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NEW DAY

Storm Could Cause Travel Headaches; Trump's War on Windmills; China Urges Steps with North Korea; Iran to Conduct Naval Drills; Clippers Top Lakers; ESPN Reporter Dies; Netanyahu Uses Trump's Playbook. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 26, 2019 - 06:30   ET

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


[06:30:00]

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we are. This is originating in the west. It's going to bring a lot of snow and rain to a lot of the country.

Look at Los Angeles right now. And even down south to San Diego. We're seeing incredible amounts of rain. Even seeing snow for the higher elevations.

This weather is brought to you by Farmers Insurance. Get a quote at farmers.com.

Now, this is going to push to the east, like we mentioned, bringing a lot of the winter weather. So we do have winter storm watches and warnings already in place. And what's -- let's watch this go forward in time and you can see all of this snow for the Rockies and then the rain piling up for the south. And then the snow continues for the upper Midwest. By the time we get into Sunday, a lot of rain for the east, by the time we get into Sunday into Monday. So if you are traveling home, this is going to be a huge headache for you across the country, especially if you're traveling through the weekend.

So here is that rain. We could see two inches or more across places in the Ohio valley. The Midwest could see snow amounts up to a foot or more across the Dakotas. And so if you're traveling in the upper Midwest, be aware of that. Even the east and the northeast will get some snow from this.

Here are your high temperatures over the next couple of days. We're going to be a bit above normal still across much of the east. In the 60s in Atlanta. Reaching 60 degrees almost in D.C. on Saturday. Temperatures should be around 44 this time of year.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: An intense search is underway in southeast Texas for a man police say showed up at his ex-girlfriend's birthday party on Christmas Eve and shot and killed her. Authorities say 46- year-old Carolee Dawn Taylor died at the scene and police have identified the suspect as 52-year-old Albert Benjamin Simon. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

CAMEROTA: Now to this really worrisome story. Emergency teams in the Galapagos Islands are working to contain a 600 gallon oil spill after a cargo vessel overturned. There's new video and it shows the moment here that this crane -- oh, my gosh -- this crane lost control of a container and it collapsed onto the cargo vessel. Conservation crews are now scrambling to protect this area, which holds some of the most unique ecosystems on earth. This one is really heartbreaking. I mean --

AVLON: Come on, people.

CAMEROTA: The Galapagos --

AVLON: There's only one.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean they -- they spend so much energy trying to protect that, but, obviously, accidents happen.

AVLON: Accidents happen, but we got to get it cleaned up too.

OK, and more positive news. We have another adorable royal Christmas photo. A black and white picture shows Prince William in a flat cap holding his youngest son, one-year-old Price Louis, giving him a kiss on the cheek. Princess Charlotte and Prince George posing beside them. Kensington Palace say William's wife Kate took the picture earlier this year.

And the reveal comes after Harry and Meghan Markle released theirs Christmas Card featuring baby Archie front and center.

I know you love that.

CAMEROTA: It's like -- well, I mean, I feel like the royals are trying to out-cute each other. I mean that's what -- I think there's a rivalry.

AVLON: Is that an -- we're having a cuteness arms escalation at Buckingham Palace?

CAMEROTA: That's what I'm seeing there. Yes. I -- I'm seeing a lot of cute tension happening over there.

AVLON: One of -- cute tension.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Cute tension.

AVLON: Trademark that one right away. Immediately.

CAMEROTA: We'll do.

AVLON: All right.

CAMEROTA: All right, if you ate too much on Christmas, and I'm speaking to myself here, here's a little advice for getting back on track in the new year. It turns out abstaining from food -- well, I'm out -- for 16 to 18 hours a day could be the key to living longer. A review of past studies in the "New England Journal of Medicine" suggested intermittent fasting when you limit your eating to just six or eight hours a day. So you compress it in that window. Supposedly that can reduce blood pressure, it can help with weight loss -- yes, I bet -- and the obvious catch for most Americans -- OK, here's the catch, we usually eat three meals a day. That's how we are trained. That's what we grew up with, three meals a day.

AVLON: But maybe that's a problem. Maybe that's a mistake.

CAMEROTA: Maybe it is.

AVLON: But we can chow down -- can you eat whatever you want in those six to eight hours?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Just load up the bacon. Load up the Big Macs. Whatever -- no, I don't know.

