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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Zelensky: I'm Ready For My Next Call With President Trump, Please Stop Saying Ukraine Is Corrupt; Candidates Turn Focus To South Carolina & Western States; Nearly 32 Million Latinos Will Be Eligible To Vote In 2020 Race; Barr's Public Rebuke Of Trump Sparks Debate Over Motives; U.S. Preparing To Evacuate Americans From Cruise Ship In Japan; Uncertainty Over Virus Impact Weighs On Global Economy; Kobe Bryant Named Basketball Hall Of Fame Finalist; Kobe Honored At All- Star Weekend. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired February 15, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): What Attorney General is really saying is I'm going to do exactly what Trump wants. I just wish he wouldn't tweet about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Justice Department announced Friday it won't bring criminal charges against McCabe.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: We are guilty of doing our jobs and nothing else.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: McCabe, certainly, what he's done is just despicable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Attorney General William Barr has privately called on prosecutors to review the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

TRUMP: What they did to him is very unfair in my opinion.

BARR: I'm going to handle each case as I think the law requires.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just eight days until the Nevada caucuses growing questions about whether there is any risk of an Iowa debacle repeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Nevada Democratic Party, I have great confidence that they're not going to be using an app, let me be clear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Victor Blackwell. AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker.

BLACKWELL: Breaking news. This morning, the news this morning the President of Ukraine says he is ready to talk with President Trump and he is ready to reset his country's relationship with the U.S.

WALKER: Zelensky sat down for his first one-on-one interview since the Senate acquitted President Trump. Speaking with our Christiane Amanpour, Zelensky says the impeachment process hurt his ability to secure the U.S. aid on which his country depends.

CNN Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour joining us now live from Munich. Hi there.

Christiane, a very interesting interview and this is a man -- a President who unwittingly got caught up in the impeachment scandal just months after he was elected in that landslide victory. And he made it clear in this interview with you today that he wants to start over start from scratch with the United States and get this visit to the White House.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: That's exactly right. Amara, this is an important interview, because this is his first ever sit down with international television, American television. And everybody wanted to hear from him, because of the way he's been and his country have been swept up into the domestic crisis in the United States.

He's also, as you know, got a story very similar to President Trump's, and that is an unusual story for a politician and a world leader. President Trump businessman and former reality celebrity, TV show, and President Zelensky also a comedian who was part of a show that was highly successful, called "Servant of The People."

Now he finds himself, you know, in this dramatic part of the world kind of strategic situation. And I first asked him about how it felt being caught up in all of this, and his ironic side came out, shall we say, here's what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Now, I'm very popular in USA, but I didn't want to find such way. But - you know, but if this way will help Ukraine, I'm ready for next call with Mr. Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So, he's making light, but he's also very, very serious, because he has used his ability because he's very charismatic. As you know, he's got a really good way of communicating. He's done that throughout his career as an actor and as a performer.

And now he knows that the most serious thing facing him and his country is this war in the eastern part of Ukraine, because the Russians in 2014, intervened - the little green man, remember? And they intervened, and it is still occupied. He called it temporarily occupied. And he also said, please don't think that this is a war in Ukraine. It is a war in Europe, and it is a strategic cause that affects the United States as well. So he was very, very clear that he wanted to thread the needle very carefully between walking this delicate balance between what happened with impeachment, and the necessity of having a good relationship with President Trump and the United States - their strongest backers after all.

Then I asked him about corruption. And as everybody knows, Ukraine has been accused of being highly corrupt. And he pushed back. I quoted him something that President Trump has said about him. And he pushed back on that and said it's a whole new day now regarding corruption in Ukraine. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Ukraine has been labeled one of the most corrupt countries in the world. That is one of the reputational damages to your country in the wake of all of this. And recently - I mean, you know, really recently, in November, around Thanksgiving, President Trump told Fox News, why should we give money to a country that's known corrupt? It's a very corrupt country. I mean, I love the people in Ukraine. I know Ukrainian people, they're great people, but it's known as being the third most corrupt country in the world.

