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Trump Escalates Battle with Intelligence Community; Obamacare Fight Heats Up; Video Shows Teenager Tortured for 30 Minutes. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired January 5, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IL), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president-elect has expressed his skepticism about intelligence conclusions.
[05:58:42] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody needs to march into his office and explain who Julian Assange is.
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: Our source is not the Russian government.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Don't listen to him. Listen to the American intelligence community.
PENCE: The American people voted to repeal and replace Obamacare.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama urging Democrats not to help Republicans.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The Republican plan to cut healthcare would make America sick again.
SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We understand that health care is crucial to every American.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is very disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mentally challenged man tortured on Facebook live.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you doing this?
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome to our viewers from the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, January 5, 6 a.m. here in New York.
And up first, President-elect Donald Trump has a new political enemy. The U.S. intelligence community. His criticism causing divisions in his own party, especially his decision to take the word of Julian Assange over intel determinations, a man that Trump said should be put to death for hacking just a few years ago.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So, in just a few hours, the top U.S. intelligence chiefs will testify on Capitol Hill about the alleged Russian hacking.
This as we learn the president-elect wants to overhaul the nation's top spy agency.
We are 15 days away from inauguration day. So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Jason Carroll. He is live outside of Trump Tower in New York. Give us the latest, Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Alisyn.
You know, Trump's critics are wondering if what he's doing is putting the cart before the horse here, in terms of what he's doing is he's criticizing the intelligence community for their findings before he has officially heard specifically what the findings are.
CARROLL (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump is looking to make major changes to the U.S. intelligence community. Sources close to the transition say Trump is working on a plan to limit the power of the director of national intelligence, the source claiming Trump's team believes the director gets in the way of the 16 intelligence agencies it represents, including the CIA.
Trump also wants to expand the CIA's human spying capabilities by getting more people out of headquarters and into the field. The source citing criticism that the spy agency has been too reliant on electronic spying and the NSA signals intelligence under President Obama.
All of this coming hours after Trump publicly sided with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the president-elect tweeting, "Assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta. Why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info."
ASSANGE: Our source was not the Russian government.
CARROLL: But 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia was behind the electronic cyberattacks. Trump's tweet about Assange creating upheaval in Trump's own party.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (via phone): I think the guy is a sycophant for Russia. He leaks, he steals data, and compromises national security.
GRAHAM: For heaven's sakes, don't listen to him. Listen to the American intelligence community, who are patriots.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI), VICE-CHAIR, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: Assange is not a good guy. He's not an ally and a friend to the United States of America. CARROLL: But Trump did not feel the same way about Assange back in
2010, when his website released millions of classified military and diplomatic documents.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: WikiLeaks, you had nothing to do with it, the leaking of those documents.
TRUMP: No, it's disgraceful.
KILMEADE: You do think it's disgraceful?
TRUMP: There should be, like, a death penalty or something.
CARROLL: The president-elect's Twitter criticism has many on edge, one official saying, "We're heading into this different era where it's hostile," but Trump's team defends his continued conspiratorial tone.
PENCE: I think, given some of the intelligence failures of the recent years, the president-elect made it clear to the American people that he's skeptical about conclusions.
CARROLL: And when it comes to the findings on this cyberattacks, the president is expected to receive his briefing sometime today. Trump will receive his briefing Friday -- Chris, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Jason, thank you for all that background. We have much to discuss this morning. Let's bring in our political panel. We have CNN political analyst and presidential campaign correspondent for "The New York Times," Maggie Haberman; and senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner," David Drucker.
Great to have both of you.
We just heard Mr. Trump there in 2010 say to Brian Kilmeade that he thought that what WikiLeaks does is disgraceful and that Julian Assange should face the death penalty. That was a flip comment. I mean, they were doing a tease, but it was revealing of how he felt at that time. What has changed in six years?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what has changed is that he was the beneficiary of a lot of the information that WikiLeaks published over the last couple of months. I think that he has convinced himself, and I think people on his campaign have convinced themselves that this really did expose a lot of collusion, either the media and the Clintons or the rigging of the primary system. You saw Julian Assange talk about that a lot.
There is no question that there was a DNC system that was favorable to Hillary Clinton. That is absolutely true. However, Bernie Sanders won more than 20 states, so it wasn't quite that much of a set-up.
