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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Violent Winds To Hammer Northeast Through Sunday; High Tide Fueling Coastal Flooding In Boston; Deadly Storm Pummels Northeast, One Million Without Power; Suspect Captured In Deadly Central Michigan Shooting; Chaos And Confusion Rattle The West Wing; Kelly Misrepresents His Handling Of Porter Abuse Scandal; Europe Considers Tariff "Counter Measures" Aired 8-9a ET
Aired March 3, 2018 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- tonight is not the night to check out the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dozens of Quincey residents are being rescued from their homes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of scary. We're lucky. It's just things that will get lost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Kelly revives the Porter scandal and says he won't resign over it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There seems to be a feeding frenzy inside the west wing. I mean, everybody is shooting at everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've served six administrations. I have never seen such chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they want to call it chaos, fine, but we call it success.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is also facing growing criticism over a sudden announcement of new tariffs of steel and aluminum coming into the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On an average car the actual impact will be a fraction of 1 percent.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You're going to see a lot of good things happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's 8:00 on a Saturday morning and we are glad you are with us. I'm Christi Paul.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: This morning, we're really watching the people across the northeast because they will start to be able to survey some of the damage after this bomb cyclone just unleashed some severe winds knocking down trees, some homes are destroyed. But the wind threat is still very much alive.
PAUL: We that know five people have died as a result of this storm so far and there is torrential rain from the storm that is causing some widespread flooding now. We know also that the third wave so to speak of this storm is yet to come.
SAVIDGE: And on top of that, the violent winds which are still blowing tore down several hundred power lines. More than 1 million people are without power and that is extending from Virginia to New England. Massachusetts seeing the worst of it with more than 400,000 people without electricity. And there are states of emergency in Virginia and Maryland.
We have a team of reporters and meteorologists that are covering this very dangerous storm. So, let's begin live in Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of Boston. Ryan, what are you seeing there?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a bit of good news, we are not dealing with that heavy rain that we were dealing with yesterday. The wind is still here pushing us all around. Not as strong as it was yesterday because we had wind gusts above 70 miles per hour.
But what we're starting to see is some of the damage that has been left behind. Don't forget more than 70 people were just evacuated just from this area alone. But we look back this direction, you can see some of the damage that was left by the strong moving storm that came here dumping tons of water pushing the sea water into the streets.
We just talked to a woman who lives about three houses down about trying to get out of here and making turns down every street and all she was faced with was water.
YOUNG (voice-over): Coastal communities in Massachusetts pounded by monster waves. High tides sent water rolling down streets and into homes. In Quincy, dozens of residents had to be rescued by trucks and scooped up by front loaders. Christine Way-Cotter was one of those getting a ride out of danger.
CHRISTINE WAY-COTTER, RESCUED IN FLOOD: Kind of scary because we were the ones standing up on it and having to hold on. We're lucky. It's just things that will get lost.
YOUNG: Storm conditions are expected to improve on Saturday, but the wind is still a factor, so is coastal flooding. Near Portland, Maine, storm surge left this home teetering on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
DANA STERLING, HOMEOWNER: The plan is to lift it and move it back a little bit, I believe, but a lot of things have to happen before that happens. We're just trying to keep it from going anywhere.
DOUG CAMPBELL, SACO, MAINE RESIDENT: You feel bad for the people but that comes with having a house on the water. Ocean winds, you lose.
YOUNG: Another issue is power outages. In Watertown, Massachusetts, high winds made power lines fall like dominos.
CAPT. RAYMOND DUPUIS, WATERTOWN POLICE: We had traffic lights all over town that were affected by this grid. But the first (inaudible) isolated the area, cut the circuit off. Wires over cars and it was a pretty dangerous situation.
YOUNG: One woman in Brocktown, Massachusetts said her son is lucky to be alive. He was sitting in the backseat of the car when a tree came crashing down.
CYNTHIA CREIGHTON, MOTHER: The house shook. We heard a noise. We didn't know what it was. We ran out. My son was still in the car with the tree on top of it.
