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CNN NEWSROOM

White House Expose Releasing Four Days Early; The Trump Presidency; U.N. Security Council to Meet on Iran Situation; Major Chip Flaws Put Almost All Devices at Risk; North Korea Accepts Offer From South To Meet For Peace Talks; Merseyside Derby Set For F.A. Cup 3rd Round; Lifting Croatia's Famous Snow Queen Trophy Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 5, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Offer accepted: North Korea says yes to talks with its southern neighbor.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): "Full of lies": the U.S. President slams a book about him that's hitting the shelves soon.

HOWELL (voice-over): And blizzard conditions sweeping the U.S. Northeast, even those accustomed to cold weather, well, haven't seen anything quite like that.

ALLEN (voice-over): The bomb cyclone.

HOWELL (voice-over): That's what they're calling it.

ALLEN: Yes, we'll take a close look at what it left behind.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. NEWSROOM starts right now.

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HOWELL: First, a dramatic new development on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has agreed to hold official talks with South Korea next week.

ALLEN: According to South Korea's unification ministry, the two sides will meet January 9th. It will be the first high-level contact between the two countries since 2015.

HOWELL: This is the latest diplomatic overture from North Korea in recent days. Earlier this week, the North reactivated a dormant hotline with South Korea and has used that connection several times.

ALLEN: Our Will Ripley joins us now from the South Korean capital.

Hello to you, Will. Certainly an encouraging sign in the New Year. What is on the agenda for these talks?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, improving inter-Korean relations is how they're describing it here in South Korea. No official announcement yet from the North Koreans as to what's on their agenda. But based on conversations that I've had with North Korean officials, there are certainly things that they would like to see.

The immediate issue that may be discussed are logistics for getting a North Korean delegation to participate in the Winter Games here in South Korea, in PyeongChang. This is something the government here in Seoul has wanted very badly because they hope that it would be a sign of thawing relations between the two countries and also perhaps would ensure, if the North were participating in the Olympics, that there would be less of a chance for some sort of provocative act, such as a ballistic missile test or a nuclear test either before or during the games, which could disrupt what's obviously a very important international event.

But from the Northern perspective, there are a lot of other things that they would like to see happen here. They'd like to see the lifting of sanctions, they'd like to see normalized relations. They would like to see a peace treaty.

And while these discussions obviously are not going to get the two countries close to that immediately, the simple fact that they are agreeing to meet in person and have discussions for the first time in two years has at least reignited some cautious optimism in this part of the world. Certainly this is the direction that many people would like to see the situation head as opposed to the other direction, where North Korea was testing these weapons and the tensions were continuing to escalate.

ALLEN: Yes, at the same time, for his New Year's edict, he talked about having his finger near the nuclear button. You've been to North Korea many, many times but you have continued to report from there, Will, that they have wanted this dialogue, they want to talk and this is at least a first step.

RIPLEY: Right. We've said repeatedly, based on discussions with North Korean officials, that, from the North Korean perspective, they feel that bolstering their nuclear arsenal gives them leverage, gives them legitimacy, gives them a seat at the table from a position of strength because the discussions could potentially bring about better economic conditions for the people living in North Korea.

Now there are others, and certainly on the U.S. side, that feel rewarding North Korea for behavior that has been flagrantly violating international law might encourage other countries to try to develop their own arsenal.

So there's basically two schools of thought about how things are going to go here. One interesting spin, if you will, from the White House and the Trump administration, coming from the U.S. DefSec James Mattis, who, unsurprisingly is publicly crediting President Trump, despite his tweets and his rhetoric, for bringing about these talks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Those talks clearly are the result of the amount of international pressure. And they are a way, I think, for North Korea to start talking while keeping it contained to a benign issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: We don't know the full picture inside North Korea. We don't know if round after round of U.N. Security Council sanctions are starting to take effect in the country. I can tell you, on my most recent visits there, I did not see any noticeable signs of increased sanctions hurting the country's economy.

There was still plenty of traffic on the streets. If you look at videos being released from the North Korean capital, life seems to go on as normal. However, given the fact that North Korea currently is not allowed to legally sell nearly any of the major items that it produces and exports to bring in money as punishment for its nuclear development, perhaps the sanctions are having an impact. That's certainly something that North Korea would like to see --

[02:05:00]

RIPLEY: -- lifted as soon as possible.

There is skepticism, though, in the region. You heard yesterday the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe calling the security situation in this region, particularly facing Japan, the most dangerous since World War II.

