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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  January 3, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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big day on capitol hill today, the swearing in of the 115th congress. of course our coverage continues in washington, d.c. i'm brook baldwin here in new york. thank you so much for being with me. jim schudo sitting in for jake tapper on "the lead" which starts right now. >> thank you, brook. put lawmakers in charge of their own ethics. what could possibly go wrong? the lead starts right now. and breaking news, day one drama, a major about face by the brand-new republican controlled house. dropping an attempt to gut the agency that polices congress. something that put them at odds with the man who said he's going to drain the swamp. tweet heard around the world, after a nuclear threat, president-elect trump tells north korea not going to happen. and takes a shot at china as well. plus president-elect's new year guest, a reported felon nicknamed, no lie, joey no socks, how close is trump and
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the trump organization to him? welcome to the lead, i'm jim in for jake. any moment now the new congress will cast its first vote since being sworn in. but one thing law maker will no longer be voting on is a measure house republicans had been pushing just this morning, to gut the independent office of congressional ethics. republicans dumped that plan this afternoon under twitter pressure from president-elect donald trump. cnn is covering the story from all angles as we get our first glimpse of how the new president and congress could function together. we begin with cn senior political reporter. he is live on the hill. manu, this is certainly not the way house republicans wanted to kickoff this legislative session. >> no, it's not, jim. in fact, they want to be talking about the things that unite them whether it's obamacare or tax reform. but instead this proposal came out of thin air catching republican leaders off guard, and suddenly causing major internal tension on capitol hill. >> louisiana.
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>> it was a rocky start to the new gop-led congress. house republicans in a surprise move voting behind closed doors monday night to gut an ethics watch dog created nearly a decade ago in the aftermath of the jack lobbying scandal. the proposal offered by congressman bob good lat, would have given the very house members who the office of congressional ethics might investigate, control over the office of congressional ethics. it prompted push back from president-elect donald trump and even some fellow house republicans. >> this was the wrong message to send at the start of the session. and i really didn't agree with that. >> how concerned are you about the way this makes -- the republican congress look as a congress? >> very concerned. i mean, i think it's a terrible mistake. >> critics argued the ethics panel has overreached in its pursuit of headlines and needed to be reigned in.
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>> i supported just because i think, first of all, i think it's duplicative. at the very least in my view, it requires greater oversight than it has. >> the proposal prompting outrage across the political spectrum, from government watch dog groups, democrats, and even trump who tweeted, with all that congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watch dog as unfair as it may be their number one act and priority? #drain the swamp. under pressure after trump's tweet, house speaker paul ryan who had opposed the weakening of the watch dog, convening an emergency meeting where the gop reversed course and unanimously agreed to keep the office intact. yet the proposal put republicans in an awkward spot, with some refusing to say if they wanted to weaken the panel. did you vote for that? >> that was a voice vote. it was not a recorded vote.
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quite frankly, i sat there and observed. >> reporter: sir, did you abstain from this vote or -- what was your position? >> it was clear it was going to pass, so, there was a lot of discussion about it so it passed. that's the main thing. >> reporter: did you support it? >> you know, i've not been a victim of the lsee. so, there was a lot of discussion about the lack of due process, the lack of transparency. so, again, both good arguments. >> reporter: now, remember, jim, last night's vote happened in private behind closed doors, which is one reason why that congressman did not want to say which way he voted. but if it did come to the floor this afternoon, they would have to take a public vote, a recorded vote, and those votes would be certainly used against them heading into the next election. so, that's one reason why they backtracked from yesterday's position, especially after all the pressure they were getting not just from donald trump, but from angry voters who were
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flooding their offices with phone calls, jim. >> a heck of a lot easier to do that in private. thank you very much. before that ethics reversal and before the president-elect jumped on social media once again, today is typically a day less for news than for celebration and ceremony. smiles and swearing in, perhaps a couple of mean worthy joe biden moments. cnn washington correspondent has highlights from the hill. jeff? >> every opening day in congress, the pomp and circumstance is also underscored by the fact that elections do, indeed, have consequences. those consequences, the winners of the november elections, were taking their seats in the house chamber and the senate gatery as well. and speaker paul ryan was elected easily. had had few defecters. as he walked into the house chamber, he recalled the vi tri ole in the election and why democracy is still well at hand. just months ago our country held a great electoral contest. and at times it was a little
