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Trump Claims Memo Provides Vindication; Russian Warplane Shot Down Near Idlib; Italy Shootings Underscore Racial Tensions; Uma Thurman Describes Weinstein Assault; North Korea Sanctions Violations in Mozambique; Protests Outside Korean-Swedish Hockey Game; First Female NFL Coach on Breaking Barriers; SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket to Launch. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired February 4, 2018 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president now weighing in on the release of a controversial memo, calling it, quote, "vindication."

Speaking up: actress Uma Thurman says she was assaulted by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Plus a CNN exclusive. Our team caught North Korea evading U.N. sanctions. We'll show you how they're doing it.

We're live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta and we welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: Around the world, good day to you, 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast and we start with the Russia investigation, that controversial Republican memo that everyone's talking about.

What exactly does it prove?

Well, that depends on who you ask. According to the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler, the memo is an attempt to obstruct the Russia probe.

The U.S. president, Donald Trump, who approved making that memo public on Friday, has a different view. He says that it, quote, "totally vindicates him." But, here's the thing, many of his Republican colleagues see it differently, as our Boris Sanchez reports.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What we've heard coming from administration officials over the past week regarding the declassification of the Nunes memo is that this is strictly about transparency and does not reflect on the substance behind the Russia investigation.

In fact, here's House Speaker Paul Ryan, reiterating what we've heard from many congressional Republicans, as well as officials in the White House.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This memo is not an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn the Mueller investigation or the deputy attorney general.


Despite that, in a tweet from President Trump on Saturday, he contradicts what many of those around him have been saying, implying that the Nunes memo reveals a bias against him by investigators in the Department of Justice and the FBI. The president believes that this memo is evidence of a witch-hunt being persecuted against him.

Similarly, there's a disparity between the messaging coming from the president himself and some officials at the White House, about how the president feels regarding deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

The president was asked if he had confidence in Rosenstein and he told reporters, "You figure that out."

Well, Raj Shah, deputy press secretary for the White House, was on CNN and he gave a more ringing endorsement of Rosenstein. Listen to what Shah had to say.


RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I'm saying it on behalf of the White House. And that's that, you know, no changes are going to be made at the Department of Justice. We fully expect Rod Rosenstein to continue on as the deputy attorney general.


SANCHEZ: And sources familiar with the president's thinking tell CNN that, at this time, there is no consideration of firing Rod Rosenstein; in part, because the president fears that taking that step may lead to prolonging the Russia investigation, something that this president clearly does not want.

We should note, though, that we've heard similar votes of confidence from this administration before for officials that were soon after shown the door -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in West Palm Beach, Florida.


HOWELL: A lot to talk about. Let's break all of this down with CNN political commentator Dave Jacobson, who is a Democratic strategist, and Lanhee Chen, former policy director for Republican Mitt Romney, also a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and teaches public policy and law at Stanford University.

Gentlemen, great to have you both with us to talk about this memo. It came out with a lot of hype and now in one tweet, Mr. Trump says it totally vindicates him; essentially, that it reveals a bias against him by top officials in the FBI and DOJ.

Lanhee, first to you, does he have a point here?

Or are there aspects of this memo that actually work against him?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER ROMNEY PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR: Well, it's hard to see it as a total vindication. What is absolutely clear is that this memo was way overhyped both by Republicans and also by Democrats, quite frankly.

On the Republican side, I think, as Speaker Paul Ryan said recently, in fact there is a good deal of separation between the content of this memo and the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

And on the Democratic side, all of their crying about it potentially impacting national security, obviously doesn't seem to be the case, given the fact that there's just not a whole lot of there there in the memo.

So I think both sides have a little egg on their face. This incident though reveals just how partisan this entire episode has become and, frankly, just how overhyped all of the discussion around the Russia investigation has become here in the U.S.

HOWELL: Dave, same question to you.

I mean, was there any substance here or was it just a lot of hype?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it was a "roll your eyes" moment --


JACOBSON: -- number one. But number two, I think it underscores just how deeply partisan the House Intelligence Committee has become. And, frankly, I think that does a disservice to the American people.

Republicans came out, like Trey Gowdy, and said this isn't going to have any meaningful impact on the Russia probe. And you've got Senator John McCain, who said that, by releasing this memo, we're essentially doing Putin's work for him.