[08:05:00]

ZELENSKY: That's not true. That's not true. When I had meeting with Mr. President Trump, and he said about that - he said that the previous years, it was so corrupt, this country - Ukraine. I told him very honestly, and I was very open with him. I told him that we fight with corruption. We'll fight with this, fight each day. But please, please stop to say that Ukraine is corrupted country, but - because from now, it's not true. We want to change this image.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So you can see, he's being absolutely determined there to say they want to start a new page in relations with the rest of the world. Obviously, they want to fight corruption in their own country. Remember, he's a young, young man. He came unconventionally towards politics. And to becoming President he won 73 percent of the second round of voting to huge mandate from the people.

And there was a distinguished panel of bipartisan senators, listening to him speak, listening to the interview, and then also talking when it came to the sort of Q&A part - Republican and Democrat. Reaffirming America's strong support for Ukraine. And saying that they've all agreed, because they visited him in Kiev, his capital, they all agreed that they must get beyond impeachment and get down to the serious business of protecting Ukraine from the Russian interference. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Very delicate balance he had to strike. There's one interesting part there where he said, I think, it really encapsulates the job he had. Where he said, I say not as I want, but as Ukraine needs. And, of course, he knows the needs of the people there across the eastern part of his country. Christiane Amanpour for us there in Munich. Thank you.

Let's go now to West Palm Beach. Sarah Westwood is covering the President. He visits Mar-a-Lago this weekend. Sarah, any reaction from the President or his team on the Zelensky comments?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, haven't yet heard from President Trump or the White House about what Zelensky said. We have asked. But, clearly, what we heard there from Ukrainian President Zelensky was really his desire to reboot U.S.-Ukraine relationship. He wants to define that relationship with President Trump outside the context of impeachment. That's really all that's been discussed about U.S.-Ukraine ties.

Obviously, the U.S., a huge backer of Ukraine and especially in terms of military support. So that is a valuable relationship, particularly for President Zelensky. We heard him express confidence that that White House meeting that President Trump allegedly held over his head in the events that led up to impeachment would still happen.

That's something that Zelensky had sought to affirm his legitimacy when he was a new President at the time that his, now infamous, conversation with President Trump took place. Zelensky said, though, that the ball is now in America's court. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENSKY (via translator): The last time that I met a Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, we talked about that. And I said I would very much like that my visit to the United States would be something special for both countries where there is an important and substantive outcome and result for both countries. Some things beneficial for both countries. I want to come and start it from scratch.

Our relations to agree on some contracts to sign, some arrangements to agree on the strategic things, investments, let's prepare the package of the documents and arrange the meeting. So the ball is in the courtyard of the United States of America. But we are always happy to see everyone in Ukraine. So I am ready to invite President Trump to come to Kiev.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now for President Trump, every future interaction with Ukrainian President Zelensky is likely to be scrutinized. So that is probably going to factor into how the White House proceeds from here in terms of U.S.-Ukraine relations. That's going to be a relationship that is going to be difficult for President Trump to navigate in the post impeachment era.

Now we heard Christiane Amanpour ask Zelensky several times about impeachment, he seemed to not want to talk about the drama going on in U.S. politics. Really, he wants to chart a new path forward for Ukraine. He has been craving that legitimacy on the world stage. And so, we saw him also rebuke President Trump's characterization of Ukraine as a sort of corrupt, lawless place. That's something that Zelensky several times sought to correct the record on in that interview, Amara and Victor.

[08:10:00]

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah Westwood for us there in West Palm Beach. Thanks so much.

Still to come, a stunning week in Washington. The Justice Department that has made some controversial decisions and that's, putting it lightly, involving Trump allies, Trump foes as well, and critics now are asking who is really in charge - the Attorney General or the President?

WALKER: Plus, the evacuation begins soon for Americans quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan due to the coronavirus. Details on how the U.S. plans to bring them home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has actually gone out and poisoned our soul. He thinks that America is small, because he's small. He simply can't imagine something bigger than himself.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I woke up this morning to see (inaudible). We had gone literally in a few weeks to double digits in the whole campaign ...

