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Democrats Set To Vote On New House Leader Tomorrow; Interview with Rep. Tim Ryan; Trump Distracting From Transition News With Tweets; Will Trump Address Potential Conflicts Of Interest?; Colombia Plane Crash: 75 Dead, Sixth Survivor Found. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 29, 2016 - 07:30   ET



[07:31:05] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: House Democrats set to vote tomorrow on who they want to be their next leader. Our next guest is challenging Nancy Pelosi for that post. Joining me now is Democratic Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan. Nice to see you, Congressman.

REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: Before we get to the vote tomorrow, I just want to ask you about what's happening in your home state. You know the breaking news that there's been this terrible attack at Ohio State University. From what you know, do you believe this is a terror attack?

RYAN: Well, first and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families that are at Ohio State. I mean, this is just a tragic act in such a great town, such a great college campus, you know, just a few days after the great Ohio State-Michigan football rivalry, so the whole state's still in shock about what happened.

I think we've got to let the investigation play out. Clearly, there's -- it sounds like there was some rhetoric and some posts that point in the direction of something very nefarious, but I think we have to let the investigation play out.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, one more point before we get to your race and that is that as soon as tomorrow the Ohio Senate plans to vote on a bill that could possibly allow concealed handguns on college and university campuses. Do you think that's a good idea?

RYAN: You know, I really don't. You know, I think that college campuses and other areas need to be safe havens and I -- and I get it. I understand the other side of the argument, but there are certain places that I think need to be kind of insulated from guns, and I think places of education and higher learning are those places. But, you know, again, that's in the Ohio Senate's hands right now.

CAMEROTA: Yes. OK, so when we spoke last week -- when you were here in our studio, at that time your bid was considered somewhat of a longshot to unseat Nancy Pelosi. How's it looking today?

RYAN: Well, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised tomorrow. We have a lot a support. We keep rolling out members of Congress who are supporting us. We rolled out two more last night -- Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts, Dan Lipinski from the Midwest. We have two more coming today that I think people will be excited about. And I've been making calls, you know, all week, since I left you in New York.

And people are excited for some change, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to lead the caucus if they so choose. I think we need a change. Again, we're at the smallest number we've had in our Democratic caucus since 1929. And we've really got to ask ourselves when we walk out of the room tomorrow, what are we going to tell the American people? That what happened on Tuesday and what we've not been able to do since 2010 is OK? We're going to keep going down the same path? Or, will we have a new messenger, a new message, a new brand, and a new Democratic party?

CAMEROTA: So what's your biggest beef with Nancy Pelosi's leadership style?

RYAN: Well, you know, we're not winning. That's the main beef I have. I come out the sports world and played a lot of sports growing up. I'm from northeast Ohio. We keep score and we're not winning. I just don't think it's acceptable for us to say losing 60-some seats since 2010 is OK. We're slaughtered all over the -- all over the country. Thirty-three governors, two-thirds of state legislatures. Obviously, everything in Washington, D.C. is now Republican and we want to be in a position to be able to implement our ideas as Democrats.

And it's not, you know, just getting in, but it's we have certain things we fight for. Pensions, making sure people don't privatize the Medicare program, making sure kids don't get thrown off their health insurance. These are very important things to Democrats but if we don't have the levers of power there's not going to be anything we can do other than complain about it. And I think we need to make a strategic decision to go in another direction. Very respectful of Nancy Pelosi and all of her accomplishments, but I think it's time to go in a new direction.

[07:35:06] CAMEROTA: But why do you think Democrats have lost their way. Specifically, what have you all done wrong?

RYAN: Well, we don't have a robust economic message and we don't have to give up our progressive values on progressive issues. Those, of course, are a major part of what we stand for as Democrats, but if we don't have a robust economic message, we don't have a message that ties all of the different interest groups together.

And if you want to run a successful campaign -- a campaign with a lot of juice, a lot of magic to it, and we've all seen those campaigns happen, you've got to have a theme. A robust economic theme in policies that tie everyone together.

