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Roy Moore Files Lawsuit Contesting Election Results; Trump Falsely Claims He's 'Signed More Legislation Than Anybody'; Former White House Ethics Chief: Trump Allies 'Acting Like Dictators'; Russia Accuses U.S. of Meddling in Their Election. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 28, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: When the vote is this close, it is not over.

[05:59:20] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Moore contesting his loss in the Alabama Senate race, claiming voter fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge Moore is not the victor in this campaign.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've signed more legislation than anybody.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He feels a compulsion to claim that his is the biggest, the best, and it's easily refuted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he believes that if you repeat something, people will start to believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want people to keep more of what they earn, regardless of wherever they live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Residents in high-tax states racing to prepay their property taxes for the new year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My home state of New York, people are definitely hurting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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 Thursday, December 28, 6 a.m. here in New York. Chris is off. Bill Weir joins me.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: It's going to be another big news day, it looks like.

WEIR: This is an interesting day. CAMEROTA: It is, because we have some breaking news for you. Former

Senate candidate and accused molester Roy Moore is fighting back. He's filing a lawsuit to try to stop Alabama from certifying today the Democrat, Doug Jones, was the winner of the state's special Senate election. Roy Moore's attorney alleges election fraud, and he's calling for an investigation.

WEIR: You'll remember that Moore lost to Doug Jones by more than 20,000 votes two weeks ago but has refused to concede.

And in another twist, Moore said he now took a polygraph test after the election over the sexual misconduct allegations made against him by three women and claims that this test proves their stories are not true.

Let's get right to CNN's Diane Gallagher, live in the CNN Center with the breaking details. Good morning.

DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.

Yes, there's a lot in this 80-page complaint. But as it stands right now, the state of Alabama is still set to certify those election results at about 2 p.m. Eastern this afternoon.

Now, we have reached out to the secretary of state to see if this complaint from Roy Moore changes anything essentially. And I want to read just a little part of it from you. It basically says that "This action requests the courts to issue an order directing that a new special election be held or, alternatively, that finding as to the extent of voter fraud be determined with regard to its impact upon the current results." Basically, Roy Moore is asking them to further investigate these allegations of voter fraud.

Now, the secretary of state has stepped up in some of these cases before, specifically talking about a super PAC, that they pulled some of the ads that told people, basically, your neighbors are going to know if you vote for a man who's accused of doing these things. Roy Moore included Facebook messages from people who told him that they were afraid to vote for him, because they didn't want people to know what their vote was. Again, the secretary of state came out and spoke about this.

But they also talked about these irregularities they found in precincts that typically swayed Republican. They specifically talked about Jefferson County, saying that in 20 different precincts, there was this anomalous precinct, that basically, they didn't find the voting matched up with past voting records of people there. Unusually high turnout, they talked about.

This is something that basically, they -- they had these three election experts, one of whom has this past with conspiracy theories to begin with, talking about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich and also JFK conspiracy theory. So they allege in this that, potentially, they need to look into people being bussed in to the state of Alabama to vote for Doug Jones. And then, of course, there's the extra thing thrown in there. That

Roy Moore says after that election, he took a polygraph test and he passed it, stating that he had nothing to do with any of those allegations against him. Again, this is something that he believes that the secretary of state needs to now investigate further. And Bill, Alisyn, he wants another special election.

CAMEROTA: All right, Diane. We're going to see during the course of these three hours whether or not the secretary of state has any appetite for that. Thank you so much for all the reporting.

Joining us now to discuss it, we have CNN political analysts John Avlon and Amie Parnes. Great to have you guys.

OK, John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Little did we know we'd be back talking about Roy Moore. He is not riding off gently into the good night...

AVLON: On Sassy.

CAMEROTA: ... on Sassy.

AVLON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: I was work -- I knew I would work in a Sassy reference for you.

AVLON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: So he says that there's been election fraud. And I just want to read one more portion of the letter. I mean, these -- here's what his lawyer alleges. All these different examples that they've come up with or think they've come up with about conflicts with exit polls and different anecdotal evidence of some sort of voter intimidation. So this is what they're hanging their hat on.