And nobody is thinking that these talks are going to immediately bring about some -- a resolution to that. But the hope is that if a dialogue can begin, that this can lead to other things, perhaps an agreement to reunite divided families on the North and South side of the Korean Peninsula, perhaps it could lead to a summit between South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

Of course, the ultimate endgame for North Korea, they want normalized relations with South Korea, of course, but also with the United States. They want a peace treaty. And they want to be recognized as a nuclear power, which is something that the United States its allies have insisted, just as recently as a few days ago is absolutely not going to happen.

So what the two sides want, obviously, they're very far apart. But just the fact that the North is now agreeing to a dialogue, there's cautious hope that this will lead the situation back in a positive direction, a direction towards diplomacy, as opposed to when it appeared to be heading towards a military confrontation.

I would say, though, with a word of caution, that we've seen in the past talks happen only for the situation to rapidly go back to a place, leading this region to a place it doesn't want to go, closer to military confrontation. So we'll just monitor. We'll be here and we'll wait for updates when those talks happen on Tuesday.

ALLEN: All right. We'll be waiting to see what happens. Thank you so much, Will Ripley for us there in Seoul.

HOWELL: In the meantime, here in the United States, the U.S. president, Donald Trump, is criticizing his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and a new book that's out in just a couple of hours. It's called "Fire and Fury" by the author, Michael Wolff.

ALLEN: And it's caused fury for this president so far.

Late Thursday he tweeted, "I authorized zero access to White House. Actually turned him down many times for author of phony book. I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist. Look at this guy's path and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve" -- Bannon, that's his new nickname for Steve Bannon.

I reckon Bannon is quoted frequently in the book, saying unflattering things about Mr. Trump and his family. And we should know that some of Michael Wolff's reporting has been corroborated and some errors have been identified.

We should also say that Wolff paints quite a few scenes without directly quoting anyone and his sourcing at times is vague.

He writes, "It is worth noting some of the journalistic conundrums that I faced when dealing with the Trump administration, many of them, the result of the White House's absence of official procedures and the lack of experience of its principals.

"These challenges have included dealing with off the record or deep background material that was later casually put on the record. Sources who provided accounts in confidence and subsequently shared them widely and the frequent inattention to setting any parameters on the use of a conversation."

HOWELL: So here's Wolff's description of the moment aboard Air Force One, President Trump returning from his Europe trip just after news of the Trump Tower meeting broke, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort meeting with Russians, claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It reads like this, "The president insisted that the meeting in Trump Tower was purely and simply about Russian adoption policy. that's what was discussed, period, period, even though it was likely, if not certain, that 'The Times' had incriminating e-mail chain. In fact, it was quite possible that Jared and Ivanka and the lawyers knew 'The Times' had the e-mail chain.

"The president ordered that no one should let on to the more problematic discussion about Hillary Clinton."

ALLEN: Despite the threat of legal action, publisher Henry Holt is moving up the publication of "Fire and Fury" by four days.

HOWELL: That's right. It is set to released in just a few hours' time. CNN's Jim Acosta has details.

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JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump sounds like a man who couldn't care less about Steve Bannon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I don't know. He called me a great man last night. So you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president's lawyers are sending a very different message to Bannon, threatening to sue the former White House chief strategist over his comments in Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury," saying in a statement, "Legal action is imminent."

Add that to the cease and desist letters sent to Wolff's publisher, demanding that the book be shut down.

"Your publication of the false, baseless statements about Mr. Trump gives rise to, among other claims, defamation by libel."

ACOSTA: Should the letter from the president's lawyers aimed at Steve Bannon and aimed at (INAUDIBLE) be interpreted as a threat from the United States government from this administration to not publish this book?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's a -- it's not -- it's not from the United States government. It is from the president's personal attorney. And I think it is very clear what its purpose is. And there's nothing to add beyond that.

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ACOSTA (voice-over): Only hours after excerpts of the book were made public, quoting Bannon as saying Donald Trump Jr. may have engaged in, quote, "treasonous actions," by meeting with Russians during the campaign, the firebrand conservative was praising the president.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF STRATEGIST: The President of the United States is a great man. You know I support him day in and day out.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Sitting with GOP senators, the president claimed that he doesn't speak with Bannon.

TRUMP: I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him. That's just a misnomer (ph).

ACOSTA (voice-over): But that's not quite true. The White House has said the two men have been speaking since Bannon was fired last summer, as recently as last month.

SANDERS: I'm not aware that they were ever particularly close. I would certainly say that they've spoken a few times since he left the White House but it's not like there were regularly scheduled calls or -- and certainly no meetings between the two of them.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The other question is whether the president would actually follow through with his threat to sue, something he didn't do after the campaign.

TRUMP: All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.

ACOSTA (voice-over): White House frustration with Wolff's book comes despite the extraordinary access granted to the author. Wolff wrote in the "Hollywood Reporter" that he was given the access after the president approved of another story he had written about Mr. Trump.

