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Trump Hits Road Again for Victory Tour; Biden Leaves Door Open to 2020 Run; Judge Declares Mistrial in Michael Slager Trial. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired December 6, 2016 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT: We're excited to have Dr. Carson, Housing and Urban Development.
[05:58:33] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's had no experience whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His background is in health care.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The meeting was a good one. We covered a lot of ground.
PENCE: We're looking forward to another very productive week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are very real-world consequences for fake stories.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Did you hear President Obama say that illegal people could vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
CAMEROTA: Where? Tell me, where?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Google it. You can find it on Facebook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was total fear that Mr. Scott didn't stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were unable to come to unanimous decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until my family can see justice, no, there's no forgiveness.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: And I will be showing part three of my voter panel visit with those folks.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I cannot wait. It is tough for the third version of a movie to live up to the original. But I have faith.
CAMEROTA: They actually take on CNN. Stick around for that. CUOMO: I love that.
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, December 6, 6 a.m. in the East. Up first, President-elect Donald Trump hitting the road again, Mr. Trump's thank-you tour heads to three states this week, first to North Carolina tonight. This as we await the final cabinet picks.
CUOMO: And really, "Rocky III" was a good movie. I shouldn't say all third versions.
CAMEROTA: Fair enough.
CUOMO: Critics are blasting Trump's choice for Housing secretary, saying that Dr. Ben Carson, while he may have lived in public housing once, does not have any of the expertise necessary to do this massive job.
And Trump's national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, and his son are still under fire for peddling conspiracy theories.
We're just 45 days away from inauguration day. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Jessica Schneider, live outside Trump Tower in New York. The White House annex. Good morning.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
Donald Trump down to business today before playing to the crowd tonight in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It will be the second stop on his so-called thank-you tour.
But first, some of the notable names that will be here at Trump Tower today. They include Exxon CEO Rick Tillerson, his name being now added into the mix for potential secretary of state.
Also, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who's just back from China, where he met with President Xi. All of that before Donald Trump hits the road.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Donald Trump continuing his victory lap by visiting three more states this week.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: That's what the president- elect loves most is oxygen, getting oxygen directly from the people.
SCHNEIDER: The president-elect heading to North Carolina today, and on Thursday, he'll travel to Iowa, Michigan on Friday. Trump's team says he'll formally announce another cabinet appointment tonight.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: "Mad Dog" Mattis.
SCHNEIDER: Touting the credentials of his defense secretary pick, retired Marine General James Mattis. Trump also tapping Dr. Ben Carson to be housing secretary.
PENCE: We're excited to have Dr. Carson as our intended nominee.
SCHNEIDER: Trump describes Carson as brilliant, declaring he's, quote, "passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities." Some are calling Carson's qualifications into question.
Last month a key confidant of Carson's said running an agency isn't his strength. Democrats now arguing he's woefully unqualified.
Meanwhile, Trump national security aide General Michael Flynn coming under fire. Flynn's son continuing to push a baseless conspiracy theory that led a man to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizza shop. The White House weighing in.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We all hold a responsibility, regardless of whether or not we are planning to serve in a government position or if one of our family members is planning to serve in a government position, that we shouldn't be propagating false things that could inspire violence.
SCHNEIDER: The White House also responding to Trump's controversial phone call with Taiwan's president, stressing the U.S.'s commitment to the one-China policy.
EARNEST: Some of the progress that we have made in our relationship with China could be undermined by this issue flaring up.
SCHNEIDER: And many are still buzzing about Al Gore's appearance here at Trump Tower yesterday. First a meeting with Ivanka Trump, then a sit-down, a lengthy one at that, with the president-elect. The topic, climate change, something that Donald Trump has previously called a hoax.
Of course, all of this happening while questions continue to linger as to what exactly Ivanka Trump's role will be in a White House or a Trump administration or what her husband's role would be, Jared Kushner, as well -- Alisyn and Chris.
CAMEROTA: Jessica, thank you very much.
Let's discuss all of this with our panel. We have CNN political analyst David Gregory; "Washington Post" reporter Abby Phillip; and congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" and host of "Examining Politics" podcast, David Drucker. Great to have all of you.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: What are we expecting tonight from the next installment in North Carolina of the thank-you tour?
