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Trump to Address World Financial Political Leaders; Turkey Disputes U.S. Description of Trump-Erdogan Call; Turkish Incursion Marks New Front in Syrian War; Turkey Hoping to Push YPG Farther from Border; Thousands Flee Intensified Fighting in Northern Syria; At Least 39 Killed in South Korea Hospital Fire; Trump's Visit to Davos Overshadowed by Vulgar Slur; Trump Threatens to Cut Aid to Palestinians; Trump Tried to Fire Mueller in June; World Faces Growing Humanitarian Crisis. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 26, 2018 - 01:00   ET




ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay, live in Los Angeles.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: And I'm Becky Anderson live in Davos in Switzerland. And we began here where, in a matter of hours, U.S. president Donald Trump will address the world's financial and political leaders here at the World Economic Forum.

The audience will be watching how Mr. Trump squares his America first rhetoric and policies to this worldwide audience. And hanging about it all, what can easily be considered a political bombshell: new reporting that in June President Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, the man investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Let's bring in our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we know that President Trump likes to push back on these sorts of issues. We know that this is something this close to his heart, the Russia investigation.

We know that when he does introduce -- he is -- we can see how many times that he raises the Russia investigation, that he raises the fact that there's nothing there, that there was no collusion.

So he will have had plenty of time, the script writers will have had plenty of time this morning to adjust his script for his speech, his keynote speech this afternoon. So I think a lot of people will be looking, will he address that?

The expectations as we know, going into the speech, the bar was already pretty much set on that. He's going to put forward his American first policies and plans. But he arrived here yesterday sort of on message and then seemed to go maybe off message, maybe it was on message.

This is how his day began yesterday.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): He may be a polarizing figure but the U.S. president, Donald Trump, still commands everybody's attention when he walks into a room. His message on arrival:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, sir, what's your message for everyone here, sir?


TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) peace and prosperity.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But minutes later, the message of goodwill was apparently gone and it was back to more familiar territory. Ahead of a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, President Trump threatened to cut off more aid to the Palestinians.

TRUMP: That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace. We took Jerusalem off the table.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Explosive remarks that will reverberate across the Arab world. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' office has already issued a defiant response.

"If Jerusalem is off the table, then America if off the table as well," President Abbas' official spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said in a phone call with CNN.

The president has been causing waves elsewhere, too, his visit to Davos overshadowed by controversy around his alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations in a meeting with U.S. lawmakers.

Trump may experience a frosty reception meeting some African leaders for the first time since the comments. South Africa's ANC leader had this to say.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, ANC PRESIDENT: President Trump, as a leader of an important country like the United States, it is important for you not to disrespect or show any disrespect to any country in the world.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But not everyone is outraged by President Trump's remarks Ugandan president Museveni saying he loved Trump's honesty.




MUSEVENI: I love Trump because he says (INAUDIBLE).


ROBERTSON (voice-over): While Trump later denied making the comments, he set off a diplomatic uproar from African and global leaders. Rwanda's foreign ministry describing them at the time as "demeaning and unnecessary."

Now as Trump comes face-to-face with Rwanda's president Paul Kagame, the head of the African Union, the world will be watching and listening closely.


ROBERTSON: And when he talks to these delegations as we do here, Becky, it is surprising the number that actually say they do like President Trump for his straight talking and clarity because you know what you get.

That said there is an African business (INAUDIBLE) --


ROBERTSON: -- on an open letter yesterday, suggested some of the South African delegation here, when President Trump speaks, should show their protest, outrage, if you will, by getting up respectfully, quietly, and walking out of the room --


ANDERSON: Is that likely to happen?

ROBERTSON: You know, it's very hard to say on this. It's very hard to say at this stage and it does appear as it might be a small group of people. We just don't know. Anything may happen this morning still. They've still got those meetings so who knows what Paul Kagame will say if he comes out of that, he's good or something else.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in the house for Nic, always a pleasure. Thank you.

well, as Nic just mentioned, President Trump is threatening to withhold U.S. aid money to the Palestinians if their leaders don't agree to peace talks with Israel. And he has upset Palestinian officials who have snubbed -- he is upset -- sorry -- that Palestinian officials snubbed vice president Mike Pence during his recent visit to the region.


TRUMP: When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands, that money is on the table. NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: President Abbas declared the landmark Oslo peace accords dead. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American president. He called for suspending recognition of Israel.

We will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what needs -- what is needed to achieve peace. To get historic results we need courageous leaders.


ANDERSON: The leader of the Israeli opposition, Isaac Herzog, joins me now.

Much talk that President Trump went off message yesterday and killed hopes of a -- of talks going forward. And yet once we heard from his ambassador to the United Nations, it appeared perhaps to be a more coordinated message.

