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Trump to Choose Security Adviser in "Coming Days"; Ground Offensive Underway to Retake Western Mosul; New Leads in Death of Kim Jong Nam; Thousands Attend President Trump's Florida Rally; VP Pence Tours Nazi Concentration Camp; Sweden Baffled By Trump's Remarks. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 19, 2017 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:23] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here because I want to be among my friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a 6-foot cardboard box of President Trump in my house, and I salute that every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He needed this shot in the arm and he needed to connect with the people.

TRUMP: I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's just be a little, little nicer to our president. Thank you so much.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you on a Sunday. It's early. We're so grateful for your company, as always. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

And this is a workday for President Trump. He is widening his search for a person to replace the former national security adviser.

PAUL: The White House says the president will speak with at least four candidates. Army strategist, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, acting national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, and West Point superintendent, Lieutenant General Robert Caslen. This is after General Michael Flynn, of course, resigned for misleading the Vice President Mike Pence over the nature of calls with Russia. President Trump is also due to speak with three foreign leaders by


BLACKWELL: The White House also working to keep one of the biggest campaign promises, repealing and replacing Obamacare. President Trump promising a new plan now in just a few weeks.


TRUMP: You want a health care system -- and, by the way, we are going to be submitting in a couple of weeks a great health care plan that's going to take the place of the disaster known as Obamacare.


BLACKWELL: The president is discussing strategy later today with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

PAUL: The President Trump held one of his trademark high energy rallies yesterday afternoon, and she just saw there, there were some 9,000 Trump supporters in the audience.

BLACKWELL: The president even invited one of supporter he recognized from interviews on television up onstage. The man, Gene Hoover (ph), he was briefly stopped by Secret Service, maybe you saw that there, before the president urged agents to let him come up and then gave him the opportunity to speak to the audience, and Hoover explained to CNN his unwavering support to the president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He fights for us each and every second. He didn't have to do this for us, you know? He's 70 years old, a billionaire, beautiful family, and this man comes out and works harder than anybody I have ever seen in my life. And that's why he's a winner.


BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, a different tone outside of the rally, anti- Trump protester protesters, blasted the administration and called for the president's impeachment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came here, freedom of speech. I want to be heard. I want Trump to listen to us, and I want him to be impeached, because he has been lying to the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigrant policy, totally against that. He's destroying the EPA, all the money he is spending on vacations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we view our democracy as under attack. You know, we have a president who doesn't stand for the values that this country was founded on.


BLACKWELL: Our team of reporters and experts join me now to talk, CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott, CNN media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter, and Princeton University historian and professor, Julian Zelizer.

Good morning to all.

And I want to start with you, Eugene. Is this something we could expect or should expect from the president throughout his term, these rallies, maybe across the country?

EUGENE SCOT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I certainly think we should, particularly when he follows a tough week like he did this past week, and his counsel, Kellyanne Conway, said on the campaign trail that these rallies give him oxygen, and we saw that when he repeatedly said those were his people, they understood him and they connected with his message and goals, unlike what he is facing in Washington from a lot of -- even his own lawmakers.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's important to say that it's not unusual to see a president rallying out with the American people, but to hold a campaign rally 30 days or so into the administration is new.

Let me come to you, Julian. This is the book end to a day that started with the vice president in Munich, at the Munich security conference, reassuring Europe, reassuring NATO members.

[07:05:01] And we heard from German chancellor, Angela Merkel, specifically about media in response to questions about some of the comments we heard from President Trump.

Let's listen to the chancellor here.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I think a free and independent press is of the essence. I have great respect for journalists. We, at least here in Germany, have always done best when we show respect for each other, and when we show mutual respect, and freedom of the best is a pillar of democracy and that's something that I think we all accept.


BLACKWELL: Is this an important enough distinction that you imagine that this would come up between these two leaders or is this simply a statement from the German chancellor just saying where she stands on this issue?

JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN & PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think it's more than a statement. It's a signal to President Trump. We heard the same from Senator McCain. There is a concern that President Trump is not just in an adversarial relationship with the press, which we expect and in many ways we hope to have with any president, that's part of the function of the media, but that the president will say things that are not true and has opened up a war on the media as an institution.

