Return to Transcripts main page


Actress Debbie Reynolds Dead At 84; Secretary of State Kerry Criticizes Israeli Settlements; Trump And Obama Trade Barbs, Then Talk It Out; Trump Taking Credit For Reviving U.S. Economy; Kicking Up Controversy At The Inauguration; Educating Latin American Towns On Human Trafficking. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 29, 2016 - 03:0 0   ET


[03:00:00] This is CNN Breaking News.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Cyril Vanier. We are following breaking news this hour. The death of acting legend Debbie Reynolds. The 84-year-old was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday. This was one day only after the death of her own daughter Carrie Fisher.

CHURCH: Reynolds was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the '50s and '60s.


CHURCH: CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago has more on Debbie Reynolds 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. And 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 outpour of support from fans now and family. Debbie Reynolds' step daughter tweeting out, "some of the magic people have left the tribe. For the moment I'm inconsolable."

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

CHURCH: Thanks so much for that. And Debbie Reynolds once told CNN's Larry King, her career gave her the fun of life.

VANIER: She said that even when her marriage has failed, entertainment stood by her. Stephanie Elam has more on Reynolds' life.



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 (voice-over): Her star officially launched just a few years later after a spirited performance opposite Jean Kelly and Donald O'Connor, in 1952's "Singing in the Rain."

DEBBIE REYNOLDS, MOVIE ACTRESS: They picked me to put me in "Singing in the Rain" and they just locked me in a big old studio. And for three months I had five different teachers, one for tap and ballet, jazz, modern, and just work, work, work, you know, until I just fell apart.


ELAM (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): Beloved on screen, at times Reynolds' life off screen overshadowed her success. She had two children with her first husband and 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 really was a very simple little girl and that's what I was and he fell madly in love with Elizabeth. Now I understand, you know, so many years later and it's in the past.

ELAM (voice-over): Her second and third marriages also ended in divorce, each time causing Reynolds financial pain. However, she had quietly been collecting Hollywood memorabilia over the years that would prove a wise investment. In 2011, Reynolds sold Marilyn Monroe's white subway dress at auction for $4.6 million.


ELAM (voice-over): She also never quit performing. Though she stepped away from film for much of her career, Reynolds continued to entertain on Broadway stages and in Las Vegas nightclubs.

[03:05:00] 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.

Reynolds said she loved every minute she spent in show business in her 2013 autobiography "Unsinkable." She credited the love she had for her friends and family for her personal and professional resiliency.

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

ELAM (voice-over): And it is that spark and sense of humor along with her talent that Reynolds will be remembered for.

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


CHURCH: And let's talk more about Debbie Reynolds. Entertainment journalist Holland Reid is with us in the studio, and she is this incredible Hollywood legend. You know, we're not used to -- it is sort of a dying race really, isn't it?


CHURCH: But when you look at what she did in "Singing in the Rain," she was a singer, a dancer, a great entertainer. She was a film historian as we there too. So, talk to us about her legacy, what she leaves behind.

REID: You mentioned "Singing in the Rain" and I think that's the first thing everyone always goes to because it was just so -- it's such an iconic role that she got at 19-years-old with no experience as a dancer, and she really put her mark.

That's when she kind of laid down the foundation of her career, and then moving on to getting a nomination for an Oscar award for the "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" which she didn't win, but later on just last year, I think 2015, getting honored as a humanitarian by the Oscars. They said, you know what, enough already you haven't won anything. We are going to give it to you because you deserve it. And she was deserving.

She had such a fantastic career. She loved every second of her career. She loved being on stage. She loved Hollywood. She loved the whole aspect of fame and performance and she embraced it. Ironically, you know, didn't necessarily pass that gene on to her daughter, but even her daughter still embraced that she was a part of that and really owned it and had her own career, as well. So, then passing days apart, such iconic women in two different, you know, genres so to speak, that golden age and that sci-fi age -- modern age. It's just terrible news.

CHURCH: Yes. It's interesting, sorry --

REID: No, no, go ahead.

CHURCH: It was interesting you mentioned in the break there that she was trying to convince her granddaughter not to go into the entertainment industry.

