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Trump: Media "Dishonesty" Is "Out Of Control"; Trump: Reports Of Aides Contacting Russia Officials A "Joke"; Trump Launches Blistering Attack On Media; Trump Addresses Russian Spy Ship Off U.S. Shores; U.S. Defense Secretary Reaffirms Support For Alliance; Trump Launches Blistering Attack on Media; Canadian Defense Minister Speaks to CNN; NATO's Increasing Close Calls with Russia; Venezuelan Government Pulls CNN from Air; Using Technology to Revive Tradition. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 16, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching CNN. I'm Hala Gorani. It has been an extraordinary

afternoon at the White House.

Let's get right to our breaking news. President Donald Trump just held a news conference like no other. He launched a blistering attack on the

media, saying, fake news is so, quote, "out of control," that he was forced to take his message directly to the people.

He was clearly irritated at one point, saying, "I'm not ranting and raving," though, insisting he was having a good time. President Trump

talked about everything from intelligence leaks on Russia to reports that his administration is in chaos.

Let's bring in two of our reporters to help break this down. White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, is in Washington. Our senior media reporter,

Dylan Byers joins us from Los Angeles. Also with me is CNN political contributor and Donald Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord.

First, I want to start with Dylan and all of you and have all of you react to this. What Donald Trump said about the media, once again, accusing the

mainstream media of being fake news. Let's listen to that, first.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Plants and factories are already starting to move back into the United States and big

league, Ford, General Motors, so many of them. I'm making this presentation directly to the American people, with the media present, which

is an honor to have you, this morning, because many of our nation's reporters and folks will not tell you the truth.

And will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve. And I hope going forward, we can be a little bit, a

little bit different. And maybe get along a little bit better, if that's possible. Maybe it's not, and that's OK, too.

Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special

interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system.


GORANI: All right. Donald Trump, there. Dylan Byers, let me start with you. Once again, attacking the media. Once again, name-checking CNN and

our reporter, Jim Acosta, as well. So, it seems now that this is becoming a regular occurrence with the president, direct attacks on journalists.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, it's a regular occurrence with the president and it was always a regular occurrence with the

candidate, when he was running for president. Look, I think it's both sincere and strategic. On the one hand, this really is -- this is a

grievance that President Donald Trump and many members of his administration feel.

They believe that the tone of the coverage and that the substance of the coverage, is not fair and is heavily biased. That is why Steve Bannon,

Donald Trump's chief strategist, identifies the media as the opposition party.

But, again, it's also strategic, because, by doing that, this one hour and 15-minute press conference, which did not focus chiefly on some of the big

questions surrounding Donald Trump and his administration, which have to do with former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, which have to do with

relationships with Russia, that wasn't the majority of what we talked about today.

What we talked about today was the press. Any time we're talking about Donald Trump's relationship with the media, it's arguably a win. It's

certainly not a loss for him, because at the end of the day, there are people who trust Donald Trump more than they trust the media.

He's always going to win that fight. He's always, in the eyes of his supporters, he's always going to make us look like fools. So in many ways,

I think this was a loss for everyone.

GORANI: Right, but Jeffrey Lord, of course, you support Donald Trump, and I've got to ask you, I think we got a better understanding of the

president's relationship with facts here when he incorrectly stated that his Electoral College win was the biggest since Reagan. That, of course,

isn't true.

We have the facts to prove it isn't true. When he was asked by a reporter at this briefing, why should we believe you? You accuse us of being fake

news and you're, in fact, bringing forward or, you know, facts that are not correct, he said, I was told this. This is something I've been told. What

should we make of it?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Make of it that he made a mistake. And this is part of the problem, Hala, is that the media --

GORANI: But who's advising him -- who's telling him these things that he repeats in news conferences broadcast around the world?

LORD: Well, Hala, I know -- I have no idea who gave this to him. I mean, maybe they were thinking, whoever gave it to him, in comparison to one of

the other presidential -- losing presidential candidates. I have no idea. I think he said Republicans.

[15:05:00]I certainly know having worked for Ronald Reagan that George H.W. Bush had 400-some electoral votes in 1998. But it's this kind of

nitpicking that people out here in the middle of America roll their eyes at.

This has been going on for about 50 years since Spiro Agnew, then vice president of the United States for Richard Nixon, took on the media

directly with a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, of all places, and attacked them directly. And down and down and down have gone the ratings for the

media, just in general.

GORANI: But Jeffrey, he keeps accusing journalists of being fake news. He basically insults and demeans reporters every opportunity he gets, and then

presents a false fact, and then when asked why, he says, I was told this by someone on my team.

LORD: Hala, we were watching two different press conferences, apparently. I can tell you right here on talk radio today, in America, Rush Limbaugh

and I'm sure Sean Hannity at this moment are giving him unbelievable praise for what he's doing. There are plenty of people in America that think the

media is dishonest.

