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Space X Launch of Unmanned Spacecraft Delayed; Vice President Mike Pence Speaks to European Leaders Regarding America's Commitment to Trans-Atlantic Alliance; President Trump Criticizes Media; Members of White House Asian-American Advisory Commission Resign; Strong Weather Hits Southern California; NBA All-Star Game's Move from Charlotte, North Carolina to New Orleans Examined. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 18, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:09] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So glad to have you on board with us. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. CNN Newsroom begins now. And we have a packed political show to get to today. A lot to talk about as related to politics. We're going to start, though, Cape Canaveral in Florida where Space X is launching an unmanned spacecraft.

PAUL: Take a look at it here. This spacecraft packed with more than 5,000 pounds of cargo. It's on its way to the International Space Station. It looks like they've got a beautiful day for it. Some clouds but definitely some sunshine. We're 60 seconds away, we're told. This is the first launch, by the way, in Florida since an explosion on the launch pad there last September. You remember that explosion destroyed a Facebook satellite. The launch today has symbolic meaning to it as well. It's the first launch from this pad from the Kennedy Space Center complex since that shuttle program ended there in 2011.

And of course, the founder Elon Musk, tweeted just yesterday that investigating a very small leak in the upper stage. It's OK. We'll launch tomorrow. Looks like they are launching. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: T-minus 30. T-minus 20. Hold. Hold. Hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just had a hold on the countdown. We have aborted the countdown at T-minus 13 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clock has stopped.

PAUL: You've heard there they have aborted the countdown. Don't know what happened or what went wrong. We'll continue to watch, though, and keep you updated throughout the morning.

Meanwhile, what a Saturday it has been in Florida. President Donald Trump, in fact, spending a working weekend at his Florida estate, his third weekend in a row away from Washington, tweeting just a short time ago, quote, "We'll be having many meetings this weekend at the southern White House." Big 5:00 p.m. speech in Melbourne, Florida. A lot to talk about.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about that speech. You mentioned it's actually a campaign rally. Yes, campaign. The White House says this is being run by Donald J. Trump for President. The campaign has Trump voters, he's courting them stateside. His vice president is in Europe reassuring fellow members of NATO that America is committed to the trans-Atlantic partnership.


MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENT: Today on behalf of President Trump I bring you this assurance. The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this trans- Atlantic alliance.



BLACKWELL: We're following this story across the globe this morning beginning with CNN's Ryan Nobles who is tracking the president's speech later this afternoon. Ryan, to you, why is this a campaign rally so soon after the inauguration?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, it is a great question. And you know, the president has already filed his paperwork to run for reelection. In fact he did that on the day he was inaugurated. So it's not that big of a surprise that he would already hit the campaign trail because it is the place where he seems most comfortable.

And this rally that he's holding today is being held at an airport just outside of Orlando, the sight of one of his biggest rallies during the campaign. And today may be to a certain extent an extension of that 77-minute press conference that we saw on Thursday where President Trump pushes back on some of the reports that there's been chaos and disarray in his administration and instead points to what he believes are his accomplishments. They strongly believe in the White House that Donald Trump has been, as they say, in the promise keeping business, and expect him to talk a lot about that today in Florida. In fact, yesterday in South Carolina he talked about keeping some of those promises, particularly when it comes to job creation. Take a listen to what he had to say.


TRUMP: We have the greatest people anywhere in the world. We have the greatest spirit, and you just look at what's going on today in our country. You look at what's happening with jobs. You look at what's happening with plants moving back into our country. All of a sudden they're coming back.


NOBLES: There's certainly an argument to be made that the president right now his historically low approval ratings for a president at this stage of his presidency, but he still enjoys rock rib support from his most passionate supporters. And to a certain extent today will be getting past the filter of us in the media and speaking directly to those supporters.

This is a working weekend for the president. In addition to this rally being held today in Melbourne at the winter White House or the southern White House as he refers to it, he's also going to be very much looking at his next national security advisor.

[10:05:00] He has a number of people coming through for interviews. Some of his closest advisors will be there for part of this process. Among people expected to meet with the president this weekend is the former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton who is emerging as a frontrunner, someone who Texas Senator Ted Cruz believes Donald Trump should put into that position. Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right, Ryan, thanks so much.