And look, if you're black, brown, white, gay, straight, man, woman, you want a good job. You want a job that pays, you want increased wages, you want a good pension, you want health care benefits, you want security. And you don't want to have to work 80 hours a week and miss your kid's soccer game or miss your kid's school play. These are fundamental to everyone in the country and if we don't have a message that really, really puts that out there, we lose. And that's what's been happening and that's why we are where we are right now.

CAMEROTA: So, as you and I speak, right now, it's 7:36 Eastern, what do you think your numbers are? I mean, if you think we're going to be surprised tomorrow what do you think the numbers are?

RYAN: We are within striking distance. We've got a lot of support and lot of people that are -- that are helping us. As I said, we keep rolling out endorsements. Marcia Fudge, who actually ran the Democratic National Convention for us in Philadelphia, was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus -- very, very popular in our caucus, is supporting me and came out last week. So we've got some key endorsements that are moving people into our -- into our camp.

And again, we've got to continue to make the case to our colleagues in the next 24 hours that what's the world going to look like when we walk out of that room on Wednesday, you know? What are we -- what are we going to tell all the Democrats? What are going to tell all the Americans that told us they wanted change?


RYAN: That we weren't going in the right direction. I feel like we really need to tell them we've got to move in another direction and, you know, I'm the one that's there to help provide that voice. And I know I can go anywhere in the country and campaign for Democrats on the issues we talked about a little bit earlier --


RYAN: -- and I'm excited to be able to do that. I'm excited to help create what can look like a very, very new Democratic Party.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Tim Ryan, we will be watching. Thanks so much for taking time for NEW DAY.

RYAN: Thanks for having me.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. If you've been paying attention to the transition for the presidential administration you'll notice there's a lot of drama surrounding it. Is the president-elect intentionally choosing his administration like a reality show and, if so, is this a good sign for the country? Some big brains on the transition, ahead.


[07:41:22] CUOMO: The Trump transition. Romney is in, then they hate him. Rudy will get the rose. No, he's going to be fired. It seems like a reality show is going on. And then, to add some spice, Trump tweeting random distractions, like saying millions voted illegally, not true, or that flag burning should be illegal. So is this strategy or just tragedy?

Let's discuss. We have a good panel for you this morning. We have CNN political commentator Paul Begala, Democratic strategist extraordinaire. We have CNN political commentator, former senior adviser to Mitt Romney, Kevin Madden. Political commentator and political editor for, Scottie Nell Hughes. Good to have you all here.

Kevin Madden, you've been involved with this before. What is your observation as into the motivation of this here -- the obvious dissent going on? Is it just pageantry or is there some purpose here?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think we -- I think we're trying to ascribe -- prescribe a strategy to it would be going a bit too far. I think that what -- the mistake that we all make in watching this process play out is that we try to judge it against what we believe were conventional transitions or -- of the past, and you just can't do that.

I mean, the Trump campaign was successful because it was very unconventional and it was a campaign that litigated its differences in public, whether that was in the newspapers or non-stop on cable television or on social media. So this is the new norm that you're going to, I think, see with the Trump campaign probably -- I'm sorry, with the Trump transition and very likely one that we'll probably see going into the administration, which is a public airing of differences.

A little bit of chaos between power centers inside the administration -- power centers inside Trump world. And then, ultimately, the president-elect himself, Donald Trump, making the decisions.

CUOMO: So, Scottie, you've got Tom Price coming out. He is a legit author of different versions of how to do health care in this country. Gets the big job of HHS but gets overrun by the president-elect's tweets, saying that millions voted illegally, which is just not true but a distraction. And now, saying flag burning should be illegal, which comes out of nowhere. Why is he stepping on his own thunder to misplaced metaphors?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know -- well, I don't know if it's necessarily over one. There's lots of things this morning that Mr. Trump is giving us to cover, so consider it be actually kind of a gift, Chris, that you don't just have to stick on the same subject.

But it is a great thing to see Tom Price. I think Rep. Price is actually one of the Republicans that offered a solution, just like all of the people that Mr. Trump is putting on the cabinet. And here's the thing. One message that was clearly sent by the people to Washington, D.C. was that we need transparency in government. The people don't trust what is going on.

