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At Least Five Dead in Mogadishu Attack; Trump to Take Action on Building Mexico's Border Wall; U.N. Condemns Israel's Plan to Ramp Up Settlements; Making America "Bigly" Again. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 25, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


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[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Mogadishu attack. At least five people are dead after a pair of explosions near a hotel popular with lawmakers and government officials.

We will build a wall. Donald Trump says he will take action in the coming hours on the controversial campaign promise.

And it's back in a "bigly" way, the campaign throwback that has many people scratching their heads.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Two explosions have rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing at least five people. Just a short time ago, the Jihadist group al- Shabaab has claimed responsibility.

It happened just outside a hotel in an area popular with lawmakers and government officials. Police say the attackers stormed the property after setting off a truck bomb and are still inside. Authorities fear the death toll will rise because of the number of people seriously injured. We'll keep an eye on this.

Well, Donald Trump is promising a big day ahead on national security. A White House official confirms the U.S. president will take executive action directing federal resources to build a border wall with Mexico. The pledge was a cornerstone of Mr. Trump's campaign, along with the promise that Mexico would pay for it.

Mr. Trump will also announce new restrictions on visas and refugees coming to the U.S. A congressional source says the executive actions will cover people from countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

And Mr. Trump tweeted he would send in the Feds if Chicago can't fix the horrible carnage in the city. Forty two people have been killed there already this year.

Well, Mr. Trump's continued insistence of widespread voter fraud is taking attention away from his presidential actions. The White House is getting a lot of pushback on the demonstrably false claim.

CNN's Jim Acosta has that.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a lie that won't die. At a reception with congressional leaders at the White House, President Trump once again repeated his false claim that millions of people cast fraudulent ballots, robbing him of a popular vote victory in the November election.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirms this is what the president believes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES PRESS SECRETARY: The president does believe that. He's stated that before. I think he's stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Reporters pressed Spicer to offer proof.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What evidence do you have?

SPICER: As I said, I think the president has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Word of the president's mention of this falsehood spread like wildfire on Capitol Hill where it was rejected by both democrats and republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH ELLISON, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I think we're going to see more of this. I think we've just got to be very clear that we're going to call -- we're going to correct the record and tell the truth to the American people. There is no record of millions of people who are not authorized to vote.

LINDSEY GRAHAM, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR: I wasn't there, but if the president of the United States is claiming that three to five -- three to three and a half million people voted illegally, that shakes the confidence in our democracy. He needs to disclose why he believes that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: To back up the president's claims, Trump aides have repeatedly pointed to this 2012 study from the Pew Charitable Trusts that finds nearly three million people have registrations in more than one state, and almost two million are listed as dead. But the study's author made it clear they did not actually find

examples of voter fraud. Trump has made the claim before, tweeting after the election that in addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.

It's yet another controversy overshadowing the early days of the new administration. At times, when the White House senior staff would rather focus on the president's executive actions, resurrecting the Keystone pipeline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes. That's why we have to do it. Like we used to in the old days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The White House insists the president is secure in his win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: He's very comfortable in his win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president's claim that millions of people voted illegally, runs counter to what his own legal team was arguing after the election when his lawyers challenge the recount in Michigan and said, that there was no election of fraud in the election.

[03:04:59] Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: Let's get more on all of this. Larry Sabato, director at the Center of Politics of the University of Virginia, and author of "The Kennedy House Century" joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us. Always great to talk with you.

LARRY SABATO, VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR POLITICS DIRECTOR: Thank you.

CHURCH: So, let's start with the news that President Trump plans to announce several executive orders Wednesday, imposing new restrictions on visas and refugees from certain countries. How much support is there for this kind of action in the new Congress and indeed, from the American people?

SABATO: Well, from Donald Trump's base, the support will be very strong and intense. This is one of the key issues that he ran on, and I think probably because of the incidents of domestic terrorism, the American people, at least the majority, will support this.

