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Trump Tweets about 'SNL' During a Parody about His Tweets; Death Toll Rises to 33 in Oakland Warehouse Fire. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 5, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:03] CARTER: I think he needs a skin. He doesn't seem to even have a skin, it's so thin. It's going to be -- he thinks this is bad now. When he's in office, it's going to be all over the place. Every comedian everywhere. "Saturday Night Live" has done this to everybody. That's what they're in the business of doing. This guy has hosted the show. He knows what it's about. It's fascinating to see they stopped to say, by the way, he really did this.

CUOMO: It wasn't even parody.

CARTER: It wasn't even satire.

STELTER: The 16-year-old tweet's was complaining about CNN. And now this latest tweet complaining about "SNL." It's showing the relevance of big, old-fashioned institutions.

CUOMO: Old-fashioned? "SNL," "The New York Times," CNN. Who drove the election more than we do? He's going after the power if the power doesn't suit him.

CARTER: And the institution of "SNL" is almost as big as the institution of the presidency. You're not going to just throw it out.

CAMEROTA: Guys, thank you.

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


BOB MULE, WAREHOUSE FIRE SURVIVOR: I just ran outside and watched this warehouse burn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just a tragedy. There's no easy answers right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have burns on my hands and my shoulder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Within 12 hours, we made it through one-fifth of the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We anticipate that the number of victims will rise.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The conversations with the president of Taiwan was a courtesy call. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a phone call that breached nearly 40 years

of protocol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chinese will certainly see this as an infringement on what they see as their sovereignty.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: They've taken our money and our jobs, our manufacturing. They've taken everything.

PENCE: We're going to stop losing to China.

TRUMP: Companies are not going to leave the United States any more without consequences.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

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

Up first, at least 33 people are dead. Dozens are still missing in this massive warehouse party fire in Oakland, California. That already high number is expected to increase. Investigators still have to go through 70 percent of the building, searching for victims.

CUOMO: This is still early on in the investigation. There are criminal investigators there, looking for the cause. But the big concern right now is recovering those who were lost. There's so many families and friends waiting on word of the missing. Dozens and dozens of people are not accounted for.

This is the deadliest building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade. We've got CNN's Stephanie Elam live in Oakland with the latest -- Stephanie.


I just spoke to the battalion -- the Oakland battalion fire chief who tells me that they actually had to cease operations around 10 p.m. local time last night, because they're afraid the building might collapse. They were working with contactors to shore up the building so that they can regain access and find out for those loved ones if their people that they cared about lost their lives in this fire.


ELAM (voice-over): Officials launching a criminal investigation team and an arson task force to inspect the deadly fire that engulfed this Oakland warehouse hosting a party over the weekend.

AMEKA HIATT, FRIENDS MISSING AFTER FIRE: It just doesn't seem that that's a fire that's survivable. So the reality, I think, for all of us is beginning to set in.

ELAM: Of the confirmed dead, a teenager and an Oakland deputy son.

SGT. RAY KELLY, ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF: This tragedy has hit very close to home.

ELAM: But with less than half of the two-story warehouse searched, authorities fear the worse.

KELLY: We anticipate that the number of victims will rise.

ELAM: Officials say firefighters with shovels are methodically removing debris bucket by bucket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our first priority is the humane and compassionate removal of the victims of this tragedy.

ELAM: The warehouse, known as "The Ghost Ship," was an illegal residence, home to some artists, now currently under investigation for city code violations, for hazardous trash and debris, and an illegal interior building structure.

Friday night's electronic dance party, one of many held in the space, operating without a permit when the building quickly erupted in flames.

MULE: He said, "I broke my ankle. I need you to pull me out."

ELAM: One survivor, an artist who used the space, describes the horrifying moment he had to leave his friend behind.

MULE: I wasn't able to pull him out, and the fire was just getting too hot and the smoke was just getting too bad; and I had to -- I had to leave him there.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now to discuss this tragedy is a survivor, Jose Avalos, and James McMullen, the former chief California state fire marshal. Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here with us.

Jose, you were inside, I know, when the fire broke out. Can you tell us what happened?

