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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Source: Fierce Infighting as Trump Builds Cabinet; Trump Ditches Press, Grabs Dinner; Sources: Trump's Son-in-Law Rubbing Allies the Wrong Way; Sen. Reid Calls on Trump to Cut Ties with Bannon; Ingraham Headed to White House?; Trump's West Wing War; How Trump Could Reshape the Supreme Court. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 15, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Sara Murray joins us now from Trump Tower where, as I understand, the President-elect just left without telling pretty much anyone anything. Is that right?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That is correct. His press pool was given a lid for the evening, which normally suggests that Donald Trump isn't going anywhere and he's sticking around Trump Tower. But Trump apparently had other plans. He decided to go out to dinner without alerting some of his key staffers as well as the press. And it appears to be yet another misunderstanding of exactly how much gravity his new title as president-elect holds. You know, if God forbid something were to happen to him that is a matter of not only a public record, but also a matter of national security given that he is next in line to take the White House.
But this does also, as you were pointing out, come at a time, an interesting time for his transition team. A number of sources have noted that progress has essentially been stalled in the wake of a shake up at the top, but also with some of these different agency levels. Now, a high ranking Trump's source insists that's not the case, that everything is organized and proceeding in proper fashion. So, we should get a better sense of that in coming days, Anderson.
COOPER: And we only know where he is, because I think a reporter was in the restaurant that he actually happened to suddenly show up in and sent out a photo, right?
MURRAY: Well, that's right. There are folks in this restaurant who put photos out on Twitter. You know, I think this is the new normal, that no one famous can go anywhere without being spotted by someone else. And folks put out photos ...
COOPER: Tell me about it.
MURRAY: ... showing Donald Trump in this restaurant -- right, to a standing ovation. So that's how we know where Donald Trump is right now, but obviously not a normal situation when you're talking about dealing with a president-elect normally in a situation. Whether the person likes it or not, we understand it can be a difficult thing to get used to having a pool of reporters follow you everywhere. But, you know, this is part of what being the president-elect is about. You no longer get to have the same level of privacy you did as a normal citizen even if your life as a normal citizen was being a celebrity, Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah, I recommend the chicken hash of the restaurant he's at.
The other big story is Jared Kushner, Trump's son-l-law, now, there's some reports that he's been at the center of this infighting over the transition team that's been taking place. Is that right? Because Paul Begala was on the last hour saying, it sounds like those reports are coming from, you know, somebody in the transition team maybe who has an ax to grind or something.
MURRAY: Well, look, right, we're hearing Jared Kushner is at the center of a little bit of infighting in the Trump transition team, but, you know, part of what we're also hearing is they're trying to figure out what they want to look like moving on to the next phase. So, while some are saying this was Jared Kushner's attempt to purge loyalists to Chris Christie, anyone who was part of Chris Christie's team, others are saying this was just an effort to purge people who were lobbyists, people who Donald Trump doesn't necessarily want to be part of his administration after telling crowds of thousands that he was going to drain the swamp.
And this will be an interesting transition, Anderson, because while drain the swamp is certainly a catchy campaign phrase, it's difficult to do that at the outset. You still need people who understand how government agencies work and how to run a government. And so I think we're seeing these sort of two philosophies hit heads right now as they're trying to map out their transition team.
What we do know is Mike Pence was here with Donald Trump today. They were going over different Cabinet positions. They were going over how to proceed. And Mike Pence will be in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. And he's actually going to be visiting their D.C. transition offices. So that could potentially give folks there a little bit more clarity on how to proceed. But in talking to people who been working on this for months, they do say that that this effort has essentially stalled amid all the shake ups.
COOPER: So, Sara, can you just explain the purging of Chris -- I mean, maybe "purging" is too kind soviet a term, but what happened to Chris Christie? Why was he essentially demoted from running this transition team? And why would anybody who he appointed be asked to leave as well? Is it a lack of loyalty? Because, I mean, he was an early -- you know, he turned around to support Trump. Is it the Bridgegate stuff or is it, you know, the relationship between him and Kushner and what happen with Kushner's father long ago?
MURRAY: Well, as always, it's who you talk to, right, who explains to you what the motivation would be for purging folks who were close to Chris Christie. Some say it's because Donald Trump was not impressed with Chris Christie's loyalty or lack thereof in the wake of an "Access Hollywood" tape or Donald Trump essentially bragged about grabbing women. Other folks are saying it's in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal that Chris Christie simply was just too toxic, especially for a candidate who, you know, ran against Hillary Clinton, saying she was a candidate of corruption and that he would drain the swamp.
But, you know, others are saying that really, the reason for this is that Jared Kushner had this ax to grind with Chris Christie, and Chris Christie put his father in prison and he didn't want any Christie loyalists around sort of shaping this transition.
