Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Withdraws U.S. From Pacific Trade Deal; Rough Start For Syrian Peace Talks; May To Meet With Trump In Washington Friday; Trump Claims Illegal Ballots Cost Him Popular Vote; White House Press Secretary Holds First Official Briefing; U.K. Supreme Court to Rule on Brexit Process; Syria Peace Talks Backed by Russia, Turkey Under Way; Producer: Video Misleading on Animal Safety. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 24, 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: -- American workers, may not the anyone celebrate.

ISHA SESAY, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Also, rough start from the latest attempt to bring peace to Syria. So far, the two sides won't even meet face-to-face.

VAUSE: And later, animal rights activist calling for a boycott of a new family movie. After leaked video, allegedly show the dog being abused during filming.

SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I am Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We are now into the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A.

After busy day, meeting with business and union leaders; Donald Trump decided to re-alleviate the presidential campaign. Sources say, he can play into congressional leaders; he would've won the popular vote, even have not been for three to five million illegal ballots it claim he continues raise without any evidence.

SESAY: Mr. Trump did make good, on one of his cornerstone campaign promises on Monday. CNN's Jim Acosta, has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Great thing for the American worker; what we just did.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sitting in the oval office; President Trump, set his ambitious agenda into motion. Signing executive orders on some of his key campaign promises; withdrawing the U.S. from former President Obama's Trans-Pacific Trade deal; banning tax payer money from promoting abortions overseas; increasing the hiring of Federal workers with one (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: Except for the military, except for the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Except for the military.

ACOSTA: Meeting with U.S. business leaders; the President warned American companies will pay a new price if they ship jobs overseas.

TRUMP: They're going to have a tax to pay - border tax, it's substantial border-tax. Somebody say, oh, Trump is going to tax - I'm not going to tax, there is no tax. None of whatsoever. And I just want to tell you, all you have to do is stay. Don't leave. Don't fire your people of the United States.

ACOSTA: In return, Mr. Trump offered a carriage.

TRUMP: With it we can cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more.

ACOSTA: To the White House, this was the day to get back on the rails.

TRUMP: They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.

ACOSTA: After President Trump attacked the media of the reports on the size of the crowd at his inauguration. An assault on the press that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, tried to back-up with a number of falsehoods.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration period, Both in person and around the globe.

ACOSTA: In attempt to have spin; that backfired badly.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Sean Spicer, our Press Secretary gave alternative facts today.

ACOSTA: At today's White House briefings, Spicer insisted; he and the President were merely trying to correct an unfair media narrative.

It isn't that just part of the - the conversation that happens in Washington? -

SPICER: No, It's not.

ACOSTA: When it comes to being a President of the United States? -

SPICER: No.

ACOSTA: And living at the White House?

SPICER: No, no. I - look, I've been doing this a long time. You've been doing this too. I've never seen it like this. It's a little demoralizing because when you're sitting there, and you're looking out and you're in awe of just how awesome that view is. And how many people are there? And you go back, and you turn on the television. And you see shots of comparing this and that, and it's frustrating for not just him. But it's meant so many of us that are trying to work to get this message out.

ACOSTA: Spicer, did tackle matters of substance indicating the White House will not get in the way of any investigation in the Russian hacking in the election. And he appeared to tapped-down expectations that the U.S. would immediately move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The White House is also extending in all of branch on immigration trying to reassure the younger undocumented people in this country - the so-called dreamers, that they're not the priority for deportations. Sean Spicer says, the administration's policy will focus on criminals who are in the country illegally. Jim Acosta, CNN, The White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, joining us now; Democratic Strategist, Dave Jacobson; and Republican Consultant, John Thomas.

VAUSE: Also with us; CNN Money Asia Pacific Editor, Andrew Stevens, live in Hong Kong; David McKenzie, standing by in Beijing. We also have Max Foster, live in London.

SESAY: We got a full-house, but let's start with you Andrew. President Trump following through on one of his key campaign promises are withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP. He did stress on Monday, that the U.S. would sign trade deals only with individual allies. So, let me ask you this what are expectations for the U.S. renegotiating bilateral trade deals with the 11 other countries that make up the TPP.

[01:04:13] ANDREW STEVENS, CNN MONEY ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, firstly I should, bilateral deals do take some times so it is going to be quite a process to do all those deals with 11 members of the TPP. Secondly, is what sort of deal is Donald Trump going to be look like because he's made it very, very clear; both on the stump-ends since he's been President. That it is all about America first, and it is about employing American jobs, and buying American products. So, what does he want to a trade deal with a country like Australia's look like. So - perhaps, American cars can be sold in Australia; what does Australia get in return? That sort of thing.

