Return to Transcripts main page


Trump, Romney To Meet Today After War Of Words; Trump Settles Trump University Lawsuits, Won't Admit Liability; "Hamilton" Cast Addresses Pence After Show; SPLC Counts 701 Hate Incidents Since Election; Fake News Stories Dominate. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 19, 2016 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:00] MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President-elect agreeing to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is a great result.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those students are going to get half their money back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn offered the role of national security adviser.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have confidence in General Flynn. He is considered to be a brilliant mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has called Islamic cell, not radical versions of it a threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having the world lens that he should have as a general, he should know better.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: And good morning. Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik sitting in for Christi Paul this morning.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you this morning. This morning President-elect Donald Trump starts a busy weekend of filling his cabinet after clearing away some legal trouble.

KOSIK: Donald Trump is agreeing to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against his now defunct for profit business school, Trump University. More on that in a moment.

BLACKWELL: Also today, Donald Trump is set to meet with a full roster of prospective cabinet appointees including Mitt Romney, the man who earlier this year called him a phony and a fraud. But the two are expected to discuss possible cabinet positions perhaps including secretary of state. KOSIK: So there is a lot to cover here. Our team of reporters and political experts are standing. Let's begin with the latest on the Trump transition with CNN's Jessica Schneider. She is standing by in Bridgewater, New Jersey. That is near where President-elect Trump is holding those transition meetings today. Good morning, Jessica. Can you tell us more what's going on today?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison. Yes, you know, a lot of activity out here. Donald Trump will be in non-stop meetings throughout today, but of course, the biggest name he is meeting with today, Mitt Romney. It is a highly anticipated face-to- face that will happen nearby at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

Of course, a lot of uncertainty as exactly how this will play out. Mitt Romney, a fierce and harsh critic against Donald Trump throughout the primary season. You'll remember back in March, he gave that 20- minute speech where he called Donald Trump a fraud and a phony.

So uncertain how things will unfold today, but we do understand that one item on this list of topics that they'll be talking about. The secretary of state position whether or not Mitt Romney might be interested or might eventually be offered that position.

Donald Trump will be meeting with a slew of people today. They also include Michelle Reed, the former chancellor of D.C. schools. She is under consideration for the education secretary position.

Also Donald Trump will be meeting with Retired General James Mattis (ph), the former head of Central Command and also interestingly he'll be meeting with Todd Ricketts (ph), the chairman of the World Series winning, Chicago Cubs.

So a lot of these people just meeting with Donald Trump to talk about the transition and his eventual presidency come January, but some of these, of course, being essential job interviews.

Mitt Romney potentially being one of those who could join Donald Trump. A lot to be seen as these two rivals meet face-to-face today -- Alison and Victor.

KOSIK: All right, Jessica, can't wait to hear what comes out of these meetings, if anything. Thanks very much.

Now I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Rachel Crane, for more on the Trump University lawsuits. Rachel, $25 million to put these cases to bed. What do you think? What does this mean as Trump moves forward and tries to focus on transitioning into the White House?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, obviously a big distraction has just been taken off the table for President-elect Donald Trump, allowing him to focus on his political agenda, getting his cabinet together.

He also will no longer have to appear on the witness stand in San Diego on November 28th in front of Judge Curiel. That judge was the one that Trump vehemently attacked on the campaign trail because of his Mexican heritage.

But the fact that he settled these cases, that's something that Donald Trump said many times on the campaign trail that he would never ever do.

His attorney putting out a statement saying, "While we have no doubt that Trump University would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allows President- elect Donald Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation."

Now, while these cases have been settled, Donald Trump is not accepting publicly any wrong doing. Now $25 million is a big chunk of change here, $25 million, $21 million will go towards the civil suits in California, more than 7,000 students will now get at least 50 percent of their money reimbursed.

The $4 million going to settle the case here in New York State that general attorney of New York State, Eric Schneiderman, had put forth. But of course, you know, Trump University had around 10,000 students that had enrolled between 2005 and 2010 and they had taken in an estimated $40 million during that time -- Alison.

[08:05:11]KOSIK: Certainly a surprising outcome to a series of cases that we definitely didn't think would end this way after everything Donald Trump said on the campaign trail. All right, Rachel Crane, thanks very much.

BLACKWELL: All right, now that he's cleared that legal trouble out of the way, Donald Trump still has a hands full trying to appoint his cabinet members and staff as some are calling on the president-elect to reconsider the appointments he's already made. Calling into question first their lack of diversity.

