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Trump Promises New Information on Russian Hacking; Obama to Deliver Farewell Speech in Chicago; 8 Detained, Manhunt Underway for Istanbul Attacker; Obama to Visit Capitol Hill this Week. Aired 10- 10:30a ET

Aired January 2, 2017 - 10:00   ET



SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- what exactly Donald Trump is talking about. 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, a lot of unanswered questions there. Now, on Capitol Hill, this really does pit him against, not only members of the Democrats, but members of his own party, were been very vocal in recent days.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: If he's going to have any credibility as president, he needs to stop talking this way. He needs to stop denigrating the Intelligence Community. He's going to rely on them.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: When you attack a country, it's an act of war. And so, we have to make sure that there is a price to pay. So that, we can perhaps persuade the Russians to stop this kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy.


SERFATY: And the president-elect, who is a well-documented skeptic of e-mail, was speaking to reporters at his Florida resort over the weekend, outside of a New Year's Eve party that he hosted. And he offered this piece of advice about e-mailing.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT: It's very important, but you know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old fashioned way. Because I'll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don't care what they say. No computer is safe.


SERFATY: And as he gets back to work in Trump Tower this morning, top on the list, potentially is filling out the last remaining cabinet posts, among them secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture. As he works, he's going to fill out his cabinet. We have many Democrats on Capitol Hill who are threatening to drag down the votes, potentially delay some of these votes in some of these committee hearings for these nomination committee hearings, confirmation hearings that are coming up. So that the big thing to watch on Capitol Hill, if Democrats are going to delay these confirmation hearings, Carol and how long.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, reporting live from Washington, thank you. So, there's a lot to breakdown, as usual, this morning. So, let me bring in my guests. Patrick Healy is a "New York Times" editor and a CNN political analyst, Errol Louis is a CNN political commentator and Bob Baer is a former CIA operative and now a CNN intelligence and security analyst. Welcome to all of you.


COSTELLO: Good morning. So, Errol, Mr. Trump is still unwilling to blame Russia for the hacking. This time, he says he knows things that others don't. Sean Spicer was on "New Day" this morning and he was very passionate about Russia perhaps not being involved in hacking the U.S. elections. Let's listen.


SEAN SPICER, SPOKESMAN FOR DONALD TRUMP: The idea that you're asking anybody what their reaction should be to a non-final report is unbelievable. I just don't get it.

CAMEROTA: Well, hold on, Sean.

SPICER: No, no. No, not hold on.


SPICER: The idea that we are asking people and making assumptions on a report that's not final is unbelievable.

CAMEROTA: OK. So in other words, Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain are also unbelievable and irresponsible since they're --

SPICER: They're not the ones that instituted the sanctions. It's the President of the United States who did it.

CAMEROTA: They're planning hearings about it. They believe these 17 intelligence -- they've been briefed.


SPICER: Exactly -- hold on. Oh, wait, wait, wait, stop, hold on, listen to what you just said, they're planning hearings. They are actually trying to get it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: OK. So, Errol, you heard Sean Spicer, and you heard Mr. Trump say that you know he knows things that others don't. So, -- what are the American people to believe?

LOUIS: Well, -- I think what we should believe is, first of all, the obvious, which is that the transition team is not fully completed over the task of transitioning from running a campaign to running the country and running the government. So that they see anything bad cast, even a shadow of a doubt, on the effectiveness or the reality of their victory, they get very touchy about it. That might be because they lost the popular vote. I'm not sure.

But there's something else that's going on here, which is that you know you've got a team that doesn't seem to quite understand that working from imperfect information is something that the next president and his team will have to do every single day on really vital matters. That's why there's a daily intelligence briefing. So, this notion that he knows something and other people know other things and you can't always be sure and no computer is safe. Well, yes, we operate in a world of uncertainty, and it is their job to master that uncertainty, not exacerbate it.

COSTELLO: So, Patrick, do you think Mr. Trump will really come out later in the week to tell us what others are telling him?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND "NEW YORK TIMES" EDITOR: No, it sounds like from Trump advisors that there isn't going to be some big revelation, and that President-elect Trump isn't claiming to have some -- be privy to some secret information that no one else has. Rather, this is his usual standard way of talking. He goes into combative crouches, and like you saw Sean Spicer this morning doing very much the same, to sort of push back on any suggestion, any threat that he sees to the legitimacy and the strength of his presidency.

