Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Slams CIA Director & Suggests He May Be Leaker; China State-Run Tabloid: We Can't Help But Laugh at Trump; Trump Escalates Feud with Civil Rights Hero. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 16, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I do find outrageous is equating an intelligence community with Nazi Germany.
[05:58:45] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump suggesting the head of the CIA is behind the leaks.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're not going to be able to make good decisions without building some relationship of trust between yourself and that community.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China's state-run media laughing at the president-elect.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Everybody can have access to affordable health care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is promising insurance for everybody.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A growing number of Democrats planning to skip Donald Trump's inauguration.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a real disservice to our democracy. Donald Trump won a landslide election.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, everyone. Welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, January 16, 6 a.m. in New York. I'm John Berman joined by Poppy Harlow this morning. Chris and Alisyn are off today.
Up first, President-elect Donald Trump slamming outgoing CIA director John Brennan after the director said that the president-elect doesn't fully understand Russia and warned him to watch his tongue. Mr. Trump is now suggesting that Brennan may be behind the leak of that unsubstantiated dossier. POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: This as the backlash intensifies in the
feud between the president-elect and civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis. Now a growing list of Democratic lawmakers say they are not going. They are boycotting Trump's swearing in.
The president-elect is also this morning vowing insurance for everybody in a new interview. That's his plan to replace Obamacare. How will he do it? We are now just four days away from inauguration day. We have it all covered. Let's begin this morning with our Sara Murray.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Donald Trump has, of course, had a fraught relationship with the intelligence community so far, but he's kicking it up a notch on Twitter, going after outgoing CIA director John Brennan saying was this the leaker of fake news?
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump taking to Twitter to suggest that outgoing CIA director John Brennan leaked unsubstantiated personal and financial information that could be damaging to Trump.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: There is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.
MURRAY: Trump's charge coming hours after Brennan appeared on national television, arguing the president-elect doesn't understand the critical threat Russia poses.
BRENNAN: I think he has to recognize that his words do have impact, and they can have very positive impact or they can be undercutting of our national security.
MURRAY: Trump has spent months doubting U.S. intelligence findings that Russia was behind the election cyberattacks.
And in a new interview the president-elect suggesting the U.S. could ease tensions with Russia. Trump telling the "Times" of London and German newspaper "Bild," "Let's see if we can make some good deals."
This as China blasts Trump's comments over the weekend that the one China policy which maintains Taiwan as part of China is under negotiation. China's state-run tabloid slamming Trump in an editorial, quote, "We were simply angry initially, but now we can't help but laugh."
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: There are no plans to change the one China policy, but certainly that policy is on the table, if China doesn't also come to the table and work with us on trade, work with us on the South China Sea and what's happening there.
MURRAY: Meanwhile at home, Trump promising we're going to have insurance for everybody in a new interview with the "Washington Post." The president-elect not revealing specifics but says he's close to finishing his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. And part of that plan will be to specifically target the pharmaceutical industry.
Over the weekend, thousands joining rallies across the country led by Democrats to protest repeal of the law. While Trump's feud with civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis intensifies.
LEWIS: I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.
MURRAY: The controversial comment, of course, provoking Trump to tweet: "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested, rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talks, talk, talk, no action or results. Sad."
But Trump's assertion is wrong. Lewis represents an economically diverse area of Atlanta, thriving and wealthy in some areas, with poverty in others. Now dozens of Democrats say they'll boycott Trump's inauguration.
MURRAY: And it's, of course, going to be a very busy week for Donald Trump, as well as his inner circle. There is a full battery of confirmation hearings scheduled this week on Capitol Hill beginning on Tuesday with Ryan Zinke as well as Betsy Davos.
Now, we expected Donald Trump to get a jump start on the week in Washington and actually spend today there before he is officially inaugurated on Friday. That is no longer the case. He's going to be sticking around New York City for the day.
Back to you guys.
BERMAN: Canceled those plans for some reason. All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.
A lot to discuss this morning. So let's bring in politics editor of TheRoot.com and professor of political science and communication at Morgan State University Jason Johnson; senior congressional correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" and host of "Examining Politics" podcast David Drucker; and CNN political analyst David Gregory.
