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Republican Memo Alleges FBI Abused Surveillance Powers; Wall Street Sees Worst Day of Trump Presidency; Trump Meets with North Korean Defectors; Distraught Father Charges at Nassar in Courtroom; Pentagon Unveils New Nuclear Arms Policy; Kenyan TV Stations Still Off Air Despite Court Order; Olympic Winter Games Set to Kick Off; Eagles Take on Patriots in Super Bowl. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired February 3, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A controversial declassified memo seeking to discredit the Russia investigation creates a major political rift in Washington.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We'll explain it. Plus the Dow sees its worst one-day point drop in 10 years, making it the toughest day for markets under the Trump presidency.
ALLEN (voice-over): Meantime, President Trump wishes South Korean president Moon Jae-in a successful Winter Olympic Games. We're going to take you live to South Korea as they prepare.
HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters, we welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. NEWSROOM starts right now.
HOWELL: 5:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast.
It is the memo that everyone is talking about.
And the question, does it discredit the Russia investigation?
Congressional supporters of the U.S. president are being accused of trying to do just that. They allege that the FBI improperly targeted for surveillance a former Trump campaign adviser.
ALLEN: The contents of the controversial memo from House Republican Devin Nunes are highly disputed. Critics say it only on shows part of the picture and misrepresents the testimony of former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe. Here is more now from CNN's Jim Sciutto in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it is terrible.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the president and Republicans leveling a new broadside at the FBI with a four-page memo alleging the bureau abused its surveillance authority in seeking a warrant to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page during the 2016 election.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA: It has been a tough fight.
SCIUTTO: The disputed memo authored by the staff of House Intel Chairman Devon Nunes claims that former FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the committee the Page warrant would not have been sought by the FBI without a dossier compiled on President Trump's possible connections to Russia.
Three Democratic members of the committee, however, dispute that account, telling CNN that Nunes, quote, "mischaracterizes" what McCabe said.
The memo reveals that the warrant to monitor Page was approved and renewed by the court three separate times. The former Republican chair of the Intel Committee, Mike Rogers, says that would not happen without other U.S. intelligence to backup the application.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If this is all they used, well, the judge ought to get in trouble too. And I doubt that happened. I think there is a lot more information that supplanted of the information that they provided. In addition, they went through separate renewals. And each renewal, according to the law, you actually have to reconfirm probable cause, meaning you had to get something off of that wire.
SCIUTTO: The memo also alleges that the FBI and Justice Department did not inform the FISA court that former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier, was funded by the Democratic Party.
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that it is, quote, "not accurate" that the secret court was unaware of Steele's political motivations. He claims the court knew of, quote, "a likely political motivation" behind Steele.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: What it ended up delivering is criticism of a single FISA application involving Carter Page and its renewals that cherry-picks information that does not tell the reader the whole of the application and is, as the DOJ and FBI have said, deeply misleading and factually inaccurate.
SCIUTTO: While the memo attempts to portray the FBI as relying on outside information to launch the Russia investigation, it notes that a counterintelligence investigation was actually opened months before the Page application based on a stream of intelligence separate from the dossier.
This includes information from the Australian government, which learned that another Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had been offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton from an individual with ties to the Russian government.
With these accusations swirling, Christopher Wray addressed FBI employees today via video, this reported by Shimon Prokupecz, and he said times are tough but went on to give a bucking-up speech to the rank and file, saying that the American people read the newspapers and watch TV but your work is all that matters. Actions speak louder than words -- Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: So again, the main allegation in the memo, that the Justice Department misused the FISA court to target former Trump adviser Carter Page.
HOWELL: But to explain exactly what FISA is, what that court is and how Carter Page fits in, our Tom Foreman breaks it down.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the long investigation into possible Russian meddling in the U.S. election, Carter Page has become a flashpoint, not --
FOREMAN: -- because this one-time adviser to Donald Trump has had a long relationship with Russia or because he traveled there during the campaign, although that is true, but instead, because some Republicans believe the Justice Department improperly used a FISA court to wiretap Carter Page.
Now FISA stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. And this is what is used when investigators want to spy on, essentially, somebody who is actually on U.S. soil. They go to FISA court, they present information explaining why they believe this person is a suspected agent of a foreign government and the FISA court would then give them permission, if it's all approved properly, to then go forward with this.
