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Senate Democratic Leader Takes on Donald Trump; The Great Unknowns About Donald Trump. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 4, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:15] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for the five things to know for your NEW DAY.

The first, the unknown. President-elect Donald Trump still doubting Russia's responsibility for election hacks, despite admitting he has not had briefings with the heads of the intel agencies. Trump just tweeted his intel meeting was curiously delayed. Officials say the meeting with Mr. Trump was always scheduled for later this week.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence head to Capitol Hill today to discuss the future of Obamacare. It was a rough first day for the new Congress after House Republicans changed course on gutting the independent congressional ethics panel.

CUOMO: Former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton will attend Donald Trump's inauguration. Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush will also be in attendance.

CAMEROTA: Notorious mass murderer Charles Manson moved from a California prison to an offsite hospital. "The L.A. Times" reports that he is seriously ill. State and federal officials are not commenting about his condition citing privacy laws.

CUOMO: Can you imagine having a baby at 50? Janet Jackson just did. The pop star gave birth on Tuesday to a baby boy named Eissa. A representative says Jackson had a stress free delivery. Mother and child doing well.

CAMEROTA: That's wonderful. She is said to have wanted a child for a long time.

CUOMO: Fifty.

CAMEROTA: It happens.

CUOMO: Impressibo.

For more on the things to know, go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: Up next, one-on-one with Chuck Schumer. The new Senate Democratic leader telling CNN that Donald Trump is trying to shower him with flattery. What did the president elect say exactly? The senator speaks out, next on NEW DAY.


[06:35:09] CAMEROTA: The Senate's new Democratic leader Chuck Schumer delivered his first speech as minority leader, making it clear the Democrats would not be a, quote, "rubber stamp" for incoming President Donald Trump.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash sat down with Schumer. She joins us now with more.

What did you learn, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that not surprisingly, Chuck Schumer was very much hoping that he could be a Democratic leader in charge of the Senate working with the Democratic president. He told me that that certainly would have been more fun but that this job perhaps is more important.



BASH (voice-over): Chuck Schumer arriving for his first day as Senate Democratic leader. His new large suite still strewn with unpacked boxes.

(on camera): You guys have some decorating to do here.

SCHUMER: Yes, a lot. It's not my forte.

BASH (voice-over): Schumer was hoping to be the new Democratic majority leader, working with Hillary Clinton in the White House. Instead, he's leading the Trump opposition.

He proudly described a recent conversation with Trump.

SCHUMER: I said, "Mr. President-elect, you went after both the Democratic and Republican establishments when you ran. You were an anti-establishment change candidate. But by your cabinet picks and your early pronouncements, you seem to be embracing your time warn, shopworn hard right."

BASH (on camera): You said that to him?


BASH: What did he say?

SCHUMER: Nothing.

But I said to him, if you do that, your presidency will not come close to being a success.

BASH (voice-over): For Schumer success will be even more complicated, a fine line between when to work with Trump and when not to.

SCHUMER: The only way we're going to work with him is if he moves completely in our direction and abandoned his Republican colleagues. Ninety, 95 percent of the time, we'll be holding his feet to the fire and holding him accountable. But we're not Democrats. We're not going to just oppose things to oppose them.

BASH: Schumer climbed the Democratic ranks as a fierce partisan and prolific fund-raiser. But in recent years, work to become a successful legislator.

SCHUMER: This bipartisan blue print is a major break through.

BASH: Playing key role crafting Senate immigration reform, though it stalled in the House.

(on camera): I've known you for a long time. You love a deal. Not unlike the president-elect. I find that hard to believe that you don't want to make deals.

SCHUMER: Here's the problem: the Republicans and Senate and the House have been run by a hard right group, an almost Tea Party group, and they are so far away --

BASH: But now, they've got a deal maker in the White House just like you.

SCHUMER: We're going to look at the specifics of what it opposed. Of course, I'd like to make a deal.

BASH (voice-over): That makes progressives and Schumer's own party nervous.

(on camera): Democracy for America, leading progressive group, said, Democratic leaders from Chuck Schumer down need to stop playing footsie with Trump and pretending we can fine common ground.

SCHUMER: We're playing no footsie. My views are the same as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

BASH: Since when.

SCHUMER: Both of them said the same exact thing. If we can work with him and be true to our principles, we're not going to reject it. But overall, we're sticking to our principles.

