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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Revives False Voter Fraud Claim, Vows Probe; Trump Brings Back Oil Projects Halted By Obama; Building Trump's Border Wall; Patriots Going to Super Bowl; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 25, 2017 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00] PAUL LA MONICA, CNN MONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of blue chip companies leading the market higher -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Paul La Monica, thanks so much.

President Trump sending shockwaves, though, this morning, vowing on Twitter to investigate voter fraud. The president providing past debunked claims that millions of people voted illegally, tweeting, quote, "I will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal, and even those registered to vote who are dead, and many for a long time," in parenthesis. "Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures."

That was two tweets. Last hour I talked with the Ohio Secretary of State John Husted. He's in charge of making sure voting in his state is fraud-free.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON HUSTED (R), OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: I think, you know, he's going to bear the responsibility of providing the facts. And I'm eager to see what those facts are. What I'm focused -- what I've been focused on, Carol, and we've talked about this in the past, you know, every state does this differently. This is how we do it in Ohio.

COSTELLO: No, no. I understand. But --

HUSTED: But there is a way to do this.

COSTELLO: But critics say that by talking about this issue, that's really a non-issue because there's been a zillion studies that show there is no widespread voter fraud in this country.

HUSTED: And there isn't.

COSTELLO: You told me there's no widespread voter fraud in the state of --

HUSTED: There is no evidence that there's widespread voter --

COSTELLO: Right. So by the president of the United States saying this, in the most powerful democracy in the world, doesn't that concern you? HUSTED: It does concern me. And I've said this in the past. When

the president talked about the election being rigged during the election, that's when I came out and I publicly said, look, there's no evidence. This is a bipartisan process in Ohio. I know that it's a bipartisan process in other states. And we have -- and the system of elections in America is as good as it's ever been.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: All right. So we'll likely hear strong pushback from Democrats on those false voter fraud claims. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi set to speak to reporters any moment now. We're going to keep an eye on that for you. We'll let you know when it starts.

But already this morning harsh criticisms from prominent Democrats who say the president has a penchant for making false statements.

For more that, CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, she's on Capitol Hill. Good morning.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. That's right, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is set to give her weekly press conference any minute now, where we do expect her to certainly be asked about all of this today. But her fellow Democrats already giving a preview of the tone that we'll likely see coming from her, many condemning Donald Trump's move here, speaking out very vocally.

And we heard from former DNC chair Debbie Wassermann Schultz this morning really questioning why Donald Trump himself is questioning the legitimacy of his own election. Certainly without evidence to back up these claims. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also saying that she's deeply disturbed by this and bringing out the L word, liar, about Trump's move.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: What's the most disturbing about this is the president's penchant for lying. Also known as alternate facts now. From the trivial, in terms of how many people showed up to watch his inauguration to him perpetrating the lie that three million to five million people, you know, fraudulently voted in his presidential election. I mean, anything that makes him look bad or doesn't make him look good is something that he is willing to just tell bald-faced lies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: So some strong words there certainly from Debbie Wassermann Schultz. And what we've already seen coming from Democrats is really them trying to ratchet up the pressure on Republicans to put some distance between them and President Trump. We heard from Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer yesterday where he said every Republicans has an obligation to reject falsehoods, and that was his quote, falsehoods, that Donald Trump is peddling here. And we certainly saw Lindsey Graham, with some words as well,

Republican, telling our CNN's Manu Raju basically that Donald Trump needs to knock this all off. Now Republicans are en route now to Philadelphia where they have their yearly party retreat, both from the House and Senate side. And we know that President Trump will be heading out there tomorrow, Carol. So that will certainly be an interesting backdrop to all this that's going on -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Sunlen Serfaty reporting live from Capitol Hill, thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, President Trump gives the green light on a controversial oil pipeline. How the Standing Rock Tribe and its supporters across the country are gearing up for their new fight, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:38:54] COSTELLO: All right. I have a "First 100 Days" alert for you now. You see the former governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, she is being sworn in as the newest U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Of course that's the vice president standing beside her. Let's listen.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She would rise to become the first female Indian-American governor in our country's history. The people South Carolina have placed great faith in you. And you repaid them with a record of extraordinary success which has created prosperity and opportunity for the people of South Carolina. All of America also watched with admiration as you led your state and inspired the nation through a time of great tragedy in Charleston just last year.

I know the president and I are confident you will bring your intellect, your leadership, your character, and your unfailing grace to the role of ambassador to the United Nations for the United States of America.

COSTELLO: All right. We'll pull away there now. But Nikki Haley now officially the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

In other news this morning, the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters vowing to stand up to the president.

[10:40:06] This after President Trump orders construction to restart that controversial oil pipeline project in North Dakota. It's the same one president Obama stopped in its tracks last year. Trump's executive order triggering protests coast to coast. Tribal leaders now saying they will take legal action if needed.