So there are a lot of competing narratives, and I think what this tells you is Donald Trump has always had these sort of rifling power centers around him throughout this campaign. And there's no reason to expect that that would all of a sudden come to a halt now that he's moving to the White House. He has had very strong advisers with very different views, and I think we're beginning to sort of see the ramifications of that when it comes to the transition planning.
[21:05:10] COOPER: All right, Sara Murray, a lot to talk about. Thanks very much, Sara.
And as all that plays out, the controversy continues over the President-elect's choice of Steve Bannon as his top White House strategist. We were just talking to Glenn Beck about that in the last hour. Bannon, you'll recall, served as his campaign CEO. Before that, he ran breitbart.com, the far-right website and has been accused of using the site to essentially mainstream white nationalism. Late this afternoon, departing Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, obviously, a Democrat, took to the floor and took aim at the Bannon appointment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY RIED, (D) MINORITY LEADER: If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment to Steve Bannon. Rescind it. Don't do it. Think about this. Don't do it.
As long as a champion of racial division is a step away from the Oval Office, it will be impossible to take Trump's efforts to heal the nation seriously. So I say to Donald Trump, take responsibility. Rise to the dignity of the office of president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: When you hear criticism of Bannon and Breitbart, it's usually in connection with what's become known as the alt-right. Like many movements, there's no single agreed upon definition of just what that means, there's no membership card, however there are things to look for as our Tom Foreman tonight explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just won the lottery. We just stole America back.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Loud, assertive, often shocking, and never apologetic, the alt-right movement has been hugely energized by the election of Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's now time for the return of men.
FOREMAN: Alt-right stands for alternative right, and it refers to people who think traditional political conservatives are too timid, too tame, too accepting of the status quo, unwilling to engage uncomfortable topics like what they call racism against white people.
GAVIN MCINNES, HOST, "GAVIN MCINNES SHOW": And that happens all the time to white people in black neighborhoods. They don't just get uncomfortable, they get screamed at. What the [bleep] are you doing in this neighborhood? Get out of here.
RICHARD B. SPENCER, NATIONAL POLICY INSTITUTION: But the fact is, there's a demographic struggle going on. And it's real and I think we should be real about it.
FOREMAN: That's Richard Spencer, who coined the term alt-right.
SPENCER: And a fate worse than death.
FOREMAN: His website features a slick video urging white people to defend America against multiculturalism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a country for everyone, and thus a country for no one. It's a country in which we, ourselves, have become strangers.
FOREMAN: The Breitbart website, which has been tied to the alt-right movement, suggests alt-right adherents are mostly white, mostly male, middle American radicals, who are unapologetically embracing a new identity politics that prioritizes the interests of their own demographic.
So, when other Americans protest the election results, the alt-right sees more of what they've seen all along, an ocean of enemies of white men and the movement never hesitates to attack its foes, whether they're African-American, Latino, feminist ...
PAUL WATSON, EDITOR AT LARGE, INFOWARS.COM: This radical feminism a refuge for fat, ugly women who can't attract high-value men. The stereotype generally holds true, because they look like swamp donkeys.
FOREMAN: Only a tiny slice of Trump voters would likely call themselves alt-right, but many share the desire to disrupt Washington.
ERIC STARBOL, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I love that voting him in is really sticking it to the establishment.
FOREMAN: And for the alt-right, that matters more than the man.
WATSON: This is about a movement. It's not about a demagogue. It's not about Donald Trump. It's about reinvigorating the American dream. It's about ultimately saving western civilization.
(END VIDEO CLIP) FOREMAN: All of this is very disturbing to some folks in the rest of the political spectrum and that's the catch. The more they are upset, the more the alt-right celebrates. Anderson?
COOPER: Tom Foreman. Tom, thanks.
Back with our panel. Joining us this hour, Democratic strategist Jonathan Tasini. He's also joining the panel.
Jeffrey, over the course of this campaign, do you think Donald Trump has done or said anything that was a message to those in the alt- right? And I mean, Glenn Beck is saying the alt-right is maybe 1 percent of all Donald Trump supporters, if that. So we're talking about a tiny minority of Donald Trump supporters, but do you think he has done anything to encourage them?
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: No, I don't think so. You know, Anderson, one of the things that ...
JONATHAN TASINI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'm shocked that you said that. Come on ...
LORD: Look, look, look. Wait a minute. One of the things, and I'm looking around at my colleagues here, is there anybody here who's 25? I don't see anybody.
TASINI: I wish.
LORD: My point is that these are people -- you know who they remind me of at my age? They remind me of Abby Hoffman, and the Yippies, and Hippies and people who went out of their way in the 1960s to yank their parents' chain, to deliberately, as it were, stick a digit in their face, they swore at -- they swore in rallies and marches and they used the F-bomb and they did all of these things, wore long hair. It was the deliberate march against the establishment.
