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NEW DAY

JetBlue Plane Skids Off Taxiway in Boston; Trump Focuses on His Agenda, Lashes Out at Media and FBI; President Trump's Legislative Agenda in 2018; Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 26, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:02] ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, December 26th, 6:00 here in New York. Chris is off. Bill Weir joins me.

Happy belated Christmas.

BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Boxing Day to our Canadian friends.

CAMEROTA: That's right. That's right. Did you have a nice Christmas?

WEIR: I had a great one. How about you?

CAMEROTA: Delicious.

WEIR: I hope Santa was good to you.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

WEIR: Nice.

CAMEROTA: Very good. Great to have you here.

We begin with breaking news for all of you. There was a scare for holiday travelers on Christmas night in Boston. A JetBlue Airways flight skidding off the taxiway after landing at Logan Airport in icy conditions.

WEIR: Passengers say the plane started fishtailing and spinning after hitting a patch of ice. The mishap took place after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow in the area.

And CNN's Rene Marsh is live in Washington with the very latest details.

Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. You know, snow and ice in Boston really complicated travel for people trying to get to their destination on Christmas night. JetBlue flight from Savannah essentially skidded off of the taxiway right after touchdown at Boston's Logan Airport last night. Passengers said that the plane was spinning until it was facing the opposite direction. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were straight and then all of a sudden it started fishtailing. And yes, and it started getting rough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once I realize d we were going off the runway, I was like, uh-oh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden we started sliding and then we started spinning and spinning and spinning and ended up in a snow bank.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: So the good news is JetBlue says that there were no injuries. Passengers were bused to terminals and the airport's runways, we should point out, they were briefly shut down yesterday because of winter weather.

But I want to leave you with some good news, just take a look at the operations at Boston Logan Airport. Looks like things are back to normal in the sense that they only have some 25 delays and one cancellation. And overall, nationwide, things look pretty good if you're flying.

Back to you, guys.

WEIR: Could be so much worse, Rene.

MARSH: Yes.

WEIR: Thank you so much. Thank you.

This huge arctic blast is gripping much of the nation. Could bring more snow and freezing rain later this week. What does it mean for your New Year's Eve plans? Let's check in with meteorologist Chad Myers with your forecast.

Good morning, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It means Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper are going to be cold on New Year's Eve. Probably windchill in Times Square, zero. Maybe below zero. Right now windchills are almost 40 below zero in the Midwest. Not quite that cold here in the northeast, where things have calmed down wind wise, but single digits, and the pets are cold, too. Make sure they don't stay out too long in this.

We're nowhere near where we should be. Twenty, 30 degrees below normal. For right here for today across a lot of the northeast and the Midwest. And this is all the way until Saturday. The air does not warm up. It's going to be a long-term cold event. And for New York City, your normal highs should be 40. When the ball drops, the temperature will be 10. And the windchill

will be zero or below. So that's why they put seven million people in that little space to keep everybody kind of warm.

WEIR: Spooned together.

CAMEROTA: That's right, but on the risers, where Anderson and Andy will be, and I don't know if you've ever covered it in Times Square.

WEIR: I've done that. Yes.

CAMEROTA: It is so bone-chilling, you cannot get warm for like hours after you go inside. It's exciting and exhilarating and freezing.

WEIR: Chad, get a load of my assignment off for New Year's Eve? Key West.

MYERS: Yes.

WEIR: Key West.

MYERS: Sweet.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: You did something right this year.

WEIR: Did something right. That's the payback, I guess, for standing in a hurricane.

MYERS: Well done.

WEIR: Thank you, Chad.

CAMEROTA: I think that's right.

All right, so President Trump said it is time to get back to work today for the American people. The president focusing on his legislative agenda for the new year and lashing out again at the press and the FBI in a series of tweets over Christmas weekend.

CNN's Sara Murray is live in West Palm Beach, Florida, traveling with the president.

Hi, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. That's right. The president says now it's time to get back to work. That's after he spent the last few days engaging in the traditional Christmas activities, but also this is President Trump, lobbing attacks on Twitter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY (voice-over): After a quiet Christmas at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump promising to get back to work, touting his "Make America Great Again" agenda, this after repeatedly complaining that he's not getting the credit he deserves for his accomplishments.

Trump marking his first Christmas in office with traditional presidential task, attending a late-night church service on Christmas Eve.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Merry Christmas, everybody. Merry Christmas.

MURRAY: Taking calls with young children on the Santa-tracking hotline.

TRUMP: What do you think Santa is going bring you?

MURRAY: And teleconferencing with the troops.

