Return to Transcripts main page


President-elect Trump Nominates Tillerson as Secretary of State; Brady & Patriots Hold Off Ravens; Interview with Jane Harman. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 13, 2016 - 06:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And a cease-fire has been denied.

[06:30:07] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Meantime, a blast of arctic air invading much of the country this week. You're probably feeling it at home. Also, more snow and ice could be on the way.

Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray is here with what you need to know.

Good morning.


Yes, we're going to have a series of winter weather systems that are going to impact much of the country. So, really, no relief for the time being.

Look at current temperatures. Minneapolis, 5 below zero, feeling like 18 below zero. Wind chill of 11 below zero in Omaha. Chicago, only feeling like 8 degrees this morning.

As we go through time, though, this arctic air is going to continue to sink down. And it is going to basically invade much of the country. In fact, the eastern two-thirds of the country are going to feel temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below normal in the coming days.

We are going to see morning low temperatures, zero degrees in Chicago, 19 by Saturday. It makes its way to the East. Friday in New York City, only 14 degrees. That's the actual temperature before we even factor in the windchill.

Also, the snow is going to be a factor. We're going to see lake- effect snow all across the Upper Midwest and the Northeast, around the Great Lakes. So the air gets only colder as we go through Thursday. Then look at this system across the West. That's what's going to bring the next winter weather system all the way to the East.

By the weekend, guys, it could mean an icy mess for portions of the east.

CUOMO: Yikes.

All right, Jen. Thank you very much. We'll check back with you in a little bit.

ExxonMobil's chief executive Rex Tillerson getting the nomination for secretary of state this morning. He's the head of big oil, and he has a big friendship with the man on your screen, Vladimir Putin. There are questions about his confirmation. How is this a good choice? Next.


[06:36:04] CUOMO: President-elect Trump's search for a secretary of state is over this morning. Curious timing. As senators call for hearings about the depth of Russia's attacks on our election, the incoming president nominates ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, known in large part for his dealings in Russia and close relationship to Putin.

Here to discuss Tillerson's background, the plus and minus, is CNN global economic analyst and author of "Makers and Takers", Rana Foroohar.

Good to have you. Good mind to put to this.


CUOMO: What are the pluses? How does Tillerson size up as an international presence?

FOROOHAR: OK. Well, it's important to look at his business background and what does it mean to be the head of a major oil company? Well, what it basically means is you're spending a lot of time with foreign governments in problematic places. So, you know, one of the criticisms has been that he doesn't have State Department experience, and that's true. But there's plenty of career people that can be put around him.

I actually think that in some ways, his business background could be seen as a plus. I mean, we're moving into a very kind of mercantilistic era in the global economy. Deal-making skills are, you know, are not a bad thing to have. Exxon is widely considered to be a pretty well-run -- one of the better run oil companies in part because, you know, they had some early problems. The Exxon Valdez crisis.

Relative to other companies, they had a lot of trouble early on that he then helped clean up. They were considered to be amongst -- you know, oil man, one of the better run companies you'd want to be in the fox hole with.

CUOMO: He's a relative lifer. He's been at Exxon since 1975.


CUOMO: And the check on his foreign exposure is it's only been places with fugacious minerals running under the ground or off their shores.

FOROOHAR: Right. CUOMO: But he hasn't dealt with countries where oil is not a presence and a principle concern.

FOROOHAR: Well, that's true. I mean, you know, if you look at where oil is, it tends to be in trouble spots. So, you know, you can argue that either way. Has he done a lot of, you know, traditional diplomacy in continental Europe? No. He has dealt with some of the world's most difficult autocrats? Yes.

CUOMO: Right. He knows Saudi Arabia. He doesn't know Jordan.

FOROOHAR: That's right.

CUOMO: He knows Venezuela, he doesn't know Guatemala.

FOROOHAR: That's right.

CUOMO: So, he doesn't have the far reach of someone who travels for more security based purposes, like a Rudy Giuliani.

