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Ivanka Trump's Conflicts; Separated Twins set to Move to Rehab Center; Foods to Eat to Reduce Stress; Trump Lashes out at Media; Trump Backer and Protester Make Amends. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 15, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:10] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: New questions this morning about the role Mr. Trump's children will be playing in his administration. Already his children have appeared alongside Mr. Trump at major meetings while they are still running his businesses. Sources say Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, will have roles in the White House.

So let's discuss with CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, and "New York Times" reporter Rachel Abrams.

Great to see you both.

Rachel, great to have you here, because you have done a lot of reporting on Ivanka Trump's business and any possible entanglements. It's all complicated. So where do you see the biggest problems?

RACHEL ABRAMS, REPORTER, "NEW YORK TIMES": I think that the biggest problem for Ivanka are that she's got a -- an enormous apparel and accessories business, mainly targeted toward women, that has deals all around the world. She's -- mainly her business is licensing her name. So she's selling her name -- the use of her name to companies around the globe that are making handbags and jewelry and accessories. And the issue with that is that some of these companies could have government connections. And if she's going to have a large role in the White House, there could be a potential conflict of interest, even if one has nothing to do with the other.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So, Kirsten, I'll take the other side, which is, it's not complex. It's actually very simple. There's an obvious conflict for the president-elect and for his kids. The only question is, what can you do about it? Do you think his kids can be part of the government, no matter what title they have, and maintain a role in their business? And if not, how could they do that to your satisfaction?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the only way that they could do it -- there's a couple different pieces to this. The first is, I think that they would need to do exactly what the government ethics office has advised President-elect Trump should do, which is to basically divest of all of their holdings. And, you know, everything would have to go into a blind trust. I don't think -- see there's any other way around it other than that.

In terms of actually holding a job in the government, they're going to run afoul of some nepotism statutes, though it looks like maybe with Jared Kushner, for example, there may be a work-around if he doesn't take a salary. I think it still violates the spirit of the law, but they may be able to do it legally.

In terms of Ivanka playing a first lady role, I actually think that there's nothing controversial about that in the sense that Woodrow Wilson did the same thing with his daughter when his wife passed away. It's a social role for the most part. It gets a little more dicey when you move them into a policy role in terms of advising people. But there is going to be a conflict of interest as long as they have Trump businesses operating outside of the White House. I mean I just don't see any way around that.

CAMEROTA: Look, part of the spirit of this is actually very touching, you know. He's close to his children. They're close to him. This is a family affair. His campaign was a family affair. He's -- there -- I mean, they are a very interconnected family. But because of that, it's almost like they're saying, look, we'll handle this. We'll take care of it. Nothing to see here. No worries. But, obviously, it does raise questions about what kind of policy dealings they will be doing.

ABRAMS: I think the big issue is that Ivanka, more than any of the kids, is really known to have the ear of her dad. All three of the older kids have roles in the Trump Organization. They all have offices at Trump Tower here in New York. They're one floor below their father. They've said before that they take the first meeting with potential partners and then they bring potential business dealings to their dad.

So she's really close to him. It's no secret that she's sort of like the golden child in a way. And I think even though the first lady position is largely ceremonial, she still has the ear of her father on many other potential diplomacy and policy decisions.

CUOMO: Yes, here's the catch, Kirsten, is, security plans. I lived this. My brother was the closest adviser to my father. My father's passed away. My brother is the governor of the state of New York. At one point, in my father's administration, he had to politically disown my brother. Wasn't comfortable in the family. Wasn't comfortable for Andrew. But the media started going after the relationship of my brother and my father.

CAMEROTA: But how did he do that?

CUOMO: He -- he did it in every obvious way that he could. My brother left the government, even though he wasn't taking any money. He went into private practice. My father told everybody, look, he's my son. I love him. I'm not talking to him about policies. He's not coming to my meetings. He's not meeting with anybody. And then the media still chewed on Andrew's behind for a while and eventually left it alone. The concern then becomes, is Trump setting up his kids for that kind of scrutiny, because of the impossibility of separation? So is he risking putting them in the White House at their own -- to their own ultimate disadvantage, but can he get around it because of security clearance?

POWERS: Well, I think he is and I also think he's putting himself in a vulnerable spot because this could be something that people end up not really liking in the same way that they -- they resisted Hillary Clinton in the role that she was in, in the Clinton White House. And I think that, frankly, the criticism of Hillary Clinton at the time was a fair criticism and it's why these nepotism statutes exist really is because when the president chooses somebody, whether it's his wife, or his daughter, or his son-in-law, and puts them in a position of influence, running policy, it's impossible for the people who work there to complain about them, right? I mean if they're doing something that they're --

[08:35:32] CUOMO: That hasn't been my personal experience, but I think theoretically, yes.