Gentlemen, let me read you what Donald Trump wrote about the outgoing CIA chief John Brennan. He wrote a tweet. He said, "Outgoing CIA chief John Brennan blasts President-elect Trump on Russia's threat, does not fully understand. Oh, really? Couldn't do much worse. Just look at Syria red line, Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes, not good. Was this the leaker of fake news?"
So, guys, I think for the last two years we've been asking this question, you know, whether it was a campaign. We would ask what's good for Trump or how does this help or hurt Donald Trump? We're five days from the inauguration now, and I think the question needs to be different. I think the question needs to be how does this help or hurt America?
So David Drucker, when you have the president-elect saying this about the outgoing CIA chief, how does that help or hurt America?
DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, I think that Donald Trump is going to be responsible for national security in a few days, and he's going to need the intelligence services on his side; and they're going to need to work together.
And if they're at odds -- look, it's one thing if the intelligence agencies are lacking effectiveness. It's Donald Trump's job as the president of the United States to do something about that. But to feud over things like this is not helpful, because his administration, which is going to include the intelligence agencies needs to be on the same page.
[06:05:17] And I think that it's -- look, it's one thing for the outgoing CIA director who was appointed by President Obama to be critical of Trump and that might be expected, but the things that Brennan said about Trump vis-a-vis Russia and Vladimir Putin are things that Republicans on Capitol Hill have been telling me for months, frankly.
I spoke in the past couple of weeks to House intelligence chairman Devin Nunez. I spoke to Senator Tom Cotton, who serves on the Intelligence Community in his chamber. They're both concerned that President Trump is going to make the same mistake, in their view, that President Obama made, which is to try a reset of relations with Vladimir Putin and doesn't fully understand that Putin is an adversary and, as Cotton told me, is not our friend. And I think that it would serve Trump better if, instead of asking why we can't get along with Russia, he would ask why can't Russia get along with us, because getting along is not the issue.
Getting along on our terms that serves the U.S. agenda around the world, rather than Moscow's, which should be the president-elect's goal. And I think that, if he doesn't fully understand that going forward, he'll end up in the same position President Obama did, which is he tried to make nice. It didn't work and Moscow has been going around the world, undercutting our national security and our influence.
HARLOW: David Gregory, not only not helpful to the American public, but also the question of harm and what harm can be done when the president Trump has to make the case to the American people, for example, that the United States needs to go to war and here is the intelligence that it's based on, the American people need to know that these two entities are completely on the same page and in lockstep.
And, you know, Republicans want -- one on my show last night said it's going to be different when Pompeo is leading the CIA. But he's got a lot of the same people that will soon be serving him under Pompeo.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think that's the important point, which is that you have a lot of career professionals in our intelligence community who are tracking this, who are offended by it and who may have opinions on all sides of this.
But, look, Director Brennan is someone who has worked in a bipartisan way over the years, has been at the CIA a long time. So some of his views are reflecting those career professionals who have been offended by Donald Trump. I do think it's worth pointing out, however, that Trump, in my view, has a legitimate complaint against the intelligence community.
Why they would include this dossier in a written briefing, why they had to write it down. Why couldn't it have been part of a verbal briefing to say we're aware of this. This is in the public domain. And you should know about this and think about how you want to deal with it. Why make it part of the appendix when it could be leaked, I think is something that makes him angry, and I think that's legitimate.
I think when he has his own people in there at the head, then he's going to have a different tune. But it's not going to change this dynamic in terms of people being offended within the community.
And secondly, to David's point, he's still going to have some real tension with congressional Republicans who agree with the intelligence community about the nature of the threat from Russia and the fact that Trump is not taking it seriously enough. Even though, like a lot of new administrations, he wants to come in and try to reset this. It could be a month, two months, and there could be a very different tune from Trump about Russia. But his snap judgments in all of these cases, I think, should also be worrisome in terms of what he puts in the public domain about Putin and how they may get angry with one another and how that affects relations.
BERMAN: Just one point. The 35-page memo that we did not report on, by the way...
HARLOW: Did not.
BERMAN: ... that was out there. That was out there already, whether or not the intelligence community included a summary of it or explained it...