So, there's a lot to be (INAUDIBLE) that mean people I've been speaking to, talking about this now as a zero-sum game in trade, in this bilateral deals that Trump is looking at compared to the TPP; which he claims as we well know was a bad deal for America. But these certainly - the 11 other countries are in no doubt it was a very good deal; it covered a lot of ground, not just on tariffs and things like that but also on workers right, on environmental issues, on protecting intellectual property. All those issues. Are they going to be included in these new bilateral? We don't know at the moment. Interestingly, the TPP partners are now looking at thing whether they can go forward or not without the U.S. on this deal.

SESAY: Andrew, thank you for that.

VAUSE: OK. Let's go to Beijing. David McKenzie is here. So, David, China already filling the roll left they can buy the United States; negotiating its own trade deals with some of those countries that we - within the TPP is trying to. And also, raising concerns now that Beijing could re-write the rules of global trade. DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right.

And certainly, the Chinese never were a big fan of the TPP; if you look at that map of all these countries around the Pacific rim. The one country missing of course was China; John, the world's second largest economy and a major player of course - the major player in the geographical region.

Now, China, and it has been for some time. Well, you see this I'm sure as an opening to try and push its own multilateral trade deals with some of the countries in the TPP and others, and become really the big kid on the block - and perhaps, the only big kid on the block. China, is also going to see this as a geopolitical win, potentially, by having that potential form hammering through this trade deals and also could have influence over these other smaller economies. For a long time, the U.S. Defense Department as well was pushing the TPP; not just former President Obama. John.

VAUSE: OK. David McKenzie, in Beijing; Andrew Stevens, live in Hong Kong. Thanks to you both.

SESAY: Thank you guys. And back to the gentlemen here in the studio. Dave and John, I mean, let's be honest the TPP was effectively dead; it has been ratified by Congress. So, I mean, there're many that would say that this was just about optics - it was just about, you know, symbolism today. Take a listen to what Senator Marco Rubio had to say about Trump dumping out the TPP, and he's kind of sounding a word of caution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARCO RUBIO, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM FLORIDA: TPP was going to die, just both of them. Major - the two leading candidates for President were against it. So, there's not - I don't know why that's shocking to or surprising to anybody. Are there concerns about our geopolitical consequences of that in Asia? And how the Chinese could use that to their advantage? Sure. But, I mean, he said he wasn't in favor of it; he won the election. And his opponent wasn't in favor of it - Secretary Clinton. So, either way, no matter who won, TPP was gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: But John, you can't underplay or understate the jubilees' call; ramifications that lying weight with this move by President Trump.

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: It's true but one thing we know about President Trump, is that he's trying to put America first. The conflict reaction across the world is not as what he's concerned about is American jobs here and today. And this is something he campaign he was - he and Bernie Sanders were out at the gate on this issue, that he got to work primary on this issue and he wanted a general election on this issue.

So, he had to remove it and with respect to the Senator; it wasn't dead. Senator Clinton, changed her position on the TPP due to push from her own fate. So, it's not a guarantee that she wouldn't have slipped back had she won the election.

DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's why they didn't recognize that this was a bipartisan issue; Bernie Sanders campaign on and he forced Hillary Clinton to the left to take a position against it. I think it was a smart move obviously, symbolically, and optically to try and change try and change the conversation around the chaos that's swirling around the Trump administration on day one, two, and three. But I think also, one thing that the President has failed to do during the Gettysburg address in Pennsylvania; he said on day one, I'm going to label China as currency manipulator. He hasn't done that yet, so, the question is like; will he deliver on all these promises? He also said that he was going to put a ban on folks who've served in the White House or in Congress from lobbying for five years. So, couple of things he said, he was going to do that he hasn't yet done.

VAUSE: John, he also said, he was going to rip off NAFTA; it was a disaster.

THOMAS: Sure.

VAUSE: I mean, that words deal every negotiator, but now he's saying it'll be renegotiated. So, what's the difference between NAFTA; the other treaty of the United States, Mexico, and Canada; and TPP. It's just easy to get out of TPP?

THOMAS: Well, first of all, you've got huge political support. Domestically, it's a no brainer to rip up TPP. I think Donald Trump's strategy - it's anchoring, he usually starts out here on an extreme position. Knowing that he's going to come back somewhere more sensibly in the middle, and just uses it to negotiate. I think that's what he's probably - the conversation, you going to have that that; I could tear this up, I'm not going to. So, let's come to a commonsense arrangement, and he also campaigned that America was losing. In the sense of bad trade deals, and Donald Trump claims he's an expert negotiator; he's going to have to show the American people what he can do.

SESAY: But people around the world has question that has been trying to figure out how he's statements are being pro-free-trade-square would these actions -

[01:09:56] THOMAS: He's not a - I mean, he really isn't a free trade -

SESAY: Yes, but he says he is.

THOMAS: Well, I don't think you - I mean, he's ran on a populist agenda, not a free trade agenda.

