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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Slams Boeing's Deal For New Air Force One; Dems Urge Senators Not To Meet With Trump For Jobs; GOP Breaks With Trump On Threat To Tax Companies; Flynn Under Fire: Trump Adviser Facing Backlash; In Spotlight Today: Obama Doctrine Versus Trump Doctrine; Warning About Plot To Blow Up L.A. Subway System. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired December 6, 2016 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- be in Baltimore with live coverage of the Army/Navy games starting on Friday -- Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: It sounds like you have a fun weekend ahead, my friend. (Inaudible), thank you very much and thank you all for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in for Carol Costello. "AT THIS HOUR" with Berman and Bolduan begins right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. In a president-elect transition first, Donald Trump answered questions from reporters gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower. More like question, but it's more than he's done in a long, long time. The headline from the president-elect, yes, to good candidates for the administration but no to Air Force One, at least the new one.

BOLDUAN: Trump tweeted this morning that he'd like to see canceled the order, cancel the order for the new plane which is to replace some of the aging Air Force One fleet in operation right now. Here is why according to the president-elect this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, the plane is totally out of control. It's going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program and I think it's ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money. OK, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: But how much is too much money to make, really. CNN's Jessica Schneider is outside Trump Tower right now asking that very question. So Jessica, do you we know why the president-elect is taking this issue on, Air Force One, why is he taking this on right now?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't really know, Kate. We've been waiting for a press conference from the president-elect. Perhaps this is the closest that we'll get. Inside the lobby at Trump Tower this morning, Donald Trump being asked one question, giving one answer as to exactly what he meant and why he tweeted out at 8:52 this morning.

Of course, Donald Trump taking to his favorite mode of communication, Twitter. He put out this message just before 9:00 this morning, saying, "Boeing is building brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control. More than $4 billion." Then he demanded "cancel order."

Of course, in the lobby of Trump Tower Donald Trump saying we want Boeing to make money, we just don't want them to make that much money. Now to break down the numbers for you and to be clear, the Air Force has allocated $2.9 billion through 2021 for a new fleet of Air Force Ones.

That includes two new Air Force Ones, but the order actually hasn't been placed just yet. It would replace those 747-200s with 747-8s. Now this isn't completely unprecedented. When President Obama took office, he did cancel an order for 28 new helicopters in the Marine One fleet that was totaling about $11 billion. That order was later replaced and modified.

But does Donald Trump actually mean what he says when he writes on his Twitter cancel order? Of course, we've seen Donald Trump spouting off on Twitter before. It remains to be seen whether he actually means what he tweets -- Kate and John.

BERMAN: Or if this is the beginning of a negotiating point. Jessica, what about Mike Flynn, the incoming national security adviser? A lot of talk about his son right now and what role he may or may not have in the transition. His son had tweeted and sent around fake news stories and also conspiracy theories including having to do with the pizza place that man with a gun was picked up in in Washington the other day.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, John, a lot of uproar about these fake news stories that continue to be circulated and disseminated and Lt. General Michael Flynn's son is now sort of at the center of this controversy. Now we do understand that Michael G. Flynn, the son, does have a government transition e-mail address. But despite that, VP-elect Mike Pence saying very firmly this morning he is not, in fact, involved in the transition process. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, General Flynn's son has no involvement in the transition whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a transition e-mail.

PENCE: Well, he has no involvement in the transition whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None at all?

PENCE: General Flynn is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you that again. I just want to underline that -- PENCE: Looking forward to working --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're running the transition, right?

PENCE: I am, I'm chairing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are saying as head of the transition that Flynn's son is not involved at all in the transition?

PENCE: No, no, he's not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: So now there's even some pushback against the nomination of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security adviser to Donald Trump because of what his son is tweeting and saying. In fact, he's distributing and decimating some of those fake news stories.

In particular, the one called "pizza gate" that accuses a D.C. pizza shop of actually running a sex ring that is connected to the Clintons. Of course, all of that baseless. But Michael G. Flynn, the son, did take to Twitter recently, saying this, in fact, saying until pizza gate is proven false, these stories will continue.

