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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Promises to Reveal Inside Info on Hacking; Dem Congressman: Trump Needs to "Stop It"; Mass Shooter Competency Hearing Underway; Mass Shooter's Death Penalty Phase Begins Tomorrow; Trump Biographer Alleges Payback; Trump Ends 2016 With Confrontation, New Year's Tweet; Trump Raises Eyebrows With New Year's Eve Tweet; CNN Unveils Inauguration Edition of 'Unprecedented'. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 2, 2017 - 12:30   ET

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


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[12:32:17] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Well, President-elect Donald Trump says he still has doubts the Russia is behind the hacking. He says he knows things that others in Washington don't know. And in just a day of two we could find out as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT-ELECT: I know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don't know and so they cannot be sure of the situation.

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Joining me now to discuss, CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst Bob Baer joins us again, CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem and perform CIA Counterterrorism Officer Jeff Beatty. Jeff, I'm going to start with you. If Trump has inside information where could he be getting it from?

JEFF BEATTY, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICER: Well, I think it's information that he gets same as President Obama gets, but what I think might be happening and I hope that what is happening is that perhaps President-elect Trump is setting up a fig leaf scenario. In other words, when you deal with somebody like Vladimir Putin, you can either deal with him with a carrot or a stick or a variant of that.

And President Obama is doing the right thing. He is hitting Russian with a stick right now, but we're about to have a transition and Vladimir Putin has an ego and I know Bob who's been involved in recruiting people as have I understand that you have to appreciate who you are dealing with. And sometimes you have to get them a fig leaf.

So, if Trump is setting up a fig leaf scenario where he is not going to directly accuse Putin of the hacking but rather give him an opportunity to get some plausible denial so that Putin might be able to step forward and say, well I am going to -- out of the goodness of my heart work with the Americans to make sure that no future hacking incidents emanate from Russian territory or use Russian code. And if reporters who stick microphones in Trump's mouth forced him to say stick-like things then we don't have a good cop-bad cop. All we have is two bad cops.

So I think that, you know, we have an opportunity to get the desired outcome. It is the desired outcome to just say bad things about Putin or is the desired outcome to change Russian behavior base of the hacking? So I think we got the sticking going on with President, doing a great job with that needs to be done. Let's look at a variant off the carrot with a fig leaf and let's see if we can get the desired outcome in a smart way the way Bob and I would have if we were recruiting someone.

BROWN: Bob, then you have Congressman Adam Schiff who says Trump could be damaging his credibility. Here's what he said.

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REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: He needs to stop talking this way. If he is going to have any credibility, as president he needs to stop talking this way. He needs to stop denigrating the intelligence community. He is going to rely on them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[12:35:08] BROWN: So what's your view on that? Bob, it is true that he is going to be relying on the intelligence community that he is publicly disagreeing with right now.

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: That's a big problem, Pamela. He is going to get into the White House. He is going to be faced with the CIA and FBI. Clearly he doesn't like, he said it. He doesn't trust. I find it extraordinary that he just dismissed the FBI's version that the Russians got any hacking or DHS's. I think it's -- this is going to be a tough one for him.

I know where he is coming from. I talked to people around him, and he doesn't trust the intelligence community, and when he keeps on bringing up Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction, he knows, you know, he has his reasons. At that -- in a lot of sense the intelligence community has been hollowed out. I think on the Russian hacking thing, the intelligence community is 100 percent right. This is evidence that the FBI has brought forward.

So, this is going to be a real circus when he gets into the White House because he is going to have to rely on the intelligence community as one crisis after another comes up and it's going to be has to be very quick, and if that briefer he doesn't trust and he has to go outside to people we don't even know who they are that's going to be a problem.

BROWN: And Juliet it is true that hacking attribution is rarely a slam dunk definitive case. It's actually not that hard to prove. How difficult is it Juliet?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's actually not that hard. I mean, in other words, once you put the resources of the intelligence and law enforcement community, over two dozen Intelligents groups, again the United States has confirmed what -- that Russia was involved with the hacking. That is because cyber attacks leave footprints or fingerprints or something that can be traced back. This is, you know, the idea that we never know who is doing the harm is a really dangerous way to go forward when you think that cyber warfare is going to be a conflict in the future. We have ways of knowing that it was North Korea, with Sony, ways of knowing its China with some of the cyber attacks they've done on the private sector and financial institutions.

And we certainly should have confidence that the entire, the entire -- let's put this clear -- the entire intelligence community says it's Russia, and if it's not Russia, right, this is the other thing that Trump is going to have to determine. If it's not Russia, right, and we all know it happened, who was it? Was it the 400-pound guy? Was it the Filipinos? I mean, who was it? And so, I think we should just sort of step back and say, you know, Trump's statement that we can never determine who has hacked is just factually incorrect. There are thousands of people who know how to do this and have clearly done it.

BROWN: What do you think about that, Jeff? Do you agree?

