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NEW DAY SATURDAY

WSJ: Casino Magnate And RNC Finance Chairman Steve Wynn Accused Of Sexual Misconduct; USA Gymnastics Board To Resign After Nassar Verdict; Forty Killed, Dozens Injured After Suicide Blast In Kabul; Toronto Police: Billionaire Couple Was Murdered; Democrats Eyeing Move To Protect Mueller; Trump Tried to Fire Special Counsel Last June; 37 Children Dead from Flu Virus This Season; Solar Industry Workers React to Trump Tariffs; Trump Respectfully Dismisses White House Press; Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 27, 2018 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[06:00:21]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The latest, high-profile, wealthy and politically connected man accused of sexual misconduct. Preposterous says Steve Wynn, the Vegas Hotel and Casino billionaire.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to thank the whole group and the money raised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mostly tied to President Trump as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Democrats are demanding the RNC return any campaign contributions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mounting evidence of possible obstruction of justice against the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller last June.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Fake news, folks. Fake news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a bombshell to Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that that is obstruction of justice and I think that that is grounds for impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been failures at MSU.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Asking for an immediate congressional investigation into USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They knew about what was going on and it went on for too long.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. We're so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. Great to be with you.

Let's get started. Well, it was just a week ago the president was singing his praises and now Trump ally and major Republican donor, Steve Wynn, is in the middle of a sexual misconduct scandal. According to the "Wall Street Journal," dozens of women say the Las Vegas casino mogul forced them to perform sex acts when they work for him. This morning, Wynn is calling those claims preposterous.

PAUL: In the meantime, Senate Democrats are trying to protect the special counsel in the Russia probe from the White House after major news outlets including CNN confirmed President Trump came dangerously close to firing Bob Mueller last year. Lawmakers are pushing now legislation to keep any official from undermining the investigation.

SAVIDGE: All right. Let's begin with the sexual assault scandal surrounding a top official of the RNC. Finance Chair Steve Wynn says the claims against him are preposterous. He released this lengthy statement, saying in part, quote, "We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations regardless of the truth and the person that is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.

It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation." The Board of Directors of Wynn Resort says it is now forming a special committee of independent directors to investigate these allegations. CNN's Miguel Marquez has more on this bombshell report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Preposterous says Steve Wynn, the Vegas Hotel and Casino billionaire to charges that he ever assaulted any woman. The blistering statement from Wynn himself after a bombshell "Wall Street Journal" report that a manicurist in 2005 was forced to lie on a massage table naked while she claims Wynn raped her.

The "Journal" also reporting Wynn paid the manicurist $7.5 million in a settlement. Wynn in his statement said, "The instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement."

Elaine Wynn's attorney told "The Journal" that's just not true. Wynn, the latest high profile, wealthy, and politically connected man accused of sexual misconduct. "The Wall Street Journal" says it spoke to more than 150 employees and dozens reported a pattern of sexual abuse by Wynn.

Wynn in his statement said, "We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations regardless of the truth and a person is left with a choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation."

The allegations now reverberating in politics where despite a history of supporting both parties --

STEVE WYNN, CASINO MOGUL: I'm friendly with Don and Hillary and I'm a friend with Donald Trump's. I haven't given a dime to either one of them and haven't decided on who I'm going to vote for.

MARQUEZ: Wynn is now closely tied to President Trump as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Democrats are demanding the RNC return any campaign contributions from Wynn much the way Republicans did with Harvey Weinstein.

Allegations against Wynn are now being used to put pressure on the Republican Party. The Democratic National Committee saying today, "The RNC have helped fund the campaign of an alleged child molester, blindly supported the GOP's attacks on women's health, and supported a president who has been accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women.

