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Actress Debbie Reynolds Dies at 84; Trump, Obama Trade Barbs, Then Talk It Out; Trump: Spring Bringing Jobs Back to U.S.; Concerns on Foreign Policy after Trump Takes Office; Murder Case Revives Technology/Privacy Debate. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired December 29, 2016 - 01:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and, of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Cyril Vanier and we're following breaking news this hour, the death of actress Debbie Reynolds at the age of 84. This is just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died from a cardiac event.

CHURCH: Reynolds was a huge star in the '50s and '60s but never stopped entertaining. CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago has more on her death.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary and Cyril, we still don't know exactly what led to Debbie Reynolds' death but let's walk you through what happened.

Wednesday afternoon we understand she was complaining of some breathing issues. That's when L.A. Fire Department responded to the family's Beverly Hills home. At that time we were told she was in fair to serious condition.

When we checked in with her son, he told us, simply, "Pray for her." But a few hours later things changed. We checked in with her son again and here's the statement from him.

He told us, "She spoke to me this morning and said she missed Carrie. She's with Carrie now."

Of course all of this comes just a day after we reported Carrie Fisher's death. She was on her way to L.A. from London when she went into cardiac arrest and she died Tuesday morning which, of course, has really seen an outpouring of support from fans now and family.

Debbie Reynolds' stepdaughter tweeting out, "Some of the magic people have left the tribe. For the moment, I am inconsolable."

We have also seen other Hollywood celebrities tweeting and reaching out to the family and on the star, Debbie Reynolds' star, we are already starting to see flowers and candles of what I'm sure will be a growing memorial for the legend -- Rosemary, Cyril.


VANIER: Joining us now for more on that is Michael Musto, a New York columnist.

Michael, a lot of major artists passed away in 2016; in fact, it's quite striking -- David Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen -- and those are all musicians. That's not the case of Debbie Reynolds; she was really a multifaceted artist, known mostly as a TV and cinema person.

What trace do you think will she leave in history?

MICHAEL MUSTO, OUT.COM: Much like her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who died the day before Debbie died, she was a movie legend. Just like you mentioned, David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, their deaths were blows to the music world.

Debbie and Carrie's loss was a loss to the movie world. Debbie was the star of "Singing in the Rain," which is arguably the best movie musical ever made. She was Oscar-nominated for "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," in which she played the woman who survived the Titanic.

She also did Broadway. She did cabaret. She had a casino. She did everything. Debbie was a singing, dancing, tap dancing demon, who loved to entertain and did so in all media.

She also was on TV. She was on "Golden Girls" for an episode. She played Debra Messing's mother, I believe, in "Will and Grace," and was somebody who was just a familiar face that you could always rely on for entertainment value.

VANIER: Correct me if I'm wrong but I get the sense that there are not many contemporary artists who are as multiskilled, as multifaceted as she was. You referenced the fact that she was an actress but she was also a singer. She had records that came, she was on TV, she was a businesswoman.

Seems to me that's pretty rare these days.

MUSTO: Everybody wants to be a Debbie Reynolds because all the music stars are always trying to do TV and movies so they could branch out. Everybody in movies is trying to direct so they could branch out. None of them can approach Debbie Reynolds with her versatility. She truly had range.

She mastered every single medium there was and she managed to be personable and deliver to her audiences who came to rely on her as a really likable person.

But while she was always pitched as an ingenue, as kind of a sweet girl next door, there was a lot more to Debbie than that. She was a complicated person, just like Carrie. Carrie wasn't Princess Leia any more than Debbie was really the girl from "Singing in the Rain."

VANIER: Tell us more about her personality.

MUSTO: She was funny. She was the ultimate professional. She never missed an engagement and tried never to miss a performance and always delivered. And she eventually got frail. She was 84 and she had to step down from show biz.

But whenever she was offered a special award or something, she would show up and she would just glow with the attention because she lived for the spotlight.

