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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
ISIS Says it Inspired Christmas Market Attack; New Video of Russian Ambassador Assassination; Deadly Fireworks Explosion Kills at least 22 People; Trump Strikes Back at Bill Clinton: "He Doesn't Know Much". Aired 7-8 ET
Aired December 20, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar and I thank you so much for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
[10:00:07] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, massive manhunt. Police in a desperate race against time to find the driver who plowed into the Christmas market in Berlin as ISIS calls him a soldier of the Islamic State. Plus stunning new video tonight, the seconds as a gunman got ready to assassinate the Russian ambassador in Turkey, tonight. You are going to hear from someone who was inside that room. And Michelle Obama, revealing her surprising plans for life after the White House. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, ISIS with a big claim this evening, calling the attacker responsible for the truck attack that killed 12 and injured 45 in Berlin, a soldier of the Islamic State. This as a massive manhunt is under way across Europe. Officials say several people could have been involved in the attack on the run now, considered armed and dangerous. Police also looking for a gun, they say was used in the attack. They have released the only known suspect in custody. This was a Pakistani man arrested about an hour after the attack and they let him go citing lack of evidence. We are learning much more about the man found shot to death in the passenger seat of that truck as well. He was the Polish driver of the truck, beaten, stabbed, shot. His truck hijacked on the last stop before ending his scheduled run.
Meantime, Donald Trump's transition team tonight, declined to say whether the president-elect is receiving daily classified briefings in the wake of the attack. Trump did though condemn what he called an attack on Christians in Berlin. Fred Pleitgen begin ours coverage OUTFRONT on the scene. And Fred, what can you tell us about the manhunt tonight?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the manhunt is certainly on going, Erin. You now, the interesting thing that the German authorities are telling us, is that they say, at this point they are not sure whether or not they are looking for one individual who might have perpetrated this, perhaps only the person who is at the wheel of the truck as it plowed through the Christmas market or whether or not there is some larger network behind all this or whether there was at least some sort of logistical support for whoever plowed through the Christmas market. Now, the interesting thing that we've seen here tonight or not seen here tonight is there really haven't been many police raids. But that's certainly doesn't mean that the police isn't trying to move forward in this investigation. We know they have been doing a lot of forensic work. Some of that forensic work, of course, in the cab of the truck securing a lot of DNA there. The authorities certainly telling us that they really are trying very hard to find the suspect or the suspects and at the same time, calling on the population here to be very vigilant and to also report anything they see and don't try act on their own. Here is how this day unfolded in Berlin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (voice-over): A massive manhunt underway across Germany after the horrific truck attack on a Christmas market in the heart of Berlin. ISIS is now claiming to have inspired the attack, the suspect or suspects still at large and armed and considered dangerous as investigators released the man arrested after the attack. Captured on cell phone video, the immediate aftermath of the attack that left 12 dead and more than 45 injured. A truck with Polish registration and loaded with 25 tons of steel, plowing into the outdoor market, dragging some pedestrians 50 to 80 meters stopping only after knocking over a Christmas tree.
SHANDANA DURRANI, EYEWITNESS BERLIN (via telephone): The truck just jumped a curb and took a wrong turn and barreled through the crowd.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Inside the truck, the body of the truck's Polish driver. Berlin police say, he was not at the wheel during the attack and appeared to have been shot to death. The truck company's owner says, this driver appeared to have fought with the attackers. Within an hour of the attack, police arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani immigrant. And the somber, Chancellor Angela Merkel, addressing a stunned nation seize on the suspect's nationality.
