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Trump Vows to Release Inside Information on Hackers; U.S. Intel Officials Dispute Trump's Claim of Briefing Delay; Obama, Pence to Visit Hill on Obamacare. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 4, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next commander in chief mocking intelligence agencies.
[05:58:44] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also know things that other people don't know. So they cannot be sure.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: There is no intelligence community that has the capabilities as the U.S. intelligence community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You take on the intelligence community, they have ways of getting back at you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Focused on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama trying to save the law. Vice President-elect Mike Pence trying to take it apart.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: There are some pieces of merit in the current plan.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Democrats will stand our ground.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: 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.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, January 4, 6 a.m. 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 CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Chris. As you know, it's important for any incoming president, or president, for that matter, to have a solid, positive working relationship with the intelligence community and to say at this point that Donald Trump has gotten off on the wrong foot might be an understatement.
CARROLL (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump striking a conspiratorial tone yet again against U.S. intelligence. In a new cryptic tweet, Trump writes, "Intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday. Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange."
But U.S. intelligence officials say there's no delay. The meeting was always set to take place later this week, adding President Obama has yet to receive the full briefing on Russian hacking.
Trump vowed to release inside information he says he has about the hacks by today.
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff responding to Trump's claim, tweeting this week, "@RealDonaldTrump promises new info about Russian hacking only he knows. Next week, what really happened at Roswell."
One U.S. intelligence official telling CNN the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, was not scheduled to be in New York City where Trump is until later in the week.
SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (via phone): Later this week, they will, once the final report on the current situation in Russia is made final, they will ask for -- they have asked for a briefing from senior members of the intelligence community.
CARROLL: Officials noting that until now, Trump's team has not scheduled a meeting with the heads of top intelligence agencies. By contrast, President Obama met with the intelligence leaders shortly after being elected in 2008.
For months Trump has continued to cast doubts over the conclusion reached by 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the election cyberattacks.
TRUMP: It could be somebody else.
It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. OK/ Maybe there is no hacking.
CARROLL: A conclusion the CIA director says is ironclad. BRENNAN: I would suggest to individuals who have not yet seen the
report or been briefed on it that they wait and see what it is that the intelligence community is putting forward before they make those judgments.
CARROLL: Well, Russia says it is not behind the hacking. And it should also be noted that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also says that U.S. intelligence is wrong and that Russia also is not behind the hacking -- Chris, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Jason, thank you very much. You've given us a lot to discuss with our political panel, so let's bring in CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash; CNN political analyst David Gregory; and CNN political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast," Jackie Kucinich. Great to have all of you.
Let's just read Mr. Trump's tweet one more time, because it is instructive and, of course, it is up to us to analyze these tweet leads, as I've been calling them now. "So the 'intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking'" -- in quotes -- "was delayed until Friday."
CUOMO: "Intelligence" is in quotes.
CAMEROTA: Oh, "intelligence" is also in quote. "Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!" exclamation point. So he's questioning the timing. He's questioning their intelligence. Jackie, what's going on here?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It feels like he's trying to undermine them before they even come in the door. Why he's doing that is curious, but that -- because they're -- the intelligence community is pushing back, saying it was always scheduled for later this week.
CAMEROTA: You know, by the way...
KUCINICH: ... and they don't -- they don't have -- they don't have everything they need, and they're -- he's trying to kind of create the image of them furiously pasting things together in order to prove their case. And that's just not the case from everything we've been told.
CAMEROTA: Let me just say one thing. We interviewed Sean Spicer two days ago here on the program. And he said that Mr. Trump had not yet been briefed by the intelligence community, which surprised me at least. And he said that the briefing was going to happen later this week.
Let me play that for you for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: The report's not final. He has not been briefed by the heads of the intelligence community yet, and you're asking me what his response should be.
CAMEROTA: He's not been briefed by the heads of the intelligence community about whether or not they believe that Russia is behind the hacking?
