tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 11, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
>> i'm getting to it. what will the new administration do specifically to reduce gun violence in chicago? i'm talking about beyond 140 characters in and a hash tag. there is serious mistrust for government and police not only chicago but countrywide. >> i don't know what the trump administration is going to do. your point about the gun violence being more of a symptom rather than the cause is so critical. so what is the cause? high crime occurs in high poverty areas. what's poverty due to? due to a lack of jobs, right? so there's -- i don't know if any of you read george bush's biography called "decision points." you didn't read it. in it, he tells this story about a question he would ask every leader as an ice breaker. question he would ask is what keeps you up at night. what keeps george bush up at night is terrorism. when he asked the president of china, hu jintao, he said to
him, what keeps me up at night is creating 25 million jobs a year for my people. do you not want leaders who are kept up at night how to create jobs, good paying jobs in high unemployment areas, right? the dignity of a job will stop violence. >> hold on a second. first of all, that sounds great. i'm all for it. when you're talking about the epidemic of violence, don't we before you start talking about 25 million jobs, don't we have to acknowledge that democrats have not treated this like a national emergency. >> i totally agree with you on that. do you not agree that if somebody has a job, they are not going to be joining a gang. if they have dignity. >> nothing stops a bullet like a job. i'm with you on that one. >> hello. but just it's in chicago, it's in urban areas but it's also in high poverty rural areas, too. both areas, you have opioid addiction, et cetera in rural
areas as you were describing. you need to have a strategy to bring jobs and create good paying jobs in america in a global economy. that's what i want to see from donald trump. what is the strategy for doing this. >> you're a good politics, got it all out. >> i want you to hear from the next generation. where is kyle tierney? kyle is a young man. he's a republican. he goes to yale. bula, bula. what's your question. >> trump has promised to bring back manufacturing jobs. how do you see the trump administration distancing itself from continuing crony capitalist policies and making sure that the government isn't picking winners and losers in a tweet or a press conference like calling out a specific company today? >> see he has been doing that, right? and frankly every governor in the country uses tax credits, et cetera to lure jobs. that's the only tools we have. so the way you get jobs in
america is to have a strategy where you are thinking about every policy you have, how does this create jobs in this country. yeah, maybe tax reform is a portion of it. but there's nothing wrong with a region deciding hey, we have got these assets and we're going to be great at making this advanced manufacturing product. we're not going to get all manufacturing back but we can get an awful lot of it back if we compete like germany has done. i was moderating a roundtable of ceos and said which country does it best, which country makes it irresistible for you to decide to go there? you know what they said which country does it best, they said singapore. i said what are they doing that doing? they said it's not just about taxes. they're assembling land for us to locate our factories there. they are training people for specifically the jobs that are coming out of that factory. it's because they are providing
us access to capital. they have a whole wrap around strategy for how they become irresistible. we have to be irresistible to advanced manufacturers in the globe or we are going to lose out. that's what i'd like to see is a comprehensive plan from the trump administration. >> there's one place we know we need to the advanced manufacturing jobs and it's ohio. we have a young man here from ohio. >> midwest represented again. >> jake tuckerman, clinton voter, what's your question. >> thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. it seems over the past few weeks and months that trump's relationship with themidia is becoming increasingly confrontational. i'm curious how you think this will affect americans as they search for real truth in the media and also how the repercussions of this will be specifically with the effects this will have on his views against the credibility of the media? >> i mean, this is such an important question. i hope that you all who are here and the folks are watching at
home understand and see what is happening with an effort to create an alternative channel of media to define which media is good and which media is bad by the trump incoming administration. the press conference today was example of that a bit. we should all be alarmed if there is no transparency because the media can't do their job if there's not transparency. the media is an arm of democracy. you cannot be an informed citizen if you don't have an active media that has access to the arms of government including the presidency. so this you know, jamaal you were saying the president caused last night, president obama caud everybody to stand up. this is an issue that people should be on the edge of their seat about. there has to be transparency. yes, people have to release
their tax returns. it's a basic thing. we have to know what the decisions are that are being made and do they -- is our foreign policy for sale? maybe it's not. but the only way we can be confident about that is if the media have access. we have access. the media is you. they are your voice. so the bottom line is this is something that everybody should be concerned about. yes, sir. >> thank you. first of all, your passion for democracy is unrivalled. give her a big round of applause. >> are we done already? >> it goes fast. look, i want to thank all my guests tonight and the audience and you at home. look, we've had an honest conversation here. it's your turn around the kitchen table, around the water cooler. we want you to keep the conversation going. stay human. i'm going to be back on the 25th of january for the next messy truth and i'm going to have a special guest named whoopi goldberg, that's right come together messy truth. cnn starts with don lemon right now.
