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Clinton Supporters Hold out Hope; Russia Fueling Rift; Obama Vows Action Against Russia over Hacking; Michelle Obama Talks No Hope; Man Sucker-Punched at Trump Rally Hugs Attacker in Court. Aired 8:30- 9p ET

Aired December 16, 2016 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Supporters, two of whom volunteered for her campaign, four of them are from Pennsylvania, two from New York, they describe to us how they continue to struggle to accept Donald Trump's victory and how they're hoping that something will happen before Inauguration Day that changes the outcome.


CAMEROTA: How many of you, as you sit here today, think that something might happen before Inauguration Day to change the results? What do you think, Sonia?

SONIA PAYTON, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I'm just leaving it open. You never know.

CAMEROTA: Anything's possible.

PAYTON: Just like I was leaning (ph) with my glass of wine not expecting Pennsylvania to go red. Anything can happen.

CAMEROTA: This has certainly been a surprising election.

SALLY ROSENWASSER, VOLUNTERRED FOR HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: I'm hoping that, you know, somebody up there is looking down and saying, you know what, this is a law and you can't break that law. You know, you - you -

CAMEROTA: What law?

ROSENWASSER: Conflict of interest. Hamilton - well, the Hamilton electors. I mean I think that I'm holding out hope for that, that-

CAMEROTA: You're holding out hope that the electors will change their mind?

ROSENWASSER: Yes. I'm holding out hope that maybe five, six or seven of the Republican electors will change their mind.

CAMEROTA: And just follow that line of logic for me. So, the seven electors change their mind, that doesn't change the outcome.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not - no, that's not enough.

ROSENWASSER: It's not enough, unless every single one of the Democrats - I mean - I'm not 100 percent sure. Somebody educate me. I thought that it - if ten of the Republicans change their mind.

CAROL EVANS, CO-FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE WOMEN FOR HILLARY: What you're thinking of is the ten - ten of the Electoral College people have asked for a briefing by the CIA about the Russian hacking and the Russian involvement in swinging the election. We actually are 2.8 million votes ahead in the real vote. The vote of people voting all over the country.

CAMEROTA: The popular vote.

EVANS: I don't call it the popular vote. I call it the vote. There's an Electoral College vote. You can call that the other vote.

CAMEROTA: I understand, but this is how the founders set it up. I mean we do abide by the Electoral College. You don't have to like it but that is how we do our -

EVANS: I'm very excited about that because perhaps the Electoral - I'm very excited because maybe the Electoral College will do what Hamilton and the other founding fathers saw as the role of the Electoral College, was just to keep a sociopath from gaining the office of president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If enough defect to bring him below 270, and they don't have to defect to her, if he doesn't reach the threshold, then it goes to the House.

CAMEROTA: Are you pinning your hopes on that?

EVANS: Oh, no, I don't think there's any hope. I think that he will be sworn in. I still think there's a big point here, which is that the Electoral College, which Donald Trump won, is really an acreage game. We have this winner, one based on acreage, not on population of this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that doesn't speak at all to why the Democrats didn't win Pennsylvania specifically.

EVANS: I'm not arguing that this is what happened. This is what happen and we should have run a better game against the acreage issue. But, you know, this is something that we all need to think about in terms of whether the Electoral College serves our country when so many people live in urban areas, and what - or whether this is a completely outdated mode of elections.


CAMEROTA: All right, so you can hear them still processing the outcome there. You - I mean heard people like saying maybe Congress will have some sort of solution. At one moment it sounded like she was looking for a divine intervention. But I think that she was talking about Congress, and maybe the Electoral College. Look, on Monday, it would be, once again, shocking and out of the

complete realm of reality if the Electoral College were to change the outcome. But you hear Democrats, not just these six, you know, trying to cling to some hope. The ones who particularly felt despondent about the election.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Two points. One, you're great in this. I love watching you with the Trump people.


CUOMO: I love watching you with the -

CAMEROTA: I hope your second part to that is that -

CUOMO: It's not as easy as it looks. So, I love you. I'm biased. I love you. But, I mean, it's good.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Two, there's a little bit of a delusion about the Electoral College. Not only are you right because legally, there would be so many challenges. The states control what the electors do. The First Amendment.


CUOMO: It would take a long time. It's not practical. Two, this idea that Hamilton's Electoral College would have made it - Hamilton's Electoral College was designed to allow slave owners to have equal say because of population differences because slaves didn't count as human beings to vote.


