Return to Transcripts main page
Trump on Flag Burning; Cyber Monday Sets Record; Charleston Church Massacre Suspect to Represent Himself. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired November 29, 2016 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:32:31] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Donald Trump tweeting this morning that flag burning should have consequences. I'll read it for you. "Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag. If they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail."
What does this have to do with anything? Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston.
So, Mark, this follows on the footsteps of at least half a dozen tweets that Mr. Trump sent out last evening about CNN and how frustrated he is with CNN, that we are not believing his false claims that there was vast illegality of voting during the election. So what's going on?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, you know, I wish that we had enough time in this segment to get to the bottom line of what Donald Trump is doing, what he's thinking about. I don't think we ever will. I mean he has really been a conundrum to everyone, not only us in the media, as you know, but to fellow Republicans, Democrats, just about everybody. They don't know why he keeps on trying to side track himself.
You know, Alisyn, in many ways he's playing from a position of weakness right now. He won the election. He's going to be the leader of the free world. The prime minister of Japan altered his schedule to go to New York last week just to meet with him. He has world leaders calling him daily congratulating him on his win. For him to engage in this kind of behavior is very, very bizarre.
And as far as the flag burning stuff goes, you know, oftentimes we hear him talking about Justice Scalia, the late Justice Scalia, a very conservative firebrand on the court and how much he admires him. But it was Justice Scalia who took a very firm stand in a case on the Supreme Court and said that he agrees with flag burning, or at least the right to do so. In fact, this is a great quote from 2015 from Justice Scalia, you know, before he passed away. "If it were up to me, I would put in jail ever sandal-wearing, scruffy beard weirdo who burns the American flag, but I am not king." And in many ways, it seems like Donald Trump is trying to act like he's the king.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He's trying to be popular. He's taken hits. The transition seems messy. It doesn't seem successful the way he wants it to be. Although he has been fairly productive.
CAMEROTA: And fast.
CUOMO: Certainly compared to the Obama administration.
CUOMO: But the stuff about the voting makes him look foolish to say that there are 2 million people who voted illegally. His own people in the party have to run away from it because it's so wrong. This works as a distraction because every time you talk about flag burning, who likes people who burn a flag? There couldn't be a less popular thing.
[08:35:01] But here's the risk that you're talking about. You undermine what is protected in this country, and that may come at a cost. If we start to create our laws based on what we like versus what our Constitution says must be allowed as an exercise of freedom, that's scary, Mark. That's scary.
PRESTON: No - yes, no doubt. But, listen, he is trying to distract away from - Chris, I do agree with what he was saying about the vote fraud. But the fact is, it's a self-inflicted wound. He's the one who came out and said, you know, about the vote fraud. So he's only creating a more difficult situation for him, digging himself a bigger hole.
And to your point, the fact he said in the tweet last night that you could lose - perhaps lose your citizenship -
PRESTON: I'm going to take away your citizenship, or I'm going to give you a year in jail. He's already creating the penalties that would happen if you were, you know, if they were to pass a constitutional amendment.
CUOMO: But people like it, Mark. It makes him popular. It sounds strong. Nobody likes flag burning.
CAMEROTA: I know.
CUOMO: Who likes flag burning?
PRESTON: There is no - of course, nobody likes -
CAMEROTA: Who wants to lose their citizenship?
CUOMO: But I'm saying -
PRESTON: Right. Yes -
CUOMO: Don't burn the flag. You know what I mean? People don't like flag burning, so it's easy for him to say.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I don't know that they like what he's saying the consequences would be. CUOMO: He has a good ear for his base. I don't like it because I believe in the Constitution.
CUOMO: You know, Nino Scalia was not a fan of flag burning, but he's a fan of the Constitution.
CUOMO: This has been law since 1969.
CUOMO: It's stare decisis. It's not a legal question. You could pass a law. Hillary Clinton tried in 2004 or '06. I think she was a vote short or so to make flag burning illegal.
CUOMO: But it would still be unconstitutional.
