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Trump Holds Rally Today in Florida; Two Dead as Storm Rips Through Southern California; New Arrests in Kim Jong-nam's Death; Russia's Lavrov Responds to Pence Comments in Europe; Dems Look To Future, Prepare To Pick DNC Chair; Top Candidate Turns Down NSC Job; American Pro Wrestler Channels Anti-Trump Hatred; Tips On Achieving A Healthy Work-Life Balance. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 18, 2017 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2016 election.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This administration is running like a fine tuned machine.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think there is significant dysfunction in the national security apparatus.

TRUMP: America is going to start winning again. Winning like never ever before.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Take a nice deep breath, your weekend is upon you. That feels good waking up, didn't it?


PAUL: Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning.

PAUL: A packed political agenda for you this morning. First, though, before we get to the political arena, we want to get to a developing situation on the West Coast. We're watching flooding, landslides and sinkholes this hour.

BLACKWELL: Southern California facing major issues this morning after the severe storm slammed that area. The weather is blamed for at least two deaths.

PAUL: Caused a close call, too, for one driver when a sinkhole -- look at this thing -- just swallowed her car. We've got a look at all the storm damage and the forecast live in the weather center. That's coming up in just a bit.

BLACKWELL: But first, our top story this morning, President Trump is going to return to the campaign trail later this afternoon, holding his first rally in an airplane hangar in the Florida coast.

PAUL: This as Vice President Mike Pence makes his first trip abroad while in office reassuring NATO counterparts and European allies that the U.S. stands firm in support of NATO. But echoing Trump's campaign line that members in the transatlantic alliance need to pay for the protection of membership.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As of this moment, the United States and only four other NATO members meet this basic standard. Now while we commend the few nations that are on track to achieve that goal, the truth is that many others, including some of our largest allies still lack a clear and credible path to meeting this minimum goal.


BLACKWELL: We're following this story from around the world this morning, including in Munich and Moscow. But we're going to start in the U.S. with CNN's Ryan Nobles. He's tracking President Trump ahead of his campaign rally this afternoon -- Ryan.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, good morning to you. And Donald Trump returns today to the forum which he and his administration believe demonstrates the strength of his support. A major campaign rally. It's certainly a unique move for sure. Presidents often attempt to get out on the road early in their presidencies but a campaign event which is how aides are describing today's event in Florida is rare. Especially when you consider that he's only about 30 days into his term.

Now Trump will appear at an airport just outside of Orlando. It's a location that's been a hot bed of support for the president. And while his overall approval rating is historically low for a president at this stage of his presidency, his core supporters continue to stick by him. And today's rally is expected to be evidence of that. And while the president shores up that support here in the United States, he sent his vice president to Europe. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at that Munich security conference which you guys talked about overnight.

Now he promised America will continue to support Europe, but warned that other NATO nations need to do their fair share. And on that hot topic of Russia, Pence warned that the Putin regime should be careful about their reach into Eastern Europe but made it clear that President Trump is open to a new relationship with the Kremlin. Take a listen.


PENCE: And know this, the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know President Trump believes can be found.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: Now a Russian official welcomed Pence's comments saying that the Trump administration is attempting to return to tradition. And that's something that Russia is open to. But while the executive branch of the United States may want to warm things up with Russia there are many Republicans in Congress that aren't so sure. Including Senator Marco Rubio, who after a confidential briefing with FBI Director James Comey tweeted that both Republicans and Democrats will now be open to a full investigation into Russia's role in an attempt to interfere with this past presidential election. Of course, Rubio is from Florida where Trump will be this afternoon -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ryan, thank you so much.

Let's talk now about the president's rally and the vice president's reassurance tour and bring in -- we have with us White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood and CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott.

Good morning to both of you.


BLACKWELL: Let's start with you, Eugene. And put up the numbers here, George W. Bush launched his reelection campaign 846 days into his presidency. Barack Obama launched his reelection campaign 820 days into his presidency. Donald Trump's people filed their papers for reelection for 2020 on inauguration day just a few weeks ago.

Why is this happening so early? Is this to send a message to potential challengers in the GOP or is this about logistics, to take care of events like what we're seeing today?

SCOTT: I certainly think it's in part to send a message to potential challengers none of which have surfaced so far.

