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Trump taps Lt. Gen. McMaster as National Security Adviser; Trump New Immigration Order; Vitaly Churkin, Russian Ambassador to U.N. Dies; South Korea: Highly Likely North Killed Kim Jong-Nam; Deadline Nears for Trump's Plan to Defeat ISIS; Sweden Reacts to President Trump's Comment; Trump Steps Up Attacks on the News Media; Olympic Committee Provisionally Recognizes Muay Thai. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired February 21, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:11] SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles and London.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, Donald Trump revamps his national security team and prepares for a second rollout of his travel ban.

SIDNER: Plus Trump's Sweden moment alluding to a mysterious terror even that never happened. The Swedes are annoyed and the administration's response, a bit confusing.

SOARES: And murder under surveillance with newly-released video apparently showing the moment North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un's half-brother was attacked.

SIDNER: Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Sara Sidner here in Los Angeles.

SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

SIDNER: The holiday weekend is over for U.S. President Donald Trump. He is back in Washington and will try to turn things around after a bit of a rough start to the week.

He is expected to roll out his second attempt at putting his executive order travel ban in place. Mr. Trump says the revised plan will be tailored to please the court that paused his travel ban.

SOARES: Well, the Trump administration is also expected to release new guidelines allowing for an aggressive immigration crackdown. And Mr. Trump he has chosen his new national security adviser. Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster is known for challenging political interests. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everybody in the military. And we're very honored to have him.


SIDNER: Joining us now talk radio host Ethan Bearman and California Republican National Committee man Shawn Steel. All right, gentlemen -- you just heard about the new head of the NSA. This of course, comes after Michael Flynn and what turned out to be an embarrassment to Donald Trump. What do you make of the new head of the NSA?

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Probably better than the first choice. McMaster is, by consensus, even "Time Magazine" listed him as one of the 100 most influential people on the planet in 2014 because he's a military strategist. And a little bonus, he doesn't have any connections to Russia. In fact, he was in charge of a Russian study to see how to countermand the Russians.

But he seems to have a great reputation and Trump is very comfortable appointing -- you know, letting people go and bringing in somebody that's probably very strong and better himself.

He doesn't require senate confirmation. He takes on the job immediately and he will directing -- he'll be probably the most influential person for foreign policy and domestic safety. So it's a good choice. It's smart.

SIDNER: Known, not necessarily to hold the political line. He is, you know --

STEEL: He can be independent and I think Trump respects people that he considers a peer that's willing to speak his own mind.

He's done that in his whole business empire. Remember, he has promoted more women in a tough industry, a male-dominated industry than any other person in that field. And he's had strong tough women in his whole life. So he's not afraid of people challenging him. But once he makes a decision he expects people to follow his decision.

SIDNER: Mr. Steel, Mr. Berman has a different view of this. I see you shaking your head.

ETHAN BEARMAN, RADIO HOST: I'm shocked. In some ways, well, I mean I totally I disagree with Mr. Steel's assessment of when Donald Trump was a private businessman and women in his workplaces, they were always subordinate.

But I do actually agree with Mr. Steel as far as the new national security adviser. He has a stellar track record and very much like General Mattis, not quite to the degree of General Mattis. But a great track record and he doesn't just go along to get along which, I as a Trump opponent, am very happy to see the national security adviser is one who will be willing to stand up for what he believes in.

SIDNER: Let's talk about another subject that has come up. He is talking about the travel ban and kind of redoing things. And so here's something that he talked a little bit about. He disparaged the federal judge that made a ruling to halt his travel ban for a while. Then he disparaged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that also agreed with the federal judge that while the case is going through court they would allow this ban to be halted until the legal battle is fought.

Here is what President Trump said about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and their decision.


TRUMP: When you read something so perfectly written and so clear to anybody and then you have lawyers and you watched -- I watched last night in amazement and I heard things that I couldn't believe. A bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this.


