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CONNECT THE WORLD
Obama in Greece; Trump Putting Together Cabinet List; The Best of Obama, Biden Internet Memes; Chinese Manufacturers Contemplate Trump Presidency. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 15, 2016 - 10:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKS IN ATHENS, GREECE)
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN HOST: You have just been listening to U.S. President Barack Obama, he's been speaking in Athens in Greece alongside
the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras.
Mr. Obama is making his final foreign trip in office as, of course, his successor, Donald Trump, decides on his secretary of state.
Barack Obama faces a tough challenge on this final trip abroad, he'll try to reassure European allies that Donald Trump has no want to upset the
That comes, though, as Mr. Obama has spent months, of course, denouncing the president-elect during that race for the White House.
Our Nic Robertson joins me now live from Athens, which of course is the first up on the president's trip.
Nic, interesting to get your thoughts on particularly those last questions that Barack Obama was we're joined now live from Athens, which is the first
up on the president's trip. Nick, interesting to get your thoughts on particularly those last questions that Barack Obama was asked, asked
particularly: do you feel responsible for Donald Trump's victory?
It's a very fine line that he has got to walk, isn't it, between reassuring European leaders, world leaders, but also shoring up his own legacy.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, in essence he said, I understand. I understand voters can be frustrated. I understand that
there are feelings out there that we've not been delivering. He saying, I'm not deft to that. But at the same time, saying, you know, recognizing
people want change and they want to vote for something else, but he saying, look, even is in the short term people think they want change and think
they want something else, I believe he's said that what I've been offering, and continue to offer and say is the right thing will prove over time to be
the right thing.
I think everyone here, be it the Greek prime minister, the Greek president who President Obama
met with earlier in the day to Angela Merkel in Germany, Theresa May, Francois Hollande, the Spanish Australian, Italian prime minister, all
these people who we have been meeting with later in the week will have been looking to get nuance on the few details that President Obama has offered
from his conversations with Donald Trump just a few days ago.
And we've heard sort of high and foremost among those things that Donald Trump values NATO, values the special Transatlantic relationship. And I
think in what we heard just now there is a very important clue. This plays to what Donald Trump has been saying that he feels some NATO partners don't
pay their way and the point President Obama made here was that Greece is one of just
five of those 28 NATO nations that does do what it's supposed to do, which is spend 2 percent of GDP
on defense, just one of five United States, Poland, Britain being some of the others.
So, the fact that he alluded to that did seem to indicate perhaps there that what Donald Trump as he builds this forward, this NATO relationship
is, as is suggested during his campaigning, that NATO members live up to their expectations, another -- their payment expectations, their financial
contribution expectations, if you will.
But a very important theme also came through here and that was the one that questioned why was that vote of dissatisfaction to the point of Greece, and
Greeks here were hoping that perhaps, President Obama would talk about how they could get debt reduction, that an important thing the country.
President Obama didn't speak to that directly, saying that this was something he was going to propose, which is what Greeks would have hoped
But he did say, again, that he understood the way forward, the way to keep people, if you will, rather than looking for change, was to keep economic
policy inclusive, austerity alone wasn't a way to bring about prosperity.
This is one of the ways that he phrased it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If people fears that their children won't do as well as they have, the more aggressively and
effectively we deal with those issues the less those fears may channel themselves into counterproductive approaches that pit people against each
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: And to that point -- and the point that the Greeks wanted to hear about the debt reduction, what President Obama did say was that Greece
is turning its economy around, has made some structural changes, the economy is beginning to pick up a bit. And on that basis, he said, he
thought that European leaders and, perhaps, most specifically German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who he'll be meeting with in the next couple of
days, perhaps should review the situation for the Greek debt repayment and perhaps review it over a longer basis, and that may answer some of Greece's
And again, this very heavy emphasis on austerity alone won't work, which is very much how the Greeks felt that the Europeans, and particularly Geman
Chancellor Angela Merkel,had really tried to deal with Greek's economic issues -- Hannah.
JONES: Nic, thanks very much for all your analysis. Our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson there live in Athens monitoring the first
stop on Barack Obama's trip. Thank you.
Now, you're watching Connect the World. Still to come on the program, team Trump hunkers down to hammer out its cabinets, including top foreign policy
diplomat and head of the Treasury. All the details on that coming up next.
[10:32:47] JONES: Hello, you're CNN and this is Connect the World. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones. Welcome back to you.
