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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
U.S. President Donald Trump Calls For Unity; New Poll: Trump's Approval Rises To 42 Percent from 32 Percent Low; Train Carrying U.S. Lawmakers Hits Truck; Kabul Gripped By Fear Of More Attacks; Melania Trump In The Spotlight At State Of The Union. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 31, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, Donald Trump touts his success and stays
on script and sells his vision of America in his first state of the union address.
Also, ahead, the U.S. president blasts North Korea's nuclear ambitions and Kim Jong-un plans a parade to show off his country's missiles.
And will they stay or will they go? British lawmakers have just decided whether or not to vacate the iconic Houses of Parliament for years. We'll
bring you the latest.
And we start with this, after touting his achievements and making a pitch for bipartisan unity, which didn't always go down well with the opposing
party, the American president, Donald Trump is trying to build on his state of the union speech today.
The White House says he's giving more than a dozen media interviews to drive his message home. The booming economy was one of his big themes last
night and we are expecting to see him in the oval office any time now meeting with some American workers whose companies he says have benefited
from tax reform.
As CNN's Abby Phillip reports, Mr. Trump's address was mostly optimistic and conciliatory, but he did land some glancing blows.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon
the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These are the people who were elected to serve.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump striking a conciliatory tone urging lawmakers to move past the deep
divisions that have defined his first year in office.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: This in fact is our new American moment.
PHILLIP: Mr. Trump also utilizing the same polarizing language that has formented the divide.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Americans are dreamers too.
PHILLIP: Appearing to draw a line from DREAMers to the dangerous MS-13 Gang members that killed two teenaged girls, their grieving parents, guests
in the audience.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They've allowed millions of
low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent
PHILLIP: Mr. Trump pledging to work with both parties to strike a deal on immigration, but his plan to restrict a program that allows immigrants to
bring their family members to the U.S. provoking boos from Democrats.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Under our plan --
PHILLIP: President Trump devoting much of his speech to touting his economic successes and signature legislative achievement.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Just as I promised, the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American
PHILLIP: A claim CNN reality check deems to be false. Mr. Trump calling on Democrats to work with him on an ambitious list of agenda items
including infrastructure, trade, opioid addiction, prison reform and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
While boasting about rolling back a number of Obama-era policies including the individual mandate and announcing plans to keep the controversial
military prison in Guantanamo Bay open.
The president also revisiting another divisive issue he's been focused this year, taking an apparent swipe at NFL players while honoring 12-year-old
Preston Sharp for his compassion toward veterans.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Preston's reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us of why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts
for the Pledge of Allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.
PHILLIP: Sharp was one of a number of emotional stories the president highlighted during his speech, honoring guests like Otto Warmbier's
parents, the American student who was held in prison in North Korea and died shortly after his release along with a North Korean defector who lost
President Trump issuing a stark warning about the North Korean threat and calling on Congress to bolster U.S. defense.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threat our homeland. As part of our defense, we must modernize
and rebuild our nuclear arsenal hopefully never having to use it but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression.
[15:05:07] PHILLIP: Mr. Trump made no mention of Russia's interference in the 2016 election but was overheard on camera with conservative Congressman
Jeff Duncan talking about releasing a classified GOP memo that alleges surveillance abuses by the FBI, a move Democrats say is meant to undermine
the Russia probe.
GORANI: Well, there you have it. You probably heard the pundits weigh in on the president's speech by now, but for Mr. Trump the only audience that
really matters seems to be the American public.
And we're getting some new numbers from opinion polls today that some of you might find surprising. For that and more, let's bring CNN White House
reporter, Stephen Collinson, and CNN political analyst, John Avlon.
Stephen Collinson, I want to start with you and these new poll numbers that we have because the approval rating for Donald Trump has shot up quite
remarkably from the low 30s according to this poll conducted between January 28th and January 30th to 42 percent, 50 percent disapprove. What's
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it's possible that the impact of the tax cut, good economy, rising stocks perhaps are having some
impact on Donald Trump's approval rating. Obviously, it's just one poll.
But there were also some polls out last night that showed that there was quite a large amount of acceptance among people who watched the state of
the union address for the way he performed.
Of course, people who tend to watch the speech are more likely to be pro- Trump voters, so it's not a completely scientific survey, but, you know, it was a good state of the union speech.
There was some oratory calls to come together. The problem with it, though, is that it was almost like it was unfolding in a vacuum. The
president was calling upon Americans to unite, to work together, to come together, but he spent the last year sort of tearing societal, racial,
political divides almost as a toll of governance.
So, in that 80 minutes when he was giving the speech, it was convincing, but you have to sort of disregard all the evidence of the previous year to
be fully convinced by it, I think.
GORANI: Yes. John, this was teleprompter Trump not tweeting Trump?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's exactly right. And you know, teleprompter Trump can sound presidential. If you did a blind taste
test of the oratory of the state of the union, it hit all the basic bases.