[00:05:00] SIDNER: Now, this is right after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said look, your ban has to be put on hold for now. Now he is saying, ok I'm going to change this to quote, unquote, "please the court". What does that say about his -- one of his very first executive orders?

STEEL: It says that he is actually quite flexible. He's a businessman. He ran into an obstacle. He doesn't like the Ninth Circuit. He's not alone. I don't like the Ninth Circuit; most conservatives don't like it. It's an extreme liberal bastion of leftism. There are going to be some serious changes in the future.

But rather than beating that horse into the ground he's going to come up with a newer, and I think a better rollout. This time he's got General Kelly actually authoring and designing part of the executive order. It's going to be a slower rollout. It's going to give people on the other end notice that you better not buy that extensive ticket if you don't qualify.

He is going to recognize green cards, which to me was pretty obvious that if you've got a green card you --

SIDNER: Right -- you should be allowed in. You've gone through all the checks.

And this is what was one of the problems, right? This caused confusion; it caused chaos at the airport. None of those things Donald Trump talked about, correct? He never said this was a major problem. He said everything went great.

BEARMAN: Yes, he just completely denied reality on the ground. He clearly never took his eighth grade civics class either to understand how the law actually works.

And by the way, this time around, clearly Emperor Bannon himself didn't write the executive order. As Shawn Steel just said, we have General Kelly involved.

But here is the deal -- we still have people like interpreters who were working with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's no indication that they're being exempted in this. We still have the issue of precedent in the United States of America where even illegal immigrants in the United States have due process rights. I'm very curious to see how they're going to address that.

SIDNER: If you are in the country you have due process.

STEEL: Excellent. I had a very good client, an Afghani that actually was an interpreter and I actually -- he's in this country legally but he is a hero. And they take an enormous risk. So I'm hoping it's -- I'm sure it's going to be a lot more flexible. It's going to give a lot more discretion on the field. But --

SIDNER: We'll have to wait and see what he does.

But let me move on real quick because we need to talk about Sweden. A lot of the world is talking about Sweden.

STEEL: Sweden -- I love talking about Sweden.

SIDNER: Yes. U.S. ally, of course, whose leadership is pretty much taken aback or their feathers are definitely ruffled after Trump said this to his supporters in Florida.


TRUMP: You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden -- who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible.


SIDNER: Ok. So the problem there was, of course, that nothing happened significant to security in Sweden on Friday. I'm going to let you begin. What are your comments?

BEARMAN: Yes, I mean this is another one in the line of ridiculous statements from the President of the United States of America, the leader of the free world who is talking off the cuff. He is winging it as president. He said something that is factually untrue. Nothing happened the night before in Sweden.

And here's the bigger problem. And this goes back to the travel ban, this goes back to the wall with Mexico, this goes back to so-called judges. He feeds his base on the other.

Well Sweden -- how dare they take in immigrants and refugees. So let's point out the other and make them bad instead of talking about the issues at hand.

SIDNER: Quick response.

STEEL: Now we have two different points of view. Donald Trump said nothing about a terrorist incident. He said --

SIDNER: But he was alluding to it because he said --

BEARMAN: What happened last night in Sweden --

STEEL: Now, hold it. The fake media has made it sound like there was some type of terrible thing in Sweden.

BEARMAN: Which fake media?

SIDNER: Yes. No, he actually himself, to be fair, went on Twitter.

STEEL: We just heard him. We just heard him.

SIDNER: Right. We heard him but then he went on Twitter and said I was watching a Fox News program. Well, that Fox News program was talking about the fact that there have been some incidents which have also be in question there.

STEEL: Here's the other side of that.

SIDNER: To be fair, he was alluding to some sort of attack.

STEEL: There is an enormous amount of press about now Sweden is the rape capital of the Europe because of the out of control lack of discipline -- and Sweden --

SIDNER: But that is not statistically correct.

I'm going to have to cut you guys off here.

