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Trump Exchanges Holiday Greeting With Troops, Lashes Out At Pelosi; Sources: McConnell Open To Setting Ground Rules For Impeachment Trial; Standoff Over Senate Trial Likely To Last Weeks; Schumer Pushes For Ukraine Docs In Senate Trial; Chris Cillizza's 2019 Naughty & Nice List. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 25, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a special edition of NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to this special Christmas edition of NEW DAY. As James Earl Jones just said, this is Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, indeed.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. Merry Christmas, everybody. We have a big show for you today. We'll have the latest on the impeachment inquiry. What will Christmas be without impeachment? How it could play out in the days and weeks ahead.

CAMEROTA: Plus, a special holiday edition of reality check. We'll sort out the facts from fiction when it comes to your Christmas morning breakfast.

BERMAN: Oh, that's exciting. I can't wait for that. Also, it's Christmas, so we have a naughty and nice list of our own. Chris Cillizza, our special Santa. He made the list and he will tell us what's (inaudible) ...

CAMEROTA: He's very naughty.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And after you open all of your gifts, what better way to relax than to enjoy a movie. So we've got the films you and your family should not miss during this holiday break. All of that and more ahead. But first, let's get a check of your headlines from the news desk.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning and Merry Christmas. I'm Alison Kosik in New York. Moments ago in Vatican City, Pope Francis delivered his annual Christmas blessing to the world where he issued a call for peace in war-torn regions like Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, and West Africa. Last night he celebrated Christmas Eve mass with a message of hope and love for the new year.

Back here in the U.S., most of us are waking up to a comfortable and mild Christmas outside, but a brewing snow and rain storm could snarl travel after the holiday. CNN Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now live with your Christmas forecast. Good morning.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right. Alison, good morning and Merry Christmas. Yes. We do have some problems out west. I think the east is looking just fine, thank you here. We do have some morning fog. In fact, a lot of us are under low blanket of clouds here and so that's reducing visibility under a quarter mile in many areas southeast and heading into the Midwest as well Ohio Valley and portions of southern New Mexico.

I'm going to take you where it is certainly snowing and where it will be raining as well. Kind of a mess here, a wintry mix accumulations of ice possible, not the type of which will bring power lines down but enough to make for very dangerous conditions if you're going to be traveling. And then, of course, across the four corners, we continue to see snow across the highlands and mountains of northern New Mexico into southern Colorado, even Phoenix getting in on the action.

But there the problem will be rainfall. We have flash flood watches in effect. In fact that could be extended a little further east to include the Phoenix Metro. That is going to be a problem. The accumulation is up to an inch possible because of what is going to be continuing to come on.

San Francisco, are you up early and watching us? Merry Christmas, San Francisco. It is pouring out there right now and we're doing that with lightning as well. So quite a vigorous storm, you can see that spin. It's going to crash into California.

So you're getting it in Central California, but Southern California, Alison will be seeing a very wet late Christmas for today as well.

KOSIK: They are not used to all of that rain in California. CNN's Ivan Cabrera, thanks so much.

CABRERA: You bet.

KOSIK: President Trump spending the holidays at Mar-A-Lago. He attended Christmas Eve services after a holiday call with military personnel stationed around the globe. The President also spoke to reporters lashing out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the impeachment stalemate.

CNN's Kristen Holmes is live in West Palm Beach, Florida. Good morning, Kristen. What else did the President have to say?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison. Well, he had quite a bit to say and this wasn't really surprising. Well, he has spent most of his holiday behind closed doors. He's been hobnobbing with those guests and members at Mar-A-Lago.

We have certainly heard quite a bit from the President, particularly on Twitter. He has slammed impeachment Democrats, Nancy Pelosi and he continue that when talking to reporters yesterday. He said that Pelosi hated Republicans, that she hated anyone who voted for President Trump and that she was doing a disservice to the country. But with all of the slamming of impeachment, he did have praise for

one person and that was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. When asked about the impasse that's currently happening right now between Democrats and Republicans on what exactly a Senate impeachment trial would look like, President Trump made it clear that he backs McConnell a hundred percent. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in a very good position. Ultimately, that decision is going to be made by Mitch McConnell and he has the right to do whatever he wants. He's the head of the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And we have learned that McConnell is now open to the idea of setting those ground rules for the Senate trial without the support of Schumer. Now, all he needs is 51 votes which he could have in the Senate if all these Republican senators support him.