NOBLES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk now and bring in Washington bureau chief of the "Chicago Sun-Times" Lynn Sweet and CNN senior political analyst and the senior editor of "Atlantic" Ron Brownstein. Good morning. So Ron, let's start here. This is a campaign rally.


BLACKWELL: Do we know if this is an extension of the 2016 campaign, if it's 1,000 days plus early for the 2020 campaign? What do we know about this?

BROWNSTEIN: I think it's more of an extension of the 2016 campaign. Look, it is not unusual to see presidents go out and try to rally support for their agenda. I think what's striking to me about this is that really the agenda in terms of legislation is still so unformed at this point. He is essentially rallying support for the idea of his presidency.

As Ryan said, his core supporters are with him. But the fact is that no president has ever faced approval ratings this low this early in his presidency. He is under 40 percent in both Pugh and Gallup. And that means that not everybody who was on board initially is still on board.

I would just point at two big changes. In the election he won according to the exit polls 48 percent of white voters with a college education. He won 46 percent of independents. It wasn't only core Republicans who elected him. There's just not enough of those. And today among both groups his approval rating is down at around 35 percent. Obviously there's a long way to go, but you can see the initial reaction to this presidency has been deeply polarizing in a way that goes beyond what we have seen for previous presidents.

BLACKWELL: Lynn, I want you to listen to what then candidate Trump said back in April about returning to potentially the campaign trail to these rallies and being presidential. Watch.


TRUMP: At some point I'm going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored, and I'll come back as a presidential person, and instead of 10,000 people I'll have about 150 people, and they'll say but boy, he really looks presidential.


BLACKWELL: "I'll come back as a presidential person." He's coming back as president. What are you expecting, Lynn, for him to say? As Ron pointed out, he's not pushing a specific piece of legislation today.

LYNN SWEET, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Well, he already predicted during his press conference that he's going to have a massive crowd, so I believe he will define what massive is. What we say, even if there's thousands of people there, even if the airport hangar is jammed, it doesn't take the place of, as Ron said, putting out a budget in a few weeks. At the end of this month, he has a joint address to Congress where he is going to have to say something that lets the lawmakers know what they should write into legislation or what he supports of what they're doing. So I think one other good thing that may come, though, of having this campaign sponsored rally is that perhaps the taxpayers will have less money to pay for it.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of taxpayers having less money, I want to talk about -- you want to get that?

SWEET: Sorry.

BLACKWELL: Ron, let me come to you. Speaking of taxpayers having less money, this is what then private citizen Trump tweeted in 2014. "If Obama is concerned about the border, he should stop vacationing. Government will save millions, which it can use to stop illegal migration." This is the third consecutive weekend that the president has spent at home at Mar-a-Lago. There's a goose-gander phrase that Mitt Romney made pretty popular during his campaign.

BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think this is going to be an issue as we go forward. Obviously every president has to live their life, and Donald Trump comes with, you know, certain aspects that are unique. But the expense of keeping Secret Service in New York, traveling to Florida, also his children who are traveling around the world on their business activities, you can expect a louder kind of drumbeat from Democrats as you go forward.

Can I just reaffirm a little further on one thing Lynn mentioned. One of the core promises Donald Trump made and continues to make as president even yesterday in his speech is tax reform that will encourage more U.S. companies to create jobs in the U.S. The cornerstone, as the House moved forward to try to implement this plan, the cornerstone of that plan is what's called an import adjustment tax, a new tax on imports. That's how they're going to finance imported parts. That's how they're going to finance all their reductions and other corporate tax rates. In the last few days we had a succession of senators saying that idea is dead in the Senate, including Tim Scott at a town hall this morning. So the principle way that the House wants to implement one of Donald Trump's core reforms is already facing a brick wall in the Senate, and the administration has been largely AWOL in this discussion.

[10:10:07] While Donald Trump is out kind of continuing this campaign and attacking the media, kind of raging at Meryl Streep, there is a government to run. And I think you have a certain amount of frustration from Republicans on Capitol Hill about not getting them more engaged in doing that.

SWEET: Could I?

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

SWEET: To underscore the underscore. So far Trump has seemed to think that you govern just by executive order. It should only be that easy. It's not, because executive orders alone don't -- executive orders are not law. You can't change a tax code by just typing up an executive order. And that is the reality that he's going to face, the limit of the presidency that you do have to work with Congress to make permanent change even to get the funding for the wall.

