tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 13, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com just a week left for the obama family in the white house. this is "cnn tonight with don lemon." i'm don lemon. by this time next week, we'll be at the inaugural balls and donald trump will be the 45th president. but today this explosive statement from congressman john lewis speaking to nbc >> i don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you don't consider him a legitimate president? why is that? >> i think the russians participated in having this man get elected. >> that as the senate intelligence committee says it will investigate any possible links between russia and the campaigns. and more questions are raised about the president-elect's national security adviser
michael flynn and his contact with the russian ambassador. meanwhile the house joining the senate today in taking the first steps to repeal obamacare. let's get right to it. senior political analyst david gergen, kirsten powers and douglas brinkley executive producer of "presidential sweep." david, i want to start with you. tonight the committee announced going to investigate any links between russia and individuals involved in this year's presidential campaign, cyberactivity in the 2016 election and interview and subpoena if necessary officials from both the trump and obama administrations. what's your reaction to this? >> well, it was a surprise, wasn't it, don? because earlier in the day, the indications the statements were they were not going to go down all those trails. and now, for whatever reason, maybe because they looked at more evidence, they've decided they should. that's going to be what it means
is, that these investigations are going to be shadowing president trump as he takes office and into his first 100 days. so it's going to make a higher hill for him to climb. >> this is surprising to you because donald trump also telling "the wall street journal" tonight in a new interview he's going to keep sanctions against russia "for a period of time," but then he added if russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody's doing some really great things. what's your reaction to that one? >> well, you know, it's interesting. he sort of bridged the gap, hasn't he, between his original position which seemed to be lift the sanctions and even some of his appointees seemed to want to lift sanctions. i think they've had a seconds look and now they found essentially a compromise position, keep the sanctions but you know, there obviously at a time when there are republicans, hard hawkish republican who's want to increase the sanctions. donald trump is saying basically
i'll keep them for a while but the moment may come. that could give, it could be a bargaining chip for the russians. i don't think we ought to dismiss it entirely. it could make the russians more anxious to cooperate with trump and with the united states. let's see. >> it seems like our relationship with them is negotiable. kirsten it seems like everything is negotiable because he was asked if he supports the one china policy on taiwan. he says everything is under negotiation. what do you think? >> yeah, he said he wanted to do things differently. he wants to have his own rule book. we've seen this before with taiwan, as well and he has -- i think he's made it very clear he believes the way that we've been doing things is not necessarily so i wouldn't assume that because you appoint to precedents that he's going to be concerned about it. he'll look at each itch and decide individually based on his opinion and the people around him versus what the u.s. has
typically done. >> douglas brinkley, you get the controversial moment tonight. this is democratic congressman john lewis which i'm sure about det donald trump's attention or already has. listen. >> i don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president? why is that? >> i think the russians participated in helping this man get elected. and they have destroyed the candidacy of hillary clinton. >> douglas, this really is an extraordinary step for john lewis, a living legend, a civil rights icon to say this about the incoming president. is he questioning -- is questioning his legitimacy fair game you think? >> well, look, i know john lewis very well, don. i wrote the introduction to his recent memoir at his behest. he wanted me to and i did. i would go and visit with him down in selma when he does his
faith in politics events. he is the moral authority on capitol hill. many conservative republicans particularly christian prayer group republicans love john lewis. he usually doesn't say something to be inflammatory. he tries to be a national heeler. the fact that he said this is surprising to me. and i think it tells you the frustration with the many, many democrats that donald trump is turning a cold shoulder on anybody who voted against him. he seems to want to be right now trump the leader for his group, the make america great again crowd and is not really reached out to african-american community in particular except for harvey and don king, but he should have met with john lewis earlier. this is i think a problem for donald trump that the leading figure of the ibl rights movement and a great moral authority in our country is calling his whole presidency
illegitimate. >> david gergen, you've worked for several presidents, both democrats and republicans. this for john lewis, he says this is the first time he won't attend an inaugural since he's been in congress. there's something different about being a conservative or liberal this time for john lewis, isn't there? >> i think there is. and i do think that john lewis is one of our national heroes. this question, you know, we don't know, we don't have the facts. we don't have the evidence. there's nothing verifiable that the russians really threw this election to donald trump. i think it's -- i think it's given where we are it's premature to argue that. i disagree with yawn lewis on the particular phrasing. but i do agree with douglas brinkley that in the past, presidents do presidents have reached out and tried to heel divisions in the country. as a result, they have -- their approvals have gown.
this is the first president in recorded history whose approval ratings since the election have actually gone down. the new gallup poll out today has him at historic lows. less than half the country only 44% approve donald trump during this transition. you compare that to the past three presidents, george w. bush was 61% approval during his transition, bill clinton was 68% approval and barack obama, 83% approval during his first transition. so i do think that donald trump has been a divisive figure and needs to be more presidential and reach out to the john lewiss of the world. >> kirsten, weigh in on that. douglas said he believes it's a problem to have a civil rights icon come out and say this. what do you make of this? does donald trump need to do more to reach out to people like john lewis. >> >> it would be great feltd but he's not going to.
and i think that john lewis is absolutely free to choose to not attend the inauguration for his own objections, moral objections but i agree with david. i'm a little concerned, frankly, with democrats who are moving forward with this story as fact that the election, you know, that somehow was swayed by the activities of the russians. >> we are starting to hear more and more of that. people questioning. > i don't think from a pure analysis standpoint anybody has made that case that the e-mails that mainly the podesta e-mails had that much to do with why hillary clinton lost the election. and so you know, i don't think they should start countering trump's sort of, fake news with their own because frankly, they're going to have to make a better case than just saying it. >> how do you explain those poll numbers though that david gergen just referenced? how do you explain that with the transition approval rate sflgs. >> i think he's obviously veridy visive and not even trying to be
heeling. he's on a daily basis veridy visive. i would also say it doesn't account for all of it but some of it. i think in the last eight years, the country has become much, much more polarized. to a certain extent it gets harder and harder to get high approval ratings, the kind we saw before. i think his could be higher if he wasn't being so antagonistic all the time. i think it's maybe not possible to get that high. >> i want to talk about the house taking steps to repeal obamacare by approving a budget resolution. speaker paul ryan now says that he wants to repeal and replace at the same time. how likely is that, david gergen? >> i think it's darn hard. and you know, the longer this goes on, i there the republicans are discovering you know, this is a very tough problem. somebody has got to pay if you're going to put a whole lot more people on insurance which the company has agreed is a good thing to do, somebody's got to
pay somewhere. you've got to pin the tail on somebody's donkey. so i don't know where they're going to, republicans are going to come out. but they made extravagant promises about how they could save the best of obamacare and have a new system that's going to work perfectly. but you know, seven, eight years in, we still haven't seen a plan from the republicans. i think it's incumbent on them to come up -- they ought to present the plan to the country first and then vote on the repeal and the replace. >> douglas brinkley as an historian, have you ever seen a big government program like this taken away? and if so, what happened? what was the outcome? >> well, not just taken away but repealed apparently on day one or two. and this is the signature achievement of progressive democrats of the past eight years. and it's very clear to me that trump is going to repeal it. now the replacement is what we're going to be arguing about. but you know, there have been times when people wanted to get
rid of social security or medicaid or medicare. it's harder than you think. obamacare is now become a kind you have a rite americans have. you're not going to be able to put 20 million people on the streets relooking for medical care. i'm not sure how the republicans are going to play it. they also have the problem of rand paul and susan collins, some republicans that don't like all of in that may not go along. it's not going to be a rubber stamp for the gop on replacing obamacare. it looks like the health care controversy is going to carry over and really be very dominant in late january early february. >> and the problem is also very quickly, if they repeal it, their main constituents, older americans, may end up paying more and those are the people who voted for donald trump, david gergen. >> yeah. and one of the things, don, this is not actually a government program. in the way we think about it. this is not something the government runs. the government is subsidizing
this program. it's a program that was built actually on a model from the heritage foundation, conservative foundation which is very market based. so when you start peeling away things, it's the insurance companies that are private companies may withdraw from the market. the market could collapse if you don't do this well if you don't give them assurances. it's a much more difficult thing to repeal and replace than it was if it was a straight government program. >> david, douglas, kirsten, thank you so much. >> thank you. when we come back, questions about donald trump's national security advisor and his contact with the russian ambassador. was it a coincidence they were in touch on the day president obama announced retaliation for russia's election hacking? with my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis,
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and call your doctor right away. other side effects include gas, stomach-area pain and swelling. talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms proactively with linzess. tonight about president-elect donald trump's advisor general michael flynn and his contact with the russian ambassador. let's discuss now with "new york times" columnist nicolas christophe and ambassador james
woolsey, a former director of the cia and a former senior advisor to the trump campaign. good evening, gentlemen. ambassador, there's brand-new information that donald trump is telling "the wall street journal" in a new interview that he'll keep the sanctions against russia for a period of time but added "if russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody's doing some really great things?" ? what's your reaction to that? >> well, i'd be surprised if russia started doing any really great things but i imagine what donald trump has in mind is cooperation against isis. it's been i think in the forefront of the minds of a lot of people who work on national security matters that the russians ought to be concerned about islamic radicalism in their own country. and they would be wise to cooperate with us in dealing with it. now, if something like that should come about, i suppose
what donald trump said is understandable. i think the chances of it are pretty small. but perhaps not zero. >> do you think it's understandable that sanctions might be removed, nick? >> you know, i mean the fact that he said for a time makes thee think maybe that is on the agenda. look, every new president seems to come flow office thinking oh, these are only people. i can make things work. jimmy carter, almost every president since. president obama tried to have a reset. they end up disappointed. at the end of the day, we have different values, different interests. i don't think they'll be cooperative. i think they have not been helpful on isis and we have ukraine, a major stumbling block. >> ambassador, you said you agree with that, correct? >> yeah. >> nick, this is about general michael flynn, trump's pick for national security visor. we are reporting that he contacted the russian ambassador to the u.s. last month including the same day that president
obama was imposing sanctions for meddling in the election. do you have questions about this? >> well, boy, i have questions and i put them through to the trump organization. there been a bunch of different reports about what days those contacts were on to what extent they were text messages and phone calls. the purpose was. >> one of his spokespeople said it was sean spicer said it was the 28th. we're reporting it was the 29th on the exact day. but go on, right? >> and david ignatius at "the washington post" first reported it was on the 29th. there are also reports it had to do with the u.s. being invited to a syria conference that was being involved to set up a trump and putin conversation. i don't know. but it made me nervous that there was some kind of conversation about easing sanctions or about allowing those russian diplomats who had been consisted out of the country to be allowed back. and to ask russia not to do u.s.
diplomats. it was very unusual russia did not kick out a bunch of u.s. diplomats as tit-for-tat for us having done that. >> ambassador, nick mentioned david ignatius. this is david ignatius. i want to get your reaction. a columnist who said he first reported on these contacts between flynn and the russian ambassador to the u.s. here it is. >> we have a piece of legislation. it's never been enforced, never been a prosecution called the logan act. it basically says that u.s. private citizen somebody not representing the government should not be involved with a country with which the united states has a dispute. we had a real dispute with russia about their hacking. these expulsions of diplomats were imminent. was it appropriate to have that contact as you put it that we can only have one president at a time. soon that president will be donald trump. that president was not donald trump on the day that this conversation happened. >> so ambassador, do you think
flynn could be in violation here? >> i suppose it's possible. the logan act point that david made is right on. it's a confusing and complex situation. i don't blame anybody for getting mixed up in it because it reminds me of the old abbott and costello routine, who's on first. we know who the president is now. it's barack obama. we know who it's going to be after swearing in on friday. but it's a strange intermediate situation with positions being advocated, adopted, renounced and three players in it, and it's confusing. so someone could have placed a phone call before he was supposed to or taken a step that was innocuous trying to set up a phone call, but was done at the wrong time. so it's possible definitely possible mistakes were made,
sure. >> that's the reason, flick, we have the one president at a time. >> absolutely. >> rule. unwritten rule that we, you know. >> it seems to me it's not really a legal issue here. the last prosecution was in 1803, but there certainly is an issue of proprietary. it is completely inappropriate to be negotiating policies in competition with the sitting president. >> that's true. absolutely. >> so nick, this, let's talk about the fbi director james comey. i think he's feeling the heat right now. in addition to the inspector general's investigation into his handling of hillary clinton's e-mail, we're learning that the former dnc chair, debbie wasserman-schultz confronted him in a contention meeting about the dnc leaks that essentially forced her to resign pressing him why the fbi never reached out to her or her team directly. comey stood by their response. do you think he's going to be able to keep his post? it seems he may not have very many friends left there. i should say on either side of
the aisle. >> he has lost friends on both sides and maybe those that matter most are on the republican side. look, i have some sympathy frankly with james comey on this issue. i think he made a really bad police take in announcing the hillary e-mail issue toward the end of the campaign an apparent violation of the department of justice's own standards about bringing in new information at the very end of a campaign. but i do think that at the end of the day, he has been a man of integrity. i don't think he is politicized. he has been respected by colleagues within doj and people make mistakes. i think he made a big one. i hope he's not going to be forced out. >> ambassador woolsey, here's what the "wall street journal"'s conservative editorial board says he should do. he should resign and say if the director has demonstrated anything in the last year it's that he has lost the trust of nearly everyone in washington along with every american who believe the fbi must maintain its reputation as a politically impartial federal agency.
should comey resign, ambassador? >> if it had been one slip-up, i might say no. but it seems as if the fbi for a while there saw itself as the federal bureau of narrative production rather than the federal bureau of investigation. i can't really account for all of their public interventions and descriptions of where the investigation was going and where it was not going. that's not the way they run investigations and it's not the way anybody would run investigations. >> do you think he should resign? >> well, i think it's very reasonable proposition. given the fact that it was a series of i think very fundamental errors and not just a slip-up. >> ambassador, nick, thank you. have a great weekend. appreciate it. when we come back, an extraordinary statement from one of the elder statesmen of the democratic party. congressman john lewis says he does not believe donald trump is a legitimate president.
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john lewis. georgia democrat and civil rice icon saying he does not see donald trump as a legitimate president. let's discuss now, loni chen is a fellow at the hoover institution who was policy director for mitt romney's 2012 campaign. political contributor maria cardona, democratic strategist and andre bauer, political commentator, a democrat -- i'm kidding. a republican who is a former lieutenant governor of south carolina. thank you all for coming on. maria, i want to start with you. obviously you're a democrat. i want to get your response. listen again to what the civil rights icon congressman john loss said to "meet the press" about president-elect trump. >> i don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president. >> huh-uh. >> why is that? >> i think the russians participated in helping this man get elected. >> uh-huh. >> and they have destroyed the
candidacy of hillary clinton. that's not right. that's not fair. that's not, the open democratic process. >> not a legitimate president. not fair to an open democratic process. do you agree with congressman lewis? >> i there that he is voicing something that frankly, a lot of democrats and a lot of hillary clinton supporters are starting to believe. and first of all, let me just say that congressman lewis has earned the right to say whatever the heck he wants, right? let's just start there. but i would also say that clearly, what he is saying, the way he's saying it comes from a place of a lot of pain and a lot of angst that i think he's feeling for the majority of the american people who did not vote for donald trump and i think a place of sadness because of a lack of support and outreach from donald trump himself. i would also add though he mentioned the russians in terms
of being a, you know, a piece of in that lends to the aura of ill legitimacy of donald trump's election. i would also put in there the fbi and comey's letter 11 days before the election. you put all of that together and frankly donald trump himself with his rants against hillary clinton and his lack of understanding that he needs to support the investigation into the russian hacking, he is buying into it and it kind of shows that he himself is insecure about his legitimacy. >> i want to get andre's response. what's your reaction to what congressman lewis said. >> i respect him. he's entitled to his opinion. this is delegitimizing trump's victory. i got a news flash for democrats. say what you will but trump didn't win. it's the biggest election for republicans in the last 80 years. it wasn't just donald trump. it was the whole democrat message. now that we're moving forward, we should be like the guy that wants the pilot to land our plane all together.
we're all in this together. he's the president for the next four years. we want the president to succeed much like the pilot to land the plane. it doesn't move our country forward to keep pounding to delegitimize the election. he won. if you say he only won because of this, how did the republicans clean house all across this country. >> maria? that's a good question for you. >> sure. if trump actually said the words that you just said, andre, it would make a lot of us feel better. the fact that we need to move forward and do it together, that we're all in this together. he has done anything about you. he has been asdy visive if not more in the days after the election and during this transition process than he was during the election. and so for again, the majority of the american people, let's not forget, yes, donald trump won the electoral college but hillary clinton has 3 million more votes than he has in the popular vote. he does not have a mandate. he's not acting like somebody
who wants to be the president of everybody. >> okay. lonnie, is john lewis just saying what many out there believe? because maria conveyed those sentiments a moment ago or is he going too far as a member of congress in your estimation? >> i think, don, that's the exact point is there may be people who feel this way. you can't begrudge them for feeling that way. the problem is lewis is an icon a pleb of congress who people have great respect for. when he says that, it does interfere with our ability to move forward as a country. there's any different number of factors that influence a election. you can go back to 2012 and make arguments that allowed barack obama to get over the finish line ahead of romney i don't know that it does any good to litigate at this point. it is important we figure out a way to come together and try at least over the next several months and years to advance the country on important issues.
we can't do that if we have people questioning the fundamental legitimacy of our president-elect. >> i have to bring this up. hang on, maria. >> donald trump want to do it either. >> we've had two people say that he's questioning the legitimacy of a president. and i can just hear a chorus of people at home saying donald trump did the same thing for years. >> that's the other thing i was just going to plengs. >> what's the -- the irony in this is amazing to me and probably to many who are watching this. maria, and then i'll let. >> absolutely. that was going to be my next point. you know, karma is tough, right, mr. trump? you sat there for five years and tried to delegitimize the first african-american president with this ridiculousness of pushing birtherism. and now you go on twitter and you rant and rave against the people who are pointing out frankly what we are now starting to really see as facts. number one, that russia had a
huge role in this election and wanted it to go to trump. >> there is no proof. >> and number two. >> that that swayed the election. >> and number two, that comey and the fbi and the letter 11 days before the election had a huge effect on the outcome of the election. so you know what? the irony is heavy here. and he kind of has his self to blame. >> andre, surely you have to see is the irony in that. >> i do see the irony in it. i keep hearing this comey thing. could he have very easily -- this was on the cusp whether he could have prosecuted or not. could he have slam-dunked this thing if he wanted to. he treated her with kid gloves. a lot of people still question were she shouldn't have been prosecuted. it's not moving the country forward. it's not progressive. whether you're a member of congress or an individual, give the guy an opportunity to get in office. if he starts stubbing his toe, then start beating on him.
as a member of congress, we should all come together. i didn't vote for president obama. i pulled for him. i don't agree with everything he passed but he had some good things along the way. i try to give him fair attaboys when he deserved them. we ought to let the fellow get sworn into office, have a couple months under his belt and then judge him. >> stand by. we'll continue right after this. don't go anywhere. microsoft clos stay connected. the microsoft cloud offers infinite scalability. the microsoft cloud helps our customers get up and running, anywhere in the planet. wherever there's a phone, you've got a bank, and we could never do that before. the cloud gave us a single platform to reach across our entire organization. it helps us communicate better. we use the microsoft cloud's advanced analytics tools to track down cybercriminals. this cloud helps transform business. this is the microsoft cloud. but so we don't have tormin wad to get clean. charmin ultra soft gets you clean without the wasteful wadding.
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breaking news tonight. the senate intelligence committee opening an investigation of russia's meddling in the election. it will include a review of possible links between russia and the political campaigns. also today, the trump transition team confirming that a top aide to the president-elect has been in touch with a russian official. back with me now, loni chin, maria cardona and andre bauer. andre, we're learning tonight ta trump's national security advisor, michael flynn, was in contact with russia's ambassador the exact same day that the current president obama or obama administration was announcing retaliation for russia's hack. is that concerning to you? >> no, you know, all along,
trump has said he wanted to reach out or president-elect trump said he wanted to reach out to world leaders all around. he's extending the olive branch and giving them the opportunity to try to work together. make no mistake, i know we keep hearing about russia hacking. we've hacked and meddled in elections. we try to hold ourself as a holier than thou country. we've done there, too. we need to try to start moving forward with a new approach to governing and working with other countries. >> you don't think it's thwarting the current administration to have the president-elect who is not even in office yet one of his people reach out and do the exact opposite of what the united states is trying to do? that's not problematic to you? >> i don't think it's problematic. i think he's reaching out to try to start dialogue to try to find ways to find common ground and try to get past this. >> he can't reach out on january
21st or 22 fld or 23rd. >> sure he can. then everyone would accuse him he waited till he got in office that he didn't start take the necessary steps. >> that's when he's actually the president is when he's in the office. he's not the president now. >> less than a week away, he's president-elect. a week away and he's taking steps to hit the ground running. >> this is weeks ago. this was weeks ago. this wasn't just now. >> well, several weeks ago, they immediately when he got elected they started taking the steps in every form or fashion whether it's picking folks, lining up policy that you know, if they didn't, everybody would say why did you wait till you were sworn in? you should have been preening for this a long time ago. >> maria, what's your response to that. >> i do think it's concerning and maybe it's not so much because of the substance that they talked about even though we don't really know what they talked about. they said, they said they told us what they talked about but we don't know.
perception is terrible. i don't think that it is you know, politically savvy to have those conversations in the midst of what this trump transition team knows is going to be a huge issue for this president going into january 20th and into his new administration. they know that this is going to be a huge achilles heel for trump especially the more that he tries to not admit or pretend that it's not true, everything that the 17 agencies, intelligence agencies have said with high confidence is that russia hacked and russia hacked in order to get trump elected. you know, the more that he tries to deny that and the more that we hear about conversations that were that they were having between them before even the new year, it is concerning. and i don't think it helps him from a perception standpoint. >> we don't know exactly what they talked. >> go ahead, andre. was that andre.
>> no, don i was going to say, i think broader issue here is that you've got this sort of open-ended outreach to russia, and the argument that we're getting from the president-elect is look, you know, we should be willing to work with countries willing to work with us. the problem is the russians have not indicated any willingness or interest in working with us. the latest evidence we have from them of their interaction with us is hacking of various offices and institutions here in the u.s. before that, we had all of their collaboration against us in syria. we have everything they've done to col include with iran. you can go all the way back to their aggression against ukraine. we have no evidence the russians are interested in working with us. that is the broader problem is the policy of engaging with an open hand toward russia when really every time we've tried to do that, they've slapped us in the face. >> they have. they had the russian reset. they are the iranian deal. had 350u9 tin directly calling bill clinton. they've had an outreach program
but it was with the other team. now the other team's upset because they didn't win the election. >> i think the issue, listen, the other team can speak for themselves. talking about democrats. i'm talking about the mixed message it sends to the american people and to the world at large when you have one president saying one thing and then the incoming president saying another. i've heard this from republican abc even from trump support arers they're uncomfortable with having two presidents at the same time. a week from now, that won't be a problem. that does send a mixed signal, and to pa plaria's point if you're trying to tell people you are not in collusion with the russians and you're having conversations with them when you're not even in office yet, it doesn't make sense. andre. >> oh, you asked me that, don? again, think they are trying to form an outreach with a lot of different countries. this is the way they're going to approach policy making and approach diplomacy. they're going to start
immediately with their outreach to try to find. >> i don't think you understand what i'm saying. i don't think anyone has a problem with that. that's the reason that you have an inauguration is to transfer power from one person to another. once that power is transferred to the other person, they can call anybody they want in timbuktu or russia or wherever. but whether he you're not even in office yet and making policy decisions that are in conflict with the current president, it sends a mixed signal and it is confusing and it doesn't help your case you're not in ca hoots with russia. >> well, again, i don't think they're making policy. they're making outreach. >> you don't know that. we don't know what they talked about. we don't know what they talked about. >> this is true. >> but i think overall. >> quickly please. >> there underscores the negative perception that donald trump is already suffering from. frankly from the people who already don't trust him about this, it goes backing to what
hillary said during one of the debates which is, of course, russia wants trump to win because he'll be a puppet for them. he has demonstrated nothing to the contrary. >> okay. that's going to have to do. >> the negative perceptions in the media, the people in the streets are excited about him. this is the same perception of folks that didn't think he was going to win that i sat there saying he's going to win and they were saying absolutely not smirking and laughing. they think everything on the news is indicative of what's out there in the streets. the people in the streets are excited about donald trump. >> the majority of the american people didn't vote for him. he's done nothing to an sauj their fears. >> have a great weekend. this is the obama family's final week in the white house. but what's the first lady's lasting legacy? after eight years? known for its perfect storm of tiny bubbles, it has long been called the champagne of beers. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪ miller beer
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or a blockage of your bowel or gallbladder. if you are taking viberzi, you should not take medicines that cause constipation. the most common side effects of viberzi include constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain. stay ahead of ibs-d... with viberzi. michelle obama ends her eight-year tenure as the nation's first lady when president obama leaves office next week. i can't wait to hear what both of you have to say about this. so you are right here with me so i'll start with you. we're watching all these farewells, including the one
here tonight on cnn, the legacy of michelle obama. she was controversial in the beginning. it's kind of hard to remember that. >> it is. >> but what do you think has changed now? >> time changes things. >> why is that? she is too real you think? >> i think she's very real. black audiences seeing michelle obama from day one are like, this is the most familiar person i have ever seen on the political landscape ever. he is every aunty, every sophisticated mom, but who keeps it funky when it needs to be kept real. so michelle obama was very ground on a way we had not seen on a political landscape. we loved it. it took the rest of the nation a bit longer to get comfortable with the fact that michelle obama was so self-possessed. >> maybe you shouldn't be so real. i heard you reacting when she said that different audiences
perceived michelle obama differently. >> mm-hm. i think every first lady comes under a lot of scrutiny, but especially michelle obama and the fact that she saw herself entirely apart from the women who came before her, because shes what the first african-american first lady. and that is her greatest legacy is just being there. and i think also reaching out to young african-american girls and showing that anything is possible in this cun aountrcoun. i think that is her legacy that we'll remember her for. if you look at someone like laura bush, she was criticized for being too, kind of boring and taking up literacy and too traditional. then hillary clinton was criticized for having a west wing office. you're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't. >> every first lady grows into the role and figures out her groove. if you look at anyone.
so i think michelle obama's no different in that respect, except she's the first african-american first lady. and some people had a real problem about how to perceive her. about the documentary, kate, do you think it portrayed michelle obama as you perceive her? >> yeah, i think it was a lovely look at her accomplishments. i think this sort of, the way she's able to communicate and her relatable was something that was really showcased in that documentary. she really hugged people a lot. i think at young girls look at her and see hope for their future. and that was communicated very well in the documentary. but i think to your earlier point, we forget that on the campaign, how she was really, i think, surprised over the backlash of some of the comments she made when she said she's proud of her country for the first time. >> yeah, it's interesting to me,
because she is, listen, i don't know her that well. we were in chicago together. i was a local anchor in chicago, and she, as they say when they were coming up, we came up together. but she was always the warmest person that you could ever, and the most mom-like and always to me, you know, she probably reads about me in the paper because you know how i am. she'd probably say, hey, don lemon, are you taking care of yourself? she was the hugger and he was the stand offish one. how did that perception of her being cold or hard, how did that come about? >> i think that's loaded with racial stereotypes in some respects, right? >> how so? >> i think you can't extract how michelle obama looks from where she was perceived. she's statuesque. she's deep, gorgeous chocolate brown.
she isn't a size 2. there are many things that kept her outside the lens of appearing as a docile and kept woman. she looked like hard-working, sophisticated, clear-minded plaq black women that you see on the bus, let alone anywhere. >> and she was the professional in the family and the bread winner and i hate to say that, really smart. two ivy league degrees. so kate, michelle obama's going to leave the white house with incredibly high approval ratings, even higher than her husband's, so what do we know about what she's going to be doing going forward? >> i think she's relieved partially to have a bit of freedom. but still shocked over the election results and what's going to happen over the next few years. i think we're going to see her continuing some of the "let's move" campaign, looking at food
deserts. i'm sure we'll see her write a book that will be probably more successful than the president's book, because she might be someone who is very honest in a memoir. and sometimes a first lady's memoirs are more interesting than a president's. i don't think she's going to run for office. >> she says he she is not, but t is a book i want to read. >> i am dying to read it. coming up, the human cost of repealing obamacare, he says the affordable care act saved his life. hold more. for fully loaded lashes. big shot volume. see it. believe it. maybelline's big shot make it happen ♪maybelline new york♪ bounty is more absorbent,mom" per roll so the roll can last 50% longer than the leading ordinary brand.
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is this the beginning of the end for obamacare? this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon. the house joining the senate today in taking the first steps to repeal obamacare. the vote, 227-98, pretty much along party lines. but a man told his story with paul ryan. a lifelong republican was so strongly opposed to obamacare that he told his wife he would close their business rather than comply with the law. that was before he was given six weeks to live. now he says this. >> i want to thank president obama f