But -- but if you -- you're supposed to fast 16 to 18 hours. That would be difficult. But, anyway, it has supposedly all sorts of health benefits.

AVLON: That sounds awesome. The health benefits.

CAMEROTA: Let us know what you think.

AVLON: All right, now, if there's one thing President Trump despises more than potentially anything else, it's -- wait for it -- windmills.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains his latest riff with an old enemy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When it comes to windmills, President Trump loves to imitate them.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Zwing (ph).

Err, err.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": Yes, I've never heard a windmill before, but I'm -- I'm pretty sure it doesn't sound like a cat's in a dryer.

Weow (ph), weow (ph).

MOOS: President Trump insists on tilting at windmills. Donald Quixote, someone called him. But attacking without the benefit of scientific facts --

TRUMP: And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, OK?

MOOS: And this is a president who claims --

TRUMP: And I know windmills very much. I've studied it better than anybody.

Yes, I know more about technology than anybody.

Nobody knows more about technology than me.

[06:35:01]

I'm a professional at technology.

MOOS: A professional who prefers Sharpie on his printed pages, whose desk seems to be a no computer zone. A guy who's struggled to get the speakerphone to speak.

TRUMP: Enrique? Yes, you can hook him up. A lot of people waiting.

Hello?

Do you want to put that on this phone, please?

Hello?

MOOS (on camera): You know, you'd think the president would be a fan of wind power. It's one of those tried and true technologies rooted in the past, like some of his other favorites.

TRUMP: They say it's medieval a wall. It is medieval. So is a wheel. Wheels work and walls work. You know, there are some things you can't beat.

MOOS (voice over): And yet he keeps beating up on windmills.

TRUMP: I've seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields, the most gorgeous things you've ever seen. And then you have these ugly things going up.

MOOS: Maybe the president has just had it with wind.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: Err, err.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AVLON: Oh, man, I --

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, we're in good hands, because nobody knows more about technology than Trump.

AVLON: No. And I've got to say, I like the -- I like the, Enrique? Enrique, if you're listening --

CAMEROTA: Hello?

AVLON: I -- tilting at windmills.

CAMEROTA: Hello?

AVLON: Well done, Jeanne Moos, as always. Got to love it. CAMEROTA: All right.

Christmas has come and gone. So what happened to North Korea's threat of a Christmas gift for the U.S.? We take that up with David Sanger, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: Christmas Day has come and gone. So far no sign of North Korea's, quote, Christmas gift to the United States.

[06:40:02]

China is now speaking out about the failure of the June 2018 summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Joining us now to talk about this and more, we have CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger. He's the national security correspondent for "The New York Times."

Happy holidays, David. Great to have you here.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Happy Holidays, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, so China is speaking out. And here is what they said about that June 2018 summit. They say the Singapore Summit Joint Statement reached by North Korea and the U.S. has not been effectively implemented and the legitimate concerns of the North Koreans have not been taken seriously or addressed.

So when they say, David, that it has not been effectively implemented, who do they blame for nothing coming out of the joint summit?

SANGER: Well, they're clearly blaming the United States and President Trump. And I think that's only partly fair. The initial agreement reached in Singapore, Alisyn, was poorly constructed from the start and badly implemented. Poorly constructed because it talked about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, which are code words for the North Koreans build down and the U.S. takes simultaneous steps. Code words to the North Koreans to pull back its troops, to pull back our own nuclear capable forces.

When you heard President Trump talk about it, he only discussed the North Korean side of this. Now, meanwhile, what did the North Koreans do? They may not have launched at Christmas and they may after new year's, we're waiting for President Kim's or Chairman Kim's annual new year's speech that my lay out his strategy. But we do know is that in the 18 months since the Singapore summit, they never stopped building. They kept producing nuclear material. They kept producing missiles. And that's the bigger concern.

CAMEROTA: And do we know why President Trump has tolerated that?

SANGER: President Trump, at this point, is so invested, Alisyn, in the success of a signature initiative. And, you know, when we talked about it at the time and when he went to Singapore, I thought, and I still do think, that it was a very good idea for him to start leader to leader talks, because we had tried 35 years of talking to lower level North Koreans and it never worked.

