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Did Russia Influence Election?; Interview With California Congressman John Garamendi; Florence Henderson Dies; Trump Mulling Cabinet Picks. Source: Secret Service May Lease Space in Trump Tower; Trump Spending Holiday at His Exclusive Palm Beach Club; Actress Florence Henderson Dies at 82. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 25, 2016 - 18:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: Loyalty matters. As president-elect Donald Trump works on his final Cabinet picks, new signs of infighting are emerging in his inner circle over who was more loyal during the campaign. Could Mitt Romney and other former picks lose out on top jobs in the Trump administration?

Fake news campaign. A new report suggests Russia was behind a powerful propaganda effort to influence the election by spreading false news stories online. Did Vladimir Putin order what was effectively a cyber-attack on American democracy?

Presidential paradise, a look inside president-elect Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where the soon-to-be first family is spending the holiday weekend. The exclusive club is a playground for the rich and famous. But what was Trump's original plan for the historic estate?

And saying goodbye. One of America's most beloved sitcom mom dies unexpectedly -- tributes tonight to Florence Henderson. But Carol Brady was only one of the many roles that she played a career that spanned decades. We're going to look at what she did before and after "The Brady Bunch."

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: We're following breaking news, president-elect Donald Trump filling two more key positions in his upcoming administration.

He's named national security analyst K.T. McFarland his deputy national security adviser. And he's appointed the general counsel for his campaign, Don McGahn, to be White House counsel. But the key role of secretary of state remains open still with Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani top contenders.

A source tells CNN Trump spoke to Romney over Thanksgiving, but his sharp criticism of Trump during the campaign is making him a pretty tough sell to some loyalists.

CNN has also learned the Secret Service is considering leasing a full floor inside of Trump Tower at a cost of about $1.5 million, which would go to Donald Trump. Officials are looking at setting up around- the-clock command center to protect Trump while he's there and his wife as well and young son who are staying in New York through the spring.

And, tonight, "The Washington Post" is reporting that the Russians propaganda outlets helped amplify some false stories about Hillary Clinton throughout the presidential campaign. This operation allegedly used so-called botnets, teams of paid human trolls, and networks of social media accounts to echo right-wing sites portraying Clinton negatively.

We're covering all of that and more this hour with our guests, including Democratic Congressman John Garamendi. And our correspondents and our expert analysts are also standing by.

Let's begin with the latest on the Trump transition.

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta has the details on this.

And these appointments, Jim, were fairly straightforward, but we're also learning there's some infighting taking place over the secretary of state position.


Mitt Romney is still in the running for secretary of state. I'm told by a source familiar with transition discussions that Romney and Trump spoke briefly over Thanksgiving. The Trump transition did announce picks for two important posts in the White House, but that was a far less complicated task than sorting out this battle over the State Department.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Now that he's finished with his Thanksgiving turkey, Donald Trump is stuffing his White House staff, naming former Republican administration official K.T. McFarland his deputy national security adviser and Don McGahn his White House counsel.

McFarland, a foreign policy hawk and FOX News contributor, accused Russia of meddling in the presidential election just last September.

K.T. MCFARLAND, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And he said, it's not a Russian state entity and then he smiled. What's that? That's an admission that, in fact, they're doing it. And why do they it? It's because they can get away with it.

ACOSTA: But Trump still faces the high-stakes test of choosing his next secretary of state. A transition source says, in addition to Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, retired General David Petraeus, retired marine General John Kelly and Senator Bob Corker are also in the running for the post.

It's a battle that has divided the president-elect's world into rival factions between aides who see Romney as the safe choice and staffers loyal to Giuliani. Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway took her thoughts to Twitter, saying: "Receiving deluge of social media and private coms regarding Romney. Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as secretary of state."

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I would suggest there are a lot of other people who are more qualified than Romney in foreign policy and who are also -- have not been as actively hostile as he's been.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: It's not about that I don't care for Mitt personally, but I am still very happy that Mitt did everything he could to derail Donald Trump. He attacked him on a personal level about his character, integrity, his honor.

ACOSTA: Giuliani boasted about his credentials to "The Wall Street Journal," saying: "I probably have traveled in the last 13 years as much Hillary did in the years she was secretary of state."


Romney's world is much more quiet, with wife Ann tweeting on Thanksgiving, "Thankful today for a full house and full heart."