JACOBSON: Well -

VAUSE: I think because it's his term, not free trade.

JACOBSON: But how can you like negotiate with the President of Mexico for example, when you're having this conflict over who's going to pay for the so-called wall that he wants to build right? He says, now the Congress is going to pay for but then Mexico is going to pay us back. Obviously, congressional leaders haven't given the nod to that. But the question is, how can you look the President of Mexico in the eye and like, have a genuine agreement of conversation about changing NAFTA; when you can't even agree on the solution when it comes the wall.

THOMAS: It's because we have a bigger stick. We're the U.S.

JACOBSON: So, you think that's the -

VAUSE: And -

THOMAS: Yes. I mean, yes.

VAUSE: Clearly. Look, clearly we have been sending a message around the world. If they didn't hear on Friday at the inauguration day. They certainly had it on Monday, with his first actions, right?

JACOBSON: Yes, precisely. I mean, the problem is he said that - he sort of raised the level of expectations during the transition; as a candidate he said look, when I'm President I'm going to be a totally different individual. I'm going to be more presidential that any other President that we've seen. The problem is; he's continued to divide the nation. He went into the inauguration with some of the lowest approval ratings that we've seen in polling, among modern presidential inaugurations. And I think the problem is he's not bringing the country together, he's continuing to divide folks.

SESAY: Let's hit polls in the studio and let's bring in Max Foster, who's standing by for us in London. Sir Max, I know you've been listening - listening in on the conversation; British Prime Minister Theresa May, heading to Washington on Friday. The first visit from a foreign leader, I mean, the expectation that she's coming to Washington looking to lay the foundations for bilateral trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K. Specially, it lies at the Brexit negotiations.

Given what we see from President Trump on his first full day in office, and also his first full working day in office. Dumping out of the TPP; talking about ripping off NAFTA. I mean, where does that lead to his a maze hope? So, efforts should we say?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've got massive differences between them but she does, as you say, really need him because she needs to trade deal with the United States for the British economy, really. To continue, to be healthy because she's coming out of the single European market; she announced that last week, that's part of the Brexit process. But she got to be very careful about not falling into trap here because effectively, I think what Donald Trump sees her as, as part of his narratives. So, stand out for national interest; leaving free trade zones; but at the same time, she does have to continue that relationship with Europe. So, does she wants to be seen as this battering ram is - for the break-up of the European Union. Which is arguably what many see Trump is having in his size. The sanctum she is pro globalization, pro free markets; so, how does she sign a deal with Donald Trump? And then stand out for free markets as well and try to have access to the single European market.

There are certain - certain people in Germany, and politicians in Germany that were very worried about trip. And what it says, really, about where Britain is on the world stage and therefore what that means to the European Union. And the potential break-up, all this, a very sensitive meeting.

SESAY: She's definitely going to be what a walking in tight rope.

VAUSE: Yes. Also, John, that White House briefing - thanks Max. Sean Spicer turned up the heat on China, especially, over those man- made islands that China has been building on the South China Sea. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: I think areas in the South China Sea they're part of international waters, and international activities. I think the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interest there. So, it's a question of; if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China property, then yes, we're going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Back at it again with McKenzie. So, David, what sort of reaction would you expect from officials in Beijing? In particular, to that word "defend".

MCKENZIE: Well, John, the Chinese reaction has been pretty steady on this. And the - they say that the U.S. shouldn't interfere with the issue of these islands in the South China Sea. And from China's perspective they say the situation has calmed somewhat, between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries who have laid claims to this disputed islands.

Now, of course, the U.S. and others might say, well China has taken these disputed islands built on them heavily and put defense systems - military systems on them. So, it's easy for them to say that things are calm. Again, the sense I've gotten from Chinese academics here; who have been part of some government discussions, is that China's happy to talk trade. But if, President Trump's administration wants to use foreign policy; the issue of the South China Sea, to kind of bully them in - from the time he's selected into a discussion. That's going to be a non-stative; they'll talk on trade - on trade's term, but not deal with this according to the South China Sea which they have a very long standing and forth-right approach to. That could lead to a very dangerous escalation, if these words are turned into action by the U.S. administration.

[01:15:01] VAUSE: OK, David. Thank you, David McKenzie in Beijing.

SESAY: John and Dave, come back to you, I mean clearly a very busy first day for President Trump. But, you know, executive actions, you know, signed in all the rest of it and, you know, great first ops - optics or -- or looking good. But then, by the end of the day, we hear that President Trump and his meeting with Congressional leaders repeated that and claimed - he keeps bringing out, stressing out, that we survived a million illegal votes cost him the popular vote. 25 million ballots - illegally cost ballots, cost him the popular vote. You kind of ask why - why -- why is he bringing it up? I mean --

THOMAS: Ego issues.