REID: Yes, yes. Billie Lourd, her granddaughter, who now is on "Scream Queens" and is successful in her own right, sat down on a nightly show not so long ago and expressed at how, you know, Debbie Reynolds sat with her and said, you know, let me read some things out of my journal to convince you not to go into Hollywood, that your eyelashes are going to be pulled out.

She said (INAUDIBLE) in second person, like very 50's after voice, and she just kind of like OK, grandma, they are not going to pull my eyebrows out now.

But just to even hear that interview that, you know, Debbie Reynolds even with her loving Hollywood still knew the perils of Hollywood and wanted to protect her granddaughter from that the same way that she protected Carrie Fisher. In addition to that, you know, Debbie Reynolds also said there's too much paparazzi in Hollywood, there's not enough protection, and that she was quoted saying something similar in that direct quote.

But that just shows who Debbie Reynolds was. She was more about the artist and the talent and not about the hoopla that surrounded that. And it's unfortunate that you know one of the greats and that idea of what it meant to be in Hollywood is no longer with us.

VANIER: I didn't know that about her story. That surprises me because she had a passion for entertainment and for the career and she told CNN's Larry King, you know, that saved her and her life. And she had collected all of this stuff, all this memorabilia. It just showed how much she loved this.

REID: Yes. She was an avid -- I mean, we know that -- I mean, that Marilyn Monroe dress worn -- the infamous (INAUDIBLE) white dress sold for over $4 million. And she -- that was just one piece of over thousands of pieces she had collected over the years.

And she did that not only as an entrepreneur, you know, she also owned a hotel in Las Vegas for five years so she was a business smart woman. She have taken advantage of in her marriages by her husbands. When (INAUDIBLE) her for Elizabeth Taylor, but then also others gambling her money away, and then also manipulating deeds to kind of I guess hoodwink her out of her fortune so to speak but she was very smart and she --

VANIER: She was. REID: Her passion for Hollywood again, saved her. She was able to

take all of that she, you know, embraced and really I guess collected and admired and turn that into -- coming out of her bankruptcy. So, she was a very smart. A very passionate woman about Hollywood and again, on stage and off the stage, have loved everything about it and it showed throughout, you know, her personality and career.

CHURCH: It really did. Holland Reid, great to talk to you.

REID: Thank you for having me again.

CHURCH: You're stuck with us for four hours.

REID: Oh, you know, for the great -- you tell me to be here, I will be here. I'm just happy to be a part of the conversation. I absolutely love entertainment and Hollywood and its unfortunate we've been here so often this week with saying goodbye to some of the greatest.

[03:10:01] CHURCH: Absolutely.

REID: Yes. Thank you so much.

CHURCH: Many thanks. Appreciate it.

VANIER: It's been a pleasure. (INAUDIBLE) much more reaction to the death of Debbie Reynolds later this hour, and remember you can find out about her life and career on our website at

CHURCH: The United States top diplomat is letting go of niceties as his time in office ends.

VANIER: Secretary of State John Kerry was scathing his criticism of Israeli settlements on Wednesday, arguing that they are jeopardizing Mideast 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 CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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's 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 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 ten 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.

CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this is Aaron David Miller. He is a Middle East analyst, also a negotiator. He's advised Republicans and Democratic presidents. He's now with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Thank you so much for being with us.

And of course you have written many speeches yourself on Middle East peace for Republicans, or Democrats, have you ever witnessed one as strongly worded as this with such a direct warning to Israel?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: A lot passion, a lot of emotion and certainly a lot of investment. It's significant Rosemary that it was the Secretary of State and not the president who delivered the speech. You know, in years past, whether it was the Clinton parameters, the Reagan initiative, if it was considered critically important as a legacy, usually the president who spoke.

Here I think the president's message was delivered with the abstention in the Security Council and I think (INAUDIBLE) left it to the Secretary to deliver the speech and take the next hit. So no, I think this is unprecedented in many respects including the fact that it was delivered at what you might proverbially describe as five minutes to midnight with less than three weeks to go in the administration.

CHURCH: Yes, interesting. Now, in his speech, John Kerry said that a two-state solution is in jeopardy and that while Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly supports a two-state solution, that doesn't appear to be his agenda. Do you agree with that?

[03:15:00] MILLER: I mean, I think the prime minister simply is not prepared to accept a set of terms on the core issues that meet Palestinian demands and requirements and frankly, you know, vice- versa. I mean his process is comatose, dead but maybe not dead and buried. In large part because neither of us nor Benjamin Netanyahu are prepared to make the core decisions or least bring those core decisions close enough so an effective mediator could bridge the gaps.

