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Israel Directs Anger Over U.N. Vote at Obama Admin.; Trump's Twitter Tirade; History in Hawaii. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 27, 2016 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:10] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: The diplomatic fallout grows following the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. The Jewish state putting limits on working ties with countries that voted in favor of it. Now, word the U.S. could be ready to rock the vote once again. We've got a live report from Jerusalem.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: And Donald Trump unleashing once again on Twitter, going after the U.N., the media, even President Obama. We'll tell you why.

KOSIK: And historic moments on tap today in Hawaii. Japan's prime minister set to visit the site of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We have to a preview from Honolulu.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. It is Tuesday, December 27th, 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Christine and John are off.

First up, despite the administration having less than a month to go on the job, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to deliver a speech later this week outlining the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Middle East. It comes as relations between the U.S. and Israel appear more strained than ever with Israeli officials claiming there is proof President Obama's administration pushed for the U.N. resolution condemning settlements.

And in the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordering working ties with 12 nations which backed the U.N. vote.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is following developments live in Jerusalem -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, as you mentioned, Secretary of State John Kerry has made it clear and he made it clear last week as well that he has a plan to give a speech to layout his vision for peace. That is something the Israelis are concerned about. At this point, they want this story to go away, but it's not. Not only Kerry's vision for peace in the speech, but also an upcoming peace conference in Paris in the middle of January. Those are Israel's concerns. In the meantime, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not backing off his

comments from President Obama or other countries. He is taking diplomatic steps. He's limited working ties with embassies and ministers. It doesn't have any practical effect, that step, but it is a very strong statement about how angry Netanyahu is. Meanwhile, the U.S. -- Israel launching issues that the U.S., that it was the U.S. behind this from the very beginning.

Here is the prime minister's spokesperson David Keyes.


DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR THE ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We have ironclad information from sources in the Arab world and internationally, and we're going to share that information with the incoming administration through the proper channels. And if the new administration chooses to share that information, that's their prerogative.

It should give us all pause that a terrorist organization like Hamas, which is calling for genocide of all Jews, is actually celebrating this decision, and it's celebrating it because it distances the chances of peace.


LIEBERMANN: We pushed Israelis both on this end and Israeli officials to the United States as to what is this evidence, what is this information you have that the U.S. was behind this from the very beginning. So far, they haven't put any evidence forward. In fact, saying in a bit of an odd twist that they will provide it to the next administration after this one is out of office.

Meanwhile, Obama's administration going not only on U.S. television but here on Israeli television to defend their decision.


BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: By definition, this is not an ambush when President Obama and Secretary Kerry have been saying in hundreds of conversations and in public comments that Israeli settlement activity was pushing into the West Bank in a way that was making the two-state solution unachievable.


LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu has made it clear that he is not apologizing and not backing down. In fact, just last night, he called his response to this, quote, "responsible, measured and vigorous." So, this is not quieting down anytime soon -- Joe and Alison.

JOHNS: A very fine line there. The administration essentially saying it's not behind this U.N. resolution. But at the same time, clearly concerned about the settlements.

Thanks so much for that, Oren Lieberman, in Jerusalem. KOSIK: OK. It's back to work today for the Trump transition team,

just 24 days now until he takes the oath of office. The president- elect is spending the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago out of the public eye. But he is not off Twitter. He couldn't resist responding to President Obama's big if. The president telling the Axe Files podcast he could have beaten Trump, believing his message of hope and change would still resonate if a third term was allowed.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I -- if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilize a majority of the American people to rally behind it.


KOSIK: Trump, though, not buying it. He tweeted this, "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won it against me.

[04:05:02] He should say that but I say no way. Jobs leaving, ISIS, Obamacare, et cetera."

Trump then taking aim at the U.N., in the wake of the anti-Israel resolution, saying this on Twitter, "The United Nations has great potential, but right now, it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad."