So this is a hot topic, one that's generated a lot of controversy. A lot of pushback as well, these fake news stories -- John and Kate.

BOLDUAN: The transition clearly trying to make clear now that he is not part of the transition. Great to see you, Jessica.

BERMAN: Not now.

BOLDUAN: Not at this moment. He no longer will be with it. Great to see you, Jessica, thank you so much.

[11:05:09]Also new this morning, Democrats are essentially asking, pleading, begging their Democratic colleagues, please don't go. Urging Democratic senators from red states to turn down any offer that may come from Donald Trump to serve in his cabinet.

BERMAN: There is concern about an even bigger shift in the balance of power if Senate Democrats are picked for a Trump administration. Let's bring in CNN senior political reporter, Manu Raju, with the latest on that -- Manu.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, good morning, guys. Absolutely, there's a lot of concern among top Senate Democrats because if Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, or Heidi Heitkamp, the North Dakota Democrat would join Donald Trump, it would be so much harder for their party to keep the Senate seats in their party's hands come the 2018 elections.

When it will already be difficult for the Senate Democrats to regain the majority and for Heidi Heitkamp in particular, if she were to join Donald Trump's administration, there would be special election within 95 days of that vacancy and there is a very good chance there will be a Democratic, Republican pickup in that very red state.

Now I talk to Senate Minority Whip, Dick Durbin, yesterday and he told me, I certainly hope they stay with us. We need them, America needs them. Senate incoming Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, actually told his colleagues at a private lunch on Thursday, said, if you guys are having discussions with Donald Trump, that's fine, but keep us apprised of where these discussions go.

Now Heidi Heitkamp is having further discussions. She told us yesterday that she is speaking with Reince Priebus, Donald Trump's incoming chief of staff, about a possible job, as well as Joe Manchin, having the discussion later this week, with Donald Trump. We don't know what position they're in line for just yet. A lot of speculation, it could be a cabinet post, guys.

BOLDUAN: Manu, at the same time, there seems to be maybe the first rift or signs a first rift emerging between the president-elect and the Republican Congress. This over the 35 percent tariff that Donald Trump has threatened on companies that move jobs overseas. How serious is this? What are you hearing?

RAJU: Well, there's not a lot of support among top Republicans for this idea. Yesterday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told me and other reporters that this could potentially start a trade war if this were to go forward.

And I just had a chance to ask the House Speaker Paul Ryan about this idea. He really side-stepped the idea, whether or not he supports or opposes this. He said, we need to look at broader tax reform.

So they're talking about doing a broad rewrite of the tax code. Not something that would necessarily punish companies on a 35 percent tax. Really goes against Republican orthodoxy to go that route. So that's why you're not hearing a lot support for that idea, guys.

BOLDUAN: It's been an interesting position, that's for sure. Manu, great to see you. Thanks so much. A lot going on in Capitol Hill right now.

Let's discuss. With us right now Alex Burns, a CNN political analyst and national political reporter for "The New York Times." Dana Bash is here, CNN's chief political correspondent, Carl Higbie, a Donald Trump supporter and a Navy SEAL, and Basil Smikle, executive director of the New York State Democratic Party. Great to see all of you.

Dana, to what Manu was talking about just a second ago, Democrat Chuck Schumer saying please stay here, don't leave us, don't hurt us, I don't know what you're thinking but please. What is in it then do you think for senators like Heidi Heitkamp or Joe Manchin having these meetings, what's in it for them to stay or go?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it's one thing to be one of a hundred, which is what you are as a senator in the minority for both of them, which obviously gives them a lot more power than it would if they were a Democrat in the minority in the House.

But it's another thing to be the head a government agency and if that is what Donald Trump ends up offering either/or both of them, you know, depending on what they want to do with their lives ultimately, then that could be something that could be hard to pass up.

