Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

White House Confirms Obama had "Positive" Call with Trump; Trump Talks Transition; Kerry Warns Israel Two-State Solution in "Jeopardy", Report: Some Rockettes Threaten to Boycott Trump Inauguration; Obama Admin. Plans Retaliation Against Russia; Report: Carrie Fisher's Mother Debbie Reynolds, Hospitalized. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 28, 2016 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight we have breaking news. The White House confirming moments ago that President Obama called President-Elect Donald Trump this morning from Hawaii, describing the call as a positive one, centered on "Continuing a smooth and effective transition." Trump echoing those thoughts a short time ago after emerging from his resorts in Florida. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: He phoned me. We had a very nice confirmation. We had a very general conversation. Very, very nice. I appreciate it that he called.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: This all taking place the same day Trump escalated his war of words with President Obama once again. Writing this on Twitter this morning. "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O's statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition. Not." But just hours later Trump telling reporters this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You tweeted this morning that the transition of power wasn't going smoothly as it relates to President Obama. Can you elaborate on that a little bit? Is it going smoothly?

TRUMP: Oh, I think very, very smoothly. It's very good. You don't think so?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So, there you have it. It's all clear, right? Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT in Palm Beach, Florida with the President-Elect. Tonight, Sunlen, what is the latest?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Kate. Earlier this morning Trumpers really diving much deep into that public spat with President Obama with his really antagonistic tweets today. But at some point this afternoon, likely after that phone call that we now know he had with President Obama, it did seem that Trump really tried to hit the reset button and do a little course correction try to really refrain and redirect the messaging of the day back to what his transition team is doing here at Mar-a-Lago. And that came in the form of this rare public appearance by Trump actually at this Mar-a- Largo stay appearing before reporters.

And what he led with was not the news that he spoke with President Obama but that--the fact that he claims there are jobs being saved and created here in the U.S. not only notably from the sprint he says but also a company called one web but notably like the carrier deal he announced about a month ago. Trump touting and taking his small victory lap that these companies are calling him and saying they are saving jobs but he did not provide specific evidence to back up those claims.

Now, Trumps also here at Mar-a-Lago holding intelligence meetings, he got that briefing today. Meeting with his national security team and still continuing these interviews with potential contenders for his cabinet positions. Two big secretaries left. Veterans affairs and agriculture yet to be named. We know according to a transition official likely we'll get at least one of those announcements, Kate by the end of the week.

BOLDUAN: Yes. So, more announcements coming. Sunland, thank you so much. As Sunland was mentioning, the jobs announcement that Trump made today but that announcement is being overshadowed by his back and forth with President Obama. Suzanne Malveaux is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It was a great honor being with you and I look forward to being with you many, many more times in the future.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Much for the pleasantries. Donald Trump today blasting President Obama on twitter. "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition. Not." But this afternoon Trump seemed to have changed his mind saying the transition was going smoothly.

TRUMP: I think very, very smoothly. It's very good.

MALVEAUX : Trump and Obama had been careful to avoid personal criticism of one another in the weeks after the election. But the more combative tone emerged this week after Obama claimed he could have beaten Trump the he ran for a third term.

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 mobilized the majority of the people to rally behind it.

MALVEAUX: Trump counter punched, tweeting President Obama said he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say, no way. Jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, et cetera. But just days a after the bruising election the two appeared seemingly cordial.

OBAMA: We have done everything we can to make sure they are successful as I promised and that will continue.

TRUMP: I never met him before but we had--we had a very good chemistry going. I found him to be terrific. I found him to be very smart and very nice.

MALVEAUX: Since then the two have had several phone conversations. And today, Trump's incoming press secretary Sean Spicer tried to downplay the public bickering.

SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC (voice-over): They continue to talk. I don't know when the last time they did but as the--as the inauguration gets closer both the current president and his team have been very helpful and generous with their time as far as the transition.

TRUMP: Very important things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX : Today between close-door meetings, Trump made several brief appearances at his Mar-a-Lago Resort. While Obama is vacationing, Trump had been claiming credit for the country's positive economic outlook saying, "The U.S. consumer confidence index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7. The highest level in more than 15 years." Thanks, Donald. White House aides say the president will not back down from his own record of accomplishments despite what Trump is claiming credit for. As he noted in his last press conference this year, unemployment is 4.6 percent, that's a nine-year low, economic growth at 3.5 percent high and his approval rating almost at 60 percent. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Suzanne. Thank you so much for bringing me that.

