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Chibok Schoolgirls with Their Families; Trump's Last Press Conference was Months Ago; Simone Biles on New Book. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 27, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:09] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Time now for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Number one, Israel temporarily suspending working ties with 12 nations. Those nations, the ones that voted in favor of the U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements. The move comes amid increased tension between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And it's an historic day in Hawaii. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will become the first Japanese leader to attend a memorial service for the Americans killed in the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. President Barack Obama will join him for the service.

HARLOW: In Chicago, police say an uptick in gang activity is behind the deadly holiday weekend which saw 12 people shot and killed there. Chicago is closing out this year with more than 700 homicides. That is about 200 more than this time last year.

LEMON: And speaking of violence, violence erupts at malls across the country just one day after Christmas. The brawls happening from New Jersey to Colorado. Police say teenagers were arrested and some shoppers were even hurt.

HARLOW: Cheetahs appear to be fighting for their own survival. A new study shows the world's fastest land animal could soon face extinction. The global cheetah population is just about 7,000, with most of them living in Africa, and advocates suggest they deserve endangered species status.

LEMON: And for more on the five things to know, go to for the very latest.

It's an important story we need to tell you about right now. Twenty- one Chibok school girls and a baby are finally setting off on the long journey home, eager to celebrate Christmas and take in the new year with loved ones. They were freed after more than two years in Boko Haram captivity back in the fall and just wrapped up a ten-week recovery with the Nigerian government.

HARLOW: Wow. Our own Isha Sesay has been on this story from the beginning and with them on their journey home. They were abducted in 2014. She joins us now from Lagos, Nigeria.

Isha, I mean, for you, someone who's covered this personally for so long, incredibly meaningful.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi there, Don and Poppy.

Incredibly meaningful. And just something that will always stay with me, being able to make this journey home with these girls. This was a journey they had been longing to make. Really very much a long road home to reuniting with family and their community.


SESAY (voice-over): After almost two and a half years in Boko Haram captivity, at last it's time to go home. Having covered the Chibok girls abduction from the very beginning, I'm going to make the long journey from Abuja (ph) to Chible (ph) with them.

SESAY (on camera): You're going home. How are you feeling? Somebody tell me, how - what is the feeling in your heart right now?


SESAY: Yes, happy?


SESAY (voice-over): For all the talk of excitement, some of these girls are also nervous.

SESAY (on camera): Don't be nervous. Don't be afraid, OK? Behold your faith. You hold on to your faith, OK? OK? The same faith that kept you all those months.

SESAY (voice-over): With the girls on the move, there are more smiles as they chat and giggle freely amongst themselves.

Once we land in Yola (ph), the girls are welcomed by some of the Chibok community leaders, as well as the governor of Adamawa (ph) state.

The road to Chibok, too dangerous to travel after dark. The girls spend the night at a local hotel. Outside, a large security cordon is put in place. Inside, with their journey delayed, they gather in one room to do what they were unable to do while in Boko Haram captivity. I learned from Rebecca Malum (ph) and Glory Damer (ph) they were singing local Christian hymns. While in captivity, their Christianity was not tolerated by the Boko Haram terrorists.

SESAY (on camera): What have you been doing since you were at Abuja (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). We been very grateful. We are - we are grateful for them because they are good people. They have done good for us. And then when we are in Abuja, we have plenty of food, we have English class. That's (INAUDIBLE). That we learn how to speak in English and writing very well.


SESAY: You guys look so different since I saw you in October. How are you feeling now, from that time till now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are feeling beautiful because - since we came. We -

SESAY: You can tell me. You can tell me. Because you are beautiful.

[08:35:04] SESAY (voice-over): The next morning, a military convoy escorts the girls to Chibok, a place that holds the promise of long- awaited family reunions and memories of a fateful night.

SESAY (on camera): So the convoy has stopped in a town called Madamamubi (ph), which is about an hour away from Chibok. The movement through these parts, such a well-armed convoy, is drawing attention from passer's by.

SESAY (voice-over): As we enter Chibok town, locals wave excitedly, welcoming their girls home.

The moment of reunion eventually arrives. The room, almost vibrating with the sound of unbridled joy. But for some waiting parents, heartbreak. These women have come looking for their daughters who are still being held by Boko Haram. They've thought their children were among the group who were coming home for Christmas.

