Return to Transcripts main page


South-North Korea Talks to Begin; White House Expose Releasing Four Days Early; The Trump Presidency; U.N. Security Council to Meet on Iran Situation; .N. Security Council To Meet On Situation; Hollywood Awards Season Starts Sunday; Bitcoin Is Grabbing The World's Attention. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 5, 2018 - 01:00   ET




SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour: after more than two years of silence, North and South Korea will soon sit down to talk.

A new report reveals a dramatic step Donald Trump allegedly took to try to stop the Russia investigation.

And chaos in the legal marijuana industry: the U.S. attorney general dials back protections just as business is shifting into high gear in some states.

And mountains of snow, unbearable cold and freezing floodwaters along the U.S. East Coast. Why the aftermath of the bomb cyclone (INAUDIBLE) as it's being called may be worse than the storm itself.

Hello and thank you so much for joining us. I'm Sara Sidner. This is NEWSROOM L.A.


SIDNER: We begin this hour with breaking news out of South Korea. North Korea has agreed to hold official talks on January 9th. That according to the South Korean unification ministry. The meeting will be the first high-level contact between the two countries since 2015.

Within the past couple of days, a dormant hotline was reactivated between the two Koreas and North Korea has used it several times, testing it.

Our Will Ripley is joining us now from the South Korean capital.

Thank you so much. I know that you've been to North Korea more than a dozen times.

Can you give us some sense of why this happened now?

Is there any indication this has anything to do with conversations or, at least, information between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, that has been very fiery rhetoric, over the past few weeks?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, a lot of people have been watching the situation on the Korean Peninsula, listening to the tweets from President Trump and then the response from the North Korean side, including directly from North Korea's leader, Kim Jong- un, thinking that this is a situation really heading to a very dangerous place now.

We're seeing that, in fact, North Korea has agreed to talks at Panmunjom. This is the peace village that -- along the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. The first time these talks have been held, as you mentioned, since December of 2015.

Did the United States play a role in this?

Well, we do know that the North Koreans want to have at some point direct talks with the U.S. They want assurances from the United States that their government will remain in power. If you listen to the U.S. Defense Secretary, James Mattis, he would give President Trump full credit for this development. Take a listen.


GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Those talks clearly are the result of the amount of international pressure and they are a way I think for North Korea to start talking while keeping it contained to a benign issue.


RIPLEY: And so that is the U.S. perspective.

From the North Korean perspective, they feel, at this point, and they've actually indicated in Kim Jong-un's New Year's address, that they've proven that they have rounded off the nuclear program with this latest intercontinental ballistic missile test. It doesn't mean that there won't be more tests down the road.

But what South Korea is hoping here by inviting the North Koreans to participate in the Winter Olympics and offering to pay their expenses -- we know that that is one of the things that will likely be discussed in these talks next week -- that by North Korea's participation in this very important international event, here in the South, they're hoping that things will go off smoothly, that there won't be a missile test or a nuclear test, some sort of act that could potentially destabilize the games or frighten people away from this very important international event.

Also, of course, as we enter the new year in North Korea, the sanctions, the round after round of United Nations sanctions really starting to take effect. The North Koreans, at least when we were in Pyongyang a little over a month ago, we couldn't observe any noticeable impact as of yet.

But clearly, if these sanctions continue to be enforced, where oil exports from China and North Korea are cut by 90 percent and North Korea is not allowed to sell any of the items it produces, coal, iron, ore, textiles, that will have an impact on that country's economy.

So perhaps the North feels that they'll come to these talks on Tuesday with some leverage, with a nuclear arsenal that they feel is a deterrent to the United States and perhaps they feel they'll get something out of this or, at the very least, Kim Jong-un can tell his people that he has a win here, that the United States has agreed to postpone joint military exercises that were scheduled to kick off during the Paralympics, which could have potentially led to a North Korean response.

Kim Jong-un can say there's a win. He can say he's working to improve relations with the South. And, of course, for the progressive government here in Seoul, that came in to power on a platform of trying to engage with the North, this -- they could come out of these talks with a win for them as well.


RIPLEY: But we've been down this road before, where there have been talks that really didn't amount to much of anything. And then for the situation only to deescalate yet again. So there's cautious optimism here and frankly we just don't know what's going to be discussed, even how long these talks will last on Tuesday.

SIDNER: Thanks to you, Will Ripley there, live for us from Seoul, South Korea.

Now to breaking news here in the United States. "The New York Times" reporting, it is about Donald Trump's apparent efforts to counter the Russia investigation.

"The Times" reports that Mr. Trump ordered the top White House lawyer to stop attorney general Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the probe. Sources also telling "The Times" an aide to Sessions tried to dig up dirt on FBI director James Comey just days before President Trump fired him.

These new revelations are just the latest in a flurry of damaging reports for the Trump administration and its efforts to end the Russia probe. They come as a salacious new tell-all book about the Trump campaign and White House. It is being released four days early.

