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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 18, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PST

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jim. >> miguel marquez, thanks very much. that's it for me on "the lead" today. follow me on facebook and twitter. coming up is my colleague, wolf blitzer. thank you for joining us today. happening now, breaking news. trump settles in what's being called a stunning reversal, the president-elect reaches a $25 million settlement of class action lawsuits over trump university. will it remove a cloud over the incoming administration or will it raise new questions about the president-elect's honesty? the hard-liners. donald trump picks a group of loyalist hard-liners to join his team. all three men are known for standing tough on issues from islamic terror to immigration. general flynn, trump's pick for national security advisor, is a retired army intelligence officer who was forced out of the pentagon, but michael flynn's ties to russia and his views on muslims have some
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critics deeply concerned. and mixed company. during the campaign, trump promised his adult children would manage his business if he became president. tonight there are growing concerns about potential conflicts of interest and what roles they'll play in their father's administration. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. officials just announced a $25 million settlement of the lawsuit over trump university. the suits accused trump university of deceptive business practices and making false claims, including that trump hand picked the instructors. so far there's no comment from the president-elect. earlier today trump filled three top spots in his administration. democrats and other groups are already raising some red flags about michael flynn, trump's choice for national security advisor, as well as attorney general nominee jeff sessions
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and trump's pick to run the cia, congressman mike pompeo. also tonight new questions about potential conflicts of interest after trump's daughter, ivanka, sat in on her father's meeting with japan's prime minister. will there be trouble if trump's adult children play significant roles in the administration? a member of the trump transition executive committee, congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee, is standing by to take our questions and our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's start with the breaking news. phil mattingly is over in trump tower in new york city. phil, tell us more about the settlement of the trump university lawsuits. >> reporter: wolf, it's the one thing donald trump said repeatedly he's never do, settle, specifically on this series of lawsuits. but what he decided to do is to agree to the tune of $25 million to resolve fraud allegations in two different states, california and new york. this puts to pet one of the more turbulent issues that he's faced
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throughout the latter course of his career and also puts to bed the possibility that trump himself would have to testify on the stand out in san diego. now that's gone, clearing the decks for a transition team that is hard at work making clear today that national security is the focus and adding a couple big picks to back that up. >> lock her up, lock her up. >> reporter: loyalist, hard liners, now the core of president-elect trump's national security team. the choices revealing the next administration's security posture. one defined not by a pragmatic move to the middle, but instead by a move deeply into conservative orthodoxy. >> i told donald trump this isn't a campaign, this is a movement. >> reporter: jeff sessions, a crucial voice inside trump's team and his first senate endorsement, now in line to be the next attorney general. >> we need to bring back big-time leadership, and that's donald trump. >> reporter: michael flynn,
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trump's closest campaign military advisor and former head of the defense intelligence agency, his national security advisor. and congressman mike pompeo, a former army officer, member of the house intelligence committee and harsh critic of hillary clinton, now in line to be cia director. the picks provoking a chorus of cheers from top capitol hill republicans. >> jeff sessions will bring back integrity to the united states department of justice. >> reporter: and near universal caution or outright concern from democrats. >> it's really getting more and more disturbing and clear that donald trump is not trying to bring the country together with the moves he's making right out of the gate. >> reporter: for trump, an unquestionable ramp-up of the pace of his transition. the so-called landing teams of advisers and transition team staff arriving at the justice, defense and state departments today. the quickened pace expected to continue in the days ahead. while trump heads out of new york city to his golf course in
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bedminister, new jersey, the meetings with top candidates will follow. 2012 naum reand harsh trump critic, mitt romney, michelle rhee and potential secretary of defense pick james mattis all scheduled for saturday sitdowns with the president-elect. the romney meeting by far the most notable with the like of comments like these. >> donald trump is a phony, a fraud, a con man, a fake. his promises are as worthless as a degree from trump university. >> reporter: some questioning whether it's simply head fakes to soothe critics who say he's not reaching out. trump's team says this is the new reality. >> the president-elect wants the best and the brightest. he's going to meet with people who supported him, people who didn't support him, republicans, democrats, independents. most of all these conversations start off as just that, a conversation to discuss people's ideas and thoughts and get their opinions. >> reporter: wolf, as we all know, everybody is trying to read the tea leaves and get a