POWERS: Yes, well, I mean it's very -- there is -- very few people are going to go to the president and say, I don't think your wife is doing a good job running something.

CUOMO: Right.

POWERS: You know, it's just -- it just puts people -- it makes it very difficult for the people who work there. And so, look, the truth is, whether they're in the White House or not, they obviously would be advising him. You know, the issue is whether or not they have any influence over other staff and people reporting to them and things like that. But I think that Trump is going -- is taking a risk I think if he puts them in official roles.

CAMEROTA: Kirsten Powers, Rachel Abrams, thank you very much for being here.

ABRAMS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: What's your take out there? You can tweet us @newday or post your comment on

CUOMO: All right, so another early Christmas present for the family whose conjoined twins were recently separated. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us what's next for young Jadon and Anias, next.


[08:40:03] CUOMO: It is a special day for the McDonald family after two months in the hospital and a grueling 27-hour surgery, their kids are separated. No longer conjoined twin. Jadon and Anias are making big strides in their recoveries. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been there every step of the way. Here's a look.


NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER: You are going to have to drive the van with Aza in it and then I'll ride in one ambulance and we'll have someone else ride in the other one.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a day the McDonalds had been waiting for -- discharge.

CHRISTIAN MCDONALD, FATHER: There's your brother Jadon.

GUPTA: Jadon and Anias, born connected at the head, were finally separated in a marathon 27-hour operation. While doctors are pleased with the recovery, they have battled infections, fevers, and seizures, to get here.

GUPTA (on camera): For the past two months, this has been Jadon and Anias McDonald's home, craniopagus twin who were separated two months ago to the day. They're now going to move on to a rehab facility, and I want to go say hi to them one last time at this hospital.

I love this.

N. MCDONALD: I know.

GUPTA: Look at this.

N. MCDONALD: I don't -- people think (INAUDIBLE).

C. MCDONALD: They -- they always touch. Yesterday during the -- as soon as they were in the wagon downstairs, I looked over and they had their arms locked. And then I looked over again, they were holding hands. They have a great bond.

GUPTA: He loves the camera too, doesn't he?

N. MCDONALD: He does.

C. MCDONALD: This kid here was born for the cameras.

N. MCDONALD: He sure was.

GUPTA: I'm really happy for you guys. Really, really happy.

N. MCDONALD: Isn't this the best.

C. MCDONALD: Thank you.

GUPTA: You're going to -- you're going to be OK saying good-bye to all these folks, Nicole?

N. MCDONALD: We've all come to an agreement that it's not good-bye, it's just see you later.

GUPTA: When the boys were first born, mom and dad, Nicole and Christian, would wheel them around the hospital in a little red wagon. Why? It was the only thing that would fit them top to bottom. Well, they're now going to be leaving the hospital again in a red wagon. But this time, they're going to be side by side.

They have spent 174 days in this hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, yes.

GUPTA: For the McDonald twins, it's good-bye, but on to a new beginning.


GUPTA: Well, Chris and Alisyn, a very heart-warming moment certainly, but keep in mind, this was a day no one was sure would absolutely come. A very big operation. In fact, Dr. Goodrich told me that on the day the separation occurred, it was like another birthday, a rebirth. That's exactly what's going to be happening with these twins at the rehab facility. They're going to learn all the things they hadn't learned over those first 13 months of life. We'll be keeping an eye on them.

Chris and Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, what a milestone. It's so nice to see them leaving the hospital.


CAMEROTA: That's a --

CUOMO: Still fragile, a fragile existence for them --

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: But, boy, you've got to file this story under taking it for granted. You know what I mean? All the things that parents take for granted and what we take for granted about our kids and their health. They have such a special appreciation. You see the love of the people who helped them for 174 days.


CUOMO: That's a unique dedication. That's more than a job, it's a calling.

CAMEROTA: Oh, absolutely, they do God's work.

Gosh, our show has been very emotional this morning. We've had a lot of emotional stories. And that one is a -- has a really nice ending.

All right, switching gears, what food should you turn to if you want to reduce your stress level?

CUOMO: Pizza! Next story.

CAMEROTA: No. CNN's health Jacqueline Howard explains, not pizza, in "Food as Fuel."


