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Judges Grill Lawyers On Both Sides Of The Ban; Sen. Elizabeth Warren Rebuked On The Senate Floor; Pentagon Says There Is No Question Of Russia's Involvement In The Violence In Ukraine; 7-Year-Old Refugee Girl From Syria Writes A Letter to President Trump; Washington State Solicitor General Says Reinstating Travel Ban Would Throw The U.S. Into Chaos; Phone Call Between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan And President Trump; Der Spiegel Implores Germany To Take Action And It Uses Highly Charged Language To Describe Donald Trump; First Lady Melania Trump Sues The Daily Mail. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 8, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: President Trump's travel has its day in court. Judges grilled lawyers on both sides of the ban, those for and those against.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: A 7-year-old Syrian refugee who caught the world's attention online has a new message for Donald Trump.
SOARES: Plus, the first lady's lawsuit for $150 million claiming a newspaper has damage her brand.
VAUSE: Hello. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Vause here live in Los Angeles.
SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London. Now, a US appeals court could rule at any time on whether to reinstate President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban. The three-judge panel had arguments in a phone call on Tuesday evening. Now, the Justice Department said Mr. Trump is trying to protect US as well as national security is the president's responsibility, not that of the court. But Washington State solicitor general says restoring the travel ban would throw the country into chaos.
VAUSE: Civil rights attorney at The Bloom Firm, Lisa Bloom is here to break down the legal arguments before the federal court. Lisa, good to see you. This was a hotbed. These three judges, they were very forthright. They had some tough questions. On the government side, they seemed to zero in on the question if anyone from the seven banned countries had entered the US and committed an act of terrorism. They haven't at this point. Why was that so important?
LISA BLOOM, FOUNDER AND OWNER, THE BLOOM FIRM: Because that's the justification for the Trump travel ban that these seven countries are inherently dangerous, so they had to act quickly to block travelers from those countries. And, in fact, as the court seems to be pointing out through their questions, nobody from any of those countries have committed a fatal act of terrorism in the United States. The difference between a court and being in the political process is in the court you actually have to have facts that are backed up by evidence and apparently there wasn't on that point.
VAUSE: OK. Well, lawyers representing Washington State arguing to keep his temporary stay in place. They raised the issue of religious discrimination, but there was pushback from at least one of the judges who said their evidence on that was pretty thin. Again, why is this important?
BLOOM: Because the constitutional violation here is a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition of establishment of religion. You cannot establish a religion in United States, meaning you can't discriminate based on religion. If this is truly a Muslim ban, it is unconstitutional and the State of Washington is arguing that it is a Muslim ban. After all, Trump called for a Muslim ban in the election. Rudy Giuliani said that Trump wanted a Muslim ban, that's why he did this. It's a ban of seven Muslim countries and the Christians are accepted. So, that's the basis of the argument.
VAUSE: Listening to a lot of questioning from the three judges, it seems at least two of the three had a fairly harsh appraisal of the travel ban. Is it safe to assume that those two judges may be leaning towards keeping this stay in place or is that sort of dangerous to do that judging on what they're asking?
BLOOM: It's a little bit dangerous. Listen, I'm in court all of the time. Judges ask me questions. I walk out thinking, yes, I got this, and then I get the decision and it turns out I didn't. So, you really can't bank on it. I think it is pretty clear from the judge's questions, at least they feel that the standing argument is good enough. In other words that the State of Washington has standing to come into court and make that argument. I don't think they're going to dismiss it on that ground. But I think they're all going to take this under consideration and we'll have to wait and see what their decision is.
VAUSE: And just to be clear, this is just simply to that stay in place. It's not actually about the constitutionality of the executive order itself.
BLOOM: That's correct. But one of the issues is whether the State of Washington is likely to win on the merits - on the merits of what - well, the constitutional traditional argument. So, the court is making a very early decision, saying that we think this is unconstitutional, if they choose to uphold the lower court order. So, they're not making a final ruling, but they're giving you a pretty good indication of where it would turn out.
VAUSE: As always, Lisa, thanks so much. Lisa Bloom, civil rights attorney at The Bloom Firm. Thanks for being with us.