I think, he sort of understands that hacking and computer use is sort of a very kind of blurry idea for a lot of Americans. And so, when he says things like no computers are safe. He makes these, sort of blanket statements, you know, a lot of his supporters can -- kind of go along with that and say, hmm, maybe you know intuitively

[10:05:16] that makes sense. That's what his advisors say still, kind of his communications gift or strategy with his voters. -- Again, whether he literally has some sort of special information, his team keeps saying, you know, you guys take him too literally on this, it's more just him being able to say, you know, we still don't know all the facts.

COSTELLO: Got you. So Bob, you're our intelligence guy. Sean Spicer says Mr. Trump is actually talking to his own national security team. And apparently, they're telling him something that the intelligence officers in the Obama administration either don't know or -- does this make sense to you, Bob?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST AND FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Unfortunately, Carol, it does make a lot of sense to me. What we're seeing here is that Trump is outsourcing intelligence. I mean, I know this to be true. He's going to people he thinks he trust, people that have you know an easy way of putting things, and even conspiratorial at parts. -- It's just like the Reagan administration during Iran-Contra, when they outsourced foreign policy. You get into a lot of trouble doing this.

And you know, look at the consensus on this Russian hacking. It's across the government. It's with the FBI. The FBI does not really do intelligence analysis. It takes evidence and follows that evidence. And once the FBI signed onto this, it's very difficult to argue against whether you outsource intelligence or not.

COSTELLO: So, Bob, if you were in the intelligence briefings that Mr. Trump is going to take part in this coming week, how would you handle him? How would you handle talking with him?

BAER: Man, oh, man, that would be hard. I mean, look, the evidence is out there. And you've just got to say these are the facts and don't bring up Iraq. Iraq was a special case, invading Iraq, the Intelligence Community, yes, it failed. But, Mr. President, these are the forensics, they point back to Russia, where the Russians frames somehow. We have no evidence of it. And on and on, you just sit down with the facts with him and offer no opinion. This is what we have.

COSTELLO: So, Errol, there really are going to be hearings about the Russian hacking into the DNC. And supposedly, even into Vermont's electrical grid, for all we know, right? Senator McCain is leading the charge on that, he's a Republican. So, you know, in the very short future, are we looking for a huge fight between Senate Republicans and the President of the United States over Russia?

LOUIS: Well, I mean, that will be for the president-elect to decide. I mean, the more he stone walls on this, the more he denigrates the work of the intelligence agencies, casts doubt on what are across the board findings by the Intelligence Community. The more Congress is going to say, well, you know what? It wasn't just your race that was hacked. There were up to a dozen Congressional races.

And that hits pretty close to home for members of Congress. They're not going to look the other way. They're not going to move on as the president-elect has suggested. They've got their own investigators. They've got their own subpoena power. They've got their own staffs. And they're going to dig into this until they get to the bottom of it. So, I think, the transition team would do well to try and get ahead of the story and stop trying to convince everybody in the government and the whole country that it's not an important matter, because it is.

COSTELLO: But what would that look like, Patrick? What would that look like if Mr. Trump sticks to his guns and doesn't even believe the investigators for the Senate?

HEALY: Right. - Basically, this is going to be something for voters to draw conclusions from. You've got Senator John McCain in Ukraine, meeting with Ukrainian troops this weekend, who are on kind of the front line against any aggression from Russia. You know, a bit of sort of stagecraft from Senator McCain. And then you've got Donald Trump, sort of making very general statements about computers not being safe or well, everybody in the Intelligence Community and everybody in the government may believe this. But I'm the smarter guy and I don't believe it for reasons that I'm not going to be clear to you on.

You know, you're going to have an American population who is going to look to people like Senator McCain, who is sort of sending signals that America needs to be basically, sort of resolved against Russian aggression, whether it's hacking, whether it's Ukraine, or President- elect Trump. And I think that's going to be very difficult, kind of boxed in situation for the president-elect, where he might find himself on Capitol Hill having relatively few Republicans and certainly not Democrats who are willing to have his back on this.

COSTELLO: The other thing, Bob, because Mr. Trump doesn't like to admit that he was wrong about anything. He seems very intent on reestablishing a relationship with Russia. He's been very complimentary of Vladimir Putin. So, has he already

[10:10:16] boxed himself in?

BAER: Well, you know, the problem with Trump is, he's right about half the time. We do have to come to some sort of accommodation with Russia. He was very right that Putin is smart. Putin hacked our elections. He's called in the legitimacy of the American elections, even the presidency.

So, but the fact is, Russia is not our friend. And I stand behind McCain on this. This was an act of war, undermining our institutions. We have to respond. We simply cannot let this go. And the Obama administration let it go for too long. But we can't now. We have to look to Congress, even Mitch McConnell, to help us out of this.

COSTELLO: We'll see what happens. Patrick Healy, Errol Louis, Robert Baer, thanks to all of you.

