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Roy Moore Goes To Court; Trump Falsely Touts Record; Tillerson: Americans Should Be Proud. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired December 28, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik. Good morning.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. It doesn't look like Rex Tillerson is ready to go --

KOSIK: Not after that op-ed.

BRIGGS: -- not if you read this op-ed in the "The New York Times."

Thirty minutes past the hour.

We start, though, with Roy Moore, 16 days later still hanging on, or trying to. His campaign filing a complaint overnight to delay today's planned certification of the special election results in Alabama.

In a late-night filing, Moore's campaign quotes three so-called election integrity experts who believe voter fraud occurred.

The campaign also says Moore also took a polygraph test, proving allegations of sexual misconduct that derailed his campaign are false.

KOSIK: Moore lost the race to Democrat Doug Jones earlier this month but Moore has refused to concede. The Alabama secretary of state is scheduled to certify the election results today unless the new court filing forces a delay.

Jones is expected to be seated early next year, narrowing the Republicans' advantage in the Senate to just 51 to 49.

BRIGGS: President Trump touting his legislative record but he might be giving himself a bit too much credit. In a surprise visit to a West Palm Beach firehouse, President Trump claimed he has signed the most legislation of any president but that doesn't exactly pass a fact-check.

The numbers speak for themselves here. Trump signed 96 laws, the least of all presidents in their first year dating back to Carter. More on this in a moment.

KOSIK: And the president also got back on the golf course, but not that we can prove it because a giant, white box truck blocks reporters from capturing his 87th day at one of his courses since taking office.

We get the latest from CNN's Sara Murray in West Palm Beach, Florida. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


Wednesday was another quiet one for President Trump on his vacation to Mar-a-Lago here in Florida. But he did make one surprise stop, visiting a local firehouse to greet firefighters and tout his legislative achievements.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman.

And they were saying if we get this big tax cut because that's the legislation of all legislations -- that's the biggest there is but -- and that included ANWR, as you know, and it included the repeal of the individual mandate, which is a success. So that's where you have the privilege of paying a lot of money so that you don't have to buy health insurance, all right? The most unpopular thing which most people thought should have been unconstitutional.

MURRAY: President Trump obviously riding this wave of victory after shepherding through a sweeping overhaul of the tax system.

But as for the notion that's he been more productive in the White House than previous occupants, that one doesn't really hold up to fact-checks. In fact, President Trump has signed fewer bills in his first year in office than any administration dating back to Eisenhower.

Now, before he stopped at the firehouse, President Trump engaged in one of his favorite activities on vacation, hitting the links.

And while CNN has been able to get pictures of him on the golf course in previous days, on Wednesday it was a little tougher. A big, white box truck suddenly appeared to block the shot. Unclear who commissioned it but not any pedestrian can just park there.

And we know that this is a White House that seems particularly sensitive, for whatever reason, about images of President Trump on the golf course.

Back to you guys.


BRIGGS: All right, Sara Murray, thanks.

A spokesperson for the Secret Service and the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office both deny having anything to do with that weird, white truck there.

As for the president's claim of passing the most legislation, he's trying to bolster that claim by citing his rollback of regulations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: But a lot of the regulations were avoided and now you can go back to work and do your jobs. In the case of builders, in the case of farmers, and so many others, they can now go back and do their job. So, we have the all-time record for stopping ridiculous regulations and we're very proud of that.


BRIGGS: All right.

Salena Zito up early for us. We welcome here back. And, Salena, let's talk about --

KOSIK: Good morning, again.

BRIGGS: -- that claim of passing more legislation than anyone. Do his supporters care about that claim?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST (via Skype): No, and I think it's really -- I mean, I think he would serve himself better by saying look, I kept government off your back.


ZITO: I didn't pound you with laws and more, you know, sort of regulations and more control of your life.