As for Petraeus, the former CIA director who was sentenced to two years of probation after sharing classified information with his lover, told the BBC he is open to serving in government again.

DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I have been in the position before where a president has turned to me in the Oval Office in a difficult moment and turned without any pleasantries and said, I am asking you as your president and commander in chief to take command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. And the only response can be, yes, Mr. President.

ACOSTA: During the campaign, Trump defended Petraeus, saying he received far worse treatment than Hillary Clinton did from FBI Director James Comey.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: After reading all of these items where she is so guilty, he left her off the hook, while other lives, including General Petraeus and many others, have been destroyed for doing far, far less.


ACOSTA: Now, as for the infighting over secretary of state, tensions are building in response to some of the grumbling over Romney's past criticism of Trump.

One Romney loyalist says to me, who needs who more? And with the Trump transition team floating more names for secretary of state, it's quite possible this may not be just a battle between Romney and Rudy Giuliani anymore -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

Let's get more now from CNN's Ryan Nobles. He's in Palm Beach for us tonight.

And, Ryan, although Donald Trump hasn't been seen in the past few days, he did make time to tweet yesterday and let everyone that he's certainly working hard, despite the holiday.


Of course, the president-elect likes to use Twitter as a way to communicate with the American public. And you may remember during the campaign, Trump talked often bringing American jobs back to the United States from overseas and keeping jobs here from going overseas.

And he would publicly go after big American companies like Nabisco, Ford and of course the furnace maker Carrier. Carrier announced during the campaign that they were planning on moving 1,400 jobs from a plant in Indianapolis to Mexico. And Trump really went after them on the campaign trail.

Well, now that he's president-elect, Trump says that he's in negotiations with the company to keep those jobs here. Trump tweeting over the pats couple of days that he's made real progress with the furnace maker in keeping those jobs here in the United States and keeping them from moving to Mexico.

Now, Carrier, the company itself, did respond to Trump's tweet. They said that they have nothing new to announce at this time. Now, the transition team could not provide any more insight into exactly what's happening with these negotiations with Carrier.

But, Brianna, if Trump was able to pull something off like this and keep even a small number of these jobs here in the United States, it would be a major coup for his administration in its early days -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Sure would be.

And, Ryan, he has this announcement of two positions today. What is he expected to do this weekend and into Monday?

NOBLES: Well, he's expected to stay behind the walls here at Mar-a- Lago behind me and not emerge over the weekend. He and his family will stay here through Sunday. No more announcements are scheduled to be released about appointments to any staffers or Cabinet-level positions.

But he's returning to New York Sunday night and has a very busy Monday. Eight different people will come to Trump Tower to meet with the president-elect and the vice president-elect, Mike Pence. Among them will be Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

You may remember him from the Republican National Convention. He gave a fiery speech then. He's an African-American. He's a Democrat, but he's been a very prominent critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, Brianna, his name being floated as a potential secretary of homeland security.

KEILAR: All right, that would be very interesting.

Ryan Nobles in Palm Beach, thank you so much.

Let's get more now on all of this with Democratic Congressman John Garamendi of California.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us this sort of holiday long weekend. We do appreciate it.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.

KEILAR: And you're watching this drama, these arguments in the Trump transition team over who should be secretary of state. There's Rudy Giuliani. There's Mitt Romney. There's also other possibilities here, including David Petraeus, who, of course, served in the Obama administration.

Not that you do get to pick, sir.

GARAMENDI: No, I don't.

KEILAR: But which of these would give you more comfort?

GARAMENDI: Well, that's a tough question, because I don't know all of the details that are going to have to be asked by the U.S. Senate as these people go through confirmation.

That will be a very interesting and very, very penetrating series of questions that will be asked of these of these. Giuliani, what did he do overseas? Who were his clients overseas? How much money did he receive from them and so forth? All the way through all of those people.

And Romney, as you have said so clearly, he has a very interesting interpersonal relationship with the president-elect. So, I'm not going to guess one or the other.


What I'm going to say, it has to be somebody that understands the extraordinarily difficult position that the president-elect has put the United States in, big questions all around the world as to what is the United States' foreign policy under the Trump presidency.

We don't know. They don't know. Whoever secretary of state is going to be will have to be out there telling the world where we're going and why we -- why they should not be worried.

