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North Korea Calls New U.N. Sanction An "Act Of War"; Russia Bans Kremlin Critic From Entering Presidential Race; A Royal Christmas Lesson; Top 7 Political Stories Of 2017; JetBlue Plane Skids Off Taxiway In Boston. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired December 26, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:31:28] BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, while you were enjoying presents and turkey, the U.N. Security Council approved tough new sanctions against North Korea in response to its latest missile test. North Korea says those sanctions are quote, "an act of war" and called any idea it would give up its nuclear weapons a pipedream.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is still trying to get the reclusive nation to the negotiating table.
Joining me now, Gordon Chang. He's a "Daily Beast" columnist, author of "North Korea Takes on the World." And, retired Gen. Anthony Tata, author of "Direct Fire," his latest novel -- his eighth novel just out today.
Thank you both for being here, gentlemen. Merry Christmas, belatedly.
ANTHONY TATA, BRIGADIER GENERAL, U.S. ARMY (RET.), AUTHOR, "DIRECT FIRE": Great to be with you, Bill.
WEIR: So, let's start with you, Gordon, just on what these sanctions are. I'm trying to get a -- wrap my head around it.
It says it cuts exports of gas, diesel, other refined oil products by almost 90 percent. Exports of industrial equipment and metals to North Korea. Countries hosting North Korea, migrant workers have to repatriate them within two years.
In the grand scope of all these sanctions over the years, where does this one stand?
GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": Well, this one, which is the 10th set of U.N. sanctions, is the most severe. And the most important aspect of these sanctions are the cut-off or the recapping of refined petroleum products and crude oil to North Korea. But they don't really go far enough and that's really going to be the issue here.
You know, the North Koreans say that this constitutes a blockade of North Korea. No, it doesn't because still, a lot of trade is permitted with North Korea. And probably, we do need to go to a blockade for a couple of reasons. First of all, we need to deny Kim Jong Un the resources to launch missiles and to detonate nukes and also, we've got to stop him from selling weapons around the world.
He sells missiles, for instance, to Iran. He -- you know, he gets about $2.5 billion to $3 billion each year from the Iranians for their various forms of cooperation. We need to cut all of that off and these U.N. sanctions, as far as they go, they don't do that.
WEIR: General, when it comes to a blockade you need China's help on that and they must kind of like that buffer on their south flank, right, between --
TATA: Well, I mean China and Russia like that buffer and they like poking us in the eye, as well. And so, from a geopolitical standpoint China and Russia both enjoy having North Korea in there poking us in the eye and keeping us off balance and keeping us focused, expending resources and treasure.
You know, on the sanctions, the larger story is we've had three 15-0 votes and typically, you know, China and Russia -- if they agree with us they'll abstain and here they are voting yes. And so, that is an important point in the whole sanctions story. And I agree with what Gordon says that they need to go further.
And I believe what we're doing is very deliberate. We're leaving ourselves a little bit of room each time to tighten the torque down on the sanctions a little bit more to bring them to the table. There's backroom negotiations happening and you've heard everybody say that we would rather negotiate our way through this thing than fight a war.
But, you know, you listen to Sec. Mattis at the 82nd Airborne Division this weekend and he's saying, you know, your readiness if what matters. Your readiness -- there's storm clouds brewing over the Korean Peninsula.
WEIR: Yes, expand on that. He did -- was talking very specifically about that.
TATA: Well, you know, I'd spent a lot of time in the 82nd Airborne Division. The lead troops there are a great war-fighting division, part of the 18th Airborne Corps -- rapid response.
[07:35:04] WEIR: Yes.
TATA: It sends a signal that our secretary of Defense is at Fort Bragg over the holidays, talking to the troops as we are looking at the diplomatic, the informational, the economic elements of power while you've got to roll in the military element of power, as well. That's what Sec. Mattis is doing.
WEIR: Well, this secretary's attention, Gordon, to this issue is one thing, but when it comes to military options we keep hearing there are none. That, you know, Seoul is so close and at such risk.
What are the options? CHANG: Well, there are a couple of options. One of them are strikes, and some people believe -- I don't necessarily agree with this but some people believe that we can strike North Korea and there will be no retaliation.
Also, as I mentioned, we do need to stop North Korean ships on the high seas because we've got to inspect them for weapons. The U.N. Security Council sanctions -- the ones that were adopted Friday -- don't give us that authority.
But I believe we actually have that authority already because the North Koreans, on various occasions both this decade and last decade, have abrogated the Korean War Armistice, which means there's no longer -- in my view, there's no longer an agreement not to use force. So we can inspect ships on the high seas -- things that we have to do.