"His non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around," Wolff wrote, "checking in each week at Hay Adams Hotel, making appointments with various senior staffers, who put my name in the system, and then wandering across the street to the White House and plunking myself down, day after day, on a West Wing couch."

ACOSTA: Didn't this White House give Michael Wolff all the access that he wanted?

SANDERS: Absolutely not. In fact, there are probably more than 30 requests for access to information from Michael Wolff that were repeatedly denied, including, within that, at least 2 dozen requests of him asking to have an interview with the president, which he never did. He never discussed this book with the president.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House also fired back at questions raised in the book about the president's mental fitness.

SANDERS: It's disgraceful and laughable. If he was unfit, he probably wouldn't be sitting there. He wouldn't have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president is trying to change the subject, promising action on immigration.

Mr. Trump is defending his decision to shut down a commission that failed to prove his claim that millions of undocumented people voted in the election, tweeting, "Many, mostly Democrat states, refused to hand over data from the 2016 election to the Commission on Voter Fraud. But that's misleading. Dozens of states, Republican and Democrat, refused to cooperate."

Watching from the sidelines are the countless young, undocumented immigrants known as the DREAMers, who now face deportation. The president wants a wall in exchange for sparing them.

TRUMP: Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall.

ACOSTA: One thing the White House can control is its staff. So officials are cracking down on employee use of personal cell phones with plans to ban them inside the West Wing. A source close to the West Wing told CNN this is really about stopping the kind of leaks that are making the president furious -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

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HOWELL: No misnomer (sic) about the person we're bringing in now to speak about this, Michael Genovese. Michael is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, also the author of the new book, "How Trump Governs," joining us from Los Angeles.

It's always good to have you here on the show, Michael, and quite a lot to talk about for sure. Let's start with the reporting from "The New York Times," that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is aware of an unsuccessful attempt by the president to lobby the White House attorney, Don McGann, to stop the attorney general from recusing himself.

This goes to the president's belief that the White House attorneys and even the Justice Department work for him rather than working for the office of the president and under the Constitution.

Does this add another brick in the wall of possible obstruction in your mind?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Obstruction is going to be a tough thing to prove. I think what this really demonstrates to us is that Donald Trump thinks that the office is a personal appendage of the person, Donald Trump, and that people should give loyalty to him personally rather than to the Constitution or to the country at large.

And so I can understand why he would refer to people like Bobby Kennedy, who helped his brother; to Holder, who helped Obama. And I think what he wants though is someone who will go even further, someone will see their job -- and this was very clear when he interviewed Comey right before the firing -- someone who would be personally loyal just to him, even if it went against the Constitution and some of the rules and the laws of the Justice Department.

ALLEN: Well, that's not quite the way it works in the United States, right?

You're loyal to the Constitution and you're obviously following the laws of the land.

Let's also talk about what's coming out in this new book, Michael Wolff's --

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HOWELL: -- book, "Fire and Fury." It's important to note here, while some of the reporting has been corroborated, there are some errors that have been identified and some sources vague at times. But in the one instance here, Wolff writes the president insisted on a

false narrative of what happened at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. Steve Bannon, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with the Russian attorney. "The Times" is reporting that Mr. Mueller's team is examining that statement reportedly dictated on Air Force One.

Explain the significance here.

GENOVESE: Well, that is something that could very well be clear case of obstruction of justice. There are two different standards we need to be aware of. On the one hand, there's the legal standard.

Did the president actively and knowingly obstruct justice?

There's also the political side, for example. If there is an impeachment inquiry, that would not require him to legally have gone against the law in any way. That can be very political.

And so on two different dimensions, the president is in trouble. The president may have lied about this, he may have misled investigators. And that would be clearly obstruction of justice, probably illegal, certainly politically dynamite.

HOWELL: All right. I also want to talk here about Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon reportedly gave Wolff unprecedented access to this White House. He's quoted many times in this book and, in this case, regarding the Paris climate accord, this selection from the book, we'll show you here.

"It was likewise, the move that Ivanka Trump had campaigned hardest against the White House, 'Score,' said Bannon, 'the B is dead,'" according to this quote, this from Steve Bannon. We've not heard anything from Steve Bannon to discard or go against any of this, to dispute it.

What do you make of that?

GENOVESE: We're seeing a very public and a very ugly divorce here between the president and one of his top aides and allies, who -- Steve Bannon -- who controls to some extent the far right wing, the hard right, even the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.

And so the president has to be very careful here. He doesn't want to overly alienate Bannon and yet he has got to be stung by the fact that Bannon was talking about his family in ways that are quite derogatory. Don Jr. may have committed a treasonous act, certainly unpatriotic.

