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Sources: U.S. Planning New Iran Sanctions; Iran: Missile Test For "Defensive Purposes"; White House Warns Israel On New Settlement; Trump Meets With Jordan's King Abdullah; U.S. Makes "Technical Fix" To Russia Sanctions; U.S. Calls For Russia To Withdraw From Crimea; Fallout From Trump's Call With Australian Prime Minister; Australian Ambassador's White House Meeting Amid Flap; Snapchat Parent Company Files For IPO; UBER CEO Quits White House Adviser; U.S. Airlines Seek Talks With Tillerson; Trump: Let's Add "Fair" To NAFTA; Mattis Reassures Allies Of U.S. Commitment; North Korea Dismisses Key Aide To leader Kim Jong-Un; Raid in Yemen Raising Questions; Surge of Violence in Ukraine; Russia Accused of Waging Online Information War in Europe; Controversial Super Bowl Ads. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 3, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISA SOARES, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: And I'm Isa Soares in London. Ahead this hour, the U.S. promises new action against Iran. Donald Trump claims that nothing is off the table.
VAUSE: Also tough words from the Trump administration to Israel why they say settlements are hurting the peace process.
SOARES: And the U.S. new Defense Secretary makes the next stop on his East Asian tour and offers a warning for North Korea.
VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump says it's time to get tough with enemies and even some allies insisting the U.S. will no longer be taken advantage of and he's starting with Iran. Sources say the White House is planning new sanctions on Tehran for its recent ballistic missile tests. CNN's Michelle Kosinski reports.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: President Trump ruling nothing out when dealing with Iran including a military response.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S PRESIDENT: Nothing is off the table.
KOSINSKI: His threat coming on the heels of this one from his National Security Adviser, Thursday.
MICHAEL FLYNN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We are officially putting Iran on notice.
KOSINSKI: Tonight, it appears those warnings may not be just talk. CNN has learned the Trump administration is planning to impose additional sanctions on Iran. Penalties already allowed under previous executive actions. The administration's strong reaction after Iran launched another ballistic missile, Sunday, not violating the Iran nuclear deal but defying a U.N. resolution, Trump laying out his hard line approach to world hot spots today at the National Prayer Breakfast.
TRUMP: The world is in trouble but we're going to straighten it out, OK? That's what I do. I fix things. We have to be tough. It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks. We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It's not going the happen anymore.
KOSINSKI: Those comments hours after these tweets. Iran has been formally put on notice for firing a ballistic missile. Should've been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them. Also Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered $3 trillion there, obvious, long ago. Tonight, Iran is firing back with its own tough response. Vowing to rigorously continue its missile tests saying they're purely for defense purposes.
The Senior Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader, adding that President Trump should not "make a toy out of himself with his extremism and baseless ranting." The U.S. will be the final loser. This isn't expected to affect the Iran nuclear deal. These issues are intentionally kept separate. Iran doesn't want additional sanctions either but that doesn't mean that it's not going to react to sanctions with anger and still more provocation. I mean, it keeps acting provocatively.
I remember there are conservatives within Iran who would love to see the nuclear deal fall apart. Analysts say there's a testing period going on with each side tweaking the other to see what the reaction will be. We don't know where this will end as the rhetoric heats up as well. Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the state department.
VAUSE: For more on the situation inside Iran, New York Times reporter Thomas Erdbrink is in Tehran, joining me here in Los Angeles, Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican Consultant John Thomas. Also CNN's Clare Sebastian in Moscow, following a minor easing of U.S. sanctions on Russia. And journalist Shalailah Medhora is in Canberra with the fallout from Donald Trump's heated phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
SOARES: I want to start, of course, with New York Times Correspondent Thomas Erdbrink who joins me now from Tehran. And Thomas, I was reading your article in The New York Times in which you said the Iranian establishment is treading carefully in the face of the new hostile, you say, Trump administration. What has been the reaction there to talk of possible Iranian sanctions?
THOMAS ERDBRINK, NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: Obviously, the Iranians are very unhappy with possible sanctions being slapped on them. Of course, the Iranians themselves feel that there is nothing wrong with their missile test but when they look at Donald Trump's tweets, they go far beyond only the missile test and speak of Iran's influence in neighboring country Iraq. They speak of other matters. So the Iranians are very careful because where normally they were the unpredictable factor in international politics, suddenly, in their view, Donald Trump has become the unpredictable factor. So they are eagerly waiting to see what the sanctions will be (INAUDIBLE)
SOARES: So walking and treading carefully, lots of caution there. Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, thank you very much. John?
