Return to Transcripts main page


Trump's Connections to Russia; Russia Not Backing Down; Israel's Prime Minister Meets Trump; A Mysterious Death. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired February 15, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world.

We are following breaking news. The White House has begun to great length to claim it has no improper relation to Russia or its President, Vladimir Putin.

But just one day after national Security Adviser, Michael Flynn was forced to resign over his contacts with Russia, another bombshell revelation.

CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, high level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald

Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to U.S. intelligence.

Multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement, and administration officials tell CNN President-elect Trump and then President Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign business.

Now according U.S. officials familiar with the matter, both the frequency of the communications and the proximity to Trump of those involved raise a red flag with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.

According to these officials, the communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other nationals known to U.S. intelligence. Among several senior Trump advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were then campaign manager Paul Manafort and then adviser Michael Flynn. Manafort joined the campaign in March and was out in mid-August. Flynn stayed on and resigned as Trump's national security adviser last

night. Now officials then besides that communication between campaign staff and representatives of foreign government are not unusual.

However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached the judgment on the intent of those conversations.

But adding to U.S. investigators concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election, discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump.

Now it's unclear whether they were exaggerating that claim or not. But this all claim in a time when the U.S. intelligence community was growing in confidence that Russia was trying to tilt the election in Donald Trump's favor. This investigation still very much underway in the FBI and the intelligence community.

Pamela Brown, CNN Washington.

CHURCH: Well, the new revelations come as White House tries to distance itself from reports about its relationship with Russia. Listen to what spokesman Sean Spicer had to say during his briefing on Tuesday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in January, the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the Russians. Now, today, can you still say definitively, that nobody on the Trump campaign, not even General Flynn had any contact with the Russians before the election?

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My understanding is that what General Flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period -- we, we were clear that during the transition period he did -- he did speak with the ambassador.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm talking about during the campaign.

SPICER: I don't have -- there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has change with respect to that time period.


CHURCH: I do want to bring you up-to-date, we are just getting information here that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet in Bon on the 16th of February during the G20 summit meeting.

Let's bring in Clare Sebastian, live in Moscow. Of course, that is an interesting development and important to get that to our viewers. But we are now learning of course about this frequency of contact made President Trump's advisers and senior Russian officials. What has been the reaction from Moscow and just how much concern is there, there?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi, Rosemary. Well, so far no official reaction from the Kremlin. We did get more on that later. But it's certainly fair to say that there is some concern in political circles here about what this could mean for the future of U.S.-Russian relationship.

Just one senior Russian politician Aleksey Pushkov has been tweeting his views this morning. I want to read you some of those. He said "The resignation of Flynn will not be the end of this. Trump's enemies along with help from the democrats and the media will destroy him until he is impeached. The goal is now himself."

He has also said, "They want to beat Russia -- beat Trump -- sorry, with the Russian cod" blaming the media, saying the New York Times reported about so-called Russian contacts with full of hints and zero fact.

So, I think, you now, the rest of what Aleksey said had been to blame the media and not to leave President Trump out of it and it's very, very clear that they are very concerned particularly about another comment from Sean Spicer overnight saying that President Trump expects Crimea to be returned from Ukraine.

That is causing great consternation here and political circles the head of the state (Inaudible) foreign affairs committee, (Inaudible) comparing it to a cold shower.

[03:05:05] Essentially in comments that was Russian news agency where they now using it's pouring cold water on their expectation of improved relations with President Trump and his team. Although he did says that those are not yet derailed, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. A very interesting. And Clare, are they still trying grapple with the nature of the relationship that General Michael Flynn had with the Russian president and his senior advisers. Any clarity on that matter at this hour.

SEBASTIAN: Well, we do know that he has met President Putin. He was pictured sitting next to him at a dinner in December of 2015. That was a gala dinner in celebration of the 10th anniversary of RT, the English state-funded television channel here. He has admitted that he did a paid Q&A session that same month also for RT.

And then in that Q&A session he did talk about the relationship between the U.S. and Russia calling it a marriage that at times was difficult that definitely needed to be kept together. We know that he's been regular -- he's made regular appearances on RT as well as an unpaid analyst. So, certainly he is a well -known face.