SESAY (on camera): There has been such an outpouring of grief amid the joy. The piercing screams of mothers realizing that, indeed, they are not to be reunited with their daughters on this day, which has turned what should have been an overwhelmingly happy moment into a bitter sweet one.

SESAY (voice-over): For Rebecca and her father, the nightmare is over and her father is overcome with feelings of gratitude. Given all they have endured, the mental and physical abuse at the hands of their captors, the years of painful separation from their loved ones, this reunion here in Chibok moves these fractured families and the community a step closer to wholeness.


SESAY: I want to say again that these girls are indeed beautiful and they are amazing. After the Christmas period, the festive season, they will head back to Abuja, the capitol of Nigeria, in early January to continue their path towards complete recovery.

Don. Poppy.

HARLOW: Isha, thank you so much for bringing us this story always and, you know, it's important for the world to see. Thank you for all you've done.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, and it's been five months since Donald Trump held his

last press conference. Why won't the president-elect face the media? Why won't he face questions? We'll get "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:41:32] LEMON: You know what, five months ago today was the last time the president-elect held a news conference. Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for the same thing throughout the campaign. So why is he tweeting and not talking to the press? Let's get "The Bottom Line" now from our senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner," and that's David Drucker.

He's probably doing it because he doesn't feels that he has to. But - and here's some of the things. I'll get your response to that. But he said, "the world was gloomy before I won. There was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over $1 trillion." And then he said, I saved the auto industry and I killed bin Laden after the - I - I - that second part was sarcasm.

HARLOW: Thing that the president said.

LEMON: But, still, he's going - he's going around the media. And maybe he doesn't feel he has to hold a press conference.

DAVID DRUCKER, SR. CONGRESSIONAL CORR., "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Right. So he has a daily tweet conference. And that's in place of a press conference.

Look, I think the way - you know, it's interesting, right, because when Donald Trump started in his campaign, he talked to every show, every single day.

LEMON: Nine interviews, I think, that I can count.

DRUCKER: Without reservation.

HARLOW: But on his terms. He would only call in.

DRUCKER: Totally agree. But it's in an interesting (INAUDIBLE) watching him go -

LEMON: He would sit down. I sat down with him a couple of times.

DRUCKER: It's been interesting to -

HARLOW: If you're Don Lemon, he'll sit down.

DRUCKER: Right. I mean, look, I never talked to the guy, but if you're - if - if you have watched the evolution, he's gone from doing all of the mainstream media programs on Sundays, granted in his bathroom on the telephone, but he was on every week, to generally talking to right of center media only.

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE). DRUCKER: And not even all right of center media, but very friendly, as he perceives it, friendly right of center media. And even on those networks, only hosts that he feels very comfortable with.

HARLOW: I don't think - not the case with Chris Wallace.

DRUCKER: No, like - no.

LEMON: It's still friendly territory.

DRUCKER: He occasionally branches out. And - and Chris Wallace has done a very good job of trying to pin him down.

HARLOW: Right.

DRUCKER: But I think that the way Trump sees it is, he hasn't held a press conference in a long time. He won the election. And I think voters generally don't trust us and, therefore, they will put up with him not talking to us.

HARLOW: Right.

LEMON: Can I just say something? But that's the whole point of it. That's the strategy is, he can't sit down with the media and - because then he legitimizes the media, which he rallies or rails so much against and so he - he won't - he -

HARLOW: But - and to - and to Don's point, I mean, look, hate us all you want, the media. It's actually, you need to be responsive to the American people.


HARLOW: The people that elected you. And - and we are that line to - to the people.

LEMON: Even the people who didn't vote for him.

DRUCKER: Well, yes, but still -

HARLOW: Outside of Twitter.

DRUCKER: Well, and -

HARLOW: You cannot explain complex things on Twitter.

DRUCKER: No, you can't. Look, and let me expand the point, right, because what I said was very simplistic. So half of the country really likes him. They don't - and they don't really like us and so they don't care if he ever talks to us ever. The other half of the country, they sort of don't like us for other reasons, but they don't like Trump, and they would like him to talk to us because we are the only ones that are going to ask him the very tough and complex questions.

LEMON: Yes. DRUCKER: What about your charity? What about your tax returns? What about your, you know, your foreign policy and your plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act?

