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Sean Spicer Named Trump's House Press Secretary; Trump Say "Let It Be an Arms Race"; Plane Hijacked; Berlin Market Attack Suspect Killed in Shootout; Inauguration Talent Lineup. Aired 8:30-9p ET

Aired December 23, 2016 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:32:04] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Donald Trump Tweeting about expanding nuclear's -- the nation's nuclear capabilities. Here to clarify what this means we have the president- elect's newly announced White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Sean, congratulations.

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: Thank you very much. It's quite an honor.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you here.

SPICER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: You excited about taking on the press?

SPICER: I wouldn't say I'm going to take them on. I'm going to help communicate the president-elect's message and agenda. It is an awesome responsibility. It's an honor. To join this group of individuals that have served the country in this way.

So, it is truly humbling to realize ones he called and congratulated me to realize that it's real. And that the responsibility of communicating to the American people, his agenda, is an awesome one that should not be taken lightly.

CAMEROTA: Indeed. We look forward to working with you.

SPICER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk -- since you will be the chief interpreter of what the president means, let's do it.

SPICER: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about what he meant with this tweet that is getting so much attention about the nuclear arsenal. Mr. Trump tweeted out the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes. What does that mean? Strengthen and expand. SPICER: It means that there are countries around the globe right now

that are talking about increasing their nuclear capacity. And the United States is not going to sit back and allow that to happen without acting in kind. And I think the president-elect is very clear that he's going to be very active in putting America's security first and foremost. And if another country wants to threaten our sovereignty or our safety he will act.

CAMEROTA: Are you talking about Russia?

SPICER: I'm talking about Russia -- it's not just about one country. It's any country.

CAMEROTA: So Russia is the one. I just want to make ...

SPICER: Russia is one ...

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Just talked about this. He said Russia needs to enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems. Is that ...

SPICER: There is one of several -- no, no, there are several countries in the past weeks and I've talk about Russia being one of them. But the bottom line is this, the president is going to put our nation's security and safety first. And he's not going to worry about how is -- I mean, he's going to do it. And that's what every American should understand that he's not going to be a passive president. He's going to be active and make sure that our safety is number one.

CAMEROTA: I understand. But that's different than expanding our nuclear ...

SPICER: But if another country expands theirs the United States will act in kind.

CAMEROTA: So, if ...

SPICER: But I will tell you this, but I do believe that it won't happen. Because I think what they have seen, domestically and internationally, is this is a man of action. Yesterday he put out a statement early in the morning talking about the resolution that is coming forward in the U.N. Security Council. And the Egyptian and the Israelis called him afterwards, it got taken down. He's a man of action that is getting things done for this nation.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that it's appropriate for him to be doing these things before he is inaugurated? There, you know, we only have one president at a time.

[08:35:02] SPICER: We do and we respect that and I think President Obama and his team have been unbelievably gracious to the president- elect and his team. But at the end of the day, he's not someone that's going to sit back and wait. CAMEROTA: Understood but I mean with the U.N. resolution shouldn't the president of the United States be dealing ...

SPICER: Look, but again his point was Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East. It is something that we should protect and he wanted to make it very clear that anything that undermined Israel, which is a great friend of the United States, he was going to make sure his voice was heard. And it worked. But look, what is the hit that he's been unbelievably successful so far as a president-elect?

CAMEROTA: No but he's eclipsing the current president and we only have one president.

SPICER: We do. But if the president-elect wants to get things done he's going to get things done.

CAMEROTA: So you were on a different morning show before us. How dare you?

SPICER: I'm sorry.

CAMEROTA: And there was a phone call that came in from Mr. Trump and as we understand it you put the host on the phone or she took a phone call from the president-elect, and he -- as she reported it, he said to her let it be an arms race in terms of building up our nuclear capability with I guess against Russia, let it be an arms race. Because we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all. What does let it be an arms race mean?

SPICER: Well, I think it goes back to what I just said with respect to the tweet he put out. He is going to do what it takes to protect this country and if another country or countries want to threaten our safety, our sovereignty, he's going to do what it takes.

CAMEROTA: Sure, but he's not waiting until another country threatens us. He's making these proclamation.

