Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY

Can U.S. Compete on New Cyber War Frontier?; Trump's Legal Issues; Tragedy and Heroism Unites Strangers; Woman Who Jeff Sessions Tried to Put in Jail. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 6, 2017 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You got Alex Gibney, a documentary filmmaker. His latest film "Zero Days" deals with that cyber threat. And you've got David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for "The New York Times" and he appears in "Zero Days."

Good to have you both, gentlemen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad to be here.

CUOMO: Let's start off with the context of what we just heard from Senator John McCain. This is an act of war. Do you agree?

ALEX GIBNEY, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: No. I think you have to be careful. Espionage per se can't be an act of war. Certainly we engage in espionage all the time. So I think we have to be careful with the rhetoric but what is true is that we've entered a new era of cyber conflict and nobody knows what the rules are. And that is very destabilizing and a pretty big problem.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And you produced this documentary, "Zero Days," about it. It came out in July. You were ahead of the curve.

GIBNEY: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Why have you been so personally concerned about this?

GIBNEY: Well, the story that we tell in that film is how the United States and Israel launched really the first cyber weapons, something that cross the barrier from the cyber realm to the physical realm and destroyed centrifuges in Iran. And that set in motion a series of events so that the cyber powers around the world in Russia is one are now engaged in a ratcheting up, an escalation of cyber weapons and devices that are destabilizing the world. That made it a big concern to me.

CUOMO: All right. So here's something you can help us with, David. There's a fundamental confusion. All right? If someone, god forbid, broke into the Pentagon and took some files and ran away, that's it. We would be on high alert. We're going to retaliate. Whoever country is connected to that, their ambassadors would be out and we'd be thinking about it as an act of war. But when they do it, electronically, digitally, it's like, yes, it's true. China did come in and steal this, yes, Russia is doing this, and we're going to figure out what to do but there's like a nonchalance about it from government that seems very confusing to people. How do you explain it?

DAVID SANGER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: Because I think part of this is the difference between espionage, as Alex said, which has gone on for as long as human beings have lived and the escalation to destruction in cyber. So I think Senator McCain would have been closer to being right about an act of cyber war if somebody had done to us what we did to the Iranians in the story that's told in "Zero Days," which was Stuxnet or Operation Olympic Games.

CUOMO: That sounds like a two wrongs make it right.

SANGER: No, they're slightly different and what it is, is that what we did in -- in that case was we actually destroyed physical material. So the only other way to go do this, to have taken out the Iranian centrifuges, would have been to send in saboteurs or bomb from above. And certainly the Iranians would have viewed that as an act of war.

I think where your analogy works well is in the Sony case. So think about this. So in Sony the North Koreans came in they destroyed 70 percent of Sony Pictures Entertainment's computers. Forget about the e-mails that got released. That was the sideshow. It was the destruction of the computers. Imagine for a moment that some North Koreans saboteurs have landed in L.A. and blown up, and CNN had on this picture a picture of the burning computer center. We would have considered that an act of war. But when war was done with cyber means to destroy their computer center, they got some fairly mild sanctions.

CAMEROTA: So from where you sit, should the U.S. not have destroyed the Iranian centrifuges in this way?

GIBNEY: I think if you look at the film it's complicated. I think the initial device was actually rather brilliant because it slowed down the Iranian program. But ultimately the widespread release of the worm caused a huge problem all over the world and set precedent that is a very ugly precedent, and nobody really thought about the long-term consequences of the short-term benefit.

CUOMO: So now let's get to president day. We have the Russian hacks. OK. Put all the politics to the side for a second because there is no real question about what the intel community believes is going on here, but we hear yes, the White House knew about this and they decided not to do anything because of the political optics of it. Well, how serious is it? If somebody is coming in and you believe that they're hacking e-mails and trying to mess with your election and you do nothing because it's cyber? You know what I mean? Because it's not like they had operatives here on the ground who are messing with polling places physically? Is it really that meaningful a distinction?

