Return to Transcripts main page
Kerry to Outline Middle East Peace Plan; Trump's Twitter Tirade; History in Hawaii; Remembering George Michael. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired December 27, 2016 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: The frustration is starting to grow following the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. The Obama administration is ignoring accusations it is behind the move, now getting set to reveal its road map to achieve peace, as the Israelis put working ties on the countries voted in favor of the U.N. measure. We'll have more from Jerusalem.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump out of the public eye, but by no means silent. He's unleashing a tirade targeting -- his targets include the media, the U.N., even President Obama.
[04:30:03] And he is doing it, where else, on Twitter.
JOHNS: And a historic moment in Hawaii today. A visit by Japan's prime minister to the site of the attack on Pearl Harbor more than 75 years ago. We'll have a preview from Honolulu.
Good morning and welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Joe Johns.
KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's Tuesday, December 27th. It's 30 minutes past the hour. John and Christine are off.
And despite the administration having less than a month to go on the job, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to deliver a speech later this week outlining the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Middle East. Now, this comes as relations between the U.S. and Israel appear more strained than ever with Israeli officials claiming there is proof the Obama administration pushed for the U.N. resolution condemning settlements.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordering working ties with 12 nations which backed the U.N. vote.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is following all of these developments. He's live for us in Jerusalem.
So, Oren, it looks like Netanyahu is really escalating this controversy by limiting these working ties with these countries that voted for this resolution.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He hasn't backed down at all. Under terms of what he said lashing out at the U.S. and showing angry remarks at countries that voted for this. He's also acted diplomatically. First, summoning the ambassadors of the countries that voted for it on Christmas Day here in Jerusalem, and then stepping that up with limiting ties with embassies, ministers and high level visits again for those countries that voted for it.
As for how his response is being taken, he says he really is not concerned about that. He says his response is quote responsible and vigorous and stood by it at every point.
What is the next step? As you pointed, it could be Secretary of State John Kerry's vision for peace. He would lay that out in a speech with his view of the conflict.
Netanyahu's team not backing down in the last weeks of the Obama administration. They accuse Obama and his administration of being behind this U.N. resolution. Drafting it, writing it and pushing it.
Here is the Netanyahu spokesperson David Keyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR THE ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We have ironclad information from sources in the Arab world and internationally, and we're going to share that information with the incoming administration through the proper channels. And if the new administration chooses to share that information, that's their prerogative.
It should give us all pause that a terrorist organization like Hamas, which is calling for genocide of all Jews, is actually celebrating this decision, and it's celebrating it because it distances the chances of peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: As for what that evidence is, this information, is evidence they have of the Obama administration is behind this U.N. Security Council resolution, they haven't put that evidence or information forward. We pushed Israeli officials here in Israel and Jerusalem and as well as Israeli officials in the U.S., so far, all they say is they will present it to the next administration.
Meanwhile, Obama's team has taken to the air in the U.S., but also here to defend their decision to abstain in the resolution. Here is what Ben Rhodes had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: By definition, this is not an ambush when President Obama and Secretary Kerry have been saying in hundreds of conversations and in public comments that Israeli settlement activity was pushing into the West Bank in a way that was making the two-state solution unachievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LIEBERMANN: We knew the relation between Obama and Netanyahu was strained. Now we are seeing how quickly it's falling apart. With just a few weeks to go, Netanyahu making it very clear he is thrilled almost to work with President-elect Trump.
KOSIK: OK, Oren, clear this up for because the resolution, correct me if I'm wrong, the resolution is more recommendation than real action. But should Israel be concerned about other moves that the United Nations could take in the next few weeks?
LIEBERMANN: Alison, you are absolutely right there, that this resolution is essentially a recommendation or guideline. It has no teeth. There are no punishments in here if you don't follow it.
But Israel's concern is that there could be a follow-up resolution on the next few weeks on parameters, which is to say setting conditions for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. That would address some of the most sensitive issues, Jerusalem, borders, Palestine refugees and more. That's what Israel is concerned about. They know very well that that could come in the next few weeks.
It seems unlikely the Obama administration would want to do that after what they had to go through with this one. But Israel knows the possibility is still out there. It's something they are trying to avert.
KOSIK: All right. CNN's Oren Liebermann, live from Jerusalem -- thanks very much.
JOHNS: It is back to work for the Trump transition team today, now just 24 days before he takes the oath of office. The president-elect spending the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago, out of the public eye, but not off Twitter. He could not resist responding to President Obama's big if.