So, I think he is now receiving pushback from leaders abroad, and leaders here within the United States.

BLACKWELL: Let's play what Julian just mentioned there, Brian, comments from Senator John McCain yesterday on NBC.


MCCAIN: If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started.


BLACKWELL: Brian, a fascinating comment there. A U.S. senator comparing the words of the U.S. president to those of a dictator.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. McCain followed up by saying I am not he's a dictator, but it's how this starts with the delegitimization of the press.

Now, John McCain, well known for being one of the kind of beltway media's favorite Republican senators. He was always so accessible, whether in Congress, or when he was running for president. You remember the straight talk express bus from years ago.

So, he's a guy despite his own critiques of the media has been supportive of the press's role over the years. But to invoke that "d" word, dictator, was notable. It's going to get a lot of play on the Sunday morning shows today. We've also heard that from some Democrats, like Adam Schiff, who said Trump's world is something like a tin pot dictator would use. But it's more surprising hearing it from a Republican, even a moderate Republican like John McCain.

BLACKWELL: There's one thing that stood out among others about this speech yesterday when the president started reading from the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Law and talked about the decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and there was a bit of a couch here saying I might be wrong about this, and I want to get your take on this. Let's watch.


TRUMP: I was told -- I'll check, but I found it hard to believe, in an over 30-page decision by the appellant court, three judges, and you could tell by the way they were reacting, because it was broadcasts on television, and everything we do gets a lot of people watching. So, you could tell by the way that phone call went it wasn't looking good, and when they wrote their decision, as I understand it, maybe I'm wrong --


BLACKWELL: Julian, you will remember that moment during the news conference on Thursday when he talked about his Electoral College victory being the largest since Reagan, and then Peter Alexander of NBC stood up and said, actually, Mr. President, you are wrong, and he said, well, this is something I was told. I haven't heard the president or even candidate Trump say that maybe I am wrong, as I was told, and is he adjusting here?

ZELIZER: Well, we'll see. He might be adjusting but he continues to say things like that. I think that's at the heart of some of this concern over the press. When he says something like that about the Electoral College, it's just not true. And when that comes from the president, though, many people believe him.

So, you now have a competition between the words of the president and the arguments of the president and the facts as we know it on many issues. Then maybe he's adjusting, and maybe he's hedging, but he's still making these kinds of claims without much restraint.

STELTER: And his fan, if I can mention Gene Hoover, who we saw last hour, he was the fan in line at the Trump rally who came up onstage, he said to Pamela Brown last night, President Trump taught me about politics and I learn so much from him, he's the one that I trust. That's the challenge as President Trump creates this wedge between the presidency and the media, and it creates questions for Trump supporters, his loyalists, about who to trust.

And clearly, they are trusting Trump, not the press even when we're trying to very accurately, carefully fact check some of what the president does.

[07:10:06] BLACKWELL: And speaking of accuracy, that 1952 law, I went back and read the order. It was mentioned on page four of the order, the background section. So, just to put that out there.

Brian Stelter, Julian Zelizer, Eugene Scott, thank you all.

SCOTT: Thank you.

PAUL: Ohio Governor John Kasich joins "STATE OF THE UNION" later this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: A new offensive started this morning to free Mosul from ISIS control. But one of the biggest concerns right now, how to keep hundreds of thousands of innocent people save during that battle.

PAUL: Also, another twist in the death of Kim Jong-un's half brother, accusations that North Korea is responsible for killing him.



TRUMP: I've also directed the defense community headed by general, and now -- well, you know, he said it, he said it, and now Secretary "Mad Dog" Mattis, to develop a plan to totally destroy ISIS.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: OK. So, you hear the president there renewing his promise to defeat ISIS, and we know Iraqi forces are now heading into Mosul, preparing to force the terror group out of its last stronghold there in Iraq.

PAUL: And we are sharing new video with you here that shows tanks closing in on the city just this morning. It's the first time that ground troops will fight in western Mosul. One of the main concerns here, keeping the hundreds of thousands of people who live there safe in the middle of this battle.

Let's get straight to CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman.

[07:15:00] He's following these new developments from Istanbul.