BLOOM: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) Ethan Bearman, and Stanford University Research Fellow, Lanhee Chen. Thanks for being with us. So, we've got the situation. The temporary travel ban is in court, before the judges, but we've also heard from the Secretary of Homeland security, John Kelly, who was before Congress on Tuesday. He took responsibility for some of the confusion and some of the problems caused by this executive order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:05] JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: In retrospect, I should have. This is all on me, by the way. I should have delayed it just a bit, so that I could talk to members of Congress, particularly the leadership of committees like this to prepare them for what was coming. We did have to step back and kind of recock in that first 24- hour period because of action by one of the federal courts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ethan, at least someone within the Trump administration is willing to admit, at the very least, the rollout of the order wasn't especially great.
ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes. Secretary Kelly did a great job. As a good general, he fell on the sword for the Trump administration that rolled this out without proper planning, without proper communication, wasn't a well-thought-out executive order. This is why it's being hung up in the Ninth Circuit right now. Everything about this is wrong. Congratulations to Secretary Kelly for doing what was right. Now, if only President Trump would follow that old mantra of the buck stops here.
VAUSE: Lanhee, is General Kelly essentially taking the blame for the rest of the administration, for the President.
LANHEE CHEN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY RESEARCH FELLOW: Yes. Look, I think General Kelly is articulating something that a lot of people have said, which is that the way - the process in which this executive order was rolled out was problematic. It was problematic because it wasn't vetted by the proper individuals, including General Kelly, and it didn't get buy-in frankly from a lot of folks that they probably should have gotten buy-in from. Those are process arguments. I think General Kelly did the thing that you expect people in his position to do. He did the right thing today. The broader issue, thought, is that General Kelly is still agreeing with the substance of the order, and I think that that's going to be important going forward that the administration speak in a unified voice regarding what the order was trying to accomplish.
VAUSE: We have also this ongoing issue with the president who, it appears, continues to make false and misleading statements like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The murder rate in our country is the highest it's been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? 47 years. I used to use that - I'd say that on a speech and everybody was surprised because the press doesn't tell it like it is. It wasn't to their advantage to say that. But the murder rate is at the highest it's been, I guess, from 45 to 47 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: And, Ethan, what then happens usually, the president will say something that is inaccurate or misleading or false, and then everyone in the administration seems to try to essentially twist the facts to make them fit what the president had said instead of correcting the record?
BEARMAN: I mean, this is just - it's shocking. We're two weeks into his administration and we just get lie after lie after lie. Remember, he also said in an interview, only 109 people got held up because of the travel ban, which then later the same day the DHS said it was 721. And then, we find out in the court that it's 100,000. You know, the murder rate - Donald Trump was around in the 1970s when we had our peak in the murder rate. We are significantly lower than it. Of course, we need it even lower than it is. Now, this guy is winging it as president of the United States of America. His people like Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer come out and try and cover for him. This is shameful and it's wrong. And to attack the media makes it even worse in terms of what this is doing for his presidency and to the American people, for that matter.
VAUSE: In the interest of clarity, that number was revised down to 60,000, still a very high number, but not 100,000. But the point is taken.
Lanhee, this does seem to be fairly unique to this administration when it comes to these misleading or false statements, which come out day after day.
Chen: John, I'm not sure it is unique to this administration. I think that's part of the reason why Americans frankly have become so disillusioned with politics. You go back to the last administration, there was President Obama saying with respect to the Affordable Care Act, if you like your plan, you can keep it. People were going to see $2500 reductions in their premiums per month on healthcare. Those ended up to be untruths as well. Not to excuse the behavior of saying things that are untrue, merely to say that, in politics, in some ways, we've become used to this and it's unfortunate.
Now, with respect to the media, I think it's also fair to say that in many situations, people don't trust the media frankly. And I think that has contributed to the kind of dialogue and frankly some of the strategies that the administration has pursued in their engagement with the media thus far.
VAUSE: There was also the claim by the president on Monday that the media has his own agenda. It's deliberately not reporting terror attacks, which is not true. Here's another exchange between Jake Tapper and Kellyanne Conway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He was saying the media does not cover these stories because we don't want to cover them because we have some sort of agenda. That's what he was suggesting. And it's offensive given the fact that CNN and other media organizations have reporters in danger right now in war zones, covering ISIS, and I just don't understand how the president can make an attack like that.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no question about that. Well, first of all, I want to tell you, I don't intend it as being - I'm crediting the coverage of CNN and your colleagues across the media gave to these high-profile and high-casualty, very sad, very vicious attacks.
TAPPER: They're on the list of under-covered attacks.