KEILAR: What about General Petraeus as secretary of state? He's obviously someone who is pretty popular with Democrats and Republicans. He's been confirmed before, not, of course, since he's stepped down in disgrace as CIA director over how he handled classified information. But I think, with his popularity, I certainly wonder you think he would be a good choice.

GARAMENDI: Well, I really don't know. I would have to measure it up against the question that I just put forward, is, can this individual successfully tell the rest of the world what the administration's policies are as, for example, NATO?

We have heard some really disturbing remarks coming out of the president-elect's campaign about the role of NATO and about the role of nuclear weapons for Japan or Korea. These are extraordinarily difficult and important questions. The secretary of state is going to have to be on the front line. Could Petraeus do it? Probably he could.

But he also comes at this with a military record and the CIA and the troubles he had there. So I guess the answer really is, there's no perfect person, but there has to be a very competent person.

KEILAR: I want to ask you about what we learned yesterday about a service member. We learn that this happened yesterday. Today, we learned this, a service member killed in Northern Syria from wounds sustained from an IED explosion.

We now know his identity, Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Cooper Dayton. And, of course, our sympathies are certainly with his family at this time. But as you see this, the first service member to be killed inside of Syria, not in the theater -- we have seen several killed in Iraq -- it's very clear that this assistance role comes with a lot of danger.

So, how do you see this changing or sort of changing perception of what people think about the mission of special forces inside Syria and nearby?

GARAMENDI: Well, first of all, I share your condolences to the family. It's got to be an extraordinarily difficult Thanksgiving Day for them.

But we do thank the family and certainly our service members around the world for their service, and they are in extraordinarily dangerous places, certainly Iraq and all that's going on in Mosul and in that surrounding area. And we have got thousands of troops that are either on the front lines or in harm's way.

Syria is a very dangerous place, no doubt about it. And we have perhaps 300, maybe more, special operations forces in that area. And they are definitely in danger zones. And we should expect to see more casualties. And that's the nature of this conflict.

But, once again, here we are in a major foreign policy question that the new president is going to have to address. So, what will be the role of the United States in Syria? Will we go all in with even more troops or will we not? What is Turkey's role going to be as they have been pushing hard against the United States to address the issues of the coup attempt? These are really, really important questions. The administration has to get its act together quickly.

KEILAR: Certainly they are important questions. What do you want? You are on the Armed Services Committee. What do you want to see done?

GARAMENDI: Well, I would like to stay the course.

I think we're seeing a successful course laid out by the Obama administration.

KEILAR: Do you mean current troop levels or do you mean stay the course on the mission, and you might want to see more troops?

GARAMENDI: I don't think we're going to need more troops. What we need to do is to finish what we're beginning, successfully moving forward in Iraq.

The army seems -- the Iraqi army seems to be back together again. We seem to be able to provide the necessary aerial reconnaissance, support necessary and the advisers on the ground. Syria is going to be a very difficult situation. I don't think it's any place for a large number of American ground troops.

We have to work with the countries in the area, certainly Turkey. We know that the Turkey-Kurdish situation is complex, to say nothing of the Syria-Russia situation. And that's going to take a very adroit administration to work their way through those complexities.

KEILAR: I'm sure you have seen this "Washington Post" report that Donald Trump has only received two intelligence briefings since he won the election.


And he's been turning away these briefings. We know that his vice president-elect has not been doing this. You give briefings as a member of Congress. So, I want to understand this, about how important these briefings are, how this shapes your opinion.

GARAMENDI: Oh, the briefings are extraordinarily important, particularly for somebody like president-elect Trump that doesn't have the foreign policy or the military experience, and has certainly not been watching it closely, at least from all that we have learned from him as he went through the campaign.

He really needs to come up to speed on this. Ultimately, these critical decisions are only his. They can't be made by a secretary of state or the Defense Department secretary. He's got to make those decisions. And he really must engage himself in those briefings, because they are critical information.

Now, perhaps his concern is that loose lips and he could be divulging highly sensitive material, so perhaps that's why he is avoiding that. But, no, no, he's got to engage. Otherwise, he will go into office with a high level of ignorance in an extraordinarily difficult period of time.

KEILAR: We know that some of these nations may be trying to test an administration early, as they so often do.

All right, I have many more questions for you. Congressman Garamendi, stick around with me.

GARAMENDI: Sure. Sure.

KEILAR: We will be right back to discuss even more, perhaps a recount in the presidential election, even though we're talking about the president-elect. We will talk about that.



