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NYC Apartment Fire; Cold Grips the Country; Trump Predicts Win; Trump Slams "Vanity Fair"; Celtics beat Rockets; Cities Tighten Security. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired December 29, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As for the cause, we've just spoken to a fire official on scene here. They said that they haven't gotten any new information for us, but they should have an update for us just after 8:00 this morning.


BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Scott, when it gets this cold, people get desperate to stay warm. Sometimes judgment is impaired on that. A reminder to be safe with space heaters, et cetera.

Thank you.

Also, another arctic blast is on the way. A record-setting brutal cold will last into the New Year, we're told by meteorologists, including our own Chad Myers with our forecast.

Good morning, Chad. Happy Friday.


It's hard to tell where one arctic blast ends and one arctic blast arrive. And for the next nine days, we will be well below normal. In some cases, 20 degrees below normal on the high end. On the low, wind chills right now are well below zero, even in New York City. It briefly warms to 25 on Saturday, but that's the warmest New York City's going to be. Morning lows down into the single digits.

If you're partying outside, this will be as cold as 1962. So when you're out there freezing, just think to the -- about that song, tonight we're going to party like it's 1962 because if it's 10 degrees, then we go all the way back in New York City to 1917, and I don't want to party like it's 1917.

Atlanta, 20 degrees for a wind chill factor. That's still pretty cool there. And even down to Key West and Miami, somewhere in the upper 60s.

Frigid weather continues. It's just this one batch right after another. It doesn't stop. And it's not going to stop until at least I see a break January 10th.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That sounds horrible, Chad. Thank you very much for the forecast.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: OK, so the president says those of us in the media want him to be re-elected in order to survive. All of this and more in a new revealing interview. That's next.


[06:35:42] CAMEROTA: More now from that revealing "New York Times" interview. In one of the tidbits, President Trump says the media will help him win another term. He says, quote, another reason that we're going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I'm not there because without me their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, "The New York Times" will indeed be not the failing "New York Times" but the failed "New York Times." So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they'll be loving me because they're saying please, please don't lose Donald Trump, OK.

Joining us now, CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip, and Bill Carter, CNN media analyst.

Great to see you guys.

OK, so, Bill, he has a point.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: He does have a point.

CAMEROTA: He does have a point that the ratings have gone up.


CAMEROTA: And there has certainly been a lot more interesting journalism --

CARTER: Correct.

CAMEROTA: During the era of Donald Trump.

CARTER: Right.

CAMEROTA: Fact checking --

CARTER: Right.

CAMEROTA: Going back to primary sources.


CAMEROTA: Getting the facts. That has gone up. He's right about that.

I like that he thinks that the media controls who wins and that we can let him win. I think that's a lot of power that he is giving us.

CARTER: Yes, that's true, and that -- and that we won't do our jobs. We will sell out for money.

CAMEROTA: Of course.

CARTER: Because that's what he would do.

CAMEROTA: He's focused on ratings. So everybody must be.

CARTER: He -- he focused -- that's right. Exactly.

And I do think that he's right in this sense. If -- if and when -- whenever he leaves office, the television ratings probably will go down because people do watch in a very unnerved way now because they don't know what -- he's so unpredictable and things are so, you know, controversial unto him that people are compelled to watch more than they would be with almost anyone else in office, I think.

WEIR: Abby, as someone who's familiar -- reporters familiar with the communication shop within the White House there and the fact that everybody's been clamoring for interviews with the president. Everybody would love to see a year-end press conference. Talk about your impressions of him just impromptu sitting down at the country club grill after a round of golf with a couple of "New York Times" ' guys and no minders around him.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's incredibly Trumpian really. I mean I think this is the kind of thing that Trump has been known to do. On numerous occasions in the last year, he's picked up the phone and just called a "New York Times" reporter or a "Washington Post" reporter. And I think this is important to know about him too, that he really values the opinion of "The New York Times." That is his hometown paper.

He, despite the criticism, the failing "New York Times," he likes being in "The New York Times," being on the front page. And I think his comments about the media and the election reflect that too.

It's a little bit tongue in cheek, to be fair. I think the president is just trying to kind of mess around with us here. But on some level I -- it reflects the idea that the president always likes being at the front of people's minds. He likes being on the front page. It -- on cable news every single morning. And that is what drives a lot of his behavior day to day.

