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Rick Gates Has A New Prominent Attorney In Tom Green; The Philosophical Battle Lines Are Being Drawn Between Global Free Trade System And Economic Nationalism; Suicide Blast In Jalalabad, Afghanistan Outside The Office Of Save The Children; U.S. Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Shrugs Off Concerns That The Situation In Syria Will Damage Relations Between Washington And Ankara. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 24, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:10] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, the special counsel Russia investigation closing in on the U.S. president, and his inner circle. Sources telling CNN Robert Mueller wants to talk to Donald Trump. But for now though, the president will take his America First message to Davos. Will global leaders work with him or around him?

Plus, the murder of Zainab Ansari sets a protest at an outpouring of anger in Pakistan. Now, police say they've caught the killer.

Hello, welcome to our viewers all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause, the third hour of Newsroom L.A. starts now.

Donald Trump considering to come face-to-face with the man leading the Russia investigation. Sources telling CNN special counsel Robert Mueller wants to question the U.S. president, in particular about his decisions to fire FBI Director James Comey and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. We've also learned Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both spoken with the special counsel investigators. But sources say an in-view is still the president is being negotiated.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As we have said probably just about every day this year since we have been here, that we're going to be fully cooperative with the special counsel. And we're going to continue to do that throughout the process. But we're also not going to comment on who may or may not or could be interviewed at any point, but we're going to continue to be fully cooperative with the process.


VAUSE: Well, let's bring in our CNN panel here. We have our political commentator Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas, and joining us from Manchester, New Hampshire, attorney and professor Seth Abramson. Seth, we will begin with you. We have this exclusive from CNN about Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and partner to the former campaign boss, Paul Manafort. He apparently has a new prominent attorney Tom Green. He is described

as a longtime D.C. white collar practitioner and one of the undisputed titans of the bar. Again, Green was seen at Robert Mueller's office twice last week as a suggestion of ongoing negotiations. So, Seth, could Green actually be negotiating just a plea deal here for Gates or could he be looking at a plea deal which includes cooperating with the special counsel? And what would that actually mean for this investigation?

SETH ABRAMSON, MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, ATTORNEY AND PROFESSOR: Well, we don't know, but it certainly could be a cooperation deal that has been the pattern wit Bob Mueller. He did that with George Papadopoulos. He did that with Mike Flynn. In both instances, peoples surmise that he is doing what is usually done in a criminal investigation, which is when you enter into a plea negotiation with a defendant, you're are seeking something from them beyond, if it is not prison time or jail time, you are seeking some sort of cooperation to get someone who is higher in the hierarchy than that individual.

Now, in the case of Rick Gates, of course, he was the deputy to Paul Manafort. He was also the deputy campaign manager on the Trump campaign. So, above him in the hierarchy would be Paul Manafort, but also, as is with the case with Papadopoulos and Flynn, above him in the hierarchy is Donald Trump himself, as well as others that -- were at the top of the Trump campaign including Jeff Sessions.

VAUSE: By way of background, Manafort and Gates, as our reporting here, were also in-charge during the 2006 Republican National Convention in Cleveland where a handful of Trump campaign advisers met with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And again, with campaign aides controversially changed the Republican Party platform regarding Ukraine. They made it more favorable to the Russians. So, Dave, does Rick Gates -- does he have a story to tell just like Michael Flynn?

DAVE JACOBSON, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's possible. And look, the fish rots from the head down. So, at the end of the day, like Bob Mueller is not out to get the small ball, folks. He wants to go after Donald Trump. It's clear from the Washington Post story earlier today...


JACOBSON: ... he wants to interview the president. I think that's a good thing, so does the American people.

VAUSE: John, this actually could mean there would be what, three Trump insiders who are cooperating with the special counsel. If there is nothing there, what are they talking about?

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Yeah, I mean, it's a good question. I don't want to speculate because I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if there were lower level people that did some bad things. I mean, it looks like right now though Manafort and those guys are getting caught for essentially illegally lobbying and not disclosing that. So we'll see if it's a cooperation deal. Just because he lawyered (ph) up, I would advise -- I would lawyer up no matter what. I mean, this is serious business to protect yourself. So time will tell. We don't know of a cooperation deal is even in the works.

[02:04:55] VAUSE: And Seth, just to that point, what the charges have already been by the special counsel for people like Manafort, I mean -- and Michael Flynn. This is how these investigations work, right? You start out with these charges that don't necessarily, you know, apply to the overall investigation. It's just a way of basically getting these people on the hook.

ABRAMSON: Well, that's correct. And in the case of Papadopoulos and Mike Flynn, the charge that was used to get that cooperation deal was a single count of making false statements in both instances. That is one of the charges that both Manafort and Gates face. And therefore, that is a charge that could be used or some other lesser charge in the indictments that both Manafort and Gates are facing to enter into the cooperation deal.

