Return to Transcripts main page


Actress Carrie Fisher Dies At 60;Security Scare At Trump Tower; Trump Administration Taking Shape; Vote Canceled For New Housing In East Jerusalem. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 28, 2016 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Joe Johns.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Alison Kosik. Good morning. It's 30 minutes past the hour but for the second time this week the entertainment world is mourning the loss of an iconic and beloved figure. Actress Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60. Her death coming just days after she suffered a cardiac event on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

Fisher was best known as "Star Wars" Princess Leia but, oh, her legacy certainly goes well beyond the big screen. Tributes are pouring in from her fans and fellow members of the "Star Wars" universe. CNN's Paul Vercammen has more now on Carrie Fisher's life and legacy.


CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS: I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia in "Star Wars" has died. Fisher had a heart attack Friday during the final 15 minutes of a flight from London to Los Angeles. According to TMZ, Fisher was on a ventilator the entire time she was hospitalized, never regaining consciousness. She's seen here in an audition tape with soon-to-be co-star Harrison Ford.

FISHER: When R2 has been safely delivered to my forces.

VERCAMMEN: Critics pointed to the strong chemistry between Fisher and Ford and with good reason. Fisher recently revealed that she and Ford were off-screen lovers.


FISHER: Forty years and I thought I'd wait.

DEGENERES: OK. So you reveal that you were having an affair with Harrison Ford.

FISHER: I was.

DEGENERES: You -- well, you say it. FISHER: Yes, I did.

DEGENERES: All right. So how did that stay a secret for 40 years?

FISHER: I was good at that, wasn't I?

VERCAMMEN: Fisher was born in Beverly Hills. Mother, actress Debbie Reynolds; father, singer Eddie Fisher.

FISHER: I was primarily brought up by my mother but I saw my father.

VERCAMMEN: Fisher poked fun at the absurdities of show biz life, and all manner of self-medication including taking pills to control her emotions.

FISHER: Any mood stabilizer is a weight gainer, so whether you -- you feel better, but then you're fat. So what you gain is a loss. It's just -- it's not a good situation.

VERCAMMEN: Fisher spoke about being bipolar and often turned pain in humor, also writing "Wishful Drinking" and "Shockaholic". Fisher was briefly married to singer Paul Simon in the 1980's. Years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Billie Catherine, from her relationship with agent Bryan Lourd.

She debuted in the acclaimed film "Shampoo". In between the "Star Wars" movies Fisher landed a number of meaty roles in "Soap Dish" --

FISHER: I think we found our waiter.

VERCAMMEN: -- and as Meg Ryan's wise-cracking friend in "When Harry Met Sally".

FISHER: Someone is staring at you in personal growth.

VERCAMMEN: But nothing could, would or, perhaps, should loom larger on-screen than Fisher in "Star Wars".

FISHER: It transported you. It was extraordinary entertainment and filmmaking.

LARRY KING, FORMER HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Do you like the princess?

FISHER: I have her over sometimes. She's a little bitchy, you know.

KING: Yes.

VERCAMMEN: Carrie Fisher was 60.


JOHNS: Carrie Fisher's "Star Wars" family remembering her as a force to reckoned with. Harrison Ford among those paying tribute saying, "Carrie was one-of-a-kind brilliant, original, funny, and emotionally fearless. She lived her life bravely. We will all miss her." Mark Hamill says, "This is downright heartbreaking. She was our princess and the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent and ferociously funny take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. She played such a crucial role in my professional and personal life and both would have been far emptier without her."

And this from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. "She was extremely smart, a talented actress, writer, and comedian with a colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars, she was our great and powerful princess, feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. She will be missed by all."

KOSIK: All right. Turning now to the Trump transition. Twenty-three days to go until he takes the oath of office. And a security scare at New York's Trump Tower triggering the latest Twitter war. But the president-elect, he wasn't there. He was on the sidelines for this one. You see, a suspicious package which turned out to be a bag of children's toys prompted police to evacuate the lobby.

