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Dow Hits Milestone; Trump Vows Voter Fraud Investigation; Interview with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted; Curbing Chicago Violence; Somali Truck Bombings. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 25, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:06] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, I hear that opening bell on Wall Street.

Christine Romans, take it away.


Well, yes, 30 stocks that make the Dow Jones Industrial average, so we'll check and see, when they all over, whether you hit 20,000. Looks like we hit it right there, 20,000 for the first time in history.

I'll tell you, it was back in November that the Dow crossed 19,000 for the first time after - it was not long after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. The idea here, investors think that there will be a rollback of lots regulation. There will be pro-growth policies. There will be tax cuts. But it's really those regulations rolling back in infrastructure spending that they think is going to be good for companies and good for shareholders.

So the Dow is 30 stocks, right? The S&P 500 is 500 stocks. And that's likely what you have in your 401k. So your investments yesterday, S&P 500 hit a record high. The Nasdaq, that's got more tech stocks in it, it's pretty diverse but it has more tech stocks in it, that also hit a record high yesterday. So investors are looking at the American stock market and they are saying they think they like what's going to happen in terms of corporate profits. That's what this measures, right? This is a measure of your job prospects. It doesn't measure your home value. This measures corporate profits.


ROMANS: And they think that companies are going to make money -

COSTELLO: Only a select few will get rich from that number.

Let's go to the floor now and check in with Paul La Monica.

Is there excitement galore down there?

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN MONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there was a pretty big movement, a couple of hollers right at the open when we topped 20,000. Things have calmed down a little bit. It might be back to business as usual. But as Christine pointed out, 20,000, it's a historic moment, but it's not the only market barometer doing well. You have the S&P 500 and Nasdaq near or at record highs, too. There's just enthusiasm about stimulus from the Trump administration. Whether or not it actually happens remains to be scene. But people still think that we are going to get the economy to pick up, and that is good for American blue-chip companies, even those that do business abroad.

COSTELLO: OK, so, whoop whoop for the stock market today.

Thanks, Christine. Thanks, Paul.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, President Trump ready to investigate voter fraud, but at what cost? What that probe could mean for you, the taxpayer, and the future of our democracy, next.


[09:35:12] COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

President Trump sending shock waves this morning, vowing on Twitter to investigate nationwide voter fraud. The president reviving past debunked claims that millions of people voted illegally, tweeting, quote, "I will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even those registered to vote who are dead and many for a long time. Depending on results, we will strengthen up our voting procedures," end quote. That was actually two tweets. A White House spokesperson, moments ago, telling CNN they will release more information about that investigation later this week.

With me now to talk about this is Jon Husted. He's the Ohio secretary of state.

Welcome, sir.


COSTELLO: Good morning.

So - so it is your job to assure a fraud-free fair and democratic election for the people of Ohio. Would you welcome a nationwide review of voter fraud?

HUSTED: Well, I think more information is always useful. I responded to President Trump's tweet this morning for Ohioans, to let them know we already have an investigation, a review as we call it, underway. We do one every two years. What we've found in the past - we do an investigation of voter fraud, voter suppression. We found less than 1,000 cases of - of voter irregularity, less than a couple 100 cases of voter fraud, and zero cases of voter suppression.

COSTELLO: And how many people vote in the state of Ohio, sir? How many people vote in the state of Ohio?

HUSTED: We had - we have over 7 million registered voters in the state of Ohio.

COSTELLO: So - and you found like a handful?

HUSTED: So it's a - it's a small - yes, it's a small number. As I say about voter fraud, it exists. It's rare. We're building a stronger system every day to make sure that - that it doesn't exist or that we can eliminate it. And, look, our system in Ohio is as good as it's ever been. We try to strike this balance. You know, one of the things about elections is that 50 states conduct them by 50 different sets of rules. Some skew towards election security. Some emphasize election access. We try to find a balance between making it easy to vote and hard to cheat. And - and we think that we've got a pretty good formula here in Ohio.

COSTELLO: OK, so what would a nationwide investigation into voter fraud look like and who would pay for it and how much would it cost?

HUSTED: Well, look, this really should be done at the state level. I don't think that federal involvement is - is important in this - in this particular matter because the states run the elections. We don't want federal involvement in our elections. We want to keep this in the hands of the states. That's where it should be. I'll be interested to see what the president suggests as far as a review. But we already have one underway. This is presently going on in Ohio.

COSTELLO: OK, I'm - I'm just curious. If - if the federal government ordered Ohio, you, to do this widespread investigation into voter fraud, you would probably come back and say, look, we already do that every two years. And what if the federal government came back and said, you know what, we want you to be even more thorough in your investigation. How much would that cost the taxpayers of Ohio?

HUSTED: Well, I - I think we can do it. I think we can do it with existing resources. But the federal government could help us. The - we've - I went and testified before Congress in the past to give us access to the saved database at Homeland Security, which would give us access to know how many people are on the rolls that perhaps shouldn't be there. And this is the issue that we have. We have many non- citizens in America who have Social Security numbers, which is what you need to register to vote, and we want to be able to crossmatch that database with our database to make sure that there's nobody on the rolls that shouldn't be.