FOROOHAR: Right, well, that's true. I think the other thing that a Rex Tillerson appointment signals is that we're moving into an era where America is going to be more assertive.

Like it or not, this is a guy who's tough. He's very uncompromising. He's known for having a take-no-prisoners style. He's an intellectually rigorous guy, but he's a very tough guy. He's going to be tough on negotiations.

CUOMO: And then comes the Vladimir Putin part.

FOROOHAR: That is more worrisome.


CUOMO: Do you want somebody who's buddy-buddy with Putin who has big purse-string ties to the future of sanctions in that country? Tillerson has been outspoken, saying sanctions were a mistake. Now, they may be looking at more sanctions.

Do you have a secretary of state who has that kind of competing interests?

FOROOHAR: That's the thing that worries me more, actually. I think you have to look at the business interests and the conflict of interest here. The last filing still owned a large chunk of Exxon stock.

You know, there's no question that he is going to be thinking about the company, about his own interests when doing dealings. I mean, I just don't think you can separate those things out. I think there's going to be questions during Senate hearings about should he put his interests in Exxon in a blind trust.

CUOMO: That's easy, though. It's going to be about his loyalties. It's about separation. FOROOHAR: Yes.

CUOMO: He's going to have to show the man who gave him an order of friendship award or whatever you call it, Vladimir Putin, that he can see him as the bully and the villain that many members of our government does and still justify what he did with him in the past.

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. And let me tell you, I've spoken to many oil executives who have done business in Russia. It is a very, very tricky business. It is a tough line to walk. They all walk it.

I'm going to be interested to see how much closer Tillerson is to Putin than any of the other major oil executives doing business in that country.

[06:40:01] CUOMO: Well, we are the choices we make, right? And that takes us segue into another separation issue, Donald Trump.


CUOMO: Here's my suggestion. This can't work -- whatever it is that he wants to do. He delayed his announcement on Thursday. And I believe there's good reason for that. They say that they have to deal with personnel. They have other points of focus that they have to put first.

I think they can't find a way that's going to be satisfying for people, because without transparency, this can't work. This is a private organization. He said there'll be lots of legal documents. Not ones that you would get to see in all likelihood.

There won't be anymore deals made. Donald Trump tweeted out, or his organization put out. How do we know?


CUOMO: You know, he won't be having any organizational role. How do we know?


CUOMO: Ivanka is not going to be there, she's going to be with me, the sons will do it. What does that mean? He won't even put out his taxes.

Can he separate to the sufficiency of somebody's scrutiny like you or our government without transparency?

FOROOHAR: Probably not is the answer.

You know, we have gotten almost zero transparency from Donald Trump in terms of documentation of international business dealings in particular. One thing I have to say that I'm concerned about -- you know, I talked to economic advisers of foreign countries in Asia and Latin America. I'm hearing them say, OK, we understand how this guy does business.

We understand this sort of kiss the ring phenomenon. We understand this bringing Ivanka to a meeting and, oh, OK, this is the person you need to be dealing with. This worries me.

That signaling is really important. I think this goes to your point that, you know, without transparency and giving this kind of signaling to other foreign leaders who do business in very different ways is a dangerous thing.

CUOMO: He keeps saying something that he has shown no indication that he's willing to actually act on, which is to put the country first. The president-elect has said it many times, but he won't show his taxes, and he's not giving you any transparent accounting about what these potential conflicts are. It can't work any other way.

Foroohar, thank you very much.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

CUOMO: Poppy?

HARLOW: All right. One region that Rex Tillerson will have to focus on if confirmed is China. On that note, Beijing is warning it is seriously concerned following President-elect Donald Trump's controversial comments just a few days ago on the one-China policy, not to mention that phone call with Taiwan's president.

So, what is the potential fallout? We'll dig into that, next.


[06:46:14] HARLOW: The Patriots almost giving up a huge lead against the Ravens on Monday night football, but Tom Brady comes to the rescue.

Hines Ward with more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Good morning.


