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tv   At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan  CNN  January 11, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST

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conference momentarily, the first news conference in some six months, certainly the first news conference since he was elected president of the united states. the news conference takes on added significance, given all the developments that have happened over the past few days, jake. >> that's right. we were originally told, i think it's been more than 168 days since he had that last press conference, in which, you might remember, he invited russia to hack hillary clinton's e-mails. moving along from that, he has said that he will introduce the standards by which he will wall himself off from his global business empire, and then of course in the last day cnn and other media organizations, "the washington post," "the new york times" and others, have reported that on friday with a briefing with the top intelligence officials of the country there was a two-page attention to the intelligence report claiming that russians claimed to have damaging information about the president-elect and that there were communications between emissaries of the campaign and
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the kremlin throughout the election. it's a lot to ask about, a lot to dive into. in addition there are so many issues that president-elect trump has yet to address about tax reform, syria, and much more. >> he will have an opening statement, we're told, we assume about resolving conflicts of interest, and then he will answer reporters' questions. we don't know if a few reporters' question or a lot of reporters' questions. he reacted angrily on twitter today. >> that's right, we reached out to the transition team to get a response about the intelligence committee report and the briefing on friday. we did not get a statement from the trump transition. but president-elect trump did issue a statement later on, talking about fake news and a political witch hunt. we weren't sure if he was
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talking about our report or the fact that other news organization had printed i think fairly irresponsibly an entire dossier on which some of the annex that we referred to had been based. we now await president-elect trump's response not only to the stories of the last day but also questions from reporters. evaluated not faced questions from potentially adversarial press in quite some time, after that july press conference, he pretty much stopped, with a couple of exceptions, pretty much stopped except for reporters, anchors of channels that were rooting for him openly. we're hoping there will be some challenging questions, respectful but challenging, about this report, this allegation, and also much, much more going forward in terms of what kind of president he's going to be, what kind of administration he's going to have. >> jim sciutto, among the latest tweets, once again, he seems to be at bitter odds with the u.s. intelligence community. >> no question.
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and let's be clear. he has tweeted a lot of things, he's alleged fake news, et cetera. he and his team have not answered the essential question of our report which was that he was briefed on this, he and the president, president obama, that the fbi is investigating this, as are republican and democratic lawmakers. he has not answered that essential question yet in any public comment. >> and also, just to add, the question about the underlying charges and the two-page dossier, the two-page synopsis provided by the intelligence community is very different from this 35-page dossier which is full of all sorts of uncorroborated and unsubstantiated reports that we did not report on. but this 2-page dossier, this two-page synopsis which we understand to have been fairly broad in terms of its descriptions, the basic questions for president-elect trump are, were there contacts between anyone related to his camp, emissaries, surrogates, whoever, and anyone related whatsoever to the russian government, and do russians have
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any damaging information, financial or personal, as they claim to have. >> gloria, this news conference taking place only a few days before the presidential inauguration, the stakes clearly for the president-elect to do well, to explain what he understands is going on, these stakes are enormous. >> well, you know, initially this press conference seemed to be just geared towards the question of how donald trump is going to divest himself and how he's going to deal with the conflicts that arise between his company and -- which is all over the world, and his job as president of the united states. and it seems very clear that we learned in the last few weeks that his sons are going to run the company effectively, and he's going to try and separate himself. so we'll have to see how he can do that. i mean, it's very difficult for somebody like donald trump to just put everything into a blind trust, because we've never had this kind of a situation where you have a multi-billionaire
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real estate investor as president of the united states. but having said that, that was going to be the main topic of this. now, given the reporting of cnn and others yesterday, i think this is going to turn into questions about just what the relationship was between the trump campaign and -- or emissaries from the trump orbit, even if they weren't members of the campaign, and people in russia. and i think questions have been raised about whether there was any communication, whether that was done to effectively undermine the candidacy of hillary clinton, and i think that reporters are going to want to know answers to these questions. we have an idea of what donald trump might say. but i do think that there's going to be an awful lot of questions about what did you do and when did you do it or when did people in your campaign do it. >> if you take a step back and
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think about how extraordinary it is that we are a week and two days away from him being right back there, becoming the 45th president of the united states, and heading into that pretty remarkable moment, he is at war with the intelligence community, which is only escalating after your report, instead of taking a step back and perhaps trying to think about, well, maybe this is an example of why it's not the greatest idea in the world for a president to be openly berating the intelligence community, he doubled down, tripled down on it. and it's really, really remarkable, given the fact that, you know, jim, you cover these guys every day, the intelligence community, they're not perfect, they have flaws. >> they've made some big mistakes. >> they've made some big mistakes. but at the end of the day, when he becomes the president, they are there to work for him. they are the ones who are going to be -- he's going to be sending out on secret cl
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clandestine missions that nobody else knows about, he's going to have to rely on them for information about north korea and other things. the fact that he's coming into the presidency, way beyond odds, really at war with these people, is unbelievable. >> they're going to inform every key national security decision this president has to make. does north korea have a nuclear missile. >> exactly. >> is there a terrorist attack pending on the u.s. homeland. where to send u.s. forces into danger's way. they're going to be inform him. the question becomes, the way the relationship is starting, not just for him and his political fortunes, it is fundamentally dangerous for the country. >> i want to take issue with this. because you're suggesting he's at war with the intelligence community. he's at war with the leaders of the intelligence community. he's at war with the people who have presented this assessment. these are political leaders.
