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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  February 18, 2017 11:00am-11:31am PST

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hello. thank you so much for being with me. i'm fredericka whitfield. the trump administration seeming to calm the concerns of u.s. allies overseas by rolling out a show of force at the munich security conference. vice president mike pence, defense secretary james mattis and homeland security secretary john kelly meeting with world leaders. pence made clear the u.s. will back nato and stand firm against moscow. >> know this. the united states will continue to hold russia accountable even as we search for new common ground, as you know, president trump believes can be found. >> for more, joined by cnn international correspondent matthew chance in moscow.
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elise, you first. do we know what vice president pence meant by holding russia accountable? >> we don't know yet, fred, but obviously, on the minds of a lot of european leaders is whether the united states will keep up the sanctions against russia for the seizing of crimea and its actions in eastern ukraine and you remember last week, u.s. ambassador to the u.n., nikki haley, said the u.s. would keep sanctions on russia until it changed behavior and returned crimea, but european leaders remember when donald trump said that he might forget about those sanctions and lift them. so i think they're getting a mixed message from this administration. clearly, in the last few weeks, the tone has definitely hardened against russia and i think now, people are hungry for more and want to see some actions by this administration. vice president pence was short on what type of policies the u.s. would institute and talked
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about these broad concepts. on the russia file, looking for more information. >> matthew, that hardened tone coming from the vice president and also the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., nikki haley. how is that being received there in moscow? >> yeah. we can add to that the comments made by sean spicer. a few days ago about crimea and president trump himself tweeting a few days ago that crimea was taken by russia and whether it was too soft on moscow. i mean, this kind of rhetoric coming from the trump white house is not what the russians expected from the man they thought was going to thaw the relationship between the united states and russia. he spoke, as elise was just saying, spoke about criticizing nato and working with russia in terms of fighting international terrorism and cooperating militarily in syria. he's spoken about the sanctions
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as well and the russian impression was that, or the russian belief and hope is that this would be the start of a new era in relations between washington and moscow, but obviously, there are political issues back in the united states. the issue of russia is and the connections with the trump administration with the kremlin. he's looming over american politics. and it's become apparent to the russians as it has been to everybody else that trump is simply not going to be able to embark on that election process and thaw that relationship to the extent everybody including in russia thought he would be able to. >> and trump administration trying to soothe any concerns but there are members of congress, namely, you know, john mccain, who were at that conference and they have their own messages. this is john mccain. >> i think that the flynn issue obviously is something that is, shows that in many respects, the
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administration is in disarray and they've got a lot of work to do. >> so, elise, what's the translation? does he carry a little bit more weight than the vice president because of his experience in washington? >> well, but fred, that was just one part of what he said he said, don't underestimate america, don't count america out just yet. i think senator mccain is walking a delicate line. clearly, he has a lot of concerns about some of the chaos that's been going on in the administration. i think, you know, not only about what he was talking about, about michael flynn and the fact that there's not a national security advisor but just the whole russia issue in general and i think he's been carrying water for a lot of republicans that also have concerns but in the larger issues in terms of the republicans holding
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congress, both parties in congress right now and obviously, they're trying to work with this president. they want to move forward but clearly some concerns he's going to continue to raise the red flag not just about russia but the relationship and the intelligence community. >> and after the election, it was evident in many ways there were a lot of russians excited about trump's win. has anything changed in 30 days? >> i think there's been a dramatic turnaround in the mood. you hear russians talk about and certainly in the russian media when they talk about the trump administration. a real sense of disillusionment. there were champagne corks popping when he was e lekklectee in russia but you don't hear those anymore. let me give you an example of that. a russian daily newspaper came out today with this headline
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"it's time for our love affair with donald trump to come to an end." the newspaper compared the recent trump press conference with a, said it was a clown fest with tragic tones. and it said trump's plans to improve the relationship with russia are crumbling before our eyes. >> can i just say something? >> russian media but russian officials as well. >> go ahead, elise. >> gradual and no different than president bush and president obama. president bush came in saying he could see into pugh ttiputin's . president obama, secretary clinton trying to push the famous reset with russia and ultimately like the relationship, the actions of russia, like lack of common interests, ended all at the same point and foreign oil experpoli experts, not just because