So that's why it's possible that they're considering it. Look, these are two of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. Senate so it's not surprising that if Donald Trump is following what really has been tradition over the past several presidencies to put one or two members of the other party in your cabinet, then it's not surprising that he's looking at those two.

It just happens that he also would have the sort of byproduct of making some mischief as Chuck Schumer made pretty clear for Democrats.

BERMAN: So can we talk tariffs, Alex? What's going on in Congress right now? How far -- Paul Ryan saying, well, you know, we want to look at corporate taxes. He doesn't want to talk about the 35 percent tax, you know, tariff. By the way, neither did Mike Pence this morning on MSNBC. He wouldn't answer questions on a theory. How big of a rift do you think is emerging?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this is a rift that we've seen from almost the first day Donald Trump announced for president that he is when it comes to the role of the government in the economy, he is fundamentally different place in the Republican Party as a conservative party has been for decades.

And Republicans, you know, they admire the way Trump won the election. They see his success in the rust belt. They see him doing these sort of trophy announcements like the Carrier deal, maybe eventually some kind of deal with Boeing and they liked the idea of kind of grandstanding around these issues.

[11:10:12]But when it comes down to it, as a matter of broad Democratic policy is folks like Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, I think clearly most of the Republican Senate would not be terribly comfortable with the idea of this kind of heavy handed, you know, this policy that could come from the AFL-CIO in the 1980s.

BOLDUAN: Carl, Donald Trump, he needs Congress on this. I mean, if he really wants to put in place some punishing 35 percent tax on companies, to punish companies, he needs Congress. What does he do here?

CARL HIGBIE, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Here's the thing. Donald Trump knows that the Chinese have been bending us over on trade for quite some time now. So what's going to happen here is he's going to say this 35 percent tax and the Chinese know if they go in a trade war with us, it is mutually destructive.

The Chinese economy cannot sustain as much as we can. It just can't. I mean, it might, you know, they might be stealing all our jobs from us, but if we start slapping on these tariffs, it's not good for either of us.

What Donald Trump is banking on, this is the guy who has literally written a book and lived a life of leverage. He understands that China is going to come to the table and work with us on this no matter what.

BERMAN: So this the Air Force One thing is all negotiating is what you're saying?

HIGBIE: I think so. I mean, you start over here. If you want to get to here, I mean, you have people on both sides. You start far. This is what the left has been doing. That's how they got Obamacare. That's how they passed a lot of the things. They started far left. They came just a little bit and the Republicans came all the way over on it.

BERMAN: This is the first time I've heard a Republican say the Democrats came other on Obamacare.

HIGBIE: Just a little bit.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Didn't they just jam it through a partisan Congress? Basil, your thoughts on this?

BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: This is the thing, I mean, going to your point earlier, this is the challenge with Donald Trump, right, he vacillates between being this sort of typical Republican, you can see that by a lot of his cabinet positions, people that are month more ideological than he is, in many ways much more conservative. But then also talking about this 35 percent tax, Hillary Clinton actually talked about this exit tax during her campaign and obviously Republicans weren't going to be happy with that.

BERMAN: So you're cool with this, Democrats are cool with this?

SMIKLE: Well, she talked about it. This was one of her campaign platform proposals. This was talking about trying to keep jobs here in the U.S. and providing this --

BOLDUAN: Is this triangulation?

BERMAN: No, serious, Basil, I mean, is this something Democrats could get in line with on Donald Trump?

SMIKLE: In this current environment, you know, I'm not so sure. I'd actually reserve my comment. In February, we're actually electing a new DNC chair. I imagine that there's going to be some more conversations about how to push forward. So owing to going back to the conversation about Democrats and Chuck Schumer, there has to be a conversation about where we go from here.

Not being obstructionists but talking about smart policy. So I'd hate to see those two senators go if they indeed do, but we are going to need them to sort of continue this conversation especially on taxation.

BOLDUAN: Dana, you want to jump in?

BASH: I was going to say, but you know, Basil is saying, it's important to be working towards bipartisan policy and not obstruction. That would be nice. I mean, look, one of the benefits of if you're a Democrats of Donald Trump not being as rigid on conservative policies across the board whether it's social or more importantly in this instant fiscal is use it, right.