YOUNG: So, Christi and Martin, we just went up to the Dunkin Donuts where a lot of people were having a conversation because some people have not been able to make it back to their homes just yet, so they haven't found out the extent of damage they will be facing. This will be long day especially as the winds continue to howl through here. A lot of people surveying the damage and see what they have left. Back to you.
SAVIDGE: All right. Ryan Young, thank you very much for that.
[08:05:05] PAUL: I want to go to Polo Sandoval now because he is in Boston. And we know, Polo, there is more coastal flooding expected because this high tide is going to come back in, in just a few hours. What are you hearing and seeing thus far and are they ready for the third round?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very big difference too, Christi, especially when you compare to last night when we had the wind, when we had the rain and we had that high tide. If you look around me, this is a popular spot here looking over the Boston harbor, the wet cement marks where that tide moved in overnight.
Remember, the key thing here, there are three high tide events that officials were quite worried about, the worst one already happened last night. However, officials are certainly still keeping an eye on the water as it is still expected to continue to rise into this afternoon.
But at this point, looking around downtown Boston, it certainly doesn't seem like there was any major damage to report with that water. But it doesn't mean that authorities aren't still keeping their guard up. Still have some plenty of businesses that are basically sandbagged.
Just making sure that they are in the clean, but in the meantime, we have seen no shortage of people that are out and about checking things out as far as Boston, it seems like things are slowly getting back to normal.
I can see the airport from here, some flights are taking off and people are certainly out and about at this hour at least here in Boston. Very different from what you might find a short drive away.
PAUL: No doubt about it. And real quickly, we know that there are more than a million people who do not have power. Any folks in Boston experiencing that?
SANDOVAL: Yes, Boston at least not in the city itself, we never lost power here at all. Even though we thought we would especially with the whipping winds last night. So, at this point, we haven't seen any major power outages in and around Boston. We're certainly looking into that.
But authorities have said that it is really the communities outside that had some of those poles that were broken that are really in the dark this morning. They are hoping that this break in the clouds, believe it or not, I'm seeing some blue sky at this hour, will allow these crews to finally get in those communities and get those people back up and running again.
PAUL: Polo apparently drew a lucky straw. We're glad that it is not that situation for you and everybody there. Polo Sandoval, Ryan Young, thank you both so much.
SAVIDGE: Joining us now is Meteorologist Allison Chinchar live in the CNN Severe Weather Center. And Allison, do me a favor. Explain what is a bomb cyclone and is this a hurricane or not a hurricane?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: OK. So, I want you to understand that you asked about a hurricane. There are actually a lot more similarities than there are differences. The biggest thing is this is a cold core low. The center of the actual low is more cold based where as a hurricane is a warm core. That will be your biggest difference.
But as I mentioned, they have a lot more similarities. There are strong surges with both. There's very heavy rain and there's incredibly strong wind gusts exceeding 74 miles an hour. Look at some of the wind gusts we had. Around Nantucket, 90 miles per hour. Scituate, Massachusetts 80 miles an hour. Even Boston proper picking up 70 mile-per-hour winds.
We call it the bomb cyclone, this refers to bombogenesis, it's a meteorological term. This is when the storm drops at least 24 millibars of pressure in less than 24 hours. This one dropped about 30 millibars. That means that it underwent a rapid intensification, and that's what allows these storms to become really, really potent. This one is now finally offshore, but we still dealing with the impacts and likely will continue to see those impacts for the next 24 hours. We talked about high tides for Boston as well as Portland, the next one coming in around noon today so just a few short hours.
That means a lot of that coastal flooding will come back in. The record tide for Boston harbor is 15.16 feet. We expect this one to be about 14.1 feet. I want to emphasize to you, that will still crack the top five for biggest high tides for that area. So, you are still likely to have a lot of those roadways under water.
PAUL: All righty. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much. And we need to point out as Ryan Young was saying, some people still can't get back to their homes. Part of that might be because they don't have their cars. In the northeast, there are cars that are submerged by the floodwaters and in some cases the drivers were trapped inside.