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intense. as you all know, when you're in the heat of it, in the heat of the kind of campaign we had, you start to wonder, will the tempers ever cool? will the system still hold? does our old rich tradition still have that magic? well, it turns out it does. the clash of opinions, the hue and cry of campaigns, the ranker and the discinks, in the end they all dissolve in the silent and peaceful transfer of power. >> some democrat might say that's easy for speaker ryan to say because of course republicans will be assuming control of the house, the senate and the white house come 17 days from now for the first time in a decade. now, democrats are a weakened and rebuilding party here on capitol hill. on the senate side of course republicans still need to work with democrats to pass legislation. but we saw vice-president joe biden presiding over the senate in one of his last official acts
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here in washington after some 44 years, first of course on capitol hill for so long, and then as vice-president. and joe biden was doing the ceremonial swearing in for all the members of the senate, in the old senate chambers, always a moment here on capitol hill to see joe biden perhaps unlike any other politician, certainly of this time, more of an old school one so grega rio us. bill challenges and the burdens of governing lie ahead. republicans now have to show if they can satisfy all those demands voters called for change. jim? >> no question. thank you very much. soon senator charles schumer will be the highest ranking democrat in the country and in his first speech today as minority leader in the senate, senator sthumer issued this warning to the president-elect. >> making america great again requires more than 140 characters peri issue.
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with all due respect, america cannot afford a twitter presidency. >> cnn chief political correspondent dennana bash spok with senator schumer. have they picked the fights they're going to battle with the republicans? >> they're not sure. senator schumer said he expects there will probably be a lot of them. chuck schumer was going to walk in and be the majority leader of the senate, democrats would gain control. they had the map in their favor into election day. he would be working with president hillary clinton. neither of those things is happening today. now he suddenly finds himself the leader of the trump opposition and that means walking a very fine line, which we talked about. >> the only way we're going to work with him is if he can move completely in our direction and abandons his republican colleagues. that's not going to happen very
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often, even less optimistic any of that can happen seeing his cabinet choices. 90, 95% of the time we'll be holding his feet to the fire. we're democrats. we're not going to oppose things to oppose them. >> i've known you for a long time. you love a deal, not unlike the president-elect. i find that hard to believe you don't want to make deals with him. >> here's the problem. the republicans in the senate and the house have been run by a hard right group, tea party group. >> now they have a deal maker in the white house just like you. >> look, we're going to look at the specifics of what is proposed and on the overwhelming bunch of them, particularly given who he's chosen as his cabinet people, we're going to have to oppose him because we just disagree in principle. of course i'd like to make a deal. you know, we could get together on immigration and have a path to citizenship just as i was happy to work with john mccain and lind i graham, i'll be happy to work with donald trump. but he has n't even talk -- come close to talking about that so
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we're going to end up opposing him on those issues. >> how much pressure are you feeling from the progressives? i'll give you one example, democracy for america leading progressive group said democratic leaders from chuck schumer down need to stop playing footsie with trump. >> my views are the same as elizabeth warren and bernie sanders. both of them have said the same exact thing. if we can work with him and be true to our principles, we're not going to reject it. but overall we're sticking to our principles. we're not compromising for its own sake. we're not taking a quarter of a loaf to say "we can get something done." our principles are going to be our guiding light. >> and one of the things, dan, that's going to make it even harder for him than some of his predecessors who were the minority leader is that the rules of the senate are difficult he rent thanks to his predecessor, harry reid who as a democrat when he was in charge and had a democrat in the white
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house, changed the rules to make it just a 51-vote threshold for approving a president's nominees. now that the shoe is on the other foot, the democrats are not very happy about it and schumer told me that he fought against that for a cabinet nominees and he really wished which his party don't do that. >> blow back. >> pay back. >> dana bash, thanks very much. now i want to bring in two long time former congressmen to help analyze what we saw today and look ahead to donald trump's presidency. former republican congressman and former chair of the house tom davis of virginia, and former chair of the democratic congressional campaign committee martin frost of texas. thanks to both of you for joining us today. tom, if i could begin for you, could you help explain the thinking today behind house republicans trying to sneak this ethics change in and then reversing? >> i don't think anybody thinks it's worked very well. at least six members i can think of spent over $100,000 defending
