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SK: North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile; Soon: Trump Delivers Speech On Islam In Saudi Arabia; Venezuela Marks 50 Days Of Protest; Sheriff David Clarke Plagiarized 2013 Master's Thesis; Bill Cosby's Sexual Assault Trial Jury Selection; Aeromexico Flight Collides With Truck At Los Angeles International Airport; "SNL" Season Finale. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 21, 2017 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:00:08]

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. So grateful to have your company here. I'm Christi Paul and we are watching some breaking news this morning.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: All righty, we have got a new launch of a missile by North Korea this morning.

SAVIDGE: North Korea is interrupting what is, of course, President Trump's second full day of overseas diplomacy.

PAUL: What we know about this new missile test, it was overnight and comes hours before the president is set to give this major speech in Saudi Arabia. He'll address more than 50 Islamic leaders to outline his vision for U.S./Muslim relations.

SAVIDGE: This launch happened a short while ago so let's bring you up-to-speed on the events that are unfolding on the Korean Peninsula right now.

And for that we turn to CNN international correspondent, Will Ripley, who's reported many times from inside North Korea. He joins us on the telephone from Tokyo. Will, what do we know this morning about this launch?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey, Martin. Well, certainly the timing is interesting. We can never read the minds of the North Koreans, but the fact that they have launched this medium-range ballistic missile that flew several hundred miles and landing in the waters with off the Japanese coast sort of forcing themselves into the global conversation yet again just hours before this major speech by the U.S. president.

You have to wonder if the North Korean regime, led by Kim Jong-un, is trying to send a message that they want to be the center of the attention of the world. I mean, this is one of the motivations behind these ballistic missile test in addition, of course, to the scientific knowledge that their rocket scientists gain every time.

But just a week ago we were talking about what is believed to be North Korea's most successful missile launch ever. The missile that they launched landed just 60 miles, the United States says, from the Russian Pacific fleet in (inaudible).

This missile took a more usual trajectory, the kind that we see from North Korea where it flew towards Japan and landed in the waters off Japan and no damage to any ships or fishing vessels in the area, but there was also no warning.

So obviously whenever North Korea does this, there is a potential to put people in danger. Interestingly the missile was fired from the (inaudible) region of North Korea, which is home to that country's largest power plant and also reportedly home to North Korean labor camps as well.

And now it appears that Pyongyang is also using this region as a launching point for these medium-range ballistic missiles. We saw them test a similar missile right this back in February as well.

Ten attempted missile launches during the Trump administration so far. It's really remarkable to think of the pace that it has continued to move very rapidly with North Korea under the new U.S. administration.

SAVIDGE: Will, you followed North Korea quite a bit and I'm wondering, you alluded to it in the very beginning, we are all wondering if this morning was this deliberate on the part of North Korea to once again steal back the spotlight? Historically, is this something they have done?

RIPLEY: It absolutely is. And even though the North Koreans when I've been in the country and I was there last month during two failed missile launches and they will deny that there are any outside influence. In fact, there is why they choose to launch missiles at their particular time.

But clearly this is a message, it's a message to the United States, it's a message to the new South Korean president, President Moon, who now there have been two missile launches during his very short time in office. He just won the election back on May 9th.

It's a message to the world at large that North Korea is making progress in their missile program demanding the world's attention and it's also symbolizing -- stating to the world that they are not going to give up this program.

They are not going to give up their missile program or nuclear program. They have told me repeatedly they don't care about sanctions. They say they are not worried about that.

Now if China really would have tightened up the economic screws on the country, if China really cut off North Korea could that be a game- change? We just don't know. But certainly sanctions over the last ten years have not stopped five nuclear test and countless missile launches, dozens of them, under their current leader, Kim Jong-un.

SAVIDGE: Will Ripley, thank you very much for that perspective. North Korea demanding to be heard -- Christi.

PAUL: We want to get right to CNN's senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, who is live in Riyadh where the president is this morning. Jeff, good to see you. Any reaction from the White House on this latest missile test yet this morning?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. The White House is indeed following what is happening, of course, in North Korea as Will was just reporting there, keeping one eye on that even as they are here for the second full day of the president's trip in Saudi Arabia.