SAVIDGE: Reporter, John Atwater from our affiliate, WCBB shows us the dramatic rescues that have been taking place.
JOHN ATWATER, WCVB REPORTER (voice-over): Entire families were plucked from the floodwaters on house neck.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, very grateful.
ATWATER: The end of a terrifying attempt to ride out a monster storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very scary. It's the worst one ever.
ATWATER: National Guard troops rescued dozens of people. Their video shows crews in waist deep water going door to door to grab families who did not evacuate. Many basements are full of water and without heat or electricity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Furnace is gone. Basement has a foot of water.
[08:10:08] ATWATER: Flooding was just one concern for first responders as high winds ripped apart fences, brought down trees and sparked fires as power lines snapped. And this is just round one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely horrific, but we're OK. We're OK. That is all that matters.
SAVIDGE: She has the right attitude. Thanks to John Atwater with our affiliate, WCVB, for that reporting.
PAUL: Do doubt about it. Want to talk about the suspect in a shooting at Central Michigan University where two people died. That suspect you see on your screen is now in custody. CMU police were able to arrest James Eric Davis Jr. this morning for allegedly shooting his parents when they came to pick him up for spring break. SAVIDGE: CNN's Scott McLean is live in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for us. And Scott, what more are we learning about the suspect here? It sounds like an awful crime.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so, Martin, this suspect put this campus on lockdown yesterday. Students were forced to stay inside the buildings with the doors locked, the blinds drawn after shots were fired on the fourth floor of this residence building on campus.
It was several hours until police were able to safely evacuate people from those buildings and it was more than 12 hours until police actually apprehended the suspect. His name is James Eric Davis Jr. He is a 19-year-old student at this college.
And what makes this case bizarre is that it appears that he actually didn't get very far from the residence building. Someone passing by on a train through the north end of campus spotted him and alerted police. North end of campus by the way is just down these train tracks.
So, he truly did not get far. He was arrested without incident. He is accused of killing his parents, James Eric Davis Sr. and his mother, Eva, who were in town from the Chicago area apparently to take their son home for the spring break.
What happened, what went wrong here? That is still very much an open question. But we do know that police did have contact with this young man on Thursday night and he was taken to the hospital for apparently a drug overdose.
People in his hometown are calling his parents really pillars of the community. Police here meanwhile have said very little, but there is a press conference scheduled in just over two hours from now -- Martin, Christi.
SAVIDGE: Scott, maybe we'll learn more then. Thank you very much.
PAUL: A new report claiming the Donald Trump team deal with a porn star prior to the election almost fell through. Why Stormy Daniels nearly came forward the report says with her allegations of an affair with Donald Trump just days before the election.
SAVIDGE: Plus, a trade war could raise prices on millions of products, but the president and his commerce secretary say that wouldn't be a big deal. Both those men happened to be billionaires. Should we trust their judgment?
PAUL: And it was a wild week for the Trump administration. The chief of staff, General John Kelly, maybe his words are what really contributed to the situation. We'll talk about that in a moment.
[08:17:22] PAUL: It's 17 minutes past the hour right now. We're so glad to have you here. It has been a tumultuous week for President Trump and it may have just gotten a little more complicated.
SAVIDGE: There is a new report from the "Washington Post" that claims days before the election, porn star, Stormy Daniels, threatened to cancel a deal that she made with Trump's attorneys. A deal to keep her alleged affair with Donald Trump a secret.
An attorney for Daniels said the Trump attorneys missed a deadline for paying their client, but 10 days later, Daniels received a payment of $130,000 and the story stayed under wraps under earlier this year.
PAUL: So, this report obviously just the latest chapter in what has been a long-complicated week for the Trump administration. Boris Sanchez is traveling with the president in Florida. So, we've had international blowback on this trade deal, changing stances on guns, staff shakeup and John Kelly facing criticism. When will we hear from the president on all of this?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Martin, yes, the president now weighing in on the latest comments from John Kelly, but we have heard from sources in the White House who tell us that they are puzzled by what the chief of staff told reporters yesterday, stunned in the words of another source.
