Return to Transcripts main page


Trump, Family Attend Preinaugural Events; Trump Inherits Crises in North Korea, Gambia; Tom Cotton: Iran Nuclear Deal Dead under Trump; China Watching Trump Actions on South China Sea, North Korea, Trade; Japanese P.M. to Meet with Trump on Trade; Search for Survivors after Avalanche in Italy; Paul McCartney Sues Sony on Song Catalog Ownership; Study: Trump's "Salty Language" Helped Him Win. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 20, 2017 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:24] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: The countdown is on. Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause.


Billionaire real estate developer, reality TV star, and soon-to-be the 45th U.S. President.

VAUSE: Donald Trump is set to take the oath of office about 10 hours from now. The soon-to-be first family is in Washington after a full day of preinaugural celebrations.

Our coverage begins with CNN's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The moment few saw coming has arrived. Donald Trump and the nation's new first family touched down just outside Washington not on his private jet but on U.S. military aircraft, and climbed into his motorcade for a ride the world will never forget.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: What a beautiful room. Where is this? Where is this? This is a gorgeous room.


A total genius must have built this.


ACOSTA: Within minutes, Trump arrived at his glitzy new D.C. hotel where he praised his cabinet choices.

TRUMP: We have, by far, the highest I.Q. of any cabinet ever assembled. (APPLAUSE)

ACOSTA: And appeared to assign his new ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, a task normally reserved to the secretary of state, a trip to China.

TRUMP: When I send her over to speak to China and when I send her over to speak to everybody, I think we're going to do a lot of great things, Nikki, right?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our job is to be ready on day one. The American people can be confident that we will be.

ACOSTA: But the Trump team insists the incoming president, who laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, is approaching his biggest deal yet with the seriousness it deserves.

At a preinaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, Trump sang along to "Proud to Be an American" --


ACOSTA: -- and offered a preview of his speech to the world tomorrow.

TRUMP: We're going to unify our country. And our phrase -- you all know it, half of you are wearing the hat, "Make America great again" -



TRUMP: -- but we're going to make America great for all of our people.

ACOSTA: Trump's children are making it clear their father will adhere to some presidential norms, with Ivanka declaring her stepmother, Melania, will indeed be first lady.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think an inappropriate observation. There's one first lady and she'll do remarkable things.

ACOSTA: Even as Trump's team concedes this will be a presidency like we've never seen before.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Their first dance what, song?


ACOSTA (on camera): In his inauguration speech, aids say to the 45th president say he'll be sounding philosophical and touch on some of the issues he'll be working on in the early days of his administration, from infrastructure to manufacturing. After the speech, officials stress, they'll be working throughout this first weekend.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.


SIDNER: Joining us here in Los Angeles, Democratic strategist, Matthew Littman; CNN political commentator, John Phillips; and talk radio host, Mo Kelly.

VAUSE: Also CNN correspondents covering two international flash points, which will confront the new president, Alexander Field is in Seoul with the ongoing missile threat from North Korea; and Farai Sevenzo, on the growing military crisis in Gambia.

Let's start with Matt, John and Mo.

The president-elect finished his night and celebration for his campaign. Clearly, he's in a pretty upbeat mood. Listen to this.


TRUMP: I was telling some people the next time, four years from now, the next time we're going to win the old-fashioned way.

We very an election coming up in two years, we're going to get a lot of Senators and Congressmen elected. A lot.




VAUSE: So, John, it sounds like the next four years will be permanent campaign mode. What did he mean by win it the old-fashioned way, without Russian interference perhaps?


JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Running on your record, that's what he's going to do. Talk about the great wall, talk about the nominee to the Supreme Court. Talking about repealing Obamacare. Those are the things I believe he's going to talk about tomorrow. Everyone's asking, what's Trump going to say. How is he going to behave tomorrow? We know how he's going to behave. He's not going to come out and entertain with riddles. He'll touch on all of the themes he touched on since his campaign began at Trump Tower in New York. It's going to be short and sweet and he'll be on script.

SIDNER: I have a feeling, Matt, you're going to say the old-fashioned way is winning the popular vote.

MATTHEW LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yeah. I think that is what he meant. He'll try to be inclusive tomorrow, which he hasn't been. I think he won't be inclusive on Saturday. I think he'll try to keep it short, mostly because his attention span is very short.

