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Miller: book is garbage, Wolff is garbage author; Trump's self-defense: Helpful or hurtful; Bannon: Trump Tower meeting criticism we for Manafort; Trump: there's been absolutely no collusion; Haley defends Trump's stability after hot-button tweets; FAA: JFK's terminal four suspended for six hours; CNN live on the Golden Globes red carpet; Atlanta preps to host Trump at football championship. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired January 7, 2018 - 17:00   ET



[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: This man, Stephen Miller, the president's senior policy adviser was on CNN earlier today. He calls the book, Fire and Fury, garbage, the man who wrote it, Michael Wolff, a garbage author.

About the quotes attributed to the president's former right hand man Steve Bannon, grotesque, vindictive, not credible, Miller says. Now in a nutshell, everything painting the president in a negative light is poorly written fiction and that the president is, quote, a political genius.

I'm about to play you part of Stephen Miller's conversation with Jake Tapper, but in the time since then, Steve Bannon has issued an apology of sorts.

This through a source close to the president's former chief strategist -- Bannon says he regrets not coming out sooner to shoot down comments tied to him in the book, comments he call inaccurate or misdirected.

OK, now, Stephen Miller on CNN earlier today with Jake Tapper. He is responding to those Steve Bannon quotes in the book Fire and Fury.


STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: Steve Bannon's eloquence in that description notwithstanding. It's tragic and unfortunate that Steve would makes these grotesque comments so out of touch with reality and obviously so vindictive.

And the whole White House staff is deeply disappointed in his comments which were grotesque. And with respect to the Trump Tower meeting that he's talking about, he wasn't even there when this went down.

So he's not really a remotely credible source in any of it. It reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discernible author. The book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction. And also I will say, that the author is a garbage author of a garbage book. JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were at the campaign during that Trump

Tower meeting during that Trump Tower meeting I believe, right -- in the summer of 2016.

Just answer the question because you were there and Steve Bannon was not, did any of those people from that meeting meet with President Trump as Bannon says the chance that he didn't -- Don Jr. didn't walk these Jumos up to his father on the 26th floor. What is your opinion -- just settle that for us. Did President Trump meet with any of the people?

MILLER: I have no knowledge of anything to do with that meeting.


MILLER: But what I can tell you unequivocally is, that the allegations and insinuations in this book which are at pure work of fiction are nothing but a pile of trash through and through.


CABRERA: CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us at the White House right now. Boris, Stephen Miller not surprisingly dismissing the book, Fire and Fury, as garbage.

Let's all remember that this was a book that the president's legal team actively tried to have blocked from publication. The White House did not want this book out there. Boris, are you hearing others at the White House use terms as strong as Stephen Miller's?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly not in terms as strong as those so far, Ana. We should recall that when we first saw excerpts from, Fire and Fury, a few days ago, Sarah Sanders called the book a work of fiction and attempted to draw questions about the author, Michael Wolff's credibility.

Just yesterday you had the president referring to Michael Wolff as a fraud saying that what he's done with the book is a disgrace and also launching attacks against one of the main sources in the book, Steve Bannon, saying that Bannon had lost it after he left the White House, and coming up with this new moniker for his former chief strategist calling him Sloppy Steve.

Despite all of that and other attacks from surrogates that we've heard, not only in Michel Wolff but also Steve Bannon, but Stephen Miller interview, the harshest critique yet of this supposed tell-all book, Ana.

CABRERA: And, Boris, what about this new Steve Bannon statement today that reads in part, my support is also unwavering for the president and his agenda, and I'm the only person to date to conduct a global effort to preach the message of Trump and Trumpism.

And the president has been bashing Bannon, calling him names in Twitter, will this statement mend things a bit or is this just too little too late? SANCHEZ: It's really yet to be seen. Remember that we first saw

these excerpts on Wednesday and this apology for a delayed response is coming five days later.

Steve Bannon seeming to extend an olive branch there, saying that he was willing to work as an ally of the president yet again, however, because we've seen so many attacks not only from the president but also other surrogates.

And because, as CNN has confirmed, the president himself has been calling friends and allies telling them that they either stand with him or they stand with Steve Bannon.

And you also had Steve Bannon's biggest financial backer, Rebekah Mercer, making comments this week distancing herself from the head of Breitbart news, it draws into question the intent here.

Steve Bannon clearly trying to make amends saying that his comments calling that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower unpatriotic and treasonous, that those comments were directed at Paul Manafort and not Donald Trump Jr.