And you can't bridge the Grand Canyon and frankly, that's where we really are on issues, border security, refugees, Jerusalem, end of claims. All of these issues, accompanied by a fundamental profound lack of trust and confidence between Israelis and Palestinians has put the two-state solution in what I would describe as mortal jeopardy and it doesn't look to me, given the incoming administration, that much is going to be done to revive it.

CHURCH: Right. Indeed. And John Kerry also said that no American administration has done more for Israel's security than Barack Obama's. Is that the case?

MILLER: I mean you know, even while there's been dysfunction and tension between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers going back to -- well, going back to Reagan (ph) and Carter, the U.S.- Israeli security relationship in the (INAUDIBLE) for the last 30 years has essentially moved forward.

So yes, I'd support the notion that this administration even amidst the dysfunction and tension and arguments over settlements, Iran and the presumed Israeli-Palestinian peace. On the security side, yeah. This is a fact that's been acknowledged repeatedly by the prime minister himself.

CHURCH: Come January 20, we will see what sort of impact Donald Trump's administration will have on Middle East peace and indeed foreign policy worldwide. Many thanks to you, Aaron David Miller, for joining us. It's always a pleasure to talk with you. MILLER: Thank you Rosemary.

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

CHURCH: We will hear what Donald Trump has to say about it. That's up next.


RHIANNON JONES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rhiannon Jones with your CNN World Sport Headlines. The busy festive football schedule continues in the English Premier League with visit (ph) of Tottenham Hotspur to Southampton. Again, that saw Mauricio Pochettino return to his former club.

And one that started disastrously for him with the host opening and scoring in the second minute of play, but Dele Alli still leveled things up. Harry Kane put Tottenham ahead in the second half (INAUDIBLE) at 3-1 before the man that doesn't despise revivals, Dele Alli will get her second and (INAUDIBLE) fourth on the night. Spurs come back to win 4-1.

[03:20:01] Britain's most decorated Olympian Sir Bradley Wiggins has announced his retirement from cycling. In a statement earlier, the five-time Olympic champion and 2012 Tour de France winner said he had fulfilled his childhood aspiration of making a career out of his sport. Sir Bradley Wiggins wasn't the only one to retire on Wednesday.

Former tennis world number one, Anna Ivanovic announced that she is retiring from tennis. The 29-year-old took to social media to tell her fans that she could no longer perform to her own high standards and that it's time to move on.

Highlight of Ivanovic's career came in 2008 when she won her one and only major at the French Open and climb to the top of the world rankings. She spent 12 weeks at world's number one. That's a look at your sports headlines. I'm Rhiannon Jones.

VANIER: The U.S. is expected to announce a series of reprisals against Russia for allegedly meddling in the U.S. presidential election. The new measures could be announced as early as Thursday. CNN has learned that the payback could include covert actions as well as identifying people that the U.S. says are responsible for widespread cyber attacks.

CHURCH: Moscow denies any role in the 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: For more on that, we're joined now by the former CNN Moscow bureau chief, now a global fellow at Woodrow Wilson Center, knowledgeable on all things Russian, Jill Dougherty, thank you for being with us. More specifically, what kind of actions could we be looking at here when it comes to retaliations against Russia? JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think they're basically big

(pg) three. One is for the 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 actions. 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, and from what we understand, it also could include naming the people who are responsible for what the United States alleges is a disinformation project really by Russia using those hacks, using any information that it had gleaned from the hacks in order to interfere in the elections and what they're calling disinformation.

So it's serious and the Russians wasted no time, even before getting an official announcement, to say we're not going to sit idly by. We will take action, as well. So really, Cyril, we're in an unpredictable moment right now.

VANIER: And Jill, you mentioned sanctions being one of the three prongs of the retaliation but sanctions against whom? Are we talking about public officials? About government entities here or are we talking about targeting hackers themselves?

DOUGHERTY: You know, a little unclear at this point but I think you'd have to say the sanctions so far had been most effective when they are against people who are close to Putin.