We could hear some big announcements today from Trump Tower in New York about more key positions in the president-elect's administration.
Donald Trump and his transition team are working hard to narrow down a list of contenders for key cabinet roles, but it hasn't exactly been smooth
sailing so far with some sources likening the sharp disagreements to a knife fight.
And, as Sunlen Serfaty reports, Trump's vice president is now entering the fray hoping to help break the impasse.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORREPSONDENT: The battle for appointments to President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet being called a "Knife Fight" and
"Buffoonery", according to sources within his transition team. With potential picks for west wing and key national security posts drawing sharp
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think this week you'll hear some additional appointments.
SERFATY: But today inside Trump Tower, Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are hunkering down reviewing the list of contenders. The positions to
possibly be nailed down as early as today include Secretaries of State, Education, Commerce, and Treasury.
GLENN BECK, CONSERVATIVE RADIO SHOW HOST: He's a nightmare and he's the chief adviser to the President of the United States now.
SERFATY: This as the appointment of Steve Bannon as Trump's chief strategist continues to draw sharp rebuke, critics citing his close ties to
the alt-right movement known for white nationalism and anti- Semitism.
CONWAY: I work very closely with Mr. Bannon. He's been the general of this campaign. And frankly, people should look at the full resume. I'm
personally offended that you'd think I'd manage a campaign where that would be one of the billion cause. I think it was not.
SERFATY: And new concerns over conflict of interests are emerging with Trump considering seeking top security clearance for his adult children and
son-in-law according to a transition team source.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll be in New York and we'll take care of the business.
SERFATY: No paperwork has been filed, but the children could have access to secure communications technology, travel schedules, and secret service
procedures. Mean while, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking by phone. The two men discussing the need for joint efforts in the fight
against common enemy number one, international terrorism and extremism. All this as deep domestic divisions remain, anti-Trump demonstrators protesting
across the country for the sixth straight day.
CROWD: We reject the President-elect!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:35:17] JONES: And Sunlen joins us now live from New York with more on this we're joined now live from New York with more on this. Sunlen, it's
been dubbed a knife fight. How ugly is it at the moment in Trump Tower?
SERFATY: Well, Hannah, it definitely seems that there are a lot of tensions within his team. You have basically the divide that's existed for
a large part of the Trump campaign now kind of inching over into the transition. You have Republican establishment figures like Reince Priebus
versus those like Steve Bannon who have really competing views on who should be a part of the transition.
I have to say, there is certainly a lot of buzz this morning about who will become secretary of state. It appears that they are really shortening that
list. And we know Newt Gingrich, potentially Senator Bob Corker, Rudy Giuliani, and former UN ambassador John Bolton all on that list.
And it's been interesting to watch Rudy Giuliani really I should say lobby for this job. He was at a Wall Street Journal forum last night, and he
spoke at length how he would like to be considered, think he could do a good job and really went into more detail about how he
thinks his foreign policy vision aligns with Donald Trump's.
Some behind the scenes jockeying for these jobs.
Also for secretary of defense, a lot of buzz around that. We know that Alabama Senator
Jeff Sessions potentially considered for that, although we also know that he is potentially being considered for attorney general.
So, a lot of movement, a lot of decisions being made. We know that Vice President-elect
Mike Pence should be arriving shortly to Trump Tower where he will huddle with Donald Trump
making some of these short lists potentially even shorter -- Hannah.
JONES: Sunlen, thanks very much, indeed.
Well, as we await news of the the Donald Trump's key appointments one inner circle member is stepping forward, to talk about Trump's international
vision. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani amid speculation he could become the next secretary of state.
And Giuliani said dealing with ISIS is Trump's priority given the group's global reach as well as the wars in Iraq and Syria.
Well, Mr. Giuliani also downplayed the threat posed by Russia calling for more cooperative relations with the Kremlin. And he said a Trump
administration would prefer to engage with China on economic issues like trade despite tensions over the South China Sea.
Trump has already promised to scrap or overhaul NAFTA and made a similar vow to end the TPP trade agreement.
Xenia Wickett is the U.S. project director at the Think Tank Chatham House and joins me now in the studio. Xenia, thanks very much for coming in.
We have to talk about this secretary of state role, the diplomat in chief, how crucial is getting this right in terms of framing his whole
administration to come?
