Republicans Get Ready to Enact Their Agenda; Obama, Pence Head to Capitol Hill for Obamacare Fight; Trump's Warning to North Korea;



to Capitol Hill for Obamacare Fight; Trump's Warning to North Korea;

Trump Claims Intel Briefing on Hacking Delayed; House GOP Tries to Gut

Ethics Watchdog; Ford CEO Scrapping Mexico Plant "Makes Sense for Our

Business"; Trump Celebrates New Year with Convicted Felon "Joey No

Socks". Aired 9-10p ET - Part 2>

COOPER: And when you talk about corruption, I mean, obviously you saw this firsthand. You were deeply involved in this. I know on "60 Minutes" years ago you said at one point that you essentially owned up to 100 congressmen and their offices, you would offer jobs to their chiefs of staffs or other key employees when they left so that while they were still in office, essentially, they were beholden to you. Is Capitol Hill still as corrupt as when you were lobbying?

ABRAMOFF: Well, I think there's a level of corruption that isn't quite necessarily what I was involved in or some of the people at the very tip of the spear are involved in. That's a more normal corruption, if there's such a phrase, where people feel that it's completely normal for people soliciting favors and I guess acts from government officials to give those government officials things of value and offer campaign contributions. That, to me, is the level of corruption that America is sick of and we have to deal with.

In terms of the things that I was involved in, I don't think you'll find too many lobbyists who have the resources, really, to do the things that unfortunately I was involved with. But the every day corruption, the corruption they don't feel is corruption is the biggest problem that they think is completely normal.

COOPER: Right, because, I mean, what you -- at one point, I think you said that you were spending, like $1 million a year on tickets to sporting events for Congress people for their staffs. But that every day sort of corruption that you talk about, explain that a little bit more because the rules are really interesting.

I mean, there are rules about, you know, you can't buy a congressman or congresswoman a meal, you know, hamburger, but you can do -- throw them a fundraiser and give them, you know, tens of thousands of dollars.

ABRAMOFF: Right. It's that kind of idiocy that people look at and they scratch their heads and wonder what is wrong with these people. You know, I travel the country and I speak often on campuses and other places, nobody, except people within the beltway, seem to not get this.

Everybody else seems to realize that if you give somebody who is a public servant something of value and you're asking that public servant to do something for you that that's not a good thing. But within the beltway, people feel that it sort of part of the process and they don't really get upset about it.

COOPER: Is it true that when you're lobbying and lobbying hard and incredibly successfully earning, you know, I think 1.20 million a year, although I think you gave away a lot of that money to various groups, did you feel like you were doing something inappropriate? And the Congress people, the staffs that you were involved with, did they feel that this was corrupt?

ABRAMOFF: No. Well, first of all, I can certainly speak for myself. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that there was any problem with it. It was basically the way the system worked. I probably did more of it than I should have. Well, certainly did more than I should have, but did more of it than others did.

I was just sort of an excessive version of it in my mind, but it was the system where basically lobbyists and others who were trying to get people to do something in government by natural course, particularly the congressmen give contributions, provide in those days' meals, it's a little more difficult to do, trips, golf tournaments, tickets to the ball game, et cetera, that system is a system that's been going on for decades in this town and unfortunately is not likely to go away until the American people continue to do what they did in November, which is throw the bums out and basically say that we fed up, we fed up with this.

COOPER: Jack Abramoff, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

ABRAMOFF: Thanks so much.

COOPER: Just ahead, were Donald Trump's threats about a border tack is a fact, were they a factor in Ford's decision to cancel plans to build a plant in Mexico. Did they cut a deal with the incoming administration? Poppy Harlow's exclusive interview with Ford CEO Mark Fields is next.


[21:38:09] COOPER: Well, throughout the campaign and now during the transition, President-elect Trump has taken a hard line with America's auto makers, pressuring them to create jobs at home. The same kind of pressure has been plan other manufacturing companies and by pressure we mean threats and hefty border taxes.

