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Haley Comments on Trump's NATO Comments; Defense Secretary Back in Hospital; Chiefs Win Super Bowl; Usher Delivers Half-Time Show. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired February 12, 2024 - 09:30   ET



JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Which was, was it to start a fire? Was it to do something else? A lot of unanswered questions, but an interesting indicator.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we know you're on it. John Miller, keep us posted, because, obviously, you do have a lot of questions and a lot of feelers out there. Thank you very much.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this is happening right now. We're going to tell you about it ahead. Nikki Haley is there stumping in South Carolina, and her home state, and she's just made a comment about Donald Trump's comments on NATO, saying it made her sick to her stomach. We'll have much more on that coming up.


BERMAN: All right, you're looking at live pictures of Nikki Haley, who is in Laurens, South Carolina, at a campaign event. She is speaking to this gathering, and just moments ago she reacted to the comments from Donald Trump over the weekend, which were seen by many as an invitation for Russia to invade NATO countries that may not pay their full measure of dues into NATO.


She said those comments from Donald Trump make her sick to her stomach, which is absolutely, I think, the strongest comments we have heard from almost any Republican after Donald Trump said what he said. There are many elected Republicans on Capitol Hill tying themselves up in knots responding to Donald Trump right now. But Nikki Haley saying it made her sick to her stomach.

With us now, Bakari Sellers, CNN political commentator and former South Carolina state representative, and Republican strategist Rina Shah.

And, Bakari, you're our man in South Carolina watching all of this unfold in this campaign in the run-up to the South Carolina primary. Nikki Haley coming out strong where other Republicans have been sheepish to criticize Donald Trump on this. What do you make of it?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's about time. I think it's the first thing that you're going to say. This is -- this may be a little bit too late. She is gaining momentum. I think people here in South Carolina, you feel it on the ground. After New Hampshire there wasn't much wind in her sails. I think if the election were a day or two or even a week after New Hampshire, maybe, but she's picking up - she's picking up steam.

And the thing about Donald Trump is, he gets worse as time goes by. I think people forgot a lot of the dumb stuff that Donald Trump says, whether or not it's foreign policy, whether or not it's on issues of race, whether or not it's just on talking about other people, like Michael Haley, and the way he talks about our military. And so the fact that she's fighting back, it actually bodes well for Democrats in the long run, maybe not Nikki Haley, because it shows true fissures in the Republican Party.

BERMAN: Let me play, Rina, so people know what I'm talking about with Republicans tying themselves up into knots. Marco Rubio - Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, he's on the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate, who cares about this kind of stuff deeply, kind of the gymnastics that he tried to perform responding to Jake Tapper about this.



SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): He told the story about how he used leverage to get people to step up to the plate and - and become more active in NATO. He's not the first American president -- in fact, virtually every American president at some point, in some way, has complained about other countries in NATO not doing enough. You know, Trump's just the first one to express it in these terms.


BERMAN: Express it in these terms. Basically Russia -- inviting Russia to invade NATO countries.

Rina, why won't Republicans stand up to Trump on this?

RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, on the one hand they say they hear from their constituents that this is a sentiment that they themselves hold. The fact that other countries aren't doing what we're doing. And we've seen this play out over many months now, this - this talking point that many GOP members on The Hill continue to promulgate. It's that America is paying everybody else's bill, America is doing more than its fair share. Where's everybody else?

So, if you're looking at really, again, that MAGA stronghold of the party, which I submit to you is not as strong as it's always been, it is the messaging entirely. And that's what these members of Congress are afraid about. They don't want to talk about history. They don't want to talk about fact. They don't want to talk about the very notion that this is reckless from the former president. They just want to say, well, this is how our constituents feel. And this is how direct Donald Trump is. So, I'm not surprised that Senator Rubio would take this line. It's intellectually lazy, of course, on the one hand, but that is where you've seen much of the Republican electorate say that we are a country that is selling itself to other parts of the world, and we do it because we pay everybody else's bills.

So, I'm not surprised Trump is also, again, taking that bait. We've got to remember, we're still in primary season, and that's what these members want to show is that they're somehow reflecting the will of the Republican electorate.

BERMAN: Bakari, if this campaign becomes Trump versus Biden and if it devolves into something like old versus dangerous, if Democrats say Donald Trump is dangerous, Republicans say Joe Biden is old, is that a race that Democrats would be confident about?

SELLERS: Man, that was the weakest if I've ever heard you use, John. There's no need for the words if. This is - this is Joe Biden versus Donald Trump, point-blank, period.

So, yes, I think Democrats -- I mean we are proverbial bedwetters, right? So, any time somebody says something harsh about the president, or he mistakes, the president, of Egypt for representing Mexico, we just -- we just wring our hands. I mean we go clutch our pearls. We just go absolutely nuts.

Look, our candidate is the president of the United States. He's old. He's 80. But this 80-year-old man has accomplished more than any other grandfather in the history of the United States of America. Like, he's actually performed the task well. He's gotten bipartisan legislation through. And the alternative is someone who's dangerous. I mean let's embrace who what it is. I don't know why the White House is afraid of it.


