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Trump on Russian Hacking; Mattis at Odds with Transition Team; December Jobs Report. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 6, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But why -

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP ADVISER: And the road to 270, not the road to the popular vote, by the way, because there's no prize for that, the road to 270 was very clear if you watched CNN.

CUOMO: Look -

CONWAY: It was just so obvious it was going to be a blowout.

CUOMO: I - I get that you feel that people are trying to steal the legitimacy of the election.

CONWAY: That's why you're doing it now.

CUOMO: But that's not my agenda.

CONWAY: But they can't.

CUOMO: My agenda is to ask you questions about - of course they can't. That's why I don't know why you're dwelling on it. What my agenda is, is to ask you only about -

CONWAY: Because this time I'm going to tell you, we're against any foreign government hacking or interfering with the United States elections, that's for sure.

CUOMO: By whom? By whom?

CONWAY: But we're now politicizing intelligence.

CUOMO: By whom?

CONWAY: It can - by anyone.

CUOMO: By whom?

CONWAY: By anyone.

CUOMO: Like who?

CONWAY: By - by - by anyone.

CUOMO: But like who? CONWAY: Like, by anyone. By anyone.

CUOMO: Like Russia? How about Russia?


CUOMO: Because that's who the intel agencies are dealing with right now. And that's who you're apparently ignoring. And that's what I'm asking you.

CONWAY: And - and here's the problem. I'm not ignoring them at all.

CUOMO: You won't even say it.

CONWAY: First of all, we have great respect for the intelligence communities. They will be here this afternoon to brief the president- elect and he will have that briefing along with his vice president- elect and his intelligence and security advisers. And he will receive that information. But, remember -


CONWAY: Every - the what - the moment you mention Russian hacking and the election in the same sentence, you know what the impression is for a lot of the viewers out there. You know what's at - what's the point (ph) here (ph) and -

CUOMO: I - I do not think a political calculation should be fueling your recognition of a cyber threat of this magnitude. That's - t hat's my answer to your question that you asked me a few minutes ago.

CONWAY: And what was the result? (INAUDIBLE). Chris, let me ask you a question, since this is your topic, really a very passionate topic du jour for you.

CUOMO: This is the topic.

CONWAY: Let me set - right, I know. I know. But there are a lot of other topics, too, like, why Minority Leader Schumer has now promised to only confirm one department head or cabinet appointee per week. Really? That's how the government functions? President Obama had seven cabinet nominees confirmed on January 20, 2009, the day he was inaugurated. He had five more leaders (ph) - he had five more leaders (ph) that - he had 13 by voice vote.

CUOMO: And their decisions as Democrats should be scrutinized, and they will.


CUOMO: And they - and they should be scrutinized.

CONWAY: We had the courtesy - you know, we had the courtesy of having them confirmed on day one. Why? Because we, as a nation, must function. President George W. Bush came in through a Supreme Court decision. There were a lot of raw feelings, as you remember, Chris. A lot of people felt cheated.

CUOMO: Those kind of politics get played. How about SCOTUS - how about SCOTUS with Scalia's seat?

CONWAY: Hold on. He had nine the first week.

CUOMO: They won't even have a vote.


CUOMO: And they went back and forth about debating it and McConnell played some kind of weird pantomime game about it. That's politics. I just thought you wanted to rise above that.

CONWAY: No. No, the next president -

CUOMO: Let me ask you something else while I have you.

CONWAY: Nope, the next president - no, see, now you're just pontificating.

CUOMO: I'm not pontificating. I'm giving you -

CONWAY: Now you're giving me your opinion, which I guess is acceptable at CNN.

CUOMO: Listen, Kellyanne, if you don't like what I say, that's on you. But if you ask me a question, I'm going to answer it.

CONWAY: But the fact is that you just talked about the Supreme Court.

CUOMO: I'm going to give you observations.

CONWAY: So are we going to get the same courtesy that - that President Obama and President George W. Bush got?

CUOMO: And some of them are negative for Democrats, some of them are negative for Republicans.