So the president's really trying to walk a fine line. When you're a president at 35 percent popularity, you can't afford to lose very many of your loyal supporters. And the question is, does Bannon hold the key to those supporters on the far right?

Or does Trump have them on his own?

To the extent the president might be worried about Bannon having 5 percent, 6 percent, 8 percent, 10 percent of the Republican base on his side, the president can't overly alienate Bannon. And so this very ugly divorce, you'll probably see a lot of makeup kissing in the next few weeks as well.

HOWELL: I think I'd pass on that scene. Michael Genovese, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate you.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

ALLEN: Coming up here, the United States calls on the U.N. Security Council to meet over the protest in Iran and we'll tell you how Russia is mocking that request by the U.S. Coming up here.

HOWELL: Plus, if you get a notification to update your phone or computer software, don't wait. How much major technology flaws are leaving billions of devices vulnerable.

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ALLEN: The U.N. is responding to a wave of protests that have been ongoing in Iran. The Security Council is set to meet in the coming hours after a request by the U.S. Deadly antigovernment protests began in Iran last week.

HOWELL: Iran says the U.S. is stoking the violence and the Security Council request was mocked by Russia. It suggested that the U.N. also discuss how the U.S. handled the Occupy Wall Street and Ferguson, Missouri, protests.

ALLEN: Sarcasm from Russia. Let's bring in CNN's Arwa Damon. She's in Istanbul, Turkey, for us.

And Arwa, Russia clearly believing what's going on in Iran is an internal affair. The U.S. sees it differently.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they most certainly do. This does perhaps boil down to each country's respective relationship with Tehran.

Russia is obviously being significantly closer than that of the United States, especially of the Trump administration. Iran, for its part, has called America's attempts at tampering with its internal affairs, America's support for the antigovernment protesters, that happening through various different social media sites, with the State Department tweeting out support to protesters in Farsi on a fairly regular basis.

Iran, of course, viewing all of this as being evidence of America really trying to foment to a certain degree the unrest that is taking place, they're calling the U.S.' actions "grotesque." It's going to remain to be seen exactly what comes out of that U.N.

Security Council meeting, set to take place later on today, if it ends up being rhetoric or if the U.S. tries to push for something even more significant. But this most certainly is not boding well when it comes to U.S.-Iranian relations.

The Russians are also saying that the Americans are trying to use these antigovernment protests as an excuse to try to perhaps, moving forward, allow the United States to alter or completely throw out the nuclear deal.

ALLEN: Which it has threatened that it wants to do. What about the protests, Arwa, are they expected to continue meantime?

DAMON: You know, we have seen them decrease significantly, especially over the last few days, where the Iranian government has organized its own demonstrations. And that has really been evidence to perhaps the power that Rouhani does still hold getting people out on the streets.

But one must also bear in mind when an individual is in Iran, they can be pretty much assured that when they go out to a pro-government rally, they're not going to be targeted by the security forces, as opposed to an antigovernment demonstration.

Friday prayers are going to be a key indicator whether this antigovernment camp does once again take to the streets but it's also important to keep in mind that even if these demonstrations, the antigovernment demonstrations do fizzle out, that underlying anger that led to them in the first place, that is not necessarily going to go anywhere.

Tehran really does need to take a very, very serious look at these key grievances, mainly when it comes to the economic downturn in the country. And of course the growing anger over the government spending on its defense budget, especially when it comes to the various different proxies that Tehran continues to support overseas, namely in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes, many people want that need to stay in the country and help the citizens. Arwa Damon for us there in Istanbul, thanks.

HOWELL: Turning now from Iran to its neighbor, Pakistan. The U.S. is making good on its threat to suspend security assistance. The move comes days after President Trump accused Pakistan of, quote, "lies and deceit" and to giving safe haven to terrorists.

ALLEN: Planned shipments of military equipment and hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance will be held back. President Trump's accusations sparked protests in Pakistani cities. Pakistan's government said U.S. leaders were being completely incomprehensible.

The U.S. stock market is taking its record-breaking hot streak into the new year. The Dow closed Thursday above 25,000 for the first time ever. It's the sign of a roaring U.S. economy with a strong --

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ALLEN: -- labor market, big corporate profits and a new business- friendly tax cut.

HOWELL: Major world markets are benefitting from the robust U.S. gains. Japan's Nikkei hit a 26-year high on Friday, with other Asia markets mostly in positive territory. European markets are set to open next hour.

Technology companies are scrambling to fix smartphones, tablets, computers and cloud servers that could expose your information to hackers.

ALLEN: This after researchers discover two major flaws in the chips that run all those devices. Clare Sebastian has more.