VANIER: One of the things that strikes me, I was just reading up about her career and I didn't know how she had started before she got her big break is when she was 16 years old. She was spotted at a beauty pageant in California and she was really somebody who wanted the light, who wanted to be a Hollywood star.

And from that moment on, it's sort of this stereotypical story of people who want to make it in Hollywood. And it started when she was 16 at a beauty pageant, lasted until she was 84.

MUSTO: She did. She wanted the stardom and she got it. She went after that brass ring and it's not just the drive and determination; it's the fact that she had talent. She was able to sing and dance and --


MUSTO: -- do comedy and drama. She was able to do it all.

And it became a little competitive when Carrie Fisher, her daughter, started becoming famous and got parts in "Shampoo" and then, of course, played Princess Leia in "Star Wars."

Things were a little touch-and-go between Debbie and Carrie but through the years, they ironed out their kinks and their problems and they became so close they were truly a unit and it was inspiring to see the rapport that those two developed. And I'm sure it was heartbreak that killed Debbie Reynolds because, when Carrie died, Debbie just was hopeless and helpless.

VANIER: Well, that's what her son said to CNN, that the morning before she passed away, she said that she missed Carrie.

MUSTO: She missed her terribly. She never thought she'd have to live a life without Carrie. And no parent thinks they are going to outlive their child, who's going to die before them and that was a tragic turn of events.

And when it happened, I even said that I hope they don't even tell Debbie. I wish they could somehow shield her from the reality that her daughter had died because it's going to be so painful for her, even though the entire world was rallying around her and saying, we love you, Debbie. We're here for you. It was still so devastating for her. And I'm sure that had a big factor to play in her physical demise.

VANIER: All right, New York columnist, Michael Musto, thank you very much for your time and thanks for your insights.

MUSTO: Thank you.

CHURCH: And Segun Oduolowu is live via Skype from Lake Tahoe. He is an entertainment journalist and pop culture contributor for "Access Hollywood Live."

And entertainment journalist Holland Reid is here with us in the studio.

Thank you to both of you.

We want to start with Debbie Reynolds in "Singing in the Rain," because that is how people think of her and she is defined by that role. That's really what set her whole career on fire. So let's just have a look at that first.


CHURCH: And Segun, I want to go to you first because this, when I saw this movie when I was younger, very much younger, I -- this just was an incredible movie and to know that she was not a dancer before she did this, she actually was shown these steps and she was shut away for, what, three months or so.

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD LIVE": Yes, this is -- you know the only modern equivalent would be Whitney Houston, who is not an actress, doing like "The Bodyguard" and blowing it out of the water but Whitney wasn't a teenager at the time. Debbie was.

And she is dancing alongside arguably one of the best dancers Hollywood has ever seen. She's holding her own, she's singing, she's beautiful, she's gorgeous at this young age and then, as I said, her career starts to keep going and spanning all of these decades.

So, again, we lost Hollywood royalty. We lost class. We lost grace. And to piggyback what the last gentleman said, it's ironic that a woman who gave us so much laughter, so much charm, so much warmth died of a broken heart with the passing of her daughter.

CHURCH: Just extraordinary.

And, Holland Reid, it is unbelievable when you look at that piece to know she is only 19.


HOLLAND REID, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: -- 19 years old. No professional training, hand-picked by Gene Kelly himself.

Soft shoe, first of all, is not a dance that you just pick up overnight. Is it something that you have to -- there is an eloquence about it. It's a skill like -- not like regular tap.

So to watch her going, gosh, she really nailed that. Again, it's baffling that she was not a professional dancer. Not only did you have to find your light but hit your marks, remember your lines to the song and know -- learn dance moves that you have never really done before, beyond impressive.

CHURCH: Unbelievable.

VANIER: And the way she expressed it herself was that she said she was actually too dumb to be afraid. Because normally that age, you are afraid.

REID: Naivete takes you far sometimes in Hollywood.


VANIER: We saw that from the beginning of her career. She was in her late teens. I want to show you now something from the back end of her career, what we now know was the -- toward the end of her career. It was in 2011 and it shows you just how she could take over an interview, just with her sunny personality. This is one moment with Joy Behar, back in 2011.