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these are people appointed by barack obama. to say he's at war with the person in the bowels of the cia, wherever it is, is ridiculous. >> that's not true. there is broad agreement within the agencies. early on there were stories that there was disagreement, we've debunked that. those assessments don't come from the political leaders. >> i work on the board of a cyber security company and i talk to people in that field, and they're talking to people in the bowels of that organization that don't feel that way. >> what are they specifically objecting to? >> first off, to suggest that this was a hack. it was not a hack. >> it was a phishing hack on john podesta. they call it an influence
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operation. >> the idea to point to things that you say clearly points to russia, if you know anything about this area, the bottom line is if russia did this, you are wouldn't know it because it would be five steps removed. they wouldn't leave breadcrumbs to say this is obviously russia. if it was obviously russia, it was possibly the intent. >> satisfiaside from the specif maybe you're right that there is a disconnect between some of the leadership in the intelligence community and some of the rank and file. but to jim's point, the fact that this is so public right now does put in danger the rank and file, the officials who are out and trying to interface with assets and officials and counterparts in very dangerous parts of the world. and they're going to go back to the officials and say, why should i trust you, why should i believe you, your president-elect doesn't even believe it. >> that will be resolved in two weeks. when new leadership of those organizations, and those leaders will actually do the work and give the president i think what
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he will see as a more -- >> are you saying that james clapper and james comey and john brennan, mike rogers, are completely partisans? >> i would say that the document they had was more of a political document than i've seen in a long time. >> i want to get to you in a moment, but senator, donald trump, the president-elect of the united states, tweeted three hours ago, "intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to leak," quote, leak, "into the public. one last shot at me. are we living in nazi germany." >> that's what was going to say, wolf. trump has disparaged women, people color. now he is attacking the intelligence community. how will they do their jobs out in the streets? you're saying in two weeks all of a sudden donald trump will feel better about the information he's getting. i don't think that's how it works. this is dangerous.
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this is not a partisan issue. a foreign entity has meddled in our elections process, that's something across the board we should all be concerned with. perhaps donald trump is concerned that he's not a legitimate president. he needs to deal with those issues. but he is about to assume the highest office in the land. and he has to step into this. and i'm just shocked that this is what's happening, disparaging our intelligence community. >> i want to bring in david axelrod joining us i believe from chicago. david, you're one of our senior political advisors. i wonder if you can tell us more, i've heard this tale told, that when george w. bush was handing over the reins to barack obama eight years ago this month, one of the bits of advice he told him was, and you'll pardon my language, don't piss off the intelligence community. >> i don't think your language was that offensive there, jake. but yes, i think that was part of the message that he delivered. look, jim went over some of the
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issues. i would have another, which is north korea and the threats that kim jong un has made in recent days towards the u.s. presidents have to rely on this intelligence. here is the issue. if in order to impeach what you find unfavorable reporting, you go to war with the intelligence community and try and undermine their credibility, and we've just heard some of that here, then how are people to react when you present them with intelligence and say you're going to make a decision based on that intelligence, after having impeached the intelligence community? it is a very, very dicey proposition for the president-elect to be doing this. and he may come to regret that down the line when he has to make some very sensitive decisions. >> senator santorum, i suppose what you're saying is this problem will go away when dan coats replaces james clapper, assuming that happens, and he
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has the leaders he wants heading the intelligence community. >> look, i think he believes that this was an overpoliticized process, and that he is -- he sort of rejects -- he rejects that out of hand. based in part, based on his own knowledge of what he saw and didn't see and the information he's been able to gather. so this is an issue right now, it's a big issue, i agree with it, but i think it will be knot as big as issue once his people get in charge and you'll be able to see the facts behind it. >> another parts of the really is the fact that senior republicans in congress, most notably john mccain, lindsey graham, you know, we heard marco rubio questioning mr. tillerson today about russia and putin, these people believe that there ought to be a special committee to just peel this back, layer by layer, take a look at this. whether you have new people
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energy or not, they believe it is their job as congress, why shouldn't they do that? >> here comes the president-elect of the united states. he's walking into this room at trump tower, the lobby at trump tower in new york city surrounded by his two adult sons and his daughter ivanka. let's listen in. >> -- united states. this is an opportunity to be here today to allow the president-elect to take your questions. after the president-elect makes some remarks, he will introduce miss sherry dylan, a prominent attorney in washington, dc with the prestigious firm of morgan lewis who structured the agreements pursuant to the president's business arrangements. she will give brief remarks. before we start i want to bring your attention to a few points on the report published in buzzfeed last night. it's frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect's campaign to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just
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days before he takes the oath of office. according to buzzfeed's own editor, there are some serious reasons to doubt the allegations in the report. the executive editor of "the new york times" also dismissed the report by saying it was, quote, "totally unsubstantiated," echoing the concerns that many other reporters expressed on the internet. the fact that buzzfeed and cnn made the decision to run with this unsubstantiated claim is a sad effort to get clicks. the report is not an intelligence report plain and simple. one issue the report talked about was the relationship of three individuals associated with the campaign. these three individuals, paul manafort, michael cohen, and carter page. carter page is an individual who the president-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign. paul manafort as adamantly denied any involvement. and michael cohen who is said to