Late Thursday the president tweeted this, "I authorized zero access to White House. Actually turned him down many times for author of phony book. I never spoke to him for the book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist. Look at this guy's path and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve," referring to Steve Bannon.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump sounds like a man who couldn't care less about Steve Bannon.




TRUMP: I don't know. He called me a great man last night. So you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president's lawyers are sending a very different message to Bannon, threatening to sue the former White House chief strategist over his comments in Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury," saying in a statement, "Legal action is imminent."

Add that to the cease and desist letters sent to Wolff's publisher, demanding that the book be shut down.

"Your publication of the false, baseless statements about Mr. Trump gives rise to, among other claims, defamation by libel."

ACOSTA: Should the letter from the president's lawyers aimed at Steve Bannon and aimed at (INAUDIBLE) be interpreted as a threat from the United States government from this administration to not publish this book?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's a -- it's not -- it's not from the United States government. It is from the president's personal attorney. And I think it is very clear what its purpose is. And there's nothing to add beyond that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Only hours after excerpts of the book were made public, quoting Bannon as saying Donald Trump Jr. may have engaged in, quote, "treasonous actions," by meeting with Russians during the campaign, the firebrand conservative was praising the president.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF STRATEGIST: The President of the United States is a great man. You know I support him day in and day out.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Sitting with GOP senators, the president claimed that he doesn't speak with Bannon.

TRUMP: I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him. That's just a misnomer (ph).

ACOSTA (voice-over): But that's not quite true. The White House has said the two men have been speaking since Bannon was fired last summer, as recently as last month.

SANDERS: I'm not aware that they were ever particularly close. I would certainly say that they've spoken a few times since he left the White House but it's not like there were regularly scheduled calls or -- and certainly no meetings between the two of them.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The other question is whether the president would actually follow through with his threat to sue, something he didn't do after the campaign.

TRUMP: All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.

ACOSTA (voice-over): White House frustration with Wolff's book comes despite the extraordinary access granted to the author. Wolff wrote in the "Hollywood Reporter" that he was given the access after the president approved of another story he had written about Mr. Trump.

"His non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around," Wolff wrote, "checking in each week at Hay Adams Hotel, making appointments with various senior staffers, who put my name in the system, and then wandering across the street to the White House and plunking myself down, day after day, on a West Wing couch."

ACOSTA: Didn't this White House give Michael Wolff all the access that he wanted?

SANDERS: Absolutely not. In fact, there are probably more than 30 requests for access to information from Michael Wolff that were repeatedly denied, including, within that, at least 2 dozen requests of him asking to have an interview with the president, which he never did. He never discussed this book with the president.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House also fired back at questions raised in the book about the president's mental fitness.

SANDERS: It's disgraceful and laughable. If he was unfit, he probably wouldn't be sitting there. He wouldn't have defeated the most qualified group of candidates the Republican Party has ever seen.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president is trying to change the subject, promising action on immigration.

Mr. Trump is defending his decision to shut down a commission that failed to prove his claim that millions of undocumented people voted in the election, tweeting, "Many, mostly Democrat states, refused to hand over data from the 2016 election to the Commission on Voter Fraud. But that's misleading. Dozens of states, Republican and Democrat, refused --


ACOSTA (voice-over): -- "to cooperate."

Watching from the sidelines are the countless young, undocumented immigrants known as the DREAMers, who now face deportation. The president wants a wall in exchange for sparing them.

TRUMP: Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall.

ACOSTA: One thing the White House can control is its staff. So officials are cracking down on employee use of personal cell phones with plans to ban them inside the West Wing. A source close to the West Wing told CNN this is really about stopping the kind of leaks that are making the president furious -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER: Joining me now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Dave Jacobson, and CNN political commentator, talk radio host and Trump supporter, John Phillips.

I know we're going to get to "The New York Times" reporting. I do want to quickly -- the president has come out with a tweet, saying, look, he had no access. This book is complete and utter lies.

Why would you say that about Michael Wolff?

Because clearly he had some access to the White House.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there is reports out that say that Wolff actually has audio recordings or tape recordings of some of the conversations that were then translated into the book.

So the question is, will he reveal those?

And also, interestingly, what will be in those audio tapes that perhaps didn't make it into the book?

But clearly the president is on edge. And this is a nightmare scenario for him.

I guess it begs the question, did they do their due diligence and their research in the first place?

What did they think was going to happen when they had something with the history in the record that Wolff does and then allowing him into the White House?

Clearly, they didn't do their research.

SIDNER: Do you believe this, John, that Michael Wolff has said, look, I had unprecedented access.

Why put that in a book if it was untrue?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Michael Wolff has a history of dubious credentials when it comes to authenticity of this sort of thing. And he included in the beginning of the book that some of the quotes were recreated for dramatic effect. Many people have said that quotes that were attributed to then were not true, including people like Tony Blair.

I do believe that he certainly had access to Steve Bannon. So I think that this book is more Steve Bannon's authorized autobiography really more than anything.

SIDNER: All right. Let us move on to what was said between, according to the book, between, let's see, where am I going here?

