tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 26, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
and that does it for us. thanks for watching. have a great evening. "cnn tonight with don lemon" starts right now. the white house has a blunt message for the press. shut up! this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. chief strategist telling "new york times" the press should quote keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. meanwhile looking like one step forward, two steps back. mexico's president canceling visit. trump later saying it was mutual
decision. sean spicer telling reporters trump wants to hit mexico with 20% tax on imports only to walk it back saying the president is weighing his options. so much to get to. leyla a leyla santiago in mexico city, mark preston, david gergen. u.s. relationship with mexico in crisis. what are the developments? >> first standoff of the young trump administration, presidency. started over the campaign pledge to build the wall. now it's governing reality, controversy here really bubbled over today where the president of mexico said look i'm not coming to the u.s. to meet with you mr. trump if payment of the wall is central issue here.
so president trump was flying to philadelphia today to meet with republican leaders, one of the things discussing is paying for the wall. midflight he found out the meeting next week is canceled and all kploematic talks between them are on hold. this is an issue and causing aloorm for lawmakers because they don't want to start a trade war with mexico. third largest trading partner and think it's not good by any means. >> stand by at white house. go to mexico city. leyla, mexico's foreign minister is responding tonight. what is he saying? >> it's fascinating what he's saying. talking about how everything went down with the back and forth. he says that he was at a meeting at the white house in the middle of working out the logistics of
mexican president's meeting on january 31st when he saw the tweet from donald trump. he asked for a break, immediately called the mexican president immediately who then said go in there, tell them it's off in a cordial, respectful way. >> i'm sure you've been speaking to the people of mexico. what are they saying about this feud with the u.s.? >> you know, over the last few weeks actually been talking to mexicans on the street about the wall, about the relationship, and one of the words -- several of the words they use, racism, you know, being humiliated. when i was talking to one family, something that stuck with me today, talking to one family and told them what happened, that mexican president had canceled the upcoming meeting, when i told them that you can see them smile as if they felt that dignity was restored. and didn't even matter to them
what the consequences could be as far as trade or immigration. it was just that they felt they were not going to be bullied. >> what is the foreign minister saying about the 20% tariff proposal to pay for the wall? >> foreign minister is saying not going to respond to that until there's actually action. but spoke a little while ago to mexican senator who's been vocal against trump. he was pointing out put that 20% tax, and we're not going to pay for that wall, american consumer will be paying for it. took it one step further, not just the price of products coming into the u.s. from mexico, 80% of mexico's manufactured exports end up in the u.s., cars, all sorts of stuff. not just american consumer but could be u.s. jobs, millions of jobs depend on that free trade
with mexico. if we see that trade in any way put in jeopardy or minimized, suppressed, could affect u.s. jobs as well. >> stand by. mark preston in for a trade war with mexico? >> i don't think we'll get to that point but seriously in some very precarious times right now when we have so many other problems around the world whether with north korea or fighting isis or getting more jobs in u.s., to be fighting with mexico over this issue -- when donald trump talked about building that wall seemed like easy thing to do, but it is not easy whether the financial burden, 10 to $15 million it would cost or physically putting it in place. what we're seeing today is diplomatic problems it's causing. >> did they expect this problem? foresaw this when people were
chanting donald trump saying build that wall. this is within the first week that it's such a problem. >> i think they probably didn't mind if there was sharply negative reaction in mexico. his modus op randy now is to create chaos and enemies and play off that to see if he can find a solution. i think this transcends mexico. really sends a signal about what kind of president he's going to be with a lot of countries. if you're in almost any latin american country, this is not a friendly invitation to work with the administration in the future. but others are going to watch this. in asia watched closely. i came back from hong kong a couple of days ago and big fear there is whatever happens between the u.s. and mexico could happen between the united states and china. that's the big one. if the two big huge countries
get into trade war, it's going to be a hell of a mess. >> back to the white house. president spoke in philadelphia today to republican members of congress at gop retreat. what came out of the meeting and how are lawmakers reacting after a week of trump peddling conspiracy theories? >> first and foremost, house members and senators in the room, republicans, are thrilled that they have the first majority in ten years of the house, of the senate and white house. there is definitely enthusiasm and bit of trepidation about what exactly this agenda is going to be there. but president was coming and thanking them for their support, talking about his own victory of course. but then laying out agenda items and he's really holding a lot of meetings with the speaker paul ryan. with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. throughout the week meeting lots of times, lots of conversations,