So if you want to implement your policy, you've got to work with Congress, and that means that's a different phase than he's in now. So if he wants to have a rally, everyone's entitled to do what they want. I think when he starts hitting the stories about -- when he starts complaining about stories about all the money that's being spent for his travel, well, then, we'll see how that goes because he could call out the messengers but that won't change what the message is.

BLACKWELL: I doubt, though, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I doubt we're going to hear the president talk about the limits of his presidency today in his rally. But it will be 5:00 from Melbourne, Florida. Lynn, Ron, thank you both.

SWEET: Thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.


PAUL: What was to be a significant launch of a rocket from Space X just moments ago was scrapped within -- with seconds to go essentially. We were listening down here to 20 seconds, and then all of a sudden it was scrapped. We want to listen again to the moment that the whole thing was aborted. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold, hold, hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just had a hold on the countdown. We have aborted the countdown at T-minus 13 seconds.


PAUL: So what happened? Rachel Crane is there. Rachel, what are you learning from 12 minutes after this happened?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, it's obviously just in the preliminary phases of them figuring out what happened here, but I want to point out that this is not that unusual, Christi. That's what makes covering rocket launches so difficult is oftentimes they are aborted at left minute for various reasons.

Of course, space travel is difficult. These are incredible machines and obviously a lot of things go wrong. We do know right now that Space X just tweeted out, saying "Standing down to take a closer look at positioning of second stage engine," and that the next launch opportunity would be tomorrow at 9:38 eastern time. That would be the earliest available launch opportunity would be tomorrow.

We do know also that Elon Musk yesterday tweeted out that they were -- hold on I'm sorry, let me pull out the tweet right here. They said that they were investigating a very small leak in the upper stage. It's OK. It will launch tomorrow. But of course as we know the launch this morning was in fact aborted with just seconds to go.

We also know that as a result of that small leak they had added an abort trigger at T-minus 60 seconds for pressure decay of upper stage helium system. So, Christi, as I pointed out, still in the very preliminary stages of getting to the bottom of what happened here. But as I said, these things do often happen when these missions are aborted with just seconding to go.

PAUL: We'll see if they can get whatever the problem is fixed by tomorrow at 9:38. Rachel Crane, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Four weeks into the Trump presidency and already members of his administration are walking off the job. Why 16 advisors to the president have resigned.

PAUL: And it's a busy weekend in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star game. For North Carolina it's a missed opportunity to makes tens of millions of dollars. We take a closer look at the fallout over the state's bathroom bill.


[10:17:31] PAUL: It's 17 minutes past the hour right now. And it's being likened to a show of resistance. More than a dozen members of Donald Trump's advisory commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have officially resigned. Six of them quit the day Trump was inaugurated. Ten more followed suit this past week on Wednesday, sending a letter to President Trump which reads, "Although the commissioners' term ends September 30th, we can no longer serve a president whose policies aim to create outcomes that are diametrically opposite to our principles, goals, and charge."

I want to bring in Chris Lu, the former co-chair of that advisory commission. Chris, thank you so much for being with us. What specifically was it that prompted you to walk away?

CHRIS LU, FORMER CO-CHAIR, WHITE HOUSE ASIAN-AMERICAN INITIATIVE: It was the combination of policies and rhetoric. Now, it's important to get a little context here. This is an advisory committee that has served the Democratic and Republican administrations. It is nonpartisan at all. These are civic leaders who spend time working on issues like immigration, education, and health care. They were appointed under the Obama administration. Their terms expire at the end of the September and they decided after one month they couldn't serve under this president because of his policies and his rhetoric.

PAUL: What specific policies?

LU: The travel ban is one of them. It's notable that tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the executive order that allowed Japanese-American internment. And to many in the Asian-American community, this travel ban is really a ban on people from certain country or of certain religions, and it just harkens back to Japanese-American internment. But it's also the roll back of the Affordable Care Act, which has helped 2 million Asian-Americans. It's the immigration policies that will target undocumented immigrants. And more specifically it is the harmful rhetoric that comes out of this president's mouth on a day-to- day basis.

PAUL: You mentioned how this commission was founded. I know that it started under President Clinton and it did continue through George W. Bush and through Barack Obama. January 13th the commission I know the sent a letter to the president. You expressed your viewpoints and your goals at that point. Did you get a response at that point?

