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Clinton Campaign Joins Recount Effort In Wisconsin; Will Nancy Pelosi Remain As House Minority Leader?; Will Trump Reverse Diplomatic Relations With Cuba?; President-Elect Trump's Unresolved Financial Conflicts. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 28, 2016 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:03] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That election comes up -- that race is this week. What does he have that she doesn't?
REP. KATHLEEN RICE (D), NEW YORK: He's a new voice. We need new leadership. I was very clear when we came back to Washington after the election that we needed to at least start to have a conversation about what went wrong. Why are we so far in the minority and why, since 2010, have we been losing election cycle after election cycle?
CAMEROTA: And what have you concluded about that?
RICE: Well, we need accountability. There's no accountability from leadership. This is not personal against Nancy Pelosi. I like her very much. I think she's done great things for the Democratic caucus. She was the first woman speaker of the house. These are great things. But now, in 2016, we need new leadership. We need a new voice and I think that Tim represents that voice and he can be a great leader.
CAMEROTA: Well, there's leadership issues as you've spelled out, but then there's also just sort of on the ground grassroots. What do you think that Democrats got wrong during this election, certainly, and in the past? Why aren't Democrats connecting more with working class voters?
RICE: Well, you know, Tim Ryan has a very clear message. He thinks and has said that he believes the Democratic Party has become a coastal party, California and New York. And we need to be talking to people in Ohio, in Michigan, in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and all across the country and that's a message that we did not have in this election.
And we need to hear what the voters have said. We cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. And Tim has a plan for how to kind of take the Democratic Party, bring it back to middle of the country, and speak to people who want the Democratic Party back on their side.
CAMEROTA: Last week he was called a long shot. Do you think he's still a long shot to win?
RICE: I think he has a really good chance of winning. I mean, this is internal politics. These are -- this is going to be a vote that we hold within our caucus. I think that Tim has enormous support. You know, it's tough to challenge someone.
CAMEROTA: Do you think he has enough?
RICE: Oh, I do, I do. I think the numbers are there and I think it's going to be whether or not we, as a Democratic caucus, decide that this is the time that we need new leadership. Again, it's not anything personal. But, you know, if you look at people in the private sector -- if you don't bring results you're out, and I think that we are at that point now in 2016. After four successive cycles of losing more and more races we need to bring a new voice in and I think Tim Ryan is that voice.
CAMEROTA: Do you have any fear that if Nancy Pelosi wins and he loses that you, having been so public, will fall out of favor?
RICE: Well, I think I probably am not in good favor right now but this is what we need in Washington. We need people in positions like mine to speak truth to power. It's very difficult to do in Washington because the system is set up to support powerful people and it's very difficult to get people like me or Tim Ryan into the conversation. So I'm very proud of the support that I'm giving Tim.
Again, this is not personal. I think that this is what we need more of. We need people who are willing to come out and say you know what, we need to try something different. And I hope that more of my colleagues will follow me on that path.
CAMEROTA: Who do you think should lead the DNC?
RICE: That's going to be a question that people are going to decide within that organization. I know Keith Ellison. I think he's a great guy. I have not weighed into that --
CAMEROTA: Do you want to? I mean --
RICE: I'm very focused now on Wednesday and the election that's going to take place with our Democratic caucus in Congress.
CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, thanks so much for coming in and previewing it all with us.
RICE: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you. Let's get over to Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Alisyn. So, on the campaign trail, President-elect Trump promised to reverse President Obama's policies restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. So what happens now that Fidel Castro is dead? Will Trump follow through? Maybe not. We'll discuss why, next.
[07:37:57] CAMEROTA: So, how will President-elect Donald Trump handle relations with Cuba once he's sworn in, in 53 days? That is the question on many minds after Fidel Castro's death over the weekend. Trump has been critical of President Obama lifting the embargo with Cuba, so what would he do differently?
Let's discuss it with CNN political commentator and former South Carolina lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer. He met with Castro on a trip to Cuba in 2003. Also joining us is Florida congressman Carlos Curbelo, who is Cuban-American. Gentlemen, it's great to have you because you both have personal experiences with Castro and Cuba.
So Andre, let me start with you. What was that trip like to Cuba in 2003 and your meeting with Fidel Castro and what were you hoping to get out of it?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SC LT. GOVERNOR: Well, it was definitely eye-opening to see how oppressed those people are. To watch the people in line just to get a loaf of bread, it was really moving as a young man.
I went down there as a 33-year-old, new to really -- to the whole process. And meeting with him for four hours and trying to engage in discussion, he got very aggravated with me when I talked about allowing Americans to come down and open businesses, allowing Americans to own real estate. And what he said was going to be a 30- minute meeting went on for about four hours. I don't think he was used to having somebody challenge him so it was interesting.