How did you read what we heard?

ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI OPPOSITION: First of all, never say never in international politics. It is a major crisis between the Palestinians and the Israelis and now the U.S. administration, in fact, following the president's decision on the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

The Palestinians have taken a very strict position. I'm not sure it's not an excuse on their behalf and I think the only way to reignite the process, which is a must -- a must -- and there a process. What's feasible is to -- for the president to work with Arab states in the region, who would like to move forward, would like to move with Israel forward and try to bring the Palestinians along.

ANDERSON: But the Palestinians surely have to be at the table if the U.S. wants to be a broker in these negotiations. They will have to talk to the Palestinians.

HERZOG: I would say the following: I think after the stick there should be now a carrot. I think the president made his position clear and I think the administration made his position clear.

Yet one has to take into account there is another side and that is opposed in years (ph) and we need to see both the Israelis and Palestinians in a room --


ANDERSON: And this issue is now generations old. And what you might hear from the Palestinians is this is a new U.S. administration who outright said, U.S. president said he thinks these Middle East solutions, Middle East peace is easy.


ANDERSON: And they have very little experience of the region. Is there a naivete to Washington at this point?

HERZOG: I'd say the following: I think that it's combined. On the one hand we understand that it's an ancient, long conflict with a lot of emotions, religion, beliefs and pain.

On the other hand, perhaps it's a moment to rock the boat a bit and make it clear to all the parties, guys, you want to make peace, sit down and talk. Stop goofing. Stop coming with excuses.

And I agree, I'm not saying (INAUDIBLE) Israeli. I agree that there is a Palestinian feeling of kind of insult. But that doesn't derogate from the need to promise hope to the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.

ANDERSON: It sounds, from what we heard from both U.S. president and his ambassador to the United States yesterday that they want to do business with another Palestinian leader.

The point is Mahmoud Abbas is the man to do business with at present. There isn't an obvious alternative, is there?

And the consequences of leaving the Palestinians out of this and the P.A. --


ANDERSON: -- out of this, are sort of unthinkable at present.

HERZOG: Look, I said in the Crescent (ph) plenary this week, in honor of vice president Pence, I spoke as the leader of the position following Prime Minister Netanyahu and I said, this is a very explosive and sensitive moment.

It can either skid slowly toward an evasive (ph) sort, another cycle or, God forbid, or something else, collapse of the P.A., things we don't want to see.

On the other hand I also made it clear and I say firmly and I say it here, there is a golden opportunity to actually -- a lot of the elements are ready for another process. So you need leadership, you need to move forward and I think the international community, I think the Arab world and I think the president, definitely the president can say things that can move the process forward.

ANDERSON: I know, talking to my sources in the Arab world, that there is an effort, at least, being made for this to be -- this process, the -- a solution to be on a more multilateral basis maybe, for example, including Europeans and others, taking this away as it were, from this kind of direct U.S. negotiation --


ANDERSON: -- and the Palestinians have said already, the U.S. is a dishonest broker.


ANDERSON: -- sure; I'm not saying you need the U.S. out. I'm just saying you engage with a wider group of people.

HERZOG: Except, look, first of all, it's a combination. I just mentioned possibilities of (INAUDIBLE). However, at the end of it all, there has to be some sort of a process between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Palestinians right now, the position is impossible. They just turned their back away, I -- OK, we understand you're angry, but, guys you have to get on over it and move forward. At the end of the day to put even on Jerusalem, the president said correctly in his great statement on Jerusalem, he said the borders of the sovereignty of Israel on Jerusalem will be determined in a peace process. You'll sit down and talk.


ANDERSON: -- the table.

HERZOG: I don't know what it means, taken off the table; it's unclear to me. I think part of it is, look, the question whether Israel has the right to have its capital in Jerusalem is off the table. However, the borders and other questions will be determined in the future.

And I think of the end of it all, it's not only an international -- a quest for peace. It's a -- it's the only interest of Israelis and Palestinians, to move to peace and give hope to their next generation.


ANDERSON: In Davos this morning, we thank you.

HERZOG: Good morning.

ANDERSON: That's the latest from here. We'll be back later this hour. Back to you, though, Isha, in Los Angeles for now.

SESAY: Becky, much appreciated, thank you.

Just ahead, the Trump white house said it has never considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller. Now numerous sources are disputing that and say the president nearly fired Mueller seven months ago. All those details when we return.

Plus the rich and the powerful are meeting there in Davos, Switzerland, while human suffering in Africa and the Middle East reaches new heights.





SESAY: Hello, everyone.

Well, another bombshell in the ongoing Russia investigation. A source confirms to CNN that U.S. president Donald Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June but never followed through.

