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Predicting the Year Ahead at the Trump White House; Recounting the Best and Worst of 2017; Power Shift in 2018? Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 1, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Remember, we can vote against each other, but we don't have to hate each other.
[06:00:05] S.E. CUPP, HOST, "S.E. CUPP, UNFILTERED": I think my wish for America for 2018 would to be a bit nicer on social media.
HELEN HONG, COMEDIAN: My wish for next year is for world peace and harmony. And an absolutely blistering report on the Russia investigation.
BRIAN JONES, HOST, "BETTER MAN SHOW": Just get along. How about that?
KIRAN DEOL, COMEDIAN: OK. This interview is over. This is the rest of the interview now.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And so is our show. We would like to say thanks to our guests and to you for watching. On behalf of everyone at "ANDERSON COOPER 360" and the CNN family worldwide, I'm Tom Foreman, wishing you all the best and none of the worst in 2018.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This American carnage stops right now.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.
TRUMP: Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: What he wanted me to do was drop any investigation connected to Flynn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nomination is confirmed.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I regret that our efforts were simply not enough.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Reince is a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) paranoid schizophrenic, paranoiac.
DOUG JONES (D), SENATOR-ELECT OF ALABAMA: We have come so far, and the people of Alabama have spoken.
TRUMP: Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: ISIS collapsing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face.
TRUMP: We (ph) are disrespecting our flag and our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we should be judged as un-American because we believe in equality.
CAMEROTA: Powerful men falling like dominoes after stories of sexual misconduct.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No more. Name it. Shame it. Call it out.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: It's a watershed moment.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Happy new year! Woo!
There's been a lot of champagne already here on the set.
CUOMO: Buon Anno, as our people say. Happy New Year to you. This is the special New Year's edition of NEW DAY. Chris Cuomo, of course, with Alisyn Camerota. We've got a big show for you this morning. We're going to look into the crystal ball, 2018. Can you believe we're here? What a big year it's going to be in politics. We're going to give you an inside look at what's coming up on Capitol Hill, what Congress may look like after this year's midterm elections, and of course, we're going to break down the issues that could have a major impact on the Trump administration as it enters its second year.
CAMEROTA: Plus, for some people, of course, last year was the year to shine, but others got tarnished. So Chris Cillizza has a list of the best and the worst in his political roundup.
CUOMO: All right. And if you haven't made your resolutions yet, one place you should start is your wallet. Here she comes. Christine Romans is going to help you get your finances in shape heading into the new year.
CAMEROTA: And late night TV shook up 2017. Will the political jokes keep us laughing in 2018? We have that and much more ahead on this special edition of NEW DAY.
But first, let's get a check of your headlines at the news desk.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning and happy new year. I'm Boris Sanchez. There was bone-chilling cold and beefed-up security to ring in 2018 in New York's Times Square.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, 4, 3, 2, 1.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five, 4, 3, 2, 1.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, 4, 3, 2, 1.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The temperatures in New York plunging to 9 degrees at the stroke of midnight. Minus 4 with the wind chill, making this the second coldest Times Square ball drop on record.
Meantime, a New Year's Eve ambush in a Denver suburb to tell you about. Twenty-nine-year-old sheriff's deputy Zachary Parish was shot and killed Sunday morning by a barricaded gunman. Four other officers and two residents were wounded. The suspect shot and killed by police. Authorities say the deputies were wearing ballistic vests, but they were shot in areas that weren't protected.
Iran's president addressed the country last night amid days of anti- government demonstrations. Hasan Hourani acknowledged the economic hardship that some Iranians face and said people are free to protest, but then he warned against violence and vandalism. State-run media reports that two protesters were killed last night in the city of Izeh and that officials have temporarily restricted access to social media apps that have been used to spread word of the protests.
Let's get back to a special edition of NEW DAY.
[06:05:00] CAMEROTA: All right. Happy new year, everyone. Welcome back to this special New Year's Day edition of NEW DAY.
So what can we expect to see this year from the president and coming out of the White House? Let's talk about it with CNN political analysts David Gregory and John Avlon. Get your crystal balls out, gentlemen.
