tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN February 16, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
they did about women and their antijoke vaginas. in hd too, horrifying. breaking news, president trump's pick for national security adviser turns down the job. that in the wake of a news conference like we have never seen before. this is "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. unprecedented hour and 15 minutes of must-see tv. president trump obsessed with leaks and repeating unsubstantiated charge of fake news. >> the leaks are absolutely real. the news is fake because so much of the news is fake. >> insisting that everything is fine in his house, nothing to see here. >> this administration is running like a fine-tuned
machine. >> and advancing his own conspiracy theory on russia. >> you can talk all you want about russia. which is all fake news fabricated deal to try and make up for the loss of the democrats and plus the press plays right into it. >> let's start with cnn's white house cress poentd sara murray. before the press conference you have new details about the replacement for national security adviser turning down the job. bring us up to speed. >> fired michael flynn earlier and reached out to retired vice admiral bob harward and he's taking a pass on that as well. some said because it's chaotic white house and he didn't want to get involved in it but citing family reasons for turning it down. read a portion of the statement he provided to cnn. like all service members understand and live, this job
requires 24 hours a day, 7 days a week focus and commitment to do it right. i currently couldn't make that commitment. regardless of whether this is his explanation or the explanation he gave because he didn't want to cite a chaotic white house it's currently a setback for the trump administration the same day the president is insisting there's no turmoil here, everything according to plan. >> today's news conference, why decide to do this in a surprise move. >> it was a surprise move. walked into the oval office this morning and basically told his aides i want to do a press conference. i think had a we saw today is a president frustrated by the amount of criticism he's faced in the first couple of weeks in office. obviously fired national security adviser, lost his pick for labor secretary because republicans couldn't get on board and he had grievances he wanted to air today. take a listen.
>> i inherited a mess. it's a mess. at home and abroad. a mess. jobs are pouring out of the country, you see what's going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to mexico and other places. low pay, low wages, mass instability overseas no matter where you look, middle east, disaster. north korea, we'll take care of it folks of it all. want to let you know inherited a mess. >> some say when you inherit economy with unemployment under 5% it's notice a huge mess but president feeling differently. >> give us the headlines. what came out? >> in addition to headlines on russia, the president say to his knowledge nobody on his campaign
team, senior advisers in touch with russian officials. also began to lay out time line for health care law and talk about daca, what was protecting children brought to the u.s. illegally when younger by parents essentially saying wants to deal with it in heartfelt way, unclear what that means. and hammering home the idea of leaks. something irking the administration. discuss that someone from private equity might be coming from the outside to look at intelligence agencies to look for leaks. saying havinged justice department look into it already and have confirmations go to them for top priority. >> bring in nia-malika henderson, and -- author of "at
mama's knee" and david swerdlick. amazing day. glad to have all of you. talk about the highs and lows. vice admiral harward saying no thanks to president trump. how big of a blow for the president? >> one more cut in what is starting to accumulate into a death by 1,000 cuts. first month. statement by admiral, seems plausible really wants to spend time with his family. also seems likely that the last three weeks of news from the trump administration has to have been ringing in his ears considering the job at hand. it's no more a speculation what it's like to work in the first hundred days of the trump administration. we've all seen it. even the most capable person have a lot on his plate. back to the drawing board again
on a variety of fronts for the white house. >> well-oiled machine he said. this is what he said early. >> i turn on the tv, open the newspapers and see stories of chaos, chaos. yet it is the exact opposite. this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. despite the fact that i can't get my cabinet approved. >> kevin. fine-tuned machine. a quality man who sources told my colleague jake tapper thought this issue was -- sandwich according to him, turning down a big job. >> that's one of the big risks the white house faces that folks are -- that message becomes emblematic of what people think of when they look at first 28 days. one of the big frustrations that sara alluded to, president feels he came to washington to shake
up the status quo, to send a message that way of doing things in the past is now gone and new regime come in and american people want to see change. that change doesn't always look -- it's not always easy. and that's what he wants to impress upon folks. all the folks in this administration tasked with making the case for this president, his agenda on the record, i think that's the message they're trying to send. but this white house, many of folks talking on background or off the record or behind the scenes and so much of that is ending up in the newspapers and you can tell as the president expressed his frustration about that level of grumbling taking place about the pace of the administration. >> today is the first day the president answered questions about cnn's reporting that campaign aides were in constant
contact with russian officials. also asked about the national security adviser but again the president says the real story here is the leaks. >> what happens when i'm dealing with problems in the middle east? are you folks going to be reporting all of that very confidential information, very important -- i mean at highest level, reporting ab that too? i don't want classified information getting out to the public. in a way that was almost a test. the leaks are real. you're the one that wrote about them. you know what they said, you saw it. the leaks are absolutely real. the news is fake because so much of the news is fake. >> that caught me when he said the news is fake because the news is fake. that's very interesting explanation about why the news is fake. but just because we don't know for sure if it's classified information, he's saying there is no proof. he's trying to change the subject here.
