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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Touts Insider Knowledge On Hacking Doubts CIA Report; What Did Kerry's Parting Shot On Israel Mean?; What Did Kerry's Parting Shot On Middle East Mean?; State Dept. "Surprised" By U.K. Backlash To Kerry Speech; In Final Days, Obama Acts To Protect Health Care Legacy; Obama Meets With Congress To Protect Affordable Care Act; Incoming NC Governor Sues To Get Power Back; Aired: 4-5p ET

Aired January 1, 2017 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:00] DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Just because a judge signs off on a warrant and says the judge believes there is probable cause doesn't necessarily mean amazon has to take it and just take it at face value. You know, traditionally, search warrants were going into your home and looking around. The modern search warrant served on amazon is essentially saying to then, you go, give us all your data and we'll decide what we think is relevant to a prosecution.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right. Thanks so much. Joey and Danny.

All right. More to come. This is the tip of the iceberg? Appreciate it.

CEVALLOS: Thanks, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Happy New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you.

WHITFIELD: All right. The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hello again. And thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. We are following the breaking news from the terror attack in Turkey. We now know one American was injured in the nightclub shooting in Istanbul. In brand-new surveillance video, we see people fleeing the nightclub. The video was taken as the gunman entered a high profile club and then opened fire.

This is the other security footage showing the attacker. You see there, he opens up fire before entering the nightclub. A manhunt is now underway for the suspect. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner is joining me live now from Istanbul.

So Sara, what were authorities able to learn from now these two different angles of video? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are not saying. They are

keeping a lot of the information in their investigation quiet. Though they have been saying they are on a very big manhunt, trying to find the perpetrator in this massacre.

What we can see after looking through the videos, we can't tell if that is him coming out or going in. But we can certainly tell that people can hear him firing off shots before you can see him come into frame. And all of a sudden, you see the gun firing over and over and other again. He doesn't hit people at first, and then he aims his gun clearly at people very close to him. Just a couple of feet away.

We know that the security guards, two security guards and a police officer were shot and killed during this massacre. And then the gunman was able to get inside and do even more damage. A total of 39 people so far killed in this attack. More than 60 people injured, including, as you mentioned, an American citizen. We do not know the status of that American citizen or many of the others who were injured who are from all over the world. And just so you know, 25 of the 39 people who were killed are foreign nationals - Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sara. And do investigators feel like they can count on surveillance video from other businesses nearby? I know you described this area as one where there are a number of nightclubs. It is a very popular location.

SIDNER: Yes. I mean, I'm sure they are looking around. We were trying to kind of see if there was some cameras on some of these other buildings. And there are indeed cameras on some of these buildings. Though they are not pointed directly across the street. They are pointed more right where people would be walking into those establishments. But I am sure, and I assure you they are looking at all that, trying to see if there is any other glimpse of this person, a close shot of the face, so that they can use that then to try and track this person down.

This city is so sick and tired of being attacked. They were attacked at least five times last year with many, many people dying in those attacks. One of them in a very popular shopping area near (INAUDIBLE) square and now, this. A place where people from all over the world used to come and look forward to coming to have a good time, to go out and have a night out. Couples, single people, east and west joined here. Very much like Istanbul. And now, this is a place of mourning. We have seen flowers and candles that re being set outside in memory of the victims.

WHITFIELD: Terribly sad. All right. Thank you so much, Sara Sidner.

All right, here in the U.S., president-elect Donald Trump is saying he has insider knowledge about the cyber hack that led to sanctions against Russia. At a New Year's Eve party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, he once again cast doubt on U.S. Intel operations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I just want them to be sure. Because it is a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure. If you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster. And they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure. I think it is unfair if they don't know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's go now to CNN's Ryan Nobles in Washington.

So Ryan, what more now from the statements from Donald Trump?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is pretty clear, Fredricka, that we don't know the approach that Donald Trump is going to take once he takes office as it relates to this hack. And this despite a growing call from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress that it needs to be looked into further. And Trump even went further last night at that event at Mar-a-Lago, suggesting that the United States government may be too reliant on technology when it comes to intelligence gathering. He even suggested that perhaps in some cases, the government should go a little more old school. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:05:24] TRUMP: I also know things that other people don't know. And so they cannot be sure of this situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like what do you know that other people don't know?