I've got to say in focusing on the stories of people in the crowd, that's a device they've gone back to since Ronald Reagan, but it's refreshing to
hear him tell other people's stories rather than simply fixating on himself.
That said, peel back on the rhetoric and there was a stunning lack of specifics in the speech as well. And that's problematic --
GORANI: But you usually get specifics in the state of the union?
AVLON: But you often do, and that's what leads these speeches to have a laundry list like quality. But it's good to have a bit of detail in terms
of how you are going to pay for something.
If you're proposing a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that's right in Donald Trump's sweet spot, but if you're reassuring to know they have more
than $200 billion set aside to pay for it that gap begs questions.
But, you know -- and you can hear a president, but as Stephen points out, the gap between the rhetoric and the reality of how he's governed is stark.
GORANI: Now, we'll get to the foreign policy aspects a little later in the program because we've separated those out. But one thing that Donald Trump
said caught the eye of some journalists and observers. Let me play it and then Stephen, I'll get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I call on Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees
who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So is it -- I mean, let me be clear here. Is he saying that he would like to empower cabinet secretaries to fire government employees at
will? Is that what he's saying?
COLLINSON: It sounds like it. It's not really clear exactly what he's saying, but I think it does play into this idea that there has been
throughout the agencies of the U.S. government clearly moves against officials perhaps officials that were prominent in the Obama administration
but were nevertheless career civil servants who disagree with some of the thrust of U.S. government policy as it's manifested under the Trump White
House, for example, areas like global warming.
We've seen over the last few weeks that the president has been waging an open campaign against officials in the Justice Department and the FBI who
are linked to the Russia investigation and who he believes are part of a deep state that's left over from the previous administration that is biased
So, I think those are quite troubling remarks if you view the role of the U.S. White House, and the role of, you know, career civil servants in the
government as sort of really should be --
[15:10:10] GORANI: Apolitical --
COLLINSON: -- shielded from political sort of --
GORANI: But John, sorry to jump in, but John, do you think that we should pay more attention to lines like that?
AVLON: Look, lines that get in the state of the union are considered, they are deliberated over, they are debated. So, every line deserves a degree
of scrutiny. It's not simply a speech to a rally.
This may have read meat for Republicans who want to hear, you know, it should be easier to fire employees in the federal government, but you can't
hear that line and not play it against the debate we've been having about whether the president has threatened to fire Mueller in the past,
threatened to fire Rosenstein.
The Russia investigation and paranoia around the deep state, and that's why it really raises people's antenna, as it should. He's constrained from
being able to do that unilaterally, but if that impulse is being enshrined in the state of the union, that's troubling.
GORANI: Another interesting figure, 71 percent, and this is also according to a recent poll, of people polled believed Trump's agenda is focused on
issues important to average Americans, a lot or a little. This is interesting, isn't, Stephen?
Because that's how you get to ordinary voters, by saying things like I'm going to put $200 extra a week in your pocket. And I care about your job
and your industry, which was decimated by international trade pacts. We are going to make sure that's revived again. That message is getting
across it seems.
COLLINSON: That's right. That's always a really interesting question in polls and you often find out that the winners of elections are the
candidates that are thought to have spoken most eloquently to the things that most voters care about.
I guess, it's logical in a way. The president has repeatedly said and members of his administration over and over stressed that they're acting in
the -- on the behalf of the forgotten men and women of America, these sort of mythical Midwestern voters that helped Donald Trump get elected.
The one thing about that is, though, if you look at polling of the tax cut, especially when it as being debated before Christmas --
COLLINSON: -- many Americans thought that this wasn't something that was going to help average Americans and it was going to, you know,
disproportionately help the rich. So, I think there's this really important debate that's going to go on. The Democrats have to get into
this territory, too, in the run up to the midterm elections as they try to find a message to counter the message that Trump used to win the election
GORANI: And they put forward a big -- one of the descendants, the family members of the probably best known political dynasty in the United States,
and that's a Kennedy. Joe Kennedy III issued one of the rebuttals to the state of the union. Is that what the Democrats should be doing at this
AVLON: Yes. You know, I mean, look, this is famously one of the worst jobs in politics is to give the state of the union response. You've had
disasters like Bobby Jindal's Kenneth the Page Boy speech a few years ago.
This was a good delivery by Joe Kennedy III. There was a clear contrast in age and vigor, as the Kennedys might say. But it shows the Democrats even
when they are going young, they go old.
They got to break this dynastic fascination. There are other congressmen, senators, who could have played that role quite effectively, but there is a
moth to the flame effect with Democrats with the past dynasties. It doesn't really I think help make the case that they're a party of the
GORANI: Right. After the 2016 election, you think they'd come up with a different idea, but maybe they have other strategies planned for the
GORANI: Thanks so much, John Avlon and Stephen Collinson. Thanks to both of you. Really appreciate it.