SPICER: No, they're coming in later this week to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. So he always said it was later this week. So that, David -- that's what his incoming press secretary said. Why now are there questions on the timing?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST:: Look, I think Donald Trump is playing with the intelligence community right now. He's playing to his audience, to his constituency, playing his role as the ultimate disrupter, coming into Washington saying anybody who wants to play out information that questions his legitimacy, whether Vladimir Putin tried to influence the election in his favor is not to be taken seriously.
[06:05:12] I don't see Donald Trump changing on this.
I think it's important that the intelligence community is going to put out a declassified report. Presumably, President Obama will speak more about this, perhaps in the speech he gives next week, to put an exclamation point behind it.
But Donald Trump is heading in a direction where he wants to be able to create a new start with Russia and Putin. I think, by Putin not responding to the sanctions from the administration, it allows him to do that. I just don't see Donald Trump coming around.
The danger on this is to play around with this and not realize that Putin could target a Trump administration. I think these two are the kinds of leaders who are headed towards some kind of showdown and if something doesn't go well. And I don't think that Donald Trump at this point as the president-elect appreciates how difficult that situation could ultimately be. He's going to have to rely on the government. He's going to have to rely on the intelligence community. These are his eyes and ears on the rest of the world. They're not to be marginalized like this or dismissed like this from the get-go. he's making it very difficult for his incoming CIA director.
CUOMO: Dana, what is the chance that the president-elect is not wrong? The only thing I hear out there in the wind that gives a little bit of a window of opportunity is President Obama hasn't received the final briefing yet either.
I mean, you now, my reporting and what I pick up from the other CNN correspondents on this is that nobody has any source within the intel community who's saying, "You know, we're not really sure whether it's Russia; or maybe it's Russia and China." Nobody is getting anything like that, but could it be that Donald Trump knows something that the rest of us don't? PERINO: It could be. We have certainly heard him say things like
this before, even before he was, you know, in politics officially. Making claims that he knows things that other people don't. Sometimes they come through; sometimes they do not.
But I think that David makes such an important point about the idea that he wants to be the guy who says, "You know what? I don't trust any institution, even the big, bad intelligence community. And I'm going to stick with that. And I'm going to stick with that, because it helps me in that brand, but it also helps me to get a lot of running room with Vladimir Putin."
And he has made a decision early on that he thinks that the way that the United States, Republicans and Democrats, have dealt with Vladimir Putin -- by tiptoeing around him and -- and trying to marginalize him is probably the better way to put it, and squeeze him -- is not the way to do it. And the way to do it is to make him feel like Mother Russia is going to come back again and that it's respected by the world.
Having said that, I've talked to people who are familiar with the intelligence community, part of the intelligence community who say just be careful, Mr. President-elect, because you don't know who you're messing with. These are people who know how to get you back and will not leave any fingerprints."
CAMEROTA: And what does that mean exactly, Dana? I mean, if he crosses the intel community, what will that relationship look like in -- on January 20?
BASH: It depends. It really depends. He's crossed the intelligence community. It has happened already. And that's what these tweets are all about. That is what his -- you know, even putting "intelligence" in quotes. People who are working day in and day out to prevent terror attacks that -- or slots that we never know about...
BASH: ... are looking at this saying, "Are you kidding me? Really?"
There is certainly time to mend this. We'll see what happens when he actually gets the briefing. But it's not -- it's a bit dangerous.
CUOMO: That's the part I don't get. So let's play it through for a second, Jackie. So he gets his briefing. And they say what they've been saying to everybody else: "Here's why we think it's Russia. Here's how we think it's Russia. These guys work for Russia, Fancy Bear" -- This Bear. "Here are the fingerprints. Here's everything."
How does -- how do you come out of that meeting? "Now that I had the briefing, I believe everything"? I mean, how does this turn out OK for president-elect's credibility with his own base?
