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tv   CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello  CNN  November 29, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PST

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at trump tower. >> mr. vice president-elect, what's on the agenda today? >> having a busy day. >> and this morning, we learned that georgia congressman and obamacare critic tom price is trump's pick for health and human services secretary. also making news, a tweet from trump that makes aim at what late supreme court justice antonin scalia called a form of free speech, flag burning. trump tweeting, nobody should be allowed to burn the american flag. if they do, there must be consequences. perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail. all this coming as a series of high profile meetings fueled speculation about who will be trump's secretary of state. cnn's sara murray joins us now live from washington with more. >> you would think donald trump would want the conversation to be about expanding his cabinet picks. would be about what he wants to do as president, which is repeal
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obamacare among other initiativings. but then he put that flag tweet out there which raised plenty of eyebrows, in part because the supreme court has upheld the view even if you find the notion of burning a flag abhorrent, it is still protected under the first amendment as part of free speech. so it's a little unclear why he decided to just toss that out there, especially on a day when he was already making news. the transition team announced that donald trump had decided on georgia congressman tom price to be the next head of health and human services. this is someone who's been a vehement critic of obamacare. obviously that fits in nicely with donald trump's promise on the campaign trail to repeal and replace obamacare. it's the kind of decision being cheered on by conservatives. now, second on the list of staff announcements also in the health care vein is sema burm ma. donald trump has chose be her to be administrator for the centers
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for medicare and medicaid services. all this is an indication trump is still moving forward on staff picks. despite some wrinkles for some of these big position. we still don't know who his pick is going to be for secretary of state. we know he's having dinner with mitt romney tonight. someone who was a critic in the past but is now under consideration for a top slot. he's also meeting with senator bob corker, another person whose name has been thrown in the ring for secretary of state. and in case this is not busy enough for the president-elect, he has decided that later this week is when he is going to be on his thank you tour, that is going to start thursday in ohio. >> the first stop on the post-election tour is thursday, as in a couple days from now? >> as in a couple days from now. we'll see how far he is on fleshing out this cabinet by the time he hits the road on thursday. >> all righty then, thanks so much sara murray reporting live from washington. with me is jonathan swan, national political reporter for "the hill."
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mitt miller is a reporter for the "time." and also the washington bureau chief for the "l.a. times." mr. trump will make his first stop of the post-election tour on thursday and he hasn't even named his cabinet and his staff yet. zeke, what do you make of that? >> post-election thank you tours aren't something we're used to seeing. donald trump likes to keep the campaign around. seems to want to be wanting to continue some of the glory days of the campaign, where he came from behind and won in a shocking victory. he likes the adoration of the crowd around him. we saw him bring out another version of his make america great again trucker hats just the other day in florida. he just, you know, can't leave that space behind. i think that's a sign of how he wants to govern. he's not going to be the typical president that is going to be locked up in the oval office or the white house. he wants to go out and see the american people. he'll hold rallies as president. that's going to be a big change. we're all going to have to adjust to. that's how he plans to govern.
