Return to Transcripts main page


How Do Trump's Cabinet Picks Stack Up?;Dylann Roof Faces Death Penalty In Church Massacre;Oklahoma Officer Saves Woman's Life; How Will Trump Handle Global Hot Spots? Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 16, 2016 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:30] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Donald Trump putting together a cabinet that he boasts will be the best ever, so how do his picks and approach stack up so far? Let's ask "New York Times" columnist and author of the new book "Thank You for Being Late", Thomas Friedman, and we'll get to your book in a moment because I really want to talk about some of your context in there, Tom.

But first, let's put up a picture of the cabinet as it has shaped up thus far. Obviously, there is a lot of white men in this cabinet. There are five women, thus far. You call this cabinet prehistoric. What does that mean?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, NY TIMES, AUTHOR, "THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE": I was referring not to the whole cabinet, I was referring to the fact that all the appointments who are involved with energy and environmental issues have professed denialism or skepticism on climate change which takes them to pre-George W. Bush -- I don't know, actually, where it takes them.

Maybe it takes them back to Teddy Roosevelt because the George W. Bush administration actually had some really fine people on energy and environment and he, himself, in this 2007 State of the Union said climate change was a serious issue that we had to address. So this is a throwback to I don't know where.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Well, that dovetails with the book. You know, it's interesting. We can do all these Friedmanisms all in one. You had written a book called "The World Is Flat". Now you have "Thank You for Being Late". You combine those two concepts.

We've had multiple conversations on this show where people justifying Trump's picks when it comes to global warming say the following. Hey, science gets it wrong, brother. These predictions are wrong. They used to think the world was flat, so now they say it's heating up. Who knows if man has anything to do with it? I'm open. I'm not saying I know but it's not a settled question. The scientists could go both ways. We hear it all the time. Your reaction?

FRIEDMAN: So, Chris, I think it's perfectly excusable to want to ask to see the facts, to question, to ask hard questions about where the science around the climate change exists. But you know what? We have the two greatest bodies of climate scientists in the world in the U.S. government -- in the U.S. government that Donald Trump will soon lead as president. It's called NASA and NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

So, all Donald Trump has to do is ask for a briefing by the world's greatest climate scientists for whom he will soon be the boss, and say tell me the facts. He's told us at "The New York Times" he's open, but if you're open then why not actually consult the people who know the facts?


FRIEDMAN: It goes back to the CIA point. Rather than sit there and say this is silly nonsense, why not sit down with the people who have the facts and question them and ask very hard questions? I'm all for that.

CAMEROTA: One of the things that his cabinet picks and transition team have told us when they've come on about this, is until somebody can definitively tell us if we're five years away from catastrophe or 500, we're not going to ruin people's livelihoods that are in, you say, say the fuel industry. What's the response to that?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, the best response is to look at the pictures from Beijing and New Delhi. In case people haven't noticed people there can't breathe. New Delhi shut down a coal plant because the pollution there has gotten so intense and so toxic for people. So what does that tell you? It tells you that the next great global industry is going to be around clean air and clean power, OK, when the two most populated countries in the world now are also barreling down that path themselves because they can't breathe.

So we should invest in coal while the next great global export industry is going to be clean air, clean water, and efficiency. Technology -- you spoke technology. Wait a minute, that's our specialty. No, let's give that up and let's go back to digging coal. Like how mad is that?

CUOMO: Well, what it does is it appeases part of the manufacturing base of labor who is in that business, who've seen their jobs go away and are looking for a --

FRIEDMAN: Chris, there's so many more people involved in making solar panels, building efficient systems, building green buildings, than are digging coal.

CUOMO: True.

FRIEDMAN: Do you -- would you want your kids to go back digging coal?

CUOMO: True. At this point I'd like my kids to do anything that brings money into my household as opposed to taking it out of it. Let me --

CAMEROTA: But that's a different issue.

CUOMO: Let me ask you another question that dovetails again with what's in the latest book, which is that you point out 2007 is the big year for Tom Friedman. That that's one that we should look back on. It seem innocuous from the outside. Why was 2007 so big?

[07:35:07] FRIEDMAN: Well, Chris, what I point outin "Thank You for Being Late" is that in 2007 a whole bunch of things came together. The iPhone came out in 2007. Facebook in 2007, late 2006, opened itself up to anyone with a registered email address and went global. GitHub, the world's biggest software open source platform was started that year. Airbnb was started that year. IBM Watson was started that year. Android was started that year. You know, intel went up Silicon for the first time in 2007.