But in general, there's a lot of things that we can do short of the use of force to disarm North Korea peacefully, and we're not pursuing them with the same vigor that I thought that we were three or four months ago.
So, for instance --
WEIR: Why do you think that is?
CHANG: -- President Trump needs -- well I think it's because it's politically easier to talk about going to war than it is to impose costs on North Korea's backers.
The general talked about China and Russia, and he's absolutely right about that. They love to poke us in the eye and they're supporting the North Korean economy, and they're doing it surreptitiously.
So for instance, this month a North Korean vessel which was -- which is sanctioned was actually shown in China turning on its transponder in a port near Shanghai, and that's a real indication that the Chinese are not enforcing these sanctions.
WEIR: When it comes to inspecting ships and aggravating the situation, could that lead to tensions on the seas, do you think?
TATA: Of course, and that's a risk I think that we're willing to take --
WEIR: Willing to take, yes.
TATA: -- because we have such a powerful Navy. Our Navy is so good and our military is so good that I believe that we have the confidence, the training, and the readiness. And that's really what the secretary of Defense was talking about this weekend with the rapid reaction corps in the 82nd Airborne Division.
WEIR: And meanwhile, the secretary of state still trying to get somebody to the table. I hope it's happening backchannel wise.
Gentlemen, thank you so much. Gordon, thank you for getting up and congratulations on the book. You
taking some of these over to Afghanistan?
TATA: Well, we're signing at Barnes & Noble today at 1:00 p.m. in Midtown and we're shipping them off my Web site, ajtata.com. Signed copies to USO Bagram, Pat Tillman center. And so if they just go to ajtata.com they'll -- we can send books over to the troops.
WEIR: A belated gift. General, thank you so much.
TATA: You bet.
WEIR: All right. Well, coming up next --
CHANG: Thank you.
WEIR: -- a royal Christmas lesson, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, indeed, Bill. It's very exciting.
Prince Harry's fiance Meghan Markle at the annual holiday celebration. How Meghan's future sister-in-law helped her out with a few traditions. Watch this, next.
[07:42:35] CAMEROTA: Russian officials banning an opposition leader from running against Vladimir Putin in the upcoming presidential election.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in Moscow with more for us -- Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn, and his name is Alexey Navalny. Now, Navalny was barred from the election yesterday after the Election Commission said look, he had an embezzlement charge and conviction in the past. That's why he's not allowed to run in the election.
Now, Navalny, himself, says that he believes all of this is politically motivated -- the conviction and that him not being allowed to run in the election. He says he believes that Vladimir Putin is afraid to run against him and that he could beat Putin in an election.
The polls, of course, showing that Vladimir Putin has an approval rating of about 85 percent. But the opposition is saying look, that's because Putin's just not allowing anyone to run against him.
All of this could be quite troublesome though for Alexey Navalny. He's called now for a boycott of the election.
And we were actually able to get in touch with the Kremlin a little earlier and they said look, him calling for that boycott, we're going to take a look at that and see if charges can be pressed against him just for that, as well. So in and of itself, calling for people not to vote is something that can also get you in trouble here in Russia, as well, Bill. WEIR: OK, Fred. Thanks very much.
Meanwhile, protesters and police are clashing in Peru as the country's president urges protesters to accept his medical pardon of former president Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori sentenced to 25 years in prison over corruption and human rights abuses.
He has been moved to a hospital, apparently being treated for low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.
The current president denies that the pardon is part of a deal to avoid his own impeachment over corruption charges.
CAMEROTA: Guatemala plans to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The Central American nation is the first country to announce it will follow President Trump's move of the U.S. Embassy that was announced earlier this month.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised this news and he suggests other nations will follow suit.
WEIR: A topless female protester was detained at the Vatican Monday for attempting to steal a statue of baby Jesus from the Vatican's nativity scene. It happened as thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear the Pope's Christmas Day message.
The woman was protesting the Catholic Church's ban on abortion and condemnation of contraception. She did not succeed in stealing baby Jesus, as you can see.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I'm not surprised. You cannot do that.
OK. Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle rewriting Christmas tradition.
The British media reports that Markel is the first person not yet married into the royal family to be invited to their traditional Christmas church services. She also pulled off her first curtsy to the Queen.
[07:45:13] CNN's Anna Stewart is live in London with more. Very big day. Tell us what -- how it went.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It went very well, indeed. She had good reviews. Hundreds of people turned out to Sandringham to get just a glimpse of Meghan Markle.