LU: There was no response to that. And this is a president who did virtually no outreach to the Asian-American community during his campaign. It's hard to find really any Asian-American faces in his administration at all. So there was no response then based on his policies over the last month, there's no indication that the interest of the community are a concern to him.

PAUL: Chris, let me ask you, in the past when you had sent your first letter to a new president, how long was it before you received a response from them? Do you know?

[10:20:07] LU: I don't know, but this is -- the commission had tried on several occasions to reach out to the Trump team to try to find areas of collaboration, and they've received no response.

PAUL: Were you ever able to personally speak with someone in the administration?

LU: Well, to be clear, I am not one of the commission members who resigned. I served under the initiative in the first term of the Obama administration. But I'm not aware of any of these commissioners having any meaningful conversations with anyone in the Trump administration.

PAUL: OK, all right. And with 29 days into his presidency, is there any thought that perhaps jumping the ship too soon? LU: You know, look, I think based on the tone of the campaign that

Donald Trump ran, based on the rhetoric that he's already -- and the policies that he's already indicated he's going to put forward, I think this was an appropriate move by these commissioners.

PAUL: All right, Chris Lu, we appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

LU: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Heavy rains pounding southern California, flooding roads, sending water pouring out of parking garages. Look at this. They're like waterfalls here. We've got an update on this deadly storm system coming.


PAUL: It's 24 minutes past the hour. And two people have died after severe storms hit southern California. In that area some dicey weather to contend with still.

[10:25:01] BLACKWELL: Yes, this morning roads are flooded with water, filled with water, running like rivers there. Flights cancelled, and there's a risk for landslides. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar live in the Severe Weather Center for us. As if this community, this part of the state did not get enough over the last 24 hours, their potentially is more on the way?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, a lot more in fact. We will get a brief reprieve later on today. That will allow for at least a temporary cleanup for some of these areas, but it's going to be short-lived because more heavy rain, especially for northern California, is on the way. So they're not in the clear just yet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's falling right now. Move the car.

CHINCHAR: A giant sinkhole swallows a car. Stunning pictures out of southern California after a monster storm brings heavy rain and powerful wind to the region leaving at least two people dead. In San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, rescue officials found one victim inside a submerged car and a downed power line is being blamed for an electro death in Sherman Oaks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The LAPD says the unidentified man was walking by and somehow came in contact with either the electrified lines or charged water.

CHINCHAR: And in one Santa Barbara neighborhood, two giant trees came down smashing into cars and a home, one woman narrowly escaped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just thankful I'm alive. Super scary. I'm still pretty shaken up about it.

CHINCHAR: Flash flood warnings were issued in several counties, the rain so furious that a parking garage was turned into a waterfall.


CHINCHAR: The nasty weather has closed dozens of roads in the area and more than 100,000 people have lost power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There goes the tree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole bottom is sliding.

CHINCHAR: And check out this awesome display of nature's power, a landslide of size of three football fields comes crashing down in a San Bernardino mountain, taking with it trees and boulders into the valley below.


CHINCHAR: And we're talking about a lot of extra rain in addition to what we've already had. Widespread we're looking at an additional two to four inches in many spots, but look at some of these orange and red areas. You're talking six it ten inches, and a lot of it is going to come down very quickly. That causes concerns for a lot of drivers out there on the roads. I cannot begin to emphasize enough to slow down and give yourself time. The average braking distance at 70 miles per hour in dry conditions is about 315 feet. You have a little bit of time to make that decision. But when the roads are wet, you need 560 feet. You don't have as much time to make that quick decision as to whether you need to hit your brakes meaning you don't have as much time and you're more likely to hydroplane if you have to do it faster. And vehicles can hydroplane at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour.

Victor, Christi, one of the other things is when those really heavy downpours come down, and we fully expect to have those, especially in northern California, that can reduce your visibility to near zero. And one other thing to point out, guys, too, Lake Oroville that we've been keeping a close eye on, remember they are concerned about dam overflow of that water and a dam failure, they are still under an evacuation emergency there, meaning those people need to be prepared at a moment's notice from here on out to evacuate if they deem it worthy.

PAUL: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

You know, when we have stories like this, there's always that one guy.

BLACKWELL: There's always at least one.

PAUL: That's true. Could be more. Who decide, you know what, I'm going to take advantage of it. Take a look at this. Attempting his own version of surfing through the streets. I don't know what he's yelling. He made it down most of this road. This is near Los Angeles. Look, not the safest decision. We don't really need to be the ones to say that.