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president trump is fickle and transactional and he wants to see something from russia too. a lot of foreign policy experts think that ultimately, donald trump is going to go the way of president bush and obama and judge president putin on his actions, not just this kind of grand idea of a better relationship. >> deja vu, eh? thank you so much. coming up, the president narrowing down his picks of who may take on the position of national security advisor. we'll give you a short list after this. your insurance company
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homeland security secretary john kelly said the trump administration is weighing and issuing an alternative version of its much criticized travel ban. kelly made the comments during a panel discussion during the munich germany security conference. it could allow people on planes to enter the u.s. after they land. >> contemplating releasing a tighttight er more streamline version of the first d.o. and we'll have this opportunity to work a rollout plan. in particular, to make sure that there's no one in a sense, caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports which happened on first release. so that's where we are in that,
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david. >> people who have valid visas will be allowed to enter, people with green cards are allowed to enter, we're assuming. >> it's a good assumption and as far as visas go, if they're in motion from some distant land to the united states, they'll be allowed in. that said, we will have a short phase-in period to make sure people don't get on airplanes but if they're on an airplane or inbound, they'll be allowed to enter the country. >> still unclear, when the trump administration might issue that amended executive order. a busy weekend for president trump. just hours away from his campaign-style rally in melbourne, florida. we'll bring it to you live as it happens. and retired lieutenant general keith kellogg, former u.s. ambassador to the u.n. john bolton and lieutenant general hr
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mcmaster. this comes after the president asked for the resignation of michael flynn. cnn's washington correspondent ryan nobles. according to a senior administration official, john bolton is gaining the support of trump staffers. tell us more about these candidates. >> i think it's safe to say that john bolton is the front-runner to replace michael kelly as the national security advisor but the same officials telling us that bolton is rising up the ranks, they're saying nothing is official until donald trump formally makes that decision. bolton has the resume for the job, the former u.s. ambassador to the united nations and former assistant attorney general but he's a little controversial. you remember when he was appointed during the bush administration, it was done through a recess appointment because democrats were very much opposed to his pick and he was a strong supporter of the iraq war, something that donald trump was not a supporter of. and donald trump will interview two other potential candidates.
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one is the man that's currently in the job, keith kellogg, serving in an interim basis after flynn left that position and then h.r. mcmaster, the third candidate. a well respected in the national security community and someone that donald trump is going to give an opportunity to state his case. this is something that donald trump wants to get right after everything that happened with flynn thin that position. he doesn't want to make the same mistake and get the national security council back on track in the white house. >> back to the campaign mode for donald trump. what do we know about what might untold in melbourne, florida today? >> in many respects, it will be like we're looking back in time. this is very much like the t campaign rallies donald trump held through the last 18 months and even after he won the electi election, this rally in melbourne, florida, a place that is filled with donald trump supporters. we're expecting a big crowd
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there and they will be very supportive of this president. something that he seems to need after what has been a combative couple of weeks in the first part of his administration. >> ryan nobles, thanks so much. >> thank you. . the environmental protection agency welcomes new lly confirm leader, scott pruitt and the agency also included criticism of himself. lawmakers and others. calling the epa tone deaf, adversarial, and a runaway bureaucracy out of touch. but as rene marsh reports, controversy centers on pruitt and it's far from over. >> the nomination is confirmed. >> scott pruitt confirmed to the head of the environmental protection agency. the same agency he fought against as oklahoma's attorney general. the confirmation coming as pruitt faces a new court order. >> the american people have a right to know what scott pruitt is hiding. >> a watchdog group filed a
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lawsuit to get access to pruitt's e-mail communications with the fossil fuel industry. thursday, an oklahoma district judge ruled pruitt must turn over 3,000 e-mails by next tuesday. >> he's been hiding information from the senate and the american people about the truth of the relationship. how deep his ties go to the industries that he would be basically charge with regulating. >> he's filed at least a dozen lawsuits against the epa. and in his confirmation hearing, senators revealed, pruitt used oklahoma state stationary and signed his name to letters drafted by energy lobbyists. those letters then sent to federal agencies criticizing environmental regulations. democrats pushed to delay pruitt's confirmation vote time to allow review of the e-mails. >> it's not the worst thing in the world to properly vet someone who will have immense
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power. >> but senate republicans refuse to delay. >> with they want to move him slowly as possible and the ones they've deemed controversial, they want to give their left wing agitators enough time to get organized. >> accused him of being pro-industry. >> our plan will end. the epa. >> the pruitt track record makes him attractive to an agency they say is wasting taxpayer dollars. >> one of the end of america's tailpipe. >> to protest outside of the epa and a union urging its epa members to tell their senators to vote no, despite the resistance, a fresh tweet from the agency. for the first time in weeks, welcoming scott pruitt. i'm rene marsh reporting. still ahead, another twist in the death of the north korean leader's half brother.