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sense of who are actual candidates and who's there for advice. tomorrow all eyes will be on mitt romney, but sources inside the transition team tell me keep a very close eye on james mattis, michelle rhee and others. trump's choice for national security advisor caps a remarkable comeback for retired lieutenant general michael flynn. he was forced out of a top intelligence job back in 2014, reportedly criticized for his management style. our global affairs correspondent, elise labott is here, also flynn's connections to russia. >> general mike flynn is being hailed as a skilled intelligence officer but his views on islam and russia along with his temperament are raising questions about the man who could have the last word on how president trump should respond
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in the situation room. >> this was not an election, this was a revolution. >> reporter: as donald trump's national security advisor, michael flynn will be at the table for every major defense and foreign policy decision by the president. a retired three-star general who helped dismantle extremist networks in afghanistan, flynn is known as a skilled intelligence officer, even though he was forced out from the pentagon as head of the defense intelligence agency for his combative management style. >> really bright, incredibly hard working. i do think most of his life experience has been at the tactical level, where he has incredibly successful. >> reporter: on the campaign trail flynn was a vocal critic of hillary clinton's private e-mail server and the clinton foundation foreign dealings. >> we do not need a reckless president who believes that she is above the law. >> reporter: but two former government officials with direct knowledge tell c. in n while in afghanistan flynn
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was informally reprimanded but no wrongdoing was found for his handling of classified intelligence, including the improper sharing of intel with pakistan regarding terror networ networks. flynn has told cnn about the incident not true, not even close. even as he was at trump's side for classified briefings, flynn was running a company lobbying on behalf of foreign clients, including a dutch firm owned by a turkish businessman. the company said flynn had no contact with the turkish government. flynn stunned colleagues when the registered democrat joined the trump campaign where he was allowed to sit alongside vladimir putin for the propaganda channel rt. >> there is no relationship with putin and no relationship with russia that we must have. >> reporter: flynn's views of islam have made him a lightning rod tweeting fear of muslims is rational. and i dare arab and persian leaders to step up to the plate and declare their islamic
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ideology sick. >> islam is a political ideology. it is a political ideology. it definitely hides behind this notion of it being a religion. >> reporter: cnn's k file found flynn routinely retweeted unfounded conspiracy theories and promotes users tweekt anti-semitic messages. he came under fire for quoting an anti-semitic message linked to a cnn video. the corrupt democratic machine will do and say anything to get #neverhillary into power. he retweeted a tweet that read not anymore, jews. he quickly apologized calling it a mistake. but after flynn's announcement, david duke cited the tweet as evidence flynn, quote, knows that the saudis, isis and the jewish neo cons are the real enemies. calling him a great pick. democrats are very concerned about flynn's choice. >> on a lot of policy matters,
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his views scare me, frankly. he has a difficult time differentiating between the entire faith of islam and those who pervert it like isis. >> reporter: and elijah cummings is seeking more information from the transition team about potential conflicts of interest surrounding the general's business activities. some say he will need to tone down some of his combative style in order to be an honest broker among all the agencies to ensure the president gets input from his whole national security team, wolf. >> elise, thanks very much. joining us now is a member of the trump transition team, republican congresswoman marcia blackburn of tennessee. she's on the executive committee. congress congresswoman, thanks very much for being with us. >> good to be with you, wolf. >> general flynn is going to be the national security advisor at the white house. he does not need senate confirmation. are you at all concerned about what you just heard in elise's
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report that he was lax dealing with classified example, for example, when he was in afghanistan? >> wolf, he has given the explanation on those dealings and the information share that was carried out. i have confidence in general flynn. he is considered to be a brilliant mind. he has a clear understanding of cyber and cyber security needs. he has a clear understanding of what transpires in the virtual space. he knows who our enemies are. and i have the confidence that he is going to give president-elect trump good advice. as the nsa, he is going to give consistent and good advice. people want to make certain that we are kept safe. i've got to tell you, i really appreciate that mr. trump has gone about looking at these national security positions first because those were at the top of the heap, if you will, in concerns of the people as they
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looked at this election cycle. what i'm picking up from my e-mail and communications with my constituents, and we have a major military post in my district, people are really quite pleased with the announcements that have been made today. >> he did tweet that -- one tweet this year, fear of muslims, he said, is rational. there we put it on the screen. fear of muslims is rational. please forward this to others. the truth fears no questions. is fear of muslims rational? >> i'm not going to get into discussing any tweets that have been made or were made. i'm going to put that aside. i think when you look at the aggregate of general flynn's experience and what he brings to the table, what he has faced as a man in uniform, how he was willing to always defend this country and the brilliant mind that he brings to the table, i think that that serves him well. as he enters a position to
