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State of the Union

President Obama Prepares for Farewell Address; Interview With Trump Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway; Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Intel Report, Putin Aspired To Help Trump Win; Republicans Split On Obamacare Replacement. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired January 08, 2017 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Cyber-strike. The official intel report on Russian hacking says Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump to win.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. President-elect, listen to these people. Putin is up to no good. He better be stopped.

TAPPER: Will it be enough to convince Trump? I will ask White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Plus, airport attack -- the latest details on the shooter who left five people dead in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not ruled out anything.

TAPPER: Was he inspired by ISIS? What we know now.

And one last bash. The Obamas throw a star-studded party to say goodbye to the White House, as the president prepares for his farewell address on Tuesday.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking forward to continuing to work on the same issues that I have worked on all my life, just in a different capacity.

TAPPER: What will his final message be?

Plus, the best political minds will be here with insights on what happens next.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is gearing up for a jampacked week.

First, President Obama says goodbye to the nation in his farewell address on Tuesday night. Then, just hours later, Donald Trump will take the world stage again in his first press conference since being elected, all of this while a slew of Trump Cabinet picks will appear in front of Congress, as wall-to-wall confirmation hearings get under way, despite objections from Democrats that key ethics reviews have not been completed.

Plus, of course, Washington is still learning more about the bombshell intelligence community report presented to president-elect Trump on Friday about Russia interfering in the U.S. election to hurt his rival, Hillary Clinton.


TAPPER: So, lots to discuss with incoming White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Kellyanne, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.


TAPPER: So, at the first presidential debate, the candidates were asked about cyber-attacks on the U.S. And this is what then candidate, now president-elect Donald Trump had to say about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?

You don't know who broke into DNC.


TAPPER: Now that president-elect Trump has been formally briefed, has he been persuaded that Russia did carry out a comprehensive cyber- campaign against Hillary Clinton? And what is he prepared to do about it?

CONWAY: Jake, if you read his entire statement that followed the briefing on Friday, he makes very clear that Russia, China and others have attempted to attack different government institutions and businesses and individuals and organizations over a series of time.

He specifically mentions the Democratic National Committee, because that's why we're having this conversation. I don't want any of your viewers to be misled into thinking that somehow the Kremlin and the Republican Party or the -- that -- that they had -- the -- the Kremlin was dealing with any of the hackers and bringing that information back to Moscow, and somehow that anybody who allegedly attempted to influence our elections actually did.

If you read the full report, they make very clear, Mr. Clapper in his testimony made very clear on Thursday under oath that the -- that any attempt, any aspiration to influence our elections failed. They were not successful in doing that. And it's a very important point. We're talking about this because we had embarrassing leaks from the DNC e-mails. There were no fireworks in that report because there was no firewall at the DNC.

TAPPER: Well, what they said, what the intelligence community said is that there was no evidence that Russia was able to penetrate any of the voting machines and affect the outcome that way.

But they made no conclusion whatsoever, they said they didn't have any evidence and it wasn't in their charge to determine whether or not the information that was hacked by Russia that was ultimately leaked to the public, whether or not that changed any votes.

And if you listen to what Mr. Trump had to say on the stump all the time, he invoked WikiLeaks dozens and dozens of times to try to suggest that the WikiLeaks had said that there were things that Hillary Clinton was doing or had done that were untoward.

Take a listen.


TRUMP: All you have to do is take a look at WikiLeaks and just see what they said about Bernie Sanders.

WikiLeaks just actually came out. John Podesta said some horrible things about you. And, boy, was he right. He said some beauties.


WikiLeaks that just came out, and she lied. Now she's blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln.


TAPPER: So, I guess what I'm confused about is, how can you say that the hacking had no impact on the election when Mr. Trump kept invoking WikiLeaks, which was printing, publishing things that the Russians had hacked?

Obviously, he thought it was going to have an effect on the election.

CONWAY: Well, having an -- it had an effect on his debate answer, it had an effect on the Clinton campaign, because it was quite embarrassing to watch her closest advisers question her judgment, question whether she would ever find her voice, wondering aloud why she was testing 84 slogans to find out who she was and what she would run on.

This guy had make America great again and never changed. And I know that's very embarrassing. And it shows them calling Chelsea Clinton, some of them, a spoiled brat. That's very uncomfortable.