BASH (voice-over): The two New Yorkers have a history. Schumer says he doesn't know Donald Trump well, but he was one of the senator's early political donors. Schumer confirmed the president-elect told him he likes him better than GOP leaders.

SCHUMER: He said something close to it.

BASH (on camera): Were you surprised to hear a Republican president Democratic leader be like he likes you more than the Republicans?

SCHUMER: When you get in my position people want to flatter you and you have to take it with a grain of salt.

BASH (voice-over): Trump is hardly Schumer's only concern. He is also in charge of fixing his defeated Democratic Party. His prescription?

SCHUMER: A sharp edged economic message that talks about helping the middle class and people who want to get to the middle class, get there more easily. We didn't have that in this election.

BASH: Just the task for the man that put himself on the map in the 1980s by being media savvy.

(on camera): You know, the famous line the most dangerous place in Washington is between a camera and Chuck Schumer.

SCHUMER: Said by Bob Dole after he was mad that I passed the Brady Law which I'm proud I did.

BASH: Now, our viewers should know that when we try to talk to you in the hallway, you pretend like you're on the cell phone, which you know you do. So, that hasn't changed a lot.

SCHUMER: In the early days, the press was a very good way to bring out problems that need to be fixed. Now I have other leaders of power, so I'm hardly inaccessible and sitting here with you and you can say a lot of bad things about Chuck Schumer and accessibility is never going to be one of them.

BASH (voice-over): Same goes for authenticity.

SCHUMER: There's no balcony.


BASH (on camera): No.

SCHUMER: Try to find out.

BASH: That sounds fun.

BASH (voice-over): Leader or not, refined he will never be.

BASH (on camera): Just put a fire escape down there and it will be like Brooklyn.

SCHUMER: That's right.


[06:40:00] CAMEROTA: I'm sorry, Dana. I'm just right here on my phone. How awesome a trick is that that he uses? I didn't know that. That is one of the greats.

BASH: Sometimes he's probably on the phone. But I've actually been in an elevator and I'm trying to listen. Is there actually a person on that phone or are you just really ignoring me? CAMEROTA: That is a fascinating revelation. So, it's off to the

races already today for Chuck Schumer obviously with Obamacare. There's going to be the President Obama up there to talk about it, VP- elect Mike Pence. So, what's his plan?

BASH: Well, you know, when Senator Schumer talked about sharpening the message, he obviously is talking about the economic message to get Democrats back on board, but they're going to need to sharpen their message big time to focus on putting a wedge between Republicans and their constituents on the notion of repealing Obamacare.

And so, that is kind of really his first leadership test because President Obama is only going to be there for, you know, a week or so, and then he's going to have to lead the charge to do that. That, in addition to, of course, the confirmation battles for the nominees. And don't forget, the Supreme Court pick.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. It is going to be a busy season there behind you.

Dana, thank you very much.

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, House Speaker Paul Ryan will take part in a CNN town hall hosted by Jake Tapper. It will be next Thursday, January 12th at 9:00 p.m., only on CNN.

CUOMO: Up next, the new Trump administration comes in with great unknowns in the air. Promises have been made but proposals as yet nowhere in sight. Next, the big issues that could make or break Trump.


[06:45:23] CUOMO: Breaking news out of Turkey, police announcing just moments ago, they have arrested 20 ISIS-linked suspects in connection with that night club attack on New Year's that killed 39 people and injured dozens. Police believed these people lived with the attacker that still remains at large. Turkey's foreign minister confirmed they've identified the suspect, that's the man in the video on your screen right now, his name and nationality not yet released.

CUOMO: We have more breaking news for you. There is a huge deadly jailbreak unfolding at this hour in the southern Philippines. A hundred and fifty-eight inmates escaping after more than 100 armed attackers stormed the prison in an overnight raid, killing one guard and injuring another. A Filipino jail official says 14 of the inmates are back in custody. Six were killed. Two others have surrendered but the rest are still on the loose.

CUOMO: Not a good day to pick up hitchhikers.

All right. A funny photo for you. You got to see this. See the kid in the middle with the red sweater holding the bible. He decides to dab during the photo with the House Speaker. Ryan not having it.

He's heard on camera saying to the kid what have you got to sneeze? And when he keeps doing it he pulls his hand down and takes the picture. The move made popular by Cam Newton. Speaker Ryan unfamiliar with the move.

In the end, they all got a nice dab-free picture there, though.

CAMEROTA: Now, Chris, do you think this teenagers move is better or worse than yours. You are a dabber extraordinaire. Look, check it out. There is Chris Cuomo.

