tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN February 20, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
continue serving our nation. >> reporter: he is a decorated soldier and military strategist. trump delivered the news between mcmaster and kellogg. kellogg will stay on as chief of staff at the national security council. >> this is a great team, we're very, very honored. >> reporter: this coming after he admits, mike pence, that general flynn was a let down. his behavior was a letdown to the administration. >> i was disappointed to learn that the facts that had been conveyed to me by general flynn were inaccurate, but we honor general flynn's long service to the united states of america and i fully support the president's decision to ask for his resignation. >> reporter: flynn was dismissed after misleading pence about discussing sanctions with the russian ambassador, leaving the president scrambling to fill the spot.
trump, frustrated by tales of turmoil in the white house took to the campaign trail this weekend after just a month in the office to defend his new administration. >> you've seen what we've accomplished in a very short period of time. the white house is running so smoothly. so smoothly. >> reporter: he also served up more criticism of the media. >> we are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live or what to believe. we -- >> reporter: and invoked a puzzling security concern. >> you look at what's happening last night in sweden. sweden. who would believe this? sweden. they took in large numbers. they're having problems like they never thought possible. >> reporter: while trump was appearing to reference a reference of terrorism, nothing particularly noteworthy happened in sweden over the weekend. trump said on twitter his comment came after watching a fox news segment related to
sweden's immigration policies. the swieshd swedish embassy offered their own response. saying we look forward to informing the u.s. administration about swedish immigration and integration policies. >> john mccain has been critical of decisions in the last month. what did he have to say about general mcmaster? >> reporter: he has been a thorn in president trump's side, and he seems to have relished at that at points, but he was one of many that we saw heaping praise on this national security pick today. this is part of a statement senator mccain put out, saying lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster is an outstanding choice for national security adviser. i've had the honor of knowing him for many years, and he's a man of genuine intellect, character and ability. he knows how to succeed. >> reaction now from global affairs analyst, tony blinken. and later deputy secretary of state in the obama administration.
general mcmaster's got and lot of praise from a lot of different quarters, what do you make of the choice? >> credit where credit is due. it's a terrific choice. he is one of the leading generals. both in the field. he's a leading intellectual, a thought leader when it comes to military and strategic matters. he thinks outside the box. he's not afraid to confront orthodoxy, a first-rate pick. it's encouraging. >> he's written a book critical of u.s. generals for not taking a tougher line with political bosses during the vietnam war. i'm wondering how that may play out. given steve bannon's presence on the national security council. >> you put your finger on the problem. i think he's going to have three challenges as he assumes this job. one is to make sure all the other agencies are really around the table. the state department, joint chiefs, energy, they haven't been there to date. that's hindered the policy. second, he needs to make sure that the national security council staff is looped in and
listened to. they've been marginalized. but third, they need to check politics at the situation room door. having mr. bannon in the situation room at the table as a co-equal to the secretary of defense, secretary of state, that's wrong place to go. and on top of that, there are reports that he's been running a parallel process, divorce from the national security council on national security issues. that is a recipe for conflict, for disfunction. i hope that part of general mcmasters' conditions for taking the job is that he's running the show and mr. bannon and the ideologues are not part of the process. >> donald trump sort of mocked some generals, saying he knew more than a lot of generals did or most of the generals did, he talked about how they were reduced to rubble. i'm not sure which generals he was talking to. but he is certainly has, as president, decided to surround himself with key generals.
>> well, with key generals, and in this case, with someone who really is a great leader. again, both on the battlefield, but also in thinking about strategic affairs, in thinking about our nation's foreign policy and national security strategy. so in this case he's really made a very good choice. >> you underscored concerns over isis and north korea. is there one thing you can point to that is the highest priority for general mcmaster coming into the white house in terms of possible crises overseas? or are there just, you know, a whole plateful of stuff? >> you know, there's a plateful, and the inbox gets bigger and bigger and bigger and the world doesn't wait. it starts sending problems and crises your way and you have to deal with them. but i think the number one priority right now has to be continuing and succeeding in the effort against isil, islamic state. we're doing very well.
we're on the verge in iraq and also in syria of taking away basically the heart of their self-declared caliphate in mosul and raqqah. that means when that happens, there won't be anyplace for foreign fighters to go anymore. they won't have resources to exploit, and their entire narrative is going to collapse, everything that's attracted people to the cause, building a state is gone. the obama administration handed off a very good plan that was working. i think the number one obligation, and i hope they take this up is to continue this. because if they do, we'll be in a much better place against the islamic state, but, as you said, there are many other things in the inbox. north korea. and its testing of missiles and nuclear weapons. iran, all the questions around its activities but also i hope preserving the nuclear agreement which has been good for our security, good for the security of our allies and partners around the world.
