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Civilians Bombarded in Eastern Aleppo; General James Mattis Under Consideration for Defense Secretary; 55-Year-Old Makes History in College Football; Trump Fires Back on Twitter at "Hamilton", "Saturday Night Live". Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 21, 2016 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This really leaves Eastern Aleppo with very little medical care by all accounts. We have seen schools on both sides of the front line also being bombed. Children, again, caught in the midst of this conflict.

According to the regime, they say that this is a preliminary operation into Eastern Aleppo that will include a ground push. They say they're going after so-called terrorist groups, but as we have seen, it is the civilians who pay the heaviest price in this conflict. It is not only this military campaign that they are facing, but also that possibility of mass starvation as they're running out of food because of the siege.

Alisyn, back to you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Gosh, there's just no good scenario there. Jomana, thank you for the update.

Well, retired Marine General James Mattis is being strongly considered to become the next Secretary of Defense. Donald Trump calls him, quote, "the real deal". So who is he and what would his appointment mean for U.S. foreign policy? All that ahead on NEW DAY.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President-Elect Trump is considering General James Mattis to be his Defense Secretary.

[06:35:01] Mattis has a very impressive resume -- retired Marine general, has more than 44 years of experience -- but he does face a congressional hurdle, actually a legal hurdle. Federal law requires a Defense Secretary nominee to be out of uniform for seven years. Mattis has only been retired for three.

Why? Why is that so important? Let's discuss now with CNN military analyst and advisory board member for Academy Securities, Major General James "Spider" Marks; and national CNN national security commentator and former House intelligence chairman, Mike Rogers. Gentlemen, thank you both for being with me this morning.

Mike, let's talk about this legal hurdle first. Why do we want people who are on the civilian side for at least seven years? Why was it codified as law?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, for a couple of reasons. One, first and foremost, you don't want a military attitude in the civilian position of the Secretary of Defense. Meaning, you know, it takes a long time to grow a general. And once they're there, they have a different take on things and how they ought to work in the Pentagon. When you get to that Defense Secretary role, it has to be a broader, strategic impact to the -- brought to any decision you make in any strategic event you make around the world, including, by the way, acquisition of weapons systems and other things.

So I think they just want a little distance there to make sure that you don't just take a general and make them secretary. And that's why -- originally why the first -- and the law was passed to give that seven-year window.

CUOMO: It's not that old a law. Do you think that they get a waiver of it for Mattis?

ROGERS: I think if General Mattis, if they wanted to do that -- you know, my advice would always be, if you want to go that way, that's great. Just remember you have to invest political capital to get your nominee a waiver, and then you have to get your nominee through the Senate. So that's two different processes. And that should be a factor if you're considering if you want this person to be your next Secretary of Defense.

And General Mattis has just a stellar reputation, and he is a strategic thinker, by the ay, Chris. And I think that's why he's on the list; that's why I think he's under consideration.

CUOMO: General, do you think Mattis is worth the political capital? What do you know about him and what do you think he would be as a plus for the country?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILIATRY COMMENTATOR: Well, Chris, nobody is more well prepared than General Jim Mattis. I mean, he truly is a student of the profession and has demonstrated that over the course of his career without a blemish.

What's really wonderful about Jim Mattis is that he's absolutely no nonsense. He's a very nuanced thinker, but he's very clear in terms of how he approaches problem solving.

To Mike's point, I think what's important is that anyone that would come into this position, if they're right out of the military, they'd bring with them a service bias. General Mattis has been in the Marine Corps; there are very unique and special issues and requirements associated with being in the Marines. But he is very much, again, as the Congressman indicated, a very strategic thinker. Jim Mattis understands how the military can influence and is influenced by those other elements of power. He's a very much a strategic thinker. I think it's worth the political capital.

CUOMO: So, if the concern is that you don't want a strict military mindset, what do you know about General Mattis that makes him more than his nickname of "Mad Dog Mattis" and makes him somebody who is considerate of the civilian options of might doesn't always make right, of these nuanced thinking? What do you know about him to allay those suspicions?

MARKS: Well, Chris, I would tell you that anybody who has served in the uniform, especially over the course of these last 15 years, during a period of sustained combat, understands the cost of the commitment of young men and women into a fight. Into a nation that's at war.