I can tell you, I personally had a conversation with Donald Trump three years ago now, in which he said some version of this to me. He believes

this. Dylan is right. This is totally sincere. He believes this to his core that the media is dishonest.

All you're hearing today is the latest version of it. I think -- yes, and I also think it's a good conversation to have. And he was right there in

his element, and willing to take all comers and all questions.

BYERS: I will say, Hala --

GORANI: Yes, finish your thought. Sorry. Go ahead.

BYERS: Hala, to the point about his inability to account for the misinformation that he gives out, however that may be interpreted by

different people around the country, what you saw throughout this press conference was a total lack of humility on the part of the president.

There is the notion that the buck stops with the president. That somehow he should assume responsibility for anything, ranging from the facts that

come out or the supposed facts that come out of his mouth to those questions about people who have seen his election and feel emboldened, in

terms of anti-Semitism or racism, he just resists that and pushes all of that away.

There's no sense of accountability and no sense of humility, and I think that's what a lot of folks in the media have been responding to.

GORANI: I want to get to what he said about Russia. For our viewers, this is extremely important. He was directly asked about Vladimir Putin and

directly asked about Russian provocations by reporters at this briefing. Let's listen to what he said to say about that.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: If you were Putin right now, you would say, hey, we're back to the old games with the United States. There's no way Trump can

ever do a deal with us, because the -- you have to understand. If I was just brutal on Russia, just brutal, people would say, you would say, oh,

isn't that wonderful? But I know you well enough. Then you would say, oh, he was too tough, he shouldn't have done that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just trying --

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, excuse me. All of those things you mentioned very recent because probably Putin assumes he's not going to be able to make a

deal with me because it's politically not popular for me to make a deal. So Hillary Clinton tries a reset, it failed. They all tried the, but I'm

different than those people.


GORANI: So Stephen Collinson, let me ask you this. I didn't quite understand what he was saying there. Can you shed some light on his

response to questions about his relationship with Vladimir Putin or a strategy with regards to Russia?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. I think what he was asked, slightly earlier on, was to react to steps Russia has taken

in the last few weeks, the movement of a ballistic missile in Europe, the spy ship stationed off the coast of the United States.

And I think he was making an argument that this is a result of the fact that it looked like his plans to have a reset with Russia will be much more

difficult, because of all the criticism of himself and his alleged links to Vladimir Putin. So I think that's what he was trying to argue.

But he was also asked directly about whether members of his campaign staff had been in contact with Russian officials throughout the election, as CNN

reported. He said, nobody, to his knowledge, had been so.

And he went on to slam this idea that, you know, he was -- he had connections with Russia, he had investments with Russia or loans with

Russia, as fake news. So he, he addressed that report, but at the same time, he didn't really completely give a categorical denial.

And that's going to continue these reports and these leaks and everything else that question exactly why he always appears to defend the Russian

president, at a time when Russia, of course, is accused of interfering in the election to help him.

GORANI: And, I want to get to all of your reaction from all three of our guests to this next bit of sound, from this news conference. That, by the

way, was billed of an introduction of president, Trump's nominee for labor secretary, but it went on, and as we mentioned there, for quite a long

time. This is what he said about leaks coming from the administration and other parts of the executive.


[15:10:05]PRESIDENT TRUMP: I've actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks. They're put out by people

either in agencies -- I think you'll see it stopping, because now we have our people in. You know, again, we don't have our people in because we

can't get them approved by the Senate. We just had Jeff Sessions approved in Justice, as an example. So, we are looking into that very seriously.

It's a criminal act.


GORANI: So, Jeffrey Lord, he was not unhappy when Wikileaks released those Democratic e-mails during the campaign, but he seems to be having a major

issue with leaks now.

LORD: Yes, well, there's two different kinds of leaks here. I mean, the Wikileaks were the leaks from the Clinton campaign. There's no

intelligence involved. What we're talking about here, the release of classified information, that is, in fact, a federal crime.

You can both be fined and sent to prison for as much as ten years if you are convicted of doing this. So it's a very, very serious situation. And

you can't have the government of the United States, people in the government of the United States, handing out classified documents or

classified information, like popcorn, to anybody. That's against the law.


BYERS: Hala?


BYERS: I'll just -- I admire and have long admired Jeffrey's ability to defend contradictory and incongruent statements that President Donald Trump

has made, because it certainly takes a lot of work. What I will say, this notion that somehow Trump says things for any other reason than they seem

to benefit him.

I mean, the notion that he would somehow invite leaks on the one hand, regardless of what material was in play, and then condemn leaks on the

other hand, there's so many contradictory statements that come out of the president's mouth.