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advise the president on our threats and known threats, developing threats, looking at terrorism, how it is spreading, how it has me tas sized, finding these terrorist cells, he is going to be a stalwart member of that national security team. >> i think, congresswoman, you can agree you can't lump in all muslims. there are muslim extremists, there are muslim terrorists, but you can't say fear of muslims in general, that that is rational. because there are a lot -- most muslims are decent, hard-working, wonderful people. >> you are correct on that, and we all know that generalizations have a tendency to get individuals into trouble. and i'll just -- i will leave it at that. >> let's talk about another issue that's come up, his connections with russia. he made frequent appearances on russian state media, the propaganda arm of putin rt.
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he was photographed as you know sitting next to president putin at one of their big galas exactly a year ago. he was paid to make a speech there. is that a problem, you think? >> he has disclosed that. it was something that was done through a business arrangement and that is not something that causes me a tremendous amount of concern because of the disclosure that was made there. now, i have not seen a transcript of the speech, i have not had the opportunity to read and review that, but i appreciate the fact that that was disclosed and that he brought it forward early. i am certain that mr. trump and those that are doing the vetting close to him have reviewed all of that information and do not see that as something that is problematic. >> congresswoman, we have more questions. other issues coming up. i want to give you a chance to respond to all of them. let's take a quick break and resume this conversation in a quick moment. thank you. >> sure.
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we're back with a member of president-elect donald trump's transition team, congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee. there's breaking news tonight. donald trump has agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits alleging fraud against trump university. we're going to bring you the latest on that in just a moment. first i want to get some more on trump's announcement for some new picks in his upcoming administration. today's list includes republican congressman mike pompeo of kansas. he will become the director of the central intelligence agency if confirmed by the senate. he's a member of the house intelligence committee. i want to bring in our senior political reporter, manu raju. manu, there's been some controversies involving the
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congressman's record, some of the things he said about muslims, about president obama. what are you hearing? >> democrats, wolf, are bound to scrutinize some of those past statements and some of pompeo's own hard-line views on national security. but pompeo is also winning praise from many republicans who say he has impeccable credentials for the post. kansas congressman mike pompeo, a staunch conservative, now in line to lead the cia. a harvard law grad who was first in his class at west point, pompeo quickly gained the trust of gop leaders after his 2010 election. >> you've testified here this morning -- >> reporter: holding influential posts on the house intelligence committee and the panel investigating the 2012 benghazi attacks. but pompeo, not satisfied with the findings of the gop-led investigation, issuing a separate report, laying the blame on benghazi at the feet of hillary clinton and barack obama. >> this was a failure at the most senior levels of our government and one that i hope
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the recommendations this committee presents will help making sure that something like this never happens again. >> reporter: pompeo has called for more sweeping terror surveillance. he wants to keep open the detention center at guantanamo bay. he has criticized obama for rolling back tough interrogation tactics, like waterboarding. and he was a staunch critic of fbi director james comey and his investigation of clinton. >> director comey screwed this up from the get-go by announcing on july 5th that he wasn't going to indict a woman who had materially mishandled classified information. >> reporter: and pompeo issued some tough statements about islam, even accusing its religious leaders of turning a blind eye to extremists. >> silence has made these islamic leaders across america potentially complicit in these acts. >> reporter: in 2015, pompeo agreeing with the conservative talk radio host that obama was sympathetic to terrorists. >> every policy of this administration has treated
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america as if we are the problem. >> reporter: but pompeo has lls shown a willingness to take on his own party. in 2014, engaging in a bitter primary to save his seat. earlier this year, threatening to challenge kansas republican senator jerry moran, but senate republicans convinced him to stay out of the race, after they hired a former fbi investigator to dig up dirt about pompeo's past. in the presidential primary, pompeo did not side with trump, backing florida senator marco rubio instead. >> he's the one man who is ready to be commander in chief on day one. >> reporter: and now that he's been selected as trump's cia director, pompeo is winning praise among some key figures in the foreign policy establishment. >> when i saw the choice, i was heartened. i think this is a serious man who takes these questions seriously. >> wolf, unlike the other two choices trump announced, pompeo is not a trump loyalist.