But I think, look, Donald Trump's popularity has dropped so much from when he was elected and he lost by three million votes then. He, right now, has the lowest popularity rating of anybody who's ever been inaugurated as president. This was the honeymoon period. It's probable that the economy won't tank immediately. His popularity should go up a little bit. After that, in the next couple years, given already what we're seeing about the budget cuts they're planning the minute they get into office that, popularity will go down.

[02:05:39] VAUSE: The centerpiece of the inauguration will be his address to the nation. This is what his senior aid, Kellyanne Conway, told reporters about the speech.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: It's a beautiful powerful speech. Powerfully delivered.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I know you've said he wrote it himself. Who helped?

CONWAY: Steven Miller, who is our brilliant - (INAUDIBLE) -- speechwriter on the trail. But you will recognize much of it.


Mo, so I'm guessing it won't be with malice toward none, with charity for all. How important is this speech for Donald Trump?

MO KELLY, TALK RADIO SHOW HOST: It's extremely important and it sets the tone for the rest of his administration. He is saying right now he wants to unify the country. Well, that is incumbent upon him. It's what he says and the tone he sets. Even though he may have a low approval rating in regard to this transition, there is an opportunity for him to improve upon that. But he is the leader that he needs to be. He can't wait for someone else. He can't be responding to tweets. He can't be responding to criticism. He has to set the tone and be the steadying influence for all the world to follow. That starts tomorrow. If he can't do it tomorrow, when is he going to do it?

SIDNER: I have a question for you guys. We start thinking about this, yes, this speech is important. Really, it's what he does. Isn't that what people are looking forward to? You've got a whole bunch of positions, nearly 700 that have to be filled that are very key staff positions. Only 30 of those have been -- nominations have been put forward. We're talking about a lot of positions that need to be filled. What are your reactions to the fact that there's so many unfilled? And then there are people protesting some of the people he's already nominated, which seems a bit unusual.

PHILLIPS: I would say getting it right is better than getting it done fast. He has top advisors there. He has General Mattis, who is going to be a leading voice within the administration. Mike Pence has been very involved in picking these cabinet secretaries. So as long as he doesn't put people up that are not up to the job and go out and embarrass themselves, if he takes his time with it, it will be fine. The public doesn't care about that sort of thing. They just want to make sure the business of the government gets done and that will happen.

LITTMAN: I think it's already been very strange because when had he you're watching these potential cabinet appointments appearing before the Senate, they seem incredibly unprepared. It's a strange thing. They don't seem to know Donald Trump's positions, the person they're working for. Second of all, they don't seem to know what's going on in the cabinet departments they're going to be running. Rick Perry, today, Department of Energy, came out he didn't know they had oversight over nuclear weapons. The potential education secretary seems to not know a lot about the Department of Education. It's been a little bit disconcerting. So, I think the problem is he has picked some people and he's gotten it wrong. This cabinet that he's picked so far is not winning any popularity contests.

PHILLIPS: But what's the message though? Which one won't get confirmed by the Senate?

LITTMAN: I think that because the Republicans have the majority in the Senate they'll get confirmed. I also think we're going to get off here a little bit. Make a segue here. The Democrats have to fight back much harder. When we go to things like ambassadorships, the Democrats should fight back and not let one of these people pass until Donald Trump relations his tax returns. They should fight and start fighting now.

VAUSE: OK. With people protesting and fighting back, we've had protests over the last couple of hours. Protests in Washington, D.C., hundreds of protesters outside the national press club. There was a celebration inside. The protesters outside said it was essentially for the white nationalists, supremacists, the Alt-Right groups. There was also the protests we had in New York outside Trump Tower. That's where we saw Robert De Niro, who turned up and he addressed the crowd. Listen to this.


ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: I wish you know who would leave this city.


DE NIRO: I don't care where he goes. I just never thought he would go to Washington.

He's a bad example of this country. The city. The city.


VAUSE: We also had the man who probably gets under Donald Trump's skin the most at that protest, Alec Baldwin.


[02:10:03] ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR & COMEDIAN: Are you going to lay down?

(SHOUTING) BALDWIN: The one thing that they don't realize that New Yorkers never lay down. You say whatever you want to about this city. And New Yorkers never lay down.

Are you going to fight?


BALDWIN: Are we going to have 100 days of resistance?


BALDWIN: Fantastic.


VAUSE: So, Mo, to you, is there any reason to believe that the new president will be able to ignore the protests, ignore the ridicule, because Alec Baldwin is not going away? He does that incredible impersonation of Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live." Trump hates it. Is there reason to believe Trump will be able to ignore this and be what everyone wants him to be which is presidential?