PAUL: But cars were even waiting to turn onto the road to let him pass.

BLACKWELL: We follow-up the video saying -- Allison's report saying don't drive through standing water with this guy driving a truck through standing water with somebody on a surf board behind him. Don't do this, folks.

Vice President Mike Pence taking on a new role in the administration, calming overseas fears about President Trump. But will Europe be reassured after the president spent months criticizing NATO on the campaign trail?


[10:32:32] PAUL: Thanks for keeping us company this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

Vice President Mike Pence is attempting to relieve international fears about the ties between Washington and Moscow. Pence told European leaders at the Munich security conference the U.S. will hold Russia accountable for its actions in Crimea. This even as the president looks for areas to cooperate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENT: And know this. The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable even as we search for new common ground which, as you know, President Trump believes can be found.


PAUL: Russia appears to be pushing back on those comments, arguing it's the expansion of NATO that's creating tension. That's what Russia says. The company's foreign minister also rebuts reporting that Russia meddled in the U.S. election, saying he, quote, "saw no facts that Russia played any part in any hacks."

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile President Trump has launched another Twitter attack against the media.

PAUL: It reads "Don't believe the mainstream, fake news media. The White House is running very well. I inherited a mess and am in the process of fixing it," unquote. That's in stark contrast to comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel this morning.


ANGELA MERKEL, (via translator): I have done best when we show respect for each other, when we show mutual respect and whenever we differ we talk about it openly. Freedom of the press is a pillar of the democracy and that is something that I think we all accept.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: We have a team of reporters covering every angle. Ivan Watson is live in Moscow with Russia's reaction. Elise Labott is standing by with analysis. We're going to start with CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson who is live in Munich. So some important remarks coming from both the vice president and also the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov today.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, and I think that there you have in a nutshell the concerns that the Europeans. You have a reassuring message coming from Mike Pence today and we hear -- and then the leaders here see the tweet from President Trump denigrating the media, and very clearly the message and the understanding here, you just heard it from Angela Merkel there, a completely different view of the media by European leaders here, seeing them as an integral part of the democracy, of structures of democracy.

[10:35:14] This is the problem that many of the leaders here have at the moment. They're hearing these good words from Mike Pence, from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, from Secretary of Defense James Mattis. They're hearing these very clear, strong messages of support for NATO, but they're getting something else from President Trump. Nevertheless, that said, when the moment came for Mike Pence to give his speech here, his comments that he said were coming from President Trump were very well received. This is how it went.


PENCE: Today on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance -- the United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering on our commitment to this trans-Atlantic alliance.


ROBERTSON: There was a big round of applause after that. Of course he did give a caveat about how NATO member nations need to increase their defense spending and also said as long as you keep your faith in us we'll keep out faith in you. He talked about your successes are our successes, your struggles are our struggles. There was a lot of talk about unity.

But I think for certain of the leaders here, they're really going to measure these words against the actions and what they hear coming from President Trump at the White House. And today with his tweet on the media and what you heard from Angela Merkel, absolutely no exception. Almost in a way there's an erosion what President Trump does in terms of his tweets in a way for the European leaders here erodes the words of the vice president.

BLACKWELL: Those tweets not sent out of a silo. They have access to Twitter too there in Munich. Nic Robertson, thanks so much.

PAUL: Let's bring in senior international correspondent Ivan Watson who is live for us in Moscow. Ivan, talk to us about how Russia is reacting. IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think

this has been not the week that the Kremlin was expecting because you had people here in Moscow in political circles and media circles that were quite literally toasting Donald Trump's election and his inauguration with champagne. They were eating it up when he campaigned with platforms that were skeptical of the NATO military alliance, accusing European countries of freeloading off the U.S., and all his compliments for Vladimir Putin and for Russia.

And in the course of the last couple of days, we've heard from the U.S. defense secretary, Mattis, from Vice President Pence, this message of support for the NATO military alliance and repeated mentions, accusations that Russia has been disruptive and not respecting international law particularly with the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. That is not what people here expected to hear from the Trump administration.

So we're starting to hear criticism from senior Russian officials saying after all these promises from Trump, now it's kind of reverting to the old U.S. foreign policy which was one of a much more antagonistic relationship between Washington and Moscow. That's not what Russians expected when Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump had their phone call after the U.S. inauguration when they promised to try to repair relations between these two capitals.