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>> i think that's great that a president wants to stay connected to the american people, right, but he hasn't named his staff. he's skipping national security briefings. these two people he named as health and human services secretary and also as the administrator for medicare and medicaid are both close to mike pence and they were really -- i mean, if you read between the line, pence suggested them and trump took him up on it. so will trump be the kind of president that goes out and holds these rallies and excites people and he'll leave the people in washington to do the job? is that sort of how it will work, jonathan? >> i think it will be certain issues donald trump will -- i mean, if we remember how reagan governed, it was the three big things and then he left a lot of people for the detail. i think donald trump will probably do something similar. it's cheer in some of these areas of policy, donald trump is not as well verse the as mike pence, particularly not as well versed as someone like tom price
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who was one of the leading opponents of obamacare. i think you will see some of that delegation in some areas and on immigration, big-ticket items like trade. i don't believe that donald trump will delegate. >> maybe i'm making too much of it. if you're leaving in a couple days to go on this thank you tour which is kind of like a victory tour and -- i don't know, maybe he can get all this stuff done, david, and i just don't realize it. >> well, he's clearly got a very busy agenda, right, and there are a lot of things that he needs to do. he needs to finish his cabinet, as he said. he also wants to maintain the support of his voters. and part of that is getting out into the country and showing people he's not being a prisoner of washington or prisoner of trump tower perhaps. i think it's not really surprising. as zeke said, he loves the adoration of a crowd and this is something that's going to be a recurring feature of the trump
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presidency and we'll have to get used to that. and it's going to be an anecdote in some ways to avoid the frustration and gridlock that may afflict some of his proposals. you can appoint someone like tom price who has a plan for replacing obamacare. but this is a plan that the republicans in the house have not actually supported. price has been pushing this for several years. he's not been able to get it to a vote, let alone the senate. as senator alexander from tennessee said, you know, repealing obamacare, that's kind of easy. replacing obamacare, that's hard. rallies are a substitute for that. >> but it is interesting, these two people. because really congressman price is vehemently opposed to obamacare. i listened to a floor speech from 2009 and he was angry about obamacare and accused the democrats of not working with
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republicans. it made me wonder will congressman price now reach out to all members of congress, both democrats and republicans to somehow replace obamacare with something more appealing? >> i'm sure we'll see him, you know, reach out to certainly democratic senators as part of his confirmation process. that's standard. we'll see when it comes to legislating. even if he's going to be the person drafting that. he will soon be likely a member of the president-elect's cabinet. normally cabinet members aren't deeply involved in the nitty-gritty of writing legislation there, the ones who are implanting it managing that. maybe he'll do some of the work with republicans in congress now on the front end of that. it remains to be seen how deeply involved he'll be. certainly speaker ryan has part of his broader proposals he wants the republican congress to take up in january. he has some obamacare proposals
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in there that don't quite jibe with what congressman price has, so it remains to be seen what exactly his role will be on that, if it will be on the implementation side while keeping a foot in the legislation side as well. >> this is percolating, donald trump sends out this tweet about flag burning and how if you burn a flag maybe you should lose your u.s. citizenship and everybody's sort of scratching their head. wondering is this another deflection and are we just, like, playing into his game. >> one thing -- firstly, i'll add one thing to what zeke said. i talked to a source who used to work with tom price. this is the republican study committee. he was incredibly detail oriented. he would edit words on word document, stay up late at night. i wouldn't be surprised if he does have a hands-on role. the flag burn inning this, the most useful way of watching donald trump at the moment is he's choreographing a reality tv show, building suspense at key
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parts. which we've seen throughout the whole campaign. he built suspense about whether he was going to say barack obama was born in the united states. he takes great pleasure, when you talk to sources around donald trump, he takes great pleasure in sitting back, sending a tweet out to the universe and watching, you know, the chaos and calamity that ensues on television and, you know, with all of us chasing it around. so donald trump likes watching these things play out in the public sphere. and that's why he actually encouraged kellyanne conway to go out and talk publicly. he enjoys watching conflict in the public sphere. >> you know, i'm -- i'm conflicted over donald trump's tweets. because one part of me says, oh, we should ignore them and talk about what's important. which we did. we talked about his pick for health and human services secretary. another part of me says he is going to be the president of the united states in january. and even things he tweets will have ramifications. because guess what, david, he's president of the united states.
