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FBI Rejects White House Requests On Russia To Knock Down Recent Trump Russia Stories; U.S. Conservatives Rally Around Trump President; Pence Likens President Trump To Ronald Reagan; Top Trump Adviser Emerges From Shadows; Bannon Rips "Corporatist, Globalist Media"; Bannon: Opposition Is Always Wrong; Bannon: Trump Is "Maniacally Focused" On His Agenda; Reuters: Trump Wants To Expand U.S. Nuclear Arsenal; Kelly: No Military Force For Immigration Operations; Trump: "Military Operation" To Get "Bad Dudes" Out; U.S. Homeland Security Secretary: No Mass Deportations; Leicester Sack Claudio Ranieri; Tottenham Knocked Out; Malaysia: VX Nerve Agent Used To Kill Kim Jong- nam; Pyongyang Accuses Seoul of Making Up Poison Claim; Trump Lawyer Denies Receiving Ukraine Peace Plan; 10 Days, 10 Record Highs; And The Oscar Winners Will Be. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 24, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Hello, thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles.

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: And I'm Isa Soares in London. Ahead this hour, CNN exclusive: The FBI rejects a request to knock down reports about the Trump campaigns alleged Russian ties.

VAUSE: Plus, new details on the Kim Jong-nam murder investigation. Police believe the half-brother of North Korea's leader may have been killed by a chemical agent used in war.

SOARES: And then later, "La La Land" is the overwhelming favorite heading into Sunday's Academy Awards. We'll look at what films could pull an Oscar upset. First, we want to start with a developing story: CNN, has exclusive new reporting that the White House asked the FBI to knock down media reports, about contacts during the Presidential campaign; that is a contact between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence. Jim Sciutto, and I'm impressed, broke the story with our Pamela Brown, Shimon Prokupecz, and Manu Raju. Here's Jim, with what they learned.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned that the FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications during the 2016 Presidential campaign between Donald Trump's associates, and Russians known to U.S. Intelligence. Multiple U.S. officials tells CNN, the White House sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter, to say that the reports were wrong, and that there had been no contacts these officials said.

You may recall, that CNN and The New York Times first reported on this just over a week ago, and so far, the White House has not commented on the record. I should say, that the FBI is still investigating these alleged communications - several members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees tells CNN that Congress, is still investigation investigating them as well. And that investigation has begun, they're starting to collect documents, records, etc., they will call witnesses. Communication between the White House and the FBI is unusual, because of decades-old restrictions on such contacts.

The request from the White House: A violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations. Trump administration's efforts to press Comey run contrary, to Justice Department procedure memos issued in 2007 and 2009, that limit direct communications on pending investigations between the White House and the FBI. FBI Director James Comey, rejected the request according to the sources because the alleged communications are the subject, of an ongoing investigation. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: President Trump will speak to the annual gathering of political conservatives known as CPAC on Friday. And, what a difference a year makes, at the last CPAC conference they're trying to derail his campaign for the White House. Any hard feelings to Mr. Trump though, seem to have vanished in the wake of his historic upset in November. Vice President Mike Pence assured the crowd, the Trump administration is committed to delivering a conservative agenda - he even compared Donald Trump, to Ronald Reagan.


MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: I believe President Trump has given voice to the aspirations and frustrations of the American people like no leader since Reagan. I just knew our new President would reignite our cause and renew it in our own day, and he did just that.


VAUSE: Of all the speakers at CPAC on Thursday there is one figure who stands out, White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. Until now he's been seen as a shadowy figure behind the President, a man called the great manipulator who rarely speaks in public. Well, joining me now for more on this; California Talk Radio Host, Ethan Bearman; Republican Consultant, John Thomas; and Mo'Kelly, host of the Mo'Kelly Show, and the Mo'Kelly Experience radio shows here in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Thank you all for being with us. OK, John Thomas, first you, why does Steve Bannon hate the media just so much? There's so much anger there. And before you answer, I want you the listen to this.


STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: If you look at, you know, the opposition party and how they portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and now they're, they're portraying the administration - it's always wrong. I mean, on the very first day that Kellyanne and I started, we reached out to Ryan, Sean Spicer, K.T. It's the same team that, you know, every day was grinding away on the campaign, the same team that did the transition. And if you remember, you know, the campaign was the most chaotic, you know, by the media's description most chaotic, most disorganized, most unprofessional, had no idea what they were doing, and then you saw them all crying and weeping that night on the eighth.


