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North Korea Fires Missiles; Travel Ban's Toll on Business; Travel Ban to Be Signed Today; Wiretapping Claims Cloud Agenda; Obama Accused of Wiretapping; Firefighters to the Rescue. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 6, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:17] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're following breaking news. North Korea's launch of four ballistic missiles is drawing strong condemnation and a warning from the U.S., the State Department specifically, and it comes as the U.S. and South Korea are engaging in joint military exercises. Probably no coincidence between the two events.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr live with the latest.

And part of the reckoning this time is, this is more troubling because if the trajectory were a little different here, Barbara, it may have reached land, at least one of these missiles, and that's raising a concern.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's raising a lot of concerns. Good morning, Chris.

Top worry here at the Pentagon this morning is what North Korea may have planned next for its missile program. U.S. officials are saying they do see, as they expect, additional signs of testing, of components, that additional missile launches could happen, as always. U.S. intelligence keeping a very close satellite eye on the underground site where North Korea tests nuclear devices.

What happened here is that four scud missiles, extended range scud missiles were launched. And as you say, one of them at least came within 200 miles of the coastline of Japan, drawing sharp condemnation from the U.S. State Department which issued a statement saying, "we remain prepared and will continue to take steps to increase our readiness to defend ourselves and our allies from attack and are prepared to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against this growing threat."

The big last two words there, "growing threat." The Trump administration may have to deal with Kim Jong-un. Their big problem this morning is, they do not know what he might have planned next.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: He is quite unpredictable. Barbara, thank you for all of that reporting. Let's get some more context now about this latest provocation by North

Korea with "Daily Beast" columnist and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World," Gordon Chang.

Gordon, great to have you here in studio.

Why is North Korea doing this?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN; NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": Well, they always do something provocative during the joint exercises between the United States and South Korea, Key Resolve, Foal Eagle, which have already started. But, you know, this is political theater because they fired four missiles at the same time. You know, if you're really only trying to figure out how to improve your missiles, you fire one, you look at the telemetry, you learn, you make improvements, you fire another one. What they've done here, though, is they really want to have a political effect on the United States, South Korea, Japan and maybe even China.

CAMEROTA: But if this, as you say, is sort of a perennially favorite activity around this time of year, then what should the U.S. response be?

CHANG: Well, you know, it is good to condemn North Korea for what they do, and we always do that, but we have never really done anything effective. I think the one thing we should do is implement the approach that has not been tried, and that is to impose costs on China for its support of North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, plus also really being involved in their elicit activities.

CAMEROTA: OK, so hit China where it hurts. Hit -- impose some sort of sanctions on China. What would that look like?

CHANG: Well, first of all, what we could do is enforce our own laws, which we should do anyway, and go after Chinese banks for their involvement in North Korea's elicit commerce. You know, unplugging them from the global financial system. Now, of course, that's going to rock markets around the world. But the one thing it will do, is it will tell Beijing that we are serious about protecting the American homeland. And we haven't done that for a very long time because we have always prioritized our relations with China, trying to integrate Beijing into the international system over disarming North Korea. And so what we've got right now is a very arrogant China and a nuked up North Korea.

CAMEROTA: But when you read that statement that Barbara Starr just read for us from the State Department saying that the U.S. is prepared to use its full range of capabilities, what does that mean?

CHANG: Well, they're talking about military activities because that's really what they say when they say we're not taking anything off the table in full range. But we're not going to do that. There are so many other things that we can do in terms of actually hurting North Korea. You know, we have sanctions on the North, but they're not as tough as they are on other countries. You know, they are not designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, for instance. There's all sorts of things that we can do.

CAMEROTA: But would tougher sanctions hurt Kim Jong-un? I mean haven't we tried sanctions for decades and it hurts the people, but it doesn't hurt Kim Jong-un.

