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North and South Korea Finally Meets; Rescuers Fear for 32 Missing Iranians; El Salvadorians Must Go Home Now; President Trump Prepares for Mueller's Interview; Wolff Defended His Book From Critics; Californians Bracing Another Extreme Weather Condition. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired January 9, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Face-to-face. North and South Korean negotiators making headway as they meet for the first time in two years.

Plus, off China's East Coast, crews struggling to prevent a crippled oil tanker from exploding or sinking.

In the U.S., the Russia investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller would be preparing to request an interview with the president.

And the BAFTA award nominations have just been announced with a new host.

Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN newsroom.

Kim Jong-un is not giving up his nuclear weapons program, but there are still encouraging signs from the first direct talks between North and South Korea in more than two years.

Negotiators wrapped up their meeting just a short time ago in Panmunjom on the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone.

So let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout in Seoul, South Korea with more on those talks.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST, CNN: Rosemary, we are exactly one month away from the Winter Games here in South Korea. And Pyongyang says it will be sending a delegation of athletes and cheerleaders.

Now, it may not be groundbreaking but it is just one of the details emerging from these negotiations and it does represent progress. Now South Korea is proposing military talks with the North to prevent acts into clashes so is also pushing to resume reunions for families separated during the Korean War.

Our CNN's Paula Hancocks is following developing, she is near the truce village at Panmunjom. And Paula, there's a lot of progress being made at the talks. They tell us what has been announced so far and also what South Korea needs to do to facilitate that North Korean delegation of athletes and diplomats to go to Pyeongchang.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Kristie, the first announcement that North Korea was in fact going to send the delegation, a high level delegation to the Olympics came fairly quickly, just within a few hours.

And bear in bear that both leaders we're being told by the South Koreans were able to hear in real time what was going on. President Moon Jae-in here in South Korea had audio and video and was able to intervene if need be by a hot line. The same for the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He had the audio in real time and had a hotline if he wanted to intervene.

So it shows this is being agreed at the very highest levels. And as you say, South Korea now wanting more and trying to push more, so it's not just the Olympics saying they want to talk about separated families, potential family reunions and also, there's military talks to make sure that there's no miscalculation in the future.

They also mentioned denuclearization in their opening remarks but there's been nothing more said about that as far as we know at this point.

Now one interesting thing we have just heard from the foreign ministry here in South Korea is that they say they are willing to temporarily lift some sanctions against North Korea if it facilitates Pyongyang's ability to be able to come to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. They haven't clarified what exactly that means. We don't know whether that's sanctions on an individual that would potentially be part of the delegation. We simply don't know the details of that.

But it is an interesting development that South Korea is showing that they are willing to go a very long way in order to make sure North Korea attends these Olympics.

LU STOUT: Yes, a very interesting development. North Korea now going to the games and South Korea is saying that it is considering lifting sanctions in order for the North Korean delegation to go to Pyeongchang, you wonder how Kim Jong-un is taking all this in because he is monitoring these talks. Yesterday was his birthday. He turned 34. Are these talks and the fruit that is bearing so far, is this turning into a bit of a belated birthday present for Mr. Kim?

HANCOCKS: Well, Kristie, I think before the North Korean delegation even walked across the military demarcation line in the DMZ to get to the South Korean talks, they had won. It was a win-win situation for them. They didn't have to give up anything in order to be invited to the Olympics. They didn't have any preconditions on these talks.

So certainly from their point of view it was a win-win situation. From the South Korean point of view they just wanted North Korea at the talks probably also, because they didn't want any kind of military any missile launches or nuclear tests during the Olympics. They want a peaceful Olympics.

In fact, the president has dubbed it the peace Olympics. But it is, we understand a very good atmosphere at these talks. We also heard that the KCNA reporter, now KCNA the state run media that we quote pretty much every day from North Korea.

[03:05:04] The reports was at the talks and was talking to a South Korean reporter and said, quote, "I have covered many talks. The atmosphere of today's talks is exceptionally good." So, even the journalists in the room are admitting that things are going well.

Now, we know that the round of working class talks has finished, it doesn't mean this has finished for the day. Potentially there could be a second round. We're waiting to hear now. Kristie?

LU STOUT: All right, Paula Hancocks monitoring the inter-Korean talks for us at the DMZ. Thank you. Now also joining me here in Seoul is Chun Yung-woo, the former South Korean national security advisor and head of the South Korean delegation to the six party talks.