I, in fact, rolled back regulations. I passed a tax bill that will put money back in your pocket. And, you know, the stock market looks great, which means that your pension is going to be stronger as you get older. I mean, those are the things that he can tout that are incredibly important.

While it was true in his first 100 days he did sign more bills than any other president since Truman, but that has changed since then. And I think he should focus on the things that are important to him and important to the people that put him into office.

Rolling back regulations is an incredible accomplishment but if people -- in particular, the ones in the Midwest who saw those are sort of impediments to them to have successful lives in, you know, coal mining and shale and in other manufacturing sectors.

[05:35:06] KOSIK: And certainly, the president doesn't miss a beat when he's talking about the stock market. Is it important to his voters -- the ones that voted for him -- that the stock market is -- had such great gains this year even though half of Americans aren't even invested in the market?

ZITO: Well, I mean, here's why it's important. So, gone are the days where you get a pension from your company, right?


ZITO: Your pension is the stock market. And so, for a lot of middle- class families, you know, that's their savings. That's their protection for when they retire.

So, yes, it is important to them because they typically do it through a 401k through their job, you know, and it's their safety net. So, yes, it is important to them and he should talk about it.

I mean, he -- honestly, no president gets the lion's share of credit for it but a lot of people, especially, in particular, big businesses that I've talked to over the past year said that confidence in what they think the president was going to do had sort of helped rally their stock and, you know -- and their internal decisions.

BRIGGS: When the president is not talking up the market he is attacking the FBI and attempting to discredit the special counsel investigation. And, Republicans are doing it for him, as well.

Francis Rooney, a congressman from Florida on MSNBC a couple of days ago, saying this about purging the FBI.


REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FLORIDA: I don't want to discredit them. I just -- I would like to see the directors of those agencies purge it and say look, we've got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here. Those are the people that I want the American people to see and know the good works being done, not these people who are in kind of a deep state.


BRIGGS: Now, he walked back that word "purge" a little bit yesterday on CNN, but is that opinion shared by Republicans in the Congress, and how dangerous is it?

ZITO: Well, I don't think that opinion is shared.

And, Rooney is a man who doesn't come from a big political background. He is a -- I think he was a businessman before he came into Congress. Not exactly the best choice of words.

You know, you'll hear we have this big problem in this country, period, with a mistrust and in institutions and in expertise, and he gave voice to that with those comments. It's a reflection, sort of, of how people feel.

I don't -- I don't find that people in Congress feel that way. I don't think it's a growing sentiment among lawmakers.

KOSIK: But is this -- but is this a greater strategy by Republicans to try to undermine the investigation -- the Mueller investigation -- overall?

ZITO: I'm not -- I'm not sure about that. I mean, you know, everything is sort of upside down. I've never seen Washington like this before. Everything's sort of upside down in Washington and I don't know that there's a strategy to undermine it. I mean, I do think that the president feels vulnerable and feels

uncomfortable with some of the things that have come out. And people have a tendency when they feel backed into a wall that they think everyone is the same way. So then, he has -- might feel that everyone in the FBI, you know, has a problem with him.

Where it's just like any sort of sector, or any sort of business, or any sort of organization. Just a handful of anybody can make an organization look bad and hurt their reputation.

BRIGGS: All right. Lastly, I want to ask you about Democrats and could they be backed into a wall in 2018 based on this tax cut bill?

Bernie Sanders was asked by Jake Tapper about this tax cut plan, saying 91 percent of middle-Americans will get a tax cut. Is that a good thing? And, Bernie said yes, it's a very good thing. That's why we should make these tax cuts for the middle-class permanent.

Ted Cruz then took advantage of that, saying yes, let's make them permanent. Join me and co-sponsor legislation.

Would this be a wise play that Ted Cruz just floated there to put the onus on Democrats to say OK, let's do this? Let's make the middle- class tax cuts permanent and make them oppose it.

ZITO: Yes, I actually think it is really -- I think it was really smart.