So he certainly or at least likely feels his influence waning and is perhaps trying to get back in the president's good graces by praising him.

[17:05:00] We should note that some of Bannon's most disparaging remarks against Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and specific comments about money laundering being part of the Russia investigation were not mentioned in the statement at all, Ana.

CABRERA: Boris Sanchez, thank you. Joining us now is Congressman Charlie Dent, Republican from Pennsylvania. Congressman, we've heard from the president this weekend reacting to this book vigorously, defending his mental state, tweeting out that he is, like, really smart and that he is a stable genius. Is his defense helping or hurting?

CONG. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I can't say that helps. If you have to stand up and say that you're stable, I guess that raises questions about your stability.

Look, the president made an error in judgment by bringing Steve Bannon into his orbit in first place. Steve orbit -- Steve Bannon kind of represents annihilism in a disruptive way I think is very unhealthy for the country.

And it's good riddance that he's gone. But the fact remains that the president brought him in and the president said he is going to bring in great people and he brought in Steve Bannon who is not a good person for this type of work.

Bottom line is the issues raised in that book do raise concerns for most of us because clearly the whole idea of impulse control, lack of focus -- and we heard this before. The book more or less just confirms what many of us had been hearing. So I really wasn't shocked by those revelations. What I was shocked

by was the fact that Steve Bannon, reportedly to be his close ally, wielded a knife on the president and did it this early.

CABRERA: I spoke with Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee last night who said this.


CONG. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: What I worry about is that privately you hear Republicans -- I do all the time, saying many of the same things that we hear in this book, but publicly and officially, they are falling all over themselves to protect this president from legitimate inquiry and from legitimate oversight. And that is very dangerous for this country.


CABRERA: Congressman Dent, when you mentioned there at the top that you have concerns, are you talking about the president's fitness -- mental fitness?

DENT: Well, I'm talking about just what I think I read in the articles. I read excerpts from the book. I haven't read the book but excerpts from the book.

The whole notion of lack of focus, lack of policy knowledge, short attention span, those are the kinds of things we have heard in the past. I can't say I'm shocked by that. I mean that seems to be the case.

And our job as members of the House and members of Congress is to work with the president when he's on the right track, check him if he's moving on the wrong direction and call him out when he goes off the rails and you know, says or tweets outrageous things.

CABRERA: Do you think that's happening? Are your colleagues and your staff doing that?

DENT: Some more than others. I've been a bit more vocal than some other colleagues. I know Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, John McCain and others are pretty vocal.

But I think it's important that we stand-up and stayed our differences with the president. I disagree with some of my Republican colleagues, too, on the issue of attacking Director Mueller.

I believe we should let Director Mueller do his work. He's a man of integrity. Let him proceed without interference from Congress. And we'll find out, we'll see what he finds.

I'm not going to make any prejudgments about collusion because I simply don't know. Director Mueller knows. But we shouldn't be in the process as the Republican Party, the party of law enforcement, we shouldn't be doing anything to undermine federal law enforcement right now, meaning the FBI. CABRERA: I want to ask you more about that in just a minute. But

just to be completely clear here, do you believe the president is mentally fit to serve as president?

DENT: Well, I'm not a professional in that area. I don't do -- I don't make diagnosis from afar, but I believe that the American people understood what they were voting for when they elected Donald Trump.

I mean the behavior and conduct in office we've seen isn't that different from what we saw during the campaign. So there shouldn't be any surprises.

I'm going to leave it to the mental health officials to determine his fitness, but I certainly think some of those comments and some of the behavior has called in to question his fitness for sure.

CABRERA: A number of your GOP colleagues have expressed concerns about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Congressman Jordan, Meadows and Stewart have all called for Sessions to resign because of his handling of the Russia probe, the fact that he recused himself. Do you believe he should resign?

DENT: No, I don't. I believe Attorney General Sessions did the proper thing by recusing himself when he did. You know, as I understand the ethics rules, executive branch employees, I don't think he had much other choice than to recuse himself.

So I don't blame him for that. Director -- excuse me, Director Wray of the FBI and also, the Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein are both Republican political appointees.

So when my colleagues are taking shots at Jeff Sessions and Christopher Wray and Mr. Rosenstein, I think that's we're taking shots at a Republican administration.

[17:10:00] This is -- we, Republicans are now in charge of the executive branch and we control the Justice as we do all the departments, so...

CABRERA: So why are they doing that?

