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Trump Critical Ahead of Obama's Hill Visit; Mormon Choir Member Quits, Won't Sing for Trump; Church Shooter's Competency Hearing Underway; Chicago Marks Deadliest year in Nearly Two Decades; NFL Playoff Officially Set. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 2, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: -- 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, the president of the United States going to the Hill to preserve his legacy just weeks before he leaves office?

CRAIG FULLER, FORMER CO-CHAIR, PRESIDENTIAL BUSH TRANSITION TEAM: I guess I'd say it's unusual, Carol, but consistent with the entire political cycle we've been through, where the new normal is to engage right to the very end. I certainly think that President Obama has every right to kind of wrap this eight years up with a speech. Lobbying Congress at this stage seems a little odd to me. And I think that for President-elect Trump, this is the time to actually get organized, get focused, because things will start happening very fast after January 20th.

COSTELLO: Yes, very fast, because you heard not just Donald Trump say it, Tim, but you also heard Senate Republicans, congressional Republicans say we're going to repeal Obamacare on the very first day. So isn't the president -- President Obama that is -- wasting his time?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: No, President Obama certainly isn't wasting his time. And by the way, you can't tell any president that they're wasting their time when they have about three weeks left in office or less than three weeks. He's still got the full power of the Constitution backing him. But let's look at something else, which is that the Democratic Party is feeling its oats. President Obama is not having as easy a transition with Mr. Trump as both I think hoped in the beginning they'd have.

And this is President Obama's opportunity to lay some markers, to talk about what he was trying to achieve, and to see if the American people actually still support it. It's not clear right now that the American people have fully absorbed what the consequences of a complete repeal without a replacement of Obamacare would mean. There will be millions of Americans who will not have health care.

Are the American people really willing and prepared for that kind of outcome? So I think President Obama is going to use his time to lay out what he feels he achieved and what the Obama era meant. And then he'll say to people, when the president -- the new president comes in, is this the era you still want to have? And President Trump may find that Obama's markers are going to limit him just a little bit in what he can and how much of the conservative Republican agenda he can implement.

COSTELLO: OK. So for that to be successful, Craig, the Democrats will have to have very strong messaging. As we all know the Democrats often don't have very strong messaging. In fact the guy with the strongest message is leaving. So how can Democrats achieve that?

FULLER: I actually think that after January 20th the messaging and the debate changes dramatically. First of all, there are many Democrats who want to see reforms to so-called Obamacare. So there's no question that there's going to be change and reform.

The way that the messaging is going to be around whether this is a successful replacement or a modification. But it's going to change. And the leadership in the Senate and the House along with the White House is going to -- you'll have all three of the leadership positions, and the House, the Senate, and the White House, now is the time for Republicans who have waited a long time to replace it.

I actually think, however, that they're going to be very wary of dropping millions of people from health care and it will be a replacement that evolves rather than some sudden, dramatic cancellation of Obamacare.

COSTELLO: So it will be sort of like it is now, right? Because it is evolving, although not very much, right? Nobody --

FULLER: That is the nature --


FULLER: I say that is the nature of health care. Medicare from 1965 until now has evolved year after year after year. Rarely, once people enjoy the benefits of better health care coverage or better health care services, can you simply take them off of that. And I suspect that the reality will strike about noon, January 20th, when the Trump administration takes office, and they'll find that actually it's not perhaps as easy as it was during the -- during some of the times in the campaign.

COSTELLO: So is it possible, Tim, that we might come up with something called Trumpcare?

NAFTALI: Well, they'll package it that way. But let's keep in mind something. I mean, one of the challenges for American conservatives is that the American people like some of the services that they get from Washington, they may not like the fact that -- that they're from Washington. But they become accustomed to that safety net. I mean, after all, George W. Bush gave Americans better access to prescription drugs, for example. Older Americans.

Not every program established by Franklin Roosevelt actually worked. But the concept of a social safety net actually got integrated into the American psyche. So it's going to be difficult, I believe, for President Trump to roll all of that back.

