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Trump's Secretary of State Pick Faces Another Day of Testimony; Trump's Cabinet Nominees Offer Contrasting Policies to President-elect; President Trump Will Not Divest from Businesses; Trump Attacks Media During First Press Conference. 8:00a-9:00a ET
Aired January 12, 2017 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:20] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, and welcome to News Stream.
Donald Trump denies the Russians have compromising information on him after sparring with
reporters in his first press conference since the election.
Trump's choice for secretary of state faces another day of grilling by senators after some strong words at his confirmation hearing.
And as the president-elect says he will hand his business interests over to his sons, we look at the Trump family's ties to Asia.
Donald Trump vehemently denies that Russia holds compromising information about him and is angry that the allegation was leaked to the media. Now, we
shared with Mr. Trump at a government briefing on Russian interference in the U.S. election. The unsubstantiated allegations came from a former
British intelligence officer in a report funded by Trump's Republican rivals and Hillary Clinton
James Clapper says that he spoke with the president-elect by phone on Wednesday night and
Clapper says he emphasized that this this document is not a U.S. intelligence community product
and that he does not believe the leaks came from within the IC.
He went on to say, quote, however, part of our obligation is to ensure the policy-makers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters
that might affect national security.
And Mr. Trump, he just tweeted this. He said this on Twitter, quote, James Clapper called me
yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated, made up, phony facts. Too bad!
Now this all came out of Trump's first news conference in months where he offered a reversal on Russia. Jeff Zeleny has more.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump saying for the first time he accepts that Russia carried out the election cyber-attacks during a rowdy
and contentious press conference.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT-ELECT: As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries.
ZELENY: But spending much of the hour long news conference blasting the media and deflecting reports that the nation's top intelligence leaders
informed him and President Obama about possible incriminating information in the hands of the Russians.
TRUMP: I think it's a disgrace that information would be let out. It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen.
ZELENY: The president-elect singling out some media outlets that reported on the intel claims and taking aim at U.S. intelligence agencies as he
pointed to the Kremlin's denial.
TRUMP: You know president Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news.
ZELENY: Trump did not say, however, whether any of his aides had been in touch with the Russian officials during the presidential campaign, refusing
to answer questions from CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President-elect, can you give us a question. You're attacking us. Can you give us a question?
TRUMP: I'm not going give you a question. You are fake news.
ZELENY: The incoming White House press secretary threatening to throw Acosta out of future press conferences.
SEAN SPICER, INCOMING PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SECRETARY: I informed him that I thought no one should be treated that way and treated that disrespectfully,
and that if he did it again in the future I would have him removed.
ZELENY: Trump also not mentioning whether he will continue the sanctions imposed on Russia by President Obama.
TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia.
ZELENY: All this as Trump had an attorney lay out his plans to distance himself from his business empire. Trump will relinquish control of the
company to his two sons and place his assets in a trust, a step he says he doesn't have to take.
TRUMP: As a president I could run the Trump organization, great, great company, and I could run the company. I'd do a very good job. But I don't
want to do that.
ZELENY: Trump also pledging to stop any new overseas ventures and vowing to turn any profits from foreign government officials staying at his hotels
over to the U.S. treasury.
TRUMP: I hope at the end of eight years I'll come back and say, oh, you did a good job. Otherwise if they do a bad job I'll say you're fired.
LU STOUT: And that was CNN's Jeff Zeleny reporting. For more on how Russia is responding let's bring in Clarissa Ward from CNN Moscow. And
Clarissa, thank you for joining us.
Again, it's been reported that Russia has a compromising file on him. What is known about kompromat, this practice of gathering information for
[08:05:07] CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, this is a tool that the Russian KGB, now FSB, has been using for decades.
Kompromat is essentially the process of trying to gain as much compromising information, or evidence, against someone in a potentially powerful
position that could then at some stage be used as blackmail against them or as some form of leverage.
Now, yesterday we heard the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov say in no uncertain terms
that the Kremlin does not collect kompromat. Well, that may technically/semantically be true, because normally collecting kompromat
would fall under the purview of the intelligence services rather than the Kremlin, but it's certainly fair to say that most people would believe that
the process, or tool, of collecting kompromat does still occur regularly here in Russia, both in the public sector and also quite a lot in the
As it was alleged in this case, the kompromat in question were reportedly garnered some time ago when Donald Trump was simply a businessman as
opposed to the president-elect. But generally speaking, and more specifically as well, the Kremlin is really keen to just
denounce all of this as rubbish, as ludicrous nonsense. They have used every rhetorical maxim they can to dismiss this as what they see a
political -- they see as being a political witch-hunt, Kristie.
