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Israel: "Ironclad" Proof U.S. Pushed For U.N. Resolution; Trump's Twitter Tirade; President Obama, Japan's Abe To Visit Pearl Harbor; Brawls Break Out At Malls Nationwide. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired December 27, 2016 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:30:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN HOST: Frustration is growing after the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. The Obama administration is ignoring accusations it was behind the move, now getting set to reveal its roadmap to achieve peace, as the Israelis put some strength on working ties with countries that voted in favor of the U.N. measure. We have more from Jerusalem.
JOE JOHNS, CNN HOST: Donald Trump out of the public eye but by no means silent. He's unleashing a tirade. Targets include the media, the U.N., even President Obama, and he's doing it where else, on Twitter.
KOSIK: And a historic moment today in Hawaii. A visit by Japan's prime minister to the site of the attack on Pearl Harbor more than 75 years ago. We have a preview from Honolulu. Good morning and welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.
JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. It is Tuesday, December 27th. It is 30 minutes past the hour and John and Christine are off. 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.
It comes as relations between the U.S. and Israel appear more strained than ever with Israeli officials claiming there is proof President Obama pushed for the U.N. resolution condemning settlements. Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, ordering a limit on all working ties with 12 nations which backed the U.N. vote. CNN's Oren Liebermann is following developments live in Jerusalem -- Oren.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, a lot of different directions to the story so we'll start in the U.S. where Secretary of State Kerry said he will lay out his vision for peace. His idea on how to solve the most complex issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the next few days. That's something Israel is very much aware of and is not looking forward to, especially after the Security Council resolution where the U.S. abstention allowed it to go through.
Now to Israel where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued lashing out at the Obama administration unapologetically. He has said he gave "measured, responsible, and vigorous response" and he said that it will continue. We've seen it with some of the diplomatic steps here. Netanyahu has limited working ties with the embassies and ministers of the countries that voted for this resolution. It's largely a symbolic move. It has little practical effect but it is intended as a statement to show how angry Netanyahu is over this vote.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu and his government, both here and in the U.S., which is to say Israeli officials there still accusing the Obama administration of being behind this U.N. resolution. Here is Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KEYES, SPOKESMAN FOR 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 it all pause that a terrorist organization like Hamas, which is calling for genocide of all Jews, is actually celebrating this decision, and they're celebrating it because it actually distances the chances of peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: We have pushed Israeli officials both here and there asking them what is this information? What is this evidence you have? So far, they haven't presented any answer to that question. Meanwhile, the Obama administration taking to the air both in the U.S. and in Israel to explain their position. Here is what Ben Rhodes had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: By definition, it's not an ambush when President Obama and Sec. 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 relations between Obama and Netanyahu were strained. We're seeing them rapidly fall apart in their final days as we see Netanyahu building what appears to be a fresh start -- a clean slate with President-elect Donald Trump -- Joe.
JOHNS: Thanks so much for that Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.
KOSIK: OK. It's back to work today for the Trump transition team just 24 days now until he takes the oath of office. The president- elect spending the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort out of the public eye, oh, but not off Twitter. He couldn't 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 and change would still resonate if a third term was allowed -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO 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've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Oh, ho, but Trump's not buying it, tweeting this. "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! Jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc." Let's talk more about this with "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott and bring him in from D.C. Welcome back.
[05:35:00] EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Thank you.
KOSIK: Thanks for coming on so early. You know, with President Obama saying this on this -- on this show, it seems very confident, almost like a jab to Hillary Clinton, and interesting if you look at this statement one more time. He said if I would've articulated it.
SCOTT: Well, I think the president is so confident in his ability to rally voters that Hillary Clinton was not able to is because Obama was able to do that in '08 and in 2012. I do think that the president did not address the fact that there are many people who voted for him who actually voted for Donald Trump this time or, at the very least, have not been pleased with his presidency. So whether or not he could have convinced them to get behind him a third time, who knows?
JOHNS: What does Donald Trump get out of going into a Twitter war now talking about President Obama given, as you mention, President Obama's high approval ratings? Why even go there? Why not stay on the transition and the future?
