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CNN NEWSROOM

Power Outage at Disneyland; Trump Wants Bipartisan Plan to Renovate Infrastructure; CNN Counts Down on Top 2017 Stories; Prince Harry Won't Say If Obamas To Be Invited to Wedding. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired December 27, 2017 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This week is considered a peak week at the park packed with tourists visiting during the holidays, of course. Let's get to the phone now. Geoff Fienberg is joining us. Jeffrey, what do you know?

GEOFF FIENBERG, GOT STUCK ON DISNEYLAND RIDE: Hi Don, we were on the It's a Small World ride, as you know, we were 60- 70 percent through the ride and power went off and we sat there for about 25 minutes in the dark.

LEMON: And are you on the ride or off now?

FIENBERG: No, we've been escorted off the ride. Actually, stunning they took us off through an emergency exit. And interesting to see the bowels of Disneyland.

LEMON: Geoff, so you were with your family, right? And I'm sure other families were on board as well. What was the reaction?

FIENBERG: Everyone was pretty calm. I mean, It's a Small World ride, and it was just dark, music was still playing. So that will be in most of our heads probably for the following year. But everyone was calm. No danger. You are just sort of sitting in a boat. No commotion or anything. It was all very calm.

LEMON: As I understand the Rose Bowl teams are on property?

FIENBERG: I can't speak on that.

LEMON: OK. Geoff Fienberg there at Disneyland with his family. Experiencing a power outage, affecting parts of the park and leaving tourists stuck on rides. Geoff and his family, one of the families stuck on rides, of course some of them having to be escorted off as well. Again, it happened, was completely out in Mickey's Tune Town and partially out in Fantasyland as well. Park spokesperson said it was transformer. There working on that right now, hopefully they will get their act together, and get everybody off of the rides and make sure that everyone is safe. They are making sure everyone is safe. We'll continue to update you on that story.

Back to the other news now. President Trump has the ambitious New Years goal building bridges with Democrats. You heard me, Trump wants to work with Democrats on bipartisan deal to repair the nation's aging infrastructure, renovating highways, bridges, crumbling tunnels, mass transit lines and rural airports.

As a candidate, you'll remember, Trump promised to introduce a $1 trillion plan within 100 days of moving into the White House. And that didn't happen. And Trump was not buddy, buddy with Dems for most of his first year in office. Now do the political pivot. Here is what Trump had to say just before leaving the White House to

spend Christmas at Mar-a-Lago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really do believe we are going to have a lot of bipartisan work done and maybe we start with infrastructure. Because I really believe infrastructure can be bipartisan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Let's talk it over now with White House correspondent Sara Murray who is at West Palm Beach now. Hello to you. How much money does Trump want to spend on infrastructure, enough to woo Democrats?

SARAH MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Despite the $1 trillion claim, you promised during the campaign, that is certainly not what the White House is prepared to unveil in January. They are looking at $200 billion in federal money, and they are hoping states and local governments will come through and pony up another 800 billion, presumably to try to reach that $1 trillion market overall.

That is hardly, the 200 billion number, going to be enough to win over Democrats. They are certainly looking for a larger amount of federal investment here, Don.

LEMON: Yes, what are you standing on a runway, Sarah? Is that a plane or truck?

MURRAY: Yes, there are some planes overhead here.

LEMON: All right. Just seeing. Sarah, what might Dems, what do they have to gain from working with the president on this? I mean, just months before the 2018 midterm election, what do they have to gain?

MURRAY: Well, that's a great question. Look, the White House wants to be able to gain traction for this before the president's state of the union at the end of the January. Obviously, you have President Trump out there saying he thinks it can be a bipartisan push. But reality is there is not a lot in this proposal, at least the early outlines to get Democrats to come to the table.

The president right now has about 35 percent approval rating, according to the latest CNN poll, and so for Democrats it could be very politically toxic to be appearing alongside him, to be agreeing with any of his policy proposals. We saw during tax reform that the White House was very bullish about the fact that they believe they could get some Democrats on board, particularly Democrats up for re- election in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016. They are saying the same kind of thing now, they are going after senators, Joe Donnelly, Jon Tester but the reality is unless it's a much bigger proposal, unless they can think of something else to bring Democrats on the table, not really a lot that would give Democrats an inclination to cooperate with the White House or deeply unpopular president.

