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Pence & Advisers Refuse To Debunk False Voter Claims; Interview with Rep. Jerry Nadler; Trump's Potential Conflicts of Interest; Bloody Battle For Aleppo At A Turning Point?; Assessing Trump's Early Foreign Policy Strategy. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired December 5, 2016 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:05] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you just heard California Congressman Darrell Issa support Donald Trump's false claim that millions of people voted illegally in November. What more does -- what do the Democrats think about all of this? Joining us now to discuss is Democratic congressman Jerry Nadler. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Great to have you here, Congressman.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: So, what are we to make that so many high-level Republicans, Darrell Issa, Donald Trump, Mike Pence think that somehow millions of people illegally voted? Are we not to trust the outcome of this election?
NADLER: Well, first of all, we don't know that they think that, we know they say that. I don't know what they're honest about it.
CAMEROTA: What's the difference? I mean, the fact that our leaders are saying this, should we be worried about this?
NADLER: We should be worried about the fact that Darrell Issa and Donald Trump and others first, tell the American people an out-and-out lie, which they should know is an out-and-out lie, that millions of people voted illegal when there's no evidence, and then say the American people don't have confidence in the elections.
We know what the real game is. The real game is to use this basically non-existent impersonation voter fraud as an excuse for voter suppression, as an excuse for requiring voter IDs that low-income people or people born in urban areas or younger people don't have.
CAMEROTA: So that's what this is about? To you, this is all about a push for voter ID laws.
NADLER: Not just voter ID laws, for voter suppression of various types, yes, and primarily voter IDs.
CAMEROTA: You heard what Congressman Issa just said there. He said in my district, alone,I know of a couple. So that means that his --
NADLER: Prove it, prove it. I don't believe a word Darrell Issa ever says so let him prove it if he knows it. I mean, there was a study recently that looked at one billion votes over a period of years and found less than 30 cases of impersonation voter fraud that could be verified. I mean, people have been talking about -- and what we do know is that the voter ID laws they're putting, and other laws they're putting into place to deal with this alleged non-existent voter fraud does disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of legal voters.
[07:35:10] CAMEROTA: I talked to a panel of Donald Trump supporters who also told me that they believe that millions of illegal people voted. What are we to do? How do you get the message out to Americans that they can trust the institution of voting in this country?
NADLER: Well, that's a good question. How do you -- how do you differentiate now between out-and-out lies which are being promoted all over the Internet and now by some of our leaders? By the president-elect when he says millions of people voted? You demand, show some evidence. You can't simply say that millions of people voted -- 22 people murdered somebody else without some evidence. You have to demand it and the media has to demand the evidence.
CAMEROTA: And we have demanded it and even Republicans, secretaries of state. The secretaries of state in every state have said that they have no evidence whatsoever of what President-elect Trump is talking about, so they have come forward to say that in their states they saw nothing of the kind.
NADLER: And these are Republican secretaries of state, too.
NADLER: I mean, the fact is this is a myth but millions of people are going to believe it because they hear it repeated by right-wing radio, T.V., blogs, et cetera, and by a person who should have some scruples about the honesty of what he says, the President-elect of the United States.
CAMEROTA: You wrote a letter to the chairman of your House Judiciary Committee, along with 15 other of your fellow Democrats, asking for him to hold hearings into Donald Trump's potential conflicts of interest regarding the Trump Organization and his businesses all around the world. What are you most worried about?
NADLER: Well, we're worried about almost everything. I mean, the fact of the matter is this it the first president in 40 or 50 years who hasn't revealed his taxes. So it's a huge -- we know he's got huge business interests. We know he's got huge business interests in at least 20 different countries. We don't know what they are. We know some of what they are.
We know that he held a meeting with his business partners in India -- that is, with Indians who are his business partners in India. We know that he says he's going to turn the businesses over to his children and then one of his children sits in on a meeting with the Japanese prime minister. He's mixing it up. The constitution is very clear that you can't get emoluments, which is to say gifts or any kind of benefit from a foreign leader, but we don't know about that.
CAMEROTA: Because Mr. Trump has said that the law's on his side. He's said there is no specific law that would make him have to step away from his organization.
NADLER: Well, the fact is he said that there are no -- that conflicts of interest don't apply to him. And in our letter we cite conflict of interest laws that don't apply to the president and conflict of interest laws that do apply to the president by their terms. And what he said reminds me so much of what Richard Nixon said when he says if the president does it, that means it's legal. No, it does not.
CAMEROTA: Chairman Goodlatte, of your House Judiciary Committee, is a Republican. If he doesn't agree to hold a hearing, then what's your recourse?
