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Trump Tweets About Election Again; Trump Could Pardon in Advance; Teen with Rare genetic Disorder Shoots and Scores; Tennis Star Attacked. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 21, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:16] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President-elect Donald Trump is tweeting this morning, not about the ongoing terrorist situations around the world, but about November's election. Why isn't he looking toward Inauguration Day instead of looking back?

Joining us now with "The Bottom Line," senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" and host of "The Examining Politics" podcast, David Drucker.

Let's put up the tweets. One he wrote. Then he deleted. He seems to be watching whatever is going on this morning about the Electoral College and how it's so much more difficult to win the Electoral College than just the popular vote and that he would have campaigned differently if he wanted to win the popular vote and that he spent so much less money than Hillary Clinton did when she lost the popular vote -- when she lost the election. The only thing he hasn't mentioned is, which could be true, is that she had more faithless electors than he ultimately did in the Electoral College. But why can't he let this go, these ideas of the legitimacy of his win?

DAVID DRUCKER, SR. CONGRESSIONAL CORR., "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I'm not -- I'm not sure, Chris. And I think, though, I've kind of come to this conclusion about Donald Trump and his tweeting, that whatever he's tweeting about on any given day, the story is somewhere else. And so while it all makes sense in terms of the president-elect's focus on his legitimacy and the prowess of his campaign skills over the course of these last two years that we followed him, since he won the election November 8th, and I sort of watched the tweeting continue, most of the time I think that whatever he's tweeting about, and, of course, as journalists, we are trained to treat everything that the president says and does as important. And, look, a lot of times it is. But I've kind of come to the conclusion, if he's saying this, the story's somewhere else over here.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Ah-ha. So if that's the model, if this is the shiny bauble that we're supposed to chase this way, what is it that we're being distracted from today?

DRUCKER: Well, it could be a lot. I mean, number one, we're keeling with some of the activity surrounding his inauguration. Some of the ways in which people around him are trying to raise money and present access to him as president. By the way, this would be nothing new. This is what politicians do. You need to raise money to keep a political organization up and running. If you're not raising money, somebody else is. We pay a lot of attention to it because Trump said he would do things differently. He's not necessarily going to be that kind of politician. But I almost think it's better if he does things normally, because if he wants to be successful, if he wants his party to be successful, they're going to have to raise money. And you're going to have to deal with a lot of people in Washington that many voters might think are unsavory, but they're the smartest people in town when it comes to running the government.

Now the other issue is just simply, you know, how his administration, as it is forming --


DRUCKER: Is going to deal with a lot of these issues that are happening overseas.

CUOMO: Right.


CUOMO: Maybe a little too deep. I think his primary distraction --


CUOMO: Is that he got crushed in the popular vote and he doesn't like that --

CAMEROTA: That it keeps sticking (ph) up and we shouldn't be reporting it, you think?

CUOMO: Yes, that (INAUDIBLE) lead keeps getting bigger and bigger and he does --

CAMEROTA: Close to 3 million.

CUOMO: And that bothers him, OK. But it is what it is. And the election is over.

I also think that this other distraction is something we've been picking up on this morning, which is the reporting that is real about them getting caught trying to make money off selling access to the president.


CUOMO: Those were real documents that were formed down there in Texas. I've never heard of a draft invitation that sets out a --


CUOMO: Donation schedule before. And what Newt Gingrich is saying, what sound can we play because -- CAMEROTA: I'll just read it. Newt Gingrich just gave an interview to NPR in which he says that, "the president-elect no longer likes the phrase drain the swamp. I'm told he just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore."


CUOMO: And -- and Newt said that the president has the power to pardon his kids in advance, in effect saying, they can do no wrong no matter what happens. Newt Gingrich suggesting something like that. Mr. Drucker.

[08:35:13] CAMEROTA: But --

DRUCKER: Well -- yes, well, look, I think -- look, Newt's an interesting character and obviously he has a lot of experience in using his, you know, position as a former speaker of the House, and the reputation he built up as a thinker and historian from his time in the limelight for, you know, furthering his, you know, post-office political endeavors. So he's very familiar with this stuff.