STEEL: Totally --

SIDNER: We will bring you back. We will bring you back --

BEARMAN: Thank you.

SIDNER: -- to talk a little bit more about this.

Let me go ahead and toss it back over to Isa.

SOARES: Thanks very much -- Sara. A very heated discussion there.

Well, the United Nations says it is stunned by the death of one of its truest sons, Russian ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin died in New York on Monday, a day before his 65th birthday. Officials say he suffered a heart attack and died at the hospital.

I want to go to CNN's Clare Sebastian in Moscow for more. And Clare -- there's plenty for us to talk about.

So let's start with Vitaly Churkin. He was well known at the U.N. as a pretty steadfast defender of the Kremlin and Russian policy. What has been the reaction there to his death?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa -- a very steady outpouring of condolences coming from here in Moscow. He was a very well-known figure, a very recognizable face. President Putin saying that he greatly valued his professionalism and diplomatic talent, according to his press secretary, speaking to the TASS News agency. He was said to be very upset by the death.

[00:10:08] The deputy foreign minister going so far as to call him a symbol of Russian foreign policy. He very much did kind of propound the Kremlin line throughout his very long career in diplomacy from the crisis -- the conflict in Georgia through to Syria and Ukraine.

And I think it's worth noting, it's not just here in Russia that we're seeing condolences. Even from his colleagues in the U.N.

I want to read you a tweet, particularly striking, from the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power. She tweeted, "Devastated by passing of Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, diplomatic maestro and deeply caring man. He did all he could to bridge U.S.- Russia differences."

This is particularly striking because those two had very public clashes at the U.N. -- most recently in December over Russian actions in Syria. Vitaly Churkin saying, you know, accusing Samantha Power of pretending to be Mother Teresa and saying U.S. actions in Syria should also be scrutinized.

So I think it's very striking that despite the fact that they disagreed on many issues that she still very much respects his diplomatic credentials. And this is something that we are seeing from many of his other colleagues at the United Nations.

You know, Isa -- this is a man whose career spanned three decades in diplomacy through some of the greatest upheaval that Russia and then Soviet Union had seen. And I think he is very widely remembered here in Moscow today.

SOARES: Yes. I do remember that exchange, Clare, with Samantha Power. But there was also another exchange. And he did ruffle feathers as you clearly pointed out Clare, and that was with Nikki Haley this month, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. She had some strong words for him on Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine.

In the last three days or so we're seeing a fragile cease-fire. From those you've speaking to on the ground, has it been largely holding -- Clare?

SEBASTIAN: Well, the situation on the ground, Isa, is still very fragile. The OSCE and the Ukrainian military saying that there are still cease-fire violations happening, some even with heavy weapons. The Ukrainian military reported one soldier was killed on Monday. But having said that, the number of cease-fire violations is significantly reduced from what was seen over the weekend.

The problem that we have on the ground Isa is that the situation along the front line is very tense. The heavy weaponry has still not been withdrawn and the potential for flare ups is still significant.

SOARES: And I think if we shake it back slightly, Clare, in terms of explaining why we're here because if I remember correctly, the cease- fire, you know, it was signed back in 2015. So what does this peace deal have that the initial one in 2015 doesn't have? What will make this work?

SEBASTIAN: I think that very much still remains to be seen. This latest cease-fire attempts to do what the deal signed in 2015 two years ago this month in fact, did not. So far, you know, we've seen this before, cease-fire after cease-fire and they have never quite been able to stop the violence from flaring up again. You know, it calms down for a bit and then it spikes again.

But this time it is slightly more complicated perhaps from a political standpoint because on the very same day, on Saturday that the cease- fire was agreed, we saw Russia coming out and signing an executive order recognizing the documents of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk met with extreme anger in Ukraine.

So this situation is still very complicated politically -- Isa.

SOARES: Many fearing that that is just Russia covering the fig leaf, covering Russian occupation.