thank you very much, van jones. i appreciate that. we're going to begin with breaking news. that breaking news is about the director of national intelligence. speaking now tonight speaking with the president-elect donald trump. i want to bring in cnn's senior white house correspondent. that is jim acosta and political analyst kirstin powers and chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. a big developing story happening tonight. jim, i want to go to you first. minutes ago the director of national intelligence issued a statement concerning the report presented to the president-elect and what was included in it. what does it say? >> that's exactly right. in the statement he says he spoke to the president-elect about the briefing. let me read it in full night. this evening i had the opportunity to speak with president-elect donald trump to the discuss recent media reports about our briefing last friday. i expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press and we both agreed they are extremely
core rose sib and danging to our national security. we also discussed the private security company document which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of congress and staff even before the intelligence community became aware of it. i emphasize that this document is not emphasis a "uss intelligence community product and i do not believe the leaks came from within the ic. the ic has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable and we did not rely upon it in any way for your on collusions. however, part of our obligations to ensure that policies are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security. president-elect trump again affirmed his appreciation for all the men and women serving in the intelligence community and a sured him that the ic stands ready to serve his administration and the american people. it is signed james r. clapper, director of national intelligence. don, if i could just highlight a
line in that statement, it's the line at the end, first of all, it references this document that was part of cnn's story, not the contents of the document but the cnn's story yesterday which was an exclusive was that this document had been included a synopsis of it in that classified intelligence briefing on friday to the president president-elect as well as to president obama that the fbi is investigating the allegations though has not confirmed them and that members of congress, republican and democrat consider them serious and have also asked for further investigation. you'll remember today that donald trump at his press conference denied any veracity of that document but also attacked cnn, called us fake news, called this story fake. that's a line continued by kellyanne conway with anderson cooper in quite a substantive interview just about a little more than an hour ago. he emphasizes the document which again we did not detail the allegations inside it but we did
detail the synopsis sis of those allegations was included in the briefing. he mentions that document and goes on to say, let me repeat that sentence, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the full quest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security. it is hard, don to, read that in any other way but to confirm that as part of that obligation, they presented some of this information as we reported yesterday in that intelligence briefing. a remarkable statement from the director of national intelligence. to in effect reveal a private conversation with the president about this and on a matter that the president has contested very boldly new public just a few hours before in his press conference. >> and again, i think you pointed out that important line and it is important pointed out again, but this is essentially confirming cnn's reporting. > i find no real other way to read that line. we were already very confident
in our reporting. i'll remind our viewers that we spoke to more than a dozen high ranking officials from a number of agencies and buildings around washington. we were already confident, but here you have a public references to that document, those memos rather, that contain these allegations regarding president-elect trump and possible or at least exposure to compromise by russia. he references that document and immediately after he says that the intelligence community has an obligation to provide all information, and at the end of the sentence caught my attention. any matters that might affect national security. that gets toe why they included it in the briefing because they made a judgment while not confirming these as factual and he says that in his statement, but they made a judgment it might. or knowledge of this might affect national security. >> jim acosta, what's your reaction to the statement tonight? >> i think it's a very important statement. i think it's the director of national intelligence who is on his way out, has no loyalty to donald trump trying to set the record straight.
