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Trump Foreign Policy Shifting Toward Obama's; Security Incident in France; Patriots Fans Vs. Roger Goodell. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired February 3, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: After all the harsh criticism, would you believe President's foreign policy is starting to align in some areas with President Obama's. Major developments around the world. We are live with the newest development.
[05:00:03] Good morning, everybody. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.
MARQUEZ: And I'm Miguel Marquez. Happy Friday. It is 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.
We begin with a remarkable turn of events at the White House. After more than a year of campaigning against almost every part of Barack Obama's foreign policy, the president post-inauguration, seems to be adopting, even accepting some of those very policies. The administration taking a tougher stance on Israeli settlements, issuing a stern warning to Russia, blaming it for lines in Ukraine, threatening new sanctions against Iran without directly targeting the nuclear deal.
ROMANS: This amid diplomatic efforts to soothe rattled nerves in Asia and to patch things up with Australia, after a heated call between Mr. Trump and that country's prime minister. All this on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's very first day on the job.
We have live coverage this morning from Europe to the Middle East.
We begin with our Ian Lee in Jerusalem with that surprising White House pivot on Israeli settlements.
And, Ian, what was the reaction among reporters who cover the Middle East when they got this notice?
IAN LEE, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Christine. Yes, for us who cover Israel, we were a bit shocked when we woke up this morning and saw the statement from the White House.
I think Israeli officials when they were waking up to were a bit taken aback. That's because up until now, it seems the Israeli government had green light to expand settlements in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem. They announced over 6,000 settlement units to be constructed in those areas. Now, the White House appears to say pump the brakes. Issuing the
statement, while we don't believe the existence of settlements are impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or existing expansion may not be helpful in achieving that goal.
We hear from Israeli's foreign minister saying that the White House holds the settlements are not an obstacle to peace and that they've never have been, and adding it must be concluded that the expansion or construction is not the problem. So, you do have a bit of conflicting statements there from the deputy foreign minister, especially when the White House saying the expansion of settlements is possibly harming the goal of achieving peace.
But we do have Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with President Trump later this month, expect that to be hashed out, expect to see what Israeli/American relations will look like going forward.
ROMANS: Absolutely. Thank you for that, Ian Lee in Jerusalem.
Thursday marked the first appearance of the United Nations Security Council by the ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley took the opportunity to pivot away from President Trump's cordial rhetoric toward Russia, instead going right after Moscow on its renewed aggression in Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: This escalation of violence must stop. The United States stands with the people of Ukraine who had suffered for nearly three years of Russian occupation and military intervention. Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Haley also disappointing Kremlin hopes that sanctions would be curbed under this new administration.
Let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian. She's live for us now from Moscow with the very latest.
Good morning. What's the view from Moscow?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Christine.
You know, the U.S. blaming Russia. Russia blames Ukraine for the escalation in violence. This is exactly the same difference of opinion that we saw repeatedly between Russia and the Obama administration. Now, Nikki Haley doesn't want to see sanctions lifted and neither we heard overnight does President Trump. There's a slight modification in U.S. sanctions announced yesterday. But the White House at pains to emphasize that this was not an easing of sanctions. They also said that they knew about Nikki Haley speech in advance of it happening. So, clearly, the warming of relations that many expected does not seem
to be materializing yet.
Now, at the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, did try to put a positive spin on this. He said there was a noticeable change in tone from the U.S., at the U.N. He said there is a long road ahead. He hopes that leads to more constructive relations going forward.
Of course, the back drop is the serious escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine. More shelling was reported. We heard there's potential civilian casualties. And this is going to be a serious challenge for the U.S. administration going forward, particularly when it comes with how it deal was Russia.
ROMANS: All right. Clare Sebastian for us, live this morning from Moscow -- thank you, Clare.
MARQUEZ: Turning now to Iran. The White House is expected to announce new sanctions possibly as soon as today. The additional sanctions are a response to Iran's ballistic missile test on Sunday but even though the president campaigned hard against the nuclear deal, sources say, his new sanctions are not expected to affect that agreement.
[05:05:05] Joining us live is Thomas Erdbrink. He is the Tehran bureau chief for "The New York Times". He is reporting for us this morning from Iran.
Thomas, thank you very much for being with us.
Iran has been very weary of this new administration. How are they likely to receive new sanctions coming down for the missile test?
THOMAS ERDBRINK, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, good morning.
Clearly, they will not be very happy. But at the same time, the pivot that we've been discussing where the Trump administration is sort of copying the Obama administration in the foreign policy, we are seeing in Iran because where everybody was expecting the Trump administration to try to renegotiate or even cancel the nuclear agreement, we are now seeing them slapping sanctions on Iran after the missile test they did earlier this week. Now, that is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing over the past year. Often, these sanctions were insignificant, didn't have high impact.
