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Source: Kushner Role in Christie Purge Overblown; Pelosi Could Lose Democratic Leadership Position; Officer Charged in Philando Castile Shooting. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 16, 2016 - 11:30   ET



[11:32:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So what is going on inside Trump tower right now with the transition? We just had new reporting on this from CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, who joins us now on the telephone.

Gloria, what are you learning?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Well, I think we may get some appointments coming later today. I'm not sure how high level they will be. But I think what the transition is trying to do is get rid of this notion that it is completely disorganized and drinking out of the end of a fire hose.

They are also pushing back really hard on the notion that Jared Kushner is the Svengali in the transition. This news that we got yesterday that a lot of the Christie people had been purged from the transition, they are pushing back on the fact that it was all Jared- driven. But they don't disagree with the that perhaps Jared is, in fact, pleased with the fact that the Christie people are gone.

What they say and what's striking to me is that no one cared about the transition when they were running because, honestly, they didn't think they were going to win. So, when they started focusing on this, they realized they didn't people who were involved in it. And as we have all learned in covering Trump throughout this campaign, is that he surrounds himself with loyalists. So usually, in a transition you will have people who weren't with you coming in, giving advice, et cetera, et cetera, people from the donor class, people from the political class, and they are knocking on the transition doors, John, but they are not getting a lot of love from the Trump people. So, there is a real insular quality to all of this that's kind of striking to me.

BERMAN: Interesting stuff.

Gloria Borger, thanks so much for calling in with that reporting.


BERMAN: Appreciate it.

[11:35:14] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about this right now. With us, CNN political commentator, former communications director for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, Alice Stewart; and Joseph Borelli, a New York City councilman and Trump supporter; Patti Solis Doyle, CNN political commentator, former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential bid.

Joseph, you hear this coming out, Gloria is getting pushback from within the Trump transition team trying to tamp down the disarray. Why does this matter?

JOSEPH BORELLI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, let's start with a little criticism of the media. Every sort of story --


BERMAN: Hop on board.


BERMAN: We just talked to Karen Finney, who blamed us for the Clinton loss.

BORELLI: Sure. But every story that has been leaked, whether it's true or false, has sort of been overblown, spoken about with hyperbole, then there's been some requirements of the Trump transition team to walk it back and clarify. We frankly aren't on the inside of the meetings. We aren't in Trump Tower making the decisions. Frankly, the transition team is moving forward. It is making appointments. It has announced two positions. They are expected to announce more positions in the coming days, so I don't see a major problem. We should take a step back.

BERMAN: Let me say -- and perspective is always welcome. The transition team has let more people go than it has named up until this point. Chris Christie and a number of people have been let go. They named two people so far between Steve Bannon and also Reince Priebus. So, that, I think, is why there is this narrative out there. I don't think it's completely unfounded.

Alice, naming people today would be a good idea if you want to get rid of that stink.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I talked with the people involved in those meetings several times. They say rumors of the turmoil are greatly exaggerated. They say things are moving along smoothly.

Look, personnel is policy. You have to be extremely careful when you are dealing with personnel management because it's policy management down the road. These are important decisions that they are making and they have to be very careful about it. The sausage making of these types of proceedings are always not pretty. They are messy and difficult. But from what I'm hearing and understanding is they are making progress, they are going to be naming several high-level people the next few days. And that's important.

Look, this is going to take some time. And Obama didn't have his national security team for a month after he was elected. And so, I think give him some time and let them work through the process. From what I'm hearing, things are going smoothly.

BOLDUAN: Everything is perfect.

Patti, let me ask you this. We just spoke with Karen Finney with the Clinton campaign. Really the first time we are hearing from within team Clinton since the loss. It was a really fascinating conversation. We asked her about kind of what happened. She said it's complicated. And things that she listed out, that she attributes to the loss, is sexism, the impact of third parties, the third-party vote in certain places, and the James Comey letter. What did you think? What do you think of that?

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think Democrats are still reeling over this loss. I think this was an election that Democrats could have won and we didn't, and we still don't know what really happened. I think Democrats, the entire party is trying to assess what happened. I think they should. They should take a breath, look at the data, and try and figure out what really happened.

Here's what we know. We know that Donald Trump voters overperformed and we know Hillary Clinton's voters underperformed. We should ask why, why did that happen. Was it an enthusiasm gap, was it the fact that she is a woman and we haven't elected a woman president of the United States yet, was it this we did not address the economy in ways that we should have? I think Democrats are right now pouring over all the data as they should to figure out what happened and we will know in the coming months.

BERMAN: There was a lot of "they got it wrong", not "we got it wrong: there.

