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Iran Releases 10 Detained U.S. Sailors; Interview with Nancy Pelosi; Clinton: "The Stakes Are So High". Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 13, 2016 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: -- potentially to elect a woman president. She's got to make a different case to younger women. I think that she's working on that.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Sally, whether do you think the gender issue is?

SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've spoken with a lot women voters of all ages who say yes, I want a woman president, just not this president. Look, let's be honest. Bernie Sanders is one of the worst political candidates in the history of presidential --

CAMEROTA: Why do you say that?

KOHN: He can't even run a comb through his hair. He skips his debate preps. He's shown he's disinterested in politicking and campaigning, and yet he's surging. It's ironic. You know, people compare him to Trump. I also think not only is he the anti-Hillary but he's the anti-Trump. This is a party, the Democratic Party, and these voters are interested in substance, and Bernie is bringing them the substance especially on economic inequality that they are looking for, and Hillary is just failing to connect and failing to distance herself from her problematic record.

CAMEROTA: Ladies, we have a lot of stuff to get to. Thanks so much. We'll leave it there for this moment. Hilary, Sally, thank you very much. We are following a lot of news including breaking news. Let's get right to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, welcome back to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, January 13th, 8:00 here in the East. Chris is in Washington for us this morning. Michaela and I are here in New York, and there is breaking news, this out of Iran. Ten U.S. Navy sailors now free after being detained from making their way into the Iranian waters. Iran demanding an apology despite admitting it was likely an accident. This coming just days before the controversial nuclear deal goes into effect. We're going to speak with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi in a moment. But first CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is live with all the breaking details for us. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. At this hour no indication of a formal apology from the Obama administration. All 10 sailors now back with the U.S. Navy. We are told all indications are they are in good shape. None of them came to any harm during their detention in Iran for several hours overnight.

That said, a full process now under way to talk to them, to debrief them to find out everything that happened to them, what the Iranian said to them, what if there was any so called interrogation of them, everything that happened to them while they were in Iran, also to find out how they got there in the first place. Clearly these sailors have some idea of what happened. Did one of their small boats become disabled? Did they have a navigation, a propulsion problem? Did they run out of gas, miscalculate their navigation, where they were?

All of this very important because this incident could have blown up into an international disaster. It did not. Secretary of State John Kerry moving very quickly yesterday to talk to his Iranian counterparts, get diplomacy underway, and get these sailors very quickly released, as quickly as they possibly could from the U.S. point of view. So a big sigh of relief that you will of this turned out OK, but the big question now is what happened and how did it happen. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Yes, we do need to get those answers. Barbara Starr, thank you so much for that.

Chris Cuomo, as we said, is in Washington. He's talking to lawmakers about this as well as the State of the Union. So Chris, what's the latest?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Alisyn, and also we have what Barbara is handling a as reporter, we then have the reaction to the situation was early on before we knew what was going on. This was made into a very big deal and then everybody was forced to back off. So let us discuss the implications of the Iran sailor situation, what happened at the State of the Union. We have Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader and Democrat from California. It's good to have you on NEW DAY as always. Lets' start with what the news is. This situation went very quickly in different directions early on. What were you told about how the U.S. soldiers came to be in Iranian waters and how Iran responded?

NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We'll get a further briefing this morning because we'll find out more. But I've been to the region. I've been to Bahrain and looked right across the Persian Gulf to Iran. Everything is very close there. If there is a mechanical problem we'll find out. But I haven't been fully briefed yet. I will be as soon as I go to the capital. But what I have been told was that everything was resolved expeditiously, and that's good.

CUOMO: You haven't heard anything about Iran stealing things or taking things off the --


CUOMO: Nothing like that. OK, the perception early certainly from the right side of the aisle was this is the president's weakness. This is Iran humiliating the United States once again.

PELOSI: That's exactly the opposite. This is proof that building a diplomatic relationship with Iran at least in terms of the nuclear treaty has served us well in resolving this so quickly.

CUOMO: How so? You could look at it and say they took your sailors, they held them. No respect. You are weak.

[08:05:00] PELOSI: You could make the case, but the fact is they are free. They're back. It happened quickly. And I think the diplomacy involved in the treaty and the fact that the implementation day is imminent all weighed in to make this something that was resolved as quickly as possible.