We'll talk about that more in the next hour. Clare Sebastian for us in Moscow at 8:13 in the morning there. Thanks very much -- Clare. Sara.

SIDNER: South Korea's unification minister says it is highly likely that North Korea killed Kim Jong-Nam. Kim was the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. He died after apparently being attacked in the Kuala Lumpur airport. North Korea has accused Malaysian authorities of colluding with hostile forces as they investigate the suspected murder.

Joining me now, CNN's Saima Mohsin in Kuala Lumpur. Saima -- what is this kind of evidence that they have. What does Malaysia have to prove who his attackers were?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Sara -- they're sharing very little with us. The CNN team that's been investigating this murder for the past week have repeatedly asked what if anything has been confiscated from the people who they've arrested homes. What did they have on them at the time? And of course, with South Korean intelligence saying that they believe this was murder by poison, have they managed to seize anything like that or any substances? They have remained tight lipped and refuse to offer that information.

[00:14:58] I think we can certainly deduce that the primary evidence they're using so far is CCTV footage from the thousands of cameras at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. They've cited that in their press releases.

And they did tell CNN that they are using facial recognition techniques as well. Some crucial CCTV has also been released of the alleged attack itself. Take a look -- Sara.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MOHSIN: These are the extraordinary moments that purport to show a man who appears to be Kim Jong-Nam walking through Kuala Lumpur Airport, allegedly attacked. The CCTV footage first broadcast on Japanese television shows a woman in a white top grabbing the man from behind. He was dead within two hours.

North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia criticized Malaysian authorities saying they carried out an autopsy without North Korea's permission or presence. He says the North will not accept the results claiming Malaysia had quote, "something to conceal".

The response came Monday -- Malaysia recalling its ambassador to North Korea from Pyongyang for, quote, "consultations" and summoning the North Korean ambassador to Malaysia to the foreign ministry.

In a statement later, Malaysia says it's following the law by carrying out an autopsy. The government is transparent and North Korea's criticism is baseless.

Then in yet another twist in this murder mystery, North Korea's ambassador didn't identify the victim as Kim Jong-Nam. Instead using the name on the passport he carried.

But in a press conference last week, Malaysia's deputy prime minister said it is indeed Kim Jong-Nam, confirmed and I quote, "by the identity issued by the North Korea embassy".

Malaysian police say they won't release the body unless identified by a family member or DNA.

KANG CHOL, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO MALAYSIA: The request for the DNA sample from the family of the deceased is preposterous.

MOHSIN: South Korea says it has no doubt North Korea is behind Kim Jong-Nam's death. Malaysia's deputy prime minister has said that is purely speculation.

The police investigation continues. Four suspects are in custody. Three people not listed as suspects are wanted to assist in the investigation. And there's a manhunt on for four North Korean men -- all newly-named suspects in the Kim Jong-Nam or Kim Chol murder investigation.


MOHSIN: And that manhunt will prove incredibly difficult because authorities say that those four North Korean men left the country on the same day of the attack. They wouldn't say which country they flew to. Add to that the fact that Indonesian police say their citizen believes she was taking part in some kind of TV prank show.

The more clarity we try to get for our viewers, Sara, the more complicated this seems to get. Back to you.

SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much. Saima Mohsin there, live for us in Kuala Lumpur. Coming up: the latest in the battle for ISIS' last major stronghold in Iraq. As Iraqi troops rout the terrorists from a key village.

SOARES: Plus, U.S. President Trump has said take Iraq's oil. But his Defense Secretary is in Baghdad and he's walked back the President's earlier statement. We have the details for you, next.

You are watching CNN newsroom.


SOARES: Now the deadline for the U.S. Defense Secretary's plan to defeat ISIS is fast approaching. In one of his first executive orders, President Trump gave Secretary Mattis 30 days to come up with a plan.