It's certainly possible that Mueller is only looking for information to further incriminate Paul Manafort. But I think, given the wealth of evidence that we understand he has, in terms of the documents, it's unlikely that Gates will be used purely for that purpose.

VAUSE: Correct.

ABRAMSON: That would be a very limited purpose to using Gates for.

VAUSE: OK. And with regard to this possible interview by Robert Mueller with the president, the Washington Post has been reporting that Mueller has also expressed interest in Trump's efforts to remove Sessions as attorney general or pressure him into quitting according to a person familiar with the probe. The personal said the special counsel was seeking to determine whether there was a pattern of behavior by the president. So, Seth, why is that significant in the overall scheme of things?

ABRAMSON: Well, I think a number of people are observing that it's possible based upon the questions that Mr. Mueller wants to ask President Trump that he is getting towards the end of his obstruction investigation. Certainly, questions about the Comey firing, questions about pressuring Jeff Sessions to quit would be part of any possible obstruction investigation or prosecution that might be referred to the DOJ by Bob Mueller.

I think what people are misunderstanding is they're thinking that this might mean the interview with President Trump and the questions that Mr. Mueller wants to ask, that Mr. Mueller is towards the conclusion of his entire Russia probe. But remember that we've already been told that that probe is likely to go into 2019. And there are many other potential charges that are not obstruction that can be looked at by Mueller. So I think he might be reaching the end of just one line of inquiry in this probe.

VAUSE: Yeah. According to our reporting, one source said the form of the interview is still in preliminary discussions. Trump's attorneys would like the president's answers to come in written form only, but recognize it could be more of a combination of written and in-person interview, or even solely in person interview. So, Dave, to you, it would seem that the Trump team doesn't have a lot in the faith in the self-disclosed statements to say in script.

JACOBSON: Yeah. It's clear that they don't. And that's because we have a president who lies on a regular basis. The Washington Post reported over 2,000 lies by Donald Trump himself or his cronies in the White House. He is erratic. He is unhinged. He is all over the map. And he lies every single day.

So, clearly, they don't trust him. I think what the American people want and deserve is Donald Trump not just to answer questions in writing, but to Donald Trump to be videotaped, so that we actually have content that we can use for the future...

VAUSE: The Clinton deposition, when he was interviewed by Ken Starr.

JACOBSON: Sure, I mean, look, I think at a minimum, like at least audio, right, it would be great to have something visually where the American people -- and by the way, for your TV, the midterm.


JACOBSON: If it was up to me, it would be at Facebook live, right.

I think Trump's lawyers are giving him good advice. Obviously, I'd - I'd be great to have full disclosure, but you got to protect your client. If we learned anything from Bill Clinton is that you can perjure yourself either intentionally or unintentionally in these situations and create a whole separate issue for what he was actually ask about.

VAUSE: In Bill Clinton, he they call him slick really for nothing. I mean, this guy is a smart guy. He is a lawyer. He speaks upright. And they got him for perjury.


VAUSE: Donald Trump, this guy rants at Fox News and goes off...

THOMAS: Right. So in this case, you almost have to protect your client from himself.

VAUSE: Which is hard to do when it's Donald Trump because he doesn't like to be told what to do.

JACOBSON: And that's what they said that the president would essentially be on Suicide Watch, if he was forced to do this.

VAUSE: OK. We also have this reporting from Axios that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions who has also been interviewed by the special counsel tried to pressure the current FBI director Chris Wray to fire his depute Andrew McCabe. Trump apparently is furious with McCabe. He believes he is a Democrat. So, Seth, you actually see this as a much bigger story than many people realize.

ABRAMSON: I do. And the reason for that is Andrew McCabe is one of the key witnesses in the potential obstruction case against the president, which as we know, from the Clinton years, is an impeachable offense, if it is referred to the DOJ and then to the House by Bob Mueller. The reason he is a key witness is that he is essentially the chief corroborating witness for James Comey's contemporaneous recollection of his conversations with Donald Trump.

Now, as we know, James Comey also wrote memos talking about what happed with Donald Trump. He wrote those memos contemporaneously. But he also talked to Andrew McCabe. So, Jeff Sessions is recused from any Russia or election-related investigations should not be having that conversation with Chris Wray. And once he has the conversation, the question is whether he is trying to, at Trump's direction or not, discredit a key witness in the potential obstruction case against Donald Trump. That's a very serious story.

[02:10:09] VAUSE: Well, again, according to Axios, the FBI director Chris Wray reportedly threatened to resign over the pressure, which was coming from Sessions. But President Trump says that didn't happen. This is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, he didn't at all. He did not even a little bit. Nope. And he is going to do a good job.