But this is a real opportunity for the American people and for the Cuban people to come together if we want to try to bargain now. I think we've got to reverse what President Obama's done and take this opportunity to say look, we're willing to work with you but things are going to have to change.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, your parents are Cuban exiles. How has that colored your impression of the way forward here?
REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FLORIDA: Well, there's not a lot of mourning going on in Miami, to say the least, so people here feel relieved. This is where the victims of Castro's dictatorship -- this is where many of them live. My family is just one of hundreds of thousands of families who live here in South Florida and who have in some way been hurt by the Castro government.
[07:40:05] I was encouraged by the President-elect's statement. It's obvious that he's approaching this relationship with Cuba with clear eyes. It's obvious that he knows the nature of the Castro regime. He said the truth about who Fidel Castro was and the horrific crimes that he perpetrated not just against the Cuban people but, also, against many Americans.
And it was a sharp contrast to President Obama's statement and to President Obama's policies over the last two years, where it's been one unilateral concession after another to a government that is an enemy of the United States. It still opposes our interests throughout the world. That is responsible for the death of American citizens. So I think we're going to see a different approach starting on January 20th.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that different approach, Andre. What do you want to see President-elect Trump do differently and try to get out of this relationship with Cuba?
BAUER: Well, right off the bat, they need to release political prisoners. It would be great if they'd apologize for some of the atrocities they've done, allow international business. There's a multitude of things we can do. And to have a neighbor that we aren't working with is a missed opportunity, but they're going to have to give some concessions before we just roll out the red carpet for them, in my opinion. I'm glad to see President-elect Trump talking in that type of tone.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, I want to put up for our viewers and you the two condolence messages, basically -- or at least announcements of death. President Obama versus President-elect Trump and how they responded to Fidel Castro's death because there is sort of a stark difference here.
So let me play -- let me put up, first, President Obama's. He says, "We offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people."Donald Trump took a different tact. He said, "Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty." Congressman, what did you think of the difference in those two?
CURBELO: I think President Obama owes an apology to the American people, not just the Cuban-Americans who have felt so much of this pain.
But I remind people, Fidel Castro is the man who had nuclear missiles installed in Cuba and pointed to the United States. He brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. And for the president to say -- also in that statement he said history will judge Fidel Castro. We don't have to wait. We know that this man was a tyrant, he was a murderer. He worked against the United States every single day of his life when he was in power.
And you look at the contrast to the president-elect, who is being honest. And, by the way, that helps explain why this last election went the way it went. The American people want to be told the truth. The American people are sick and tired of this political speak -- this lukewarmness, lack of honesty.
And again, I just think January 20th, we're going to be opening up a new chapter in U.S.-Cuba relations. The Cuban government is going to be held accountable. American interests are going to be put first. We're going to put the interests of the oppressed Cuban people first.
And hopefully, we will get the kind of change we all want in Cuba, a change that, of course, will lead to many opportunities, including business opportunities in the future. But as long as Cuba remains a closed society, an oppressive, repressive government that opposes American interests, it's going to be very hard to get there. We need to put the pressure on them.
CAMEROTA: So, Andre, what do you think about diplomatic relations? What do you think about the embassy there in Cuba that has reopened? Is that -- is it too soon?
BAUER: Well, I think that there are folks, like that are represented on the show here -- Mel Martinez, Sen. Rubio -- folks that are much more knowledgeable than I. But we've got to have some feedback -- positive feedback from their government. For too long people have been oppressed, people have been jailed that spoke out. We've got to have a system where they show us in good faith they want to work with us.
And hopefully with the -- you know, I'm an opportunist and I'm continually looking for a new way to hopefully find better relations. And hopefully, with Fidel's passing, that government will look and say this part of the regime is gone and we want to try to change our ways. I don't know that they will but I'm hoping that. And with the tone that Donald Trump has set, that sets the stage for at least some type of understanding and discussions to start.
CAMEROTA: Yes, very interesting to see what happens over the next days. Andre Bauer, Congressman Curbelo, thanks so much for being here.
CURBELO: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Let's get to Chris.
CUOMO: All right. We're going to talk about Trump's unresolved financial conflicts. It is the danger of unknown and also what is known. What could happen going forward, even before the inauguration? We'll take a closer look.
[07:49:05] CAMEROTA: Authorities in the Philippines think a terror group linked to ISIS might have planted a homemade bomb near the U.S. Embassy. A street sweeper in Manila reportedly found an IED in a trash can within 100 feet of the embassy gate. A bomb squad detonated that device. No arrests have been made. Police say the IED is similar to the one that killed 14 people in September.
CUOMO: Syrian government forces retaking parts of a key district after a punishing air and ground assault effectively splitting Eastern Aleppo into. This is the first time government forces have taken a significant part of Eastern Aleppo since rebels seized the area more than four years ago. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to retake the whole city.
