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EARLY START

New Travel Ban Expected This Week; Trump Names National Security Adviser; White House Speaks on Jewish Center Threats; Death of Russia's Ambassador to U.N. Sparks Turmoil; Swedes React to Trump Gaffe. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired February 21, 2017 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: New details emerging this morning on the president's new travel ban. What the White House is doing this time to survive any legal pushback.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And President Trump moving ahead with the new pick for national security adviser. So, how is Capitol Hill responding to the hiring of an outspoken leader?

CABRERA: And the White House weighing in after another series of threats to Jewish centers nationwide. Will the response satisfy those left unsettled by the president's earlier answers on anti-Semitism?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START on this Tuesday. I'm Ana Cabrera.

SANCHEZ: Great to be here, Ana.

I'm Boris Sanchez. It is Tuesday, February 21st, 5:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

And we start this morning the Trump White House putting the finishing touches on the new version of the president's travel ban. We are learning about how this travel ban is being crafted to try to survive some of the legal challenges that sank the first one.

We get the latest now from CNN's Laura Jarrett. She is live for us in Washington.

A couple of different things in this potential, at least, draft of this new order that we're learning about compared to the old one. What are the differences here, Laura?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right. Good morning, Boris.

So, the question on everyone's mind this week is what exactly is going to be different about the ban this second time around? Perhaps the biggest change we know of is who is drafting the order. This time, sources say that the White House counsel's office instead of the policy shop is taking a lead role in rewriting the order.

We also heard from the head of homeland security over the weekend that the rollout of the ban will likely include a phase-in period, if you will, instead of the automatic switch off. The green card holders not affected. As officials are clearly hoping to avoid the kind of chaos that left many stranded in airports across the country last month.

One critical issue that remains unsettled is how the new order will deal with other visitors like student visa holders. Several lawsuits brought by the states argue the travel ban was hurting student enrollment and faculty recruitment at public universities. So, if visa holders are not protected this time around, like the green card holders, it will be interesting to see what happens in court, Boris.

SANCHEZ: All right. Laura, thank you. We will keep an eye on this story and see what happens.

CABRERA: Whatever the provisions of this new travel ban, President Trump will have a new national security adviser to help him navigate the rollout. Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster has now been tapped to fill that opening created when Michael Flynn was forced out.

For the latest, let's bring in national security reporter Ryan Browne live in Washington.

Ryan, what's the word on McMaster?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Hi, Ana.

McMaster is the first active duty officer to take the job since Colin Powell did so during the Reagan administration. Now, he is a highly respected combat veteran. He is well-known for his intellectual pursuit, as much as his military pursuits. He holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina.

He wrote a book, very famous book called "Dereliction of Duty", which was all about the failure of the U.S. military to properly advise the president during the Vietnam War. And in that book, he was highly critical of both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations for having too insular National Security Council.

So, this is kind of a preview in terms of how he sees the National Security Council in his role as a national security adviser. He was also kind of a pioneer in what's called counterinsurgency strategy during the Iraq war, working with General David Petraeus and helping to launch the 2007 surge strategy.

He is also well-known for some views on Russia. He said that Russia was conducting a land grab in Ukraine during some testimony on Capitol Hill. And he's also been very outspoken in his career, willing to kind of buck convention. He's criticized military doctrine in the past for being too rigid. He has kind of bucked convention writing editorials, speaking out against the need for new thinking and new approaches to military techniques and military strategies.

So, it will be interesting to see with that willingness to buck convention how he works in the White House with a lot of important powerful players already there, including Steve Bannon, the presidential adviser who is sitting on the National Security Council. SANCHEZ: Yes, it will be interesting to see because he is not

considered as ideological or perhaps even as controversial as is predecessor, Michael Flynn.

Ryan Browne, thank you so much.

To help us break down the president's busy Presidents' Day, let's bring in Ellis Henican. He's a political analyst and author of the "Trump's America" column for Metro papers.

Ellis, I'm sure you know what I'm about to ask you.

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: I can guess, yes.

SANCHEZ: So, this new travel ban, one of the big questions is, legally, will it survive where the other one didn't? But you brought up an interesting point on social media. Is this going to be effective safer?

HENICAN: Well, we know some things already, even as the details are just coming together, Boris. I mean, we know that it's going to be challenged in court, right? I mean, as long as they are sticking with the seven nations, these majority Muslim nations, and questions will be asked about whether there is a rationale behind that, whether it really is a religious test.

[05:05:06] And this new version is not likely to answer those questions, and (ph) the judges will.

The second question is, whether it will work? Will it make us any safer? That is where the argument will turn around.

CABRERA: You mentioned the seven nations expect to be part of this order. There was an issue with those seven countries being in the first order because there had not been terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil by refugees and immigrants from those seven countries.

So, how does this make any different in terms of a legal life?

HENICAN: Well, that part of it won't be any different from everything we knew. Now, we don't have the draft yet, so we do need to be a little careful about it. But the reports that we're getting out of the White House counsel's office is that those seven nations will still be the focus of this ban.

