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Kellyanne Conway on Mitt Romney as Potential Pick for Secretary of State; The Election Recount According to Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein; Elian Gonzalez: Castro Was A Father To Me; Rubio: Obama "Pathetic" For Offering Condolences; Separated Twins "Ahead Of Schedule"; "War In Space: The Next Battlefield". Aired 2-3p ET

Aired November 27, 2016 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:02] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, recount ruckus.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: I was asked will Donald trump accept the election results and now you've got the democrats in Jill Stein saying they do not accept the election results.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's a legal right They will do it.


CONWAY: Do you think that Romney could be a loyal secretary of state for Donald Trump?

WHITEFIELD: Open dissent over Mitt Romney as US Secretary of state?

CONWAY: We don't even know if Mitt Romney voted for Donald Trump.


WHITEFIELD: CNN NEWSROOM, starts now. Hello everyone, thank you so much for watching, I'm Fredericka Whitfield. Donald trump will travel, from Florida back to his transition team headquarters in New York this afternoon. This, while a top aide says, the president-elect has been talking regularly with President Obama. The aide revealed the two had a 45-minute phone call yesterday after news broke of Fidel Castro's passing.

While Trump has meetings scheduled with eight potential advisers' tomorrow. He also seems to be focused on knocking down the rust belt recount. President elect Trump tweeted this, the democrats when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, as at the election night tabulation be accepted, not so anymore.

Yesterday, the Clinton campaign said, it will join the recount effort in Wisconsin being spearheaded by green party leader, Jill Stein. Stein has also been fund raising to file for a recount in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Let's bring in Ryan Nobles who is in palm beach where Trump spent his

thanksgiving, a holiday weekend. Ryan, this morning, Trump went on a twitter rant, quoting Clinton several times. Is this the start of something more?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's pretty clear, Fredericka, judging by what Donald Trump has been tweeting and what his closest aides have been saying publicly, is that, they view the Clinton campaign as being hypocritical, when it comes to this recount.

They are reminding us of the many times, that the Clinton camp accused Donald Trump as being unpatriotic, when he suggested there was a chance that the election could be rigged and now here we are after the votes already been cast and the Clinton campaign is joining in on the recount. Listen to what Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, told Dana Bash today.


CONWAY: He has incredibly gracious and magnanimous to secretary Clinton at a time when for whatever reason her folks are saying they will join in a recount to try to somehow undo the 70 plus electoral votes that he beat her by. I was asked on CNN and elsewhere, goodness, a thousand times, will Donald Trump accept the election results?

And now you've got the democrats in Jill Stein saying they do not accept the election results? She congratulated him and she conceded to him on election night. I was right there. And the idea we're going to drag this out now, where president -- the president-elect has been incredibly magnanimous to the Clintons and to the Obamas is pretty incredible.


NOBLES: Even though the Trump campaign doesn't think there's any there -- there when it comes to the recount and any shot of the Clinton campaign overturning the 100,000 some thousand vote lead that Donald Trump has combined in these three states that are in question. It's clear they are taking it seriously. They are not ignoring the effort in Wisconsin where the recount is under way. Trump has spent a lot of time himself talking about it.

He tweeted far more about this particular issue than he has his transition in the past couple of days or even the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. We'll have to see how this plays outgoing forward but Donald Trump set to leave the Mar-a-Lago resort here in just a couple of hours. As you already said, he has a busy few days planned in New York starting on Monday.

WHITEFIELD: All right, Ryan Nobles. Thank you so much.

Just a little over a month ago the tables were completely turned on this issue. Let's rewind to the final presidential debate where moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would accept the outcome of the election. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MODERATOR: Are you saying that you're not prepared now?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT ELECT: What I'm saying is that I'll tell you at that time. I'll keep you in suspense.


WHITEFIELD: Clinton called those remarks, horrifying and undemocratic in the days leading up to the election.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is not the way our democracy works. We've been around for 240 years and we've had free and fair elections and we have accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. He refused to say, he would respect the outcome of the election.

[14:05:05] Now -- make no mistake, make no mistake, my friends, this poses, a direct threat to our democracy.


