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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Pence Speaks in Anti-Abortion Movement Rally; Trump Not Ruling Out Lifting Russia Sanctions; Swearing In Ceremony to be Held for Mattis at Pentagon; Explaining Trump's Executive Orders; Legendary Quartet Reach Thrilling Finals. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired January 27, 2017 - 15:00 ET
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ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher in for Hala Gorani, live for you from New York, and this is THE WORLD RIGHT
One of the great forces of history, that is how Donald Trump is describing the bond between the United States and the U.K., as he and Theresa May
attempt to cement the much-famed special relationship between those two countries.
May has been visiting the Trump White House, this is the first visit from any foreign leader, Theresa May being the first visit from any foreign
leader, and it is one that is steeped in symbolism. That bust behind the two of them speaking there, that is a bust of Winston Churchill, recently
returned to the oval office by Donald Trump, but it was more than just platitudes here.
In a news conference, leaders were asked about Mexico, Russia, and of course, the thorny issue of NATO. Here's what Theresa May had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On defense and security cooperation, we're united in our recognition of NATO, as the bulwark of our collective
defense, and today we've reaffirmed our unshakable commitment to this alliance.
Mr. President, I think you confirmed that you're 100 percent behind NATO, but we're also discussing the importance of NATO continuing to ensure it is
as equipped to fight terrorism and cyber warfare as it is to fight more conventional forms of war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: I want to go live now to Washington. Our Nic Robertson and Jeremy Diamond are both there and they can break out what both leaders had to say.
So Nic, I want to begin with you, because as both leaders spoke, it was a very short press conference, but as both leaders spoke, you can see areas
where they agreed, areas where they were listening to each other, but also areas where clearly there was a lot of disagreement as well. Walk us
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, I think the tone of President Trump and his demeanor showed the respect for Theresa May's
visit, if you will and the respect for the position and the power that the presidency of the United States and that was something that a lot of people
have been skeptical.
What's the body language going to look like? What's he going to look like when Theresa May stands next to Donald Trump? Two very dissimilar people.
He said they're not as dissimilar as they seem, as they've been characterized.
And this really was a time when we saw Theresa May stepping up and being very strong, perhaps stronger than people might have expected her to be,
when she did say to Donald Trump there, yes, we've agreed, you give 100 percent support for NATO.
It really wasn't clear when they went into this meeting if she would take that kind of strong line, and he talked about this personal relationship
being person-to-person. They are people. People, he said, that they have this -- he felt that they had a strong connection.
I think most important for Theresa May came very early on in what President Trump said. He said, our relationship has never been stronger and really,
that was the takeaway that she needed.
And the body language and his tone really only contributed to cementing that, particularly for the audience back in Britain. And particularly for
-- in Europe and for other leaders around the world who would eventually also come and meet President Trump. This shows him as a statesman, and
that he can do it, be the president in that position.
ASHER: And Jeremy, let me bring you in because I want to get the American perspective here. Nic just touched on an important point that is when
Theresa May sort of turned to Donald Trump and said, you know, you said that you were a 100 percent committed to NATO. Certainly, in Washington,
that's going to be news for a lot of people.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Absolutely, you know, Donald Trump has continued even after his election as president to cast doubt on
the U.S.' commitment to NATO. Clearly, that's because he wants to try to use that as leverage to try to get European allies to contribute more to
the alliance, at least, that's the explanation from the White House.
[15:05:00]But, listen, you know, what was also startling in this meeting was to hear Donald Trump talking about torture, you know, he did say that
his defense secretary would be able to override him on this issue.
But he, still, in really a remarkable moment, next to a British prime minister, say, we believe -- you know, say that he personally believes that
These are two countries that signed over 50 years ago, the Geneva conventions, which outlaw torture and here we are having a president of the
United States, the leader of the free world, arguably, saying here that he believes torture works, despite studies and the advice of law enforcement
and intelligence agencies around the world.
So while he may not implement torture, you know, through the Army or the CIA or whatever it may be, he still is saying that he, himself, believes
torture works, and that, in and of itself, is really a stunning statement.
ASHER: Yes. That is a big deal. President Trump saying that he believes torture works. They also had differing views when it comes to Russia, as
well. So Nic, can the U.S. really be a reliable partner to the British? A reliable partner to the U.K., when it comes to safeguarding western values?
When it comes to torture and Russia?
ROBERTSON: This has been the thrust of Theresa May's visit, this is the gamble of her visit, to hitch her wagon, if you will, to President Trump's.
She talked yesterday about how the two countries were at a time of change and the change they were going through was similar and they both had
So she has aligned herself in many ways to President Trump. She's also been very clear on some of the things she was under pressure, that she
would be talking about Russia later and she's made very, very clear her position on Russia.
That her relationship with President Putin can't change until Russia fulfills the Minsk agreement, which is the agreement to bring a lasting
cease-fire local elections to where Russians control it today. So, you know, she made it very clear, that's her threshold, that's Britain's
So, you know, can this relationship endure? It's absolutely designed to. The intent here is for it to endure and get stronger, the talk about trade.