[01:05:01] VAUSE: Well, Isa, let's bring in Dave Jacobson and John Thomas now. OK, so John, this is it. This is the officially on notice, you know, the big dramatic entrance into the briefing room on Wednesday, the double secret probation., more sanctions, that's it?
JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: To start.
THOMAS: The question is, they have to walk up to that line and then where do they go from there? I don't know. I do know that the Trump administration wants to tear up that Iran nuclear deal. So that's my hunch. That's what they're working on. How do they get that done and then what are the next steps after that.
VAUSE: And they created their own red line here, whether they like it or not?
DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's possible. I mean -- but the real question here is like, what happens if that theoretical red line gets broken? Like, is there really an appetite among the American people to go into a third war? We are still in our longest war ever in Afghanistan and now we're tackling ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And so the question is like, do we have the resources for that? Do we have the, you know, the public on the President's side and I don't think he does.
VAUSE: You know, it's interesting though because, you know, Donald Trump said military options are on the table. President Obama said that. They are talking about more sanctions, exactly what the Obama administration, you know, was talking about as well. So Dave, is it too early to declare a continuity of foreign policy here?
JACOBSON: Right. I mean, he was -- we're supposed to see this radical shift in foreign policy. He was cozing up to Vladimir Putin but now they're criticizing President Putin for, you know, the actions in Crimea and then now, you've got this talk of potential sanctions in Iran. So I do think he is coming off as somewhat hypocritical after berating President Obama for the last eight years. He is implementing or at least pivoting into a strategy that is reflective of President Obama.
THOMAS: I think the challenge is, Donald Trump has inherited a situation where his back's up against the wall. He can't go in guns blazing. He has to try --
JACOBSON: Isn't that what he did in Iran? THOMAS: He has to unravel what President Obama has caused for the last eight years and retrain both our allies and our foes how to treat us.
VAUSE: It's all Obama's fault. Stay with us --
THOMAS: It is for now.
VAUSE: There's also seems to be a nuanced shift in Donald Trump's position on Israel with the White House warning that new settlement activity in the West Bank could potentially hamper the peace process. More details now from Elise Labott.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's first day on the job, one of his first calls was to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hours later, the White House issued a statement on settlements. You know, the Israeli government has announced about 5500 new settlement homes since President Trump took office most larger than in recent years.
Now, the statement says, and let me quote a little bit from it, "while we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders, may not be helpful in achieving that goal." Now, the Israelis I've talked to don't see this statement as that bad. President Obama had said the settlements were an impediment to peace and the statement doesn't take issue with Israel building within settlement plots which President Obama did.
Now, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu are expected to meet in a few weeks. The White House says it will be developing a formal settlement policy then. Now, all of this coming amid Trump's tense phone calls with the leaders of Australia and Mexico. He defended his confrontational tone at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, saying it's time to get tough. John?
VAUSE: OK, Elise, thank you. Dave, this shift, you know, in the attitude towards Israel is when it came to settlements, it came a few hours after President Trump sat down and met with King Abdullah of Jordan. It wasn't a scheduled meeting but it happened anyway on the side lines of the National Prayer Breakfast. One of the issues officially that was talked about, safe zones in Syria. But you pretty much guaranteed that they talked, you know, the problems or the concerns that King Abdullah has about settlement activity in the West Bank. So my question, does this go to the concern that the President is left with the view of the last person he spoke to?
JACOBSON: It's quite possible. And by the way, on the issue of President Trump meeting with the King of Jordan, one of the things that I think was noteworthy was, he didn't invite him to the White House when he was in the country. It wasn't a meeting with the Vice President at the White House, but now it's the President of the Oval Office.
VAUSE: It was actually scheduled with Trump and he invited him back for an official visit later. Nothing was on the agenda, so --
JACOBSON: Right. But I do think it's a testament, you're right. I do think it's a testament to the fact that the President goes the way often times with the person that he spoke with last but, I think this is an indication that it is potentially possible that the President is perhaps doing some of his homework and maybe reading some of those briefings that he wasn't reading before and understanding fundamentally that if you want a two-state solution, if you want peace in the Middle East, this is an issue that is not going to be helpful. If you're fanning the flames of more of these settlements, it's not going to help the peace process and I think broadly, in the by parts in level democrats and republicans both support a two-state solution.