So, OUTFRONT now, the former democratic mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, republican strategist Alice Stewart, Washington examiner reporter, Selena Zito and Washington Bureau of Chief for the Daily Beast, Jackie Kucinich. Great to see you guys. So, Jackie, in one breathe you have Donald Trump saying the transition is not going smoothly. The next breathe Donald Trump says it is going smoothly. What are you really hearing? Is it smooth or not?

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF,THE DAILY BEAST: You know, this reminds me of when he and Reince Priebus were kind of going at it. When Reince Priebus was head of the RNC. He would--he would go after Priebus either on Twitter or, you know, publicly. And then they--saying that, you know, the RNC was rigging the election or something of that nature.

And then a couple of days later heath have a phone call with Reince Priebus and say, "Oh we had a wonderful talk. Everything is great. They are being really helpful." So it seems--but there is also the matter of Donald Trump saving face. So it seems like it is partially him trying to--trying to save face and also a little bit of theater.

BOLDUAN: A little bit of theater. Why try to stir the pot in terms of how smooth the transition is going, Alice? I mean, it may or may not--it may be going smoothly in some respects and there may be speed bumps and roadblocks, whatever it is, in other respects of the transition. But what does it help playing it out in public?

KUCINICH : I think if anyone is trying to make a case for themselves here and save face, to use Jackie's phrase, I think it is President Obama.

BOLDUAN: How?

KUCINICH: I think he's seeing--I think he is seeing that his legacy is not going to be executed the way he wants. He doesn't see clearly, Obamacare is not going to be carried out and he's looking weak when it comes to foreign policy. So he is doing everything he can to flex his muscle, certainly with regard to what we've seen lately with Israel and making statements like he made yesterday when he's speaking with regard to Japan talking about Donald Trump saying that we don't need to demonize those people that are different. Clearly, Barack Obama is trying to set the stage for a graceful exit in terms of his legacy. But unfortunately it is as the cost of a peaceful transition here.

BOLDUAN: Mayor? I want you to go ahead in this. What do you think Obama's thinking is here? Get inside his head? I mean, according to Trump and the White House, Obama is the one who called him. He's the one reaching out.

MICHAEL NUTTER (D), FORMER DEMOCRATIC MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: Yes. President Obama is doing his job. Each and every day and he's going to continue to do it, knowing President Obama. Probably until about 11:59 on January 20th. This is what happens during the course of a transition. There is only one president at a time. That is Barack Obama. And he's going to continue to do what he thinks is right for the country. It is clear based on what was said earlier. And we've seen this before. Donald Trump is so desperate for attention that he picks these fights in the morning, hopes that something will happen.

Obviously some other folks talked in the course of the day and he needed to be able to say, "Oh President Obama called me and now everything is OK." I mean, this behavior is getting a little tired at this point in time. He's 70 years old, he should need that level of attention. So, he's going to continue to hide behind Twitter, attack people, abuse people, go after folks and say whatever he says and then hopes that the press, I will chase after these confusing vague of times tweets which is apparently how he's going to conduct himself even after becoming president.

BOLDUAN: Alice, is there theater involves you?

ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It appears that way. Whether they are using twitter or making an interview with David Axelrod or we've had...

BOLDUAN: I'm talk about theater on the part of Donald Trump. STEWART: No. I mean, this is typical Donald Trump. But the good

news is out of all of this, what we're all hearing is it reminds me of be like a duck. Stay calm on the surface and paddle like he heck underneath. At times there it appears to be everything calm and smooth on the surface with Obama and Trump. Meanwhile the staffs are paddling like heck to make a peaceful transition. Right now, the duck is inverted and things are kicking around the top. But the good news is that Sean Spicer says, the transition, the nuts and bolts of the transition is moving smoothly.

And I will say this, hats off to Obama and his team for helping with the peaceful transition of power with regards to the menial--the--I mean, not the menial. But the difficult part of getting one staff ready to leave and one staff ready to enter. So, that is the good news out of all of this.

BOLDUAN: That duck is getting vertigo in this transition. I'm just going to say that. Selena, Trump's criticism of President Obama as we've seen and look, it's been a day of mixed messaging on this one front. I'm confused why there has to be mixed messaging on it. But what he's saying, his criticism of Obama contradicts the long list-- growing list of glowing comments that he's made about Obama since the election. If you need a refresher, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: President Obama, who by the way I've gotten along with so well. No, no, no. He's really doing great. He's been so nice. We have a really good chemistry together. I really, I do like him. Just--I love getting his ideas. He's treated me very well. He's made us feel very welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So with all of this, who is Trump talking to? Are these two different audiences?