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We must assume that this was a terrorist attack. I know that would be especially hard to bear for us if it was to be confirmed that a person committed this act who was given protection and asylum in Germany. This would be especially disgusting.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But police released the Pakistani man after prosecutors could not link him to the truck or the scene. Merkel is facing a political backlash after Germany has taken in nearly 900,000 immigrants this is year even as terror attacks are on the rise. Now, investigators are in a race against time, fearful that whoever is on the run could launch another attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: And you know, the authorities here are also asking the population to keep sending in any sort of videos or any sort of photos from the time that this incident happened on Monday night. They are saying that anything that they can get certainly helps. Now, people that we have been speaking to here, normal people here in Berlin, however, say that they are very concerned and they do have a real feeling of vulnerability. Of course feeling that things like those Christmas markets
[10:05:16] but other gatherings as well are of course soft targets. And they are really wondering whether or not the authorities here are capable of protecting all of those, especially of course, Erin, in light of the fact that we now know that the perpetrator or perpetrators of this act are still somewhere at large.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred. And the attack also raising security concerns here in the United States, especially a time of year that people are gathering. As you can see, right there, a holiday market like this one in New York City. Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live tonight. And Evan, how are U.S. officials handling the threat tonight?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies are increasing security at markets like that one and other public gathering places as we get ready for the Christmas and New Year celebrations and of course, here in Washington, for the upcoming presidential inauguration just a month from now. What's interesting though is that intelligence and law enforcement agencies aren't seeing the spike in threats and chatter on possible plots that we've seen around this time. For instance, last year there were a number of threats that authorities had -- were very concerned about during the holiday festivities. None of those have ended up panning out but obviously the inauguration is always a big concern. In particular, this year because of the divisive 2016 campaign.
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT now, Paul Cruickshank, our terrorism analyst and Tim Clemente, former FBI counterterror agent, Juliette Kayyem, the former Assistant Secretary at DHS, and Chris Swecker, former assistant FBI director for the criminal investigative division. Tim, let me start with you. There is an urgent manhunt tonight. There is - from what we understand in this Christmas market in Berlin, a major train station about a block from where the attack took place if you look at the map here, so very close and you would have all sorts of that coming in there. How far could the terrorist have gotten?
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: Oh, it's impossible to say at this point, Erin. Because not only that mass transportation hub that's nearby there could have got him from that immediate area. But there is no identification of them so there is no way to properly prevent him from getting on an aircraft and flying out of Europe into any place in the world by this point in time. The manhunt, thankfully, there will be a lot of physical evidence, the forensics teams that are working there now are going to go through and try and find DNA, fingerprints and also human scent can be recovered from a scene and possibly use - to identify an individual using human scent recovery dogs if they do find a suspect at some point. And it may help them narrow down a direction of travel as well.
BURNETT: Chris, it's pretty stunning when you think about it because they don't have any idea who it is, that this person could have gotten anywhere. You know, that opens up air travel. Germany does not have surveillance cameras like other European cities do, in part, due to its Nazi and communist past. So they are relying on witnesses. Yet so far we've not heard of one person come forward and say they saw someone exit that truck and run. You'd think in this sort of situation, they would have seen that. How could that be, Chris?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSITANT FBI DIRECTOR: Well the German authorities are playing it pretty close to the vest at this point as they should. And I have to think that their best chance of identifying this person lies in the cab of that truck. Every perpetrator leaves something behind and they take something with them, DNA, fingerprints, et cetera. So they are going to be checking the Europol, databases, checking all their partner countries, including the United States. They are going to be scouring around for identification. And they are also going to appeal to the public and I expect to see that very soon. They will see some details coming out very soon.
BURNETT: And Paul, obviously they haven't yet done that in a specific way. The only known suspect of course released for lack of evidence. Obviously the attacker could be regrouping for a follow on attack out of desperation at this point. I mean, do authorities have any leads that you know of tonight?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: None whatsoever. In fact, they are asking the general public, people who are at the scene, before, during and after the attack to handover any video that they might have shot because they feel that that might help them to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators in this attack. But they are very worried indeed, I'm told by German intelligence officials that this individual or individuals, armed and dangerous at large and then they may strike again. We've seen that time and time again with attacks in the west. -- They are willing to launch follow-on attacks in the days and indeed months afterwards.
BURNETT: Right and of course in Paris they were planning to do that. They were able to thwart it but there was a serious, very significant attack planned after the attacks last fall, perhaps at the airport or in the financial center of Paris. Juliette, officials first claimed that it was a refugee, they had detained as a suspect. Obviously they have let that individual go. Now, we don't know who they are looking for. Do you think it doesn't matter whether this person ends up being a refugee or not?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY AND CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Oh, it will matter. It will matter for a variety of reasons because a lot of countries taken in refugees to figure out how you could tighten security. And it matters for Germany and for Merkel because she has an election coming up. And of course, matter in terms
[10:10:16] of - you look, it's the difference it this is a German national who was radicalized by ISIS or if it was someone from the outside. So, all of those are relevant. Just want to say one thing quickly, while we don't know much, I want to remind everyone it was between Monday and Thursday in the Boston marathon case that we thought nothing was going on with the investigation and then Thursday, pictures were released. So, we're still within a 24 -- 36-hour window. We may have a little bit -- there may be pictures that we don't know about yet. BURNETT: So Tim, let me ask you. You know, I was talking to the vice president of the National Border Council which is labor union - Border Patrol agents. And he said he's worried about terrorists coming in through America's southern borders. Specifically, he said, they have had people arrested in the past six months from various countries in the Middle East. He happened to mention Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan. He didn't say whether those individuals in anyway were linked to terror but it was a concern that he had. Is there a concern right now, in your mind that there could be extremists in the U.S. ready to carry out some more attacks?