CUOMO: And it was a direct relationship to let land owners -


CUOMO: Steal elections from the people.

CAMEROTA: Don't bother me with your facts.

CUOMO: I'm just saying.

CAMEROTA: OK, because this is a segment about feeling.

CUOMO: So you're giving - they're giving a dignity to the Electoral College it may not deserve. That's all I'm saying.

CAMEROTA: Fair enough.

CUOMO: All right, so this is the season of giving, and our top ten 2016 CNN Heroes could use your help to continue their inarguable good work. Our Anderson Cooper explains how you can help. Here he is.

[08:35:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S "AC 360": I'm Anderson Cooper.

Each of this year's top ten CNN Heroes proves that one person really can make a difference. And again this year, we're making it easy for you to support their great work. Just go to and click "donate" beneath any 2016 top ten CNN Hero to make a direct contribution to that hero's fundraiser on Crowd Rise. You'll receive an e-mail confirming your donation, which is tax deductible in the United States. No matter how small, it can make a big difference in helping the person who inspires you to continue their life changing work.

CNN is proud to celebrate all these everyday people changing the world and, through December 31st, to offer you this simple way to support their causes. And right now your donations will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, for each of this year's honorees. You can donate from your laptop, your tablet or your phone. Just go to Your donation in any amount will help them help others.



CAMEROTA: You do have to go check it all out. Oh, my gosh, these people are all so impressive. Check it out at

Meanwhile, President Obama will address reporters today for the last time this year. What will he say about the Russian hacking? We have "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:40:04] CAMEROTA: President Obama will likely face tough questions today from reporters about his response to the Russian hack of the U.S. election. Also, Michelle Obama has just given a new interview. So, for "The Bottom Line," let's bring in David Gregory. He's our CNN political analyst and author of "How's Your Faith?"

Hi, David.


CAMEROTA: So what - OK, it feels as though something - there's a rift between the Obama administration and the Trump transition team. They were all playing very nicely together. Has something turned?

GREGORY: It feels like it has on the Russia issue. And it's based on what they're saying publicly about just how big of a threat this Russia hacking is. The intelligence community has determined and warned of this back in the fall, back in October, before the election, that Russia was trying to interfere in the election, and it was hacking in ways that we all know about, the DNC and others, and that that was extremely dangerous. And now you've got Trump, who's saying that people are out to get him in the intelligence community and being dismissive of it, which is deeply troubling to the president who spoke to NPR and said, you know, that's not the right response. He's talking about retaliating in some fashion before he leaves office.

CUOMO: Right. Yes.

GREGORY: I think this is a major rift.

CUOMO: OK, so Trump has his issues with how he's handling this arguably poorly in light of what the intel community says is true. But on the flip side, I could envision a younger but not better looking David Gregory looking at the president at this news conference upcoming and saying, if it were so important, Mr. President, why did the White House do nothing way back in July when it found out about this? Why the urgency now?

GREGORY: I think there's no question that that is absolutely a valid question, as well as declassifying what sources of the leak they have right now and what exactly they have, who was behind it and why they didn't do it - do something stronger before now. And if it was an issue of influencing the election, was that a good enough reason? No, I think that absolutely a fair question. I worry -

CAMEROTA: But, David -

GREGORY: Here's what I worry about, though, Chris. I mean this becomes the fodder for politics in a way that's really dangerous because in this case the president-elect cannot know what he doesn't know. He doesn't know what it's like to deal bilaterally with Putin, president to president. He also doesn't know the potential for Russia to then target him, his administration, and the institutions of government that he will now preside over. That's what he's got to be very careful about. I keep saying because I think it's troubling, that the president-elect has to understand this is about the institution of the presidency, and the United States. It's not just about him. It's not just about this election.

CAMEROTA: But, David, how do we know President Obama didn't retaliate or the Obama administration? This stuff is all so cloak and dagger.


CAMEROTA: We know that he didn't address it publicly. How do we know that there wasn't some sort of counter cyber counter attack? I mean we'll never know that.

GREGORY: Yes. I don't - I don't have a way to know that. But, I mean, the president is talking about the need for response now. Now post- election. So I think that Chris' question still holds. And there's - the bigger question of, well, what exactly do you do about it? There's been good reporting about how difficult it is to identify exactly who is behind it and how you want to respond and how you classify it. I think more of this will be done as Congress investigates as well post, you know, post start of the year to figure out what was behind it and what should be done about it.