JOHNS: And there's even more. Trump taking credit for the busy holiday shopping season. "The world was a gloomy place", he tweeted, "before I won. There was no hope. Now, the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over $1 trillion." No sourcing on that $1 trillion number. The National Retail Federation projects spending closer to $655 billion. A good year for sure, but in line with Trump's tweet.

Finally, Trump depending his charitable foundation days after announcing plans to dissolve it and to avoid the impression of any conflict of interest. "I gave millions of dollars to DJT Foundation, raised and received millions more. All of which is given to charity and media won't report. The DJT Foundation, unlike most foundations, never paid fees, rent, salaries or any expenses, 100 percent of money goes to wonderful charities."

Trump, it's worth noting, has not donated to the foundation since 2008. That's according to the foundation's tax records.

And then there's this non-tweeted development, Trump aides Steven Miller will write the inauguration speech. He wrote many during the campaign and we're told the address will be similar to Trump's stump and "thank you" speeches with themes of the economy and outsourcing and border security and the military.

KOSIK: A day of remembrance and reconciliation as President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit Pearl Harbor and the USSA Arizona Memorial together. Prime Minister Abe arriving in Hawaii Monday for other ceremonial events. Among them, a visit to the Waikiki cemetery where he laid wreaths to remember those killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

But today, he will mark the first formal trip by a Japanese leader to the site of the Japanese air attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans and drew the U.S. into World War II 75 years ago.

We get more now from CNN's Athena Jones in Honolulu.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This visit by Prime Minister Abe coming seven months after President Obama made a historic trip to Hiroshima. He became the first sitting U.S. president to pay his respects to the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives there. Now Prime Minister Abe will be doing the same at Pearl Harbor. The White House says these two visits which are serving as book ends to one another highlight the power of reconciliation, the ability for former adversaries to become the closest of allies.

President Obama made the point at Hiroshima that 75 years ago in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the close friendship and alliance between these two countries could never have been imagined.

Now, as for what in the agenda, we expect the two leaders to have a formal sit down, what the White House calls a bilateral meeting. After that, they will be visiting the USS Arizona Memorial itself to visit and pay respects to those 900 soldiers who remain entombed in the watery grave. After that visit, we'll hear from both President Obama and Prime Minister Abe. And we expect Prime Minister Abe's remarks to echo the message that President Obama delivered in Hiroshima.

Before coming here, Prime Minister Abe said this visit will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims. We should never repeat the ravages of war. That is one of the themes we expect the prime minister to touch on in his remarks here. There are certainly people here in Hawaii looking forward to the visit by Prime Minister Abe.

I spoke to a 95-year-old witness to the Pearl Harbor attacks who told me that Prime Minister Abe's visit is the greatest thing in the world and that it will be a condition of the healing between the two countries.

Back to you, Joe and Alison.


JOHNS: Athena Jones in Honolulu. That's a pretty good trip to do.

KOSIK: But you've never gone --

JOHNS: Never got to do that. Yes, but the weather looks great.

KOSIK: OK. JOHNS: Christmas is over. The Christmas spirit vanishing quickly in malls across America. Violent fights and utter chaos breaking out in nearly a dozen cities. More coming up next.


[04:12:42] KOSIK: All right. Time for an early start on your money.

Inauguration just a few weeks away, but the cabinet confirmation process still has a long and monumental journey ahead. So far, the president-elect's nominees include five billionaires and six multimillionaires. This is according to "The Wall Street Journal's" calculations.

Now, Bernie Sanders spoke out yesterday on Twitter about this, saying, "Donald Trump, the anti-establish Republican, is building a cabinet worth at least $13 billion. The hypocrisy astounds me."

The wealthy nominees, they've got a lot to do before the process gets underway. To have to get their books in order, before Senate hearings. They've got to sit through their vast holdings. So, all of this could be a slow process.

Now, to get through the lengthy application process, aside from divesting, nominees have to list all of the organizations they have been affiliated with since they have been 18 years old. They have to name the clients who could pose a conflict of interest and all their real estate holdings as well.

