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North Korea May Use The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics For Surveillance; First A Storm, Then A Flood At New York's JFK Airport; Gary Oldman Transforms Into Winston Churchill. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired January 8, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Expressing regret: Donald Trump's former adviser distancing himself from controversial comments attributed to him about the U.S. president and his family.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Face to face as North and South Korea get set for talks, there are hopes it could lead to more dialogue.
CHURCH (voice-over): And a room full of winners: Oprah Winfrey brings Hollywood to its feet with a rousing message at the Golden Globes.
HOWELL (voice-over): The room was ringing after she had the podium there.
CHURCH (voice-over): It was amazing.
HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell.
CHURCH (voice-over): And I'm Rosemary Church from CNN World Headquarters. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
CHURCH: Fallout from the scathing tell-all book about the Trump White House shows no sign of letting up.
HOWELL: Some of the most explosive quotes from "Fire and Fury," they're attributed to Steve Bannon, the man you see here, President Trump's former chief strategist. But now Bannon says he regrets not responding sooner to what's in that book. He says that he still believes in the president and his agenda and that he never badmouthed Donald Trump Jr., as the author of that book suggested.
CHURCH: Now the book came out Friday, despite legal threats from the president's lawyers, and President Trump responded furiously on Twitter, calling it "a fake book written by a totally discredited author." HOWELL: All of this, though, may be too little too late, though. We are told President Trump is drawing a line in the sand. He is calling allies. He is calling friends and making it clear they must choose between him or between Steve Bannon.
CHURCH: Boris Sanchez takes a look at all the fallout.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has now been five full days since we first got those excerpts from "Fire and Fury" that were explosive and drew into question not only the president's mental fitness for office but also his relationship with his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Today Steve Bannon putting out a statement for the first time, directly in response to those quotations of his in that book, specifically taking exception to a portion where he describes a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian nationals at Trump Tower back in June of 2016 as treasonous and unpatriotic.
Bannon saying that those comments were not directed toward Donald Trump Jr., who he calls a patriot, but rather toward former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Here's that specific section.
He writes, quote, "My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends.
"To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr."
Of course we should point out that a trail of emails shows that it was Donald Trump Jr. who brokered that meeting with Russian nationals and who then looped in not only Paul Manafort but also the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
And in a later email said that he loved the idea of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton that was being offered to the Trump campaign by these Russian nationals.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of this statement, though, is the portion in which Steve Bannon tries to put himself once again in the president's good graces by saying that Donald Trump was the only candidate that could have defeated Hillary Clinton and then going a step further and touting his own abilities as a messenger for the president, saying that he is taking the America first message as far as Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Steve Bannon here is in a bit of a predicament because over the past few days, we've seen not only Trump's surrogates going after him but also the president himself calling him Sloppy Steve.
Earlier today CNN was able to confirm that the president has been making calls in recent days to friends and allies, telling them that they either support Steve Bannon or they support the president. So it seems as though Steve Bannon feels his influence shrinking and
potentially is trying to salvage his political career by reaching out to the president in this way -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.
HOWELL: Boris, thank you for the report.
President Trump's senior policy adviser appeared on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday, slamming both the author of "Fire and Fury" and slamming Steve Bannon himself. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: Steve Bannon's eloquence in that description notwithstanding, it's tragic and unfortunate that Steve would make 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 is talking about, he wasn't even there when this went down. So he is not really a remotely credible source on any of it. It reads like an angry --
MILLER: -- vindictive person spouting off to a highly discreditable author. The book is book is best understood as a work of very poorly written fiction. And I will also say the author is a garbage author of a garbage book.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And Miller wasn't done. He defended the president against the book's claim that Mr. Trump is not fit for office. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: The reality is the president is a political genius who won against a field of 17 incredibly talented people, who took down the Bush dynasty, who took down the Clinton dynasty, who took down the entire media complex with its 90 percent negative coverage.
Took down billions of dollars in special interest donations. And he did it all through the people and through his strategy and his vision and his insight and his experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And that interview did not end well. Host Jake Tapper eventually cut off Miller because he would not answer his questions. So let's get some perspective now on the story. We're joined by Inderjeet Parmar, professor of international politics at City University of London. Thank you, sir, for being with us. So Michael Wolff's book "Fire and
Fury" dominated the airwaves over the weekend, created fire and fury at the White House, with former Trump strategist Steve Bannon eventually releasing a statement of regret for his slow response and for some of the things that he had to say.