[15:35:00] LEMON: Sara Murray in a sunny warm West Palm Beach, Florida. Thank you.

I want to talk about the nation's crumbling roads and other types of infrastructure right now. Joining me now is Barry LePatner. He is author of the "Too Big to Fail, Failing Infrastructure and The Way Forward."

And Casey Dinges is a senior managing director for Society of Civil Engineers. Hello to both of you. Casey, the White House says the opening number, you heard Sarah repeat it there as well, about $200 billion. Is that enough?

CASEY DINGES, SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS: That's over ten years. So, talking 20 billion a year in terms of federal investment. ASC has been looking at this issue for a number of years, and we identify almost a $2 trillion infrastructure gap in this country and all categories of infrastructure not just transportation. And that's over ten years so that would be 200 billion a year that's needed. And the president is suggesting that at $20 billion a year investment from the feds, to be then leveraged into another $80 billion from the states, and the private sector, according to our numbers that only gets you halfway there.

So that would be a start, but we do have further to go. You have water mains that break every two and a half minutes in this country. Highway fatalities are up in the nation's highways. Bridges have improved slightly according to the ASC report card over the last two years, but we still have 60,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States. And it would be good for the economy and productivity of the United States to advance on this bill and in terms of the discussion about the politics of this, it's still a good issue. It's the right thing to do for the nation to make these investments. And traditionally infrastructure has been a bipartisan issue. I hope it stays that way.

LEMON: Barry, let's talk about this. Through the lens of your book, because your back examines 2007, I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota, I remember that horrific, I was on. Scene there. 13 people dead there. How many other US bridges pose similar risks?

BARRY LEPATNER, AUTHOR, TOO BIG TO FAIL, FAILING INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE WAY FORWARD: Let's understand the severity of the problem and why we can't have too rosy optimism about fixing our bridges and roads and other infrastructure in the near-term future. We have today according to every engineer involved in the bridge infrastructure nearly 8,000 bridges which are capable of collapsing at a moment's office just like the I-35w in Minnesota, just like the I-5 bridge that occurred on the Skagit river north of Seattle.

We have 4,000 dams that are according to all the records show that are capable of collapsing any moments notice and flooding downstream communities. And we are losing billion gallons of potable water every day from outdated water pipes. The list goes on and on. Putting in the minimal amount of money we are seeing under the Trump plan is really a toe in the water and it is really not going to do much to improve a very dire situation.

LEMON: Casey, you helped grade the nation's infrastructure and roads, dams, airports, mass transit. Which ones get the worst grade do you think?

DINGES: Well, there are a lot of c's and d's in that report card. 16 categories that were graded. And average grade was a d plus and that was done earlier this year. And it's the same overall grade as we had issued in 2013 at a d plus. But to your question, the lowest grade on the report card was mass transit systems, which were a d minus. And, again, mass transit is an important part of your urban and metropolitan transportation systems. It's not just roadways and bridges. You have trains and metro systems that have to complement each other. So, people can get in and out of metropolitan areas in a reasonable amount of time every day.

So that's the lowest grade. Transportation, if you were to think about a place to start and address this issue, that might be a good place to go. When we looked at the infrastructure deficit in this country of $1.9 trillion, 1.1 trillion of that over ten years was in mass transit roads and bridges. So, transportation will be a good place to start.

LEMON: A lot of money needed. And I'm wondering if that's the reason you think private public partnerships is the key to financing future infrastructure repairs.

[15:40:00] LEPATNER: Let's understand that historically from the 1950s onward, the federal government funded 80 to 90 percent of all major highway and transportation projects. Today, the states are funding 75 percent of the cost of rehabilitating our damaged infrastructure. So, when we are now going to request that the states bear a continuing burden when we have failed to raise the gas tax for the past 25 years, when we have not addressed federal funding in a serious manner over the last 20 and 30 years.

We are putting a burden on states who just learned, many of them, that increasing state sales taxes is not going to be a deduction for their citizens in those states. So, we are looking at a situation where many of the states, meaning the politicians who represent those states, are no way going to be able to support a Trump plan which costs their states more money that they can't afford.