[07:05:07] But I also think that Donald Trump wants to keep the support that he seems to have among Republican voters. And he's going to argue that to do what it is that they want him to do he's going to need to be in the White House for eight years.

This past week has been a rough one, quite frankly approval since Donald Trump entered the White House has been difficult, but we have seen that some of his core supporters really do appreciate what he's done. And he wants them to keep appreciating them or wants to remind them that he has done what he said he would and hopes that they will get on board with him for four more years.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah, let's listen to then candidate Trump back in April in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, talking about returning to rallies as potentially president. Watch.


TRUMP: At some point, I'm going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored. And I'll come back as a presidential person, and instead of 10,000 people, I'll have about 150 people, and they'll say, but, boy, he really looks presidential.


BLACKWELL: Well, presidential is a bit of a subjective term. But let me ask you, what should people expect from the president today? More of what we saw on Thursday? Or what we saw yesterday at Boeing?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think a little bit more of what we saw on Thursday. Keep in mind, these are tactics that worked very well for him during the campaign. Attacking the media. Addressing their charges head on sometimes in these bombastic ways. And going directly to the American people. Holding these very large, sweeping rallies in which he addressed all kinds of topics in sort of this free-wheeling style that he has that's so appealing to his supporters.

These are tactics that have proven so effective for him in the past. And it seems to be an attempt, and a successful by the president this week to regain control of the narrative when he seemed to be losing it when his White House was besieged by leaks from intelligence community, even from it appears within the West Wing itself. He's sort of taken control of the situation by getting out there in front of voters directly.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's turn now to the vice president who spoke at the Munich Security Conference just about an hour or so ago.

And to you, Eugene, they know what happened with former now national security adviser Michael Flynn who misled the vice president. And the vice president didn't know about it for several weeks. So when Mike Pence goes there as vice president and says he speaks for the president, is it fair to expect that they question if he indeed is far into the loop as he might say he is?

SCOTT: I think it is fair to question. And I'm not confident that world leaders have the confidence that Mike Pence knows everything that's going on in the White House involving the relationship between some Trump aides and Russia. Based on what we've already seen this week. But what they did want to see is to have someone come out and speak very aggressively about Russia in terms of its relationship with other countries. And I believe that Pence did that to some degree sufficiently for some people.

But quite frankly I think more would like to see him be more aggressive and even more, quite frankly, they'd like to see that from Donald Trump directly.

BLACKWELL: So what do you make, Sarah, of this comment we're hearing, after the comments from the vice president? We're hearing from Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister saying the post-Cold War era is over. That Cold War order has come to an end. What do you make of those comments?

WESTWOOD: Well, Russia has always been optimistic that President Trump would reset the U.S. relations with the Kremlin. They've always been hopeful of that. We saw that in their optimistic reaction to President Trump's election.

Vice President Pence, one of his greatest strengths has always been reframing Trump's basic priorities with softer touch, with a more nuanced touch. And that's what we saw him do in front of NATO. We saw him deliver Trump's wish to have better relation with Moscow in a more friendlier way, in a way that some leaders were more receptive to Russia. But others were receptive to his call to make NATO allies meet their 2 percent gross domestic product commitment for military, even though when Trump says it sometimes, that scares NATO allies a little bit because he is harsh when he makes those demands. But Pence was able to present those same ideals in a way that was more palpable to these NATO allies' diplomats.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let me make sure that I get this right, I'll paraphrase at the moment, but I have the direct quote here from Sergey Lavrov. "Humanity is at historic stage. Post-Cold War order has come to an end. We'll continue to dissect that comment from the Russian official throughout the morning.

Eugene and Sarah, thank you both.

SCOTT: Thank you.

[07:10:01] PAUL: Also watching this morning, some wicked weather in California. Heavy rains are pounding that area. Look at what they're dealing with here. Flooding roads, water pouring out of parking garages, as you see there. We have an update for you on this -- what has now become a deadly storm system.

BLACKWELL: Plus, a pretty bizarre twist in the murder investigation of Kim Jong-un's half brother. Why one suspect she thought the entire thing was a prank.


PAUL: Thirteen minutes past the hour. We've been tracking Vice President Mike Pence in Germany this morning. A short time ago, he reassured NATO members that Russia would be held accountable for actions in Crimea. Now we're hearing Russia's response from their foreign minister who says it's the expanding role of NATO that's causing tension. Listen to this.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (Through Translator): With the expansion of NATO that has brought about the tension here in Europe. (INAUDIBLE) with Russia and the random acts for Russia-NATO agreements. We have our commitments to ensure security together to respect mutual interests. To respect mutual trusts. To stop divisive lines.