DENT: It's pretty hard to make a case -- I don't know. I don't completely understand the rationale. As I said, the FBI is composed of people who are professionals. Are there bad apples? I'm sure -- I'm sure there are.

There are the two who sent out some text messages that were heavily charged. Director Mueller either replaced them or demoted them. And so I think Director Mueller has handled himself well extremely well and we have to assume that these men and women, a federal enforcement are in fact professionals.

Of course they have political opinions. Everybody has political opinions. The question is, will those political opinions in some way obstruct their ability to be fair and thorough in an investigation? And I think the answer to that is no. Of course they can do their

jobs and they can separate their political opinions from their -- from their work.

CABRERA: Well, look...

DENT: Certainly that's the case throughout the federal system.

CABRERA: The latest polling is showing Republicans are losing confidence in the FBI. In cat today, 49 percent of Republicans give the FBI excellent or good marks down from 62 percent in 2014.

And the FBI is the only one of 13 agencies tested whose ratings among Republicans have worsened since compared to 2014. Is that concerning to you?

DENT: It does concern me, but I believe that's -- those numbers simply reflect some of the attacks against the FBI. And it echoes back probably to Director Comey and the way he handled the Hillary Clinton e-mail server issue straight up through this year.

So some of that might just be a result of the Hillary Clinton situation and all that's gone on, you know, during this administration as well.

So I'm not surprised by that, but my argument, again, is that the men and women of the FBI and federal law enforcement are, by and large, professional and thorough on honest people and they are out there serving us everyday in some very difficult circumstances. We shouldn't lose sight of that because of this particular investigation.

CABRERA: Of course it's an election year. I want you to listen to what CIA Director Mike Pompeo said this morning when ask if Russia is currently trying to undermine our elections.


MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: Yes, sir, have been for decades. So yes, I continue to -- I continue to be concerned not only about the Russians but about others' efforts as well.


CABRERA: Congressman, is enough being done to prevent Russia from meddling in our election again?

DENT: Well, Director Pompeo is absolutely right. The Russians most certainly did interfere with our elections. They meddled to be sure, not just here, but in Germany, and France, and elsewhere.

We know they're doing this. And the job of our country is to check the Russians. Russia, you know, is not benign, at least Russia under Putin is not benign.

They want to break up NATO. They want to -- they want to unravel the European Union. They want to undermine American power and influence anywhere they can in the world. And most important of all for them, they're trying to disrupt our political system.

And I have to say they were successful in that effort because of what they -- because of what they did. So I do think the administration -- the Trump administration was correct to send anti-tank weapons and other lethal defensive weapons to the government of Ukraine.

That was an appropriate response. I wish the president's rhetoric about Putin would change. I think he's been far too accommodating and conciliatory for Vladimir Putin.

I can't understand why. But at least on the policy level, they're seem to be trying to check them in Ukraine. So I'm grateful for that.

CABRERA: Congressman Charlie Dent, we are grateful for your time. Thank you very much and good luck as a session gets back into business this week following the New Year break.

DENT: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you, again. Let's talk more about the Russia investigation with our panel now, former FBI special agent, Asha Rangappa and Carrie Cordero, former counsel to the U.S., assistant attorney general for national security.

So, Carrie, first, let me ask you about the response Bannon put out today regarding his quote in the book that Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner's meeting with the Russian lawyer was both treasonous and unpatriotic.

He's now saying that those comments were actually aimed at Paul Manafort, that Manafort should have known better in dealing with the Russians. Could that resemble a possible argument for Kushner and Don Jr. to make down the road?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean certainly there are going to have to explain their reasons behind their taking that meeting, whether or not Steve Bannon changing his story about it will really matter in any type of legal proceeding or in the Special Counsel's investigation or the Senate investigation.

I kind of doubt it because those investigations all will at some point require individuals, if they haven't already, to testify under oath.

And so that, you know, when we're talking about legal proceedings, investigations where testimony is taken under oath, that's very different than people's either quoted statements in a book or their public relations efforts.

CABRERA: Asha, two senior Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, are now recommending an investigation into former British spy, Christopher Steele, who we know produced that now infamous dossier on candidate Donald Trump.

[17:15:08] Here's Lindsey Graham just this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: During the time that Mr. Steele was being an informant for the FBI, we now know he was shopping the dossier to journalist outlets all over the world, which is inconsistent in my view with being a reliable informant.

There's a bunch of stuff about the Department of Justice, how they conducted themselves, that need to be looked just as much as Trump needs to be looked at. And I'm going to insist the special counsel look at these things.