[21:10:18] Now, I am a Reagan conservative. I'm not part of the alt- right. But I am beginning to look into it. There are people in there who are very serious about this. But there are people, in fact, who are doing this pull the chain routine just as my generation ...
CARLOS WATSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, OZY.COM: But, Jeffrey, hang on one sec. Hang on one sec, Peter. Jeffrey, they're doing more than that. You know that they're inspiring violence -- or, I think you know that they're inspiring violence and serious hatred. This isn't just ...
LORD: So did the left.
WATSON: No, no, no. But Abby Hoffman and those guys, when you think about pulling chains, that's different than people getting beaten up ...
LORD: Rioting in Chicago ...
COOPER: Let him finish. Let Carlos finish.
WATSON: Respectfully, Jeffrey, you're conflating -- and I'm assuming you just don't know. But I would suggest you spend more time on the alt-right movement ...
LORD: I am ...
WATSON: Because I don't think ...
WATSON: Hang on one second, Peter. I don't think you would compare them as easily to people just yanking chains, and I think that's why you got Harry Reid and other people even acknowledging that President- elect Trump won saying that this is too dangerous, this is wrong.
COOPER: Jonathan ...
TASINI: You asked a different question. You asked, did Donald Trump do anything in the campaign that would have been inspired -- I want to call them the extreme right, I think it's wrong to call them the alt- right. And I would say at least two things. First of all, Donald Trump promoted the Birther movement for many ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is not racist.
TASINI: It is ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry ...
TASINI: No, no. If you think that the Birther movement which doubted whether President Obama was born in the United States ...
TASINI: ... and then he was some, in addition, a secret Muslim, is not racist, it's absolutely racist.
LORD: So ...
TASINI: So ...
LORD: Again, again, so when this was said of Chester Alan Arthur being born in Canada, that was racist?
MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Alan Arthur?
TASINI: Second point.
HOOVER: Are you kidding me? LORD: I'm not kidding.
HOOVER: Is this a comedy show, Jeffrey?
TASINI: John McCain -- let me give a second example.
COOPER: I don't even know how to transition. I don't know -- OK, yes.
LORD: I'll be quiet.
TASINI: The second example is that when you do -- and I'm not going to say he said "all Mexicans are rapists" ...
LORD: He mentioned illegals. He was talking ...
TASINI: All I'm saying is that if the question that Anderson asked, did he do anything during the campaign that inflamed people, that threw the red meat, that said, yes, I'm your candidate because I'm going to go after these people ...
COOPER: Good point to that.
TASINI: ... that's a good example.
HOOVER: What about a refusal to renounce David Duke for example? I mean -- and there's a -- we can go through this, but we don't need to hash out all the ugliness of the campaign if we're really about what Paul Ryan says, moving forward, not moving backwards. Let's -- I mean, honestly, as people learn what the alt-right is and what it stands for and I say this as a Republican who's deeply conflicted about the fact that now there's unified control in Washington of Republicans, but a man who campaigned in a way that is seriously undermines the principles and values of the party that I have formally have associated with my entire life, this makes me sick to my stomach. This makes me deeply, deeply troubled about the future of the party and the future of the country. This is not advancement in terms of respecting every individual and every American. This is -- we are on the cusp of regression and this is not good for the country.
This is -- the closest thing I can think of is what happened in the beginning of the conservative movement in the John Birch Society? OK. Where you had an active, fomented radically right wing fringe actively insisting to the president of United States -- Dwight Eisenhower was communist adviser, OK? And what the conservative movement then did with Bill Buckley as it was gaining intellectual steam was to draw the line and say absolutely not, you will not be part of this movement. And if Trump wants to get anything done in Washington, if he wants to have any credibility or any respectability -- by the way, remember that Bannon told his editorial staff to destroy Paul Ryan, not -- but more than 400 ...
LORD: I called for him to resign.
HOOVER: So if he wants (inaudible) then he has to disassociate himself from Bannon and this ugliness.
PETER BEINART, CONTRIBUTOR, THE ATLANTIC: This is -- this has been -- I wish that would happen, Margaret, but let's not kid ourselves. This has been at the very core of Donald Trump's campaign from the very beginning. It's not like he had a well-thought-out policy agenda that was separate from -- the first day, his announcement speech was the rapist comment, right? He followed that after San Bernardino, the Muslim ban, the false claim for days that Muslims had celebrated 9/11, the attack on Judge Curiel, again and again and again.
