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"Star Wars" Actress Carrie Fisher Dead at 60; Clemson Player Not Holding Back; Defector: North Korea Has Big Nuclear Plans. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 28, 2016 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:16] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: A member of the Afghan parliament and four others injured today when an explosive device hit their vehicle in Kabul. Police say it's not clear if the attacker targeted the parliament member or not. This bomb was apparently placed under a bridge. There has not been any claim of responsibility yet.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Arkansas police, this is, hoping Amazon's Echo device can help solve a murder mystery. Investigators filed a search warrant to Amazon to obtain recordings from James Andrew Bates' home.

Victor Collins was found dead in Bates' hot tub last year. Police say the cause of death was strangulation with drowning as a secondary cause. Bates has been charged in Collins' murder but is out on bail. Apparently, it saves your recording, whatever you say in your house.


All right. So if you act out on a certain airline, you could get tased. Korean Airlines revising its guidelines, allowing our flight crew members to use tasers to deal with mid-air disturbances. This move comes after backlash from the airline's handling of an incident. You remember '80s icon Richard Marx stepped in last week to help restrain an unruly passenger.

And when I was teasing that story, I did not know it was tasers and I did not know Don should get tased.

LEMON: Oh, you want me to get tased.

HARLOW: Only some days. Not today.


HARLOW: Not today.

LEMON: Not today. All right.

Remembering Carrie Fisher. The "Star Wars" iconic star is dead at 60. From Princess Leia to mental health advocate, we look back at her life and legacy, that's next.


[06:37:06] HARLOW: What a beautiful woman inside and out.


HARLOW: This morning, tributes are pouring in for Carrie Fisher. The actress best known for her iconic role as Princess Leia in "Star Wars." But her greatest legacy is probably off screen, talking candidly about her personal struggles, and breaking down barriers when it comes to discussing mental health.

Let's discuss with CNN contributor and "Entertainment Tonight" host, the beautiful Nischelle Turner. And also, former the beautiful --

LEMON: Handsome.

HARLOW: The handsome -- thank you, guys. Thank you, guys, for being here.

Nischelle, I -- obviously, we know her for her on-screen work and she was this brilliant writer, script doctor, as Don said, really fixing and making a lot of scripts better. She also did a lot for us ladies, didn't she?


LEMON: And for us gentleman. Helping us understand you ladies, right?

TURNER: You're right. Actually kind of like browbeating you into submission sometimes because she was very in your face about who she was and the type of woman she was. You know, just -- it was a -- this is who I am. See me, love me or don't type of person that she was.

And I think, you know, someone said about her yesterday and it really kind of stuck with me. They said she lived out loud. She really kind of put herself out there good, bad, ugly, indifferent and just wanted to be who she was.

There was an interview that she did with "Rolling Stone" recently and she said, listen, you know, the roles in Hollywood are hard to come by after you are 27 and I refuse to sit and wait by the phone. I'm just not going to do it. Which I think speaks to the conversation that women in Hollywood are having right now, about wage inequality, gender inequality, all of these things.

But when we saw Princess Leia on the screen, I know when I did as a young girl, I kind of puffed up a little bit because this was a woman who, you know, was right there with all of the men kicking behind just like them. You know, not shrinking in the background of the movies. Just really being in the forefront and she was young. You know, she was still a kid when she got this role.

So, she was kind of an accidental feminist, I think I called her yesterday because she fell into it and just played the role of who she was. And, so, I'm not sure that they wanted Princess Leia to be so in your face and be so tough in this movie. But no, she -- Carrie Fisher couldn't have played this role any other way. That's who she was.

LEMON: Yes, you know, she appeared with our Larry King. She did a number of interviews at CNN --

TURNER: Yes, she did. Great ones, too.

LEMON: She talked about drug abuse. Here she is with Larry. I believe this is back in 1990.


CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS: I didn't like illegal drugs, I liked legal drugs. I liked medicine because I liked the philosophy of it. You are going to feel better when you take two or eight of these. And I always wanted to feel better.

And one of the side effects of Percodan is euphoria. I thought that was a side effect that I could live with.

[06:40:01] It doesn't matter that rest of them that follow that are palpations, heart attack and death. I couldn't even get over euphoria.


LEMON: That was pretty bold. Not many people, especially stars, were talking about drug issues back in the '90s.

LARRY HACKETT, FORMER EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Not at all. You know, she played Princess Leia and some people who would have a role like that would be consumed by it or obliterated by it. She chose to use it.

She knew at a certain point in time that she was always going to be Princess Leia. So, she embraced it. She fought against it. She satirized it. She knew that when she was playing other roles, that the audience watching her knew that she had been Princess Leia.

They call it meta now. But it was all very new then. And then to wrap her private life and her personal life around that. We haven't mentioned, of course, that she was the child of two huge Hollywood stars, born of a time when studio system was much more formal and not speaking about your private life was what you did.