KELLY: I don't think he has any intentions of ignoring it. He takes delight in being able to respond to have these tit-for-tat back and forth with "SNL" and "Hamilton" and all these things. He responds to all criticism. We know that Alec Baldwin isn't going to let up and Donald Trump is not going to seem weak or meek in the face of criticism. There's no reason for him to change.

But what will happen is, he'll have a degree of resistance from Congress and the media and also the American people if he short- shrifts his legislative agenda. It doesn't get the things done he's promised in short order.

VAUSE: OK. We talked about the confirmation hearings. They're ongoing on Capitol Hill. There have been some fireworks there. There was a lighter moment between the Democratic Senator Al Franken and Rick Perry who is tapped to lead the Energy Department.





FRANKEN: Thank you so much for coming into my office. Did you enjoy meeting me?


PERRY: I hope you're as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch.

FRANKEN: Well --


PERRY: May I rephrase that, sir?

FRANKEN: Please.



VAUSE: It was about the only light moment on Capitol Hill.

The reality is that Donald Trump will actually head into office without most of his cabinet. Many haven't been properly vetted. There are thousands of lower-level positions, especially in national security, which have not been filled.

SIDNER: Then there's this. In the coming hours, Trump will inherit a crisis in Africa and growing threat from North Korea.

We have Alexandra Field is covering the threat from the North Korea to fire two ballistic missiles.

But first, let's start with CNN's Farai Sevenzo, who is Nairobi with the latest on the crisis in Gambia.

The question to you, at this hour, is has Yahya Jammeh, the president who lost the election and, at first, said he would concede and then changed his mind, has he made any new moves to indicate he's going to leave peacefully?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sara, there's been no news from Yahya Jammeh's state house. He hasn't released any statements. We know in the last 24 hour that he's opposite man, Adama Barrow, was sworn in in the embassy in Senegal's capital. And we also know that the United Nations has agreed that Senegalese forces can go in and restore order there. The U.N. Security Council passed that yesterday. So, we are expecting Yahya Jammeh to abide by a new deadline which five hours from now, at 12:00, in Banjul, they want him to have left state house. At that moment, the crisis will Trump will face seems to have been defused by the regional powers. And the people of Gambia have been very jubilant overnight in celebrations. And his soldiers, his ministers have all left him. It's going to be a short day for Mr. Jammeh. I suspect he's going to leave -- Sara?

VAUSE: OK, Farai there in Nairobi, thank you.

To Alexandra Field now, in Seoul.

Alexandra, do you know any more about the potential timing of this launch of ICBMs? There was some suspicion it could coincide with the inauguration.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials who have looked at the satellite data, two of them told CNN they believe North Korea is preparing for this test within the first few weeks of the Trump administration, but they had no clarity on how many were being prepared or when that test could happen. South Korea media is signing unnamed sources and saying that the missiles are being prepared with mobile launchers, which would indicate the test could happen with little to no warning at all. Back on New Year's Day, Kim Jong-Un announced he was getting ready to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. The decision about when to do it will be his, and his alone. It will come down to readiness. And it will also be a political calculation. North Korea might be open to a different kind of relationship with the incoming Trump relationship. Doing a test early on during the administration's term would certainly signal Kim Jong- Un's commitment to North Korea's nuclear program, something he has been steadfast in saying he is determined to defend and maintain. If the past is any indication, we know North Korea did nuclear tests in the early part of Barack Obama's first term, and soon after his second inauguration.

So, what is very clear right now, John, is we know the incoming Trump team will have to prepare for the likelihood that North Korea could be one of the first challenges they face.

[02:15:10] SIDNER: All right. Thank to Alexandra Field, live in Seoul, and to Farai Sevenzo, live in Gambia.

VAUSE: Let's go back now to Matt, John and Mo.

So, John, every administration is tested within the first six months, first 100 days, whatever. The concern is that this administration is not ready. It may have the core group, the Michael Flynn's and the Mattis and, you know, the general, maybe Rex Tillerson and all the rest. The people below them have not been appointed. There are hundreds of lower-level positions related to national security which are yet to be filled.

PHILLIPS: We can speculate how he would respond to one of these crises or we could wait until it happens. Something will pop up. Frequently, if you go back to the 2000 election with George W. Bush and al gore, that was all about domestic policy. He puts his hand on the Bible and 9/11 happens.


