Return to Transcripts main page


Biden Would Comply with Subpoena; New York Governor Calls Attack Domestic Terrorism; Top Nine Entertainment Stories of 2019. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 30, 2019 - 08:30   ET



ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So you know, Joe Biden should show that he's got nothing to hide. He should go make the argument nothing was illegal that was done.

But I also think, politically, this is going to continue coming up for Biden. There is no -- you know, there's absolutely no shot that either in the primary or much less in a general should he make it this will not come up and he needs to have tight, consistent answers that are logical, not defensive, not emotional. He -- this is going to continue coming up. He needs to know how to deal with it because it's not going away.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Aisha, as a Democratic strategist, does the former vice president not create a really sticky situation for fellow Democrats if he keeps saying, you know -- and not having a clear answer on this and also answering perhaps again, you know, that he wouldn't comply when they are calling out Republicans and they're calling out Mitch McConnell and they're calling out the president for not having other witnesses come forward and talk?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that some of the challenges that we keep calling gaffes on the campaign trial for Joe Biden are really about his lack of discipline around messaging strategy. And I'm sure that his communication team is constantly cringing because, at the end of the day, he needs to -- and Ana's right, like he needs to actually stick to some talking points and be super clear about saying what he means and meaning what he says.

There's been multiple times that he's had to dial back something because in an interesting, you know, not unlike Trump way, he has a lot of conviction and he keeps doubling down on things that he says that may not be completely fleshed out and thought out and having to retract them. I think that that's a bigger issue around com strategy and discipline that he needs to get right when he's going to -- if he thinks he's going to be the nominee on the campaign trail writ large. And that's far beyond, you know, what's happening right now, may or may not happen in the Senate.

But I will also add this piece of it, is that the last piece of his quote that keeps getting kind of missed is what he should focus on, is the fact that this was all about Donald Trump, Donald Trump is a crook, Donald Trump needs to be on trial and he needs to keep saying that over and over again and to take the attention off of him and his gaffes.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and he did land on that a couple different times now when he's tried to turn the page there.


BERMAN: Go ahead, Ana.

NAVARRO: And the other thing he needs -- the other thing I think he needs to make part of this stock answer every single time it comes up is, you know, look at what Donald Trump is doing in the White House right now because it's really rich how many Republican senators are outraged by Beau Biden getting some benefit from his last name, but at the same time are coddling up to Ivanka Trump and to Jared Kushner and have no issue with the Trump properties making money out of Trump being in the White House. So, you know, I think this is something that Joe Biden needs to repeat over and over and over again, while saying that he commits that if he becomes president, it will not happen under his administration, not his -- (INAUDIBLE) not his brother (ph).

BERMAN: Can I just say, Ana, that we keep on saying -- we keep on saying he needs to do this, Joe Biden needs to do that. Well, to an extent, you know, on Twitter, in the media, we've been saying Joe Biden needs to change his campaign for months now.

HARLOW: But he's still number one.

BERMAN: But he's still number one. And he's in a fairly strong position, according to some polls, at least in some of the early states, including South Carolina.

So what is he doing right?

NAVARRO: John Berman, let me tell you something, I've got a little experience with men. There is no changing a man after he's done teething, OK? There ain't no changing a man. So --

BERMAN: I don't understand why this has got to be a guy thing. I -- this is not (INAUDIBLE) for anything. This --

NAVARRO: The idea that Joe Biden is going to change --

MOODIE-MILLS: Look, but -- but also let's -- let's be reminded that polls don't actually matter going into Iowa. If we look at who has won Iowa in the last several contests, it's not the person who's going in with number one in the polls. So I'm also a bit skeptical that, you know, we're still kind of putting all of that, you know, as if he's going to -- he's going to do so well just because of what a little bit of polling is saying right now. I think it will flush out come February.

BERMAN: Which is coming up very, very soon.

MOODIE-MILLS: Yes. BERMAN: I will say, we haven't seen any reliable Iowa polling in a long time.