In fact, within the span of a single sentence today, he said he hadn't talked to Russia in years, and then said he had spoken to Vladimir Putin

twice since the election.

So, you know, I think at some point, we have to at least acknowledge on both sides of the aisle here, that the president of the United States does

make incongruent statements, and that those might not be so easily explained away.

GORANI: We're going to talk a lot more about this. Thanks to all of you, Stephen Collinson, Dylan Byers, Jeffrey Lord joining us from Pennsylvania.

We appreciate you on the program this evening. Let's go live to Larry Sabato, he's the director of the Center for Politics at the University of

Virginia. He's in Charlottesville.

What did you make of this news conference? My colleague, Jake Tapper, called it unhinged. It certainly had this rambling sort of quality to it.

It went on for a long time.

We thought we would get the introduction of the new labor secretary nominee. Instead, it turned into a news conference that touched on

everything from, quote, "fake news," all the way to the U.S.' relationship with Russia. What did you make of it?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, a word that kept coming to mind for me was bizarre. This is the strangest

president in modern times, maybe ever, but I didn't personally watch or know the presidents in the 19th century.

You simply can't believe a great deal of what he's saying and how he's saying it. You can't trust what he says. That it's accurate. This is why

presidents have large staffs. They're supposed to check the information and give it to a president for a big press conference.

Nothing is checked! He repeats things that somebody once told him. It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing for the country, it's embarrassing for

Donald Trump, though I don't think he's in the slightest embarrassed.

GORANI: What do you think the Republican -- what's going through the minds of top Republican leaders now in Washington? As they watch a president,

who ran as a Republican, and who won, hold a news conference like this?

SABATO: Well, it depends on whether they're up in 2018, in the midterm elections or not. If they're up in 2018, they're having a quiet panic. If

they're up later, they hope to be able to survive this. There are 47 more months in Donald Trump's first term. Of course, he's also announced for

re-election and has a re-election campaign rally in Florida this weekend!

GORANI: Yes, which is interesting, that he's already in campaign mode for 2020. We'll be covering that, of course. Larry Sabato, thanks, as always,

for joining us.

By the way, our Jim Acosta, we mentioned him. He had a front row, apparently to history at this press conference, immediately after President

Trump left the stage, he joined our Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, going into detail about what we learned and the questions he asked. Listen.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think the dam finally broke here at this news conference today and you heard the president, he is

as scrappy and feisty as ever. He is just as determined that news coming from the mainstream news media is fake news.

But, I think there was news made during this news conference. He finally said, in his own words, what his problem was, with his former national

security adviser, Michael Flynn. That he did not inform the vice president properly.

[15:15:09]He said, in not so many words, and that was the reason why he had to go. And it took a few tries, as Jake mentioned, but President Trump

finally said, that, no, not that he's aware of, in terms of whether or not any of his campaign associates or aids or advisers were in touch with the

Russians during the course of the previous election.

It did take some prodding, and I wonder if there's really more to dig there in the long run, because, it took two or three different questions for him

to finally acknowledge that. And then, I think, there was also this whole back and forth over what is fake news and real leaks.

At one point during this news conference, Wolf, as Jake just said, he called these reports about the contacts with the Russians fake news, but he

called the leaks real. So I pressed him on that. I asked if the leaks are real, how can the information be fake, how can the news be fake?

I'm not sure he had a very convincing answer on that. But I think, at the same time, he was taking on the tough questions, one of my other colleagues

asked about the spy ship, this Russian spy ship that has been heading up the Atlantic coast.

He says, that is not good, but when pressed on what he's going to do about it, he did not offer any specifics. He went back to what we heard during

the campaign, which is, I'm not going to telegraph what I do to our adversaries, and he recycled that during this news conference.

He recycled a lot of the talking points we heard out on the campaign trail. He once again for whatever reason talked about Hillary Clinton getting

questions to debates that were held during the course of the campaign, what that has to do with anything is not altogether clear.

But the president was in a defensive mode. You could tell when he came out and delivered those remarks at the beginning of this news conference, that

he was clearly frustrated. He was frustrated with that "Time" magazine cover that portrayed the White House as being in chaos.

And he talked about his administration being a well-oiled machine, in not so many words. So this was that defensive President Trump, a frustrated

President Trump, but as you heard in that back and forth that I had with him, you know, he is just as determined as ever to go after the news media,

when there are stories that he doesn't like. But as I try to remind him, Wolf, we are not fake news, we are real news.


GORANI: Jim Acosta, thanks very much. He was at that news conference just a few minutes ago. By the way, one of the things that the president said,

Donald Trump, was that he has a very tough job ahead of him because of what President Obama, he says, left behind. Listen.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: I inherited a mess. It's a mess at home and abroad. A mess! Jobs are pouring out of the country. You see what's going on with

all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places. Low pay, low wages. Mass instability overseas. No matter where you look.

