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Israel: "Ironclad" Proof U.S. Pushed for U.N. Resolution; Trump's Twitter Tirade; History in Hawaii; Cowboys Dominant on Monday Night. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired December 27, 2016 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] JOE JOHNS, 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. Now, where the U.S. could be ready to rock the boat once again. We have more coming up from Jerusalem.

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

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

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Joe Johns.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It is Tuesday, December 27th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. And John and Christine are off.

Up first, despite the administration having less than a month left on the job, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to deliver a speech later this week which will look to outline the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Mideast.

This comes as relations between the U.S. and Israel appear more strained than ever, with Israeli officials claiming there is proof the Obama administration pushed for the U.N. resolution condemning settlements.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordering a limit on working ties with 12 nations which backed the U.N. vote.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is following all of these developments. And he is live for us in Jerusalem.

Good morning, Oren.


This story is moving in a lot of directions. First, Secretary of State John Kerry, after the decision is made to allow this U.N. Security Council resolution to go through, Kerry said he would make a speech to layout his vision for peace and how he thought the sensitive issues should be dealt with like Jerusalem, like borders, like refugees. That could come in the next few days. And that has Israel worry.

Meanwhile on this end, Prime Minister Netanyahu has not backed off his criticism of the Obama administration one bit. In fact, he says his response has been measured and responsible, even vigorous. He's also taken diplomatic steps against the countries voted for it, limiting diplomatic ties with embassies and ambassadors, as well as high level visits.

That is all part of the diplomatic response, largely symbolic, it doesn't have any practical effect. But it gives you an idea of how angry Netanyahu is.

Meanwhile, his administration, that is Netanyahu's government still accusing the U.S. of being behind this U.N. Security Council resolution, of writing it, putting it out and advancing. Here is what Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes had to say.


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: As for what that information or evidence is that the U.S. was behind it, no Israeli official here or there, that is to say in the U.S., has put anything forward. Only as you heard right there, saying they'll share with the next administration.

Meanwhile, Obama's advisers have taken to the air in the U.S. and here to defend the decision and explain it.


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.


LIEBERMAN: Netanyahu made it clear he is done working with President Obama and in numerous statements since Friday, since that Security Council resolution vote, he's made it very clear that he is looking forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump.

KOSIK: OK, Oren, we know the resolution is more recommendation than real action, but are we seeing Netanyahu really ramp up his anger because there is also concern about other moves that can be made at the United Nations against Israel in the next few weeks?

LIEBERMAN: Part of Netanyahu's anger may be to show Trump how eager he is to work with him. He is also playing to his voters here, which is to say Netanyahu voters are not big fans of Obama. So, he is playing to them as it unfolds.

As for what happens next, Israel is concerned of a follow-up resolution that would try to layout parameters, that would try to set conditions for negotiations on the sensitive issues for the next round of negotiations whenever that happens, between Israelis and Palestinians. That's Israel's concern right now, especially with the international peace conference in Paris three weeks away.

KOSIK: All right. CNN's Oren Live from Jerusalem. Thanks.

JOHNS: It is back to work today for the Trump transition team. Just 24 days now until he takes the oath of office. President-elect spending this holiday at his Mar-a-Lago out of the public eye, but not off Twitter. He could not 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 could 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.


JOHNS: Trump not buying it, though, tweeting this, "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won it against me. He should say that but I say no way. Jobs leaving, ISIS, Obamacare, et cetera."

Trump taking aim at the United States in the wake of the Israel resolution.

[05:05:04] "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."

KOSIK: OK, there's more. Trump taking credit for the busy holiday shopping season, saying this, "The world was gloomy before I won. There was no hope. Now the market was up 10 percent and Christmas spending is over $1 trillion."

We're thinking that he got that $1 trillion number from a survey done in September which is a projected number of holiday spending for over $1 trillion. The National Retail Federation projects spending close to $655 billion. It's a good year, yes, but not in line with Trump's tweet.

Finally, Trump defending his charity days after announcing plans to dissolve it to avoid the impression of any conflict of interest, saying this, "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."

Trump hasn't donated to the foundation since 2008 according to the foundation tax reports.

And then there's this, non-tweeted developments. Trump's aide Steven Miller will write the inauguration speech. He wrote many during the campaign. We are told this one will address Trump's stump and thank you speeches, with themes including the economy, outsourcing, border security and the military.


Let's bring in CNN political reporter Eugene Scott.

And, I guess, the big question is, where do we begin? I like to begin on the podcast, Axe podcast, and President Obama among other things saying he would have won if he had been able to run for a third term.