VAUSE: John, this is a day that seemed a lot more normal in the way foreign policy is meant to happen. Rex Tillerson spoke to the Israeli government concerned that they weren't informed about the settlement announcement that there'd be a new settlement, talked about the desire for a two-state solution. So, you know, after a rocky couple of days, it does seem almost -- not too soon but almost like it is settling down.
[01:10:04] THOMAS: This is just indicative that Trump now - the Trump administration has a diplomatic arm. You have Nikki Haley, who's starting to get her sea legs and Rex Tillerson is finally starting to have the President's ear. I think that's more what it's about. It's less about the President being whip sawed by the person he meets with as much as he's getting good, rock solid advice from a good Secretary of State.
VAUSE: Maybe they shouldn't have fired everybody in the State Department. And Dave, it (INAUDIBLE) the Israeli Prime Minister is learning the same lesson that the Australian Prime Minister learned in the last couple of days. You never know what you're going to get with Donald Trump.
JACOBSON: Well, and I think that that's the thing you're seen this flip-flop throughout the course of the last two years in the presidential campaign. Donald Trump was for punishing women who had abortions, and then he wasn't, right? And I think that's the question. I think - look, the conversation that Donald Trump had with the President or the Prime Minister of Australia, i think is a testament to how other world leaders are going to look at him. He's a bully, he's blunt. He can be mean-spirited and this is how he is going to behave as a president. It's reckless, it's irresponsible but it's just the reality.
VAUSE: OK, you're not weighing in. So, he used some tough words there for Israel. The new administration also has a tougher tone with Russia, also modifying some sanctions.
SOARES: Tweaking, yes, a slight tweak, John. The U.S. Treasury Department is making it easier for some companies at least to do limited business with Russia's federal security service, the former KGB. The State Department calls it a technical fix, those were his words. And President Donald Trump insists it's not an easing of sanctions. Meantime, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley made her first appearance at the Security Council on Thursday and she had this to say on Russia.
NIKKI HAYLEY, UNITED NATIONS AMBASSADOR: The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the Peninsula to Ukraine.
(END OF VIDEOCLIP)
SOARES: Let's bring in CNN Clare Sebastian who joins us from Moscow. And Clare, what do these adjustments mean and how is it being received by Vladimir Putin? As well if you can touch on what we just heard there from the - from the U.N.?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. So this is a small technical fix. Basically what happened was, when the Obama administration put in that wave of sanctions in December over alleged Russian interference in the U.S. elections that included a blanket sanction on the FSB, the Russian State Security Service and that unfortunately had the unintended consequence of preventing some business that American companies were doing in Russia.
The FSB has another duty, it also issues licenses for companies to import and distribute certain technological products in this country. So that was one unintended consequence as the U.S. Treasury called it. So this essentially carves out a loophole for limited business by those companies in Russia. It's only up to $5,000 a year per company. But after the reaction here in Russia, well, an initial wave of optimism, perhaps.
We saw a little spike in the rubble when this news came out and certainly Russian media reports have been referring to this as a loosening or softening of sanctions, and then of course, you know, the U.S. treasury and the U.S. President have denied. But that wave of optimism dampened overnight. The Kremlin telling CNN's Matthew Chance, "we care but not that much." And of course, those comments from Nikki Haley certainly reducing that sense of optimism that this is an immediate rapprochement between Russia and the United States. Isa?
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
SOARES: Clare Sebastian for us there in Moscow, very good to see you, Clare. Thanks very much. John?
VAUSE: OK. So, Dave and John, you know, Senator Lindsey Graham has been one of many republicans who wanted much tougher action on Russia. Listen to the senator.
(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP) GRAHAM: I will never be satisfied until the congress and the White House work together to punish Russia for trying to interfere with our election. I don't think they changed the outcome but they clearly tried to manipulate the outcome. So the current sanctions are in place based on their taking of Crimea. There needs to be new sanctions imposed against Russia for interfering in our election. So I'm working with democrats and republicans to pass new sanctions. I hope the President will embrace them because Russia needs to be punished.
(END OF VIDEOCLIP)
VAUSE: OK. John, so the position we're now hearing from Donald Trump through Nikki Hayley at the U.N,, that sort of brings him, at least, closer to his own party in some ways.
