Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

New Video: Moment Of Gunman's Attack Captured On Cam; Four Killed As Truck Plows Through A Group Of Soldiers; GOP Prepares For Battle To Repeal Health Care Law; Trump Aide: Kremlin Didn't Influence Election; Top Ethics Officer Concerned About Cabinet Hearings; Trump To Hold First Press Conference This Week; CNN Exposes Plagiarism By A Trump National Security Pick; Hours Away From The Award Season Kick- Off. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 8, 2017 - 15:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:00:19] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happening now in the "NEWSROOM."

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: We didn't need WikiLeaks to convince the American people that they didn't like her, they didn't trust her, they didn't find her to be honest.

ASH CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It's an aggressive act against our very democracy and that's why I think all Americans need to regard it very seriously.

BARACK OBAMA, U.S PRESIDENT: What is true is that the Russians intended to meddle and they meddled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plus --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Can you confirm that President-elect Trump is committed to replacing ObamaCare the same day that it will be repealed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN "NEWSROOM" starts now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

So we have distressing new video from inside that Fort Lauderdale Airport, showing the moment when the gunman opens fire in the baggage claim area. We do want to warn viewers that this video is difficult to watch, but it is crucial in understanding the context of this shooting.

This is a freeze frame now of what appears to be security camera footage, obtained by TMZ. The man in the blue shirt is believed to be accused gunman, Esteban Santiago. We will play the video one time throughout this hour. It is silent and it is security footage and it is disturbing. Pay attention to the left side of your screen, where the man in the blue shirt enters the frame.

CNN's Boris Sanchez joining me now with more on this video. Is the airport confirming this is indeed their surveillance video?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. We recently just spoke to a spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport who would not comment on how this video was leaked, except to say that right now there is an investigation and that law enforcement is involved.

As you said, Fred, it is tough to watch. In the video, the seconds before the shooter walks on the screen, you see there are some young children walking around in front of him. There are people simply picking up their bags and getting ready to exit the airport. That's when he walks into frame.

Really what stands out is that he is totally nondescript. There's really nothing that stands out about him until that moment where you see him reach into his waistband. He takes out that 9 millimeter pistol and what really is just the most telling thing about this video is that the expression on his face doesn't change. He is expression less, as he opens fire on the people that are nearest to him.

You then see people behind him start to react. A lot of people go to the ground. You see one woman get behind a baggage cart trying to hide. At that point, he looks like he somewhat crouches and then he starts running away.

Again, we're not sure exactly how this video got into the hands of TMZ, but it does corroborate a lot of the things that we've heard from the FBI about his actions, about how all of this played out.

We understand that he bought a one-way ticket from Alaska directly -- or rather not directly he stopped in Milwaukee before coming here. But he explicitly came here to carry out this attack, but we don't know why he decided to come here.

Apparently, he arrived, grabbed his bag, went into a restroom, put the gun in his waistband, and then as you saw on the tape, he opened fire. Esteban Santiago is due in federal court tomorrow. He is facing serious charges, all of them, eligible for the death penalty, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Appreciate that.

So for more in the investigation, I want to bring in now CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Matthew Horace and former Homeland Security Specialist Paul Schmick. All right, Paul and Matthew, good to see you. Paul you first, your initial reaction to video?

PAUL SCHMICK, FORMER SPECIALIST, HOMELAND SECURITY-TSA: Yeah. I think to understand it, we have to go back to November 1st, 2013, when a gunman walked into LAX Terminal 3, opened fire, proceeded through the checkpoint, went and gotten to the sterile area of the airport, which is not a good situation, because there are so much access at that point. Law enforcement took some time to get on the scene.

What we can see from the video is the baggage claim area is typically a very safe area. People come and go. People in that area are typically happy. They just got off a safe flight. Family and friends are there to welcome them. There are also shuttle buses and things of that nature in this area.

So it's just difficult because after that 2013 incident, law enforcement from the TSA and public reports was really putting pressure on law enforcement to put their resources at the checkpoint and I think it's a perfect example where vulnerability was identified, but the police can't be everywhere.