JOY BEHAR, TV HOST: You got into show biz by accident?

DEBBIE REYNOLDS, ENTERTAINER: Yes, I entered a local beauty contest because we were a really poor family. And they gave away a free blouse and a scarf you entered. Not you didn't win and I wanted a free blouse so scarf silk. I was so excited and I won.

And that started it. There were talent scouts there. They took me to the studio and they changed my name to Debbie and it just happened like that.

BEHAR: What was your name (INAUDIBLE)?


REYNOLDS: Mary Frances, Mary Frances.

BEHAR: Mary Frances Reynolds?

REYNOLDS: Mary Frances Reynolds.

BEHAR: It sounds like a nun.

REYNOLDS: Does it?



BEHAR: Mary Frances Reynolds, yes --


REYNOLDS: -- because -- you say that because you're Catholic. BEHAR: I am.


REYNOLDS: (Speaking Italian)

BEHAR: I'm not that Italian.



VANIER: So, Segun, you were getting really emotional when we first spoke to you an hour ago. Not many stars today that will look and sound that way.

ODUOLOWU: Well, she's on "The View," she's talking to Joy Behar, and she slips into Italian and won't let these performers outshine her but she did it with so much class and so much style and panache. When you cover Hollywood like I do and so many entertainment journalists, you are bogged down by so much, you know, just gotcha journalism or people doing scandal.

But here is someone who had her husband stolen by Elizabeth Taylor and was so classy that she said, you know, look, I was a Girl Scout and he went for Elizabeth and they became friends later on. That doesn't happen in Hollywood today.

Now it's scandal and vitriol and who can get caught out doing something crazy. And here is someone who just kept it classy. And even when she was going through turmoil with Carrie, weathered every storm. I miss that. That's why I got into the business for; that's what Hollywood was, bright lights and shiny stars.

And we lost one. Hollywood is a little bit different tonight.

CHURCH: And she did keep it classy, didn't she, Holland?

And I did want to talk about the relationship that she had with Carrie Fisher. You know, there were difficult times as there always are with mother-daughter relationships but really they did reconcile at the end there and they were so very close and just the fact she died just one day after Carrie Fisher died is an indication of that.

REID: It -- everybody is saying that she died from a broken hard. This was a woman that fought -- take the actress off, take the talent away, she was a mother and she fought for her daughter. She fought for her daughter's mental health.

She said one of the worst times in her life was finding out the diagnosis of her being bipolar. It broke her -- I can't even imagine having to deal with that. But she was there for her daughter her entire life.

They had that span of 10 years where they weren't close, they didn't really talk that often. But then you also have the time in their life, they lived across the street from each other. They were accepting awards together.

So you see a mother that was being nothing short of just being a mother, a mother that loves and that cares that will do anything for her daughter. She was an advocate for mental health awareness before she had her daughter.

So now moving forward in her life and being that person for Carrie Fisher and dying the day after, she fought to the end. And sometimes I guess a loss like that is just so great as a mother, I can't even imagine the idea of burying my own son. So on this scale, I think everyone -- if you have a child or if you have your own mother can feel what that pain must even remotely closely be like.

CHURCH: Absolutely, absolutely agree.

Holland and Segun, thank you, both of you, for joining us for this discussion.


CHURCH: -- very, very sad day for all.

Well, John Kerry is dropping the niceties with Israel with less than a month left as U.S. secretary of state. His reason for calling them out -- just ahead.

VANIER: Plus the U.S. is preparing to punish Russia for hacking during the U.S. presidential election.

CHURCH: And much more on the passing of Hollywood legend, Debbie Reynolds, just a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died. You are watching CNN.





VANIER: John Kerry is getting blunt with Israel as his time as the U.S. secretary of state nears its end.