Now, while it's unlikely that the process is going to change the outcome of the nominations, it will certainly take a lot of time and that could slow Donald Trump's agenda in the end.

JOHNS: And that's the real intangible of all of it. You have 100 days for this first president to make his initial mark.

KOSIK: Right.

JOHNS: And if his process of nominees get slowed down dramatically, it slows down the whole process and takes away from him trying to push the agenda.

KOSIK: He certainly -- Donald Trump has certainly made a lot of promises that he would do certain things on day one. I think reality is setting in, maybe that's not just going to be possible.

JOHNS: Absolutely, yes.

And speaking of reality, we have reality to tell you about on the day after Christmas. Violence erupting at several malls across the nation, just one day after Christmas.

Take a look at this video out of Manchester, Connecticut. You can hear people screaming, punches thrown in the shops at Buckland Hills. A large chase ensues. Our affiliate in Hartford says one officer was assaulted. A mall in Fort Worth, Texas, put on lockdown after the fight involving

100 middle school and high school students.

KOSIK: Where are their parents?

JOHNS: Exactly, right. You know, maybe they should be in school. Officers had to go store to store to let people out once the lockdown was lifted.

OK, now, take a look at Aurora, Illinois.

[04:15:02] This is the start of what evolved into a massive fight at Fox Valley Mall. Teenagers had to sprint down the stairs after this fight breaks out. The mall was forced to close for the day.

KOSIK: You know what it is? All of the kids are off school and nothing to do. But do this.

JOHNS: Exactly.

KOSIK: All right. So, you are looking at Beachwood Place Mall in Ohio. The mall on lockdown after unfounded reports of an active shooter. This started after a fight broke out among teenagers in the food court.

Panic Hamilton Place in Chattanooga, Tennessee, after police say teenagers set off fireworks. Shoppers mistook the sound for gunshots. Several shoppers were hurt as they ran out.

And the Aurora Town Mall in Colorado closing and evacuating everybody after several fights breaking out inside the mall involving at least 500 people.


KOSIK: Police say it all begun with a social media post promising a fight.

And we haven't stopped yet, we've got more. At Cross Creek in Fayetteville, North Carolina, people forced to evacuate after a massive fight there broke out in the food court. Police say reports of a suspected gunman turned out to be false.

JOHNS: Homework is the solution. Homework.

KOSIK: Yes, get them to do their homework.

JOHNS: You got it.

A bloody holiday weekend in Chicago. At least a dozen people shot dead. Authorities say it appears the majority of the shootings were targeted attacks by gang members against potential rivals who were at holiday gatherings. The city's police chief saying it's time to lay down the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EDDIE JOHNSON, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPT.: I just don't believe that we hold repeat gun offenders accountable for their actions. I just don't. You know, they think that the justice system in Cook County is a joke. You know, until we change the narrative of individuals to make them not want to pick up a gun, we're going to continue to see this cycle.


JOHNS: Chicago police say there were at least 27 shooting incidents all over the Christmas weekend.

KOSIK: Authorities in Tennessee are looking for the last remaining prisoners following the brazen Christmas Day escape from the county jail there. Suspect David Frazier along with five other inmates fled from the facility through a hole they discovered in the wall which led them outside. Apparently the hole was behind a toilet. The men managed to move the toilet back to cover the hole and conceal their escape. The other five are now back in custody.

JOHNS: American ingenuity, even in prison.

KOSIK: Well, when you got a lot of time on your hands, you find the hole behind the toilet.


JOHNS: Incredible.

The world is paying tribute to George Michael. Remembrances pouring in from around the world. We are live in London coming up next.


[04:21:17] KOSIK: The tributes pouring in for the late pop icon George Michael who died on Christmas Day in England. The singer is believed to have died from hearth failure and fans have been visiting Michael's homes, leaving flowers and letters and paying their respects. Two of the most important people in the music star's life are also now speaking up.

CNN's Phil Black is live for us in London.