But a short time ago, a White House official put out a statement saying this. Let's look at this, Christi. He said, "We are aware that the North Korea launched a medium-range ballistic missile. This system last tested in February has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea's three most recent tests. We are referring you to the Department of Defense for more information."

So of course, the White House keeping one eye on that, but they again are not letting that dominate the conversation here as the president prepares to give what is potentially a major consequential speech this afternoon -- Christi.

[06:05:07]PAUL: And what do we know about what he is going to say in this speech? There's a lot of concern about whether he will use the terminology radical Islamic terrorism.

ZELENY: Right. At this point, we do not believe he will use that term, but this is so interesting in every respect because we are going to see another chapter of this president, you know, as he grows and changes. We heard so much during the campaign about Muslims.

In fact, it was just about a year and two months ago he told CNN Islam hates us. He, of course, is not going to say that during this speech, but Christi, they are definitely trying to both reset his rhetoric and relations with the Middle East.

And you could see that already starting earlier today here as the president was meeting with a variety of leaders and you can see these leaders also trying to perhaps flatter him a bit as well.

Watch this short moment with the president of Egypt, El-Sisi, as he is trying to potentially flatter President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mr. President, we express our appreciation and respect and let me say that you have a neat personality that is capable of doing the impossible. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you. I agree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: He is calling him a unique personality and you saw the president there saying he agrees to that. Christi, I can tell you the welcome and the reception here in Riyadh for this president has been perhaps something of a respite for him. There is no talk of the Russia investigation, of course.

When you're driving through the streets of Riyadh, there are billboards, posters, pictures of this U.S. leader and president. And this is something that did not happen during the Obama administration. I remember being here some eight years ago when President Obama made his first stop here.

Of course, he was treated with respect but the relations went down from there. So the Trump administration will use as a moment to reset these relations but that speech this afternoon to the Muslim world will be watched very carefully -- Christi.

PAUL: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much for the perspective this morning.

SAVIDGE: All right, let's discuss with CNN religion editor, Daniel Burke, CNN political commentator, Errol Louis, and White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood.

I'll start with Sarah, first. Let's get your reaction to this latest provocation, I guess is the word to use, from North Korea. What do you think?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, I think that this is something maybe the Trump administration would rather not deal with while they are trying to focus on Saudi Arabia. They are having, so far, a very well-executed trip.

And the images that are coming out of Riyadh are exactly what I'm sure the administration wanted to project this image of a statesman that is being treated very well, like a king in the capital city of one of our allies.

So this is exactly what the White House had wanted. They don't necessarily want to have their attention divided. Obviously North Korea is a threat, a totally different regional threat, and a different region that is not really where they are trying to focus and promote policy right now.

So obviously, I think that is why you see them referring questions to the Pentagon. This is something that they might want to put a pin in until they return to Washington so they can focus on President Trump's speech today.

SAVIDGE: Sure, it makes sense. Errol, do you think by any chance this is just coincidence? ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, by no chance is it coincidence. The incoming Trump administration were warned by the departing Obama administration that North Korea is, in fact, a threat, that it is a problem, that it is a place where these kind of provocations are to be expected.

And when there are sensitive moments in South Korea or for the United States, the easiest thing that they can do is sort of lob a missile somewhere into the ocean. It's a very low-cost bid by the North Korean leader to really put themselves right in the middle of foreign and world affairs.

PAUL: All right, Daniel, I want to come to you now and switch to what is happening today in Riyadh. We know that the president is having a speech, and we just talked to Jeff Zeleny, to 50 Muslim leaders today but millions of Muslims around the world are going to be paying attention to what he says. What do Muslims worldwide need to hear from the president today?

DANIEL BURKE, CNN RELIGION EDITOR: Well, you know, Christi, you're absolutely right, this is one of the most anticipated speeches of Trump's young presidency. There is a lot of chatter online about it already.