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itself on charges that proved groundless. let's take this campaign weapon away from democratic interest groups filing these charge. they could still file charges, but they wouldn't have the same level of power they did today. so, they did it in one fell swoop. better that than let it stand out and have a public debate. you're never going to win a public ethics debate. they want to pursue something more ethical. >> they backed down. look, no faulting anybody on this once it's out there. it's a loser politically. everybody understands it, but you get rid of it now, it's forgotten about. you may dredge it up in an election, but by and large you're going to be a lot harder issues republicans will have to take than this. now this is a weapon that is in the hand of interest groups that oppose republicans. you're going to see charges filed and no due process, et cetera. >> i have to ask you, president-elect trump said this doesn't fit with his drain the swamp mantra. of course, are you seeing house republicans in effect falling in
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line behind their president-elect? >> we don't know what they're going to do. i mean here, this was a situation, can the republicans stand a 140-character tweet from the president of their own party. obviously they couldn't. this made them look foolish. now, this is over. we'll move on to other things. i disagree tw tom. i think the ethics procedure did work. i think it was set up for the right reason. i was chairman of the caucus rules committee for the democratic party for ten years. we never tried to sneak something in at the last minute. whenever we were going to change the house rules, we had lengthy debate. they made a mistake here. we'll see what happens in the future. >> so, tom, house republicans have really all the cards to some degree. they have a republican in the white house, majorities in both -- strong majorities, certainly in the house and in the senate as well. how do they effectively transition from being an obstructionist opposition to some degree, now to the ruling party? >> well, i mean they're firing
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real bullets. in the past you can repeal obamacare and not have to live with the consequences. now they have to live with the consequences. paul ryan had one dissenting vote, more than pelosi did on her side. he's the kind of leader, can-do leader. i think they have the right leadership in place at this point, but it's going to be tough. governing is a tough business. the last three times one party has controlled the house, the senate and the presidency, the public holds that party accountable at the next midterm and they've suffered tough consequences. so, republicans have to be cautious. >> what you have to look at is in 2009 when obama was elected, there were more democrats in the house than there are republicans in the house today. there were more democrats in the senate than there are republicans in the senate today. and yet it all dissipated over a period of two years. these things can fall apart quickly. and i would urge one word of caution to the republicans while
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they're really feeling full of themselves at this point. they won the election, i don't dispute that. there is real danger for them. >> president obama and democrats in 2009 was in effect overplaying their mandate with obamacare. >> there is a real chance the republicans could also overplay. if they were to try and privatize medicare, which some people in their own party, including their speaker, including the new chairman of the director of the office of management and budget want to do, that goes to the heart of the blue collar, middle income constituency of the republican party and would be extremely unpopular. if they try and do that, they may wind up with a similar situation that the republicans faced -- the democrats faced after the 2009-2010. >> they go to the voting booth as well. tom, not to be polyanna-ish for a moment. what are the realistic areas of compromise between republicans and democrats? there's been a lot of talk about infrastructure investment, perhaps tax reform, realistically, knowing the
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divisions between these parties -- if you were to pick a couple of things -- >> i think both of those are areas where members like to build infrastructure. everybody recognizes the tax system is broken. there may be some spending issues they can come on. so, you have those areas and then you're going to have areas like immigration where you just have different philosophies in terms of how you have to attach this. republicans, though, in the house can move anything with a one-vote majority. then you send it to the senate. remember this, you have ten democratic senators up for reelection in states trump carried, some by wide margins. leader schumer who is a very, very smart able guy, he's not going to be able to control all of his troops at one time. he's going to have some defections. >> i think probably, not the easy est, but the most likely area of real compromise is on immigration. i think that there are a lot of people in this country in the business community who want this immigration issue solved. and if somehow the two parties can get together, that's a real accomplishment. now, maybe they can't. maybe the rhetoric is so strong on both sides it will never
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happen, but you ask what is an opportunity for compromise, i would say immigration. and also the issue of corporate tax reform, not necessarily individual tax reform, because you'd have to do away with a lot of sacred cows to do individual tax reform. >> repatriation as well. we appreciate your analysis very much. we have a very special announcement on thursday, january 12, cnn will host a town hall with house speaker paul ryan, our own jake tapper will sit down with the speaker this at george washington university, just one week before president-elect trump's inauguration. jake and ryan will take questions from the audience about the gop's strategy for the first 100 days of trump's presidency. you can see the one-hour live event only on cnn, this at 9:00 p.m. eastern on thursday, january 12th. a little more than a week away. guess who is coming to donald trump's inauguration? new details about surprising guests who just rs vp'd, that's right after this.