CAMEROTA: That's interesting.
PRESTON: Right. You know, and here it is, the slippery slope. If they were to pass this, what's next?
CUOMO: It would be unconstitutional.
PRESTON: That's the slippery slope.
CUOMO: It would get run up the flag pole, the president's clear and it would be playing the popularity instead of what's right in this country, which is the law.
PRESTON: Correct. Correct. Right, but if it were to pass - but, again, just put it in the situation, if it were to pass, what would happen next? What would happen next? What would happen next? He doesn't need to be any more popular than he is right now. He just needs to focus on his cabinet. That's what he needs to do, Chris.
CAMEROTA: All right, Mark, thanks for "The Bottom Line."
CUOMO: Go down this road, it's only a matter of time before you're in jail, I'll tell you that right now.
CAMEROTA: Well, I'm not burning anything.
CUOMO: No, but if we get to legislate what we don't like -
CUOMO: Bad day for the media if that becomes illegal.
All right, so time for "CNN Money Now." Consumers are spending billions of dollars, increasingly on Cyber Monday sales. Christine - business correspondent Christine - CNN business correspondent Christine Romans told me that.
What are people buying? Is this living up to the hype?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN MONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is really, you guys. Cyber Monday 2016 living up to the hype. It set a new record for the biggest online shopping day of all time. Americans spent a record $3.4 billion online yesterday. That's up 10 percent from last year. $1.2 billion on mobile devices. That's a big jump. For the entire weekend, Americans dropped a cool $9.36 billion on the web.
So what were people buying? They were buying toys. For kids it was Lego sets, Shopkins, Nerf guns are the top sellers. For adults, those Samsung 4K TVs, Sony PlayStation 4 and Apple iPads. The best deals so far this holiday shopping season are electronics. The highest price drops are on televisions and tablets.
One note on the broader economy, guys. Just in, we just got a reading on economic growth. Now, 3.2 percent in the third quarter. That is up from the initial reading of 2.9 percent. Stronger growth always good news for the economy. It tells you that the economy humming along here right now, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Great news, Christine, thank you very much.
CUOMO: Nerf guns at the top of the list for kids. Do the Camerota kids get them?
CAMEROTA: Yes. My son just asked Santa Claus for it last night. He's very excited about a Nerf gun. Protective goggles for everyone else.
Meanwhile, with wars being fought on many fronts around the world, there's a new battle brewing in the skies. Our Jim Sciutto with a special report tonight and he joins us with a preview, next.
[08:43:29] CUOMO: Imagine a world without satellites. Where TVs, mobile networks, and the Internet do not exist.
CAMEROTA: I don't have the imagination for that.
CUOMO: Could be a possibility as the U.S. prepares for another threat, a possible space war. CNN's special report tonight takes a look at this new cold war with a familiar adversary, Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, good morning, Charlie Crew, let's get started with changeover.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the first warning shots in space was spotted here, at the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All assets are currently tasked and are ready to support. Pending any question, ma'am, that's all I've got. SCIUTTO: It was May 2014 when a small team of airmen monitoring a
Russian space launch saw something they'd never seen before.
LT. GEN. DAVID BUCK, COMMANDER, U.S. MILITARY SPACE FORCES: As part of the Russian space launch, we were tracking three objects on orbit. One was the actual satellite that they were launching in orbit. One was the rocket body, and another was what we assumed to be a piece of debris.
SCIUTTO: But soon after that debris came to life, Lieutenant General David Buck, commander of U.S. Military Space Forces, was on duty.
BUCK: The one object that we assumed was a piece of debris started to maneuver in close proximity to the booster.
SCIUTTO (on camera): It has continued to over time make maneuvers?
BUCK: We're watching it very closely.
[08:45:01] SCIUTTO (voice-over): In other words, it's not debris, but a satellite with new and dangerous capabilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Oooh. All right, let's bring in CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.
Very enticing report people can watch tonight. What do you want the take away to be?