Today, we look to a lot of people like Ford blinked (ph). And tonight, some are asking, did the car maker caved to gain favor from the incoming administration? And the exclusive interview with Ford CEO Mark Fields. Poppy Harlow asked him just that.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a stunning about face, Ford today scrapping plans to build $1.6 billion small car plant in Mexico.

Are you canceling the plans to build this huge plant in Mexico because of the President-elect?

MARK FIELDS, PRESIDENT & CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: We do what's right for our business. This makes sense for our business, and we look at all factors, including what we view as a more positive U.S. manufacturing business environment under President-elect Trump. And it's literally a vote of confidence around some of the pro-growth policies that he has been outlining.

HARLOW: That plant was going to mean 2,800 new jobs in Mexico. Now Ford says it's creating 700 new jobs here at home instead.

FIELDS: This business decision was done independently, but we did speak to the President and the President-elect and the Vice President- elect this morning.

HARLOW: Did he say he's going to stop with the tweets and the attacks against Ford?

FIELDS: No. I don't think we got into that level. He was just very appreciative for the announcements that we're making.

HARLOW: But there's little doubt Trump's persistent threat of 35 percent tariff on cars made in Mexico and sold in the U.S. made that plant a lot less attractive.

Why not as many jobs here as you were going to create in Mexico?

FIELDS: Well, first of, we have to understand the reason we are canceling our plant in Mexico. The main reason is because we're seeing a decline in demand for small vehicles here in North America.

HARLOW: This is a trend we've seen.

[21:40:02] The President-elect calls out Carrier. He gets jobs to stay here. He calls out Boeing. He gets a cheaper Air Force One. He calls out Lockheed Martin and they say, "We're going to work with you."

There is a concern among some, Mark, that this is in essence a form of crony capitalism that it dangers to American democracy, that the president can cut deals with companies and then they expect favors from the administration in return.

FIELDS: Well, first of, we didn't cut a deal with the President- elect. We did what's right for our business.

HARLOW: You said on CNN this fall one of the things you'd like to see from the administration is as they review fuel economy standards. What about the concern from some who might look at this and say is this crony capitalism? They might get more favorable regulation on fuel economy standards because they're bringing jobs home. To those critics you say? FIELDS: To those critics, we say first of as a company we are very dedicated to improving the fuel economy, but we just want it to be a fact-based discussion and we want to make sure that we preserve vehicle affordability, customer choice and American jobs.

HARLOW: Trump and Ford have quite a history. For more than a year, Trump has repeatedly slammed the company.

TRUMP: Ford is leaving. You see that, the small car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio.

They think they're going to get away with this and they fire all their employees in the United States. They move to Mexico.

HARLOW: Ford CEO shot back in this exclusive CNN interview.

Will Ford cut any U.S. jobs as a result of this move? One, any single one?

FIELDS: Absolutely not, zero.

HARLOW: In October, Chairman Bill Ford called Trump's attacks infuriating.

BILL FORD, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY: He knows the facts so, you know, and -- but who knows what the campaign trail is all about.

HARLOW: This morning, the President-elect took on G.M. tweeting, "General Motors is sending Mexican-made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealer's tax free across border. Make in USA or pay big border tax.


HARLOW: And, Anderson, General Motors responding to the President- elect's tweet today in a statement saying that, "manufactures the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in Lordstown, Ohio. All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM's assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. G.M. builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number of those sold in the United Stated."

I should note in an interesting ironic twist, Anderson, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has just recently been named by Trump to a forum that will advise him, frequently, on jobs and on the economy. Meantime on this news, Ford's stock closed up nearly 4 percent. Anderson?

COPPER: All right, Poppy Harlow. Poppy thanks very much. Donald Trump certainly ran as a pro-business candidate, no surprise there, but what are the implications, both short and long term? Back to talk about it, Kayleigh McEnany and Professor Austan Goolsbee.

