Judge Deals Trump A Setback On Immigration; Trump Holds Joint News Conference With Norway's Leader. Aired 3-3:30p ET - Part 1
Hala Gorani, Alice Stewart
Jan. 11, 2018
<Show: HALA GORANI TONIGHT>
<Date: January 10, 2018>
<Head: Judge Deals Trump A Setback On Immigration; Trump Holds Joint News
Conference With Norway's Leader. Aired 3-3:30p ET - Part 1>
<Sect: News; International>
<Byline: Hala Gorani, Alice Stewart>
<Guest: Tom Cole>
<High: Court blocks President Trump's efforts to end protections for young
undocumented immigrants; Donald Trump holds a news conference with the
Norwegian prime minister>
<Spec: Government; Donald Trump; Immigration; News Conference>
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: -- since November, we'll be taking that live in about 20 minutes.
Also, tonight, devastation in California, at least 15 are killed as mudslides reached havoc in an area already hit hard by wildfires.
And this hour, Israel's prime minister is defending his own son after a secret recording outside by a strip club was aired on television.
Now, let's get right to a very busy day at the White House to start you all off. We are waiting for Donald Trump to hold a news conference soon with the Norwegian prime minister, sitting in the Oval Office with him.
The U.S. president will face the full White House press corps for the first time since November. He's expected to take questions and of course, we'll bring you that live.
Now we heard from Mr. Trump earlier today at his first cabinet meeting of the year. Listening to him, you might know, that a court had just blocked his efforts to end protections for young undocumented immigrants, so-called DREAMers, the DACA Program.
Mr. Trump is trying to reach a compromise with lawmakers on the state of those DREAMers. Now the big focus of the televised meeting yesterday that Mr. Trump has called, quote, "tremendous."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Actually, it was reported as incredibly good and my performance, some of them called it a performance. I consider it work, but have great reviews by everybody other than two networks, who were phenomenal for about two hours.
Then after that, they were called by (inaudible), wait a minute and unfortunately, a lot of those anchors sent us a letter saying that was one of the greatest meetings they've ever witnessed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. It's unclear exactly what anchors he is talking about, and by the way for the record, CNN and CNN International aired that entire bipartisan meeting for the entire duration of it, which was almost one hour.
Mr. Trump was more direct on Twitter about his disappointment over the immigration ruling calling the U.S. court system, broken and unfair.
Let's bring in CNN political commentator, Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist who once served as communications director for former presidential candidate, Ted Cruz. Alice, thanks for being with us.
First of all, let us talk about this DACA ruling. The judiciary with the travel ban and now with this DACA ruling seems to be the one branch of government consistently pushing back against the White House.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Clearly, this is as you say is not the first time the travel ban was really a first big blow, but look the president is going to stay committed to his top priorities that he ran on and that is immigration and border security and fighting ISIS, and these are some key components of that.
With regard to DACA, we saw yesterday in the meeting he had that it is now certainly something he needs to address. Earlier, he had punted at the Congress telling Congress to deal with whether or not to continue providing help for DREAMes in this country.
But now that rubber is meeting the road coming up on a deadline where something needs to be done. Now while he can --
GORANI: Do you think it as a bargaining chip because he need to get it (inaudible) even though during the meeting he said, whatever you guys decide is fine by me, and then he turns around and tweet something different. So, which version should we believe?
STEWART: Hala, you sound a little surprise that the president had said two different things in the same Senate. You're right. He campaigned -- and a lot of his support really has been about standing firm on DACA and not basically as many refer to it as providing amnesty for people that are in this country illegally.
But he also understands that polls show that CNN polling shows that 80 percent of Americans say that we do need to provide some type of relief for DREAMers that are here, so he understands the political implications of this.
But I think is important is that he wants and clean DACA bill he needs to stand firm on that. The problem is in that meeting yesterday, he said we will have a clean DACA bill, but we also have to have funding for the border, and must look at E-Verify and that's also in chain migration.
That's also in a lot of these programs that deal with letting immigrants come into this country. So, he can have it both ways, but he does not understand that it is an important bargaining chip. I do think it is a good way.