what do you make of the president saying have the justice department look into it? >> it's break with precedent for a sitting president to order the justice department to look into their perceived enemies. usually there's a separation between the white house and the justice department. this idea he's ordering the justice department to go after people is startling i think. we'll see where this goes. it's clearly meant to chill the leaks and leakers. to put the fear of investigation into them. i doubt that will work. certainly won't work in terms of the press publishing leaked information. he should go back and look at pentagon papers. that case in the 1970s and hugo black's opinion on that and this idea that free press and informed public outweighs any government claim to secrecy or
need for secrecy, even when it comes to war and peace and national security. i think that's what is going on here in terms of him doing his homework. other thing i think also is that it's not going to stop. this is going to continue. and he's also trying to change the subject on this. >> exactly. >> i don't think it's going to work. he's trying to kick the russia can down the road right? but listen there is an investigation into what is going on with russia or what went on with his campaign aides and russia. i think we'll start hearing more about that. >> and again, as you said, kick the can. he was for the leaks remember during the campaign before he was against them now he's in office. listen to something else the president said. >> i can tell you, speaking for myself, i own nothing in russia, i have no loans in russia, i don't have any deals in russia. russia is a ruse. i have nothing to do with russia. haven't made a phone call to russia in years, don't speak to
people from russia. not that i wouldn't, i just have nobody to speak to. i spoke to putin twice. he called me on the election, i told you this, and he called me on the inauguration, a few days ago. we had a very good talk. especially the second one. lasted for a pretty long period of time. >> hasn't made a phone call to russia in years but goes on to say he spoke with putin twice. reacti reaction april? >> there is a lot of questions -- there are a lot of questions still remaining when it comes to this relationship with president trump and president putin. you know, the president was going on and on also talking about the fact that he didn't have any kind of business dealings with russia. again people have made calls about the fact that he needs to be more transparent. particularly with his taxes so we can find out really if that is the case.
think a lot still remains to be seen because there's ever evolving door when it comes to russia and what is going on with this president and russia. he said wouldn't we like to have better relationship with russia, he may not even want to be my friend after all this negative news. it's back and forth. we have to see where it settles. not a month into this presidency and still confusing and we still don't know everything on the table when it comes to the relationship with this president and russia and putin. and talking about this possible relationship before the election, in the campaign. kevin despite provocations the president is painting still a positive picture when it comes to russia. he says this. >> if russia and the united states actually got together and got along. don't forget, we're very powerful nuclear country and so
are they. there's no upside. we're powerful nuclear country and so are they. i've been briefed and one thing about the briefing i'm allowed to say, anybody who read the most basic book could say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. they're powerful nuclear country and so are we. if we have a good relationship with russia, that's a good thing. >> i think it's good thing that president is convincing people that nuclear holocaust is a great threat. >> a lot of people were worried about the hot rhetoric about nuclear powers posting up against each other. and republicans spent the last eight years trying to make the case that russia is important geopolitical foe. this is the issue that probably makes his allies that are republicans on capitol hill most uneasy about the president's
policy agenda and some of his current rhetoric in the early part of the administration. >> when we come back talk to you april about your head scratching exchange with the president today. stick around. (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even a "truck-cicle."