PAUL: We'll have more reaction on exactly what this means for U.S.- NATO Russia relations a little bit later in the hour. Meanwhile, I want to let you know two people have died after severe

storms hit Southern California. And this is an area that still has trouble ahead for it.

[07:15:01] BLACKWELL: Yes, this morning roads filled with water. The flights understandably cancelled. And there's a risk for landslides, more flights as well.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is live in the severe weather center.

Allison, they've been hit hard enough but apparently there's more potentially coming?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right, now we'll get a brief reprieve this afternoon. That will allow for some cleanup to begin but it's temporary. Much more heavy rain is on the way so they're not in the clear just yet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would seem to have stopped falling right now. There it goes. It falling just now. There goes the car.

CHINCHAR: A giant sinkhole swallows a car. Stunning pictures out of Southern California after a monster storm brings heavy rain and powerful winds to the region leaving at least two people dead. In San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, rescue officials found one victim inside a submerged car and a downed power line is being blamed for an electrocution death in Sherman Oaks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The LAPD says the unidentified man was walking nearby and somehow came in contact with either the electrified lines or charged water.

CHINCHAR: And in one Santa Barbara neighborhood, two giant trees came down smashing into cars and a home, one woman narrowly escaped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just thankful that I was alive. And that it didn't come this way. Super scary. I'm still pretty shaken up about it.

CHINCHAR: Flash flood warnings were issued in several counties, the rain so furious that a parking garage was turned into a waterfall.


CHINCHAR: The nasty weather has closed dozens of roads in the area and more than 100,000 people have lost power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There goes the tree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole bottom is sliding.

CHINCHAR: And check out this awesome display of nature's power. A landslide the size of three football fields comes crashing down in a San Bernardino mountain, taking with it trees and boulders into the valley below.


CHINCHAR: And as we talked that next system will be arriving and as it does it's expected to bring widespread amounts of two to four inches but some areas will pick up an additional 8 to 10. So with that said, I want to emphasize to people, please give yourself extra time, whether you live in northern California or southern California. Your average braking distance at 70 miles per hour, when the roads are dry, it's about 315 feet, so you have a few extra seconds to make that decision whether or not you need to stop.

But when the roads are wet, you average distance goes up to 560 feet. You don't have as much time to make that decision. Vehicles are very likely to hydroplane. And sometimes, it speeds as low as 35 miles per hour.

And, Victor and Christi, one of the big things is downpours. And we're talking heavy downpours which we expect especially as we go into Sunday are likely to reduce that visibility down to near zero. So please, please, please, I cannot emphasize enough, pack some patience as you travel.

PAUL: So true. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

So four suspects are in custody regarding the death of Kim Jong-un's half brother. One of those suspects, though, says she thought the whole thing was a prank.


[07:21:29] BLACKWELL: So this is a pretty bizarre twist in a high- profile murder investigation. One suspect accused of killing Kim Jong-un's half brother says that she thought the entire thing was a prank. Well, now, investigators are trying to figure out who planned to kill Kim Jong-nam at the Malaysian airport earlier this week.

CNN's Brian Todd has the latest developments in this case.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A murder case so bizarre that a suspect was captured on surveillance wearing a loud white shirt with "LOL" emblazoned across the front. Now another strange twist in the killing of Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

According to Agence France-Presse, one of the suspects, an Indonesian woman, told police she thought she was taking part in a harmless prank as part of a reality TV show. That suspect's mother told Reuters about her daughter being tricked.

BENAH, MOTHER OF SUSPECT (Through Translator): She said she wanted to go to Malaysia for filming on a show to make people surprised by spraying perfume on somebody else. TODD: According to AFP, an Indonesian police official says at least

one of the female suspects in the murder had been paid before to spray a substance in people's faces in public. But this time, he says, there were dangerous materials in the sprayer. Kim Jong-nam got sick while at the airport at Kuala Lumpur this week. Malaysian police told Reuters he felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind, then he got dizzy and asked for help at a counter. He died on the way to the hospital. South Korean officials have called it murder and say he was poisoned.

