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U.S. to Detail Retaliation for Russia's Election Meddling; Debbie Reynolds Dies Day After Daughter. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired December 29, 2016 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] DON KING, BOXING PROMOTER: He shocked the world.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The former boxing tycoon weighing in on the strained relations with Israel.
KING: The Israeli flag is about peace, you know, peace in the Middle East.
MCLEAN: Now, we're still waiting to find out who Trump will name as his secretary of veteran affairs. But we know that Trump himself yesterday met with top hospital officials to discuss how the V.A. should be run.
A transition official says he's looking at a public/private option that would allow veterans to use V.A. hospitals, but also access the private system, as well. This idea is in line with what he was proposing on the campaign trail -- Poppy, Don.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Scott, thank you very much.
A lot to discuss, as you just set out. CNN political commentator and political anchor of Spectrum News, Errol Louis, is with us, and CNN senior political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic", Ron Brownstein.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He left us hanging there. Why is Don King there and why is Trump appearing with him is the big question for me.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, one of many questions. Something, you know, already kind of routine about Donald Trump sending us mixed messages. I was looking last night at the crawl on one of the shows and Donald Trump sends mixed messages on and you can save that part and just the part after the colon. Obama in transition or some kind of other issue.
I mean, they, you know, there's an issue here in Twitter lash out on Twitter. When he gets more time to reflect, he tries to be more diplomatic. It may also be a sense in which they see a certain value in kind of being unpredictable in this way.
I think it's meta, but the point -- I think it's too meta, but the point of all these mixed signals may be that we're sitting here talking about mixed signals.
HARLOW: Well, but the question is -- I mean, you can sort of laugh it off a bit in this instance saying, tweeting that the transition is not going smooth and kind of telling a reporter, what are you talking about? Of course, it's going smoothly. What if you're dealing with foreign leaders and especially adversaries, Errol? I mean, that's a totally different ball game.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's what people have been warning about for a while now, you know, sort of the impulsive tweeting of Donald Trump, certainly as a candidate. That was president-elect and perhaps as president is throwing off mixed messages, not just to world leaders, but to the very large apparatus called the United States government, where people don't get a memo every day about where they're supposed to be going or what the official line of their agency or of the administration is. They get it by listening to what the president says in public.
So, I think he's, you know, in some ways risking a little bit of chaos, not just in the foreign policy establishment, but also with his economic team.
BROWNSTEIN: One thing about the tweeting just real quick, it's not kind of random. Any perceived slight criticism that he feels he has to respond. That is -- as president of the United States, you take a lot of incoming every day from critics at home and around the world. You feel you have to hit back at everyone, that will produce a lot of chaos.
LEMON: We keep talking about him. He's very thin skinned. He is not going to change even though part of his supporters and transition team say he's going to become more presidential.
My question is, what could have happened? Maybe something legitimately happened between the tweet and him standing in front of the cameras.
BROWNSTEIN: They talked on the phone.
LEMON: In that conversation. What transpired in the conversation?
BROWNSTEIN: They have kept, look, I think they have kept a personal nonaggression pact very diligently since the election. I mean, they --
HARLOW: You think it looks good to their supporters to sort of publicly hustle?
BROWNSTEIN: I think President Obama, President Obama genuinely. They both genuinely want the transition to work because it has to work. There is the thing called the U.S. government.
I also think in the case of President Obama, he, I think, is on a track to be more involved and more critical than we have seen former presidents be and I think he wants to lay down the predicate that he has given Donald Trump every chance to move in a direction that he thinks is better to the country..
HARLOW: I want to talk about jobs and his business ties and major conflicts of interest. He basically said yesterday look at all these Sprint jobs that are coming back because of me et cetera, et cetera. Those are jobs that were announced this fall and he took credit for them.
At the same time, on a really serious note, he still hasn't told anyone how he's going to divest himself from all these businesses, ties, not just to U.S. businesses, ties to businesses all over the world especially in some countries that we don't have the best relationships with. Here's how he addressed that yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: It's a very routine thing. It's not a big deal. You people are making that a big deal. The business. Because, number one, when I won they all knew I had a big business all over the place.