GREGORY: Right. But nobody -- nobody had done anything with it. The fact that the intelligence community, they elevated it to a point where you put this information in a written form and present it. Yes.
BERMAN: They summarized it in two pages. But I just wanted to make clear it's not that they put the full 35 pages.
GREGORY: No, no, no. That's right.
BERMAN: All right. Let me talk about another country right now, what they're doing this morning, China. "The China Global Times," which is, like many press organizations in China, something of a mouthpiece for the government there, albeit a more sensational one, took a swipe at the president-elect overnight.
And they said, "Trump is thinking about China, it becoming increasingly clear he wants China to make huge economic and trade concessions to the U.S. To achieve that, he's willing to stir certain calm areas in China-U.S. relations, including treating the Taiwan issue as his trump card. We were simply angry initially, but now we can't help but laugh at this U.S. leader-in-waiting. Maybe American voters 'promoted' him too quickly. His amateur remarks and overconfident manner are equally shocking."
So Jason, his amateur remarks equally shocking. You know, when I read that about China I was like they can't say that about our pledges; only we can say that about our pledges. Does this say that Donald Trump is getting under their skin?
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: No. This says that they're waiting to test them. I mean, we remember the first 100 days with George Bush when we had a spy plane go down. These are the -- these countries line up to see how tough they are you presidents going to be.
BERMAN: He's been tough so far. The answer is he's been tough so far.
JOHNSON: He's been verbally tough, but can he back it up? And when you've got a president who's already at odds with the intelligence agencies how tough can he be? How aggressive can he be? How strong can he be in any kind of negotiations he wants to make?
China is always going to say abrasive things. They said that about Bush. They said it about Clinton. They said it about Obama. But this is a real test of how much restraint and discipline can Trump show in the face of these kinds of insults.
HARLOW: He actually has a lot of power to slap huge tariffs by himself on goods from these countries.
HARLOW: This is a huge trading partner for us.
JOHNSON: And they can do the same thing to us. Our debt ratio with China makes it very dangerous to go to trade war with them right now, especially from a president who says I'm about to bring jobs back.
GREGORY: And they can also hurt our farmers. I mean, China has got some responses. But look, to Jason's point, this is a testing, and it's a testing of both sides.
I think the No. 1 proposition of the Trump foreign policy that's emerging is he wants to try to take countries on in a completely unorthodox different way to force a better deal. We don't know what that's going to look like.
HARLOW: We certainly don't, but we will know in four days and counting. I think very much we appreciate. Guys, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
We have a lot of news to get to this morning. Breaking news: at least 37 people were killed after this Turkish Airlines cargo plane missed the runway, crashing into a village in Kyrgyzstan. At least eight people including children hospitalized with other burns and other injuries. Investigators are searching the wreckage in the snow right now. An emergency official says poor visibility may be a factor in this crash.
BERMAN: At least five people were killed in a major winter storm that was crippling the U.S. Midwest, freezing rain hitting a lot of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri causing icy roads and knocking out power to millions of people. The storm now heading to big cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Rochester and New York City.
HARLOW: A young woman kidnapped as a newborn reuniting over the weekend with her biological parents. The woman posing as a nurse took Kamiyah Mobley from a Florida hospital 18 years ago.
When authorities figured it out, they immediately put Kamiyah in contact with her birth parents. The three united for the first time over the weekend. As for Gloria Williams, the woman accused of kidnapping Kamiyah, she is being held without bail.
Coming up later in the show, we will speak with the sheriff who played a pivotal role in solving this cold case.
BERMAN: He'll also be able to tell us, hopefully, how this young woman is doing.
HARLOW: Is doing.
BERMAN: At such a difficult time.
All right. The president-elect talking -- taking on a civil rights icon over Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend. Why his feud with this legendary congressman could keep dozens of Democratic lawmakers away from the inauguration. The battle over the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. That's next.
HARLOW: Welcome back to NEW DAY. A growing number of Democrats say they will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Friday. They are outraged over the president-elect's tweets slamming civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis as all talk no action. Of course, those comments following the congressman saying that Trump is not a legitimate president. Let's debate it with our panel.
Back with us, Jason Johnson, David Drucker, David Gregory. Jason, let me begin with you.