Just to give you an idea, a lot of my Muslim sources have been e- mailing and texting me, and asking what time it is going to be. I think when you look at what they would like to see from the speech, it's really three main things.

They want Trump to drop the rhetoric about a class of civilizations between Islam and the west. They don't think that is helpful to anyone except ISIS, who is trying to recruit alienated young Muslims in the west.

[06:10:05]Number two, they'd like to see Trump drop some of the stereotypes that he has pushed about Muslims particularly the language about Islam hates us and the language about radical Islamic terrorism.

And, number three, they'd like some acknowledgement that 1.6 billion Muslims around the world are peace loving. They are more likely to be the victims of terrorism than members of other religions.

And so they just want kind of some nuance around the discussion of Islam, some kind of positive steps forward, and acknowledgment that Muslims can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

SAVIDGE: Errol, a U.S. official is telling us that the words radical Islamic terrorism as we have been discussing aren't in the early drafts of the speech. I suppose it could change and I suppose also the president could go off record as it were -- he's been known to do that. I'm wondering why is that phrase so offensive in that particular region?

LOUIS: Well, I mean, look, the notion that you're going to sort of link the two Islamic terrorism, that there is something about Islam that generates terrorism, it's a sensitive sort of a topic to say the least.

And, you know, they have been an entire sort of political movement built around the notion that speaking to them as if they were magic words, some kind of incantation was a way to defeat ISIS, to advance the U.S. interests and was, in fact, used as a way to sort of criticize the prior administration.

What everyone has said, you'll hear this in Israeli. You'll hear in Washington, you'll hear this from every diplomat you can find that if you want to inflame almost 2 billion people around the world, that's the way to do it.

SAVIDGE: That is true of Muslims but in the American world, an audience that our president plays to, it goes over actually particularly strong. In fact, listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have a leader that doesn't even want to discuss the name of the problem. The problem is radical Islamic terrorism. I don't even know if he knows what the hell is going on. I really don't. He refuses to say it. He can't say it. There is something going on. I don't know what it is.

The first thing you need is you need a president that is going to mention the problem and he won't even mention what the problem is and unless you're going to unless you're going to say radical Islamic terrorism and hate, unless you're going to say -- you're never going to solve it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Sarah, if the president doesn't say those words today, what are those who supported him back home in America supposed to think?

WESTWOOD: Today, I don't think his base at home is his audience. His audience is the Muslim community and really more international and so maybe more than any other speech he's given to date, his base is probably the last constituency that the White House is considering as they are crafting the speech.

The speech is meant to showcase the role the U.S. sees for the Muslim community in eradicating terrorism. It's not meant to rally up his base back home. It's meant to build U.S. credibility with our Muslim allies.

So that is something that the White House probably took under consideration that perhaps the word radical Islamic terrorism would do more to undermine the main goals of this speech. It wouldn't add anything, and so I think that that's why you see them strongly considering withholding that phrase.

PAUL: Daniel, last thoughts? We only have a couple of seconds.

BURKE: Well, it's interesting just on that phrase the White House put on a statement with Saudi Arabia about their cooperation going forward and the term they used was countering violent extremism, which is the very phrase that Trump was criticizing Obama for using over the years. So that's an interesting progression there.

PAUL: All right, Daniel Burke, thank you so much. Errol and Sarah, I know you're going to stick around with us and we appreciate that as well. Good to have your voices. Thank you.

Now Iran, we should point out, is watching President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia quite cautiously as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out on U.S. relations with the country. We are going to tell you what he said.

SAVIDGE: Also in Saudi Arabia, President Trump is hosting a Twitter forum addressing and combatting violent extremism online. Skeptics are considered his own inflammatory rhetoric could worsen U.S.-Muslim relations.

PAUL: And the presidential race for 2020 heating up? A surprise candidate announces a bid on "Saturday Night Live." Is "The Rock" ready to take on the White House?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the past, I never would have considered running for president. I mean, I didn't think I was qualified at all, but now I'm actually worried that I'm too qualified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[06:18:50]

SAVIDGE: If you're just joining us, we have breaking news that's unfolding right now on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea interrupting President Trump's second full day of overseas diplomacy with a new missile test hours before the president is going to be giving a major speech there in Saudi Arabia.