seeing a gelling here. but speaker ryan interestingly bluntly told reporters in philadelphia, this is not a conventional president, you're just going to have to get used to it. >> he changes his opinion day to day. you'll see different emphasis but with respect to the core agenda we've laid out for members, planning and coordinating in the house and senate, done in conjunction with the administration, ran on these issues all of 2016. >> this is going to be unconventional presidency and unconventional activities like tweets and we're going to have to get used to it. >> i think that's understatement. also casual thursday you saw. this was congressional retreat. republicans were all without ties. mitch mcconnell had jeans on,
trying to discuss agenda going forward and donald trump was special guest talking about agenda. one thing he didn't do is take questions. i've been at these meetings with president obama and president bush. he took questions from lawmakers. donald trump didn't do that today or say how he's going to pay for all the things that he's proposing. worries fiscal conservatives the most. how going to pay for it? >> learning something interesting, president called national parks service because angry over tweets comparing crowd size to president obama's. what can you tell us about that? >> we saw over the past couple of days that tweets went out not favorable to donald trump's theory that he had millions of people that had come to watch his inauguration. what this does demonstrate and continues building this narrative that donald trump is
really being sidetracked by minor things. minor to all of us but major to him because these issues are issues of importance because they affect him. about him personally. when we look at grand scheme of things right now in how he governs, if he continues to be sidetracked by these, so concerned about his image all the time, going to be problematic trying to get things done. whether working with congress or negotiate trade deals with another countries, not everyone is going to be his friend or say he's the greatest or the best. he's got to get over it. >> david, i would like to turn to something different. chief strategist steve bannon says the media is opposition party. don't understand the country or why donald trump is the president of the united states. have you ever heard something like that come out of the white
house before? >> i've heard it inside the white house don on more than one occasion, white house staff, presidents get angry at press. never heard it come out this way. it was stunning. i think he has a point that those of us in the media should have humility and be listening more. there are forgotten americans out there we don't know as well as we should but when he tells press you're the opposition, shut your mouth. mr. bannon we're not shutting our mouths. you can't intimidate us. >> well put. jeff he also says the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and listen for a while. you heard what david said. not going to keep our mouth s t shut. what is press corp. reaction?
>> we all have to listen more to what country is saying and voters are saying. president included. yes he won and sweeping call for change but it's not one and done situation. checking with voters constantly who wanted and demanded change and what we'll be watching for is to see if they believe this president is answering that and delivering for them. in terms of shutting our mouths, of course not. do our jobs like we always do in any administration, asking questions on behalf of the public, looking for truth, what the government is doing. but of course we can all listen more. that's excellent piece of advice that mr. bannon had. >> i think everyone agrees with that. other part though, do they understand many people in the country did not vote for donald trump as well and they should be listened to? >> sure they understand that they didn't get the votes but someone like steve bannon, i
don't think they care. reason i say that is look how the first few days, almost a week now of this presidency, has gone. played to their base. followed through on issues that got them there with the base. and quite frankly i don't think they think they have to play to those who didn't vote for them. if you're not going to get on the train you'll be left behind. i think that's going to be the governing philosophy. at some point you and i all know that's not a wing way. at some point going to have to change their tune and bannon will have to change his tune but don't forget he's playing us. he's trying to play the media against the american public. play to the base to hear the comments and say right on. >> winning doesn't mean you're right, just that you won. thank you very much. >> don? >> go ahead leyla. >> i think that's interesting
point that's message coming out of the white house. that's what i'm hearing here from mexico's government. they want president trump to do a little more listening and understanding. mexican senator i spoke to said there seems to be a lack of understanding on how much we're connected given immigration and trade and issues you have with neighboring country. interesting to hear that message from the white house because also coming from the mexican presidency saying that i wish there was a little more understanding and listening from the white house. >> essentially take your own advice. thank you very much. i appreciate all of you. coming back, president trump meeting with british prime minister theresa may but she got advice ahead of the meeting from someone you might not expect. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette.
