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Hawaii Federal Judge Blocks Trump's New Travel Ban; Growing Frustration in Congress for FBI on Russian Meddling; 2 Russians Charged in Massive Yahoo Cyberattack; Rutte Beats Wilders in Dutch Election; Nationalist Candidates Hope to Capitalize on Anti- Immigration Sentiment in Europe; Rex Tiller in Asia to Discuss North Korea. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 16, 2017 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:49] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Just 11:00 here on the west coast. I'm John Vause.


Our breaking news this hour, President Trump's second try at a travel ban has been blocked by a federal judge, just like the first one. A judge in Hawaii made the decision hours before the revised ban was supposed to take effect.

VAUSE: The executive order would have stopped travel from a number of majority of Muslim countries.

Mr. Trump told a crowd of supporters just a while ago he will fight this decision.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A judge has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries.


TRUMP: The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with?


SESAY: We spoke last hour to Hawaii's attorney general about the judge's decision.


VAUSE: Bottom line here, did Judge Watson, the judge in this case, did he essentially decide that the executive order, the travel ban, is a religious test?

DOUG CHIN, HAWAII ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes. I mean essentially with the rationale that Judge Watson applied to this case was a little different from what Judge Robart did in the Washington case, where he looked at it and analyzed the factors from the Establishment Clause standpoint, which is essentially the Establishment Clause just wants to make sure whenever there is an official action taken by the state, it's not favoring one religion or disfavoring one religion as was the case here.

SESAY: Attorney General Chin, how do you respond to President Trump's reaction to this move? He said in public comments on Wednesday that this judgment displays unprecedented judicial overreach. What do you say to that?

CHIN: Well, I don't think that Judge Watson was necessarily overreaching since there is precedent for the courts to be able to look at the context. Context matters. In other words, that is something that the U.S. government has been arguing, which is that the only right thing to do is to look at the four corners of the document to see whether or not there is neutral language. Unfortunately for them, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that proposition and has told judges that the right thing to do is actually to look at what is going on behind the curtain. And that is our argument. And essentially, that's what was happening. There have been so many statements, and even up until tonight, statements made by President Trump, and even when he was a candidate, and now when he's president, that just indicate that he continues to display, unfortunately, a religious animus that is not constitutional.

VAUSE: During arguments, the Department of Justice asked the judge if he was leaning towards an injunction, if he could tailor it specifically for Hawaii. He rejected it and, you know, applied it nationwide. They lost on that front as well. What are the implications there?

CHIN: Right, well, I think certainly the most important thing is that national security is protected. And what really the implication of this temporary restraining order is that the existing system, which is very secure, which is very strict, and is also constitutional, continues to remain in place. What the judge was enjoining was the application of an unconstitutional standard that was grouping people, or just basically saying if you are from one of these six Muslim- majority nations, you are presumptively a terrorist. It didn't matter if you were a baby, it didn't matter if you were a grandmother or the mother-in-law of our individual plaintiff in the case who wasn't able to get a visa, and still hasn't, you were presumptively a terrorist and you would now have to go through some extra steps in order to prove to the government that you are not.


[02:05:07] VAUSE: That was Hawaii Attorney General Doug China speaking just a short time ago.

Joining us now, reporter, Stephanie Elam, is in Honolulu, Hawaii, and here in Los Angles, criminal defense attorney, Brian Claypool.

SESAY: Also, Democratic strategist, Matthew Littman; and CNN political contributor and Trump supporter, John phillips.

VAUSE: Stephanie, first to you.

A big win for Hawaii. But this injunction is only temporary. The legal fight is far from over?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is exactly the case. This is something to celebrate for now. It's a very nice win in Hawaii, a big win for this attorney general. But they are poised to keep this fight going here because they know that there are parts of this that the Trump administration will likely take issue with and will probably have some sort of response to other than the comments that he made out speaking while he was traveling in the country yesterday.