It's actually a very simple situation. It's not a big deal. And we'll be having a press conference some time in early January.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: He's wrong when he says it's not a big deal and only you guys care. Here's what a Bloomberg poll just found, 67 percent of Americans think he needs to choose. They do care, Errol.
[06:35:00] LOUIS: Oh, yes, absolutely. And there's, to the extent that it involves sort of foreign ties, it involves constitutional issues that are not waivable.
HARLOW: Emoluments clause.
LOUIS: Emoluments clause, not as if public opinion, even if it's shifted away from that 67 percent would enable him to do away with that. It is a big deal, and the fact that he keeps postponing it. Let's be clear at the root of all of this was the refusal to disclose those business ties. That's what the tax releases were about.
LEMON: There's nothing legally binding that says he has to as the president of the United States. He doesn't have to. I mean, it may look bad, that people may be concerned about it.
BROWNSTEIN: Emoluments clause does establish limits.
HARLOW: You can't be swayed by foreign governments.
LEMON: I want to drill down, though, on these jobs because as Poppy mentioned, they have been announced in October. Donald Trump is taking credit for these jobs now. The numbers may be different just as they were in Carrier.
The current president, millions of jobs for Americans over the past --
HARLOW: Eleven million.
LEMON: Eleven million jobs.
Should the current president be touting more jobs?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, that's the thing. Any individual job announcement is good news for the families involved. But, it is in the context of the overall American economy, it is a very small impact relative to the overall impact of your economic policies.
There are 145 million jobs in the latest BLS numbers. So, we're talking about 5,000 there or 1,000 there. Roughly 12 million jobs since President Obama took office. Under George W. Bush, in his two terms, it's about a million and a half.
The impact of your macroeconomic policies dwarf any of these individual arrangements with the individual companies.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen.
HARLOW: Guys, thank you.
The Obama administration set to unveil plans to punish Russia for hacking into the U.S. election process. Those sanctions could come down today. How will Moscow respond? That's next.
[06:40:01] LEMON: Welcome back to NEW DAY.
The Obama administration set to drop the hammer on Russia for apparent meddling in the presidential elections. Russia is not taking the threats lightly and promising to hit right back.
CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez live for us in Washington with the very latest.
Good morning, Evan.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don.
They have been debating the issue internally for months and the Obama administration is getting ready to punish officials for meddling in the U.S. election. U.S. officials tell us to expect new sanctions and diplomatic measures. They're expected to name individuals associated with the Russian disinformation operation that U.S. intelligence officials say was at least partly focused on harming Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and helping Donald Trump.
Now, there's also covert actions that we may never know about in which the U.S. says it can take what it chooses. The Russian reaction so far -- lies and disinformation. That's what they say the Obama administration is up to. A foreign ministry spokeswoman in Moscow says, quote, "any action will immediately bounce back on U.S. diplomats in Russia." And, of course, in just over three weeks we will have a new president
here in Washington who doesn't believe that the Russians are behind the cyber hacks of Democratic Party organizations. These are organizations, Poppy, that Donald Trump can undo if and when he chooses.
HARLOW: Evan, thank you very much. We will be watching and see if the sanctions or anything comes down today. We appreciate it.
HARLOW: All right. We're following breaking news this morning. Syria's state run news agency has announced a cease-fire expected this morning. Russian authorities have also discussed the cease-fire. Few of the terms have been released.
Of course, this is just crossing. We'll bring you more information as soon as we have it.
LEMON: Of course, a big story. We'll be following that developing news as we get more information.
Meantime, we'll tell you about another story we're following. Two U.S. service members both pilots confirmed dead in Texas. The Apache helicopter they were in crashed into Galveston Bay. Air and dive teams locating the men on Wednesday.
Investigators haven't released their names. They also aren't saying if they recovered the flight recorder. More investigators are arriving this morning to help figure out exactly what went wrong.
