Return to Transcripts main page


Hillary Clinton Joins Efforts to Hold Vote Recount in Wisconsin; Interview with Senator James Lankford; Fidel Castro Dies. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 28, 2016 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: 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. So we have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Sara Murray. She is live in Washington. Hi, Sara?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Anyone who thought that Donald Trump would suddenly adopt a different tone now that he's the president-elect is going to wake up this morning disappointed. In fact, he's taking the unprecedented step of questioning the integrity of the American election system without offering any evidence.


MURRAY: Donald Trump is falsely claiming he only lost the popular vote because millions voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. Despite winning the election, Trump is reviving unfounded allegations of voter fraud, a sign he is unwilling to drop his penchant for conspiracy theories now that he's the president-elect. Trump tweeting "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California. So why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias, big problem."

Trump's tweet storm coming as Hillary Clinton's campaign joined recount efforts in Wisconsin led by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. They plan to make similar pushes in Pennsylvania and Michigan after data security experts raised concerns over possible voting discrepancies.

REINCE PRIEBUS, PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP'S CHIEF OF STAFF: This is a total and complete distraction and a fraud and something that they should drop. We will sit there are and look through scan-tron ballots. We will win again for the second time and they will lose again for the second time.

MURRAY: Republicans quickly slamming Clinton despite her campaign statement that they're not challenging the results. Trump even quoting from her concession speech where she urged Americans to move forward, adding, "So much time and money will be spent. Same result, sad." The Clinton campaign general counsel responding to Trump's tweets with a dose of irony, saying, "We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn't ask for by a man who won the election but thinks there was massive fraud." KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: I

was asked 1,000 times will Donald Trump accept the election results? And now you've got the Democrats and Jill Stein saying they do not accept the election results. The idea that we are going to drag this out now where the president-elect has been incredibly magnanimous to the Clintons and to the Obamas is pretty incredible.

MURRAY: The Clinton campaign and the White House say they see no evidence that voting systems were hacked, but Stein asserts the recount is necessary.

JILL STEIN, FORMER GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our voting system should have that kind of assurance built into it so that there's automatic auditing taking place to make sure that we are not being hacked.


MURRAY: We are expecting to hear from Wisconsin election officials later this morning as to the status of that recount. As for Donald Trump's claims, we've reached out repeatedly to people on his transition team to see if they can offer any evidence for his suggestion that millions have voted illegally and still no response.

CAMEROTA: All right, let us know if you ever get a response, Sara. Thank you very much.

Joining us now is Republican senator James Lankford. Good morning, Senator.


CAMEROTA: Senator, what do you think of Donald Trump saying that actually he won the popular vote if you don't count the millions of people who voted illegally? Of course, back here on earth we know that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2 million votes and there's no evidence whatsoever that millions of people voted illegally.

LANKFORD: Yes, as the saying there's no evidence that the Russians actually hacked into the system and manipulated all the voting as well. And so that's the big challenge here --

CAMEROTA: Well, hold on a second. Let me stop you for one second senator because there were all sorts of intelligence agencies, 17 people have quoted, saying that they did see evidence that the Russians had tampered with the election.

LANKFORD: Alisyn, that is very different than saying that there's evidence the Russians hacked into the system. There's no evidence, and no one has made the accusation that the Russians hacked into the voting machines and manipulated --

CAMEROTA: That's the DNC, the e-mail, you agree with that that there's evidence -- LANKFORD: I do agree with that. I do agree the Russians are very

engaged in propaganda as they do around the world and clearly they did here. But that's very different than saying they hacked into voting machines and actually changed votes.


LANKFORD: What is being accused of right now is very different than one or the other. It's just this interesting irony that both sides of the aisle are talking about fraud. If we went back before the election, there was only Republicans that were talking about let's get voter integrity. Let's make sure that we can get voter I.D. make. Let's make sure that we can make everything clear --

CAMEROTA: Yes, but Senator I'm confused about what you think about -- about president-elect Trump's claim. Do you believe that millions of people voted -- that there was voting irregularity and they voted illegally?

