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North and South Korea's Path into Peace; Cameras Rolled in President Trump's Bipartisan Meeting; California Facing Another Wrath from Mother Nature; Ocean Infinity to Search for MH-370. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired January 10, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Rare access. Cameras roll in the White House as the president and lawmakers and debate testy immigration policies.
And we are live in Seoul where the South Korean president is speaking out about recent talks with the North. What he's saying about future possible summits with Pyongyang.
Plus, first there were fires now rain and deadly mud slides. Southern California hit by another natural disaster.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN newsroom.
A U.S. judge just blocked the Trump administration from ending a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants from being deported. DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, gives legal protection to immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
The program affects about 700,000 people and was going to expire in March. The judge says the issue needs to play out in court.
In a surprising move earlier, President Donald Trump invited the media into a bipartisan meeting on immigration, and he appeared open to negotiate comprehensive immigration reform.
Jim Acosta reports.
JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It was a bipartisan breather in a city that feels perpetually at war as President Trump sat down with both republicans and democrats to try to find a solution to spare young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers from deportation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This should be a bipartisan bill, this should be a bill of love. Truly, it should be a bill of love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Last fall, the president made the decision to end the program known as DACA that protect roughly 700,000 DREAMers from being kicked out of the U.S. Protection that begins to end in March. Now both parties are scrambling to craft a bill that would give some kind of legal status to DREAMers. But the president is insisting that border security be part of any deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To me, a clean bill is a bill of DACA, we take care of them and we also take care of security. That's very important and I think the democrats want security too.
I mean, we started off with saying, we want security also. Everybody wants security. And then we can go to comprehensive later on and maybe that is a longer subject and a bigger subject and I think we can get that done too.
If we do this properly, DACA, you're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take that further step, I'll take the heat, I don't care. I don't care, I'll take all the heat you want to give me and I'll take the heat off both the democrats and the republicans. My whole life has been heat. I like heat in a certain way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The question is whether the president will demand a wall in exchange for saving the DREAMers, the same wall he promised Mexico would pay for during the campaign. Democrats seem to think the president will take some border security now and a wall later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STENY HOYER, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I think the president uses wall for border security. I think he thinks they're interchangeable. Because he mentioned border security on a number of occasions in talking about what was necessary to be in the DACA bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The White House take on that?
ACOSTA: It has to be a part of a deal in order for these DREAMers to have protection?
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Border security does have to be part of this process.
ACOSTA: There's a difference -- there's a difference...
(CROSSTALK) SANDERS: Why we want to secure our border, I absolutely do. Because
the safety and security of the people of this country are the president's number one responsibility. And his number one priority when it comes to anything that he does. So, absolutely.
ACOSTA: But does he understand how the wall can be different than border security, Sarah? Border security can mean...
SANDERS: No, I don't.
ACOSTA: Border security can be agents, it could mean more fencing. It doesn't necessarily mean a physical wall...
SANDERS: And that's part of the negotiation that we expect Congress to have.
ACOSTA: The president boasted to democrats at the meeting that he can build the wall for far less than current estimates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have put it out there that you want $18 billion for a wall or else there will be no DACA. Is that still your position?
TRUMP: Yes, I can build it for less are. We can do it for less. We can do a great job. We can do a great wall. But you need the wall. And I'm now getting involved. I like to build under budget. OK? I like to build under budget, ahead of schedule.
There's no reason for seven years also, I heard the other day, please don't do that to me, seven years to build a wall. If we can build the wall in one year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: And we can build it for much less money than what they're talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The president's focus on the DREAMer issue comes as democrats are slamming his decisions to end temporary protection for 200,000 migrants from El Salvador and 50,000 people from Haiti. And the president is still engaging in hostile rhetoric on immigration, falsely comparing a lottery program for some migrants to drawing names out of a ball.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:04:59] TRUMP: I just call it lottery. Countries come in and they put names in a hopper. They're not giving you their best names. Common sense means they're giving you their best names. They've given you people that they don't want. And then we take them out of the lottery. And where they do it by hand, where they put their put the hand in a bowl, like probably what's in the hand of the worst fit the worst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump said one obstacle that closing a deal is the partisan rancor in Washington, without recognizing any role he's played in that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The levels of hatred. I'm not talking about Trump, I'm talking you go back throughout the eight years of Obama, and you go before that, the animosity and the hatred between republicans and democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Still, one key senator told the president there is the potential for an agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: You have created a opportunity here, Mr. President, and you need to close the deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Just as the president was sounding more moderate on the issue of immigration, his former chief strategist Steve Bannon was shown the door at Breitbart. We're told that Bannon was essentially fired over his comments in the Michael Wolff book "Fire and Fury" and that the president himself was putting pressure on the decision.