[15:05:08] WHITFIELD: And then, Matthew, how do you evaluate the imagery that we've seen?

MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF EXECUTIVE: Well, you know, for us in law enforcement we deal with the reality of the condition. It's cold and calculating and callus (ph) and he shows a disregard and a sort like a dehumanizing effect. But, it's almost like he is firing at the range. He's firing at targets. There's no regard for humanity. Clearly, mental health, but nonetheless, cold and calculating.

WHITFIELD: But it's confusing, too, because we don't get to see what precedes the imagery that we saw. But just those first couple of frames just blending in, essentially, you know, Matthew, just seemingly to be just like everybody else and then putting out a weapon and firing, you know, away from the turnstiles that we can see presumably towards, you know, the exit area of the airport, of this terminal.

So as you see this, and we know now the facts that law enforcement have given us on the ground that he picked up his luggage there at the baggage claim, went into the restroom, pulled out his weapon ammunition, and then casually came out. How do investigators use those few frames to try to piece together motivation why he felt provokes to do something like this?

HORACE: Well, the motivation is going to come based on our investigative work that goes backwards into his social media, speaking with his family members and friends, going to everywhere he's ever lived or been during the last year or so. They're going to develop motivation.

But let me tell you, these points out a vulnerability in our system and I'm hoping that legislators and lawmakers can go back to the table, again, after a tragedy and decide what we can do elevate aspect just in the future, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then, Paul, what do you see in terms of these vulnerabilities that may be magnified as a result of this?

SCHMICK: Yeah. So the TSA has 20 layers of aviation security. It's everything from canines to behavior detection, hardened cockpit doors. But there's two layers specifically that come to mind when I review that CCTV or surveillance footage. He was on a death march, really.

And what we have to look at, there are two layers that come to mind when I think about this. So there's the intelligence layer. What did we know before he came to the airport? And also the no-fly list, which is much more in depth where you would prevent him from flying.

So, you know, intelligence has a ceiling on what they can do in terms of stopping individuals like that from flying. And I'm sure as the days roll out, we'll hear more about what was known before he embarked on an airport.

WHITFIELD: Earlier, I spoke with the Broward County Sheriff and this is how he sees, you know, precautions to be made, vulnerabilities particularly in baggage claim areas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: The answer isn't to beef up airports, although that might be important to beef a venues. We're a free society. We as Americans, we go to airports and stadiums and venues, you know, every day of our lives. The answer is to have our lawmakers start to look at whether or not what they can do to ensure that convicted felons, people that are put on no-fly lists, certainly people that are suffering from mental health issues.

And I have compassion, you know, for people that, you know, they're not problem people. They're people with very real problems. But why individuals are suffering for mental health issues, convicted felons and certainly people put on no-fly lists, they should not, in my mind, possess handguns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Matthew, do you see some changes or modifications in the immediacy before any kind of long-term goals can be met?

HORACE: I would absolutely hope so. And, Fred, as you know, it takes tragedy often times to promulgate change. So, hopefully we see some real hard-core change here. Some is going to happen as the same narrative over and over.

WHITFIELD: Matthew Horace, Paul Schmick, thank you so much gentlemen. Appreciate it.

HORACE: Have a great day, Fredricka.

SCHMICK: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. And we're also learning more about Esteban Santiago's past. Assault charges involving a girlfriend, hearing voices in his head, even asking for help. CNN's Dan Simon traveled to Santiago's town in Anchorage to learn more about his past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His troubles began after serving time in Iraq, relatives say. Esteban Santiago spent 10 months in the war- torn country, earning a combat action batch. His brother says the changes in him were apparent.

BRYAN SANTIAGO, ESTEBAN SANTIAGO'S BROTHER (through translation): They had him hospitalized for four days. And then, they let him go. How are you going to let someone leave a psychological center after four days when he's saying that he's hearing voices, that the CIA is telling him to join certain groups?

SIMON: Santiago's brother referring to the 26 rules (ph) meeting with the FBI and a subsequent mental health evaluation. Santiago on his own walked into the FBI's Anchorage office last November, seemingly to explain the demons in his head.

