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Theresa May Holding Talks With European Leaders In Egypt; British P.M. Again Delays Parliament Vote; Huawei Unveils Foldable Phone And Defends Its Devices; Huawei Says Its Foldable Phone Will Cost About $2,500; The U.S. Puts Off Tariff Hikes on Chine; President Trump Set to Leave for Vietnam for Second Summit with Kim Jong-Un; Academy Awards Has Now Concluded; Meeting Between Mike Pence and Juan Guaido. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 25, 2019 - 02:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. puts off tariff hikes on China as both sides say there's been substantial progress in trade talks. CNN following the story live in Beijing for you this day. And the crisis in Venezuela, more Venezuelan soldiers defect after a violent weekend. Also ahead this hour, no host, but the show went on.

All of the highlights and surprises from this year's Academy Awards. Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. We want to welcome our viewers from here in the United States and all around the world. I am George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts right now, 2:00 a.m. on the U.S. east coast. Thanks for being with us. The U.S. president is gearing up for a trip to Vietnam, his second summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un just days away now.

But much ahead of that trip has been on China and the issue of tariffs. Front and center, President Trump tweeting that he is delaying a hike in tariffs against China, a move that comes as progress is being reported on those trade talks. Here's what Mr. Trump said Sunday about a potential trade deal. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If it all works well, we're going to have some very big news over the next week or two. And it's really been terrific. I tell you that whole relationship has been outstanding. We put ourselves into a position of strength for the first time in about 35 years or probably a lot more than that. But China has been terrific. We want to make a deal that's great for both countries, and that's really what we're going to be doing.


HOWELL: And now, look to the markets. Modest gains across Asia. But in Shanghai, take a look. Stocks have surged at the news of President Trump saying on Twitter he hopes to finalize a trade deal with the U.S.-China summit if there is more progress. Let's get the very latest live on the Chinese capital. Our Steven Jiang is following the story this day.

And Steven, given the little that we have known or heard about regarding progress of these talks, the delay of this deadline seems quite significant.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, George. But not entirely surprising given Mr. Trump had been hinting last week the March 1st date was not a magical date. As you said, investors here in Asia Pacific have responded very positively to the news. And I think Mr. Trump certainly hopes U.S. investors will follow suit, because the volatility caused by the uncertainty brought by the trade war is one of Mr. Trump's major concerns.

And some would say his eagerness to stabilize the U.S. stock market contributed to the decision to extend the deadline. And also shows reflected in his eagerness to cut a deal with China. But still, in a pair of tweets earlier, Mr. Trump certainly ticked off all the right boxes by talking about the kind of structural issues in China's economy that both sides have been addressing in this latest round of talks.

We're talking about intellectual property theft, subsidies, and key industries here in China, as well as forced transfer of foreign technologies here. All of these issues of course, have long been U.S. demands in terms of seeing changes here in China, but resisted by the Chinese side because many of these issues have related to how this government fundamentally views this economy should be run.

So given that, even with the extension of the deadline, it's going to be a tall order for negotiators to really bridge their wide gap and resolve these differences in the coming weeks. But the momentum is certainly here. And the deadline extension is certainly welcome news for negotiators and investors alike, George.

HOWELL: All right. Steven, look, so the momentum is there, as you point out. But the United States is keenly focused on making sure that there are levers. There are methods for enforcing any sort of agreement. Where do you see things going with that very crucial point?

JIANG: That is really the key going forward from the U.S. perspective. Because the Chinese had made many promises and pledges before but only failed to follow through. That's actually one of the longest complaints by U.S. officials, including Mr. Trump himself, who has repeatedly blasted previous U.S. trade agreements with China. So for his deal to work, to set it apart from the previous deals, this kind of verification mechanism or enforcement clauses are going to be a top priority for his team to really hash out details with the Chinese in the coming weeks.

But for the two leaders, the two countries can sit down to sign off any final version, George.

[02:04:57] HOWELL: Steven Jiang following the story live for us in Beijing. Thank you for the reporting, Steven. And we will continue to monitor the news around these trade talks. In the coming hours, the U.S. president will leave Washington for Vietnam, where he will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as we point out. Mr. Trump says he sees eye-to-eye with Kim and won't rush things in these talks.


TRUMP: The media sometimes will say, well, what have they given up? We've given up nothing. The sanctions are on. Everything is on. But we have a special feeling. And I think it's going to lead to something very good, and maybe not. I think ultimately it will, but maybe not. And I am not pushing for speed, but we're not removing the sanctions.


