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Dozens Injured in Tehran Building Collapse; Avalanche Buries Hotel in Italy After Earthquakes; Interview with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia; One-on-One With Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired January 19, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:02] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news out of Tehran where Iran's oldest high rise building collapsed live on television. Iran's state run media is reporting at least 38 people are injured, including more than two sudden firefighters battling flames at the top levels of the building for hours before it came crashing down in just a matter of seconds. The building had been an iconic part of Tehran's skyline.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking news out of Italy. One person dead where an avalanche buried a hotel in the Abruzzo region of Italy after a series of earthquakes. There have been several over the last few days.
This is the scene right now -- yes, look at that snowstorm that emergency crews are up against. It's slowing everything down. So far, only two people have been pulled from the wreckage.
The best information right now is that there were at least 22 guests staying at the hotel. It's called the Rigopiano. When it was hit by this earthquake, several staff members were also on duty. There is a huge degree of unknown, and that storm is making everything harder in an already vulnerable region.
CAMEROTA: Former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush are waking up in a Houston hospital. Doctors transferred the nation's oldest living president to the intensive care unit on Wednesday while his 91-year-old wife Barbara was admitted there as well.
CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Houston with all of the latest.
How are they, Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
The good news, we should start with former President George H.W. Bush in stable condition. His wife Barbara Bush also recovering. This comes a day after a health scare for the former president. He was briefly admitted into the ICU. I should say he's still in the ICU, had a procedure that briefly sedated him related to clearing his airway passage. She had been in a Houston Methodist Hospital since this weekend for shortness of breath related to pneumonia.
His wife also on Wednesday was hospitalized as well, out of an abundance of caution. She was complaining of fatigue and coughing. Doctors thought it would be best for her to stay in the hospital overnight.
Both Bushes were expected to miss tomorrow's inauguration. The first Bush sending the president-elect a letter earlier this week saying the doctors advised against him and the former first lady from standing out in that frigid D.C. cold. Yesterday, President-elect Trump taking to Twitter to wish them a speedy recovery.
Also in his final press conference, the current President Barack Obama thanking the Bushes for their friendship and counsel throughout the years, also wishing them a speedy recovery. There's no indication on when either Bush will be released from the hospital. But there are plenty of people that want to see them get better fast -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Nick. No question about that. Please keep us apprised of this situation.
All right, so the list keeps growing. It seems that we are seeing the face of the resistance taking shape. Dozens of House Democrats boycotting Donald Trump's inauguration, and at least one Democratic senator doesn't like what they're doing. That is West Virginia's Joe Manchin.
He's going to tell us why, next.
[06:37:23] CAMEROTA: A number of House Democrats skipping president- elect's inauguration has grown to 50 members. That's one in four House Democrats. So far, no senators have joined this boycott.
Now, some Democrats are speaking out against those who will be skipping the event. One of them joins us now, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Senator, great to see you.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: So, I know that you don't like the idea of what your fellow Democrats in the House are doing by sitting out the inauguration. I mean, they say basically -- this is a choice of principles. They say they don't agree with some of the president-elect's positions and they're making their voices known. What do you say?
MANCHIN: I often said this -- you know, the United States of America is hope for the world. If we can't show orderly transfer and respect for this process, that we have, which is unlike any of the word, then that's -- then that should give you pause before you start doing something because your personal, and they say it's a personal belief in doing this.
I said, listen, the person I voted for doesn't always get elected, you know? But once the process is over, that's the person I'm going to work with. President Donald Trump, President-elect Donald Trump is going to be our president tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: And you believe they should figure out a way to work with him?
MANCHIN: If you want to get something done and continue to be the hope of the world, you better.
CAMEROTA: Do you think that they -- these 50 to 60 Democrats who are sitting it out today, do you think that they represent some sort of new splinter party whereby they will band together and try to obstruct him or disrupt him?