CAMEROTA: Wasn't foolproof. HABERMAN: Exactly. I think that we have consistently seen over time that the president-elect will change his opinion, based on who he thinks is being favorable to him. And at the moment, WikiLeaks is seen as being favorable to him. So you are seeing him bolster his credibility. It's also a way for him to undermine the mainstream media and say, "Here is who you should trust. These institutions in the United States are not who you should trust." And it is -- to him, it is bolstering his own power with his supporters. However, it cuts against members of his own party and how they view it. And I'm not sure how this is going to play out as we go forward.
CUOMO: So what are you seeing in terms of the division this is causing the party? Nobody shares the confidence in Julian Assange that Donald Trump does in terms of the leading ranks of his party. So what's happening right now within the GOP?
DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Yes, I mean, what's understandable we're dealing with here, too, I mean, Julian Assange is not just some weird guy that we shouldn't trust because we should trust U.S. intelligence agencies over, you know, this individual who releases all this information.
[06:05:09] He has actively worked to undermine U.S. national security. He has been instrumental in putting out documents that have put U.S. intelligence assets, people that have helped us try and keep Americans safe, at risk.
And when you side with somebody like that publicly, even if it's just a shtick, because it's what Donald Trump likes to do to try and protect the idea that he won the election fair and square, and nobody was helping him, I think it sets up a relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies that he's going to be the boss of in just a few days, where it's going to be hard for him to do his job to keep us safe, to try and ferret out all of these attacks before they occur, if they feel like they are being undermined.
And look, usually, what we see are Republican politicians criticizing Democrats for not having enough faith in U.S. military intelligence assets. And they're the ones talking about how it's hard for our national security apparatus to do its job without the full support of the White House, and that's exactly what this looks like.
And so I think what we have to see is does Donald Trump and his advisors, do they see problems with the U.S. intel community that they think needs fixing so we can be safer? Or are they just harassing them because of, you know, personal campaign politics that they haven't quit practicing.
CAMEROTA: One of his senior advisors, there's even a rift. I mean, some of -- many of his senior advisors. Here's James Woolsey, the former CIA director, talking about how he -- what he thinks about Julian Assange. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I don't think there's any point in listening to Julian Assange. He's quite a ne'er-do-well, I think.
CAMEROTA: OK. So Maggie, how is this going to work? Today the heads of the intel agencies go to Capitol Hill to talk to John McCain and his committee. Tomorrow, they brief the president-elect. What happens?
HABERMAN: I think at the hearing, you're going to see the heads of the intel community make a pretty clear and, I think, evidence-based, from what they're going to present, case as to why they believe this was Russians who were behind this.
And then I think tomorrow you're going to see Donald Trump attempt to try to pit them against each other when they are all in one room together, and see if he can create daylight. If in his mind, he thinks he does, I think he will then hear that leak out from his side.
However, we have seen things leak out from his side that have been contradicted by the intel agencies all week, including when this meeting was going to take place. It's really worth noting that General Mike Flynn, who is one of Trump's top advisors. He's the one who briefs him every day. He has his own issues with the intelligence agencies. He clashed with him when he was there under President Obama. And so you are seeing a confluence of agendas going on here. None of this, to Jim's point, is going to play well when Trump is overseeing these agencies.
CUOMO: Yes, there's an old expression: hoisted on your own petard. Petard meaning explosive device.
The president-elect has galvanized -- I mean, we all source this kind of stuff on a regular basis. He is galvanizing the intel community in a way that they weren't during the first rounds of this. There's no question that there are different theories about motive. Motive. Why these hacks were done.
But motivation of who was making them happen, there is no division. So the problem he has after this meeting tomorrow, in all likelihood, is a "now what?" problem. You said you wanted the proof. You could have had it any time you wanted it. You wouldn't meet with us. But now we've met. Here's the proof. Now what?
What does Donald Trump do, if he can carve daylight? They're going to come into there, I would think, fairly galvanized their understandings about things. How does he spin this coming out of it that doesn't reveal this basic motivation of "I want to protect myself"?
DRUCKER: See, Donald Trump doesn't have to try and square that circle or, you know, make the ends meet on the other side, because the way he operates is the facts are whatever he decides they are, and his face goes along with it.