And people like Jeffrey have come on again and again and again -- wait, let me finish. And tried to justify it by going to the absurdist contortions of logic, and, you know, I will say this, I have seen a lot of Republican presidential candidates. I have never, ever had the supporters of a Republican presidential candidate flood my Twitter feed with anti-Semitism by the hundreds of tweets like the supporters of this presidential candidate. It's getting out of control, Jeffrey.
[21:15:06] LORD: First of all, A, I do know Steve Bannon. This is a guy ...
BEINART: I was talking about Trump, not Bannon.
LORD: All right, well, look. Look, this whole anti-Semitism thing, Alan Dershowitz, God bless him, who is Jewish and a liberal Democrat, was over there in Jerusalem and gave an interview to Breitbart and said it is a big mistake for people to be pointing the anti-Semitism finger just because they disagree with somebody. Steve Bannon is a huge supporter of Israel ...
BEINART: He could be an anti-Semite and a supporter of Israel.
LORD: He partnered with Andrew Breitbart who was Jewish. He has, you know, one of these -- what's his name, Milo Yiannopoulos who is part of the alt-right as it were who was both Jewish and gay. He has Joel Pollak, who is Jewish, the CEO of Breitbart is Jewish. I mean, this is crazy ...
BEINART: I'm not saying he's an anti-Semite, to be clear. I'm saying that something has been unleashed among supporters of Donald Trump, some of whom are connected ...
LORD: But why?
BEINART: And there's a responsibility, like Margaret is talking about, to try to stop this.
LORD: But, Peter, why? And I would suggest to you respectfully that your party, which as I've said many times, has at its core racism and has for two centuries, two-plus centuries, that you divide people by race, you divide them by ethnicity. This is what you do to fuel your agenda. And you've been doing it for all of history. And this is what you get as a result.
WATSON: We've had this discussion ...
LORD: Yes, yes, we have.
COOPER: But Carlos do you want to respond?
WATSON: I don't really know. It is made-up history. I mean, respectfully, Jeffrey, you literally are just making stuff up and ...
LORD: Carlos, we can read some books together.
WATSON: We should start with the books that Margaret pointed out. That's a relevant piece of history. You were pointing out Chester Arthur from the 1880s. That's not relevant. That's not even ...
COOPER: As a Republican ...
WATSON: That's clearly not what I'm saying.
COOPER: ... you are concern that this small group, this alt-right, and I mean, if Glenn Beck is right, 1 percent or whatever it is, you know, liberals have always attacked conservatives as it's very easy to call people racists, it's very easy to label people and that's been something conservatives have complained about for a long time. Having the alt-right, though, makes it even easier. I mean, it can very easily ...
HOOVER: What this also does, Anderson, is it normalizes this behavior and normalizes this rhetoric, and it empowers that fringe. Now they have an office in the West Wing. That fringe has an office in the West Wing of the United States.
COOPER: We actually just got to go because we're so way over time. There's a lot more in the hour ahead, including one of the key figures who was asked to lead the transition team, former Congressman Mike Rogers, we're going to talk to him about what exactly happened and the stories about purging Christie supporters. Also some rare perspective on what the transition team might be going through as they make their choices. We'll hear from someone who's seen this sort of thing up close.
[21:20:57] COOPER: More breaking news tonight, for the second time in less than a week, a shake up in the Trump transition team. Former Congressman Mike Rogers who has been advising the new administration on national security matters is out. According to a source familiar with the transition, Rogers got the news over the phone. He had been working for months on the pre-election transition team under Chris Christie. Mike Rogers joins me tonight.
Chairman Rogers, I mean, there are differing accounts as to what led your -- to your exit from the transition team. There some are saying it was your choice, others are saying you were forced out. Can you explain what happened?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: The timing was probably right, if they wanted to make a change, they clearly wanted to make a change in this regard, and so it came down that it was time they wanted to go in a different direction. It was easy for me to hand it off to Mike Pence and his capable hands coming in.
So I think that was kind of a combination. I think there is some confusion going on about a chain of command coming out of New York. Hopefully, they'll get that settled pretty soon. I think they're going to need to do it, because as this clock ticks, all of these decisions become more important and you have to make them sooner with a little more authority and a little more forward thinking to make sure that they don't bump into anything in the future. I think they're going to get there. I'm an optimist about that.
COOPER: When you talk about confusion coming out of New York, what do you mean? I mean, is it a difference of kind of vision? There's obviously, you know, Steve Bannon kind of wing, I guess, you could say, there's Reince Priebus as chief of staff. I mean, there's -- can you define the sort of the various arms here or kind of perspectives?
ROGERS: Well, I mean, I'm an old school guy, Anderson. I think, you know, your chief of staff has to be the one or whatever title you want to give them, needs to be the one making decisions. They need to be held accountable for those decisions, but you need someone that can clearly make a decision. If you make those decisions via committee, I don't care how small it is, it just adds to the difficulty. And I think they're going to get through this.
