Return to Transcripts main page


War Vet Accused of Killing 5 At Florida Airport; Trump Claims "Gross Negligence" By DNC Allowed Hack; Snow, Ice Storm Slam the Southeast; Obama to GOP: If You Can Do it Cheaper, I'm For It; Russia: Obama, Not Moscow Threat to Democratic Process; Dylann Roof Diary: "I Have Not Shed A Tear". Aired 7-8a ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I love this time of year, Christi.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: In your glory. We love to see it. Coy, thank you.


PAUL: Oh my goodness. There's so much to talk to you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes, next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there were four that I heard, bam, bam, bam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people started running out said somebody is shooting, shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt something hit my back. The bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the shooter in custody at this point it looks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intelligence community's report on Russian hacking concluded that, quote, "Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not going to tolerate a country like Russia trying to enter severe in our election process.

MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: We're going to take aggressive action to combat cyber attacks. And protect the security of the American people.


PAUL: It's good to have your company as always, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We're following two developing stories this morning. First, that

shooting at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale. New details of the man accused of opening fire inside that airport, killing five people, wounding several others.

The question now is, who is Esteban Santiago? And what led this Iraq war veteran to allegedly unload a checked pistol into a crowd, sparking chaos inside that terminal?

PAUL: Also this morning, ordered by Putin. A declassified intelligence report showing precisely how the Russian president directed an influenced campaign, as it's called, during the 2016 election. The goal, they say, to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. We've got new reaction overnight from the president-elect on this stunning report.

First to new details inside a Florida airport, though. New images just into CNN, showing police escorting a handcuffed Esteban Santiago to jail there on the left. The FBI said Santiago and the Iraq war veteran unloaded a hand gone inside a crowded terminal of Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. This airport, we understand, has reopened this morning.

CNN correspondent Rachel Crane is with us live from Ft. Lauderdale. She has new information for us as well.

Rachel, good morning to you. What are you learning?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, things are starting to get back to normal here at Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. It has reopened. Behind me, a plane is about to take off. The first one we've seen take off today.

We've seen a steady stream of cars and passengers coming through the airport. But, of course, the focus for law enforcement officials today would be the investigation.


PILOT: OK, they want us to hold for the tango line. Guess there's firing going on in the terminal.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: We're currently having a building evacuation at Terminal 2.

CRANE (voice-over): Chaos and confusion at Ft. Lauderdale's airport, after a gunman opened fire inside a baggage claim area, killing five people and seriously wounding eight more. Some people fleeing the scene ran away from danger on to the airport tarmac.

NYE WOODHOUSE, WITNESS: There was one real close one next to me. And then there was four that I heard, bam, bam, bam, bam. It was like boom. We didn't know what it was. Everybody looked. And there's boom, boom, boom, boom. And then people taking off.

CRANE: The suspect identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago apparently had a weapon in his checked bag. One source said he went to the bathroom to get the gun out of his luggage and came out firing. He was taken into federal custody shortly after the attack.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: He is unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots. The subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents and Broward sheriff office homicide detectives.

CRANE: This morning, new information about Santiago who flew to Florida from Alaska Friday. He served in the Puerto Rico National Guard, the Army Reserve, and the Alaska Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq in 2010 where he received a combat related honor. Santiago was discharged from the Alaska Army National Guard in August.

Law enforcement officials said Santiago visited an FBI office in Anchorage several months ago. He was accompanied by associates who are concerned because Santiago said he was hearing voices. Santiago told the FBI that an intelligence agency was telling him to watch ISIS videos. The FBI asked local police to take him to the hospital for a mental evaluation.

Santiago voluntarily checked himself in. Authorities are now working to determine the motive, and if it's terror-related. They say it's a complex investigation that spans several states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are looking at all avenues. We have not ruled out terrorism. And we will be pursuing every angle to try to determine the motive behind this attack. And any associates, any connections, communication.


[07:05:04] CRANE: As we pointed out, this investigation does span several states. And we do know that yesterday, the FBI spoke to Santiago's aunt who lives in Union City, New Jersey, to try to get a better sense of who he is. And what he was interested.

Also, we know that the FBI has not ruled out terrorism. And there will be a briefing held here at Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport later this morning. Hopefully, more information will be revealed then. But meanwhile, one of the main challenges for officials here at the airport is returning the some 20,000 bags that were left behind during the evacuation -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Rachel Crane, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: The FBI says the suspected gunman followed the law by bringing his weapon in a checked bag.