He said that some of the quotes about Donald Trump Jr. were not accurate.
What damage, though, has already been done?
And can the president survive some of the more serious allegations made in this book?
INDERJEET PARMAR, CITY UNIVERSITY LONDON: I think it was two things. One is the Bannon-Trump rift. Clearly it's pretty deep at the moment. And it seems to be that the program that Bannon has championed for some time, which is a remaking of the Grand Old Party into a much more extreme right wing party along lines of white identity, white nationalism and so on, I think that program has been shaken somewhat by this, by the estrangement between the two.
But I think we should take some aspects of the book seriously, because many of the things that are revealed it in actually, for people who have been watching the Trump administration closely, they're not particularly new revelations. They're kind of more codified and systematic.
And I think what Bannon is afraid of now -- and I suspect people like the Mercers, Rebecca Mercer and so on, who have backed President Trump as a kind of vehicle for their attempt to remake the Republican Party, remake the United States and its role in the world, I think they're putting pressure on Steve Bannon because they are the part owners of Breitbart news.
And I think that partly explains why he has had to roll back on these comments. But the fact is that Steve Bannon is on record as calling Donald Trump a blunt instrument for larger forces such as himself.
And so I think his central belief probably hasn't changed very much. I think he just now fears that the political program on which he has been embarked for some time, which is much larger than Donald Trump, that has the possibility of being derailed at this point.
CHURCH: Yes, and he is certainly feeling isolated at this point as well. Now Mr. Trump says he is a very stable genius, talking about himself. But the book paints a very different picture. Let's just listen to what the author, Michael Wolff, had to say about that on NBC's "Meet the Press."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, "FIRE AND FURY": It's not unreasonable to say this is 25th Amendment kind of stuff. This is
(CROSSTALK) CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST: They say that in the West Wing to you?
WOLFF: -- all the time.
TODD: 25th Amendment?
TODD: They would bring up the 25th Amendment?
WOLFF: Yes. Actually, they would say we're not in the -- sort of in the mid period. We're not at a 25th Amendment level yet.
Or they would --
TODD: That's alarming.
WOLFF: This is alarming in every way. And then this went on, OK, "This is a little 25th Amendment." So 25th Amendment is a concept that is alive every day in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So Wolff saying there the 25th Amendment, a concept alive every day in the White House, how surprised were you by that revelation?
And what could this ultimately mean, do you think?
PARMAR: I wasn't at all surprised by that statement or that claim because I think that claim has been made on several occasions. And I think even within the Senate, there have been discussions about the nuclear button and things like that and what was the position of the president in regard to others and so on.
And I think there is a whole lot of other rumors as well. So I think the close observers of this are not particularly surprised.
And the other thing, of course, is that right in the summer of 2016, before the election -- 2017, I mean, sorry -- quite a large number of people, well over 100 or maybe more, from across the political establishment of the United States had already --
PARMAR: -- declared that President -- that Trump, candidate Trump, would be unfit for office were he to win. They called him a racist, a warmonger and so on and so forth at the time.
So I'm not particularly surprised by this state of this administration that the calls about the 25th Amendment are coming along. And I think it seems to be -- there is two things here. One, this is the elite politics of Washington, D.C.
So if you like, there is a big split there. There is a split about the credibility of the United States as represented by President Trump, particularly in global affairs. There is a large number of changes. We all know about them.
And the United States has to tread very carefully. And I think there are -- lots of people are very worried about certain aspects of the style of the president that brings America to disrepute, loses its soft power and so on and therefore allows others to step in.
But the other point, of course, is that President Trump has been losing support, broadly speaking, inside the American electorate itself. But the Democratic Party hasn't really mobilized the electorate very much in regard to what President Trump has been doing on most other things, like the tax cut and the deregulation of the corporations.
So this is an attempt, I think, to hold within the Washington establishment this particular issue and probably try to prevent it from spilling over into national politics and the politics of the protest, which are taking off.