Again, remember, this is all kind of new. There's a lot of folks that don't have any experience in what this might look like. And that's no fault to theirs. As a matter of fact, in many ways, it's a plus coming into Washington, D.C. But that's what the problem is. There's a little bit of a vacuum in clear chains of command. That will get fixed. I think this is just growing pains. I think people are saying it's in turmoil and collapsing. I don't believe any of that. I do believe that they just have to fix this chain of command, who's making the decisions, and make the decisions on behalf of the president-elect and nothing more than that.
COOPER: You said also, you know, a kind of they're insisting going in a different direction. Is that sort of a direction away from Chris Christie and people who are viewed as his supporters or people who were brought in by him as you were reported to have been?
ROGERS: Sometimes in politics, you know, in the palace intrigue, there are people who are in and people who are out. And the people who have been asked to move on have some relationship with Chris Christie. In my case, I was hired by him. And so, there's a whole series of about five of them that fit that criteria that were asked to leave in the last few days. And you know what, that's absolutely the campaign's prerogative. I hope they all stay engaged. I think the next administration is going to need all hands on deck. I think the world is a dangerous place with lots and lots of challenges.
And the right thing to do here is to make sure you have the best team available and the best advice possible, so the president-elect can make that decision. Again, growing pains, I think they're going to get through it. I'm an eternal optimist. My wife says it's a genetic defect, but I believe they're going to work this out, and they'll get the right team in place and get the right advice to the president to make a good decision.
COOPER: How important do you think it seems at this point to the -- kind of the inner Trump team that loyalty is, or perceived loyalty? People who are there from the get-go, people who have been through the ride with the candidate all along, versus people who are coming in, you know, in the latter days of the campaign, latter months of the campaign, or even now that he is the president-elect?
[21:25:00] ROGERS: You know, I think that plays into every candidate for office. Sometimes your best campaign strategist doesn't make a good governance person in your -- either your office or in this case, the presidency. And the president needs to make that determination. And that's where a good chief of staff can come in and kind of sort those things out. Not just because they were there during the nastiness of the campaign, as I said, doesn't always mean, you know, they're right for position a, or position b. They all have a set -- a skill set and a talent set that the president should taken advantage of.
But, again, I wouldn't make a lot of it. This is a human nature event, when you go something, through a campaign that is so bitter and so divisive and candidly, so personally tough, I can see where the candidate says, hey, these are the five people, 10 people, 100 people I want to keep around me, because I know how they're going to react when things get ugly.
COOPER: As someone who's seen how White Houses can work or cannot work, what do you make of the set up right now, where you have Reince Priebus the chief of staff, Steve Bannon being said to be kind of basically on an equal basis as the chief of staff? Can that actually work?
ROGERS: No. I don't think so. This is one of the things that I think they're going to have to figure out.
COOPER: And so that's part of the issue right now in terms of a lot of kind of confusion, you're saying?
ROGERS: I think so. You know, listen, it doesn't work in a company. Can you imagine having two or three CEOs trying to make a decision? Just the chaos that that creates in an administration. It just won't work. The chief of staff's job is to implement the president's directives and take all of that massive amount of information that gets thrown at the president every single day and make decisions. You've got to keep this machine going. And it takes somebody very decisive who can make that decision.
The more complicated you make that, I think, the worse it gets. And I think you will bump into something needlessly. Doesn't mean that they can't have a role in the White House and an important role, the way that Karl Rove, as an example, came into the White House and provided strategic advice along the way, great, but he really wasn't engaged in the operational side of the White House. It would not have worked, had hay done that.
So there is a role. I think they're just going to have to work it out. I think you're seeing a little bit of, oh, my gosh, we won, let's do this. And everybody wants to be the guy on the team. I think they can do that. I just think they need to think through how they establish the command and control or the ...
ROGERS: ... leadership guidance in the White House coming up.
COOPER: Chairman Rogers, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
ROGERS: Hey, thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Just ahead, conservative talk radio host and a Trump supporter, Laura Ingraham, is said to be on the short list for White House press secretary. She's been a vocal critic of the news organizations and journalists. How would that play out in the press room? We'll look at that, ahead.
[21:31:33] COOPER: We've been talking tonight about the infighting over top appointments to the Trump administration. Multiple sources telling CNN that Donald Trump's son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, is at the center of much of it. Now to some extent, every transition is surrounded by some degree of intrigue and no shortage of speculation. Perspective now from Josh Bolten, chief of staff to George W. Bush administration and nearly 20-year veteran of government service.