JOSE AVALOS, SURVIVOR OF WAREHOUSE FIRE: It was around 11:20, 11:30 or something. I just heard somebody yell out, "Fire! Get me a fire extinguisher" or "Come with a fire extinguisher," and I was in my loft. I went to jump down to try to help, and before I could even get down there, I heard another yell, "Fire. Everybody get out." So I just grabbed my dogs and kind of broke through the front of my space.

[07:05:20] By the time I was through the front doors, I could just see the flames coming and then just engulfed the front archway of my studio. I went through the doors and kind of fell into people and told them, "We need to keep moving forward," pushed forward through the door. I looked back, and I just saw smoke everywhere. I couldn't really see anything. Got out the building, and I just saw smoke and then flames coming out the doors and the windows.

CAMEROTA: Jose, you were living in this warehouse. Do you know how many other people were living in there? AVALOS: Approximately like 25, something like that.

CAMEROTA: And were you ever worried about the conditions in there?

AVALOS: No, it was a live/work space is how I viewed it. So I used it to work, and I just would sleep there.


AVALOS: Because that's where I had to sleep. But--

CAMEROTA: Yes. Let me bring in -- let me bring in Mr. McMullen for a second, because we've learned that three weeks ago the city of Oakland started investigating this building. Do you know why they would already would have been -- what was wrong that they thought was suspicious?


CAMEROTA: Hold on one second, Jose, let me go to Mr. McMullen.

MCMULLEN: Yes. It's my understanding that what the investigation was consisting of was illegal occupancy and trash and debris. And trash and debris spewn [SIC] around in the way of forming a fire hazard is a violation of the California fire code. And I understand that they were cited for that.

Additionally, it's my understanding that the occupancy was illegal. There were no permits from the city. The city issues permits to occupancies, and occupancies means use of a building. And the use of that building was permitted as a warehouse, it's my understanding.


MCMULLEN: A warehouse is a different occupancy than artists, especially folks living there. That becomes a residential occupancy, then.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, and -- and the owner of this building needs to explain what was happening there and what he thought.

But, Jose, how do you think the fire started?

AVALOS: I have no idea. I know it started in an area where people were not allowed to go. There wasn't that many people back there, aside from people that had studio spaces there.


AVALOS: It is possible that, you know, people could have gone back there, but I don't really know what could have started the fire. It could have been a number of things.

CAMEROTA: And, Jose, are all of your friends that you lived around and that you knew there, do you know where they are today? AVALOS: I've spoken with them.

CAMEROTA: Meaning, you've -- is anyone still missing that you know?

AVALOS: There's one person missing, but I don't really want to say any names or anything. I don't want to be disrespectful to his family.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I understand.

We've heard, Mr. McMullen, just how painstaking this search is for firefighters, a scene like this. Can you explain to us where they even start trying to find the missing?

MCMULLEN: Well, the firefighters are doing a methodical search. And it's painstakingly slow. You have to move very slowly in a fire such as this. And they begin in the areas which is burned the least. And that's where the fire has finished its destruction.

And at that area they move to the area where it's burned the most, slowly and methodically, to determine the area of origin. That is the general area of where the fire started.


[07:10:03] MCMULLEN: And then subsequently, the point of origin, exactly where the fire started. And all of that has to be done prior to determining the cause of the fire. Because if you don't know where it started, the things you find that may have caused the fire are not necessarily indicative of the fire origin, but maybe subsequent to the fire initiated those devices to create a false fire start.

CAMEROTA: Right. They have their work cut out for them, obviously.

Jose, thank you for taking time to talk to us. We wish you the best in the recovery there. Mr. McMullen, thanks for explaining all of this to us. Obviously, we will be covering this throughout the program -- Chris.

CUOMO: Another big story this morning comes from the world of politics. President-elect Donald Trump making news this morning, naming Dr. Ben Carson as his pick for Housing and Urban Development.

Meantime, Trump blasting China over the weekend in a series of new tweets. Are we seeing the art of the deal acted out on the international level?