If Democrats want to continue DACA, he can use that as a way to weather is providing funding for the wall or ending chain migration or doing away with the lottery visa. These are good negotiating --
GORANI: Looking at this wall issue, there are two polls from just a few months ago that indicated a majority of Americans actually oppose the construction of a wall and a crushing majority of Democrats do as well, the Quinnipiac poll and the CBS poll.
I wonder therefore for president to be so insistent on funding a border wall, which he repeatedly promised would be paid for by Mexico, when a majority of Americans oppose it, is it just to please his base? Is that all the only group he is trying to cater to?
[15:05:06] STEWART: That's big part of it, but at the same time, this is something he fundamentally believes, and thinks is a critical part of securing our borders and overall national security.
But now he has come to realize it does not necessarily have to be a physical wall along every inch of the border. Obviously, there are rivers and mountainous areas, and sometimes that may need boots on the ground.
Another key component is the original estimates for how much it would cost were astronomical. Yesterday, he indicated, look, he can get it done for $18 billion and in one year as opposed to seven years.
I think that is a little optimistic, but he is trying to make it a little more palatable for those who have been against the wall, whether it is fundamentally they disagree with it or they are looking at the cost aspect. He is trying to make it a little more easier to swallow for opponents of the wall.
GORANI: All right. Quick last one, we are expecting him to take questions. That is always a big moment in Washington and around the world. He is hosting the Norwegian prime minister. So, what are your expectations there?
STEWART: I think it's a great opportunity for him to convey the relationship that the United States does have of Norway. They had a private meeting and in the meeting, he praised the prime minister for her tremendous victory she just had and touted the fact they are great friend and ally.
But also for the U.S. purpose, a good customer and that Norway has purchased a lot of American military products. So -- and they are working together to defeat ISIS and bilateral agreement that they can use with regard to trade that will be beneficial to both nations.
So, I think it is a good way to have these private meetings but in a public forum to be able to express the relationship between --
GORANI: But the question, of course, I wish people were watching these news conferences to get into the weeds of trade negotiations, but really what they are tuning in to see is whether or not Donald Trump is going to go off script, how he's going to reply to questions about Bannon ousted from Breitbart, Fusion GPS co-founder testimony.
The fact that Senator Feinstein on Capitol Hill released the testimony of the Fusion GPS cofounder, who discussed that infamous dossier. So, you know, is that your expectation that he is going to take that opportunity to go down that road -- and also the mental -- the stable genius tweets that everyone has been talking about.
STEWART: Sure. As someone who has been communications director for elected officials before you can have your script that the media has their script. And so clearly, he would love to be able to focus the attention on DACA and immigration and efforts to defeat ISIS and the tax reform legislation.
What he is doing for rural areas of this country we know that the media is focus on other things and hopefully, which I think what is the hope beyond hope is that he will keep things reined in.
Clearly, this week as we are seeing more access to out what he is doing behind the scenes and certainly in these meetings, he wants to shoot down some of the talks that came up in the book about how he is not in control, and how he is not able to lead meetings, and how he is not presidential.
And I think they have gone a long way by opening up the doors, but what goes behind the scenes that it always exciting to see what he comes up with and what he says because the media has their agenda and he has his. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
GORANI: Ours is always to report the news. We will see what happens today. Alice Stewart, thanks so much for joining us. Always appreciate having you on the program.
Immigration could come up during that news conference especially since Mister Trump was just dealt that legal setback involving efforts to end protections for young undocumented immigrants, who were brought to America's children. So, through no choice of their own.
The president was trying to use those young DREAMers as a bargaining chip to win funding for the border wall.
Let's bring in U.S. House Republican Tom Cole. Thanks for being with us, sir. First of all, I ask you again, thank you. The president repeatedly when he was a candidate said Mexico would pay for it. Mexico is not paying for any wall. It will be the U.S. taxpayer. He is breaking a promise, is he not?
REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE (R), OKLAHOMA: Well, I think, look, campaigns are made for hyperbole and that maybe one of the greatest records of all time. The reality is you can expect other countries to provide your own border security. They are just not going to do any more than we would provide border security for Mexico. So, at the end of the day, if you want secure borders, Americans have to be willing to foot the bill.
GORANI: But that's not what he promised them. I mean, should we then not believe anything he says because he is (inaudible) to hyperbole and --
COLE: Well, I could point out similar inconsistencies on some of the commitments President Obama. Let's us put it this way, there was an American journalist tracking the campaign, had a very insightful remark that you ought to take President Trump seriously but not literally.