What are you learning about the status of the fight and how many people may be trapped in that city for it?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the fight to drive ISIS out of western Mosul began early this morning, although the last few days have seen an intensification of Iraqi coalition aircraft bombardment of ISIS targets, as well as intense artillery bombardments as well by the Iraqi military, by the French and by the Americans. So, it's really now kicking off. We understand the focus at the moment is to try and take Mosul airport, which is in the southern part of the city as well as an adjacent army base that has been taken over by Mosul.

But as this fight goes forward, the real challenge for Iraqi forces, for the coalition, is to avoid civilian casualties. The estimates are rather vague, but they are talking about somewhere between 650,000 and 800,000 civilians in the western part of this city. It's a very compact part of the city and densely populated.

One of the real worries, of course, is according to Save the Children, there are as many as 350,000 children in western Mosul, and like the rest of the population, they are suffering from an acute food shortage, and there's a shortage of clean water, medicine, heating fuel. There's just about two or three hours of electricity a day, and now, of course, a full on battle going on in and around the city.

So, there's a lot of concern about the safety for the civilian population, in addition to the challenge of fighting ISIS. They have got about 2,000 to 3,000 fighters according to U.S. officials and they are very well dug in, and as we have seen in the past, they have no problem using civilians as human shields and they use on a regular basis, things like suicide trucks, and bombs, snipers, it's going to be a rough one.

PAUL: All right. Ben Wedeman, thank you so much for the update. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: The man who planned the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center has died in prison. A prison spokesman says Omar Abdel-Rahman died of natural causes. Now, he was serving a life sentence for plotting the attack that killed six people, but injured more than 1,000 others. Abdel-Rahman was linked to the bombing after investigators found the other attackers frequented the mosque where he preached.

PAUL: Well, Vice President Pence is continuing to shore up alliances in Europe today. He's arriving in Belgium, and will be doing so in fact, any minute, having spent the morning paying his respect at a concentration camp outside Munich. We are live for you in Brussels.

BLACKWELL: Plus, new leads in the death of Kim Jong-un's half brother, and more accusations that North Korea ordered his death.


[07:21:23] PAUL: Well, another twist to share with you here in the mysterious death of Kim Jong-un's half brother. Malaysian police say they're now looking for four more suspects in the case.

BLACKWELL: All four of those suspects are North Korean, and now South Korea say based on the evidence it believes the North Korea regime is behind the murder of Kim Jong-nam.

CNN international correspondent Saima Mohsin is live in Kuala Lumpur with the latest.

What are you learning there, Saima?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, the net seems to widen across Asia in this murder mystery, completely extraordinary. As you say, four new suspects identified by police, and they are all North Korean citizens holding civilian passports, a lot of people ask whether if they had diplomatic passports. Now, police also told us that they left the country on the same day of the attack and they are wanted for questioning.

In addition to those four there are three other people of interests that police want to speak to to assist in their investigation, and they said this is now most definitely a murder investigation -- Victor.

PAUL: So, Saima, what is the North Korean embassy saying about this?

MOHSIN: Yes, Christi, this is interesting, and in an almost kind of true to North Korean style. The ambassador rolled up to the mortuary just off to midnight Friday local time, and read a dramatic statement, got in the car and drove off. Now, that statement condemned the Malaysian authorities' handling of the situation. He said that they said they are carrying out the postmortem examination without the North Korean embassy's permission, and they will not accept any results and findings from the autopsy, if it's completed.

Now, we spoke to the Malaysian authorities. They say don't need the permission of the North Koreans. This is a crime that took place on Malaysian soil and they will carry out there procedures. And, incidentally, Christi, they also said they will not release the body until the next of kin comes forward for formal identification or they get a DNA sample to prove this is indeed Kim Jong-nam, and that, of course, as you know, will prove incredibly difficult given that Kim Jong-nam has been living in exile and was a rival to his brother, Kim Jong-un -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: My goodness.

All right. Saima Mohsin, so good to see you today. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, federal agents will soon have more power to arrest undocumented immigrants not on those target lists. How the Department of Homeland Security's new immigration policy has fears running high among immigrant communities across the country.