Right now we have this story covered for you. CNN's Jessica Schneider live outside Trump Tower in New York with more. Always tough to cover, why Trump does what he does when he says the element of surprise keeps him quiet.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris. A flurry of tweets coming from Donald Trump this weekend, but Chinese officials not commenting directly on those tweets. A foreign ministry spokesmen saying they will not speculate on Trump's actions but then going on to reiterate at the economic and trade relationship between U.S. and China has always been mutually beneficial but, of course, there is continued uncertainty as to exactly what Donald Trump's approach will be to China.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The president-elect lashing out at China, only two days after his unprecedented phone call with the leader of Taiwan, Donald Trump accusing China of keeping its currency artificially low. Monetary experts say it's fairly valued. And decrying their military presence in the South China Sea. Trump stepping up some of the tough talk from the campaign trail.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: They've taken our money and our jobs, our manufacturing. But they've taken everything.

China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit.

SCHNEIDER: But the timing of his tweets indicate those campaign promises could potentially become policy. Over the weekend, China lodging a formal complaint about Trump's call with Taiwan's president.

PENCE: That was nothing more than taking a courtesy call, a congratulations.

SCHNEIDER: But the "Washington Post" reports that the call had been planned for weeks. Experts warn the call carried major diplomatic risks, citing the U.S.'s one-China policy, which considers Taiwan to be a part of China. This is the first known communication between the U.S. and Taiwan since 1979.

Trump also taking to Twitter this weekend to threaten any business that leaves our country, warning of a whopping 35 percent tax on products shipped back into the country, as quote, "retribution."

Trump tweeting he would keep jobs in the country by lowering taxes for companies and slashing regulations.

All this playing out as the president-elect is widening his list of contenders to be secretary of state, a process starting to look more like a reality show.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: We have additional interviews with other candidates for secretary of state and other cabinet positions.

SCHNEIDER: Former Republican governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, President Barack Obama's first ambassador to China, now in the running; and disgraced former general David Petraeus making a public case for the top post.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Five years ago I made a serious mistake. I acknowledged it; I apologized for it.

SCHNEIDER: Arguing that his guilty plea for revealing classified information to his former mistress should not disqualify him from serving as secretary of state.

PETRAEUS: I paid a very heavy price for it, and I've learned from it.


SCHNEIDER: Top adviser Kellyanne Conway saying interviews will continue this week for that secretary of state position. So the intrigue out here continues out here with no real end in sight.

But Conway also saying the top post demands loyalty to the president. Could that be potentially another jab at top contender Mitt Romney? We shall wait and see as we have been -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Sure sounds like it could be a jab towards him, Jessica. Thank you very much for the reporting.

So breaking news this morning, Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is set to visit Pearl Harbor. He is the first Japanese leader to visit the U.S. naval base in Hawaii, which was attacked by Japan in 1941, propelling the U.S. Into World War II, of course. Prime Minister Abe will be accompanying President Obama to Pearl Harbor at the end of this month. You may remember President Obama and Prime Minister Abe travelled to Hiroshima together earlier this year.

CUOMO: Europe's political establishment rattled by developments in Italy and then somewhat reassured by a presidential vote in Austria. In Italy, the prime minister there, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is going to resign.

After a resounding retreat in a referendum Sunday, the center left's leader is now planning to change Italy's constitution, rejected by nearly 60 percent of the voters.

[07:15:13] Now, in Austria, the elected -- they elected a left-leaning pro-European president, Alexander Van der Bellen. Now, he defeated the far-right candidate, Norbert Hofer, who ran on an anti- immigration, Austria-first platform.

CAMEROTA: Hmm. So a mixed message there.

CUOMO: There is. Austria is a much more complicated situation than Italy, though. They have a lot more history with what's going on with the new populism.

CAMEROTA: We do have a heartbreaking update for you now in those deadly wildfires in Tennessee. The bodies of that missing mother and her two daughters have been identified by authorities.

Constance Reid and her kids were at home when the fire swept through the city of Gatlinburg. You'll remember that her husband had been pleading for help in a search for them last week. The death toll now stands at 14.

That is so terrible. We saw him just struggling with the unknowing of where they were, and it's terrible to get that heartbreaking update today. CUOMO: Yes, there are too many in his situation. But the best to him

and those who are trying to help him keep it together right now.