[15:10:02] MARLIN RITZMAN, ALASKA FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Mr. Santiago walked into the Anchorage FBI office to report that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency. During the interview, Mr. Santiago appeared agitated, incoherent and made disjointed statements.

SIMON: Authorities say they didn't find his behavior threatening. But there is ample reason to alert the local police who took him to a psychiatric hospital. In his meeting with the FBI, Santiago said he had a gun, which was seized by the agents.

CHIEF CHRISTOPHER TOLLEY, ANCHORAGE POLICE: Santiago was having terroristic thoughts and believed he was being influenced by ISIS. Santiago had a loaded magazine on him, but had left his firearm in his vehicle prior to contacting agents. Also in the vehicle was Santiago's newborn child.

SIMON: CNN has learned the evaluation lasted less than 72 hours. Santiago, a free man. And a month later, he got the gun back from police. The same gun law enforcement sources say he used to shoot 11 people at the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Santiago's troubled history also includes a domestic violence case involving his girlfriend at this home in Anchorage. In court documents obtained by CNN, Santiago was charged with assault and criminal mischief. He allegedly broke down the bathroom door at his girlfriend's home and the woman told police that Santiago yield up (inaudible) while strangling her and smacking her in the side of the head.

Santiago pled no contest, but the charges were set to be dismissed if he stayed out of trouble. While a motive for the shooting remains unclear, Santiago's neighbors are left wondering why he chose Fort Lauderdale as his target.

PERETTE CARTER, NEIGHBOR: You know, we've be at in the ally sometime, in firewood, you know, he could have shot everybody up just in the vicinity if he went down all the way down there to shoot someone.

SIMON: Despite the FBI's interaction with Santiago, he was not placed on a no-fly list. RITZMAN: There had been concerns raised about why Mr. Santiago was not placed on a no-fly list. I want to be clear, during our initial investigation we found no ties to terrorism. He broke no laws when he came into our office, making disjointed comments about mind control.

SIMON: So why would someone who is clearly mentally disturbed be able to get his gun back? Well, the U.S. Attorney in Alaska says there's no legal basis to prevent him from having it. A judge would have needed to declare him "mentally defective" to deny him his second amendment rights.

Dan Simon, CNN, Anchorage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And we're also learning new details about the victims in Friday's horrific attack at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Tragically, most were on vacation.

Michael Oehme of Council Bluffs, Iowa was about to go on a cruise with his wife, Kari. And he was killed when the shots rang out in the baggage claim area. And according to the Sun Sentinel, his wife, Kari, was shot in the shoulder, but is expected to recover. Oehme leaves behind one daughter.

And Olga Woltering, senior on the left was also about to go on a cruise with her husband, Ralph. According to CNN affiliate WXIA, the couple is from Marietta, Georgia and had planned the trip to celebrate her husband's 90th birthday. He was not injured in the shooting. The Woltering's were married for 64 years.

And Terry Andres was a Virginia shipyard employee that was in Fort Lauderdale on vacation with his wife, Ann. The couple was celebrating Andres' upcoming 63rd birthday, a friend tells CNN. Andres and his wife had been married for 40 years. He leaves behind two daughters.

And three other people injured in the shooting are in critical condition.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:16:56] WHITFIELD: In Jerusalem today, a horrific scene when a truck rams through a group of Israeli soldiers standing together after getting off of a bus. Three military cadets and one officer were killed and at least 10 others injured.

Israel's Prime Minister saying the attacker may have been an ISIS sympathizer. The attack was caught on video. In a word of caution, the video is disturbing and we strongly advise viewer discretion.

The driver, not only plowing into the group of soldiers, he turned his truck around and then appeared to drive over some of the victims. Israeli officials say the attack ended when the driver was shot and killed. CNN's Oren Lieberman is in Jerusalem. So, Oren, what more can you tell us about how authorities are assessing this?

OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, now, the investigation goes on to who knew that this attack might take place and how much advance notice did anyone have? That's where police are focusing their efforts right now.