HARLOW: All right, to sports. There's no punching in basketball. And the Knicks Carmelo Anthony paid the price. Details ahead in the "Bleacher Report".
[06:45:44] HARLOW: It was a pretty short night for Carmelo Anthony against the Hawks. The Knicks star getting ejected in the second quarter last night for throwing a punch.
Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".
They teach us in elementary schools these things.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, can't do that, Poppy.
Carmelo Anthony losing his cool a little bit last night and ended up getting him an early shower. I want to show you the play where it all went down. You see him get tangled up under the basket and Melo throws a punch and the two had to be separated. That was originally called a foul on Melo but after reviewing it, the official gave him a flagrant two which is an automatic ejection. The Knicks, they go on to lose this game in overtime, 102-98.
On Monday night, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant threw the first touchdown of his career. That perfect pass has Dez wanting to change positions. According to "The Dallas Morning News", Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said Bryant tried to attend the Cowboys quarterbacks meeting and he's also lobbying for more passing plays. Now, he is probably just joking around, probably. They have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
All right. Imagine this -- you're trying to cross the street in New York City and you become the victim of a vicious crossover. That's what happened here to Gillian. He just keeps going along his way after Jordan falls down. She is probably still icing her ankles this morning but props to her for trying to play solid defense right there.
LEMON: I would say only in New York.
HARLOW: Some agent is trying to sign that kid.
LEMON: I'm sure she's icing her ankles. Thank you, Andy.
With just about three weeks left in office, why is the Obama administration putting out plans for Israel and Russian sanctions now? We're going to discuss that.
[06:56:34] LEMON: Just 22 days left in the Obama presidency, in the Obama administration. But you wouldn't think that is the case with the clashing with Israel and the sanctions about to be leveled against Russia. So, President-elect Trump also responding to that, but the president seems to be laying out his path now. Donald Trump laying out a different path.
Let's discuss with CNN contributor and reporter for "Washington Examiner", Salena Zito, and CNN political commentator, Errol Louis.
I'll start with my initial thought here, Errol. Just 22 days left. What's going on? Why now?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, when it comes to your legacy, it's never too early to start. I think what you've got is President Obama trying on the Middle East and on other issues to sort of put his marker in the ground, start working on his legacy. We know he is very history minded. He was that way before he got elected.
So, that's what he's going to be doing.
LEMON: Never too early or never too late? Because, you know, you would think 22 days left. These are big things to be doing in the final hours.
LOUIS: Well, the very first thing he is probably going to do after January 20th is take a short vacation and then get a great big book deal and write about his presidency. I mean, this is a president who very much wants to make sure that his place in history is assured, like every president before him.
I think, though, at the same time, Donald Trump is, you know, maybe jumping the gun and he may wish that he had waited a little bit longer. The Middle East mess is going to be here for a long, long time to come.
HARLOW: Salena, you say that it makes the Obama administration look, in your words, small, for doing this now. At the same time, as you know, they came under fire from, you know, not just from Republicans, from a number of people for not acknowledging the extent of the Russian hacking sooner. Not going after Russia for it. The president saying, look, we would have looked political and looked like we were trying to help Hillary Clinton.
Is it sort of damned if he does, damned if he doesn't?
SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's probably a lot of that. You know, in the summer, I believe he, I think it was the summer, he told Putin to cut it out. Maybe it was September, I'm not quite sure. He didn't -- subsequent interviews after the election, he said he didn't want to give the impression that he had a heavy hand in the election in either direction.
You know, now with all the sort of furor that came afterwards and people pointing fingers, I think he might regret that tact that he took, although he probably wouldn't admit it. The Russian sanctions or whatever they're going to do are going to come out today. I think it will likely have the full robust support of both sides of Congress and it's something that they'll take on going forward.
HARLOW: Yes, it won't have the support of -- I mean, you're right, it will have the support of, as Lindsey Graham said 99 out of 100 senators but it won't have the support of President-elect Donald Trump who will likely try to walk most of it, if not all of it back.