BOLDUAN: We got it wrong.

BERMAN: But, you know, losing sucks. It's hard to digest and it may be that you blame other before taking a look inward.

BOLDUAN: It's tough. Karen is working through it herself. You could really tell in that conversation.

BERMAN: Guys, thanks so much for being with us. Really appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. Great to see you.

SOLIS DOYLE: Thank you.

BERMAN: Senator Harry Reid, the outgoing minority leader, has blasted Trump's right-hand man, Steve Bannon. He's not the only Democrat trying to get Trump right now to dump his chief strategist. But really, at this point, can Democrats do anything about it?

[11:39:40] BOLDUAN: Plus, where do they go from here? Just what Patti Solis Doyle is asking. In the wake of a bad election for Democrats, no other way to dice it for them. A vote on leadership roles on Capitol Hill delayed. One key member of Congress who will be joining us next describes the state of play as going through the stages of grieving. What stage are they in? What does that mean for Leader Nancy Pelosi?


BOLDUAN: This just in. The current top Democrat in the House, Leader Nancy Pelosi, says she's in, tweeting this: "It is with humility that I announce my candidacy for Democratic leader. We must be a strong voice for hard-working families." So, she is officially announcing she's running for that position again. This comes after Democrats postponed their leadership election scheduled for tomorrow until after Thanksgiving. This, after a bad election for them from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

BERMAN: Let's bring in Democratic Congressman G.K. Butterfield, of North Carolina. He's the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, chief deputy whip of the Democratic Caucus.

Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for being with us.

You were a key part of the push to delay the leadership elections. A lot of people believe that that sort of was drawing into question Nancy Pelosi's leadership. As you sit here now, do you have doubts that she is the right person to be the leader of House Democrats going forward?

[11:45:18] REP. G.K. BUTTERFIELD, (D), NORTH CAROLKINA & CHAIRMAN, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Well, we did have some concern about the timing of the leadership elections. Right after we had the devastating defeat on November 8th, we received an e-mail a couple days later that the leadership elections would be scheduled for the following Thursday. So many of us thought that it was too quick. We need to reflect and analyze the election and decide how we want to go forward.

We have suffered some tremendous losses since 2010 and we have got to get this thing right. 37 percent of the voters, white voters in the country voted for Hillary Clinton, 88 percent of African-Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. We have got to get creative and find some way to get white rural voters back into Democratic party.

The Democratic party has led this country in a positive direction but we have had difficulty in communicating our successes to the American people. So, we have to look at our leadership races.

Nancy Pelosi shared with me this morning that she is, indeed, running for re-election as the Democratic leader. I'm going to support Nancy Pelosi. But what the Democratic caucus wants to do is get the message right and to redefine how we approach legislating here in Congress.

We will have a Republican -



BOLDUAN: I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you. Of course, the question is you are supporting Nancy Pelosi, you are telling us that here, but who is the right leader to bring about what you are discussing right here? One name being thrown out is looking at a different geography, not someone from the east coast or west coast, someone from middle America, someone like Tim Ryan of Ohio. Do you think he would be a good leader?

BUTTERFIELD: Tim is a friend and I have talked to Tim over the years. I know where he stands on Rustbelt issues. He's very dynamic in advocating for those interests.

Nancy Pelosi understands the big picture. She's a prolific fundraiser. She has pulled us together over the years to a wonderful victory in 2006.

But what we have got to do is work with Nancy, Nancy needs to work with us to redefine our message so we can get into rural America. Hillary Clinton to get 37 percent of the white vote is not going to win future elections. Not at the congressional level or at the presidential election.

So, his delay in elections until November 30th will give us time to have that debate and to look at the data and decide how we are going to legislate.

We have to stand up to Donald Trump in a very strong way and we will only do that when we are united. We don't need any voices in our Democratic caucus suppressed as we begin to recalibrate.

BERMAN: Mr. Chairman, along those lines, you objected strongly to the appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist in the White House. You called it a cold slap in the face to those of us who are working to mend race relations in America. You signed on to a letter, you have been very critical of it, but what more can you do about this at this point?

BUTTERFIELD: Well, it's worse than a cold slap in the face. It's an absolute insult not just to African-Americans but to every American who understands decency and fair play.

Bannon does not represent the best of America. He is divisive. He associates himself with the Alt-Right and those who do not want to take this nation in a diverse direction. Steve Bannon doesn't need to be in the White House. We have called on Donald Trump to remove him from the leadership team.