CHURCH: And, of course, in the book, aides reveal to the author that dealing with the president is like dealing with a child and the author describes a very insecure, paranoid president, who doesn't like to read, needs to be protected from himself. This is the leader of the free world and the man who has access, as you mentioned, to the nuclear codes.
How would other world leaders be responding at this time, do you think?
PARMAR: Well, I think on the one hand, they know he is a known quantity in that regard, that he is unpredictable. He is going to do things in a style of his own and he does use Twitter as a means of communication and so on. And I think, to some extent, they kind of know this is what he is.
But I think President Trump is the latest president to kind of be at the helm of the United States in a very rapidly changing world. And the fact is that he didn't invent the crisis of the liberal order but he is at the helm of it. And I think he is deeply unreliable as far as world leaders see.
And what this appears to be doing is, in effect, loosening the international system, sharpening the power of nations and states to stand up for themselves with a view to the United States being less and less subject to the kind of rules-based system, which it is the architect of from the 1940s.
So I think other powers are going to use the opportunity somewhat to loosen the shackles of any kind of obligations to the United States that they may have, risk losing aid and support and so on. And I think they're probably going to have to look out for themselves a lot more.
And we can see this in regard to Germany. Germany is sort of the heart of the E.U., has been making a lot of moves about its own independent role in the world. China has said that it will step in. But the key thing about those powers, saying that they're going to
step in, is that they are at the top of very deeply unequal societies themselves. And their political system is not particular stable, either. So in those systems, you look at the levels of nationalism within the state and outside of it --
PARMAR: -- in Germany and China and many others, you see that they're not particularly stable, either.
So I think we're entering into very, very difficult waters. And I think President Trump is in a very difficult position anyway. Any president would be. But I think his style, I'm afraid, has been very, very divisive. And I think this is why the 25th Amendment appears to be the principal tool that the Democrats and others are trying to use to unseat him.
CHURCH: Interesting. Inderjeet Parmar, thank you so much for your analysis and perspective. We always appreciate it.
HOWELL: Rosemary, it is interesting. The author's processes toward this book questionable. He is a controversial author with regard to attribution. But whether people take the book seriously or literally, that old question, this book certainly painting a picture of this president.
Let's move on now to North and South Korea. On Tuesday, the two nations will meet face to face for the first time in more than two years. This meeting considered a breakthrough for these two countries. There are hopes that it will open the doors to broader cooperation.
CHURCH: The U.S. won't be there, though President Trump says he would be open to talking directly with the North Korean leader. But the American ambassador to the U.N. says that doesn't mean that the U.S. is softening against Kim Jong-un's nuclear threats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I'm dealing with the diplomats on the ground. I'm dealing with all of the actors in this situation. It is a serious situation. And he can't sit there and imply that he is going to destroy the United States without us reminding him of the facts and the reality that, if you go there, it's not us that's going to be destroyed. It's you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Pressure from the U.S. continuing there. Let's get more on this Tuesday's talks ahead with CNN's Will Ripley, live for us in Seoul, South Korea, this hour.
Will, always a pleasure to have you here on the show. Let's talk about this area, this border, one of the most tense borders in the world.
Is there a sense of optimism among people that you have spoken to about these talks that are set to happen?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I would say it's cautious optimism, George, because, frankly, the Korean Peninsula has been down this road before. There have been talks that seem promising at the beginning, only to break down. You think about the fact, the last talks that were held back in 2015, since then there have been scores of missiles launched; there have been nuclear tests. The tensions on the peninsula have only risen.
But, frankly, the fact that the two sides are willing to sit down and discuss North Korea's potential participation in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, people are looking at this as a promising sign.
And these discussions are happening in a very historic place, a place described as one of the most tense and potentially dangerous flashpoints on Earth.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The Korean demilitarized zone, a place where two worlds collide, dictatorship and democracy staring each other down.
CHAD O'CARROLL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KOREA RISK GROUP: It's a very, very vivid reminder just what's at stake on the peninsula.
RIPLEY: The first official talks in two years between North and South Korea will be held in Panmunjom, the so-called Truce Village, straddling the 38th Parallel, the tense dividing line between two neighbors still technically at war.
Delegations from both sides of the DMZ will be sitting a stone's throw away from the path a North Korean took in November, in a dramatic defection, shot five times, running South.
The talks will take place in Peace House, one of three buildings in the Truce Village, built specifically for discussion like this, two in the South, one in the North.