CABRERA: Asha, do you see legal ground here for the DOJ to open an investigation into Christopher Steele, the author of that dossier?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Based on his comments, I think his role is being misrepresented. I think the narrative until this point has been that it was the Democrats who were funding the Steele dossier, in which case, Steele was a private citizen doing work -- opposition work perhaps to get this information, which means that he wasn't an FBI informant at the time that he was gathering this.

And if he wants to shop it around to journalists, he can do that. That's not a violation of the law. To the extent that at some point he provided that dossier to the FBI, I want to add, Ana, that we don't want to criminalize people who provide good faith tips to the FBI when they see suspicious behavior.

Even if, after vetting, it turns the out that that behavior may not actually be a threat. If you overhear somebody plotting a bomb, for example, we want you to call the FBI.

And if they check it out and it turns the out those people were joking, you don't get prosecuted for reporting it. And so, you know, we know that later on, John McCain gave this dossier to the FBI.

Are we going to open a criminal investigation on him, too? I find a lot of these things to be kind of legal sleight of hand that's being used to manipulate what should be an independent criminal process in the FBI and they should make the determination on their own.

CABRERA: Carrie, Senator Graham actually wants a special counsel appointed. Would that interfere with the existing Mueller probe in any way?

CORDERO: Well, I'll tell you, the letter that Senators Graham and senator...

CABRERA: Chuck Grassley.

CORDERO: Yes, excuse me. Graham and Grassley sent, just the actual information supporting their criminal referral was a classified letter or report. So it's difficult to really know in the public domain the basis for that referral. Certainly it does sound as if they're requesting more special

counsels. Why that would be necessary, I think it's very difficult for us to say given the fact that the information supporting their referral is not publicly available.

But it also speaks, I think, unfortunately, to the fact that, at this point, given the way that the House Intelligence Committee is proceeding and given this latest letter from the Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that it really looks like the Senate Intelligence Committee is the only one left that is conducting itself in a bipartisan way.

CABRERA: Asha, Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit, we know alleging that Mueller exceed the scope of his authority in indicting him. You have a recent op-ed titled, Manafort's flimsy lawsuit highlights, lowers problem approving collusion in court. Explain.

RANGAPPA: Well, what Mueller is charged with looking into is links or coordination between Russian intelligence efforts to meddle in the campaign and -- or sorry, meddle in the election and anyone in the Trump campaign.

And in the intelligence world, what intelligence services do is they recruit human sources to help them with their nefarious activities. And they do this over time.

Sometimes those activities can cross over into illegal behavior, but sometimes they don't. I investigated foreign intelligence services and spies and not everything they do is illegal.

So when you look at the charges that Mueller might bring, criminal charges, what you're going to see is just little slivers of things that might have crossed the line. And in the op-ed, I mention that it's like trying to make sense of a movie by only watching two or three scenes, for example.

So I think that, you know, the question is, is there going to be a way for Mueller to be able to show the counterintelligence story as well as the criminal story because the latter is not going to reveal the whole picture.

CABRERA: Got you. Asha Rangappa and Carrie Cordero, thank you, ladies.

RANGAPPA: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, the president says there is now evidence of this campaign colluding with Russia. A Democrat on the House Intel Committee responds next.

[17:20:00] And as Hollywood kicks off the awards season, political statements from women in film are taking center stage at tonight's golden globes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: President Trump unloading on the Russia investigation, insisting that he's not under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This is what he said this weekend. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess the collusion now is dead because everyone found that after a year of study there's been absolutely no collusion. There's been no collusion between us and the Russians.


CABRERA: Let's talk it over with Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley, a Democrat, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the committees also doing a Russia probe.

Congressman, is the president's statement accurate that after a year of study, no collusion has been found? Has your committee found any hard evidence of collusion?

CONG. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: You know, I don't know what's worse, whether the president knows better and is lying or he is seriously delusional. Earlier he had suggested that no -- every Democrat is saying that there's no collusion.

I know of no Democrat that has said any such thing. The fact of the matter is, forget the House investigation. The fact of the matter is that two high level Trump associates, George Papadopoulos and General Flynn, his national security adviser, have fled guilty to lying about this very issue.

George Papadopoulos admitted that he lied about trying to connect the Trump campaign with Russia. And he reported back to high Trump campaign officials.

The national security adviser General Flynn admitted that he lied about his discussions with the Russian ambassador in his efforts to eliminate those sanctions that President Obama put in for the Russians attack on a democratic process.