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he really didn't campaign for trump other than appearing as a surrogate for mike pence during the vp debate and he only spoke with the president-elect's team periodically about national security issues. they did meet -- trump and him did meet earlier this week in new york and it's quite clear that pompeo's views closely align with trump's. >> i spoke with congressman adam schiff, the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee and he was very effusive in his praise of pompeo saying this man is qualified. >> he's getting praise across the board because of his credentials even if he does harbor conservative views. they believe he's a serious legislator and a person who could do a good job at the cia. >> thanks very much. we're back with republican congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee. you know congressman mike pompeo but you just heard what he said after that boston terror bombing, suggesting that islamic faith leaders could be complicit in those attacks. do you agree with him on that?
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>> wolf, i don't know the context within which that whole statement fit, but i do know this. there are so many leaders in our country from both sides of the aisle that called on moderate muslims to move forward and to help us as we sought to rout out those who were couching themselves inside mosques or maybe who were in some way affiliated that were seeking in some way to do harm, and the moderate muslims could be very helpful in that regard. you have muslim friends, i have muslim friends. we know that there are many in this country who do feel like that we need to work together to find a way that they're going to be productive and helpful so that the extremists are not able to establish terrorist cells and harm our communities, our cities, our schools and our
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citizens. >> let's switch to the other breaking story that's happening this hour, donald trump agreeing to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against trump university. as you know during the campaign he often said he never settles. why do you think he did it this time? >> in my opinion, and i have not talked to mr. trump or his -- any of his advisers today about this issue, but my thinking would be that this is a point where he is needing to divest himself of some of the responsibilities and the loose ends, if you will. you know, when you begin to make a transition in life, whether it is an exit from a business or if you are retiring or you're moving to a new career field, you go through a period of time where you kind of clear the desk. and you prepare to make that exit and that transition. and my thought would be this was a way just to get that item,
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unfinished business, if you will, off the desk. i would imagine that as he extracts himself from his businesses and moves to reshaping his life and making that move down to d.c. that you're going to see him go through a series of transactions that will curtail or end or wind up different business agreements or affiliations and allow him to move with a clean slate and ready to put his total and complete focus on his goal, which is to make america great again, safe again and one again. >> i just want to read the statement we just got from the executive vice president and the general counsel of the trump organization on this settlement of the trump university lawsuits. we are pleased to announce the complete resolution of all litigation involving trump university. while we have no doubt that trump university would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allows
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president-elect trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation. that statement from the trump organization. all right, congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. >> good to be with you, wolf, thank you. >> marsha blackburn of tennessee. coming up, will the new cia director help donald trump keep his promise to bring back waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists. later, new concerns about potential conflicts of interest after the businesswoman ivanka trump sets in on her father's meeting with japan's prime minister. just look at those two. happy. in love. and saving so much money on their car insurance by switching to geico... well, just look at this setting. do you have the ring? oh, helzberg diamonds. another beautiful setting. i'm not crying. i've just got a bit of sand in my eyes, that's all.
