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Trump Rally Moves Dow to Record High of 19,000; Trump Takes Questions in New York Times Meeting; Trump and Family Arrives in Florida for Thanksgiving; Trump Disavows Neo-Nazis and White Nationalists; Trump's Son-in-Law Speaks Out Publicly; Trump Arrives in Florida for Thanksgiving Vacation; Driver in Fatal School Bus Crash Hit Another Car in Sept. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 22, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:04] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to all of our viewers, have a happy, happy Thanksgiving. ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news. Donald Trump about to arrive in Florida for Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, this after meeting with his arch enemy "The New York Times" and talking racism.

Plus, Jared Kushner in a rare and exclusive interview, how he secretly ran Trump's campaign. He says people felt safe with him in charge. You'll hear how he broke the rules.

And it's been home to celebrities likes Michael Jackson, Bruce Willis, and Donald Trump. We're going to take you inside the residential Trump Tower. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett, OUTFRONT. Tonight, the breaking news, stocks hitting an all-time high. The Dow topping 19,000 for the first time in history. It has risen over 750 points. That is more than percentage points in the two weeks since Donald Trump won the White House. That is something Donald Trump is very proud of, and it comes as Trump is now about to land at Palm Beach in another airport in Florida. The President-elect and his family headed to Trump's palatial estate, Mar-a-Lago, for the holiday.

Also, this afternoon, he met with journalists at "The New York Times'" offices. Trump taking his motorcade across town from Trump Tower. You see him at the meeting, a 75-minute conversation termed "cordial." One reporter tweeting that Trump offered an olive branch to the paper that he had feuded with throughout the campaign. "I would like to turn it around. I think it would make the job I am doing much easier," they said he said.

This is Trump's second meeting with reporters this week. Yesterday, he met with television journalists, including me, in an off the record session. That was also at Trump Tower.

Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT now at Trump Tower tonight. And, Jim, Trump finally answering today some substantive questions and doing so on the record. JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Erin.

He's been turning the temperature up. He's been turning it down. That's been the story of this transition. Donald Trump did leave New York without holding a press conference. But as you said, he did sit down with "The New York Times" offering answers that reveal he might be ready to put behind him some of that rhetoric from the campaign.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Today, Donald Trump met face-to-face with one of his favorite targets, "The New York Times." And the newspaper's reporters were live tweeting the highlights.

CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up.

ACOSTA (voice-over): To all of his supporters calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed over her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation, Trump hinted he's leaning against pushing for any sort of prosecution, saying it would be very, very divisive for the country. It's a reversal for Trump who shattered presidential campaign norms by threatening to imprison his opponent repeatedly.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to instruct out my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.

ACOSTA (voice-over): On his chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has been accused of showcasing racist views on his Breitbart News site, Trump said it is very hard on Bannon, "I think he's having a hard time with it because it's not him." And Trump even moderated his stance on global warming which he once called a hoax, telling the "Times," I think there is some connectivity between humans and climate change.

With his inauguration getting closer, the President-elect has no shortage of flames to put out. From a new revelation in "The Washington Post" that the Trump Foundation admitted to the IRS it was engaged in self-dealing and illegally misusing charitable donations to the mounting conflicts posed by his business affairs overseas. Trump told the "Times," In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There's never been a case like there."

LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (Ret), NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT- ELECT DONALD TRUMP: We're facing another ism. Just like we faced Nazism.

ACOSTA (voice-over): And there are new questions about Michael Flynn, who's tapped to be Trump's national security adviser after the retired General's comments on Islamism last August.

FLYNN: This is Islamism, and it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet. And it has to be excised.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Trump has mostly tried to bypass the media since his election, revealing his upcoming agenda in this transition produced video. TRUMP: My agenda will be based on a simple core principle, putting

America first.

ACOSTA (voice-over): A top supporter's message to the press, get used to it.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW: But now Donald Trump is going to, you know, make his own way with the press. And he's probably going to do a lot of those videos, I would imagine, where it's straight to the American people, go around the press.


ACOSTA: Now, a source familiar with transition discussion says that Mitt Romney is seriously considering joining the Trump administration as Secretary of State. But this source says that Romney is right now likely discussing that possibility with family members as we speak. Those family members are often very close advisors to him, Erin. But the source also cautions that this decision is not expected until after the holiday weekend, Erin.

[19:05:01] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. And the breaking news. Donald Trump has just landed in Palm Beach, Florida. You can see his plane taxiing there, just after 7:00 Eastern. He's going to be getting off that plane and heading just a couple of miles away to Mar-a-Lago, which is where Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT awaiting him.

Jason, you know, we have been expecting announcements on Cabinet and staff picks. You just heard Jim Acosta saying, you know, Secretary of State, of course, was on that list. But so far nothing.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So far nothing, Erin, but there is some thought that it is coming. It is coming. There is a question in terms of when it will be coming. You know, there was some thought that, perhaps, we would hear something about an appointment for Secretary of Treasury or Commerce or even Secretary of Defense. But I think about what former Massachusetts Senator Scott brown said on Monday.

