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Trump to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital; Palestinians Declare Three Days of Rage Over Trump Move; Wildfires Raging Out of Control in California; Russia's Olympic Team Banned from Winter Games; Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 6, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:31:27] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump poised to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a matter of hours. He'll be keeping a campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy there despite warnings of unrest.

Ian Lee is live in Jerusalem with more.

What's it like there?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Calm right now, Chris. But U.S. diplomatic missions here and around the Middle East are bracing for any ramifications of that announcement. We know that Israel has also beefed up security around the diplomatic mission. The U.S. State Department as issued a warning to U.S. citizens to avoid any large crowds and the Old City.

This comes as key regional allies have urged the United States not to take this step. You have the UK, France, Turkey, as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Jordan and the Palestinians have called for an emergency session of the Arab League to discuss this move. Even Pope Francis has come out and urged the United States to stick with the status quo.

So why is Jerusalem so contentious? Well, in 1967, Israel occupied the eastern part of the city. And according to the international community, the status of Jerusalem would be determined through negotiations and peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The Palestinians see this as a unilateral move by the United States and by Israel to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel without any peace negotiations. And that's why there's been a call for three days of rage.

And we need to remember these walls behind me they contain the holiest sites in Judaism, Christianity and the third holiest site in Islam. And just this small area can spark such contention and such discord -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Ian, absolutely. Thank you. It's great to have you on the ground there reporting for us. Thank you very much for that. So joining us now for the Palestinian perspective is Hanan Ashrawi.

She's the executive committee member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Miss Ashrawi, thank you very much for being with us. So tell us what this means to you if the U.S. embassy moves to Jerusalem.

HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LIBERATION ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER: Thank you, Alisyn. Well, actually it means the (INAUDIBLE) of any peace process and the destruction of the chances of peace in the region, it is in one blow President Trump has destroyed not only the chances of peace but the stability and security of the region as a whole. He has undermined his closest allies in the Arab world, has also taken a position that is absolutely illegal and in violation of international law.

He has disqualified the U.S. sadly from playing any role in peacemaking. And at the same time he has given all extremists and nuts all over the world who are ready to commit acts of violence, had already made excuse, a perfect excuse because he has provoked spiritual sentiments, religious feelings to the point where we don't know how far the ramifications will go.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's talk about --

ASHRAWI: This is something that is the height of the epitome of irresponsibility, frankly.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk about what happens next because Palestinian leaders are calling for three days of rage starting today. What does that look like?

ASHRAWI: Yes. Well, this is not our calling. This is the popular movement. These are grassroots move.

[06:35:02] We as Palestinian leadership are talking about taking more legal measures, more political measures. We know that we have been excluded in a sense from any peacemaking attempt because Israel has -- and the U.S. have unilaterally decided the talks are irrelevant. So there is no longer a peace process and there is no longer any need for the U.S. to pretend to want to play a role in peacemaking. This is one. So we're going to the international community.


ASHRAWI: We will go to the International Criminal Court to hold Israel to account for its war crimes. Settlements are a war crime according to the known statute. Also we will join, we will accede to further international organizations.


ASHRAWI: We will also reconsider our relations with Israel and with the U.S. and there will be of course further ramifications when it comes to the region as a whole.


ASHRAWI: We are calling on the rest of the international community to recognize Palestine with its capital as Jerusalem.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you --


CAMEROTA: Listen, we hear all of those.

ASHRAWI: Israel is an occupying territory. Israel illegally occupies it.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And you're doing an excellent job of spelling out all the possible ramifications.


CAMEROTA: But back to the possible three days of rage starting today. I know that you're saying it's not Palestinian leaders. But this is a widely shared memo that's going around. I'll just reads some of it. "National and Islamic factions are calling on the Palestinian people at home and abroad to confront and reject the American administration's attempt to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel. The days of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday are declared to be Days of Rage throughout the country."

ASHRAWI: Yes. That's right.

CAMEROTA: Is this encouraging violence?

ASHRAWI: Yes, you can -- that's right, Alisyn. Yes. You can focus on one aspect.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's just talk about the --

ASHRAWI: Of course I --


CAMEROTA: Listen, just a question about whether or not it encourages violence.

ASHRAWI: Let me tell you, I'm not debating with you. I'm telling you that President Trump is not only encouraging violence, he is provoking violence. He is also provoking a religious war. He is provoking sectarianism. We are the voices of reason. We have tried to maintain a negotiated settlement. We have tried to legitimize peaceful resolutions to the conflict.

On the contrary, President Trump is encouraging voices of extremism and terrorism and so on. And the Palestinian people are defending their rights. If they want to go out and protest, it is their right to protest. We're not talking about violence or attacking anybody.

CAMEROTA: I understand. But these are called three days --


ASHRAWI: That's one aspect.

CAMEROTA: These aren't called Three Days of Protests. They're called Three Days of Rage.

ASHRAWI: Yes. Well, people are angry. They are enraged and rightfully so because President Trump is behaving in an absolutely irresponsible and provocative manner and he is leading to a situation of tremendous instability and violence. And as I told you, anybody who wants to commit an act of violence will find them these are ready made excuse because the most sacred feelings and places are being undermined by this position.