She was actually quite specific on where she sees avenues of trade that can improve.
On defense manufacturing, on defense industry areas, she said at the moment, Britain and the United States lead the world. Together, she said,
this is an area that we can further enhance, build further trade.
And also, the very idea of President Trump visiting Britain to meet the queen. The queen has extended that invitation. President Trump has
accepted it from the queen for a visit. So you know, this is something that is designed to go forward. She is firmly, at the moment, as we can
see, walking parallel, let's not say, in lockstep, but parallel with President Trump.
ASHER: Yes, and Jeremy, obviously as Nic brings up trade, bilateral trade is a big deal, arguably, the premise for Theresa May coming to Washington.
How does she negotiate with someone or do business with someone who might say one thing, in public, and another thing in a one on one meeting in
DIAMOND: Well, I think that's going to be the challenge for a lot of world leaders, is figuring out, as many of us in the media have had to try to
figure out, how exactly Donald Trump's mind works, and what we know about the public Donald Trump, and the private Donald Trump, and I guess how you
can kind of mesh those two things together, to kind of form a coherent analysis.
So, but, listen, Donald Trump has said in the past that he is committed to doing bilateral trade agreements. You know, he's really slammed these
multi-lateral trade agreements that encompass a number of different countries in addition to the United States.
He wants to be able to negotiate one on one deals, at least, that's what he's said. And with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, this is
really an opening for President Trump to be able to accomplish something like that. And clearly, the British are very, very eager to do that.
Let's not remember that when the Brexit referendum happened, you know, there were worries in the U.K. about the trade relationship with the United
States, particularly after President Obama said, listen, the U.K. is going to have to go to the back of the line here to negotiate a new trade deal
with the U.S.
But clearly, this appears to be front and center on President Trump's agenda. So we'll have to see going forward how quickly they can actually
establish that kind of a trade deal and form this new relationship.
ASHER: We shall see. OK, Jeremy Diamond, Nic Robertson, live for us there. Thank you both so much. Appreciate that.
So how is Theresa May's visit to the White House being received back home? To talk about this, I want to bring in Freddy Gray, the deputy editor of
"The Spectator" magazine. He joins us live now from London.
So Freddy, just walk us through how this meeting, how this press conference is playing out in the British media?
FREDDY GRAY, DEPUTY EDITOR, "THE SPECTATOR": I think there's already a very clear sense that Theresa May has got what she wanted out of it. She
wanted a warm reception from Donald Trump and she got that. It's worth remembering just how precarious her position is at the moment. She's got a
very difficult negotiation with the European Union, and she's been handed this huge slice of orange luck in Donald Trump.
[15:10:10]And I think that we'll see her coming home and feeling that she's established an important relationship that will help her very much in
extricating herself from the European Union.
ASHER: But the fact that she is first foreign leader to meet with President Trump is that when you talk to British voters, when you talk to
the ordinary British people, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
GRAY: I think British people take a lot of pride in it. I mean, those special relationship is a strange thing, it's often quite cheesy, of
course, Donald Trump's quite cheesy, too. But I think the average Britain feels a lot of pride when a U.S. president says how important Britain is to
That means a lot and it's worth thinking how different things could have been, if Hillary Clinton were president, I think as Barack Obama promised,
we would have been at the back of the queue. It's quite exciting for Britain to think that now we have the most powerful man in the world who
wants to be friendly towards us.
ASHER: But when it comes to bilateral trade negotiations, Theresa May, her hands are tied. She can't really do that much while Britain is still
technically, legally part of the E.U., still.
GRAY: Yes, and as I understand it, that's actually one of the difficult things in her negotiations with the Trump team, is explaining to them the
complexities of our exit from the European Union.
ASHER: Right. So where do you start? I mean, if your hands are tied, where do you even start?
GRAY: Well, I think you have to start with a promise of good intentions and that has been offered, and that's not a bad thing. Obviously, it will
get more complex, but if you agree that there's a lot of room for defense trade to improve, which is deteriorated in the last eight years then it's
an optimistic start. It could turn out to be nothing, but I think at the moment, people in Britain are feeling pretty positive about it.
ASHER: When you listen to the press conference between Theresa May and Donald Trump and you heard a lot of British journalists really trying to
hold Donald Trump accountable, trying to hold his feet to the fire, one thing that Theresa May has, that is a huge challenge for her, is trying to
walk this really sort of delicate, fine line, this delicate balance of trying to get what she wants from Washington in terms of bilateral trade
agreement, that would work with both countries.
But also standing up for her own country's values when it comes to NATO, when it comes to Russia, when it comes to the use of torture. Did she do a
good job of that, do you think?
GRAY: I think she did a reasonable job. As you said, it is a delicate line to walk, but it's also a great opportunity for her, in the sense that
she can present herself as a sort of third way between the wildness of Trumpism, and the multilateralism of the E.U.