CONWAY: Are we going to -

CUOMO: We'll see.

CONWAY: You message to Minority Leader Schumer and the Democrats today that they will, in fact, give confirmation hearings and - and confirmer our nominees?

CUOMO: We'll see. And if they do, they should be scrutinized and criticized.

CONWAY: Do you not want to - what do you think is more important, the topic that you want to cover in ad infinitum or - or - and/or us having a secretary of the treasury, commerce, state and defense on day one or close to it.

CUOMO: I think they - I think they all matter and I think this one goes away easily -

CONWAY: Yes, they do.

CUOMO: If the president-elect would accept what is so obvious to the intel community.

One other question. I know you're pressed for time. Paying for the wall. This morning the president-elect put out two tweets. One said that just to get it done quickly, we're going to pay for it and then Mexico will pay us back. And then he changed it to the word "later," that they'll pay us back later. And then you said, this isn't coming from us. It's coming from Congress. They want to look at funding it for themselves. So assuming that's true, is that what the president- elect wants? Does he want the United States to pay for the wall?

CONWAY: No. The president-elect has made very clear two things. He's going to build the wall and Mexico is going the pay for it. Congress, because that's where things are paid for, Congress, I guess, is investigating the possibility of paying for it to make it more speedy and then having Mexico pay for it after the fact. But that's what Congress is doing.

Mr. Trump has always been very clear. Nothing has changed. He's building the wall. Mexico will pay for it. He ran on that. You can take that promise and he will - he'll keep that promise. In fact, he's already discussing ways to get it done. I mean this is a guy who, just since he's been elected in two short months, Chris, is getting things done, is putting together an a-plus cabinet that even some of his detractors have - has credited with being a cabinet of serious people who are going to get things done. He's already made good on promises. He has employers -

CUOMO: There's a lot of good people in it.

CONWAY: Thank you.

He has - and he has U.S. employers deciding they're not going to ship jobs over to Mexico. They're going to keep them here. That happens on a fairly regular basis now. He's - he's talking about infrastructure.

CUOMO: Jury's out on how those policies will go forward.

CONWAY: Well, he's not even the president yet.

CUOMO: True. There's been a lot of action.

CONWAY: But the jury's not out on all the things - all the unfinished business that he's inheriting.

CUOMO: True point.

CONWAY: That's very clear to us.

CUOMO: That's true.

CONWAY: I mean that's obvious. And I'm happy to come back on and talk about that some time when - when you feel like it.

CUOMO: You are welcome any time to come on NEW DAY. You know that.

CONWAY: All right, I'll see you Monday.

CUOMO: You know - whenever you want.

CONWAY: Thanks.

CUOMO: You can even come into the studio. I'll make your coffee myself.

[08:35:01] CONWAY: Thank you. I am, but I have a meeting with the president-elect momentarily and I'm sure he's watching, so -

CUOMO: I'm sure he is. And we appreciate his viewership.

Thank you for coming on. I appreciate having the conversation. These issues matter.

CONWAY: Thank you. Take care, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: God bless you. Bye-bye.

CUOMO: All right.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have a lot to discuss. That was a calorie burner.

So let's get to "The Bottom Line." We have David Drucker, he's the senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" and host of the podcast "Examining Politics," and "Washington Post" reporter Josh Rogin.

Josh, I'll start with you.

You just watched this exchange between Kellyanne and Chris. Is it that their - they fear so much the delegitimizing of the president-elect that they are so reluctant to talk about what the intel agencies have concluded, that Russia was involved in meddling?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think Chris got to the core of the issue, which is that these are two separate things, right? You can admit that the Russians did the hacking without conceding that it affected the election. And, in fact, that's what the intelligence agencies are saying. But for the Trump team and for President-elect Trump, they just can't divorce those two issues and their surrogates aren't permitted to divorce them.