[02:10] CONWAY: As were dozens and dozens of others. But I do know what the president's point was because I discussed it with him directly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The point was the president wanted to highlight that many attacks go sort of underreported and he wanted to bring attention to that. But also during the interview, Conway offered this defense of the president. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: Are they more important than the many things that he says that are true that are making a difference in people's lives?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, in other words, are his falsehoods more important than the stuff that he says is true, all the stuff that he's actually doing for the American people. Ethan, is it more sort of startling that Conway admitted the president is making false statements or that she said it essentially doesn't matter?
BEARMAN: She said it doesn't matter. He can lie all he wants because as long as he's feeding red meat to his base, yes, get those foreigners out of here, let's make the other bad, let's follow in the steps of President Erdogan in Turkey right now cracking down on the media or President Putin in Russia who does those same things. Is that really what we want the United States to be? Is like that where we remove the media which is explicitly protected in our First Amendment? By the way, I just have to throw in, let's start calling him St. Jake Tapper for maintaining his calm in that interview. Kellyanne Conway has the hardest job on earth right now, to know that President Trump is making lie after lie after lie just openly in public and then she has to cover for him. I feel bad for Kellyanne right now.
VAUSE: I mean, Lanhee, do you get a sense that there is a higher turnover of falsehoods or we're constantly fact-checking this administration to try and find out exactly what the truth is?
CHEN: Well, I think there's a couple of things. First of all, John, there is carryover from the campaign, the way the campaign was waged, how divisive it was, the relationship that the media had with the Trump campaign I don't think was particularly strong, and so I think some of those things are carrying over. I think it's the case that some in the media see it as their task and their job to hold the administration accountable. I think that's the nature of the First Amendment. That's the nature of our democracy. And I think people in the media should continue to do their job in that respect. But, again, it comes back to the perception of the media amongst many Americans, certainly many people who supported Donald Trump don't have a particularly positive impression of the media. And I think this is all part of a strategic effort to emphasize how the president is not satisfied with the status quo, he's going to do what he needs to do to get his message out there.
VAUSE: There was a stunning moment on the floor of the US Senate just a few hours ago. Elizabeth Warren, she was speaking out against the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, she was reading from a 1986 letter which was written by the widow of Martin Luther King Junior. It was written in opposition to Sessions' nomination as a federal judge. That's when the Republican-controlled Senate voted that she violated the rules of debate, imputing the reputation of another senator. She is now forbidden to speak for the rest of the debate, probably sometime on Wednesday. Sen. Warren spoke to CNN a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASS.: They can shut me out, but they can't change the truth. What Coretta Scott King talked about Jeff Sessions back in 1986 is something every American should know about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ethan, this was an incredible level, which will draw more attention to Jeff Sessions and his civil rights record, won't it?
BEARMAN: Yes, it should. And by the way, what an insane move on the part of the Republicans in the Senate. You have a senator that is up for confirmation to be Attorney General. Of course, they're going to have to speak their minds about him. This was an abuse of power by the Senate Republicans. And on top of it all, reading a letter from Coretta Scott King violated Senate rules. For shame on the Republicans, this is wrong on every level and I say congratulations to Sen. Warren for bringing it up and I hope she continues to speak out on this topic.
VAUSE: Lanhee, was this a bad tactical move by the Republicans and the Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. The chamber was almost empty, but, you know, they were holding this speakathon 24-hour sessions, why pick up fight when the confirmation of Jeff Sessions is pretty much a done deal anyway?
CHEN: Well, I think part of it was to try to return a little bit of decorum frankly to the Senate floor. It wasn't for reading the letter that Sen. Warren was cited. It's called Rule 19 that she was cited for violating the rule that prevents you from impugning another senator. It was all of her other frankly personal attacks against Jeff Sessions. She had every right, of course, to express her point of view and I think she did so. But what Sen. McConnell is doing is basically saying enough is enough. BEARMAN: He's a nominee. He's a nominee, though. He's not just a sitting senator. He's a nominee. She has to be able to speak about the nominee for attorney general. This was abuse of power by the Republican bringing up Rule 19.
CHEN: - Sen. Sessions and that's why she was censored in the way that she was. It's totally within the prudential responsibility of the Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, to do what he did and I think he did the right thing tonight.
[02:15] BEARMAN: Then apparently you can't nominate senators for cabinet positions. If she can't speak openly about him, then you can't nominate him anymore.
VAUSE: We have time for, I think, one more. Very quickly, Mitch McConnell, on the Senate floor, he said this to Elizabeth Warren, she was warned, she was given an explanation, nevertheless she persisted. And, Lanhee, some of the comments on some social media about that have been scathing.