[07:05:01]

So this is actually possible. Now, he would like to come to a deal, that's what sources are telling us. But if not, he will take this to the floor for a vote. Republicans, however, are still hoping that Nancy Pelosi will transmit those articles of impeachment over to the Senate. They want this to happen in a formal way.

And that is where we might get back to a stalemate, because the speaker sent out a letter to all of the House Democrats. And here's what she had to say about impeachment.

She said, "It now remains for the Senate to present the rules under which we will proceed. We can then appoint managers. The vote on the floor was overwhelming and inspiring and the number of people who want to be managers is indicative of our strong case." Not someone who sounds like they're going to transmit those articles over anytime soon without hearing what exactly that Senate trial would look like.

So again, another bit of an impasse there. And I do want to note one thing, which is talking about the managers that is generally just the members of the House who will present the case against the President to the Senate, Alison.

KOSIK: Yes. It looks like Pelosi is not in any rush to send those articles over to the Senate. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

And let's bring in Elie Honig to discuss more on everything impeachment. He is a former federal prosecutor and a CNN Legal Analyst. Good morning and happy holidays. Thanks for coming in on Christmas.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No problem, Alison. Thanks for having me. KOSIK: So talk about Nancy Pelosi strategy here. She's not in any

rush to send these articles over to the Senate. If the Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader McConnell are unwilling to work with congressional Democrats, what legal leverage do they have?

HONIG: So I think Speaker Pelosi's strategy here is more political than legal. Legally, she doesn't really have a super strong base to stand on here. There is no formal requirement in the Constitution that she transmit the articles over. And frankly, the Senate, I believe, can just start the trial under the notion that they have the sole power to trial impeachments under the Constitution and there's really very little that Nancy Pelosi or the Democrats can do to stop it.

But I think what Speaker Pelosi is trying to do here is focused attention on the procedures. And really, I think she's trying to force the issue of are we going to have a real trial here with actual facts and evidence or are we going to have just this empty political show. And I do think she has some traction there and I think she's trying to force the issue, force Republicans to agree to at least some presentation of evidence at the trial.

KOSIK: And we now know that around 90 minutes after President Trump spoke to Ukraine's President Zelensky on July 25th and Office of Management and Budget official, Mike Duffy, ordered the Pentagon to freeze security funding for Ukraine. How significant of a development is this?

HONIG: It's really significant, Alison, because it gives us just a small glimpse at what the White House and Donald Trump are hiding. Let's remember, House Democrats served 71 subpoenas or requests for information during their investigation on the administration. The administration blocked every single one of them, did not produce a single piece of paper.

The reason we saw this email involving Michael Duffy is because there was a separate Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. So it was almost sort of a fluke that this email came out, but just seeing that one document out of thousands, 10s of thousands, we don't know the number that are being held back, gave us a little glimpse of just how important the information is.

Michael Duffy talks about how he received guidance that the foreign aid needs to be withheld from Ukraine and that this was a sensitive request. And so to me, that raises a lot of questions and I think is really suspicious just on its face.

KOSIK: Now, another witness who Democratic lawmakers would like to get their get their hands on, getting on the stand is former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton sat down with Axios earlier this week bashing the Trump administration's stance on North Korea. What do you think? What message does this end?

HONIG: Well, it certainly tells us that John Bolton is not toeing the party line here. Obviously, he's left the administration, but Bolton to me is really the most important potential witness that remains out there. Let's remember, we know from the witness testimony from one of the witnesses who testified in the house, Tim Morrison, that John Bolton had a one on one conversation with Donald Trump trying to convince Trump to release the aid.

We don't know exactly what was said and what happened during that meeting. John Bolton certainly knows. But we know that when Bolton came out, he said he, meaning Trump, he's not ready yet. So that's a crucial conversation and really there's only two people who can tell us what happened there. Donald Trump who I would not count on ever testify and John Bolton.

So John Bolton needs to get serious here. Enough with the book deals, enough with the Twitter, if he has something to say and he clearly does, let's get him under oath. Let's hear what he has to say. For better or for worse for Donald Trump, for Republicans, for Democrats, whoever it may help her, let's get some truth here.

KOSIK: OK. Elie, it's Christmas so let's take a step back here. Do you think there's any chance that Democrats and Republicans are going to be able to come together in the New Year?