CNN's Sara Sidner live in Morton County, North Dakota, with more. Good morning.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. I want to give you a lot at what the camp looks like now. Now you'll remember that just a month ago there were about 10,000 plus people inside this camp. It has shrunk to about 500 or so people. We're now talking hundreds, not thousands. But these people are very diehards and very, very passionate about what is happening here. There is a lot of high emotion, if you will, especially in the ramp-up of the President Trump being inaugurated.

And what we want to show you now is as that was happening, there have been a couple of face-offs, a couple of clashes that have happened. This one that we're about to show you is -- the protesters decided to take their fight all the way towards where the drilling is happening, where the actual area where they're doing the work. And you'll see them come up in confrontation with members of the National Guard and some law enforcement agencies that are there.

And that is how folks feel here. They are part of the group that is here that are really into staying and fighting. And there's another part of the group that is here that feels like they have to do this far more peacefully but also they are thinking about leaving.

I want to let you know what the tribe has said, and we've talked to them. And this pipeline is about 1200 miles long. It goes through four different states, it's $3.7 billion project. We're talking a lot of money. The pipeline folks say it's going to bring jobs to this state in particular. And the governor has said that it's 90 percent to 95 percent complete. But the Sioux nation says, hold on a second, the pipeline is threatening their water and their sacred sites, even though it is not on reservation land.

And I had a conversation with the tribal councilmember who is a chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Archambault. And he was pretty disappointed that he hadn't heard from the president after the president -- for the president had signed the memorandum. And basically what he says, we were hoping to hear from him but we will continue to fight both legally and politically to try and stop this pipeline -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Sara Sidner, reporting live from North Dakota this morning.

Checking some other top stories for you at 42 minutes past. Scary video all caught on dash cam that shows a Utah commuter train crashing into a FedEx truck and splitting it in two. According to Utah's Transit Authority, the gates were affected by severe ice and snow conditions causing them to malfunction. There were no serious injuries in this accident.

George Orwell's 68-year-old novel "1984" is now Amazon's bestselling book. The novel features a world of government surveillance and propaganda. Why the sudden demand? Well, some commentators called Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway's alternative facts remarks Orwellian. Possibly causing the spike in sales to "1984."

In an extraordinary move, the head of an ancient Catholic order resigns at Pope Francis' request. The leader tested the Pope's authority by refusing to work with charities that distribute condoms. Conservatives believe the use of condoms violates the church's teaching. But Pope Francis has been more liberal, suggesting that condoms can be acceptable when they're used to preserve life such as, you know, in an AIDS-ravaged area.

And look at this. A massive sinkhole nearly swallows a home and a pickup truck in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Authorities have evacuated residents in two neighboring homes. No reports of any injuries but wow.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the life and voices of the people who called the Texas-Mexico border home. What President Trump's proposal means for them, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:48:14] COSTELLO: As President Trump prepares to crack down on illegal immigration by constructing a border wall along the Mexican border, some Texas residents are questioning whether a concrete wall will actually work.

CNN's Ed Lavandera takes us on a up close tour of life on the Texas- Mexico border.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This journey across the U.S.-Mexico border begins in South Texas, where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and on a rugged ride in an all-terrain vehicle with Robert Cameron. He runs an ATV border tour business in the small town of Progresso.

(On camera): Do you think people have that impression that the border is scary, dangerous place?

ROBERT CAMERON, TEXAS BORDER TOURS OWNER: Scary, dangerous place, absolutely. It's not as bad as people make it seem to be.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Cameron was born in Mexico, is now a U.S. citizen. He was a longtime democrat until Donald Trump came along and made him a Republican. Living and working on the border reveals a blurry reality. Cameron fully supports the idea of Trump's border wall. But every day he sees the holes in that plan.

(On camera): This is part of the border wall that already exists. Right?

CAMERON: Exactly. Exactly. This is put back in 2006 by George Bush. It's been around for a while.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A few months ago, while riding along the Rio Grande, he recorded this video of what appeared to be smugglers with packs. It's the kind of story countless people along the border can share. But this is an area where a border fence is already in place, yet drugs and human smuggling keep coming.

CAMERON: It hasn't stopped them, no, absolutely not. So you got this wall all the way around that the eye can see all the way over there.

LAVANDERA (on camera): And it keeps going? CAMERON: And it keeps going, but then, it's like, do they start here?

I don't know. I'm sure there's a reason. Wouldn't you think? They ran out of money?

[10:50:10] LAVANDERA: This is the landscape in the Big Bend area of Texas, and that is the challenge. How in the world do you build a wall in this kind of terrain?

(Voice-over): Marcos Paredes lives in Terlingua, a far-flung outpost in the Big Bend region of West Texas. He's a former Big Bend Park ranger and now takes visitors on aerial tours of some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll ever see.

MARCOS PAREDES, RIO AVIATION SCENIC FLIGHTS: So I want to know where in all of that do you put a wall?

LAVANDERA (on camera): You think if Donald Trump flew with you, he'd still want to build that wall?