SESAY: Exactly. True --

THOMAS: I mean, why is he arguing about crowd size when he's the President? Deal with it. You know, he --

SESAY: And you know, he had a busy Rep Day. -

THOMAS: Right.

SESAY: You got, you know, lots of wins so you ask now, why?

THOMAS: You know -- but, Donald Trump is - President Trump is someone who's obsessed with always winning, always being the best. And he just can't let it fight. I mean, if one thing we've learned from the campaign trail is that you punch Donald Trump, he's going to punch you back twice as hard --

SESAY: Sometimes, he doesn't know who he's punching --

THOMAS: But - but he just - he can't. That's true. But sometimes, he just - he has to win.

JACOBSON: He has to win and otherwise he's a pathological wire. And he will do or say anything to convey what he believes are the facts and the reality. He perhaps generally believes that there is three to five million gen - votes that were fraudulent even though that's been widely debunked by election experts, by the media, by others - both political parties. I mean sure, he won the electoral polls, no doubt about it. He lost by 2.8 million votes for the popular vote. Those are the facts. But he can't accept them.

VAUSE: He has also other facts.

JACOBSON: Yes, right.

VAUSE: OK Jon, thank you so much.

THOMAS: Thank you.

JACOBSON: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you, guys.

VAUSE: OK, a short break, you know. When we come back on NEWSROOM L.A. - take two, the White House press briefings starts to (INAUBIDLE). What are those false claims about the inauguration crowd size this weekend? That's just ahead.

SESAY: Plus, Syria's rebels and regime officials are back at the bargaining table. But so far, they are refusing to talk to each other.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RHIANNON JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Rhiannon Jones with your CNN World Sport Headlines. On the roll, the dramatic development after 40 years at the helm, Bernie Ecclestone has been removed from his position as the CEO of the Formula 1 group. It comes as U.S. John Liberty Media completed $8 billion takeover of the sport. Ecclestone has been appointed Chairman emeritus and will act as an adviser to the board.

The Africa Cup of Nations Group B action came to a close on Monday. Tunisia needed just one point to qualify for the Quarterfinals. They topped that beating Zimbabwe 4-2. And the group's other game -- one of the pre- tournament favorites -- Algeria, were knocked out by Senegal. Algeria had a 2-1 lead with (INAUDIBLE) Islam Slimani but Senegal meddles, hit with the goal from Moussa Sow and they advance to the Quarterfinals with the two-old draw.

And wrapping up the football news, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has been charged by the Football Association for verbal abuse and pushing during Sunday's game against the Burnley in the Premier League. Wenger became angry after the visitors were awarded as selfish-time penalty. He was sent to the stands by the referee but stood by the tunnel entrance and refused to move. Arsenal would go on to win the match. And after this, Wenger was quick to apologize for his actions. That's the look at your Sports Headlines, I'm Rhiannon Jones.

[01:20:54] VAUSE: What's up folks. Sean Spicer held his first official briefing with her borders on Monday, unlike the first official berating which happened on Saturday, this time, he opened with a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE, PRESS SECRETARY: I know that Josh Earnest was voted the most popular Press Secretary by the Press Corps so after reading - check my twitter feed, I shot Josh an e-mail last night letting him know that he can rest easy. That his title is secure for at least the next few days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, the tone may have been softer, Spicer refused to walk back the anarchic claims he made on Saturday about the turnout for the Presidential Inauguration. More now, the man who some has dubbed Baghdad Sean, CNN's Senior Media Correspondent and Host of "Reliable Sources" joins us now from New York. Brian, goof to see you.

There was a lot covered in that first briefings but is answers to a lot of questions. And this is what he said about the five false statements he made on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: It's an honor to do this and - yes, I believe that we have to be honest to the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. There are certain things that we may miss - we may not fully understand. We come out. But our intention's never to lie to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: This does seem a bit of pat though, with Trump seeing new people. They - they sort of have their own version of the facts.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN, SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you can't walk back there now. Famous phrase, alternative facts from Sunday. Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump's Senior Advisers, explaining that Spicer wasn't misleading the public. He was just giving alternative facts. Now, Spicer didn't use that sentence - phrase himself on Monday. But I think it's - it's now sort of embedded in people's minds. And the reason why there's been these allusions to Baghdad Bob - all these memes, all these parities, all these - all these mockery of Spicer on Social Media is because you can't just completely wipe away what happened on Saturday, thanks to one more normal briefing on Monday. This is going to be an issue that's going to be with Spicer for a while. Even though he did take more than an hour on Monday, as he's been covering lots of news out of this briefing, this is still a serious credibility issue for the White House.