SALENA ZITO, STAFF REPORTER , THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: No, you know, I think Jackie is spot on. You know, both of these men have approached this transition, a little outside of the box of normal. I believe that this probably started when Obama made the comments in his interview with David Axelrod's podcast when he not only said that he would probably have won if he ran but he also made sure that he said that he was going to be vocal and possibly criticize and weigh in on matters in the future. The only president I remember in my lifetime-- and I'm old--is Jimmy Carter.

And for the most part, most presidents have stayed out to this--you know, sort of stayed out with the fray. And I think that Mr. Trump was reacting to that. He was letting him know, "Hey, you know, if you are going to be saying something, so am I. I mean, it takes an enormous amount of confidence and ego to run for president. Both of these men have an abundance of that. And both of these men are staking out their places in history and staking out their positions, which are completely different. But I'm fairly confident that both men also respects the office of the presidency and this transition will go smoothly. It might go bumpily, a little bumps here and there. But it will definitely go smoothly.

BOLDUAN: I'm still trying to figure out if the honeymoon period is over, if it ever existed or for now we begin to like a dysfunctional marriage element between these two men. Let's just stay tuned for tomorrow I feel like. Guys, great to see you. Thank you.

STEWART: Thank you.

KUCINICH: Thank you. OUTFRONT next, Israel slams the Obama administration calling the secretary of

ZITO: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, Israel slams the Obama administration calling the secretary of state's speech today a major disappointment as president-elect Trump tells Israel to, "Stay strong." Plus, president Obama preparing payback against Putin over Russia's hacking. But what happens once Trump takes over the White House. And a day after Carrie Fisher dies her mother actress Debby Reynolds is reportedly rushed to the hospital. The latest. Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Tonight, The Israel's Prime Minister slamming the United States, calling Secretary State John Kerry's major policy speech a great disappointment that underminds the Jewish State.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: Israelis do not lead to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders and I can only express my regret and say that it's a shame that Secretary Kerry does not see the simple truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Benjamin Netanyahu then seem to look right past the Obama administration saying that looks forward to working with Donald Trump to repeal damage done to Israel at the U.N.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KERRY, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Friends need to tell each other the hard truth.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT : Secretary of State John Kerry delivering a blunt message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .

KERRY: The Israeli Prime Minister publicly supports a two-state solution. But his current coalition is the most right wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. SCIUTTO: Pushing back following Washington's decision not to be the United Nations vote condemning Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

KERRY: No American administration has done more for Israel security than Barrack Obama's.

SCIUTTO: Kerry vehemently defended the U.S. extensions saying the very prospects of Middle East peace are at stake.

KERRY: The vote in the United Nations was about preserving the two- state solution. That's what we were standing up for. The two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy.

SCIUTTO : Kerry acknowledged the U.S. consulted on the resolution but denies Israel's claim that the U.S. was the driving force behind them.

KERRY: The United States did not draft or originate this resolution nor did we put it forward.

SCIUTTO: Israel's Netanyahu called Kerry's speech disappointing and more.

NETANYAHU: Israelis do not lead to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders.

SCIUTTO: Prime Minister Netanyahu promised Israel has the evidence to prove that the U.S. orchestrated the vote.

NETANYAHU: We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We'll share that information with the incoming administration.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: For his part, President-Elect Trump did not stand on the sidelines tweeting before Kerry's speech, "We cannot afford to let Israel be treated with disdain and disrespect. We used to have a great friend in the U.S. but not anymore. Stay strong, January 20th is fast approaching." Prime Minister Netanyahu quickly tweeted back, President-Elect Trump thank you for your warm friendship and your clear cut support for Israel. Despite the public tension, Kate, President Obama recently decided to increase U.S. Aid to Israel committing some $38 billion over 10 years. Part of the largest pledge of military assistance in U.S. history. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. And great to see you. OUTFRONT with me now, Ron Brownstein, Senior editor of the Atlantic, Aaron David Miller, CNN Global Affairs Analyst and former advisor to six secretaries of state on Arab-Israeli peace process, and Josh Rogin, Washington Post Columnist. Guys, great to see you. Aaron, you've written speeches like this one that we heard today. You've written speeches like this before. Did Secretary Kerry break new ground? AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Basically on one

issue I think. And I've tried to research just to see whether or not we've made comments on it. And that is the Jerusalem issue. I don't believe that in a highly visible forums, certainly this administration has referred to Jerusalem as the putative capital of both states. That I think was the new policy shift or at least articulation of a long-standing Obama administration position in negotiations. By enlarge, I think this was an effort to catalog a defense of the UN Security Council Resolution, a defense of what the Obama administration considers to be a strong relationship with Israel. And a very harsh attack it seems to me on the settlement enterprise which took up a large portion of the speech.