PAUL: CNN's Rene Marsh has more on U.S. security rules involving guns on planes and in airports.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, he retrieved his checked luggage in baggage claim and sources say Esteban Santiago went into the bathroom and emerged firing the gun. Now, it is legal in some states to carry a gun and ammunition in your checked luggage only. TSA has very strict guidelines on this.

And by all accounts, the shooter followed all of the procedures. Airport police in Anchorage, Alaska, where he originated, said that the suspect declared the gun before the flight, and had it in a proper casing and stored it properly in his checked luggage.

Again, those guidelines are very strict. The firearm has to be unloaded. It has to be stored in a hard-sided case. That case has to be locked. And only the passenger can have the key or the combination to that case. And it has to be declared at the ticket counter.

He followed all of those rules but, again, it appears as if he took advantage of the fact that every airport across the country has a soft target. There are all parts of the airport before the security check point. It's a known vulnerability. And law enforcement officials say it's virtually impossible to get that vulnerability down to zero -- Christi and Victor.


BLACKWELL: All right. Rene, thank you so much.

New this morning, President-elect Donald Trump is claiming the Democratic National Committee is in part responsible for last year's cyber hack. But Mr. Trump is still not -- let's say he's reluctant to say that Russia is responsible for the hacks on the U.S. political system, this despite receiving a full briefing on the classified version of an intelligence report which says those efforts were ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is in New York with the very latest. She's there outside of Trump Tower.

Good morning to you, Sunlen.


Yes, Donald Trump hitting that high-level intelligence briefing here yesterday at Trump Tower, and afterwards, he called the meeting constructive, but notably, he's still refusing to acknowledge the intel community's findings and conclusions that Russia was not only behind the hack, but behind the hack to influence the U.S. election.

Rather, what we've seen Trump and his response both on Twitter this morning just a few minute ago, and overnight, really trying to focus on pointing the finger at the Democratic National Committee for what he believes is less efforts by them to really protect themselves.

Here's a tweet he sent out last night, quote, "Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense."

Now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been, of course, sharply rebuking this Trump comment, especially Democrats. This from Adam Schiff who tweeted in response to Trump, quote, "Gross negligence by Donald Trump to urge foreign adversary to hack opponent's campaign. Worse, the negligence to deny it when Russia did."

And many Democrats and members of Donald Trump's own party, many Republicans are also calling for further investigation into this hack. Now, the president-elect for his part said he will appoint a team, within 90 days of taking the miscellaneous to really look into cyber attacks and more broadly cyber attacks writ large -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sunlen, we now have an official what we've had from sources, for a couple of days now. But the Trump campaign, the transition team I should say has announced they've made a selection for the next director of national intelligence. Tell us what you we know about retired Senator Dan Coats.

SERFATY: That's right. He is -- this is something that the Trump condition team formally announcing this morning, although CNN reporting it in the last 24 hours. Dan Coats would go on to be -- to be taking place, having a large role in the intel community now, potentially if confirmed by the Senate.

A little bit about Dan Coats, he retired from the Senate after he chose not to seek re-election last year and had been in the Senate before.

[07:10:05] He was in the Senate for a decade from 1989 to 1999. He left becoming U.S. ambassador to Germany under George W. Bush's administration -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sunlen Serfaty there for us there outside Trump Tower -- thank you so much.

PAUL: Well, a Russian-led campaign to undermine the election and a declassified intel report is pointing the finger directly at Russian President Putin. Donald Trump said his administration will have a response. Our team of political experts have quite a bit to say about. We'll talk about it.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the messy mixes, snow and rain and ice smacking the Southeast. There's winter storm is sweeping through the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast as well. We'll tell you who's getting it the worse.

PAUL: And President Obama challenging Republicans, saying if they have a good health care plan, he'll endorse it.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you, in fact, can put a plan together that is demonstrably better than what Obamacare is doing, I will -- I will publicly support repealing Obamacare and replacing it with your plan.



BLACKWELL: President-elect Donald Trump is still reluctant to blame Russia for cyber attacks on U.S. political parties last year. PAUL: He received a full briefing on the classified version of the

intelligence report just yesterday. That report saying with high confidence those efforts were ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Let's talk about this with CNN political commentator Errol Louis, and Washington bureau chief of "The Chicago Sun-Times", Lynn Sweet.

