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Winter Storm Warnings; Diplomats Confused Over Transition; Mixed Messages on Foreign Policy; Former Knicks Star Arrested; Curry Takes Aim at President; Under Armour CEO Praises Trump; Conway Talks about Ivanka's Brand. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired February 9, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:32:464] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow. So glad you're with us.

If you've looked out your window, if you live along the East Coast, not a pretty sight. The Northeast dealing with wicked winter weather this morning.

BERMAN: Wow. I haven't' been outside in a while.

HARLOW: Here is what it looks like right outside of our offices, is one of those shots in New York. More than 40 million people already under storm warnings. Some cities bracing for a foot or more of snow.

BERMAN: This morning, schools are shut down in at least five states. My kids' school closed down. Nearly 3,000 flights have been canceled. You know, it was 60 degrees in New York City yesterday.

HARLOW: I know. It was nice.

BERMAN: I went running in shorts in Central Park.

I want to bring in CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. He is in the middle of it all where I was wearing shorts yesterday.

Chad, what's going on?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's - oh, man, that's in my brain. I can't unsee that now, John.

You know, it was - it was 61 here. And then by this morning it was 31. And now it's 27. And that tells me that the snow's about to slow down. But it was a huge drop in the cold air. It was a cold front that came in. The moisture's coming off the Atlantic Ocean as the storm rolls now to the east of New Jersey. But earlier today - this is Broadway - I could not see down Broadway at all. It was completely shut down. It was just a wall of snow. Now at least I can see maybe one or two city blocks. So the snow is beginning to calm down here, beginning to wind down.

It's already wound down in Williamsport and the Poconos and Hazleton Mountain and Harrisburg, all those places there. Even back into parts of West Virginia, the snow has now moved away. But it's moving into eastern Long Island, and into Connecticut, Rhode Island and even into Massachusetts as the storm kind of rolls up the East Coast. It will still be with them probably another four to six hours there. But I think the snow, John, stops here within two to three hours and really, other than maybe one more inch, what you see here is what you get.

HARLOW: But Boston expected to be a lot worse, right?

MYERS: Yes, absolutely. Yo know what, the thing that's going on there is that the wind is coming off the ocean. And I lived in Buffalo most of my life. You get this lake-effect snow. Well, Boston will actually get ocean-effect snow as it comes in from the ocean. That cold wind is going to wrap around and blow itself right into Boston. So the ocean's a lot bigger than Lake Erie or Lake Ontario. So think of what like ocean-effect can do to - to Massachusetts or even for that matter Maine and then finally up to Nova Scotia and into Atlanta Canada, going to get pounded by the same storm as we work our way into the weekend.

[09:35:11] HARLOW: Chad Myers, you look good in snow, my friend. Thank you so much.

MYERS: Thank you.

HARLOW: Boston strong, they can deal.

BERMAN: Well, yes, it's a foot - a foot of snow. Yes, that's nothing.

HARLOW: They'll be fine. We won the Super Bowl, it's nothing.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly right. All right, still to come for us, mixed messages over the direction of the new administration. That plus the fact that some key diplomatic positions are still unfilled. Now people behind the scenes are saying they're confused about the way forward. Details ahead.


HARLOW: This morning we're getting word that there's confusion within the diplomatic core about the direction of the new administration. A lot of confusion. One example, the president called NATO obsolete multiple times. His cabinet picks praise the alliance. Diplomats now say, what?

[09:40:03] BERMAN: Plus, a number of key positions are still unfilled. So many leaders and diplomats overseas, they don't know who to turn to for clarity. CNN's Elise Labott has been digging on this, has some new information this morning.

Elise, what are you learning?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, guys. Well, look, this is a little bit typical of any administration that's

turning over, especially when there's a different party, especially after eight years of the Obama administration. But what's really kind of unusual in this situation is that you have a combination of a lot of the top management positions at the State Department gone. A lot of those people were political appointees that left after the administration, but also a lot of career officials also left and they took out that institutional knowledge with them. Some of them have served for decades.

And then you have a very erratic White House foreign policy. There's been this kind of reorganization of the National Security Council. You have that combined with the president's tweets that is often, as you just said, in a little bit contrast with what some of his nominees are saying.

And so diplomats we're talking to are saying, hey, what's going on? You have the Russian foreign minister saying - foreign ministry yesterday saying we really don't have any counterparts in the State Department. We don't know what's going on. We don't know who to talk to. There's a lot of confusion. And because this has been such an unusual election and that President Trump, during the campaign, talked about some, you know, new policy avenues, these countries really want to get down to business and figure out what's going on.

HARLOW: And, Elise, I mean, look, this coupled with the fact that a lot of those career diplomats who spanned Republican and Democratic administrations, you know, suddenly are not there anymore. But Rex Tillerson, now secretary of state, knows how to smooth over ruffled feathers, right? I mean is this a guy who's going to make things a little bit clearer pretty soon?