MANCHIN: I don't think. I mean, they have to remember why they're here. We came here to represent the people that basically have confidence and faith to get them representation, make sure their voices are heard, and make sure they're represented properly. If you want to be an outlier, and an outcast and continue to condemn, and condemn and condemn and never want to do something, you're not doing really the job you were sent here to do.
So, people will say, listen. I've got to find someone that wants to get something accomplished. That means sometimes you work with people sometimes you don't agree with. Sometimes maybe you don't really like that well, but the process, your job is to get it done. Just do it.
CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about some of Mr. Trump's cabinet nominations.
CAMEROTA: Because I know have you an issue with a couple of them.
MANCHIN: Right, very much.
CAMEROTA: Tom Price and Betsy DeVos.
CAMEROTA: Let's start with Tom Price for HHS. What is your problem?
MANCHIN: Well, you know, I've said about all, I'm differential. Being a governor myself I had to ask the state Senate to judge me on the people I bring in and how we perform. But with that, they had to go through a process. And you're going to watch that process. You know, the ethics -- his ethics reports, his financial disclosure, his background check.
CAMEROTA: Isn't that troubling you that he had chosen stock?
MANCHIN: That's a troubling thing. But more troubling to me and my concern was, he said he wasn't sure to continue opiate funding. Now, we have an epidemic across the country.
CAMEROTA: Opioid addiction is an epidemic in your state.
MANCHIN: Prescription drug abuses, all illicit drugs.
[06:40:01] But, anyway, we need treatment centers. These people have nowhere to go to get them clean, to get them back in society, and he's not sure he's not sure he's going to continue that.
CAMEROTA: Why would he say that?
MANCHIN: I have no clue.
CAMEROTA: I mean, did he give his reasoning?
MANCHIN: No, not really. I guess, he didn't commit to where it was needed. I don't know whether he thinks they can cure themselves. It's an illness.
I'm as guilty as anyone, 20 years thinking, well, (INAUDIBLE) drugs, you committed crime? Put you in jail?
Well, guess what, that didn't work. Now, we understood basically it's an illness, you have to treat it. If he doesn't wish to do that that basically tells me I have much concern with him doing things that I think will make good sense in a direction that I think will help West Virginians. So, I've got to look at.
But also, Medicare, I've got an old population, older population, one of the oldest in the country. Medicare is something they work for, they paid for. And he's tried time after time after time to privatize it. You can't privatize and put a voucher system in for someone 65, 70, 75 years of age, and go out and make your best deal.
CAMEROTA: Do you think these are disqualifying?
MANCHIN: I don't think from disqualifying, this basically is my reason I might not be able to vote for him for those reasons. But, you know, we'll see what happens. The process I watched his interviews and basically we're getting snips of everything he said and see how it runs in conflict of what we believe and who we represent. So, we'll see.
CAMEROTA: Betsy DeVos, what's your issue?
MANCHIN: The only thing about, I don't know Betsy DeVos. I know where she comes from and her intentions are. The only thing I would say to Mrs. DeVos is if you look at the rural state such as West Virginia, we don't have a large population. I don't have a large urban area.
The funding system that we use for education in West Virginia might be less different than other areas, if you look at vouchers and charter schools, will you absolutely decimate, -- decimate I mean -- the rural population of the school system, the public school systems. I'm scared to death of that. CAMEROTA: You mean it will bleed money from the public schools --
MANCHIN: Well, it's going to take money to do it. You are transferring money. We don't have enough money to run the system now, and I'm scared of that. I'm just very much concerned about that.
CAMEROTA: Last, I want to ask you about President Obama commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning. Your thoughts?
MANCHIN: I thought it was wrong. I really did. I mean, we're in the midst of cyberattacks. We have basically a whole investigation through my intel now. We'll be looking at an investigation into the hacking, the Russian hacking, and how in depth that is. We are getting hit every day by every country in the world almost, coming trying to change how we do business.
This person was convicted, Private Manning at that time, Chelsea Manning now, was convicted of espionage, treason.
CAMEROTA: You know, she served her time, I mean --
MANCHIN: Seven years, seven of 35 years.