HOWELL: President Trump's summit with Kim Jong-Un is just one of several key events that could have a significant impact on the rest of his presidency. The first on Monday, 58 former national security officials will release a letter slamming Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency on the U.S. southern border with Mexico. Then Tuesday, U.S. House of Representatives, they are set to vote on the declaration, giving a glimpse of how much support his wall has within his own party.

It will also be interesting and noteworthy to see how the vote then progresses in the sessions, especially with Republicans. Then Wednesday, the president's former attorney Michael Cohen set to testify on Capitol Hill. Keep in mind the president will be in Vietnam when this is happening. Michael Cohen knows a lot about Mr. Trump, knows a lot about his business empire. But the president says he is not concerned, not worried with what Michael Cohen will have to say.

So a lot happening for sure, we will of course, take a closer look at what this week means for Mr. Trump and for Washington with political guest Scott Lucas, joining us at the bottom of the hour. All right, time to talk about the Oscars now. The big show is over. Hope you got a chance to watch it and it was everything that you would expect. There was the laughter. There were tears, music, jokes, and of course, some extreme fashion right there.

And even a few surprises, like diversity. How about that? There were notable representations of diversity, diverse filmmakers, actresses and actors. Green Book took home the coveted best picture award, but not without some controversy. Our own Stephanie Elam was on the red carpet and tells us about the other big winners of the night.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the big surprises is Olivia Colman winning for best actress for her role in The Favorite. Everyone thought it was going to be Lady Gaga or Glenn Close. But those were the two that everyone was thinking of. No one thought Olivia Colman was going to win despite the fact that she won for the Bath Tub, but take a listen to her speech. It was a really fun. OLIVIA COLMAN, ACTRESS, OSCARS BEST ACTRESS WINNER: My kids are at

home and watching. Well, if you're not then, well done. But I sort of hope you are. This is not going to happen again.

ELAM: And just for the record, why people thought Glenn Close was going to win and people were very upset on Twitter nearby, always looking, is because Glenn Close's performance in The Wife is stunning. It's stellar. It's fantastic. It was a fan favorite for a lot of people. She's been nominated before. But she's never won. So a lot of people were looking for Glenn Close to take that award.

So there was some disappointment on that. But then Olivia Colman's speech was so lovely, so just basically shouted out at Glenn Close. But also at the end of her speech, it's when Lady Gaga so everyone was very excited about that. Another one that people were watching was Rami Malek. Now, throughout the entire awards season, we have watched that everyone thought it was going to Christian Bale and The Trajectory Turn and it was all about Rami Malek. And he had a really great speech. Take a listen to what he said.

RAMI MALEK, ACTOR, OSCARS BEST ACTOR WINNER: Thank you, Queen. Thank you, guys, for being -- for allowing me to be the tiniest part of your phenomenal, extraordinary legacy. I am forever in your debt.

ELAM: One other person that we've keeping our eyes on was Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. There was a big campaign behind that movie. From that flick, that has been pushing that movie to win best picture. There was even talk that it would take that award and that's just not happened here tonight. But Alfonso did walk away with a couple of Oscars which was very much expected for this one.

And it is noteworthy, because you're talking about a film that is in Spanish. You talk about a film that's in black and white and very personal story for Alfonso Cuaron as well. And in the climate here in the United States, the fact that this movie got as much traction as it did was also quite noteworthy as well. And then the big win that so many people were waiting for, much like you were waiting for Glenn Close win was the Spike Lee award.

And people were waiting for Spike Lee to finally get his Oscar. That happened tonight. And he had a speech to remember. Take a listen.

[02:09:58] SPIKE LEE, ACTOR, OSCARS WINNER: The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let's all mobilize. Let's all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing.


HOWELL: And thanks again for Stephanie Elam on the red carpet there at the Governors Ball. And now, let's bring in CNN media critic, Brian Lowry, Brian joining this hour from Los Angeles. Brian, what a show, the one thing that I have to say, I noticed that difference. Diversity was on the sage this year. A sharp departure from what we've seen in years before. BRIAN LOWRY, CNN MEDIA CRITIC: Well, it's something that the academy

has really worked at in a way. They expanded their membership. They've become much more aware of it since the launch of the Oscars so white hashtag a few years ago. And you saw I think the fruits of that in some of the winners and just the overall sense of the show, which was filled with nominees and presenters and people in color and women, in ways that you haven't seen in Oscar ceremonies in the past.