TRUMP: I just wanted to wish everybody a very, very Merry Christmas. We say Christmas again very proudly.

MURRAY: Trump claiming he has led the charge for Americans to say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays."

TRUMP: It's my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very Merry Christmas.

MURRAY: Despite the fact that President Obama used the phrase repeatedly while in office.

[06:05:04] BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, everyone, and Merry Christmas. So Merry Christmas, everybody. Merry Christmas, everybody.

MURRAY: Trump also spent the holiday weekend lashing out again at the country's top law enforcement agency, attacking FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI director James Comey, and FBI lawyer James Baker.

The president pouncing on reports that McCabe is planning to retire in March, going after the FBI deputy over donations his wife's campaign received from a super PAC connected to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons.

The president hasn't shied away from attacks on the Justice Department or the FBI since taking office. Still the White House insists Trump has more confidence in the FBI now that he has hand-selected the man in charge.

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: I think he's very happy to have Chris Wray now running the FBI. He's very pleased with the changes that are taking place. He's making the point that we need to make sure there's no bias.

MURRAY: The criticism coming amid growing questions from Republicans over the credibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: If the president continues to try to, you know, undermine the legitimacy of that investigation, and if Republicans continue to try and help with that, I think that puts us in peril.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: And while the President Trump says he is back today, there are no events on his public calendar here in Mar-a-Lago. The White House says he will be preparing to work with Congress on his upcoming agenda, which of course includes a budget, as well as finding some kind of immigration fix for the Dreamers and the White House insist infrastructure is also on the table early in the new year. In the meantime, stay tuned for tweets -- Alisyn, Bill.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. Yes, if there's one thing you can bank on, Sara, it is that the president will be tweeting. Thank you very much.

Joining us now to discuss all of this. We have AB Stoddard, associate editor for RealClearPolitics and CNN political analyst David Drucker.

So, guys, the president spent the Christmas weekend giving thanks and celebrating the spirit of Christ. Just kidding. He was tweeting.

So, AB, obviously, I mean, as Sara just said, if anybody thought that there was going to be some sort of new tone or new spirit in the new year, obviously there's not. And this is what we can expect. And there was a lot -- there were a lot of tweets about, again, the FBI and sort of undermining the FBI and that seems to be what the president is focused on right now.

AB STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right, well, he is also focused on the fact that he believes that they've had a great win on tax reform and he doesn't get enough credit for a booming economy and on and on. These are familiar themes. I mean, when he has a grievance against the Russia probe, he tweets about it. That's gone on all year. And he also gets frustrated that he doesn't get a lot of positive, glowing reports in the aftermath of passage of a bill like that.

This is really -- you know, there was an exhaustive piece in "The New York Times" a few weeks back about the first 11 months of the presidency and it talked about how if Trump doesn't see himself in the headlines for a few days, he gets frustrated, will actually create a sort of chaotic event or say something controversial to become, you know, the source of the headlines again.

So vacations are a time to look and expect for tweets. There will be more before January 1, I assure you. But this is an interesting theme in terms of the FBI because, as you see more and more conservative media be joined by Republican lawmakers, critical heads of committees who are involved in this, in this investigation and really need to be measured, non-partisan voices on this, you see a growing chorus of people criticizing Bob Mueller and the campaign, and the entire FBI. And so the president is really pleased by that and is going to continue to stoke it in the weeks and months to come.

WEIR: It's interesting that there's an old Sarah Sanders -- Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweet from 2016 going viral. "When you're attacking FBI agents because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing."

That one didn't age well, David. But what was interesting about these tweets, these attacks on McCabe, how can FBI director -- deputy director, Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leaking James Comey of the phony Hillary Clinton investigation, including the 33,000 illegally deleted e-mails, be given $700,000 for Weiss campaign by Clinton puppets during the investigation and some including ethics experts from prior White Houses say, boy, that is a Christmas present for Robert Mueller.

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, guys, the president is not going to change his tone, even after what was a rather significant legislative victory and whether you like it or not, a major policy change that will go into effect, something that Republicans have tried to accomplish for three decades, and they weren't able to do it. But the president looks at things a certain way. And I think that by keeping his tweets and his grievances at the forefront, he feels as though he's in control of the narrative and he gets a lot of positive feedback from his base.

[06:10:13] What hurts him, ultimately, is that this is the sort of behavior that is driving a lot of the negatives and it's driving a lot of the opposition to Republicans, heading into 2018 and the midterm elections. And when you look beneath the numbers, it's not just that his approval numbers are low because it depends on how and where those are distributed, it's about the kind of energy that it has stoked on the Democratic side in opposition to him.