As, you know, he was there interviewing with Trump possibly about taking the position of Secretary of Veteran Affairs. And when pressed after he came out, you know, everyone was asking him, when might we hear something? He also said perhaps sometime after Thanksgiving. So in terms of timing, that looks to be where we are right now on a lot of these announcements.

And when you think about what's happening here, this is a new administration. What they're trying to do is, you know, find their way through this whole process. They want to make sure they're making the right decision with the right person. So some decisions are going to take longer than others.

One thing that we can tell you that is going to happen while here in Florida, Trump is going to release a Thanksgiving video, a message to the people about the holiday of Thanksgiving. Unclear what specifically will be in that message, but we can tell you that message expected to be released tomorrow. Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jason Carroll. And as we watch that plane and wait Donald Trump getting off here, tonight, see if he has anything to say, OUTFRONT now, Ben Ferguson, host of "The Ben Ferguson" radio show; Keith Boykin, who served as White House aide to President Clinton; our political director, David Chalian; and Alex Berenson, former "New York Times" reporter and best-selling novelist.

All right. David, let me start with you. You know, as Trump is a arriving here in Mar-a-Lago, this is a crucial moment for him. He has a lot of decisions to make. One of them, obviously, going to be Secretary of State. You heard Jim Acosta just say Mitt Romney is now seriously considering taking that job, which, again, is pretty stunning because these two people have said incredibly horrible things about each other. And they disagree on some crucial policy issues. But we are hearing Mitt Romney, a real possibility tonight.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: This would be such a bold stroke for Donald Trump. And you are right. It would be a surprising sort of acceptance of this offer form Mitt Romney as well who clearly, as you know, Erin, Mitt Romney takes the counsel of his family more importantly than anybody else, any outside advisor. And so gathering with the family over Thanksgiving, I'm sure this will be conversation, which is why I think we won't have a final answer. If the Trump- Romney diplomatic marriage is to take place, we'll learn after the holiday.

You are right to note their differences, specifically on Russia. It's a key foreign policy difference that the two of them have.


CHALIAN: But on other issues like Iran, they're very much aligned.

BURNETT: Right, which is a fair point. Alex, what do you think the odds here are? I mean, both of them taking a few days. Donald Trump famously said he never takes vacation. I'm sure he'll play some golf, but phone calls. Mitt Romney going to be spending this holiday talking to his sons --

ALEX BERENSON, FORMER REPORTER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, this has been phrased very interestingly, right? Trump, as far as we know, has not extended this, right?



BURNETT: No, there is a delicate dance on extending and accepting.

BERENSON: Exactly. So has it -- you know, but is Trump actually going to give to it Romney?


BERENSON: You know, would Romney take it? I'm not sure we're there yet. I mean I said this last night and I think it would be great for the country if Romney could see his way to be Secretary of State. I think, you know, we've said -- you can't have it both ways. You want this guy to be presidential. Then this is exactly the kind of person you'd hope he'd appoint.

BURNETT: Let me bring you in here, Ben.


BURNETT: It also appears -- and I say appears because we don't know, right -- these are some of the, as Jason pointed out, a couple of the announcements we had expected may already have been made, they have not been. Retired General Jim Mattis for Secretary of Defense, widely accepted. Trump has said extremely positive things about him and yet that's not been announced either, if indeed he is going to be the pick.


BURNETT: Trump has promised to bring back waterboarding, and that came up today with "The New York Times." Mattis doesn't approve of it. Maggie Haberman from "The New York Times" actually said, from the meeting with Trump, she tweeted, "Trump says he is seriously considering Mattis for DOD. Says he asked Mattis about waterboarding, was surprised he didn't favor it." Does Trump need a Secretary who agrees with him on something like this, which Trump has made a very big stand on?

FERGUSON: Yes. Look, I think, obviously, Donald Trump is looking at these people overall as a qualification and not just as a one-issue, you know, decision on appointing them. I mean, look at all of the things that Mitt Romney said in "40 Minutes" about Donald Trump being a con artist and terrible person. Ultimately, he's willing to say, I'm willing to overlook that and our disagreements if I think you're qualified and if I think you're the best person for the job, and I will probably listen to you in that capacity.

[19:10:10] So Donald Trump has said he's looking at bringing back waterboarding. But if he has someone that he thinks, overall, is qualified, he may be willing to make a deal on an issue like that because, let's be honest, the Secretary of Defense and all of these other positions around that, when it comes to national security, are much bigger than one simple issue. And I think Donald Trump is seeing that way, and that's why he's taking these meetings with people.

I will say one other thing, real quick.


FERGUSON: I think it's really an important point to make here. Donald Trump, people are worried he's going to have an enemy's list when he went in the White House, if you were against him, he was going to come after you. That has not been done at all here, which I think is very surprising to a lot of people.

BURNETT: At least he's met with people. BERENSON: Yes.

BURNETT: You'd give him that at this point. Now --

FERGUSON: Right. He seems to be having a good meetings with them.


KEITH BOYKIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, he has a different list.