COSTELLO: Sounds good.

HUSTED: The federal government has denied us that access. If they give us that access, we can do a simple crossmatch and - and do - and that's one thing that the federal government can do to help the states improve our system of elections.

COSTELLO: OK, and I'm just going back to the cost because when Jill Stein demanded a recount in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, state officials were not happy there because it would cost them millions of dollars to do that using their own state funding, right, because you have to pay overtime, you have to -


COSTELLO: Send your people to investigate these things. You have - right?

HUSTED: Well, but every state's different. We're set up to do this. When I became secretary of state, one of the things that I said on day one is that we would conduct a review after every election of our system to make sure that every - every legitimate case of voter fraud would be reviewed and investigated, and we would come to a - to a - and give a - and issue a report every two years on what happened in our state. So we're ready to go.

[09:40:0] I can't say that I know that all the other 49 states, though, are ready to go.


HUSTED: And - and for them there may be additional cost.

COSTELLO: OK. So, I know that you - you told me months ago that you were a Trump supporter. This whole notion that there's widespread voter fraud and that 3 to 5 million votes were possibly cast illegally, should Mr. Trump be fighting that fight?

HUSTED: Well, you know, that's up to his judgment. I know when he was in Ohio, he said that he was not concerned about our state. So I think that he will, over the coming days, bear the responsibility of sharing exactly where their concerns are, providing evidence of that, and - and - and giving us more information about specifically what his concerns are.

COSTELLO: But does it - does it concern you, though, because he's in essence saying that, you know, the American system of democracy in voting possibly is fraudulent?

HUSTED: Well, I - I think, you know, he's going to bear the responsibility of providing the facts. And I'm eager to see what those facts are. What I'm focused - what I've been focused on, Carol, and we've talked about this in the past, is that, you know, every state does this differently. This is how we do it in Ohio. But there is a way to do this.

COSTELLO: No, no, I understand, but - but - but critics say that by - by talking about this issue, that's really a non-issue because there's been a zillions studies that show there is no widespread voter fraud in this country.

HUSTED: And - and there isn't. There is no evidence that there's widespread -

COSTELLO: You told me there is no widespread voter fraud in the state of the Ohio. Right. So by - by the president of the United States saying this, in the most powerful democracy in the world, doesn't that concern you?

HUSTED: It does concern me. And I've - and I've said this in the past. When - when the president talked about the election being rigged during the election, that's when I came out and I - and I publicly said, look, there's - there's no evidence of that. This is a bipartisan process in Ohio. I know that it's a bipartisan process in other states. And we have - and the system of elections in America is as good as it's ever been. I'm going to, though, use this opportunity to say, look, how can we make it better? People should be confident in the elections in Ohio. Donald Trump won Ohio by over 400,000 votes. He should be - he should be happy with the results that happened in our state. He should be happy that he won the Electoral College. And we should move on - and we should move forward.

COSTELLO: So - so - so just going back to my - my initial point, don't you wish he would just stop this? Don't you wish he would just stop?

HUSTED: I wish he would take a more constructive point of view with this discussion. And that's what I'm trying to do here today on - on your show. I'm trying to talk about the things that - that are being done, the things that can be done so that we can build an even better system because I think it's my responsibility as a public official, and as the chief elections official, to build confidence in our system. And that's what - any time that this issue comes up, that's what I want to do.

COSTELLO: Jon Husted, I do appreciate you being with me this morning. It's an important topic.

HUSTED: Thank you.

COSTELLO: As we both know. Thank you so much.

I'll be right back.


[09:46:08] COSTELLO: President Trump issuing a warning to Chicago officials, find a way to stop the violence or he will, quote, "send in the feds." Trump's threat coming via tweet last night, addressing what he referred to as horrible carnage in the nation's third largest city. There have been 38 homicides and 182 shootings in Chicago already this year. So are these Twitter threats a new way of putting pressure on local officials? Will it work? Will it stop the violence?

Let's talk about that. I'm joined by CNN correspondent Ryan Young. He's based in Chicago. And Lynn Sweet is the Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun-Times."

So, Ryan, I know that city officials are responding this morning. What are they saying?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are responding. Of course, the mayor will have a sort of news conference later this afternoon - I mean this morning, actually around 10:30 local time here.

But the big conversation here is what's going to happen next. Federal resources are already on the ground here, Carol. So the conversation is what more could happen here? A lot of people in the community have been asking for more help, but they realize this has been a long problem that's been going on in those communities. And you see the city reacted by saying, look, you can't just bring more law enforcement. There needs to be more jobs program. There needs to be more help for the communities that are in need.

And this is a constant conversation that's in the community. You look at just some of the tweets from people who are activists around the area, like Jesse Jackson, saying, instead of more officers, we need more jobs, we need more opportunities for the people in need. So you can see how layered this is in terms of how the community is going to react. There are some people who are resisting Trump at every turn. But this is the one thing they wanted for this problem, attention, because there's so much violence going on in the streets of Chicago.