VAUSE: When the U.S. spy plane collided with the Japanese plane and landed on the island, there was an infrastructure in place for George W. Bush to deal with that. The concern people have is there's not the support, should something happen.


LITTMAN: Let me jump in on that one. When we talk about the cabinet appointments is that Donald Trump himself is uniquely uninformed and also uniquely lacking in curiosity about what's going on in the world, which puts additional pressure on these cabinet secretaries and the people who work for them and those positions aren't being filled. So, that's the problem. It's that Trump is uninformed. More pressure on the cabinet as we start out. I absolutely believe that North Korea is going to be a big test for this administration immediately.

PHILLIPS: His top leadership team is in place. And they will be confirmed by the United States Senate. They have a great reputation, General Mattis, in particular.

LITTMAN: Michael Flynn has a terrible reputation. You can't tell me he has a good reputation.

PHILLIPS: He has a great --


LITTMAN: He had a great reputation --


PHILLIPS: -- until Trump nominated him.


LITTMAN: He was actually fired from his job. Part of the reason was because he sent out a tweet saying Hillary and the Democrats were running a child molestation ring out of a pizza place in Washington, D.C.


LITTMAN: Do you think he has a good reputation?

PHILLIPS: Unlike President Bush and Secretary Ash Carter, Trump will listen, will be more likely to listen to General Mattis. What we saw this last week with the pardon of Chelsea Manning, where the Defense Department came out against it, and President Obama said, you know, we're going to go ahead and do this without listening or following the advice of the Defense Department. I don't think Trump would do that.

LITTMAN: Two important things. One, we have a civilian head of the military for a reason. Two, that's not Michael Flynn you're talking about. Those are some other people.

PHILLIPS: The advice was ignored.

SIDNER: Mo, President Obama when he went into office didn't have everything filled either. He let certain people stay on till he was able to fill those positions. Do you think Donald Trump is starting to do that now or is it a bit late to ask people can you stick around for a bit while I get this soared out?

KELLY: In this smooth transition of power, it assumes you have someone who is going to be part of that smoothness.

To Matthew's point, we're not so sure that Donald Trump is curious or sure that anyone honestly has his ear, someone that he will listen to, take the advice of, and actually act upon it with measured responses and pragmatic. And if you want to test any administration, it would be in the beginning when they have the least amount of experience, the least amount of sure footing. So, if you don't have your people in place and you have a head, which was not actually listening to the advisors, then that's the time in which you're most vulnerable.

SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much to our panel here and to our reporter live for us from Seoul and from Nairobi. A lot of things going on in the world, and domestically.


SIDNER: So, we'll see what happens.

Everyone's talking about what's he going to do, what's he going to do, and I think there were some points made here. We have to wait and see.

VAUSE: Absolutely.

SIDNER: Just like with every other president.

VAUSE: Just hours away.

Thanks, guys.

We'll take a short break here on NEWSROOM L.A. A lot more on the Trump transition. The world is preparing now for President Trump. We're live in Tehran with Fred Pleitgen, Matt Rivers is standing by in Beijing and Will Ripley in Tokyo. We'll have them all, after a break.




[02:23:05] VAUSE: Well, the celebrations only just now getting started in Washington where Donald Trump will be sworn in at noon local time.

SIDNER: Thursday included a concert and huge fireworks at the Lincoln Memorial. The president-elect served up some vintage Trump at a black-tie dinner for campaign donors.


TRUMP: The next time we're going to win the old-fashioned way. We're going to win because we did so well, because it was so overwhelming, the thing that we did. Because it was so beautiful, how great our cabinet -- all of whom are here tonight.


TRUMP: How great our cabinet has performed. We have a cabinet, I believe, the likes of which has never been appointed. There's never been a cabinet like this. I will say the other side is going absolutely crazy.



VAUSE: World leaders are closely watching Donald Trump and what he does with foreign policy.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran with the concerns about the country's nuclear deal. Matt Rivers is in Beijing, where Chinese leaders have been a frequent target of the incoming president. And Will Ripley in Tokyo, with worries about the future of free trade.

Let's start with Fred in Tehran.

Fred, we heard from the Republican Senator Tom Cotton. He believes that the Iran nuclear deal is dead under a President Trump. Here's what he said.