And I think what John McCain meant by that was, the attempt and the intent by Devin Nunes and Donald Trump to release this memo and sow discord among the American public with our top, premier law enforcement institutions, the FBI and the Justice Department, does an enormous disservice to our country.

HOWELL: Let's talk a little more about that. So, you know, Democrats are saying this isn't the full picture and, without seeing the full picture, what we are seeing, they say, is a one-sided perspective produced by Republicans.

There is now, however, reporting from "The Washington Post," "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal," that claim political motives behind the dossier were disclosed to the FISA court, so they knew about it.

Dave, does that matter?

JACOBSON: I don't think it does. What's really explosive in this memo is the fact that it doesn't prove anything. At the end of the memo, it begs the question of whether or not Donald Trump even actually read the 3.5-page document.

At the bottom of it, it shows that George Papadopoulos ultimately triggered the Russia investigation back in July of 2016, not when the FISA warrant was requested by the Justice Department in October of 2016.

I also think, George, what's fascinating is, today, "Time" magazine came out with an explosive story, highlighting the fact that the FBI had actually been keeping tabs on Carter Page since 2013. Part of that is because they revealed in an e-mail that Carter Page himself said that he had been an adviser to the Kremlin.

HOWELL: All right.

But, Lanhee, let me ask the same question to you, because the president has said, look, there was a clear example here, there was bias against him.

Does it matter that these political motives were revealed to the FISA court?

CHEN: I think certainly the FISA court probably should have known that there were political motivations. Now the question is whether that would have impacted the decision to allow for surveillance.

And fundamentally the question is, if, in fact, there was some potential wrongdoing between Carter Page or George Papadopoulos, for that matter, and the Russian government, then the fact that that was revealed via a politically motivated dossier probably matters less than the fact that there was some activity that needed to be surveilled.

So the question of political motivation perhaps a little bit of a red herring. I do think that there is something here, in terms of people's trust in institutions in the United States, trust in law enforcement institutions, certainly; I would hope, though, that the president and those who urged for the release of the memo, would proceed to shine those questions or shine light on those questions in a more judicious manner than to call into question law enforcement entirely, which I think is unproductive.

HOWELL: All right, let's talk about, again, what we're hearing from the White House, that there are no foreseeable changes at the DOJ, essentially that Rod Rosenstein will not lose his job. But here's the thing, gentlemen. We have not heard this yet directly

from the President of the United States. What we did hear from Mr. Trump the other day about Rosenstein was a bit cagey. Let's listen.



TRUMP: You figure that one out.


HOWELL: Lanhee, not really a ringing endorsement there of Rosenstein.

Does that matter?

CHEN: Well, you know, ultimately the president's words speak for themselves. And I think, you know, anybody else who tries to come out to countervail that ultimately is just trying in some ways to interpret something that may be uninterpretable.

Look, Rod Rosenstein, let's not forget, this is a guy who comes to this job with an extraordinary amount of experience. He was appointed by the president. He's somebody who, I think, has done his level best to oversee this investigation, given that the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has recused himself.

So, fundamentally, I think the issue is Rod Rosenstein is somebody who is trying to do the job the best he can. The president obviously is not happy with the fact that this investigation is still ongoing. So that sets up a very tense situation. Only the president really knows what's going through his head, though -- George.

HOWELL: Only the president knows what's going through his head, Lanhee, you point that out.

Dave, here's the question, if the president were to decide to fire Rosenstein, what impact would that have on his administration?

JACOBSON: I think it would be grounds for impeachment. And, frankly, Democrats are already --


JACOBSON: -- advancing that cause, saying folks in the House, a number of which -- Congressman Brad Sherman, a number of other Democrats are pursuing the cause.

But I think in the Senate, simultaneous to that, you've got Susan Collins; you've got Lindsey Graham, a number of other prominent Republicans, who are trying to initiate legislation to protect the special counsel.

And so I think you're going to see a push, an enhanced push, I should say, from House Democrats and perhaps some moderate Republicans who want to see the Russia investigation all the way through, perhaps call for either protections for the Russia probe and Bob Mueller or potentially articles of impeachment being advanced further.

And so it begs the question of what the Senate's going to do. You've seen this bipartisan movement for protections for Mueller. But there hasn't really been any meat on the bones in terms of getting anything through a committee or having anything come up for a vote.

But I do think that, should President Trump fire Rod Rosenstein, those efforts are going to intensify on both fronts.