VAUSE: Yes. What are the reasons Spicer gave his Saturday's outburst? He said it's because full of the negative coverage of Mr. Trump. That's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: It's about a constant scene. It's about sitting here every time and being told, no. We don't think he can do that. He'll never accomplish that. He can't win that. It's won't be the biggest. It's not going to be that good. The crowds aren't that big. He's not that successful. The narrative and the -- the default narrative is always negative. And it's demoralizing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You - do you know politicians complain about negative coverage? I mean you, I guess, you could say "Welcome to the Big Leagues".

STELTER: Yes. I mean, even - even school Board Officials complain about negative coverage. Normally though, behind the scenes - normally, behind closed doors, as CNN's Jake Tapper said earlier on Monday, normally this happens off-stage, not on the White House briefing room stage. But I think the - what Spicer said was really valuable. We saw really helpful inside into the President's view of all of this. There's been a lot of talk about whether he's insecure or not, whether - whether he's a fragile ego or not. It's really what Spicer was getting out with his comments. And he wasn't just talking about Trump either. He's talking about the Trump Administration. I've heard similar comments from other Trump aides in recent days saying, "You own the media, are out to de-legitimize this man's presidency. Now I don't think that is true in a newsroom like CNN or in other big newsrooms. But that's the view from Trump roll. And that was helpful to have Spicer articulate it.

You know, ultimately, Trump's brand is about winning. It's about success, it's about popularity. It's the same reason why he's talking about millions of illegal votes that didn't happen. Same reason why he's talking about crowd size. And you know, John, Trump's about to sit down for his first TV interview as President - a TV with ABC on Wednesday. And I'm curious to see if these issues come up then.

VAUSE: Yes. One of the big takeaways from Monday's briefing, things are going to be different around here now that Trump's in-charge. Even the old picking order, when reporters are called to ask questions. Listen to Jeff Mason. He's the President of the White House Correspondent Association.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[01:25:02] JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT: Well, I think that's just a sign that the Trump Administration wants to shake things up a little bit. And Sean Spicer, as the Press Secretary did that in the briefing. By rearranging how he calls on people, and not necessarily following the tradition that has been set before about AP getting that first question or Reuters, the organization I work for, getting the second. But you could ask a lot -- or you could take questions from a lot of reporters in the room. And that really is the biggest principle is that a lot of people have a chance to ask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: It's all inside based on words. What does it say about the relationship between the Administration and the media going forward?

STELTER: It says a lot. That's why it's based on matters. The first question went to the New York Post - a paper Trump has grown up with, a paper here in New York City, a tabloid, a conservative laid in outlaw. The second question went to the Christian Broadcasting Network. A relatively low-rated channel but of course a channel with very passionate viewers - mostly Christians conservatives that are in the United States, mostly in the heartland. What he didn't do - what Spicer decided to skip, were the first rows of seats. Those are reporters now that's like CNN, and NBC, and the AP and Reuters.

As what Mason said, Spicer later circled back to those questions. CNN had the chance to ask questions - so did the other major networks, but it's really notable that Spicer first reached to the back of the room calling on those reporters from smaller outlets first. By the way, one other important point, he says he's going to take questions from Skype. He's going to have four Skype seats everyday allowing journalists from other parts of the country that call in with questions. It could be a great thing or it could be a way to stack the room with pro-Trump media outlets, so we'll see about that.

VAUSE: There's a lot we're going to see about in the coming days, months, years. Brian, as always, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thank you. SESAY: That's going to be a lot to digest.

VAUSE: Yep.

SESAY: Time for a quick break now. A new ruling is hours away coming from the U.K. Supreme Court. And it could mean another vote on Brexit. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:28] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Las Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause.

Let's check the headlines this hour --

(HEADLINES)

VAUSE: Just a few hours from now, the U.K.'s Supreme Court will rule on a key aspect of Britain's exit from the European Union. It will decide if Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger the Brexit herself or if British lawmakers must vote on it first.

Max Foster joins us now from London for more on this.

Max, most experts say the Supreme court will uphold the lower court's decision, which is basically all about Article 50, the trigger clause. If that happens, what are the options for the government. What do they do next?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the government will have to take a bill to parliament and try to get it through. It does seem as though, suddenly, all the conservative members of parliament on Teresa Mae's side will vote for it, so it would get through. Also, the opposition Labour Party, the leader there, has said, because of the referendum result, that his M.P.s should also back triggering Article 50, as it's called, so it would probably get through. There are Scottish M.P.s that certainly would not vote for it. There is a bit of concern that it could slow the process down in the sense that there's also a debate about whether or not the national parliaments in Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales should have a say. That would complicate things much more because it would have to just go through the London parliament. It would have to go through national capitals as well. That seems unlikely. But I think Theresa May's government is certainly planning for them not to have the right to trigger Article 50. But the power will lie with parliament.

