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Trump: AT&T-Time Warner Merger "Not A Good Deal"; Jerry Jones Withdraws Threat Of Lawsuit; Trump Orbits Contacts With Russians. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 22, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You're always welcome here -- Alisyn.


The president taking on the AT&T and Time Warner deal again. What he's saying now.


CAMEROTA: President Trump weighing in on the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to get involved in litigation but personally, I've always felt that that was a deal that's not good for the country. I think your pricing is going to go up. I don't think it's a good deal for the country but I'm not going to get involved. It's litigation.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now are CNN global economic analyst Rana Foroohar, and CNN senior economics analyst Stephen Moore. Great to have both you here --


CAMEROTA: -- for all of the topics that we have to tackle.

Rana, Time Warner is the parent company of CNN, obviously. Do you know of any reason why this merger shouldn't happen?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST, GLOBAL BUSINESS COLUMNIST AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES, AUTHOR, "MAKERS AND TAKERS": Well look, I think that there are concentration of power issues in media right now, but I think that this merger is the wrong target.

And also, it has been poisoned by the politicization of talking about divesting, potentially, Turner which owns CNN. I mean, the fact that that is now in play --

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's more than the politicization. It's the president's personal vendetta.

[07:35:00] FOROOHAR: Yes, it --

CAMEROTA: The president has gone after CNN time and again --


CAMEROTA: -- and said how much he doesn't like it and how he doesn't --


CAMEROTA: -- want this deal to happen.

FOROOHAR: Right, and that is particularly problematic at a time when I think we do need to be looking more closely at antitrust. I would say that this is the wrong target, though. This is a vertically integrated merger -- companies that don't compete.

You'll look in 2011, Comcast-NBC Universal went through. No divestment there.

The targets that the president should be looking at, frankly, are the big Internet companies -- the Googles, the Facebooks. That's where the actual real power in media is.

And so, I think that this is a poisoned deal, really.

CAMEROTA: Stephen, what do you think?

MOORE: Look, I disagree with the premise here that there's somehow an overconcentration of power in media. I mean, my goodness --

FOROOHAR: Well -- I mean, these companies -- 80 percent of value right now in the corporate world lives in 10 percent of companies. Most of them are in California and Silicon Valley.

CAMEROTA: But either way, Stephen -- I mean, do you think that just about this deal -- do you think that this deal --


CAMEROTA: Do you see any problem with it?

MOORE: Well, let me -- let me address the big picture because I think it's really important. And I think this is going to be the issue of the next decade, is this issue of quote "concentration of power" by these companies.

Now look, I grew up in the -- in the 1960s and seventies when you basically had two or three media outlets. Now you've got thousands and thousands of media outlets. The idea that somehow someone is going to monopolize media, I think, is just the exact opposite of the truth.

I mean, we have -- people have thousands of options today. FOROOHAR: Oh, man, I --

MOORE: Now, with respect to the ATT merger, I -- look, I don't have a problem with it. I think it should go -- it's one of the few times, Alisyn, I actually disagree with Donald Trump on economics.

CAMEROTA: I know. So why is the president doing this?

MOORE: You know, I think he is -- he is concerned about too much concentration of power.

CAMEROTA: Or is it about CNN?

MOORE: I just disagree with him.

CAMEROTA: I mean --

MOORE: Or maybe he just doesn't like CNN.

FOROOHAR: If you're concerned about concentration of power go after the companies that actually have the power.

You know, I have to jump in and say --


FOROOHAR: -- I disagree.

Even though you can make an argument --

MOORE: Right, yes.

FOROOHAR: -- that there are lots of Internet companies out there right now --


FOROOHAR: Sure, there's tons of app companies. The major power is being held by a handful of players.

MOORE: Yes, right.

FOROOHAR: Google, Facebook, Amazon. Those are the companies that business communities that I speak to is worried about.

Small businesses --

MOORE: Sure.

FOROOHAR: -- are coming to me all the time and saying look, these firms are stealing our I.P. They're monopolizing markets.


FOROOHAR: They own --

MOORE: Well, OK.

FOROOHAR: -- you know, most of the value in the economy right now.

MOORE: OK, let me -- it's a great point. You're exactly right. They are incredibly huge companies that are, in a lot of ways, bigger than John Rockefeller and U.S. Steel.

