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Trump's HHS Pick Under Fire For Stock Buy;Is Labor Nominee Bailing?;Controversy Surrounds Trump As Inauguration Nears; CIA Director Brennan Blasts Trump. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired January 17, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The aide said in a testament, "Any effort to connect the introduction of Dr. Price's legislation co- sponsored with Democrats to a campaign contribution is demonstrably false. Dr. Price is fully complying with the recommendations put forth by the Office of Government Ethics." Now, a spokesperson for the company did not respond to a request for comments.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All this has Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer renewing calls for an ethics probe of Price. Schumer's statement says, "This new report makes clear that this isn't just a couple of questionable trades, but rather a clear and troubling pattern of Congressman Price trading stock and using his office to benefit the companies in which he is investing. This report and his previous trades cast serious doubt on whether Congressman Price is fit to hold the office of Secretary for Health and Human Services."

Now, Price has already promised to divest from 43 companies including Zimmer Biomet,after he is confirmed. As Health and Human Services Secretary, Price would be a key player in Trump's effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Mr. Trump has said he will unveil his replacement for Obamacare after Price is confirmed.

BERMAN: I wonder what happens if that confirmation is delayed? Word this morning the president elect's nominee for Labor Secretary might be having second thoughts about taking the job at all. A business ally and some Republican sources tell CNN that fast-food executive Andrew Puzder is unhappy about the barrage of criticism unloaded by Democrats, unions, and some liberal groups. One Republican told CNN, "He may be bailing. He's not into the pounding he is taking and the paperwork."

When CNN first reported word of possible doubts, Puzder tweeted "I am looking forward to my hearing." That hearing was initially scheduled for this week but probably now will not happen until next month.

ROMANS: The word inside the campaign is that they're ready for that fight. They tell him let's fight, let's fight this out. They want him.

BERMAN: Well, you better have some thick skin if you're going to be in Washington --


BERMAN: -- and you want to be a cabinet secretary, you know, expect criticism.

ROMANS: With just three days to go until the inauguration, President- elect Trump is not backing away from various controversies, stoking concerns around the world. In the last few days alone he's given new reason for concern to NATO, China, the European Union, and to the German's, when he went after Chancellor Angela Merkel's immigration policy, calling it catastrophic. Now, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry weighing in on Trump's willingness to inject his opinions.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I thought, frankly, it was inappropriate for a President-elect of the United States to be stepping into the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner, and he'll have to speak to that as of Friday, you know. He's responsible for that relationship.


ROMANS: As for Merkel, she said she will wait until after Trump's inauguration to engage with him.

BERMAN: Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan taking a parting shot a President-elect Trump. Brennan insists he is not responsible for leaking details of an unsubstantiated dossier on Trump as the president-elect suggested that Brennan did on Sunday. Brennan calls the president-elect's comments comparing the U.S. Intelligence Community to Nazi Germany offensive.

The director told "The Wall Street Journal" "It's when there are allegations made about leaking or about dishonesty or a lack of integrity, that's where I think the line is crossed. Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis. I found that to be very repugnant."

ROMANS: All right. Today, the president-elect talks about building friendlier relations with Russia but less than three years ago Donald Trump's message was that Moscow is the United States' greatest adversary. CNN's K-File unit has uncovered a series of interviews in which Mr. Trump blasts Vladimir Putin's invasion of Crimea. These are March 2014 interviews with "FOX NEWS" and NBC. Trump even suggests imposing sanctions against Russia. He agrees with Mitt Romney's assessment during the 2012 presidential race that Russia is America's number one geopolitical foe -- Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Mitt was right and he was also right when he mentioned in one of the debates about Russia, and he said Russia is our biggest problem. Russia is not strong economically and we could do a lot of different things to really do numbers on them if we wanted to.

We should definitely be strong, we should definitely do sanctions, and we have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama's lunch, therefore our lunch, for a long period of time.


BERMAN: New fallout from another K-File report. Conservative author Monica Crowley is backing out of a top national security communications post. K-File revealed earlier this month that Crowley plagiarized more than 50 passages in her 2012 book. She also apparently plagiarized thousands of words in her PhD dissertation. Crowley issued a statement saying she appreciates being asked to join the administration and will continue to support the Trump agenda. She makes no mention of the plagiarism accusations. Not much to say, frankly, when you look at the evidence laid out by K-File.