So the idea -- you know, the fact that the president would have been golfing earlier in the morning runs into a "New York Times" reporter at his property and just decides to sit down and chat is really what Trump does. I mean he often does these things without many of his aides or his communications shop really having any idea about what is going on.

CAMEROTA: You know, one of the revealing things I thought was that it reveals he wants another four years, OK?


CAMEROTA: So we had heard from some places, some corners, like Steve Bannon, who gave him like a 30 percent chance of finishing out his first term. But here he says that he will win the next four years. He wants the next four years.

I mean I think that -- look, this is a window into what his thinking is right now, particularly since he doesn't have minders. And so that was the first time that I had heard him say that he's gunning for eight years, you know?

CARTER: Well, but he -- once he was in, who thought he would give up this attention?

CAMEROTA: Steve Bannon.

CARTER: He loves this attention.

CAMEROTA: Steve Bannon. He (INAUDIBLE) --

CARTER: Steve Bannon doesn't know him then. If you know don't -- if you know Donald, you know he doesn't want to ever have anything but maximum attention. And what could be bigger than being president? So I -- he's not going to give that up willingly.

WEIR: If he cares about "The Times," then he must, on the magazine side, care about "Vanity Fair."


WEIR: And he tweeted --

CARTER: He did. He obviously does.

WEIR: He obviously does. I mean the reflection of his desire for coverage is reflected on the walls of his office, if you've ever been in there, all those magazine covers. But, of course, going back with Graydon Carter, who was the first man to call him the short-fingered vulgarian back at "Spy" magazine.

CAMEROTA: At "Spy" magazine.


[06:40:04] WEIR: Who's stepping down. But he took some shots at Twitter on -- at Anna Wintour because the "Vanity Fair" website put up a funny, jokey video about Hillary New Year's resolution, please don't run for president, and it created such backlash they had to apologize to Hillary's folks.

CAMEROTA: Because it was snarky.

WEIR: It was snarky.

CAMEROTA: IT was snarky and so they ended up apologizing and he didn't like that.

WEIR: He didn't like that so he turned on them. CARTER: Yes, and it's kind of interesting because he probably liked

them picking on Hillary, but then they apologized, so he had to attack them for that.

What struck me was, he did that in the same day he tweeted this thing about North Korea and their ships getting oil. Something very consequential. This is so in consequential, it shows you how his mind works. He could be on the most picayune little thing --

WEIR: Right.

CARTER: But if it's involving one of his obsessions, and Hillary is one of his obsessions, then he can't resist going after it. It's very small. I mean you think about how little that -- that is and not even commenting about him. It's -- they were going -- talking about her and he went after them.

WEIR: And what's -- and the comment about China and North Korea and them trading fuel came from something he saw on Fox News.

CARTER: That's right. Exactly.

WEIR: So the weight he gives to some outlets and not others is really telling.

CARTER: It is. And it really shows you what's in the front of his mind. And this interview did the same thing. I know people complained a little about this interview because they said he didn't get challenged enough by the reporter, but it was just a window into his thinking and it was all over the place. It was spontaneous. It was stream of consciousness. And it was, I think, pretty revealing.

WEIR: That's telling. Yes.


CAMEROTA: All right, Bill Carter, Abby Phillip, thank you both very much.

WEIR: The mass shoot in Las Vegas and the recent terror attacks in New York City are leading law enforcement to increase security for New Year's Eve celebrations across the country. We'll have the live report on unprecedented layers of security, coming up.


[06:45:43] CAMEROTA: Two of the NBA's best teams going head to head last night. The Celtics staging an epic comeback to beat the Rockets.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hi, Andy.


You know, LeBron James wasn't very happy with the officials after that big Christmas Day showdown with the Warriors. Well now it's James Harden of the Rockets that's not happy with some really questionable calls at the end of last night's game.

The Rockets, at one point, actually had a 26-point lead. They were up just three with 11 seconds left. And after Jayson Tatum dunks hereto make it a one point game, the refs call Harden for an offensive foul, even though Marcus Smart was basically just giving him a bear hug. So the Celtics get the ball right back. They score to take the lead. And then, watch this, Harden again called for an offensive foul before the ball is even inbounded. Just unreal. Celtics win 99-98. Now, there were only two refs in this game because one hurt his back during warmups. And after the game, Harden, not happy with that.