Now we'll see how the bans are structured. Potentially, this could end up in the court because of our constitutional prohibition against religious tests. CHURCH: Right. And I want to move on to Mr. Trump reasserting that

millions of illegal voters cost him the popular vote. Here's what you wrote on Twitter. "It is beyond bizarre that the president believes three to five million illegal votes were cast last fall. Not true. No evidence. Put up or shut up."

So, Larry, the president believes that millions of people voted illegally, but offers no proof. And as you say, there is no proof this ever happened. How serious is this for the president and the American people?

SABATO: Well, it is absolute nonsense. And even most republicans admit this privately. There's no evidence, no proof at all. What is remarkable is that President Trump cannot let this go. He won the election, although granted it was through our antiquated Electoral College.

But it really sticks in his craw that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by the largest margin anyone ever in American history without winning the presidency, about three million votes.

And he's just determined to convince us that somehow it isn't true. Well, it is true. He needs to get over it. He needs to move to his agenda. And that's what his staff wants him to do.

CHURCH: And how concerned are you that he gets distracted by these sorts of things?

SABATO: Well, it's worrisome. Just imagine the signal being sent to foreign leaders, particularly to adversaries. You know, if anyone wants to get under his skin abroad, all they have to do is say, isn't it a shame that he lost the popular vote by such a wide margin, and you know, clearly that will put Trump back on his heels.

CHURCH: Interesting point. And on Tuesday, the president used his executive pen to resurrect two oil pipelines that were bitterly opposed by environmentalists, he also vowed to reduce regulations on automakers designed to reduce air and water pollution. Then he made this surprising declaration. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm going to have friends that I want to build in the United States. They go many, many years and then they can't get their environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before. And it's absolutely crazy. And I am to a large extent an environmentalist, I believe in, but it's out of control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: OK. So in the past, Mr. Trump has called climate change a hoax, and vowed to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. Is he trying to have it both ways here?

SABATO: Well, he may be having it both ways rhetorically, but there's no question, in terms of the substance, he is really a nightmare for the pro-environmental community in the United States. In virtually every category, he is reversing President Obama and even prior presidents, some of them republican. So, for environmentalists, this is going to be a very long four years.

CHURCH: And Larry, on Tuesday, the Badlands National Park deleted a series of tweets discussing the impact of climate change. Now this comes amidst widespread reports of the Trump administration ordering various agencies to stop communicating with the public via social media new releases and the like. How does this compare to other administrations that have come before it?

SABATO: It's censorship that is much more severe than we have seen in any recent administration at least. So I think, again, people are concerned. Transparency advocates are very concerned by these early moves, because it suggests that this White House is going to clampdown and try to control nearly everything in the flow of information.

CHURCH: And Larry, just finally, Mr. Trump came into office with the worst approval numbers for any president in a generation. How do you think he's doing with the American public since he was sworn in?

[03:09:57] SABATO: I can't see how he's moved the numbers at all. The first measurement came from Gallup of his actual time in office, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He has the lowest approval, 45 percent, and the highest disapproval by far, 45 percent, of any president since Gallup began polling. That should be a concern to Trump, but somehow I don't think it is.

CHURCH: All right. Larry Sabato, we'll be watching in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Many thanks.

SABATO: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. I want to check some other news now. In a phone call with India's prime minister Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world.

Now the White House said both leaders talked about strengthening their partnership on the economy and defense, they also discussed security in South and Central Asia.

Legislation on Britain's exit from the European Union is expected to be introduced at the House of Commons within days. The U.K. Supreme Court ruled parliament must vote on the Brexit first, but the prime minister still plans to trigger the process by the end of March.

An incredible sight in Chile, more than 200,000 hectares or 494,000 acres have burned this season due to wildfires. Officials say three firefighters died battling fires south of Santiago. Dry conditions and strong winds have helped fuel those fires.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran, are agreeing to back a truce between Syria's warring parties. They're in charge of monitoring compliance. The agreement comes after two days of talks in Kazakhstan. It was the first time in nine months the government and rebels came

together. But they didn't get anywhere on a broader political deal to end the conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASHAR JAAFARI, REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Astana is Astana and Geneva is Geneva. Astana was held for a very specific reason, very specific purpose, which is, as I said at the beginning, answering one of your colleagues, the question of one of your colleagues, Astana has only one goal. Consolidating the regime of the cessation of hostilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: The Syrian army posted video showing government troops fighting with rebels near Wadi Barada, an area which supplies most of the water to Damascus. The government says its offensive will continue as long as the capital is deprived of water.