One source actually telling us that they do not believe that the chief of staff was telling the truth. It all stems from an off the record meeting that John Kelly had with reporters yesterday, portions of which were put on the record specifically portions detailing what he knew and when he knew it regarding domestic abuse allegations against former Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
The chief of staff tried to make the case that the same day that he learned about the allegations against Rob Porter, that he was physically and emotionally abuse suffer of two of his ex-wives, that he then secured a resignation from Porter. That goes against the time line.
It contradicts what we know about this story because it wasn't until 24 hours later the next day that the White House put out a statement defending Rob Porter saying that the president and the chief of staff had full confidence in him.
Further it contradicts what sources have been telling us that the FBI provided the chief of staff and White House counsel with documentation that detailed some of the allegations against Porter.
Kelly defended himself to reporters saying in part, quote -- I don't have the statement with me. I apologize. But essentially, he said that he had done nothing that would require him to resign over the Rob Porter scandal. And it becomes just one of an additional number of controversies around the White House this week.
[08:20:01] Sources have told us that they are now worried about the president that he may lose control in part because he has been lashing out at staffers during the week. That is certainly something to keep an eye on -- Martin and Christi.
SAVIDGE: Boris Sanchez, thanks very much for that. Appreciate the update.
PAUL: CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd is with us now. Sam, it's so good to see you. So, first, let's talk about this reporting from Boris about John Kelly and what the consequences for this administration. A lot of people wondering why would he bring back up the issue of Porter?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Christi, I really don't know because these inconsistencies are deeply concerning and that is exactly why we need independent oversight mechanisms to kick into look at what happened. And the Senate Intelligence Committee in fact is holding a hearing on this issue next week.
While they do that, I think the salient point here is that we shouldn't want national security-wise anybody with a secret level clearance working at the White House on key national security issues right now.
Because the fact is, the information that they are able to access at a secret level is just a drop in the bucket. And I can guarantee that Russian officials at the Kremlin aren't working with limited access.
When someone like Jared Kushner says that he is now preparing for a meeting with the Israelis, for example, if the system is being enforced, he probably has access to almost none of the intelligence that is needed to get ready for his meeting.
So, he is starting it out with a handicap and from a national security perspective, we would want to send in all of our officials with all of the information that they need to do their jobs.
SAVIDGE: There is something that -- I'm stunned by what you said. But let me bring up John Kelly again because there's something else he's admitted that the White House has had issues when it comes to these security clearances. That is stunning to me. It's stunning that it is coming from him because he should know about all of this.
VINOGRAD: He certainly should, and I worked for four chiefs of staff. And at the end of the day as chief of staff, you are responsible for your staff even Jared Kushner. And so, I think that Kelly is faced with a real decision right now of how does he get the process back on the rails?
And make clear that as chief of staff he will enforce this new system and frankly that he will take responsible for the fact that there were systemic abuses of the security clearance system and that the new rules need to be applied and need to be enforced.
PAUL: So, I want to talk to you about the report in the "New York Times" that says that the president asked John Kelly to help the president force his daughter and Jared Kushner out of the White House. Do you get a sense that if that happened maybe he was trying to protect Jared Kushner in some way? VINOGRAD: I think that this story sounds a little odd frankly. And as much as I may prefer that Jared Kushner no longer work on national security, it does sound odd to me. I do think that it is important for John Kelly to really do his job, that again he is the chief of staff of all of his staff.
And not everybody but Jared Kushner and that is why it is really important that he enforces all of these rules throughout the course of the day. Look, Jared Kushner apparently no longer has access to the presidential daily briefing.
But there is still going to be multiple points in the day when Jared Kushner could be around top-secret intelligence including when he is speaking with his father-in-law. And John Kelly needs to make sure that Jared Kushner does not have any kind of access to top-secret intelligence just like everybody else at the White House.