i think that's exactly what is implied in that memo that jim sciutto just read. it was interesting to see donald trump today. he went after the news media. he went after the intelligence community. let's not lose sight of that. he once again went after the intelligence community and essentially accused them of being part of this political smear to delegitimize his presidency. and we can play a clip of that from the news conference earlier today. >> it's au 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 put that crap together. but it should never have been released but i read what was released and i think it's a disgrace. i think it's an absolute disgrace. >> so this statement from the director of national intelligence, james clapper, clearly refutes what he said
that the podium today. >> i think it does. it would be great to have jim clapper come on and perhaps jim will get him on camera at some point. that would be great. but it essentially is confirming to us that additional information was provided to the president-elect at this meeting last friday. it is something that when we pressed donald trump about there today, he said i can't comment on classified matters. that's what you've also heard from other senior transition officials. this is the direct of national intelligence saying there were other things presented to donald trump besides our findings. and that includes this other material which was essentially there to give the president-elect a heads-up that perhaps the russians may have something damaging on. >> you just because the whole thing that was in question is whether or not they spoke about it verbally. but it was in the actual report and one would assume that he would read the entire report. >> one way or other it, appears to have been in that presentationing that occurred last friday. and the director of national intelligence appears to be confirming that in this
statement. >> a lot to discuss here. we'll spend time with us. this is a very important facet to this now development in the story. let employee bring in carl bernstein, cnn's political commentator. he joins us by phone. you've been working on the story. what do you make of james clapper's statement? >> essentially it says that the story that we reported that donald trump was presented with this two-page document was indeed accurate and it seen goes to why it was presented which is pretty much what we said in the story, as well. that it was seen as affecting the national security. our report which did not make any value judgments about any of the memorandum, the 35 pages of really raw intelligence obtained by a paid investigator, our story did not go into those
allegations but rather the fact that the intelligence community, the chiefs of the national security intelligence agency, the united states had decided that the information in the two-page document and was important enough that underlying materials were important enough to call them to the attention of the president of the united states and the president-elect. and that's really what this statement confirms. >> so i want to bring in now stand by, carl, i want to bring in kirstin powers. i want to talk about another part of this. what's your response to this statement. >> i think it's pretty incredible and really incredible if you consider account interview that anderson cooper did with kellyanne conway earlier. this is essentially confirming the reporting and kellyanne conway was not only. >> that's what i want to ask you. let me sort of explain what's happening here. at this press conference, donald trump and sean spicer his
spokesman tried to conflate cnn's reporting with buzzfeed's reporting. buzzfeed published a 35-page report. cnn did not. tonight kellyanne conway had this exchange with anderson cooper. >> what cn nsaid was, and i quote, classified documents presented to president-elect and president obama included allegations that russian operatives claimeded to have compromised personal and financial information about mr. trump. >> it's not true anderson, your sources are not correct. and the fact is. >> so you're saying in that intelligence you're saying in that intelligence briefing, there was nos information in any of the documents that of that two-page summary? >> so two things on that. number one, we don't discuss the classified information that is presented in intelligence briefings. >> you just said it wasn't true. >> excuse me. anderson, if you want me to talk, i know cnn is feeling the heat today.