Look, here's how this stuff works. Donald Trump is in a sense, although he acts unconventionally, is really functioning like every other politician. There's some things here that are different, and one of them is that he has such extensive business holdings, including a big, brand-new, shiny hotel here in Washington, that even if he does nothing, even if he never encourages people to stay there, they're going to do it anyway so that they can drop in meeting with either administration officials, or Republican in Congress, that, you know, I'm at the Trump Hotel. It's so great. Everybody's looking for an advantage.

Ultimately, how votes are going to judge the president, the new president, is whether their lives are better. And if their lives are better, honestly, they're not going to care if he's robbing them blind out of their own piggy bank. If their lives aren't better, they're going to look at every flaw that has nothing to do with whether or not it's his fault or not --


DRUCKER: And they're going to decide he's falling down on the job and they're going to nail him for it. And that's just how this works.

CAMEROTA: I get it, but why would he move away from "drain the swamp"? His supporters and voters liked that.

DRUCKER: Because you can't -- right, Alisyn, because he can't govern that way. I mean you -- it's a cute phrase. We heard this from President Obama, just not with that phrasing, when he ran for office. We've heard this from a lot of politicians of both parties, drain the swamp, lobbyists are bad, money is bad, then they get in here and they realize, number one, lobbyists used to work in government. They are the smartest people in town. If you want to run an effective government, if you want to pass you infrastructure bill, if you want to do tax reform, all of these things, you're going to need the help of the dreaded lobbyists. If you want to win re-election, if you want to protect your party in the midterm election to further your agenda that people voted for you for, you're going to need to raise money, because that's how politics works. It costs money. And so they get here and they either realize it or they knew it all along. And the truth is, a lot of voters realize or have decided, for better or worse, that Washington isn't the most, you know, pristine place to do business.

CUOMO: All right.

DRUCKER: They'll look past it.

CUOMO: All right, so you have political reality. That's fine. And there's salesmanship in politics. We get that. But, what Newt Gingrich just said about the president having the ability to pardon his kids in advance, to say anything that comes up about the conflicts of interest, anything that's wrong, anything that's arguably even illegal, he -- they should be forgiven and held harmless in advance. Could you imagine the hypocrisy that should fall on Newt Gingrich's shoulders, after everything he's said about Hillary Clinton and about, you know, the integrity of government?

DRUCKER: I think that if the exact sort of thing that Newt Gingrich would say, I don't think it's anything that this administration would do. And if his kids, who are going to be his closest advisers and are going to be de facto members of the administration within the White House, whether they are given some sort of formal title and they get around nepotism laws or not, if they do anything seriously wrong, it will cause the president-elect a problem. And -- and especially as you head into the next election if people are not quite satisfied with how things are going.

And I thing one of the reasons we saw a pullback, and we hear this faux story about, oh, it's just a draft, is because they recognized that it was bad publicity. Newt Gingrich says this sort of stuff all the time. I take it with a grain of salt just because, you know, one minute he'll say this, and then the next minute he'll say something else. And it's just the way Newt Gingrich looks at government. And it's, you know, I think one of the reasons why possibly he didn't end up in the administration is, I don't think that Trump needs a free agent like Newt out there.

CUOMO: But it's just so telling. You've got these, you know, chattering class people on TV, especially in the morning, going after what Bill Clinton said, and what the president-elect said, but they don't talk about this with Newt Gingrich. It just lets you know what the pundits care about. They care about this inside minutia B.S. But this kind of thing that would be an assault on the constitutional power, they ignore. They ignore.

DRUCKER: And they shouldn't. They should not.


CAMEROTA: All right, well, we're talking about it and I believe Chris has revealed what he cares about. So let us know what you --

CUOMO: The Constitution.

CAMEROTA: David, thank you very much.

Let us know what you care about. Do you like the idea of draining the swamp? You can tweet us.

Meanwhile, one of the world's top tennis players is lucky to be alive after coming under attack in her own home. Do police think she was targeted? And what will it take to get her back out on tour?

CUOMO: Kvitova, two time Wimbolton.