SCOTT: Social media has just been a key piece of Donald Trump's success in leading him to the White House and I imagine that he wants to continue using it. He's called it effective and at least getting his message to supporters and even the media, and whether or not he will shift it's not clear. I can't imagine that that is something that he is eager to do considering how effective it's been so far for him.
JOHNS: Very hard for him to resist, quite frankly. Eugene, stay with us. Trump also taking a Twitter aim at the U.N. in the wake of the anti-Israel resolution. "The United Nations has such great potential but right now, it's just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time. So sad!"
And there's more. Trump also taking credit for the busy holiday shopping season. "The world was gloomy before I won. There was no hope. Now, the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars." No sourcing for that trillion-dollar number. The National Retail Federation projects spending closer to $655 billion. A good year but not in line with Trump's tweet.
KOSIK: OK. Finally, Trump defending his charitable foundation days after announcing plans to dissolve it to avoid the impression of any conflict of interest saying, "I gave millions of dollars to DJT Foundation, raised or received millions more, ALL of which is given to charity, and media won't report!" Trump, it's worth noting, hasn't donated to the foundation since 2008. That's at least according to the foundation's own tax records.
And there is this non-tweeted developed. Trump aide Stephen Miller -- he's going to write the inaugural speech. He wrote many during the campaign and we're told the address will be similar to Trump's stump and thank-you speeches with themes including the economy, outsourcing, border security, and the military.
Let's go ahead and bring in Eugene Scott. Eugene, I do want to just touch on the foundation because this has really been in the news for a couple of days and what,I think, the Trump team thought was an easy way to show that he was separating himself from one area where there'd be a conflict of interest. It's really turning into an issue with him, isn't it?
SCOTT: It has turned into an issue because it's been an issue for a while. As you know, the foundation has been under investigation from the New York State attorney general's office for some months now and this story seems to continue on concerns regarding conflicts of interest that we saw last week with Donald Trump's son, Eric's, foundation.
Whether or not he will continue to be as concerned about conflict of interest as his critics will hope he will be remains to be seen. This is a just a step, they would say, in moving in a direction that removes himself from organizations and businesses and groups that could be problematic once he enters the White House, such as the Trump Organization.
JOHNS: Eugene, is there any consensus on whether -- what this foundation was actually a charity? Are we certain it was a charity or was there just a lot more self-dealing going on there, so you couldn't call it that?
SCOTT: Well, that is what the investigation is hoping to reveal. There definitely have been some concerns about where the money was going and if it was as philanthropic as the president-elect suggests that it has been. But whether or not it was a front it's not clear, and there's been nothing that's been conclusive or a consensus to support that. But we do believe that this investigation will give us more answers to those questions.
KOSIK: All right. Eugene Scott, thanks so much for getting up early with us --
SCOTT: Thank you.
KOSIK: -- and giving your perspective.
SCOTT: Thank you.
KOSIK: All right, time for an early start on your money. The inauguration coming up in just a few short weeks but the cabinet confirmation process still has a long road ahead. So far, the president-elect nominees, they include five billionaires, six multi- millionaires. This, according to "The Wall Street Journal's" calculations.
[05:40:00] Bernie Sanders certainly speaking out about this on Twitter saying, "Donald Trump, the anti-establishment Republican, is building a cabinet worth at least $13 billion. The hypocrisy astounds me." Well, one thing Trump said, by the way, is that he doesn't want to hire people who weren't successful. You want successful people in your cabinet.
KOSIK: The wealthy nominees, though, they've got a lot to do. They've got to get their books in order before Senate hearings. They've got to sift through their vast holdings and this could be a really slow process. So to get through this lengthy application, aside from divesting, nominees also have to list all the organizations that they've been affiliated with since 18 years old. They've got to list the names of clients who could pose conflicts of interests and they've got to list all their real estate holdings as well.
And while it's unlikely the process will change the outcome of the nominations it's certainly going to take a lot of time and that could slow Trump's agenda.