BOLDUAN: And Josh, I mean, you heard Netyahu's response but even before Kerry spoke, Netanyahu reached out very obviously thanking Donald Trump for his tweet and for his warm friendship and clear cut support for Israel. How different do you think or what are you hearing--how different will U.S.-Israel relationship be come January 20th?

JOSH ROGIN, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I think we're going to see a sudden and immediate shift whereby the U.S Government and the Israeli Government will be as close as lips and teeth. There will be no day life between, they will be perfectly aligned. OK? And that will be something new. I think on two main effects. First of all, the U.S. will no longer be seen by many around the world as the credible honest broker, a mediator between the two sides.

If it reflexively takes the Israeli position. And on the other hand there is--there is very little chance that the U.S. will have any leverage or pressure to use over the Israeli government, so there's a very little prospect that the Israeli government will move. So I think we're into it for a long period where both sides will retrench to their positions. Senator Chuck Schumer issued a statement just recently saying that Kerry's speech although not intended will probably embolden extremists on both sides and that bolds poorly for progress.

BOLDUAN: That coming from the top democrat in the senate. Ron, one thing stuck out, I think to both to both of us when we heard that long speech today is when Kerry said of the Netanyahu government that the most--that calling it the most right-wing in Israel's history. That is a very harsh criticism. Not so diplomatic from the top diplomat in the United States.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And previous sentence where he said that Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly supports a two- state solution.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, right.

BROWNSTEIN: But they were publicly certainly implying that Secretary Kerry does not believe that he--that he believes. Look...

BOLDUAN: How does that help them--how does that help bring people back to negotiate on people? BROWNSTEIN: And look, this is--this is the core--this is the core problem and I think Josh got at it. The core issue is definition of support for Israel support for the Benjamin Netanyahu agenda. Their vision of how to keep Israel secure over the long time. Clearly what John Kerry was saying today and then the other line friends tell friends the hard truth is that we don't believe that the course you are on is a viable one in the long-term for Israel. Either internally, in terms of retraining its character as a democracy or externally in terms of leading towards isolation in the world.

As Josh said, you are going to have an Obama--you're going to have a Trump administration that is going to be much more deferential I think to the Netanyahu which is essentially going to align with it. . And the question will be whether that produces anymore stability than this pattern of confrontation that we've seen under Obama and earlier than that under Bill Clinton.

BALWDIN: And you can hear in every comment from a top Israeli official that they are clearly looking forward to that incoming president in all of their remarks. Aaron, what do you make of the simple fact that Secretary Kerry gave this parting speech in such a big moment and not President Obama?

MILLER: Well, if I were in the white house and I had just abstained on a resolution very controversial even though we've sported security council resolutions much more critical of Israel in the past. I'm not sure if I were the president and I'd want my name on this particular speech. Usually significant presidential initiatives whether the Reagan plan or the Clinton plan bears the name of the president. This bears the name of John Kerry. A guy who literally the energizer bunny of America's middle east diplomacy, who passionately cares about this issue who believes that a two state solution is dying and by and large.

I think reflected much of his frustration and even anger in moments in his speech that in large part the Israelis in his view were primarily responsible for the absence of progress, which frankly I'm not even so sure the secretary believes, given his fraught relationship in negotiations with the--with the--with the Palestinians. So this was the Kerry--these were the Kerry parameters, not the Obama parameters. And I suspect that's the way this particular legacy will be defined.

BOLDUAN: You can almost hear in his wording. I think I actually almost remember Ron in the speech when he said that I'd I pushed it and President Obama signed on.

BROWNSTEIN: And that wasn't even the prepared text. It was the language. Look, the presidency is not a job that rewards lost causes. Presidents don't gain by putting their names on initiatives that they know are not going anywhere. John Kerry may have been born at night but I have on reliable authority he was not born last night. He has-- I think he has no illusions that this will have any near-term effect either on Benjamin Netanyahu or on Donald Trump.

I think what he's hoping to do is lay down some markers and guidepost and parameters that can be referred to as events unfold. If in fact a Trump-Netanyahu alliance produces a hard line that has Josh said, produces essentially produces a freeze on any meaningful negotiation, I think you have the ability to come back and say, "This is the road we warned you were headed down."