And Russia has said that those conversation between Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. did take place as whether sanctions were discussed and whether that had any bearing President Putin's decision not to respond to those sanctions on Russia that the U.S. place in December where the kremlin has said that information is not correct, Rosemary. CHURCH: All right. Clare Sebastian, joining us live from Moscow, where it is just six minutes past 11 in the morning. Many thanks to you.

Michael Clarke joins me now from London. He is the former director of the Royal United Services Institute. Great to have you with us. So, the contact in itself isn't unusual but the frequency is, and it's certainly raising some eyebrows given General Michael Flynn's background. Why would he not realize his conversations were being monitored and why do you think there was so much contact with Russia at this time during the campaign?

MICHAEL CLARKE, FORMER DIRECTOR OF ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: Well, I guess there's two different answers to that. I mean, it is astonishing that Mike Flynn whose director of intelligence of military -- of defense intelligence would not have realized that everything he said to Russian interlocutor to Washington and Moscow would not have been tracked. Absolutely astonishing.

He would not have known that. But somehow he seems to get himself in a very foolish situation. The second issue, you know, why was such contact suggests this what is the Europeans speaking from this side of the Atlantic is that there is visceral desire within the Trump camp by the president himself and people around him to create a grand strategic bargain in Russia over the heads of the European allies and in a way that would be bad for European security.

Now that may not turn out to be true. But the fear in Europe is that candidate Trump, and then president-elect Trump and now President Trump has had a consistent inclination to getting to a good situation with a lot of Russian interlocutor to get to President Putin and do a grand strategic bargain so that he can then take on North Korea, and Iran, and possibly China in terms of trade wars.

And that something that really bothers European. And the story, the Mike Flynn story is part of but it's only part of a much longer running story is all tending to back up that suspicion which exists here in Europe.

CHURCH: Right. And it is confounding to so many because people are trying to work out the intent here. Why do you think President Trump is being so hard on some of his allies yet soft on Russia. The optics don't look good. What does that signal to you in light of what we're learning now about the frequency of contact between the Trump administration and Russia. Is there a sense that Russia has something on Trump here?

CLARKE: Yes, it's been said in the British media that President Putin is the only person that President Trump hasn't insulted in his campaign speeches or in his later tweets. And the sense is that he just has a strategic idea that he is going to do sort of a version of Nixon in the 1970s with Mr. Kissinger with him to the way Nixon opened up China.

Nixon did change the terms of trade as it were of world diplomacy in way that was very positive. And the President Trump, candidate Trump as he was, and had this sense where he got it from. We don't know. That he was going to do the same. That he was going to change the world diplomacy by creating a new relationship with President Putin.

These two strong men in the world they would create this, not an alliance but an understanding which would open up a lot of other doors and facilitate American policy on the fronts.

[03:10:01] Now it may be that President Trump has never really articulated this fully. Maybe that he feels that he doesn't talk about it too much. We don't know.

But there's certainly a sense in Europe that we're seeing this being played out in the early days of the Trump presidency and it is very worrying for the European allies.

CHURCH: All right. Michael Clarke, many thanks to you for joining us there from London. I appreciate it.

Well, earlier, CNN's Fareed Zakaria talks to Don Lemon about why Donald Trump appears to be so soft on Russia.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: The pieces of this puzzle seem to keep fitting in one direction, pointing in one direction, right.

Let's go back to the campaign, during the campaign, Donald Trump, otherwise seeming to be a hardline republican on foreign policy, accusing the world of, you know, of always getting the better of the United States, accusing our allies of outfoxing us, accusing the Chinese of raping us, accusing everybody, every country is bad except Russia.

And he has only nice things to say about Russia and how he wants to get on. Then we have the puzzle where people allege business ties with Russia and he won't reveal and release his taxes.

So, you're wondering what that is. We know Donald Trump doesn't pay much in taxes, that's already known. We know he doesn't give much money to charity.

So, those would not be revelations. What's going on? His campaign chairman Paul Manafort works for the pro-Russian puppet Ukrainian president, that guy is now in exile in Russia. So we know leaks come out of Ukraine that saying Manafort was given cash money by essentially the Russian intelligence service.