And, frankly, we have -- we have now entered into, over the course of the last decade, a continual state of conflict. We don't see this abating over the course of a very near horizon. Jim Mattis understands those costs. He will bring that caution into the job and that's what you want, first and foremost.

CUOMO: Do you believe, Mike, that Mattis represents the best? That you're taking top tier if you go with him?

ROGERS: Oh, absolutely. I've had the great privilege to work with him when I was chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and then subsequent to his leaving his role in the United States Marines. And he got that nickname, Mad Dog, because he is a very tough warrior, but he is an intellectual warrior. He understands when force is necessary and when force is not advisable. That's why I think he's impressed so many people along his career.

And we've -- I've had the great fortune to sit with him in occasions where the debate was in a room to do something that was a little bit aggressive and to not do it. And you'd be surprised. This is, again, a very tough warrior who is a strategic thinker that thinks about the second and third order effects of every decision when you use your military.

[06:40:05] That's why I think he's attractive to the Trump folks and why he would, if he can go through this process, would be a really good Secretary of Defense.

And, he's a truth to power kind of guy. He will walk in the room and I don't care if everyone in the room is against his position, he'll explain his position why, and it will be based on his 44 years of experience. He'll smart and move out when the decision is made. But he will not be a wallflower about making sure that the people in the room understand his position and why. It will always be well thought out and well reasoned.

CUOMO: Mike -- yes, go ahead.

MARKS: You know, Chris, you know, frankly, the military needs to shore up its relationship with the administration and I think Jim Mattis would be a wonderful figure, would be a wonderful leader. And, truly, the Secretary of Defense, at this point, needs to demonstrate more leadership than administration. That's what Jim Mattis would bring to the table immediately.

CUOMO: General, Mike, thank you. Very helpful to get people who know the man who's up for consideration for such an important post. Appreciate it.

ROGERS: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Always. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Well, he's 55 years old and he just made history by becoming the oldest player ever to participate in a Division I college football game. See it for yourself next in the Bleacher Report.


[06:45:02] CAMEROTA: Is it time to break out the shovels? The first major winter storm blanketing parts of the northeast with snow and more of the white stuff, we're told, is on the way. So let's get the forecast with CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

What are you seeing, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I am seeing upstate New York just get pounded this morning. Winds are blowing. JFK just had a wind gust of 51 miles per hour. And we're seeing whiteout conditions across parts of Rochester and Syracuse, up through the Tughill Plateau, and another 12 inches of snow still could come down before it stops.

Now, what will be affecting more people than upstate will be the wind. If you're going to be flying today, there are, with these winds at 50 miles per hour gusts even at JFK, you're going to slow airplanes down. So expect that if you're flying today.

Now weather tomorrow will be better for flying and pretty decent for Wednesday and Thursday, as well. But the next storm system gets into the plains for the middle part of the week, maybe make more snow for the Great Lakes. At least it's a warmer system than this one is, because this one truly is a cold wind out there. Wind chills across parts of even of New York City are well below 20 degrees. Bundle up, bundle up the pets as you take them out today. Chris?

CUOMO: An early suggestion of what we're told may be a wetter and colder winter this year. Very nice. Chad Myers, always a pleasure.

Football. Dallas Cowboys --will they ever lose, again? Not if their two rookie stars keep breaking records and the hearts of opposing fans everywhere. Coy Wire has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. It got me right here to see Tony D. have to hand off his mantle of rookie greatness, even though Zeke Elliott is a hell of a running back.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Absolutely, Chris. Tony Romo said earlier this week that, even though he's healthy and ready to play, this is Dak Prescott's team now. And it is hard to argue with that.

Cowboys, Ravens, and Romo active for the first time since Thanksgiving last year, but Dak would be the one carving up these birds. Going against the league's best defense in the Ravens, Dak goes 14 of 15 in the second half. Darn near perfect. Finds his favorite target, Dez Bryant, twice for a touchdown. Dallas on a team record nine-game win streak. They are rolling.

And they say football is like religion in Texas. Well, praise Baby Jesus. Here's a Dallas area church showing the Cowboys' game on the big screen. The congregation's prayers were answered as the Ravens genuflect to the Cowboys, 27-17.