Yes, Tom Brady looks like he's on his way to winning another MVP award. I mean, all the guy does is come up big when it matters the most. Now, check him out here when he finds Martellus Bennett in the end zone.

Poppy, this is what we call a 50/50 ball. There's nothing better as an offensive guy than taking the ball away from a defensive player to score the touchdown. But the play that sealed the game was Brady's long touchdown strike to Chris Hogan.

Look at this pass by Brady. It was right there in the bread basket. All I can say is I can't hate on Tom Brady.

Tom Brady, you're the man. He's the ultimate x-factor. The Patriots go on to win 30-23.

The NFL announcing yesterday it plans to spice up the pro bowl weekend. They'll have the skills showdown that will include, drum roll --


WARD: That's right, dodgeball, baby. They're going old school. That's going to be so funny to see, where players will take part in other events as well, such as the relay race, the precision passing, and the one that I'm really looking forward to, the best hands competition.

Now, in the NFL, they moved the pro bowl from Hawaii to Orlando this year. So, it should be fun to watch, especially the dodgeball, Poppy.

HARLOW: Especially the dodgeball.

Thank you, Hines. We'll see you soon.

WARD: No problem.

HARLOW: Coming up, President-elect Donald Trump picking Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state, if he can get him confirmed. What do foreign policy experts think about this choice? Former Congresswoman Jane Harman weighs in next.


[06:51:54] CUOMO: Breaking news this morning: President-elect Trump making it official. The nominee for the next secretary of state is ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

Let's get some reaction from former Congresswoman Jane Harman. She's now president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a veteran of foreign affairs and the politics thereof in this country.

So, Jane, Rex Tillerson, what do you see as the big plusses and the big questions?

JANE HARMAN, DIR. PRESIDENT & CEO, WILSON CENTER: Well, he's well known to the Wilson Center. He received our award, one of our annual awards. He's an impressive businessman.

The questions are, as have been raised here already, what are the ties, the economic ties to Russia? Can he see Putin without blinders on? And I will raise another one: will he really be secretary of state or will be ambassador of state? And then the rumor I'm hearing is John Bolton will come in and be deputy and he will be the inside guy. And that will be a very ideological turn for the Department of State.

HARLOW: We know that no number two for state is being announced today along with the Tillerson announcement. John Bolton comes with arguably more baggage than a Rick Tillerson with the Putin issues or equally as much when it comes to Iraq, someone who still thinks it was a good idea, the invasion. I mean, that was clearly a tough point for Donald Trump during the campaign.

Why do you see Bolton as number two? And, frankly, why do you see Tillerson not running the State Department?

HARMAN: Well, I see it's a rumor he's number two. But Trump is putting in people who are to the right ideologically in a number of positions, like Interior and EPA and so forth. So he is doing that.

I don't know. Tillerson has gravitas. He's another successful, I assume, billionaire. Handles himself in the way Trump likes people to handle themselves.

But I don't know what his hard experience is negotiating not just deals, economic deals, but really discussing the linkage among countries. I think we're going to turn to China in a minute.


HARMAN: He's going to have to understand that repudiating the one- China policy may start a war with China. Then, where are we going to be in terms of trying to prevent North Korea from using nukes against us? They view us as an existential threat. And they almost have the capacity, long-range missiles, and the ability to miniaturize warheads. How are we going to deal with North Korea if we're at war or have no relationship that's functional with China?

CUOMO: But from the outset, Donald Trump, as president of the United States, saying, let me look at one-China policy. How does it work for America? Is this in our best interest?

For a lot of the things he's done that seems spontaneous and not well thought through, there is a good intellectual construct there. Question the policy, let's see if it works for America. This is not high on the list of reckless things he's done yet.

HARMAN: Well, I think I differ. I wouldn't call it reckless. But I think it's dangerous. Maybe that's a different word.

The one-China policy is our fundamental relationship with China. It's the deal Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger cut to engage with China. That one-China policy goes away, and they've said they have grave concern about what he said, and we don't have the ability to do other things that I think we should do.