There are at least eight other high level Trump officials who were communicating and attempting to coordinate with the Russians before, during and after the campaign.

[17:25:06] CABRERA: Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham are also calling for an investigation into Christopher Steele, the former British spy, who authored that Trump dossier. Congressman, what do you make of your Republican colleagues asking the Justice Department to investigate Steele?

QUIGLEY: I see this as just another distraction. It is utter gibberish. I've been in the committee three years now. And in the last year or so that we've been doing this investigation, I've heard nothing but positive remarks about Christopher Steele's reputation as an intelligence officer for one of our best allies and his work on the dossier.

The fact of the matter is, this investigation, which started on the periphery, has now gotten inside the White House. The best way to describe is, my Republican colleagues, to a large extent, are freaking out.

And they're attacking not just Christopher Steele but the FBI, the Justice Department, and Mr. Mueller -- Mr. Mueller, who is a war hero with impeccable bipartisan credentials. I think at this point, they see it as their only way out.

CABRERA: Well, Mueller, we should mention, was appointed by a Republican president initially to the FBI and was praised when he was appointed as a special prosecutor for this investigation. Now, Fusion GPS which paid Steele...

QUIGLEY: By both parties.

CABRERA: By both parties, indeed. I want to ask you more about GPS and this dossier because it was interesting to see their op-ed written this week in The New York Times, saying in part quote, we hired Mr. Steele and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question.

Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun. Mr. Steele sources in Russia who were not paid reported on an extensive and now confirmed effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump as president.

Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the FBI. Congressman, we know fusion GPS has expressed frustration that their testimony before Congress has not been made public.

By calling on this investigation now into Steele, do you have reason to believe Republicans are trying to prevent the testimony from being released?

QUIGLEY: Well, there's some testimony that can be or cannot be released, depending on whether it was classified. I don't recall anything about their testimony that should be kept classified. I more than welcome it.

I like to see more public hearings take place here. I think if we're really trying to find the truth about exactly what took place and indeed if the president wants to be exonerated, the first thing he can do is release this testimony.

And tell his people to start cooperating, and to tell the House and Senate investigations to stop rushing these interviews without proper documentations, make sure we have the subpoenas we need in place.

Quite frankly, we are not getting the answers we need from people who have already testified. They're not going to answer unless there's a subpoena in place. CABRERA: Now, you've expressed concerns about House Intel Chairman

Devin Nunes, a Republican who recused himself from the Russia investigation and he is now undercutting it.

You ask Paul Ryan, the speaker, to intervene on Nunes request to access Russia documents. But we know the speaker backed up Nunes. So what is next for your committee and who exactly is running it?

QUIGLEY: It's hard to tell. I'll be honest. I always thought that Mr. Conaway, who is acting as the chairman on this investigation, was trying his hardest to be fair.

I don't know exactly what's happening behind the scenes, but the only other assumption is that Mr. Nunes is making it much more difficult. The only person on the House side that can intervene is the speaker of the House.

He has to be called upon to require these subpoenas to be issued. Beyond that, these separate, rogue, unilateral investigations, which are taking place without any Democratic input at all, for the most part, we're not even being made aware of what their investigation and asking us to participate at all.

Only the speaker of the House can stop this nonsense and bring us back into a fair, bipartisan approach, what exactly took place. In our lifetime, there will be no more important investigation.

Republicans should care as much about this as we do because remember, they didn't just tried to hack into the DNC successfully, and other measures, they hacked into our board of election into data bases. And as Mr. Comey said, they'll be back.

CABRERA: But we also want to point out that there's still no evidence that they were able to influence the vote specifically like at the election booth in these different states, although we do know that they tried.

Michael Wolff spoke -- real quick, before I let you go, I want to ask you about Fire and Fire, and the questions it has raised about Trump's mental fitness.

[17:30:00] President Trump's says he is a stabled genius. I want you to hear what U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had to say in defense of this administration.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Was he unstable when we finally hit back at Syria and said no more chemical weapons? Was he unstable when we finally put North Korea on notice? Was he unstable when he said, wait, we need to look at Iran because this is getting to be a dangerous situation?

Was he unstable with the jobs or the economy, or the stock market? We need to be realistic at the fact that every person, regardless of race, religion or party, who loves this country, should support this president. It's that important.


CABRERA: Congressman, does she have a point?