[07:27:30] PAUL: So good to see you. I'm Christi Paul.

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

President Trump continuing his search to fill an important post in his administration, national security adviser.

PAUL: Yes, the White House says the president will speak with at least four candidates for the position, and as Vice President Pence continues his trip through Europe, the president is also expected to speak with three foreign leaders by phone today.

BLACKWELL: Now, this comes as the administration works to keep one of the president's biggest campaign promises -- the repeal and replace of Obamacare. President Trump is promising a new plan in just a few weeks.

Now, the president may also get a boost in momentum possibly after that appearance at a campaign rally in Melbourne, Florida. The police department there said he was greeted by an estimated 9,000 people, and first lady Melania Trump also made an appearance.


MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: The America we envision is one that works for all Americans, and where all Americans can work and succeed. A nation committed to a greater civility and unity between people from all sides of the political divide.


PAUL: Meanwhile --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came out here today because my family immigrated here from Columbia, South America, and a lot of the freedoms that I believe in personally, a lot of the things I believe in personally are under attack right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Voices of concern meanwhile from immigrants living in the U.S. after the Trump administration moves to refine its aggressive new immigration policy.

CNN has obtained memos from the Homeland Security Department outlining new guidance that gives federal agents more power to make arrests of undocumented immigrants not on their list, and also aims to end catch and release policies, ultimately making it harder for immigrants to seek refuge.

Let's talk about it with CNN political commentator Alice Stewart, and former chairman of Washington, D.C.'s Democratic Party, Scott Bolden.

Thank you both so much for being with us.


PAUL: Good morning.

Before we get to the immigration policy, I want to ask you about the rally in Florida last night. We heard there from Melania Trump speaking to a very seemingly broad audience, but when it comes to Donald Trump, he still seems to be speaking to his base only.

How do you think he's going to be able to speak to the rest of the country and try to unify divided Americans?

[07:30:00] ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In my view, he was speaking to all Americans.

Look, he was there talking about what he's going to do to create jobs. What he will do to keep our streets safe. What he will do to secure our borders. What he will do to provide quality, affordable health care, and to make the environment better with regard to reducing federal government regulations, which really put a difficult strain on businesses and corporations to create jobs. And all of that, in and of itself, that speaks to all Americans. All Americans want those things.

I think it was a good opportunity for him to address the concerns of all Americans, and also by doing this, it was his way of getting the message directly to the people, getting it right out without the filter of the press, without the filter of the media, and speaking directly to the people in a positive atmosphere. It was a very good night in terms of him getting the message directly to the people.

PAUL: Scott, speaking about messages, the economic message is very good for Donald Trump. We are seeing records set on Wall Street. We're seeing great numbers coming in. This is what people cared about.

BOLDEN: Well, they cared about it, but he was delivered these economic messages and these economic results by Barack Obama. He inherited a terrific economy compared to what Barack Obama inherited. And so, with the stock market going up and all these other economic indicators is what Barack Obama delivered to him.

And so, the economic message is clear, but what the challenge is, can all Americans benefit from this new economy because that is what the criticisms of Republicans were of the Democratic economy, and the voters who vote -- the people who voted for Donald Trump was that all of them have not benefited. We'll have to see. Donald Trump still hasn't proven himself with his very supporters who put him in office because they are economically left behind.

PAUL: OK. I want to get to the immigration policy I was just referring to, Alice. President Trump's new immigration steps it seems. There's a portion that seems a bit contradictory. I want to listen to what the president said addressing DACA in this press conference. Let's listen.


TRUMP: We're going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me, it's one of most difficult subjects I have, because you have these incredible kids -- in many cases, not in all cases, and some of the cases, they are having DACA and there are gang members and there are drug dealers, too.

But you have some absolutely incredible kids -- I would say mostly, and they were brought here in such a way. It's a very tough subject. We're going to deal with DACA with heart.


PAUL: All right. So, we have that. And then we have the new immigration policy, which states, quote, "The department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement." It seems to imply that those protected by DACA are still vulnerable.

Are they intact, are they not, Alice?