CHANG: Well, it does hurt him, and especially because, you know, we're getting indication that elements of the regime are getting (ph) a little bit unhappy because we are restricting the flow of cash. But, you know, we have -- you know, we've got these sanctions, but they're not as tough as they could be. But really the sanctions that are important are not the ones on North Korea. They're the ones on North Korea's enabler. That is going to be -- the one thing that has not been tried. It's the only approach, Alisyn, that hasn't been tried over the course of decades. So I'm not saying -- I'm not guaranteeing it's going to work, but I am saying that if we pursue old policies, we know we're going to fail. So we should try to think about new strategies and do something different this time.

[08:35:16] CAMEROTA: What about what Barbara Starr posed as the $64,000 question that the Pentagon is wondering, what is North Korea planning next?

CHANG: Well, they're going to plan to test missiles because, first of all, they have -- they cell these things to the Iranians, for instance. You know, the Iranians tested a North Korean missile on January 29th. They didn't call it a Musudan, but that's what it was. So, you know, there is this missile cooperation. The Iranians paying the North Koreans somewhere between $2.5 billion to $3 billion a year for their various forms of cooperation. And, you know, this is something that the North Koreans are going to do because they sell this stuff.

I'm sure this is going to sound woefully naive but is there a way to just ignore -- I mean since they keep just doing these provocations, they do it every year around this time, is there a way for the U.S. to ignore North Korea?

CHANG: Well, we had that with the Obama administration's strategic patience policy, which they had in place for almost eight years where we just sort of didn't pay attention to North Korea. But while we ignored them -- and that's not an irrational strategy, but while we ignored them, they developed nuclear weapons and missiles. And, you know, we know they're going to continue to do that. Within four years or so they will have a long-range missile that will be able hit the lower 48 states and attached to the tip of it will be a nuclear weapon. So, yes, we can ignore them, but the North Korean's are making fast progress in really putting together the most destructive weapons on earth.

CAMEROTA: Gordon Chang, thanks so much for your expertise. Always great to talk to you.

CHANG: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Let's get to Chris. CUOMO: All right, so we were told that the ban had to happen right away because it was urgent, there were imminent threats. Well, that seems to be less the case and certainly less provable. So all of our analysis has been about the law, the practical impact, what this could mean for Muslims, but what about the economic impact? That might be a bigger and hidden concern. Why? Answer next.


[08:41:10] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things To Know For Your New Day."

Number one, the FBI calling on the Justice Department to publicly refute President Trump's claim that he was wire tapped on orders from President Obama, while the White House pushes for a congressional investigation.

CUOMO: Senior Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway revealing a new version of the travel ban will be signed today. Sources tell CNN that key Trump advisers want Iraq excluded from it.

CAMEROTA: There's a new CNN/ORC poll that finds a majority of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about the Trump administration's alleged ties to Russia. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump's approval rating holding steady at 45 percent of Americans giving him the thumbs up, compared to 44 last month.

CUOMO: Military investigators are launching a criminal probe after hundreds of explicit photos showing current and former female Marines were posted online. Officials say it was started by a private FaceBook group calling itself "Marines United."

CAMEROTA: Adele makes it official. The Grammy winning pop star telling fans in Australia she is indeed married.


CAMEROTA: There was a lot of question about that.

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

CAMEROTA: After months of speculation, Adele says she tied the knot with her partner. The two have a four-year-old son. Congratulations, Adele.

CUOMO: That's nice.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: All right, President Trump is set to revamp his travel ban with big implications for companies and workers around the globe. Chief business correspondent and host of "Early Start" Christine Romans is in our Money Center.


That's right, how will this travel ban affect U.S. business? Well, the fear is the travel ban could prevent some companies from moving workers into and out of the U.S., but the travel ban will not affect those with existing visas or permanent residents. Still, airlines and other travel companies may have to put in some extra work to comply.

Economists say overall restricting travel is not helpful for business. A new survey of 285 corporate economists finds this, 49 percent think immigration policy should be relaxed, the opposite of what this administration is doing, 27 percent say it should not change. Only 19 percent say the president should tighten immigration into the U.S. The U.S. Travel Association, that's a trade group, it wants the president's ban to not just say who must be kept out, but to stress who should be let in. The group appealing to the president's hatred of trade deficit saying travel to the U.S. lowers the trade deficit.