LANKFORD: I've not seen any voter irregularity in the millions. There's always some on the edges. But I've not seen anything on the millions. I don't know what he was talking about that in that one. Obviously you're reaching to his team to get clarification.

CAMEROTA: Right. So what is your plan? When the president-elect puts out things that for which there's no evidence or are just plain old erroneous, what will Congress do about that?

[08:05:09] LANKFORD: Look, it depends on what it is. You're already doing it right now with the press being able to ask the question. That's a basic part of it is people ask for clarifications or questions. If something that rises to the level of needing a congressional hearing, that would be appropriate as well. Oversight should be the same, whether it's a Republican or a Democrat in the White House. Oversight is oversight. But that begins with a free press that can be engaged in just asking the basic questions.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we're very grateful that we are part of the free press that can do that. And we take that very seriously. Let me ask you --

LANKFORD: Very different than Castro's Cuba.

CAMEROTA: Indeed, yes. And we carry that mantle proudly and it sounds like we're going to be very busy for the foreseeable future trying to check state news and erroneous tweets.

LANKFORD: I'll let you ask the questions from there.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about federal waste. I know that that's something that you're focused on. And in fact you're putting out your second annual report on government waste. You say that you found $247 billion worth of federal waste, and as always, there are sort of silly entries into this when you find out what the government is spending money on.

So let's put this up, $2 million spent on giant pandas in China, finding out, you know, sort of what makes them tick, $2 million spent on children's emotions about foods and eating. And that's probably -- I mean look that's an important topic. I don't know what price tag you're supposed to put on at, but of course one of the elements of that is determining whether children are grossed out by food that's been sneezed on. You say. I think --

LANKFORD: That's correct.

CAMEROTA: I'm not sure we need to spend a lot of money on that.

LANKFORD: I'd agree.

CAMEROTA: And $10,000 in a grant for silent adaptations of works of William Shakespeare. I don't know why that's included because that's chump change basically $10,000. But, but I wanted to ask you on the bigger issue, the bigger issue of the deficit and the debt, there have been various pundits who say that president-elect Trump will actually add to the debt and deficit. Here's what the Tax Policy Center says, that president-elect Trump's policies would increase the debt by $7.2 trillion over a decade. How do you feel about that, Senator?

LANKFORD: So we have to address the debt. This is one of the areas that wasn't addressed much in the election by either side. In fact I think we're in our fourth debate before we actually got into a real protracted conversation about debt and deficit. But it's a serious issue that we need to resolve. We're approaching $20 trillion in total debt in the country, and that debt has doubled in just the last eight years. This is something that needs to be addressed, and I think there's really two ways to do it. I don't find much disagreement.

You have to have economic growth and you have to be able to control your spending. If you can't control spending and you don't have economic growth, you're never going to get out of this spiral that we're in right now. So it is important that we put policies in place that actually increase the economic activity in the United States. But in the last seven years, our economy has not tapped over two percent. Significantly never hit three percent in the last eight years. We have got to have real economic growth to be able to get out of there. But the key is we can't have this wasteful spending. When I identify areas of foreign aid where we're dealing with Icelandic cemetery studies and we're dealing with Tanzania and fish bones and their studies, and when you deal with the, as you mention before, should we study what five-year-olds think about their food when someone sneezes on it when they serve them, all of us look at that as absurd, and we ask the basic question, what do we need to do to get our spending under control. And the first thing is let's just have me common sense in what is spent.

CAMEROTA: But senator, I mean, given your laser focus on this, what do you think of what Donald Trump has said about his spending and the fact that when checked that the experts think that it will actually hike up the debt?

LANKFORD: We're going to have to see the actual proposal. I've seen what the campaign is. We'll see what the actual proposal is -- CAMEROTA: Were you comfortable with what the campaign said?