And so, I think you can probably figure that that would be the most -- what the government -- the U.S. government would be thinking about because hackers I mean, some of these hackers are, you know, probably 20-year-old guys in a basement in St. Petersburg or a building in St. Petersburg that's not going to have much effect but when you get people who are much higher up closer to president Putin and you can connected in some financial way or power way, that would tend to be more effective.

VANIER: Right. And I was going to ask you in fact precisely about that. Is there something that Vladimir Putin, since Obama has pointed, here's the finger of blame towards the Russian president, is there something that would make Vladimir Putin think I shouldn't have done that? I shouldn't have poked the bear?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I mean, I guess it's called the nuclear option for the United States would be to reveal some type of information about all of these allegations if they have any concrete information about the financial holdings of President Putin himself. It has never been proven exactly whether the president does have as much money -- billions of dollars as some have alleged.

But that would be really, really I think diplomatically pretty dangerous because it would be targeting the President of Russia himself and could rile him up. It could be unpredictable what he might want to do. I think the really important thing here, Cyril, is that we have never really been at a state like this before. This is outright attacking and potentially leading to some type of a cyber war between the two countries and nobody knows precisely what weapons will be used and how it will end.

[03:25:02] VANIER: Jill Dougherty, CNN's former Moscow bureau chief. Thank you very much for your insights. Appreciate your time.

CHURCH: And placing new sanctions on Moscow comes just three weeks before Donald Trump takes office. The U.S. president-elect was asked where he stands on the proposed action.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has (INAUDIBLE) nobody knows exactly what's going on. We have speed. We have a lot of other things but I'm not sure you have the security that you need. But I have not spoken with the senators. I certainly will be (INAUDIBLE)


CHURCH: Not clear yet is whether Mr. Trump will uphold any sanctions imposed on Russia before he takes office.

VANIER: And another legend loss. We'll have more on the passing of actress Debbie Reynolds just ahead. Stay with us.




CHURCH: Fantastic. That was the Legendary Debbie Reynolds singing "Good Morning" from the film "Singing in the Rain." We are following breaking news of her death. I'm Rosemary Church.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. The world remembers Reynolds and her illustrious career. It all started with that 1952 musical and she stayed firmly in the spotlight after that the rest of her life.

[03:30:00] CHURCH: Fame followed her every move, including some very public troubles at home but her resilience inspired countless fans. Reynolds was one of the last stars from a golden era in Hollywood, of course.

VANIER: This is how she described her life in the business talking to Larry King in 1992.


DEBBIE REYNOLDS, HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS: It is so competitive. You know, you are rejected so much when you go in, unless you are on the top of the list. I have been everywhere, I have been on the top, and I had fans tear me to pieces. You know all of the different phases that happen to you as a star, young, and then the middle age and now I am going to be 60 in April. So, I have been in the business now, I started at 16, so 44 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were once the top box office drawer. You have had every up and down you could possibly have. You have been up on the front page of the newspaper. What do you think has been the resiliency factor?

REYNOLDS: I think the love of entertaining. You just love what you do. There's more fun in this business than anywhere. You have to be very strong. You have to be religious or have your own faith of some kind, because you can't let it get you down. The failure that happens to you, the rejection is pretty tough sometimes. So you have to stay really strong and hang in there. Believe in yourself. You know you are really good and you know -- you have to know that your fans love you.


VANIER: All right. Segun Oduolowu is live now via Skype from Lake Tahoe in California. It is really a pleasure to have you back with us. He is an entertainment journalist and pop culture contributor for "Access Hollywood Live."

Segun, I want to ask you this, when we spoke to you earlier you were getting quite emotional about the passing of Debbie Reynolds. I want to ask you, what she means to you.

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, POP CULTURE CONTRIBUTOR FOR ACCESS HOLLYWOOD LIVE: Good morning and again thank you for having me. What does she mean to me? She means class. She means, you know, style and grace and star, she is a journalist like me. We want to cover Hollywood, because she wants to see the most talented, the most graceful, the most unique characters you can. Here's a woman whose life and career she started out at 16. At 19 she is doing "Singing in the rain" with Gene Kelly. I fell in love with her as Debra Messing's mother on "Will and Grace." She pushed boundaries, was classy, who really embodied what Hollywood and stardom was supposed to be and to have a daughter who was also a Hollywood icon, it's mind boggling that something like this could even exist. It's what Hollywood was supposed to be. And so for me, I feel like a part of Hollywood is gone, the good part of what we all came to love and be in the business for is passing away.