TRUMP: You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: So the president-elect there suggesting he knows more about this situation than some intelligence agencies. He even said that perhaps computers shouldn't be used as much. And in some cases, key intelligence information should be written down on a piece of paper and even delivered by courier.

And Trump set to take off from his estate at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and head back to New York for a busy week of meetings. There are still several key cabinet posts, Fredricka, that he has yet to appoint, including AG secretary and others. So this could be a busy week for Donald Trump as he starts off the New Year in a very busy fashion.

WHITFIELD: Right. And Ryan, we are seeing live figures now of the motorcade pulling up to the Trump aircraft there in Palm Beach, Florida. And presumably momentarily, we'll see Donald Trump and Melania Trump then emerge and board the plane before it makes its way back here to New York. We'll continue to keep a close eye on things.

Ryan Nobles in Washington, thank you.

NOBLES: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un sending a chilling new year's message that the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is imminent. In a New Year's Day speech, he says his country is making preparations to conduct the first test of the long-range missiles. It is a bold move, raising fears that North Korea has strengthened its nuclear capabilities right before Donald Trump's inauguration.

CNN's Sama Moshin has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMA MOSHIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong-Un chose his New Year's Day address to talk all of them (INAUDIBLE) in bolstering national defense capacity. Now, he talked yet again of the hydrogen bomb test, which we simply can't independently verify, and then he said this.

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): research and development of the cutting edge tech weapons are actively progressing and strengthening our defense capabilities, including last stage preparation of tests for intercontinental ballistic rocket launch have been continuously succeeding. This will protect the destiny of the motherland.

MOSHIN: NOW, Nobody knows if, at all, how close North Korea is to test firing an intercontinental ballistic missile. But we do know in February 2016, they launched a satellite into the sky, which many experts said could be a template for a long-range missile test. And so there was concern about the capacity North Korea had and, of course, conducting its fifth and largest nuclear test on September 9th, 2016, which resulted in yet more sanctions.

A few days ago, the highest level diplomatic defector from north to South Korea (INAUDIBLE) told South Korea media that as long as Kim Jong-Un is in power, he will continue with his nuclear ambitions. He is determined to complete his nuclear mission program by the end of 2017 no matter how much money he has opted. So this would seemingly weave into this announcement that Kim Jong-Un made. And Kim Jog-un also said in this 30-minute speech that his country has soared as a nuclear and military power in the east. And no formidable enemy dare encroach upon them.

Sama Moshin, Seoul, South Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And we will discuss Kim Jong-Un's defiant tone and aggressive nuclear ambitions, plus the terror attacks in Turkey, dozens dead and an American among the injured. Former U.S. assistant state department official Jamie Rubin joins us next.

And President Barack Obama has an appointment this week on Capitol Hill. Why he is making one last political push before he leaves office.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:12:01] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

So from Russia's hacking operations to the attack at Istanbul's nightclub to North Korea's imminent nuclear missile preparations, 2017 is already shaping up to be a busy year in foreign policy and sure to impact Donald Trump's incoming administration.

Earlier, I spoke with former U.S. assistant state department official Jamie Rubin, on how the president-elect may be tackling these unsettling issues.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE RUBIN, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think the idea of Islamic-based terrorism is certainly something that president-elect Trump has made clear that is going to be his highest priority. That means essentially fighting the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria and wherever there is a threat. I'm not sure there is a lot more that can be done on the ground in Iraq and Syria without putting American ground troops. So you may find there's less new policy to be made there.

But where there is likely to be a real challenge to the United States is on the subject of North Korea. Because I don't think the North Korean leader was exaggerating when he said this could be a big break through. If North Korea developed an intercontinental range missile, meaning one that can go many thousands of miles and strike the United States, and had the technology to put a miniaturized nuclear weapon on that missile, that would be a threat to the United States that would be dramatic and analogous maybe to when Russia first tested their nuclear weapon back in the 1950s. We don't want that particular man with his particular danger and irresponsibility to be able to kill millions of Americans.

WHITFIELD: And are you concerned that this, too, may be an issue of believability for the incoming president? This week, Donald Trump is to have his intel briefing. The primary focus was going to be on Russia, on this cyber war. But now clearly, North Korea has to be at the top of the list. What are your worries or concerns based on the language Donald Trump has already used, casting doubt on intel?