[06:05:07] And now they remain silent amid sexual assault allegations involving Steve Wynn, one of their party's most senior officials."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: So, last weekend, the president had to stay in Washington, D.C., because of the shutdown. He was supposed to be at Mar-a-Lago at an RNC Trump victory campaign fundraiser. One of the co-hosts of that fundraiser, you guessed it, Steve Wynn. Now, the president sent a video and said singling out Steve Wynn, CNN obtained audio of that video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Steve Wynn, I want to thank you. I want to thank the whole group, the money raised, you're really special people. Thank you very much. We'll see you the next time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Now, in fairness the president did mention several other people in that video, but Steve Wynn was certainly among them and coincidentally Steve Wynn turns 76 today. Back to you.

PAUL: All righty. Political -- CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis with us now as well as Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner."

Errol, first to you. As we saw that tape from President Trump, are we going to hear from him further now that this scandal has -- it's out there in full?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's unlikely. One thing that you get if you read through the extensive reporting that great job that they did at "The Wall Street Journal" is that Steve Wynn's alleged actions however deplorable are not really related to his activity at the RNC.

This didn't happen at party headquarters or party events as a matter of fact. These are stories about his conduct as a businessman at his office, at his businesses, at his resorts. And, so, I think for that reason we're not necessarily going to see the political world get too deeply involved.

Most likely what they will do is exactly what the Democrats have been calling for, which is to kind of exile him, excise him. Steve Wynn himself personally while he has given a considerable amount of money, it's not like it's in the millions.

The RNC can write a couple checks and say that they have refunded the money and I suspect that will be the last we hear of Steve Wynn from the RNC.

PAUL: So, Sarah, I want your take on that. Do they return the money, give it to charities that support women as many Democrats did after the Harvey Weinstein scandal? I mean, something, you would think would have to be done.

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, Errol is right the amount that Steve Wynn himself has given to the Republican Party may not be that much, but this would be a huge loss for the Republican Party because of Steve Wynn's fund-raising power and his ability to connect high-power donors with the RNC that makes him such an asset to the Republican Party.

The GOP had an enormous fundraising advantage over Democrats last year mostly because Steve Wynn is so good at fundraising. Maybe the Republican Party can make this scandal go away by writing a couple relatively low-dollar checks.

But the long-term implications of losing their fundraising powerhouse is going to be incredibly difficult for the RNC and I think that's why you didn't see them act immediately because this is actually a pretty damaging loss for the party.

PAUL: It's a loss for the party, but when you listen to the DNC statement, which I want to read for you here, "Republicans remain silent amid sexual assault allegations involving Steve Wynn, one of their party's most senior officials. This is the Republican Party.

This is the party of Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Joe Arpaio and Trent Franks. Democrats will refute to stand by while the Republican Party denigrates women. We'll continue to match side by side with women all across the country because we believe that women must be empowered and respected."

How much potency does this give the Democrats at the end of the day, Errol? I know you've said it did not happen within the RNC, but he's a face, he's a fundraiser and the Republicans were very stringent and very strong when they came out against Weinstein saying, look, you need to give money back that he gave to you.

LOUIS: Well, the Democrats, it's good for one news cycle. Will it be good all the way until November? I suppose. The Democrats might have some extraordinary luck. I think far more likely what will happen is between now and the November elections, we'll find one Democratic official or another, sexual assault does not respect party lines, no matter how much the DNC leadership might wish that it was so.

What we'll find is they'll be some Democratic scandal or high-profile Democrat involved in a scandal. And we'll be right back where we started when it comes to this notion that you can politically reap benefit by accusing the opposing party of being more in line with or more tolerant of sexual misconduct.

PAUL: And that's optimistic, isn't it, Errol? We talked about it, what is to come next. I know. I do need to ask this, Sarah. Interestingly enough, the president apparently liked "The Wall Street Journal" story on Twitter.

[06:10:07] I want to point that out. That means that the story is obviously on his radar. I even read somebody else on Twitter who said, what did you like that about that exactly, Mr. President? Do we really think at this point that he's not going to address any of this?

WESTWOOD: Well, I think it's probably in his interest not to wade into the issue he's not a credible voice on the issue of sexual misconduct because he, himself, has been accused so many times. But remember that Steve Wynn and Donald Trump go way, way back and they were famously rivals in the casino industry. There is no love lost between the two.