CLEMENTE: Absolutely. It's a concern that's been around for quite some time but it's only grown in the recent year since we've seen attacks both in United States and overseas. And Western Europe called for by both al Qaeda and ISIS and other groups around the world. Because if we can -- you know, if millions of illegal aliens can come into this country from anywhere in the world there is no way to identify who they are or who is here. And some of those individuals - you know people come here from all around the world because this is a great beacon of hope for the world.
So, I have no problem with people wanting to come here. But we have to be able to at some point in time create a portal that we can determine who's going to come and who's not going to be allowed to come in. And so, our border is somewhat of a sieve, especially the southern border. So it is possible individuals could have come in. I know in my time in the FBI they were individuals arrested that were not of a - any South American heritage that were coming in from the Middle East and other places that we will never know what their intentions might have been just the fact that they are here is a threat because it's a concern.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a massive and deadly explosion at a fireworks market. Well, we are learning about what happened. The growing number of injured and dead, this is a breaking story at this hour. We're going to be going there live in just a moment. We also have stunning new video tonight showing the assassination of the Russian ambassador. We are learning more about the gunman and his connection to America. And Michelle Obama and why she couldn't remain silent after seeing Donald Trump's "Access Hollywood" tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: What I was hearing from my daughters, their reaction to it. For me required a different kind of response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:15:21] BURNETT: New video tonight of the assassin who murdered Russia's ambassador to Turkey. Here it is. It begins just before the attack. You see the man there, that's the assassin at the back, 22- year-old Turkish police officer wearing a suit and tie standing behind the ambassador, standing with a wide stance, hands folded across his stomach, looking around but not drawing any attention to himself. He is then seen moving to the left hand of the screen. He walks over there and then less than two minutes from when this video began, he suddenly and calmly puts one hand into his suit jacket. He lets it sit there for under six seconds and then rips a gun out, pointing it bracingly at the ambassador's back and at a room full of people.
Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT. And Nic, you know, you spoke to a photographer who is inside that room. He took some of these pictures that we have seen of the assassin where you see his taught face, his hate and his anger. What did the photographer tell you?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, in that video you were just looking at that shows the gunman in the background you can see the photographer coming up and taking a very close up picture of the ambassador. And as he does that, you can see the gunman try to sort of move out of his camera frame. And of course, the cameraman then witnessed to the gunman pulling the gun as you described and then shooting the ambassador dead. I asked him if he was afraid when that happened. This is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURHAN OZBILICI, AP PHOTOGRAPHER: I was shocked. But I -- I fled. But not much, not that panicked.
ROBERTSON: But you weren't afraid taking his pictures - camera --
OZBILICI: I said I have a responsibility to record the event.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So what he went on to say was the gunman didn't shoot anyone else in the audience. He could have done. He told them to get out of the room. The first security people to arrive in the building that he saw were asking him and other people in the audience, do you have a weapon so that we can go and confront the gunman and he said you know the gunman had shot off most of his ammunition. He was surprised when he later found out the security forces had killed the gunman because of course, if they've captured him alive they could have got a lot more information.
BURNETT: I mean, in a sense that is shocking. Obviously that was a choice. They didn't have to do that. What are investigators are saying tonight, Nic, about the evidence they are uncovering about whom this man was. How he got there and basically was able to pose as a body guard or security agent of some sort.