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: And we'll have more on all of this later this hour. But another story we're following, relations on the Korean peninsula seem to be getting warmer by the day.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live in Seoul, South Korea, with the details. She joins us now. Kristie?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST, CNN: So, Rosemary, it's the biggest thaw in relations between North and South in quite a long time. We got a pretty positive assessment earlier today from Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president. He spoke to reporters just one day after those high level face-to-face talks with North Korea, the first of its kind in more than two years.
Mr. Moon says that talks between the two countries, dialogue has been restored, and he's very hopeful that they can work together to make sure war never happens again on the Korean peninsula. One reporter asked about the possibility of a summit with the North Korean leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): I'm open to any form of meeting, including a summit, under the right conditions. Having said that, the purpose of it shouldn't be talks for the sake of talks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: So there's talks but not for the sake of talks. All right. CNN's Will Ripley joins us now with more on this news conference. And Will, South Korean officials very pleased with the outcome of those inter-Korean talks yesterday. But what is President Moon saying about the end goal here of its efforts with North Korea?
WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I think he is well aware, Kristie, that there's still a very long way to go to reach his ultimate goal, which is to normalize relations with North Korea and to solidify peace on the Korean peninsula.
But his definition of what solidifying peace means is very different from the North Koreans. And in fact, he also stated at his press conference here in Seoul that he will continue to push for denuclearization. And this is something that the United States, the United Nations, countries all around the world are pushing North Korea to do.
And of course North Korea's response has only been to dig in their heels, continue to develop nuclear weapons and to them. And in fact, even at the conclusion of those talks yesterday, there was quite a back and forth between North Korea and South Korean chief negotiators, and the North Korean negotiator said that frankly he was strongly displeased with the fact that the issue of denuclearization was even brought up.
President Moon, however, though, when he was speaking about the possibility of meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, he basically, you know, stated that dialogue is important. An in fact that's something that he ran on, that was one of his platforms when he ran for office after the impeachment of Park Geun-hye who took a much more hawkish approach to North Korea.
He was selling himself to the South Korean people as an alternative and his approval ratings have been hovering around 70 percent, but he's had a very difficult task of engaging with the north because one, the North just wasn't willing to talk, and they were also testing an unprecedented number of missiles. Twenty three missiles launched last year, 16 different missile test altogether including North Korea. And then there was also North Korea's most powerful nuclear test ever.
And so, President Moon believes that dialogue is the key and so a summit with Kim Jong-un would be to presumably try to announce some sort of major breakthrough. At this point, Kristie, it seems as if we're quite a long way from that. However, there are talks that are due to happen in the very near
future about deescalating the military situation. Unclear how far they're going to get, given that they're so far apart on the nuclear issue. But President Moon believes that he can get this accomplished, that he can normalize relations with the north and bring about a lasting peace by the end of his term in office.
LU STOUT: And what is Kim Jong-un's position now after these talks? Because he scored an invitation for his country, a delegation to go to the Winter Olympics Games in South Korea. He also scored that pause in joint South Korean/U.S. military drills during the games. Did he score the bigger victory here?
[03:10:04] RIPLEY: It depends on how you look at it. Obviously this is a big win for Kim Jong-un. And you heard a number of analysts saying just as such, that this was pretty strategically brilliant in many ways, that he was able to concede almost nothing.
You know, reopening a military hotline, sending a delegation to South Korea and agreeing to more discussions doesn't cost him anything and he still has his nuclear weapons and certainly hasn't change his position on that.
But from the South Korean perspective, they also gain what they hope will be a peaceful and safe Olympics without a North Korean missile or nuclear test that could frighten spectators, disrupt the most important sporting event that this country has hosted since the summer Olympics here in Seoul back in 1988.
And so it's a win for South Korea as well in the short-term. But in the medium and long-term, what happens after the Olympics, that is really unclear right now. And Kim Jong-un had never veered away from a path that he set his country on five year ago, which is to grow his nuclear arsenal.
And in fact, North Korean state media this week has called on the United States to learn how to peacefully coexist with a nuclear- powered North Korea. A nuclear-armed North Korea. Or in the words of that article in North Korean media, face ruin.
So, obviously, North Korea not toning down into rhetoric. Km Jong-un not veering away from his message. And the North Koreans are frankly, not going to be receptive when you hear South Korea's president say that he's still going to push for denuclearization, and if North Korea does eventually conduct more missile tests and more nuclear tests, which frankly is a very good possibility, that he would continue and push for more sanctions.