BURNETT: Well, now, I want to ask you about this. And it looks like the plane there has taxied up to the terminals, so we'll see when the President-elect gets off. One Trump who has been officially named -- OK, Keith? Officially. This is not someone we're waiting for. We know.


BURNETT: Retired General Flynn for national security adviser. He's come under fire for his comments on Islam, and we played some the other day, when he talked about Islam being a cancer.

BOYKIN: Right.

BURNETT: And not being a religion, being something political. In the speech that we played from, some new lines have come out that are pretty stunning. This is just a couple of months ago in August. Let me play it.


FLYNN: We are facing another ism. Just like Nazism and fascism and imperialism and communism. This is Islamism. And it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet. And it has to be excised.


BURNETT: So that is within 1.7 billion people. That isn't drawing a distinction --


BURNETT: -- between radical Islam and Islam as the peaceful religion.

BOYKIN: That's very disturbing. He's the guy that said that he was at war with Islam in the first place. So I think it's troubling that we have this guy who is notably Islamophobic who will potential have the President's ear for national security. And the idea that he has to work then with Mitt Romney, if Mitt Romney is Secretary of State, Mitt Romney is a person who believes in religious tolerance.

BURNETT: So this would go against everything Mitt Romney stands for.

FERGUSON: But here's --

BOYKIN: Exactly. And I just don't think that Donald Trump, even if he is hands up, I don't think he's going to be able to separate himself from the chaos that will erupt in his administration. You have all these different people with different viewpoints.

BURNETT: Quick final thought, Alex.


FERGUSON: I don't think there's anything here that's going to blow up within his campaign, as you're implying. What you have here is something that, I think, Donald Trump truly does believe, and many people that voted for him believe it. And it is not Islamophobia. The reality is, you do have a cancer amongst some of those in the 1.7 billion.

BOYKIN: But that's not what he said. He didn't say --

BURNETT: He didn't say amongst some.

BOYKIN: He didn't say --


BOYKIN: He said all of them.

FERGUSON: No, he said within.

BOYKIN: He didn't say some of the 1.7 billion.

FERGUSON: He said within.


BOYKIN: That's preposterous, Ben. You just -- just own it.

FERGUSON: No, it's not preposterous. Most people that --

BOYKIN: Just own it and it --


BOYKIN: Instead of trying to defend every outrageous thing that happens, Ben, why don't you, at some point --

FERGUSON: This isn't outrageous.

BOYKIN: -- just acknowledge that something is wrong and make a distinction?

FERGUSON: This is where I disagree. This is not outrageous. The reality is there are many Americans who believe that believe that there is a cancer within the Muslim, 1.7 million, and some of them are extremists.

BOYKIN: And that --

FERGUSON: And some of them are creating extremists and allowing and funding extremism and funding these terrorist groups that claim to be a part of Islam.

BOYKIN: That's fine, Ben.

FERGUSON: That's not Islamophobia. That is reality.

BOYKIN: OK, Ben, that's --

FERGUSON: Especially given in the Middle East.

BOYKIN: That's fine but that's not what he said.

BURNETT: Well, he did say within the body of 1.7 billion people.

FERGUSON: He said within.

BURNETT: The question is how big of an issue is this going to be?

BERENSON: Well, we know that Flynn has strong views about radical Islam. To me, what he just said there probably pushes over the line. OK? I had a problem with President Obama and not being willing to say --

BURNETT: Not using the words, radical Islamic terrorism?

BERENSON: Yes, that's right, radical Islamic terrorism. But you don't want to say that 1.7 billion people are our enemy. That does not help anybody. Just to go back --

FERGUSON: That's not what he said.

BERENSON: To go back to the waterboarding for one second, I hope that Trump, if he appoints Mattis, will listen to Mattis on this because Trump's experience in this is probably watching "24," OK? Mattis is a general who --

BURNETT: Mattis knows.


BOYKIN: No, but Trump knows more than the generals.

BURNETT: Mattis knows.

BOYKIN: He knows more than the generals.

BERENSON: Mattis knows and --


BERENSON: And the other thing that Mattis knows is, if you waterboard, if you violate the Geneva Conventions, you set your own soldiers up for terrible experiences if they're captured by the enemy.


BERENSON: And he's very aware of that.

FERGUSON: All right. Do you think that --

BURNETT: All right. We're going to --

FERGUSON: Hold on.

BURNETT: We're going to leave it there. And you're all going to stay with me. Thank you. Staying with me because next, Trump directly confronted by reporters today. Also about White supremacists and the neo-Nazis who support him, what did he say?

Plus, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, his exclusive interview. How he turned Trump's "Make America Great" hat sales from $8,000 to $80,000 a day.

[19:15:06] And if you're last name is not Trump, what is it like to live in that Trump Tower?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like the field that's behind the, you know, military camp. There are all kind of forces from SWAT teams, police.


BURNETT: And we'll take you inside.


BURNETT: Breaking news. Donald Trump disavows the neo-Nazis and White nationalists that are celebrating his victory. The President- elect telling "The New York Times" he doesn't want to energize this alt-right groups is the first time he has come out forcefully against them here in this interview.

Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President- elect Donald Trump, for the first time, publicly disavowing alt-right groups, telling "The New York Times," quote, "It's not a group I want to energize."

Alt-right or alternative right refers to a group of people with often extreme conservative views, so much so their movement goes beyond what's widely considered socially and politically acceptable. Ryan Lenz tracks hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center.


INSTITUTE: Hail Trump. Hail our people. Hail victory.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Never did we see their views more clearly than when this video surfaced over the weekend. The pro-White anti-Semitic beliefs on full display at a conference where members raised their arms in hail salutes. This not far from the White House.

SPENCER: For us, as Europeans, it is only normal again when we are great again.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Speaking to the crowd, Richard Spencer from a group that calls itself The National Policy Institute. They hold these conferences every year. He's considered the leader of the so- called White movement, but many similar groups exist in the U.S. Nearly 900, according to Lenz.

[19:20:01] LENZ: The idea that these groups are in Middle America or in rural America is actually wrong.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Primarily White men, they come from all socio- economic backgrounds. The group hold meetings in American towns and cities with a large online presence.

LENZ: Over the course of these very bruising campaign, they felt compelled, in fact, obligated to come out into broad daylight and speak their minds.

JARED TAYLOR, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, AMERICAN RENAISSANCE: Mr. Trump, like it or not, you have become the spokesman for White people.

GINGRAS (voice-over): That thinking fueled by Trump's hiring of the Stephen Bannon, who, until recently, ran Breitbart News, which is one of the alt-right's biggest platforms. Bannon, who is now Trump's chief strategist recently told "The Wall Street Journal" that the alt- right has some racial and anti-Semitic overtones but said he had no tolerance for those views. Trump, today, defending Bannon, saying, "If I thought he was a racist or alt-right, I wouldn't even think about hiring him."


GINGRAS: And again, today, President-elect Trump condemned these groups and their message. But, Erin, even William Johnson, a reputed supremacists who leads a White nationalist group, spoke out against Richard Spencer, the man you just saw in my story. In an open letter today, Johnson told Spencer that his remarks has simply just gone too far, especially the promoting of the Nazi imagery. Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Brynn, thank you very much. And my panel is back with me in, along with "New York Times'" op-ed columnist Ross Douthat who was in the room for Trump's interview with the "Times." All right, so you were there --


BURNETT: -- for this whole 75-minute long conversation.

DOUTHAT: And an interesting conversation it was.

BURNETT: And very interesting. And I will point out, on the record. The one I was at yesterday was off the record. I can't talk about it, but you can. Thank goodness. So, one of the tweets came out and said, "Dean Baquet asked if Trump feels like he did things to energize the alt-right movement. 'I don't think so, Dean,' Trump replies."

Take us inside the room. What was this exchange like when Trump was being asked about racism and the alt-right?

DOUTHAT: I mean, it was tense without being outrageously so, I guess, you could say. I mean, Trump came in and the beginning of the meeting was sort of him critiquing our coverage for being unfair, in his view, and then sort of rehashing some of his greatest hits from the campaign trail, sort of talking about -- you know, sort of reliving the glory of his rallies and so on.

So this was sort of the first pointed question. And, you know, he was a little tense. But he also clearly -- his strategy and the subject came up again later in the conversation. But the strategy was to sort of basically disavow and move on to, to sort of say -- to basically treat it as obvious that he would disavow these people, which, in fairness, he has done in the past --

BURNETT: He has done, yes.

DOUTHAT: -- after the David duke controversy and so on, while sort of keeping, at arm's length, any suggestion that he or his campaign or Steve Bannon or anyone else might have sort of stoked this kind of fervor in any way or manipulated it.

BURNETT: And that's a big part of the question here, Ben, because, you know, I remember one time there was a robo call. I asked him it. He said he disavowed. My colleague, Jake Tapper, asked him about it.


BURNETT: He said he disavowed. And yet, here, what he said to Dean and his colleagues was that he didn't do anything to energize the movement. Rocky Suhayda is the chairman of the American Nazi Party. He begs to differ, OK? Here is what he said.


ROCKY SUHAYDA, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN NAZI PARTY (through phone): Now, if Trump does win, OK, it's going to be a real opportunity for people like White nationalists --


BURNETT: And there are clearly White nationalists who were energized, the KKK endorsing Trump, David Duke and the robo calls.

FERGUSON: Yes, there were -- BURNETT: Trump could disavow them, but they are energized by him, aren't they?

FERGUSON: Well, I think they're energized by the opportunity to actually show up and people know who they are. And they see an opportunity where the media will be happy to talk to any one of these people that they say is somehow connected or might be connected in some crazy way to Donald Trump. There are always crazies that come out.

I've been around -- I've been in talk radio since I was 12 years old. I've never heard of these people, and I've been in the conservative movement since I was 12, until about six weeks ago. And guess what, they're eventually going to go away again. But they saw an opportunity here that if they could say anything that referenced "Make America Great" or Donald Trump, that the media would cover them and somehow they would have a moment of relevance again and maybe some other nut job crazy on the internet will show up at their group in a basement with their parents' house that no one knew existed before yesterday.