In addition to -- or I should say, police have made nine arrests, as part of the investigation. Five are family members of the attacker who as you said, was shot and killed at the scene. Let me walk back you -- walk you back through what happened.

It was about 1:30 p.m. local time, a beautiful day here in Jerusalem, right along the (inaudible) walkway. It's a popular walkway, not only for security forces and soldiers, but also for pedestrians and tourists because it has a beautiful view of the old city of Jerusalem. A number of soldiers had just gotten off a bus as part of an educational cultural tour, and that is when this attack happened.

Police say the truck driver drove off the road heading straight for a group of soldiers getting off of the bus. And then as you saw in that horrific video, it seems he reverses his car or reverses his truck and drives back over some of the soldiers there. The horrible outcome is that four were killed, three women and one man. And a number of others were injured, all in their 20s.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene a few hours after the attack. In fact, just a few hours ago and said it seems from what they know of the attacker in this case who is from a nearby neighborhood, in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian neighborhood, that the attacker here was a supporter of ISIS.

Now, we did hear from the police spokesperson, Micky Rosenfeld, who said this is not some new ISIS cell, there have been and there are no ISIS cells in Israel in Jerusalem. But it points to a lone wolf attack, and that is what security forces are trying to pinpoint and figure out how to prevent from now on. How do you stop a lone wolf attack like this from happening again?

It's a struggle, not only for security forces here, but elsewhere as well Europe in particular. That will be the focus now as they try to figure out, was there advance notice? Who that the car belong to? How could they have prevented this one so that perhaps they can better prevent the next one? Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And, Oren, are authorities revealing anything more about why they believe he was a supporter of ISIS? What's, you know, what's the impetus for that kind of statement?

LIEBERMAN: Little information about that right now. It was just a statement Prime Minister Netanyahu made when he visited the scene saying from what they understand of the attacker he was a supporter of ISIS.

It surprised us, frankly, because you don't very often hear about ISIS in Israel, Jerusalem or the West Bank. As police have pointed out, ISIS doesn't have a foothold here. It's not something you hear about. Israel has essentially quietly cracked down on ISIS supporters, whether its people spreading ISIS propaganda or trying to go fight for ISIS in Syria, but it's not a major terrorist organization here.

[15:20:11] They don't have a major foothold. And it's not something you hear about very often. And that's why we need to keep in mind the police spokesperson, Micky Rosenfeld, when he said this is not some new ISIS terrorist cell, there are none of those.

And yet it's critical as Israel tries to figure out how to prevent the next one of this from happening, because turning a truck into a weapon is something we didn't just see happen here today, we saw it happen in Berlin and in Niece, as well, the devastating effect in all three instances.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. All right, Oren Lieberman, thank you so much in Jerusalem.

All right, coming up, the GOP vows to repeal ObamaCare. President Barack Obama says if they have a better alternative, he'll support it. So can Republicans come up with a cheaper and more effective plan? We'll discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, Republicans are gearing up for battles to take down ObamaCare. House Speaker Paul Ryan is going to repeal multiple key policies, including funding Planned Parenthood. President Obama says if Republicans have a better plan, then he's all for repealing and replacing it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It is true, theoretically that all that progress can be undone and suddenly 20 million people or more don't have health insurance. But, as I think Republicans now are recognizing, that's may not be what the American people, including even Trump voters are looking for.

[15:25:11] And my hope is that the president-elect, members of Congress from both parties look at where have we objectively made progress, where things are working better. Don't undo things just because I did them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me now is CNNMoney's Tami Luhby. So, Tami, you know, how difficult would it be to keep the advantages of ObamaCare and then maintain or cut the current cost, with such a repeal?

TAMI LUHBY, CNNMONEY, SENIOR WRITER: It's going to be difficult. I mean, health care is expensive for everyone. ObamaCare has lots of provisions that are very intertwined, aimed at reducing the costs of health care in general, but it's still expensive. And Republicans want to make changes to some of these plans. They want to offer tax credits, but it remains to be seen how generous they'll be able to make their new plan.