ROMANS: All right. Donald Trump has top business leaders freaking out about trade. Nearly six in 10 global CEO's are worried about protectionism and trade barriers. That's up from 40 percent in 2012. Now, despite those concerns, they're hiring. More than half of the bosses plan to increase hiring this year but the process makes them nervous. Why? Seventy-eight percent are worried that applicants will not have the right skills. I hear this more than anything from CEO's.

[05:35:03] One company that is unapologetically adding workers in Mexico, BMW. Despite being called out by Donald Trump over the weekend, BMW says it is staying put -- its investments in Mexico. The company tells "CNN MONEY" it has not shifted any jobs from the U.S. to its Mexican plant and that it will sell the cars it makes there in Mexico all over the world, including back into the United States regardless of Trump's threat to impose a tariff.

The automaker also says its largest factory in the world -- BMW's largest factory in the world is in South Carolina. That plant built 400,000 vehicles last year, more than it sold in all of the U.S., so it's actually exporting BMW's from the U.S. to the rest of the world. It is the largest U.S. exporter of cars. Shows you just how complicated that global applies to that.

BERMAN: Stunning statistics.

ROMANS: It really is interesting. No shortage of controversy just three days out from the inauguration. We are going to bring in the best here, political analyst and best-selling author Ellis Henican. So great to have you.

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: That's a great statistic, by the way.

ROMANS: No -- I mean, it's really interesting.

HENICAN: It's really uplifting.

ROMANS: I think it's interesting that BMW says look, we're, you know, fine. This rhetoric -- the tweets are fine. You know, he's been talking to GM, he's been talking to Ford, and then those companies have turned around -- and even Fiat Chrysler have crowed about, you know, big investments they're making in the U.S. In many cases, those investments were in the books two years ago, right, but they're just trying to highlight that they are investing in the U.S.

HENICAN: Right, right, right. Two things. First of all, the BMW response is so interesting because a number of other companies have pretty quickly folded under the pressure of those kinds of complaints, right? I mean, you now have BMW saying no, hold on a second. We're really -- what we're doing here is legitimate and, frankly, rather pro-American.

The other thing that I wonder is when you look at automobiles -- and you know this better than I do but it's often complicated to explains the parts come from --


HENICAN: -- one place, they get put together somewhere else, the labor may be in a third place.

BERMAN: So you're going to put a tariff --

HENICAN: What's an American car? What's a foreign car?

BERMAN: You going to put a tariff on a steering wheel made in one place or --

HENICAN: Good luck.

BERMAN: -- are you going to put a tariff on the car? It's very hard to know.

ROMANS: But are you going to punish a German company that's a huge job creator in South Carolina, and what are South Carolina officials going to be saying about hurting maybe the prospects for BMW there?

HENICAN: That's right, but what those questions point out is that it's not so easy in a slogany sort of way to say keep the foreigners out, buy -- you know, build -- it's getting complicated.

ROMANS: You're absolutely right. Look, he wants to rework NAFTA -- he has said that. And there's already been some indications from, you know, the Canadians that they would like to have some modernization of NAFTA, so maybe they're going to be tweaking there. But I think what's interesting about globalization is the two biggest beneficiaries have been American farmers and, you know, pork producers, corn producers --

HENICAN: Right -- who sell their stuff.

ROMANS: -- and automakers. And so he's going to have to, you know, pick somebody for Agriculture who may have very different views for protecting American workers, right? I mean, it's going to get interesting.

HENICAN: Right, right. And, throw into the equation American consumers who have gotten used to that cheap stuff from China and from other low-wage places around the world.


BERMAN: And so, Ellis, we're three days outfrom the inauguration and there are big things looming. Number one, there are more than 40 Democrats saying they're not going. Number two, we have more confirmation hearings with new questions arising about some of the president-elect's nominees, including Tom Price. He's got no small job. Secretary of HHS is a big job always --


BERMAN: -- especially when you are being counted on to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now there is word that he bought a stock, introduced legislation that would have helped the company to which he just bought the stock, and then the company donated to his political action committee.

HENICAN: Right, and that's an investigative question. I mean, we do have to find out some of the facts about it that we still don't know. But I would point you to one other aspect of the Price conversation, which is that his views as expressed in a proposal that he had a couple of years ago about how to replace Obamacare, seemingly in pretty big contrast with those of Donald Trump, right, who was promising healthcare -- health insurance for all in a very broad-based kind of program.