Embrace it. He's old.

But look, he's better than the alternative. And that alternative is somebody dangerous who has 91 felony counts, who, oh, by the way, who wants to talk about other people's families, but he has five kids by three baby mamas. I mean let's actually have this discussion on the merits, and I believe we would win that election.

BERMAN: Bakari Sellers, Rina Shah, I appreciate both of your time today. Thank you very much.


SIDNER: All right, ahead this morning, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a critical care unit at Walter Reed. What he's saying differently about that this time and what we're learning about his condition this morning.

And the A-T-L, hotlanta, taking over sin city's Super Bowl halftime show. We'll talk all about it coming up.



SIDNER: This morning, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin back in the hospital. If you recall, last time Austin was in the hospital for complications following prostate cancer treatment, he took a lot of heat for failing to promptly notify the White House and almost everyone else about his situation.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon.

We know he is in the hospital. We're not quite sure how long he will be there at this point. What do we know about his condition this morning?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: At this point he is in the critical care unit. And you're right, Sara, we don't know how long he'll be there. He was taken there right around 2:20 yesterday afternoon. We got the first notification on this very quickly, within two and a half hours. A short time later there was another update. And then right before midnight, there was a third update that he would be spending the night there in the critical care unit for extra support and for much closer monitoring. So, the notification here going very quickly.

He was initially taken to the hospital for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue according to the Pentagon, and we're waiting for more updates here on how long he'll stay and how his condition is doing. We did get that statement last night which said his prognosis is good. He is expected to recover, as well as from his diagnosis and his surgery to treat prostate cancer here.

Now, it is worth noting that on Thursday the Pentagon announced that Austin was supposed to be going to Europe and to Brussels for meetings with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and for a NATO defense ministerial. At this point it's unclear if that trip will be able to happen or if it will have to be canceled. So, that's an update here we'll expect very soon, especially since that trip was supposed to start tomorrow morning here.

So, you can see the impact this has had on the secretary. He did transfer his authorities essentially shortly before kickoff last night for the - for the Super Bowl here. So it is Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks who is currently in charge here of the Pentagon.


SIDNER: As I understand, everything was done by the book this time. Everybody notified that needed to be notified.

Oren Liebermann, thank you so much for your reporting there.

John. BERMAN: So, a Valentine's Day Super Bowl parade in Kansas City. Valentine's Day. With the love story between Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. What are the global implications? We have a special report.



BERMAN: Joan Collins, call your office. This sounds like a dynasty. This morning, the Kansas City Chiefs are back-to-back Super Bowl champions, with their third title in five years.

CNN sports anchor Coy Wire is in Las Vegas.

And, Coy, I have to tell you -- and my sons are witnesses to this -- I never thought Kansas City was going to lose this thing. The whole time, I'm like, San Francisco, they're not ahead by enough. They're not ahead by enough.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, and, John, I thought of your boy, Tom Brady, and I'm thinking, you know, if this were Tom Brady in this situation, there's no doubt he was come back. And Patrick Mahomes has that gall and gumption and that just - that elusive "it" that the star players have to be able to pull it off. It started slow, but most lead changes in the second half in Super Bowl history, this first ever Super Bowl in the party town of Las Vegas, saw the sports and the entertainment worlds collide, putting on a Super Bowl show like we've never seen before.



WIRE (voice over): In the first ever Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Taylor Swift was all of us, screaming, cheering, maybe chugging a drink, biting her nails, as the defending champion Chiefs were down 3 with 75 yards in front of them in just the second ever overtime in Super Bowl history.

PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: Just know that the Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs. Just know that.

WIRE (voice over): Patrick Mahomes putting the team on his shoulders, found a way to win again, dissecting the defense with his favorite target, Travis Kelce, 333 yards passing on the night, two touchdowns, including the game winner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He runs, and he throws. Caught. Touchdown. It's caught! Hardman caught the ball! The Chiefs have won! The Chiefs have won!

WIRE (voice over): A party for the ages in Kansas City.

At just 28 years old, Mahomes is now a three-time Super Bowl MVP, just the fifth quarterback ever to win three titles. MAHOMES: I can't ask for any better than this. I mean we're Super Bowl

champs. Kansas City, I'll see y'all at the parade. Let's do it, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a brotherhood. It's family. Forget about me. I love you. Showing that in sacrifice.

ISISH PACHECO, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS RUNNING BACK: We bought into everything. And, I mean, there's confetti on the floor. I've got a nice hat.

WIRE (voice over): Andy Reid, 11 years as the Chiefs head coach, 10 playoff bursts (ph), three Super Bowl wins, tied for the third most ever. And "Big Red" isn't done?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what's going to be your celebratory meal, Coach?

ANDY REID, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS HEAD COACH: You know it, a cheeseburger.

WIRE (voice over): Dynasty complete. A 25-22 win, Kansas City gets their third title in five years. They're the first back-to-back champs in nearly 20 years.

