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CNN NEWSROOM

Dems Who Skip the President-Elect's Inauguration; China Firing Back at Trump's Nominee for Secretary of State; Elizabeth Warren's Message to the President-Elect; Trump Appears to Escalate Battle with Intelligence Community; 17-Year Police Veteran Shot and Killed Monday; A New Movie Tops the Charts Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 14, 2017 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:00:12] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

We begin tonight with the growing list of Democratic congressmen and women who say they will skip the president-elect's inauguration six days from now. A list that seems to be expanding by the hour. The latest count 16 members from the House from states all across the country, including Georgia congressman John Lewis. And congressman John Congers of Michigan. Like some California Congresswoman Barbara Lee made the decision days ago. But for others like California Ted Lieu (ph) was based on something that played out in the last 24 hours, the president-elect responding to this comment made by civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I don't see the president-elect as a legitimate president.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: You do not consider him as a legitimate president. Why is that?

LEWIS: I think the Russian's participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: His key line, I don't see this president as a legitimate president. Trump's response came on twitter.

Congressman John Lewis should spend more time fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime invested rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk, no action or results. Sad.

Let's talk about all of that and the day's headlines with my panel. Joining me now Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator and host of the "Ben Ferguson" show and Bakari Sellers, also a CNN political commentator and a former member of South Carolina House of Representative. Gentlemen, thank you for being here.

Bakari, let me begin with you. Good evening. Let me begin with you, Baraka in and this growing list of Democratic congressmen and women who will not go to the inauguration. This as a time when our country needs unity more than it was in quite a long time. Is that the right move?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think these men and women are showing leadership. And civil disobedience and boycotting is as American as apple pie. And they have every right to show that some of disobedience. I think when there is question is who am I going to support, is it John Lewis or Donald Trump, and in this case I'm going to land on the side of the civil rights hero. There are many of us. First of all, there's 73 million people who didn't vote for Donald Trump.

But there are many of us who believe that he stands for something that this country does not stand for. And while I think the question of whether or not he is legitimate when it comes to this race and the involvement of the Russians or anyone else, it's still an outstanding and lingering question that has to be answered. I do believe that these members of Congress who are protesting, who are showing civil disobedience have every right to and I stand with them.

HARLOW: The legitimacy of him being the next president is not something that's been questioned by, say the sitting president, Barack Obama.

And Ben, the president-elect does have every right to respond to someone questioning his legitimacy, something he did to the current president for years with the birther movement. But the way he has done it, the way he responded, attacking a civil rights icon, punching back in the way he did saying all talk no action when you just look at these images. I mean, this is a man who almost died fighting for our freedom in '65 in Selma. Do you approve of the way he responded?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have a lot of respect for this congressman. I have met him several times, seen him speak several times in person. But I think he is dead wrong on this one. I think he is a civil rights leader and should understand that you have sometimes you don't get exactly what you want and you have to be respectful of the other side when they have a free and fair election. I think he should understand how important it is to have a free and fair election. But in reality what he's saying is I didn't get my way, I wanted Hillary Clinton, and so therefore I'm not going to show up. What does that teach young people in this country?

HARLOW: What about -- I'm asking you though, Ben, about Trump's response, right? What he said, all talk and no action, counter punching instead of saying perhaps, look, I'm disappointed you feel that way. I'm disappointed you're not going to be there on Friday. But let's sit down and talk. Would that have been a better response from the man who's going to lead this country in six days?

FERGUSON: I don't think so in this situation because --. HARLOW: Why?

FERGUSON: I'm going to answer. I think you have to look at the connotation of what was said by a sitting congressman and how irresponsible it was for him as a leader to say that someone is not a legitimate president.

Let's not forget about one thing here. What got Hillary Clinton to lose the election, referring to what he was saying about Hillary Clinton who basically should have won this thing or it was stolen from her. Her campaign and her staff are the ones that wrote the emails that made the American people say they didn't trust her. She had a problem with her own words that came out through those emails. So if he is mad about losing the election, blame Hillary Clinton and her staff for what were in her emails that people did not like.