SAVIDGE: And hard to think that his father wouldn't talk to his daughter if there was a problem.
VINOGRAD: One would think.
SAVIDGE: Samantha Vinograd, thank you very much.
PAUL: Thank you, Sam.
SAVIDGE: President Trump says that trade wars are good and easy to win. But now Europe is threatening to fight back. Next, who could be hit with higher prices?
PAUL: So glad to have your company. It's 28 minutes past the hour on this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: Remember, the president has announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum, and he says the tariffs will go into effect next week.
SAVIDGE: In several tweets, President Trump said trade wars are good and easy to win. The European Union may strike back if the president follows through on his tariff plan. They could retaliate by putting their own tariffs on major U.S. brands like say, Levis jeans, Harley- Davidson motorcycles, and Bourbon Whiskey, and we're just getting warmed up. And then China could also decide to hit back.
PAUL: John Defterios, CNN Money emerging markets editor, is with us now as well as CNN international correspondent, Matt Rivers, who is live in Beijing. John, I want to start with you. The markets did not react well to this news.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: No, Christi. Hello, Martin. In fact, as you know, the word trade war was rarely used before the Trump administration took over the White House. That has certainly changed in the last 48 hours. Particularly the rhetoric between U.S. and Europe, the Trans-Atlantic ties that have been so strong over the years.
The comments coming from Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission suggesting that Europe will not stand on the sidelines and as you suggested, Martin, singling out three categories of products just to get started, Harley Davidson motorcycles, whiskey, and even blue jeans.
But listen to the tone of his language that he used in a speech in Hamburg, Germany overnight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): The European Union will have to take a stand against this plan because we cannot just stand aside and watch how for some reason the industrial dislocation in Europe will be marginalized and tens of thousands of jobs are lost in Europe. And Europe needs to defend itself against this and we will defend ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: And they're moving quickly here. There is a new list being drafted up on Monday that will cover U.S. farm products and industrial products, and ironically even steel since the U.S. tariffs on steel.
As you both know, President Trump has targeted the World Trade Organization in the past with 164 countries based out of Geneva. The director general suggests that the U.S. should be careful, that retaliation in his words are for real. But it seems like President Trump is trying to serve two different audiences here. The blue- collar workers he think he has to keep his campaign pledge. But at the same time he's always gauged his success on the response on Wall Street.
Wall Street does not language like trade war. That's why we've seen the selloff here. So it's very difficult for the president going forward to try to balance the two. He's had the support of both until he's announced these trade measures.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: All right. John Defterios, thanks very much.
More to bring in Matt Rivers. Matt, yes, we've already heard some of the view from Europe now. What's the view from China?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that they're not really in favor of this. They came out pretty strongly against it. The government releasing a statement here basically saying that they weren't in favor, they think it hurts global trade. But we should also say that the Chinese response to this has been relatively measured because aluminum and steel are not two of China's exports that it relies on for a healthy economy here. They send all kinds of stuff to the United States. Everything from
bedroom furnitures to toys, sports equipment, and that stuff is way more important to the Chinese economy than aluminum and steel. So if one of the goals of these tariffs by the Trump administration, the proposed tariffs, would be to hurt the Chinese economy, this isn't going to do that. And I think you're seeing the Chinese respond in a -- in kind in that similar fashion.
However, we're looking forward, though, if this is the start, the signal to a harder line trade policy by the Trump administration. The Chinese government says they will not take that lying down. And they can do a lot to hurt U.S. industry that relies on market access here in China. Think Boeing, Apple, Cisco, the soy industry supports tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. If the Chinese government wants to hurt the U.S. economically, they can do so. We just haven't seen them really do it yet.
SAVIDGE: All right. There we go. The view from both Europe and China. Thank you both, gentlemen, for joining us this morning.
President Trump and his Commerce secretary, a fellow billionaire, we should point out, both say that the trade war is really nothing to fear.