Now this comes as Jordan's King Abdullah is due in Moscow soon for meetings with President Vladimir Putin.

CNN's Matthew Chance joins us now from the Russian capital. Good to see you, Matthew. So what is being said about this meeting between King Abdullah and President Putin, and what's expected to come out of it?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's being -- it's being slated in the Russian media as just the latest in the series of annual trips basically that King Abdullah stages to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin. It's the 15th time he's been on a visit here, in fact.

And it's there officially to discuss, you know, cultural ties and economic cooperation. Russia is building a nuclear reactor, its first inside Jordan, and there are other sorts of issues as well. Particularly the cooperation over international terrorism, which is, of course, high on the agenda of both of those countries.

But what I think it's really about is Russia and this important Arab country coming together in what is a pivotal moment, potentially for Russia in the Middle East.

Now Russia of course has been overseeing these latest peace talks that we've just been hearing about, that have taken place in Astana, in the capital of Kazakhstan, bringing together the Syrian government and the actual warlords, the fighters on the ground in Syria, to try and extend the ceasefire that's already enforce there.

That's being seen in some ways as an alternative to the political process in Geneva, which is overseen by the United Nations. But Russia really is now trying to assert itself, insert itself into the peace negotiations, the conflicts, the geopolitics of the Middle East.

And I think we can see, this meeting, this visit by King Abdullah to Russia, as part of that process. You know, he's coming to consult with the linchpin in that Russian efforts who is Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.

CHURCH: It's an interesting point, isn't it, if this is seen as President Putin trying to assert himself in the Middle East, what other talks might we see with other Middle East leaders there?

CHANCE: Well, not just -- not just trying, but in some ways, succeeding. I mean, remember, it was Russia's intervention in Syria that basically turned the situation around on the battlefield, and bolstered Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian President and has now put him in a position where he is virtually unassailable, in the sense that there's no immediate danger of his regime crumbling.

[03:15:12] In fact, you know, the opposite has taken place. The rebels after the fall of Aleppo in Syria, are clamoring for some kind of -- some kind of settlement it seems under Russian auspices.

That process is going to continue in a couple of days from now. It's been announced on state media here, RIA Novosti and the task news organization, that Syrian rebels will meet with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, I think in Russia, to further discuss this peace process in Syria.

And so, you know, Russia now, not the United States, and the United States isn't part of this, and that's interesting. But Russia now is sort of front and center at the effort in Syria to bring an end to the conflict there. And of course that's a stepping stone for Russia to reassert itself more widely across the Middle East.

CHURCH: Certainly a very interesting development there. Matthew Chance, joining us live from Moscow where it is 11.15 in the morning. Many thanks.

We are building and we will continue building. Benjamin Netanyahu's plans for more settlement housing and how another builder may be giving Israel tacit encouragement. That's still to come.

U.S. President Donald Trump is taking action on one of his most controversial campaign promises. Just ahead, you will hear from some of the people who will be affected by his border wall. We're back in a moment with that and more.

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(TECHNICAL PROBLEM)

RHIANNON JONES, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: ... of playing (AUDIO GAP) the next five weeks, but he's looking forward to getting out at the Torrey Pines Course where he's enjoyed eight career wins to date.

[03:20:05] That's a look at your sports headlines. I'm Rhiannon Jones.

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the U.N. Secretary General is said to have great, grave concern about Israeli plans to ramp up settlement building in the West Bank. The U.N. is also calling it an obstacle to a two-state solution with

the Palestinians. Israel is wasting no time pushing forward with a new controversial project in the early days of the Donald Trump administration.