HARLOW: Yes, that's a good point.

BERMAN: That would be nice.

Aisha Moodie-Mills, Ana Navarro, Happy New Year to both of you.

NAVARRO: You too.

HARLOW: Happy New Year, ladies. Thank you.

MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you.

NAVARRO: Good morning, Poppy.

HARLOW: Good morning.

NAVARRO: Good to see you this early.

BERMAN: All right.

HARLOW: All right.

BERMAN: Some chilling scenes around the country with an alarming rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area. We're going to speak to Governor Andrew Cuomo about what he is proposing needs to be done, next.




GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I consider this an act of domestic terrorism. Let's call it what it is.

It is a nationwide problem and I refer to it as an American cancer and I believe that.


HARLOW: That was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo following the stabbing attack in New York that injured five orthodox Jews celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah at their rabbi's home.

Joining me now on the phone is the governor.

Thank you, sir, for being with me. I wish it were on better news, of course.

But you have chosen your words carefully on this and they are strong. You call this domestic terrorism, an American cancer. The Anti- Defamation League says the Jewish community is under assault, all of America must hear our cry and they say New York has a growing problem.

Is the ADL right?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY) (via telephone): The ADL is right.

Good morning to you, Poppy.

Look, it is -- it is painful to say, frankly, but we're in the holiday season. We're at the end of the year. And I believe that you will never solve a problem in life that you're unwilling to admit.

You look at this past year, we handled these situations on an episodic basis, how many times have I tuned in to CNN and you see the shooting in the synagogue in Pittsburgh and then a night club with LBGTQ people in Florida, and Latinos in Texas. And we look at these situations as if they are isolated episodes. They're not. They are dots and you connect the dots and you see the pattern.

There is a scourge of hate in this country. It's ignorance, it's intolerance, but it's also illegal. And it's spreading.


And it is a cancer because it pits one cell against another. And we're all different in this country. Once you start to demonize differences, and we become enemies because we're a different race, color, creed, we're all different. And that's what we're seeing in this country. A Jewish community, yes, Orthodox Jewish, yes, obviously they dress different, they live in communities and their differences are exemplified, but it's only because they're different. And when you start attacking people because of their race, their religion, their creed, and mass murder, that is terrorism.

HARLOW: You know, Governor, my husband taught our three-year-old daughter an important word lately, and I was surprised when I heard her say "inclusive." Mom, we need to be more inclusive. And I was glad that he did. And this is a lesson that needs to be taught clearly to so many more adults in this country right now.

You have directed the state's hate crime task force to investigate, and I'm just wondering if you have any update from what you told us yesterday about any motive here this morning? Because we did learn overnight from the suspect's family and lawyer they say he has a history with mental illness. Any more sense of motive?

CUOMO: No. No. I've heard the same thing that you have heard. But -- and maybe there will be a fact that comes out, but nothing that we know thus far from the investigation.

And I think, again, honesty in the diagnosis of the problem. A motive now can just be hate. Hate is the new currency in this country. There's hate in politics. Everything is hate and anger. And there is no tolerance. There is no inclusiveness. That's us at our best. Us at our worst, we fear differences. We demonize differences. And that is -- that is what we are seeing over this past year, two years, all across the country. HARLOW: So --

CUOMO: It's in the political world, but it has gone viral, Poppy.

HARLOW: Right. And so, to your point about it going viral, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League was on earlier and listen to what he said to John about where he thinks some of the focus should be in all of this.


JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Silicon Valley needs to stop allowing social media to be a breeding ground for bigotry. The mentally ill are exposed to the kind of hate you couldn't find in print media or broadcast. That seems to me to be a big part of the problem.


HARLOW: Do you agree with him?

CUOMO: I believe -- yes, the -- there's no doubt that social media and anonymous communications and the shadow communications allows people to spew hate with anonymity. That's true.