Sir, thank you so much for joining here us on the program. There's a lot going on at these talks and a lot of announcements coming out. North Korean is now going to the games. We have movement on military talks, we have movement on inter-Korean family reunions. Are you surprised by the progress coming out of these talks?

CHUN YUNG-WOO, FORMER SOUTH KOREA NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I'm not that much surprised. I think North Korea has nothing to lose by entering into talks with South Korea at this stage. And their participation in the Olympics are also a good thing for South Korea. They are creating a great importance to Olympics and they can utilize this participation in the Olympics in creating the atmosphere they need to weaken sanctions in place and to fend off stronger, tougher sanctions coming. So they have a lot to gain.

LU STOUT: And now we're learning that South Korea -- I'm sorry, sir, but we're learning that South Korea is saying that it is going to consider the lifting of sanctions so that North Korea would be able to go to Pyeongchang and participate in the Winter Games. Should South Korea be doing this?

YUNG-WOO: Well, it depends on what kind of measures are necessary to enable North Korea's participation. For example, if they be to send a ship to transport their athletes, a delegation, then under the current unilateral South Korean sanctions against North Korea, any ship that has been to North Korea over the past six months it's not allowed into a South Korean port. So, that kind of exemption.

There should be an exemption to that kind of unilateral sanctions. And there are also -- there can also members of the North Korean delegation who may be on the list of Security Council sanctions. So, but I think giving them immunity from the sanctions would send the wrong message to the international community about where South Korea stands on the principles of implementing sanctions. I think violating sanctions would...


LU STOUT: Yes, and it would certainly send the wrong message to the United States. Right. And in the event that there is this lifting of sanctions, just for the time of the Winter Games, and also the fact that the United States is not involved in today's talks, do you risk that South Korea could be introducing a rift in the relationship it has with the U.S.?

YUNG-WOO: Well, there will be no total lift in sanctions. I think a partial lift for those, who are in the list of Security Council sanctions about who have to who wish to come to the Olympics as part of the delegation. That would be an issue.

And I think the best solution is that North Korea is persuaded not to include those on the sanctions list on the delegation. That would be the best way to avoid any embarrassment.

LU STOUT: Some say that the North Koreans are simply not to be trusted, they are not sincere when they enter talks. You are the former national security advisor of South Korea. What is your thinking about the sincerity of the North Koreans and what their true ultimate objective is here?

YUNG-WOO: Well, what they want from talks or their participation in the Olympics is very clear. Their ultimate goal is to develop and deploy an oppression nuclear arsenal with missiles that can reach the continental U.S. and they want to retain them as long as possible.

[03:09:53] But in that path, the most daunting obstacle is the sanctions in place and the prospect of tougher sanctions to come. So in order to destroy the rationale for stronger sanctions and to break the cordon of sanctions in place, they may find it useful to create atmosphere of peace and tension reduction.

So I think that's the game they are playing. There's no doubt about that. And of course, they cannot be trusted. They will only comply until they decide not to. But as long we know their track record and their intentions, it's important not to play into their games.

LU STOUT: Chun Yung-woo, former national adviser of South Korea, thank you so much for joining us. We're going to have much more from Seoul later this hour including this story of two North Korean figure skaters whose success on the ice may have led to this round of talks. But a lot to think about, especially after the interview we had just now with Mr. Chung, that the North Koreans are not to be trusted.

And so far they come out of these talks with an invitation to send delegation athletes to the Pyeongchang games. And that new line coming out from the South Korean government that it may consider lifting sanctions so it can go to Pyeongchang.

Back to you.

CHURCH: Yes, interesting developments there. Kristie, we'll be back to you in just a moment.

But in the United States, lawyers for President Donald Trump are preparing for an interview request from the special counsel in the Russia investigation. That probe is looking at Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

Pamela Brown has the details.

PAMELA BROWN, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, sources say in anticipation of an interview request for the president from special counsel Robert Mueller, the president's lawyers are discussing internally how to define the parameters of any such interview.

The matter of a potential interview was broached in a previous meeting between both sides. But sources insist there have been no substantive discussions or active negotiations about the matter between the president's lawyers and the special counsel.