QUIGLEY: Look, I'm in no position to have offer a clinical -- clinical evaluation of the president's psychological state, but just in terms of deeds and his words, he is impulsive, he's childlike, he's narcissistic to an extraordinary degree, he's incapable of sympathetic behavior, certainly not empathetic behavior.

And many of those impulsive actions are dangerous. DNI Clapper talked about that. The fact that he gets into this childish exchange with the leader of North Korea about large buttons is dangerous. It puts people at risk. He could start a war with this kind of behavior. Yes, it's absolutely a great concern.

CABRERA: But, Congressman, is it dangerous at all for the world to watch our nation's leaders, lawmakers like yourself, call into question the mental fitness of the president of the United States of America in such a public way?

QUIGLEY: You know, what concerns me is the unwillingness of his own party to talk about these concerns they might have about the president of the United States unless they're on the way out the door.

Which Republican spoke out the most effectively, accurately on the Senate floor? It was Senator Flake, but it was when he was announcing he was leaving.

I want to see those who are still in power step up against this president not just for his extraordinarily erratic behavior, but just for the insane things he's doing to our country.

I think Mr. Flake spelled it out pretty well. Where are the rest of the Republicans? Where's the speaker of the House when it comes to concerns I raised about this investigation?

CABRERA: Congressman Mike Quigley, we'll leave it there. Thank you very much.

QUIGLEY: Anytime, thank you.

CABRERA: With the growing list of foreign policy challenges for President Trump, we're going to explore more what world leaders may think about these new questions surrounding his mental fitness and how he's responding. That's next.


CABRERA: The nuclear crisis with North Korea, anti-government protests in Iran, tensions with Russia, there's no end to the list of daunting foreign policy challenges for the Trump administration.

But now top officials also have another very unexpected challenge, how to answer questions about the president's mental stability following a flurry of controversial tweets.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CO-ANCHOR, ABC THIS WEEK: You say you deal with the diplomats on the ground. You deal with diplomats every single day, world leaders from around -- all across the globe. How do they respond overall to the president's tweets? I read one analysis this week saying that they're just starting to tune him out.

HALEY: I don't think they're tuning him out. If anything, I notice that they are absolutely glued to them. But they seem as unpredictable. That's probably the overwhelming feeling that I see...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Too unpredictable?

HALEY: I don't think ever too unpredictable. I don't think they don't know what the U.S. is going to do at any given time. And for that reason, they're getting much more cautious and they are paying attention to how they work with us. So you know, we've got a ways to go, but it's not a bad thing. It's really not.


CABRERA: Joining me now, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. Peter, what is your reaction to Haley's argument there that it's not a bad thing that world leaders are glued to Trump's tweets and see him as unpredictable?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well certainly it has the truth defense. You know, I think the Trump early on before he was president and during the campaign said, hey, we're not going to signal our intentions, we're not going to talk about withdrawal dates, we're not going to talk about troop numbers.

So certainly it's been part of his narrative that he's going to do things that are unexpected. Now, the down side of all that is in diplomacy in particular and in the relations between foreign countries a certain amount of predictability is actually rather useful.

People kind of know -- people generally speaking, do want to know what your position is. It's not likely to change overnight. So I think for the Trump team and for Trump himself, the unpredictability is an asset.

I think is a general kind of rule of foreign policy, unpredictability is not particularly helpful, often particularly in cases where there might be a war involved.

CABRERA: OK. A former Obama national security adviser told me the president's reaction to this Michael Wolff book is exposing a National Security vulnerability. If you want to distract this president, just attack his personal image. Do you agree or is that fair?

BERGEN: No, I don't really want to get into that, Ana. I think, you know, it's hard to get inside somebody else's head. So I'll just -- I'll leave it there. CABRERA: Last weekend we were talking about 2017, foreign policy

wins, only to have the president fire off a flurry of provocative tweets to start the New Year, including that North Korea nuclear button tweet. He then made this statement involving that tweet.


TRUMP: If I weren't involved, they wouldn't be talking about Olympics right now. They'd be doing no talking or much more serious. He knows I'm not messing around. I'm not messing around, not even a little bit, not even 1 percent. He understands that.

At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we're working on it with Rex, we're working on it with a lot of people, if something can happen and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all humanity.


CABRERA: Peter, do you see the talks this week between South Korea and North Korea as a result of pressure from the Trump administration?

BERGEN: I think it's hard to tell. But certainly I think it's a good thing obviously we have these kind of direct talks for some period of time. The Olympics do provide kind of an opportunity for relations between the two countries to improve.

