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Two Teens Charged with Arson in Tennessee Fires; Syrian Government Ignores Plea for Ceasefire in Aleppo; LeBron Explains Trump Hotel Boycott; Trump's Tweets & Their Impact. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 8, 2016 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- there are many people here in Gatlinburg, they are waking up to news that these two individuals have been arrested.

[06:30:04] They don't know a lot about them, as they are juveniles. But you hear from some of the residents who call this part of Tennessee home and there is a growing call to have these two young individuals charged as adults.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Two juveniles charged with aggravated arson in connection with the deadly wildfires in East Tennessee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, it's so hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is crazy.

SANDOVAL: Officials blaming the teens for the ferocious fires that killed 14 people and injured 175 others.

JAMES DUNN, ATTORNEY GENERAL, 4TH DISTRICT: All options available to the state when dealing with juveniles are on the table, including the possibility of seeking a transfer of these juveniles to adult criminal court.

SANDOVAL: Thousands of homes and businesses damaged with tens of thousands forced to evacuate from the largest wildfires to hit Tennessee in a century.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should pay for the (INAUDIBLE) of all the loved ones we have lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The punishment will not fit the crime. They destroyed families and lives and businesses and a community that has been here forever.

SANDOVAL: The charges coming as residents begin to return home surveying the damage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not alone down here. We take care of each other as people. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just feel that we have been protected by god.

SANDOVAL: For the families of those who perished, their loss is unspeakable. Seventy-year-old Alice Hagler lost her life trapped in her home by the flames.

LYLE WOOD, SON OF GATLINBURG VICTIM: She was one of the ladies who just loved people. She never found anybody she wasn't willing to talk to. She had a lot of love in her heart. We ask for prayers for her. The people who are still trying to figure out how to put this thing all back together.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL: Back on the ground here in eastern Tennessee, people here in full-on recovery mode. Tomorrow some of these road blocks expected to open up. Chris and Alisyn, each day brings another sign of normalcy, which is what people want. They want to get their lives back on track and continue rebuilding.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Of course they do. Polo, thanks so much for that reporting.

Well, the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo is growing more dire. There are bodies littering the streets. There are civilians too frightened to leave. Can the U.S. and Russia agree to stop the bloodshed? We have a live report from the front lines next.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We have a quick programming note for you. This Sunday, the tenth annual "CNN: Heroes All-Star Tribute" will come, hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa this time. It's going to air at 8:00 p.m. live Eastern and Pacific.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:37:30] CAMEROTA: president ignoring a request for a humanitarian cease-fire as the assault on Aleppo continues. This morning, Secretary of State John Kerry is set to resume talks with his Russian counterpart in Germany hoping to bring peace to Syria.

CNN senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is live on the front lines in Aleppo with the latest -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn. Yes. And we managed to get right to the front lines in those besieged areas in eastern Aleppo. And I can tell you, there was a lot of fighting going on and also a lot of very weak, a lot of very frail civilians trying to flee those areas.

It was a really a very sad experience to see how malnourished many of these people are and also how traumatized, especially the children were.

Here's what we saw.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PLEITGEN (voice-over): This is what rebel desperation looks like during the Aleppo nights, unable to stop them from dropping their deadly load. And this is what the rebels defeat looks like when daylight comes. Thousands of civilians fleeing the old town of Aleppo only hours after government forces took most of it back.

Among them, Najua (Ph) with her seven children, one of them her baby, Dilal (ph).

"When we left there was a lot of shelling behind us, a lot of shooting in front of us and the airplanes above us," she says. "We barely managed to get out."

Most seem weak and malnourished. Some resting, finally in safety in this former school. The smallest, a baby girl Hassal (ph) is only seven days old, born as the battles were at their worst.

(on camera): It's really remarkable some of the scenes that we are witnessing here. Hundreds of people have already come across the border crossing between eastern and western Aleppo. And many of them are taking shelters in buildings like this one, carrying only the very few possessions they could take as they fled.