LABOTT: I mean that's the hope and the expectation. And, look, Rex Tillerson didn't have any government experience. But as you said, you know, being the CEO of Exxon Mobil, he was known for someone who was building a team, really in the meetings that he's had at the State Department, he's talked about wanting to get that expertise working in the building. And I think the expectation is that he's going to institute some order and also communication between the State Department and the White House.

When I talked to diplomats at the State Department, a lot of times they're in the dark. And, I mean, one early sign that - you know, that things - that the wheels are starting to turn, as they should be, is that - is with some executive orders that were expected to be rolled out on - asking about the designations of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The White House was considering some of those orders, but diplomats from the State Department, officials in the Pentagon pushed back a little bit and now they're rethinking that.


LABOTT: And, you know, this is really in contrast to what happened with that visa ban when the White House just rolled it out, didn't talk to the State Department, didn't talk to the Pentagon and there was a lot of confusion, not just in those agencies, but around the world. So these officials are saying, that's an early sign that the White House is starting to take a look at that expertise. And I think countries are really going to be welcomed by that, guys.

HARLOW: I think that's a really important point. It's as much what you're not seeing roll out as - as what you are seeing roll out that's very telling about sort of how things are getting put in order there.

LABOTT: Absolutely.

HARLOW: Elise Labott, great reporting. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, still to come, did NBA star Steph Curry just call the president a three-letter word that rhymes with bass? Stay with us.


[09:47:35] BERMAN: What a bizarre night in Madison square Garden. A former Knicks star thrown out, then arrested after an altercation in the stands. Coy Wire with this morning's "Bleacher Report."


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: All right, guys, listen to this. Fifty-four-year-old Charles Oakley, played for the Knicks for a decade, he's one of the most recognizable players from the '90s. He's been charged now, though, with three counts of assault and one count of criminal trespassing.

So, what happened? Well, the Knicks say he was acting in, quote, "an inappropriate and abusive manner," unquote. And Oakley denies that he was yelling at Knicks owner James Dolan, standing up down to the left of your screen there. And so Oakley's been critical of Dolan in the past and he told "The New York Daily News" that Dolan didn't want him there and security asked Oakley to leave and he said, I'm not leaving. Well, security guards then escorted him out while fans, they were on Oakley's side, chanting "Oakley, Oakley." And they say that - NYPD, we talked to them a couple hours ago, they say that Oakley punched one Madison Square Garden employee, shoved two others on the way out. Here's Oakley talking about the incident after his release.


CHARLES OAKLEY, PLAYED 10 SEASONS WITH NEW YORK KNICKS: I was asked to leave the building. And I asked why. And so then they said, you have to leave because someone ordered you to leave. And I'm like, I've been here four and a half minutes. I'm a Knicks fan. I paid here for ten years. I love the Knicks, I love New York. My heart - I wish them all the luck and success and - on the basketball court. I don't know why I'm not welcome into the garden.


WIRE: All right, let's move to Steph Curry and not talk about a three- point shot, but a shot he took at the president. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank recently called President Trump an asset to the United States. Well, via "The Mercury News," Steph Curry said, quote, "I agree with that description if you remove the 'et' from 'asset'," unquote. My goodness. Well, Steph Curry is a close friend of President Obama and one of Under Armour's most high profile athletes. Plank was one of several CEOs with whom Trump met to explore business growth opportunities. So Curry said that he wanted clarification on where Under Armour stands on certain social issues. And he also said that their views don't differ from his own, so their relationship has not been affected.

Now, John, you were a mench (ph). You got two Super Bowl t-shirts from your children, and they were too expensive, they were $40 each. So you didn't get one for yourself. Well, I got something better for you, buddy. I got you confetti from the field. The Super Bowl champion Patriots.

[09:50:03] HARLOW: That's awesome. Look at the smile.

WIRE: And I am going to be sending this up to you, my friend. You deserve it. You earned it. And you kicked butt at the Super Bowl special.


BERMAN: Coy Wire, thank you so much.

HARLOW: You are too sweet.

BERMAN: I will frame the confetti, if that's even possible. Thank you so much.

WIRE: You're welcome.

HARLOW: I just got you a lame hat.

BERMAN: No, no, I'll put it in the hat and then I'm frame both.

HARLOW: All right. All right. All right, fine.

All right, guys, coming up, you've got to stick around for this, Steph Curry and Kellyanne Conway, you ever think you'd hear those two names in the same sentence, their comments about President Trump, business and brands all over the interwebs this morning?

BERMAN: Yes, really, the Trump brand and Trump business right at the center of so many heated discussions. And corporate brands dealing with the same thing.


[09:55:06] HARLOW: So NBA super star Steph Curry taking on a major company and talking about the president. We have a lot to talk about this morning, as well as Kellyanne Conway hawking the president's daughter's brand in a new national TV interview. What's that all about?