HOWELL: It's just nice again to see, you know, films, filmmakers, directors, representative of the nation that we live in. It was a pleasure, fun to watch. You will remember all the markets, the betting markets. They had Roma taking best picture. But instead turned out to be Green Book, a film which is both being celebrated for its win, and I noticed on Twitter, a great deal of criticism, as well.

LOWRY: Green Book is a very divisive film. And I thought there was a pretty good chance that it would end up winning, mostly because it looks like a lot of past academy winners. A lot of Oscar winners have tended to be social issue movies, period movies, the two other movies that I think were really solid contenders, both came with very major impediments to winning.

One was Roma, which beyond the fact that no foreign language film has ever won best picture before was from Netflix. And Netflix is still something of a new-comer to the Oscar race. And the other was Black Panther. And there was a lot of heat behind that movie. It did win some technical awards. But, you know, for the academy, this is the first time a superhero movie has ever been nominated. And I think in a way, the thought was that just being nominated was probably enough.

HOWELL: Black Panther definitely was a great film. I hated to see that. But yeah, it was an interesting turn with the winner this night. Let's talk about the category of best actor and best actress, Olivia Colman taking the win for The Favorite, Glenn Close so close but the favorite this time, and Rami Malek, as we heard from Stephanie seeming to keep in line with what people thought winning best actor.

LOWRY: The one really huge surprise of the night, at least among the acting categories, was Olivia Colman. You know if you've seen her, if you've watched her lot of work in the U.K., she is a sensational actress. But Glenn Close had won virtually every award building up to the Oscars. And that's really where you get a sense that there's momentum behind a performer and that they're going to win an Oscar.

And the other thing I think Olivia Colman had working against her seemingly, was she was really part of an ensemble cast. Rami Malek, on the other hand, other than Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, which is a completely immersive performance, and as you look at it it's hard to believe that that's Christian Bale. But Rami Malek really was -- if you liked anything about Bohemian Rhapsody, and that movie is somewhat divisive too, what you liked about it was Rami Malek.

HOWELL: All right. How about that moment? We just saw this a few minutes ago, that moment where director Spike Lee, winning his first non-honorary Oscar, jumped up on Samuel L. Jackson, also getting that line in his speech, do the right thing, he said. LOWRY: It's pretty cool. Well, it was a great idea to have Samuel L.

Jackson present that award given the relationship between the two of them. And the fact that the odds were that Spike Lee and his collaborators were going to win. I thought that was one of the more political speeches of the night, one of the more pointed speeches. There were a number of references to politics.

But most of them were somewhat veiled. You didn't hear President Trump's name. You heard references to immigration and inclusiveness and a global community. And that was really the most pointed moment like that of the night.

HOWELL: All right. We appreciate your time and insight. Thank you so much.

LOWRY: Thank you.

HOWELL: A lot more to cover here on CNN Newsroom, specifically the border between Venezuela and Colombia. All eyes are on military defectors you see here, being welcomed in Colombia. But that nation now set to host a summit on the crisis, more details on that ahead as Newsroom pushes on.


HOWELL: In Colombia, a high profile meeting is set to take place between the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the Venezuelan opposition Juan Guaido. Their focus is on the ongoing crisis that's talking place in Venezuela right now. This meeting comes on the heels of violent clashes along Venezuela's border, the same place where troops blocked entry from desperately needed humanitarian aid.

Over the weekend, officials say that more than 300 people were hurt near the Colombian border. Colombia has now temporarily closed some of the crossings (Inaudible) to evaluate the damage done. The country's president condemned this weekend's violence. Listen.


IVAN DUQUE, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT: I think that the Lima group needs to make a clear statement on what we have seen. I think the international community has an obligation to tighten the diplomatic reins, because a dictator who is able to burn and medicine for helpless people on their land with such brutality, just to keep him in power.


[02:19:55] HOWELL: In the meantime, small clashes broke out again on Sunday a along the Colombian. Our Nick Paton Walsh has been following developments there and has the latest from Cucuta.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a different day here. You can just hear teargas cracking behind me. This is exactly where we were yesterday to see injuries, to defections from Venezuelan soldiers who crossed the line from their hungry homeland here and gave themselves up to Colombian migration officials. But essentially the standoff continues albeit at a much lower temperature than we saw yesterday.