And we are seeing something of a Meghan Markle effect across the U.K., a bit like we saw Kate Middleton. Everything she wears sells out in mere moments.
Now, you may have seen in her engagement photo last week she wore a very lovely couture dress. It was terribly expensive. It's estimated it cost some $76,000, which is double the average salary here in the U.K. But you will be pleased to know, Alisyn, that the outfit yesterday was
a little more reasonable. We had a coat -- it was a camel coat by Sentaler, a Canadian brand, which was priced at some $1,300. It sold out online already.
The Stuart Weitzman boots were -- which were spotted by bloggers were worth some $650, also sold out.
The Chloe handbag, the last time I looked, was still available online but God knows whether it will sell out fairly soon. And at $1,400, it's not cheap.
CAMEROTA: Now, why aren't you mentioning the hat? I'm interested in this brown mushroom cap. Not that it's not beautiful.
STEWART: The hat --
CAMEROTA: Yes, where can we get that?
STEWART: -- is very beautiful.
WEIR: Beautiful fungus hat.
STEWART: We think it was by Philip Treacy but we're not quite sure. That is what all the bloggers thought, that it was a couture hat. So I don't think it's something we can go out and get it at a snip, unfortunately.
It did receive some unkind attention with some people on Twitter suggesting it looked a little bit like the happy poo emoji.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. OK, wow, I didn't see that coming.
WEIR: But in the best way. But in the best possible way.
CAMEROTA: Wow. Thank you very much for that --
STEWART: But in the best way.
CAMEROTA: -- for that full fashion report. Thank you.
WEIR: I thought we were going to get a lesson in curtseying and we've talked about --
CAMEROTA: Emoji poo.
Well, it's been a year unlike any other in politics and President Trump was at the center of it all, of course. CNN's Jake Tapper takes a look back. Our seven biggest stories in politics, next.
[07:51:27] WEIR: Sometimes it's hard to recognize it when you're in the middle of it, but this year will go down in the history books as unforgettable. One for the ages.
CAMEROTA: I think we have recognized that one.
WEIR: Yes, but on the grand scale -- in large part, of course, because of the man in the White House.
CNN's Jake Tapper has the seven biggest political stories of 2017.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD" AND "STATE OF THE UNION", CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Gather round, family and friends. You'll be talking about 2017 for generations to come.
The first year of the Trump presidency shattered the status quo. Cultures of harassment were exposed, travel bans were debated, protests erupted. And I seem to recall something about Russia.
Here are, in our view, the top seven political stories of 2017.
TAPPER (voice-over): President Trump signed executive orders banning U.S. entry from seven Muslim-majority nations which sparked worldwide protests and disagreement among the courts before a revised version was upheld.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court.
TAPPER: The administration also ended the DACA program affecting some 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The DACA policy, produced by the last administration, could not be sustained.
TAPPER: The fate of these so-called Dreamers was left in the hands of Congress.
TRUMP: Hopefully, now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent.
TAPPER: In 2017, some Republicans went rogue, openly displaying disdain for the president of their own party.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think the debasement of our nation will be one he'll be remembered the most for.
TAPPER: Critics such as Jeff Flake of Arizona and former Trump supporter Bob Corker of Tennessee announced they would not seek reelection to the Senate.
FLAKE: It's not enough to be conservative anymore. It seems that you have to be angry about it. TAPPER: Both will remain in office until November working with Republican Senators John McCain, Ben Sasse, and Cory Gardner, who have expressed condemnation of Trump at different times, as well.
TRUMP: We're going to get a health bill passed. We're going to get health care taken care of in this country.
TAPPER: Republicans tried to repeal and replace Obamacare, received insufficient support, removed the bill, regrouped, and were left reeling after repeat defeats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion is not agreed to.
TAPPER: The most dramatic courtesy of Republican John McCain.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We promised to repeal and replace Obamacare and we failed.
TAPPER: The GOP had no major legislative victory all year until December.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Merry Christmas, America.
TAPPER: A $1.5 trillion GOP tax plan passed with a partial repeal of Obamacare, handwritten edits, and absolutely no Democratic support.
A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia began with a torch-lit march around a Confederate monument. One of these white supremacists rammed his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The president initially failed to call out the white supremacists.
TRUMP: I think there's blame on both sides.
TAPPER: Even strong conservatives condemned his response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Trump did today was a moral disgrace.
TAPPER: Passionate demonstrations filled the streets --
PROTESTERS: Nazis are not welcome here.
TAPPER: -- and nationwide symbols of the Confederacy were vandalized or officially removed.