Now this is extremely important because it directly contradicts White House assertions the firing Mueller has never been considered. The story was first reported by "The New York Times," which cited four sources with knowledge of the matter. The White House declined to comment.

At the time, Mueller had been special counsel for just a few weeks. He took over the investigation after Trump fired FBI director James Coney in May. CNN source says Trump backed down from firing Mueller only when his White House counsel, Don McGann, threatened to quit if the president went through with it.

President Trump or his team have stated categorically not once or twice but numerous times since June 2017 that there has never been any consideration of firing Robert Mueller, in fact, there may be even more instances beyond these documented days that you see on your screens.

Let's bring you law professor Jessica Levinson and political analyst Michael Genovese.

Welcome to you. It is a good evening to have such learned people with us.

Michael, to start with you, how surprised are you that "The New York Times" reported directly and CNN's own reporting directly contradictions the White House assertions?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the White House was so adamant about this that that's the surprise, that they kept on saying time after time after time, we're not considering. We're going to cooperate. We're going to be part of the process, we're going to be open.

And they allowed number of people in the White House to testify, all of which was based on this flimsy notion that we thought was true but is not true, that in fact they tried to fire the special counsel.

And for those inclined to see in this obstruction of justice, it is more fitting in for the narrative. But -- and those who are not inclined to see obstruction of justice, you have to start saying, hmm, maybe there's something there. Maybe there is some smoke and fire there.

SESAY: Jessica, let's peel back the layer, shall we?

Again, to remind our viewers, the White House response was a non- response. I'm just going to put it up on the screen just for our viewers to see. They told CNN, "We decline to comment out of respect for the office of the special counsel and its process."

But according to "The New York Times," the president pointed to three conflicts of interest that he believed disqualified Mueller. Let's put those up on the screen for our viewers so they can follow along.

One was a dispute Mueller had involving the Trump national golf club, something to do with dues, membership fees. The law firm Mueller previously had worked at and the fact that Mueller had recently been interviewed to head the FBI. These are the three points the president pointed.

Do any of these meet the standards of a conflict of interest?

JESSICA LEVINSON, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: No. So let's say a few things.

One, no; let's say that again.

Two, let's log our surprise on this at about a -0. So the fact that Donald Trump was thinking of firing special counsel Mueller, I think is a surprise to know when. And frankly the surprise is that they were so adamant about saying, well, this absolutely did not happen.

And I think that it's not surprising actually that Don McGann said, no, that's a step too far. That's a step where you simply can't go. And I would also say let's log under not a surprise the idea that Donald Trump is saying, well, there was this kerfuffle with a golf course and you worked at a certain firm and you may have interviewed for the FBI director job.

So let's look at the law, let's look at what a legal conflict of interest is and let's all agree that that is simply not it.

And the thing that -- all joking aside, I mean, the thing that I think we need to focus on is this concerted campaign to undermine Mueller's investigation. And what I worry about the most is that Mueller has continued to come out with indictments; people have continued to have agree that, yes, I did lie to you, FBI agent. There have been plea agreements.

But there's this campaign of trying to undermine him. And I think that is the most dangerous thing we're seeing.


GENOVESE: If I may, this is like what -- when Comey was fired and the president said, well, I fired him because he was so unkind to Hillary Clinton. It was absurd on the face of it. And these excuses, as we mentioned, are absurd on the face of it.

How much are green fees at his golf course, that it would cause Mueller to be a mad after all these years?

It's -- it just defies logic and it is just past the point of silliness.

SESAY: Let me read something from -- [01:25:00]

SESAY: -- "The New York Times" piece because, again, I think it speaks to the president and the way he views the government really and how it operates. Let's read this.

"Mr. Trump has long demonstrated a preoccupation with those who have overseen the Russia investigation. In March, after Mr. McGann failed to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the inquiry, Mr. Trump complained that he needed someone loyal to oversee the Justice Department."

We keep coming back to this loyalty thing, that the president seems to believe, at least from the reporting, that, if you aren't on his team, then you can't possibly be fair, that basically it comes down to being on a side, to basically be part of this administration.

Michael, speak to that and how that has been a theme through all of this, the Russia investigation.

GENOVESE: Well, the president demands loyalty because he needs loyalty because he's asking people to do things that they don't want to do and they shouldn't be asked to do. And the White House counsel, bless him for it, he stood up. He was kind of the Elliot Richardson of our age.

But that we need people to stand up to a president, to say, I won't do that; that's just not right. It's wrong. It takes courage to do that. Very few people have that kind of courage and Donald Trump is banking on that, that loyalty to him as a person is going to trump loyalty to the Constitution.