SANGER: You know, Chris, I think the distinction goes back to earlier operations that the Russians did hear. This group, APT 28, basically the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Unit, was responsible for the hacks at the White House. Responsible for the hacks of the State Department. The Joint Chiefs of Staff. Then they get to this one. This story is one of remarkable incompetence all the way around. The

DNC left the door open. the FBI came to them but it took months before the DNC took any action, and in those intervening nine months, the president didn't know. By his own account he said that he didn't learn until early summer and the DNC leadership didn't know, and that's the unforgivable part here that you could have acted earlier.

[07:35:01] CAMEROTA: So, Alex, you're on the front lines of this. What keeps you up at night?

(LAUGHTER)

GIBNEY: I think what keeps me up at night is the fact that we're only just now having a conversation about the dangers of cyber that we should have been having five years ago. This is something -- in part the government is responsible for that because for a long time particularly when it came to offensive cyber this was kept a secret.

One of the terrifying events in the film is an instance in which Stuxnet, the thing that we launched, is discovered by Department of Homeland Security and they're terrified and they think, oh my god, a foreign power has launched an attack on us, not realizing that actually it was Fort Mead just down the street that had launched the attack.

CAMEROTA: They should have been communicating better on that one.

CUOMO: You might have thought so.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Gentlemen, thank you.

CUOMO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Very much. It's always nerve racking to have these conversations. But it is certainly in the news and we need to be.

CUOMO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Because you're in the sweet spot because often fear, which is where we are right now. You've got that going for you. People are afraid for their e-mail, they're afraid for the system. It needs to be matched by reason. And that's what you give in the documentary.

GIBNEY: Right.

CUOMO: So good for you. And David, always a pleasure to have you.

SANGER: Great to see you.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

All right, so the president-elect is being deposed during his transition. Did you know that? It's just one of dozens of potential legal fights he faces while in office. How could they impact the Trump presidency and why didn't we know more about the fact that he was deposed just now?

A closer look, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: OK. Four more detainees have been transferred from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia. The terror suspects originally from Yemen were in prison without trial for 15 years.

[07:40:01] The Pentagon saying of the 55 that remain at Guantanamo, 19 have undergone a security review process and are eligible for transfer. President-elect Trump has called on President Obama to stop the transfers.

CAMEROTA: Several reports this morning that Mr. Trump's incoming administration is getting rid of President Obama's diplomats. "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" report that Trump's transition team ordered politically appointed ambassadors to leave their posts by Inauguration Day. Now typically incoming administrations give diplomats a grace period until their replacements are confirmed.

CUOMO: The final rubber stamp of Donald Trump's Election Day victory happening today. That's when the electoral college results are official certified during the joint session of Congress. Some House Democrats are threatening to slow down the proceedings. They're considering a measure to voice a protest but that requires the backing of at least one member of the Senate. It's unclear whether you're going to find one.

CAMEROTA: So listen to this. President-elect Donald Trump stepped away from his transition duties to give a deposition in a lawsuit against celebrity chef Jose Andres. Mr. Trump testified for a little more than an hour on Thursday. So let's discuss this with CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, the author of "American Heiress" and a former federal prosecutor. Also with us Timothy O'Brien, executive editor of Bloomberg View and the author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald." He has faced Mr. Trump in a lawsuit before.

Great to have both of you here. Jeffrey, I'm going to start with you. How unprecedented is this for a president-elect to be deposed and to be part of a lawsuit?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's unusual but it is certainly not unprecedented because in 1997 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Bill Clinton had to give a deposition in the Paula Jones case. And of course he did give that deposition and he wound up getting impeached for lying in the course of that deposition. So the Supreme Court has said very clearly that if you are president you are still obligated to give depositions in lawsuits and that would be especially true in cases like this one where Trump is the plaintiff, not the defendant. Since he brought the case he can't very well say I'm too busy to participate and so he did, and it seemed to go relatively smoothly and that case is proceeding. CUOMO: OK. What is your legal reckoning of whether or not he has a

duty to tell the American people about when he's going to be disposed once he is even president-elect let alone in office, that now it's no longer just his business because a lot can happen in a deposition.

