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Trump Team Floats New 5 Percent Tariff; Dreamers Fearful As Trump Prepares To Take Office; Death Toll Rises To 33 In Mexico Fireworks Disaster; NC Lawmakers Fail To Repeal Controversial Bathroom Bill; Berlin Attack Suspect Was Known To Police. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 22, 2016 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:15] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Trump criticized many of President Obama's executive orders and said on the campaign trail that he will get rid of them on day one. Now, he may start his term as president with an executive order of his own, placing tariffs on imports.

Joining us is CNN political commentator and host of "SMERCONISH", Michael Smerconish. Mike, Alisyn dismissed out of hand my tutorial on why the law is a thicket around tariffs so let's just --


CUOMO: -- let's just cut to the chase. Do you think that Congress will let or the law will allow Donald Trump to do his own tariff of five percent or any percent on imports?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought that the broccoli had all been handled in the first hour of the program with Errol Louis --

CUOMO: I'm asking a political question.

SMERCONISH: -- when I was paying attention --

CAMEROTA: He's moved on to castor oil.


CUOMO: I'm asking a political one.

SMERCONISH: When I was watching, I was saying to myself thank God it will not come up during my segment but since you're bringing it up, here's the political answer. I think he's going to face stiff opposition and what's unique is that the opposition is going to come from within his own party.

Ideologically speaking, he has assembled a pretty traditionally conservative team around him, but on this issue this position is an outlier for Mitch McConnell. It's an outlier from Paul Ryan. It will put the president-elect at odds with the United States Chamber of Commerce. So, you know, given Republican control with the House and Senate, I think it doesn't bode well for him on this issue, politically speaking. And something else, Chris, that you noted at the outset, which is he

was such as vociferous critic of President Obama's use of executive order and so here he is seeking to do something that's not conservative and to do it by executive order. It's just another indication of how unusual these next four years might be on some issues.

CAMEROTA: Oh, how the tables have turned. I mean, this is really a fascinating one to watch because, as you say, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, they -- Mike Pence, at one time -- they do not like this. And then, the Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross does like it. And so, I mean, I guess we just sit back and see who wins this one.

SMERCONISH: Well, trade has always been, ideologically speaking, one of those politics makes strange bedfellows issues because NAFTA was supported by Bill Clinton but he didn't have union support. TPP has been supported by President Obama but, again, without union support. So, Donald Trump may draw union support in what he's seeking to do with a tariff but he's not going to have the Chamber of Commerce and he's not going to have the leaders of his own party.

CUOMO: All right. Let me ask you something that's simple and only requires you to have an opinion.


CUOMO: Do you feel about the billion-dollar cabinet appointments and the latest names of Carl Icahn as a special adviser and Navarro as being some who advises on trade, especially with him being a known opponent of China?

SMERCONISH: Well, I think what he's done is he's assembled this billionaire boys club and you've heard his defense of it, which is to say I want winners, and if they've made a fortune then he regards them as a winner. I understand that and I think that there's some aspirational quality of Donald Trump and these picks that causes blue- collar -- a lot of white guys -- to have been supportive of Trump because they look at the team and they say geez, I'd like to be in that club. I'm just a little troubled by the idea that you judge a man or a woman only by the size of their wallet.

CAMEROTA: Hmm. Carl Icahn, I mean, he -- Mr. Trump admires him. He talked glowingly about him during the --

CUOMO: And Icahn said he wouldn't join the administration. I guess this is the compromise.

CAMEROTA: But what is a regulation czar, anyway?

CUOMO: Well, no, he'd be a special -- he's going to -- his title will be special adviser, so the question then becomes how much clearance does he get? But he's someone who, basically, has an official title but he's just a phone call away.

CAMEROTA: Right, but isn't he tasked with like cracking down on overregulation? CUOMO: No, I think he's going to be an advice guy. But what do you think, Michael? Do you think he's going to set policy or he --

CAMEROTA: Let's bring Michael Smerconish in.