CAMEROTA: All right. A heart-stopping scene out of Arkansas. This infant ejected from a car following a terrible accident. Rescuers searched everywhere for her and when they heard noises coming from the storm drain, it turns out the eight-month-old got stuck in there. After a couple of hours crews did get her out. Amazingly, the eight- month-old suffered only a few scratches and we are happy to report is out of the hospital.
[07:50:15] CUOMO: They believe -- they don't really know yet, but they believe that that kid may have been thrown from the car, fell into that sewer, and was completely fine. Did you see the car?
CAMEROTA: You know, babies do have a lot of padding, thank God.
CUOMO: Yes, emphasis on the last part of that statement. All right. So, President-elect Donald Trump brushed aside questions about potential conflicts of interest between his duties in the White House and his business interests. He actually said he could do both perfectly well with absolutely no problem. A recent interview with "The New York Times" reporters verified all of that, that that's how he feels. But, there are huge unknowns with Trump and his business pressures, so let's discuss exactly what could be going on here -- these unresolved conflicts.
We have CNN political analyst, editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast", brother John Avlon. It's good to have you. Let's go to the map, OK? Lots of different licensing agreements all over the world. There are certain ones that you believe where we need to know more and some where what we do know is already trouble.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: That's right. Look, just -- first of all, we've never had a situation where a president or president-elect has these sort of global business interests. It is just one of the many ways this is uncharted territory for the United States and the implications for at least the perception of compromises and corruption is huge, and he needs to address that. But let's look at some of them.
CAMEROTA: OK, let's start with the Philippines because, frankly, all of this can become so mind-boggling. Let's focus in our four big ones, OK -- the Philippines.
CAMEROTA: So, this is where he has a relationship with his Philippine developer, Jose Antonio. That's his business partner. He was named a special envoy to the U.S. last month, by the way -- hold that thought -- and they have a number of projects in the works -- go.
AVLON: Yes, right. The main thing here is that his business partner -- or keep in mind the way Trump most really makes his money is licensing his name, but these are multi-million dollars deals. When the president of the Philippines, Duterte, who is not a little "d" Democratic by any stretch of the imagination, taps Trump's business partner to be the special envoy to the United States, that's the thin edge of the wedge, people. This is how the complication between business interests and political interests start getting entwined. It's already happening in real time with this relationship.
CUOMO: Now, one of the macro points that is important is that Donald Trump seems keenly aware of what he doesn't have to worry about legally as president. You know, the outward notion was I'm not even focused on any of that business stuff. It's all about the kids now. I don't care. You smell something else.
AVLON: Well look, I think what's significant is that Donald Trump hasn't really borne deep into many of intricacies of White House policy, but he seems very clear on the fact that the president is actually exempt from a 1978 Ethics in Government Act.
So while self-dealing is illegal, commonsensically, ethically, but legally for members of cabinet, for people serving high office in Washington, that is not the case for the President of the United States. And he seems very aware of the fact that he could run his business out of the Oval Office. He's saying he won't. He's saying he'll give it to his kids, but even that is far short of a blind trust for things other presidents have done with far less potential for conflict.
CAMEROTA: For instance, we already know that he's met with Indian developers -- businessmen. This was at Trump Tower. This was after the election. His kids were around for this. Where is the conflict?
AVLON: Well, there are two levels here. First of all, his children, who are by all accounts are the most exemplary character references he's got, keep sitting in on high-level state meetings with the president-elect. That is unusual in the extreme, especially when they're role will be to continuing the business interests.
But most troubling I think, downstream,isn't just the photos that get used by businessmen saying look, we're in political and business bed with the president-elect, it's the fact that his business partners in these countries are, themselves, tied to political interests, political parties in the government. That becomes a deep thicket of conflict that we only can begin to understand the problems that we could have.
CUOMO: These are the knowns. These are where you have --
AVLON: These are the knowns, that's right.
CUOMO: -- names of, you know -- a big part of the concern is this part of the world that is not highlighted right now where people have legitimate concerns.
AVLON: That's right.
CUOMO: You know, whether it's just that banks sold debt that Donald Trump may have an interest in one way or the other to Russians, you know, who has done business with them. What about his own staff that was involved with it? And this whole part of the country is yet not highlighted. Now, when we look at Ireland and Turkey you see different --
CUOMO: Scotland and Turkey -- you see a different type of concern come up.
AVLON: Right. Well, in this case, the Trump Organization famously has golf courses. They want to build a seawall. Trump associated himself very closely with the folkswith UKIP, the U.K. Independence Party who did Brexit. Nigel Farage in that photo there. In a photo -- in a phone call post-election with Nigel Farage, he apparently brought up that UKIP's new cause should be stopping wind farms. [07:55:00] Now, this apparently is just a bizarre bugaboo of the
president-elect. A longstanding dislike for wind farms. But when all of the sudden he is lobbying personal interests that could be related to business interests with his political allies across the -- across the pond, that's not a special relationship as we've understood it between the United States and Britain.
