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Evacuations Suspended in Eastern Aleppo; Clinton Supporters Take on Reality of Trump Presidency; TNT NBA Reporter Craig Sager Dies at Age 65; Trump Transparency Under Question. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 16, 2016 - 06:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen who is recently reporting in Aleppo is tracking this live for us this morning -- Fred.


As usual, in situations like this one, when it's both sides blaming each other for the stop in the convoys evacuating people from eastern Aleppo, the government side said they believe that they were trying to smuggle heavy weapons out of eastern Aleppo in those convoys whereas the opposition is saying they believe that it was one of those Shia militias. Now, remember, we keep talking about how many various factions are fighting on the ground there, that it was a Shia militia that didn't want this to go through, that apparently they even fired that route that these buses were taking.

Before that, however, as you mentioned, there were at least 8,000 people who were evacuated. There was drone footage that was put out yesterday of some of those convoys lining up, those green buses which shows the buses themselves, but also just shows the other devastation and destruction there in eastern Aleppo.

But I also saw unfold when we were there last week, some those heavy weapons that were being used. The civilians that are now still inside as these operations are halted to try to get them out, they're, of course, living in a lot of fear that it could all kick off, again. The jets could be back up in the skies, again. And, of course, many of them, we have to keep in mind, are extremely weak, are extremely hungry and we're just looking to get to safety.

So, it's difficult situation at this point in time, powers that initiated a cease-fire in the first place trying to sort it out, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Fred, thank you very much for all of that.

So, coming up, back here at home. This week I sat down with a group of passionate Hillary Clinton supporters who are still struggling to come to grips with the election outcome and hoping for a virtually impossible twist. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: How many of you, as you sit here today, think that something might happen before inauguration day to change the results?


CAMEROTA: Their take, next.


[06:35:54] CAMEROTA: So, the chances of the Electoral College changing the results of the election are virtually nil. But that's not stopping some Hillary Clinton supporters from holding out for a sliver of hope.

For our latest, "real voters, real voices" panel, we sat down with a group of ardent Clinton supporters, two of them volunteered for her campaign, some worked for other Democratic causes, four from Pennsylvania, two from New York. They describe to us how they continue to struggle to accept Donald Trump's victory and how they're holding out hope that something will happen before Inauguration Day that keeps him from taking office.


CAMEROTA: How many of you, as you sit here today, think that something might happen before Inauguration Day to change the results?

What do you think, Sonia?

SONIA PAYTON, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I'm just leaving it open. Just never know.

CAMEROTA: Anything's possible.

PAYTON: Just like I was not expecting Pennsylvania to go red. Anything can happen.

CAMEROTA: This is certainly been a surprising election.

SALLY ROSENWASSER, VOLUNTEERED FOR HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: I'm hoping that, you know, somebody up there is looking down and saying, you know what, this is a law and you can't break that law. You know, you --

CAMEROTA: What law?

ROSENWASSER: Conflict of interest. Hamilton -- well, the Hamilton electors. I think I'm holding out hope for that.

CAMEROTA: You're holding out hope that the electors will change their minds?

ROSENWASSER: Yes. I'm holding out hope that maybe five, six or seven of the Republican electors will change their mind. CAMEROTA: Just follow that line of logic for me. So, the seven

electors change their mind, but that doesn't change the outcome.

ROSENWASSER: Does it? Not enough. Unless every single one of the Democrats.

I mean, I'm not 100 percent sure. Somebody educate me. I thought that if ten of the Republicans changed their minds.

CAROL EVANS, CO-FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE WOMEN FOR HILLARY: What you're thinking of is the ten of the electoral college people have asked for a briefing by the CIA about the Russian hacking and the Russian involvement in swinging the election. We actually are 2.8 million votes ahead in the real vote, the vote of people voting all over the country.

CAMEROTA: Popular vote.

EVANS: I don't call it the popular vote. I call it the vote. There's an Electoral College vote. You can call that the other vote.