And even though they may have patched some of that over when Steve Wynn became the finance chair of the RNC, there has still been talk that maybe that rivalry exists between the two and some people trying to decipher why President Trump liked that story on Twitter.

PAUL: All righty. Sarah Westwood, Errol Louis, we always appreciate your perspectives, thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: The former doctor who treated Olympic women gymnasts, Larry Nassar, will spend the rest of his life in prison, but the fallout of his actions has now turned the heat on organizations associated with it.

PAUL: The Board of USA Gymnastics say all its members, all of them will resign after a request by the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State's president and athletic director stepping down. Michigan State's basketball coach says at this point it's time to heal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM IZZO, MICHIGAN STATE BASKETBALL COACH: Still out top priority in this healing process is for our courageous survivors. As a campus community, we do need to come together as Spartans to be a part of that healing process and that's going to fall on all of us. As far as the reports today, we will cooperate with any investigation going forward as we have always done. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: The feelings of solidarity and support were quite evident during a Michigan State basketball game. Students turned up in Teal shirts in support of Nassar's victims and dozens of women turned out to march for change on campus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIAH MANTHER, MICHIGAN STATE STUDENT: I think a lot of times people think that if they come forward they're not going to be believed and when things happen at this university that demonstrate that, then, you know, they're going to be less willing to come forward. I think things need to change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Nassar was convicted of sexually abusing more than 156 girls and young women over two decades.

we want to tell you about a deadly blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, this morning, 40 people are dead, and 140 others injured, after an attacker drove an ambulance packed with explosives to a government building before detonating it.

SAVIDGE: This was the scene right after officials say police identified the attacker at a checkpoint, but were unable to stop him before he detonated the explosives. The injured have been taken to hospitals across the city and the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Canadian police are now saying what a lot of people have suspected for weeks. The billionaire couple, Barry and Honey Sherman, who were found dead in their home last month were victims of a planned murder. Our Paula Newton has the new developments from Ottawa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After six weeks of exhaustive investigation, Toronto Police left the home of Barry and Honey Sherman admitting they still have no suspects, no motive, but one chilling conclusion. The billionaire couple was murdered.

DETECTIVE SGT. SUSAN GOMES, TORONTO POLICE SERVICE: We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation, and that both Honey and Barry Sherman were, in fact, targeted.

NEWTON: Targeted for murder by one or more people determined to see them die in their own home in a gruesome fashion.

GOMES: Honey and Barry Sherman were found deceased in the lower level pool area hanging by belts from a poolside railing in a semi-seated position.

NEWTON: There were no signs of forced entry and police say they're still talking to neighbors, witnesses, family members, business associates, anyone who knew anything about the Sherman's lives or even their last hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are in shock and crying.

NEWTON: This murder mystery has shaken many, not just in this affluent Toronto neighborhood but throughout Canada. Barry and Honey Sherman were high-profile billionaires. Barry the pioneering generic drug tycoon always eager to take on big pharma and his wife, Honey, patron of several charities.

Together they gave away tens of millions to several causes. All the more incredible that they were targeted and left to die in such a horrific way. The Sherman's children have launched an independent investigation of their own and in a statement to media said their preliminary findings are consistent with that of police.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: The Shermans had close ties to prime ministers both past and present. Their murder had shaken the political establishment with many wondering who could have wanted to see them dead and why. Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.

[06:15:13] PAUL: All right. Paula, thank you.

So, it's been quite a week of major developments in the Russia investigation. Democrats now looking for a way to protect the man behind that investigation.

SAVIDGE: How the president's attempt to fire Robert Mueller may backfire.

Plus, this year's flu season is on track to become one of the worst in nearly a decade. The CDC says there is still many more weeks to come. What you can do to stay protected.

PAUL: Also, the president follows through on a campaign promise. Why his decision has solar panel operators pretty concerned right now?

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it definitely is nerve wracking. You're trying to keep your bills paid and the feeling in the back of your mind, what could happen next?