O'CARROLL: Sometimes the two couriers have disagreements over which side the talks should be on.
RIPLEY: This time, they're on the South side. North Korean officials will likely pass through the same blue huts I first visited in 2015, the year the last round of marathon talks took place, lasting some 44 hours, nearly two days.
To understand the DMZ, we need to go back to the end of World War II, the Soviets and Americans divided Korea just like they did Germany, most
historians say the communists North tried to get it all by invading the South. The North says it was the other way around. Technically, the war never ended. An armistice agreement put both Koreas back on their side of the dividing line, a standoff nearly 65 years and counting.
Today, North Korea is facing its toughest sanctions ever, over Leader Kim Jong-un's rapidly advancing nuclear program.
O'CARROLL: For the North Koreans, the motivation to take part in these talks is undoubtedly due to the pressure that is building on the country.
RIPLEY: Pressure that only stands to increase in 2018, unless both sides find a diplomatic path, a path that begins here in Panmunjom, a painful reminder of the region's violent past, tense present and uncertain future.
RIPLEY: Incidentally today is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's birthday. He is believed to be in his early to mid-30s, although his exact birth year has never been publicly verified. I remember I was in Pyongyang a couple of years ago on his birthday week, when he ordered a nuclear test. And now this year, peace talks.
And many in the region and around the world are hoping that this will be a sign of diplomatic path in the year 2018 and not the alternative -- George.
HOWELL: CNN international correspondent Will Ripley has traveled North Korea extensively, covered topics there throughout the region. It is good to have the reporting from you. We'll stay in touch, Will.
CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break just here. But coming up, the Hollywood foreign press honored the best in TV and film Sunday. But the tribute really went to women. We will explain just ahead.
HOWELL: Plus, a winter storm grounds flights. How frustrated passengers are dealing with soggy luggage. Just got to feel for people there at JFK, as the misery grows. That story ahead.
HOWELL: Sunday night, the Golden Globes reminded the world of the power of women. The show honored the best in TV and film but it seemed like the trophies, they took a back seat to politics this year.
The host, Seth Meyers, set the tone in his opening monologue, mentioning the sexual harassment scandals that have plagued Hollywood recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: They tried to get a woman to host this show. They really did.
They said, hey, how would you like to come and be judged by some of the most powerful people in Hollywood?
And women were like, hmm, well, where is it?
And they said it's at a hotel and, long story short, I'm your host tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Actor Sterling K. Brown made history Sunday night. He became the first African American to win Best Actor in a TV drama for his role in "This Is Us." During his speech, he talked about benefitting from colorblind casting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING K. BROWN, ACTOR: What I appreciate so much about this thing is that I'm being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.
CHURCH (voice-over): But it was Oprah Winfrey who brought the crowd to their feet. She became the first black woman to be awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement. And during her heartfelt speech, she addressed the sexual harassment plaguing the industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, ACTOR: Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.
A new day is on the horizon when nobody ever has to say "Me, too," again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: It was a rousing speech.
CHURCH: It was powerful.
HOWELL: Before the show even started, celebrities were making statements. They dressed in all black to draw attention to sexual harassment and to gender inequality and to show support for the #MeToo movement.
CHURCH: Actress Michelle Williams brought the founder as her guest. They caught up with CNN's Stephanie Elam on the red carpet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's humbling but it's also empowering. I just
think this is just such a bold statement for women who work in Hollywood to make, in solidarity with women across the world. (INAUDIBLE) me, I stand and represent survivors. And so I know that so many women on this carpet are survivors.
And so it just really makes me feel wonderful.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Michelle.
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, ACTOR: It's amazing to see the women come up to her, though, with tears in their eyes because Toronto is really among the first. She started the #MeToo movement. So she was among the first to say I see you and you're not alone anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And for more I'm joined by Rebecca Sun. She is a senior reporter at the "Hollywood Reporter."
Good to have you with us. So some impressive wins at the Golden Globes but Oprah Winfrey stole the show with an inspiring speech on sexual harassment and freedom of the press that has some suggesting she run for president in 2020.
What's being said about her speech and its impact?
REBECCA SUN, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": Yes, Oprah Winfrey's speech was hands down the highlight of the night and Oprah 2020, Oprah for president memes are already trending on Twitter. I think she really covered pretty much everything.