AVLON: That's a business-driven influence that is a derivation from our best traditions.
CUOMO: People heard about this a little bit. It's Ireland and Scotland, and one of the things that was interesting is he thought that climate change was a hoax. We're not really sure what the president-elect thinks now, but --
CAMEROTA: Well now he says that there is some human connectivity. That's his quote.
CUOMO: Well, he certainly believed that when he applied for this seawall because he blamed global warming for it. He said that that's why they should give him this permit.
AVLON: One of many small ironies, yes.
CUOMO: All right, so --
CAMEROTA: Let's look at Istanbul now.
CAMEROTA: OK. So this is where he has this relationship with, again, more business people, with other moguls, a highly influential political family. Here's what's interesting, John. Trump, himself, said to Breitbart News in December --
CAMEROTA: -- I have a conflict of interest here because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.
AVLON: Yes, he wasn't shy about that. He's not shy, generally, about saying what comes to his mind but this one gets particularly complicated. When Donald Trump announced a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, the president of Turkey said his name should be stripped from these two towers.
But then -- and that was, you know, a significant threat to this business interests. But when President Erdogan cracked down in the wake of the coup, all of the sudden now President-elect Trump, then candidate Trump, had very kind things to say so we shouldn't judge.
Now, in fairness, he's said things about Tiananmen Square in the past that it was a riot, it wasn't a crackdown. But the -- trying to get cozy back with the president of Turkey -- who is a soft authoritarian, rolling back democratic rights in that country -- this forms not only business conflicts but a larger coalition that I think we all need to be aware of.
When he's been reprimanded by the government for one political policy and then that gets eased when all of the sudden he starts backing up repressive policy, that's an example of the kind of conflicts we can see, which we just don't have a precedent for in this country.
CUOMO: And a lot of it again, remember, is the unknown. You know, like we can highlight all of Canada but we don't know what the actual interests are and what they may lead to.
CAMEROTA: Sure, so let's just focus on the known. With just those four, OK, when he says it's impossible for the president, legally, to have a conflict of interest what, then, is the country to do?
AVLON: Look, there's legally and there's ethics. Politics is perception and clearly the president-elect has succeeded in politics in an unprecedented way by not caring about perception in the usual ways. But it does matter if you're the President of the United States if people are seeing you -- if you're creating the perception that you're using the Oval Office, if not for personal enrichment then for your family's benefit.
CAMEROTA: But who's going to stop him?
AVLON: Well, first of all, I think there could be congressional oversight or at least father investigation. That's a real question. That's going to be in demand. Certainly, it will be the role of the press to investigate these conflicts. But there's a fundamental danger. Remember in one of our darker presidential chapters when Richard Nixon said if the president does it, it's not illegal.
AVLON: That attitude can't be allowed to encroach when you're dealing with the kinds of billion-dollar business interests across the globe. And President-elect Trump needs to fully appreciate, I think, in a way that maybe he hasn't had to, to date, that he is taking on a higher responsibility than the art of the deal. This is about the sacred trust with the republic and when questions of ethics of perception outweigh what's strictly legal.
CUOMO: Right. And, you know, you had said let's focus on what we know. I really believe the big concern is what you don't know and that's why there was such a push for transparency. And while some people thought that the taxes was a gotcha game by the press, now you get why it isn't. There is no way to know what you need to know about Donald Trump and that's unusual and troubling.
CAMEROTA: We don't know what we don't know, but we do know more thanks to you, John Avlon. Thank you very much for all of that. We're following a lot of news this morning. Let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Trump falsely claiming that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Green Party has the legal right to do it. We have recounts probably almost every election.
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It's ridiculous. This is a fundraising, notoriety-driven fraud.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He has the opportunity to pick someone that he believes will carry out his vision of American foreign policy.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Gov. Romney went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FLORIDA: I hope that the new administration will pressure the Castro regime.
PRIEBUS: Action is something that will be required under a President Trump.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: It is my hope that we will see U.S. strength prompting real change and real freedom in Cuba.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Monday, November 28th, 8:00 in the East. And up first, President-elect Donald Trump claiming that millions of people illegally voted for Hillary Clinton and that's what cost him the popular vote. There is absolutely zero proof that that is anything but silly. This was part of a 12-tweet rant that is, as yet, unexplained.
CAMEROTA: So, this conspiracy theory has already been debunked and it's happening at the same time that the Clinton campaign has joined this recount in Wisconsin. All of this as some Trump advisers are ramping up their very public war with Mitt Romney, as he is still reportedly being considered for secretary of state.