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[06:20:01]

WHITFIELD: It's 19 minutes past the hour right now and this morning, there are new reports of frustration, anger, annoyance in the west wing. CNN sources say President Trump is fuming about the Russia investigation and venting about firing the man supervising that probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Another day and another major development it seems here, right. I want to walk with you here through the flurry of headlines this past week. Sources say that the president tried to fire Robert Mueller in June even though the White House denied it for months.

The president also wanted to fire the deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, but he didn't follow through because the FBI director threatened to resign. We also learned that the president sat down with McCabe and asked him about who he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe later called the question, quote, "disturbing."

In the meantime, Attorney General Jeff sessions was questioned by the special counsel's team for several hours last week making him the first member of the president's cabinet to be interviewed, which brings us up to date here. Robert Mueller wants to talk to the president now about why he fired James Comey.

SAVIDGE: All of those major developments have Democrats have defending Robert Mueller and his investigation. CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live in Washington this morning. Kaitlan, Democrats are doing more than just defending, they actually want to protect the special counsel, right?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. They are seeking to ensure that he will be protected from being fired by President Trump by including some legislation in this ongoing budget negotiations that would protect him from being able to just be fired by Donald Trump at his whim.

Now this is legislation that was first brought up actually in the late summer, early fall, when there was rampant speculation that the president was considering firing Mueller, but it died down after not only the president, but his aides insisted that he was not considering it.

That it was not on the table and even the president's lawyers going as far to say it wasn't on the table. We now know because this bombshell "New York Times" report that has been confirmed by CNN that is not the case and the president was actually considering firing Mueller and that's why the talks are starting back up on Capitol Hill.

Now Senator Mark Warner is the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation into this Russia probe and he had to say this about making sure that Bob Mueller cannot be fired by the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: I think if the president had gone through with this or tries to go through with it on a going forward basis, we're into unchartered territory and the real question of fundamentals of our democracy. Are we still going to be a country where rule of law prevails and that no one, even the president, is above the law? My hope will become next week that Congress will take up bipartisan legislation that was around last year that would protect the special prosecutor from these kind of arbiter actions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Now Senator Warner has certainly been someone who has not shied away from criticizing the president, but back over the summer when the rumors were first starting up even Republicans on Capitol Hill were saying that the president shouldn't even come close or think about firing the special counsel.

Now, the president has largely ignored this report from "New York Times" so far only saying that it was only fake news and not commenting on it any further. But he returned to Washington last night from Davos, Switzerland, and there is certainly a chance that he could bring it up. He's got his state of the union address on Tuesday. So, we'll be waiting to see what the White House has to say about this.

SAVIDGE: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much. The Republicans would not go along with that and who knows where that would go. All right. Thank you.

PAUL: All right, still to come, every state in the country except Hawaii is dealing with this deadly flu. We're talking about 40 kids, nearly 40 kids that almost died. The CDC says it will be around for many more weeks. Our chief medical correspondent had some really important things to say to you about this. Dr. Sanjay Gupta coming up.

SAVIDGE: Plus, a damaging claim against Hillary Clinton. Did she save a staffer's job after he was accused of sexual harassment?

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[06:28:06]

PAUL: It's 27 minutes past the hour. So good to have you here this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: So, even on this trip to Davos, Switzerland, the president just could not get away from the Russia-related headlines.

SAVIDGE: Two sources tell CNN that President Trump wanted Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller fired last summer. He was stopped when White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit and now a top Democrat in the Senate says an action like that would lead the country into unchartered territory.

Joining us now to talk about all of this is Errol Louis, the CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for "Washington Examiner." Great to see you both this morning. Sarah, let me start with you. White House staffers have repeatedly denied that firing Mueller was ever an option that was being considered by the president. Now, they're being pretty much quiet. The president called it fake news. Some had said this is game changing. Where in that broad definition is this real event? Is it significant or is it just, well, he didn't actually do it?

WESTWOOD: I think it's somewhere in the middle. You know, we already had an understanding that President Trump is frustrated with the Russia probe. He's always questioned the legitimacy of the investigation.