The incident triggering a back-and-forth between Trump's team and the New York City mayor's office over the millions being spent to protect Trump Tower. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted this. "Back to work here at Trump Tower after a false alarm. Thanks NYPD." Well, that led Eric Phillips, the spokesperson for New York City' Mayor Bill de Blasio, to respond this way. "No problem. We'll send you the bill."

JOHNS: Then it was downhill from there with Trump's social media director Dan Scavino weighing in. "Eric Phillips, you are an embarrassment to the New York City mayor's office and the amazing NYPD." Phillips then shot back linking an article about House Republicans shortchanging the Big Apple on security funding for Trump Tower and tweeting, "That's not very nice, Dan, but what about that bill? Work with us on it, will you?"

[05:35:05] It costs the city half a million dollars a day to protect Trump Tower. Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for $35 million for security until the inauguration. House Republicans offered $7 million.

KOSIK: Now Trump, once again, missed all the excitement because he's in Florida for the holidays. He's now getting back to the business of building his administration, announcing his choice for Homeland Security adviser. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more now on that from Palm Beach.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Joe and Alison. Donald Trump beginning yet another work day here on his vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Aides tell me that he's going to be holding meetings throughout the day today, still rounding out his cabinet and his West Wing advisers.

Now, he did name a very critical position to his team yesterday, Thomas Bossert. He is a former adviser to the George W. Bush administration and is now going to be the chief of Homeland Security, counterterrorism, and cyber threats in the new Trump administration. He is going to have a similar role domestically to what retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has for foreign threats and international affairs. That is a key position in the West Wing.

Now, there are two cabinet positions also remaining and CNN has learned that those come as early as this week. They are Veterans Affairs and the Agriculture Department. Both cabinet level positions could be named by Donald Trump as early as today or before the weekend, I'm told -- Joe and Alison.


JOHNS: OK. With that, now let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott. Listening to the piece there, let's talk a little bit about this Thomas Bossert. Not exactly a new face --


JOHNS: -- as the Homeland Security adviser. And he has an elevated title compared to Lisa Monaco who essentially holds the very same job in the White House right now. Do you want to talk to us about him?

SCOTT: Yes, not a new face at all. So, he was in the Bush administration and one of the things he focused on while there were cybersecurity issues, which is something that he's expected to pay more attention to in the Trump White House. One of the things Trump is going to be doing is separating the Homeland Security Council from the National Security Council because he really wants to have two different people, Flynn and Bossert, focusing on domestic issues and international issues regarding terrorism and security issues separately.

KOSIK: OK. So as we see Trump filling his cabinet we are seeing the Obama administration, President Obama specifically, trying to get some visits done before he walks out the door. Specifically on Russia, looking to possibly impose sanctions as early as this week for Russia's apparent involvement in U.S. elections. You've got Senate Republicans on board with these sanctions, specifically Sen. Lindsey Graham who is actually outraged with President-elect Trump for not being on board about these sanctions. Listen to Sen. Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we're going to do something about it. We're going to put sanctions together that hit Putin as an individual and his inner circle for interfering in our election. And they're doing it all over the world, not just in the United States.


KOSIK: OK. So you've got President-elect Trump refusing to listen to lawmakers about Russia's apparent involvement in the U.S. election. How is this going to go down? SCOTT: I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it's going to go down because this -- it looks like it could be the latest civil war within the Republican Party. I mean, there's some people who really are convinced that the intelligence about Russia's involvement in the elections is certain, whereas there are other people more in the Trump camp who aren't as convinced.

Whether or not they figure out how best to respond to this is key because as the Obama administration shared earlier when they suggested looking into Russia's involvement, if something isn't done now this could even get worse.

JOHNS: We also have this back-and-forth as we've been talking, ongoing actually, it seem like for days now, between the president- elect and the President of the United States.


JOHNS: And I think the latest thing that's happened is Donald Trump has taken a couple of shots at the president because he supported Hillary Clinton and got very active, very involved in the campaign and Hillary Clinton lost. And then, Donald Trump (sic) is speaking in Hawaii just yesterday taking a little bit -- I'm sorry, President Obama taking some shots --

SCOTT: Sure.