XENIA WICKETT, CHATHAM HOUSE: It's extraordinary important, not so much the framing aspect, although that is important, but this is the person that
is actually leaving the shores of the United States, this is the person who is actually doing the diplomacy,
doing the negotiations, engaging with other countries. In many respects, the president is extraordinary important, because everybody around the
world watches the American media, watches the president, but the second most important person is the secretary of state. And the person, what
they convey both rhetorically, but also as an individual is extraordinarily important for how America's reputation is seen overseas. So, that is a
very, very important role.
What we don't know is -- and it depends very much on the individual, how much influence will that person have over Donald Trump? And that's the
thing that we're asking for the whole cabinet, how much influence will that individual have over Donald Trump and how much of the policies are going to
be Donald Trump's policies?
JONES: A couple of people, whose names are already on the front line at the moment. Rudy Giuliani, you just mentioned, he sort of suggested he
might be in line for the job. Talk us through some of these -- the ones who we might see picked.
WICKETT: So, Rudy Giuliani, absolutely. And, you know, what we've seen in the last 24 hours is how much he actually wants that job more than attorney
general, more than some of the other things that are out potentially for him.
Newt Gingrich is another name that's been up there. He's probably a little harder for him in that job in the sense that he doesn't seem to have quite
as close a relationship as Giuliani does, so we kind of know Giuliani is going to have a central position.
So, but it's Gingrich, Giuliani, John Bolton. Of course, John Bolton was ambassador to the UN
under Bush. And we know John Bolton is really against the multilateral institutions. He's against the idea of America giving up any sovereignty.
Very, very strong views there.
But it's also, he has slightly different views vis-a-vis Russia than does Trump. He's slightly harder on Russia than has been Trump, but he's
another name that's in the mix.
JONES: Donald Trump has already said that he wants to focus on jobs. He wants to look inward at America and what he can do there. But being leader
of the free world, obviously, you have quite a big to-do list, and quite a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders.
What is going to be the most pressing thing as far as foreign affairs are concerned for Donald
Trump, and, indeed, his secretary of state when he takes office in January?
[10:40:11] WICKETT: There's two different questions there. What is the most pressing thing and what is the thing that he's going to focus on?
I think he'll focus very quickly on trade and environmental issues, those are two issues that have huge foreign policy implications, huge domestic
implications. And therefore he has a chance of winning a domestic win at the same time as achieving a foreign policy goal.
In terms of what's most pressing is really what Giuliani talked about, which is ISIS, which is the terrorism threat. That's clearly on the top of
Trump's agenda. That makes Giuliani a more likely candidate for secretary of state because of course that's something he dealt with when he was in
New York, mayor of New York.
But clearly the terrorism threat is going to be big. I think one other thing he'll focus on very, very quickly, he might look to Russia and trying
to make a deal. It's important for Donald Trump to come out really shooting all guns, come out with success and therefore he might look to
JONES: And when it comes to the power battle between east and west as well, Donald Trump has famously always said he's a winner. But do you
think he's go to battle with China, with Russia, from the off or will he sort of focus on an anti-globalized kind of more policy and very much look
at an isolationist America under his administration?
WICKETT: I don't necessarily think he's going to do either.
I think that like most presidents I mean, let's take China for an example. American policy towards China has always been hedging and engaging. He has
spoken, yes, about the problems that he sees with China, but also the importance of engaging with China. So, I suspect he, like most other
presidents will come out of the doors that were balancing those hedging and engaging and see what China does in response.
The same is true of Russia. I think he sees huge opportunity of engaging with Russia, but I
think if Russia isn't willing to engage in a fair and equitable way, they could see a harder Donald Trump.
JONES: Just very briefly, Barack Obama, I don't know if you just had a chance to listen to
his news conference in Athens, in Greece, what do you make of the task ahead of him in the last few months of his presidency in terms of carving
out a path for Donald Trump and reassuring world leaders of what's to come?
WICKETT: I think he's working very, very hard on that. And I think that's something that maybe Donald Trump will pick up is actually a reassurance to
allies. You know, America is still the same country and you can see very much President Obama Donald Trump trying to do that. America is still the
He he might also try and solve -- or at least move forward one or two tough agenda items in
advance of Trump taking over.
JONES: Thanks very much for coming and talking to us on Connect the World. Xenia Wickett, thank you.
JONES: Live from London, this is Connect the World.