HOWELL: Lanhee Chen, Dave Jacobson, thank you both for your time. And we'll keep in touch with you.

All right, now to the old Twitter machine and a tweet that the Speaker of the House probably regrets sending out. The Speaker was touting the benefits of the recent tax cut legislation.

Speaker Ryan mentioned a school secretary, whose weekly paycheck went up by $1.50. That's right, $1.50. Twitter wasn't having it. The backlash was brutal. Ryan quickly deleted that tweet. His Democratic challenger seized on the gaffe to ask supporters to donate $1.50 to his campaign.

We're following events in Syria and what may have been the deadliest day yet on Saturday for Turkish troops in what they're calling Operation Olive Branch. State media reports seven Turkish soldiers were killed near Afrin. Five of the deaths came when a Turkish tank was destroyed by a missile.

Turkey launched its offensive more than two weeks ago, an effort to oust the Kurdish YPG. Now there's also this video to show you, CNN not yet able to independently verify it. But the video purports to show Kurdish forces destroying a Turkish tank north of Afrin.

Turkey considers the YPG terrorists but they've been a key ally to the United States in the fight against ISIS.

Saturday also proved to be a deadly day for Russian troops in Syria. The Kremlin says militants shot down one of its warplanes in Idlib province.

This video footage you see from anti-government activists in Syria appears to show the wreckage. Russia says the pilot was able to eject but, on the ground, militants were there and waiting. The pilot reportedly died fighting those militants. More than 30 militants were reportedly killed in a retaliatory strike.

Let's go live to Moscow. CNN international correspondent Fred Pleitgen on top of both of these stories, from the attack in Syria, to this Russian warplane that was shot down.

Fred, what more do we know from officials there in the aftermath of losing both this pilot and the plane?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. I mean, this was something that obviously played quite big here in Russia. It's only the second time that the Russians have actually lost a plane since their Syria campaign began.

Of course, you'll recall that, in 2015, one of their warplanes was actually shot down by a Turkish plane after a mission pretty close to the area that this plane was operating in as well.

Now the aircraft that got shot down, George, is called an Su-25 Frogfoot. That's the NATO designation of this plane. And it is a plane that is there for close air support. It flies quite low. It flies quite slow and therefore is also fairly susceptible to fire from the ground.

One of the questions that folks are asking, who are looking at this wreckage but who are also trying to get to the bottom of what exactly happened there, is what kind of weapon shot this plane down?

Was it a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft rocket?

Or was it gunfire from the ground?

If it was a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft rocket, a so-called MANPAD, which stands for man-portable air defense system, that would certainly be quite concerning for many people if that was in the hands of some of the militant groups there in Syria. So that's one of the things that everybody's trying to get to terms with at this point in time.

And then, of course, for the Russians, there's also the aftermath. They're trying to get the body of this pilot back. They're obviously trying to see how something like this could have happened, whether that area they're operating in right now, how dangerous it actually is there for their planes to be flying around. So a big setback for the Russians.

Of course, also a big national tragedy for the Russians, as well. And also another sign, quite frankly, George, that the war in Syria is far from over and is still very, very dangerous for all sides who are involved -- George.

HOWELL: All right. Fred, also now to the Turkish military casuals in Afrin. France and the United States and others had been urging restraint but the Turkish prime minister has promised to make the militias, quote, "pay for this twice --


HOWELL: -- "as much." So --


HOWELL: -- seems doubling down, given what happened here.

PLEITGEN: Yes. Certainly they're doubling down. It's one of the things that we've seen from the Turkish government, from the Turkish military, ever since their campaign began.

You rightly pointed out that a lot of European nations but also the U.S. urging restraint there on the part of the Turks. But the Turks are saying they're not having any of that. They say they want to see this campaign in Afrin through. And they're also thinking about, quite frankly, attacking Kurdish forces in other parts of Syria, as well because they don't want to see the establishment of something like a Kurdish autonomy zone or even a Kurdish state on their border.

So the Turks really doubling down. One of the things that the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said is, look, right now what his troops are trying to do is take the high ground around the town of farina to then later move into that place.

But, of course, we have to keep in mind this is a Turkish stronghold. These are Kurdish -- this is a -- sorry -- a Kurdish stronghold and these are Kurdish forces that have a lot of experience in fighting pretty tough battles. That's something that a Turkish military is noticing.