And recall that back in June, this is before Ty Cobb came into the White House to help the president navigate this. So, Trump was still publicly pretty adversarial toward the Russia investigation, still describing it as a witch-hunt.

Still pushing back pretty forcefully against the fact that this was going on at all and at the time there was reporting that the discussions had taken place about potentially firing Mueller, but that aides persuaded President Trump not to and the issue was never pursued further.

Now, this "New York Times" report suggest that President Trump weighed it more seriously than just the casual conversation, but either way this doesn't move the needle in terms of how we always knew that President Trump viewed the special counsel.

[06:30:01] Also an interesting thing about the timing. I mean, the president is on his way to Davos, the news suddenly comes out. He has a very strong message he was going to say economically about the U.S. Now suddenly the conversation is the verdict.

Let me ask you this, Errol. Senator Mark Warner said that a decision like this would lead the country into unchartered territory. Is that really true? Or would loyal Republicans defend the decision and as the president said that there were actual reasons he thought about getting rid of Mueller and part of that was he felt that there were some conflicts of interest?

LOUIS: Well, I think it's legally unchartered territory and politically unchartered territory. The last time we saw a special prosecutor fired or attempted to be fired by a sitting president that that prosecutor was investigating was Richard Nixon and it didn't work out so well for Nixon in the end. We don't really see presidents taking that kind of heavy handed action.

I'd would like to say, though, I mean, that the fact that the president we now know, I think it's been pretty much confirmed from all these multiple sources and the non-denials from the White House, that he gave an explicit order to have the special prosecutor fired. Now the fact that his subordinates talked him out of it or sort of threatened to quit or didn't carry out his order in some ways is not really quite the point.

When you have a specific intent and you give the order, then you have taken an action and I think that's the question that has to be asked of President Trump. Why did you take this action and what does that really mean?

SAVIDGE: Sarah, Mueller knew of this some time ago. It wasn't like he just got the news of this week. What do you think his reaction would be and how would that possibly impacts his investigation?

WESTWOOD: Well, it depends on how aggressively Mueller is pursuing the potential obstruction of justice line of inquiry in this investigation. That's something that we're hearing more and more that Mueller is interested in, not just in this one incident but in the removal of James Comey and the White House's attempt to craft a misleading statement about the Don Junior Trump Tower meeting.

These all add up to a picture of a White House that was potentially resisting the investigation and it's one reason why I think a lot of President Trump's advisers are nervous about this meeting that he has upcoming with Robert Mueller, particularly if the president is placed under oath.

Because Trump and most White House aides, you talk to them, they're pretty confident that there's not going to be any collusion findings. But they're not as confident that Mueller is not going to find any carelessness or any resistance that White House or campaign aides took earlier on before they realized how serious this investigation would be and they think that potentially this interview with President Trump could put him in peril.

SAVIDGE: I want both of you to actually listen to what a top Putin critic, political rival, said of Russia's election meddling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXEI NAVALNY, CRITIC, POLITICAL RIVAL OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN (through translator): I have no doubt that the Kremlin did everything it could to influence these elections and that there were, indeed, hacks on the DNC and of e-mails. This is something they have been doing inside this country for a very long time. I have also been a victim of such attacks like documents. This happens all the time.

But, honestly, I really doubt it actually had any impact on the presidential elections. This is a good thing about the authoritarian leaders. Whatever they do, they do it ineffectively. Of course they are trying to stick their noses into elections. They will continue trying to influence situations using propaganda and stirring up conflicts in the U.S. and Europe. But you shouldn't overestimate the level of this influence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: So what we get out of that is, of course, he agrees that the Kremlin is trying to hack elections but he downplays the impacts of their efforts at least so far.

And I'm wondering, Errol, could that really catch on here? The possibility that maybe Republicans will sort of pick up this kind of message?

LOUIS: They have given no signs of doing so. The Republican Party and the Republican leadership in particular has quickly migrated to the -- from this never happened to yes, the president probably did it, but so what?