Now ordinarily I wouldn't tell you about an accident in the U.S. state of Virginia, but when it involves a train full of Republican lawmakers, it
makes headlines. Officials say a legislative retreat for Congress members will take place. The program will be adjusted because of this, these
images you're seeing on your screen now.
They're dramatic images. The train carrying the lawmakers to West Virginia hit a truck on Wednesday, a rubbish or a trash truck. Some major names in
American politics were on board including the speaker, Paul Ryan, he wasn't hurt.
Let's go to Jeremy Diamond, who has the latest details. What happened exactly in this accident today in Virginia -- Jeremy.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Hala, we're still getting a lot of information coming from this situation. The numbers still being
tallied, but as of now, the latest information that we have is that two Amtrak crew members, three passengers were taken to the hospital as a
result of this crash with minor injuries.
There was one fatality as well with regards to this crash, and the president of the United States, Donald Trump, just a few moments ago
confirmed that the person, who was killed as a result of this crash was, in fact, the driver of this truck that collide with that Amtrak train.
You know, this train was carrying Republican members of Congress who were headed from Washington, D.C., all the way to West Virginia for a Republican
congressional retreat where the president is actually supposed speak tomorrow.
[15:15:13] And as of now that retreat is still going to happen. A lot of those members taking buses instead over there, but really some of the
pictures from this crash are quite devastating.
This -- you know, lot of garbage that this truck appeared to be carrying was strewn along the side of these tracks. And you saw some of the images
of that truck, which did not appear to be in good shape.
I said, we're learning now that the driver of that truck is, in fact, deceased now. It's unclear what the status was of the other passengers in
that truck as of now. But again, we know that at least five people were taken to the hospital at this point, one person dead.
GORANI: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thanks very much for that update.
To Afghanistan now, President Trump took a moment in the state of the union speech to address the conflict there. He said U.S. forces have new of
engagement and that he's gotten rid of artificial timelines that were undermining the mission.
But the situation on the ground in Afghanistan still seems to be worse. Suicide bombings and other attacks have left a sense of fear and dread in
Kabul. Our Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The still in the air of Kabul's normally hectic rush hour speaks of the panic
gripping a city that was once safe heaven and now feels like a frontline.
Do you have papers, they asked eerily, targeting vehicles with government plates. Flashing police lights torn out.
(on camera): They are focusing on government vehicles or vehicles trying to look like they're part of a police or a military. Clearly, a
nervousness they might be used to bring insurgents into the capital.
(voice-over): This one seems suspicious yet turns out to be a regional governor's security. Who can you trust in the oncoming blizzard? Various
restrict the height of trucks and so, darkly, the amount of explosive they could carry. And here where an ambulance car bomb killed over 100, dread
and debris litter the streets still.
(on camera): The ambulance suicide car bomb was pretty sophisticated. It came through this checkpoint saying they had an appointment in the hospital
where they parked for 20 to 30 minutes, and then came out again with the bomb on board detonating just down the street, a devastating blast.
(voice-over): It blew out windows meant to keep the sick warm. Even now ambulances aren't allowed to drive into the compound. The sick are hand-
carried in. Hospitals are struggling across the capital from a week of savagery, but also, too, is the nation's confidence.
Actor Masoud Hashimi (ph) was the war hero face of anti-insurgency movies, telling Afghans not to flee their homeland as refugees but stay, build, and
fight. In the recent attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, he watched his two friends shot dead in front of him and he was then shot. He
still has a bullet inside of him.
MASOUD HASHIMI, AFGHAN ACTOR: We all kept silence in a corner. I was horribly bleeding. It's hard to see you are a bit stemming to you and step
away from you. So, after three hours, the Afghan special force entered. I introduced myself. Everybody know me and this soldier also know me.
That's OK. Come out. We took 14 people with myself saved their lives.
WALSH: And yet his conscience means he must change his message.
(on camera): Now you're telling people that they should leave.
HASHIMI: Lots of people warn me that you're encouraging people to stay in Afghanistan, but I'm not saying that again because I'm feeling guilty. If
I do publicity, everybody, you know, I'm a famous person. If I say something, people would accept. Most people ask me on the street, you
think stay in Afghanltan. What should we do? There's no hope. I'm not feeling secure inside my house. Now Kabul has changed into a war zone.
WALSH: In the hot, violent summer months are still far away. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kabul.
GORANI: Such a bleak situation there in Kabul, especially over the last several weeks. So many civilians suffering still. Thanks to our Nick
Paton Walsh with that report.