You know, I mean, anything that you give the electorate -- well, any freebie or any entitlement that you give them, like tax cuts, it's really hard to roll that back. And so, you know, no matter who's in power when they expire -- I think it's 10 years from now -- it's going to be a difficult thing.

So why not -- you know, why not get together now and make them permanent -- Democrats -- and that would be then something that they could take off the table and they can figure out other ways to strengthen their sort of resolve to try to regain the majority this year -- next year?

[05:40:03] I mean, the Democrats are in a really good place and so I could see a possibility of a 40-seat sweep by the Democrats in the House if they played their cards right. I could also see nothing changing. This kind of thing, I think, would strengthen them among voters.

KOSIK: That's a pretty big prediction.

BRIGGS: Yes. The economic argument looks --

ZITO: Maybe, maybe.

BRIGGS: -- like it's in the Republicans' favor. Yes, big maybe.

All right. Salena Zito --

ZITO: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- thanks so much.

ZITO: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. The brother of former national security adviser Michael Flynn looking for a pardon from the president.

Joseph Flynn replied to one of the president's tweets yesterday with this. "About time you pardoned General Flynn who has taken the biggest fall for all of you given the illegitimacy of this confessed crime in the wake of all this corruption."

The real words out there (ph). He then deleted the post shortly thereafter.

KOSIK: Michael Flynn pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI about contacts with the former Russian ambassador during the transition.

Flynn's brother is organizing a legal defense fund.

About two weeks ago, President Trump told reporters he doesn't want to talk about pardons yet, adding we'll see what happens.

BRIGGS: A new poll on America's most-admired person likely to aggravate President Trump a bit this morning, but maybe not as much as last year. For the 10th year in a row, President Obama is the most- admired person. Fourteen percent of those polled name President Trump.

The good news for the president? Well, he got narrows from seven points last year to three this year.

When it comes to the most-admired woman, though, Hillary Clinton remains in the top spot for the 16th year running. Michelle Obama comes in at second place at seven percent. The highest-ranking Republican women, Condoleezza Rice and Ambassador Nikki Haley both receiving one percent of the votes.

Many feel Haley could run for president sometime in the future, depending on when President Trump exits the stage. We shall see.

The Secretary of State with a revealing op-ed this morning. He says the U.S. and Russia need to cooperate where there's mutual interest. But already, the Russians throwing cold water on that idea.

Fred Pleitgen live in Moscow when we come back.


[05:45:53] KOSIK: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Americans should be encouraged by the progress the State Department has made in pushing for global peace and stability, especially when it comes to North Korea.

In a "New York Times" op-ed he defends President Trump for abandoning what he calls the failed policy of strategic patients.

Tillerson writes, "We hope that this international isolation will pressure the regime into serious negotiations on the abandonment of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. A door to dialogue remains open, but we have made it clear that the regime must earn its way back to the negotiating table. Until denuclearization occurs, the pressure will continue."

KOSIK: Tillerson also says China should do more by putting more economic pressure on Pyongyang.

CNN is now being told the Trump administration is planning to take a quieter tone and be more discreet about joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan. They're hoping this will help U.S. diplomats in ongoing talks to diffuse the crisis.

BRIGGS: Tillerson says of Russia, there are no illusions about the regime and their meddling in our election and others. He says the relationship is poor but the nations need to work together where mutual interests intersect.

This comes as Russia accuses the U.S. of meddling in its upcoming election.

Let's get to CNN's Fred Pleitgen live in Moscow. Fred, this is an interesting new twist on interference in elections.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was about to say it. It is certainly an interesting twist that we heard.

And this was something that was said last night by the spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, on her Facebook page where she often comments on world affairs and bilateral relations between the U.S. and Russia.

And she said a statement made by the State Department is meddling in Russia's upcoming election. It was one made by a spokesman for the State Department saying look, the fact that some candidates are being barred from running in the next election in Russia, that's something that the U.S. is concerned about.