Thank you both for getting up early to join us.

We're going to get to that in a minute. I want to ask, first of all, Lynn, from you, what is your reaction to Senator Dan Coats, and his nomination to director of national intelligence?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Oh, it seems that it's an experienced hand in dealing with intelligence who has come up through Senate committees where they have been briefed who strikes me as somebody with his track record who would appreciate the professionalism of the various intelligence services.

[07:15:03] And what we'll see is, if he can serve the incoming president in a way that can help him organize and digest the various intelligence reports that come to him in a way that could be useful. That's the big thing we don't know yet, is if he finds this intelligence credible. And to make the changes, he will be able to make as president to find out how to make his intelligence credible which is a little forward-looking question.

I would like to put out there, if -- very soon, January 20th at noon, you got to perhaps think about -- well, if I don't like the quality of intelligence I'm getting. I'm the president, I can change it. What do I want to do what do I tell my new director, Dan Coats, to do to get me what I need to make decisions in policy.

PAUL: Well, Errol, there have been reports that the Donald Trump transition team, that they may be considering ways to limit that position.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's right. There's talk about reorganization. And, frankly, there -- it's sort of or potentially could pick up on existing discussions within the intelligence community. The agencies themselves have often squabbled. They're not entirely happy about the level of bureaucracy they have.

There's always been sort of a reform push even from within the intelligence community. That should end up dovetailing with the political choices of the new president. They could end up pulling in the same direction rather than have ago a kind of hostile standoff that we're seeing in public right now.

PAUL: So, let's talk what has been making news in the last 24 hours. I want to read a portion of dump's statement on the intel report that he's briefed on yesterday.

He says in response to the question of what is in his report and how he will respond, he says, "I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods and tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today, I will take the oath of office and American safety and security will be my number one priority."

But he still does not say that Russia or Putin specifically, orchestrated these attacks. Will this plan that he's going to set into place in 90 days, do you believe it will include Russia?

SWEET: Well, the plan, if it's a plan to deal with intelligence and incoming intelligence, of course, it would include Russia.

Obviously, I don't know, no one knows, what the Russia factor will be, when you just look at the question of what a president gets in terms of incoming intelligence. You know, this question, I think, for more useful discussion might be broken down, did Russia try to influence the election? Yes. If you don't believe it, then perhaps it would be useful to also hear, as the days unfold, what is it that everyone sees that he doesn't? And then get your own people in, if this is what it takes.

Though I don't know if this will ever be resolved, based on what we've seen in the pattern of new incoming President Trump, he might choose to move on. That's what I'm trying to get to the point of what will the policy be? Because you will have many voices now -- Democrats and Republicans, intelligence professionals, saying what the -- you know, saying these are findings.

And certainly, if anyone ever has access to seeing Russian government TV called RT TV, you can tell for most Americans that it is a propaganda tool. I saw it for the first time when I was in Stockholm and I thought, whoa.

So, you know, some things that people who are conspiracy-minded, it's very hard to, you know, discuss certain situations like this, even when you try to break it down against Trump. Some of this, I must say, it's new territory. And we'll see.

PAUL: Well, Errol, I wanted to ask you about a tweet by a top Russian parliamentarian Alexey Pushkov just overnight here. He tweeted out, "All accusations against Russia are based on confidence and assumptions. The U.S. were just as confidence of the WMDs Hussein had."

So, that's the very point that Donald Trump was trying to make when he questions the legitimacy of U.S. intelligence.

What does it say to you that a Russian parliament member, though, is mirroring what a president-elect is asserting?

LOUIS: You know, it's almost a cliche. But it does sound more proper coming in sort of a Russian accent, just how sort of swarmy and dishonest of a propaganda smear that is. To talk about the WMD's question, which is almost a decade behind us at this point, as opposed to dealing with the real issues that we have in front of us, it's nothing but a dodge. This is, by the way, what trying to undermine democracy looks like

when you have not just Putin, but some of his allies, like we just heard from, who are trying to sort of make it seem as if all is confusion, all is lost.

[07:20:15] You know, democracy can't find its way in a straight line to finding the facts and making intelligence decisions. That's what their goal is. And that's all that he's been saying. And so, to the extent that Donald Trump even echoes faintly that stuff, he does himself a real disservice.