BRUCE KLINGER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: This perhaps may have been the target of opportunity. He was in Malaysia for a week. He was flying back to Macao. They may have just thought this was the opportunity that they had.

TODD: Now a key question remains. Did Kim Jong-un order the mother of his half-brother? A South Korean intelligence official told lawmakers that the North Korean regime did kill Kim Jong-nam but he didn't explain how he knew it.

MICHAEL GREEN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIST AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It could palace intrigue. It could be, you know, part of a pattern of paranoia and executions that have characterized Kim Jong-un's leadership.

TODD: North Korea's ambassador says Malaysian officials told him Kim Jong-nam died of a heart attack. And in another strange twist, Malaysia now says it will not release the body to North Korea or release the autopsy report without DNA from the Kim family.

(On camera): There's no word if North Korean officials will supply that DNA, but North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia has demanded the immediate release of the body. North Korean officials also say they will reject the results of what they called the forced autopsy which they say was not witnessed by North Korean officials.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: All right, Brian. Thanks.

Just moments ago, Russia's Foreign minister weighed in on issues he says are threatening international security. He's again slamming NATO and declaring the post-Cold War world order over.

Also, in Mexico, an American pro-wrestler channels Donald Trump in the ring.


[07:26:33] PAUL: Mortgage rates edged up this week. Here's your look.


PAUL: So good to have your company on a Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: Well, just moments ago, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov weighed in on major issues that he says threatened international security. He blasted NATO for igniting European tensions and says the world is not any safer. Listen to this.


LAVROV (Through Translator): Historic stage we can see a post-Cold War order has come to the end. The world has not become more Western- centric nor safer with the so-called democratization of the Middle East. But not only there. The extension of NATO the past 30 years gas brought about tension in Europe.


PAUL: Let's bring in CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson who's live for us in Munich.

Nic, what else did he say and how did the other leaders there listening react?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he also went on to say that he and Russia wasn't looking for confrontation. That it still believes that it can have a pragmatic relationship with the United States. But this does seem to sort of be a reaction to what the Russians have heard this week. Lavrov obviously met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier in the week. And the outcome of that very much echoes what we heard from Mike Pence here earlier today. The vice president speaking to United States' transatlantic allies saying that the United States supports NATO, wants to work and sees a common future and a common bond with Europe.

And I think what we're hearing from Sergey Lavrov is really kind of the Russians reacting for the first time to hear post-what President Trump has said about the possibility of NATO being obsolete, not fit for purpose, that he could perhaps make some kind of new deal with President Putin.

[07:30:00] I think what we were hearing now was Lavrov reacting in some ways to that, not a particularly happy reaction. However, Mike Pence did get strong support from the leaders gathered here earlier today, when he told them that the United States is strongly and President Trump strongly behind NATO. This is what he said.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance. The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTSON: So there was a caveat to that, and we've heard it before from Secretary of Defense James Mattis earlier this week, that NATO allies need to pay up -- pay their way and get a program to do that by the end of the year. And some of the debate and talk in here today, has been just about, how the Europeans countries will do that. And one example, they give for example is United States defense industry produces one type of tank. In Europe, there are five different manufacturers for tanks. The Europeans think that they can better organize the way they do their defense spending, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Nic Robertson, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's now bring in Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson who's live in Moscow. And Ivan, this response to the Vice President's remarks expanding and extending beyond the foreign minister.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, what we've really seen is with the international debut of these senior cabinet officials from the Trump administration this week across Europe. That's the U.S. Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary and Vice President Pence. Now, we're starting to see some disappointment on the part of some key figures here in Moscow. People who celebrated the election of Donald Trump and all of the compliments and nice things he would say about Vladimir Putin and about the Kremlin and hopes of kind of detente between Moscow and Washington. Those hopes are being dashed now that you've got the senior Trump administration officials coming out, talking about how important NATO is, how Russia is a threat to NATO, and also saying that they want to see Russia give back Crimea, back to the Ukraine, which Russia took away and annexed in 2014. That is not the kind of stuff that Moscow expected to hear from the Trump administration, and we're starting to hear disappointment about that from senior Russian officials. Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right, Ivan Watson, who is there in Moscow. Ivan, thank you.