CHRIS PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Wilbur Ross held up a soup and a soda can to make his point. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: For the beverage cans, there is only about 3 cents worth of steel or aluminum, in this case happens to be aluminum, in it to begin with. So if that goes up 10 percent, you're talking a fraction of a penny. These products sell for over a dollar in the store. So it's nonsense to say that there is a great tragedy looming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Joining us now is CNN global economic analyst, Rana Faroohar. Excuse me very much.
Rana, as you listen and, I mean, I'm sorry, he has to work in his technique there with the can and the whole explanation. It didn't really fill me with a whole sense of confidence here that this is not going to hurt me as a consumer. And I'm wondering, you know, what is the rest of America thinking?
RANA FAROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, it's already hurt you. I mean, just look at the market drop off the back of this tariff news. You know, the idea of the tariffs which frankly I think the president was sort of shooting from his hip a little bit here, I'm not even sure that some of his top advisers knew that this was coming. You know, we have been talking a lot about it but it felt like he kind of picked up the mic and went for it the other day.
It's already had, you know, a major impact on the stock market knocking about 400 billion or so off the market cap of any number of firms. Yes, the price of U.S. steel went up, but steel jobs have been declining in this country even before any concerns about Chinese dumping. I mean, that's about technology replacing jobs. It's really not about China.
Matt was absolutely right, by the way. China only exports about 0.2 percent, less than 1 percent, of their steel to the -- and aluminum to the U.S. This isn't going to hurt them. But a full-blown trade war would hurt not only in the U.S. but everybody else in the form of raising prices for domestic producers here.
And steel is used in a lot of things besides Coke cans. It's used in cars. It's used in every kind of consumer goods. Steel and aluminum are all around us. And so the effect on the U.S. supply chain is going to be much more significant than the administration is playing up. And then there is one more effect which we shouldn't downgrade. And that is if you start to see price inflation on things like manufactured goods that use these products, that could make the Fed have to hike rates sooner than it would like and that would cause everybody's debt to get more expensive, it could also cause bigger correction in the stock market.
[08:35:10] PAUL: So give us -- yes, and with that said, give us the best and worst scenarios for the, you know, middle class consumer.
FAROOHAR: So the best scenario is that we find out on Monday that this is, you know, a lot of hubris, maybe the president backs down and there are many ways that a tariff if it was implemented could be implemented. It could be targeted on certain countries. What we could hope that it wasn't a blanket tariff on -- you know, on some of our allies. That is already by the way having -- creating real concerns in Europe, there are retaliatory measures being talked about on jeans and motorcycles in the U.S. So you don't want to get into that kind of situation.
Full blown trade war is really the worst-case scenario. That's how the Great Depression got started. If you look back even more recently at 2002 under George W. Bush, he implemented steel tariffs and the industry ended up in a worst place. So best case scenario, the president backs away or it's a bit of a war of words that creates some dips in the stock market. Worst case, full blown trade war.
SAVIDGE: Well, some of this is assuming of course that these nations are going to retaliate or retaliate with very heft action on their own. And yet that could also hurt their own economy. So --
SAVIDGE: How much of this is bluster and how much of this is serious?
FAROOHAR: Well, you know, right now it is a lot of bluster and it is important to say that actually, you know, if you go back 10 years right after the financial crisis, you all probably remember there was a lot of talk about a trade war because when countries are under pressure when they feel pinched, and when they have political constituencies that they want to speak to and Donald Trump, by the way, is feeling particularly pinched right now.
The Republicans are not happy about a lot of what he's been saying around tariffs, guns, they tend to act out. They tend to get very nationalist and that's when you see these sorts of war of words beginning. But the problem with trade is that it's a very slippery slope. You know, once you have one tariff in place, another comes, it can become a real snowball effect. And it can -- it can cause a lot more damage a lot sooner than people think.
PAUL: You've mentioned 2002 and George W. Bush and the steel tariffs there. Why does it come down to steel tariffs? Why is that the center point?