WHITEFIELD: Let's talk more about this with Jay Newton Small, she is a contributor at Time Magazine and here, political analyst, Ron Brownstein, he is a senior editor at the Atlantic Magazine and CNN senior media analyst, Bill Carter. Good to see all of you. Ron, you first, is this recount, sour grapes or is it logical?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's being driven -- most important point it's not being driven by the Clinton campaign in the first instance much as they pointed out in the blog post from the council they would not have launched such a recount because they did not find actionable evidence of anything that required a recount nor as they pointed, has a recount ever produced a change in the vote sufficient to overturn the result in any of the states.

The odds of this mattering in the end in terms of the outcome is very slight. Look, this has been driven by the kind of the online response to the Green party. There's a certain inevitability to it. It does kind of add another layer of acrimony to the election. But at this point, given the way our politics works with so many conspiracy theories swirling around, on left or right. Maybe it's better off than not just clarifying what happened in these states.

WHITEFIELD: So Bill, it's green party driven, is that the difference as to why the media coverage may be different than during on the campaign trail when Trump said it was rigged versus this recount being called post-election?

BILL CARTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA ANALYST: Well, obviously, if you say something is rigged, you're bringing in a whole aspect of there being a nefarious thing going on. And this doesn't sound like that, this sounds like someone saying, she's doing this, we'll go along with it. We are not saying it will change the outcome. We're not saying it was rigged.

It's a whole different thing here. With the Trump campaign complaining about this, what would they had done had this been a reverse situation and they won the popular vote by more than two million votes and lost by a 100 thousand votes, they would have been like calling for a revolution of sorts if they felt like they were cheated. It's sort of hypocritical for them to now say it was sour grapes. They would have made a much bigger stink than we're seeing now.

WHITEFIELD: Bernie Sanders was on the state of the union today, he said, he doesn't believe there is a smoking gun in this recount. Listen.


SANDERS: Green party has the legal right to do it. We have recounts probably almost every election has a recount. No one expects there to be profound change but there's nothing wrong with going through the process.


WHITFIELD: So Jay, might anything come from this recount?

JAY NEWTON SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: No, Fred. This is not going to be a Bush v Gore in 2000, you're not going to have hanging chads in Florida and following the trucks with the ballots down the highway with helicopters. There's not going to be any drama in this recount. He has margins of tens of thousands of votes in all three states questioned.

We're looking at Wisconsin where they have requested a recount but also the Stein campaign wants to look at Michigan and Pennsylvania as well. Even if you recount all three of those states, he has won by at least 11 thousand votes, if not 70 thousand votes as in Pennsylvania, there's no way the recounts will turn those states. Really this is just perfunctory, if there are questions, it settles those questions. If Donald Trump had lost this campaign, you would expect similar sort of recounts.

He was the one who was saying he wouldn't necessarily accept the outcome of the election. It's a healthy process to go through a recount and it kind of happens as around we are seeing in every election going back to Bush v Gore if not further. We'll see what happens.

WHITFIELD: Two million vote spread in the popular vote between them, which you saw the full screen. And you took me back to 2000. Many of us spent many weeks in Florida on that recount. The Washington Post is reporting that the Russian government was behind much of this fake news that circulated online in the final weeks of the election. Bill, do you believe voters were influenced by any Russian inspired fake news?

CARTER: I don't know -- if you can say that, that they were influenced by it. There's a whole lot of thing about this election that were strange. The FBI thing is way more influential probably than the Russian thing. But having that as a factor is just disturbing and people ought to pay attention it, whether it changed the election or not, we can never say and probably shouldn't say.

At some point it's not going to change the result and people are going to have to accept it. But it is a really unusual circumstance and having one candidate now with the biggest margin of popular vote than anyone had over the winter, it's a staggeringly unusual situation.

[14:10:10] WHITFIELD: OK. Within days of Trump's win, Donald Trump sat down with President Obama and Ron, Obama offered to have discussions and even counselled Trump along the way. First in that meeting, they talked about Obamacare. Listen to what Kellyanne Conway said on "Meet the Press" Today.


CONWAY: Leaders listen, they learn, they take the council of many people, they see what the circumstances are and he's even been talking to President Obama beyond the sit down they had 30 hours or so after president elect trump won the election, they've been talking regularly on any number of issues. They talked just yesterday.