PAUL: And we should be very transparent to say that none of the people in charge back at that time during the Bush administration are in charge now, at intel. We're talking about different people as well, a different administration, yes.

LOUIS: Here again, they're not trying to undermine an administration. They're trying to undermine the very foundation of our system which does, of course, cross administrations.

PAUL: Right.

Lynn Sweet, Errol Louis, we get your points there and we thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate your insight as always.

SWEET: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's list them off. Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina all issuing states of emergency due to winter storm watches and warnings for the Southeast. It is coming down in some of these places. We've got an update for you.


PAUL: So, if you're hunker down for the long haul here because the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast slammed with snow, ice, sleet, rain, and we know that today, the heaviest snow is going to be hitting parts of North Carolina with Raleigh expecting up to a foot of it.

BLACKWELL: Yes, CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Raleigh this morning. He's put on the hat now. I wondering where was it during the last hit.

Stay warm, stay safe out, there, Polo. What are you seeing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I hope the layers will eventually start coming off, Victor, because things could potentially clear up around lunchtime. We have seen that rain turn to sleet. That sleet now turned into some snow. So, there is a little debate about whether or not we're going to see that one foot.

But I will tell you what is causing problems is the ice. Some of this precipitation that we've seen in the last several hours, it's likely going to freeze. And according to several reports here, we're not going to climb above 32 degrees until possibly on Tuesday.

So, it means all of this mess will likely stick around causing issues for people through the weekend and possibly early next week. What is helping today, this is Saturday. It's not a commuting day. So, we don't -- we're not seeing a whole lot of people out and about except for a few vehicles, and, of course, some of us, lucky ones, who get to work in this.

[07:25:03] And then there have been time to prepare here. Folks here on the ground have been advised about this for several days. So, we visited the grocery store yesterday. We saw people stocking up. They are -- many people telling me, though, Victor and Christi, that unless they have to go out, they don't plan on doing so.

So, again, the fact that this is a weekend event, that's definitely going to give authorities the upper hand. That way, more snowplows can actually be making their way in and around the North Carolina area, not necessarily some of the drivers that could end up stranded -- guys.

BLACKWELL: All right. Polo, thanks so much.

PAUL: Well, President Obama to the GOP, repealing Obamacare with no plan in place is quote, "simply put, irresponsible." His words -- we'll talk about it, ahead.


PAUL: Welcome back. So grateful for your company as always, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Twenty-eight minutes after the hour now.

And the FBI is trying to find out why Esteban Santiago may have shot five people at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. More information could come from a press conference we know is set to start in about 2 1/2 hours at 10:00 Eastern.

PAUL: Just a few months ago, we know Santiago told FBI officers that he was hearing voices in his head, telling him to fight for ISIS. That triggered a mental investigation.

Now, investigators have not ruled out terrorism here. But before the shooting, Santiago had only minor offenses on a criminal record. Now, he's being held without bond on a murder charge and set to make an appearance in court on Monday. But, again, we'll bring you that update at 10:00 a.m., just a couple of hours here, when we hopefully we'll learn more.

BLACKWELL: All right. Russia is firing back at the Obama administration for blaming them for undermining the elections. A top Russian official tweeted this, 'The democratic process in the United States is undermined not by Russia but by the Obama administration and the media which supported Clinton against Trump."

Now, we're seeing this as Donald Trump is still reluctant to accept that Russia was behind the cyber attacks, despite an intel briefing and the declassified report of the conclusions pointing definitively at the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin.

"Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republic National Committee had strong defense." That tweet from the president-elect.

PAUL: We're going to discuss that in a moment. But first, President Barack Obama challenging Republicans to reveal their plans to replace the Affordable Care Act. He said, if a new plan works, if it's cheaper, he's all for it.


OBAMA: I am saying to every Republican right now, if you, in fact, can put a plan together that is demonstrably better than what Obamacare is doing, I will -- I will publicly support repealing Obamacare and replacing it with your plan.

[07:30:16] But I want to see it first. I want to see it first.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: He goes on to say that if Donald Trump does repeal Obamacare without a replacement that's ready, there are so many people that will be left out in the cold.

CNN's Miguel Marquez spoke to members of a coal mining community in Kentucky who would be directly affected if that happens.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coal- laden hills of eastern Kentucky --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We are going to bring the coal industry back.