Josh, let's talk about the transition. I mean some people have described it to CNN as a knife fight. Is that -- is this just what happens in these kinds of high-pressure situations. I mean you have a lot of people obviously competing for jobs. There's a lot of forces at work. Is this the way it usually works?
JOSH BOLTEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No, I don't think so. And I wouldn't read too much into stories about knife fights even within the Trump transition. That's what sounds interesting and is what people are most interested in but in the transitions that I've been involved in, and I'll bet in the Trump transition, there's a lot of pressure and probably a fair amount of chaos, but stabbings aren't necessary or useful.
COOPER: When the transition team made the announcement of Reince Priebus as chief of staff and Steve Bannon as chief strategist, they were described as equal partners. Can that work? Can you have two people at the top equal partners or does there need to be a clear chain of command, one person in charge?
BOLTEN: I think there needs to be a clear chain of command. And I was disappointed to see the language in the press release that said equal partners. Now, if what they mean by equal partners is that they are equally credible and important voices that the president will listen to, that's fine. It's very important for the White House to have a wide divergence of views and that they be well reflected for the president. He should have advisers who disagree with each other.
COOPER: There's a danger of having people who are all yes-men or are all in agreement?
BOLTEN: A huge danger. And so -- because I mean the president I served, George W. Bush, he liked to have people disagreeing and he liked to have them disagreeing in front of him.
COOPER: You know, a lot of people compare or talked about the George W. Bush administration, comparing Steve Bannon's role in a way to Karl Rove's influence. And I'm wondering if you see any parallels or too much is being made about that sort of alleged parallel.
BOLTEN: I don't know Bannon. I do know Karl Rove. And he is among the most effective and astute, both political and policy people I've ever had the privilege of working with. I was chief of staff when Karl was senior adviser. And so to go back to the point about equals, I don't think that President Bush had any advisers to whom he listened more closely than Karl Rove, maybe more so than me, as chief of staff. And I was fine with that, because President Bush empowered me to run the White House staff to actually be his voice to the rest of the administration. So that's the kind of relationship you want between the chief of staff and any of the rest of the advisers. So ...
COOPER: So even if they have equal -- even if both have the president's ear, the chief of staff and the senior adviser like Bannon or in the case with you, Karl Rove, their responsibilities have to be clear and delineated.
[21:35:09] BOLTEN: Absolutely. And if Donald Trump is the good business manager that many people say he is, he will recognize that and make sure that he empowers Reince Priebus to be the effective chief of staff, but I'm pretty confident with the right backing he can be.
COOPER: There's also, just finally, you know, people said that in his business life, Donald Trump like to have sort of competing groups, competing with each other, and the idea that would -- that competition would kind of, create, you know, one would rise, but the best ideas would be formed. Do you -- can the White House work like that?
BOLTEN: Sure, it can. And I think a good leader does that. If it's competition in the sense of competition of ideas, have a good debate in front of the president. As chief of staff, I thought that was one of the most important aspects of my role was to make sure that the president heard the differences of opinion, the competing voices, even if they're not all in the White House from around the government from the hill. And that empowers the president to make a good decision.
COOPER: It's really fascinating. Josh Bolten, I appreciate you talking about your experiences and your expertise. Thank you.
BOLTEN: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: I want to focus now on a possible Trump pick, who has made a reputation for being a fierce competitor in the war of ideas, some would say a take no prisoners competitor, conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. She is said to be under serious consideration to become White House press secretary. She criticized the media at the Republican National Convention. She captivated the convention. More now from CNN's senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.
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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: She's been a Trump cheerleader from the start, echoing Trump's call to deport illegal immigrants, repeating conspiracy theories about Clinton e-mail cover-ups and continuously blasting media coverage for its bias and connection to what she believes are the establishment politicians on both side of the aisle. The day after Trump became president-elect, a jubilant Laura Ingraham declared, "I told you so."
LAURA INGRAHAM, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Absolute smashing rebuke of the establishment.
GRIFFIN: Now she is potentially poised to become part of a new establishment, the press secretary for President Trump, the person who will take a frontline against the press that she has viewed with disdain.
"It's the media's job to demoralize and mock Americans," she once tweeted. And at the Republican National Convention, she chastised the media again.
INGRAHAM: You all know why, in your heart, Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. You know it. You know why he won it? Because he dared to call out the phonies, the frauds, and the corruption that has gone unexposed and uncovered for too long.
GRIFFIN: On the big issues, she was one of the first in conservative talk radio to agree with almost everything Trump has said, including that thing about Mexicans.
INGRAHAM: Yeah, they have come here to murder and rape our people. We know that. It's not like -- that doesn't mean everybody has, doesn't mean everyone who comes across the border is a nasty, horrible person, but they have violated our laws.
GRIFFIN: And her media attacks have been most poignant against Spanish language networks, Univision and Telemundo.