SCIUTTO: Well, let me tell you this. So I thought of war in space as some kind of distant, futuristic possibility someday, but the fact is, the countries are already testing and deploying weapons, weaponized satellites like this that Russia launched. What it's been doing since that launch, it's been circling U.S. communications satellites, spy satellites, stalking them, in effect, and the concern from the U.S. military is that this is a satellite that, if it wants to, could either ram into those satellites, like a bullet, take them out of service, or in some other way interfere with them.
You have that. China has launched a satellite that has an arm on it that can grab satellites out of space and take them out of commission. You know, it's straight out of "Moonraker," right? I mean looking back to James Bond agents.
CUOMO: That's Bond right there.
SCIUTTO: And I thought that these were things that were kind of conceptual ideas, but the fact is, we spent loads of time with U.S. Space Command, these are already up there. And the U.S. is concerned that these countries - it's Russia certainly but it's also China - they know we're so dependent on this stuff, not just you and me, God knows we are, but our military, that if they were to take that away from us, we'd be vulnerable.
CAMEROTA: I mean it sounds, as you say, Jim, sci-fi. But, of course, the future is now. So what is the plan for this doomsday scenario?
SCIUTTO: So the U.S. is debating this right now. I mean, how they react to this. I mean, they're already trying to protect their satellites, making our satellites maneuverable so they could get out of the way of the predator, right? I mean things like that.
There are lasers, too. I mean you talk about futuristic. There are already lasers being tested that could deploy satellites. So they're trying to reinforce satellites to protect against them. But the real debate is, does the U.S. deploy its own weapons in space to be able to shoot back. And that's currently a debate right now. And, you know, is that really a place we want to go to where war in space is thinkable? You know, it might be where we're going.
CUOMO: Yes, it seems like we're there. And there's been such a nonchalance about things cyber. It will be interesting what happens here.
Jim, thank you very much, my friend.
SCIUTTO: Thanks, guys. Thank you.
CUOMO: We want to tell all of you, you should watch this CNN special report "War in Space." It's tonight at 9:00 Eastern.
CAMEROTA: OK, meanwhile, the accused Charleston church shooter will represent himself in court. This is a trial that could land him on death row. So we will discuss why the judge has made this decision, coming up.
CUOMO: All right, on a very different note. We're less than two weeks away from the tenth annual "CNN Heroes All-Start Tribute" hosted, of course, by Anderson Cooper on December 11th. So on this giving Tuesday, that's today, giving Tuesday, hashtag, here's how you can help our top ten heroes continue their important work.
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, "AC 360" : I'm Anderson Cooper. Each of this year's top ten CNN Heroes proves that one person really can make a difference. Again this year, we're making it easy for you to support their great work. Just go to cnnheroes.com and click donate beneath any 2016 top 10 CNN hero to make a direct contribution to that hero's fundraiser on Crowd Rise. You'll receive an e-mail confirming your donation, which is tax deductible in the United States.
No matter how small, it can make a big difference in helping the person who inspires you to continue their life-changing work. CNN is proud to celebrate all these everyday people changing the world and through December 31st to offer you this simple way to support their causes. You can donate from your laptop, your tablet or your phone. Just go to cnnheroes.com. Your donation in any amount will help them help others.
[08:51:19] CUOMO: All right, a big legal development to talk about. A federal judge in South Carolina is going to allow the man accused of killing nine people at a historically black church in Charleston to represent himself in his upcoming hate crimes trail. That means that the survivors and victims' loved ones could be cross examined by the suspect himself.
Let's discuss why the judge made this ruling with CNN political commentator and former South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers, and CNN's senior legal analyst, former federal prosecutor and staff writer for "The New Yorker," Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, let's start off on the straight legalities. What control over this decision for - of the defendant to want to represent himself, called being "pro se" in Latin, "for yourself," what control did the judge have?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He doesn't have a lot. I mean the judge can - one has a constitutional right to be one's own lawyer. If you are not competent, if you are legally -
TOOBIN: Insane, you can't represent yourself. If you are going to disrupt the courtroom, you can't represent himself. But the judge satisfied himself that Dylann Roof is not insane and that he would not be disruptive, so he gets to represent himself.