But that's what was hacked. The RNC, apparently, there was an attempted hack on the RNC, I'm informed, but they had the efficient cyber-security firewalls in place. Jake, CNN's own reporting showed this week that the FBI asked the DNC

to have access to its information, to its server, I guess, and to its information, and the DNC refused to turn that over to the FBI, according to CNN's own report.

So all of this amounts to a very simple fact, which is that alleged attacks, alleged and aspirations to interfere with our democracy failed. And they failed. And we know that, because Donald Trump won because...

TAPPER: What do you mean alleged attacks?


CONWAY: ... to do with the hacks.

And Hillary Clinton -- but, look, if you look at CNN's own polling data for one year before the election, Hillary Clinton was viewed by a majority of Americans as unlikable. And she was viewed by a higher number, over 60 percent, as not honest or trustworthy. That had nothing to do with Moscow.


TAPPER: Absolutely, there are dozens of reasons why Hillary Clinton is not the president-elect and Donald Trump is.

But what I guess I don't understand is why there is this reluctance by president-elect Trump and people around him to acknowledge Russia did this. You said it was an alleged attack. I don't know why you're saying alleged.

CONWAY: No, no, alleged -- alleged to interfere with our democracy. In other words, they didn't succeed.

Even if you read "The New York Times" and "Washington Post," people are admitting, cyber-experts certainly are saying, Jake, that...


TAPPER: But why invoke all those WikiLeaks if...

CONWAY: ... they did not succeed.

TAPPER: But why invoke all those WikiLeaks that were the work of Russian intelligence, according to our intelligence agencies, why invoke all those WikiLeaks unless Mr. Trump...

CONWAY: He didn't know that at the time. He said he didn't know who the source was. And he's right. Look, what if it were not Russia.


TAPPER: But you were trying to change public impressions of Hillary Clinton, right?

CONWAY: Pardon me?

TAPPER: Mr. Trump and you and others were trying to make an argument against Hillary Clinton using the work of Russian hackers.

CONWAY: Oh, you know what, Jake? With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, we didn't need WikiLeaks to convince the American people that they didn't like her, didn't trust her, didn't find her to be honest.

She did that all on her own. She got this party started by setting up an illegal server and opening it to hacks, for -- for -- for intelligence and security information that's much more serious than what a political party would have on its server. So, she started it.


TAPPER: Sure, but if you didn't need WikiLeaks, why keep mentioning them?

CONWAY: But, no, I just want to answer your question, too.


CONWAY: I want to answer your question, too.

I keep hearing, particularly from my friends at CNN and other places, that we're so reluctant. We won't answer a question. Yes, we will. Read his statement. He said he sees -- he knows that there have been -- that Russia, China and others are always -- have tried to attack our -- our governmental institutions, businesses, organizations, individuals.

And let me add to that, where was the outcry when China hacked into 21 million records through our Office of Personnel and Management, OPM, of private citizens, their personal information, 21 million? They basically got the equivalent of a slap on the wrist, just like Vladimir Putin heard from President Obama earlier this year, knock it off, when he thought that they might be hacking into our information.

Everything changed when the election result was not what they had anticipated. Why -- you know, if this is so important to our intelligence and our security, then why wasn't a bigger deal made about it, why wasn't a big portion of are $1.2 billion Hillary Clinton wasted on her campaign invested in this messaging?

TAPPER: Well, I remember the OPM hack being a pretty big story on my show on CNN and others, but let me ask you something.

CONWAY: No, no, I mean the government. I'm glad you covered it. I mean why didn't we -- where was the punishment on that with respect to that?

But then we're expelling 35 Russian operatives a week before the report is even complete, a week before Mr. Clapper even goes and testifies under oath and makes very clear that there was no impact on the election. Senator McCain has said the same thing.


TAPPER: Again, he said there was no impact on the voting process. We don't know.

CONWAY: Right.

TAPPER: There's no way of knowing what effect these leaks -- and if you didn't need WikiLeaks, president-elect Trump sure mentioned them dozens and dozens of time. I mean, they were part of case you were making.

But let's move on to something else.


CONWAY: But that's -- let me just say, that's equivalent to Hillary Clinton trying to quote Republicans who -- Republican senators and governors who weren't supporting Donald Trump.