So this also a big setback for the Turks but, at the same time, as you said, the Turks by no means saying that they're going to withdraw or that they're slow down their pace. In fact, they say they're going to double down and actually increase the pace of their operations there in Afrin and then possibly also in other places, in Syria or at least in that zone of Syria as well, which is very concerning to the United States, for instance.

Of course it partnered with a lot of these heavily Kurdish forces. Some of them called the Syrian Democratic Forces, others simply called the YPG which, of course, the Turks accuse of working together with terrorist organizations in Turkey. But, yes, this is an ally of the U.S. that is now essentially at war with another NATO ally of the U.S., as well.

HOWELL: CNN's senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, across both of these stories, live in Moscow. Thanks for the reporting, Fred, and we'll stay in touch with you.

NEWSROOM pushes on this hour.

In Italy a far right supporter is accused of shooting at African migrants. The suspect made a fascist salute before being arrested. We have details on that ahead.

Plus, Uma Thurman says she's kept silent about something because she didn't want to speak out of anger. Her experiences with Harvey Weinstein and now she's sharing her story.






HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm George Howell.

In Central Italy, a far right supporter is accused of shooting at African migrants. This happened on Saturday. Six people were wounded there, drive-by shootings that happened just a month before the Italian national election.

After the shootings, the suspect made a fascist salute in front of a war monument. That's when police arrested him. He was wearing an Italian flag around his neck.

Barbie Nadeau is following the story live from Rome this hour.

Barbie, what more do we know about the suspect?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the suspect is a 28-year-old man who ran for public office under the flag of the Northern League, which is a far right party here, that's polling very strongly ahead of elections in March on a very strong anti-immigration platform.

He seemed to have taken upon the migration crisis on his own by essentially hunting out African migrants in this small town. The act was thought to be in retaliation for the arrest of a Nigerian man last week in connection with the murder of an Italian woman. She was found dismembered and in suitcases earlier last week.

And everyone is working on the theory that this was a retaliation act for that. But, while he acted alone, a lot of the far right parties here are blaming the mass migration, uncontrolled migration into this country, 600,000 people arriving in the last four years alone, as the motivation and the justification for this -- George.

HOWELL: Barbie, and this happening, as we mentioned in the lead-up here, just before the national election.

The question, what impact might this have?

NADEAU: Well, the interior minister warned that there could be other acts like this, as the rhetoric continues. You know, migration is the number one campaign issue in these elections.

And people are talking about mass deportations and all sorts of things. A lot of the people who were shot, six people from sub- Saharan Africa, five from Nigeria, one from Gambia, were waiting to have their asylum requests heard. So they're in that sort of limbo that so many people are when they come across by sea.

And then they wait to find out if they can be legitimized here once they're in Italy. And that has become just such a strong point in this election. A lot of people calling for stronger border control, calling for the boats to be turned back to Libya and whatnot.

So this really does underscore the racial tensions and the importance of migration as a campaign issue ahead of these March 4th elections -- George.

HOWELL: All right, Barbie Nadeau on that story. Thank you so much. We'll stay in touch with you as well.

Here in the United States, actress Uma Thurman is speaking out against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Thurman claims that he sexually assaulted her several times during their working relationship and now her voice joins a chorus of more than 60 other women who accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Brian Stelter has more.


BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, that's right. Uma Thurman now the latest woman speaking out against Harvey Weinstein, adding her name to a list of dozens of actors and assistants, who say Weinstein either assaulted or harassed them over a course of decades.

Now Thurman says the two incidents in her case happened in the 1990s after she starred in the film "Pulp Fiction," which Weinstein helped produce. She says Weinstein initially celebrated her, helped her career.

But then, on two separate occasions in London and Paris, she says he sexually attacked her, tried to come on to her, propositioned her for sex.

She says, in both cases, she rebuffed his advances and then they continued to have a relationship together on a professional level, as she appeared in the films "Kill Bill" in the 2000s.

This is notable for --


STELTER: -- a couple of reasons. Thurman has not spoken out until now. She had indicated she was gathering her thoughts and wanted to speak at the right time.

She has an interview in Sunday's "New York Times" with the columnist, Maureen Dowd. She also says she regrets not doing more to try to protect other women, who were then later apparently assaulted or harassed by Weinstein.

You know, he has denied some of the claims against him, admitted to some wrongdoing and, in the case of Thurman, his camp has put out a statement, saying that he does acknowledge that there was some behavior but that he didn't physically assault her. We can put on screen part of the statement.