A lot more to come this evening, the first lady of the United States under the microscope, Melania Trump finally makes a public appearance for the
first time in weeks. Where was she? We'll be right back.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The train accident was a tough one, a tremendous jolt, and they are proceeding to their conference. We don't have a full
understanding yet as to what happened. But it was a train hitting a truck going at pretty, pretty good speed and we'll have a full report.
As to what it looks like the driver of the truck was killed and it's very sad to see that, but they're going on to the conference and I'll be going
to West Virginia, great state. I'll be going there. I'll be going tomorrow, and we'll be together.
But it was a pretty rough hit. That's what they all tell me, a few of the folks. And they say it was tough. Joining me today are some really great
Americans, and I've been talking about reaping the rewards of the big tax cut bill and reform, the big tax cut bill and these are people who have --
they've worked hard.
They have businesses. In some case, they are making tremendous percentage amounts more they were going to before, before the plan. And we thought
we'd bring some of them up just to say in front of the media and in front of the press to say a few words.
We have Sue Wagner, thank you, Sue. Sue Wagner is with Bank of Colorado, Fort Collins, Colorado, great place, $1,000 bonuses rewarded to all full-
time employees. That's great. That was nice, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was nice.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was a gift. It was a gift for somebody who works very hard. William Harmond and William, Total System Service, Muskogee County,
Georgia, thousand dollar bonuses awarded to 11,500 employees. So, you have a lot of happy friends, right? That great, William.
John Anferson, hi, John. Anferson farm, that's good stuff, right? The great state of Iowa. Thank you very much, John. A thousand dollar bonuses
and 5 percent pay raise awarded for the employees. That's great, 5 percent raises in addition.
All things that would have never happened without the -- or certainly wouldn't have happened for a long time without the tax bill. Michael
Porter, Aflac, increases Columbus, Georgia, 401(k) match from 50 percent to 100 percent on the first 4 percent of compensation.
GORANI: K. We are going to leave this even now. Donald Trump in the oval office just moments ago talking about that accident in Virginia involving a
garbage truck and an Amtrak train carrying GOP lawmakers to a retreat. The driver of the truck was reportedly killed, some lawmakers very slightly
This is an event there where Donald Trump is touting the benefits of his tax reform agenda with American workers in the oval office, talking about
how it could benefit ordinary Americans.
Now, Donald Trump may have been at the front of the room at Tuesday's state of the union, but for a moment, all eyes were on his wife, Melania.
GORANI: The U.S. first lady got a standing ovation when she arrived. It was her first public engagement in weeks. Mrs. Trump decided not to go with
her husband to Davos last week, you'll remember. She took a solo trip to Florida instead.
It's been rocky start to 2018 for first lady. An alleged affair between her husband and an adult film star has dominated the headlines. Let's
cross to Washington now. CNN's Kate Bennett is with us live. So, Kate, we haven't seen her in how long exactly?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: We've seen her via her social media channels here and there. We saw her last week at an unannounced
visit to the Holocaust Museum here in Washington.
[15:25:11] We saw her post on January 20th, an anniversary of the inauguration tweet where she didn't mention her husband. But we haven't
see her publicly with the president since New Year's Eve down in Palm Beach at Mar-a-Lago. So, it has been a while.
In that time, of course, the Stormy Daniel's story broke in the headlines and she first confirmed her trip to Davos with the president to CNN, and
then she also told CNN that wasn't going to go after all.
GORANI: So, do we know what's going on then? Because this is rather unusual. Normally the first lady and the president would arrive to a state
of the union event especially his first together. They arrived separately. She canceled Davos. Do we know what's going on?
BENNETT: Certainly, we can speculate a bit and people have been doing that. I mean, this is a very difficult first lady to read in spite of the
headlines, just day to day, she is very private. She's somewhat mysterious. She's not joint at the hip with her husband.
She does things very independently of him. So, last night it was, yes, a bit of a surprise that she drove separately, typically, traditionally the
couple goes together. She chose not to do that instead go with the guests that she had invited to sit in her box at last night's event.
And also host her own separate reception for them in the White House, which was interesting, because the president hosted one for them in the oval
office. So, Melania Trump didn't go that one. He didn't go to hers. They were both happening in the White House. They were both with the same
So, I mean, of course, it set tongues wagging here in Washington. That there may be trouble behind the scenes. She has not said anything
publicly. I think we can expect to see her with her husband again soon. They did drive home together last night from the state of the union
But again, this has just been a difficult few weeks for whatever is happening, whatever the truth maybe, the denials, of course, came forward
with Stormy Daniels. The headlines themselves are tough, and if you're the first lady of the United States, you're seeing those as well.
GORANI: Right. You cover the first lady. Does it look to you -- to me it looks like she's not really enjoying her role. It could be that that's the
way she looks when she happy as well as when she's unhappy or frustrated. But, you know, if you compare her to Michelle Obama or, you know, other
first ladies before, it seems like she's almost backing into this.