It's the equivalent. It's -- you're saying to our opponent, wow, you don't have support among your own group here. In the case of Secretary Clinton, she was being disparaged by members of her own team in -- through e-mails.

So, that's just very different from the issue at hand. It's entirely differed than what was discussed in the intelligence briefing on Friday and at the committee hearings on Thursday.


TAPPER: Were you in the briefing on Friday?

CONWAY: I was not, because my top-secret clearance is pending.

TAPPER: What's your understanding of how the meeting went? Obviously, there's been a lot of hostility between president-elect Trump and the intelligence community. Was is it an ugly meeting? Was it a hostile meeting, from what you understand?

CONWAY: It was cordial.

I talked to the president-elect directly about it. It was cordial. He found it to be constructive. He was very happy that the intelligence community at the highest levels came to Trump Tower to brief him there.

And we're really -- you know, the only disappointment I would express is that the briefing came after leaks to the media, after leaks to NBC at the very least, after leaks to some print outlets, Jake.

We cannot have people in positions of keeping us all safe and knowing classified information or intelligence information, we can't have them leaking to the media. And there, I don't fault the media.

You're just trying to get information and do your jobs to report and break news, #breakingnews, of course. But, at the same time, when asked on Friday, the White House dodged the question whether the administration was the source of the leaks to NBC News. We can't have this.

That should really infuriate Americans today, that people who possess this information are sending it to the media ahead of the president- elect receiving the information, the vice president-elect, and perhaps even the president himself, depending on the sequence of events.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about Obamacare, because that is going to be a big subject of debate when Congress is sworn in.

There's a debate among Republicans, as you know, about how to repeal Obamacare. Is it better to repeal and then work on a replacement, or repeal and immediately replace?

On Friday, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted this. Take a look: "I just spoke to @realDonaldTrump, and he fully supports my plan to replace Obamacare the same day repeal it. The time to act is now" -- unquote.

Can you confirm that president-elect Trump is committed to replacing Obamacare the same day that it will be repealed?

CONWAY: I can confirm that he is committed to replacing Obamacare with something that actually is affordable and accessible and allows you to buy health insurance over state lines and allows people to have health savings accounts.

TAPPER: Yes, but the same day or in three years?

CONWAY: Well, it really depends what -- what the piece of legislation is. What does it look like?

What he is discussing with his team, including vice president-elect Pence, the Republicans in Congress and his incoming HHS secretary, Congressman Tom Price, are the possibilities of how to improve upon a system that most Americans think is still not working, is seen by many Americans as a failure, is seen by many Americans as having premiums increase in some places 50 to over 100 percent, of having fewer choices, less access, lower quality.

All of that has to change. We hear from Americans every single day on this, Jake. It is one of the most prominently discussed issues when we receive -- we have received over 200,000 comments, for example, on, you know, advice to the president-elect and the vice president-elect.

But, look, he's very committed to repealing and replacing it. He's been very -- Mr. Trump has been very up front about what some of those particulars are. And we also know that you have popular provisions, like coverage for preexisting conditions.

TAPPER: OK. But -- but...

CONWAY: We also know there are Americans relying upon it now.

TAPPER: But no commitment on timing on the replacement. Kellyanne Conway, happy new year. Happy birthday.

CONWAY: Yes. Thank you.

TAPPER: Best of luck to you in the new administration.

CONWAY: Thank you.

TAPPER: Hope to see you soon.

CONWAY: Goodness. See you in Washington, Jake. Thank you.


TAPPER: Coming up: new details about the man who opened fire at a Florida airport. What led him to the attack? We will have the latest for you next.



TAPPER: Welcome back.

The killer who left five people dead and another six wounded in an attack at the Fort Lauderdale airport will appear in court tomorrow morning. He's facing three charges, all of which carry the death penalty. The shooter's brother tells CNN that he developed mental health problems after returning from a deployment to Iraq with the National Guard.


MARLIN RITZMAN, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI ANCHORAGE: In November 2016, Mr. Santiago walked into the Anchorage FBI office to report that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency.

Santiago was having terroristic thoughts and believed he was being influenced by ISIS.


TAPPER: Following that episode, the shooter was admitted to the hospital, but released after four days. He went back to the FBI office to pick up the gun police had taken from him that day.

Investigators now say he booked a one-day ticket to Florida with the intent of carrying out this attack.