CAMEROTA: Right. But, you know, what President Obama said that was a longer sentence than any other leaker.
MANCHIN: Well, I guess basically we didn't take it serious. We need to take seriously. We should have stated. I mean in this time that we are dealing with, we know what's happening and what are coming after us, I think that sets a precedence. Does that give a green light to say Assange and Snowden, all this and that.
I'm sorry, I'm just not there, because the intelligence community, I trust them. I believe in them. And they're giving us good information. And they do their job. They give it to us to do our job.
Sometimes that would concern me. I can tell you right now, this does concern me and I'm not giving a green light to anyone that wants to do harm to this country.
CAMEROTA: Senator Joe Manchin, thanks so much for being here.
MANCHIN: Thank you for having me.
CAMEROTA: Great to have you on NEW DAY.
Up next, we have an exclusive issue with the outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Chris is going to sit down with him and we'll get his take on Mr. Obama's controversial Chelsea Manning commutation and the threat from Russia, as well as ISIS. All of that ahead on NEW DAY.
CUOMO: Baseball's Hall of Fame welcoming three new members to this exclusive club. Who are they?
Andy Scholes has the answer in this morning's "Bleacher Report".
What do you got?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hey, Chris, you know, growing up in Houston, Jeff Bagwell, my favorite player. So, to see him make into the Hall of Fame, pretty cool for me. Now, Bagwell is elected in his 7th year eligible.
Ivan Rodriguez known as Pudge, he can now call himself a first ballot Hall of Famer. And then, Tim Raines, he made the cut in what was his last chance. Those are the three that will be going in this July.
Now, Barry Bond, Roger Clemens, once again falling short due to their ties of performance enhancing performs drugs. But they did see a bump in their numbers from voters, which is a good sign for them in considering their Hall of Fame chances.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has come under fire for posting a video from the locker room, where you can hear head coach Mike Tomlin's private post-game speak. While speaking with the media yesterday, Brown said he just got carried away in the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO BROWN, PITTSBURGH STEELERS WIDE RECEIVER: Total discretion to this organization, total discretion to my teammates, obviously disrespect to my coach. I've got the utmost respect to my coach. So, I sorely regret that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: We'll see if that off-the-field distraction ends up hurting the Steelers, Chris, when they take on the Patriot this Sunday in AFC championship game.
CUOMO: We will see my friend. Andy Scholes, thank you very much.
Pudge Rodriguez, great name.
Up next, one-on-one with Defense Secretary Ash Carter. We cover a lot of ground -- the war against ISIS, Russian hacking and what he thinks about the president's commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. Ash Carter, secretary of defense -- nothing matters more than the continuity going forward. He has answers, ahead.
[06:52:29] CUOMO: All right. Transition is what it sounds like. President Obama's cabinet members leave office tomorrow at noon, along with the outgoing president.
So, we sat down with Defense Secretary Ash Carter yesterday for his last TV interview. This is a very important position. The continuity of our safety is dependent on what happens at the Pentagon. So, we talked about the threats facing our nation, the stability going
forward as well as the president's controversial commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. His answers, here.
CUOMO: Mr. Secretary, tell us how you're feeling about leaving this place that you have been in for so long and you know so well.
ASH CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I love it. I have been doing this for 35 years. At the same, I'm very confident in our force.
I'm confident in where we're going. I'm confident in what we are doing today in counter-ISIL, Iraq and Syria, dealing with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, all those current issues that we have. And I'm also confident with the direction this place is headed.
CUOMO: American people have beaten it in their brains that we're not safe, that ISIS is strong. That we're nowhere on the war. That the threat is greater than it was eight years ago.
What is your perspective?
CARTER: Well, it's a complicated world and -- but with respect to ISIL and all the other challenges, we are on the path we need to be on strategically. It's a plan that General Joe Dunford and I developed a year-and-a-half ago. We have been systematically executing it, to destroy ISIL, to destroy the fact and the idea that there can be an Islamic State based upon this ideology, first and foremost, in Iraq and Syria.