CHURCH: He was scathing in his criticism of Israeli settlements on Wednesday, arguing that they are jeopardizing Middle East peace. CNN's Jim Sciutto has the details.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Secretary of State John Kerry delivering a blunt message to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. KERRY: The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution but his current coalition is the most right wing in Israeli history within an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Pushing back following Washington's decision not to veto the United Nations' vote condemning Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

KERRY: On this point, I want to be very clear. No American administration has done more for Israel's security than Barack Obama's.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Kerry vehemently defended the U.S. abstention, saying the very prospects of Middle East peace are at stake.

KERRY: The vote in the United Nations was about preserving the two- state solution. That's what we were standing up for. The two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Kerry acknowledged the U.S. consulted on the resolution, but denies Israel's claim in the U.S. was the driving force behind it.

KERRY: The United States did not draft or originate this resolution, nor did we put it forward.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Israel's Netanyahu called Kerry's speech disappointing and more.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Prime Minister Netanyahu promised Israel has the evidence to prove that the U.S. orchestrated the vote and would show that evidence to president-elect Trump when he takes office in just a few weeks.

NETANYAHU: We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We'll share that information with the incoming administration.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): For his part, President-Elect Trump did not stand on the sidelines, tweeting before Kerry's speech, "We cannot continue to let Israel --


SCIUTTO (voice-over): -- be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S. but not anymore. Stay strong, Israel, January 20th is fast approaching."

Prime Minister Netanyahu quickly tweeted back, "President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel." Despite the public tensions, President Obama recently decided to

increase U.S. aid to Israel committing $38 billion over 10 years. Part of the largest pledge of military assistance in U.S. history, which Kerry noted was not a new stance.

KERRY: In the midst of our own financial crisis and budget deficits, we repeatedly increased funding to support Israel. In fact, more than one half of our entire global foreign military financing goes to Israel.


VANIER: The talk radio host, Ethan Bearman (ph), joins me now from Los Angeles.

Ethan, your point of view on this is interesting. And I want to hear you out. You are concerned about the impending Donald Trump presidency, including his policy vis-a-vis Israel, possibly; I imagine you'll tell us about that.

But you're also concerned about the current U.S. policy, Washington letting a resolution critical of Israel pass at the U.N. Security Council. Tell us more.

ETHAN BEARMAN (PH), TALK RADIO HOST: It's a little conflicting as a Jewish person but as an American citizen first; I look at what is happening in the Middle East and I look at the approach of the current administration as something problematic. I did not appreciate or approve of the way the U.S. handled this.

I think it was damaging to our relationship with Israel. And I do look forward to President Trump being a better friend to Israel. But overall I have concerns with the Trump presidency and I don't support it overall.

So we can be supportive of a President Trump or a President-Elect Trump regarding Israel. But I'm going to be critical of him and cast a wary eye his way in everything else that he does as president here in the United States.

VANIER: All right. So let me take it in steps.

Why are you so concerned that the U.S. let the U.N. Security Council pass a resolution critical of Israel?

Previous U.S. administrations have done so in the past and they've done so more often than the Obama administration.

BEARMAN (PH): Yes, well, I think in this specific situation, you have to look at the timing of the resolution. You have to look at the wording of the resolution and you have to look at what has been going on the last several years here. I personally think that the two-state solution at this point is dead.

And I don't see how in the Trump administration --


VANIER: Does that mean you favor a one-state solution?

BEARMAN (PH): Yes, I think so. I think in my travels to Israel and the people that I have talked to, they are looking forward to a peace and stability. And what I saw, Hamas, it's Judenrein in Gaza. And the Palestinian Authority has shown no interest in having Jews living in its territory.

So as Prime Minister Netanyahu talked about, are we looking at ethnic cleansing of the Jews if we just say, two-state solution, have this territory, Jews leave but the Arabs have full rights in Israel?

I mean we have supreme court justices in Israel that are Arab --


VANIER: -- interrupt you respectfully there for a second.

What would you answer then to the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, outgoing secretary of state, who said today, Israel cannot remain a democracy if it pursues the one-state solution?

BEARMAN (PH): Yes, I just don't agree with that. I think he's totally wrong. I think the two-state solution has been attempted now for 50 years-plus and nothing has changed. Every time it is talking about Israel must do this or that.