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have visited prague in august or september did not leave or enter the united states during this time. we asked him to produce his passport to confirm his whereabouts on the date in question and there was no doubt that he was not in prague. in fact mr. cohen has never been in prague. a new report actually suggests that michael cohen was at the university of southern california with his son at a baseball game. one report now suggested apparently it's another michael cohen. for all the talk lately about fake news, this political witch hunt by some in the media is based on some of the most flimsy reporting and is frankly shameful and disgraceful. with that it is my honor to introduce the next vice president of the united states, mike pence. >> we are nine days away from the inauguration of the 45th
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president of the united states of america. i am pro foundly honored and humbled that i will take the oath of office to serve as vice president of the united states nine days from today. but i am even more honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with a new president who will make america great again. now, the president-elect's leadership and his energy during the campaign was impressive. but as the chairman of the transition effort, i can assure the american people that his energy and his vision during the course of this transition has been even more inspiring. to see the way he has brought together men and women of extraordinary capability at a historic pace in this cabinet, 19 of the 21 cabinet officials have been announced, nine
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committee hearings already scheduled, seven more soon to go on the books in the next several days. and it is a compilation of men and women with an unprecedented caliber of leadership and background to help this administration move our nation forward. perhaps that's why there's been such a concerted effort by some in the mainstream media to delegitimize this election and to demean our incoming administration. you know, i have long been a supporter of a free and independent press and i always will be. but with freedom comes responsibility. and the irresponsible decision of a few news organizations to run with a false and unsubstantiated report, when most news organizations resisted the temptation to propagate this fake news, can only be attributed to media bias and attempt to demean the president-elect and our incoming administration and the american people are sick and tired of it.
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but today, we'll get back to real news, to real facts. and the real progress our incoming president has already made in reviving the american economy and assembling a team that will make america great again. and we'll hear from the president-elect about issues that are of paramount importance to the american people today. it is my honor to introduce to all of you my friend and the president-elect of the united states of america, donald trump. >> thank you very much. it's very familiar territory, news conferences, because we used to give them on an almost daily basis. i think we probably maybe won the nomination because of news conferences. and it's good to be with you.
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we stopped giving them because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news. i do have to say that, and i must say that i want to thank a lot of the news organizations here today because they looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies, who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies, which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that, a tremendous blot, because a thing like that should have never been written, it should never been had and it should certainly never have been released. but i want to thank a lot of the news organizations, for -- some of whom have not treated me very well over the years, a couple in particular and they came out so strongly against that fake news and the fact that it was written about by primarily one group and
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one television station. so i just want to compliment many of the people in the room. i have a great respect for the news and great respect for freedom of the press and all of that. but i will tell you, there were some news organizations, with all that was just said, that were so professional, so incredibly professional, that i've just gone up a notch as to what i think of you, okay? all right. we've had some great news over the last couple of weeks. i've been quite active, i guess you could say in an economic way for the country. a lot of car companies are going to be moving in. we have other companies, big news is going to be announced over the next couple of weeks about companies that are going to be building in the midwest. you saw yesterday fiat-chrysler, big, big factory going to be built in this country as opposed to another country. ford just announced they stopped plans for a billion dollar plant
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in mexico and they're going to be moving into michigan and expanding very substantially an existing plant. i appreciate that from ford. i appreciate it very much from fiat-chrysler. i hope that general motors will be following. and i think they will be. i think a lot of people will be following. i think a lot of industries are going to be coming back. we have to get our drug industry coming back. our drug industry has been disastrous. they're leaving left and right. they supply our drugs but they don't make them here, to a large extent. and the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they're getting away with murder. pharma. pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power. and there's very little bidding on drugs. we're the largest buyer of drugs in the world. and yet we don't bid properly. we're going to start bidding. we're going to save billions of dollars over a period of time. and we're going to do that with
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a lot of other industries. i'm very much involved with the generals and admirals on the airplane, the f-35, you've been reading about it. and it's way, way behind schedule, and many, many billions of dollars over budget. i don't like that. and the admirals have been fantastic. the generals have been fantastic. i've really gotten to know them well. and we're going to do some big things on the f-35 program, and perhaps the f-18 program. and we're going to get those costs way down. and we're going to get the plane to be even better. and we're going to have some competition. it's going to be a beautiful thing. so we've been very, very much involved, and other things. we had jack ma, we had so many incredible people coming here, mr. arnot. they're going to do tremendous things, tremendous things in this country. and they're very excited. and i will say, if the election