LEVINSON: Also, let's call this what it is. This is what autocrats do. This is not what our government is based on. Our government is based on, for instance, a Department of Justice that serves justice, not the president.

So for President Trump's predecessor, President Obama, when he was swearing in people for in the (ph) Department of Justice, prosecutors, he says your allegiance is to the Constitution. It's not to me.

And this is a diametrically opposed situation, where we're trying to consolidate power behind the chief executive. And he's not respecting that there should be different loyalties, faith in our system, faith in the Constitution, not faith and loyalty in one man.

SESAY: Michael, Jessica, great insights. Very much appreciate it. We're going to hit pause right now and we'll come back next hour and pick up the conversation. Thank you.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

SESAY: All right. Well, that's all for us here in Los Angeles.

Becky, I'm going to turn it back to you there in Davos.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed.

As world and corporate leaders gather here in Davos for the World Economic Forum, aid agencies say human suffering is at its worst since World War II. More than 20 million people across Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are threatened by famine and starvation.

And global leaders are acknowledging the challenges with a theme for this year, creating a shared future in a fractured world.

Executive director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, joins me now.

Does that resonate with you?

Some people have said to me it's a slightly confusing M.O. for this meeting.

But in the world that you work in, is it fractured?

DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WFP: It is fractured. It is amazing. You talk about 100 million people around the world who go to bed every night not knowing what they're going to eat the next day.

That's why it is important to be here because we can't solve this problem worldwide unless the private sector truly steps up, engages and takes a more comprehensive, effective strategy. It's critical that they do so.

And what I'm hearing in Davos is an amazing shift, I think, of the heart, saying that, you know, we can't solve these problems without the private sector. And so we're seeing their engagement in several different ways, particularly in the food sector and how do we take developing countries that's seen for the last 20 or 30 years with humanitarian aid not going anywhere in the private sector saying we want to engage, we want to be a part of the solution.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating because we hear a lot of talk so you can say they talk the talk up here; do they walk the walk?

And it is not just the private sector, of course, they support what is government effort to help.

Is government doing enough?

And if not, who's not?

BEASLEY: Well, in sense, it's a two-pronged question there. What countries around the world, they are stepping up. Some countries are, some countries aren't. And then there's the country, host country, where we have problems, what are they doing, how are they engaged?

What are the problems on the ground there?

And you know, when I took this role about eight months ago, nine months ago, everybody was concerned about the United States cutting back. In fact the United States in the World Food Programme went from 1.9 billion, not down but up to 2.5 billion.

The Brits, amazing support; Germany, amazing support; E.U. The country in Europe that hasn't been stepping up -- we hope they'll step up -- is France. They gave us 30 million so.

ANDERSON: 30 million a year, annually?

BEASLEY: 30 million compared the U.S. 2.5 billion --


ANDERSON: -- is a C- --

BEASLEY: -- can do better and we're hoping that they will because there are a lot of (INAUDIBLE) countries that need their help.

ANDERSON: OK, we're talking about ponying up --


ANDERSON: -- and you're suggesting up here you have heard some really quite inspired stories about how the private sector can help. I want to talk about you because you're right. You've been in this job less than a year. The reason you were applauded or the decision was applauded to have you do this job is your remarkable story about being a leader in the state of South Carolina.

Can you just share that with our viewers?

I'm going to give you a little platform here because I really like this story.

BEASLEY: Well, South Carolina, a lot of people have images of the old past. But boy, South Carolina, when I took the helm in South Carolina, we were the number one state in the country of the worst unemployment. And within 18 to 24 months we were number one in American employment, number one in personal income growth, capital, international investments because we engaged the private sector.

We brought Republicans and Democrats together, the haves and the have- nots together and say we've got to achieve greatness for all people. We went into the welfare, unemployment zones; we created special tax credits and incentives.

And there's been a unique -- the heart of the peoples in South Carolina, the coming together.

ANDERSON: And that's my point, it was that you -- your efforts were made to improve the lot of the have-nots. You take that experience and put it on the wider stage because, at the end of the day -- Christine Lagarde will say are we looking at continuing growth on the world economy in 2019?

But not everybody around the world is getting a dividend from that great. And in fact, we see the gap and inequality stretching don't we? BEASLEY: You know, use your office as a bully pulpit, your position. And this is what I'm telling the private sector. For example, in the United States, in the last year, the stock market increase has been trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars.

ANDERSON: You are a different sort of American, a different Republican from that which we will see here today. You're different from U.S. president Donald Trump.

Your thoughts on what we should expect from him today briefly.

BEASLEY: Well I've said to many people before, I said sometimes pay less attention what he says and what he does. For example, when we sat down talking about the World Food Programme and why it was important to the world and to the national security interests of the United States, our funding went from 1.9 billion to 2.5 billion.