KEILAR: Breaking news tonight: President-elect Donald Trump has filled two key White House positions. He's named national security analyst K.T. McFarland to be his deputy national security adviser. He's also appointed the general counsel for his campaign, Don McGahn, to be White House counsel.

And we're back now with Democratic Congressman John Garamendi of California.

And I have something completely different that I want to ask you about, something that I find pretty fascinating...


KEILAR: ... which is Green Party candidate Jill Stein filing for a recount today in Wisconsin. And she and people supporting this are also hoping to do the same thing in Pennsylvania.

This comes, just to let our viewers know, after some computer scientists came forward. They suggested an independent investigation into whether perhaps election results were hacked in some counties in those states that used electronic ballots.

I also should add there are a lot of experts who say there's really not anything to this. With that in mind, do you support a recount in these states?

GARAMENDI: Well, your vote, my vote is the most precious thing we have in the democracy. And it's really imperative that you and I and every other American have confidence in the electoral system.

Obviously, issues have been raised. Whether they're correct or not, certainly, I don't know. But they should be explored. They should be put out of the -- questions should be put out of the way as quickly as possible.

KEILAR: With a recount, you think?

GARAMENDI: Well, you can start with that, but the recount simply means that there's going to be a look at the veracity of the election, in this case, Wisconsin.

I suspect that she will also file in Michigan and in Pennsylvania. And we're looking at some, what, 10,000-vote difference in Michigan. It's easy enough to imagine that one or another ways that that could change quickly.

And so -- but we need to have confidence. And a quick look at it, a recount doesn't mean you go through each and every ballot. Usually, it starts with just a statistical analysis of what is there, questions that might get out of the way.

But the really important thing is that we end this election process and every other election with confidence that every vote was counted correctly. And there's only way to do that. Recounts are not unusual. In fact, they're very usual.

In a presidential race, as close as this one is, I think it's appropriate to at least look and see if there's any fire behind what some people say is some smoke.

KEILAR: I want to ask you about what Democrats are planning for the years ahead.

In 2012, after Mitt Romney lost, the RNC did an autopsy to figure out how they lost, what they could have done better going forward. Do you think Democrats need to do something similar?

GARAMENDI: Well, we do know where some of the problems are. We do know that our presidential candidate received two million votes more than the president-elect.

So there is an issue with the way in which we select a president. The Electoral College is an issue that needs to be looked at across this nation. And, frankly, I think it has to change.

Secondly, we know that redistricting is a major problem for those of us in Congress. There is gerrymandering to a fare-thee-well in states controlled by the Republicans that have guaranteed somewhere around 220 safe Republican seats.

And I don't know that there's any way for us to break through that firewall that they have put up to protect those seats using gerrymandering as a way of doing that. So, that's another question that needs to be addressed. Can we establish commissions around the nation that establish fair, competitive congressional seats?

KEILAR: But you say the Electoral College needs to change.


KEILAR: Are you -- I mean, if you're on the other side of this equation, I think there are a lot of Democrats who then would say something different. But are you worried about destabilizing the system that's been in place for years and years?

GARAMENDI: Years and years and proving several times it doesn't work well.


We usually say that your vote is worth as much as my vote. But that's not the case with the Electoral College.

KEILAR: Well, some say it's so that different states, so that all states sort of have a say and that there's some of this representation and it's not just the popular vote.

GARAMENDI: Have you heard of the U.S. Senate?

If you talk about having...


KEILAR: I would take your point if they did much, Congressman. But they don't.


GARAMENDI: Well, now, that's another question.

But I represent more people than who are in North Dakota. And I'm one of 53 in California. But, hey, one vote is not as good as the next vote, but not in an Electoral College system.

I really think we ought to have a national popular vote system put in place where go out and get your votes all around the country, not just focus on a handful of states, but go to every American and say, hey, you're important. I need your vote. I want your vote. I deserve your vote.

That's not the way it is today. And so it really is an antiquated system set up when it took perhaps a month to travel from some of the Western states or some of the states to get to Philadelphia or to Washington, D.C., as the case might have been back in the 1800s or even the 1700s.

So it's time for us to become modern. A national popular vote can be done without changing the Constitution, simply how the states choose to apportion their electoral votes. Keep the Electoral College in place, but, instead, apportion the votes based upon the national popular vote.