LEMON: Casey, Barry, thank you, I appreciate your time.

Up next, President Trump's latest tweet touts his new tax plan and soaring stock market. But his Twitter feed has sparked a lot of controversy over the past year. We'll take a look at the top trending stories of 2017.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: From the disturbing video of a man dragged off a United Airlines flight, to the Charlottesville protest, to the hashtag me to movement, viral moments on social media shaped 2017. CNN Brooke Baldwin takes a look at the top seven trending stories of the year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Whether it was our tweeter in chief redefining the way presidents communicate or online movements creating real-world change. Social media dominated the news cycle 2017. Here are the top seven trending stories that blew up our social feeds.

Number 7, kids crash their dad's live BBC interview. Already adorable video gets more hilarious in 3, 2, 1.

The interview that went viral and finished the year is tenth most viewed interview on YouTube. There was some controversy on social media after people mistook his wife for the nanny. They were able to laugh at the whole situation and new-found celebrity.

Number 6, solar eclipse, back in August, people across the country went outside and put on a pair of special sunglasses to witness the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. from coast-to-coast in nearly a century. For those lucky enough to be in the path of totality, it appeared as if night in the middle of the day.

Eclipse Watcher: We're all looking at the same thing. It's amazing.

BALDWIN: Number 5, man dragged off United flight.

UNITED AIRLINE PASSENGER: Oh, my god, look at what you are doing.

REPORTER: Federal government reviewing the incident of a man forcibly dragged off an airplane. It's a disturbing moment.

BALDWIN: This cell phone footage of a man being dragged off an over booked United flight flew around the internet this year. The passenger Dr. David Dao and his wife had initially volunteered to give up their seats, but the couple changed their minds once they learned that the next flight to their destination wouldn't leave Chicago O'Hare International Airport until the following day.

Dao was apparently chosen at random by the airlines to give up his seat when not enough people volunteered. The doctor refused to leave his seat saying he had patients he need today see the next day.

DR. DAVID DAO, FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT: No, I'm not going.

BALDWIN: That's when things got out of hand. Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and lost 2 teeth when his face on an armrest during the struggle. United CEO later apologized to Dao on ABC news.

Number 4, the women's march. What started as a march on Washington, turned into a worldwide movement as people around the globe took to the streets on Donald Trump's first day in office to advocate for women's rights.

CROWD: Women, united, we'll never be divided.

BALDWIN: The movement spread on social media with the hashtag, women's march, and on Facebook more than half a million people came together online and off-line to participate in the march, making the women's march the biggest Facebook event for an individual cause all year.

Number three, violet protests in Charlottesville. People around the nation turned to Charlottesville, Virginia, in August when white supremacists and members of the far right descended on this quiet college town to take part of in what they called the unite the right rally. Brawls broke out between the demonstrators and those opposed to them forcing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.

[15:50:00] Later that day, a gray Dodge challenger drove into a crowd of counter protesters injuring 19 people and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Former President Obama weighed in, tweeting this image with a Nelson Mandela quote his caption, no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. That tweet became a second most retweeted post of 2017, and the most liked tweet of all time.

Number two, hashtag, me too. 2017 may very well be remembered as the year of the me-too movement. Women and men all around the world seized on the cultural movement and told their stories of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault.

LAUREN SIVAN, SEXUALLY HARASSED BY HARVEY WEINSTEIN: He exposed himself and he just began masturbating in front of me and I just stood there kind of frozen.

BALDWIN: And one after another, high profile men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Al Franken and others, were accused of sexual misconduct.

Female activist, Tarana Burke, first created #metoo more than a decade ago, but a tweet from the actress and activist, Allysa Milano is credited with popularizing the hashtag in 2017. In the days after it went viral, Twitter reported that more than 1.7 million people had posted a #metoo message in 85 countries.

Number one, President Donald Trump. There were few if any major news stories in 2017 that did not include President Donald J. Trump and one of his tweets. The president was a walking, talking trending story, which is fitting since he is the most tweeted about elected official in the world.

