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Trump Touts Defense Nominee, Deal-Making Skills; Obama Hands Off War on Terrorism to Trump; Flynn's Son Fired Over Conspiracy Tweets; Biden Talks 2020 Run on Late-Night. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 7, 2016 - 06:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We build up our military, not as an act of aggression, but as an act of prevention.

[05:58:32] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These terrorists can never directly destroy our way of life. But we can do it for them if we lose track of who we are.

TRUMP: General Mattis is the living embodiment of the Marine Corps motto, semper fidelis.

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY NOMINEE: I'm grateful for the opportunity, so long as the Congress gives me the waiver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The son of the future national security advisor has been pushing a bunch of conspiracy theories.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Michael Flynn Jr. is no longer with the transition team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time that we do business differently here in Washington, D.C.

TRUMP: It's going to be over $4 billion. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number.


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, December 7, 6 a.m. in the east. Up first, the thank-you tour comes to North Carolina. The president-elect giving a big speech. Does he have a plan to put America first? It certainly sounds good. But what did we learn about how he's going to create jobs, cut taxes and repeal Obamacare. Trump did put meat on the bones of his cabinet, officially introducing his pick for defense secretary, General James Mattis.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, Mr. Trump is touting his skills as a deal-maker in chief, taking credit for a $50 billion deal with a Japanese telecom giant. We are now just 44 days from inauguration day, and we have it all

covered for you. So let's begin with CNN's Jessica Schneider. She's live outside of Trump Tower in New York.

Good morning, Jessica.


You know, the inclement weather could not stop Donald Trump from getting to those clouds in North Carolina. It was a thank-you rally where he largely stuck to script, listing off a long list of his priorities, also promising unity but, of course, also touting his business expertise and his election win.


TRUMP: We will have two simple rules when it comes to rebuilding this country. Buy American and hire American.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Taking his "America first" message to North Carolina, the president-elect vowing to protect American jobs.

TRUMP: We will defeat the enemy on jobs, and we have to look at it almost as a war.

SCHNEIDER: Donald Trump, once again, taking aim at corporate America. The president-elect spent much of Tuesday criticizing a government contract with Boeing to build a new Air Force One. Trump tweeting, "Costs are out of control. More than $4 billion. Cancel order."

It's unclear why Trump attacked Boeing, America's largest exporter, or where Trump even got that hefty price tag. Boeing says it currently has a $170 million development deal to study the new aircraft.

TRUMP: I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number.

SCHNEIDER: Trump also touting his deal-making skills, claiming credit for a months-old pledge by Japanese telecom giant SoftBank to invest $50 billion in the United States aimed at creating jobs. Details of the deal have not been released.

TRUMP: Masa, great guy of Japan. He's pledged that he's going to put $50 billion into the United States because of our victory. He wasn't investing in our country. Fifty billion, 50,000 jobs.

SCHNEIDER: Staying largely on message, a more controlled Trump promising to fight terror and increase military spending.

TRUMP: In my first budget report to Congress, I am going to ask for the elimination of the defense sequester.

SCHNEIDER: Trump officially announcing his secretary of defense pick, General James Mattis.

TRUMP: Mad Dog plays no games.

SCHNEIDER: Touting his credentials as a four-star general, NATO commander and his leadership during Desert Storm.

MATTIS: I look forward to being a civilian leader, so long as the Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent.

SCHNEIDER: All this coming on the heels of a shakeup in the Trump transition team. Trump firing the son of national security aide, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn for pushing a baseless conspiracy theory that led a man to fire a rifle inside a Washington pizza shop. Jake Tapper grilling the vice-president-elect over security clearances requested for Flynn's son.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You're downplaying his role, but you must be aware that the transition team put in for security clearance for Michael G. Flynn, the son of Lieutenant General Flynn.

PENCE: Well, I'm aware in talking to General Flynn that -- that his son was helping the scheduling, Jake.

TAPPER: No, but you put in for security clearances for him.

PENCE: He's helping his dad arrange for meetings and provide meetings. But that's no longer the case.

TAPPER: But do you need security clearance just to do scheduling?

PENCE: I think that's the appropriate decision for us to move forward.


SCHNEIDER: And Donald Trump is back in New York city this morning. He'll attend a fundraising breakfast, and also he'll be meeting with outgoing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who conceded that contested election down in North Carolina this week.