CAMEROTA: I understand. But this is how the founders set it up. We do abide by the Electoral College, you don't have to like it.

EVANS: I'm very excited about that. I'm very excited because maybe the Electoral College will do what Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers saw as the role of the Electoral College was to keep a sociopath from gaining the office of president.

JACOB SCHWARTZ, PRESIDENT, MANHATTAN YOUNG DEMOCRATS: If enough defect to bring him below 270. They don't have to defect to her, he doesn't reach the threshold, then it goes to the house.

CAMEROTA: Are you pinning your hopes on that?

EVANS: No, no. I don't think there is any hope. I think he will be sworn in.

The big point here is that the Electoral College, which Donald Trump won, is really an acreage game. We have this winner who won based on acreage, not on population of this country.

SCHWARTZ: But that doesn't speak at all to why the Democrats didn't win Pennsylvania specifically.

EVANS: I'm not arguing that this is what happened. This is what happened and we should have run a better game against the acreage issue.

But, you know, this is something that we all need to think about in terms of whether the Electoral College serves our country when so many people live in urban areas or whether this is a completely outdated mode of election.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CAMEROTA: All right. So, as you know, the electors vote on Monday. And, obviously, the panel there is of many different minds. Some of them conflicting. They're holding out hope, they're not holding out hope. Maybe divine intervention and something in Washington can be done. They don't really think anything can be done. I mean, they're still processing.

CUOMO: Did you feel the urge to tell them to shut up, it's over, get on with it, start focusing on something productive?

[06:40:00] CAMEROTA: Yes, we worked our way around to, let's all just accept reality, folks.

CUOMO: They also have a fundamental --


CUOMO: Their plan is to be upset.

CAMEROTA: No, that's not their plan, actually. Next week we'll show you part two of their plan.

CUOMO: Oh, you can't give it away.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I'm teasing it. They have an action plan.

CUOMO: What do you mean? You mean like these individuals or like the Democrats?

CAMEROTA: The individuals I'm talking to have an action plan for what they -- they're not just sitting around and sulking. They have an action plan and I will reveal that next week.

CUOMO: They also -- you know, there's an inconsistency of discussion about the Electoral College. You know, what it was for. What it is meant for today. Why people want it. Why people don't and so much of it is divorced from history and about political agenda of the moment.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is a political football that will be tossed around on Monday and then, obviously, these folks. They're not alone. There are Democrats who are still holding out hope that something is going to happen.

CUOMO: False hope.

CAMEROTA: It is false hope.

CUOMO: One of the main lessons in politics, I grew up in it, is you've got to learn how to lose. That's something we're seeing play out in real time.

Good piece, though.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Good points. I like Jacob. His personality, his reporting and his wardrobe -- man, this guy is a legend on so many levels. This morning, the basketball world is remembering the one and only Craig Sager.

Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report" and we're going to talk about Sager finally losing his epic battle against illness.


[06:45:27] CUOMO: Oh, sad news. We have lost a unique one and great one. Turner family losing not only legendary broadcaster but a man who brought joy to everyone he touched.

Craig Sager passing away at the age of just 65 yesterday after such an epic battle with leukemia.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

I respect what you have on this morning. Craig Sager and only Craig Sager would have appreciated it.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Chris. You know, I'm wearing this Sager Strong shirt this morning to honor Craig Sager.

You know, you can't see the back of it but a quote from Craig Sager's speech at the Espy's that said, you know, "Time is simply how you live your life." Sager made the most of his time. Bringing joy to everyone he came into contact with.

You know, most fans know him for his wacky suits that he wore and great interviews during NBA games. But he has to be remembered for his courageous fight with leukemia, a fight that didn't stop Sager from doing what he loved and that was reporting sports for us fans at home.