And that is really the problem that Colombian authorities now own. They allowed this all to happen yesterday, the aid and trying to get across it failed. It hit a line of riot police. There were substantial clashes there, and a number of people injured. Still, while the top of the bridge appears to be more in control here at this (Inaudible) international crossing, it's under the bridge where Venezuelan opposition protesters are trying to make their way through to Venezuelan territory.

And we've seen in the last few minutes some of them actually managing to get pretty close. But then barrage of teargas like yesterday comes in and they pulled back. In fact, I saw one person carried away who looked injured on the bride there. It's different today, though. Colombian riot police as far as we can see putting on their gear and running to the front to pull those protesters back.

I think really Colombia now owns this situation. And it may see in the weeks ahead, these protesters continually have a go at Venezuelan military on the other side, and of course, whether Colombia wants that to continue or not is probably down to them, where they lock this area down or not. Interestingly enough, though, yesterday, we heard of 60 Venezuelan military defecting accepting amnesty from the opposition here in Colombia.

The Venezuelan opposition now, we hear that number may have risen to over 100, some giving themselves up over the border during the night. Could this be the start of something to come? Well, I'm sure there are very many who look at the images of yesterday of aid on fire and see that as the enduring scene from the bid to get peaceful humanitarian aid across.

The question really I think now is what sort of response one thing promised by National Security Adviser John Bolton, will we see from the White House?

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Cucuta, Colombia.


HOWELL: Nick, thank you. Now, let's talk more about this with Jennifer McCoy, Jennifer, a professor of political science at Georgia State University joining us though this hour far from Atlanta, Georgia, in Budapest. Good to have you with us.


HOWELL: So Juan Guaido is set to meet with the Vice President Mike Pence in Colombia, this again on the heels of welcoming dozens of military defectors from his native Venezuela. How strong is Guaido's hand right now, compared to that of the sitting president Nicolas Maduro?

MCCOY: Well, obviously, Maduro still controls the territory, the security forces, and the government institutions. But Guaido has strong international backing. And certainly the population is fed up and frustrated. So I think he will continue to receive their support for sometime, and until they -- you know, if nothing happens and they may give up.

However, Maduro, I think, you know, showed weakness over this weekend because he seemed to have to rely on the gangs, the Colectivos, as well as reports that he maybe preparing prisoners to help turn back protesters. And so that shows a weakness if he does not have faith in his national guard and in his military, or if the defections continue to grow.

HOWELL: That would be significant, turning to prisoners to help out with his efforts there. Look, with the threat of the United States getting involved in military intervention, and also Venezuela threatening to do the same with America, how do you see things proceeding here, especially with the U.S. role in that region?

MCCOY: This is extremely delicate. The U.S. appears to be trying to intimidate the Venezuelan military with the threat of military intervention. The Venezuelan military is very familiar with the U.S. military. And certainly will not want a confrontation with the U.S. military. However, if the threat of intervention is not sufficient and any actual intervention would be almost certainly repudiated by Latin America, in general, just on principle.

Because as you mentioned, the past U.S. role in the region, there's also a risk. I think we have to keep in mind, though, of a clash on the Colombian border, between Colombia and Venezuela, because Venezuela has now closed that border. Protesters or Venezuelan citizens are on the side. Many of them depended on that border to cross daily for work, as well as for food and medicine.

And so those frustrations will grow if that border remains closed. And Colombian security is on one side helping to protect the people. So the risk of a clash there could escalate rapidly and potentially the U.S., you know, committing in to come in to back Colombia. So we -- I think we have got several risks for armed clashes that we need to be very watchful for and careful of.

[02:25:14] HOWELL: All right. Also -- and with regards to these efforts to get humanitarian aid into Venezuela, Juan Guaido promising to keep up the pressure. Is that pressure campaign making a difference for him in this tug-of-war it seems?

MCCOY: Well, you know, I think he raised expectations with this, saying that air would come in on January 23rd, and obviously he wasn't able to fulfill that promise, and so that dashed the hopes of some Venezuelans who, you know, believed that it would happen. Now, I think the next step is, you know, the sanctions will continue to bite deeper and deeper.

Venezuela -- Maduro closed his transit routes with Brazil, Colombia, and the three Caribbean Islands nearby. And so that hurts him and Venezuela, just in terms of being able to continue to import the food and the goods that they need. So this pressure will grow. Now, the meeting today, of course, there's concern that they will be discussing even military intervention because they said everything's on the table.