[08:15:00]

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: --see a powerful American majority shaping up of Democrats and independents and I've been even meeting a lot of what I like to call future former Republicans who are ready to make a change.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I made the decision early on to fund this through grass roots. It means I didn't spend 70 percent of my time fundraising, you know, hanging out with billionaires and corporate executives and lobbyists. So that means I've already been to 29 states and Puerto Rico.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I was thinking I have never been to a rodeo in my life, but I do work in Washington, D.C. and I do hear a lot of bullshit. So bullshit is not anything that I am unfamiliar with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are now focusing on South Carolina and states out west, especially Nevada. Early voting kicks off in Nevada today, one week before the state's caucuses. WALKER: This morning, candidates are campaigning all over Nevada trying to woo voters. The Democratic Party there is trying to clam worries, and avoid the vote reporting chaos that we saw in Iowa. Nevada scrapped plans to use that same app that caused all those issues and state Democrats say they worked with Google and the Department of Homeland Security to create a caucus calculator.

BLACKWELL: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 32 million Latino Americans will be eligible to vote this year? That's almost 20 percent more than were eligible in 2016, making the group the largest ethnic minority of eligible voters in 2020.

So let's talk about this in a lot more with CNN Political Commentator Maria Cardona and Fernand Amandi, Democratic pollster. Good morning to both of you.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor.

Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So Fernand, let me start with you, because you are predicting an historic Latino turnout in 2020. But that was predicted in 2016. Census figures show that turnout was about the same as it was in 2012 among Latino voters, somewhere about 48 percent, which was lower than the 2008 turnout. Why are you convinced?

FERNAND AMANDI, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, it may sound like a risky boast, but the truth of the matter is, Victor, the Latino vote - the Hispanic vote has grown in the last four years, and the biggest indicator is what we saw in the 2018 midterms. We never saw the type of Latino turnout like we saw in 2018.

Now in 2020 elections, you cited it, they're the largest minority voting bloc in the country. You are going to see them vote in numbers, like we have never seen before. And I think part of it also has to do with the fact that for the first time in a long time, both parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are saying we cannot win without the Latino vote.

So I think that's why you're going to see as the parties engage, as the cultivation in all of the states where they play key role continues, you're going to see that historic turnout.

BLACKWELL: We're going to talk about how campaigns engage in just a moment. But Maria to you, let's talk about the share of the Latino vote that Democrats are getting, because in 2016, that share was smaller than it was in 2012. So there is concern about why the Democratic share, the Latino vote is not growing, but also if it could get even smaller. What are your thoughts?

CARDONA: Well, first of all, I would say I think that the share of the Latino vote in 2016 was a little bit bigger than reported, because those numbers come from exit polls and exit polls are notorious for undercounting the Latino vote.

The second thing I would say to underscore what Fernand said in terms of the numbers that are expected to vote and the number of eligible voters that you just mentioned, 32 million, which is historic, let's fine-tune that a little bit to say that since 2016, Victor, 4 million Latinos have turned 18.

These are American born Latinos eligible to vote. And this is a generation of Latinos that have seen their friends and families and communities in crisis. And they have seen all of these kids being put in cages by xenophobic and racist President and they are active, they are angry.

They want to come out and vote for their community, for the people who can't vote, who can't speak for themselves. I think that's the kind of mobilization that we're going to see in 2020 that is going to lead to the historic numbers that we're talking about.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about engagement, Fernand, because in preparation for this discussion, so many candidates, when they try to appeal to Latino voters, go straight to immigration first. Like when you're trying to appeal to a black voter, they go straight to criminal justice reform.

[08:20:00]

Of course, we know that the communities care about more than those individual issues. How do you gauge how these candidates are engaging Latino voters? What's your assessment of how they're doing?

AMANDI: Well, you're so right. You know, immigration is kind of perceived as the signature issue for the Hispanic community and the Hispanic electorate. But we know, by definition, voters aren't really directly affected by the immigration issue, because they are citizens and they're voters.

However, where it is an important issue is, because as Maria talked about, in their networks, a lot of times it's direct connections with family, friends, neighbors, work colleagues are affected by the issue, but it comes down to all ways the bread and butter topics for these voters. The economy.

Health care is so important. Health care really is an economic issue for Hispanic voters, as is education and the debates around the public financing, public funding for education. One thing I want to note, though, the Republican Party, their intent is not to win the Hispanic vote. And I can guarantee you now on this broadcast, they will not get a majority of the Hispanic vote.