So I'll give them this. They actually have learned how to play everyone very well and to get free media when no one knew who they were before a couple of weeks ago because people have become obsessed with the alt-right --


FERGUSON: -- which I didn't even know existed, truly, in this form.

BURNETT: Keith, can Ben successfully dismiss it this way or are these people, American Nazi Party and others, energized by Donald Trump?

BOYKIN: Of course, they're energized by Donald Trump. And he doesn't have to say explicitly, you know, come and support me. But there's the dog whistles, there's the winks and the nods. The guy started his political career by attacking the legitimacy of the first Black president of the United States. He started his presidential campaign by attacking Mexican immigrants. And then he proceeded to attack Muslims and called for a ban on all Muslims coming into the United States.

[19:25:07] Why on earth would people who are racist and xenophobic rally around a guy who says those things? Well, maybe because he's the one who is contributing the rhetoric that's encouraging them. And he has to be more than just responding to people when they say things that are crazy. He has to be affirmatively leading the effort against them. He was willing to go out and talk about "Hamilton," willing to go out and talk about "Saturday Night Live" without any sort of implication that he had to do so, but he has to be prodded to talk about White nationalists.

BURNETT: So, David, on that point, the neo-Nazi leader who you just heard with the hail Trumps said something about Trump's victory this weekend very specifically. Here he is.


SPENCER: America was, until this past generation, a White country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation. It is our inheritance. And it belongs to us.


BURNETT: David, does Trump feel that he needs to do anything differently than he has been doing, which is answering the questions from the press which, you know, he doesn't like doing? He says he disavows, the questions keep coming back. They come back because people like that guy keep saying things like that. He just said that this weekend.

CHALIAN: Yes. He said that and he was hailing Donald Trump and touting the Trump victory. I don't say that Trump went in there to sort of organize this conference in any way, but I do think that there is a difference. Donald Trump chooses his arguments and his fights. Keith just referenced "Hamilton." He went vociferously after the cast of "Hamilton" for being what he perceived to be rude, inappropriate, demanding an apology. So when he just says, "I disavow," sure, that gives him the distance but it doesn't --

FERGUSON: Come on. What are you -- I mean --

CHALIAN: One second. One second. But it does not give him the leadership moment that he could have in addressing why it is, why does Donald Trump think it is, that these White nationalists find opportunity in his political success.

FERGUSON: They find an opportunity because you take the bait. And here's the thing. You can't go out there every single day and disavow. What do you want him to do, go lock them up, put them in jail? Donald Trump has disavowed consistently. The fact is, the reason why they brought Donald Trump's name up in Washington, D.C., this conference, is because then they knew they would get on TV for it. And if we didn't talk about it, and then they wouldn't be on T.V. --

CHALIAN: But, Ben, I'm talking about when larger --

FERGUSON: -- and no one would know they existed.

CHALIAN: Ben, Ben, Ben --

DOUTHAT: Well, they --

CHALIAN: Ben, I'm talking about a larger moment thought. Donald Trump now ascending to the presidency, don't you think that he could seize an opportunity here to speak to the widest possible audience of Americans possible about what he thinks of these group, not just disavowing incident by incident?

FERGUSON: When he disavows them -- you don't give people credibility that are crazy. You disavow and move on. He's done it every step of the way. You don't give them credibility by having a press conference.

BURNETT: OK. So hold on --

FERGUSON: Disavowing is the most that you can do.

BURNETT: So, Ross, as you were with him today, where do you think he is on this? Is there any chance that he addresses this in any broader way or no?

DOUTHAT: I mean, I think he'll keep addressing it to the extent -- I mean, I sort of agree with both sides here, right?


DOUTHAT: I think Trump and Bannon and others in the campaign have sort of seen it to their advantage to sort of play to this group in certain ways, giving them encouragement. Doing things like starting off his campaign with the birth certificate stuff, I think, was clearly a dog whistle to these groups.

At the same time, the media attention to these groups does elevate them off and above their actual station in American politics. Richard Spencer is not a meaningful figure. The 200 people who crowded into a ballroom are not a meaningful mass movement in American politics. And so there is sort --

BURNETT: Interesting.

DOUTHAT: There is a sense in which it's both true. What the media should be doing, basically, is covering when Trump does things like the birth certificate stuff without covering Spencer himself. And that's a tough balance the strike, but I think that's the right one.

BOYKIN: Except that when he's appointing someone like Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General and he's appointing someone like Steve Bannon to be his chief strategist, it does send a message to people that he is not doing enough to create a sense of unity. I'll agree with you on somebody like Mitt Romney may send a better signal, but those people are questionable for a lot of Americans to have those people like these in the administration (ph).

DOUTHAT: But Jeff --

FERGUSON: That's not -- that's just not accurate.

DOUTHAT: Right. But Jeff Sessions is someone who was accused of racism in controversies 35 years ago.

BURNETT: Thirty-five years ago.

DOUTHAT: That is world's -- and he's very conservative. And liberals have every reason to oppose him. But he's just not in the same political ballpark as --

BOYKIN: Yes, but if you --

BURNETT: But Breitbart, of course, as how we're saying --


BURNETT: -- it was the voice of the alt-right very recently. So I guess there's questions there too.