He won this election. They lost. And if they want to stay home, it's their right. It's just not leadership. And for a party that claims they are all about leadership right now, they are not showing any at all when they attack Donald Trump saying he is too tough on people and he doesn't show leadership. What are you doing right now? I mean, you could literally say you are doing exactly what you hate about Donald Trump, which is also hypocrisy.

[19:05:38] HARLOW: Bakari, to those who would draw somewhat of an equivalency too. There is a lot of things that differentiate them. But to Donald Trump, questioning the legitimacy of our current president, Barack Obama, questioning, you know, where he was born, completely unfounded with John Lewis saying I don't accept the legitimacy of this incoming president. What do you say to critics who say, you know, aren't you doing something similar to what you criticized?

SELLERS: Well, I think that John Lewis, I mean, he couched his statement by saying that he didn't believe it was a free and fair election. But while Ben is riding his horse of privilege is his high horse about this United States congressman --.

FERGUSON: Horse of privilege?

SELLERS: Not so that I would have any extra right. I would simply have equal rights and civil rights. I want to remind him about Bill Posey, who as a congressman from Florida --

FERGUSON: Bakari, you stretched.

SELLERS: Who actually sponsored a birther bill in the United States Congress. I want to remind him about Joe Wilson who actually screamed DUI --

FERGUSON: And I can bet that would happen.

SELLERS: One actually said the first lad lady of the United States had a fat butting with all who hurled insults at the president of the United States. FERGUSON: Bakari, I can go the same list with Democrats, but that's

not what we are talking about here. And if you want to have a litmus of all of these other things, I mean, when do you stop it and show leadership? You hate the people who have done it but now you're doing it.

SELLERS: It's a question John Lewis's leadership is absurd and neglects history.

FERGUSON: No it's not.

SELLERS: John Lewis knows exactly what he is doing. And what we are going to do is that if there's a question or whether I join him or Donald Trump, I'm going to side with John Lewis every day of the week.

HARLOW: So Baraki, to that point, do you agree with Representative Lewis? Do you agree that Donald Trump in his words is not a legitimate president?

SELLERS: I question the legitimacy of Donald Trump's candidacy and his presidency since November 8th.

FERGUSON: Wow.

HARLOW: I think Donald Trump won this race.

FERGUSON: It's sad.

SELLERS: I don't want to despair to any of those people who voted for Donald Trump. And I think that they there are going to be questions answered about the Russians or anybody else --.

HARLOW: So on that point, Bakari. On that point -- I just want Bakari to answer. On that point, Bakari, speaking for the American people of all parties, right, where does that leave the American public? Where do we go from here? Because this election is done, it is over, Donald Trump will be the sitting president in six days. So how can there be unity going forward?

SELLERS: Well, I mean, I think that's an amazing question, Poppy. And it's an amazing question that one should actually ask Donald Trump. I think that we are having this discussion because of the Donald Trump's response, and Donald Trump's ignorance --

FERGUSON: We are having it because the congressman said that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president.

SELLERS: I want to actually get a thought out about you interrupting.

FERGUSON: You've gotten plenty.

SELLERS: I think that it's amazing we're having this discussion about someone who has the history, who has the pedigree, who doesn't have to read about civil rights in the books because it actually smelled gun fire and smoke, who actually felt the water host against their back.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Ben, let's Bakari finish. You'll have plenty of time. I promise.

SELLERS: I appreciate the discussion that we are having. But if we want to have a conversation that requires us to listen. And one thing that we have to start to do is begin to love our neighbors even when they don't love us. But that doesn't mean I'm going to let someone who disparages just people who have fought for rights this far and this hard and who almost died so I can sit here today. I'm not going to let someone sit there and go unchallenged on January 20th. I'm going to challenge him every day of his presidency until he says that he wants to bring this country together and value those American values we hold true.

HARLOW: Ben?

FERGUSON: The hypocrisy that is coming from you Bakari is truly shocking to me. You claim that you have - that you want to bring the country together but then you support someone who says he is not a legitimate president. You claim that you want to bring the country together. But then you say you support people who will not show up for the inauguration when Americans should come together. You claim that John Lewis is such a credible person because of civil rights, which he is. But then you give him a free pass on the same hypocrisy that he is screaming right now by saying that I do not believe the president is legitimate.