INGRAHAM: These are Hispanic centric networks that I think in many ways, and we've talked about this before, reviled the American experience.
GRIFFIN: Michael Harrison is editor-in-chief of "Talkers" magazine. He's known Ingraham for years. And said she maybe a conservative, she may have conservative ideas but Trump may want her for another skill, handling of hostile press.
MICHAEL HARRISON, EDITOR, TALKERS MAGAZINE: I think that all administrations begin to view the press is hostile. That's part of the nature of the game and of press is doing its job, there should be a degree of tension in the White House briefing room.
GRIFFIN: What you may not know about the possible future press secretary is her much-more unusual personal life. A lifelong conservative once dated liberal journalist, Keith Olbermann, was engaged to an anti-Obama filmmaker. She is never married, and instead she has become a mom by adopting a girl from Guatemala and two boys from Russia. She survived breast cancer, and though still opposed to gay marriage, says her views on gay relationships changed dramatically watching her gay brother courageously struggle through his partner's battle with aids. She's syndicated on hundreds of radio stations, is an accomplished author. Michael Harrison says if Trump convinces her to leave all of that, it would be a huge deal.
HARRISON: She'll be making a heck of the deal. She's worth a lot more.
[21:40:00] GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.
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COOPER: Drew thanks very much.
Just ahead, President-elect Trump will take office with the Supreme Court seat to fill. During the campaign, he released the names of more than a dozen possible nominees. Now, we've learn there's a short list. Details on that, ahead.
COOPER: Obviously, putting together a presidential administration is a heavy lift no matter how smoothly your transition runs. President- elect Trump and his team have more than 4,000 jobs to fill, including 15 Cabinet positions. Beyond that, there's an open seat in the Supreme Court also waiting to be filled. Pamela Brown has more on that.
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PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A new administration, a new opportunity to shape the highest court in the land starting with filling the seat of the late conservative giant, Justice Antonin Scalia. On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump said Scalia is the ultimate example of what he wants in a justice.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: I have pledged to appoint judges who will uphold the constitution, to protect your religious liberty, and apply the law as written.
BROWN: CNN has learned there is a short list of potential nominees already circulating among Republicans, pooled from the 21 names Trump released during his campaign, including conservative judge, William Pryor of Alabama, who once said Roe v. Wade was the, "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law."
[21:45:12] President-elect Trump in an interview with "60 Minutes" signaled he may want his next nominee to overturn Roe v. Wade, which affirmed the right to abortion nationwide.
D. TRUMP: If it ever were overturned, it would go back to the state. So it would go back the states and ...
LESLEY STAHL, CBS 60 MINUTES HOST: Yeah, but then some women won't be able to get an abortion?
D. TRUMP: No, it will go back to the states.
STAHL: By state -- no some ...
D. TRUMP: Yeah, well, they'll perhaps have to go, they'll have to go to another state.
BROWN: Right now, the court is evenly divided between four justices nominated by Republican presidents and four by Democratic presidents. But the ideological makeup of the court could shift dramatically during Trump's administration.
STEPHEN VLADECK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If you have another appointment of another conservative like Justice Scalia for a seat currently held by a moderate or a liberal, I think you're going to see a lot of pressure on the Supreme Court to move to the right, to be more protective of religious liberty, to be more protective of, for example, executive power, to be more skeptical of particular kinds of discrimination protections in federal laws.
BROWN: Three of the justices are over the age of 75. Reagan appointee and key swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy is 80 years old. Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer is 78. And the leader of the liberal pack, the oldest justice, 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has been openly critical of Donald Trump.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.
BROWN: Ginsburg, who recently took center stage at the Kennedy Center last weekend, shows no sign of slowing down. With one open seat and an aging bench, President Trump has the opportunity to shape the court for generations to come.
Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, joining us is NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and also George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley, who's written extensively on constitutional issues.
Professor, as far as nominating, as the process goes, I think people assume it's going to be easy for Trump to get his choice confirmed, to get Republican majority in both House and Congress. Is that actually the case?
JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSR OF LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, remember, this is not a wide margin even if he picks up the seat in Louisiana; you'd have 52 Republican senators. You can throw in on a tie Vice President Pence. But that is not necessarily a lead pipe cinch of a margin that you need as president, if you're going to put someone on the court who has said that they're opposed so thoroughly to Roe v. Wade that could -- you could end up losing a few moderates on the Republican side.
But the dynamics are very interesting because remember in two years of those 25 senators will be up for re-election, most being Democrats, 10 of those Democrats are in states that Trump carried by 55 percent or more. So, those Democrats are not necessarily guaranteed opponents to a nomination.