Kayleigh, is this a quid pro quo between President-elect Trump and these companies? And is there any -- if it is, is there a problem with that? MCENANY: I don't see it as a quid pro quo at all. I see what Trump is doing as a carrots and sticks approach. And by that, I mean, the carrots he is offering Ford or G.M. or these various other companies are a better economy, are an economy where you're not going to be hit with exorbitant and taxes where he's promised and vowed that the corporate tax rate would be 15 percent maximum, that's the carrots.

The sticks on the other hand are the 35 percent tariff and I do think that that somehow had to have been weighing in the mind of Ford. But I don't see any quid pro quo here and that something tangible that we can point to was given to the Ford CEO in exchange for keeping jobs here. I think it was a result and a promise of a robust economy going forward.

COOPER: Austan, is that all of this because that's what the Ford chairman seems as we saying that this is good for business, that we have confidence that it's going to be more pro-business environment. Do you buy that?

GOOLSBEE: You know, Anderson, I don't know what was at behind close doors. I think many Republicans and most business people are probably pretty uncomfortable with the notion that whoever the president of the United States decides is going to get up and attack one morning that the market is going to attack them and that he's going to threaten them personally with taxes unless they do what he says.

You know, I kind of think, have you ever been to a wedding where there's that one relative who nobody wants to give the microphone to make a toast? And then when he starts speaking, you know, the opening might be, "I'd like to wish the bride a wonderful wedding," and everyone's like, "Oh, no, what's coming next?" I think a lot of business community feels like that.

So far, Donald Trump is saying that he wants to cut the corporate tax rate. They probably agree with it. But I think nagging in their mind is this question of call it crony capitalism, calling it singling out people, you know, for a mob of Twitter goods to come after you if the president declares you a bad guy. But, you know, I think we got to think that through.

COOPER: I mean, I guess there is, Kayleigh, a version of this, you know, that though -- that has companies simply responding to Trump's policies they believe that what lies ahead is -- I mean, that the argument you made is a better marketplace with fewer restrictions and that's why they're making these decision.

[21:45:13] I mean, I guess you can -- I mean, that's essentially what Ford is saying.

MCENANY: I think that's right and I also think, look, if the President-elect was clear on anything during the campaign, it was that if you try to take advantage of the American economy, but yet want to produce your goods elsewhere, like G.M. is a great example.

The "Wall Street Journal" says 20 percent of their North American products that they import are actually made in Mexico or abroad. If you're going to do that and try to take advantage of the American economy, you're going to suffer in the form of a tariff perhaps.

COOPER: But, Kayleigh, is there a danger? I mean --

GOOLSBEE: Be a little careful.

COOPER: Go ahead, Austan.

GOOLSBEE: I was just going to say, let's be a little careful just concluding that it's about policy, because none of the companies that have not been targeted by Donald Trump are coming out and saying that they're going to do that. You don't see Chrysler coming out and saying, "We're going to open this extra plant." It's only when you get targeted that they come out and respond.

And there are a lot of business people asking, "Well, wait a minute, Donald Trump's own businesses out source their jobs, so how is he determining who he is going to go after?"

MCENANY: But, Austan, I do think he's -- look, he's not even president yet. He's doing a pretty good job if he's gotten 700 new jobs from Ford, 1,000 in Carrier. He's getting Lockheed Martin and Boeing to rethink their pricing structure with the federal government. This is all pretty good for someone who is just president-elect.

COOPER: But, Kayleigh, to Austan's point, isn't it kind of weird that -- I mean, he's not singling out Ivanka Trump for manufacturing, basically all of her clothing and all of her products overseas in a variety of countries.

MCENANY: No, that's true. He is singling out companies. He's singled out all along the way. But, you know, I do think as a businessman he did that it's true. Of course, he did out source. That was him as a businessman. But he is promising to put policies in place that will allow clothing companies like Ivanka Trump or others to produce here.