So we're just reporting on happenings in Austria and Italy. You don't have to look at the rest of the world that the effect of the new wave of populism is going on right here. The president-elect calls it his America first policy as part of this new movement to shore up his populist roots. We're going to talk to a Trump supporter in Congress about the implications on people's lives, next.


[07:20:38] CUOMO: Donald Trump tweeted, "The United States is open for business." He's still four to six days from his inauguration, and Trump is continuing to take early steps to enact his "America first" policy. So are his proposals for our economy and foreign relations smart and realistic?

We have a Trump supporter, Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California. He is on the judiciary and foreign affairs committees.

Congressman, good to see you.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Good to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: So, do you have any reason to believe that what we just saw with Taiwan, and now these tweets about China, are part of a thought- out plan to somehow triangulate that situation? Do you have any insight for us?

ISSA: I think -- I do. This is not just a plan but an execution. Remember that President Obama had a pivot to Asia, but that didn't do anything. China continued to build those islands -- clearly plans to militarize them. Has a space military program. So when you look at one of your most important pre-presidential meetings to be with the leader of Japan, who is deeply concerned about China's expansion, and taking a courtesy call from the leader of Taiwan.

Again, some would say provocative, but let's understand what he's doing is part of a pivot to rebalancing China to stop its expansion in a way that our next secretary of state is going to have to do every single day.

CUOMO: All right, so two questions. First, you said taking a courtesy call from the president of Taiwan. The reporting of "The Washington Post" is it wasn't a courtesy call. That this was something that had been thought out days or maybe weeks in advance. Are you saying that's not true, that it was spontaneous, or was this something that was planned, if you know?

ISSA: Donald Trump has taken calls from most of the leaders and a few visits. He's limited his visits. They have a different impact and effect. But very clearly, there's about 185 heads of state and a lot of other people high up in foreign governments who want to have a word to congratulate Donald Trump, to build a relationship if they didn't already have one. You know, the substantive meetings he's had with -- before the election with Bibi Netanyahu and el-Sisi of Egypt--

CUOMO: Of Egypt.

ISSA: These are all part of building important relations with important allies or--

CUOMO: Right.

ISSA: -- in some cases with countries that we may have to go head-to- head on the world stage with.

CUOMO: But Taiwan is different, right? I mean, especially as it is vis-a-vis China and the one-China policy that the United States has embraced for decades.

ISSA: Well, Chris--

CUOMO: That's why I'm asking you if it was, in fact, as "The Washington Post" says, something that was planned or was it a courtesy call? That's what I'm asking you--

ISSA: Well, I think it was--

CUOMO: -- if you know?

ISSA: I think it was both, but let's--

CUOMO: Can it be both?

ISSA: A courtesy -- Chris--

CUOMO: A courtesy call means that it came out of nowhere. The administration didn't know it was coming.

ISSA: Oh, no, no, no. Chris, as you know, courtesy calls are scheduled at the presidential level. They don't just -- people don't just call Donald Trump on the phone. The fact, though, is that both the Bush and Clinton -- the W. Bush and Clinton administrations began with faux pas in the China Strait. They began with mistakes, in one case forcing the fleet to move -- to be repositioned.

There have been mistakes early on by presidents, but this wasn't a mistake. This was part of saying, I think candidly and appropriately, to China, that this is American leader. This is an American president, and he's going to be a world leader in a different way than his predecessor. He's not a world president and world leader. He is an American president and world leader.

CUOMO: OK. A couple of other beats this morning for you. This seems to be getting a little out of control on the political level. I want to see if you're willing to just own a mistake and kind of move forward in this one aspect of this political debate here that -- you had Mike Pence on with George Stephanopoulos, and he seemed to get caught in the old -- the old kind of tug of war between your right to an opinion but not your own facts. Let's me just play it for you.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST, ABC "THIS WEEK": Is it his right to make false statements?

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, it's his right to express his opinion as a President-elect of the United States. I think one of the things that's refreshing about our president-elect, and it's one of the reasons why I think he made such an incredible connection with people all across this country is because he tells you what's on his mind.


CUOMO: And that's fine, but we both know that millions of people did not vote illegally in this country. We're not parsing. I'm not saying it was close, but he shouldn't say millions. It's nowhere close. It's a gross exaggeration. It's a falsehood. That's not an opinion, Congressman. Was it right for Donald Trump to say millions of people voted illegally?