And I think that bite that we just played from President Trump is interesting because he emphasized there that Rex Tillerson's efforts at diplomacy which often he has actually kind of attacked actually or certainly downplayed. So, you know, that was a somewhat conciliatory observation I think on the president's part.

[17:40:00] CABRERA: Peter Bergen, thank you. We really appreciate your time, as always, good to see you.

BERGEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, it wasn't enough that winter weather caused frozen equipment, severe delays and stranding -- stranded passengers for hours at New York's JFK International Airport. Well, now one of the terminals affected is evacuated after a water main break. We'll take you there live after the break.


CABRERA: As flight cancellations, delays and lost baggage are not enough, now New York's JFK Airport has new problem. Look at this new video, flooding -- major flooding from a water main break.

This video showing water pouring into one of the baggage holding areas in terminal four soaking the bags, luggage, that's being stored there. Polo Sandoval is there at JFK for us. Polo, this is causing a lot of problems. What is the latest?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of pain and anguish for a lot of passengers. I just walked out of terminal four a little while ago, Ana. I can tell you, there are still many people in that baggage claim. Some are patient.

Others are quite impatient, hoping to see if they'll be reunited with their bags. Because this latest incident really -- or at least this water main break that you just showed a little bit of video of, the latest in what authorities here at JFK calling a cascade of incidents since Thursday's storm.

What we know it was around 1:30 that water started to cascade down an interior wall, authorities shutting down a portion of the arrivals hall here at terminal four as they investigate to try to find out what happened.

At this point, we're told by officials that some of the inbound flights or actually all international flights headed here to terminal four have been suspended at this point. Meanwhile, the flights that are headed out, those are still, according to officials, still happening.

Those are still happening as scheduled, but again, a little bit of color from what we experienced a little while ago, people are inside that baggage claim hoping to get their bags, those bags that have been -- some may have been lost already for several days or at least not made their way here to their destination.

[17:45:07] I'll leave you with this. A little while ago, we did see some sand trucks throwing out some sand, some salt at the main street -- the main lane right in front of the terminal there since all this water was essentially pushed out of the terminal and it's extremely cold tonight.

So there's concern that that this water could potentially freeze as one airport -- as I overheard one airport worker saying they were afraid that the inside of the terminal would turn into an ice rink. So that's why they've closed off the doors.

Again currently, part of the place still closed off as authorities continue to investigate this water main break. Just the latest in a series of incidents and a series headaches here at JFK, one of the largest and busiest airports in the U.S.

CABRERA: Like salt in the wound. Polo, do you know what the plan is to get everything back and functioning normally again?

SANDOVAL: Well, people have already been warned that it's probably going to take at least another five hours before some of those regularly scheduled flights begin to resume or at least get back on schedule.

Many of these flight cancellations or delays are residual effects of what took place on Thursday when that winter storm swept through the area.

And the airlines have been trying to keep up, but as we heard FROM JFK today, there are several issues here. Frozen equipment breakdown, there's a shortage in some of their staff right now because of the weather and also heavier than normal passenger loads, so some of the luggage as well. So they're trying to keep up and the latest incident just really adding insult to injury here, Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Polo Sandoval at JFK airport, thank you. Keep us posted. And tonight, Hollywood kicks off, the awards season with the 75th annual golden globes.

This show hosted by late night Seth Meyers is the first awards show since the sexual harassment allegations rocked the entertainment industry. There are live pictures from the red carpet. We'll go there next.


CABRERA: The forecast for the golden globes tonight, a blackout. Many stars attending the awards will be wearing all black to make a statement about the sexual harassment scandals that have rocked Hollywood.

The awards ceremony is just a few hours away now. Stephanie Elam is joining us from the red carpet in Beverly Hills. You look beautiful, Stephanie, wearing black as well. I see a lot of black behind you. Who do you have there?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Thank you, Fred. Well, I have with me someone on a show that's a runaway hit, This Is Us, Susan Kelechi Watson is here. Kelechi, first of all, tell us why is it your show is such a favorite with people? Why does it resonate?

SUSAN KELECHI WATSON, ACTRESS, THIS IS US: I think we represent so many stories and so many journeys and people find a way to connect with one of us or all of us.

And the gift is the story that we're telling so we have, you know, just really tremendous writers, our creator Dan Fogelman, our executive team. There is a lot of truth and honesty that goes into all the stories. And I think that's what makes people connect, you know.