(voice-over): Soldiers take us to the places they recaptured from opposition forces only hours before. We see Syrian troops evacuating weak and elderly. And rebel barricades showing just how intense the fighting was.

(on camera): Just look at all of the destruction here. We're actually in the old town of Aleppo right now. And this entire area, until a few days ago, was right on the frontline.

(voice-over): While this may not be the end of the opposition's fight in Aleppo, many of those fleeing describe the rebels morale sinking and the harrowing conditions in the besieged areas.

[06:40:04] "We didn't have any food and barely any bread" this man says. "We were eight people they would only give us two loaves of bread every two days that was it for all of us."

While much of eastern Aleppo has been reduced to rubble one thing expanding was the cemeteries. This one ran out of space as the bodies kept coming.

Now, that much of eastern Aleppo has changed hands, Syrian soldiers plant their flag on the runs the place they've just conquered.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN: So, as you can see there, some very devastating things we saw. I have to say among the worst things that I've seen in my entire career, but also we also have to see that with the momentum, the Syrian military currently has and the with the gains they're making and the fire power they're unleashing, very difficult for those to try to broker a diplomatic solution to make any sort of headway. Certainly, the very clear message we're getting from the Syrian forces

is they want to push this offensive forward. They're looking for a decision here in Aleppo and they've told the opposition, they're either going to lay down their arms or continue to face this onslaught -- guys.

CUOMO: Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much for the reporting. That is a truly horrible scene, not just today but what will be the future of that country for many, many years to come.

All right. So, in sports, LeBron James usually makes his statements on the court. But now, he's going from the sports arena to the political arena. The King locking horns with the president-elect. We're going to tell you what happened in the bleacher report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:45:10] CUOMO: LeBron James says he was not trying to make a statement by not staying at Donald Trump's hotel in New York.

Andy, statement or not, this was the first time ever LeBron did not stay with his team on a road trip. What's your take?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, that's right, Chris. LeBron and the Cavs did crush the Knicks 126-94 last night.

Leading up to the game, you know, much of the talk was about LeBron's decision not to stay at Donald Trump's hotel in New York.

Here's what King James had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: I'm not trying to make a statement. It's just my personal preference. At end of the day, I hope he's one of the best presidents ever, for all of our sakes, for my family, for all of us. But it's just my personal preference. It would be the same if I went to the restaurant and decide to eat chicken and not steak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right. "Rogue One" hits theaters next week.

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith clearly already in the "Star Wars" mode. He was rocking a full on Yoda onesie while buying Christmas for underprivileged kids earlier this week. And while Smith decided it was a good idea to wear that onesie to meet the media yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE SMITH SR., BALTIMORE RAVENS: There's been a few decades since I wore the onesie. So, I tried it on. So, I bought it. I thought, I got to use it.

It was raining yesterday. Kind of doom and gloom. So, you know, try not to waste money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Steve Smith, one of the shortest receivers in the NFL, standing just 5'9". So, a Yoda onesie appropriate for him, Alisyn. Darth Vader might have looked a little weird.

CAMEROTA: Sometimes, I have a hard time taking people seriously when they have bright green ears on.

SCHOLES: Really?

CUOMO: What about Shrek?

CAMEROTA: This is my thing. I know. I'm telling you, I have to get past it. This is my -- just a problem.

CUOMO: That kind of bigotry has no place in society.

CAMEROTA: I know that.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: President-elect Donald Trump ramping up his Twitter attacks, blasting Boeing, union bosses and threatening tariffs on businesses to ship jobs overseas. We discuss the consequences for everyone, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:51:13] CAMEROTA: The manhunt is intensifying for suspected police officer killer in western Georgia. Investigators are urging Minquel Lembrick to turn himself in. He is accused of killing 25-year-old police officer Nicholas Smarr and critically injuring officer Jodi Smith. Both were shot in the head as they exchanged fire during a domestic dispute call. If you had any information, on Minquel Lembrick, call your local 911.