And on what basis?

So when Israel in the past, even in the Obama administration, did a 10-month freeze of settlements, did the Palestinians come forward?

Did anything change on the other side?

Nothing changed. So doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I think a whole new approach needs to be taken. I think what the Obama administration did undermines any kind of a new approach moving forward.

And I'm deeply concerned that there isn't going to be peace found in the next four years.

VANIER: And what do you say to the argument that if Israel continues settlement building, it just makes a Palestinian state totally unviable?

BEARMAN (PH): I think that's a fallacious argument because how many Palestinian refugee camps have there been since 1948 in the surrounding countries like Lebanon and Jordan and other places?

Did the Palestinian refugees get resettled in those countries?

And if not, why not?

These are the big questions that are never being asked. Why is the head of Hamas, have $2.6 billion that he is stealing from the people, the actual Palestinian people, are who I'm concerned about and who aren't being talked about here and the leadership is subjugating their own people and using them as pawns in these conversations.

VANIER: Ethan Bearman (ph), thank you very much for giving us your opinion. Ethan Bearman (ph) there, talk radio host, joining us from Los Angeles.


VANIER: Thanks.

BEARMAN (PH): Thank you.

CHURCH: Now to another story we're following, the U.S. is expected to announce a series of reprisals against Russia for meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Officials say the new measures could be announced as early as Thursday, including targeting people close to President Putin.

VANIER: CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty says the U.S. will likely take several different actions against Moscow.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there would basically be three.

One is going to be sanctions, we expect. And you would expect that that would be one thing.

Number two would be some type of diplomatic action and number three would be the covert action.

And the covert action, we might not even know that the United States is taking some action. They can do it without warning. The president has said previously that he would do it in his own time, but those are the three.


CHURCH: Moscow denies any role in the widespread hacking of U.S. political groups during the election. Russia's foreign ministry warns it will retaliate if the U.S. takes any hostile steps.

VANIER: A legend of old Hollywood dies the day after her daughter. We'll be remembering Debbie Reynolds -- next on CNN.


[01:30:00] VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier.

CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church.

Actress Debbie Reynolds has died at the age of 84, just one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Reynolds was one of the biggest stars in the world during the 1950s and '60s.

VANIER: Her starring turn in "Singing in the Rain," one of Hollywood's most famous musicals, started a long career in the limelight.




VANIER: Reynolds never stopped entertaining. She once told CNN's Larry King her career gave her the fun of life.

CHURCH: She said when her marriages failed, entertainment stood by her.

Stephanie Elam has more on the life and career of Debbie Reynolds.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Singer, dancer, actress -- Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood triple threat and America's sweetheart. Her film career began at the age of 16 after being spotted in a beauty pageant.


ELAM: Her star officially launched a few years later after a spirited performance opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in 1952's "Singing in the Rain."

REYNOLDS: They picked me to put me in "Singing in the Rain" and they locked me in a studio and, for three months, I had five teachers, one for tap, ballet, jazz, modern. And I just worked, worked, worked until I'd just fall apart.


ELAM: Other notable roles followed, including 1957's "Tammy and the Bachelor," which resulted in her number-one hit song "Tammy." She played opposite Gregory Peck in "How the West was Won." And her performance in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" earned her an Oscar nomination.


ELAM: At times, Reynolds' life off-screen overshadowed her success. She had two children with her first husband, Crooner Eddie Fisher, Producer Todd Fisher and actress and author, Carrie Fisher. In 1959, the marriage ended in a highly-publicized divorce when Fisher

left Reynolds to marry her close friend, Elizabeth Taylor, a painful betrayal.

Reynolds was able to joke about the scandal years later.

REYNOLDS: I was a Girl Scout. I was a simple little girl and that's what I was. He fell madly in love with Elizabeth. Now I understand so many years later. And it's in the past.

ELAM: Her second and third marriages ended in divorce, each time causing Reynolds financial pain. However, she had quietly been collecting Hollywood memorabilia over the years that would prove to be a wise investment.