CUOMO: You know, every time you validate anything I say, Alisyn breaks a pen in her hand.

CAMEROTA: No, no, I actually just put ear muffs on. I have them right here.

CUOMO: She - she - I don't think like she can accept that?

CAMEROTA: What? I'm sorry, I can't hear you.

CUOMO: She's very involved.

CAMEROTA: But - but -

CUOMO: Michelle Obama, can we move to her?

CAMEROTA: Let's do that.

CUOMO: She just gave this interview. Let's play an excerpt because I think it's going to get some buzz.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: We're feeling what not having hope feels like, you know. Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept. And Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. I mean he and I and so many believe that if you - what else do you have in you don't have hope?


OBAMA: What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?


CUOMO: David Gregory, could this be construed as the follow-up to her, "I'm finally proud of my country" comment that she made at the beginning of the administration? Now this, "we know what it's like not to have hope" at the end of the administration?

GREGORY: Um, I guess - I haven't thought a lot about that, but I'll - I - I put it a little bit differently. I think about it a little bit differently. I think she's giving voice to what a lot of Democrats in the country feel, which is not just disappointment that their side lost, but a real sense of being disconsolate about the future, despairing about the future. I mean Michelle Obama was a critical voice down the stretch. Remember, they didn't pose for that picture of the Trumps visiting the White House. I don't think Michelle Obama wanted to do that. President Obama wants to try to influence the president-elect, wants to make certain arguments. I think he feels an obligation as president of the United States to work with him as closely as he can.

[08:45:01] Michelle Obama, I don't think, feels that and I think she's giving voice to a lot of that despair. And this is a tremendous challenge that the president-elect has. There's going to be a lot of these feelings here that aren't about just the contest of ideas, but they're about something deeper. They're about his temperament. They're about his qualifications. They're about his overall approach to kind of reassuring America about the future. And I think there will be a lot more of that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but, I mean, but just very quickly, 60-plus million people who voted for Donald Trump do have hope today and feel as though finally their voices will be heard, or that they lives may turn around.

GREGORY: No doubt.

CUOMO: Fair point.

CAMEROTA: So, yes, and she's obviously channeling -

GREGORY: No, it's absolutely a fair point. But this, again, this - look, President Obama was a divisive leader at a polarized time. I mean there's no question about it. And so, yes, there are people who have a very different view of what Donald Trump means in terms of shaking up the system and the kind of hope that provides. But I think Michelle Obama is speaking in a very powerful way to the fact that I think a lot of Democrats, liberals, are going to have a hard time getting over it and just kind of moving on to an administration. They're going to feel a kind of deeper wound. And again, a lot of opponents say, yes, you've got to get over that.


GREGORY: But I think she gave voice to what they're feeling.

CAMEROTA: David Gregory, thank you. Have a great weekend.

GREGORY: Thank you.

CUOMO: A wise man once told me, every moment that you say - stay stuck here is a moment that you're not moving forward. So if we want to talk about hope -


CUOMO: Yes, you may, because it was me that I was talking.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I know.

CUOMO: So, one of the biggest low lights of the 2016 campaign was this moment. Remember this Trump supporter in the hat, old guy, comes over, sucker punches a protester being led out. We want to talk about why there's no hope. How about why there is hope. Look at this scene. How did this happen? We have the young man in this picture. The man who got sucker punched is with us now to tell us why he decided to go from a punch to a hug.

Thank you for being with us, my friend.


[08:50:20] CUOMO: Oh, for the love. CAMEROTA: You'll remember this moment. That was when a Trump supporter

sucker punched a protester at a rally in North Carolina. Now we have a big update for you because when these two men came face-to-face in court, look what happened, the victim offered a hug. The victim in that altercation joins us now live.

Rakeem Jones, welcome.


CAMEROTA: We're so glad to be talking to you because we need to know how you worked your way around from being blindsided in that first shot, being punched by that man, to then in court hugging him.

JONES: It was more so a natural reaction. It wasn't anything that was planned or, you know, thought about. It happened.

CUOMO: Rakeem, what do you say to people from back when this first happened. There were people who were happy that Trump supporters, a slice of them, right, we don't want to generalize, but the - a slice of them, they were happy he punched you. They felt that people were going to protest Trump under false pretenses. That they were there just to cause trouble and start trouble. What do you say to people like that?

JONES: Well, to those, first off, I'm not a protester. I was never there to protest in the first place, which I've said and I will continue to keep saying.

