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JetBlue Plane Skids Off Taxiway in Boston; Trump Focuses on His Agenda, Lashes Out at Media and FBI; Interview with Representative Debbie Dingell; Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 26, 2017 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00] RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This was a JetBlue flight from Savannah and as you mentioned it skid off of the taxiway right after touchdown at Boston's Logan Airport last night. Passengers said that the plane essentially just kept on 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: All right, well, the airline says that there were no injuries. So that's the good news. Passengers had to be bused to the terminals at the airport. We do know that earlier yesterday morning, the runways at that airport, they were briefly shut down because of the snow in the area.

But I'm looking at the situation at Boston Logan Airport right now. And at this hour, this is just a snapshot, I'm seeing some 95 delays and four cancellations, when you consider how many planes fly in and out on a daily basis, so far that doesn't look terrible. And overall, nationwide, things don't look too bad if you're flying as well.

Back to you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And I must say, Rene, the sunrise behind you looks stunning.

MARSH: It does look nice, doesn't it ?

CAMEROTA: It looks really pretty. So maybe it will be a good cold day. Thank you very much for that.

So this arctic blast is gripping much of the nation and it could complicate your holiday travel. But what does it mean for my New Year's Eve plans?

Let's ask CNN's meteorologist Chad Myers. How's it looking?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, for you, it will be cold.

CAMEROTA: OK.

MYERS: New York City, I think the windchill is probably 10 below zero. Downtown with the wind, going through the buildings, we're not going to get snow. It's just going to be a cold day. The snow is really just bottled up here across parts of the Great Lakes from lake- effect snow.

But here is the issue. We have this surge of cold air coming down, one after another. Coming down from the pole. Coming down from -- maybe Santa Claus doesn't want the cold air up there. But it's coming down and shooting right now at Chicago then it slides right at New York City and it's day after day of this weather.

So New York, you're going to be in the 20s, but some spots will be colder than that. Windchills somewhere around zero. Now farther back out to the west of there, Chicago, you'll, of course, be colder. You're closer to that core of cold air with morning lows either zero or even below that at times.

But Bill Weir is going to be in Key West, where it will be 120 degrees warmer for a feels-like temperature, because that's Fargo.

(LAUGHTER)

WEIR: Wow.

MYERS: No matter how bad you think you have it, you don't have it as bad as Fargo. Sunday morning in Fargo, the windchill will be 60 below zero. Not 59, 60.

WEIR: Wow.

CAMEROTA: It's hard to do that math.

WEIR: I love you, Fargo. Our thoughts, our prayers are with you.

(LAUGHTER)

WEIR: Chad Myers, thanks so much.

Well, President Trump spent his first Christmas as president on the attack, lashing out at the media and top FBI officials.

CNN's Sara Murray is live in Palm Beach -- West Palm Beach, Florida, with all of that.

Good morning, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, look, the president says he is back to work today. That's after spending the last few days engaged in some Christmas festivities. But also this is President Trump, so he was also engaged in some Twitter attacks.

(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.

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.

[07:05:03] MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: I think he's very pleased 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 to help with that, I think that puts us in peril.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now the president does not have any events on his public schedule today, but he is already up and tweeting, offering what appears to be a pretty rosy prediction for a bipartisan health care plan. Here is what he said, "Based on the facts that the very unfair and unpopular individual mandate has been terminated as part of our tax cut bill, which essentially repeals over time Obamacare, the Democrats and Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new health care plan."

Eventually may be the key word in that tweet. Back to you, guys.

WEIR: Thanks, Sara.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sara, thank you very much.

Let's bring in our conversation with AB Stoddard, associate editor of RealClearPolitics, and CNN political analyst, David Drucker.

So, guys, the president spent this Christmas weekend sending out a beautiful Christmas card in the form of tweets.

WEIR: I just realized, he's celebrating festivus? It's the airing of the grievances, right?

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: That's what's happening.

WEIR: That's what's happening.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

So here's exhibit A for you, and I'm -- it's rife with some factual errors, so I'll try to fact check it in real time. "The fake news," meaning news I don't like, "refuses to talk about how big and how strong our base is." Incorrect. We do talk about that all the time. I interview these folks regularly. "They show fake polls," meaning polls where I have historically low numbers, "just like they report fake news," news he doesn't like. "Despite only negative reporting," that's false, "We are doing well. Nobody is going to beat us." That remains to be seen. "Make America great again."