Then we start to learn that Flynn, you know, makes these five phone calls to the Russian ambassador to talk to him about the sanctions the Obama administration put on them. Now today we learned, you know, the story you're just telling us.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: But, which they denied -- the first part of it about Flynn, which they denied at first, right. They denied and at it was, you know, the media trying to take him down. And now it looks it turns out to be true. ZAKARIA: Right.

LEMON: And he resigned. Go on.

ZAKARIA: And to me, the most interesting piece of that is that he called the Russian ambassador five times. The chance that Mike Flynn would be freelancing would be doing this without some communication with the president-elect seems to me highly unlikely in that circumstance.


CHURCH: Fareed Zakaria there with our Don Lemon. But on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer disputed that President Trump is being too friendly with Russia.

Take a listen.


SPICER: The irony of this entire situation is that the president has been incredibly tough on Russia. He continues to raise the issue of Crimea, which the previous administration allowed to be seized by Russia.

President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.

At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia unlike previous administrations so that we can solve many problems together facing the world, such as threat of ISIS and terrorism.


CHURCH: Mr. Trump is approaching one month in the White House. But his team is dealing with an issue that stuck with them since day one. Ties to Russia. More on that breaking news, coming up next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I want to update you now on our breaking news.

High-level advisers to Donald Trump were in constant contact with Russian officials during Mr. Trump's presidential campaign. Multiple law enforcement and intelligence officials say they were concerned about the frequency of the communication and the proximity of those involved to Mr. Trump.

Well, the White House is putting the blame squarely on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for his own demise. Spokesman Sean Spicer says Flynn misled the administration about his discussions with Russia's U.S. ambassador.

Now President Donald Trump faces questions about whether he has been honest with the media.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One day after the Trump administration offered conflicting stories about the fate of now former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the White House tried to give one simple explanation.

Flynn lost the trust of the president and it was time to go.


SPICER: The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led to the president to ask for General Flynn's resignation.


ACOSTA: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says it was Flynn who sealed his own fate by misleading top administration officials including the vice president about his phone conversation about sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

But Spicer declined to say whether Flynn had intentionally lied about the call.


SPICER: I don't know that it was intentional. He may have just forgotten. But I think that at some point trust isn't just trust...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem to forget though the conversation...

SPICER: No, no, but that's the point, Jim. Is that at some point that trust eroded to a point where the president did not feel comfortable with him serving in that position and ask for him to receive his resignation.


ACOSTA: In his resignation letter, Flynn would only say he inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.

The White House says there were questions about Flynn's story. On January 26, the Justice Department rely its concerns about the call to White House counsel Don McGahn who informed the president. Spicer says the White House investigation concluded there was nothing illegal about Flynn's action.

All of that raises questions as to why the president claimed he didn't know about or report about the matter when he was ask about it Friday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

SPICER: He was asked specifically as he aware of a Washington Post story. He hadn't seen that at the time.


ACOSTA: Spicer deflected questions about what the president knew and when he knew it by claiming Mr. Trump had been tough on Russia.


SPICER: The irony of this entire situation is that the president has been incredibly tough on Russia.

ACOSTA: To a lot of Americans it seems that this president has not been tough on Russia, how can you say that?

SPICER: I think there's a difference between the president wanting to have and then understanding of how a good relationship with Russia can help us defeat ISIS and terrorists throughout the world.

Look, the Obama administration tried to have a reset with Russia. They failed.


ACOSTA: Clearly, frustrated by the spectacle top republican say the president had no other choice.


PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You cannot have a national security adviser misleading the vice president and others. So, I think the president was right to ask for his resignation. And I believe it was the right thing to do.


[03:20:03] ACOSTA: And the White House reveals Vice President Mike Pence was not informed about all of this until February 9th. We're told Pence first found out not from the White House but from news report that Flynn was changing a story about whether he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

Jim Acosta, CNN, at the White House.

CHURCH: Joining me now is Brendon O'Connor who is an associate professor of American politics at the University of Sydney. Thanks so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, 24 hours ago, General Flynn resigned from his post after only three weeks in the job. Tuesday evening we learned about the frequency of the contact between President Trump's aides and senior Russian advisers. Two major breaking news items by any one's measure. And yet, Mr. Trump tweets that the real story is illegal leaks. We know his style is to distract from major stories. Will it work this time do you think?