RUBIN: Well, I think it is a good question to put the two together, North Korea and Russia. Because what you may be hearing is the difference between a businessmen who spent a lot of time in court fighting off lawsuits, who talks about what you can prove in court. If the standard is what you can prove in court, well then it is probably true that the United States intelligence agencies aren't 100 percent certain of many things that the president has to make a decision about whether it's the North Koreans getting an intercontinental range missile with nuclear weapons.

I doubt we're going to be 100 percent sure until they actually launch the missile. But previous presidents understood if they tested a capability, if we knew that certain technology was being improved, they made judgments and made leaps of logic that a president normally respects.

If you want to use the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq standard, meaning a terrible mistake the intelligence community made because they had nobody on the ground, president Trump is going to have a tough time doing any business.

[16:15:19] WHITFIELD: Well, it is interesting because last night, the weapons of mass destruction, the failed intelligence on that, that was one of the examples that Donald Trump cited when at a New Year's Eve event last night. And he said, you know, I also know things that other people don't know. You will find out Tuesday or Wednesday, as it pertains to what kind of information he knows in light of Russia. How concerning is it about the upcoming or lack thereof cooperation and respect between a new president and the intelligence guidance?

RUBIN: Well, I think it is always important to make sure that the president of the United States be an individual granted enormous power by our constitution and our system, the president really can launch a war, stop a war, make peace, do incredibly powerful and important things in our world. And if he is operating on false information, gut instinct, based on what he watches on TV or reads in the newspaper, but without the confidence to work with our intelligence community, that is troubling.

Now, in the area of computers and hacking, Donald Trump may know some things that most people don't. But it is clear that the people who spend their lives doing this at the national security agency are confident that the people involved with the hack of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's closest aides were the same people that have done things around the world that we know to be involved with the Russians. But they don't know it the way you might in a court of law. And again, if Donald Trump holds to that standard, what you can prove, he said, that's going to make life difficult. All we can hope for is that as the president is inaugurated, and the question of how he was elected is less and less important, he will focus on the substance. And the substance is very worrying.

Russia poses grave dangers to the west, to our world, and we sure hope we have a president who is more interested in responding to those dangers and getting our allies together to work together against Russia than someone who is so interested in the limelight that he would be more inclined to make a deal with a leader like Putin over the heads of our friends and allies in Europe.

WHITFIELD: So on the passing of information, president-elect Trump, again, reiterated he is not big on emailing. Of course, we know he is very handy and likes to lean on twitter. But he says in order to best pass on information and messages, it needs to be written down and perhaps even couriered. Is he giving us a window into what he -- what potential changes he wants to see once he gets into the White House? How he has conversations with intel heads and chiefs? Or even his own advisers?

RUBIN: Well, look, he is -- the president-elect is stating the obvious. We all know that when Osama bin Laden wanted to hide from the world, he stopped using the phone and he stopped electronic communications and couriers were involved in passing on messages. Everybody knows that. And Donald Trump certainly is good for him to alert the public to the fact there is an inherent risk of privacy to email when Russia has spent so much time and energy, and China, has spent so much time and energy learning how to spy on our computer systems. That's useful to remind the American public.

But I just hope that it isn't a way of suggesting that because you never have 100 percent certainty of who the hacker is working for, or what number was used, that the president-elect won't accept the compelling evidence that has led 15 separate intelligence agencies to come together and declare that Russia did something really unprecedented and risked, you know, a conflict with the United States.

This was an act of provocation. It was an act of sabotage. And I sure hope president-elect Trump confronts Mr. Putin with these facts by getting our allies together. The difference between the United States and China and Russia is that we have friends and allies around the world that are force multipliers, that are crucial to what makes the world safe for our people, for our businesses, that allows us to prosper. Allies are important. And I sure hope the president-elect realizes that and acts accordingly.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jamie Rubin, thanks so much from London. Happy New Year.

RUBIN: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right, up next, we will talk politics and Donald Trump say he has information that others don't about the cyberattacks that led to sanction against Russia. More on that conversation. Is this setting up a political fight between Capitol Hill and the executive office?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:23:03] WHITFIELD: All right. A Vermont utility company says there is no indication its information or systems were hacked or compromised after malware linked to Russian hackers was found on a company laptop. Burlington Electric says the malware found in their system was not unique, and there is no evidence of an attempt to tamper with the electric grid.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is following this story for us and joins me now live - Jessica.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, no evidence of hacking or any customer information being stolen. But, of course, there's still concern and question about the malware that was found on this Burlington Electric laptop.