So, AB, to the president's point, he does want to talk about how well he's done and his first year has had some real accomplishments and, you know, I mean, he has notched a lot of the bucket list, including -- we'll just start with, you know, the tax bill.

AB STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Absolutely. And I think the fact that they ended the year on their biggest high note after obviously the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the language in the tax reform bill, permits drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something that Republicans have been fighting for going back decades, and under previous Republican majorities were unable to pass.

So that's -- if you combine that with deregulation, undoing a lot of Obama-era rules, businesses are happy, the economy is doing well, and they finally, as a team, can say that they function and united and worked together and governed to do something so big, to change the tax code in such a short time, something that hasn't been done in 30 years. So this is all something that they can be bragging about.

The thing is, with the president, as he often will step on those messages, by talking about the FBI or other people that he's frustrated with, instead of just talking about the positive.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we are seeing that.

WEIR: Yes, David, it's interesting when he speaks primarily to the supporters. It's an us and them idea. That's not going to change any time soon.

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Like, never.

WEIR: Never.

DRUCKER: Ever. It's never going to change. I thought, Alisyn, that that tweet that you brought up to dissect for us, and it was entertaining as well as educational, was very apropos because it kind of goes to the difference between what the president and his supporters say they see and what the real data is. And what even people that work for the president that support him understand to be the case.

And we never quite know with the president, whether he's just driving a message or whether he actually believes some of the things that he says in these tweets. But what we do know that the data shows that Republicans are in a very difficult place politically. The polling is not fake. Occasionally it is wrong. But most of these polls are snapshots in time and they are accurate. And the president's own advisers have been arguing about what they're supposed to do about this.

There's a lot of complaints from supporters of his outside the White House that his political operation inside the White House is not up to the task of trying to deal with this. But I think the bigger question here is then the president is going to want to be very involved in the 2018 midterms. He sees himself as an asset.

[07:10:03] But if you talk to Republicans on the Hill, they're the one that are going to be on the ballot, they're very concerned that the president is not going to be very helpful to them. And one of the big reasons is that the House majority could depend on what happens in these Republican-leaning suburbs where the president is hurting with college-educated voters, he's hurting with female voters, and a lot of these voters may end up seeing the value of the tax cuts, but for now they're very skeptical of the tax overhaul.

And so I think the question then is, does the president actually understand the reality of this? Or is this -- or does he not? And if he doesn't, that means he's going to be pushing his team and his supporters in a direction that may not be very helpful to his party in 2018. And that's why I think a lot of this -- how we sort of parse his comments can really matter.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, and then you have some Republicans who are already -- who are retiring, who are now really speaking out about it.

WEIR: Yes. Both Charlie Dent and Jeff Flake came out. And Dent was saying, we need to brace for the worst. We can lose the House. And then Jeff Flake had really strong comments this Sunday. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLAKE: When you look at some of the audiences cheering for Republicans sometimes, you look out there and you say, those are the spasms of a dying party. When you look at the lack of diversity sometimes. And it depends on where you are, obviously. But by and large, we're appealing to older, white men. And there are just a limited number of them. And, you know, anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: AB, it's so interesting. When you hear these guys going off-script, you know, the Jeff Flakes and the Charlie Dent who are not doing that sort of obsequious oh, you're such a wonderful president, Mr. Trump, you know, that we heard from people who are not retiring, but these guys are still around for a year. I mean, how is this going to work?

STODDARD: Well, they are obviously not going to be friends with Donald Trump in their remaining months in office. And they've made that calculation and they're trying to do what they can to salvage what's left of the Republican Party. And obviously, as you know, there are several Republican Parties right now. There are certainly two, if not more. And what they say is correct.

I mean, Jeff Flake used to be with his very good friend, Mike Pence, who's now vice president, an absolute pain in the neck fiscal conservative whose vote was very difficult to get on the House side when it came to budget time. He was sort of the original, you know, just a hard-right conservative.

The fact that he is seen as some kind of sellout because he's not, you know, sufficiently loyal to Trump is really what Charlie Dent is talking about. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, the congressman then governor then congressman again, he's now seen as -- he's going to be challenged by someone because he's not sufficiently loyal, which means complimentary, of President Trump. He is also a fiscal conservative and was considered, you know, way to the right of everybody going back decades.

So the whole party just -- the whole -- the basis for the party, all their principles, have kind of splintered away. They fight about everything now. Except for the magic of tax reform. They can't come together on Obamacare. They can't come together on immigration. They can't come together on a lot of these national security questions and spending questions.