[08:43:17] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, German police are looking for a Tunisian man in his late 20s, linked to a pro-ISIS group, in connection with Monday's terror attack in Berlin. Officials say his identification papers were found in that truck used in the attack.

CUOMO: Donald Trump's transition team says the president-elect is closely monitoring the terror attacks in Berlin and Turkey. This as his children deny involvement with a January fundraiser reportedly advertising access to the president-elect to big donors.

CAMEROTA: The death toll rising to 29 in the spectacular explosion of that fireworks market north of Mexico City. More than 70 other people were injured. The cause of these blasts under investigation.

CUOMO: Lawmakers in North Carolina are convening in a special session to consider repealing the state's controversial bathroom bill. It follows a heated gubernatorial election won by Democrat Ray Cooper. He made overturning the law a focal point of his campaign.

CAMEROTA: Today is the shortest day of the year. It is the arrival of winter, also known as the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere. We will experience the fewest minutes of sunlight for the entire year. The good news is, it gets longer by a minute every day from here.

CUOMO: Yes, the shortest day and the longest night. Do you know the difference between the solstice and the equinox?

CAMEROTA: More on that later.

For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CUOMO: The attack on a tennis player in her home evoking memories of past attacks on women athletes. Is this anything like that? Was this her being targeted? Was it a crime? How bad are the injuries? CAMEROTA: But, first, a New Hampshire teenager with a rare genetic

disorder is not letting his small stature block his shot. With his fighting spirit, Tristan Willmott is dribbling right past his hardship. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story in "Turning Points."

[08:45:14] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: At 3'5", 15-year- old Tristan Willmott is not your typical basketball player.

TRISTAN WILLMOTT: I've been practicing all my life for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the first day of tryouts, when I saw Tristan come in, I thought he was somebody's little brother.

GUPTA: Tristan is now playing on his high school basketball team for a second year.

T. WILLMOTT: Making a basket was my goal in each game.

GUPTA: Tristan has an extremely rare chromosomal disorder called Mulibrey nanism. It's a form of dwarfism that impedes growth and also affects the muscles, liver, brain and eyes. It can lead to premature death in patients who experience severe complications, such as a heart infection.

JESSIE WILLMOTT, TRISTAN'S MOTHER: They knew right off that he was small. And they actually found it by accident.

GUPTA: By that point, Tristan was in a fight for his life. His mom had prepared him for the worst.

J. WILLMOTT: They had sat me down and said that I needed to look at quality of life versus quantity.

GUPTA: But then he turned a corner after what should have been the last trip of his life.

J. WILLMOTT: They really, I don't think, gave him more than a few months. So we did the Make a Wish trip to Florida and he really hasn't been sick since.

GUPTA: Now, ten years later, Tristan credits his grit for helping him soar.

T. WILLMOTT: I didn't get tired because I knew I wouldn't give up.



[08:50:31] CAMEROTA: Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner, and the 11th ranked women's tennis player in the world, will be sidelined following an attack in her own home. She needed surgery for wounds on her hands. She suffered fighting off a -- an armed robber with a knife.

Joining us now is Christine Brennan, CNN sports analyst and "USA Today" sports columnist.

Christine, great to see you.

So do we think that this attack was really just a random armed robbery or was she targeted somehow?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Alisyn, so far all the reporting is that this was random. That this man said that he was -- wanted to check one of the utilities in her apartment, and she let him in and then pretty soon he's got her at knifepoint, a knife to her neck, and he realized, according to the authorities, that -- that it was Petra Kvitova, a superstar in the Czech Republic, obviously one of the great tennis players in the world, at that point. So it's different from Monica Seles or the Nancy Kerrigan story in that sense.

But at that point, then, you know, she's six feet tall. She is a strong athlete. One of the great athletes in our -- in the world. And so she was able to fight him off, which is to her great credit. And she said on Twitter how fortunate she feels to have done that.

But in so doing, her left hand was gashed and stabbed and cut by the knife that this man had. And she is left handed. And a power player. A wonderful prospect. I was there in 2011 when she won her first Wimbledon. It was kind of out of nowhere. We had hardly heard of her. So that's the problem moving forward now is how she will recover over the next few months after surgery yesterday.