PAUL: Meanwhile, democrats are finally getting ready to pick a new leader. Next week, more than 400 members of the DNC are going to gather here in Atlanta to select their new chair. Democrats are ditching their old playbook and outlining a new strategy to rebuild their party. Their base, though, apparently taking matters into their own hands, voicing their concerns in these chaotic town halls across the country that we've been watching together the last couple of weeks here. Joining me to discuss, CNN Political Commentator Symone Sanders and Republican Strategist Brian Robinson. Thank you both so much for taking time for us today. Symone, I want to start with you if I could. So far, Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, we know, from Minnesota and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, they seem to be the frontrunners. Do you have any indication as to who dems are leaning towards?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do not. And, you know, these DNC voters are a lot like voters in New Hampshire. They don't like to make their choice until right down to the wire. So, we really won't know who the chair will be until voting starts next Saturday. But what I will say is, you know, Tom Perez came out earlier this week, and said he had 180 pledge members. And I spoke with Keith Ellison's team, and they say they have 200. Well, you need 224, so you can expect there will be lots of horse trading going on next weekend. And we're probably going to go to two or three rounds of voting.

PAUL: All righty. So, Brian, I want to ask you that the recent protests of these GOP town halls that we've seen, I mean, it demonstrates such passion amongst the people that would be their base. Do you see any way that the democrats can become a real force again, and try to get together to unify some of the progressives with the establishment democrats?

BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: A lot of these town halls that I've seen are in very republican districts, where the democrats really don't have a chance of winning. I saw one in Utah at Congressman Chaffetz's town hall. He has no chance of being beaten by a democrat. His only threat would be beaten by someone far to the right of him in a republican primary.

PAUL: Do we really want to go there to say that nothing could happen? Because there are a lot of people that never thought Donald Trump would be president. And you know what? Donald Trump is president.

[07:34:41] ROBINSON: It certainly is. But -- again, there's still certain dynamics that we can't get beyond. And these very republican districts, being a super left progressive and having these protests, aren't going to make the difference in those districts. And, you know, they need to focus on some swing districts if they're going to do this, that's where they can really make a difference. But republicans cannot be distracted by this political theater by Astroturf protests, which is what a lot of this is. They've got to stay focused on their agenda. If they bow to what these protesters are saying, they -- it will be the worst thing that they can do for their electoral success. They promised change and what they will be judged on is their ability to deliver change. That is repealing and replacing Obamacare, for starters, lowering taxes and stopping illegal immigration. They need to do that, no matter what's happening in these town halls.

PAUL: Symone, do you see these political protesters as -- he is -- Brian calls it, political theater, or are they true representatives of what needs to change in the Democratic Party?

SANDERS: Well, it's definitely not political theater. A lot of these protesters in some of these republican-held districts are protesting the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act. They don't want a repeal without a replacement. So, look, I think that there's some real opportunity for the people in these states, but also democrats as well. A lot of these districts are alpha districts that are held by republicans, but districts that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 election. That is an opportunity for democrats to come in, and win some seats back. This reminds me of 2009, Christi, when the Tea Party was out there protesting, and folks just said, it was political theater, it was political Astroturf. And then the Tea Party came in and they swept a lot of seats in the midterm election. So, we're hoping that's what's going to happen here. The democrats are on the ground talking to people, but again, folks in their own communities like people in Utah, they are organizing themselves because they are angry, they are upset and they want the representatives to be better.

PAUL: Brian, you have the last word.

ROBINSON: Well, I'm glad to see they're going to be here in Atlanta picking someone who is not going to do anything to bring in those white blue collar voters that we talked about so much last year during the election. If anything, you're seeing the progressive wing of the democrats ascending which is going to hurt their ability to win back votes, middle of the road districts. So, I'm please by what I'm seeing over on the other side of the aisle.

PAUL: All right. Symone Sanders, Brian Robinson, always grateful to have your voice in this conversation. Thank you.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you.

PAUL: So, who will lead the Democratic Party in the era of President Trump? "THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP DEBATE", moderated by Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo. It is live, Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Well, as Donald Trump prepares to interview candidates for the role of national security adviser, there are fears growing now that the White House may not be prepared if a crisis hits.


[07:40:00] PAUL: Well, at his resort in Florida this weekend, President Trump is set to interview several candidates for national security adviser.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that vacancy remains at the top of the National Security Council after Michael Flynn's resignation earlier this week. Now, lawmakers and foreign policy experts are concerned that the White House may not be prepared for a crisis. Here's CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The firing of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser has thrown the White House into an urgent, and so far, unsuccessful search, to fill one of the most important jobs in the barely month-old administration.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.