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so what do you do as a journalist? >> i think you have to report on what the man says. and, you know, when he makes a statement, whether it's a statement about flag burning or his tweet yesterday about claiming falsely that millions of people had voted illegally, those are important statements. you can't just sort of brush them aside and say, well, it's just a tweet. you know, as you said, he is going to be president of the united states. and we the president of the united states speaks or when the president-elect speaks or tweets, it's an important statement of policy, and it tells you something about his statement of mind, it tells you something about the way he's approaching his duties in governing. so i do think they're important, and i think we have to pay attention to them. >> so zeke, is it a matter of knowing which ones could have great ramifications and which ones are just, oh, harmless tweets? >> yes, i think to jonathan's point, it's more a point of which ones are sort of his conversation starters, part of his reality television show he's
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constructing. the ones that are just -- the ones that are -- which are the ones we should take literally and which are the ones we should take as sort of his theater direction. that's the challenge for journalists. obviously, it's a challenge for republicans in congress to read the tea leaves coming out the white house it it's a challenge for the rest of the world to understand what the next leader of the united states is thinking, which, you know, statements, you know, does he really care about, which are there just to float an idea and see what happens, partly because, you know, maybe he's deflecting from something else or because he just enjoys watching everyone running around talking about it. >> right and, you know, i want to make it, i don't want to make it seem like i'm ignoring the burning the american flag thing. as justice scalia said, that trump greatly admires, burning a flag is a form of freedom of speech, so that's sort of why --
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this is an issue that's gone through the supreme court, right, david? >> it has. it was a split decision. it was one that interestingly split, liberals and conservatives, in an unusual way. justice stevens who is one of the more liberal members the court, opposed flag burning, and said it was something he did not think was protected by the first amendment. justice scalia, one of the most conservative members of the court, said that it was. so it's an issue, as you said, that does have a tremendous emotional resonance for people and it affects people in different ways. yes, this has been through the supreme court. it's been litigated. it's not something -- there's no rash of flag burnings out there that suddenly is going to need a presidential response. so, you know, he tossed it out there for reasons that we don't really understand. it's his show and we're living in it. >> well put, david. thanks, all of you, for joining me. jonathan, zeke miller, david
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louder. still to come in the "newsroom," police comb for clues on social media. the latest on that terrifying ohio state university attack. (vo) when i brought jake home,
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secretary of state role. parade of candidates in and out of the trump tower and trump's golf course in new jersey. the latest candidate, general david petraeus, well respected, but tainted over his mishandling of classified information. pleading guilty to charges he gave classified information to his mistress so she could write a book about general petraeus. senator rand paul has a problem with that. >> they spent a year and a half beating up hillary clinton over revealing classified information and then they would appoint somebody who the fbi says not only revealed it but then lied about it in an interview and purposely gave it to someone who did not have the clearance to have that. i think that's a potential problem. >> so let's talk about that. joining me now is nick bushes. he's the former u.s. ambassador to nato and a member of the u.s. foreign policy board in secretary kerry's state department. welcome, sir. >> thank you so much, carol. >> does it matter that petraeus
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pled guilty to mishandling classified information? >> well, it will certainly be an issue if he is named in this confirmation. but i will say this, this is going to be a consequential choice for donald trump. he's going to be the first american president with no experience in politics, public service, the military. he needs someone in this critical position. general petraeus is one of those people. there is this downside. the issue that you've asked about. but there's a huge upside to david petraeus as there would be to mitt romney and senator bob corker. i think all three of them have the judgment, experience, temperament, that will offset what you don't have right now, certainly with president-elect trump or with general flynn, the new national security adviser. and there are people who will have instant credibility internationally. so there are tradeoffs to these choices. but these are three impressive people, petraeus, romney and corker. >> will even trump's national
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security adviser, general michael flynn, as you mentioned, he's also been accused of mishandling classified information. so does this happen often? >> it does not happen often. it does not happen often at that senior level. it's certainly an issue that one has to take very seriously. in the case of general petraeus, i would just say he's of course apologized for this. he paid a major price in having to resign as director of the cia. this was four years ago. and so i think he should be considered. i think he's a great public servient for the united states and a man, a person of great judgment, experience, who has key relationships around the world, not just in the middle east where he served but around the world. the same is true of chairman corker. who's chairman of the foreign relations committee and of governor romney. this position is going to have to balance the fact that donald trump does not have international experience. >> right. >> and the united states is
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facing, as you know, tremendous challenges overseas at this time. >> i'm sorry to keep harping on the classified information thing. but many republicans are very supportive of general flynn and of general petraeus. but during the -- but i would say many democrats are scratching their head because republicans made such a big deal over hillary clinton's mishandling of classified information. so is her mishandling of classified information different than the others? >> i think -- i was a supporter of hillary clinton during the campaign and was proud to be. i think too much was made of the e-mail issues. that was certainly a problem. but i think she answered and her campaign answered all the questions reviewed by the fbi twice and found not to be subject to criminal prosecution. and so i think it was polite sized during the campaign. these are serious issues. i don't mean to say they