BENNETT: I mean, certainly there are several ways to look at it. She was a fashion model, a wife, and a mother. She wasn't a corporate lawyer. She
wasn't used to life in the political spotlight. So, this new role is new in all kind of ways. She's an immigrant English is not her first language.
She's learning how to speak on a public stage. She's scrutinized. So, all of these things -- however, you know, I do follow her closely. She is my
beat and I travel with her as press pool. Majority of the time she comes alive around children. She's very compassionate. She's quiet.
She has the voice of softness that perhaps her husband lacks in this administration. I'm not if she's not enjoying it, but she certainly seems
to be taking her time adjusting to it. And I think considering she got to Washington a good five or six months after her husband came to office, that
already sort of sets her back behind the eight ball.
But she's unique. I mean, we haven't seen a first lady like this in quite some time. Her sort of resting face is the not smiling behind the big
sunglasses. She's not a big smiler when she's got the camera on her. Some people applaud that because it feels -- you know, it might feel sort of
But it also feels sort of real, like she's not fake smiling and turning it on for the cameras. But you know, it just depends how people read her and
how she is read is a result of how she acts.
So, you can't have it both ways and expect to be embraced and understood if your demeanor is quiet and you don't speak and give speeches and such as
often as previous first ladies.
GORANI: All right. Kate Bennett, thanks very much for the update.
Still to come, with a perilous situation on the Korean Peninsula, you'd think filling in the role of South Korean ambassador would be a priority
for America. We'll tell you why that position is still very much idle.
And the company that seemed like it could do no wrong may suddenly be in a bit of trouble. We'll be right back.
[15:30:49] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: We are back. President Trump's State of the Union Address was domestic focused, but as we heard earlier, when he
dipped into foreign policy, he often had North Korea firmly in his sights. His strong words come as Pyongyang ramps up the tensions ahead of the
winter Olympics. Those are just a few weeks away, by the way. Sources tells CNN it plans to show off dozens of long-range missiles in a military
parade the day before the games begin south of the border.
While all of this happens, the position of U.S. ambassador to South Korea lies vacant. But we're hearing that the man who is widely seen as the pick
is no longer being considered by the Trump administration. This man, Victor Cha had issued a warning about a preventive military strike.
Let's get more on these issues, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin joins me from Washington. I'm also joined by Abraham Denmark, the director of the
Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He's also in Washington.
So, Abraham, let's talk a little bit about this Victor Cha development. What impact is not having a U.S. ambassador in South Korea at this critical
stage having on this situation overall?
ABRAHAM DENMARK, DIRECTOR OF THE ASIA PROGRAM, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Well, it's really unprecedented. The idea that a key treaty ally
of the United States in the midst of one of the most profound security challenges in its history does not have an ambassador from the United
States is really quite striking.
Victor is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the United States on Korea. And the fact that the Trump administration would
not want his experience, his insight is rely quite telling both in terms of --
GORANI: But is that because -- sorry, Abraham. Is that because you essentially expressed an opinion? I mean you said that he doesn't believe
that one of many options should be considered as unpalatable as that option is, obviously preventive strike. But could that could be the reason?
DENMARK: Well, that's have been the reported reason. I've served in government before and I have never been told that internally, we had to toe
a line. Every internal debate that I've been a part of, people were encouraged to express their views, to make reasoned and informed arguments
and then once the decision is made, that decision would move forward and people were expected to implement it. But the idea that even privately
expressing concern about this path forward, which is a very controversial path, I think is very striking. It says a lot about where the debate is
inside the Trump administration.
GORANI: And I'll get you just in a moment, Josh. So, what do you think is the reason then? It's intolerance for divergent views?
DENMARK: Well, it suggests that the Trump administration is not pleased with the idea that someone would diverge from that point of view and it
suggest that this idea of a preemptive strike or preventive strike which some have speculated may be a bluff, it seems to be a very real
GORANI: What do you think, Josh? Is that a real possibility? Because if it is, you cannot think of a worst case scenario, obviously.
[15:34:52]JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I spoke with several Trump administration officials today who are in a position to know. And
they all disputed the reporting that Victor Cha's objection to what's known as a bloody nose strike against North Korea was the reason that his
nomination was derailed. They said there was a personal vetting issue undisclosed, unclear at this time what it was that came up late in the
process. And it had really had nothing to do with the fact that he objected to the bloody nose. They further say that Trump the
administration is not at the stage of considering military options, that although a limited military strike was prepared as part of a range of
options presented to the president at his request, the current policy which is to continue with the pressure campaign in hopes of reaching engagement
and negotiation at some point with North Korea is still the policy now.
There's a lot of confusion because they haven't explained publicly why Victor Cha is no longer a nominee. But it doesn't necessarily mean that
this had anything to do with it.