Let's talk about this with Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic." Ron, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Hey, first, Ron, I want to get to this tweet that we noticed from former governor and former competitor opponent here in the race for president, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. He tweeted out this, "Big story of the election is that state and local elections were repudiation of big government liberalism record gains for GOP now GOP-don't blow it."

He also said that last night he said that he was offered a cabinet position and an advisory position in this new administration. Doesn't know if they're the right fit and tamped down the rumor that he would be the new ambassador for Israel. What do you hear? What do you from what we are seeing from Governor Huckabee?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the Israel rumor was the most prominent. I don't think we know exactly what the cabinet offer might have been. I think the argument there is interesting because essentially what he's saying to GOP don't blow it almost as if it's a kind of different entity than the Trump entity.

You know, Donald Trump in many ways was an independent candidate who ran under the Republican banner about half or two thirds of his agenda overlaps with what congressional Republicans have long wanted to do, cut taxes on individual and businesses, roll back Obamacare, roll back the (inaudible) plan.

But there's a whole other big chunk of his agenda on a variety of issues, trade, entitlements, infrastructure that goes in a different direction.

And there's kind of a note of distance in that tweet from Mike Huckabee that kind of reflects the fact that parts of what Donald Trump says he wants to do are as much a collision with traditional Republican thinking as they would be in the other areas with what Democrats see is the right direction for the country.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Steve Bannon has talked about this trillion dollar plan he has got pushing through. Also during the campaign, Donald Trump made a lot of promises that are going to cost a lot of money. We'll see if Congress gives him the money to do it.

Let's talk about Rudy Giuliani, who we haven't talked a lot about in the last 48 hours or so. He's been not so subtle about his desire to be secretary of state. With Mitt Romney coming in potentially, where does that leave Rudy Giuliani? Maybe at Homeland Security, what is his role now moving forward?

BROWNSTEIN: We'll see what happens with Mitt Romney. I mean, I wonder if Mitt Romney before he got on the plane to see Donald Trump kind of noted that another former adversary, Ted Cruz came up to meet him presumably to talk about cabinet positions, but certainly the attorney general.

And then the next day, President-elect Trump gave the job to one of his loyalists, Jeff Sessions. I do wonder if Mitt Romney is wondering if he could face the same situation as secretary of state.

This would be an extraordinary step for each of them. I mean, Mitt Romney was as critical of Donald Trump as I think a former nominee has ever been of a prospective nominee of his own party, really kind of denouncing his character, his experience, his judgment.

So their ability to work together would be I think very important for Donald Trump. I mean, with the appointment of Michael Flynn as national security adviser, a figure who is deeply controversial even in Republican foreign policy circles.

He faces the risks that most of the existing brain trust of the GOP foreign policy infrastructure will not come to work for him. I think Mitt Romney would be a huge bridge in that -- to that community. We'll see if Trump actually builds that particular bridge.

BLACKWELL: Let's quickly talk about the Trump U settlement, the three civil lawsuits. Let's listen to what Trump said during this campaign about the potential for a settlement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I will win the Trump University case. I already am, as far as I'm concerned. I will win the case in the end. I just didn't want to be forced to settle. This is a case I could have settled very easily. But I don't settle very easily when I'm right.

I could settle the case now if I want to settle the case. I don't settle cases. We have a situation where we will win in court. And I'll win the Trump University case. I could settle that case.


BLACKWELL: All right, so he is now settled the case, the three cases. He faces scores of additional civil lawsuits. I mean, this is a very expensive proposition he'll settle all these cases.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it's also just a reminder of the extraordinary situation we're in. You know, we haven't had a president with this extensive business dealings and we don't really know the full extent of them because he refused to release his tax returns.

And you have all of these interrelated questions with whether his children will in fact be continuing to run his business enterprises and are sitting in on meetings with world leaders, besides kind of diplomatic propriety questions.

[08:10:00]The whole series of ethical questions and I do think this is really going to challenge the ethics infrastructure in Washington to deal with all of the many possible conflicts that are arising because of the unique nature of Mr. Trump's background.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ron Brownstein, always good to have you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.