The United States and the U.K. Let's read this particular part. It says the president insisted that the -- let's go onto this, sorry. In February, Tony Blair visited Kushner in the White House on his trip. The now freelance diplomat seeking to prove his usefulness to this new White House imparted a juicy nugget of information. There was, he suggested, the possibility that the British had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other communications and possibly even Trump himself.

A few days later, the CIA opaquely reported that that information was not correct. It was a miscommunication, as it put it.

In the president's nighttime calls, though, he kept coming back to how unfair this was and to what Tony Blair had said and others, too, it all added up to there was a plot against him.

Tony Blair, as you said, has come out and said I never said these things.

But again, who gets in more trouble here?

Tony Blair could face trouble in his own country, correct?

What does this say about the president and people trying to perhaps rile him up?

I don't know.


Who is not trying to rile up Donald Trump these days, right?

I mean, this is an issue. And I think in terms of the he said/she said dynamic, this is where the audiotapes will come into play. And I think is it incumbent upon Wolff to roll this stuff out and to verify the authenticity of some of the quotes because if you're -- it is one thing to like paraphrase something.

It is something entirely different to pull direct quotes. If you're supposedly a reporter, I'm, Sara, you're a reporter. You would never alter somebody's statement --


JACOBSON: -- that they released publicly, right, right, right. I mean, that's just like irresponsible journalism and it's reckless. So that's the question, is like does he have the backup data to show that this is truthful?

SIDNER: Does this speak though to people who support Donald Trump, that there is a conspiracy, to make him look bad and to make him fail?

PHILLIPS: Yes, it could be true and it could not be true. But I think that's a problem for Wolff and his credibility when you look at, not just this salacious claim but other salacious claims that are showing up in this book. Nobody knows.

And if nobody knows, I guess if you have a negative opinion toward Trump, you'll believe the worst that's in the book. And if you like him, you're going to look at it say and say, I don't buy it.

SIDNER: All right. Let's go to another point, something kind of surprising that happened, this used to be considered unethical for a psychologist or a therapist to make a judgment about someone's mental health.

This is what happened on Capitol Hill, according to our Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a briefing that happened up here on Capitol Hill in early December, given to a relatively --


SERFATY: -- small group. Only about a dozen lawmakers from the House and Senate, mainly Democrats but specifically one Republican senator was in attendance.

This briefing was specifically focused on Donald Trump's mental fitness to be president. Dr. Bandy Lee, a psychologist from Yale, was one of the briefers. And the meeting was done with her. This was done through a former U.S. attorney, who was contacted by many lawmakers, requesting the meeting.

And I spoke to her today about that briefing that she gave to many of the lawmakers. And she said that she told them that Trump, she believes, is showing signs of impairment. She believe he is becoming very unstable very quickly.

She told the lawmakers she believes he's unraveling and he seems, in her opinion, to be losing his grip on reality. And she left that meeting with many of those lawmakers with the impression that they were very concerned about his mental state.

A big side note to all this: Dr. Lee said she made it very clear in our discussion and made it very clear to the lawmakers, though, that this is not a formal diagnosis of President Trump because she has not, of course, formally evaluated him, Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


SIDNER: So the American Psychiatry Association has, for a very long time, since Barry Goldwater ran for the presidency, said you really should not do this. You didn't meet with the president. You can't make these diagnoses.

But it's happened.

What does that say about him and about the lawmakers who asked for that information?

JACOBSON: Look, I think they have every right to get some sort of analysis from an expert on the mental health of the President of the United States, just because of the unprecedented nature of Donald Trump and his chaotic presidency.

Let's think about it for a couple seconds. There were 1,600 times that "The Washington Post" identified that the President of the United States of America either misled or lied to the American people. That's a fact, number one.

Number two, the other day when he announced and had his big press conference, labeling Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he was slurring his words. The other day he couldn't even pick up a glass of water with one hand. He had to use two at a press conference.

And so -- and now he's living in a fantasy land, going back to and raising questions about the authenticity of the "Access Hollywood" tape. During the 2016 election, he went on camera and admitted that it was his voice on that recording.

He's going back on the birtherism issue, questioning whether or not President Obama was actually born in the United States. He's questioning voter fraud or the size of his inauguration crowd.

This is not like new stuff, like he's been saying this since his inauguration. It was reported on a month ago by "The New York Times." And so look, I think we should test his and we should assess his mental health capacity and his temperament for this job.

PHILLIPS: If slurring their words is a sign of mental incapacity, then I want Nancy Pelosi checked, too, because I've seen some recent speeches from her, where she sounds like Harry Carey in the 8th inning.


PHILLIPS: Let's go back to what happened in American politics in previous cycles. We had a vice presidential nominee who went through electroshock therapy and we're told that we're impolite if we call him a nut.

Donald Trump has not been declared to be mentally incapacitated by any doctor who's treated him. If you go back to the primary, Hillary Clinton went down like a sack of dirt. And anyone who said that she had health problems was declared to be a conspiracy theorist.