KUCINICH: It's a really good question. And one thing we know about Donald Trump, he's the only one who knows what he's going to do. But right now it's hard to think he's going to change course. Because
he does have a tendency to want to come out saying, "I was right the entire time. They didn't present me with enough evidence."
I can see that as a lot more likely, to further empower himself. To make himself the arbiter of all things right and wrong. And to consolidate the power inside the presidency, rather than, you know, the intelligence community or anyone else, for that matter.
[06:10:02] GREGORY: But he's made it very clear that he wants to move on. So I think, at the most, that Trump goes a little quiet on this if he has a moment of sobriety and sees some of the message or sees some evidence here that would make him think that there's something here.
I don't think he wants to come out and say, "You know what? I was wrong about this whole thing.
I do think his diplomacy with Putin -- and I think Rex Tillerson speaks to this, who had a relationship with Putin, is going to be quietly tough; and they'll send some quiet messages. Because you know what Donald Trump. He thinks, "Oh, yes, he may have messed around with Obama, but he's not going to mess around with me. I'm going to give him the respect, and we're going to tell him stop it. Knock it off. You're not going to do this with us." I think this how this -- these initial steps will take place.
CAMEROTA: Interesting. You know, when I heard him say that he knows things that other people don't know, I assumed, once the Sean Hannity interview came to light with Julian Assange, that's what Mr. Trump was talking about. That Julian Assange of WikiLeaks said, "We didn't get this from a state actor. We didn't get this from Russia" and that Sean Hannity, who we know speaks to Mr. Trump pretty regularly, had shared that with him. And so that that's what he was basing it on. But I mean, again, I'm just trying to interpret this.
CUOMO: But Julian Assange is...
BASH: You could be absolutely right, Alisyn.
CUOMO: ... Yes, right. Could be, right. But also, he's got people around him now, OK, who know intelligence. Flynn is no joke when it comes to intelligence. Mattis is no joke when it comes to intelligence.
And Julian Assange, I guarantee you, is being run down by those guys. You know, they're saying to him, he's in that embassy for a reason, by the way.
CAMEROTA: What do you mean?
CUOMO: They had to shut off his Internet access there. OK. The intelligence community worked on doing that. Why? They will tell you it's because of who was sending him e-mails, what information he was getting in that, and how it connected to the hacking investigation so that Assange is not someone to believe on this. He has to be getting that message, so again, it's just -- who is he going to look at after this is all over and say, wow...
GREGORY: Don't you love how Assange is now being held up in media circles as the one who has the exculpatory information here on Russia? I don't think that Sean Hannity would have interviewed Julian Assange a few years ago when he was talking about the Iraq War.
BASH: It's upside-down.
CAMEROTA: Strange bedfellows. Yes. It's upside-down world, Dana. You're right. Panel, stick around. We have more upside-down world to talk about.
President Obama and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence heading to Capitol Hill today as both sides prepare for a major fight on the future of Obamacare. This as House Republicans reverse course on gutting the Congressional Ethics Office that we talked about yesterday. Let's bring in CNN's Phil Mattingly. He's live on Capitol Hill with more on what happened, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A rather inauspicious start, I think you could say, to the 115th Congress. But Alisyn, there's one thing you know for sure that will unify House Republicans, Senate Republicans, heck, all Republicans. It's the looming battle of Obamacare, and it is a fight that has started now. It will be headlined by two high-stakes visits today.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Today President Obama and Vice-President- elect Mike Pence heading to Capitol Hill. It's an effort, aides say, to prepare their parties for the looming battle over Obamacare.
JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senate will come to order.
MATTINGLY: The high-profile visits coming as a group of conservative lawmakers are set to unveil the first concrete plan to replace Obama's signature achievement.
This coming just a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a proposal to start the process of repealing the law. McConnell wasting zero time. His proposal coming within hours of the ceremonial swearing in of the new Congress.