But then, later this week, it will be back to those thank-you rallies for Donald Trump. On Thursday, he'll be in Des Moines, Iowa; Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And then on Saturday, he'll attend the Army/Navy game in Baltimore, Maryland, where he says he'll be dividing his loyalties. He'll sit half of the game on the Army side, the other half on the Navy side -- Chris and Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much.

Let's discuss. CNN political analyst and national political reporter for "The New York Times," Alex Burns. CNN political director David Chalian and CNN national politics reporter M.J. Lee.

M.J., buy American, hire American sounds great. From President-elect Trump, did we learn anything more in this big speech about how he'll do it?

M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Look, one thing that I thought was so striking about sort of the substance of his speech last night was the fact that President-elect Trump is so similar, actually, in a lot of ways to candidate Trump. For one, he was boasting to this crowd about the states that he won on

election night. So he's still sort of reveling in that. And I think sort of when he was talking about the substance and sort of the policy proposals, they were a lot of the same policy proposals that he was talking as a candidate. And this is so interesting, because you would think that now, as president-elect, he might be a little bit more conscious and actually wanting to walk back some of those promises because he doesn't want to be sort of overpromising.

But I think the setting in which he loves to be in the most, where he's looking out at the crowd and knows that his supporters are there for him, he sort of can't get past enjoying that so much and wanting to sort of please the crowd. So I thought that was really striking.

CAMEROTA: Before we get to all the deal-making that he's announced, let's talk about another optic last night, and that was General Mattis being called out. That was the first time, David, that he was seen side by side with one of his cabinet picks. Why is that significant?

[06:05:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think it's quite clear that he's really proud of this pick. I think he feels a little bit like "Wow, this guy with these credentials is willing to come on my team." It's a validation.

CAMEROTA: "And I'm going to be his boss as commander in chief."

CHALIAN: I definitely think there's some of that. But you're right. All the other cabinet picks or White House staff has been sort of via press release so far. He wanted to sort of physically, visually attach himself to Mattis. You see how much he loves the "Mad Dog" nickname. We're going to hear that a lot.

And I think because we have the controversial national security advisor designee in Mike Flynn, you now have Mattis, which is being well-received sort of across the aisle, as well. Now that third leg of that stool of the secretary of state grows in importance as people wait to see where the temperament of that triad, if you will, how that settles.

CUOMO: Perception is reality. Strength is what Trump is trying to predict. Mattis helps with that. Does he get the waiver?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's very, very likely he does and probably in pretty short order. This is a place where Democrats in theory thought they could have some leverage over policy, over Trump's other cabinet picks, because the only place in the assembly of this cabinet where Trump needs to clear a 60-vote threshold anywhere, right, on passing that waiver.

But the reality is that, just on the substance of the Mattis pick, on Mattis as a person and contender, he's probably the most reassuring person for people across the spectrum that Trump has put forward.

CUOMO: You don't think that...

BURNS: He's a tough guy to hold up. CUOMO: The reason they put into law is you didn't want a military perspective on all notions of defense. It's one of the rare times that you've had the government set up a law to create a clear division. Why doesn't Mattis emphasize the need for that, as opposed to make it go away?

BURNS: Right. Well, I think the reality is that if you had almost any other Republican elected, you would probably hear more debate over the substance of this question on civilian military control. But when the civilian is Donald Trump, a lot of Democrats and even Republicans who don't particularly care for Trump find the idea of having General Mattis in the situation room a lot more reassuring than just Donald Trump and Mike Flynn.

CAMEROTA: All right. Let's talk about some of the deals that he is announcing and taking credit for. The Boeing thing is very interesting, because this is about new Air Force One planes. They are outmoded. It's time to update them.

He said that he's going to save the country $4 billion, basically, because he says, "I don't need them, or let's at least look at the cost." And you know, regardless of what the numbers are, this is refreshing. I mean, this is what his voters wanted. Shake up the government spending. Any sort of government waste. At least talk about it. In other words, don't just say, "Yes, I guess we need two new planes. OK." He's questioning it.

LEE: Yes, maybe refreshing in tone, but I think it's important to point out that, for a lot of folks in the private sector, watching all of this unfold, especially seeing this tweet that seemed to sort of come out of nowhere, it's still unclear exactly why he sent that out. Perhaps it was...

CAMEROTA: Let me read it. "Boeing is building a brand-new 747 Air Force One for future presidents. But costs are out of control. More than $4 billion. Cancel order."