VAUSE: But, John, again, the Washington Post is reporting not long after Comey was fired, McCabe was summoned to Oval Office for a meeting with Donald Trump. The two men exchanged pleasantries. But before long, Trump and former U.S. officials asked McCabe a pointed question, whom did you vote for in the 2016 election. McCabe said he didn't vote, according to the officials. Surely, John, even Donald Trump would know that is not an appropriate question.

THOMAS: I'm not sure even Donald Trump would know that. I know, sad to say.

VAUSE: Really?

THOMAS: But I feel like Donald Trump would ask anybody who they voted for. If they voted for somebody other than him, he would say what a big mistake that was. But even McCabe has been under fire beyond just President Trump. If you flip on the nightly news, McCabe had conflicts of interest, and all other things.

VAUSE: Like what?

THOMAS: His wife -- wasn't his wife...

VAUSE: His wife has you know a constitutional right to run for office.

THOMAS: And she took what, $600,000.

VAUSE: That's a lot of money. But again...

THOMAS: OK. From essentially an arm of a Clinton control, it's a conflict, John. So I guess my point is he has been under fire whether rightly or wrongly from folks well beyond POTUS. Trump just tweets about it. So I'm in the sure the legal ramifications of it, but just optically, everything Trump said publicly is something you catch on Fox News.

VAUSE: Dave.

JACOBSON: It's reckless, and it's irresponsible, and it's unbecoming of a president. I mean, this is abnormal meddling with the FBI. We've never seen this before. In fact, you have a president repeatedly berating a sitting deputy director. I mean, he is still in office.

VAUSE: Yeah.

JACOBSON: He is still serving this country.

VAUSE: He is a couple of months away from retirement.

JACOBSON: Sure, perfectly. He has been a decorated the patriot for two decades. He doesn't deserve this behavior from the president of the United States. Moreover, it is not just McCabe, like think about it.

THOMAS: You're right.

JACOBSON: You're an FBI officer, serving on the line, risking your life every single day. And the president of the United States is critically attacking you.

THOMAS: Dave, there are multiple bad apples who are currently employed by the FBI that meddled in the Hillary Clinton investigation. Move to Mueller's investigation, Mueller had to fire them. And Trump is having...

JACOBSON: ... by the way...

THOMAS: And Trump is putting them all on blast. I think hat's appropriate.

VAUSE: Donald Trump gave a lot more money to Democrats than Andrew McCabe's wife ever received.

THOMAS: Just fact checking.

VAUSE: Attorney General Jeff Sessions talking to the special counsel, the significance of that and is it a sign this investigation -- I mean, as you said, at least one part of the obstruction of justice, but overall, is it coming to an end?

ABRAMSON: No, not overall, though I think possibly as to the potential obstruction charge, Jeff Sessions is a critical witness on the obstruction issue. He of course is a potential target for perjury himself, given his testimony in front of Congress. And we have to remember how critical a witness he is in the rest of the Russia investigation. We might say the conspiracy end potentially computer crimes, potentially campaign finance, and of the Russia investigation because he was the head of the national security team.

So he was Papadopoulos' boss. He was part of Page's boss. He met with certifying Sergey -- Sergey Kislyak, excuse me, the Russian ambassador many times, without revealing it. And he knew a lot about what Papadopoulos and Page were doing because he was presumably was on the email chains that his team was sending around about potential contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. So he is a critical witness across the board. But yes, particularly at this point for obstruction.

VAUSE: It was a big day in Russian news, I guess. Always a big fat nothing, though depending on where you sit. John and Dave, thank you. And Seth, thank you so much for being with us. It is very much appreciated.

Day 2 of the world...


VAUSE: I'm talking to you, Becky. Hang on. It's OK.


VAUSE: You're ready to go. Well, Becky Anderson joins us now live. It seems there is a tension there. It is always palpable before Donald Trump arrives.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm just raring to get going, John.

VAUSE: I know.

ANDERSON: Thank you. Well, as they say, at the forum later on Wednesday, then the attention will shift to the U.S. President who will deliver Friday's address. The philosophical battle lines are being drawn here. One side believes in a global free trade system. The other believes in economic nationalism.


[02:15:01] JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: Today is a great day for Canada. But it's also a great day for progressive trade around the world. Today, I am pleased to announce that Canada and 10 other remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership concluded discussions in Tokyo, Japan, on a new comprehensive and progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the CPTPP.


NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA (through translator): The solution to this worrisome situation against globalization is not isolation. Its solution is in understanding and accepting change.