Price's idea seems far narrower than that. In fact, I've heard it described as the most conservative plan of the various ones that have been floated around. And so people in the Senate and elsewhere now are saying well, which is the Trump plan?

ROMANS: Right.

HENICAN: Is it Trump, is it Price, is it somewhere in between?

ROMANS: You could say the same thing on tax reform. You know, Donald Trump has talked again and again about, you know, cutting corporate taxes and doing a big tax reform. And personal taxes, too, making it so much easier for all of us to do our personal taxes. But in the corporate tax reform, this is something that Paul Ryan and the House Ways and Means Committee have been working very hard on.

There seems to be some daylight. If you read "The Wall Street Journal" today there seems to be some daylight between the House tax plan and what Donald Trump wants. He doesn't like this idea of a border repayment tax or he thinks it's too complicated. He would just like to cut taxes for companies and have tariffs. I wonder whether or how they'll come together on this.

HENICAN: Yes, and when we hear a different view from the nominee versus those expressed by the -- by the incoming president, who are you supposed to believe? I don't think we know the answer to that.

BERMAN: And, in fact, Tom Price, we've been told, in the strategy sessions leading up to his confirmation hearings, he wasn't going to answer specifics about how Obamacare would be replaced. He was going to try to veer away from that because they didn't want to get nailed down on any one idea.

Forty-one Democrats now not going to the inauguration on Friday. Do you think they'll be more? What pressure do you think they face?

[05:40:00] HENICAN: You know, in the long run I don't know that it matters that much, right? You know, it's just a little bit of a symbolic play, probably in many cases the constituents back home. You know, it would be nice if we could all come together and celebrate the peaceful transfer of power of the United States.

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton will be there.

HENICAN: She will be, and you know what? Her staying away though, you have to say, would have been a much more potent symbol --

ROMANS: A bigger headline, yes.

HENICAN: -- than, you know, 41 congressmen have of whom you'd have trouble naming probably.

ROMANS: Half of them?

HENICAN: You might be able to name them all. I'm not sure I could name them all.

BERMAN: All right, Ellis. Ellis Henican, great to have you with us.

HENICAN: Good seeing you guys.

ROMANS: Nice to see you, Ellis.

BERMAN: All right. So nearly three years after MH370 vanished the search formally suspended. So what are the families of the passengers saying this morning? That's next.


BERMAN: Breaking overnight, the three-year underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been suspended. In a joint statement, Australia, China, and Malaysia, the three countries leading the search said, "Despite the best science in cutting-edge technology they've been unable to locate the aircraft." MH370 vanished in March of 2014 over the Indian Ocean en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

In response to this decision, the MH370 family support group "Voice 370" issued its own statement saying, "In our view, extending the search to the new area defined by the experts is an inescapable duty owed to the flying public in the interest of aviation safety. Commercial planes cannot just be allowed to disappear without a trace."

[05:45:10] ROMANS: Breaking overnight, Russia's top diplomat delivered what seemed to be a final parting shot at the Obama administration. Sergey Lavrov suggested the incoming Trump administration take a more pragmatic approach to problem-solving. With more on this we bring in former CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill

Dougherty, live from Moscow for us this morning. And Jill, it seems almost at every turn, no matter what's happening in the headlines, the foreign ministry or spokesman for Vladimir Putin, they're quick to blast the Obama administration.

JILL DOUGHERTY, GLOBAL FELLOW, WOODROW WILSON CENTER, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, they really are. I mean, essentially, they've set up the Obama administration as the center of all evil and once that's over they can begin to work pragmatically with Donald Trump. But it's really quite notable, especially on Syria.

But the news conference by Mr. Lavrov was very interesting because I think it can begin to see this offer that they are holding out to Donald Trump to be pragmatic. To be almost like a businessperson and forget about, as they put it, values. This messianic obsession with the export of values which they claim started all sorts of bad things in the world, such as Ukraine, Arab Spring, Colour revolutions, et cetera. So, Russia is saying to Donald Trump forget about that, we can work on things, especially on fighting terrorism.