MARQUEZ: Trump country.

Neil Yonts is a Democrat and coal miner for 35 years initially supported Hillary Clinton. But --

NEIL YONTS, FORMER COAL MINER: I voted for Trump. May be a mistake, but I heard him say he would bring coal back.

MARQUEZ: A mistake, maybe, because this man now suffers from black lung disease.

YONTS: From here to there, you see a difference in my breathing that close.

MARQUEZ: He voted for Trump to bring jobs back, but now fears Trump's promise to kill Obamacare will also end his black lung benefits.

YONTS: When they eliminate the Obamacare, they may just eliminate all the black lung program. It may all be gone. Don't matter how many years you got. MARQUEZ: Three sentences in the affordable care act made it easier

for victims of black lung to get monthly federal benefits if they worked 15 years or more in the mines. And if they died, the benefits automatically extended to their widows.

PATTY AMBURGEY, MINER'S WIDOW: I will be drawing $643.42.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Once a month?

AMBURGEY: Once a month.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Patty Amburgey just got her first payment. Her husband Crawford, after 32 years in the mines, died in 2007.

AMBURGEY: To say it, in part, somebody you live with 45 years, go from a vibrant man to a child is very hard.

MARQUEZ: Getting the payment can also be difficult, even with the law. It took her three years. Now, her black lung widow benefit, along with Social Security and a tiny $62 a month pension keeps her financially afloat.

(on camera): So this money is important to you?

AMBURGEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's not a large amount, but it is enough to pay the bills.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Keeping up with the bills here, for many, a lifetime struggle. So Trump's full throated promise of jobs was a powerful message. The unemployment rate in Letcher County, 10.3 percent, more than twice the national average.

STEPHEN SANDERS, DIRECTOR, APPALACHIAN CITIZENS' LAW CENTER: This area has seen a terrific decline in the number of coal mining jobs in the last five years. And those jobs tended to be high paying jobs.

MARQUEZ: Stephen Sanders represents miners applying for black lung benefits. As jobs evaporated, he says, Obamacare benefits, more important than ever.

SANDERS: President-elect Trump promised people that he was going to restore mining jobs. I don't think he thought about what the affordable care act might mean to miners who are applying for black lung benefits.

MARQUEZ: Linda Adams' husband Tony died three years ago. She is now applying for black lung widow benefits.

(on camera): You supported Donald Trump for this election?


MARQUEZ: But if Obamacare goes away?

ADAMS: If Obamacare goes away, we're going to be in a world depression. MARQUEZ (voice-over): Today, Adams devotes her life to helping others

apply for benefits she hopes will survive even if Obamacare is abolished. Her enormous expectations now squarely on President Trump.

ADAMS: If he don't come across like he promised, he won't be there next time. And not if I can help it.

MARQUEZ: Trump's future opposition already taking shape if jobs don't return and Obamacare benefits vanish.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Whitesburg, Kentucky.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Angela Rye, CNN political commentator, and former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Betsy McCaughey, Donald Trump supporter and former lieutenant governor of New York.

Good morning to both of you.



BLACKWELL: Lieutenant Governor, I want to start with you. Just to piggyback off of Miguel's report there. What we heard from Speaker Paul Ryan about what will happen post-repeal of Obamacare. Watch.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have a plan to replace it. We have plenty of ideas to replace it. And you'll see, as the weeks and months unfold, what we're talking about replacing it.


BLACKWELL: There's a major difference between plenty of ideas and a plan. How, after six years of clamoring for repeal and replace does the GOP not have a consensus on what they will replace care with?

[07:35:02] MCCAUGHEY: Well, first, let me say, there is a consensus. I've read the competing plans. They're all similar --

BLACKWELL: Where's the single plan?

MCCAUGHEY: Let me just finish.

BLACKWELL: OK, point, at the end of the answer, hopefully, you tell me what the plan is.

MCCAUGHEY: Let me just finish, Victor. That's a hostile question. So, let me --

BLACKWELL: How is it hostile? MCCAUGHEY: Yes. Of the fact is, there is a plan. There are several

variations of it, they're combining it right now. All of the plans preserve the Medicaid safety net.