Two thousand seven, I think in time, will be understood as one of the greatest technological inflection points in history. Unfortunately, we missed it because of 2008, so right when our physical technologies suddenly sped up faster than ever -- like we were on a moving sidewalk that went from five miles an hour to 35 miles an hour. Because we went in 2008 into the worst recession since 1929, a lot of the social technologies we needed to go with that to help people adapt and adjust to this acceleration, they froze. And, Chris, we're living now in that disjunction.

Think what happens between 2007-2008 to a lot of middle-class people. Because of 2007, machines, robots, software start devouring white- collar and blue-collar jobs faster than ever and then in 2008 people lose their mortgages. And the combination of those two things together, I think, really produced the Tea Party and a lot of the anger and frustration that helped propel Donald Trump into the Oval Office.

CAMEROTA: And, Tom, also the concept in this is something that I totally relate to, which is that life is moving so much faster now. It's this dizzying pace between technology and social media and information overload, and all of that, and that's just -- that's where we are. I don't know if there's anything to do about it but you have a suggestion or a remedy, I guess, in a part called "anchoring" which, of course, we relate since that is our career. What can you do if you feel disoriented and dizzy?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know what I really argue is that the proper governing unit for the 21st century is going to be what I call the healthy community. The single-family is too weak, the federal government is too slow to adapt, and that's what I tell everybody.

And my book has a theme song. I wish I could have bought it so when you opened the book it would have played this song like a Hallmark card plays happy birthday. And the song is by Brandi Carlile. She's a wonderful country folk singer. It's called "The Eye" -- E-Y-E, and the main refrain is "I wrapped my love around you like a chain but I never was afraid that it would die. You can dance in a hurricane but only if you're standing in the eye."

And I think the accelerations I point to in the book are on technology, globalization, and Mother Nature of climate. They're like a hurricane. We have politicians who want to build wall against those winds of change. I understand it. But I think the proper governing unit -- the way to respond -- is with an eye that moves with this storm, draws energy from it, but creates a platform of dynamic stability within it where people can feel connected, protected, and respected.

That is the healthy community where people I think are going to have focus their attention on the local level. And I think the political struggle in our country and around the world now going forward is going to be between the wall people and the eye people, and my book is a manifesto for the eye people.

CAMEROTA: Well, it's a great read, "Thank You for Being Late", and we like that message of doing something in your local community to slow down your life. Thomas Friedman, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.

FRIEDMAN: I really appreciate it, you guys. Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to you, too.

CUOMO: Although I have no respect for tardiness, but we love having you on, Tom. Please come back soon.

All right, we're going to take a break. Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof was found guilty. In some ways that was the easy part of this process. He faces the death penalty. The jury returning guilty verdicts on all 33 counts. How's the community reacting? How are they feeling about what comes next and what justice demands, next.


[07:42:50] CUOMO: So, Dylann Roof now faces a life and death battle. This time for his own life, not those that he decided to take. A jury convicted him and -- for taking the lives of nine people, as we know. The South Carolina now, in January, is going to have to meet to decide whether it is time to take his life as justice.

CNN's Nick Valencia live in Charleston, South Carolina. More on what lies ahead and the reaction to what just happened. This wasn't a tricky legal situation but it's going to be a big emotional situation now, Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The guilty verdict was not a surprise to anyone who was in that courtroom yesterday morning, Chris. I was standing directly behind Dylann Roof as the guilty verdict was read out loud, watching him. My eyes trained on him because, as you know, for much of the trial he was emotionless. This is the most expression that we saw out of him. His right hand was noticeably fidgeting with his pants, his ears turning red as that guilty verdict count after count read out loud, guilty.

Just off to my right members of the family of the victims -- family members, some bowing their heads in prayer, others wiping tears from their eyes. It was six days of emotional testimony, two hours of deliberation for those jurors to find him unanimously guilty.

But throughout the trial, perhaps the most emotional moment came yesterday during the prosecution's closing arguments. Without warning they showed a picture of those bloody bodies, the worshipers lying on the ground there in that bible study. Some of the family members caught off guard by that. I spoke to one of those family members, the daughter of Ethel Lance,

one of the nine people killed by Dylann Roof. She said to me afterwards she believed that the jurors needed to see that photo to understand the gravity of what Dylann Roof had committed. She also, though, said something interesting to me. She said she was very conflicted on whether or not Dylann Roof should get the death penalty. Many family members are.

The next phase of this starts on January third, where those jurors will have to decide whether or not Dylann Roof will be put to death -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Nick, thanks so much for all of that reporting.

Well, an Oklahoma police officer jumps into action after a desperate family begs for help. CNN's Stephanie Elam has this week's "Beyond the Call of Duty".

[07:45:00] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just after midnight on Halloween. Blanchard, Oklahoma police officer Jordan Jones is parked along a highway when a pick-up truck speeds past him, hazard lights flashing.


JEFF LITTY, WIFE OF TINA COSTELLO: My wife is having a heart attack.

