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Roof Death Penalty Phase Begins Tomorrow; Trump Biographer Asked to Leave Golf Course; North Korean Missile Test Imminent. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 2, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Again, it was asked by the media that it be made public here, that we could understand what are the arguing points, but the judge, once again, ruled and said, no, that the public's not allowed in. So that hearing is going on right now. We should hear today whether in any way his mental competency is a question mark that could delay the penalty phase of this proceeding.

And one last thing, the judge mentioned, Carol, in this case, that apparently this weekend diagnosis, if that's what you want to call it, revealed something quite striking. Striking that the judge says goes to the strategy of Dylann Roof in this case. And the judge gave us this very cryptic but very meaningful line. He said, "if you knew what I know now, you'd understand why he's kept these proceedings closed." A lot of drama over what will be a life-and-death decision, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting. Martin Savidge reporting live for us. Thanks so much.

So let's talk about this now. With me now is Laura Coates, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.

Good morning, Laura.


COSTELLO: OK, so Martin explained it well, but I want you to explain it from a federal prosecutor's standpoint. There have already been competency hearings surrounding Roof, so why another one?

COATES: Well, you know, every time you have a different phase of a trial, there is always the inkling by the judge to say whether or not the person should really, in fact, do what most people know is a kiss of death, no pun intended in this case. Representing yourself is a very difficult task for anybody, especially in a death penalty case, in a federal death penalty case where you already have a conviction like this. So the judge is probably trying to take the temperature of the defendant once again.

But, remember, Dylann Roof was adamant about wanting to do this himself. He did not want to do the guilt phase. He wanted to do this phase. And thee cryptic message of that judge doesn't really give us a whole lot of insight. But it doesn't also change our perception that Dylann Roof may be using this as another springboard for his manifesto and to be able to convey the information that he wants to convey to the jury and the public.

COSTELLO: I was just going to ask you about that because he wants to make this opening statement after prosecutors do in open court. And wouldn't that give him a prime opportunity to just recite his manifesto?

COATES: Of course it will. However, the judge, even if you are your own counsel, the judge does have reigns still in that courtroom and he could actually do something that people don't realize. He can have the counsel, who's sitting standby of him, actually retake his role if the defendant uses it as a circus or tries to hijack the proceedings for his manifesto. But we are all expecting some form of soap boxing here by Dylann Roof. This is somebody who planned these homicides. He planned and researched the different churches. He may not be in what we consider just the right mind or the sound mind of committing these horrible acts, but that doesn't mean he's not competent to actually defend himself.

COSTELLO: OK. So - well, he's not going to call any witnesses and he's going to present no evidence. So is that part of the competency hearing actually? I mean will the judge try to determine what exactly Dylann Roof wants to do in court and base his decision on that?

COATES: He will - he will in part look at the strategy of what Dylann Roof is trying to accomplish by being his own counsel. Remember, this is not a circus proceeding. The judge has a responsibility to preside over these proceedings and preside over the actual case. However, you are entitled not to call a witness. You are entitled not to do what people would normally think as the smart or prudent thing to do, but you are not entitled to soap box and use this opportunity simply to cause further harm to the aggrieved parties, in this case the nine that were slaughtered by this man at the church.

However, he does have a right to still speak his mind to a degree as long as it's not disruptive to the proceedings and as long as he is towing the line of legal strategy. His only hope in this case, Carol, is to show the American people, and that jury in particular of course, that he does not deserve death, that he does not deserve the death penalty, he deserves life in prison. And that is his goal and he has a right to speak about it.

COSTELLO: OK, so a final question because I talked with another attorney a couple of weeks ago who said, if Dylann Roof does represent himself, that actually might help him because it would prove to jurors that he really is, you know, not mentally all there, just by his actions in the courtroom.

COATES: You know, that's the irony and the painful irony of all of this. But, remember, just because he may be proving himself and he's in front of these people as potentially - and I use this term lightly - sympathetic to the jurors, you have to have unanimity when it comes to a federal death penalty. All he's hoping for is to sway one person on that jury to say, I had a visceral reaction to the way he committed these homicides, the way he terrorized these people, and I just can't bring myself to actually harm another person in this instance, or I cannot bring myself to choose death for this individual.

[09:35:05] So there may be hope for him in that respect to be able to sway or persuade somebody to feel even the small iota of empathy for his position. And it may anear (ph) to his benefit. But this is the case we're talking about. We think about death penalty cases. You think about truly heinous crimes. This is it, Karen - Carol. This is it.