Let's bring in Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the ranking Democratic on the intelligence community in the House -- Intelligence Committee in the House -- former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, and former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.

And, Congressman Schiff, let me just start with you to bring us up to speed. What more do we know about the shooter? Obviously, he thought that ISIS was tell him to do this. Is there any evidence that ISIS played a role? Or is this an -- an incident of somebody with mental problems latching on to something in the news?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: This is still very much the subject of investigation.

There may have been statements I think he made after his arrest that he was in contact with people overseas, but they are still trying to figure out whether that's true or whether this is just part of the delusions. After all, this is someone, as you just heard, went into the FBI office and said that they were being essentially mind- controlled by the CIA, forced to look at images online.

Some of those images may have been violent ISIS videos. So we're still trying to figure out what the motivations were, whether he had contact with others. But, clearly, the overriding influence here was some very severe mental illness.

TAPPER: All right.

Let's move on to Russia, which is obviously a huge topic in the intelligence community and the national security community.

On Friday morning, Donald Trump gave an interview to "The New York Times." Take a look at what he said -- quote -- "China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names. How can nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch-hunt."


You heard Kellyanne Conway say something similar on the show just a few minutes ago: Why is everybody talking about this, and not something that happened in 2013 or '14?

What do you make of Donald Trump calling this a witch-hunt?

SCHIFF: There's no one who is more undermining the legitimacy of the Trump presidency than Donald Trump himself.

His continued refusal to accept the obvious, accept the core conclusions of the intelligence community that this was Russia, you know, the statement that he issued that, well, Russia, China and others -- he included everyone but the 400-pound fat guy.

It's still more denial about what took place. And one of the key conclusions of the intelligence agencies in that report is, this was not a one-off. They will do this again. They will do it to us. They will do it to Germany. They will do it to France.

This is an attack on liberal democracy. We in Congress on a bipartisan basis need to be able to work with this new president to push back across the full spectrum of Russian malign influence. And this tells me he's not stepping up to the job. TAPPER: And one of the things that's interesting, James Woolsey,

former CIA director during the Bill Clinton years who endorsed Donald Trump, he came out and said that he accepted the conclusions of the intelligence community, and a few days later said that he was no longer an adviser to president-elect Trump.

I don't know the backstory exactly going on, but do you think that president-elect Trump is distancing himself at all from people who accept the premise of the intelligence community that Russia was behind this?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here's the thing.

The people who are the closest advisers to Donald Trump right now have been through a brutal campaign for 18 months. And as somebody -- Adam knows this, too. You can get wrapped up into the campaign fight.

The campaign has been bleeding over into the transition. I think president-elect -- President Obama has contributed to that. Democrats have contributed to that. Certainly, the Donald Trump transition team has contributed to that.

And so I would argue this. It's time to break this notion. He won. He will be president. Russia is not -- to say that Russia was involved in information operation campaigns and being shocked is like saying the pope is Catholic and being shocked.

They have been doing this for 70 years. They have better success than others, depending on what region of the world they have tried it in. But we need to start transitioning and pivoting to the real challenges of national security. The politics needs to end for all sides on this.

I'm getting very worried that this is bubbling over and this is only conversation. Think of missiles in Kaliningrad by Russia. Think of the Arctic operations they are planning, Russia, in Arctic. They are trying to I think at least contest U.S. position in the Arctic.

You look at just absolutely uncontrolled bombings in Aleppo, where they targeted -- they didn't care who they targeted, men, women, children, civilians.


ROGERS: They didn't care.

This is where we need to start talking. We need to remove this political debate. If I were advising Trump today, I would say stop talking about it.

We need to start talking about the national security threats to the United States. We are going to have to rally around this. We have some huge challenges facing us.

TAPPER: You were undersecretary of defense in the Obama administration. Last month, you met with General Mattis, who is going to be secretary

of defense, assuming he's confirmed, for president-elect Trump, though you're remaining as CEO of Center for a New American Security.

What is your read on Trump's position to Russia? And do you think that he is on a collision course, rhetorically and policy-wise, with General Mattis, who, like many in the national security community, including everybody at this table, believes that Russia is a major geopolitical foe?

MICHELE FLOURNOY, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: You know, I think the most disturbing aspect of this episode is that president- elect Trump has not made that transition from candidate to about-to- become commander in chief.

