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U.N. Security Council To Discuss North Korea Launch Today; Kremlin Denies Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russia; Democrats Want Flynn's Security Clearance Revoked; Trump To Meet With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Trump To Meet With Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu This Week; Performers Get Political At The Grammys. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 13, 2017 - 06:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea's aggression presenting the Trump administration with its first foreign policy crisis. What is the president going to do? What is he going to say? Two of our best international correspondents weigh in next.


CUOMO: All right, looking ahead on your day, tonight, you're going to see the meeting of the U.N. Security Council for this emergency round up on what just happened in North Korea. They've launched, test launched another ballistic missile over the weekend. It travelled 300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan.

What will President Trump do? Is he going to work alone or work with others? What are the factors? Let's bring in CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, and CNN senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward.

Nic, we already have the first part of the answer. President Trump did a joint press conference with Abe of Japan. They are meeting at that time. He did not say anything inflammatory.

There was then word of this U.N. Security Council meeting that will be there tonight. That seems to be the normal way this will be responded to. What are you hearing?

[06:35:04]NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, certainly the way -- what we are hearing from the Chinese as well saying that they are equally concerned about North Korea's ballistic missile testing that they will go to this U.N. Security Council meeting and they also heard from the Russians saying they are against this missile test by North Korea.

So you can see an alignment of forces here that perhaps can help President Trump win his argument or strengthen his position, the United States position in the U.N. Security Council but China and Russia are looking for things in the United States right now.

China obviously wants the "One China" policy to be recognized by the United States. They're also saying that they see the dispute and North Korea's missile testing as really something between the United States and North Korea, North Korea and South Korea.

So while they have a large amount of trade with North Korea and could have a significant influence it's quite clear that they're going to be looking for (inaudible) lines towards China from the United States before they would exert that kind of pressure.

That's behind the scenes and also Russia waiting for so many answers on so many issues from the United States. Yes, they'll help but what is the price. What do they want?

CUOMO: It will be interesting to see that collection of players, right? You'll have China, Russia, the U.S., France, and the U.K. all in the same room.

Let's bounce to the Russian situation. Clarissa, the word out of the kremlin is characteristically mum when it comes to whether or not it will reveal the truth of any communications about sanctions with the White House.

But we do know that the communications were being monitor so there are transcripts of what took place between the Russian counterpart and Mike Flynn before the administration took place. How big of a deal do you think this could become?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is going to become a very big deal, Chris, and seems to be growing exponentially by the day. I mean, over the weekend, we saw the White House apparently on the Sunday shows almost seek to distance themselves from National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

The kremlin rejection or denial of any discussion of sanctions between Flynn and the Russian ambassador, I would see that as a pro- forma denial, but you can be sure every single phone that takes place on a landline from a Russian embassy around the world is logged down to the word by Russians working for the FSB or Internal Security Services.

So there is certainly a record there of what conversations will have taken place, but you can also be sure it's probably never going to see the light of day. But I think what we've seen with this issue is that it is kind of metastasized into just the legal question of whether Michael Flynn was telegraphing future U.S. policy or indicating that those sanctions might be lifted before President Trump was sworn in in office.

We're seeing it now metastasizing into a political issue because clearly it has been embarrassing to the White House particularly to Vice President Mike Pence, who went out on a limb, who defended Flynn, who stood by him and vouched for his denial.

And then to see Michael Flynn kind of have to roll that back and say actually I thought I didn't talk about sanctions, but now I'm not quite sure if I can remember whether or not we had the conversation about sanctions.

That really reflects badly on the entire White House administration and I do think, Chris, on all of these kind of international foreign policy issues, we are seeing an effort and whether that's the effort of Secretary Tillerson or Mattis, we are seeing an effort to try to reign the White House in a little bit, to try to adopt a more conciliatory, more pragmatic and more professional and presidential tone -- Chris.

CUOMO: Whenever somebody steps back from no, it didn't happen to I don't recollect it's such a turn. All right, Nic, so we have the Canadian prime minister coming to town on a political background there, somewhat well-known, Trudeau, stands in opposition to a lot of Trump's policies but decided to get along.

There's a little bit more of an increased pressure on that northern border because of all of the concerns about what will happen on the southern border. What are we looking at for this meeting today?

ROBERTSON: Well, it is a meeting as you said. The (inaudible) Justin Trudeau tweeting right around the time of the travel restrictions were announced that all refugees are welcome in Canada whatever their background.

So they are coming -- things from a different point of view, but when you talk about as President Trump has raised the issue of ending or reopening talks on North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, this does have Canadians worried.

It worries the farmers there, so much of the sort of farming industry. Some of it happens across the border. You have cattle for example that the Canadian cattle crossing into the United States for feeding during the winter.