[06:55:03] I think he was right to talk to the leader of Taiwan. He can talk to any leader he wants to. I think he's right to raise the theft of intellectual property and the issue of China's currency. I think he's right to talk about China's provocations in the South China Sea. But that conversation won't happen if the one-China policy doesn't remain.

I'm really concerned that our ability to contain North Korea, if it's possible, won't happen if China's not more or less on the same team.

HARLOW: Here's how John McCain put it yesterday when that exact question was posed to him by Jake Tapper. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think it's healthy when you look again at the Chinese behavior I just chronicled. They're an independent nation and -- Taiwan. I believe in the one-China policy, but they are a democracy, which China is not. I believe that a conversation with the president of a freely elected democratic Taiwan is more than appropriate.


HARLOW: So here's what's happened since that phone call with the Taiwanese president, when you look at the U.N. Security Council, China has voted twice against the United States when it comes to Syria. In the last week, they've flown these nuclear capable bombers over the area they claim in the South China Sea. Coincidence?

HARMAN: I would say not. Let's also talk about blowing up the Iran deal. There's another place where at least we can contain Iran's nuclear ambitions for 10 to 15 years, even if you don't like the deal. I sure don't like their actions in the neighborhood.

But I would say if I were secretary of state Tillerson that my number one responsibility is to keep America safe and contain places that have nukes or almost have nukes and could transfer them to rogue actors who want to attack us. And if you want to start there, and I would want to start there, you can't blow up the one-China policy or the Iran nuclear deal.

CUOMO: But is it fair to say at this point that China has been a situation where Trump seems to be getting -- most people are approving what he's done. You want to talk to Taiwan? Fine.


HARMAN: I agree with that.

CUOMO: And something else that's been remarked on, China sent those nuclear capable bombers down there. No word from Trump about it. And that's unusual because a big fear of people certainly on the left was maybe he'll whip off a tweet saying you fly a plane like that again, and we're going to have trouble. And he didn't.

Maybe that's a low bar, but is there some satisfaction for you in that?

HARMAN: Maybe is my answer. I'd have to know more about what the whole context is. I'd have to think about it carefully, which I assume his advisors are doing. Provoking China in the wrong way is a mistake.

I agree with John McCain that we should talk to anyone we want to have a-- and have a relationship with a democracy called the Republic of China, Taiwan, and talk to its leader. I've been there myself. The Taiwan lobby is pretty powerful in Washington. But having said that, it's a mistake to blow up the one-China policy

because China says Taiwan is a core principle and it will go to war over Taiwan, and we don't start there.

HARLOW: Congresswoman, good to have you on. Thank you so much. We'll keep talking about this.

We got a lot of news to get to.

CUOMO: Let's get to it.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: We don't want intelligence interfering in our politics. We certainly don't want politics interfering in our intelligence.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: It could be Russia. I don't really think it is, but who knows.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: This simply cannot be a partisan issue. The Russians are not our friends.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president-elect didn't call it into question. He called on Russia to hack his opponent.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's happened to our political system where these e-mails get a lot more attention than any policy.

TRUMP: They have no idea if it's Russia. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Naming someone as secretary of state with these close ties to Russia certainly raises questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rex Tillerson would be a big asset.

TRUMP: He's much more than a business executive. He's a world-class player.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow is here this morning.

Always good to see you, my friend.

There is breaking news for you this morning. President-elect Trump announcing that his nominee for secretary of state is ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. The official word coming down just about an hour ago. We're going to speak to the communication director of Trump's transition team about the pick in just a moment. HARLOW: The choice of Tillerson could make -- will make for a

contentious confirmation hearing, given the ExxonMobil CEO's very close ties and long ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is just 38 days now until inauguration.

We have the transition covered beginning this morning with our very own Jason Carroll, who's live this morning for us, first of all, in Manhattan.

Good morning.


The president-elect tweeting about his secretary of state pick, saying, "I've chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world." Trump finally deciding on Rex Tillerson. After the two had a meeting over the weekend, a two-hour meeting on Saturday, Trump calling him a, quote, "good pick."