THOMAS: Yes, well, in some ways it does. I think the technical easing today is more --
VAUSE: Yes, it's a wash.
THOMAS: And it's also just Trump doesn't want to punish Americans over something that Obama put in place.
VAUSE: The issue of being tougher on Russia when it comes to Crimea, standing up, calling it an invasion.
THOMAS: Again, I mean, I hate to be a broken record but I really do think that this has to do with a little bit of Nikki Haley but it's really a Rex Tillerson influence that clearly has Donald Trump's ear.
[01:15:00] JACOBSON: But I think it's plausible. This is a bipartisan issue. I think, you know, and I applaud Senator Lindsey Graham, I think, democrats and republicans on the hill, Capitol Hill, alike, both think we need to dig deep and investigate further into the Russian hacking. Nobody wants our elections undermine by a foreign institute. This is the equivalency of Watergate by a foreign actor. And so I think this is a major issue. We have to look into it and make sure it never happens again.
VAUSE: On the issue of the modified sanction, I mean, this is a slight technicality. It was - it was really nothing at the end of the day. But a lot of democrats jumped the gun, you know, they accused the administration of rewarding Russia for bad behaviour. You know, Dave, given all the hype, all the controversy which has been created by Donald Trump, democrats I guess, how careful do they have to be that they, you know, they don't accuse Trump of doing something which he hasn't done? There's plenty of material out there. You know, this is a credibility issue.
JACOBSON: Somewhat. But look, I think largely, Donald Trump has never said one thing negative about Vladimir Putin. It like, pained him to say anything about acknowledging the hacking in the first place, right? And so I think democrats have a leg up in the conversation when it comes to Russia on anything at this point. THOMAS: This is -- the problem is they are using generic talking
points. It could be applicable. Anything that Donald Trump says is wrong. It's a Supreme Court nominee and it didn't matter who it was. He is extreme and out of the main stream even though he's not.
THOMAS: They need to adjust or else all these hysteria will end up just being crying wolf.
VAUSE: Pick your battles.
VAUSE: OK. A tougher tone with Russia, Isa. And now the White House trying to have a friendlier tone and repair the relationship with Australia.
SOARES: Yes, it seems the clean-up, John, continues after President Trump's call to Australia's Prime Minister. Joe Hockey, that's Australia's Ambassador to the U.S., met top administration officials on Thursday. The White House says the meeting was productive and conveyed the President's deep admiration for the Australian people. Earlier this week, Mr. Trump and Malcom Turnbull had a heated, I think it's fair to say, phone call, over U.S. pledged to take refugees from Australia. Political reporter Shalailah Medhora is in Canberra with more. And Shalailah, what's the mood there? Is there a feeling that this spat between the President and the Prime Minister could potentially have an impact on the alliance and even on the future of this agreement to resettle refugees?
SHALAILAH MEDHORA, POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. So, Isa, the concern now is really what happens to the 1200 or so refugees and asylum seekers who are currently languishing in offshore detention centers. They are at the heart of this refugee deal and the government doesn't have a planned base for them. The government really staked its political claim on the idea of being tough on borders.
And part of that policy is not allowing people who try to come to Australia by boat to resettle here. That gives them the people who are in these offshore detention centers very few options. One of them is third party resettlement and with the U.S. deal potentially off the table that leaves them in limbo.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
SOARES: Shalailah Medhora there in Canberra for us. The time is, sort of, to almost 20 past 5:00 in the afternoon. Thanks very much, Shalailah.
VAUSE: OK, so this is the official version of the Australian Ambassador s to Washington, Joe Hockey about his meeting at the White House. It was a productive meeting. The White House officials conveyed the President's admiration for the Australian people. Just as a reminder, this is part of the official read out from the phone call between Donald Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, both leaders emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-
Australia relationship. Dave, you know, there is a credibility issue here now, and anything which I think comes out, you know, as an official read out from the Trump administration.
JACOBSON: Two things; one, there are a tremendous amount of leaks coming out of the White House. There's probably only a couple of people in the room with the President when he had that conversation. And so clearly, people in his inner circle, who are jacking for power, are leaking things to the press. And I think that undermines the dysfunction that we have and the chaos that we have within the White House, number one.