And so, it's a delicate situation. The Olympics are a short window to have an opportunity for friendship, for sports to bring together, to thaw relations in the short-term. But that, as we've seen in the past, can easily fall apart very quickly if there's not a consensus and agreement on the biggest issue facing the peninsula, which is the nuclear issue.
The divided families issue also could be a chance to... LU STOUT: Absolutely.
RIPLEY: ... again, present a good feel-good moment, but that doesn't solve the crisis really that has faced -- has been facing the world over the last few years with North Korea.
LU STOUT: Absolutely. The crisis remains. We could very well return to that cycle of weapons test and rising tensions after the games. We'll leave at that, but Will Ripley reporting for us. Thank you so much, Will.
Now meanwhile, a top adviser to the South Korean president downplayed the notion that talks with the North might drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.
MOON CHUNG-IN, SPECIAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT MOON JAE-IN: We would not make any move that goes beyond, you know, American opposition whatever. Therefore, there will be very close coordination and cooperation between Seoul and Washington that (Inaudible). And President Trump says go ahead with the inter-Korean talks, we have a blessing from him.
LU STOUT: That's right. And he also has claimed credit for the talks. What the South Korean...
CHUNG-IN: He deserves credit, you know.
LU STOUT: He deserves credit. You think tough talk brought us to this moment?
CHUNG-IN: I think so.
LU STOUT: You can see more of my interview with Moon Chung-in, he is the senior adviser, special adviser to the South Korean president. We'll be airing that later this hour, including his reaction to Pyongyang's Olympic ambitions and whether North Korea deserves to go to the games.
Let's go back to Rosemary Church in Atlanta. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Thanks so much, Kristie. See you again soon. Well, heavy rains have triggered a deadly torrent of mud in Southern California. It's killed at least 13 people and officials believe the death toll could rise.
Mudslides have shut down the 101 freeway, a busy commuter route in the state. The first storm of the rainy season has forced thousands of people to escape their homes. The National Weather Service says about 14 centimeters of rain fell in parts of Ventura County in the past few days. Now this drenching rain comes just weeks after devastating wildfires
in the same area.
CNN's Paul Vercammen explains how they have made this region so vulnerable.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I'm standing on an overpass over the 101 freeway that goes through Montecito. And this major thoroughfare between Los Angeles and San Francisco is completely shut down. You can see where cars and trucks got completely covered up in mud. Why was this slide so bad?
Well, the enormity of the Thomas fire, there was just so much that could slide. But county works officials, public works officials, have been telling us for days now that there's another factor here. And that's the steepness of the slope.
In Montecito, Carpenteria, you have a situation where you have the hills, the top of the mountains go from 3,000 feet to sea level in just a few miles. And the term they use is that gave the slide velocity. Fatal velocity.
[03:14:57] This is also coast village road in Montecito. A main thoroughfare. You can see where it overturned trees, just uprooted them mangled this car. It now looks like half of the car. And then if you look over here to the right, this little scene that we're seeing here is replicated. Another car completely overturned. Devastated. And the entire street filled with mud.
They're hoping that the worst of the rainstorms are over. But as one person put it, with county public works, here in Santa Barbara County, and really all along the Thomas slide area, this could be one long, tough, and treacherous winter.
Reporting from Montecito, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.
CHURCH: Thanks for that, Paul. We turn to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri now joining us from the international weather center. The images, Pedram, are just horrifying. Is there any end in sight in the near term?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: You know, at least we know the weather is going to improve. So, rainfall is really out of the forecast for any time over the next couple of days.
But when you look at what has played out here in recent days, you go in for a closer perspective across portions of Southern California, of course we touched on the tremendous amount of damage that has been done with these fires over the past five to six weeks.
There's Montecito right here. Just north of town, you get to the mountainous terrain. Of course, you look at this landscape, the elevated terrain, this in fact, are the highest mountains in the United States that are adjacent to a body of water, a coastline. That of course is how you have tremendous velocity that we heard in this previous report there when it comes to having water hit the charred land -- charred landscape, and eventually become runoff.
That was the concern across portions of Southern California. And now we look forward to the next couple of days. We know drier weather is going to persist but it doesn't mean the threat is entirely gone. Look at rainfall totals. We're talking 100 to almost 150 millimeters in a few spots in that exact county where all these issues have been seen.