Well, Mattis arrived in Iraq on Sunday to get a first-time look at the battle against the terrorists. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have now cleared ISIS fighters from a key village in the new push to retake West Mosul. The village is perched on elevated ground and has strategic value in the push to take the airport near Mosul.

Iraqi federal police forces say that they killed 79 ISIS militants, destroyed weapons facilities and regained control of ten villages.

Let's get more, CNN military analyst retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now from La Quinta in California. Colonel -- very nice to see you; always a pleasure to get your thoughts here on the show.

We have been hearing, I think it's best to say, some pretty mixed messages from the Trump administration especially what we've seen in the past couple of weeks. Both Vice President Pence and Secretary of Defense James Mattis trying to pretty much reassure European allies.

But when the President makes comments such as we should take their oil, do you think that these comments hurt them, Colonel. Are they simply on clean up duty when they are in Europe?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, you know, the Secretary has done a really good job of striking a more balanced tone while he is in the region. But when our allies hear things like we are here to take their oil or we should have taken their oil or we can still take their oil -- you know, that just rankles them. And it's really not necessary.

We are there with the Iraqis in a really close alliance. We are working very closely in removing ISIS from the area and these statements from the President don't help. But I think that General Mattis has a very calming influence. He is very balanced, very well- respected. So I think his presence there has taken some of the angst out of what our allies are feeling.

SOARES: I will get to Mosul in just a moment.

But I want to get your take from the perspective from Europe here. Plenty of reaction following President Trump's Sweden moment-- do you worry about what this America first, make America great again vision, this bilateralism may actually mean for the U.S. abroad?

FRANCONA: You know, it's interesting. You look at Europe and then you look at the United States and some things that resonate in the United States really do not resonate in Europe.

And I think the President needs to start taking into consideration more of what the Europeans think and strike a better balance in his comments.

But you know, that said, we are concerned about what we're seeing in Europe with the refugee crisis there. I mean we are seeing increased violence. We are seeing and look at Germany and Sweden -- these countries are dealing with problems that we're looking at and we're thinking do we really want to have this in our country?

So there is a balance there somewhere. And of course, I'll stick to the military subjects.

SOARES: Yes. Well, on the military subjects let's turn our vision, our sights to Mosul because our viewers will probably remember, Colonel, those promises and claims that we'll have Mosul under control by 2016. Clearly that has not happened. What is taking so long? What's your assessment on that front?

FRANCONA: Ok. Ok. What we thought was going to happen that the Iraqis -- the original plan was that the Iraqis were going to completely encircle the city and then go into it from all sides. That didn't happen.

They decided that they needed to launch this offensive maybe a little early before they encircled the city because they had made that political promise. And it's always dangerous when you make military decisions based on political considerations, not facts on the ground.

So they probably went a little bit early. And they should have also cleared up those other pockets in Hawija and up on the Euphrates Valley. So they went sooner than they should have so they met much more resistance than they thought.

And ISIS, remember, has had over two years to prepare this battlefield. And they put up much more stronger resistance than we thought was going to happen.

But that said, the Iraqis have done a really good job in overcoming all the obstacles. I think it's just a matter of time before they completely take Mosul.

[00:25:04] The problem will be ISIS will not surrender. They're going to have to be taken out, man by man, hunted down and virtually destroyed.

SOARES: And now I've got so many more questions for you, Colonel and I'm sure we'll talk again our next hour --


SOARES: -- in terms of what this may mean, the stronghold -- losing its stronghold. What that might mean for ISIS.

We'll speak in the next hour -- Colonel. Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona -- always great to get your insights. Thank you very much -- Sara.

SIDNER: Sweden is reacting to comments from President Trump. Why the Swedish prime minister is telling Mr. Trump to check his sources.

Plus why some supporters are ok with Trump's war on the media while critics say it's dangerous.


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

SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London where the time is 5:30 on Tuesday morning.

Let me bring you up to date with the main headlines we're following for you this hour.