The expectation is that those discussions will happen when they meet again. And the sources said no one thinks Mueller will wrap up this investigation particularly the obstruction of justice probe without an interview with the president.

It seems inevitable. What that interview might look like is still unclear, but it would be a significant development and a sign that the investigation is coming to a close. It's clear that Trump's attorneys don't want their client to be interviewed by the special counsel's team on a fishing expedition. And they're looking to how previous administrations have handled request like this in the past as a basis for limiting into president's exposure.

Whether he actually needs to testify under oath, whether he can provide written answers to questions from Mueller's team, and whether the testimony should be recorded.

Ty Cobb, White House special counsel released this statement. Saying for the record the White House does not comment on communications with the Office of Special Counsel, out of respect for the OSC and its process. The White House is continuing its full cooperation with the OSC in order to facilitate the earliest possible resolution."

Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: In addition to the Russia investigation a new book is also causing headaches at the White House. The book "Fire and Fury" was released Friday despite threats from Donald Trump's lawyers. It included some harsh statements attributed to former chief strategist Steve Bannon about the president's son Donald Trump, Jr.

On Sunday, Bannon apologized for not refuting those comments sooner. But by Monday the deputy White House press secretary said there's probably no way for Bannon to get back into Mr. Trump's good graces. Some of the comments in the book about the President Trump's mental fitness for office prompted the president to release a torrent of tweets defending himself. The book's author defended his writing to CNN's Don Lemon.


MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, FIRE AND FURY: I am just reporting the facts on the ground, so I am saying I'm not a doctor, but obviously you don't have to be a doctor to find it notable and alarming that as everyone on his staff does, that he -- that he repeats and repeats and repeats the same thing in the same conversation. I mean, everybody has to stand there and look like this is not a crisis.

DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: You're saying everyone? Are you using that as the understood everyone, or do you mean everyone including his daughter and his...

WOLFF: A hundred percent.

LEMON: Everyone.


LEMON: Even his family members?


LEMON: Even Kelly?


LEMON: His family members denied it.

WOLFF: Yes. You cannot miss this.

LEMON: So you think he is suffering something, he is losing his cognitive abilities?

[03:15:00] WOLFF: I -- you know, we can all draw, you just draw this conclusion. I'm just describing the facts as they are. Repetition after repetition. People -- and they -- everybody -- everybody discusses the nature of this, how this has, you know, in the beginning it used to be, you know, the same three things in 25 or 30 minutes. And then it became the same three things in 15 minutes and the same three things in ten minutes. It's notable.


CHURCH: Author Michael Wolff there. And Don Lemon also brought up those concerns with one of Donald Trump's close friends Chris Ruddy and the vice president offered his take in a different interview.


LEMON: Does he repeat stories?


LEMON: He repeats.

RUDDY: He repeats things just like if you watch -- let me finish. If he gives a speech you will see him repeat things throughout the speech, why? Because Donald Trump believes that this is an effect. It's a very powerful effect in communications. So, I don't believe like Michael is saying in 10 minutes he is repeating. So, I had... (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Why do you do that -- why do you need to do that when your staffers and people are on your side?

RUDDY: It's a ridiculous claim what he's claiming. I was with the president in early December, he invited me in the residence, there was a small group of about seven people. We talked for well over an hour, there was a very respected medical doctor sitting. He never repeated anything, and that it was a great coherent conversation.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Excerpts that I've heard reported bear absolutely no resemblance to the president that I spend three, four, five hours a day with every day.


CHURCH: And it's worth noting on Friday President Donald Trump will get his annual physical. The White House says it will not include a psychiatric exam.

Well, there's a lot of talk that President Trump could face some competition in the next presidential election from media magnate Oprah Winfrey. The details later this hour. Plus, a search and rescue mission near an oil tanker that could explode. The latest on that just ahead.

And thousands more immigrants are now living in fear as the Trump administration prepares to end their protective status in the United States. We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: And this just in to CNN, at least 30 people are injured in South Africa after two commuter trains collided east of Johannesburg. No deaths have been reported at this time. We are told one of the trains crashed into the back of the other. The cause is still under investigation. We'll keep an eye on that story and bring you more details as they come into us.

Well, the Trump administration is ending special protections for more than 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants in the United States. They will now have less than two years to leave or find a way to stay in the U.S. legally.

[03:20:02] They've been allowed to live and work in the U.S. since devastating earthquakes struck their country back in 2001.