>> i think you guys are feeling the heat. >> what heat do we feel? that you got this raw information, there complete ridiculous fake news? >> so in light of what you know tonight, what's your reaction. >> i think not only what she said wasn't true there. she also went an extra step and beak was telling anderson cooper that cnn needed to clean house essentially i guess fire you and other reporters for doing bad reporting. so they have moved this into an area that i think is kind of unprecedented actually telling media organizations they need to fire people because threw wrote stories they didn't like that she knew was true. she knew it was true and sat there with anderson cooper and she said it wasn't crew and we now have confirmation that it was true. >> when you talk about fake news, fake news is putting something out you know not to be true. >> intentionally. people sit down and make things up. >> if anyone is doing fake news, it is the other side saying
this -- who are intentionally putting out falsehoods. >> exactly. they're conflating this she conflated buzzfeed and cnn over and over no matter how many times anderson tried to straighten that out with her. to claim that people should be losing their jobs when she knew perfectly well that this happened is really incredible. >> it's interesting, carl bernstein, i'm wondering if you having dealt with watergate and there are people who are comparing this to watergate and the nixon administration and his contentious relationship with the media, if this is at all different to you? do you feel -- are you concerned about this administration in that comparison? >> first let's say that watergate and the events of trump and the underlying facts are different events. but when you come to talk about the press, in watergate, the basic response of the president of the united states to what we were reporting in watergate was
to make the conduct of the press, "the washington post," the issue in watergate instead of the conduct of the president and his men. that is exactly what has been happening here. we are watching the president-elect of the united states make the issue, the conduct of the press in this case cnn as well as sometimes some other news organizations and quite often so other news organizations make the conduct of the press the issue rather than the conduct of the president-elect and the men and women around him. that is a really important parallel because it is a way of trying to move and deceive the country about what the real questions are here. it's not the conduct of the press. we need to know about the underlying issues of mr. trump's businesses. that's really what all of this started as. and so far, we have seen a response to attack the press.
rather than be transparent and forthcoming about mr. trump's business. then it has escalated today in his press conference and kellyanne conway tonight to a kind of declaration of warfare, that yes, is similar to what we saw in watergate in terms of trying to deflect attention from the president-elect and put it on the press instead. >> jim sciutto, stand by. i want to have you put a button on this. carl bernstein brought up attacking the press. jim acosta was party to that today after donald trump's nis characterized cnn's reporting, jim acosta tried to ask a follow-up question. let's listen to the whole exchanging. > since you are attacking our news organization. >> not you. your organization terrible. >> you are attacking our news organization. >> can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir. >> go ahead, quiet, quiet. >> plts president-elect. >> he's asking a question. >> can you give us a question.
>> don't be rude. >> can you give us a question. >> don't be rude. i'm not going to give you a question. i'm not. >> can you state categorically. >> you are fake news. >> can you state categorically -- mr. president-elect, that's not appropriate. >> has this ever happened to you before. >> no, i've covered four presidential campaigns, democrats and republicans. i once asked president obama why can't we take out the bastards when referring to isis. you ask hard questions and expectancies. this is the president of the united states. welcome to the nfl. >> here's what i expects and if i were is the reporter behind you following, i expected the woman or man who follows you to say i yield my time to jim acosta or my question is, jim acosta's question. i was surprised, and this is not maybe the reporter wasn't thinking. this is a time for the press to stand up for each other. i thought that it would have been. >> i don't hold anything against my colleagues today. everybody was in the heat of the moment. we haven't had a press conference with donald trump in
almost six months. we have not had a news conference with donald trump since he was elected president of the united states. that is unprecedented. and you know, a lot of people asked me what, are we going to do about donald trump, about this guy? i say i'm not going do anything about donald trump. we're going to do the news. that's what we're going to do. we're going to do the news. the rest will take care of itself. this week, he's coming after cnn. next week it could be your news organization. we do need to stand together. >> to could be fox, abc, it could be nbc. the person who is behind, if they continue to do that, all the other person has to do is say i yield my time to the reporter before me. place answer that is question or restate the question for the person. >> when i have the incoming press secretary coming to me during the press conference saying if you do that again, i'm going to throw you out, that's never happened to me before in 20 years covering the news. more than ten years covering campaigns. it's never happened before. what it tells me don, and what we saw during this campaign where "washington post" reporters were barred from
events, buzzfeed reporters were barred from events, this president, his team, they do not have a respect for the first amendment. the way that other presidents have coming before him. we are in a new environment. >> it was interesting i saw sean spicer on fox news. he said that you were rude. i thought if the. >> the first amendment does not require. >> when he called you fake news, what if you had called him a fake president. >> i don't want to get into name calling. >> for him to say that you were rude was just completely ironic to me. i couldn't believe it. >> he says rude. i was being persistent. listen, i like sean spicer. i respect him. he probably doesn't want to hear me say that right now. i also like kellyanne conway and respect her. we've got a job to do. if this president doesn't want to answer questions, he shouldn't hold a news conference. >> jim, i want you to tell us how the top level officials handle this had information that goes to the president and president elect and the importance of the verification put a button for all of us. you have been at the forefront of this reporting.