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin has died. Officials say he suffered a heart attack in New York on Monday, just a day before his 65th birthday.

Meanwhile, a cease-fire between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists enters a second day. The truce is a renewed attempt to enforce the Minsk Peace Agreement. Ukraine's military reports 24 violations, but the shelling in the region has drastically diminished.

SIDNER: Thousands of British protesters want parliament to cancel a visit by Donald Trump. Prime Minister Theresa May invited the U.S. President last month. And 1.8 million people signed a petition to take back that invitation. Mrs. May's government says whatever parliament decides, the invitation stands.

[00:30:07] SOARES: Well, Sweden is questioning how President Trump gets his information. During a rally, Mr. Trump defended his travel ban by talking about what's happening in Sweden. But it turned out he was referencing a TV news segment critical of immigrants in Sweden.

CNN Senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has more from Sweden.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Here in Stockholm, the U.S. president's comments about Sweden on Saturday have been the target of a fair amount of mockery with the hashtag trending online last night in Sweden since there was no specific act or crisis or incident apparently that matched his rhetoric. The government, however, is taking that quite seriously. The Swedish embassy in Washington reached out to the U.S. State Department for clarification. The prime minister of Sweden said he was surprised at the kind of commentary that was coming out about his country. He acknowledged that there are serious challenges here that he is trying to deal with, but he also had words of criticism or perhaps advice depending on how you look at it for the U.S. president.


STEFAN LOTVEN, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: Do not forget that in international rankings in the issues such as equality, human development, competitiveness, we like our guest today from Canada are doing very well. So, yes, we have opportunities, we have challenges, we are working with them every day. But I think also we must all take responsibility for using facts correctly and for verifying any information that we spread.


WATSON: Sweden is a country with a population of around 10 million people. It has taken in a large amount of refugees and asylum seekers in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of them. And that has been a topic of serious debate and some controversy in this country that has given some support a boost to a right wing political party here that has taken a tough stance on immigration.

But the government insists there is no direct correlation between any kind of rise in crime and the number of immigrants and refugees in this country. In fact, in 2015, the government says that there were about 112 cases of lethal assault in the entire country.

The former prime minister of Sweden Carl Bildt has been sending his own tweets out in response to Donald Trump. One of them being, quote, "Last year there were approximately 50 percent more murders only in Orlando, Orange County, in Florida where Trump spoke the other day than in all of Sweden. Bad."

Ivan Watson, CNN, Stockholm.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now is CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter to discuss this contentious relationship between President Donald Trump and the media.

Let's start with this. And I know that you have reported widely on this already. President Trump reiterated his distaste, if you will, for journalists on Twitter saying, quote, "The fake news media failing @"New York Times," @NBC News, @ABC, @CBS and @CNN is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people."

That certainly made people sit up and take notice.

CNN's Carl Bernstein for example helped break the Watergate story that left the impeachment of President Nixon says these comments are treacherous. It is dangerous for President Trump to use these kinds of words.

What are your thoughts and what are you hearing from journalists? You are one of us and you also cover us as well.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that's right. I have the benefit of being able to report on our industry. And I think in some ways this tweet is the most shocking of all the president's comments in his first 30 days in office.

Certainly, some White House correspondents, others in Washington who are dedicated to covering this administration every day said it was disturbing and potentially even bordering on incitement to violence.

The idea would be if some deranged figure takes Trump completely seriously, believes the journalists really are the enemy that that person could lash out and then do harm.

Now, thankfully, we've now seen that happen. The worst sort of behavior we see at Trump events is booing, jeering of the journalists in the press pen. And we saw that again over the weekend.

But I think there are good reasons to be concerned about Trump's rhetoric, what his words mean, what the consequences of those words can be. And whether he is talking about Sweden and something that didn't happen in Sweden, or whether he is telling the American public that the reporters covering him are the enemies.