So let's talk about at least what we know the president has on his wish list for the year. He's talked about things like infrastructure he want to get done in 2018, entitlement reform of some kind. What do you think we're going to see?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Look, I think -- I think the biggest issues are going to be what we're not talking about in terms of a list or an agenda. I think that the Mueller investigation will loom large in 2018. We know as the year ended that people close to the president thought, "Oh, well, it was going to be done by Thanksgiving. Well, actually, no, no, Christmas. And now shortly after the first of the year." So whatever that final stage is, whether that's a matter of months or
something shorter, I think is going to occupy a lot of his time and attention and will probably get in the way if, you know, if he does have some band width. I think he wants to focus on infrastructure. I think that would be -- at least the basis for perhaps reaching out to Democrats and trying to do a bigger deal, which he was not able to do on anything else.
CUOMO: A second straight deficit swallow, though, for conservatives in his party.
GREGORY: That's right.
CUOMO: And it would be dismissed as make work by people. But, look, there's no question that it's needed. That's a good start to this.
Let me ask you something. Let's play with it, though, a little bit. Do you think the president gets, in any way, exonerated, pardoned, by letter, by implication? Do you think in the beginning of 2018 that happens for the president? It was speculated on in December. It could happen.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's clearly at the top of their, you know, wish list for 2018. But look, I preface it by saying if you live by the crystal ball you usually end up eating glass. So I don't want to get too prescriptive. But look, if the Trump team believes they're getting a letter of exoneration, you know, that's not how this works. You don't get told you're going to be exonerated before the investigation is complete.
I think what you see is folks trying to keep the president's powder dry and keep him believing there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise, it will cloud out other issues and may lead to have him act impulsively.
One of the open questions is, despite his recent denials, does he fire Mueller? Does that set off a sort of constitutional crisis, a Saturday Night Massacre? I don't think there's -- Mueller plays it straight despite what all the folks are saying, trying to say that he's, you know, leading the FBI or the KGB or one organization, the same. This is going to be done when it's done. It's not going to be done on the president's timetable; it's not going to be the Congress's timetable. And right now, there are a lot of folks around the president who have serious, serious issues.
The question is whether the president's exposed himself. We know he basically copped to obstruction of justice in some form in a televised interview. But that may be -- that may be sort of Trump being Trump, and there's no actual collusion. People need to keep an open mind, the investigation to go forward. But if the Trump team believes they're getting a letter of exoneration, I think that's just fantasy.
GREGORY: Well, also, look at the end of the year how tough the administration was in his foreign policy statement of principles against Russia and talking about interference in western democracy. So in an election year, which 2018 is, are we see any effort on the part of the Congress or the administration to prevent Russia from doing this kind of thing again, from doing it worse, from being even more disruptive? I think that's going to be something to look at.
CAMEROTA: Do you -- do you agree in terms of legislatively what we'll see at the top of the list, starting around now, will be infrastructure? Is that what they'll be focused on if they get away from whatever the Russia threads are?
AVLON: That's what the president should be focused on. I mean, this was a time there was actually consensus between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that this was a priority. And Donald Trump has unique credibility as a builder to try to move it forward. You can pull together a great -- "The Art of the Deal" grand coalition. And if you do it with a public-private infrastructure bank, it doesn't need to be a deficit and debt buster. It doesn't need to be. You can do it in other ways.
But I think the congressional energy we've seen is around entitlement reform. Because they're trying to basically make amends for a tax bill that potentially increases the deficit.
GREGORY: But let's also not forget. This is 2018. If you're the Republican Party, you're the head of the Republican Party. What -- all you want people thinking about is, well, the economy is going pretty well. That's it. That's the whole thing. And try not to get impeached. And the economy is going pretty well. I mean, that's the whole deal.
And right now he is presiding over a strong economy, which people think will -- certainly, the markets will move forward into -- well into 2018.
CAMEROTA: Very quickly, let's talk about the president's team. There were quite a few departures in 2017. Let's see what we -- let's just remind people of all the people. I mean, it's hard to look at this roster here from Tom Price, to Mike Flynn, to Steve Bannon, to Reince Priebus, to Sean Spicer, James Comey, Sally Yates, Dina Powell, Sebastian Gorka, Anthony Scaramucci, Mike Dubke, Katie Walsh.
AVLON: And we're out of time.
CAMEROTA: K.T. McFarland, Omarosa. Angella Reid, the chief White House usher. OK. Who do you think might change or move in 2018?