But it's also true that we are fostering the hate and we're breeding the hate. And this is a multi-headed monster. Part of it is -- your husband is exactly right -- we are founded on tolerance. We are founded on being inclusive, e pluribus unum, out of many one. That was our founding fathers.

George Washington went to a synagogue and celebrated with Jewish people. We're founded on freedom of religion. Everybody wants to wrap themselves in the flag nowadays. Do you really know what the red, white and blue even means? And we have no tolerance for people who are different religion or different sexual orientation. It's ignorant. It's intolerant. But, as a government, we say it's illegal and we will stop it.

HARLOW: Yes. And we've talked a lot about what you have been pushing, which is domestic terror laws in this country. We will keep a focus on that.

Governor Cuomo, thank you -- thank you for your time this morning.

CUOMO: Thank you, Poppy. And best for the holiday season to all of us.

HARLOW: And to you.

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: 2019 was a big year in the entertainment world. Maybe the biggest ever.

HARLOW: Maybe.

BERMAN: Who knows.

CNN's Stephanie Elam takes us through the top nine stories of the year.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Winter came and went. The final battle for the iron throne, Avengers pack a punch at the box office, and Lizzo storms the airwaves with her juice.

ELAM (on camera): Here's a look at the top entertainment news in 2019.

ELAM (voice over): Number nine, "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek's courageous battle against pancreatic cancer.

ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY": I have some news to share with all of you.

ELAM: Trebek announced his stage four diagnosis in March and vowed to aggressively fight the disease.

He underwent intense chemotherapy and resurfaced just five months later to announce he was on the mend.

TREBEK: And I'm happy to report I'm still here.

ELAM: And ready to return to "Jeopardy" for its 36th season. In a touching moment, Trebek choked up during a very special "Final Jeopardy" round.

TREBEK: What is, we love you, Alex. That's very kind of you. Thank you.

ELAM: A TV star embroiled in a hate crime scandal is number eight. "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who is gay and black, claimed to have been the target of a racist and homophobic attack. Police say Smollett staged the attack to gain attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.

ELAM: Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts, but prosecutors later dropped all the charges. Smollett maintains his innocence.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT, ACTOR: I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of.

ELAM: He didn't return for the show's sixth and final season.

A new type of battle brings us to number seven, the fight for your streaming views and subscription dollars. Joining heavy hitters Netflix and Hulu are the new kids on the block, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, soon Peacock and HBO Max.


Netflix is still the king with over 150 million subscribers, but industry insiders are watching the impact these new platforms will have against their established rivals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Content is arguably at the core of any streaming service. That's why we've seen record setting production and licensing deals over the last few years.

ELAM: Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and JJ Abrams are just some of the names behind original content coming out soon.

At number six, a sad farewell to a 90210 legend and a beloved rapper. In March, Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed near a clothing store he owned in Los Angeles. The Grammy nominated rapper collaborated with dozens of artists, including Snoop Dog, Kendrick Lamar and Drake. He embraced his role as an activist. Hussle had been scheduled to meet with city officials the next day to discuss ways to stop gang violence.

Actor Luke Perry was meant to join his original "Beverly Hills 90210" cast mates for a reboot of the show, but, sadly, the 52-year-old died of a massive stroke in March. Perry was best known for playing '90s bad boy Dylan McKay on "90210," but his most recent role on TV's "Riverdale" introduced him to a new generation of fans. Both shows pay tribute to the actor they knew and loved.

Number five, Lil Nas X breaks the music charts with "Old Town Road."

LIL NAS X, MUSICIAN (singing): I got the horses in the back. Horse tack is attached.

ELAM: The country rapper's jam with Billy Ray Cyrus topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a record 19 weeks. Just a year ago, Lil Nas X was flying under the radar, but that all changed when he self-released "Old Town Roads" on iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube. But it was a viral TikTok meme that turned his new beat into a banger.

LIL NAS X: Yeah, I'm gonna take my horse to the old town road.