His Twitter feed drove news coverage, whether he was telling NFL players to stand during the national anthem or coining nicknames for adversaries. Trump dominated the news cycle for 2017 and brought politics into the social media realm in a whole new way. And with no sign of curbing his Twitter use, it seems likely that president Trump will remain a big part of all of the trending stories in 2018 and beyond.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: Thank you, Brooke.

Up next, Prince Harry weighs in on whether he is planning to invite President Obama to his wedding. This as some British officials worry an invitation could provoke a bad reaction from President Trump.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Prince Harry said his first Christmas as an engaged man was fantastic. During an interview with the BBC radio, the groom to be said his fiance American actress Meghan Markle did an amazing job navigating the British royal family's holiday traditions. This reportedly was the first time the royal family included a non-family member in their holiday traditions. Prince Harry was also asked the question about many want to know, will he invite the Obamas to the wedding? Check out his response when talking about how close he is with the former president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE HARRY, BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY: We share the same kind of mindset on the outlook on the charitable sector, on foundations and mainly on the youth of today. The young people of this world are incredibly inspirational.

REPORTER: Well enough to invite him to your wedding?

PRINCE HARRY: I don't know about that. We haven't put the invites -- all the guest lists together yet. Who knows whether he's going to be invited or not. Wouldn't want to ruin that surprise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: CNN's royal commentator is Victoria Arbiter. She joins me now. I've been waiting to talk to you about this. Will the Obamas make the cut or not?

VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: I certainly think Harry and Meghan will want them to make the cut. They have formed a very tight body in recent years. The Obama's went to the Invictus games in Toronto in September to support Harry. Harry attended the inaugural summit of the Obama foundation in Chicago.

There is a shared interest these two men. Yes, I think they'll want to invite them, but when it comes to the royal family, it's all about optics and the royal family is required to remain politically neutral so it's not whether or not they want to invite the Obamas, the issue is how is Donald Trump going to react when he's not invited?

LEMON: OK. So, you don't think they're not going to invite Donald Trump?

ARBITER: And here's why, Don, this is not a state occasion. So, Harry and Meghan are not required to invite heads of state. Yes, they're sharing this wedding with the planet, but it is ultimately a wedding for family and friends. If you invite Donald Trump, does that mean you've got to invite all the other heads of state? I think on a much more personal level, Harry and Meghan would be concerned if Trump was there that it would look like they're approving of his policies and the way he conducts himself.

LEMON: Why would they be concerned if he throws a tantrum or not? I certainly wouldn't care.

ARBITER: Many families deal with their own wedding issues whether or not to invite uncle Jerry to Christmas. There are tensions between the British government and this particular administration and they want to be very careful moving forward because this is a tenuous relationship and one that has to be protected. But Theresa May has been very firm in his disapproval of Trump's stance on Jerusalem. He tweeted some very inappropriate and insensitive remarks following terrorist attacks in London. So, there is a frosty relationship here that does need to be protected.

LEMON: The Obamas were not invited to William and Kate's wedding because of security reasons, right?

ARBITER: Partly security but also William and Kate's wedding was not a state occasion. They hadn't developed their friendship of yet. Westminster Abby is significantly bigger than St. George's chapel. Yes, Obama comes with his own security detail, but it's not a touch on the size of Trumps.

LEMON: Meghan Markle was invited to the royal family's Christmas. Is this a first, first nonroyal to participate?

ARBITER: This is a first. Some said the queen is mellowing. The queen is 91, Christmas with the family is becoming ever more precious with the advancing years. They wanted harry there and they knew harry wanted his fiance there. The doors were thrown open.

LEMON: Lots of buzz about what she's wearing. It's like Michelle Obama and princess Diana, selling out.

ARBITER: Just the handbag alone, this gives you an idea, Donn. The handbag she carried sold out in 11 seconds. The coat she wore on Christmas day has been named the Meghan. Yes, there is already a Meghan Markle effect in full force.

LEMON: It is good to be Meghan Markle, isn't it?

ARBITER: It is great to be Meghan Markle. This is a lady who is an independent successful woman who has done an enormous amount of charitable work already. She's done well.

LEMON: Thank you, Victoria.