STARR: President Trump thought he had the problem solved at his White House press conference.

TRUMP: I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position.

STARR: But just hours later, in a stunning thanks but no thanks, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a highly respected former Navy SEAL, turned down the job. Publicly, Harward said financial and family considerations governed his turndown. But senior military officers rarely turn down a president. A friend of Harward said, he was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems chaotic. Senator John McCain also a highly critical of the White House.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think there is significant dysfunction in the national security apparatus of the Trump administration.

STARR: A republican official told CNN that Harward wanted assurances, he could have his own White House team. The presence of Steve Bannon, Trump's Chief Strategist, who now has a permanent seat on the National Security Council, will be a challenge for whoever takes the job. The White House says there was never a formal offer to Harward, and it's considering other candidates, including retired General Keith Kellogg, who is filling the job temporarily. President Trump tweeting, "General Keith Kellogg, who I've known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA, as are three others." Retired General David Petraeus, also said to still be in the running. But with a potential for a crisis from North Korea, Iran, Russia at any time, the urgency to put an adviser into place is only growing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very concerned that we still have a hole in this position in the National Security Council staff has not been organized.

STARR: Perhaps the most dire assessment from General Tony Thomas, who runs special operations, saying earlier this week, "Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I'm concerned our government be as stable as possible."


PAUL: And a thank you to Barbara Starr for reporting there.

BLACKWELL: We're now hearing from former CIA Director David Petraeus. He's outside of the mix for national security adviser. One name that is being floated, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. Senator Ted Cruz says he would back Bolton.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: One person I think would be very, very strong is John Bolton. John is someone who is very well-known here on the Hill. Republicans and democrats know John Bolton well. He's someone who understands the world. He understands the threats of Radical Islamic terrorism. He understands the threats of an over aggressive Putin. And at the same time, I think he has demonstrated an understanding that we should be reluctant to use military force. That we should do so, only when absolutely necessary, and so, I think there are lots of good people that are being considered, but I think someone like John Bolton would be a terrific choice. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: As Senator Cruz says he would back Bolton, but as we remember from Michael Flynn's hiring that it doesn't require senate confirmation. Let's bring in now, CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott. And let's start with John Bolton here, the suggestion from Senator Cruz. Is this suggestion resonating potentially to be on the short list?

[07:45:04] EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I certainly think so. I mean, Bolton was someone who was supportive of Trump prior to him entering the White House and was close to the campaign, and somewhat involved in some of the conversations related to national security. So, it's not an unfamiliar name. I do think, though, for someone who claims to be as critical of the war in Iraq as Donald Trump does, bringing someone so close to him who was so involved with the United States entering that war, is going to be concerning to some people.

BLACKWELL: Also, and let's put that slate back up, guys, at some of the views of Mr. Bolton, Ambassador Bolton, I should say, also been highly critical of Russia, which is an important topic for the president.

SCOTT: And that's one of the reasons Cruz thinks he will be good for this administration that he could come in and toughen Donald Trump's stance on Russia. There's been some criticism that perhaps the president is not as aware and informed about the magnitude and the significance of the challenges that finding common ground with Russia would present. And perhaps Bolton does know more. But one of the reasons reportedly that Harward wanted to back out of the opportunity to be in the White House is that he feared that there were too many people from the Flynn camp who were already there. And so, the idea that Bolton could come in and change everything by himself, when there's so many other people who perhaps have a different world view on the issue, it's in doubt for some people.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's Vice Admiral Bob Harward who turned down the offer earlier this week. Quickly, Petraeus, off the shortlist. Is that his choice, or the choice of the White House, do we know?

SCOTT: We don't know. I think, though, consensus says that it is a wise choice because democrats would have harped on that, considering Petraeus' past involvement with security compromises. To bring someone like Petraeus on, right after Flynn would be concerning to people. There was actual concern that Petraeus was even considered in the first place, considering how aggressively Trump hit Hillary Clinton regarding her compromising important intelligence.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Eugene Scott, thank you so much.

SCOTT: Thanks, Victor.


PAUL: Well, still to come. How one American pro wrestler is sending Mexican wrestling fans into a frenzy and his own popularity through the roof. His story, next.