WHITFIELD: And President Obama said that, you know, "This approach of repeal first, replace later is simply put irresponsible because it's only bleed the health care system that all of us depend on." I'm quoting him. What would happen to the economy, potentially if Republicans do indeed repeal ObamaCare without a plan to replace it?

LUHBY: Right. Well, the health care is one sixth of the economy, health care spending. So, ObamaCare sends a lot of money to ensure that sends a lot of money of the states and this money trickles down to hospitals, to other providers and that trickles down to hospital workers and to the vendors and other people.

So, there was a recent study that came out that said that if certain key provisions of ObamaCare were repealed, 3 million health care workers and other could lose their jobs. State and local governments could lose 48 billion in taxes. You know, health care is a very important economic engine in our country.

WHITFIELD: And so what you're underscoring is it's not just the people who would be on the plan, but a lot of people who would -- who are either directly or even indirectly involved in the plan?

LUHBY: Yeah. I mean, a lot of people think that ObamaCare is only for people on the exchanges or only for people who are getting coverage through medicaid extension. A lot of people don't realize that it has many, many tentacles. So it made some revisions to medicare.

We used to have a -- what they called the doughnut hole, where seniors had to pay for their prescription after a certain amount of spending. ObamaCare is closing that doughnut hole, so seniors will pay less for prescriptions.

Now, everyone can get prescription -- sorry, everyone can get contraceptives for free. You can get mammograms, even if you're on your employer plan. So, you know, people on the job have benefits that if God forbid they get cancer or get hit by a car, their insurance is not going to set a limit as to much it will pay for their care. So it's quite wide ranging.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tami Luhby, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

LUHBY: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: All right, up next, a top aide for Donald Trump speaks out about Russia's hacking of the U.S. election and its potential impact on the vote.

Plus, the red carpet is rolled out and ready for tonight's Golden Globe Awards, a live report from Hollywood, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:31:24] WHITFIELD: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A senior aide to Donald Trump acknowledges that Russia, China and others have tried to hack the U.S. government and other high-profile American targets. But Kellyanne Conway is insisting the Russian hack in particular did nothing to tilt the outcome of the November election.

She spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper this morning and wouldn't directly criticize Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, even after President-elect Trump received the briefing from top intelligence officials, outlining their case for Russian hacking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Has he been persuaded that Russia did carry out a comprehensive cyber campaign against Hillary Clinton, and what is he prepared to do about it?

CONWAY: Jake, if you read his entire statement followed a briefing on Friday, he makes very clear that Russia, China and others, have attempted to attack different government, institutions, businesses and individuals and organizations over a serious of time. He specifically mentions the Democratic National Committee, because that's why we're having this conversation.

I don't want any of your viewers to be misled and to thinking that somehow the Kremlin and the Republican Party or -- that they had -- the Kremlin was dealing with any of the hackers and bringing that information back to Moscow and somehow that anybody who allegedly attempted to influence our elections actually did.

If you read the full report, he makes very clear. Mr. Clapper in his testimony made very clear on Thursday, under oath, that any attempt, any aspiration to influence our elections failed. They were not successful in doing that. And it's a very important point.

We're talking about this because we had embarrassing leaks from the DNC e-mails. There were no fireworks in that report because there was no firewall at the DNC.

TAPPER: Well, what they said -- what the Intelligence Community said is that there was no evidence that Russia was able to penetrate any of the voting machines and affect the outcome that way, but they made no conclusion, whatsoever.

They said they didn't have any evidence and it wasn't in their charge to determine whether or not the information that was hacked by Russia that was ultimately leaked to the public, whether or not that change any votes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The election hacking incidence highlights the fractious relationship between Russia and the U.S. President-elect Trump has vowed to change that. Jill Dougherty explains what that could mean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Donald Trump has been tweeting about improving the relationship between the United States and Russia and together solving a lot of the big challenges, the big problems that the world encounters. That, of course, is music to Vladimir Putin's ears, because he has been saying all along, he wants the U.S. and Russia to work together on things like fighting terrorism. But, when you get down to the specifics that is where the rubber hits the road and it becomes more difficult, because after all, previous U.S. presidents had said much the same thing.