Now, there are a couple of things though that are interesting. You heard the attorney general speak to that. And I was listening because I was in that federal court yesterday when this was happening. The judge was pressing the lawyer representing the United States about the fact of context, whether or not context should be a part of this, or do you take a look at a document and just look at the words there and not pay attention to what else has been happening out into world. And that was something that you heard him ask about several times, and clearly when you take a look at the ruling that he came out with, that is something that continued to be represented in his ruling.

The other issue here is just why Hawaii wanted to stay alone here in this. They are saying some of the issues are specific to Hawaii more so than other states, and that is the reason why they chose to take the road alone on this one.

VAUSE: Thank you, Stephanie.

SESAY: Stephanie, thank you.

Brian, to you now.

We've already heard President Trump react to this decision. One of the things he said in those public comments in Tennessee was that the judge here displayed unprecedented judicial overreach. Is he right in saying that? Is it unprecedented?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Isha, I agree with President Trump on this one. As a trial lawyer for 20-plus years, I will he tell you that the one place that I thought we could be immune from a political agenda is the courtroom. I believe this ruling by Judge Watson, evidences what I call courtroom chaos, because it's based more on political motivation and emotion than it is logic. To give you an example, his comments in this executive order, they read more like a movie script, like a mystery novel, than they did an actual court order. He is citing, for example, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, having conversations with Donald Trump about a Muslim ban and how to enforce this. He is citing comments made on Anderson Cooper's show to support his ruling on this executive order.

And I will tell you, rest assured, that when this ruling by Judge Watson makes its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court justices are not going to be considering extraneous comments made during an election, nor will they consider comments made on TV shows in ruling on this case.

VAUSE: OK. Let's play one of the comments that the judge was actually considering when he delivered this opinion. As Brian said, there were a number of them. One of them was Stephen Miller, a senior aide to Donald Trump. This is what he said.


STEPHE MILLER, TRUMP SENIOR AIDE: Well, one of the big differences that you are going to see in the executive order is that it's going to be responsive to the judicial ruling, which didn't exist previously. So those are mostly minor technical differences. Fundamentally, you are still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country. But you are going to be responsive to a lot of very technical issues that were brought up by the court, and those will be addressed. But in terms of protecting the country, those basic policies are still going to be in effect.


VAUSE: John, I guess we'll find out the legalities of all of this as it works its way through the court system. But for now, that tough talk coming from the White House, has it backfired?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think they should rename the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, because it is a place where all good ideas go to die. The president said he will appeal this and take it all the way to Supreme Court if he has to. This is why the fight over the vacancy on the Supreme Court is critical. This could be a 5-4 decision. And you have liberal scholars, including Alan Dershowitz, who says he thinks President Trump could win in the Supreme Court.

SESAY: Matt, all politics is wading into the judicial process.

MATT LITTMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Trump said we are going to be sick of all the winning. Yet, he keeps losing on this same thing.

A couple of problems with Trump. One is, 50 days or so into his administration, they are focused on the Muslim ban instead of a lot of the issues the people elected him to work on, which are, for example, jobs, infrastructure, tax cuts, those things. We are focused on the Muslim ban. He keeps losing on the same thing. It's obvious they are trying to ban Muslims. Rudy Giuliani was on TV saying they asked him how to ban Muslims. Then they tried to ban Muslims. We don't have a religious test in this country. That's part of the United States and what we are founded upon. He is trying to block Muslims. They keep blocking him. Stop, concentrate on what the people elected you on.

[02:10:22] VAUSE: The president brought up national security as one of the reasons why the ban was so important. This is what Donald Trump had to say.


TRUMP: Hundreds of refugees are under federal investigation for terrorism and related reasons. We have entire regions of the world destabilized by terrorism and ISIS. For this reason, I issued an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from places where vetting cannot safely occur.



VAUSE: Brian, the problem for President Trump is that the evidence that the judge saw in Hawaii just didn't back up those statements.

CLAYPOOL: That's what Judge Watson says. But what about the fact that 91 percent of Muslims worldwide are not included in this alleged Muslim ban? Judge Watson had the audacity, John, in his ruling, to mock that fact. In other words, he said, oh, just because there is 91 percent of Muslims not in this travel ban, that doesn't make a difference. Because if you just exclude one Muslim from coming into this country, then that's unconstitutional. That's not how the law works Judge Watson.