KOSIK: All right, the hot Broadway musical "Hamilton" with a VIP in the audience.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vice President-Elect Pence, we welcome you and truly thank you for joining us here at "Hamilton." We really do. We, sir --


KOSIK: Yes, that was Mike Pence in the audience. After the show, the cast stopped pretending and gets real with a message for the vice president-elect.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KOSIK: This could be one of the perks being the vice president-elect, getting a precious ticket to the hot Broadway musical, "Hamilton." They're going from $500 to $1,200 a piece. Mike Pence was in the audience last night and his presence wasn't lost on the cast.

BLACKWELL: Yes, they addressed Pence directly during the curtain call. The actor who plays Aaron Burr delivered a short speech on behalf of the show's creators and cast. Here is part of it.


BRANDON VICTOR DIXON, PLAYS AARON BURR IN "HAMILTON": You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening. And Vice President-Elect Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. Nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. We're all hear sharing a story of love.

We have a message for you, sir, we hope you will hear us out. And encourage everyone to pause, your phones and tweet and post. This messages to be spread far and wide.

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and truly thank you for joining us here at "Hamilton." We really do. We, sir, we are of a diverse America who are alarmed and anxious at your new administration will not protect us.

Our planet -- our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir, but we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us, all of us.

[08:15:14]We truly thank you for sharing this show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds --


BLACKWELL: all right. A spokesman for the show said Pence was in the hallway, but he heard the whole statement. The lead producer of "Hamilton" says President-elect Trump has not seen the show yet, but he would be welcome to come.

Let's bring in now CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Kevin Madden, and former Georgia congressman and Trump supporter, Jack Kingston. Good morning to both of you.

Jack, first, what do you think of what you saw there in New York at that "Hamilton" show?

JACK KINGSTON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's part of our great American culture where people can speak their minds even to the vice president as if somebody got elected to the U.S. Congress and then got elected to the whole state of Indiana to be governor and did not have diversity and the highest standards of ethics and social interaction and social justice already just part of his own culture. I mean, these I think were well meaning, but somewhat naive actors and actresses speaking up, no problem with that at all, but to think that somebody has come as far as Mike Pence has and needs to be lectured by any of them is a little bit absurd.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kevin, let me come to you with this meeting we know is happening today between Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.


BLACKWELL: You were senior adviser to Mitt Romney back in the 2012 campaign. I want you to listen to part of an exchange between Wolf Blitzer and Mitt Romney earlier this year about his feelings about the then nominee Donald Trump. Let's watch.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: What would he have to do to win your support?

ROMNEY: Well, I don't think there's anything I'm looking for from Mr. Trump to give him my support. He's demonstrated who he is and I've decided that a person of that nature should not be the one who, if you will, becomes the example for coming generations or the example of America to the world.

Look, I don't want to see trickle down racism. I don't want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have the impact on the nature of our nation.

Trickle down racism, bigotry, misogamy, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America. So I'm not looking for Mr. Trump to change a policy that more aligns with my own. This is not a matter of just policy, it's more a matter of character and integrity.


BLACKWELL: This is not a matter of policy, it's more about character and integrity. Even Mitt Romney's political opponents say that he's a principled man. After what we heard there, is it possible that Mitt Romney could work for Donald Trump?

MADDEN: Well, I think that there would have to be some sort of understanding about some of the big issue differences that they have before that could happen. I think Governor Romney expressed those concerns because they were deeply held concerns.

Remember they are also in the context of litigating a campaign and the campaign is over and the American people have wielded what Walter Mondale once referred to their staggering power.

Now we have a president-elect who many Republicans want to see succeed and even some Democrats will accept that they would want to see some better judgment and the advancement of better policies. And I think that is what -- I think that is what Mitt Romney has in mind as he meets with President-elect Trump today, which is what can he do to offer insight, what can he do to offer advice on how president-elect can go about making the right decisions to lead the country.

BLACKWELL: Jack, to you, we heard from Donald Trump and we played some of it earlier that he called him a choke artist. Mitt Romney wanted Donald Trump's endorsement so badly he could have said get on your knees and Mitt Romney would have gotten on his knees. Why would he want to potentially come and have this man work for him and be the spokesman to the world?

JACKSON: Well, I think part of it is the incredible capacity of politics to forgive and forget, and move on. But I think the other part is that he can learn something from Mitt Romney and vice versa. I think that Mitt Romney was speaking with a little bit too much hyperbole.

But I think at the same time there's great value in Mitt Romney as a successful businessman, as a governor, as a leader of the man who actually saved the Olympics one year. I think he is the kind of guy that Donald Trump is not intimidated by but rather respects and says, OK, what can you contribute?