In fact, in Ventura County, highest total across the entire state came in at 150 millimeters. Now think of Los Angeles. Think of the month of February of 2017 all the way until December of 2017. Put the rainfall together, 121 millimeters fell. We're talking 150 again approaching in a few areas. So this certainly is a big story across this region.
But any time you take any sort of vegetation, you burn the region, you put extreme temperatures down on the ground, you not only make the soil brittle but also landslides, rock slides become prevalent, but also hydrophobic layers form. So when water hits this at a high rate as we saw in the past 24 hours as much as 10, 11 months' worth of rainfall, it almost all becomes instant runoff, and of course leads to road closures that we saw across this region and additional landslides.
So the rainfall is exiting the picture, Rosemary, but that moisture has already moved across this region. So the ground is now unstable. We're going to watch that carefully here across parts of Southern California.
CHURCH: Yes, and we appreciate you doing just that, Pedram. Thanks so much for bringing us up to date.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, about 13,000 people at a popular ski resort in Switzerland have been virtually cut off from the outside world because of heavy snow and power outages. The danger of an avalanche is said to be very high as well. Guests who want to leave are being airlifted out by helicopter but tourism officials say the mood overall in the village has been relaxed and comfortable.
We'll take a short break here. But still to come, new revelations about that infamous dossier on Donald Trump and the Russians from the man whose company produced the report. What he said and how it became public knowledge months later. That's next.
Plus a U.S. based company takes a big gamble on one of the biggest aviation mysteries. The newest effort to find MH-370. That still to come. Do stay with us.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, has defied her republican colleagues, releasing the transcript of an interview with the co-founder of Fusion GPS. The firm behind the now-infamous Russia dossier. Our Jim Sciutto reports.
JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Former British spy Christopher Steele was so concerned then-candidate Donald Trump was being blackmailed by Russia that he went personally to the FBI. This, according to newly released transcripts of testimony by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, whose firm paid for the so-called Steele dossier.
He was very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat and said he thought we were obligated to tell someone in government, in our government about this information. Simpson told the Senate judiciary committee in closed-door testimony.
He thought from his perspective there was a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed. Simpson testified that Steele contacted the FBI in July 2016 and then met with the FBI attache in Rome in September.
According to Simpson, Steele told him the FBI, quote, "believed Chris' information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing. And one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization."
A person close to Simpson's testimony clarified that Simpson's mention of an internal Trump campaign source actually refers to the Australian ambassador who also contacted the FBI to pass on information he received from then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
In his sworn testimony, Simpson also pushed back against GOP arguments that the research and release of the dossier was directed by democrats in the DNC, saying that the dossier was Steele's work. "Did you have any input or involvement in the drafting of these or input for the research," he was asked. "No," he answered. "And did you edit them in any way?" Again, Simpson answered no.
Feinstein's Senate Office released the transcript of the ten-hour interview, at the same time she was sitting across from the president in a meeting today. She issued the release without the support of the committee's republican Chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who had argued the committee needed to temporarily protect certain information while an investigation was ongoing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS COONS, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I think it's really unfortunate that the majority and minority on the judiciary committee have come to an impasse in terms of being able to make progress. I think in some ways this is the signal of the end of bipartisan cooperation on the Senate judiciary committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: In a statement, California's senior senator said she released the transcript because, quote, "The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves." Adding, quote, "The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice."
Now the spokesman for the republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee very critical of Feinstein's move. The spokesman saying that the move undermines the integrity of the committee's work there, making the point it will be difficult to get other witnesses to testify because they might fear that their testimony will be then made public.
And as an example says that they're pursuing Jared Kushner, for instance. You have this split here in the Senate judiciary committee, already very partisan splits in the House intelligence committee. So far the Senate intelligence committee working a fairly bipartisan way, but writ large here, concerns that this Russian investigation is going in separate ways, a republican way and a democratic way.
Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: U.S.-based company is aiming to do what has eluded so many, find Malaysia Airlines flight 370. It was headed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
[03:25:05] Suspected debris from the plane has been found across the Indian Ocean. Now Ocean Infinity has agreed to pick up the hunt one year after Australia, China, and Malaysia ended their own sources. It held this signing ceremony with Malaysia's government, just a short time ago, and this is said to be a no find, no fee deal. That means if the plane is not found, Ocean Infinity doesn't get paid.
So CNN's Matt Rivers joins us now live from Beijing. Matt, good to see you. Of course, the cost of searching for any lost plane is enormous and a significant undertaking. This company appears to be very confident it can locate the plane. What are they saying and what do they know.