[06:10:11] GREGORY: Well, I think a big question is about the chief of staff, John Kelly, and what his temperature is like and what his patience level is like. The dynamic between Ivanka and Jared, whether there's potential legal jeopardy for Jared Kushner. That's -- that's a huge question. But it's also, you know, how long the dysfunction is going to last in the West Wing.
I think the bigger issue, though, is about the administration's posture and its foreign policy team: who has the influence, who's the personnel? That's always a question, you know, when you think about defense secretary, secretary of state, national security adviser, who's running the CIA. How those people come together and advise the president in a big foreign policy crisis. So I think that's the most important thing to keep an eye on.
AVLON: Look, and even in the most sane and sober administrations, two years is a typical tenure. Because there's a high degree of burnout, just because of the weight of the responsibilities people are dealing with.
And for a lot of folks it will be, "Look, I made it through the first year, but is this -- am I going to be consistently trying to defend the indefensible. I mean, you know, there's a strong case to be made that White House press secretary is the worst job in America. And I think Sarah Huckabee Sanders is trying to walk that line well, you know, defending her boss in front of the press. But these -- you're going to see a lot of folks say, "I put in a year," and unless they feel the job is mission critical, you're going to see increased turnover.
And then will the White House staff be restocked with people who are trying to focus on responsible policy and containing the president, or people who would bet on that, saying, "This is a fool's errand and I'm out"?
CAMEROTA: That is the question. John Avlon, David Gregory, thank you very much for all the predictions, et cetera.
CUOMO: That's a good start. A little peek ahead.
So what have we learned from the last year in politics? Let's take a look at the best and the worst of 2017 next.
CAMEROTA: Well, there was no shortage of political drama in 2017. I think that's an understatement. So who had the best year? Who had the worst? We turn to Chris Cillizza, CNN Politics reporter and editor at large, to give us the best and worst list.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Hello!
CAMEROTA: Happy New Year.
CILLIZZA: Happy New Year!
CILLIZZA: Put on my hat.
CAMEROTA: Yes. I...
CUOMO: Don't want to mess up that nice coif.
CILLIZZA: It's so true. People always say, "What a terrible toupee."
And I always say to them, "Do you think if I had a toupee, it would look like this? This would be the one what I would choose for my toupee? CUOMO: Don't pay any attention. Your looks are not your problem.
CILLIZZA: Well, wow.
CILLIZZA: Ouch. I think he meant it as a compliment.
CUOMO: 2018, baby. Gloves are off.
CAMEROTA: Yes, the gloves are off.
CILLIZZA: I'm coming out fighting.
CAMEROTA: OK. So let's look at who had the best 2017.
CAMEROTA: Who do you rank as having the best.
CAMEROTA: So you say here, you have Robert Mueller, Doug Jones.
CAMEROTA: Kirsten Gillibrand. Why Bob Mueller?
CILLIZZA: So because I -- we talked about this on the Christmas show, but I will reiterate the fact that I do think that Bob Mueller has more power and ability to influence the politics and policy in this country than anyone else short of potentially Donald Trump. But because he has the ability to influence Donald Trump's arc, he has a huge amount of influence.
I think that Mueller, last month or so, a little rougher as Trump and his allies ramped up the criticism of him. But I still think overall Mueller, beginning to end, has a year that looks pretty good. And I think 2018 will be central to every conversation that we have.
CILLIZZA: He won in Alabama. A Democrat -- if I told you January 1, 2017, Bob -- Bob Mueller. A Democrat would get elected in Arkansas, you would say, "That's not going to happen." In Alabama, rather.
And that's what happened. This is a 28-point advantage for Donald Trump in 2016. Doug Jones wins, albeit narrowly. And wins, yes, because Roy Moore was the Republican nominee, because of that allegation against him. But nonetheless, Doug Jones now has that seat through 2020. I'm not sure if he has the seat after 2020. It's going to be a very tough seat to hold, unless Roy Moore runs again.
But I do think he was no one at the start of 2017. He's in the United States senator for the next four [SIC] years at the start of 2018.
CAMEROTA: Why is Kirsten Gillibrand a winner in your...?
CILLIZZA: Because I think that you will see, starting now -- you saw it in 2017, but you will see much more formally now the jockeying for 2020 among Democrats to be that person first in line against Donald Trump. An open nomination is always appealing. An open nomination when the president of the United States is in the low 30s approval rating.
CAMEROTA: Is she running?