Sager made his national television debut in an iconic moment in sports. He was at home plate after Hank Aaron broke the home run record back in 1974. Sager then moved on to report for CNN and then later, Turner Sports, covering everything from the World Series to the Final Four, and tributes from all over just came pouring in once the news broke yesterday. All the NBA teams in action last night honoring sager before the game. Many players wearing the same shirt I have on right now. Sager Strong shirts during warm-up.

Sager died just days after he was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He lives behind a wife and five children. Craig Sager, 65 years old.

Else where in the sports world, Seattle Seahawks are now NFC West Division champs once again after beating the Rams last night. The Seahawks, looking like human highlighters wearing those color rush uniforms. Russell Wilson put the game away with the 57 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett. Seahawks beat the Rams, 24-3.

Guys, back to Craig Sager, I got to be around him quite a bit around the Final Four in Houston and NBA Finals. And, you know, to know what he was going through behind the scenes and watch him still report the way he did, it truly was inspirational.

CUOMO: Andy Scholes, well-represented and well-said. And, boy, Craig would have loved those Seahawks uniforms last night.

SCHOLES: You're right. They fit in perfectly with what he wore.

CAMEROTA: It takes a strong man to wear chartreuse and he was that man.

SCHOLES: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Andy, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: Donald Trump's contentious relationship with the media. Everyone is wondering how that will play out when he is in the White House. There are some new signs that perhaps tell us what he's planning. We'll look at those, next.


[06:52:17] CUOMO: All right. If you ask the Trump team about the transition, they say they are showing us all we need to know. Take a listen to chief strategist and communications director Sean Spicer on NEW DAY just yesterday.


SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: We have been unbelievably transparent. We literally brought the press into meetings. We've listed the kids and Jared on websites.

We've been very clear since day one who's on the transition, who's on the landing team.

CUOMO: You're letting us know what you want us to know and we appreciate it. What about what you're hiding? That's what news is. What you don't want us to see.



CUOMO: Let's ask Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", and Liz Wahl, former anchor and reporter for Russia Today America.

Good day to have you here, Liz. Thanks for joining us.

We've got two different topics to talk about.

Let's talk about this fundamental question of practice, Brian Stelter. Transparent, is transparent when they show what they want you to see or is transparency an actual higher obligation that has not yet been met? BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Transparency is something bigger than what we've seen. You know, Donald Trump has not spoken in a press conference setting for the first five weeks as president-elect. Normally, president-elects do that within a few days of the election. That's an easy example of how we're not seeing transparency.

President Obama was having a bunch of press conferences at this point as president-elect and that was in the midst of the financial crisis. A lot of reasons why he was speaking to the press regularly. We're not seeing the same kind of access to Donald Trump.

It's not enough to point a camera in the Trump tower lobby which is a public space where anyone can be. That's not enough what is happening upstairs at the transition.

CAMEROTA: I want to stay with you, Brian, one more second, before we get to Liz. There's also bad signs that we've seen. We've seen some things that suggest that the access to the president will not be what we have seen for decades.

For instance, they have now suggested that the daily press briefings might change. It might go away. We have also heard that they might get rid of the Saturday radio addresses. Donald Trump has suggested changing the libel laws.

As we know, they have dodged the protective press pool that travels with them a couple times.

If you put all these together, it seems like it will be one of the least transparent --

STELTER: Put all these together and they are real threat how journalists gather information on a daily basis. We should give them credit for some of the things they have done. As Sean Spicer was saying, bringing in cameras so we can see visually some of these meetings.

CAMEROTA: Isn't that what we just call --


CAMEROTA: And then you don't stay in there. Do they get to stay in there for the substance of the talks?

STELTER: No, they are moved out pretty quickly. At the White House, this is a concern, as well. Right now, these daily briefings, there have been daily briefings for a long, long time. It seems like Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer are floating the idea of changing that.

I was with Josh Earnest this week, the outgoing press secretary.

