Return to Transcripts main page


No Remarks From Trump Today On Russian Hacking;Dueling Obamacare Meetings At Capitol;House GOP Reverses On Ethics Office;Senator Schumer Ready To Take On GOP. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 4, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:20] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Overnight, dramatic words and new questions from Donald Trump raising issue with U.S. intelligence agencies. What they know about Russian hacking and an alleged delay in telling him about it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The fate of Obamacare hangs in the balance this morning on Capitol Hill. President Obama meeting with Democrats, trying to save it. Vice President-elect Mike Pence meeting with Republicans, trying to tear it apart. The party takes initial steps to dismantle it.

BERMAN: Whiplash on the first day of the new Congress. Hours after voting to strip the independence of the independent congressional watchdog they reverse course, so what or who made them do it?

ROMANS: That was a crazy first day for the 115th Congress.

BERMAN: It is, right?


BERMAN: It wasn't as if you couldn't see it coming, you know. I will say that.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour. Happening today or, rather, not happening according to transition officials, remarks Donald Trump promised by today about Russian election hacking, including information he said only he knew. Another transition official tells CNN the president-elect is likely to sit down toward the end of the week for the intelligence community's final report on Russian hacking.

Trump explained postponing his planned remarks this way in a tweet. "The 'intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking' -- also in quotes -- "was delayed until Friday. Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!"

BERMAN: That is what President-elect Donald Trump says, but U.S. officials tell us there was no delay in briefing the president-elect on Russian hacking. That the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, was never scheduled to be in New York for the top level briefing until Friday. One U.S. official suggested that maybe Mr. Trump confused the presidential daily briefing with the final intelligence review on Russian hacking ordered by President Obama. Officials say the president has not even seen the final report yet.

The latest twist on this is really, at least, the third version on this subject in the last four days from President-elect Trump. First, he said he had information that only he knew. Then, his team said he needed to wait for the final report to make a judgment. And now, this allegation the final report is somehow delayed which, of course, again, U.S. officials tells us is not the case.

ROMANS: All right. This morning on Capitol Hill, dueling meetings with Republicans and Democrats on the future of Obamacare. President Obama set to meet behind closed doors with Senate and House Democrats at 9:00 this morning. He's going to strategize ways to protect the Affordable Care Act. At the same moment, Vice President-elect Mike Pence will meet with House Republicans to discuss plans for repealing Obamacare.

Already, Senate Republicans have taken the first official step toward repeal. A budget resolution filed Tuesday puts the wheels in motion toward overturning key parts that make Obamacare work. It's still a far cry from the swift and complete repeal promised by Trump on the campaign trail. That would require 60 votes in the Senate, which Republicans do not have.

BERMAN: High drama on Capitol Hill in a dramatic reversal as the brand new Congress is sworn in just 12 or so hours after Republicans voted behind closed doors to gut the independent ethics watchdog in the House. Those same Republicans decided it was not worth a big fight on day one. Maybe it had something to do with the intense criticism from Democrats. Maybe the media attention it all received caused some change, or maybe it was the opinion of the soon-to-be occupant of the Oval office, or maybe d), all of the above.

CNN's Manu Raju with the latest from Capitol Hill.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, John and Christine. The 115th Congress convening yesterday with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Members were reelected and elected for the first time, getting sworn into office.

Getting ready for a very, very aggressive agenda, one in which the House Republican and Senate Republican leadership want to try to implement Donald Trump's vision of repealing Obamacare, replacing Obamacare, overhauling the tax code, trying to get rid of major regulations and, of course, still confirming Donald Trump's cabinet and also a ninth Supreme Court justice.

Now that doesn't mean there wasn't controversy yesterday. In fact, there was a significant amount of controversy after House Republicans tried to move forward with a rules package that would have gutted a key ethics watchdog that actually polices members of Congress. A lot of members do not like the way it has conducted itself over the last eight years so they voted to try to kill it, essentially, and they got a lot of pushback.

[05:35:03] Angry voters called their lawmaker's offices, demanded they did not vote this when it became public. And then, Donald Trump tweeted. Said that he did not think that this was a good idea on the first day of the new Congress. Immediately afterward, House Speaker Paul Ryan convening an emergency meeting to get rid of that proposal as part of a broader rules package and the members agreed -- relenting, agreeing, and moving forward on a rules reform package.