VAUSE: No one cried, no one wept on television.


VAUSE: Urban myths out there. Right now, you know, this goes way beyond, you know, your reporting was wrong, it wasn't accurate, we don't like what you've been saying, you don't tell anyone about the good stuff, you highlight the negative. This is, you know, this is vitriol here.

[01:05:05] THOMAS: Well, it is, and Steve Bannon is not alone. A lot of Republicans feel that way, you know, I run races all over the country. And I got to tell you, every time I talk to a reporter, odds are: The deck is stacked against the Republican candidate out of the gate. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to mistruth in the reporting. But it means that, their ideal - typically ideologically driven. I think Steven Bannon and the White House, are just sick of it, especially what they went through in the 2016 battle.

VAUSE: But Ethan, you know, the message we're getting from Bannon - everything is great in the White House, everything is wonderful except for those really nasty reporters who say otherwise. Surely, not everything can be wrong.

ETHAN BEARMAN, CALIFORNIA TALK RADIO HOST: Well, it's an absolute load of bunk, it's what it is. You mean, CNN is reporting time and time again, the issues that are happening in the White House. It's spilling out this many leaks that are happening, clearly there are significant problems. But I would point out, it sure seemed to me in that CPAC, little clip that you just showed, Emperor Bannon is bitter, that he was a failed film maker. That is what's driving him.

THOMAS: -- over the President Trump.

BEARMAN: There you have it. He's holding that deep.

VAUSE: So, Mo, to you. You know, Bannon did shed some light on the workings of the Trump White House. Listen to what he said.


BANNON: He's laid out an agenda with those speeches for the promises he made, and our job every day is just to execute on that, is to simply get a path to how those get executed. And he's maniacally focused on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Maniacally focused on all that. Is he talking he was the

Donald Trump, you know, won this huge mandate? As supposed to losing the popular vote and having these historically low approval ratings?

MO'KELLY, THE MO'KELLY SHOW AND THE MO'KELLY EXPERIENCE RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, I think we need to choose which word we're going to focus on, is it going to be maniacal or focused in nature? Donald Trump has not presented himself as a President who is focused at this point. But this is something we do know, CPAC is a - is a rally, by another name.

Now, Donald Trump as our President is going to have to govern. He's not going to have a sympathetic audience in the House, in Senate, outside of his party. He's going to have to show that he can actually create, and cut deals, and get things done. And where is he may talk about, following through on his legislative agenda, he's going to actually have to produce. He's not going to be able to repeal and replace Obamacare. He's not going to be able to undo the Iran deal. He's not going to be able to do a lot of these things that he said he's going to do. And, we're going to see where the rubber hits the road. Sorry for that tired cliche, but he's going to actually have to produce, not just complain.

VAUSE: John, how about you? Because that is an important point.

THOMAS: No, it isn't an important point. But here's the difference, and here's why what Steve Bannon's said, is exactly right. Donald Trump did not get elected because of his favorability numbers, Donald Trump got elected because of his agenda and on the issues. And so, he has to deliver on that, because - it's not because he's well liked. I think we all agree on that.

BEARMAN: And we're going to do everything we can to stop him on that agenda. When Steve Bannon today said, he wants to destroy - the destruction of the administrative state, when you make a statement like that, that means you want to roll everything back to about 1936. Prior to the - I'm not actually kidding in this case, especially with the pulling back of the LGBTQ transgender issue, with the bathrooms today, with the advice from the Obama administration. Everything about this is dangerous, and it's an ugly precedent, and it's going down the half.

THOMAS: I think he's referring to job killing regulations that are keeping jobs from growing.

VAUSE: OK. Well, in the past couple hours, Donald Trump, casually just suggested that maybe a new nuclear arms race might be a good thing. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: It would be wonderful; a dream would be that no country would have nukes. But if countries are going to have nukes we're going to be, at the top of the pack.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Mo, is it a good idea to use, you know, nuclear annihilation

as a bargaining chip here?

MO'KELLY: I don't if it's a good idea, but I understand that he is still going to try to follow through on his promise to expand our military proliferation. He has said that he wants to expand our nuclear capabilities. I don't know how that's going to work in a financial sense, when he also wants to include his trillion-dollar infrastructure deal. I don't know how that math works? But at least now, he is - he's trying to follow up all of his rhetoric from the campaign trail. And once again, I know he probably believes it in his heart, but he's still going to have to go through Congress. He can't rule by fiat and executive order, and unless the math works out, I don't see how he gets most of this done.