Right now the economic environment, I'm sure Austan you would agree to some extent, it's not as great, it's not as easy to make a product here as it is in China. You can get it much cheaper there, but he wants to remedy that. And I think pointing it out and remedying those economic conditions will ultimately be what brings companies like Chrysler to come on board. But he has to be president before he can make any sort of change like that.

COOPER: Well, Kayleigh McEnany, appreciate it. Professor Goolsbee, thank you very much. Appreciate you being on tonight.

Just ahead, the video that's raising questions about President-elect Trump's friendship with a convicted felon, nickname "Joey No Socks," they rang in the New Year together at Mar-a-Lago. Details on that ahead.


[21:50:38] COOPER: Right now, you probably heard about the New Year's Eve celebration that President-elect Trump and his family hosted at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. The guests, as you'd expect, are getting a lot of attention. One in particular has raised some questions at convicted felon. Miguel Marquez tonight reports.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joseph Cinque, AKA "Joey No Socks" convicted of a felony in 1989 for art theft celebrating next to the president-elect on New Year's Eve.

TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. It's a great honor --

MARQUEZ: Cinque's current lawyer insists the art was legally owned by Cinque, but the New York Supreme Court says, "Joey No Socks" pled guilty and his conviction still stands." He was given a conditional discharge and served no jail time.

Trump and Cinque go way back. In 2008, they shared a stage at the Miss Universe contest. Trump calling him, "Joe."

TRUMP: By the way, Joe is probably one of the most important men in the hotel industry.

MARQUEZ: In 2009, Trump was given an award by Cinque, one of many bestowed on Trump and his properties by Cinque over a decade.

TRUMP: I'd especially like to congratulate and thank Joe Cinque, the head of the academy for the unbelievable job that he does.

MARQUEZ: And last year at Trump's Mar-a-Lago's New Year's Eve celebration.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Joe. The American Academy is an amazing place.

MARQUEZ: Again, "Joey No Socks" Cinque front and center with Donald Trump. Last May, Trump told the Associated Press he didn't know Cinque well and wasn't aware of his conviction.

DAVID CAY JOHNSON, AUTHOR, "THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP": Let's assume Donald Trump doesn't know who this guy is, wow. Donald Trump is so unaware and doesn't have people around him to warn him that you are standing next to a convicted felon?

MARQUEZ: David Cay Johnson for 30 years covered Trump's rough and tumble rise, mostly for the "New York Times". His new book, "The Making of Donald Trump" pulls no punches.

JOHNSON: I was absolutely shocked that Donald Trump, president-elect would stand in a public forum next to a convicted felon who claimed to be connected with John Gotti, credibly enough that the New York City prosecutor's office thought that that was a real connection.

MARQUEZ: The U.S. Secret Service declined to comment on the matter referring CNN to the Trump transition team, which also refused to comment on the relationship between Trump and Cinque. Several Mar-a- Lago members and guests who attended the party tell CNN there was no Secret Service background check prior to it, but they did go through metal detectors.

The Trump-Joey No Socks connection rooted in the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, an organization that over the years Trump has been listed as ambassador extraordinaire.

JOHNSON: Donald Trump proudly hangs at least 19 awards. You'll noticed, they're signed not just by Joey No Socks, they're also signed by Donald J. Trump as chairman of the board.

MARQUEZ: Trump's signature is on some of the awards. It's like Trump giving himself an award.


MARQUEZ: The Secret Service says it is their job to protect physically the President-elect and the President. It's not their job to control the guest list and they referred CNN to the Trump transition team, which refused to comment about the relationship between Donald Trump and Joseph Cinque. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Miguel Marquez. Miguel, thanks.

Coming up, something to make you smile at the end of the night. "The RidicuList" is next.