JOHNS: -- in Hawaii at Donald Trump. At least that's what some people say. Let's listen to this --


JOHNS: -- and then you can interpret it for us.

SCOTT: All right.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is here that we remember that even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.


JOHNS: OK. So I'm going to ask you this a little -- in a different way.


JOHNS: Reasonably, do you think that can be interpreted as a shot at Donald Trump or should it be interpreted as something else?

[05:40:00] SCOTT: I think in this political climate everything could be interpreted as a shot at your political opponent. But I think what's really true is that tribalism has been an issue we've seen in this election on the right and on the left. And I think what that speech with Prime Minister Abe was about was coming together -- tribes, internationally and globally, and even domestically. And I think, perhaps, that is what the president was hoping we could see Americans do.

KOSIK: OK, they're taking shots at each other, then it's taking credit.


KOSIK: I want to show you a tweet from Donald Trump yesterday about the economy -- about consumer confidence. "The U.S. Consumer Confidence index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7, the highest level in more than 15 years. Thanks, Donald."

OK. So, for once -- I shouldn't say that -- well, but for once, he got his facts right. Consumer confidence did surge and it has been going up, but he gave himself a little pat on the back there.


KOSIK: That was kind of -- it was kind of weird.

SCOTT: That was kind of surprising. Maybe we'll get a speech or maybe even a press conference where Donald Trump can explain to us how he was responsible for that. Until then, he probably should expect people to push back on that and say that he was not as involved in that bounce as he perhaps tweeted.

JOHNS: We'll have to look back for a while and see just what the Trump bump really was.

KOSIK: Well, its previous reading was 109 so there was that bump. I mean, the reality is, though, you do see the market -- the Dow getting close to that psychological milestone of 20,000. A lot of that is being attributed to expectations of what a Trump administration will bring. There you go. All right, Eugene Scott, thanks so much.

SCOTT: All right, guys.

JOHNS: Good to see you.

SCOTT: Good seeing you guys.


JOHNS: All right. The outgoing Secretary of State getting ready to present a pathway to peace in the Middle East. The Israelis with something of a preemptive strike this morning, trying to calm global concerns over settlements. We're live in Jerusalem, coming up next.


[05:45:25] JOHNS: Breaking news overnight. Jerusalem's City Council canceling a vote on construction of new housing units in east Jerusalem after a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It comes just hours before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech outlining the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Middle East. CNN's Oren Liebermann following the breaking developments live in Jerusalem -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, the most difficult part to understand here is what was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thinking when he decided to request the Jerusalem City Council to cancel this vote for now. We know the JerusalemCity Council's perspective. For them, building in Jerusalem -- building in east Jerusalem is simply a municipal need. The city has to grow. Jerusalem will keep building wherever it needs to.

From Netanyahu's perspective this could be very different. Perhaps he's trying to build a little bit of goodwill before Sec. Kerry -- Secretary of State John Kerry lays out his vision for Middle East peace. Perhaps Netanyahu is even responding to criticism, some from within this own party, that he may have gone too far diplomatically in actions he's taking not only against the U.S. but also other countries.

What we do know is that Kerry will lay out his vision and we got a bit of a preview from his spokesman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an issue of Middle East peace that he's worked on for many, many years.

MARK TONER, DEPUTY STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I think, you know, he feels it's his duty in his waning weeks and days as Secretary of State to lay out what he believes is a way towards a peaceful two-state solution in the Middle East.


LIEBERMANN: Israel is still concerned about what may happen after Kerry's speech, specifically that other countries listening to this speech at the U.N. Security Council could pick up on the parameters, which is to say the conditions Kerry lays out for what he believes the Obama administration sees as the way to a two-state solution. And that that -- those parameters could be put into another Security Council resolution in the closing days of the Obama administration. Joe, that right now is the Israeli administration's -- it's Netanyahu's biggest concern over the next three week.

JOHNS: Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Thank you for that.