And you're right. People will make exactly the argument that you're making.

SANCHEZ: Now, Ellis, I want to play sound from Secretary Kelly, the head of the Department of Homeland Security. He was in Munich over the weekend. He talked about this second attempt at the travel ban. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We will have this time opportunity, I will have opportunity to work and rollout plan, in particular, to make sure that there's no one in the sense caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports which happened on the first release.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: When he says I will have the opportunity this time to have input, essentially, is what he's saying, what does that tell you about the rollout of the first executive order?

HENICAN: Well, it suggests that he and many others were not involved, including most importantly the people actually have to execute.

SANCHEZ: The lawyers.

HENICAN: Right, the lawyers to draft it and the people on the ground at the airports who had no idea what to do. Who did it apply? Where should we send them?

So, I think it is almost certainly that part will be smoother this time. They clearly have learned lessons. And, you know what? Drafting it with the professionals and not just political people might make it more likely to succeed, right?

CABRERA: And maybe more acceptable.

HENICAN: It's not a crazy idea.

CABRERA: Perhaps more acceptable to some of the critics, first order as well.

You know, McMaster. The new national security adviser getting rave reviews it seems on all sides of the political aisle, also from military, political, folks up in Washington, John McCain, a Trump critic, saying that this is a great decision and that Trump deserves credit.

Have you heard any pushback at all?

HENICAN: No. In fact, you can add my voice to the initial chorus. A part of it is the comparison to General Flynn who is widely panned and many would just temperamentally unsuited to that position.

No doubt General McMaster will be called on to make difficult decisions. Not everyone will agree with all of them. He is a professional and bright and balanced and seemingly sane guy. So, why don't we be thankful for that?

SANCHEZ: What do you think of the dynamic between having someone in the White House who is an independent thinker and is outspoken versus having someone like, let's say, Craig Deare who was reassigned a day ago. The White House saying that if you don't agree with President Trump, you don't belong in the White House.

HENICAN: It's a great question. I think it's undoubtable that he is capable of doing the job. The question will be, is he allowed to do the job? If you are Steve Bannon, you've got some very strong opinions on this stuff. Maybe you don't necessarily want to hear all of those independent thoughts from this general. That's the dynamic to watch.

CABRERA: I want to ask about this recent Jewish center bomb threats. We learned there were 29 just in the last 24 hours. And so -- or 11 rather in the last 24 hours, 29 total in the last month or so that have happened.

The president has been criticized for not being more outspoken against anti-Semitism among some of his supporters. They did put out a statement following this recent round of bomb threats.

Let's read it for you real quick. We can put up that, guys. There it is.

"Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom. The president made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable."

Still no mention of Jews in the statement. Is the statement going to get it done?

HENICAN: Well, it's a step in the right direction. The first two times that came up, the president, he really turned it into a discussion about his own voting totals in November. It was odd.

This is a step in the right direction. And I think he has one powerful voice in his ear on this. It's his daughter, Ivanka, who has also been out front on this stuff, as you know, converted to Judaism. And so, it's a personal issue for her.

But that's the kind of stuff that most White Houses get easily. This is a stumble in the first month.

SANCHEZ: Yes, there's the tweet from Ivanka Trump. "America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship and religious centers. #JCC"

Ellis, we still have so many questions to ask, as can you tell by the array of papers that we have here on our desk. We will join you again in the next half hour.

[05:10:00] We've got to keep moving. We've got to keep moving, but we'll see you in the next half hour.

CABRERA: We'll talk more, soon.

SANCHEZ: Thank you so much, Ellis.

Well, the diplomatic community is in mourning after a blow of hopes of reconciliation between the U.S. and Russia. The Russian ambassador to the U.N. suddenly passing away. We're live in Moscow with more on what that means going forward.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: Welcome back to EARLY START.

The sudden death of Russia's ambassador to the U.N. opening the door not only for grief but for turmoil. What does it mean with the relationship with the United States and Russia? Where does this unexpected turn of events leave diplomacy between the countries?

CNN's Clare Sebastian is live in Moscow this morning with the very latest.

Clare, first, how is Moscow reacting?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think with great shock and sadness this morning. This certainly came as a shock to many here. We heard condolences coming from all kinds of quarters. The Russian president saying that he greatly valued Churkin's professionalism and diplomatic talent.

[05:15:04] He was said to be very upset by the news by his press secretary.

We have seen flowers being laid outside the foreign ministry. There's a book of condolences opened which the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has just signed. He is expressing his condolence. He was a very good friend of Vitaly Churkin. He was his predecessor as Russian ambassador to the U.N.

But I think it's particularly telling as well that the reaction is coming in not just from Moscow, but from Churkin's colleagues at the U.N., many of whom he had clashed very publicly on certain foreign policy issues, but still garnered their respect.

I want to read a tweet from former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power. She said, "Devastated by the passing of Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, diplomatic maestro and caring man who did all he could to bridge U.S./Russia differences."