And I will tell you what's different here, John, is that there is now empirical evidence. Remember in that first executive order -- we talked about this -- there was no evidence put forth by the government of any public-safety threat. It was just rhetoric. Now we have Donald Trump actually saying that we have over 300 individuals, refugees in our country being investigated for domestic terrorism. Now that he cites that, people mock him on that. It's -- it's -- it's never ending.

SESAY: Matt, to bring you in, you are shaking your head.


SESAY: Not only has it been rejected by the judge in Honolulu, but there is also the question of whether the president is overreaching his own powers when it comes to the issue of national security.

LITTMAN: The problem with what Brian is saying is Trump's Department of Homeland Security has said this Muslim ban will not make the United States any safer. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, has said there are no imminent threats from any of these countries. So I don't think the idea is there are terrorist threats coming -- we have had a lot of shootings in the United States over the last few years. When that person went into Newtown and shot a bunch of first graders, he wasn't a Muslim. But Donald Trump is trying to take advantage of the fact that people are scared of terrorism, which terrorism is a big problem, and he's trying to ban Muslims. He's trying to start out with the first few countries. But his own administration has said we will start out with these first few countries and then expand it.

THOMAS: If this judge can consider conversations out on a show, FOX News, that you watch while you're eating your breakfast, can we please at least consider the comments that ISIS has put out and tweeted out where they say that they plan on infiltrating the ranks of refugees and sneaking them into Western countries so they can commit acts of terror? Can we at least consider that, too.

LITTMAN: But the United States has a totally different policy than countries in Europe. In Europe, you get on a boat from one country to another. It's impossible to vet those people. In the United States, we have a two-year vetting process. That is extreme vetting. That's --

THOMAS: But ISIS has said that's their express purpose of what they're trying to do. They are trying to sneak them in --



VAUSE: -- there's not specific evidence that this is a specific threat to the United States, which is why this ban is needed. Unfortunately, Donald Trump and evidence are two things that you're missing at the moment, not putting forward when it comes to this case


THOMAS: It's not just the United States. It's the West. But we did find Iraqi refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were conspiring to commit acts of terror.

VAUSE: In Iraq. Conspiring to support acts --

SESAY: In Iraq.

VAUSE: -- in Iraq.

THOMAS: Nonetheless, we are importing people who are aspiring terrorists. We have seen various acts in Europe where people are coming in with papers of being refugees.


THOMAS: This is a real problem.

LITTMAN: Of all the shooting in the United States in the last 15 years, have any of the people come from these countries?

THOMAS: That's not the point. The point --


LITTMAN: It is a big point.

THOMAS: The point is the number should be zero.


LITTMAN: It is zero.


LITTMAN: All those domestic terrorist attacks have been people who live in the United States and have been here for a long time. They are not people coming from these countries.

VAUSE: A study found in domestic attacks in this country were carried out by second generation radicalized in their 15th year after they had arrived. So banning people from these countries, it will be --


THOMAS: That's a problem, too. But also, people who are coming over here and immigrating legally, who are clearly radicals, who want to kill people, like the San Bernardino terrorists -- she was radicalized before she moved here. And the evidence I have seen said she radicalized the husband even more.

SESAY: Brian, to bring you in, isn't this a serious argument, this are notion there are some people in this country that don't want to see the country safe, that they are against safety? Everyone is for safety. The question is the way the administration is going about achieving that.

[02:15:] CLAYPOOL: Great point. That goes to the issue I made earlier, which is President Trump has earmarked six countries, the same six countries that President Obama had also identified, as hot beds for domestic terrorism. So Donald Trump is not simply putting his hand over his eyes and just picking, you know, 20 countries to pick on. He has data that is supported by our previous president, Obama. He has now centered that information on countries that have predominant terrorist cells.

And what he's trying to do, Isha, is simply put a delay on the process of vetting. He's not saying this is a permanent ban on Muslims from these six countries coming into the country. He's saying we need to stop, take a deep breath, take 120 days, and let's do a better job of vetting folks coming from those countries into the United States to insure public safety. Plain and simple.