CUOMO: Another headline, we do here that the implementation of the Iran plan, the monitoring of its nuclear activity, will begin as soon as this weekend. Is that true? And if so, how does it begin?

PELOSI: There are all these stages of the plan, the adoption, the passing of the legislation. We're very proud of what it is. I think it's really important for the American people to realize, though, that the money being released is Iranian money be held in banks, other banks, not in U.S. So it isn't about us giving them anything. It is about them having access to their own money if they meet the terms of the agreement. And we have to be very vigilant to make sure that they do.

CUOMO: People hear the number, $150 billion, they don't care anymore about where it's coming or whose banks. They say you are giving fuel to the fire. Fair criticism?

PELOSI: Well, it is their money. And the sanctions were there for a reason.

CUOMO: Because they do bad things with the money.

PELOSI: Well, they may. And they have lots of needs in their own economy they will have to invest in. They had been doing bad things with the money that they had. But the fact is the biggest threat to all of us is that Iran would have a nuclear weapon. We have taken them off that course. How much is that worth of their own money?

CUOMO: What do you make of the suspicion that there were Iranian scientists on the ground in North Korea during their most recent test? Do you see that as a circumvention of the deal?

PELOSI: Let me just say about scientists and the rest. You know when you are making a judgment about a country as to what they might be up to. You have to see if they have the technology, if they have the know-how, the scientific know-how to turn the technology into a weapon. You have to see if they have the launch capacity. And you have to see what their intentions are. In all of those cases security, global security has been served by the Iranian treaty. It is quite remarkable. In fact, since you are asking more about it, it is a masterful

work on the part of President Obama to bring the P-5, Russia, China, into the fold. They have never voted with us in the U.N. on any sanctions on Iran in the past. So from a diplomatic standpoint to get us to this place was masterful. From a scientific place, we were magnificently served by our secretary of energy and his relationships there. And one of the Republicans, a former advisor to Bush presidencies, maybe both of them has said he probably knows more about this subject than anyone else in the world.

CUOMO: The proof --

PELOSI: So we know what diplomatically we were success from the standpoint of substance. We had superior knowledge of what was happening, and they knew they couldn't fool us.

CUOMO: The proof will be in the performance and certainly we know what the intentions are. They are premature in terms of seeing what actually happens. We'll wait and see.

So we get to the speech last night. President Obama ends with his announcement that the state of the union is very strong. He's talking to the American people. His main tone was you people have to remain better to stop the rancor in here. You have another year. The expectation is you won't be able to get anything done. What do you see at the future?

PELOSI: I hope that is not correct. I hope that we can get some things done. We did in the course of this past year we've been able to get things done because we had the president who would sign a bill, the Democrats who would sustain his veto should he not sign a bill, and the recognition that the Republicans want to get something done too, I believe. And in the last negotiation we had, more than anything they wanted to be able to export crude oil, and they were willing to yield on many points in that regard. So we were able to do great things for the American people.

CUOMO: Let me understand the process a little bit. Exporting crude oil, why do they want to do that? They believe it is good for the U.S. industry but also that it removes your independence on outside oil, so that is a good thing.

PELOSI: Why would you say it removes independence on outside oil? In other words, the thought was since the '70s when we had the shortages we would retain crude oil. You can export refined oil.

CUOMO: Right.

PELOSI: And so when you are export crude oil you're not only taking an energy source out of our country, you're also taking jobs out of the country to refine that oil.

[08:10:05] So there has been a barrier to that. They wanted to remove that barrier.

CUOMO: The balancing is we have a lot here because upped our production, which they take credit for --

PELOSI: No, no, no. President Obama takes credit for because it was his policies.

CUOMO: Well, they both --

PELOSI: Enabled too, but the fact is that it was Obama's policies that enabled us to have much more domestic production than ever. And I was glad that the president took credit for things last night. First of all, I was pleased with the way he posed the issues, the four questions of, giving everyone a share shot, does it give everyone a fair shot? Does it enable technology to work for us? How do we protect the American people without being the policemen of the world? And again to reduce the role of money and politics, make judgments along the way.