But they really are sitting here, saying in a lot of these primary races, you have got to be onboard with President Trump or we're coming after you. It's going to be a very tough year for Republicans.

WEIR: And it's also, I saw probably a tug-of-war of the soul, whether or not to suck up to this president. We saw it after the tax bill, the parade of praise by the likes of Mike Pence and Paul Ryan. But there are those like Jeff Flake that are there. But the president obviously, if you read his tweets, needs credit. He needs to be given some accolades for his accomplishments.

So, David, I'm sure people on the Hill are playing that game. How much to --

DRUCKER: Well, I think -- look, I think they are, look. What congressional Republicans would like nothing more is to be able to take what they were able to do with the tax overhaul, which was for once come together without the president beating them over the head. And in fact, he really pulled his weight this time. And to have that spill over into next year.

When the party was in the most turmoil in 2017 was in the summer when the president spent most of his time beating up congressional Republicans, beating up their own health care bill that they're all trying to get done. You saw a much different approach on tax reform and I think that it paid dividends and by feeding him all of this praise, I think they're just trying to set the table for him to see what is possible when they can function as a team.

I don't know that it's going to work as well in 2018, but that's a lot of it. And look, the danger for Republicans going forward is that if they have a bad night on Election Day 2018, it's the pragmatists and the people that are not as Trump, if you will, that are going to end up losing.

[07:15:15] And it's going to be a much different looking party in 2019 if that's the case.

CAMEROTA: OK, guys, thank you very much. Great to talk to you, AB Stoddard and David Drucker.

So Congress facing an ambitious to-do list for the new year. Will Democrats help the president accomplish his agenda? We'll ask Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. She's here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: President Trump says he is not getting enough credit for his big wins this year. But Congress still has a lengthy to-do list, of course, for next year.

Will Democrats work with the president to compromise on his agenda?

Joining us now to answer this and more is Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan.

Good morning, Congresswoman.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Good morning, Alisyn. Good to see you.

CAMEROTA: Good to see you, too. First things first. How's your husband? Of course John Dingell, well-known, former congressman, longest serving member of Congress. How -- he took a fall. How's he doing?

[07:20:01] DINGELL: He's OK. He's still in the hospital. I've been there for a week so it's made me very sensitive to health care issues again but he's feisty, gave every doctor and every therapist a hard time. So that gives me relief.

CAMEROTA: It sure sounds like he's feisty. I was reading his tweets. He said, "If you're lucky enough to make it to 91 years old, pay attention to where you're walking. Took a fall and ended up hanging out here at George -- G.W. Hospital with a bum leg. Feeling good, though, particularly glad I'm not a horse." So --

DINGELL: He's pretty mad at himself. He said to me, I'm glad I'm not a horse, you might shoot me. So I said I'm not going to and there went the tweet anyway.

CAMEROTA: I mean, how did he fall?

DINGELL: He was just getting out of the car and he's very stubborn and won't let anybody help him. It's -- you know, it keeps me real every single day.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: That is the silver lining. Well, we wish him our best. Please give --

DINGELL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Give him our thoughts for a speedy recovery there.

DINGELL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK. In the meantime, let me play for you what the president's legislative director said that he wants for the coming year. It sounds like at the top of their list of their agenda is infrastructure and he hopes that you Democrats will get onboard. So listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHORT: Both Democrats and Republicans say their infrastructure is crumbling and we need to fix it. But the big question remains, will Democrats put politics aside and actually work with us? They need to meet us halfway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK, will you work with them on infrastructure?

DINGELL: You know, I've been very clear from the beginning that I will work with Donald Trump on anything that helps the working men and women of my district. So, yes, I'll work with him on infrastructure, if he'll work with us. We've got --

CAMEROTA: On what? I mean, what are your demands?

DINGELL: Well, I don't even call them demands. I call them helping the working men and women in this country. He came into Michigan, I told you he could win. He talked about trade, he talked about pension deals. We -- first of all, we've got DACA. He agrees with us on DACA. Did you see these kids in Washington with tears? They've been in this country their whole life.

Republicans and Democrats -- many Republicans and Democrats agree, we have to do something. I've got men and women in my district that spent a lifetime paying into pension plans that are suddenly in retirement and scared to death that they're not going to have a safe and secure retirement. He promised them during the campaign that he would do something about that.