VAUSE: And John, that, you know, a lot of people have commented on the fact that, you know, 20 billion for the wall, the trillion-dollar infrastructure expenditure. However, many billions of dollars for, you know, to rebuild the military for the nuclear triad. I mean, you know, the list of funding desires that the President has is extensive.

THOMAS: There's always so many things that Mexico can pay for. No. No, absolutely, and Mo hit it on the head. The funding part is the issue. The arms race or arming up, actually, is very Reaganesque: Peace through strength, that's what Trump truly does believe. But I do think he's going to have a problem funding all of this. He can't have everything.

[01:10:06] VAUSE: And Ethan, talking about sort of madman theory of, you know, foreign policy which is what it appears that Donald Trump is doing which is saying anything, take these extreme positions, you know, and put everybody on edge, so that, you know, they accept kind of any deal you're willing to offer them. But are there some things that should be off limits? And one of those things, perhaps, maybe nuclear weapons.

BEARMAN: Well, it is. And by the way, that madman theory of foreign policy - that's Kim Jong-un's play book. I mean, this is not what the United States does, this is not how we lead in the world. I think this is just a danger in so many levels, I will say, that if he was talking about modernization of our nuclear arsenal, I think you can have a very rational conversation with Republicans and Democrats on that topic, because it's something that should happen.

VAUSE: Yes. And Mo, to you, because, you know, upgrading the nuclear arsenal was something which the Obama administration was talking about, but essentially, had trouble getting the funding through Congress.

MO'KELLY: Yes. And once again, when you say having the trouble trying to get through Congress, we're going to see whether Trump is a master tactician, politician, or someone who's only good as the face of a television show. This is where it's going to get real interesting when he addresses both Houses of Congress. How will he be received? To John's point, yes, he's not going to win by his polling numbers, he's going to actually have to get in the trenches and do a lot of the dirty work that is probably not all that entertaining for him, pun intended, not that enjoyable, but it will be rewarding, if he gets his agenda through.

VAUSE: OK. We are now getting some clarity as to how the new immigration guidelines will work, and it's coming from the Secretary of Homeland Security. This is what he said.


JOHN KELLY, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: And again, listen to this, no, repeat, no use of military force in immigration operations. None. So again, I repeat, there will be no use of military forces in immigration. At least half of you try to get that right, because it continually comes up in the reporting.


VAUSE: Yes, you know, I wonder, where did we get the idea that a military force would be used with the immigration policy - oh, hang on, listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We're getting really bad dudes out of this country. And at a rate that nobody's ever seen before, and they're the bad ones. And it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you have read about like never before and all off the things, much of that, is people that are here illegally. And they're rough and tough, but not tough like our people.


VAUSE: So, Ethan, I just want to kind of bring that back to how we began the segment with, you know, the media getting everything wrong. Yes, I mean, are we really getting everything wrong? Or are we just reporting what's sort is coming out of the White House which seems to be very inconsistent?

BEARMAN: I mean, it's being reported accurately. They don't like the fact that you're reporting it accurately, because it doesn't fit their agenda. Look, this is a very dangerous path we're heading down, when you constantly attack the media for reporting facts, that's something that - let's be not nice about autocrats, and dictators like to do that. We also take that a step further with rolling back the administrative state. Great! We want to roll back protections, rights for people? This is a really bad place to go. And I want to add to the military operations with the raids.

We now found out today, the Chief of Police in Santa Cruz, California here, reported that ICE lied to the Santa Cruz Police Department saying, oh, we're just going to get the MS-13 gang members. They didn't, they also rounded up people who just happened to be there, who didn't have proper documentation. So now, we have DHS lying to local police departments - this is bad news. VAUSE: This is the situation that we had today with the military

operation. It was very Reaganesque in the sense that, you know, all the aides have say, let me explain to you what the President meant to say.


VAUSE: So, you know, but we seem to have these situations all the time and it's only the first month.

THOMAS: I mean, that's the President and that's - the people who voted for him understand that he's not a word smith, that he says what comes to his mind. I mean, I just - it is what it is. But look, the point is, it's been clarified. I think it's time to move on.

VAUSE: Yes, but it caused a lot of angst before it was clarified. I mean, because, you know, having a military operation on the U.S. soil -


VAUSE: -- has a whole lot legal implications. Mo, finally to you, you know, the Secretary of Homeland Security said there would be no mass deportations, you know, it's a much softer line. That word played well for his audience in Mexico, but it does runs counter to what the President has been saying.