You see that unfolding in Mosul. You'll see that unfolding in Raqqah. I'm confident that Mosul will fall, Raqqah will fall, and then we're dealing with all the other nests of ISIL wherever it might spring up, Afghanistan, Libya, and, of course, protecting our own people here at home. We're on the right path to do that.
CUOMO: A lot of concern coming out of the military and veteran community about the word of a commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning and what they may mean for a Bowe Bergdahl, is he next? There's a lot about that. What do you say to people about that first move of Manning?
[06:55:00] CARTER: Well, all I'll say about the Manning case is, I did not support the direction the president went. But he's made his decision. That's all I'm going to say. That was not my recommendation.
CUOMO: There is a chain of continuity now, leaking, WikiLeaks, Russia. We saw our president-elect, soon to be president, shelter Russia from responsibility. It boggled the mind of why, it fueled a lot of speculation.
Do you have concern about that instinct to shelter Russia from responsibility for what happened during these attacks?
CARTER: I'm not going to answer questions about the president-elect. The only thing I will say is that we are committed here and I am committed to helping the president-elect and his team to hit the ground running. We've been doing that for 241 years. We're going to do it this year as well.
On the case of the Russian hacking, what it says to me among other things is for us here in the Defense Department, protecting our own networks is job one. We're a long way from being able assure that.
With respect to Russia, their interests aren't the same as ours. But with any major power, you work wherever your interests can overlap or align.
But the reality is, with today's Russia is that those areas where we can make our interests overlap or align with one another and work in the same direction have narrowed, have diminished in the course of my post-Cold War career here. They're not completely gone. We work with Russia on some non-proliferation issues in Iran and in North Korea.
But when you come to Europe, Ukraine, Syria, we have not been able to find common ground and even more historically, there are some ways in which Russia has come to define its own interests and its own success as thwarting our interests or our success. And if somebody sets himself up not to achieve his own interests but to frustrate your interests, it's very difficult to build a bridge to that.
Now, that said, I think we should still continue to try. And I would urge those who come after me to continue to try. But I'm realistic.
CUOMO: What's the best approach to dealing with Russia?
CARTER: Well, I think you have to be strong and you have to be balanced. Where they cannot, or will not align their interests with ours so we can work together, we have to stand strong. That means with our own military capabilities, at making sure that we design them and develop them and stay ahead of Russian capabilities, and with NATO and our other alliance partners, so that they can stay strong.
Balanced in the sense that we ought to always try to work with them, North Korea, Iran, where we can, and hold the door opened for a time -- I don't foresee that now -- but sometime in the future within they begin to conceive of their interests in a more normal way.
CUOMO: Do you take some comfort in the fact that General Mattis will be the next head of the ship here?
CARTER: I do. I have known Jim for 20 years. He's a good friend. He worked for me.
He was a senior commander here. He's extremely experienced. He's knowledgeable about the political military aspects, especially of the Middle East.
We've done everything we can to help pave the way for him and his team, and I wish him every success, Chris, because our country deserves it. He deserves it. You can't ever together that his success is our success.
CUOMO: All right. So the good news is the outgoing secretary of defense has a lot of confidence on the incoming secretary of defense if he's confirmed. General Mattis, there doesn't seem to be much question.
CAMEROTA: Right, yes.
CUOMO: The bad news is he sees Vladimir Putin as a man who defines himself by America's defeats and he is not a man to be embraced lightly. And this is a man who's been negotiating with Russia for decades and decades. Not just right now. So, there you have it.
Thanks to our international viewers for watching. "CNN NEWSROOM" is going to begin for you in moments.
For our U.S. viewers we have a lot of news about what's going to happen today and tomorrow, and we're going to do it right now.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a job of such magnitude that you can't do it by yourself.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: It's just going to be an amazing weekend. It's going to be something special.
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: The president-elect and I are deeply committed to keeping promises to the American people.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. NOMINEE: NATO obviously has been an alliance that we need to keep.
OBAMA: Reality has a way of fighting back if you're not paying attention to it.