> i'm going to start with this and i'll be clear. it was a team effort, myself, evan perez, jake tapper, carl bernstein and a larger team behind that. today we had the president-elect of the united states accuse cnn and my colleague there jim acosta as our representative in that press conference, accuse our organization of fake news, terrible he repeated multiple times. when in fact a short time later the director of national intelligence speaks with the president-elect and relations a statement that the directly contradicts the president, directly contradicts. he says in the statement i'll read it again because the words they disappear into the ether quickly. part of our obligation is to ensure policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might national security immediately after referencing the document that we were the first to report. he's contradicting the president's accusation that we reported fake news. and this is the highest national security official in the land. and just an hour after kellyanne
conway for a half hour accused us of fake news. i think it's a remarkable moment and james clapper, he will go to hearings. he certainly has done interviews a number of interviews with myself at cnn and others but to issue a statement in his name after speaking directly with the president-elect he is setting the record straight here. and we did a lot of hard work on this story. we were already very confident in our reporting. but i'll just note this is fairly powerful backing on paper. >> yeah. kirsten, quickly. >> how much do you want to bet they're going to now attack clapper and claim that he's part of the big conspiracy of making up lies about donald trump. >> they're running out of people to be in the conspiracy. >> fantastic reporting. jim acosta, jim sciutto. carl bernstein, thank you, as well and kirsten, i appreciate you being here, as well. much more on our breaking news right after this break.
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this is our breaking news. the director of national intelligence speaking tonight with president-elect donald trump and releasing this statement. i'm going to read it. it says this evening i had the opportunity to speak with president-elect donald trump to discuss recent media reports about our briefing last friday. i expressed my profound display at the leaks appearing in the press and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security. we also discussed the private
security company document which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of congress and congressional staff even before the ic became aware of it. i emphasized that this document is not a u.s. intelligence community product and that i do not believe the leaks came from within the ic. the ic has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. however, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security. president-elect trump again affirmed his appreciation for all the men and women serving in the intelligence community and a sured him that the ic stands ready to be his administration and the american people. and it is signed james r. clapper, director of national intelligence. i want to discuss this with fareed zakaria, host of "fareed
zakaria gps." what do you think. >> as jim sciutto and jim acosta said, what clapper is saying that this was briefed to trump. we now have a lead story in the "washington post" by greg miller in which they spoke to several u.s. officials and i'm quoting the u.s. official who like others spoke on the condition of noms flomsity said the nature of the summary was fully explained to trump and put into context. he again affirms that in fact trump was briefed on this document. it was explained to him it was essentially what clapper said, this is not a u.s. intelligence product but we want you to know this thing is out there. you might need to know about it. >> this report essentially confirming cnn's reporting. you're saying he was briefed on. >> "the washington post" report which talks to multiple u.s. officials. >> why the denial? >> look, i think if you look at the press conference, it really
was, it was almost not a press conference. it was a campaign event. it began with sean spicer, it then went to mike pence. these were a series of choreographed attacks on the media. then trump began with a lengthy attack on the media. i think if you think about this in terms of the campaign, which is essentially what they have been running even after trump was elected president, this has been the campaign strategy which is attack, attack, attack. it puts everybody else on the defense and by the way, it means you don't have to answer some of the harder questions. jim acosta's question which was to remind people has anybody in the trump organization or the campaign had any contact with the russian government, he refused to answer. and abc news reporter did then ask the same question but then appended do you have any message to vladimir putin. he chose to answer the second half, not the first. clearly there's a strategy here. one of the purposes of the president briefering which was to divulge how trump was going
to deal with the conflicts of interest with his business only came up one hour 40 minutes into the press conference. so part of the strategy here has to be understood as a campaign the kind of theatrical campaign event if which they control the agenda, they put everybody else on the defensive. and you know, we'll see if it works. it's very unusual. the whole strategy of running a campaign once you have been elected president is highly unusual to put it mildly. >> so then, the question is, so then what happens now? where do -- because i spoke with jim sciutto, jim acosta, carl bernstein, kir ten powers all of them basically saying this is unprecedented. what happens next? what does the press do now? >> i think -- >> what does the country do? >> the press has to keep doing its job. and you know, continue to ask these questions, continue to hope that there will be greater access, greater transparency. the question is, whether this, would.