The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea. We'll take care of it, folks. We're going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know, I

inherited a mess.


GORANI: All right. And by the way, he also said that he was going to sign another executive action on immigration, potentially replacing the travel

ban that caused so much chaos a few weeks ago. And that, of course, a judge suspended, while it is being reviewed in the courts. So it's going

to be interesting to see. He promised early next week, mid-next week.

I know this is something of great interest to you, our international viewers. These travel bans, these executive orders, they have a huge

impact on people with passports from seven countries in particular, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, among others. So we'll be keeping our eye on

that and try to figure out exactly what might be included in that executive order.

Just ahead on "THE WORLD RIGHT NOW," the U.S. defense secretary is pledging America's support for NATO and warning allies that they'll have to pay

their way or else. Former NATO Secretary General Andrew Rasmussen joins me to talk about that, next.



GORANI: Donald Trump says it would be a "good thing," quote/unquote, for Washington to improve ties with Russia. And today, his top diplomat is

taking steps to reset the relationship face to face. The U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, met with his Russian counterpart, on the sidelines of

a G20 Summit. It happened today in Germany.

Sergey Lavrov said they did not discuss U.S. sanctions on Russia, but rather focused on shared interests. Tillerson said the two countries are

searching for new common ground.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States will consider working with Russia, when we can find areas of practical cooperation that

will benefit the American people, where we do not see eye to eye, the United States will stand up for the interest and values of America, and her



GORANI: That was Rex Tillerson. Of course, we also heard from the U.S. defense secretary, James Mattis, who said there is essentially little doubt

that Russia interfered in U.S. elections. Also accusing Russia in some cases of having potentially broken international law.

So we're hearing two types of discourse from the same the administration. How is it being received in Moscow? Senior international correspondent,

Matthew Chance, joins me now live. We're also hearing from the president about some of these Russian movements, military movements, not too far from

the U.S. Atlantic coast.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. And we are getting, you know, so many mixed messages from this Trump

White House regarding what their policy is going to be with Russia. Of course, just yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted quite a critical tweet about

Russia, saying, that they have taken Crimea, the peninsula they annexed in 2014, and criticizing or questioning whether the Obama administration had

been too soft on the kremlin.

That's been all part of a general change of tone that's been very much noticed here in Moscow, from the president who was looking to build bridges

with Russia, to a president who perhaps under political pressure has been sharpening that tone, toughening that tone when it comes to Moscow.

But again, it was another kind of flip-flop on that tone, just during this press conference, where the president of the United States, Donald Trump,

once again said that he wanted to build bridges with Russia. Take a listen.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing. We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson, who's going to be

meeting with them shortly. And I told them, I said, I know politically, it's probably not good for me. The greatest thing I could do is shoot that

ship that's 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country is going to say, oh, it's so great. That's not great. That's not

great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia.


CHANCE: Well, those comments coming amid all of that scrutiny that the ties that Donald Trump has with Russia and the ties that those around him

have with Russia are being looked at and are causing such a political storm in the United States. The concern here in Moscow is what will the impact

be of this controversy on the policy of the United States towards Russia?

GORANI: And we're going to have to wait and see, because as you've said, we have heard many mixed messages, and sometimes from the same person over

the span of 48 hours. Thanks very much, Matthew Chance.

As we've reported, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, says the NATO alliance is a fundamental bedrock of U.S. policy. He's in Brussels right

now, reassuring European allies, who were rattled by President Trump's description of NATO as obsolete during the campaign. At the same time, he

said, you better pay up, otherwise, we might not be there for you in the way we've been in the past.

[15:25:11]Let's get to Copenhagen, Denmark, now. Anders Fogh Rasmussen joins me live. He's the former secretary general of NATO and the founder

of Rasmussen Global. Thanks for being with us.

I want to ask you first about what James Mattis, the new American defense secretary, said at that NATO meeting in Brussels. Saying that perhaps the

U.S. should moderate its commitment, I think were the exact words, if certain NATO members do not pay the 2 percent of their GDP into their

military budget. What did you understand when he said that?

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, FORMER NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think Secretary Mattis did a great job. On the one hand, he said, our commitment to

collective defense, our commitment to defending allies is unwavering. But on the other hand, he said to European a lies, you must pay more and I

fully agree with him. Today, only 5 out of 28 allies live up to the 2 percent target for defense investment, how much you should do and we have

to speed up a process in which allies reach the 2 percent.

GORANI: Well, he didn't just suggest nicely you should pay more. He said, we would moderate our commitment to countries that don't. He also

suggested that Americans care more about the children, the security of children of NATO members who don't pay as much as they should into their

military budget than the NATO members themselves. I mean, these were strong words coming from the U.S. defense secretary.

