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Report: Armed Forces Bid Farewell to President Obama; Killer Tells Jury to Forget What His Lawyers Said; Ivanka Trump Choses Home in Obama's Neighborhood
Aired January 4, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BARACK OBAMA; PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These terrorists have lost about half of their territories, they are losing their leaders, towns and cities are being liberated and I have no doubt this barbaric terrorist group will be destroyed because of you. Not letting our forces get drug into sectarian conflicts and civil wars but with smart sustainable principled partnerships. That's how we brought most troops home from nearly 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan down to 15,000 today. Even as we suffered terrible attacks here at home from Boston to Orlando. No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland in these past eight years.
Because of you, the world has seen the awesome reach of American armed forces. In some of the first few weeks of my job when Somali pirates took Captain Phillips and later on when they kidnapped Jessica Buchanan it was you that went in and you that risked everything and brought these Americans home to their families.
The world has seen your compassion to help you deliver in times of crisis from the earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in Japan. Think of Ebola and the countless lives this armed forces saved in West Africa.
It was you that set up the architecture and set the example for the world's response. One woman in West Africa said we thanked god first and then we thanked America second for caring about us. That's the difference you made, you continue to make in the lives of people around the world. As you know with service comes great sacrifice and after 15 years of war our wounded warriors bear the scars both seen and unseen. In my visits to their bedsides and rehab centers I have been in awe watching a wounded warrior grab his walker and pull himself up and through excruciating pain take a step and then another. Or hearing groups how they grappled with post-traumatic stress but had the strength to ask for help.
As a military and a nation, we have to keep supporting our resilient and incredibly strong wounded warriors as they learn to walk and run and heal as they find new ways to keep serving our nation, they need to know that we still need your incredible talents. You have given so much to America and I know you have more to give. And then you have not seen the depths of true love and true patriotism until you have been to Dover. When our troops receive our fallen heroes on their final journey home. Until you have grieved with our gold star families who have given a piece of their heart to our nation, a son or a daughter, a father, or mother, a husband, or wife, a brother or a sister, everyone a patriot.
Every single one of these American families deserves the everlasting gratitude and support of our nation. Today, after two major ground wars our armed forces have drawn down and that is natural and it is necessary. And after reckless budget cuts of sequester we need to keep improving and training and modernizing our forces so let me take this opportunity to appeal from Congress who are here. We cannot go back to sequestration. Investing in strengths and economic security, investing in the reform and support and equipment that our troops need including the pay and benefits, quality of life and education and jobs that our troops and veterans and all of your families deserve.
Make no mistake, even with the challenges of recent years, and there have been challenges, our allies and adversaries alike understand, America's military remains by far the most capable fighting force on the face of the earth. Our army tested by years of combat is the best trained and best equipped on the planet. Our navy is the largest and most lethal in the world on track to surpass 300 ships. Our air force with its precision unmatched, our marine corps, unmatched, our coast guard is the finest in the world and we're also the best because this military has come to welcome the talents of more of our fellow Americans. Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love. All combat positions in our military are now open to women. And Joe Biden and I know that women are at least as strong as men. We're stronger for it. It's one of the reasons that our military stands apart as the most respected institution by a mile.
The American people look up to you and your devotion the duty and your integrity and sense of honor and your commitment to each other. One of my proudest achievements is that I have been able to I think communicate through the constant partisan haze along with so many others, how special this institution is. And the esteem in which our military has held has held steady and constant and high throughout my presidency and I'm very grateful for that because you remind us that we are united as one team. At times of division, you have shown what it means to pull together. So, my days as your commander in chief are coming to an end and as I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest tasks before our armed forces is to retain the high confidence the American people rightly place in you.
The responsibility not simply for those of you in uniform but for those who lead you, it's the responsibility of our entire nation, and so we are called to remember core principals. That we must never hesitate to act to defend our nation, but we must also never rush into war because sending you into harm's way should be a last and not first resort. It should be compelled by the needs of our security and not our politics. We need to remember that we must not give into the false illusion of isolationism because in this time oceans alone will not protect us and the world still seeks and needs our leadership as the one indispensable nation. We have to remember that our military needs to be prepared for the full spectrum of threats, conventional and unconventional. From 20th style aggression to 21st century -- threats. Do everything in our power to prevent the loss of innocent life because that's what we stand for. That's what we should stand for. We have to remember that as we meet the threats of our times we cannot sacrifice our values or our way of life. Prevent the loss of innocent life because that's what we stand for.