WHITFIELD: And they talked about the US-Cuba policy and the warming of relations in large part credited with President Obama. Ron, does this mean that the President Obama is using this opportunity to get assurances that the work he has done won't be scrapped?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, a lot of work he's done is vulnerable to being scrapped because of the standoff with the republican congress on the second term, most of his key initiatives were done through executive action or regulation which can be undone. In the regulation case it's more difficult but it can be undone by a succeeding administration. The president has clearly laid out a two-track strategy for dealing with Donald Trump.

I think he is trying as much as possible to influence choices on a range of issues from climate to deferred action for the dreamers and other issues but also laid out the possibility if Donald Trump goes in the direction that he laid out during the campaign of seeking to systemically undo much of his agenda, President Obama said last Sunday in Peru, he laid out the possibility of becoming much more vocal and active than we have seen previous presidents do, in terms of resisting policies of their successor. I think there's both the carrot and the stick that he's offering at this point in relations with Donald Trump.

WHITFIELD: So Jay, is this how transitions go? Remembered President Obama said George W Bush was extremely gracious in that handover period during that transition. SMALL: No, it's actually not at all how transitions go. Certainly

bush was very gracious but I don't think you saw Obama and bush talking an enormous amount during that transition and Bush really disappeared from public eye immediately. There was no question that he was going to sort of look and no threat, that he might lurk around or weigh in on Obama's policies. He went off and became a painter. So, but I think what President Obama is saying here, that he's not going to go off and be a painter, he is going to remain relevant to public life.

If he sees things that he doesn't like happening, he's going to be unabashed in voicing his opposition to that. That would be very unusual for a former president. Even Bill Clinton when he left office or almost every other president George H W Bush and Carter, the living ones, none of them did that. All of them at least gave the current president a little bit of honeymoon and sort of time to use the office, even if later on they weighed in and became critical of certain things. It's very unusual to layout that threat right from the get-go.

WHITFIELD: Alright, thanks to all of you. Bill carter, thanks you so much, and Jay Newton Small and Ron Brownstein, thank you again and we will see when we come back shortly. Still to come, Kellyanne Conway weighing in on Trump's potential pick for secretary of state.




CONWAY: I'm all for party unity but I'm not sure we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back, the infighting within President Elect Donald Trump transition team is out on full display. This morning on "STATE OF THE UNION", Kellyanne Conway was critical of former candidate Mitt Romney as possible US secretary of state.


CONWAY: The first job of any secretary of state is to support and work directly for and advise the president whom you work. I felt compelled to mention it because it's just breath taking in scope and intensity the type of messages I received from all over the country. Donald Trump, the number of people who feel betrayed to think that a governor Romney would get the most prominent cabinet post after he went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump, there was the never trump movement and Mitt Romney.

He gave speeches against Donald Trump and attacked his character. I never heard him come out and say, I have problem with x, y and z. But that 25 million job creation plan over the next ten years is something to look at. The fact that he will reduce the capital gains tax and tax on employers and businesses, none of that was ever said. And his -- I mean the Romney consultants were the worst to all of us including Mr. Trump.

Their twitter feeds were complete, 100 percent anti-Trump's creed. And if president-elect trump chooses Mitt Romney as a secretary of state or whomever he chooses that will have the full support and backing of all of us. I respect the brilliance and judgment and sheer instincts of president-elect Trump to form his cabinet as he wishes but I feel compelled to come forward on behalf of the people who were weighing in.

DANA BASH, CNN ACHOR: Absolutely. We know you have been supportive of president-elect Trump and his decisions. But it sounds like you personally, not just you have been receiving criticisms and concerns about Mitt Romney but you personally have concerns about a potential secretary of state Mitt Romney for Donald Trump.

CONWAY: I'm not sure my personal concerns matter --

BASH: But am I wrong to say that?

CONWAY: You are not wrong to say that because governor Romney went out of his way -- I also think it's Donald Trump who has shown he has political instincts. Governor Romney ran for the same office four years ago and lost spectacularly. It's Donald Trump who won


306 electoral votes, won states like Michigan. Mitt Romney lost Michigan by ten points. Donald Trump won Wisconsin for first time since 1984, won Pennsylvania, won Florida and Ohio, all of these states who were elusive to the last couple of nominees and the other thing is, Dana.

I know there are candidates being considered apart from the ones that are just being covered more commonly in the media. Apart from that, governor Romney in the last four years, has he been around the globe doing something on behalf of the United States of which we're unaware? Did he go and intervene in Syria where they are having a massive humanitarian crisis, meaning when I say intervene like offer to help, has he been helpful to Mr. Netanyahu?