ROBERTSON: Yes, you have the Turkish president and the Russian president saying he's a terrorist and everyone should join and line up with Russia to take on terrorists around the world. That's one narrative that's emerging. The details, you know, 22-year-old young policeman, family members have been detained. That is often normally the case here. Government officials, government state media here who is reporting that the investigation is going to his high school to talk to his friends there, talk to the school there, talk to some of his college friends and try and find out more about his background. But the sort of shocking narrative that's emerging, if you will, is the foreign minister has said that this policeman was one of the members of this group that attempted a coup here in the summer. Of course we know, since then, tens of thousands of policemen, soldiers, university professors, school teachers, government employees, -- have been arrested and detained by the government. So questions -- why wasn't he arrested and detained before if that is the case. But what is actually happening here? And the big picture is that Turkey is moving itself away from the United States because they want the United States to extradite the man they say who is responsible for that coup, Turkey moving itself closer, diplomatically, politically and in Syria as well, moving themselves closer to Russia. So, there is some real big picture stuff happening here as well, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much Nic. In OUTFRONT now the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill. In that, Sir Hill, you know -- this is a scene in many senses that could be familiar to you. We have this new video of the attacker. He seems so calm and control. He's unobtrusive. He waits. He's frankly seems very patient. He doesn't seem stressed. Would you have felt safe as an ambassador in an art gallery? I mean, this was sort of rogue speech for this ambassador.
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Oh yes, I mean, art galleries, art openings, museums. That is kind of what ambassadors often do. And you walk into these places and you've got your own security person or in the case of Iraq, I had quite a few security people and then you see a lot of other people who are security people. You have no idea who they are. You don't know how well armed they are and you just kind of try to forget that anything could go wrong and frankly nothing usually does go wrong. But yes, I must say when I saw that scene, those white walls, those photographs,
[10:20:16] it looked very familiar, frankly to any ambassador who served overseas.
BURNETT: And I mean, is there anything as you watched it that - I mean look, his back was facing this guy. He may never have even seen him frankly, right? I mean is there anything that would have tipped you off that this man was a threat?
HILL: I couldn't have seen it. He looked very typical of every security person in many of these countries. It didn't seem at all surprised. He seemed very well dressed, very - you know well groomed. He looked like he was basically out central castings for security person. So nothing to, you know, wonder about. But I must say, you know, having gone into these scenes so many times as all of my ambassador colleagues have, you always kind of look and kind of wonder a little gee I hope someone's checked who these people are.
BURNETT: I mean, the assassin then, you know, when he -- after he murdered the ambassador, obviously said Allahu Akbar, do not forget Syria. But he also said - he said more than that and I just wanted to play a little bit for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GUNMAN (through translator): Get back. Get back. Only death will remove me from here.
Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So what he says there is, "Get back. Get back. Only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it!" So he's talking about oppression, also about Aleppo, yelling "Allahu Akbar." What does this make you think about his motive?
HILL: Well, first of all, Syria is going - I mean, Turkey is going through very difficult time. They're having a lot of terrorist attacks. They've also, of course, gone through a very tough coup in which the government feels that they have the people responsible. They don't seem to produce much evidence on this. So they've had these mass arrests. So, in fact, they have accused the assassin of being a follower of this Ghulam movement. And yet he was not arrested. So he could not have been a very prominent follower.
So Turkey is going through an awful lot as Nic Robertson suggested. Whether he is really feeling that the view of many Sunni Arabs about what is going on in Aleppo or what is going on generally as Assad has been able to get more support and the Sunni uprising or, the -- you know, the broader uprising has been pretty much left on their own is hard to say at this point.
BURNETT: I mean, because, you know, Donald Trump came out saying that he was assassinated -- the ambassador, by a radical Islamic terrorists, you know and then he went on to talk about ISIS. Obviously the government in Turkey is saying it is, you know -- part of a political group led by a cleric here in the United States. There are al Qaeda documents found in this man's home. Do you feel at this point, there is any way to know whether he's trying to defend civilians in Aleppo or part of ISIS or what?
HILL: Well, very hard to say whether he's part of ISIS. As you know, in Syria, there are basically two wars going on. There is one that's against ISIS. And then there is a war of kind of mass uprising against the government, against the Alawite or Shia-leading government. And much of this mass uprising is comprised of Sunnis. Some of whom are quite radical, the Al-Nusra Front and few others. He sounds like he's talking about that situation, -- rather than the situation going on more in the desert and also in Iraq.
So he doesn't seem -- so much an ISIS member as he seems someone from this internal Syria mess. And of course the Turks have had a really tough time. They started with supporting Assad. Then they changed. And now recently they have kind of gone back to their original position. They seem to be working with the Russians.
