeast. We will take you to a neighborhood devastated by the storms.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Police in Texas will charge two suspects with capital murder after a shooting at a shopping mall in San Antonio left one person dead. Officers say it was a robbery gone wrong and that the person killed was a Good Samaritan trying to intervene.

HOWELL: Another person with a concealed carry permit shot at the suspect, injuring one of them. Six people were wounded in the shooting. The suspects also face aggravated assault charges.

CHURCH: People in parts of the southeastern U.S. will be in recovery mode Monday after severe weather over the weekend.

HOWELL: The storms have killed at least 14 people right here in the state of georgia and leveled several areas.

CNN's Polo Sandoval went to a georgia neighborhood that was hit incredibly hard.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) [02:44:57] POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities have now been able to complete the search-and-rescue recovery efforts yet because of the ongoing threat of severe weather. As a result, what is perhaps the hardest hit neighborhood, that you may be able to make out behind me remains closed off.

Because of the darkness, because of the distance, you might not be able to see too much. So, take a look at some of the pictures shot in the region. You can see the widespread devastation.

The Sunshine Acres neighborhood, a mobile home park, according to authorities, is where at least seven people lost their lives. The owner and the manager of that property are posting a statement online for his residents saying, quote, "It is with deep sorrow that I write this. The majority of Sunshine Acres is no more due to a tornado. The majority of Sunshine Acres was destroyed. Most everyone is OK. There are still some missing."

That manager referring to what are at least five people that are still unaccounted for. So, there is concern and the death toll could rise.

And know we're hearing some of the remarkable stories of survival, including a 24-year-old husband and father that I spoke to here who says, after he rode out the storm, he joined rescue efforts and helped rescue at least three children from the rubble.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Adele, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Polo, thank you so much.

Let's get the very latest on this unusual deadly weather.

CHURCH: We turn to our Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who joins now with more on this.

It's shocking at this time of year, isn't it?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLGOIST: It absolutely is. This time of year, I always talk about the third week of January. If you were to ask me when is the coldest time of year across north America, I would tell you, pick between the third to fourth week of January, and that's precisely where we sit.

You see what has occurred so far in January 2017. Almost 100 tornadoes have been reported across the United States. 36 is what is considered normal. You run the numbers, that's over 260percent of what is considered normal for this time of year. Certainly, I did not expect to be standing up here talking about a widespread severe weather outbreak in this portion of the year. But certainly, it's taking place, and that is where this active weather pattern rolled right across the southern portion of the United States. An 800-mile stretch, that is precisely where the thunderstorms are in place this morning. Almost seven million people across southern Florida still underneath a tornado watch, meaning conditions are favorable for tornadoes as we know of course the history of tornadoes with this line of active weather. A severe thunderstorm warning approaching Fort Lauderdale. Storms overnight, it makes it more dangerous to be a part of. Well, over 300 reports of severe weather just in the past three days alone.

I want to show you just what has occurred across the southern portion of the U.S. because we talk about getting these tornadoes and getting it, in particular, this time of year. Of course, in the past three days alone, we've seen a report of at least 41 tornadoes coming down across the United States. Now, no other country in the world averages over 40 tornadoes in an entire year besides Canada. They sit around 100. The United States sees around 1,100 tornadoes per year. That's one and two, and then you see over 40 coming in, in just one weekend across the United States. Of course, it is well into the off-season, the quietest time of year, climatologically speaking.

Look at the number of fatalities that we're seeing so far, and that's what's most remarkable to me. Last year, in 2016, we came in with only 17 fatalities. It was the quietest year in the past 30 years. Then you look at what happened in the past few days. We're up to 22 fatalities. A few years ago, we had a major tornado outbreak across the state of Alabama and parts of the southern United States that led to over 500 tornadoes to be reported and also fatalities to be seen.

Notice the storm system itself pushing off to the north and east where we have tremendous rain, tremendous wind in the forecast. Over 20 million people underneath a high-wind threat with 60-mile-per-hour winds. Along the coastal areas, we now have a hurricane-force wind warning in place there just off the coast of Long Island where winds could reach 80 miles per hour come Monday afternoon. Seas as high as 23 feet. So, officials there saying stay off the waters. Mariners also to stay alert because the storm system has everything going for it as far as the severity we've seen so far -- guys?

HOWELL: Strong winds.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

CHURCH: Thank you.

HOWELL: Thank you so much, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Yeah.

HOWELL: So if you are a passenger on United Airlines, some good news this hour. The airline has resumed its flights in the United States. This after a communications glitch temporarily grounded departures Sunday night.

CHURCH: Sources say planes already in the air were in no danger, and the issue did not affect communication between those planes and air traffic control. The airline has apologized to customers for the inconvenience.

[02:49:33] Well, the stage is now set for Super Bowl LI. For one team, it's just their second appearance. The other will be there for a record ninth time. We will have the highlights from Sunday still to come.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: All right. It's no longer a secret. We know who will be in the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.

CHURCH: That's right. The Patriots reached the NFL championship by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and the Falcons crushed the Green Bay Packers right here in Atlanta.

CNN "World Sport's" Patrick Snell has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORT CORREPSONDENT: Well, for the second time in franchise history, the Atlanta Falcons have reached the Super Bowl. On Sunday, they produced a dominant display to see off the Green Bay Packers for a championship win in what was a truly emotional occasion at their own Georgia Dome, which after 25 years, was hosting its last ever game before the team moves to a new state-of-the-art home right next door. Led by their inspirational quarterback, Matt Ryan, the Falcons, who were the NFL's highest scoring team this season, meant business right from the star. Ryan doing his talking with his feet this time as he runs it in for the 14-yard touchdown score. Continuing to dominate going into the halftime break. Julio Jones outstanding as he fends off to would-be tacklers on his way up the sideline for the 73-yard touchdown. No one is going to stop him there.

This triumph meaning so much to these Atlanta players who steal a resounding victory, 44-21.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[02:55:00] MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS QUARTERBACK: I'm happy. I'm happy for everybody in our organization. I mean we've worked hard to get to this point. But the challenge is still in front of us. What we set out to accomplish is still in front of us. We'll enjoy it because it's hard to get to this point. I know that from experience. It's really difficult to get to this point, and we'll enjoy the buildup and the process leading to it. But our ultimate goal is still in front of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Meantime, Steelers legend and our own "CNN Sport's" Hines Ward, the honorary captain for Pittsburgh on Sunday, but his former team falling short against the New England Patriots, 36-17. Star quarterback, Tom Brady, picking out Chris Hogan for the 16-yard touchdown. The Pats were in dominant mood, with the 39-year-old Brady excelling again as he links up with Hogan once more for the 34-yard touchdown. New England powering its way to a ninth Super Bowl, and that is an NFL record. Brady throwing for more than 900 yards for the 11th time in a post season.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: It's a lot of hard work, and it's only two teams left standing. I'm happy we're one of them. That's what our goal is. It's nice to be able to achieve that.

BILL BELICHICK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: Proud of the team, happy for the team, happy for all these guys. They all deserved it. It's a good, hard-working group. You know, we're excited to move on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: So Super Bowl LI is set as the Falcons look to win it for the first time in their 51-year history. They'll be facing four-time victors, the Patriots, in Houston, on Sunday, the 5th of February.

Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: All right. Thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell.

Another hour from CNN NEWSROOM, your news from around the world, straight ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)