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CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we all want our computers and phones to work as fast as possible but it seems that comes at a price. Security researchers say that pretty much all devices that use modern microchips are vulnerable to two new bugs, capable of accessing your password, encryption keys and confidential data. That's potential billions of computers, cell phones and even cloud computing systems.

And it's part of what makes modern chips so efficient that makes them vulnerable. This video from one of the researchers who detected flaws shows one of the bugs known as Meltdown being used to steal a password in real time.

Both bugs work by exploiting a function called speculative execution. The process is an ability essentially to predict and carry out tasks before they're needed by accessing multiple areas of memory.

Now Intel isn't the only one affected. ARM and AMD chips are also vulnerable. Software makers like Microsoft and Google are racing to release patches. Intel's CEO told CNBC they're close to solution for hardware makers.

BRIAN KRZANICH, INTEL CEO: We believe we have the right fixes in place. We have been testing those fixes and making sure that we understand how to implement those. Those are going to get distributed out to the OEMs and that's going to start early next week.

SEBASTIAN: Intel was forced to defend Krzanich Thursday after it emerged he sold $39 million in company stock late last year, months after the company was first alerted to the flaws in its chips.

Intel says the sale was pre-arranged and unrelated. Important also to note, no hacks have been detected in these bugs in the real world yet. But cyber experts say users need to stay vigilant -- Clare Sebastian, CNNMoney London.

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ALLEN: Coming up, it's time to talk about the cyclone bomb or the bomb cyclone.

HOWELL: It sounds really bad.

ALLEN: One of those. Wind, snow, record high tides, flooding, big problems facing millions of Americans right now in the midst of a winter storm. Derek Van Dam breaks it down for us, coming up here.

HOWELL: And he once declared, good people don't smoke marijuana. That's what he once said. But no huge surprise that the U.S. attorney general is now cracking down. His move and the reaction that it's having -- next.

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[02:30:19] ALLEN: Welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. North Korea has agreed to hold official talks with South Korea next week. According to South Korea's unification ministry, the two sides will meet January 9th. It follows recent -- reactivation of the hotline between the two Koreas.

ALLEN: A new tell-all book about the Trump White House is coming out four days early. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff will go on sale in just a few hours. The White House calls the book fantasy and President Trump's lawyers are threatening legal action.

HOWELL: The New York Times is reporting President Trump ordered a White House attorney to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russian investigation. The Time says Special Counsel Robert Mueller is aware of that attempt. The justice department denies that it never happened.

ALLEN: The U.N. Security Council is set to meet in the coming hours to discuss the situation in Iran. Anti-government protests broke out in that country last week and led to the deaths of at least 21 people. The U.S. supports the demonstrations and called for the Security Council meeting.

HOWELL: All right. It is cold all along the eastern part of the United States for sure. But we can't complain because look this massive winter storm across the United States and Canada it's caused all kinds of problems. Take a look at this. The icy flood waters surrounding a home in Massachusetts you definitely feel for the people there. These images from a town southeast of Boston where the water breached a seawall and flooded the nearby area on Thursday. Look at that. Wow.

ALLEN: Also near Boston, this woman is probably feeling lucky after crews rescued her from this flooded home with a bulldozer. All the water a result of this week's winter storm pounding the region with record high tides flooding and snow. The only state may be celebrating the snow is down Florida. Everyone else is getting walloped. Derek Van Dam is here, more about it.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Seventy-five percent of the U.S. population will be below freezing tomorrow.

HOWELL: What?

ALLEN: Oh why?

VAN DAM: Burr right? Not comfortable. We know what it feels like in Atlanta. It is uncomfortable. And of course if you the further north you go it gets even colder yet. You won't believe -- the temperate that I'm about to show you but first you've got to see the video one more time coming out of the Boston area. Because the flooding that happened there was astounding. And just notice this -- I can't tell what that is. Is that a refrigerator floating down? I mean goodness, right? Not something you want to see. But why did this happen? Get to my graphics, we'll explain. This storm strengthened rapidly. It dropped five millibars in 36 hours. That's a sign of its strength that it formed as it reached the New England coastline. But Boston harbor, the surrounding area, near Boston and the coastal areas of Massachusetts that was particularly susceptible to this coastal storm surge that was associated with this system.

Remember in the northern hemisphere counterclockwise circulation around an area of low pressure especially one that strengthens and deepens as quickly as this one did. It coincided its strongest part of the storm as it passed over Cape Cod and Massachusetts and the New England coast with high tide. So that's why they saw record tidal surges in and around Boston harbor. Over 15 feet for that particular region midday on Thursday. This, by the way, matched the record set back in 1978 which if you were to ask any Boston local they know that is the benchmark year for blizzard conditions. Remember that in 1978. These are some of the snowfall totals out of the major states across New England. 48 centimeters that was the highest snowfall total. Impressive totals for New York and Connecticut as well, grounding flights. As we head into the day on Friday we're already Friday on East Coast of the United States, we have over 1,000 cancellations that are carrying over you can imagine the snowball effect that this will have right into the weekend as people try to go about their business and go about their weekend.