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didn't turn out the way it turned out, they would not be here. they would not be in my office. they would not be in anybody else's office. they would be building and doing things in other countries. so there's a great spirit going on right now, a spirit that many people have told me they've never seen before, ever. we're going to create jobs. i said that i will be the greatest jobs producer that god ever created. and i mean that. i really -- i'm going to work very hard on that. we need certain amounts of other things, including a little bit of luck. but i think we're going to do a real job -- and i'm very proud of what we've done. and we haven't even gotten there yet. i look very much forward to the inauguration. it's going to be a beautiful event. we have great talent, tremendous talent. and we have all of the bands, or most of the bands from the different -- from the different segments of the military. and i've heard some of these bands over the years. they're incredible. we're going to have a very, very
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elegant day. the 20th is going to be something that will be very, very special, very beautiful. and i think we're going to have massive crowds, because we have a movement. it's a movement like the world has never seen before. it's a movement that a lot of people didn't expect. and even the polls, although some of them did get it right, but many of them didn't, that was a beautiful scene on november 8th as those states started to pour in. we focused very hard on those states, and they really reciprocated. and those states are going to have a lot of jobs and they're going to have a lot of security. they're going to have a lot of good news for their veterans. speaking of veterans, i appointed today the head secretary of the veterans administration, david shelkin. we'll do a news release in a little while, i'll tell you about david, he's fantastic. he's fantastic. he will do a truly great job.
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one of the commitments i've made is that we're going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans. our veterans have been treated horribly. we're waiting in line for 15, 16, 17 days. cases where they go in and they have a minor early stage form of cancer, they can't see a doctor. by the time they get to the doctor, they're terminal. it's not going to happen. not going to happen. so david is going to do a fantastic job. we're going to be talking to a few people also to help david. we have some of the great hospitals of the world, going to align themselves with us on the veterans administration, like the cleveland clinic, like the mayo clinic, a few more that we have. we're going to set up a group. these are hospitals that have been the top of the line, the absolute top of the line. and they're going to get together with their great doctors, dr. toby cost grovgrov
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the cleveland clinic has been very involved, and we're going to straighten out the va for our vetera veterans. i've been promising that for a long time, something i feel very, very strongly. you'll get the information on david, and i think you'll be very impressed with the job he does. we looked long and hard, we interviewed at least a hundred people, some good, some not so good. but we've got a lot of talent. we think this selection will be something that will, with time, with time, straighten it out and straighten it out for good, because our veterans have been treated very unfairly. okay. questions. yes. john. >> reporter: thank you so much, i appreciate it. a couple of aspects of the intelligence briefing that you received on friday that we're looking for further clarification on. >> sure. >> reporter: first of all, did the heads of the intelligence
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agencies provide you with the two-page summary of these unsubstantiated allegations, and secondly, on the broader picture, do you accept their opinion that vladimir putin ordered the hack of the dnc and the attempted hack of the rnc and if you do, how will that color your attempts to build a relationship with a leader who has been accused of committing an act of espionage against the united states? >> first of all, these meetings are confidential, classified, so i'm not allowed to talk about what went on in the meeting. we had many witnesses in that meeting, many of them will us. i will say, again, i think it's a disgrace that information would be let out. i saw the information. i read the information outside of that meeting. it's all fake news. it's phony stuff. it didn't happen. and it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know, because you reported it, and so did many of the other people, it was a group of opponents that got together, sick people, and they
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put that crap together. so i will tell you that not within the meeting but outside of the meeting, somebody released it. it should never have been -- number one, it shouldn't have even entered paper, but it shouldn't have been released. i've read what was released and i think it's a disgrace, i think it's an absolute disgrace. as far as hacking, i think it was russia, but i also think we've been hacked by other countries, other people. and i can say that, you know, when we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn't make a big deal out of that. that was something that was extraordinary, that was probably china. we had much hacking going on. and one of the things we're going to do, we have some of the greatest computer minds anywhere in the world that we've assembled. you saw just a sample of it here two weeks ago when we had the six top people in the world,
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they were never in the same room together as a group, we're going to put those minds together and we're going to form a defense. i have to say this also, the democratic national committee was totally open to be hacked. they did a very poor job. they could have had hacking defense, which we had. and i will give reince priebus credit, because when reince saw what was happening in the world and with this country, he went out and went to various firms and ordered a very, very strong hacking defense. and they tried to hack the republican national committee, and they were unable to break through. we have to do that for our country. it's very important. >> reporter: just to the last part of that question, when i said how could all of this potentially color your attempts to build a better relationship with president putin. >> well, you know, president putin and russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news.
