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Protesters Attack U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; More Troops to Middle East After Attack on U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; Consequential Cases Ahead in the U.S. Supreme Court; Kim Jong Un: North Korea Free to Resume Nuclear Testing. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired January 1, 2020 - 07:00   ET




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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Happy New Year, everyone.


CAMEROTA: Great to see you. Hope you had a great time.

BERMAN: I did. I'm still feeling the effects.

CAMEROTA: I can smell them.


CAMEROTA: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world and welcome to a special New Year's Day edition of NEW DAY.

Happy New Year. Again.

BERMAN: Happy New Year. New, new, new.

CAMEROTA: 2020 is already shaping up to be an historic year in politics. We'll have the latest for you on impeachment and what exactly will happen in the coming weeks.

BERMAN: Also, the Supreme Court set for a blockbuster session, the biggest cases to watch. We will tell you what they are.

CAMEROTA: OK. Many of us try to focus in on the New Year on getting healthy and staying healthy. So, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to reveal the best foods that you can eat to help you achieve your goals in 2020.

BERMAN: Cheese burgers.

CAMEROTA: No, that's not it, John.

BERMAN: Pizza. CAMEROTA: That's not it. No.

That and much more ahead on the special edition of NEW DAY.

But first, a check of your headlines at the news desk.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: John and Alisyn, thank you. Good morning. Happy New Year. I'm Ryan Nobles.

Breaking overnight, violence erupting once again outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Embassy security firing tear gas and rubber bullets at Iraqi protesters. Some of them are trying to climb the exterior walls of the complex. Others are smashing windows and setting fires.

Gul Tuysuz has the latest. She is live from Istanbul.

What's the update?

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, it's the second day of demonstrations outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. But the most recent development now is that a statement by the Popular Mobilization Units. That's the Iranian backed Shia militia umbrella group has just come out and said that they are calling on their supporters to withdraw from the area surrounding the U.S. embassy, saying basically that the message has already been delivered.

But earlier, eyewitnesses told CNN that demonstrators are still, in fact, outside of the U.S. embassy. That more and more people are gathering and some of those people are now arriving were bringing with them food, tents, and bedding. The majority of the demonstrators that have gathered outside are followers of Kataib Hezbollah. That is an Iranian backed Shia militia group that instigated these demonstrations after the strikes targeting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq in response to the killing of a U.S. contractor.

And really the demonstrations have been a call according to a Kataib Hezbollah spokesperson to -- for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq and for the embassy -- the U.S. embassy in Iraq to be shut down. And Kataib Hezbollah spokesperson said that was just the first step.

Now going forward with this development by the Popular Mobilization Front saying they're calling on the supporters to withdraw, we don't know what's going to happen. But so far the situation on the ground remains quite volatile -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Gul Tuysuz Live in Istanbul, significant development there. It's the umbrella organization saying remove supporters from the U.S. embassy.

Let's get the latest from it Washington. Hundreds of American troops deployed to the Middle East immediately as a precaution following the attack on the embassy, and President Trump warning Iran of a big price to pay over the attack on the compound.

Ryan Browne is live in D.C. with the latest. How is the administration responding, Ryan?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN REPORTER: Well, Ryan, one of the things they've been doing is ramping up the U.S. military presence in the region. In fact, Tuesday night, the secretary of defense announced that 750 soldiers from 82nd Airborne in Ft. Brag, North Carolina, were going to deploy to the Middle East in order to help bolster the U.S. response.

Now, they won't be going to Iraq but to nearby countries. But they could be activated and called in if a crisis emerges. They could be joined by thousands of additional soldiers should the need arise, we're being told.

Now these are joining other military effort that are already under way. The U.S. military flew Apache helicopters over the embassy which you're seeing of images of there now with fire defensive flares as a show of force, warning that these protesters he linked to this militia that were attempting to storm the embassy, warning them of a potential military response.

The U.S. also deployed 100 marines who flew in on MV 22 aircraft into the embassy compound, bringing specialized and crisis response security operations. They flew in from Kuwait.

President Trump taking the opportunity at his New Year's Eve celebration in Florida to tout his administration's response, particularly the deployment of additional U.S. Marines.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATS: I think it's been handled very well.


The Marines came in. We had some great warriors come in and do a fantastic job. They were there instantaneously.

This will not be a Benghazi. Benghazi should never have happened. This will never ever be a Benghazi.


BROWNE: Now, President Trump making it clear that his administration will act if need be, referencing the Benghazi attack in Libya that caused the American ambassador his life, saying that -- vowing that will happen.