you know, what the country's reaction to this is. does the country view this as legitimate defense that trump is doing, that he's ep battled and he's the victim or does it view it as a strategy of obfuscation, a strategy of you know, of refusing to answer questions. >> i'm glad you said that because there's never any truth -- there's rarely any truth to when you ask a spokesperson, a direct question. they rarely answer directly. and truthfully. there may be strings of truth in it sometimes or they just completely deflect. there was kellyanne conway was on with anderson, sean spicer was on fox tonight. sean spicer standup guy. kelli anne conway very good at what she does. they don't always answer the questions. >> that to be fair, as you said, that's often happened. certainly what's unusual is after he gets elected he goes on a thank you tour. this is very unusual because usually the minute you're elected you are now president of all the people, the people who
voted for you and the people who didn't. you don't single out your supporters. this sort of campaign mode which has persisted into the president, the transition team, if it persists into the presidency, it poses a huge problem because in a way he's continuing to govern almost just for the people who voted for him. and let's remember, a majority of americans who voted didn't vote for donald trump. >> is the message is if you challenge him, i will shut you down which is what happened to jim an costas today? >> i think that sometimes it gets more emotional outbursts. i don't know whether those threats will be followed through. "the washington post" he threatened to ban them from his campaigns. he did a couple of weeks and then lost interest and they were let back in. >> i have to run. where do you see the relationship with the intelligence community and this administration? i mean it has to get better. i can see in this statement that the director of national
intelligence is trying to you know, assured him we had his best interests at heart is what he's saying. he assured me we would work together. they're trying to at least establish a relationship here which will be tough. >> it's worrying because when trump is conducting foreign policy, when he's dealing on the north korea issue, he's going to be relying on u.s. intelligence and showing it to american allies and saying trust me. this is credit be. when he's dealing with russia on ukraine on any other issue, when he's conducting a drone strike and goes to the pakistani government and says we have to do this, in all those cases you're taking the same group of people who you've been denigr e denigrating and comparing to nazis and now you're going to have to affirm their judgment, their value, their credibility, their morality. and say to the rest of the world, trust these guys. it's certainly a kind of unusual as i say, many things with this presidency highly unusual. >> fareed zakaria, always appreciate it. thank you so much. we'll be right back. mom, i just saved a lot of money
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want to bring in emily jane fox, staff writer for "vanity fair," jon meacham historian and richard painter law professor at the university of minnesota and former chief white house ethics lawyer under george w. bush. so glad to have you all here. jon, we have been reporting on a statement by the director of national intelligence confirming cnn's reporting. what's your response? >> well, it's vindication it seems to me from this morning for the reporting cnn did, and i think what we're seeing overall is hyper bol lick has become the new normal. we had the president-elect of the united states sort of manufacturing as he tended to do during the campaign a feud a fight that sometimes resembles a little kid's soccer game. he kicks the ball and all the kids follow it. that's going to be a pattern going forward i think and it's the responsibilities of all of us, citizens, reporters,
everybody, to try to keep our eye and hopefully push him toward the real business of the country. >> yeah. keep our eye on the ball as they say which is not necessarily one they want to push but the real business of the country. i like the way you put that. let's talk about this press conference now. richard painter, this is for you because we finally learned about donald trump's plan for his business empire. let's run through it. he says he's going to resign leadership of the trump organization. he's not divesting. instead transferring control to don junior and eric. he is still going to receive reports on his company's profitability, his company will still make deals in the u.s. but won't make deals in foreign countries and trump will donate any profits from foreign government from his hotels to the u.s. treasury. what do you make of that? >> well, that wasn't a press conference. that was a pr event. and that was not ady vesment plan. that was merely passing