I mean, Democrats never could have gotten this 35 percent tax done with Barack Obama in the White House because Republicans would have block it. But with a Republican in the White House, maybe they can work with him and do it.

I mean, I think this is a perfect example of how Democrats probably sort approach a President Trump administration and how he wants to do things, which is if you want to put a label on it, just as a populist, you know, own it, do it, go for it, embrace it. Why not?

BERMAN: So, Carl, can I ask you about Mike Flynn? Actually Mike Flynn Jr., Mike G. Flynn, the son. Did he get fired from the Trump transition? Because we know that now we are told that he was doing work for the Trump transition before, at least his father doing some scheduling and whatnot. Today we're told definitively he's not working for them. Did he get fired over his tweeting and comments about this pizza gate thing?

HIGBIE: I don't know if he got fired or not. I know that he has been deeply involved with Flynn Sr., his consulting firm, for quite some time now. So he was a very trusted advocate of Mike Flynn Sr. This is something that has been kind of beaten down in the media a little bit. I don't know if he got fired. I don't know if he's left. I don't know what's going on with that. I'm not, you know, privy to that inside information.

BOLDUAN: He's gone.

HIGBIE: Yes, he's gone.

BOLDUAN: That he is gone. Do you think -- I mean, do you think he's a problem for his dad now?

HIGBIE: I don't think so. I mean, look, people have their Twitter accounts, let them do what they want.

BOLDUAN: It's not having your Twitter account though, if your father is national security adviser and he's dealing with intelligence and what is a priority and should be a priority for the president of the United States, and you're pushing baseless conspiracy theories on Twitter and continuing to, as we've checked his Twitter feed, is that a problem?

[11:15:02]HIGBIE: I mean, here's the thing, he's been separated from this for whatever reason, whether he quit or left, I don't know if he was pushed out. I would say it's not an issue anymore. If he wants to tweet things, it's not relevant to Michael Flynn Sr.

BERMAN: Ben Carson, quickly, Alex Burns, yesterday, we've learned what we suspected for many days, he will be nominated to lead up HUD. The Democratic backlash on this has been pretty loud.

BURNS: It really has. In some ways Ben Carson seems like one of the least controversial just personalities that you've seen out there in the Trump transition. But look, this is a case of a guy being appointed to run a department where his resume doesn't directly link him to it.

It's not like Ben Carson being nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services or something, right? I think if you're going to watch one person in their confirmation hearing to see whether they can really demonstrate issue expertise under sustained questioning, it's Ben Carson.

The other folks who are more controversial appointees, someone like Tom Price or Betsy Davos, there's no question that they know their area.

BOLDUAN: I want to get your take because when Democrats are screaming this guy doesn't have a resume to run it, that's why people elected Donald Trump because he doesn't have a resume to run the government, but they love that about him.

SMIKLE: But this nomination is a little dangerous for a slightly different reason, which is that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a lot of their programs have what we would consider to be some clear civil rights mandates.

In his previous comments, Dr. Carson has been very derisive about the role in which government can play in creating equity in communities. That's why this is concerning because he's referred to some of these programs, particularly with respect to housing, as social engineering and that's the problem.

BERMAN: He did not --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He's actually retweeted out that correction overnight. His mother worked hard, he said for many years, many jobs, to keep them out of public housing --

(CROSSTALK)

SMIKLE: That's a concern because --

BOLDUAN: Understandably --

SMIKLE: That's the concern here because it's more than just whether or not he has the resume because I think management as a skill set can be transferable. It's how he's approached these issues that's concerning.