LEE: Cancel order. Possible he put this out, because he saw the head of Boeing saying something negative about his trade policies. Again, sort of unclear. But I think for folks watching this happen and seeing the president-elect conduct himself in this way, I think there's a little bit of a precedent that he is potentially setting up in which he singles out companies in public by name, specific companies, and sort of airing his grievances.

And on the other side of that, we've seen that happen sort of the other way, too, right? With Carrier. Patting them on the back for saving these jobs and not sending them abroad. Walking out with, you know, someone affiliated with SoftBank and saying, at the lobby of Trump Tower and saying, "Look -- look at what a great job they're doing. "

CAMEROTA: They're going to create 50,000 jobs, he says.

CUOMO: He says versus the realities where we need to come in. David, look at the Carrier deal. Everybody is giving him a pat on the

back. It's great to save families. Now you've got the head of the union for Carrier coming out and saying, "We're not saving all those jobs. It's not true. The numbers are less."

And you have other companies now who are asking -- you know, can now ask for inducements. What is the difference between what you say is an insurgent that sounds good as Alisyn says, you know, reassuring on some, you know, ignorant level. But then once you get in, can you make it happen?

CHALIAN: Well, that is the question. We don't know the answer to that. So we have to allow. We can't judge that before the results are in. And that's the thing. He is always going to propose things and disrupt things as he's doing. And we're all going to put the context of this is unprecedented. This is why we know people have not thought this way before. But, we need to actually wait and see the results to see if the new way of trying something actually does work.

CUOMO: What do you do when the Carrier deal comes to pass, and it turns out they're sweating more jobs than they're keeping. The number of jobs we were told they're keeping isn't right.

CAMEROTA: But there's still hundreds. I mean...

CHALIAN: They said 1,100 jobs. Right?

CAMEROTA: And they'll say that's a success, right? I mean, isn't that how they spin it?

CUOMO: They'll say, but the problem is when every economist says it's not a success when it's a dangerous way to grow job growth. Where do you see them? Do you see a learning curve where, OK, this Carrier deal, and wow, now we've got six other companies asking us for millions of dollars in gifts like we gave to Carrier. It's not enough jobs. What do we do. Do you see a growth curve potential?

CHALIAN: Well, if companies stop buckling to the pressure that Trump is trying to put on them or engaging in some sort of negotiation, and it's not effective for him, you're going to judge that as a failure, and he's going to be able to reverse course.

CUOMO: Is it even a buckle? They get $7 million in inducements, Alex. They -- you know, they keep several hundred jobs, if you listen to the union rep. They feel the numbers are still soft, and they're still getting to send most of their jobs across. That's not how you save the manufacturing base.

BURNS: Well, and for a lot of folks, really conservative economists, liberal economists, the concern is less that the companies will eventually stand up to Trump and more that Trump will actually not stand up to the companies more aggressively than he is here or set a broad policy that makes it tough for these companies to send jobs overseas, because right now you could just have any company with a manufacturing facility in the Midwest could float the idea of moving it to Mexico or Vietnam and shake down the federal government, state government for tax breaks.

CAMEROTA: Sure. I mean, we'll see what the consequences of all this messaging is. Guys, stick around. We have many more questions for you.

So he never mentioned President-elect Donald Trump by name, but when President Obama delivered McDill Air Force Base on Tuesday, to deliver his final address to the troops he was sending a clear message to his successor.

CNN correspondent Athena Jones is live at the White House with more. What's the latest, Athena?


In a wide-ranging speech yesterday at McDill, President Obama touted his administration's accomplishments in the fight against terror groups. The killing of Osama bin Laden, the weakening of al Qaeda and the progress made so far against ISIS.

And while he didn't name -- mention President-elect Trump by name, he did press his case for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay and for maintaining the ban on torture. These are two areas where his views are clearly at odds with the president-elect.

He also talked about the need to uphold American values during this fight against terrorism. Like following the rule of law and protecting civil liberties. Not making decisions based on fear. Here's some of what he had to say about that.


OBAMA: Adhering to the rule of law is not a weakness. In the long term, it is our greatest strength. The whole objective of these terrorists is to scare us into changing the nature of who we are and our democracy. And the fact is people and nations do not make good decisions when they are driven by fear.