She can present herself as someone who understands this populist revival in nation state democracy, but who isn't, obviously, a bit unstable like
Donald Trump is. So it's a great opportunity, as well as a difficult act to pull off.
ASHER: All right. Freddy Gray, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your opinions with us. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Well, Churchill and Roosevelt, Reagan and Thatcher, Blair and Bush, the famed special relationship has taken on many guises over the decades. This
meeting is actually one of the earliest times, the earliest times that a British prime minister has met a new U.S. president.
So will there be another revival under Theresa May and Donald Trump? Let's speak to Peter Westmacott. He is a former British ambassador to the United
States. He joins us now live from London.
So Peter, thank you so much for being with us. A lot has been made in the British media and I think also in the American media about the fact that
these two people are very, very different. You have the daughter of a vicar, you have a brash billionaire reality star, TV star.
But then, you know, Bill Clinton and also John Major were very different, Obama and Brown were very different. Does it matter that their
personalities are so contrasting, do you think?
PETER WESTMACOTT, FORMER U.K. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: I don't think so. Don't be too mean on a vicar's daughter, I'm a vicar's son and doesn't make
ASHER: I wasn't being mean at all.
WESTMACOTT: That's all right. I know. I think as she said on the airplane on the way out there, don't forget that opposites can attract, in
her rather kind of whimsical way. I think that she would be very pleased in the way in which the personal chemistry has got off to a great start.
On the substance, she has got some movement from some of the positions that Donald Trump had taken beforehand. He wasn't too firm about Russia. It
was a bit too early to talk about lifting sanctions, she was saying. She says he told her in private, I'm 100 percent supportive of NATO. Hope he
did. That was a very important message for her.
ASHER: That doesn't mean that he said that in public, though. That doesn't mean he said the same thing in public.
WESTMACOTT: I think it does mean on the substance of the conversations the two of them had that she would have got a very reassuring message on that.
So I think that's a good thing. He was hugely supportive and publicly, as well as privately, on the whole Brexit process and bilateral trade
He said he believes in those. She believes in those. She has to, because the United Kingdom is now leaving the European Union. So I think on the
combination of substance and (inaudible) could tell personal chemistry in the way that they looked at each other during the press conference. I
think it's as good a start as either could have hoped for.
[15:15:13]ASHER: When you think about negotiations for bilateral trade and that kind of thing, I mean, there is going to be said for the fact that the
U.K. needs America far more than America needs the U.K. How should that change or how should that have changed her negotiating strategy, do you
WESTMACOTT: I think that the bilateral relationship in terms of trade has been pretty much balanced, although it's slightly in our favor, if you
include services. It is enormous. We do twice as much trade with America as we do with Germany, which is our second larger partner.
So that's not if you like (inaudible) we do very well on that. I think on intelligence and defense, we do very well. But I was very pleased to hear
Theresa May saying that on the defense procurement side and the potential for doing more together, that it needs to be more balanced.
The fact is that we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on equipment, much of it is American, and it's a little bit of a one-way street, and
she'll want to see a bit more movement in that direction.
I think in other respects, I think it's going to be important to her politically this relationship because we're not going to be part of the
European Union. Therefore, the other big pillar of our international standing and our foreign policy relationships, the transatlantic
relationship, becomes even more important.
Not just to make the success of Brexit, but I think for the U.K. to show that it's got influential allies and can make a difference. I don't think
that's about the U.K. being more needed in the United States.
I think that the United States, especially now at a time when Donald Trump has caused some alarm around the world and in Europe and further afield, I
think it's probably good for him to have this very long-standing and harmonious relationship, where we speak the same language and understand
each other and talk to each other all the time.
I think to have that reaffirmed as an important part of the international relationship and standing (inaudible), I don't think that's a bad thing for
ASHER: When you -- if we go back in time, 30-odd years, when you look at the relationship that Ronald Reagan had with Margaret Thatcher, that was a
very special relationship, but also the world was a very different place back then, because of the cold war. Even if the world has obviously
evolved, do you see this special relationship being as much of a priority for Donald Trump?
WESTMACOTT: It was very special in those days, but just thinking loud, I remember two occasions. The American invasion of the island at Grenada,
and a big row that Ronnie and Margaret had over whether or not British companies could supply gas turbines to the Soviet Unions, I think, in order
to export gas.
And there was a very, very tough exchange on some of those issues. Nevertheless, the relationship and the personal esteem that two of them had
was very, very important. I think over the years since then, it's been pretty similar. Personal chemistry, not always, but usually, has been
But both governments, both countries have had a clear eye on what it is that their own national interests require, from that bilateral
relationship. I think it will remain very important if the U.K. is out of the European Union in a year or two's time.