MO'KELLY: Yes, it runs counter but at the same time, we haven't held this President accountable to all the things that he has said. He said many things on the campaign trail, and even while he was President-elect and also while he's been President that we have not held him accountable. We have the audio, we've seen what he's done, and he's been able to deny it. We've had Sean Spicer come out and clarify it. We've had Kellyanne Conway just come out with alternative facts. So then, it is incumbent upon us, people in the media, and also the layperson to hold this administration accountable. Even though it may sound cliche, but that's the only way we're going to be able to hold their feet to the fire and have them have to answer for what they have actually told us.

[01:15:14] VAUSE: OK. With that, we shall leave it. Mo'Kelly, thank you for being with us. Also, Ethan Bearman and John Thomas who said that Donald Trump is not a wordsmith. The line of the night. Thanks guys, appreciate it. Isa?

SOARES: Thanks so much, John. Right next on CNN NEWSROOM, peace deal allegedly crafted by the Trump Administration and a Ukrainian politician is creating, well, a political storm.

VAUSE: Also ahead, chilling details on how the half-brother of North Korean leader was murdered. Details in a moment.


KATE RILEY, CNN SPORTS WORLD ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines. Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City just nine months after leading them to the Premier League title. Leicester are one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches left. The 65 year-old Italian guided the Foxes to the title despite them being 5,000 to one outsiders at the start of last season. But they have lost at half five league matches and are without a league goal in 2017.

But his departure comes less than 24 hours after a credible 2-1 loss at Sevilla in the first leg of the Champion's League last 16 tie. Someone else who was the talk of the football world this week over a potential move away from the Premier League was Wayne Rooney and on Thursday, a statement was given to the press from the Manchester United forward. The England captain is staying put for now despite speculation this week. He was off to the Chinese Super League. The 31 year-old striker city hopes to play a full part in the rest of the EPL Club's Season.

Europa League was certainly overshadowed after the breaking news coming out of the Premier League. EPL's side, Tottenham faced Gent at Wembley Stadium in their last 32-second leg tie. And ten-man Tottenham were knocked out as the Belgians held them to a 2-2 draw to go through 3-2 on aggregate to make that full work. They were down to ten men. And that is a look at all your Sports Headlines, I'm Kate Riley.

VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. We're following new developments out of Malaysia. Investigators say the half-brother of North Korea's leader was poisoned with VX Nerve Agent.

SOARES: Kim Jong-nam was killed, if you remember, in Kuala Lumpur last week. At least two women are being detained in connection with the case. Authorities are trying to track down four other suspects and then asked the Interpol's held. Alexandra Field joins us now from Kuala Lumpur with more. Alexandra, what are authorities telling you regarding this highly toxic nerve agent? Tell us a bit more about what it is.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, explains a lot more about how Kim Jong-nam died. His body is still in the morgue in that hospital behind me and authorities say that through the examination of his face and his eyes, they found the traces of this chemical weapon that is internationally banned, the VX Nerve Agent. It can come in a liquid kind of gel form or it can be lethal in a vapor form. They say that the symptoms can set in within minutes or up to 18 hours after exposure. But in right dosage, it can be lethal, actually, within minutes itself.

We know that two women approached Kim Jong-nam at the airport. There's also CCTV video that shows two women approaching him at the airport. Investigators say the women were trained to apply some kind of liquid to his face, some kind of poison to his face. And we know that after the encounter with those women, Kim Jong-nam went and he sought medical help and he died shortly after that in an ambulance. The identification of this VX nerve agent does give us a little bit more of an idea about what happened. Authorities say this is something that will ultimately stop your body from being able to breathe, paralyze your breathing. It is odorless. Again, the key here though is that it can be lethal in a very small amount and that's why investigators here say, they don't know how this chemical weapon would have gotten into the country but it could have been hard to detect given the fact you really only need a few drops of it, Isa.

[01:21:23] SOARES: Yes, Alexandra, we're looking at that CCTV footage you were talking about because we know that two women who approached him at the airport are still in custody. What about the other four North Koreans named early in the case? What are the authorities trying to do in order to track them down?