Some have brought up the right to protect, which is an international commitment of all states to protect their citizens. And if they violate that, the U.N. in the past, in the case like Libya, has authorized military intervention. I don't think we're there yet. There must be -- for that to be invoked, there must be exhausted all diplomatic solutions, as well as sanctions. And so we also have the International Contact Group who is attempting to facilitate elections.

HOWELL: And Jennifer, clearly, the pressure will continue. We'll stay in touch with you as we keep watching. Jennifer McCoy, thank you so much for your time.

MCCOY: Thanks.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, is it progress or is it posturing? We will review this week's summit between the U.S. and North Korean leader. What might come of it?


[02:30:42] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: To our viewers up late, we're early this day on CNN USA and to our viewers right around the world watching in CNN International. Welcome back to NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell. The U.S. President is set to meet with the leader of North Korea this week. His second summit to push for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. On Sunday though, Mr. Trump said that he wouldn't rush the north into killing its nuclear program.

After his last summit with Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump tweeted that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. But earlier on CNN, his top top diplomat disagreed with my colleague Jake Tapper. Listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think North Korea remains a nuclear threat?


TAPPER: But the President said he doesn't.

POMPEO: That's not what he said. I mean, I know --


TAPPER: He tweeted there is no longer nuclear threat from North Korea.

POMPEO: What he said is that -- what he said was that the efforts that had been made in Singapore, this commitment, the chairman can make have substantially taken down the risk to the American people. It's the mission after Secretary of State, the President of the United States to keep American people secure. We're aiming to achieve that.

TAPPER: OK. I mean, that's just a direct quote but I want to move on. Just a few days ago you said sanctions against North Korea won't be lifted until, "We're confident that we substantially reduced that risk, that risk of a nuclear attack." But that's standard, a substantial reduction of risk, it seems different from what you said just last June, take a listen.

POMPEO: We're going to get complete denuclearization only then where there will relief from the sanctions.

TAPPER: So, I guess the question is has the Trump administration changed the conditions for sanction relief from complete denuclearization as you said in that clip to substantial reduction of risk?

POMPEO: No, Jake. There's no change. Remember these sanctions cover a broad way of activities. The core economic sanctions, the sanctions that prevent countries from conducting trade, creating wealth from North Korea, those sanctions are definitely going to remain in place, there are other things we could do. Exchanges of people, lots of other ways that North Korea's sanctioned today that if we get a substantial step, a move forward, we could certainly provide an outlet which would demonstrate our commitment to the process as well.

TAPPER: So it's a kind of a sliding scale, substantial reduction, some sanctions are relieved but not all and then complete denuclearization more sanctions are relieved, is that right?

POMPEO: Jake, remember, the core sanctions, the core U.S. Security Council resolution sanctions, we've said consistently, full, verified denuclearization. That's the standard for relieving those sanctions. That policy is not changed since I think since the day President Trump took office.

TAPPER: Take a listen to what the President's director of National Intelligence said just last month about the threat from North Korea.

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We currently asses that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.

TAPPER: How you convince Kim something that he thinks is critical is regime's survival. What is the United States offering that's better than that?

POMPEO: We've made it very plain to Chairman Kim. The alternative to giving up his nuclear weapon is remaining a pariah state, remaining a nation that is unable to trade, unable to grow, unable to take care of its own people. We've made the argument that it would be far better, far better for Chairman Kim himself, hiss senior leadership, all of the people for North Korea. We have also shared with him that we are happy to make sure that North Korea's security assurances -- they're worried about China that the security assurance is that they need can be provided in a way that is reasonable.

And we've also told there will be -- there will be real opportunities. The countries from around the world will come and make his economy one that looks more like South Korea's economy and the one that exist in North Korea today. Those are the kinds of things. I've had these conversations -- I've been with Chairman Kim, I think more hours now than anybody including Dennis Rodman. We've had these conversations now over an extended period.

And what Senator Coats -- what Director Coats said is the history and we're hoping to move forward and change that history fundamentally.

TAPPER: North Korea wants the United States to end the declaration of war, the -- of the Korean War. Is that on the table for the summit?

POMPEO: Talked about a lot of things, I -- just prefer not to get into where the negotiations may stand today.