Their intention, however, is to on the margins, pick up a point or to do a little bit better than last time, because that can mean winning or losing in a lot of these states where the Hispanic vote is present, and therefore, you get to the electoral college math of who gets to those 270 electoral votes, and that's what the Trump campaign is trying to do right now.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about a couple of Democratic candidates. Maria to you, the latest Pew Poll came out earlier this week, shows that Senator Bernie Sanders has the highest approval rating among Hispanic voters here - 63 percent. Is it clear why he's leading?

CARDONA: Well, I would say that one of the big reasons, Victor, you all had a report earlier this morning about the massive numbers of millennials and on how they have been changing the face of politics. Well, if you take into consideration that almost two-thirds of Hispanic voters are millennials, you can see why Bernie Sanders would have such a big approval rating.

And you know what, I really have to give credit to the Sanders campaign and to the Senator. Because in 2016, during that presidential election, they were not doing what they needed to do to reach out to the Hispanic vote. That has changed and they have been really focused on speaking to this community and doing it in a way that is really relevant.

The other candidates need to be doing the same thing. Need to be investing and speaking to Latinos in a way that they understand, that is relevant to talk about the issues. And Fernand is right, it's not just immigration. Though, that is a critical litmus test issue. It's about healthcare.

And when you have Republicans and Trump trying to take away health care from millions of Americans and millions of Hispanics included, that is going to be a big signature issue that the Democratic candidates would be well to be talking about.

BLACKWELL: Let's look at another candidate here, former Vice President Joe Biden. His approval rating among Hispanics in this Pew Poll, about even, a 45 favorable, 46 unfavorable. I wonder, as - you know, again, in preparation for this, and some think pieces on this, where the President in the African-American community benefits from his connection to the Obama administration. Is there a challenge that's created among Latinos in America for that connection? What do you see or glean from that just even here for the former Vice President, Fernand?

AMANDI: I think there is a halo effect still around President Obama. He continues to be, if not, the most popular figure in the Democratic Party. Certainly, with Hispanics amongst the most popular. I think the calculus there that a lot of Hispanic voters are making are the ones that Maria talked about.

This is a young electorate. This is an electorate that doesn't average in the 50 plus category. They're more in the 35 to 45 range. So I think there may be looking for, if not generational change, somebody that speaks to where their immediate concerns are, and I think part of the process there is looking at the candidates.

Now, one thing I want to note, Michael Bloomberg is doing something extraordinary that I've never seen before. He is putting the amount of resources, going after the Hispanic vote in a manner which is truly unprecedented. He is spending tens of millions of dollars already. He's already spent more on the primary campaign than we've seen a lot of presidential campaigns ever spend in a general election. So that'll be another interesting indicator to watch Victor. BLACKWELL: Maria, let me wrap up with you here. and I read this this from the Co-Founder of Mijente, Marisa Franco, in a piece in "The Atlantic." And she said that, "It feels like every four years there is this clutching of the pearls and head-scratching about why the hell the Latinos don't vote."

And she says, "I don't think it's an absence of interest. It's a hunger for options." Well, reconcile that with the candidacy of Secretary Julio Castro, who polled in the low single digits, left the race in early January and didn't have significant Latino support.

[08:25:00]

CARDONA: Well, I think, it goes to what you speak to the community about, and the fact that Hispanics are not monolithic. You know, we're not going to vote for a candidate simply because he or she may have a Hispanic last name. You have to have a history there. You have to have a connection to the community, you have to be talking about relevant issues.

And you have to make sure to differentiate yourself, both from other Democratic candidates, as well as from the person who - frankly, the majority of Latinos, as the majority of Americans, want to do in 2020, which is beat Donald Trump.

Now, hopefully soon, hopefully in our lifetime, I know Fernand agrees with this. We will see it Latino or Latina President. But for right now I think what Latinos main focus is to elect a candidate that is going to protect their interests, protect their community and protect their families.

BLACKWELL: All right. Maria Cardona, fighting through that coughing spell to get that answer out. I appreciate it Maria Cardona, and Fernand Amandi.

CARDONA: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Thank you both.

AMANDI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren will all be live in Las Vegas for the CNN presidential town halls. Watch the five town halls Tuesday and Thursday night starting at 8:00 Eastern only on CNN.