Now we have all these pundits on cable news, declaring the president to be a nut. Well, I would like to know where they got their medical training from.

JACOBSON: Ys, but you can't deny the fact that like it is extraordinarily odd that you have a President of the United States who lies 1,600 times to the American people, number one.

And then number two, there's video documentation of Donald Trump after the "Access Hollywood" scenario came out -- issue came out, essentially validating that it was his voice.

And then "The New York Times" reports that he is all of a sudden denying it. Like it is extraordinarily odd.


PHILLIPS: People have been watching Donald Trump on television for decades. There's no difference to me between the Donald Trump that we're seeing on TV today and the Donald Trump that we saw campaigning and the Donald Trump we saw on "The Apprentice" and the Donald Trump that we saw before that.

It is the same guy. People may like him, people may not like him. But he's the same dude.

SIDNER: There are excerpts in this book that do talk about that some people thought that he was deteriorating. The stress is very, very high and a lot of presidents have gone through a lot of different things. But we have to cut it there. I am not a psychiatrist so I cannot make any sort of diagnosis.

Thank you, gentlemen, so much for being here.

Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the U.S. wants the United Nations to act on protests in Iran. Why Russia's signaling that's hypocritical -- coming up.





SIDNER: Deadly protests in Iran are sparking action in the U.N. The Security Council is set to meet in the coming hours at the request of the United States. This comes after widespread anti-government protests broke out last week.

The White House supports the demonstrations and Iran accuses it of meddling. Russia slammed the U.S. request for a Security Council meeting. It said that the U.N. should also discuss U.S. handling of the Occupy Wall Street and Ferguson, Missouri, protests.

Protests against the government and ruling clerics in Iran are rare. Government supporters have held their own rallies and Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims the unrest is over now. Here's a look at how events unfolded.



HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We should be careful. We should pay attention to the way these citizens (INAUDIBLE) and protests are made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The enemy is waiting for an opportunity, for a flaw. It's where they can enter.


SIDNER: For more on Iran, CNN's Arwa Damon joins us now live from Istanbul, Turkey.

Arwa, first off, is there any indication that there are still protests?

I know that we are into Friday and Friday prayers and there was a lot of talk about the fact that there probably wouldn't be any protests, the Revolutionary Guard saying the protests are over.

But any indication otherwise?


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me caveat this by saying it is incredibly difficult to get accurate information about what is happening anywhere in Iran, even if one is inside the country itself.

That being said, it does seem as if these protests have, to a certain degree, fizzled out. There's various reporting out there about small incidences here and there. But nothing like what we were seeing in those initial days.

We are also hearing that government supporters are expected to take to the streets once again in a massive show of force similar to that, that we have been seeing over the last few days.

But it is also important to remember that even if this round of demonstrations do fizzle out, the underlying issues still need to be addressed by the Rouhani government.

The economic issues, the frustration and anger at the widespread corruption, the fact that the stratus of the population that has taken to the streets is also, to a certain degree, livid at the government spending at its proxy wars overseas to include those in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and Lebanon.

And the unemployment remains incredibly high. People can't afford basic things. So these are all going to be core things that government will need to deal with and deal with very seriously if they actually do want to appease those that have taken to the streets in this round of antigovernment demonstrations -- Sara.

SIDNER: And that you know that the U.N. emergency session will happen. The United States called for it.

Do you think that will have any effect really on the Iranian leadership in the end?

DAMON: You know, if we look at the reaction so far from the Iranian leadership, they have called America's involvement in what's happening with Iran, which they say has been widespread and an attempt to try to incite the protesters against the government.

And they're saying this because of the fact that the U.S. State Department, frankly, and the administration are not really hiding the fact that they're actively taking to social media sites and trying to encourage the protesters to, in the words of the United States, fight for what's right and to open up Iran.

And this Iran is viewing as being incredibly provocative as well as meddling with its own internal affairs and therefore calling the position grotesque.

We also heard from the Russian, who have said that this move by America to bring this to the U.N. is destructive and harmful. And the Russians are actually likening it to having a U.N. Security Council meeting on Ferguson or on Occupy Wall Street.

But it is unclear what kind of an impact this will have and what kind of goals it might potentially even achieve. What we also know to be very true is that the United States and especially the Trump administration, in particular, have a very aggressive position when it comes to Tehran.

SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much, Arwa Damon, live for us there in Istanbul.

The U.S. Justice Department taking a new stand on the legalization of marijuana. Why that is no shock to those familiar with the attorney general. That's coming up next.

Plus, this week's massive winter storm is producing record high tides, flooded streets and blinding snow along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Canada. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has our details after the break.


[01:30:54] SIDNER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner, the headlines for you at this hour. North Korea has agreed to hold official talks with South Korea, next week. According to South Korea's Unification Ministry, the two sides will meet January 9th at Peace House on the South Korean side of the Panmunjom. It follows the reactivation of a hotline between the two Koreas.

