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Trump to Hold Press Conference Wednesday; Paperwork Incomplete for Many Trump Nominees; Trump Responds to Meryl Streep Speech at Golden Globes; Surveillance Video Captures Airport Attack. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired January 9, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A huge week for Donald Trump.
[05:58:39] SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: This is astounding that he would actually have hearings and not know the fullness of people's potential conflicts of interest.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: We need to grow up here and get past that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to have a good relationship with Russia.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; What is true is that the Russians intended to meddle, and they meddled.
MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: And the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. It wasn't in a movie. It was real life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just walked along. Pow, pow, pow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An up-close look at exactly what unfolded at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then hit the ground, and she was killed.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It's Monday, January 9, 6 a.m. here in the East.
And up first, you could say it's the biggest week for Trump since the election. A flurry of confirmation hearings set to begin tomorrow for the president-elect's cabinet picks as the Republican controlled Congress moves forward with their plan to repeal and maybe replace Obamacare.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So the president-elect is also expected to face tough questions on Russia when he holds his first press conference in months this Wednesday.
We are now just 11 days away from inauguration day. 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.
Good morning, Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you.
And you know, a number of people on both sides of the aisle waiting for answers to a number of key questions. Repeal Obamacare and replace it specifically with what? Build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border? Payment comes when? And will it come from Mexico? Russian intel reports, where exactly does the president-elect stand? These are just some of the questions that are going to be raised this week.
CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress moving full speed ahead with an ambitious agenda. Confirmation hearings begin tomorrow for some of the president-elect's key cabinet nominees, while the Senate is expected to hold a series of votes this week to begin repealing Obamacare, but details of replacing the outgoing president's signature law still remain unclear.
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It may take time to get all the elements of the replace in place.
CARROLL: Trump will also finally answer questions on Wednesday, when he holds his first press conference in nearly six months.
The now declassified intelligence report on Russian hacks expected to be a major focus, but questions remain about whether Trump accepts the report's conclusions.
PRIEBUS: He's not denying that the entities in Russia were behind this particular hacking campaign.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: Hillary continues to be believed by majority of Americans as unlikable. That has nothing to do with Moscow.
CARROLL: Over the weekend, Trump tweeting, "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing. Not a bad thing. Only stupid people or fools would think that it is bad. When I am president, Russia will respect us far more than they do now. And both countries will perhaps work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the world."
For months, Trump has cast doubts about U.S. intelligence that Russia was trying to interfere with the election.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: It could be somebody else.
Maybe there is no hacking. It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.
CARROLL: Trump's skepticism dividing his own party.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If, after having been briefed by our intelligence leaders, Donald Trump is still unsure as to what the Russians did, that would be incredibly unnerving to me, because the evidence is overwhelming.
CARROLL: In a new interview, President Obama did not downplay the threat Vladimir Putin posed to the United States.
OBAMA: I don't think I underestimated him. Vladimir Putin's not on our team. If we get to a point where people in this country feel more affinity with a leader who is an adversary and views the United States and our way of life as a threat to him, then we're going to have bigger problems than just cyber-hacking.
CARROLL: And Chris, when it comes to some of those unanswered questions, Trump has also vowed to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest with his businesses, but he still hasn't specifically laid out a plan in terms of exactly how he plans to do that. Hopefully, those answers will come this week, as well -- Chris.
CUOMO: You are correct, Jason Carroll. Thank you for standing out there in that frozen wind. Appreciate it.
The president-elect was supposed to have a press conference laying out his plan to relieve these glaring conflicts. Never happened. So this week Republicans are vowing to move forward with a full slate of confirmation hearings, despite concerns from Democrats and a government ethics watchdog group that background checks and financial disclosures on many of the picks are not complete. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling Democrats to grow up and get the nominees confirmed.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill with more. He also said all the paperwork would be in before any vote, right, Sunlen?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris.
And this is certainly a huge week for the incoming Trump administration here on Capitol Hill, with this whole slew of cabinet nominees up for their confirmation hearings.
And it is notable that before this week you had the Office of Government Ethics really sounding alarms about the pace of the hearing schedule this week, saying it's a great concern that many of them haven't been properly vetted yet. They said in a letter out, quote, "This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE's staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews. More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their hearing -- scheduled hearings." Now, the Trump transition team really pushing back on that and saying
some are trying to politicize this process. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he's not going to delay anything at all; these nomination hearings are on as scheduled, and that complaints otherwise are just sour grapes.
[06:05:04] MCCONNELL: We confirmed seven cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in. We didn't like most of them either. All of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration in having not only lost the White House but having lost the Senate. I understand that. But we need to sort of grow up here and get past that.