[06:40:06]Back into Canada to be slaughtered and then re-exported as beef back into the United States. So you have the farming industry in Canada behind Trudeau worried that their interests may be sacrificed with sort of cross trade border agreements on auto makers.

So you know, while they have differences certainly politically, philosophically, there are important trade issues that are going to be worrying Trudeau as he goes into this meeting.

CUOMO: All right, and then the last big event for this week is the upcoming meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader when he comes to the United States, the White House looking for good headlines at this point after a couple of rough weeks. Can they expect some out of that meeting?

WARD: Well, I think it's interesting. This is another area, Chris, where we have seen this real shift to a more pragmatic tone when Donald Trump took the oath of office. It seemed that Israel felt it had (inaudible). They announced they were building 6,000 more homes in various settlements in a space of two weeks.

They announced that they were going to build an entirely new settlement. That's the first time that they had done that in nearly 20 years, but then we saw something of a shift.

Suddenly President Trump came forward and said hold on a second. We actually don't think it is, quote, "very helpful towards peace efforts to continue building those settlements."

That may sound kind of soft, but actually it's more in line with the kind of rhetoric that we heard from the Obama administration. He also appears to be dialing back on a promise to move the embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

So many people speculating as to whether we'll see a more pragmatic tone now with regards to Israel, but potentially this does give Prime Minister Netanyahu an opportunity to show that he is the only one within the Israeli politics who can really navigate the waters and deal with the flares in terms of negotiating with the U.S. -- Chris.

CUOMO: Clarissa Ward, Nic Robertson, thank you for helping us set the table in the days and weeks agenda ahead. Appreciate it -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, the Grammys for last night, Chris, they got political from the apparel to the performances. We bring you all the highlights and low lights next.



CAMEROTA: Four days after Knicks legend, Charles Oakley, was ejected from Madison Square Garden, team owner, James Dolan, showing up with a surprised guest to Sunday's game. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report." Hi, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn. Several former Knicks legends (inaudible) with the way owner, James Dolan, has run the franchise and Dolan has been getting a lot of heat since Oakley got thrown out of Wednesday's game against the Clippers. A fan based former players have sided almost unanimously with Oakley and against Dolan.

So who was sitting next to Dolan at the game last night? Former Knick and fan favorite, Latrell Sprewell, now this is significant because Sprewell and Dolan have had their problems in the past.

In 2003, Sprewell yelled obscenities at Dolan in his first game to New York after getting traded to the T-wolves. The two had been on the outs at least until yesterday. But that Sprewell mojo must have helped the home team get the win and the Knicks upset the Spurs 94-90.

Talk about a want to get away moment. German tennis players are furious with the U.S. Tennis Association after a now obsolete version of the German anthem from the Nazi area was sang at a tournament in Hawaii.

German players and fans, they tried to actually sing over the anthem so that the soloist would be drowned out, but one player described it as, quote, "The epitome of ignorance," and she said, quote, "I have never felt more disrespected in my whole life," unquote.

Chris, the USTA has apologized a couple of times now and said it was a mistake, that will never happen again.

CUOMO: All right, Coy, thank you. Appreciate it.

So Melissa McCarthy was back on "SNL." This time, she had a motorized podium. It was a segue way. There was some new features put into the act on her latest spoof about our Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Audiences are loving it. Defenders of the president keep saying don't worry, nobody watches "SNL." Wrong.



CUOMO: All right, so there have been two separate shootings on Chicago's south side and they deserve reporting especially because there are two young girls who are now fighting for their lives.

You got a 12-year-old named Kanari Bowers (ph), she was shot in the head Saturday night as she played on a school playground and then less than a half hour later 11-year-old Takaya Holmes (ph) was also shot in the head while she sat in the back of her parents mini-van. Both girls are in critical condition. Police say the gunman is in custody.

CAMEROTA: Officials in Louisville, Kentucky say the number of heroin overdoses doubled in the past week rising to 52 calls in a 32-hour period. This issue is not new. That city has dealt with nearly 700 overdoses in January.

The mayor is responding hiring 150 officers all while working with several federal agencies. You know, they say the antidote isn't working, wasn't working as well --

CUOMO: Well, you know, what they deal with now especially with the synthetic drugs like in that opiate category, new batches coming. You see a spike in overdoses. People are testing new product. It's real. The problem can dominate a family and a community.

CAMEROTA: So the Grammys were last night, the 59th annual Grammys. I actually stayed up for part of it. The biggest stars took the stage and there were a few political statements made. Some clothing that was worn. So watch some of these performances.