So then it's still going to be important for us to have a fantastically strong intelligence, counterterrorism, counter-cyber, warfare, defense
relationship, and an understanding that even if we're not going to do military interventions like Iraq in Afghanistan and Libya, as both seem to
But nevertheless, if there really is a need and when our values and our security is under threat, that Britain and America will again be ready to
be side by side, I think that's what they were saying today. I think that suggests that this relationship will remain extremely important in the
ASHER: All right. Pete Westmacott, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
WESTMACOTT: Thank you.
ASHER: All right, still to come here on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, from a very public feud to virtual silence, President Trump and his Mexican counterpart
have actually agreed not to speak out any more about who will pay for that very controversial border wall. So where does that leave the standoff?
We'll explain. We'll be live in Mexico City in just a moment.
ASHER: One phone call alone couldn't fix a diplomatic crisis between neighbors, but it did take a very bitter dispute out of the public eye.
The U.S. and Mexican president spoke today and Mexico says they agreed not to continue arguing publicly about who would pay for a controversial border
Donald Trump insists Mexico will foot the bill. Enrique Pena Nieto insists Mexico will not. The Mexican president cancelled a trip to Washington,
D.C., over the dispute. But today, Mr. Trump said they've had a productive conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It was a very, very friendly call. I think you'll hear that from the president and I
think you'll hear that from the people of Mexico, that really represent him and represent him very well. And I look forward to, over the coming
months, we'll be negotiating, and we'll see what happens.
But, I'm representing the people of the United States and I'm going to represent them as somebody should represent them, not how they've been
represented in the past, where we lose to every single country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: One idea that the White House is actually putting out in terms of paying for the wall is a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico. The
backlash was fast and furious, leading Mr. Trump's press secretary to stress that it's actually just one possibility under consideration.
Let's bring in my colleague, Richard Quest, editor-at-large of CNN Money, and of course, host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." Richard, my producers tell
me you have an avocado with you, because this can be summed with up avocado, because 60 percent, 60 percent of avocados consumed in the U.S.
actually come from Mexico. Walk us through that.
RICHARD QUEST, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN MONEY: So here's the question. If you are going to have a 20 percent tariff on avocados or, indeed, anything else
coming from Mexico, who ultimately will pay that price? The answer, you and me living in the United States, maybe you more than me, you might like
avocados more than I do.
I'm never quite sure what to do with them, but you get my point. The reality is that it sounds fine to put a tariff on -- or a tax on an avocado
coming from Mexico, but that price, that extra cost, will merely stay, pardon the pun, in the food chain, and will eventually pass through to the
The other thing to note is there's a difference between a tariff, which is just slapped on, and a border adjustment tax, which is part of a much
greater rewriting of the corporate tax code. And in the latter case, you lose on one, you gain on the other.
It's a way of rebalancing the way taxes work. We're not sure, at the moment, which the president or the president's people is talking about.
Either way, the goal remains the same, Zain. The goal is simple. It's to reduce the level of imports and to penalize those people who bring things
ASHER: And I'm being told right now, Richard, if you can stand by, that Trump is actually arriving at the Pentagon. These are, I believe, in my
ear, these are live pictures, I believe, of Trump arriving at the Pentagon, where he's about to be at the ceremony swearing in General Mattis.
So, Richard, just to go back to what you're saying, I believe what you're saying is that it will essentially be the American consumer that ends up
paying. Just explain how you think that will impact the American economy?
[15:25:01]QUEST: Well, I don't think the American consumer will be that concerned, necessarily, maybe a couple of cents on avocado, but I think
they will be much more concerned if it starts to be on cars or other products, or industrial production products.
And remember, the border with Mexico isn't just one way. Parts and goods go backwards and forwards as part of the manufacturing process, and in
doing so, become almost a value-added part of that process, which is why some are looking at some sort of vat analogy rather than just a
Interestingly, this visit, by the way, this visit of President Trump to the Pentagon, Zain, is an extremely significant, because he went to the CIA
last Saturday and that was a shambles. He's come to the Pentagon, and it is the way in which he's going to be greeted, as commander-in-chief.
There the vice president and General Mattis, all in attendance, and the significance, of course, is, he's not going as candidate, he's not going as
businessman, he's going as the commander-in-chief.
ASHER: Yes, and of course, it's going to be interesting, because a lot has been made of the fact that General Mattis has a very different way of
perhaps running the Defense Department, of viewing things like the use of torture, the relationship with Russia, compared to Donald Trump. So it
will be interesting to see.
QUEST: Indeed. Indeed, we heard that in the news conference with Theresa May. The president was absolutely upfront about this. He said, he
supports very strict interrogation devices, like waterboarding, which some call, say, is torture. He doesn't accept that. He says General Mattis
doesn't agree with him, and crucially, the president said, he has delegated the decision on that matter to the general, who's now the civilian leader
of the military.
ASHER: We'll see if and how much he ends up listening to General Mattis. But we have to get back on topic, which is, of course, business news. So
what do you think Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexican president should do? How should he handle this? What sort of tools does he have in order to
protection Mexican workers?