GREGORY: "Hooray for me," you know, I think is probably what Donald Trump is going to say again. And you know, I mean, it's extraordinary but not totally unusual. I think we've talked about, you know, any politician, any president loves to get out of Washington. I think he's got particular skills to be able to do it. I think he's going to be doing a lot of it.
Abby's going to be covering the White House. I don't think he's going to be at the White House a lot. Because I don't think that's going to be really his favorite venue.
ABBY PHILLIP, REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": This is the best part. This is the part of the whole thing that he loves the most. So we're going see him just -- I mean, the other day one of his advisers basically described his rallies as just like -- it's like Russian roulette. You just never know what you're going to get. And that's part of the charm. That's -- he loves keeping it that way, unpredictable. I have no idea what's going to happen tonight. And I don't think anybody at this table does, either.
CUOMO: Well, we have a couple -- we have a couple of -- we have a couple of good suggestions, though, right? I mean, he has -- he's got North Carolina tonight. He's going to Iowa; he's going to Michigan. He has something to offer everywhere. He hasn't done the official announcement of Mattis yet. That's going to go very well in the areas that he's going. And now he has Ben Carson, especially by the time he rolls around to Michigan. How do you think these announcements play?
DAVID DRUCKER, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, look, so far, I think his cabinet announcements are going over very well, especially given the low expectations. Right? Everybody thought Trump doesn't know what he's doing, or at least that's what they said. Maybe he's going to pick more people like Steve Bannon and fewer people like Reince Priebus.
You pick James Mattis and that is a great pick. It reassures Republicans. Ben Carson is getting some criticism because of maybe he doesn't have the most experience for the topic of Housing and Urban Development. But the truth is, a lot of these cabinet agencies don't have the power they used to have. Most power is centralized in the White House.
CAMEROTA: So you like the Ben Carson pick.
DRUCKER: I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I don't think that there's any special skill when it comes to running a cabinet agency. Look, George W. Bush in 2000 picked a whole host of governors to run cabinet agencies. They weren't bad picks. Does anybody remember them? Does anybody care?
GREGORY: Well, in fact, I mean, Tommy Thompson is a good example. He ran Health and Human Services in the Bush administration. Had tremendous qualifications and real know-how to do that as a very successful governor who dealt with welfare reform. And he wasn't listened to. To your point, I think this was going to be a very strong, centralized White House.
He's picking a lot of alpha males, people who reflect his way of thinking. That's why the secretary of state pick is so interesting. I'm not sure he's decided on what signal he wants to send to the world, what kind of advice he wants internally. But I don't think there's any question. You look at Jared Kushner and maybe Ivanka Trump working as advisers, this is going to be a strong White House. He's going to have a strong core group around him. Proxy agencies don't matter.
DRUCKER: And let's remember, the president sets the agenda. It doesn't matter who he picks for cabinet secretaries. It matters in that they're competent and instill confidence. But Mattis isn't going to make decisions, Trump is. The new secretary of state, whoever it is, whether it's John Bolton or whether it's a Mitt Romney, doesn't matter.
CUOMO: How come you're not putting Rudy in the discussion? Who on this list is better qualified than Rudy Giuliani?
DRUCKER: Well, I think I would argue that Mitt Romney is probably better qualified than...
CUOMO: Based on what experience?
DRUCKER: Well, look, I think that, when you've run for president twice, when you've examined all the issues that you have to deal with around the world, and when you have the kind of negotiating skills that Romney has from building a company, working through the Olympics, I just -- I think that his temperament...
CUOMO: Giuliani travels around the world.
PHILLIP: Giuliani -- the issue with Giuliani is confirmation. Can he get through a confirmation hearing? That's...
CUOMO: Why would he not?
DRUCKER: I think the issue is temperament. Look, I think Rudy Giuliani 10 or 15 years ago, a much better pick for secretary of state. But I think that he would work better with Donald Trump. And so from that perspective of being more in sync with the principle. I think that would make him a good pick.
CUOMO: What Republicans turn on Rudy Giuliani? You'd have to turn Republicans for him to not get confirmed. They have the votes.
PHILLIP: There are skeletons in his closet as far as his business dealings are concerned. That's very real. He was doing business in parts of the world where, as secretary of state, we have official national policies that are -- that are in contradiction to that.