Here's one example. The Iranian Nuclear Deal, the United States and Russia helped to negotiate that agreement and, of course, both countries support it, but Donald Trump does not. Does that put him in opposition to Vladimir Putin? It would appear that it does, unless he changes his mind. These are some of the details that make that relationship much more complicated.

Essentially, Vladimir Putin has defined what he believes are the interests of Russia and Donald Trump will have to do the same what he believes are the priorities and the best interest for the United States. The question will be, will those interests align?

[15:35:04] Jill Dougherty, Moscow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Jill.

All right, confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump's cabinet pick, that begins this week. Also this week, Trump holds his long- awaited press conference. We'll discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. A red flag being raised about the schedule of the confirmation hearings of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks. Those hearings are set to start this week. But, the independent Office of Government Ethics says several nominees have not been properly vetted and that's causing deep concerns among top Democrats who say the rush to confirm is "unprecedented."

Joining me to discuss this and other aspects of the Trump transition as we near his inauguration is CNN Contributor Salena Zito. She is also a reporter for the "Washington Examiner" and a columnist for the "New York Post." Good to see you. Also with me, Errol Louis who is a CNN Political Commentator and an anchor for "Spectrum News." Good to see you, as well.

OK, so, Salena, you first. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer accuses the transition team of colluding with Republicans to jump through these hearings. Is there any evidence to back that up?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, not that I know of. In 2009, when President Obama took office, I believe -- I think I'm pretty correct on this that on the same day that he was sworn in, the day of his inauguration that seven of his cabinet members were sworn in. [15:40:08] Now, McConnell and everyone else didn't like that. There was, you know, some convicting (ph) around, but, you know, the process is swift and, you know, and went pretty well.

President-elect Trump has, I believe, eight that are up for the confirmation process. Part of the challenge with Trump's picks are that they are outside of the Washington, you know, sort of set, right? So, they're outsiders.

They have more complicated finances. And, you know, they have more complicated entanglements, financial entanglements. But I suspect at the end of the day, this is -- all of these nominees are probably going to go through, mainly because they have the votes.

WHITFIELD: So, Errol, one big difference, too, is that potentially there are number of names or nominees where there are potential conflicts and that is why some on the Hill have particular concerns.

We also understand that, you know, there are some nominees who are in question in terms of whether all of the paperwork has been filed. You know, there are conflicting reports about this.

By the way, general, you know, John Kelly for DHS, Betsy DeVos for education, Wilbur Ross for Commerce and Dr. Ben Carson for HUD. So what information is important from these ethics office in order to move forward properly on confirmation hearing?

ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR, SPECTRUM NEWS: Well, you know, it's important, Fredricka, that it's a process. It's not just simply filling out a piece of paper and disclosing it to the Senate. The idea is to have a process whereby people learn, perhaps, things about their own finances, their own potential conflicts of interest that they might not have known before.

You know, very famously, there are nominees who discovered that they had a "nanny problem." When -- and it was only through the vetting process that they themselves realized that somebody they've been paying to work in their home had supplied them with a fake social security number. That's what happened to Bernie Kerik when he was nominated for Homeland Security.

You have a process here that's supposed to, according to Mitch McConnell himself, by the way, in the past, he had said, "You should not even schedule the hearing until the information has been given to the Office of Government Ethics, has been delivered to the Senate and that the senators have had a chance to look through it." That's what the process is supposed to be about. Not simply, you know, voting for them just because it's inauguration day.

WHITFIELD: So if that's true that according to, you know, the Senate Democratic source that some of these people have not filed all the proper paperwork, then, Salena, you know, how unusual would it be if it's the Democrats who were to do this or if that were some movement to say let's delay some of the hearings or confirmation for some of these candidates until after inauguration. ZITO: Right. Well, you know, the Republicans here would catch on fire if that would happen. Instead, it was, you know, a Democratic cabinet nominee. You know, there are things consisting of reports about this. The Ethics Office is saying one thing. The transition team is saying another. I guess that we'll find out on inauguration day.