And then, also the minister talked about something that's been in the news. We've been reporting a couple of days on this, which is that suggestion by Donald Trump that if the United States gave up sanctions that perhaps Russia could come to terms on some type of a deal to control nuclear weapons. Now, Mr. Lavrov said he didn't see really a connection. He didn't feel that Trump was making a connection between those two issues, but that if Trump is interested in working on strategic security that Russia is all for it.

And then, again, one last dig at the Obama administration. He said that strategic security, which was destroyed by the Obama administration.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much for that. Jill Dougherty, this morning, for us in Moscow. Thanks, Jill.

BERMAN: All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY". Chris Cuomo joins us now. Good morning, sir.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": John Berman, I met some of your fans in Vermont over the break this weekend, by the way.

BERMAN: Wow, big.

CUOMO: I just want you to know that. They all wanted to know --

BERMAN: You have to go far to find them.

CUOMO: No, they were all over the place. The place was lousy with Berman fans and they seemed torn between whether or not they love you for your looks or for your mind. Such problems you have, John Berman. I really got deep into it. Christine, you know, not as much as about that division with you. With you --

ROMANS: No one loves me -- no one loves me in Vermont. CUOMO: With you, people see your beauty and your brains are so intertwined that there's no such -- there's no such separating.

All right. So, you know, based on what you were just talking about -- that was a really good reporter hit to give some context to the poll numbers that you're going to see this morning coming out about these new problems that the American people seem to have with the decisions and the attitudes of our president-elect since the election. Literally, as president-elect in that role for Donald Trump, and how much of this Russia intrigue is part of that.

We're going to break down the numbers for you because we're trying to now see if that's what's being reflected in these numbers. This mysterious sheltering of Russia by our president-elect. What does that mean?

Also, we have Sen. John McCain on the show. He says he wants to build up the military. Why? What is he going to tell us about what he believes the situation is for the U.S. military? We have that interview. It's going to be a big one coming up on "NEW DAY".

ROMANS: Well, good. All right, Chris, thank you. Nice to see you this morning.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure.

ROMANS: All right. New this morning, a huge merger involving two big tobacco makers and the price tag is stunning. Details next.


[05:52:08] BERMAN: The suspected gunman who opened fire inside an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Eve is in police custody this morning. He and four others were arrested during a police operation. Now he is speaking to investigators who've learned new details about what happened. I want to go live to Istanbul and get the very latest from CNN's Ian Lee. Ian, what are investigators learning?

IAN LEE, CNN REPORTER: Well, John, the gunman has been identified as Abdulgadir Masharipov. He is in his early thirties, from Uzbekistan. He was trained in Afghanistan. We're hearing from authorities that he arrived in Turkey about a year ago. The police found him in an area called Esenyurt. It's about 20 miles away from the Reina nightclub where he carried out that deadly attack that killed 39 people. Remember, ISIS claimed responsibility for that.

Authorities also arrested with him four other people -- an Iraqi man, an Egyptian woman, and two other women they say are from Africa. They say the gunman has confessed to the crime and that his fingerprints match those that were found on the gun that was left at the scene.

This has been a huge operation. Thousands of security forces sweeping the country looking for him. Over two weeks since that attack they did finally catch him and we do get a picture of him shortly after he was detained by Turkish authorities. He's bloody, he's bruised, but he's alive and that is crucial because when you see ISIS attacks like this, a lot of the times those who perpetrate them are killed in the attack or are killed later down the line. So having him is crucial, figuring out who may have helped him. We know that Turkish authorities have arrested 50 people they say have links to him or links to the attack, but it will be treasure trove.

Meanwhile, the owner of the club says he is breathing a sigh of relief that he is found and that people here in Istanbul can get back on with their lives.

BERMAN: They want an alleged killer -- a mass murderer -- off the streets. That has to be a relief. Ian Lee for us in Istanbul. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. It took seven months but federal prosecutors believe they now have enough evidence to charge the wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Noor Salman is due in an Oakland courtroom today to face charges includingobstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband. Among the new information, police say the gunman added his wife to his life insurance policy and transferred his share of the home they shared to other family members for just $10. The police chief in Orlando telling CNN her arrest was a long time coming.


JOHN MINA, ORLANDO POLICE CHIEF: There's no doubt in my mind, based on the information that I knew and I had received from the FBI over the past seven months, that she knew, that she aided, and that she could have prevented this tragedy.