CHEN: And I get that. I think people want to take Sen. Warren's side. That's fine. But I think Sen. McConnell did what he thought was necessary in terms of restoring order on the Senate floor and every Senate majority leader has the opportunity to do that. Sen. Reid used his power in the same way when he was Senate majority leader. Look, this is just part of the process. Unfortunately, it's gotten quite nasty. If the Senate Democrats did not pursue a historic stonewalling of President Trump's nominees, we wouldn't be here.
VAUSE: OK. Final word to Lanhee. Thanks for being with us, Lanhee Chen and Ethan Bearman. Really appreciate it. Thank you.
BEARMAN: Thank you.
SOARES: And in case you missed it earlier, you can watch Jake Tapper's entire interview with Kellyanne Conway that's coming up in the next hour right here on CNN.
VAUSE: Do not miss it. We'll take a short break now. When we come back, the Pentagon says there is no question of Russia's involvement in the violence in Ukraine. But President Trump says that he's not so sure. We'll have the latest from Moscow in a moment.
SOARES: And the lawyers for the first lady say a newspaper article cost her the opportunity to make millions ahead. The fine line between Melania Trump (INAUDIBLE) next.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Weather watch. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri for you right now and show you what's happening around the United States where we have cold air across the northern tier of the US and a dramatic shift here going from winter to spring-like condition in the next couple of days and then flipping back and forth here as we go temps into the 20s around Atlanta down to about 11, back up to 21. Look at there, Washington DC at 16 degrees, dropping off sharply down into around 3 and now also warming back up. And New York City in store here for a significant snowstorm in the forecast as this storm system comes in, initially giving you that southerly flow which brings the warm air and then the snow showers back behind us as the airflow becomes more northerly and we see the cold air filter in. Could see as much as a - about 30 cm or so of snow fall in the forecast across parts of New York over the next several days and that could come in actually at the Thursday morning commute time. So, we're watching that very carefully as this could be the heaviest snow event for some major cities of the Northeast for the first time this season, of course, but also one of the first ones to come in quite a while for a week day. So, we could have some impact across that area. We'll go with 4 degrees in Montreal; 15 today out of New York City; temps in Los Angeles getting showery again; up to 19 degrees and tremendous rainfall in the forecast around parts of Northern California in the next several days. Down to the Caribbean, we go, Havana at 31, Kingston also at 31 degrees with dry conditions.
[02:20] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SOARES: Now, the Pentagon says Russia is involved in the growing violence in Eastern Ukraine just days after President Trump's cast doubt over Moscow's role in the conflict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, HOST, THE O'REILLY FACTOR, "FOX NEWS": You talked to Putin last week. You had a busy week last week.
TRUMP: I'm pretty busy. Busy week-and-a-half.
O'REILLY: But within 24 hours with you on the phone with the Russian leader, the pro-Russian forces step up the violence in Ukraine.
O'REILLY: Did you take that as an insult.
TRUMP: No, I didn't because we don't really know exactly what that is. They're pro forces. We don't know, are they uncontrollable, are they uncontrolled also. That happens also. We're going to find out. I would be surprised, but we'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, the Pentagon contradicted Mr. Trump on Tuesday. This is what it said. "Russia has its fingerprints all over what is going on in Eastern Ukraine." That's from the Pentagon spokesman. Let's get more on this. CNN's Clare Sebastian joins me now live from Moscow.
And, Clare, how is the Kremlin reacting to this comment - indeed, the assessment of the conflict in Ukraine by the Pentagon?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. So, well, no official comment out of the Kremlin as yet to those Pentagon comments. But it's worth noting that all along, Russia has said that it's not party to this conflict, that it's armed forces are not involved despite the fact that at least the previous US administration and its European allies have agreed on the fact that Russia wields considerable influence over those separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, on the phone to President Putin just yesterday asking him to use his influence there to end the violence in Eastern Ukraine.
But as to the assessment by President Trump to that situation in Eastern Ukraine, well, that got a seal of approval on Tuesday from Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He praised the approach that President Trump took, saying that he doesn't know yet exactly what's going on, but he's going to find out. He said this marks a "qualitative shift" from the approach that they saw under the Obama administration. So, that's very much the kind of rhetoric that we've had throughout the past weeks from Russia on its US relationship that they are hopeful for better ties than they had with the Obama administration. Still definitely leaving the door open from that, despite the fact that we see these mixed messages coming out of Washington, Isa.
SOARES: Clare Sebastian there for us in Moscow. Thanks very much, Clare. John?