QUEST: Very difficult for him, because if he confronts, he certainly can do that, he's sovereign in his own country, he risks the Mexican economy
taking a hit and the peso being pushed down and greater unemployment, argue apply, greater drug trafficking, the mafia and others get a harder
Remember, so much of Mexico's civilian success has been because of a rising economy. Also, on the back of NAFTA, which has given rise to a greater
middle class. That is under threat. At the same time, the pride of the nation certainly means he can't be seen to be paying for walls in the
I think the president, historically, this is the Mexican president, with historically low poll ratings at the moment, is in a lose-lose situation,
at least until we get more clarity on what exactly Donald Trump means when he says they'll pay for the wall.
ASHER: And presumably, viewers can find out a little bit more about that on your show, coming up in half an hour from now on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."
QUEST: Good grief, there's a potpourri of material and excitement.
ASHER: A potpourri.
QUEST: A potpourri!
ASHER: Richard Quest, thank you so much. Always a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you.
Nearly half of all Mexicans live in poverty and there are very, very real concerns that Mr. Trump's threatened policies could make life even tougher
for Mexico's poor. So it's certainly awkward timing, to say the least, that this magazine, this magazine, just hit newsstands in Mexico.
The "Vanity Fair" cover shows U.S. first lady, Melania Trump, appearing to flaunt wealth and riches. She's posing with a bowl of jewels, ready to dig
in, as if it were spaghetti. The magazine calls her the new Jackie Kennedy.
All right, still to come here, thousands of anti-abortion activists cheer on Mike Pence as he vows to keep one of his major campaign promises. We'll
take you to the rally in Washington in just a moment.
ASHER: Britain's Prime Minister says Donald Trump will make a state visit to the U.K. Theresa May was speaking at the White House where she became
the first foreign leader to meet Mr. Trump since he became President. At their news conference, Mrs. May voiced her support for sanctions against
Russia while Mr. Trump said that it was too early to talk about them.
And Donald Trump said he had a very, very friendly phone call with Mexico's President. Enrique Pena Nieto had cancelled a trip to Washington over Mr.
Trump's proposal to build a wall between the two countries and have Mexico pay for it. Despite the new dialogue, Mr. Trump said he will continue to
maintain a tough stance on trade with America's southern neighbor.
Mike Pence made his first major speech as U.S. Vice President a few hours ago for a cause that he championed during the campaign. He and his wife
addressed thousands of anti-abortion activists at the annual March for Life rally in Washington. Mr. Pence assured the crowd, saying, quote, "Life is
Let's get the latest now from Washington's Sunlen Serfaty who joins me live now from the march.
So, Sunlen, presumably, there is an air about this rally. There is a feeling there at this rally that this cause, this pro-life cause, certainly
has new life injected into it because of Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Zain. We heard that from many of these march participants here. They said they've
been very encouraged and are very optimistic with the ushering in of this new administration, the signals that they've already sent so far for anti-
abortion activists. We heard that repeated time and time again here.
Many of these demonstrators said that they took heart and took it as a symbol of support that the administration not only sent Vice President
Pence, he being the first sitting Vice President to address this annual march, but they also sent one of their top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, to
address the crowd today.
And, certainly, that refrain that Mike Pence kept repeating at multiple times through his speech, life is winning again in America, is a message
that these people clearly want to hear. The march started at the base of the Washington monument, went about a mile down here.
You see, we're, right now, in the shadow of the U.S. Congress here. And then over to your left is the Supreme Court.
This being a symbolic end for this march because the message that these participants want to send, they want to hold Donald Trump's feet to the
fire. They want to see when he makes his Supreme Court nomination, likely coming next week, they want a more conservative justice in place. They
want someone who is anti-abortion, and they're hopeful that that will happen -- Zain.
ASHER: Yes. And Trump has actually said that he is going to pick someone for the Supreme Court who is anti-abortion. But when you talk to people
there in the crowd, Sunlen, what do they make of President Trump's first week in office, especially when it comes to executive actions?
SERFATY: They're very encouraged by what they've seen this week. A lot of people seem very tuned to the news and everything that's been going on, and
they say the executive actions that Trump has made so far have given them even more optimism.
[15:35:07] But these people here, they march every year, and notably, they feel like they haven't gotten an administration that really has their ears
pinned to what their needs are. So they're certainly feeling that this march, especially following that women's march that came last week here in
Washington, they feel like this is a real chance to give their platform to those anti-abortion positions.
ASHER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty live for us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
As we mentioned a few moments ago, Donald Trump says it's still very early when it comes to discussing lifting sanctions on Russia, but a top White
House adviser says it is still under consideration.
Mr. Trump will speak Saturday with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for the first time, for the first time since he won November's election.
The U.S. president says he wants warmer relations between the two countries, but he is not making any predictions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as, again, Putin and Russia, I don't say good, bad, or indifferent. I don't know the gentleman. I hope we have a fantastic
relationship. That's possible. And it's also possible that we won't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Trump there saying that I hope we have a fantastic relationship. He's speaking about Vladimir Putin. But he says he doesn't know Vladimir
Putin, so he's not making, as I mentioned, not making any predictions.