HARLOW: I mean, no joke, this is also a president-elect who has talked about, you know, changing libel laws in this country. He's - he's talked about basically -


HARLOW: First Amendment rights. I mean this - this is serious stuff.


HARLOW: Whether or not he'll follow through on - on attempting to change the freedom of the press, I mean, that's serious stuff.

DRUCKER: Right. Look, I think, even the Republican Congress will stand in his way of messing with the Bill of Rights. I - I would say - I would say this. I think that Trump, in part, likes to spar with us and likes to keep us as the bogey man because it works for him.

[08:45:00] LEMON: Yes.

DRUCKER: And as a - and the biggest point is, even voters that voted against him want him to take our tough questions.


DRUCKER: They have their own problems with us, which is why, in some ways, he can get away with not talking to us.

LEMON: But he still needs us more than - than we need him. Listen, I'm not a news executive, but if I were, I would say, I would not cover his tweets. I would - I would be very judicious (ph) about the tweets I cover.

HARLOW: So I disagree. I disagree with -

DRUCKER: I agree with you, by the way. I -

HARLOW: You do?

LEMON: I wouldn't.


HARLOW: Cover them at all? You wouldn't cover them at all?


HARLOW: Because that is his way of communicating with the public.

DRUCKER: Well, no. If I'm in your chair -

LEMON: Wouldn't do it. DRUCKER: if I'm in your chair, I'd cover the tweets.

LEMON: Well, you have to.

DRUCKER: From my - you know, from my chair, they come through my Twitter stream and I do not touch them.

LEMON: But I think that I wouldn't because unless I hear it from his mouth at a press conference or representative, then I would not take it as gospel. I wouldn't cover it.

HARLOW: So Don's thinking is, if he - and correct me if I'm wrong -

LEMON: Right.

HARLOW: If he doesn't speak directly -

LEMON: Nope.

HARLOW: To us, then if he is ignored, essentially the tweets, then he will have a press conference.

LEMON: Of course he will. He hates being ignored. He likes seeing him - come on.

DRUCKER: Look, all presidents want to get their message out. There was a time in history when they needed us to get their message out.


DRUCKER: Barack Obama, the president, hasn't needed us to get the message out. Donald Trump doesn't need us to get his message out. There will come a time -


DRUCKER: When he needs to talk to the American people through us on some very complex issues.


LEMON: We - are we out of time? I wanted to ask him one more question. We're out of time. Oh, OK.

HARLOW: We're out of time. Well, guess who will be back tomorrow?

LEMON: I just wanted to ask you - I just wanted to ask you about the Palestinian representative we had on this morning.


LEMON: And what she said about not - not - real quick, that there's no two-state solution because she says she doesn't recognize it.

DRUCKER: If you - look, if you don't recognize Israel as a majority Jewish state - LEMON: Yes. OK.

DRUCKER: And you don't have a two-state solution.


DRUCKER: You don't.

LEMON: Thank you.

HARLOW: When you have what David Keith (ph) said in response, it has to be recognized.


LEMON: Thank you.

HARLOW: As a Jewish state from their perspective.

DRUCKER: There's no Israel otherwise no matter what you call it.

HARLOW: Guys, thank you.

All right, we've got to leave it there. I'm so sorry, producers in the control room.


HARLOW: All right, she was one of the greatest hits of 2016. Simone Biles racked up the gold in Rio and stole lots of hearts around the world. She spoke to CNN about her amazing year. That's next.


[08:50:31] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: She captured the hearts of Americans winning five Olympic medals, including four gold ones at the Rio games. Her gymnastics routines defied gravity and inspired young athletes everywhere. Joining us now is the most decorated American gymnast of all time, Olympic champion Simone Biles. She wraps up her amazing year in her new book "Courage to Soar."

Hi, Simone.


CAMEROTA: How are you doing?

BILES: I'm good. How are you?

CAMEROTA: I'm doing well.

Your book is a memoir, and you deserve it because you've packed a lot into those 19 years. And you - you - you know, you reveal a lot of personal details in this book about your life.

BILES: Yes. CAMEROTA: Why did you want to write it?

BILES: I figured it would be best to hear my story. I think it's pretty unique from me rather than everyone reading it online.