COSTELLO: All right, Laura Coates, thanks for stopping by.

Still to come -

COATES: Thank you.

COSTELLO: You're welcome.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, congratulate the president-elect on a golf course and get the boot? One Trump biographer says it happened to him over the weekend. Hear his awkward tale, next.


COSTELLO: Harry Hurt, who wrote a scathing biography about Donald Trump, says he went up to the president-elect on one of his golf courses to congratulate him on a successful election. Instead, Mr. Trump kicked him off his golf course. Listen.


HARRY HURT, AUTHOR, "LOST TYCOON: THE MANY LIVES OF DONALD J. TRUMP": I went up to him, and, you know, in the spirit of the United States of America, and said, congratulations, sir. And then he launched into a diatribe that I had been rough on him. He used an expletive to describe the content of my book. I looked him in the eye and I said, it's all true, and he said, not in the way you said it.


COSTELLO: All right. So Hurt says, as you heard, that he was then asked to leave the Trump-owned golf course all because of what he wrote in "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump" back in 1993.

[09:40:04] So let's talk about this and more. With me now is Brian Stelter, he's CNN's senior media correspond and host of "Reliable Sources."

The most interesting thing about this story to me is that Mr. Hurt was in a foursome with some very powerful Republican operatives.


COSTELLO: Golfing on the golf course.

STELTER: Including David Koch, a billionaire donor to Republican causes. COSTELLO: Yes.

STELTER: Koch says he chose to leave on his own accord. But this detail from Harry Hurt, who's been very critical of Trump over the years, is surely revealing. Obviously Trump can say and do whatever he wants now, especially at his own golf course. By the way, he left the press. He went to this golf course on Saturday without telling the press corps he was going. So it was already a harry situation. And then, of course, Harry Hurt saying he was booted from the golf course that same day.

COSTELLO: So his party, his golf foursome, they kind of stuck by his side, right?

STELTER: Right. And they all decided to leave together. You know, this is emblematic of a president-elect who does not let things go. It reminds me of that Disney song, "Let it Go." You know, he always holds on to these sorts of grudges or past feuds. You could say that's a very good thing or a very bad thing depending on your view of the president-elect.

His tweet over the weekend was also symbolic, saying happy New Year, even to all of my many enemies and people who thought I was going to lose." You know, that's the some exact tone he struck years ago before he was running for president. He would talk about the haters and the losers who were against him. So one thing is clear, this is not a man who's changing as he prepares to move into the Oval Office.

COSTELLO: No, not at all, and I notice you have the book "Unprecedented" there and I'm sure within that book -

STELTER: Yes, this is the inauguration edition. You know what's interesting about this?


STELTER: It's a new cover with a new portrait of Trump. So even though he hates the press, even though he bashes CNN, he did pose for a portrait, which goes to show, I think in many ways, the love-hate relationship he has with the press.

COSTELLO: So - so does he honestly - well, I'm not even going to ask you that because I think he does honestly hate the press.


COSTELLO: I do. I think he dislikes the press.

STELTER: When it's - when it's negative. When the coverage is negative. But he wants positive attention. You know, that's what's crucial I think to understanding him. He promised me back in June - I interviewed him back when he was banning and black listing reporters. He said, I will not kick reporters out of the White House press briefing room if I'm president. Well, and so far there's no indication that he will. But it's interesting to think about him kicking a former biographer off of his golf course. That is a very revealing moment I think over the weekend.

COSTELLO: All right, Brian Stelter, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

COSTELLO: And a reminder, CNN's "Unprecedented: The Election that Changed Everything," is now available online and at book stores.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, Kim Jong-un rings in the New Year with a dire message. He says North Korea is almost ready to test a missile that could reach American soil. How will Trump respond when he takes office?


[09:45:40] COSTELLO: North Korea's Kim Jong-un sending a chilling New Year's message, saying a long range missile test is imminent. That's raising fears the country has strengthened its nuclear capabilities. This right before Donald Trump's inauguration.

CNN's Pentagon correspond Barbara Starr has more for you.

Good morning, Barbara.


Well, what we know from numerous U.S. government officials is North Korea has steadily been working on its nuclear program, its nuclear warheads, its missiles, all of that. But this statement from Kim at the New Year getting attention, of course, because there is a new U.S. administration coming into office.

So let's look at exactly what the North Korean leader said and let me quote him. "Research and development of the cutting edge tech weapons are actively progressing and strengthening our defense capabilities, including last stage preparation of tests for an intercontinental ballistic rocket launch."