VAUSE: -- because regardless of getting into the weeds of this decision, if you look at this from 2,000 feet, what you see is that this administration has tried twice and failed to implement an executive order. The first time, they botched the rollout. It was chaos and confusing and a disaster. They have tried again and it's rejected again. The perception is that this administration can't get their act together.

THOMAS: Politically speaking, it would be better for him to wait until after a terrorist attack to do something like this. But this is why we elected an outsider. We don't want him to wait. We want him to be proactive. LITTMAN: But we don't want a president who just keeps fighting and losing. You have to fulfill the agenda that people elected you for. People want to know about jobs, about infrastructure. He is spending his first two months on this Muslim ban. I think it is a mistake.

VAUSE: Hold that thought. Stay with us.

SESAY: And the conversation continues.

VAUSE: Our thanks to Brian Claypool for joining us as well. Brian -

SESAY: Brian, we always appreciate it.

VAUSE: -- we appreciate your contribution and insights. Thank you.

CLAYPOOL: Thanks, John.

Thanks, Isha.

VAUSE: You are welcome. Thank you.

Time for a quick break. U.S. lawmakers are getting frustrated. Coming up, what they want from the FBI and what they will do if they don't get it.

VAUSE: Also, the U.S. government named suspects accused of hacking hundreds of millions of Yahoo e-mail accounts. We will tell you why the company is calling it a state-sponsored attack.




[02:21:38] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. 22 minutes past 11:00 here in Los Angeles.

There is growing frustration in Congress with the FBI's silence on allegations of Russian meddling in the presidential election, and also on President Trump's claim of wiretapping.

SESAY: They are threatening to issue subpoenas for information, and they're openly doubting the president's claim.


REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't believe just in the last week of time the people we have talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I've seen no evidence that supports the claim that President Trump made that his predecessor had wiretapped he and his associates at Trump Tower.


VAUSE: Mr. Trump, though, is defending his accusation.

SESAY: In an interview with FOX News, he listed a couple of sources for his claim, and he said he had more proof he wasn't revealing just yet.


TRUMP: I read in, I think it was January 20th, a "New York Times" article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article. I think they used that exact term. I read other things. I watched your friend, Bret Baer, the day previous, where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening and wiretapping. I said, wait a minute, there is a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I have been seeing a lot of things.


VAUSE: Back now with Matt Littman and John phillips.

John, read a lot of things, heard a lot of things. Someone told me that a friend heard something. Zero hour fast approaching for the president. If he has any evidence would, now be a good time to bring it up and bring it forward.

PHILLIPS: We do know his conversation with the president of Mexico was listened in to by someone.


LITTMAN: We don't know that.

THOMAS: Absolutely. We know it was leaked.


THOMAS: Which had to be illegal.

VAUSE: But because there was a transcript, it doesn't mean it was bugged.

THOMAS: Nonetheless, which is illegal --

VAUSE: But it doesn't mean --


THOMAS: Same thing with the president of Australia. Same thing with Michael Flynn.


VAUSE: The Russian ambassador was being monitored because he is the Russian ambassador --


THOMAS: But if you're listening to a call, you are listening to at least two parties, correct?

VAUSE: Right.

THOMAS: So conversations that Michael Flynn was on and conservations that Donald Trump were on were listened to by third parties, and the contents of those conversations were illegally leaked.

VAUSE: But the conversations between the president and the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Australia, that could have been a transcript which was leaked. It doesn't necessarily mean that the conversation was listened to.

THOMAS: Nevertheless, it's illegal to take the contents of those private conversations and put it in the public domain. I think it's obvious at this point that its allies of President Obama or at least the political enemies --

SESAY: Is it?

THOMAS: Absolutely. Of President Trump, trying to do damage to him. These are illegal acts. These people should be in prison.

SESAY: Is this the Deep State.

THOMAS: I'm talking about people who are breaking the law. They should go to jail for doing what they are doing because they are putting America's national security at risk.