Our Elise Labott explains why Israel may be feeling emboldened.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proving moving forward with one of the largest settlement expansion in years. Twenty five hundred new homes in the West Bank, just two days after his phone call to President Trump and promising, quote, "No daylight between the U.S. and Israel."

"We are building," he tweeted Tuesday, "and we will continue to build." On Sunday, Netanyahu lifted all restrictions on settlement construction in a contested part of east Jerusalem. And announced 500 new settler homes there, telling his cabinet, that was just the beginning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): On the issue of settlement, we will continue to look out for it wisely and responsibly, for the benefit of the settlement enterprise and the State of Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: The new settlement, built in areas that Israelis claim will always remain part of Israel were a blow to the Palestinians who rejected the move and promised consequences.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAEN RASHID AREIKAT, PALESTINIAN REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED STATES: We will continue to use whatever available means available to us, diplomatic, non-violent, political, to defend the rights of our people against these Israeli policies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: In 2003, Trump donated $10,000 to the Beit El settlement, one of the same sites as the planned expansion in honor of his friend David Freedman, Trump's hard-line pick as ambassador to Israel.

Freedman supports legalizing settlements annexing the West Bank and promised during the campaign to back Israel's government in whatever policies it chooses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Israel is a friend. The United States under a Trump administration is going to be loyal to his friends, and is going to trust its friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LABOTT: A welcome sentiment for Netanyahu after eight years of

sparring with President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have to protect Israel. Israel to me is very, very important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: President Trump has promised to have Israel's back and recently lobbied to head off a controversial U.N. vote criticizing Israeli settlements. The Obama administration's decision not to veto the measure allowed it to pass.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: The peace process is dead. You've got an outgoing administration that's been hypercritical. You've got an incoming administration that has a very strong pro- Israeli sensibility. It's the perfect storm and I think Prime Minister Netanyahu see it to his advantage to move now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: And our Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem and joins us now. So, Oren, what has been the reaction from Palestinians to Israel's West Bank settlement building plans and when will this building actually begin?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The beginning of the building could take years. This is just the beginning of the process. It is perhaps the most critical phase that is government approval. But from here it has a number of steps to go through before actual building begins.

But that didn't stop almost immediate the Palestinian condemnation of the building. We heard it from the PLO executive committee member, Hanan Ashrawi who pointed out that this is Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking advantage of the new U.S. administration.

There's a concern among Palestinian leaders that the U.S. is no longer the impartial arbiter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and that was reflected in her statements as well as others we heard.

Here's another member of the PLO speaking against this decision by Israel to advance settlement construction so early into Trump's administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WASEL ABU YOUSEF, PLO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER (through translator): We consider all settlements illegal and have to be removed. There are clear international resolutions by the Security Council and most recently, the resolution which states that settlements are illegal with international consensus.

This decision needs to stand from the international community and we will never agree for this government to continue with all its crimes and aggressions towards the Palestinian people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIEBERMANN: When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked in his second press briefing, what is the U.S. response under President Trump, he simply said Israel is a huge ally of the U.S. and said they'll talk about it at the next meeting.

No criticism, no condemnation of the settlement building, which is something we routinely heard under President Barack Obama. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And Oren, the Trump administration has been talking about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is of course a concern for the Palestinians who have warned against such a move.

[03:25:02] But the Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr went even further saying this in a statement, "Transferring the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would be a public and more explicit than ever declaration of war against Islam."

So what's likely to happen with this, given previous U.S. president's promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, only to walk back that plan once they were fully briefed on the ramifications here?

LIEBERMANN: Well, who knows how soon an announcement could come. Again, Press Secretary Sean Spicer very much pumped the brake on the announcement, even saying a decision hasn't been made, yet they're in the early stages of the discussion.

So it could be that this is on ice now, that this has been frozen pending further discussions and further thought about it.

But the cleric's statement there gets at what is at issue here. This is so sensitive, and if done, could really set off a powder keg in the region. This is not just unrest in Israel and the West Bank.

It's across the region and would do serious damage to President Trump and the U.S.'s relations with the Arab states in the region even as Trump at this point, rides a wave of goodwill there. So, that is the concern.