That would do it without changing the Electoral College. And, frankly, that process is in place today.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman John Garamendi, we certainly appreciate you being with us today. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

GARAMENDI: Thank you very much. You too.

KEILAR: Just ahead, inside Donald Trump's Florida estate. What was his original plan for Mar-a-Lago?

Plus, fueling the fight against ISIS. We are with the U.S. Air Force for a CNN exclusive.


KEILAR: More breaking news tonight. A law enforcement official tells CNN the Secret Service is considering setting up a round-the-clock command center inside of Trump Tower to protect the president-elect and his family.

[18:31:59] CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown is working this story for us. And Pamela, your source says the Secret Service may actually lease an entire floor?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, that is under consideration, renting one floor of Trump Tower to put up this 24/7 command post. We know, Brianna, that Melania and Barron will be there until the spring, at least, for Barron to finish school, and Trump is expected to visit on the weekends. And so the Secret Service wants to be prepared for that.

And we know that this is going to be a large price tag, $1.5 million to rent one level, according to one person we spoke to, who's in charge of that. That is on top of $1 million a day in New York City for security, and that does not even include the costs for all the agents and the officers, the overtime.

We're told that there could be more than 400 officers and agents by the end of this. All the plans are still being ironed out. A lot to consider, but certainly a hefty price tag there, Brianna.

KEILAR: How unusual is this setup?

BROWN: Well, the Secret Service is in charge of protecting the president and the first family. So wherever the preside goes, the Secret Service goes.

What's unusual in this case is the fact that Trump Tower is right there on Fifth Avenue, a busy corridor in one of the busiest cities in the world.

It's also unusual that the Secret Service, in essence, would be paying the Trump Corporation rent, so essentially, Trump's company would getting the money from the Secret Service to protect Trump and his family. It's unclear what kind of negotiations are underway or what deal might be worked out.

And it's worth mentioning, Brianna, the Secret Service apparently paid rent to Joe Biden for a cottage next to his house in Delaware, because he would often travel home on the weekends.

And we spoke to a Secret Service expert who said that it's standard for the Secret Service to have these kinds of costs. This is a practice that goes back to the Nixon administration.

But certainly, there are some different circumstances here surrounding Trump Tower and the Trump -- the future first family, Brianna.

KEILAR: Certainly is. All right, Pamela Brown, thank you so much.

I want to get more now on this with our panel. And I want to go to you first, Bakari Sellers, because I actually asked Ana Navarro this. You know, what did she think about $1.5 million a year being potentially paid to Donald Trump, because he is the landlord? She actually said, you know, whatever. This is sort of what happens. I wonder what you think as a Democrat.

BAKARI SELLERS (D), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I do think that there are a lot of ways that Donald Trump is going to make profit off his campaign run. I think we've seen that. I think we will continue to see that.

But I don't have any problem with the Secret Service doing whatever they need to do to protect the first family, wherever that may be. I do think that, if Michelle Obama and Sasha and Malia decided that they were going to stay in Chicago and not move to Washington, D.C., then the fervor of the money spent would be a little bit different, a little bit higher, especially from my colleagues on the right.

But I don't want to go down that rabbit hole, per se. I think you should do everything possible to keep the first family safe and secure, even if it is just going into the pocket of Donald Trump. It further goes against that notion that he's a man of the people, looking out for little people throughout the country.

[18:35:04] KEILAR: I have a question for you, Lannee Chen. As a former Romney public policy director, first, I want you to listen to something that a Donald Trump loyalist, Congressman Chris Collins -- he was the first member of Congress to get behind Donald Trump. And he and others have taken a whole lot of incoming, as you can imagine, in the last several months. And he and others are, I guess you could say bitter about this idea that Mitt Romney is being considered for secretary of state. Let's talk after we listen to what he said.


KEILAR: It sounds like it's difficult, though, for people like yourself, who were fully on board and fully on board early, to look at someone who -- I mean, it's not just -- you said Nikki Haley. She did have some criticism of Donald Trump, but she had -- it was sort of more genteel criticism. And with Mitt Romney, I mean, the back and forth was scathing.


KEILAR: It could peel paint. So when you look at that, as someone who's a loyalist, does it just -- what's your feeling? I can hear that it's -- it would be disappointing.

COLLINS: Well, I referred to Governor Romney time and again as a loser, somebody that rose to be our nominee, who then walked away from the Republican Party. I thought that was disgraceful, and I called it out as such.