MATT RIVERS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I think what they're saying is that they have technology that they can deploy, that perhaps the three-year search conducted by the governments involved in all this didn't have. They say that they can deploy different autonomous underwater vehicles operating independently at depth from anywhere to 5 to 6,000 meters, basically without getting too deep into jargon here.
They say that they might be able to do something that the three-year search of 120,000 square kilometers by these different governments involved, they might be able to do what those governments weren't able to do.
The other thing that's really different here, Rosemary, as compared to the search that was undertaken previously that ended a year ago this month, actually, was when that search came to a close, investigators actually suggested before the search ended, that there would an additional 25,000 square kilometer area outside of the original 120,000 square kilometer area. That would be the suggested place, according to investigators, for the
next step. That would be the next place that they should look. And so that, according to Ocean Infinity, the company involved here, that's the place that they're going to start looking.
They're going to use their technology, they say their ship is close by, they're going to take advantage of favorable weather conditions right now in the area, and they're going to start the search immediately. They say the search is going to last for about 90 days. And they won't get paid unless they find something.
They get paid on the scale, a sliding scale if they find the plane earlier on in the search, they get paid less money if they find it later on in the search they get paid more. But clearly they're taking the economic risk here.
But we shouldn't forget, you know, this is the biggest aviation mystery or one of the biggest aviation mysteries of all-time. We're all concerned about where this plane went. But none more so than the families of the 230-plus people on board. We reached out to a couple of those families in Beijing today, and the general theme from them is, we're happy the search is going, we're happy they're doing it, but we don't think there's enough transparency in this process, there never has been, and so it doesn't seem like there's a lot of hope left on the part of family members with those -- those family members who had people on board that plane.
CHURCH: Yes. Let's hope for the sake of those family members that this company has some success. Matt Rivers joining us there from Beijing, many thanks.
Let's take another short break. But still to come, Seoul is optimistic after new talks with Pyongyang. What a top adviser to the South Korean president says about Donald Trump's role in bringing the two sides together.
Plus, Turkey says Syria must end attacks near its border. Why a peace deal in Idlib may be falling apart. That's ahead. Do stay with us.
[03:30:50] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: A very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Time to update the main stories for you this hour.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he is open to a summit with the north under the right conditions. He held his new year's press conference Wednesday in Seoul. Mr. Moon says the ultimate goal must be to rid the Korean peninsula of all nuclear weapons.
At least 13 people are dead in southern California after mudslides and major flooding from the first big storm of the rainy season. And officials say the death toll could rise. The mudslides forced thousands to evacuate parts of the state charred by recent wildfires. The cofounder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the so-called Russia
dossier, told U.S. lawmakers the agent who wrote that report believed Donald Trump was being blackmailed during the Presidential campaign. And took his concerns straight to the FBI. That testimony came in August, but was just released Tuesday. And it contradicts the White House, which has said the dossier was a politically motivated hit job by Democratic opponents.
In an extraordinary bipartisan meeting that reporters were allowed to witness, U.S. President Donald Trump appeared willing to negotiate comprehensive immigration reform. But he also insisted that extending a program for young, undocumented immigrants had to be tied to security measures. He appeared to contradict himself several times and one lawmaker called the meeting confusing. But more on this, Amy Green joins us now, she is an American political science researcher and professor in Paris. Thank you so much for being with us. Most analyst seem to agree, this bipartisan meeting on immigration was an effort to prove Michael Wolff's book "fire and fury wrong and to show that the president could pay attention, within control, stable and able to make a deal. Did it work?
AMY GREENE, PROFESSOR, SCIENCES: Right, you're right, there was a lot of speculation that of course the President coming off a really hard week where he had to defend his mental stability on twitter nonetheless needed this sort of demonstration of his capacity to hold a meeting without any major drama, without any major gaffes. Clearly a low bar for the President of the United States. So while at the outside of this meeting, you know we saw that reporters beginning, but also through to the end, Donald Trump didn't make any memorable gaffes. But at the same time, when we look at his -- the nuanced understanding he may have had of the policy issues on the table, it's not clear he had any extraordinary nuance, any extraordinary propositions, a clear mastery of the issue, apart from platitudes and a willingness to open the discussion to Democrats an on-the-record basis. So, you know, in terms of the perhaps it showed that the President isn't completely unstable person. He is a human adult capable of having a conversation along exchange without any fiery or remarks. Again, that is quite a low bar for the President of the United States.
CHURCH: Of course, it has to be said, Trump's supporters were outraged by what they heard. Conservative political commentator (inaudible) called the meeting the lowest day in the Trump presidency. She also observed that he doesn't listen and agrees with the last person that he spoke with. When supporters like coulter start attacking the president?