But the problem was he had to go into the meeting well prepared and he had to have a plan that would coax them along. And he didn't. He -- instead, he sort of did the photo op part of this. He -- they've since met twice after the Singapore summit.

But the fact of the matter is, we're really at a stalemate. And the Chinese are now sort of calling it out. And, of course, the U.S. has got some complaints about the Chinese and the Russians because they're both violating the sanctions right now and beginning to let up the pressure on the North Koreans. So there's very little incentive for North Korea to actually give in at this point.

CAMEROTA: And so is it fair to say that North Korea now has a more robust nuclear program than it did before President Trump met mano a mano with Kim Jong-un?

SANGER: Absolutely. For a story that we had in last Sunday's "Times," we spoke to Siegfried Hecker, the only American who's actually been inside the North Korean nuclear production facilities. So that was a few years ago. He used to run the Los Alamos National Lab for the U.S. And his estimate is they now have enough fuel for 38 nuclear weapons. Well, that's up from somewhere between 20 and 30 before the Singapore summit. So it's been a pretty significant increase. And the president failed to get a nuclear freeze in return for that meeting. And I think that, in retrospect, turns out to have been a pretty big mistake.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, when President Trump says they fell in love over these beautiful letters that they'd exchanged, what has he gotten out of it?

SANGER: He's gotten the freeze on missile and nuclear tests. They have not tested since November of 2017. That's not a small thing because your -- the missile tests in particular are important if you're going to keep your program moving forward. And they hadn't yet proven that a warhead could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target and put up with all of the heat and vibration that comes with re-entry. But that's all he's really gotten out of it, other than the beautiful letters. And I think Kim has played him pretty brilliantly.

CAMEROTA: OK, next topic, and that is what Iran is up to.

So Iran, Russia, and China are set to hold this -- these four-day joint military exercises starting I believe tomorrow in the Indian Ocean.

Should we be worried about this?

SANGER: Well, what we should be worried about is this combination of what you're seeing. The Russians and the Chinese lifting the pressure on North Korea and then lining up, even a bit tentatively with the Iranians, who are also under sanction. [06:45:02]

So what's this all about? Partly this is about building a new axis that shows that powers that can't get along with the U.S. might find some refuge with the other two superpowers. And if you believe that, in fact, we are slipping back into a new form of superpower competition, this sure looks like the bad old days, doesn't it, where you had a world that was aligned with Russia and now with China, which, obviously, is the greater concern in the rising power, and a world aligned with us. And if the Russians and the Chinese see a moment to frustrate American ambitions and American initiatives by lining up with American adversaries, well, all so much the better. And the Iranians feel a little bit less alone and a little bit less isolated.

Every time you hear the United States say the Iranians are only isolating themselves more, think about this kind of action in the Indian Ocean and you say, well, they're not quite as isolated as the U.S. likes to say.

CAMEROTA: David Sanger, thank you very much for all of the expertise.

SANGER: Great to be with you.

CAMEROTA: John.

AVLON: The words heartwarming and the Dallas Cowboys don't go together a lot lately, but a player for the Dallas Cowboys made his mom's Christmas dream come true with a surprise gift. We've got the story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AVLON: The battle for Los Angeles once again going the Clippers' way. They beat the Lakers in that much-anticipated Christmas Day showdown.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, John.

You know, the NBA always a great slate of games on Christmas Day. No question the main event this year was the Lakers taking on the Clippers. This new -- this new rivalry really the premier one in the league right now.

And we had a funny moment at the end of the first half. Check this out, Anthony Davis gets a steal. His shot no good but he goes crashing into Kevin Hart's lap. LeBron then also ran over to jump in Kevin Hart's lap. They all had a nice laugh.

All right, the Lakers in a great mood into the third quarter of this game and they built a 15-point lead. But Kawhi Leonard leading the Clippers back. Here he's going to knock down a three to tie the game with 5:15 to go. Kawhi had a game high 35 points. Patrick Beverley making the play of the game. Lakers down by three. Five seconds left. Beverley knocks the ball out of LeBron's hands. Upon review, it's ruled off of LeBron. The Clippers make some more free throws, go on to win the battle for L.A. 111-106.

Now, LeBron did aggravate a groin injury during this game and ESPN's reporting that he could end up missing some time to allow that injury to heal.