How about Joe Thomas, Sr., giving new meaning to Senior Day at South Carolina State? The 55-year-old running back carried the ball four times, becoming the oldest person to ever play in a Division 1 game. Now, usually kids follow in the footsteps of their parents, but Thomas is actually following in his son's footballs. He's the father of Green Bay Packers' linebacker Joe Thomas, Jr. And for inspiration this morning, be sure to tune in to NEW DAY in the 8:00 hour as we will be interviewing Joe Thomas, Sr.

Now a lot of firsts in this weekend's football. Kickers missed 12 extra points, an NFL record. And, tonight, Alisyn, the Raiders and Texans play in Mexico City, a Monday night football game outside the U.S. for the first time in league history.

CAMEROTA: Exciting, Coy. Thank you very much. And for the 8:00 plug.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump unleashing, again, on Twitter, targeting the cast of "Hamilton" and "Saturday Night Live". What does this mean for the next four years? That's next.


[06:52:32] CAMEROTA: Donald Trump firing up the Twitter account over what happened on Broadway. This became the viral moment of the weekend when the cast of "Hamilton" took a moment at the end of their performance to send a message to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience.


BRANDON VICTOR DIXON, ACTOR, AARON BURR: We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us. Our family, our children, our parents all defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.


CAMEROTA: All right, here with reaction is CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and CNN media analyst Bill Carter. Great to see you guys.

Before we get to Donald Trump's reaction, how unusual is this for the cast of a Broadway show to take the reins in this way?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: It's extremely unusual. I mean, I don't think -- to speak, obviously, to a person in the audience? That's highly unusual. I mean, they would greet someone. They've greeted Obama and they've said hello. But this was, you know, them making a statement and, clearly, they had written it out and planned it and knew he was going to be there. And they wanted to make a point.

CUOMO: Is it fair --

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: They did not want to throw away their shot.


CUOMO: Very nice.


STELTER: I mean, the producers wrote this ahead of time behind the scenes. And understandably --

CARTER: Lin-Manuel Miranda participated in writing it.

CUOMO: Our president-elect defined it as harassing Mike Pence.

CAMEROTA: You want me to read it? "Our wonderful future VP Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of "Hamilton". Cameras blazing. This should not happen!" Exclamation point.

CUOMO: Do you think this is this harassment? Far from it.

STELTER: I think we all know this wasn't harassment. But this shows how Donald Trump does frame a conversation, right? The debates on cable news are now about whether the cast should apologize, which is ridiculous.

CUOMO: Ridiculous.

STELTER: Was the booing disrespectful?


STELTER: But the cast was actually very respectful.

CUOMO: I think maybe Donald Trump should apologize; he called "Hamilton" overrated.

CARTER: Overrated, yes.

CUOMO: It's probably one of the most baseless things we've ever heard him say.

STELTER: And I talked to one of the investors last night. They are welcome -- they would welcome Trump to come and see the show. Trump could get two tickets any night even though it's sold out.

CUOMO: Well, it is sold out through next August.


STELTER: One of the investors said, hey, we would love for him to keep tweeting. We'll be sold out for decades if he keeps tweeting about us.

CAMEROTA: Well, he might -- they might get their wish since he tweeted a lot about this.

Here's one that is interesting to read, only because he deleted it afterwards.

[06:55:00] So what was so incendiary about this one? "Very rude and insulting of the "Hamilton" cast members to treat our great future VP Mike Pence to a theater lecture. Couldn't even memorize lines!"

Because they read it.

CARTER: They read it, yes.

CAMEROTA: So -- but why delete that one after all of the tweets that he sent out? Any ideas?

CARTER: Who knows. I mean, that doesn't seem any more or less offensive than the other ones. But I think he is so mercurial that you don't know what is inspiring him at a different moment. And he just reacts and then -- he doesn't usually delete. That's really unusual.

CUOMO: But is it really mercurial? I wonder if that's the right word for him. There seems to be no randomness. If something happens that he doesn't like, he attacks it personally, even if his response to it far exceeds fact or any objective finding on it. This is a perfect case, isn't it?

CARTER: Don't you think this is going to go on and on?

CUOMO: Absolutely.