What he's talking about is development of a long-range intercontinental missile with a warhead on the front end that could potentially some day hit the United States. We now they are working on this technology. We know they have launched these type of missiles before. But what they haven't been able to do so far, the U.S. says, is master key pieces of technology that could bring that missile back into the atmosphere, put a warhead on a target.

Are they working on it? All indications are that indeed they are. When will they be able to achieve it? No clear answer to that. But this is now a national security challenge that may be facing Donald Trump quite early as he comes into office.


COSTELLO: All right, Barbara Starr, reporting live from the Pentagon. Thanks so much. Queen Elizabeth is still saying inside out of the public eye. This after skipping her usual Christmas and New Year's church services. The 90-year-old has a lingering cold. Royal officials say she is up and working, but that has not stopped speculation about her health. CNN's Phil Black in London with more.

Hi, Phil.


The word from Buckingham Palace here is, don't worry, the queen is fine. It is just a nasty cold, and she is recovering. But there's no doubt it is taking some time.

The queen isn't here. She's at her estate in Sandringham, where she normally spends the holiday period. The concern is she hasn't been behaving as she normally does. So she missed the Christmas Day church service. She missed it again on New Year's Day. This is very uncharacteristic behavior because as the head of the Church of England, it's something that she takes very seriously.

But her advisers are trying to get out ahead of any sort of speculation or perhaps negative exaggeration about the queen's health situation. They insist it is just a lingering, nasty cold. She is up and about. She is working. She is still going through government briefing papers and so forth as she should as the country's head of state. But she's staying indoors because this cold, well, it's just lingering a bit more - or a bit longer than you would ordinarily expect. We'll get the next indication of the queen's health in about a week's time because that's when she's due to make her next public appearance, another church service.

This is traditionally personal time for the queen where she gets to spend time with her family, where she gets to roam the grounds, the majestic grounds, of Sandringham estate. She hasn't been able to do that. She's essentially cooped up indoors and she could be that way for a few days, potentially a couple of weeks still to come.


COSTELLO: All right, Phil Black reporting live from London, thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, Mariah Carey talks through a performance when she was supposed to be singing. Now she says she's been sabotaged.


MARIAH CAREY, MUSICIAN: Well, happy New Year.



[09:52:31] COSTELLO: Checking some top stories for you at 52 minutes past. Chicago police planning big changes after the city's deadliest year in

nearly 20 years. Chicago saw 762 murders last year, the most since 1997. There was also a surge in gun violence with 3,500 shooting incidents. This year the department says it will create new district- based intelligence centers to combat crime and add 1,000 new police officers by 2018.

A Texas lawmaker is already counting his blessings in 2017 after a stray bullet strikes his head on New Year's Eve. Armando Martinez said he had just rung in the New Year, he stepped outside of his home, when fragments from a bullet entered his skull. The sheriff's department says they don't think Martinez was targeted and called his survival nothing short of a miracle.

The hunt is on for the prankster who was caught on surveillance altering the iconic Hollywood sign to read "Hollyweed." Police say the vandal used tarps to change the o's in the sign to e's. It happened between the hours of midnight and 2:00 a.m. early Sunday morning.

Two high-flying Dakota pipeline protesters are now in custody after pulling off this daring stunt during a Minnesota Vikings football game. The pair used what looks like rappelling gear to drop a massive banner with the message "divest" on it. The Viking's home stadium is named after U.S. Bank. U.S. Bank is reportedly a big investor in that controversial Dakota pipeline project.

Mariah Carey's team says she was sabotaged. Dick Clark Productions firing back, though, calling those accusations absurd. The finger pointing follows an awkward New Year's Eve performance that ended with the singer walking off stage. Just in case you need a refresher.


MARIAH CAREY, MUSICIAN: OK. All right. We didn't have a check for this song, so we'll just say it went to number one and that's what it is. OK. Feels like a -


COSTELLO: OK, so you heard Carey say they didn't have a sound check for that song and she gave up eventually in trying to sing. Instead, she talked to fans. She asked the fans to sing. And then she simply walked offstage. It was very, very painful.

Joining us live from Los Angeles to talk about this is Nichelle Turner, CNN contributor and "Entertainment Tonight" host.

And I don't mean to laugh because -

NICHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We're chuckling already.

COSTELLO: It's so - it's so hard to watch that because -

TURNER: I know. It's awkward.

[09:55:02] COSTELLO: It's more than awkward. It was awful. TURNER: Yes, you're right.

COSTELLO: So, whose fault was it?