BOLDUAN: Josh, real quick, Donald Trump today--we don't play--time to play this now but he was asked about the U.N. He said again what he hadn't tweeted out. U.N. has great potential but they are not doing the job right now essentially. Do you see there is actual real movement towards the--could you see the U.S. if President Trump pulling the United States away from the U.N.?

ROGIN: Not necessarily away from the U.N. but there is going to be a different U.S. relationship with the U.N. and it's a different U.S. position on a lot of U.N. issues. A reporter today in the Washington post said, "The congress is about to sort through a bunch of options on how to respond to this resolution. A lot involve taking away U.S. funds for the U.N.

If the Trump administration joins in on that effort we're going to have a battle between the United States and U.N. That we haven't seen since the 1990s. So, Trump said the U.N. has a lot of potential but that it doesn't a lot of good around the world. That's not really true of course but it shows that he wants to do something big between the U.S. and U.N. and that's probably not good for the U.N. as far as that concern.

BOLDUAN: Well, and with Donald Trump that could just be the opening of the negotiating position. Guys, great to see you. Thank you very much.

ROGIN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, Trump's team struggling to add star power to his inaugural celebration. Now, some of the rockettes are saying they may sit it out. We'll tell you why. Plus, President Obama prepares to strike back. New details tonight about how the U.S. will retaliate against Russia for hacking the U.S. Election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:11] BOLDUAN: The Radio City Rockettes, one of the most celebrated acts in New York City, typically dazzling crowds with high- stepping dance and precision. But that is precisely what some of those famous performers don't want do right now, threatening to boycott Donald Trump's inaugural celebration.

Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump and the Radio City Rockettes, both New York City icons. But the Rockettes are kicking up controversy over the upcoming presidential inauguration. One dancer speaking out after feeling pressure to perform at the ceremony for a candidate she does not support. Quote, "We do a lot of events but there have been no events that would cause trauma. And doing this would cause trauma for some people."

That said, the journalist Kaitlin Menza in a Marie Claire exclusive report.

KAITLIN MENZA, MARIE CLAIRE: The Rockette I spoke with said that emotionally, people are crying on stage.

GINGRAS: According to Menza, some of the dancers who are full time were initially told they had no choice but to perform in next month's event. Word of the scheduled performance created a firestorm within the Rockettes organization and on social media. Marie Claire reports the backlash is what changed the minds of the Rockettes management. The dancer's union said it never required participation and that it would be voluntary.

Madison Square Garden, who employs the dancers, added, quote, "We had more Rockettes request to participant than we have slots available."

MENZA: A lot of artists have wanted to participate in the inauguration, and she's upset the Rockettes have. That's making it seem as if they stand by him and his policies.

GINGRAS: With dancers facing criticism from some Trump supporters, others favor the boycott like this former Rockette who appeared on Democracy Now.

AUTUMN WITHERS, FORMER RADIO CITY ROCKETTE: The Rockettes represent a legacy of strong, intelligent and classy women. And so, to associate this with Mr. Trump who has a public history of degrading women, objectifying women, in my opinion, really tarnishes what the Rockettes embody and stand for.

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: The Radio City Rockettes.

GINGRAS: The famous dancers were all on board for George W. Bush's celebration, both in 2001 and 2005. This year, they're not the only ones wanting to skip out. Sources tell CNN, President-elect Trump's transition team is having a tough time booking talent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: And we reached out to the inaugural committee to find out what they think about some of these Rockettes being so vocal about not wanting to participate. They actually commented on those who will be there next month, saying that they are deeply saddened that they are subjected to, quote, "hatred and ridicule." So, there will be some Rockettes there next month, enough to put on a show and joining them will be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a former "America's Got Talent" participant -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Brynn, thank you so much.

OUTFRONT now, Ben Ferguson, radio host of the aptly named "Ben Ferguson Show". And Symone Sanders, former press secretary for Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

All right, friends. Ben, you and me talking about the Rockettes. Not what I typically think we're going to be talking about.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can't make it up.

BOLDUAN: We are.

I will offer the caveat that more inaugural performers, of course, will be announced. But so far, the big name announced, the Rockettes. Some of the performers don't even want to do it.

Is this the picture of unifying you are looking for heading into the inauguration?

FERGUSON: Well, I think there's two things here. One, it is pretty obvious that a lot of people in Hollywood and a lot of people in show business are not conservative and they get their feelings hurt very quickly if they don't get their way. They are kind of prima donnas. They're used to being the center of attention. Their candidate Hillary Clinton didn't win.