Why were you dabbing that day in the studio?

CUOMO: Dab is good, but it's hard to replace the vanilla gorilla- esque qualities that I have when I do it.

CAMEROTA: Right. Why were you doing that? What called for that?

CUOMO: I was blinded by your beauty once again.

CAMEROTA: Masterful.

CUOMO: And the protective lenses have not yet been installed.

See, he is not worried. His eyes are clearly visible.

CAMEROTA: That's right. We'll get you protective eye wear.

CUOMO: Still working on it. Your beauty so far cannot be reflected.

CAMEROTA: I fall for it every time.

So, what does Donald Trump know about Russian hacking that proves that Russia was not involved? And how will he handle conflicts with his business interests? There are a lot of great unknowns in a Trump White House and we look at all of those, next.


[06:51:09] CUOMO: Sixteen days, Donald Trump becomes the man. He will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Now, he's going to enter his administration with looming questions.

What are you going to do when you repeal Obamacare? How are you going to replace? What are you going to do with your conflicts of interest that you promised to resolve? What is this secret information that you have about the Russian hacks?

So, let's bring in the CNN political analyst, John Avlon. He, of course, editor in chief of "The Daily Beast". And David Drucker, he is the senior congressional correspondent at "The Washington Examiner". Drucker got a nice podcast you should check out. Avlon has got this testy new book I'm holding in front of my face. It is called Washington's Farewell," an intelligent read.

So, gentlemen, let's start off with Obamacare, OK? Repeal and replace. That has been the mantra. The first part easy, right? He has the votes. He says he will sign on for this. It will be revealed.

But then what? How big of a problem is the "then what?", John Avlon?

JOHN AVLON, THE DAILY BEAST: That is a huge deal because the devil is in the details always but Donald Trump's campaign comments were replace it with something terrific. In the past, he has supported single payer.

Already the markers he has set out are keeping elements that are popular. So, taking care of preconditions. Kids under 26. Yesterday, his advisor Kellyanne Conway saying that they would make sure everyone currently covered would be covered by a new plan. That raises the big question, how are you going to pay for it? Fiscal conservatives can care about that kind of thing. So, the devil is in the details.

CUOMO: You are of the school of doesn't matter yet when it comes to the unknowns because he's not in office. But once he is, they will become relevant and how important is it that they get a plan together that's not a bunch of ideas of how to make it better?

DAVID DRUCKER, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, look, they're going to have to come up with a plan that doesn't leave people like they're worse off than they were before. I mean, that was the big error of Obamacare, is that although they were successful at extending coverage to millions of people that never had it, the people that got the sour end of that deal were people that already had insurance. Maybe they didn't like how much they were paying. They were upset that their costs were going up every year but they liked their doctor and they like the coverage they were getting under their plan.

And so, what Republicans are really doing, I mean, we really talk about this repeal and replace. In other words, what they're doing is reforming, overhauling the health care system all over again. And if they don't get it right, if Donald Trump doesn't sign on to a plan that leaves people feeling like they're better off than they were before, meaning people who get insurance through their employer or through other means, they're going to be angry at Republicans and they're going to be angry at Donald Trump and there's a midterm election coming up in 2018.

And so, at some point, after he is president -- and this is what I was getting at, Chris -- he's going to have to pick something because nothing becomes law without his signature. And at that point, we're going to know how successful this effort is.

CUOMO: Ownership with authorship. I got you, Drucker.

Let's go to the next one which is, this secret information that he says he has about the Russian hacks. We now know that he has not have a direct briefing from any of these agencies. In fact, he hasn't met with him yet which this has been a long time to not meet with them and yet, he is highly suspicious without proof.

How big a deal is it, John Avlon, if there is no there, there on the president elect's secret information? AVLON: Yes, look. I mean, this has been really troubling because

obviously the threat of Russian hacking trying to influence the election hangs over the results and yet, he has shown himself not to be particularly concerned, showing a great deal of skepticism towards the U.S. intelligence agencies while praising Vladimir Putin. That is a difficult combination once you deal with reality beyond 140 characters and are inheriting the Oval Office.

So, when he gets that briefing on Friday and it does appear the results will be ready Friday, he's going to have to reconcile himself with what the facts say and his campaign has already been trying to say, well, what the intelligence agencies say, we have out information, that's equally relevant.

[06:55:08] He's going to have to start having to connect with intelligence agencies as commander in chief, and if there's deep distrust there, history show that is a terrible place to be for the country as well as the executive.