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i have age-related maculare degeneration, amd, he told me to look at this grid every day. and we came up with a plan to help reduce my risk of progression, including preservision areds 2. my doctor said preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula the national eye institute recommends to help reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced amd after 15 years of clinical studies. preservision areds 2. because my eyes are everything. (i wanted him to eat healthy., so i feed jake purina cat chow naturals indoor, a nutritious formula with no artificial flavors. made specifically for indoor cats. purina cat chow. nutrition to build better lives. >> welcome back to the lead. in our national lead, ford motor
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company announced it will forego plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in mexico and instead invest some $700 million in a plant in michigan. the move could create some 700 new u.s. jobs. the automaker ceo told my colleague poppy harlow the decision is a "vote of confidence in president-elect's pro business environment." he stressed, however, ford did not make any sort of special deal with the incoming president. the markets like the news. company stock jumped more than 3%. hours before ford's announcement, president-elect trump hammered general motors on twitter for moving production of one of its vehicles to mexico. mr. trump then threatened the auto company with a import tax. jim joins us live. jim, this is a pattern, isn't it, with this president, individual back and forthwith individual corporations. >> it is, jim. after donald trump issued warning to the likes of carrier and boeing over business dealings he didn't like, he is doing the same to general motors in line with the trade rhetoric
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on the campaign trail. he is threatening to slap a big tariff on gm cars coming into the u.s. from mexico. tweeting general motors is sending cars. the problem s jim, gm says trump is wrong. adding in a statement, all chevrolet cruze sedans are built in an assembly plant in lords town ohio. they build for global markets in mexico with a small number sold in the u.s., but clearly after ford decided to scrap plans for a new plant in mexico you just mentioned, trump believed this hard nose strategy is working. keep in mind trump is building a trade team that will be tough on china announcing he has tapped robert light houser to be his u.s. trade representative. light houser joins peter na var owe and wilbur ross on the team. they are also critics of chinese trading practices, jim. >> china certainly has ways to punish the u.s. economically as
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well. we now know the president-elect is going to hold a press conference january 11, a day after president obama will give his farewell address in chicago. do we know, has the trump transition team given any indications that trump will divest himself from his business holdings? >> not yet. we're almost 160 days, by the way, jim, from when trump held his last full news conference at the end of july during the campaign. his new white house counselor kellyanne said a news conference is coming tomorrow. whether trump's lawyers are ready to roll out the plans for the president-elect and his business holdings, jim, this is still somewhat up in the air, but advisors are indicating that this press conference and these plans for those dealings is coming. >> we'll get those answers then. we're also learning more about who is going to be attending his inauguration. some surprises there. >> yeah, absolutely. aids confirmed that hillary clinton and bill clinton will attend trump's inauguration. that will be the first time she
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has been face to face with trump, that we know of, since the debates. and also george w. and laura bush announced they will also be at the inauguration. so, some signs much national healing after trump waged a very tough general election battle against hillary clinton and lashed out at the bush family as we all recall during the campaign. >> very personal with the bushes and the clintons. jim accosta, thank you very much. he is a convicted felon. so, what is he doing with the president-elect at a new year's eve party? that's next. our totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. and if you have more than one liberty mutual policy, you qualify for a multi-policy discount, saving you money on your car and home coverage. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. (vo) it's that time of year again.