FIELD: Yes, we do know that those two women are still in custody. There's also another North Korean man who remains in custody but authorities are still looking for a number of people. Four men, as you point out, all believed to be North Korean citizens who they think have actually returned to Pyongyang and they believed that those men may have provided the women with the liquid that was used to poison Kim Jong-nam. That's the theory that they're working under. So, they are asking for help in Pyongyang in locating those men. They're also looking for another three other North Korean citizens who they believe are still actually right here in Malaysia and they have requested some help from the North Korean Embassy in trying to locate those people. They believe, well, they know actually that one of the people they want to speak to is the second Secretary of the Embassy, another is an employee from North Korea's airline, Air Koryo. So, Malaysian officials have been making a number of efforts to try and work with North Korean counterparts to move this investigation forward. But the very part of North Korean officials have actually been criticizing the Malaysian officials' methods instead, Isa.

SOARES: So, it's fair to say, Alexandra, that this diplomatic spat isn't over yet?

FIELD: No, it's certainly not over yet. And actually, it's been ratcheting up. You got sort of officials going back and forth, like I just said, the North Korean officials are criticizing the methods of investigation here. They actually, in State news, they said that the Malaysian officials have deployed secret police to investigate the poisoning theory at the suggestion of South Korean media and they have contended that they were told that Kim Jong-nam actually died of a, quote, "Heart stroke." At the same time, Malaysian officials have expressed that frustration that North Korean officials aren't cooperating in this investigation and there is now a fight between these two countries over the body of Kim Jong-nam itself. North Korea says they want the body back, Malaysian officials say they are not handing the body over until next of kin comes here to identify the body and provide a DNA sample, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and so far no next of kin, I assume. Alexandra Field joining us there from Kuala Lumpur. Thanks so much, Alexandra.

Now, a member of Ukraine's parliament says he presented a peace plan for Eastern Ukraine to Donald Trump's personal lawyer who promised to take it to the top levels of the White House. Nick Paton Walsh spoke to that MP and joins us now from Kiev. So Nick, what does this plan entail? What did this MP tell you when you spoke to him?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not entirely clear, the exact details of the plan. Suggestions that might involve a referendum, potentially, in Crimea, the Peninsula of Ukraine Annex by Russia by 2014 in exchange for peace in the donned blast. But really, this provides you a kind of window into given the failure of diplomatic processes, so far, on the official level we've seen for years, gives you a window on the sort of the unofficial, some might say, backroom nature of how diplomacy, even foreign policy seems to be shaping up around the Trump White House. Specifically, this case, dinners between private individuals in luxury Manhattan hotels, presenting complex peace plans for a very lengthy war. Here's what we heard.


WALSH: It was a peace plan that is controversial as the war in Ukraine seems endless. It all began with a story of how one obscure Ukrainian MP dined at a luxury New York hotel with Donald Trump's personal lawyer, found his left field ideas perhaps passed on to the president's short-lived National Security Adviser and was then was caught in a diplomatic storm now investigated for treason in his own homeland.

ANDRII ARTEMENKO, UKRANIAN LAWMAKER: He told me that Michael Flynn is the best person, the best -- my connections in the Trump Administration who really, if he likes, is going to be a huge support.

[01:25:16] WALSH: Andrii Artemenko gave us a hurried interview in Kiev and tells us of a January dinner in Manhattan. He says, he had with Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, arranged by the mutual friend, Felix Sater.

ARTEMENKO: We probably spoke around 20-25 minutes where I present my intentions, my peace plan war in Ukraine, how we can stop the war, how we can finish this. And also, he says, listen, this gentleman is very potential and he wants to send a message to Trump Administration.

WALSH: Mr. Cohen says the dinner happened but they didn't talk about peace for Ukraine but Artemenko says Cohen insisted the plan be given to Trump's controversial and short lived then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned 24 days into his job due to his comments over sanctions on Russia because of Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

When you first spoke to Felix Sater, did you ever imagined that your peace plan would end up on the then, National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn's desk?

ARTEMENKO: Absolutely not. It was the Michael Cohen idea, he mentioned his name first in my meetings and he said listen to Michael Flynn for his personal opinion is most powerful man who can really support this idea, who really support, who can help you, who can provide this information to President Trump.

WALSH: The White House flatly denies any contact with Cohen or Artemenko on this issue. Russia annexed Ukraine Crimean Peninsula in 2014 then sent military help to the separatists in the country's East where the war drags on to this day. Artemenko thinks his plan may even involve the lease of Crimea to Russia in exchange for Russian troops leaving the East.

Michael Cohen told CNN in a text message, "If this continued fake news narrative wasn't so ridiculous, I would be angered. I acknowledge that the brief meeting took place but emphatically deny discussing this topic or delivering any documents to the White House and/or General Flynn; something I stated to the New York Times."