In other words, I'm all for party unity but not sure we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position. But again, let me repeat what Donald Trump decides, Kellyanne Conway and everyone else will respect.


WHITFIELD: I want to bring back our panel to discuss. Jay Newton Small and Ron Brownstein. Ron, you first, she said she believes in Trump's brilliance in his decision-making but she also as you heard it right there, rattled off many reasons why Mitt Romney is not the right choice, beginning with his lack of support of Trump early on. What's the motivation behind saying this? Even tweeting it earlier before she went on "STATE OF THE UNION". BROWNSTEIN: Can we start with the obvious? We've never seen anything

like this before. Maybe we'll say that an awful lot over the next four years. But the idea of the senior advisor -- someone who is still titled as senior adviser, former campaign manager, publicly campaigning against a potential candidate for a cabinet office, being considered by the president-elect, nothing like this has really ever happened.

She didn't want Mitt Romney to be secretary of state and reflects the views of a lot of hard core trump supporters who indicates that Romney in fact was more critical of Donald Trump than any former nominee has ever been, condemning not only his policy experience but personal qualities plus they have the policy disagreements.

On issues like Russia, where Mitt Romney talked about a harder line and Donald Trump is cruelly looking although he doesn't want to use the word for another reset. I think the main thing about this is if you -- as we talked about before, the breach between Donald Trump and intellectual infrastructure on the foreign policy side of the republican party is even greater than on the domestic side.

If you're one of those deputy secretaries or assistant secretaries and you are watching the way this has played out, would this make you more likely to hesitate or more likely to run the other way? I think this could have a big ripple effect, not only on the top job but who is available to look at for these secondary positions?

WHITFIELD: So Jay, is Kellyanne Conway publicly floating a conclusion that Romney will not get the position so he doesn't have to?

SMALL: She's lobbying Donald Trump on this but made she made it very clear that he has not made up his mind and she would respect whatever decision that he would make.

Look, this sort of thing although to a much less public way has happened often times in the past, when Hillary Clinton was first floated as Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of state, there were a lot of staff members who still had a huge amount of sour grapes for Hillary Clinton because they thought she dragged out the primaries too long that she went to negative on Barack Obama and they were so really angry at the Clinton campaign for that.

They felt betrayed by Obama for choosing Hillary Clinton. Same story with Colin Powell, he was not part of the team that elected George W Bush president in 2000 and brought in over the objections of a lot of the neo-cons. This has happened before but not so publicly.

BROWNSTEIN: Not on Sunday television shows really, not seen that before.

WHITFIELD: So kind of a step beyond the team of rival's kind of psychology here. So 2. 0. Ron, we're hearing new names from a transition source of possible secretary of state picks, General John Kelly, David Petraeus, Rudy Giuliani and of course, Mitt Romney, we mentioned him. Any singular message behind such a variation? BROWNSTEIN: Look, Donald Trump on foreign policy represents a significant change of course from what has been the republican consensus since Dwight Eisenhower beat Robert Taft in 1952, he is skeptical of the internationalism that has guided republican foreign policy thinking on alliances, on trade, and on immigration, over the last 60 years and it is unclear exactly where he can find someone who is compatible


with that vision within a republican foreign policy infrastructure. There aren't that many people who express the views I ran on.

Then the other complication as explored in the extraordinary New York Times story, multiple pages detailing the level of their engagement with countries abroad, their investments abroad. Ivanka Trump, participating in a phone call with the Leader of Turkey at a time where they are building towers in Turkey during this transition and as secretary of state, you would have to be navigating the waters of dealing with US interests and Trump interests and how they ultimately separate those. So, this is not an easy pick for them to make.

Someone like Bob Corker would be very reassuring to the republican foreign policy kind of infrastructure but again, with the being viewed as a betrayal by many of the Trump supporters. Finding someone who shares his vision and as credible as secretary state is not an easy needle to thread.

SMALL: If I can add on that, you saw Kellyanne Conway talk about appeasing the establishment and maybe this isn't the right cabinet pick to do.