BURNETT: Right. And now of course they are blaming a man in the United States for this attack, this assassination, a political exile, they want deported. John Kerry told them this was absurd today. His spokesman frankly, was not diplomatic about this. He was very, very clear. Here is John Kirby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Any notion that the United States was in any way supportive of this or behind this or even indirectly involved is absolutely ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Absolutely ridiculous. Could this escalate ambassador?
HILL: Absolutely ridiculous is not usually a diplomatic term of art. So I think this can escalate. And I think what is clear is that something is happening in Turkey, especially with this Erdogan regime, especially after the coup attempt. And they are becoming much closer to Russia and much more willing, I think, to have Russia take the diplomatic lead. So I think this assassination
[10:25:16] really speaks to some really strong undercurrents that are going on now and we'll have so see how this plays out. I mean, it is quite extraordinary that Russia has the diplomatic lead and the U.S. has been reduced to sort of getting angry at the U.N. Security Council and otherwise, not really playing a direct role in the diplomacy.
BURNETT: Ambassador Hill, thank you very much. Good to have you on again. I appreciate it.
HILL: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next breaking news, a massive explosion at a fireworks market. Right now the story is developing. We're going there live right after this. So far, we know more than 20 killed. More than that injured. As I said, we're going to the ground next. Plus Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, now lashing out at each other, name calling, nasty tweets and Michelle Obama revealing her plans for life after the White House.
[19:29:10] BURNETT: We're following the breaking news. A deadly fireworks explosion, a huge explosion tearing through a crowded fireworks market, this just north of Mexico City. Plumes of smoke, as you can see, shooting up in all directions. With this, we now understand at least 22 people have been killed. The story is very much developing though at this moment. Many more injured. Ed Lavandera joins me now on the phone. And Ed, what are you learning about this massive explosion?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, as you've mentioned, that death toll is a new figure. Some 22 people killed in this massive explosion. The video images simply staggering there from the town of Tultepec, which is as you mentioned, just north of Mexico City, the capital there in Mexico. This is a town that is very well known for a massive pyrotechnic industry. This is a huge market where these kinds of fireworks are extremely popular especially this time of the year, the holiday season emerging.
So, oddly enough, this is not the first time an explosion like this actually happened in this market. It happened back in 2005 as well.
So, the emergency crews there on the scene trying to comb through all of the evidence and trying to piece together exactly what happened. No word yet on what caused the explosion. By obviously that much pyrotechnics in one place, you can understand why, you know, perhaps one little small explosion careens into something much worse as we're seeing unfold here in Mexico tonight.
But again, some 22 people killed. That could continue to rise as emergency crews continue to work the scene and dozens more injured. There have been reports of as many as 70 people that have been injured there today -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you very much.
As this story develops, we're going to bring you more of this hour as we said, literally that's just happening and we're just trying to get a sense here of how many people are injured and dead.
Also tonight, a war of words between the president-elect and the former president. Donald Trump responding today on Twitter to Bill Clinton's criticism after said Trump, quote, "doesn't know much" to a local paper. Trump firing back that Clinton, quote, "doesn't know much, especially through get people, even with an unlimited budget out to vote in the vital swing states and more." That is his tweet. They focused on states.
And Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump is spending the week.
And, Jeff, Trump is now engaging in a nasty back and forth with the former president.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's an unusually extraordinary conversation with tow presidents on Twitter, something we have never seen before like this, directly engaging. The soon-to-be 45 president of the United States who's here at Mar-a-Lago, you can see that behind me, in a very windy night in Florida, engaging with the 42nd president of the United States on Twitter. It is the sign that this -- the emotion, the tensions of this election have not yet dissipated.
Now, Donald Trump, of course, had other things to do today. He's still picking his cabinet. He's getting briefings from what is happening in Germany and abroad. But still somehow found the time to start his day off to take a shot at Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton somehow found the time to respond here. So, a sign that these two old friends, one time golfing buddies, here in Florida and New York have some mending of fences to do I think in the New Year -- Erin.
BURNETT: Fence, of course, probably not a word that Bill Clinton probably wants to hear much about, or wall or anything like it.
ZELENY: Probably not.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
But OUTFRONT now, David Gergen, advisor to four presidents, including Reagan and Clinton. Keith Boykin, White House aide under President Clinton, and Ben Ferguson, host of "The Ben Ferguson Radio Show".