And President Trump taking to Twitter to tell Iran that he will hold Tehran responsible should anything happen to U.S. facilities or personnel. The U.S. has blamed Iran for arming, training, and supporting this militia group that's attempted to storm the embassy. So the president very clear that there is an American threat if things escalate -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Ryan Browne live from Washington -- thank you. All right. Let's talk more about this now with CNN military analyst,

retired Lieutenant Mark Hertling, and CNN political analyst Karoun Demirjian. She's a congressional and national security reporter for "The Washington Post."

Karoun, I want to break down for our audience exactly how this all came to be and Iraq's role in all of this. Essentially, there are a number of checkpoints that lead up to the embassy where there are security forces that are supposed to stop this from happening. But it appears as though the Iraqi government just allowed this to happen.

Is that part of what makes this process so complicated?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think that's part of what you heard as President Trump's frustration, kind of putting the Iraqi forces on notice as well. Look, you've got a very complicated picture in the Middle East, and especially in Iraq and Syria, where you have not just kind of a bipolar deal where, are you siding with the U.S. or are you siding with Iran?

There's a number of different groups, a number of different sympathies, interests that do not perfectly align up with either of the major powers even if sometimes they happen to be affiliated depending on what's going on at the same time. And so, that means that you have a situation where it's difficult to just demand that, you know, Iraqi forces snap too.

You've had a constant buildup also of tensions between the United States and Iran going on for some time now. I mean, Iran has been attacking various oil tankers, other assets. That is raising tensions between the United States and Tehran.

But as we know, Iran kind of has influence over the Middle East, that the United States at this point, is -- does not because we've been pulling back or at least messaging that we're pulling back influence in our region. Whereas Iran has these various sympathetic groups that are sometimes, you know, aligned with Iranian objectives and kind of flex that muscle when they're feeling backed into a corner which is how have things been going under the Trump administration since they made that turn towards having a more inimical relationship with Iran, shifting away from the nuclear deal and things like that.

So this is kind of been one of those worst case scenarios that at least lawmakers and other people watching this region have had in mind. As things -- as steps have been taken and responses to Iran's more aggressive actions have been contemplated.

But now, we're in this situation right now where we have this problem with Iran. We're not sure who in Iraq we can count on as allies. And generally speaking, there seems to be a bit of a vacuum in the middle as we tend to -- as we try to figure out what our policy is in Syria, in Iraq, and, you know, rushing troops to the region when something bad happens is not a policy that can stave off this thing from building which is the kind of course things have been taking since we ended up being more at loggerheads with Iran over the last few years. NOBLES: So, General Hertling, you know, President Trump's diplomacy,

to be kind, has been inconsistent at the very least, right? He ran a campaign based on pulling troops out of the region. He wanted troops out of Afghanistan, out of Iraq. He's already pulled troops out of Syria. But then he finds himself in these quagmires where they're forced to send troops back in.

Does he have to have more of a streamline approach to this? You know, Karoun mentioned his approach to Iran -- he's become much more hawkish on Iran. Which way does he want it?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, I think that's an important point. Karoun brings up a very good point about the fact that there is a reliance, sometimes an overreliance on military actions without the predicate of some type of diplomatic action.

Much of this could have been avoided, truthfully, with better coordination with the Iraqi government. I think what you've seen this morning as a reporter said, that the Iraqi government has asked the popular mobilization units to pull back from around the embassies shows how there is a connection between the Iraqi political leaders that are supporting these popular mobilization forces and each one of them has a different political leader asking them to do things.

In fact, Secretary of State Pompeo cited a few names yesterday of Iraqi political leaders who he called terrorists. Qais Khazali, Muqtada al Sadr, these are names within the political sphere of Iraq that sometimes have the support of these various popular mobilization forces.

And it's unfortunate because while we're saying these are Iranian- backed forces, which they are, they with receive some directions from Iran. They are, in fact, Iraqi people coming from inside of Baghdad that can conduct these actions.



HERTLING: So I think with very to be very careful. The diplomacy is important. We can't always rely on the military to be all and end all in each up with of the circumstances.

And unfortunately, because we don't have a strategy of what we're trying to achieve with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries in the Middle East, we're seeing some of these problems result.

NOBLES: And so, Karoun, Kataib Hezbollah is the main group that has been behind all of this in Iranian militia as General Hertling mentioned, largely Iraqi citizens. You know, explain to us more about this group, and then how maybe it's just one slice of an overall bigger problem here.

DEMIRJIAN: Right. I mean, look, as the general is saying that you have sympathies within Iraq for various of these different groups. You have different political leaders that are leading different factions of these groups.

And while Iran sponsorship is there, it is not absolute. It is not like these are complete proxy outfits of the Iranian regime. But, but, they do serve a purpose towards what Iran's ends are when you have this overarching conflict between the Iranians and Americans playing out in places like this. So, that's why you have tension about, you know, whether they should be there, whether they should be pulled back, who has influence over that? Are these just in dependent citizens that are going forward and supporting these individuals there which it does seem to be the case that is at least in part, part of what is going on here.