All of the plans offer people in the private individual market, more choice and much lower premiums. And all of the plans protect people with preexisting conditions. There are currently 500,000 people in Obamacare plans who have preexisting conditions, and they are worse off than they are before. Almost all of them had insurance before Obamacare.


MCCAUGHEY: Just a moment. Insurance from high-risk pools. But under Obamacare, they no longer have access to cancer hospitals in most states, or the specialty care they need. And they are clamoring to be able to get the care they need.

BLACKWELL: So, the question was how is they're not a consensus and your answer --

MCCAUGHEY: There is a consensus --


BLACKWELL: Hold on, I let you finish, let me come with the next question. The question, your answer then was, all of the plans, but by definition, consensus doesn't make room for a myriad of plans. There's a single idea.

MCCAUGHEY: It does. It is. There are -- they're dithering, and right now --

BLACKWELL: Who's dithering?

MCCAUGHEY: The members of Congress -- let me just explain -- are drafting a consolidated proposal that will combine the variations, and, for example, how the subsidies and tax credits will be provided. But the basics, Medicaid safety net, lower premiums and much more choice, and better protections for preexisting conditions. All of those things are common in all of the plans.

Don't forget, Obamacare was passed before anybody read it. And we've been suffering for six years as a result.

BLACKWELL: All right. Angela, I'm going to let you respond to that. And I've got a question about something the president said.

RYE: OK, sure. Let me just say this, there's another popular provision of Obamacare, Victor, and that is to allow young people to stay on their parents' health care plan. That is one that is personal to me.

I was a law school student who was out of nowhere kicked off of my mom and my dad's health care plan, and had to get something called COBRA. Like what is that? All of a sudden it was much more expensive health care for less benefits.


RYE: Betsy, you talked for a hundred years, let me just, please, the thing that is so important here, is that we don't play politics with health care of American citizens. You just had this great segment on right before we got started.

Here's the harsh reality. Republicans play politics with this for not the first term of President Obama, but also the second term. They tried to repeal Obamacare care more than 60 times. There was never a repeal plan. Victor, to your point, you would hope they would have a replacement plan.

MCCAUGHEY: They hope.

RYE: I'm not finished. Speaker Ryan said you're going to see it in the coming days. I've never heard him stutter so bad.

The reality is this, Barack Obama is putting his pride aside, putting his namesake aside and saying listen, I will support whatever you produce if it is better. If is stronger. We have an obligation as citizen in this country to do just that.

BLACKWELL: Angela, let me --


BLACKWELL: Angela, let me ask you, you said we should not be playing politics with Americans' health care. But what we know from that closed-door meeting that President Obama says do not rescue the Republicans on replacements. Do not rescue them. Is he not doing that post-repeal?

We know that this will be repealed. Republicans say that. But in offering a way to rescue Americans who need health care, should not Democrats are part of that?

RYE: Yes. But I think his comments were lifted out of context. I think when he's talking about rescuing them, he's saying don't give them any breathing room on the obligations that we have as public servants to provide health dare to American people. It is not a privilege. It is a right to live, thrive in his country and to be healthy.

I think that was the real point. I don't think it was about hanging out to dry and making people suffer. I don't think that's what he meant at all.

BLACKWELL: We've got to take a quick break. Both of us are coming back. Stay with us. We'll continue the conversation in a moment.


[07:42:32] BLACKWELL: New details on this assigning of blame over the cyber attacks during the U.S. election. A Russian official now blaming the Obama administration for undermining the democratic process. This comes as Donald Trump is still reluctant to say that Russia was behind the hacks.

Let's bring back Angela Rye and Former Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey.

Let's go back to you, Lieutenant Governor, what Vice President-elect said after this intelligence briefing, describing what happen inside the room and what will happen moving forward. Let's listen.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: It was, as the president-elect said, it was a constructive and respectful dialogue. The president- elect has made it clear that we're going to take aggressive action in the early days of our new administration to combat cyber attacks and protect the security of the American people from this type of intrusion in the future.


BLACKWELL: Aggressive action to combat cyber hacks and attacks in the future. Can you reconcile that for us, with what we heard from the president-elect when he said announcing this intelligence briefing that it's time for the country to move on to bigger and better things? It seems to be an inconsistency there.