CARTER: Anywhere he's --

CUOMO: Absolutely. Kellyanne Conway is coming on the show. She's telling people -- the spin on this, need him to engage. That's why he's president. Communicating. Skipping the media and getting right to the people with his message.

CAMEROTA: And, Brian, starting on January 20th, these will all be preserved in the Library of Congress.

STELTER: That's right. The Presidential Records Act takes over. That means all of the president's tweets and all of that are archived in a very official way. If you delete a tweet, it's never really deleted when you're president, because it is archived.

That won't take effect until January 20th. But already I think we're wondering is this going to be how President Trump is going to tweet? Some people say he's using Twitter to distract, right? He had a lot to distract from this weekend.

CAMEROTA: Like the settlement of the Trump lawsuit.

STELTER: Stories about conflicts of interest, the settlement -- the $25 million settlement. Some very unflattering, troubling stories in "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" about business conflicts of interest.

I don't think he's that strategic, though.

CARTER: No, I agree with that.

STELTER: I think he wakes up, turns on the TV --

CARTER: I totally agree with that.

CUOMO: Impulsive.

STELTER: -- and gets angry at what he sees.

CUOMO: And that's what we saw with "Saturday Night Live" also.

STELTER: The most culture elite thing. I mean, "Hamilton" -- this is divided America, right? Half of America won't be able to see a Broadway show like this. Maybe would buy the cast recording. But this is an easy target for Trump.

CUOMO: However, "Hamilton" deserves a little bit of defense. It is designed in every way to be organic and to reach out beyond the elite. That's what the point --

STELTER: But the Bushes, the Cheneys, lots of Republicans have gone to see it.

CARTER: They've all gone to see it.

CAMEROTA: I'm one of half of Americans who can't get tickets.

CARTER: Including his daughter loved the show and tweeted about loving it.

CUOMO: Everybody loves this show. It's been a great thing for our culture, everybody knows that, including dawn Donald Trump.

Now "SNL" has piqued our interest, again. Here's a taste of why.


ALEC BALDWIN, COMEDIAN AS DONALD TRUMP: Google -- What is ISIS? Oh, my, 59 billion results. Siri, how do I kill ISIS?


CUOMO: All right. So, he didn't like this. But what's interesting in his reaction isn't just that he's thin-skinned about it. He said, "What about equal time for us?" CARTER: For us.

CUOMO: Does that mean that he doesn't know that, once you're elected, you don't get equal time any more? Or that, as president, you have to tolerate dissent and criticism with no limit?

CARTER: Well, I think he now feels powerful enough to challenge any of these things. He must know that every president has been mocked this way on "Saturday Night Live". He's watched the show for years. He's been on the show. He knows what the show is. It's not a surprise to him. But now he's the target of it, he's going to be made fun, as he should be -- any president will be and should be -- and he's got such a thin skin he can't just shrug it off the way most people do.

STELTER: Every president is the most criticized person in the world while they are president. It's one of the reasons why President Obama says he doesn't watch much cable news.

Well, we'll see if Donald Trump makes the same choice or not.

CAMEROTA: Brian, Bill, thank you.

We're following a lot of news this morning. So let's get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This officer was driving down the road and was ambushed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four separate shootings targeting police officers across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't deserve this. He was just doing his job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's everyone's worst nightmare. You never want to see anything like this happen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: We made a couple of deals but we'll let you know soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney is under serious consideration.

MITT ROMENY, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had a far-reaching conversation. I look forward the coming administration.

TRUMP: We're seeing tremendous talent.

DIXON: We are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'll leave to others whether it was the appropriate venue to say it.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

We do begin with breaking news for you, because four police officers have been shot in a series of ambush-style attacks in several states in the span of just a few hours. Two of these shootings were in Missouri, one was in Florida, and another one in Texas is where a police officer was actually killed.

CUOMO: There's a manhunt intensifying in San Antonio to find the person who killed the 20-year police vet. We have CNN's Polo Sandoval there live with breaking details. They've been putting out photos of the man with descriptions, even pictures of a car. How sure are they at this point about whom they're looking for?

[07:00:01] POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do know that they're trying to at least speak to this person here, Chris. That's at least what they have to go on at this point.