CNN International Correspondent Matthew Chance is tracking this story from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, the Kremlin and the White House confirm that much-anticipated telephone call
between Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will finally take place on Saturday. The Kremlin says that President Putin will
congratulate Trump on becoming U.S. president, and that the two leaders will share opinions on current issues in bilateral relations.
Putin's spokesman told CNN that it didn't expect substantial issues to be discussed in the telephone call, but that the Kremlin was adopting a wait-
and-see approach, indicating they don't really know what to expect out of this. President Trump, who has repeatedly spoken of strengthening
relations with Russia, has indicated that he wants to work alongside Moscow, for instance, in the fight against international terrorism.
He's even suggested he's open to lifting some economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed against Russia by Washington. But the Kremlin says it's
got no information on the sanctions issue or if talk about lifting them is, in their words, corresponding with reality.
Back to you, Zain.
ASHER: A ceremonial swearing in ceremony will be held for the new U.S. Defense Secretary at the Pentagon at the top of the hour. We actually just
brought you live pictures of Donald Trump arriving at the Pentagon.
James Mattis split with President Trump when he told Congress that he opposes torture. Mr. Trump says he will defer to a man he calls a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't necessarily agree, but I would tell you that he will override because I'm giving him that power. He is an expert. He's highly
respected. I'm going to rely on him.
I happen to feel that it does work. I've been open about that for a long period of time, but I am going with our leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Well, CNN Military Analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton joins me live now to discuss this. So, in many ways, Cedric, it's going to be
interesting to see this working relationship between General Mattis and Donald Trump evolve because they both see the world through different
lenses, even though you have President Trump there saying that he will listen to Mattis.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the listening point, Zain, is a good thing. And I think that what you see here is
somebody in President Trump who, at least at the beginning, is going to listen to what Mattis has to say.
And hopefully, he's going to learn from Mattis because General Mattis, and now Secretary of Defense Mattis, brings a wealth of experience that we've
seldom seen at the Pentagon. And that is something that, I think, will help the Trump administration through some rocky patches that will
inevitably come in the future.
But what we see here is a real opportunity for President Trump, not only to take advantage of Mattis' knowledge but also be able to use Mattis in a way
that will help him understand the military better.
ASHER: So what is going to be General Mattis' main priority? He said that he supports NATO. Is that going to be one of his main priorities, or is it
going to be fighting ISIS? And if it's ISIS, what will his strategy be, do you think?
LEIGHTON: Well, I think it may very well be ISIS, at least initially. And of course, one of the things that is supposed to happen later today at the
Pentagon is, the Pentagon is supposed to lay out, for President Trump, its options in fighting ISIS. So that's why I say, at least at the moment,
it's going to probably be ISIS.
[15:40:00] As far as the strategy is concerned, that Secretary Mattis will put in front of the President, I would say that what he wants to do is, he
wants to mirror what Trump talked about in the election. And that was basically hitting ISIS in a very hard, decisive way. Do it quickly, do it
with a lot of precision intelligence, and do it in a way that is understandable from a P.R. perspective.
You know, with the previous administration, with the Obama administration, you had a situation where, eventually, there was a lot going on in the
fight against ISIS, but it was often buried in the headlines. It wasn't something that was out there.
ASHER: So you think, this time, it will be much more about the optics then?
LEIGHTON: Oh, absolutely. I think President Trump runs on optics, and they're very concerned about the optics. It's not going to be the kind of
thing you saw in World War II, but they're going to try to make it as much as they possibly can to that kind of a model where there was decisive
action and the decisive action was reported.
ASHER: So when you compare, you know, President Obama's policy, strategy, when it comes to fighting ISIS and President Trump's, how much more
accelerated do you think the fight against ISIS will be this time around?
LEIGHTON: Well, I think it might be accelerated in a way that, you know, is at least optically the case. However, in terms of actual kinetic
effects on the battlefield, there may be very little difference between what Trump administration does and what happened in the latter part of the
There was a lot of action in the last few months of the Obama administration that basically boxed ISIS in, and I think you'll see a
continuation of that. So that's what I think will happen. And I think we'll see some pretty decisive results if they continue with that policy,
and maybe accelerate some tangential elements of it.
ASHER: Well, that swearing ceremony, moments away in about 45 minutes from now. Colonel Leighton, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate
LEIGHTON: You bet, Zain. Absolutely.
ASHER: Well, this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Still to come here, Donald Trump could be on the verge of implementing an executive order that could be hugely decisive. One on immigration. We'll
have details of that executive action coming up after the break.
ASHER: In the next hour, Donald Trump is expected to sign what could be one of his most controversial executive orders yet. A White House official
tells CNN that Mr. Trump will introduce extreme vetting for immigrants to the U.S.