It is Congressman Lewis who started this. In a "Meet the Press" interview, said he doesn't consider Trump legitimate. Chuck Todd asked why, and he said because of Russia's influence in the election, going further, one step further than the intelligence community has gone, saying that swayed the election. The way Trump responded, all talk no action, those who defended him
say he was referring to now in his district. He was not referring to 1965 in Selma when the congressman was nearly beaten to death standing up for all of our rights, civil rights, voting rights. Where do you fall on this? Should the president-elect have taken the high road or does he have the right to defend ourselves?
JOHNSON: I think it was grossly unprofessional on the part of the president-elect. No. 1, people are going to insult you. You're the president. It's going to happen. You need to show some restraint and you need to show some discipline.
BERMAN: This is a little more than an insult, though.
JOHNSON: For someone -- for someone to question your legitimacy, the same thing happened to Obama, the same thing happened to George Bush. You stand above you it, and you say, "Look, come work with me, and I'm above this criticism."
The second issue is this: for him to attract the district -- look, the fifth district includes the CNN headquarters down in Atlanta.
HARLOW: And Coca-Cola.
LEWIS: Exactly. There are lots of different areas down there.
So for him to attack an entire district of the United States and say it's crime ridden and it's crumbling apart, especially because that can be perceived as a racialized insult as a black district.
HARLOW: Did you read it that way? I wonder. Did you read it that way?
JOHNSON: Not only did I read it that way, the local Democrats read it that way, the vice president at the National Civil Rights Museum across the street from the headquarters read it that way. It's insulting. It's unnecessary. The president needs to be above this kind of criticism, because this isn't the first or last person who's going to insult him while he's in office.
BERMAN: This kind of criticism, David Drucker, again, questioning the legitimacy of the president, I think, that can go beyond criticism in some cases. And if you ask the question I was asking before how does this help America, I'm not sure that it does.
On the other hand, David, you know, Donald Trump is coming into office. Let's look at his Gallup approval rating numbers right now, 51 percent disapproval rating. Look how much worse he is doing than the last three presidents right then. Has he shown anything, David Drucker, or what has he shown in terms of outreach during this transition period that's almost over?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not any. And so I think Donald Trump has made the calculation that he's going to let his political tenure ride on his ability to get things done and create jobs and do the things that the American people want him to do. Look, I think Jason is right in that I think it's important for
presidents to take blows and not always respond in kind. And that's just something that is not in Donald Trump's makeup. And I think that it's not good for the country, and it's not good for the presidency when you don't have the ability to do that and understand that you're going to be a punching bag, and that's just part of the job.
On the other hand I do think members of Congress, even civil rights icons like Congressman Lewis, I mean, people who have made the country more free through their blood and sweat and deserve an enormous debt of gratitude from us, if they're elected members of Congress, I think they have a responsibility to uphold and sort of acknowledge the legitimacy of the presidential election, because it's not good for our democracy when either people like Donald Trump try and undermine the legitimacy of President Obama, but specifically, when you're an elected official in Washington. That can lead to a grain of our -- of our government and our sort of democratic bonds that can be very, very hard to repair.
And I think, in this case, if you're an elected official in D.C., you've got to lump it, though, look, if you're not an elected official, you have every right to ignore the inauguration, not show up, leave town. It's not the same when you're a member of Congress.
GREGORY: I just want to add -- I mean, I think we have two things going on here. We have a president, as Jason said, who is so thin- skinned to a point that his response to this lacked any measure of grace, that he would attack a legend in John Lewis and have racially charged critiques of his district and all the rest just shows the temperament of our incoming president.
When he is attacked personally and when his legitimacy is attacked. And I think that's got to be something that gives Americans real pause.
At the same time, we can also be critical. I think it was totally inappropriate for Congressman Lewis to question the legitimacy of the president. Our current president has not done so. If you believe in democracy, this was viewed as a fair election. There's certainly criticism of the FBI, criticism of Russia.
Nobody has suggested those things were determinative, and I don't know why a lot of liberals want to perpetuate what they found so outrageous in the conduct of those who sought to delegitimize President Obama over whether he was born in this country or whether he was a legitimate president.