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>> welcome back to the lead and continuing with politics now. lots to talk about with my panel. they are molly hemming way, political correspondent at the washington post david drucker, the washington examiner. thanks to all of you for being here. molly, looking at donald trump
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taking to twitter threatening another american company, gm, also a deal with ford now keeping their plant here. ford says there is no deal made with the president. do you buy that? any sweeteners? >> there is a larger context here where you have -- you've had big businesses and corporations working with the government for a long time, getting cozy deals, the size and scope of the government have increased the past few decades. they can get favorable regulations. they can keep other companies from competing in this environment. what donald trump is doing is kind of trying to change the game here. he's saying if we're going to have all of this deal making between government and big businesses, we're going to start caring more about whether your company is based here or not. i don't know if you need the actual tangible deals being made to know that it's having some kind of influence. the people are aware of this kind of pressure that's out there and they want to try and appease him for better or for worse. this is not a free market solution. this is not a good idea for moving things into a more market-based economy.
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but, if you're going to have that type of relationship between the government and big businesses, he's just saying let's care a little more about the little man. so, politically speaking it's actually a really smart move. it's just not enough to actually change the economic condition. >> david, it wasn't long ago republicans ee advice rated president obama for picking winners and losers. is this not picking winners and losers? >> i am old enough to remember that and yes this is picking winners and losers. when you have power you don't mind. it's only when the other guy does t. >> as long as you're doing the picking. >> that's right. republicans if they want to talk principle here have a lot to answer for. this is not small government conservatism. however, there is something to be said for this idea that if you're a company looking about what to do about expansion, where you're going to manufacture products, if you think that the republican congress working with trump is going to reform the tax code, reduce regulations -- in other words, reduce the cost of doing business so that it's more cost-effective and affordable for you to stay in the united
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states rather than going to a foreign country, dealing with foreign kucountries where the re of law isn't like ours and you have to deal with the change in language -- >> labor regulations, environmental regulations. >> all of those things cost money. >> sure. >> if you want to look at why some foreign countries are -- it's more cost-effective to manufacture there and import back, it's because in america we want the best price and the best quality together. and if we don't get it we go to the competitor and the other guy goes out of business. you can't blame these companies for making a dollars and cents decision. that's the way this works. >> absolutely. ed, talking about russia hacking, so, we've learned the classified review into the hacking that the president ordered could be done as soon as this week. but i want to play some sound that one of trump's national security advisors said to us on this broadcast yesterday about how donald trump is playing the hacking game. it's james woolzy here. >> hacking leaves a lot of room for weaving around like this, and donald trump is an expert at this kind of weaving around and
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attracting everybody's attention. >> you're saying he's playing us in effect? >> there is a possibility that he is a little bit, yes. >> is that something a president-elect should be doing on a serious issue of national security? >> why not? i mean he's not interfering with anything. he's not talking about anything classified. >> pretty remarkable admission, is it not? >> it is indeed. and i mean, i don't even know where to go with that, right? he's essentially saying, yeah, you know, he's just trying to jack around a little bit. it's kind of fun, right? it's interesting and i mean the russians have got to be thinking, well, we thought that was sort of what was happening, but what do they do with it? it's a little bit of a head game he's doing ahead of the inauguration. >> just this week, there was this secret information only he knows that's going to be released. his advisors were already walking that back. now they're saying the talking point is let's wait for the final report, this review. this review has been ordered by the president, president obama. if the president-elect didn't
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accept the intelligence community's assessment, why will he accept one by the outgoing democratic president? >> we haven't gotten good information yet, if you look at the report that came out last week that was supposed to settle the issue how much russia was involved in meddling, it was very vague, it was very nonspecific. it was just using information that was already available like about how different commercial programs had identified threats that they thought were russian affiliated. and this report just lumped them all and said they were all russian intelligence services without actually providing the substantiation they were russian intelligence agencies. if you're going to have people believe russia hacked the vote totals, which isn't true, we should be patient. wait and see some good information. otherwise is it just looks like this is political game playing. >> to be clear, what is not in question is who did the hacking. it was russia. did it influence the election, et cetera. but from the campaign, you're getting a lot of muddying of the waters about who was behind it.