Now, that bill -- or that measure also angered Democrats, however, because it would fine Democratic members who staged protests or sit- ins on the House floor without permission. So a lot of controversy on the first day of the new Congress. It's just a sign of things to come as they deal with things like Obamacare and tax reform -- John and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Manu Raju. A very busy day for him yesterday on the Hill. Chuck Schumer, the newly-minted Senate Democratic leader, declaring he is ready to take on Donald Trump. Overnight, Schumer telling MSNBC he is prepared to block a Trump Supreme Court nominee who is not "mainstream". Supreme Court confirmations require 60 votes.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don't appoint someone who's really good we're going to oppose them tooth and nail. It's hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support, so you're right.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, MSNBC "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": And so you will do your best to hold the seat open?

SCHUMER: Absolutely.


ROMANS: Earlier, Schumer gave his very first floor speech as Senate Minority Leader, declaring that Democrats would hold Trump accountable for his campaign promises to "truly make America great".


SCHUMER: What we will always do is hold the president-elect and his Republican colleagues in Congress accountable. Accountable to the working people to whom the president-elect promised so much. Accountable to the people of all colors, and creeds, and sexual orientations in this country, for whom he is president. Accountable to the millions of Americans who voted for him. With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Among the promises Schumer says the Democrats will hold Trump to, growing the economy by more than five percent, pushing for a big infrastructure package. On paper, he has said he can grow the economy 3.5 percent and then he said but I really think I could get four, maybe I could get five. So, he's made various promises on economic growth.

BERMAN: Three of Donald Trump's top cabinet picks will meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill today, including ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, the president-elect's pick for Secretary of State. Tillerson has just agreed to relinquish control of nearly one-quarter of a billion, with a 'b', dollars in Exxon stock, putting it in a blind trust if he is confirmed.

Also on the hill today, Gen. James Mattis, Trump's nominee for Defense Secretary. Mattis needs a special waiver from lawmakers before he could take that job. And attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, one of the more controversial picks because of his record on race relations, he is already running into opposition. More than a dozen members of the NAACP staged a sit-in at the Alabama senator's office last night. NAACP president Cornell Brooks was handcuffed and arrested. Brooks is calling on Sessions to withdraw his name from the selection process.

ROMANS: All right. Bill and Hillary Clinton will attend Donald Trump's inauguration later this month. Aides to both Clintons confirm they have RSVP'd. And former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura will also be there. His father, George H.W. Bush, will not attend because of health issues. Former president Jimmy Carter has also confirmed he will be on hand.

BERMAN: You know, again, I mean, two thoughts here. Number one, it's kind of going to be hard for Hillary Clinton to just sit there and watch --


BERMAN: -- Donald Trump be inaugurated. On the other hand, you know, it's great for America to see this kind of peaceful transition of power. I remember Al Gore, after the recount, you know, had to stand up there and watch George W. Bush be sworn in. George W. Bush was there for President Obama. And, you know, it's one of the great things -- one of the great sites in our country every four years.

ROMANS: Unique, important, and heartwarming and --

BERMAN: All of the above.

ROMANS: -- I can't imagine how many thousands of shutter flashes -- how many flashes the camera will be when Hillary Clinton is standing up there.

All right, day one drama for the 115th Congress. Helping us break it all down this morning, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott. Good morning, Eugene. It was changing almost hourly yesterday --


ROMANS: -- in the 115th Congress, abandoning the plan to, you know, gut -- you know, gut the independence of the House oversight. Why did they do that?

SCOTT: Well, I think -- you mentioned several ideas of possibilities why they did it. I really do think that the tweet from Donald Trump communicated to Republicans that that was not one of the areas that he wanted them to focus on, on day one, when there are other areas to focus on, such as health care, such as infrastructure. But there was concern from him and other lawmakers that this watchdog committee -- this group has not been operating the same way that they would hope that it would have.

[05:40:05] BERMAN: You know, it's interesting. You know, I thought that he capitalized on the situation.