TOOBIN: Well, I think he has a political -- that's really a political question. I mean, his legal obligation is to sit for the deposition. How much he says publicly about whether he has -- takes one or what happened there, that's -- that's a question of, you know, how much political pressure is on him. I mean, I think, you know, his legal issues are so well-known and there are so many of these cases out there the opposing lawyers will certainly talk about it. So I think we will know every time he gives a deposition.

The interesting question is, will the deposition transcripts be revealed? I think that's probably going to be on a case by case basis and it also depends whether the judge has issued a protective order.

CUOMO: Right.

TOOBIN: There hasn't been one in this case but there may be one in others.

CAMEROTA: But, Jim, let's remind people of what this is about. Mr. Trump was suing Jose Andres for pulling out of a planned restaurant that was going to be in Mr. Trump's Washington D.C. Old Post Office building.

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Right.

CAMEROTA: Jose Andres pulled out because of Mr. Trump's discouraging remarks for -- against Mexicans.

O'BRIEN: That's correct.

CAMEROTA: So then Mr. Trump is suing him.

O'BRIEN: It's a contract dispute.

CAMEROTA: It's a contract dispute.

O'BRIEN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And so you having lived through this, what is this like going against Mr. Trump?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, he's a -- he's street-smart, litigious person. He's essentially weaponized the court system during a very colorful and somewhat disastrous business career and he learned that at the foot of Roy Cohn famously. I think what it really says about him, however, is he needs to be more strategically shrewd now about when he sits for a deposition and when he doesn't.

CAMEROTA: Why? I mean --

O'BRIEN: This is a case he shouldn't have just settled and gotten out of the way. It's peanuts at stake here. But the problem is, when you sit for a deposition, you -- the opposing side's lawyers can ask you about anything they want and it can be free range hunting. And he's not good in those situations. When you're under oath, the people presenting a fact pattern to you, he routinely dissembles lies.

You know, in our -- we deposed him for two days and in the course of that two-day deposition he lied about 32 times. About everything from how he much he gets for speaking fees, to how he calculates his wealth, to how he assesses --

CAMEROTA: And then what happens if he's lied under oath in a deposition?

O'BRIEN: Well, it doesn't matter in a deposition unless it goes to court.

[07:45:02] You know, depositions are shots across the bow. This is what you're going to face if we go to court. Here's some evidence we could use against you in court or it can become public. The deposition in our case, you know, became one of the Rosetta Stones of the 2016 campaign and really showed how he rolls in his business and personal --

CUOMO: Well, that's the concern. It's not what his legal exposure is going to be.

Go ahead, Jeffrey. You want to weigh in? Go ahead.

TOOBIN: Well, I was just going to say, it's not irrelevant whether he lies in a deposition. If -- I mean, the Paula Jones case never went to trial.

CUOMO: Right.

TOOBIN: But the deposition came out.

O'BRIEN: Right.

TOOBIN: It became clear that Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinski and he was impeached by the House of Representatives.

CUOMO: Right.

TOOBIN: So lying in a deposition can be enormously important.

CUOMO: Right.

TOOBIN: for a president of the United States. Even if the case doesn't go to trial.

CUOMO: Well said and better than I was going to put it because that becomes the eventuality here. How many situations like this could he be looking at in the next few years?

O'BRIEN: Myriad. You know, he has course about standing cases. He wisely settled the Trump University case. That was loaded with mines of around --

CUOMO: But that's not over yet either. He's got a New York state investigation.

CAMEROTA: Right. We have a --

TOOBIN: That's true.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Let me just put it up for people who understand what's going on beyond the -- he settled the Trump University for $25 million but let's just put up here what we're looking at. He has had something like 4,000 -- more than 4,000 lawsuits in his lifetime. There are now 70 lawsuits against Mr. Trump and his businesses that are still pending, still open, including members who say his golf club wouldn't refund their dues when they wanted it, former employees fired after claiming harassment, a consultant claiming defamation, on and on. So --

O'BRIEN: And it's unprecedented. I think Harry Truman came into the White House with one outstanding case. I think Teddy Roosevelt came to the White House with one outstanding case. This guy is coming into the White House with 70 and a history of thousands, and it's demonstrative of how reckless he is about litigation and also I think a benchmark around how she has to evolve rather quickly as president.