CUOMO: Then she won a second one in 2014. She's still got a lot left in her. The surgery supposedly repaired tendons and other tissue in all five fingers on the left hand. They're saying three months. What are going to be the variables going forward?

BRENNAN: Chris, as you know, anything could happen from this point on. I think she's optimistic, which is great. She's young, 26, as I said, she's -- that's a positive. But there has to be concern. Eleventh ranked tennis player in the world. Won the bronze medal in Rio at the Olympics. Really in her prime. And will she be able to not only get all the feeling back with the tendons and the nerves, but also that touch.

She's known as a power player. You can see that in the clip. She's incredibly strong, talented, tennis player and athlete. But will she have the touch around the net? Will she be able to do all of the things that obviously one of the great elite athletes has to do? Those are the questions.

I will say this, when she comes back, whether it's the French Open, Wimbledon, wherever it might be, it will be one of the best covered events of the year in tennis because I think now the entire world will be rooting for her, as the world was rooting for Monica Seles back in '93, '94, '95 as she started to come back.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Well, you know, as Chris just reminded me, in that situation with Monica Seles, it's not just physical wounds, it's the psychological wounds afterwards. You know, this -- this doesn't just mess up your hand, in the case of Petra, it messes up your head for a long time.

BRENNAN: That's right. And Monica Seles, as great a tennis player as she was, and then she did come back and win one more grand slam event after she was attacked in April of '93, but she was never quite the same. And she even said that, that it just was so difficult. Now, keep in mind, with Monica Seles, she was stabbed in the back during a changeover during a tennis tournament in Germany. Incredibly different storyline, but the same result in the sense of being injured. She was gone for more than two years. She had won eight grand slam events, Seles had, before she turned 20. She'd done that all within a three- year time span. Number one in the world at the top of her game. So then she never, as I said, quite recovered in that way.

So the mental anguish, the mental stress. We saw a glimpse with Kvitova in her Twitter feed where she was very optimistic and sounded great about it. And that's a good sign moving forward.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Christine, thank you. Great to talk to you.

BRENNAN: Always my pleasure. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, how about some "Good Stuff" for you, next.


[08:58:26] CUOMO: Triple shot at "The Good Stuff" for you.

First, police in Casper, Wyoming, are helping to spread some holiday cheer. Officer Henry walked into a department store surprising shoppers by commanding them to stop paying. The police department received ten grand from a secret santa (INAUDIBLE) donations.


CUOMO: So they decided to divide it up and gave it to unexpected parents shopping for their children.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's a dream come true.

CUOMO: Uh-huh.

CAMEROTA: We have more "Good Stuff" for you this morning. Our NEW DAY staff has grown. First our senior producer Megan Vlondel (ph) welcomed this adorable baby boy yesterday morning. Owen Eric Crasting (ph) was born weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces. Mom, dad, and baby, as you can see in this next picture, are doing beautifully. Megan, Eric, if you're watching, congratulations. And if you're not watching, why aren't you watching?

CUOMO: Not name Chris. Controversial.

CAMEROTA: Strangely. Weird.

And then are you going to tell us (INAUDIBLE) --

CUOMO: Yes. One of our great camera operators, Dean Baxter, welcomed granddaughter Haley Grace Scala (ph) yesterday, as well. It's a good Italian name. She was born weighing 7 pounds 13 pounces, 19 inches long and strong. Congratulations to parents Brienne (ph) and Evan Scala (ph) and older sister Hope. Dean two-time grandpa.

CAMEROTA: That is fantastic. Congratulations, Dean. I see future interns already.


CAMEROTA: Yes. They look like they have what it takes.

All right, that's your show for us for today. We'll see you tomorrow.

Time now for "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello.

[09:00:01] Good morning, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Future interns? Of course they'll be paid interns.



COSTELLO: Absolutely. Sure. Fair pay for a fair day's work.

COSTELLO: Exactly. You guys have a great day.

NEWSROOM starts now.