JAMES HARDEN, HOUSTON ROCKETS: You can't -- you can't have two officials in a professional game. There's a lot of no calls that need to be called because that changes the dynamic of the game. This is a professional game. National TV. It can't happen.


SCHOLES: And I have to completely agree with Harden there, not just because I'm from Houston and a big Rockets fan. But my question, Bill, is, what if one of the other officials got hurt in say the first three minutes of the game? What were they going to do, play with one official the rest? I don't know.

WEIR: Exactly, yes.

SCHOLES: I mean, how does that happen?

WEIR: I'm sure they could get a -- they'd get a volunteer to come --

SCHOLES: Get one out of the stands.

WEIR: Yes, give me the whistle.

SCHOLES: Good luck finding someone impartial there.

WEIR: Yes, exactly.

Andy, thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

WEIR: Happy weekend to you.

Revelers on New Year's Eve, of course, will ring in 2018 under unprecedented levels of security. How law enforcement plans to keep the celebrations safe when we come back.


[06:51:21] CAMEROTA: Cities around the country are increasing security to unprecedented levels for New Year's Eve after this year's deadly attacks in New York City and Las Vegas. Law enforcement are going to use new tactics, they say, to keep revelers safe.

And CNN's Athena Jones is live in Times Square with a preview for us.

So what's happening there, Athena?


Well, securing the New Year's Eve festivities here in Times Square is always a massive security challenge. This year we're going to see an increased police presence, in part because of those two recent terror attacks right here in New York. That truck incident on Halloween in lower Manhattan left eight people dead and then just earlier this month when a man detonated a bomb in the subway system just a few blocks from here.

So this entire area where I'm standing is going to be closed off to traffic starting early in the day on Sunday. The 12 access points for spectators will be manned by teams of police. There will be police with heavy weapons. They'll have equipment to detect radiological material. There will be bomb-sniffing dogs. There will also be sand- filled sanitation trucks and cement blocks to help block off the area.

A few of the -- more of the measures being taken, rooftop observation, counter sniper teams, 125 parking garages in this area will be sealed off. There will be additional teams of officers in hotels. And there will be special suicide attack training for police officers to try to prevent any sort of suicide attack.

"The New York Times" is reporting that for the first time police will be attaching reflective markers to the outsides of buildings to help them figure out where a gunman may be located if that becomes necessary.

When it comes to spectators, authorities are expecting some 2 million of them. They will be screened twice in order to get into the area to see the ball drop. And while authorities say there is no direct credible threat to the New Year's Eve celebration here or to New York in general, they want folks to remain vigilant and say, as always, if you see something, say something.


WEIR: OK, Athena, thanks so much. Stay warm out there.

Let's discuss now with CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano and CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer.

Good morning, gentlemen. Happy New Year to both of you.

James, let me start with you, because I know you have some experience when you were with the FBI on New Year's Eve celebrations. If you've never been, it is really a marvel of how they get 2 million people into this space, keep them safe, and then clean up just hours after they're gone. But we're talking this year, we're hearing the word "unprecedented" thrown around. Like emptying out 125 parking garages. Talk about how this year might be different given what we've seen in recent attacks.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, Bill, I spent about 20 of my 25 year career in New York City working very closely with the New York City Police Department. And the NYPD is the most professional, most experienced and best equipped to deal with what we call an NSSE, which is a national special security event, which the New Year's Eve Times Square event falls under.

Now, just think about what the NYPD has accomplished. In 1991, my first year as an FBI agent, there were 2,245 homicides in New York City. This year we're on tap for below 300, which is almost a 90 percent drop.

WEIR: Incredible.

GAGLIANO: They've got great expertise too in handling big events. Stunning, actually. They've got great expertise in this realm. But what we have to take into factors here to consider are, even the weather has a vote in something like this. Now you mentioned that there were between 1 and 2 million people expected to show up, the revelers. The temperatures are supposed to be around 10 degrees, which should severely limit the amount of people that come in. But, still, there's going to be a lot of people down there in a small area. I think there's going to be 12 check points.