And every time we've needed support and strategic help, they've stepped up. They've been there. And the key is talking straight with him. I've told international leaders who are always looking for guidance and advice, I've said talk straight, cut through the junk and I said you'll be quite surprised.

So today I'm hoping we're going to get a message that the United States will continue to lead. They should lead and I'm hoping it's going to be a message that is positive because the world needs some positive news right now.

And when I look at the U.S. economy and the global economy, 300 hundred trillion dollars of available wealth, there shouldn't be a single poor person in the world go to bed hungry, not one. It's inexcusable. So I plan to use this position as a bully pulpit to tell the folks of wealth, you have a moral responsibility to step up.

And I'm hearing that in Davos from the big corporate leaders. I think they really do want to step up and make a difference.

ANDERSON: The U.N. World Food Programme's head here with me in Davos. Pleasure having you on, sir. Thank you.

BEASLEY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Some say they are glad the U.S. president is here in Davos. Some say he is crashing the party. Politico even called his presence the Trump stinkbomb. When we come back, we'll talk with the editor of chief of that organization. Stay with us.



SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.

The source confirms to CNN that U.S. President Donald Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June. It was just weeks after Mueller took over the investigation into Russian election meddling. Mr. Trump backed down after the White House legal counsel threatened to quit. The White House has declined to comment.

At least 29 people, many of them elderly have been killed in a fire at a hospital in South Korea. Officials say most of the victims suffocated. Dozens of other people are injured. The fire apparently broke out in the first-floor emergency room.

In a few hours, U.S. President Donald Trump will address financial and political leaders at the World Economic Forum. They'll be watching to see how Mr. Trump squares his "America First" policies with their largely more global interest.

For more on the World Economic Forum, we turn now to CNN's Becky Anderson who's there in the chilly Davos. Hey there Becky.

ANDERSON: Hi Isha, thank you. We are indeed waiting on President Trump's speech here in Switzerland where I'm joined by CNN MONEY's Emerging Market's Editor, John Defterios.

Let's consider just what you have heard from the business community here in Davos, what do global CEOs want to hear?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKET'S EDITOR, CNN MONEY: Well I think they're actually two very distinct camps that are listening for different things of Donald Trump, one is the global business community, the other one is the policymakers.

Let's start with the business community themselves, they're not shouting from the rooftops but they're pretty happy with Donald Trump, they got a big tax cut in the United States bringing the corporate rate down to 21 percent, deregulation, they're hoping for the last -- the third leg of all of this is a big infrastructure bill.

So by enlarge, he's giving a boost to global growth right now. The policymakers on the other hand are remembered back to his inaugural speech last year when we're in Davos and he said, "I want to stop the carnage of America. We need to protect our industry." We've had a quarter of the G20 countries and the U.S. is a member of the G20 come out before he arrives here and said, "Let's not break down the whole architecture that we build after World War II, particularly the World Trade Organization."

They're concerned about him throwing up walls and breaking down the NAFTA Agreement, the Transpacific partnership, he said last night in an interview, "Oh, perhaps I can join that agreement if it's right for me." So, it's very conditional Donald Trump. I'll play on the world stage when it comes to trade but the conditions has to be right for America that even his cabinet, I thought that was interesting. Before he got here, we're trying to redefine what is "America First," is it protectionism? "No they said, it's all about competition. We want America to be able to compete."

ANDERSON: And it's interesting isn't it, because people said you can't square "America First" with globalism or globalization which is what is -- is much vaunted at a meeting like this and yet there are others you say, "Hang on a minute, they can coexist" and every country goes after and will defend its national interest. It's just about how they do that.

So I guess, we're looking for some instruction to a certain extent about the road ahead whether it has speed bumps and where those bumps are from the U.S. president as much as anything else, correct?

DEFTERIOS: But isn't it extraordinary just hours before his speech, we're wondering what's the tone of Donald Trump. And behind the scenes we're talking about does he stay on script or does he go off script here to use the analogy here in Davos? That's the big concern, you go off script and get quite aggressive right now.

The other thing where I think he's left a huge vacuum and I think it shouldn't be overlooked and perhaps his biggest failure I think if we can be bold here is pulling out of the Paris Agreement has left a huge vacuum, the Chinese are willing to fill it, the Europeans are willing to fill it. Is he going to come forward and say, "Look, I'm willing to go back into the Paris Agreement? Again, what I was suggesting before, if the conditions are right."