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shouldn't be part of the judgment that a senator should make when he or she seeks to confirm or not a presidential appointee at the cabinet level. they have to be taken into consideration. but you also have to balance that by looking at the whole person. the whole person's entire public life. and in the case of general petraeus, it's a life and a career of great distinction. i would encourage senators to look at the whole person and look at the entire career and look what he would add to this cabinet if he is selected. >> ambassador nicholas burns, thank you so much for your insight. he seemed like a normal kid. that's how a neighbor describes the ohio state university attacker. up next, she will join me live. to folks out there whose diabetic nerve pain... shoots and burns
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good morning, i'm carol costello. authorities are trying to chase down a motive in that terrifying ohio state university attack that left 11 people wounded. this was what it looked like yesterday after the attacker plowed his car into campus and then actually -- he plowed his car into a crowd of people walking on campus, and then he got out of the car with a butcher knife. it appears the 18-year-old somali born student posted complaints online about how muslims are treated. let's bring in cnn's rosa flores, she's live in columbus, good morning. >> good morning, carol. we're learning more about those chain of events and also about the reactions of the people that were around the attacker. from talking to one of the
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witnesses, he says that it took them a few seconds to even process what was going on. the fact that an individual was ramming a vehicle into a crowd of people and then he said it took them another few seconds just to grapple with the fact that this individual got out of the car with a knife and started attacking everyone. now, we have 911 called that also tell us what happened. take a listen. >> the guy ran a car through a crowd of students. he did it purposely. i'm at ohio state, right outside of watts hall. there is a guy who crashed his car -- we need an ambulance here fast. >> now, we're also learning more from a facebook post that the attacker posted. according to authorities. at about the time of the attack. want to read you a part of this. it says, quote, my brothers and sisters, i am sick and tired of
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seeing my fellow muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured everywhere. seeing my fellow muslims being tortured and raped and killed in burm ma led to a boiling point. i can't take it anymore. authorities looking at all these elements and trying to figure out a motive, carol, because that's one of the big looming questions right now is what would drive an individual to actually do this at his campus. right now, authorities tell us that they're not ruling out terrorism but they haven't nailed down a motive at this point. carol. >> rosa, tell us about this police officer who stopped this attacker. >> you know, he is is being hailed a hero. this is a police officer, alan how rougeco. he's a young man, he graduated from this university. one of the things that really stood out to me, carol, is he described what inspired him to
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be a police officer. he was in the school of engineering and he started working for the public safety service here in the university, and got inspired to join the force. and now of course carol after what happened yesterday, that's quite the feat from this young man who actually killed the attacker and probably saved lives. >> all right, rosa flores reporting live from columbus, ohio, thank you. with me now, luanne cartigan. she lived next door to his attacker and his luanne. >> thank you. >> thank you for joining me. earlier this morning, you were interviewed by the justice department? >> yes, i was. >> did they just knock on your door? >> yes, they did. but i'm really not at liberty to discuss anything that we talked about. >> i totally understand that. was it a little nerve-racking?
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>> yes. i walked out my door yesterday at 11:20. >> i can't even imagine. when you were watching the news and you saw this attacker actually lived next door to you, what went through your mind? >> not that i wasn't already devastated that, you know, this kind of attack happened so close to home, but that it really happened really close to my home, let alone next door. it really blew me away. >> how well did you know the family living next door? >> quite well. i mean, we spoke every day. the individual seemed very pleasant. always spoke when spoken to. i'm still beside myself that he was even capable of the acts he did. >> so he just seemed like a normal kid, there were no changes in his behavior in recent days? >> right. >> does that surprise you? >> yeah, like i said, it took me
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back. i was just -- very surprised. i mean, i just never expected any kind of behavior like that from him. >> well, now we know he was writing on social media, on his facebook page, he was upset about how muslims are tweeted here in the united states and overseas. you never got any sense that was bothering him? >> absolutely not. again, he was very pleasant. he always spoke. you know, he helped my children get in and out of their cars with their children. even on thanksgiving day, he spoke. i'm just very beside myself. and concerned. i mean, you know, i'm right next door. >> right. and concerned because, you know, he seemed perfectly norm and you had no idea he was capable of such a thing.
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>> absolutely. >> luanne, thank you so much for joining me. still to come in the "newsroom," cabinet picks. while picking fights online. thought the president-elect would break his campaign twitter habit? well, you were wrong. my friends think doing this at my age is scary. i say not if you protect yourself. what is scary? pneumococcal pneumonia. it's a serious disease. my doctor said the risk is greater now that i'm over 50! yeah...ya-ha... just one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia- an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. prevnar 13® is approved for adults 18 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13® if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients. if you have a weakened immune system, you may have a lower response to the vaccine.