GREENE: Exactly, her main reproach of the President was the liberal wing of his advisers were taking over, his daughter, and son-in-law, in the absence of Bannon. That is to be expected. His supporters are clearly the anti-immigration, to whom he catered during the entire campaign. Even in his initial steps on immigration, some of the anti- immigration legislation or action, I should say, in recent memory. Was clearly playing to that base. But one thing that is important to keep in mind is there's a large gap between Donald Trump's word and his actions. [03:05:00] And on any number of issues, not just DACA and immigration,
he has shown capacity to demonstrate willingness to open the discussion of bipartisan legislation or compromise. And undoes that moments later with a tweet or with actual travel bans and other executive orders. There will be conservative uproar. He said he was willing to take the heat for any compromise that he can find. At the same time it is worth mentioning that while his supporters are very angry, it's because Donald Trump did show willingness to follow the Democratic proposal before having to be reminded by McCarthy, that no, he wasn't agreeing with the Democratic stance on the issue and had to consider more comprehensive immigration reform, rather than just a clean DACA bill at the outset.
CHURCH: Amy, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon Tuesday prove to be t Terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. He was dumped from Breitbart and then watched his old boss walk away from all immigration policies Bannon stood for. What might Bannon's next move be do you think? Could he strike out?
GREENE: It is not clear what his next move will be. What is absolutely clear is official. You know, I think that the president and his advisers are also potentially attempting to show that in fact Bannon was not the mastermind that Wolff might have portrayed him to be or many perceived him to be, he is not the brain behind the operation. What we've seen the last 24 hours could be an attempt by the President to distance himself from Bannon and to (inaudible) the fact that it is the President behind the wheel and nobody else. So we'll see what Bannon does. Again, this meeting could have been an attempt to help distance the President, but I'm not sure you had much substance. You had a lot of style. And its lot to see what the substance is and how much the president adheres to his words through his actions later.
CHURCH: Wednesday a new day. We'll see what happens, of course, at the White House. Amy Green, thanks as always for your analysis. Appreciate it.
We are hearing some very positive reaction to the first meeting between North and South Korea in more than two years. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live with us again in Seoul with details, Kristie.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary you are right, the inter-Korean meeting that took place yesterday was very well received, among officials here in Seoul. The South Korean President, Moon Jae- in, says his country has restored dialogue with North Korea. He is even talking about possible meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong- un. Earlier I spoke to special adviser to Mr. Moon about this talks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOON CHUNG-IN, SPECIAL ADVISER TO SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT: He is very happy. It is more than what he anticipated. North Korea really come out of this cooperating with South Korea. It is really amazing reversal of events.
LU STOUT: A lot of progress has been made. North Korea will be attending winter games in Pyeongchang, one month from now, should North Korea go to the games? North Korea has defied the world with weapons testing. Does it deserve to participate in the Olympics?
CHUNG-IN: Yes. In dealing with North Korea it's important to adopt positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement, but inviting North Korea to the Olympic and letting them show North Korea is an almost state to the world, that would be great credit to North Korea and that I was in the that will make North Korea more normal than before.
LU STOUT: But North Korea is not a normal state is a pariah nation, it has committed gross human rights abuses again it has defied the world and U.N. resolutions for these weapons tests, is it sending the right message to say yes North Korea we invite you.
CHUNG-IN: To bring important and critical being, you have achieve in the denuclearization in a human right improvements in democracy North Korea and removal of weapons ministries such as biochemical weapons you cannot achieve all of those things at once, but North Korea gets one treatment, I think it will begin to change North Korea's behavior.
LU STOUT: Now we are hearing that South Korean officials are willing to lift temporarily sanctions on North Korea to allow the North delegation to go to Pyeongchang, why do that when you risk enraging a lot of people in particular the U.S.?
CHUNG-IN: It will be imposed in consultation with United States, we would then make any move that goes beyond American and oppositional, whatever therefore it will be a very close coordination and cooperation between Seoul and Washington. I don't know about it and also President Trump said go ahead, with the inter-Korean talks. We have a blessing from him.
LU STOUT: That is right and he also has claim credit for the talks.
[03:40:03] CHUNG-IN: He deserve credit, you know.
LU STOUT: He deserves credit, he does tough talk rather to this moment.
CHUNG-IN: I think so, because he corrupted - he channel communication between Pyongyang and Washington. There's no other choice, but to come to Seoul that was very a smart move. The North Korea will come to South Korea and so South Korea, North Korea will go to Washington with both Washington.