But I was glad he said the deficit had been cut by 70 percent since he took the oath of office seven years ago, $1.4 trillion to under $500 billion. It's come down 70 percent. Unemployment was 10 percent, it's not around five percent, in half. The market is 10,000 points higher than it was the day that he took office. And 17 million people have access to quality affordable healthcare who didn't before. And I'm so pleased that he bragged about that because he hasn't necessarily done that.

CUOMO: The case of the other side is it isn't come back far enough. Still too many don't have jobs.

PELOSI: The other side, you mean the biggest increasers in the deficit in American history? Is that what you're referring to, the Republicans? The fact is when President Clinton was president the deficit was coming way down. The last five budgets were in balance or in surplus. President Bush put forth his tax breaks for the wealthy and all the rest of that, completely reversed that, took us deeply into debt. And President Obama has taken us to a place where our deficit has decreased by 70 percent. That's very important because we had pay as you go, which is what I would like us to have. You want tax breaks? Pay for them. You want this, let's pay for them. Let's pay for everything so we're not increasing the deficit. Hopefully we can get back to a place where it is pay as you go.

CUOMO: Those four questions, who answers them better for your party, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders? Have you made your decision?

PELOSI: I think that they are all, and Martin O'Malley, I think all three of them are great.

CUOMO: Is there a chance that you support Governor O'Malley for president?

PELOSI: I haven't made -- when I make my announcement I will make my announcement.


PELOSI: But I do endorsement what he stands for as I do Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And of course obviously Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner. A woman president would be very exciting.

CUOMO: Right now they are neck in neck in Iowa and New Hampshire. Are you surprised by that?

PELOSI: I'm not surprised by anything in politics. My focus is on winning the House for the Democrats. I'm letting the presidentials work their way, and I'm very proud of all three of them and how they have advocated for many of the things the president talked about, especially giving everyone a fair shot. In my view this race is about trickle-down economics on the Republican side, tax breaks for the wealthy and special interest versus middle class economics and recognizing the best way to turn our economy around is to have confidence. We're a consumer economy. We have to have people have confidence instead of what the president inherited when he came in, what happened in 2008. The Republicans want to take us right back to the same policies that got us into that fix in the first place. That is what I think the election is largely about.

CUOMO: I would expect you to think exactly that, Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much for representing your side of the case. It is always good to have you here.

PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure. Thank you.

CUOMO: Good to have you here on NEW DAY. When you're ready to tell who you are backing with the president, please do it with us.

PELOSI: I look forward to that. Thank you so much. Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Nancy Pelosi giving us her take on the situation. Alisyn, back to you in New York.

CAMEROTA: OK, Chris. Let's give our viewers more now on the breaking news, the release of 10 U.S. sailors held overnight by Iran. We want to bring in now General Wesley Clark, our former NATO supreme allied commander. General Clark, thanks so much for being here. Everyone is breathing a huge sigh of relief this happened so quickly, what could have had the potential to turn into some sort of international incident, that our U.S. sailors are now on the way home. But let's talk about that timing. Do you believe it would have gone so swiftly if the Iran nuclear deal were not set to go into effect this week?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: No. I think that it is clear that the tone has changed in relationships between Iran and the United States. Now, how decisively this affects all of Iran's activities in the region we'll have to see.

[08:15:00] But the president is leading. He pushed for that Iran nuclear agreement. You heard Nancy Pelosi explain why and what some of the advantages were and it looks like maybe it will impact the broader set of U.S.-Iranian relationships. We certainly hope so.

CAMEROTA: I mean, look, it's hard know whether or not there is a blip in diplomacy or whether this has some sort of long-lasting effect. And part of the reason is this week, the sanctions, the frozen assets are supposed to begin being lifted and this occasion infusion of somewhere between $50 billion, a hundred billion are going to be available to Iran that previously weren't. So, that's a huge bargaining chip.

Once that goes away this week, will we still have this diplomacy?

CLARK: That is the question. And you know presidential leadership is about leadership. And the whole Iran deal is not only about stopping the nuclear drift in the Middle East but also perhaps being able to change the tone of politics.

Look, if we are going to bring pressure, effective pressure on ISIS and really eliminate it and destroy it, somehow the United States through our leader has got to pull together the Saudis, the Turks, the Iranians, the Russians and even the elements of Bashar al Assad's regime, and focus all that combat power on ISIS and then have a system for governance of that region afterwards.