He needs to have a clear-eyed perspective on the full range of national security challenges we face, including a very aggressive Russia. And Russia's interests are not aligned with ours in most cases.

Putin is pursuing a policy in Europe, in Syria and elsewhere that is not aligned with ours. And I think when he gets into the Oval Office, he will find that there are many people in the national security enterprise, including someone like General Mattis, who came out of a military background, I think most of the chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, the service chiefs, the COCOMs, have all testified that they see Russia as a very real and present threat because of the actual actions they have taken, the annexation of Crimea, the invasion of Ukraine, the positioning of nuclear weapons, the increasing competition in the maritime domain, the space domain, and as we have seen in the cyber- domain with an unprecedented attack on the U.S. democratic process.

So, that clear-eyed discussion has to happen. And there may be some fireworks from within the Trump Cabinet, because there's a very broad range of views.

TAPPER: And it seems to be that position, which is the widespread position, among people in the national security community, people at the Pentagon, is at odds with the kind of language we're hearing from president-elect Trump.


He just tweeted the other day -- let me put it up on the screen there -- "Having a good relation with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only 'stupid people' or fools would think that it is bad."

What do you make of that?

SCHIFF: Well, I would say only stupid or foolish people would think our interests are aligned with Russia's.

For the most part, they are not. There is a concentric area where, yes, we share some common interests, and we should work with them when we can. But we need to recognized their goal is sow discord in liberal democracy. Their job is to tear down anyone they consider a threat. And they consider the whole idea of democracy a threat to their autocratic way of life.

That's very much a core antagonism to our national security interests. So, yes, it's nice to make friends. And, yes, it would be great if Russia was an ally. It's not realistic. And we need to be clear-eyed and sober about just what the Russians are about.

And I think alarms Democrats and Republicans when see the president- elect continue to speak in a way that Putin just presumes this is about making nice or presumes that the reason why Putin didn't get along with Obama was a lack of respect.

It wasn't a lack of respect. It was a lack of common interests and the fact that the Russians, in our view, have a very malign purpose around the world and one we need to fight back tooth-and-nail.

TAPPER: Congressman Rogers, what possible reason could there be for the fact that I have never heard president-elect once criticize Russia or criticize Vladimir Putin, not once?

ROGERS: Yes, I'm not sure why there wasn't any specific comment.

But if you look at the totality of what he's talking about, it isn't really that far out of line from what Barack Obama said when he got elected and said, I'm going to reach out and reach my hand across and talk to our adversaries. Maybe it wasn't as eloquent, but it certainly meant the same thing. So, I'm not necessarily as worried...

TAPPER: But President Obama has been very critical of Vladimir Putin.

ROGERS: But not up front.

Remember, he's been critical because he's been burned, just like George Bush was trying to reach his across and got his hand bit. My argument is, there's a long history here. Ronald Reagan was very aggressive about engaging talks with the Soviet Union at the time. And, at the time, people said, hey, that's dangerous. He's an adversary.

So I think we have to give a little space here to say, you want conversations with Russia. Now, as long as we understand that they take adversarial positions and have been very aggressively militarily and with their intelligence services everywhere from space to ground to cyber, then you can probably get to a better conclusion.

You worry about the world view sitting around the table. You want as many and different national security experts sitting around that table that have that world view. But let me tell you why Mattis is so good and why those sparks are going to happen. Mattis doesn't see the politics of this. He sees the national security threats of this.

TAPPER: Yes. And he will walk away.

ROGERS: He's -- well, I don't know if he will walk away. He will be in -- he's not a -- this is not a guy that packs up and goes home. He will be in the room advocating for the right positions based on the threat. I think that's going to be a very important voice in this national

security structure.

TAPPER: Quickly. Quickly, if you can.

FLOURNOY: No, I agree with that. He's someone who is willing to speak truth to power.

But president-elect Trump also needs an intelligence community that's willing to speak truth to power. And he needs to create an environment where that happens.

If he's not careful in denigrating the community, he will have a problem in terms of being able to draw on their good work to make a case to the American people when he does want to take action. He could create a brain drain of a lot of professionals leaving. And he could make it very hard for partners to take the necessary risks to work with us, if they don't think it's worth it. So...

TAPPER: To say nothing of what the intelligence community might do in retaliation if they feel like their backs are against a wall.

FLOURNOY: Exactly. Yes.