CAMEROTA: Tim, Jeffrey, thank you very much.

Well, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions looking for unanimous support at his confirmation hearing next week of course but there is a short divide among some of the players. We will bring you one family's story. A constituent's story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:51:08] CAMEROTA: Tragedy and heroism turning strangers into family. The group banding together to take down a man who terrorized people at a mall in Massachusetts before going on a deadly stabbing free at a nearby restaurant.

Deb Feyerick has their story in "Beyond the Call of Duty."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chaos erupted at the Silver City Mall in Taunton, Massachusetts. An emotionally disturbed man crashing his car into Macy's then lunging at terrified shoppers and employees before racing out and into a nearby restaurant.

ROSEMARY HEATH, SURVIVED ATTACK: We were just laughing and joking. Then we heard a scream.

FEYERICK: Rosemary Heath and her husband George were at the bar getting dinner when they heard the screams and saw the man repeatedly stabbing the waitress.

HEATH: George had grabbed him from the front and whipped him around the bar to get him away from us.

FEYERICK: George Heath, a high school visual arts teacher, grabbed the man from behind trying to pin his arms.

LAURA CREED, AIDED VICTIMS: Then I saw the knife go up in the air -- sorry.

FEYERICK: Laura Creed, a trauma nurse was having dinner with husband Jim, a Plymouth County sheriff's deputy off duty at the time. Jim quickly drew his gun.

HEATH: And I heard him tell him to drop his weapon so I immediately felt I was safe and I went down to George.

FEYERICK: But the attacker did not drop the knife.

LT. JAMES CREED, PLYMOUTH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: He suddenly just started charging towards me.

L. CREED: I heard the shot go off. I could hear all the screaming, all the commotion.

J. CREED: The last thing I ever wanted to do was to have to use my weapon in the course of duty, but it was basically him or us.

L. CREED: At that point Jim called, shouted for me to come over to help take care of George. I did the best I --

FEYERICK: George Heath had been stabbed fatally in the head.

HEATH: And I knew it was really bad, and I knew that he wasn't going to make it. I had to say good-bye. I had to tell him it was OK to go.

FEYERICK: George is credited for saving the waitress who was eight weeks pregnant at the time. Jim is credited for saving Rosemary and countless others.

(On camera): Rosemary, how would you describe the deputy?

HEATH: He's my hero. Jim saved my life.

FEYERICK: Jim, how would you describe George?

J. CREED: I'd say George is a hero. George reacted very quickly, very selflessly.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Jim Creed now a lieutenant named his new canine after George, a hero he never met. Rosemary and the Creeds have become close friends.

L. CREED: We went in as two separate couples, but we're now a family.

FEYERICK: A family united by tragedy, fate and courage.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Taunton, Massachusetts.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: A story well told by Deb Feyerick and important for all of us to watch.

So the confirmation hearing for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, set to begin on Tuesday. But his confirmation is no slam dunk because of the concerns of some of his constituents.

CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin says his role in a voter fraud case has one family deeply divided.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is 80 years old, sharp as ever and still not afraid to speak out against injustice anywhere.

Evelyn Turner and her now deceased husband Albert lived the Civil Rights Movement in Perry County, Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout the nation, even in Canada, there are marches through the streets of towns and cities.

EVELYN TURNER, MARION THREE DEFENDANT: They didn't want us to be in charge. More black folks in Perry County than it is white.

GRIFFIN: Evelyn's husband and a man named Spencer Hogue began a new absentee ballot campaign that led straight to the confrontation of her lifetime. The confrontation that brought her face-to-face with the man now poised to become the next attorney general of the United States.

TURNER: Every time they mention that man's name, I can't stand him.

GRIFFIN: That man's name is Jeff Sessions, Alabama's U.S. senator, who in 1984 was the U.S. attorney for southern Alabama and the man who tried to put Evelyn, her husband and Spencer Hogue in prison for decades.