VAUSE: Well, Isa, the US travel indefinitely suspends refugees from Syria, including one little girl turned activist. Before escaping the City of Aleppo, many came to know Bana Alabed and her mother through their Twitter account, which documented the horror of Syria's civil war. And as Jomana Karadsheh reports, Bana has a message now for President Trump.
BANA ALABED, SYRIAN REFUGEE: If you promise to me you will do something for the children of Syria. I am already your new friend.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN REPORTER: (voice-over): Bana's letter to President Trump last month was full of hope that America's new leader would hear her pleas, pleas from the 7-year-old refugee who became the face and voice of Syria's children after tweeting with her mother about life under siege in Aleppo. But far from extending a hand of friendship, America's president slammed the door. Bana and her family know they're more fortunate than others. Because of Bana's high profile, they were admitted into Turkey in December.
At a park in Ankara, war seems like a distant memory. Bana's 3-year- old brother Noor born into war had never been to a playground before arriving in Turkey.
NOOR, SYRIAN REFUGEE: I'm very happy so much, safe and peace and play. There is no bombing.
KARADSHEH: At the age of five, her brother Mohamed is too young to remember life before war. The impact is evident. Whenever he sees strangers, Mohamed hides. Fatemah says there's no escaping the trauma they suffered. Now, her children are overwhelmed by the simplest of things. FATEMAH ALABED, SYRIAN REFUGEE: When they saw this fruit, vegetables and the sweets and milk, clean water, my kids thought they are in heaven.
KARADSHEH: Fatemah and Bana want to keep speaking out for Syrian refugees. They hope President Trump would "delete his decision."
[02:25] ALABED: Like he has now a power to ban the people, he has the power to make a difference in this world and make all the world work for supporting the Syrian people and refugees and stop the war.
KARADSHEH: Bana might be too young to understand why the American president may not have the time to write back to a little Syrian refugee girl.
"I sent him a letter asking to help Syrian children. I would love Syrian children to stay alive," she says, "but he banned Syrians, but children are not terrorists." A plea from a child once in danger, now in safety, for the millions of others living in fear.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Ankara.
SOARES: An inspiration, that little girl. An Iranian baby temporarily caught in President Trump's travel ban will get the critical surgery she needs. Four-month-old Fatemah Rashad was admitted to hospital in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday. She was born with a life-threatening heart defect that physicians in Iran aren't able to treat. Doctors in Oregon said they're optimistic about her fate. She and her family were initially denied a visa to the US, but many state and federal officials intervened so that she could get permission to enter the US. We wish her all the best of luck.
VAUSE: Yes, she's a cutie. OK, a short break here. When we come back, the future of thousands of refugees hanging in the balance. Ahead, the UN's concerns about Donald Trump's travel ban.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM in London time where the time is 7:30 in the morning.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: Thanks for staying with us. I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles. Just on 11:30 here at night. Washington State solicitor general says reinstating President Donald Trump's travel ban would throw the US into chaos. That was just one of the arguments he made to US Appeals Court on Tuesday. The Justice Department, the attorneys there, they maintained national security decisions belong to the president and not to the court. He faced intense questions over whether the president's executive order amounts to a Muslim ban. Lawyers for Washington State argued a Muslim ban was the exact intention of the order. Now, the court is expected to make a decision this week on whether to restore the travel ban or leave that stay in place. SOARES: Although it is currently suspended, the Trump administration's travel ban is raising concerns about thousands of refugees who were in the process of being resettled in the United States. Joining us now from Geneva to talk more about what the UN - is the UN's Assistant Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk. Mr. Turk, thank you very much for joining us here on the show. As you just heard there from my colleague, the US Appeals Courts has heard arguments now whether to reinstate Donald Trump's ban, what is your reaction to that ban?
VOLKER TURK, ASSISTANT HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR PROTECTION, UNHCR: Well, obviously, resettlement - refugee resettlement is an incredibly important contribution which has had bipartisan support for decades in the US. So, it's a contribution to the American society. It's a contribution to refugees first and foremost. And actually, it has acted in the interest of Americans. I had a chance to talk to many Americans over the years who have interacted with resettled refugees, and what they're telling me is that type of interaction has changed their lives. It has been an incredible experience of interaction, of engagement with people who are the most vulnerable on Earth. I think it's also important to bear in mind that - and that's what these Americans have told me that refugees contribute enormously economically and socially to society. They give back to what they have received.
SOARES: And the ban can affect something like 20,000 refugees. Explain to us where this leaves them basically.