Now, the State Department says it said similar things throughout the years. This is not a new statement or a new position by the State Department. But as you can see, the Russians not taking it very well.

At the same time, going back to that op-ed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, one of the things that he said -- there could be cooperation -- is in Syria between the U.S. and Russia.

We got in touch with the Kremlin earlier this morning with Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, who told us he believes that at this point in time there is no cooperation between the U.S. and Russia regarding the Syria conflict or even in Syria, itself. He says that could happen in the future but right now, it simply isn't going on.

But it's going to be difficult, Dave, because at the same time, the Russians are accusing the U.S. of training former ISIS fighters in Syria. This in regard to a base in southeastern Syria.

The U.S. says yes, it is there. Yes, it is training some people there. But the U.S. says that's only to train moderate Syrian rebels to combat ISIS if ISIS tries to return to some of the areas they were ousted from.

So as you can see, a lot criticism coming from the Russians. Difficult to see how relations could improve anytime soon, Dave.

BRIGGS: It sure is. Fred Pleitgen live for us in Moscow, thanks.

In breaking news overnight, 40 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, 30 others were injured. The attack targeted a cultural center in Afghanistan's capital.

According to Afghan officials, the initial bombing was followed by two more explosions. The Taliban denies it's responsible.

KOSIK: The head of Apple earning an eye-popping salary. I'll tell you what it is on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:53:05] BRIGGS: "Vanity Fair" fending off criticism after posting a video mocking Hillary Clinton. In this video the editors of the magazine's Web site "Hive" suggest New Year's resolutions for Clinton.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take more photos in the woods. How else are you going to meet unsuspecting hikers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take up a new hobby in the new year. Volunteer work, knitting, improv comedy. Literally anything that will keep you from running again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To finally put away your James Comey's voodoo doll. Now we all know you think that James Comey cost you the election and he might have, but so did a handful of other things. It's a year later and time to move on.


BRIGGS: The magazine released a statement saying the video was an attempt at humor and quote "missed the mark."

It caused some serious outrage online though, including actress Patricia Arquette who tweeted, in part, "Stop telling women what the blank they should do or can do."

KOSIK: Baby, it's cold outside. Nearly 18 million people in the northeast under a windchill alert and there won't be much relief coming through the new year.

Let's get to meteorologist Derek Van Dam for the latest. Good morning. DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEROLOGIST: Good morning, Alison and Dave, on this cold Thursday.

Check out International Falls' record low temperature on Wednesday morning. Thirty-seven degrees Fahrenheit below freezing. That surpasses a record set back in 1924.

International Falls, of course, a notoriously cold spot in the U.S., but when you start breaking record low temperatures by five degrees you know it's cold.

Now, that's not the only location that saw record-breaking low temperatures. In fact, we had over 30 record lows tied or broken across the Midwest and the eastern U.S. as we head in on Wednesday morning.

Again, on Thursday, we're waking up to a very cold day over the eastern U.S., but this is not the coldest air we'll experience. As we head into New Year's Eve and New Year's Day we have yet another arctic blast of air coming in from Canada.

Now, factor in the winds -- windchills feeling well below freezing. That's why the National Weather Service has issued windchill warnings and advisories from New York right through Maine. In fact, over 18 million Americans impacted by that.

[05:55:10] Here's your temperatures for the afternoon. Barely making it out of the teens for the Big Apple, 27 in D.C.

Back to you.

BRIGGS: Sounds wicked. Thanks, Derek.

Four Ohio teenagers charged with murder after a sandbag they allegedly dropped from an overpass killed a passenger in a car. Authorities say the suspects threw sandbags and other objects onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 earlier this month.

One of the bags hit Marquise Byrd on the head as he was riding by in a car. The 22-year-old from Michigan later died.

All four boys deny the charges against them.

KOSIK: A detention hearing set today for a former U.S. Marine who authorities say was planning a terror attack in San Francisco over the holiday season.