Ben, let me just start with you. Obviously, on both sides unprecedented but, of course, Donald Trump is about to take over the White House. He won the election. Clinton said Trump doesn't know much about how to get angry white men to vote for him. Sure.
But why is Trump engaging? He won?
BEN FERGUSON, RADIO HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": I think this goes back. They have known each other for a long time and it is a lot more fun to trash talk when you are the guy who actually won the election instead of the guy who lost. So, in this situation, I think probably Donald Trump is going to enjoy this. And Bill Clinton a former president is going to mouth off in this way, he's going to engage it. That is his style.
And I think -- I don't know why bill Clinton as a former president is doing this to be honest with you. It just looks like sour grapes. It looks like you can't handle losing and not getting your way. And at some point, you would think, as a former president, he would say, do I even want to be involved in this back and forth and his wife lost the election. So, what is the point of this? I don't get it.
BURNETT: Keith? Are you surprised to see Bill Clinton doing this?
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: No, I'm not surprised to see bill Clinton doing this. I think it is unfortunate. He shouldn't be doing this. But neither should Donald Trump.
And this is a really immature -- this is immature behavior from both men.
BURNETT: It is very sand box-like behavior.
BOYKIN: It is. It is immature. It's unseemly.
But Donald Trump is about to be the president of the United States. It is incumbent upon him to reach out, to reach across the aisle, to build bridges. He's not doing that. He's not taking the time to talk to Democrats. He's insulting people. He's insulting people who disagree with him.
He's on Twitter every day. He hasn't picked a Democrat to be in his cabinet which is a tradition of most presidents do to pick a person from the other party. But he's not doing what the basic level steps he needs to in order to reach out.
BURNETT: David, he does go on Twitter every day.
BOYKIN: Every day. BUNRETT: And often you are right, that it can be negative.
But he did go on Twitter yesterday, David Gergen, and say, I will work hard to unite our country and be the president for all Americans. Today, we will make America great again", which by the way, echoed something Hillary Clinton said the day after she lost the election. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENT: I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future.
[19:35:05] Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Two snapshots, David. But still, both trying to be magnanimous. Meanwhile, enter Bill Clinton. Trump, quote, "doesn't so much", calling his voters angry white men. Is Bill Clinton making a mistake?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, listen, I think on the surface it is tit-for-tat, sand box behavior. I don't think it's very meaningful. It's pretty trivial actually.
GERGEN: But I do think what it reveals underneath is the disdain that's grown in each man for the other. It may be true that at point, they were much closer. But neither one of them respects the other anymore. And I think it is particularly raw coming today after the Electoral College.
And Bill Clinton, he's taken this hard. It's been very hard for him. He thought his wife was going to win. He believes she should have won. And I believe it was basically it was an unfair result.
BURNETT: Right. As he made the point yesterday, you know, sort of still blaming it on the FBI and the Russians.
Ben, you know, part of what seemed to anger Bill Clinton is what David points out. He and Donald Trump did used to be friends. And when this phone call happened right after the election, the two men spoke. And Clinton according to paper was incredulous because Trump acted like all vile election and all awful things that were said never happened. Clinton said Trump came off as cordial, acting as if it were 15 years when they were still buddies.
And, by the way, they were. They were at the sporting events. You know, there's a picture of the two of them, with the woman with the playboy bunny thing.
FERGUSON: Yes. BURNETT: They were golfing buddies. They were at -- the Clintons attended the Trump's wedding. Was Trump doing the tight thing to pretend in that first call that nothing happens?
FERGUSON: Yes, I do, because -- well, I mean, anytime makes a call and someone wins and someone loses, I think at that point, we've seen throughout political history usually you say things that you may not even mean to unite the country and bring it back together.
I think Bill Clinton should have taken a point and learned what Hillary Clinton said the day after. This doesn't do any good. And also, to go after Donald Trump supporters and say they are just a bunch of angry white men, that is a bad strategy for Democrats moving forward because that was what they said the entire campaign and it came back to bite them in the rear end.
If he's smart about this moving forward, he'll stop talking about, wish Donald Trump well, do what George Bush 43 did, walk away from the White House and literally don't comment or undermine the next president. You see that's why there's good rapport with George Bush 43 and Barack Obama, even talking about their transitions, how smooth as they were.