[15:10:02] And I guess probably a pretty good measure and certainly in this case, I think the main idea, the main attraction was we've got a very poor supporter. It's created a lot of problems. We need to fix that and we are going to get it done, and I think that is what he is trying to do.
GORANI: But you know -- and you know better than anyone as an elected representative who is interested, very interested in this situation on this Mexico-U.S. border that the number of illegal entries has actually plummeted, the number of apprehension has risen.
I mean, it is not an active problem in the United States border security on the -- apologies, Representative Cole. Donald Trump is speaking right now. We're just going to go live to the White House.
COLE: I understand.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: -- some very interesting discussions as we strengthen the wonderful friendship between our two countries, Norwegians and Americans have so much in common.
(DONALD TRUMP NEWS CONFERENCE WITH NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER)
[15:30:09] PRESIDENT TRUMP: -- so I just want to say that it is a lot better to work with other countries. We were working with China on North Korea. We are working with various other countries. And I think we are doing very well. We had a great talk, as you know and as you reported. We had a great talk this morning with President Moon. And I think that a lot of good things are happening. We are going to see what happens.
But working with other countries, whether it's Russia or China or India or any of the countries that surround this world, and encompass this world, that's a good thing, John. That's not a bad thing. That's a very good thing. OK. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, prime minister, Norway strongly supports the Paris agreement and has expressed regret that you decided to leave it. What could persuade you to remain? And what kind of common ground did you find in your talks today on this topic?
TRUMP: Well, it wasn't a major topic, I must tell you. We talked about other things, including mostly trade. But I will say that the Paris agreement as drawn and as we signed was very unfair to the United States. It put great penalties on us. It made it very difficult for us to deal in terms of business. It took away a lot of our asset values.
We are a country rich in gas and coal and oil and lots of other things. And there was a tremendous penalty for using it. It hurt our businesses. According to some estimates, we would have had to close businesses in order to qualify by 2025.
Whereas an example, China, by 2030, they don't kick in until 2030. Russia someplace in the mid-1990s, that was their standard and that was never a good standard because that was a dirty standard for the environment.
It treated the United States very unfairly. And, frankly, it's an agreement that I have no problem with, but I had a problem with the agreement that they signed because, as usual, they made a bad deal. So, we can conceivably go back in.
But I say this, we are very strong on the environment. I feel very strongly about the environment. Our EPA and our EPA commissioners are very, very powerful in the sense that they want to have clean water, clean air, but we also want businesses that can compete. And the Paris Accord really would have taken away our competitive edge. And we are not going to let that happen. I'm not going to let that happen.
ERNA SOLBERG, PRIME MINISTER OF NORWAY: And if I just might add there, there are big opportunities in this.
As we talked about during this - because we have strict regulations to reach our Paris targets, that means that we have very strong policies for environmental-friendly and climate-friendly technologies, which is a small part of why the United States now have a surplus in the economy towards Norway. So, to never miss up on a good opportunity with good environmental standards.
TRUMP: One of the great assets of Norway is a thing called water. And they have tremendous hydro power, tremendous. In fact, most of your energy or your electricity is produced by hydro. I wish we'd do some of that. But hydro power is fantastic. And it's a great asset that you have. Thank you very much. Great honor. Thank you.
Thank you very much.
HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: All right. There you have it. The US President Donald Trump hosting the Norwegian prime minister, took a few questions, both from American reporters and Norwegian reporters.
One on the immigration deal that he's negotiating with Congress and essentially basically said what he didn't say in that bipartisan televised event that any immigration deal would have to happen with funding for the wall.
Interestingly, he mentioned Hillary Clinton about four or five times, even called her my opponent, saying if there is any collusion with the Russians, it is with the Democrats and brought up once again Hillary Clinton. And he said it is much better to work with Russia to try to come up with solutions for problems like North Korea rather than to not work with them.
And Stephen Collinson joins me now from the Washington bureau. What was your biggest takeaway from this? Because the first news conference since November.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Hala. I think one of the most interesting things there was that the president appeared to push back on the idea or at least established some conditions for the circumstances under which he would talk to special counsel Robert Mueller over the Russia investigation.
