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German Officials: Recent Refugee in Custody for Terrorist Attack; Jordan Reed Ejected for Throwing Punch; Michelle Obama Opens Up in Interview with Oprah. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 20, 2016 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:16] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to update you on the series of violent attacks rocking global security in just the past 48 hours. Two of them coming in major European cities.

You got Berlin. Police now saying that an attack on a Christmas market where the attacker used a truck is presumed to be terrorism. In fact, German police say the attacker is a recent refugee from the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. That's going to have huge reverberations for the prime minister there, Merkel, who's been a big forgiver of refugees.

A truck steered into a crowd. At least a dozen dead at this hour, dozens more still injured. The driver in custody.

Also Monday, a gunman in Turkey yelling "Do not forget Aleppo", shooting and killing Russia's ambassador to Turkey. The disturbing incident caught on video. Seven people in custody, mostly the shooter's family now being questioned. The shooter was killed during the attack.

Both Russia and Turkey are vowing not to let this cast a shadow over their relationship.

Then, in Zurich, Switzerland, you had a mosque there that came under fire by a gunman. Three people were injured. You also had an explosion in Yemen in this time frame as well. So far, no larger claim of responsibility in either of those.

And again, Yemen was the deadliest of these last few attacks. It came on Sunday, 52 soldiers killed in a suicide bombing. ISIS did claim responsibility for that attack.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: China making good on its promise to return that U.S. underwater vehicle captured in the South China Sea. The Chinese defense minister describing today's transfer as, quote, "smoothly completed." The Pentagon says the United States will continue to investigate what they call an unlawful seizure. And they plan on operating in the disputed waters in accordance with international law. CUOMO: Outgoing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory calling a special

session tomorrow to repeal HB2, the transgender bathroom bill. In his video announcement, McCrory took a swipe at Democrats, including Governor-elect Roy Cooper saying they used the issue for political gain. The controversial law required transgender people to use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings.

CAMEROTA: President Obama granting 78 pardons and 153 commutations Monday. That's a single day record for the use of presidential clemency power. Altogether, he has commuted the sentences of more than 1,100 inmates, most of those involving drug-related charges. The White House says Mr. Obama is expected to grant more with just 32 days left in office.

CUOMO: All right. So the latest attack in Berlin is bringing back haunting members of happened in Nice, France. How can the international community stop events like this? Ahead.


[06:36:22] CUOMO: A tractor trailer barrels into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Monday. Twelve people dead at the last count. Nearly 50 injured. It's one of several attacks in the past 48 hours.

Take a look at the map on your screen. You've got Yemen, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey. The explosion in Yemen took out over 50 people.

In Turkey, you had the Russian ambassador killed by a Turkish police officer screaming, "Don't forget about Aleppo."

Let's bring in CNN global affairs analyst and former adviser to Democratic and Republican secretaries of state on the Middle East, Aaron David Miller.

ADM, it is good to see you. I'm sorry it is for this kind of occasion, but we need your perspective.

The president-elect is echoing the Russian perspective on at least what happened in Berlin and Turkey, which is -- do not burden us with complexity or subtlety. These are bad Muslims doing bad things. This is Islamic radical terror, and we must stomp it out. The president- elect saying that these people have to be taken off the face of the earth.

What is the risk in simple strength?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think it's appropriate to diagnose the problem. We have an issue with radical jihadi Salafi terror. It's not going to stop. It took the allies six years to defeat the Axis Powers, Chris, in World War II. We're now 15 years behind 9/11, after 9/11. I think it's fair to say that even while al Qaeda central and even ISIS has been losing ground that the jihadi enterprise is alive and sadly and tragically well.

So, it's OK to come to terms with the problem. The issue is how you talk about it -- how you talk about and the importance of enlisting Muslims. Certainly, the 1 percent of our fellow citizens who are Muslims in this country. Making sure you use the right vocabulary, the right formulations in order to enlist and recruit them.

And finally, in this war, in this war -- and it is a war -- and, finally, there is a risk in creating the notion that this is somehow a civilizational war, that this is a war between the forces of Christianity and Judaism and the West against Islam. In large part, a civilizational war simply can't be won.

And we're already at risk. We love to categorize and to find comprehensive solutions to problems. The war against terror, the war against cancer, the war against poverty, the war against drugs, the war against mental illness.

The reality is there probably isn't a comprehensive solution to this. We have to fight it smartly and we have to be smart ourselves and not scare ourselves to death.

CUOMO: But people don't like that. It's too subtle. It's too complex. It feels weak.

That's the criticism of President Obama and his strategy on one side. And the president-elect says, no, keep it simple. These are bad guys. They want to hurt us. Let's hurt them first.

And that plays very well in America right now. So, you wind up with a situation where what happened in Turkey, by anybody's analysis who understands the problem, is not the same as what happened in Berlin. But people don't want to hear that.

So, what is a leader to do?

MILLER: Well, they may not want to hear it, but one of the important missions and mandates of a president is to honestly educate the public on one hand, not create an aspirational goal that's beyond his and one day her means to achieve it, and not to scare the public to death.