RASMUSSEN: Yes, and rightly so. I mean, for many years --

GORANI: But you did not interpret that as a threat? You did not interpret that as a threat?

RASMUSSEN: No, because, I know Secretary Mattis, he served as NATO general when I was secretary-general of NATO. There's no doubt about his

commitment to NATO. But, of course, he used strong words, and I think, actually, they were very well received among defense ministers, from other

allies. They all realize, now we, the Europeans have to pay more and actually, this year, the Europeans pay $10 billion more for defense than

the previous year. So we're on the right track.

GORANI: What should happen to people who don't pay more? Because people who heard James Mattis say these things yesterday interpreted those words

as meaning, we might not be as committed to the partners who don't pay as much as they should.

RASMUSSEN: Yes, but he also said that he wouldn't detail that, because, he didn't think that it would be an actual situation. And I fully agree with

him. He has used the right words to encourage allies, to push for further defense investments, and I think it will work.

GORANI: And by the way, I wanted to ask you what your thoughts are now on Donald Trump, the new American president. At one point in the past, when

he was running for president, you called him that global threat. You seemed to have warmed to him quite a bit recently.

RASMUSSEN: Yes, I took note of his threat not to defend allies under old circumstances. I've also noted his remarks about NATO being obsolete, et

cetera. And I think such statements from an American president is undermining the credibility of NATO.

But, the good thing is that we have now seen -- I would say, a slight change in his rhetorics and first and foremost, he has appointed good

people around him, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, the director of CIA, Pompeo, all those people have made very reassuring statement during

Senate hearings. So I'm actually encouraged by the recent development.

GORANI: So you're encouraged in that you think that President Trump will be good for the United States?

RASMUSSEN: Yes. Well, I'm not going to defeat with American politics, but I have noted that he has been confronted with certain realities. And I

think President Trump will realize exactly the same that all his predecessors have realized, namely negotiations with Russia are very good,

but you always need to negotiate from a position of strength.

[15:30:06] GORANI: All right. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, thanks very much, former Secretary General of NATO. We appreciate you joining us on the

program this evening.

Still to come, we'll have much more on that extraordinary and historic news conference from U.S. President Donald Trump.

And as the U.S. Defense Secretary sounds a warning to NATO allies over spending -- we were just discussing that with Mr. Rasmussen -- I get the

response from the Canadian Defense Minister, coming up.


GORANI: Let's return to our top story this hour, the historic and pretty unprecedented barrage of attacks on the free press from the President of

the United States. One of the most striking moments was when our own Jim Acosta pressed the President about the damage he could be inflicting.

Listen to the exchange.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Aren't you concerned, sir, that you are undermining the people's faith in the First Amendment,

freedom of the press, the press in this country, when you call stories you don't like fake news? Why not just say it's a story I don't like?


ACOSTA: When you call it fake news, you're undermining --

TRUMP: No, I do that.

ACOSTA: -- confidence --

TRUMP: No, no. I do that.

ACOSTA: -- in our news media.

TRUMP: Here's the thing.

ACOSTA: Isn't that important?

TRUMP: OK. I understand what you're -- and you're right about that, except this. See, I know when I should get good and when I should get bad.

And sometimes they'll say, wow, that's going to be a great story, and I'll get killed.

I know what's good and bad. I'd be a pretty good reporter. Not as good as you, but I know what's good, I know what's bad. And when they change it

and make it really bad, something that should be positive -- sometimes, something that should be positive, they'll make OK. They'll even make it


So I understand it. So -- because I'm there. I know what was said, I know who was saying it. I'm there, so it's very important to me.

Look, I want to see an honest press. And I started off today by saying that it's so important to the public to get an honest press. The public

doesn't believe you people anymore. Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don't know, but they don't believe you.

If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right? Of course, he had some questions also. Bu t if you were

straight, I would be your biggest booster. I would be your biggest fan in the world, including bad stories about me.

But if you go -- as an example, you're CNN. I mean, it's story after story after story is bad. I won! I won.


GORANI: Let's bring in Ryan Lizza. A lot to talk about. He's a CNN political commentator and a Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker,"

and he joins me from Washington.

That was pretty remarkable, wasn't it, Ryan?

[15:35:00] RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: It was, because the subtext there is that the President knows how we should do our

jobs and what a good story is, what a bad story is.

And then there's the subtle insinuation that if we had more positive stories, he would be more of a cheerleader for the press, and that, you

know, he's very sad about having to attack the press all the time.

And then there's the sly aside about maybe he had something to do with the fact that there's declining trust in the media, which was one of the

subjects of Jim Acosta's question is, you know, why are you attacking the media?