The White House says what they know of this is that it has shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea's three most recent tests, but clearly North Korea trying to interrupt and take some attention away from what President Trump is doing in the Middle East this hour.

SAVIDGE: As President Trump gets ready for his speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia and the next on his itinerary which is Israeli, two of Iran's biggest adversaries. The U.S. relationship with Iran is changing under President Trump, as we know, he had vowed to scrap the Iran nuclear deal crafted by former President Obama. But so far his administration says that that is actually working.

Let me bring back our political panel right now, Errol Louis and Sarah Westwood. First, let's listen to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and what he was talking about in regards to Iran yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: In terms of whether I'd ever pick the phone up, I've never shut off the phone to anyone that wants to talk or have a productive conversation.

[06:20:06]At this point, I have no plans to call my counterpart in Iran, although in all likelihood, we will talk at the right time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: So is he just being diplomatic or serious, excuse the pun? Do you think, Sarah, that he is sort of foreshadowing some kind of conversation or meeting with Iran?

WESTWOOD: I think the Trump administration has been careful, particularly early on, not to shut the door to anyone. They have even been open to talks with Kim Jong-un if the North Korean leader was willing to do so. So it would be a remarkable shift if they did slam the door in Tehran's face.

But at the same time, the U.S. under President Trump has begun to shift away from Iran and toward Saudi Arabia and Israel, and reorienting the Middle East around our more traditional allies, whereas, President Obama was very focused on thawing the ice between Washington and Tehran and he didn't necessarily care or at least hold in high regard the concerns of Israel or Saudi Arabia about that shift.

So I think that is part of why you're seeing this royal welcome for President Trump, a big part of it is this expectation that President Trump is going to refreeze Iran out and that makes the Saudis very happy.

SAVIDGE: It make them very happy. I wonder what all of this, especially yesterday, when we saw how the red carpet was really rolled out for the president, how Iran is looking at this. Errol, what do you think they are thinking this morning?

LOUIS: Well, they just finished their own election and they made a decision with 57 percent, Hassan Rouhani has won re-election and he very openly if you listened to what was said on their campaign trail, Martin, he said, you know, violence and extremism, those who wanted to rule the country by executions your day is over.

Now that has a nuance meaning and it doesn't necessarily mean everything can change between the U.S. and Iran, but there are some issues that are out there, and if the U.S. wants to exploit them and if Tillerson wants to speak not just with the foreign minister or broaden U.S. outreach to some of the cultural organization, some of the dissidents and sort of change things around.

You know, it is a matter of doing some of what happened in the 1970s when the U.S. would play Russia against China and play have very delicate kind of back and forth to try to have them compete with each other and have the U.S. sort of advance its own interests. Something like that could happen in the Middle East if Tillerson is nimble enough to take advantage of it.

SAVIDGE: That is a real question. This requires a very delicate hand in a region that is pretty much militarily and politically on fire. Sarah, the concern I have is that the Trump administration clearly is making a very hard turn in the direction of Saudi Arabia and the Sunnis, and even though Iran has re-elected a moderate, are we listening any more to what Iran is doing?

WESTWOOD: I think we are paying very close attention. I mean, you look at the Trump administration, it was just about a month ago that they signaled that they were reviewing the Iran nuclear agreement that President Obama forged.

They didn't tear it up on day one like President Trump had promised to do. They are instead looking over exactly how compliance has worked since it was finalized and how remaining sanctions are being implemented and deciding very carefully whether they are going to keep that in place or whether they are going to maybe renegotiate some of the terms or just scrap it altogether.

But you don't see them rushing into any kind of decision here six months out. I think that even makes some of his own supporters a little miffed as to why the deal didn't get torn up on day one as President Trump and almost of the other GOP presidential candidates had promised.