What's really intriguing to me is that, in the midst of his shtick with Assange and the Russians and Putin, he's actually hired some very serious people that actually understand who Russia is, who Putin is. And they have been very critical of these people over the years. Mike Pompeo, who's going to be his CIA director, a traditional Republican hawk that takes this very seriously, doesn't have any illusions about Putin or any of the other people that we're out there, the same with General James Mattis, that's going to be his secretary of defense.
And so on the one side, you have Trump that doesn't seem to take this seriously, or at least has a different view in terms of how we should address Putin, which you could say is just Russian reset, part two, with Donald Trump at the head, instead of Obama.
On the other side, you have more traditional conservatives or right- of-center thinkers that he's hired to actually do the work. And so what I wonder is, are they going to clash when they meet and hash out policy? Or is this Trump for consumption of his base and protecting his political flank.
[06:10:07] But you know, when the work, when they get down to business in his administration, are they going to be taking -- doing this in a way that we would find, you know, more normal?
CUOMO: I surrender the meat (ph) of the week. You know, these guys are going to get hamstrung by this. And when they go to meet with legislative leaders, even within their own party, they're going to hear, "You want me to do this for you with him saying that?" It's a problem right out of the box.
HABERMAN: It's going to be a problem at the confirmation hearings. You're going to see people get pressed on this.
CUOMO: Yes, "Do you believe what he said? Do you believe what he said?"
HABERMAN: Here's a quote that President-elect Trump said. "Here's what you said as recently as last year or six months ago and so on and so on. It's going to be tense.
CAMEROTA: OK. Panel, stick around. We have many more questions for you.
CUOMO: All right. The battle over the future of Obamacare is ripe. Republicans are ready to repeal President Obama's healthcare law, but what do they replace it with? It seems to be a very dangerous unknown.
And there's a dangerous known now on the Democratic side. If President Obama has his way, he doesn't want Democrats to help with anything that follows Obamacare. CNN's Phil Mattingly is live on Capitol Hill with more -- Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Chris.
Look, the sharp political fault lines of U.S. health policy aren't exactly a secret, but boy, were they on display here yesterday. Obviously, you had those dueling meetings, but you also had the very real recognition that the battle, not just on the policy side but also on the messaging side, has started in earnest.
PENCE: The American people voted for change in November.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Just two days into the new Congress, the battle lines are drawn.
PENCE: The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare.
MATTINGLY: Vice-President-elect Mike Pence rallying emboldened Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. President Obama huddles with Democrats looking to save his signature domestic achievement. His advice to those lawmakers...
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look out for the American people.
MATTINGLY: Sources say Obama is encouraging Democrats not to rescue Republicans, calling on his party to deploy Tea Party-like tactics to obstruct their efforts. President labeling the GOP's half-baked plan, "Trumpcare."
While Republicans aren't united on how to replace Obamacare, Pence and President-elect Donald Trump want to make sure the GOP is united on messaging. Trump tweeting, "The Dems own the failed Obamacare disaster."
PENCE: All the promises of Obamacare have been shown to be false and broken promises.
MATTINGLY: And Senate Republicans already scoring a procedural win in the fight. They're 51 votes in favor of a budget resolution that would clear the way towards repealing large swaths of the law.
RYAN: We want to make sure that, as we give relief to people through Obamacare, we do it in a transition that doesn't pull the rug out from anybody. We have a plan to replace it.
MATTINGLY: But Democrats are digging in.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The Republicans say repeal and replace. The only thing that has going for it is alliteration. They have no replacement plan. So to repeal and then delay is an act of cowardice.
MATTINGLY: Unveiling a new slogan at the core of their defense.
SCHUMER: The Republican plan to cut healthcare wouldn't make America great again. It would make America sick again and lead to chaos instead of affordable care.
MATTINGLY: And Alisyn, I think you can pretty much guarantee you're going to hear "make America sick again" about 10,000 times over the course of the next couple of weeks and months and potentially years, as well.
Look, the big question is, obviously, as Chris hinted at, what's the replacement plan. And you talked to officials today on both sides of the Capitol building right now, and they acknowledged there are differences here. They are not united. They have not coalesced around a proposal.