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kevin madden, april ryan and david swerdlick. i was watching this, oh, my gosh. someone said he's talking about you and i saw your thing. you had opportunity to ask a couple of questions. >> are you going to include the cbc mr. president in your conversations with urban agenda and inner city. >> who? >> the congressional black caucus. >> do you want to set up the meeting? are they friends of yours? >> i know some of them. >> set up a meeting. i would love to meet with the black caucus. [ laughter ] >> oh, my god. what did you think about that answer? >> what do you mean, what did i think? >> come on april.
call your black friends and let's set up that meeting, girl. >> that's not what he said. he said call the members of the caucus. here's the deal. when he said it i was kind of shocked. wait a minute, i'm a journalist, you're not supposed to ask us. i'm thinking maybe because novice to governance and protocol. about him saying for me to call them and set up the meeting. now when it comes to the other piece, i just had to go and deal with the issue at hand because again it's bigger issues than me at the time. but it was interesting. >> you're good, i realize you have to work there tomorrow. i unlike you don't have to face the press corp. >> next two years. >> i don't have to say, immediate reaction and most of the millions of other people who saw it as well. that's fair assessment. >> twitter blew up. >> exactly what he was saying.
why didn't he know -- you had to repeat cbc. do you think he knew what it was or having trouble hearing you? >> again he's new. i wondered if it was the newness of being in washington but i will say this, he is president, he's new and maybe he didn't hear, maybe he did. he's new. give him that. he's got to learn these acronyms but congressional black caucus is cbc, congressional hispanic caucus is chc. give him the fact maybe he didn't know because new to town. >> nia? >> in some ways it's right. thing about the press conferences, usually a president has a list of names and reporters he's going to call on. knows the outlets they're from and might have a sense of what their area is and might ask and
be interested in. in this conference, april was there and everybody was just standing up, much more free-flowing and chaotic than most are under a different white house but good for him taking so many questions. very odd though that he wanted to send our friend april out to set up a meeting
as if she was a secretary working for him. >> april, congress woman gwen moore tweeted this hey she's not your secretary. knows rep richmond's number, use it. then found out there was a letter. >> actually after that question and twitter breaking and going viral with this, the white house did indeed call cedric richmond, head of the congressional black caucus, and they're trying to
pin down a time to meet. the way we understand, the 49 members, all are not going to attend because some just don't want to meet with this president. >> maxine waters not going to be there. >> she's declared it, made her own executive order about it. but bottom line is this president is talking about urban agenda, education, criminal justice, all sorts of things, economics.
and then you also have him at end of the month talking about historically black colleges and universities making an executive order on that. and these are the people who have basically been carrying the ball on these issues for decades and they want in, they want to talk about this and find out what he's doing and to help. so it's very important that they meet. and it's also important for any president to meet with groups, whether governmental or private
groups who have a stake in certain communities. he's president of all america, even with the rhetoric he's still president of all america. >> as i sat there and watched it and i said -- i was fascinated by it and even though said things about this show, what have you, it's fine, he's a big boy, i'm a big boy. >> he beat you up. >> it's not a big deal. the administration before him beat us up as well. we're supposed to get that. i can take that. but give him his due. stood there, answered questions. unscripted, may not have liked the answers but that's exactly what he should be doing. have to give him his due. i didn't think accurate on some of the things he said. didn't give examples of what fake news is, just fake news. doesn't give examples. >> very fake news. >> and said he inherited a mess. i kept saying unemployment rate
is low, economy is gaining, there is not -- we don't have troops overseas in big numbers and on -- stock market is growing. i just kept saying where is the mess he inherited. kevin, what did you think of the press conference as he was saying those things? >> well, look, every politician tries to draw a contrast with the previous eight years. to this whole discussion about how the america people watch this, think there are people watching this with a rooting interest, big trump supporters. and they loved every single minute of this press conference. >> i'm sure they did. >> and critics with rooting interest believe it was emblematic of why trump is not fit for the office. most americans, i know we all probably watched the reaction to the exchange that he had with april blow up on twitter, but most americans are not sitting