CHURCH: And of course the tragedy of this is that Debbie Reynolds passed away a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher died. They really did have an interesting relationship. I mean there are so many mother-daughter relationships that have their ups and downs. That is not unusual in itself, but there was so much in the spotlight weren't they? And they did reconcile at the end. We can see this in this picture here where she is -- she is just very happy and celebrating the relationship that she has with her daughter Carrie.

ODUOLOWU: Rosemary, you said it perfectly. They had a tumultuous relationship as mothers and daughters will, but theirs was lived in the tabloids and in the spotlight and that bright hot light of Hollywood. They made it and persevered through drug addiction and medical illness. They found common ground and lived side by side in houses next door to each other. So this was a family that through all types of rocky seas and choppy waters, they found a way to come together. And then for her to pass away 24 hours after her daughter has died, you believe in the fact that a broken heart could cause someone to die. Someone gave us so much style and grace and humor and laughter, dying of a broken heart, the irony must not be lost on this.

VANIER: All right Segun Oduolowu, thank you so much for speaking to us. Sharing not just your insights and your knowledge on the industry but also your emotions and how it affects you. Thank a lot.

CHURCH: Thank you.

ODUOLOWU: Thank you, Cyril and Rosemary.

CHURCH: Donald Trump says the transition between his team and the Obama administration is going very smoothly.

VANIER: That is very different from the tone on twitter early on Wednesday from Donald Trump 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 have a very, very good talk about, generally about that. He was in Hawaii. And it was a very, very nice call and I actually thought we covered a lot of territories.


[03:35:08] VANIER: Well Trump and Mr. Obama had a rough and rocky relationship for a while now and who knows, things could change again before Trump's inauguration next month.

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

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President-Elect Donald Trump tonight clearly attempting to lower the temperature after earlier in the day he escalated his public 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 yesterday took a veiled jab at his successor.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SERFATY: The escalating war of words between the outgoing and

incoming 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 would have won the election if he could have run again.


OBAMA: I'm confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilized the majority of the American people to rally behind it.


SERFATY: Trump taunting him right back tweeting, President Obama campaigned hard personally in the swing states and lost. The voters wanted to make America great again. And taking another swipe at the president, (inaudible) Trump talking in a third person, giving himself credit on the economy, tweeting, the U.S. consumer confidence index for December surged nearly 4 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.

And the White House had reacted to the phone call between President- Elect Donald Trump and President Obama confirming that it was President Obama who called Trump from Hawaii to have a discussion. The White House said it was a positive call, one that is focused on continuing a smooth effective transition going forward and the White House says that both sides are recommitted to making sure that they stay in communication in the next weeks ahead, Sunlen Serfaty, CNN Palm Beach, Florida.

CHURCH: We have heard a lot in the past few weeks about artist who will or won't perform at Donald Trump's inauguration next month.

VANIER: Some members of a renowned dance troupe booked for the Party are threatening a boycott. CNN's Brynn Gingras reports.


TRUMP: Let's hear the bells. Ok.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORREPOSNDENT: Donald Trump and The Radio City Rockettes, both New York City icons. But the Rockettes are kicking a controversy over the upcoming presidential inauguration. One dancer speaking out after feeling pressured to perform at the ceremony for a candidate she does not support quote, we do a lot of events, but there have been no events that could cause trauma and doing this could cause trauma for some people. That said to journalist Kaitlyn Mendez in the Marie Claire exclusive report.


KAITLYN MENDEZ, ROCKETTES DANCER: Emotionally people crying on stage.


GINGRAS: According to Mendez, some of the dancers who are full-time were initially told they had no choice, but to perform in next month's event. Word of the scheduled performance created a firestorm within the Rockettes organization and on social media. Marie Claire reports the backlash is what changed the minds of the Rockettes management. The dancer's union said it never required participation and it would be voluntary. Madison Square Garden who employs the dancers, added quote, we have more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of artists have been wanted to participate in the inauguration and she is upset that the Rockettes had, that is makes it seem as if they stand by him and his policies.


GINGRAS: With dancers facing criticism from some Trump supporters, others favor the boycott like this former Rockettes who appeared on "Democracy Now."