The White House is dismissing a new tell-all book as complete fantasy. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff depict the Trump administration as chaotic and dysfunctional. Publisher Henry Holt will release the book in the coming hours, four days ahead of schedule.

The U.N. Security Council is set to meet in the coming hours over the situation in Iran. Anti-government protests there started last week and led to the death of at least 21 people. The U.S. supports the protests and requested a Security Council meeting.

The U.S. Attorney General is cracking down hard on marijuana that has been legalized in other States. Jeff Sessions just got rid of the federal hands-off approach used by the Obama administration and said, federal prosecutors, can now go after growers, sellers, and users in States where pots has been made legal. But, take a look at what American's think of legalizing pot. A Gallup Poll in October but national support at 64 percent and rising. That figure has nearly doubled since 2000. Our Tom Foreman has more on the story.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For a President who has relentlessly promised to get the federal government out of the way of States, businesses, and individuals --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For everyone new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.

FOREMAN: The newsstands on marijuana seems a sudden turnaround and an outrageous one for some. On Capitol Hill, Republican Senator Cory Gardner from Colorado, erupting.

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: And we were told that States rights would be protected.

FOREMAN: Saying he was promised no such move was coming.

GARDNER: I will be putting today a hold on every single nomination from the Department of Justice. Until Attorney General Jeff Sessions lives up to the commitment that he made to be --

FOREMAN: President Obama, often criticized the enforcement of pot laws.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly and in some cases with a racial disparity. I think that is a problem.

FOREMAN: And the nation has clearly been moving his way. Gallup founder record's 64 percent of Americans in favor of the legalizing pot last fall. And in the 22 years since California approved medical marijuana, the National Conference of State Legislatures notes 28 more States.

The District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted similar laws. Including Colorado, because one of a handful allowing recreational use. The pot industry there is now value well over a billion dollars generating hundreds of millions on tax revenues. Did candidate Trump, want to interfere with that?

TRUMP: I wouldn't do that, no.

FOREMAN: Sir, do you think Colorado should be able to do with the city?

TRUMP: No, I think it's up to the States, yes. I'm a State person, I think it should be up to the States, absolutely.

FOREMAN: But now, that he is President, some who have staked their livelihoods on the burgeoning business are at best, bummed.

AARON SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: We fully expect the President to uphold this campaign pledge that stay out of the way of these laws that are work so well in the States across the country.


FOREMAN: Interestingly, the U.S. attorney for the Colorado districts has already said, he doesn't see those making any immediate difference in terms of enforcement that they will continue to focus on people who represent a significant threat to the public and by that, he's clearly indicating people who were dealing in marijuana illegally still is not sure how the White House will react to that. Where all of this will land. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

[01:34:56] SIDNER: This week's massive winter storm across the U.S. and Canada is creating all kinds of problems. Check out this home surrounded by icy flood waters in Massachusetts. This images now -- we move to a town southeast of Boston, where water breached the seawall and flooded the nearby area on Thursday. And there was this video of this car submerged in icy flood waters there also near Boston. This is just one of many U.S. areas along the East Coast where flooding has occurred because of the storm. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, .joins us now live with more those pictures look terrible to see people losing their houses and their cars. And it's also terribly dangerous out there just to be (INAUDIBLE) there.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely, Sara, in fact, the storm strengthen explosively within a 24 hour period. But the fact that Boston harbor saw the flooding, all has to do with this position around this low pressure.

Remember, we have counter-clockwise airflow around an area of low pressure, there on the hemisphere. And that drew in the ocean water across this region. And it allowed to set record level -- tide levels in the Boston Harbor region that 15 feet. Just over 15 feet matching what was the record back in 1978. Remember, the blizzard there in 1978. That is the benchmark standard for all blizzards. You ask any local coming out of Boston, and they remember that year quite well.

Here are some of those snowfall totals across the States throughout New England. The 48 centimeters, that was the highest snowfall (INAUDIBLE) that will start roughly about 19 inches, and that socked in some of the major international airports including JFK, coming out of Queens. We still have over 1,300 cancellations heading into the day on Friday. Of course, it's already Friday on the East Coast.

The good news here is that the storm is actually in the region. The flip side of that idea is there's a lot of cold air behind it and a lot of wind as well. Wind gusts exceeding 50 kilometers per hour, you combine that with cold temperatures coming in from the North and in the Arctic. And that's kind of a recipe for a frigid, frigid next couple of days.

In fact, the national weathers service has wind chill warnings and advisories instruction from the great lakes, all the way to the East Coast. These are wind chill values, what it feels like, as you step outside in your skin. Negative 25 today in Chicago, negative 16 for the Big Apple, negative 19 for D.C.

It's a good time to remind people, Sara, of the dangers of hypothermia especially with temperatures like this as we head into severe hypothermia. That's when you start to see you're core body, temperature drop below, 32 degree Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You see symptoms of shivering muscle, rigidly at slurred speech. So, something to look out for, for the people who are not protected by this cold stretch of weather. Sara, back to you.