CAMEROTA: What were you there for?

JONES: I was never there to protest.

CAMEROTA: What were you doing?

JONES: A social experiment, and as a spectator. You know, with a diverse group of people. We wanted to see what was going on.

CUOMO: So what do you say to them who - they were happy about that? What do you want people to know about what you think needs to be done for there to be more unity?

JONES: I mean for there to be more unity, I mean just try to get an understanding of the other side. That's it.

CAMEROTA: That is beautiful, Rakeem. So, Rakeem, in court, OK, so just tell us what happened. So this guy was 79 years old, John Franklin McGraw, he's the one who punched you. So in court, what happened when you came - when you saw each other and confronted each other?

JONES: We saw each other, you know - well, prior to court, we had a, you know, a private conversation via the Internet, which kind of, you know, we got to understand of who each other - who we were. You know, so it -

CAMEROTA: Why? What did he say to you via the Internet and e-mail or whatever? What did he say to you during that conversation?

JONES: He basically - he basically wanted to, you know, let me know that it wasn't a racial thing. That he didn't threaten me, you know. He reiterated that most of the time, you know, but as far as people wanting to say what he was saying was scripted in court. It wasn't scripted. He actually - the things he was saying especially about being caught up in a political mess and everything, he actually said the same things when we were, you know, when we were actually talking to each other.

CAMEROTA: So you felt he - you -

JONES: So it wasn't anything that was scripted.

CAMEROTA: So he wasn't scripted. You felt he was genuine. You felt that he reached a genuine understanding of who you are what you stood for?

JONES: Yes, it's a - I mean he just - it - it was genuine. Even if it wasn't what people expected him to say or felt like he should have said, it was him all the way around. And, you know, I got that feeling because we had a private conversation and everything he said in court was the same thing he said in private without any lawyers, without anyone else.

CUOMO: Well, you know, look, one of the reasons we're telling this story is to show how it concluded, but also we're talking about hope on the show today, and where is the hope, should there be hope. This wasn't about a war of words. He punched you in the face. And if you had felt differently about it in court, he may be in a different place right now because I'm sure the judge was very swayed by your own mercy in his reckoning of what the law would provide as justice. So we want people to hear from you about why you thought you could rise above what was done to you in the sake of coming together and understanding a little bit better. So, Rakeem, thank you for telling your story here today and all blessings to you and the familiar for the holidays.

JONES: All right, thank you.

CAMEROTA: And thank you for modeling that hug for everyone. Great to talk to you.

JONES: Thank you. You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: Late night laughs -

CUOMO: Please.



[08:58:17] CAMEROTA: All right, late night laughs bring us the holiday theme today. Car pool karaoke style. James Cordon got some old friends together for their take on this holiday classic. Watch.


SINGING: I don't want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need. I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree. I don't need to hang my stockings, there upon the fireplace. Santa Claus will make me happy, with a toy on Christmas Day. I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. Baby, all I want for Christmas is you.


CAMEROTA: This is awesome!

CUOMO: There's the one and only, though. Mariah.

CAMEROTA: I know, but look at them. Look at this cast of characters. First of all, this is the best Christmas song, do you agree? New fangled - the best new fangled Christmas song.

CUOMO: It is intoxicating.

CAMEROTA: It's intoxicating.

CUOMO: Absent even the knob.

CAMEROTA: I mean -

CUOMO: But I love what he's done with this, Cordon. You know, it started off as a little bit of a gimmick, but now it's become like a real cultural mainstay. And this is the highest form of it yet.

CAMEROTA: Well, part of what's so great about it is that guy can sing.

CUOMO: He can sing, no question. But look at all the big names he gets to do something like this and made it one big party.

CAMEROTA: I know. Why hasn't he had us on there yet?

CUOMO: You can sing.

CAMEROTA: No, I can't. That's the problem.

CUOMO: I cannot. I don't even know if I could fit in that car.

CAMEROTA: Right, that's a problem also.

CUOMO: Small.

CAMEROTA: But that is so great. I love it. I'm so glad he does that.

CUOMO: Awesome.

[09:00:00] CAMEROTA: I love that song. Merry Christmas, everyone. Have a great weekend.

CUOMO: Now, someone who actually, in a prior career, was a lounge singer, now rings you the news in the "Newsroom," Carol "rumba rumba (ph)"Costello.

CAROL COSTLELO, CNN ANCHOR: How did you know that was my signature song?