[07:10:00]

HONIG: Well, I'll sound a little note of Christmas optimism. I do think and hope, there's some hope, that they come together at least on the notion of let's have a meaningful trial here. It shouldn't be that controversial, this idea of let's have some witnesses. Let's have some evidence at the trial. I mean, that's what a trial is.

So I am hopeful that they come together and at least agree let's have a process here and then however it comes out, there could be some real legitimacy to it and the American public can have some confidence that our constitutional process was served.

KOSIK: All right. CNN Legal Analyst, Elie Honig, thanks so much for coming in on the holiday. Merry Christmas.

HONIG: Thanks, Alison. Merry Christmas, everybody.

KOSIK: Santa is making his list. He's checking it twice, he's going to find out which politician played naughty or nice. We'll break it down for you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:14:45]

BERMAN: Well, it's safe to say that 2019 has been a busy year in Washington.

CAMEROTA: I think you're underselling it.

BERMAN: It's been a busy year.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's stick with that.

BERMAN: Eventful, shall we say.

CAMEROTA: Let's go with that.

BERMAN: So in the spirit of the Christmas season, let's go and look back at who's been naughty and who's been nice in the world of politics.

[07:15:00]

CNN Politics Reporter and Editor at Large, Chris Cillizza, he is Santa and the elf for the purposes of this exercise.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Oh, wow. Cool.

CAMEROTA: And naughty.

BERMAN: And naughty.

CILLIZZA: I'm not kidding, I wait all year for this.

BERMAN: Who's naughty and who's nice?

CILLIZZA: I mean, it really makes me happy. OK, we have the graphic, I want to pull it up so people can see.

But nice, let's start with nice. Nice, George W. Bush. And you say, well, George W. Bush is not president, hasn't been around a while. But remember, George W. Bush, number one, he benefits by not being Donald Trump. I talked to so many Democratic folks who say, "Man, I wish we had George W. Bush back around." When 10 years ago George W. Bush was their worst president ever. That's number one.

Number two, don't forget his speech at his father's funeral. I thought it was moving. He teared up. I think his public perceptions happens a lot for former presidents once they're out of office. Public perception change the handing of the mint to Michelle Obama.

There's just a lot there that I think shows you that this guy is deeper than we sort of thought he was when he was in office. And, again, this is not uncommon. This happens all of the time, presidents wants to get out of office to make hard decisions. The people who follow you in office are maybe not ideal. You benefit. He quite clearly, I think ...

CAMEROTA: I mean also if you're friends with Ellen, I guess you have to be considered nice.

CILLIZZA: Yes. I mean, again, like he's just a guy who I think his - the way in which his presidency went and you can say it was him, it was Cheney, it was some combination is very different from the person we see out of office, who was basically sort of friends with Barack Obama, he's friends with Michelle Obama.

It's a different version of George W. Bush.

BERMAN: I mean, he paints.

CILLIZZA: I think you saw that this year.

BERMAN: He paints.

CILLIZZA: He paints. I mean, I was going to say the well is the key, because like I paint but no one would see it.

CAMEROTA: Yes, nobody wants to see that.

CILLIZZA: I'd pawned it off and say it's my kids' painting when people ask. "Oh, no, the seven-year-old did that."

BERMAN: I don't know that finger paint counts.

CILLIZZA: Yes. No, it does.

BERMAN: OK.

CILLIZZA: That's a medium.

CAMEROTA: OK, who else is nice?

CILLIZZA: OK. Well, I don't know if we want to jump to this because it's - well, OK, we'll jump to this one because I didn't know there's one other really good one we're saving, dogs. "Now, why you say dogs Chris?"

Well, first of all it's Christmas, so yes we're going to go a little lighter on the content.

BERMAN: OK.

CAMEROTA: OK. OK.

CILLIZZA: We've had a long year.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CILLIZZA: OK, people?

CAMEROTA: We really did.

CILLIZZA: Dogs. Now, why dogs? Well, dogs are lovely in general, but let's not forget Conan the dog who went in to - it was involved in our most fundamental and important foreign policy venture national security venture in the year, honored at the White House, right?

BERMAN: I think I would also add to that list, they're not cats, right?

CILLIZZA: It's so true.

BERMAN: Which makes them that much better. CILLIZZA: Cats are always on the naughty list.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly. They're much better.

CILLIZZA: Yes, dogs.

BERMAN: Yes.