Number two, I think it fundamentally underscores the fact that the President really doesn't have a deep understanding of our long standing relationship with this key ally. Australia was one of the nations that came and after September 11th and helped Americans combat Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. So I think, you know, look, the fact is, this guy is alienating some of our closest allies in the world while at the same time, hugging our adversaries. And I think --
VAUSE: You haven't had a war without us since World War I. Before the meeting at the White House, the Australian Ambassador spoke with Senator John McCain. The senator reached out to Joe Hockey. They spoke by phone. And this is what McCain had to say.
JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: In my view, was an unnecessary and frankly, harmful open dispute over an issue which is not nearly important as United States/Australian cooperation and working together, including training of our marines in Australia and other areas of military cooperation and intelligence.
(END OF VIDEOCLIP)
VAUSE: John, McCain's summed it up, really. This was a big dispute over a really small issue.
[01:19:50] THOMAS: Yes, but McCain's style of diplomacy is completely different than Trump's. I mean, Trump looked at it simply as he's not going to get steam rolled over something where he laid a line in the sand, not just for Australia, but for everybody as it relates to refugees. This is one of those things that Rex Tillerson probably going to have to have a word with the President. But I just, at some point, when the President lays down the gauntlet even if it is something little, you know, he is going to tweet about it. He can't help himself.
JACOBSON: But the problem is, the gauntlet is a temper tantrum. Our President is the equivalence to a child. I mean, it's like amateur hour. And the question is like --
THOMAS: No (INAUDIBLE) him. JACOBSON: Well, I guess. But like, why are you like, why do we have a president who's such an ego maniac who has to regurgitate the fact that he won the Electoral College to the President or leader of Australia. Like, why is that even relevant in the conversation?
VAUSE: There are degrees and reaction to different circumstances and if you go nuclear every time, then you don't really have a lot of wiggle room --
THOMAS: That's true.
VAUSE: So, anyway, and on that note, we'll leave it (INAUDIBLE) thanks for coming guys.
THOMAS: Good to see you.
VAUSE: Have a good weekend. Isa?
SOARES: Thanks very much, John. Coming up, new U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has arrived in Japan. The message his trip sends to China and North Korea, ahead. Plus, we look at what went wrong during a raid in Yemen that left civilians and a U.S. navy seal dead.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN QUEST MEANS BUSINESS ANCHOR: I'm Richard Quest and these are the top business headlines. SNAP, the parent company of Snapchat that filed for an IPO. The company's report to be valued between $20 billion and $25 billion, it would make Snap's IPO the biggest since Alibaba in 2014. The chief executive of Uber has left the White House business council.
Travis Kalanick says he told Donald Trump he will not join a meeting of CEOs on Friday because of the President's executive order on immigration. The heads of the big three U.S. airlines have asked for a meeting with the new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The chief executives have dealt the (INAUDIBLE) are reviving their feud with the gulf three, Emirates after having Qatar Airways.
The American carriers say their gulf rivals are taking billions in state subsidies. Donald Trump is telling Mexico it is time to get on with renegotiating NAFTA. The former U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told me there is no quick fix.
MICHAEL FROMAN, FORMER UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Both the U.S. and Mexico and I imagine every country has its domestic procedures that needs to go through. So even under U.S. law, we require 90 days of consultations before we launch a negotiation formally. But that doesn't mean that we can't be having a dialogue with our trading partners, looking at (INAUDIBLE) has already been agreed to and other contexts like TPP and figuring out where to - where to take it from here.
(END OF VIDEOCLIP)
QUEST: Those are the Business Headlines, I'm Richard Quest in New York.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. This is NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles.
[01:24:58] SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London. The time is 6:00 in the morning - 6:24 in the morning. Now, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has arrived in Japan in the last hour or so on the second leg of his first overseas trip since taking over at the Pentagon. He arrived at an air base near Tokyo and is expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the coming hours.
Mattis has met with South Korea's acting President (INAUDIBLE) if you remember. And there he reaffirmed support for the key U.S. ally and defended the planned deployment of the missile defense system there. China has criticized that deployment that Mattis have not, Korea was the only - with only the country needed to fear it. For more on U.S. Defense Secretary strip, we're joined by CNN's Will Ripley in Tokyo and CNN's Paula Hancocks on the border between North and South Korea.