The Trump administration's decision is part of its broader strategy to curtail the use of temporary protective status in the U.S. Critics slammed the move calling it inhumane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GERRY CONNOLLY, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: The people who came from El Salvador were fleeing a civil war that was particularly brutal and violent. I went to El Salvador over 30 years ago to look at that civil war, and I couldn't believe the level of violence. And that persisted for a long time. And so there were a lot of people who fled that violence and sought protective haven here in the United States.

They have since resettled and established their families and their lives here in the United States. Most of them see themselves much more as American citizens than Salvadorian citizens. And so to end that protection, to end that program is going to disrupt many communities across the United States, but maybe more importantly is in inhumane and it's not consistent with American values.


CHURCH: Salvadorians are just the latest group whose designation is on the chopping block. Last year, the Trump administration announced that Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Sudanese immigrants would all lose their protective status in 2019.

Well, after one of the longest dry spells on record and weeks of wildfires, much needed rain has been falling across California. But now of course there is a risk of mudslides in areas devastated by the recent fires. Thousands of residents are under mandatory vacation orders in Southern California. A flash flood watch is in effect for about 17 million people.

And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has been keeping a very close eye on all of this. And Pedram, California just can't take a break.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Absolutely. If we can have this flip around from about five weeks to go when the Thomas fire of course, the largest in state history was initiated, we would be an entirely situation right now.

You look at this, an incredible perspective of a storm system that as menacing as it comes really for anywhere in the United States but in particular across Southern California. And rainfall coming down in earnest across this region, we think really through much of early Tuesday morning across the area as well.

So the morning commute in an area that is already very poor for commuting is going to be treacherous to say the least. If you take a look 326 days since the last time Los Angeles at least 25 millimeters or roughly one inch of rainfall. It was back on February of 17th there of last year, so certainly it's been a long time coming.

But again, there's a disturbance pushing right through Southern California that get 24 event before it moves through Las Vegas gets rainfall out of this, the high Sierra gets snowfall out of this. But the concern with all of this of course, it's beneficial for some.

You work your way towards San Francisco, that's great news. You work your way towards Southern California it is just too little too late and it is coming in at a poor time because of the burn scars that left in place.

In fact, there is a 17 million coverage there across portions of Los Angeles as well. Work your way into Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, all of these regions underneath the flood watches that are in place.

But once you have extreme heat on top of the soil, of course, the vegetation is gone so any absorption in non-existent. But you get rainfall in an area that has had burn scars to of course an area of about 115,000 hectares of land as in place there across Ventura County, but not only you're going to have brittle soil and also landslides, rock slides, debris flow would be a major concern.

But the soil itself becomes hydrophobic or water resistant. So as the water hits the top soil it wants all run off instantly and this becomes a major, major issue. And you highlight the map across this region. We're talking significant amounts of rainfall, Rosemary. As much as 150 to 300 millimeters or more than 4 inches in a few spots.

So this is rainfall of the day would see in almost a six month period in a good year, and we haven't had a good year for a really long time, so this is a, the timing is really poor right now for Southern California.

CHURCH: Yes, certainly is. Pedram, thanks so much for detailing all of that. We appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: We have seen so many back-to-back weather and climate disasters this past year. And for the United States they brought records. A government reports says the disasters in 2017 cost the nation $306 billion.

Breaking it down, hurricane Harvey alone cost $125 billion. Hurricane Maria topped out at $90 billion. And another $50 billion price tag came with hurricane Irma. And the western wildfires totaled $18 billion. A series of tornados, floods, droughts and other severe weather events added to the cost.

Well, in the East China Sea, a race against time with fears of an Iranian oil tanker could explode and sink after colliding with a freight ship over the weekend. Rescuers are searching for survivors, but it's not an easy task.

[03:24:59] The tanker is on fire, and leaking oil into the sea. And thick black smoke is filling the sky.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from Beijing with the latest on this. And Alexandra, what is the information that you have on the search and rescue effort, and what is the biggest challenges they face right now?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: All of the search and rescue effort is continuing. But you can see the flames that are shooting up out of that tanker. It's about the size of a U.S. aircraft carrier. That's how large this vessel is. It was hauling a load of about a million barrels of oil.

This is obviously an issue where time is of the essence. The collision happened back on Saturday. You got 32 crew members who are on board the Iranian tanker which was making its way from Iran to South Korea.