BURNETT: Thank you all. Next, Jared Kushner in an exclusive interview in how he rewrote the rules for the campaign. How he ran the Donald Trump campaign. He hasn't talked about it yet. He does now. And Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate could become the winter White House. Why the biggest challenge protecting Trump could come from the pool?


[19:33:57] BURNETT: New tonight: one of Donald Trump's most trusted advisors breaking his silence, Jared Kushner. Donald Trump's 35-year- old son-in-law, married to Ivanka. He maintained a low profile during Trump's campaign.

That is an understatement. It was a no-profile, is how I would describe it -- and now speaking out for the first time after he helped Trump win. No understatement either.

Steven Bertoni is a writer for "Forbes" Magazine. He had a chance exclusively to speak with Kushner, which, you know, pretty incredible. And part of this is because you were talking about, you cover technology, and you know so much about technology and that was a crucial part how Jared Kushner helped his father win here, was technology. They had a sit down, you write about --


BURNETT: -- and Donald Trump says hey, can -- Jared what you say has been on Twitter since 2009 and never tweeted.

BERTONI: Never tweeted, very private.

BURNETT: And Donald Trump says, OK, I want you to run my Facebook. And from there, it took off.

BERTONI: It took off. They're having McDonald's Filet-o-Fish on the private jet and saying, take this over. And Jared is in real estate but he invests in a lot of tech companies so he knows people like Peter Thiel. His brother Josh is a very formidable venture capitalist.

[19:35:01] He made all these phone calls, talk to the best marketers around and he treated Trump like an e-commerce company, a consumer tech. All you do is want to get attention and eyeballs and you want to get voters. That's what he did.

BURNETT: So, he had, what, $8,000 a day they were getting on hats and he managed to turn that to $80,000. BERTONI: Just do simple targeting like Trump was a very unique. We

never had a candidate like him. So, they used targeting. They found a way to get people on Facebook and Twitter. They were going from $8,000 a day selling hats and stickers on the sight to $80,000 a day. And that gave them money to top -- won the marketing, but also turned all these people into walking Trump billboards wearing all the gear.

So, that was just one thing. Then evolved into this hundred person secret data center down in San Antonio and they had data do everything. Data, determined his schedule, his rallies, even when he spoke about in the rallies.

BURNETT: Even what he spoke about at the rallies. So, to us, it seems like, oh here he goes. We know, we're used to this, call a SOT for that. You're saying this was driven by a team of a hundred people in a secret warehouse.

BERTONI: Yes. And they tweet the speeches and then they use TV. Instead of saying, like, I want to buy, you know, a hundred points in Philadelphia. We know that people who watch NCIS care about Obamacare. Let's run a commercial for that and they found a way to kind of microtarget television.

BURNETT: Wow. I mean, it's amazing, because, you know, you keep hearing there wasn't a lot of planning here, but you are saying Jared was at the center of it. There was a lot.

And in the interview, you talk about -- you know, you say when you talked to Jared, he said he was -- people knew they could trust him. That he wasn't going to leak. What was he like in person when you speak to him? Because as I say, he keeps a no-profile. What was he like in person?

BERTONI: He's really polite and he's excessively polite and guarded. It doesn't mean he's quiet. He's very personable, but he's controlled. You know, there's a lot of question, he's a paradox. Everything with him being, you know, Orthodox Jewish and supporting some who have some alt-rig followers. A fact that he comes from a prolific Democrat family and he's running a Republican campaign.

And I asked him all these questions, even about if he -- you know, kind of put the ax in Chris Christie. He never lost his cool and he's gave a very thoughtful -- not programmed but a thoughtful answer to each question in the story.

BURNETT: In terms of the alt-right before we go, though, you said that his Judaism is very important.


BURNETT: In his office right there on display.

BERTONI: The first thing you see. It's, you know, there's book, symbols. I mean, just -- he's -- he keeps shabis and everything. It's part of his life and it's very apparent. Opposed to Donald Trump, when you go, it's all the ego of Trump.

Jared's walls are very sparse and you can see that he's a man of faith.


All right. Well, thank you very much. Pretty stunning and, by the way, an amazing article. I hope everyone will read it. It is detailed, long. There are so many anecdotes in it.

I want to talk more now with Jeffrey Lord, the former Reagan White House political director, and Jonathan Tasini, Democrat strategist.

Jeffrey, you know, you just heard what Steven was saying about Jared. Excessively polite. Incredibly polite. Very low key. His religion very apparent when you walk into his office.

He has Donald Trump's ear. He is there with him at meetings. I've seen that. He is family.

You have met him. You have corresponded with him. Do you agree with Steven's takeaway of his persona?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do. The thing that strikes me about him is he has utter common sense, that he's very, very grounded. He thinks things through.

I mean, and I should say here. He's not my best friend in life or anything like this. I met him in the course of the campaign once. And as I say, we have corresponded on occasion.