SIDNER: Derek Van Dam, thank you so much for all of that. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., Hollywood gets ready for its golden night. Who is likely to go home with an award? We'll have two fabulous guests to talk all about that.


[01:39:59] SIDNER: Hollywood's award season kicks off, Sunday, with the 75th Annual Golden Globes. And this year, the entertainment community must find the way to honor the MeToo and Times Up movement. Well, also padding itself on the back for a job well done when it comes to movie making. Isha Sesay has a look at the nominees for Best Drama.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It was no surprise that Hollywood loved La La Land last year, dripping with all the glimpse and glamour of cinemas golden age.

Nominated for seven awards at the Golden Globes, it won all seven. This year, a different kind of film is topping the list with seven nominations. The Shape of Water is more creature feature than Broadway musical. And while Hollywood has long snubbed horror films at awards season, Guillermo del Torro has reimagined the creature from the black lagoon as a love story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, later.

SESAY: Another unexpected romance is also up for Best Picture. This one featuring a same-sex couple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call me by your name and I'll call by mine.

SESAY: Call Me by Your Name, is a coming of age story where a professor's son falls in love with a doctoral student. Also in the running for Best Picture, this foul-mouthed drama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't you put that on to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Retired this just -- good start. Why don't you put that on you're good morning Ms. -- wake up broadcast?

SESAY: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, follows the mother's struggle to find her daughter's killer. While many critics praise the film, some people have criticized its handling of racism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That are 400,000 men on the --

SESAY: And Christopher Nolan's World War II epic Dunkirk, is also up for Best Picture. And it's a favorite among many movie critics. Nolan is up for Best Director, as is Stephen Spielberg for the post.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The New York Times with barred, publishing any more classified documents dealing with the Vietnam War.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you to publish, will be the Supreme Court next week --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we could all go to prison.

SESAY: The form chronicles The Washington Post, while it was led by its first female publisher portrayed by Meryl Streep, who's nominated for Best Actress in this Role.

To made waves at the last Golden Globes, he using the speech to condemn then President-elect Donald Trump for imitating a disabled reporter.

Just months after Trump's victory, the 2017 awards season was painted with anti-Trump overtures. A year later, this season's cast in the shadow of the MeToo movement. With sexual assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who's denied the claims and several high profile actors. Some predict expect the MeToo movement could be in the awards show spotlight.

DAVID EDELSTEIN, CHIEF FILM CRITIC, NEW YORK: Every holiday movie season, people ask my least favorite question, who will win the Oscar? I generally say, it's me. But this year, I have a ready answer. Someone not charged with sexual harassment.

SESAY: Isha Sesay, CNN, Los Angeles.


SIDNER: Joining me now is entertainment journalist and co-host of Rotten Tomatoes "See It, Skip It," Segun Oduolowu. And Senior Reporter for the Hollywood, Reporter Rebecca Sun. All right, I'm going to start with the hard step first, the MeToo movement, Hollywood structure being, sort of blown up if you will by women like Rose McGowan. His allegations, terribly serious had major consequences. How would they address it? How should they address it?


SIDNER: Where should they address it?

ODUOLOWO: The Golden Globes is the Hollywood Foreign Press. So, I don't believe that there is an adequate way to address it that will encapsulate the outraged and the disgust and the betray of that many people feel. My favorite T.V. show is law and order, and the age at Macoy had a great line.

All I want is justice for the victims and punishment for the guilty. It sounds simple but it's not an easy answer, how do u get to that? And as a man, sitting here between two women, I throw up my hands because I know that I want justice for these women and I want the mended did this to be punished. If anyone can tell me how it should be done, I'm all ears, I will march alongside you.

SIDNER: Mr. Oduolowo, we're going to Rebecca, Rebecca, I do want to ask you, could there be a misstep here? I mean, if it is addressed, it could go wrong as well, couldn't that?

REBECCA SUN, SENIOR REPORTER, THE HOLYWOOD REPORTER: You know, I mean, there are several things that people are saying. One thing is -- yes. They absolutely are going to address it, one way by the blackout. Which is -- you know, wearing all blacks at -- In the many actresses, I think have already committed to wearing black as a protest to against sexual harassment. The men have said, we'll wear black too which is very bold of them.

ODUOLOWO: Yes, on a night wearing black, tuxedo, how daring -- how daring.

[01:44:51] SUN: But, yes, there could be missteps because then, it raises the question, if somebody for any reason chooses not to up into that, does that imply their opposition to this statement? You know, it shouldn't, but, you know, in this sort of hair-trigger reaction our era we're in, they might, you know we have seen, you know earlier, you know when the Harvey Weinstein news first broke, James Corden, was hosting an award show and he have put his foot in his mouth. Then, it was a little too soon to joke about those types of thing. And so, you know, I think that people will have to be very careful on how they choose to address it in a way that doesn't seem self-serving, that doesn't come off as disingenuous because everybody will be watching.

SIDNER: Seth Meyers, is going to host, correct?