Now, this came to light after federal agencies sent out an alert on Thursday about malware code that was found on the Democratic National Committee computers and were compromised during the elections. It was something blamed on the Russians. Well, Burlington Electric found an internet address associated with

that malware. It was communicating with a company laptop. The electric company did act fast, isolated the computer, pulling it off the network and then alerting federal authorities.

Now, the department of homeland security is now acknowledging it was, in fact, the same code used in malicious cyber activity the U.S. government blamed on Russian hackers. But so far, there is no further comment and no details on how or if this latest intrusion in Vermont is tied to the Russians.

Now, Burlington electric says the computer was not tied to its grid control systems and they don't believe this was part of any effort to bring down the electric grid anyway. Now, all the details in this are still unfolding. It is part of an investigation. But some lawmakers in Vermont, including U.S. senator Patrick Leahy, now calling this a direct threat to Vermont -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

All right, despite the latest cyber security concerns, president-elect Donald Trump continues to cast doubts about Russia's involvement in hacking the U.S. election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I just want them to be sure. Because it is a very serious charge and I want them to be sure. If you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster. And they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure. I think it is unfair if they don't know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:25:20] WHITFIELD: Trump went on to say he has information about the hacking that others don't. Information he would reveal on quote "Tuesday or Wednesday."

All right. I'm joined now by Republican strategist Brian Morgenstern and political analyst Ellis Henican.

All right. Good to see you, gentlemen.

All right. Some interesting messages from Donald Trump last night about knowing things that others don't know. Sending a message of defiance, if you will, too, that again, he continues to doubt U.S. intelligence. So he is supposed to have briefings this week, not just with intel personnel, but intel chiefs. So what might that meeting be like, Ellis?

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Hi. First of all, I know Brian was surprised by that hack in Vermont because he thought everyone in Bernie Sanders town was already off the grid, right?

BRIAN MORGENSTERN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Right. I didn't know you could hack coal burning stoves.

HENICAN: But listen. No, this is just a continuation of a conversation we've been having about Donald Trump and technology now for many months. And you put the intelligence operation in there, it gets more complicated.

To be the president, you kind of have to believe most of what you are told by top intelligence officials. They seem highly confident on this. And then if he has some secret evidence to the contrary, I'm surely itching to hear about it on Tuesday or Wednesday.

WHITFIELD: So this is making it complicated, as he, you know, embarks on a relationship that will come from the presidency with your intelligence agencies. These regular briefings, whether it is daily or whether it is three times a week, even how customized those briefings are going to be. Is Donald Trump going to regret kind of this language as president-elect because the dynamic may be different once he is in the oval office?

MORGENSTERN: You know, I think the leaders in the intelligence community tend to be real pros. I think they can sort of rise above politics and kind of sweep those things to the side. And I think the point he was making is just, you know, show your work. Show us the evidence. I know senator McCain is planning to have hearings on this and so let the guys share with the American people what the evidence is.

WHITFIELD: Is it problematic when you have a good number of Republicans on the hill, a number of those elected in office who are appreciating and believing this intelligence, and you've got the president-elect who is not?

MORGENSTERN: Well, he is asking for proof. I mean, his press secretary was interviewed earlier and said he's going to have the briefings. We are going to hear the evidence. We are going to figure it out. It doesn't seem to be -- at least it doesn't strike me as Trump saying, I don't believe these guys. It's just, where the beef? Show me what you have got.

WHITFIELD: Really? I mean, Ellis, it sounds like he is saying, I don't believe the guys. But intelligence, they got it right when it came to Osama bin Laden, when it came down to Chinese hacking. But he's holding on to, they got it wrong for WMD so they potentially could be getting it wrong on this Russian cyber war?

HENICAN: Guys, it is not an accident, what the topic is here. Of the one thing that Donald Trump expressed, this extraordinary reluctance, they were saying something bad about the Russians. So now, we need to be skeptical on it. This is not a dissing of the intelligence community. It is an embracing of Vladimir Putin. And that's the lens you need to see this through.