Let me start with Paula if I can, sorry, with Will. Will, did we - did we hear from the Defense Secretary to give us any reassurance or message of support as he landed in the last hour and a half or so?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He didn't make any public remarks, Isa, and we don't actually expect to hear much from him, publicly, until a press conference tomorrow with Japan's Defense Secretary Tomomi Inada, where the two of them will stand together and talk about what they discussed during this trip on the ground here in Japan. But we do know that meetings are under way right now are scheduled to be at least with the U.S. embassy officials, U.S. military officials and then Secretary Mattis will be heading to the Prime Minister's office, another meeting with other high-ranking members of the Abe administration here in Japan. Shinzo Abe is the first meeting but then also the finance minister, the foreign minister, people that are going to be important to talk to about their objectives for this visit and for the United States - for the United States military involvement here.
SOARES: Will, stay with us. I want to bring Paula in. Paula, in the last 25 minutes or so, we got news that North Korea has dismissed a key aide to leader Kim Jong-un. What more can you tell us?
PAULA HANCOCKS: Yes, this is really, Isa, a show that the purges are continuing as many defectors have been saying. This is one of the very close aides of Kim Jong-un presumably, the Minister for State Security Kim Won-hong. Now, this ministry is basically in charge of counter intelligence, is in charge of the prison camps and also espionage. So it's a very significant ministry that is believed to be directly reportable to Kim Jong-un, himself.
Now, this particular person was put on the blacklist just last month by the United States, the sanctions that they put in place. We understand from this information is from the South Korean unification ministry. They say that they believed that he was punished for abuse of power, corruption and human rights abuses. It's what really shows that it is business as usual in North Korea that these purges of some barely high-profile people is continuing. Isa?
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
SOARES: Paula Hancocks there for us in North/South Korean border and Will Ripley for us in Tokyo. Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, coming up here, on the defense, the White House says Sunday's raid in Yemen was well planned but the Obama administration is firing back at claims the former president approved the assault.
[01:31:40] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Isa Soares in London.
Let me up to date on the main news headlines this hour -
VAUSE: The joint U.S./United Arab Emirates raid in Yemen is raising questions about President Trump's approach to fighting terrorism. The assault killed 14 al Qaeda fighters, 10 civilians and a U.S. Navy SEAL.
Chief U.S. security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, reports on what went wrong.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, new information that President Trump was actively involved in the decision making on the Yemen raid up until the final hours.
On January 25th, four days before the mission, the president was briefed by national security advisor, Michael Flynn, and then again during a 10-person White House later dinner that evening. The dinner, at Mr. Trump's request, included his three closest aids, chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and senior advisors, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He, then, on that evening, had a dinner meeting where the operation was laid out in great extent. SCIUTTO: Like many high-risk military missions, the planning was
months in the making. The initial proposed plans were first sent to the Pentagon on November 7th during the Obama administration and one day before the election.
Department of Defense lawyers and legal experts then reviewed the details before approving the plan and sending it to the National Security Council on December 19th.
Next, it was reviewed by defense, state and the National Security Council.
But one final delay, waiting for a moonless night to help conceal U.S. Special Operators. That would not come until late in January after the swearing in of Donald Trump.
The new president gave final approval on January 26t h, one day after the White House dinner, three days to mission launch.
SPICER: This was a very, very well thought out and executed effort.
SCIUTTO: The raid targeted a suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula compound in Yemen. U.S. Navy SEALs and UAES Special Operators encountered AQAP fighters as they approached the compound. According to the Pentagon, the fighters, including some females, positioned themselves along rooftops on adjacent buildings, pinning down U.S.-led forces. Aircraft conducted an airstrike, leading 23 civilian deaths, according to an NGO. The al Qaeda fighters used heavy arms, killing Navy SEAL William Ryan Owens. An Osprey was damaged as it tried to land to rescue the wounded. Special Operators took intelligence materials from the compound, including computer hard drives.
[01:35:20] SPICER: When you look at what was gained to prevent the future loss of life here in America, and against our people and our institutions and throughout the world, in terms of what these individuals could have done, I think it is a successful operation by all standards.
SCIUTTO (on camera): Tonight, Obama administration officials are disputing the Trump administration claim this was a raid in Yemen approved by President Obama first. They say, one, that's not true. Two, that's not the way things are done, that a raid like this, with this sensitivity on the ground, would not be approved, in their words, weeks or months in advance.
Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
SOARES: Allegations of Russian fake news campaigns are popping up throughout Europe. We'll take you to Prague where the fight is going full tilt.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles.
SOARES: I'm Isa Soares in London.