But at this point in time, all of us want what's best for America, to make America one, put America first. And if, as an individual, President-elect Trump believes that Mitt Romney can give him the best individual in that, I will respect that, and we'll move on.

But clearly, for a lot of us that were in the firefight, to have to stand up against both the Bushes and Romney, it was -- it's not easy. But again, this is Donald Trump's decision. I respect that, and it should tell America a lot that he's considering this.


KEILAR: Lannee, how does Mitt Romney -- how could he overcome this -- I mean, you hear it right there. This is full-blown animosity towards him.

LANNEE CHEN, FORMER POLICY ADVISOR TO MITT ROMNEY: Yes, it was a very difficult campaign. There's no question about it. But you know, to the congressman point, the election is over, and the question now is, what kind of team is the president-elect going to assemble? And I presume that the reason why Donald Trump reached out to Governor Romney, the reason he's reached out to others is because he wants to field the best team possible to put out on the field to protect American interests going forward.

So ultimately, this is going to be Donald Trump's decision. It's not going to be anybody else's decision. And Governor Romney's made no mistake of the fact that he wants to do everything he can to help this president-elect be successful. And that means putting some of the campaign behind us and looking forward to figuring out how we can govern together to improve America's standing and position in the world.

KEILAR: It certainly would be fascinating if both he and Donald Trump do it. It would defy the expectations, I think, of both men.

I want to talk to you about something very different and also just -- I mean, very interesting and stunning, because "The Washington Post" has reported that Russian propaganda outlets played a role in amplifying this anti-Clinton fake news throughout the election. They have botnets. They have paid human trolls. I mean, when you look at that, Phil, it just seems a little crazy.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think you're going to have to look at two things. No. 1, what happens in future elections? This is not only a presidential issue.

KEILAR: But were you surprised by what we've learned, by what "The Washington Post" is reporting about what happened?

MUDD: No, I'm not, because the U.S. has very little sort of option in what to respond to this. What, are you going to go out and invade Russia? People talk about what you should do against Putin. What's the president going to do? Is he going to get into Russian systems?

I think the question in the future going into an election early on is, what does the White House and the Congress do in engaging future candidates to say, "Before you're even a Democratic or a Republican nominee, you're going to get federal assistance to assure that your servers, that your websites are not compromised by a foreign power."

And again, the complication's going to be you can't wait till someone is a nominee, because their systems will already be compromised.


JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes. Not all fake news is Russian intelligence propaganda.


ROGIN: But some of it is Russian intelligence propaganda.


ROGIN: And what "The Washington Post" did is lay out some evidence that this was used in the elections. Something we already knew and now we know a little bit more about. OK.

So there's -- there are things we can do. First of all, as news consumers, we can be a little bit more discerning about the things that we click on and pay for.

KEILAR: But so many people are not.

ROGIN: And as producers, we could be more...


ROGIN: ... concerned about where our sources of information are coming from.

And the government does have a responsibility to call out the Russian government when it is shown that they are doing what it is basically information warfare, in an attempt to under our democracy and our confidence in our own media. OK? That's a real thing, and it needs to be approached on a consumer, a corporate and a government level. And we just aren't ready. We haven't come to the realization and the action plan for how we do that.

KEILAR: Lannee, this highlights, I think, when it comes to this issue of who's going to be secretary of state. This highlights a huge division between Mitt Romney and Donald Trump: how to handle Russia. I mean, how -- how would Mitt Romney handle the fact that he and Donald Trump seem to see the U.S./Russian relationship so differently?

[18:40:18] CHEN: Yes, Brianna, I think there is a fundamental question we have to answer, which is what are the actual policy differences here? You know, certainly differences in tone, no question about it. Differences in maybe how one might approach Vladimir Putin.

But if you look at the actual policy differences between, you know, stuff that Governor Romney and others have said in the past and what Donald Trump has said. You know, aside from, potentially, some similarity, in engagement on Syria, you know, where Donald Trump has said, "Look, we've got to figure out how we can work with the Russians on Syria." That clearly is a difference in policy from what Governor Romney has said.

Aside from that, it seems to me that we have to suss out a little bit what the policies are actually going to be of this administration.

And the other issue I bring up, Brianna, is that, frankly, if you look at the fundamental orientation of foreign policy that Donald Trump has talked about, really putting American interests first, that's very much in line with where Governor Romney has been for many years.