It is not going to be down without an Iranian voice in that. That's been made very clear. Hezbollah is in Syria, they're Lebanon, and somehow we've got to reach through that and try to bring this region together.

CAMEROTA: So, General, from where you sit today, you believe what we've seen in the past 12 hours is exhibit A of this less aggressive, newly cooperative relationship with U.S. and Iran?

CLARK: I don't know if it's exhibit A or not? But I do think it's a hopeful sign.

CAMEROTA: General, why do you think these U.S. sailors did stray into Iranian waters?

CLARK: That is a very good question. There should be plenty of redundant guidance systems there. And I suspect there is a lot of brass attention in the United States Navy asking why these two small boats out in the middle of the Persian Gulf can't navigate effectively. Everybody else can.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, do you think it's anything more than just an unfortunate accident?

CLARK: You mean, do I think the United States would be probing into Iran to take a check of their intentions and their conduct? No, I don't think we would do that. Certainly not with these two ships from the U.S. Navy.

If something happened there -- this is not a special op. That is routine group of U.S. Navy people on patrol, or moving ships around, from one patrol location back to a base. And something happened and we need to find out what it is.

And I'm sure that the Navy will take the appropriate action if there was some malfeasance in their performance of duty or doing checklists or not knowing what they are doing.

CAMEROTA: It does seem as though Secretary Kerry was able to in very quick order pick up the phone, talk to his Iranian counterpart, resolve this, get these U.S. sailors home. But what's next in this relationship? What do you believe the next test will be of the U.S.- Iranian relationship?

CLARK: Well, I think it's even broader than that. Somehow the United States has to encourage the Saudis to pull together all the jihadi elements, the Sunnis that are fighting in Syria, and sit down maybe at a table, maybe in two different rooms. And bring together a transition plan that lets diplomacy take the lead in resolving the conflict in Syria.

Conflict in Syria is a focal point of the evolution of this region. It's got to be resolved. The Sunni and Shia countries are at loggerheads. And you can't solve this by dumping 50,000 or 100,000 American troops in there and say, sort it out.

We can't do that. We proved that in Iraq. That is what the president was saying last night when he said you can't rebuild someone else's country for them.


CLARK: But it starts with outside powers. And so, the fact that Secretary Kerry can talk to the Iranians on something like this, that's a very good sign and maybe we can create a condominium of interest. Maybe there is a way of arranging a transition of power or power sharing, or protecting the different groups inside Syria, which will satisfy both the Saudis, the Turks on one hand, and Kurds, and other hand, the Iranians and Bashar al Assad's people who are there fighting with their power structure.

That is the diplomacy has to be constructed. It's not getting the attention it warrants.

[08:20:00] Frankly, I understand that. The administration doesn't want to put a lot of publicity on something that might fail. But this is the most important part of this. Not the airstrikes. The airstrikes are -- they are holding action. Like to be more, the assistance, puts pressure on ISIS, yes, through the Iraq recovery of the territory. But it's the diplomacy what's so important here.

CAMEROTA: General Wesley Clark, we thank you for your perspective and always your expertise. Thanks so much.

Let's get over to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Alisyn. Look at your headlines at 20 minutes past the hour.

Breaking overnight, one person has been detained in Turkey in connection with Tuesday's deadly explosion in Istanbul. Three Russian nationals in Turkey are also detained on suspicion of ISIS connections according to Russian media. It is unclear if they have links to this specific attack. The death toll now climbing to ten, all of them foreigners.

Belgium prosecutors say they have identified three apartments used by suspects in the Paris attacks. Investigators are finding DNA traces, including from fugitive Salah Abdeslam and a ring leader later killed in a raid in France. All the apartments were rented in September or October. Rent was paid in cash. Search teams also recovered explosive material and waist belts but say they did not find any weapons.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder activating the National Guard to assist with the drinking water crisis ongoing in Flint. They will staff fire locations handling out bottles of water and filters. That will free American Red Cross to handle door to door distribution. Protesters meanwhile are still demanding answers from Governor Snyder alleging his office new that the water was unsafe.

After 21 years, and the NFL is going back to L.A. The St. Louis Rams are moving back to Los Angeles. The NFL team owners voting Tuesday to approve that relocation for the start of next season. Meanwhile the San Diego Chargers also have been given the option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. That would mean the two teams would share a stadium in Englewood.