I think it's a helpful perspective, though, to hear from Mr. Navalny, that what is really at stake here is the credibility of the system that what Putin is trying to do is, yes, maybe sway the election and whether or not it's decisive and whether or not it was decisive in 2016 is a separate question from whether or not they are routinely attacking our system.

That is the point that I think Americans need to focus on more and it's a very tricky and somewhat subtle kind of a thing to convey to people. But it's like, look, just because it didn't make a decisive difference in 2016 doesn't mean this is not a serious, serious problem.

SAVIDGE: Right. Yes. I want to pivot real quickly here before we run to another story getting traction. And that's candidate Hillary Clinton 2008. It's being reported she saved a staffer accused of sexual harassment and I'm wondering, Sarah, does that do damage to her image?

WESTWOOD: I think in a way it does for people who still holds her up as this icon of the movement that we're seeing right now.

[06:35:03] But for a lot of conservative critics of Hillary Clinton, this sort of reinforces what they already believed about her. That she is not a genuine supporter of women's rights in this area because of how she behaved in relation to her husband's accusers in the 1990s. Obviously that was a different time. Totally different set of circumstances, but this incident does reinforce that perception that her critics already had of her.

SAVIDGE: Sarah Westwood, Errol Louis, good to see you both and wonderful to talk to you. Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you, Martin.

PAUL: So we want to talk to you about this flu season because the question is, has it even reached its peak? The CDC isn't sure yet. They say the worst may not be over. We have more on the other side of this break. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:40:16] PAUL: So this year's flu season is on track to be the worst in nearly a decade. The CDC says there -- and I want to get this quote out exactly. "Many more weeks of the virus to come." This flu has hit every state and U.S. territory. More than three dozen children have died from the flu. Just the flu this year.

So I talked to CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to help understand what's happening and how we can protect ourselves. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: So let's talk about the CDC numbers. Nearly 40 kids have died. That's scary for parents.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's frightening. I mean, you and I both have young children. It's really scary. And you know, if you look at the last couple of years, we haven't seen these kinds of numbers where this many kids have died.

It has happened in the past and it's worth reminding people how deadly flu can be. Especially in young children, the elderly, people who have some sort of underlying medical illness. It's a potentially very problematic disease.

PAUL: Well, and there were -- there are some reports of kids and adults who started as the flu and in one case it ended up as septic shock.

GUPTA: Yes.

PAUL: In another case it ended up as pneumonia.

GUPTA: Yes.

PAUL: Is flu kind of the precursor?

GUPTA: Yes. And this is a really -- this is a good point. So you can get a -- what's called a viral pneumonia. So this is the flu virus causing a pneumonia. But what happened in these cases often is that if you look at the child, they actually had the flu. They felt better. They actually seemed to be recovering and then it came back. And what came back is what they call the secondary infection or a bacterial infection.

And that's a good thing for parents to think about. If your child seems to have recovered and then all of a sudden gets sick again, that is a flag that maybe they need to go to the hospital emergency room and get care because that's when it becomes really problematic.

PAUL: The other thing to note for me was the acceleration of this infection. There were adults who died within 24 to 48 hours from showing signs. So with that said, how do you know when you have to go to the hospital? At what point?

GUPTA: Well, yes, for -- and it can be -- it's easier said, obviously, as we're talking about it here, but for people who are starting to develop breathing problems that are just out of the ordinary. I mean, people get congested, they get a lot of that when they have the flu. But if you're starting to have breathing problems, if you have chest pain, that's usually an indication that somehow the lining of the lungs have now become infected, as well. That's a real problem.

And then this other sort of point in children primarily but adults as well, if you've recovered, I'm on the upswing here, everything is going well, then all of a sudden it hits me again, that could be a sign that you have a secondary infection. And sometimes that's what happens. They thought they were fine then all of a sudden something came back and it hit them hard.

PAUL: So at that point if something happens within, what, a day or two?

GUPTA: Yes.

PAUL: You need to probably go to the doctor.

GUPTA: Or even within a few days. It could even be three or four days.