BERMAN: Yes, business meets the White House head on here. Let's talk about this. Joining us is Martha Pease. She is a brand expert and the director - and director at the Boston Consulting Group, and Chris Drafts, CEO and president and the Chris Draft Family Foundation, former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons.

Martha, I guess let's start with Steph Curry because we just finished that last segment on that. You know, Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, praising President Trump. Steph Curry, who wears Under Armour, not a fan of President Trump at all. You know, you can see conflicts starting to, you know, burst out here.

MARTHA PEASE, BRAND EXPERT: Yes, it's really interesting. I mean I think in the long run it's probably the conversation that's happening right now between Under Armour and Steph Curry isn't going to have an effect on Under Armour's brand. But what's really interesting is it's unusual to see this kind of transparency around an internal conversation between a CEO, a brand, a celebrity endorser and to see the kind of clash of values and how they're working it out very publicly. And I think, you know, ultimately that may actually benefit - that may play to the benefit of both - all the parties involved because you're seeing people really take this seriously and work it through.

HARLOW: Chris, let me ask you, because let me read you part of what Steph Curry came out and said. This is after the CEO of Under Armour called President Trump an asset, talking about free trade and issues like that.

BERMAN: Which is a feeling felt by a lot of people involved in domestic manufacturing.

HARLOW: I think that's a really important point. He's not like the only CEO who's said that. I mean across the board CEOs want, you know, some of this economic proposals that the president is putting forward.

Then Under Armour came out with a statement sort of clarifying what Kevin Plank meant. And they said, "we engage in policy, not politics. We believe in advocating fair trade, inclusive immigration, welcome the best and brightest, et cetera."

Steph Curry comes out and says, you know, "if you take the 'et' off of 'asset,' that's what I think the president is." And then he said basically that he will always stand up for what he believes is right, you know, no matter what company he's endorsing. Are we going to see more of a divide between corporate America and athletes that promote their wares?

CHRIS DRAFT, CEO, PRESIDENT, CHRIS DRAFT FAMILY FOUNDATION: I think so. I think especially when you've got guys at the level of a Steph Curry. I mean he really can sway Under Armour's value. If he says, well, I don't want to wear these shoes because I don't feel like that I can believe in this company, I mean he can absolutely change where Under Armour stands. And I think him and there's a number of other players that are at his level that really can challenge a company and say, hey, you need to tell me exactly where you stand because I have or others. If Steph says, I don't believe in Under Armour, I'm going to Nike, Nike will stand up and say, let me - let me - I'm here, I'm here. HARLOW: Right.

DRAFT: If he wanted to go to Adidas. If he wanted to go anywhere else. If he wanted to create his own shoe.

HARLOW: But let's be clear, he didn't say that. he didn't say that. And he said by the end of the day yesterday, when Under Armour came out with this statement, he was totally on board. But it shows the importance of their relationship.

BERMAN: And, Chris, what about, you know, there are three members of the New England Patriots now who say they're not going to go to the White House for the celebration, you know, under a President Trump? Do athletes run a risk of being too political, right? I mean the White House is the White House no matter who is there, right?

DRAFT: Yes. Well, the White House is the white House, but the policies are about the administration. And I think athletes absolutely run a risk when they stand up. I mean I was told when I was at St. Louis, do you worry about being involved in the community so much that that could potentially hurt you? And I think, you know, every athlete has to weigh it because they're men. At the end of the day they are men and their beliefs really have to come first. And so if they believe it's worth it to stand up, and they're willing to take on the responsibility of what happens after that, then, you know, they can do what they want.

HARLOW: They are men and women. And I think we're going to hear a lot from female athletes going forward as well.


HARLOW: Martha Pease, to you on this Kellyanne Conway interview, here's what she said on Fox News.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL (pH): They're using the most prominent woman in - in Donald Trump's, you know, most prominent - he's - she's his daughter -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Kellyanne -

CONWAY: And - and they're using her, who's been a champion for women in power -


CONWAY: And women in the workplace to get to him. So I think people can see through that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just - thirty seconds -

CONWAY: Go by Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell them (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and there's - there's that - CONWAY: I'm going - I'm going to - I hate shopping, but I'm going to get some myself today.


HARLOW: I mean this is your wheelhouse. You're a brand expert. And all these conflict of interest concerns around the Trump White House and the president blasts Nordstrom's for taking her brand off their racks and then you've got, you know, Kellyanne Conway saying, go by Ivanka. How do you see it?

[09:59:46] PEASE: Well, it's an unusual collision of politics and politicians and brands for sure that we haven't seen in the past. I mean there have been many people in the White House, and many first ladies, in fact, who have - and family members who have gone on to have profitable ventures from various items and - but most of the time I - I think it's fair to say that - that non-profit and charity has been involved with