The FISA court did that in this case. Not only that but they approved an extension three different times. And analysts say that's probably because there was something coming out of this or most likely something coming out of this that gave them reason to keep approving this.
But some Republicans are saying the real problem here is that there was a secret political hand at work that the court was not told about, that the original information on Carter Page, some of it at least, came from an investigation that was partially funded by Democrats out there. And those Democrats were feeding it into the Justice Department; FISA court didn't know about it.
Now if that's the case, then why doesn't the Justice Department just come out and say, look, maybe we have got other sources, other things we can tell you about.
The reason that would not happen, according to many intelligence analysts, is that there may indeed be other sources. There may be other avenues out there they're proceeding that they do not want to make public because that could somehow imperil the further investigation of all of this.
Whether or not that's true, we don't know. The very secretive nature of the FISA court is the reason that it may be hard for investigators, the Justice Department to come forward and say, here is what's happening and why they think the memo is wrong.
HOWELL: Tom Foreman, thanks for the explanation.
And now more about the man behind the memo, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes. He's been criticized, some say that he's overly partisan and hurting the committee's investigation.
ALLEN: The first interview he gave after the memo came out was to conservative FOX News and he slammed the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIF.: These are not honest actors. They know they are not honest actors. And I get tired of playing whack-a-mole every day with the Democrats on this committee, who never wanted to start this investigation in the first place.
So there's clear evidence of collusion with the Russians, it just happens to be with the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that the news media fails to talk about or fails to even investigate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The top Democrat on the committee says the memo is not meant to help the investigation but hurt it. Adam Schiff calls the memo "deeply misleading."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CALIF.), MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What it ended up delivering is criticism of a single FISA application involving Carter Page and its renewal that tourniquets information that doesn't tell the reader the whole of the application and is, as the DOJ and FBI have said, deeply misleading and factually inaccurate.
You could cherry-pick any search warrant application or FISA court application and do the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Schiff said the goal of that memo was to discredit the Mueller investigation and to do the bidding of the White House.
ALLEN: A lot to digest mere. Let's bring in Leslie Vinjamuri. She's a teacher of international relations at SOAS University of London.
We have Memogate to throw at you, Leslie. So depending on who you listen to, it is either deeply misleading or revealing.
Where do you fall from what you're hearing?
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, I think it is another step in what has been an ongoing effort to undermine the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation, which, remember, is supposed to be looking into Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election, something that is important to everybody in the United States and, of course, people far beyond the United States.
And we've seen a number of efforts to really get people thinking about something very different. In this case, it is an allegation that this was a politically motivated and inspired investigation that lacks all credibility. Unfortunately, it is very destructive.
And I think if you listen to what Senator McCain said after the memo was released, this is an attack on the legitimacy of the FBI, an unfair attack on the Justice Department and that it is taking us away from this most important investigation.
And, of course, the memo has done nothing to undermine the legitimacy and the importance of that broader question. So I think it is deeply destructive.
The problem, of course, is that the --
VINJAMURI: -- public isn't going to, for the most part, read the memo that people are listening to the new sources that reaffirm their biases. And I think that it will be read through a very polarized America, a very partisan Washington, and do great damage regardless of the contents of the claims.
And it does seem like the memo really does very little to discredit that ongoing investigation.
ALLEN: And how far do you think that damage goes?
Let's just start with the fact that, first of all, the intelligence committees are supposed to be above partisanship. Clearly that has gone in this instance.
And what about taking it further, as far as the importance of the Justice Department and the work of the FBI and getting information from our allies?
VINJAMURI: Well, I think one thing that is very important now that it is in the public domain, it is important that that rumor that the Democrats have a memo that hasn't been released, that makes it very clear, from what we're told -- we haven't seen the memo yet -- that, to the extent that there was any information that came out of the Steele dossier, that they informed the court on this in requesting a warrant for surveilling Carter Page.
So there was apparently transparency. Now if that is the case, it's important that that memo I think sees the light of day and that there is a level of discussion in the media and in the public domain so that the public understands that, in fact, this warrant was, as we've just seen, granted three additional times.
That requires additional evidence in the sense that there really was information to warrant this ongoing surveillance. So, again, there is really nothing in that memo that undermines this investigation and I think that conversation needs to be had.
But it's very important, of course, that the integrity of the Justice Department and the FBI be preserved. But very difficult in the current environment and this makes it much, much, much more difficult.