And what do you see? They even put out a video, a lot of famous people demanding that the Electoral College not allow Donald Trump to be president. I'm not surprised by this.

I also think this is grandstanding by some of these people that are saying, "I'm not going to perform." Don't take yourself so seriously. You are not going to fix world peace by dancing. You are an entertainer. So, let's not act like there is some big, you know, oh, I'm not going to show up and I'm going to show it to Donald Trump.

He will not remember this, I can promise you. Show up, do your job. If you don't want to show up and stay home and you want your 15 minutes of fame. Congratulations you got it.

BOLDUAN: Ouch. Symone?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, Donald Trump will remember this. He's very bothered that people are not jumping and leaping to come and perform in his inauguration.

Donald Trump is a celebrity's celebrity. He is the guy that made a name for himself by catering to celebrities.

These Rockettes are not grandstanding and I wish more people would grow a spine like Mary, because she in the age of Trump is standing up and being about something. I need more people to grab their soap boxes. I'm with Mary here, OK? This is not --

FERGUSON: Stand with Mary. Start the trend.

[19:35:00] SANDERS: #standwithmary, OK? Because you know what? This is nothing laughable or flippant about sexual assault.

And Donald Trump has bragged about allegedly sexually assaulting women. There is nothing funny or laughable about racism or building a wall or saying Mexicans are rapists and they are drug lords. So, you know, there are some real serious things. We can't forget all the things Donald Trump said. So kudus to Mary, #standwithmary.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: On the idea, OK, fine, go. Let me ask the question first and you can say whatever you want. Trump promised that post election he was going to bring the country together. He said that. People took that to heart.

FERGUSON: Sure.

BOLDUAN: He's having problem booking talent for his first big party. What does this say about his efforts in doing that so far?

SANDERS: That's he's unsuccessful.

FERGUSON: He's making an effort. But you also have a lot of entitled cry babies in show business.

SANDERS: Ben, Ben, the bar is too low. The bar is low.

FERGUSON: Let me finish. These individuals think that somehow if they don't get their way, as grown adults, as Rockettes, that they are going -- and look they are going to become more famous because of this. They are going to become social media.

You even know this woman's name who's a former Rockette that no one would be talking about that was completely irrelevant before today. So, she's going to get this moment.

But when you are a performer, if you are a true performer, you perform in a front of a lot of different groups, a lot of diverse groups. A lot of people in show business also have a lot of shady friends around them. So, for them to somehow act liar they are holier than thou, and I'm not going to show up for Donald Trump and I'm going to show him on inauguration -- again, it's a free country. Knock yourself out, but it's kind of laughable if this is your big stand.

BOLDUAN: Look, Simone, Ben might be trying in the Ben way to say this.

SANDERS: Break it down for me, Kate. Elaborate. Please.

BOLDUAN: Here is the Ben dictionary, the Ben encyclopedia, translation. Could this incident with the Rockettes, could it prove what Trump has said for a long time, that the Hollywood elite, and what many Republicans have said, the Hollywood elite, if you will, they are out of touch with a big chunk of America.

America elected him. Get over it as Ben says. He's now everyone's incoming president.

Why not perform in the honor of the presidency?

SANDERS: Because Donald Trump's presidency, the president elect, he threatens our very way of life. He threatens our families. He threatens our democracy, heck, he threatens our national security. So, this is not just about shut up and do it. You know, Nina Simone

once said that basically the artist should reflect the times, and it is the artist duty to be engaged and stand up for something and that is what these Rockettes and many other performers are doing and that is what we need this these times. Look, there is nothing normal about the most recent election and nothing normal about what's happening now.

FERGUSON: But doesn't it seem a little petty?

SANDERS: No, what's petty is Donald Trump on Twitter every day and not taking his security briefings. And what's petty is Donald Trump so concerned about President Obama saying he would have won. What's petty is Donald Trump not knowing a damn thing about what he's talking about. That's what's petty here.

BOLDUAN: Ben Ferguson, finally question. You actually think that it does not bother Donald Trump if he can't get some big names even though --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- he says of the inauguration of the people, I totally respect that, I think it's' a great idea.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- who did "Celebrity Apprentice" who made all of his money off celebrities who just walked out and took a photo with Kanye West in the middle of his transition in the lobby, you don't think it would be bother him he doesn't have celebrities show up to his inauguration?

FERGUSON: No, I think he expected that there are going to be a lot of celebrities he's dealt with that were huge prima donnas who were not going to come out and support him in the campaign. Look how many celebrities didn't come out and support him. Look how many people that were on the "Celebrity Apprentice" did not come out and support him.