TURK: Well, it's a temporary suspension of the resettlement program, as you know. It means that we estimate some 20,000 people may for the time being affected. Obviously, we seek to engage with the US administration, to hear and listen to their concerns and to address them. Resettlement process is one of the most vetted processes in order for any traveler to enter the United States. That's the process that is the most scrutinized, the most screened process. So, we hope that - when we talk in the next couple of weeks with the US administration that these concerns can be addressed and can be met, so that we can make this strong compelling case for the grand humanitarian tradition that the US has demonstrated for decades, the global leadership that the country has demonstrated and resume this vital program of getting people to safety and help them restart their lives.
SOARES: Do you believe, Mr. Turk, that Trump's ban - President Trump's ban is violating international norms and indeed refugee conventions?
TURK: Resettlement is an act of generosity. It's part of a grand humanitarian tradition that the US has shown for decades. It changes and saves lives. We hope that this is what is going to be put into the future discussions that we are going to have with the US government about this.
SOARES: Besides leaving so many people in limbo, paint us a picture of what this does and where this leaves the tens and thousands of refugees really who have been trying to flee war and oppression. Paint us a picture of the precarious circumstances this leaves them in.
[02:35] TURK: Well, refugees are victims who flee oppression, who flee human rights violations, who flee violence, who flee terrorism. So, they are often the most precarious circumstances because you know they are like you and me. If from one day to the next, because of war, you have to flee, you end up in an extremely difficult situation. You've lost everything. So, one of the solutions to help refugees get on with their lives is resettlement. So, it's a vital protection tool. It's a vital tool of saving lives, of helping people to get on with their lives. And refugees will pay this back to these communities. That's the experience that we have had for years, for decades. We know that they act in the interest of whoever societies are going to take them up and that's what we hope we will be able to resume as we move into discussions with the new US administration about this.
SOARES: Thank you very much there. You're joining - you're listening there to UN's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Mr. Volker Turk. Thank you very much, sir.
VAUSE: After a break, when we come back, the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, is pulling no punches in its criticism of US President Donald Trump. Next up, the powerful editorial and the front cover that sparked controversy.
[02:40] VAUSE: We have this just into CNN. Turkish state media reporting on a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the US President Donald Trump. Apparently on this call, they discussed the situation in Syria. The report specifically mentioned safe zones, the refugee crisis and also the fight against terror. Isa?
SOARES: John, German news magazine, Der Spiegel, has set off a sharp debate over its latest cover. It's an illustration of US President Donald Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty as you can see there. An editorial on its English language site implores Germany to take action and it uses highly charged language to describe Mr. Trump. This is what it says. I'm going to read it out to you.
"Germany must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States and his government."
"It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the US is a racist (it also hurts to write this)." It goes on to say, "He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of "betrayal." This is the vocabulary used by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think."
Well, let's get more on this. Klaus Brinkbaumer is the editor-in- chief of Der Spiegel. He joins me now from Hamburg in Germany. Klaus, thank you very much for joining us here on the show. I think it's fair to say Der Spiegel has been making quite the headlines, first with that front cover and now with that editorial. I want to get your reaction from you. You say that President Trump is a dangerous president. Those were the words. What makes him so dangerous?
KLAUS BRINKBAUMER, EDITOR IN CHIEF, DER SPIEGEL: Well, if you undermine democracy by not accepting independent judges, not accepting the role of media, not accepting democratic rules, if you undermine by denying science and facts about, for example, climate change, but many others, that makes you dangerous, that makes you a threat to democracy, and that's what I wrote.
SOARES: And in your editorial, you go on to say you're pretty making a rallying call for Europe, in particular, to form an alliance against President Trump. Do you think that Europe is not prepared for Mr. Trump's policies and perhaps do you think that Europe should be more aggressive when it comes President Trump?
BRINKBAUMER: I think it's about two things basically. One is that the United States under Donald Trump are pulling back from the international order. They are pulling back from the role they held for decades and somebody has to step in, somebody has to take responsibility, and it shouldn't be Russia, it shouldn't be China, it should be Europe and Europe is not ready for that. Europe is weak after Brexit. Europe is going to be weaker if Marine Le Pen wins the French elections. So, that's one part.
And the other one is if Donald Trump is - if he continues to threaten democracy and continues to threaten international business, then, of course, Europe has to defend itself. And I'm not talking about military, of course not, but I'm talking about democratic comments.