KOSIK: OK, time for an early start on your money. In its quest for world domination, Amazon says it just had the greatest holiday season ever with more than one billion items shipped around the world. I want to show you some of the more popular items this year. The Echo and the Echo Dot, those are those voice-activated speakers, kind of like a personal assistant. They were -- they were the best-selling products across Amazon and millions of Echo devices were sold worldwide. And the most popular holiday movie request, "Home Alone" and "Elf". 4K T.V.'s, they were hot this holiday season. Amazon customers bought enough to reach the top of Mt. Everest more than nine times. And there was also a lot of sparkle this year, as well. Ten thousand, four hundred and fifty-one carats of diamonds were purchasedon the website so that's equal to more than six of the Queen of England's diamond-studded tiaras. I'm not one to buy a diamond on a website, though. How do you do that?

JOHNS: Yes, well you just look at it and you punch the button.


JOHNS: Guys, we get it.

KOSIK: It's not my thing. Sorry, Amazon.

JOHNS: Right. Depends on what you're going to use it for.

KOSIK: Yes. What would you use it for?

JOHNS: All right. New England is bracing for another round of heavy snow later this week. Let's get to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

KOSIK: Good morning.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Joe. Good morning, Alison. The coolertemperatures here to stay the next couple of days around the northeast. Chilly weather really filtering in around the northern tier of the country. Chicago at 25 degrees and places like Fargo, Bismarck, how about 11 degrees at this hour. Duluth sitting at 12 degrees with a few snow showers working their way in that direction.

And notice parts of western New York still seeing some lake-enhanced snow showers as a result of the lake still being rather liquid here. About three percent ice coverage across the expansive area of the Great Lakes there so pretty quiet conditions there.

But here comes the next storm system that will really begin to pick up in intensity sometime tomorrow morning as we transition into tomorrow afternoon. It could leave behind a pretty good amount of snow showers, certainly for northern New York. Seeing about six to eight inches widespread but notice working your way next door into say Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, now you're talking about the deep colors in purple. That's 18 to 24 inches, my friend, and that's just through the next 36 hours across this region.

And in major metro cities if you're not a fan of the snow, great news for you because notice the temps generally above freezing so that will support rain showers in the forecast, even for New York City as we go in from Thursday into Friday -- guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KOSIK: OK, Pedram. Thanks very much. Living under a state of emergency for over a year. France is beefing up security ahead of major New Year's Eve celebrations. We are live in Paris with more on the preparations, next.


[05:53:20][ JOHNS: Authorities in Paris are on high alert for the holidays. Security there was tight even before we learned the man who attacked a Christmas market in Berlin last week managed to travel through the French city of Lyon enroute to Milan following that attack. The French have been living under a state of emergency for over a year now. Now security is being stepped up even more ahead of this weekend's New Year's celebration. CNN's Melissa Bell live in Paris for us -- Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, it is a heightened sense of security, a heightened security apparatus as Paris prepares for its big New Year's Eve celebrations. In just a few days, hundreds of thousands of people will be here on the Champs-Elysees. You can see just behind me the part of the Champs-Elysees where the Christmas market begins. It's the very same sort of Christmas market as the one that was attacked in Berlin only last week.

So there are more police on the street, more soldiers on the street, and this extended state of emergency that gives those security forces those extra measures they need to carry out raids and arrests, but that is proving increasingly controversial. The question is how much longer this heightened security apparatus can last because it is, of course, stretching police services. We've seen a series of demonstrations in the month of October against what they say is the burden that is too heavy, one that they've been carrying now for many months and that they're going to be carrying for a lot longer.

What the French authorities here say, though, is that those heightened security measures mean that terrorist attacks are being prevented. That it isn't so much that France is being less threatened than it was, and we have seen a quieter period here in France over the course of the last few months. Not since July, when the Bastille Day celebrations were attacked, have we seen any large-scale attacks, the sort we've become all too used to, sadly, here in France.