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we're getting more information on this hour's breaking news. donald trump's attorneys now say the president-elect admits no liability despite the just announced $25 million settlement of the three class action lawsuits against trump university. an attorney for the plaintiffs says all trump university students will be able to get at least half of their tuition back and in some cases all of their tuition back. we're following president-elect trump's announcement of three controversial choices at the same time for top spots in his new administration. senator jeff sessions of alabama is donald trump's choice for attorney general. retired lieutenant general michael flynn will be the national security advisor at the white house. and republican congressman mike pompeo, a member of the intelligence committee, is trump's pick to become the director of the cia. i want to get the insights of former republican congressman mike rogers. he once chaired the house intelligence committee and is a cnn contributor. congressman, you were on the trump transition national security team until you left it
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this week. were these three under serious consideration when you were directly involved? >> yes. two were under very serious consideration and one was on the list, so i think all of these three had at least some or partial vetting leading up to the president-elect -- being put on the president-elect's desk for a decision. >> who was the one who was just on the list? >> well, sessions was clearly on the list and was actually part of the transition. general flynn was always under the consideration, given his role, and he played a bigger role up in new york. and mike pompeo was on the list to be -- there was a whole list of names for a series of positions and he certainly was on that list. >> how much vetting usually goes -- has been done on these three going forward? >> well, the normal process in
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this would be if they didn't want to talk to somebody, meaning before the election if you didn't want to have any leaks that somebody may or may not be under consideration or in this case may be under consideration, they would do what's called a public vetting. so all the information that could be generated publicly, they had attorneys that would sit down and go through that information to see if there were any glaring problems that might be disqualifying for the president to select that particular individual. so they all had that. and then i think once the decision gets a little more serious and the election happened, now there's a little more seriousness to it and you would have a more -- a deeper vetting, if you will, of these individuals. >> general flynn was forced out of his position as director of the defense intelligence agency after two years and his record with classified information at least by some of his associates there was called into question. do you think he's trusted -- he's trustworthy enough to be
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the president's national security advisor? >> you know, the most important thing about the national security advisor job, i think, wolf, is they have to have a relationship with the president. it's the most important place. so all the intelligence is flying through at the president's office there and the national security advisor is the one that kind of coordinates that. then he brings in the players from around the community to make big policy decisions or big policy recommendations to the president of the united states on national security issues. so that trust factor is going to be important. i think he has to have that relationship. he's a tactical intelligence guy by training and experience. i think america should give the guy a chance. i know it's early and everybody wants to lob knives and javelins and everything they can throw, chairs, anything they can get their hands on. but i think the president has to have the opportunity to have the folks in his cabinet and around him that he knows and that he trusts to do the kind of work
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that he wants to get done. so i understand the loyal opposition thing and i get it. i think that's an important part of our process. but i argue it's so early, one and a half weeks in, give the guy a chance, i think. >> as you know, president obama ended the cia's enhanced interrogation program, waterboarding, stuff like that, saying it actually did damage to america's standing in the world. do you believe that congressman pompeo, who's now designated to become the cia director, and the president-elect for that matter, donald trump, do you think they will reverse that, bring back waterboarding? >> you know, there is what's called an enhanced interrogation list that still is available to the president of the united states. waterboarding is not one of them, it's not on that list. and it has to be approved by the president of the united states on those other items. and so i don't think they're going to take the time, the effort or the energy to go through and have to change the law in order to allow waterboarding. because if you recall a few