SOARES: And, Klaus, we know on that point - we know that President Trump backs Brexit, we know he's done that so openly. We also know how he sees the EU, calling it simply a vehicle for Germany. Could his policy and indeed his rhetoric impact elections in Europe? And indeed, in Germany where Chancellor Merkel faces reelection, we are seeing that wave of populism in Europe, aren't we?
Brinkbaumer: Yes. And it could succeed. And Donald Trump could succeed and others, of course, are trying to destroy Europe and trying to destroy the European Union. It could happen. It could happen after the French elections. It could happen later on. Actually, I don't really think that Marie Le Pen is going to win, but she might and then Europe is in serious danger. Yes.
SOARES: I wanted to bring up, if we can, to my producer, that cover again of Der Spiegel that you have of President Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty. Do you still stand by that cover? Have you had to apologize? Will you apologize for that?
BRINKBAUMER: No, why should I? I mean, it's an artwork showing a person - obviously, Donald Trump beheading a symbol, and that's the symbol of democracy, it's the symbol of freedom. The Statue of Liberty has welcomed migrants, tourists, refugees for more than hundred years, a lot more than hundred years, and he's beheading a symbol. He's not beheading a human being. He is beheading democracy on that cover and covers on magazines, of course, are supposed to do exactly that.
SOARES: That may indeed be the case, but you know that many of his policies, he has a great amount of support from those who put him in the White House in the first place. So, what do you say to Americans who supported him, who rally behind him and who continue to do so?
[02:45] BRINKBAUMER: Well, of course, I'm not arguing against the democratic election, but the people who are being elected should respect democratic rules. Of course, I respect everybody who voted for Donald Trump. Why shouldn't I? I mean, it's the American citizens and it's their decision. It's not up to me for -
SOARES: Sure, sure. But his policies - he ran on those policies and those policies have been supported by the American people, policies that you're highlighting in your article are undemocratic.
BRINKBAUMER: Well, I'm not really believing that all the policies are being backed by the American people. Are they backing him denying federal judges, their right to be independent? I don't believe that. No.
SOARES: Thank you very much, Klaus Brinkbaumer. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us here on the show. John?
VAUSE: The US First Lady Melania Trump has kept a low profile since her husband's inauguration last month, but her lawyers have been busy. They are suing the owner of The Daily Mail which published and then retracted a story which they say falsely alleged the first lady once worked for an escort service, causing her emotional and economic damages of at least $150 million. Part of that lawsuit argues Melania Trump had the unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an extremely famous and well-known person as well as a former professional model brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman to launch a broad- based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could've garnered multimillion dollar business relationships for a multiyear term during which the plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.
Civil rights attorney and attorney at The Bloom Firm, Lisa Bloom, joins us now for more on this legal action. Lisa, since the details of that lawsuit were made public, we've heard from representatives for Melania Trump. They issued the statement, the first lady has no intention of using her position for profit and will not do so. Any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted. It seems reading that lawsuit, that's a pretty easy mistake to make.
LISA BLOOM, FOUNDER AND OWNER, THE BLOOM FIRM: This is really shocking. First of all, Melania Trump is responsible for court documents that are filed in her name. I would expect that as a grown woman she would have read it and approved it. And this was just filed yesterday and the words speak for themselves. They say that she was intending to use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being first lady to cash in and make millions of dollars on fragrances and clothing and jewelry. There's no other first lady in US history who has ever done that because our customs are that first ladies do actually good things for the community. There's no law, I suppose, that would prevent her from cashing in, but most Americans would that highly repugnant.
VAUSE: OK. There's no law about cashing in, as you say. The lawsuit does mention products like clothing, haircare, makeup. Could all of this be seen as an abuse of public office for private gain?
BLOOM: Well, absolutely, in a moral sense. I mean, the first lady has such an important job. And first ladies typically are helping children or - in Michelle Obama's case, military families, fighting childhood obesity, they typically take on a cause and use the power of their position to help people. The idea that she intended to use this position to make money in a family that's already so wealthy, she's married to a billionaire, it just makes no sense at all. You really have to scratch your head.
VAUSE: Could these claims of - damage to her commercial interests, could this just be a way to maximize the payouts she might ultimately be awarded in this case?
BLOOM: Well, yes. But that's disturbing too, right, if they're making up allegations in the lawsuit in order for her to get more money against The Daily Mail. I don't condone what the Daily Mail did, running a false story about her, but they did retract it. They did take it back and made it very clear that it was not true. So, I don't know why she is even pursuing this. The Daily Mail's lawyers are now going to have the opportunity to take her deposition, try to rake over the calls, after her tough questions, ask her about this language. I would expect that they would do that. A good lawyer would do that. So, I don't know why she's even choosing to pursue this thing.