Now, the storm system is moving quickly across -- or moving away from the northeast but behind it, we're still going to feel its presence for the next several days as it draws cold Arctic air. Temperatures are plummeting already and when you factor in the winds we know how that feels. Temperatures are well below freezing -25 for Chicago, -17 in New York, that's what National Weather Service issued, wind chill mornings from the Great Lakes all the way to the mid-Atlantic. This is important to know there as well. We have deep freeze, hard freeze warnings as far south as Florida and Georgia. This means that temperatures are going to drop below freezing for these locations and you can imagine the citrus farmers within this area and all the other farmers that have such sensitive agriculture that they're going to be impacted by this.

[02:35:06] I know that my family, we go back several centuries in citrus farming in Central Florida when they hard freezes like this it's detrimental and the impacts are about a line. So we think about those people today. HOWELL: Absolutely. Derek, thank you.

VAN DAM: All right guys.

HOWELL: All right. The U.S. attorney general here in the United States cracking down on legalized marijuana. Jeff Sessions got rid of the federal hands-off approach that was used by the Obama administration.

ALLEN: That means federal prosecutors can go after growers, fellers, and users in state where pot is now legal. Our Tom Foreman has more about it.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN AMERICAN BROADCAST JOURNALIST: For a president who has relentlessly promised to get the federal government out of the way of state, businesses, and individuals.

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: For everyone new regulation, too old regulations must be eliminated.

FOREMAN: The new stance on marijuana seems a sudden turnaround and an outrageous one for some. On Capitol Hill, Republican Senator Cory Gardner from Colorado erupting.

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: And we were told states rights would be protected.

FOREMAN: Saying he was promised no such move was coming.

GARDNER: I will be putting today a hold every single nomination from the Department of Justice until Attorney General Jeff Sessions lives up to the commitment that he made to me.

FOREMAN: President Obama often criticized the enforcement of pot laws.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly, and in some cases, with a racial disparity. And I think that is a problem.

FOREMAN: And the nation has clearly been moving his way. Gallop found a record 64 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing pot last fall. And in the 22 years since California approved medical marijuana, the National Conference of State Legislatures notes 28 more states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, have enacted similar laws, including Colorado, which is one of a handful allowing recreational use. The pot industry there is now valued well over $1 billion, generating hundreds of millions in tax revenues. Did candidate Trump want to interfere with that?

TRUMP: I wouldn't do that, no.

FOREMAN: So you think Colorado should be able to do that?

TRUMP: No, I think it's up to the states, yes. I'm a statesperson I think it should be up to the states. Absolutely.

FOREMAN: But now that he's president, some who have staked their livelihoods on the burgeoning business are at best, bummed.

AARON SMITH, NATIONAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: We fully expect the president to uphold his campaign pledge to stay out of the way of these laws that are working so well in the states across the country.

FOREMAN: Interestingly the U.S. attorney for the Colorado district has already said he doesn't see this making any immediate difference in terms of enforcement but they will continue to focus on people who represent a significant threat to the public, and by that, he's clearly indicating people who are dealing in marijuana illegally. Still is not sure how the White House will react to that or where all of this will land. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

HOWELL: All right. Tom, thank you. Coming up, a brazen jewel heist. How thieves stole royal gems from a public display in broad daylight.

ALLEN: Plus the award season kicking off in Hollywood. We take a look at which star-studded film that likely to win the golden globe.

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[02:40:34] ALLEN: Well, here's one for you. A couple of crafty thieves pulled off a heist in Venice, Italy worthy of a silver screen taking jewels of, ''an indisputably elevated value.'' That's police talk.

HOWELL: Wow. That's for sure.

ALLEN: Police say the crooks mingled with other visitors at an exhibition of Indian jewelry from the Qatari royal collection then they grabbed a pair of earrings and a diamond, gold and platinum brooch from a display case.

HOWELL: Indisputably elevated value. Wow. And so this happened in a broad daylight, happened on the last day of an exhibition. A (INAUDIBLE) palace, investigators say the thieves delayed the alarm system from sounding for about a minute. So it wasn't triggered until they were making their getaway. Wow. All right. Now to real movies to tell you about. A couple that are noteworthy here. Hollywood's awards season kicks off Sunday with the 75th annual golden globes.