It says, "Mr. Weinstein acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms. Thurman in England after misreading her signals after a flirtatious exchange in Paris, for which he immediately apologized and deeply regrets. However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue. And this is the first time we have heard those details."

That's a statement from Weinstein's camp. He has a number of lawyers and agents and spokespeople representing him. It's interesting; recently he has started to become more aggressive in his responses. Of course, this scandal broke in October in the pages of "The New York Times."

It's been going on ever since with more and more women coming forward at times and places of their choosing. Weinstein's camp has denied some of the allegations. He apparently remains in rehab in Arizona. Meanwhile, there are ongoing criminal probes in London, Los Angeles and New York -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: All right, Brian, thank you very much.

U.N. sanctions aimed at crippling North Korea's exports?

Well, they may have missed their mark. What a CNN investigation uncovered half a world away.

Plus, are you ready for some hockey?

North and South Korea come together ahead of the Olympic Games for a friendly match. But, it's more than just a game, of course. NEWSROOM pushes on right after the break.





HOWELL: Coast to coast across the United States and live around the world this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you.


HOWELL: Despite tough U.N. sanctions in place against North Korea, that nation still makes millions of dollars illegally. This according to a new United Nations report, Pyongyang pulled in nearly $200 million just last year by exporting coal and other goods banned under the sanctions.

U.N. investigators also believe North Korea may have exported weapons to Syria and to Myanmar. All of this means North Korea will have willing partners who engage in this illicit trade and help to evade sanctions.

In a CNN exclusive, we've been looking into this. Our international correspondent, David McKenzie, looked into this lucrative relationship between North Korea and other nations like Mozambique.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tracking the illicit funding of a rogue nuclear state, a month-long investigation leads us to a fishing boat in Maputo, Mozambique.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE: Can we talk to someone?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): We uncover sanctions busting caught in the act.

MCKENZIE: So there's two North Korean fishermen here in the boat. They don't want us to talk to them. And they have stuck this boat between two others. It's pretty well hidden.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The captain locks himself away, with good reason. Illegal fishing operations generate significant cash for Pyongyang's nuclear missile program, say U.S. officials.

"Yes, the crew are all Korean," this Mozambican crewman tells us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language), hi.

Can we come up?

MCKENZIE: So the captain of the ship is on the phone with someone. I think it's wise we get out of here, actually.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Kim Jong-un's ultimate aim is to develop a viable nuclear-tipped missile threatening to strike cities across the United States. But the sanctions are biting and the Trump administration is taking a tougher stance. They're scouring the globe to generate cash.

Seven-and-a-half thousand miles away from Pyongyang, they found a willing partner, one of 11 African countries the United Nations is investigating for sanctions violations.

From the channel, we can easily spot the rusting boats.

MCKENZIE: So that's the Susan One and that's the Susan Two. Our investigations show that these shrimping trawlers are part of a lucrative joint venture between the Mozambicans and the North Koreans.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Illegal as of last August -- and there are more sinister links than just a few fishing boats. Investigators are tracking it all.

HUGH GRIFFITHS, U.N. PANEL OF EXPERTS: Surface-to-air missiles, man- portable surface to air missiles, military radar, air defense systems, the refurbishment of tanks, it's a long list.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Pyongyang exporting its deadly expertise for hard cash, even to Mozambique's remote interior, fostering military installations like this, the U.N. says; training elite forces for at least two years, military sources tell us, all of it under sanctions for more than a decade. So how do they keep the operation secret?

The trail leads us to one of Maputo's busiest avenues.

MCKENZIE: So according to documents, this is the headquarters of the --


MCKENZIE: North Korean trade emissary here in Maputo.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Reviewed by CNN, the documents name a shadowy front company called Heygungam (ph). In 2017, the U.N. revealed that it helped funnel at least $6 million in military contracts to Pyongyang.

MCKENZIE: Hi, how are you, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "Some Asians were living here. They left three or four months ago," says the property agent.

Nobody could tell us where they went.

MCKENZIE: Are there still North Koreans in Mozambique?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "Yes, we have some here cooperating in social and technical fields," he says, "which is not against sanctions that were declared by the United Nations."

He says they are implementing sanctions; we saw clear violations.

Defense ministry officials refused to be interviewed by CNN or answer our questions.