TRUMP: Our companies will not be taken advantage of anymore. And our workers are going to have lots of really great jobs with products that are going to be made in the good old USA. And that's what this is all about. TRUDEAU: We're working very hard to make sure our neighbor to the

south recognizes how good NAFTA is and that has benefitted not just our economy but its economy and the world's economy.

TRUMP: We're going to Davos. We'll be talking about investing in the United States again for people to come and spend their money in the good old USA. And that's what they're doing.


ANDERSON: Now, we've heard the words. Let's bring in Nic Robertson, my colleague. The lines then being drawn as it were in the snow here in Davos. Some describing this as the great Davos standoff. You have the likes of Trudeau. You've heard from the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. We will hear later on this day from somebody who has been slugged the anti-Trump as it were, the French president Emmanuel Macron, of course. Where do things stand at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is very much, if you will, a lion's den that President Trump is walking into. He does have a very thick skin, so he will be able to withstand some of this and he will be able to bask some of the reflected glory, the words of Christine Legarde (ph). I'm actually pretty sure that lowering the taxes in the U.S. is helping the global economy.

But there is a very resounding message here. And the drum beats have been building up over the past year. And this is about -- this is about in broad terms about finding solutions to global problems and that is the global -- and the planet and the leaders come together. It is finding a shared future in the fractured world. And the Italian prime minister also speaking today, Paolo Gentiloni, who has one of the -- sort of bigger problems on his doorstep of the fractured world. And that is migrants coming from Africa, crossings Sahara to look for a better future in Europe.

There isn't a stronger metaphor for -- for the fractured world then it is that. So here, President Trump is coming up against people who not only have a message, but have real problems because of this and want real solutions.

ANDERSON: So what are the likely consequences of what we hear here today from for example, the French, a pragmatic leader, and Donald Trump at the end of this week expected to be less than pragmatic in his approach with his make America Great, get America First policy.

ROBERTSON: I don't think it's likely to dent the President Trump's base in the United States. This has been very loyal base relatively speaking, so far. And they don't really have a strong international message or view. But there will be new U.S. elections in just over the two and a half -- three years from now. And what we are hearing already from European think tanks is for European leaders to think beyond President Trump.

So the message is here, well, certainly, ammunition for Democrats, over the next few years, who want to advance how Trump is failing on the global agenda. And therefore, failing to deliver in the United States' best interests. His words are you know protectionism, isolationism, not his words, but how -- how it's interpreted here is the best for the American people. That's what he sold them. But the Democrats are going to take what is said here, and perhaps use that against President Trump.

ANDERSON: And we will be completely naive, if we weren't to argue that any leader here at the end of the day has to position themselves in their countries' national interests. It's just how they go about that, correct?

ROBERTSON: Oh, absolutely. And any leader here would he to recognize that there are -- there is increasing support for disrupters like President Trump who are able to tap into that narrative of disaffection. And they do have to -- they do have to in their own domestic politics find a way to embrace and help those very people who do feel disenfranchised and who do feel left out of globalization. And that's a big number of people.

ANDERSON: How much real concern is there here at the beginning of 2018 from global leaders who have heard from the head of IMF who says look, we are looking at continuing growth into 2018, a decade after the financial meltdown. How much concern is there that looking at a potential layer of tit for tat trade wars, run by the states?

[02:20:10] ROBERTSON: And being triggered by President Trump, of course. And, yes, it's a very real concern. There is a worry that what is announced vis-a-vis the trade war with China at the moment, it's a prelude to perhaps a reaction. I mean, it's going to be very important to see if the China reacts beyond the words of disappointment, disapproval, if they take reciprocal actions because there then begins -- then begins the trade war.

So there is a concern about that. You know, the economy looking good, global economy 2018 to 2019, the view beyond that is not so clear. And you do have, you know, economists right now, who are saying look, while it's looking good, it's not as strong and stable and steady as it was. And there are a lot of factors around the world. The world sort of political order, if you will, is less, less clear, less stable than it was perhaps 5, maybe 10 years ago.

So I think when you -- when you sort of try to assess where it goes from here and how strong people should feel 2018, 2019, global growth is good. The real concerns are that we are not back where we were.

ANDERSON: And if there is any reason for us to be here and broadcasting from here is that those who are in attendance here in Davos provided a litmus test at least in principle as to where they think things will go through the rest year. Thank you, Nic.

At this hour, we will talk to Beatrice Fihnbi, executive director of the international campaign, to abolish nuclear weapons.

And next hour, Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, the UNI commissioner for human rights. We'll also talk to a musician Wil-I-Am, all here at the top of the hill. Coming up, as the fighting escalates in Northern Syria between Turkish

and Kurdish forces, the U.S. and Turkish presidents are set to talk, details on that coming up.