CUOMO: He's never been cited for lobbying the government. He's never been paid, you know, for getting something done through the U.S. government. I mean, that's what they're going to be looking for.
GREGORY: If you want to talk about qualifications, I mean, a guy like David Petraeus has... CUOMO: Now, he's someone that they would really have a hard time
getting confirmation. You know you got guys like Paul, like Lee who will see him as interventionist in a way that they won't want him. So you could turn Republicans against them and lose the number. How do they do it?
GREGORY: Look, I think you can go down this road of why you like certain people, their stature in the world, their profile. Clearly, Trump at least appears to have soured a bit on Giuliani, or else he could have gone --he had kind of an inside track initially. And he's widening out the search.
I mean, a guy like Rex Tillerson, who's very interesting. Not only a strong businessman, energy sector, very good relationship with Putin. He's a tough guy. He's a tough guy who could be a tough negotiator who could channel Trump in a way that might be even better than some of the other people that are on the list. That's why that's an interesting conversation to be had.
But if you look at this Taiwan business and China, that is reflective of the fact that Trump just had a conversation with John Bolton and like we heard, as John Bolton has said publicly, we've got to shake up our relationship with China. Let's use Taiwan as some leverage. Trump clearly likes that. And I'm just not clear that Trump is set in his own mind about what signal he wants to send, who he wants in that job.
DRUCKER: I think that's the key, is what foreign policy is Trump really going to prosecute? Are we going to get Trump from the campaign trail, which I tend to think that's what we're going to get. Because that's usually how this works. You don't get somebody radically different in government.
Or are you going to get Trump, the guy who picked James Mattis for secretary of defense, who I believe has signaled to Republicans and people around the world that Trump may not be as interested in abandoning our alliances and abandoning the U.S. role as the global guarantor of world peace, as he suggested during the campaign trail.
Right now I think a lot of these things are up in the air, and I think Trump is still working it out because of all the things he understands. I think foreign policy and the intricacies of it are what he's still learning and understands the least.
CAMEROTA: I like that you think there's going to be an answer to this, that you're going to get a which Trump do we get answer. When really, isn't the answer that he's unpredictable?
GREGORY: Well, and I think that's important. Because look, he does not have a defined view of the world. One of the real dangers is that he could say, "Yes, you know, let's go in this direction" and then just say, "You know, let's go in this direction." And that's where -- that's why what he's putting together is not clear.
Yes, a guy like Mattis is tough. In other words, he -- Mattis will have a posture toward the rest of the world that I think Trump likes, because it'll be tough, it'll be no nonsense. Yet he's got a level of experience that also is sound and is deeply learned. So I think that's important. I just don't think we know what it's going to...
[06:10:05] DRUCKER: I think we know. I think we just don't want to believe it. I think Trump was very consistent during the campaign. We're too involved in alliances both in Asia and in Europe. We need to reorient our relationship with our allies. We need to be less involved in pushing U.S. values around the world.
The issue is everybody is like, "He doesn't really mean it. When he gets there, he'll figure out that's not the way it works." And maybe that's true, but I think he was very consistent. And if we follow Trump over the past couple of decades whenever he would comment in foreign policy, he's been saying the same thing over and over again, as he said during the campaign. He just finally hit the sweet spot where people thought, "Hey, maybe he's right."
CAMEROTA: All right, panel. Stick around. We have many more questions. So he toyed with the idea of running for president in 2016. Will Vice President Joe Biden actually do it in 2020? What he told reporters yesterday that makes some think yes. That's next on NEW DAY.
CUOMO: What are you doing, Joe? Vice President Joe Biden? Raising eyebrows, telling CNN and a group of reporters he's got big plans in four years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to run again?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I'm going to run in 2020.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For what?
BIDEN: For president. You know, so -- what the hell, man, anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to run with that, sir, you know, you dropped that.
BIDEN: That's OK. No, but I've enjoyed every bit of my time here in the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, were you kidding about running for president in 2020?
BIDEN: I'm just -- I'm not committing not to run. I'm not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And boy, that's all it takes. And now here we go.
CAMEROTA: That's an awesome double negative. I'm not committing not to do not that.
CUOMO: Under the category of seven minutes I'll never get back, let's bring in David Gregory, Abby Phillip, and David Drucker. Who here thinks that Joe Biden is going to run in 2020?
PHILLIP: I think he could.