SEN. TOM COTTON, (R), ARKANSAS: At a minimum, Donald Trump is going to be much more forceful on the terms of the nuclear deal itself. And that, in itself, may cause the ayatollahs to walk away. I also know he intends to confront Iranians, Iranian regional aggression, and their imperial project throughout the Middle East. I don't think there's going to be many more running boats chasing after ours or aircraft buzzing our airplanes, but I expect you'll see a standing up to Iran's efforts in places like Yemen and Iraq more aggressively. Barack Obama refused to do that.


[02:25:01] VAUSE: Clearly, by the sounds of it, there will be a much tougher line if Senator Cotton is to be believed. What happens to the nuclear deal if the United States walks away? What are the options there for Iran?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people here in Iran certainly are taking the words of Senator Tom Cotton and those of Trump more so seriously. There is a concern that the nuclear agreement coo be in jeopardy once the Trump administration takes office. One of the things we need to understand about the nuclear agreement is that it hasn't brought the economic progress that many people here with have hoped for. However, there's very few people in Iran who would want to get rid of the agreement because it has brought detente between the United States and Iran and also a hope in the economic outlook for this country. There is some concern it could be in jeopardy.

At the same time, you do see the -- downplaying those fears. The president of Iran went out on television, a couple days ago, and said Donald Trump is one man. He said one of the things that you need to look out for is the fact that the nuclear ingredient is not a deal between the United States and Iran. It's a deal between the United States, Iran and many other countries and they believe that the U.S. would have a lot of problems bringing countries like China, Russia and also the European countries part of this agreement on board to try and renegotiate it after those painstaking negotiations to bring it into place in the first place.

Now, it's interesting when you speak to people here in the power structure and people who are analysts in this country. They believe the government in Tehran is taking a wait and see approach. They say what happened on the campaign is purely rhetoric. They want to see what Donald Trump does when he comes into office and they believe in the fact that Donald Trump is a businessman and perhaps they can come to some sort of agreement with Donald Trump. They also say if Donald Trump does take that very tough line, he's going to get a lot of issues with the Iranians. They're not going to back down and certainly aren't in any sort of mood to renegotiate the new agreement.

There is concern about the Donald Trump presidency, about him taking office, and what's going to come in the next couple of months and next couple of years. Certainly, the Iranians say they're taking a wait- and-see approach and want to see what he does once he gets into office and hoping he will take a pragmatic approach --John?

VAUSE: OK, Fred, thank you.

SIDNER: Let's bring in Matt Rivers in Beijing.

One of the things Fred was talking about relationships with Donald Trump. China is also worried about things like what's happening in the South China Sea, how the U.S. is going to respond to that, what's happening with North Korea. And also, trade, a very big deal. What is China doing as they watch Donald Trump about to become the president? And how are they responding to him?

MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, China has gotten very practiced at responding to Donald Trump. China has been a top target of the president-elect for a very, very long time now. You heard it a lot on campaign trail. And publicly, the way China has responded both in state-run media an also, not so much in state run media but about officials at the ministry of foreign affairs where we go to get comment. Yes, the Chinese government have pushed back on one-China policy and Donald Trump taking a call from the president of Taiwan. They have not met Donald Trump in terms of ratcheting up their own rhetoric to match the rhetoric we've heard from Donald Trump. Even in state-run media which has been more pointed in criticism of Donald Trump, there was a statement in the global times. It's a very well- known newspaper for its provocative stances and what they said actually, they weren't that provocative. They said a favorable sign of U.S. relationship represents great progress in human political civilization and it is hoped Trump will consolidate this trend. Even state-run newspapers are hope forth relationship between China and the United States that is good and progressive and benefits both sides. Privately we've heard from sources both inside and outside of the government who say kind of what you heard just there from Fred in Tehran, saying they don't know what's going to happen and there is a general feeling of uncertainty over what this relationship is going to look like during a Trump administration.

VAUSE: Uncertainty in China, uncertainty in Iran, uncertainty everywhere. Let's go to Will Ripley, in Tokyo.

We've just heard from the Japanese prime minister in a major speech. He's talking about the benefits of free trade, that puts him at odds with the U.S. president.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does if Donald Trump follows through on his promise to walk away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama worked very hard to try to get a dozen pan-Pacific nations into the fold, notably, excluding China from the economic community. If the U.S. walks away from that deal, it leaves Abe on an island. He was just making a trip around visiting a number of Pacific Rim nations from the Philippines to Australia to Indonesia, Vietnam, trying to convince all the leaders this free-trade deal, the TPP, continues to be the way to go.