We know from officials here in China that one body has been recovered. But certainly they continue to search and they are trying to rescue the rest of its crew members. They say they are at least 12 vessels that are involved in the mission. They're getting support from South Korea and from the air from the U.S. Navy.

But, again, this is an issue of time. There are a number of factors that converged here to make this extremely difficult and extremely complicated. The weather making this a more complex rescue situation. You've got those plumes of smoke that you can see building from that tanker. And there have been concerns expressed by officials about the gasses that are being emitted, about the toxic fumes that re coming out of that ship along with the smoke.

It was carrying an ultra-light crude, Rosemary. We know that that is even more flammable than heavy crude. That's why there's such a big concern right now that this tanker could explode and then sink. That would make the cleanup of this oil intensely more difficult if that oil was to move well below the surface of the water.

There are cleanup vessels in the area already trying to control and deal with any spillage. But really the focus for everyone right now is trying to find the rest of those 32 crew members who were on board the ship when it collided with a Chinese tanker. The 21 people -- rather a Chinese freighter, the 21 people who are aboard the freighter were all rescued, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Alexandra Field, keeping an eye on that situation.

We'll take a very short break here, but we are following breaking news as North Korea says it will send a delegation to the Winter Olympics. We'll meet the figure skaters who may have made the breakthrough possible.

Plus, a bid by Oprah Winfrey for president in 2020 after her rousing Golden Globes speech, some see a presidential run in her future.

And political moments like that may carry over to London. Coming up, BAFTA announces its award nominations. We're back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH: And welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour.

Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump getting ready an interview request from special counsel Robert Mueller. That is according to CNNN sources who add the legal team is looking for ways to limit the scope of the interview. Mueller leads the Russian election meddling probe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is giving her cabinet a reboot. The new positions were announced Monday at 10 Downing Street. She dismiss a handful of cabinet members after a snap election across her conservative Party seats. According to her office the reshuffle will help with the ongoing Brexit talks.

North Korea says it will send a delegation of athletes and diplomats to next month's winter Olympics in South Korea. Negotiators from the north and south met earlier in the demilitarized zone. It is their first face to face talk in more than 2 years.

Let's go back now to CNN's Kristie Lu Stout in Seoul South Korea for more on this talks. Kristie.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After years of high tension and relentless weapon test from North Korea regime. We are seeing encouraging signs here in the Korean Peninsula, because of these talks. The North Korean delegation walked across the border about seven hours ago to meet with their counter parts from Seoul. The south is proposing military talks as well to prevent accidental clashes with the north. And also wants to resume reunions for families that were separated by the Korean War. Both sides are said to be in good spirits.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): We came to this and sincere attitude and with the thought of giving our brethren who have high hopes of this dialogue and valuable results as for the first President of the year. Our talks resume after the North and South Korean ties had been suburb for a long time. I believe the first step is half the journey. I would like to hold this meeting with tenacity and perseverance.


LU STOUT: And on the Olympic here on the statement from South Korea's unification spokesman, it reads as follows, quote. North Korea express its stance, it will end its high level delegation athletes representing the peoples Olympic committee, a cheering squad, a visitors troop, a tea Kwon do demonstrations team as well as a press corp. The figure skaters you just saw, they are being are being held as the ones responsible for making sure these talks happen in the first place. CNN Christina MacFarlane has their story.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not really how well they skate that matters but if they do that counts. They've become the likely focus of the first peace talks in more than two years between North and South Korea. As diplomats aimed at diffusing a possible nuclear war instead turn their attention to figure skating. That is because the ice on the Korean peninsula is being broken over the winter Olympics and how these two athletes can compete. In September the pair became the first and so far only athletes in North Korea to qualify for the 2018 games. But after missing the Olympic committee deadline to confirm their places, their participation was in doubt. That was until the IOC in a move to ensure the diplomatic talks were not in vain extended that deadline with just a month to go until the opening ceremony. So what we do know about this figure skating duo from the secret state. Since coming together in 2015 the two had slowly risen to the world's rankings. They won medal in a handful of competitions including bronze at the Asia winter games in Japan last February. Her partner Kim is 25. Last summer they traveled from North Korea to Montreal in Canada where they trained under the watchful eye of Canadian skating coach, (inaudible).