He knew very well that you were dealing with a bunch of elitists, California, you know, anti-fly-over country, don't -- cannot stand Donald Trump or anything he said is doing. And you know what? They are just being cry babies and I'm glad that they are showing it that way.

So you know what, don't show up, sit at home on the 20th. We'll be fine without you. We will fine without you.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: All three of us are actually from flyover country. This shows how different we all are. Not one whole section, guys.

Great to see you. Thank you.

FERGUSON: Thanks. BOLDUAN: I'm glad we fixed the whole thing right there.

OUTFRONT next, Russia, the U.S. is coming for you. New details of how the U.S. is promising to retaliate against Russia's election hacks. But what happens after Trump takes office?

Plus, investigators zeroing in on what one Amazon gadget here the night of the murder. Should you be worried?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:43:19] BOLDUAN: Tonight, officials tell CNN President Obama is planning convert action against Russia. This response to evidence showing Russian hacks intended to interfere in the election.

OUTFRONT now, justice correspondent Evan Perez.

Evan, what is the Obama administration planning here? What do you know?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the Obama administration is getting ready to name names in response to Russian meddling in the presidential election. As soon as tomorrow, we could see a series of retaliatory measures including sanctions and diplomatic measures. They are expected to name individuals who are associated with the Russian disinformation operation that U.S. intelligence official say was at least partly focused on harming Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Now, for their part, the Russians say they are tired of, quote, "lies and misinformation" from the Obama administration. A Kremlin spokeswoman says, quote, "If Washington does really take hostile steps, they will be answered." And she promises that there will be action against diplomatic missions and that's route the U.S. takes.

BOLDUAN: So what happens though? This late stage in his administration, what happens on January 20th? Can President Trump just undo everything?

PEREZ: With the stroke of a pen, yes he can. I mean, this is going to be an executive action. That's what these sanctions are going to be.

So, President Trump could just come in and decide he doesn't want those sanctions to be in place. Now, there is the matter of the fact that the Obama administration is also preparing an intelligence report that will be made public that will perhaps add some pressure to keeping those sanctions.

And, of course, Kate, he has the Congress to contend with. We've heard from Senator Lindsey Graham and or senators they would like to see Russian sanctions be expanded against Russia for these actions in the election this year.

BOLDUAN: They can do it but might have a problem with Republicans in Congress if he tries to undo it. [19:45:01] Great to see you. Thank you, Evan.

PEREZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, a voice controlled Amazon gadget could be critical in solving a mysterious murder. What did it hear?

Plus, breaking news: one day after Carrie Fisher's died, her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, hospitalized as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Tonight, one of this year's most popular holiday gifts is at the center of a mysterious murder case. Amazon's Echo is known for answering questions like, what's the weather? And placing orders for you and even streaming your favorite music.

But now, an Arkansas prosecutor thinks the smart speaker could actually help solve a deadly whodunit.

Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alexa, what did you hear?

AUTOMATED VOICE: Hi there?

SAVIDGE: Is it possible a digital assistant in Amazon's popular Echo device witnessed a murder inside this Arkansas home? That's what police in Bentonville are wondering?

Only they're not asking the device. They're asking Echo's maker, Amazon. And so far, the tech giant is saying no to a police warrant seeking data and recordings the always on gadget may have picked up.

NATHAN SMITH, BENTON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: It was a lawfully issued search warrant by a judge and Amazon's position is they simply don't believe they have to comply with it.

SAVIDGE: Forty-seven-year-old Victor Collins was found dead face down in a hot tub last year. Authorities say there were indications of possible foul play, arresting 31-year-old James Bates on suspicion of murder.

Bates' attorney says the death was nothing more than a tragic accident and her client is innocent. She applauds Amazon's refusal to comply with police demands, calling it chilling that a Christmas gift could be used against people.

KIMBERLY WEBER, BATES' DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It scares me that our criminal system is coming down to this technology, which is supposed to help her daily lives and now is being used against us for an innocent client. [19:50:07] SAVIDGE: In a statement provide to CNN, Amazon seemed to

imply it could change its willingness to cooperate in the case, saying, "Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us."

The company went on, "Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."

Amazon did give police Bates' subscriber information and authorities have analyzed the information contained on the device itself but believe more Echo evidence is stored in the Cloud, controlled by Amazon.

The case calls to mind the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that pitted Apple against the FBI, as authorities wanted to access information contained in the locked iPhone of one of the shooters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, what time is it?