O'CONNOR: Well, lying seems to be catching up with people in the Trump administration or people who work for trump during the campaign. That if you got have evidence on tape or this being FBI investigation into communication between the Trump election team and Russian officials, maybe intelligence7officials it's hard it skirt around that.

And that's where Flynn sort of ultimately had to fall on his sword because there was some hard evidence that he'd lied that he hadn't told the truth that he had had contact.

Now for what purpose this was how close these contacts were, there's going to be explored over the next few months. But it's certainly not going to go away. This isn't the end of the scandal. In some way it's beginning of something which may turn out to be bigger.

General Flynn, 24 days in the job. So, that - that in itself was remarkable. But I think there's quite a lot to come in terms of what we may find out.

CHURCH: Yes. It looks like you may be very right on that. And of course, three weeks into the Trump administration has Russia's President Vladimir Putin succeeded in destabilizing the U.S. president? Was that his aim do you think, and how much damage has been done so far?

O'CONNOR: I think Putin would like to see a Trump presidency that's a partnership not as chaotic presidency because then things would be quite unpredictable for the Russians. There could be a backlash in the Congress against Russia. And then at the moment the democrats want to blame the election loss on Russia.

But as republicans in the Congress say look, there is some shady evidence here, we've got to inquire into it. (Technical difficulty) like John McCain, the republican Senator with a long history of very negative about Russian influence in the world.

So, this could, you know, this could backfire on the Russians and I think they are aware of it. They don't want the presidency to be total chaos because then they are aligned with a leader who is not seemed as particularly good or strong.

So, I think you know, to say that, you know, the Russians should hope this would be sort of the end of the United States and the great decline, maybe that's overly wishful thinking. I don't think that's going to occur. But it's certainly are they're trying. CHURCH: And Mr. Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer as we heard was insisting Tuesday that the president has been tough on Russia certainly on the subject of Crimea and Ukraine or that was his view. But he hasn't, has he?

Why do you think he's being so soft on Russia and so tough on U.S. allies including Australia?

O'CONNOR: Well, that's the big question, isn't it? I mean, this is contact -- particularly Paul Manafort who was the campaign director for a long time, he was -- who eventually dropped because they were saying that he may be a liability to Trump.

But did Manafort had set up this idea in Trump's head that a kind of a strong man alliance with Putin and Trump was going to be a good way to present foreign policy.

This is a great mystery really in some ways why Trump moved in that direction. He has made these statements about the Crimea that this -- you know, and also this activities in the Ukraine Trump criticizing them to some extent. So, then, I think we shouldn't totally ignore that.

But the overwhelming position has been, you know, very hard on China, toughing tough occasionally with allies like Australia, the Japanese and South Korea. But there's very extraordinarily sort of positive view about Russia that's, you know, speculation is going to come from there.

And if these phone conversation between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials and senior government officials that's explosive and interesting news for us all.

CHURCH: All right. Brendon O'Connor, many thanks to you, joining us there from Sydney, Australia. I appreciate.


O'CONNOR: My pleasure.

CHURCH: And we're just getting this information in, Russia is not returning Crimea, that coming from the foreign ministry spokeswoman. She told the press Wednesday that Russia will not be returning Crimea to Ukraine. Saying, "We're not returning our territory. Crimea is part of the Russian federation."

[03:25:01] The comments came during the weekly foreign ministry press conference. So, interesting information there. We'll continue to keep an eye on any more developments.

Of course, President Trump will be welcoming Israel's prime minister to the White House by abandoning a U.S. doctrine. The details straight ahead.


[00:00:28] CHURCH: And a warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States, and of course, all around the world.

I want to keep you updated on our breaking news. Multiple officials confirm Donald Trump campaign aides were in constant communication with Russian officials as he vied for the White House.

Investigators say contact by itself is not unusual, but the frequency of the talks and high status of the people involved raised concerns.

Mr. Trump's national security adviser and one of his earliest supporters resigned after it became public he had mislead the vice president over his talks with Russian officials.