LANKFORD: Oh, no, again the campaign -- there wasn't a lot of details, as you know full well. Most of the details were we need to do infrastructure, we need to do other spending, there's a tax proposal that's en put on the table. All the campaigns put out tax proposals. The Senate and the House have tax proposals. I have to actually see what the actual legislation is, and that will be the key at the end. But I will tell you, whatever is put out there we will not have a situation where we have declining economic growth and where we don't have real attention to our spending. Those things have to be there in real policy conversations.

CAMEROTA: How do you think president-elect plans to pay for his infrastructure plan?

LANKFORD: I've not seen. I've seen some proposals out there to deal with corporate tax. That's been floated out there to say we change the corporate tax internationally, allow them to be able to repatriate some of those dollars that are currently parked overseas, that some of that money be used for infrastructure. I would rather see that used for corporate tax reform and individual tax reform. That's a better way to be able to do that because we have a very convoluted system for taxes.


[14:00:06] LANKFORD: We've got to be able to fix that long-term and I'd rather not see that be used for spending. That will be a lot of the argument that happens in the days ahead.

CAMEROTA: Senator James Lankford, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.

LANKFORD: Sure, you bet.

CAMEROTA: Let's get over to Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so, Fidel Castro is dead. So now what? We're going to take a look at what comes next.


CAMEROTA: Fidel Castro dead at the age of 90, and his death leading to nine days of mourning in Havana. But a very different picture in Miami. Cuban exiles are celebrating the death of the former dictator. This as the first commercial flight from the U.S. to Havana took off just moments ago from Miami. CNN's Boris Sanchez is live in Little Havana in Miami for us. So, Boris, can you tell us, can you somehow characterize the feeling there?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it is hard to believe that the people here in Miami and the people here in Cuba are reacting to the death of the same person. There are nine days of mourning in Cuba. Here so far there have been three days of partying outside of Calle Ocho, the heart of the Cuban community in Miami. The people that I've talked to here who are celebrating, waving flags, dancing, banging pots and pans, I asked, are you at all weirded-out by the fact that you're celebrating the death of a person? And people that I've talked again and again, even in my own family, have said, we're not mourning the death of a person. We're celebrating the death of a monster.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- the fact that you're celebrating the death of a person and people that I've talked to again and again even in my own family have said, we are not mourning the death a person. We are celebrating the death of a monster. So it gives you some persperctive.

A lot of hurt feelings here by exiles that have risked everything to leave Cuba, risking their lives to get away from the system that Castro created.

We obviously heard statements from world leaders, the president putting out a statement offering condolences to the family of Fidel Castro and saying that history will end up judging his legacy. That was not received well here in the exile community.

They were much more welcoming to Donald Trump's statement in which he called Fidel Castro a brutal dictator and alluded to the tragedies that Cuban-Americans have had to suffer that wounds that may never heal.

Another reaction was from Florida Senator Marco Rubio who said that the president's statement was pathetic. He also called Fidel a tyrant. You can imagine that was much more well received here among this community.

A lot of people that have suffered for many years, I can tell you that even in my own family, many people were waiting for this moment for as long as I can remember -- Chris and Alisyn.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There's a big question about what happens now. Boris, thank you very much.

Fidel Castro once called the family of our next two guests his most repulsive enemies. They're also his relatives. Joining us now is Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

As context their aunt was Castro's first wife before Castro led the revolution in Cuba. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us this morning. Let's start with the personal. Congressman, what -- how does your family tell the story of its connection to Castro?

REPRESENTATIVE MARIO DIAZ-BALART (R), FLORIDA: Look it's a story that's very well known. Not only with our family, but with our community. And, my father was a brother-in-law of Fidel Castro. Also then since he knew him well became the first person to oppose Fidel Castro.

And actually to state very clearly what would happen if Castro got control of that island. That's precisely what happened. It's been 58 years of dictatorship, of pain, of murders, of narco-terrorism, of terrorism.