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they said it totally never happened. somebody would say, oh, of course he's going to say that. i respected the fact that he said that. i'll be honest, i think if he did have something, they would have released it, they would have been glad to release it. i think frankly had they broken into the republican national committee, i think they would have released it, just like they did about hillary and all of the horrible things that her people like mr. podesta said about her. i mean, what he said about her was horrible. if somebody said about me what podesta said about hillary, i was the boss, i would have fired them immediately, that person, because what he said about her was horrible. but remember this. we talk about the hacking. hacking's bad. and it shouldn't be done. but look at the things that were hacked. look at what was learned from that hacking, that hillary clinton got the questions to the debate and didn't report it? that's a horrible thing. that's a horrible thing. can you imagine that if donald trump got the questions to the debate, it would have been the
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biggest story in the history of stories, and they would have said immediately you have to get outside of race. money even talked about it. it's a very terrible thing. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president-elect. on that intelligence report, the second part of their conclusion was that vladimir putin ordered it because he aspired to help you in the election. do you accept that part of the finding and will you undo what president obama did to punish the russians for this or will you keep it if place? >> if putin likes donald trump, i consider that an asset, not a liability. because we have a horrible relationship with russia. russia can help us fight isis, which by the way is number one, tricky. i mean, if you look, this administration created isis by leaving at the wrong time. the void was created. isis was formed. if putin likes donald trump, guess what, folks, that's called an asset, not a liability. now, i don't know that i'm going to get along with vladimir
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putin. i hope i do. but there's a good chance i won't. and if i don't, do you honestly believe that hillary would be tougher on putin than me? does anyone in this room really believe that? give me a break. >> reporter: we're unclear whether during the visits in moscow or st. petersburg you engaged in conduct you now regret and would a reasonable observer say you are potentially vulnerable to blackmail by russia or its intelligence agencies? >> when i leave our country, i'm a very high profile person, would you say? i am extremely careful. i'm surrounded by bodyguards. i'm surrounded by people. and i always tell them anywhere, but i always tell them, if i'm leaving this country, be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go, you're going to probably have cameras. i'm not referring just to
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russia. but i would certainly put them in that category. and number one, i hope you're going to good anyway, but in those rooms you have cameras in the strangest places, cameras that are so small, with modern technology, you can't see them and you won't know. you better be careful or you'll be watching yourself on nightly television. i tell this to people all the time. i was in russia years ago with the miss universe contest which did very well, the moscow area, did very, very well. and i told many people, be careful, because you don't want to see yourself on television, cameras all over the place. and again, not just russia, all over. does anyone really believe that story? i'm also very much of a germophobe, by the way, believe me. >> reporter: how you plan to disentangle yourself from your
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business. but first, based on your comments here today, do you believe the hacking was justified? does russia have any leverage over you, financial or otherwise, and if not, will you release your tax returns to prove it? >> so i tweeted out that i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia, because we've stayed away. and i have no loans with russia. as a real estate developer i have very, very little debt. i have assets that are -- and now people have found out how big the company is, i have very low debt. but i have no loans with russia at all. and i thought that was important to put out. i certified that. so i have no deals. i have no loans. and i have no dealings. we could make deals in russia very easily if we wanted to. i just don't want to because i think that would be a conflict. so i have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals. now, i have to say one other thing. over the weekend, i was offered
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$2 billion to do a deal in dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the middle east, hussein damack, a friend of mine, great guy. i was offered $2 billion to do a deal in dubai, a number of deals. and i turned it down. i didn't have to turn it down, because as you know, i have a no-conflict situation because i'm president, which is -- i didn't know about that until about three months ago, but it's a nice thing to have. but i don't want to take advantage of something. i have something that others don't have. vice president pence also has it. i don't think he'll need it, i have a feeling he's not going to need it. but i have a no conflict of interest provision as president. it was many, many years old,
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this is for presidents. i understand, they don't want presidents getting tangled up in minutiae, they want a president to run the country. so i could actually run my business, i could actually run my business and run government at the same time. i don't like the way that looks. but i would be able to do that if i wanted to. i would be the only one to be able to do that. you can't do that in any other capacity. but as president, i could run the trump organization, great, great company, and i could run the country. i would do a very good job. but i don't want to do that. all of these papers -- yes, go ahead. >> reporter: do you believe the hacking was justified and will you release your tax returns to prove what you're saying about no deals in russia? >> i'm not releasing the tax returns because as you know, they're under audit. >> reporter: they've been under audit since the '70s. >> the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, okay? >> reporter: you don't think the american public is concerned about it? >> i don't think so. i won.