HOWELL: All right there. Mike Pompeo speaking with Jake Tapper earlier on "STATE OF THE UNION".

[02:35:03] While President Trump is in Vietnam, a drama will be playing out in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill with lawmakers set to vote on his national emergency declaration. House Democrats will take the lead in that vote to stop him from using his emergency powers to pay for the border wall that he said Mexico would pay for.

In addition to lawmakers, a group of 58 former national security officials have written a letter to Mr. Trump slamming that declaration. Among the signers, former Secretaries of State and defense, they say there is no emergency that justifies the action and that it will actually make situations worse. Let's talk about all of this now with Scott Lucas. Scott, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, also the founder and editor of EA WorldView joining us this hour from Birmingham, England. Scott, good to have you.


HOWELL: All right. So the pressure is certainly on, mounting with more and more voices saying the Presidents' move to declare a national emergency to build his border wall is not really an emergency at all. And now Congress poised to vote as well. That vote, Scott, as you know, both in the House and Senate eventually will put some Republican lawmakers in a tricky spot. Either siding with the President or holding firm to statements that many of them made on the record, calling the whole thing, the declaration, a bad idea.

LUCAS: Yes. But Donald Trump doesn't care if legislatures are in a tricky spot. Here's the play, George. What Donald Trump's doing whether it's the wall or whether it's North Korea, you create a crisis you whip it all up and then you magically say I'm here to resolve it. It sort of like hitting someone upside the head and say, are you feeling poorly? And then handing them some snake oil. So what Trump has done with the national emergency is said, oh, you know, had to have this $5.7 billion deed now, this $8 billion for this wall.

Eventually we may get something which isn't a wall but which may be enhanced fencing but Trump will step up and say look, here's your wall. The whole game is to create the illusion that this is the man who rules while Washington is divided. If Congress stands in the way, if Congress is bad and he's the man to deal with it. If the courts stand in the way which is likely to happen of course, then he is going to stand up against those judges who were inept or worse.

That's the political game and you're going to see the North Korea this week because far from distracting from the national emergency, what you're doing is you're having the overseas equivalent of it, which is even though North Korea is unlikely to give up any nuclear weapons, unlikely to give up its missile program, you watch. Donald Trump will come out of that summit, he might not say the North Korean nuclear threat is over this time, but he'll say we're well on the way to getting this resolved because of me.

HOWELL: Well, let's talk just a bit more than about anyone North Korea clearly there is a split as we just moments ago with Mike Pompeo speaking to Jake Tapper, a split within the administration on what should be a straightforward question here. Is North Korea a nuclear threat? The President says no, his Secretary of State saying yes. So heading into this summit, do you expect it to be optics over substance or do you expect something real and concrete to come out of it?

LUCAS: Well, I'll give you the easy answer first. Of course, it's optics over substance. It was in Singapore last June and that is here's a few happy snapshots, Trump can go home, frame the on the wall, declare all of a sudden perhaps pay, it's all solved. But then U.S. agencies have got to deal with reality rather than optics. This is where the Trump strategy hits his own problems. You heard Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats that the North Koreans have not pushed back at all or pulled bang at all from their nuclear program.

And then Trump comes out and gets mad at him and says, oh, how can you say that? You heard Secretary of State Mike Pompeo effectively trying to maintain that the Emperor still has new clothes by saying, oh, of course Donald Trump never said that North Korea had stopped being a nuclear threat because there are many within the intelligence community. Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton, many within the State Department who know that the reality is, is that until North Korea gets significant U.S. concessions and that means the lifting of sanctions.

They're not going to give up the nuclear programming. And it doesn't matter what Donald Trump says at least to his agencies. The question is who do the American public believe?

HOWELL: Scott, and one answer. Yes or no. Do you agree with the people who say that Mr. Trump has succeeded in making sure that there are no missile launches and, you know, that type of drama hasn't been playing out. Do you agree with that, yes or no?

LUCAS: No. North Korea played Trump.

HOWELL: And --

LUCAS: They sustained the missile launches.

HOWELL: And, you know, one of the things, Scott that we'll be keen to stay in touch with you on is Michael Cohen testifying on Capitol Hill. Be -- it -- will it be interesting to see what he has to say with the President in Vietnam. Scott, we always appreciate your time. We'll stay in touch with you.

LUCAS: Thank you, George.

HOWELL: The British Prime Minister Theresa May looking to have a Brexit deal in Egypt.