PAUL: OK.

GUPTA: If you go to the doctor, it could be that you now have a bacterial infection. Remember with viral infections, there's not anti-virals the way that there are antibiotics. There are anti-virals out there that don't work the same way. If you have a bacterial infection, that is something that can be treated.

PAUL: So there's a report, too, that an 8-year-old died and got the flu shot.

GUPTA: Right.

PAUL: So people are probably, if they haven't gotten a flu shot yet, is it too late to get it and is it effective enough?

GUPTA: The flu season is expected to go into April this year. So, you know, we still got several weeks of this. We may be sort of at the peak of this, we're not entirely sure yet. People are always a little bit skeptical of the flu shot. I know that from having reported on this for years and the flu shot is never 100 percent effective. This year it is particularly low. It's about 30 percent effective.

But look, it's better than nothing and not only could it decrease the chance of you getting the flu, they can decrease the chance of you getting as sick if you do get the flu. So it can decrease the severity of symptoms as well. That's -- I mean, that's helpful. So it's not too late to get it. I still recommend people to get it. We have probably at least two to three more months left of this flu season.

PAUL: And lastly, you know, we've been hearing reports that hospitals are overloaded and urban care centers are overloaded. How confident are you that the health care system can handle all of this?

GUPTA: Well, I think the vast majority of people who get the flu, they don't need to go to the hospital and they shouldn't go to the hospital because, look, hospital is a place for sick people. And if you don't even have the flu, you might get it by going to the hospital because that's where this virus is going to be circulating. I think that right now as things stand the hospital system seems to be

able to handle it. We have had symptoms in place where they had to set up ancillary structures, you know, outside tents and things like that. But I think it's worth reminding people that if you're not having some of these symptoms of the increased difficulty breathing, the chest pain, the sort of return of symptoms after you thought you were feeling better, you probably don't need to get a visit to the hospital.

You probably don't need to be tested to see if you have the flu even. You need to take fluids, you need to rest and you need to not go to work or to school because that's how you really start to control the spread of this thing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: So hopefully that addressed some of your concerns and questions that you might have had there. And thank you, of course, to Sanjay.

[06:45:07] SAVIDGE: Cheap solar panels from Asia, they have fueled an industry's growth here in the United States. But up next, why that boom could be about to go bust because of something the Trump administration has done.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, 49 minutes past the hour right now and President Trump's decision to slap high tariffs on solar panels that kind of have a big impact on that industry as a whole.

SAVIDGE: There are reports that indicate that thousands of workers could lose their jobs this year.

CNN's Dan Simon spoke to some workers to gauge the mood in the industry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The solar industry has been hot, thanks in large part to cheap solar panels from Asia. Jobs have been plentiful, but now the industry is bracing for a slowdown and even possible layoffs.

(On camera): What did you think when you heard about it?

[06:50:02] SHILOH WERNICK, WORKS IN SOLAR INDUSTRY: It's nerve wracking. Yes, it definitely is nerve wracking. You're trying to keep your head above water and keep your bills paid and stuff, and you have in the back of your mind this feeling that you're thinking, what can -- you know, what can happen next?

SIMON (voice-over): Shiloh Wernick saw a promising future in solar. Now he's not so sure.

WERNICK: I have personally been working in this industry for nine years and to figure out a whole different career path would be very nerve wracking for me and my wife.

SIMON: The uncertainty a direct result of President Trump's new 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels. A move he says designed to help American manufacturers getting crushed by inexpensive imports.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So they will be making solar products now much more so in the United States. Our companies have been decimated and those companies are going to be coming back strong.

SIMON: But the Solar Energy Industries Association says it will hurt consumers with higher prices and could cost 23,000 workers their jobs this year.

JIM PETERSEN, CEO, PETERSENDEAN: What Trump did by passing this tariff is raise renewable energy rates across the country. Period. Full stop. It's a great headline. It's a promise on a campaign speech but ultimately I think the consumer will be hurt.