What do you have to offer for the American people for our vision of making America great again? And we're seeing that a lot with some of the other people who have been to Trump Tower this week. He is not afraid to listen.

[08:20:06]And I think as the weeks go on, you'll see more diversity of opinion.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of diversity of opinion, Donald Trump in the primary in the general talked about education and it was one that was I guess the premium there and it was common core, these standards, these common standards for education.

I want you to listen to what Donald Trump said and then what the former chancellor of Washington, D.C. schools who is meeting with him today, Michelle Rhee, has said about common core.


TRUMP: Common core has to be ended. It's a disaster. It's a way of -- it's a way of taking care of people in Washington that frankly I don't even think they give a damn about education.

MICHELLE RHEE, EDUCATION ADVOCATE: In terms of the common core, I think it's incredibly important. I think it's absolutely a step in the right direction that this country has made.


BLACKWELL: If she's being considered for secretary of education, is this a sign that Donald Trump is backtracking on common core? JACKSON: You know, one of the interesting things that I found out about common core is if you talk to individuals about the curriculum itself and the standard standards, people say, yes, this is a good idea.

But then when you say, but the state would have veto power over local school boards and over local curriculum and they in turn see that to the federal government, that's what people are really mad about.

It not so much the substance, but it's the loss of their own decision making power to Washington bureaucrats. I think there's a way to save part of this --

BLACKWELL: Just like saving part of Obamacare?

JACKSON: Well, there were things in Obamacare that weren't unique to Obamacare. They weren't that controversial. So, you know, you can always salvage bits and pieces of the other side's ideas and it's not a bad thing. It's a way democracy works.

BLACKWELL: Quickly here, Kevin, are the people who voted for Donald Trump getting what they thought they were going to get now that potentially this secretary of education who loves common core is coming in to meet with the president-elect?

MADDEN: Well, I think we still have to see before an agenda gets put into place. I think that's one of the great things about democracy, Victor, is that there's built-in accountability, not only on Election Day but after Election Day.

Donald Trump made a lot of promises to voters about things like education, health care, energy, you name it and the American people are going to hold him accountable even if he doesn't face them for another four years.

And that is something that I think is important to watch as he begins to set his agenda over the next -- over that first 100 days of his administration.

BLACKWELL: All right, Kevin Madden, Jack Kingston, always good to have you as part of the conversation -- Alison.

KOSIK: CNN has been speaking with some people who say they've been racially targeted since the election.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt fear. I did feel fear inside.




BLACKWELL: We've seen the pictures from across the country, the swastikas spray painted on places of worship and racial slurs and shouts of build that wall, this incident have minority communities scared. The Southern Poverty Law Center says that its counted 701 cases of harassment or intimidation since Donald Trump won the election.

KOSIK: And U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says there's been a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslim-Americans in 2015.


LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I know that many Americans are concerned by a spate of recent news reports about alleged hate crimes and harassment. Some of these incidents have happened in schools, others have targeted houses of worship and some have singled out individuals for attacks and intimidation.


KOSIK: All right, let's dig into this a little more. Let's bring in Polo Sandoval. Polo, what have you been hearing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing that those numbers are on the rise. These numbers coming from the attorney general, those are actually figures from 2015. Two reasons why the AG believes that they likely maybe even higher that is because many of these cases often go unreported according to the attorney general.

And also we have seen some these recent cases as well from coast to coast including, for example, at least a church. We know that you've had an opportunity to speak to representatives there, Reverend Chelsea (inaudible), saying that really this is the reality for many places across the country, particularly lately since the election.

So there's concern that we could see even more of these cases throughout the country. Here is what a couple of the victims of some of these cases have to say about what we're going to see.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Racism is not something that Donald Trump caused, but I feel like people kind of feel like they have an open door to be that way now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt fear. I did feel fear inside.


SANDOVAL: Yes, that last person you just heard from Mickey (inaudible) out of California and what she says or at least what she blames this on is also really a certain level of ignorance. For example, this hijab that she was wearing, that was actually a bandana that she wears to protect her from the sun as she suffers from lupus.

There's that level of misunderstanding that we have seen throughout the country on both sides, a Trump supporter in New York wearing a make America great again hat was also attacked. He was telling reporters that violence is never the answer regardless of which side you're on.

Perhaps that is, of course, the message that we have been hearing -- we have not been hearing enough of on both sides and particularly after the elections.

BLACKWELL: All right.

KOSIK: All right, Polo, thanks very much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Polo.