BEATTY: I think we're missing the point. You know, Trump can say behind closed doors and can acknowledge and I would stipulate to you here today that let's assume Russia is responsible for it. Great. Well, now, what do you want to do? Do you want to pile on and play the blame game and use the stick, or do you really, you know, because what was Putin's reaction to that? His reaction to getting 35 diplomats are expelled was to in fight American Diplomatic children to a New Year's Day party. You know, it doesn't seem to have an upgrade in the fact. But if you want it truly modify their behavior, you have t o do the analysis on Putin, you have to say, "What's it going to take to get to modify his behavior?"

And that was my point about, you know, trying to do a fig leaf type scenario. I just don't see the value in having Trump be the second guy to be using this stick in public. You know, I say let's find a way to get the Russians to behave in the way we want to, and I think that allows Putin to save a little bit of face going forward, and I wouldn't disagree with the importance of us knowing within government who is responsible for these things and letting them know by various means we have at our ability that we have tremendous capability in this realm. I wouldn't disagree with that at all.

And when Juliette was in the government, I was in an important discussion to have within government. But in Public opinion, you know, I think that we have got try to look at all of our actions not just the stick and I'm saying we change what it is that we want out of it. We the same thing President Obama wants out. We don't want to see this continue in the future. But there might be just a way to be more effective in making that outcome a reality.

BROWN: All right. Jeff Beatty, Juliette Kayyem, Bob Bare, thank you for sharing your perspectives.

BEATY: Thank you.

BROWN: And up next, the Charleston church shooter plans to defend himself against the death penalty tomorrow, but could what's happening in court today change that? Stay with us.

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[12:43:20] BROWN: A second competency hearing is underway right now for the admitted gunman of a church massacre in Charleston. At any moment a judge could decide if Dylann Roof is fit to proceed with the sentencing phase. The penalty phase is yet to begin tomorrow. As you'll recall, Roof is convicted of killing nine African-American church goers in June of 2015 and is facing the death penalty.

CNN's Martin Savage is live right outside the courthouse. Also joining me is CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates. Martin, to you first. What's happening inside the courtroom right now as we speak?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've been debating for about 3.5 hours Pamela, now on this issue of competency, as you point out. It's the second time that this has been brought up in the trial of Dylann Roof. But, because you're moving into what's considered to be the absolute critical phase of this trial, he's already been convicted, found guilty with over 30 charges. And now it's literally life and death.

His defense attorneys whom he has now been shunning are trying to say he is not in a mental state of mind to be capable of carrying out a defense, in other words to argue for his own life because of psychological issues. So, that's the reason that the evaluation that was done over the weekend and the judge in court this morning before he closed the proceedings inclined or seemed to elude something dramatic was revealed during this sort of second evaluation.

Something about the strategy of Dylann Roof, he wouldn't go into any kind of detail. But he used that rather a dramatic phrase. If you only knew what I know now, you would understand, meaning why he is closing down the proceedings to the public. He is afraid that whatever is learned would be reported today and that the jurors somehow may be inadvertently would be told outside of court and that it could actually impact their decision.

[12:45:07] So, kind of an 11th hour drama going on here. We don't know what it means, Pamela.

BROWN: Yeah, that is very intriguing, Martin. Do we know what to expect from tomorrow's death penalty phase? I know it's tough to say because we don't know what that piece of information is.

SAVIDGE: Right. Well, we have already known that Dylann Roof has said that he is going to defend himself, which in a case, a death penalty case not to mention a federal death penalty case, is just hard to even imagine. Then on top of that, he has said also that he is not going to present any evidence on his behalf. This is a time you would expect sort of mitigating factors where you would try to argue look like, well, I may be guilty, but I am assumed be put to death.

None of that apparently will make an opening statement and he will make some kind of closing statement. Meanwhile, the prosecution has dozens of witnesses they will call family members and also even survivors. So it will be quite a painful litany of people giving their family's experience.

BROWN: Yeah, very emotional. And Dylann Roof, Laura, has told the judge that he will not be calling on mental health experts or presenting mental health evidence. How might that affect his sentencing?

LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I mean, it's shocking that he wouldn't try at least to say that one piece of evidence that may actually help him is that, he may in fact, what happened is right mind shock of the world. But the only way that's really help him at this point is for him to grandstand. I hate to say it but he's going to have to be soapbox in this. It takes only one juror to be able to have him not get the death penalty in this case, right?

It has to be unanimous. So, he's going to try to appeal to everybody and say, "Listen, your visceral reaction to what happened in that church that I did, that I did something wrong, please don't put me to death even though I did deserve guilt. I did not deny that I did it, but I don't deserve death." That's going to be a very, very hard road to hold off. But keep in mind, his defense attorneys planted very, very good seeds during their closing arguments in the guilt phase. They used phrases that alluded to him not being mentally stable, to him not having control over his emotions, control over his actions, in an attempt to try to make that jury say something is wrong with this person, we should not put this person to death.

BROWN: What do you make at the fact that he's representing himself, quickly?

COATES: It's shocking and he shouldn't do it if his goal was to actually exonerate himself or not to the death penalty. But I think here we have a person whose goal is to continue what he talked about in his manifesto. A used it as an opportunity to do just that. It's a huge stage he wouldn't have otherwise had. It's unfortunately he will exploit the emotion of the family.

BROWN: All right. Laura Coates, Martin Savidge, thank you so much.