BRUNO MARCOTTE, COACHING CONSULTANT: Two words that come to me is happiness, you know, like positive and also passion. Extremely passionate about the sport of figure skating. And they're just a joy to work with.

MACFARLANE: After helping them to career best performance in Germany to secure Olympic qualification where for one performance they even skated to an instrumental version of the Beatles a day in the life, he says the pair remain focused on improving their performance.

MARCOTTE: When the joy is over, they're like what is next, what do we do? In sports the joy is short-lived. Because as soon as you think you made it, then they pass you. So they quickly move forward in knowing what they need to do -- be better next time around.

[03:35:07] MACFARLANE: They may not win gold or even medal in Pyeongchang if their participation for peace rather than a play could well be their lasting legacy.


LU STOUT: That was CNN's Christina MacFarlane reporting there. And imagine being that North Korean ice skating pair. Their hopes and dreams of competing in the games realize and the weight of an entire nation's expectations on their shoulders. And with that let's send it back to Rosemary Church standing by in Atlanta.

CHURCH: That is quite a burden. Thank you so much Kristie, I appreciate that. All for the win for you and passion speech at the Golden Globe has led to talk of her running for president in 2020 against Donald Trump and two of her close friend told CNN she is actively considering it. The White House says it would welcome the challenge, more now from CNN Tom Foreman.


OPRAH WINFREY, OPRAH SHOW HOST: The new day is on the horizon.



And when that new day finally dawns it will be, because of a magnificent women many of whom are right here in this room tonight and some pretty phenomenal men. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It looked like a politically rally

and sounded like one too. Now sources tell CNN Oprah Winfrey is actively thinking about jumping into the 2020 race. And already big name supporters are buzzing. Actress Meryl Streep, I want her to run for president. Country singer Billy Gillman, please run. Former Obama White House staffer, we can't stop, #Oprah for president. The queen of daytime talk turned actress turned media mogul has always said no to the whole idea of trading her entertainment empire, adoring fans and super comfortable lifestyle for the frozen fields of Iowa and bruising world of politics.

WINFREY: There will be no running of office of any kind for me.

FOREMAN: But as far back as 1999 guess who thought she'd be a strong running mate.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice. If she'd do it, she is be fantastic. She is popular, she is brilliant, and she is a wonderful woman.

FOREMAN: Oprah has rushed up against campaigning only briefly and only for Democrats. Notably for Barack Obama in his 2008 run.

WINFREY: For the very first time in my life I feel compelled to stand up and to speak out for the man who I believe has a new vision for America.

FOREMAN: So in 2016 when her name was floated as a possible Trump running mate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he did make the call, would you the call?

WINFREY: I would say, Donald, I'm with her.


FOREMAN: Still, Oprah could create a stir. She is hugely popular, Forbes puts her wealth at 2.8 billion, just under Donald's 3.1. And she is spent a lifetime talking about poverty, education, human rights, addiction, faith, fidelity and the way powerful men sometimes treat women.

WINFREY: Their time is up.

FOREMAN: But here's the thing. There's a big difference between holding sympathetic discussions about delicate issues and actually taking stances on such matters, on things like marijuana law and abortion rights and immigration and tax policy. Talk show hosts don't have to. But Presidential candidates do. Tom Foreman, CNN Washington.


CHURCH: To Europe now and German chancellor Angela Merkel is in talks to form a new government to end a political stalemate. It began more than three months ago in the general election. That as Atika Shubert tells us these talks must succeed to avoid a rerun.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Angela Merkel arguably remains the most powerful woman in the world, but there is no question that the September election here in Germany left her significantly weakened. Her Party lost more than a million votes. And they lost them to the far right anti-immigration alternative for Germany Party. This is clear rebuke to Merkel's immigration policy in 2015 that allowed as many as a million refugees into the country. Having said that her Party still got the most votes in that election. Merkel remains the only Party leader with a mandate to govern. Now her first attempt to form a coalition government late last year failed. She has six days of so-called exploratory talks with the social Democrats, and this is her challenge to try and get the conservative critics in her own Party who want to go hard on immigration to work together with the far more left leaning social Democrats to form a so-called grand coalition.

[03:40:17] Now, if she succeeds, well then we're still looking at several months more of negotiation before a coalition government is firmly in place. If she fails, however, then Germany could see a snap election this year. And that would be quite a blow for a country that likes to consider itself as a strong and stable center for Europe. Atika Shubert CNN Berlin.