OK, we don't agree on health care, but I certainly don't believe that this man wants to see 13 million people suddenly not have access to health care. I can't tell you what it's been like being in the hospital, Alisyn. I mean, at 3:00 a.m., a mother came into me, her child in the hospital, and just wanted help and was scared to death.

This is not a political war of words. We are dealing with real people's lives in every one of these issues we're talking about.

CAMEROTA: And so is infrastructure at the top of your list? If that's what the president's number one agenda?

DINGELL: It's always been -- I hope that his number one issue is doing something about the promises that he made. We've got to extend the budget and do things about pensions and about DACA and about health care promises made to Susan Collins. But then, as we move into what we need to do, we've been needing to do something about infrastructure for decades. We've got an aging infrastructure with potholes and highways that aren't working and bridges that are in trouble. We need to do something together to fix our infrastructure if we're going to stay competitive as a nation. CAMEROTA: Listen, the president thinks that he is fulfilling his

campaign promises. He's got the tax, you know, overhaul done after decades of Republicans not being able to do that. They have repealed the individual mandate. These were things that he promised to do. So are you --

DINGELL: But he also said that every American should have access to affordable, quality health care. You know, you should see the Facebook postings I'm getting right now. A man who has cancer, who can't afford anything on the health insurance market, which is now going to go up because of this bill that passed, because we didn't do the fix that they promised Susan Collins.

And he said, my deductible is $6500, do I go ahead and buy it knowing that I don't how to do it? How am I going to get health care next year? I just don't think there are any of us that don't think that somebody in this country who's sick shouldn't be able to afford their medicine. Why are -- or the treatment. Why aren't we working together to do something about making medicine affordable for every American?

So, yes, infrastructure is one, but there are a whole -- there are a whole group of people who aren't looking at these as Republican issues or Democratic issues. There are issues that matter in America and we've got to work together for working men and women in this country.

CAMEROTA: You know, just ever since the tax reform was announced or the tax overhaul, whatever you want to call it, there have been this whole slew of companies that have come forward in saying, guess what, we're going to give out bonuses now to our employees. And I have just a partial list in front of me and there's nine companies on here from AT&T to Boeing to Comcast, Bank of America, Sinclair, Wells Fargo, PNC.

There's all sorts of companies who say they're going to give something to $1,000 worth of bonuses to their hundreds of thousands of employees. One is going to -- fifth, Bank Corp is going to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

[07:25:10] Obviously they could have done this before this tax overhaul was announced. They were sitting on profits, but they didn't. They did it when the tax overhaul was announced. So I'm wondering if you as a Democrat are worried about the wind in their sails. People vote with their pocketbooks, I don't have to tell you this. So if you get a $1,000 bonus, you're voting for Donald Trump again.

DINGELL: Well, first of all, I've always said, you know, I keep saying the same thing. Next election is going to be about the economy, jobs, trade deals. You know, I'm never going to complain that any working man or woman gets an extra boost in their income. But I think a lot of people are still worried. You know, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Institute says that 86 million working families are actually going to see an increase in taxes at some point.

CAMEROTA: Years from now. Years from now. DINGELL: Years from now. So I think --

CAMEROTA: Well after the midterms. Well after the midterms so couldn't this carry Republicans through the midterms?

DINGELL: We're going to have to see what the real world is next year. We're going to have to talk about issues that deliver for working men and women. But they're still waiting to see something happen on trade.

I've got to tell you, the number of people in my district that are scared to death about their pensions, it's a lot of things. So it's good that they got $1,000, but why didn't it go into their base salary? I was happy to hear that someone actually raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Why aren't all these other companies raising the base pay of all of these companies? I'm glad people -- I will never ever take a shot at someone getting an increase in pay of any kind because these are the hearts and souls of these companies.

But how much more are the executives going to get in their bonuses? What are the profits going to be? How are they going to do it? This tax bill, by the way, gave an incentive for corporations to locate overseas. Are companies going to come back home or are they going to locate overseas? Let's see what the reality of this tax bill is. Short-term, I'm always happy if someone sees a benefit.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

DINGELL: Because we want working men and women to have it. But 81 percent of the people -- or 81 percent of benefit of this tax bill is going to billionaires.

CAMEROTA: All right. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, thank you very much. Merry Christmas to you and of course to your husband.

DINGELL: Merry Christmas. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being here. Bill.

WEIR: All right, Alisyn, more sanctions and saber-rattling out of North Korea after this holiday weekend. And they call this latest round of U.N. actions against them, quote, "an act of war." We'll have the latest on the threat, next.