ALLEN: Right. And in the Trump administration, Mr. Trump has sought to discredit the investigation. You talk about this being important to the people in the U.S. as far as finding out about Russia's meddling in the presidential election. But at every turn it seems, this has not been important to the U.S. president.
VINJAMURI: Well, I think it has been important to the U.S. president. He is clearly deeply troubled by it, which is why I think he spends so much time, both within the White House and more generally, trying to deflect and undermine the credibility.
It is not clear that, to Trump's base, that this question about Russia's interference or the possibility that members of the campaign or the Trump administration might have been involved, it is not clear how much that actually has shaped the concern of 38 percent to 40 percent who have remained solidly behind the president.
It is not clear that this is actually at the top of their mind or really what is motivating their support for the president. There are a number of other things that might actually undermine that support.
Tax cuts, for example, that seem to be deeply unfair and biased towards the wealthy from their point of view. But this doesn't seem to be the key concern.
But I do think that the broader discussion and the politics and the politicization of that investigation that is now very much in the public domain does risk really undermining the credibility and legitimacy of that investigation and skewing things in a more partisan direction in terms of the support that the president has.
ALLEN: It's interesting, as it goes on and on, it gives those that want to discredit the investigation more time to try and do that. And we'll wait and see where this memo leads it. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Leslie Vinjamuri for us in London.
VINJAMURI: Thank you.
ALLEN: Stocks collapsed on Wall Street Friday and investors are probably glad the turbulent week is over. We'll look at the huge drop and what is ahead here. Plus this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RANDALL MARGRAVES, FATHER OF LAUREN, MORGAN AND MADISON: As far as the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon.
HOWELL (voice-over): And he tried to get just that, this father filled with rage after he hears details of sexual abuse of his daughters. The judge's message to the furious parent as CNN NEWSROOM continues. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Wall Street saw its worst day of the Trump presidency on Friday. The Dow fell more than 665 points, despite a strong jobs report that showed increasing wage growth.
ALLEN: Our Clare Sebastian breaks down all the numbers and what is fueling investors' fears.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A volatile week on Wall Street ended with a major selloff, the Dow was down 665 points at the close. That is its worst day since Donald Trump took office and the worst points drop since the 2008 financial crisis.
The selloff was broad-based; both the Dow and S&P 500 fell more than 2 percent. And in this case, what is good for the economy wasn't good for the markets. The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in January, wage growth was up. That is fueling concerns down here about inflation.
Could that interrupt the corporate profits that we've seen and could it lead the Fed to raise rates faster than expected?
Overall, though, the abiding sense here is that the market has run so far for so long that perhaps a bit of pullback was the right thing -- Clare Sebastian, CNNMoney, at the New York Stock Exchange.
HOWELL: All right, Clare, thanks.
And there is more evidence that North Korea is violating international sanctions. A new U.N. report says North Korea made nearly $200 million last year by exporting coal and other banned goods. ALLEN: The report indicates the coal went to countries like Russia and China. Investigators also suggest North Korea supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar.
News of the U.N. report came as U.S. President Trump met with defectors from North Korea at the White House.
HOWELL: They told the president about horrific conditions in North Korea and the struggle to escape that country. CNN's Brian Todd has more for us.
TRUMP: Escapees from North Korea.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump opens a new avenue to pressure Kim Jong-un. In the Oval Office today, the president welcomed North Korean defectors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came from the most ridiculous country on Earth.
TODD: The defectors praised Trump for his unvarnished talk about North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will give courage to the North Korea elite.
TODD: Trump is not the first president to meet with North Korean defectors, but he's embracing the enemies of the Kim regime at a time of heightened tensions over missiles and nuclear weapons. Could Trump's meetings prompt from a response from the young dictator?
BRUCE KLINGNER, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The North Korea maybe rankled that the president is meeting with the escapees. We may see some propaganda, official propaganda reaction to it that it's the wrong focus, that it's undermining the peace Olympics.
TODD: But while Trump's move could encourage other North Koreans to defects, like this death-defying escape by a soldier in November. One analyst says the meeting could also raise the question of whether the Trump administration is starting to push for regime change --
TODD (voice-over): -- in Pyongyang. White House officials won't say what's behind today's move. The president was caging when asked if he wanted to send a message to the Kim regime with this meeting.
TRUMP: I don't accept. These are just great people that have suffered incredibly.