FOROOHAR: Absolutely.

MOORE: However -- but --

FOROOHAR: They're just like the railroads.

MOORE: OK, so that's a fair point, but I would ask you this question. What is happening to the prices of all these things? I mean, the whole idea behind monopoly power is that they're going to have monopoly power to raise prices.

But, Alisyn, as I look at the --

FOROOHAR: Well, yes -- I have to --

MOORE: -- price of things they're falling, falling, falling, falling, you know, by 90 percent every year, so there's no issue here for consumers for them --

FOROOHAR: Yes. See, that's --

MOORE: -- having to pay higher prices.

FOROOHAR: That's where I disagree --


FOROOHAR: -- because I think that -- and I think that this is where we need a fundamental change.

You're right that antitrust law has been predicated basically since the 1980s on the idea that if prices go down it's good for the consumer. But when you think about the fact that we are now paying for digital services in the form, not of money but of our personal data, that is the current phase --

MOORE: Well, that's a concern.

FOROOHAR: -- then we need to start thinking about antitrust in an entirely different way.

CAMEROTA: I want to bring up another thing.

MOORE: Well, by the way, I don't know --

CAMEROTA: Quickly, Stephen.

MOORE: I agree with you on the privacy issue, I'm just not sure antitrust is the way to deal with it. CAMEROTA: OK. Very quickly, Rana --


CAMEROTA: -- I want to talk about the president weighing in on this, right? So, the president --


CAMEROTA: -- says I'm not going to weigh in on this, then he proceeds to weigh in on it and say that he thinks it's a bad deal.

And I'm wondering if you think that his words will be used in this lawsuit now that has been filed by the DOJ? As we've seen, the president's words and tweets have come up --


CAMEROTA: -- with his travel ban and other things.


CAMEROTA: So the president publicly weighing in during a lawsuit, what do you think this means?

FOROOHAR: I think it questions rule of law, you know. I mean, I think it really -- at a terrible time when we really do need a fundamental change in how we look at corporate power, at mergers, at antitrust, he will poison the well here, not just on this deal but for how we look at antitrust for the rest of this administration. If this happens that's going to be a terrible thing.

CAMEROTA: Stephen, poisoning the well.

MOORE: Right, yes.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that the president is exceeding his bounds by talking about this publicly?

MOORE: No, I don't. I think it's a major issue of the day. We're having a good, lively debate on this. There's a real difference of opinion.

You know, as I said, I worked as an adviser to Donald Trump on the economy --


MOORE: -- and I -- you know, I told him I disagreed with him on this.

There are not -- I think -- you know, look at Time Warner and AT&T. I mean, in a lot of ways these are almost dinosaurs in terms of -- they may -- these companies may not even exist 15 years from now.

So I kind of agree with Rana's original point which is that this merger may actually help competition with the -- with the big giants --


MOORE: -- you were just talking about.

CAMEROTA: So then, Stephen, I mean --


CAMEROTA: -- we go back to the original -- the question, which is how do you see it as anything different than the president having a personal vendetta against the news on CNN --

MOORE: Well --

CAMEROTA: -- and isn't that dangerous?

MOORE: No, because for one thing, I mean, his own Justice Department is taking a different opinion from him so he has not -- he's clearly not weighed in --

[07:40:06] CAMEROTA: But the Justice Department is the one filing the suit.

MOORE: Is what?

CAMEROTA: Is filing the suit against this -- against this merger.

MOORE: Yes -- well, no. I mean, look, what I -- my point is that I think that the Justice Department is taking an aggressive position.

But this was the position of the -- of the Obama administration, frankly. They were -- they were very skeptical of this, too. So, you know, you can't say that Trump has somehow changed the government's position on this. It's --

CAMEROTA: It feels like it has and I'll just tell you why, Stephen.


CAMEROTA: Because this is what the head of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice said exactly a year ago about this.

He said this is more of what we call a vertical merger. A content with distribution rather than two competitors merging. So I anticipate that the FCC will have very little role in what will -- it will be.


CAMEROTA: But a year later he feels quite differently.

MOORE: Well look, I don't have much to say about that. I'm going to simply say I think this should be adjudicated on the basis of what the law is, whether it's going to be something that will be good for consumers and frankly, good for American competitiveness. CAMEROTA: Yes.