FAROOHAR: Yes. It's a great question. You know, steel like China is one of those things that is very iconic in the U.S. Well, really for any nation, but in the U.S. there is this idea that steel is about our greatness as a country, it is about being able to protect ourselves, build.
You know the president invoked at one point national defense concerns around needing to have enough domestically produced steel, but really only about 3 percent of our steel goes into the U.S. Defense industry. Most of it is going into cars and consumer products and cans like we've just heard.
PAUL: All right. Rana Faroohar, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Appreciate it greatly.
FAROOHAR: Thank you.
PAUL: So listen, it was a tense day in Colorado yesterday. A state lawmaker was expelled over sexual harassment allegations and Democratic State Representative Steve Lebsock who we're talked about, accused of sexual harassing several women either by making inappropriate comments and-or touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable.
SAVIDGE: So the House voted for his expulsion, an overwhelming 52-9, though it wasn't an easy decision. Some fellow lawmakers expressed their fears about speaking out on behalf of the accusers and ousting one of their own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEC GARNETT (D), COLORADO STATE LEGISLATOR: And I bought a bulletproof vest. And I'm wearing it. It's right here. I'm wearing Kevlar because I fear for retaliation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: An outside independent investigation found that the women's allegations were credible. Representative Lebsock says that the findings were all flawed and asked his colleagues for a formal committee investigation. PAUL: So stick around because President Trump is going to be
attending the Gridiron Club Dinner. This is an event with some of the country's top journalists. He skipped the dinner last year. So lots of eyes on how this one is going to go this year.
SAVIDGE: Should be interesting. And the incredible moment a snowboarder is freed from heavy snow after an avalanche came crashing down. The rescue was all caught on camera. You'll see next.
[08:43:45] SAVIDGE: We want to show you this incredible moment that was caught on camera near a popular California ski resort after a devastating avalanche hit the ski slopes. Rescuers spotted a snowboard sticking up from under a foot of snow. They started digging. Four others were also trapped, but remarkably nobody was seriously injured. But look as they uncover him, the snowboarder apparently slid down the mountain to safety after being rescued.
But still, to be there at that moment and see as he literally comes back from what he must have thought would be the day of his death.
PAUL: His lips were blue initially and that they couldn't find his wife, but they found her and she came running up. So quite a moment for them. Just glad everybody is OK there.
SAVIDGE: We are indeed.
President Trump -- excuse me. President Trump will be attending the Gridiron Club Dinner. An event that puts him in the same room as many of the country's top journalists. He usually likes to criticize them.
PAUL: Yes, this is a longstanding tradition of dinner where the president kind of allows himself to be the subject of jokes. And remember, he skipped this and the White House Correspondents Dinner as well last year and held his own event. Here's what he said there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents Dinner without the president.
[08:45:12] TRUMP: And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp. Spending my evening with all of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: This is a good opportunity to bring in CNN politics, media and business reporter, Hadas Gold.
Hadas, good morning to you.
HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Great to be with you all.
PAUL: Good morning.
SAVIDGE: So, Kyra, answer this question. Why would he attend this year when he didn't attend last year? Does he have a change of heart?
GOLD: That's a really good question. And you have to remember, as we all know, that President Trump is not the biggest fan of media. In fact he's not a biggest fan of the people he's going to be in the room with tonight. Let's actually take a listen at some of what he said about these exact folks he'll be with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents Dinner without the president.
If the media's job is to be honest and tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade. The dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake media is trying to silence us. But we will not let them. We are in a rigged system. And a big part of the rigging are these dishonest people in the media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: And so now tonight, Donald Trump will be in front of these people that he has called the enemy of the American people. Now the reason he is doing this tonight, the first time as president he subjected himself to one of these sort of events where journalists honestly make fun of him in costumes, it's going to be very fancy white tie sort of the opposite of what he says at least last year that he wanted to a few.