management of the business over to his sons and other people appointed by the family while he will continue to profit from the businesses. this leaves all of the problems we had intact. and he made a token effort to deal with the emoluments claus issue which is the foreign government payments by saying that the foreign government payments some of them at least from the hotels would be given over to the united states government. but there are a lot of other foreign government sources of payments and loans from foreign government-owned banks throughout the trump business empire. there's no plan to deal with those. how about the buildings with his name on them all over the world that are posing a national security risk and global security risk? who is going to protect those buildings? is it going to be the foreign governments or the united states government or are people going to lose their lives when there are attacks onables because we have the president's name on a building in a place like mumbai or the philippines, indonesia,
wherever? all of these problems remain intact. we heard no solutions today. i'm very disappointed. it's most unfortunate because he has about a week to figure this out before he becomes president. and he has a very important job to do not just looking out after his own financial interests. >> emily, you say trump's plan to donate to the u.s. treasury profits from his foreign government payments from hotels you say that could make things more complicated for him. is that because of the emoluments claus in the constitution? why do you think it could make things worse? >> the whole reason he's getting rid of this whole system -- there's a problem here. the problem is that a foreign official can stay at the trump hotel, pay the bill at the hotel, and that can be seen as a violation of the claus because it's a foreign official giving money to a president of the united states and that's a violation of the emoluments claus. so he said today, instead he's
going to give that money to the u.s. treasury so it will be foreign money potentially influencing the u.s. treasury? i'm not sure i understand the logic of how that argument clears anything up when it comes to a conflict of interest. >> richard, you said this is a direct threat to our democracy and to emily's point, how does this make a difference? because it's going to the u.s. treasury. >> well, we have in the bush administration if people received gifts whether in foreign governments or other impermissible gifts one answer was to turn that over to the united states government. so that can be a solution to some impermissible gifts. but the problem here is that he's only talked about the profits in the hotels and the foreign government money extends well beyond the hotels and the loans from the bank of china, i believe are outstanding is controlled by chinese government.
we have not yet been told of that foreign and whether any of them are partners in these business venture around the world. there's an awful lot going on in it trump business empire and a lot of foreign government going in there and it's not going to be just limited to the hotels. so he needs to divest himself or come up with some other plan to make a clean sweep of foreign government money out of there because a lot more foreign government money to worry about it. a lot of it is is private money. >> we're going to talk more about that and talk about -- going to play something from the press conference. i don't think he believes there are any conflicts. jon, i want you to weigh in on that after the break. [john] hey, here's an idea. what if instead of waiting weeks for your tax refund? you can get an advance on that refund. [zombie] an advance on my tax refund, i could really use that. [john] what would you do with that money? [zombie] i'd love to take a tropical holiday. [john] i'd be careful, with your skin tone. [zombie] no i get it cause i'm a zombie. yeah that's funny.