[05:55:07] ROMANS: Police also say Salman's claims that she was coerced through her husband's abusive behavior did not check out. An attorney for Noor Salman says she had no advanced knowledge of what the gunman was planning.

BERMAN: All right. The last man to walk on the moon and a great American pioneer has died. Astronaut Gene Cernan -- he was one of a dozen astronauts to walk on the moon. He took the final steps as commander of the Apollo 17 mission in December of 1972.


GENE CERNAN, ASTRONAUT: I'd like to just say whatI believe history will record. That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow.


BERMAN: He wrote his daughter's initials on the lunar surface and they're still there 44 years later. No one's gone back. He was one of just three astronauts who went to the moon twice. He was part of the Apollo 10 mission that got very, very close. He piloted the lunar lander to about 10 -- eight miles, I guess, of the surface. His family says he died following ongoing health issues. They say his passion for space exploration never waned. Gene Cernan was 82 years old.

ROMANS: It's so cool. It's so hard to believe that in 44 years they haven't been back, you know?


ROMANS: OK, let's get a check on CNN Money Stream. Investors -- you know what, they're a little nervous around the world this morning after a long holiday weekend in the U.S. You've got Dow futures lower. You've got losses in European stock markets. Shares in Asia finishing mixed overnight. Oil is back up above $53 a barrel.

You've got the pound down at a new 31-year low.Here's what's going on. Investors are skittish ahead of British Prime Minister's Theresa May's speech on Brexit later today. The British pound, a fresh 31-year low. Wall Street will also be paying pretty close attention to confirmation picks here. The hearings for those Trump confirmation -- Trump cabinet picks. Sorry, I cannot speak.

New this morning, two of the world's biggest cigarette companies are being rolled into one. British American Tobacco is buying Reynolds American for $49 billion. It would bring together some of the biggest-selling brands on the planet including Pall Mall, Camel, Newport. British American says the merger will create the world's largest tobacco company. They already had strong ties. They have rights to each other's brands in different countries. Reynolds made headlines last year for bringing in former House Speaker and heavy smoker John Boehner as a director.

A second governor pushing to make college free. Rhode Island's governor Gina Raimondo is proposing a free tuition policy of three of the state's universities. Now, this follows New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made a similar pitch earlier this year. Now, Rhode Island's going to be a bit different. The governor is calling for free tuition for two years, not four. It would be open to all residents regardless of income, so no cap. Remember, New York capped income at $125,000.

Check out the new CNN Money Stream app. It is business news personalized. Stories, videos, tweets, topics you want all in one feed. Download it now on the App Store or Google Play.

BERMAN: So, that's interesting. So, Rhode Island not making it income-based. I wonder what the reasoning is there? To keep talent local if you can --

ROMANS: And it's not --

BERMAN: -- regardless of income?

ROMANS: And it's not four years, either. There's big questions. Both of these statelegislatures have to approve it. They have to decide who's going to pay for it. The idea, though, is that when you have this generation that has, you know, less wealth, less income than the prior generation, you've got to get the student loan debt out from under them so they can succeed. All right, that's -- thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


KERRY: It was inappropriate for a president-elect to be stepping into the politics of other countries.

TRUMP: Well,I start off trusting both, but let's see how long that lasts.

ROMANS: Tom Price is facing a rough confirmation.

BERMAN: Did he use his congressional influence for personal profit?

REP. JOHN LEWIS, (D), GEORGIA: When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something, and not be quiet.

GOV. MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Those who question the legitimacy of this election is deeply disappointing.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: Now we see John Lewis has demonstrated that he's action.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, INCOMING COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: We hope that these Democratic members of Congress will reconsider. They are certainly welcomed to the inauguration.


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

CUOMO: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, January 17th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin with a brand new CNN/ORC poll that shows Donald Trump with an historic low approval rating heading into the White House. Just 40 percent of Americans say they approve of the president-elect's performance during this transition. Fifty-two percent say they do not approve.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This, as the list of Democrats who say they will boycott Mr. Trump's inauguration grows. Now, one in five House Democrats declared they will skip it. You see all of their faces on the wall there. We are three days away from Mr. Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States, so let's begin our coverage with CNN political director David Chalian. He's live in Washington with more new poll numbers. Good morning, David.