WALKER: All right, still to come. Accusations of political pressure growing as Attorney General Bill Barr makes yet another controversial decision, this time involving a former Trump advisor. We're on it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:30:00]

WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. It's 8:30 in the morning. I'm Amara Walker.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, good to be with you. And this morning, with deepening divide between President Trump and his Attorney General Bill Barr, and there's skepticism all over the place about whether this was staged.

Let's get you up to speed. Here's the recap. Barr delivered the first blow this week with a rare public rebuke. He said that President's tweet - tweets rather, made it impossible for him to do his job. Well, then the President fired back with, of course a tweet. He wrote, "As President, he can intervene in a criminal case if he wanted to, but hasn't so far?

WALKER: Then came Barr's big blow to the President's Deep State conspiracy theory when he announced common Trump target former FBI Director Andrew McCabe will not face any charges. We will have more on that in just a moment.

As the Justice Department actively faces accusations that it caved to political pressure over Roger Stone's case, Barr is now reviewing the case of another convicted Trump ally, Michael Flynn.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Andrew McCabe now. President Trump was reportedly angered when he learned the Justice Department was dropping its two-year criminal investigation into the former FBI Deputy Director. And McCabe who is now a CNN Contributor said this last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCABE: Absolutely. The right thing to do then, and I would do it again tomorrow if I was in the same situation, and looking at the same facts. What - look, what we have seen through the multiple investigations so far, all of the work of the IG, looking at everything. Each one of us did the decisions we made, the communications around them, everything you could possibly imagine millions of documents.

Even the biggest critics have concluded that we were absolutely authorized in opening the cases we did. In my judgment, it would have been a dereliction of duty not to open the cases we did under the concerns that we had and the facts we're working with at the time. We are guilty of doing our jobs and nothing else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: According to transcripts, the federal judge who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush told prosecutors last year that the involvement of the White House in the case gave the appearance of a government run like a banana republic.

With me now to discuss all of this is Margaret Talev, CNN Political Analyst and Politics and White House editor for Axios. Margaret, good morning to you. Thanks for joining us.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you. Good morning, Amara. WALKER: And so, your reaction to the Department of Justice dropping the criminal investigation into Andrew McCabe, I mean, after stringing him along for two years?

TALEV: Yes. No, it's important that that case has been dropped and is behind Mr. McCabe now and behind the Justice Department. But because it comes in the middle of all of these other issues, there are a lot of questions about politicization inside the Justice Department, whether the administration of justice in the Trump administration has become infected by politics. And that's very damaging to any democracy no matter who the President is.

And so, as we talk about these issues, the country is just moving beyond the impeachment process. But, ironically, one of the issues that the core of the President stated concerns about the Ukraine, this issue of corruption has a parallel here in the United States, which is that when politics interferes with the administration of justice, it's a breeding ground for corruption.

And that's caused a lot of concern among career prosecutors, among some of these resignations that we've seen over the course of the past week. And when you see Republican justice officials from prior administrations weighing in on these issues, that is at the core of what these concerns are about.

WALKER: And to pick up on that politics interfering with the legal system or justice. And we were just mentioning that the DOJ has now has quietly reopened or is reexamining Michael Flynn's case. A former national security advisor who had pleaded guilty and admitted that he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.

[08:35:00]

I mean, is what we're going to see, President Trump continually weaponizing the Justice Department or using it to carry out his political work?

TALEV: Yes, I think it's certainly what we're going to be looking for in the coming months. This comes, again, immediately after the President is kind of taking a victory lap on not being convicted in his impeachment trial. And we're seeing the beginning of a purge of people who the President considers disloyal.

We're seeing the reintegration of people at the top of his personnel process, who are seen as a gateway for political hires and for house cleanings. And so, because of the, the juxtaposition of this timing, because these moves inside the justice department are happening at the same time that these other moves are happening in terms of - hires - purges and hires of other people. And this all exists under the purview of what the President is able to do.

Presidents in the United States have widely weigh over nominations, over appointments, over who they choose as their Attorney General, and to some degree, over interference. It's not laws in many cases that prevent presidential --- political interference in the way governments are run. It is tradition and the notion of independence and the notion that that prosecutorial independence, the Justice Department's independence is absolutely tied to the credibility of the government.