And in his letter he also talks about the polygraph that he took after the election...

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: ... about the molestation and assault charges. He says -- it's hard to get past the double negative, but I'm just going to read it one more time. "As I had expected, the results of the polygraph examination reflected that I did not know, nor had I ever had any sexual contact with any of these individuals."

Is there any precedent for the secretary of state to not certify this today?

AVLON: None that I'm remotely aware of. And traditionally, accusations of voter suppression in the South are not directed towards men like Mr. Moore. This is a desperate attempt. It is sort of a "throw out everything you've possibly got and the kitchen sink" to create confusion. It's almost certainly not going to work. We heard here on NEW DAY the day after the election the secretary of state saying Doug Jones won fair and square. Apparently, Roy Moore and his supporters have had a hard time getting over it.

[06:05:09] But I think just coming up with a litany of accusations that seem tenuously connected to reality is not going to be a winning strategy.

WEIR: One -- some of the things they're pinning this on is a difference between straight party-line vote and those folks who also checked for Doug Jones. Well, you can say that's a result of Roy Moore, the candidate, the man and the allegations against him.

And as Diane pointed out, one of the election experts listed by the campaign also runs a JFK assassination conspiracy blog.

AVLON: As one does.

WEIR: As one does. But Amie...

CAMEROTA: In Prudential (ph).

WEIR: I just wonder if this is part of a bigger strategy as the president did to call into questions elections that are difficult to come to grips with.

AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, in a way no one really expects this to have gone away. I think it was such a crazy election to begin with. And I think it keeps getting a little crazier, even.

But I think, yes, he could have taken the polygraph test, maybe, before the election. Maybe that would have helped him a little bit. I don't understand why now he feels the need to talk about it after and say that he did take it after. Maybe he could have talked about it more and discussed it a little more. That could have maybe helped his cause a little. But I think it's a little too little too late. And I agree with -- with what John said; I don't -- I don't see anything changing.

CAMEROTA: Well, listen, we're going to try to talk to the secretary of state. We're going to try to get him on the air to see what he thinks and if there's any shred of possibility that this could happen.

But, you know, to Bill's point, when you deal in the realm of conspiracy theories, then nothing can be trusted. I mean, this is on a larger issue. When -- and we are in this world right now, where facts are fungible. And if you deal with conspiracy theories, in every single thing, well, there's a possibility that a Martian came down and voted. I mean -- I mean, for real. Conspiracy theories open the door to all of this sort of thing.

AVLON: Absolutely. Once you start drinking from that well of conspiracy theories, everything is negotiable, because you live in a very fear-fueled world. The problem is that, you know, those conspiracy theories don't comport with reality. And it's our job as analysts and as, you know, people who are in the civic life to insist on a fact-based debate. So when people come trotting out conspiracy theories, you can confront them and say, you know, "That may feel true, but it's not."

WEIR: All indications from Twitter, at least, John Merrill, the secretary of state of Alabama, says that Doug Jones will be certified today. The Canvassing Board is supposed to meet at 1 p.m. We're not sure if this lawsuit, which was filed late, might throw a wrench into that. But stay tuned as those details become available.

Let us pivot now to the president yesterday, who made a surprise visit to a firehouse in West Palm and touted some legislative victories that would be great if they were true. He was saying that -- let's hear it. Let's just let him just say it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You know, one of the things that people don't understand, we have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK, not true.

WEIR: Hard to hear. He was saying, "We have signed more legislation than any president since Harry Truman."

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Broke the record of Harry Truman, he said.

WEIR: Yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: All right. So once again, as you said, our job is facts. That's what we do, so we've crunched the numbers. He's actually signed less legislation than any president. So you see President Trump, 96 pieces of legislation signed in his first year. Compare that to Obama, 124. George W. Bush, 109. You know, you can go down the list.

And I think that -- here we go. The Truman Library, presidential library got back to us. It was 240 to 250. He's nowhere near -- he didn't break the record.

AVLON: Yes. Not even a little bit.