And the destruction of the chances of peace. It's not easy to see everything you have worked for all your life to achieve peace being destroyed by one statement by one man. This is -- this is incredible. It's unconscionable.

CAMEROTA: So here's what --

ASHRAWI: No president ever did that. And to do that now?

CAMEROTA: Here's what, as best I understand it, is the president's rationale. He hasn't been that explicit but basically what the Trump administration is saying is that Jerusalem has long been the state of Israeli government and keeping the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv has not advanced the peace process in nearly two decades, so why not try something different?


ASHRAWI: No. Because, I mean, they could easily -- they have decided that a Palestinian city is the capital of Jerusalem. It is Palestinian. And nobody on earth recognizes that. And now Trump is going to be the only person who does. This isn't going to change the legal status of Jerusalem, by the way. This will only undermine American standing, interest and security throughout the world and it will disqualify as I said the U.S. from playing any role in peacemaking.

This is serious and irresponsible, as I said. So what has not advanced the chances of peace as Israeli impunity, American collusion with Israel, the total cover and support the U.S. gave to the Israeli occupation, all the funding, all the legal and the political cover and support, the blind bias of Congress where they legislate on foreign relations in ways that are constitutional and they get away with it. All of these things have undermined the chances of peace.

Had the U.S. been willing to play the role of an even handed peace broker we would have had peace because as Palestinians made the historical compromise of accepting Israel on 78 percent of historical Palestine and of accepting to share Jerusalem whereby West Jerusalem would become the capital of Israel once East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state.


[06:40:13] ASHRAWI: But to preempt the status, to prejudge the outcome of the talks, to take sides on an illegal and lawless measure, this is unacceptable at all.

CAMEROTA: Hanan Ashrawi, thank you very much for joining us with the PLO perspective. Nice to have you.

Ahead on NEW DAY we will get perspective from Jerusalem's mayor.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Brush fires are raging out of control in California. Thousands have been forced to evacuate. We have a live report from the hot zone next.


CUOMO: A series of unpredictable, fast-moving wildfires are just raging out of control in southern California. The fires are so intense that large plumes of smoke can be seen from space. We're showing you a big overhead right now. Tens of thousands forced to evacuate. Hundreds of homes are feared lost. And remember, we're just weeks from Christmas.

[06:45:06] CNN's Stephanie Elam live near the worst of it in Ventura, California. I mean, life and death is one level of it but even for those who are going to be spared, what a tough, tough weeks and months going forward for them.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, Chris. Even if you did get out with your life, still to think about if your house is gone under these circumstances. I actually flew back from the San Francisco bay area to L.A. yesterday. And for most of the part of southern California you couldn't see the ground because there was so much smoke coverage.

Take a look behind me. This is one house here in Ventura and it reminds me a little bit of tornadoes. You know how sometimes it will hit just one side of the street and then the other side of the street will be fine? That's what we're seeing here. Just a couple of homes burned down in this neighborhood while across the street you see homes that are still standing up. You see some holiday decorations on homes around.

But look at this. The house burned down, the garage burning around this one home. This fire, the Thomas Fire, still out of control. 150 buildings destroyed, burning over 50,000 acres. And get this. At one point this fire was burning as fast as an acre a second. That is why they were saying for people they have to get out. Tens of thousands of people being told they need to evacuate. Some under voluntary evacuation as well.

And this is just one fire. There's also a Creek Fire burning. There's two fires in San Bernardino County. And also in Los Angeles County as well. All of these fires being sparked up because of the strong Santa Ana winds that come in in the afternoon. Right now it's calmer, but we are expecting it to get a little bit more dicey as we go into later on today -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK. Stephanie, be careful. That video is just incredible. Thank you very much.

So no letup in the firefight as these strong Santa Ana winds are expected to get worse. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast.

What are you seeing, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Alisyn, hopefully not worse than this. This is what they saw yesterday from Chilao to Malibu Hills, over 70 miles per hour. That's what sends those sparks flying.

And yes, Chris talked about it. That is smoke. That right there is not a cloud from Ventura. That is the smoke from the -- smoke from these fires itself. So extreme fire danger again today. Right now we're good. You can see. Not much wind in Stephanie's live shot. But look at 5:00, 6:00 tonight, we're back to 45 to 50 miles per hour. By tonight we stay in that 40 or 50 mile per hour wind and by 2:00 a.m., we are already 50 to 60 miles per hour.

So here's how it happens. You get a high pressure over the mountains. Typically we talk about low pressure making wind. It's a high pressure this time. This is the problem. The high pressure takes the air and blows it out like a blow dryer. And then it runs down the mountain. And when it runs down the mountain, it heats up and it gets faster. And so here we are from Ventura to Santa Barbara. This is where the wind is today. It will be again tonight 50 to 60 miles per hour. Those flames are out of control 2-- Chris.

CUOMO: I'll tell you, I've been there, watched them get whipped up. It's like a turbo-charged system.