LITTMAN: I think we're missing the forest for the trees here. So when Donald Trump says he reads web sites and he is watching TV shows, does he know he is the president? He can make a couple of phone calls and get this information. Not from "Saved By the Bell" or whatever he is watching.



LITTMAN: Take the job of being the president seriously. He is spending all this time on the Internet. It's ridiculous.

He says Barack Obama is a sick guy who is wiretapping him at Trump Tower. That's a very specific claim. The members of Congress who are in charge of finding this stuff out all say there is no truth to this claim.

The bigger problem for President Trump is some of the members of Congress start to not take him seriously. He has an agenda that he may want to push forward, how can they push it forward if --


THOMAS: There are others who say they have been wiretapped, too, like your friend, Dennis Kucinich.

LITTMAN: Dennis Kucinich is not my friend.


Number two, he is out of Congress for, how long?

[02:25:10] SESAY: You know what, it didn't sound like he was, I don't know, amend --

VAUSE: Wiggle.

SESAY: Wiggle. Let's listen to this.

VAUSE: Wiggle, wiggle.


TRUMP: Wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you are going to find some interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.


SESAY: Very interesting things coming to the forefront.

VAUSE: And wiretapping.

SESAY: Really?


THOMAS: Well, maybe more conversations that he is having are going to be leaked to the press.

VAUSE: Matt, the problem for the president is wiretapping doesn't mean a lot of different things. It is a narrowly defined term.

LITTMAN: Right. So it does mean wiretapping. And he said Obama is a sick guy who is wiretapping his phone at the Trump Tower. That's what it meant. It didn't mean that Obama is literally putting in a wiretap himself, I assume. It meant that the FBI or whoever is doing it. But he said tapping his phone at Trump Tower. That's not a lot of things. That's tapping your phone at Trump Tower. It didn't happen, now he looks foolish.

SESAY: Also want to talk about news that emerged from the Department of Justice involving Russia on Wednesday. Two Russians are among four people charged in a massive hack of Yahoo users' information. U.S. authorities say the breach began in 2014 and affected at least half a million people. The stolen data included e-mail addresses and passwords but not financial information.

Let's go to CNN's Claire Sebastian. She joins me now from Moscow.

Claire, basic question, are we getting a response, a reaction from Moscow to this?

CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Isha, we are getting some reaction from Moscow. The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, saying he has no information on this. This is a question for the police.

But TASS news agency did earlier on Wednesday quote an anonymous high- ranking source in Moscow who said Washington never appealed to the Russian Federation in connection of the Russian allegations of Russian hacking of the Yahoo site. According to the source, the case also suggests another attempt to use the topic of Russian hackers in the political struggle in the U.S.

We do know of Department of Justice officials telling CNN they had planned to reach out to Russia after the announce men of this indictment on Wednesday. We don't know more on that as yet.

But this is an extraordinary development. The first time really that the U.S. has managed to explicitly link the Russian kind of cyber- criminal underworld with the intelligence apparatus in this country, something that has long been suspected but never explicitly set out on this scale.

As you said, the indictment includes two FSB officers, Igor Sushchin (ph) and Dmitry Dokuchaev (ph). Interesting, Dokuchaev (ph) we believe is already in custody in the U.S. He was among four people named in December and arrested -- accused of treason on behalf of the U.S., a very rare occurrence in the post-Soviet era in Russia.

Now there is many unanswered questions related to that particular case. We still don't know if there is going to be a trial or when or anything about that. All very murky.

As for this Yahoo case, we do know one man was arrested in Canada. But as for the rest, it's very unlikely they will face justice in the U.S. When cyber criminals have faced justice in the U.S., it's usually because they have been apprehended in a third country outside. There is no formal extradition treaty -- Isha?

SESAY: Claire Sebastian, with the view from Russia there. Claire, we appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: Thanks.

Quickly, John, I know this is not related to the hack of the Democratic National Committee. But it does demonstrate links between the Kremlin and cyber hackers and other criminals.