CUOMO: All right. There's a high school student fighting for his life in Reno, Nevada. A campus police officer shot him. Authorities say the 14-year-old ignored repeated warnings to drop a knife. He was allegedly threatening other students with it.

Several dozen classmates witnessed the situation. Many of them posting video of it online. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

CAMEROTA: Get ready to pay up if you want to use an overhead bin on your flight. If you buy certain United Airline tickets in the New Year, you might have to pay this fee. This applies to the airline new basic economy pricing fares which allows customers to snag cheaper flights. However, any carry-on or personal item that you bring that does not fit under your seat will be subject to a fee. No word yet on how much. The new fares will be offered starting next month.

CUOMO: Can you imagine having to police that as a flight attendant? Like it's not a hostile environment already.

CAMEROTA: Horrible.

CUOMO: All right. So, speaking of hostile environments, President- elect Trump is using Twitter to make opinions heard. Since the election, Mr. Trump has called out companies Boeing, TV shows, us and a union boss now who criticized him.

So, let's discuss this method and its impact of picking winners and losers online. We have CNN global economic analyst Rana Foroohar is back, and CNN media analyst Bill Carter.

So, we've got the how and we have the why. So, let's talk about the how.

Trump, private citizen. Both will have a right to First Amendment expression.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Of course.

CUOMO: So, he can do this.

CARTER: Yes.

CUOMO: He has the right. But is it right?

CARTER: Well, is it right? That's, obviously, somebody's judgment. Is it something that maybe is injudicious? That I think is true.

I don't think it's very smart -- it doesn't look good to me to pick on a small guy like this. To me --

CUOMO: You're talking about the union guy.

CARTER: The union guy. He gets so upset by the slightest thing and reacts immediately. I think when you're president, you are going to have so many things on your plate. Are you going to take everything like this?

It's funny. Ever seen "Key & Peele"? You know, he's all Luther. He's not the other guy.

(LAUGHTER)

CARTER: It's all Luther. He comes at everything from that angry point of view and I think, first of all, it's over the top. And it doesn't really help. And I also wonder if people are going to get sick of that kind of bullying.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Yes, the effect is going to wear off.

CAMEROTA: But beyond the stylistic effect, let's talk about the real- life consequences.

So, Boeing, he said that he thought that paying $4 billion, that was his number, for the Air Force one was too much and that Boeing can make money, but not that much money. What happened then to Boeing?

FOROOHAR: Look at the stock in real time plummeting. This has real effects for publicly traded company. If I were a CEO at a Fortune 500 company right now, I would be living in fear because the next tweet could wipe, you know, 30 percent of your market cap.

CAMEROTA: Including drug prices. He said something about drug prices and then what happened.

FOROOHAR: Right. And then biotech stocks tanked, which, you know, I actually think this is not just specific to the president, but I think in general that the SEC and regulators might want to start looking at the ways in which Twitter, social media is used around markets. In some ways, this seems like market manipulation to me, you know, that you can come out --

CARTER: Clearly, it has that potential.

FOROOHAR: It has that potential. And amongst politicians that could really materially affect what happens to a company or an entire industry, activist investors use this. They'll be holding a stock and they'll say, oh, buy more of this.

[06:55:01] The price goes up and --

CUOMO: Right, and CNBC in its nascency had to deal with that and that's a real issue. But a little bit of an ancillary issue. He's not a market maker.

FOROOHAR: He's an industry maker.

CAMEROTA: He's an influencer.

CUOMO: Absolutely. What I'm saying is in his role to a point that you make very strongly on the show and well all the time. People don't like that Boeing is overcharging. People don't like that drug prices are too high. People don't like that unions can be perceived to have squashed the job. And he speaks to those things.

So, is it injudicious? Is it unprofessional? Is it unbecoming if that's what got him elected?