Listen to what he said just yesterday saying we need to get on with our lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on. We have speed and a lot of other things. But I have not spoken with the senators and I certainly will be over a period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Is he just going to undo all of this?
[06:55:01] ZITO: Well, look, you know, Trump is looking at it this way. The Russian hacking seems to taint his win. You know, it casts a shadow of a doubt in his mind and even though it didn't have or likely didn't have an impact on the result, you know, they coincide with each other.
I'm sure, you know, if I had won I'd probably feel the same way about dismissing it. Having said that, Trump has shown to us that he changes his mind all the time. So, what he said today about or yesterday about computers, tomorrow, he might say, hey, the Russians need to cut it out.
LEMON: You said it, literally and seriously. That was, I think, you came up with that one.
Russia is responding. They're firing back and this is -- I want to put this up on the screen. "If Washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered. Any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the U.S. will immediately bounce back on U.S. diplomats in Russia. Frankly, we are tired about the lies about Russian hacking. It's misinformation by Obama administration aimed at providing an excuse for its own failure."
How bad could this conflict get?
LOUIS: It could get quite serious. I think it could end up being not just between Russia and the United States, but the fight to focus on is President-elect Trump may be at odds with Congress over this.
Let's keep in mind -- this wasn't just about whether or not the presidential election was tainted. Many as a dozen congressional races where there was Russian meddling. Congress is going to take that very seriously. They're not going to just get on with their lives. This is their lives, right? So, that is going to remain on the agenda.
We'll see what kind of evidence the Obama administration wants to make public. But p President-elect Trump is going to have to deal with this with something other than this fog of distraction that we heard yesterday. Nobody knows what happened, and if he is seen as parroting the Russian line, which he does just put forward there, it will really set up a clash with Congress.
HARLOW: Do you think the argument, Salena, is legitimate that some have made, the president-elect is, in essence, doing the bidding of other foreign leaders, i.e., Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu? Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted this yesterday, "President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear cut support for Israel." And he put a flag of Israel and a flag of the United States there.
ZITO: Well, look, I think more than anything what Trump is doing and Putin and Netanyahu do the same thing is projecting strength. Trump is a businessman. He has always believed that that gives you great leverage if you're coming from a position of strength.
So, you know, when he agrees with Putin or agrees with Netanyahu on staking this aura of, look, I'm in command, it does give the appearance, especially to his detractors that, oh, you know, he's buddies with these guys and he's not buddy with Obama.
But I think it's more about what he wants to project to voters and the sort of personality he wants to project as an incoming president.
LEMON: Salena, Errol, thank you very much.
LEMON: We're following a lot of news this morning including the death of Debbie Reynolds. Let's get right to it.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: This conflict is about Israel's right to exist.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The status quo is leading toward perpetual occupation.
NETANYAHU: The United States organized this resolution.
TRUMP: It's very unfair to Israel.
KERRY: It is not this resolution that is isolating Israel.
TRUMP: Nobody knows exactly what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robust sanctions could send a strong message to the Russians.
TRUMP: They are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump accusing President Obama of transition roadblocks.
TRUMP: I'm getting along very well with him, other than a couple statements.
LEMON: Legendary actress Debbie Reynolds has died one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away.
DEBBIE FISHER, LEGENDARY ACTRESS: You have to be very strong. You can't let it get you down.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Poppy Harlow, joined by Don Lemon, who can operate on no sleep.
Thank you for being here.
LEMON: It's a pleasure to be here. You know, it's also, if you're going to be, you know, it's an honor to have to report on these two ladies. I mean, it's just unbelievable. We're going to discuss a lot of that. That's where we're going to begin, actually, heart break. It's a
heart break for the legendary actress Debbie Reynolds. She has died just a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away.
Reynolds sang and danced her way into movie history.
HARLOW: She did.
LEMON: She first came into the scene in 1952, starring alongside Gene Kelly in "Singing in the Rain." And this morning, many are remembering the tragic loss, mother and daughter.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is live with that in Los Angeles this morning.
Good morning, Paul.