Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Obama on Democrats at the Polls; Thousands Leave Aleppo; UN Approves Aleppo Resolution; Democrats Ready Anti-Trump Tactic; Manhunt Underway for Killer; Bleacher Report. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired December 19, 2016 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama gave an interview to NPR and he said Democrats didn't show up in the states that they needed to be in. And he's talking about Hillary Clinton. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oftentimes younger voters, minority voters, Democratic voters are clustered in urban areas, so they --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on the coasts, sure.

OBAMA: And on the coasts. And so, as a consequence, you've got a situation where there are not only entire states, but also big chunks of states where, if we're not showing up, if we're not in there making an argument, then -- then we're going to lose. And we can lose badly. And that's what happened in this election.


COSTELLO: Oh, and Democrats did lose badly, not badly not just at the federal level, right, but Republicans head into 2017 with 33 out of 50 governors, Republicans have control of state legislatures in 25 states. So, Patricia, will we see a total reversal of Democratic ideals?

PATRICIA MURPHY, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": I don't think so. What I am astounded by talking to Democrats about what happened in the election, there is no consensus among Democrats about why they lost, or even whether they really lost. So it's going to be very difficult for them to come up with a cohesive plan about how to move forward. I talked to Democrats and some of them will go back to saying, hey, we won the popular vote, we really did win. You know, it's just a technicality that we didn't win the White House. So when you have that kind of an attitude going forward, there are not -- there's very little soul searching, very little effort to look inside and say, what do we need to say and do differently in order to get more people to win? In particular, I mean, they're writing off a large portion of the electorate as a group of people they don't even want.

Democrats, I think, are going to have to do a lot of research, a lot of soul searching, and a lot of talking amongst the leadership and then getting back to the grass roots to figure out how to move forward. But right now they don't even agree on why they lost or whether they lost. So figuring out how to win is a long, long way off.

COSTELLO: So one thing is for sure, David, because also in that NPR interview, President Obama said that he was going to recruit new talent for the Democratic Party. He's going to become sort of the coach in chief for the Democrats. Good idea?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Potentially, I think the Democrats have the talent they need. There are people that they could have run in this election, Vice President Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders. And Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, is a talented person. Maybe she just wasn't a talented enough retail politician for this particular political moment.

I -- I think Patricia is right, that Democrats are misleading themselves if they think that the Electoral College was just a technicality, Carol. On the other hand, I'm not sure the Democrats wrote off any part of the electorate. And if I read this election, if I read what President Obama is saying to Democrats, it's that there was a certain degree to which Democrats expected in this election, and have expected in a way in past midterms, for the other side, for Republicans, to discombobulate or fall apart. Democrats actually have to go out there and win the election. The presidential election is a 50-state -- it's 50 elections at once. It's not a popular vote. And Democrats have to sort of get their arms around that and plan ahead for 2020.

COSTELLO: All right, I have to leave it there. David Swerdlick, Patricia Murphy, thanks to both of you.

Just weeks before she says good-bye to the White House, Michelle Obama is opening up about her time in the public eye and the misconception she faced on and off the campaign trail.


OPRAH WINFREY: When you were labeled that angry black woman, was that one of the things that knocked you back --

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Well, that was one of those things that you just sort of thing, dang (ph), you don't even know me, you know?


OBAMA: I mean you just sort of feel like, wow, where'd that come from, you know?


OBAMA: and that's the first blowback because you think, wow, that is so not me. But then you sort of think, well this isn't about me. This is about the person or the people who write it, you know?


OBAMA: I mean that -- that's just the truth --

WINFREY: That's what Mya (ph) always used to say to me, yes.

OBAMA: It's like -- yes, it's just so -- it's so much about that. And then you start thinking, oh, wow.


OBAMA: We're so afraid of each other, you know? Color, wealth, these things that don't matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another.


OBAMA: And it is -- it's sad because the -- the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin. It's the -- it's the size of our bank account. None of that matters. You know this.

WINFREY: Yes, of course.

OBAMA: You know, our -- it's our values. It's, you know, it's -- it's how we live our lives. And you -- you can't -- you can't tell that from somebody's race or somebody's religion, you know? People have to act it out. They have to live those lives. And so that was the blowback. And then I thought, OK, well let me live my life out loud so that people can then see and then judge for themselves. And that's what I want young people to do, just live your life.

[09:35:19] WINFREY: Out loud.

OBAMA: You know, live it -- live it out loud.