ELAM: Definitely. I think a lot of people feel way that. I mean, I went to the dentist. My dentist was like, I can't. I'm obsessed with the show. I have all the emotions.

WATSON: I want people to say that while he is like drilling your tooth or someone.

ELAM: Wait a minute. We won't go there. Tell me about your look tonight because obviously, you are wearing black. Tell me why you decided on this outfit.

WATSON: Well, I decided on this particular outfit because I wanted to -- first of all, the color is to stand in solidarity with those who have been harassed, abused, who had the courage to speak out and to let them know that I stand with them against the injustices that they suffer. And secondly, the outfit itself, I had some choices and my mother saw

this and she was like, hey, you're standing up against sexual harassment and abuse, you need to wear the pants. You've got to go in the pants. Sounds I'm going to wear the pants.

ELAM: Wear the pants.

WATSON: Here they are.

ELAM: And you are wearing it, as it is beautiful and it was gorgeous. And looking absolutely ravishing, have a good night. Good luck to you all.

WATSON: Thank you.

ELAM: Have a great night for you guys.

WATSON: Thank you so much.

ELAM: People love your show. So hopefully it does -- I saw Sterling is here and I saw Justin is here. Fantastic.

WATSON: Reunion.

ELAM: Best of luck.

WATSON: All right.

ELAM: Ana, forgive me, it's loud here. I said, Fred. But, Ana, I apologize. As you can see, stars are showing up, a lot of people here are wearing black, dressing in black, maybe a lot of sequins but still, you are seeing most of the stars showing up.

I can't think of a star I've seen who isn't wearing predominantly black so far. I saw Allison Williams from the movie, Get Out. She had a little bit pop of color at the top but her dress was all black.

You are seeing a lot of the male actors also showing up in all black as well, showing solidarity, saying that time is up. And that things have changed.

And some believe this has really been a moment of change in the post Harvey Weinstein days. We'll wait and see if that's actually the case. But this is really the first time that Hollywood is showing a front and you're seeing it here.

CABRERA: My producer pointed out I'm wearing black today, too. I didn't do that intentionally for this blackout movement of sorts but I guess I was channeling the spirit and it is a good thing to call attention to this issue.

Stephanie Elam, thank you very much. We'll check back with you later. Coming up, the FBI and secret service, and sharp shooters on top of buildings -- how officials are protecting the college football championship in Atlanta next.


CABRERA: Atlanta is a traffic nightmare on a good day. Bring college football's biggest game to town and then put President Trump in the stands and you can begin to understand the enormity of what Atlanta faces tomorrow when college football's playoff championship comes to down.

As many as 100,000 football fans are expected to join the president at the game. That's a lot of people to check through security. I want to bring in CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung. Kaylee, tell us about the security plans to keep the crowds then and keep the president safe.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, if you're planning to come to the game, get downtown early. Don't try to bring anything more than your clear bag in the arena. And if you see something suspicious, don't hesitate to call 911.

Those are the best pieces that officials are giving fans. You know, more than 100,000 who are expected to be here, an anticipation of tomorrow's game.

Local, state and federal authorities have been planning for this day for over a year. And the good news is, is the secret service was among the many agencies on board from day one in that planning.

So with the news that President Trump will attend college football's national championship tomorrow, it didn't send shock waves through the planning already in place.

The officials now saying the biggest impact that his presence in Atlanta will have on fans, that will be the traffic on the ground here, as you mentioned, rush hour in Atlanta on an average day, not ideal anyway.

And right now, officials can't tell us what roads will be closed as the president motorcades in. All they can say right now is any fan coming to the game should get downtown the say by 4:00 p.m. even though the president isn't expected to arrive until much closer to the 8:00 p.m. game tomorrow night.

And this -- this event is about more than just the game. It's all of the events going on around it like concerts and Centennial Park behind me tonight, and fan activities, and tailgating events for the public, tomorrow as well.

So you have to think about more than just the logistics of getting into the stadium in an efficient -- an efficient manner. The Atlanta Police Department brought us into their joint operations center to help share some of those plans that they have put in place like the fact that they have roughly 10,000 cameras helping in their electronic surveillance of all that will be going on downtown.

You think about assets from the air, like sharpshooters on roofs of downtown building but also the capability of S.W.A.T. Teams to be able to shoot from helicopters if that should ever be necessary. But if an official vehicle of any sort were to be in the air, that

would be the only air traffic you'll see because the FAA has instituted directions for this air space in the area.