What the Iranians are afraid of is, of course, Mr. Trump's remark also yesterday that all options against the country are on the table. This is something that will make the Iranian establishment quite nervous because they, of course, have negotiated over the past year with the Americans, with other world powers to get that nuclear agreement and they have given up a large part of their nuclear program.
So, to again hear threats is something that will not go down well here in Tehran. Now, that said, just as many other governments in the world, they are very confused by the intentions of President Trump. And their solution until now has been to thread carefully, to take things very slowly, trying not to incite the Trump administration because they simply don't know what ultimately Trump's reaction will be.
MARQUEZ: Thomas Erdbrink for us, probably no more interesting time to be in Tehran. Thank you very much.
ROMANS: Absolutely. All right. Leaders from the European Union meeting for the very first time since Donald Trump took office, 27 E.U. leaders taking part in the summit. How are they responding to all this upheaval? What is on their agenda?
I know someone who knows. CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live wit those meetings for us in Malta.
So, many fronts to discuss. What is top of the agenda there?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Top of the agenda is how does the European Union want to deal with the new White House? What we heard from the French president arriving here is, he says, we don't know what President Trump really wants on NATO. He said the most important thing for us, the European Union, is to be united, because there is a real sense here that President Trump is hostile to the European Union.
On the other hand, you have the British Prime Minister Theresa May coming in here to brief the other E.U. leaders. She's going to brief the other European leaders about her meeting with President Obama. She's going to talk to them about the need for them to pay their way in NATO. Obviously, this was an important part of the conversation with President Trump. He feels NATO members don't pay enough. So, she will be bringing that message.
Another part of the conversation here will be about migration from North Africa, of course, here in Malta, right out in the Mediterranean. Very close to the coast with Libya and North Africa. And a real concern in Europe about all the migrants and refugees flooding into Europe. Obviously something in common with the White House on that issue.
But what we have heard and this is perhaps some of the strongest language we heard from the European Union collectively, from the European parliament, they written a letter, this is left wing parties, right wing parties, center parties, written to the European council president, the European commission president, the sort of main bodies for the European Union.
So, I think, as much as one can predict what the European does, that will be one of the things that they come out saying, unity in the face of uncertainty from the White House.
ROMANS: All right. Nic Robertson for us in Malta, where I'm sure those leaders are eagerly getting news about this next breaking news as well. Thanks, Nic.
We have breaking news out of Paris right now. The French interior ministry says there's an ongoing, quote, "serious security incident" Carrousel du Louvre, at the shopping center by the iconic Louvre museum. Officials say a soldier on duty opened fire on a man who had just attempted to attack him with a knife. The man was wearing two backpacks, possibly had a second weapon. About 200 people now are in lockdown inside the Carrousel du Louvre. And the metro station has been shutdown.
Now, the man we're told is seriously injured. This details just coming in. We're going to have more information as soon as it becomes available here.
[05:10:00] So, watching that developing security situation.
MARQUEZ: CNN also reporting that he screamed "Allahu Akbar" just before the attack as well. The heart of Paris.
ROMANS: That's right.
Are all of these moves by President Trump the start of a big pivot diplomacy or just another unpredictable day from this young presidency? There she is. Tal Kopan, she joins from Washington next to talk about it.
MARQUEZ: Across the board, the swath of the global this morning --
ROMANS: Would you stop talking?
MARQUEZ: Which camera? Which words am I reading? Is it really this early?
Trump's foreign policy evolving in the direction of one of his predecessors, policies he spent more than a year campaigns against. But are these pivots? Are they permanent, maybe just a blip? U.S. foreign policy known for its similarity over the decades rather for its difference.
Tal Kopan is in the hot seat in Washington for us.
Tal, good morning to you.
ROMANS: Please start talking.
[05:15:00] MARQUEZ: I hope you are in better shape than I am this morning.
MARQUEZ: What do we think is really going on here? Are they pivoting or is this permanent?
TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I mean, as you said, the sort of dirty little secret is that even when presidents change parties, American foreign policy doesn't change all that much. You know, keep in mind that a lot of that things Trump ran on during the campaign were markedly different from both Republican and Democratic presidents in the past especially regarding to Israel moving away from the two- state solution which is part of the American policy for decades.
So, in some ways, it is not entirely surprising that when you get off the campaign trail and into the apparatus of government with the advice of career foreign service officers who know this stuff inside and out, career security folks in all facets of intelligence and military community. The advice he has been given is most likely a little bit different than maybe what he heard from the advisers which is the way he should talk about it on the campaign.
So, we're going to have to keep watching. You know, I don't think anyone with Donald Trump can predict absolutely what the future will bring. But it certainly not entirely a surprise that some of the foreign policy may be a little more consistent than was promised.