WHITFIELD: And so, that's what makes it problematic potentially, is that there is almost this allegiance to protecting potential relationship between the U.S. and Russia or protecting Vladimir Putin. And that's an interesting message especially as it pertains to what, 99 of 100 senators who are saying, we want to see more sanctions. We want to see more take place as it pertains to Russia, retaliation.

MORGENSTERN: Yes, it is different approach obviously than what we have seen.

WHITFIELD: Good word.

MORGENSTERN: Yes. But it is not the reset. But like I was saying yesterday, you know, with the hawks in the Foreign Relations Committee who want to slap every sanctions of the man on Putin, maybe having this the good cop and bad cop thing may have different results. And Putin seems to be, you know, eager to work with Trump. I think the, you know, fighting terrorism is a cause they can unite on. In terms of hacking, obviously, enemies foreign and domestic are trying to hack us every single day, the Chinese among others.

HENICAN: That's not going to be the problem when it get back to the when we carrier pigeon.

WHITFIELD: That's right. He doesn't trust emailing. He says, you know, let's write things down and do as he has done, use a courier. But that doesn't seem like that's going to work when you are in the White House.

HENICAN: The technological (INAUDIBLE), because of his twitter activity, we all kind of initially thought of him as a tech guy. But when you dig in to that he doesn't use email.

WHITFIELD: Twitter.

HENICAN: He doesn't Google, right? Apparently, he has a 10-year-old son, and that's something that, you know, we all learn this stuff from kids. But compared to Barack Obama, who is fundamentally, 47 years old, when he became the president, a techy guy, this is a different environment when it comes to technology.

WHITFIELD: It is a very different. And you know, speaking of twitter, what we know this has been, you know, a very reliable, you know, accessory for Donald Trump. We saw, you know, President Obama just within the past 24 hours using twitter to really remind people of what he has done, you know, in the past eight years. It is very interesting that this president is saying in his last 19 days now, I'm not going to sit back. I'm going to use each of these days leading up to the swearing in. It is not just to remind people of what I've done but to still continue on with some business, Brian.

BRIAN MORGENSTERN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. He's not backing down. He's--

WHITFIELD: Even if at the risk of the next president saying he is going to try to reverse everything.

MORGENSTERN: Right. Obama is running through the tape anyway. And he, in fact, I guess, you know, he's lobbying congress. He is, as you said, tweeting out bits of his legacy. The fact remains though that he is a lame duck. We're going to have a new president in a couple of weeks. And so, the reception for these efforts, at least on Capitol Hill especially among members who were elected campaigning against him, might be chilly. Although, you know, I think the American people appreciate the effort of a president working hard through the tape anyway.

WHITFIELD: Uh-huh. Swearing in, 19 days away. What are you envisioning when you think of what inauguration day will look like?

ELLIS HENICAN, AMERICAN COLUMIST AND POLITICAL ANALYST, THE FOX NEWS CHANNEL: I think it's going to be so dramatically different. I put aside the fact that the new guy is already banging on the door 19 days early. But I mean, I assume the first step is going to be revoke a whole bunch of executive orders, right? The second step is going to be to figure out the practical terms with some of these changes lead. It's one thing to say, I'm going to get rid of Obamacare but it is a more complicated issue to figure out what we're going to put in its place. I think at least in quick, early, easy things and then the really hard work begins.

WHITFIELD: And those are the first order of business but do you wonder if he's going to touch on that and what he said, he promises it to be a relatively short inauguration speech. He doesn't want people to stand in the cold too long, inauguration day, historically --

HENICAN: Storms, slow things day on, right?

WHITFIELD: Always--well, and that's another issue. You know, historically, it is always freezing cold.

HENICAN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: So, but his message, how does he incorporate, how does he, you know, exude a message of unity, at the same time perhaps touching on all the promises that helped get him into this spot in the first place?

MORGENSTERN: Well, The tone he's had since the election, or at least right after the election of being gracious to Hillary Clinton who he defeated and having the great--the sort of graceful transition with President Obama, I would--I would expect more along those lines rather than haters and losers and--or language like that.

WHITFIELD: Happy New Year to my enemies.

MORGENSTERN: To my many enemies throughout the world.

WHITFIELD: Love.