COSTELLO: In our next hour, Mrs. Obama will talk about her recent meeting with Melania Trump.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, she captured the world's attention by tweeting while trapped inside wore torn Aleppo. Now as thousands are evacuated from eastern Aleppo, we'll show you seven how -- we'll show you how seven-year-old Bana al-Abed was rescued.


COSTELLO: Forty-seven Syrian children rescued after being trapped in an orphanage. They are among thousands of Syrian civilians being shuttled out of eastern Aleppo this morning as evacuations finally resume, at least we hope so. Also among them, Bana Al-Abed, now safely in the countryside of Aleppo province. The seven-year-old captured worldwide attention after tweeting from eastern Aleppo with her mother as the bombs rained down on their home. A relief coordinator says she has survived, quote, "siege, bombing and apathy."

With the latest on the Syrian civil war, CNN's senior international correspondent Muhammad Lila joins us.

Hi. Hi, Muhammad.

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, some very fast-moving and major developments here at this point in the evening.

First of all, as you mentioned, those evacuations are now back on. Turkish officials say that since the evacuations began, 20,000 people have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo, as well as a number of civilians from other villages that had been besieged by militant groups. So it's become sort of a population transfer.

[09:40:09] You also mentioned a very key development. Forty-seven orphans were rescued from an orphanage. They were trapped in eastern Aleppo. We understand they have now been sent to safety.

And on the diplomatic side, some very key development as well. We understand that the United Nations Security Council has approved a plan to send U.N. observers on the ground to make sure these evacuations continue peacefully, because we know over the weekend there were other attempts in the past and they broke down because there was some violence that broke out. And hopefully with those observers on the ground, this will continue. The Red Cross in Damascus has told us that they will be on the ground overnight and they will stay on the ground as long as it takes to get everybody to safety.

So this is a very important development today and it remains to be seen how long this evacuation plan will go on smoothly, but so far the indications are that it is so far.

COSTELLO: So, Muhammad, once all of the citizens are out of eastern Aleppo, what happens to eastern Aleppo?

LILA: Well, this is a very good question. The regime has said, and they have said repeatedly, that they intend to retake not all -- not just all of eastern Aleppo, but, in fact, they intend to retake every inch of the country. So even though this battle for Aleppo is now clearly over, it remains to be seen how the war will play out. But there's going to be a key meeting tomorrow, Carol, between the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran. And, of course, we know these are key players on the ground. And we just got word just a few minutes ago that it won't just be the foreign ministers meeting, but the defense ministers meeting as well.

So this could be a key meeting. It was supposed to take place next week. They've moved it up so that it takes place tomorrow. And there are some -- there is a lot of speculation right now that that meeting could lead to some sort of tenuous cease-fire, at least in Aleppo, in the major cities, and that could prove to be the building block for eventually putting an end to this conflict.

COSTELLO: Muhammad Lila reporting live for us this morning. Thank you.

Chinese state media is calling a seized drone the tip of the iceberg in U.S. surveillance. The Pentagon says it was an unclassified device on a routine operation. It's been almost two days now since China said they would return the U.S. drone that they took last week. The U.S. Navy is still waiting, though. President-elect Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that China stole

the drone and said, he later tweeted, they could keep it.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, Donald Trump heading for the White House, but now some Democrats are working to keep him tied up at the courthouse. I'll talk with New York's attorney general.


[09:45:50] COSTELLO: The Trump team is still working out inauguration plans, but some Democrats are already at work pledging to keep a President-elect Trump in check. California's incoming attorney general is doing, Massachusetts's Maura Healey, he's the attorney general there, she's doing it, and New York's Eric Schneiderman. They're already taking aim -- or actually taking Trump to task. They're actually ripping a page out of the Republican playbook, threatening to sue if the administration carries out some of Trump's campaign promises. They say they're unconstitutional.

Joining me -- joining me now is the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.



COSTELLO: So you've sort of been Mr. Trump's nemesis through this whole process. Do you consider yourself that?

SCHNEIDERMAN: No. I just enforce the laws of the state of New York and I did sue him over his phony university case, he just settled recently, and terms were very favorable to the victims of that. And, look, we're not dealing with abstract fights. It's important to understand that under our federalist system, most law enforcement activity takes place at the state and local level. And federal law enforcement is a very tiny portion. So state attorneys general, police departments, we're the ones who actually have to protect people.

And in the week after the election, we had a spike in hate crimes in New York. So I issued new guidance to police departments that our laws are unbiased (ph) (INAUDIBLE) and went and did trainings.