CUOMO: And the flames literally leap into the sky. They go across roads. And that's how you get that randomness of destruction there, literally one burst at a time.

Chad, thank you very much. Keep us apprised of the situation.

All right. So Russia was banned from the Winter Olympics over what is called systemic doping. But the IOC did leave the door open for some individual Russian athletes to compete. What's going on here? We have answers for you next.


[06:51:53] CUOMO: All right. This is big news and historic. The most wide-ranging punishment we've ever seen handed down by the International Olympic Committee. Russia's Olympic team is going to be banned from the winter games in South Korea for what the committee calls the country's systemic manipulation of anti-doping rules. However, Russian athletes who can prove that they are clean will be invited to compete but under the Olympic flag.

All right. Let's discuss all the implications here with CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan.

I mean, you and I can talk for hours about what it is to be clean and how that's often just a measurement of time, you know, as opposed to your inclinations as an athlete. But how big is this as a story?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: I think it's a really big deal, Chris, and I think it's unprecedented. And there are ways that these athletes can come in but basically the embarrassment of the Russians, if the Russian does make their way back in and they will, and they win a gold medal, you'll see them in basically like a white jacket of some kind that says Olympic athlete from Russia. It's got a real ring to it. OAR. And they will have the Olympic hymn being played for their national anthem and the Olympic flag not the Russian flag.

I think it's symbolic, but it's -- that's embarrassing to Vladimir Putin, it's embarrassing to all those officials who cheated and gave us the worst state-sponsored doping scheme we have ever -- well, we have seen since the side of East Germany. So I think that there's a lot of visuals there that are going to be dramatic and they're going to have a big impact in February.

CUOMO: Is it fair?

BRENNAN: Yes. Absolutely. This is basically a lifetime achievement award for the Russians. I mean, come on. This cheating -- you know, people might be sitting at home right now, Chris, and saying, well, what about Marion Jones? What about Lance Armstrong? We gave the world those two people. They were defying their government, they're defying their Olympic committee by cheating.

When the Russians were cheating they were actually in compliance with their government and their system of cheating. So this has been state-sponsored, over a thousand athletes. And here's the key fact to me, Chris. What was happening there with these Russian athletes cheating, this diabolical scheme of changing urine through a hole in the wall in Sochi, it was depriving clean athletes around the world, not just Americans, but from Asia, from Europe.

It deprived them of the opportunity to win the medal that they should have won. Already 11 medals have been given back. But those athletes will never have the opportunity to have the victory stand moment that the Russians stole from them.

CUOMO: The consideration is that they may have been the worse but they're not the only, to your earlier point. Is the committee hoping that this is a warning?

BRENNAN: Without a doubt. I mean if you're a country -- another country out there that's trying to do this, and I can't imagine there really are at this point after what Russia has gone through, but if you're trying to do this you've just gotten a stern warning that you shouldn't do this and that there's going to be embarrassment, the ignominy of not being able to send a full team and not having your country's name emblazoned over your chest, I think that's a very significant penalty and a significant warning to those countries.

CUOMO: While I have you, I have been LaVar Balled, twice now. Why does he generate such headlines throughout the sports world and beyond? I am shocked at what the man says resonates.

[06:55:04] BRENNAN: I guess the sports dad for our times, in the Trump era, Chris, you know, we're 24/7 and he blabs and so we listen. He also happens to have a good of couple of really good basketball players in the family, although he's just dragged his one son out of UCLA, which is a disastrous move for that kid. And that's a shame because that could impact his future. But, you know, the guy talks. We listen. He's loud. I think again it's a perfect statement for the 21st century, at least in sports and our culture.

CUOMO: He insists that the president is wearing a pair of Big Baller sneakers, maybe right now kicking back and singing a song about LaVar Ball.

Christine Brennan, it is always good to get your take. Thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.

BRENNAN: Chris, thanks so much. Take care.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I like the verbiage of LaVar Balled.


CUOMO: Makes one of us.

CAMEROTA: "Sports Illustrated" is honoring quarterback Colin Kaepernick with help from a special guest. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hi, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn. This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Last night in Brooklyn, at the "Sports Illustrated" Sports Person of the Year show, Beyonce presented Colin Kaepernick with an award named after one of his idols.


BEYONCE, ARTIST: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm so proud and humbled to present the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Colin Kaepernick.


COLIN KAEPERNICK, MUHAMMAD ALI LEGACY AWARD RECIPIENT: I accept this award knowing that the legacy of Muhammad Ali is that of a champion of the people and one who was affectionately known as the people's champ. I accept this award not for myself but on behalf of the people because

if it were not my love for the people I would not have protested. And it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today.

With or without the NFL's platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.


WIRE: Chris, the award is given to athletes who use their platform to promote change.

CUOMO: All right. Coy, thank you very much. Appreciate it, my brother. If I don't get to talk to you, Merry Christmas and your family.

The White House going all in on accused child molester Roy Moore. Is the president's support going to make a difference? Will it make a difference in the midterm elections to come in 2018 and maybe beyond? Let's discuss next.