[06:55:02] He said, listen, don't cling to tradition for tradition sake but there's both practical and symbolic reasons to have these meetings. Practical, meaning you could just answer a lot of questions every day that are coming at the White House in these daily briefings. CUOMO: We know they brought in people to give them advice on how to

change the control dynamic of media. It's interesting, we have Liz Wahl. She worked for Russia Today. This dialogue probably smacks familiar to you about the power structure telling the media when and how it will get access, instead of being chased by the media for more full and open access. You know, smacks a little bit of your former reality.

What is your take on this dialogue about transparency and the nature of how, what Phil Mudd just told us, Russian intelligence getting the gift of watching our political entities fight about how to deal with them?

LIZ WAHL, FORMER ANCHOR/REPORTER FOR R AMERICA TV AMERICA: Yes. I mean, if you look at the headlines on Russian news sites right now, they're having a field day with this. They're essentially echoing what Donald Trump is saying, almost saying there is this unprecedented lack of trust between the president-elect and the intelligence agency as kind of amplifying this distrust against American institutions, in our intelligence agencies in particular.

One thing that really strikes me as a parallel is this loose relationship to truth and fact, and this outward rejection of fact when it doesn't make you look good. Throughout both Ukraine and now Syria, it's been a very common tactic for the Kremlin to simply just flat out deny intelligence or information that is damming to them.

So, now we have 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, the CIA based on their intelligence. This is not based on nothing. We just heard from a Russian official. Show me the proof. Show me the proof.

This is, this is what we're used to hearing. They say there's no proof. And it's only until after the fact when the damage is done that the proof has become apparent.

We do have to remember that our U.S. intelligence agency is tasked with keeping America safe are getting their intelligence from forensic, forensic analysis -- this isn't just, you know, like they were at a bar having a beer saying we think this is happening, you know? It doesn't even -- it doesn't take, you know, Sherlock Holmes to figure out what's happening here.

If you take a look at just the way the leaks were handled, they were clearly meant to handle the Hillary Clinton campaign and the drip, drip, drip dissemination of them at key moments during the campaign and the media coverage that came as a result of that, nothing on the Trump campaign. It doesn't take much, you know, investigation to realize what's going on here.

CAMEROTA: I mean, Liz, since you have that perspective of how it's done in Russia and the disinformation campaign that Putin and the Kremlin used and you say there are now parallels that you're seeing here to the disinformation and the claims of fake news here, what happens in Russia? How do people know what to trust?

WAHL: Well, I think that one of the big successes for the Kremlin right now and for Russian media and operations in general, which have been going on for quite some time, especially in the last couple of years, is really instilling this lack in Western institutions and Western society and the mainstream media. I mean, it's a beat. It's actually kind of news beat to attack the mainstream media.

And we hear from the president-elect himself. They're all crooked. They're all corrupt. They're all bias. They're all liars.

I mean, so, it's meant to create this lack of trust within our own media. And, you know, I know a couple of very staunch supporters themselves and this news coming out that should be a bipartisan issue where a foreign, you know, foreign adversary had hacked our election and they're like, nope, fake news. This is Clinton and sour grapes.

I mean, that kind of partisanship that our president-elect has harnessed instead of taking a step back and saying, wow, you know, to what extent did a foreign adversary actually influence our election? So, I think it's his response that is troubling.


STELTER: Any such thing as a bipartisan issue any more? Saying, Liz, it should be a bipartisan issue. Seems to me that's impossible now. No such thing as bipartisanship even if something like this can't be discussed in a united fashion.

CAMEROTA: We'll see.

STELTER: It's a sad thing.

CAMEROTA: We'll see what Congress does to tackle all this.

CUOMO: As terrible as it sounds, of course, the America's utopia when it comes to power, Putin is at 80 percent popularity. I'm sure that's something that's not lost on a lot of politicians in this country, as well.

Our thanks to Liz, our thanks to Brian. Appreciate it.

There is a lot of news this morning. What do you say, it's Friday. Let's get right to it.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not a partisan issue. We need to take action and we will.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think it's ridiculous. I don't believe it.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyber activity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it just to disrupt the process or did they have an intent of helping one candidate?