A draft obtained by CNN earlier suggested that could mean heavy restrictions on people traveling from these Muslim majority countries you
see on your screen. They're the countries in red for you. They are Iraq and Syria, as well as Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as well.
The draft would also actually limit the flow of refugees into the United States. The President has been considering a blanket ban for up to four
[15:45:01] In just one week, the U.S. President has introduced a slew, a spate of executive orders, all of which have actually allowed him to bypass
Congress. And while there have been concerns about the speed and breadth of these changes, ultimately, Mr. Trump is still bound by the rule of law.
Professor Doni Gewirtzman from New York School of Law explains how the President's powers work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONI GEWIRTZMAN, PROFESSOR OF LAW, NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL: The one thing to know about presidential power is this -- in order for the President to do
something, he's got to rely on some form of legal authority. That authority can come from the constitution, or it can come from the inactive
The President is not a king. That's part of why we rebelled against England. In order for the President to do something, he's got to act
pursuant to a law.
If we're talking about constitutional authority, Article II of the Constitution contains a laundry list of powers that it embeds in the
President of the United States. Those powers include being Commander-in- Chief of the armed forces, the ability to appoint executive branch officials, and the ability to issue pardons.
Often, presidents will rely not on the constitution, but on a statute that was passed by Congress, that gives the President the power to do whatever
it is the President's trying to do through an executive order.
So the most important thing to note is this. If it's provided for in the Constitution or if Congress delegates that authority to the President, most
of the time, he can actually do it. If it's not in the Constitution and if Congress has expressly or implicitly disapproved of what the President is
doing, chances are he can't act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: So major changes there by the President, but could some voters be having major doubts? The poll actually suggests that only 36 percent of
Americans approve of how Mr. Trump is handling his job, one week into it. By comparison, Barack Obama received a 59 percent rating in his equivalent
Quinnipiac University survey.
Let's get more now on how the President is doing during his first week. CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter, Andre Bauer, joins me
live now from Charleston.
So, Andre, thank you so much for being with us. It is hard to believe it's only been one week, just seven days, with Donald Trump here as U.S.
president. He has signed many, many executive orders, allowing him to bypass Congress. Your thoughts on week one for President Trump?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: America has a CEO, someone with boardroom savvy. He's setting the agenda and sending a message to the
world that America is ready to lead again, and they're going to make the standard back to being USA and make people proud of products that are
produced in the USA.
For five days, he's worked all day. It's amazing this guy has this much energy. Gotten several of his appointees approved. He's getting his
pieces in play, and he's accomplishing a tremendous amount just a week into it, especially for a guy that has never served in public office before.
ASHER: You know, when President Obama did a sort of similar thing by signing a slew of executive actions, executive orders, you had a lot of
Republicans coming out and being alarmed, being somewhat concerned. Is there a double standard, do you think, here, in some cases?
BAUER: Well, always, from the other side, you're going to --
BAUER: -- say there's a double standard. And maybe there is. When one side is frustrated and they're not in leadership -- and, you know, I've
served in the majority and in the minority when I served in the legislature -- then both sides are going to take those shots.
But there is a new person in town, and it is a CEO that understands how this process works much better than most people gave him credit, and he's
getting things done. And a lot of the things he's getting accomplished here rather quickly are the very reasons the American public wanted
somebody new in there to drain the swamp, if you will, or to change Washington. And change is happening extremely rapidly.
ASHER: When you look at some of his executive actions, whether it's on immigration, whether it's on change, for a lot of these, you know, to
really push his agenda forward, he does eventually need Congress. Which policies do you see Trump encountering the most resistance in the future?
BAUER: Well, Obamacare, number one. Whether you're Republican or Democrat, all of them have constituents that need some type of health care,
so you just can't immediately get rid of Obamacare. Put out some answers and some other ways to fix some of these problems.
And they're very complex. When you get into things like prescription drug coverage continuing to go up exponentially, people abusing the E.R. that
really don't need immediate urgent care, people not having healthier lifestyles is continuing to raise so many numbers like diabetes here in my
own state of South Carolina. So those are things that aren't quickly fixed.
And I, you know, even heard the Republicans say they want to, in 90 days, replace it. I want to make sure we do it right the first time. If it
takes us a little longer, I think the American people are ready to wait just a little bit longer to get it right the first time.
Hiring freeze, another brilliant idea. It sends a message back to the people, look, government shouldn't keep growing exponentially when nothing
else is moving at that rate, other than the way the federal government spends a dollar. And so it sends another great message.
[15:50:07] Keystone and Dakota pipelines, another great message. Hey, we're getting back to work. We're going to reduce our dependency on
foreign oil. We're going to create new jobs, and we're going to move forward as a country.
So a lot of these things that have held up American progress and the economy are now being turned around with the stroke of a pen.