TURNER: That's a good question. I mean I still think we're trying to sort this all out. You mentioned that Mariah Carey's camp is saying that she was sabotaged. They're saying she was set up to fail. And, you know, "sabotaged" is a huge word. So Dick Clark Productions is saying, you've got to be kidding me. Why would we ever set an artist up to fail?

Well, Mariah's camp is says, well, we think you were doing it for publicity because we asked you to take it out for the West Coast feed of the show and you didn't. You left it in. But my thing is, it was so bad, you couldn't really take it out of the West Coast version because people would be like, well, where did that go? I mean it's almost so bad you've just got to leave it alone because to take it out would - would look really, really odd.

You know, I think the interesting thing here is that it's going to the point where, you know, now one of the - one of the folks at Dick Clark Productions is alleging that maybe something else was going on with Mariah. So now you're getting into some territory that really, you know, the shots are starting to be fired.

COSTELLO: But like what? What was going on with Mariah?

TURNER: You got me. I know she forgot the words. I mean that's all I can really say that was going on. I mean Mariah sung that song 7,650 million times, I'm sure. And so, you know, I'm sure she knew the words. My question, though, is, I thought it was interesting because she couldn't hear. I'm sure her IFB (ph) was messed up. And we know when that happens it can be a debacle.

But her dancers could hear the music and they didn't have ear pieces and they were dancing on beat. So was their music, you know, over the loud speakers? So, could she hear that and could she have sang along to that or, you know, we know Mariah can sing. She has sang "Auld Lang Syne" already. Why didn't she just say, hey, guys, cut this music and sang something a cappella real quick for the crowd? Her lambs would have went bananas over that. And, you know, I don't know what happened, but all I know is, every time I see it, I start getting flushed and hot and sweaty. It's just tough to watch.

COSTELLO: I know. I just want to crawl under the sofa with something.

TURNER: Oh, I know. I want to - I start singing the words for her. I start singing along. Like, I know the words, Mariah, I got you.

COSTELLO: She was lip syncing too, that was the most painful part to me, because it proved to everyone that she really does lip sync when she's onstage.


COSTELLO: Anyway, could this possibly help her with fans? Are they sympathetic? What have you seen?

TURNER: Well, I mean, if you've ever said - heard anything about Mariah's fans, her lambs, they think she, you know, created the world and in - on the sixth day she rested. God took seven days, Mariah took six. They love her beyond belief. She can do no wrong. So I don't think it's hurting her with her fans at all.

And, you know what, at the end of the day, she came out, she had that tweet that said, you know what happens, I'm going to make some more headlines in 2017. Here, let's do this. So I actually think that was a really good response. And if I were - was her, I would have just left it at that and said, listen, I screwed up. It happens. People forget the words. It was a debacle. Let's move on.

COSTELLO: All righty then. Nichelle Turner, thanks for stopping by.

TURNER: All right.


Twin boys in Arizona were born just minutes apart, but in different years. Year looking at Sawyer and Everett, the newest additions to the Shay family.


BRANDON SHAY, FATHER OF TWIN BOYS: So 11:51 Sawyer joined us. Everett was a little bit more stubborn and that's - so Everett Jackson Shay wasn't born until 12:01.

As it was happening, we were like, oh, this is - like we kind of had a little foreshadowing that this could happen, and it did.


COSTELLO: The boys are fraternal twins. The Shays also have two daughters. Congratulations.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

Donald Trump returns from his holiday vacation and ratchets up the intrigue over Russian medaling in the U.S. election. The president- elect, who has publicly doubted Moscow's role in the hacking, now says he has inside info and will reveal that information within the next day or two. His spokesman on CNN this morning downplaying the expectation of anything jarring, though. This as Mr. Trump gets ready to sit down with the very intelligence community that he has frequently stiff-armed.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty in Washington with more.

Good morning.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. That's right, Donald Trump set to sit down with intelligence officials

likely mid-week in New York City, where he will be presented with some of their evidence that say - they say points a finger right to Russia for these hackings. Trump, in the past, has been very publicly skeptical of those conclusions and again this weekend he really doubled down, expressing doubts about the conclusions of the intel community. And he did claim to have some sort of inside information that leads him to believe this. He said that he would reveal that in some form Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. But it's very unclear what exactly Donald Trump is talking about.

[10:00:02] And his incoming White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, really downplaying that he's going to make a big reveal of anything specific, saying this morning, it's more that he's just going to talk about his conclusions. So a lot of unanswered questions there.