According to The Times, Cohen said he left the plan in a sealed envelope on Flynn's desk. Although Cohen later denied eve delivering Flynn the plan, the White House says it has no record of receiving such a document. Mr. Sater and Mr. Flynn didn't respond to requests for comment. Both Russia and Ukraine have rejected the plan. Artemenko has since been expelled from his political faction and has to hurry off, he says, to meet Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, although the President's office denies. It.

He promises to return but doesn't. Moments after he leaves, Ukrainian prosecutors announce he is being investigated for treason for even suggesting the plan.


WALSH: Isa, I should bring you an update. Since you can follow that report, we have heard back from Felix Sater, the businessman, one of the three men at that Manhattan dinner and he tells us through a lawyer a different version of events, some agreed to Mr. Cohen, that Mr. Artemenko did present a peace plan at that dinner that would involve bringing peace to the East of Ukraine in exchange for a referendum in Crimea among those living in that Peninsula.

He goes on to say in this e-mail via his lawyer, quote, "I am always sympathetic and enthusiastic about peace. Because it was a war situation, Mr. Cohen thought it was probably a National Security Adviser Flynn issue, suggesting that at that meeting, Michael Cohen did in fact, suggest he might take the peace plan to Michael Flynn, the short lived Security Adviser to Donald Trump. So differing versions of events here but without doubt, I think, for those living in Kiev here, possibly some concern that maybe the U.S. government might begin its peace initiatives in such an informal matter or perhaps some happiness maybe, that there are many different initiatives floating out there.

I should add as well, that in fact, we have heard recently from the Former President of Ukraine ousted after violent protests here in 2014, Viktor Yanukovych, that he has, in fact, also separately written to Donald Trump suggesting his version of a peace plan as well. All these initiatives swirling around. Some may say, well, about time we had some new ideas. Some may say it under caps the official process which has got many people ascribing to a lengthy ordeal involving withdrawing heavy weapons and guns falling son. And regardless, the violence is continuing in the East and all these back room deals have made no change so far, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and that's the reality. Great reporting there from our Nick Paton Walsh in Kiev. Thanks very much, Nic. John?

VAUSE: Well, still ahead here, the U.S. Stock Market is on a tear- breaking a 30-year-old record. We'll take a closer look at what's driving the Dow to new heights.

SOARES: And they're rolling out the red carpet in Hollywood, ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards show. Later this hour, we'll have some predictions for who will take home an Oscar.


[01:30:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Still ahead, the U.S. stock market is on a tear, breaking a 30-year-old record. We'll look at what is driving the Dow to new heights.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: They're rolling out the red carpet in Hollywood ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards show. Ahead, we'll have predictions for who will take home an Oscar.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles.

SOARES: I'm Isa Soares, in London.

Let's bring you up to date on the news headlines we're following for you this hour.


VAUSE: At the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, something that hasn't in 20 years, 10-day record-winning streak. It's had 10-day winning streaks before, but this time it kept pushing upwards, ended each day higher than the day before. The Dow ended up the day up 35 points. 20810 is the new starting point. The anticipation of tax cuts and federal deregulation under the Donald Trump administration is partly fueling the rally. Bank and tech stocks so far are among the biggest winners.

For more on what is driving the stock market, Shelby Holliday, a business writer for the "Wall Street Journal," is with us.

Thanks for being with us.

10 straight days of gains and record highs. What is the significance?

[01:35:36] SHELBY HOLLIDAY, BUSINESS WRITER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: President Donald Trump would like to say it's all him and the prospect of his policies. He does not hesitate to take credit for the record highs. You know, a lot of it is the prospect of this magic elixir of lower taxes and investment in infrastructure and changes to health care, but none of those things have happened yet. Investors are betting on stocks like Trump's policies. The Dow is weighted in industrials and financials and those sectors benefit more than health care, biotech technology. That's why the Dow is in focus right now but it's across the board is market is high. And Donald Trump's policies are encouraging to investors, whether they are implemented is another story.

VAUSE: That's what I was going to ask you. If you look at the Dow since Election Day, November 8th, something that has not gone unnoticed by the president. He tweeted, "Great level of confidence and optimism." But as you say, none of his policies have been implemented yet. Is this a gamble on what the president is going to do?