MORGENSTERN: Yes. So, you know, more of a gracious tone probably. I think the Rockettes will put everybody in a good mood. I think that's cool that they're performing. The NYPD is sending some great musicians down there to perform as well. So--

WHITFIELD: More and Tabernacle?

MORGENSTERN: Yes. So, there will be nice performances. And a short speech makes everybody happy. That is the most unified--brevity can be a unifying tactic.

WHITFIELD: All right. Brian and Ellis, see you again soon. Thank you so much. I'm going to appreciate. Happy New Year again. All right. Also, up next, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's parting shot to Israel. What did it mean and why didn't president Obama give that speech?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. This week. There was a clear parting shot from the Obama Administration to Israel when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered this highly critical speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNY KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution. But his current coalition is the most right wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. The result is that policies of this government, which the prime minister himself just described as more committed to settlements than any in Israel's history, are leading in the opposite direction. They're leading towards one state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Kerry's words drew immediate criticism. Most notably from a key U.S. Ally, Great Britain. British Prime Minister Theresa May chiding Kerry saying, "It's not appropriate to attack the composition of a democratically elected ally." All right. Let's talk more about this. Joined now by CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Aaron David Miller. Good to see you. So you wrote an op-ed for CNNn.com. And in it, you say, I have to figure the president was quite content to allow the secretary of state to take the next hit and given Kerry's energizer bunny drive to try and resolve the conflict it was both natural and appropriate. Well, it may be representative of the president's views, is it intentional that it's the secretary of state would front this and then potentially take the hits?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think, Fred--and by the way, happy new year.

WHITFIELD: Happy New Year.

MILLER: I think it's fair to say--I think it's fair to say that when presidents attach their names to initiatives, the Reagan initiative, the Obama--excuse me, the Clinton parameters, it does carry a certain weight. You can argue with that the president's statement was the abstention in the U.S--in the U.N. Security Council and that secretary of state having been the energizer bunny of American foreign policy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, it was quite appropriate, given the fact he'd done most of the work and mediation in 2013 to2014 and that he feels so passionately about this that it was appropriate that he be given an opportunity to frame the issue for the administration as it leaves town.

WHITFIELD: Uh-hmm. Do you think this was more a parting shot from the Obama administration to the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu? That relationship has been very prickly or does this in large part kind of lay the groundwork for the incoming president?

MILLER: I mean, you know, having written speeches for republican and democratic secretary of states on this issue, there is certain logic in giving a speech. Whether or not this was designed to tie the hands of the incoming administration, I doubt that it will succeed. Whether it was a parting shot based on resentment and anger over the fact that the prime minister wasn't getting the memo on settlements. I think by and large, it was an effort by the part--on the part of this administration to frame the issue. Because they understand what's coming, and what's coming either through inattention or acquiescence is probably the environment that's going to make it almost impossible to have a serious negotiation leading to a two-state solution.

WHITFIELD: Uh-hmm. Or maybe even a reminder to people the Obama administration tried really hard to leave like let be a list of this is what was done or achieved in the last eight years. So the President-Elect also weighed in on this issue. This is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, I spoke to him yesterday. He's been very nice on the phone. We have a very good relationship. Look, we have to protect Israel. Israel to me is very, very important. We have to protect Israel. And I disagree with what he's done on Israel. I listened to Secretary Kerry's speech. I think it is very unfair to Israel, what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, does this exemplify kind of another bromance, you know, seeming to emerge between Trump and Netanyahu similar to what we've seen between, you know, Trump and Putin?

MILLER: Yes. I mean, you're coming off one of the most dysfunctional relationships in the modern history of the U.S.-Israeli relationship between an American President and Israeli Prime Minister. And clearly, President-Elect Trump's indications, his statements, the appointment of Mr. Friedman, is an effort, as a--as the putative ambassador, as an effort to lay down a marker that there is going to be a fundamental break in style and tone. The real question, Fred, I think is once governing replaces campaigning and you actually have a real presidency, whether or not realities, including the appointment of Jim Mattis, secretary of defense, Rex Tillerson, secretary of state, these men are more steeped in real politics.

Certainly, they both know the realities within the Arab world and I think Mr. Mattis knows Israel at least from a security point of view. I suspect there may be sobering of the President-Elect's views when it comes to giving the Israelis a greener or even yellow light. At the same time, I think it is fair to say there is going to be a fundamental break in--and improvement in this relationship between Netanyahu and the incoming president, without a doubt.