JOHNS: I would not like to have to jump through all those hoops, I've got to tell you.
KOSIK: But I'd like to be the lawyers having to sift through all that.
KOSIK: They make lots of money.
JOHNS: Absolutely. Well, you know, if you have a lot of money -- that's it. Violent scenes breaking out at malls across America. What sparked the chaos that played out in nearly a dozen states? More, next.
KOSIK: A day of remembrance and reconciliation with President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial together. Prime Minister Abe arriving in Hawaii Monday for other ceremonial events. Among them, a visit to Makiki Cemetery where he laid wreaths to commemorate those killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.
[05:45:14] But today, he'll -- will mark the first formal trip by a 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. Let's get more now from CNN's Athena Jones in Honolulu.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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 and now, Prime Minister Abe will be doing the same at Pearl Harbor.
The White House says that these two visits which are serving as bookends to one another, highlight the power of reconciliation. The ability for these former adversaries to, over these many years, become the closest of allies. President Obama made the point in 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's on 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 their respects to those 900 soldiers who remain entombed in that 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, in some ways, the message that President Obama delivered in Hiroshima. Before coming here, Prime Minister Abe said that "This visit will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims. We should never repeat the ravages of war." So that is one of themes we expect the Prime Minister to touch on in his remarks here.
And there are certainly some people here in Hawaii who are very much looking forward to this visit by Prime Minister Abe. I spoke to a 95- year-old witness to the Pearl Harbor attacks who told me that Prime Minster Abe's visit is the greatest thing in the world and that it will be a culmination of the healing between the two countries. Back to you, Joe and Alison.
KOSIK: All right. Athena Jones, thanks very much.
JOHNS: Violence erupting at several malls across the nation just one day after Christmas. (Video playing) Take a look at this video out of Manchester, Connecticut. You can hear people screaming, punches being thrown inside the shops at Buckland Hills. A large chase then ensued, one officer assaulted.
A mall in Fort Worth, Texas put on lockdown following a massive fight involving over 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 had to sprint down the stairs after the fight broke out. It forced the mall to close for the day.
KOSIK: OK. More fantastic holiday spirit happening at Beachwood Place Mall, this one in Ohio. The mall put on lockdown following unfounded reports of an active shooter. Police say it all began after a fight broke out among teenagers in the food court. And just more of this panic at Hamilton Place Mall. This one happening in Chattanooga, Tennessee after police say teenagers set off fireworks. The shoppers mistook the sound for gunshots. Scary moments there. Several shoppers were hurt as they ran out.
And the Aurora Town Mall in Colorado, that was closed and evacuated after several fights erupted out -- erupted inside the mall involving at least 500 people, and police say it all began with a social media post promising a fight.
JOHNS: A bloody holiday weekend in Chicago, at least a dozen people shot dead. Authorities say it appears the majority of the shooting were targeted attacks by gang members against potential rivals who were 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 DEPARTMENT: 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, and until we change the mental 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 Christmas Day escape from the Cocke 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 even managed to move the toilet back to conceal their escape. The other five are now back in custody. That is so strange.
[05:50:06] JOHNS: Just unbelievable, and back in custody, too, so --
KOSIK: That's good news.
JOHNS: Right. Yes, exactly.
KOSIK: The Dow has been pushing closer to 20,000. The question is -- the question we've been asking for a couple of weeks now -- is today finally the day the Dow will get to 20,000? We'll get a check on all of that on CNN Money, next.
JOHNS: The tributes are pouring in for the late pop icon George Michael, who died on 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, and paying their respects. Two of the most important people in the music star's life are now also speaking up. CNN's Phil Black live in London now -- Phil.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, after such an incredible emotional outpouring from many fans and many of his contemporaries -- fellow performers. We're now receiving statements from some of the people who knew George Michael best, including the man who was with him on the day he died. His partner Fadi Fawaz tweeted overnight, in which he said this. He said, "It's a Christmas I will never forget. Finding your partner dead, peacefully in bed, first thing in the morning. I will never stop missing you."