NADLER: The only recourse is public opinion because in the House the majority party really does control much more so than in the Senate. Hopefully, we will be able -- well, the other recourse is Republicans. I mean, some Republicans who are honest people, and there are some, will have to say that this is just too raw. It's a huge conflict of interest, some we see and some we don't.
CAMEROTA: Have you talked to some of your Republican colleagues about whether they would get on board?
NADLER: Not yet. When the -- when the new session starts we'll be doing that.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Nadler, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.
NADLER: You're quite welcome.
CAMEROTA: It's great to see you. Let's get over to the Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, Donald Trump is putting companies on notice. If you send jobs overseas -- if you leave, prepare to pay the price. Is that legal? Is it practical? Will it happen? The answer to all those questions may be no and we'll tell you why right after this.
[07:41:05] CUOMO: The President-elect Donald Trump firing off a flurry of tweets threatening U.S. companies that if they move jobs overseas -- if they leave, it's going to come with a hefty price tag, a 35 percent tax or tariff, whatever you want to call it. Can Trump's plan to save American jobs work? Is it legal?
Let's bring in CNN international business correspondent, host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" Richard Quest. And political economist and chief strategist for Horizon Investments, Greg Valliere. Gentlemen, thank you to both. The first question --
GREG VALLIERE, POLITICAL ECONOMIST, HORIZON INVESTMENTS: Yes.
CUOMO: -- on the idea of canwould be, would this be legal? Richard Quest, you say there's a tough question there.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. The law is not supposed to target individuals or individual companies. You target behaviors, you target sectors, you target industries.
CUOMO: But wouldn't leaving be that behavior?
QUEST: No, because what you'd be aiming to -- how would you define it? How would you define when a company decides to move jobs to another jurisdiction on commercial grounds or just in the normal course of business?
CAMEROTA: Like Carrier.
CAMEROTA: If Carrier were going to send all of its jobs to Mexico, then there, that's a violation so they would have a tariff coming back at 35 percent.
QUEST: It depends. If it's a general law against any company moving any jobs overseas that could be legal. But then you've got things like the bill of attainder law as part of the constitution, which you'll be familiar with. This is a minefield. It's a legal minefield but it's also a political or philosophical one because what it involves is governments picking winners and losers. Why go for Carrier and not its competition? Its competition turns around and says you've got this, what are we getting in return?
CAMEROTA: Greg, do you agree?
VALLIERE: Yes, I do, and I think "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page agrees with Richard. And, Sara Palin, of all people, said over the weekend that this is crony capitalism. It's intrusion by government into private business decisions. This is going to be a really interesting subplot for the next four years. Issues where Trump disagrees with his own conservative Republicans.
CUOMO: All right. Well, let's leave the political huff and puff aside for a second and, Mr. Valliere, let's talk about the policy considerations -- what Richard was just pointing out. The idea of an inducement to one creates a need by competitors and the strain on the competition base of Carrier and its workers to have to make up for the inducements that Carrier just got. How real are those economic considerations?
VALLIERE: Well, they're very real and I think they could lead to litigation. If I'm a shareholder and I see a company that could've made a lot more in profits had they moved, and they don't move, I think there's grounds for a suit.
QUEST: You've also got the raw question of companies making economic decisions, as Greg rightly points out, on the basis of shareholder value, of what makes commercial sense.
CUOMO: Well, Trump did it, himself, right?
CUOMO: He makes his clothes and other products abroad because it was cheaper.
QUEST: And then you get the government that said -- well, there are, of course -- we're all men and women of the world. There are certain situations if one thinks of companies like Boeing that would be considered strategically vital to the U.S. economy where maybe things have to be done slightly differently. But you're talking about a small air conditioning company, an important one nonetheless, in Indiana, which could have received state help if the governor had chosen to do that.
CUOMO: True. Governor Mike Pence, now the vice president-elect, he could have done this --
CUOMO: -- with Carrier. He did not.
QUEST: Any anyway, let me ask you one other question. Who is President of the United States at the moment?
QUEST: The old rule -- the old rule that you only have one president at a time.
QUEST: What is Donald Trump doing interfering in the Carrier decision or, indeed, in the Taiwan decision until January the 20th?
CAMEROTA: But the Carrier decision is a state decision, right?
CAMEROTA: I mean, they're going to get state incentives so that could be the governor that did that, himself, Mike Pence.
QUEST: But he signed off on it.
VALLIERE: But every company in America now is going to have to look over their shoulders worried that Washington could interfere in their business decisions. This is a very chilling precedent that has been set.
[07:45:08] CUOMO: All right, but here's the -- but here's the thing that you have to deal with, is that millions of people in this country will hear what Valliere just said and say good, enough of the companies driving what happens to the rest of us.
CUOMO: Good for Trump --
CUOMO: -- for dropping the hammer on them.