You know, that's just the president has been misinformed by somebody about -- or it's simply an extension of the fact that he always wants to be the biggest and the best, but he's not in this measure, even by a little bit.

What he may have been confused by is during his first 100 days, he actually was on a record pace. But that fell apart really quickly. And if you do the apples to apples comparison of presidents in their first year, not even close.

CAMEROTA: OK, well, that's something.

AVLON: Bottom of the barrel.

CAMEROTA: But that's something.

AVLON: Sure.

CAMEROTA: The first 100 days. OK, so that probably is where the confusion lies.

AVLON: Possibly.

CAMEROTA: You can say that. But in the first 100 days he signed the most sort of regulatory rollbacks, stuff like that. But he's touting it as his first-year accomplishment. So not true.

However, for his -- for people who support him, he has done a lot in terms of rolling back regulations. I think that that's what he's hanging his hat on.

PARNES: Yes. And I mean, you have heard him talk a lot about the economy lately and that he, you know, not only has done that but he has actually helped the economy and the stock market is all his doing when, in fact, a lot of it, you know, did come from the Obama administration. So there's a little bit of that.

I think he's trying to do his big end-of-the-year wrap-up as we saw last week. He started right after he signed the tax bill. He really wants to show that he has done, you know, stuff for the American people.

WEIR: Sure.

PARNES: But in fact, he -- I think he, as we've talked about, he hasn't really.

CAMEROTA: He's actually set the record for the least.

PARNES: Yes.

CAMEROTA: For the least amount. If you're just using his metric, he's actually set the record with 96 for the least amount of legislation.

PARNES: That's why he needed the tax bill, actually. Because he hadn't really gotten points on the board. He needed it. The party needed it. And that -- it's just that simple.

AVLON: Yes, look, back when he was beginning in real estate and he was a hype man, he used to say he believed in truthful hyperbole. I think what the president needs to remember is the truthful part of that equation. It needs to be rooted in something real. WEIR: Puffery. It's legal in advertising. A little different in

politics.

Coming up, a Republican congressman is defending his call for a purge at the FBI and the Justice Department. Why are Trump and the GOP politicizing that Russia investigation? We'll discuss it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WEIR: Republican Congressman Francis Rooney is defending his call for a purge at the FBI and the Justice Department, accusing them of being part of the, quote unquote, "deep state" against President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FLORIDA: As an American citizen, I'm nervous and discontent that people would have those kinds of lack of impartiality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: But a former White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush slammed the congressman from his own party on CNN yesterday. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CHIEF: We need to honor our civil servants of both parties. They're entitled to their positions. They're not -- they should not be retaliated against because of the political views. The civil service laws protect them. And we don't have purges in the United States of America. I mean, that's Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[06:15:19] WEIR: Let's bring in John Avlon. Joining us also, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.

Good morning. Good to have both of you back with us there. This -- this sounds like it might be coming from the fringe. You've got Ben Sasse; you've got other Republicans saying the Mueller investigation should proceed as normal.

What do you make of this call for a purge? Is he testing the waters as part of a new talking point?

AVLON: You know, I'm going to be careful about asserting this as a larger messaging, right, until we start seeing it. We've certainly seen a drumbeat of demonization of the FBI and the Mueller investigation from Trump surrogates. They're clearly trying to delegitimize and attack them.

CAMEROTA: Don't you think that chorus is getting louder?

AVLON: I think with the addition of the congressman, it's clearly snowballing. The use of the word "purge" is troubling. We're going to see if it starts being repeated. Because as Richard Painter pointed out, the language of "purge" is something associated with the Soviet. It is something associated with totalitarian regimes.

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Even that congressman walked it back a little bit yesterday on air.

AVLON: As well he should have.

CAMEROTA: He said, like, "Maybe I was too overheated or hyperbolic." Or something like that.

AVLON: Right, exactly, which is why, I think, you don't want to hang too much on that until you've got a pattern of talking points.

That said, this is the danger of trying to demonize an investigation and demonize the people in it. And we've seen that pattern of surrogates on air comparing the FBI to the KGB, which is beyond disgusting, with any sense of historic perspective.