[06:40:05] I mean, we face a major problem. It's not an existential threat to the United States. It's a problem that poses severe implications to our civil liberties and to our citizens.

If we, for example, assume that most American Muslims want to impose Sharia law somehow to subs -- to take away the Constitution and deposit their own religious teachings and law, I mean, I think that lays the predicate that makes it virtually impossible to recruit, to mobilize, to marshal the very constituencies that we need to fight this problem.

CUOMO: What are you --

MILLER: A decade from now, we're going to be dealing with this as well. I think every American president -- being tough is fine. George W. Bush was tough, but he had a different view of how to deal with American Muslims and the issue of Islam. The issue is how to be tough but be smart. CUOMO: But we'll see the simple politics play out in just a few

months in Germany. If it is true that the guy who drove that truck through the Christmas market just now in Berlin was a refugee from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that's the latest reporting from German officials, Angela Merkel is going to have real trouble in her election because she's been so welcoming of refugees. It's no coincidence, Nigel Farage, the Brexit guy, put a tweet saying, "Yes, it makes sense, this is the legacy of Merkel." Merkel's quote itself, "It will be hard to bear if this was a refugee."

Being soft can be punished in politics these days when it comes to terror.

MILLER: It can. And Mrs. Merkel is one of the most astute politicians in Europe today. She is faced with a real problem, as are most European governments. The question is, what is in the best interest of European security? Intelligence cooperation, trying to integrate rather than ostracize their own Muslim communities, trying to enlist and mobilize them in the fight against these Salafi jihadi -- this terrorist enterprise.

I think this is a problem that the Europeans are uniquely faced with, in large part because their Muslim communities are not as well- integrated as in ours. First and foremost, I care about what we're going to do. I'm hoping that when the transition comes January 19 to January 20, that we have the same kind of foresight and vision and smarts and prudence that's required to deal with this problem.

CUOMO: Aaron David Miller, appreciate the perspective on these breaking events. Thank you very much.

MILLER: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Chris, Michelle -- First Lady Michelle Obama looking back at her eight years in the White House. What is she doing now to help the Trumps? That's next.


[06:46:27] CAMEROTA: Let's talk sports now.

Washington's tight end lost his cool. What did that do to his team?

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

Hi, Hines.


Well, it definitely didn't help not having your best player on offense not in the game. But Washington, they're still in the playoff hunt, taking on Carolina on Monday night. In the third quarter, tight end Jordan Reed gets into it with Kurt Coleman. Now, the two scare off, and then it's on. Reid throws a punch at

Coleman in his face mask. Flags come out. Reed was ejected. Frustrating night overall for Washington.

I never understood why guys would punch other guys in the helmet. Luckily, he didn't break his hand. Carolina, they go on to win the game 26-15.

And finally, Bulls star Dwyane Wade gave a huge surprise to a Chicago family. He hooked them up with new furniture and holiday gifts. He also gave the family tickets to tomorrow night's game against the Washington Wizards. He's serious about using his first season with the Bulls to help his hometown.


DWYANE WADE, CHICAGO BULLS GUARD: I would donate money to the city of Chicago to try to help certain communities. I know I would do that, but as I do my job, others have to do theirs. And as I said, you know, obviously we put responsibility on our youth, but they're following their adults as well. They're following what's going on in their communities. They're doing what they see.

So, we have to do a better job. Others have to do a better job of leading. And if they don't do it, then the things that I'm trying to do become pointless.


WARD: Now, Alisyn, I love seeing other athletes giving back during the holidays. It's such an inspiration to us all, Alisyn.

So, kudos to Dwyane Wade for going out there and making these families who are less fortunate have a great Christmas.

CAMEROTA: So true, Hines. Those kids looked so excited when they saw the sneakers and all of the gifts. That is a great, great Christmas gesture. Thank you very much for that reporting.

WARD: No problem.

CAMEROTA: Well, Michelle Obama answering the questions that many people have been asking, will the first lady ever run for office? That answer next.


[06:51:57] CAMEROTA: This morning, many people talking about First Lady Michelle Obama's interview with Oprah Winfrey. They talked about the past eight years, about Donald Trump, and the presidential election.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: The words that we say moving forward, all of us, it matters, which is one of the reasons why Barack and I are so supportive of this transition, because no matter how we felt going into it, it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander in chief.

It wasn't done when my husband took office, but we're going high. And this is what's best for the country. So, we are going to be there for the next president and do whatever we have to do to make sure that he is successful because if he succeeds, we all succeed.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: When you say it wasn't done for your husband, for his presidency, what do you mean by that?

OBAMA: That there were people who did not support his presidency. There were people in Congress, there were leaders in Congress who did not support his presidency, which was not something that was good for the country. It was good for politics, but it wasn't good for the country.


CAMEROTA: All right. Let's discuss this. We want to bring in "Washington Post" reporter Abby Phillip and the author of "First Women," Kate Andersen Brower.

Ladies, great to have you here.