As you said, she addressed #MeToo. She addressed #TimesUp, saying that the time is up where women have to say "Me, too," where sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are hopefully going to become things of the past. She also talked about intersectionality and talked about the significance of being the first black woman to receive this award.
She remembered seeing Sidney Poitier become the first black man to win a Golden Globe back in 1963. She talked about Recy Taylor. That's really important. Recy Taylor was a young black woman who, in 1994, was gang-raped by six white men and two grand juries failed to bring indictments against them, which means that they were never charged, even though they had admitted that they had done it. And she died 10 days ago.
Oprah Winfrey really gave Recy Taylor that platform and really moved the entire room to tears and, I would imagine, a lot of people at home as well.
CHURCH: Yes, incredible. And the Golden Globes were the first major awards show to go to air since the harassment and sexual misconduct allegations shook Hollywood to its core. And we saw significant female projects win big, "Three Billboards
Outside Ebbing, Missouri," "Lady Bird," "Big Little Lies," "The Handmaid's Tale" and others, all with women at the center.
What stood out?
And what will everyone be talking about in the hours ahead, do you think?
SUN: Yes, that is what was really interesting. You saw all of the major awards on both the film and television side happened to be really female-centric projects. In an earlier era, they would been called women's pictures. But now they're being honored in a general sense.
"Lady Bird" was directed by Greta Gerwig in her directorial debut. She was snubbed for the Best Director win. But the fact that her film won Best Comedy was huge.
"The Handmaid's Tale" and "Big Little Lies," again, projects that starred and were produced by women. What was interesting to me was "Three Billboards" winning Best Drama. That race wasn't a sure thing. Some people thought it would have gone to "The Shape of Water." Some people thought "The Post."
But it looked like they were positioning "Three Billboards" as a female-centric movie, with Frances McDormand's performance as a really tough mother, grieving the brutal death of her daughter as right at the helm.
CHURCH: And of course many articles written in the wake of the Golden Globes awards, say this was more about a cultural correction than an awards night.
Was that the sense you got?
And could this signal some significant shift in Hollywood and ultimately society?
And of course, Seth Meyers, did he get that balance right?
SUN: You know, it was a really, really tricky challenge to be able to address, properly address this climate of something so serious, something that really goes beyond Hollywood with all of the traditional work of an awards show. You saw a little bit of that awkwardness coming out of Oprah Winfrey's speech, right into the Best Director category, which Natalie Portman went off prompter to note was all men. That was an amazing moment, an unscripted moment that turned out to be another highlight of the awards show.
I thought Seth Meyers did a good show. I thought he really disappeared after his monologue, which set the tone and was -- you know, he went right for it. He was very direct. He name checked and called out Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen. These are guys who were revered at the Golden Globes in the past and now are persona non grata. CHURCH: All right, Rebecca Sung, always great to talk with you. Appreciate it.
HOWELL: Live coast to coast in the U.S. and around the world at this hour, this is CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead, we'll have the rare display of cooperation that's set for Tuesday on the Korean Peninsula. What to expect from this landmark meeting between North and South Korea.
CHURCH: And why Angela Merkel's reputation and political future may be on the line in Germany. We'll have a live report.
[02:33:10] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour. Donald Trump's former top strategist said he regrets not responding sooner to the new Bombshell book about the Trump White House. Comments attributed to Steve Bannon of critical of the president and his son Donald Trump Jr. But Bannon says the Trump Jr. quotes are inaccurate and that his support for the president is unwavering.
HOWELL: There's also unwavering support from White House Senior Policy Adviser Steven Miller. In a frank interview with CNN Miller called Bannon's comments grotesque. He said the book is garbage book written by a garbage author.
CHURCH: Oprah Winfrey brought the crowd to its big Sunday at the 75th annual Golden Globes. She was armored with a lifetime achievement award. During her heartfelt speech, she addressed sexual harassment against women and the entertainment industry and beyond. Many celebrities wore black to draw attention to the issue.