In 2011, Reynolds sold Marilyn Monroe's white subway dress at auction for $4.6 million.


ELAM: She also never quit performing.

Though she stepped away from film much of her career, Reynolds continued to entertain on Broadway stages and in Las Vegas nightclubs.

REYNOLDS: All I need --

ELAM: In addition, Reynolds had several TV roles over the years, notably playing Liberace's mother in the 2013 Emmy-winning TV movie, "Behind the Candelabra."

Her wide array of work was recognized in 2015 when the Screen Actors Guild honored Reynolds with the Lifetime Achievement Award.


ELAM: Reynolds says she loved every minute in show business. In her 2013 autobiography, "Unsinkable."

She credited the love she had for her friends and family for her professional and personal resiliency.

REYNOLDS: I paid 20,000 bucks for this sucker.

ELAM: It is that spark and sense of humor, along with her talent, that Reynolds will be remembered for.

REYNOLDS: I love you. Good night, everybody. Thank you.



[01:37:02] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Donald Trump says the transition between his team and the Obama administration is going very smoothly. VANIER: That is very different from his tone on Twitter on Wednesday

when he lashed out again at the current president. Then came a phone call from Hawaii from the commander-in-chief himself.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: He called me. We had a very, very good talk about -- generally about things. He was in Hawaii. And it was a very, very nice call. And I actually thought we covered a lot of territory. A lot of good territory.

VANIER: Donald Trump and Mr. Obama have had a rocky relationship for years. And things could change again before trump's inauguration next month.

CHURCH: CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reports from Trump's resort in Palm Beach, Florida.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump night clearly attempting to lower the temperature, after early in the day, he escalated his spat with the president, tweeting today, quote, "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O. statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition. Not."

All this coming after President Obama used his high-profile speech at Pearl Harbor on Tuesday to take a veiled jab at his successor.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even when the hatred burns hottest, even 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.

SERFATY: The escalating war of words between the out-going and in- coming president, a sharp departure from the immediate post-election vow to work together.

OBAMA: We now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed.

SERFATY: With promises from both sides of a peaceful transfer of power.

TRUMP: I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including counsel.

SERFATY: But their relationship showing strains publicly. Obama quipping he thinks he could have won the election if he could run again.

OBAMA: I'm confident that if I -- if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilized a majority of the American people to run behind it. SERFATY: Trump taunting him right back, tweeting, "President Obama

campaigned hard and personally in the important swing states and lost. The voters wanted to make American great again."

And taking another swipe at the president, altering an Obama catchphrase, Trump talking in the third person, giving himself credit on the economy, tweeting, "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."

At Mar-a-Lago, today, Trump trying to focus on his own transition, receiving an intelligence briefing, meeting with his national security team and, according to transition officials, resuming meetings with potential members of his administration.

(on camera): And the White House has reacted to the phone call between President-elect Trump and President Obama, confirming it was President Obama who called Trump from Hawaii to have a discussion. The White House says it was a positive call, one focused on continuing a smooth and effective transition going forward. And the White House says both sides recommitted to making sure they stay in communication in the next weeks ahead.

Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.


[01:40:35] VANIER: All right, we're going to have a discuss of our own with the vice chair of the California Democratic Party, Eric Bauman; and Republican strategist, Luis Alvarado.

Many substantive issues thrown up daily in this profession, the economy and foreign relations.

Let's start with the economy, gentlemen. And listen to what Donald Trump had to say when it was announced that Sprint would bring 5,000 jobs back to the U.S.


TRUMP: We have some very good news, because of what is happening and the spirit and the hope. I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they're going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States. They are taking them from other countries and they're bringing them back to the United States.


Luis Alvarado, Republican strategist, seriously, do you think Donald Trump can take credit for thousands of jobs being created in the U.S. before he is even in office?