Particularly striking because you will remember it was only in December that they had a very harsh exchange of words over Syria. Samantha Power asking Vitaly Churkin if he could experience no shame offer actions. He telling her she should not pretend to be Mother Teresa, that U.S. actions in Syria also requires scrutiny.

But despite that, you will see she was obviously very upset by his death and clearly had a lot of respect to him. But as you say, this comes at a crucial time for U.S./Russian foreign policy, just a month into the Trump administration. Vitaly Churkin had already started to build a relationship with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. They had already met and they did disagree over the situation in Eastern Ukraine.

But I think there will be scrutiny over who Russia picks to replace him. Clearly a very important job.

CABRERA: And we'll be watching for that. Thank you so much, Clare Sebastian, for reporting. SANCHEZ: To Australia now where investigators are trying to figure

out what caused a deadly small plane crash in that country. Officials say all five people on board were killed. They say the pilot was Australian, the four passengers were American, including a 70-year-old man from Texas. You could see that fire raging with black smoke in the air.

The building it crashed into was a shopping center. The plane slammed into it, shortly after taking off from the airport in Melbourne. The stores there fortunately were not open at that time.

Well, something I never thought we would be talking about a month into Trump's presidency, the crime rate in Sweden.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Right, suddenly coming under scrutiny after the president's false claim of a terror attack there. What is really happening on the ground in Sweden?

We'll take you there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:22:01] SANCHEZ: Swedes are reacting to Trump's last night in Sweden gaffe with a mixed of sharp wits, humor, and some memes, along with anger and confusion. We, of course, know that no terror incidents took place in that country over the past week.

But what's the reality in Sweden in terms of refugees and crime?

Let's bring in CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson. He's live in Stockholm.

Ivan, you've poured over the data. What does this data tell you about the relationship between incoming refugees and migrants and what some call a crime wave in that country?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, this is a country that has not been successfully attacked by Islamic extremist jihadi terrorists in years and years. So, that's important to note.

The Swedish prime minister responded to President Trump's comments saying he was surprised by them.

Take a listen to what else he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEFAN LOFVEN, PRIME MINISTER OF SWEDEN: Yes, we have opportunities. We have challenges. We are working with them every day. I think also we must all take responsibility for using facts correctly and for verify any information that we spread.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATSON: Now, this is a country of 10 million people that has been very generous in taking in a lot of immigrants.

Between 2012 and 2015, Boris, more than 100,000 people granted asylum here. So, that's a lot for a country of this size. There is no direct correlation government officials and police officials say between immigrants, refugees and crime in this country.

But let's get some of the facts out here. For total reported crimes, here are the numbers between 2012 and 2015, crime rose 7 percent. Between 2014 and 2015, a big part of the jump in crime was due to computer related fraud.

During the same period, sexual offenses in Sweden, you see they hovered around the same area. And in fact, dropped between 2014 and 2015.

However, when you look at Islamophobic crime, attacks on Muslim targets, that jumped considerably between 2012 and 2015, nearly doubled.

Immigration is a political issue here. It is contentious. It contributed to a growth in the polls for a right wing political party that has a tough anti-immigrant line. But this again is not a country that suffered a significant terror attack in recent years. And it certainly is not a country in crisis -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Ivan Watson, reporting from Stockholm -- thank you so much.

CABRERA: Uber is hiring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help the company investigate allegations of sexism. Holder is currently a partner at a law firm Covington and Burling. Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber's board, will also be part of the investigation.

Now, Uber's CEO says, quote, "They will conduct a review into the specific issues relating to the workplace environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly."

[05:25:04] Fowler is a former engineer. And in a blog post this past Sunday, she made allegations of blatant and systemic sexism at the company. She says a supervisor propositioned her for sex and the company's human resources department ignored multiple complaints about inappropriate behavior.

Uber says it launched an urgent investigation immediately after she posted her story.

SANCHEZ: Much lighter news now. Panda lovers are saying bye-bye to Bao Bao. The beloved giant panda is leaving the only home she's ever known for China this morning. Bao Bao was born three and a half years ago at Washington's national zoo.

Under a species preservation agreement between the U.S. and Beijing, Bao Bao must be returned before she turns four. She is leaving behind her parents, brother and 6,000 followers on Twitter. Ana, do you follow her?

SANCHEZ: You should. If you think the president goes on some late night Twitter tirades, you should see Bao Bao is tweeting.

CABRERA: I have a little "did you know" fun fact for you after you commented on the bamboo eating with pandas previously. How much do they eat a day? Any idea?

SANCHEZ: I have no idea.

CABRERA: Twenty to 40 pounds of bamboo every day.

SANCHEZ: Sounds delicious. I'm going to have that to my --

CABRERA: Some good fiber.

Well, the White House is now trying to walk a fine line with the upcoming travel ban. New orders are expected. The latest details on how the president will try to tackle security without overstepping legal bounds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)