And I think there's no doubt that that, going back to the campaign, was very much Trump's plan, right? You know, in a --

GORANI: But I think he wants to still be in the campaign, right? I mean, he's holding a campaign event in Florida on Saturday.


GORANI: I mean, tell our international viewers, how unusual is that for a President, 30 days in, to hold a campaign event?

LIZZA: Well, he has filed for re-election again. He's the earliest incumbent President to file for re-election.

What's unusual, Hala, is that he's calling it a campaign event. You know, I remember covering the Bush White House in 2001 and going to South Dakota

with then President Bush to stump for his legislative agenda. And it was a big campaign-style event.

So it's not unusual for presidents to hit the road, go before big crowds, and talk about their legislative agenda. What's unusual about this is

they're calling it a campaign event. Well, you know, we'll see what he talks about.

But I think what we haven't learned yet is, is there some kind of strategic messaging behind the event? In other words, is he going there, to Florida,

to talk about support for repealing the Affordable Care Act or for his tax reform proposals? Neither of those are really off the ground yet, so

that's why it sounds like it's much more of a 2020 re-election event or an event to just sort of, you know, soak up the adoration of the crowd and get

out of Washington.

GORANI: It's going to be a ticketed event, apparently.


GORANI: I was also struck by the number of times that the President brought up Hillary Clinton once again --


GORANI: -- in this news conference at the White House.

LIZZA: You know, I was struck by that as well. He misses Hillary Clinton. And, you know, I wrote an article -- I guess it was last week -- that

quoted a top White House official saying, you know, during the campaign, it was so simple. We had one enemy, Hillary Clinton. Now we don't know who

our enemy is.

And this person went on to list possibilities. Is it Chuck Schumer and the Democrats? Is it Elizabeth Warren? Is it the media? And I think today's

press conference made it very clear that the White House has figured out who, as this person said, the enemy is, and it is the media.

He spent a lot of his opening remarks just simply attacking the media. But I think they're a little bit at sea without the simplicity of the campaign,

when there was one opponent who was a lightning rod and had a lot of vulnerabilities, and they miss Hillary Clinton. They miss that simplicity.

GORANI: Well, I think he brought her up -- I mean, I didn't count the exact number of times, but at least six times, perhaps even seven times.


GORANI: And the media is the enemy, but I wonder, obviously, that plays well with his base, with his fans, with the people who supported him, who

are his ardent supporters. But what about the rest of the country? I mean, eventually, is this going to really start hurting him, bringing up

these attacks over and over again?

GORANI: Well, he read a public approval number from Rasmussen polling company, which, for instance, CNN doesn't even use Rasmussen when it

averages polls because it didn't meet CNN's standards for pollsters, so it's not considered a reputable polling company. Most of the opinion polls

show Trump with the lowest approval rating for a President at this point in his presidency.

So to answer your question, the chaos of these first few weeks, it is having a toll. There's eroding confidence and eroding approval among the

larger public.


LIZZA: He does have a base, right? He does have a base. He has a relatively high floor. He has a constituency in this country that has

remained rock solid for a very long time. But he's not winning converts, I guess, is the simplest way to put it.

GORANI: Right. Well, we'll see after this campaign event, what he tweets, what he says, what his strategy is there to keep himself, I think, as far

as his supporters, at least, are concerned, in that limelight, in their limelight.

Thanks very much, Ryan Lizza, as always. It's a pleasure talking to you.

LIZZA: Yes, same here.

GORANI: James Mattis has had a busy few day in Brussels, the new American Defense Secretary, as well as reaffirming America's strong commitment to

the NATO alliance. He came in with a warning to allies to pay their fair share, or else.

[15:40:08] Right now, only five countries pay the recommended defense spending levels of 2 percent of GDP. You might be surprised to learn,

Greece is one of them! With all the economic problems it has, it has at 2 percent plus of GDP. Poland, Estonia, those are understandable, and the


One who doesn't is Canada. Earlier, I spoke to their Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan. I began by asking him whether he was worried about NATO's

cohesiveness after Mattis' comments.


HARJIT SAJJAN, MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, CANADA: I can understand the frustration within the U.S., and especially when it comes to the burden

sharing but the member states are here, working towards the 2 percent aspiration.

But we also have to keep in mind, after 9/11, when Article 5 was invoked, the NATO came to the U.S.' aid, and committing, not only when it comes to

money, but our blood and treasure, and especially when it comes to communions. And I fought along in three deployments in Kandahar.

And Secretary Mattis understands the commitments when it comes to dealing with threats such as this. You cannot fight alone. It takes a coalition

to do so, and that's why I know that the U.S. is very committed to NATO.

GORANI: It's committed, but if you don't pay your share, we might review our relationship with you. That's how people are reading this.