>> joining us is steve israel, a political commentator, former obama deputy. deputy dhs secretary julia khayyam. juliette, you've expressed concerns about how donald trump's national security council was shaping up. how do you see it shaping up with general mcmaster? >> i agree, give credit where credit is due, this is a good pick. but what we don't know is whether this is the end of the war between a national security staff and the war led by bannon or if this is replacing one general for another. we'll have to wait and see what that means. in terms of having someone who respects process and is not bureaucratic mumbo jumbo, it is very important that agencies like dhs, d.o.d. have a seat at the table so they can give the best advice to the president of
the united states. that is what the staff is all about. we simply don't know at this stage what deals were made to get him on board or whether bannon is going to keep running this parallel process. and you're going to have their madness that we've seen so far, unfortunately. >> do you agree with blinken? that it's critical that mcmaster have the president's ear. the line to a president's ear and not funneled through somebody else? >> i don't think it's the national security adviser's going to have to fight for the president's ear. and i think this is a great choice. h. r. mcmaster, if you go back to 1991, captain mcmaster was the architect of the battle for 73 easting. which is a tank battle in which he destroyed a segment of the
republican guard in minutes. with no loss of life to the americans. our students study h.r. mcmaster in iraq and h.r. mcmaster as a tank commander. so he has the full spectrum. he's incredibly agile. knowledgeable about national security on all levels. i think you'll have no presidob getting the president's ear. >> some perspectives say that the president has do many military people around him. do you think that's a good thing? >> well, there's a difference between having too many military people and having the right and smart military people. look, i'm very pleasantly surprised by this appointment. i worked with general mcmaster when i was on the armed services committee. we worked together on the issue of professional military education, that is how we educate our troops and invest them with critical thinking and
very challenging and complex environments. he is a warrior scholar. i understands hard power and soft power. and i believe he can bring order to chaos. the challenge will be, will president trump actually listen to him? will he take the general's recommendations and implement them? if he does, i do believe we have an opportunity to institute order to chaos. >> so congressman, are you still concerned about steve bannon's presence on the principal's group? >> i'm very concerned. there are two people who concern me most, steve bannon and general flynn. general flynn is no longer on the scene. steve bannon continues to be extremely influential. i'm hoping general mcmaster can be a reasoned judicious counter balance. >> the white house chief of staff was on tv emphasizing
he'll have total and complete say over the makeup of the nsc. is it clear what that means? it was by executive order that steve bannon was made a part of the committee. >> i'm not sure they were going to revise the executive order. president trump said it was unclear if he knew what was going on when he signed that executive order. what i hope happens now is that we stop talking about the people, you know, the people are relevant, but they had a transition, and they're a little bit late in getting the white house moving forward. what we have now is a much more interesting, and i would say to our allies, disconcerting situation, which is we have a new national security adviser. we have cabinet secretary the all around the world, seemingly disagreeing with president trump, pence who is saying 180 degrees from what the president is saying, and so the question is, what is the trump doctrine that is going to be played out or, or manifested itself through
these cabinet secretaries and the new national security adviser? i don't think we know the answer to that question yet. we know a lot of things trump has said about china or israel or nato. he seems to have gone back on. but we don't know what the affirmative agenda is. and then we can debate it, right, instead of talking about all these individuals, we can debate the policies of trump. >> do you think that's important to have a so-called trump doctrine? or is that something that sort of takes time to sort of form? >> i think i'm seeing an entirely different movie. i think we have a return to american power as it had been traditionally understood before president obama, where we support allies and challenge and compete with enemies. over the last eight years, a russian and iranian alliance grew up in the middle east, and it was unchecked by the americans. what i hear from rex tillerson, from jim mattis, from h.r. mcmaster, from all the top
officials is that the united states is back. the passivity that our allies saw over the last eight years is over. >> you talk about russia in particular, mike. are you talking about people around the president? you're not saying you see this particularly on the president. about russia, he seems to have been saying very positive things about putin. >> the president said where possible he wants to try to find common ground with vladimir putin but mike pence was in europe saying that we're going to push back against the russians in ukraine. in the middle east, we, all of our top officials have consistently said that iran is on notice. iran is in an alliance with russia. if you're pushing back against iran, you're pushing back against russia. i just don't see us caving to russia anywhere. >> appreciate it. thank you. coming up next, president trump's first month in office. the hits, the runs, and the errors.