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so, if you talk to republicans -- >> if you talk to republicans on the hill that were steeped in this, they will tell you russia is a bad actor constantly trying to penetrate political parties and government agencies including intelligence agencies and members of congress. they know that russia is doing this all the time. they also will tell you that russia is uniquely capable of the kind of sophisticated hacking that is required to penetrate government agencies and political parties. so, the issue is, then, well, did putin do this for trump? and that's where they're hanging their hat on this idea that we don't know for sure. there is no evidence that putin specifically did this to help elect donald trump. >> that doesn't -- the thing is you'll hear from republicans, not me saying it, the mccains and grahams of the world, the senate majority leader republican, say that regardless what the intention was, it's a serious fact that russia infiltrated these systems and attempted to influence. >> and did something different here than we've seen in previous elections. i mean, foreign meddling in u.s.
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elections is not new nor is u.s. meddling in other countries' elections. what's new is the fact that information picked up as part of that meddling was released in what appears to be a partisan directed way. and that, that is the thing that the democrat are most focused on. it's also a thing that mccain and graham and their kind of codery among congressional republicans are fixated on as well. they are assuming it was russia behind it, and they are assuming that russia was doing that for a purpose. that's a problem for them. >> the assessment has been with confidence that russia was behind it. the question is what their intentions are. looking ahead to the inauguration, you now have this remarkable moment being set up with bill and hillary clinton now accepting the invitation to come to trump's inauguration which is to be clear fit ing with tradition. it's not unusual. how is that going to look, molly, how is that moment going to be, hillary clinton there close to donald trump? not a lot of love lost in that
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relationship. >> you keep thinking of how hillary clinton, one of her big pitches she was making about why she should be elected was she was -- just imagine donald trump up tha there that moment, how horrible that would be. so, this was a ref yu tags of that idea. this is what makes this country great, a peaceful transfer of power every four to eight years. it takes a lot of good will and good work on all sides to make sure that happens. so, it's great to see people who really have no love for donald trump coming forward and helping accomplish that. >> and the bushes there, too, david, as well. >> they are. that really shows you that i guess everybody can put politics aside at least for a few minutes because trump was unsparingly brutal on the bushes and the bush agenda just as he was of hillary clinton in the general election. >> david, moll, ann, thanks so much. questions surrounding one of donald trump's guests on new year's eve. a big name in hotels and a convicted felon named joey no socks, that's right after this.
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alis >> welcome back and more in our politics need now. it is certainly going to attract attention, deserves attention when a u.s. president-elect is associating with someone who has the nickname "joey no socks." joseph, a big name in hotels, and we should mention as well a convicted felon. miguel marques is looking into this for us. miguel, this is a long association with trump and the trump organization. >> indeed he does. they have known each other for many years. the big question now is how is it that the u.s. secret service and trump's own people are allowing a convicted felon such close access to the president-elect. that's joseph, a.k.a. joey no socks convicted of a felony in 1989 for art theft, celebrating next to the president-elect on new year's eve. >> thank you very much. it's a great honor. >> his current lawyer insists the art was legally owned by
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him, but the new york supreme court says he pled guilty in his conviction still stands. he was given a conditional discharge and served no jail time. trump and he go way back with him holding the american academy of sciences. trump has been ambassador extraordinary nehr, his children served as honorary trustees on the board and the current board is made up of several trump friends and business associates. in 2009, trump was given an award by him, one of many hotel awards his organization has bestowed on trump's properties over the years. >> it has no meaning whatsoever. but donald trump proudly hangs at least 19 awards in his golf courses. you'll notice they're signed not just by joey no socks. they're also signed by donald j. trump as chairman of the board. >> yes, trump's signature is on some of the awards.
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it's like trump giving himself an award. >> i'd especially like to congratulate and thank joe chinkway, the head of the academy, the unbelievable job he does. there is nobody like him. he's a special guy. there is nobody close. >> and at last year's mar a lag owe new year's eve celebration. >> so highly respected within the hospitality industry. >> again, the president-elect front and center with joey no socks. trump told the associated press he didn't know him well and wasn't aware of his conviction. >> let's assume donald trump doesn't know who this guy is. wow, donald trump is so unaware and doesn't have people around him to warn him that you are standing next to a convicted felon who credibly claimed to have a relationship with john gotty? that's astonishing. >> now, the u.s. secret service declined to comment on how it is
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that a convicted felon ended up so close to donald trump at this year's new year's eve celebration. they referred us to the transition folks who had no comment. we also reached out to joey no socks himself and we have not heard back from him. jim? >> am i gmiguel marques, thanks much. it won't happen again. that's what donald trump is tweeting about north korea's plans that could develop nukes to reach the u.s. next is the option to preept him. next it would be the first program of its kind in the country, free college tuition for any students at in-state universities as long as their parents meet one requirement. that's ahead.