AUTOMATED VOICE: It's 1:56.

SAVIDGE: The always-on voice-activated technology found in Amazon's product is showing up more and more in our lives, from thermometers to camera and even toys. But these modern wonders are also creating modern worries over privacy, suggesting what happens at home may no longer stay at home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Two things, Kate, that we should point out to you. Many technical experts believe that the authorities in Arkansas are going to be disappointed even if they get the information they want because they believe this particular device doesn't record for hours on end. It is not like it could have been caught the crime in the act, because it requires a keyword to activate it. So, it's only going to be a few seconds that are recorded.

But it does show as more and more of these smart devices get in our home, they will be doing a lot of watching and monitoring us and police could gain access to all of it -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right. Thank you so much, Martin, for laying it out.

OUTFRONT with me now here, Danny Cevallos, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.

So, Danny, we were talking about this. It is a fascinating question this has raised. The defense attorney here is applauding Amazon is not releasing this information. As a defense attorney yourself, would you want the data released?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If I was the defendant's defense attorney, of course not. I disagree a little with her approach in the idea that Christmas gifts

and technology can be used against us. The price of using technology has always been that someday it could be used against us. Your laptop, your cell phone, a pack of cigarettes, they are all subject to search by a warrant with probable cause.

The bigger issue here is whether or not we as citizens when we give data to a third party or put it out in the Cloud, whether we lose our reasonable expectation of privacy? And that is why companies like Amazon, it's critical they take a very hard stance and oppose any warrants and any subpoenas that they deem unreasonable or overly broad.

BOLDUAN: And, you know, of course, the question in everybody's mind is should -- how concerned should people be about this type of -- they call it always on, kind of technology. And what we say around it?

CEVALLOS: As to this particular technology, my understanding is that it mostly listens. It does not record. But we are not far away from the technology that will be listening, recording, videotaping, 24 hours a day all the time. So while this particular era in technology, this moment in time, this particular product may not do more than record a few seconds at time, the time is fast coming where everything we say and do in our homes and even in our private lives is going to be sent out to the Cloud, processed and then returned to us so that the device can service us.

BOLDUAN: And at some point, the law enforcement could require gaining access to it.

CEVALLOS: There are several issues. First of all, you know, a device could be recording your activity in our home and recording the activity of strangers who come into your home and what is their reasonable expectation of privacy when they are in your home? And then what happens when law enforcement gets a wiretap not for your cell phone but for your device, and they are able to listen in through the next generation of devices without the owner even knowing? We're only at the beginning and it is only going to get more tricky from here.

BOLDUAN: Yes, technology far outpacing with the laws right now.

CEVALLOS: Always.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Danny, thank you so much.

Coming up next, breaking news, actress Debbie Reynolds reportedly rushed to the hospital, the day after her daughter actress Carrie Fisher passed away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:58:09] BOLDUAN: Breaking news, actress Debbie Reynolds has been rushed to the hospital, one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died. That's according to the "L.A. Times". Reynolds was one of the Hollywood's biggest stars in the fifties and sixties, rising to fame, of course, in the musical "Singing in the Rain".

Leyla Santiago is OUTFRONT tonight for us from L.A.

So, Leyla, what do we know so far about Reynolds' condition?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey. We know that she was complaining about some sort of breathing problems. "L.A. Times" reporting that she was transported to the hospital about four hours ago. And the L.A. Fire Department said they responded to the family's home, transported a female patient to the hospital in fair to serious condition.

Now, we reached out to the family, specifically Reynolds son. And via text he told us and his is a quote. He said, "Pray for her." That was his only response when we reached out to him.

So, what do we know about her health? Well, in May, Carrie Fisher actually did an interview with "People" magazine in which she talked about her mother being frail and some sort of a spinal issue. But in the last few days, as the family has now responded to the tragedy with Carrie Fisher's death, no reports, no indication that there was any sort of health issue for Debbie Reynolds -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: As you can image, the stress she's been under right now ever since that event happened with Carrie Fisher and that flight.

SANTIAGO: Absolutely. But we're still waiting to get more information. You know, her stepdaughter took to Twitter and said -- and this is also a quote. She said, "Godspeed mama."

What led to this though still very much out there? So, as soon as we can get more information be it from responders, medical responders or the family that as you mention is going through so much as you sort of try to sort through the tragedy will be able to get a better understand of her condition.

BOLDUAN: Our thoughts and prayers with them tonight. Thank you so much.

And thank you so much for joining us tonight.

"AC360" starts now.