JONES: This is a theme that we heard from the president during the campaign, as well. He was concerned about the tone of much of the rhetoric coming from the now soon-to-be president. But I can tell you, the White House says that this speech was in the works since before Donald Trump was elected.

So, it wasn't a response to him or written for him. But it's clear these are two leaders with very different views about how to approach these views and the president wanted to make this opportunity to make the case for why he believes his approach is best -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Athena, thank you very much.

Let's take a quick break here. The headline is "fired." The son of a national security adviser to Trump's transition team is out. Why? Because he was pushing stupid conspiracy theories. That's why. Now his father, General Michael Flynn, is also coming under fire. Could his job be in

jeopardy? Does he have to come out and explain what he did? Our panel breaks it down.


[06:17:28] CAMEROTA: Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn will be heading to the White House today to meet with his counterpart, President Obama's national security adviser, for the first time. This after Flynn's son was fired from President-elect Trump's transition team for spreading conspiracy theories.

So let's bring back our panel: Alex Burns, David Chalian and G.J. Lee.

So, I guess some conspiracy theories do go too far, and the suggestion that there was some sort of pedophilia ring being operated out of a pizzeria was too much.

CHALIAN: That crossed the line. Listen, I give the Trump team credit for dealing with this pretty quickly, with all the conversation. I said it on our air on Monday, was they're going to have to deal with this. You can't -- you cannot...

CAMEROTA: Let that one hang.

CHALIAN: ... let that one hang. And -- and they dealt with it pretty swiftly and this is -- listen, he obviously didn't have a huge role in the transition. It's not like they're going to upend their world over getting rid of Michael -- some -- but the guy you just named your national security adviser, this is his son, his chief of staff. Not an easy thing. And I think they did lanced that pretty quickly.

BURNS: And I do think it's a concession that the rules, once you've been elected and in office really different during the campaign. That you can't hide behind, "Well, you know, I'm vulnerable on this. But check out Hillary Clinton, who's also done these things." You know, you're judged on your own, and the American people look for something different in a president than they do even from a candidate from president that is just a baseline level of seriousness and sobriety and professionalism that Trump staff during the campaign really struggled to clear and that his staff in the White House is absolutely going to have to meet.

LEE: I will stay on Flynn Sr., the father, I don't know that there's anything that anyone can do to really force Trump's hand on that one.

CAMEROTA: He, too, he has put out -- he, too, has put out fake news and conspiracy theories. He's tweeted them, as well. He's, as we know, said incendiary things.

CUOMO: But if he strips everyone from around him who's retweeted or put something out on social media, then yes, he's going to be a lonely man.

LEE: That's true, and this is not a Senate-confirmed position, and I think what we saw from Donald Trump over and over again throughout the campaign is that, once he decides that someone is loyal to him and that they're sort of on his team, he's pretty reticent to, you know, keep them away just because they've been embroiled in controversy. And I think there's a good chance that we see that with Flynn.

CUOMO: You think that they're going to put him out and let him defend himself?

LEE: Maybe at some point. It wouldn't be the worst thing for Flynn. I don't necessarily know that the Trump transition team thinks that that's the best thing right now, to draw more attention to that.

CAMEROTA: HUD pick. Mr. Trump has picked Dr. Ben Carson, and there's controversy about that. First, it was that Armstrong Williams, his good friend, said that he was not qualified to lead any government agency, but he has since backpedaled on that. But now...

[06:20:09] CHALIAN: Despite having sought the presidency.

CAMEROTA: Great reminder. Thank you for that, David.

Here is what Ben Carson himself said about the Housing and Development Agency. In July of 2015, he wrote a "Washington Times" op-ed: "There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."

What does this mean for how he would lead HUD?

CHALIAN: Well, clearly, it is going to be an ideological battle over this. Remember, the Democrats don't really have votes to stop Donald Trump from filling his cabinet in any way. So when we talk about controversial picks here, it's going to be a lot of noise more than perhaps actual results for Democrats.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean the policy. Forget about the controversy around it. The policy. What do we know about what he thinks about HUD?

CHALIAN: Well, Donald Trump's White House will set the policy more than Ben Carson will himself at HUD.

But we do know that he is not somebody who has immersed himself in the policy of housing, of -- or urban centers. The populations that are served by the government there predominantly are not at all part of the political base that brought Donald Trump to the White House. And we know that his -- his policy positions on these issues are completely at odds. This isn't just -- it's ideological, and it's partisan but just at odds with a lot of the core mission that HUD has been serving.