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no, i don't think they care at all. i don't think they care at all. i think you care. i think you care. first of all, you learn very little to a tax return. you should go down to federal elections and take a look at the numbers. people have learned a lot about my company, and now they realize, my company is much bigger, more powerful than they ever thought. we're in many, many countries, and i'm very proud of it. and what i'm going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, don and eric, are going to be running the company. they are going to be running it in a very professional manner. they're not going to discuss it with me. again, i don't have to do this. they're not going to discuss it with me. and with that, i'm going to bring upsh sherry dylan. these papers are some of the many documents that i've signed turning over complete and total control to my sons.
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>> good morning. it's my honor and privilege to be here today at president-elect trump's request. he's asked me, as you just heard, to speak the conflicts of interest and the steps he's taking. as you know, the business empire built by president-elect trump over the years is massive, not dissimilar to the fortunes of nelson rockefeller when he became vice president. but at that time, no one was so concerned. president-elect trump wants the american public to rest assured that all of his efforts are directed to pursuing the people's business and not his own. to that end, as he explained a few moments ago, he directed me and my colleagues at the law firm morgan lewis and bockius to design a structure for his business empire that will completely isolate him from the management of the company. he further instructed that we build in protections that will assure the american people the
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decisions he makes and the actions that he takes as president are for their benefit and not to support his financial interests. as he said, he's voluntarily taking this on. the conflicts of interest laws simply do not apply to the president or the vice president. and they are not required to separate themselves from their financial assets. the primary conflicts of interest statute is section 18, usc 208, since some have questioned this. it's simply inapplicable by its terms. this is not just our interpretation. it's congress itself who made this clear in 1989, when it amended section 18 usc 202 to state that except as otherwise provided, the terms "office" and "employee" in section 208 shall not include the president. even so, president-elect trump wants there to be no doubt in the minds of the american public
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that he is completely isolating himself from his business interests. he instructed us to take all steps realistically possible to make it clear that he is not exploiting the office of the presidency for his personal benefit. he also sought the guidance of individuals who are familiar with and have worked extensively in the fields of government ethics and constitutional law. critical to the morgan lewis team is fred fielding, stand to our side and with us today, many of you have known him. he has served several presidents over the years including as counsel to presidents ronald reagan and george w. bush as well as serving on president george h.w. bush's commission on federal ethics law reform and also held position of vice chair of the ethics resource center. mr. fielding has been extensively involved with and approved this plan. he's here today to support the plan and he will continue to provide guidance as the plan is implemented and as eric, don,
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along with others, take over management of the trump organization. i'm going to detail some of the extraordinary steps now that the president-elect is taking. first, president-elect trump's investments in business assets, commonly known as the trump organization, compromising hundreds of entities, which again, if you all go and take a look, it is his financial disclosure statement, pages and pages and pages of entities, have all been or will be conveyed to a trust prior to january 20th. here is just some of the paperwork that's taking care of those actions. second, through the trust agreement, he has relinquished leadership and management of the trump organization to his sons, don and eric, and a long time trump executive, alan weissenberg. together they'll have the authority to manage the trump organization and will make decisions for the duration of the presidency without any involvement whatsoever by
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president-elect trump. further, at the president-elect's direction, the trust agreement provides that to ensure the trump organization continues to operate in accordance with the highest and legal ethics standards, an ethics adviser will be appointed to the management team. the written approval of the ethics adviser will be required for new deals, actions, and transactions that can potentially raise ethics or conflicts of interest concerns. president-elect trump as well as don, eric, and alan are committed to ensuring that activities of the trump organization are beyond approach and cannot be perceived to be exploitative of the office of the presidency. president-elect trump will resign from all officer and other positions he holds with the trump organization entities. further, in addition, his daughter ivanka will have no further involvement with or management authority whatsoever with the trump organization. as she and jared move their
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family to dc, i havenvanka will focused on settling their children into their new homes and schools. the trust will have two types of assets. first, it will hold liquid assets, cash, cash equivalents, and treasuries, and perhaps some positions in a government-approved diversified portfolio, one that is consistent with the regulations from the office of government ethics. second, the trust is going to hold his preexisting illiquid but value business assets, the ones everyone is familiar with, trump owned and branded golf clubs, resorts, hotels, rights to loyalties from trump marks, productions, and goods, things like trump tower, mar-a-lago, 40 wall street, will all be in the trust.