LUIS ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Let's be specific, Donald Trump's claim was he received a phone call from Sprint, not that he initiated the phone call. And there is something to say about Wall Street, is all about giving

the sense of prosperity versus giving the sense of negativity. And Donald Trump does have an effect. Up to this point, no one can argue that the effect that was expected to be one of calamity has turned into an effect of prosperity. And that sense of prosperity sticks with Donald Trump.

And the reality is that the Democrat Party only has one spokesperson that still has the credibility throughout the Democratic Party and that is Barack Obama. And the question is the void that is going to exist for the entire party --


VANIER: That is a powerful spokesperson one might argue. He's president.

ALVARADO: But soon will be silenced. And the question is, how will he continue to represent the issue or the ideology of the Democratic Party? Will he have a platform or will someone else step up to the plate. Because the Republicans have their spokesperson, regardless if you like him or not. He has a very loud voice being heard throughout the world.

VANIER: Eric Bauman?

ERIC BAUMAN, VICE CHAIR, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I'm not sure I understand that last point. Barack Obama will be the immediate past president and will continue to speak out on issues across the board, just as Bill Clinton has done. And Bill Clinton left office with a very high approval rating and the best economy we had seen in years. And Barack Obama is leaving office with a markedly approved economy and 60 percent approval rating.

The fact of the matter is that Donald Trump cannot take credit for any of this. This is the net result of years of digging out of the economic hole we were in in 2008, rebuilding slowly. And the problem is that there are places across America where the recovery just never touched and never got there. And I don't think the 5,000 purported jobs that they're bringing back is the solution to the problem. I think we have a lot of work to go, because here's the bottom line, there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who don't have skills for high-tech and academic-based and professional careers, and there's not enough work for them in America. And we've got to figure that problem out.

CHURCH: Gentlemen, I want to shift to foreign policy, if we can, because very much front and center right now, particularly the relationship between the United States and Russia and the relationship between the United States and Israel. Observers very concerned about where it stands right now and where it will go once Donald Trump takes office on January 20th.

Starting with you, Eric, it's going to be quite a shift, very different. We're seeing the olive branch very much being offered from Donald Trump to Russia, and that has many people very nervous. BAUMAN: Well, amazingly, it has not just Democrats nervous, but it

has Republicans in leadership very, very nervous because people have not forgotten the Cold War. People understand that Putin is not a guy to have as a friend. He's not an honest broker. He is a very dangerous man and that is the reason why Trump's approach and his secretary of state designate are so dangerous for our nation because they are playing right into Putin's hands and making Putin look stronger on the world stage.

CHURCH: Luis, your reaction there?

[13:45:09] ALVARADO: So far, Donald Trump has been -- for over a year, said that he will not be capable of doing X, Y, and Z, and the reality is we have to give him the opportunity to demonstrate to those that supported him and voted for him that he will be effective and that his plan will work. And when he has that loud voice and that little bit of a sense of not understanding what -- how the effect will be measured, I think that gives him an advantage to actually think out of the box, act out of the box, and do it on behalf of the American people. And we are all hoping, Democrats and Republican, that he is successful. And I think that is one thing we can get behind the president.

VANIER: We will be watching very close.

Luis Alvarado, Eric Bauman, many thanks to you.

BAUMAN: Thank you.

CHURCH: Unfortunately, we'll have to end it there. Appreciate it.

VANIER: We're going to take a short break on CNN. When we come back, could Amazon's Echo device help solve a murder case.

CHURCH: One prosecutor thinks it can. But find out why Amazon is not ready to turn over all the data.

Back in a moment.




[01:50:02] CHURCH: A popular piece of technology is at the center of a murder investigation in the United States. A prosecutor in Arkansas wants access to recordings from an Amazon Echo device that was in a House where a man was killed.

VANIER: But Amazon is pushing back, refusing to turn over some of the data connected to the murder suspect's account. And the case is renewing the debate about technology and privacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: People are concerned because it's something that actively listens 24 hours a day. But there are a lot of things -- technology and data has been convicting people for a long time. The information in your computer can be subject to a search warrant and all kinds of crime exist on computers or your phone or anything else. The thing that makes this a new sort of era is that no one turns on the Echo, it is always listening. And when you activate it, it sends that information to be translated out in the Cloud, the data, it returns back to your home and then it acts on those commands. And that's what has people concerned.