It's the Republican-leaning suburbs that don't like that sort of behavior that could vote against Republicans or just not show up in 2018 and that's the real problem with this because it actually obscures some of the things that he's accomplished that a lot of Republican voters, that's why they voted for him over Hillary Clinton, even though a lot of them didn't really like him.

And so when we're looking at the political significance of this, the message is, look, they kind of seem to bounce from here to there and they may cause him some problems in the special counsel investigation. They may cause him some problems on the Hill. But there's another election coming up. Hillary Clinton is not going to be on the ballot and the Republicans are not going to be able to lean on that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but, I mean, may cause him some problems in the investigation. It depends on what level of problems. I mean, to your point, Bill. You know, we have the former ethics czar saying that these tweets, he thinks, amount to like witness intimidation. I mean, here's Norm Eisen. He says, normally someone being investigated for obstruction of justice who intimidates and threatens three key witnesses against him -- Comey, McCabe and Jim Baker -- risks additional witness tampering charges.

So, AB, I mean, this is, you know, that's a -- this is just a suggestion by Norm Eisen, but it's sort of catching a little bit of attention, that whether or not the president is actually putting himself in some sort of legal jeopardy by continuing to tweet this. STODDARD: Right, and I'm not the person to -- I'm not the arbitrator

of that and whether or not that's going to be an avenue of pursuit for Special Counsel Mueller in terms of what he's doing with obstruction of justice and abuse of power or anything like that.

I just think that it is -- it is a -- what is new, Alisyn, we know, in the last couple of weeks is that this has sort of gone mainstream, these attack on the investigation, and this attack on Mueller, the attack on the entire FBI, so that no matter what comes out at the end in terms of a report and findings at the end of this probe is going to be easily discredited by Trump's base and others in the Republican Party, because of the -- this campaign to sort of attack the FBI.

And that's the big concern for the party right now. David's talking about that energy on the Democratic side, among independents and Democratic voters. The more that the president attacks these institutions and tries to undermine trust in them, and the more this investigation goes on, and we know it's going to go on, we know it's not going to be wrapped up in the next week or so, like the president's attorneys keep telling him, the more that he puts the Republican Party on the spot, with, are they going to stick up for Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who hired the Special Counsel Bob Mueller, because he can be fired, or are they going to continue with this campaign? And that's the big political challenge for them right now.

WEIR: And so much calculus is what is on their agenda? What do they want to get done in the new year? So, AB and David, we're going to talk about that when we come back. What will Republicans tackle when they return to Capitol Hill in 2018. A look at the GOP's long to-do list. It's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:17:27] WEIR: Congress is enjoying a couple days off for the holiday, but when they return next week, they will have an ambitious to-do list. It looks like stereo instructions. There it is. It includes passing a spending bill, coming to an agreement on Dreamers, reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program, and that is just the start.

CAMEROTA: Get out your microscope.

WEIR: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: There's a lot of fine print there. My gosh.

WEIR: The mouse print. Let's bring in AB Stoddard, associate editor for RealClearPolitics, and CNN political analyst, David Drucker.

David, your paper, "The Examiner," has some new reporting on this infrastructure plan. How big and what do you know?

DRUCKER: Well, first of all, I think there are young Americans all over the place going, stereo instructions? I have no idea what you're talking about.

(LAUGHTER)

WEIR: Yes. You're right.

DRUCKER: Although the battery on my iPhone isn't doing so well.

WEIR: You're right. You're right.

DRUCKER: Look, I think that the president would like to take this tax reform victory and roll it into momentum for infrastructure. The problem he's going to run into is that Republicans don't like to spend the kind of money it takes to fund the kind of infrastructure bill the president would like to enact, especially after they've had to play a lot of accounting games with a tax overhaul bill.

They think the tax overhaul bill will end up working out just fine, but it's still a lot of games to play with the numbers. And then if they're going to get help from Democrats in the Senate, which they would need because it's a spending bill, Democrats are going to demand all sorts of things they will never get at the very least because they're not going to help President Trump and the Republicans govern, help the majorities look good if they don't extract significant concessions.

But January is really going to be a bear. January 20th, which happens to be the one-year anniversary of the president's inauguration, obviously, is when government funding runs out. Everybody played kumbaya to get out of Washington for the holidays, but you're going to have Democrats wanting things, having to do with the Dreamers and immigration. You're going to have Republicans on the right, with the House Freedom Caucus wanting spending concessions and things shaped the way they want them.

