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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Deadly Storm Shuts Down Northeast Cities; Trump: All Options On the Table Against Iran. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired February 9, 2017 - 16:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:33:56] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with breaking news at the national lead.

That nasty winter storm is now to blame for at least one death as it causes dangerous conditions throughout the Northeast. New York police say a door man was killed after shoveling snow. He somehow slipped and fell through a glass window. In Connecticut, crews had to dig the snow from under a semi that jackknifed on Interstate 95 in the New Haven area. Another tractor-trailer flipped on I-87 in Upstate New York.

This fast-moving storm is heading north now, dropping four inches of snow an hour in some spots, more than 1,800 flights have been canceled. At one point, JFK airport in New York City had to stop all air traffic and wait for conditions to improve. On top of the snow, some parts of the coast are under blizzard warnings with wind gusts nearing 45 miles an hour.

We have teams covering the impact of this storm. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is in New York where the storm shut down the city, but let's start with CNN's Alison Kosik in Boston.

And, Alison, you've watched conditions go from bad to worse today.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bad to worse is exactly right. You know, we've seen, Jake, the storm really come to kind of a lull during the afternoon, but it's really intensified and the snow has accumulated quite a bit over the past several hours.

[16:35:05] I want you to look out here. It's like a picture postcard, but this storm means business. Boston area, the Boston area where I am right now, is under a blizzard warning. The good news is it looks like a lot of people are heeding official warnings to stay off the streets, they're staying home. They're not driving on the streets.

We are seeing a lot of plows clearing the roads, but it's really tough work because as soon as they clear those roads, the snow blows right back on for them to do their work all over again. Now, those who are venturing out, many are taking public transportation. In fact, there's one commuter rail that actually outfitted dozens of trains with snow plows to clear the snow to make it easier to travel on those trains.

Kids are certainly having a good time today. Boston public schools are closed today. They will be closed for a second day tomorrow.

And you said it, Jake, the snow has been falling at a pretty strong clip all day. Two to three inches per hour so you see the accumulation.

It's a little deceiving. I'm going to take a walk here so you can see just how deep it is. Seven to eight inches, I'd say at least, and we're not done yet.

This snow is expected to finally taper off around 8:00 or 9:00 tonight. No relief then, though, because after the snow finishes, then come those brutal temperatures, sub-zero temperatures, expected tonight -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Alison Kosik, thank you so much. Stay warm.

Let's go now to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers in New York.

And, Chad, once the snow stops as Alison just said, bitter cold is going to be the story. How long is that going to be the case?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And bitter wind. It's just coming down the Hudson. It will be here a few more days. But this is a mess here, too.

We also have ice falling off buildings. At 3:00 this morning when I woke up, it was just raining then it turned to all snow, but some of that stuck to the ice windows, those windows, and the pillars around the buildings and now some of that ice is falling from those buildings as it always does here in New York City.

Here's what the radar looks like right now. There is blizzard still going on in the Cape, parts of Boston, parts of Nantucket, all the way into Rhode Island and even eastern parts of Long Island. Now, the snow has been about nine inches deep right here in Central Park, but in other parts --

TAPPER: Sounds like we lost the audio for Chad Myers. Let's thank him for his work and move on.

Is Iran taunting the United States with its latest missile test? The White House's reaction and what it could mean for the Iran deal.

Then, what's so funny? A look at why cursing has been making people laugh for decades. "Will and Grace" actor Sean Hayes joins me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:41:53] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Turning to our world lead now, U.S. officials confirming to CNN that Iran test fired an air missile defense yesterday. This comes, of course, just days after the regime launched an anti-ballistic missile which theoretically could be outfitted with a nuclear warhead. The Trump administration has said Iran is officially, quote, "on notice". President Trump has declared all options on the table. Let's bring in former U.S. senator and Democratic vice presidential

candidate Joe Lieberman. He leads an advocacy group called United Against Nuclear Iran. It opposed the 2015 nuclear deal. The group has received funding from supporters of Israel including billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Senator Lieberman, thanks so much for being here. We really appreciate it.