CUOMO: I didn't say he could.
PHILLIP: I think that he would, because he doesn't know how to let go of Washington. He loves this place. He's been here basically all of his entire adult life. And more importantly, Democrats are in a bind going into 2020. They don't really have a bench. They don't really have a populist bench. And Joe Biden was the guy, he was the guy who got away this cycle.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. He heard that from so many people.
GREGORY: Obviously, had Hillary won, this wouldn't be a conversation. But I think he looks at this, high stakes, and he thinks, you know, in four years there may be more of a shot than I ever thought. And you know, I'm sure in large parts of his mind, he thinks, "If only I had been there. We could have turned this thing."
PHILLIP: In large parts of Democrats' minds. They're looking at the...
GREGORY: You don't buy it? You're not feeling it?
CAMEROTA: How old is he?
CUOMO: In truth, his age is one of the only things I'm not taking into consideration. He is -- he's 74 right now, but he is strong as hell, and he's got incredible spirit. And his mind has never been finer. But he would have had big trouble if he had been in the race this time around against Hillary Clinton. Not just from an organizational standpoint. But he's been there a long time. He owned a big part of the status quo.
GREGORY: And he's run before unsuccessfully.
CUOMO: That's exactly right.
DRUCKER: I think what's so significant about us talking about this is it's because the Democratic Party right now really lacks a bench.
CUOMO: A bench, a message, a sense of where they're going to go.
DRUCKER: Look, a message -- a message can come from a candidate. A sense of where you want to take the party and the country can come from a candidate. Tell me right now who the Democratic Party has from the ranks of governors, from the ranks of senators, that we can see as a rising star and viable candidate.
GREGORY: Pamela Harris in California is one option.
DRUCKER: She had potential. She had just got to the Senate. She doesn't necessarily get the most rave reviews.
CAMEROTA: I don't know if this parlor game works four years out. I mean, nobody would have said that Donald Trump was going to be president.
CUOMO: He would have.
GREGORY: Or -- or Barack Obama for that matter.
DRUCKER: No, but...
CUOMO: Came out of nowhere.
DRUCKER: Correct. But I guess the point is we haven't seen the next Barack Obama yet. We haven't seen somebody give the speech. I think that's what's so -- because their bench has been...
GREGORY: But any party feels particularly out in the wilderness after a loss, and it's something as surprising as this as left the Democrats in the place that, actually, they've been for most of 2016, which is dealing with a rebellion in their liberal wing that they put down because Hillary Clinton had enough control. But now it's really out there. And Donald Trump is going to exacerbate it.
DRUCKER: I think the question is, what influence will Barack Obama have over who the nominee is for the Democratic Party in 2020. He's still beloved across the party. He wants to be active in redistricting which is a very granular thing at the grassroots level. And I have to imagine, Democrats are going to want his seal of approval. They're going to want to somehow get a piece of his secret sauce.
PHILLIP: But I think of all the people Obama probably understands the impact of having kind of coronated Hillary Clinton coming into this race. I think Democrats have a lot of real regrets about that sentiment that she was the chosen one. Whether it was real or not, even her people believed that that hurt her going into this race.
President Obama, even though publicly, he didn't say much about Hillary Clinton, privately he was encouraging his backers to get behind Hillary. He was encouraging Joe Biden not to necessarily get into the race. So he played a role in what we saw this cycle.
CUOMO: Let's not miss a headline here while we're talking about the Democrats. What do you think the chances that Trump is able to sway these two Democratic senators and bring them on into the team?
CAMEROTA: Joe Manchin, obviously, in West Virginia, and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
GREGORY: Well, first of all, look at the geography. That matters. I know Manchin better. I know Manchin has not been a very happy senator, doesn't like how the institution works. And he represents part of the world that is pretty open to Donald Trump.
CUOMO: He's a plain speak guy. He's a pragmatic guy. GREGORY: And I think he could make a strong case for him coming in...
PHILLIP: And I think that he would look at it as a situation where he wouldn't necessarily be leaving Democrats in a lurch. A Democrat would appoint his replacement, at least in the short term.
CAMEROTA: But they are pressuring, I mean, from what we understand from the reporting, the senior Democrats are pressuring them not to join.
PHILLIP: Of course. A huge problem.