THOMAS: Correct. This is what cartels and organized crime do. This is the new game that they're involved in. And we have to take it very seriously. Going act to the Sony hacking when Amy Pascal and all the executives in that corporation had their e-mails hacked, I thought it was a mistake for us to have fun with the contents of those e-mails. That's a serious problem, it's a crime, and it should be dealt with severely.

LITTMAN: During the campaign, Donald Trump asked the Russians to hack into Hillary's e-mails and the DNC very publicly. What ends up happening, when you ask the Russians to hack into the DNC and e-mails is they're also going to hack into other places that we don't like and invade the privacy of Americans. They are not our allies and we don't like that.

SESAY: All right, gentlemen.

VAUSE: Matt and John, thank you.

SESAY: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: A short break. When we come back, American's top diplomate is in Asia, and he will have some tough words for China on how to deal with the threat from North Korea.

SESAY: Plus, voters in the Netherlands deliver a message to far-right candidate, Geert Wilders. The latest election results are next.


[02:33:01] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles, where it is coming up on 11:33. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay.


SESAY: Voters in the Netherlands are not buying into far-right leader Geert Wilder's national message the way he wanted. Preliminary elections show Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling party headed for victory.

VAUSE: The People's Party is projected to win 33 out of the 150 seats in parliament. Wilders' Freedom Party is in a distant 20 seats, more than double what they held before the election. But it's Mr. Rutte who is claiming a big win.


MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER (through translation): I've had lots of European leaders on the phone already. This night is a night for the Netherlands. After Brexit, after the American elections, where we said, stop it, stop it to the wrong type of populism.

GEERT WILDERS, FREEDOM PARTY CANDIDATE (through translation): If they need me or if they need the PVV for talks, then I am happy to take part. If not, then they haven't gotten rid of me yet. With more people, with 19 to 20 people in parliament, we'll have a strong opposition against the cabinet, and we'll make their lives difficult every day.


[02:35:19] SESAY: Let's go live to The Hague now with CNN's senior international correspondent, Atika Shubert; and the chair of the department of French and Francophone studies at UCLA, Dominic Thomas.

Good to have you with us.

Dominic, Rutte seemed to track farther to the right. How will he govern now as part of this coalition? Will he track away from the far-right more to the center?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR, FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA: Yes, Rutte, and, in fact, everyone else running in this election have said, specifically, they would not work with Wilders. As we move forward into the process of coalition formation, it is very likely that Rutte's party lost votes, but nevertheless came out with a fair lead in this election, and will move towards forming a center or center right-coalition most likely with the Christian Democrats with whom he has been in the coalition previously a few years ago. Probably, also with the Christian Union and with the Democrats 66. They may need some support from a smaller party. But that looks like the way that this is going to go.

SESAY: Atika, to you, what about the issues that Geert Wilders brought to the forefront of this race, the issues of immigration and Islam? He raised issues that resonated with a lot of people. They are not just going to disappear now that the vote's done.

SHUBERT: Basically, when I spoke to Wilders last weekend, he said, you know, even if I end up losing seats, I still win because everybody is talking about the issues that I have been bringing up for years, immigration, what he describes as Islamization. And you know, this issue of what is Dutch identity. You know, it's interesting, I actually spent a day with a group of fishermen who all voted for Wilders, and they said, you know, it's not just the issue of immigration. Although it does factor into why they support him. But also the fact that he is anti-E.U. for them, it's really about shaking up the establishment. And all politics is local. They live in small area where there is not a lot of foreigners. But they are concerned when they deliver into the cities they see these big Muslim communities that they feel are benefiting unfairly while they are working hard and really not getting ahead. They are not seeing their salaries move up much. It's those kinds of local concerns that Wilders gives a voice to. But he hasn't offered any solution now it is a up to Rutte to say we have heard you here are some solutions.

SESAY: Dominic, let me ask you this. Does this result mean that populism has peaked? Has it killed the momentum for the race in France and Germany?