VAUSE: Well, I guess the argument could be that she has a right to protect her reputation. She had commercial interests before she became first lady and she has a right to protect those in courts.
BLOOM: Yes. Well, a lot of us have rights to do things, but doesn't mean we should exercise those rights. I tell my clients all the time, you may have a good lawsuit, but it's not in your interest to file it at this time. And Melania Trump, first lady, this is how she wants to spend her time over something that was retracted. That doesn't make a lot of sense either.
VAUSE: OK, Lisa. We'll leave it there. Again, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
BLOOM: Thank you.
SOARES: Now, a tornado touches down in New Orleans, flipping cars, damaging homes, and destroying everything some families had. We have more on that powerful tornado next.
[02:50] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR, WORLD SPORT: Hey, I'm Don Riddell with your
CNN World Sport headlines. Luis Suarez scored and was also sent off as nine-man Barcelona held on to reach the Copa del Rey final with a thrilling aggregate win against ten-men Atletico Madrid. Suarez scored just before half time before Barca's Sergi Roberto and Atletico Yannick Carrasco were sent off for two yellow cards. Substitute Kevin Gameiro missed a penalty before equalizing. Suarez was then shown a second yellow, but Atletico couldn't force extra time.
Leicester City have given "unwavering support" to manager Claudio Ranieri despite the reigning Premier League Champions being just one point above the relegation zone. The Italian is under pressure after a run of just two wins in their last 15 League games. In fact, Leicester are without a league win this year and have yet to score a goal. The Foxes said in a statement that the entire club is and will remain behind its manager.
The US City of Boston loves throwing a parade for its sports teams who have given them very good reason to in recent times. The latest example, of course, the New England Patriot led by quarterback Tom Brady, fresh off their comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots set off on a very familiar route on Tuesday, piling on to those iconic duck boats and showing off the Super Bowl trophy to hundreds of thousands of fans who never seem to tire of seeing it.
That was a quick look at your sports headlines. I'm Don Riddell.
SOARES: Welcome back. You're seeing a powerful tornado there, touching down on Tuesday in New Orleans. There's a state of emergency in Louisiana. 31 people have been injured and dozens of homes are damaged. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the CNN Center in Atlanta. And, Pedram, some of these neighborhoods in New Orleans had only just recovered after losing pretty much everything in Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, very good point. The population actually across the New Orleans East, which is that community the video is coming from Isa, went from 95,000 people back in 2005 and post-Katrina has dropped to 65,000 people. So, certainly, has impacted that region dramatically. And you take a look, the month of February, this is the quietest time of year. You don't expect to see too many tornadoes. In fact, to show you the perspective of how unusual it is to see a large number of tornadoes, look at the State of Louisiana, the state heavily impacted today as well as Mississippi, but look at Louisiana. Two tornadoes the average for February. That is the same as the State of California. So, that kind of gives you the scale here of how often you see tornadoes. That totals to 30 tornadoes for any given February. Keep in mind, last February, we had a near record 138 reports of tornadoes across the United States as well. This particular storm system touching down just east of the city center, the downtown area at right around noon time, so we know the population, of course, is very high and really makes it interesting as well because we know damage has been significant, injuries have been significant. But when you think about tornadoes across this region, we had nine of them coming down across parts of the Southeast, from Mississippi on into Louisiana as well. And for the New Orleans East area, which is across (INAUDIBLE) just about 12 or so miles east. About 1.2 million people live in the New Orleans metro area. So, this region, of course, was heavily impacted back in 2005 from Katrina. And in this go around, it leads to no fatalities and that is really what is the most fascinating about this because when you take a look at fatalities associated with tornadoes in any large population centers just since the year 2007, place like Joplin, Missouri; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Moore, Oklahoma, we've had dozens, if not hundreds, of fatalities associated with these tornadoes. And then work your way towards Atlanta, it was March of 2008. Atlanta - the CNN Center itself - the tornado touched down on top of CNN Center. It took with it one life somewhere in the city here. And we know Brooklyn, New York in 2010, a fatal tornado. In 2007, New Orleans had a tornado that was also fatal. So very fortunate to not lose any lives in a city that is home to 1.2 million, guys.
SOARES: Pedram, thank you very much. Very good to see you. And that does it for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Isa Soares in London. Thank you very much for keeping us company.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. Next, the news continues with Rosemary Church and Max Foster. See you tomorrow.