[02:30:12] And in a speech that he gave this afternoon, here in Tokyo, he pledged to be traveling very soon to Washington to meet with the incoming President Trump to try to convince him, as well that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will indeed benefit the United States and also American workers because Trump has said those are the only trade deals he's willing to consider.

Lots of other issues on the agenda between the U.S. and japan, as well. These two countries have a long-standing, more than seven- decade military alliance. Donald Trump has said he wants japan to pay more. He's considered the idea of japan possibly arming itself with nuclear weapons. This country has a pacifist constitution dating back to the end of world war ii. There's a tremendous amount of uncertainty and shin doe Abe in the areas of trade and the military will be heading to Washington very soon to try to figure it out with the new American president -- John?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Will, thank you.

Also, Matt Rivers in Beijing. Fred Pleitgen in Tehran. Thanks to all of you.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., rescuers struggle to find survivors after an avalanche buried a hotel in Italy. A live report from there coming up.


VAUSE: Fireworks lighting up the night sky over Washington as Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential oath of office.

SIDNER: Trump has been taking part in a full day of pre-inauguration festivities, including a concert at the Lincoln Memorial and a dinner for campaign donors.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we're going to unify our country. And our phrase -- you all know it, half of you are wearing the hat -- "Make America Great Again."


TRUMP: But we're going to make America great for all of our people. Everybody.


VAUSE: Thanks for staying with us, everybody. This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

[02:35:13] SIDNER: I'm Sara Sidner.

Let's update you on some other stories we're following at this hour.


SIDNER: Rescuers trying to find survivors after an avalanche buried a hotel in Italy. Officials say up to 30 people were inside the resort when it hit on Wednesday. Rescuers have pulled two bodies so far from the debris. Searchers say some victims could have survived in air pockets.

Let's bring in Barbie Nadeau, who is at the scene with the latest. She joins us at a site near the hotel.

Barbie, tell me what is facing those who are trying to rescue people who may be inside that hotel alive still.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the rescue operation had to be suspended overnight from 2:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. this morning because of a year of these aftershocks and of avalanches in the area. The people in this hotel were actually being evacuated at the time of the avalanche because of the seismic activity Wednesday morning, of course, there were three very large aftershocks and seismic earthquakes in the area. They were in the hotel lobby as we understand it. They had their bags with them. They had paid their bills and checked out. The two survivors so far were outside of the hotel. One was a man who had gone to the car to get something for his wife and left his wife and two young children in the lobby. When he turned around, the avalanche took place and they were buried.

They're really up against time though now. It's sub-zero temperatures up there. It's about seven miles from where we're standing here in the staging area. Search and rescue operators are using skis to reach some of the area around the site. They're using rescue dogs to try to search for any signs of life. Right now, they're trying to shore up that structure in order to get in there and start digging away some of the debris. The snow, the trees, the mud, all of that that came down the mountainside and smashed into this hotel literally sweeping it away by some reports moving it ten meters down the Hill. What we don't know is where the lobby is in relationship to where the rescuers are right now. They're still calling it a search and rescue operation although as time goes by, there's little hope anyone could have survived this. SIDNER: As you look at pictures, you see a helicopter there. You see

some of the equipment trying to move snow. Do they have enough equipment to even get there to try and dig this place out? We're looking at pictures that appear to be in or near that hotel of just huge outside the hotel of huge amounts of snow that has pushed all the way inside, completely blocking off doors.

NADEAU: Yeah, that's what they're up against. It took a very long time for the rescue people, first responders to even reach the hotel. It was about 12 hours after the avalanche occurred. Those first responders had to ski into the area. The last few meters of their journey they had to carry their skis because of the debris, fallen trees and all of the obstacles in the way. It took several more hours for them to open up the mountain road in order to get the type of heavy lifting equipment necessary to move the structure. Only when they were able to be shore up the structure were they able to start digging out that area. You've got broken pine trees, mud, snow in there. That kind of debris is very difficult to move by hand. You need heavy equipment in the area. They say they've got the equipment they need up there right now. They've got almost 1,000 people working on the operation. But like I said, they had to stop and suspend the operation from about 2:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. because of the fear of further avalanches -- Sara?

SIDNER: Thank you so much, Barbie Nadeau, giving us the latest on a really difficult situation there.