Certainly, Nikki Haley was viewed as somewhat of an appeasement to the establishment because she was very vocal in her discontent with Donald Trump but there has to be some establishment in his cabinet and bridging from the republican party, sort of establishment republicans and this sort of angry right wing of the base that elected Donald Trump. If you don't bridge and the entire cabinet is angry bomb throwers, it's going to be hard to get stuff done.

WHITFIELD: And it's interesting, even this morning, Ted Cruz made some reference to appeasing the GOP to a certain extent, even saying it could be a possible revolt if Donald Trump doesn't deliver on certain messages. This is Ted Cruz on "This Week" today.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If we're given the Whitehouse and both houses of congress and we don't deliver, I think they'll be pitch forks and torches in the street and I think, quite rightly -- I think, people are so fed up with Washington, this election was a mandate with change and most catastrophic thing republicans could do is go back to business as usual.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Ted Cruz was asked by Martha Raddatz about how Trump appears to have changed his position on certain things, from repealing and replacing Obamacare and positions on climate change. Is it a significant problem if Donald Trump does not deliver on campaign promises which fired up his support?

BROWNSTEIN: I think he has moved last than some of the top line positioning which just for example on climate, talked about not necessarily leaving the Paris climate agreement but he is dead set on repealing the cleaning power plan, which is principle way by which the US would meet its obligations under the climate. Same thing, with Obamacare.

If you're going to repeal subsidies and end exchanges, you functionally repealed Obamacare, even if you try to keep things around the edges. Ted Cruz is right; we have not had a lot of unified control of government since 1968. Over the last 48 years, one party has controlled the Whitehouse, the senate and the house, the way republicans do now for only 12 of the 48 years and never for longer than four years at a time.

The country has not been willing to give one side the keys for very long in modern American politics. And republicans are now, kind of, are squarely in the center. They have the ball and whether they can produce results over the next two and four years to generate support to sustain this majority, Ted Cruz is asking the right question. Alright, Jay Newton Small and Ron Brownstein, thanks so much to both of you appreciate it.

SMALL: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Elian Gonzalez, remember that name and that little boy? He's actually reacting to Fidel Castro's death. How he calls him a friend and says he was like another father. You'll hear from him next.


[14:31:42] WHITFIELD: A father figure, a role model and a friend, that's how Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban castaway rescued 16 years ago, remember him, he's remembering now former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. Elian was just 5 years old when he was floating in an inner tube off the Florida coast.

His mother and other Cuban died trying to escape the communist island and it was this iconic image that captured the crisis in Cuba. Elian being taken from his family in the U.S. after several months living with relatives there.

And then Attorney General Janet Reno had Gonzalez forcibly removed to return him to his father still back in Cuba. Now fast forward to today, news of Castro's death is prompting celebrations in Cuba.

You're looking live as people pour into the streets of Miami, reveling in the death of Castro. Many Cuban exiles blasting the former ruler as an unmerciful dictator. But Elian, who is 22 years old, like many others in Cuba, are in mourning. Live pictures of Havana right now. Our Boris Sanchez who was born in Cuba joins me right now in Miami.

So Boris, you're seeing the real contrast of people who are celebrating the death there in Miami in contrast to people who are in mourning in Havana. So what is being said by Elian Gonzalez, who is now an adult about the late Fidel Castro?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, that story, the Elian Gonzalez saga really encapsulates the polarity that people feel about Fidel Castro, the contrasting views and obviously celebration going on here in Miami right now is about a third, maybe a quarter of the size of what it was yesterday.

There are still people playing music, waving flags and holding signs. Some of them with mementos of family members that passed away and couldn't be here for a moment that a lot of people in the exiled community were looking forward to for a long time.

You compare that to Cuba, it is completely different, nine days of mourning, a somber tone and obviously what you heard from Elian Gonzalez who say he looked up to Fidel as a father figure. Listen.


ELIAN GONZALEZ, FORMER SUBJECT OF INTERNATIONAL CUSTODY DISPUTE (through translator): He is a father who like my father. I wanted to show him everything I achieved. That he would be proud of me. That's how it was with Fidel. If I learned something and wanted to show him and there are still many things I want to show him.


SANCHEZ: Fred, people here that I've talked to specifically about Elian point out the fact that his mother and so many others risked their lives to flee Castro's system.

They see Elian mostly as a prop of communist regime, as a prop of Fidel to get back at the United States, and viewed as United States of imperialists' motives and having Elian Gonzalez stay in this country.