If the Chargers decide not to move that choice, then it would be offered to the Oakland Raiders. Can you imagine that, the Raiders back to L.A.?

Am I speaking Greek to you, Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: I know you're happy about it. And so, I know the most important thing that you're excited.

PEREIRA: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: So, all right, thanks so much, Michaela.

Well, Donald Trump will not stop talking about Hillary Clinton's past and says Hillary Clinton's enables that behavior. How does Hillary Clinton respond to that? More of my interview with Hillary, next.


[08:25:39] CAMEROTA: Donald Trump continues to bring up allegations from Bill Clinton's past. What is Hillary Clinton's response to all of this? I asked her.

Watch this.


CAMEROTA: I want to talk about an issue Donald Trump wanted to make an issue in this campaign, that is -- are allegations from your husband's past. He is going further actually than that. He is making it about you. He is saying that you are an enabler of bad behavior and of sexual assault.

What's your response to Donald Trump?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have no response. I'm going to let him say whatever he wants to say. He can run his campaign however he wishes. I'm going to keep talking about what the next president will have to do starting January 20th, 2017.

I have deep disagreements with what he's proposing. His tax plans would cut trillions of dollars of taxes from the wealthy and corporations. He doesn't believe in equal pay. He thinks that American workers are already making too much.

So, I'm going to draw the contrast with him that I think the American people are interested in seeing.

CAMEROTA: But when someone accuses you of being an enabler of sexual assault, don't you need to respond to it? I mean, particularly since this is an issue you wanted to talk about on the campaign trail. Can't this sexual assault -- you say survivors need to be believed and they need to be heard.

So, when he's accusing you of doing something that is the antithesis of what you want to talk about, don't you need to address it?

CLINTON: I'm going to let the American voters decide what's relevant and what's not relevant in their decision as to who they're going to support.

CAMEROTA: Donald Trump again, he was on "The Tonight Show". He was asked about the possibility of you two running against each other, if that's how this all plays out in November. He said that would be, quote, "an amazing thing."


CLINTON: Yes, it would be amazing. I would look forward to it.

You now, look, I think this is serious business. Campaigns always have some great stories and great characters. That's part of the political process.

This is really serious business, who the next president is. We are either going to build on the progress that we've made or we're going to see it ripped away. We are either going to defend human rights and civil rights and women's rights and gay rights and voting rights and workers' rights and all the rest that is at stake, or we are going to turn the clock back.

And that's why I have tried to very clearly explain where I stand on all of these issues because the stakes are so high. And if I'm fortunate enough to get the nomination, I will run hard against whomever the Republicans' nominee, because they represent a brand of politics and policies that I think would hurt our country. I don't want to see that happen.

CAMEROTA: Let's say you get the nomination. Let's say you win the presidency.

CLINTON: Yes, let's say that.

CAMEROTA: Let's say it.

And on day one, you walk into the Oval Office, what's the first phone call you make?

CLINTON: Well, I think the very first phone call would be to whoever I've asked to be the chief of staff of the White House. Let's get a meeting together, let's get our agenda together. There's a lot we have to get going. The earlier we start, the better we'll be off and we'll get more accomplished.

Because I want to really think hard if I do get the nomination, right then and there, how we organize the White House, how we organize the cabinet. What's the legislative agenda?

You know, the time between an election and inauguration is short. You can't wait. I mean, you can't take anything for granted. You have to keep working as hard as you possibly can.

But I think it's important to start planning because we know what happens if you get behind in getting your agenda out and getting your appointments made. You lose time. And you're not doing the work that the American people elected you to do.

CAMEROTA: Before I let you go, I definitely want to ask you about your granddaughter. You talk about her on the campaign trail. I believe Chelsea is making her first appearance on the campaign trail.


CAMEROTA: And she said that she believes that you becoming a grandmother is a driving force behind your campaign. How so?

CLINTON: Well, she's right, because I feel very fortunate. You know, I like to point out, I'm the granddaughter of a factory worker who came to this country as a young immigrant, went to work in the lace mills in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

So, here I am three generations later asking people to vote for me to become their president. And we have this amazing 15-month-old grandchild with another on the way next summer. And so, I think a lot about the future.