A surge in violence has brought the conflict in Ukraine back to the international stage. Now the head of the European Council is echoing other world leaders, tweeting, "Fighting in eastern Ukraine must stop now and cease-fire honored. Russia should use its influence to disengage Russian-backed separatists." That is a tweet from Donald Tusk, who will be among the E.U. leaders set to arrive in Malta for their first summit in the Trump era.
Claire Sebastian is live in Moscow with more.
Claire, before we discuss the summit in Malta, I want to get you reaction from these words from Nikki Haley, the U.S. envoy to the U.N.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. It is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States representatives have needed to do that. It should not have to be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:40:24] SOARES: Haley criticizing Russia's actions in Ukraine. How has that been received by Moscow -- Claire?
CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESOPNDENT: No reaction from the kremlin as yet but the reaction yet, but the Russian ambassador to the U.N. said after that special meeting he put a positive spin on it. He said you know, he saw a noticeable change in tone from the U.S. and that this was a friendly enough speech, given the circumstances, and it's just the beginning of the road and he hopes that things will be more constructive going forward. So, putting a positive spin on it there. The Russian media latching on to the comment from Nikki Haley that she still hopes that relations between Russia and the U.S. will be improved. But we do expect to hear from the Russian foreign ministry in the next hour. We expect more reaction at that time.
SOARES: And we know from Donald Tusk's letter he has written a letter to E.U. leaders ahead of the summit and he said they'll be focused on Europe's the migration crisis, Brexit, and the new American administration, and Russia in particular. Can we expect the European leaders to take a hawkish tone toward Russia and keep the sanctions in place?
SEBASTIAN: Absolutely. I think it's fair to say the majority of Europe is still taking a very tough stance on Russia, particularly the likes of France and Germany, saying they don't believe any sanctions should be lifted until Russia agrees to the full implementation of the Minsk cease-fire agreement in the Ukraine. The E.U. voted to extend sanctions on Russia back on December 7th. But President Putin was visiting Hungary yesterday, another E.U.
member that takes an opposite view on Russian sanctions saying that they are not helping anyone. An interesting dynamic there. Not everyone sees the sanctions in the same way, but it's the majority of them are taking a tough stance.
SOARES: Yeah, he very much pro Putin, pro Trump.
Claire Sebastian there for us in Moscow.
Thanks very much, Claire.
British defense secretary, Michael Fallon, is accusing Russia of targeting Western democracy with sustained cyberattacks, weaponizing misinformation to destabilize the West and weaken NATO. He also called Russian President Vladimir Putin a strategic competitor of the West.
I visited the Czech Republic where they are fight this new kind of war online.
SOARES (voice-over): Prague's heart may lie in Europe but the ghosts of a Soviet past still haunt the Czechs. 27 years on, since the fall of Communism, the Czech government now says the fight is online, accusing Russia of waging an information war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ultimate Russian goal is to bring us back into the Russia sphere of influence. They want to weaken Europe. They want to make sure that western Europe is not able to stand up to them.
SOARES: In the last few years Czechs tell me they see a rise in anti- U.S., anti-NATO and anti-E.U. rhetoric.
(on camera): Direct links to Russia may be hard to prove but one government source says there are 40 pro-Russian websites in the country. So, the Czech government set up a unit to tackle what it calls hybrid threats and disinformation, and it's happening in the building behind me.
(voice-over): Managed by the ministry of interior, they have been countering these falsehoods from the beginning of this year, flagging on Twitter stories they say are hoaxes.
The manager of the unit tells me it's a team of 14 young computer analysts and seasoned intelligence experts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The objective of the disinformation is to somehow disrupt the social balance in the country. We don't want to be just pessimistic. We want to take a proactive approach.
SOARES: He has reason to be wary. According to this report by the security agency, there is little doubt of Russia's involvement. It accuses Russia of infiltrating Czech media to dissuade perceptions and creating tensions within the Czech Republic and spreading alarming rumors about the U.S. And NATO.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We follow the money and how the alternative websites are financed. There are links to people who are connected to Russia.
SOARES (on camera): How real is the threat in Europe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the biggest threat since the 1930s.
[01:45:16] SOARES (voice-over): The fear is palpable here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGAUGE)
SOARES: At this school in Prague, they teach 17 and 18-years-old how to spot Russian propaganda.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): Media, traditional media and social networks are influencing the results of elections.