It has -- this man, this dictator, this tyrant, and this murderer has been a nightmare not only for the Cuban people, but also for the national security interests of the United States.

This is a person who has done everything possible to hurt United States and even ask for a first nuclear strike, a strike against the United States, to kill every American.

He insisted that that was the right thing to do, so again, this is a person that anybody who knows him, who knew him or who knows his history, must be very glad that he is no longer on this planet.

CUOMO: Lincoln, and yet when I called my Cuban friends down in South Florida, and in Jersey, and elsewhere, you know, to kind of express condolences, congratulations, or whatever that there's some sense of closure, I got quick rebuff that, hey, Raul is just as bad. This is not over. The regime is still in place. Stop pretending that this is good news for the future. We just don't know. Is that how you feel, Lincoln?

LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Chris, it's important to realize that just like when Trujillo or Franco died, it's not that democracy came the next day to those countries. However, without those deaths democracy could not have come.

Now it's important that like in the case of Spain or Dominican Republic or so many other longstanding dictatorships that the international community, led by the United States, and that's why we're so hopeful after the statement by the president-elect and the vice president-elect.

That the United States lead the international community to demand that the regime not be able to be a personal family farm, inheritable by, in this case, Raul's children. The Cuban people deserve freedom.

And just like in the case of Spain, and the other examples I've mentioned, it's important for the international community to demand freedom for the Cuban people now after all these years, and especially after the personal tyrant has died.

Remember, yes, Raul Castro is his puppet. Raul Castro is in charge, has been for a few years. But the brain of evil, ever since as Mario has just pointed out he called for a nuclear first strike against the United States in that famous now declassified letter to Khrushchev during the missile crisis.

Where he said if the United States invades Cuba, in other words, to liberate the Cuban people, it is necessary for the Soviet Union to launch a nuclear first strike on the United States.

CUOMO: Right. So congressman what are your concerns going forward? Your brother mentioned the president-elect, the idea of what will he do. You know the involvement of Russia was a long time ago with the missiles, but that was Russia's hand there and all you have to do is go to the island and you see the Russian influence on that island is still real.

[08:20:06]Trump had sent down business consultants to try to see if his organization could put roots down there. Are -- do you know which way President Trump will go?

CONGRESSMAN DIAZ-BALART: He's been very clear and so has his vice president and his chief of staff. They've been very clear that they're going to reverse the unilateral concessions, the gifts that President Obama has given to the Castro regime.

By the way, it's not that the United States didn't get anything in return from the Castro regime. President Obama and his administration didn't even ask for anything in return. You can claim that President Obama is a lot of things, but he is a very smart man. He's clearly not an idiot.

He knows that what he has done is everything to consolidate the Castro regime, to help legitimize the Castro regime, and President-Elect Trump, and also his vice president, Mr. Pence, have stated very clearly that they're going to eliminate all those concessions. They're going to demand freedom for the Cuban people as a condition to lifting any sanctions --

CUOMO: That hasn't worked in the past though, Congressman. How do you think -- do you think it's different this time just because Fidel is gone, Lincoln?

CONGRESSMAN DIAZ-BALART: Chris, Chris, a lot of folks are -- there's been investment in Cuba, and tourism in Cuba, from most of the world, that hasn't gotten rid of Castro.

CUOMO: Right.

CONGRESSMAN DIAZ-BALART: So, so here's a question, what should U.S. policy be? And we support what the president-elect has said, which is until there's freedom for the Cuban people, and until some very basic freedoms take place, freedom of the press, political parties, independent labor unions, the freeing of all political prisoners and elections, until those conditions happen, there are no concessions, and President-elect trump has been very clear that he's going to enforce the law. That's the right thing to help the Cuban people. It's the right thing for the United States national security interest.

LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART: And Chris you mentioned that it didn't work in the past. Fidel Castro was alive in the past and the Cuban people are unarmed. All the weapons are in the hands of the totalitarian dictatorship.