I do know that they are really preparing a lot of these cabinet nominees for some intense, you know, grueling questions, on the Hill. I mean, these are people that have never, ever had their lives peeled back in the way that they do in these Senate confirmation hearings. So I know they are getting prepared. But, you know, we're dealing with a different kind of cabinet and it's going to be, probably, a different kind of process.

WHITFIELD: All right, meantime, Errol, Donald Trump to hold his first press conference since the election. There have been many delays. There was a mid-December date and now the latest date is, you know, this Wednesday. It happens to be the second day of these confirmation hearings. Will there be a conflict here?

LOUIS: Well, we'll see. You know, we're talking about five months now. This is almost Clintonesque if you go back to the last real press conference. I mean, I'm hoping that it will be a true press conference and not a gaggle or a few answered questions followed by a swift departure.

We'll also have to hope that it's not intended as sort of distraction, kind of a bait and switch, where something outrageous is kind of thrown out there to grab headlines, while the real action is happening on Capitol Hill, where the cabinet nominees are being questioned.

You know, the transition team, you know, to their credit I think they've acknowledged that they're doing a lot more work much faster than they ever planned to, because they didn't think they were going to win on November 8th. But now that they are sort of the team that has to kind of put together a government, they have a backlog of questions.

[15:45:03] And every day that they refuse to answer questions or to hold a press conference, I think the backlog got bigger and bigger. So I'm hoping that the reporters, they get a chance to throw out questions during this press conference. Do a really good and efficient job of getting to the heart of many, many of the conflict of interest questions and other issues that have been brewing for the last five months.

WHITFIELD: Impossibly lots of questions about potential conflicts within his own family, having family members working for him with all the business dealings, et cetera. And then, the tax returns. Donald Trump promising that after elected he would reveal those. So, I'm sure he will be peppered with a lot of questions along those lines from reporters. Salena Zito, Errol Louis, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

LOUIS: Thank you. WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, one of Trump's top national security picks facing major questions over plagiarism. CNN's "KFile" broke this story and we've got details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, troubling new revelations about one of Donald Trump's national security picks. Conservative author and T.V. personality, Monica Crowley, has been tapped to be the senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council.

And CNN "KFile" investigation into her 2012 book, "What The (Bleep) Just Happened?," that's the title of it, found dozens of examples of plagiarism. This has served (ph) almost identical to Daniel Horowitz's 2011 article in red state, other portions of her book are listed from different, several different publications.

[15:50:14] Senior Editor of CNN's "KFile" as Andrew Kaczynski joining me right now. So, Andrew, exactly how many instances are we talking about of this alleged plagiarism?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: So this is 60 instances of plagiarism. It includes copying things like Wikipedia, a website called Investopedia, news articles, other columnists.

A lot of times we saw Monica Crowley basically taking, you know, wholesale this work of other columnists, changing words, changing the tenses, you know, from has to had, things like that, and then sort of throwing on even sometimes the same conclusions as these people in their columns just in slightly different words.

WHITFIELD: So how did you find this if her editors or publishers did not?

KACZYNSKI: So a lot of the instances, for example, you know, one case where she listed things that she said were in The Stimulus was very obviously copied. Now, with this instance something very interesting that we found was this big list of items that she said were very outrageous that they were included in the 2009 Stimulus package. We're not in the Stimulus package at all.

When we, you know, sort of went -- looking to see where this was taken from, we found that it was on this website for a podiatrist, of all people dating back to 2004. Basically the first example about tattoo removal was an example that was in The Stimulus and then the other, you know, 20 were from this podiatrist's website. It was almost as if somebody had added the first line from, you know, looking for outrageous things in The Stimulus and then just given up and, you know, copied the rest.

WHITFIELD: So some of the inaccuracies were red flags. Now, have you heard from the Trump team about this?

KACZYNSKI: So the Trump transition is standing by Crowley. They have basically said that, you know, our article is a politically motivated attack. They actually cited this body of work as part of the reason for why she was hired saying, you know, this was sort of her manifesto for how to take back America.