Plus, police in Pakistan arrest a suspected serial killer accused of murdering young girls including a 7-year-old whose death led to widespread protests. We'll be back after this.


VAUSE: Well, breaking news now, the suicide blast in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, outside the office of the humanitarian group, Save The Children. Zakaria Hassani (ph) joins us now on the line from Kabul. So, Zakaria (ph), is this attack actually still under way? There are some reports which said gunfire can still be...


VAUSE: Do we have - Zakaria (ph), are you with us? We're obviously having a few problems with getting Zakaria on the line. He is a journalist in the capital of Kabul. But there are a number of questions, what actually happened here in Jalalabad, which is very close to the Pakistani border. This happened a few hours ago.


VAUSE: Great. So give us the very latest that you know about this attack in Jalalabad. Do we know if it's still ongoing or has it ended?

[02:25:15] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I spoke a few minutes ago with some local officials and they confirmed it is still -- the attack is under way, and that they could also hear some sporadic gunfire around the -- around the area. But the latest that I know is that the Taliban came back to have a violent attack a few days ago in the intercontinental especially in Kabul, they denied any kind of involvement in this attack.

And I also know that a suicide bomber exploded in front of The Save The Children office, in -- at 9:10 p.m. The eyewitnesses told me that the first suicide bomber, the attacker by the explosive vest, paved the way for three more attackers to enter the building. And three hours passed since the first attack conducted, and the attack is going on there.

VAUSE: Zakaria (ph), you said the Taliban says they had nothing to do with this attack. But the all the tactics that were used here, the blast, a suicide bomber, and men entering the compound of Save The Children, possibly the use of an RPG, according to at least one witness. This has the hallmarks of a Taliban attack. If they didn't carry it out, then who did?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in Nangarhar located in the eastern part of Afghanistan, where ISIS largely active there and operates there. As you know, a few months ago, the United States dropped a biggest non- nuclear -- a non-nuclear bomb in Nangarhar to get ISIS here. Any kind of -- in the past, any kind of this -- any attack or any high-profile attack that occur in Afghanistan, when the Taliban denies involvement then the second group, which is ISIS claims -- claims the responsibility for these kinds of attacks.

VAUSE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More likely, this attack also conducted by this group...

VAUSE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... which has the upper hand in this problem.

VAUSE: OK. Zakaria (ph), we will leave it there. But we appreciate you giving us the update. This attack ongoing on the compound of Save The Children in Jalalabad. There are other NGOs, other foreign aid groups in this neighborhood. A lot more details to work out exactly what happened. Right now, we're being told 11 people have been wounded. But with this attack ongoing and the firepower which is being used, there are a lot of fears that that number will rise and this will result with being dead by the end of the day.

Pakistani police say they have arrest a serial killer accused of raping and killing young girls for the past two years. The 24-year-old is in custody of Punjab province. And police say his DNA matched samples found on the body of his latest victims. And the latest victim was 7-year-old Zainab Ansari. She was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed earlier this month.

Well, in the coming hours, U.S. President Donald Trump and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to talk by phone about the military offensive in Northern Syria. Turkish forces are battling a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia. The White House says this conversation will focus on de-escalation. But officials at Turkey has legitimate security concerns.

And U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shrugs off concerns that the situation in Syria will damage relations between Washington and Ankara. CNN Sam Kiley live now at the Turkish-Syrian border. So what's the update now in this offensive just a few days old? We know a number of Turkish troops have been killed, but there is obviously a lot of concern about the fate of civilians.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we're in day five now of this Turkish assault on Afrin, that's the landscape directly behind me there, that is Syrian territory. Just down in the nook of the hill, there is a base run for the free Syrian army. Now, that is the proxy force that the Turks are using in addition to their own infantry, air force, and of course, artillery.

We've been hearing artillery going into Syrian territory all morning. Now, those are Arabs who are being used. They're from Syria to attack the Kurds of Syria in this enclave which is Kurdish controlled called Afrin.

Now, the hope will be from the diplomatic perspective, that when the two presidents speak later on today, Donald Trump might be able to persuade his Turkish counterpart, Mr. Erdogan, to contain his operations to the Afrin district.

[02:30:00] It is a Kurdish enclave separated from the rest of Kurdish-held Syria by a wedge of territory that was established by the Turkish military over -- in 2016 in -- by simultaneously also using the Free Syrian Army. That wedge is already established to keep those two bits of Kurdish territory apart, and the reason for all this is that further east of the Kurds where the Americans are deeply invested. They're not so invested in this spot behind. But they're deeply invested in those in the east. And I think the Americans want to stop this campaign before it spreads into areas where they have been allies.