MATTINGLY: The new session getting off to a rocky start. House Republicans forced to back down from a proposal to gut an independent ethics committee, through major backlash from Democrats and some members of their own party. Putting a scolding from the president- elect himself on Twitter. Tweeting "With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their No. 1 act and priority? Focus on tax reform, health care and so many other things of far greater importance."
House Speaker Paul Ryan challenging the new Congress, led once again by Republicans, to make things happen when Trump takes office.
RYAN: The people have given us unified government. And it wasn't because they were feeling generous. It was because they want results. How could we live with ourselves if we let them down?
MATTINGLY: Guys, what's interesting, there's no hedging there from the speaker of the House. There's really no hedging from the president elect either in terms of the bold promises, the bold agenda that they plan on actually accomplishing over the course of the next year or two. But there's also a reality here that people need to pay attention to. You expect that the first hundred days, a few hundred things are going to happen. Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. And tax reform and infrastructure.
[06:15:00] Senate Republicans lost two seats in the 2016 election. House Republicans lost six seats in the 2016 elections. Guys, their majorities are slimmed down. That's limited wiggle room to actually move things forward. There's nothing that can stymie progress of a new administration like the U.S. Senate -- Chris.
CUOMO: And same party assumes agreement between executive and legislative. We do not know if that's going to be the case. Phil, thank you very much.
So we have two big things to talk about. One is the battle over Obamacare. You have the president going there. You have the vice president-elect going to kind of get their teams ready to figure out what happens after the easy part, which is the repeal. That's just a pen and a vote away. But then what happens?
The second thing to talk about is what did we just see? Did we see some real populism at work today? Did the people come forward and stop the ethics reform vote? Next.
CUOMO: All right. One big thing already happened. One big thing's about to happen. Let's discuss both.
You've got President-elect Donald Trump and the Senate quickly moving to repeal Obamacare. Big move politically but not from a policy perspective. That's where the replace comes in.
So you've got the current president, Obama, going to Capitol Hill. You've got the current vice-president-elect, Mike Pence, going to the H ill to deal with that battle.
[06:20:02] Let's bring back our panel. Dana Bash, David Gregory, Jackie Kucinich.
David Gregory, repeal, that is about votes and a signature from the incoming president. Replace is something very different. What is the state of play?
GREGORY: Well, you've got a couple of things going on. First of all, the Democrats know that they can turn a political heat on a new administration in a very simple way, which is if you give a benefit to people. You don't so easily take it away. That's the bottom line.
But there's enough about Obamacare that's not working for small businesses, for doctors, for others, insurance companies, premiums going up. Not enough young people signing up for the insurance through the mandate, but there's also a lot of things that are going well.
I've talked to healthcare professionals around the country who have gone through the transition and are finding a lot of success stories, as well.
This is what I think President Obama is going to be doing. I think he's going to be trying to stiffen the spines of Democrats to say, "Look, this is a message that you can bring forward, and I'll help you on the outside in terms of how to keep campaigning for this." But I also think he may counsel areas where there could be some agreement on potential replacements to strengthen the law.
I don't see this ending in a big kind of Kumbaya moment here. I think Democrats are ultimately going to find a way to -- to not be on board with whatever the replacement looks like. And we just don't know exactly what it's going to look like, but they're going to want to emphasize that Republicans are trying to take away from people something that's already been given.
CAMEROTA: In fact that is what Vice President Joe Biden has been making that point. He talked to Jake Tapper a couple of weeks ago. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I love these guys. Ran against Affordable Care Act, how terrible it is, how premiums went up, how we're going to repeal it.
Go ahead and repeal it. Repeal it now. See what happens. The idea that all of a sudden they can just go back and start charging women more than men. Pre-existing conditions don't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Almost made Jake smile.