President Obama, on his way back to the White House and he's ready to fight for his legacy. This week, he is heading to the Hill. He'll talk with top Democrats about trying to protect Obamacare from being dismantled by Republicans. Then on January 10th, he will deliver his farewell address to the nation. CNN's senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns has more for you from the White House. Good morning.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. That farewell speech is scheduled in Chicago next week, where President Obama started his political career. The president, also tweeting out, over the weekend about what's happened over the last eight years, talking about the Affordable Care Act, talking about, among other things, clean energy, which is the big point for this administration, as well as beating back the financial crisis.

And the president also tweeted this, "It's been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen." And he said, "Happy New Year" there and "After decades of rising health care costs, today nearly every American now has access to the financial security of affordable health care." That, of course, is the big focus on Capitol Hill. The president is meeting with Democrats behind closed doors on Wednesday to talk about how to help or save the Affordable Care Act that Republicans have vowed to get rid of after Donald Trump comes into office and many other changes planned after January 20th. The incoming Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, talking about that earlier today on CNN.


SPICER: We're withdrawing from TPP, renegotiating NAFTA and giving notice, instituting a lobbying ban that is very forward thinking that saying, if you want to serve in the Trump administration, you need to serve this government, not yourself. And it's going to have a five- year ban going forward. And also, it has a lifetime ban on people who want to serve in this administration and potentially lobby for a foreign government. There will be a lifetime ban on that. There will be slew of other things that come forward. I think, part of this is that we'll have a rollout when we talk about the agenda and how each of those regulations, both ones that we're going to repeal and put in place, help grow jobs and economic growth.


JOHNS: All of that, but not until well after President Obama gives his farewell speech next week in Chicago. The presidential farewell is a tradition that goes all the way back to George Washington, 1796. Carol?

COSTELLO: All right. Joe Johns live at the White House this morning. Thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a New Year's celebration turns deadly. Now, the gunman is on the loose. We'll have the latest on the manhunt, next.


[10:16:59] COSTELLO: Eight people now detained, reportedly being interrogated in connection with that brutal nightclub massacre in Turkey. The attacker is still on the run and of course, the manhunt is intensifying. Earlier today, ISIS did claim responsibility for the attack. 39 people killed, more than 60 wounded, including an American. And chilling new surveillance videos showing the terrifying moment the attacker stormed the club. Watch carefully. You can see people ducking down, trying to get out of the way as gunshots ring out. Then, one by one the attacker tries to shoot down anyone in his path. CNN's Ian Lee, live in Istanbul with more. Hi, Ian.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Yes, if you watched this video, you can see how methodically and really just numb this person -- is as he just walks through to shooting people, anyone on sight. And now, ISIS, we're hearing, is claiming responsibility for this. Although we haven't been able to independently verify this information. ISIS is saying that this is a soldier of the caliphate who is attacking this specific nightclub because he wanted to disrupt the celebrations of Christians celebrating the New Year. Well, Carol, a lot of the people, who were killed and injured were Muslims. ISIS was also saying this attack is revenge for Turkey's operation in neighboring Syria against ISIS. So, this man is still on the loose. There's a nationwide manhunt. The Turkish Prime Minister is confident that they will catch them. But also, if he is an ISIS operative, it's likely that he might try to sneak back into Syria. Meanwhile, we are hearing from some of the people who survived the attack. One American was released today, on his way home. Take a listen.


WILLIAM RAAK, AMERICAN WOUNDED IN CLUB ATTACK: Somebody said that you know, there were shots fired, and I initially did not believe it, until I saw the gunman shooting up the whole place.

He was walking on a bench above my head, where my head was underneath. When he shot me, I didn't move. I just let him shoot me.


LEE: And Carol, just heart-wrenching hearing these tales of people who lived through this. Yesterday I was talking to some people who said they saw some of the people jumping into the Bosporus, which was right next to it. And it was snowing that night. It was freezing, yet they're willing to jump into that water just to get away.

So, right now, they are looking for this man. They do have eight people, who they're interrogating, trying to figure out where he is, who he is, and get him so that -- he can serve time and also, find out exactly how he was able to pull this off.

COSTELLO: All right, Ian Lee, reporting live from Istanbul. And just a little more information on that American who was shot, he played dead in that nightclub, and the gunman did shoot him. He shot him in the hip and the bullet traveled and exited his knee. You saw the wrapping that man had around his leg. But he is going to be OK. He's on a plane back home to the United States right now. Wow. Like, he played dead and then the guy, you know, the terrorist shot him and he did not move and that's how he survived. That's a strong man. So let's talk about this and more with CNN national security

[10:20:16] analyst Juliette Kayyem joins me now. Hi Juliette. How likely is it that --


COSTELLO: Hi, Juliette. Thanks for joining me. How likely is it that Turkish authorities will find this gunman?