GORANI: Whatever the reason, I want to bring up a map to show our viewers the keys, the strategically key countries that do not have U.S. ambassadors
appointed yet and we're a year into the administration, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, we discussed South Korea, Germany and
others highlighted there. SO, what's going on, Josh?
ROGIN: Well, that's right and it's also a complicated story. For many of these positions, there's been internal battles between different parts of
the Trump administration. Some of them are being held up on Capitol Hill, some by Republicans, some by Democrats. So we had an overall, a lack of
foreign policy officials entering the administration because of fights that were left over from the campaign.
So, yes, it is a little bit unprecedented to have all these posts vacant. But the internal policy debates over what to do with North Korea are still
going. And nothing really has been decided. And right now, because there is no ambassador to North Korea, that policy is still driven by the
National Security Council. The National Security Council, I assure you, is well aware, of the risks of a preventive military strike on North Korea.
And before that option were to be under a serious consideration. There were a lot of further things would have to happen. Overall, the Trump
administration's policy in North Korea is so confusing because we're getting different messages from Secretary of State red Tillerson, the vice
president, the president and his State of the Union Address. That's a real problem that the Trump administration has to address.
If we don't know what the policy is, there's a risk of miscalculation and a risk of speculation that could actually lead to the conflict --
GORANI: Abraham, how would appointing an ambassador -- how would an ambassador firmly in place with a lot of experience, someone like Victor
Cha -- not Victor Cha, but someone with his level of experience, change the situation? Because we're at a crisis here point with North Korea.
DENMARK: I think it changes -- it would change things in two ways. First is externally with our allies in Korea. The idea that an experienced
official nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate is in Korea representing the United States government sends a very reassuring message
to our allies that we're focused, that we have somebody there who's going to represent us and who's going to engage their government directly. But
secondly, it plays an important role inside U.S. government decision- making. Somebody who is there on the ground representing the United States government and is able to come back to Washington, to those internal
meetings and explain where things are -- how things are going now is very important.
We have very capable Foreign Service officers now serving in Korea, serving around the world and all those countries that you mentioned. But as good
as they are, as capable as they are, as informed and experiences as they are, they've not been appointed by the president. They have not been
confirmed by the Senate. And so it's a very different thing across the board.
GORANI: It's probably not great for morale as well going in there. As the Korea diplomats going to the embassy every day without an appointed
Quick one last to you, Josh. He didn't mention Syria. He barely mentioned Russia and China. What should we make of what he didn't get into? Because
I thought that was interesting the fact that Syria is an ongoing thing, that the U.S. might be considering a longer term military presence there.
What do you think is the significance of that?
ROGIN: Very simply, the president's team decided not to make foreign policy a key part of the State of the Union speech, which, again, is
unusual, but we shouldn't read too much into their policies by a lack of mention. This administration has a very firm America-first policy, it's
very controversial. When it comes to issues like Russia and China, they are complicated policies they just decided not to get into. They focused
on the victories, right? They focused on what they see is a successful change of policy in Iran, Israel, the fight against ISIS and real tough
language on North Korea. They didn't focus on the challenges. It was a cheerleading speech, not a speech about America's role in the world and
what needs to be done. That's disappointing, but again, not unusual in this ministration.
GORANI: Josh Rogin, Abraham Denmark, thanks to both of you for joining us. Appreciate it.
DENMARK: Good to see you.
[15:40:00]GORANI: Now, let's talk about -- I'm sure many of you have this concern or at least have heard about this concern from people you know.
And that's your Apple phone. The U.S. government now is saying it has its sights sets on Apple. Federal investigators are looking into why Apple's
software intentionally slows down older iPhones. Apple says the slowdown is needed to prevent phones from shutting down. It is basically saying,
look, we're not slowing down the phones, so people feel forced to buy a newer and more expensive model. It is denying those accusations. And the
justice department is going to be looking at whether or not there's something to them.
And Samuel Burke is here with that. By the way, since we discussed this the first time, that is it. Everything has -- that's right. Everything is
freezing. It takes me ages to open an app.
SAMEUL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I asked you right before we went on air. They said, no, not at all.
GORANI: And then now, of course, it's happening. But I'm not going to -- you now what? I'm going to keep it.
BURKE: Well, the Department of Justice, like many iPhone users, including Hala Gorani now, have questions, it appears, about slowing down these
iPhones. We're told by a source at the Department of Justice that the investigation is in the early stages. But I would say Apple has two
problems now, Hala. A trust issue with their customers. Clearly they know that, that's why they knocked down the replacement battery from $80 to $30.
And possible legal issues. I spoke to an expert who said what the DOJ would be trying to figure out here is, was there another intention? Were
they trying to slow down the phones? Could there be a memo out there that says they were trying to slow down the phones to get more people to upgrade
sooner. There could be a securities violation there. That's a pretty high bar to cross.