And now we are bracing ourselves for other high-level appointments, the attorney general and the other cabinet posts. If they are of the type as Steve Bannon, then we are going to have some real difficulty and I'm going to urge our Senate Democratic values and to block any nomination of an Alt-Right to serve in the cabinet of the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: The fact of the matter is, Congressman, other than calling on Trump to lose Bannon, I mean, Bannon helped Trump win this election. Donald Trump is now surrounding himself with the people that him run the White House. There's nothing you guys can do about Bannon, right?

BUTTERFIELD: Well, we can raise the issue, for sure. We are not in control of the Congress or, obviously, the White House, but we can raise the issue. And remember, a majority, a plurality at least of the American people voted for Hillary Clinton. She received more popular votes. And I think public opinion is on our side. The American people don't deserve a Bannon around Donald Trump. Donald Trump is going to be the president of all of the citizens of the United States and not just the Alt-Right.

BOLDUAN: Congressman Butterfield, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

A lot more to discuss, as we discuss the recalibration -

BUTTERFIELD: There certainly is. Certainly is.

BOLDUAN: -- on the Democratic side.

BERMAN: He announced support for Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader. A key vote of support right there.

We do have breaking news. Prosecutors have now filed charges against the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile. You'll recall, back in July, a police officer shot and killed Castile during a traffic stop as he sat in the driver's seat of his car. Castile's girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting.

Rosa Flores has the details for us now.

Rosa Flores what are you learning?

[11:50:19] ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're learning from the Ramsey County attorney out of Minnesota, that those charges have indeed been filed and that this police officer will be facing a judge tomorrow -- excuse me, Friday at 1:30.

Let's go over some of those charges. They are second-degree manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.

The big question here, of course, was deadly force justified? Here is how the county attorney put it. Take a listen.


JOHN CHOI, RAMSEY COUNTY ATTORNEY: It is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified and that sufficient facts exist to prove this to be true. Accordingly, we filed a criminal complaint this morning in Ramsey County district court charging Officer Yanez with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile and two felonious counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm that endangered the safety of Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year- old daughter, the two passengers in the car.


FLORES: Now, let's just recap what this story was about, because it got a lot of attention when it actually happened.

And I should warn you the video we're about to show you is very graphic. Let's not forget that this was live-streamed through social media, and this was by the girlfriend of Philando Castile. It was a very dramatic event as it was unfolding, and, of course, live online.

But, let me take you through this. This was back in July. The woman that you're seeing on your screen, that is Diamond Reynolds. She says that they were stopped because of a taillight and now we're learning from the Ramsey County attorney that that video actually started rolling about 40 seconds after the last gunshot was fired. And so, you see Philando Castile there very bloody. Diamond Reynolds saying he was actually trying to get ahold of his I.D. when those shots were fired.

But, again, after about 19 weeks, the Ramsey County attorney mentioned, he looked at all of the facts, he looked at the investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions, took all that information in and decided to charge the officer in this case, Jeronimo Yanez, with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. And we should add that those two firearm discharged charges are because Diamond Reynolds was in the car and so was her little girl.

BOLDUAN: Rosa Flores, thanks so much for bringing us the breaking news. We'll follow that.

We'll be right back.

[11:55:15] BERMAN: For many U.S. troops that fought in Iran and Afghanistan, the conflict never ends. The U.S. government estimating more than 350,000 veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, including Shari Duval's son after serving in Iraq.

BOLDUAN: He inspired her to create Canines for Warriors, which is now helping other veterans cope with PTSD.

Here's this week's "Impact Your World."


SHARI DUVAL, CREATOR, CANINES FOR WARRIRS: When my son went to Iraq on two tours, he was not the same person as all. They teach them how to go to war but they don't teach them how to come home.

BRETT DUVAL, U.S. VETERAN: Isolation was the first thing that they saw. My diagnosis was post-traumatic stress disorder.

DUVAL: My son was broken. I did what any other mother would do, help fix their son. I thought of the idea of service dogs for post- traumatic stress. When I approached Brett with the idea, I saw a spark come back in his eyes.

BRETT DUVAL: We looked at using rescue animals.

DUVAL: If the dog does not make the program, we find them a good home.

Canines for Warriors started out with a small house where we could house warriors.

I was cleaning kennels, making their food. Brett was training the dogs. And it, of course, grew and grew and grew into an organization that's saving lives.

Our mission is to get them back into civilian life with dignity and independence.

We are a nationwide organization now. I never dreamt has would happen. But to see my own son now, who's helping other veterans, it's just amazing to watch.


BERMAN: A good story there.

Any moment now, we'll hear from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. He is meeting right now with Donald Trump in Trump Tower. We'll bring you those comments straight ahead.