COSTELLO: So, Lynn, when President Trump says he'll send the feds in, what do you suppose that means?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Well, that's the big story I'll be exploring today, does he mean the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, more DEA agents, more FBI agents? These are all requests Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made of Donald Trump when he met with then president-elect December 7th. Does it mean calling in the National Guard, in which case this will be a Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner? These are all important details to unfold, especially because President Trump has taken this very special interest in crime in Chicago. When he used the word "carnage," Carol, this is a word from his inauguration speech and it was echoed in a new then - on - new on Friday page on dealing with crime where he did single out Chicago.

Now, I expect this morning in Chicago, where Mayor Emanuel presides over a city council meeting this morning, to get all kinds of explosive reaction as to what exactly this means.

COSTELLO: So, Ryan, would the people of Chicago welcome, you know, the National Guard coming in?

YOUNG: Well, I think that's one of those conversations that a lot of people have been having. When you have weekends where so many people are getting shot, there have been rumors before that National Guard's going to come in. But when you talk to CPD officers, and I've talked to a lot of them just in the last 24 hours, one of the things they say is, they would want a chance to go after crime in a different way. They, a lot of times, point to the judges here, saying that there's too lax of laws, allowing repeat gun offenders to get right back out on the streets to commit these crimes again. And that's sort of the conversation here, whether or not the lawmakers and officers are working well enough together to make sure that people, when they commit a crime and they're caught, they stay in jail long enough.

But when you talk about the idea of unemployment here, and there's some sections of the city where unemployment is reaching above 50 percent, you understand that there's idle minds. And, of course, you hear it all the time, reverends say, idle minds is the devil's workshop. You hear that on the streets. And they're asking for more jobs and more employment. But I think when Rahm has his speeches and he's talking about what Trump should do, you know, based upon what - who Trump is, that he's going to fire back. And that's part of what's going on here, specifically with what Rahm said the other day.

COSTELLO: Well, here's - here's the - here's the thing, Lynn. We know there are problems within the Chicago Police Department, right? They've been accused of abusing citizens.

[09:50:10] YOUNG: Right.

COSTELLO: Some people say, including many police chiefs, that community policing is really the answer, not more of a show of force. So, Lynn, if you're - if you're following that line or that theory, is sending in the National Guard the right move?

SWEET: Well, I would think that would be a very enormous step. No one in Illinois has been talking about that seriously. Certainly not the governor. So the reason I think this comes into play today is because when you say "send in the feds," people begin to think, what do you talk about, which is why I'm hoping that we'll get clarification today.

Now, an important point here is this is also happening just as the Barack Obama Justice Department unveiled its findings days before he left office, when Loretta Lynch came to Chicago to give a press conference and to meet with community activists to talk about the very harsh criticisms of the Chicago Police Department they made. They had a lot of remedies.

One of the other issues, by the way, which Ryan mentioned, and which "The Sun Times" has written about, is that these prosecutions are lagging in court and do need to be stepped up. This is a longstanding request that Chicago has had. Plus, there is a slew of recommendations to improve policing in Chicago, to address long - longstanding issues of racial bias and police misconduct.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see what happens later today. Ryan Young, Lynn Sweet, thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, deadly truck bombings hit the Somali capital of Mogadishu.


COSTELLO: Terror in Somalia as twin explosions hit the capital of Mogadishu this morning.


COSTELLO: Wow. At least ten people dead, 51 wounded after two truck bombs explode outside of a popular hotel near the parliament. Somali security forces killing four gunmen after they stormed inside the hotel. The terror group al Shabaab is claiming responsibility for the attack.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo is in Nairobi with more. Hi, Farai.


You're right, it was a bloody morning in Mogadishu and it's not the first time the people of Mogadishu have suffered such attacks at the hands of the al Qaeda affiliate known as al Shabaab.

This morning what happened is that they loaded a truck full of explosives and aimed it straight at the Dayah hotel gates. It exploded. And then 15 minutes later, four gunmen then went in there with another truck. They exploded the truck they arrived in and started shooting up the hotel. They were stopped by Somali security police. And, of course, they were - they were killed outright. But we have, as you say, some terrible news of tragedies and more deaths for the Somali people.

[09:55:06] And basically what's happening in Somalia at the moment is that the people as a whole want democracy. They're fighting for democracy. But this small affiliate of al Qaeda and ISIS is trying to turn the horn of Africa into an Islamic State, Carol.

COSTELLO: Farai Sevenzo reporting live for us this morning. Thank you.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a break.


COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

President Donald Trump just hours from delivering on a major campaign promise. He will order construction to begin on that border wall separating the United States and Mexico. But that photo op is now overshadowed as he steals his own spotlight and drops a bombshell, doubling down on debunked claims that millions of people voted illegally.

[10:00:01] His tweet, quote, "I will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even those who register to vote who are dead and many for a long time.