BERMAN: I think Donald Trump, yesterday, realized --

ROMANS: You had said yesterday morning -- on this program you had said look, you know, will Donald Trump come forward and capitalize on this?

BERMAN: I think it's an easy move.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: I think there's no loss for Donald Trump to do that. He saw the direction it was going --


BERMAN: -- and he wanted to get his name on it, you know, and I think he looks good in the process. He didn't say that the office is a good thing and should be kept.

SCOTT: Right.

BERMAN: He just said that the timing stunk on this. Among other things, Donald Trump is also talking about the intelligence agencies and I think we should discuss this more because --


BERMAN: -- overnight he put out that tweet, you know, where he talked about the intelligence in quotation marks --

SCOTT: Right.

BERMAN: -- and the so-called Russian hacking which he put in quotation marks. He continues to raise questions implicitly and explicitly about what U.S. intelligence agencies are saying.

SCOTT: And the questions he continues to raise continue to raise questions. People wonder why he seems so doubtful considering that he, admittedly, has had access to so little information. He hasn't had his daily briefings as we expected. He hasn't had this big national security briefing. That won't come until next week. But he's pushing back on this idea despite us having CIA officials saying that they do know that this is what it is.

ROMANS: From the very beginning, though, I -- you know, Donald Trump has not been very precise when he says I know things, and I'm going to tell you this, and I'm to come on December 15th and I'm going to reveal, you know, how my conflict of interest is going to be resolved. I mean, this is the way Donald Trump talks. Do we think there will be a definitive position from Donald Trump here once he gets these briefings?

SCOTT: Well, we're certainly hoping so because lawmakers on both side, and citizens, really do believe that this is a big issue and that if it is not handled appropriately it could get worse. And people are looking to the next leader of the world to respond to Russia appropriately, regardless of what happens because this is such a big deal.

BERMAN: And again, remember, he said he already knew things that other people don't about the Russian hacking and that is what he was going to tell us today or tomorrow. Then he said he needed to hear the final briefing --

SCOTT: Right.

BERMAN: -- before he told us what he said he already knew. You know, we should note one thing here is that now President-elect Trump is always that he will hold a news conference --


BERMAN: -- next week, January 11th. You'll remember he had promised to hold one on December 15th to tell us how he was going to separate his business dealings from the White House. He delayed that or canceled it. Now he says there will be one January 11th. I hope that's the case.

ROMANS: A day after the president's final press conference, right?

BERMAN: It will be interesting.

ROMAN: The day after -- the day after.

SCOTT: Which is why I think it actually will happen. I think he'll follow through with that because the president's going to be giving his big farewell address and I think Donald Trump will have some things to say.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right. Well, so much to talk about.


ROMANS: We're so glad you're here bright and early. SCOTT: Thank you, guys.

ROMANS: You were in Denver at 3:00 a.m. for us. Wow.

SCOTT: This is a little easier.

ROMANS: You're great, you're great. Eugene Scott, thank you. You're OK.

BERMAN: You're great, too.

ROMANS: All right. Free college tuition -- it was a rallying cry for the Bernie Sanders campaign last year. Now one governor is making it a reality in his state. Details next.


[05:46:35] ROMANS: All right. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants free tuition at state public colleges. The governor proposing the plan at a community college in New York. He was joined by -- oh, a guy you might know -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, a free tuition champion. Cuomo says college degrees are important for the U.S. to compete globally. They are incredibly important for American workers and for New Yorkers and he called on the rest of the country to follow his lead.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success. And the way this society said we're going to pay for high school because you need high school, this society should say we're going to pay for college because you need college to be successful.


ROMANS: All right. This would cover students whose families make $125,000 a year or less. They would be able to attend two- and four- year state schools in New York. They would still be on the hook for additional fees. You know, they've got to pay for books, room and board. You know, tuition is just about half of the cost of going to college in some cases.

A recent study finds nearly two-thirds of New York's college grads walk away with debt and the governor says that's like an anchor. You've got the diploma in one hand and an anchor holding you back at the same time with all of that debt, so we'll see. You know, the fight for $15 minimum wage, free college - these are progressive touchstones that he has really been pushing for lately.