So this is a president, his bark has been worse than his bite. Remember the speech from last, much more aggressive, "I'm going to tear down all those institutions." He didn't 'do it today though, he didn't do to U.N., he hasn't done at the World Trade Organization, he hasn't done it to NAFTA. But we have to see if he goes down the center and wants to bring everybody into the (INAUDIBLE)

ANDERSON: A number of people here have said to me that this could conceivably be the most important speech of his presidency today. Let's see.


DEFTERIOS: No, I thought that was interesting because it's his based, right, the business community.

ANDERSON: Yes. Thank you, John.


ANDERSON: Well President Trump says his vision of making America great again is good for the whole world but one by one, many U.S. allies have expressed concern at Davos here about the idea of going into loan.


ANGELA MERKEL, German CHANCELLOR (through translator): We believe isolationism will get us nowhere. We believe we have to cooperate and that protectionism is not the right answer.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Forces of protectionism are raising their heads against globalization. Their intention is not only to avoid globalization themselves but also want to reverse its natural flow." JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It will surprise you to hear that one of the things I believe fundamentally is that diversity is a source of strength, that different perspective, different views should be listened to and understood and included in a way we figure out the right path forward as countries, as corporations and organizations, and indeed as the world.


ANDERSON: Let's talk more about what Mr. Trump's "America First" means for relationship building in Davos. With John Harris, who's the Editor-in-chief of "Politico." We all await this speech to Donald Trump's mind, he may be thinking what you've heard from the rest, now let's hear it from the best. He's up in about four or five hours' time, where is he going with all of this?

JOHN HARRIS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, POLITICO: That's right. Well, I thought John who you just had on made a great point which is, is he going to be on script? If so, I think we have a good sense of what he's about to say in a few hours. If he goes off script, I think who knows what he's going to say.

On script, he's going to say, "Look, "America First" doesn't mean America alone," administration people have been saying that line over and over again. And he said, "Look, United States is open for business." As you pointed out a moment ago, there's nothing wrong with individual nations representing their self-interest, but that's a big difference from Donald Trump saying, "The United States is going to withdraw from the world" which he has on other occasions. Have been so critical, the Paris Accord, so critical at international institutions.

ANDERSON: That's why he had said a number of times that he wants to renegotiate a whole range of deals on trade and, of course, the Iranian Nuclear Deal which he has famously called a horrible deal. Then we just begin -- let's take a look at this week, so the (INAUDIBLE) it seems that China and South Korea on some wide goods that quite frankly Wilbur Ross has said, well gives you the impression that we look -- we are putting up protectionist walls.

And then he said, "But hang on a minute, the TPP, I might like that deal if I can take a look at it myself."

HARRIS: Maybe so. This is the --

ANDERSON: Is this the (INAUDIBLE) negotiator, correct?

HARRIS: This is the exact side of Donald Trump that a lot of people thought they were getting, the dealmaker, right, that's been the essence of his whole career that he's supposedly a superb dealmaker.

The fact of the matter is, one year into his presidency, there's not a lot of evidence certainly on the world stage that he's a fantastic dealmaker.

ANDERSON: Well let's (INAUDIBLE) let's take a look at what I think many here will say the underestimated impact of tax reform and deregulation --

HARRIS: Well that's why I said on the world stage.


HARRIS: Domestically, he did get that achievement and it's clear that the economic and financial types at Davos. They are thrilled, they couldn't be happier with what they think is going to be highly stimulating in the United States and, of course, the United States economy is (INAUDIBLE)

ANDERSON: So as we await to hear which Donald Trump has turned, U.S. president has shown up to a certain extent and that is in his speech later on today, 2:00 p.m. local time here. If you say, (INAUDIBLE) I do hope that you will.

If you have some advice to the global execs who are here, who are likely to get quite a lot of time with him in this short period of time that is, what would your advice be to the European and Asian executives?

HARRIS: Sure. Well, what a lot of people in the United States have learned is you can't lay it on too thick. Go ahead and flatter him, go ahead and say, "Mr. President, you're doing great" and that's where you get receptivity.

And when Donald Trump is in a receptive mood, you can get him to agree to a lot of things. Sometimes his own staff gets nervous because he says things that aren't actually the official position. Of course, they have to scramble and change the position. I think they don't need my advice, a lot of these executives are clearly doing that saying, "Look, we may not like Donald Trump and we think he's an erratic president, he wouldn't be our choice." But clearly, from a business perspective, this is a president who we can work with.


From a political perspective, I think a lot of the world leaders here are still fundamentally troubled by his style and his priorities. The style being attacking critics, attacking the free press, the substance, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord and all the rest. So economic, people learning to live with Donald Trump, political people still really troubled by this president.

ANDERSON: Thank you for joining us.

HARRIS: Thank you.

ANDERSON: As the sun comes up, still to come, differences emerge between the U.S. and Turkey over a phone call between Presidents Trump and Erdogan. Stay with us for that.