SPICER: He's making it very clear -- right but he's making it very clear that other countries, and other companies, you've seen -- he's going to make it clear that he will be an active president that will get things done.

CAMEROTA: Meaning he will use nuclear weapons if need be.

SPICER: No, no, he will not take anything off the table. What it means is that he's not going to sit back and let another country act. He needs to send a clear and concise message, which he's done, that he is going to be a president that defends America's interests and defends the American people.

CAMEROTA: So you don't see these words as any sort of escalation?

SPICER: No, absolutely not. They're -- it is him articulating how he is going to be as president.

CAMEROTA: You know we've been cautioned and warned through the election not to take him literally. Remember all of that we in the media took him too literally. When are we supposed to take him too literally?

SPICER: Well, I don't know that you agree with that. And I think you do take him literally.

CAMEROTA: So we take every tweet that he sends out we are supposed to take those words literally?

SPICER: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Let there be an arms race is literal?

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: But that was a private conversation. I was not privy to that.

CAMEROTA: OK.

SPICER: But I think the point being is that he is someone who gets things done. In the case of carrier, he send a tweet out. He save a thousand jobs. The case of the F35, the heads of Boeing in Lockheed camp, they're promising to bring that program down by a billion dollars. In the case of Air Force One, the CEO Boeing says he's going to get under $4 billion. That yesterday with -- at the U.N. the resolution was gone. I mean at what -- people are taking him literally and he's getting results.

CAMEROTA: Well, sort of. I mean, as you know ...

SPICER: No, not sort of. He's getting results.

CAMEROTA: He wants to expand libel laws. Maybe help a journalist -- more journalist (inaudible). Are we taking that literally or ...

SPICER: You know, I think that there's -- he fully respects the first amendment. That there's a big difference ...

CAMEROTA: This is my point. When do we know when to take him literally? He does say some things sometimes designed just for effect. It sounds like.

SPICER: And he gets results.

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

SPICER: So.

CAMEROTA: Are we extending ...

SPICER: I know, but I think in that case he wasn't that he made it very clear that there are certain things that have to be done to make sure that the truth is taking, that you can't just have impunity to say whatever you want and not have any consequences. So again there's nothing wrong with what he is saying at all.

CAMEROTA: Unless you don't like the truth.

SPICER: No, no, but he's not, there's a difference -- there's laws so getting things passed and done through the legal process is not some sort of nefarious thing. That's how our country works.

CAMEROTA: So every tweet you are telling us from now on with you as press secretary that we are to be able to take those words literally?

SPICER: Of course you can. If they're from him, I mean -- I don't know what else you would take them as.

CAMEROTA: OK. Sean, we look forward to working with you.

SPICER: I look forward to seeing you.

CAMEROTA: It's going to be a very interesting next few years.

SPICER: Well, Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: Merry Christmas to you, as well. Great to have you here. Let's get over to Chris.

[08:39:14] CHRIS COUMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, coming up we're going to get an update on our breaking news, including armed plane hijackers in Malta. An island nation off the coast of North Africa starting to release some of the passengers on board. Who's getting off? How many remain? Next.

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CUOMO: All right, we are monitoring a breaking situation out of Malta. A plane was hijacked from Libya, diverted to that island nation off the north coast of Africa. Hijackers are on board. They have told authorities they have grenades but now this what you're seeing on your screen. People are being let off. Who? How many? The order? Unknown. We do know that the hijackers are still on board as we get information we will bring it to you.

CAMEROTA: That's very good news. Meanwhile there's other breaking news for you. The manhunt is over for the Berlin Christmas market terror suspect. It ended near Milan, Italy, in a dramatic shoot-out. Officers shot and killed the suspect.

Let's get the latest from CNN's Ben Wedeman. He is in Rome for us. Ben, what have you learned?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn. We understand from the Italian police that around 3:00 in the morning in Milan, in the working class suburb of Sesto San Giovanni a routine police patrol stopped a man they said was acting suspiciously and asked for his some form of identification.