The iconic image of Elian being forcibly removed from his home. It's something that many people here remember and so he's not exactly warmly received here in Miami the way that he was when he was a young boy.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sancehz, thank you so much in Miami. I covered that saga of Elian Gonzalez for many weeks in South Florida and remember when he was returned to his father in Havana. The incredible celebrations taking place in Cuba.

There's even a park memorial site there in Havana in honor of Elian Gonzalez being reunited with his dad. All right, thanks so much, Boris Sanchez, there in Miami. We'll have much more straight ahead after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been one of the fiercest critics of the late Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. When Castro died this weekend, Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants called Castro, quote, "An evil murderous dictator."

On CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" today, Rubio was asked about President- elect Trump's statements that he wants a new deal with Cuba.


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: So Senator, just to be clear, do you feel confident that a President-elect Trump when in office will roll back the openings that President Obama put in place?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll take him at his word for it. That's what he said he was going to do. And number two, I'm a lot more confident in him doing it than I would have been in Hillary Clinton doing it, which I'm sure she would not have.

So again, are we intend to play an active role in making suggestions and providing guidance about what we specifically think needs to happen.

So far he has said all of the right things, I know they've had good people advising them on issue as well. So I certainly have confidence that he's going to do the right thing when it comes to Cuba.

BASH: Senator, you called President Obama pathetic for offering condolences to Fidel Castro's family, but you know, he wasn't the only world leader to do so and even Pope Francis sent a telegram exposing sentiments of sorrow. As a practicing Catholic, what's your reaction to that?

RUBIO: Well, as a practicing Catholic, I believe in the theological authority of the bishop of Rome, and that's what Pope Francis is. On political matters, however, particularly on foreign policy issues, I don't necessarily believe that that binds those of us in the faith in terms of issues of foreign policy.

I still respect it, but it's a very different thing. Pope Francis is the leader of a religious organization like Roman Catholic Church. Barack Obama is the president of the most powerful country in the world.

What I call pathetic is not mentioning whatsoever in that statement the reality that there are thousands upon thousands of people who suffered brutally under the Castro regime.

[14:40:07]He executed people. He jailed people for 20 to 30 years. The Florida straits, there are thousands of people who lost their lives fleeing his dictatorship. And not to acknowledge any of that in the statement I felt was pathetic, absolutely. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Last month we witnessed the incredible surgery that separated conjoined twins. Coming up, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes an exclusive look at how the boys are doing now.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Last time, we are in this room, they were conjoined and he seems pretty happy with the outcome. You're sticking your tongue out at me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's a new trick.



WHITFIELD: Last month CNN got an exclusive look at the surgery that separated conjoined twins. Jadon and Anias McDonald were connected at the head and the world has been captivated by their story. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, caught up with the family to see how the twins are recovering.


GUPTA (voice-over): When Nicole McDonald got to hold her son, Jadon, for the first time, it was as if she saw him for the first time.

NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: As a mother you know when you hold your child, you know every bit of their face, his face also encompassed to Anias is. So my first moment of relearning his face.

[14:45:02]GUPTA: Jadon and Anias are literally one in 2.5 million. They were born craniopagus twins, conjoined at the head, sharing between 1.5 inches to 2 inches of brain tissue. After over a year of planning, last month the boys were separated after a 27-hour long operation at Children's Hospital in the Bronx.

The McDonalds have allowed CNN to follow their journey from surgery through rehab exclusively.

(on camera): Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Hey, buddy. Hi! The last time we are in this room, they are on a --

MCDONALD: They were in one bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stick your tongue out at me.

MCDONALD: That's a new trick.

GUPTA (voice-over): For the McDonalds this entire month has been full of first times. The first time in separate beds. First time being held, first time seeing each other, but it has not been easy to get here. The boys have battled infections, fevers, and seizures. It's been particularly trying for Anias.

MCDONALD: Serious infections close to the brain. Skin involvement, they had to take, you know the bone out of Anias. They had to take skin out, for Anias, there is never a break.

GUPTA: Despite all of that, the boys' doctors are so brazed with their progress. Dr. James Goodrich is the boys' neurosurgeon.

(on camera): You said he was right or ahead of schedule even. Is there a schedule because it is so rare.