BOYKIN: I don't know why you are making this about bill Clinton. The reality is he's not a factor anymore. He will not be the next president of the United States. Donald Trump will be. And that is where your focus and I think the country's focus should be, Ben. We need to figure how to bridge that gap that has divided us. And no person is more responsible for building that bridge than Donald Trump.
BOYKIN: -- President Obama for besmirching his reputation for five years. For God sake, I wish that at one point he would stand up and be a grown up in the room and not be a child --
BURNETT: David --
GERGEN: -- relitigate this darn election and not move on. I do agree with move on.
I do agree this, Bill Clinton shouldn't have egged him on. But it's also true, Trump should be able to rise above this. He is going to be the president.
BURNETT: -- to be people that appeal to the best of us, not the worst of us.
FERGUSON: Here is one thing. Bill Clinton is a former president who said the current incoming president is not a smart guy. If you think Donald Trump is not going to respond to that, everyone is crazy. If a former president tells us that the current incoming president is basically an idiot --
BOYKIN: You have to have thicker skin than Donald Trump has. You can't respond to every insult --
FERGUSON: If I'm Donald Trump, I respond to a former president ripping on me.
BOYKIN: That is not very professional and mature.
FERGUSON: It is a former president.
BURNETT: All right. And we will leave it there more now.
OUTFRONT next, Trump's pick for army secretary. A vet, West Point grad and billionaire. Our report on what has truly become an administration of billionaires.
And Michelle Obama says she wants to help Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: We are going to be there for the next president and do whatever we have to do to make sure that he is successful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does she mean it?
[19:43:27] BURNETT: Tonight, Michelle Obama speaking out about Donald Trump. The first lady speaking about her campaign slogan "we go high" to describe how she's dealing with Trump now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The words we say moving forward, all of us, it matters, which is one of the reasons why Barack and I are so supportive of this transition, because no matter how we felt going into it, it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander- in-chief. It wasn't done when my husband took office but we're going high. And this is what's best for the country.
So, we are going to be there for the next president and do whatever we have to do to make sure that he is successful, because if he succeeds, we all succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, the former Obama senior advisor, David Axelrod. He's now our senior political commentator. And, of course, David, you have known Michelle Obama for a long time, 14 or more years. You know, you just heard her say she's supporting Donald Trump. But, you know, she also said we're now, quote, "feeling what not having hope feels like".
How hard is this moment for her personally?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I don't think she's hidden the fact that she felt very strongly the other way in this election. I'm sure she's disappointed. You know when she says that, in a way what she's saying is elections have consequences. And when you are on the losing side those consequences can be very stark.
But in terms of how she handled herself and the point she made in that clip that you played, you know, I think that she remembers -- I certainly do -- how president and Mrs. Bush received us and their staff back in 2008.
[19:45:14] And while she was right that the Congress didn't receive the president the same way, we were treated very well in the transition. And I think all of us took something away from that. That you have an obligation, regardless of what you feel about the politics or the person, you have on obligation to the office, to the country, to see to it that this transition is made in an effective way.
BURNETT: And, you know, when I mentioned "we go high" was her slogan, it was. And it reflected what she felt Donald Trump and the Republicans were doing, right? Going low. I mean, she had a very emotional response to the "Access Hollywood" tape of Donald Trump saying the lewd comments about women. And here is what she said to Oprah specifically about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: To have a candidate for the presidency speaking in such terms about women as I said was not -- it was not a normal thing. So my response, you know, in light of what I was seeing from my female staff, what I was hearing from my daughters, their reaction to it from me required a different kind of response. You know, you can't just stand before people and just give a regular political speech. There was no way that I could be out on the campaign trail and not address how that was making not just me feel.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: We could feel that you had been shaken to the core.
OBAMA: Yes. Well, because a lot of people have shaken on the their core and still are. They are still feeling the reverberations of that kind of caustic language.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It sounds, David, like this is still bothering her a lot.
AXELROD: Yes. Well, I think that Michelle Obama -- I mean, one of the reasons the Obamas are popular as a family is the values that they represent. And I'm sure that both of them found the language shocking. They are proud parents of two daughters.
AXELROD: And these are not the values they believe in or that they think the office should reflect. And so, she reacted not just as a woman but as a parent. And as someone who cares a lot about the values that the office reflects. And it is clear that that's something that still lingers with her.