[03:29:59] Well, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Trump in Washington Wednesday. Mr. Netanyahu says he's looking forward to a stronger alliance between the U.S. and Israel.

A big headline before that meeting. A White House official says the Trump administration will not insist on a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinian.

For more, we have Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, and our Frederik Pleitgen in Tehran. Welcome to both of you.

So, Oren, let's start with you. And we've seen some pretty mixed messages from the Trump administration in regards to Israeli settlements. And now, the two states solution appears to be off of the table which is very significant. How is this all playing out in the region and what are Palestinians saying being this?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not completely off the table. The White House said they wouldn't insist on a two-state solution saying, they're open to whatever other ideas are agreeable to both sides.

Now that in and of itself tells you exactly where this will end up. Palestinians insist that it's in the international consensus that there is no other option other than a two-state solution. An Israeli state next to a Palestinian state. And the Palestinians have said that repeatedly both before and after this coming from the White House that they won't insist on a Palestinian state.

But it gives the White House some wiggle room. The assessment here is that it's simply the White House not having formulated and President Trump not yet having formulated his Middle East policy. Something that's been very ambiguous, as you point out, we've seen him walk back his policy on settlements. It appeared he was very pro-settlements during his campaign, something that the settlers here and the right wing was happy about.

He's also walked back on his promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. So, it's unclear what his Middle East policy will be. Perhaps Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his meeting looking for some sort of clarification there. Though, for the two leaders that won't be as important as making sure that there is a -- that there appears to be a fresh start here.

And that both leaders are willing to work together. And it's an improved, a very improved relationship from President Barack Obama's very rocky relationship with Netanyahu.

Perhaps more importantly, the White House not insisting on a two-state solution gives Netanyahu some wiggle room. That allows him to say that he still supports peace even if he says it's not the right time to pursue a Palestinian state.

That means he won't anger his right wing coalition including some of his own party members who are calling on him to back away from his previous public commitment to a two-state solution. At the same time he won't have to anger the international community by backing away from that.

So it gives both the Trump administration and Netanyahu here some wiggle room in terms of what they say. But it's very clear Netanyahu doesn't want to talk about settlements, he wants to talk about Iran.

CHURCH: Right. And let's talk about that. Let's turn to Fred. What is likely to come out of talks between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Iran nuclear deal given both leaders very unhappy with it? What are the expectations there?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Rosemary. Both leaders are very unhappy with it. Benjamin Netanyahu saying in the past that he want the Iran nuclear deal to go away. While Donald Trump has called it a bad teal. And so he wants to renegotiate it.

All of that of course, not going down very well at all. Here in Tehran a lot of Iranian officials of course looking very closely at the meeting that's taking place today between the Israeli prime minister and Donald Trump.

And you've heard some rhetoric here out of Tehran over the past couple of days as well, defending the nuclear deal. The head of Iran's nuclear energy agency came out and said, look, tact that Donald Trump is so angry about the nuclear agreement shows that it's a good deal for Iran and that it's working.

The Foreign Minister, Java Zarif he came out and he said that Iran will definitely abide by the nuclear agreement but also expects all the other signatories all that agreement, which is of course is the U.S. and several other powers as well to also abide by it and that that was precondition.

So, the Iranians are very clear on their stance. Now at the same time of course, many of them are quite concerned that the nuclear agreement could be in jeopardy. That if there is continued discord between the U.S. and Iran that there could be further measures taken and also hostilities between the two countries, all of that of course casts the shadow of doubt over the future of the nuclear agreement.

And it's interesting to see here in Iran itself where you do have a lot of people who are critical of the nuclear agreement. Especially the more conservatives here in Iran. They say, look, the nuclear agreement hasn't brought us the economic benefit that we thought that we would actually get. At the same time obviously weakened our capabilities for getting a

nuclear energy, a nuclear developments. So, a lot of people are unhappy with it. But there's very few people who actually want it to go away. Because there are economic sectors here in this country where the nuclear agreement has actually brought a lot of benefit. Especially if you look at the oil and gas sector where Iran is very much back on the market. It has seriously increased its oil and gas outputs.

So, right now, the Iranians understand that they are walking a very delicate line with Washington. They know that there is anything even small things could set off new tensions. For instance, the ballistic missile test that they conducted in late January.