And still to come on the program this hour, he cashed in on the U.S. housing crisis. Will Donald Trump tap this former Goldman Sachs banker as
his Treasury Secretary?
And at its biggest in nearly 70 years, the moon took center stage around the world last night. We will have all of the best pictures.
[10:45:01] JONES: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones. Welcome back to you.
Economic concerns were on the minds of many American voters who supported Donald Trump. His pledge to bring jobs back to the U.S. helped him win
crucial Rust Belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. In his bid to revive American manufacturing, Trump has threatened to slap huge tariffs on
CNN's Andrew Stevens visited one Chinese factory that could be on the front lines of a possible trade war.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a small nondescript factory in southern China, workers pump out tin cans by the thousand for
the U.S. market. It's boring, repetitive work, but even though it's low tech, the profit margins here are thin, just 10 percent, according to
factory owner Tim Wu (ph), all wiped out if Donald Trump carries out his threat to slap
45 percent tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S.
How worried are you now about your future?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If the tariff kicks in, I would be very worried. All our prices increase, but if our clients in the U.S. do
not accept this, we won't be able to continue manufacturing in China.
STEVENS: And that means potentially the 70 people here thrown out of a job.
Deng Guang City (ph) is the heart of this southern Chinese province known as the world's workshop. Factories here are already doing it hard as
China's economic growth slows to a 25 year low. The last thing they want is a trade fight with one of their biggest export markets.
Exports still matter for China, even though Beijing is trying to wean the economy off the export
model, last year nearly $500 billion worth of Chinese goods went to the U.S. alone, all of which could be subjects to punitive tariffs.
But exporters here aren't panicked yet. Over lunch of prime U.S. steak and Portuguese red wine, these factory owners tell me why.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When the products go to the united states and they put on those heavy tariffs, it would not be good for the
ordinary people. The increased prices would hurt them.
UNIDENITFIED FEMALE (through translator): Trade goes both ways. If they suppress us, our country would suppress them, too, and this would be a
vicious circle. I don't think we need to worry too much.
UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It would be a major hit on China, but it might have a bigger impact on America, I think. American
businessmen use us to make their products so they will hurt.
STEVENS: And one key point everyone at the table was keen to make, Donald Trump is a
businessman, and slapping on tariffs, sparking a potential trade war, is just not good business.
Andrew Stevens, CNN, Deng Guang (ph), China.
JONES: The next U.S. Treasury Secretary will be one of the key players in the Trump administration's economic policy. And the smart money right now
is on this man: former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin. And he profited from the U.S. housing crisis at buying a sub-prime lender that later sold
for $3.4 billion.
Now Mnuchin is a Hollywood producer responsible for films including American Sniper and The Lego Movie.
Well, joining me now live from New York is CNN Money correspondent Christina Alechi. Christina, good to see you.
Are you surprised or are people generally surprised to see his name being touted?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY: Well, I'm not too surprised because this name has been floated for quite some time now. And he is a trusted adviser to
Donald Trump. He was the national -- the campaign's national finance chairman and he really helped Trump organize and raise money throughout the
So, not much of a surprise there. What we have to consider right now is how important this job
is, right? The Treasury overseas banking and financial markets, regulation. It is basically the face of the U.S. economy to the rest of
the world and essentially manages the country's balance sheets. So, a lot of responsibility in this particular office. And Steve Mnuchin is the kind
of person that Donald Trump really railed against throughout the campaign, right. He is a Wall Street insider, he's donated to the Democrats. And as
you said, he profited off the financial crisis.
And he is conventional in the sense that this is the third time that a former Goldman Sachs banker, would be, if he is indeed selected, would be
the head of the U.S. Treasury. So, lots of sort of conflicting points of view there, and certainly not someone -- if you're a Trump supporter,
perhaps to answer your original question, this would be a surprise to you.
JONES: Just briefly, though, he's obviously had a colorful past, if you can call it that. What are the most controversial parts, though, of his
ALESCI: The most controversial part of his resume probably has to do with the failed bank called Indymac. And what's really interesting about it is
that Steve Mnuchin was at Goldman Sachs in the 80s and 90s. And if you'll remember during that time the U.S. did suffer a bit of a crisis. It was
called the Savings and Loan crisis. And at that time, Mnuchin was on the Goldman Sachs mortgage trading desk, and he learned there how to profit off
of crisis. And when he saw the housing crisis here develop in the U.S., he spotted an opportunity.