SERFATY: And going into this week, nine of Trump's nominees are going to be facing potentially sharp questioning up here on Capitol Hill, starting with tomorrow, Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Now, the Trump transition team really expressing confidence writ large, saying they are confident that all of their nominees will be confirmed -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Sunlen, thanks so much. Let's discuss all of this, this very critical transition. We want to bring in our panel. We have CNN political analyst and senior special writer for "The Wall Street Journal," Monica Langley; CNN political analyst David Gregory; and CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis. Great to see all of you on this Monday.
Errol, let's start with the confirmation hearings. We'll pull it up one more time, what's expected to happen this week. On Tuesday, tomorrow, Senator Jeff Sessions and General John Kelly are going to have their hearings. Do you think it's Sessions that's going to be sort of the most confrontational of all of these?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is certainly going to be a lot of political complaints about Sessions. He has a very long record and a controversial record that people can't dig into. And we've already seen a number of civil rights groups; they've sat in at his office in Alabama. There's going to be a lot of sort of political heat that's trained on him.
It's very different, and we should distinguish between that and the nominees coming later in the week, for whom a lot is not known, that their confirmation paperwork has not been completed, that the process of trying to discover and resolve conflicts of interest has not been done.
So in some ways, I think the administration is going to get a political fight right up front with Jeff Sessions, much more so than with some of the others.
CUOMO: Brother Gregory, hence the hype that this week could be the most important for the president-elect since the election. These cabinet members, whether it's their own portfolio that gets attacked or they're having to justify what the president-elect has said in his promise and has threatened during these intervening weeks, as well as his own press conference. How big a deal do you think all this is?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's going to be a big deal, and it's going to be fireworks on the Hill with some of these nominations. I think Democrats are in the process of, one, working the refs on the paperwork; on their ethics paperwork, financial disclosures. And they're going to pick issues, from Obamacare to the issue of Russia hacking and Tillerson; to the civil rights record and Sessions.
They're going to have to pick their fights, where they're going to be working the refs all the way through. I think it's going to be interesting, because this is again a moment, a potential restart moment for how this incoming administration, starting with the president, sets a tone for how it's going to work in Washington.
You've got Trump on Twitter doing his thing, reaching to his base, taking on the media. How is he going to be in a press conference as president-elect to resolve some of these questions that we'll talk about? As well as how will these nominees manage the fact that they are not going to be in sync with Trump on everything he said? They're going to be responsible for their areas of responsibility.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that press conference and what we expect. Monica, you've been covering President-elect Trump extensively. So originally, this press conference was supposed to be about how he was going to navigate the conflicts of interest with the Trump Organization. What do you expect on this -- this week?
MONICA LANGLEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: OK, I expect that he will address the conflicts of interest issue. I don't know exactly what he's going to say. I understand it's still going to be his two sons, Don Jr. and Eric, who will be in control. They may bring in a third party, so we'll be talking about that.
I think that he's going to roll out the blind trust, which has been widely panned, because it wouldn't be blind, because he knows what the assets are, his big real-estate empire.
I think also, he's going to open the questions to anything and everything. So we shall see.
I mean, I have seen Donald Trump as I have covered him for a long time now be very charming, and he can be fun -- funny but he can also give as good as he gets. So if he faces a barrage of negative questions and pound, pound, pound, he may just say "asked and answered." For example on Russia. He may just move on to what he wants.
He's had this entire time of getting out an unfiltered message to America through his tweets, and he may decide, "This is my better course," after he goes through this press conference.
CUOMO: And those tweets have been digging a nice big hole for him, Errol Louis, especially on what Langley was just talking about: Russia. Do you think at this presser, do you think this week, he and/or his staff will say the plain truth as the intelligence community sees it? Russia was behind the hacks, full stop. LOUIS: I'd be amazed if they actually did that. I mean, I think what
really matters -- and this will come out in the course of the press conference, if it's a good press conference -- is to try and find out not what he's going to say, what he's going to acknowledge, but what he's actually going to do.
[06:10:08] Because there are a number of different things that follow from his repeated statement that we have to have better relations with Russia. Originally, it was supposed to be so that we could fight ISIS. Well, it looks like a lot of that fight is over in Syria. So now what's the point of this alliance? Where's it going to go? Who's going to manage it? What are the points of agreement? What does Russia have to say about of this?
That's, I think, really sort of the substance of this. But as you get them to actually acknowledge that Russia was involved in the election, it undermines his credibility in his eyes. I think most of us can -- or many of us can sort of split and just kind of say...
CUOMO: His credibility or his legitimacy?
JOHNS: Well, the legitimacy of the election. And I think, for a lot of us as observers, you can say, well, yes, they got involved. It wasn't a "but for" kind of involvement; it wasn't the thing that made the difference, but it did happen. It was important. It does matter. It goes on in other countries, as well. He won't acknowledge that. I don't think we're going to hear that this week.