So, you know, we'll have to see how this works out, if this election is made, and if that's the way that the president-elect goes. But ultimately we have to distinguish between rhetoric and policy going forward.

KEILAR: Bakari, "The New York Times" is reporting that Donald Trumps may be scaling back his plans to confront China on trade. This after President Obama warned him about the threat from North Korea.

President Obama has said the reality might force Donald Trump to change his positions. How do you think Democrats respond to this? How do you think Donald Trump's base responds to this? Do you think he has so much this?

SELLERS: Well, I think Donald Trump has already abandoned his base for the most part. Donald Trump has flip-flopped on various issues from -- you know, you talk about Obamacare. Now he's going keep part of that. You talk about the International Climate Change Compact. Now he wants to remain a part of that. We're talking about China. And so you'll see these flip-flops throughout the campaign.

And usually Donald Trump bases his public policy on the last person he spoke to. In this case, it's Barack Obama.

And so I think when we have a lot of these global issues, and you want to go back to Russia, the only thing that Donald Trump has not flip- flopped on is his relationship with Putin, is his relationship with Russia and the relationship that the United States will have going forward.

One of the most dangerous things, just to hearken back on the last topic that we were talking about, is that you asked how can we kind of dismantle this Russian propaganda that influenced our elections?

Well, the fact of the matter is, Russia weaponized the United States media, and so for all those who partake in the media, all of those who are part of the media, they have as big a role in what Russia was doing as anyone else. Because we spent day after day talking about e- mails and WikiLeaks without even pushing back on the fact that this was, in fact, interference from a foreign government.

KEILAR: And I would say that even when you said where it came from, the information is still out there, you know? So that's a key point.

I want to finish with a thought from you, Phil, on the issue of intelligence briefings...

MUDD: Yes, yes.

KEILAR: ... the fact that "The Washington Post" is reporting Donald Trump has only had two.

MUDD: Yes.

KEILAR: You're someone who's been involved in putting together briefings. What's your reaction to that?

MUDD: Don't get over-excited yet. My real question would be...

KEILAR: Come on, Phil.

MUDD: No, come on, let's chill out here.

KEILAR: All right.

MUDD: Half of this story is the president-elect. You're missing the other half, which is inside the Beltway.

In New York City, money talks. In Washington, D.C., power talks. This is how the intelligence people say, "Hey, we may not have access to the Oval Office." They are worried about this, because the coin of the realm in Washington, D.C., is access to the president of the United States. As soon as they get a sniff that he's not interested, they're nervous. So I think it is half Trump and half intelligence.

KEILAR: All right. Well,...

ROGIN: I think they're just doing their job, and I think Donald Trump has a lot of learning to do, and he should just take the time and take the briefings.

KEILAR: All right. Gentlemen, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

Just ahead, surprising details about Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, including how he managed to buy the property after his initial offer was rejected.


[18:48:47] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Reagan had his California ranch. The Bushes, Kennebunkport in Maine. And Donald Trump will apparently use his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, as at least one of his presidential retreats.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has a closer look at Mar-a-Lago, as it's called.

Ed, this is now an exclusive club, but the president-elect has a private home on the property.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He does inside. You know, his relationship with Palm Beach has been extremely contentious over the years. But now, the president is coming home.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Walking inside the 20-acre Mar-a-Lago estate is like a journey into a gilded age of ornate wealth and extravagance. The old world sitting on the coast of Florida.

FRANK CERABINO, PALM BEACH POST COLUMNIST: It's like walking into a place that, you know, is a fairy tale, like Cinderella's castle.

LAVANDERA: Mar-a-Lago was built in the 1920s by the socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. Her family founded "The Post" cereal empire. At the time, she was the wealthiest woman in the United States.

"Palm Beach Daily News" society editor Shannon Donnelly says, for decades, the town's high society luminaries were entertained on these grounds.

SHANNON DONNELLY, PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS: She would have square dance parties every Friday night. It was very coveted invitation.

LAVANDERA: Post died in 1973, and she willed the estate to the U.S. government, to use as a diplomatic and presidential retreat. But presidents never use it, and it became so costly to maintain that the federal government decided to sell it. That's when Donald Trump moved in.