ROMANS: Well, I mean, there is real politics and there's also foreign policy whiplash, you know? Depending on the hour, you don't know what it is exactly that we're experiencing. When you think about this week how profoundly interesting this week was where the president of the United States was in a basically heated argument on the phone with an ally, but has spoken so -- Australia, but has spoken so warmly to someone against U.S. interests and so many fronts, Russia. It's just fascinating how this morphs every day.
KOPAN: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, what I was speaking about now is the posture of the government overall writ large. It is certainly not Trump himself who has shown that his vision of how to talk to world leaders is very different than what we have seen from presidents in the past. It seems to be a lot freer. You know, he does have staff that in some ways briefs him and is in the room for these calls.
But we don't know exactly how much of their advice he is taking. And he is certainly not reading a script when he talks to foreign leaders. He is treating it as he would any sort of negotiation. We're going to see if he has to sort of walk that back and start to be a little more careful, or if he makes it sort of his signature and how world leaders then respond to that.
ROMANS: Tal Kopan for us in Washington, we know the defense secretary is in Asia right now. We can just imagine the kind of conversation that he's going to --
MARQUEZ: Soothing feathers there.
All right. Come back in a few minutes. We'll talk more about all of this from Washington.
KOPAN: Thank you.
ROMANS: In the meantime, Tesla founder Elon Musk is heading to the White House today. He is ready to carefully criticize the president's travel ban. Musk is a member of the president's advisory forum, you know, set up to talk jobs in the economy.
Musk says, quote, "I and others will express objections to the executive order on immigration and offer suggestions for changes to the policy. I understood those who object to my meeting, but I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good."
But another tech titan is quitting that same advisory council. The Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says, he told President Trump he is concerned about the travel ban. Then told them he will not be able to participate in the council anymore. So interesting tightrope with so many of the CEOs have to work here with the president.
All right. We are following breaking news from Paris. An attack on armed soldiers at a crowded shopping center. We're going to have the latest from Paris right on that breaking story.
ROMANS: Disturbing situation.
And could the Super Bowl halftime show turn political? Coy Wire and what Lady Gaga has in store in this morning's "Bleacher Report". All our Lady Gaga news.
[05:23:09] ROMANS: All right. Patriots take on the Falcons in the Super Bowl on Sunday. If you ask most Pats fans who is their biggest foe -- Commissioner Roger Goodell is public enemy number one.
MARQUEZ: I heard that before. Coy Wire will sort it out all for us in this morning's "Bleacher Report".
Good morning, Coy.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, guys.
Tom Brady has been dismissive and quiet when it comes to criticizing the commissioner Roger Goodell since his deflate-gate suspension. But New England fans, that's a whole different story. There's a lot of bad blood in Beantown and our very own Andy Scholes went to radio row in Houston and talked to some Boston media legends. They know the pulse of the people. They told Andy how folks up in New England really feel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN SHAUGHNESSY, BOSTON GLOBE: I really have never seen anything like it. He's the all-time target, worse than any villain on a team. It's across the board. He's become the devil.
GERRY CALLAHAN, WEEI RADIO: Pure 100 percent hatred. Not even much debate. Patriots fans with a consensus. He is a bad man. He's not an honest man. And he screwed Tom Brady and the Patriots.
SHAUGHNESSY: They love Tom Brady. They love their Patriots. And the notion back home is, no one was doing anything. That's why they are happy to be here because the feeling is, they tried to punish the Patriots and you know what, it didn't work. Here they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Now, if the Patriots win this game, many are saying Goodell having to hand the Lombardi Trophy over to Tom Brady will be must-see TV.
All right. Lady Gaga's presser for the Super Bowl at halftime show went down yesterday. And Gaga is known for taking a stance against bullying, for equality. So, she was asked if she would make a political statement during her halftime performance.
Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LADY GAGA, SUPER BOWL HALFTIME PERFORMER: The only statements I'll be making during the halftime show are the ones I have been consistently making throughout my career. I believe in a passion for inclusion. When you are watching football, you're watching guys crash into each other. You're watching strategizing happening. It's a pretty intense situation. I didn't want the halftime show to take a dip. So, it's going to be a good time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: All right. Speaking of show, "Kickoff in Houston", a CNN Bleacher Report special, airs Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on both CNN and CNN International. I and Hines Ward will be led by none other than John Berman.
And this just in, guys, Berman, the unapologetic Pats man, arrived in Houston late last night in his private jet, but was later kicked out of the Patriots team hotel. Got overzealous I think. I'm kidding of course.
MARQUEZ: I love that. I was going to say.
MARQUEZ: I'm glad you brought that up. He should not be there.
ROMANS: There's no private jet. But I do think he was stalking Tom Brady. That's no -- I could see that happening.
All right. Have fun. See you later.
MARQUEZ: Thanks, Coy.
President Trump suddenly embracing some of the positions he criticized President Obama for on the campaign trail. That and the latest on our breaking news. An attack of an armed security personnel in the crowded shopping center in Paris. We are live there, coming right up.