And this was a threat that we heard from the Palestinians a few months ago, that if the U.S. did this move, that Arab -- the Arab countries would close some of the U.S. embassies. This is an extension of that threat. We'll see how serious it is, but first, the Trump administration needs to make a decision on what they're doing with the embassy. Right now, it seems like they'll take their time on this decision.

CHURCH: Yes, it's certainly something that has many people very uneasy. Oren Lieberman, joining us there from Jerusalem. Many thanks to you. Well, is there already some discord in the Trump administration? Up

next, a look at the possible rocky relationship between the new defense secretary and the national security adviser, and how it could impact U.S. foreign policy. Back with that in a moment.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

Al-Shabaab is claiming responsibility for two explosions near a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. At least five people were killed.

Police say the attackers stormed the property after setting off a truck bomb and are still inside. The area is popular with lawmakers and government officials.

The U.N. is condemning Israel's announcement that it will ramp up settlement building in the West Bank. A spokesman for the secretary- general called it an obstacle to a two-state solution with the Palestinian people.

In the past, the U.S. has echoed those sentiments, but there has been so such statement from the Trump administration.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive action to put federal resources toward building a border wall with Mexico. Mr. Trump will also announce new restrictions on visas and refugees for people coming to the U.S. from countries associated with terrorism.

Well, civil rights groups representing immigrant Americans are already denouncing Mr. Trump's plans to impose restrictions on visas and refugees from several Muslim majority countries.

One Iranian group says "The president is taking the first steps towards a Muslim ban." Another group says, "Legal immigrants and refugees already in the U.S. are worried about how this would affect their families."

Keep in mind, hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the countries that Mr. Trump plans to target are already living in the United States. The largest numbers of them are from Iran, Iraq, and Somalia. According to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute.

Now, there could be a battle brewing between some top players in U.S. intelligence, Donald Trump's defense secretary is publicly breaking with the president's position on NATO, while the national security adviser seems to be all in with Mr. Trump's all-in America first strategy.

Barbara Starr explains.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Even before Defense Secretary James Mattis walked into the Pentagon, he staked out his independence from Donald Trump. Supporting the intelligence community, and publicly airing his concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

JAMES 'MAD DOG' MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Right now the most important thing is that we recognize the reality of what we deal with, with Mr. Putin and we recognize that he's trying to break the North Atlantic Alliance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Even before inauguration day, reassuring the world at his confirmation hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTIS: I would not have taken this job if I didn't believe the president-elect would also be open to my input on this or any other matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: But one man may be standing between Mattis and the president. The new National Security Adviser, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL FLYNN, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Donald Trump knows that the primary role of the president is to keep us safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Flynn, now in a position, potentially, to control Mattis's access to the president. Flynn has mainly served as a staff officer in very senior military intelligence jobs. His core skill, analyzing intelligence on terrorists. But he's known for strong America first views.

Mattis has commanded troops, served at NATO, and has a deeply global view of the world. He does not talk about America first. Mattis wants stronger alliances. The two outspoken men already know each other and it could be a recipe for plenty of disagreements.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's going to be polite, at least from the very beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Retired lieutenant general Mark Hertling knows both men. He's not a Trump supporter. His money is on Mattis in this round.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERTLING: General Mattis has had a significant amount of career experience in dealing with people that he has to try and influence that might not otherwise see things the same way he does. (END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: So far, Trump appears willing to entertain dissent from his cabinet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I told them, be yourself, and say what you want to say. Don't worry about me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Trump still will not rule out the controversial idea of seizing Iraq's oil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We should have kept the oil, but, OK. Maybe we'll have another chance.

HERTLING: I don't see General Mattis supporting that whatsoever. He knows how that falls into the category of an immoral and illegal act.

[03:35:02] STARR: Secretary Mattis is now said to be reviewing military options to accelerate the war against ISIS. Some of those options have been on the table a while, but were never approved by President Obama.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

CHURCH: CNN intelligence and security analyst and former CIA operative, Bob Baer joins us now. Good to see you, Bob.