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through instructions in the trust agreement, president-elect trump first ordered that all pending deals be terminated. this impacted more than 30 deals, many of which were set to close by the end of 2016. as you can well imagine, that caused an immediate financial loss of millions of dollars, not just for president-elect trump, but also for don, ivanka, and eric. the trust agreement as directed by president trump imposes severe restrictions on new deals. no new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of trump's presidency. new deals will be allowed but they will go through a vigorous vetting process. the president-elect will have no role in dec the trump organization engages in a deal and he will only know of the deal if he reads it in the paper or sees it on tv, because any new deal could, and i emphasize could, be perceived as
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a conflict or exploiting the office of the president. new deals must be vetted with the ethics adviser whose role will be to analyze any potential transactions for conflicts and ethics issues. the ethics adviser will be a recognized expert in the field of government experts. again, his role will be to scrutinize the new deals and the actions and any new deal must receive written approval. to further and the trump organization, president-elect trump has ordered through his trust agreement to sharply limit rights. reports will only be available and reflect profit and loss on the company as a whole. there will be no separate business by business accounting. another step that president-elect trump has taken is he created a new position at the trump organization, the position of chief compliance counsel, whose responsibility
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will be to ensure businesses, again, are operating at the highest levels of integrity and not taking any actions that could be perceived as exploiting the office of the presidency. he has also directed that no communications of the trump organization, including social media accounts, will reference or be tied to president-elect trump's role as president of the united states or the office of the presidency. in sum, all of these actions, complete relinquishment of management, no foreign deals, ethics adviser approval of deals, sharply limited information rights, will sever president-elect trump's presidency from the trump organization. some have asked questions. why not divest? why not just sell everything? form a blind trust. and i would like to address some of those questions now. selling, first and foremost, would not eliminate possibilities of conflicts of interest. in fact, it would exacerbate
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them. the trump brand is key to the value of the trump organization's assets. if president-elect trump sold his brand, he would be entitled to royalties for the use of it. and this would result in the trust retaining an interest in the brand without the ability to ensure that it does not exploit the office of the presidency. further, whatever price was paid would be subject to criticism and scrutiny. was it too high? is there pay for play? was too much paid to curry favor with the president-elect? and selling his assets without the rights to the brand would greatly diminish the value of the assets and create a fire sale. president-elect trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built. this plan offers a suitable alternative to address the concerns of the american people. and selling the entire trump organization isn't even feasible. some people have suggested that the president-elect sell the business to his adult children. this would require massive third
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party debt, sourced with multiple lenders whose motives and willingness to participate would be questioned and undoubtedly investigated. and if the president-elect were to finance the sale himself, he would retain the financial interest in the assets he owns now. some people have suggested president-elect trump bundle the assets and turn the trump organization into a public company. anyone who has ever gone through this extraordinarily cumbersome and complicated process knows that it is a nonstarter. it is not realistic and it would be inappropriate for the trump organization. some people have suggested a blind trust. but you cannot have a totally blind trust with operating business businesses. president trump can't un-know he owns trump tower. the press will make sure any new developments at the trump organization are well publicized. further, it would be impossible to find an institutional trustee
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that would be competent to run the trump organization. the approach he is taking allows don and eric to preserve this great company and its iconic assets and this approach is best from a conflicts and ethics perspective. it creates a complete separation from president-elect trump and separates him and prevents him from participating in the business and poses strict limits on what the trustees can do and requires the assent of any ethics adviser to a new deal. i'm going to turn called amaliance. it's a word we've all become familiar with and perhaps had not heard before, and we're going to describe some other actions the president-pleelect taking. it comes from the constitution. the constitution says officials may not accept gifts, titles of nobodility, or -- from foreign governments with respect to
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their office and that no benefit should be derived by holding an office. the so-called clause has never been interpreted, however, to apply to fair value exchanges that have absolutely nothing to do with an office holder. no one would have thought when the constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was this. instead it would have been thought of as a value for value exchange. not a gift. wa not a title. since president-elect trump has been elected, some people want to define it to cover routine business transactions like paying for hotel rooms. 1 they suggest it prohibits the businesses from arm's length transactions that the president-elect has absolutely nothing to do with and isn't even aware of. these people are wrong. this is not what the constitution it is. paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office.