MCKENZIE: Has Mozambique been complying with the U.N. sanctions?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): "I cannot say at this moment," he says. "I don't have detailed information on the question you're asking."

The U.N. is waiting for answers from Mozambique, a country risking hundreds of millions in U.S. aid to help Kim Jong-un find ways to fund his nuclear ambitions -- David McKenzie, CNN, Maputo, Mozambique.


HOWELL: David McKenzie, our producer, Ingrid Formanek, and photojournalist, Byron Blunt, with that CNN exclusive on North Korea evading U.N. sanctions.

Still ahead this hour, a pair of women's hockey teams hits the ice in South Korea. But this warm-up for the Olympic Games has brought out protesters as well. We'll have details.

Plus this woman played U.S. football with men against men and ultimately coached men. We'll have her story as NEWSROOM continues.





HOWELL: The Korean unified women's hockey team is on the ice, playing a friendly warm-up against Sweden's team just days before the Olympic Games are set to start. This is the team practicing just a few days ago. The video you see here. It's the first time we're seeing the Korean team made up of North and South Koreans battling an opponent.

Some welcomed the cooperation but not all. Just outside the game a short time ago, dozens of protesters came together to voice their opposition to this new diplomatic chapter between North and South Korea. Ivan Watson was there and filed this report for us.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're just days from the start of the South Korean Winter Olympics, which the government here has called the Peace Games. But we're seeing some signs of discord before an exhibition ice hockey match.

Take a look over here. You've got anti-North Korean protesters, angry at recent diplomacy between North and South Korea that has allowed North Korean athletes at the last minute to attend the Games. They're holding signs that call it the Pyongyang Olympics, referring to the North Korean capital, not the PyeongChang Olympics.

And then when you wander over here, through the lines of police -- excuse me -- that are separating people, you've got demonstrators in support of the inter-Korean diplomacy, in support of North Korea's participation in the Olympics.

And what they do is they have signs saying that unity and that unified Olympics will lead to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

So why is that taking place here in the city of Incheon?

Well, in this stadium, you're supposed to be having an exhibition match between Sweden, the women's ice hockey team from Sweden, and a new team from Korea, which is fusing athletes from North and South Korea, a controversial decision made just a matter of weeks ago, to unite the North and South Korean teams for the first time ever.

And what is supposed to be a friendly match has, instead, led to signs of political discord -- Ivan Watson, CNN, reporting from Incheon, South Korea.


HOWELL: Coming up, she may be half the size of the people she worked with. But Jen Welter knows a thing or two about football. We'll talk with this former football coach about the upcoming Super Bowl.

And, can you drive a Tesla roadster on Mars?

Well, probably not. That's not stopping Elon Musk. Details of the next SpaceX launch. You'll be interested in this one. Stay with us.






HOWELL: Are you ready for the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl Sunday is here. The pro football championship in the United States pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots. Fans of the teams are all pumped up, ready for this game. A rematch of the Super Bowl 13 years ago.

Eagles fans headed to Minnesota, where they were flying high, literally.


HOWELL (voice-over): In the meantime, the New England Patriots are playing for their sixth Super Bowl victory. And this fan is confident that he will get the win. He got a tattoo of the team's Super Bowl wins, including this year's, even though the game hasn't been played yet.


HOWELL: We don't like to talk about the Super Bowl here in Atlanta.

While U.S. football is a male dominated sport, it doesn't mean women can't enjoy it or play it or even coach it. Jen Welter was the first female coach in the NFL in history. She also became the first woman to play running back in a men's professional football league.

Welter is the author of "Play Big: Lessons in Being Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL."

On the eve of the Super Bowl she sat down with my colleague, Natalie Allen, to talk about what it takes for a woman to play with and to coach male athletes.


JEN WELTER, NFL COACH: It's a love of the game for a lot of us. I had the honor to play women's professional football for about 14 years and represent Team USA twice. But the way I got into men's professional football was the good old-fashioned way, it was getting tackled by those guys every day for a season on the Texas Revolution.

From there, I got to join the coaching staff the following season. And then from the Revolution, I ended up with the Arizona Cardinals under head coach Bruce Arians.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I want to say that you are 5'2". And you coached linebackers. Give us a sense of how you approached that job.

How did you relate to these giants?

WELTER: You know, when I was playing, I never realized how small I really was. I was a linebacker, so we had that in common. But, really, what those guys needed to know was that I knew the game and I was there for the right reasons.