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mexico's president canceling next month as meeting with president trump over the executive order to build the border wall and trump's insistence that mexico will pay for it. and english prime minister to meet with trump. joining with governor. pleasure to have you. >> thank you don. >> tomorrow the president meets with british prime minister theresa may at white house.
having a joint press conference. cnn is reporting that before he left office president barack obama encouraged new prime minister to become close to president trump. could this be the beginning of that do you think? >> yes. i think britain is top ally, always supported us but president trump not started out too well. started out canceling the transpacific partnership, 11 countries he upset. now a potential trade war with mexico and canada. so i hope with prime minister may that the special relationship with britain is retained. need to work together on so many issues. syria, united nations. economic issues, brexit. president obama is right. this is the key relationship for the united states and we started off with the other key country,
mexico. this is the lowest i've seen that relation in a long time. >> someone said since 1948 or something close. >> i want to get your reaction to mexican president canceling his meeting with president trump. what do you think of that? >> he had no choice. president trump's idea of negotiating is bullying. bullying ceos, his primary opponents, bullying nations. you can't bully nations because the president has a constituency right now. he's weak in the polls, huge gasoline lines and higher prices. trump says he wants him to build a wall and pay for it, renegotiate nafta, now import fee of 20% which by the way is illegal under nafta. can't do that. it's supposed to be free trade
between canada, mexico and the united states so his back is really -- he can't probably make too many concessions now. i think president trump has negotiated and negotiated against himself and we have little leverage now. >> i want to talk more about nafta and policy towards mexico but first play this. president spoke about his policies regarding mexico and canceled meetings today at republican retreat in philadelphia. >> put in place the first steps in immigration plan ordering immediate construction of the border wall, putting end to catch and release, expediting the removal of criminal -- this is so important to me. from day one i've said it. and i mean immediate removal of criminal aliens -- going to be gone. fast. i will not allow the taxpayers or citizens of the united states
to pay the cost of this defective transaction nafta, one that should have been renegotiated many years ago except that the politicians were too preoccupied to do so. so that end the president of mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week. unless mexico is going to treat the united states fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless. >> you've been a negotiator. and trump elected to some extent on the deal making ability. what are your thoughts on how this has unfolded so far? >> i think u.s. and mexico need each other. it's not one-way street.
mexico and canada are our biggest trading partners. mexicans buy american goods more than japan, germany, britain and china combined. they're great consumers. goes both ways. problem with nafta, labor and environmental issues, renegotiate that. but don't do it under duress, and what president trump has done. i read "the art of the deal" the way you advance in real estate is beat up opponent and humiliate them and they come to your position. with nations you can't do that. political leaders have constituencies. mexico is nationalistic. i was border governor, have mexican heritage, one of the few democrats who voted for nafta in congress.