TAPPER: Thank you, one and all, for being here. Really appreciate it.

One hundred and sixty-four, that's the number of days since Donald Trump's last press conference, but he's promising to talk to reporters this Wednesday. What might he say without that 140-character limit?

That story is next.




TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.


TAPPER: That was Donald Trump at his last press conference on July 27th. When he meets the press this week, it will have been 167 days, and we're pretty sure Russia will be listening this time as well.

What does he need to say? Let's talk to our panel, Rick Santorum, former presidential candidate and senator from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress; and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart.

Senators, you are a hawk on the subject of Russia. What do you as a supporter of the president-elect and also somebody who views Vladimir Putin with clear eyes, what do you want him to say when the subject comes up at the press conference?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think what he will say is what President Bush said, what President Obama said which is that, you know, he's going to -- on the subject of Russia try to chart a new path and reset the relationship. And that he's tweeted many times that he's going to have a better relationship with Russia. President Obama said that. President Bush said that, and I think President Trump is going to try that.

President Obama failed, President Bush failed. Just about every other president has failed maybe with the exception of Ronald Reagan but that resulted in the collapse of Soviet Union. So I'm not particularly optimistic but I don't think it's necessarily an earth- shattering event that one of our major foes that -- and has certainly been a problem for our country that we have a new president who thinks he can do it better and he can -- and he can engage Russia in a way that's more constructive.

TAPPER: Neera, as a victim of the Russian hackers whose e-mails were released through WikiLeaks, what do you want to hear from president- elect Trump?

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I want him to state clearly what the intelligence agencies have now said to him to his face which is that Russia hacked this election in order to get him elected, help him win.


I don't understand why he cannot simply acknowledge that fact. He had his intelligence briefings. He's still misstating facts. He said they went -- they only went after Democrats. They never went after the Republicans. They did go after the Republicans. They haven't released that information.

And so I have to say I just do not understand why he will not basically state these facts, and the fact that he won't makes me worried. And that's why I think it's a little ridiculous that we haven't had a single investigation out of the House, 33 investigations in the House on Benghazi. This is an issue in which all of our intelligence agencies are saying this is a clear threat, not just for now but for the future, and I don't understand why the president- elect, why Trump will not say, I'm going to take action on this and why Speaker Ryan won't hold a single hearing on it.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the point is we've known about Russian hacking and Chinese hacking of institutions in this country for years. It is nothing new. We've had -- we've seen this before.


TANDEN: ... hearings.

STEWART: Why all of a sudden now during an election year?


TANDEN: Because they tried to -- they did -- they tried to get Donald Trump elect the. That's why it's a big deal.

When the Russians come into the United States, steal data and -- it's not only that. The also -- the intelligence agencies talked about fake news, it's a whole array of forces to undermine our democracy. I just -- I can't understand why people who have been claiming to be patriot and putting our country first won't take action. Why won't Speaker Ryan take action?

STEWART: The frustration with Trump and the Trump campaign is the Democrats' effort to undermine his victory.

He won this election fair and square to the electoral process...


STEWART: ... and now by focusing on the Russian hacking with regard to -- yes, we know that based on the evidence presented at the hearings that Putin did dictate influencing and hacking into the American institutions to influence the election...

TANDEN: I'm glad --


STEWART: ... but there has been zero evidence to prove whatsoever without a shadow of the doubt that it impacted the outcome of the election.

TANDEN: That's because the intelligence agencies -- please read the report, the intelligence agencies have said they can't determine that but obviously the fact that Donald Trump used it 164 times in the month of October shows you that there must have been something.

TAPPER: I want to bring you in, Nina. What do you make of all of this?

NINA TURNER (D), FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: I think the president- elect should say that Russia's meddling made a divisive election cycle even that much more divisive and that as the American president he will not tolerate that in any form or fashion from any -- any nation.

Now, the election was free and fair, you know. I do not believe that that meddling, as bad as it was, influenced the outcome. President- elect won the electoral college and he will be sworn in as president, but that being said as Americans, all of us, no matter what side we're on, should be very clear that no other nation has a right to meddle in our elections and that it won't be tolerated. And we as Americans have to make sure that something like this never ever happens again.