[15:35:00] He noted that when Hillary Clinton - as you rightly said, his opponent, he still seems a little obsessed with her and hasn't really moved on from that election - he mentioned that when she was questioned by the FBI in the investigation into her email, she wasn't sworn in under oath. And he seemed to be suggesting that at least he should get the same treatment.
Now, of course, were you to lie to the FBI even if you weren't under oath, that would still be a crime, but I think it's the opening shot in what we're going to see ahead of any request by Mueller to interview the president as he wraps up his investigation.
There are good reasons to think that the president's lawyers would not like to put him in a room with the Mueller and his team of really highly-charged prosecutors, not least because the president appears often, as you mentioned, that cabinet meeting yesterday to often contradict himself.
So, I think that is the first glimpse that we're getting over what will be a tussle over the terms of any interview with Mueller.
GORANI: Do you think the White House and Donald Trump himself, the president, is expecting to be interviewed by Mueller, who is leading this investigation into potential Russian influence on the Trump campaign?
COLLINSON: It's very difficult to think that he would wrap up an investigation of this kind without talking to the president. He's talked to pretty much everybody else involved in these allegations.
There is the issue of Russian collusion, of course, which the president talked about, but there is also the issue of whether the president obstructed justice with the firing, for example, of the former FBI chief James Comey.
Now, it would be very difficult for Mueller to draw conclusions about the motivations of the president firing Mueller. The president has been on the record of saying that it was partly to do with the Russia investigation, if he were not to talk to the president himself.
So, I think the president's lawyers, the White House and everybody is expecting at some point that Mueller will make that request.
The White House can delay. It can push back. Ultimately, Mueller could issue a subpoena to require the president to testify and then we could get into a real legal morass as the question of whether a sitting president can be called to testify, as we saw in the Clinton impeachment proceedings 20 years ago nearly.
That is what will unfold. But most people think that Mueller will ask to talk to the president.
GORANI: All right. Stephen Collinson, thanks very much, reporting live from Washington there. The first news conference with questions by reporters for the US president since November, hosting the Norwegian prime minister.
A lot more to come this evening and some just heartbreaking images coming to us from California. Yet another natural disaster there. A mudslide swept land that was already scorched in last month's wildfires. We'll have a live report.
[15:40:06] GORANI: Southern California has had a really rough time of it recently when it comes to weather. This week, deadly mudslides have devastated the affluent seaside town of Montecito.
Heavy rain caused what residents described as a river of mud. And you can see how bad the situation is there. Overturned cars and some of the houses were flattened, crushing power lines and killing at least 15 people. And it was only a few weeks back that wildfires tore through the same exact region.
Paul Vercammen is covering this story for us. He's live. Tell us what's going on where you are and why have these mudslides been so deadly. I get there's also the muds are carrying very heavy objects and boulders in their wake.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And if you just look right behind me, Hala, there was a house, it was on its foundation and it was completely ripped off its foundation by this fast-moving, very strong water.
And so, you have trees mixed in with fence, mixed in with power poles. Over there, another debris pile as the water always seeks the lower ground in this particular spot, where about, oh, I'd say a mile and change from the ocean, it came roaring through here.
If you see a rock in the distance with an X marked out in orange, they just had search and rescue crews go through here. It's what's called a secondary search, meaning, the translation, and this is grim, they're not necessarily expecting to find someone alive.
The primary search is that immediate response hoping against all hope that someone is alive, but this devastation is just so massive.
You asked a great question. Why so devastating? Well, don't forget, the Thomas fire, which burned above in these hillsides was the most devastating fire in California history in terms of acreage. So, it cut a wide swath on these hillsides.
But this area, Montecito, Carpinteria, extremely unique. This is not a slow rolling coastal plain. This is an area - we'll take a walk over here - that rises so quickly, it basically goes from 3000 feet to sea level in just a matter of miles, and that's what had work crews so fearful, county public work crews.
So, we'll look off in the distance, Hala, and I'll show you. There is those scorched mountains. When that torrent started, it had not a shred of vegetation to stop it.
It also was incredibly intense for a short amount of time. In nearby Carpinteria, at one point, they got an inch of rain in just one hour.