DRUCKER: Here's the counterpart. Senator Manchin and Senator Heitkamp are going to be very important if they stick around. Because Republicans are going to always lose -- not always, but in many cases might lose a couple. They're going to be going to Manchin and Heitkamp many times and saying, what do you need, what do you want? We saw this in the last decade with Senator Ben Nelson, now ex-Senator Nelson.
GREGORY: Yes, prescription drug benefits.
DRUCKER: From Nebraska. We saw it with Joe Lieberman during the Obamacare debate. So these two could actually have a lot of influence and attention and power in the Senate for the next couple of years. That might be appealing to them.
CAMEROTA: Great point, panel. Thank you very much. Great to talk to you.
CUOMO: All right. So a very big determination or non-determination in a really important case. You'll remember this video. It was oh-so compelling. A white police officer caught on a cell phone fatally shooting an unarmed man who was actively running away. Shot him in the back. A jury could not reach a verdict so you had a mistrial. The prosecutor says there will be another day. Will that happen? Next.
[06:25:19] CAMEROTA: Iran's president, Hasan Rouhani, told state media he'll not let President-elect Trump, quote, "tear away the nuclear deal." On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump repeatedly said the Iran deal was one of the worst agreements ever negotiated. Rouhani also said the U.S.'s recent push to make it easier to re-impose sanctions would violate that nuclear deal. President Obama has yet to sign the legislation.
CUOMO: Security is beefed up across the sprawling L.A. rail system this morning. Why? Well, the FBI is investigating a threat to blow up a train station in Universal City. The information came from a tip line operated by an unidentified foreign government. Commuters in L.A. are being told to expect an increased police presence this morning, along with dogs scouring the rails for explosives.
CAMEROTA: Well, the murder trial of Michael Slager -- that's the officer who shot and killed Walter Scott -- ends in a stunning mistrial. Scott was shot repeatedly as he ran away from Slager. A witness captured those moments on cell phone video. The prosecutor and Scott's family say their fight for justice is not over.
CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Charleston, South Carolina, with more. So where does this leave them, Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
It was a week-long trial, days of deliberation. It was on Monday afternoon that the jurors handed a note to the judge saying they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The case that captured the nation's attention was declared a mistrial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are unable to come to a unanimous decision.
VALENCIA: A mistrial declared in the case of Michael Slager, the white police officer who killed an unarmed black man. Video of the incident sparking outrage nationwide. Former patrolman Slager charged with murder of 50-year-old Walter Scott after firing eight gunshots as he ran away from him during a traffic stop last April.
JUDY SCOTT, WIFE OF WALTER SCOTT: God is my strength, and I know without a doubt that he is a just god. Then justice will not prevail.
VALENCIA: The South Carolina prosecutor vowing to immediately retry the case. Scott family attorneys confident they'll get a conviction.
CHRIS STEWART, SCOTT FAMILY ATTORNEY: We don't need to scream or shout. Because we know that it's coming. It's just been delayed.
VALENCIA: The jury deadlocked Friday by one holdout who told the judge he could not in good conscience convict Slager of murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I cannot and will not change my mind."
VALENCIA: By Monday, a majority of the 11 white and one black jurors were undecided. The shooting, caught on video by a bystander, a key piece of evidence in the case. Slager shot Scott repeatedly from approximately 18 feet away. On the stand, Slager argued self-defense, telling jurors the video doesn't show the full confrontation. He saw Scott as a threat.
MICHAEL SLAGER, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: It was total fear that Mr. Scott didn't stop, continued to come towards me.
VALENCIA: Scott's family hoping a conviction could help heal the wounds.
ANTHONY SCOTT, WALTER SCOTT'S BROTHER: In my heart, I will find the peace to forgive Michael Slager for doing that. Until my family can see justice, no, there's no forgiveness.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VALENCIA: Some of the Scott family supporters took exception with the makeup of the jury. Eleven of the jurors were white. Only one was black. At a press conference yesterday afternoon, the Scott family, however, chose to focus on optimism, saying that in a retrial, they do expect Michael Slager to be found guilty. We should also mention that Slager is expected to face civil rights charges from the federal government -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Nick. Thank you very much. Those federal cases get very tricky in situations like this. So the question becomes the obvious one. Now what? Where does the case go? Will a retrial lead to the same result? We'll give you the pluses and minuses next.