[07:55:10] They were called the Marion Three.

TURNER: We were just trying to help people. We had been helping people for over -- I don't know how many years.

GRIFFIN: Jeff Sessions did not see it that way. Based on complaints he said came from black office holders along with black voters who said their absentee ballots had been tampered with, Sessions brought a vote fraud conspiracy case to a federal grand jury and indicted the Marion Three on 29 counts. The charges carried so much potential prison time, it still scares Evelyn Turner to this day.

TURNER: If anybody going to put you in jail for 250 years, how would you feel?

GRIFFIN: The defense attorney fact sheet said race was a factor. "Our contention, that this is a one-sided investigation designed to intimidate black voters." National figures came to their defense, witnesses for the prosecution began changing their stories. It took the jury just a few hours to return its verdict. The headline the next day would say it all, "The Marion Three Acquitted on All Charges."

Evelyn Turner, the last living member of the Marion Three, says to this day she believes the prosecution and the federal prosecutor were motivated by race.

TURNER: Sessions has not changed. Have you ever known a leopard to change his spots? I haven't. Every time I see one, his spots still there. Zebra? Still striped. Sessions is still a racist.

GRIFFIN: There is another side to this story and it comes from a most unexpected voice. Albert Turner, Junior, is Evelyn and Albert's son, now a Perry County commissioner himself, and he supports Jeff Sessions for the next U.S. attorney general.

ALBERT TURNER, JR., SON: I feel that he's qualified for the position.

GRIFFIN: Turner says the case against the Marion Three developed from local Perry County infighting, not racism and not Jeff Sessions, he says. Blacks in power and a white district attorney just wanted his dad out of politics.

A. TURNER: I don't think Jeff Sessions did it because my father was black and he was trying to do anything to harm blacks.

GRIFFIN: A spokesperson for Jeff Sessions says what happened in the failed federal prosecution of the Marion Three is simple.

SARAH ISGUR FLORES, SPOKESPERSON FOR JEFF SESSIONS: Sessions again was bringing this case on behalf of officials in his state who had thought that an election wasn't fair. So he went forward. And a majority of the jury of their peers found them innocent. The system worked.

GRIFFIN: But there was harm done, and Albert Turner, Jr.'s, 80-year- old mother can't bring herself to forgive what Jeff Sessions did prosecuting the Marion Three.

E. TURNER: He never said, I'm sorry, Miss Turner, I put you through that, that it was my job. He ain't -- he hasn't told me that. And why should I forgive him? But I know in order for me to get to heaven, I'm going to have to forgive him, but I'll never forget as long as I stay black, I will not forget it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: Guys, this nomination of Jeff Sessions has rekindled all of Evelyn Turner's pain and the strain she and her son have over it. Albert Turner wants his mom to forgive, to move on. But he also knows more than 30 years later, the case of the Marion Three still hurts her -- Chris, Alisyn?

CUOMO: Serious issues there. We'll see how they play out next week.

Drew Griffin, thank you for advancing our understanding.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning. So let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Putin is up to no good and he better be stopped.

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think that we've ever encountered a more direct campaign to interfere with our election process.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There are attempts to try and delegitimize this election.

CLAPPER: There is a difference between skepticism and discouragement.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Grow up, Donald. Grow up.

SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (via phone): There is no proof to the idea of restructuring the intelligence community.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We will build the wall. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.

CUOMO: Trump's team now asking taxpayers to fund the border wall.

PAUL: Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation.

CECIL RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD PRESIDENT: What they're trying to do will drive up the rate of unintended pregnancies.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Good mooring, everyone. Welcome to our NEW DAY. Up first, U.S. intel chiefs are just hours away from their meeting with President-elect Trump. They will make their case that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. Now on Thursday, the intel community told Congress that Russia's meddling went well beyond the hacked e- mails and the spreading of so-called fake news.

CUOMO: So just yesterday, you had GOP'ers in attendance, they listen to what the chief had to say and why they gave him the sourcing the way they did. They listened and acknowledged with little pushback. That leaves one major Republican standing in defiance --