A court document reveals Everitt Aaron Jameson spoke with an undercover FBI employee about carrying out a terror attack at Pier 39, a busy shopping and tourist area. Jameson is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

A spokesman for the local FBI office says there are no known credible threats in the Bay Area.

BRIGGS: What looked like Christmas cash quickly turned into lumps of coal for lottery players in South Carolina. Lottery officials say a two-hour computer glitch generated more winning tickets than the program should accommodate, forcing them to suspend Christmas Day payouts.

One play cost a dollar. The payout was $500 each. People holding winning tickets say they got error messages when trying to claim that prize.

Lottery officials say they are reviewing the problem. Buzz kill.

Well, a normal day expected at Disneyland after an outage left some visitors stranded during the busy holiday season. A transformer issue knocked out power to part of the park around 11:00 yesterday morning. The outage lasted five hours, affecting about a dozen attractions.

One man says he was on the "It's A Small World Ride" when the outage happens. The lights went out but he says that famous song played the entire 25 minutes he was stuck on the ride and will likely be stuck in his head all of 2018.

KOSIK: Sing it to me. Come on, sing it.

BRIGGS: It's a small world --

KOSIK: There you go.

BRIGGS: -- after all. You're welcome. You are welcome, viewers. Sorry about that.

KOSIK: Nice. Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" instead of singing, right? OK.

Stocks closed up slightly yesterday with the Dow getting even closer to the $25,000 milestone. Futures are higher this morning. And while U.S. stocks enjoyed a first-class ride into record territory this year, they weren't alone.

If you take a look around the globe, Argentina's MERVAL index, it surged 73 percent this year and hit a record high the day after Christmas. Nigeria's All Share index saw a 43 percent rally. And, Hong Kong's main index charged ahead by nearly 36 percent.

Looks like someone can afford the iPhone X, and then some. A regulatory filing show's Apple CEO Tim Cook finished the year with a jaw-dropping $102 million for fiscal 2017. That pay package amounts to a whopping 74 percent increase from last year.

His huge payday was partly driven by Apple's better than expected sales and the major gains that Apple has made in the stock market this year. Apple shares are up 39 percent.

The filing also shows Cook racked up almost $100,000 because he used private airplanes and that's after an Apple board insisted this year that he take them for security reasons.

With Hollywood facing a 22-year low in tickets sales, the so-called Spotify of movie tickets, it's gaining hordes of subscribers. MoviePass allows you to see unlimited movies in theaters for just $9.99 a month. So after dropping their all-you-can-see price in August from $35.00, more than one million subscribers have signed up in just four months.

For critics, who include theater owners, they say the price is too low. They question how sustainable this business model is. But right now --

BRIGGS: It is low. KOSIK: -- people are really catching on and they're saying you know

what, now I can go see those movies I really wasn't going to see anyway.

BRIGGS: That's a steal. I paid 15 bucks for "STAR WARS" yesterday.

KOSIK: Exactly, yes.

BRIGGS: But I would do that in a hurry.

KOSIK: All right. Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

KOSIK: See you.


ROY MOORE (R), LOST ALABAMA SENATE RACE: When the vote is this close, it is not over.

BRIGGS: Roy Moore contesting his loss in the Alabama Senate race, claiming voter fraud.

JOHN MERRILL, ALABAMA SECRETARY OF STATE: Judge Moore is not the victor in this campaign.

TRUMP: We have signed more legislation than anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He feels a compulsion to claim that his is the biggest and best, and it's easily refuted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he believes that if he repeats something people will start to believe it.

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX), CHAIRMAN, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: We want people to keep more of what they earn regardless of wherever they live.

KOSIK: Residents in high-tax states racing to prepay their property taxes for the new year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my home state of New York people are definitely hurting.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, December 28th, 6:00 here in New York.

Chris is off; Bill Weir joins me.

BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: It's going to be another big news day, it looks like.