JONES: You could tell when he got out of the truck he was frantic.

ELAM: Jeff Litty's wife, Tina Costello, awoke complaining of tightness in her chest.

LITTY: I said we need to go to the hospital now.

ELAM: But they live out in the country.

LITTY: I had to make a decision whether to wait for an ambulance to arrive from a long distance or get her on the road to help.

ELAM: Along with daughter Briteny, they hit the road. Twenty miles from home Tina's face turns purple.

LITTY: I was panicked. It's the middle of the night, the woman you love is completely unresponsive, and you are about half-way between home and the hospital.

ELAM: He's racing to where there's usually a police cruiser. Officer Jones is there.

JONES: Hey, Blanchard. A 48-year-old female not breathing, unconscious. I'm going to try to get her out of the truck to start CPR.

ELAM: Did you think it was too late at that point?

LITTY: Yes, I did. Oh, she's gone.

JONES: No, she's not. She's got a weak pulse.

ELAM: For two tense minutes Officer Jones performed CPR.

JONES: I want you to give her two breaths, OK?

LITTY: Oh, baby. Oh, baby, come on. I can't lose mama, no.

ELAM: Then a sign of life.

JONES: She's breathing. Come on, Tina, take a breath. Come on, there you go.

ELAM: Tina is moved to an ambulance. Emotional, Jeff and Briteny thank Officer Jones.

LITTY: Thank you. He grabs you and he puts his big arm around you and he says it's going to be all right, buddy.

ELAM: What did you think when you watched the video?

TINA COSTELLO, HEART ATTACK SURVIVOR: I just cried. I just cried. I just love Officer Jones. He's an angel. He's a true angel.

ELAM: Dr. Jeff Crook operated on Tina as soon as she got to the hospital. One of her arteries was 90 percent blocked. Would she have lived had it not been for the intervention of Officer Jones?

DR. JEFF CROOK, INTERVENTIONAL CARDIOLOGIST: I don't think she would have. Starting the CPR when he did greatly improved her chance of survival.

BRITENY COSTELLO, DAUGHTER OF TINA COSTELLO: Well, he was a hero. He did everything he could.

LITTY: He didn't just save Tina's life, he saved our family.

JONES: Every night I go out to make a difference in somebody's lives and that was just a night I won.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Blanchard, Oklahoma.


CUOMO: Brave men and women going beyond the call every day to save people's lives.

CAMEROTA: What an angel. I'm so glad that we bring you those stories.

CUOMO: Now, a big political story, a big story of policy relevance is Russia -- the Putin, the Kremlin. However you want to turn it, they had a hand in what happened in the U.S. elections. It's creating a geopolitical mess. The question is what is going to happen in this standoff over what we know and what we don't know? National security getting lost in politics. Fareed Zakaria comes in with some really deep perspective, next.


[07:51:40] CUOMO: From Russia to Syria, China, and ISIS, the president-elect is going to be inheriting a whole host of global hotspots. How will a President Trump handle them differently than we're seeing right now with President Obama?

CNN's own Fareed Zakaria is here to help break it down. Fareed, always great to have you here, value added. One of the ways that is different is you have President Obama embracing the intelligence from our government and saying we know that Russia's fingerprints, Putin's, the Kremlin are all over what happened here.

Trump says I don't believe it. Now his motivations may be in part, at least in part, political. But I have to tell you, from the outside, when they say trust us, we know, trust is at all-time low of every institution. It doesn't sound compelling. We know how, don't worry about it. It's not compelling to the American audience right now in its entirety.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": You're exactly right and it's the problem with intelligence and there are two problems here. One, intelligence officials are very loathe to reveal sources and methods. The more they tell you about how they have come to his conclusion, the more Russia finds out what it is that they are able to determine and not.

And the second is this is not like legal evidence, you know. This is -- the nature of intelligence is it's all speculative, circumstantial. Think about that moment when the intel community tells Obama we think we have Bin Laden. They say -- President Obama says that they told him it was a 50-50 case. Now think about what a 50-50 case -- we now know that the statisticians were saying it was 60-40 or 65-35 that Hillary would win. It doesn't mean that the 35 percent chance can't happen. So all of intelligence has that quality.

What is striking, though, and you talk to the intelligence officials who've studied this seriously, is there's a pattern here. This is not an isolated event. The Russians have started doing this years ago in Georgia, in Ukraine, in Germany. German intelligence chief points out the Russians, in very similar ways, hacked into German Parliamentarian's accounts. Polish elections -- very similar methods, very similar groups that they use, very similar conduit, and it's always the same full spectrum operation -- hacking, trolling, countering espionage.