AUTUMN WITHERS, FORMER RADIO CITY ROCKETTES: The Rockettes represent a legacy of strong, intelligence, and classy women. To associate this with Mr. Trump who has a public history of degrading women, objectifying women, in my opinion really tarnishes what the Rockettes embody and stand for.


[03:40:13] GINGRAS: The famous dancers were all on board for George W. Bush's celebration both in 2001 and 2005. This year, they are not the only ones wanting to skip out. Sources tell CNN President-Elect Trump's transition team is having a tough time booking talent. Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.

VANIER: Now in a region where human trafficking is prevalent, educators are working to stop it.

CHURCH: In today's freedom project, teaching Latin American kids how to recognize human trafficking.


CHURCH: Migration is a part of everyday life, the towns along the border, between Panama and Costa Rica, but it might not be clear to residents how close they are to human trafficking.

VANIER: Now Migration officials are teaching students how to identify risky situations and prevent becoming victims. Shasta Darlington has more in today's freedom project report.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an overcast day in northern Panama, ominous weather setting the stages inside one of the classrooms at the progressive school, just a few hundred meters from the Costa Rican border.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hadn't thought of it.


DARLINGTON: The subject matter today -- the connection between migration and human trafficking. Officials say border communities like this one are especially vulnerable, because migrants regularly pass through on the journey north to the United States. In the past, this school has been used as a shelter for migrants. Some of these students as families have even sheltered migrants in their homes.


[03:45:08] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being the supervisor of this school district, yes, I'm sure you have heard some of the stories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What have you heard?

TRANSLATOR: We have heard from the students in the education center who lived side by side with the migrants with regards to people being trafficked, we have heard horror stories.


DARLINGTON: 18-year-old Julianna Santos has heard the stories, too. Her family welcomed four Cuban migrants into her home about a year ago while they waited for immigration papers. Julianna says they told her about a woman who went missing after paying someone to smuggle her across the border.


TRANSLATOR: She left alone, even though they told her to wait, so she could get to the United States faster. When my friends got to the United States, they went to the place where the friend said she would be staying, and she had never arrived.


DARLINGTON: Officials with the International Organization for Migration or IOM say that story is typical. Traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of migrants, offering passage across the border.


CY WINTER, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: But then on the other side is what's arranged there is completely different so they end up in a place where they have to work and they got no way to get away from it.


DARLINGTON: That is why IOM is running these schoolwork shops. The goal is to teach students how to identify risky situations, how to care for victims of trafficking, and how to protect potential victims from falling prey.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If someone of the school is having situations that can be associated with human trafficking or some trouble, these children can be able to speak with this friend, knowing to help him.


DARLINGTON: And IOM is arming the students with tools they can use in everyday lives, like social media.

TRANSLATOR: My friends and I agreed to begin using hashtag about human trafficking so it would reach more people on our friends in social media. We are going to promote it so it spreads wider.


DARLINGTON: At another school just across the border in Costa Rica, IOM is teaching the same subject matter, but using softer language, because these kids are much younger. And the message is not just being delivered in schools. The parade called the march against human trafficking. IOM brings together hundreds of people from both sides of the border.

Talking to the kids here, most of them tell me they never even heard of human trafficking, they live on the border so they knew about migration, but they didn't know it could end in slavery.

IOM hopes to change that through programs like this in border towns throughout Central America and by encouraging neighboring countries to work together. Shasta Darlington CNN, on the Costa Rican/Panamanian border.

CHURCH: And tomorrow the CNN Freedom Project introduces you to Madison, a young survivor of child sex trafficking and a nonprofit The Change for Life.


TRANSLATOR: We had to have sex with them and do whatever they asked us to.


CHURCH: Madison was held captive for an entire year, forced to have sex with multiple men every day, until she escaped. Today she speaks triumphantly about her recovery and her future.

And hear Madison's remarkable story on Friday as our freedom project series continues.

VANIER: We are going to take a very short break. When we come back on CNN newsroom, much more on our top story, the passing of Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, just a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died. Stay with us.