The president telling the Axe Files podcast he could have beaten Trump, believing his message of hope could resonate if a third term was allowed.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I -- if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilize a majority of the American people to rally behind it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNS: Trump not buying it, though, tweeting this, "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won it against me. He should say that but I say no way. Jobs leaving, ISIS, Obamacare, et cetera."
Trump taking aim at the Israel resolution, tweeting, "The United Nations has great potential, but right now, it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad."
KOSIK: Wait, there is more. Trump taking credit for the busy holiday shopping season, saying this, "The world was gloomy before I won. There was no hope. Now the market was up 10 percent and Christmas spending is over $1 trillion."
So there's no sourcing for that $1 trillion. Although there was a Deloitte Survey predicting the a trillion dollars was going to be spent. But his survey was done in September. But I digress.
OK, keep in mind, the Retail Federation close to $655 billion. It's nothing to sneeze at. So, it is a good year. Still not in line with Trump's tweet.
Finally, Trump defending his charitable foundation days after announcing plans to dissolve it to avoid impression of conflict of interest. He said this, "I gave millions of dollars to DJT Foundation, raised and received millions more. All of which is given to charity and media won't report. The DJT Foundation, unlike most foundations, never paid fees, rent, salaries or any expenses, 100 percent of money goes to wonderful charities."
So, Trump, it's worth noting, hasn't donated to the foundation since 2008, that's according to the foundation's tax records. And then there's this, non tweeted development. Trump aide Steven Miller will write the inauguration speech. He wrote many during the campaign. We are told this one will address Trump's stump and thank you speeches, with themes including the economy, outsourcing, border security and the military.
JOHNS: A day of remembrance and reconciliation as President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit Pearl Harbor and the USSA Arizona Memorial together. Prime Minister Abe arriving in Hawaii Monday for other ceremonial events. Among them, a visit to the Makiki cemetery where he laid wreaths to remember those killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.
Today is the first formal trip by the Japanese leader to the site of the Japanese air attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans and drew the U.S. into World War II 75 years ago.
We get more from CNN's Athena Jones in Honolulu.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This visit by Prime Minister Abe coming seven months after President Obama made a historic trip to Hiroshima. He became the first sitting U.S. president to pay his respects to the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives there. Now Prime Minister Abe will be doing the same at Pearl Harbor. The White House says these two visits which are serving as book ends to one another highlight the power of reconciliation, the ability for former adversaries to become the closest of allies.
President Obama made the point at Hiroshima that 75 years ago in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the close friendship and alliance between these two countries could never have been imagined.
Now, as for what in the agenda, we expect the two leaders to have a formal sit down, what the White House calls a bilateral meeting. After that, they will be visiting the USS Arizona Memorial itself to visit and pay respects to those 900 soldiers who remain entombed in the watery grave. After that visit, we'll hear from both President Obama and Prime Minister Abe. And we expect Prime Minister Abe's remarks to echo the message that President Obama delivered in Hiroshima.
Before coming here, Prime Minister Abe said this visit will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims. We should never repeat the ravages of war. That is one of the themes we expect the prime minister to touch on in his remarks here. There are certainly people here in Hawaii looking forward to the visit by Prime Minister Abe.
I spoke to a 95-year-old witness to the Pearl Harbor attacks who told me that Prime Minister Abe's visit is the greatest thing in the world and that it will be a condition of the healing between the two countries.
Back to you, Joe and Alison.
KOSIK: All right. Athena Jones, thanks so much.
You know, it's a crazy day after Christmas or violence breaking out across malls across America.
[04:40:00] What sparked the chaos that played out in nearly a dozen states. More next.
KOSIK: Time for an early start on your money. Inauguration is coming up in just a few weeks, but the cabinet confirmation process still a long way to go. So far, the president-elect's nominees include five billionaires, six multimillionaires. This is according to "The Wall Street Journal's" calculations. That is a net worth for all of these cabinet nominees close to $10 billion.
Bernie Sanders tweeting about this yesterday on Twitter, saying this, "Donald Trump, the anti-establishment Republican, is building a cabinet worth at least," he's saying, "$13 billion." He says, "The hypocrisy astounds me."
The wealthy nominees, they've got to have to get their books in order, before Senate hearings. They've got to sit through their vast holdings could be a slow process for the nominees. It could be a very expensive process for these nominees as well because they've got to pay enormous legal fees to make sure they divest properly and also make sure their books are in order.
Also on this list of the things they need to do, they have to talk about all of the organizations they have been affiliated with since the age of 18. They'll have to name clients who pose conflicts of interest and all real estate holdings as well. So, while it's unlikely that the process will change the outcome of the nominations, it's certainly going to take a lot of time.