And then what is the role? Where did the Iraqi forces step in to block this from happening? And why aren't they doing that as (INAUDIBLE) block?

This is just a reflection of how variegated the political system is right now in Iraq. And, look, we've known for decades that Iran has outsize influence in that country. They did all the time. It kind of waned a bit when we were a more present force. But this is always something on the table that, you know, it gets more complicated as the situation gets more unstable. But that's why you see such a mixed bag of direction and manifestations of what's going on here playing outside the embassy.

NOBLES: All right. So, we will continue to keep an eye on the situation in Baghdad. We'll see of those protesters start to remove themselves from the embassy. No signs of that as of yet.

General Mark Hertling, Karoun Demirjian, thank you so much for your expertise. We appreciate it and happy New Year.

HERTLING: Happy New Year.

DEMIRJIAN: Happy New Year to you.

NOBLES: The Supreme Court has a lot on its plate in the New Year. We'll break down the big decisions they'll decide and what means for you, next.



CAMEROTA: The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide a slew of important and politically charged cases this year. All eyes on Chief Justice John Roberts, now the de facto swing vote, who tried to keep the court above the political fray.

So, joining us to talk about all this is CNN legal analyst Elie Honig.

Happy New Year.


CAMEROTA: Great to see you. HONIG: New decade.

CAMEROTA: New decade and some big cases coming up. So should we start with LGBTQ cases?

HONIG: Yes. So this is a really important case because half -- more than half the country right now does not have a state law protecting people against discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status. So, the question before the Supreme Court is this: the federal Civil Rights Act of '64 protects against discrimination based on sex, but does it go farther to protect based on sexual orientation and transgender status?

And the result of that case is going to have enormous implications for the protections that we give based on sexual orientation, based on transgender status.

BERMAN: Yes, it may matter how the textualist, in this case, Neil Gorsuch, reads the word sex there, right?


BERMAN: They could decide whether or not it goes beyond gender to talk about sexual orientation, yes?

HONIG: And one that -- yes -- and one of the interesting arguments that the challengers are making is when you discriminate based on sexual orientation, you are inherently discriminating based on sex. And yes, there's a question of what was the intent in 1964?

I think it's clear the intent back then was not to protect people who were gay and transgender, but our society evolves, norms evolve, and should the Supreme Court evolve with it?

CAMEROTA: OK. Another case you're watching is DACA.

HONIG: Yes, so another with enormous implications. Almost 800,000 people will be impacted by this.

So, Barack Obama in 2012 by executive order passed DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides protection for people who are brought here as children to immigrant parents from being deported. And now, the question is, does Donald Trump have the ability, the right legally to rescind that? Exactly -- the argument that the administration is making, well, Barack Obama put it in by executive order. The next president can take it out by executive order.

But the big question here is, is there enough of a reason? The phrase that the Supreme Court will use is arbitrary and capricious. And that basically just means you don't have to have a great reason, but you have to have some reasonable -- reasonable cause to take it off the books. And that will really be the battle there.

BERMAN: And that decision whichever way it comes down will have a big impact in the election year. It will be very, very political and could influence votes.

When Brett Kavanaugh joined the Supreme Court, a lot of people, including Jeffrey Toobin basically said it's the beginning of the end of Roe versus Wade. That Roe versus Wade in some level will be overturned.

What are the abortion cases that the court faces?

HONIG: We will get our first indication of whether this is the first step towards repealing Roe versus Wade. There's a challenge to a Louisiana state law here. The state law says that in order to provide abortion services, a doctor has to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

And what that means is a practical matter in Louisiana, that would leave one doctor in the entire state able to give -- authorized to give abortions. And so, that law is being challenged now.

The Supreme Court has not taken an abortion case -- a major abortion case in a few years. But now as you said, John, the composition is changed. Brett Kavanaugh is in. Justice -- Chief Justice Roberts becomes this swing vote. And this will be telling as to where the Supreme Court is sort of leaning and going in terms of abortion rights.


ROMANS: Because if they decide, yes, they must have admitting rights, then that basically nullifies it for the states that you don't have access.

HONIG: It does, and that's the question, is what the courts call an undue burden. In other words, does it make it too difficult or virtually impossible to get an abortion balanced against what -- what does this law do to protect the health of the mother? And so, there's arguments both ways on that.

BERMAN: In terms of gun rights or anti-gun violence, I don't think there's been a significant gun case since Heller.


BERMAN: But the court may weigh in. Yes.

HONIG: Yes, it's been almost a decade since we had a major Second Amendment decision. And Heller, the case you're talking about, John, essentially established the right to own a firearm in a person's own home. The case we're going to hear coming up has to do with what is the right of a person to carry a firearm outside the home. New York City passed a very restrictive law that essentially said you can almost never take a gun outside your home.