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>> we are back now with our worldly president-elect donald trump trying to shut down the north korean threat with, yes, a tweet. trump vowed to prevent kim jung un from fulfilling his plan to test a long-range missile that could theoretically reach here in the u.s.. the u.s. president went one step further that china is not doing enough to de-nuclear ize north kree a. let me bring in barbara star. trump's response to kim jung un getting into dangerous territories. speaking to defense officials, is this considered a dangerous tweet from the incoming u.s. president? >> jim, perhaps eyebrow raising
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to say the least. today the white house press secretary josh ernest suggested president obama still has doubts about donald trump's ability to protect the u.s. from north korea. nobody knows if north korea's kim jung un has seen donald trump's latest tweet. north korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the u.s. it won't happen. and nobody knows how north korea's erratic leader will now react. >> this particular tweet is in essence telling the north koreans putting them on notice that they are going to be watched very carefully by the incoming administration and that they don't have carte blanche to go ahead and develop an inter continental ballistic missile. >> this after kim said. >> cutting arms is progressing and inter continental ballistic
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test launch is in its last stage. >> it's not clear how soon kim can be ready to launch a missile that could reach the u.s., but the prospect raises alarm. if a nuclear weapon exploded over a west coast population center like los angeles or san francisco, tens of thousands could be killed. even a non-nuclear north korean attack into south korea could also kill tens of thousands, including 30,000 u.s. troops based there. trump on the campaign trail was open to talking to kim. >> i wouldn't go there, that i can tell you. if he came here, i'd accept him, but i wouldn't give him a state dinner. >> now trump wants to pressure china to get kim to roll back his nuclear program. china has been taking out massive amounts of money and wealth from the u.s. in totally one sided trade, but it won't help with north korea, nice. but that already brushed aside
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by beijing. >> we hope to see all sides avoid remarks and actions that would escalate tensions. >> the obama administration doesn't think north korea can threaten the u.s. with a nuclear missile yet. >> we do not believe that he at this point in time has the capability to tip one of these with a nuclear war head. that's as far as i'm going to go in terms of assessing. >> the current u.s. military response focuses on defending against an attack with intercepters in alaska and california, and ships in the western pacific. but in the face of a sudden imminent threat, u.s. officials tell cnn president trump could activate existing plans for preemptive attacks, so-called no mercy strikes to destroy the regime and its weapons. a former defense secretary who called for a preemptive strike in 2006 now says it must not
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happen. >> preemptive strike could bring about complete and total catastrophe to south south korea and japan. so, that is not an option. >> now the man who stood with bill perry, that defense secretary back in 2006, calling for a preemptive strike, the current defense secretary in the obama administration, secretary ash carter. jim? >> north koreans have made a lot of progress since then. thanks. if escalating tensions lead to war, how would american soldiers and their families in south korea protect themselves? cnn's alexandra field has an exclusive look at how u.s. citizens there are now preparing for the worst. >> reporter: jim, u.s. military personnel around the world are prepared for the possibility of confronting danger. but it's a much more unique situation that their family would also have to prepare. but that's the reality in south korea. it's a possibility that the u.s. military takes so seriously that
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they actually require these families to maintain a certain level of readiness to evacuate. and in this case we are able to ride along as they practiced taking some of these family off the peninsula. >> like a fish in a fish tank. >> reporter: for brianna martinez, home is a place that's technically at war. >> this will protect your child from chemical biological agent -- >> reporter: they are an american military family currently based in south korea where u.s. forces could one day be called to respond to threats from north korea. a looming possibility that could leave american civilians on the peninsula looking for safety. do the girls understand what kind of emergency they're practicing for? >> we told the girls that korea is at war at one point. so we come over here to defend what we fought for. >> reporter: the south korean and the military regularly run joint drills to maintain their
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readiness, but this drill is for american military families. it shows them how their soldiers could help them evacuate if tensions between the north and the south turned into conflict. nicole martinez and her family volunteered for the practice run that also helps the army prepare. family learn where to assemble in case of an american emergency, manmade or otherwise. they're shown how to pack and how the military will keep track of them. the drill sends them south. they spend two days hop scotching by bus and by helicopter before reaching a south korean air field and flying out. in the event of a real threat, the u.s. state department would decide how many americans and their families would need to evacuate. in order to get people off the peninsula quickly, the army says they would likely send families to safe havens right here in the