COOPER: Nina, you know, Donald Trump has talked about Justice Scalia as being sort of his model, but finding somebody of that stature whether you agree with him or not, I mean his intellect and stature, that's no easy feat.
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: No, and I think you would have to say that the list of 20 people that he put out during the campaign and that quelled a lot of the fear on the right that nobody on that list is of the scholarly stature or the grand personality, in a way, that Justice Scalia was. And, in fact, the list is by and large people who range from very conservative to very, very conservative. And one thing about Scalia, he was very conservative but he had a civil libertarian streak, particularly in criminal law that I don't think anybody on that list has.
COOPER: Professor Turley, you've seen that list as well, what do you make of it?
TURLEY: Well, I think that Nina's correct about the absence of certain libertarian element to it. Justice Scalia did in fact break from the right on critical civil liberties cases. He's also someone who's hard to replace. You know, you can disagree with the things that he wrote, but he was a genuine article. He had a profound sense of what he believed the constitution meant. And he's one of the few people that could say he changed the court more than it changed him. But I think that's the key for this nomination. They're looking for someone who's going to be a guarantee. There's this expression of the Souter factor. A lot of people I think in the Trump administration do not want to risk another David Souter who approved more moderate or liberal, depending on your perspective, after he is confirmed. TOTENBERG: No, in fact they don't want somebody like John Roberts, either. And John Roberts is very conservative, but he committed the cardinal sin in the view of many conservatives, and that is, he voted to uphold the ACA, the Affordable Care Act.
[21:50:00] COOPER: And Nina ...
TURLEY: Where I would just ...
TURLEY: I think where I would slightly disagree with Nina, which I try not to, is there are the people on the list that I think have great potential. I wouldn't say that President Obama is selected intellectual leaders. I'm not saying that he didn't select good justices, but Justice Sotomayor was not on the top of any list nor Justice Kegan. They're very smart people and they're very qualified but I don't see a huge difference between the people I saw on the list of President Obama and those for President Trump. And there are people there, on that Trump list, there are very substantial minds and there are also very reliable conservatives.
COOPER: And Nina, there's --there are some people, you know, who want Donald Trump to nominate somebody young so that they will remain on the court for a long period of time.
TOTENBERG: Well presidents of late like to do that. So if you look at that list of 20 and you knock off anybody who is, let's say, 60 or older, and anybody who's particularly young and not very seasoned, you will get a list of 10 or 12 people, so that you can call that the short list if you want.
TOTENBERG: I mean we're never going to know -- people have surprised us in life and the history of the court, you know, Earl Warren, who was a great liberal leader, nobody expected him to be what he turned out to be.
TOTENBERG: So, this is -- in some sense, you can't really foresee what's going to happen, but they want as good as they can of a guarantee.
COOPER: Yeah. Nina Totenberg, Jonathan Turley, thank you both. Appreciate it.
TURLEY: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, more on what the sources are telling us about Trump's son-in-law, as well as the questions that his wife Ivanka Trump is facing tonight about her company.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We've got our breaking news, multiple sources telling CNN that Donald Trump's son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner is at the center of the infighting said to be inside the Trump transition team. This comes as his wife Ivanka Trump also finds her company under some tension. Phil Mattingly tonight reports.
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[21:54:58] PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The bracelet Ivanka Trump wore during her father's first post-election T.V. interview now a key selling point for her jewelry line. And a clear-cut example of the blurred lines presented by the President-elect's family, a trio of power wielding advisers to the president elect now attempting to navigate new potential conflicts of interest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Dad.
MATTINGLY: Don Junior, Eric, and Ivanka, invaluable campaign surrogates.
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I can tell you firsthand that there's no better person to have in your corner when you're facings tough decisions or tough opponents.
MATTINGLY: All members of the President-elect's transition team and of course all Donald Trump's children, add in Jared Kushner, Ivanka's husband and one of Trump's closest advisers. Now sources say Trump's transition team has asked about the possibility for all four to receive top secret security clearances. A move pursued by transition officials in part as in over abundance of caution.
KELLYANE CONWAY, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I know everybody is very concern about security but just a slightly separate matter, but at the same time I'm sure that the Trump children will be there to support their father in informal capacities.
MATTINGLY: But one that underscores the fact that no set of presidential offspring have had more to say or more potential power in a new administration, each with policy issues they profess deep interest in. From land and water issues for Donald Jr. to Ivanka's continued focused on child care and education.
I. TRUMP: I'm going to be a daughter but I've said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues and that I want to fight for them.
MATTIGLY: Even as all three say they have no plans of joining their father in the White House.
ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Well, we'll be in New York and we'll take care of the business. I think we're going to have lot of fun doing it. And we're going to make him very proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Phil Mattingly reporting. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:01:00] COOPER: That's it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts now.