So when congressmen start picking up that mantle, they've got a responsibility. When we have politicized investigations in this country, as we did with Benghazi, for example, you know, you see the situational ethics and the party affiliation just starts seeming absurd, because people defend whatever their own side seems to want to do.

We've got to hold ourselves to a higher standard here. And people who defend the rule of law and defend law enforcement traditionally need to be consistent about it, even in the context -- especially in the context of this administration.

CAMEROTA: You know, Renato, one of the funny things about this whole conversation is that the people who were caught not being impartial. So right, the two FBI officials who were exchanging text messages that were anti-Trump, they were reassigned. They're not part of the investigation.

In other words, the FBI is doing the right thing. When they find out that somebody -- look, everybody has, obviously, political leanings, political positions. They can still do their job. But when it's found out that they are not impartial in a way that may be clouding their judgment, they're -- they're reassigned. They're not part of the investigation. So what more do the Republicans want?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, I don't really think there's any practical steps that they want taken. What I think they want to do is they want to find a hook by which they attack and delegitimize the FBI.

I mean, here we have the president of the United States repeated attacking the FBI on Twitter. Right-wing media has been attacking the FBI. You know, this language is new coming from a congressman, but it's not new on right-wing media. There are people in right-wing media that are talking about cleansing the FBI.

And I think what they're doing is they're just trying to find any hook to do that. You know, earlier on the show, in your -- in the last segment you were talking about how facts are more malleable nowadays. That's what I think is going on here. I think, you know, as you point out, everyone has a partisan political viewpoint. Everyone has got different political views. You know, the question is just whether or not that interferes in an investigation. Obviously, these agents have been taken off. And there's really nothing to show that they have influenced the investigation at all.

AVLON: I think the larger point that I think is really troubling is, is this a flank move to delegitimize the results of the Mueller investigation when it comes out, no matter what it says? No matter how serious the accusation. Because the base has already been primed to say this is a -- this is a corrupt investigation; therefore, the results are legitimate. That is a different kind of danger. And that certainly seems to be the drum beat of what's occurring.

WEIR: There is a reason judges sequester juries...

AVLON: Yes.

WEIR: ... and take away their televisions. They don't want to taint the pool.

AVLON: Right.

WEIR: Outside speculation. In this way, this could be an effort to taint the entire jury pool of public opinion, which is, you know, the entire American public and especially the base.

Let's talk about other news that were made -- was made yesterday when Michael Flynn's brother tweeted a call for clemency. He wrote, "About time, President Trump, you pardon General Flynn who has taken the biggest fall for all of you, given the illegitimacy of this confessed crime in the wake of all this corruption." And "Mr. President, I personally believe that a pardon is due to General Flynn, given the apparent and obvious illegitimacy of the matter." He goes on and on.

You -- you've said, Renato, you're surprised that he hasn't -- he hasn't pardoned him already, in your op-ed.

[06:20:00] MARIOTTI: Well, that's right. You know, frankly, I had -- you asked me a few months ago what's going to happen with Michael Flynn, I would have told you that guy is never going to cooperate. He's going to fight Mueller and angle for a pardon, and he'll get a pardon at the last possible moment from President Trump.

Because you know, this is the man, if you believe James Comey, and I do, that the president told him, you know, "Let it go. Comey [SIC] is a good man." Or excuse me, "Flynn is a good man."

We've heard the president say frequently Flynn's a good man; he's a good guy. He's been a general, et cetera. So you know, if the president feels so strongly about Flynn, you know, and they're these close associates, why not get a pardon?

So -- but of course we all know that Flynn went a different direction. He cooperated with Mueller. This is a very odd tweet to be coming from somebody who's a close family member of a cooperator. Typically, when you're on the government's team, you are not trying to undermine them at all. And this is obviously off message.

What this takes -- you know, what this tells me is he obviously loves his brother, and he's saying what a lot of people around criminal defendants usually say, which is the prosecutor is unfair. It's all unfair, which of course we've been hearing from many people in the president's camp.

CAMEROTA: Renato is raising the right question. Why hasn't he pardoned Michael Flynn? He can. He pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Why hasn't the president pardoned Michael Flynn?