Instead of identification, he pulled out a 22 caliber pistol and opened fire on the police patrol wounding one of them in the shoulder, and in the process, he shouted according to the Italian police, "police bastards" at which point he ran behind a car to take cover. One of the police officers managed to get behind that car, shot twice hitting the -- him, this man, Anis Amri the Berlin attacker, fatally in the chest.

[08:45:07] Now they found on his body afterwards in addition to train ticket stubs indicating that he came from Germany via France, stopping in Turin, and then went to the central train station in Milan before going to this train station. He had on his body a small knife, several hundred Euro, the police said however, that he was by himself when he was stopped by the patrol outside this train station.

CAMEROTA: Sorry, Ben they know where he came from. Do they know where he was headed at the train station?

WEDEMAN: No, they don't. But the question is why did he go to this particular part of town. Now trains go from the central Milan station to Sesto San Giovanni every 35, 34 minutes, takes it just a ten-minute ride costs 1 Euro 80 cents. Now what was he doing there?

Now Amri spent most of his time in Italy in prisons. Six prisons, to be precise, in southern Italy. So, there must have been a reason for him to go to this rather nondescript working class neighborhood outside Milan so that's currently the focus of the investigation by Italian authorities.

CAMEROTA: Understood. Ben Wedeman, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right. Different topic. Do you care who's going to be playing at the inauguration in terms of, you know, what celebrities, what acts? I really don't. And you and I are going to be standing out there all day long.

CAMEROTA: Well, I do. I want to know what music I'm going to be listening to.

CUOMO: Well, you know who really cares about who's there and making it known? The president-elect. Why? Is this a point of fascination for Donald Trump? Who's going to be there? Who isn't. And the president- elect's response. Next.

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[08:50:39] CAMEROTA: President-elect Donald Trump weighing in on the inauguration festivities. He tweeted on Thursday, "the so-called a- list celebrities are all wanting tickets to the inauguration." But look what they did for Hillary, nothing. I want the people.

Joining us to talk about entertainment, and the inauguration we have CNN Contributor and host of "Entertainment Tonight" Nischelle Turner and CNN Senior Media correspondent and host of reliable sources Brian Stelter.

So Brian, Chris and I are going to be covering the inauguration. I want to know what celebrity spotting I will be able to do. As well as what music we'll be listening to. We heard a few celebrities who politely declined the invitation, to perform Elton John, David Foster famous producer who plays piano as well, Celine Dion, no. What have you heard about who will be there?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I'm an inauguration junkie. You guys don't know this about me. I love inaugurations as much both the Bushes, Obama's first. And let's be honest, nobody cares about the entertainment. People are there for the president. We're there for the pomp and circumstance.

CUOMO: Why does the president-elect matter? Why does the president- elect care?

STELTER: Why does the president-elect care? Well, because he's a reality TV star and we're never going to have that part of him removed from him. He's always going to be the star of the Apprentice. So he cares about his fellow celebrities. But I don't think the folks going to Washington on January 20th really care about who's performing.

CAMEROTA: Hold on a second, he just said he doesn't care ...

CUOMO: Who?

CAMEROTA: Donald Trump.

CUOMO: No, by Twitting it. That he be showing that kids.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Nischelle, help me out here.

CAMEROTA: He cares about the celebrity.

CUOMO: He wouldn't tweet about it, if he didn't care.

(CROSSTALK)

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Listen, Donald Trump before he became president-elect was a celebrity. And on its face, his type of celebrity should get a response to have big names at his inauguration. There's been a lot of things that have transpired and now the Hollywood community is saying we're not touching this with a ten-foot poll.

But I'm with Chris on this. If he didn't care he wouldn't have said anything about it. He does care, especially because it's not really a partisan issue. Because, you know, during George Bush's inauguration, he had people like Destiny's Child, President Obama had Kelly Clarkson. Beyonce, Aretha Franklin. So it looks like it has become a Donald Trump issue for Hollywood and not a partisan issue.

STELTER: I agree that he cares. I'm just saying that the audience is going to be freezing in the cold that day. He doesn't care as much. They're there to see Trump.

TURNER: I was there for Beyonce, Brian, I'm sorry.