But it has left a lot of us wondering why in the little update, that they always put, that most people don't read, but I always read, because I'm a
tech journalist, where it always says, here is what you're updating to. How come that wasn't there?
GORANI: Interesting. Now, the iPhone X though has been a bit of a disappointment, right?
Burke: Well, we're now hearing -- there's one analyst saying that it looks like production for the iPhone X, that's the X. People don't know whether
to call it the X or the tens sometimes.
GORANI: I called it X earlier, so clearly I was wrong.
BURKE: I knew what you were talking about. I think the viewers do, too. They're cutting production from 40 million to 20 million iPhones. It just
looks like demand -- a lot of signs in the supply chain. Demand wasn't that high. I would say anecdotally what I've heard from your viewers
tweeting me, people around the office, they were confused by having the 8, the 8s and the X released all at once. The $1,000 price tag and not having
a home button.
GORANI: OK. Oh, it doesn't have a home button? I'm going to keep this.
BURKE: You were paying attention to my report on this show two months ago, right?
GORANI: I've decided I'm going to go old school on this. I'm going to keep it. Plus, and I have to go. You know when you reach a certain level
on a game, you get a new phone.
BURKE: It deletes it.
GORANI: No. Well, you start all over again.
Burke: Oh, terrible.
GORANI: I have a crossword puzzle where I've reached a higher level. I want to keep it there. So we'll see. Thanks very much, Samuel. We'll
Still to come. It's one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It's the seat of government herein the U.K., but lawmakers have just voted the
move out of it for many years. We'll tell you why.
GORANI: All right. Well, breaking news here in London. Nothing tragic, nothing dramatic, don't worry. But it's a huge development over this
building behind me. It's where the U.K. parliament seats. The Palace of Westminster. At the moment, it is far from palatial. The fact it needs
billions with a "b," billions of dollars of repairs.
In the past hour, lawmakers have voted to move themselves out of Westminster to allow for full renovations and that could take years. Well,
I have more on that in a moment.
But first, Max Foster got incredibly a rare access to Westminster. And just wait until you see what needs repairing.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, but look closely and the Palace of Westminster is falling apart.
A rare glimpse inside these walls shows that behind the imposing exterior, beneath the ornate arches and stained glass lobbies, cracks are beginning
to show. The patching method adopted over the centuries no longer able to keep up. Lawmakers were warned in a recent report that the building faces
a growing risk of catastrophe unless urgent work is carried out.
So, Andy, we're on the roof and you get a real sense here about the scale of the problem you're dealing with.
ANDY PIPER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DESIGN FOR THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER RESTORATION AND RENEWAL PROGRAMME: Yes. I mean, what you can see here is
the damage that's caused 150 years worth of using of Victorian -- cast iron roofing system and it kind of represents what the aging condition of the
rest of the building is.
FOSTER: The building has seen prime ministers come and go. Some leaving more of an impact than others. The decades have taken their toll. And the
British weather has, too. Water seeps through the roof in many places.
FOSTER: Well, rare access indeed. This is what the whole project really comes down to the Commons chamber, where British laws are so famously
debated. You can almost hear the noise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the chamber, questions to the prime minister.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He, hear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
FOSTER: This chamber could full silence for six whole years under the proposal approved in principle by MPs, which would see them move out while
some multibillion dollar program of repair works takes place.
TINA STOWELL, LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORDS: This kind of work is what you might think of as surgery to the major arteries and veins and major
organs of this building. What is not, in any way, shape or form a facelift or a makeover.
FOSTER: It's not until you go underground that you really see why it is proposed work is so critical and so complex.
We come down to the basement and we found the typical sort of problem really, some evidence of a leak here. We've discovered it's coming from a
pipe right up in there, but they can't get to it because of this massive cabling, a lot of it, we don't know where it goes. We don't know what it's
for. So you can't just rip it out, because it could cause also some other problems.
The 19th century building is struggling to keep up with the modern world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our internet telephony system which is in desperate need for replacement.
FOSTER: The tangle of phone lines. Not a reassuring sight for anyone trying to get in touch with their MP. Officials would like to make
Westminster ready for the future, but restoring a key piece of Britain's past. Max Foster, CNN London.
GORANI: All right. Let's discuss this with Bianca Nobilo in the studio. So first, what I was asking is why not renovate one section at a time? Why
does everyone have to vacate the building?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously it's an incredibly old, historic building and it's hard to do this sorts of incremental changes
which made much of a difference. A major rough works were required to renovate a type of building like this. It was built in the 1840s by
Charles Barry and there's semi structural issues, the way that the pipes are built into this edifice. Everything would require a huge amounts of
work to make enough difference to ensure its safety, because at the moment, it's a fire hazard, it's a safety hazard, there's asbestos. There are
GORANI: There's asbestos?