MOORE: And I think both net neutrality issue -- you know, getting rid of net neutrality and -- what I want with the Internet is for it to be tax-free and I want it to be regulation-free.

CAMEROTA: Ten seconds on net neutrality, Rana.

MOORE: Net neutrality -- getting rid of it, terrible idea. You create two lanes, one for the rich, one for the poor. It's also not the right way to deal with the legitimate issues around how we need to invest in broadbands. You know, the companies that are doing the investing should get tax incentives for that.

CAMEROTA: OK, there you go. Rana, Stephen, thank you very much for the debate.

MOORE: Have a great Thanksgiving.

FOORHAR: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: You, too -- Chris.

CUOMO: The NFL dealing with a family feud. You've got Roger Goodell at the head of the league as the commissioner, but is he going to stay in power? The meeting that could determine the question, next.


[07:46:00] CAMEROTA: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is reportedly backing off his threat to sue the NFL.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hi, Coy.


"The New York Times" reporting that Jones has changed his mind and will not take action over Commissioner Goodell's proposed contract extension.

This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Jones' lawyer told ESPN that his client just wants all owners to be allowed to see Goodell's contract before it's approved, not just the six on the league's compensation committee. Now, all owners are set to meet on December 13th to discuss this issue.

Alisyn, Chris, look at this.


DAMON HODGES, DEFENSIVE END, LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL, YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: You really can do whatever you want to do no matter who you are, no matter what the situation is.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: Meet Damon Hodges, defensive end at Liberty High School in Youngstown, Ohio.

Despite having two prosthetic legs after losing both legs due to complications a birth, he decided to join the football team to make his late father proud. He lost his dad at just 12 years old.


HODGES: I play for my dad. Like, he knew how bad I wanted to play and he always wanted to see me play. I know he's watching me right now. I hope I make him proud.


WIRE: Chris, you know what Damon's advice is for anyone going through adversity? He said you just use that to motivate you. His coach says, Chris, that he is an inspiration to everybody.

You can go to to check out the full feature on Damon.

CUOMO: I love it, especially right by Thanksgiving to be reminded, my brother, that what your limitations are often become your motivations. That's beautiful.

Thank you, my friend. We are thankful for your handsome self.

WIRE: (Laughing).

CUOMO: All right.

So where does the Trump-Russia investigation stand now more than a year since the election? We have the facts and numbers, next.


[07:51:50] CUOMO: All right. So it's been about a year since the election the Russian investigation has been going on. There are those who say well, what have they really done?

So, this morning we have facts on the Trump orbit's contacts with the Russians. Here is one way to quantify what has been learned.

According to public statements, court filings, and reporting from CNN and other outlets, at least 12 -- a dozen -- of President Trump's associates had contact with Russians during the presidential campaign or transition.

We now know of about at least 19 face-to-face interactions with Russians or Kremlin-linked figures. There are at least 51 communications, meetings, phone calls, e-mails, and more between Trump associates and Russians or people closely affiliated with the Russian government.

All of this flies in the face of at least nine blanket denials from Trump and his associates who have said there were no contacts or ties between the campaign and Russians. Let's put these numbers into context.

Joining us now is former CIA Director, Gen. Michael Hayden. Sir, good to have you on the show, as always.


CUOMO: Happy Thanksgiving to you --

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- and your family.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: So, the numbers. Do they matter? Am I quantifying the inane or do you believe this volume of communications and people involved are relevant?

HAYDEN: No, I think it's very relevant, Chris. You know, if you step back, there are three big meetings we now know about.

And imagine, if you will, you and I were having this conversation a year ago and a year ago we knew that a campaign adviser that candidate Trump had personally identified had a backchannel to the Russians to get e-mails about Hillary Clinton.

That the president's son was coordinating campaign activity with WikiLeaks, and the president's son and son-in-law were having a meeting with a Russian lawyer where they were discussing trading sanctions relief for dirt on Hillary Clinton.

A year ago, Chris, that would have taken our breath away and now, we know those kinds of things.

So you list all those numbers -- I'm going to put it over here that that's really definitely weird. I would also forward the proposition that that's probably beyond acceptable political behavior for most Americans. And now, we're going to go find out whether any of it was illegal or not.

CUOMO: And that's the big bar because at the end of the day, either there were crimes committed, you can show me that there was knowledge of Russian interference and some attempt by officials or close associates to enable those efforts, or you have nothing.