SAJJAN: One thing for certain from the meetings here is the importance of defense investment by member states, but also the reassurance that the U.S.

gave when it comes to support for NATO.

GORANI: There are concerns of, you know, Russian provocations, flybys. You have also, you know, jets buzzing very close to U.K. airspace last

year, for instance. Do you think that Russia is just provoking, or has Russia become a threat now?

SAJJAN: When it comes to Russian actions, they need to be transparent in their actions. That's what deterrence is about. Open, transparent

deterrence allows you to understand what you are doing, and that makes sure that we stay at the lower levels of escalation and not allow things to get

out of hand.

That's what our enhanced sort of presence is about. We're making it very clear exactly what we are doing. Provocation is not something that we

want, and we don't want Russia to provocate either.

This is about getting back to the dialog at that table and discuss in a responsible manner because as Secretary Mattis also said, it's when Russia

and NATO work together, we can make sure that we have stability in other parts of the world. And that's what we need to get to.

But rest assured, we also have to look after our security and give confidence to our member states, as well.

GORANI: Yes. And now, what's going on, I know that you're very concerned with what's happening in Eastern Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea, after


I spoke with the Lithuanian Defense Minister yesterday. They sound really worried that Russia might act aggressively. Do you think they should be?

SAJJAN: When it comes to the Balkan States, and especially the east there, there is concern because, you know, you're dealing with some of these

threats. When it comes to Ukraine, Canada has a very strong commitment to the Ukraine. We have troops on the ground there. We work in many other


I've always said Canada will not only be there for the Ukraine, but we'll be there for NATO. But Russia has an opportunity, as well, to making sure

that, if you want to be a responsible partner in the world, you have to have a good dialogue and do responsible things and not provoke.


GORANI: And that was the Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan speaking to us live a little bit earlier -- or I should say, speaking to us a little

bit earlier.

James Mattis' reassurances to NATO come after western and Russian forces get a little too close for comfort in a series of incidents. We've been

talking a lot about, what some are calling, provocations from Russia. Ivan Watson has more on that from Moscow.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what it looks like when Russian warplanes buzz a U.S. warship. Multiple

flybys, filmed in April of last year. Some of them roaring dangerously close to the U.S. ship as it patrolled international waters in the Baltic


The U.S. military tells CNN, a similar incident happened last week in the Black Sea, sharing photos of Russian fighter jets that allegedly buzzed the

USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer. Russia's Defense Ministry denies Russian jets carried out any flybys there.

[15:45:03] WATSON (on camera): The fact is, flybys and close shaves between the Russian military and the U.S. and its NATO allies are nothing

new. Both sides have been probing each other's defenses for years, and there have been some dangerously close calls.

Listen to this Norwegian F-16 pilot.


WATSON (voice-over): Shocked when a Russian fighter jet suddenly flies in over his cockpit. Norway, a member of NATO, scrambled jets 20 times last

year to escort Russian warplanes away from its airspace.

Meanwhile, just last month, U.S. ally Britain carried out its own flybys, escorting a Russian Navy convoy as it steamed through the English Channel.

The number of times NATO warplanes scrambled to meet Russian planes doubled from 2015 to 2016, and the tensions aren't only in the skies.

Since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine in 2014, the U.S. stepped up military exercises in eastern European countries bordering

Russia, to send this unmistakable message to Moscow.

MAJ. GEN. JOHN B. O'CONNO, UNITED STATES ARMY: We lean forward and demonstrate to Russia and to Putin that we are not broken in our efforts to

stand together through this type of aggression.

WATSON (voice-over): Russia sees this as a threat.

SERGEY LAVROV, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, RUSSIA: But the plans of the United States, not only to -- well, they quadrupled, I think, the money

allocated to support military deployment in Eastern Europe, then they moved NATO infrastructure next to our borders.

WATSON (voice-over): And this is what happens when these military maneuvers go terribly wrong. In November 2015, NATO member Turkey shot

down a Russian warplane that was bombing targets along the Turkish border with Syria, an example of what can happen when rival militaries operate in

dangerously close quarters.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Moscow.


GORANI: Some tense times there in the air. Still to come, if you tune into CNN en Espanol in Venezuela tonight, this is all you'll be seeing.

We'll tell you why, after this.


GORANI: If you're in Venezuela and trying to watch our partner network CNN en Espanol today, well, you can't. Not on T.V., anyway, because the

Venezuelan government has pulled it off the air.

It comes, this move, just days after the network aired an investigation into the alleged fraudulent issuing of passports and visas by authorities

in Venezuela, possibly to people with ties to terrorism, which would not be a good thing. Venezuela's foreign minister accused CNN of conducting a,

quote, "imperialistic media operation" against her country.

[15:50:06] CNN en Espanol is now instead being streamed live on YouTube, if you'd like to catch it there. Let's bring in Paula Newton. She spent a

lot of time reporting from Venezuela.