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sign up at and get up to six hundred dollars. it's all-star weekend and i've got my buddy steve smith with all access at nba all-star weekend. coming up at 2:30 eastern time, why is it this weekend, no matter what city, it's become a real cultural event. >> it is because one, you get a chance to celebrate all the stars in the game. you get a chance to have guys come and just have a fun weekend and everybody gets a chance to watch basketball at the highest level and add mardi gras. this is going to be a big party. >> this is bourbon street. this is an exciting place. there are many reasons to come to new orleans this weekend. >> yes, it is. you get a chance to see some fabulous basketball and a chance to celebrate mardi gras and for
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me, it's the food and the music. i'm excited. >> it's al about the food. thanks so much. 2:30 eastern time. covered for 30 minutes. all-star weekend. say goodbye to extra taxes and fees on your wireless bill and hello to t-mobile one. right now, get 2 lines of unlimited data for $100 bucks taxes and fees included. 2 lines, $100 dollars. all in, all unlimited. switch today. ♪
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all right. it's a bizarre twist in a high profile murder investigation. one suspect accused of killing the half brother of north kor korea's leader said she thought the entire thing was a prank. and now investigators are trying to figure out who planned to kill kim jong nam. brian todd has the latest. >> reporter: so bizarre that suspect was captured with a loud white shirt with lol em bladened across the front. another strange twist in the killing of kim jong nam, half brother of kim jong-un. an indonesian woman thought she was part of a reality tv show. the mother told about her daughter being tricked.
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>> she wanted to go to for filming on a show by spraying perfume on somebody else. >> according to afp, at least one in the murder had been paid before to stray a substance in people's faces in public. but this time, he says there were dangerous materials in the sprayer. and kim xiong nam and malaysian police said he felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind. he got dizzy and asked for help on a counter. south korean officials called it murder and say he was poisoned. >> this may have been the the targ target of opportunity. they may have thought this was the opportunity that they had. >> reporter: now a key question remains. did kim jong-un order the mother of his half brother? said the north korean regime did kill kim jong nam but not how he
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knew it. >> it could part of a pattern of paranoia and executions that have characterized kim jong-un's leadership. >> reporter: north korea's ambassador said leaders said kim jong nam died of a heart attack and another strange twist, malaysia will not release the body to north korea or release the autopsy report without dna from the kim family. there's no word if if north korean officials will supply that dna but north korea's appear bass d ambassador demanded the immediate release of the body and will reject the results of what they called the forced autopsy which they say was not witnessed by north korean officials. brian todd, cnn, washington. thanks so much for being with me today. i'm fredericka whitfield. all access at the nba all-star weekend. bleacher special report happening right now.
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hello. i'm fredericka whitfield in the heart of new orleans and what a time to be here because this is the nba all-star weekend and of course, it's mardi gras and of course, i am with my great buddy here. my favorite nba all-star, steve smith. what an exciting weekend. >> it is, fred. when you hit the city limits, you feel like dancing. bourbon street, the passion of the people. they're genuine and the food. that's what i really love about new orleans. >> it's all about the flavor here. take a look. the world's most talented basketball stars together for the global celebration of the game. >> new orleans, what's up? make some noise. >> and it's on top of mardi gras. so that makes it even more fun. >> this year, in new orleans, a city known for its vibrant culture,


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