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it does not require president-elect trump to do anything here, but just like with conflicts of interest, he wants to do more than what the constitution requires, so president-elect trump has decided, and we are announcing today that he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the united states treasury. this way it is the american people who will profit. in in sum, i and president-elect's other advisors at morgan lewis have will avoid conflicts of interest or concerns involving exploitation of the office of the presidency without imposing unnecessary and unreasonable losses on the president-elect and his family. we believe this structure and these steps will serve to accomplish the president-elect's desire to be isolated from his business interests and give the american people confidence that his sole business and interest is in making america great
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again, bringing back jobs to this country, securing our borders, and rebuilding our infrastructure. the american people were well aware of president-elect trump's business empire and financial interests when they voted. many people voted for him precisely because of his business success. president-elect trump wants to bring the success to all americans. thank you. [ applause ] >> my pleasure. good? >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. trump. what is your response to your critics that say not only you but also your cabinet is filled with conflicts of interest and do you plan to set an example in the future to make sure that your cabinet and everyone throughout your administration -- >> i really think that when you
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watch what's going on with what's happening in washington. i was watching as an example, rex tillerson. i think it's brilliant what he is doing and what he is saying. i watched yesterday, as you know, our great senator who is going to be a great attorney general, and he was brilliant. what people don't know is that he was a great prosecutor and attorney general in alabama, and he was brilliant yesterday. i really think that -- i think we have one of the great cabinets ever put together, and we've been hearing that from so many people. people are so happy. you know, the case of rex, he ran incredibly exxonmobil. when there was a find, he would get it. when they needed something, he would be there. a friend of mine who is very, very substantial in the oil business, harold hamm, big supporter, he said there's
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nobody in the business like rex tillerson, and that's what we want. that's what i want to bring to government. i want to bring the greatest people into government because we're way behind. we don't make good deals anymore. i say it all the time in speech speeches. we don't make good deals anymore. our trade deals are a disaster. we have hundreds of billions of dollars of losses on a yearly basis. hundreds of billions with china on trade and trade imbalance, with japan, with mexico, with just about everybody. we don't make good deals anymore. we need people that are smart. we need people that are successful. they got successful because generally speaking, they're smart. that's what i put. i'm very proud of the cabinet. i think they're doing very well. it's very interesting how it's going, but it's -- i think they're doing very, very well. >> thank you, mr. president-elect. i wanted to ask you a few questions on obama care.
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can you be specific on what guidance you are giving congressional republicans on the timeline for repeal and replace? >> sure. >> whether it needs to be simultaneous or -- >> finally, obama care. i thought it was never going to be asked. >> i'll ask you, though, if you have outlined a plan for what you want the replace package to look like. would it guarantee coverage for those who have gotten health insurance through the current obama care law? >> you are going to be very, very proud as not only the media and reporters -- you're going to be proud of what we put forth having to do with health care. obama care is a complete and total disaster. they can say what they want. they can guide you any way they want to guide you. in some cases they guide you incorrectly. in most cases you realize what's happened. it's imploding as we sit. some states have over 100% increase, and 17 -- i said this two years ago -- 17 is going to be the bad year.
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it's going to be catastrophic. frankly, we could sit back -- and it was a thought from a political standpoint, but it wouldn't be fair to the people. we could sit back and wait and watch and criticize, and we could be a chuck schumer and sit back and criticize it and people would come -- they would come begging to us, please, we have to do something about obama care. we don't want to own it. we don't want to own it politically. they own it right now. the easiest thing would be to let it implode in 17 and, believe me, we get pretty much whatever we wanted, but it would take a long time. we're going to be submitting as soon as our secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan. it will be repeal and replace. it will be essentially
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simultaneously. it will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day. could be the same hour. we're going to do repeal and replace. very complicated stuff. we're going to get a health bill passed. we're going to get health care taken care of in this country. you have deductibles that are so high that after people go broke paying their premiums, which are going through the roof, the health care can't even be used by them because deductibles are so high. obama care is the democrats' problem. we are going to take the problem off the shelves for them. we're doing them a tremendous service by doing it. we could sit back and let them hang with it. we are doing the democrats a great service. as soon as our secretary is approved and gets into the office, we'll be filing a plan,
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and it was actually pretty accurately reported today, the "new york times", and the plan will be repeal and replace obama care. we're going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better. okay. >> president-elect, can we just -- >> sir, sir. >> president-elect trump. >> which one? >> well, i was going to -- go ahead. then cbs. >> president-elect trump. when you look the aall the meetings that you have had with carrier, soft bank, and alibaba do you conceive of making this a program, maybe inside of commerce, and how soon will we see the program on capital reparition and corporate tax cuts. >> people said, well, that's only one company. like we did a good job with carrier, and i want to thank united technologies which owns carrier, but we saved close to 1,000 jobs, and they were gone. mike pence and his staff really helped us a lot. those were -- that was a tough
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one because they announced a year and a half before that they were leaving, so it's always tough when they're building a plant it's a little tougher than before they start or before they make an announcement. i want to thank united technologies. we've been meeting with a lot of companies, but what really is happening is the word is now out that when you want to move your plant to mexico or some other place and you want to fire all of your workers from michigan and ohio and all these places that i won, for good reason, it's not going to happen that way anymore. you want to move your plant and you think as an example you're going to build that plant in mexico and you are going to make your air conditioners or your cars or whatever you're making and you are going to sell it through what will be a very, very strong border, not a weak border like it is now. we don't even have a border. it's an open sive. it's not going to happen. you are going to pay a very large border tax. so if you want to m


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