So while we might consider this to be kind of pomp, circumstance, almost like "THE APPRENTICE" cabinet as they go up and get into the gold elevators and up to the floor for their interview, I think this is actually Mr. Trump saying look, I'm going to keep everything out in the public. I'm going to show you who I'm talking to and showing you that I'm bringing a variety of ideas to the table, even those ideas and those people that might have been my foe for the past year.

CUOMO: Paul Begala, Scottie Nell Hughes says it's all about transparency --


CUOMO: -- and Donald Trump, who has made transparency a dirty word --

BEGALA: Right, right.

CUOMO: -- in his own campaign.

BEGALA: Right. In fact, it's about the lack of transparency. Trump -- I disagree with Madden and it's entirely possible that you're right, Kevin. You're a lot smarter than I am. But I think there is a strategy and the strategy is weapons of mass distraction, right? When the Trump University lawsuit was settled and Donald Trump and his firm paid $25 million to people who accused him of fraud, what did he do? He tweeted out attacks on the cast of "Hamilton" and "Saturday Night Live". Why, because we all chase the shiny object.

[07:45:10] Now, "The New York Times" massive -- and CNN has also covered massive conflicts of interest all around the world that our new president will have in Turkey, in India, in Ireland, in Scotland, in Brazil, in the Philippines.

What does he do? Instead of saying look, I do have these, I'll be transparent. I'm going to release all my taxes and I'm going to sell all my companies because I'm going to put my own -- my sole efforts into representing the American people, which is what he must do if he's transparent and ethical.

No, instead he tweets out attacks on CNN. It lies about the popular vote, which he lost by over two million and now, apparently, his new theories on constitutional law. Those are all a strategy of distraction to divert us from this conflict of interest.

CUOMO: Kevin Madden, weapons of mass distraction. That is a catchy phrase. Do you agree with it?

MADDEN: Well, let me extend and revise my remarks in accordance with what the gentleman from Texas said. I think the transition part of it was what Iwas talking about, which I don't think there's a big strategy there as far as how they air a lot of the grievances or the differences they have about some of the picks publicly.

But, Paul is right that what Donald Trump seems to like is a lot of chaos around because when there's chaos in the media and there's chaos amongst his opponents -- when they're chasing off on these stories about constitutional law or whether or not the media is fair, he's firmly put in control.

And when he's allowed to dictate the cadence and the tone of a lot of the media coverage -- we're about to go into a 48-hour coverage -- 48- hour news cycle now just on this question of flag burning -- he is actually in control and when he's in control, that's right where he wants to be. So in that sense I think what they're doing on the social media side is definitely a strategy.

CUOMO: I don't know, Kev. You know, I mean, we're not going to go crazy about it here because you've got a clear constitution a president passed in 1969. Maybe that's the benefit of having a lawyer.

MADDEN: Well, check your -- check your --

HUGHES: Hold on, wait a minute. Let's --

MADDEN: Check your iPhone right now for Twitter, right?

CUOMO: Listen, no -- but look --

HUGHES: Just let me -- let me tell you what he's talking --

CUOMO: We only control what we can.

HUGHES: Well, Chris, here's the thing.

CUOMO: Scottie, go ahead and make your point.

HUGHES: Well, here's the thing and I can't believe that I'm stepping into this conversation because I've learned never usually to get involved outside the subject matter. But when it comes to the -- he's said that he thinks it should be outlawed, he doesn't like it. I think the majority of Americans doesn't like it. He's not saying that he's going to issue an executive order to make flag burning illegal. And let's remember, the Supreme Court hasn't always gotten it right, Chris. In 1858, the Supreme Court ruled that Dred Scott should still remain a slave despite him living amongst a free territory.

So, you know, he's just actually just throwing it out that he's allowed to have his opinion. He doesn't think abortion is right. He thinks states should be the ones voting on whether or not they could have abortions. He's throwing it out that he's not saying I'm going to make an executive order making it illegal, so let's not make a big to-do out of everything. He's actually just showing he thinks it's wrong for people to burn the flag.