LEMON: Can I just speak to what you were saying because we see so many actress and actresses who become known for one role, one major role, whether it's in television or in film and then they resent it.


LEMON: She was smart enough to embrace it and probably got more roles. She said women over 27 have a tough time. She may have had a tough time but not as tough a time as many because she embraced what that role did for her.

HACKETT: You know, when I was editor of "People" magazine, we would do tributes about Michael Jackson or whomever. Half the story was about -- reading about what their life was like and the other half is about the reader and about the reader and where they were at this time.

And Nischelle said it herself when she saw "Star Wars", what she thought about herself. That's what's going on now and that's what Carrie Fisher was aware about for 30 years, that it was about her to some degree, but also about you, the viewer, and how you viewed Princess Leia.

Why reject that? Embrace that and use that and then reveal yourself through that prism.

HARLOW: Nischelle, celebrities are always held to this higher standard of setting an example and being role models. Perhaps one of the most important ways they can do that is to talk about their own personal struggles and how they have overcome them or how they live with them and battle them.

Let's listen to what she said in 2008 to Matt Lauer on "Today" show.



FISHER: If you're manic depressed and you're living with it, it takes balls or the female equivalent and, you know, it's people make fun of it or don't want anyone to know. Man, I don't care. It's like a war story.


LEMON: That's where the power is, right? When you have that sort of platform, Nischelle.

HACKETT: And what makes her so -- oh, sorry.

TURNER: No, go ahead. Go ahead, Larry.

HACKETT: What makes her so interesting is that she is Hollywood royalty, like I said, born of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Yet when she speaks about things like that, she's just like anybody else. That makes it that much more powerful.

TURNER: That's exactly what I was going to say. She was being herself, an authentic. And she made it OK to be flawed. She made it OK for all of us to feel like, well, darn it. If Carrie Fisher has these struggles, I got them, too. It's kind of OK. We're all in this thing together.

She did make it OK. I mean, she just kind of put it out there. And, you know, you won't really see that today because everybody's got handlers and everybody's got talking points in Hollywood. But she just --

LEMON: So on message.

TURNER: She refused to follow that norm and I have seen so many people, you know, since she passed yesterday just saying thank you. Thank you for making it okay for us to not be perfect.

LEMON: Also, thank you for the Halloween costumes with the cinnamon buns.

TURNER: I had it. I had it.

LEMON: I'm sure Nischelle did that as well.

HACKETT: We have not seen the last of those.

LEMON: Thank you, guys.

HARLOW: Thank you so much. Remembering an icon. That's for sure.

All right. Coming up, sports -- college's best team getting ready for the season's biggest weekend and now, some of the players are making one contest personal. Details ahead in our "Bleacher Report".


[06:47:36] HARLOW: We are three days away from the college football playoffs and Clemson not holding back when talking about its matchup against Ohio State.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Good morning.


You know, the last thing any of these coaches ever want is for their opponent some bulletin board material ahead of their game. Tigers Dabo Swinney not thrilled that one of his players did just that. Clemson safety Jadar Johnson was asked a question about Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett. And Johnson was non-impressed from what he's seen from Barrett on tape.


JADAR JOHNSON, CLEMSON SAFETY: We've played better quarterbacks than him. You know, I'm not taking anything away from him. I don't think that he's a bad player. He's definitely a good player. But, you know, he just doesn't stand out as one of the best quarterbacks we've played this year, you know, as a defense.


SCHOLES: Barrett will get his chance to impress Johnson in person on Saturday. Clemson and Ohio State playing in the night game on New Year's Eve. Alabama and Washington getting things started at 3:00 Eastern in the Peach Bowl.

You can add Buffalo Bills in the market for a new head coach. The team firing Rex Ryan yesterday after a disappointing 7-8 season thus far. The Bills also firing Rex's twin brother Rob who was on the team's staff. Ryan went 15-16 in 31 games in his two years in Buffalo.

You know what, Don, if we don't see Rex on the sidelines coaching next year, I am guessing he won't have too hard of a job finding a TV job with his personality that he is always using and talking in the media with.

LEMON: I think he'll be just fine.

Thank you, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

LEMON: See you soon.

How worried should the U.S. be about North Korea's nuclear program? One high profile North Korean diplomat who defected had some clues on Kim Jong-un's plan. We discuss, next.


[06:52:57] LEMON: A high-profile North Korean diplomat that defected says the reclusive regime is racing ahead with big nuclear plan. How will President-elect Donald Trump respond to this ominous threat?

Let's talk to Victor Cha, Georgetown University professor and Korean chair of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Good morning to you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Scary news out of North Korea. We are hearing from a very high level North Korean diplomat who just defected that Kim Jong-un wants nuclear weapons to end by 2017, quote, "at all costs."

Do you buy that?

VICTOR CHA, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: I certainly do, Don. I think this regime has made its singular purpose to perfect the long- range nuclear missile that can reach the west coast of the United States. That and the survival of the regime are simply the two things that this leadership cares about and nothing else, really.