WALKER: I do want to ask you about what's going on between Bill Barr and President Trump. I mean, it's interesting when you see these series of events that have happened with, you know, the Justice Department dropping the McCabe investigation, which reportedly angered Trump.

But then, on the same day, you had bill Barr, in that ABC interview rebuking Trump, which is obviously very rare and it raised a lot of eyebrows when he said, "Look, it's impossible to do my job when you've got this continuing commentary in the background." And then Trump actually tweeting right after that saying, "Look, I have the legal right to intervene when I want to." Do you - is there a rift happening between the two?

TALEV: I think there's a lot of theater, which makes it hard to understand at the core of it, what's really going on. You've seen with Mr. Barr, an individual who believes that the system allows strong executive authority and has moved within the structure of his job to help support the President in that endeavor.

There are critics who say that he's become too much like the President's personal lawyer. There are defenders who say, this is ideological for him. It's not about political support for the President.

But in the end, all you really have to go by are the actions of an Attorney General, and whether or not politically he had to create this space, or whether this is truly what he believes. In either case, in the coming weeks, we're going to see Congress involved and we're going to see really a microscope as to the decisions that Mr. Barr makes.

WALKER: Still a lot of questions about Bill Barr's motives there. Margaret Talev, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

TALEV: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead the coronavirus. It is a threat to businesses and economies around the world. We'll tell you what it means for consumers here in the U.S.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:40:00]

BLACKWELL: After 11 days under quarantine, the U.S. says it is evacuating the hundreds of American passengers who've been stuck on board a cruise ship in Japan, because of the coronavirus.

WALKER: The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo says once the passengers get off the Diamond Princess, they'll be screened for symptoms. Then they'll be flown back to the U.S. on a chartered flight, set to take off tomorrow, and they will have to go through another 14-day quarantine once they arrive. The President of Princess Cruises says the other passengers still quarantined on the ship will be able to gradually start getting off starting on the 21st.

The human toll of the coronavirus is clear, but the outbreak is also having a significant impact on the economy from manufacturing to travel. This week Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned it could be a global economic threat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Some of the uncertainties around trade have diminished recently, but risks to the outlook remain. In particular, we are closely aligned monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN Alison Kosik is up with us this morning. Alison, good morning to you.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So what are the threats to the industries? Who's taking the biggest hit?

KOSIK: Yes. So if we take a big a big picture look at what's going on here. You look at what happens with the economies when you've got these pressures on it. At first it was, you know, the US China trade war, that was the wild card.

Well, now you've got the coronavirus outbreak and that's kind of the X Factor that's been introduced into the U.S. economy - the U.S. economy, which is strong. Now, Wall Street has certainly been rattled by these coronavirus fears, over the rising number of cases in China. That has picked up the volatility on Wall Street.

Now, the thing is, we haven't been able to put a price tag on what the real impact financially of this coronavirus. It's because we're in the thick of it. But Goldman Sachs has kind of put a number on it, warning that coronavirus could shave four-tenths of a percent of first quarter growth here in the U.S.

And we are already seeing how the uncertainty is impacting companies and industries as you asked. So, you know airlines for one, from United, Delta, American to more than a half a dozen International Airlines, they've all actually suspended their flights in and out of China. Many suspending these flights through the month of March and April.

[08:45:00]

The auto industry really taking it on the chin, because China makes more cars than any other country. And not just a place where cars are made, but it's where car parts come from. So you name it, Nissan to Ford, to Tesla to Hyundai, all of these factories were shut down for a period of time and many are beginning to kind of restart their production. But the reality is it may take weeks to really understand what the financial impact of the supply chain disruption their.

Entertainment and hotel groups, they're hurting as well. Disney actually suspended its operations at its theme parks and in China. Wynn Resorts, which is in Macau losing up to $2.6 million per day from this shutdown.

And I did mention that supply chains, this is this is something that is - runs throughout all businesses. So you look at getting goods to and from China. Shipping containers, they're literally idling and ports, especially ones from China.

And then there are countries like Australia and Singapore, they flat out refused to allow ships that have stopped at Chinese ports to enter their own ports until the crew is declared virus free, which means those products aren't being taken off those ships.