[03:35:01] But also at certain times the situation of course in the Persian Gulf where the U.S. and Iranian military assets are close to one another. So, they understand the delicacy of the situation. They say they're not backing down from any of their positions, and at the same time, of course, listening in very carefully to what Donald Trump and the Israeli prime minister are going to say today after that meeting, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And we will certainly be watching and listening very closely. Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, many thanks to you, and Frederik Pleitgen in Tehran, for joining us there.

So let's go now to John Lyndon, live in London. He is the executive director for One Voice, that's a global initiative for a negotiated into the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Thanks so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, the trump administration now says a two-state solution is not something it will insist upon. We're yet to sort of figure out what that means exactly.

And that of course, in an effort to forge peace in the Middle East. So, if a two-state solution is in pursuit -- and we don't know that for sure, what are the other options and how are the Palestinians likely to respond to this change in decades of U.S. foreign policy.

LYNDON; Well, it's very unclear what alternative actually exists. And I've never heard a coherent policy for an inter conflict articulated by people who oppose a two-state solution on either side on Israel and Palestine that I think is likely to result in -- truly in anti-violent and that's what counter resolution needs to get out, right.

Israelis and Palestinians need to decide no longer to be at war with one other. What we are seeing right now in Israel is a pretty market rise in the annexation movement. And we had a conference on Monday in Jerusalem where seven cabinet ministers and the president of Israel were calling openly on the eve of Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, D.C. for annexation of at least part or maybe all of the West Bank.

And it's not clear to me how Israel would maintain its character. If that was to happen in (Inaudible) and prevent the old bank of really significant violence. And from the Palestinian side, I mean, they've embracing a two-state solution there for well over 25 years.

The international consensus which took a long time to form has been for two states.

And what I would say to President Trump is and with this conflict, particularly doing no harm is an important principle, very quickly things can spiral out of control. And he already has quite a lot in his playbook internationally and domestically. And I just caution allowing Israel/Palestine to come to the floor again and seeing this sort of violence we've seen in previous rounds.

CHURCH: Yes. And of course, we don't know what it's going to look like. But what do you think the policy for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict might look like under Trump administration given we've already seen these mixed messages or where the U.S. embassy should be located, and on Israeli settlements.

And we've seen this before, haven't we during campaign candidate that U.S. president campaigned -- presidential candidate have said one thing, and then once have been briefed and once they're in position as the president and understood the complexity of the situation in the Middle East they have had to walk this back, haven't they?

LYNDON: They have. And that's been the trend up until now. But with President Trump obviously that the word that everybody keeps using is unprecedented. So, at caution being certain that we're going to see that happening again.

We have his candidate for ambassador to Israel who is due to be probably confirmed on Thursday. And he himself is an ardent supporter of the settle movement as is an opponent of a two-state solution. So it all kind of depends upon which our voice prevail.

I mean, one note for optimism I supposed is King Abdullah of Jordan kind of flew to Washington on announced to meet with President Trump, he did so. And we saw immediately after that meeting President Trump speaking in them, I would say more clearer terms about the danger of expansion of settlements jeopardizing a two-state solution, and also walking back some of the rhetoric he's used on the embassy.

So, to me, and it is very early. It seems as though President Trump's opinion on this is not made up. And he looks to want to do broadly quite a few things in the Middle East. And what you will find quickly is that if you inflame the situation in the West Bank and in the territories and if you create greater violent and instability it becomes harder to do things more broadly across the region.

Because the Palestinian issue while it followed away from the very top of international agenda in the Middle East it's still something that electrifies the Arab street and it's something that nobody should be complacent about.

CHURCH: Right. And then just finally, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Trump what sort of assurances will he likely receive given the administration's policy doesn't appear to be firmed up yet. And what do you think he is expecting out of this?

LYNDON: I think he is hoping to speak mostly about Iran. I think we heard the leaks from his office saying 50 percent of the meeting will be about that topic. So I think he wants assurances o that issue.

But on Israel/Palestinian specifically I think what he's looking for is some sort of assurance around a softer line on settlement building that once the case with President Obama. I think for President Trump he needs to kind of maintain the need for Israelis and Palestinians to citizens not just the leaders to be able to move toward a two-state solution are so in kind of negotiated into this conflict.