I had heard, a birdie told me that he with thinking, you know I don't really want to do a lot of politics. We -- you know, Washington politics and that one that we've got our own issues that need to be addressed and this sort of thing. But now this book has come out, that is a barn burner. I mean, there are so many different excerpts, can he stay away, or should he stay away from it?

ODUOLOWO: Again, it's a night of movies, it's a night of actors and actresses, and producers and directors. You know --

SIDNER: What did you have at The Post? You know that you have these things of the story of Dunkirk.

ODUOLOWO: If it's the done well, if it's funny, if it's smart, if it's unlike the James Corden, but you know, the word that u used to hair trigger where, if someone steps in it or does the wrong thing or has proceed the wrong way, they could be castigated on social media.

SIDNER: Right, and will be. ODUOLOWO: And will be, my question is, how come there's no hair trigger to believe this woman when they say it in the beginning. That how come there's so much time that water that passes under the bridge? And this man are allowed to perpetuate, you know, crime after crime, harassment after harassment. Where is the hair-trigger to believe instead of to point the finger and say -- and say some, why was it Rose McGowan believe?

SIDNER: And that may be changing, right? And that may be changing with this Time's Up movement. But you know, there is a lot to be said about who runs Hollywood. All right, let's get to something a little more fun here.


SUN: The actual movies.

SIDNER: The Shape of Water, OK, can I admit to you that I've seen one of all these films. I have a lot of catching up to do. I saw Dunkirk. Which is one of more serious? Who is the front member? What would you say, Rebecca

SUN: I mean, The Shape of Water has the most nominations. It' sort of, you know, romantic and winter call and is there also kind of a European vibe to it, even though, you know, Guillermo del Torro, is a Mexican director. You know, the age P.A., sort of -- is very Eurocentric, they love that time of thing. I think it has a good, good shot of winning multiple awards.

ODUOLOWO: I will be disappointed if it does, I am a Guillermo del Torro fan, but I felt like this was not as original as I expect from him. It's got my dear friend, Octavio Spencer. So, Octavio, if you're watching, I'm so bored. You are amazing.

But, the fish creature was the same fish creature almost from his movies Hellboy.

Sun: You're right.

ODUOLOWO: He used a lot of the same sets. So, I just need more originality. I think, Call Me by -- Call Me by Your Name is going to top because Hollywood tends to love. (INAUDIBLE) tends to love movies like that. Sneaky, my personal favorite is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. That's sarcastic, witty, funny, and very dark, and I would love for that to win.

SIDNER: I really want to see that movie. I know there's just -- there's so many good ones. I mean, they are quite different in the genres that they are going on. What do you think Dunkirk? The only one I've seen --

SUN: If you look at, It doesn't have a lot of buzz, it's a very traditional awards that they film but it hasn't been picking up all of this other awards along the circuit, you know, it's really been dominated by Call Me by Your Name and --

SIDNER: The Golden Globes, I mean, do they still indicate who might come up for an Oscars? And that still a thing.

ODUOLOWO: I -- and you know, if I become Segun Odomas for a moment, he throw out all of my predictions. Yet --

SIDNER: Mr. Domas, can let -- OK --

ODUOLOWO: We have to explain for a different particularly. I think -- I think they do.


ODUOLOWO: I do think that there are, you know, there is definitely seven Golden Globe nominations for Shape of Water. Yes, you're going to see them again at Oscar time. Same with Call Me by Your Name, same with Three Billboards, but the Hollywood form press of the academy, two different bodies, and two different mentalities --

SIDNER: Make sense on the stuff at here. Thank you both so much for coming in, Rebecca and Segun. And still at on Bitcoin, is showily entering the mainstream. But The Wolf of Wall Street, warning up, don't go for it. We'll have the details coming back.


[01:50:51] SIDNER: You've probably heard of Bitcoin by now and if you're not sure what it does, you're not alone. It's a source of confusion for many folks but in short, Bitcoin is a form of currency like dollars, euro's, or yen, which you can trade digitally.

It's been rising in popularity and has captured the attention of wealthy investors and small businesses alike. But it also has become a haven for criminals seeking to do shaggy transactions. For payments in Bitcoin, some computer hackers attempt to offer things like drugs, clone credit cards, counter fit money and create passports. Some even go as far as offering chilling services like paying to destroy a business or paying to ruin a person's life.

But now, as Bitcoin rises in value, it's also become too mainstream for some of those sophisticated criminals. Instead, they're turning to new and obscure cryptocurrencies that only a former criminal would know how to manipulate that.

Joining us now to talk to us through this, Jordan Belfort. He spent 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to from another crime related to stock market manipulation. He is also the man behind the infamous title, Wolf of Wall Street which of course, became a movie and is now a motivational speaker. Belfort is now warning people about this currency. What is your warning about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

JORDAN BELFORT, AUTHOR, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET: Well, Bitcoin -- the technology behind Bitcoin, and even Bitcoin, is not that it is a scam but it's being -- it was actually used by many, many people as a scam. And right now --

SIDNER: How so? How are they manipulate this? BELFORT: Well, different phases of Bitcoin existence, it was used by different people. And this sides some -- sometimes it used by criminals for laundering money, guns and ammunition. It was used for drugs, and so (INAUDIBLE), right? But what happened is at a certain point in time, as it gets misses -- this is a true (INAUDIBLE get manipulated, right?