Another key immigration move, the Department of Homeland Security is suspended the expedited H-1B visa program starting April 3rd. These are visas for highly skilled foreign workers. Companies can pay $1,200 extra to get a visa approved in 15 days instead of the normal three to six months. Demand for these visas is very high. The government wants to suspend that expedited program, focus its resources, instead, on clearing a huge backlog of orders. H-1Bs are a stable, of course, of the tech industry. It helps fill a skills gap they say. But President Trump, and many others, frankly, have accused companies of abusing this H-1B program as a way to hire foreign workers, you guys, at lower salaries.


CAMEROTA: OK, Christine, thanks so much for explaining all of that.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: So, back to the wiretapping allegations from President Trump. Will those overshadow the important business the White House is dealing with this week? We get "The Bottom Line" with David Chalian, next.


[08:48:22] CUOMO: All right, so once you clear away a lot of the noise, you do have a reality that we're all going to have to deal with, hopefully today. The new Trump travel ban executive order. One of his advisers says it will be signed today.

What will it mean? Let's bring in CNN political director David Chalian here with "The Bottom Line." Yes, what the president was spinning out on Twitter about President Obama and these ugly insults and the baseless accusations, that matters. But let's take the travel ban all by itself. It's been a month since this thing that needed to be passed urgency because of the imminent threat, that's what we were sold by the White House, first came out. What does the month mean in terms of its political future?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Not only the month that it's been, but now if indeed Kellyanne Conway is correct, as you just said, and it doesn't take effect until March 16th, I mean that is directly opposed to how they rolled this out initially. Now, granted the rollout initially didn't go so well for them. So if indeed the delay was to produce something that is going to have a much sturdier chance standing up in court, then kudos to the team. But it does completely undercut the justification that they said of why it needed to be rushed at the very beginning of the administration.

CAMEROTA: And so then, David, is there a chance that that delay itself will trip them up in court?

CHALIAN: Well, I guess there is a chance that if indeed it doesn't go into effect, it's taken to the courts, perhaps it doesn't ever get up and running to see if -- to see if it does work, to see if it does make us safer as the president claims it will. But to the point of retreating, getting rid of the old one, coming up with something that can stand up, let's see what indeed gets proposed today. Let's see the inevitable challenge in court. If they are inside the bounds of the law and the Constitution, the better for it for the administration.

[08:50:11] CUOMO: The legal problem will be the public record of now two different instances of the intel communities coming forward and saying there is no imminent threat and it's not bringing people in from those countries, it's what happens to them once they're here that creates --

CHALIAN: That will be part of the case, there's no doubt.

CUOMO: So that's going to be part of the record.

And that takes us to what he just did with this wiretap notion that he brought up, is that he has once -- once again put himself at odds, our president, with the intel community. And how is that going to play out? Because he just had his surrogates on morning shows saying, yes, he doesn't agree with Comey. Our reporting is not that Comey went to the Justice Department to have this story tamped down, but the FBI, the people under him, did. How does that play?

CHALIAN: Well, who would have thought that if you compared the intelligence community to Nazis at some point that it may come back to bite you, right? I mean this has been an ongoing war between the intel community, foreign and domestic, and President Trump and his administration. And I don't see this dissipating any time soon. I think this is going to be with us as sort of narrative inside the Trump administration for quite some time. Certainly the Russia story is not going anywhere.

So I do think that this is part of what you guys heard Steve Bannon say, that he wanted to sort of break up the administrative state, destruct it, and this is part of what we're seeing, this deep state notion. The intel community, part of that. These forces that Trump believes are after him, which is just getting in his way, as opposed to relying on most of these patriots inside the intelligence community to give him the information he needs to make life and death decisions.