VAUSE: I guess that explains why they're -- at this point, there have been no calls for this offensive to come to an end only to de-escalate and to exercise restraint. Sam, we appreciate the update. Thank you. Sam Kiley on the Turkish-Syrian border. For an initial break, when we come back, we will head back to Davos and then leaders are weighing in on the risks the world is facing in 2018.


[02:33:35] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, leaders around the world believe nuclear war extreme weather events and cyberattacks are the top threats to global stability. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report, environmental disasters pose the top risk for a second year in a rope human-caused climate change was noted as playing a role. Tension with North Korea brought nuclear concerns higher on the list. Ninety-three percent of the one thousand people surveyed expect confrontations between major powers to get worst this year. So let's put all of this into perspective after all nuclear worries are not limit to our modern times, are they? Remember this?


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the course of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth. But neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.


AMANPOUR: Well, half a century after JFK's words a flare-up in tensions between North Korea and the U.S. over the nuclear capabilities is a real reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. Joining us now is Beatrice Fihn, she is Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and new recipient of the last year's Nobel Peace Prize, and congratulations of course on that. Is the possibility of another Hiroshima or Nagasaki higher an ever as once we move into 2018?

[02:35:15] BEATRICE FIHN, DIRECTOR, THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Absolutely. And I think the risk has increased substantially over the last year with daily threats almost to totally destroy or have "fire and fury." But at the same time, the risk has been there. And we have to realize that if we keep nuclear weapons forever they will be used.

AMANPOUR: And this tweet earlier this month. Let's bring this up for our viewers' sakes and from the U.S. President is seemingly a restatement of what is a long-standing U.S. policy that a huge nuclear arsenal is a deterrent and Trump supporters I assume would argue that it has worked because quite frankly at this point North Korea has backed off.

FIHN: Well, have they? I'm not really sure that that's the truth. I think that we also see an increased sort of tension. It might go up and down but they're still there aiming at each other with weapons. And these kind of deterrent strategies is just based on pure luck. It's not a sustainable strategy because one day our luck will run out.

AMANPOUR: So to your mind, is Donald Trump with his finger on that nuclear button or access to it a danger to the world?

FIHN: One person has the ability to destroy the world. That's pretty scary. And I think obviously looking at the current world leaders, Kim Jong-understand, Donald Trump, and others it's not -- it doesn't feel safe. But the problem isn't the leaders. But the problem is the weapons. Who should have that kind of control? No one.

AMANPOUR: What is your message then to those gathered chair at the World Economic Forum? We always describe them the global elite, the movers, and shakers who craft policy going forward. What are you telling them?

FIHN: We cannot ignore this issue. We have to seriously address the threat of nuclear weapons. We cannot have a world based on complete destruction because it will happen if we don't do anything about it. So we have to rally governments to join the Treaty on the Prohibition on nuclear weapons that was just adopted this summer and start moving towards a world that where we no longer rely on slaughtering of civilians as a security measure.

AMANPOUR: So given what we have seen and what we have discussed this flare up and tensions with North Korea and Trump's, you know, position with regard the Iran nuclear deal, for example, is anybody listening to what you're saying?

FIHN: I think the threat is increasing. And just look at what happened in Hawaii last week. People are scared again for the first time since probably the Cold War. And I think we have a real opportunity now that there is a way forward. We do not have to just wait for this to happen. We don't just have to count down to the day that nuclear weapons are used again. We can act. We must act and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon is really the way forward.

AMANPOUR: You were as I pointed out at the beginning of this the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. You received it on behalf of the organization. How important was that to you personally and to ICAN?

FIHN: I mean it's seriously important to the campaign. It's a testament of the work that has been done. People tireless campaigners. These are not world leaders. It's just -- they're just average people trying to do something better and to get that recognition was really fantastic and gives them a huge momentum to take the campaign forward. And we hope really to serve as an inspiration for other people that we don't have to accept people like Trump and just hope for a new election. We can do something about it.

AMANPOUR: So how do you leverage that acclaim?

FIHN: Well, I'm here trying to meet with as many people, business leaders, world leaders to talk about this. Our campaigners around the world are working really hard to get their governments and their world leaders to act, politicians to get media to care about this issue. So I think that we have -- we have a lot of work ahead of us. But I also think that it really -- it shows something positive. The world is not just doom and gloom. And we might have Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un threatening each right now, but we have over 120 countries that adopted a treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you. Were you surprised at the decision?

FIHN: Yes.

AMANPOUR: Off the phone?

FIHN: Yes. No. Getting that phone call was a real shock. There's a video of me actually having to like sort of like lean against the wall because I just didn't understand it. I thought it was a joke. But obviously, I think that, you know, it often goes to presidents and list of big names, and to get this kind of recognition for just ordinary people who are working to improve something and to do something about the problems we are facing.