[03:51:24] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thank you for staying with CNN. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri this is weather watch and we are watching a storm system draped across the southeastern corner of the United States. Eventually stretching all the way out towards areas of the Northeast, where it is transitioning into snow showers and believe me it is a lot of snow showers on this portion of the Eastern United States, in fact, pretty distinct cutoff line where the major Metro cities, let's say Boston now towards New York and Philly state of the vast majority of the cold temperature but where it is cold enough, the moisture is so plentiful we could see upwards of 60 centimeters or two feet of fresh snow from right now through Friday night and Saturday morning across that region. So a dramatic shift there just outside of the big cities. Look at this, New York City wants to cool off. It just comes down to around four degrees. Not conducive for any wintry mix, Steven to be in store. But around the Western U.S. we go. We got to work your way out towards (inaudible) the cascades. Snow showers are bound across that region while the Rocky remains rather quiet across the inter mountain west of United States and the trend looks as such, how about sunny skies in San Francisco, 16 degrees. New York City the forecast today will bring in some showers at about eight. Atlanta blustery weather with the incoming front, about 15 degrees for a high temperature and farther to the south, Guatemala City into the 20's, temperatures feeling as hot as 50 when you factor in the humidity, the beaches at Rio. CHURCH: Tributes are pouring in for actress Debbie Reynolds. She

died Wednesday at the age of 84, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher.

VANIER: Fans have been leaving flowers, candles and mementos at Reynolds star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Many celebrities are reacting to Reynolds death, Debra Messing tweeted this, so heart sick, and Debbie went to be with Carrie. It is such a devastating 1, 2, punch. She was my mom for years and I love her dearly, a legend.

CHURCH: Ellen DeGeneres wrote. I can't imagine what Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds family are going through this week. I send all of my love.

VANIER: And here's this one by the Motion Picture Academy, an actress, a trail blazer and hero, rest in peace, Debbie Reynolds.

CHURCH: Back in 2010, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds shared some light moments at the wishful drinking premier.

CHURCH: That film was an auto biographical story about Fisher's life. Watch how close the two are in this interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a lovely ladies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you proud of your daughter?

CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS: Are you proud of me?

REYNOLDS: I'm very proud of my daughter. She is wonderfully gifted and very special daughter. She is very talented. No wishful thinking here.

FISHER: Wishful thinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you call her up, do you really say hi, this is Debbie Reynolds your mother?

REYNOLDS: I am just so used to saying it, instead of saying hi. I don't know why I say hi. Of course she knows.

FISHER: Hello dear, this is your mother.

REYNOLDS: Hello, dear, this is Debbie.

FISHER: Your mother Debbie.

REYNOLDS: You see.

FISHER: Opposed to my next door neighbor. I'm her neighbor.

REYNOLDS: I get to see my daughters I moved right next to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where does your mother live? FISHER: Right next door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of her being open and honest about her life and wonderful stories about you?

REYNOLDS: Aren't they funny?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are wonderful.

[03:55:00] REYNOLDS: I won't tell some things. My grandmother before she passed away one day said and I'm doing it now. She said we were so poor, we didn't have six matching glasses and Carrie, don't you put that in your book. So I didn't. I just said it on TV. Oh, dear. People started to listen to themselves.

FISHER: We were dirt poor. Nobody knows what that means. It means you don't have six matching glasses.

REYNOLDS: We were really poor. Carrie has never been poor, because her mother has worked forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you really suggest that she have a child with one of your husband?

REYNOLDS: Of course because he was very attractive and he had blue eyes and I thought it would work out.


CHURCH: They just played off each other so well. Clearly there was a very, very strong relationship between the two women.

VANIER: When you think of how the whole thing, Debbie Reynolds career started and her daughter's career off the back of that. It started with Debbie Reynolds at a beauty pageant when she was 16 years old. That is what kicked off the whole thing.

CHURCH: As she said, they were dirt poor. For her it was a great opportunity, and then at 19 to get the part, "Singing in the rain" extraordinary. The rest is history, of course. And "Star Wars" fans are paying tribute to Carrie Fisher and the iconic Princess Leah.

VANIER: Dozens of fans gathered at downtown Disney in California for a light saber salute. An event organized on social media.

CHURCH: And we do want to thank everyone, all of you out there. I'm Rosemary Church. I'm Cyril Vanier. "Early Start" is next for viewers here in the

United States. For everybody else, stay tuned for more news with Isa Soares from London. Thank you for watching.

CHURCH: Enjoy your day.