SMERCONISH: I think that he gets to whisper in the president's ear. The president gets the benefit of saying that Icahn is -- who is iconic --


SMERCONISH: -- associated with this administration -- you like that -- but it doesn't -- but it doesn't come with the nine to five requisite requirements, so compromise is a good word.

CAMEROTA: You were like -- Chris is like this (hacking hand gesture), OK, while you were talking.

CUOMO: For me to get any agreement --

CAMEROTA: Because he's still hacking when you --

CUOMO: -- you know, out of Mr. Clean, let alone after you.

CAMEROTA: One last thing. One last thing. The popular vote -- the official numbers are now in. Hillary Clinton won by three million.

CUOMO: Getting close to three million. Puts Trump at the bottom of the list except for,I think, for Tillman (ph) and Hayes in terms of the smallest percentage of popular vote, yet winning the presidency.

[07:35:07] CAMEROTA: OK, so what are we to make of that?

SMERCONISH: So, I've been having the debate, it won't surprise you, on Sirius XM day in and day out, and what I find is that people who are pleased with the outcome of the election. If they were for Donald Trump and they're thrilled, obviously, that Trump won then they say oh, the Electoral College -- the founding fathers -- there's some purpose to this.

And, of course, those who are disappointed because they were for Hillary or a third party candidate, instead they say it's a vestige of a bygone era and we need to go a popular vote route. It's not the proper time to be having this conversation. The question is, in six months when maybe there are cooler heads, will anybody still be interested? I hope so. I think it's a good debate.

CUOMO: Nobody makes more of this fact than the president-elect. He is obsessed with questions about the legitimacy --


CUOMO: -- of this.

CAMEROTA: Right, but he says that because we keep talking about it, so -- CUOMO: I think he's talked about it the most.

CAMEROTA: Michael, thank you very much.


CAMEROTA: You can check out "SMERCONISH" Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN. You can also hear him weekdays on Sirius XM at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

CUOMO: All right. So, the queen forced to skip her usual Christmas trip. Why, next.


CAMEROTA: During the campaign, President-elect Trump talked about deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants who were living in the U.S. Now, his victory has so-called "dreamers" fearful. CNN's Rosa Flores has their story.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Making empanadas with her mom is a tradition Karina Solano Suarez wants to keep alive even after Donald Trump is sworn in.

[07:40:03] KARINA SOLANO SUAREZ: She's the best cook I know.

FLORES: Karina is a dreamer who grew up in Chicago, turned DACA recipient or a person brought to the U.S. without legal status as a child and asked by the Obama administration in 2012 to come out of the shadows in exchange for work permits and temporary stay. DACA, she says, helped her overcome the fear of being undocumented.

SUAREZ: And the fear going away there was empowerment within the undocumented community.

FLORES: But Karina's mother doesn't have DACA protection and after a grueling election cycle where President-elect Trump vowed to round up and remove undocumented immigrants --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: There will be no amnesty.

FLORES: -- Karina is more fearful than ever for her mom and herself. Immigration attorneys, including Karina's, are telling their clients to prepare for the worst.

LAM HO, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: We're preparing the way that we can respond, both legally and through community activism, through organization to challenge the policies he says he will implement.

FLORES: Karina and other dreamers are digging in their heels participating in protests, hoping his election talk was just bluster.

TRUMP RALLYGOERS: Build that wall! Build that wall! FLORES: Recently, he softened his tone about dreamers to "TIME" magazine, saying, "We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud." But his appointment of immigration hardliner Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General has immigrants fearing the new administration will make good on its promise to implement mass deportation, even of historically low priority dreamers like Karina.

SUAREZ: Well, I don't trust him, only because he thinks very little of us and he made that clear from the beginning of his campaign.

FLORES: The dreamers we talked to are prepared to fight for comprehensive immigration reform so their parents can stay, too.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Donald Trump is really between a rock and hard place here because one of the things that thrust him into the Oval Office was their fervent desire for a really tough on immigration position. And yet, we know from polling, 90 percent of Americans believe they should have some ability to stay here legally if certain requirements are met.