We're dealing with real time real problems. Then we had a rise in scams against immigrants telling them Trump's going to deport you, send us money, we'll help you out. So we're dealing with the media collateral effects of the election of a guy whose rhetoric has frightened a lot of people and is threatening to a lot of people. But we have tremendous powers under our federal system to protect New Yorkers at state level. We have our own environmental laws, our own civil rights laws, our own labor laws and we're not going to hesitate to use those and --

COSTELLO: So, specifically what are you watching out for once Donald Trump is sworn in as president of the United States? What will you turn your attention to? SCHNEIDERMAN: Well, it's -- one of the things about the president-

elect is, he's tremendously unpredictable. Just as he says he's going to do something, as I learned from over three years of litigation, doesn't mean he's going to do it. And two weeks before he put up $25 million for Trump University said it's an easy case to settle, I'll win it -- I'll win it easily, I'm not going to settle. So it's not clear exactly where I'll be coming, but the target of his rhetoric, vulnerable populations, Muslims who have been victims of hate crimes in the weeks since the election, immigrants --

COSTELLO: Well, specifically, you did mention clean air regulations, right? So -- so is that --

SCHNEIDERMAN: And clean -- clean air regulations, absolutely.

COSTELLO: So his appointment to that office will concern -- does it concern you?

SCHNEIDERMAN: Oh, sure. I mean we've been in litigation with the Oklahoma A.G., Scott Pruitt, who's the new nominee for the EPA administrator. He's a climate change denier. He does not respect the agency. He does not respect the science. He made statements about the purpose of the agency that are completely at odds with the documents creating the agency. And the EPA is not just something that is -- operates on a whim. There is Supreme Court law directing that the EPA issue regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, we mentioned that we're prepared to sue. We were prepared to sue the Obama administration. My office sends a notice of intent to sue when they were not getting out the greenhouse gas regulations too quickly. So this is not something that is limited to Republican or Democratic administrations. But I think that the level of rhetoric, and the challenges to things as basic as climate change are -- are -- you know, he's serious.

COSTELLO: So -- so when Mr. Trump says he wants to get rid of the job killing regulations that are hampering small business people across the country and also large businesses when it comes to all of these EPA regulations, what would be an example of one that -- that might violate the Constitution in your mind?

SCHNEIDERMAN: Well, there are a lot of examples. I mean the -- the EPA -- the structure of laws and regulations around the EPA have been litigated for years. So he's not just dealing with a regulation of an agency. He's dealing with case law that defines what the agency can and can't do. He mentioned labor laws. We've (INAUDIBLE) covered in my office under our state labor laws, over $27 million for 20,000 workers. If the U.S. Department of Labor, under -- and secretary nominee whose own companies have been investigated and found to have committed numerous wage and hour violations, pulls back and stops enforcing federal law, that requires state agencies to move in more aggressively to protect our workers.

But the founders of the republic, in their wisdom, planned for this. They really did. They spent a lot of time talking about what happens if the president starts to become too much like a monarch or a tyrant. That's the language they used. And all powers, not specifically given to the federal government, are reserved to the states. So the states really are a very important line of defense.

[09:50:07] COSTELLO: Well, sometimes it sounds to me as if, you know, there will be like one law of the land at, you know, at the federal level, and then states like New York and California will be their own little countries in a way because they're not into Donald Trump.

SCHNEIDERMAN: But that's also the tradition of the United States. There was an expression 100 years ago the states were the laboratories of democracy.

COSTELLO: But, see, I think Democrats malign Texas for doing the same thing.

SCHNEIDERMAN: No, the question is, what kind of state do you want to live in? Do you want to live in a state that has good labor laws, environmental laws, gun control laws, civil rights laws, where LGBT community is protected, where immigrants aren't being punished and in hiding, or do you want to live in a state that doesn't have any of that? States will become more different one from another. And I think you're going to see a lot of pressure in states to come into the modern world, to live the lives -- the overwhelming majority of people, according to all polling in the United States, they want LGBT equality, they want to do something on climate change, they want to protect the rights of workers, they want to increase the minimum wage. So we are going to have a period of readjustment, but it is -- it's -- it's going to be -- it's not -- should not be surprising if states become more different one from another.

At the same time, there are things the federal government is obliged to do to protect people's civil rights, to protect the environment, and we're not going to hesitate to hold their feet to the fire if they deviate from that course.

COSTELLO: Eric Schneiderman, thanks for stopping by.


COSTELLO: I do appreciate it.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a manhunt now underway after a three- year-old is shot while in the car with his grandmother. What police say may have set the killer off, next.