MCCAUGHEY: I don't see the inconsistency, victor. This is why -- the Obama add administration knew about the hacking of the DNC several months ago, way before the outcome of the election but only made it a big deal once Mrs. Clinton lost that election. President-elect Donald Trump has said very clearly that he takes cyber security, not only when it's a hacking of a political institution, but of course, for an electrical grid or other aspects of American life, even more seriously.

But there's a difference between doing that and somehow falling into the trap of thinking that this election was manipulated or changed by the Russians. The fact is, the Russians did not intrude into the political mechanics of the election. They only changed public opinion, perhaps, by reveal something of the dirty tricks at the DNC. And the fact is, that if every election, from 1796 on, foreign governments have watched the outcomes, and in many cases leaked information about one candidate or another.

[07:45:01] The American people had a right to know what was going on behind closed doors at the DNC. Hillary Clinton getting the debate questions ahead of time. John Podesta's very negative use of --


BLACKWELL: We remember the highlights. We have a limited amount of time. I want Angela to respond what you just said.

RYE: So, Victor, the thing that old folks tell you sometimes is don't throw stones while living in a glass house. So Russia had access to the RNC despite Donald Trump's tweet and what you heard from Betsy but they didn't share that information. So, we don't want to talk about dirty secrets because god only know what is the RNC has.

But what we do know that Russians interfered with this election. We do know that Russians undermined our democracy. We do know that --


RYE: It absolutely hurts, but it's real.

MCCAUGHEY: It's not true.

RYE: Betsy, you love -- anyway, Vladimir Putin specifically ordered this type of attack to undermine Hillary Clinton. This was to do everything he could to discredit her.

So, I think we have to be honest about what the facts say. We have to be honest about what the national intelligence agencies in this country say. And it's very clear. It sounds like Mike Pence has a different type of agenda, one that puts our democracy over politics. So, it will be interesting to see as you brought up initially how they reconcile that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Angela Rye, Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey, thank you both.

RYE: Thank you, Victor.

MCCAUGHEY: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: All righty. Still to come, Dylann Roof in his own words, offering no remorse for killing nine church members in the South Carolina shooting. We have legal analysis on this. What is going to happen? We'll talk about it when we come back.

BLACKWELL: Plus, voice-activated cars and intelligence robots. We'll show you the technology of tomorrow as thousands of tech companies flood Las Vegas for CES 2017.


PAUL: A jail house diary of convicted Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was read to jurors in that South Carolina shooting case. And in it, the shooter offered no apology, no explanation for the massacre that killed nine church members.

[07:50:06] In fact, he actually doubled down on his actions saying, quote, "I would like to make it crystal clear, I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed."

Prosecutors plan to wrap up the case next Monday. Jurors could begin to deliberate Tuesday, as to whether roof gets the death penalty or life in prison.

I want to bring in legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Yodit Tewolde.

Yodit, always good to see you. Thank you for being here.

I want your reaction to what he wrote in the diary, what he said when he is saying I have no regret, I shed no tears. Is that the mind of an evil person or is that the mind of a mentally disabled person or incapable in some way?

YODIT TEWOLDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is an evil person. There are evil people in the world and, this is one example of that. We've already deeded the issue of whether he has a psychological issue or not, because the judge in this case had two hearings to make sure that he was psychologically fit to proceed as his own counsel and the judge found he was.

So, no, this isn't some sort of mental deficiency that the young man has, and it's interesting that he is saying these things in this manifesto while he was in jail, now he is acting as counsel in the penalty phase and he's providing zero understanding for the jurors. He's providing no understanding of the gravity of what he did in taking these nine lives, and he is providing zero mitigating factors for them to consider in giving him leniency by giving him prison time without parole.

So, it is interesting to see what exactly he wants in the situation. Does he want death? Does he want to live? We don't know. But from the looks of it, it seems like he is leaning to wanting to get the death sentence and be some sort of a martyr.

PAUL: OK, that was the next question. I know he hasn't even asked jurors to spare his life. Will he get the final word? Will he get to address these jurors to appeal for his life if he so chooses?

TEWOLDE: I mean, he is acting as counsel. So, he has the opportunity to present evidence like bringing in people to testify on his behalf, explaining what his home life was growing up. There's just nothing he is given. So, the jurors have nothing to mull over, but simply the fact that he killed nine people because they were black. That's all that they have. He's given them nothing to factor.