these are complicated issues that require preparation. can't do it by tweet, executive orders, speeches. we have to prepare and word towards what is best interest of the united states. my worry don is mexico has leverage over us. we need mexico supporting the drug war. we want drug lords extradited like el chapo. want their support on migration and trade issues and so many other cross border issues. i was a border governor. to back off the president of mexico, make him look bad, humiliate him, not the kay to do it. and do that end, negotiating with mexico. third largest supplier of imports. there's a list ever things that americans would have to pay 20% more for. vehicles, computers and electronics. appliances, fuel, medical
instruments, fruits and vegetables, beer and so on. mexican senator said that tax would be paid by u.s. consumers. do you think americans want to pay more for these in exchange for border wall? >> of course not. they don't want to pay more for that. that's why nafta does need adjustments but been good for both countries. border states, it's been good. lot of nafta businesses created because of that pact that was passed years ago. these issues need to be negotiated in a diplomatic way with finance ministers and secretaries of states. we don't have any cabinet members in in national security except that adviser. and don't have trade negotiator, commerce secretary, secretary of state. there's a lot of preparations instead of the president sending
tweets and sending executive orders hastily arranged and then backing off. i think he's backed off the 20% import fee because it's illegal. can't do it under nafta. president needs to be prepared and learn foreign policy. can't negotiate a business deal, "the art of the deal" and be president and protect america's interests, it's different. he's president of the united states. i want him to succeed but it's making it very hard. only in sixth day and alienated 11 countries. hope don't do it tomorrow with the prim minister of britain. >> thanks for comin on. grading first week in the white house, how does he stack up against george w. bush?
york times." frank we learned moments ago that president trump will speak to russian president vladimir putin on the phone saturday. what's your reaction? >> waiting for this moment and not surprised and look forward to the "saturday night live" skit as well. >> not a surprise. >> they've been throwing love bombs each other's way for a while. yeah. >> you wrote a column and your colleague as well, i'm anxious to speak to you about. michael gren balm, your colleague at "new york times" wrote about bannon, media should be embarrassed bannon said, and keep its mouth shut and listen for a while mr. bannon said in a telephone call. i want you to quote this. the media here is opposition party. they don't understand this country, still don't understand why donald trump is the president of the united states. what do you think? >> i think there's one good point in there. there are things about america
we all missed in the last campaign and voices we didn't hear. but that statement is the height of arrogance and summit of defenseiveness. how well do steve bannon and donald trump understand america when lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. i know voter fraud. prove it. sitting on low approval rating. this is the end of a week that's been chaotic, had a white house that can't stay on message in which donald trump stood before the wall of heroes at cia and talked about how many times he's been on the cover of "time" magazine. i hear in bannon's voice how much he's hitched his wagon to man who doesn't act in disciplined manner. he's frustrated with donald
trump as much as media and wants to make us the enemy and not to be listened to when we call out things he doesn't want about the administration. >> history will tell us -- you covered bush 43. >> i did. >> how are they stacking up? >> night and day. degree of disorder and chaos i don't think we've ever seen. and talk to white house reporters, i'm opinion columnist, i can speak my mind. they're stunned and unsettled in ways they can't communicate because of how they do their jobs. republicans just outside the trump circle or toggle back and forth across the membrane of trump world stunned at what they're seeing, administration that's not prepared and president who doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. look at claim of the pro golfer and all of that. and also seeing something we
need to look at carefully, this attempt to control and distort and suppress information. order went out telling people in various agencies say nothing until it goes through the white house. "washington post" just reported that donald trump summoned the national park service. i want better photos, don't tweet things to make the crowd seem small. steve bannon is telling us we have no credibility and should shut up. this is administration in first week had press secretary come out and berate the media with falsehoods and senior adviser come out and say those are alternative facts. who has credibility problem? the media or donald trump and people around him? >> gaslighting or projection? >> it's both, and distraction above all else if they convince