But what I thought was really newsy out of the interview was Kellyanne Conway saying the Russians didn't want to - want Trump to win. OK, that's the new line, OK? When it - there - this was started by Tom Cotton in yesterday's hearing. And now it's being adopted across the board. CAMEROTA: But the evidence suggests otherwise.

ROGIN: Of course. Of course the Trump's - the Russians wanted Trump to win. They - Vladimir Putin has a long history of contention with Hillary Clinton. He thought she interfered with his election. So it's clear that the Russians wanted Trump to win. And this evidence just bolsters that.

CUOMO: Well, David, let's bring you in here because, you know, usually I'll get attacked by the left because I'll say, I don't care about what the motivations were for the hacking because you got to deal with who did it first because that's how you do your defense strategy on it. But now the right will attack me today for going after Kellyanne Conway about this. But how do you reconcile these positions that he doesn't want to acknowledge Russia did it because he doesn't like the political implication, but by fighting the political implication, he puts himself in this terrible national security position of ignoring what's so clear to the intel community.

DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORR., "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Right. And it's not just about this topic. And I think that's what creates such an impression here. I mean let's remember where we were in the campaign all the way through. Donald Trump, throughout the campaign, said really nice things about Vladimir Putin, unlike almost every Republican you can find in Washington. And whenever anybody would bring up the facts that Vladimir Putin basically is a quasi- dictator, that he imprisons journalists, that he's probably had political opponents killed or injured, Donald Trump would brush it off by saying, look, we do bad things also. So this goes back to a - a sort of, you know, I guess his attempt at a Russian reset part two or three here to cozy up to Vladimir Putin because maybe he thinks he can charm him in a way that Obama and George W. Bush before him were unable to do.

And so then you - you get to this whole business of Russian hacking and his desire to dismiss it and it makes it appear as though there's more to it than just the acute - the obvious. And it was obvious in your interview there, Chris, the acute sensitivity to the idea that the election, you know, wasn't as strong for Trump as they want - as they think it is. It goes beyond that because of the relationship that he has tried to establish with Putin -


DRUCKER: And the unwillingness to admit that Russians are adversarial to us and our interests around the world and are seeking to do us harm.


So we're tiptoeing around this. And maybe we are for good reason. Is there some there there or is this about just wanting to reset the relationship? Vladimir Putin could be an important ally, Mr. Trump believes, or is there some sort of sub plot - sub text here that we should know about? ROGIN: Right. So especially towards the end of the campaign, there was

a lot of reporting about links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, OK. The FBI looked into it. Harry Reid was pushing this story very hard. They didn't find much, OK. So we can't go beyond the reporting here to say that there is a link or that there is some sort of conspiracy.


ROGIN: That just hasn't been proven. But people are still looking into it, especially Democrats this Congress, because the more - the favorable view that Donald Trump just really wants to make a reset with Russia -

CUOMO: Right.

ROGIN: That's - sure, that's possible. The fact that he's attacking the intelligence community, siding with Assange, praising Putin, that seems very weird, OK, and it's making a lot of people both inside the system and outside the system very uncomfortable.

CUOMO: I mean you wind up in the same place. Look, to echo what Josh just said, I have not seen anything compelling that puts Trump in some type of compromised role with any Russian entity. But this posture is such a blatant refusal to deal with what's obvious that it fuels this skepticism. Kellyanne, smart as hell, was wise not to touch Assange and not to want to touch any type of suspicion about Russia. But there's no real good answer about what's motivating this except, we don't like how it sounds.

DRUCKER: And, Chris, this is making Republicans on Capitol Hill very nervous.

CUOMO: Very upset, yes.

DRUCKER: They are gingerly walking around it and what they were telling me yesterday, and I talked to a number of them - of them is, well, look, once Donald Trump's actually the president in a few weeks and has his team in place, he's going to take a different approach to the intelligence community because it's going to be his team and he's going to be in charge.