SUAREZ: We're a force to be reckoned with. I think he should be preparing himself for this sort of fight to -- for us trying to stay together with our parents and our community members.

FLORES: The hope, Karina says, is that this supper with mom won't be their last in America. Rosa Flores, CNN, Chicago.


CUOMO: All right, there are growing concerns about the health of Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip after both scrapped Christmas travel plans, said to be battling heavy colds. And, of course, the Queen Mother is 90 years old. Prince Philip, 95. Buckingham Palace already announced the Queen would reduce her workload.

CAMEROTA: Breaking overnight, the death toll in the Mexico fireworks disaster rising to 33 people. Forensic teams combing through the charred rubble for more victims and for clues as to what set this off. Twenty-eight of the dead have been identified. Authorities say it could be another few days before they're able to identify the other five victims. Desperate family members are at the scene, checking hospitals, waiting on word of missing loved ones.

CUOMO: The expected Republican repeal of Obamacare is not stopping a record number of people from signing up for Obamacare. The Health and Human Services secretary says 6.4 million people made the deadline for coverage beginning January first. That is a boost of 400,000 people from the same time last year. More new customers could also sign up by the end of January. That coverage would begin in March.

CAMEROTA: Well, this panda may look nice but watch as Da Mao shows this snowman who's boss, OK?

CUOMO: He's pretending it's you -- CAMEROTA: No.

CUOMO: -- because that's what pandas do.

CAMEROTA: You know -- oh, all right. He took his head off. I was going to say he's just playing with it.


CAMEROTA: Well, I do think he's playing with it. Look, he's building -- he's trying to play with a snowman.

CUOMO: He's training.

CAMEROTA: No, he's not.

CUOMO: That is a wild animal.

CAMEROTA: No, it isn't. That is a stuffed animal zapped to life.

CUOMO: Listen --

CAMEROTA: Look at how cute this guy is.

CUOMO: You are trying to lead people down a path of destruction --

CAMEROTA: To play with pandas?

CUOMO: -- when it comes to pandas. You and Michaela, too --

CAMEROTA: You don't think that people should play with pandas --

CUOMO: -- over on HLN, still talking about pandas.

CAMEROTA: -- if they find one in the woods?

CUOMO: Google the video of the panda who tries to pull the Asian man through the bars of his cage and eat his face.

CAMEROTA: I'm not Googling that, I'm just going to play this over and over again today.

CUOMO: Pandas are not your friend.

CAMEROTA: North Carolina fails to repeal its controversial transgender "bathroom bill". What's the next move for the bill's opponents? We have a live report for you next.


[07:48:33] CAMEROTA: Protesters erupt in anger after North Carolina lawmakers fail to repeal the so-called "bathroom bill" in a special session so, as of now, that controversial measure is still state law. CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Raleigh, North Carolina with the very latest. Good morning, Nick. NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Boy, what a day yesterday. Nine hours after the Legislature started they adjourned without coming to a conclusion on the very issue that they were there to meet about. The day started with political fireworks and ended with drama where now House Bill 2, the so-called "Bathroom Bill" is law in the state.



VALENCIA: Frustrations boiling over in North Carolina. Lawmakers failing to repeal the state's controversial "bathroom bill" after more than nine hours of closed-door meetings and negotiations. Known as House Bill 2, the legislation requires transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender assigned at birth.

ROY COOPER (D), GOVERNOR-ELECT, NC: The legislature had a chance to do the right thing for North Carolina and they failed.

VALENCIA: Incoming governor, Democratic Roy Cooper, slamming the Republican-controlled Legislature for their actions during Wednesday's special session, which was called solely for the purpose of overturning the law.

COOPER: I'm disappointed that we have yet to remove the stain on the reputation of our great state.

[07:50:00] VALENCIA: The law, signed by outgoing Republican governor Pat McCrory in March, sparked outrage across the country and resulted in economic losses for the state with businesses, sports association, and cultural figures all pulling out of the state in protest and the Justice Department filing a suit to challenge the measure.