SESAY: The rift between Turkey and the U.S. is growing deeper over the Turkish incursion into Northern Syria. Turkey is denying the White House account over recent phone call between the country's presidents.

Turkish officials describe it as just an exchange views and say Mr. Trump did not ask Turkey to dial back its offensive. But the White House says the president urge Recep Tayyip Erdogan to limit military actions warning of a possible conflict between Turkish and American forces. While U.S. troops operating in (INAUDIBLE) Syria as part of an international coalition against ISIS, they've been arming Kurdish Syrian fighters, infuriating (INAUDIBLE) which views their push for a Kurdish homeland as a threat.

Well, this dispute puts NATO allies on the opposite side of a major battle inside Syria right along the Turkish border. Arwa Damon shares as what's at stake in this exclusive report.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The terrain out here you can see is quite rural. Now, this is one of the outermost perimeters of territory controlled by the Turkish backed free Syrian army rebels.

They do control this town. But then if you look up to the hills, you can see some of what we are told are the YPG fighting positions where they do have snipers in place that have been taking shots into this area. There also was a few hours before we arrived a mortar that landed we were told inside that small village.

Now, we have been hearing also throughout the course of our time here, the sound of artillery being fired, that, of course, originating from Turkey. The actual on the ground advance itself is happening in other directions.

What you see right there, that is the Turkish City of Kilis, there's also a refugee camp and one of the things that the Turkish government is hoping to accomplish is to push the YPG back further enough so that there is no longer a threat post directly to Turkey from artillery or mortars that they have been firing. The other thing that the government hopes to accomplish is expanding this buffer zone, expanding this safe zone so that at least perhaps a portion of the 3.5 million Syrian refugees that are currently inside Turkey can begin thinking about coming home. Arwa Damon, CNN (INAUDIBLE) Syria.



SESAY: Global the Turkish operation comes amid a die humanitarian situation there in Syria, tens of thousands people are fleeing intense fighting in the country's North. Medicins Sans Frontieres says it's one of the biggest displacement since the start of the war. The aid globals are known as doctors without borders says cold winter weather is making things even worst.

For more on all of this, MSF's Omar Ahmed Abenza joins me live from Istanbul, Turkey. He's head of the group's Syria mission. Omar, thank you for being with us. First of all, give our viewers a sense of how large these displacement camps are at present and what the conditions are.

OMAR AHMED ABENZA, HEAD OF MSF: Well the displacement as you said is one of the largest that we have witnessed since the beginning of the counseling. And considering that there were already big amount of displaced that people in the America area, the conditions are pretty bad.

First and foremost, people are not able to find appropriate shelter. Our teams are basically seeing families that are living in the same tent, so that they're overloaded in their tents. Now, the infrastructure has been damaged after seven years of conflict. As you can imagine, therefore there is limited access to the basic services such as I said shelter, access to clean water, access to sanitation, to food, and to other basic services that the population needs. In terms of health, of course, considering that it's winter and that its cold in the -- it's raining, it's muddy, the living conditions are not good, we are witnessing an upper respiratory infections, we're witnessing a lot of children with flu.

And we're also seeing a lot of patients who have not been able to take their drugs (INAUDIBLE) the patients that are dependent on drugs for chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.

SESAY: So Omar, as you paint this bleak picture of the lack of infrastructure, basic services, and the health conditions now, health concerns, how much are groups like your own, groups like MSF, how much are you able to alleviate the suffering of these people living in this environment?

ABENZA: Not as much as we would like to think that there's been, as I said before, dozens of thousands of people moving. However, we are able to distribute nonfood items, hygiene kits, or winter kits to approximately some 100 families per week. So access is difficult, the people are scattered, so it is not easy to actually deliver to all of them.

SESAY: You talked about the infrastructure being damaged after all this time, A groups in the position to improve that? I mean, what is the -- what's the situation on that front in terms of making these places, this environment more livable?

ABENZA: Well for sure, humanitarian actors are trying to support the existing infrastructures but in many places, there's still the fighting ongoing and there's people who are there and they're moving. So they're not accessible.

And when we have access, we can use the existing infrastructure but to a certain extent. So for sure, no matter -- I mean, despite the -- all the efforts of the humanitarian community, we can't -- there are still gaps, there are still serious needs.

SESAY: You talked about access and areas of concern, what are the areas or where are the areas you have the greatest concern for the populations?

ABENZA: Well the more you are -- you move to the east of the Idlib governorate, the more you are getting closer to the actual frontline and therefore you cannot access because it's not safe. There's still fighting ongoing, there are still strikes, so it's -- it is not feasible. So that's why the people are moving towards the west towards the border with Turkey.