Now, what was really interesting about this deal is it was backstopped by taxpayer money. So, as people were losing their homes in the U.S., you
know, him and the rest of his team, who invested in this bank, profited.
JONES: Cristina, thanks very much, indeed, live for us there in New York.
And live from London, you're watching Connect the World. Coming up, Barack and Biden
The internet pays tribute to the ultimate political bromance.
JONES: If you looked at the sky last night, you saw the moon at its biggest and brightest in
nearly 70 years. We sent our Muhammad Lila into the desert to get the perfect shot of the so-called supermoon.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For at least a night it's something the entire world can share. This is the supermoon. Here,
blaring over Bondi Beach in Sydney, (inaudible) through buildings in Berlin, even towering over temples in Japan.
So, what's all the fuss? Why are people on planes even leaning in for that perfect picture? After all, the moon's just the moon. It kind of just
floats there and doesn't really change, right?
Are you excited about seeing it?
STEFAN SCHRAMM, NYU ABU DHABI: Of course.
LILA: Dr. Stefan Schramm is a German scientist. He could explain it all using technical terms that are hard to understand so we asked him to keep
How would you explain the supermoon to somebody who's never heard of it and has no scientific background?
SCHRAMM: When you think of the way that the moon tracks around the Earth, it's not spherical way, but it's elliptical way. So, we have a place where
it's far away from the Earth and we are closer to the Earth. And the supermoon is the place where it's nearer to the earth and you have a full
LILA: And talk about a full moon. The closest and brightest the Earth has seen since way back in 1948.
It certainly was delightful in Delhi. And here, peeking over the presidential pal in Tblisi.
All right, let's do it.
We set out to capture the supermoon in its super glory, trekking out into the middle of
the Abu Dhabi desert.
If this scene looks familiar, it's because this is right around the area where they filmed the
latest Star Wars movie.
Yep, an out of the world landscape for an out of the world event.
It's almost sunset here, but to get the full effect, we've taken one of our cameras and moved it 200 meters that way. Take a look.
And as the skies darken, the moon comes just perfectly into frame.
This is what the supermoon looks like. The closest the moon has been to the Earth in almost 70 years, and take a look. It's incredible.
Big enough to light up the desert sky in Abu Dhabi or elsewhere cast that perfectly haunting orange glow through the clouds.
So, if you happened to be on our tiny little planet today, you might have caught the super view
and know that wherever you are and whoever you are, that same supermoon was looking down at
Muhammad Lila, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
JONES: We usually bring you our Parting Shots at this time in the show but today we're
offering you parting memes. Jeanne Moos shows us how the web is hailing America's greatest bromance.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was as if President Obama was trying to wrap his lips around the name.
OBAMA: The president -- President-elect Trump. Mr. President-elect. With President-elect trump.
MOOS: Some on Twitter elected to imagine pranks at the mischievous Joe Biden mind play on the incoming Trump, but Trump go form a meme of
imaginary conversations between Joe and President Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ordered yuge replacement doors knobs, yuge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe, we can't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President tiny hands.
MOOS: From the size of Trump's hands to President Obama's birth certificate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, you got to put a fake birth certificate, put it in an envelope labeled secret and leave it in the Oval Office desk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe.
MOOS: Obama's birthplace gave birth to a lot of jokes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I left the Kenyan passport in your desk, just to (muted) with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a prayer rug in your bedroom he's going to lose it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn it, Joe.
MOOS: That tweet was written by left leaning Josh Billinson.
JOSH BILLINSON, JOE BIDEN'S MEME TWITTER AUTHOR: Just trying to be funny at a time when it's really hard to know if it's OK to be funny.
MOOS: Josh loves Joe Biden and he's authored at least 10 of these memes. And then there is one based on a dirty trick that was actually played in
real life when the White House transitioned from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush. An investigation confirmed, missing W's in the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary was saying they took the W's off the keyboards when Bush won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe, put.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took the T's. They can only type wrong.
MOOS: Josh, who wrote the tease tweet got an inquiry from an agent. They want to know if you are interested in a book deal.
BILLINSON: I told them I'm interested in anything at this point.
MOOS: If the election has been pushing your buttons, maybe a tweet will provide relief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took a staples red button and wrote nukes on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It tweets too in Russia when press.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was easy.
MOOS: New York.
JONES: Some comedic relief for all us.
I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, and that was Connect the World. Thanks so much for your time and thanks for watching.