To Athena's point about the hotels along 7th Avenue, in response to the Las Vegas shooting, 're going to put police squadrons in every one of those hotels. In the event that something happens there, they can respond quickly. They've got bomb-vapor smelling dogs that work similar to what a license plate reader does. So if somebody's been dealing with bomb making explosive materials, they walk past one of these dogs and the dogs can detect the particulate.

[06:55:20] So I think that New Year's Eve, Times Square in New York City is probably going to be the safest place to be in the entire world.

WEIR: Interesting.

Bob, let's talk about Vegas a little bit. It's so interesting, curious that we still don't have a motive for the shooter, Stephen Paddock there. What does that tell you about this particular attack and how it might inform protecting folks now?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Bill, exactly, it's -- these things are not really preventable. You cannot get in the minds of people who own guns, whether they are terrorists or simply the insane. The police have a really hard time calculating who's going to turn to violence. And this happened in Las Vegas.

You can -- you can protect public areas. I mean you can put up shock detectors and helicopters and snipers and the rest of it, but you basically, like Times Square, have to put an armed force in there to protect -- to protect people.

The FBI has the same problem predicting people who are interested in jihad and the rest of it, as opposed to the people who are interested and then turn to violence. It's very, very difficult to do.

WEIR: Yes.

BAER: And that's why New York City is not completely protectable over New Year's.

WEIR: Just in Vegas, it looks like 300 National Guard troops, 1,500 police officers, snipers, this is a first for them there as they keep an eye on all those hotel windows, which is a haunting image, of course, after that mass shooting. A number of quick response teams doubled. They've got more medics, canine units, mobile command posts, 1,800 concrete bollards along The Strip to stop -- try to stop vehicle bombs.

But, James, in the end, as we saw the recovery that came back, how the city bounced back after that horrific car attack on the west side down by Chambers (ph) Street, that -- this is a certain sense of accept that we do have to keep an eye out. You do have to see something and say something. It's really the community that is as much of a protective layer as the authorities.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely, Bill. And as we move along that continuum between total security and civil liberties, we always try to find that sweet spot. You know, we want to live in a safe country, but we also want to respect civil liberties.

Now, I know, after the vehicular attack in lower Manhattan, New York City made some pretty quick changes. They put up concrete bollards that are removable for emergency vehicles along the route where the bike path was. And that's the response.

The counter sniper teams that they're deploying in Vegas, obviously the lessons learned there that a committed shooter took a position of the high ground and how do we -- how do we ameliorate that.

And then, lastly, if you're down in Times Square, if you're anywhere else in a big city, understand that when you look to the left and the right of you and you see what you think are fellow revelers, that could be an undercover cop on your left, it could be a member of the FBI's JTTF on your right. They're going to be in plainclothes. They're going to be circulating among the crowds. They're going to be doing everything they can to keep us safe this year.

WEIR: Well, we all wish a happy, safe New Year's for everybody who plans to either stay in or go out.

James, Bob, Happy New Year's to you guys. Thanks.

BAER: Thanks.

WEIR: And Coming up on NEW DAY, we will talk to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about the security preparations in Times Square, among other topics.

And thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN Talk" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obsessed with Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm trying to say, I didn't collude, I didn't collude over and over again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said that he felt the country would be harmed by an investigation that continued for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never gave any indication there's any evidence of wrongdoing by the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Chinese have probably gotten a wakeup call from the president's speech (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China is not going to (INAUDIBLE) North Korea because they don't think it's in their best interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chinese have been caught red handed. And that puts Trump in a very difficult position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of now, this tragedy is historic in its magnitude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lot that died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone hold your families close and keep these families here in the Bronx in your prayers.

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


CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off. Bill Weir joins me.

WEIR: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: Happy Friday.

WEIR: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Almost Happy New Year.

WEIR: Almost Happy New Year.

CAMEROTA: President Trump tells "The New York Times" that he thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be fair to him, but he says the Russia investigation makes the U.S. look very bad. This was an impromptu interview with no White House aides by his side and the president insisted 16 separate times that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

[07:00:04] WEIR: As scrutiny of Mueller's investigation intensifies, President Trump says he has, quote, an absolute right to do whatever he wants with the Justice Department.