[10:35:05] That Americans have come to accept certain principles of the Obama approach. Obamacare, the structure of it, oh, that could change, but the fact that preexisting conditions will not prevent you from getting health care, the fact that you can keep your children on your health care plan until they're 26, I don't see those going away because Americans like that.

COSTELLO: Right. And you have to pay for those things, too. So they have to like -- maybe they still have to require people to have insurance. And isn't that the thing that Republicans most don't like about Obamacare?

FULLER: Well, Carol, I think that's going to get sorted out. I actually think there's maybe a higher level issue here, that is whether Washington can actually function. I think one of the reasons that President Trump was elected is people view Washington as dysfunctional. And so if on --on Obamacare, if on confirmation of the Cabinet, there is a consistent blocking action by certain leaders in Congress, then I think we have to conclude some of them are just tone deaf.

That is not what the American people want. They want to see forward motion on Obamacare and a whole set of things and they want to see government get on with the business of governing. And I suspect -- whether people like the policies or not, the Trump administration is going to be very action oriented from the moment he takes office.

COSTELLO: It seems that way. I have to leave it there. Craig Fuller, Tim Naftali, thank you so much for being with me this morning. And Happy New Year.

NAFTALI: Happy New Year.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, inauguration day discord. Meet the former choir member refusing to sing for Mr. Trump.


COSTELLO: In just 18 days, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will sing at President-elect Trump's inauguration. But it will perform with one less voice.

[10:40:16] Choir member Jan Chamberlin says she is out. And she's now making headlines after formally quitting the group in protest of singing for Mr. Trump. Chamberlain writing a lengthy Facebook post that in part reads, quote, "I've tried to tell myself that it will be all right and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man. I only know I could never throw roses to Hitler and I could certainly never sing for him."

Jan Chamberlin joins me now. Welcome, Jan.

JAN CHAMBERLIN, FORMER MEMBER, MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR: Thank you. COSTELLO: Thanks for being here. Jan, has any other member of the

choir reached out to you in support?

CHAMBERLIN: Yes. There have been a number of who have. And regardless of what our view is on this, this is my personal view. I love my church leaders and I love my religion. And regardless of what our view is on doing the inauguration, I've had friends that have just been very loving and I'm grateful for that. Thank you.

COSTELLO: So there's absolutely no way you'll change your mind, you've absolutely quit the choir?

CHAMBERLIN: I have, and I stand behind that decision. Thank you.

COSTELLO: The Facebook post that you wrote. It was pretty harsh. You said the choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for, quote, "this man." Do you regret using those words?

CHAMBERLIN: Not one bit. And let me qualify my position on that. I totally understand the position of the church and the choir. They are goodwill ambassadors to send hope and love and support to others regardless of political party. And I understand that.

What I'm seeing is that this goes far beyond any past inaugural situation. I am seeing very similar parallels of fascism, and others see this, too, the thing that I see in fascism is that you have someone finds a cause that gains people's trust and sympathy, and then they trust that person, they find a target to attack, and use propaganda to make that look legitimate and they find their military and their financial support, and then they're often going.

I'm seeing the criticism of Mexicans and Muslims, the requirement of Muslims to have to sign on a registry, and that deeply concerns me.

COSTELLO: Well, there's been no decision made on any kind of registry for Muslims. I just want to clarify that. But Hitler?

CHAMBERLIN: OK, thank you.

COSTELLO: I mean, some people say that you've compared Mr. Trump to Hitler and that just sounds kind of hysterical and over the top.

CHAMBERLIN: Well, I don't feel hysterical, I feel quite calm. And as I observe from my personal opinion and have received thousands and thousands of posts and e-mails of support. The concern that people have is they love the choir and they feel that they are giving an endorsement without meaning to, that they support very vile practices and positions that goes against their conscience and it goes against mine as well.

COSTELLO: But, Jan, the American people did elect Donald Trump to be president of the United States. I mean, isn't it the duty of Americans to support that president until we see him do something that is untoward?

CHAMBERLIN: I think that it's important that we follow the laws of the land. And in my personal view, I see concerns in our wake that I think we really need to have our eyes opened. We need constructive conversation with each other and work together in positive ways to stand up for our freedoms and liberties for all people.