[02:45:05] Bye, Ms. May. May have seen that plan backfire. Stay with us.


HOWELL: The issue of Brexit. The British Prime Minister has been in Egypt with E.U. and Arab leaders meeting in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh but it's no vacation for Theresa May who's still on the beach over that issue of Brexit. Ms. May that is delaying a Parliament vote on her Brexit deal again. Listen.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As we're continuing with those talks, we won't be bringing a meaningful vote back this week but that will happen by the 12th of March. And it is still -- we still have it within our grasp to leave the European Union with a deal on the 29th of March and that's what I'm going to be working at.


HOWELL: CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is live following the story in Sharm el-Sheikh. And Nick, the word delay really seems to be front and center. Tell us more about what you're hearing with regards to the delay in the vote in Parliament yet again.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the concern and it's not just amongst the British M.P.'s and British business that among European leaders here but what they feel Theresa May is doing here is taking down the clock, is trying to use the threat of a no- deal by taking this sort of decision day much closer to the exit day that vote on the 12th, the meaningful date on the 12th and the exit day from the European Union would be the 29th of March means that there is growing concern that if Theresa May doesn't pull off this deal that there will be a no-deal exit scenario will be bad for business which will have an impact on the European Union.

So, taking down the clock because this is a mechanism that people think that she can use to try to get as many people onboard with this meaningful vote as possible is a tactic.

[02:45:10] But the criticism is that it's a very, very, very, and precise tactic if you will, that could go -- could go drastically wrong. What we've been hearing from European Union diplomats here, yesterday one E.U. diplomat told me that it wasn't clear what the British government really needs, specifically, specifically to be able to win for Theresa May, to be able to win that meaningful vote.

And listening to the Dutch prime minister here, just a few minutes ago, he said the same thing. It's still not clear precisely what the British government wants from the E.U. This really going to make the difference back in the British Parliament.

He did say that there were things happening behind the scenes here. He did say that he didn't want to comment on them because this wasn't the right moment to do it. And he did say that it's possible that there can be some sort of legal annex to this big withdrawal agreement.

The sort of codicil is the language that -- that's used to describe this legal -- legally binding or potentially legally binding annex. But it's all from what we're hearing here, short on specifics, what E.U. officials here are feeling is short on specifics, which really means at the moment, Theresa May's deadline of the 12th for a vote is still anyone's guess if she would win that vote.

[02:46:29] HOWELL: All right. Nic Robertson will continue to follow Brexit. Thank you.

A wide-ranging U.S. winter storm system has not only brought snow to a number of areas but also some serious flooding. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following all of that in the CNN International weather center. Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Hi, George. Good to see you, yes. It's been a pretty wild pattern here that the past 24 hours and look at some of the Department of Transportation camera shots here. This is out of Southeastern Minnesota and portions of the highway here underneath six feet of snow drift that were being reported, in fact.

Not only the state and patrol vehicle that were trapped on the highway here but even snow plows reporting struggling in clearing some of the snow out of their way. And the highway down just as one lane. Officials saying do what you can stand or is not worth it getting outside in such conditions with extreme winds.

Of course, heavy snow to be had in the last couple of days and major disruptions across the region. And all of that energy was across the Midwest now shifting in across the most densely populated corner of the U.S., around the Northeast.

So, 50 to 60 mile-per-hour gusts in the forecast to the north, works away a little farther towards the south, and we're talking 40 to 50 miles per hour. But, if you put that sort of wind pattern across this region, where were you know, you're going to see disruptions in the way of a transportation on Monday certainly won't be the case.

But, how about this? Wind gusts upwards of 88 miles per hour. This was in West Virginia coming through the major metro areas around say Cleveland. Mere hurricane-force gusts reported as well upwards of 6,000 flights impacted. About 4,000 of them on delays, and about 2,000 cancellations.

But over 70 million people are underneath these wind alerts going into Monday afternoon. So, certainly a big story and want to break it down hour by hour because really speaks some volumes to the severity and the extensive nature of this. Because what is 8 a.m.? You get the morning commute kind of underway here, 40 and 50-mile-per hour gusts expected.

You go in towards 10:00 a.m., doesn't change much still about 40 to 50 miles per hour across a widespread area. And finally, by the afternoon-evening hours, maybe a little bit of a drop in the numbers. And finally, around sunset, we see these winds die down a little bit.