But this is an approach that is allowing the administration to look at all of their options so they don't make any mistake. It's a very nuance situation and any quick moves could have lasting implications.

SAVIDGE: Right, which is probably why cooler heads are always welcome. Errol Louis and Sarah Westwood, thanks.

PAUL: President Trump is taking on violent extremism online via Twitter. This as "The Wall Street Journal" reporting this morning that the president's aides staged an intervention to get him to scale back on the tweets.

SAVIDGE: President Trump's Saudi Arabia visit is putting his business ties in the region back in focus. We'll take a look at those as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:28:50]

PAUL: Breaking news this hour. A defiant North Korea creating more foreign policy distractions for the White House this morning. The reclusive regime fired off another ballistic missile overnight causing U.S. and South Korean officials to scramble to try to gain more information here. Now the White House is referring questions this hour to the Department of Defense.

SAVIDGE: This as President Trump prepares to give a high profile speech in Saudi Arabia. That is going to take place in a few hours. Hoping to ease the relations with the Muslim world. But skeptics are concerned about the impact of the president's words after he spent the majority of his campaign criticizing Muslims.

PAUL: We want to bring in CNN military analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, here for more perspective. Lt. Colonel, thank you so much for being with us.

First of all, what is your immediate reaction to this latest launch, just one week after one of the most successful launches thus far we have seen?

LT. COLONEL RICK FRANCONA (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I can't say I'm surprised. What we are seeing is this continual march towards the development of an ICBM. Each one of these missile tests teaches them something.

We don't know exactly what component of the missile they were testing on this particular launch, but each time they launch, they learn something new.

[06:30:00] They may have been testing a new fuel mixture, a new launch mechanism, a different guidance system. It's all for this inevitable quest to have an ICBM that can carry a nuclear warhead.

So -- and this is the part of the program that we can see. We see the missile test. If there is another nuclear test, we will see that. What we don't see is the design of the nuclear warhead. We know they are working on it but we don't know where they are in that process.

At some point all of this will come together and they're going to present the world with a capability that none of us want them to have.

PAUL: Mm-hmm. We're essentially seeing what they want us to see right now. So we heard from Will Ripley who is one of the only reporters who have been in North Korea, he told us the last half hour that North Korea has told him they don't care about sanctions.

How many missiles is it going to take before there is some action taken against them and what action might that be that will have a real consequence?

FRANCONA: Well, that's the real problem. Nothing -- nothing up until now has seemed to deter North Korea.

You're right, sanctions aren't working because sanctions don't hit those that make the decisions. Sanctions are hurting the people of North Korea but not hurting the government. They're not slowing the program down.

You know, the North Koreans are -- they're good engineers, they're good scientists and they are building a really good equipment and they are going to continue this. So what will deter them? I don't know. And you ask what -- how many missiles is it going to take? It's not so much how many missiles it takes it's the capability.

When they present a capability that we regard as an existential threat to the United States or a threat that we cannot live with, then we will have to do something. Up until now, nothing has worked. Diplomatic pressure, economic pressure, so what's next? Do we go to that military step? You know, that's -- that's the last step.

So there's a whole lot of steps between now and then but at some point the North Koreans have to understand what our position is and I would really like to see the administration come out with a definitive, you cannot do this. Like we did with the Iranians years ago and said, we will not allow you to have a nuclear device.

PAUL: One more question...

FRANCONA: Yes.

PAUL: ... that will made a point of saying this was launched from Pukchang which is home to their nuclear plant. Anything that stands out to you in that regard?

FRANCONA: You know, they've been launching from different locations and I think they are just showing more capabilities. And one of the things we saw in this last parade were more mobile missiles which really complicates the targeting process. And I think that is not lost on us either. And I think they are sending that message that, you know, we don't have like one missile field. We've got a capability to move this all over the country so it really complicates American targeting should that become an issue.

PAUL: Good point. Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you for taking the time.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is leaning on Twitter to counter violent extremism online and. He's expected to bring up the topic in a Twitter forum later today this as "The Wall Street journal" is reporting that the president's aides staged an intervention hoping to get him to scale back on the tweets.