BURNETT: Now, as, you know, David a lot of people want her to run for office. They want her to become the leader of the Democratic Party. And frankly at this point, now, her husband is going to move aside. She sort of is.
But she told Oprah she's a definite no. Since you know her, I wanted to play for you and get and your reaction in what you actually hear. Here is Michelle Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If I were interested in, I'd say it. I don't believe in playing games. It also speaks to the fact that people don't really understand how hard this is. And it's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again. Maybe because we got it wrong or we think we got it wrong. So, it's like -- well, now, you do it. You just go back in there and do it. You are the closest thing to do that. So you do it.
But let me just tell America. This is hard. It's a hard job. I said it on the campaign trail. It requires a lot of sacrifice. It is a weighty thing. And it is not something that you even look to one family to take on at that level, you know, for that long of a period of time.
WINFREY: Eight years is enough.
OBAMA: And 16 years would be -- right?
Let's just, you know, 16 years, I wouldn't do that to my kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, David you got to give her credit. You assumed she would win reelection so she's got the politician in her.
But what do you think she'll do next.
AXELROD: Well, let me just say, knowing her as I do, I think there is a greater chance that I would star in the Bolshoi Ballet than she would run for public office. And I don't think there's much chance of that. So, you know, I just -- Michelle Obama was a conscript to politics.
She believes in public service. She believes in public engagement. But she never really loved politics. She doesn't like the artificiality of it, the insincerity that creeps in. She's a very blunt, direct person.
So, the notion of her actually being a politician just doesn't compute. And I think she's eager to get on with her life. I've spoken with her in the last few weeks. I think she's proud of what chef accomplished but now, she's eager to get on with the rest of her life and I'm sure she'll make a contribution in some form or fashion but certainly not in politics.
BURNETT: All right. Well, David Axelrod, thank you very much. And happy holidays.
AXELROD: OK, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, many of Donald Trump's cabinet picks are incredibly wealthy. They're also Washington outsiders. But wealth -- massive wealth is the commonality here.
[19:50:04] We're going to check out Trump's billionaire club.
[19:53:28] BURNETT: Tonight, the richest administration in modern history just got richer. President-elect Trump tapping billionaire Vincent Viola for secretary of the army. The Viola pick underscoring a common theme among Trump's picks -- wealth. Massive wealth.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's on the verge of becoming the billionaire in chief. And Donald Trump is filling out his administration with candidates who are a lot like him -- rich.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want people who have been successful. You want people who have done this.
FOREMAN: The newest addition, Vincent Viola. The pick for secretary of army is worth an estimated $1.8 billion. An Army vet and owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team, he made his fortune on Wall Street.
Wilbur Ross, Trump's pick for commerce secretary, is reportedly worth $2.5 billion. He's an investor who made his money specializing in bankruptcies. Ross is an avid art connoisseur with a collection worth a reported $150 million.
Also headed to the Commerce Department, Todd Ricketts, the scion of the billionaire family that founded TD Ameritrade, and part owner of the World Series champion, Chicago Cubs.
Trump's pick to run the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, married into the family that founded Amway. Her father-in-law and family are worth an estimated 5.1 billion. On the campaign trail, Trump routinely hammered a corrupt connection between Wall Street and Washington.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: When you cast that ballot, just picture a Wall Street boardroom filled with the special interests who had been bleeding your country and your city and every place else, and imagine the look on their faces when you tell them, "you're fired! Fired."
[19:55:12] FOREMAN: But several his nominations come directly from Wall Street. His pick for treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, spent years at Goldman Sachs, as did his father and brother. Mnuchin made millions after he and his partner sold the company One West for $3.4 billion at the height of the mortgage crisis.
And even Trump's picks that aren't thought of as captains of industry are wealthy. At transportation, Elaine Chao and her husband Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, are estimated to be worth $20 million.
Jeff Sessions, his for attorney general, is worth around $7 million, based on estimates.
And then there is Trump's pick for secretary of state, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, head of the world's largest oil company, made more than $240 million since 2006.
FOREMAN: Not all of Trump's selections are rolling in money. For example, the one pick we know of so far that would have to be confirmed by the Senate who is not a millionaire is Congressman Mike Pompeo. He would be the head of the CIA, where I will assure you, he won't get rich either -- Erin.
BURNETT: But afterwards.
All right. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman.
And we'll be right back.
BURNETT: And thank you all for joining us.
"AC360" stars now.