I'm not going to hold my breath, but president-elect Trump should make it very clear that he is America's president. TAPPER: Senator, what else do you want to hear from president-elect Trump when he speaks to reporters?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, on Russia on --

TAPPER: On anything.

SANTORUM: Well, look, I think the most important thing he needs to focus on is delivering on the agenda that he set and that's number one, repealing Obamacare. And I know there's a big fight about real and replace but we have to repeal Obamacare.

TAPPER: So you don't think it needs to be replaced immediately?

SANTORUM: I think it should be -- the process should be started to replace.

And there's a lot of discussion going on right now in the House and Senate as to how to do that. I'm frankly shocked that they don't have a plan, that they haven't really prepared for this. It's -- I know it's not going to be an easy thing to do, but they should have put a little bit more work into it than now here in the interim trying to figure out a plan forward.

It was always going to be difficult because the vast majority of people who got on to Obamacare, the millions of people who are added were not on Obamacare, they are on Medicaid.

TAPPER: Right.

SANTORUM: So there's a huge expansion of Medicaid that's occurred and how are you going to unwind that and transition people into the private sector?

I know there has been thinking about it but no one to at least to my knowledge to date has a real clear plan how to do that and that's a real big problem.

TAPPER: Everyone, stay right here. We're going to take a very quick break, pay some bill. We'll be right back.

Coming up, is Hillary Clinton working on her comeback? Rumor has it she might be eyeing to run for mayor of New York City? She is headed to the Big Apple? We will ask one of her closest confidants next.




CLINTON: I just have to say thanks for the endorsement, Bill. Took you long enough.



TAPPER: That was Hillary Clinton back in the day taking a jab at Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City for holding out on endorsing her last year. Is she about to get her revenge? De Blasio's soft poll numbers have led to talk of Hillary Clinton challenging his re- election bid and of course she would have dominion over a certain Manhattanite, president-elect Trump. So will she run?

The panel is back with me. Neera Tanden, confidant of Hillary Clinton and attendee at a recent Bill de Blasio fund-raiser...

TANDEN: Yes, the morning of the story.

TAPPER: ... is it possible that Hillary Clinton will run for mayor of New York City?

TANDEN: You know, I think she's going to find out ways to help kids and families. That has been -- what she's been focused on her whole life. There a lot of issues that are affecting him over the next couple of years but I don't expect her to ever run for any elected office again.

TAPPER: You don't ever (INAUDIBLE)?

TANDEN: Yes. That's my sense, you know. I don't expect her -- I don't expect her to run for this and I don't expect her to run for other office. I think her job is to -- what she's thinking about right now is how to help serve kid and families as she has her whole life.

TAPPER: All right. Let's leave that there.

I want to go back to Obamacare because the senator weighed in and I know a lot of people have thoughts. Here is Senator Chuck Schumer talking on January 4th about Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. Listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: They want to repeal it and then try to hang it on us. Not going to happen.



TAPPER: What do you want to see Democrats do if Republicans or when Republicans I should say repeal Obamacare?

TURNER: I mean, continue to fight. I mean, Jake, people in this country -- I mean, health care is the most fundamental thing that they have. Your wealth is your health. And for Republicans after 60 times of trying to repeal it, for them to not have a replacement in mind at this moment is scandalous.

You cannot just throw people out. 30 million people, their lives -- people their lives hang in the balance over this, and that is real. Health care is real, and -- and Democrats certainly understand that. It doesn't seem like Republicans do.

TAPPER: Alice, there are millions of Americans who now have health insurance because of the Medicaid expansion that was part of Obamacare and also there are millions of Americans who can now afford health insurance...


TAPPER: ... because of tax subsidies and stipends. Is it important that Republicans have something in mind for them before they take them away?

STEWART: That's clearly in the works. Schumer is exhibiting what we're seeing from a lot of Democrats imposing the Pottery Barn rule with regard to Obamacare that, you broke it, you own it. When the truth is it has been broken since its inception. And we've heard assurances from Speaker Ryan over the past week that they're not going to pull the rug out from underneath these people that have coverage. And vice president-elect Mike Pence said, look we're going to be promise keepers. This is a promise we made to voters. We were elected based on repealing and replacing Obamacare and they are committed to doing that just and making it a smooth transition.

TANDEN: You're absolutely right. Donald Trump said he would repeal and replace together. In fact, after the election he said he would repeal and replace together and there are 5 million people who voted for Donald Trump, at least 5 million, who are receiving health care because of the Affordable Care Act.