STEWART: Christi, it's important to keep in mind with this memo, it's a draft memo, and the White House says it's still being reviewed and some changes may be made based on how the legal team at the White House views this, and that's critical to remember. But also at the same time, you have to remember over the last eight years, over the Obama administration, they have gone from enforcing existing immigration laws to a more lenient immigration policy.

President Trump does not want that. He wants to enforce existing laws, and that includes dealing with all illegal immigrants, not just criminal illegals that President Obama dealt with, but all illegals and that is -- it's difficult and it is hard to deal with when we are talking about children of illegal immigrants.

But it's critical as the first step in a key component of his immigration policy, and securing the border, is enforcing the existing laws. This is a good first step. Once again, this is a draft proposal in terms of putting the issues out on the table, but this is a good first step. We all have to realize that he campaigned on this key issue, immigration and securing the border. And this is exactly what he's doing.

PAUL: So, Scott, according to ICE officials, 75 percent of last week's deportation raids which resulted in 700 arrests dealt with people with prior records. So, is it possible that its crackdown might be working? You say what?

BOLDEN: One of the 25 percent, though. One of that 25 percent.

Listen, with Donald Trump and his policies, high priority, all illegal immigrants are high priority. Under Barack Obama, he had high priority and low priority and quite frankly, many of his critics in the Hispanic community and immigration community called him the deporter-in-chief.

And so, but here, the biggest difference is that Donald Trump, everyone is a high priority. DACA, students involved in DACA, folks here who are seeking asylum, watch the implementation of this draft. It may be a draft, it will be fine-tuned, and this is the goal and objective of the administration, and look for it to be challenged in court because the leeway giving to these immigration officers is unprecedented, quite frankly.

[07:35:11] And the ability to remove illegal residents with or without a hearing is going to be exacerbated in a way that we've never seen before, because immigration -- illegal immigration and removing people from this country is a high priority, it's wrong, it's illegal, and the courts are going to have to intervene.

Watch for lawsuits to flow.

PAUL: OK. I only have a couple seconds left but I want to get this in regarding the border wall. This was a big issue for so many people. We want to listen to some reporting that CNN has been able to clarify, let's listen here, about the future of the fence.


REPORTER: The latest plans involve adding 177 new miles of fencing and replacing 272 miles of already built fence, according to one high- level source with knowledge of the project. That means the total barrier between the United States and Mexico would cover 831 total miles of a nearly 2,000-mile border. Still not even half according to these sources.


PAUL: So, it has moved from a wall to a fence and it's covering less territory than was promised earlier.

Alice, will his supporters find this acceptable?

STEWART: I think everybody across America would agree that Donald Trump is 100 percent committed to a national security and securing the border, whether it's a wall, whether it's a fence. The bottom line is, he's going to secure the border and he's going to make this country safe.

One of the issue is, it's about keeping illegals from coming into this country. That's the top priority. The method in which it's carried out is not important. The issue is keeping our nation safe.

PAUL: Scott, last words?

BOLDEN: Christi, I think it's -- I think it's a cost reality. It's a campaign promise. It's a paper tiger. It can't be done.

And even if you cover the border, does anybody on this show or in America believe that you're going to stop people wanting to come to America to seek the American dream? I think not. We need a comprehensive immigration policy that's fair to all of us.

PAUL: Alice Stewart, Scott Bolden, A. Scott Bolden -- I should say -- thank you all so much for being here.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

STEWART: Thanks, Christi.

BLACKWELL: It's important to remember the president throughout the campaign, even as president-elect, corrected people saying, it's a wall, not a fence. This is rebar and steel, and has criticized the fence because it is just that. We'll see what the legislation is when it's written.

Now, let's turn to the Democrats. Just a few days away from picking a new leader, but two candidates dropping out of this race.

PAUL: Most notably, New Hampshire Democratic Party State Party Chairman Ray Buckley left the race yesterday. He's endorsing Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison to be the new DNC chair. Washington activist Robert Benson Branham also dropped out of the race yesterday supporting now former labor secretary, Tom Perez.

Perez and Ellison, of course, considered the front runners for the position. The DNC's leadership election, by the way, is next week.