HOWELL: Leading to North and South Korea are sending on voice to new Facebook page on Tuesday. They will discuss North Korea's desire to compete in the upcoming winter Olympics and how to improve relations between the two countries. It is the first time they've had direct contact in more than two weeks. Let's get more of the insight now from my guest Han Sung-joo. He's a former foreign minister and former ambassador to the United States. Joining now on the line from Seoul, South Korea. It is good to have you with us this hour, Ambassador. So the first question to you, it does seem that the world of sport has opened the door to a historic, to a very important breakthrough in talks. But the bigger question here, how far might these talks go as far as cooperation is concerned?
[02:35:01] HAN SUNG-JOO, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (via telephone): Well, I think the immediate objective is to pave the way for North Korea's cooperation at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. But from Kim Jong-un's point of view, of course, he wants to have more than that. He hopes that he it can be a magic plan to start a process by which he can have the economic sanctions against North Korea by natural or not can be lifted or relaxed.
HOWELL: Let's talk a bit more on that. Because, you know -- what can be expected from these talks? Do you -- do you believe this could be a place where we see major progress in finding a balanced solution or will this be North Korea looking to see how much it can extract? How far it can push its neighbor to the south?
SUNG-JOO: I would go with the latter part of your point. I think he sees it also an opportunity to weaken the U.S./South Korean alliance as well as the international sanctions between -- South Korea on his part would like to talk about reduction of tension and the expansion of exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas such as reunion of separated families. But South Korea also hopes that this will lead to ways to reopen talks bilateral, multilateral on North Korean denuclearization.
HOWELL: All right. Let's back you in the top talking U.S. President, his rhetoric, also the economic sanctions really pushed forward by the United States. We've seen President Trump take credit for what's happening. But the question to you, do you believe that he is fully due that credit? Or are we seeing the two Koreas in effect sideline the United States to forge a path forward?
SUNG-JOO: Well, I don't know what part President Trump's role played in this recent development. But certainly, Kim Jong-un made the decision that he would try this route and I think the talks will go on. There are certain expectations but also concerns well.
HOWELL: All right. And with regards to South Korea's Ironclad Alliance with the United States. Talk to us about the very fine line that President Moon was walked here opening the door to North Korea and possibly more cooperation. But at the same time in line with the United States which holds its firm stance on the north giving up its nukes.
SUNG-JOO: Well, that's right. President Trump publicly welcomes and supports it 100 percent he says. If the United States has any concerns or misgivings, I think it will best and wise for the U.S. to see how it perceives the results.
HOWELL: Ambassador Han, thank you so much for joining us on the line live from Seoul, South Korea. Of course, the world will be watching as it see what happens, what takes place with these talks set for Tuesday between North and South Korea.
CHURCH: An oil tanker's crew is missing after the vessel collided with the freighter of China's East Coast. Official says search and rescue teams have found one body. They have not confirmed the identity of the person. The country's Ministry of Transport says the tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of oil from Iran to South Korea.
HOWELL: Well, and it caused fire after the accident. The ship's 32 sailors are Iranian except for two Bangladeshi nationals. The fire crew of 21 was rescued.
CHURCH: Well, German leader Angela Merkel is desperately launching another bid to build a new ruling coalition in her country and to pull Germany out of its worst political crisis in years. Her reputation and perhaps her political future are on the line as talks begin in Berlin between her conservative block and the Social Democrats.
HOWELL: Merkel's party was weakened in last September's general election after its poor showing. As a result, se needs to cobble together the support of other parties to govern and to pass legislation.
CHURCH: So let's bring in journalist, Chris Burns. He joins us from Berlin. And Chris, just how challenging will this coalition building prove to be for Angela Merkel?
CHRIS BURNS, CNN GERMAN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, it's already been very challenging. You've mentioned that this is the second time that she's tried for a government since those elections more 100 days ago. This has the longest time the Germany -- modern Germany has been without a new government after elections yet. And this could take twice as long -- it take until Easter to get this done. The -- she failed with the Greens and the centrist, free Democrats. She is now trying again with the same party be a Social Democrats, the SDP that she has had a grand coalition with about eight out of last 12 years and this is where Germany is split.