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>> reporter: by many measures, the new administration has been a shot of adrenaline for the economy. the new president pushing u.s. companies to keep more jobs in the country, approving long-die delayed pipeline projects and promising infrastructure improvements which could inject millions of dollars into the economy in the next years. >> we are going to lower taxes on american business, so it's cheaper and easier to produce product and beautiful things like airplanes right here in america. >> reporter: the stock market rose more in president trump's first month than it has for any other new president since lbj. how much credit he deserves is debatable, but consumer confidence already growing under barack obama is still climbing too. >> this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. >> reporter: on key issues for his party, he's kept his word, picking a conservative supreme court nominee, going ahead with
repealing and replacing obamacare even though details are lacking, and still preparing for a wall on the mexican border. his supporters are thrilled. >> we the people, our movement is the reason why our president of the united states is standing here in front of us today. [cheers and applause] >> reporter: but president trump's first month has also seen streets flooded with protesters infuriated by his policies. his already low approval rating has dropped even lower. his travel ban aimed at seven largely muslim nations has been derailed by the courts, leaving him lashing out while working on a rewrite. >> the new order is going to be very much tailored to what i consider to be a very bad decision. >> reporter: the abrupt leaving of his national security adviser prompted reports of chaos in the white house.
it has raised alarm bells abroad, but most of all, the administration has suffered from unforced errors, and to blame it on someone, anyone else. >> what we've been through over the last ten days has been unbelievable. the leaks, the fake stories, the anonymous accusations. that stuff is bad. >> reporter: in some ways it comes down to a tale of two trumps. for supporters, his first month in office has been the best of times. for opponents, the worst. and the gap between the two sides has never been wider. anderson? >> thank you very much. joining us, david axelrod. also political analyst, david gergen, who's been serving democratic and republican administrations dating back, i'm told to the days when david axelrod wore a handlebar mustache. i'm not sure if that's true.
it's hard to believe it's only been a month, so much happening so fast. what has struck you so far? >> i think tom's report was right on target. the president, the administration, we've pointed to those things that he talked about at the top. the one that he, i don't think mentioned was the appointment of the supreme court justice nominee, gorsuch, which was very well received by his base and beyond his base. so he has some things to point to. but they've often been obscured by these self-inflicted wounds. and the order on the travel ban, which was poorly executed, poorly thought through. and created literally global chaos. the departure in record time of his national security adviser and continued questions about russia. and, you know, and then of course his own performance, that
press conference last thursday which looked more at times like looney tunes than fine tuned and the tweets which have completely obscured the message that i wants to get across. so, this administration is in its infancy. there are light-years to go. and if he fulfills the promises that tom discussed in his piece, he has a chance to do very well, but that requires him changing his approach. donald trump has gotten as far as he's gotten by being an impulsive, improvisational figure who's created tension around him. that does not work in the presidency. he needs a process. he needs to respect that process. he needs to stop getting in his own way. and if he doesn't do that, this first month is going to be a predicate to a very long, hard four years. >> do you agree with that that he needs to create a process and do you see any likelihood that he will make those kinds of
changes, because clearly he's been leading with what got him here in the first place, which is being improvisational, continuing to tweet, doing all the things that brought him here. >> well, there are mixed signals, anderson. i must say, the appointment of h.r. mcmaster, i think that's one of the finest appointments he's made. i think he's finally getting a more professional team on the national security side. but overall, what we're seeing here is a counter revolution. for some 70 years, the united states, since the end of world war two has been moving toward being a global leader, to a collaborative world in which we support international institutions and to which there's greater governmental engagement in the domestic economy, more supports for people. you know, we've developed much more of a welfare state than we had. and generally speaking, the country has done very, very well. but there are pockets, serious