All right, Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La'el Collins pulling out all the stops for his mom this Christmas, surprising her with her dream house.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOYETTA COLLINS, "A-EL COLLINS' MOTHER: And I am truly blessed. And I'm grateful to God that he allowed this to happen. I told God, not my will but your will to be done in this situation, you know, and he made a way.

[06:50:05]

LA'EL COLLINS, DALLAS COWBOYS: I mean this was always a dream. You know, it was always a dream. And just to be able to, you know, make that happen, man, I don't think nothing even compares. Nothing compares.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Collins got a five-year $50 million extension before the season from the Cowboys. The house in their hometown of Baton Rouge, guys. And, you know, awesome surprise. A great Christmas gift. The only problem is now the bar is now set rather high for future Christmases.

CAMEROTA: That's -- what do you do after a house?

SCHOLES: Yes.

AVLON: It's --

CAMEROTA: That's --

AVLON: Everything down hill.

That was great.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point.

AVLON: Got to love it.

SCHOLES: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: Now to this really upsetting story.

ESPN college football reporter Edward Aschoff tied Tuesday on his 34th birthday. The sports network has not revealed the exact cause of his death, but earlier this month he tweeted out some potential clues.

Joining us now is CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard.

Jacqueline, what do we know about this?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Alisyn and John, first, this is such a tragedy. My heart goes out to Edward's family. And he's all -- he was also engaged. So my heart goes out to his fiance as well. This is so sad.

What we do know.

Earlier this month, so just days and weeks before his death, he was active on social media and he tweeted about being diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia. So he had pneumonia in both lungs.

Based on that tweet, we know that he said, quote, anyone ever by bilateral pneumonia in their early 30s as someone who never gets sick and has a very good immune system? Asking for two friends, unquote. And by two friends he meant his lungs.

Because we know that this happened, based on his social media just days or weeks before, we also know that he tweeted, having a viral infection two weeks prior to pneumonia. So, again, he was battling one infection, then battling pneumonia. And being active on social media, he also posted on Instagram that he was thankful to his fiance in helping care for him just days before his death. He posted on Instagram that she made tea and soup.

And, again, this is just so sad. And you could tell he was grateful for the support he had from his fiance while battling this illness.

AVLON: Such a heartbreaker, 34 years old.

What else do we know about his illness before he passed away? Any other factors possibly at play?

HOWARD: Yes. Well, based on, again, tweets and Instagram posts, based on his social media, we can kind of put together a timeline to really make sense of how, you know, this could happen in a 34-year-old.

So based on his social media activity, we know that he flew the weekend of Sunday, December 1st. He went to the ER. He was prescribed two antibiotics and he tweeted about taking those medications. And as I mentioned earlier, we know that he had a viral illness just weeks prior to being diagnosed with pneumonia.

We also know that he tweeted about having classic symptoms of pneumonia, a fever, cough, night sweats. He also mentioned being very, very fatigued and feeling really tired all the time. Again, these are just classic symptoms that we know often, you know, can come with pneumonia. And he was mentioning all of this on social media just days before his death.

CAMEROTA: But, Jacqueline, I mean pneumonia doesn't normally kill a healthy 34-year-old man. And so if he was on antibiotics, if he'd gone to the hospital, if he was getting treated, why would he die from this?

HOWARD: Yes, what we know -- like you said, it's rare to see this death in a 34-year-old. The -- people who are most at risk of pneumonia are older adults 65 and older or young children five and younger, having a weakened immune system and also being a smoker. Smoking cigarettes can also put you at high risk.

Now, Edward Aschoff's family told us that, again, his death was only related to a brief illness. That's what his family is telling us. So there's still, you know, much that is kind of being left unanswered here. But based on his social media activity, we do know that pneumonia could have played a role.

AVLON: So, Jacqueline, one other detail jumped out at me though. It says he was on a plane the weekend before going to the hospital. It's the middle of the busy holiday season. So that raises the question, is there risk to other folks and what can people do to stay safe when they're traveling?

HOWARD: That's right. That's right. You know, there's so much we can do to stay safe while traveling, especially during this time of year where we often see these types of illnesses occur.