First, I know of your deep and abiding respect and friendship with Senator John McCain.

JOE LIEBERMAN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Right.

TAPPER: And I just want to get your thoughts on President Trump's slamming him for his criticism of the Yemen raid. He said McCain should not say whether a mission is a success or a failure, and that he is emboldening the enemy by doing so.

LIEBERMAN: Yes. So, I must by full disclosure as you suggested, say that if any fight between McCain and anybody else, I'm going to be with McCain.

TAPPER: Right.

LIEBERMAN: But beyond that --

TAPPER: And in fact, you endorsed him over then-Senator Obama.

LIEBERMAN: I did. He's really a dear friend and I think a great public servant.

Second thing I want to say is, take me back to the old days when a president who disagreed with a senator would pickup the phone and say, John, come on down here, let's have a drink, let's have a cup of coffee, and maybe they'd yell at each other, but it wouldn't be a tweet to 40 million people because at sometime before long, President Trump is going to have to call Senator McCain for support on something in the Armed Services Committee or tax reform or whatever it is.

On the merits, look, war is hell, and there's always disappointments and failed operations in war. In this case, the administration says it gained some intelligence. It gained some other movement forward. So, OK, it wasn't a total failure, but you can't call it a success either because we lost a soldier, others were wounded and some bystanders, innocent civilians were killed.

So, again, I wish more people around here were talking to each other rather than speaking through tweets or even through cable news.

TAPPER: Let's talk about Iran. You took a little shot at cable news there.

Let's talk about Iran. The Trump administration has introduced additional sanctions against the country and they have not rolled out the use of force. Do you think military action could ever be a correct course of action when it comes to Iran?

LIEBERMAN: It could be, but, boy, that really would be the last alternative. You know, as we all know, three weeks into the Trump administration, a lot has changed in Washington. One of the things that's changed, I think people haven't noted enough is an American policy toward Iran. The Trump administration is a sea change from where the Obama administration was.

TAPPER: Oh, sure.

LIEBERMAN: Obama administration negotiated this agreement, I, we, my organization United Against Nuclear Iran, feel it was a very bad agreement in many ways. President Trump said the same. He said that he would tear up the agreement when he became president.

Now, it sounds like he won't do that, and that's OK with me. I think the important thing is what he's done. General Flynn, National Security Advisor, warned the Iranians not to take risks here, assuming that there'd be no response from President Trump as there was in some cases to provocative action by Iran -- by President Obama. And then, they tested the missiles and the Trump administration slammed economic sanctions on them. I think what we've got to do now, and I'm really encouraged that the Trump administration will do it, is aggressively monitor this existing agreement, push quickly if there are violations of it, which there will be by the Iranians, sanction them under the continuing sanctions for all the rest of their behavior which hasn't changed since the nuclear agreement. I think people in the Obama administration felt if we -- if we negotiate this agreement on nuclear weapons, which incidentally didn't stop their nuclear weapons program.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Just put it on hold.

LIEBERMAN: Just delayed it, then, they'll become better actors or become more civilized.

TAPPER: You don't see any evidence of that?

LIEBERMAN: No, they still are the number one state sponsor of terrorism. They still brutally suppress the human rights of their citizens, and they are spreading their influence all over the region, bringing death. So, we ought to keep the pressure on them. And if the occasion comes where we feel that there is no hope, then we have to pull out of that agreement and hope that we can convince our allies, certainly in Europe, to do the same.

TAPPER: What do you think of President Trump's travel ban? The halt of the refugee program, the halt perhaps indefinitely to taking in Syrian refugees, and then the suspension of any travel from seven majority Muslim countries that the Obama administration has designated countries of concern for national security reasons. Obviously this is being used against the U.S. by our enemies, by American enemies trying to gen up the idea that the United States is anti-Muslim. And I believe the ayatollah said that President Trump has revealed the true face of America.