Fake news, headlines, they are spreading online. How did they impact the 2016 race and is there a way to stop this?


[08:31:33] BLACKWELL: Dozens, and that's probably a conservative estimate there, of these fake news stories were shared online during the 2016 election season.

KOSIK: And as CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter shows us, they may have been read and believed by millions of voters.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did the spread of fake news on the Web help elect Donald Trump? We may never know for sure, but researchers are asking the question because made up, false stories are polluting people's Facebook timelines and Twitter streams.

JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT": This cesspool of nonsense...



STELTER: And getting worse. Even President Obama is raising the alarm.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not, then we have problems.

STELTER: These problems are not brand new. But they're becoming a lot more prevalent. Here is an example, a story claiming a protester was paid $3,500 to make trouble at a Trump rally. This went viral during the campaign. It looked like an ABC News story, but the URL reveals it's a fake, registered to a domain in Colombia. It was a hoax which tricked Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Trump's son Eric, who shared it on Twitter.

DAN GILLMOR, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY: We have an epidemic of false information racing around, using social networks as the accelerator.

STELTER: The pope endorsing Trump? Fake. FOX's Megyn Kelly fired for backing Hillary Clinton? Fake. Clinton linked to crimes by Anthony Wiener? Fake. But that one was tweeted by retired General Michael Flynn, Trump's pick for national security adviser.

Now staffers at social media giants are doing some soul searching, though Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Trump's election is not his fault.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: You know, personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook of which it's a very small amount of the content influenced the election in any way I think is a pretty crazy idea.

STELTER: Others disagree. These fake sites are easy to set up and profitable for the creators. Every time we click and share, they make more money. But we are worse off.

Now Facebook and Google are banning fake sites from making money off their ad networks. It's a first effort to choke off some of the revenue. The bigger challenge, providing more B.S. detection tools without threatening free speech.

GILLMOR: Suddenly they have these, I think, social societal duties to help us not be faked out all the time. And yet I don't want the terms of service of one company or two or three companies to have more influence than the First Amendment.

STELTER: The root problem is that some people want to believe the lies. That's why the responsibility isn't just Facebook or Google or Twitter's. We all have to get a little smarter about what we share.

GILLMOR: We have to be relentlessly skeptical of absolutely everything. We have to go outside of our personal comfort zones and read and watch and listen to things that are bound to make our blood boil.


KOSIK: And joining us now, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. And Matt Masur, he is the founder and CEO of Venturetechnica.

Thanks for coming on the show. So, Matt, I want to start with you because in Brian's piece he alluded to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg saying that the fake content wasn't widespread enough to have an impact on the election. But here is the thing, some of these fake stories, they had millions of views, so who is right? And I ask you this because your company creates content.

MATT MASUR, FOUNDER & CEO, VENTURETECHNICA: Absolutely. And, you know, the thing to keep in mind is it's not just fake news. A lot of it is very slanted. A lot of us folks regardless of our political persuasions kind of want to live in our bubble.

So when we see something that speaks to our point or just something that we kind of want to believe, in many cases we just click share or we comment and we act as though everything is the truth, in many cases base solely on the headline. And this is a huge problem. Like I say, completely aside from the satire and flat out false stories that a lot of times people think are the only problem.

KOSIK: And I think we have some of those news headlines if we can put some of them up just to show you. One of them is kind of interesting, it's Pope Francis shocking the world, endorsing Donald Trump. But that wasn't the case.

I mean, at some point, Brian, as people move toward these media resources that reflect their own views, is there any way to stop the spread of fake stories that pop up on our feeds? Is it laziness that once you read that headline you're thinking, oh, it's true, I'm not going to look into it.

STELTER: There is a lot of responsibility on the user, as much as I'd like to blame Facebook and Google and Twitter for this. They are spreading these stories. They are partly this distribution mechanism but a lot of this has to do with the users.

These sites that promote fake stories would not exist if nobody clicked on them, if nobody read them. They only exist because people do read them and share them, and that creates a lot of advertising revenue for these sites.

Now Mark Zuckerberg overnight came out with a new blog post where he says we are taking this seriously. We know misinformation is a problem. We're going to try to do a lot of things about it. So he says Facebook is going to try a number of things to downplay fake news in people's timelines.

But I think, Alison, the reality is this is always going to be an issue from here on out. There is always going to be new types of distorted news. You know, as the other guest was saying, there's lot of other websites that aren't fake but are highly misleading. And you can't weed those out of a Facebook timeline.