That's what we should stand for. We have to remember that as we meet the threats of our times we cannot sacrifice our values or our way of life. The rule of law. And openness and tolerance, that defines us as Americans that's our greatest strength and makes us a beacon to the world. We cannot sacrifice the very freedoms that we're fighting for. And finally, in our democracy the continued strength of our all- volunteer force also rests on something else, a strong bond of respect and trust between those in uniform and the citizens that you protect and defend. At a time when two few Americans truly understand the realities or sacrifices of military service.
At a time when many political leaders have not served. If some in the military begin to feel as though somehow, they are apart from the larger of society they serve, those bonds can fray, as every generation learns anew freedom is not free. Americans can do their part in the various ways to support the military. Every business, profession, school, every state to reach out and to give back and to let you know that we care to help make the lives of our troops and your families just a little bit easier. Everybody can do something and that's why Michelle and Jill Biden have mobilized more Americans to honor and support you through joining forces and after we leave the White House, Michelle and I intend to keep looking for ways to help rally to be there for you just like you have always been there for us.
So, we can't say it enough and we can't show it enough. Thank you for your patriotism, thank you for your professionalism, thank you for your character. In representing the very best of the American spirit. Our nation endures. We live free under the red, white and blue because of patriots like you. It has been a privilege to serve a lifetime with you, I have learned much from you, I'm a better man having worked with you, I am confident that our forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security the world has ever known. God bless you and your families and god bless the United States of America.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Powerful speech from the President of the United States, commander in chief who has the job for 16 more days addressing our men and women in uniform there at Joint Base Myer in Virginia calling it a privilege of a lifetime, battles at home and abroad and addressing the patriotism and over and over addressing the words, thank you.
Barbara joins me from the Pentagon, especially when he was talking, Barbara, Dover, goosebumps.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You know, there really are. Henderson haul is up The Hill from the Pentagon, very well-known of the military and what we witnessed this afternoon cannot be over stated perhaps mutual patriotism. They are bidding farewell to their commander for the last eight years and this time is the commander in chief, bidding farewell to his troops but to the military families to all who have really served in last eight years of war. President Obama has always been a powerful speaker but perhaps today a very special moment as he thanked the troops and talked about the respect that the armed services have in the United States. A very small portion of Americans actually serve in the military but there is tremendous respect for them and that's something that I think the President very well understood, that is something that has to be maintained.
Perhaps that was part of his message today. He went through the chronology, but talked about the fact that the United States remains the most powerful military on earth, that it should deploy when the nation's security is at risk, but not carelessly be deployed. The President of course has been the subject I would say of endless conversation for the last eight years, did he leave Iraq too soon, Afghanistan too soon, should they have gone into Syria? Was there another way over the last eight years to conduct the nation's business and perhaps people have their own alternatives, own ideas how the military should be used, but for U.S. military families one of the big differences that is so important during the heavy years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the caskets were coming back to Dover as you mentioned.
[15:45:00] And now thankfully the casualties are down, the number of wounded are down, it is up to others to determine if they think it is a risk to national security but for military families there has been continued deployment but certainly less casualties, less wounded, broke.
BALDWIN: I like how you put it, a mutual patriotism. Thank you, Barbara Starr.
Coming up next we will take you Charleston, the convicted killer who murdered nine worshippers in a Charleston church is telling the jury today who decide whether he lives or dies to ignore his lawyers, also what he had to say about his own sanity coming up.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: The racist convicted of murdering nine worshippers at a historically black Charleston church telling jurors on day one here of the penalty phase of his trial to forget anything they have heard from his lawyers so far. The self-declared white supremacist is representing himself as jurists decide whether he should live or die. Nine people including the Reverend Clementa Pinckney were killed during bible study at Mother Emanuel AME church in June of 2015. The killer said he was trying to start a race war.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan is with me as is defense attorney Eric Guster, let me just first, let me just explain to everyone watching. This is some of what this man actually said out loud in court today. Quoting him, "Other than the fact that I trusted people I shouldn't have...there's nothing wrong with me psychologically."
He also revealed that he hadn't shed a single tear since he killed these people and to throw out anything that he had heard from his lawyers. Is he trying to be put to death? What is this?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It certainly looks like he is trying to commit legal suicide. He's fired his very competent, one of the most competent death penalty lawyers in the country before the start of this portion of the trial. Or at least he is not allowing him to participate in this. And now he openly calls for the jury to understand that he not mentally ill and that he shed no tears for these horrible murders.
So, it sounds to me like he is somebody who wants the death penalty.
ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL AND CIVIL TRIAL ATTORNEY: In the death penalty trail phase, you want to put up mitigating thing, something that will save a person's life, I'm sorry for what I did, I'm remorseful.
BALDWIN: There was no remorse.
GUSTER: There is no remorse coming out of his mouth. Even in his journal that was put into evidence, he wrote, I don't care about these people. I'm sane. Nothing is wrong with me.
BALDWIN: I do not regret what I did, I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear, I do not feel sorry for the innocent white children forced to live in this sick country. I do -- excuse me. I do feel sorry for the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower races, a jail house journal that was presented as new evidence in court today.
GUSTER: That's the type of thing that will get someone the death penalty. Even people who are opposed to the death penalty, they look at this case and say, if there is one to ever be implemented, it is this one. Nine people in a church praying for him, he went in there and murdered them.
CALLAN: I have to agree completely with Eric on that because here, the rare case where the victims' families, some of them indicated opposition to the death penalty.
CALLAN: This is the kind of case where he went in with a defense that he was mentally ill, that he was sorry, that there were some mitigating circumstances, maybe, maybe a shot. But he's ruined it for himself.
BALDWIN: Last question then I've got to go. This man, this killer will be cross examining family members, people who have lost loved ones to this man in court. That's what gets me more than --
GUSTER: The judge can't do anything about it. If he chooses to cross-examine these people, the judge has to give him enough latitude because this is a death penalty case. You have to have -- you have to give them a broad brush, let them do almost anything to preserve their life, and if anyone deserves death, it's this guy.
BALDWIN: OK, Paul and Eric, thank you so much. We'll follow the trial along, penalty phase in Charleston. Next though, Ivanka Trump chooses a new home in Washington, D.C. guess what? One of her neighbors, President Obama and the first lady. [15:55:00] We'll talk to a D.C. realtor about the high-end
neighborhood they will both be calling home.
BALDWIN: Very soon Ivanka Trump and her husband may be close neighbors with the Obamas. Trump and husband Jared Kushner reportedly settled on a home two blocks from where the first family will be living after they move out of the White House. Both in a very upscale D.C. neighborhood called Kalorama. Someone with me who knows D.C. well, real estate expert, co-host of a new show airing called D.C. Flippers. Welcome.
ATI WILLIAMS, REAL ESTATE EXPERT, WASHINGTON D.C.: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: OK. First, the pictures, the Trump-Kushner household, show me.
WILLIAMS: The Trump-Kushner household is very much like Ivanka's style, modern, classic, clean, it's a beautiful house. It's going to be a little bit of an upgrade in terms of square footage because this one is about a little over 6500 square feet. And, so, while the Obamas are going to be downsizing from their 55,000-square-foot house, the house a few blocks over --
BALDWIN: 55,000 square feet, that's the White House.
WILLIAMS: That's the White House, right.
WILLIAMS: And they're going to be moving a few doors down. I think they might be able to borrow sugar from each other.
BALDWIN: I mean, we were joking earlier. Will they run into each other at the Pinkberry, will they share the neighborhood soul cycle? They're that close.
WILLIAMS: They are. Kalorama is an awesome neighborhood. They are going to be -- I think they will enjoy it. It's really central to D.C. and yet still very neighborhood-y. And I don't think it's -- go ahead.
BALDWIN: A piece of this is privacy, right? There are many, many fancy neighborhoods in Washington. Why do you think they both chose Kalorama?
WILLIAMS: I think they chose Kalorama for the privacy for sure. They are larger homes. There is a very big embassy presence there already so security is pretty tight. I just really feel bad for the folks who have to deal with the secret service every time that they're going home because it's going to be like double the amount of secret service this time.
BALDWIN: How much are we talking for these homes in said neighborhood?
WILLIAMS: Both houses are over $5 million apiece. Like I said, the Obamas was a little bit more and is a little more in terms of square footage, but both houses, $5 million for the houses.
BALDWIN: One final question. Any other celebs in this neighborhood?
WILLIAMS: You know, D.C. types of celebrities are different, so, I think there is definitely a big political --
BALDWIN: Ambassadors --
WILLIAMS: Lots of ambassadors. They'll be in good company.
BALDWIN: OK. Both moving to this neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the first family, of course, for the youngest daughter to finish high school there in town, and Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Ati Williams, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, Brooke.
And thank you so much for being with me here. Of course, day two of the 115th Congress, lots to talk about coming up on CNN including the split screen of both President Obama and the Vice-President-elect Mike Pence talking about repealing or replacing Obamacare, we'll have both messages for you on CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Jim Sciutto and "The Lead" starts right now.