COSTELLO: A manhunt now underway in Little Rock, Arkansas, and we're learning the name of the little boy killed while on a shopping trip. Three-year-old Ethan King (ph) was riding in the car with his grandma. She was apparently driving too slowly for the man behind her, so he got out of his car and he had a gun.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more for you.

Hi, Polo. [09:55:02] POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Carol, good morning.

And the death of this three-year-old little boy is fueling anger there in Little Rock, in southwest Little Rock, as people now hoping that this individual that's responsible will turn themselves in. At this point, this is what we understand about what took place over the weekend. We understand that the 47-year-old grandmother was headed to a local retail store with two toddlers in the back seat. At one point, as you mentioned, the driver of a black Chevy Impala then becomes angry that she wasn't driving fast enough. So he gets out of the vehicle after honking and then shoots one single round. That bullet ends up striking three-year-old little Ethan King. At the time she told police that she was -- she thought that this individual had fired into the air, so she kept -- so she continued to her destination, to that store. I wasn't until she arrived that she met up with family, looked in the back seat and saw this three-year-old little boy slumped over. There was another child in the car at the time, a one-year-old child that was not hit.

But now investigators are trying to find any sign of who this individual was. We heard from members of the spiritual -- or at least spiritual leaders there in Little Rock yesterday. They are upset. They are angry now. This is already a second child that was shot and killed in about one month already there in that community. That first case, though, Carol, not a road rage incident. This one is, though, senseless and tragic.

COSTELLO: Polo Sandoval reporting live for us this morning.

Checking some other top stories for you at 56 minutes past.

Actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor has died. She was 99 years old. Her long-time spokesman says she passed away of heart failure in her Bel Air home. The Hungarian born actress got her break in the 1952 movie "Moulin Rouge."

Gabor immigrated to the United States during World War II. Since then -- since that time, she married nine men, seven ending in divorce. Her most famous marriage was to the hotel giant Conrad Hilton, making her an aunt to Paris and Nicky Hilton.

The tap water now safe to drink again in Corpus Christi, Texas. Bathing and cooking are also OK. That's according to state EPA officials. The tap water was off-limits for four days after a chemical leak. It's not clear what caused the chemical used in asphalt to enter the water supply.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The power that we are dealing with here is immeasurable.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: Maybe not the power, but we can measure the money. The force was strong with "Rogue One" over the weekend. The first "Star Wars" stand-alone film took in a whopping $155 million in the U.S. and $290 million around the world. That number is expected to significantly raise during the next month. Of course we'll keep you posted.

The Cowboys beat the Buccaneers in a Sunday night thriller, but the real winner might be the Salvation Army. Coy Wire has this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning.


At 12-2 Dallas is tied with the Patriots for the best record in the NFL. Thanks in large part to rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. Check out this touchdown run in the second quarter. He punches it in from two yards out, and then he donates himself to the big red kettle. Now, after the game, Zeke said that if the NFL were to fine him, he would match that fine and donate that amount to the Salvation Army. Well, we just heard from the league that Elliott will not be fined. Maybe Elliott will still give a little Christmas love to Salvation Army, though. Cowboys win 26-20.

Now, there were record cold temperatures yesterday. The air temperature at kickoff in Kansas City was one, but the wind-chill made it feel like 9 below. That's the coldest game ever played in Arrowhead Stadium. And it was so cold, Carol, that before the game, tickets were going for two bucks. Less than a cup of coffee. Making it worse for Chiefs' fans, their team lost to the Titans 19-17.

Brutally cold in Chicago for the Packers/Bears game as well. Game time temperature at 11 but wind chill put it to minus four. So cold that even the glue on the helmet decals didn't work anymore. Look at this hit. Ka-Deem Carey takes a hit to the helmet and knocks the sticker clean off of his helmet. Never seen anything like it. Packers would go on to win this one 30-27.

You can't say that Vikings fans weren't excited for their game against the Colts. These anything but fair weather fans braved minus 35 wind chill to tailgate outside. Propane heaters to keep their beer from freezing. But don't get too close, though, you'll burn your pants. Just ask that guy. Now, I played in some cold games in my six years in Buffalo, Carol, and us -- we as players did anything we could to stay warm. We would tape the inside of our ears holes so the wind couldn't get in. We would steal the doctors' rubber gloves, the medical gloves, and put those under our football gloves so our fingers wouldn't get numb. And also chicken broth instead of cold Gatorade, because it still has electrolytes and, as one of my teammates showed, you just put your hands under it. It's like the warm running faucet. It happened in a real NFL game, believe it or not.

[10:00:07] COSTELLO: That's really awesome. Coy Wire, many thanks.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.