And as Bruce Arians would say, any guy in the NFL, all he needs to know is if you're a coach, can you make me better. Once they knew that, they were all in.

ALLEN: You really wanted to get on as full-time. That didn't happen. But with what we were seeing in the women's movement, women have the ball and kind of running down the field, if you will.

Do you think there's another chance for you?

WELTER: You know, there's always a chance and what I'm happiest about is I had one goal when I went in to the NFL and that was to be the first and not the last. What's important is that they knew that it could work and that other coaches would make it work for other great women.

One of my former teammates with Team USA, Katie Sowers is now out in San Francisco with the 49ers and to me that means it was a win across the board.

ALLEN: Let's talk about the Super Bowl before we let you go. Give us your take.

If you were coaching the Eagles how would you -- how would you advise the defense to try and stop storied quarterback Tom Brady?

WELTER: You know --


WELTER: -- it's got to start with the front. They have to get pressure on Tom Brady. If he has too much time in the pocket, doesn't matter how good your linebackers or secondary are, he's going to pick you apart.

So Cox has got to be the guy; that pressure has to be there. You have to make Tom Brady uncomfortable. And they have to keep it going through the game.

If you look at Atlanta last year, they started out hot and heavy but the experienced Patriots, you know, one mistake and they will take it back to you. So the veteran leadership on the Eagles needs to stand up and make sure that the guys have the endurance to keep that pressure on Brady throughout the game.

And give them multiple looks, too, because they'll come out with a pretty much completely different game plan starting the second half.


HOWELL: Jen Welter, again, there, the first female NFL coach, speaking with my colleague, Natalie Allen, about the big game.

Why she had to talk about Atlanta. Just let's forget about that.

So it's going to be a cold Super Bowl this year. And even colder just outside the stadium.


HOWELL: On Tuesday, SpaceX plans to launch its new Falcon Heavy spacecraft. And there's nothing about the Falcon Heavy that's ordinary, from its rocket boosters to its payload and to its destination. Our Rachel Crane has this story for us.



RACHEL CRANE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): SpaceX is about to make the ground seriously rumble. Their new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, is about to launch for the first time and this thing is big.

It's lifting off from the historic Kennedy Center launch pad 39A, which is where Apollo 11 launched humans to the moon. And once again, the pad will be the site of space flight history.

Once Falcon Heavy has liftoff, SpaceX says it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.

The rocket is powered by 27 engines and SpaceX says, when all engines are at full throttle, the rocket has 5 million pounds of thrust, which is the equivalent of 18 747s. The going cost for a launch, according to the company, $90 million.

But that's just a fraction of what a launch would cost with the SLS, the heavy lift rocket that the government has been working on for years.

Now, the Falcon Heavy is basically three of the company's Falcon IX rockets, which they've been launching --


CRANE: -- since 2010, strapped together.

Originally, the company had thought that putting together three of these tried-and-true rockets would be relatively easy rocket science. But it turns out it was much more complicated than Elon Musk and his team had anticipated and the launch has been delayed for several years.

And even though the rocket is expected to finally take flight, Musk himself acknowledges that this first test launch has a high likelihood of failure.

So what if you're launching the rocket that everybody has been waiting years for and has a good shot of just blowing up?

Well, if you're Musk, master of PR, you go big and you launch your own car. Yes, the rocket's payload will be Musk's own cherry red Tesla roadster and it will be playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on repeat.

The intended destination: Mars orbit; that is, if it doesn't blow up on ascent. And while sending a Tesla to space might be a silly PR stunt, the launch is anything but. The rocket was designed from the start to ferry people to the moon and to Mars. A successful launch would put SpaceX a giant leap forward, towards getting to deep space.

Oh, and did I mention that SpaceX is hoping to land all three first stage boosters?

Yes, that's also happening.


HOWELL: Rachel Crane, thank you.

Now take a look at this stunning landscape. We'll show you an impressive view here. But all the more impressive because it's a panorama of Mars. NASA received these photos from its Curiosity rover taken on a clear day just before the Martian winter.

Scientists are excited because it gives them a map, a map-like view of the key spots that Curiosity hit in its five-year journey on the Red Planet.

Thanks for being with us here. For CNN NEWSROOM, I'm George Howell, live from Atlanta, Georgia, this hour from CNN World Headquarters. Rainy day in Georgia -- night, I should say. NEWSROOM right back after the break.