This kind of thing has got to stop. And on a more practical level, if liberals want to get back in charge, I don't see how this helps but do anything but fortify the support for Trump and the opposition against Democrats.
HARLOW: And Jason, you're shaking your head. I mean, it does, to David Gregory's point, confound a lot of people that Donald Trump could be up in arms over the fact -- you know, something that one could equate to what he did... JOHNSON: Exactly.
HARLOW: Not just once or twice about President Obama but over years and fanned the flames of it and, you know, used to his advantage in this political race and in this election.
However, John Lewis and the Democrats were up in arms with him about just that, and then John Lewis says he's not legitimate.
JOHNSON: To me honestly, I always put these things in context. There's two issues here. One, there are people who skip the inauguration all the time. Romney didn't go to Obama's inauguration. If you don't want to go to the inauguration, fine. It may look bad. The issue is are you going to get down to the work of being in Congress once, you know, Donald Trump is there?
As long as that happens, I don't really think it's much of an issue. But the second thing is this. If you want to question the legitimacy of the president, it's completely different than what happened with birtherism, because that was questioning Obama's legitimacy for who he was, not what he stands for or how he came into office. And I think that's a slight difference.
John Lewis may not be correct as far as the CIA is concerned, but it doesn't mean that his complaint is at the same level as birtherism.
BERMAN: Let's talk policy for just one moment right now, because President-elect Trump has done a number of interviews where he's talked about Obamacare, and just to paraphrase some of the things he's been saying in interviews, he's saying he wants to provide insurance.
HARLOW: For all.
BERMAN: For everybody, insurance for all. Another thing is he's suggesting that the U.S. government negotiate over drug prices via Medicare with the drug companies. Both of those things are things that Republicans have been against in the past and would be major, major changes.
HARLOW: It's in line with what he said in that "60 Minutes" interview. Republicans aren't going to like this, but the government has to have a hand in paying for it.
BERMAN: David Drucker.
DRUCKER: Look, President-elect Trump sounds a lot like President Obama and the Democrats. So it's interesting. They want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, and we understand why from a Republican perspective.
But what Trump is offering is more of the same, at least from a messaging standpoint and a general architecture. Most Republicans you talk to will focus on trying to provide the most access at the lowest possible cost, and then it's up to people to decide whether or not they want to cover themselves. And what President-elect Trump is talking about is a government -- is
a plan that covers everybody, which sounds a lot like Obama and the Democrats as they were putting together the Affordable Care Act. It's very curious.
BERMAN: Universal healthcare.
HARLOW: It also pits him against Tom Price his pick for HHS his Tom Price's plan does not include -- a cornerstone of it is not universal care.
BERMAN: And the government negotiating drug prices, putting the government in healthcare not taking them out of healthcare. So philosophically, fascinating to watch going forward.
HARLOW: Gentlemen, thank you very much.
BERMAN: All right. The president, the current president, Barack Obama, has some advice for Donald Trump. He also has a warning for anyone who underestimates the president-elect. We'll get the outgoing president's thoughts in his final days on office, next.
[06:28:39] BERMAN: President Obama offering up some advice for Donald Trump in one of his final interviews as commander in chief, while also cautioning everyone not to underestimate the president-elect.
CNN's Athena Jones live at the White House with more. Good morning, Athena.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Well, the president's long good-bye is coming to an end in just a few more days. He spent the last several weeks making a series of last- minute policy moves. And last week here at the White House in a surprise ceremony, he awarded the vice president the Medal of Freedom with Distinction.
He's also been giving a series of exit interviews highlighting his record, everything from passing the now-endangered Affordable Care Act to killing Osama bin Laden. And last night on "60 Minutes," he talked about an area of remaining concern when it comes to foreign policy, specifically U.S. dealings with Russia in the wake of findings by the intelligence community that they tried to meddle in the presidential campaign. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been concerned about the degree to which, in some circles, you've seen people suggest that Vladimir Putin has more credibility than the U.S. government. I think it's a measure of how the partisan divide has gotten so severe that people forget we're on the same team.
(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: On the same team. As you mentioned, John, he also told people not to take -- not to underestimate the incoming president, who ran an unconventional campaign and unconventional transition but clearly was successful.
Now, the president will hold his last press conference here on Wednesday.