So the onus is really on the users to be a lot more aware of what they're consuming. And the pope one is a great example. When you look at the logo of the website, where those pope articles were on, they look like cheap websites. They don't look like CNN. So if you go and seek out a more reliable or credible source, that can help you sort it out.

KOSIK: Matt, you wrote an article about this fake news phenomenon in Huffington Post. That article went viral.

MASUR: Yes. It was very interesting to be completely honest I used a little bit of click bait as the headline. I said that the loophole that could allow Bernie Sanders to inaugurated, which is not really the case. But that -- and folks, I immediately kind of outed myself in the first couple sentences.

KOSIK: Great way to start the article, by the way.

MASUR: And it made some people upset. I'm not going to lie. But most of them really understood what I was going for and got the point and really appreciated it. And it made them stop and think what's going on. And in that piece I laid out five just very quick in general steps.

But the most important thing folks can do, read first then share. And I can't stress that enough that so many folks -- we talk about doing your due diligence in many cases it's nothing more than a share. They haven't read the story itself.

STELTER: Yes, and by the way, we're all trying to figure this out. I put myself in this camp as well. I've been tricked by some of these fake stories as well. The internet is still a relatively new invention. I know we all take it for granted. We all are attached to our phones and our Facebook feeds.

But 20 years ago the web was born, 10 years ago we all started getting online with fast connections. Now we are all connected. And this is still relatively new. It means that our brains and media literacy skills have to catch up to this new world.

KOSIK: Relatively new but it's amazing how addicted we are to our devices and to online. All right, Brian Stelter, Matt Masur, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

MASUR: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk now about the shooting death that sparked outrage and protests across the country after it was streamed live on Facebook. Well, now prosecutors have taken a step in the case of Philando Castile. We'll talk about that step next.


KOSIK: A Minnesota police officer is now formally charged in the shooting death of a man whose final moments were streamed on Facebook. Officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with three felony counts including second degree manslaughter for the July death of Philando Castile. His attorney says Yanez will plead not guilty.

BLACKWELL: Yanez also has another court appearance next month. Investigators say he fired seven shots at Castile after a traffic stop. Yanez says he thought Castile was reaching for a gun, but Castile's girlfriend says he was trying to get his driver's license as requested.

She live streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. I'm sure you remember that horrible video. Joining us now is Glenda Hatchett, she is an attorney for Philando Castile's family.

Good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: Let's first start with the charge, second degree manslaughter. Is the family satisfied with that instead of a murder charge? HATCHETT: They are. And the point being that under Minnesota law we

want to be careful that he is not overcharged. And so this has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course our system requires that we look at this that he is responsible but he's not guilty until he is proven guilty.

And in this situation, we do support the prosecutor's decision in this case because the worst thing that could happen is that he could be overcharged and they not be able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

BLACKWELL: The defense attorney says that the prosecutor, Mr. Choi, went overboard here with this unnecessary statement as he announced the charges. What's your view of what you heard?

HATCHETT: I don't think so. I think that John Choi has been very thorough. I think he has been very reasonable. He and special prosecutor Don Lewis. But also I just have to say I commend John Choi for the collaboration that has gone on in this case in asking for help from the U.S. Department of Justice, has gone all the way up to the highest levels, to the attorney general's office.

So you have the support and the collaboration of the federal government, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, Andy Luger, in Minnesota. And I think that that's an important collaborative that we rarely see not only in Minnesota but anywhere in the country.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the video because that is what stays with so many people.

HATCHETT: Of course.

BLACKWELL: As I read the intro to this, they may not have remembered the name, but when they saw the video, they understood exactly what we're talking about.

HATCHETT: Yes, exactly.

BLACKWELL: But we understand from these cases that the video often is not decisive for a jury. I mean, we saw the Ray Tensing case in Cincinnati. They were a hung jury there. And some of the cell phone video we saw in the Freddie Gray case up in Baltimore, no officer there convicted.

What role will this video play from your perspective?

HATCHETT: I think the video will play an outstanding role in this. And I want to just give such respect to Diamond Reynolds for having the courage, to have the composure to do it and to live stream it as opposed to just taping it.

I think it's an eye into what happened immediately after. Her comments were not ones that she had time to think about. They were contemporaneous with what happened and I think are very compelling.