CHURCH: Now the defendant's attorney is applauding Amazon. She says there is nothing useful on that device.

So, Attorney Areva Martin joins us from Los Angeles with her take on the case.

I want to start with, for a lot of us with this in our homes, it's disconcerting to know and learn it is listening all of the time. It is like a recording ongoing in our homes. That's disconcerting. But how is this any different to when there's an investigation and they want data from a phone to help find out what happened in this case?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: The district attorney says it is no different than having a legal search warrant for your phone or computer records. And Amazon's position is not supported by the law or the legal precedent. And now the district attorney has to make a decision. The warrant has been issued. Amazon has been willing to release account information, but not the recordings on the Echo. So, the district attorney in this case will have to decide if it's going the go into court and challenge Amazon and ask a court to intervene and force Amazon to release the data.

CHURCH: And how likely is it that that would happen? Because obviously, from a pure business point of view, Amazon has to take a stand and say, no, we won't be handing this over but if this does proceed, legally, they would be forced to, right?

MARTIN: We saw this happen in the San Bernardino case in the terrorist case of 2015 when the iPhone was involved and law enforcement wanted to force Apple to unlock the iPhone, and they resisted. A third party got involved and unlocked the data in that case. These cases provide a challenge for big tech companies like Amazon and Apple. They want to protect their clients and want their clients to feel a sense of privacy with the data on the Cloud, and that comes up against law enforcement who says we may need the information to solve a crime like in this case in Arkansas. And the courts will have to decide, is it an individual's right to privacy versus the government's right to have access to what could be vital information for a crime such as murder.

CHURCH: Given your background, of course, where do you think this is going? How do you think this will end up? MARTIN: Ultimately, I think the courts will intervene in a case like

this, and Amazon and tech companies will be forced to turn over this information. This information is really no different than that information that is stored on a computer, telephone records, other information, which the government, upon the showing of probable cause, has the right to access. Whether it's your home, car, computer or, in this case, your electronic personal assistant, I think, ultimately, the government is going to have access to that information.

CHURCH: Of course, what we're seeing play out here is that technology is moving way past what we have there in the law. So, something has to be done. Are there moves afoot to do something to create laws and restrictions and regulations so that it is easier for courts to sort through this?

MARTIN: Rosemary, what you said is 100 percent accurate. The technology is moving so quickly the law is having a hard time keeping pace with it. But ultimately, I think these decisions will be pretty easy. Information like this that's stored on electronic personal assistants will be subject to the same subpoena disclosure requirements as computer information, telephone information and similar information. For us, as consumers, we have to decide, when we bring a device like this in our home, we should be aware that information is being stored on the Cloud. And it's not just a subpoena from law enforcement, but also potential hacking that can happen with this information. So, our convenience has to be weighed against our desire to keep information private.

And I happen to be one of those lucky people who received one of these devices for a Christmas gift. And millions of people across the country and world will have to decide what do we want to say to our personal assistant and in saying it what are we subjecting ourselves to in doing so?

[01:55:37] CHURCH: A very good point. I have one as well, and this has been an education to me and, I'm sure, many other people across the world who have access to these. We have to work out what we're doing.

MARTIN: Right.

All right, a pleasure to talk to you, Areva Martin. Thank you so much joining us from Los Angeles --

MARTIN: Thank you.

CHURCH: -- where it is nearly 11:00 at night. Appreciate it.

VANIER: We're going the take a short break on CNN NEWSROOM. But first, we want to update you on the breaking news, the death of Actress Debbie Reynolds. The 84-year-old was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday when it turned out she was having trouble breathing.

CHURCH: A day earlier, Reynolds lost her daughter, Carrie Fisher. The "Star Wars" actress died after suffering a cardiac event. Reynolds' son told us, "She spoke to me this morning and said she missed Carrie. She's with Carrie now."

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Rosemary Church.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. We'll be back with more news right after this.