CILLIZZA: OK, last one. The Washington Nationals. It shouldn't say, I guess we couldn't fit it in that box, World Series Champion Washington Nationals.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CILLIZZA: But look if you live in Washington like I do, let's be honest, there's not a whole heck of a lot to be happy about these days. This was something we could actually be excited about the Washington Nationals. They are in the wild card game. They win that and they go on to win.

I went to the parade with my two young kids and my wife. It was actually wonderful because D.C. is a city that is a lot of people who come from all over the place.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BERMAN: Yes.

CILLIZZA: You got a lot of people who don't - they're not joined by any common thread other than politics or the hatred of politics. And this was a moment in which everyone came together in a really nice moment for the city.

BERMAN: Genuinely people came together, that team managed that.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BERMAN: That's an awesome one. All right.

CILLIZZA: It was really good.

BERMAN: We've been waiting for this.

CAMEROTA: OK, now to the (inaudible) stuff, naughty.

CILLIZZA: I hope we reserved 25 minutes for the naughty.

CAMEROTA: Oh, we have, yes.

CILLIZZA: OK, let's throw them up because I want to see what order you put them in. I never know. OK, Rudy Giuliani. At the start of the year, Rudy Giuliani, you would have said, "What do you think of Rudy Giuliani, Chris?" Oh, well, he was mayor, he ran for president, it didn't go all that

well, but he was mayor during 9/11. America's mayor. At the close to end of 2019, we got a week left, Rudy Giuliani's public perception has changed so radically. The interviews he gives, which by the way I encourage them to do as many as possible as someone who's in the cable TV business, but the interviews he gives, his tweets, he's under federal investigation.

This doesn't seem, I guess, the only argument for Rudy Giuliani in 2019 is 2020 is likely to be worse candidly given what's out there for him. But this year, it has radically changed how he - no matter what happens, radically changed how he will be remembered, historically.

And I think you see even some of his friends now acknowledging that fact. So he's in all sorts of trouble whether it's left Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and the Ukraine stuff, I just think this year ends in huge uncertainty for Rudy Giuliani. The only thing that is certain is that his legacy has been tarnished.

BERMAN: So who's on naughty Mount Rushmore with Rudy Giuliani?

CILLIZZA: OK, let's go to the next one. Again, I want to see. OK. So people will say, "Hillary Clinton, Chris, all you do is fixate on Hillary Clinton. Leave her alone. She ran in 2016."

Look, Hillary Clinton has every right to be part of the national conversation. She was the Party's presidential nominee three years ago. She was a secretary of state. She was a senator from New York and was the first lady. She has a resume unlike almost any - actually unlike anyone else in the Party and really in the country.

[07:20:06]

But she's done a couple things that I think don't make sense from a party building perspective or really a public figure perspective. One, shy did she attack Tulsi Gabbard and suggest that Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii Congresswoman was a Russian asset?

If you're going to say that, that's a pretty big charge. If I say John Berman is a Russian asset and they say, "Well, what's your evidence?" And they say, "He likes the Boston Celtics." Right? If you're going to make a big charge and you're Hillary Clinton and you know what's going to get attention, I just think you have to be way more cognizant of what your impact is.

Then, another thing with Hillary Clinton, she is talking all about Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race and how he didn't get out soon enough and had he gotten out I probably would have won and He better not do it again. I don't see what the strategy is. Maybe it's just she feels free. She's not running for anything else and she wants to say what she wants, which is her right ...

BERMAN: But that might be (inaudible) ...

CILLIZZA: ... but it's also our right to say some of these choices you're making are not good for either your public image or, and this is more important, for your party. It's hard to argue that getting in a fight with Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard if you're Hillary Clinton is beneficial to helping Democrats win in 2020, which is her stated (inaudible) ...

BERMAN: Right. The Howard Stern interview very revealing. Maybe it was just ...

CILLIZZA: Holy moly.

BERMAN: ... stream of consciousness speaking her mind.

CAMEROTA: Sure. He does that. He gets that out of people.

CILLIZZA: He does.

BERMAN: Who's last? Who's last?

CAMEROTA: OK, who's (inaudible) ...

CILLIZZA: I think people are ready for it. OK, last?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CILLIZZA: The big reveal. All right. I'll put both of these two together.

CAMEROTA: Yes, a tie.