(on camera): Donald Trump bought the Mar-a-Lago estate and all of the antique furnishes inside back in 1985 for nearly $10 million. Last year, he bragged to "The Washington Post" about how that deal went down. According to Trump his initial property was rejected so he turned around and bought an adjacent property and threatened to build a large hideous house on it that would block the view of the ocean from Mar-a-Lago. Trump claims that drove the property value down here and that is when he was able to come in and snatch up Mar-a-Lago.

DONNELLY: That's the deal of the century.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But early on, "Palm Beach Post" columnist Frank Cerabino described Mar-a-Lago as a financial albatross for Trump. The property maintenance alone was costing a fortune.

CERABINO: They turned out to be one of those investments that created problems, because when he sort of became crunched with money and he needed to do something, this house was sort of a weight on around his shoulder and he had to get -- do something with it. And that's how the club founded.

LAVANDERA: First, Trump wanted to carve up the property and sell individual lots. But Palm Beach officials wouldn't allow that to happen. Eventually, Trump came up with the idea of turning Mar-a-Lago into that exclusive club, where members would pay a hundred thousand membership fee and $14,000 in annual dues. Donald Trump keeps a secluded private residence on the property.

This is where Trump married his wife Melania in 2005.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: It's a tremendously successful club and I'm so glad I did it and I'm very, very proud of it.

LAVANDERA: And more than 40 years after Marjorie Merriweather Post's death --

DONNELLY: It is now exactly what she dreamed it would be.

LAVANDERA: -- a presidential retreat on the Florida coast.


LAVANDERA: And, Brianna, I think the only thing that story was missing was my impression of the Robin Leech from the "Rich and Famous". I do hear the New Year's Eve party there every year is quite a spectacle.

KEILAR: Yes, I can only imagine and she did get her way in the end. That was pretty interesting. Great story.

Ed Lavandera, thanks for sharing that with us.


KEILAR: Just ahead, saying goodbye. We remember one of America's favorite sitcom moms.


[18:56:49] KEILAR: Finally, tonight, we remember Florence Henderson who died unexpectedly from heart failure in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving. The 82-year-old actress was Carol Brady to many of her fans but she had a broad career that included notable roles before and after "The Brady Bunch".

CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florence Henderson captured hearts across the country as one of television's most iconic mothers, Carol Brady.


FLORENCE HENDERSON AS CAROL BRADY: Good luck on your debate today, Jan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Do I look okay, mom?

HENDERSON: Oh, sweetheart, you look lovely. Now, don't be nervous about a thing.

ELAM: Starring as the matriarch of a blended family, her career would forever be defined by her character on the 1970 sitcom "The Brady Bunch."

HENDERSON: I created the kind of mother that I wished I had and I think that everyone longs for.

ELAM: Taking on the role was something Henderson embraced.

HENDERSON: I get so much fan mail from all over the world. And everybody was a hug from me.


HENDERSON: And I hug everybody.

ELAM: And in the decades following the show, Henderson never shied away from the limelight, returning to her beloved Carol Brady for multiple spinoffs of "The Brady Bunch", and even a 1995 film version of the show as Grandma Brady.

Henderson died of heart failure Thanksgiving night at a Los Angeles hospital surrounded by her family. Her TV family sharing their grief. Barry Williams who played son Greg Barry saying he was proud to call Henderson his mom and life-long friend.

BARRY WILLIAMS, FORMER "BRADY BRUNCH" ACTOR: I want to remind the people that -- and there are many, many of us that will miss her. That she was a genuine person.

ELAM: Maureen McCormick who played daughter Marcia posting this picture with the words, "You were in my heart forever, Florence."

It was McCormick's appearance on dancing with the stars that Drew Henderson back to television appearing Monday night to cheer on her TV daughter. Henderson appeared on the show herself in 2010, dancing her way to a generation of fans.

TOM BERGERON, HOST, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": And I loved to pick her brain about her career and the people she'd worked with. And she just was -- she was just a lovely, lovely person. And I still can't believe that I won't see her again.

ELAM: Henderson's career took off at the age of 17 when she landed a starring role in Rogers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma" in 1951.

Becoming a bona fide Broadway star on stage, her TV career progressed, as she became NBC's "Today" girl in 1959, and she broke barriers as the first woman to guest host "The Tonight Show" in 1962.

Henderson earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996.

Today, America mourns the loss of everyone's favorite mom.

HENDERSON (singing): I want to be loved by you, just you and nobody else but you. I want to be loved by you alone --


KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you so much for watching.