McCrory, who has blamed his election loss on the bill, pointing the finger at Democrats Wednesday saying in a statement, "This was at least the third time that pressure from the left sabotaged bipartisan good faith agreements for political purposes."

REP. JEFF COLLINS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: We're here unconstitutionally.

VALENCIA: Are you planning on voting no then against the repeal?

COLLINS: I plan on voting no on anything that's done here because it's all unconstitutional.

VALENCIA: The bitter back and forth coming as each side accuses the other of playing politics and failing to live up to the terms of a reported deal to ensure the repeal of the contested bill.


VALENCIA: The next time the Legislature is expected to meet is January 11th but there's no guarantee that House Bill 2 will be put on the agenda. State lawmakers telling me that yesterday was their best chance at repealing the "bathroom bill" -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, our thanks to Nick.

Let's bring in Chris Sgro, North Carolina state representative. He's also the executive director of Equality NC. He's a Democrat. State Representative, thank you very much. This was a special session designed to deal with the "bathroom bill". What happened?

STATE REP. CHRIS SGRO (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, we failed yesterday. We were meant to come into special session and do the thing that we have needed to do for 275 days, and that was repeal House Bill 2. Every single day of those 275 days since House Bill 2 has been in effect our economy has suffered. We've lost jobs, we've lost performers, we've lost NCAA tournament games, we've lost the NBA All- Star game.

Gay and transgender North Carolinians have suffered and been at direct risk for discrimination and violence and we failed yesterday. And that is at the hands of Phil Berger and Tim Moore, our legislative leadership in the House and Senate. We -- I don't know what the next step is but we are going to have to figure out how to repeal House Bill 2 through the Legislature because we had a good faith deal.

CUOMO: Well, this wasn't just about a vote not going the right way. There was an amendment put into the bill that is now at play that wound up being the disturbing factor for people on your side of this. What is that amendment and why was it objectionable to you?

SGRO: Well, there were last-minute political antics that were -- that were untenable at that point. We came there to do one thing and that was repeal House Bill 2. The entire bill is bad and we needed to repeal that in order to fix our economy. We've lost $650 million in revenue in the state of North Carolina. Our reputation has suffered deeply. And there was an amendment that would have doubled down on House Bill 2.


SGRO: It would have been House Bill 2.2 -- because it would have said that municipalities would have continued to be preempted in their efforts to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens in their cities. So --

CUOMO: So let's just explain what that means to people who don't speak legislative jargon all the time.

SGRO: Sure.

CUOMO: It was called a cooling off period so that even though this bill was going to be repealed it said to the localities you cannot pass any anti-discrimination ordinances for a certain period. And you objected to this because?

SGRO: Well, they said for an indefinite period of time, until the end of the 2017 legislative session, that municipalities could not even consider how to protect their own citizens. That was not the repeal of House Bill 2, that was the doubling down of House Bill 2.

The problem all along has been that we can't trust this legislature. They wanted us to trust their intent, we trusted their intent. Folks trusted their intent the first time around when they passed HB2 and look where it's gotten us. Six hundred and fifty million dollars' worth of lost revenue later, tons of discrimination later we are where we are 275 days later. And so yesterday we came into to have a clean repeal bill and we had antics instead.

CUOMO: Well --

SGRO: We wasted $42,000 to be in special session yesterday so that Phil Berger and Tim Moore could perform political antics.

CUOMO: You keep referring to the Republican Senate leader Phil Berger. He put out a statement that he was putting the politics on your side of the blame column saying, "Their action proves they only wanted a repeal in order to force radical social engineering and shared bathrooms across North Carolina at the expense of our state's families, our reputation, and our economy." Your reaction?

[07:55:00] SGRO: I am a member of the LGBTQ community and what I will tell you is this. The ordinance that the City of Charlotte passed exists in 100-plus other cities across the country, including places like Jackson, Mississippi -- the liberal bastion of Jackson, Mississippi -- Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia. And that same ordinance has existed in Minneapolis since 1973 with no problems. It's not radical. It's necessary to protect citizens.