ALLEN: This year's nominees for best drama including a fairy tale made for adults and a historical biopic that is still politically relevant. Here's Isha Sesay with a preview.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It was no surprise that Hollywood loved La La Land last year dripping with all the glitz and glamour of cinema's golden age. Nominated for seven awards at the Golden Globes it won all seven. This year a different kind of film is topping the list with seven nominations. The shape of water is more creature feature than Broadway musical. And while Hollywood has long snubbed horror films at award season, Guillermo del Toro has reimagining the creature from the black lagoon as a love story. Another unexpected romance is also up for best picture this one featuring a same-sex couple. Call Me by Your Name is a coming-of-age story where a professor's son falls in love with a doctoral student. Also in the running for best picture this foul mouth drama. (INAUDIBLE)

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't you put that on your good morning misery (BLEEP) wake up broadcast?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Three billboards outside Ewing, Missouri follows a mother's struggle to find her daughter's killer. While many critics praised the film, some people have criticized its handling of racism.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 400, 000 men on this beach.

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SESAY: And Christopher Nolan's World War II epic Dunkirk is also up for best picture and is a favorite among many movie critics. Nolan is up for best director as Steven Spielberg for the post.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The New York Times was barred from publishing any more classified documents dealing with the Vietnam War.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you publish we'll be at the Supreme Court next week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meaning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we could all go to prison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: The film chronicles the Washington post while it was led by its first female publisher portrayed by Meryl Streep who's nominated for best actress in this role. She made way at the last Golden Globes for using her speech to condemn then President-elect Donald Trump for imitating a disabled reported. Just months after Trump's victory the 2027 award season was painted with anti-Trump overtures. A year later this season has cast in the shadow of the MeToo Movement with sexual assault allegations against movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein who has denied the claim and several high profile actors. Some predicted expect the MeToo Movement could be in the world show spotlight.

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DAVID EDELSTEIN, FILM CRITIC: Every holiday movie season people ask my least favorite question who will win the Oscar. I generally say beats me. But this year I have already answered. Someone not charged with sexual harassment.

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SESAY: Isha Sesay, CNN, Los Angeles.

HOWELL: Thanks for being with us. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. We're back at the top of the hour with more news. Next is "WORLD SPORT."

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[02:46:06] VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to WORLD SPORT. I'm Vince Cellini at CNN Center. Thursday marked the end of the festive fixtures in the English Premier League, but not everyone enjoyed football's holiday rush. Coaches moaned about the congestive schedule, but play they did as Tottenham Hotspur, chase the precious three points versus West Ham. Two teams leaving the tight schedule, both played some 48 hours ago. Their fourth games in 12 days.

And this featured a couple of exceptional strikes, one for each team. Scoreless when West Ham's Pedro Obiang absolutely smashes a ball with as creamer of a shot, it's a 1-0 contest. Then, in the 84th minute, the Spurs tied up from deep. Son Heung-min, from outside the box, another spectacular effort, a 1-1 affair, and that is how they finished. That concludes the 40th EPL match in 10 days. So, here is the top of the table.

Tottenham, three-point behind Liverpool, and Champions League places at a coined above they're north London Rivals, Arsenal.

CELLINI, Following the flurry of festive fixtures in the EPL, attention turns to the third round of the F.A. Cup, which begins with the long-running Merseyside Derby on Friday, between Liverpool and Everton. The tops are hopeful, they can wrap up the deal they agreed to it Turkish side Mishitas for striker Sanc Thompson. In time for that 26-year-old to participate in said match.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has ruled off Muhamed Salah who won cup African Footballer of the Year Award on Thursday. And Philippe Coutinho, due to injury, with the reds bracing themselves for another attempt from Barcelona to sign the Brazilian. But as the Klopp's new signing, Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk making his debut, that has yet to be determined.

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JURGEN KLOPP, MANAGER, LIVERPOOL: Now I have to make a decision for this game and welcome what finally done. So we'll see what we do with him. It's clear that Salah have the position we are used and needs to. But (INAUDIBLE) to the rest of the team and kind of defending stuff like that. But of course, I can imagine that everybody is kind of desperate to see him on the pitch. But for us, I said it before, from our point of view, there's no rush in this situation, and it's much more important how many good games he can play for us than how many and when it starts.

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CELLINI: Good games. So van Dijk does make his debut on Friday. It will be the 230th Merseyside derby, and it passionate rivalry to say the least. And although the days when both clubs dominated English football are over, our partners at Copa 90 have been looking back at why this derby really, really matters.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Merseyside derby is the longest running top- flight derby in England. And as the years gone by, it might have been described as the firmly derby, in firm ship era, it's become the most violent in the league, with more red cards than any other picture.