TODD: But Human Rights Activist, Greg Scarlatoiu, who helped arrange the White House event said, even if the regime isn't on the table, the meeting still search to expose the dictator's record.
GREG SCARLATOIU, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: This meeting clearly puts more pressure on Kim Jong-un. It's clear that the Kim Jong-un regime has been trying to white-wash its egregious human rights record.
TODD: Hyeon Seo-lee snuck across the border with China when she was 17. She asked President Trump to pressure China to stop repatriating North Korea defectors who make it there and told a heroine story of what happened to her in China.
HYEON SEO-LEE, NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR: I was -- escaped from an arranged marriage when I was 19 and also, I escape a brothel and then I was arrested by the Chinese authority's policemen -- and I narrowly avoided being repatriated to North Korea.
TODD: Lee says, the president showed empathy but didn't say whether he'll pressure the Chinese or not even though Trump often claims to stand up to the Chinese. Lee says the lives of many North Korean defectors in China depends on American pressure.
HYEON: Even today, North Koreans, when they escape from North Korea, they are carrying poison with them in case they are caught in China.
TODD: As compelling as the meeting was, it might have made South Korean officials a bit nervous because it is just one week before the Winter Olympics are set to begin. The South Koreans worked hard to get North Korean athletes to participate in the games and could be concerned that Trump's meeting with the defectors might upset that arrangement.
We got no response there South Korean officials here in Washington to the Trump meeting but South Korean president Moon Jae-in did speak to President Trump on the phone shortly before the meeting took place -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Well, disgraced former USA gymnastics physician Larry Nassar faces several life sentences for sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls. And this as dozens more women are coming forward to share their incredibly raw and painful stories.
HOWELL: And for the father of three girls abused by Nassar, the weight of their words in court on Friday was too much to bear. Kaylee Hartung describes what happened. And we do warn you, this report contains graphic testimony from some of Nassar's victims.
RANDALL MARGRAVES: You son of a (INAUDIBLE).
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This father's anger...
RANDALL MARGRAVES: As part of the sentencing to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon.
HARTUNG (voice-over): -- aimed squarely at the man who abused his three daughters.
RANDALL MARGRAVES: Would you give me one minute?
RANDALL MARGRAVES: Well, I'm going to have to do --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please!
HARTUNG (voice-over): From this angle, you can see the court bailiff quickly get Larry Nassar out of the room.
More than 200 survivors in two different courtrooms over the past two weeks have provided victim impact statements in the case against Nassar, enraging and disgusting the country.
On Friday, Randall Margraves listened to two of his daughters publicly share details of their abuse.
MADISON MARGRAVES, NASSAR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: He said this meant because I had back pain he would need to put the needles on my vagina, with no coverage, no gloves, underwear and pants down to my thighs. My entire vagina was completely exposed to him.
LAUREN MARGRAVES, NASSAR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: When I was 13, just a kid, laying on a table at MSU and you put your ungloved hands all over my rear and slipped your thumb into the most private area of my body.
MADISON MARGRAVES: To my parents, thank you for all of your love and support through all of this. You have done everything that a parent could ever do.
I really feel that my entire family has gone to hell and back over the last few months of what Larry Nassar did to me and my sisters over the last are years.
LAUREN MARGRAVES: My parents are heartbroken and so filled with guilt. The guilt they have will never go away.
HARTUNG: Margraves' actions prompted praise on Twitter, calling him a hero. Parents swaying they would have done the same thing.
JANICE CUNNINGHAM, INGHAM COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE: You have to understand --
HARTUNG: Compassion and understanding, too, from the judge overseeing Margraves' civil contempt hearing a couple hours later in the same courtroom.
CUNNINGHAM: I cannot tolerate or condone vigilantism. But as for the direct contempt of court, there is no way that this court is going to issue any kind of punishment given the circumstances of this case. And I do, my heart does go out to you and your family because of what you have gone through.
RANDALL MARGRAVES: I appreciate it, Your Honor. Something that I would like to apologize to you and the courtroom. I'm embarrassed. I am not here to upstage my daughters. I am here to help them heal.
HARTUNG: In a family press conference later in the day, an apologetic Margraves tried to explain his emotional reaction, saying that it was the first time he had heard some of the details on Nassar's sexual assault on his daughters.
RANDALL MARGRAVES: What I had to hear what was said in those statements and I have to look over at Larry Nassar shaking his head, that is when I lost control.