And for you to say that you respect the voters who voted for Donald Trump while saying this, that's just a lie. Obviously you do not at all respect the will of the people or the voters in this election and neither does John Lewis when you say this, when you don't get your way.

Freedom is not saying if I don't get my way, I refuse to respect someone else when they win a free and fair election. That's is not freedom. And it that is what John Lewis fought for so hard which is freedom he should respect it even when his side loses. And his side lost. And now he is trying to undermine freedom in this country and so are you by saying that.

[19:10230] HARLOW: I got 30 seconds. Bakari, final thought.

SELLERS: No. I think it's amazing to have the audacity of the level of privilege to lecture John Lewis about freedom.

FERGUSON: Why do you keep saying privilege?

SELLERS: Can I talk? Ben.

FERGUSON: You're basically saying racism because I'm white.

SELLERS: I mean, that's kind of how this works. So my only point is that I think that we need to learn from the struggles of people like John Lewis. I think if the president of the United States had an issue, had an issue with what John Lewis tweeted, then I think a leader picks up the phone who want that conversation. And certainly, it has that conversation.

FERGUSON: (INAUDIBLE)

SELLERS: I believe in John Lewis. I mean, I wouldn't be here on CNN if it wasn't for people like John Lewis. John Lewis has led it this far and I'm going to ride John Lewis until we actually get to say Ben Ferguson that we are free.

HARLOW: Bakari Sellers, Ben Ferguson, thank you. Thank you both. This is incredibly important to talk about. I appreciate both of your opinions tonight.

FERGUSON: Thanks.

HARLOW: Coming up, the president-elect says that he will make the best deals for this country. What does he do, though, when China responds with the words nonnegotiable? What happens to the art of the deal then? The comment putting the president-elect at odds with Beijing tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:14:11] HARLOW: China is firing back at president-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state. In his confirmation hearing this week, Rex Tillerson supported a tougher stance by the United States in the contested waters of the South China Sea. That is where China has built and militarized several artificial islands.

And CNN's Brian Todd reports that Tillerson's remarks prompted Chinese media to issue a warning of a possible war with the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They have staked a claim in thousands of acres of were sand bars and (INAUDIBLE). They have used sophisticated equipment like these ships, pumping sand through those thin tubes to create islands. Then they built airfields with telling radar stations, constructed ports, deployed weapons there, even built barracks.

China's military buildups of these islands in the South China Sea has angered the Obama administration. The U.S. has sent ships and planes very near the islands, sometimes drawing Chinese warnings.

[19:15:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is the Chinese navy. This is the Chinese navy. Please go away quickly.

TODD: Now, a government-run Chinese newspaper is warning of a possible war with the U.S. over the manmade islands. It's spurred by this comment from secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson at his confirmation hearings.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: We are going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island building stops and second, your access to the islands is also not going to be allowed. TODD: The Chinese newspaper says quote "unless Washington plans to

wage a large scale war in the South China Sea than trying to block China's access to the islands would be foolish. And Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he want to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territory."

Pentagon officials are calling on China to reduce tensions. How could the U.S. deny China access to those islands?

GREGORY POLLING, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: You would want to start with a naval watching. That's would people would think. You know, keeping missile crisis in the modern era. But there is a lot of space they cover. I would assume that you are talking about blocking access to the seven islands that China occupies here in the Spratly out of these dozens. You would also have to deal with their air capabilities. This is not just a naval blockade. China has four different air strips built on the largest of the islands out there. They have hangar space for a full regiment of fighter aircraft that each one of these. That's an awful lot of capability. And finally, this not without cost. And these are not defenseless features. What you are looking at here are advanced air defense and anti-missile systems. This is an anti-aircraft done.

TODD: Analysts are worried about escalation.

ROBERT DALY, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: The biggest fear is accidental conflict or of accidental conflict. The South China Sea, even under the best possible set of circumstances is going to get more crowded and more contentious. There are going to be more commercial ships in the area. And there are going to be more military assets.