COSTELLO: But how can --

CHAMBERLIN: Fascism respects no one.

COSTELLO: How can we work together in positive ways when you're even going to refuse to sing at a presidential inauguration?

CHAMBERLIN: Because from my personal view I see other ways to make a positive statement.

COSTELLO: There are. And what is that?

CHAMBERLIN: Well, I think that with people coming together, no matter what their views are, religiously or politically, that we can have calm intelligent conversation based on information and we can make plans from there to make our voice known.

There are over 32,000 signatures on the petition for requesting that the choir not sing at the inauguration. I ask more people to sign that. It's very respectful, it's very kind in its statement and I think its best interest is in stating that we want the choir to continue to present themselves in the best possible light, continue in their message of love and faith and hope and giving inspiration to others.

COSTELLO: Well, let me ask you this. Why are you the only choir member to opt out, to have quit the group? Why is the rest of the choir choosing to sing?

CHAMBERLIN: Well, I can't answer for the others personally. I have to follow my own conscience. And I think that my first letter answers that very adequately. I know that there are those who have chosen to not sing at the inauguration for the same reasons that I hold, and that's a quiet issue for them and that's their -- the way that they prefer to handle that.

[10:45:12] But for me, I can't just say I'm going to stay in choir and -- because I think after singing there, it gives an image and a message that's not what the choir is about.

COSTELLO: And just my final question to you, do you think that Mr. Trump will be at all effective as president of the United States?

CHAMBERLIN: I'm sorry. I didn't quite get the question. Could you say that one more time please?

COSTELLO: Do you think that Donald Trump might in the end do the country some good as president of the United States?

CHAMBERLIN: Hey, I sure hope so. And if that's the case, I will be all on board with that. That would be great.

COSTELLO: So you're kind of rooting for him even though you refuse to sing for him at the inauguration?

CHAMBERLIN: I'm not rooting for him. I don't root for misogyny. I don't root for racism. I don't root for the things that I see that greatly concern me. But if that changes, I'm willing to take a second look at that.

COSTELLO: So what could he say to you to change your mind?

CHAMBERLIN: I think that actions as well as attitude will be the things that will speak the loudest.

COSTELLO: All right. I have to leave it there, Jan Chamberlin, thanks so much for being with me this morning.

I'll be right back.

CHAMBERLIN: Thank you so much.


COSTELLO: Convicted church shooter Dylann Roof is in court right now, facing yet another mental competency test. A judge expected to died today. Roof who gunned down nine African-American churchgoers in 2015, if he'll be able to represent himself as a jury decides whether or not to sentence him to death.

CNN's Martin Savidge is live outside the courtroom. Good morning.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Yes. Dylann Roof's public defender is once again vehemently trying to argue that this 22-year-old now convicted mass murderer is mentally in no way capable of defending himself at this critical part of his trial, and that is of course the death penalty phase.

[10:50:14] It's clear that Roof has been fighting against his defense team throughout this whole trial. And the main rub appears to be the aspect of his psychology, where he is in his mental state of mind. And you wonder where that might come from. Well, I'm going to read you a section that comes from his handwritten journal that was found in his car when he was captured.

"I apologize if it offends anyone, but it's important to understand his state of mind on this matter." He says, quote, "Also I want state." This is how he wrote it. "I want state that I am morally opposed to psychology. It is a Jewish invention and does nothing but invent disease and tell people they have problems when they don't," unquote.

So Dylann Roof doesn't believe in anyway psychology and this would be considered by his defense team as a mitigating factor. In other words, a reason why you wouldn't put him to death, not necessarily why you wouldn't convict him. But of course Dylann Roof has said he's his own attorney in this phase and he is not going to bring that up. So mental competency is a question being debated in the courtroom once again today. No answer as yet -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Martin Savidge, reporting live for us. Thank you.

Chicago Police now confirming what many already suspected that 2016 was the deadliest year for the city in nearly two decades. Police say there were 762 murders last years. That's the most since '97. That's more than New York and L.A. combined, by the way. Came along with a surge in gun violence, with 3500 reported shooting incidents. Now one former Chicago superintended is speaking out saying officers feel like they're under attack.