That law is being challenged. New York City actually realized they were in some trouble. They withdrew the law. And so, there's a question about whether the Supreme Court will even hear the case in the first place or decide that it's moot. Meaning, they changed the law, it's over, we don't have anything to decide on here. But yes, this will give us an indication of how broad are the rights to possess a firearm beyond your home.

CAMEROTA: OK. What's Espinoza versus Montana Department of Revenue?

HONIG: So, this is -- this is the old conflict between freedom of religion on the one happened but separation of church and state on the other. The state of Montana has this tax plan that will provide scholarships for children going to school. A lot of the recipients were using that program to attend religious schools.

The Supreme Court of Montana, of the state of Montana, struck it down, said, no, that violates the separation of church and state. And so, now, the question for the Supreme Court is, does that program violate separation of church and state.

It's an age old conflict that you see in the Supreme Court. On the one hand, tax money is not supposed to be funding religious education. On the other hand, people have the right to free exercise of religion. It goes back to the funding of the country and it will be an interesting outcome.

BERMAN: It is a big year, to say the least. I mean, really, it's very different.


BERMAN: This next 12 months.

HONIG: I've never seen a docket like this.


HONIG: This is going to be a unique year on the Supreme Court.

BERMAN: Elie Honig --

CAMEROTA: Elie Honig, thank you very much.

HONIG: Thank you, guys.

CAMEROTA: Happy New Year. We look forward to spending a lot more time in 2020 with you.

HONIG: That will be fun.

BERMAN: President Trump had a big year on the world stage, raising eyebrows with his coziness with strong men and his criticism of allies. What should we expect for this next year? Christiane Amanpour joins us next.



BERMAN: Is that bagpipes? CAMEROTA: Yes. I like -- every single time, we come in with a

different instrument. I also like it. There was also a drum solo to start that one.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to this special New Year's Day edition of NEW DAY. Happy New Year.

We have a lot to get to this half hour, including the biggest challenges the United States facing internationally as the world welcomes 2020. How will President Trump's foreign policy affect our allies and our adversaries?

CAMEROTA: And if traveling is on your bucket list of resolutions, you don't want to miss our list of the top three destinations that are being threatened by the climate crisis. Some of these might be going away.

BERMAN: See if you get there fast?

CAMEROTA: Well -- I mean, that's one of the messages. A look at how some of the world's historical treasures need your help.

BERMAN: And some easy ways to live longer and healthier. That's a pretty good goal.

CAMEROTA: That's a good start.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with tips to work into your meal plan this year.

CAMEROTA: It's not whatever you did last night, I can tell you that.

BERMAN: No, never is, never is.


BERMAN: First, let's get a check of your headlines at the news desk.

NOBLES: John and Alisyn, thank you.

Good morning and happy New Year. I'm Ryan Nobles.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says his country should feel free to resume nuclear testing in 2020 because the U.S. continues to apply sanctions on his regime. President Trump hoping things stay calm and says he expects Kim to keep his word.

CNN's Will Ripley has more.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, to think about where we were at this time last year when there was so much optimism about diplomacy versus now where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un basically announced a return to the kind of provocative behavior that led to the start of diplomacy back in early 2018, saying that they're going to be, you know, announcing and revealing this new kind of tactical weapon, without actually saying what it is.

But we know North Korea has been conducting engine tests at a known launch site and they've made it very clear that they now don't feel bound by their own self-imposed moratorium on long range missile launches and nuclear tests. They said that.

And they said that because they feel the United States hasn't followed through on getting sanctions lifted. They actually accused the U.S. of using diplomacy and kind of dragging out the process for political gain while continuing to put sanctions pressure on North Korea. They feel like they've lost their leverage, they've lost their dignity. And this, Kim Jong-un says, is now an attempt to get that dignity back.

So, let's say they do start the kind of provocative testing that led to all of the fire and fury rhetoric and the real tensions that we saw, could the relationship between Trump and Kim be enough to diffuse the situation this time around? That is the question we just have to wait and see, Ryan.


NOBLES: All right. Will Ripley, thank you for that report.

President Trump says most e-cigarette flavors will come off the market soon in the wake of a deadly outbreak of vaping-related illnesses.


TRUMP: We're going to protect our family, we're going to protect our children, and we're going to protect the industry. Hopefully, if everything's safe, they're going to be going very quickly back onto the market.


NOBLES: Multiple outlets reporting the FDA will put a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarette cartridges other than tobacco and menthol. E- cigarettes have become widely popular among middle and high schoolers. Juul, the leading e-cigarette maker, already stopped selling popular flavors.

And I'm Ryan Nobles. Let's go back now to John and Alisyn.

BERMAN: President Trump's foreign policy decisions dominated the headlines in 2019. You know, the whole business with military --