rex tillerson put exxon's interests before america's.. i'm not here to represent the us government's interest. instead, tillerson sided with putin. with billions in russian oil deals... he opposed us sanctions on russia... ...for war crimes forced to pay hundreds of millions for toxic pollution... ...putting profits ahead of our kid's health. tell your senators to reject rex tillerson. and protect american interests not corporate interests. and we're back now with our panel. and we're talking about possible conflicts of interest and the press conference that was had today at trump tower. john, i want to play this sound bite, and i want to get your reaction to it. >> over the weekend, i was offered $2 billion to do a deal
in dubai, with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the middle east. hussain demack, a friend of mine, great guy. and was offered $2 billion to do a deal in dubai. 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. 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. >> so the whole idea is to, you know, i guess make the american people feel like there is no conflict of interest, but then he's pointing out a potential conflict of interest that he turned down just last week. what, explain that. >> i was reamed when abraham lincoln mentioned his dubai deal
at cooper union on the way to the presidency. it's funny, but it's not. again, it's this hyperbolic new normal that we're in. he wants us to give him credit for not entering into what would be an ethical morass in the middle east. he's exacerbated the whole situation's exacerbated by his realization that he does not have many of the traditional conflict of interest policies that apply to the executive office of the president himself. and i don't know about anybody else, but when donald trump is able to say it doesn't apply to me, that's not the most reassuring ethos this which to begin. here's what i think overall. if president trump can deliver for the people who have supported him and beyond, if he can help the economic growth rate, if he can keep the jobless rate going down even further, if he can produce in a real way,
then a lot of these issues will probably not achieve a great deal of political traction. if he does not deliver, then he think these kinds of questions about the trust, about the conflicts will gain traction with prosecutors, with congress and see it begin to consume even more of our political time. >> as you watched that, emily, what was your reaction? >> when i watched it live today, i really felt like i had to lift my jaw up off the floor. it was an amazing thing and quite interesting strategy for someone to call a press conference to address their conflicts of interest and shine a spotlight on a glaring conflict of interest he said he avoided, but who knows what other conflicts he's been approached, what other deals people have come to him with. he still hasn't released his tax returns, so i found this to be a very interesting tactic. it doesn't exactly put a lot of
confidence in him in the american people. >> to john meacham's point, it's all about performance, and if he does perform, then this won't matter. >> well, i'm not sure i i a gree with that. i think the american people expect standards of integrity from our elected officials, and that statement that i don't have a conflict of interest situation because i'm president, that's just not true. there's one criminal conflict of interest statute that does not ally apply to him. can he not be prosecuted criminally for his financial conflicts of interest. it is up to the voters if he runs for reelection, if he has conflicts of interests, it is up to the house of representatives to investigate conflicts of interests, on the president and other officials, and if
necessary to take action to impeach and remove the president if he is conducting himself in a manner that consists of high crimes and misdemeanors, and that doesn't mean that you have to have a crime that is prosecutable under 18 u.s. code 908. the emoluments apply to him. the bribery laws apply to him, and he's going to find out very quickly that he is not above the law. and i don't care how well the economy is doing, we're not going to toll raterate a presidn this country who thinks he is above the law, this is not going to happen in the united states. >> you say it remains unclear how trump will handle the lease for his newly-built trump hotel in washington, d.c. it can't be held by an elected official, but this decision is to be determined by the head of the gsa, an individual whom trump will appoint once in
office. others will be asked to make decisions about trump businesses. what are some examples here? >> i'll give you two examples, the first is attorney general. so trump currently has $300 million worth of debt with deutsche bank, deutsche bank happens to be under investigation by the justice department. the justice department is headed by an attorney general who will be appointed by donald trump. the second example is the irs. donald has said over and over again that the reason he won't release his tax returns is because he's under a tax audit. who is over the irs? someone who trump will appoint. so these are just blatant conflicts of interest. and things that he didn't address today in a press conference held to address conflicts of interest. >> thank you, john, thanks, emily. we'll be right back. ♪
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