PAUL: Ivan Watson, thank you so much. For analysis let's bring in CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. Elise, another thing that caught a lot of people's attention was Foreign Minister Lavrov saying the post Cold War order is over. What do you make of that?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting, Christi, because if you think about it, that was kind of what Donald Trump campaigned on, the idea that not only the post Cold War order. I mean, when Foreign Minister Lavrov is talking about it, he's kind of really talking about this standoffishness between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. being the only super power. But really Donald Trump has been campaigning on that the post World War II order is really antiquated and needs kind of updating. And that is why he was in some ways talking about this better relationship with Russia, that the U.S. can't go it alone, the U.S. can't be the policeman, it needs to team up with Russia.

So I think in that sense there is common ground on this idea that a new world order, and certainly Steve Bannon, the president's chief White House strategist, has said that the old world -- the old post world order is really not working. So I thought that was really interesting, that that's really a similarity.

[10:40:02] I think when everything we're talking about in terms of Russia and the kind of mixed messages coming from this administration, it's going to be interesting to see what the administration does, which is the kind of message that's not really -- that's just for show. Is it the message coming from everyone in this administration that the U.S. is going to be tougher on Russia and really President Trump plans on, you know, getting closer to Vladimir Putin as expected, or was he just sending this message to Russia during the campaign and now it's going to be business as usual, a kind of more of a tension with Russia?

I think we'll really have to see. I think that will have a large impact on Russia's actions in the region. The U.S. and Russia have been talking about working closer together in Syria to go against ISIS. Clearly there's other areas of cooperation that the U.S. wants Russia on. But President Trump did have a lot of rhetoric during the campaign, and now I think world leaders are looking for him to put kind of meat on the bones of his policies. And I don't think that Vice President Pence, even though he gave a very good and strong message to NATO about the U.S. commitment, he was pretty short on specifics. I think people are hungry for more.

PAUL: All right, Elise Labott, thank you so much. Always grateful to have you on board.

BLACKWELL: So this should have been a busy weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. But instead it's business as usual. The state is still dealing with the fallout over the controversial bathroom bill, and it is costing them millions.


[10:45:09] BLACKWELL: So this is a busy weekend in New Orleans as the NBA All-Star game comes to town, but for North Carolina, Charlotte specifically, this is a reminder of what could have been.

PAUL: Remember the NBA moved the game from Charlotte over the state's so-called bathroom bill, and the city council estimates they lost tens of millions of dollars in profits from that. Dianne Gallagher has been looking into this. What have you found?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you know, especially in the past year or so we've seen quite a bit of sports and politics intersectionality. On the All-Star game at least it's going to be less about what happens on the court there in New Orleans and more about where the game actually isn't being played.


GALLAGHER: In Charlotte the streets aren't exactly bare this weekend, but the plan was for uptown to be booming, which is exactly how to describe the scene in New Orleans right now. Thousands of NBA fans and celebrities reveling in the 2017 All-Star weekend.

CARLOS DECTON, CHARLOTTE RESIDENT: Dunk contest, three-point contest, stuff like that.

GALLAGHER: -- the one that was supposed to be in Charlotte, that is until the NBA yanked it after state lawmakers passed the so called bathroom bill, or HB-2, last year.

DECTON: It's rough. It's rough. I was really looking forward to the All-Star game being here.

GALLAGHER: In the words of North Carolina's new governor, this could have been a different weekend. JULIUS ROYALS, CHARLOTTE RESIDENT: It would have been awesome just to

be in the atmosphere of the city that hosts an All-Star game.

GALLAGHER: Charlotte City Council estimated the All-Star game would bring in approximately $100 million, most of that from visitor spending. But because of HB-2 which requires all people to use public restrooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificates and excludes the LGBT community from a statewide non-discrimination policy, brought down, it's unfortunately business as usual this weekend.

JEFF WAKEM, BUSINESS OWNER: I'm not a politician. I'm a businessman. And so for me I kind of take my personal beliefs on all this stuff out of it. And it's for me dollars and cents.

GALLAGHER: Jeff Wakem owns the restaurant Essex not far from the Spectrum Center where the game was supposed to be played.

WAKEM: My guess is we would probably have quadrupled our sales.

GALLAGHER: In a state where basketball is nearly a religion, for many it's frustrating.