Phil, what are those people close to him saying?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alison, as you say, here outside his home in north London, people are coming. The weather and temperatures have turned bitterly cold overnight. Through the night and morning, we're still people here leaving flowers, candles and messages expressing the shock, the grief, but also very much love and affection for this pop superstar.

Now, we heard tributes from fans and colleagues. But what we have heard from more recently have been tributes and words of grief from those who knew George Michael perhaps best of all, including the man who was with him on the day he died. His partner Fadi Fawaz has posted this in a tweet just overnight. He

says, "It's a Christmas I will never forget. Finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first things in the morning. I will never stop missing you."

Now, they had been together for a number of years. But prior to that, George Michael was in a relationship, some 13 years or so with American Kenny Goss. He's also released a statement, speaking of his heartbreak of losing a long time love and dear friend.

In a statement, he says this, he says, "He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. He was an extremely kind and generous man. The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him."

Now what people are still waiting for here are official answers on what the cause why George Michael died at such a young age. That is still expected to come with the results of the post mortem examination to be announced by the authority, Alison.

KOSIK: All right. Phil Black, we will continue to celebrate George Michael through his music. Thanks so much for your report.

JOHNS: This morning, Russia's defense ministry says divers have found the black box data recorder from a Russian military jet that crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday. The plane's cockpit voice recorder is still missing. Strong currents and deep water have complicated the search.

Authorities say large pieces of the wreckage have been found in the water. The plane was carrying 92 people when it went down Sunday en route from Sochi to western Syria. The passengers included more than 60 members of Russia's famed Red Army Cchoir.

KOSIK: Despite growing global concern over nuclear proliferation. India announcing the latest test of its most powerful nuclear capable missile. Defense officials say it's the fourth successful test firing of the missile. India's prime minister tweeting the test makes every Indian proud saying, it will add tremendous strength to the country's strategic defense.

JOHNS: In Australia, seven people reported missing after days of heavy rain and flooding in the country's northern territories. Meantime, the record-breaking rainfall triggered flash floods in national park in central Australia and also created some breath taking images of water running off the iconic sandstone rock formations.

Look at that.

KOSIK: Beautiful, but scary.

JOHNS: Yes, absolutely.

KOSIK: As for the weather back home, some cooler temperatures moving in. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis has the forecast.

Good morning, Karen.


KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Joe and Alison, it may not have been the heat wave we looked at on Christmas Day.

[04:25:03] But even Monday, the big shopping day, people trying to head back to work, we saw about 11 states with nearly two dozen record high temperatures. Shreveport, Louisiana, 83 degrees. Even in Detroit, 57 degrees. The day after Christmas, that was a record, we'll take that.

Houston, 84. Tupelo, Mississippi, 79.

All of the records even into Ohio. Columbus, Ohio. A number of cities reported record-high temperatures.

But just wait. Frontal system will sweep through, and as it does, temperatures start to drop a bit, like Nashville, goes from 74 degrees, that was on Monday. As we go into today, those temperatures only racking up until around 51 degrees.

Well, the frontal system heads to the east. Colder air behind it. You see a little bit of rainfall for New York, but later on in the week, there could be another system move through the northeastern in New England, could produce a bit of snow in New York and Boston by Thursday.

Back to you, guys.


KOSIK: All right. Karen, thanks very much.

JOHNS: The warmer temperatures don't last here in the east. Not for long.


JOHNS: In other news, Secretary of State John Kerry getting ready to layout a plan for peace in the Middle East. Is it wise to float a plan just before leaving office and just after the U.S. refused to protect Israel at the U.N.? That's coming up next.


JOHNS: The frustration is starting to grow following the anti anti- Israel resolution at the U.N. The Obama administration is ignoring accusations it is behind the move, now getting set to reveal its road map to achieve peace, as the Israelis put working ties on the countries voted in favor of the U.N. measure. We'll have more from Jerusalem. KOSIK: Donald Trump out of the public eye, but by no means silent. He's unleashing a tirade targeting -- his targets include the media, the U.N., even President Obama. And he is doing it, where else, on Twitter.