CUOMO: And also, just for the record, Scottie, he couldn't issue an executive order making it illegal.

HUGHES: Well, exactly, so why are we having this conversation?

CUOMO: Just so you know, the president doesn't make laws. Good thing to remember.

BEGALA: But why --

HUGHES: But it's still an executive order on this one, Chris. Why are we making a big deal? He believes that is should not be right to do and there should be some sort of consequence for it. He is --

CUOMO: Right, but he's not -- he's not -- he's not suggesting an executive order and it's a good thing he isn't because he'd have to have somebody tell him you can't do that.

BEGALA: But why --

CUOMO: But to your point.

BEGALA: The First Amendment is the First Amendment and most people are offended by flag burning and it's fine for Mr. Trump to speak out against flag burning per se, but not to change our constitution. Why was he not as upset when people were doing the Hitler salute and saying "sieg heil"? They have a First Amendment right to do so, but when people who claim to support Donald Trump are making Nazi salutes --

HUGHES: No, that's --

BEGALA: -- and using Nazi phrases he was not as offended. He's got to be really careful ---

HUGHES: That's -- that's --

BEGALA: -- about picking and choosing what he likes.

HUGHES: Paul, that's a push right there --

CUOMO: I'm more offended by burning the flag.

HUGHES: -- because you're asking to put it to --

CUOMO: It's something that we love. People see the sieg heil as a hateful, disgusting thing that nobody wants to protect but you have to.

BEGALA: But they're both -- they're both disgusting but are protected by the First Amendment.

CUOMO: Understood, understood. Gentleman, lady, thank you very much for being with us, as always. I like the respectful disagreement -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: The House Democrats are pushing their Republican colleagues to address Donald Trump's conflicts of interest that you've just heard about, and now they are calling for an urgent investigation.


[07:52:22] CAMEROTA: House Democrats calling for an urgent investigation, they say, into Donald Trump's wide international business holdings and conflicts of interest. Trump says that he's not breaking the law and voters knew of all his business holdings before they voted for him.

So let's bring in Carl Bernstein, the author of "A Woman in Charge". He's a CNN political analyst and journalist, of course. And, Tim O'Brien, the author of "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald". He is the executive editor of "Bloomberg View". Gentlemen, great to have you here to try to walk us through exactly what these conflicts of interest are and why the viewers and voters should care.

So I'll start with you, Tim. You've done a great deal of reporting on Trump's finances, his taxes, his businesses. Can you sort of communicate the scope of these conflicts of interest?

TIM O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Well, they're global and domestic. The primary issue is whether or not he's going to pursue public policies that can -- that end up feathering his nest financially or from a deals perspective.

I think the media has mischaracterized a chunk of how they describe his business dealings. He's routinely referred to as having a vast real estate empire. It's not vast nor is it an empire. It's essentially a licensing operation that operates globally. It would be very simple to appoint a third party to monitor all of those licensing deals to prevent conflicts. Even so, he's got operations in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, South America that present this hot bed of conflicts that haven't been resolved.

CUOMO: So, Carl, the seminal question, though, is do people care or should they care? Donald Trump says they all knew who I was before they voted for me. Do you accept any of this?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. This is a corrupt arrangement. It's an invitation to gross egregious corruption and should there be an investigation? If this were Hillary Clinton or Richard Nixon there would be a congressional investigation of this the minute that his term started.

We've got to look at what's happening here. We elected a President of the United States. His job is to lead the country, not to be head of Trump, Inc. The conflict is it cannot be resolved. It must be that this president puts into a blind trust his holdings. It's simple as that.

CUOMO: But how do you put into blind trust a business that's based on licensing and his popularity? It's not like he has stock in a company.

[07:55:01] BERNSTEIN: No, no, the assets would probably be sold. I don't know the mechanics of the forensics of how he gets rid of what he has and -- let's look at his family. His family is deeply involved in all these properties. He is involved in countries all overthe world in which oligarchs are trying to get their share. This is an invitation to a terrible, terrible level of corruption.