There were 30 people are trapped inside of a hotel. We don't know if any of them made it out alive. We'll try to give you an update if we can.

[02:39:55] VAUSE: A short break on NEWSROOM L.A. When we come back, Paul McCartney wants his songs back and he's going to court to get them.


VAUSE: A Beatle is saying "Beat It" to the company formed by Sony and the late pop king, Michael Jackson. Paul McCartney wants to get back the rights to a long list of tunes he wrote or co-wrote with John Lennon.

SIDNER: Remember, Jackson outbid him for the songs in85. McCartney argues a 1976 law allows him to reclaim ownership. They include timeless hits like this one.


VAUSE: For more, we're joined by legendry music writer, Bob Lefsetz.

Explain this. Lawyers for McCartney say he's entitled to this because they're exercising their rights under the U.S. Copyright Act. What's their argument here?

BOB LEFSETZ, MUSIC WRITER: OK. Under the Copywrite Act of 1976, there's a right of termination after 56 years. So, these songs are coming up on the age of 56 years. They've been sending termination notices to Sony for years. There's a wrinkle here, however. The wrinkle is the contracts were signed in England. There was a previous case with Duran Duran where they tried to get the copyrights back and the judge in England said they did not have the right to void the contract. So, McCartney wants declaratory relief. He wants to say does the Duran Duran decision apply. So, in America, just to make it -- illustrate this further, with the 56 years, so far everyone who has gone to Sony, they've settled because they don't want a precedent, because then the floodgates open. Even on these songs, they settled with the John Lennon estate.

SIDNER: Why haven't they settled with him though?


[02:45:13] LEFSETZ: Let's be clear, Paul McCartney doesn't need the money. He feels these are his children's and that he got ripped off by Michael Jackson. He wants to own them. He can only get 50 percent of the songs, because co-written by Lennon. But it's more of a human issue. The average person on the street said, god, the guy's already in his 70s, he's entitled. But as they say, where there's a hit, there's a rip.


They don't want to give up their action and have things go in the wrong direction.

VAUSE: Right now, we're talking 56 years. We're only talking about the early Beatles stuff, not the latest stuff, right.

LEFSETZ: Right. There's an evolution. They're starting with "Love Me Do" and "P.S., I Love You" -- were the earliest songs he made a publishing deal with. But he sent termination notices for the entire Beatles catalog. He wants to get it all back. He has a great legal team. This is very dense. If you read the complaint, there are a lot of issues involved. It's not like a lot of other legal things where you say guilty, innocent, whatever, because you have jurisdiction. Companies were constantly rolled into new companies. So, it's really a case of first instant. No one has ever come down on these things. Paul doesn't want to settle because he wants the rights, not only the money. It will be interesting to see.

SIDNER: Is he also doing this for other artists? If they lose, it opens the floodgates, right?

LEFSETZ: Paul McCartney -- we were talking about this earlier in the green room -- he's a Beatle. Just the fact that he survived and had -- he had a bad second marriage, but he has all these wonderful kids. These people are not like you and me. Although, they pay lip service to helping out other people, it's usually more about their own ego.

Yes, will the floodgates open. But don't forget the Allman Brothers sued for record royalties. They sued -- and it was a big thing because when you get streaming, iTunes, you get a very small percentage of that money. It was settled because they don't want a precedent. But they're up against -- don't forget, Paul was the only Beatle who would not sign with Allen Klein, the manager. Went with the Eastmans still represent him. He has a long history of standing up to power and winning.

VAUSE: And a legal case could go on for a very long time.


SIDNER: Like you said, like having his children back.

LEFSETZ: Exactly. This would be a great thing because he would still be alive, barring some tragedy. But this is a case that will go on for five years if not more.

VAUSE: Bob, thanks so much.

SIDNER: Thanks, Bob.

LEFSETZ: Always great to be here.

VAUSE: We appreciate it.

SIDNER: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., Donald Trump dropped a profanity here and there during his campaign, as you probably remember. But it didn't seem to hurt him with voters. Why a new study says it might have actually helped him.


[02:50:44] TRUMP: I have read so much about the e-mails. Folks, honestly, she's guilty as hell. She's guilty as hell.



SIDNER: During the U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump occasionally shocked his audiences by spicing up his comments with the curse word now and then. It's something most politicians would never dream of doing, not in public anyway.

VAUSE: He's not most politicians. A new study suggests salty language may have helped Donald Trump connect with his base. The study found profanity in certain situations can be used to entertain, even win over a crowd.