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switch to liberty mutual and you could save up to $509. call liberty mutual for a free quote today at liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. the president-elect may be focusing on his top cabinet picks but he's also finding time for twitter feuds. today, it's flag burners. trump is pondering throwing hem into jail, even stripping them of their u.s. citizenship. even though the supreme court ruled that burning a flag is constitutional under the first amendment. it's a case free speech. before that, it was the cast of
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hamilton. mr. trump thinks the actors were rude and out of line when they spoke to mike pence from the stage. and then there's "the new york times." mr. trump called the paper not nice when he thought the terms of the meeting had changed. some say these tweets don't matter and journalists shouldn't pay any attention to them but this morning a different take from "the washington post." this is the headline. why we can't and shouldn't ignore donald trump's tweets. the article argues the president comes with the so-called bully pulpit. everything he says reverberates. i'm joined by dylan buyiers, democratic strategist, cnn political commentator maria c cardona. and anthony, sky bridge international. welcome to all of you. thee anthony, some people do wonder why donald trump finds the time to tweet when he's working on his transition team. >> well, listen, it's an
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unbelievably powerful medium. he has 16 million twitter followers. he things this is a way going up over the top of the media, directly to the american people. most americans don't like the flag burning, carol. granted, it is a first amendment right. but years ago, calling "fire" in a movie theater was a first amendment right and that got reversed. >> mr. trump is serious about stripping american citizens of their citizenship if they burn a flag? >> i think he's upset about it and i think he's expressing what i think many of the people in his base are superupset about. you've got men and women all over the world dying for that flag. the fact the media is superjust sep about him being upset about flag burning is a mistake on both sides. what i would say to you very clearly is mr. trump has a right to express himself and he has the right to go right to the base and explain to them and to have empathy for them. but what they see that they don't think is necessarily
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right, so i don't see what the problem is with that. >> just listening to anthony, i mean, that's the problem, right, you don't know who mr. trump's tweet is meant for. if he's serious about it. if we should ignore it and pay attention to something perhaps more important. what do you think? >> well, that's absolutely right. first of all, i don't think what the media is necessarily preoccupied here with is a debate over flag burning. about all other issues on the table. i think the question is a threat to infringe upon first amendment rights before the guy's even stepped foot in the oval office to begin his term. i think those are serious and legitimate concerns. as for donald trump's tweets, i mean, look, there is a very serious and robust debate taking place among journalists about how much do we cover these tweets, how much are these tweets meant to be a distraction from perhaps more pressing issues about donald trump, about various policy proposals or decisions he might make as commander in chief. look, what i would say is, you
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know, there are a lot of people in the media. the media's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. there's room for both. i think you have to focus on what donald trump says. i think it would be a mistake not to. just like we have to focus on everything president obama says, even if he says it in an interview as opposed to through his twitter account. but we can't let up on focusing on the issues that donald trump doesn't want to talk about. that is the role of the press. to make sure we prioritize the issues that are important as we see them and as the american people see them. >> so maria, maybe trump sends out these tweets just to make people like you really angry. >> actually, it makes people like me and others who didn't vote for trump really worried and embarrassed in terms of what kind of president of the united states he's going to be. let's be very clear. i actually think this type of tweet is diabolically brilliant because i agree with dylan, there are so many other issues that are incredibly more important for us to focus on.