AMANPOUR: So if you had a wish list for 2018, what would it be and what is your dream or vision at this point?

FIHN: That we get as many states as possible to sign this treaty. They know that the nuclear armistice are not going to join right now this year, but they have a lot of other countries around them like, you know, Justin Trudeau was here yesterday to speak. Canada, for example, should say, not in our name. They are participating in Trump's nuclear weapons policy. They are buying into the idea that slaughtering civilians is an appropriate way of defending ourselves. These kind of countries have to say no. If they are true humanitarians, we want to make sure that these countries say no to using weapons of mass destruction.

[02:40:20] AMANPOUR: Yes, a message for you. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. It's early morning but the sun is coming out.

FIHN: Beautiful.

AMANPOUR: It's cold but it's been a pleasure having you on. Thank you very much.

FIHN: Thank you very much for having me.

AMANPOUR: Indeed. All right. Well, that is -- that is it from us for the time being from here. But we are back with you at the top of this next hour. Show is back after this.


[02:42:47] VAUSE: Let the self-congratulations begin. The nominees are out for the 90th annual Academy Awards. The oddly romantic fantasy thrill, "The Shape of Water" leads with 13 nominations. And also, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor categories. Greta Gerwig is the only woman out for Best Director of this year for her film "Lady Bird." She's the fifth woman to be nominated in that category ever. And this year, nine films are competing for Best Picture including "The Shape of Water", "Lady Bird" (INAUDIBLE) "Get Out", and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" which I thought was great. We'll find out who won when the Oscars are handed out on March 4th. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us because "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.


[02:45:22] KATE RILEY, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello, welcome along to WORLD SPORT. I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. We're going to starting in Melbourne, whereof the Australian Open history was made a little earlier for first time ever. Korean player reaches through to the semi-final of a Grand Slam.

Well, how did Hyeon Chung, get there? Well, he took on the American, Tennys Sandgren, and battled every single point. The South Korean beat the more decorated peer with some impressive racket work putting the nerves to one side, and winning this one in straight sets to progress to the semi, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3.

The last women semifinalist has been decided. Earlier, the world number one, Simona Halep, was on court with the sixth seed Karolina Pliskova. Halep was in great form despite being 3-0 down in the opening set. The Romanian recovered, she won nine games in a row on in straight sets, beating Pliskova 6-3, 6-2. Halep is through to her first semi-final at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber, showed absolute dominance when she swept aside Madison keys, only took 51 minutes for the match to finish. The two-time Grand Slam champion wins 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, and through to the semis as well.

All right, meeting on to football now. In Manchester City's quest for the quadruple, this season continued Tuesday. They look set for the (INAUDIBLE) trophy. They are also in the champion's league round of 16. The fourth round of the FA Cup and then there's the league cup as well. They face Bristol City, Ashton Gate in the semi-final, second leg.

It would be Sergio Aguero, who put the visitors 2-0 up. So, the host hit back when Aden Flint made it 2-2 in the 90th minute, where late, late drama here. The northern is forward late on. Kevin De Bruyne is sealing the win to make it 5-3 on aggregate. As for the finals, it will be passed on the earliest first as city was. Winter Olympics is almost upon us in South Korea. The big question now is how many Russian athletes will be allowed to compete? Late last year, the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the games following what was called the country's systemic manipulation of anti- doping rules. That means there will be no Russian team in South Korea, but athlete can compete as neutrals wearing the logo Olympic Athletes from Russia if they can prove they're clean. 389 Russians are under consideration for the games. However, the IOC will exclude anyone who doesn't meet the stringent requirements of an independent review panel.

One name likely not to compete in Pyeongchang, one of the most highly decorated Olympic short track speed skaters Victor Ahn. It looks like he'll miss out on the chance to compete in his native, South Korea.

The 32-year-old was actually born in the capital, Seoul and competed for his homeland until 2011 winning three titles. But reported grew frustrated with the country's skating association and so moved to Russia to pursue citizenship there. Competing in Sochi Olympic, he won another three gold medals. But now, presumably, because of his association with Sochi, he's not welcome in Korea. But Russia is claiming it is politically motivated.

Well, the great and the good of the horse racing world had been gathering in London for a star-studded show recognizing the sports undisputed cream of the crop. And for one American cult, in particular, it was very much a case of Deja vu. For CNN, here is Alley Vance.

ALY VANCE, CNN HOST: The who's who of racing around the globe presented on (INAUDIBLE) this afternoon. The British recognize the equine stars for 2017. Celebrate this night, there are connections of Arrogate, who took top owner for a second year running.