ASHER: But, Andre, what about trade, though? Because he's come out and, obviously, withdrawn from the TPP. Some, obviously, are touting the fact
that, you know, a lot of his policies seem to be moving in the protectionist direction which goes against -- you're a Republican, it goes
against what Republicans believe and Republicans like free trade.
BAUER: Absolutely. And my thought is, this is just to bring everybody back to the table and renegotiate it. It hasn't worked to the best of
American interests, but that doesn't mean that we don't want to have agreements with our neighbors, and quite frankly, our friends and great
And Donald Trump's a businessman. He understands that. He's not going to want to close the country out and say, we don't want to trade with other
people, or make it so difficult that it's not beneficial to both parties. He understands that in negotiating.
And what you'll see, my thought is, he'll bring the folks to the table, just like him having signed a nondisclosure today with the President of
Mexico, brilliant. Only a businessperson would think of doing something like that. So now we're going to have the players come back in, in due
time, and discuss how all of us can benefit, not just one country over another.
ASHER: All right. Andre Bauer live for us there. Thank you so much, sir. Appreciate that.
BAUER: Thank you, many blessings.
ASHER: All right. Still to come here. This man, take a look here, Roger Federer, is one of four tennis legends taking part in the Australian Open
Final this weekend. We'll take a look at who else made it in just a moment.
ASHER: All right. I want to turn now to tennis. It is finals weekend at the Australian Open, and we have a lineup that very few actually predicted.
On the men's side, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. On the women's side, the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. Sounds familiar, right?
But despite a combined total of 60 titles, it is the first time this illustrious quartet have all landed in a grand slam final in nine years.
So where has all of this new success come from?
I want to break this down with "WORLD SPORT's" Patrick Snell, who's joining us live now from CNN center.
So, Patrick, how much of a surprise is it that you have these four, these four, in the finals?
PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, it's quite incredible. I just did a quick mathematics in my head. I think their combined age is about 136
years. It really is rather quite extraordinary.
As Rafael Nadal said after booking his place in the final, look, make the most of it because, in his words, it could well be the last time we ever
see the likes of this again. But to answer your question, I think a few factors in play here, Zain.
I think, most notably, the fact that, you know, there have been huge advancements in sports sciences. I think that's played very much a role
The fact this is the first major of the New Year. You know, if this were September and we were going into the U.S. open, I think it would be very,
very different. The players are very, very fresh, indeed.
And also the fact that, you know, these four are combined for 11 Australian Open crowns between them in the singles. Venus is yet to win this title,
but that says a lot. You know, they're adaptable. They know the surfaces, the hard surfaces of Melbourne, very well indeed.
Oh, and did I mention the fact these are four of the game's legends? I think that kind of says it all.
[15:55:00] ASHER: And what should we suspect, expect, rather, specifically from Venus and Serena? Because Serena is chasing history, and Venus, her
story is really inspiring as well.
SNELL: It really is. The ultimate sister act. But don't expect any favors from one to the other. They're both desperate to win this. There's
not a doubt in my mind. Both looking to rewrite the history books in their own different ways.
If Venus can triumph at 36, she would be the oldest female winner of the singles major title history. So too, at 35, with Serena. But Serena going
for that 23rd Grand Slam title, which would put it clear of the legendary German, Steffi Graf, on 22 for the open era record. So that's her
incentive. That's her motivation.
But as for Venus, quite incredibly, this is her first Grand Slam final appearance in eight years, and she's had to overcome so much. Autoimmune
disorder that was diagnosed back in 2011. The way she's rebounded from that and learned to manage it, that's something that can affect people in
different ways. It can be very energy sapping, as far as she's concerned. She's managed it really, really well, Zain.
ASHER: Let's talk about the men's. Federer and Nadal, they're both coming back from injury. How did they manage to reach the final?
SNELL: Another extraordinary twist. Who would have thought Roger versus Rafa again? And it's definitely Rafa Nadal who has the upper hand when it
comes to head-to-head record. But what I like about this is that these two, again, will be going to rewrite their own little special pieces of
Roger Federer, his last slam title was actually back in 2012 when he triumphed at Wimbledon. And Rafa Nadal is desperate to win his first Grand
Slam title since the French Open in 2014. So they really, really do want to get there just because, look, these players are looking at it from a
If Roger Federer could win one more, he gets to 18, a record-extending 18 major titles. Rafa is desperate to close within two of him. And as I said
at the top of this, Zain, Rafa Nadal hinting strongly that it could well be the last time that you ever see, let alone these two together, but all four
Just an incredible weekend ahead in Melbourne. Back to you.
ASHER: Yes. Unbelievable that you have these four making it to the finals. OK. Patrick Snell, live for us there. Thank you so much.
And thank you so much for watching. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Zain Asher.
"QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. You're watching CNN.
[15:59: 55] QUEST: Good morning from the S&P. The Dow is off just a fraction of two points, Dow just 6 3/4 points down. And all that is jolly,
still over 20,000. But the Dow has given back some ground.
And the man with the gavel, show us the necessary business.