pockets who feel they've been left behind. and he's staging a counter revolution in their favor, and we're seeing something that we haven't seen, that is a president who's rejecting international in favor of nationalism. and so we don't know how this is going to go. it is staggering to think that we're only one month in and we have 47 more months of this first term to go? i don't think anybody believes it's going to go like this for 37 months. it's like we're in a pressure cooker and something is going to blow before it's over. it's going to settle down or we're going to have fits. i don't think the country can live in this kind of tension and uncertain
uncertainty, anxiety. joy on the side of the supporters and they're heart felt, but so many people in this country are fearful now. >> it seems like, and i don't want to try to analyze somebody. but for president trump, he's sort of at the center of the storm. and i think he may believe it when he says everything's running like, you know, a finely-oiled machine or a fine-tuned machine, whatever his exact phraseology was. maybe for him, this is a normal state, this competing groups, people competing for his attention, sort of this chaotic environment, but is not something we're used to initially seeing in the white house. >> yeah, well, i think the thing about trump is he came to office as a man who is challenging institutions, but he doesn't really understand those institutions. so it may be hard for him to judge in the context of what the presidency really requires, and that's something he's going to have to learn. >> thank you very much. up next, david axelrod
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president trump once again shared his disdain for the press today using the fake media again in a tweet. many people interpreted his reference to a nonexistent terror incident in sweden. he's not backing down on his line of attack even as he takes heat from some in his own party who don't like it. >> many of our great presidents fought with the media and called them out, often time on their lies. >> reporter: but not like this. trump tweeted on friday, the fake news media is not my enemy. it is the enemy of the american people. historians said the closest thing to trump's tweet could be heard on this secret tape of richard nixon. nixon said this privately. while reporters probed his misconduct. 45 year later, reporters are
chasing stories about trump, and he hates what he's reading. >> do you think that one media group back there, that one network will show this crowd? not one. >> reporter: of course the networks did show the adoring crowds, and the protesters too. trump's aides are defending his media attacks. >> you get about 10% coverage, the next 20 hours is all about russian spies. >> but you don't get to tell us what to do. you don't get to tell us what to do any more than barack obama did. barack obama whined about fox news all the time, but he never said we were an enemy of the people. >> reporter: some republican leaders are joining democrats in raising alarms about trump's vitriol. >> if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press, and without it, i'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. that's how dictators get started.
>> reporter: others are hitting the brakes, saying trump is just talking, not actually clamping down on the press. >> i haven't seen any legislation coming forward that wants to limit the press. i see president trump expressing his opinion. >> reporter: but media freedom groups are disturbed, saying trump's barbs have a chilling effect. >> i will never, ever let them get away with it. >> reporter: brian stelter, cnn, new york. >> joining us, legendary journalist, carl bernstein. i want to ask you about something you said over the weekend. in the past, i think it was last week, you kind of cautiously broached the comparison of president trump and president nixon. you said his attacks against the media are more treacherous than richard nixon's attacks. obviously, as we showed, nixon's attacks were done in private. and trumps are very public. do you think they're nixonian? >> i think they're worse. donald trump has shown himself
to be an enemy to the truth. that is the terrible reality we're dealing with. every administration succeeds or fails to the extent they are committed to the truth. that's what we're up against here. in terms of nixon, and the phrase enemy of the people is a phrase used by despots, dictators, authoritarians, going back to ancient rome. and in the 20th century by the worst despots, the bolsheviks, the chinese communists, and i'll stop at that point. it is the most chilling phrase that you can utter. enemy of the people is the most terrifying word you can utter, and donald trump means it, because he has no commitment to the truth. and he does not do the work himself. of learning the truth, he's lazy about trying to know what's going on. >> rand paul said he hasn't seen
any legislation though donald trump talked about tightening liab libel laws. >> i don't think stalin asked for a lot of legislative action before he went after enemies of the people. i think what rand said was ridiculous. trump has vowed to intimidate and start plugging leaks. there is no question that what he is talking about is an anti-democratic, authoritarian as john mccain and others republicans are recognizing. we are into a situation here where the president of the united states has no interest in the truth. when he -- when the press was going after hillary clinton on her server, after the clinton foundation and doing reporting on that, he thought the press were great patriots. this is a kind of hypocrisy that