CHURCH: Need a remedy for overwork? Why not just show up later? There's an idea. That is reportedly Donald Trump's routine. Coming up what we're told he is doing during his so-called executive time.

And details on Charlotte's first day of nursery school back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the British academy film award nominations for 2018 have been announced. And critical favorites are on the list. There will also be a new host for the ceremony. Joanna Lumley takes over for Steven Frye who has hosted for the past 12 years. Isa Soares joins us now from London with all the details so Isa what stood out in the nominations and who are the likely favorites here?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me talk you through, Rosy, some of the nominees. 12 nominations went to "shape of water.", that is the film that is kind of a fantasy science fiction movie, kind of other worldly. They got the most nominations with 12. The darkest hour, that Churchill portrayal which one yesterday at the Golden Globes, Sunday night at the Golden Globes also did very well with nine nominations. Also with nine nominations, Rosy, three bill boards outside Missouri, that kind of pitch-black film movie that did really well in the United States. "Dunkirk," the Christopher Nolan movie got eight nomination. And Blade Runner 2049 also got eight nomination.

Let me break that down in terms of best Director. If we can have the nominations up. Best film first. Call me by your name, the darkest hour, Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan, the shape of water and three bill boards outside ebbing, Missouri. Let's look at best Director here. Interesting all men as well-being nominated here. Blade runner 2049, Call be my your name, Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan, the shape of water and three bill boards outside ebbing, Missouri.

[03:45:10] And now let's go to leading actress. We have Annette Benning, Film stars don't die, Frances McDormand Three Billboards outside ebbing, Missouri, Margot Robbis, I-Tonya, Sally Hawkins, the shape of water, and Saoirse Ronan, lady bird.

Leading actor, we have Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread. Daniel Kaluuya, Get out. Gary Oldman, the portrayal of darkest hour. Jamie Bell, Film Starts Don't Die. Timothee Chalamet, Call me by your name. Some of the stand out categories there of course and many others. But it is the second award season picking up Golden Globes. And interestingly enough, Rosy, the chair of the bafta's was very clear to stand in solidarity with the sexual allegation that we have seen out of Hollywood. This is what she had to say. Take a listen.


JANE LUSH, BAFTA CHAIR: We, too, are determined to ensure that the brave revelations and make no mistake, they were very brave, become a watershed moment to become a catalyst for real, lasting change across the workplace in film, games and television.


SOARES: So she said it was important, saying it's important to reset the tone, but also that the British film industry is going to create new guidelines to which the media industry, the film industry must operate here. Of course, worth reminding our viewers that Weinstein was a member of bafta but of course he lost that membership following those sexual allegations. And also want to point out that the chief executive of bafta, Amanda Berry, said before these nominations came out that she was shocked by these nominations but also said she would give those winners the time to speak out on the night against this sexual allegations, Rosy.

CHURCH: And Joana Lumley as we mentioned will be the new host taking over. Isa Soares many thanks to you for joining us.

Britain's Princess Charlotte has accomplished her own royal first, the first day of school. She is attending a private school just a short walk from her home in Kensington palace. CNN Erin McLaughlin how the royal family handles this big day.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first day of school can be tough enough without the glare of the global media. But when you're Prince George and now Princess Charlotte, intense intention is the status quo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extremely difficult if you are a senior member of the royal family to grow up in what would be called a normal way. What has to be done while you're in school is a negotiation with the media that you get privacy, but you also have occasionally photo opportunities.

MCLAUGHLIN: Documenting the first day is a decades old royal tradition. Here is Prince William and Prince Harry. Prince Charles time at school was even dramatized by the Netflix series "the crow" growing up royal may be privileged, but it's never been easy. With the odd temper tantrism sometimes out there for the world to see. Now add to that the scrutiny of social media and with that security concerns. Less than a week after Prince George started school in London a 40-year-old woman was arrested for trying to break in. She was released with a warning. Each item of clothing also sells out in record time. Princess Charlotte alone could be worth billions to the British economy. Although she may not realize it now, that is a lot of pressure for a two year old princess, fourth in line to the throne.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: there is no question (inaudible) very conscious about the media attention had been lavished on Prince George.