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region, places like okinawa, japan. this is where families could take shelter before planning that much longer trip back to the states. real world lessons for american children seen at different part of the world. do your kids know the name kim jung un? >> they don't. we haven't touched on that, but our military kids are -- this is what they learn. in school they know what's going on. they know they have to keep up with current events that are going on around the world. >> reporter: raising a family in south korea, martinez as a veteran says she feels safe. she doesn't worry about a threat. she knows it's possible. she wants her children to learn how to prepare. while these drills are about familiarizing families with the evacuation procedures they're also about testing the military's readiness to evacuate americans from the korean peninsula. unless they know exactly what the threat is, they don't know how many americans they could potentially be ordered to move or how quickly they would have to do t. they tell us they prepare by practicing different routes and by using a number of
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different methods of evacuating people, everything from helicopters, planes, buses, even dedicated train routes. jim? >> alexandra field, thank you very much. one state now wants to offer free tuition for students at all public universities. but there is a catch. that's next.
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see? uh, it's a girl. congratulations! two of my girls are toms. i work for ally, finances are my thing. you know, i'm gonna go give birth real quick and then we'll talk, ok? nice baby. let's go. here comes tom #5! nothing, stops us from doing right by our customers. ally. do it right. whoo! look out. >> welcome back to the lead. our money lead now, free college tuition, that is the promise put forth today by new york governor andrew cuomo and vermont senator bernie sanders. students at any of the empire state's public universities. cnn debra joins us live. how would it work? >> the governor and senator are
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proposing free tuition fighting the average college debt of $30,000 for basic education. it is designed for middle class and lower income families who earn $125,000 and under. and here's how it work. first, students have to be accepted into either two or four-year public program. they then apply for existing state and federal financial aid. the governor's new kpelsier scholarship covers what's left over closing tuition gap and making tuition free. this could impact 80% or 940,000 eligible new york household with college age schil dren. it is only for public universities and it is expected to cost about $163 million a year. it does not cover undocumented students nor does it cover any costs outside of tuition. for example, books or room and board. >> still, i imagine a big deal for a lot of middle and lower income families. so, how would new york state pay for this? >> well, most likely taxpayer dollars. the governor is going to have to get approval from the legislature. new york assembly's leading republican brian has criticized
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the cost of the $163 million a year plan saying that it's unfair to tax payers because the governor is telling new yorkers essentially to write a bigger check. but if approved, the scholarship would begin this year in 2017, helping families making $100,000 or less. it increases gradually as you see there, and would by 2019 cover those making $125,000 or less. and one important aspect to this plan, jim, is that full-time enrollment is mandatory. and the reason for that is they want to accelerate education and boost on-time graduation rates in new york state which for a four-year public college are just 39%. it drops off even more for a two-year public college to 8.5%. so, they want to get them in, they want to get them through the four-year or two years and then get them into the work force. jim? >> deb, thanks so much. before we go, big announcement on thursday january 12, cn will host a town hall with house speaker paul ryan. our own jake tapper will sit down with the speaker at george washington university here in washington just over a week
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before president-elect donald trump's inauguration. jake and ryan will take questions from the audience about the gop strategy for their first 100 days of the trump's presidency. you can see the one-hour live only on cnn 9:00 p.m. eastern, that is next thursday, january 12th. that's it for the lead. i'm jim chute ore. for jake tapper. i turn you over to the situation room where it resides, wolf blitzer. >> happening now, about face, after a critical feat for plek president-elect trump, they gut an ethics watch dog. on the first day of the new congress, republicans are ready to get to work on trump's agenda. can democrats do anything about it? back on the hill, cnn has learned that despite the extraordinarily bitter election campaign, bill and hillary clinton will attend donald trump's inauguration. fellow george w. bush who refused to support trump. push back, the kremlin said had had nothing to do