So, all they have is what the government has presented and they presented multiple witnesses that talked about what their life has been like without these nine individuals. And so, that's all they have. It is interesting he filed a motion trying to limit the number of witnesses the government presents because he is saying that would guarantee a death sentence.

But you can understand that, you know what, he's going to raise the same issue on appeal. What the judge is trying to do is make sure that Dylann Roof understands all of his rights and what he's waiving and giving up, because on appeal, you're going to have to bet your bottom he is going to raise the same issues, that he was not given a fair trial, that he didn't have effective assistance of counsel.

And so, this judge is trying to preserve record for appeal in the event the issues are raised. So, we'll see what he tries to present, but as of right now, he is presenting absolutely nothing.

PAUL: This is I think what is so difficult for jurors in this situation, because the crime is so horrific. You don't want to give the defendant what he wants, but it is hard to determine what he wants. Does he want to die? Does he want to live? How do jurors balance their feelings, the facts about it, and how they interpret what he might want?

TEWOLDE: Well, as a juror, they're supposed to balance the aggravating factors that the government presents and mitigating factors that the defendant presents. The defendant at this point has presented zero. So, what they're going to consider is just the aggravating factors. And if they find that the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, that there's no redeemable quality they have at this point to decide whether they should give this young man leniency.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if they actually hand down a death sentence, they have nothing to counter these aggravating factors. He has given them nothing. And you have to consider the circumstances of this crime. I mean, he was so calculating. These victims were extremely vulnerable. So, it wouldn't be surprising if they came down with a death sentence.

PAUL: All right. I wonder if that's what you thought.

Yodit Tewolde, always appreciate you being here. Thank you.

TEWOLDE: Thank you, sure.

PAUL: Victor?

BLACKWELL: So, one of our tech correspondents scored a date with Pepper the Robot. This is Pepper. Yes, I know. That's what I say. What? How did it go? We'll show you.


[07:57:36] BLACKWELL: Thousands of tech companies are flooding Vegas for CES 2017.

PAUL: Yes, the Consumer Electronic Show. It's a show case of the best of today's technology and look at what, you know, in the near future.

Well, CNN Money's Samuel Burke, he's there and he got a date with Pepper, a humanoid robot, apparently.

BLACKWELL: It's Pepper.

PAUL: Yes, supposed to respond to people's emotion. Let's check it out.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Victor and Christi, the biggest trend that we saw this year at CES, without a doubt, voice recognition. You know, the Amazon Echo speaker has been successful, unexpectedly. It's a speaker that goes in the house with a microphone, you can talk to it from across the room, tell it to play your music.

But now, we saw other tech companies trying to integrate their products with Amazon Echo. Companies like Ford, so you can start your car before you get to it. Imagine if it is cold outside, you want to get it warmed up before you get there. You say, Alexa, as she's known, the Amazon Echo, Alexa, start up my car.

Also, we saw companies like the DVR hopper, integrating with Alexa. You can say, hey, Alexa, record CNN every day at this time, so you always get the show, and do it without having to click a remote control.

Now, another place we saw voice control taking off was the advance in robots. There's a robot called Pepper. So, CNN decided to send me on a first date with her, see if she could understand me and talk back. Check out our date.

Hey there, what's your name?

PEPPER THE ROBOT: You can call me pepper.

BURKE: Nice to meet you, Pepper.

PEPPER THE ROBOT: Great to meet you.

BURKE: So, tell me a little bit about yourself.

PEPPER THE ROBOT: My name is Pepper. I'm a humanoid robot and I'm 1.20 meters tall.

BURKE: Are you a boy or a girl?

PEPPER THE ROBOT: Well, in the end, I'm just a robot.

BURKE: So what do you do, Pepper?

PEPPER THE ROBOT: I like to discuss things.

BURKE: Did you vote for Donald Trump or were you more of a Hillary Clinton supporter?


BURKE: That wasn't a very straightforward answer.

So, I have to say, for the most part, Pepper could understand me. I liked what she had to say. Couple of awkward moments where she couldn't understand me, but, hey, that can happen on a first date. But at the end of the day, so much now is about voice recognition and these computers, these machines being able to understand us and talking back -- Victor, Christi.


BLACKWELL: Yes, it looks like a couple of dates I've been on.


PAUL: Every person who's ever dated is like, is that me? Is that me?

BLACKWELL: I know the good ones know who they were and the bad ones they know, too.