SIMON: Jim Petersen owns one of the biggest solar companies in the nation. He says the move runs counter to decades of political messaging.

PETERSEN: And what concerns me is we have leadership in Washington that talks a good game about driving energy prices down, about becoming more self-reliant in energy, and what we just did was tax it.

SIMON: John Orfali has made low prices his selling point. Just look at the company name. He says a typical system in the Bay Area might cost $20,000. But with the added tariffs, expect to pay at least 1,000 bucks more. Praying may not help but spreading the gospel of renewable energy might.

JOHN ORFALI, SAVE A LOT SOLAR: There is quite a lot of concern about the tariffs but the solar industry will survive this because it's just a beautiful thing. It's a great thing getting free energy.

SIMON: And in the short-term solar businesses could actually see a spike in sales, as consumer look to lock in pre-tariff prices. But long term, a cloudy future may be on the horizon.

Dan Simon, CNN, Pleasanton, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And stay with us, still to come --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone. Please exit.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, all. Thanks, everyone. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: President Trump respectfully dismissing the White House press there. We take a look at how the phrase "thank you" seems to have taken on a whole new meaning, some say, for the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:56:49] SAVIDGE: There is no harm in saying thank you. In fact, probably your parents taught you to use that phrase to be respectful and courteous.

PAUL: Mm-hmm. Here's some things some people have noticed. When the president uses the phrase, he kind of does so to dismiss the press and it takes on a whole new meaning.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Let's all be thankful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thank you, guys.

MOOS: But that there is a nice way to say scram demonstrated by the president in Davos, Switzerland.

TRUMP: But the money is on the table. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you taking the money now?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're heading out. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, thank you.

MOOS: Remember when thank you --

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

MOOS: -- was an expression of gratitude. Now it's more attitude.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone.

TRUMP: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thanks, everyone.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everyone.

MOOS (on camera): Translation, thank you, get out.

(Voice-over): At a recent Cabinet meeting -- TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you meet with Kim Jong-un?

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

MOOS: It took President Trump eight "thank yous" to get rid of the press. Though sometimes when his own people are thanking everyone out, it's the president who can't stop answering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please exit. Thanks, everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you call him on the phone?

TRUMP: No, I didn't. But I'm not at all concerned. Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone. Please exit.

MOOS: In a second you'll see a White House aide in black trying to get the reporter in orange to button it.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much. Very proud of him.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, are you concerned about what the attorney general told the special counsel?

TRUMP: No, I'm not at all concerned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please exit. Thanks, everyone.

MOOS: At one recent photo-op the president got fed up with thank yous.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Just Caucasian or white countries, sir? Or do you want people to come in from other parts of the world whether people of color?

TRUMP: Out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jim, thank you.

MOOS: Out, he told CNN's Jim Acosta.

(On camera): The worst is when you get your very own thank you with your name attached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Jeannie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Jim, thank you.

MOOS (voice-over): Sometimes it's a wonder they bother with the euphemistic thanks when the press is in the Oval Office endangering table lamps. TRUMP: Whoa. Hey, hey. Easy, fellows. Hey, over here. Easy.

MOOS: At least the press can't call this job thankless.

TRUMP: You guys are getting worse.

MOOS: Thanks.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you all. Thanks, everyone.

MOOS: Jeanne moos, CNN --

TRUMP: Out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jim, thank you.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest high-profile, wealthy and politically connected man accused of sexual misconduct. Preposterous, says Steve Wynn, the Vegas hotel and casino billionaire.

TRUMP: Steve Wynn, I want to thank you. I want to thank the whole group. The money raised.

MARQUEZ: Closely tied to President Trump as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Democrats are demanding the RNC return any campaign contributions.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Mounting evidence of possible obstruction of justice against the president of the United States.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump ordered White House counsel Dan McGahn to fire Mueller last June.

TRUMP: Fake news, folks. Fake news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a bombshell to Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that is obstruction of justice and I think that that is grounds for impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been failures at MSU.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Asking for an immediate congressional investigation into USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They knew about like what was going on. And it went on for too long.