ELAM: The song hit a bump in the road when Billboard pulled it from the country charts, generating cries of racism, but the rapper turned it around and hit a string of personal and professional triumphs. He came out over the summer, his single went triple platinum, and it reached diamond status.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never really recovered from it.

ELAM: At number four, lifetime's bombshell documentary "Surviving R. Kelly."

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: A development now involving R&B singer R. Kelly. The district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is apparently now conducting an investigation following the release of that Lifetime docu series called "Surviving R. Kelly."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, good morning.

ELAM: The embattled singer spent his year in and out of court, defending himself against sexual misconduct charges dating back 20 years. The R&B star was charged on 18 federal counts in Illinois and New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Free you, R. Kelly, they're going to free you.

ELAM: He has denied any wrongdoing.

R. KELLY: I promise you, we're going to straighten all this stuff out. That's all I can say right now.

ELAM: Kelly remains jailed without bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the end game now.

ELAM: And, number three, "Avengers: Endgame," knocked out an epic win at the box office, becoming the highest grossing film of all time. Diehard MCU fans packed theaters to the tune of $2.8 billion worldwide. "Endgame" soared past James Cameron's "Avatar," which held the previous global box office record for ten years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like this one.

ELAM: "Endgame" capped an 11-year buildup in the Marvel universe which began with "Iron Man" in 2008. From "Captain Marvel," to "Black Panther," to "Thor" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," the infinity saga netted over $22.5 billion.

Coming in at number two, the final episode of HBO's "Game of Thrones."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you play the game of thrones, you win.

ELAM: The series finale capped off a nine-year television and pop culture phenomenon making it one of the most anticipated endings in television history. The buildup through season eight had viewers anticipating an epic ending for the future of Westeros. The finale titled "The Iron Throne" brought in a series record of 19.3 million viewers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been waiting for this one. Turn it up.

ELAM: There's a new goddess on the pop and hip-hop scene. Lizzo's mediocre rise makes her number one on our list. She's fierce, unapologetic and her music is an anthem for self-love and body positivity. Lizzo turned her 2016 mainstream music debut into global success in 2019. "Truth Hurts" topped the Billboard Top 100 chart for seven weeks. The music video has over 162 million YouTube views and she makes a splash with her confident message everywhere she goes.


ELAM (on camera): 2020 will be another big year for some of the newsmakers on our list. Lizzo is nominated for eight Grammy awards and watch for phase four of the Marvel movies to begin. "Black Widow" opens in May.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


BERMAN: I saw the preview for "Black Widow" when I went to see the "Star Wars" movie.

HARLOW: How was the "Star Wars" movie?

BERMAN: I liked the "Star Wars" movie. I'm a believer. I was into it. It was good.

HARLOW: I -- we were just talking about "Bombshell." I loved that. People should see that.

BERMAN: My favorite movie of the year -- no, no, no, wait.

HARLOW: No, "Booksmart."

BERMAN: "Booksmart." "Booksmart" movie. There was a "b."

HARLOW: "Booksmart" is your favorite.

BERMAN: All right.

HARLOW: All right, here is a preview of CNN's new film Linda Ronstadt premiering New Year's Day, 9:00 Eastern, only right here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She came to Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Linda Ronstadt.

LINDA RONSTADT, MUSICIAN (singing): Just one look --

RONSTADT (on camera): I was 18 years old and we formed a little band. We called ourselves The Stone Ponies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The L.A. scene was in gear and the whole damn thing broke loose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was rock music, folk music, co-mingling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can we define what this is going to be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Linda was the queen. She was like what Beyonce is now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was the only female artist to have five platinum albums in a row.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I Can't Help If I'm Still In Love with You" was a hit on the country charts. "You're No Good" was a hit on both the R&B chart and the pop chart. I became the first artist to have a hit on all three charts.

RONSTADT (singing): You're no good, you're no good, you're not good, baby, you're no good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the first female rock 'n' roll star.

RONSTADT (singing): You're no good, you're no good, you're not good, baby, you're no good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice," New Year's Day on CNN.