DR. JAMES GOODRICH, NEUROSURGEION, THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AT MONTEFORE MEDICAL CENTER: They are just dealing with traumatic cases, people with injuries. Recovery times in months and sometimes years. We're at a month. This is one month out, this to me is incredibly fast.

GUPTA: Do you feel like you have permission or do you allow yourself now to think about the future with regard to Jadon and Anias?

MCDONALD: I think about their future all the time. I think about the first time they go to a park, and getting married someday. And I thought through their whole future 100 times.

CHRISTIAN MCDONALD, FATHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: It's not that I'm not optimistic, I guess, I'm just more curious what the future holds for them, but I guess I don't want to get my hopes up. I just take it one day at a time.

GUPTA (voice-over): But each day continues to bring more blessings. The day I visited, Nicole and Christian got to see Jadon without his head dressings for the first time.

(on camera): What's that like? First time without the dressings.

NICOLE MCDONALDS: It is amazing. It's the most amazing thing, I can't believe it, look at his little hair on top growing in.

So when I see them laying in their beds whole, and generally healthy, and I think mentally with it, and moving forward, I don't just see that miracle, that separation miracle, but the miracles that took place every step of the way.


GUPTA: Fred, I think the images speak for themselves. It really brings a smile to my face, I'm sure yours as well. What you've seen is incredibly rare, one in 2.5 million pregnancies result in babies conjoined at the head.

A smaller percentage making it all the way to delivery and even smaller percentage making it up to the age of 2. Then these boys have the incredible resources of a place like Montefore Hospital.

Obviously many children don't have that. This separation is incredibly rare for all those reason and the doctor who performed the operation, the world's expert in this area said this was the most challenging separation he's ever done and now still one of the most rapid recoveries he's ever seen.

So some good news in there. Fred, next stop for the boys will be rehabilitation. They are going to learn to sit up and learn to crawl and learn to walk. They are going to learn all of the other things they would have learned had they not been conjoined. In many ways it's a second birthday for them and they get a second shot at things. Fred, back to you.

WHITFIELD: That is so sweet. So uplifting. Thank you so much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta for bringing us the incredible story. We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right, checking our top stories, New Mexico police have made an arrest in connection to a string of vandalism attacks at three different Starbucks locations in Albuquerque. The FBI says suspicious devices were left at the coffee shops. One caused minimal damage. Luckily no one was injured. The FBI has not named the suspect nor released a motive.

And ten people have been shot, one fatally in the New Orleans French Quarter section. The shooting happened around 1:30 this morning on Bourbon Street where crowds were gathered for the bayou classic football festivities. It's unclear what led to the shooting. Two men, including a victim have been arrested for illegal gun possession. The investigation is ongoing.

This week in a new CNN special report, the next arms race is beginning and it's taking shape thousands of miles above us, in space. CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, investigates the new weapons built to disable or destroy U.S. satellites and the crippling consequences for a nation reliant on space for everything from GPS, to communications, and to military might.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're more dependent on space than anyone else. That's why we're more powerful, but it also means if you pull it away from us, we're really bad off.



SCIUTTO (voice-over): That vulnerability begins with the crucial GPS system. With GPS down or severely damaged, the U.S. is dragged suddenly back in time.

(on camera): What would the U.S. military, this gargantuan apparatus, what would it look like without space? If that light switch was switched off because of a comprehensive attack?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like Vietnam or Korean War. It's industrial aged war fair.

[14:55:11]SCIUTTO: The U.S. military got an alarming taste of life without space in 2010. When a technical glitch in the GPS system caused devastating problems for U.S. forces across the globe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had literally tens of thousands of U.S. military systems, everything from aircraft carriers down to individual Humvees that couldn't navigate. They didn't know where they were and where everyone else was in the system. That was a glitch. It was doxing (ph) for a couple of days. Take that, move it into war, that's the impact of the kind of conflicts might happen in you lose space.


WHITFIELD: "War in Space, The Next Battlefield" with CNN's Jim Sciutto airs Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.

All right, coming up, Donald Trump is heading back to New York after spending down time in Florida. This as we learn he has been talking with President Obama regularly.

Plus, what type of first lady will Melania Trump be? We'll talk to the author of the book "First Women."


WHITFIELD: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, recount raucous.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was asked a thousand times will Donald Trump accept the election results and now you got the Democrats and Jill Stein saying they do not accept the election.