[03:39:56] And to caution Prime Minister Netanyahu about allowing more sort of radical elements in his cabinet to inflame the issue, and of course 2017 the year, which don't forget is the 50th anniversary of the 6-day war where we see violence come to the floor again.

And with the role of the United States as the main interlocutor in this conflict for so long to prevent that from happening. Israelis and Palestinians depend upon it.

CHURCH: All right. John Lyndon, joining us there from London, where it is 8.40 in the morning. Many thanks to you.

Well, a new mystery involving the North Korean regime. Kim Jong-un's half-brother has died suddenly. And some say he was murdered. We'll take a look at that. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. We are following breaking news out of Washington. As multiple officials confirmed President Donald Trump's campaign aides were in constant communication with Russian officials as he vied for the White House.

Mr. Trump's national security adviser and one of his earliest supporters resigned after it became public he had mislead the vice president over his talks with Russian officials.

[03:44:55] Well, South Korea says the half-brother of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un has been murdered with poison. Kim Jong-nam was once considered to be next in line to lead the North. He was critical of his family and was living in exile. He suddenly fell ill at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday.

Our Matt Rivers joins us now from Seoul, South Korea, with more on this. So, Matt, there's a lot that we don't know of course. But what have you been able to piece together so far on what happened and who may have been behind the death of Kim Jong-nam. Some calling this murder. MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, the people that are

calling this murder is the South Korean government. Actually we've been getting more and more details throughout the day today. And it really started this morning here in South Korea with a meeting that was convene in emergency national Security Council meeting.

And it was after that meeting that reporters received a quick briefing from the chairman of the national assembly's intelligence community and that lawmaker said that it was the estimation of that intelligence committee and the national security council that Kim Jong-nam as a result of being poisoned at the Kuala Lumpur airport.

He was poisoned in the airport and then died en route to the hospital after asking a counter official, at a check in counter for a help according to Malaysian police.

Now what we don't know and what no proof has been offered by the South Korean government is how he was poisoned and by whom. They do say they have two suspects and that would be described as two Asian women but they didn't go any further than that and they didn't say why those women are suspects or who they might be.

So, according to the South Korean government yes, Kim Jong-nam was murdered but they won't say by who, they won't say why. And in terms of what we're getting from the Malaysian police we got their version of events of what happened at the airport.

And now we're getting or expecting the results of autopsy. We know that Kim Jong-nam's body was taken to a morgue where it is expected to be examined but a medical examiner and the results of that autopsy will presumably will be released at some point, which pretty shed light on exactly what he died from.

But as you may imagine, Rosemary, there's a lot of speculation going on, given the fact that this is the older half-brother of Kim Jong-un, one of the most violent and autocratic dictators in the world.

CHURCH: Yes. Explain to us why would Kim Jong-un's half-brother be targeted and perceived as a threat given he lived in exile and he had no leadership aspirations at all.

RIVERS: Sure. Well, to be clear, I mean, there's no verified of factual evidence that points at who may be behind what the South Korean government is calling a murder. But the fact is that North Korean elites and experts say are generally weary of being target.

And that's because Kim Jong-un himself of what he's done over the past several years since taking power back several years ago after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. He's purges several high leaders. And experts say that many people likely including Kim Jong-nam would be afraid for their lives if they are perceived as a threat.

CHURCH: All right. Matt Rivers, joining us there live from Seoul in South Korea. Many thanks to you.

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are trying to plan for a very uncertain future. Coming up, what people in one border community are doing. We're back in a moment.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A stormy day across the southern U.S. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri watching this pattern here. With a quick moving disturbance that is slated to move across the area. It could bring Atlanta metro some strong thunderstorms eventually into Charlotte, Charleston, Raleigh into the afternoon hours of Wednesday.

And to the north, a new system comes in out of Canada. It produces some very heavy snow fall generally north of Boston. It could get few light snow showers out of Boston but the highest accumulations around Northern New England in the next 24 hours.

And the western U.S., the storm to a wide open. A lot of folks under preparations here of flooding concerns of course around parts of northern California with a dam that has been damage and is under repair at this hour, so certainly watching that carefully.