PAREDES: I want you to tell Donald Trump that we already have a wall. Thank you very much. And I don't think he could build a bigger one.

LAVANDERA: This is some of the most rugged terrain you'll find along the southern border. Hard to imagine that anyone would ever try to cross illegally through here. Just simply too treacherous.

(Voice-over): The Big Bend region stretches roughly 250 miles along the Rio Grande, a place far passed the middle of nowhere.

(On camera): On a canoe trip down the Rio Grande, it's so quiet out here, you can hear the wind flutter past coasting birds.

(Voice-over): Every night 88-year-old Pamela Taylor, out of compassion, leaves bottled water outside her home for migrants moving north and the Border Patrol agents chasing them. She's lived in this house in Brownsville, Texas, a stone's throw from the border, since 1946. When the border fence was built nearly 10 years ago north of the river, she found herself on the south side between the wall and Mexico.

(On camera): You're a little bit of no man's land here, right?

PAMELA TAYLOR, BROWNSVILLE RESIDENT VOTED FOR TRUMP: My son-in-law say we live in a gated community. I mean, you have to laugh about it, you know.

LAVANDERA: You have to.

(Voice-over): Taylor voted for Trump and wants to see illegal immigration controlled. She once found an undocumented migrant hiding from Border Patrol agents in her living room. But she warns the rest of the country that a wall won't work.

TAYLOR: That wall is not going to stop them. If it's 20 feet high, they're going to get a 21-foot ladder, right?

LAVANDERA (on camera): Donald Trump wants to build this bigger, more powerful wall.

TAYLOR: I would like for Mr. Trump to -- I will even feed him if he will come down here and talk to the people.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Until then, life on the border will keep passing by Pamela Taylor's front porch and it might even stop for a quick drink.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: That was CNN's Ed Lavandera reporting.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM, the world's fastest man has to hand over one of his medals. Why is Usain Bolt losing one of his medals? We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:00] COSTELLO: Andy, Andy Scholes, you want me to talk about the New England Patriots. And you know how I feel -- I'm sorry, Bostonians. I'm sorry.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Carol, you're going to the Super Bowl again. We've got to talk about them.

COSTELLO: I would like the Falcons to win.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHOLES: We'll see. You know, the Patriots are the favorites. And Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been so good for so long, they're going to go down as the greatest coach-quarterback combo ever. And I know you don't like to talk about it, Carol, but their run has just been incredible.

Just think about this. Brady has played 15 seasons as the Patriots' quarterback. He's going to his seventh Super Bowl. We likely are never going to see a run like this ever again. And winning attitude in New England it's become infectious. And CNN's own Hines Ward, well, he asked the team, what is the Patriot way?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: What is it about you guys that makes you guys so special?

ROB NINKOVICH, PATRIOTS LINEBACKER: I think it's just the mental toughness, you know, being able to fight through adversity.

LEGARRETTE BLOUNT, PATRIOTS RUNNING BACK: We got arguably the best coach to ever the coach the game of football. We got arguably the best quarterback to ever played the game.

JULIAN EDELMAN, PATRIOTS WIDE RECEIVER: Secret weapon, just learning about what we got to do and not falling into the noise or the hype. And preparation and practice. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now meanwhile, Falcons fever, it's running wild in Atlanta. Even Georgia's Supreme Court is getting in on it. They held a special session where they wished the team well on their trip to the Super Bowl in Houston.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. HARRIS HINES, CHIEF JUSTICE: It's been a great season. And now it's time for all Falcons fans to rise up,

Go, Falcons.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Rough news for a Jamaican legend Usain Bolt today. The International Olympic Committee saying that Bolt will have to hand back his gold medal from the four by 100 relay at the 2008 Beijing games. His team disqualified because his teammate Nessa Carter tested positive for a banned substance in a re-test. And so without that gold medal it means Bolt no longer has the heralded triple-triple which was winning 100-meter, 200-meter and 4-by-100 meter relay in three straight Olympics.

I would like to note, though, Bolt is not implicated in any doping.

And finally, Denver Broncos legend John Elway was in D.C. over the weekend for the inauguration festivities. The cabdriver, not knowing who his passengers were, was just talking about football and he admitted John Elway was the greatest quarterback of all time. And then this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you know John Elway if you saw him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you ran into him, would you know who he was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't you turn around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that man right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turn around.

JOHN ELWAY, BRONCOS QUARTERBACK: How you doing, man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on, man, are you serious? Come on, man. John Elway.

ELWAY: How are you doing, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn. I got to take a picture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: It was cool to see how happy he got, Carol. I wonder he was probably embarrassed, though, that he kept going on and on about Elway and how great he was and he's sitting right there in the back.

COSTELLO: That's like the cutest thing ever. It's a good thing he didn't say Peyton Manning.

SCHOLES: Yes.

COSTELLO: Yes, exactly. Thank you, Andy, you made my day, as usual.

Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. "AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND BOLDUAN" starts now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. We have breaking --