BLACKWELL: The defense attorney for Officer Yanez says that he is concerned about his client's ability to get a fair trial considering all of the media attention. Now, that's what we hear from defense attorneys in this case all the time.

HATCHETT: All the time. And that's what they are -- they do. But let me just say to you, where else but this jurisdiction, Ramsey County in Minnesota, is the appropriate jurisdiction?

And if it were moved anywhere, this has been not only national news, this has been international news. I have heard from people literally all over the world about this case who are really shaken.

But I believe that this case will be a landmark decision that will change the tide in the direction. This is the first time ever in the history of Minnesota that a police officer has ever been charged with a fatal shooting of a citizen.

I don't mean convicted, I mean even charged. And so this historic moment I think is going to be defining.

BLACKWELL: Groundbreaking already. Attorney for the family, Glenda Hatchett, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

HATCHETT: Thank you. Always (INAUDIBLE).


KOSIK: All right. The trial for a former South Carolina police officer charged murder resumes Monday. Michael Slager is charged in the shooting death of Walter Scott. It happened in April of 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. And some of that encounter was caught on video. Prosecutors say Slager shot Scott in the back and staged the scene. The defense says the two men wrestled and Scott got control of the officer's stun gun.

BLACKWELL: Donald Trump, the president-elect, has promised to keep his presidential duties separate from his business interests by entrusting his businesses to his children. But will he be able to keep that promise?


BLACKWELL: All right. This just in, Donald Trump is awake and tweeting now -- I should say President-elect Donald Trump.

KOSIK: He has got a very busy day ahead of him but he is finding time to tweet, this one about "Hamilton." You saw cast members at the end of this show last night with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in the audience. The "Hamilton" cast members getting on stage and giving a message about being -- about the Trump administration hopefully being open to everybody.

And then we have Donald Trump this morning tweeting this: "Our wonderful future V.P Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of 'Hamilton.' Cameras blazing. This should not happen."

BLACKWELL: And he also tweeted this morning about his decision to settle three lawsuits against his now defunct Trump University for $25 million. Here is what he tweeted out. "I settled the Trump University lawsuit for a small fraction of the potential award because as president I have to focus on our country."

This morning, though, he's focusing on Trump University and "Hamilton," but he has got a busy day ahead. He certainly has to interview the people who will potentially be in his cabinet. He also tweets: "The only bad thing about winning the presidency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U, too bad."

Again, Donald Trump will be interviewing potential secretary of education, secretary of defense, and filling his cabinet positions, but this is where he's starting his day.

CNN's Brian Todd has been looking at potential conflicts of interest with regards to Trump's businesses and his administration involving his children.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Alison, we're seeing serious alarm bells being raised because it seems the potential government portfolios of Trump's children, especially his daughter Ivanka, only seem to be expanding. Ethics lawyers and other experts are openly wondering if Trump and his children can achieve any separation from their business empire.

TRUMP: Our government will be honest, ethical, and responsive.

TODD (voice-over): When Donald Trump is in the White House, he plans to hand off his business holdings to his children, but there are growing signs of potential conflicts of interest. Trump's daughter Ivanka joined him in his meeting with Japan's prime minister.

MATTHEW SANDERSON, POLITICAL LAW ATTORNEY: So what it looks like is he may be forming less of a team of rivals and more of a team of relatives. And that's a problem.

TODD: Like any business, Trump's empire is affected by policies set by the government, but with his children playing key roles in his transition team, choosing the country's top policymakers, critics say it's problematic.

DREW HARWELL, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's incredible. I mean, there are conflicts at every turn. Trump has said that there will be a wall between his kids and his business interests and his public ambitions. There's no wall that we're seeing right now.

TODD: The Trump transition team says it will make sure...


BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Brian Todd for that. We will continue to examine that angle throughout the morning.

KOSIK: And "SMERCONISH" coming up after a short break.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, HOST, "SMERCONISH": I'm Michael Smerconish, live from Philadelphia. We welcome your viewers in the United States and around the world.

The Trump administration is taking shape, like his candidacy with some inherent contradictions. Today, Trump meeting with Mitt Romney despite repeatedly attacking each other throughout the campaign. The two reportedly discussing if there's room for Romney in the Trump administration, maybe even as secretary of state.

But his picks so far pretty hard line. For attorney general, not Mayor Giuliani, instead, Trump named Senator Jeff Sessions whose views on race and crime have been under fire. Might he now be in a position to shape civil rights policy?

And in what has to be a presidential first, Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle Trump University lawsuits.