We will of course get to the dynamics of the president's national security team in just a moment, but first, Mr. Trump and his team seem to have a problem with verifiable facts, inaugural crowd sizes, voting fraud. What do you make of all of this?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: You know, it's like he's coming right out of "The Apprentice." I mean, he's looking for ratings. He thinks this is a TV show of some sort. And every single day it comes out that he's just disputing known facts.

And as a former CIA officer, I have to wonder, you know, what that means for the CIA. If he comes up with facts or assessments based on facts is he going to turn around and say, no, I don't accept those.

CHURCH: Interesting. And if the president and his team are having problems with small issues like the size of their crowds, and the popular vote, how are they going to deal with foreign adversaries and how vulnerable could all this make Mr. Trump if other world leaders are aware of the things that get under his skin?

BAER: I think it will drive him crazy. You know, I have to wonder whether the Russians aren't working at this, with that whole dirty dossier and the rest of it, whether this isn't disinformation knowing they can get to him.

It's hard to predict where this is going. I mean, it's worrisome. And his national security adviser -- let's get to that right away -- takes alternate facts as well. I mean, he believed things like the Iranians were behind taking down our embassy in Benghazi and murdering the ambassador, which is not the slightest truth in that.

And when he was in Afghanistan, I've got to say this, he was -- he was going outside the intelligence system to come up with facts that he thought were reasonable, but there was no basis in it.

CHURCH: Yes.

BAER: This is when he was at DIA. So you have a whole team there that looks to alternate facts.

CHURCH: And I do want to come back to him in just a moment, but first some in the intelligence community are saying, this president can be influenced by flattery. One analyst telling The Daily Beast, he's extremely insecure like an adolescent boy. Is this how you and your former colleagues see it?

BAER: I think that there -- you know, it's not a question of trying to manipulate Trump. They're just worried about what he's going to do with the intelligence. And if they report intelligence that goes counter to his policy or what he thinks, he's going to fire them. That's what he's going to do, that's what has people worried, all through the intelligence community.

And I keep seeing people leaving, getting out, moving to jobs that they're out of the limelight, and don't forget, the president is the number one client of the CIA and the intelligence community.

And the way it works, every day they walk in with what they believe to be the truth, and the president can question it, be skeptical, but at the end of the day, he has to accept it.

But if he's going to be going to the Russians for assessments, like Syria, or even on China, we're in trouble, because Putin, intellectually and through pure experience, will run circles around him.

CHURCH: Yes, and of course you mentioned a little earlier, the president's National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. He's already being accused of being too close to the United States' longtime rival, Russia.

How concerned should we be about that? And how much of that is about naivety and how much of it is about genuinely trying to restart that relationship between Russia and the United States?

BAER: Well, that relationship, Rosemary, is re-startable, but you'd have to deal with things like the Ukraine, Baltics, Poland, and missile defense. There's all sorts of things that need to be worked out. You simply can't go to reset and let Putin keep the Crimea. He'll just be encouraged to move to the next target. I mean, Putin is

having a field day out of this, simply because the national security team is basically without any real-world experience, or experience with the Russians, or the Chinese for that matter.

CHURCH: And Bob, of course, so much more to talk about. We'll have to leave it there. Bob Baer, thank you as always. It's always great to chat with you. I appreciate it.

BAER: Thanks.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here, but still to come, Donald Trump intends to keep his promise about building a border wall.

[03:40:01] After the break, why some in the region say they already have one.

And Donald Trump is bringing back a favorite saying from the campaign trail, "bigly." Or is it big league? The huge answer, still to come.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump is just hours from taking executive action to build a border wall with Mexico. A White House official adds, he will direct federal resources to the project.

The move would fulfill one of Mr. Trump's campaign promises.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has traveled along the southern U.S. border over the past two months, he's talked to people who call the region home, and has this report.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This journey across the U.S.-Mexico border begins in South Texas, where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and on a rugged ride in an all-terrain vehicle with Robert Cameron. He runs an ATV border tour business in the small town of Progresso.

Do you think people have that impression, that it's a scary, dangerous place?