BERMAN: All right, guys, sure to come up in the confirmation hearing as Alex was talking about there. Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. Four billion for a new Air Force One. No thank you, says Donald Trump. Cancel that order. What does the plane manufacture, Boeing, have to say about that? That's ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, President Obama is set to give Donald Trump some very public advice today in his final speech on national security. New information about what the president tends to focus on and new concerns this morning out of Los Angeles after a new terror threat surfaces against the city's subway system. You'd be surprised where that tip came from.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:21:27]

BOLDUAN: Today President Obama and the man succeeding him both on the road defending and selling their visions for the country and how to keep the country safe. First, President Obama will be making his final speech on counterterrorism at an Air Force base in Tampa.

We're told that the big focus of the speech is going to be on enhanced interrogation tactics, torture, waterboarding, something Donald Trump's pick for defense secretary has said he is against.

BERMAN: Moments ago, we learned that General James Mattis will join the president-elect on stage as he kicks off his second leg of his "Thank You Tour" in North Carolina.

We want to bring in chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. Jim, we're going to get a very good sense of these men's different world views today.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, so Obama's speech is going to be really a broad defense of his counterterror and military strategy over the last eight years, and the administration says this was planned before Donald Trump was elect and I'm sure he was going to have some sort of, you know, exit interview in effect on foreign policy here.

But when you look at the positions he's going to push out, many of them are ones where he has sharp differences with Donald Trump. Guantanamo, he's going to make a case for closing it. Donald Trump has said he wants to fill it with some bad dudes in his words.

On torture, that's something where Obama and Trump have disagreed. Obama against. Trump has said he wants to bring it back. Although as you noted, John, his choice for defense secretary has told him he believes it's un-effective.

The Iran nuclear deal, Obama's going to make a case for that saying, you know, diplomacy can work in some of these issues. Donald Trump of course has said at a minimum he's going to renegotiate that deal.

There is one area of agreement possibly here. Obama making a case for surgical Special Forces strikes as opposed to broad military invasions, occupations. That might be something because Donald Trump of course has said he opposed the Iraq war.

But big picture of course Donald Trump has said he's going to be tougher than Obama virtually everywhere, although he really hasn't specified how that's going to be.

BOLDUAN: One area of interest right now, obviously, Jim, Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, said that he's not going to let the United States go back on a nuclear deal. Donald Trump wants to renegotiate it. So what options does he have?

SCIUTTO: Well, here's the thing. The thing is the Iran nuclear deal remember was not just between the U.S. and Iran. You had several partners. Some of them are close a lies, France, the U.K., et cetera, the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. But also others who aren't that easy for the U.S. to bring to the table, China and Russia.

So the U.S. could try to negotiate or say it wants to renegotiate parts of it, but how does it get China and Russia on board? They've shown no interest in that and frankly, our allies in Europe, you have European countries who are already signing very lucrative business deals in Iran. Are they going to want to renegotiate? I don't see how you do that.

BERMAN: Interesting to see. Jim Sciutto, great to see you, thanks so much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BERMAN: We should note that Fareed Zakaria talks with President Obama about the triumphs and struggles during his years in the White House. A CNN special report, "The Legacy Of Barack Obama," it airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m.

Now, Donald Trump will be flying in the Air Force One old enough to be the one that Harrison Ford used to fight off terrorists. It's that old.

BOLDUAN: Still a great movie.

BERMAN: So what about the order for a new plane? Cancel it says the president-elect. Find out why.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a new threat this morning against the subway system in Los Angeles. The plot and where the tip came from. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:29:23]

BERMAN: Los Angeles authorities are asking residents to remain calm but vigilant about a threat against the city subway station. The FBI says a warning about a potential bombing of the Universal City Station came in on an international tip line leading officials to increase security across the entire Los Angeles County transit system.

BOLDUAN: Joining us now for more on the details is CNN's national correspondent, Kyung Lah. She's been looking into this. Kyung, what are you picking up?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kate. We're getting a little more information from the mayor of Los Angeles. He says that this anonymous tip, which was phoned in from overseas, that the caller was actually reporting something that that caller had heard from somebody else.

Well, that information was then handed over to L.A. authorities and they decided to respond by holding this press conference last night. So why make this information public? Well, the mayor says that they get these kinds of tips all the time, but what's concerning to them is that it was very specific --