CNN White House reporter Jeremy Diamond is live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Jeremy, all eyes, you know, are going to be -- and all ears, I should say, on the president's speech today. He is -- in the past talked about this phrase radical Islamic terrorism and there is sort of a back and forth as to whether or not he may use it today. What do you expect?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we're not quite sure yet. You know, a draft has been circling the last couple of days -- White House officials confirming to CNN that the -- that current draft at least did not have those words radical Islamic terrorism in the speech.

However, what is unclear is whether or not the words will be in the final version of the text which aides and the presidents are working in these final hours to finesse and rework. One thing is clear, though, is that his speech today as he looks to potentially reset relations with the Muslim world, well, behind all of that is going to be what the president has said on the campaign trail.

Of course, you'll remember back in March of 2016 the president said he -- that he believed -- quote -- "Islam hates us." Those words still very much searing today as the president prepares to deliver his speech in Saudi Arabia. And beyond that there's also the total and complete shutdown of Muslims that the president called for during the campaign and more recently the travel ban against six Muslim majority countries that the president and his administration are continuing to defend in U.S. federal courts.

So, you know, the president will be trying to reset relationships -- his relationship with the Muslim world particularly so that he can confront ISIS and other terrorist groups along with a lot of these Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia. But it will be a real test to see whether the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world can move past the president's rhetoric in the campaign and listen to him today and look at him today with fresh eyes.

SAVIDGE: Right. I mean, that is truly -- well, we will have to wait for the president to use his own words. I am fascinated though about this forum, this Twitter forum, fascinated because of the notorious relationship the president has with that and also what is it about?

[06:35:06]

What is it designed to do?

DIAMOND: Well, what I've heard so far is that the president is going to deliver some remarks this evening in Riyadh at this tweets forum which is designed to discuss how social media, including Twitter, can be used to confront radical Islamist ideologies that fuel terrorist groups like ISIS.

Of course, we know social media is the key recruiting platform for a lot of these terrorist groups and so we're expect the president to discuss the ways in which he believes Twitter and other social media platforms can be used to counter those ideologies. That's something that we haven't heard the president speak of so far.

But as you mentioned he is an avid Twitter user. It gets him into trouble a lot of the time but we'll have to see whether he can offer helpful tips for the ways in which this forum -- this social media platform can be used for good.

SAVIDGE: You can only wonder what is going to come out of this one. All right. Thank you very much, Jeremy Diamond.

PAUL: And President Trump's visit to the Middle East raising some questions as well regarding possible business conflicts in that region. We will have details on that.

SAVIDGE: Plus, controversial Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke accused of plagiarizing. What CNN's KFile uncovered about his thesis on homeland security.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:40:27] SAVIDGE: President Trump is wrapping up his last day in Saudi Arabia before heading off to Israeli. In a couple of hours he is hoping a speech on Islam will reset relations with Muslims and hammer home the need for a partnership to fight terrorism.

PAUL: In the meantime the president's venture in the Middle East is putting a spotlight on how entwined his business dealings are abroad.

Here is CNN's nation political -- politics reporter MJ Lee.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): Donald Trump arriving in Saudi Arabia today, the first stop in his inaugural foreign trip as president. Trump, hoping to use the nine day tour to reset his tumultuous presidency at home has questions about his campaign's ties to Russia continue to swirl.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to get back to running this country really, really well.

LEE: But the president's highly anticipated Middle East visit, once again, raising fresh questions about potential business conflicts in the region where Trump has a long history of real estate investments.

TRUMP: Saudi Arabia and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend 40 million, 50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.

LEE: Trump's vast business empire spans the globe including apartment buildings, hotels and golf courses. According to his 2016 financial disclosure, Trump had 144 registered companies with dealings in more than two dozen countries. Eight of them were Saudi companies and all of them were recently dissolved or cancelled.