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for example, the danger of his myriad conflicts of interests. i know you and cnn have been focused on this. i think we should all be focused on it. when he gets to the white house and he owes millions to china and perhaps millions to russia even. we don't know because we haven't seen his tax returns. we haven't seen what kind of business ventures. so essentially people are worried when he gets to the white house, the white house could be for sale either to those who could make the most money off of trump or to those from whom trump can make the most money off of. >> okay, let's talk to anthony about that. so has there been any talk among the transition team on the many conflicts of interests that president-elect trump will have once he takes office? >> he has stated he's working on. he recognizes he has the law on his side. where he can basically run the presidency in his business. he's also recognizing he's going to sit down with his attorneys and his family and figure out a
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way to divide the two things and create a chinese wall and make it very appropriate. i think what people don't like about him is he's a dynamic thinker, an entrepreneur and disrupter personality that the american people want to change government. 72% of the united states thinks we're going in the wrong direction. and if you look at his mandate, 306 electoral votes, 2,600 counties he's won. the most counties won since ronald reagan was president. i think he's got the mandate. he's going to come to washington and disrupt things -- >> i'm sorry, anthony -- >> you guys want to focus on the -- >> there's no mandate there. >> there certainly is. >> no. >> there certainly is. the republicans have trounced the democrats -- >> he won the presidency fair and square -- >> let her get a word in here. >> go ahead. >> he won the presidency fair and square. there is no mandate. when you lose the popular vote by more than 2.3 million votes. by the way, i know --
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>> it's not a popular vote election. >> -- something that really raises the ire of the president-elect because that is another thing that he tweeted about and it's an outright lie. when you have the president-elect tweeting outright lies, what kind of president of the united states are we going to have when he doesn't understand that his words can move markets, his words can start wars? >> maria, what's the outright lie? >> the outright lie is that millions of people illegally voted for hillary clinton. that is -- >> he's basing that commentary on pew research. there are many people -- >> it's a lie. >> anthony, anthony -- >> i know you're upset -- i know you're upset about the election but let's have a civil discourse -- >> it's dylan's turn. >> it's very far from a lie -- >> anthony, i'm not upset about anything. there's just one thing we do and we call out facts and lies. there are two lies. one, there is absolutely no
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evidence that millions of voters voted illegally and that would have given donald trump a popular vote victory. as for the mandate, donald trump's margin of victory in the electoral vote as nate silver, the statistician has pointed out, is the 44th margin of victory in the presidential elections which is not a landslide or not a trouncing -- >> dylan -- >> -- by republicans -- >> winning why 100,000 votes -- >> -- is a democratic party in its worst position in state legislatures in the governorships, in the house and senate and the presidency. they're in their worst position since 1920. >> donald trump won the electoral college -- >> that's okay, stay in your position -- >> it's not a mandate. >> stay in your position and you'll see real change -- >> when you have the -- >> you'll see the american people super happy about that. >> -- voted for somebody other than donald trump, it's not a mandate. >> okay, but that wasn't the election, that wasn't the strategy of the election --
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>> i've got to leave it there. i have to end it there. i'm sorry, anthony. we'll have to ponder which tweets to listen to and which not to. we'll continue -- >> thank you, carol. >> all right, i got to end it there. dylan, anthony, thank you so much. coming up in the "news roof," more than a dozen wildfires destroying resorts threatening a theme park and a aquarium full of animals. imy moderate to severeng crohn's disease. i didn't think there was anything else to talk about. but then i realized there was. so, i finally broke the silence with my doctor about what i was experiencing. he said humira is for people like me
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terrifying wildfires fueled by 70-mile-per-hour winds and dry ground now scorching parts of tennessee. four people have been hurt. hundreds of buildings are burned. fires forcing drivers to make a desperate run to get away as the embers fly over their cars. firefighters hoping for help from the line of thunderstorms moving over the region. jennifer gray is there, good morning. >> hi, carol, good morning. yes, we had rain overnight. we had some this morning. it is now stopped. but it wasn't soon enough. those wildfires raged out of
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control last night. people had to just grab what they could. many of them, just the clothes on their backs. got in their cars and had to leave as fast as they could. a lot of them came to this shelter behind me. about 1,300 people checked in. now people are coming and going but there's still a steady stream of people in these doors. a lot people looking for neighbors. looking for family members. self-service is pretty much shot across this area. so it's been hard to make communication. we got an alert on our phones as we drove in early this morning saying if this is not an emergency, turn your cell phone off, because we need to help those people that are in need. we know that hundreds of first responders, firefighters, are now in this area from all over the surrounding areas, as well as the national guard. still unknown how many structures are burned. we know a lot of structures are possibly burned in the downdown area, the historic area of
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gatlinburg. a hotel. several hotels. the resorts have been burned. we're waiting a press conference at 11:00 this morning eastern time to give us updates. so that will be happening at any moment. carol, this has been a horrible 24 hours for the people of this area. >> oh, is so has. jennifer gray, reporting live from gatlinburg, tennessee. coming up, the accused shooter dylann roof given the right to represent himself, so how could this affect his trial? that's next. (vo) your love is purely thoughtful, purely natural, purely fancy feast. delicious entrées, crafted to the last detail. flaked tuna, white-meat chicken, never any by-products or fillers. purely natural tastes purely fancy feast. custom t-shirts and other great products for all of life's events. get free shipping and on-time delivery guaranteed. ♪ start today at customink.com.