As some people on to wait a second. The story is actually really a hot story we can get out there. Some legitimate people got evolve like the wiggle bus wins for one, right? And its start the a little bit of air credibility around it and such started is break out into mainstream. One's that happened, it crossed over into an area where you had a situation where the bulk of the coins were held by very few people and massive demand started coming in.

So, while you might have a very large market cap, let's say worth $200 billion or whatever. Only a very small fraction of that is actually trading publicly. So, a little bit of buying, it goes shooting up.

OK, this not all manipulation basically works, so these two things involved. Number one, you to create massive demand, and two, withhold supply. Supply withheld by the people who hold it right now. Large blocks sell by few people. Demands is going to be a viral campaign on it is all over right now.

SIDNER: It is all --

BELFORT: And everyone now start to buy in. You get those two things, you call the fear of missing out. You will get in, you just say, I don't want to miss this, I can get in rich, I got to get in.

SIDNER: Three, and everyone says, look, you have to get in on the ground --


SIDNER: The bottom up --

BELFORT: The ground is gone for now. Hey, so --

SIDNER: One Bitcoin is worth what? $14,000?

BELFORT: Somehow, it fluctuated by the moment, right? But you know, in my mind, one Bitcoin is probably worth like zero. OK, in two, to what's a fundamental value, that's a different story because right now, you can just work what is worth today, at this moment, right?

The thing is, is that what's happening right now is that we're phase two, which is, and (INAUDIBLE) I'm not proud of this but when I was doing what I was doing back in the day, I started one stock. And all of my buying power, all of my recommendations for people to buy with one stock, it's very easy to support one stock when you have right demand for one thing.

But now that other cryptocurrencies are coming in, demand has bear multiple. Cryptocurrency. So, you was that Bitcoin, others are starting to rise up right now. This is stage two of the manipulation, right? So, you have to find out what the insight of the currency.

If I was going to do this myself and I don't do it, OK, I'll be looking, I don't care what it's trading yet. The question is the people who really going this whole thing. A bunch of people who are running all these cryptocurrencies, the insiders. I want to know what they're buying and what they're selling. Because what they're selling is over and what they're buying is about to start going up.

If I just hear that someone just unloaded Bitcoin, if they died, that's what I want to be is not about value, it's about hope, what they say is going up next? That's the key.

SIDNER: How are people turning this into stuff? Like buying a car or a house? Is that happening?

[01:55:04] BELFORT: Yes, You're going to exchange Bitcoins for cash, it takes some time. And it is another problem. This affordable are trading a manipulating situation like this is that you need to be able to get out. It's not very easy to get out. You can get yourself into cash, but, I promise you this, that when the day comes, and it will come when it goes, drops back down to (INAUDIBLE) you don't going to sell it, we'll be able to get your money at with exchange, with frozen, and shut down the too much value and you'll not be able to get your money back

So, there's an old saying on Wall Street, bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered. Don't try to catch the top of this thing. If you feel compelled to invest, try to catch a bit of the wave and get out and don't put in more where you can force this thing will end up badly for everybody who gets stuck at the end. I mean, no chairs left when the music stops.

SIDNER: Curiously, I've noticed that some of this Bitcoin, there are groups of people, there are hate groups out there, the criminal element out there that are trading in this right now. How much concern is there that this element is, well, using and manipulating as you're saying?

BELFORT: It's a great point. So, a reason why this will never -- I want to -- just this finish, there's a difference between Bitcoin and blockchain technology.


BELFORT: So I believe blockchain technology is actually is really, really cool and has a great place in the financial system, it will take hold. That has nothing to do with the value from Bit, they get it like -- they don't need Bitcoin to use blockchain technology, they can use blockchain technology by itself. So, even though I believe mainstream is going to adopt the technology, Bitcoin, this is all illusion, it's all crap basically right now. And it's a bubble and it's going to burst a bigger than you've ever seen in your life and all that you say if you feel compelled to invest anybody, just please -- you need to have your exit ramp planned out really early.

SIDNER: And also be willing to lose money. BELFORT: And you have to only put it that you couldn't but that was if you try to stay in this too long, you're going to lose everything. I mean, there's no guarantees (INAUDIBLE) just tell you this. I mean, anyone who knows anything about financial institutions and instruments in this institutions, if these too many things that are blatantly red flags, you know, and if it looks like something and it smells like something, it is probably is that something and this is that something.

SIDNER: We are going to leave it there. The Wolf of Wall Street talking about the dangers of getting involved with Bitcoin at least at this point.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner, the news continues with Natalie Allen and George Howell, in Atlanta right after this. Thanks for staying with us.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Offer accepted. North Korea says yes to talks with its Southern neighbor.