LU STOUT: There's the issue about the dossier. There's also the issue about hacking. And Donald Trump, at that press conference, he offered a
reversal on Russia. He now says he accepts that Russia is behind the U.S. election cyber hack. So how is that going to affect future ties and
cooperation between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin?
WARD: Well, it's really interesting, Kristie because this was -- this apparently momentous occasion, the first time ever we finally hear
President-elect Donald Trump come forward and say, OK, this is it. I do believe that the Russians were responsible for this hacking.
But then he almost immediately couched that in but I think a lot of other countries are hacking as well. He seemingly almost glossed over this
momentous occasion, and Is think that has been reflected a lot in the coverage that we've seen in Russian media here, which has not fixated for a
moment on the fact that Donald Trump actually finally pointed the finger at Russia, what the Russian media has very strongly been focusing on is the
sort of positive spin that Donald Trump did appear to put once again on the potential of a much better relationship in the future.
Now, again, Trump did say, okay, I can't say for certain is it going to be a good relationship
or is it not, but he certainly express that had he hopes it would be a good relationship. He also expressed this idea that if President Vladimir Putin
thinks that Donald Trump -- thinks about positively about Donald Trump, that that is a good thing, that that is something to be celebrated, and he
also extolled this idea that under his presidency he believes that Russia will have more respect for the U.S., and those are the elements that we
have seen Russian media focusing on.
Nobody here really talking so much about hacking, people focusing on what they see as the sort of last-ditch effort by the Obama administration and
by the so-called liberal media to besmirch Donald Trump, to disparage Russia, to poison the well of that relationship between the U.S. and Russia
ahead of Donald Trump's presidency -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Our Clarissa Ward reporting for us live from Moscow. Thank you.
Now, from day one, Moscow has maintained its innocence about claims involving Donald Trump, but even within Russia, some are unconvinced. A
leading cybersecurity expert there tells CNN he thinks the Kremlin was involved in hacking during the U.S. election race. And Fred Pleitgen spoke
to him in Moscow.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN : The U.S. intelligence community says it's certain Russia hacked Democratic National Committee servers on orders from Vladimir
Putin, aiming to help Donald Trump win the presidency.
I sat down with one of Russia's premiere cyber journalists, Andrei Saldatov, co-author of the book The Red Web. His assessment is clear.
ANDREI SOLDATOV, CYBER JOURNALIST: Well, I think that the Kremlin was involved and given the ground in terms of history of all cyber offensive
launched by the Kremlin over the last say ten years, at least since 2007, it looks very plausible to me.
PLEITGEN: The Putin administration has vehemently denied claims that it's behind the hacking attacks calling the assessments absurd and, quote, "a
witch-hunt. But Andrei Soldatov says the Kremlin often turns to private cyber security firms to carry out similar operations.
[08:10:03] SOLDATOV: They have this mark that they use there and not directly sponsored by the state because it would help the Kremlin create
PLEITGEN: But he says many working for such firms are fiercely loyal to the Russian state, some even trained by Russian intelligence services.
SOLDATOV: It's still the same thing, basically, it's still about security, still about loyalty, still about the militatary-industrial complex. So the
problem is that these people are very easily a approachable by the state. And we already saw some examples when some people from some, say, ministry
might approach a very good company, energy based in Moscow and to ask to help with
some sensitive things. And usually this kind of help might be provided.
PLEITGEN: As for a possible motive, Soldatov believes at least in the early stages it was more about hurting Hillary Clinton than helping Donald
SOLDATOV: She's always seen as kind of an enemy of the state because a lot of people in the Kremlin believe that she was behind Moscow protests in
2011 and 2012 when she was secretary. So it looks quite natural to try to undermine her positions.
PLEITGEN: While Russian officials continue to deny any involvement in hacking around
the U.s. elections, they also say they hope for a more positive attitude towards their country once Donald Trump takes office.
Fred Pleitken, CNN, Moscow.
LU STOUT: As you saw earlier, Donald Trump blasted CNN and other media outlets in his news conference, even barring one of our correspondents from
asking a question.
Now, for more on Trump's showdown with the media, let's bring in CNN Money senior media correspondent Brian Stelter from New York.