WHITFIELD: Do you believe that still leads to the road of a two-state solution?

MILLER: I think the reality is the Israeli-Palestinian issue, sad and tragic as it may be, it's just not ready for primetime. You don't have the leadership on either side, you don't have the ownership. The gaps on the core issues, the fundamental sense of mistrust. And, you know, like rock and roll, the peace process may never die but it doesn't mean the two-state solution is going to succeed and I suspect we may actually be setting the stage for its--for its demise.

WHITFIELD: Hmm, all right. Aaron David Miller, thank you so much. Good to see you.

MILLER: Always a pleasure, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. President Barack Obama trying to hold on to among other things Obamacare. He's heading to Capitol Hill to meet with democrats this week. Will they come up with a plan to stop Republican efforts to dismantle his signature achievement? A look at the political fight coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. So, this Wednesday, President Barack Obama will meet with democrats in congress to protect his landmark piece of legislation, Obamacare. But some are calling this an effort to protect his legacy all together. At his New Year's eve party at Mar- a-Lago, Trump said, Obama's efforts may be in vain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, he's president until January 20th. After then after that, it's our turn. So we'll see what happens. He's going to protect what he wants to do, and perhaps you can say, his legacy. But, you know, if you look at Obamacare where you have in many cases over 100 percent increase, it is unaffordable. It doesn't work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Obama could encounter a heated battle on Capitol Hill over what republicans want to repeal and replace. Let's talk about this with our political panel. I want to bring back Brian Morganstern, a republican strategist. And political analyst, Ellis Henican. All right. Welcome back. All right. So, President Obama, he, you know, sent out a tweet of all of his, you know, many of his accomplishments over the last eight years. He has a meeting this week, mostly with dems on the hill. Presumably to say, you know, try to equip them with some information. This is how you fight to help keep Obamacare. But then when you hear Donald Trump and some of his advisers, there are things in Obamacare they want to maintain. So, you know, Brian, what is the bats battle of how to make the decision of what to repeal, what to replace. Is there some real evolution of thinking from Donald Trump's point of view, that maybe it won't be gutted as promised on the campaign trail?

MORGENSTERN: Where, there are a few pieces that even republicans have sort of come around to and one of them is, you know, allowing children to stay on their parents' plan longer. And a version of the preexisting condition provision, where if you've had--if you've been continually covered, then you can--you will continue to be able to be covered as supposed to be.

WHITFIELD: Which are marquee components.

MORGENSTERN: Right. So, they're important ones. But they are going to put in a new healthcare program because Trump campaigned on it. He's appointed Tom Price who was the author of one of the alternatives. And the composition of the senate, while republicans don't have a filibuster proof majority, they do have a whole bunch of democrats who are up for election in 2018 in states that Trump won. So they are going to be motivated to work with the republicans so that they can go back home and say, you know, "Look, I've been able to work with this administration, even though I am a democrat and you voted for Trump. You should keep me in there." So, they have a motivation to really work with the administration.

WHITFIELD: But, Ellis, will it prove to be more complicated than it sounds on the surface?

HENICAN: Well, the politics are easy. But the policy gets really dicey. I mean, You want to throw 20 million Americans who have insurance today off the rolls as we had before? Do you--do you want to look at folks and say, you're not going to get medical care anymore? There is a reason that through the entire life of Obamacare, there was never a clear republican alternative because, you know, it gets complicated. The mandate which requires people to have insurance is part of what allows you to finance those things that Brian is speaking of, there's so many Americans like. Coming up with a plan that is economically sustainable is going to be very difficult. And you know what, if they've got one, I'd sure love to hear it.

WHITFIELD: There were more than a dozen defeated votes on replacing it, repealing it. So why can it be an easy sell that it's a matter of repackaging it and coming up with something better, if the attempt failed already?

MORGENSTERN: They had the namesake of Obamacare in the White House, so that made it awfully difficult. But some of the--some of the simple measures that have been campaigned upon by republicans for years include allowing--you know, opening up markets between states. That's something Trump campaigned on and republicans across the board campaigned on. That's one thing. But having a cost structure that actually allows smaller and mid-market insurance companies to compete, which have been going out of business as a result of Obamacare over the course of this administration, that will be important. You know, basically allowing more competition and making it a more consumer- based program rather than a government-administered program. That will save people.