And look below, it just flushed everything out of the hills, caught so much momentum that it brought down everything else below it. Look at the size of some of these boulders, sealing off neighborhoods.
Off in the distance over here, that's another house just to my left. Completely ripped off its foundation. And then you see a car. That also marked orange. The rescue crews going through there, making sure everyone knows there's not a human being alive in there. They cross their fingers. They hope to find more people alive.
But as these days start to wear on, it becomes even more desperate of a search. And we know, frankly, that there are people still missing. That death toll is at 15. They want to hear that it's not going to go up, but it's a tough task indeed. You can see these public works crews trying to just restore simple water and power to this area, Hala.
GORANI: Now, you're saying that, essentially, because of the fires, there is little vegetation to hold the mud in place. I mean, are they having to deal with the possibility that, every time, there is strong rainfall that they'll have these types of mudslides again? How are they going to prevent them in the future?
VERCAMMEN: That's exactly right. They are going to be on pins and needles, although one county public works officials said that he thinks it's often the first rain that's the worst rain.
But, yes, if they have another incident, where there's a lot of rain in a short amount of time, then once again they'll have to brace for mudslides.
They knew this was coming. They did everything possible in the run up to it. We were in canyons, in (INAUDIBLE) as they say in Spanish, debris basin, storm drains, they clean them all out as best they could. They warned residents. They had sandbags.
But the enormity of this, the power of the slide just so great that when you fire like the one that we saw burn so much - Chris couldn't go back to those hillsides. If you can see, there's not one part of that mountain that wasn't burned. It's volume. And it's a changing time because they say we are now in an era of the super fires.
[15:45:02] Yes, California has had wildfires as well as the rest of the United States. But it seems that, in the last two decades, we have these massive fires, these much bigger fires in terms of the total acreage, and that's always a two-step dance with the devil.
The first step is the scorched hillside and the second step, and it verily follows, is the danger of mudslides in mountainous areas.
GORANI: Yes. Paul Vercammen, thanks very much in Montecito, California there, with extremely destructive and deadly mudslides there. And people still missing. So, we'll reconnect there with Paul who is on that story in California.
And speaking of wild weather, it has been snowing, believe it or not, in one of the hottest places on the planet. Take a look at these rare scenes. Snowcapped sand dunes, guess where? This is in the Sahara Desert. It looks otherworldly.
While the deserts reaches scorching highs in the day, it often swings to subzero temperatures at night. Very rare, though, that snow actually sticks to the ground. The desert town of Ain Sefra has experienced just three snow events in the past 37 years, with the last two years having snow.
So, the wild weather is getting more and more frequent.
Demands for money, talk of government business all caught on secret recording outside a strip club. It was a conversation involving the son of the Israeli prime minister. Now, Benjamin Netanyahu is on the defensive.
CNN's Oren Liebermann walks us through this story.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yair Netanyahu, the 26-year- old son of the Israeli prime minister, once again in the spotlight. This time for a secret recording of a conversation in 2015 outside of a strip club aired on Israel's Channel 2 news.
Yair Netanyahu was with two of his friends, plus a driver and a bodyguard. The conversation taking place about the same time as the prime minister was finalizing a controversial gas deal labeled as corrupt by critics.
One of those friends is the son of a gas tycoon. Yair Netanyahu says, "My father did a good deal for you, brother. You have to be good to me."
He then says, "My father sorted your father out with $20 billion and you're crying over 400 shekels?" Four hundred shekels is about $100. Yair Netanyahu claims it was "for the whore."
The conversation continues. He says, "speaking of whores, what's open at this hour?"
Yair is the eldest son of the Israeli prime minister. He issued this apology. "In a nighttime conversation under the influence of alcohol, I said nasty things about women and other things that shouldn't have been said. These things don't represent the person I am, the values I was educated on and what I believe. The things that I said were in the realm of a bad joke. I was never interested in the gas protocols and had no idea of any of the details."
Prime Minister followed with his own apology and denied any connection between himself and the gas tycoon. "I have no connection to Kobi Maimon. I think I met him maybe once in my life, about 10 years ago. No connection to him. And I don't know anything about the connection of Yair to his son."
The prime minister is a suspect himself in two separate criminal investigations, which involve accusations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying there will be nothing because there is nothing.