Abby, I want to start with you. Let's just start right there with what Michelle Obama was talking about. She was referring to Mitch McConnell and the meeting that was had in the very first days of President Obama's presidency, maybe even before he took the office. Mitch McConnell had a meeting with some high-level Republicans and said we're going to block him at every turn.

Michelle Obama is suggesting that she will take a different tact with the Trumps.

ABBY PHILLIP, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. It goes to show that she hasn't really let all of that go, that it's still at the forefront of her mind.

I think there's a distinction. She's made this distinction between the transition in the White House, the Bush White House to the Obama White House, and the transition in Washington, which I think we can still assume for Donald Trump is going to be fairly contentious and kind of acrimonious.

But I think she's trying to signal to folks who will listen to her that it's important to not do what they did in 2008 and 2009 going into the Obama administration, to not follow the Republican example for how to deal with an incoming president.

For the Democrats who are willing to listen, that's an important message because they're trying to decide what kind of tact do we take towards Donald Trump? How do we deal with this man who during the campaign we argued was unfit for the presidency? And she's making it clear where she stands on that. CAMEROTA: Kate, I want to play another portion of this Oprah

interview for you. And this is the moment where First Lady Michelle Obama explains what motivated her to speak so candidly against Donald Trump during the campaign. Basically, it's the "Access Hollywood" hot mike moment where he was caught talking about forcing himself on women.

[06:55:06] So, listen to this.


OBAMA: A candidate for the presidency speaking in such terms about women, as I said, was not a normal thing. So my response, you know, in light of what I was seeing from my female staff, what I was hearing from my daughters, their reaction to it, for me required a different kind of response. You know, you can't just stand before people and just give a regular political speech.


CAMEROTA: Kate, when about that? She sort of broke ranks with previous first ladies to give a more forceful speech.

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR, "FIRST WOMEN": Well, I thought it was really interesting. We remember back when she did "The Late Show" after Melania Trump cribbed from her speech. And she said, yes, that was tough, in the interview. Michelle Obama was kind of, there was a little dig at Melania then.

So, I think there's an unflinching honesty that we see from Michelle Obama again and again. And I think that the fact that she went on the campaign trail, she was very effective because she rarely goes out. I mean, I was struck in that interview last night where she talked about how she only does things that she absolutely feels there's like a cost/benefit and a plus side to her going out.

And in fact, she doesn't go out a lot and makes her a more important voice, because she doesn't have any skin in the game. She's not trying to get elected, and I don't think she wants to run for office.

CAMEROTA: Well, you bring us to our next point because so many people after her sort of tour de force performance at the Democratic Convention thought, ah, she's the next voice of the Democratic Party. She'll run for office. She shot that down last night.

So, let's listen to that portion of the interview.


OBAMA: -- don't really understand how hard this is. And it's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again.

But let me just tell America -- this is hard. It's a hard job. I said it on the campaign trail. It requires a lot of sacrifice. It is a weighty thing. And it's not something that you even look to one family to take on at that level, you know, for that long of a period of time.


CAMEROTA: So, Abby, do you believe her, is that it? End of story, she'll never run for office?

PHILLIP: I do believe her. I mean, I think of all the people in Washington who say, "I'm not going to run for office", Michelle Obama's probably the one person people should take that at face value. She really does not like political -- you know, the kind of political engagement her husband has been a part of for so long.

She was very hesitant to bring her family and herself through this process. Now that she's done it, I think she feels like she has done it in a way that she's proud of, but she doesn't like being in Washington. She doesn't like politicians. I think she feels like her personality, her honesty and frankness is just ill-fitted to being a kind of smooth-talking politician. Maybe just like Barack Obama is.

CAMEROTA: So, Kate, you study first ladies. How will Michelle Obama be remembered?

BROWER: Well, I would add to what Abby's point. I thought it was remarkable that she went to bed before the election results were out. That says a lot about Michelle Obama. I think she was steeling herself to the results, but she went to bed before she found out what was happening on election night.

I think that she'll be remembered as a very traditional first lady. She did a lot of good with the Let's Move campaign, her military -- you know, shining a spotlight on military families. As the first African-American first lady, you know, it's truly remarkable. And she was a role model to so many, you know, young girls in this country who had never seen somebody in that position who was African-American.

So I think simply being there is her legacy, one of the biggest parts of her legacy.

CAMEROTA: She did talk about that. How one of her goals was to make the White House more inclusive and she really tried to do that, she said, during those eight years.

Kate, Abby, thank you very much.

BROWER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right. What's your take on this? You can tweet us @NewDay, or you can post your comment on

We're following a lot of breaking news this morning, including the latest information about a series of terror attacks around the globe. So, let's get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were people bleeding, people lying in the pavement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is the fear that the truck may have been hijacked and then used here to plow into this Christmas market.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People started running. People started screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does bear all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack.

CAMEROTA: The chilling assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gunman shooting defiantly, do not forget Aleppo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no shortage of Islamist groups and others in Turkey who would have motive to kill the Russian ambassador.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in for a very long nightmarish few years here.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, December 20th, 6:00 in the East.