Brian. it was incredible. I mean, Trump shouted down Jim Acosta. He used the words fake news to just brand him and to brand this network. Before we
dig into this discussion further, some clarity here. What did CNN publish? And how is it that even Fox News is backing CNN up on this?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It is highly cynical for anyone, including the president-elect of the U.S., to call this fake news. Fake
news has a very specific, almost academic definition, meaning it's an article someone writes on the internet trying to trick you at home, trying
to trick you and then make money off the ads. That is not what the CNNs of the world do.
The CNN story was about these -- this report delivered by intel chiefs to the president-elect and to President Obama, including these allegations
that the Russians say Trump could be financially or personally compromised.
So this is what the intelligence chiefs were presenting to Trump in a report last week.
Now, CNN did not publish the specific allegations that had been circulating in this 35-page memo, this 35-page memo from a source that was used
partially to present them this intelligence sheet of information. Buzzfeed later on Tuesday did go ahead and publish that memo. Donald Trump and his
aides have been conflating the two choices.
CNN's choice was to not minute information that was unverified, Buzzfeed's choice was to go ahead, put it all out there and tell the audience you
decide what's true and what's not true. Now, that's a highly controversial decision by Buzzfeed.
You know, editor-in-chief Ben Smith is standing by that decision believing it was the right thing to do but a lot of media critics disagree with him.
CNN was much more restrained by not publishing the document, by not printing any of the unverified claims. So there's this contrast between
two news organizations choices, and Trump and his aides are conflating the two, suggesting that CNN was doing the exact same thing as Buzzfeed.
That's why he's up there on stage saying CNN's fake news. He's using it as a weapon of sorts trying to discredit all of the reporting.
LU STOUT: That's you've been pointing that out, CNN did use restraint, but that still, nevertheless, riled Donald Trump turning that press conference
into an all-out press confrontation.
From what the world witnessed there, what does it signal to you about the next four years of
covering the U.S. president?
STELTER: That journalists who are forecasting worst-case scenarios with regards to this president-elect have good reason to be doing so, that the
behavior, that the tone and tenor that we saw during the campaign is what will continue once Donald Trump moves into the White House.
There's been this debate in the U.S. for the past two months: is campaign Trump going to be
the same as Commander-in-Chief Trump, or is he going to tone it down? Is he going to be more
restrained to use one of his own words. Every indication we've received since November 9 when he was elected is that he's going to continue to be
the same person who was on the campaign trail, you know, rallying up his crowds, fostering and sowing anger against the media. That's what we saw
very clearly at this press conference, and I think this was a clarifying moment for journalists to recognize what is to come in the next four years.
We've seen this kind of behavior in other countries and now we're seeing it in the U.S. in a way
that American journalists have not before. What we are so far from the norms of respect here for the press corps, but that is something I think
journalists can handle. This is a moment where journalists like Jim Acosta at that press conference yesterday are not going to be intimidated by the
LU STOUT: No. In fact, continuing to do what they do, report real news, not fake news. Brian Stelter reporting for us. Thank you so much and take
LU STOUT: Now, you're watching News Stream. And still to come on the program, Trump's pick for U.S. Secretary of State is being grilled at his
senate confirmation hearing and we're learning not all of Rex Tillerson's foreign policy views line up with the income president's.
Also ahead, Trump wants this man as his attorney general, but one senator is pleading with
congress to show Jeff Sessions the door. More from that fiery confirmation hearing straight ahead.
LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You're back watching News Stream.
Now, even before the Trump administration officially begins, Republican lawmakers are working to dismantle the health care legislation that became
a hallmark of the Obama presidency. Now, early on Thursday morning, the senate narrowly approved a budget measure to repeal Obamacare. The vote
went almost along entirely along party lines.
The law currently provides health insurance to some 20 million Americans and Democrats warn many of them could lose their coverage if no alternative
system is put into place. Republicans are promising to replace it with something better. The repeal measure now goes to the House.
Now, a parade of cabinet nominees will be marching through the Senate again today for confirmation hearings. It is day two of a grilling for Rex
Tillerson. He's the former Exxonmobil CEO who has been chosen by Donald Trump to be U.S. Secretary of State. And if Wednesday was any indication
of what's to come, we can expect some very heated debates.
Now, Sunlen Serfaty takes us inside the hearing so far.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia, a major focus of Rex Tillerson's confirmation hearing for secretary of state.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: Russia today poses a danger but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interest.
SERFATY: The former ExxonMobil CEO facing scrutiny over his ties to Russia and potential conflicts of interest.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?
TILLERSON: I would not use that term.
SERFATY: Refusing to call the Russian president a war criminal when pressed by former Republican presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio.