CILLIZZA: Both of them are Roger Stone and Paul Manafort. So these are people tied up with Trump, Trump campaign manager, in Roger Stone's case, Trump Svengali at one time sort of advisor. Both of whom are either in prison or going to prison for things related to - in Stone's case lying to Congress, in Manafort's case, Ukraine.

I just think that the reason I picked them is not to pick on them, but to say that what you see over and over again, this is true in 2017, 2018, 2019. I'm going to guess it's going to be true in 2020.

If you're in the orbit of Donald Trump, there is peril and danger there. Now, Paul Manafort didn't go to jail because of he was Donald Trump's campaign manager, but the profile that that brought on, brought a level of scrutiny.

Roger Stone had played fast and loose for literally decades. And this is something we all knew for decades, who'd kind of - he didn't tell the truth all of the time. But he gets elevated by Trump and suddenly, you're playing for real stakes. The gun has real bullets. You can go to jail, not just ...

BERMAN: Real jail.

CILLIZZA: ... right, real jail, not just, "Oh, he lied to the media" and blah, blah, blah. And I think that people still in 2019, three years into the Trump presidency, people still do not realize how real the stakes are. And that's why I put the two of them on there, because they are absolutely indicative of what you get when you play with Donald Trump and don't understand what you're doing.

BERMAN: Merry Christmas.

CILLIZZA: Ho, ho, ho.

BERMAN: Merry Christmas, Chris Cillizza.

CILLIZZA: I put on (inaudible) and a half.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. Thank you...

CILLIZZA: Well, I do what I can.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

CILLIZZA: I'm like a method actor.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Chris Cillizza. You're wonderful.

BERMAN: So a police officer says she took an oath to serve going so far as to donate part of her liver to a complete stranger, but her giving spirit did not end there. Her incredible gift to a sick boy and his family next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:26:46]

CAMEROTA: Good morning. Welcome back to a special Christmas edition of NEW DAY.

BERMAN: Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: We have lots to get to this half hour and putting a must see reality check. It might make you think twice about your Christmas breakfast.

BERMAN: Talking about the experiencing twice. No one wants that on Christmas.

CAMEROTA: It will certainly make your head spin.

BERMAN: All right. And we have the movies you need to watch this holiday break. But first, let's get a check of your headlines at the news desk.

KOSIK: Good morning and Merry Christmas. I'm Alison Kosik in New York. Breaking news, a four alarm fire raging this morning in Downtown Minneapolis at the Francis Drake Hotel. You're looking at live pictures here. Fire officials say the blaze is concentrated on the second floor of the structure.

It has been evacuated and at this point there are no immediate reports of injuries. We will keep you updated throughout the morning.

New this morning, Britain's Queen Elizabeth arriving for a Christmas Day church service at her Sandringham Estate. She was accompanied by Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with two of their children also attended.

The Queen's husband, Prince Philip who was just released from the hospital was not there. Earlier, Prince Andrew attended a private family service on the Queen's estate. He arrived alongside his older brother Prince Charles. Andrew announced last month that he was withdrawing from public life in the wake of a disastrous BBC interview about his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Raging forest fires destroying homes along Chile's coast. One official saying at least 120 homes are gone. Strong winds and high temperatures are fueling the fast moving fires, which spread to poor residential areas. The city's mayor says the fires were set intentionally, 90,000 people do not have power and so far, no reports of deaths or casualties.

Some parents in New York say a UPS driver Josh Satkin realized the package clearly revealed what was inside, so he hid the gift against the garage door, behind two large trash bins and then topped it with cardboard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGAN DELANEY, HOMEOWNER: That makes it even so much cooler that no one's watching and he's doing an act of kindness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: In case you're wondering, it was a bicycle. Hopefully, kids not watching. The parents were alerted to the good deed on their phones after a home camera send someone in their driveway. They thanked Satkin the next time they saw him.

I'm Alison Kosik. Now, back to John and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: It's time for Christmas breakfast which you may be enjoying right now and it's also time for all the conventional wisdom on whether your favorite foods are good or bad for your health. John Avlon has been eating a lot to research this. He's here to sort it all out in our reality check. Hi, John.

JOHN AVLON: Hey, guys. So to start we're not going to let any grinches appear in people's Christmas breakfast. We're going to try to clear it all up. Merry Christmas, folks. And if you got some kids run around the house like I do, there is a good chance you're feeling both jolly and a little bit exhausted, jonesing for that classic Christmas breakfast.

[07:30:07]