BERMAN: On the subject of anchors, let's talk with "NEW DAY" anchor Alisyn Camerota and find out what's coming up on that show -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Guys, do you see what Phil is doing here? He is fastening our bookcase to the wall. This is what we've learned from that incredible video of those twin toddlers, one of whom was almost crushed when the dresser fell over onto him until his 2-year-old twin brother pushed it off of him. So we, on "NEW DAY", are going to have that family live in our studio about how they're hoping that everybody learns a lesson from their big scare.

ROMANS: Poor guy.

CAMEROTA: And then, of course, we're going to be talking about this rift between President-elect Trump and the intelligence agencies. Mr. Trump has just put out a pretty fiery tweet about when he is going to be briefed by the intelligence agencies on the alleged Russian hacking. So we are going to analyze the tweet leaves, as I'm now calling them.


BERMAN: I was hoping -- I was hoping you were going to do a dramatic reenactment of the bookcase falling over with Cuomo on the floor.

ROMANS: Oh, yes, that would be nice.

BERMAN: The bookcase there.

CAMEROTA: We considered that, I'll have you know. And I know that Chris would've rushed over to save me, but we thought too much reality.

ROMANS: You know, I will say two parents of twins right here -- when I see that video I see two devilish little twins and how hard it is to be a parent of twins --

CAMEROTA: Thank you for understanding our pain.

ROMANS: -- because they're all over the place.


ROMANS: Look how fast they crawled in there.

CAMEROTA: That is true.

ROMANS: All right.

CAMEROTA: But there is Chris at the ready to save me, as you can see.


BERMAN: Ready for something. All right, Alisyn, thank you.

ROMANS: He looks ready, all right.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": I'm Googling anchor techniques for the bookcase.

BERMAN: All right. New York Giants receivers, they are feeling the heat for partying and selfies with Justin Bieber before -- well, before a football game. Eli Manning's response to the controversy when Hines Ward joins us with the Bleacher Report -- that's next.


[05:53:05] BERMAN: All right. Giants quarterback Eli Manning responding to criticism of his teammates for partying in Miami on their day off.

ROMANS: Hines Ward has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, Hines.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, guys. Yes, the Giants have a big playoff game this Sunday against the Packers but some of them were spotted out partying down in South Beach. Pictures like this of Odell Beckham, Jr. and his teammates chilling on a boat with their shirts off and a video of them clubbing with the Biebs. Justin Bieber brought out the critics. People are wondering if they should be out partying during the week of the playoffs instead of getting ready for the big game.

Now, Eli Manning's response to the whole situation -- well, it was priceless.


ELI MANNING, QUARTERBACK, NY GIANTS: I was a little disappointed just because obviously they didn't pack accordingly, you know. You know, they didn't have any shirts, obviously, and, you know, kind of all long pants. No shorts, no flip flops or anything. So just disappointed on their packing and not being prepared for that situation.


WARD: And to college basketball. Number three ranked Kansas hosts the in-state rival Kansas State. Time running out, Svi Mykhailiuk goes coast to coast for the buzzer beater. Looks like he ran to the basket. No travel called. Kansas wins in the controversial ending, 90-88. It's the Jayhawks 50th straight win at home.

And a very touching story, guys. You've got Texas -- Texans J.J. Watt surprising a young fan at the hospital in Houston. Eight-year-old Noah Fulmer was ran over by a truck during New Year's Eve and the MT -- EMT -- there it is -- had to cut J.J. Watts' jersey off while saving him. Watt caught wind of the situation on Twitter but showed up the next day after Noah's surgery with lots of jerseys for his family. Awesome gesture by J.J. So we're pulling for you, Noah. Hope you get better.

[05:55:03] And guys, we may have another lip-syncing controversy on our hands. The San Antonio Spurs mascot, the coyote, was having trouble with his microphone last night, just like Mariah Carey did on New Year's Eve.

Look at him, he's checking out the microphone figuring out what's going on. But clearly, as you can see, he was frustrated with the entire situation. He doesn't know what to do so he storms off the court. No word yet from the coyote's P.R. team but we've heard that he's such a diva behind the scenes, so the saga continues. And if you're for Mariah Carey, you know it's bad when mascots are taking shots of you, though. It's just awful.