HARTUNG: Nassar, who was sentenced up to 175 years in prison for similar charges in another Michigan courtroom last week, is expected to be sentenced in this hearing early next week -- in Atlanta, Georgia, Kaylee Hartung, CNN.
HOWELL: Sixteen new flu-related deaths among U.S. children were reported this week and that brings the total number of pediatric flu- related deaths to 53 since October.
ALLEN: That's just unreal. According to a government report, hospitalizations for the flu also hit the highest levels seen since officials started recording this data in 2010. Flu vaccines are reported in short supply but they are still available. Pediatric flu cases are tracked closely in the U.S. but deaths for all age groups are higher but more difficult to estimate.
President Trump has arrived in Florida but he leaves behind a Washington in turmoil. We'll discuss what a controversial memo might mean for the future of the Mueller investigation -- when we come back.
HOWELL: Plus the U.S. secretary of state mending fences in Latin America and offering advice when it comes to Russia meddling. We're live from Atlanta. Stay with us.
HOWELL: From coast to coast to our viewers around the world --
HOWELL: -- you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.
HOWELL: Now more on that controversial Republican memo that was released Friday. It has become the talk of Washington for sure because of what it might mean for the Trump presidency.
At its core, the memo alleges the FBI abused its surveillance powers in targeting a former aide of the Trump campaign.
ALLEN: Democrats and other critics say the document is not an accurate representation of the facts. Fired FBI director James Comey called it "dishonest and misleading." Our Jeff Zeleny explains why some believe the memo is meant to undermine the Mueller investigation.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: In the wake of President Trump's decision to release that controversial House Intelligence memo, now there is still a fight brewing between the White House, the Justice Department and the FBI.
President Trump declined to say if he had confidence in the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation. Now none of this changes special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. This is still going along full speed. One of the next things to find out is if the president will sit down for an interview with him.
But the release of this memo, at least in the eyes of the White House and the president, they believe it helps discredit the Russia investigation. Now many Republicans across Washington said that was not the point of it. They said that is not the case. It is separate from that.
The reality here, though, is the president goes into the weekend, where he'll be spending it in Mar-a-lago, Florida.
Will he make a decision to have a change either at the Justice Department with Rod Rosenstein or will he fire Bob Mueller?
Those are still two possible things that could happen. Now most advisers here at the White House say the president knows that would be explosive and that would continue and draw out the investigation.
But the mindset of the president on this is unclear. Again, he declined to say if he has confidence in the deputy attorney general here. And his own FBI director said he had grave concerns about the memo. The memo was released, anyway.
Now as this moves forward here, going into the coming weeks, the Russia investigation still going full blast. The question is, now, if the White House can move beyond it and get to the point of legislating. So much work here to be done here in Washington. The Republicans believe this has overtaken their agenda. They simply want to get back to legislating -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Other news involving the Trump administration, U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson is in Argentina, the latest stop in what could be called a fence-mending tour of Latin America. He will also visit Peru, Colombia and Jamaica.
HOWELL: He was in Mexico on Friday, meeting with officials from Mexico and from Canada. Among the topics that were discussed, trade, drugs and even Russian interference in elections. On that, Secretary Tillerson had some sage advice. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: You asked about Russian interference in Mexican elections. All I can say to you is we know that Russia has fingerprints in a number of elections around the world. We hear this from our European counterparts as well. My advice would be to Mexico, would be pay attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The Pentagon under the old nuclear arms policy on Friday, put simply the United States wants more nuclear weapons, not fewer.
ALLEN: Defense Secretary James Mattis said it is looking reality in the eye. It is also reversing course after years of trying to reduce the United States' nuclear arsenal.
HOWELL: And it comes as North Korea gets closer to becoming a nuclear danger but an old foe is still front and center, as Barbara Starr reports for us.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While President Trump navigates the political minefield of the Russia investigation...
TRUMP: There's been no collusion, there's been no crime.
STARR (voice-over): -- the Pentagon and State Department unveiled the toughest line yet against Vladimir Putin's military in a report on nuclear threats and the Trump administration's solutions.
ANITA FRIEDT, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ARMS CONTROL, VERIFICATION & COMPLIANCE: Russia has increased its reliance on nuclear weapons and its capabilities and it's, as we pointed out, building a large and diverse nuclear arsenal.