[04:45:02] And that could wind up slowing Trump's agenda and once again, it's going to cost, it's going to be time, it's going to be money for the nominees who have to shell out money to make sure the T's are crossed and I's are dotted.
JOHNS: This is why public life is hard coming out of business into government. They start getting into your business. There is all this information that maybe you would not like everybody to know about at the end of the day.
KOSIK: Hard, but certainly still possible.
JOHNS: Yes, you've got it.
Violence erupting at malls across the nation just one day after Christmas. OK, take a look at this video. Manchester, Connecticut, you hear the people screaming and punches thrown in the shops at Buckland Hills. Our affiliate in Hartford says an officer was assaulted.
A mall in Ft. Worth, Texas, put on lockdown following this fight involving 100 middle school and high school students near the food court. Officers had to go store to store to let people out once the lockdown was lifted.
In Aurora, Illinois, this is the start of what evolved into a brawl at Fox Valley Mall. Teenagers sprinted down the stairs to get out of the mall.
KOSIK: All right. And take a look at Beachwood place mall. This is in Ohio. The mall in Ohio was put on lockdown after reports of an active shooter. Police say all this begun after a fight broke out among teenagers in the food court.
And then panic at Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is after police say teenagers setoff fireworks. So, shoppers mistook the sound for gunshots. Several shoppers were hurt and they ran.
And then the Aurora Town Mall in Colorado. It was closed and evacuated after fights broke out in the mall involving at least 500 people. Police say it all started with a social media post promising a fight.
And at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, North Carolina, people forced to evacuate after a fight in the food court.
Police say report of a suspected gunman, they turned out to be false, thankfully. But this is crazy, and all these different areas.
Where is the holiday spirit?
JOHNS: Exactly. It's too bad. Bloody holiday weekend in Chicago. At least a dozen people shot dead. Authorities say it appears the majority of the shootings were targeted attacked by gang members against potential rivals who are at holiday gatherings. The city's police chief saying it's time to lay down the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDIE JOHNSON, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPT.: I just don't believe that we hold repeat gun offenders accountable for their actions. I just don't. You know, they think that the justice system in Cook County is a joke. You know, until we change the narrative of individuals to make them not want to pick up a gun, we're going to continue to see this cycle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Chicago police say there were at least 27 shooting incidents all over the Christmas weekend.
KOSIK: Authorities in Tennessee are looking for the last remaining prisoner following a brazen Christmas Day escape from the county jail. Suspect David Frazier along with five other inmates fled from the facility through a hole they discovered in the wall which led them outside. Apparently the hole was behind a toilet. The men managed to move the toilet back to cover the hole and conceal their escape. The other five are now back in custody.
They've got too much time.
Well, they caught them, though, at the end of the day. So, they were not that smart.
The Dow has been pushing closer to 20,000. Could today finally be the day it gets there? We're going to check on CNN money, next.
[04:52:01] JOHNS: The tributes pouring in for the late pop icon George Michael who died Christmas Day in England. The singer is believed to have died from heart failure. Fans have been visiting Michael's home, leaving flowers and letters paying respects. Two of the most important people in the music star's life now also speaking out.
CNN's Phil Black live in London -- Phil.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, after hearing from so many fans and contemporary fellow musicians, great, powerful, moving tributes.
You're right, we are now hearing from some of the people who knew George Michael best of all, including the man who was with him on the day he died. His partner Fadi Fawaz who posted a tweet overnight, in which he said this, "It's a Christmas I will never forget. Finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first things in the morning. I will never stop missing you."
Now, they had been together for a number of years. But before that, George Michael was in a very long relationship, 13 years or so with American Kenny Goss. He also issued a statement, talking about his heartbreak at the loss of long-term love and a dear friend.
Part of the statement goes on to say this, he says, "He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. He was an extremely kind and generous man. The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him."
Here in north London outside George Michael's home in the city, temperatures have dropped below freezing overnight. That hasn't stopped many people from coming here to lay flowers, messages, candles to express shock and grief, but, of course, great love and affection.
The question so many of these fans want to know, why -- why did he die at such an early age? That still hasn't been answered beyond the suspicion of those who knew him who say they suspect it was heart failure. We are waiting for a formal response from authorities. The formal reports of the post-mortem examination.
And people are keen to know what the funeral service will be and perhaps a much larger, wider public event. We don't have those details yet. But you can be sure it will be an emotional vastly attended event -- Joe.
JOHNS: Phil Black in London, thanks so much for that.