CUOMO: I hope he passes this tax. Now, how does that work as a reality?
CAMEROTA: Can you let Richard get in because I'm scared he's going to hit some --
CUOMO: But look, we just had an election that was on the basis of people feeling forgotten as workers --
QUEST: Until --
CUOMO: -- disadvantaged, and he is doing what he said he would do. He is punishing the companies who are going to put themselves before the people.
QUEST: How would CNN feel if the government gave a subsidy to MSNBC or FOX?
CUOMO: They need it.
QUEST: Well --
CUOMO: They need it because we're eating their lunch on a daily basis.
QUEST: You take my point. You take my point. How would they feel? Every time you intervene in the marketplace the other side says what about me? Where's my side of the equation? It's a dodgy road to go down.
CUOMO: What about those families that just had their bacon saved by Donald Trump?
QUEST: No question about --
VALLIERE: It's a great, great -- a great public relations victory for Trump, no question.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Greg, Richard, sorry to get you so exercised at this hour of the morning.
QUEST: It's too much for a man of my age.
CAMEROTA: I know. Thank you, gentlemen.
VALLIERE: OK. CAMEROTA: All right. Meanwhile, the airstrikes are intensifying in Syria as government forces reclaim more of the country's largest city. We will take you to the front lines and the shocking images from inside Aleppo.
[07:50:30] CUOMO: Syrian government forces are rapidly advancing in Aleppo in deadly fashion. It is a potential turning point in a very bloody battle for control of that city. Airstrikes are intensifying. The rebel-held territory is shrinking. We have CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen. He is reporting from the incredibly dangerous front lines of Aleppo.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Driving through a destroyed wasteland that until recently was one of the main battlegrounds in Syria. Aleppo's Hanono district was in rebel hands until last week when government forces moved in with crushing firepower.
Thirteen-year-old Uday shows me where a rocket landed next to his house and describes the fear he felt.
UDAY, ALEPPO RESIDENT (PLEITGEN translating): We were very, very frightened, Uday says. Normally, we would hide in the basement but, luckily, that night we slept on the first floor because that's when two rockets hit right over here.
Uday's little brother, Abdul Kareen (ph) is clearly traumatized by the horrors he's witnessed and still weak from living under siege for weeks with almost no food and water available much of the time.
As the rebels lost their grip on this place many residents fled, trying to escape with their lives and not much more. Now, they're coming back. Some haven't seen their houses for years. Khaled Chobello left in 2012 when the rebels took this district. Now he's trying to salvage any belonging and what's left of his apartment.
KHALED CHOBELLO, ALEPPO RESIDENT (PLEITGEN translating): I am very sad because everything is either destroyed or ransacked, he says. We found these pictures under the rubble. The walls are destroyed but we will come back here and rebuild.
PLEITGEN: The battle for Aleppo is far from over but Syrian government forces clearly have the upper hand, taking about half the rebel's territory in the past week alone and continuing to push their offensive with massive firepower.
Like in so many districts that have been taken back by the Syrian military there is massive destruction in this part of Eastern Aleppo, but there's no denying the shift in momentum in favor of the Syrian military and also the boost in morale that many of their soldiers have gotten. Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad tell us they believe they could capture all of Aleppo, Syria's most important battleground, very soon.
SYRIAN ARMY SOLDIER: (via translator): The rebel headquarters was right here, he says, so the loss of this district was a big blow to them. You can see how our shelling is pounding them and that shows that their morale is collapsing.
PLEITGEN: Rebels left behind a makeshift cannon when they fled here last week. So far, the opposition hasn't found a way to shore up their defenses in the face of this massive and possibly decisive Syrian government offensive.
CUOMO: Fred, thank you for taking the risk and bringing us that coverage. You took the time to show the face of the future there. Uday, Abdul Kareen, thousands and thousands of kids like them. Is there any sense on the ground that when this is over, when the fighting stops, that there's any life there for them?
PLEITGEN: Well, you know, I think that's going to be very difficult and we were speaking to these children and it really is quite sad to see the state that they're in right now. You know, they have absolutely nothing. All of their belongings have been destroyed and they've also been really traumatized, you know. A lot of them, they really are scared. They're jumpy every time they hear mortars go off, which still happens a lot. They really -- you can feel just how traumatized they are.
And if you're asking about the future, that's certainly something that many people here in Aleppo are very pessimistic about. But many of them don't believe that there's going to be any sort of political solution here to this conflict. Many of them believe that there is going to be fighting all the way until the end.
And certainly, if you speak to the Syrian soldiers they say they believe that they could take the rest of Aleppo away from the rebels within the next couple of months, possibly by as early asChristmas. But, of course, that means more fighting, more dying and, of course, especially more children suffering in the middle, as UNICEF says, Chris, that about 100,000 children might still be trapped in besieged areas of Aleppo, Chris.