Charlotte was updating their policies to be a 21st Century City. What's radical is Sen. Phil Berger and House Bill 2, the worst anti- LGBTQ bill in the nation that continues to say to everybody that North Carolina is closed for business. That is a failure of leadership. And he can try to lie to North Carolinians all that he wants but we know, and it was demonstrated in the last gubernatorial election when Pat McCrory lost because he supported House Bill 2, that we're not buying it.

CUOMO: Now, what you're seeing play out in your own Legislature is a little bit of a reverberation, a part of the culture war that took place in the national election. It was pushback on Democrats that there's too much focus by your party on diversity issues and fringe issues, which is what your political opponents would call something like the transgender bathroom equality issue. That the Democrats focus on this too much and that they've lost touch with mainline North Carolinians in your place and Americans overall in the national election. Do you accept that?

SGRO: No. North Carolina actually is exemplary of what the real trend is here. I am a mainline North Carolinian. We won the governor's race because a diverse group of North Carolinians at the leadership of the North Carolina NAACP and Dr. Reverend Barber fought hard against discrimination. Stood up and said social issues are economic issues.

When you discriminate against people of color, when you discriminate against the LGBTQ community, when you discriminate against anybody, it is bad for your economy, and that is why we won the governor's race here in North Carolina.

That's why Roy Cooper, along with the fact that he is a wonderful leader for our state, is now the governor-elect and Pat McCrory is not for the state of North Carolina. So, it's a misnomer, this idea that we cannot have protecting people's civil rights go hand in hand with the economic justice of the United States. They are tethered together forever.

CUOMO: Well, we'll see what the new governor can do to get progress on this bill. As you're saying, many in the Legislature don't know what the way is forward but one thing is clear. People thought that equal protection of the LGBTQ community was done with the gay marriage Supreme Court decision. Clearly, there's a lot of work still to do. Rep. Sgro, thank you very much for joining us. We'll stay on this story.

SGRO: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. There is a lot of news this morning. There's breaking news out of the investigations in Germany. Let's get right to it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The manhunt is on for 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment he came into Germany they were suspicious of him. They wanted to deport him. They arrested him, let him go.

TRUMP: It's an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a race against time. This man is armed and dangerous and is likely to strike again.

ALEX TREBEK, HOST, JEOPARDY: Congratulations, young lady. You are now a six-day champion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's kind of a crazy run of skill and maybe a little bit of luck.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cindy Stowell fighting through her pain to make her "JEOPARDY" dreams a reality.


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

CAMEROTA: What a story the "JEOPARDY" story is.

CUOMO: I cannot wait to hear from the family.

CAMEROTA: And that will be happening at the end of this hour. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day. It is Thursday, December 22nd, 8:00 in the East. Police in Germany are still searching for the suspect in Monday's terror attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people and injured dozens more, and we've just learned two Americans are among those hurt. Investigators are looking for Anis Amri and they say he is violent and armed.

CUOMO: Now here's another problem. German authorities are not unfamiliar with Amri. They had him in custody before. He was on the U.S. radar, as well. The Germans have caught him with forged documents. They held him and released him. Why? CNN has all updates covered this morning beginning with Chris Burns live in Berlin. This is a troubling new piece of information. How does it figure into the reporting?

CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Well, Chris, exactly. I mean, you look at one of these tabloid headlines and it's just one of them saying "Why wasn't he already in prison?" In fact, he had been. He had been held and he was released. Take a look at our report explaining that.


BURNS: German authorities under scrutiny this morning amid the search for their country's most wanted man, Anis Amri, the fugitive walking free months ago despite concerns about his connections to extremism.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: One of the questions we're going to be sifting through to make sure we understand how German intelligence failed to intercept this particular radicalized individual.

BURNS: Amri, a native Tunisian, arrived in Germany a year and one- half ago.