VAUSE: Will this decision by the Supreme Court, will it simply a yes or no judgement or will it be a bit more complicated?

FOSTER: We're told it's a very simple announcement today, five minutes at the most, in about three hours from now. That implies that it is quite a simple announcement, that it does have to go through parliament. The most complicated thing is whether or not the national parliaments, the local assemblies in Wales, for example, will have a say on it as well. We'll wait to see. I think it will be quite a straight-forward result because really what you're talking about here is where does power lie in these ancient laws where kings and queens decided everything, which now are defined by Downing Street, should they have the right just to, you know, cause this sweeping change in the United Kingdom, withdrawal from the European Union, or should it be the parliament. And if you think about that referendum campaign, it was all about bringing powers back to parliament, so it seemed a bit ironic that Theresa May would now want parliament to not have a say on that. So, I think the principle on it would make sense that it would go to parliament. But it's down to the law and very complicated laws that have been built up over hundreds of years in this country. We don't have a constitution.

VAUSE: Well, not a written one, anyway.

OK, Max, a busy day for you ahead. Appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

SESAY: Now in Kazakhstan's capitol, talks to solidify a ceasefire in Syria are scheduled to continue for about another half hour. And it's not clear if they might be extended.

VAUSE: But it is clear that they got off to a very bad start. Syria's warring sides refuse to talk to each other directly. Then Syria's government delegation accused the opposition delegation of being armed terrorist and said they were rude and provocative. But he also indicated that's not stopping negotiations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASHAR AL-JAAFARI, HEAD OF SYRIAN GOVERNMENT DELEGATION: We came to Astana to succeed and they say a couple of minutes ago, that we will not be part of any maneuver aiming at torpedoing the meeting of Astana.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon joins us now. She's a senior fellow with the Council on foreign Relations.

Gayle, always good to have you with us.

SESAY: Hello.

VAUSE: OK, when it comes to Syria, you've always got to try and find the problem, because they've never - the Syrian government, at least, yesterday in the same room as the rebel fighters, first time that has happened. And also, we have Russia playing this role of sort of diplomate and mediator as opposed to spoiler.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: It's Russia's rules. They are the ones that shaped the facts on the ground. And where are they meeting? Not in Geneva, not in a European capital, not with an America participating, with an America as an observer, and with the U.N. basically are seating at the very last meeting, in a former Soviet Republic -- (CROSSTALK)

[01:35:13] TZEMACH LEMMON: Right. Exactly. With Russia shaping the rules on the ground. So, they are really trying to use the capitol they've built through air power and through shaping the facts on the ground to at least bring a ceasefire into place to hold. But whether they'll be successful is absolutely an open question.

SESAY: I get why Russia is pushing for these talks, why they're arranged these talks, but what is Turkey's deal in all this? Russia is support Assad. Turkey is sponsoring these opposition groups, these rebel groups. Now on the same page, pushing for talks now. Why?

TZEMACH LEMMON: Russia's hand has been strengthened by the fact that they have been all in versus the U.S., and many others who have been dipping their toe in the water for years. Right now, what you see is Turkey seeing something to be gained by being closer to Russia. It's not sure how it feels about the Americans. And it certainly is not happy about the fact that Syrian Kurds are part of the American alliance. So, I think it's just about your best interest and what makes the most sense if you are Turkey right now, for them.

VAUSE: Well, the goal here is pretty limited, potentially to extend the ceasefire. There's no talk of a wider political settlement, which I think they'll do next month in Geneva. Is there a feeling that Russia is essentially trying to sideline those Geneva talks and move the entire political process into its own sphere?

TZEMACH LEMMON: I think the whole time Russia has wanted to shape the facts that we live with in the war in Syria and it has been incredibly successful since it started the air campaign well over a year ago. So now what you see is they say, list, we're not trying to sideline Geneva, we're trying to reinforce it. But look at where we are. We're in Kazakhstan. We're are in a place where the Americans are relegated to the observer role. And if they can bring things a little bit closer and say, listen, we saved some lives today, then so much the better for Russia going into Geneva talks, which are scheduled in February.

SESAY: But, Gayle, the opposition is being represented at these talks by a delegation comprised of rebel commanders as opposed to the political leaders in exile. What message is that, does that send? What does that say to you?

TZEMACH LEMMON: All along, a lot of people have said we should have the people who are actually doing the fighting and actual Syrians in the room as opposed to so many diplomatic talks, which are simply talks. You referred to it at the beginning by talking about there have been a lot of false starts along the way to the end of this war. I think there are some who say if you can get the folks with guns in the room maybe you can have a conversation about what comes next. But the fact that insults were traded -- (CROSSTALK)

TZEMACH LEMMON: Right. Who is a terrorist, you know, trying to basically -- a government of despots. But all of these were traded within an hour.