CAMEROTA: I know, because that was a "go ahead and make my day." That's what he was basically saying, Dana. But is it accurate to say that the Republicans don't have a plan? Because every time one of the Republicans comes on our program, they have a whole smorgasbord of plans. They just haven't written -- it hasn't congealed into one major plan, but they have a lot of ideas.
BASH: They do. But the challenge is the delay between the repeal and getting those ideas, you know, getting them together and then getting them into law. And even Republicans who have been working on this for a very long time admit there will be a delay, which is why you see not just President Obama going up to rally Democrats about their message and how they can -- they can drive wedges between Republicans and even their constituents who think that Obamacare is terrible. But you see Mike Pence going up, because he is also going to be talking to Republicans about the best way to do this, because they're hearing, some of them, from jittery constituents about just what Joe Biden was saying.
About the fact that, "You know what? It's not perfect, but I don't want to lose my health care."
BASH: I don't want, as David said, this benefit to be taken away. And so that's why you have these kind of dual, you know, rallies on Capitol Hill today or briefings or whatever you want to call them with these high-profile figures, because as much as Republicans want to do this, there is angst on how you actually make it happen.
CUOMO: Right. But also, you know, I think we need to be very clear that having a lot of ideas is very different than having a plan; and especially the way legislation is made. Jackie, you've been up there covering the Hill. Dana is obviously an expert on it.
But they have to be cautious. What Joe Biden is talking about is so let's say you're going to keep the preexisting conditions, and you're going to keep that people can stay on, and you're going to keep, like, three or four different things. Now you're giving the Democrats ammunition. You know, "They said they were going to repeal. It's the same thing."
And the part that they did change, it comes down to that subsidy. And that's not about having ideas. You've got to figure out how to make it work. It's complex. It has to be comprehensive, and it's going to take time.
KUCINICH: How you pay for it is the big question. And they're not agreed on that. Republicans, that's the other thing. They're going to have to consolidate around one idea, and they're not uniting. You're going to have fiscal conservatives and other parts of the party really clashing over this. So that -- you also have to allot the time when they're trying to hammer this out.
CUOMO: I can see the CNN clock already. Hours until people lose their health care and no plan in place.
KUCINICH: But that preexisting condition aspect that everybody loves, it's paid for by the individual mandate. So until they get that figured out, because they're going to want it paid for, they're going to have a lot of discussions to be had.
CAMEROTA: Hey, David. Let's talk about this stunning about face that we saw yesterday with the Republicans on Capitol Hill, who at first voted to basically cut the Office Of Congressional Ethics and then, in the space of a few hours, turned that around. [06:25:07] And, you know, Donald Trump just really quickly let me read his tweet during the course of this. "With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their No. 1 act and priority and focus on tax reform, health care and so many other things of far greater importance." Is that what turned it around?
GREGORY: You know, Trump has an ability to leverage his following and use it against the political establishment. We saw that in the election in rather dramatic fashion. Here I think he used it against those conservatives. Not all of whom were renegades by the way.
Some were chairmen and more establishment folks who wanted to take this on over the rejections of the House speaker. And that's important. And Dana has covered this again. The reason Boehner is not speaker anymore is because he couldn't control his caucus when it came to doing the grand bargain, say, with President Obama about the deficit and entitlement programs. Here the president was able to say don't do it. He backed up Ryan, who didn't want to do it.
CUOMO: Well, Ryan had already folded at that point, and that tweet didn't say that it was a terrible thing to do. It talked about the timing. He even said in there, as unfair as it is.
GREGORY: Right. I don't think it has to. I don't think it has to.
CUOMO: He even used the hashtag #DTS, drain the swamp, when they're doing the opposite. I think it's just as much as the thousands of calls that they got from their constituents from real people saying this is too far, and they were sensitive to it. It's a great signal to the American people.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much.
CUOMO: All right. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer confronting the President-elect Donald Trump face to face. His warning. Your cabinet picks are going to make you fail as president. Did he mean it? What was the response? Dana Bash's interview with Schumer ahead.