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years ago, they moved the interrogation to the army training manual basically for techniques and so waterboarding isn't there. so they'd have to change the law. i have a feeling they'll get in, they'll see what their options are, they'll see what the challenges are and take it from there. i think the president will make a good decision based on what the law is and he'll know that as president and sometimes on the campaign trail, you don't have access to that level of information. when he gets it, i think he'll make the right decision when it comes to waterboarding, which is probably not worth the time to go through the hassle of trying to change the law to do it. there are other things that you can do, including having the opportunity to actually interrogate somebody. remember toward the end, the obama administration ramped up the kinetic strike capability in killing people basically rather than capturing them. i think you're going to see a change there, because once you get the opportunity to interview
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these people, that's when you get some of the best information you can. there's lots of good techniques that don't include waterboarding to get that information. >> mike rogers, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. coming up, new concerns about potential conflicts of interest after ivanka trump joins her father's meeting with the japanese prime minister. rtsb and want more coverage, guess what? you could apply for a medicare supplement insurance plan whenever you want. no enrollment window. no waiting to apply. that means now may be a great time to shop for an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. medicare doesn't cover everything. and like all standardized medicare supplement insurance plans, these help cover some of what medicare doesn't pay. so don't wait. call now to request your free decision guide. it could help you find the aarp medicare supplement plan that works for you. these types of plans have no networks, so you get to choose any doctor who accepts
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this hour's breaking news, a $25 million settlement in the class action lawsuits against
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trump university. an attorney for the plaintiffs said everyone who enrolled will be able to get at least half of their tuition back. a trump attorney says the president-elect admits no liability. also tonight donald trump is filling out three key roles in his upcoming administration. let's discuss all of this and more with our political experts. mark preston, on the trump university issue, agreeing to pay $25 million to settle these lawsuits, back in february trump said he doesn't settle lawsuits. he tweeted at the time trump university has a 98% approval rating. i could have settled but won't out of principle. your reaction. >> he had to settle. i mean the fact of the matter is he's now president of the united states. he's the leader of the free world. can you imagine him being deposed in this case, which he was going to have to testify in this case. $25 million really is a small sum to pay. i think for donald trump to try to get this behind him. will this be a story? yes, for a few more days and then i think it will go away. >> remember the feud that he had with judge curiel who was in charge of these lawsuits out in
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california. the indiana-born mexican american judge trump went after. >> it wasn't just the trump university story but the side story where he went after this judge because of his mexican heritage. yes, he needed to get this behind him. $25 million for something as wealthy as he is, small price to pay. >> the appointments, the announcements he made of these three key slots today over the past 24 hours, what do these appointments, jackie, say to you? >> these are all hard liners and these are people who have backed donald trump pretty much from the very beginning and have really been behind him and have been putting his message out there. jeff sessions was the first senator to endorse him. michael flynn has been a constant fixture on the campaign trail. pompeo first endorsed rubio but has been with trump for a while so he's rewarding loyalists. he's bringing other people in, maybe some of his opponents in the past, to talk, but the loyalists are what are getting the plum positions right now. >> we'll see if any of those others he's bringing in, like
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nikki haley, ted cruz, mitt romney, whether they wind up with anything or are just giving opinions to the president-elect. do you think pompeo, he will need senate confirmation, sessions will need senator confirmation, do you think either will have any problem? >> i think sessions' hearings could get contentious. it's unusual given that it's a senator and typically in that body they shuttle all these senators right through the confirmation process. but sessions' views on immigration and civil rights have already prompted a lot of concern from democrats. chuck schumer saying in a statement that while he's a gym buddy of jeff sessions, he's going to raise a lot of concerns about his past record and something they're going to scrutinize closely. that doesn't mean that he will be stopped. he's almost certainly going to be confirmed. the republicans of course have the majority, the democrats will remove the filibuster for executive branch nominees and so
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51 are needed to confirm. 52 republicans will likely sit in the senate next year and already some -- you can bet some democrats are going to vote for sessions and pompeo as well. so i think trump will win. >> they only need 50 senators since the vice president of the united states is going to be the republican. he's the president of the senate, he breaks that tie. >> and the only other thing that will come up, you never know what happens in a confirmation hearing. things can come up from the past that we have no idea and could blow up everything. assuming that doesn't happen, trump should get his people. >> just on that too, they're kwo going to try to damage sessions. >> the democrats? >> democrats will. but allow him through. just, you know, just to make a point not only for their base but for the fact of trying to get things done. >> guys, stick around. to our viewers, please check out the first-ever book from cnn politics entitled "unprecedented, the olympics that changed everything." you can preorder your copyright