ROBERT CAMERON, TEXAS BORDER TOURS OWNER: Scary, dangerous place, absolutely. It's not as bad as people make it seem to be.

LAVANDERA: Cameron was born in Mexico, is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time democrat until Donald Trump came along and made him a republican. Living and working on the border reveals a blurry reality. Cameron fully supports the idea of Trump's border wall. But every day, he sees the holes in that plan.

This is part of the border wall that already exists.

CAMERON: Exactly. Exactly. This is put back in 2006 by George Bush. It's been around for a while.

LAVANDERA: A few months ago, while riding along the Rio Grande, he recorded this video of what appeared to be smugglers with packs. It's the kind of story countless people along the border can share. But this is an area where a border fence is already in place, yet drugs and human smuggling keep coming.

[03:45:02] CAMERON: It hasn't stopped them, no, absolutely not. So you got this wall all the way around that the eye can see over there.

LAVANDERA: And it keeps going?

CAMERON: It keeps going, but then, it's like, do they start here? I don't know. I'm sure there's a reason. Wouldn't you think? They ran out of money?

LAVANDERA: This is the landscape in the Big Bend area of Texas, and that is the challenge. How in the world do you build a wall in this kind of terrain?

Marcos Paredes lives in Terlingua, a far-flung outpost of the Big Bend region of West Texas. He's a former Big Bend Park ranger and now takes visitors on aerial tours of some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll ever see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I want to know, wherein all of that do you put a wall?

LAVANDERA: You think if Donald Trump flew with you, he'd still want to build that wall?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to tell Donald Trump that we already have a wall, thank you very much. And I don't think he could build a bigger one.

LAVANDERA: This is some of the most rugged terrain you'll find along the southern border. Hard to imagine that anyone would ever try to cross illegally through here. Simply too treacherous. The Big Bend region stretches roughly 250 miles along the Rio Grande, a place for past the middle of nowhere.

On a canoe trip down the Rio Grande, it's so quiet out here, you can hear the wind flutter past coasting birds.

Every night, 88-year-old Pamela Taylor, out of compassion, leaves bottled water outside her home for migrants moving north, and the border patrol agents chasing them. She's lived in this house in Brownsville Texas, a stone's throw from the border, since 1946.

When the border fence was built nearly 10 years ago, north of the river, she found herself on the south side, between the wall and Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: So, you're in a little bit of no man's land here.

PAMELA TAYLOR, BROWNSVILLE RESIDENT: My son-in-law say we live in a gated community. I mean, you have to laugh about it, you know. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: You have to. Taylor voted for Trump and wants to see illegal immigration controlled. She once found an undocumented migrant hiding from border patrol agents in her living room. But she warns the rest of the country that a wall won't work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAYLOR: That wall is not going to stop them. If it's 20 feet high, they'll get a 21-foot ladder, right?

LAVANDERA: Donald Trump wants to build this bigger, more powerful wall.

TAYLOR: I would like for Mr. Trump to -- I will feed him if he will come down here and talk to the people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Until then, life on the border will keep passing by Pamela Taylor's front porch and it might even stop for a quick drink.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, along the Texas-Mexico border.

CHURCH: Well, if Donald Trump has said it once, he's said it a hundred times. Bigly. Or was it big league? Either way, Mr. Trump is saying it again, and we try to figure it out. That's next.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good day to you. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

We're watching that storm system that left an estimated $100 million in damages over across the southern and southeastern United States. It is right here across the northeastern corner of the U.S. exiting the picture and producing some snow showers to boot as well.

But some milder temperatures follows too, at least the next couple of days around the southern U.S. And then look what happens across Canada. The door opens up, but this go around it looks like the cold air mass will be more confined out towards the northeastern corner.

Of course it is the most densely populated corner of the U.S., but certainly worth noting there. You'll notice what happens in places like D.C., 16 down to 7. New York makes it up to 11 on Thursday before coming down to a lower single digit.

And snow showers again will want to remain just north of this region the next couple of days. Additional heavier snow is back around parts of the upper Midwestern U.S. over the next several days.