One congressional aide told me yesterday, keep an eye on not just Capitol Hill, but also the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. A current congressman who's going to become the head of the Health and Human Services. Tom Price obviously vehemently opposed to the Affordable Care Act. He has a lot of power on his own. There are a lot of options, as Republicans have power in Washington -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Phil, you have set us up perfectly for what we're going to discuss next. Thank you very much.
Neither side has a clear plan to replace Obamacare, so where does the fight go from here? Our panel takes that up next.
[06:17:56] CUOMO: All right. So here we go. The Senate advancing a budget resolution that begins the process of repealing Obamacare. Republicans and Democrats have one thing in common. Neither side has any idea for what comes next, but only one side wants to change what's there right now.
Let's bring back our panel: Maggie Haberman and David Drucker. There is a supposition coming out of this situation, which has also been coming out of my own face, which may be exaggerating the ease of this. I've been saying they can repeal it. They have the votes. You know, that's the easy part. But it's not that easy, and they probably can't repeal it with one day's effort either, can they?
HABERMAN: No, I think it's going to be a more protracted process than people realize. I think what you saw yesterday when you saw President Obama go to Capitol Hill and essentially say, "Fight this," you are seeing Democrats galvanize against it.
Look, I think Republicans probably do have the votes to do this, but you are going to see Democrats try to make it as painful as possible. And what we saw with the effort by congressional Republicans to try to tinker with the Office of Congressional Ethics, there was a backlash from voters. You know, President-elect Trump did influence that with his tweet, just in terms of creating noise around it. But...
CUOMO: People were calling the night before. Thousands and thousands of calls. He hadn't even tweeted yet, and we were reporting it. Good morning.
HABERMAN: There was a lot of voter intensity on this, and you're going to see Democrats try to do the exact same thing here with that. It is the Republican playbook from 2010 in reverse in terms of when Obamacare was passed in the first place.
Again, I don't know that it will halt it, but it will cause a lot of pain and possibly will effect what the ultimate replacement is, but again, we don't know what that's going to look like right now.
CAMEROTA: We have a little bit of idea. We know the primary pillars, at least, of what Republicans want. So let's put that up on the screen and just read it for people, see where there might be some sticking points. OK? So they want federally-funded high-risk pools for the sickest people, so they can all sort of, I guess, lower the cost. I don't know how it works. Federally funded high-risk pools, but that's where the people go.
CUOMO: David, let's talk about that. The criticism of what you want to do is you're going to subsidize those pools, and it's very, very expensive to do that. And the question is, is that cheaper over time than dealing with the mandate?
[06:20:12] DRUCKER: Right, right. The policy differences here is that, if you get rid of the mandate that forces all of us to buy health insurance.
CAMEROTA: The economics fall apart.
DRUCKER: How, actuarially, with insurance, how do you fund no pre- existing conditions excluded in things of that nature. And so what Republicans are looking to do is create things like high-risk pools and use -- you know, they will talk a lot about market forces as a way to substitute for Obama's federal overbearing architecture.
DRUCKER: Now, here's what's really interesting about this when you think about it. Nobody really likes Obamacare, but President Obama actually won the messaging war on healthcare in this way.
Republicans are committed to keeping the exclusion against pre- existing conditions. They're committed to keep allowing people to keep children on their healthcare until they're 26 years old. And I believe lifetime casts (ph) are the other thing.
In other words, what they're saying is Obamacare bad, but all these things that Obama actually created now as the basis for what healthcare should be are good.
Republicans are very nervous. And Maggie spoke to this.
But they're going to end up in their own 2010 style, midterm debacle in reverse. And so, when I was talking to them yesterday on the Hill, they all told me we need to be very careful. The term they used the most was "orderly transition."
Yes, we're going to get the ball rolling on the repeal. The repeal will be law, probably, in about 8 weeks or so. But we're going to phase it in in an orderly transition as we phase out Obamacare and overtime create the new law. And they're going to have to create that. It will probably take about a year. And then phase that in so that we have something in its place so nobody is losing healthcare that they have, and nobody comes out on the backend, feeling worse off than they do now under the Obamacare system.
CUOMO: Easy to say. Tough to do.
HABERMAN: I'd say that's a very optimistic, orderly transition. And I mean, yes, while it is true that a lot of legislators don't like Obamacare, including some Democrats, 20 million people who now have health insurance do like it a lot. And once you have an entitlement program, it is very hard to unwind it.