LU STOUT: And what next so after these inter-Korean talks can it translate into ultimately peace in the Korean peninsula.
CHUNG-IN: But here while most important in the coupe is temporary suspension of all of U.S. joint military exercise and training.
LU STOUT: During the winter games.
CHUNG-IN: Then in April, we resume joint military exercise in April and also we may continue joint military training follow Eagle in May and seems maybe may change, but you have to remember, in 1992 then President Bush suspended teams in order to proceed North Korea to accept nuclear inspection by International communications agency and President Clinton suspended conspiracy times 94, 95, 96 in order to facilitate Geneva agreement, likewise United States had shown the kind of flexible and is told in North Korea and some people say that the old repeat of same old mistakes, no I don't think so, therefore we need to more flexible in dealing with North Korea, and will be able to make some tangible progress.
LU STOUT: You heard it there, Donald Trump deserves credit for the talks, and North Korea deserves to go to the games. My conversation with Moon Chung-in, special adviser to the South Korean President. Right now, let get back to my colleague Rosemary Church at CNN center.
CHURCH: Thank you so much, Kristie I appreciate it.
Syria's brutal civil war has not let up so far in 2018. Turkey says violence is flaring in Italy province and it's urging the Syrian government to end its attacks. Aid groups say more than 100,000 Syrians had fled the area toward Turkey in recent weeks. -Italy was supposed to be a de-escalation zone in a deal struck by Turkey, Russia and Iran just last year. CNN Jomanah Karadsheh following all of this from neighboring Jordan, she joins us live from Oman. God to see you, so what happened to this deal that was struck?
JOMANAH KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the question, Rosemary. We understand from Turkey is that yesterday the foreign ministry summoned the Iranian and the Russian ambassadors, asking them to relay a message to their objections to this increase in violence as they're describing it, these violations in the province, saying they should tell the regime this cannot go on. We've also heard from the Turkish foreign minister who's accusing the regime again of going after the different opposition groups in Idlib under the pretext of going after extremists, the al Qaeda affiliate, and saying that this -- these violations that we are seeing undermine the efforts that are under way to try and reach a political resolution for the conflicts as you mentioned there you've got Turkey on the one side that backs some opposition groups, you've got the Russians and Iranians backing the regime on the other side. They have been working over the past year to try and read some sort of a political settlement. One of deals that they have worked on is this deal for de-escalation zones in different country. Idlib is supposed to be as you mentioned one of the de-escalation zone we've seen also the deployment last year of Turkish observers. And that has not stopped the flare-up that we are seeing in violence there, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Many thanks to our Jomanah Karadsheh joining us there from Amman Jordan, many thanks. Well we will take a short break. The British Prime Minister has struggled to tap down rumors that she is not in challenge and her recent cabinet reshuffle has not helped all that very much. The latest from London. Plus later this hour the Prime Minister cut-out the press with, cut-outs. We'll explain.
[03:46:34] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Theresa May this her first Prime Minister's questions of the year later Wednesday. The British leader's authorities has been diminished since she lost the parliamentary majority back in June. She called that election and her recent cabinet reshuffle could be a similar unforced error the shakeup was meant to show she was in charge. But it suggested the opposite when two of her minister refused to be moved to new posts. All that, plus rocky Brexit talks could me for a rough Q&A. Bianca Nobilo joins us live from Downing Street. Bianca, Theresa May can't seem to take a trick. What does she need to do in question time to show she is in charge or is it too late for that?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER: It's a very important question time for her, because as you mentioned, this reshuffle was an opportunity for her to assert some authority, to show some power by potentially moving big things and reshuffles always tends to make enemies, you're creating far more unhappy MP's than you are the one happy one. But she barely moved anyone, then two ministers refused to budge. So it really hasn't worked out the way she was hoping. Also, some of her choices have angered the opposition Party and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of that opposition Party, will be the one greeting her later today at PMQ. There is a lot on the line in this performance given how party understand the reshuffle didn't go as downing street had initially intended and the opposition are raring to go. They put a lot to criticize the Prime Minister about. Not just this reshuffle, but also the crisis in the NHS and many more issues such as Brexit.
CHURCH: As you mentioned Brexit, what challenges lie ahead for her with that?