Joining us with more from Chicago CNN correspondent Rosa Flores. Hi, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. You know, police say that most of these shootings are happening in the south and west side parts of the city. So that's where we went, to talk to people, to learn and listen about the human impact. And hear this, I've got to share this, because mothers tell us that they teach their children how to dodge bullets, how to stay away from windows, to stay safe from the crossfire. That's how bad it is in some of these neighborhoods. Meet a little girl who dodged 12 bullets.


ETYRA RUFFIN, 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL, GUNSHOT VICTIM: I was on the porch with my dad. And then I like heard like a loud noise. I knew it wasn't firecrackers. And that's when I know it was like gunshots. The other people said get down. My daddy like shielded me down. When we came in the house, I saw all the blood over his shirt. I was hit, but I didn't feel it. When we went inside, I saw it on my arm. And it was like bleeding.

I was like crying because I wouldn't see my dad again. I want the violence to stop because I want to grow up to be a doctor.


FLORES: Now one of the big questions of course is why, why 762 murders in Chicago in 2016.

Now in a "60 Minutes" interview, former superintendent Gary McCarthy said that CPD is in crisis, that the Chicago Police Department is in crisis, and that officers are, quote, under attack. Now we did ask CPD for a response to Gary McCarthy's comments on "60 Minutes." And he said -- and they say that while police across the country are more cautious in this climate, CPD arrested more bad guys with guns in 2016 than in 2015 and seized 20 percent more illegal guns.

Carol, one thing is clear, there is no easy answer to this problem.

COSTELLO: Rosa Flores reporting live for us. I'll be right back.


[10:57:17] COSTELLO: The NFL playoff officially set, 12 teams all fighting for the chance to be crowned this year's Super Bowl champ in Houston. Speaking of Super Bowl champ, Hines Ward joins me now with more. Hi,


HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Now let me tell you, there's nothing like playoff football. Last night's game between the Packers-Lions decided who wins the NFC North. Now the winner gets a home playoff game while the loser has to go on the road to Seattle.

Now midway through the season, the packers, they were struggling. They're on a four-game losing streak. Aaron Rodgers predicted his team could go on a winning streak and still take the division.

Well, guess what? They haven't lost this. Aaron Rodgers throws four touchdowns against Detroit in a 31-24 win. The Packers are peaking at the right time, this is their sixth straight victory heading into the playoffs.

So the wild card weekend looks like this. Saturday, Houston, Texas, they will host the Oakland Raiders. And Carol, your Lions have to travel to Seattle and face the Seahawks. Then on Sunday, the Dolphins visit my Pittsburgh Steelers and the Packers host the Giants.

Now the top two seeds in both conferences have byes, which means the Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Falcons all get a week off.

Now the Minnesota Vikings, though, they won't be in the playoffs. But they had some drama in their game against the Bears yesterday. Two protesters were arrested after rappelling down from the U.S. Bank Stadium roof. They unveiled a massive banner protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline and dangled above the crowd until the game was over. The scary thing about this is with NFL security, how does something like this happen? Luckily no one was harmed.

And finally for the second straight year, it's Alabama and Clemson for the national championship in college football. The Crescent Tide, Rolling Pass, Washington and the Beach Ball on New Year's Eve. Alabama is currently favored over Clemson who dominated Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The championship game is next Monday night in Tampa. It should be a great game. Last year 'Bama won in a shootout 45-40.

And Carol, is there four more ball games including today? The Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State should be a good one. So this is a nice day to sit back and watch some college football.

COSTELLO: All right. I got some beer in the refrigerator, although I'm a little depressed about the Lions.

WARD: No doubt.

COSTELLO: Because -- but who knows, they could beat Seattle, right?

WARD: Yes, they could.

COSTELLO: Right? Right, Hines? What's your prediction, Hines? I want a prediction and I want it in my favor. WARD: Seattle by 1, how about that?

COSTELLO: Seattle by 1?

WARD: I know it's not in your favor. But -- my heart is with Detroit, though, Carol.

COSTELLO: Thank you. I appreciate that from a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. "AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND BOLDUAN" starts now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Kate is off today. President-elect Donald Trump has a secret.