First and foremost, you can protect yourself by getting your flu shot. You know, just getting -- staying up to date on your vaccinations. Also, wash your hands frequently. If you are ill and you cough and sneeze, make sure to do that in a tissue or in your elbow or sleeve so you don't spread germs.

You know, an illness like the measles, the measles virus can linger in the air for up to two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes. That's something to keep in mind here. And if you are feeling ill and you can cancel your travel, definitely do that so that you can get well and recover quickly.

AVLON: Wow. Two hours.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. What a scary story.

Jacqueline, thank you very much for the information that we have on this and, obviously, we'll continue to cover it and bring viewers more information.

[06:55:06]

I see you giving me side eye because I've been sneezing and coughing all over the set.

AVLON: You know what --

CAMEROTA: I'm going to hose this down. AVLON: We'll -- there will be disinfectant afterwards.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes.

AVLON: The hazmat suit not really an option here.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I just have a cold, but I --

AVLON: I feel OK.

CAMEROTA: OK, good.

AVLON: All right.

All right, meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting to hold on to power in his, get this, third campaign in 12 months. And he's borrowing from the Trump playbook in an effort to win.

CNN's Oren Liebermann live in Jerusalem with more.

Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it's a campaign we've seen before from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One that very much looks like President Donald Trump's campaign.

But before he even gets to the March election and tries to win once again after already failing twice, first he has to get through the leadership race for his own Likud Party. And that is the vote he faces today where he's using those same sort of tactics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LIEBERMANN (voice over): This is becoming a familiar image among friends, a black and white picture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointing at the camera. The caption says, they're not only after me, they're after us.

It's copied from President Donald Trump, who used a similar image with a similar message days earlier.

The well-documented political bromance has been a focus of Netanyahu's messaging featuring heavily in election campaigns.

On Christmas Eve --

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Merry Christmas to all our Christian friends.

LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu promising another political gift from the Trump administration.

NETANYAHU (through translator): We are going to bring American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and pay attention in all of the settlements, those in the blocks and those that are not. That's the next step. It's in our hands. And only I will bring this.

LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu and Trump share much more than style. As Trump faces impeachment, Netanyahu faces criminal indictment, charges of bribery and fraud and breach of trust in three corruption investigations. Netanyahu has insisted he's innocent, calling the charges an attempted coup and a media driven witch hunt.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I called it the rigged witch hunt.

LIEBERMANN: Language we've heard from Trump as well.

In messages like this, Netanyahu has painted himself as the victim, while leaning once again on his relationship with Trump to boost his standing.

But Trump borrowed this one.

TRUMP: I want to especially thank a great man and a great leader, the leader of India, Prime Minister Modi, my friend.

LIEBERMANN: It was with another populist leader, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that we first saw the message.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER: Our great American president, Mr. Donald Trump.

LIEBERMANN: Modi's supporters created and spread a meme, a picture of the Hindu leader with the words, in reality, they're not after me, they're after you. I'm just in the way. With his India first style of politics, Modi has celebrated Trump's America first brand.

MODI: I admire him for something more. A sense of liberty, a passion for America, a concern for every American, a belief in American future and a strong resolve to make America great again.

LIEBERMANN: Modi has also shown his love for Netanyahu. In 2017, becoming the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Jerusalem. While Modi isn't facing any personal corruption scandals, his government has been facing massive protests after the passage of an controversial immigration law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. That's three national leaders united by a love of brash tactics and strong man strategies.

For Modi and Trump, this style of campaigning worked. It's less clear with Netanyahu, who faces a third straight election within 12 months having already failed to form a government twice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIEBERMANN: Focusing on today's race, Netanyahu's challenger is rival Gideon Saar, a hard-lined right wing former minister of education. Netanyahu is expected to win, but he wants to win big, which would signal he's still in charge of his own Likud Party and in charge of the right wing. If this is a close race, it could signal that Netanyahu's base is beginning to move in a very different direction. And, Alisyn, if the unlikely and the improbable happens, if Netanyahu

loses this race, it's effectively the end of Netanyahu's time as prime minister come March his election.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting piece, Oren, thank you very much for bringing it to us.

So a Republican senator is rebuking McConnell's impeachment trial strategy. What does it mean?

[07:00:00]

NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I heard what Leader McConnell had said. I was disturbed.

END