NOBILO: There's asbestos. In fact, when I used to work there, I was caught in the few corridors that suddenly have these huge warning signs.
The fact there's asbestos in there.
GORANI: The place is serious.
NOBILO: It is. And obviously it's not just parliamentarians that are in there, but it's visitors, 8,000 people work there who were MPs. Children
go in there every day on schools. So it's an important piece of work. But obviously, politically, it doesn't look good to have MPs --
GORANI: Where would they go?
NOBILO: Well, there's a couple of options that have been needed. Most realistically another big building in Whitehall, because it would be
easier. It's all the government departments are around there. But the SMP have pushed for it to move upwards in the country, perhaps to the monopoly
of London, so somewhere --
[15:50:03] GORANI: Like a traveling parliament?
NOBILO: That has been suggested.
GORANI: Why not? That should be cheap.
NOBILO: That's also been suggested. So just imagine that.
GORANI: Now, I want to get to this dramatic moment and not in the House of Commons but in the House of Lords today where a lord in dramatic fashion
resigned. Something that doesn't seem necessarily to qualify for that level of walkout. Let's watch this.
MICHAEL BATES, U.K. CONSERVATIVE PARTY POLITICIAN: My Lord, with the leader of the House, I wonder if you permit me to offer my sincere
apologies to Baroness Lister for my discourtesy in not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter at the beginning of
questions. I'm thoroughly ashamed I've not been in my place. And therefore I should be offering my resignation. Immediate. I do apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: He resigned for being late.
NOBILO: He did. He have missed the start of the questions which were, for him, and he thought that that was so much of a discourtesy and it was
dishonorable to him not to be there that the only option to that was to resign to put his papers under his arm and walked right out.
GORANI: But everybody was shocked.
NOBILO: They were. They were completely shocked. And in fact, and the leader of the House of Lords said it was a minor discourtesy. This is
really an overblown reaction. Downing Street have since refused his right of resignation. But it's not the first time he's left in strange
circumstances. When he was in the home office in 2016, he stood down to undertake a trek through South America of about 2,000 for charity. So he
does seem to have a slightly peculiar approach to stepping down from his position.
GORANI: A runaway lord. All right. Well, we will see if he -- we haven't heard from him. And we know Downing Street refused. But we'll see if he
comes back. Thank you very much, Bianca.
More to come including what turned a blue moon red.
GORANI: This week, we've been exploring the region of South Korea that is hosting the Winter Olympics and this one is for your taste buds. Isa
Soares takes a look at the -- at one of Gangwon Provinces most famous specialties that you might not know about. Take a look.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chuncheon, the riverside Gangwon Province in South Korea. The city perhaps best known for dakgalbi.
A fiery treat popular during the winter. A beautiful mess with a (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one forgets June 25th, 1950.
The Battle of Chuncheon signaled the start of the Korean War. Much of the city was destroyed as a result.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: South Korean villages woke to a world suddenly filled with noise and plague.
SOARES (voice-over): After the war, chicken farms became the livelihood of people who were poor and almost begging on the street. There was agony and
pain even after the conflict was over.
Generous portion affordable and easily shared. Dakgalbi is the fast favorite amongst soldiers and students on a budge. Earning it a nickname
Myeongdong Dakgalbi beach Street in Chuncheon is filled with dozens of restaurants paying homage to the dish.
[15:55:04] I am the second generation to run this restaurant. Our restaurants dakgalbi is light and not too spicy, which is something that
we're proud of.
At her restaurant Choi prepares a dakgalbi with carrots, rice cakes, sweet potato and marinated chicken. All topped with Korean chili paste and
scallion. The fresh ingredients have been stir fried in a large cast iron pan that's built into the communal table.
Part of the fun is cooking with your family. I think the dakgalbi is my own history. May parents started this restaurant, handed it to me and now
my son will run this place after me. I have so much pride of dakgalbi. Every restaurant in this historic alley contributes its own special taste
to the dish.
This is creation more than 50 years ago, dakgalbi's taste and reputation has spread far beyond Chuncheon to the rest of South Korea.
I hope people don't come to Chuncheon just to eat dakgalbi without understanding its history. I hope people come here and learn that
Chuncheon's iconic dish, dakgalbi was created out of the pain that people carried after the war. This is a local food that has a history and a story
moon. Isa Soares, CNN.
GORANI: So, did you see the moon? It was the second full moon of the month. And when that happens, it's called the blue moon. But there was
something even more unusual about this particular blue moon. Look at the pictures. It was especially big and bright. This was Charlotte, North
Carolina. It was unusually close to the earth apparently. And in some places, it was tinted red by a lunar eclipse. When that all happens at
once, the rare combination is called a Super Blue Blood Moon and dazzles sky gazers in parts of Australia, Asia, and North America. Not here in the
U.K. where it was shocker, shocker, raining. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.