HarperCollins, the publisher very, you know, oddly has not issued any statement or even responded to any of our e-mails or phone calls requesting comment and Crowley herself has not responded either.

WHITFIELD: All right. So now we've got at least two instances of, you know, plagiarism, and this involving Crowley and then, of course, there's the Melania, you know, Trump's speech Michelle Obama. This has to make this office feel fairly uncomfortable that they have to deal with these now, two instances.

KACZYNSKI: Yeah. Basically, you know, we have Melania, we have this. We haven't see any instances from Trump or anyone else, but that there are a lot of nominees, there are a lot of people who have written a lot of words, for all we know, there could be more examples out there from other people who reporters and people like us are going to be looking into.

WHITFIELD: All right, tough work. Andrew Kaczynski, thank you so much with the CNN "KFile." Appreciate it.

KACZYNSKI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: For more on Andrew's article about Crowley's credibility being question, visit cnnmoney.com. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:57:13] WHITFIELD: OK, just hours away now from the kick-off of Hollywood's awards season. Everybody loves this. Tonight, it's the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards hosted by Jimmy Fallon and rain in the forecast will cause some concern but guess what, its clear skies now.

Stephanie Elam is live and dazzling for us on the red carpet. Ooh la la, Stephanie. All swept up and coifed and everything. What's going on there?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it's funny. Every now and then you got to clean up. Every now and then you got to clean up for T.V., right? Yeah. So it is great out here, Fred.

Thank you, because, you know what, it rained yesterday here in Los Angeles, it's supposed to rain tomorrow, so we've lots (ph) out with actually quite warm. People out here are talking about how warm it is here on red carpet.

But right now they're getting -- everyone is preparing. You can see we've got people behind us who are looking around. People are taking their pictures, because we can still stand on the red carpet right now until the celebrities get here.

So people are lining up, the fans are in the stands, a lot of people hoping to see some of their biggest stars, and I don't know how many of these movies and shows you have seen, Fredricka, but when you take a look at the Golden Globe, this is the biggest party of the awards show, that's because the folks get to eat and they also get to drink while they are there, watching the show, while the program is going on.

And also, the Golden Globes looks to honor the best in television and film. So it looks to see the Hollywood Foreign Press best as who they are saying are the shows of 2016. So that's what makes this one a little bit different than the other ones.

A lot of people are talking about two movies in particular, "La La Land," which everyone expects to do quite well. It has a bunch of nominations and the same story on the drama side for "Moonlight." I don't know if you've seen that film, but it happens to be my -- one of my favorite, so just as breathtaking film.

It also has a lot of nominations, so people waiting to see how they do and how maybe "Moonlight" measures up to Manchester by the sea, which a lot of people are talking about those. Performances as well, Casey Affleck have mentioned as well.

So a lot of people getting in place, looking around, seeing how everyone has turn out today. Hairstyles should be OK since the rain is not here, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: It's all about the hair, isn't it? And yours looks fabulous. I love it. So, Stephanie, I've seen nothing. So all those movies you've mentioned, I know them by titles, but maybe over the next couple of days I know that the -- after the Golden Globes but, you know, it's a way it is for me. It's been a busy year. I had no time for movie.

ELAM: It's hard.

(CROSSTALK)

ELAM: It's hard. Its hard do, especially when you are working and you got kid. It's hard do.

WHITFIELD: I know. All right, thank you so much. Lots of fun. We'll be watching this evening. Have fun out there, Stephanie.

All right, the next hour of the CNN "NEWSROOM" begins right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happening now in the "NEWSROOM."

CONWAY: We didn't need WikiLeaks to convince the American people that they didn't like her, they didn't trust her, they didn't find her to be honest.

CARTER: It's an aggressive act against our very democracy and that's why I think all Americans need to regard it very seriously.

OBAMA: What is true is that the Russians intended to meddle and they meddled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plus --

TAPPER: Can you confirm that President-elect Trump is committed to replacing ObamaCare the same day that it will be repealed?