KOSIK: And this morning, Russia's defense ministry says divers found the black box from the Russian military jet that crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday. The cockpit recorder is still missing. Strong currents and deep water have complicated the search. Authorities say large pieces of the wreckage had been found in the water.
The plane was carrying 92 people when it went down Sunday. It was en route from Sochi to western Syria. The passengers included more than 60 members of the Russia's famed Red Army Choir.
JOHNS: Despite growing global concern over nuclear proliferation. India announcing the latest test of its most powerful nuclear capable missile.
[04:55:04] Defense officials say it's the fourth successful test firing of the missile. India's prime minister tweeting the test makes every Indian proud, saying it will add tremendous strength to the country's strategic defense.
KOSIK: In Australia, at least seven people are reported missing after days of heavy rain and flooding in the country's northern territories. Meantime, the record-breaking rainfall triggered flash floods in national park in central Australia. Look at this. It's also creating some breath taking images of water running off the iconic sandstone rock formations. It's beautiful.
JOHNS: Absolutely beautiful and that's water I don't think you want to be in.
JOHNS: As for the weather here at home, cooler temperatures coming in. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis has the forecast.
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, don't put the winter coats away. Yes, Christmas got off to a very crazy start with the very mild temperatures across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic and Deep South. Well, say good-bye to the fairly mild temperatures. Colder air starts to move in behind it and you will definitely need the coats.
But in the meantime, a lot of people trying to head home from the holidays. Shreveport did manage to see a record high, with 83 degrees. The old record, well, that was just old last year. Even all the way into Detroit with temperatures in the upper 50s for Detroit, day after Christmas. That's not so bad.
Louisville, Kentucky, with 56 degrees. About 11 states with about two dozen record-high temperatures. But not so fast. Chicago, 55 degrees. That was yesterday. Today, only about 34. Still looking pretty good. Nashville goes from the 70s only to the 50s.
So, bundle up. We'll see a bit of leftover rainfall in New York City and Boston. A dry spell. A little cold spell. And could see a clipper system move through by Thursday -- Joe, Alison.
KOSIK: OK. Karen Maginnis, thanks very much.
Let's get an early start on your money. The markets reopening today, and the big question remains, does the Dow still have a chance to hit 20K before the year is up?
There isn't much significance to that nice round 20,000 number other than it would be an impressive way for the stocks to finish the year. But we're not holding our breath. The week between Christmas and New Year tends to be very quiet. And tax planning could make it difficult to hit that 20,000 mark before the end of the year.
Meantime, stock markets in Europe and Asia are up. And since the global financial crisis, the world's biggest banks have agreed to pay $60 billion in fines to the U.S. Department of Justice for creating and selling toxic mortgage-backed investments.
The latest banks to join that list are Germany's Deutsche Bank and Switzerland's Credit Suisse. The multibillion investments are worth a combined $12.5 billion. A majority of the money will be going directly toward programs that are designed to help homeowners and borrowers. Next could be British bank Barclays. At least that's according to the Department of Justice.
OK, Trump's trigger happy Twitter fingers are causing trouble for American businesses. After he tweeted a threat earlier this month to break Boeing's Air Force One contract with the government, we saw Boeing shares dipped, but they recovered because then Trump said he might tap Boeing to replace Lockheed Martin in a deal with the Pentagon. Lockheed stocks fell.
Now, though Trump has been a boon for the market at large, the tendency to single out companies have the companies fearing his Twitter wrath in the New Year. But, you know what, maybe they shouldn't worry because the stocks of ten U.S. companies that Trump took jabs at during the campaign and after, they actually rose on average 9 percent in the month after election.
So, you see that initial knee jerk reaction and investors go, you know what, that was the moment. We'll just let it go.
JOHNS: But, you know, it really points out how a president's words can move markets.
KOSIK: And his words matter, not just the market.
JOHNS: All right. EARLY START continues right now.
JOHNS: The diplomatic fallout grows following the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. The Jewish state putting limits on working ties with countries that voted in favor. Now, where the U.S. could be ready to rock the boat once again. We have more coming up from Jerusalem.
KOSIK: Donald Trump unleashing once again on Twitter, going after the U.N., the media, even President Obama. We'll tell you why.
JOHNS: And a historic moment on tap today in Hawaii. Japan's prime minister set to visit the site of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We'll have a preview from Honolulu.
Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Joe Johns.
KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It is Tuesday, December 27th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East. And John and Christine are off.
Up first, despite the administration having less than a month left on the job, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to deliver a speech later this week which will look to outline the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Mideast.