CUOMO: How does Trump come out ahead on this one?

DRUCKER: Well, you know, I don't know that he comes out ahead but once he becomes president he's going to own it just like he's going to own whatever happens with the Affordable Care Act. It's easy for him right now in this position to question the work of the intelligence agencies and to question the information because he's not responsible if anything goes wrong.

So, what do we know about Russia and their hacking ability and what they try to do for the U.S.? We know that they have unique sophisticated capabilities to penetrate U.S. systems. Not everybody actually has that ability. And it's not just Democrats that say that. You can talk to top Republicans on the Hill who are involved in this and they will tell you that for the past 8 years at least, Russia has been very active in trying to penetrate U.S. systems.

And so, once Trump is president, the next time the Office of Personnel Management gets breached, the next time the Department of Defense gets breached, whether it's the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians or the North Koreans, Donald Trump is going to be responsible and he won't be able to skirt the issue by saying, "I have a secret plan or secret information, because it's going to happen on his watch".


DRUCKER: And I think that will change the relationship with the intelligence community but I think it will also change his relationship with the voter as it relates to how he talks about intelligence.

CUOMO: All right. Putting a lot of influence on the future in terms of his ownership. But quick point on this, I got one more.

AVLON: Yes, the foundation is being set now, and it's deeply troubling. Let's not just forget the fundamental facts here. A foreign government is accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of trying to influence the U.S. election in Donald Trump's behalf, and Donald Trump has been notably praise-worthy at that foreign power and critical and skeptical of our intelligence agencies. That is a surreal, unprecedented situation.

CUOMO: All right. The last one, conflicts of interest. Donald Trump had come forward, forget about the taxes. The American people see who has taken a pass on that at least the ones that voted for him. He says when the audit is done, he'll show it. We don't know if there is an audit.

But on the conflicts, he said he was going to have a press conference. Now, his people close to him say when the lawyers are comfortable. I don't know about you guys, but being a lawyer, used to deal with conflicts, it ain't that long of a conversation. They're not going to find the solution.

What happens if he doesn't come out and say here's how I'm curing the conflicts, Drucker?

DRUCKER: Well, the minute there's a scandal or the minute the voters decide he's not doing a good job as president, they're going to look at his conflicts of interest and they will decide that he cares more about making money through his companies and enriching his family than he does about their own life, and it's going to be a major problem.

But for now, and this is -- I understand how people feel about this, but for now, they built this into the price of admission with Donald Trump, the same way we're sort of building into the price of his mission, his tweets on subjects that, you know, we find troubling. It's just who he is, he won the election. I think people are going to give him the chance to perform first.

AVLON: Yes, the problem is treating it all like the greatest show on earth. I mean, it's supposed to be the circus, not the White House. These conflicts are real, they're unprecedented, they are global and the president can try to kick the can and he said in the past that there's no such thing as conflicts for the president.

CUOMO: Got you.

AVLON: But that's about to meet the buzz saw of reality.

CUOMO: All right. We'll keep doing more on this as the unknowns coming up.

John and David, thank you very much.

DRUCKER: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: And thanks to you our international viewers for watching. "CNN NEWSROOM" begins for you in just a few moments.

For our U.S. viewers here, stick around. NEW DAY continues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The information is there and it's rock solid.

CUOMO: Trump taking a swipe at the intelligence community.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I know a lot about hacking and hacking is a hard thing to prove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our source is not the Russian government.

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I would suggest to individuals that have not yet seen it wait and see what it is that the intelligence community is putting forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we have a chance of keeping a lot of Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence heading to Capitol Hill for the looming battle over Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won't repeal and replace on exactly the same day. I don't think that's possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no question there will be different health insurance coverage in this country under President Trump.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

Up first, President-elect Donald Trump intensifying his war of words with intelligence officials over Russia. Trump tweeting, his intelligence briefing over so-called Russian hacking was delayed.

CAMEROTA: And he's now suggesting without any evidence that the intelligence community needs more time to build their case. So, why is the president-elect antagonizing the very intelligence agencies he will rely on?

We're 16 days from Mr. Trump's inauguration. We have it all covered for you.

So, let's begin with CNN's Jason Carroll. He is live at Trump Tower in New York -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Alisyn, good morning to you. It's clear that the president-elect is not convinced that Russia is behind the hacking, not convinced that the intelligence community knows what it is talking about and once again, Alisyn, Trump took to Twitter to let everyone know just how he feels.