[08:40:14] But what does concern Republicans is, look, they're now in charge of the government, or they're about to be in a couple of weeks. Anything on the national security front that makes Americans less safe, attacks that happen domestically or in the west, are going to be on them and voters are going to look to them, Americans are going to look to them and wonder what the heck they're doing. And so especially because they have been dealing - you know, some of these Republicans have been here through multiple administrations, have seen other presidents try to woo Putin or treat him softly and they've seen it go nowhere and they are trying to express to the new administration, don't get bamboozled and start recognizing Putin for who he is, a bad guy who is uniquely capable of doing bad things to us and, you know, they'd like to see him do things about it and try and fix it in ways that Obama didn't. CAMEROTA: Yes.

Josh, very quickly, you have new reporting about the secretary of defense. Share it with us, if you would?

ROGIN: There seems to be trouble in paradise. James Mattis was appointed - nominated about a month ago, but most of the top Pentagon positions have yet to be filled. And what several transition sources tell me is that Mattis has been rejecting all of the names given to him by the Trump transition team.


ROGIN: He doesn't like the people that they're suggesting. He wants more control over the process. He wants never Trump Republicans to be included. And the Trump transition team doesn't want that. But, overall, this is sort of the two sides squaring off because there's going to be a dynamic here between a very powerful defense secretary and a White House that's very sort of insular and paranoid. And they're trying to figure that out now. So if there is a clash, it could all get resolved, but right now - there's a lot of tension right now between the Mattis camp and the Trump camp.

CUOMO: Look, Trump made a strong decision to put alphas around him.

ROGIN: Right.

CUOMO: But now you've got to deal with them as alphas.

ROGIN: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: Josh, David, thank you very much.

DRUCKER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So the last jobs report of the Obama presidency has just been released. We have all the breaking details for you, next.


[08:45:58] CUOMO: Breaking news. The final jobs report of Obama's presidency is here. CNN's Christine Romans breaks down the numbers.

What do you see, my friend?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I see a solid finish to the year. The last jobs report of the presidency. Look, this is 2.2 million jobs overall for 2016, 156,000 net new jobs in December and we know November was revised higher to 200,000. So that's what the job growth looks like in the final year. Altogether for the Obama presidency, it's a net 11 million new jobs.

You guys, I just looked at all the numbers for the first year when President Obama was in office, 5 million jobs just disappeared. Remember how ugly that was? And then the next seven years of the administration slowly climbing back. That's what it looks like for the unemployment rate. This was those terrible days where the unemployment rate was above 6 percent, it was above 10 percent at one point, now 4.7 percent.

That's a little higher than the previous month. Why would it be higher? Because 184,000 people came out of the shadows, out of the sidelines, and started looking for a job. So that meant that the labor market got a little bit bigger. So the unemployment rate ticked up.

Let me show you the sectors here. Health care, this has been a strong performer consistently, 43,000 jobs there. Food services, you know bars and restaurants. Manufacturing had a bit of a reversal and posted some job gains there. That's been one area of the economy that's been lagging, as you know, if you've followed this election. Manufacturing job angst (ph). We saw 17,000 manufacturing jobs added, you guys.

CAMEROTA: Fascinating to see that tick back up.


CAMEROTA: Christine, thank you very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: So, stick around for this because we're going to play you some clips from this new documentary about Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher. It premiers this weekend. And this is as Hollywood remembers these two legends after their death. So we talk about this, next.


[08:51:18] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS: Mommy, mommy, I'm home.


FISHER: Where - look. You cannot keep that phone. It's ridiculous. That's from the early '90s when they first invented cell phones.


FISHER: That was one of the originals.

REYNOLDS: I don't want to buy a new one. The old phone works fine. Just dandy.

FISHER: It's horrible.

REYNOLDS: Oh, there she is.

FISHER: All right, look - look at all the (INAUDIBLE) -

REYNOLDS: Do you know how to do it? Do you know how to do it?

FISHER: No, no one knows how to use those anymore. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Wow, that was a clip from "Bright Lights." That's the Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher documentary. It actually premieres tonight on our sister network, HBO. And this is just a little more than a week after the mother and daughter movie stars passed away one day apart.