Since Election Day Trump taking steps to distance himself from his family business turning control of his company over to his adult sons

TRUMP: Don and Eric are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They are not going to discuss it with me. Again, I don't have to do this. They are not going to discuss it with me.

LEE: But Trump's critics not convinced that he has severed himself completely from his business empire. A group of Democratic senators sending a letter this week to the Trump organization about its continued ties to the president.

The senators writing, 'This continuing financial relationship raises serious concerns about whether the Trump organization is effectively a pass-through for income that violates the constitution's two emoluments clauses."

Trump's second stop in his foreign trip, Israel, where he has also had business interests over the years.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEE: Now, I should also note that Donald Trump is not the only person on this trip whose business interests in the region have come under scrutiny. His son-in-law Jared Kushner, he also has a long history of business ties in the country of Israeli so his past investments there have also drawn some interests and this is particularly important because he is the person in the Trump administration now who is overseeing the Middle East Peace Agreement so a lot to look out there as well.

Now I did reach out to the Trump organization earlier to ask whether the Trump organization did or did not have business ties in Saudi Arabia and the top lawyer at the company e-mailing me earlier to say, no, it does not currently have any ties in Saudi Arabia. Back to you.

SAVIDGE: And you can bet they are going to be following this one very closely.

Meanwhile, controversial Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke now is accused of plagiarism. What one CNN investigative team has uncovered.

PAUL: Also protests are violent in Venezuela. Thousands of people turn out to mark 50 days of anti-government marches in the country. We will tell you more of what happened and show you more of the pictures we are getting in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:48:06]

PAUL: These are some of the latest pictures we are getting in from San Cristobal in Venezuela. This is where anti-government protesters hit the streets. This was yesterday as they marked 50 days of protests against the unpopular government there.

Now the death toll is up. Now 47 people have died since these demonstrations began just last month. Around 2,000 National Guard troops and 600 special operation forces have been deployed to quell those protests.

According to CNN's KFile, an investigative arm of CNN, controversial Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke is accused of plagiarizing large parts of his 2013 master's thesis on homeland security.

SAVIDGE: Yes. CNN's KFile which is, as we point out, an investigative team, exposure of Clarke for lifting passages verbatim but not quoting the material. In fact, Clarke failed to property attribute his sources at least 47 times. And even lifted language from President George W. Bush's book "Decision Points."

Clarke immediately attacked the report on Twitter saying, "It was the reporter's MO to accuse plagiarism. I'm next."

PAUL: Clarke is best known for being one of the most outspoken supporters of President Trump during his campaign. Remember he even spoke at the Republic National Convention last summer, had a heated exchange with our Don Lemon over police shootings and black lives matter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF DAVID CLARKE, MILWAUKEE COUNTY: Don, I wish you had that message of civility...

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I would like to have a conversation with you.

CLARKE: ... toward this hateful ideology, these purveyors of hate that's what they do.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You don't know what my message is. What I want to say to you -- are you going to let me get a word in?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: This is the latest headline now regarding the sheriff. Last week Sheriff Clarke announced that he's taking the job as the assistant DHS secretary. The Department of Homeland Security though later said no announcement had been made regarding Clarke's appointment.

[06:50:03]

SAVIDGE: Jury selection in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial will get underway Monday. Up to 125 potential jurors are going to be interviewed each day. Cosby faces three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from an alleged incident back in 2004 involving a Temple University employee. She is just one of more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. The trial will take place in Pittsburgh. Set to start in early June.

PAUL: And take a look at this. A passenger jet crashed into a utility truck. This was at Los Angeles International Airport. It was taxiing to its gate yesterday. The right wing of an Aeromexico flight struck that truck and the truck tipped over. Now eight people had to be taken to local hospitals with, thankfully, nonlife-threatening injuries.

None of the 149 passengers on the plane were injured but the plane sustained minor damage and the cause of the crash is of course now under investigation.