VAUSE: OK, the first official White House briefing, Sean Spice said the U.S. is willing to work with Russia to defeat ISIS in Syria. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think if there is a way that we can combat ISIS with any country, whether it's Russia or anyone else, and we share national interest in that, sure, we will take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That would be a big change from the Obama administration's decision, right?

TZEMACH LEMMON: Yes and no. The state Obama position was, the time has come for Assad to step aside. The reality was, there was nothing on the ground that was really leading to that. And there had been a lot of folks inside the Obama administration that had worried about the fact that American influence wasn't there and that Russia and Iran were having an increasingly large role. So, in some ways, it's recognizing a reality that was long left not said from the podium. And also, Spicer went on to say, but don't go too far here. Look, it would be hard to imagine that Mattis, General Mattis, secretary of defense, getting much closer without a wholesale change of policy in Syria.

SESAY: Last question, do these talks raise or lower the expectations for the talks in Geneva next month? Do they go higher or do they go lower?

TZEMACH LEMMON: I think the talks in Geneva have always faced an incredibly high hurdle and I don't think it's gotten much lower today.

SESAY: Nicely done.

VAUSE: Yeah. Good point by Gayle, as always.

[01:39:18] SESAY: Indeed.

Quick break. Allegations of animal cruelty on the set of "A Dog's Purpose." The leaked video that caused the controversy and the producer who says he knows what really happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Hello, everyone. We now know the official title for the upcoming "Star Wars" move.

VAUSE: Oh, my god. What is it.

SESAY: It's called "The Last Dead Eye."

VAUSE: Wow. SESAY: It's the next chapter in the hugely popular space saga. I'm sounding like a valley girl.

(LAUGHTER0

Disney made the announcement on Monday on Twitter, along with this poster, which had the iconic title font in red. Not it's usual yellow.

VAUSE: Some fans find the change a little ominous. Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamell could be in danger. How they work that out from a different color in the title, I will never know.

SESAY: There's a missive.

VAUSE: We will find out in December when the last Jedi opens in theaters. Disney, pay me know for the plug.

SESAY: Well, you weren't a big fan of the first one.

VAUSE: No.

SESAY: OK, we're hours away from the 2017 Oscar nominations. And there's talk that "La La Land" could pick up 14 nominations. That would tie the film with "All About Eve" and "Titanic" for the most ever.

VAUSE: "La La Land" won a record seven Golden Globe awards earlier this month. The 89th Academy Awards will be held here in Los Angeles Sunday, the 26th.

SESAY: The upcoming film, "A Dog's Purpose," was created to show the unconditional love between pets and people, but critics say there's a very different story behind the scenes of this heartwarming film. TMZ published this video on the set of "A Dog's Purpose" back in 2015. As you see, it appears to show a dog in distress being pushed into rushing water for a stunt in the film. The leak's now viral video has caused a boycott from animal rights groups and dog lovers worldwide. In response, the movie premier has been postponed and producer, Gavin Palone released a statement saying the incident was, quote, "Absolutely inexcusable and should never have happened." But Palone also said that the video doesn't really tell the whole story.

He joins me here in Los Angeles to discuss why he believes the video is actually very misleading.

Gavin, thank you for joining us.

Let me start by asking, in what way is this video inaccurate.

[01:45:] GAVIN POLONE, MOVIE PRODUCER: Well, it doesn't give a complete picture. There's a lot of other video that was shot, in which I now seeing. What happened was the dog had rehearsed the scene from one side of the pool and did it -- and the dog did it on his own. The dog's name was Hercules, by the way. So, Hercules did the scene in rehearsal. There's some video footage you can see that the handler had to actually hold him back because he was so desperate to get into the water to do his scene. Then they changed the positions to the other side of the pool and, obviously, that spooked him.

What you can't see in the video is that there's a little platform right under the water. It looks like he'd be going into deep rushing water. That is not the case. He was to go onto a platform and he did not want to. At that point, the people running the set, the American Humane Association representative, who is there to care for the animal and make sure things are done right with any animals in a movie, should have stepped in and said stop right there. Really, about one second in, as soon as it seemed that the dog was not going to want to go into the water from that side and reposition. They didn't. They let it go on for 40 seconds and you see the dog struggling. And, ultimately, they did stop after 40 seconds. And they went to the other side of the pool and Hercules then jumped in the water as planned.

SESAY: Let me ask you this. You address what we see on the video, you've explained the change in location, which spooked the dog and this happened for the 40, 45 seconds. You haven't addressed the issue of that voice we heard on the tape saying, you know, you've just got to throw him in. That, too, has troubled people greatly. Do you know who that was?

POLONE: I don't know but I suspect it is the person who shot the video. And it disturbed me, too, that he is kind of laughing about it.