BLACKWELL: So, who will lead the Democratic Party in the era of Trump? Well, the Democratic Leadership Debate is moderated by Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo. It will live on Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

Vice President Mike Pence continues to shore up alliances in Europe. He is arriving in Belgium. It should happen in just a few minutes possibly, having to spend this morning paying his respect at a concentration camp outside Munich. And we are live in Brussels with a look at that visit, next.


[07:42:01] BLACKWELL: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham urged the president to take action against Russia over allegations that they interfered in the U.S. election. He was addressing world leaders at a security conference in Munich, and the senator said that Congress needs to get more involved to ensure there are consequences for those actions.

PAUL: He also outlined how the president should have handled this issue up to this point. Take a listen.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: My biggest concern with President Trump, and I want to help him where I can, and he never looked in the camera in the eye and said, even though it was the Democratic Party that suffered from Russian interference, I am now the leader of the free world, of democracy in our backyard, and I can assure you they're going to pay a price on my watch for trying to interfere in our election even though it was Democrats that were affected the most. He's yet to say that.


PAUL: Senator Graham plans to introduce a bipartisan proposal for new Russia sanctions, by the way. So, listen, in a few minutes, Vice President Pence will arrive in Brussels, Belgium. He is scheduled to meet with European leaders and NATO secretary general there as he continues shoring up U.S. alliances there in Europe.

BLACKWELL: Well, after leaving the Munich security conference this morning, the vice president toured a concentration camp with his wife and his daughter. Later today, he will meet with the prime minister of Belgium.

CNN correspondent Erin McLaughlin is live in Brussels.

And tell us about that, that visit this morning and what we're expecting from the vice president today.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a powerful and somber visit to the former Nazi concentration camp, the vice president, his wife and his daughter were given a tour by a survivor from that camp who talked about the horrendous conditions during the time, the thousands of lives that were lost there, also spoke to American liberation of that camp, and it's a visit that is significant when you consider the controversy that surrounded the White House, the statements that they released on International Holocaust Remembrance day that failed to mention Jews or anti- Semitism.

Also significant when you see the controversy that surrounded President Trump's press conference earlier this week in which he dismissed questions about the rise of anti-Semitic acts in the United States. Also significant when it points to U.S. and European cooperation, it's a central theme for the vice president in Munich, also expected to also be a central theme when he comes to visit Brussels as well, because the fact of the matter is, E.U. leaders are very concerned about they have been hearing from President Trump, specifically on the subject of Brexit, the United Kingdom's departure from the E.U., and the possibility in the president's words that other countries could follow, they are very concerned about that.

So, while the E.U. officials are telling me that they welcome the symbolic gesture of the trip, that someone so high up in the administration would visit Brussels early on in the administration.

[07:45:06] At the same time, much more work needs to be done to introduce certainty into the relationship.

BLACKWELL: And the president mentioned the Brexit yesterday in his remarks in Melbourne and also calling on NATO members to pay their fair share during that rally in Florida.

Erin McLaughlin there for us -- Erin, thanks so much.

Republican Senator John McCain blasted the president at the security conference in Munich as well, highlighting the turmoil within the GOP. He called out everything from the president's position on NATO to his -- as he described it -- cozy relationship with Russia.

PAUL: He also took the time there to champion American values and to try to look ahead to a more promising future.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times, but you should not count America out. We must be prudent, but we cannot wring our hands and wallow in self doubt. We must appreciate the limits of our power, but we cannot allow ourselves to question the rightness and goodness of the West.


BLACKWELL: Senator McCain acknowledges the concerns in Europe and the West and -- went on to stress, I should say, that the importance of America's global leadership is paramount.

PAUL: President Trump wrapping up his strong words when it comes to combating terrorism and keeping out refugees, even mentioning something that happened in Sweden. A lot of people are asking, though, what actually happened in Sweden -- even Sweden seems to be confused. We're going to take you there, next.



[07:50:03] TRUMP: You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden, Sweden -- who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers. They are having problems like they never thought possible.


PAUL: President Trump there in front of 9,000 of his supporters at his campaign rally in Florida appeared to cite an incident that -- it's still trying to be determined if it even happened. BLACKWELL: Well, the president was apparently there arguing the link

between violent terrorism and refugees around the world when he referenced something that happened Friday, he said last night, it was on Saturday. It happened Friday in Sweden. But there's no clear indication of what he was talking about.