Liverpudlians have their own unique identity. As the old saying goes, without English, were scalps, and football on Merseyside is unique too. There isn't even a geographical reason, with just half a mile of Stanley Park separating Anfield and Goodison. And was Anfield might be furnished the world over, the heart of Liverpool now. It was actually Everton were the first team to play there back in the 1880s.

With no clear reason support one team or the other, families in Liverpool will often they may love, but blues and reds. And in many ways, this is what makes up the essence of their rivalry. Asking Everton about Liverpool, and I'll tell you that red fans are from Norway or Ireland.

Ask the red about Evertonians, and they'll say they're all from Wales. But go to Liverpool on (INAUDIBLE) day. And you will see that everyone supports one or the other. It's in the very fabric of the city. You can hear, see, and smell it everywhere you go. In a town where everyone talks football nonstop, where everyone has a wicked sense of humor, and where people live and work with support of the other side, the derby really, really matters.

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[02:50:09] CELLINI: And speaking of things that really matter in sports, another step in the return of Tiger Woods. The process continues for the golf legend who reveals where and when he will make his 2018 PGA Tour debut. We'll have that for you coming up next.

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CELLINI: June of 2018 would mark 10 years since Tiger Woods' last Grand Slam victory. The 08 U.S. open a tour he finds, and it turns out that is Woods will make his tour debut this year. Thursday to 14- time major champion announcing via Twitter, he will be returning to the PGA Tour later this month at the Farmers Insurance open at that venue in San Diego.

Then a couple of weeks later at the genesis open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. It will be his first official PGA tour event in a year. However, the former world number one did play in the hero world challenge event, his own event back in December in the Bahamas where he tied for ninth with a closing 65.

Tennis and former world number one Andy Murray has pulled out of the opening Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season with a hip injury that could threaten his future in the game. The news came earlier on Thursday with Murray saying, in a statement, "I am not yet ready to compete. I'll be flying home shortly to assess all the options. I hope to be back playing soon. The Australian Open begins January 15th.

We're just over a month away from the start of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but for now, the top skiers in the world are busy grinding it on the World Cup Circuit. This week in Croatia, where American sensation Mikaela Shiffrin was crowned snow queen. The host of our Alpine edge show, Christina Macfarlane is in Zagreb and she's beginning an insider's view witnessing Shiffrin's dominance firsthand.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Situated just ten miles from Zagreb, this snow-covered mountain is the location for the first major Slalom Races of the year. It's on this slope that ski champion he first honed his skills.

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IVICA KOSTELIC, SKI RACER, ALPINE: Here in Zagreb, this mountain and this hill is much more than just a ski resort for us. Because we have nothing else. You know, it's like a -- this is where we train in the summer and the winter, all year the around. We know every corner, we know, you know, the forest up and down, on this side, on that side, running off the trails in summer and so on. We're very proud of this little hill that we have. And that is why we always feel very special when we race it's like our home.

[02:54:54] MACFARLANE: The women racing here compete for the Snow Queen Trophy, named after his sister. He was one of the most successful alpine skiers of all time. Hoping to build her own legacy this week is 22-year-old American ski sensation Mikaela Shiffrin, who has already been crowned here twice, and is now looking for a hat- trick of wins. In preparation for the race, this year's build-up is somewhat unconventional, with competitors taking to the ice to their traditional bid raw to determine their starting positions. On race day, crowds gather early, generating a unique atmosphere.

KOSTELIC: The forest really powers up the sound of the fans, so this echo is huge. So, you can really hear the crowds, down from finish, up to the start, when they start screaming.

MACFARLANE: Feeding off that atmosphere, Shiffrin pulled off a blistering first-round lead by a massive margin, once again, leaving her rivals trailing.

BERNADETTE SCHILD, ALPINE SKI RACER: Mikaela Shiffrin is so fast, so, that's a bit faster, to be honest, but I guess this is going to be a race for second place.

MACFARLANE: And so it proved, Shiffrin virtually unbeatable this season by day or night. Comfortably finishing first to be crowned snow queen once again.

As darkness descends on Burke mount, Mikaela Shiffrin can celebrate a winning start to the year. This is the third time she's been crowned here in Zagreb. And if she maintains fitness, it's hard to see anyone beating her with just a month to go to The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

MIKAELA SHIFFRIN, OVERALL WORLD CUP CHAMPION, UNITED STATES SKI TEAM: I'm going to go back out the next days and train and race again. And I don't feel like a Snow Queen, I just feel like another girl trying to ski fast.

MACFARLANE: Unbeatable on the slope, but still there are some things she hasn't quite mastered yet. Christina Mcfarland, CNN, Zagreb, Croatia.

CELLINI: All hail the snow queen. That is our time, we thank you for watching. I'm Vince Cellini, the news continues.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More outrage from the White House over an explosive new book.