THOMAS: No, absolutely not, especially when it comes to the French case. What we see here, the interesting story here, is the tremendous international attention on the question of populism and the far-right. The message to make the Netherlands great again has fallen flat. Nobody needs to make the Netherlands great again. The fact the people came out and voted at over 80 percent yesterday, which has gone against the trend of declining voting numbers in recent years. People came out to vote saying, yes, maybe we don't have consensus on all of these issues but, overall, we are not the divided society that is the America of today or France or Brexit of the United Kingdom. We have come together. We are used to working in coalition. We will affirm this coalition and we will find solutions to these particular problems. Whether or not this message carries over to the French contest, which is the next election coming up is a different matter. The French political landscape is extraordinarily divided. I don't think this is going to change the nature of the debate there. In the Netherlands, it has, and it is a very good day for the European Union as well.

SESAY: To that point, Atika, about the European Union, we heard the president of the European Commission say that this was a vote for Europe, a vote against extremists. It is a good day, but that's not to say there aren't still choppy waters ahead. The fact of the matter is Europe is changing.

SHUBERT: Europe is changing. But I think what the Netherlands has proved is that with this vote we can say, yes, we can listen, give a voice to some of these concerns like immigration, but that doesn't mean it has to dominate the issues. Wilders was able to provide some sort of a voice, but he was so extreme in what he was saying that all the other parties have said, you know, no, we are not going to work with that. And that's sort of a lesson I think that's being learned throughout Europe. Already, within minutes of the results coming out, we saw the candidates in Germany, for example, Martin Schultz, saying, you know, this shows us the path forward. There is still a fight ahead. And, of course, we have the French and German elections. But, yes, it sort of opens the way now for an alternative for voters who see that you don't have to reject the establishment only by voting for the far-right. There are other alternatives.

[02:40:38] SESAY: Atika Shubert, Dominic Thomas, great insight and analysis.

My thanks to you both.

VAUSE: As Atika mentioned, France and Germany have national elections later this year. And nationalist candidates, like Marine Le Pen, in France, are hoping to capitalize on anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris.

Melissa, the outcome of this election in Holland, it was seen as a bellwether for those elections later this year in France and Germany. What will this mean for the Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's a big question here in France. Already, the mainstream candidates and France's president have been congratulating the Dutch prime minister on his victory, celebrating the fact that apparently, extremism, in the words of those politicians I mentioned, not only France's foreign minister but also the centrist Independent, currently the one closest to Marine Le Pen in the polls, all celebrating the defeat of extremism.

I'll tell you what the French president said, "The president of the republic congratulated Rutte for his election success and his clear victory against extremism. The values of openness and respect for others and a faith in Europe's future are only true response to the nationalist impulses and isolationism that are shaking the world."

Yet, while there is a celebratory attitude from France's candidates and politicians, I would caution there is a difference between a Geert Wilders and Marine Le Penn. If there is a great deal of similarity between the pro-European mainstream progressives, there is a difference between the various populists currently standing in the election that you mentioned, John. Marine Le Pen is much less openly anti-Muslim than Geert Wilders. He was extreme on that question and strong on that particular question of being anti-Muslim. Marine Le Pen has developed a more nuanced view. We have been spending time with her voters saying, if she was racist or anti-Muslim or anti- Semitic, we would not be campaigning for her. She is anti-European, but she has shed the rhetoric that hampered her father when he was in charge of the National Front -- John?

VAUSE: Melissa thank you so much. At least in France and Germany, they are breathing a sigh of relief right now. But it may be short lived.

Melissa Bell, live in Paris, thank you.

SESAY: Quick break. The United States top envoy is meeting with Japanese leaders in Tokyo. What Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hopes to accomplish on North Korea. That's up next.


[02:46:22] VAUSE: The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he is in Tokyo. He is holding a news conference right now with Japan's foreign minister.

SESAY: After that, he will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. North Korea is high on the agenda for Tillerson's first official trip to Asia. That will likely continue as he visits South Korea and China.

VAUSE: Ivan Watson is standing by in Tokyo.