SESAY: And from your teams that are on the ground and speaking to these people who are displaced, whose lives have been appended, I mean what do they say in terms of their view of the future? What do they say about what they want to do next?

ABENZA: Well people are confused, they're traumatized, it's been several years of conflict. As I was saying before, it's been more than one episode of large displacement, so at the same time, people are basically desperate and they don't really know what's next.


Many people have lost relatives through the period of escaping and moving and they basically don't know if their relatives are alive or not and especially they're fearing because their frontlines are moving towards the west and at one point, there's -- the territory in which they can basically continue with their lives is shrinking. So there are serious concerns of what's going to happen later on.

SESAY: Yes, indeed. Omar Ahmed Abenza with MSF, Head of the Syria Program, we really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

ABENZA: Thanks to you.

SESAY: We'll pause here for a very quick break. Next, on NEWSROOM LA, a fire erupts in the South Korean hospital, why officials say the death toll is unusually high. We'll explain just ahead.


SESAY: At least 39 people died when fire swept through a hospital in South Korea. Officials say many of the victims were elderly and suffocated. About 200 people were reportedly inside the hospital and they're joining nursing home, the flames are now out. Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul, South Korea.

Paula, what more are we learning about how this all happened and how it played out?

HANCOCKS: Well Isha, what we know from officials at this point is they believe that this fire started in the emergency room, on the ground floor of Sejong Hospital.

Now we just heard something quite remarkable from the chief of that hospital saying there were no sprinklers in that hospital. What he also said was that it wasn't a legal requirement because the size of the building did not dictate that they needed those sprinklers. It really does seem quite remarkable that a hospital would not be legally required to have sprinklers. We're looking into that right now to see if that is in fact accurate. We're also hearing from the hospital chief that there were nine staff on duty at the time and three of those hospital staff also lost their lives, doctor, nurse, and a nurse's aide. It was almost full to capacity we understand was -- when this fire actually took place. The first and the second floors were engulfed in the fire. The third floor they managed to stop any further fire spreading bad. But the reason we're hearing that there were so many death is the fact that the ICU, the -- was on the second floor and there were many elderly people there who simply could not move, Isha --

SESAY: Absolutely distressing. I mean Paula, as you mentioned the question regarding the sprinklers and the legality of not having them in a medical facility, it begs questions about safety standards there in South Korea. I mean are authorities saying?

HANCOCKS: Well authorities aren't saying too much at this point. We've heard from the President, Moon Jae-in, he's calling for a full investigation and to find out what exactly happened. But we have been here before.

Just last month, there were 29 people killed at a sports center, in a sauna in an area outside of the capital. So this is not unusual shall we say for South Korea and certainly the fact that it had happened so quickly after that deadly fire is raising questions, more questions about safety, Isha --

SESAY: Yes, truly, truly awful. Paula Hancocks joining us there from Seoul, South Korea. We appreciate it, thank you.


Now, you might remember the controversy over net neutrality rules here in the United States. They were meant to keep internet service providers from either favoring or blocking certain content. And the government recently repeal the measures.

Well, fast food chain Burger King is trolling the decision where the commercial called, "Whopper Neutrality" here's the meat of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number 98 with quality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number 98, you got the whopper.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you got this whopper pad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's on the menu right there with the fast, medium, and slow. Slow MBPS, fast MBPS, or hyperfast MBPS. MBPS, of course, standing for making burgers per second.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if we want a whopper now, we have to pay $26.00?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well that's how you get it fast, it's the highest priority.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really -- 15, yes, fasting and slowing.


SESAY: Well the ad is getting a mixed response. Some are calling it brilliant and praising the company for taking the stance on the hop back in the issue. Other think it comes off as an empty calorie in marketing ploy. It's kind of clever.

Well, Warren Miller, ski film legend and a passionate ski bum has died, he left more than 500 films about adventure sports that earned him worldwide acclaim. He's best remembered for breathtaking scenes on ski slopes and the people who with down them. Miller's company produced one feature ski film a year for more than 60 years. He took as much care in filming epic wipeouts as he did with expert runs on fresh powder. Miller's wife says her husband love nothing more than sharing his adventures and inspiring others to find their own. Warren Miller was 93-years-old.

And that's all we have time for this hour, I am Isha Sesay in Los Angeles.

ANDERSON: Hello, I'm Becky Anderson live for you in Davos in Switzerland. Much more from the World Economic Forum right after this, do stay with us.


SESAY: Hello and thank you for joining us, I'm Isha Sesay live in Los Angeles.

ANDERSON: And I'm Beck Anderson in Davos in Switzerland for you. A very warm welcome here in Davos.