LEMON: Do you think that this could be saber rattling? He is known to do that.

CHA: Yes, it could be. But at the same time, we have seen under his leadership something like 65 missile tests and nuclear tests in the past eight years, whereas his father only did about 17 prior to that. So, there seems to be a real up tempo in the provocations and a military program that is designed to develop nuclear weapons.

LEMON: Even though most of the recent missile tests have been unsuccessful, how concerned should we be?

CHA: I think we should be fairly concerned. A lot of them have been unsuccessful but a couple of the recent ones cross technical thresholds that we didn't expect. For example, the ability to put a payload vehicle into orbit was something we didn't expect them to do and they've done that successfully.

And now, they claim they have a missile warhead. A nuclear warhead they can attach to an ICBM. So, these are big steps that they have made or claim to have made that should make us very concerned.

[06:55:02] LEMON: Victor, James Clapper who is the head of national intelligence says that getting North Korea to throw down nuclear weapons is a lost cause. What do we do about North Korea and nuclear weapons then?

CHA: Well, I can certainly understand his frustration having negotiated previous agreements here. I think the number one priority for the United States is to stop North Korea from perfecting a long- range missile that can reach the United States, reach the homeland of the United States. This is the number one objective because once they have that missile, once they perfect that capability, they could threaten with it and they could also sell it to the other countries and non-state actors.

LEMON: I want to give you a quote, Victor. This is from the incoming President Donald Trump. He said, let there be an arms race. He also said, we need to look at our nuclear capabilities and enhance them. Vladimir Putin is saying the same thing about that country's nuclear forces.

Donald Trump said it wouldn't be such a bad thing if South Korea and Japan had nukes, as well. What is going on here?

CHA: Well, I think there certainly are concerns about an arms race building in Asia because -- that is sparked by North Korea's reckless behavior, as well as China's behavior in the South China Sea and lining the Taiwan straits with missiles. So, I think there are concerns about an arms race.

But I don't think that's the answer. The answer from the U.S. perspective we can't allow the country that is the worst human rights abusing regime in the history of mankind to have a weapon of that caliber that can reach the United States.

LEMON: And speaking of that, Japan's prime minister also called for revising the constitution so that it can have a beefed up traditional military. What is at play here?

CHA: So, I think in that case, there is a desire on the part of Japan to be more of a player. An international player that can commit to peacekeeping operations and other things that multinational coalitions might do. I don't think in Japan's case it is a desire to shed the nuclear and produce nuclear weapons. I don't think that is in the cards for them.

But I do -- I am concerned about an arms race develop in Asia, largely sparked by actions by the North Koreans and by the Chinese.

LEMON: So, the president-elect said he will receive Kim Jong-un here on soil. Not an official capacity.

Do you think that is such a good idea given him wanting to ramp up North Korea's nuclear capabilities?

CHA: It's hard to really understand what that statement meant. I mean, I think it was a statement that allowed for diplomacy in this relationship. We've done it in the past. The two previous presidents that have reached two agreements.

But I think at this point, there is very little that the North Koreans can be convinced of doing through diplomacy. They're on a track to develop these capabilities and we have to find a way to stop them.

LEMON: Victor Cha, thank you for joining us this morning on NEW DAY. Appreciate it.

CHA: My pleasure, Don.

LEMON: We're following a lot of news this morning, including Hollywood remembering Carrie Fisher. Let's get to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump firing off one more tweet at President Obama, reminding him he lost.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must resist the urge to turn inward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thomas Bossert added to the top White House staff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the kind of hires that Trump makes that is very reassuring.

HARLOW: Netanyahu delaying a vote on Israeli settlement as Secretary of State John Kerry gets ready to talk Middle East peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're trying our best to make peace in every possible way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really depends on the Palestinians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia, has died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you like the princess?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leia lives in everybody's heart and everybody's soul.

FISHER: I guess you don't know everything about women yet.

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


HARLOW: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Poppy Harlow here with Don Lemon. Chris and Alisyn are off.

And celebrities and fans around the world are paying tribute to Carrie Fisher. The 6-year-old actress who's pioneering role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" franchise, she died four days after suffering a heart attack.

JOHNS: Fisher is being remembered as Hollywood royalty, but her legacy transcends that beloved character. Fisher was incredibly witty, brutally frank about her personal struggles and credited with breaking down barriers for people living with mental health issues.

Our coverage begins this morning with CNN's Paul Vercammen live in Los Angeles.

Sad story to have to report, Paul.


But, Don, let's get right to some of the joy that people expressed in remembering her including Luke Skywalker himself. That would be Mark Hamill. At first, he was almost speechless and then a very thoughtful bit of social media last night. He talked about everything that she did. He said, "I'm grateful for the laughter, the wisdom, the kindness. Even the bratty self-indulging crap that my beloved space- twin gave me through the years."