DYLAN HARRISON, CHARLOTTE RESIDENT: I was excited to have it here and to get Kemba Walker voted into the All-Star game. But now that it's moved away I honestly couldn't care less about it.

GALLAGHER: But others say that while they were excited about the All- Star weekend, it is not worth compromising their values.

JEFF MUCKLER, CHARLOTTE RESIDENT: You've got to stick by what you believe in. Are you going to compromise your kid's safety? Are you going to put a dollar value on that? I don't put a dollar value on that. Politicians will. The mayor may.

GALLAGHER: And they have. Hundreds of millions are said to have been lost through businesses refusing to expand or relocate to North Carolina. Performers canceling concerts, the NCAA pulling seven championship events from the state, and the North Carolina sports association sent a letter out that says that says unless HB-2, the NCAA could remove all events through 2022.

DECTON: I hope they come to a resolution. I hear their trying to turn it around, maybe.

GALLAGHER: While several bills that would repeal HB-2 have been introduced, none have passed the Republican controlled legislature. As far as the All-Star game is concerned, this weekend belongs to the big easy. But the NBA says that if the law changes, Charlotte could be hosting its own big party in 2019.


GALLAGHER: Now, North Carolina isn't necessarily alone. More than a dozen states have either had lawmakers pre-file or file similar legislation, although none of those have actually passed at this point, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Dianne, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So the president's handshake, he held hands with Theresa May, long handshake with Shinzo Abe, and then of course there's the awkward handshake with Justin Trudeau. We're going to look into what these handshakes really mean.


PAUL: So the next time you're at the nation's capital, find out how you can be a tourist on the go off the clock.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Washington, D.C. is famous for its monuments, museums, and history. But for visitors short on time, the best option to take in all the sights might be to lace up their shoes and hit the ground running.

WILLIAM HUDEC, CITY RUNNING TOURS: Today's tour we're going to take a quick run around the mall.

D.C. is such a great place to run around. It's almost like a travel through American history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Companies like City Running Tours in D.C. offer a selection of guided runs, allowing travelers to choose the areas and sights that interest them most.

HUDEC: They want to have that immersive experience in local city, but they also want to come away with it feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. And this is a way for them to kind of maximize the benefits of both of those.

JEREMY GOTTLICH, RUNNER: When I visit other cities, I love to just explore, you know, by running. Running really gets you off the beaten path a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So when you're planning your next trip, pack your running shoes and see the city on the go.


BLACKWELL: All right, the Trump presidency has been unusual in several ways. So why should his handshakes be any different?

CNN's Jeannie Moos reports on the president's handshake style.


JEANNIE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not since this hot mess of a three- way has a handshake gotten so much attention. Clocked at almost 19 seconds, this became the handshake that left the Japanese prime minister shaken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But just watch his expression at the end. I feel you.


MOOS: For a guy who once called the handshake barbaric --

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm also very much of a germaphobe.

MOOS: -- Donald Trump has been ricking germs galore with his over the top handshakes, many of which include a yank, be it his Supreme Court nominee or his VP. Call it what you will, the pull in, the tug, the yank and pull, the grab and jerk. When he did it to a winner of "The Apprentice," it seemed like a tug of war.

[10:55:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump can't shake hands right.

MOOS: The more he likes you, the more he tugs and shakes. Body language expert Chris Ulrich says President Trump starts with a submissive gesture.

CHRIS ULRICH, BODY LANGUAGE EXPERT: His hand is open, almost putting his own hand like a beggar's pose, giving the other person the upper hand.

MOOS: But then he reasserts his dominance.

ULRICH: He literally pulls people off their feet, off their balance for a moment.

MOOS: And he often seals his alpha handshake with a pat, a hand hug. But when "SNL" Trump shook with Vladimir Putin, it was Putin who tugged and patted Trump.

At least a longhand shake gives photographers time to get their shots. The president asked about the Japanese photogs. Instead of turning to photogs as requested, the president gazed at the prime minister. On Monday Canada's leader shook President Trump's hand, but he held his own, resisting any tugging and inspiring headlines like "Trudeau one- ups Trump with the handshake game." With Trump yanking at a rate of two or three times in 10 seconds, you almost need a hand to hold you up.

Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


PAUL: All righty then. And we want to thank you so much for spending your time with us. Make some great memories today.

BLACKWELL: There is much, much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. It starts after a quick break.