TAPPER: Because of the stipends or because of the Medicaid expansion?



TANDEN: And because of the exchanges and because of Medicaid. And those people trusted Donald Trump that they would know what their plan is. They expect the same or better and right now what Republicans are saying is, please jump off this cliff and we'll tell you where the net is on your way down.

They are not planning. No, the absolute truth is here, you were right. They should have a plan and they want -- the real plan right now is to tell you after the next election. Americans can see through that. 75 percent of Americans oppose that plan and I hope they listen to Donald Trump who is already raising questions about the strategy and give people the plan they are going to have as they vote to replace it

TAPPER: Here, senator, you saw Senator Rand Paul...


TAPPER: ... had said that President Trump committed to him repeal and replace, to have a replacement. When I asked Kellyanne Conway about it she had no commitment as to the timing, but you think how can the Republicans not have a replacement?

SANTORUM: Well, here's the interesting thing. And it's why Rand Paul I think is apoplectic and a lot of conservatives -- a lot of conservatives are saying we need a replacement in place and here's why.

Because if you repeal Obamacare, that means you repeal all -- and they will do it through reconciliation, taxes and spending, that's all they can touch. They can't touch a lot of policy which means they're going to get rid of the taxes. They're going to get rid of the fees. They're going to get rid of all the spending proposals, and so they are gone.

So what they will have to replace it which means they will have to vote for new taxes, new spending and conservatives are saying whoa, whoa, whoa. We're not going to do that.

TAPPER: Right.

SANTORUM: You've got to do it the same way so it doesn't look like we're a few months before the election --

TAPPER: You want the Obamacare taxes.

SANTORUM: We're going to want some of them and some of the -- some of the money that's there from Obamacare is going to have to be used or at least some version of it. It has to be used to finance a lot of the proposals that are being put forward to help subsidize the private insurance programs that are going to be put forward.

So there will be a replace -- a repeal and replace. I don't think that logistically they are going to put up a vote to repeal everything and then have to vote for a tax increase to put a new thing in place.

TAPPER: It's just a fascinating story. Nina, senator -- Alice, Rick -- Neera, thank you so much. Appreciate one and all. Happy New Year. Thanks for being here.

How do you get George Lucas, David Letterman, Meryl Streep to wait in line for a party? Wait in line? (INAUDIBLE) at the White House. Details from President Obama's final star-studded bash coming up next.



TAPPER: Welcome back. There was a huge party over the weekend and neither you nor I was invited.

President Obama opened the doors to his celebrity friends ranging from Chris Rock to Tom Hanks to half of the cast of "Seinfeld." One last blowout with moving day on the horizon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER (voice-over): The sidewalk outside the White House this weekend rivaled the Hollywood red carpet. And all over Instagram the stars were sharing their own snaps. Some said the party was deeply personal.

CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA HALL OF FAME PLAYER: It's a sentimental night. It's been great eight years. Been really amazing eight years. Never thought I'd see a black president in my lifetime.

TAPPER: Thanks to the Obamas black musicians and artists have been welcomed into the White House as they never have before. Such as at this concert last year.

OBAMA: While much of the music that you will hear this evening -- gospel, RNB, rap -- is rooted in the African-American experience. It's not just black music. This is an essential part of the American experience.

TAPPER: Comedian Dave Chappelle described that night as a transformative experience.

DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Everyone went into the West Wing of the White House and it was a huge party. And everybody in there was black except for Bradley Cooper for some reason.


TAPPER: Chappelle said it was more than a party for him. It was a moment in history.

CHAPPELLE: To my knowledge the first black person that was officially invited to the White House was Frederick Douglass. They stopped him at the gates.

Abraham Lincoln had to walk out himself and escort Frederick Douglass into the White House. I thought about that and I looked at that room and saw all those black faces, and Bradley, and I saw how happy everybody was. These people who had been historically disenfranchised. And it made me feel hopeful, and it made me feel proud to be an American.

LESLIE ODOM JR., ACTOR (singing): Barack Hussein Obama.


His name is Barack Hussein Obama. Eight years filled with drama, but man we love you like our mama.


TAPPER: Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. You can catch me here every Sunday and weekdays on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. You can also go to, STATE OF THE UNION, for extras from the show. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.