DRUCKER: I think they can unwind this one, because Republicans, if nothing else, were elected, at least by Republicans, to get rid of Obamacare. The key is, and why Obamacare failed is it's not the people that were extended coverage that we're talking about here.
Everybody who gets healthcare through their employer or other means, other than an Obamacare exchange, and they like their doctor and they like their plan, even if they think it costs too much, if these are the people that are hurt, just like what happened with Obamacare that caused people to get so upset, they will end up getting mad at Republicans, probably just in time for an election.
HABERMAN: Yes. And the one thing I would say about that, and I totally agree with you, but remember, leading into this election what I was hearing from Republican strategists on the Hill and elsewhere in the states was this has been settled already. Donald Trump should not be running on repealing Obamacare. Our Senate candidates should not be running on this, because we lost on this in 2014. We lost on this in 2012.
So I'm not sure how solid a message that is going forward. It is true that Trump won the election. It is true there are many, many voters who are upset about their premiums going up and other aspects of the bill, but I think it is a little more of a complicated picture.
DRUCKER: And Chris...
CAMEROTA: Isn't it also just fascinating to see the tables turn, to have President Obama go up to Capitol Hill and basically say, "Don't help them. Obstruct if you must." I mean, I'm paraphrasing. But, you know, just the playbook has completely turned on this.
DRUCKER: Well, there's nothing they can do. I mean, look, when Republicans opposed this in '09 and '10, they didn't have the votes to do a thing. So all they could do was try and take what they didn't like about the law, take perceived flaws, magnify them. It actually worked from a political standpoint, as we know...
CAMEROTA: It did.
DRUCKER: ... pretty well.
What's interesting here is we don't actually know what Donald Trump is going to do. He is a small government traditional conservative. He's always been about the government taking care of people, spending money on healthcare. Everybody should be covered, he's said. And it's OK if the government does it. So who knows, at the end of the day, what he is going to tell Republicans in Congress that he wants to sign that they need to summon.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys. Great to talk to you.
DRUCKER: Thank you.
CUOMO: Our next story is something that everybody should agree on, and the consensus should be that this is terrible. A horrible video of gruesome crime that was streamed live on Facebook. Police have made arrests. You will not believe what was done to one young man, next.
[06:27:52] CUOMO: Powerful winter storm pounding the western U.S., now setting its sights on the south. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has your forecast. How's this thing lasting so long?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is a big storm. It put down 4 to 5 feet in the Sierra. Big snows. Great for California, great for the Rockies and skiers, but it is on its way to the east.
Look at this purple area. There are some spots, and especially over the next couple of days, that will pick up between 5 and 10 feet of snow out there.
Now we're talking 1 to 2 inch across parts of Atlanta, Georgia, but more into the Carolinas. There could even be some icy mixing going on in here. So the model is not really all that organized just yet. Still about 40 hours before this even starts to make any precip there.
But I think the forecast for us for 1 to 2 inches of snow, with winter storm advisories all across the southeast, a light dusting of snow, some sleet and 1 to 2 in Atlanta, but significantly more in Raleigh all the way up to the Hampton Rhodes area. There could be big snows up there, but one to two inches. The good news is that's not a lot. The better news is it comes in on Saturday.
CAMEROTA: OK. Thank you very much.
All right. We have a sickening story to tell you about now. It has gone viral. Chicago police arresting four people for this attack on a disabled teenager that was streamed live on Facebook. Ryan Young is live in Chicago with more. Tell us what happened here, Ryan.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, you watch this video. It's very disturbing. In fact, all the people involved in this are very young, so a lot of people are shaking their heads about what happened on this Facebook live video. We want to warn you that this video is very disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at him. Tied up.
YOUNG (voice-over): This disturbing 30-minute video, streamed live on Facebook, shows a man tied up, his mouth covered, crouched in the corner of a room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sickening. It's sickening. You know, it makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that.
YOUNG: Chicago police describing the victim as an 18-year-old white male with special needs. The attackers are seen laughing as they kick, punch and cut his forehead with a knife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Donald Trump. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) white people, boy! (EXPLETIVE DELETED) white people, boy!
YOUNG: Police say the victim was targeted because he has a mental health challenge.