CAMEROTA: Well, David, I mean this goes to the very problem, and that is, where does the president get his information? On whom does he rely and what websites and what press sources? And so this morning his deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was on a morning show and she was asked, is this based on real information or, you know, some right wing website that he stumbled upon. Here was her answer.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: There was wide reporting suggesting that his administration, whether it was directly ordered by this president specifically, his administration could have done this.


SANDERS: Look, I love how now anonymous sources don't matter anymore. We've been dealing with anonymous sources and having to fight back against that for the last six months.


CAMEROTA: It's interesting because they don't like anonymous sources unless it's a story that they like, because this is based on two anonymous sources on a right wing website.

CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, listen, I think that's true of every White House. They like the anonymous sources that are from their side, that are getting a story out, and those that aren't and coming at them, they don't like so much. But notice what Sarah Huckabee Sanders did there, right? She's tried to broaden it out and change what President Trump actually tweeted about over the weekend and to say, oh, well, maybe the Obama administration opened this up, not President Obama himself. That's not the charge that President Trump leveled this weekend. He leveled it directly at President Obama.

CUOMO: Look, here's what's absurd about this. The president of the United States, who leveled this accusation, is the most perfectly placed person to prove or disprove them. He is a phone call away. It is not about anonymous sources for him. He can call the FBI and find out the reality literally in a single call.

CHALIAN: But, Chris -- Chris, even Sarah Huckabee Sanders actually pushed back on that, and I'm curious to see how the White House plays this out today. This morning she said it's not clear if he could just pick up the phone and get the information.

CUOMO: Well, you know, I don't know how to help her on that one.

CHALIAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: But he's a phone call away.

CAMEROTA: David Chalian, thank you for "The Bottom Line."

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys. CAMEROTA: "The Good Stuff," next.



[08:57:39] CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff."

Firefighters rock, right? No argument there. These guys from California prove that they put out all kinds of fires, like young Haley (ph), waiting for her school bus. Weather turns for the worse. Firefighters see the teen stuck in the rain. They immediately stop.


HALEY: He said that he would take me to school. And I got in the fire engine and it was pretty cool.


CUOMO: Of course it was. Haley said it's an experience she'll never forget. Not only because it was such a kind gesture but because she got to ride in a fire truck. As for firefighter Matt Moreno (ph)--


MATT MORENO, FIREFIGHTER: It's not in our job description to necessarily give rides, but in in case the right thing was done.


CAMEROTA: How awesome is that? You roll up to high school in the fire truck. That would be great. Great entrance.

CUOMO: They are thinking help all the time.

CAMEROTA: OK, "Saturday Night Live," meanwhile, if you caught it this weekend, they channeled Forest Gump to depict Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Queue the late night laughs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my best good friend Kellyanne. She ain't got no legs. She's the best talker you ever heard. They say she could sell steak to a skunk. But they don't let her talk anymore. I miss you Kelly. I always say life is like a box of chocolates. Sure are a whole lot of brown ones in there. No, I never talked to any Russians ever, and that's all I got to say about that.

I talked to the Russians. The Democrats want me to resign. I just got to prove to everybody that I don't have any ties to the Russians whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This meeting never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn't going to remember it anyway. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: He's been getting in better shape, the guy who plays Putin.



CAMEROTA: Because I sort of respected that he wasn't getting in better shape.

CUOMO: No, you can see, he's trimming down a little bit. He spends a lot of time with his shirt off, that guy.


CUOMO: It's become part of his job description.

CAMEROTA: That is awesome. "Saturday Night Live" is back with a vengeance, as usual.

CUOMO: Oh, what a world.

Time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman, another man who spends a lot of time with his shirt off.

[09:00:00] CAMEROTA: Obviously.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I mean Chris Cuomo didn't know you could take pictures with a shirt on. If you --


BERMAN: If you follow Cuomo's Instagram feed, it's a virtually shirtless Instagram feed.

CUOMO: You can't (INAUDIBLE). This session is over.

HARLOW: I think we got -- I think we got -- we got real news here.