HOLLIDAY: It is a gamble and picking stocks has become a game of picking policies. Investors are betting big on trade. Donald Trump has these meetings with CEOs and one said we're going to trust him he's doing the right thing on trade. He has not withdrawn from NAFTA yet. We are not sure of his stance with Mexico. But he could spark a trade war with China, Mexico and maybe Canada. And that could hurt companies, particularly the retail sector, and companies that bring tangible goods inside the U.S.

VAUSE: Seems right now, no one is paying attention to that side of the equation.

HOLLIDAY: Not right now. You're seeing investors temper their expectations. The Dow hit another high today but it wasn't the case for the Nasdaq, which is full of tech stocks. I do see a lot of and hear a lot of skepticism about Donald Trump's ability to get an infrastructure package funded. There is a concern about getting these projects going. We heard shovel-ready during the Obama tenure and those shovel-ready jobs never materialized for Obama.

VAUSE: The U.S. treasury secretary made it clear a surge in the Dow is a vote of approval from the markets for the administration. This is what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, the stock market has rallied significantly since President Trump took office and since the election and again since he took office. Do you view that as a report card for the administration?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY Absolutely. This is a mark to market business. And you see what the market thinks.


VAUSE: If you take credit for the sunshine, you get blamed for the rain. Why not take credit because they're probably be blamed anyway if it tanks?

HOLLIDAY: That's true. There is a risk for taking credit for everything. But Donald Trump was handed a sundae and he only has to put the cherry on the top. As we talked about earlier these reforms and policies haven't been implemented yet. We'll see what happens. But generally, I think if Donald Trump can follow through and for better or worse, Donald Trump has followed through with a lot of the campaign promises. He already implemented the travel ban and swinging hard with the conservative policies, executive orders, he is expected to roll back energy. He says I'm a man of my word. If he continues to follow through, we will see tax reform get done, Obamacare be repealed, and potentially a big infrastructure package. So if he can be a man of his word and follow through it could be good for investors.


HOLLIDAY: People are optimistic.

VAUSE: Shelby Holliday, with "Wall Street Journal," thank you for coming in. Appreciate it.

HOLLIDAY: Thanks for having me.

[01:39:37] SOARES: Bringing an end to modern-day slavery is no easy feat. We will meet activists who believe children may be the key to raising awareness of human trafficking.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.


VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump is promising to fight human trafficking.

SOARES: He met with activists, along with Ivanka, on Thursday and said he is prepared to bring the full force and weight of the government to combat the problem. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very, very terrible problem that's not talked about enough. People don't know enough about it. We're going to talk about it and bring it out into the open and hopefully we're going to do a great deal to help prevent some of the horrific crimes that are taking place.


SOARES: In one London elementary school, children learn to identify the five signs of human trafficking. They hope it will one day help prevent a tragedy. Take a look.



PHIL KNIGHT, TEACHES CHILDREN ABOUT MODERN-DAY SLAVERY: I would love to see a world where you've got the whole generation growing that go we know about modern-day slavery. The reason it has gotten so big is no one knew about it.

SOARES (voice-over): Phil Knight teaches children about modern slavery about hearing the story of a 16-year-old student who had been sex trafficked to the U.K. as a young girl.

KNIGHT: As we got deeper into it we realized that no one is teaching kids about this type of stuff. It's difficult. You go to a school and say can we come in and you know, they go, modern-day slavery and human trafficking, really. But once we send them the stuff and they see how we work, we are straight in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens if anything you make your slave do what happens if I make you do that?

SOARES: Just Enough U.K. have been running school worships for 8 to 16-years-old since 2013.

KNIGHT: We have educated over 40,000 children and that is going up and up and up with the amount of schools we are booking in because we built a name on trust.

LINDSAY MACKAY, ACTRESS: You look quite strong. Are you quite strong? Today you are going to be my slave.

SOARES: Actress Lindsay McCain has been leading worships for the past year.

MACKAY: We start off with introducing who we are, establishing that we are in a safe environment. We then jump back in time to see the knowledge that children have already of the topic.

Has everybody heard of William Wilberforce? 20 years it took for him to get the signatures to ban slavery.

The kids get involved. Through acting, different scenarios that could lead to trafficking and how people are tricked into it.

I have their passport what does that mean?

[01:45:32] UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: They can't leave the country.

MACKAY: They can't leave the country. Or they can't leave me.

And then we do the five thing signs of slavery.

These are the signs to keep your safe.

SOARES: Lindsay has first-hand experience of being groomed by a trafficker while studying in Madrid.