So the pattern is quite compelling and, frankly, what I think President-elect Trump should do is since he's getting bored of his intelligence briefings, tell them give me an intelligence briefing for one hour explaining the best case you have for why this is Russia.

CAMEROTA: Now, let's move on to President-elect Trump's pick for U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman -- controversial. He is an enemy of the two-state solution. What do we know about him? What -- if he becomes ambassador what does this mean for U.S.-Israel relations and Palestinian relations, and everything?

ZAKARIA: Look, he is very hardline. He is somebody who, as you said, does not believe in the two-state solution. He believes it would be entirely appropriate for Israel to annex the West Bank. These are positions that no U.S. administration, Republican or Democrat, has ever held since 1967 -- since these territories were defacto annexed. The United States has never said that they recognize the legitimacy of those annexations.

[07:55:00] He's also said -- had some very tough things to say about left-leaning Jews, as he puts it, and has likened them to the Jews who assisted in the Holocaust. I mean, it's a really incendiary accusation, particularly given that most Jews in America are left- leaning. I mean, Jews vote 75 percent for the Democratic Party generally.

So tough to see it as a healing moment but at the end of the day Israel is the power on the ground. They will decide whether they're going to make peace or not. The Palestinians have no power, they have no leverage. They just have the reality that they live under Israeli occupations without having political rights.

CUOMO: So why pick him, you know? What's your thinking about it? We know that his obvious connection to Trump is that he's a bankruptcy lawyer and he worked with him on his casino problems in Atlantic City. How do you get from there to he's the right face for America in this very turbulent time?

ZAKARIA: Well, the question answers itself. It doesn't -- it strikes me as a very odd choice. It's possible you could make the case that this is a Nixon going to China moment. That if he wants to make peace it's a way to reassure the Israelis that he's -- that he's serious. He is committed to their security and then he will pivot from that to try to find a path to a two-state solution.

I think it's more this was a friend, perhaps. We don't know but maybe some of the -- you know, his son-in-law is active in the Jewish community. Maybe there's something there. It's difficult to see how you get from here to a diplomatic solution.

CAMEROTA: There are so many hot spots around the world right now. I mean, Syria unfolding, you know. Russia, what's going on with China and what they're doing. The president-elect is inheriting a very, very complicated, heated world from President Obama. What are you keeping your eyes on?

ZAKARIA: I think, actually, on many fronts President Obama is leaving him a pretty good legacy. Relations with China are good. We have a good strategic dialogue. The most important piece of the Asia policy that would be -- that would deter China and keep in China in check, frankly, is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That is the thing -- when I goto Asia that is what they want. The Asian countriessay to the United States, stay in Asia and set up

thisalternative, in a sense, to China because otherwise we're all alone here and we can't counter China. So it's odd that Trump has come out so strongly against TPP and, yet, wants to counter china because the Asian countries say that is the principle way you bought china.

On Russia, they have a disagreement. Trump is going to have to figure out what is his Russia policy because Russia is blocking American interests on many areas. There are areas where he could cooperate. But what does he want to do on the Ukraine? Does he really want to sell out Ukraine?

Does he want to sell out the security of Poland to make some deal with Vladimir Putin who, by the way, he's never met? So, the idea that they can -- they'll get on famously and do well together, you know, it's all guesswork at this point. And Trump is a guy for whom first impressions matter so that first meeting will be fascinating.

Syria is the big problem. President Obama has had no solution to the Syria problem --


ZAKARIA: -- and he has, in a sense, punted on some of the crucial decisions. The most important one is are you going to accept the reality that Assad is winning in Syria.

CAMEROTA: Fareed, always great to have you here on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.

ZAKARIA: A pleasure.

CUOMO: We are following a lot of news on this Friday. Let's get to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's only one decision-maker and that is Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hacking tools could only point to the highest levels of government.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Republican nominee, himself, calling on Russia to hack his opponent.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: This foolish guy, Josh Earnest. Having the right press secretary is so important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to hit you and hit your hard. Sanctions is not something that the administration's going to lead with.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections we need to take action, and we will. (END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day. It is Friday, December 16th, 8:00 in the East. The Kremlin telling the White House to prove that Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election or to drop the issue. This, as we're learning U.S. intel points to Russian President Vladimir Putin being involved in the ongoing hacks.

CUOMO: The intrigue is that the president-elect is saying the same thing and it's creating tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and also between the current administration and the future one. We have every angle covered for you starting with CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez. He's here with us this morning and you were in front of the news that the White House knew that Russia was behind these hackings and did not act from as far back in July.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. We're learning that Russian spy agencies deployed sophisticated hacking tools, the kind used by the NSA to break into U.S. political organizations in the past year. Now, U.S. officials tell CNN that this is part of the reason why intelligence officials believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the disinformation operation --