LIEBERMAN: Yes. So, let me say first that I would never judge an American action by its popularity elsewhere in the world. It's a factor, but if we're doing something that we feel we need to do to protect our security, then sometimes you have to make people elsewhere unhappy. In this case, I wish the Trump administration had done this in a more focused way. What do I mean? Instead of banning everybody from this series of countries, closing off the country to refugees, which is not our history, I wish President Trump had said to General Kelly at Homeland Security or whoever else he wanted to involve, "Give me a program that I can put into action as quickly as possible," that will do what the president has called "extreme vetting."

TAPPER: Right.

LIEBERMAN: Make sure that wherever you're coming from in the world to the United States, if there's any evidence at all that you want to do us harm, that you're a terrorist, you're a radical Islamist terrorist, then you're going to be kept out of here. Incidentally, one of the things that we've always worried -- and I've been active in this field for a long time -- is that the terrorists would begin to come in from other countries, even from our European allies.

TAPPER: Right.

LIEBERMAN: And they -- and they wouldn't all be Muslims, or they -- if you'll forgive me, they wouldn't all be from Arab countries, they might be Europeans who might have become Muslims, maybe even not, maybe they're just sympathizers with the radical push. So, I think this was -- I think it costs the America more than it -- that it saved us in security.

TAPPER: Senator Joe Lieberman, always good to see you. Don't be a stranger.

LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Jake. Good to see you. All the best.

TAPPER: Thanks for stopping by. Really appreciate it.

He broke through barriers while making you laugh on the hit show, "Will and Grace". Now, Sean Hayes is dropping F-bombs for comedy. He'll join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:50:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. We're starting here with our "POP CULTURE LEAD". Let me ask you this, if you have to pick your seven favorite dirty words, what would they be? I won't tell you mine, but in 2017 in the era of premium cable and Netflix and Hulu, it's hard to believe that there was a time when comedians got in serious trouble for using foul language on television or radio. Those risky and (INAUDIBLE) comics in the 60s and 70s paved the way for the present day comedians who make us laugh such as Louis C.K., and Chris Rock, and Amy Schumer, and you can learn much more about them in a new CNN original series, the "HISTORY OF COMEDY", an eight-part documentary series on how comedy has impacted the nation's history. Joining me now to talk about it is the executive producer of the "HISTORY OF COMEDY", award-winning actor, comedian, producer, Sean Hayes. Sean, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it. SEAN HAYES, ACTOR, COMEDIAN, AND THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF THE "HISTORY OF COMEDY": Thank you so much for having me, Jake. And, you know, I never felt more comfortable in between Joe Lieberman and awaiting the verdict on the travel ban. It's kind of where I sit most comfortably.

TAPPER: That's your sweet spot.

HAYES: Yes, oh, yes.

TAPPER: So, first episode is about bad words and breaking boundaries. Obviously, a comedian George Carlin unintentionally, in a way, created the seven words you can't say on T.V., back in the 70s. He faced a backlash. Here is a little clip from the "HISTORY OF COMEDY".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: WBAI played a cut from an album. They cut it, called "filthy words". And it's a follow-up to an earlier album piece I did, called "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". WBAI played it in the context of a program they were doing in the mid- afternoon, about contemporary language and attitudes toward language. The FCC took issue with WBAI based on a complaint by a listener, who was in his automobile at the time with his son, and he claimed that it was indecent, claimed that it was an invasion of his privacy and that his son shouldn't be subjected to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:55:02] TAPPER: It's obviously that's not the bit. That's an explanation of the bit. We couldn't run -- we couldn't run the bit.

HAYES: Right.

TAPPER: Although, I guess, theoretically we could, but we wouldn't want to do that.

HAYES: Yes. Why why not? At the state we're in, why not? Just throw it all out there.

TAPPER: Right. But it is -- it is remarkable to think how much times have changed.