A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, HIP-HOP GROUP: I just want to thank President Agent Orange for all the evil you have been giving throughout the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: She just said no hate. Here to discuss, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst, Bill Carter. Great to see both of you. So Bill, the most political Grammys in a long time or just par for the course.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: They usually have some message and everybody expected this because the industry doesn't like the president. It was not over the top. I thought it would be everybody saying something but they didn't. It wasn't overwhelming. The show had other problems. There was a lot of technical problems.

CAMEROTA: Adele had a mini melt-down.

CARTER: She swore on the air and they had to bleep it, but then she sang well and won the big award.

CUOMO: You know, Brian, one of the ironies there is that Buster Rhymes was there with Tribe Called Quest and he's the one who used that line Agent Orange. That's the headline. It's too bad because the song that they performed off their new album, "We The People," is a real return to a politically charged urban hymn, which The Bribe was famous for in the 90s.

What impact can legit music and there you see, Q Tip singing the lead of that song. What impact can the music actually have above and beyond whatever politically charged statement is said at a show?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: They're not only the ones, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, many other performers in their own ways have expressed political messages in the past few years. What we saw on the Grammy's was a lot like Lady Gaga performing at the Super Bowl, trying to be above the current political fray.

We saw Katy Perry singing in front of the Constitution. We saw singer, Joy Vila, wearing a "Make America Great Again" dress, maybe going against the grain of Hollywood, which is kind of interesting. But for the most part though people mostly staying above the fray as Bill was saying.

CAMEROTA: There you go. Very interesting. Let's talk about "Saturday Night Live." They had their highest ratings this weekend that they've had in six years. Melissa McCarthy was back with another (inaudible) performance as Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Here is a taste.


MELISSA MCCARTHY: And then there is some light terrorism this week when Nordstroms decided to stop selling. These are high quality products. In fact, I'm wearing one of her bangles right now. It's beautiful and shimmering and elegant and $39.99. It's unbelievably affordable. OK? Don't get me started on her shoes because these babies are real head turners.


CAMEROTA: That's her real leg that she hoisted. That wasn't a prosthetic. She gets points for being limber.

CARTER: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: What do you think is going on with "SNL?"

CARTER: They're on a role. They came back with that bit. They opened the show with it. The only thing is they repeated a little bit. There wasn't a surprise. It was very funny but didn't have the element of surprise.

CAMEROTA: They played some of the greatest hits.

CARTER: They held the Trump bit until very late in the show. I think they didn't want to sledge hammer the politics too much.

CUOMO: Didn't want to sledge hammer the politics, come on?

CARTER: -- was really a sledge hammer.

CUOMO: The show is mostly politics. Now this is the first skit that they have done that unless you're just Trump folk, people are legitimately questioning whether or not it went too far or was in good taste. Kellyanne Conway and Jake Tapper, the redox of "Fatal Attraction," a couple of movies were layered in there. What's your take?

CARTER: I thought it was edgy, which I like to be really pushing the end. I do think it's maybe going to get blow back because people are going to say it's too much. A crazed killer with a knife.

CAMEROTA: Also, Brian, we've heard the claims of sexism -- I heard the fatal attraction thing, but that's not what Kellyanne Conway relies upon, her feminine wiles. There's other ways to parody her power.

STELTER: The show is much -- had a bigger hit last fall when it was sympathetic toward Conway showing her racing back to the studio at all hours to respond to Trump's tweets. That was a better skit, funnier and certainly not as harsh.

Conway and Tapper did talk yesterday after that sketch in real life. But you know, I thought what's most important here, Kate McKinnon playing Jeff Sessions.

We saw McCarthy playing Spicer. We saw Leslie Jones playing Trump. All of these female characters undermining Trump's message of strength in real life. I think there's this idea that by having these feminine characters playing these men that it gets under Trump's skin and I wonder how much SNL is doing that on purpose, how much it's calculating it.

CUOMO: Although they are also wildly powerful women so I don't know how it undermines him. The family court skit, what did you think about that with Trump coming in versus the --

CARTER: I found the circuit judge, it was very clever and the idea of him -- I'll see you in court, so the people's court. And I did -- I loved the judges line about I'd like to have at least one week where there's not a CNN -- one day.

CAMEROTA: Brian, the way that was perceived was not so much the punch line.

CARTER: No, the real thing.

STELTER: For this show, SNL is really speaking at this point to half the country. I think this show now is speaking for half the country and rating well because of it. It's reaching more than 10 million people a week. Some of the highest ratings in years, but because it's speaking to a niche, which is the half of the country that is very anxious about Trump presidency.

CAMEROTA: Brian, Bill, thank you. Thanks so much and thank you to our international viewers for watching. "CNN NEWSROOM" for you begins in moments. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Flynn put the vice president in a very awkward position.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don't know about it. I haven't seen it. What report is that?