[02:40:00] If you look at the polls half the country is -- would like the see another grand coalition but the other half doesn't. They're fed up. And even Angela Merkel said during the -- during New Year's -- her New Year's message that there is a rift in the country. The are many people who are not benefitting from the successes of this powerful German economy. They want to see change. This is where the Social Democrats are pushing back. Martin Schulz saying, the Head of the SDP saying he doesn't want -- he doesn't draw any red lines but he would like to see some red policies out of these exploratory talks. And these are only exploratory talks to see if the Social Democrats want to play ball. Then they vote on the 21st of this month to see if they want to enter into formal talks. So Angela Merkel has up against a lot of issues.
Both sides are quarreling over how to cut taxes. Social Democrats want to raise taxes for the higher incomes. Social Democrats want more housing construction on the other side. The conservatives want to see defense spending increase to two percent of GDP. So a lot of differences there that we saw in the first talk -- round of talks yesterday. There are dozens of lawmakers on both sides, they are talking in working groups right now. They're meeting today at the CDU party headquarters. But there's a news blackout also. They only said from yesterday they were constructive, serious talks and that's about it. We're going to see by the end of the week if they have enough common grounds to proceed. Rosemary?
CHURCH: And so Chris, what will attack the full Germany out of this political process and can Merkel survive it?
BURNS: Well, that's the big question. Can Merkel survive? And she did say that she wants to find common ground. She even said it in her New Year's message and she said again that she's optimistic that they can find common ground. And it is interesting even though they were quarreling also over immigration from both sides. Horst Seehofer of the CSU, the sister party of the CDU from the very -- he makes -- made a lot of tough comments recently about immigration and they even met with Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary which has been very, very tough on immigration. And he said in the opening of talks yesterday, he said we must find a way to get along. Because he knows that if this does not go through in this -- in this grand coalition talks there will be either new elections and we see from the polls that would not change very much maybe the far right for alternative for Germany might get a few more votes but it won't change very much. Or there is a question of a minority government that Merkel could gain -- could govern as a minority government. But how stable would that be? And now the European level which they're discussing today on those coalition talks? How much will that be destabilize of Emmanuel Macron in France is waiting for Merkel to form a government so they can proceed with European policy. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Tough challenges ahead for Angela Merkel. Chris Burns joining us there from Berlin where it is nearly 8:45 in the morning. Many thanks. We'll take a short break. Still, to come some U.S. travels stranded by winter storms are now dealing with a mess. The insult with injury of JFK International Airport.
HOWELL: Plus a look at what's in store for parts of the United States which are still stuck with freezing temperatures.
[02:46:37] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone and the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours. That pretty much thumbs up the misery folks are facing at New York's JFK Airport.
HOWELL: It's a bad situation people have dealt with a winter storm. People have dealt with delayed flights, canceled flights, luggage piling up. And now, parts of the airport -- look at this, are flooded from a water may not break. CNN's Polo Sandoval picks it up from here.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really wasn't inconvenient week after passenger at New York's JFK International Airport. First, the aftermath of Thursday's wicked winter weather leading to what authority's here at JFK describe as a cascading series of issues, including a backlog of flights and stranded passengers.
And then on Sunday, an actual cascade of water inside Terminal Four. All of this caused by a pipe that burst that flooded in the arrivals wing. Or at least a portion of the arrivals wing within Terminal 4. It prompted the shutdown of some international flights arriving here in the terminal. Authorities now trying to gets the bottom of (INAUDIBLE).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD COLTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY: We will certainly investigate why this pipe burst. We will truly investigate why it was not adequately protected. And we will examine carefully the contingency plans that were in place in order to recover from this event. And we will determine the accountability and responsibility for the failure that did occur this afternoon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: The international flights later resuming at event just before 8:00 p.m. on Sunday night and this comes after officials here at JFK have been struggling to try to fully recover they have been dealing with a series of issues here. For any -- everything from frozen equipment breakdowns, the baggage handling complication, even staff's shortages as well. But now, official's hoping that with this new day, potentially slightly warmer temperatures will be an opportunity for some of the operations here at one of the most busiest airports to be back to normal. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: And we want to see those warmer temperatures. And right now, two weather extremes at work on opposite sides of our planet. Meteorologist Pedram Jahaveri joins us now with the very latest. Petram, what's happening?
PEDRAM JAHAVERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Big story across the northeast, of course is the cold temperatures that have been in place that has been -- know what fascinating -- one of the fascinating facts at least about this sort of a pattern is when you have time take place, the pipe themselves -- when time takes place, water begins to move through them, it gets clogged up. In other areas of the pipe that are frozen, that's were more pressured build.