And notice, San Francisco warms up to 18 degrees, and places like Denver also a very mild winter day at 18 degrees, with generally dry conditions. And notice, the shots of cold there a very short lived and very much confined to one corner of the entire continent of the United States. So, it is going to be a drier period, a warm period the next week or so around the U.S.

Down into the tropics, Belize City around 30 degrees, Kingston, Jamaica, bringing in some showers, Cartagena, around 31 degrees, and also expected to remain dry. While in Lima, Peru, going to begin to see the warming trend across this region at 31. Manaus comes in with temps, in a similar range right around 30 degrees. And watching additional storms around the Rio Gallegos.

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The arrest of the Washington statesman is deepening fears. The White House is targeting so-called dreamers. Daniel Ramirez was allowed to stay in the U.S. under an Obama administration program that temporarily protects undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Immigration says Ramirez was arrested based on his admitted gang affiliation. The attorney for Ramirez says he was repeatedly pressured to falsely admit being in a gang.

Well, anxiety about possible deportation is growing in immigrants communities across the United States. The concerns are especially deep in border towns.

Gary Tuchman has more now from San Diego.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-three-year-old Javier moved from Mexico to San Diego when he was four years old. He graduates from college this May, he hopes. Javier is undocumented. And when you're undocumented there are no guarantees.

How fearful are you that one day perhaps this new administration that an immigration agent can come up to you on a street, in a restaurant can say I want to see your papers? How realistic is that, how fearful are you of that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm fearful every other minute to be honest.

TUCHMAN: Judy lives in San Diego, too. She is also undocumented. So frightened she doesn't want her face shown. Her husband is American so are our two small sons. Mark fell in love with her after she came from Mexico more than a decade ago in search of a better life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our boys are six and seven and they already understand that they know the one they drop off to school in the morning that there's a chance that their mom won't be there when they come home.


TUCHMAN: The fears more acute now with Donald Trump as president. Hot line of immigrant social service organizations taking and making calls to people worried they could be deported at any time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I wasn't sure if your situation if you would be interested in meeting with an immigration attorney.


TUCHMAN: Andrea Guerrero is the executive director of a group called Alliance San Diego.


ANDREA GUERRERO, ALLIANCE SAN DIEGO EXECUTVE DIRECTOR: We have a president who has extraordinary powers and aims to use them to destroy our community.


TUCHMAN: And there is extra concern here because of the nature of where they live. San Diego County is best known for the City of San Diego but it's also a border county. For about 60 miles it sits on the frontier of Mexico. He in the very southwestern portion of the county a border fence actually extends into the Pacific Ocean hammers focus on that area keeping an eye on borders on boaters or swimmers who would be trying to come into the United States.

Because of the location there are far more immigration agents and resources than other places. And deportations are logistically much easier.


[03:54:59] GUERRERO: It can happen within the hour. It is fast and it is final. And that is very, very scary for us here in this continent.


TUCHMAN: Javier's two brothers are American citizens because they were born here but Javier has been not been able to get any type of documentation. And if he voluntarily went back to the nation he hasn't been since he was a child to wait for U.S. approval.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would probably not have a chance given my entry. And there was a way I probably end up 20, 30 years waiting to be able to come back home.

TUCHMAN: Mark he doesn't believe his wife would see the U.S. again if she voluntarily wen back. But if one day he finds out that she is taken away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we have contingency plan to set up with the kids to get pick up at school. We have contingency plan setup for her in detention if she gets put in detention. We have contingency plan set for her if she has to go gets deported. Because we don't know -- you know, there's no guarantee that they'll let her call her, there's no guarantee they'll let her call me. I love her. I mean, how do you explain how much you love your wife.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, San Diego.

CHURCH: A difficult situations there and some tough stories to tell. So we do want to leave you with a smile for a change, right. Check out the stunning pictures from California's Yosemite Park. Photographers captured what's known as a water fall, a natural effect that gives the illusion of bright orange lava flowing off the cliff. Look at that. The fireball burst to life when the sun set at a certain angle causing light to hit the host tail water fall as it's called, just right. It happens for a couple of week each February. There you go.

Something to live to spirit. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church.