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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
U.S. Officials: North Korea Might Test Missile After January 1; 12 Killed in Deadliest NYC Fire in 27 Years; Trump: East Could Use Some Good Old Global Warming; Trump: No DACA Deal Without Dems Support On Wall; New York Rams Up Security After Recent Attacks. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired December 29, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), NEW YORK: Yes, I think he is certainly looking to and willing to revisit that strategy over the course of 2017, we were seeing that strategy working where for example over the summer, there was a U.N. security counsel vote passed unanimously, including China and Russia that effectively cuts off over a third of North Korea's exports, and as far as ramping up economic pressure, that China vote, that Russia vote was huge.
[16:30:10] So, you know, there was a decision earlier in the year where China agreed to stop the importing or I should say the exporting to North Korea of coal. So, there was progress over the course of 2017. But what the president is saying, my interpretation over the course of the last couple of days, with this story as it relates to oil, which is a big deal, if true and to what extent it's true as well as China's plan going forward, the president should be mentioning that he does have other priorities, he has other options if necessary, but he really doesn't want to -- we don't want to have to go about this issue with North Korea without China's help. There is no good option without China.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: OK. Congressman, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it. Happy New Year.
ZELDIN: Thank you, Dana. Thank you. You, too.
BASH: Thank you.
And next, new heartbreaking information about the deadliest fire in New York City in more than a quarter century.
BASH: Welcome back.
The national lead, a tragic end to the year in New York City. We are just getting the first look inside an apartment building. This was the scene of the city's deadliest fire in a generation. The fire department now says a child playing with a stove sparked it. At least 12 people were killed, four of them were children.
CNN's Scott McLean is live on the scene in the Bronx in New York. Scott, what can you tell us about how this fire was started?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, I can tell you that that child who was playing with the burners on the stove had had a history of doing that previously, according to the fire commissioner. Obviously this time it had extremely tragic consequences. When the mother inside that apartment first noticed there was fire, she took her two children outside the apartment but left the door open, and as you can see in the new video that's been released by the fire department, you can see how that fire fed by oxygen from the outside spread throughout the hallways and into the stairwell.
And the fire commissioner says that that created sort of a chimney affect where the fire was able to get quickly from the first story up to the fifth floor of this five-story building essentially trapping the people on those upper floors, forcing them to use the fire exits and making it impossible to get down and outside of the building using the stairs. All told 12 were killed, ranging from an eight-month-old baby to a 63-year-old woman. We know that at least four of those people were children.
We spoke to one man today named Fernando Batiz. He actually lost a sister and he also lost a granddaughter. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERNANDO BATIZ, SISTER KILLED IN APARTMENT FIRE: We rushed over here and we came across two -- the mother of the baby and her sister, which is my sister's daughters, and they didn't know anything. They were trying to locate her and couldn't find her and we came to find out this morning she's one of the passed, one of the people who passed away.
I'm in shock right now. I don't know how to react. I am just, like, numb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: Now, according to public reports this building was inspected in August. One city department found six open violations, including one faulty smoke detector and one faulty carbon monoxide detector on that first floor, though, in different suite than where this fire actually originated. Under New York City law, the landlord of this building had 30 days to fix those problems and to certify that they were fixed. It is not clear whether that happened, though, because even though the fix may have been done, it was never certified with the city.
The landlord did put out a statement. It didn't mention those violations, but it did say that they were saddened by what's happened here. I should also mention that the mayor is stressing that there could be more fatalities because there are four people who remain in the hospital from serious to critical condition, Dana.
BASH: Absolutely tragic. Scott McLean, thank you so much for delivering that news. It's just horrible. Lots to talk about next, including President Trump's tweet saying the
East Coast needs more global warming. My panel is back. Stick a around.
[16:42:51] BASH: We're back with the politics lead and President Trump's tweet from balmy Florida suggesting that climate change might be a good thing. He wrote in part, in the east, it could be the coldest New Year's Eve on record, perhaps we could use a little bit of good old global warming.
In fact, 2016 was the hottest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization. And studies show 2017 is on track to beat that. As you can see in that map, 2017 temperatures differ from the average.
I want to bring in CNN's Rene Marsh for more on this.
Rene, thank you so much for being here.
You have been looking at what the president said and how it comports with the reality of science and what's going on.
RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. I mean, the president has a misunderstanding of the science behind climate change. In a year where we've seen extreme weather, scientists call the president's tweet irresponsible.
MARSH (voice-over): As record snow falls in places like Erie, Pennsylvania, and extreme cold slams two-thirds of the United States, the president is using the cold snap to cast doubt on climate change, tweeting: the East, it could be the coldest New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming that our country but not other countries was going to pay trillions of dollars to protect against. Bundle up.