COATES: Thank you.

BROWN: Up next, what a former Trump biographer claims Trump did to him for something he wrote years ago. We'll be right back.

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[12:51:07] BROWN: Well many are wondering whether President-elect Trump will scale back his use of Twitter in 2017 considering he is now just days from taking office. Perhaps true to form he closed out 2016 with a tweet that raised a few eyebrows he said, "Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly. They just don't know what to do. Love."

Incidentally, a Trump biographer is telling quite a tale about something he says happened to him last Friday. Harry Hurt claim to President-elect chased him off of one of his golf courses over something Hurt wrote years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY HURT, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: I went up to him and, you know, in the spirit of the United States of America and said congratulations sir. And then he launched into a diatribe but I had been rough on him he used an expletive to describe the content of my book. I looked him in the eye, and I said it's all true and he said not in the way you said it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: All right. So I want to bring in CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, he joins us now. So Brian, apparently that biographer was part of a well to do foursome that picked up and left after that happened. What can you tell us?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right, all four of them ended up leaving the club. Donald Trump of course is there playing golf on Saturday.

You know, this story by Harry Hurt, it does speak to Donald Trump's grudges. He holds grudges we've known that for a long time, and he has held them for a long time. I think this one is interesting because Harry Hurt's biography came out in the 1990s, and now here he is more than 20 years later having this interaction with Donald Trump.

Now, you could argue Donald Trump having a good memory is a good thin that he never forgets. But in this case it also seems pretty petty. You know, his New Year's Eve tweet is getting a lot of attention. Trump referring to everyone having a Happy New Year to everyone including his enemies. He is essentially referring to some Americans being his enemies, the people who didn't vote for him, perhaps.

It strikes me as interesting Pamela, that when Hillary Clinton called some Trump voters deplorable, there was a lot of criticism of that, not so much criticism of Trump saying some people are his enemies.

BROWN: Right. And when you look at this tweet that he sent out at the end of 2016, it seems he is still partly at least focused on what happened during the campaign? Doesn't?

STELTER: For sure. That's been one of the themes of recent week whether that his thank you tour rallies or in private conversations with journalist and historian like Douglas Brinkley. He has been telling tales of the campaign, reliving the campaign. And of course he has a lot to celebrate about that. You know, on election night he wouldn't let photographers behind the scenes. I was just on the phone with David Hume Kennerly who took the portrait for the new edition of CNN's book about the election this book "Unprecedented" that's coming out. There's this beautiful portrait of Trump on the new edition of the book, but that was only taken a couple week after Election Day. It turns out that Donald election night Trump wouldn't let any photographers behind the scenes, so there's actually no photos for history except what people took on their iPhones.

Maybe that's because Trump was not expecting to win on election night. Now, David Hume Kennerly says, he was able to take a portrait a couple a couple of weeks later, have this beautiful shot for history of the President-elect, but it does speak to Donald Trump's uncertainty on election night. It's understandable now why weeks later, months later he wants to look back and remember those campaign days.

BROWN: And what more can you tell use Brian about that new edition of "Unprecedented" that's comings out.

STELTER: So in this book -- this is a book that CNN was working on for about a year and half -- leading up to Election Day. Then it went to the printing presses right after Trump was elected. It's a fascinating look at sort of history as it was happening with photographs from I mentioned this photographer David Hume Kennerly and from others who were there along the ride, along the way. I've gone back and interviewed journalists about covering election night to experience it through their eyes, and I have a story going up today about that.

[12:55:03] It is amazing to think back to the beginning of election night and how almost everybody was confident Clinton was going to win. Even a lot of Trump supporters and Trump aides who believed Clinton was going to win and how the battleship turned as the night went on. So, the book captures all of that. This book "Unprecedented."

BROWN: And I just have to ask, a big picture, during the campaign it was clear that Trump and the media had at times an adversarial relationship. As we look ahead to him being in the White House, what do you anticipate? How do you think that's going to play out that relationship, Brian?

STELTER: Yeah, I think a lot of journalists are bracing for worst case scenarios from the Trump administration, meaning very intense, very nasty, adversarial relationships, the White House briefings, the potential for reporters to be even investigated or subpoenaed. There's a lot of things the government can do and chooses not to do when it comes to interactions with the press.

We have no idea what's to come from a Trump administration. so I think a lot of journalist who sort of bracing or anticipating the worst and hoping for more positive, more favorable relations with the incoming administration.

BROWN: And just quickly, you had mentioned that Donald Trump didn't think possibly he was going to win. What was the turning point during the election night that we learned about in the book, "Unprecedented"? STELTER: I mean, going back it's really the 9:00 p.m. hour when it turns, when you can feel Trump gaining momentum. You know, it wasn't until 2:45 in the morning that he went out and speak to the crowd and gave his speech to the country, but really from 9:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. onward you could feel the winds really shift. It makes for a fascinating kind of blow by blows the evening.

BROWN: I think people at home remember that feeling as well. Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BROWN: You can get your copy of CNN's "Unprecedented: The election that changed everything", available now online and now bookstores.

Well thank you for being here with us. Hope everyone has a wonderful new year.

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