But I find him to be very, very -- in addition to being very smart, very cool and calm, which is exactly the kind of person -- I mean, I would hope seriously that his does go into the White House. When presidents going back to John Adams have had family members as confidants in the White House or in government and he's exactly the kind of person that a President Trump would want at his size.

BURNETT: So, Jonathan, a source tells CNN that Kushner could likely end one top national security clearance, OK? Yet, he's married to Ivanka Trump. And obviously they are husband and wife. They talk about things.

She was on the phone since her father was elected. Let me just go through my list here. Her father spoke to Argentina's president, November 14th, she was on the phone. She was also present at the meeting between Trump and prime minister of Japan. This is pretty incredible.

Is this okay? You have her with this now intimate relationship even though she's supposed to run the business, intimate relationship with all of these calls and then you have her married to Jared Kushner who clearly is her father's right hand man if not more.

JONATHAN TASINI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. Oh, first of all, Erin, to you and to Jeff, happy Thanksgiving if I don't get to talk you do again.

LORD: Ditto my friend.

TASINI: OK. My friend. You too. Before I now say terrible things about your candidate.

Look, I think all of this normalization of the Trumps and of Kushner and these profiles we have to go to the top, to the head, and when Donald Trump came into Washington and said he was going to drain the swamp, there is a major problem with that, is that Donald Trump is the swamp.

[19:40:02] And if you look at both his entanglements in business and the way he's conducted himself to date. And I'll give just two examples. Trump University, which was a scam and fraud. He paid a $25 million fine just a few days ago, and thousands of people who he stiffed and he essentially did not pay them. He basically was a con man.

And so, we then ask, how is he going to behave in the Oval Office? And it's hard to believe and not credible to think that, all of a sudden, this man who's been a fraud and con man is all of a sudden going to come into the Oval Office and not try to take advantage, making deals with states of head as we're worried using his family ties, his children. This is the thing that we should be concerned about. Frankly, the Republican Party should be concerned about.

LORD: Erin --

BURNETT: Does Jared make this concern about the family involvement and whether it's appropriate better or worse?

TASINI: Are you asking me or Jeff?


LORD: I think it is better. First of all the things that John has just talked about have been litigated by the American people. That's over. It's decided. Donald Trump is going to be the president of the United States.

TASINI: I'm not disputing that.

LORD: I have to tell you, I had my own column today at the "American Spectator" about the importance of Jared Kushner. And as I say I went through all of American history.

Every -- not every president but a lot of presidents had family members, sons, other family member, wives, et cetera, whom they appointed their private secretary. And Andrew Jackson's nephew, namesake. Andrew Jackson Donaldson served as his White House private secretary for years and was incredibly influential.

TASINI: But that's not the issue, Jeff.

LORD: These people that just all throughout American history and the good thing --


BURNETT: Jeff, quickly before we go I want to ask one other thing --


TASINI: If I could respond to that, Erin.

BURNETT: I just want to get that in quickly because I had a conversation briefly with Ross Douthat about it.

Trump relying on Jared Kushner to the point that today to "The New York Times", he said Jared Kushner could help make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Jeff, Ross said he was not kidding when he said that. It might have been a bit of hyperbole but he was not kidding.

Is Donald Trump expecting way too much? Now, it's peace in the Middle East on Jared's back?

LORD: Well, no. I think what he's doing is assessing his son-in- law's abilities. And I think that Jared, at least it's impression. I've never had this conversation with him. But I think it is my impression that he's been extensively involved in Middle Eastern matters in terms of being pro-Israel and that sort of thing. So, who knows? I mean, let's just remember that he American people elected a peanut farmer in Georgia from 1976 who solved the Egyptian-Israeli relationship.

TASINI: But he wasn't a con man.

LORD: You know, against all odds.

BURNETT: We will hit pause there, thanks to both.

And next, Trump's Mar-A-Lago, the 20-acre estate that he shares with wealthy club members. How will Secret Service keep him safe in that capacity?

Plus, a deadly school bus crash in Tennessee. We're now learning this is the second accident the driver has had in just a few months. We're live in Chattanooga after this.


[19:47:01] BURNETT: Breaking news. Just moments ago, President-elect Trump arriving at Mar-A-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach. That's where his family will be celebrating Thanksgiving. There will be no shortage of security restrictions on the ground in the air and in the water.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protecting President- elect Donald Trump is a challenge unlike any other.

From Trump Tower in New York to his private club in Florida.

(on camera): So, we're approaching Mar-A-Lago right here.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): It's a 20-acre waterfront estate in Palm Beach, secluded from the public but he also shares it with as many as 500 members, who are willing to pay a hundred thousand dollars to join.

RENNIE RODRIGUEZ, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Basically, it is a compound and we have to treat it as such.

LAVANDERA: Former Secret Service and ATF special agent Rennie Rodriguez says in many ways, it's ready made for presidential security.

(on camera): Behind natural barrier here, which I assume there is a fence.

RODRIGUEZ: There's a wall back there.

LAVANDERA: There's a wall. A tall wall.