ROMANS: That's something.

BERMAN: Yes, it was good. That was a good one. All right, Hines, thanks so much.

WARD: No problem.

ROMANS: Little Noah Fulmer, oh my gosh. I hope he gets it --

BERMAN: Oh, yes.

ROMANS: Crying -- he had an accident --

BERMAN: J.J. Watt --

ROMANS: -- crying because they --

BERMAN: -- nice guy.

ROMANS: -- cut off his jersey. Oh my gosh.

BERMAN: All right. This will be Megyn Kelly's final week at "FOX NEWS". She is joining NBC where she will host a daily daytime show and a Sunday news magazine program. FOX was prepared to offer Kelly $25 million a year to stay --


BERMAN: -- but she insists her top priority right now is her children.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I am very grateful to NBC for this opportunity and I am deeply thankful to "FOX NEWS" for the wonderful 12 years I have had here. I have grown up here and been given every chance a young reporter could ever ask for.


BERMAN: No word yet on a possible replacement for Kelly at FOX and it's not clear when exactly she'll start at NBC. Her FOX contract actually expires over the summer. She could be forced to spend six months on the sidelines.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. The stock market enjoying a nice start to 2017. Dow futures pointing higher. The Dow starting the year with a 120-point gain yesterday. Check the stock markets in Europe. They're trading mixed right now. Shares in Asia closed higher overnight. Oil prices are rising.

Tesla, today -- the stock is down more than two percent in premarket trading after the company missed its delivery forecast for 2016. The stock has struggled over the past year, even as it has ramped up production. It delivered about 50,000 cars in 2015, more than 76,000 to customers last year, but the forecast was 80,000. The electric carmaker blamed its transition to new autopilot software -- hardware, rather -- for missing car delivery estimates in the fourth quarter. It rolled out that software update to all models after a fatal accident in October involving a driver using autopilot.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for many things, including a billion dollars in the bank and also keeping his New Year's resolutions.

BERMAN: A billion? I think, isn't it like -- that's like -- you're shortchanging Mark Zuckerberg there.

ROMANS: Oh, yes, yes. Once you have a billion it's all downhill from there. Last year he created an artificial intelligence system for his home voiced by Morgan Freeman. He ran 365 miles in 2016. Before that, he read two books a month and learned Mandarin. In a Facebook post yesterday, Zuckerberg writes, "My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the U.S. by the end of the year.

BERMAN: And speak Mandarin to them.

ROMANS: I've spent significant time in many states already, so I'll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete the challenge." He says technology and globalization have created many benefits but have led to a major division among Americans. He wants to get out there and talk to people in every state. I think division among Americans is sort of like the theme song of this election season and of the months ahead for 2017.

BERMAN: Mark Zuckerberg will heal us by walking to every state in the nation.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. The president-elect mocks the intelligence community in a tweet. "NEW DAY" starts now.


BERMAN: The next commander-in-chief mocking the intelligence agencies.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I also know things that other people don't know, so they cannot be sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no intelligence community that has the capabilities as the U.S. intelligence community. SCHUMER: You take on the intelligence community, they have ways of getting back at you.

GOV. MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: We'll focus on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

ROMANS: President Obama trying to save the law. Vice President-elect Mike Pence trying to take it apart.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: There are some pieces of merit in the current plan.

NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Democrats will stand our ground.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I want to say to the American people we will do right by you.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, January 4th, 6:00 here in New York. Up first, President-elect Donald Trump intensifying the tension with U.S. intelligence officials. Mr. Trump tweeting this morning that the timing of his long-awaited intelligence briefing has changed.

CUOMO: And yet, the president-elect is now suggesting, without evidence, that intel agencies need more time to build a case. Remember, there is no proof at this point that the president-elect has ever been briefed about these hacks directly by the heads of the intelligence agencies. The question is, what is motivating his resistance?

We're now just 16 days until the inauguration. Let's get to the bottom of it all starting with CNN's Jason Carroll live at Trump Tower, the White House annex in New York -- Jason.