SIDNER: I want to talk about Sweden as well. You had brought it up. After referencing this nonexistent attack, he alluded to the fact there was an attack in Sweden on Friday. That turned out not to be true. And here's what he tweeted, kind of walking it back a bit.

He says here, "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was a reference to a story that was broadcast on "Fox News" concerning immigrants and Sweden."

[00:35:00] He decides what is fake news. He makes the comments about fake news. What is he doing here?

BERNSTEIN: His attempts to label news outlets fake or real, you know, doesn't work with the majority of the public. The most will see through it, but it may work among his most loyal supporters.

In this case, this case involving Sweden, he saw a Friday night segment on "Fox News," a conservative filmmaker whose YouTube video have barely been seen by anybody suddenly was able to reach millions of people and the president by appearing on "Fox News."

This film presented a very dark view of immigration in Sweden, suggesting that refugees and migrants are responsible for big spikes in crime in that country. No doubt Sweden has its share of challenges so do other European countries with asylum seekers, but crime levels in Sweden remain relatively low. Our own Ivan Watson has been reporting that from Stockholm this week.

And so the president was getting this distorted view from "Fox News," then sharing it on stage at a rally on Saturday and then on Sunday acknowledging his source of the information.

I think what a lot of folks are saying in reaction to this is why isn't he relying on his intelligence services, his own researchers and experts for information before ad libbing on stage. But, of course, Sara, his ad libbing on stage is what makes his supporter -- one of the many things that makes his supporters love him and appreciate him.

So this attention, we keep coming back to here. He is a lot like a lot of Americans, watching lots of television and that haven't changed since taking office. But even though we are on cable news, if cable news is your only source of information that's not a well-balanced, well-rounded diet. If you are only watching "Fox News," you're not getting a full view of what's going on.

SIDNER: Thank you so much. Brian Stelter joining us with some really good insight into the struggle between the press and the president.

SOARES: You need more vitamins and proteins in that diet.

Now an ancient sports is finally getting its due. How the Olympics are honoring Muay Thai just ahead in our special series "Made in Thailand."


[00:40:20] SOARES: Now an ancient form of combat could one day make its debut on the Olympic stage. The International Olympic Committee recently gave provisional recognition to Muay Thai. And, today, with the help of tough fighters as well as social media, Thailand's popular sport is entering a new chapter.

Saima Mohsin now reports.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an ancient sport. Both brutal and beautiful in its traditions. Muay Thai is known as the art of eight limbs. Fighters use their entire bodies to win the ring.





MOHSIN: Fans of the sport consider San Chai (ph) a living legend, claiming close to 300 career wins including titles in six different weight classes. For the last year, San Chai (ph) has been teaching at this gym in Central Bangkok. People travel from around the world for a private session. It costs $225 for an hour with the master.

STEFANIA PICELL, KICKBOXER: What I want to do is try to give the people the same feeling I have about the tradition, the culture of Thai people. It's not just a sport. It's the real life of some people.

MOHSIN: Half Thai and Half Italian Stefania Picelli spearheads new product designs, sales distribution and fight promotion for Yokkao, the brand is younger and smaller than competitors Fairtex and Twins, but it punches above its weight on social media.

Picelli hopes they will do more than just sell gear. She wants to make Muay Thai global.

Its next big challenge will be conquering the lucrative U.S. Market where it's trying to secure more distributors.

PICELLI: We have a lot of good partners around the world. Every time we sign an agreement with a GMO or distributor, we tell them that the important thing is that you try to develop Muay Thai in your country.

MOHSIN: Yokkao may be small, but in the world of Muay Thai that means it shouldn't be underestimated. Just ask San Chai (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm small but I can win, you know. Every technique is very good. I'm small so I can kick a big guy like this. I win KO. I'm really happy. Muay Thai, I want to train because I'm small and can take down big guy.


SOARES: Thanks very much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Isa Soares in London.

SIDNER: And I'm Sara Sidner in Los Angeles. "World Sport" is up next.