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now at cnn.com/book. coming up, do donald trump's children pose a conflict of interest potentially for the incoming administration? the president-elect is facing questions and criticism after his daughter, ivanka, sat in on the meeting the president-elect had with the japanese prime minister. we're going to bring you the latest. it was always just a hobby
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donald trump is coming to washington promising to drain the swamp. but the involvement of trump's children in his white house transition, as well as his business dealings may be blurring the lines somewhat between public service and private profit. brian todd, what are you
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learning? >> reporter: we're seeing more alarm bells being raised tonight, because it seems the potential government portfolios of trump's children, especially his daughter ivanka, only seem to be expanding. experts openly questioning tonight if trump and his children can achieve any separation from his business empire. >> our government will be honest, ethical, and responsive. >> reporter: when donald trump is in the white house, he plans to hand off his business holdings to his children, but there are signs of potential conflicts of interest. trump's daughter ivanka joined him in his meeting with japan's prime minister. >> he may be forming less of a team of rivals and more of a team of relatives. that's a problem. >> reporter: like any business, trump's empire is affected by policies set by the government. but with his children playing key roles in his transition team, choosing the top policymakers, critics say it's problematic. >> it's incredible. there are conflicts at every turn. trump has said there will be a
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wall between his kids and his business interests and his public ambitions. there's no wall that we're seeing right now. >> reporter: the transition team says it will make sure all rules and regulations are followed, and trump's business organization says this is how it plans to handle the ethical dilemma. >> it's going to be placed into blind trust. >> reporter: but experts say your own children are not what is called a blind trust. >> it's not credible to say it's a blind trust. he would divest himself all of the interests he owns and put the proceeds into a trust that's run by an independent third party. >> reporter: trump himself has shown uncertainty. >> well, i don't know, if it's a blind trust if ivanka, don and eric run it. >> reporter: one of trump's top supporters offers this assurance. >> there will have to be a wall between them with regard to government matters. >> reporter: and the case of jared kushner, who is playing a
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trusted role in the trump transition team. he runs a newspaper and a billion dollar real escape company. >> it may be legally questionable and politically perilous for him to choose someone close to him and the number one qualification being they're related to donald trump. >> reporter: why doesn't trump just turn his entire business empire over to an outside third party trustee? >> donald trusts no one more than ivanka, donald jr., and eric. but the problem that donald has is that he doesn't trust very many people. >> reporter: now, one glaring physical example of president-elect trump's potential conflicts of interest is here, just a few blocks away from the white house. the trump international hotel. trump hotels is the tenant and once he's president, trump is going to be the land lord, since this property is rented from the federal government. trump will have the power to fire and hire the gsa, which oversees this property, and he could conceivably, in effect, be
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in a position to negotiate the rent for this place with himself. neither the trump transition people or the trump organization have commented on that. the gsa said it's going to work to address any potential conflicts of interest with this building. >> brian, thank you very much. brian todd reporting. coming up, donald trump begins filling jobs in his cabinet. will hardline loyalists be able to keep trump's promise to drain the swamp? ♪ (woman) one year ago today mom started searching for her words.
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happening now, breaking news. bannon speaks. donald trump's controversial
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chief strategist steve bannon fires back at accusations he's a white nationalist, and he details trump's plan to win over minority voters. why does he believe trump's policies will endure for decades? donald trump agrees to settle lawsuits against trump university for $25 million. that will keep trump from having to testify in court. will it end the controversy? key picks. trump moves to fill top positions in his upcoming administration with hardline loyalists. his pitch for attorney general, cia director, national security adviser are causing some controversy. will his nominees win confirmation? and white nationalists are cheering trump's choices calling them a dream team and what they want. now reports of harassment are growing. are extremists feeling emboldened by the trump victory? i'll talk about that and more with congrsm

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