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we just got word in from the trump transition team that mr. trump has named former labor secretary and wife of mitch mcconnell elaine chao as secretary of transportation. mitch mcconnell was briefed on the matter.
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we don't know too much more. but this is the fourth woman that mr. trump has named to his staff or to his cabinet. of course we'll keep you posted. the man accused of shooting up a prayer group and killing nine people at a predominantly black church in charleston last year is now selecting his own jury. dylann roof has chose be to represent himself. the judge calling the decision, quote, strategically unwise, but granting him the right anyway. so let's talk about this. joining me now is cnn legal analyst laura coats. good morning. >> good morning, carol. >> did the judge have to do this? >> well, it's his counsel toonsl right to defend himself. whether or not it's a good idea. in this case, he's facing federal charges and the death penalty for the killing of nine members of the emmanuel church. it's going to be a very uphill battle for him legally to, one, have the wherewithal to know how to navigate the system, to know
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the evidentiary rules and figure out how to mount the defense. the uphill battle emotionally will come from the families of the victims. remember, he is now in a position, carol, to be able to, you know, get testimony and interview the people who were survivors of this attack. two men in particular who survived this bloody attack. and he'll have the opportunity now to actually ask them questions in open court and that is going to be a very, very emotional climate. and one that could very easily turn into a circus. >> exactly. because some of those family members have, you know, remember when they forgave dylann roof for what he did to their loved ones? and now he could bring that up when he's i don't know cross examining them on the stand. that just seems -- >> it's odd. >> it's damaging for these poor families. >> it's odd for them. but it also gives them an opportunity to confront the person who's changed their lives
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and the community in that area of charleston. remember, he is representing himself but he also has standby counsel. while it's not his right to have them, the judge gave him that person nonetheless. that defense attorney is a very, very well-regarded criminal defense attorney who was involved with the boston bomber, boston marathon bomber's defense and so you do have somebody who is seasoned. however -- >> here's the thing, you know, this is a man who allegedly wanted to start a race war. he wrote a manifesto. so isn't it possible he wants to represent himself because he wants to -- he wants to, like, promote his manifesto through this court proceeding? >> i think that is exactly what is going to happen. when i talk about the -- you're talking about somebody who is going to transform an otherwise high decorum opportunity and environment into a filibuster, a soap box opportunity to talk
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about all the reasons why he did what he did. frankly, that's not what the trial is for. it's not an opportunity for him to simply have the podium and continue to say the same things he did in his manifesto and excuse himself. what i think his goal is, is, in fact, just that. but it won't serve him well when it comes to a jury who is going to be assigned a role. figuring out, listen, i hear your manifesto, i'm not buying it. >> isn't it up to the judge to control that? >> yes, and the judge can actually say is the defendant -- if the defendant tries to disrupt the proceedings, he can take away the opportunity to represent himself and return to the state of normalcy with an actual attorney who is well versed in the rules of the court. it's not going to be a free for all for dill be roof. right now, we're all left kind of wondering what was his motivation. i suspect it's not benign. >> all right. right now jury selection is under way. he's questioning jurors.
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so being we're going to keep an eye on it. laura coates, thank you. thank you for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "at this hour" with berman and boudla starts now. >> hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. >> i'm john berman. okay, i thought there was going to be an animation there. it said "pause." i'm not going to pause. >> dramatic pause. >> i'm going to keep going. president-elect trump is having mitt romney over for dinner tonight. what is on the menu, you ask, is it a cabinet position? perhaps revenge, a dish best served cold they say. or is it the first amendment which is at least in one respect out of season at trump tower this morning? >> to continue the delicious john berman metaphor, what trump today says he wants on the cutting board, flag burning. that is where the first amendment comes in.

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