Let's first talk, what more are we learning or hearing about the government's plans with regards to CNN en Espanol?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nicolas Maduro, the President there, had said, I want CNN out, and he certainly got what he

wanted when it comes to cable. Now, they have threatened this very many times, calling CNN en Espanol a puppet of the United States.

At this point, though, it's been really interesting to see on social media, people posting pictures of them being able to get it on the internet, and

that's been quite heartening for many people.

This is so crucial, Hala, because, you know, opposition newspapers, radio stations, and T.V. stations have been shut down systemically by the Maduro

regime over the last few years.

CNN en Espanol did a lot in terms of coverage not just in Venezuela, but in the region to also analyze what was going on in places like Colombia, when

the border was open or closed, and I think a lot of people in Venezuela turned to it.

I mean, for CNN's part, they say, we believe in the statement that we believe in the vital role that freedom of the press plays in a healthy

democracy, and CNN stands by our network's reporting and our commitment to truth and transparency.

GORANI: And what's been the relationship? Has there been any contact between the Venezuelan government and the Trump administration in its early


NEWTON: This has been so interesting. There wasn't a lot of contact until just the other day. Secretary Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, one of his

first acts was to put the Vice President of the country on a so-called -- name him a so-called narcotics kingpin. And they sanctioned him, froze

tens of millions of dollars for his accounts, and that's not all.

What was so interesting was, the other night, Donald Trump tweeted this picture of himself with Marco Rubio and Lilian Tintori. Lilian Tintori is

the wife of Leopoldo Lopez. This is an opposition leader who's been in prison now for nearly three years, and there has been a concerted effort on

the part of many to try and get him out in prison.

The government said he was inciting violence during protests. The opposition says no such thing, that these are trumped up charges.

What is so interesting here, though, Hala, and you know we'll continue to watch it, is the fact that this actually gives the Maduro regime a lot more

ammunition. And they will use that for their own purposes against Trump to say, see, they want to invade us, and they want to interfere in the

business of Venezuela.

GORANI: Thanks very much, Paula Newton.

Tweet us, by the way, @halagorani or check us out on Facebook and tell us, especially if you're in Venezuela, what the situation is like there or from

anywhere else in the world, your reaction, comments, and questions on our top story today. And that is the Donald Trump news conference in



GORANI: Welcome back. We'll get back to our top story in a moment, but we want to talk to you about something that's going on in Thailand.

There is an effort there to get back to the roots of traditional craftsmanship in one part of the country but with a modern day twist.

Saima Mohsin has that report for us.


[15:55:00] SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The past serves as an inspiration for the artists of Chiang Mai. The northern city was the

capital of the ancient Lan Na Kingdom. Now, it's trying to position itself as the country's creative hub at this workshop, traditional weaving meets

modern design.

Boon Charoenpoonsiri started with leading fashion houses in Italy and strives to combine European quality with local crafts.

BOON CHAROENPOONSIRI, FOUNDER, TORBOON CHIANG MAI: So we try to be a local business that exist in Chiang Mai. It takes so much time to weave, and we

bring it up with a very modernity.

MOHSIN (voice-over): Across town, that sentiment is shared but interpreted in a different way.

Makerspace Thailand hopes to build on the legacy of local handcraft by providing people with modern tools, from laser cutters to 3D printers.

Founder, Nati Sang says members can learn to use them for free and provide additional usage at cost.

NATI SANG, FOUNDER AND CEO, MAKERSPACE THAILAND: In order for people to innovate, they need to try to experiment, they need to be able to fail.

And if they have these cost pressures in place, then, OK, who's going to just experiment and just try things out? In other words, it allows people

to be more entrepreneurial and try to monetize their ideas.

MOHSIN (voice-over): One of Makerspace Thailand's success stories is Thamarat Sukjeeradet or Ong. He designed a foldable loom for his wife, who

wanted to practice her grandmother's hobby of weaving.

THAMARAT SUKJEERADET, OWNER, RADA LOOM: Well, traditional looms are the size of, you know, beds. I chose a more modern material. It doesn't break

as easily. And also, this loom can be taken apart, every piece, and put back together.

MOHSIN (voice-over): Now Ong and his wife have opened a store to sell their looms, and they say they're working to keep up with demand. Nati

tries to help members like Ong find investments for their ideas, and he's working on a few projects of his own.

SANG: What we're looking at here is a smart farm system. In Thailand, the number one industry is agriculture, so it makes a lot of sense that, with

the Makerspace, that we start trying to put in more advanced technologies into something that's very traditionally done.


GORANI: All right. That was Saima Mohsin. A lot more of the day's news after a quick break.

This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani.

I'll see you same time, same place tomorrow. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up.