So tonight is a sort of practice run honestly for the White House Correspondents Dinner that's coming up next month. This is a much larger and glitzier affair. It's covered live on television. And the White House has not yet said whether the president will attend or not attend. They're kind of keeping that in the air. And so a lot of the White House observers are saying tonight is the test run. If he can handle this event tonight with some grace, then we might see him at the Correspondents Dinner next month.
PAUL: So do we know who will be -- besides the president, who of these media outlets will be in attendance there and will the president himself speak?
GOLD: So the president does speak at the event tonight. He gives a speech. And what we will be looking out for is whether this speech which is also supposed to be comedic in nature will be in a sort of good nature jokey way that people expect the Gridiron to be this. The motto at the Gridiron is to singe but not burn. So you can poke a little bit of fun, but not go too far.
And if you remember the last time the president spoke at an event like this it was the Al Smith Dinner in 2016 alongside Hillary Clinton. And that speech started off pretty good, it was well intentioned, but then he kind of got into some territory such as saying that Hillary Clinton was corrupt or that she didn't like Catholics that actually got him a little bit of boos. So we'll see tonight whether he goes off a little bit better than he did the last time he tried his hand at some comedy.
SAVIDGE: Yes. He is notoriously thin skinned we've been told, and so I'm wondering when the jokes start really going his way and maybe against him, how do you expect the president to react?
GOLD: That is what a lot of people will be looking out for and I'm sure what a lot of White House staffers will be looking out for before they decide whether he can go to the Correspondents Dinner. So tonight's dinner is no cameras. It's on the record so we'll hear what he said, we'll hear what the journalists said to make fun of him. But we're not going to see any images out of it. And I think that's the key here because next month the Correspondents Dinner, that's live TV the entire time with the camera on his face. So how much he grimaces, how he takes these jokes that are aimed, that's going to be what we're all looking out for.
PAUL: Is there any political ramification for him if something is said that truly might ruffle feathers?
GOLD: I mean, there is a lot of potential political ramifications when a politician tries his hand at comedy and especially for the president who has spent so much time making the media his opponent. This entire time, he has called as we saw he says the media is the enemy of the American people, that they are rigged against him. And to have him be at this sort of clubby event, everybody is going to be in really fancy dress, he's going to be in a white tie. This image of him hobnobbing with these journalists kind of clashes with the image that he built himself up over the course of the campaign.
SAVIDGE: Yes. Well, it's too bad there won't be cameras there. I'm anxious to hear how it all works out.
[08:50:02] PAUL: We'll know tomorrow.
SAVIDGE: Yes, we will. Thank you very much, Hadas.
GOLD: Thank you.
PAUL: Hadas, thank you.
And the Oscars are kicking off tomorrow night. There is some drama on the red carpet expected. Ryan Seacrest is going to be co-hosting E! Network's red carpet coverage. But he is doing so amid the sexual harassment allegations by his former stylist. We're going to talk about that. Stay close.
SAVIDGE: The music. Sunday marks Hollywood's biggest night with the Oscars. But like the film nominated, it has some drama.
PAUL: Just a little bit of it. Ryan Seacrest of course is going to be co-hosting E Network's red carpet coverage and this is happening as there are these allegations of sexual harassment by his former stylist out there. So after launching an investigation into the claims, E says they found no evidence of wrongdoing by Seacrest.
[08:55:01] PAUL: Kelly Ripa came to her co-host's defense addressing the controversy on their talk show "Live with Kelly and Ryan."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, "LIVE WITH KELLY AND RYAN": I just want you to know that you are a privilege to work with. And I adore you. And I'm speaking on behalf of all of us. You know?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
RIPA: I know -- I know what an easy, professional, great person you are. And I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day. And we all do. We all do.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: And we'll talk a lot more about Oscars tomorrow, won't we?
PAUL: Yes, we will. Because they are tomorrow. Oscars kicking off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. So we will be on that tomorrow, as well as all the day's news of course.
SAVIDGE: And that is it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for an hour of NEWSROOM.
PAUL: Yes. But don't go anywhere, "SMERCONISH" starts after a quick break.