CILLIZZA: I think so. I should say this. I think she intends to run. The same thing I would say about Joe Biden, the same thing I would say about Bernie Sanders. I don't know that that means they're running like if it had inside the idea...
CAMEROTA: You think that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are going to run?
CILLIZZA: Yes. Yes, I'll tell you why. It's the same thing as Kirsten Gillibrand and lots of other people will run, which is you look at Donald Trump and you think, he's in the 30s. Let's say he moves up a little bit. He's still only in the 40s. He's still Donald Trump, hugely divisive, always will be. And you think, "Why not me?" Donald Trump, I mean...
CUOMO: Kind of what we saw in the Republican side...
CUOMO: ... of the election cycle. But you think that if you're right...
CUOMO: When is that not happened?
CILLIZZA: Yes, right. Do not -- is this being taped?
CUOMO: Huh? If this is Biden, Sanders and Warren...
CUOMO: ... you think Gillibrand still gets in that race?
CILLIZZA: Yes, I do. Generational change. Leading -- look, all the people you just named are -- Elizabeth Warren is the youngest of those three people, and she is 68 or 69. Joe Biden will be 76 pretty soon; he'll be 78 on election day.
CUOMO: It's not a bench press contest. I mean, you know, there's...
CILLIZZA: But I do -- look, politics are often about old generation, new generation. Right? We need new faces, new voices. So yes, I think she would run. Just for the same way that I think a Cory Booker, for example, may be well run. Because you know, why -- why not? The 2016 primaries proved one thing, which is the establishment politicians have no special entre to winning the nomination.
CAMEROTA: Yes, in fact, it could be a liability.
OK. Now lightning round No. 1, for worst, you say President Trump. Why was he the worst in 2017?
CILLIZZA: You said lightning round. Thirty-two percent approval rating. Next.
CAMEROTA: OK, moving on. Anthony Scaramucci. What are his greatest hits?
CILLIZZA: He was -- brief. He spent the entire campaign and much of his life hoping to serve in the White House. He got that for 10 days and blew it, because he either didn't know or had a misunderstanding about what "off-the-record" versus "on-the-record" means.
[06:20:11] CAMEROTA: The attorney general, Jeff Sessions? No. 3.
CILLIZZA: OK. The best thing about Jeff Sessions, for Jeff Sessions, is he's still the attorney general. The worst thing about Jeff Sessions is Donald Trump has run him down, literally, at every -- in public, in private. Every story seems to say "and Trump railed against Sessions in private."
CUOMO: And once again, you insist on coupling Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus.
CILLIZZA: I do.
CAMEROTA: A two-fer.
CAMEROTA: Well, because when I like to -- when they say, like, "Pick your five favorite songs," I like to do ties so I get six or seven in there. So it's the same thing here. Because I think they're a -- I think they're a set. It's like salt and pepper.
Both of them came in as sort of "the establishment is going to bring in Donald Trump to heel." How'd that work out? No. 1, Donald Trump can't be brought to heel by anyone, much less the establishment. Both guys not working for the White House any more.
CAMEROTA: And salt and Pippa, do you mean the musical group?
CILLIZZA: Absolutely, yes. D.J. Spinderella.
CUOMO: Ooh, strong. Strong.
CILLIZZA: Child of the '80s.
CAMEROTA: Worst, Al Franken. CILLIZZA: I mean, again, this is like Doug Jones. If you said there
was going to be a Democratic senator from Alabama, if you said Al Franken -- let's say in October you said, "Al Franken's not going to be in the Senate come 2018," I would have said, "No way." I would have said it's more likely Al Franken has announced for president in 2020 than he's out of the Senate. This was a rapid, rapid fall. He rose kind of slowly in the Senate. But he fell so dramatically.
CUOMO: Well, apropos of your musical genre of choice, let's talk about Rex, baby.
CILLIZZA: Not a good year for Rex "INFX" Tillerson. Again, he is like the -- he is like Jeff Sessions in that, yes, he's in the cabinet. Yes, he's secretary of state. But it feels as though Donald Trump and he, whether it's on Russia, whether it's on North Korea, are singing off of two different song books is maybe the nicest way you can put it. They have radically different views.
Every time Rex Tillerson speaks in public, the first question is, are you quitting? For a guy who ran ExxonMobil, I can't imagine what 2017 was is what he thought he was signing up for.
CAMEROTA: And last, "Creepy dudes in Congress."