Now, they were together for a few years but before that George Michael was in a long-term relationship, more than 30 years or so, with American Kenny Goss. He's also released a statement talking about his heartbreak at having lost such a longtime love and a dear friend. In his statement he says 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."
Now, here at the singer's home in North London, you can see behind me people are still coming. We've seen this morning laying flowers, messages, candles. Some people just weeping openly. Their grief is really -- well, it's pretty extraordinary. They're all here because George Michael meant so very much to them. They all want to know why he died at such a young age. We don't have an answer to that question yet. That's expected to come when authorities announce the results of a post-mortem examination.
[05:55:25] And a lot of people here are also very keen to know when they will get to, I guess, remember and celebrate the man at a funeral service or perhaps some other larger public memorial concert or event or that sort of thing. We don't have those details either but we can be pretty sure, I think, that it is going to be a large, emotional, and very well-attended event, Joe.
JOHNS: Phil Black in London. Thank you for that. Russia's Defense Ministry says divers have found the black box data recorder from a Russian military jet that crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday. The plane's cockpit voice recorder is still missing. Strong currents and deep water have complicated the search. Authorities say large pieces of the wreckage have been found in the water. The plane was carrying 92 people when it went down on Sunday en route from Sochi to western Syria. The passengers included more than 60 members of Russia's famed Red Army Choir.
KOSIK: All right, let's get an early start on your money. U.S. stock markets are reopening today. The big question remaining, does the Dow still have a chance to hit 20,000 before the year is up? Well, there's not much significance to that nice round number of 20,000 other than it would be an impressive way for stocks to finish up the year.
I'm not holding my breath it's going to happen because the week between Christmas and New Year's tends to be really quiet and tax planning could also be making it more difficult to hit that 20,000 mark before the end of the year. Meantime, stock markets in Europe and Asia are higher. Seeing Dow futures up as well.
Since the global financial crisis the world's biggest banks have agreed to pay close to $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 multi-billion-dollar settlements are worth a combined $12.5 billion. A majority of the money will go directly towards programs to help -- that are designed to help homeowners and borrowers. Next could be British bank, Barclays, says 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, Boeing shares, they dipped. Then, when Trump said he might tap Boeing to replace Lockheed Martin in a deal with the Pentagon, Lockheed stock fell.
Now, though Trump has been a big boon for the market at large -- we've certainly seen the Dow rise over 1,000 points since the day after Election Day -- when he tweets about those single companies, it's got those companies worried about what his Twitter wrath is going to mean in the new year. But maybe that shouldn't worry so much. The stocks of 10 U.S. companies that Donald Trump took jabs at during the campaign and after rose on average nine percent the month after Election Day.
So the lesson here is if he says anything on Twitter, watch the stock make some sort of move and then probably recover.
JOHNS: Trigger-happy Twitter fingers. Say that 10 times fast.
KOSIK: Not at this hour of the morning.
JOHNS: That's for sure.
KOSIK: Thanks for joining us on EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik.
JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns. President-elect Donald Trump's latest Twitter tirade leaving no stone unturned. Much more on "NEW DAY" starting right now. I'm not going to say that 10 times fast, either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Donald Trump unleashing on Twitter, going after President Obama.
OBAMA: If a year from now there is an issue, I might weigh in.
KOSIK: He couldn't resist responding to President Obama's big "if".
OBAMA: I'm confident that if I had run again I could've mobilized the American people.
RHODES: Israeli settlement activity was making the two-state solution unachievable. KEYES: We have ironclad information this was drafted by the Obama administration. We feel compelled to speak up.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Friends don't take friends to the Security Council.
JOHNS: Violence erupting at several malls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is dragging her by her hair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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HARLOW: Chris and Alisyn are off on vacation and up first, we begin with President-elect Donald Trump sparring with President Obama. Trump saying there is no way that Obama would have defeated him if the president could have run for a third term.
LEMON: And Donald Trump, of course, firing back in a series of tweets to comments that the president made in a new interview we first shared with you yesterday.