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH WRITER: Turning to superfoods when you're stressed may help you feel better. Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach contain folates and B-12. These nutrients are associated with chemicals in your brain that help regulate emotions and pleasure. And if you crave carbs, try steel cut oatmeal. Research suggests quality carbs help your brain regulate serotonin, which stabilizes your mood. And a complex carb like what's found in oatmeal won't spike your blood sugar, which already might be high under stress. And if you can't deny your sweet tooth, pick fruits rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, like blueberries and strawberries. One study found vitamin C may help lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels.



[08:48:40] CUOMO: All right, so here's what we do here on NEW DAY. Yes, the president-elect loves to tweet. No, we're not going to cover all of them. But when they go to policy and germane discussions and points of fact, then we'll get a taste. And in the last few minutes, the president-elect has taken a shot at those covering his business conflicts, tweeting, quote, "the media tries so hard to make my move to the White House as it pertains to my business so complex, when actually it isn't!

He's also complaining about coverage of Russian hacking of the election. Quote, "if Russia" -- and, remember, the intel agency says there is no if about it -- "if Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?"

Let's get "The Bottom Line" on these from CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston. The first one is his matter of opinion. Is it complex? Is it simple? All we know is the conflicts are real. We'll have to see what he does about them. The second tweet, "if Russia." What fact basis do you think Donald Trump could have to deny what the intel agencies came out united about on October 7th before the election?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. I don't know what his fact basis is. And the fact that you had the White House yesterday say that maybe that he actually knew something during the election --

CUOMO: But that's politics.

PRESTON: Well, it could be politics. I mean who knows. But --

CAMEROTA: But it's relevant. It's relevant.

PRESTON: But if --

CAMEROTA: If he knew something, he's saying, why didn't the White House say what they knew? Why didn't he say what he knew if, in fact, he did know it?

[08:50:02] PRESTON: Why is he still -- why is he still addressing it at this point? He's going to be the leader of the free world. He's the president of the United States. Why does he care? I've always been perplexed, by the way, from the very beginning, why was he so defensive of -- of Russia. I never really understood why.

CUOMO: Was, is -- PRESTON: Well, and continues to be.

CUOMO: And his people.


CUOMO: You know, Spicer, down the line, they --


CUOMO: Should -- Flynn -- should focus on, don't say we lost because of this. There's no proof of that. It's just talk. Fine, you can have that discussion all day absent some type of dispositive proof by the intel agencies, which they've been very quiet about and that hurts you in terms of the public dialogue. But in terms of whether or not it was Russia --


CUOMO: I don't get how it helps him to do this, and it may even create trouble for Tillerson --

PRESTON: Yes, I think --

CUOMO: Because it makes Russia more resident in his own resume.

PRESTON: Right. And, quite frankly, it's going to put Tillerson on the hot seat when he sits in these committee hearings and is going to have to answer some tough questions about whatever business dealings that he had with Russia, specifically with Vladimir Putin, if he too was involved.

CAMEROTA: But that tweet is interesting because what Mr. Trump is saying is, hey, if the White House was so concerned about this, why didn't they raise it earlier? We do have some reporting on why they didn't raise it before the election. They did know that they believed that Russia had been behind the DNC hacks and had meddled and they say they didn't raise it because -- Mr. Trump should like this -- they didn't want to play their hand to Russia. They, behind the scenes, we're trying to figure out how to retaliate and what the right --


CAMEROTA: Punishment was for Russia.

CUOMO: And they didn't want to disturb their dialogue with Russia on Syria.


CUOMO: And they didn't want to give Trump something --

CAMEROTA: True (ph).

CUOMO: To carp about if the -- if Hillary Clinton won.

PRESTON: Well, and they also thought that --

CUOMO: That's what the reporting is.

PRESTON: And they also thought Hillary Clinton was going to win.

CAMEROTA: Right. Right.

PRESTON: As did everybody at this table, as did everybody in the Trump campaign and --

CAMEROTA: So they didn't have to go public with it because they were betting on Hillary Clinton winning.

PRESTON: Well, I think everybody was betting on Hillary Clinton. But, again, why is Donald Trump, at this moment in time, why is he even responding? Why is he responding? Why doesn't he have a surrogate out there responding if he feels the need to do so? The bottom line is, is that his words matter. Everything that he says, whether it's on Twitter or issues a statement, can move markets, can start wars. Why is he doing this? I don't understand.

CUOMO: All right, so let's go from conflict to coming together.


CUOMO: Let's show the video of one of the ugly moments during the election of this guy sucker punching a protester at one of the Trump rallies. Remember this? The guy in the hat, boom, sucker punch. Guy's defenseless, doesn't see it coming, and then, you know, he can't even fight back because he's getting walked out of the place.