GREGORY: And that, by the way, that's a real problem, as we've discussed before, because of the potential for Russia to do it again this year in European elections; for Russia to target the United States again.
But I think the Trump team, including the president-elect himself, is going to keep kind of picking at all of this by saying, well, why didn't the Obama team pick this up as a threat sooner? Why didn't they respond sooner? It didn't have anything to do with the election. Why did the DNC have such poor defenses? And on and on.
My question is do people around Trump impress on him the importance of, yes, forging a new relationship with Russia, which new administrations are wont to do, but to also send a very clear, maybe more quiet message, either in retaliation or in warning about what would come if this is done again in the Trump administration?
Bombast, by the way, is going to play into -- is going to play into Putin's hands. You've seen it before. He's seen it from previous administrations, including this current one. It doesn't seem to be working.
CAMEROTA: Monica, what's the answer to that? What are the people around Mr. Trump telling him?
LANGLEY: I think that they are saying what you just played early on. It's that, you know, the president-elect acknowledges that there have been hacks by Russia and but he adds other countries, as well. He is not coming out, and neither are his top people, coming out and saying that this has been a severe hack, that it tried to influence the election. I think that's just a way -- he will not go there.
But I do think that what he will do is try to get in lots of other issues. I'm told he'll let people ask anything and everything, and we'll see where that goes.
CAMEROTA: All right, panel. Thank you. Stick around please.
Coming up on NEW DAY, Mr. Trump's special advisor, Kellyanne Conway, is coming back for a repeat performance from Friday. She's going to talk about how the president-elect is preparing for this critical transition week. Stick around for that.
CUOMO: Did you watch the Globes last night? A little late for us.
CAMEROTA: I had it on. I was sort of doing my homework. I tuned in occasionally.
CUOMO: Meryl Streep won. Not a surprise. Her speech somewhat of a surprise. She used the opportunity to go, I would suggest, directly at the president-elect, Donald Trump. Didn't mention him by name but was talking about a bully who disrespects and humiliates others. How will the president-elect respond? Well, we know the answer to that. And we'll tell you next.
[06:16:59] CUOMO: One of Hollywood's big names, Meryl Streep, slamming President-elect Donald Trump at last night's Golden Globes while accepting a lifetime achievement award. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STREEP: But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It -- it kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can't get it out of my head, because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Joining us again, Errol Louis, Monica Langley and David Gregory. The impact of this?
LOUIS: It's a pretty good speech. I think it really sort of captured and crystalized and will be remembered as sort of a moment that represents a lot of the pain and hurt from the campaign that's never been resolved.
The Trump transition team, they've got a lot that they've got to work on. And Trump himself has said over and over again we're going to unify the country, and let's move on. A lot of people are not quite ready to move on. On that issue in particular, I don't know a family that doesn't have somebody in their extended family who's developmentally disabled in some way. Physically disabled, emotionally, mentally disabled. People don't just forget that stuff. You know, and all the different antics that Trump did, he always said, you know, "Well, people voted for it, and I won." Well, that's not the end of the story. That's, to me, what the Streep speech represents.
CUOMO: You want to remind what this is about?
CAMEROTA: Let's do that. Let's go back to the moment that Meryl Streep was talking about. This was on the campaign trail. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Right after a couple of good paragraphs -- and they're talking about "Northern New Jersey Draws the Prober's Eye," written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You've got to see this guy. "Oh, I don't know what I said. I don't remember." He's going, like," I don't remember. Maybe that's what I said." This is 14 years ago. He's still -- they didn't do a retraction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. So let me read, David, to you what Mr. Trump said now in response to Meryl Streep bringing that moment up again. He told this to "The New York Times."
"I was never mocking anyone. I was calling into question a report who had gotten nervous, because he changed his story. People keep saying that I intended to mock the reporter's disability, as if Meryl Streep and others could read my mind. I did no such thing. And remember Meryl Streep introduced Hillary Clinton at her convention, and a lot of these people supported Hillary."
Your thoughts, David?
GREGORY: Well, first of all, the tape speaks for itself. The indelible part of the Trump candidacy and the Trump as a now politician and president-elect is the crudeness that he introduced into the campaign and the offense that he created and the hurt that he created among women, among many minorities, among the disabled. That's an indelible part of the Trump candidacy.
[06:20:18] How he deals with that, we'll see. He attempts to still want to dismiss it, but it's part of who he is.
The other piece of this is those who oppose Trump are going to have to find a way to move on. And it's not surprising that the Hollywood elite would use a major platform to speak out politically. It's happened before. It will happen plenty. And there are a lot of people in the country who will agree. There are a lot of people who will look at that and go, "Oh, my gosh. How cliche. There's Hollywood, liberal bubble that it is, speaking out against the president."
Now they've got to find a way to get along with the new president, just like many of the others who felt alienated and outside on the right, felt about President Obama.