So you're seeing how kind of the tentacles of China are kind of reverberating throughout the world. We need China to get products out, but kind of everybody's afraid to take those products because of the coronavirus.

WALKER: And Alison, I mean, with supply chains for businesses being impacted, you know, what does that mean for people like us, consumers?

KOSIK: A good point, because it could trickle to us. It means it could be harder to get certain products like toys for instance. I mean, give you this example. the maker of L.O.L. Surprise! Toys, pretty popular. They're warning that the outbreak has already impacted production significantly. Shipments which are usually made now for the fall and the holiday shopping season, they're going to be delayed. That means the toys could be harder to find by the end of the year.

iPhones could be impacted too. Foxconn which is a major electronics producer for Apple said it's going to be the end of this month of February before even half of its facilities are up and running an operating.

Luxury goods makers in the U.S. who have a source in China, which by the way are closed, they are especially feeling the squeeze. I'm talking about LVMH, Dior, Burberry, even Nike which rely on Chinese consumers who spend big at home and on vacation here in the U.S. They're already predicting their revenues are going to take a hit. The reality is the stores are closed people aren't out shopping. So these businesses - they're expecting a tough first quarter. Victor, Amara?

BLACKWELL: Far-reaching implications. Alison Kosik there for us. Thanks so much.

KOSIK: You got it.

WALKER: Thanks Alison.

Kobe Bryant's life and legacy are on full display at the NBA All-Stars Weekend. Andy's there in Chicago.

ANDY SCHOLES, HLN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Amara, this weekend here in Chicago all about honoring Kobe, his daughter Gigi, and late NBA Commissioner, David Stern.

Coming up, we'll show you how they paid tribute to all of them last night and hear from Shaq and Charles Barkley about this special weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD: Kobe, Kobe, Kobe)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[08:50:00]

WALKER: And has been named a finalist for the NBA Hall of Fame.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we got that announcement right at the start of All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Andy. Is there morning Andy?

SCHOLES: Yes, good morning, guys. You know, this entire weekend here in Chicago all about honoring Kobe and his daughter Gigi. And Kobe was named a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame yesterday alongside greats like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

That official class will be announced Final Four weekend in April and last night before the Rising Stars Game. They also played a video tribute for Kobe and former Commissioner David Stern.

I think Kobe his former teammate, good friend Pau Gasol and NWNBA star Sue Bird, they spoke about Kobe's contributions to the game of basketball. The fans all chanting Kobe. More Kobe tributes are planned tonight. I caught up with Shaq and Charles Barkley this weekend, asked him just how special this All-Star Weekend is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm proud to have worked with him.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, KOBE BRYANT'S FORMER TEAM MATE: Its special weekend. It will be more special. Still I can't believe it. But, you know, the NBA has - they've always done a great job in certain circumstances, certain situations. So it's going to be a great weekend. Hopefully, the guys put on the show, not only for the fans, but for the NBA and for Kobe.

CHARLES BARKLEY, BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER: Obviously, losing Commissioner Stern and Kobe puts a - not a damper, but we're going to put a spotlight and thank him for everything they did for the NBA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now the main event of Friday and All-Star Weekend is the Rising Stars Game, and all eyes were on Zion Williamson. He's made his All-Star weekend debut. Zion had a bunch of high flying dunks in this game. You know, he's 6 foot '5, 285 pounds. And he actually dunked the ball so hard once, the basket was tilted and they had to come out - they had a crew come out of halftime to fix it. The U.S. team ended up beating the world team in that game 151 to 131.

Now, earlier in the day, Zion and fellow rising stars Trae Young and Luka Doncic, they're participating in an NBA Cares event. When they got a big surprise, former President Barack Obama showed up to help out. Zion said, getting to hang out with President Obama was one of the top moments of his entire life.

Now the festivities continue tonight on TNT, 8:00 Eastern, getting started with these skills, challenging guys. The highlight of the night, always, be slam dunk contest. I spoke with one of the contestants Aaron Gordon yesterday. He said he's got something special planned, so you won't want to miss it.

BLACKWELL: Of course we won't. Andy Scholes for us there in Chicago. Thanks so much.

We'll be back in one hour for CNN NEWSROOM.

[08:55:00]

WALKER: "SMERCONISH" is coming up after a quick break.

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