So, this man in the hat gets brought up on charges because that is a crime. It's called assault. Now, we get to the hearing. The victim winds up wanting this to go away and be OK. And the man winds up not being charged. And they wind up hugging it out. Mark Preston, the bottom line?

PRESTON: It's a moment. It's one of the good moments of this campaign, which was one of the most ugliest moments of this campaign.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but we credit Rakeem Jones, who was the victim here. He is what's giving us this wonderful moment.

PRESTON: Oh, 100 percent.

CAMEROTA: Because the perpetrator, who is 79-year-old -- the Trump supporter, he said originally that the guy deserved it.


CAMEROTA: So he was just being walked out by security. He also said that you bet I liked it when it happened. He said he liked punching him.


CAMEROTA: Because he didn't know if that person was ISIS. Was one of (INAUDIBLE).

PRESTON: Right. And if you all remember, this was during the height of like major violence at, you know, at these things. You know, the bottom line is, going back to the victim actually saying, you know what, let's just bury the hatchet and let's try to move on, you've got to give that guy credit.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

PRESTON: You have to give him more credit, right?

CAMEROTA: That is the beautiful part here.


CAMEROTA: That is the Christmas spirit coming through.


CUOMO: Because he didn't have to.

CAMEROTA: Rakeem Jones.

CUOMO: Because he didn't have to, absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Of course not.

CUOMO: Because, you know, he can say he liked it. It was a stupid thing to do. Unless you're defending yourself, hitting someone is stupid and his reason for doing it made it even more stupid.

PRESTON: And he sucker punched him. I mean he clearly -- I mean I --

CUOMO: And it was -- it was a violation of man law as well.


CUOMO: But, he's an older man. Make Rakeem saw that in him and he wanted this to be better. That's what he said was motivating his protest in the first place. It was a nice end to an ugly incident.

PRESTON: I think we all have to ask ourselves, would we have done the same thing? I don't know, personally.

CUOMO: Camerota?

CAMEROTA: I am scared when someone punches me.

CUOMO: You look like a sucker puncher.

CAMEROTA: So I would have run away and I don't know if I would have hugged him later.

CUOMO: Nobody punches -- nobody's punching you on my watch.

PRESTON: You are so chivalrous there. CAMEROTA: That's -- yes.

CUOMO: Go ahead and try it. See what happens.

PRESTON: You're very chivalrous.

CAMEROTA: Because he's the one who is most aggressive. So, anyway.

OK, thanks, Mark. That's fun. "The Bottom Line."

Late night laughs, next.

CUOMO: That's not what this was?


[08:58:11] CAMEROTA: Comics taking on Mr. Trump's cabinet picks and Russia. Here are your late night laughs.


JIMMY FALLON, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": If you want to know if Santa has you on his nice list or his naughty list, just ask Russia to hack it for you and they'll do it. They'll do it. Don't worry, they'll get to it.

Did you see this yesterday, "The New York Times" published a lengthy article outlines how Russia successfully cyber attacked the U.S. and influenced our election. Of course, most Americans are really upset. They're saying, the implications for our democracy are -- well, look, Kanye's at Trump Tower. Oh, my God, look, I've got to tweet about it

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Trump's cabinet really is taking shape. And it's important that it takes shape because there's this thing called the line of succession. Here is the actual chart for the line of succession, which doubles as the chart of haircuts you can get at the senior center. So, for those of you out there concerned with diversity, don't worry, the secretary of agriculture appears to be a black guy.

SETH MEYERS, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Executives at Exxon Mobil are saying that secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson has learned to get along with Vladimir Putin for business reasons, but is not fond of him. Really? Look at this picture. The only thing missing, the only thing missing from that picture is mistletoe.

JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Yesterday the president-elect met with Bill Gates, Jim Brown and Kanye West. Today he met with executives from Amazon, Tesla, Apple, Google and FaceBook. The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, did not meet with Donald Trump. I'm guessing for the same reason Dr. Frankenstein never went out of his way to meet the monster.


CAMEROTA: Those are good stuff. CUOMO: They actually say that the Twitter guy -- different theories

about why he didn't make it.

CAMEROTA: Yes, why?

CUOMO: The word from the team is, not a big enough company.

CAMEROTA: Twitter?

CUOMO: You know.

CAMEROTA: It's a household name.

CUOMO: Time for "Newsroom" with Carol Costello.

You know, they're talking in market cap, Carol. It's not big enough that way. Not in terms of its PR.

[09:00:05] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'm glad you cleared that up for us. Thank you so much.

NEWSROOM starts now. You have a -- you guys have a good day.

CUOMO: No love.

CAMEROTA: You too.

CUOMO: No love. It's the lump of coal in human form.