STARR (voice-over): The Pentagon detailing 2,000 Russian nuclear capable weapons that could hit Europe, including missiles, bombs (ph), depth charges and torpedoes. And for the first time confirming Russia is developing an underwater drone that can potentially travel thousands of miles and strike the U.S. coastline.
Russia, just one heading for Defense Secretary James Mattis, as he begins the second year on the job. The U.S. nuclear deterrent also aimed at North Korea, which, the report says, may now only be months away from the capability to strike the U.S. with nuclear armed missiles.
JOHN ROOD, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY: If North Korea would, in a hypothetical, launch a ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear weapon at the United States that we intercepted, it's not the sort of thing that we would say, oh, well, that's the end of the story.
STARR (voice-over): Because of current tensions, the Pentagon may delay a routine test of a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile until after the Olympics, CNN has learned. Along with the Joint Chiefs, job number one for Mattis is to convince President Trump to not conduct a limited strike against North Korea, hoping sanctions work before a missile is fielded.
Job number two: Mattis still has to have credible military options to back up the diplomatic effort.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He's got to present it in a way that leads up, that manages his boss so that his boss, who has never seen combat, unlike General Dunford and Secretary Mattis, he has never experienced the kind of conflict they have seen.
They have got to make him understand the catastrophic consequences of making a decision on the use of military force.
STARR: Critics say all of this lowers the threshold for President Trump to decide to use nuclear weapons. But advocates say, in today's world, this strong deterrence is necessary against America's adversaries -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
HOWELL: All right, Barbara, thank you.
Cape Town, South Africa, is drought-ridden and it is running out of water. We'll you tell you how residents there are dealing with an approaching disaster.
ALLEN: Plus coming up, also the latest on TV stations taken off the air in Kenya. What the government is doing about a court order to bring them back. We'll have that in a live report.
HOWELL: We are have received some dramatic video to show you. Take a look at this. You see cars and homes being washed away, this as raging floodwaters push through in Northwestern Argentina.
ALLEN: Reports say 10,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes when heavy rains caused a river to burst its banks. And, as you can see, some had to be pulled from the rushing water.
HOWELL: The water crisis in Cape Town is already a crisis, fair to say, but its 4 million residents are facing the possibility of a full blown catastrophe. In a little more than two months, the South African city could run out of water.
People there waiting in long lines, they're stockpiling water for the so-called Day Zero. Some are even building their own rationing systems for their homes.
ALLEN: The city has restricted residents to just over 13 gallons or 50 liters of water a day from municipal sources and the crisis is spreading. The industrial area around Johannesburg could also face shortages because of low levels in reservoirs.
HOWELL: All right. Now to Kenya, that government appears to be defying a court order to let three TV channels back on the air. At least three channels were ordered shut off on Tuesday.
The move came over coverage of the symbolic swearing-in of an opposition leader. The court ordered the government to restore all transmissions Thursday; a hearing challenging that decision to shut them down is set for later this month. Let's bring in CNN's Farai Sevenzo following the story live in Nairobi this hour.
Good to have you with us, Farai.
What is next for these TV channels, beyond the court order, do they have any recourse?
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not really. The recourse that they have is that the courts, as you say, they have ordered these stations to be reopened as way back as two days ago, they did this.
And the private petitioner that went to the courts to try to get these television stations back on was yesterday telling us that he went to the Kenya communications authority, tried to hand over the court's orders and they simply told him to go away and never to set his foot there again.
But he has managed to serve the interior minister as well as the minister of information and the attorney general and the hearing, as you say, will be somewhere around February the 14th.
But the criticism has been completely overwhelming of the government's mood. Just now I'm reading a letter from the Committee to Protect Journalists, who are calling the Kenyan government's refusal to abide by the court order as something akin to full-on censorship.
And, of course, even within Kenya itself, people are a little bit bemused by their government's reaction to Mr. Odinga's mock swearing- in. And indeed, there's even talk that it's not all pushing on the ones on
the same side within the cabinet because this is an unprecedented move to shut down four TV stations like this and then to be told to by the court to switch them back on. And four days later they are still not back on -- George.
HOWELL: And I wanted to ask you a bit more about that, the general response.
What are people saying about the fact that this happened?
SEVENZO: Kenyans are very easygoing, laid-back folk most of the time. We went out yesterday on the streets and we took a sample of random people on the streets of downtown Nairobi.
And from very young women who say that they routine their days and nights according to their episodes that they watch and then according to their news, to people being vehemently quite cross, why can't they want their own news channels?