WHITFIELD: What ends up being the answer to hospitals who have expressed, they're really worried that repealing this, making significant changes may mean it puts them out of business and makes it much more difficult for them to be able to afford to take care of people who are receiving care as a result of this affordable care act? HENICAN: There is no easy answer. Any more that there's an answer how you get--

WHITFIELD: These people were sicker than they thought but then when you don't insurance for a very long time, that's what happened.

HENICAN: It's right. Right.

WHITFIELD: You become more ill.

HENICAN: Or when you dump people off insurance, then the mom takes the kid to the emergency room to get which is a terrible way to get-- to get care. The simple answer is that there is no good way to do it. And, you know, we could go to single payer. I mean, Donald Trump used to--used to speak highly of a single payer plan. Let's give, you know, give Medicare to all Americans. I mean, that will be a solution but I don't think the republicans of congress are going in that direction.

WHITFIELD: But it doesn't just score a lot is at stake for even Donald Trump. He made this promise and if he is not able to deliver, then there goes a lot of his support.

MORGENSTERN: Right. But the--it is a false choice. It's let people have healthcare or don't. That's not the choice. It is put in a different system. And that's what the republican--that's what Tom Price proposed, that's what Speaker Ryan has proposed. So there are plans that will be negotiated and we'll see a new one unfurled in--

WHITFIELD: Lots of complications underway as we ring in the New Year, gentlemen. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Good to see you. Happy New Year.

HENICAN: Happy New Year. It's great being with you in New York.

WHITFIELD: I know. It's good to be with you, too. All right. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York. So North Carolina has a new governor today. Democrat Roy Cooper was sworn into office this morning. Former governor, nc governor Pat McRory known for the bathroom bill, refused to concede for weeks after the election. And then even signed a bill before leaving office, stripping cooper of his executive power. Cooper had a small win this week, hoping to take back some control. CNN's Polo Sandoval is with me now with more in this political drama unfolding.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred--hey, Fred, good afternoon. Yes, absolutely. You know, even before he took office, we do know that Roy Cooper had taken several republican lawmakers to court. So, with this legal fight playing out, a key question, will this newly-elected democratic governor will able to bridge the political divide in North Carolina?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK D. MARTIN, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA: Do you, Roy Cooper, solemnly and sincerely swear that--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Cooper officially sworn in as North Carolina's 75th governor, seconds after midnight. The private ceremony came after the Governor-Elect moved a bitter battle with republican lawmakers into a courtroom Friday. Cooper, a democrat, hoping to block a set republican-backed laws that limit his authority as the state's chief executive.

ROY COOPER, GOVERNOR ELECT: (INAUDIBLE)

SANDOVAL: Just 34 hours before Governor-Elect cooper took the oath of office, a North Carolina judge granted his request for a temporary restraining order of blocking some provisions of the laws that called for a shakeup of the state's election board. Most provisions have a second law that significantly decreases the number of political appointments the governor can make will still take effect January 1st. Though the Governor-Elect's attorneys made clear he plans to file more motions challenging the law signed by republican predecessor Pat McCRory, UNC law professor Michael Gerhardt believes the first few weeks in office will be challenging for Cooper.

PAT MCCRORY, NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: Early on, he's going to try and to establish his authority with the people in the state and also remind the legislature that he's there. He is the governor. He's got some discretion and he's a--he's a player in the system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Limiting the new governor's power is only the latest chapter in what was a highly contested race.

AMERICAN PEOPLE: Don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cooper beat out his republican incumbent opponent by only 10,000 votes. McRory claimed fraud and challenged the outcome before eventually conceding four weeks later. Last year, both sides blamed the other for failing to repeal North Carolina's controversial bathroom bill.

MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNC PROFESSOR: He may well want to talk to legislature about any possible revisions to that law, even if some kind of repeal is impossible. So compromise may be a big term that comes up fairly soon when he is governor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reaching that compromise may be harder with the legal fight just getting started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: Governor Cooper's public inauguration that takes place this weekend, Fred. It will be a day after the civil case is back in court.

WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. All right. Thank you so much for being with me this weekend. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Much more straight ahead in the newsroom with Poppy Harlow next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN REPORTER: Top of the hour, happy New Year, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow live in New York.