And then you're going to have the president and his demands. And I think that, sure, everything could work out fine, but with everything on the table and you laid out that checklist, in addition to what the president is going to start talking about in terms of infrastructure over the long haul for 2018, it's just going to be a very, very tricky move for them to get everything done and then somehow move into an infrastructure debate with the elections looming.

CAMEROTA: Yes, so, AB, I mean, David just set the table perfectly for how interesting it's going to be to watch all of these backroom deals because Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have a date at Camp David with the president, the first weekend of January, right?

[06:20:05] So Paul Ryan wants entitlement reform. The president wants a $1 trillion infrastructure package. Democrats might be able to get onboard with that, but they're so angry with how the president has dealt with them. So this will be, you know, the president's powers of persuasion, I guess, on the full display.

STODDARD: Right. It's interesting because the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that, you know, 2018 is going to have to be more bipartisan. They're going to have to work together with Democrats on infrastructure. And the president has spent the year, you know, calling the Democrats losers and obstructionists. He had a moment in September where he cut a deal with them to fund the government for three months. And he talked about -- he made a promise for them on legalization for the Dreamers.

That created a boomerang among his conservative base and Republican congressional leaders. So it was fleeting. If he's going to have a really bipartisan relationship with Democrats that actually helps get a $200 billion federally funded combined with hopes for an $800 billion state-funded and private entity-funded infrastructure package through the Congress, he's not going to get the House Freedom Caucus. He's going to need the Democrats.

And so that's going to have to be completely bipartisan because they won't have back up Republican bills. They will be making up the votes for conservatives with Democrats. That relationship has to start now. It has to start now on hurricane relief, on funding the government, on legalization for the Dreamers, the children's health insurance and all the things that have to be resolved by January 20th.

So they can't hunker down at Camp David and leave the Democrats out of this discussion for all of January and then expect to go on to something where they work well together. Also, that entitlement reform that Paul Ryan wants, is being there's -- they have a euphemism they've created calling it welfare reform because the president ran against never cutting Medicare or Social Security.

So that's a fight within, again, the Republican Party. If he wants to go after food stamps and stuff, the Democrats are not going to be so helpful, I don't think, on infrastructure.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting.

DRUCKER: And look, guys, I interviewed Mitch McConnell late last week. I asked him what was on his agenda, and he said nothing as ambitious as tax reform. He talked about an immigration bill dealing with the DACA kids that the president will sign and Mitch McConnell stressed that. And then he also talked about a banking bill to deal with a particular rollback of Dodd-Frank.

Those are the only things he discussed legislatively. He's always focused on the election. He has one less seat to deal with, with his majority to begin with because Doug Jones will take office, pushing the Republican majority down to 51 seats, a one-seat majority. It's just -- they're going to have a very difficult needle to thread next year.

WEIR: OK, David, thank you. AB, I know you are soldiering through a Christmas cold so our thanks to you, as well. Hope you guys have a great rest of the day.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much, guys. Great to talk to you.

OK. So coming up, there's news out of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin's main political rival has been banned from running in the upcoming election. How'd that happen? That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:27:27] CAMEROTA: Russian officials banning an opposition leader from running against Vladimir Putin in the upcoming presidential election. Activist Alexei Navalny is being sidelined for a previous embezzlement conviction. The announcement coming one day after he kicked off his campaign. Navalny says he plans to appeal. He's also called for a boycott of the March election in response to this decision.

WEIR: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says the USA negotiated significant cuts to the U.N. budget. The ambassador announced a $285 million reduction in the world's bodies overall budget days after more than 120 nations sided against the U.S. over its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Human rights groups say they are taking a wait-and-see approach in reaction to the cuts.

CAMEROTA: So the oldest daughter of Eric Garner, you'll remember the man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a choke hold, well, his daughter is now in a medically induced coma after suffering a heart attack.

In a series of tweets, the family is asking people for prayers and support. Her father's death gained national headlines after he was placed in that banned choke hold. His apparent final words were, "I can't breathe." Erica Garner is his daughter's name and she has since become an activist against police misconduct.

WEIR: And the Secret Service is questioning someone in connection with an interesting Christmas present for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The card said, "To Stevie, we're returning the gift of the Christmas tax bill. It is bull blank," and with it, a box about the size of a mini fridge full of horse manure.

It shut down this neighborhood in tony Bel-Air, California. Helicopters, Secret Service.

CAMEROTA: Wow.

WEIR: Upset neighbors. A long way to go to make a point.

CAMEROTA: Just for the box -- but it wasn't steaming.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: There's that. All right. Meanwhile, President Trump taking on the FBI. How will this impact Robert Mueller's Russia probe? We dig deeper on what's going to happen next.