So, it is going to be a powerful wind event around the northeast and preemptively, it's the very early morning hours' flights already beginning to see cancellations and delays across this region.

Now, where it's not windy, where it's not as windy and a snowy has been around the south and widespread flooding here upwards of 300 river gauges reporting flooding.

Over 200 minor, about 57 on the moderate stage and a dozen or more, they are sitting in the major flood stage. But, pick out cities like Nashville, and they'll tell you, they've never felt a February winter this wet across the region and really not just for Nashville you work your way towards Birmingham into Atlanta much as the same

Notice previous record from 1880. Now, in the first 24 days of the month of February, they've already exceeded that record rainfall with over a foot in the past couple of weeks. And notice that this is the surplus above average. So, Atlanta sits about 10 inches above what is normal here in the winter season and places such as South Carolina, Nashville, sitting about eight inches above what is average.

So, just widespread oversaturation of the soil across this region that's why flooding has been such a major concern. And then lastly, George, we take you back out toward the west where all these storms originate from initially, and another one lines up right there across Northern California and areas of the Northwest. So, certainly an active pattern right now around the U.S.

HOWELL: All right, Pedram Javaheri, thank you so much.

JAVAHERI: Thanks so much.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, Huawei's is been a foldable phone. We'll explain why you can't touch it even if you can afford it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [02:52:05] JAVAHERI: February 25th, 2019. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, and you look at the pattern here beginning to in part that look more spring-like in parts of southern United States. At least, some with high pressure in control, they're allowing some milder temps.

But just north of this region, plenty of wintry weather to be had. Frontal boundary in place, strong system moved over in the past 24 so hours, and still over 70 million people impacted by powerful winds that at times could reach hurricane force into the early morning hours thereof Monday.

So certainly, some threat here for power outages, certainly disruptions at the airports, and you notice enough wintry weather left in the picture here for some snow showers as well in particular in the interior region of New England.

Also, favorable areas of the Great Lakes really not a significant amount left in the forecast. What is significant is what's happening out in the Western U.S.

Portions of Northern California there, we have about with significant storms here coming in. And with it, so much moisture here that really kind of bringing down as much as 50, 60 even more centimeters of fresh snow into the High Sierra.

Yet again, Northern California getting the bull's eye here for the heavy rainfall over the next couple of days. San Francisco will take the cake here. Rain, wind, 13 degrees, while in Vancouver British Columbia on the sunnier end of the perspective. To gone to run five degrees there.

And cooler air tries to work its way back into the forecast. But really takes its time here over the next couple of days. We leave you with conditions across the Caribbean.


HOWELL: The Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, it showing off its new pricy, foldable phone and defending the integrity of its devices. CNN's Samuel Burke is at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Once again, an announcement about a huge shift in the technology that we use in our everyday devices is taking a backseat to the price tag.

Huawei announcing that their new foldable phone will cost something along the lines of $2,600. A whopping price tag even bigger than what Samsung announced for their foldable phone.

Though important to note that the Huawei price, $2,600 does include taxes. Now, looking at the two devices, it looks like the Huawei phone or tablet -- whatever you want to call it is a little bit larger about 8 inches when it's folded out your tablet mode, compared that to 7.2 inches for Samsung's foldable device. Of course, we like to try them out for ourselves but that's a whole other story. This is the chaos not even to touch the phone just to get some images of it. Of course, Huawei hasn't said when they're going to allow the public to touch it or even given us a launch date.

One thing that wasn't addressed on stage at the launch where the United States accusations over Huawei and their security of their 5G equipment.

Though I was able to speak to the rotating chairman of Huawei, and he emphasized once again that he believes that these accusations from the U.S. are politically motivated. Though he did make it clear that Huawei could never, will never, and would not ever dare to violate the regulations of China or any other country in which they operate. Samuel Burke, CNN, Barcelona.

[02:55:41] HOWELL: Samuel, thank you. And thank you for being with us this hour for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN center in Atlanta. But, let's do it again. Another hour of news right after the break. Stay with us.


HOWELL: The U.S. president delaying additional tariffs on China. Mr. Trump, saying talks are going great. We'll have the latest live from Beijing. Plus, it was a night of surprises at this year's Oscars. We have the evening winners and upsets.

Also, ahead this hour, more Venezuelan soldiers defect after a violent weekend. But humanitarian aid is still being blocked at the border. What is next for the opposition?