americans everything we say is suspect they can do as they please. that's the scary part. >> your column, you used examples of "saturday night live" writer who tweeted about barron trump and madonna's f bomb speech you say passing for advocacy and shouldn't be done that way. >> looks like pet u lant theater. there is so much substantive ground to confront donald trump and his administration. when you stand at microphone and curse you take people's eye off the ball. >> you say as much. outrage proves you're no better than he is, it's theater. >> gives the people on his side a way to say you're so virtuous and high minded explain that tactic and behavior? as there's so many substantive things to talk about here. when you vent in undisciplined
and vulgar way, you allow people to focus on something other than what you really want. i think madonna wants people to focus on the threat to women's health and lgbt rights and doesn't get that attention when stands at microphone and curses. this is about not playing into donald trump's hands and not sur rending your your own credibility and standing on the high ground and not letting this man tug the level discourse down as low as they would like to. >> interesting you say that, same criticism that people have had of the white house. maybe some good things -- or donald trump is at least doing what he said he would do with the executive orders. if not for self-inflicted wounds, talking about things with no facts to back up, media would be talking about that. same thing with madonna, what gets the headline is the controversial thing that you
say. >> and madonna has been around long enough and when behaves that way, not getting out the message. >> you mentioned bernhard langer, another colleague said. he responded. voting situation reporting not conveyed from me to president trump but told to me by a friend and i relaid the story in conversation with another friend who shared to person with ties to the white house. from there misconstrued. >> so mischaracterization or is it possible the president related to them that way? >> if i followed that story correctly, lot of this coming from different places, donald trump was the one who put the words in the profile personality. >> several different sources. >> and pro golfer is saying friend of a friend of a friend. and it's unsettling glimpse.
if donald trump said this to lawmakers who reported this back to the media, it's unsettling glimpse of his view of truth and accuracy. not the first. >> thank you. coming back, president versus the press. what's behind president trump's escalating media war? are always at hilton.com.s so pay less and get more only at hilton.com. for millions of baby boomers there's a virus out there. a virus that's serious, like hiv, but it hasn't been talked about much. a virus that's been almost forgotten.
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it's not unusual for a president to see the press as adversaries but president trump may be taking it to whole new nefl. here to discuss, carl bernstein, curt -- resign fod brietbart and now ceo of endeavor strategies. good to have you along. talk about the president speaking to vladimir putin by phone on saturday. wouldn't you like to eavesdrop on that phone call? >> sure. we have two things going on here. pathology of lying that we're here to discuss i believe. and also enormous amount of presidential activity in the
area of policy. some of it perhaps wise, some perhaps very unwise. and we need to parse through both and of course we all want to know what that conversation is going to be about and whether putin has a lot to do with his election or doesn't, we're still trying to find out what the facts of that are. >> whether it starts with thank you and you're welcome. >> we need to do a lot more reporting. agree with mr. bannon about that. >> that we need to be doing a lot more report need to shut up -- blaming the media is blood sport for politicians. >> he said something beyond the pale that the media is the opposition party. >> keep its mouth shut. >> outrageous but really the truth is the opposition party right now. the opponent of what donald
trump is doing because he and his surrogates are lying in a way that those of us who are reporters with a lot of experience in 30 years never seen president of the united states or his people lie with this intensity and regularity in the first days of the presidency rather than focus on the policy. frank bruney talking about the extraordinary thing of going to lean on the park service. this is about pathology, not policy. >> go ahead. >> give my time to carl. i can't say it better. as you were talking, what we're talking about here is not anti-trump. it's protruth. that's what we're trying to do. and sometimes make mistakes and humility is valuable and glad he said should be more listening. there should be. but for him to say we're the opposition party is definitely inappropriate. he knows that, he's trying to push buttons.