RUBIO: You are still not prepared to say that Vladimir Putin and his military have violated the rules of war and have conducted war crimes in
TILLERSON: Those are very, very serious charges to make and I would want to have much more information.
RUBIO: Mr. Tillerson, the attack on Aleppo is in the public domain, videos and the pictures --
TILLERSON: I would want to be fully informed before advising the president.
SERFATY: Rubio grilling Tillerson's world view of Russia in this heated exchange.
[08:20:04] RUBIO: Are you aware that people who opposed Vladimir wind up dead all over the world, poisoned, shot in the back of the head?
TILLERSON: Well, people who speak up for freedom in regimes that are repressive are often a threat and these things happen to them. In terms of
assigning specific responsibilities, I would have to have more information.
SERFATY: Rubio's support of Tillerson's nomination is still up in the air.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Are you prepared to be the one Republican vote no?
RUBIO: Well, I'm prepared to do what's right. I'm not analyzing it from a partisan standpoint.
SERFATY: The man vying to be the nation's top diplomat even acknowledging that he has talked Russia policy with the president elect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president-elect agree with you?
TILLERSON: The president elect and I have not had the opportunity to discuss this specific issue or the specific area.
LU STOUT: And that was CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reporting there.
Now, Tillerson is also setting the stage for a potential showdown with Beijing. He says China should be denied access to the artificial islands
it has built in disputed waters.
Now, Matt Rivers joins us now from Beijing with more on the story. And, Matt, some pretty direct and blunt talk from Rex Tillerson, especially in
regards to the South China Sea, what more did he say about China's island building there?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was very specific, and as you mentioned very tough on China talking about China's ambitions in
the South China Sea, among other issues like North Korea and like trade. But as you mentioned, he went a step further than the person that if
nominated he would serve the president-elect. What we've heard from Donald Trump is that the artificial islands that China has built in the South
China Sea and militarized over the last several years we've heard Donald Trump say that they are not good, that
they shouldn't be doing that, but really that's about as specific as he got.
What Mr. Tillerson said was that he agreed with that point, that China should not be doing that, actually likening it, akin to Russia's taking of
Crimea in terms of taking territory that doesn't belong to them in the eyes of the international community, but then as you mentioned he took that one
step further and said that China should not be able to access those islands that it has spent so much time and money building over the last
It was very, very tough talk from the nominee in front of the Senate foreign relations committee and something that Beijing certainly paid
attention to, although today in Beijing officials didn't really take the bait in terms of responding in a regularly scheduled ministry of foreign
affairs press briefing today. Chinese officials really stuck to the line that they have gone with
before saying that any issues in the South China Sea should be solved on a bilateral basis between claimant countries, Kristie.
LU STOUT: All right, so copy, paste, repeat there.
Tillerson on China and North Korea though, let's dig into that area though because he said this during the hearing, he said, China, has, quote,
complete control over what sustains the government of North Korea. Does it?
RIVERS: Well, it really depends on who you ask. I mean, the one inescapable fact here is that
China does have more economic leverage over North Korea than any other country in the world. It is by far North Korea's largest trading partner,
it provides more aid in terms of food and fuel than any other country in the world. It is without question the economic lifeline of North Korea.
And so what people like Mr. Tillerson argue is that they should be using that economic leverage to force Pyongyang to scale back its nuclear weapons
That said, what you also hear is that simply saying that China could get Pyongyang to give up
nuclear weapons is really too simplistic of an explanation because for the Kim Jong-un regime, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that they very
much see their nuclear weapons program as tantamount to the future survival of that regime.
And whether China expects them to stop or not, they are going to continue that development
because without they don't think that they can compete on an international level.
So the answer to that question, Kristie, depends on who you ask.
LU STOUT: And finally, Matt, I mean, giving the tough talk on China, its actions in the South China Sea, its inaction in regards to North Korea, is
Rex Tillerson setting the course for a serious showdown here between U.S. and China under President Trump?
RIVERS: Well, this was certainly some tough talk, and it really comes in - - it's the latest issue that has really mar the the U.S.-China relationship that would happen moving forward once the Trump administration takes
office. You had Donald Trump taking a call with Taiwan's president. You've had
Donald Trump weighing in on China's seizure of that U.S. underwater drone a couple weeks back, so really this is just the latest issue.