Now the opportunity exists, just like when Franco died in Spain or Trudgeleo in the Dominican Republic for there to be an international effort demanding that that not be an inheritable family farm.

Free elections for the Cuban people, the conditions in U.S. law, that are still there, by the way, flouted by President Obama, ignored by President Obama, the law, and nevertheless those conditions are still there. Free elections, freedom of speech, and no political prisoners, and we have to ask, which of those three conditions do the Cuban people not deserve? It's about time that the international community realize that Cuba is in this hemisphere, it's on this planet.

And those people deserve to be free just like any other people in the world, and especially in this hemisphere that legally, in our American law since 1948, as a requirement of representative democracy is the only legitimate form of government in this hemisphere.

CUOMO: Lincoln, Mario, thank you very much for representing your family and representing what you believe is the right path forward for the Cuban people. Appreciate it -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump lighting up social media with Twitter rants about the Wisconsin recount as well as falsely claiming that millions of people voted illegally. What's his evidence? We'll discuss.



CAMEROTA: President-elect Donald Trump tweeting this weekend about the outcome of the election. He has a peculiar conclusion. Mr. Trump falsely claims that millions of people voted illegally, costing him the popular vote. There is no evidence of that.

Let's discuss with CNN political commentator and vice chair of the New York State Democratic Party, Christine Quinn, New York City Councilman Joseph Borelli, and CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro. Nice to see all of you.

Joe, what are we supposed to make of the president-elect falling for false news reports and fake tweets from random people?

JOSEPH BORELLI, COUNCILMAN, 51ST DISTRICT OF NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Well, I don't know if he's falling for fake tweets from random news stories. The one thing that's been consistent is that the Republican Party has said that there is voter fraud, at times in this country --

CAMEROTA: Millions of people --

BORELLI: No, no. We could argue over how much, how often it happens -- but it has long been the notion, the belief of the Republican Party that there is voter fraud that exists in this country and the only thing that's changed is now some of the Democrats are seeing the light, too.

CAMEROTA: No, Joe --

CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That was there, that is there -- is there generally ever and was there --

CAMEROTA: Listen I have the answer to this Joe. We actually know the answer. We don't have to hypothesize about this -- BORELLI: I'm going to sight the Pew study.

CAMEROTA: I can look at Loyola spent 14 years looking at election results. They looked at 1 billion votes cast. They found 31 incidents of voter fraud. There are scores of (inaudible) that have looked into this.

BORELLI: In this primary back in April, there was four confirmed cases of voter fraud just in my county alone that were referred to the DA. A lot of the studies you're talking about are people who are convicted of actual voter fraud --


BORELLI: Not sort of people --

CAMEROTA: Because once the DA looked into it they found out oh, there is a reason that this person has that same --

BORELLI: No, they weren't even convicted on the intent of actually doing anything.

CAMEROTA: Great that's fine. So there were four. Does that up --

BORELLI: That's in one county.

CAMEROTA: Come on.

BORELLI: Like I said --

CAMEROTA: I want your answer. Do you think there were millions of people who voted illegally this time around?

BORELLI: I don't believe so, no.

CAMEROTA: So what's the president-elect doing?

BORELLI: Again the party has been consistent that voter fraud exists in this country. The only thing that has changed since Donald Trump is a candidate, with Donald Trump being the president-elect is now the Democrats believe that there's some irregularity --

CAMEROTA: We've never had --

BORELLI: Why are we having a recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania --

QUINN: We've never had a president-elect who --

BORELLI: The Democratic Party believes --

QUINN: So come on you're better than that. The recount is Jill Stein that's one thing. But your -- president-elect you supported tweeted, nobody manipulated his little fingers. God knows he can tweet away. He tweeted that he lost the popular vote because of voter fraud. That's it. He said it. You can't back away from it -- but what I wonder, is he tweeting these crazy things so we spend the mornings talking about --