HAYES: Yes -- no, you know, it's so funny, you brought -- you started with those seven words George Carlin. By the way, I used to have that album called "Class Clown". I listen to that all the time, as a huge George Carlin fan. But those seven words, you know, he created, it's not seven words that broadcast network said you can't use. He created those things, and those things that he created actually ended up being used against him. It's so ironic. But, you know, I think comedy will always be changing and will always find 7 words or 20 words, or, you know, it will just keep growing into the things that need to be censored for, you know, for reasons that are sometimes important, like the N-word, the F-word. Those are good things that we can't say those words. So, there is -- there is positivity in some censorship of certain words that otherwise intelligent people wouldn't know the difference if they're good or bad.

TAPPER: I'm not judging here, but I think President Trump during his campaign might have said, in one way or another, at least three of the seven.

HAYES: By the way, nothing would surprise me. I'm sure he did, and I'm sure he's proud of that.

TAPPER: So, "Will and Grace", like George Carlin also broke barriers. Your character, Jack McFarland, was fearless and honest, especially about his sexual orientation. Here's one of our favorite clips of you playing Jack on "Will and Grace".

HAYES: That's a clip shot. Great.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK MCFARLAND: I do a better share than you.

CHER: You think so?

MCFARLAND: Actually, it's -- you think so?

CHER: Are you kidding me with this? OK, your hand is perfect, but it's more --

MCFARLAND: Are you kidding me with this?

CHER: If I could turn back time.

MCFARLAND: If I could turn back time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So, Cher aside, when it came to playing Jack, and that role, who was really ground-breaking in terms of -- I don't know that the country had ever really seen an LGBT character like that. Did you - did you feel any sense of responsibility?

HAYES: I -- it was interesting. This is a nine-hour interview question, but I did -- I did -- I was conflicted at that time. There's a lot going on, much longer than I can get into right now, personally, about being gay, and at that age and I didn't -- I don't have the DNA to be the spokesperson of any group of people. It's just not who I am. I deliver my message, hopefully, in -- by leading -- leading by example, hopefully. I do those silly Facebook videos with my husband, you know, trying to normalize and show people that, you know, that there's no difference between a gay relationship and a straight relationship at all. So, at that time, I was too young to know how to handle any of the pressure and anxiety of -- that was thrust upon me. I was just an actor happy to get a job. But now that I'm a little older and hopefully -- knock on wood -- a little wiser, I can more communicate my feelings.

TAPPER: So, the show is coming back, "Will and Grace". Tell us more about the revival. HAYES: Well, I always say we left looking like the cast of "Saved By The Bell" and return looking like the cast of cocoon. But yes, I think we should --

TAPPER: You have a little Wilford Brimley in you, I'll say that.

HAYES: Yes. Well, you should tell Wilford that. But, you know, I - yes, we start - I think we start shooting in August. It's for the fall of this - of this year. So, I think we start shooting in August, that's 10 episodes. And it's really been great reconnecting with the cast and we have all the same crew, the same writers, the same director, Jimmy Burrows. Everybody is the same, so, it's going to be like no time has passed, as was the case when we shot that election video back in October.

TAPPER: So, just a very, very quick question. We asked Twitter for questions, and here is one, who is your favorite comedian?

HAYES: Gosh, Donald Trump.

TAPPER: No, give us - give us a real answer.

HAYES: No. OK. My favorite comedian? Gosh, that's so hard. It's like saying what's your favorite song, there are so many.

TAPPER: You're here to promote the "HISTORY OF COMEDY". It's not that, you know, crazy or curveball.

HAYES: Well, get off my back, Jake. You know, I thought it was my - I thought it was my own opinion. Wow.

TAPPER: Chris Rock, Louis C.K.

HAYES: Yes. Louis C.K. I love Louis C.K. I love Sarah Silverman. I love - it's too overwhelming, I can't. George Carlin was one of my all-time favorites.

TAPPER: All right. Sean Hayes, thank you --

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: -- Steve Martin.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. The all new CNN ORIGINAL SERIES: "HISTORY OF COMEDY" showing tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN. Our thanks to Sean Hayes. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER. THE LEAD with Jake Tapper is our Twitter handle. That's it for the show. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". Thanks for watching.