[07:50:00] PAUL: Well, listen to this. The new favorite for Mexican wrestling fans, Donald Trump.

BLACKWELL: Now, a wrestler in Mexico says the President Trump has given him plenty of material to work with. CNN's Shasta Darlington has his story.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In today's Mexico, it's hard to dream up a more despised character for the lucha libre ring. A Donald Trump loving gringo who goes head to head with the country's beloved national heroes. Sam Polinsky, a pro wrestler from Pittsburgh came up with the idea after moving to Mexico 10 months ago.

SAM POLINSKY, PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER: You need to have the ultimate villain in order for the people to buy into it and really believe. Right now, there's no more an ultimate than Donald Trump.

DARLINGTON: And so, Sam Adonis, "El Rudo de las Chicas" or the "Ladies' Bad Guy" was born. He says if he voted, it probably would have been for Trump.

POLINSKY: I'm not the biggest fan of Hillary Clinton.

DARLINGTON: But his character is just for show. Lucha libre is all about the bad guys. Mexicans love to hate them. The more vicious the better. Thousands of fans pile into the arena of Mexico looking for an escape.

"Whether it's a good guy or a bad guy," he says, "you can shout and get everything off your chest."

"I come to release all the stress from the week of work," says this man.

And the Trump loving gringo, "he's a great character to have fun with," he says, "totally worth it."

Fans are rarely disappointed by the wild acrobatics as good guys battle evil. String of over the top characters like snake toting batty and a mini blue gorilla.

When you're this close, you can actually see the sweat flying through the air.

Sam Polinsky gets into character before each show with bleached locks and a roll on tan. Fueling the anti-Trump fury, at least, in the arena.

POLINSKY: 9 times out of 10 when I enter the arena, the same people that were cursing at me and screaming at me, want a picture with me or want an autograph.

DARLINGTON: But they still love to see him take a beating in the ring. Shasta Darlington, CNN, Mexico City.


PAUL: All right. So, remember this moment speaking of Donald Trump and wrestling? Yes. Some WWE moment there back in 2007.

BLACKWELL: Body slamming Vince McMahon there.

PAUL: He didn't seem to -- he didn't seem to mind it then, handled himself quite well, huh? Who would have known?

BLACKWELL: And 10 years -- 10 years later, nominating Linda McMahon to lead the small business administration.

PAUL: Because now he is president.

BLACKWELL: Indeed, he is.

PAUL: I don't think we'll see any other president with some video like that.

BLACKWELL: You never know.

PAUL: Never -- that's true. You never know what's (INAUDIBLE) you never say never.

So, losing a few hours of sleep, it doesn't sound too bad, but lose to many, and we're talking about a serious health threat, a CEO has some guidance for us to help us manage our sleeping habits.


[07:55:00] BLACKWELL: A third of Americans do not get enough sleep according to the CDC.

PAUL: We're two of them.

BLACKWELL: I was going to raise my hand. So going to raise my hand.

PAUL: That 2:00 a.m. wake up call, every weekend. Media mogul Arianna Huffington shares some of the pitfalls and how she achieved that work life balance.


ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, THE HUFFINGTON POST CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN- CHIEF: Being exhausted had become the new normal. I was then in my office, I hit my head on my desk and broke my cheekbone. I went from doctor to doctor, trying to find out what was wrong with me. The diagnosis really was burnout. I had bought into that collective delusion that in order to succeed, in order to achieve, you have to burn out, you have to sacrifice your health, sacrifice your sleep. It's just not true. When we are sleep deprived, when we're exhausted, we make bad

decisions. The vast majority of us need seven to nine hours. And it simply requires us prioritizing it. Setting boundaries is key. Not sleeping with our phones by our bed. Having a period of a digital detox. Remembering to be grateful makes it easier for us to deal with challenges. When I put my own oxygen mask first, as they see on airplanes, and prioritize my health and well-being, I'm a better leader, I make better decisions.


PAUL: Wise words there. No doubt about it. Seven to nine hours? I don't know the last time that happened.

BLACKWELL: Yes, unrealistic for us.

PAUL: All right. I will -- we've got a lot of news to talk to you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Next hour starts right now.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is in Munich, Germany for a security summit. He's trying to reassure U.S. allies about the Trump administration's commitment to them.