Here's what it looks like for Wednesday, San Francisco, gorgeous day, around 12 degrees there, should finally see some drier weather. Los Angeles, after an impressive and a historic start to 2017, as far as the rainfall and the amount of rainfall, seeing a quieter pattern now, 14 degrees and sunny skies.

And having resided across that region I can tell you 14 is very cool for their standards. Around Chihuahua, around 12 degrees, into Havana, upper 20s. Belize City and Guatemala City, tied at 28 degrees with some scattered showers expected a little farther south. La Paz, some wet weather.

CHURCH: Welcome back. Well, the Oscar nominations are in and the musical "La La Land" leads the pack with 14 nods, including for best picture and for both of its stars, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone. "La La Land" is now tied with "All About Eve" and "Titanic" for the most nominations ever. The film won a record seven Golden Globe awards earlier this month.

Well, another big winner, the coming of age story "Moonlight," it got eight nominations, including one for Mahershala Ali, as best supporting actor. The Oscars have been criticized in the past for lack of diversity among nominees, but this year, seven actors of color were recognized for their work, including Ali.

Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were nominated for the film "Fences." Davis is now a three-time Oscar nominee, a first for an African-American woman.

Well, Donald Trump laid out an America-first vision in his inaugural address last week. Now, a Dutch comedy show has put together a fake tourism ad with a message for him. America first, the Netherlands second. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a message from the government of the Netherlands.

Dear, Mr. President, welcome to this introduction video about the Netherlands. It's going to be a great video. It's going to be absolutely fantastic. We speak Dutch. It's the best language in Europe. We've got all the best words, all the other languages failed. Danish, total disaster. German is not even a real language. It's fake. It's a fake language.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: How about that. Well, the video has racked up millions of views online. You might want to check that one out.

Words, of course, have meaning, especially when they're said by the President of the United States. And right now, we are putting to rest a debate over something Mr. Trump has often said on the campaign trail. Is it bigly or big league?

Here's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First, President Trump gallantly pulled out a chair for the CEO of General Motors, then he dropped the b word. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's happening, it's happening bigly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Not once, but twice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're bringing manufacturers back to the U.S. big league.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Inspiring U.S. news and moral report and others to report Trump pushes for big league manufacturing revival. But it was also the revival of bigly, a word often attributed to Trump during the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm going to cut taxes big league, you're going to raise taxes big league.

And we have to solve it big league, and strongly.

And that's what's happened, bigly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: What did he say? What we need is about acoustic waveform and spectrographic analysis? Actually a linguist at the University of California Berkley did those tests and determined that Trump was saying...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Big league. Big league.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:55:01] MOOS: Big league, not bigly. Though bigly is in the dictionary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bigly. Bigly.

MOOS: An adverb, meaning in a big manner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to win big league.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Cue the mockery win bigly? Good grief. We will make America win bigly, and grammar loses goodly. Make America bigly again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bigly wronger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not funny. Bigly, not funny.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: America is going to start winning and winning bigly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But bigly began losing when an interviewer asked the Donald himself what he was saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I use "big league."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was right.

TRUMP: Good. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big league. You've settled it.

TRUMP: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But that doesn't stop Merriam-Webster from honoring bigly as the most looked-up word that was never actually used in 2016. Now President Trump is not using it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's happening big league.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: The good, the bad, and the bigly, even made it on to a t-shirt. We need to cut bigly, down the size.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Cut taxes big league.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you just say bigly?

BALDWIN: That's right.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MOOS: New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big league.

CHURCH: And I'm glad we've settled that. Thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter @rosemarycnn. I love hearing from you. The news continues now with a break and then Max Foster in London. Have a great day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: A pair of explosions. Ten gunmen storm a hotel in Mogadishu. We'll have the very latest on that developing story.

You have the campaign chants, today is the day Donald Trump says he'll start to build that wall on Mexico's border. And it's not the only executive order expected to focus on immigration.

[04:00:06] It's the new president's plan to refer to which he calls America first. We'll look at how this could help Russia cement his role as a power player in the Middle East.