BURNS: Well, and for Ben Carson, right, this was not a guy -- I don't know if David is being deliberately euphemistic here or just a nice man in general, but Ben Carson was not a guy who immersed himself in policy, period, during his presidential campaign. Right? We remember those debates where he'd get asked a question about Syria, and he's sort of do a monologue about political correctness. Right?

So those confirmation hearings, I think, are going to be a real test of his familiarity with the department that he's going to run. And whether he does have an ideological agenda or any kind of agenda for HUD or whether it's just sort of this general disposition that he's skeptical of the role of government in the society, which is true and basically everyone Trump is putting in government.

CUOMO: So is that the requirement? The simple fact is Dr. Ben Carson has not shown any understanding of what HUD is. He seems to talk about it as if it only houses poor people. That's what HUD does. That's not even close to the truth.

So many mortgages go through that agency and all the interfaces with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in terms of how it works. So is being loyal enough, and will it matter at the end of the day?

LEE: I mean, certainly, it's been enough for Donald Trump, enough for him to choose Carson, but, you know, as Alex was saying, you have these flashbacks back to the debate when it was so clear that Carson did not understand some of the basics of policy, especially when you're trying to run for president. I think those confirmation hearings, you now, he's in for a big surprise.

CAMEROTA: Good news: the 2020 race has begun. We are recession proof here. Vice President Joe Biden has been coyly, you know, putting his name out there, and people have been asking him. Here's a moment from last night.


JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm a great respecter of fate. I don't plan on running again, but you know, to say you know what's going to happen in four years, I just think is -- is not rational.

STEPHAN COLBERT, HOST, CBS'S "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": That is the sound of a door creaking open is what that is.

BIDEN: Well, look, I mean, I can't see the circumstance in which I'd run, but what I've learned a long, long time ago, Stephen, is to -- to never say never. You don't know what's going to happen. Hell, Donald Trump is going to be 74. I'll be 77 and in better shape. I mean, how about that?


CAMEROTA: He keeps dancing with it. He's enjoying this.

CHALIAN: This is somebody who is not wanting to leave the public stage and the public arena when he sees that January 20th date on the calendar all that easily. And he wants to definitely stay in the game.

BURNS: Well, and when you talk about the different historic dynamics at play in 2016, one of them was the barriers and expectation around age just really vanished. Right? The notion that you would have a 70-year-old president, that you had a 75-year-old senator almost win the Democratic nomination. You know, the idea of a 77-year-old running is not as outlandish as it was two years ago.

CAMEROTA: There you go. Panel, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right. Other news to tell you about this morning. Nearly 100 people killed, dozens more still trapped beneath rubble. We're talking about this devastating earthquake that is rocking Indonesia overnight. There is new information. We'll give it to you, next.


[06:28:36] CUOMO: Time now for "The Five Things To Know" for your new day.

No. 1, President-elect Donald Trump formally introducing General James Mattis. He is the nominee for defense secretary. He did it at this big rally, part of the thank-you tour in North Carolina. The president-elect also taking credit for a months-old $50 billion investment deal with a Japanese conglomerate and calling out Boeing for its deal on Air Force One.

CAMEROTA: President-elect Trump firing his national security adviser's son from his transition team for pushing the crazy Pizzagate conspiracy theory on Twitter. Flynn's son was the top aide for his father, retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn.

CUOMO: Syrian rebels in Aleppo are calling for an immediate five-day humanitarian cease-fire. They're hoping to evacuate civilians to safer areas and negotiate the future of the city. This push comes as government forces have taken three quarters of east Aleppo from those rebels.

CAMEROTA: At least 97 people killed and 73 seriously injured after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake rocks Indonesia. This struck as morning prayers got under way. Houses, shops and mosques reduced to rubble. Emergency crews digging through the debris, looking for survivors.

CUOMO: A Louisiana man is now facing manslaughter charges days after the deadly road rage shooting of NFL player Joe McKnight. Authorities say they needed time to iron out legal concerns. The suspect claims he acted in self-defense. He was initially released with no charges.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. For more on "The Five Things To Know," go to for all of the latest.

CUOMO: So, President Obama is planning to hand off the war on terror to Donald Trump. He has a warning for his successor. What is it and will it be heated? Next.