CILLIZZA: Yes. Creepy dudes in Congress. I mean, look, I mean, I'm hopelessly naive in a lot of ways. And I just -- I was stunned. And a lot of women that I work with said, "You're a dummy that you're stunned." But I was stunned at what we saw this year in Congress. I mean, I always knew, having covered it, it's an old boys' network. It is. I've said before, it's men...
CUOMO: Still is.
CILLIZZA: It still is, 100 percent culturally. Much more "Mad Men" than "Girls." But the level -- the number of allegations, the number of
people that admitted to it. We have three members of Congress resigned in a week toward the end of last year. And the fact that we're still finding more out about this taxpayer-funded amount of money, slush fund.
CUOMO: When will that end in 2018, is a good question?
CILLIZZA: I mean, we're paying out secret settlements.
CUOMO: Real change. Systemic change.
CILLIZZA: Cultural change. And that's what -- that's what has to happen, is -- a member resigning here or there, sure. But that's not what gets us to the heart of how this happened. A culture of that kind of behavior in Congress.
CAMEROTA: And 2018 is poised to be that year. I mean, all signs point to it being fertile ground for that...
CILLIZZA: Dudes, just act better. CUOMO: Look...
CILLIZZA: Simple advice.
CUOMO: ... we will see. Loaded words. Right? I mean, Alisyn has been very out front on this issue. But the media has got to roll, too. It's easier to chase the bold-faced names...
CUOMO: ... than to chase change. Let's see what happens.
CILLIZZA: I'm interested to see if there's some kind of legislation...
CILLIZZA: ... some kind of systemic change to address this.
CAMEROTA: They're working on it. Thank you.
CILLIZZA: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Chris Cillizza, thank you so much for playing along with us.
All right. So who's coming to D.C. and who's out in 2018? We'll discuss the revolving door on Capitol Hill and whether there is a power shift on the horizon. That's next.
[06:27:39] CUOMO: Happy New Year 2018! Welcome back to this special New Year's Day edition of NEW DAY. It's only the first day of 2018, and it's already buzzy about 2020. Who's going to run, who won't want to run. What's going to be the big deal? The presidential race is already on us. Democrats, do they have a chance to do anything in the presidency? Who knows? But it will start with the midterms. Let's see if they can build on the momentum they got at the end of 2017.
CAMEROTA: So also, this morning, we'll look at the state of the U.S. economy. Will it keep booming, or will that change in 2018? But first let's get a check of your headlines at the news desk.
SANCHEZ: Happy new year, everybody. I'm Boris Sanchez.
The world getting some sharply mixed messages from North Korea this morning. Leader Kim Jong-un reaching out to South Korea but at the same time claiming that he can now launch a nuclear strike at the U.S. mainland. In a New Year's speech, Kim said he wants to begin talks with Seoul and have North Korean athletes at the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, but Kim also warned the nuclear button is always on his desk.
In some lighter news, the college football playoff begins today with a pair of blockbuster matchups. Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." Happy new year, Coy.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Happy new year, Boris.
It's like a kid in a candy shop today with this football, after all the controversy over who should be in the college football playoffs. The tide has finally come for the chosen four. Georgia and Oklahoma, Clemson and Alabama to battle it out for a chance to hoist the trophy. In Near Orleans in the Sugar Bowl, the Tigers and the Tide are going to square off for the third year in a row in the playoff. And they've each won one of those games to become, inevitably, national champs.
Here's the coaches.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DABO SWINNEY, HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY: It's big-boy football. You've got a lot of incredibly talented football players that are going to be on the field, and they all want the same thing. And you know, I don't have any doubt it will be a great game. But from a fan standpoint, I think it's very healthy respect on both sides.
NICK SABAN, HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: We played them several years now. So it makes it a little bit of a rivalry game in circumstances like this. And it seems like we've had really good preparation for the game. And I think it's time to go out and play and just see who the best team is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: It's game day, baby. The Sugar Bowl kicks off at 8:45 Eastern. That is after Oklahoma and Georgia square off in the Rose Bowl at 5 Eastern.
Winners, Boris, are going to meet right here in Atlanta January 8. You should come on down to watch the national title. I'll save the seat for you.
SANCHEZ: I'll do what I can, Coy. Keep that seat warm. Thanks so much.
I'm Boris Sanchez. More headlines in 30 minutes. Back to Chris and Alisyn.