Look, somebody on that said should have said stop now. Period. And that should have been the AHA representative, first and foremost, because that person is paid to be there and do just that, say this is not working, let's us stop. The animal handler should have stopped. No question about that.

(CROSSTALK)

POLONE: But the dog was not injured. No animal was injured on this movie.

SESAY: OK.

POLONE: And the reaction is over-the-top at this point.

SESAY: OK, and you repeatedly brought in AHA, the American Humane Association. Are you laying blame on their doorstep for this?

POLONE: Well, first, I lay blame on myself. I know that the AHA has been an ineffective in the past. There are many stories about it. I also write columns for magazines. I have written about how ineffective they were. It is not my call to hire the AHA. The studio does that. And this is the standard that is on every movie. But I probably should have tried to fight them harder to come up with a better solution than AHA. And going forward from here, I absolutely will do that.

Dogs and cats can work on movies. They can be protected. I believe that there are good trainers and not the trainers. And I think that the idea of taking them out of all movies, except in rare cases where you can do computer-generated imagery, which is so expensive, it would be no small fraction movie, and it probably would not work, unless you only had one or two scenes with an animal. I think it is unrealistic. And it also distances the audience from a world where there are animals.

SESAY: Gavin, finally, this film is to hit screens on January 27. Will that happen, given all of this outcry?

POLONE: Absolutely. You know, since I publish my article -- and I would hope that anybody who is interested or skeptical will read it because there's a lot of facts in there and they can they can make their own judgment. I have received a certain amount of angry messages from pro PETA supporters. But overwhelmingly, a lot of people who, once they learn the facts about how the video was edited, the safety precautions that were taken, and the fact that Hercules is alive and well, and that not one animal was injured on this movie, as well as PETA's positions on things, they've said to me that they cannot wait to go see the movie because it is a movie that audiences love. It is based on a wonderful book. And if you love animals, you should want to see this movie and you should want more movies like it made. Because that is going to be better for animal welfare throughout the world.

SESAY: Gavin Polone, we appreciate you coming on and giving us the backstory to the video and giving us your response to PETA and your thoughts on the AHA.

Thank you very much.

POLONE: Thank you for having me and letting me speak my piece.

VAUSE: And he did take responsibility.

SESAY: He did.

VAUSE: It rests with him, but there are other factors in all of this.

SESAY: Anyway, it's a very important point about the AHA, the American Humane Association. A lot to be considered.

VAUSE: Yeah. Not the first time those issues have been raised.

SESAY: Yeah.

[01:49:43] VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, it's the phrase that is taking the Internet by storm. How the Trump administration made "alternative facts" the latest viral sensation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(WEATHER REPORT)

VAUSE: One of those plain little things called facts are just a bit too facty. SESAY: Well, in a way.

VAUSE: If you don't like them, the Trump administration has you covered.

VAUSE: Jeanne Moos reports on the latest political buzz word, "Alternative fact."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Remember the days when Sergeant Joe Friday used to say, "Only the facts, ma'am."

(MUSIC)

MOOS: Well now, if you drag the net, you'll see mockery about a new kind of facts.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, MORNING JOE: If I needed "alternative facts," like, I would go to a Ouija board.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brace for it, parents of America. "Alternative facts" when you catch your kids doing whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we now call "alternative facts" or Spicer facts, facts that are not actually grounded in reality.

MOOS: Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave "alternative facts" to that. But the point -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, a minute. Alternative facts?

MOOS: Twitter didn't wait. #alternativefacts started flying. For instance, "Officer, I am not drunk. I am alternative sober."

Bette Middler tweets, "#George Orwell lives."

And then there is the little golden book of alternate facts wherein dogs are cats and chairs are tables.

[01:55:04] Even the Dallas Star's jumbotron got in on the joke about exaggerating inaugural crowds with its own inflated "Tonight's attendance, 1.5 million."

Through, President Trumps press secretary played nice with reporters on Monday --

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I believe that we have to be honest with the American people.

MOOS: -- the Merriam-Webster dictionary seemed to cast shame, tweeting out the definition of a fact.

(on camera): As if alternative facts weren't enough, couldn't Kellyanne Conway have picked an alternative outfit.

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: What's with that outfit on Kellyanne Conway? Look? I mean, does she work for you or is she holding a door for people at FAO Schwartz?

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Kellyanne Conway dressed as the era Trump wants to take America back to.

This is what happens when gals won't dress you. It's easier to choose between fashion alternatives than alternative facts.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: It was a very striking outfit.

VAUSE: I'm not a fashion expert, but I did a double take with the inauguration get up. It was a little odd, in my fashion.

SESAY: But some say she's the one everyone is talking about.

VAUSE: Yeah.

SESAY: So.

You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. That's a fact.

Here's another fact. We'll be back with more news right after this.

SESAY: Maybe not. An alternative fact.