TRUMP: You're fired.
TAPPER: It was more than a catchphrase. Just ask press secretary Sean Spicer, or communications director Anthony Scaramucci, or chief of staff Reince Priebus, or chief strategist Steve Bannon, or national security adviser Michael Flynn. And, of course --
[07:55:11] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you believe you were fired?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.
TAPPER: The Trump administration had more than a dozen resignations, firings, and reassignments in its first year.
The "MeToo" movement ushered in an era of accountability, ending careers and launching a battle for moral high ground.
Allegations that Republican Roy Moore sexually assaulted teen girls as an adult led Alabama voters to elect their first Democratic senator in 25 years.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.
TAPPER: Fellow Democrats forced Sen. Al Franken to announce his resignation after several women said he acted inappropriately.
LEEANN TWEEDEN, AL FRANKEN ACCUSER: He just mashes his mouth to my lips.
TAPPER: Several others in Congress, including Trent Franks, John Conyers, Ruben Kihuen, and Blake Farenthold resigned or announced early retirements after facing accusations of their own.
But in response to questions about the president's past actions, the White House was defiant.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: That's the big news here is the Russian interference in our election system.
TAPPER: The leaders of U.S. Intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election, but did President Trump's campaign help them in their effort?
TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Russia.
TAPPER: FBI Director James Comey was leading the investigation until he was fired. Now, an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is digging deeper.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort was indicted.
The Senate Intelligence Committee questioned Donald Trump, Jr. for hours about his meetings with Russians in Trump Tower.
Is he being forthcoming?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: There are a lot of legitimate questions that this individual needs to answer.
TAPPER: All this as the president and his supporters playing defense, tried to accuse the Mueller investigation of bias.
TAPPER (on camera): Those are our top seven political stories of 2017. But with the Russia investigation still ongoing and control of the Senate at stake, 2018 is sure to present unprecedented political headlines of its own.
I'm Jake Tapper. Stay tuned.
WEIR: And "PolitiFact" actually agrees with Jake as the number one lie of the year is the president's assertion that it's a made-up hoax -- the Russia investigation.
CAMEROTA: Right. Oh, yes.
OK, let's talk about it, shall we? Let's bring in our guests.
WEIR: We have to do the top of the show first.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, we're not talking about it right now.
WEIR: Let me guide you through this NEW DAY. This is actually how it works.
CAMEROTA: Yes, how does NEW DAY work?
WEIR: Let's get to the news.
CAMEROTA: Well done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Merry Christmas. We say Christmas again, very proudly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump is touting his accomplishments and he says he deserves more credit than he's getting.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You are seeing a man who said one thing during the campaign and his actions are very, very different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are someone that voted for Donald Trump you're pretty happy with how the year ended.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's critically important that we respect the independence of the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's making the point that we need to make sure there's no bias.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a coordinated campaign to muddy up the investigation.
FLAKE: Some of the audience is cheering for Republicans and those are the spasms of a dying party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were straight and then all of a sudden it started fishtailing.
CAMEROTA: A JetBlue flight skidding off the taxiway in Boston after hitting a patch of ice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We started sliding, and then we started spinning and ended up in a snowbank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: And now we start the hour.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your new day. It is Tuesday, December 26th, 8:00 in the east.
Chris is off; Bill Weir joins me. Thank goodness you're here.
CAMEROTA: She's new. She's new on the set.
CAMEROTA: Thank God you're here to show me how to do this.
WEIR: Oh, I got you.
CAMEROTA: OK, listen to this. We begin with a scare for holiday travelers in Boston. This JetBlue airways flight skidded off a taxiway last night after landing in Logan Airport in icy conditions.
WEIR: Passengers say the plane started fishtailing and spinning after apparently hitting a patch of ice. It happened after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow in that area.
And, CNN's Rene Marsh live in Washington with the latest details. Good morning, Rene.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.
Yes, this landing did not go as planned. Snow and ice in Boston made travel very complicated for people getting to their destinations on Christmas night.
This was a JetBlue flight. It was flying from Savannah, Georgia. It skid off of the taxiway just right after touchdown, and it happened at Boston's Logan Airport last night.
Passengers say that this plane actually just kept on spinning until it was facing the opposite direction. Let's hear from some of those passengers who were on board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were straight and then all of a sudden it started fishtailing and yes, it started getting rough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once I realized we were going off the runway I was like uh-oh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the sudden we started sliding and then we started spinning, and spinning, and spinning, and ended up in a snowbank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: Well, JetBlue says there no injuries so that's the good news.