CAMEROTA: Yes. It's nice to tell your own story, certainly. So, I mean, some of the things that you revisit in this book are that your biological mother struggled with drugs and alcohol. You were put into foster care at a young age and you spent time there and then you were adopted by your grandparents. Was it hard to go back and re-live all of that for the book?

BILES: Not necessarily because I was so young when everything happened, so I don't remember a lot of the details. I just remember vague stories. But other than that, it was pretty easy.

CAMEROTA: You struggle with ADHD.


CAMEROTA: Why did you want to talk about that?

BILES: Well, I think it's important for kids to know that even professional athletes have ADHD and it's nothing to be ashamed of. And we're still normal.

CAMEROTA: That is a great message. It is hard to believe this, but in your book you talk about your insecurity at times about your body.


CAMEROTA: You know, your body is like a specimen. I mean of perfection to most people, and yet you felt insecure about it at times. Why?

BILES: Yes. Because being in a leo your whole entire life, and then you go through puberty, and your body's changing, and it's a little bit different. So, I mean, I think it's important for kids to learn that too, that at times we're uncomfortable with our bodies, but then we gain our confidence back, so it's OK.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, didn't you also have insecurity about your body before you were a gymnast, when you were just a little kid, because you're so muscle bound? But what was it? Were - did kids make fun of you? I mean what was that experience like?

BILES: Well, going to public school nobody really had a body build that I did, and I was a girl, so the guys would sometimes make fun of me. But I think they were just jealous because they didn't have the muscle definition I did. So I got made fun of. So I would try to hide my muscles instead of show them, so I would always wear a jacket.

CAMEROTA: And then, when you first went to the gymnastics studio, what was your reaction when you saw other people's bodies there?

BILES: I figured it was normal and we needed that body type for this sport. So whenever I was in the gym, I was very comfortable with my body because all the other girls had similar body types.

CAMEROTA: I also want to ask you about your faith, because you said that you felt that it was important to talk about that and you wanted other kids to understand what role faith plays in your life. So tell us about that.

BILES: Yes. So I've always gone to church. I go every Sunday whenever I'm in town with my mom and my sister. And it's important for kids to realize that you can - like faith can help you along the way so you don't have to hide that either. Even if you want to do like a little prayer on the side, you don't have to like close your eyes and do it, you can still just stand there by yourself and like know that you're praying in that moment.

CAMEROTA: And is that what you were doing during the Olympics?

BILES: Yes, like in the back I was praying a lot.

CAMEROTA: Wow. Well, it worked.

BILES: It did.

CAMEROTA: And, of course, all of your talent and skill. I know that the last time we interviewed you, you shared what a phenomenal year this has been, as we said. I mean you've had this like run of successes at the Olympics, but there was also a moment that you thought was the highlight of your year, and it was when you got to meet your heartthrob, Zac Efron. Tell us about that moment.

BILES: Yes. That moment was like very crazy because I didn't think it was going to happen, but Hoda (ph) was so sweet in bringing him out. And it was - it was amazing.

[08:55:08] CAMEROTA: That is a great, adorable moment.

So, Simone, what's next for you?

BILES: I'm here in L.A. doing my book tour. I have my Houston book tour at the beginning of January. And then I'll take some time off. I'm like go on vacations and stuff.

CAMEROTA: Great. And are we going to see you in 2020 at the Olympics in Tokyo?


CAMEROTA: That's great.

Well, Simone Biles, thanks so much. It's a great book. I do think that it will really help young kids understand that even champions among us struggle with lots of things and it's wonderful of you to share it all and to be here on NEW DAY with us. Thanks so much.

BILES: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: "The Good Stuff" is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Time for "The Good Stuff" this morning. It is from Connecticut, where a state trooper became a delivery man, literally, on Christmas Eve.


GREG CAPPS, CT STATE TROOPER: The gentleman in the car gets out. I walk up to the car and she was in active labor. I - I had just barely enough time to get my gloves.


HARLOW: Whoo, that's Trooper First Class Gregory Capps, who pulled over to help a couple in distress and wound up delivering their baby.


HARLOW: Awe. On the side of the highway. Mom and baby are doing great.

[09:00:00] LEMON: Yay.

HARLOW: Continuing the Christmas theme, the baby's name is - I love this - Ebenezer.

LEMON: But not scrooge, right, but Ebenezer, right, after he had gone through the whole thing. Yes.