CUOMO: You know, one of the hiccups on this one, though, Monica, is that it's not about the distinction in politics. You know, it's about the line of decency that the president-elect can say he's not a politician. Now he is by default. But he's already mastered the art of denying what he thinks is bad for him.
He was mocking that reporter. Everybody knows it. You can't watch the clip and think otherwise. But he denies it, because it's inconvenient. How do you think that will suit him going forward in politics?
LANGLEY: Well, I mean, I even asked him about it many months ago, and he told me he absolutely was not mocking the reporter. That has been his will stick to his story, and we'll have to see how that plays out when he's running this country. He may have to learn to adapt and to adjust and be less crude, maybe.
But I've got to say, watching the awards last night and watching Meryl Streep I was envisioning being in a lot of those towns with Donald Trump when I was covering on the trail with him. And the people who are in his rallies, the thousands of people, they would completely say, "Well of course they're slamming Donald Trump, drinking their champagne in their $10,000 gowns."
LANGLEY: So you know, in some ways, it plays into the Trump supporters.
CAMEROTA: Yes, and this is exactly what Meghan McCain, Senator McCain's daughter, tweeted last night. She said, "This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won, and if people in Hollywood don't start recognizing why and how you will get him -- you will help get him reelected."
But Monica, just -- I mean, one more touch on that. That doesn't make -- why would Meryl Streep defending a disabled reporter sort of insult Mr. Trump's supporters? Connect that for us?
LANGLEY: Well I didn't mean that her comment about insulting, about his insult toward the disabled. I'm just saying the entire context of slamming the president-elect in a Hollywood elite party would -- would activate and mobilize his supporters. They're like, "This is the same old thing, and that's the reason we voted for Donald Trump."
The issue about the reporter, you know, that's -- I don't think Donald Trump will ever change his story on that. GREGORY: Right.
LANGLEY: He has told me and others, as he did last night, he was not mocking the reporter.
GREGORY: Right. And it's not that -- you know, I think that's cliche, too. The notion of "Oh, you see, this is exactly why he won." Yes, there was a line of decency, as Chris said. And I think a lot of voters have taken that to heart. I think supporters of Trump are willing to overlook that for other pieces of this.
But this attempt to delegitimize whoever the president is, whether it's people on the left doing it to President George W. Bush or conservatives or other opponents doing it to President Obama, that's the kind of thing that fortifies the base of the other side. And that's -- that's what's going on here.
So the notion that, you know, Hollywood rises up at a major forum like this to go after Trump, again, not surprising.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much for all of your insights.
CUOMO: All these issues that continue to tear the country apart raise the obvious question. How do we unite? How do we come back together? Programming note for you: tonight we're going to host a special primetime town hall with former Democratic candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Why? Because he's been appointed by the Democrats to go around the country, taking their new message to the people.
What is that message? How does Bernie Sanders and the Democrats plan to work with the president-elect? Join us tonight at 9 Eastern for your questions from real voters, right here on CNN.
CAMEROTA: OK, coming up, terror inside an airport. Travelers running for their lives in Fort Lauderdale. We have some chilling new video that captures the gunman opening fire. That the live report, next.
[06:28:12] CAMEROTA: There is now surveillance video that captures the moment a gunman opened fire inside Fort Lauderdale International Airport on Friday. This as we learn about warning signs leading up to his deadly rampage. CNN's Rachel Crane is live in Fort Lauderdale with more.
What have you learned, Rachel?
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, well, new details emerging surrounding this horrible attack, including the fact that the gun that was used to carry it out had once been in the hands of law enforcement. Also, shocking new video, as you mentioned, revealing the moments that this terrible began.
CRANE (voice-over): It all happens in an instant. Travelers casually walking through the baggage claim area of Terminal Two when suddenly shots ring out. A security camera capturing 26-year-old Esteban Santiago wearing a blue shirt. Then he suddenly pulls a gun from his waistband, opening fire. People scramble to take cover as the shooter begins his deadly rampage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never spoke. He just walked along pow, pow, pow, pow -- just like that -- and emptied the full magazine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I sat next to her on the plane.
CRANE: This terrified passenger seen walking among the dead and wounded in this cellphone video recognizes her seat mate from the plane, killed in the melee.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she was standing right next to me. And the pops started. We hit the ground. I turned around, and she was shot in the head.
CRANE: Among the five victims is Olga Woltering. She and her husband were set to go on a cruise when her life was taken, and 62-year-old Terry Andres was also killed with his spouse at his side.
RICHARD ANDRES, TERRY ANDRES'S UNCLE: I can't imagine being there through all of this.
CRANE: Amid the chaos, there are stories of heroism. Mother of two, Anna Cadine (ph), recalls one stranger willing to risk his life to save hers.