I mean, isn't that just what it comes down to on that side of accountability, not on the how did Russia do it, what do we do about it, how do we stop it, which is, let's be honest, a little bit ignored in the wake of these other questions?

But when it comes to what we're calling collusion colloquially, that's the bar, isn't it? Either you can show it or forget it. [07:55:00] HAYDEN: Yes, and Chris, I fear we're going to end up in a very ambiguous place. We're going to end up with a great deal of evidence about this kind of cooperation which I just suggested, and we'll probably find out more about those kinds of contacts. And so, we're going to end up with this massive amount of what I think most Americans would agree to be political guilt, political responsibility.

But it's very likely it's going to fall short of criminal responsibility and so this issue is never going to be behind us. It's always going to be in the face of this administration and the American public. That's about the darkest place I can think of ending up. We will be without resolution.

CUOMO: All right. Let's weave this into another headline which is that the President of the United States spoke with the Russian President Vladimir Putin for about an hour, we're told. What to do in Syria was on the table.

What are the considerations and concerns when it comes to this topic for you, sir?

HAYDEN: Well, I actually think, Chris, it's pretty clear now that we have conceded the lead to the Russians for a political settlement in Syria. We remain -- and the president has said this very clearly -- we remain very laser-focused on ISIS and killing terrorists and we have not become too involved with what happens after we succeed against ISIS.

And I fear with the Russians in the lead this is not going to lead to a very good place either. I think we end up with Assad remaining in power. The rump Syria being quite a bit larger than I imagined it would ever be.

Russia having a major hand in the Middle East for the first time in half a century. And, the Iranians having an uninterrupted land bridge between Tehran and Beirut, Lebanon.

I fear that's where we're heading.

CUOMO: So if I'm on the road heading to my in-law's house, why do I care about who's in the lead in Syria? ISIS is the ones that threaten us. Syrians don't threaten us.

HAYDEN: Yes. Well actually, Chris, what the Syrians do or what the Syrians have done create the engines that, in turn, creates ISIS.

You just heard me mention who's kind of the winners here in this equation. I haven't mentioned our best friends in the region, the Kurds, who are definitely not winners.

And I haven't mentioned the Sunni Arabs who make up the majority of the population in Syria. They will not be satisfied with this resolution and that dissatisfaction, Chris, creates the dynamic that creates ISIS.

In other words, if we don't significantly change the conditions on the ground we're going to have to go back there again sooner and later and kill terrorists one more time.

CUOMO: You know, I don't know if this is just a mark of my age or just the repetitiveness of this cycle but you keep seeing in the war against terror we go in there with the best fighters in the world, and that's the U.S. military, period, objectively. They clear out whatever the situation is and then the real problems become.

And the higher on the military chain of command you go when you get up to someone like you, it becomes even more clear, General, that's the easy part.

Yes, it costs us blood and treasure, but treasure is less important to America than the blood, but that's the easy part. It's what happens afterwards.

How big are those concerns now? Have we really gotten better at this since the Taliban, then al Qaeda, now ISIS? Are we better at the after?

HAYDEN: Look, the after is really hard. So a couple of ironclad laws of physics here, Chris.

Number one, I think anybody with my experience will tell you, you can't kill your way out of this problem. The only way you resolve this problem is to change the facts on the ground.

And I think President Trump and the administration have made it very, very clear we are not in the 'change the facts on the ground business' and hence, my concern.

CUOMO: General Michael Hayden, always appreciate your perspective. And, again, the best to your family for Thanksgiving. We are thankful for you, sir.

HAYDEN: And, to yours. Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.

All right. We are following a lot of news. There are some big headlines. Let's get after it.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Wednesday, November 22nd, now 8:00 in the east, and we do begin with breaking news.

There is a search underway for three missing Americans. A U.S. Navy plane crashed off the coast of Japan. Eleven crew members and passengers were aboard.

The Navy says eight have been rescued and are in good condition. That's the good part of the news.

CAMEROTA: So Chris, while this emergency unfolds overseas, President Trump is tweeting about his feud with LaVar Ball and protesting NFL players. And the president is under scrutiny for his very public defense of embattled Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore, despite the sexual abuse accusations.

So we have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with all of our top breaking story. What's the latest there, Barbara?