>> and also how quote the media got this election wrong. there were lots of people in the mainstream media after donald trump got the nomination especially and me on this show and others who said there's a really good chance donald trump is going to win. >> we said that a lot. even according to their own reporting he didn't think he was going to win on election night. >> exactly bannon is also contributing to false narrative. >> i've got to get other folks in. play this and then curt and timothy. this is my colleague christiane amanpour who has decades of covering oppressive regimes around the world. >> he's playing a strategy which involves creating straw men and women and creating enemy of the press, diverting, ob fuse kating
while other things are going on. other things -- other totalitarian regimes have used this. if i were going to be funny say looking for order of merit from president putin and those types, they treat the press this way, believe it should be in the service of the president. it's. >> we're not supposed to be state-run media. not our jobs. >> first step is you want to intimidate people who would be saying things the leader doesn't want to hear. as someone who worked for federal government at some point, one of the most chilling things i learned in the last few days is effort by the president to tell the national park service what it could and could knot provide as information to
the american people. we rely on a lot of not sexy information that the federal government gives us like unemployment rate. if you start to politicize this -- nixon tried to do this but through someone else. donald trump does it himself. putting pressure on civil servants to provide data parallel to his reality. >> going to post show me pictures. lied. >> what are the americans going to think? climate isn't changing. if we say, say we're lying. >> you're saying show me pictures of the crowds? >> wanted pictures of the crowd. >> everybody says time stamped 8:55 pt says that's almost 9:00 a.m., yes pacific but not
eastern, five minutes before sworn in. there's a difference between the time zones. both pictures taken around the same time. you worked with steve bannon, he relishes in being provocative. wondering what he's trying to achieve with this strategy? get us talking about it? what is going on? >> i think steve believes to be successful they need opponent and enemy. during the campaign had 16 or 17 republican presidential candidates and legacy of barack obama and hillary clinton to foil off of. now in power need another enemy and going to make the press that. this is as much about accountability as anything else. trying to tear down all the pillars of accountability that hold them to the truth so when the president has bad news and doesn't like a report, go into
oval office. of course they wrote that. they're the enemy. don't listen to them. listen to us. inoculate the president. narrow where he listens and gets his information. it's dangerous thing when you have a president who's going to be more specific and not broad where he gets information and facts. when you look at what advisers are supposed to do, paint a real time picture of accuracy for the president to make most informed decision possible, going to try to censor the government. reports that unemployment is not where they want it to be, where jobs are supposed to be coming from. president and team going to say don't make that public. come back with data that fits our narrative. >> i've got to get to the break. we'll talk about this. sean spicer said the facts are like a weather forecast. we'll be right back.
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kellyanne conway. he said this. >> when the facts are sometimes when you look at situation, and same way that you can look at weather report and one weather report comes out, says it's going to be cloudy and next is light rain. no one lied to you. just means you interpreted the data in a way you felt got you to a conclusion. >> weather reports are about what is going to happen, not what happened. we're talking about lies about what occurred. just one thing quickly about steve bannon, and that is i would speculate here, not report, that he is very concerned that the story is now moving to donald trump's emotional stability and maturity. and reporters and republicans on capitol hill are talking about it. it's a big part of the story. >> this is not normal. unprecedented. had unstable presidents before but had people around them who tried to protect them and
american people. nixon case. right now. it's always true that white house spins. glass is half full and we say it's half empty. now we have administration that invents the glass. that's the difference. >> you have insight. you worked with brietbart and left and resigned and worked with bannon, you know these folks in the white house. is it like -- do they believe facts are like a weather forecast? >> i think it's more talking about alternative facts for them it's alternative reality. in their minds they did it their way and they won. they don't need to change. everybody else needs to change. as long as they believe that, media will cover anything they do, as soon as donald trump tweets something it becomes breaking news, saturating every television and online news site, they're going to keep doing what they're doing and care less about the relationship with the press in twrad inl way.
press people, you need to have some relationship with reporters and rely on them to communicate with the american people. they now believe as they saw in the election can do whatever they want. whether you like them or hate them, call you names or assault them. cover you more than anybody else in the world and as long as that is the case they believe they have the leverage to say whatever they want. >> timothy said it's not a war with the press but with information. >> it's a war with information. and one thing that those who love the first amendment have to remember is they needn't be defensive about it. that's why the founders gave it to us. there's nothing wrong with defending right to free speech. that's media and everyone out there who wants to learn the truth. that's the philosophy of today. >> that's why be cool -- go