It's the same argument Senator Jim Inhofe made on the Senate floor.
SEN. JIM INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: We keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, and I asked the chair, you know what this is? It's a snowball. It's just from outside here, so it's very, very cold out.
MARSH: Inhofe and the president mistakenly suggesting cold weather means climate change is, in the president's words, a hoax.
PETER FRUMHOFF, CHIEF CLIMATE SCIENTIST, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: It's a little bit like saying that if everybody around me is wealthy, then poverty is not a problem. It misses the bigger picture. Local weather is not an indicator of changes in local climate.
MARSH: NASA says 2017 was one of the warmest years on record, and 97 percent of climate scientists agree climate change is real and poses a threat.
[16:45:00] This map from the University of Maine shows while we are in a deep freeze, the rest of the planet is above average right now. Scientists say devastating hurricane from Florida to Texas to Puerto Rico and deadly wildfires out west were exacerbated by rising temperatures. The effort to undermine science has been ongoing since Trump took office. His EPA has sidelined climate science and scientists wiping references to climate change from the Web site, removing scientist from the agency's advisory boards.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.
MARSH: And rolling back many environmental regulations, including the Obama era clean power plan, an initiative to curb greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.
MARSH: And the President also withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, and the trillions of dollars in Trump's Thursday tweet was an apparent reference so that potential costs of the Paris Climate Accord to the U.S. economy, an estimate that has been disputed, Dana, at this point the United States is the only country in the world not to be a part of that agreement.
BASH: Rene, thank you so much for that report. I want to bring back my panel. And the thing that one of his -- I would say members of his kitchen cabinet said to me today is well, that's probably what he was referring to. He was trying to be funny but really referring to the fact that he thinks that he saved America and the American economy. The American economy have this money by pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement but because it's on Twitter, we don't really know.
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: One of the things Trump likes to do on Twitter we know is to tweak Liberals and Democrats and his critics. It's an odd time to be doing it because at the same time he said look, in 2018 I really want to make a move towards bipartisanship. Well, if that's your goal, this isn't the smartest thing in the world to do.
BASH: Yes, and could also just be a way to -- with humor, what he thinks is humor, it looks like, you know, kind of play with the base a little bit, the Republican base.
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes. Well, and it's one of those issues where if you hold the President's position on climate change, you're probably among the 30 some percent who approve of him, among the folks that are going to stick with him. But an issue like climate change, just like an issue on immigration, I've seen in a lot of data is the type of issue that sort of cleaves people away from the Republican Party. They might otherwise be fiscally conservative, they might otherwise be fairly right of center, but on issues like this, they just wish that the party would get on board or embrace the science, something like that. And so, by going for an issue like this, it's one of those things where you poke a nerve, to your point, Josh, really gets the other side fired up and gets your own base fired up. But for the voters in the middle, I think it does present a potential problem for Republicans, if not on the short term, in the medium to longer term.
BASH: To which you say, keep waiting Mr. President.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I just want to say it's particularly bad form when the governor of Puerto Rico came out today and said 45 percent of Puerto Ricans still do not have power. We have just gone through three devastating hurricanes and for him to joke about it in the cavalier and insensitive way, it's just -- I mean, come on.
BASH: Let's turn to the issue of immigration because that's another thing that was part of the President's Twitter feed today. Let me read what he said. He said "the Democrats have been told and fully understand that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed wall at the Southern Border and an end to the horrible chain migration and ridiculous lottery system of immigration, etcetera. We must protect our country at all costs." So he's clearly laying out a marker, a negotiating marker for immigration, particularly what to do about DREAMers in way that he didn't do the last time he had Chinese food and ice cream with Chuck and Nancy.
GREEN: Yes, I mean, he was hugely criticized by his own party after he sat down with Chuck and Nanny, and Mitch and Paul and essentially --
BASH: I'm glad you're all in first name basis.
GREEN: -- pushed his own party leaders to the side and agreed to this deal. I think what he's learned from that is that you know, that he basically got galled into agreeing to a Democratic-friendly deal and then proceed to extract himself and take back his word. This time he's trying to stake out a position much more right of center in order to leave some negotiating room on the matter.
ANDERSON: Well, this has always been a hang-up for any kind of comprehensive immigration reform, even if it was being pushed by Republican like when George W. Bush was pushing it or when you had the gang of eight. There's this fear that there are two pieces of reform, one is you do something compassionate with the folks who are here, the undocumented folks and on the other hand, you do something about border security. And the Republican concern is always that you will do one but you will not the other and that they will not get the border security they want.