SOARES: Crucial, given that most of the class will be voting for the first time in Czech elections in October, elections some fear could be manipulated by former foes.
SOARES: When asked about the Czech Republic's allegations, the Kremlin deflected any questions. President Putin and other Russian officials have denied accusations put forth by the U.S., Germany and others that Moscow is behind the spread of fake news and attempts to influence elections.
John, as you well know, plenty of elections, this year, many concerns over Russia's influence in that -- John?
VAUSE: Indeed, there are, Isa.
We'll take a short break here. When we come back, the Super Bowl teams are set, but a boycott is already brewing over a controversial television commercial.
[01:50:11] VAUSE: Millions of fans will tune in on Sunday for Super Bowl LI, the U.S. football championship between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. The Falcons arrived in Houston the number- one offense in the league. The Patriots are ranked number one in defense.
The Super Bowl is the most watched TV event in the United States. That is a lot of potential customers to see the slick and memorable commercials, among them this ad from Anheuser Busch, which tapes into America's immigration past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You don't look like you're from around here.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGAUGE).
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Welcome to America.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You're not wanted here. Go back home.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Next time, this is the beer we drink.
UIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKIG FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Makes you feel all warm and gooey inside.
We have Lynn Vavreck here, a professor of communications at UCLA here in Los Angeles.
Good to see you.
Let's talk about that Budweiser ad, called "Born the Hard Way," talking about the company founder. And the ad has nothing do with what is happening in the United States about immigration right now. But the right-wing website, "Breitbart," called it a pro-immigration commercial and there is a boycott called for Bud beer. Could they have spent a lot of money to alienate a lot of people who drink Bud?
LYNN VAVRECK, PROFESSOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, UCLA: One thing to keep in mind is we often use sport analogies or brand analogies when we talk about politics. Democrats and Republicans as teams or brands. But people are loyal to the brands even if they wade into some political territory. And it is plausible that this ad is about the American dream and everybody identifies with that a little bit.
VAUSE: Well, the other striking ad, I think, is Audi's commercial that delivers a message on pay equal. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets. Or maybe -- I'll be able to tell her something different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. It has struck a nerve. I will read you some of the comments from online.
"Hey, Audi, little tears are still the sweetest."
"Social justice warriors just leave. I will never buy Audi. You've lost me, blah.
"Supposed to evoke an emotional response and it does. Disgust for Audi and their pathetic attempt to politicize a car commercial. Enough already."
That is not the response that Audi was expecting, or is it?
VAVRECK: The question is, are people already driving Audis going to leave the brand because of this, versus are people who were not going to buy an Audi but are drawn to the message go test drive one? If you love an Audi, you are not going to abandon it because of this ad.
VAUSE: You're saying they are trying to get more women clearly to buy an Audi.
VAVRECK: And it's emotional.
VAUSE: Very emotional.
Another emotional ad from a company called 84 Lumber that shows a journey of a mother and daughter from Mexico to the United States. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The company said it had to edit out a scene where the mother and daughter come up against a wall because FOX, which is broadcasting the Super Bowl, said that's too controversial. What is your opinion?
VAVRECK: I think this ad really is in a different category. No one has brand loyalty to --
VAUSE: 84 Lumber?
VAVRECK: I'm sorry to say that, but --
VAUSE: Hey, they're my favorite building supplier.
VAVRECK: But the ad really is -- if you read the reporting, it's meant to appeal to people who might come and want jobs and work for the company. And so, we obviously not seen this part of the ad that they're going to reveal on Sunday. It's hard to say whether it was too political or not. But, again, everyone will be watching.
VAUSE: Great publicity.
VAUSE: Let's finish with something a little bit fun, because this is an ad that's come up a couple of times during the Super Bowl, the ad for Mountain Dew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I might just chill tonight.
MONKEY: Monkey baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAVRECK: The mash up of things that don't belong together --
VAUSE: It's scary.
VAVRECK: -- is wat they were going for. Maybe that's a commentary on the political climate now, too.
VAUSE: Oh, no.
Ruined the Mountain View. It's a freaky ad with a freaky monkey.
VAUSE: Lynn, great to see you.
VAVRECK: Nice to see you.
VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London.
I'm still disturbed by that last ad.
VAUSE: You should be.
SOARES: We'll be back with more news after this short break.
[02:00:11] SOARES: Hello. And a very warm welcome to our viewers right around the world.