there watching press conferences live and monitoring it on twitter. and i think they don't have the same reactions that we do. they saw the president talking about big issues that they cared about. i think they largely agree with a lot of -- particularly his supporters about the media coverage. and he tries to use that. that's the thing he used press conference so well. first of all, i think he believes he's his own best spokesperson and that's why he did that for -- how long was it today? >> 24 minutes or something. >> i got to say -- i understand what you're saying. go a little bit long producers, sorry. people say people that live on the coast, liberals, live in a bubble. but i think you're describing a group of people who live in a bubble as well. that's kind of a low bar you're setting for people. if the president is going to say that the news is fake, then he
should be clear about it, give specific examples about what exactly is fake. then he's misleading american people and shouldn't do that as president. if he's going to say he inherited a mess, give specific examples about the mess he inherited and what he's talking about. so it's just a talking point with no proof and that's fake news. >> the more mobile part of the electorate, voted for trump but not big ardent supporters or folks voted for trump not to vote for hillary. that's the group he needs most to marshal public support behind his agenda. and they don't care about the fake news or not, they care about agenda. >> i'm just advocating for informed electorate and people
not to be misled by talking points or agenda not clearly visible or clearly visible to some. >> president seemed energized for first time in a week or two. he liked being his spokesperson as kevin said. but you're right. light on specifics about policy, didn't clarify what he meant about fake news or inherited mess because didn't inherit a mess. that's it. >> april, hang in there. ny have to set up meetings at white house i'll call you. coming up, congressman who says the president made up a story about him at news conference. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company.
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president. >> when you say the inner cities are you going to include the cbc in your conversations with inner city agenda? >> who? >> the congressional black caulk use and congressional hispanic caucus. >> do you want to set up the meeting? are they friends of yours? set up the meeting. >> i know some of them. >> i would love to meet with the black caucus, i think they're great. >> you heard what april had to say. >> i wasn't sure whether or not he was hearing the question or didn't know the acronym. and as april said maybe new. but you're president, you don't get a break. no on-the-job training, you make a mistake as president and get criticized and have to take that. number two is there is impulse in the man that wants to be defensive and to diminish people as they speak. so watch that she was trying to
have the question and couldn't get it out because he wanted to be defensive and interrupt. when he's doing that, the natural person comes out. really does talk down to you. he was talking down to her and assuming she must be -- she's black, must know the other black people. go set up the meeting. if you want me to do it, go set -- it's really dismissive, part of what was happening throughout entire press conference. i think that character flaw is something americans should be worried about. >> paris, why on earth ask april ryan if she's friends with the cbc and wanted to set up a meeting for him? that's not her job. >> president knows who april ryan is, her background and how many relationships she has on the hill. he knows, i know, you know, april ryan knows personally every single member of the cbc. i think back to the earlier
point, the president might have not heard her correctly. could have heard cdc. that's why she clarified what they meant by cbc, congressional black caucus but thing i wanted to point to to your viewers that the cbc letter they tweeted out to president was addressed to president-elect sent on january 19th day before the transition to the office. and point two, never asked for a meeting with the president. and point three, tone and diction used in the letter was not very inviting to me. so if they wanted a meeting, should have asked for meeting and did not do that. >> to my question, why ask her to set up meeting with the cbc, if you're president of the united states you call and say kellyanne, mr. bannon, mr. or miss whoever this is the president, get me on the phone
with such and such, a meeting. why do that with black reporter and not member of your own staff or black outreach or whoever at white house. why not go through them instead of reporter at impromptu press conference? >> i think it's because the president knew that april was sort of giving him an ont spot treatment. april knows that the president reached out to congressman cummings, that during the listening session i attended he mentioned he wanted to set up a meeting and turned to his aides. >> isn't a press conference on the spot treatment by every single reporter? >> if you want to make this into a racial thing don, i don't think it is. >> i just am asking. didn't say that. >> i think the tone of april's line of questioning made himcy, if it's such a big deal and you think it's something i should do, set it up.