Arrogate trained to the United States by Bob Baffert, with one (INAUDIBLE) three times in a row because he trained the great American Pharoah to win his hoard in 2015. But Arrogate, he sounds of the year winning the world richest race in the Pegasus World Cup worth $12 million that was last January. Now, certainly, that victory which saw him win this award.


BOB BAFFERT, TRAINER, ARROGATE: Arrogate, he ran some real demand in races on there. Where in like travels, breaking 100-year-old track records. When the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Pegasus last year, and nobody then in Dubai with pretty incredible. And so, it's one of those -- you know, the horses, it just made me feel like -- it was like -- I don't think I could ever have another horse like that. He just spoiled us rotten.


[02:49:57] VANCE: Critics though of these awards will say that is very difficult to judge horses that are racing on different continents over different distances and on different surfaces. Really, any of the top four could have won top honors here today.

Second place went to the Australian wonder mayor, Winx. He's now won 22 straight races including nine in 2017. And third, it was a joint position for a crank man, he's trained in the U.K., he's trained by John Gosden. And he won the champion stake that Ascot by 7 lengths in October. He was awarded third place along with Gun Runner, who won the prestigious Breeders' Cup Classic, Del Mar in November.

But it's been an enjoyable afternoon at the carriages and great to see so many at the world's connections from the world best horses all coming to London to celebrate this sport.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and I wrote a piece where I interviewed both Tonya and Nancy. And I believe it's the last time a journalist actually talked to both of them. You know, I think it pops up an anniversaries or in this case because of this movie.

[02:54:09] DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: You've spoken to both. We only hear about Tonya Harding these days. We only seem to hear from Tonya Harding these days. What does Nancy Kerrigan, make as the fact that Tonya is still in the news and having all this movies and books written about her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Nancy talked about this a couple of days ago, and she said that she not -- hasn't seen the movie and doesn't plan to see it and, she's going on with her life. And of course, what Nancy has told me, in the times we have talked about including four years ago is that -- you know, she says I was attacked.

You know, why do I want to relive this? And I think we laugh about in story or roll our eyes or I even use the word preposterous. But the only reason we do that, Don, is because of Tonya Harding's hit man, these knuckleheads that were around Jeff Gillooly and Tonya Harding. That they were so bad at being hit men that they missed.

But when you laugh at it remember this, on January 6, 1994, after practice, the extent with the retract of a police baton, actually hit Nancy Kerrigan. Missed the kneecap thankfully and hit her on the side of the knee, the world's most famous bruise in history. Sparing Nancy under the greatest performance of her life. The silver medal I thought it should have been the gold.

But, he missed, if he hit her kneecap he would have shattered her kneecap and Nancy would not have been able to compete at the Olympics and there'll be no time in Nancy and no story because it would have been so horrifying. I mean, you would have a litter a kneecap someone of the Olympics.

So, thankfully these guys were such goofballs and so ridiculous that they couldn't carry out the very serious attacks that they were talking about involving Nancy Kerrigan. [02:55:43] RIDDELL: She certainly seemed to be regardless of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, she seemed to be a miss-fit, didn't she? To be competing in the sport for princesses. So, I mean is -- I just wonder because she was clearly such a talented athlete. Did she just pick the wrong support?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, though I think she actually picked the right sport. And again, this is what the movie is doing to everyone and I understand the questions, I really do. There is this sense, Don that you know, I'm hearing it all over the place right now as I talk about the movie. That Tonya somehow got the shaft, she got a raw deal.

Tonya is one of the luckiest figure skaters on the planet, you don't see this in the movie. These are the facts, Tonya didn't get sent to one Olympic Games, she got sent to two Olympic Games, that's unbelievable good fortune.

She was born in 1970, as you know they had the 92 Winter Olympic. And then, they go off cycle from the summer games. They came right there, took a 1994 Winter Olympic. And she was in the sweet spot of her age being born at that time. Kerrigan was born in 69, same thing where they could get two Olympics in two years. No one ever in history will get that opportunity.

And Tonya should have won -- actually, she was should about -- could have won the Olympic gold medal in 92. Fritted it all away, showed up late, jet-lagged. I mean, you name an athlete screwing up and messing up their opportunities, that was Tanya Harding.

And the facts are the facts, two national titles, two Olympic Games. One of those national titles was later taken away because of her involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya got every opportunity to succeed and more. And I could make the case she's one of the luckiest athletes was given opportunity after opportunity. Even as a rough around the edges skater who by the way was so interesting and so fascinating. She got extra coverage and positive coverage from the media because of it.


RILEY: And that -- that's it for this edition of CNN WORLD SPORT. Thanks for watching. I'm Kate Riley. Stay with CNN, the news is next.