really is frightening, and that all americans, especially trump supporters, ought to be concerned about. trump won an amazing victory and through these supporters, many of whom had been ignored and screwed over by the elites. as he properly recognized, at the same time, they are the ones who are being short-changed by his absolute disdain for truth. >> when you were reporting onyxen, how many sort of nixon supporters stuck with nixon all the way through water gate, all the way through to the end? >> almost none, and the great thing that happened in water gate, the system worked. republicans, barry goldwater, the 1964 nominee of his party for president, marched to the white house after art can. >> caller:s of impeachment were voted on and said you must leave office. i will vote to convict you of
high crimes and misdemeanors, and the next day nixon left. right now we're seeing concern among republicans on the hill about donald trump's emotional stability, about his lying, and about whether or not he is suited and fit to be president of the united states if he continues to act in office as he has so far. >> karl bernstein, appreciate you being with us. coming up, as a candidate donald trump talked about what he would do in the first months in office. over the last several weeks we've looked back at other presidents to see what they accomplished. tonight since president trump said he inherited a mess, we thought we would look back at president obama's first 100 days. what he got done and the battles he faced. ♪ ♪
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over the weekend, president trump tweeted that you shouldn't believe the mainstream media, the white house is running very well, and he's in the process of fixing what he calls the mess he inherited. the mess is a name he used several times in his press conference last week. >> i inherited a mess. it's a mess.
at home and abroad. a mess. jobs are pouring out of the country. 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. the middle east, a disaster, north korea. we'll take care of it, folks, we're going to take care of it all. i just want to let you know, i inherited a mess. >> let's look at past presidents and their first 100 days, we thought today was a good time to look back at president obama's start in 2009. ♪ [cheers and applause] >> i, barak hussain obama do
solemnly swear. >> inauguration day was a chilly, clear day. crowds as far as the eye could see. president bush, who by the way, we had pilloried during that campaign, he puts his hands on my shoulders, and he says axelrod, i've been watching you. now i don't know if he's going to punch me in the face or what. and he says, you're going to do all right here, but my only advice is drink in every moment, because you're in for the ride of your life, and it's going do go by faster than you ever imagine. >> preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god? >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. president. [cheers and applause] >> all the best wishes. ♪ [cheers and applause] >> yes, we can! >> louder! >> yes, we can!
>> it was a big lift for the country. it wasn't just the theme of obama, the hope and change. but that an african-american had become president. was astonishing. >> a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. [cheers and applause] >> this guy is the beatles. he, at that time was the most beloved and powerful and exciting human on earth. >> obama, very much like kennedy. it's youth. we're going to fix things, equally astonishing was how young he was. >> obama understood that he needed to surround himself with people who also had more
experience and he knew that from president lincoln, who he had idolized. he had called me up and told me he had read "team of rivals", and we have to talk. so he brought me down to washington to talk about how can a man be a good president and a great president. how could a man forget people who had hurt him. and when he reached out to hillary clinton he knew he was putting his chief rival into that most important position, secretary of state, just as lincoln had. >> inauguration day, there was a sense of both history, the first african-american president taking office that was kind of electric. and also a sense of concern about the extraordinary crisis that we were in, economic crisis. >> every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. >> the storm clouds were obviously gathering. i remember once flying in the campaign plane with him, and he was reading the wall street
journal, and he lowered the paper just enough for me to see his eyes, and he said, are we sure we want this job? >> this market is as volatile as you'll ever see. >> the dow has fallen about 18%. >> 600-point loss. >> there was still fear at the time of obama's inauguration that this recession could turn to a depression. that at any moment the stock market might just drop and the bottom might fall out. >> wall street has its worst showing ever on an inaugural day. >> companies were down sizing, massively, home prices were pummeling. the recession was a real hole, and obama was trying to dig us out of it. >> starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves up, and begin again the work of remaking america. [cheers and applause]
we begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action. >> one of the things president obama had to do right out of the gate was get the economy up and running. so the stimulus package became the golden bow of that. he had to get that through congress. >> it's a plan that will save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs over the next few years. >> we would lose 800,000 jobs in that month that we took office. with a one in three chance that we'd have a second great depression. the recovery act, if we didn't have a recovery act, we wouldn't have a recovery. it's as simple as that. >> i do hope that we can all put politics aside and do the american people's business. >> we had a path forward. we didn't know how uncooperative the republicans were going to be. coming up, the fight president obama faced in his first 100 days that would set
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obama presidency and how it defined battlelines for the next eight years. >> the mandate was to stabilize the economy and the white house at that time had this sober quiet to it. it was like being in an operating room. people talked in almost hushed tones because it was that serious. >> if we do not act boldly and swiftly a bad situation could become worse. >> he quickly put together a stimulus package. >> there are problems with parts of my plan that the republicans have. >> the idea that he had had of becoming a post partisan leader was shattered in the way he was reacted to the stimulus program. >> i hope we can all put politics aside.
>> on this vote the yeas are 344 and the nays are 188, the bill is passed. without objection and motion to reconsider. >> president barack obama's m massive plan has cleared its first hurdle. not a single republican broke ranks to support it. >> that was the first signal that this was going to be a different kind of presidency than he would have thought. when not a single republican voted for it. >> they decided they had had more to gain by fighting with him than working with him because he was going to have to make a series of unpopular decisions. >> i think the mistake he made was he turned too much of his agenda over to the democrats. they excluded republicans and the stimulus package and the
failure to make deals hurt him. >> well, there's no doubt that the fights he had with republicans over things would define the battle lines that would be parent for the next eight years. >> today i've come to speak to you about how the war in iraq will end. >> we were at war in two theaters with 1 h184,000 americ troops between afghanistan and iraq. there were many challenges coming at once. >> america's men and women in uniform, so many of you have fought block by block, province by province, year after year to give the it iraqis this chance to choose a better future. now we must ask the iraqi people to seize it. >> he doesn't like war.
he referred me once. he said go read my nobel prize acceptance speech. he says war is sometimes necessary but it is always a manifestation of human folly. does not like war. >> he comes to power, he wants to be a peace president and there he is sadled, not only with iraq but afghanistan and so i think it's hugely frustrating to him to see that his predecessorers got us into a situation that we now really don't seem to be able to extrakate ourselves from without creating many of the problems we went there to solve. >> let me say as plainly as i can, by august 31st, 2010, our combat mission in iraq will end. >> during these first 100 days,
what has surprised you the most about this office? >> i am surprised compared to where i started when we first announced for this race. by the number of critical issues that appear to be coming to a head all at the same time. >> the end of president obama's 100 days, he held a press conference and it was the same topic that he inherited from day one. where's the economy at and what are we going to be able to do to fix it? president obama had to constantly tell people it can't be done overnight. >> between the stimulus and the bailouts and the wall street problems meant there was hardly time to breathe in the hyundaund hundred days. >> it felt like we were being buffetted by are these forces and i said i wonder what it
would be like to be here in good times and he said don't kid yourself, brother, if it were good times, we wouldn't be here. >> obama became the captain of the titanic after it hit the iceberg. he got there when we were taking on water and the fact that we're still floating, this being years later is itself kind of a miracle. >> every generation has to rise up to the specific challenges that confront them. i am confident we're going to meet these challenges just like our grandparents and forbearers met them before. thank you everybody. >> and we'll be right back.
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that's all the time we have tonight. thanks for watching. time hand things over todon lemon. president trump back at the white house after a president's day weekend at mar-a-lago and a surprise announcement of the newest member of his team. the president says this about his new national security advisorer. lieutenant h.r. mcmaster. >> he's highly respected by everybody in the military and we're honored to have him. >> and protesters take to the street for what they're calling "not my president's day rally." the