then he said i'd love to meet with them. do you know them? set it up. because he knows she knows them and he knows why that was asked. why wasn't the question asked, mr. president can you talk about the hbcu meeting you're having at the white house with over -- coming to town. why not ask about the cbc being upset about mark walker -- >> i'm not april. i did watch the exchange. seemed cordial and laughed with each other. doesn't seem like gotcha question, back and forth. i don't think she had in tone different from other reporters. >> forget about the tone question. literally. you're the president of the united states. leadership demands that you meet with people who may be critical of you. this president brought up frederick douglass, do you understand how frederick
douglass treated abraham lincoln before they met and lincoln still had him in the white house. called him excellent slave hound. frederick douglass said this man seems to want to continuously make him look silly. blistering critic of lincoln and lincoln still invited him into the white house because he realized that frederick douglass had something he needed. needed to reach out to black people, particularly the soldiers in the civil war. >> charles. >> this idea is hurt my feelings or letter tone wasn't right or april's tone not right. get over that. >> don. >> one more second. >> i have to go to break. >> talking about his base. your base as president is the whole country. >> go ahead paris but hurry
please. >> at end of the day the president understands who he is, president of all people. he actually said i would love to meet with the cbc and he wants to. is going to meet with hbcu college presidents. le already had a phone call with congressman cummings, said we have more alike than we disagree on, especially on jobs and infrastructure. he understands this and will meet with people of all backgrounds. >> paris i have to -- >> notion that he won't is wrong. >> didn't happen until today though. all unlimited. all in! switch to t-mobile today.
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news conference full of surprising moments, president trump surprised a lot of people with what he said about the rollout of his travel ban. charles blow is back and also kayleigh mcenany, betsy mccoy, former lieutenant governor of new york and peter byner. >> feel like it's september or october all over again. talk about the ban.
the president's travel ban. here's what he said about the rollout. >> we had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban but we had a bad court. a court that gave us what i consider to be with great respect, a very bad decision. very bad for the safety of our country. rollout was perfect. >> used word perfect to describe the rollout. >> i believe the law is perfect, perfectly on his side, whatever bumps in the road about the implementation. fact is if you look at ninth circuit, on average gets overturned by supreme court 80% of the time -- >> i know about hold on. i've been discussing this with so many people before. that's if you look at cases that are sent to them. usually cases sent to them have a high possibility of being overturned. that's why sent to them. if not a problem case, doesn't
go to that court. >> anything goes to it in their jurisdiction. extremely left wing. >> it's not a bad record. it's part of the function of that court. those are the kinds of cases. like if you're in law enforcement and get the bad eggs, chance of recidivism are higher because of the bad eggs. they're getting cases tough to decide. not exactly true. >> i'm president of your fan club but the fact is all the cases in that part of the country go to that court. it's geographic. >> it's not true -- >> asked about the rollout. >> even if you agree with him on that. said it was perfect rollout when they themselves had to switch on green card holders and they said made a mistake. and people worked for u.s.
military initially banned. even in their terms, those were big problems because of those issues alone. >> lot to talk about. talk about the president bring up electoral victory today. watch this. >> you said today you had the biggest electoral margin since ronald reagan, 306 electoral votes. in fact president obama got -- >> i was talking about -- >> obama, george w. bush when he won as president. so why should americans trust you? >> i was given that information. we had a big margin. >> why should americans trust you when you accuse information they're receiving of being fake when you provide information that's -- >> i was given that information. >> nbc asking that question. what did you think? >> well it's not true. he stated it as fact.
as not a fact. now, you know, the president should be in the business of telling the truth. right? but he's habitually not doing that. and -- but we are in the business of telling the truth. we have to hold the line on things like this and say exactly what the reporter is saying. you're saying things to the american people that's patently provably not true and what we would do -- if i cited something in my column that was factually incorrect, as soon as it comes to my attention, correction is written because i generate it. let me finish. i want people to trust me. this president when presented with the idea it's false, somebody gave it to me. i don't know. just say it's not correct. >> put up the graph before you respond. look up numbers, google search, the information is wrong, incorrect. does that concern you at all? >> first disagree with charles.