It is interesting about the president, Eugene. He is a guy who is very guarded and very careful with his words. And he then sits down with his old friend David Axelrod and the question is did he just get a little too comfortable and go too far or was it something the president planned to say?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I think the president was responding to his high favorability numbers as he heads out of the White House. It's always worth mentioning that Hillary Clinton who he was hoping to be his successor who received about 2.8 million more votes than Trump. I don't find it hard to believe that the president believes that he could have received more than that.

And so, I think that is what he was referencing. The message he said in 2008 and 2012, he would have been able to continue and be victorious over Donald Trump. Whether that would have actually happened, who knows?

KOSIK: Is this overconfident? I mean, you look at the congressional races. Democrats lost seats in the House and Senate. Not just in the House and Senate, but state legislatures as well. You look at what he said. It's kind of a subtle jab -- or is it a subtle jab at Hillary Clinton?

SCOTT: Well, it's certainly confident. I don't think the president factored in how many voters who backed him in 2008 and 2012 are dissatisfied with how he ran the White House, even from the Obama coalition. So, whether or not he would have been able to rally that same support is not clear. I certainly do think that he believes that he would have been more effective than Hillary Clinton at reaching some of the demographics that she was not able to. JOHNS: There is also a very interesting comment we heard, the

president talking about the Senate Republican leader, the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in which he gives him quite a compliment. Let's listen.


OBAMA: Mitch McConnell's insight from a pure tactical perspective was pretty smart and well-executed. The degree of discipline he was able to impose on his caucus was impressive. His insight was that we just have to say no to that.


JOHNS: Eugene, does that help Senate Democrats who will be entrenched warfare, if you will, over the coming two years for the outgoing Democratic president to give this big glowing compliment to Mitch McConnell?

SCOTT: Well, I think I interpreted that comment as the president simply saying that McConnell was effective in blocking so many of the things that the Democrats and the president wanted to put forward. Whether or not the Democrats will be able to replicate that themselves is not clear. But I certainly think the president hopes they are able to impart some of the same discipline and wisdom that their opponents were able to these past eight years.

KOSIK: I want to ask you a question about Secretary of State John Kerry getting ready to lay out a speech this week for Mideast peace. I find this ironic to say the least.

JOHNS: If not fascinating.

KOSIK: Yes. I mean, the timing of this is really curious. You know, the Obama administration has had little luck in smoothing over relations with the Palestinians and Israelis.

[05:10:05] Peace talks have been all but -- are all but dead. And now, you've got John Kerry trying to leave the administration, kind of a legacy behind. But is it a little late for legacy building at this point?

SCOTT: Well, I certainly think the speech will be aimed at Democrats and giving them an idea of the ideas they can put forward in this next administration and what their focus should be. And perhaps it's also messaging to allies.

As you know that the United States approach to the Middle East and Israel isn't something that we approach by ourselves. So, I think perhaps the idea is to encourage people to continue this legacy even if the White House will not.

KOSIK: OK. Eugene Scott, we'll talk more. We have more to talk about in 20 minutes. See you in a bit.

Time for an early start on your money. Inauguration coming up in a few weeks, but the cabinet confirmation process still has a really long journey ahead. So far, the president-elect nominees include five billionaires and six multimillionaires. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal's" calculations.

Bernie Sanders got into the mix yesterday on Twitter saying this, "Donald Trump, the anti-establishment 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 nomination process, to get their books in order, they've go to sift through their vast holdings. All this could be a slow process. Now, to get through the long application aside from divesting, nominees also have to list the following -- all organizations, they have been affiliated with since 18 years old. They have to name clients who pose a conflict of interest and name real estate holdings as well.

Now, while it's unlikely that the process will actually change, the outcome of the nomination, it certainly going to take time and that could slow Donald Trump's agenda. And that time means money because it means these nominees have to shell out a lot of money to lawyers to make sure everything is buttoned up.

JOHNS: First 100 days, so important to any incoming president. And if you don't get through this quick, you run out of time to try to get it done.

KOSIK: Exactly.

JOHNS: Christmas spirit vanishing quickly in malls across America. Violence and utter chaos breaking out in nearly a dozen cities. More coming up.


[05:15:31] JOHNS: A day of remembrance and reconciliation with President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to go to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial together. Prime Minister Abe arrived in Hawaii Monday for other ceremonial events. Among them, a visit to Makiki Cemetery where he laid wreaths to commemorate those killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

But today 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 United States into World War II 75 years ago.

We get more 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 Hawaii.

What a moment that is in Honolulu.

KOSIK: Definitely historic.

JOHNS: Amazing.