Sandro Monetti joins us now, an entertainment journalist, managing editor of "Entity" magazine.

This was actually a real study with people and everything at a real university. And they found out that it was basically if you swear, you're being honest. You're not filtering your views, which goes against everything we were told and all those I'll "wash your mouth out with soap: moments.

SANDRO MONETTI, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST & MANAGING EDITOR OF ENTITY MAGAZINE: John Vause, I've always believed you are the bleeping best newsman in the world.


VAUSE: You're the best bleeping guest we've had on all night.

MONETTI: Thank you. Now I know you're telling the truth.


Yes, because people who swear have no filter. It's often associated with --

VAUSE: Here we go.

MONETTI: It's often associated with sort of anger and emotion. And if people look at the speeches of Donald Trump who after this survey suddenly seems like the most honest man in America, you look at this and think, regardless of what you think of his views, they're so extreme, you watch him and you think he believes them. He was mentioned in this study, co-authored by a Cambridge University professor. Yeah, this isn't just like a few people making up a theory. This has been an extensive international research mission, involving interviews, social media analysis, even lie detectors.

SIDNER: They went on Facebook.

MONETTI: It doesn't get more honest than that, does it? They found the people who use phrases on Facebook, vulgar phrases, were generally considered to be telling the truth.

SIDNER: It's interesting because a lot of people will look at this and say, you know, the highly educated would use different words. There are different words you could use out there. But it worked to his advantage, didn't it?

MONETTI: It really did, yes, because when you say something so extreme in a moment of passion and a moment of conviction, it really connects with the public in a great way, especially if you use sort of vulgar language, because there's no filter there, and because there's no filter on the language, people think there's no filter on the truth. If you contrast that with somebody who doesn't swear at all, like myself, you wouldn't believe a single word they were saying.

VAUSE: Let's listen to salty language from Donald Trump.


TRUMP: I would bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them.


TRUMP: We're going to have businesses that used to be in New Hampshire that are now in Mexico come back to New Hampshire, and you can tell them to go (EXPLETIVE DELETED) themselves.

(CHEERING) JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama.


BIDEN: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.


VAUSE: Greatest hits.

I also think it works because, unlike yourself, but many people say they talk like me. They're real people.

MONETTI: Yes, because clearly what we're seeing around the world is people have had enough of politicians and don't trust them. What they respect is straight talk. And straight talk sometimes involves salty language. And maybe now it all makes sense, as we stand here on the eve of the inauguration, because this is really connecting with people.

VAUSE: Remember the good old days of "Gone with the Wind?"


SIDNER: But they were fined $5,000 for saying it.

MONETTI: Yes. How times have changed.


VIVIAN LEIGH, ACTRESS: Rhett, if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?

CLARK GABLE, ACTOR: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.


VAUSE: We should have beeped that --


VAUSE: Compare that --

MONETTI: I'm so offended.

VAUSE: Compare that to --

MONETTI: Is the FCC watching this?

VAUSE: Compare that to "Wolf of Wall Street," which has more than 500 F-bombs. More than 500. Listen to this.


[02:54:55] UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Two more after that, every five minutes till one of us passes the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out.

LEONARDO DECAPRIO, ACTOR: The clients you have are absolutely (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Number one rule of Wall Street, nobody -- OK, if you're warren Buffett or Jimmy Buffett -- nobody knows if a stock is going to go up, down, sideways or (EXPLETIVE DELETED) circles.

It's a wazzie. It's a woozie.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Fairy dust. It doesn't exist. It's never landed. It's not on the elemental chart. It's not (EXPLETIVE DELETED) real. We don't build anything. So, if you got a client who bought stock at 8 and now it's at 16 and he's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) happy he wants to liquidate and take his money and run home, you don't let him do that.


SIDNER: Can't this come back and bite you in the proverbial.

MONETTI: You don't doubt that he's at thing the truth though, do you?


VAUSE: My how times have changed.

MONETTI: Yes. What is acceptable now by way of broadcast standards, we see especially with the rise of cable television and streaming services, salty language is very much part of drama like it isn't on the networks. And, yeah, I think the survey is fascinating. VAUSE: Absolutely.

Sandro, always good to see you. Appreciate it.

SIDNER: Thank you so much.

MONETTI: Have a good day.

SIDNER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

CNN's coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration continues after a short break.