SAVIDGE: And we want to take you back visually to Saudi Arabia and show you these live images that are coming from the kingdom there today. Second day of President Trump's visit, very big day in a speech that he is going to make just a short while from now. We will have more on that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:55:11]

PAUL: We want to bring you live pictures this hour from Saudi Arabia. This is the Arab Islamic American Summit that is going to be getting under way here shortly. This is the moment that a lot of people have been waiting for as we're going to hear from President Trump giving his speech on Muslim relations with the West. And it has been characterized by the White House as a need to confront radical ideology. And the president hoping for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world. When he does step up to the podium to give that speech, we will certainly be bringing it to you live and that is happening at some point this morning.

SAVIDGE: We'll continue to watch the scene because it obviously looks like we are anticipating some kind of arrival and that may very well be the president of the United States so that's why we keep flipping back and forth. We don't expect to have control of these photos. These are actually coming to us from Saudi Arabia.

The very interesting thing is how much of this has been broadcast by Saudi Arabia which as we have said on a number of occasions, reiterates the importance that Saudi Arabia sees on all of this. We will continue to follow. And when we see things develop, we will come back to it.

Meanwhile, moving on to SNL. A serenade from the cast of "Saturday Night Live" as they bid farewell to their highest rated season in 23 years. I think I know who they can thank for that.

PAUL: You think?

SAVIDGE: Mm-hmm.

PAUL: Some of the stars responsible for those ratings including, of course, Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump, returned to take one last shot at the current White House.

What can we expect from the future of this show is the question? And will some of the fan favorites, including Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, are they going to be back for more? Let's talk about it CNN media analyst Bill Carter.

Bill, he is the author I should point out of "The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early And Television Went Crazy." Bill, how much life do you think there is in these characters for SNL?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I think, you know, watching what they did last night it seems like they don't know. I mean, that's sort of hallelujah song, which is a call-back to the episode where Hillary Clinton had lost the election and she sang as her character sang a song, you know, really means, I think, they don't know what is happening in September when they get back. You know, will these characters many of them like Sean Spicer who wasn't there may not be, you know, back again. It was kind of an interesting and curious choice I thought to use that as the end to what has been an incredibly busy political satire season.

SAVIDGE: Bill, even, you know, the visiting host Dwayne Johnson, "The Rock," he had some -- the president and well even announcing he may step into politics. Let's just take a -- (CROSSTALK)

CARTER: Yes. I think that was also kind of interesting.

SAVIDGE: Hold on -- hold on, Bill. Let's -- let's just play it so people know what we're talking about here and then I'll ask you. Play the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DWAYNE JOHNSON, ACTOR: In the past, I never would have considered running for president. I mean, I didn't think I was qualified at all. But now I'm actually worried that I'm too qualified!

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Well, the truth is America needs us.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: OK, so serious or funny in that?

CARTER: Well, I think a little of both in a way because, obviously, you would say, you know, no one expected Donald Trump to run for president. He was a show business figure, really. And I think Dwayne Johnson is very popular and Tom Hanks is enormously popular. You know, you would think if they ran, why not at this point?

SAVIDGE: Right.

CARTER: I do think the whole idea was sort of lighter though this time. There wasn't a lot of heavy throw -- hem makers thrown at Trump this week.

SAVIDGE: Well, that's a ticket that could win it. I'll just say that.

CARTER: Yes, I think so.

PAUL: OK.

Bill Carter, thank you very much for taking time to talk with us this morning.

CARTER: You're welcome.

PAUL: Absolutely.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: Heading into the 7:00 hour. And thank you so much for spending your morning with us. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: I'm Martin Savidge.

And as the music foretells breaking news. Unfolding right now North Korea interrupting President Trump's second full day of overseas diplomacy.

PAUL: A new missile test overnight comes just hours before the president is giving this major speech in Saudi Arabia. He'll address more than 50 Islamic leaders to outline his vision for U.S./Muslim relations.

The president is spending this morning attending a handful of bilateral meetings with Arab leaders. His promise a more cooperative relationship under his administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's a great honor to be with you. Our countries have a wonderful relationship together.

[07:00:03]

That has been a little strain, but there won't be strained with this administration. We're going to have a very, very long-term great relationship and we look forward to it very much.