[05:55:20] It isn't so much that France is no longer being threatened. They say it is that they are getting better at preventing those sorts of attacks with 17 that have been foiled since the start of this year. How much longer, though, this can remain in place is one of the big questions facing the French government as it looks ahead to 2017, Joe.

JOHNS: Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you for that. Russia now doing a flip-flop on widespread doping allegations during the Olympics. For the first time, high-level officials admitting to "The New York Times" the country carried out a far-reaching doping operation. Members of the Federal Security Service say lab directors tampered with urine samples and provided a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs. The acting director general of Russia's anti-doping agency telling the

paper it was an institutional conspiracy but top government officials were not involved. Just last week, President Vladimir Putin denied allegations of a state-sponsored doping regime.

KOSIK: OK, let's get an early start on your money. Investors are ready to close the books on 2016 but not before moving stocks a little higher. And everybody keeps on asking has the Dow reached 20,000 and I sound like a broken record. No, it hasn't but look, it's getting real close. The Dow is just 55 points away from that 20,000 psychological milestone. We will keep an eye on it for you today.

The stock market has certainly enjoyed a great run since Trump's election but experts are wondering if the Trump bump we've seen may have eaten into some of Wall Street's potential gains that we could see for 2017. A lot of it's really going to depend on whether or not Donald Trump delivers on his promises to keep investors happy.

All right, let's take a quick look at what futures are doing. Futures are higher here for U.S. stocks. European markets are higher and Asian stocks ended slightly lower.

So according to a new report, Obamacare is not in a death spiral. Once again, according to a new S&P global ratings analysis. Now, the analysis is saying that insurer's prospects in the individual market are looking actually brighter. Keep in mind, though, Obamacare premiums are going up an average of 25 percent for 2017, but the report says that was a one-time pricing correction. Now it's expectedinsurers will be closer to breaking even next year. Now, the analysis did not, however, take into account Trump's vow to repeal Obamacare so plenty of wait and see here.

Are you doing a lot of holiday driving? Well, you may want to make sure you fill up before the new year. Gas prices will be increasing in seven states as new state taxes take effect. So I want to show you list of who's impacted. Pennsylvania drivers, they're going to face the biggest increase at almost eight cents a gallon. That's on top of already having the nation's highest state gas tax. Then you've got Michigan having an increase there. Nebraska clocks in at 1.5 cents for that increase. Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, and Florida, they're going to see small hikes of less than a penny per gallon. You know, everything matters when you're filling up that tank but, historically, we are seeing gas prices at a good level.

JOHNS: Yes, not nearly as bad as, what, three or four years ago.

KOSIK: Oh, yes.

JOHNS: Yes. Has the Dow reached 20,000?

KOSIK: You can ask me again tomorrow. Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. She was true Hollywood royalty, both for her screen work and her brave battles off camera. Remembering actress Carrie Fisher. "NEW DAY" starts right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: Security at Trump Tower now in the spotlight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thomas Bossert is now going to be the chief of Homeland Security.

JOHNS: Trump continuing his Twitter war against President Obama.

OBAMA: We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.

DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: This is the administration that was behind the crafting of this Security Council resolution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). I said that. The settlements are illegal (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They know what they did. Netanyahu urged them to cancel this vote hours before Secretary of State Kerry's speech.

TONER: He feels it's his duty to lay out a way towards a two-state solution.

FISHER: I know who you are.

JOHNS: Remembering Carrie Fisher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The princess is gone. They'll be nobody like her ever again.

FISHER: May the force be with you.


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

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, December 28th, 6:00 in the East. I'm Don Lemon. Poppy Harlow joins me. Chris and Alisyn are off. I can't believe --


LEMON: -- Carrie Fisher --

HARLOW: This music.

LEMON: I know. And 2016, my goodness --

HARLOW: What a year.

LEMON: -- what a year it has been, right?

HARLOW: What a year. What a year.

LEMON: Taking some of our iconic figures. And, Poppy, we should say that tributes are pouring in for Carrie Fisher from celebrities and fans around the world. The "Star Wars" actress best known for her iconic role as Princess Leia died four days after suffering a massive heart attack.