NOBILO: All the challenges. Last year was difficult. As this year's going to be. And that is something which has been acknowledged from the British side too. They have such a short amount of time to achieve such great progress, because the E.U. want to see the final deal ready by October so it could go through all of the national parliaments in the e-27 and be ratified in time for Brexit in March 2019. The Brexit secretary Davis and Chancellor have gone to Germany in a charm offensive in an effort to try and grease the wheels of this of future trade talks. There is so much at stake. And in fact the Brexit department did see a couple of changes in this reshuffle which we heard about on Monday. And yesterday. In fact it seems to have been populated now by more minister that support a harder Brexit, one of the new additions was a proponent of a no-deal. Interesting to see how that play out and the impact having a much harder approach to Brexit will have on negotiations, Rosemary.
CHURCH: What a day it will be. Bianca Nobilo joining us from 10 Downing Street where it is early 9:00 in the morning.
One of the hottest places on earth looked more like a winter wonderland for a few hours. Check out the snow blanketing sand dunes near a desert town in Algeria. This area is called the gateway to the Sahara for its blazing summer temperatures on Sunday it reportedly got a snowfall for the third time in 40 years. A few centimeters here, a third of a meter elsewhere, photographers said the snow stayed for a good part of the day before melting away. Quite a novelty in that part of the world. [03:50:07] With everyone buzzing about a possible presidential run for
Oprah Winfrey, her best friend is weighing in on all the hype. That is still to come and singing along to the national anthem, at least to part of it, President Trump's rendition. Up ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their first public appearance of 2018 on Tuesday. The couple, who will be married in May, visited radio station in South London. They saw how young people are learning broadcasting skills and how various media ae being used for social change. Perhaps the even bigger news came just after their visit when all of Markle social media accounts disappeared. A palace source told "People" magazine Markle made the decision to close her accounts because she has not used them in months. Well if you got any question for the Thai Prime Minister, then you'll have to ask this card board cutout. The Prime Minister didn't want to talk to reporters on Monday, very life-like replica for Q&A. For obvious reasons many found the stunt funny and took it as a joke. Some have point it to the Prime Minister's previous run-ins with the press calling his behavior part of a troubling pattern.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he would beat Oprah Winfrey if she ran for president in 2020, though he doesn't think she will end up running, some people have save her impassioned speech at the golden globes felt like a campaign that rallying call. Winfrey's close friend, TV news anchor Gayle King, has her own thoughts.
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GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I absolutely don't think that her position has changed. I don't. I was talking to her very late last night. I do think this, though, I think she is intrigued by the idea. I do think that. I also know that after years of watching "the Oprah show," you always have the right to change your mind. I don't think at this point she is actually considering it.
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CHURCH: Intrigued by the idea. CNN's Christiane Amanpour sat down with Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep for their thoughts on a possible President Winfrey. Here is part of that conversation.
MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: She is certainly raising the bar for whomever decides to run. Because the better burn the barn in the same way. It just, we, realize how thirsty we are for that sort of return to a passionate adherence to our values and principle as a country, as a people. Men and women. And it's- you can really pull a big army being you with that kind of rhetoric and real feeling and smart. She is amazing.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Some people have said you should be running for president. TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Well, as VP I just hope President Winfrey gives me
occasional rides on air force one, the helicopter that, gets to go around in. But this great thing has always been said about our country is that anybody can grow up and become president of United States and our current chief executive has proven literally, that anybody can become President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[03:55:04] CHURCH: Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep with Christiana Amanpour there, it is no secret the American national anthem is a difficult song to sing with its range of more than an op-ed and some pretty tricky lyrics. All eyes on President Trump as he joined in a recent football game, Jeanne Moos reports for some viewers there were no words.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump has wrapped himself in the flag and slammed kneeling protesters.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get that son of a (BBEP), off the field right now.
MOOS: When the President on the field, was he singing a different tune?
Is it just me or was Trump struggling with the national anthem? At one tweet, it looked like Donald Trump just kept repeating "applesauce" during the national anthem, while another "the view subtitled fragments of the lyrics mouthed by the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he know the words?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: he lips out the beginning of the word.
MOOS: Oh, come on. Haven't you ever half-sung the national anthem? Worrying about hitting the high notes? Not sure if it's the perilous fight or the perilous night. The president had pick up his game half way through and started singing all of the words that is the part GOP tweeted out. And he crushed the ending. Evan one saying I heart my President Trump, he sings along with our national anthem. At least he didn't need Melania to nudge him this time, to get him put his hand on his heart. And he did a lot better than the star of "the naked gun." Even if President Trump didn't totally mangled the star bangled banner," comedy shows wasted no time putting words in his mouth, red square my best buddy lives there.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN New York.
CHURCH: Times when it's good enough not to have a microphone, right? Thanks for your company this hour. I am Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on twitter. The news continues with Hanna Von Jones in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.