CAMEROTA: Bakari, you know, so often when people hear things like this, they have - they realize for the first time that the criminal justice system is about the Constitution, it's not about justice for the victims. And I know that you are friends with some of the victims. You were friends with Reverend Pinckney. This will be traumatic for them to have to see him every day obviously in court and to possibly be cross-examined by him.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's going to be very, very traumatic and very painful. You know, just listening to some of the tweets and some of the images that are coming from the courtroom right now, and speaking with my good friend Malcolm Graham, former state senator of North Carolina, who lost his sister, Myra Thompson. It's very tough for the entire community and very tough for our entire state.
You know, when people represent themselves pro se, Jeffrey knows this saying, oftentimes it's said that you have a fool for a lawyer. And Dylann is going to have a very difficult time when he has to cross examine a woman like Polly Sheppard or Felicia Sanders, two of the survivors of this, because those are two incredibly strong women. And I know that we think that Dylann Roof may have the upper hand and I know we think that Dylann Roof may have this platform, but I think that the city of Charleston, the victims and the survivors are so strong that they're going to turn the tables on him and show him what strength and courage actually look like.
CUOMO: Well certainly he has a disadvantage legally. There's no reason to believe that this kid knows what the heck he's talking about. But what happens if he, during his case, or his rebuttal case, or his cross examination, he becomes abusive of the people? Can the judge then make a ruling?
TOOBIN: Oh, absolutely. The judge has already indicated that he is going to have a close watch and a close hand on Dylann Roof to make sure he doesn't unduly disrupt or bother the witnesses. But, you know, it's worth pointing out that this is not a whodunit. Everybody knows Dylann Roof shot these people. And the horrible people who commit these mass murders are often the kind of narcissists who want the attention of being their own lawyers. Bundy, forgetting his first name.
CUOMO: Ted Bundy.
TOOBIN: Ted Bundy represented himself for a time. Moussaoui, the tenth hijacker, in Virginia tried to represent himself. This is part of the whole pathology. This is not a legal strategy. This is evidence of what a sociopath Dylann Roof is.
CAMEROTA: And then if he acts like a sociopath, and - or if he were to make some sort of - use it as a platform to make some sort of white supremacist statement, then what does the judge do?
[08:55:03] TOOBIN: The judge can just say you sent yourself anymore. I'm not going to let you. If you want to take the witness stand you can, but you can't speak in the courtroom otherwise. The judge can limit cross examination, say that's not relevant and, you know, rule it out that way. At an extreme case, he can exclude him from the courtroom.
So, I mean, the judge - this is an experienced federal judge. He knows what's going on here. He doesn't want to see these victims tortured further. So I am - and from everything I understand, Bakari will know far better than I, that this is a very strong group of victims and they are not going to be (INAUDIBLE) by this guy.
CUOMO: So, Bakari, you think, quickly, that this won't keep people off the stand?
SELLERS: No, it won't. And you'll have two - in every case you have two people who emerge in their kind of quest for justice. And in this case you'll have Jay Richardson, who is actually prosecuting the case for the federal government, and you have Richard Gergel, who is a preeminent federal judge in this case. And you have these victims, who are going to be extremely strong. So I look forward to our state shining through this.
TOOBIN: And, just by the way, this is federal court and he's eligible for the death penalty here.
CUOMO: Death penalty.
TOOBIN: The state of South Carolina has said they are also going to prosecute him.
TOOBIN: And also going to seek the death penalty.
CAMEROTA: Got it.
TOOBIN: So, you know, the legal result here is not in doubt.
CAMEROTA: Jeffrey, Bakari, thank you very much.
Thanks to all of you for tuning in.
SELLERS: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello picks up after this very short break. We'll see you tomorrow.
[09:00:12] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello.