tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN January 23, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
north. wolf? >> jennifer, we'll watch it together with you. jennifer gray, our meteorologist, reporting. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. breaking news. the senate about to vote on donald trump's pick to head the cia. this is the president meets with congressional leaders. tonight, a top democrat in that meeting is my guest this evening. plus, a revealing moment in the white house briefing room. press secretary sean spicer telling reporters the media has been too tough on trump. and live from the u.s./mexico border, rare access and exclusive footage outfront of where the president would build the wall. our special series beginning tonight. let's go outfront. good evening. i'm erin burnett. the breaking news. the senate about to vote on one
of president trump's top cabinet positions. you're looking at live pictures of the senate floor, where the vote to confirm mike pompeo as cia director is about to begin. we're going to see that this hour. he would be only the third trump cabinet nominee to be confirmed. also tonight, president trump's pick for secretary of state, rex tillerson, clearing a major hurdle. confirmed moments ago by the senate foreign relations committee. that vote, 11-10. incredibly close. senator marco rubio, who has expressed serious doubts over tillerson, ended up voting yes, the crucial vote. tillerson's nomination now goes to the senate floor. manu raju is on capitol hill. at this moment, we are awaiting the vote on the cia director, mike pompeo. do you expect the vote this hour? >> reporter: yeah, i do. and i expect him to be confirmed. probably by a significant margin. this coming after donald trump and republicans were pushing hard for pompeo to get confirmed on trump's first day in office,
but democrats resisted, namely ron widen, the oregon democratic senator, who had concerns about mr. pompeo's views about surveillance matters and concerns about issues that have been raised over the last couple of days whether or not he would bring back waterboarding, and tough interrogation tactics. this after mr. pompeo himself saying at n his hearings that absolutely he would not bring back waterboard, and absolutely did not agree that waterboarding is allowed under the law, but he still is expected to get confirmed. erin, this comes as trump is moving very close to getting his full national security team in place. you mentioned rex tillerson, getting approved by a narrow margin by the senate foreign relations committee. we expect that nomination to be confirmed on the senate floor. and also jeff sessions, to be the attorney general, that vote has been delayed in the senate judiciary committee until next week, but expect a floor vote soon after.
erin? >> all right, thank you very much, manu. and as we await that vote for the cia director, the nominee, mike pompeo, the white house today trying to get back on track, after a weekend that, of course, was largely overshadowed by their own focus on the crowd size at the inauguration. president trump and his team appeared to switch gears today, cooling the rhetoric, getting down to business. and there was a lot of it. jim acosta, we know, among the many meetings today, speaker ryan just left the white house, where you are. >> reporter: that's right, erin. paul ryan just walked out of here, just a few moments ago, after this reception with the president and congressional leaders here at the white house. it was one of a number of meetings today for the new president, who had a very busy day, trying to get back to business, after a messy weekend. >> great thing for the american worker, what we just did. >> reporter: sitting in the oval office, president trump set his ambitious agenda into motion, signing orders on some of his company campaign promises, with withdrawing the u.s. from former president obama's transpacific
trade deal, banning taxpayer money for international abortions, and a federal hiring freeze. >> except for the military. >> reporter: meeting with u.s. business leaders, the president warned american companies will pay a new price if they ship jobs overseas. >> they're going have a tax to pay, a border tax. substantial border tax. somebody will say, trump is going to tax, i'm not going to tax. there is no tax. none whatsoever. and i just want to tell you, all you have to do is stay. don't leave. don't fire your people in the united states. >> reporter: in return, mr. trump offered a carrot. >> we think we can cut regulations by 75%. maybe more. >> reporter: for the white house, this was a day to get back on the rails. >> they are among the most dishonest human becoings on ear. >> reporter: after president trump attacked the media on reports of the size of the crowds at the inauguration. an assault on the price that sean spicer tried to back up with a number of falsehoods. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,
period, both in person and around the globe. >> reporter: and attempt at spin that backfired badly. >> our press secretary gave alternative facts to that. >> reporter: at today's white house briefing, spicer insisted he and the president were merely trying to correct an unfair media narrative. isn't that just part of the conversation that happens in washington? >> no, it's not. >> comes with being president of the united states and working at the white house? >> no. look, i've been doing this a long time. you've been doing this, too. i've never seen it like this. it's a little demoralizing. because when you are sitting there and looking out and you're in awe of just how awesome that view is and how many people are there, and you go back and you turn on the television, and you see shots of comparing this and that, and it's frustrating for not just him, but i think so many of us that are trying to work to get this message out. >> reporter: spicer did tackle matters of substance, indicating the white house will not get in the way into any investigation in russian hacking in the election. and he appeared to tamp down expectations that the u.s. would
move its embassy in israel to jerusalem. and there's one other notable shift that came out of that press briefing today. sean spicer said that for the moment, that there will not be a focus on deporting young undocumented people in this country, the so-called dreamers. the focus for this administration will be on those criminals that are in the country, who happen to be undocumented. and erin, getting back to that reception that we saw with paul ryan and other congestiressiona leaders and the president, that was photo opportunity number six today. so, so much for that war on the press. >> that's right. lots of cameras. thank you very much, jim acosta. a member of the democratic house leadership just as that meeting, sonny hoyer. and congressman, you were there. you just were with the president. what happened inside that meeting? you were obviously there with just a few others in leadership. >> well, i think this was largely, erin, an opportunity for him to get to know members
of the leadership that he did not already know. and it was an opportunity to just have a, frankly, a conversation, although serious issues were brought up, but discussion in depth did not occur. we brought up the affordable care act. he brought up a letter the president had sent to him, saying that if, in fact, president trump had a bill which would expand health care coverage to all, would make sure that costs were affordable to all, and access was assured, then he could support such a bill. but the trick is getting to such a bill. we reiterated that in those circumstances, of course, we would work with him on that effort. to date, we have not heard anything suggested by the republicans, however, to accomplish that objective. we also talked about inf infrastructure, we talked about a couple of other issues, but
not substantively. >> interesting, by the way, you mentioned the letter. this is the letter that president obama left for president trump. that he did write about obamacare specifically. i find that interesting that he brought that up and what you just said there, i think, is very new and very interesting. when you saw the president tonight, what was his demeanor? i don't know if you just heard the report beforehand, but obviously talked about all the things he did today. all of which was business as usual, but coming off a rough week wrend end where he was mor focused on crowd size. >> well, first of all, he didn't change his point of view on the cr crowd size. >> he brought it up? >> from his perspective, it was a very large crowd. we didn't push it beyond that, but it was clear that this was still on his mind. but essentially, there was a lot of very good discussion between the minority leader, chuck schumer, and the president, and the president said he knew chuck very well for a long period of
time, and chuck said, well, i don't know about very well, but i've known you a long time. but it was a friendly banter. but the fact of the matter is, both sides said they were willing to talk to one another. we'll see if that's the case. clearly, the republicans have proceeded very early on in a partisan way, but we're prepared to have discussions with the president. we agree with president obama, if, in fact, we can reach a better alternative, that does, in fact, as i said, assure access to affordable quality health care, then certainly, we'll be prepared to work on such a bill, but we haven't seen that yet. >> interesting that he was still focused on the crowd size and brought that up. i guess that's humorous on some level, not on another. i want to follow up on this point. he's saying that in the letter that president obama left for him, he said that if president trump could come one a bill that would expand health care, you went through a few things that it needed to do, but the bottom line is that president obama
could support a bill brought by president trump on health care. that seemed to be the bottom line of what you were saying. >> no, yeah, but you got to take the bottom line in context. what the president was saying is, if you can do it better than we've done, if you can provide greater access, greater health care assurance to people, greater quality and bring costs down, then, yes, we'll support that. we haven't seen anything, however, either from president trump or from the congress, or any of the republicans, that we think does that. so, yes, president obama said that, and we agree with that, and we told president trump that we agreed with. that but we haven't seen anything -- >> does it make it easier for you, now that you know that president obama, in that private letter to donald trump said, if you can do this, i will support it, does that make you more willing to listen to president trump? to try to work with him on this issue, since president obama,
obviously, on a personal level, showed that he could? >> leader pelosi and i both agreed with president obama, that we could work with president trump if we had a bill that did, in fact, what president obama postulated it would do, improve upon what we think we've done a decent job on, but we know is not a perfect job. so that, yes, we'll be foolish not to say that if we can make it better, we'll support it. the problem is, most of the things we've seen will make it worse, less assurance for people, less access to affordable quality health care, more opportunity to have serious illnesses devastate them economically. >> and can i just ask you, because i'm curious, talking about this meeting with donald trump, how did he bring up the whole issue of crowd size? was he sort of laughing as a joke, or -- >> well, i think -- yes, it was, as trump brings it up in public.
it was a huge crowd, magnificent crowd. i haven't seen such a crowd as big as this. so -- we didn't dwell on that, erin. i don't want to misinform you or the viewers. we didn't spend a lot of time on that, but it was clear that it was still on his mind. >> do you like him more? is this one of the first times you've had a chance to be with him one-on-one? did you warm up to him at all? >> look, everybody has said that trump in public is different than trump in private. >> right. >> certainly, he was gracious, sense of humor, but the fact of the matter, it's not about personalities, it's about policy. it's about how proposals will adversity effect people, or positively effect people, so, that's going to be the issue. as for hopefully for president trump and for us, as well. >> congressman, appreciate you
taking the time. thank you. >> thanks a lot. >> all right, up next, u.s. officials investigating phone calls between trump's national security adviser and a top russian diplomat there are new details. plus, the white house press secretary says the president's feud with the intelligence xhun tie is a myth. so, why did trump compare american intelligence officers to nazis? and our special series, the border wall. trump's first promise was to build a wall on a 2,000-mile border. is it possible? >> this is the landscape in the big bend area of texas, and that is the challenge. how in the world do you build a wall in this kind of terrain? live tv anywhere data-free.irm join directv today starting at $35 a month. no extra monthly fees. we'rebut maybe we've had it wrong all along.
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breaking news. i tell officials telling cnn the u.s. is investigating calls between president trump's national security adviser and the russian ambassador. michael flynn spoke to the ambassador on december 29th. the u.s. put sanctions on russia because of hacking during the election. jim sciutto, we know about the calls, but now, you are learning more about the investigatiinves. >> reporter: that's right. i think two key points today, erin, that is, one, that investigators are still scrutinizing these calls between flynn and russia's ambassador to the u.s., so, that's key, and this, we're told, by multiple law enforcement intelligence
officials. the other point here, though, it's not just that the calls took place, the calls themselves, but it's what was said on those calls, the content of the calls drawing some concern for investigators looking into them. i should note that these calls were captured by what is routine u.s. eavesdropping targeting russian diplomats. michael flynn was not the target of this eavesdropping. and i should also note that, to this point, so far, investigators have not established any wrongdoing by general flynn. >> and what is the response, then, from general flynn, from the trump administration tonight? >> reporter: well, sean spicer was asked about this today, in fact, more than once, in his first press conference, and he says that, in fact, just as recently as yesterday, he spoke to general flynn about these calls. here's what spicer had to say. >> there have been a total of two calls with the ambassador and general flynn, and the second call came, i think it's now three days ago, that was to say, once he gets into office, can we set up that call?
it has not occurred yet. during the transition, i asked general flynn whether or not any there any other conversations between the ambassador, and he said no. >> reporter: spicer said the subject of those calls, general flynn told him that they just spoke about a handful of things. one call that he referenced there, between trump and putin, which hasn't been arranged yet, but also holiday pleasantries. trump team says they did not discuss the sanctions, and keep in mind, that's key, because december 29th, when we know one of the calls took place, that was the very same day the 0 bam many administration imposed sanctions. regardless of what spicer and flynn are saying, there's clearly enough here that u.s. investigators consider this an important question to look into, not just the calls themselves, but again, the content of the calls. >> jim, thank you very much. and now, our national security commentator, mike rogers, and the former coordinator for count counterterr
counterterror. he has an op-ed in today's "new york times,". so, daniel, let me start with you. task force is looking into the phone calls. what general flynn said to the ambassador. they say there is information in the calls that merits more examination. he said it was just holiday pleasantries and jim said, a handful of things. how concerned are you, if they say, there's more that merits investigation? >> well, you have to be concerned, if the investigators are saying that. abo it's very hard to make any judgment, but i think this understand scores just how little we know of the relationship between the trump campaign, the trump white house, and russia. and that this requires a lot more investigation. >> i mean, mike, let me just ask you, u.s. intelligence tracks phone calls to russian diplomats. any phone in that embassy is tapped, this appears to have been on cell phones. general flynn was a former director of national intelligence. would he have been this careless? wouldn't he have just assumed it
was completely tapped? >> well, you would believe that somebody with his level of experience in the intelligence business would assume that those phone calls could likely be intercepted. there's lots of bad activities that happen sometimes through those russian embassies around the world, including here in the united states. i will say that that's the one thing, as somebody who would -- a former fbi agent and chairman of the intelligence committee would say, listen, this guy's an experienced guy, it's not likely he's going to call up and conduct some kconversation that would be out of bounds. so, i would have to see the content of those e-mails to really verify, and i think it's probably not great for people to speculate what they think was in the phone calls. we should absolutely know -- again, it would be a pretty big leap for him to have a conversation that, in any way, violated something that would get an investigator interested. that's a pretty big leap to make. >> all we know now is there's
information that merits more examination. we don't know what that is. daniel, you wrote today that if the united states joined forces with russia, to fight terror, which is, of course, what has been suggested, that would not be a good thing. you said you'd have more anti-american sentiment, you could have more radicalization of muslims around the world. sean spicer addressed this, he said, just today, donald trump is working to open -- wants to work with russia. here he is. >> if there's a way that we can combat isis with any russia, if it's russia or anyone else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we'll take it. >> is he wrong? sure, we'll take it. >> so, there are some levels of cooperation that are appropriate, we have those with russia. the real issue with concern is, the russians practice counterterrorism with a chain saw and we do it with a scalpel. and if we are going to involve ourselves in their efforts, which result in lots of civilian casualties, we're going to see a lot of radicalization. and we've been very, very careful, for a long time, to
minimize the number of casualties, to take the dangerous folks off the field and to ensure there weren't other reasons to hate america. so, i think that this would be a fateful step, and really a mistaken one. >> what do you say, congressman? >> you know, there's ways we can work with russia in syria and candidly, we've been kind of, i think the administration was handed, not a lot of great options in syria. one of them is to work with the russians on a diplomatic solution. i do believe you have to work with them there. i'm a little bit skeptical about working with them in the military and intelligence arenas, only because we've been burned before. we have shared intelligence with the russians that ended up, the intelligence community decided they needed to pull back from that, for a whole host of reasons. and as the military portion of this, they have been doing massive bombings, including targeting civilians, and civilian targets along the way. and if they weren't exactly targeting them, they certainly were sloppy enough to hit them in huge ways. that will be a problem, if you
want to team up with them on the battlefield. i'd be very skeptical to walk down that close relationship there. use diplomacy where we can, and i would try to give ourselves some distance on the military and intelligence -- >> as you point out, daniel, u.s. and russian intelligence do not view each other as partners or friends in any way. asking them to do that is going against absolutely everything they have been trained to do and that they're willing to do. sean spicer was asked today about donald trump and whether he has created a rift with the u.s. intelligence community, one that would jeopardize their ability to gather intelligence around the world, to have sources trust them. here's how he answered the question. >> i think that's why he wanted to do it, is to make sure they heard first-hand how much he respects them, how much he wanted to disspell the myth that there was a quote unquote rift. >> of course, it's not a myth that donald trump said what he said. he said the intelligence community is a disgrace for allowing leaks about him to come out. he likened them to nazi germany. you have had a chance to speak to members of the intelligence
community, people who are out there right now with their lives on the line. what do they say? >> so, the sense that i get is, first of all, that they're demoralized. that they feel that his charges of policization of intelligence and fabrication has really undermined their morale, and also that -- they're putting their life on the line to go out and collect intelligence in sensitive areas, like russia, eastern europe, and suddenly it's a whole new orientation towards russia. i think they are deeply confused. i think there are a lot of people in the states, the analysts who are wondering, you know, what next? is this really going to be a team i want to be on? i don't want to be anyone's punching bag. and a lot of people were just insulted over the weekend, to hear president trump say there was though rift, when he used all these words. >> all right, thank you both very much. appreciate it. talk about demoralized, well, that's a word that sean spicer used to describe how he and president trump feel right now. there's a revealing moment at
the white house today. sean spicer calling that media coverage demoralizing. so, what's up with this word? and our special series on president trump's promised border wall. it begins today. we're really excited about it. because we have rare footage, exclusive access. we went to the u.s./mexico border. all these 2,000 miles, for a reality check, to show you this. can it really be done? >> i want you to tell donald trump that we already have a wall. thank you very much. and i don't think he can build a bigger one. are you ready?? you gotta be ready. ♪ oh, i'm ready i mean, really ready. are you ready to open? ready to compete? ready to welcome? the floors, mats-spotless. the uniforms, clean and crisp. do your people have the right safety gear? are they protected? i'm ready! you think your customers can't tell the difference between who's ready and who's not? of course they do.
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there's no cbs and we don't have a ton of sports. anywhere, any... let's lose the 'anywhere, anytime' too. you can't download on-the-go, there's no dvr, yada yada yada. stream some stuff! somewhere! sometimes! you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. white house press secretary sean spicer, his first official briefing was today, after slamming the media over the weekend. today, spicer told a packed briefing room that he intends to always speak the truth, but he complained that coverage of the president is demoralizing. >> it's a little demoralizing to turn on the tv, day after day, and hear, can't do this, this guy's not going to get confirmed, no way they're going to go through. >> isn't that just part of the conversation that happens in
washington -- >> no, it's not. >> the scrutiny that comes with being president of the united states. >> i've been doing this a long time. you've been doing it, too. i've never seen it like this. it's a little demoralizing. when you are sitting there, you're in awe of just how awesome that view is, how many people are there, you go back and you turn on the television, and you see shots of comparing this and that -- >> why worry about a couple of tweets about crowd size? >> that's what i'm saying. you're minimizing the point here, jim. it's not about one tweet. the narrative and the default narrative is always negative. and it's demoralizing. and i think that when you sit here and you realize the sacrifices the guy made, leaving a very, very successful business because he really cares about this country. >> scott mcclellan, the former press secretary george w. bush. will me start with you. you know this job better than
anyone else. you saw spicer give the factually incorrect statement without taking questions over the weekend. today, an aggressive back and forth, conversation with the press. how did he do? >> ah, he did a lot better. they managed to pivot back to what' most important today, which is really the agenda, and the policies. and that's where press secretary needs to be most focused. and that is helping the president advance his agenda and get results on things like growing the economy, on things like making america safer. that's where it should be. saturday was a big misstep and that was on the part of the president and the press secretary. and they need to move beyond that. i think they tried to move beyond that yesterday in some of the talk shows, but unfortunately, they made it worse with one of the phrases brought in, using alternative facts. i think that is probably a phrase that is going to belong to the trash bin of history. >> i'm going to ask you about that. i want to play that in a moment. scott, before i get everyone's reaction, i just have to ask you, if donald trump had said to you on saturday, you go out
there, and he's livid, right? and he's angry about the crowds, and you go out there and you say this, and that's it, do you say yes, sir and do it or do you say no? >> i think -- well, again, it was a misstep, over pretty unconsequential matter. it's not a big issue. you need to be focused on the biggish this yous. i think it is incumbent on the press secretary to help the president understand that it's not going to help. i think it's up to the chief of staff to make sure the press secretary is not put in a bad spot. he was put in a bad spot saturday. he had information that was wrong. and that makes it even worse, you just cannot do that. your credibility is at stake when you're at that podium, and particularly, when you are just starting off as a new white house -- you really need to be focused on getting things done. >> so, john, what do you make of spicer today, saying that the press is making him and the president feel demoralized? you just heard the back and
forth there with jim acosta. he said it several times. >> i mean, it's a little early to say, you need a hug. he did use the word demoralized twice. donald trump is not a mantha t you associate with the word demoralized. sean spicer recognized the initial rollout was a disaster. he spent an enormous amount of time talking to the press today. kill them with kindness, always a good idea. admit a mistake, as much as he could. but that initial 24 hours, that saturday was a train wreck. >> jamie? >> yeah, today sean spicer is the comeback kid. i mean, he think he really did well. he was confident. he tried to be funny. he tried to change a tone. it is not easy to do that briefing. i think he did an admirable job. that said, it is a little early to be demoralized. ask past white houses about being demoralized. this is day number three.
they won. but you know, this is also donald trump. he can be the master of the media message. make america great -- >> yeah. >> and then, he can go over something so small and raise -- >> thank you for the crack toe what reference. so, selena, let me ask you. what was concerning about the president's message about crowd size was the focus on it. just plain and simple. congressman steny hoyer, the president had a little meeting at the white house, he brought it up again. the congressman said he did it with humor, he was talking about the magnificent crowds. he is not letting it go even now. will he learn to let the little things go? it is a crucial question to whether he'll be successful. >> right. i mean, i think eventually he will, but i don't think it's going to happen overnight. it's not going to pivot. we've been saying since he won,
he's going to pivot, since he became president, he's going to pivot. he's going to get there at his own time. and i suspect, when he gets there, is after he realizes that this could have a negative impact on him. i mean, i think spicer had a great -- as john said, i think he landed on his feet today. he had a great press conference. he answered every -- and, two things really stood out to me that i thought was really great. the skype ability for reporters outside of washington to ask questions, i thought that was amazing. i also noticed that his entire communications team, or, at least from what i could see, was all women, which i alsoremarkab. >> so, scott, let me ask you about something that you brought up, because i think it's very important. the new two words. alternative facts. it did get the dictionary today to tweet out that there is no such thing. a fact is a fact.
but here is what happened over the weekend, as the administration tried to recover from this issue with being wrong on the crowds. here's how it happened. >> you're saying it's a falsehood, and they are giving sean spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. >> i believe that we have to be honest with the american people. i think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. >> what do you think about the word, scott, alternative facts? i mean, okay, we can sit here and say, there's no such thing, but is this something that plays to donald trump's base in a way that actually is empowering? >> well, it may, i mean, but it is a phrase that i think she regretted about as soon as he said it. >> yeah. >> and it was an unfortunate choice of words at best. and i don't think she made it, you know, intended it the way it came out. but there are not alternative facts, i mean, we're working off the same settle of fa of facts. there may be other facts that may need to come into the
conversation. and the press secretary has to make sure that information gets in there. but to make sure that information can be substantiated, it is based on facts and that you can't debunk those facts, you know, the facts that were put forward on saturday were false, and that's when you run into a lot of problems, buzz the credecause o credibility of the press secretary and the president is at hand. this is a president that needs to be reminded, stop obsessing about the media. let's stay focused on the big issues. let's stay focused on what we're trying to accomplish. that's what the president is going to be measured by in the end. >> and jamie, you have reporting here on what's happening within the white house here, on the struggles, the power struggles. >> right. well, they are calling the gang of five, right? there are these different power groups. there's jared, there's bannon, there's flynn, there's pence and there's donald trump, but, you know, donald trump will listen to all of these competing
voices, but in the end, someone close to him said to me, in the end, donald trump listens to donald trump. and i think -- and you can't tell him too much. he has to learn it for himself. and i think we saw that in the change from saturday to sunday and monday. he's always going to be -- trump is going to be trump, but there was a difference. he got that what happened at the cia on saturday was not the way to do it. and i think you saw -- not saying he's not going to go back there -- >> before we go, steny hoyer gave him credit for a sense of humor when it came to crowd size tonight. that's a big shift from a guy who was clearly apop clep tick on saturday night. >> he can be a personable guy. trump's gonna trump. but you can't govern by gut in this country. he's going have a process for making decisions. this is not reality tv. this is as real as it gets. they have to refine that process, and fast. >> thank you so much.
next, jeanne moos on how the phrase alternative facts went viral, with even myriam webster voicing in. look at this. this is rare access. this is the u.s. border. because, well, donald trump is president, and he promised there would be a wall. so, what terrain? will it work? >> that wall is not going to stop them. if it's 20 feet high, they're going to get a 21-foot ladder. you fand together, of your dreams... you had the kid of your dreams. now you can put them in the car of your dreams... for a lot less than you might think. with a certified pre-owned mercedes-benz, you can enjoy legendary safety, innovation and performance at a price you can afford. and that's a pretty sweet dream. visit the certified pre-owned sales event, now through february 28th. only at your authorized dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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new tonight, mexico's president slamming president trump's promise to build a wall along the u.s./mexico border. saying, in a foreign policy speech today, mexico does not believe in walls, mexico believes in bridges. now, the wall was trump's first big campaign promise. he has double, triple, quadrupled down on it since the election. ed lavendera has spent time on the border, getting the view from high, low, from those who live and work there, and he begins tonight with our special series.
>> reporter: this journey across the u.s./mexico border begins in south texas, where the rio grande empties into the gulf of mexico, and in an all-terrain vehicle. do you think people have that impression of the border, that it's a scary, dangerous place. >> scary, dangerous place, absolutely. it's not as bad as people make it seem to be. >> reporter: cameron was born in mexico, is now a u.s. citizen. was a long-time democrat until donald trump came along and made him a republican. living and working on the border reveals a blurry reality. cameron fully supports the idea of trump's border wall, but every day, he sees the holes in that plan. part of the border wall that already exists. >> exactly. exactly. this was put back in 2006 by george bush. it's been around for awhile. >> reporter: a few months ago, while riding along, he recorded this video of what appeared to
be smugglers with packs. it's the kind of story countless people along the border can share. but this is an area where a border fence is already in pl e place, yet drugs and human smuggling keep coming. >> it hasn't stopped them. no, absolutely not. so, you got this wall all the way around to eye can see, all the way over there. >> reporter: keeps going. >> keeps going, but then, it's like, did they start here? i don't know. i'm sure there's a reason. >> reporter: right. >> they ran out of money? >> reporter: this is the landscape in the big bend area of texas. and that is the challenge. how in the world do you build a wall in this kind of terrain? marcos lives in a far flung outpost in the big bend region of texas. he's a former park range end and now takes visitors on aerial
tours of some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll ever see. >> so, i want to know where, in all of that, do you put a wall? >> reporter: you think if donald trump flew with you, he'll want to build that wall? >> i want you to tell donald trump we already have a wall. thank you very much. and i don't think he can build a bigger one. >> reporter: this is some of the most rugged terrain you'll find along the southern border. hard to imagine that anyone would ever try to cross illegally through here, just simply too treacherous. the big bend region stretches roughly 250 miles along the rio grande, a place far past the middle of nowhere. on a canoe trip down the rio grande, it's so quiet out here, you can hear the wind flutter past coasting birds. every night, 88-year-old pamela taylor, out of compassion, leaves bottled water outside her
home for migrants moving north and the border patrol agents chasing them. she's lived in this house, a stone's throw from the border, since 1946. when the border fence was built nearly ten years ago, north of the river, she found herself on the south side, between the wall and mexico. you're a little bit of no man's land. >> we live in a gated community. i mean, you have to laugh about it. >> reporter: taylor voted for trump, and wants to see illegal immigration controlled. she once found and undocumented migrant hiding from border patrol agents in her living room. but she warns the rest of the country that a wall won't work. >> that wall is not going to stop them. if it's 20 feet high, they're going to get a 21-foot ladder, right? >> reporter: donald trump wants to build this bigger, more powerful wall. >> i would like for mr. trump -- i will even feed him if he will come down here and talk to the people. >> reporter: until then, life on the border will keep passing by pamela taylor's front porch, and
it might even stop for a quick drink. >> ed is live in el paso, and ed, it's an incredible report. i think everyone has the image of that helicopter looking down, and that wall ending. what i found also amazing was, you talk to people who supported trump, and that was what made it even more powerful. the border agent you were talking about, the woman right there, they still say a wall is not practical. what do you they want to see trump do? >> reporter: well, you know, if you have never withbeen to the border region and traveled this part of the country, you can see from our area drone shot here, you're looking out into juarez, mexico, we're here just a few feet inside of are incredibly intertwined. not just physically but also culturally and families and friends across the border routinely. so there's a much more nuanced view. that's why you find trump supporters like the ones in this piece who very much support
donald trump but have a much more practical view of what life is like here on the border. >> you have spent months traveling so much of the 2,000-mile border, something so crucial to do, the reporting that must be done before anything happens with this wall. where are you taking us next? >> well, it's been fascinating. we've done atv, aerial tours, canoed, we'll hike through arizona, the brief new mexico border into arizona later on this week. but we've gone from -- we will have gone from brownsville to san diego where we'll watch the border wall empty out into the pacific ocean. it's quite a journey. i hope eye opening for many people across the country who have very passionate opinions about what is going on here at the border but have never seen the borderlands up close. we're hoping these snap shots and these voices will help them understand. >> i'm sure they will. we'll see ed as he continues his
series all week right here out front. and now the breaking news. the first 100 days alert. the senate on track to confirm mike pompeo. manu raj u on capitol hill. this would be the third nomination to donald trump. >> right now the vote is still being held open because some senators are late to getting to the vote. the vote is 66-31. only 51 senators are required to confirm a nomination. 15 democrats have so far voted for mr. pompeo, but some republicans have voted against him including rand paul of kentucky because of his concerns over the issue of expansive surveillance. that issue among civil libertarians still exist, but mike pompeo looks like he'll get the job as cia director. >> crucial vote could happen any minute. you heard manu say it will happen, he will pass tonight.
up next jeanne moos on how the internet exploded over kellyanne conway's alternative facts. >> our press secretary gave alternative facts. by the time you head to the bank and wait to get approved for a home loan, that newly listed, mid-century ranch with the garden patio will be gone. or you could push that button. [dong] [rocket launching] skip the bank, skip the waiting, and go completely online. get the confidence that comes from a secure, qualified mortgage approval in minutes. lift the burden of getting a home loan with rocket mortgage by quicken loans. [whisper: rocket]
well, now if you drag the net, you'll see mockery about a new kind of facts. >> if i need an alternative facts, like i would go to a ouija board. >> brace for it, parents of america, alternative fact when you catch your kids doing whatever. >> that's what we now call alternative facts or spicer facts, facts that are not actually grounded in reality. >> reporter: trump adviser kellyanne conway coined the phrase. >> sean spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. >> wait a minute, alternative facts? >> reporter: twitter didn't wait. #alternative facts started flying. for instance, officer i am not drunk i'm alternative sober. bet midher tweeted # george orwell lives. then there's the little golden book of alternative facts where dogs are cats and chairs are tables. even the dallas stars jumbotron got on the joke about
exaggerating inaugural crowds with its own inflated attend's attendance 1.5 million. and though president trump's press secretary played nice with reporters on monday. >> yes, i believe we have to be honest with the american people. >> reporter: merriam webster's dictionary seemed to cast shade by tweeting out the definition of a alternative facts weren't enough, couldn't kellyanne conway have picked an alternative outfit. >> what is with that outfit on kellyanne conway? look, is she holding the door for people at f.a.o. schwartz? >> reporter: dressed as the era trump wants to take america back to. it's easier to choose between fashion alternatives than alternative facts. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. i like that little golden book. as a matter of fact, i like everything about that piece. we'll be right back.
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thanks for joining us. you can watch "outfront" anywhere. ac 360 with anderson starts right now. >> good evening. thanks very much for joining us. a big night at the end of a big day for the trump administration. and significant news about the protest marches. the president meeting with lawmakers today, business as well as labor leaders. his critics launching legal action against what they see as conflicts of interest and in their view a clash with the constitution itself. also his press secretary's first official q&a session for members of the media today and tough questions about the president's boasting of crowd figures at the cia's memorial wall and saturday's rant at reporters. on top of all that there's new senior reporting on the called by michael flynn and the russian ambassador to washington. that and the senate acting on a pair of