CARTER: Well, it's certainly effective. I mean, it's speaking to his base. He has to be aware of his own interests. I mean, you know, people are, you said this, we don't know what stocks he had and didn't have. It was a story about maybe him having stock in United Technologies at some point. Minimal amounts.

CAMEROTA: The parent company Carrier. That would have been relevant.

CARTER: That would have been relevant in that story. These things are so complex and you think the president should think about them rather than jump on them immediately the way he has been doing. I mean, I think possibly there should be someone in his ear maybe saying not today to jump on that because this market is fragile. I always think it's interesting, though, that after he picks on a lot

of these stocks, they drop and then come back. It's almost like people have said, OK, maybe we don't have to take him all that seriously.

FOROOHAR: But you know what? That has an impact, because he is creating the market volatility that investors absolutely hate at a time when he's saying, please, bring your money to the U.S., invest, we want to forward American business. That is not helping.

CAMEROTA: When he goes after the news media. So, that's what happens when there's an actual product or manufacturing. When he goes after, say, CNN, or he goes after "Saturday Night Live" as he has, does that have the same negative effect or does that actually help build its brand?

CARTER: I think it can help build a brand. I don't think it's hurting "Saturday Night Live" at all. I think "Saturday Night Live" probably saw him going after Chuck Jones. Let's do a new sketch. Chuck Jones, maybe do a sketch about the Chuck Jones who created Bugs Bunny. They could have an idea like that.

They will use what he does effectively. It's not hurting the show. Their ratings are up higher than they've had in ten years.

CUOMO: But you've got to figure out, we don't know how much of it is pushback or interest in the election.

But this dynamic that is going on with social media becoming conduit of exchange at a high level. We saw an interesting role reversal. Bob Reich was on the show with Anderson Cooper last night, former labor secretary, big professor out west now, and he decided to speak directly to the president-elect through the television camera because he anticipated that Trump was actually watching.

Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Let me just say because Donald Trump is probably watching right now. Let me say with all due respect, Mr. Trump, you are president-elect of the United States. You are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned and vindictive.

Stop this. This is not a Fireside chat. This is not what FDR did. This isn't lifting people up. This is actually penalizing people for speaking their minds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: He was talking about -- that was the union leader and the steel workers about carrier. But I don't know if that's effective.

FOROOHAR: I actually think it is.

CAMEROTA: You do?

FOROOHAR: I think it's very effective. You know, to your point, I think there is something to be said, look, we're in a new world of communications. This TV, Twitter, this is how people communicate. I agree that people are upset about trade. They are upset about jobs, and it's appropriate, I think, for the president to use that medium to talk about those things, but to call out specific companies, specific people --

CARTER: That local guy. He's not a national figure. It feels a little --

CUOMO: The local guy, the local labor guy was calling out at the numbers are wrong. Not as many jobs are saved and that he is concerned that this was a little bit of an inside deal with Carrier. And that's his right as a union guy.

But Boeing, Boeing is not going to have a lot of friends among the working class in the United States. You know, they'll see this mega big company. How many jobs are they keeping? How many jobs do they have abroad? Is that a bad target for Trump?

FOROOHAR: Well, I think Boeing is a bad target for Trump because it materially affects a publicly traded U.S. company when he talks about it. It materially affects the pharmaceuticals industry --

CUOMO: But can that be a good thing? It's a true extension of the bully pulpit. He's trying to get them to do different things.

FOROOHAR: Yes, he may be. But all I can think of, maybe he still holds the stock, even if he doesn't, I'm sure he's having investor friends to lunch at Trump Tower and he's saying, you know, I got -- I'm going to be talking about those stocks tomorrow. I mean, market manipulation worries me.

CAMEROTA: Rana, Bill, thank you very much.

We're following a lot of news and we will speak to that union leader, Chuck Jones, in just moments. So, let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Buy American and hire American.

REICH: What you, Mr. Trump, would like is for nobody to criticize you.