Donald Trump may not have run on a ton of policy positions but it is pretty clear that he ran on the wall. It's hard to watch the election and not know that was a big piece of his agenda. And so, for him, it's understandable that he wants to say you need to make this happen. I'll give you these other things that you want that are very popular. I think the President knows that doing something about DREAMers is extremely popular, that a majority of Republicans want something done on that. But he still wants to make sure that other side of the equation, he gets something there. [16:50:26] BASH: Well, I think it's most likely that there would be some -- a lot of border security in this legislation, but I haven't found many Republicans on Capitol Hill even and especially those who are along those borders representing those states and districts who want that wall. But do you believe in your heart of hearts that the coming months the Democrats and the Republicans, President Trump will sit down and make a deal that will allow these DREAMers to stay in the United States legally?
DOYLE: You know, this issue personally breaks my heart. You know, I go on college campus tours and I talk about politics to you know, kids, DACA kids. And I can't tell you the number of these kids who come up to me afterward with tears in their eyes terrified about what is go to happen with them. Am I going to get to finish my degree? Do I have to go back to a country that I don't know? Do I have to leave my brother who is studying here, too, but he was born here? And for both sides to use these very real people with very real dreams as political chips is just cruel and inhumane.
BASH: You mean that Democrats shouldn't agree to some border security as part of the deal to get it done?
DOYLE: I'm hoping both sides will come at the table and get this done. And I think if it means the wall, I think what that real is issue is how do you define a wall? Is it a virtual wall, is it you know -- what wall?
ANDERSON: And I think what's really interesting polling data on this were when you ask people, when Donald Trump talks about a wall, what do you think he's talking about? Democrats overwhelmingly thinks it's a physical wall. Republicans think it's pieces of wall, pieces of fence, and it's virtual wall. Republicans I think will give him a lot of leeway on how you define a wall.
BASH: Very interesting. You certainly know the data. Thank you all. I appreciate you coming in. Happy new year! New York City targeted twice in as many months. What the city is doing to protect everyone who will be packed into Times Square on New Year's Eve, that's next.
[16:55:00] BASH: Welcome back. The "NATIONAL LEAD," cities across the country are increasing security for New Year's Eve's celebrations. Las Vegas is adding snipers to rooftops and bringing in the National Guard to protect the crowds. In New York, a city that has seen two terrorist attacks in the past two months, bomb-sniffing dogs and snipers will be part of the effort to keep the ball drop safe. Athena Jones is live in Times Square, and Athena, New York is always on high alert, and this night is obviously not any different, but there is more security that you have been seeing and you have been reporting on there.
ATHENA JONES, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Dana. That's absolutely right. This is an iconic event, the New Year's Eve celebration here in Times Square, and it is always a massive security challengers, always a huge security presence. Well, this year there's going to be a stepped-up police presence, officials tell us and that's because of those two recent terror attacks that you just mentioned. The truck incident on Halloween in Lower Manhattan that killed eight people, and then just a few weeks ago the young man who detonated a bomb in the subway system just a few blocks away. And so, for that reason, we're going to see more police officers, more uniformed police, more police carrying heavy weapons, more dogs. This area where I'm standing right now, several blocks north, southeast and west to me will be shut down starting early on Sunday morning, shut down the vehicular traffic and there will be 12 access points for spectators to enter into this zone in order to watch the ball drops.
Those spectators are going to see, the -- as I said, teams of police officers, bomb-sniffing dogs, there will be metal detectors, there will be police who have the ability to detect radiological material. There will also be (INAUDIBLE) sanitation trucks and cement blocks to try to prevent vehicular attacks. And for the first time, The New York Times is saying that for the first time police will be putting reflectors along the sides of some buildings to try to help locate a shooter, should there be a shooter. That is of course on the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. There's no credible threat to the celebrations here in New York or to New York in general, but authorities say that everyone should be vigilant and if you see something, say something. Dana?
BASH: Good advice. Always, Athena Jones, thank you. Live from Times Square, happy New Year. And also live from Times Square on New Year's Eve, of course, will be Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. They're going to host CNN's New Year's Eve Special which starts at 8 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Do not miss it.
And in our "MONEY LEAD" what sounds a lot like Demi Lovato singing Sorry Not Sorry from Apple, really is that they're admitting that they intentionally slowed down certain older iPhones. The company is now apologizing for the way it handled the situation but not saying it will stop slowing down the devices with older batteries to prevent them from suddenly shutting down. Apple faces several lawsuits over the practice which some thought as a way force customers to upgrade. In response to the complaints, Apple says it is dropping the price to replace the batteries from $79.00 to $29.00 through 2018.
And it will start giving users more information about the health of their phone's battery as well. Be sure to tune in to CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" on Sunday morning. Our guest is former White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. It all starts at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday morning. That's it for THE LEAD, I'm Dana Bash. I turn you over to Brianna Keilar in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Happy New Year!