STELTER: This is all about the resistant to Trump, right? Hollywood is going to be one of those corners of the country that figures out what resistance to Trump means. It's a buzz word right now. And it's starting to take shape. And this is what it's going to look like these celebrities refusing, even if they're being polite about it. Refusing to show up.

CAMEROTA: Well, hold on a second. I'm not seeing celebrities yet. I'm seeing musicians. Andrea Bocelli he said that he -- I guess maybe at one time he said he would perform but he said that now he will not because he received backlash. Garth Brooks will not perform at the inauguration. Though earlier he said he would be honored to perform. So that's a little bit confusing. The Beach Boys ...

TURNER: What Garth Brooks actually said was it's a service to your country if you're asked to do it you do it as a service to your country. But now, you know, there are reports, too, Alisyn now that the Beach Boys are mulling an offer.

CAMEROTA: Yeah, yeah.

CUOMO: The Rockettes?

TURNER: The Rockettes are going to perform apparently. But now there are some of their members that are coming out and saying that they are embarrassed and upset by the fact that they weren't consulted directly before the invitation from the -- and Chris help me out here, owns the Knicks.

CUOMO: Dolans.

TURNER: James Dolan just said that they would perform. So you know, there's still all of this back and forth and push/pull here.

STELTER: Everybody walking on eggshells. Everybody tiptoeing about what to do.

TURNER: Yeah.

STELTER: You know unlike Bush, unlike Obama we see Trump's approval or disapproval ratings. We're a much more divided country than we were eight even eight or 16 years ago when those inaugurations were happening. So, it's understandable. These are essentially business calculations that all these groups are making.

CAMEROTA: So what is that? So you're saying that these musicians, Brian, and celebrities are making a business calculation to be against the president of the United States? How is that going to work?

STELTER: About alienating the fans they have versus the fans they might not have. About, you know, making their friends, mostly liberals in Hollywood happy. Some of that I think is very real. Among not all but some of these artists.

CUOMO: Surprised not hearing about Ted Nugent Cat Scratch Fever.

TURNER: It's not the same thing.

STELTER: Still what, 28 days for ... CAMEROTA: Oh, you're right. I don't have answer on that.

STELTER: So you might see Ted Nugent in Washington.

CAMEROTA: OK.

CUOMO: Cat Scratch Fever.

CAMEROTA: That awesome, Kid Rock. He's great.

TURNER: Could be.

[08:55:02] CUOMO: But again, this is a bigger ceremony, some of it's about optics. Some of it is about political persuasion. But at the end of the day, the president-elect doesn't like this rule, but what he gives attention to becomes real. What he chooses to ignore, stays.

STELTER: And remember this came up during the convention also. We were expecting this reality TV convention, this wild RNC party, spectacle on TV and it turned out it was a pretty normal convention. It looks great on TV (inaudible). I'm thinking the same thing will be true at the inauguration.

CAMEROTA: So what I hear you saying is Scott Baio may show up.

TURNER: It could be.

STELTER: I would not rule it out. Remember Trump says all these A- listers want tickets. So let's see which of them actually come. And which of them may B or C list.

CAMEROTA: Brian, Michelle, great to see you. Thank you so much for being here.

TURNER: Thank you guys. Happy Holidays.

CAMEROTA: You too.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a quick break. I want to play Cat Scratch Fever.

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CAMEROTA: So, look at that Bruce (ph) making a cameo there.

CUOMO: Every day, not an elf despite his size.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: Did you open the gift that I got you?

CAMEROTA: Is it right here? Oh, no I haven't. You want to open it live?

CUOMO: Open it up. Tell everybody what it is.

CAMEROTA: OK, so it's an envelope. And it is ...

CUOMO: A spa day. Alisyn Camerota works so hard and she's got the kids at home. And she loves to take the time off so I got you the spa card. You don't even have to give the tip.

[09:00:04] CAMEROTA: You're so wonderful. Have you opened mine yet?

CUOMO: No.

CAMEROTA: It's a bottle of tequila. It's up stair for you.

CUOMO: It is Cole, just like last year.

CAMEROTA: And now, and thank you all for being with us this year. It's been a very intense year obviously. We've had so ...