KOSIK: All right. It looks like the day after Christmas wasn't so festive. A lot of violence at shopping malls across the nation. You said it, just one day after Christmas.

I want you to look at this video. This is out of Manchester, Connecticut. You can hear people screaming, punches are thrown inside the shops of Buckland Hills. A large chase ensues and our affiliate in Hartford says one officer was assaulted.

And then a mall in Ft. Worth, Texas, put on lockdown following this fight involving 100 middle school and high school students near the food court. Where are their parents? Officers had to go store to store to let people out once the lockdown was lifted.

And then in Aurora, Illinois, a huge brawl at Fox Valley Mall. Teenagers had to sprint down the stairs after the fight broke out. The mall was forced to close for the day.

JOHNS: When I was that age, I was still playing at the things I got for Christmas.


JOHNS: Exactly.

This was the scene in Beachwood Place Mall in Ohio. The mall put on lockdown following unfounded reports of an active shooter. Police say all this begun after a fight broke out among teenagers in the food court.

Panic at Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga after police say teenagers set off fireworks. Shoppers mistook the sound for gunshots, of course, several shoppers were hurt as they ran out of the building. And the aurora town mall in Colorado close and evacuated after fights broke out in the mall involving at least 500 people. Police say it all started with the social media post promising a fight.

KOSIK: Come on, people. Let's be good to each other. It's the holidays, right?

JOHNS: The Cowboys stomped the Lions in football. Can anyone stop America's team on the road to the Super Bowl?

[05:20:00] Coy Wire with this morning's "Bleacher Report", coming up next.


JOHNS: OK. We said this before year. The Dallas Cowboys shining once again in primetime last night, winning easily against the desperate Detroit Lions team.

KOSIK: Go Cowboys. Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison. I thought you were a Miami Dolphins girl.

Good morning to you, too, Joe.

Going into the game, the Cowboys already had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs locked up. Some thought they would rest starters. Will they pack it in? But now, they went out and put on a show.

And even though the Lions were fighting for the playoff lives, they could not stop the machine that is Dallas Dolphins. Ezekiel Elliott first quarter shot through a cannon for a 55 yard touchdown. He's the NFL's leading rusher. He needs just 177 yards in the Cowboys final game to catch Eric Dickerson's all time rookie record.

How about Dez Bryant? Throwing a touchdown pass. That goes along with two touchdown receptions for Dez Bryant on the day. The Cowboys, they are rolling at 13-2. They get the win, 42-21.

Crazy moment from yesterday's St. Petersburg Bowl. Mississippi state blocking Miami of Ohio's potential game-winning field goal. That's in the final seconds of the game. The Bulldogs get the win, 17-16. They still finish the season with the losing record of 6-7. But they are celebrating now.

Four more college bowl games on tap today. I'll be checking out number 23 Temple against Wake Forest in the Military Bowl.

[05:25:00] Now, I will be in Phoenix on Saturday to cover Clemson and Ohio State in the college playoff semifinal. Clemson's head coach Dabo Swinney knows he will have his hands full with Ohio State. He is using any kind of preparation he can get his hands, including reading the opposing coach Urban Meyer's book.


DABO SWINNEY, CLEMSON HEAD COACH: Try to get that read by the end of the week. "Above the Line", I have to figure out how to get any little edge I can get. We got all cliff notes shooting my way.


WIRE: I got you, coach. I love that Dabo Swinney.

Now, check this out. For the first time in decades, the granny shot, making a return to the NBA. Oh, my goodness. The teammates love it.

This is the Rockets rookie Chinanu Onuaku. Two free throws underhand against the Suns. He finished with six points in the game, but this was the talk of the town. Rick Perry was the last to shoot like that in 1980.

And you have to settle the debate for us, Big Joe, in the sports department, we said there is a strong chance that is now Joe Johns shot his free throws.

JOHNS: No way. That looked like a stunt. He is desperate to make a foul shot, so he does that, really?

WIRE: Yes, he is not that good back in college. After the freshman year in Louisville, he switched to granny style. Now, he's a pretty darn good free throw shooter.

KOSIK: He though knocked it.

JOHNS: I know, you have to do what you have to do, right?

WIRE: Yes. You know all the kids will try it now, Joe.

JOHNS: I go to the three-point line.

KOSIK: Coy, you look dapper in your bowtie today.

WIRE: Thank you. This is called my bro tie this morning.

JOHNS: Student of football.

KOSIK: Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

KOSIK: 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 weeks before leaving office and just after the U.S. refused to protect Israel at the U.N.? That's next.


KOSIK: Frustration is growing after the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N.