But the big open question here that I think if you're looking at an immediate crisis, Rex Tillerson said that he doesn't think china should be
able to access those artificial islands. He didn't say how he would prevent China from accessing those islands. Most people would tell you the
only way to physically prevent China from getting to the islands would be to set up some sort of naval blockade around the islands. Would the U.S.
be so willing to do something, to take that kind of a drastic step that would ratchet up the possibility of there being some kind of confrontation
in that area? We have yet to hear more specific detail about how Mr. Tillerson would go about implementing that policy that he talked about
yesterday, but the fact remains, Kristie, that this is a tense time here as the transition of power occurs in the United States.
Absolutely. And Matt Rivers, live from Beijing for us. Thank you.
Now, there were fiery exchanges on Wednesday over another of Trump's cabinet picks. Senators throughout the confirmation hearing for their
colleague Jeff Sessions tapped to be U.S. attorney general. And for the first time, we saw one sitting U.S. Senator to speak against another.
Cory Booker was among those who argued that Sessions should be rejected saying his civil rights record disqualifies him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY: At a time when the last two attorney generals have taken steps to fix our broken criminal justice system, at a
time when the Justice Department he would lead has uncovered systemic abuses in police departments all over the
United States, including Ferguson, including Newark, Senator Sessions would not continue to lead this urgently needed change.
SEN. JOHN LEWIS, (D) GEORGIA: We need someone as attorney general who is going to look out for all of us and not just for some of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now, others spoke in favor of Session's confirmation, including a former colleague.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIE HUNTLEY, FRM. ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY: One of the things that I can say about Jeff is that he has always been the same person that I have known.
He's always been available for me and always been there when I needed him. At no point in the time that I've known Jeff has he demonstrated any racial
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Now, Sessions will likely be confirmed, because the senate's Republican majority. And appearing before confirmation hearings in the
coming hours, Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo, nominated for CIA director and retired general James Mattis as defense secretary.
You're watching News Stream, still to come on the program mixing business with politics. A week from his inauguration, there are still concerns
about Donald Trump's possible conflicts of interest. And here in Asia his name is still tied to big ticket projects.
[08:31:09] LU STOUT: In Asia, Donald Trump's name means big business. The president-elect has significant financial ties here, partnering with execs
who have little problem mixing business with politics. Andrew Stevens reports it's raising more questions about Trump's possible conflicts of
interest once he's commander-in-chief.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Happy families in the Philippines, this promotional video for the soon to be opened Trump Tower
in Manila also underlines a close family relationship between Trump Philippines real estate magnate Jose Antonio.
TRUMP: It's really great working with Century Properties and the Antonio family.
STEVENS: Antonio's Century Properties is building Trump Tower in the Makati business district of Manila. Trump doesn't own it but licensing deals are
lucrative for him.
According to SEC forms he claims he made more than $9 million for the use of his name globally in 2015.
JOSE ANTONIO, REAL ESTATE MAGNATE: We are bringing Trump to the Philippines because...
STEVENS: But Trump and Antonio could soon be talking politics officially. In October, Antonio was appointed the Philippines special envoy to the U.S.
focusing on trade.
TRUMP: Do they like me in Indonesia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Thank you very much.
STEVENS: Trump's business interests also stretched to Indonesia. This site on the tourist side of the Bali will be Asia's first Trump resort. Building
is scheduled to start this year.
The man behind this project is media tycoon Hary Tanoe, a man with political ambitions of his own. He ran unsuccessfully for vice president of
Indonesia in 2014. He and Trump are also partners in a hotel in west Java.
Hotels are also on the radar for Trump in China. Trump Hotel CEO Eric Danziger told the "Nanfang Daily", a newspaper based in southern China that
the company plans to open hotels in 20 to 30 cities across the country, both under the Trump brand and another one of its brands called Sael (ph).
CNN has reviewed Trump's most recent financial disclosures and found that he has a total 144 business interests across 25 countries. With growing
concerns about potential conflicts of interests that is a lot to untangle as he prepares to assume to the presidency of the United States.
Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Ksong.
LU STOUT: Now a petition to stand up for Muslims in America is close to its target of 75,000 signatures. It was launched by actor and activist
George Takei who at the age of 5 was rounded up with his family at gunpoint and forced into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War
Now, on this petition site Takei says Donald Trump's call for a Muslim registry and the ban on some Muslims entering the U.S. is simply
unacceptable adding this, quote, "we know where it might lead." And George Takei spoke earlier to CNN's John Vause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: I must say I was chilled when, during the campaign, Donald Trump made the statement that all Muslims should be banned
from entry into the United States. That kind of sweeping characterization of a whole group of people is exactly what we were subjected to. They had a
registry, -- they called it a database -- on us. They knew where we lived and what we did for a living and how many in a family. That was followed by
the curfew where we are had to be home by 7:00 p.m. and stay home until 6:00 a.m. We were imprisoned in our homes at night. And then we discovered
that our bank accounts had been frozen. We couldn't have access to our life savings. And so, we were impoverished by -- and then that was followed by
the soldiers coming to take us.