On its face, you must have a separation of the President of the United States. There's also a clause in the constitution that might well apply to this and says that this cannot be. But, this is not why Donald Trump was elected and I suspect that most of the people in the country, when they have a chance to lookatthis, are going to say no, this is not what we elected this president for. This is a swamp. CAMEROTA: And, Tim, it would be -- I think that average Americans would be hard-pressed to say that they understood the level of Donald Trump's business arrangements when they went into the polling both for him. He has something like 144 individual companies in 25 countries.

CUOMO: How could they know? He never made any of it transparent.

CAMEROTA: Well, absolutely. I mean, you have to be pretty steeped in the reporting, as you are, to understand the breadth of all of this.

O'BRIEN: But I think if Donald Trump turns the White House into a Walmart, average voters will care. They may not care now but it's the role of the media and Congress and his own White House and transition team to monitor this stuff because he's occupying an office that comes with a certain amount of dignity, a designated amount of transparency that he's completely flouted. He should release his tax returns. He should ring fence his assets. And voters will care when this starts to infect the public policy process which, inevitably, it will.

CUOMO: But doesn't he have perception on his side? The taxes thing, people were OK with it, right, because he won.

BERNSTEIN: I'm not sure if people are OK with it.

CUOMO: I know in polls -- in polls, they said he --

BERNSTEIN: I think he's --

CUOMO: -- should show his taxes.

BERNSTEIN: I think he's generalization --

CUOMO: But he got elected anyway.

BERNSTEIN: Of course, he got elected. And the country is deeply divided but it doesn't mean, necessarily, that most people in the country accept this kind of thing and as we go in, I suspect they won't. But the important thing is, is it right? And it is a basic question that the Republicans, particularly, ought to take a stand on. Where are the Republicans in this?

CAMEROTA: What's the answer to that? What is said about this?

BERNSTEIN: This is a -- this was all about draining the swamp. This is the great dismal swamp. That is what he is creating and we're going to spend months and months and months having this argument, going back and forth. It's going to distract the country. But meanwhile, we have to also look at Donald Trump's history in business. It is not a very admirable one in terms of ethics.

CUOMO: And you don't think that the election removes this whole area of speculation?

BERNSTEIN: It's not -- it's not --

CUOMO: People weighed him, measured him, and found him sufficient. BERNSTEIN: Now look, first of all, it was not a referendum on whether Donald Trump should be head of Trump, Inc. for the world while he is in the White House. That's not what this election --

CUOMO: He says it was separate.

BERNSTEIN: You can't do it. It's an impossibility. Look at his children. Look at their visits to Russia, look at their visits to Georgia. Look at Jared Kushner's activities and where he has been. It is impossible not to be corrupted by this. That's the problem. Even if Donald Trump had the most sterling business record in the world, which he does not have, you cannot avoid corruption in this situation.

CAMEROTA: Carl, Tim, thank you for helping us understand it all. Great to see you.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news, including a deadly plane crash, so let's get to it.


CAMEROTA: A charter plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes on its way to Colombia.

CUOMO: Seventy-five people killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are now six survivors. This is a national tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 911 CALLER: The guy ran a car through a crowd of students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looks normal like everybody else. I never expected anything like this.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: Was it an act of terrorism?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that you can say, based upon common knowledge, this was done on purpose.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will be a number of very important announcements.

DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: We'll see where it goes from here.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They spent a year and one-half beating up Hillary Clinton. There's a lot of similarity as far as revealing classified information.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I know one thing about Mitt Romney, he's going to be loyal.

REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: What do I know about Mitt Romney? He is a self-serving, egomaniac.


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. Seventy-five people are dead after a charter plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia. Miraculously, several people on board did survive.

CUOMO: Officials confirming the plane was carrying a now-famous Brazilian football club that crashed just miles from the Medellin Airport after the pilot declared an emergency. We have CNN's Shasta Darlington. She has the very latest from Rio de Janeiro.