KELCE: We get a chance to do it three times in a row.

WIRE (voice over): Travis Kelce getting a celebratory kiss from Taylor Swift, while brother Jason and mama Donna stuff confetti in their pockets.

The most hyped Super Bowl -

CROWD (singing): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

WIRE (voice over): Delivers. From Usher's halftime performance, through the Hollywood ending that couldn't have been scripted. Anyways, it seems like nothing can stop the Chiefs and their Super Bowl eras tour.


WIRE (on camera): Now, John, you heard Travis Kelce say on stage that they're going to go for three in a row now. Something no team in NFL history has ever done. But, for now, they're just having fun. This is -- you have Travis and Taylor dancing on stage to a remix of Taylor's song "Love Story." Just an absolutely incredible story. I guess just the way it was all scripted, right? You even have Jason Kelce, his brother there, with D.J. Marshmallo. Are these guys just not like our spirit animals, right, the Kelce brothers?

BERMAN: They're living their best lives. There's no question.

Is Taylor Swift going to the parade on Valentine's Day?

WIRE: So, Wednesday is the parade through Kansas City. She has to kick off her Australia leg of her Eras Tour on Friday in Australia.


So, with that time change, it would be very tough. But I imagine she has a very fast jet. Maybe. Anything is possible, especially for her.

BERMAN: If anyone can do it, Taylor Swift can.

Coy Wire, great work out there. What a game it was. Thank you very much.

WIRE: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: There was a game. By the way, there was a game. It's important to remember it.

SIDNER: The first half was a problem.


SIDNER: It was a bit slow. The second half was insane. And I feel like at one point Mahomes was like, you know what, I got this. I'm doing it myself. I'm going to do it myself.

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE). Oh, it's time - it's time for me to do it. I'm going to play now.

SIDNER: Yes, I'm -- y'all are not getting it done. I'm going to do it myself.

Speaking of doing it himself, the Super Bowl halftime had something for everybody. The iconic dance moves, a star-studded lineup. Usher brought the A-T-L, that Atlanta for those not familiar with how they play around in the A (ph), brought hotlanta to Las Vegas in the biggest way possible.

CNN entertainment reporter Lisa France is joining us now.

Hey, Lisa.

OK, so, Usher started out -- I was worried. I'm going to tell you the truth. I was worried at the beginning, just like with the beginning of the game. It seemed like it was like mid-tempo songs. I mean songs we know and love. But then someone was shot out of a cannon, or I don't know how they got that man in the air, and it just went nuts from there, including the roller skates, which laid me out.

LISA FRANCE, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Absolutely. Never doubt the A. Never doubt the A. Usher brought it. And he said, if you listened closely, he said, I do it for the ladies, but I got to keep it hood.

So, you're right, he had something for everybody. He had ballads. We see him taking off his shirt. He was roller skating. I mean, he sang, he danced. He's such a showman. And so for those of us -- and us would be me, who didn't get the opportunity to see him in Las Vegas, it felt like we got a mini Las Vegas show, Sara. That's exactly what it felt like.

SIDNER: And you see H.E.R. there, which who I love. H.E.R.

I wanted to ask you about another person that was in the crowd that was not on the stage but everybody saw her too. It wasn't just Taylor that was there. Beyonce was there. She talked about releasing some music.

Let's listen.


BEYONCE (singing): Sing (ph) Texas, ain't no hold em, so lay our cards down, down, down, down.


SIDNER: Did she break the internet? Because that's what the ad said.

FRANCE: Yes, she - yes, she absolutely did. You know, she is keeping up with her tradition of coming for our coins every tax season. It never fails. Tax season, she's going to announce something that's going to cost us money.

Yes, she's got a new album coming out called "Act 2." I love the commercial, by the way, because everyone ran to Verizon for the new music, and most of them just found their bill. And so, you know, people were like, where's the music, where's the music, but she did not fail as she released two songs, "Texas Hold Em" and "16 Carriages." And so she's - you know, it's country music inspired, it feels like. And so that explains the outfit last week at the Grammys when she had her cowgirl outfit on. People were like, that's an interesting choice, but now we understand it.

And, you know, Beyonce has dabbled in country music before with "Daddy Lessons" from her "Lemonade" album.


FRANCE: So, you know, I'm super excited, as I know you are, for -- to hear this new album which is coming out on March 29th.

SIDNER: You know I'm a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. You know that's true.


SIDNER: And, also, a lot of people think of Taylor Swift from her country days. Beyonce has those roots. I love "Daddy Lessons." It's one of my favorites on that "Lemonade" album.

Thank you so much, Lisa France. It's always fun having fun with the A. How do you do it? The A?

FRANCE: Thank you.

SIDNER: Oh, there. My bad.


SIDNER: OK, thank you, girl.


FRANCE: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, happening now, Donald Trump meeting with the judge in the federal documents case against him, as we await his appeal on a separate case to the Supreme Court. We have important updates on the timing of it all.