Why do they have, in this day and age, in an independent, brightly developing and a very prominent part of East Africa, why do they have then to turn to the Internet and, of course, stations like ours, CNN, to get news about their own political life?
These are questions that the government still has to answer and it will remain to see, of course, George, whether or not these stations will be back on air.
HOWELL: All right, Farai Sevenzo, thank you so much. We'll keep up with the story. Thank you.
ALLEN: We'll pause from covering the world's problems for a moment and talk some Olympics when we come back because they are almost here. We'll have a live report from South Korea.
HOWELL: Plus the U.S. pro-football championship, it will be played Sunday. The Super Bowl. Why is it aptly named the Super Bowl.
We'll explain that. Stay with us.
HOWELL: A lot of excitement building around the Winter Olympics, almost here. The Games kick off next Friday in PyeongChang, South Korea.
ALLEN: And CNN's Paula Newton is there for us. She joins us now live.
And, Paula, you know, so many times when we come to you live in South Korea, usually it is not something fun to talk about. Thank goodness, the Olympics are here and we can kind of take a break and talk about curling and whatnot.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you got it, Natalie. And it wasn't going to be this way; really it's been a breakthrough since the New Year, North Korea actually sending athletes here, sending hundreds of others in what they are calling cultural demonstrations.
All of it good news for South Korea and what they hope will be the biggest and best Winter Olympics ever.
I can tell you I was out there today, there is still a lot of finishing touches to be put on some of the events. But people here, the excitement is starting to build, it has to be said, Korea has been a bit lukewarm to these Olympics going in. But now it finally seems that ticket sales are picking up and people are embracing what they know will be the Olympic spirit.
What has been so interesting here, though, is to see the political effects. At one point, the United States being skeptical about how these games would come off. Now Donald Trump saying yesterday that he thinks something good will come of it.
Having said that, Natalie, you and I both know, for these athletes that train so long and hard for these games, they just want the politics out of it. And as you said, they want to get to some sports.
And hopefully when the opening ceremonies begin we can put some of the politics behind them and we can concentrate on good performances.
ALLEN: Well, I'm going to for sure. I'm ready for it. I think the world needs a little bit of Olympic spirit.
I want to talk to you about Russia's participation.
Is there still some back and forth on that?
HANCOCKS: Gosh, is there ever, Natalie.
HANCOCKS: I mean, we just had -- in the last hour, the IOC had a press conference and again you heard earlier in the week just to update you that some Russian athletes had appealed their lifetime ban; 28 of those, their appeal succeeded. They now are waiting to see whether now the IOC gives them permission to participate in the Olympics.
Think about it, Natalie, these are top athletes who now are in limbo with the Olympics just six days away. I want you to listen to the IOC spokesperson, Mark Adams, to hear what he had to say about their participation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ADAMS, IOC PRESIDENT'S SPOKESPERSON: Will it be a success?
I think it's -- time will judge. But I think we can be -- at least be pleased that we have tried, rather than going for a blanket ban or letting everyone in, we've tried to actually find out, on an individual basis for individual young athletes, many of whom have never competed in the big games before, to try to let those have their Olympic dream, which would be denied if a blanket ban was applied.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: And, Natalie, Mark Adams there is really addressing some criticism of the IOC, saying you have been too easy on Russia here. Having said that, still a few athletes in limbo and they may know, perhaps 24 hours before these Olympics start, whether or not they can compete.
ALLEN: My goodness. They're putting them through it, aren't they?
OK. Paula Newton for us, we appreciate it, Paula. Thanks.
OK, before we get to the Olympics, we have the biggest annual sporting spectacle in the United States, it's one day away.
HOWELL: A lot of people will be watching Super Bowl LII. The U.S. pro football championship set to be played Sunday, pitting the Philadelphia Eagles against the reigning champs, the New England Patriots.
ALLEN: Everything about it is enormous. According to "Forbes," American consumers spent an average $14 billion on Super Bowl Day in 2017. That is the same amount spent on Halloween and St. Patrick's Day combined.
HOWELL: A lot of money that goes into that. And a lot of people viewing it.
ALLEN: Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm sure we have as many viewers as the Super Bowl.
HOWELL: I'm sure we do. Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: For our viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next.
HOWELL: For viewers around the world, "AMANPOUR" is ahead. Thanks for watching CNN, the world's news leader.
ALLEN: We're going to go get some water.