RODRIGUEZ: It's more than 13 feet I believe, which is great for -- for deterring anyone trying to come on the premises.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Behind the wall, Trump keeps a residence that could become the winter White House.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I love Florida. This is my second home.

LAVANDERA: Where presidents spend their vacations is a window into their personalities. George W. Bush liked to spend the hottest month of the year or his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: A wonderful spot to come in here and just kind of think about the budget.

LAVANDERA: George Bush Sr. famously enjoined the peaceful certainty of Kennebunkport, Maine.

Mar-A-Lago stretches across a barrier island, cut down the middle by a two lane road nestled between a stunning stream of multimillion dollar homes. The best view comes from across the bay.

Rodriguez says Secret Service teams are assessing threat it is a could come by land, sea and air. And standing outside the club, it doesn't take long to see the skies above will be a major concern.

(on camera): I mean, that plane's, what? Maybe a couple thousand feet over us?

(voice-over): The Palm Beach International Airport is just a few miles west of Mar-A-Lago. RODRIGUEZ: You can see the path of commercial aircraft.

LAVANDERA: For years, Trump has waged a legal battle to keep commercial and private planes from flying over this estate. And now that he's president-elect, he might have just gotten his way. When he's on his property, Rodriguez says, the air space over Mar-A-Lago will be closed.

RODRIGUEZ: This would be a type of individual would use to drive his plane into -- on the property.

LAVANDERA: And in the waters around Mar-A-Lago, the U.S. Coast Guard is already setting up security zones. Some parts completely off limits. Others that require permission before entering.

Rodriguez says Secret Service agent will also conduct renewed background checks on every club member.

[19:50:02] And inside the club, they can also expect to see new levels of the visible and invisible layers of security.

(on camera): But life is going to change around here for the next four years.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, it will. Most definitely.


BURNETT: Ed, you know, the president-elect just touched down moments ago there, of course, at Mar-A-Lago. Have you noticed any drastic changes in security where you are right now compared to say 24 hours ago as you were working on your reporting?

LAVANDERA: Totally different scene here. In fact, just a few moments ago, the motorcade drove past our live shot here. And closer to the property, which is those lights that you see behind me, you know, Coast Guard boats out in the water, which is this darkness here off to my side. And every entrance in Mar-A-Lago today secured with armed guards as well. And then, off to the side, we've also seen a check point where they are doing significance scans of any kind of vehicle going inside of the property.

So, a much more intense scene here security-wise tonight -- Erin.

BURNETT: Oh, incredible.

All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you very much.

And next, a school bus driver in the deadly crash now facing multiple criminal charges. He had done bad driving before. We're going to have the latest from the ground.


BURNETT: Breaking news: President-elect Donald Trump weighing in on the deadly school bus crash that left at least five elementary school students dead. Tweeting moments ago, quote, "Bus crash in Tennessee so sad and so terrible.

[19:55:02] Condolences to all family members and loved ones. These beautiful children will be remembered."

The driver just 24 years old, Johntony Walker, now facing five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. We have also learned that he hit another car while driving a bus in September.

One student lucky enough to survive the deadly crash explaining what happened in horrific terms.


UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He wasn't paying attention. He was going real fast, and he hit a garbage bag and he hit a mailbox and then we flipped over and hit a tree real hard.


BURNETT: Martin Savidge is there.

And, Martin, what do police know at this hour? It is horrible. And we're now learning that this man had been in an accident before while driving a bus?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, he's only had his commercial driver's license since April. So, he had only been driving a short time for the school bus. And, yes, according to authorities, had another accident in September when he ran his bus into a car. All of this could have been presages to what happened yesterday.

But the real indicators are speed. This is where authorities are saying that looks like a real culprit here. There's a lot more of this investigation to go, but it looks like he was doing well above the 30 miles per hour posted speed limit.

The children that are still here, six are in intensive care and in critical condition. Last night, they had to deal with dozens of children. Remember, many of them so young and so much in shock, they were unable to really speak. They couldn't give a phone number, couldn't say a parents name, couldn't even give an address. How do you reunite?

They came across a brilliant idea when the parents flocked to the emergency room, they all had pictures of their children in their cell phones. They began showing them and they were able to easily reunite them with the children they had in the back.

Until they came across one family that had a photo, the hospital didn't have that child. It became quickly evident why.

And then there was a teacher who stepped forward with a photograph of that same child taken that day.

And listen to the rest of the story here is told by the medical staff. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAN KEYS, SENIOR VP AND CHIEF NURSING EXECUTIVE, ERLANGER HEALTH SYSTEM: I saw, you know, the student earlier in the day. And this is what was going on. It was a very happy situation. They were celebrating Thanksgiving. So, it is very touching to see that. And I think it was helpful for the family to know what the last moments of, you know, might have been.

SAVIDGE: This was a child that did not survive.

KEYS: Right.


SAVIDGE: Just so you clearly understand, his teacher had taken a photograph with her student. That child did not survive. The last photo they had was to share with the parent of the child of happy times earlier. It would have to last the rest of their lives -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Martin. Thank you very much. Just so so horrible. Kindergartener, first graders among those needlessly and horribly lost their lives.

We'll be right back.


BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.