[21:57:45] COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList". Before we get to the meat of it, it will help to have just a little bit of a basic back story. This is about Wendy's the hamburger place. Everyone of a certain age remembers "Where's the beef," but there's actually another slogan, one that Wendy's has used for years and years. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If hamburgers were meant to be frozen, wouldn't cows come from Antarctica? Wendy's hamburgers are made with fresh never frozen beef. Who else can say that? It's a way better than fast food. It's Wendy's.


COOPER: OK. Wendy's has this saying about, "It's beef being fresh, not frozen." Apparently in the world of big hamburger, every just single thing factor counts. A few days ago Wendy's tweeted reminder of his long standing policy on its meat and I quote, "Our beef is way too cool to ever be frozen." Smiling emoji with sunglasses, totally not give us tweet, right?

It's like the kind of tweet no one could possibly have a problem with, right? But, of course, somewhere out there, someone was having the kind of day that made them say to themselves, "I believe I shall now spend the sizable hunk of time arguing with the social media account of a fast food company." That someone's name is Thuggy-D.

An exclusive Twitter exchange happened between Wendy's and said Thuggy-D. Tonight, I will be reading the Wendy's tweet and Frank from our studio crew will be playing the role of Thuggy-D. Take away, Frank.

THUGGY-D: Your beef is frozen and we all know it. You all know we laugh at your slogan "fresh, never frozen," right?

COOPER: I think there's one more line.

THUGGY-D: Like, you're really a joke.

COOPER: I like that last line. To which Wendy's replied, "Sorry to hear you think that, but, you're wrong. We've only ever used fresh beef since we were founded in 1969."

THUGGY-D: So you deliver it raw on a hot truck?

COOPER: Let me pause here because you have to admit that is an interesting question that Thuggy-D poses. And this is where Wendy's gets a little frosty and respond and I quote, "Where do you store cold things that aren't frozen?" Oh, yes, a riddle. But how will Thuggy-D respond?

THUGGY-D: You all should give up. McDonald's got you guys beat with the dope ass breakfast.

COOPER: And Wendy's brings down the hammer with, "You don't have to bring them into this just because you forgot refrigerators existed for a second there." Boom.

[22:00:00] Thank you, Frank. That was excellent, excellent read.

It should come as a surprise to know one that after being fully eviscerated by the social media account of a hamburger chain, Thuggy-D has deleted his account and that's what we call a "Twitter Beef" on "The RidicuList". Come back Thuggy-D, come back.

(Byline: Anderson Cooper, Jeff Zeleny, Van Jones, Kayleigh McEnany, Pamela Brown, Barbara Starr, Mike Rogers, Poppy Harlow, Miguel Marquez)

(Guest: Austan Goolsbee, Gordon Chang, Jack Abramoff)

(High: A new period of Republican-led governance began taking shape tonight after the 115th Congress convened at noon, with GOP leaders eager to wield their majorities to start rapidly advancing an ambitious conservative agenda, as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office in under three weeks. President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to say that a planned intelligence briefing for him on so-called "Russian-hacking" had been delayed until Friday, a development he called "very strange", but one that a U.S. official said wasn't a delay at all. President-elect Trump also targets foreign leaders of North Korea and China in his recent tweets. Ford Motor Company announced it will cancel a $1.6 billion plant planned for Mexico and will instead invest $700 million in a Michigan assembly plant, directly tying the decision to "pro-growth policies" championed by President-elect Donald Trump. A new video raises questions about Donald Trump's relationship with Joseph "Joey No Socks" Cinque, who once reportedly survived a mob hit and was associated with the infamous mob boss John Gotti.)

(Spec: Senate; Obamacare; Republicans; Democrats; Mitch McConnell; Congress; Paul Ryan; Donald Trump; Joe Biden; Mike Pence; Barack Obama; North Korea; U.S. Intelligence Community' Russia; Election; Politics; Kim Jong-un; Nuclear Weapons; China; Ford; Business; Mark Fields; Economy; Employment and Unemployment; Government; Policies; Joseph Cinque)