So, the time process that actually begins is this some of these pipe burst. And look at these temps. We have them down to five degrees above zero Fahrenheit there. That is on Sunday morning, previous records standing from that infamous polar vortex which was six back in 2014. And upwards of almost for the records set really from the Carolina stretching out there towards portions of New England. And, these sort of a pattern still continuing right now.
Windshield, down into the single of New York, or an eight is what it feels like fill in around four. And you look at the coverage of the winter weather advisories, that 82 million people are now underneath this include some of the metro cities of the Midwestern U.S. And that's one in every four people that are going to be dealing with some sort of wintery weather at least over the next 24 hours. And there it comes it's on the move, expect delays out of Cleveland. Certainly, going to see that across portions of Ohio with that's story here progressing further towards the east.
Now, taking down across Australia, it's the heart summer, of course, it's not unusual to be the hottest place on our planet. But what is most unusual is what's happening across portions of the South Wales. In fact, it runs Sydney and points just to the west of Sydney on Sunday. The hottest temperature on earth, 47.3 Celsius, which is 117 Fahrenheit happen across a western suburb of Sydney there in Penrith.
So, this is in fact about 21degrees above what is normal for this time of the year. Last time it was this hot almost eight decades ago. So, big time heat across portions of Australia. And once again, a degrees Celsius for our viewers down under, you noticed a warming trend is in story takes us back up to around 32 which put us in the low 90s Fahrenheit again by weeks end. So, peak time he's returning across Australia.
[02:50:44] CHURCH: Some extreme weather situation there, Pedram, thank you so much.
HOWELL: Yes, indeed. Thanks, Pedram.
JAHAVEN: You got it.
HOWELL: Still ahead with layers of make-up, take a look at this man. In transforms into Winston Churchill.
CHURCH: How his role in the historical drama Darkest Hour, just earned him a prestigious award we tackle that with just a moment.
HOWELL: Welcome back, actor Gary Oldman, took home his first ever Golden Globe on Sunday night. He won for his portrayal of Winston Churchill, in a historical drama, Darkest Hour.
CHURCH: The movie is set in the early days of World War II when Churchill must decide whether to negotiate the peace treaty with Nazi, Germany or fight on. Oldman sat down with Cristiane Amanpour, and discuss how he transformed into the greatest statesman.
GARY OLDMAN, PORTRAYED WINSTON CHURCHILL, DARKEST HOUR: I started that the whole building of Winston, with the voice because it's so iconic.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: But before you even get to the voice, the face.
OLDMAN: The face.
AMANPOUR: You're unrecognizable, Gary Oldman.
OLDMAN: Yes, right.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's incredible.
OLDMAN: So -- well, the make-up was a pros test switchover months, we've worked on that.
[02:55:03] AMANPOUR: It was prosthetics.
AMANPOUR: I see sort of Churchill as a bit of a like looking at a dinosaur. In as much that this were great men who wants run the earth. They were actually people like that, great authors, great speech writers, great writers, great statesmen, great leaders. One of the scenes that was so affecting and I know that it was not real, that the -- in the subway, where a (INAUDIBLE) church of the Prime Ministers allegedly meeting real people to ask what they would do in his -- in the situation. And they say, "Never surrender, never surrender to the fascist.
AMANPOUR: I wonder what you make of the fact that so much far-right is rising in Europe right now.
OLDMAN: His mission in life, we know that he fainted, he hates that (INAUDIBLE) with every fiber of his being. And so the menace, and did everything he could to completely eradicate it and wipe it off the face of the earth.
It did a pretty good job. But this -- it's like --
AMANPOUR: He's waiting for its opportunity to breathe and come back to life.
OLDMAN: Yes, it breaths and then comes back to life.
CHURCH: Major transformation maybe indeed.
HOWELL: Let's completely did that.
CHURCH: Yes, just like Winston Churchill.
HOWELL: Yes. Thank you so much for being with us on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church, CNN NEWSROOM continues after this commercial break.
HOWELL: Expressing regret, Donald Trump's former advisor distances himself from controversial comments attributed to him about the U.S. President and his family.
CHURCH: Face to face, as North and South Korea get there to talk.