So let's discuss it with Nischelle Turner, "Entertainment Tonight" host and CNN contributor, and Chloe Melas, she's our CNN entertainment reporter.

Gosh, the timing is uncanny here.


CAMEROTA: They were obviously - this - this - this airs tomorrow night, I should say. This documentary was obviously already in the works. It was supposed to air in March, but they moved it up because of their deaths. What an interesting co-dependent -


CAMEROTA: And complicated relationship that they had, Chloe.

MELAS: Well, you're so right, Alisyn. I mean they had a very tumultuous relationship. I mean it was very public that they weren't getting along, especially when Carrie was an (INAUDIBLE) teen. But then you see that they ended up getting closer. They became best friends. And Debbie Reynolds actually was the one who moved right next door to Carrie Fisher. They had just a small little sidewalk separating their homes. And in this documentary you're going to see, they finished each other's sentences. Very, very close.

CUOMO: Nischelle, my friend -


CUOMO: Few know how deeply encyclopedic your knowledge is of what has happened in Hollywood. Can you think of a parallel to where two people pass away in such close proximity and there just happens to be something ready to go to tell a story about these two that many didn't even know?

TURNER: No. Absolutely not. I was thinking about that actually just the other day, Chris, because when they did die, and we knew this documentary was coming out, I said at one point, guys, this is going to get moved up because we all want to see it. And I have not - I literally - I can't remember anything like this. I mean it's almost like it was destined to happen in this order because it just - it's mind-boggling how everything has kind of lined up in the progression of this story with the two of them.


MELAS: And, you know, it's the perfect way to tie up everything this weekend for them. Yesterday they had a bunch of celebrities visiting the compound in Los Angeles where they both lived side by side. You had Gwyneth Paltrow, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alex Trebek -

CAMEROTA: As a memorial?

MELAS: As a - as like a memorial viewing and then today is their joint funeral. I mean they've having a joint funeral.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

MELAS: So then to have it end this weekend with this documentary, it just kind of nicely ties everything up, you know, for Hollywood royalty.

CAMEROTA: I mean, Nischelle, look, mothers and daughters have complicated relationships. That's not a revelation.

TURNER: Yes, we know this.

CAMEROTA: But these two in particular, I mean obviously we've all - they're a Hollywood life legends that we've all followed.


CAMEROTA: And for Debbie Reynolds to die - I mean the - her son describes it basically of a broken heart, that she didn't want to go on without her daughter.

TURNER: Well, you know, yes, Todd Fisher has spoken extensively about this, and we did see - we saw this all play out in front of us in public. And Debbie Reynolds said at one point there was a ten-year span where Carrie Fisher did not speak to her. Ten years went by where they just had this real angst with each other, and then they made their way back to each other, and they became inseparable. And Todd kind of described it, too, as a mother's undying love for their child.

[08:55:03] And I think it was interesting because when Carrie Fisher had her daughter, Billie Lourd, she really made a conscious effort for that not to happen to them. And Billie was her world. I mean they were super close and they didn't have those same issues. But she was like, I'm not going to go through this same thing with my daughter. So it was like these life lessons learned.

Debbie Reynolds also said, I want to be very close to Billie. She didn't want any of those issues happening. So I love the way that they really repaired and mentioned and at the end of the day they a together. And at the memorial yesterday that Chloe was talking about, Meryl Streep was there. She gave a eulogy and she sang Carrie Fisher's favorite song "Happy Days are Here Again." And they said at the end of it, everybody in the room was singing along with her. So really a beautiful ending.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: I'm assuming the family was consulted about moving up the date and probably the documentary overall.

TURNER: Yes. CUOMO: But I hope this is something that helps them a little bit, because this was staggeringly heartbreaking what they went through. But with some closure.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Chloe, Nischelle, thank you very much. We'll look forward to watching the documentary.

"NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins after this very quick break. Have a great weekend.


[09:00:02] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

President-elect Donald Trump coming face to face with intel chiefs he's been slamming for weeks.