MACKAY: I lived in an all-female flat with a male landlord and I have gifted given to men and I was told to meet his friends. If I went home, he would come pick me up from the airport unannounced and would track my flights and sent me letters telling me about how I need to go with him. And looking back at it now especially with the work I'm involved in I realize how close I was. And if I didn't have a supportive family I probably might have fallen into it.

KNIGHT: The most important thing for me was she took the knowledge and adapt it into her worship without scaring the children. The biggest thing for just enough is it can never shock them. They can never be scared. They can never be worried about what they've seen.

MACKAY: Let us know about what you thought of the worship, whether you enjoyed it, what was your favorite bit.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: The five ways you can identify someone who is maybe in slavery because I think that is a very helpful thing.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: The presenter was, like, showing her expressions and she wasn't really shy.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I just learned more about modern slavery. And now I understand.

SOARES: The aim now for Phil and his team is to spread the message to children worldwide.

KNIGHT: I'm off to America to start building just enough USA. If you can do a worship on, you know, a great flat screen in a really great school in London can you do it on the back of a truck in Nigeria with no electricity? Definitely. It's all done to the magic of the presenter.

MACKAY: So now how many believe that one person can change the world?

I thought that would happen.


SOARES: Do stay right here with CNN. We'll have more news after a short break.


[01:51:15] VAUSE: The Academy Awards are in Los Angeles on Sunday, a big night where Hollywood pats itself on its back. The musical set in the city will most likely be a big winner.

SOARES: "La La Land" is a favorite for big picture, and photography, director and more. Emma Stone who plays the female lead is expected to win best actress.

Film critic, Richard Fitzwilliams, joins us in London.

You are a well-known face when it comes to all things movie. Let talk about best film and "La La Land" it has an impressive trophy cabinet. Do you think it can continue?

RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, FILM CRITIC: I think that "La La Land" as exuberant and colorful homage to tinsel town will probably win. But this is one of the things that makes the night so exciting. A small Indy, critically loved -- "Moonlight" has an impressive trophy cabinet. And in a time of political flux and this does influence voting. And also "Moonlight" is a powerful realistic film. Do we need to fantasy world of "La La Land" at this time? And don't ignore "hidden figures" completely. It just could -- a story of women, the current inhabitant of the White House is -- and a story of black women, an inspiring film.

SOARES: Let's go back to "La La Land." it's got 14 nominations. All singing and dancing. It's Hollywood patting itself on the back in many ways. Do you think it will get the majority of the awards? Do you think the director will walk away with best director?

FITZWILLIAMS: Damian will be the best director and the youngest at 32. I think it will win a couple, three, four, perhaps. But 14 nominations doesn't mean you sweep the board and one thing worth mentioning, a lot of people certainly here, haven't enjoyed it.

SOARES: Mixed reviews.

FITZWILLIAMS: Mixed reviews and "Hidden Figures" beat in the box office in the states.



FITZWILLIAMS: The tunes, I enjoyed it. They are not hummable. There has only been "Chicago" that has won.

SOARES: Let's talk best actor. I was covering the BAFTAs and the talk was Denzel Washington wasn't nominated. Do you think he has a chance because he is up against Casey Affleck?

FITZWILLIAMS: It is fascinating this battle. It's too close to call. Washington lost most of the contests but he won the screen actors guild. That mean they are great performances. I suspect Casey Affleck because "Manchester by the Sea" is an extraordinary film. But Washington could win his third Oscar.

SOARES: Let's talk best actress, Emma Stone, is that a sure win?

FITZWILLIAMS: I think Hooper has a choice.

SOARES: Really?

FITZWILLIAMS: The fact that the academy will take her long career and this is her first nomination into account. It's certain to win, I would say. But look at the standard of the best actress nominees, can't find space for Annette Benning and Amy Adams.

[01:55:11]SOARES: And the best supporting actress? Give me a name.

FITZWILLIAMS: And best documentary, best foreign film, Tony.

SOARES: You're not a betting man, are you?

Richard, thanks very much. Great to have your insight.


VAUSE: Please join Amara Walker and me for a special edition of NEWSROOM on Oscar Sunday. We're bring the highlights, the winners, celebrity reaction, and the best-dressed, worst-dressed, maybe people who won't be dress. That's Sunday night at 9:00 here in Los Angeles, 1:00 Monday afternoon in Hong Kong.

That's all we have time for this hour. I'm John Vause, in Los Angeles.

SOARES: I'm Isa Soares, in London.

We'll be back with more news after a short break. Do stay right here.


[02:00:11] VAUSE: Hello. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.