AVLON: Well, I think that was probably the long-term plan, you know. He sort of brushed it away, said that's not the time to talk about it now. But that was also presumably before it appears that Flynn started cooperating with the Mueller investigation. That obviously is -- makes the whole thing more complicated.

This is thick with interpersonal drama, and there is much more to come. This was a tweet by a brother asking for clemency or a pardon rather at an odd time. But I don't think -- you know, I think that ship has sailed with the appearance of cooperation between Flynn and the Mueller investigation.

WEIR: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Renato Mariotti, John Avlon, thank you very much.

All right. There's bone-chilling temperatures gripping much of the U.S., as we can attest. They're certainly here. Snow could be on the way in time for New Year's Eve. So Chad Myers has our forecast next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:26:15] CAMEROTA: We're following some breaking news out of Afghanistan. At least 40 people are dead in a suicide bottom attack in Kabul. Another 30 people were injured. Government officials say the initial blast was followed by two more explosions. This was a bustling cultural center, and a local news agency that were hit. ISIS is claiming responsibility.

WEIR: There is a new twist in the heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The Kremlin is now accusing the U.S. of interfering in their elections. It comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses the state of relations between the two nations in a new op- ed.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in Moscow with more -- Fred.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good morning, Bill.

Yes, look, this was the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, on her Facebook page, where she often comments on world affairs. And she accused the U.S. of meddling in Russia's affairs because of a statement that was made by the State Department, criticizing the Russians banning some candidates from running in the upcoming presidential election.

We got in touch with the State Department. They say, "Look, this is the same statement the State Department has been making for years, saying opposition candidates should be allowed to run."

Now, you were talking about that op-ed that Rex Tillerson wrote in the "New York Times". He obviously did comment on affairs between the U.S. and Russia. Want to read you a little bit of what he said, and this is me quoting him.

He said, quote, "On Russia, I have no -- we have no illusions about the regime we're dealing with. The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of western nations by meddling in our election and others."

However, Rex Tillerson went on to write that he believes that there needs to be cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, specifically in Syria.

We got in touch with the Kremlin earlier today, and they said there is no cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in Syria. And it comes, Bill, at a time when the Russians are saying that they believe that the U.S. is training former ISIS fighters in Syria. And needless to say, the U.S. says that that is absolutely not true, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much for all of that reporting from Moscow for us.

So these newly-released 911 calls capture the chaos moments after that Amtrak train derailed in Washington state, killing three people. Passengers on the train begged dispatchers to send help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm on the train. I'm physically on the train.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to get help, I promise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Listen to me. Is anybody in the car that you are in hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Eighty-five passengers and crew members were on board that train when it derailed south of Tacoma on December 18. Some cars spilled onto the interstate below. Authorities say it could take more than a year to figure out what caused this deadly accident.

WEIR: Meanwhile, brutally cold temperatures are gripping much of the United States this morning, and more snow could be headed to the East Coast. Erie, Pennsylvania, already buried under a record 5'5", could get another 10 inches of snow.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has a look your forecast, a look at New Year's Eve. It was one of those that will wake you up quick, leaving the house this morning, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You don't need coffee this morning. Just step outside. No. Boy, oh, boy, it was a cold one. And it still is, and it's going to be cold all day here. And temperatures aren't going to warm up much even by New Year's night. We're not going to see a lot of warm-up.

Another clipper comes by. That's going to make some snow for even Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

But the big story still is Erie, Pennsylvania. They can't catch a break. They've had 103.5 inches of snow since December 1, and they're going to get another 10. The lake shore, they're thinking, "Uncle. What do we have to do here? Shut it off. We're tired of shoveling."

New York City, you're going to be 19 today, 19 on Sunday. But that's not the true story. The wind is still the story. Because temperatures are single digits and below in Chicago. But your wind chill at midnight is going to be 20 below zero. The big story, the big number here for New Year's Eve, Times Square, it is going to feel like 3 below right there when the ball drops.

CAMEROTA: OK, Chad, how is Vermont going to be looking? I'm going...