when he was confronted with the accurate numbers he stopped that line of factual reasoning, stopped it there. did what charles would have done issued retraction. >> absolutely not a retraction. >> i let you finish. talk about facts. president trump had historic victory. first republican president ever to win wisconsin, pennsylvania and michigan. since the 1980s. >> i give you that. that's not what he said. >> in his exchange with jim acosta, said deleted -- e-mails. and president corrected him. not hounding people with that they're not lies, they're mistakes. >> that's not true. when acosta said -- he said i may have it wrong. >> and president trump did the same -- >> let me finish. he said ima have it wrong and then president trump said 30 --
33. when trump confronted with the same thing. instead of him saying i may have it wrong. no deflect to somebody else. >> now we're playing semantics. just ask that you apply the same standards -- >> i thought -- >> act like you talk about -- >> jim acosta is not president of the united states. important thing is that trump doesn't say this again. if we had a record of trump being corrected, innumerable times, making progress. >> i got to go. other side of the break we'll be right back. cue the confetti. say hi to xiidra, lifitegrast ophthalmic solution. xiidra is the first prescription eye drop solution approved to treat the signs and symptoms of dry eye.
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[burke] and we covered it, february fourteenth, twenty-fifteen. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ y . the president railing against the media in today's news conference. we are having a quiet conversation here. president trump had comments about this show. take a listen to what he said. >> you look at your show that goes on at 10:00 in the evening. you just take a look at that show. that is a constant. the panel is almost always exclusive anti-trump. the good news is he doesn't have
good ratings. the panel is almost exclusive anti-trump and the hatred and venom coming from his mouth and other people on your network. i watch it. i see it. i'm amazed by it. >> he said i was a hit at least. boom. sorry. he said he doesn't watch cnn and he watches the show. >> the counterparts are unfair to trump. any time there is vagueness or gaps in the facts. they insert sinister suspicion. i think my left wing commenta r commentato commentators. >> the fact that you tested me
is wrong. >> don't do that. don't touch me and say that's your sinister motivations. that's not going to happen tonight. >> i didn't realize i'm not allowed to get close. now i know i will scoot over this way. >> you can scoot until you falloff that ledge. >> what you just said to me is a lot like what maxine waters said when she said don't ask me to meet with president trump. we are all americans. maybe you don't feel that way. we should all want the president to succeed and hug it out. you don't want to do that, you don't have to. >> you are about to turn it from a civil conversation into me telling you -- >> we are all americans. >> that's a personal attack to say i don't believe i'm an american. don't do that. >> i'm not even allowed to touch you. >> now you're not.
>> go ahead. >> i'm telling you don't do that. >> the president is taking a lot today for saying his administration has been a well oiled machine. i like to point out over the last three weeks he has put together a white house staff nominated 12 cabinet members all of whom so getting through step and that's a far better record than obama had at this point and met with three major heads of state. very successful meetings with the head of japan and benjamin netanyahu and persuaded corporate executives. >> i know you are getting the president, but what she did in the press conference. >> it's an amazing record. >> you can't say it's a well oiled machine when you look at the travel ban. >> those are good points. >> that's not a well oiled machine. a fine-tuned machine.
>> with the roll out of obamacare. three months of crashing websites and very sick. >> how long did that happen into the administration? >> he doesn't have a national security adviser. that wasn't the senate's problem. he didn't have to get that confirmed. we learned that the guy he wanted to replace won't take the job. barack obama by this point had passed a stimulus bill. whether you like it or not, a massive piece of legislation. what has donald trump done that is equivalent to that. government leaders from australia were international incidents because of the things he reportedly said during those meetings. it's hard to suggest today there was a report from somebody who told a reporter i don't know what's going on. i don't know here knows what's going on. that is not a well oiled machine. >> that are is the swamp trying to sink him. these are career diplomats, old overs from old administrations
trying to do damage to our countries. >> you don't think those are career people who care? >> some of them are and some of them will leave and be replatesed. at the moment they are still there and not serving us, the public. >> some of the information that has been leaked has been things that you would only know if were in his inner circle. some of it may be coming from other places. congress men and people in the intel community and some of the details i have read, nobody else would know them if were not in the white house. his extreme vetting is apparently not working. >> that's not true. >> somebody in the white house is also contributing. >> i have to go. we are like two minutes over and i'm going to get in trouble. thank you all. we are all calm now. coming up, if you are next.
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