[07:25:21] ISSA: In every congressional district in America, especially those that don't have any kind of I.D., people do vote illegally.

CUOMO: Millions of people, Congressman.

ISSA: Chris -- Chris, you know, one of the problems the press had with President-elect Trump was they didn't take him seriously, but they wanted to go into minutia about what he said.

CUOMO: Millions is not minutia. I get you. I get what you're saying, I understand. Salena Zito works on our staff. I get that we took him literally, not seriously, and people took him seriously, not literally. I get it. It's not about beating up the press. I'm saying millions is not a handful, is not dozens; it's millions.

ISSA: Chris--

CUOMO: It sends a message to the American people that we had a huge--

ISSA: Chris--

CUOMO: -- problem, and it's false.

ISSA: Chris, we do have huge problems in getting elections accurate and quickly and getting them believed by the American people.

CUOMO: So you believe that millions of people voted illegally? You believe that?

ISSA: I'm going to -- I'm going to impose (ph) you to your facts. You said, "Dozens or handfuls." We all know out of 320 million Americans, it wasn't dozens or handfuls. It was--

CUOMO: No, we don't know that.

ISSA: We do.

CUOMO: We know that there have been many studies done, Congressman, and that's an exaggeration what I just said. They came up with smaller numbers than that. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt in this analysis.

ISSA: Chris, Chris--

CUOMO: The studies that have been done for months and years by--

ISSA: Chris, Chris--

CUOMO: -- respected outfits come nowhere close.

ISSA: I love you--

CUOMO: Dozens.

ISSA: I love you but you're, in fact, talking about dozens and saying out of 320 million Americans--


ISSA: -- it is a lot more than dozens. In my--

CUOMO: How do you know?

ISSA: In my own state -- in my own state -- in my own election I had a pair of ballots where, obviously, a spouse voted their dead husband.

The fact is illegal voting goes on. The question really is are we going to restore confidence? You had a third-party candidate with no chance -- no chance at all of being significant, demand recounts, and if she'd gotten enough money I guess she would have done it. We need to--

CUOMO: But look at the position you put yourself in. You've got Jill Stein asking for a recount, and I get your political opposition to that.

ISSA: No, no, it's not political opposition, Chris.

CUOMO: I get it.

ISSA: Chris, I love you but, you know, you have to remember it's about bringing confidence back to the voting process.

CUOMO: But then why would you say millions of people voted illegally?

ISSA: I will tell you why, Chris.

CUOMO: That doesn't bring confidence back, does it?

ISSA: Chris, if you'll let me answer-- CUOMO: Please, go ahead, Congressman.

ISSA: The fact is that we need to get a system that the American people believe in. In California, do you believe voters really believe, when they show up at the voting booth and get told to put their I.D. away, they're not allowed to look at it; when they realize that you can have same-day balloting with no proof; that you can have 50 people living at a single residence. I'm not saying whether there's millions or your underestimation of a handful. The fact is--

CUOMO: I'm just going by what the study said.

ISSA: -- you need to bring an absolute form of confidence, and states have been trying to do that, and this president has been fighting. President Obama has been fighting against the kinds of things that would build confidence back into our voting system.

And oh, by the way, we need to bring our voting system to be faster. I didn't have a recount, but it took 21 days to call an election, and they then counted afterwards. We need to modernize the system. We need to make it accurate and believed by the American people. And that's all Donald Trump is getting America thinking about. And I think that's a good thing.

And again, you show me a study after this that says handfuls--

CUOMO: I will.

ISSA: Handfuls--

CUOMO: I'll send you several.

ISSA: Handfuls is a number that you can count on a few hands. Handful is not hundreds of thousands.

CUOMO: I'll send you several studies on this, because I will return the love that you have for me by giving you the information because--

ISSA: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: -- if we want accuracy in the system, we should start with how we describe that system, as well. But, Congressman Issa, always a pleasure to have you on the show to make the case.

ISSA: My pleasure.

CUOMO: Thank you, sir -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Democrats are pushing for hearing into Donald Trump's potential conflicts of hearings. Will hearings happen? We talk to a member of the House Judiciary Committee about it.