KAYYEM: I think it's more likely than not. All of these cases tend to unfold with a particular rhythm. In this case he wasn't a suicide bomber. He may have had an exit strategy. But you have not just the full forces of Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO. You'll have the European countries looking for him. And even if he has gone to Syria, despite what we hear about the -- Turkish border, it is much tighter than it used to be. So, I'm confident that the right person will be found, whether others will depend on you know, to what extent he had a support network helping him get out of the country. COSTELLO: And you heard Ian say that this particular nightclub was attacked because supposedly Christians were partying there. But most of the people inside that nightclub were Muslims. So, why bring that up?

KAYYEM: Well, so ISIS is you know on a PR strategy right now. And I think, you know, taking credit for it, although we do have to be cautious here, as Ian was saying. There is no independent verification at this stage. They're taking credit. We know nothing more about the attack because of ISIS. And using the Christian language is a way of saying something I think much bigger on ISIS's part. This wasn't just an attack on Istanbul. It was an attack on a certain part of Istanbul, the urbane, the modern, the western. The fact that there are 12 or 13 nationals who were victims of this attack, that's what this, was an effort against. And using the word "Christian" is just a way I think of ISIS to up the ante on the religious war that they're fighting. But as you state, all of these ISIS attacks in these Arab countries, the victims tend to be Muslims as well.

COSTELLO: Because they're majority Muslim countries, right?

KAYYEM: Right, exactly.

COSTELLO: So, going back to the Christian part, the religious war, this really is ISIS's goal, to create this religious war between the west and the Middle East.

KAYYEM: That's exactly right. And that's why, you know, you've seen caution amongst the present administration of trying not to sort of cater to that narrative by ISIS for a thousand reasons, including that you don't want to radicalize Muslims that aren't already radicalized. But this is part of ISIS's agenda and Turkey represents such a perfect target for them, not only an easy and a soft target, but it's essentially a western target, although it sits between the east and the west. A bar like this, with its sort of modern sentiment, people partying until 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m., is the exact sort of target that ISIS wants. To say that look, these countries that have Christians and have you know multiple religions and are living in peace and harmony are actually are bigger enemy than the caliphate that they aspire to.

COSTELLO: Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, with days left in office, President Obama is working to save his landmark health care bill and he's going to Capitol Hill to do it.


[10:27:00] COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me. Congress returns to work this week on the agenda, dismantling President Obama's policies. The president isn't going down without a fight though. He will meet with top Democrats to discuss ways to preserve his legacy, especially that legacy defining policy, Obamacare. CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash has been talking with her sources. What have you found out, Dana. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol, and Happy New Year. Look, the first thing that I was told was that the majority of the discussion will be the prize that President Obama and fellow Democrats believe -- is the number one part of his legacy, which is Obamacare. But they'll also be talking about Medicare and some other issues that they believe that Republicans are going to try to push through that they disagree with.

But just on the issue of Obamacare, I think the thing to keep in mind, and this has been -- sources I've been talking to this morning have reminded me of this, that legislatively, tactically, there isn't much that Democrats can do to stop Republicans from repealing Obamacare. There is not really a legislative trick if Republicans want to use the legislative tools that they do have to repeal Obamacare. But what Democrats do have is messaging and the power to try to make it very difficult for Republicans to repeal Obamacare, especially given the reality that they say that Americans might not understand.

So, that's what a large part of the reason and the whole premise of these meetings are, that they believe that they have some good talking points, for example the notion that if they repeal Obamacare, they're going to send, they believe, the whole insurance -- market into chaos, and that that could in the short term, maybe even the long term, make people's premiums really spike. So, that's just one example of the messaging that they want to coordinate, that they want to sharpen, and they want the guy who still has the biggest megaphone to use, at least for the next 18 days.

COSTELLO: Interesting. All right, Dana Bash reporting for us this morning. Thank you. So, what did President-elect Trump have to say about Mr. Obama's visit to the Hill? Listen.


TRUMP: He's president until January 20th. And then after that it's our turn. So we'll see what happens. He's got to protect what he wants to do and perhaps you could say his legacy. If you look at Obamacare where you have in many cases over 100 percent increase, it's unaffordable, it doesn't work.


COSTELLO: OK. So let's talk more about this with Craig Fuller, he was chief of staff for George H.W. Bush when he was vice president under Ronald Reagan, also with me, Tim Naftali, he's a CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Welcome to both of you. So, Craig, I'll start with you. Is this unusual this is you know --