Ivan, this should be an easy trip in Tokyo. The challenge comes when he arrives in Beijing. He will have to deal with the question of North Korea.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We already heard some rather provocative proposals coming from senior U.S. officials suggesting that one of the messages that Rex Tillerson will bring to Beijing is that the U.S. would be willing to penalize Japanese companies -- rather, Chinese companies that do business with North Korea in an effort to try to put more pressure on China to end its trade ties with North Korea, to help enforce sanctions and try to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program, it is ballistic missiles program. That is probably not going to be a proposal that goes over very well with the Chinese. So there is still this sticking point here where North Korea threatens U.S. allies, South Korea and Japan. And the U.S. is determined to try to put a stop to some of these threats and provocations. While China calls for a ratcheting down of tensions on all sides and has actually warned this looks like two traipse, the U.S. and North Korea, heading towards each other at full speed towards a collision, there still seems to be disagreement on how to deal with this in the end -- John?

Q: As you mentioned, the Chinese are not likely to be happy with that threat of financial penalties of Chinese companies doing business with the North Koreans. They are also already unhappy because the U.S. has deployed the anti-missile system in South Korea.

WATSON: That's right. This has been a big bone of contention. That's called THAAD. It is the U.S. missile defense system that has been rushed into place into South Korea, and that Beijing has come out very strongly against, saying it just doesn't like this at all. And it has start punishing, basically, South Korea economically for accepting this missile defense system. The missile defense system, the U.S. says, is purely a defensive measure. It needs to protect the American ally, South Korea, from the provocations of North Korea. China certainly doesn't see it that way.

But there's another issue -- another question in the air right now, and that is that the president of South Korea has recently been removed from office. She was a conservative who was working quite closely with Washington. There is a power vacuum in South Korea right now. And it is a left-leaning politician who is leading in the polls right now who has spoken against that missile defense system. So that puts some questions up in the air about the future of U.S./South Korean cooperation on that front. And that's something else that Rex Tillerson may not actually be able to deal with since that future South Korean government has yet to even be elected.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson, live in Tokyo.

While you were talking there, Ivan we were looking at live pictures of Rex Tillerson holding that news conference. I guess we'll see if he takes questions from reporters.

Thanks, Ivan.

SESAY: Still to come, what President Trump says, what he actually means, not always the same thing.

[02:50:04] VAUSE: Sometimes they are.

SESAY: Sometimes they are.

VAUSE: Sometimes they aren't.


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICL DIRECTOR: We take the tweet so seriously, and not figuratively.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When you are literally the president of the United States, we're going to take you seriously, and we're going to take you literally. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



VAUSE: Finally, this hour, President Trump, he's a man of many words, the best words. Also, a man of many tweets.

SESAY: How do we know when to take him seriously and not literally?

Jeanne Moos takes a light-hearted approach to find out.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESONDENT (voice-over): How to take him --

TRUMP: Just literally.

Literally around, you know, in the little ball.

UNIDENTFIED MALE: Don't take Donald Trump literally about anything.

MOOS: For instance, when President Trump tweeted, "Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower," no one thought President Obama himself literally tapped those wires.

But even the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee now says --

REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly, the president was wrong.

[02:55:00] MOOS: Wrong, or worse, lied, say Trump critics online.

"If tweets are not to be taken literally, then stop tweeting."

This whole literal thing first surfaced last year in "The Atlantic" when writer and CNN contributor, Celine Azito (ph), observed, "The press takes him literally, but not seriously. His supporters take him seriously, but not literally."

To which then-Candidate Trump responded, "Now, that's interesting.

And confusing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They take him literally and not seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. Don't take him literally. Take him symbolically.

CHALIAN: We take the tweet so seriously and not figuratively.

NAVARRO: When you are literally the president of the United States, we're going to take you seriously, and we're going to take you literally.

MOOS: Trump supporters are always berating the press.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: You're taking him literally.

UNIDENIFIED MALE: You should take him seriously because he's a man of his word.

MOOS: Make that words, plural.

TRUMP: I know words, I have the best words. But there's no better word than stupid.

MOOS: Literally.


TRUMP: Right? There is none.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm literally and seriously John Vause.

And Max Foster will literally and seriously pick up our coverage right after this.