MCLAUGHLIN: And with another royal baby on the way, the youngest of the Cambridge's will at least have each other for support. Erin McLaughlin CNN London.


CHURCH: So gorgeous. Let's take a short break. Still to come we are getting a first-hand look at what's down the road for automobiles. A preview from the electronics convention in Las Vegas.

And how would you like to spend your mornings on twitter and talking on the phone? According to a new report the U.S. President has rearranged his schedule to do just that. That story still to come. Stay with us.


[03:51:25] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, one of the largest technology conventions in the world is kicking off in Las Vegas, nearly 4,000 exhibitors are attending the consumer electronics show. Samuel Burke has a look at this year's major trends.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The top trends that we're seeing out here this year, number one voice assistants. Whether it's amazon's Alexa or Google's voice assistant it seems like every piece of technology here wants to integrate so that they can just have you speaking to control their devices. Also cities planning for a future with fewer drivers. That doesn't just mean driverless cars, but cities are looking for a ways to know there are stoplights, communicate to your Uber car there's an accident there and they need to go in a different direction. And plus sports tech going pro. What does that mean, exactly? Well, we've seen a lot of wearables come and go but not a lot of companies are looking to get very specific. Just for athletes, just for the elderly that is why I saw this piece of under wear that caught my attention. Skin it's called, a there are actually censors inside of here that can read all kinds of things, your heart rate, breathing, calorie count or even your posture. There's a device right here that back to your devices. Maybe for folks who don't want to wear something on their wrist, or maybe for the elderly? I was talking to the founder of the company and he said he wanted to read all the vital signs of his whether if when he was sick. Some years they lead us astray. 3-d televisions, remember that, well when the last time was you saw someone with 3-d glasses. And then there are curved televisions. Though, who needs that when there are televisions you can roll-up? LG display has this prototype, so no price tag right now. They just made screens. They're hoping one day the actual TV set manufactures might integrate this technology so you can have a TV that will roll-up and disappear out of your house. But it doesn't really disappear because there's a box that it sits. Not so tall that you have a wider format like we're used to in movie theaters or maybe just going all the way up and using your television the way we're all accustomed to using it now. 16 by 9 just to watch TV shows. Imagine that.


CHURCH: Samuel Burke thanks so much for that. Donald Trump took a swing through the southern U.S. on Monday. His first stop was in Tennessee. He announced for a new push for a better internet access in rural areas and talked about his recent tax reform victory.


TRUMP: Oh, are he happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege. The other choice wasn't going to work out too well for the farmers or the miners or anybody else.


CHURCH: Monday night he stopped in Atlanta where he watched the national college football championship game as the Alabama crimson tide took on the Georgia Bulldogs and beat them. Ouch.

[03:55:00] Well, the Trump administration has produced any number of new catchphrases. Remember lock her up, fake news, well now we have executive time. It's reportedly the hours blocked out for the President to tweet and watch television. But the White House has pushed back on that claim. Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Time for something new in the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quote and quote executive time.


MOOS: In no time the new time was plastered on a t-shirt all because of a scoop by the web site Axios.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's schedule has been secretly shrinking.

MOOS: He is reportedly not coming to the office, the oval office until 11:00 a.m. The White House calls it executive time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says it's in the oval office, but that is thought true. He is actually in the residence watching TV, making phone calls, tweeting.

MOOS: How executive time flies to twitter. I'm going to start calling my naps executive time. Here's Zoey taking some executive time. How we spend our executive time tweeted comedy central. Executive time sounds like something your dad says as he heads into the bathroom with a stack of magazines, newspapers. Wallah the executive time machine. The White House press secretary countered saying the President is one of the hardest workers I've ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week, all year long. Remember the days when candidate Trump was dissing Hillary for a lack of energy?

TRUMP: She doesn't have the stamina to be President of this country. You need tremendous stamina.

MOOS: It takes stamina just to say stamina. Hey, if it weren't for executive time, maybe we wouldn't have gyms like that stable genius tweet. A very stable genius that is how the President described himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this, if he doesn't call himself a genius, nobody else will.

MOOS: Many found the genius in the stable to be Mr. Ed the talking horse, #stable genius gets his daily briefing. But even a stable genius like to kick back and enjoy some executive time. Jeanne Moos, CNN New York.


CHURCH: Now, some executive time for us. Thanks for your company. I am Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on twitter. The news continues next with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.