CAMEROTA: My gosh, it's just so heartbreaking. Fred, thank you very much for sharing all of that reporting with us.
[07:55:04] Well, the situation in Syria is one of many international crises facing President-elect Trump and Trump is sending shockwaves through the international community with some of his calls with foreign leaders, bucking decades of U.S. diplomacy. So, is he signaling a shift in U.S. foreign policy?Joining us now is the host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS", Fareed Zakaria. Fareed, great to see you.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": A pleasure. CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the call with the leader of Taiwan. So, it's hard to know -- at first, President-elect Trump made it sound as though this was just a courtesy call and, of course, he takes the courtesy call. And then we find out through reporting that, in fact, it was planned for weeks. So what does this signal?
ZAKARIA: Well, I think it could signal that Trump is searching for leverage with China, which is not a bad thing. I think the key here is that it should be part of a thought-through strategy where they have figured out here are the things we want from China, here are the points of leverage we're going to use. In that context, making some overtures to Taiwan is not a bad idea.
It's just with the way in which it was done and the fact that, for example, no allies of ours seem to have been informed of it, whether it's the Japanese or the South Koreans. The kind of Twitter-based diplomacy, if you will. That's the part that I think is not just throwing some of us in the United States off but many people around the world.
You know, people look to American foreign policy as a kind of bedrock of international order, so they want to see it strategic, carefully planned. But the substance of it -- I think people are getting overly critical. The truth of the matter is we need leverage with China. China is a country that cooperates with the United States on many issues, but on many issues we need to be able to push them harder.
CUOMO: And this was part of Trump's sell. I mean, you have you a great -- Fareed has a great piece in "Foreign Affairs" magazine which is worth reading and taking the time to get it because a lot of this is very complex. But some of the ideas that you boil down is that this populism that we're seeing across Europe and that we saw here in the United States is more about culture now than the traditional economic models that it used to be based on. And that Trump, even with what he's doing with China, is letting people know here you are not forgotten, you matter.
CUOMO: You know, that we're going to your country back for you. How does that work?
ZAKARIA: Well, you know, you're exactly right. The biggest shift that's taken place in voting, and you see it with Trump, is this move from economics to culture. So through most of the 20th century if you wanted to predict how somebody was voting you'd say how rich are you? And working class people voted left, professionals and upper middle class voted right.
What's happened now is the single best predictor of how somebody is going to vote in an American election is probably their views on gay marriage. It's their views on abortion. It's their views on all these cultural issues because they have supplanted economics as the key dividing point. And part of the cultural idea is this idea that Trump represents, which is I'm going to take care of America -- "America First". I'm going to -- I'm an American nationalist, not a globalist. That it's more a cultural stance. It's sort of --
CAMEROTA: Is that right, Fareed, because isn't the key divide in the United States geography? That you could product how somebody's going to vote based on where they live. And that when you ask the Trump supporters how they felt about transgender bathrooms and gay marriage they said please, that's something that the elites -- the media elites focus on. I focus on whether the refinery and the factory in my town has closed down.
ZAKARIA: No, but as I'm sure you know, there's a lot of good research. Trump supporters, by and large, are not that poor. You know, this is -- they're doing reasonably well. Mostly, actually, they don't live with immigrants. It's the fear of immigrants.
So when you look at even those rural white voters what they're expressing is this feeling that the city elites -- and you're right, the big divide with city versus rural -- but it's become a cultural issue. There's a lot of very good pieces from people living in rural America saying we hate the idea that the whole of America is dominated, obsessed, and fascinated by cities. How do you think that makes people like us feel?
ZAKARIA: All the movies are set in the cities, all the culture comes out of the cities.
CAMEROTA: Right. They feel forgotten.
ZAKARIA: Right. And so it's -- what I mean is it used to be very simple. If you were a working class guy in a factory you understood that the Democratic Party was your party. If you're a professional living in a city -- now, it's all mixed up. It's the professionals who are voting Democrat. It's the working class whites who are voting Republican.
CUOMO: For people who are tracking this internationally, what is the difference between what happened in Italy and Austria?
ZAKARIA: In Austria, you had a ceremonial election. The presidency is a ceremonial position and the right-wing -- you know, the right- wing populous lost. In Italy, the opposite happened. So why did that happen? The Italian one is part of the wave -- the populous wave that's going around. The anti-establishment is very much part of the Trump win, it's part of Brexit.
In the Austrian case, the guy -- the right-wing populous running -- this is a party founded by essentially former Nazis so it may have been one step too far. He lost but he lost narrowly.