People know very little about that chapter in American history. That's why we are doing this, to call attention to that. And to express our solidarity
with Muslim-Americans as Americans, people who represent American values. And we want to show that there is strength in numbers and that there is an
overwhelming public opinion supporting our solidarity with the Muslim- Americans.
[08:35:32] JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're one of many in Hollywood who have spoken out against Donald Trump. You do it regularly. You have a
huge following on social media. You are one of the more regular critics. How do you answer the criticism that you are just a bunch of liberal elites
out of touch with real America?
TAKEI: Well, I grew up behind American barbed-wire fences. I know the consequence of this kind of registry. This kind of insanity can happen. And
it was the president of the United States, Mr. Roosevelt, and another great man who, at that time, was the attorney general of California, Earl Warren,
who led the charge on locking Japanese- Americans up. And he fed into that hysteria which reached the presidency. Great people can make horrific
mistakes that do huge damage, and primarily to the ideals of American democracy. We are determined to not let that happen again because it's
against American values.
VAUSE: One of the great things about "Star Trek," the original TV series and great social commentary, is there an episode which you can think of
from the original series which perhaps best fits what's happening right now in America?
TAKEI: You know, I don't remember the episodes by title but there was one where we were sending surrogates into a machine that destroyed. There were
two great civilizations at war with each other. It was a war game that was played and then surrogates were sent to the machine to be destroyed.
So, you know, people make mistakes. And warfare and fear and ignorance make us -- make horrific mistakes. We want to avoid that. And we're sharing the
experience of Japanese-Americans. Americans -- my mother was born in Sacramento, the capital of California. My father was a San Franciscan. They
met and married in Los Angeles. And my siblings and I were born there. We are Americans. And they were stampeded by the hysteria of war. And that is
what is happening now with the testimony of Tillerson this afternoon and, yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions. These are people that have accomplished a
great deal in their lives.
But, yet, they are fallible human beings and they are about to repeat a mistake for which President Ronald Reagan in 1988 apologized and paid a
$20,000 redress apology. So, we don't want to be through this again. And we're telling this to the elected officials, particularly Donald Trump,
that we are not going to tolerate this kind of mistake being made again with other innocent people, simply because they look like people that might
be potential terrorists. There is -- this is a country that stands for the rule of law, for due process, and that's the way to do this, not that all-
encompassing, sweeping, generalized characterization of a group of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: Actor and activist George Takei there.
You're watching News Stream, and still to come right here on the program, a prop at Donald Trump's news conference is fueling a lot of the laughs. Why
comedians are poking fun at the president-elect.
[08:40:59] LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now, Donald Trump's first news conference in six months provided a lot of fresh material for late night comedians. And here's some of the best
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: You missed a lot. But we boiled it down to the key parts.
TRUMP: Sick crap, Russia, China, fake news, hacking, Hillary Clinton, bad, terrible, disgraceful, horrible, Nazi Germany, fantastic, garbage,
germophobe, give me a break. You're fired.
KIMMEL: ...you're fired. It's going to be a good four years.
You know, Donald Trump's press conference is not unlike going to the bathroom. You already know what you're going to get, you just don't know
exactly what it'll look like.
TREVOR NOAH, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: No joke, Trump is taking his job really seriously and to show how hard he's working he even brought every single
manila folder in America.
Look at that table, wow. That's just a prop. You know somewhere on America there's a Staples where someone walked in and said you know what I
need, one of everything!
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW: And Trump, of course, defended his relationship with Russia.
TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I can consider that an asset, not a liability.
COLBERT: Sir, at this point I think we all consider you a Russian asset.
SETH MEYERS, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: Even if Russian operatives did claim to have compromising information on Trump, you know who else
does? All of us. For example, while everyone was talking about these wild claims today, Trump was announcing that he will not divest from his
business empire and admitting that a foreign entity offered him a massive amount of money just this weekend.
TRUMP: Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the
Middle East, Hussein Demak, a friend of mine, a great guy and I turned it down.
MEYERS: He wants credit for not committing an impeachable offense.
So China tried to buy Rhode Island and I said no way.
LU STOUT: And that is News Stream. I'm Kristie Lu Stout. But don't go anyway, World Sport with the Amanda Davies is next.