The president's claim got the attention of Sweden's former prime minister, Carl Bildt, who tweeted this, "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound."

Well, let's bring in the head of the news and current affairs for Sweden's TV 4, Anders Strelstrom (ph). He joins us on the phone.

Anders, hello to you, and when you heard what the president said there about Sweden, who would have thought Sweden, what did you think?

ANDERS STRELSTROM, SWEDISH TV4 HEAD OF NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS (via telephone): Well, as a lot of people here in Sweden, I got quite confused, and, you know, we really don't know what he's referring to actually.

PAUL: Is there anything that happened that perhaps he might be misconstruing somehow? Is there some sort of smaller incident?

STRELSTROM: Well, we can't really see any incident, any attacks, any other extraordinary things that is worth mentioning. So, the short answer is really no.

BLACKWELL: So, I'm sure you followed, and if you have not, we'll remind you and our viewers of some of the references that have been made by the president's staff. His counselor Kellyanne Conway referencing a Bowling Green massacre that never happened. The White House spokesman, the press secretary there, Sean Spicer, several times in a week saying there was an attack in Atlanta which did not happen.

What is the impact that you're hearing from people or that you're seeing there as people wonder what is the president talking about, some incident in now Sweden?

STRELSTROM: Well, actually due to this confusion -- I mean, a lot of people are making jokes about this. You can go into the social media, and you can see on the #lastnightinSweden, a lot of jokes about this because -- I don't think people understand what the president is referring to, so it's a big confusion.

PAUL: Anders, how is the president viewed there in Sweden before and after this?

STRELSTROM: Well, I haven't -- I haven't seen all reactions today. Just a few hours ago this happened, but, of course, Mr. Trump is controversial person. He has his supporters and also, I mean, he has his critics, so I think nothing will really change in that sense after this. But everybody -- this is just like a big huge question mark around this story, I would say.

BLACKWELL: We read the tweet from the former prime minister, but I wonder has there been or is there an indication that there will be some response from the current reference, let's call it?

STRELSTROM: That's very interesting. We're actually, of course, we're trying to get contact with the government and the prime minister to get a comment on this, but we haven't so far got anything.


PAUL: All right.

BLACKWELL: Anders Strelstrom, thanks so much for being with us to try to understand what the president was talking about there in this reference to something in Sweden, Anders Strelstrom, the head of news for -- and current affairs for Sweden's TV4.

PAUL: Appreciate it. Thank you.

STRELSTROM: Thank you.

PAUL: So, it is a stress test for your dog. Researchers say they found a way to monitor stress in your pets and how it can help keep them healthy.


[07:58:01] BLACKWELL: So, a third of Americans do not get enough sleep, according to the CDC, and God bless the two-thirds who do, because I don't know those people.

PAUL: I don't know who they are.

BLACKWELL: It's a great life, I guess.

PAUL: Yes. Media mogul Arianna Huffington shows you some of the pitfalls and how she's able to achieve a work-life balance, so maybe we can, too.


ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, THE HUFFINGTON POST FOUNDER: Being exhausted has become the new normal.

I was in my office I hit my head on my desk and broke my cheek bone. I went from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was wrong with me. The diagnosis really was burnout.

I had bought into the 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 say on airplanes and

prioritize my health and well-being, I'm a better leader and I make better decisions.


PAUL: All right. Pet lovers, listen up here. Researchers say, look as he tells this to me because I have three dogs, they have found a way to tell if your dog is stressed out.

BLACKWELL: OK. So they use sensors to monitor the heart rate of the dog and focus on subtle changes in their heartbeat. Researchers use the information to create a test to track your pets' psychological state.

PAUL: One researcher says the sensor can help you better communicate with your dog and figure out what it's sick more quickly. They hope to have the sensors on the market in a few years. That's enough time for Victor to get the two dogs he's talking about getting.

BLACKWELL: One day, I'll have two dogs.

PAUL: And then we'll get him the sensors to make sure his dogs are safe.

BLACKWELL: Let's hope it's a Christmas gift.

Thanks so much for joining us.

PAUL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.