TODD: A key question in all of this, did Rex Tillerson speak directly for president-elect Trump when he said the U.S. should deny China access to those islands.

I spoke to a Trump transition official who walked back slightly from Tillerson's comments. The officials said denying access doesn't necessarily have to mean a naval blockade, that there are other options including economic ones. When I pressed on what those might be, the official said there are no details yet but all of this still has to be worked out.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Brian, thank you.

And in an interview with "the Wall Street Journal" yesterday, Trump called into question the decades old one China policy. That of course recognizes Beijing's claim that Taiwan is part of China saying everything is under negotiation including one China.

A spokesman for China's foreign ministry responded today saying quote "the one China principle is the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations and is nonnegotiable. Our Alexandra Field joins me now live from Hong Kong.

Look. He wrote "the art of the deal." China says, you know, this is nonnegotiable. Walk us through this thinking of the government in Beijing right now when it comes to Taiwan, especially following that very controversial phone call that the president-elect had with the president of Taiwan.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. They are saying very clearly right now, officials in Beijing that Taiwan is not on the table here. That this is a nonnegotiable policy, the one China policy as you point out.

Why is president-elect Donald Trump talking about Taiwan? Why has he been talking about Taiwan over the last month? Well, it doesn't really have much to do with any interest in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship as such. But certainly, the belief is that president- elect Donald Trump is talking about Taiwan as possible leverage here in other conversation with Beijing saying that on the top except currency or in various trade negotiations.

But this is a trigger issue for China. The one China policy which you point out has underpinned. It is the foundation of the political relationship between the U.S. and China since 1979. This was the agreement that U.S. administrations have continued to respect for nearly 40 decades. That diplomatic relationships would be handled through Beijing. That the relationship with Taiwan would continue to be unofficial.

So frankly, president-elect Donald Trump really shocked the world when he took that phone call from Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen just a month ago. And at that point, Beijing had wondered if perhaps this was a fluke, some sort of sign of the inexperience of the president-elect's transition team. This certainly would seem to change the narrative when he is saying very explicitly to "Wall Street Journal" that the one China policy is in fact on the table in his mind.

HARLOW: So that's why you think that the response was from Beijing, from China was more tempered, you know, a month ago versus now.

FIELD: It has definitely been a markedly different response this time, Poppy. And look. We are not talking about a major response here. You are talking about a statement that was put out by the ministry of foreign affairs saying this is nonnegotiable and a political foundation. But it does certainly represent sort of a ratcheting up in terms of the response from what we saw just a month ago.

There was an official statement a month ago. You did hear leader in Beijing urging the incoming Trump administration to respect the one China policy. The tradition of the One China policy. There was also the formal complaint that Beijing lodged with what they call the relevant party after that phone call was taken. But at that time Beijing really focused its eye on Taiwan. It rebuked Taiwan's leader for making that phone call, being very clear that Taiwan knows the protocol. Well giving Taiwan sort of a slap on the wrist. But Donald Trump making his intentions much more clear on this and that has narrative this stronger direct response from Beijing, Poppy.

[19:20:38] HARLOW: Alexander Field, live for us in Hong Kong. Alex, thank you so much.

Coming up, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren has a message for the president-elect, sell your business or run a big risk. Her CNN interview is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:23:35] HARLOW: She has been one of president-elect Donald Trump's harshest critic. But Senator Elizabeth Warren says her latest line of criticism of Trump and his decision to turn over his business to his son rather than to sell it is about good government. She says it's not partisanship. To that end, she has introduced a bill that would require anyone elected president to divest of all political interests.

CNN Money's Cristina Alesci spoke with her one-on-one this week in Washington and has more. Hi, Cristina.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, Warren wants Trump to sell his businesses. She says that's the best way to prevent conflicts. Otherwise we are looking at potential opportunities for corruption.

Look, under Trump's plan he keeps ownership and that is a sticking point. He knows about his assets. He knows who his partners are. And his own attorney in the press conference said he will be able to read about the new deals the Trump organization does in the paper.

So for Warren and for many ethics experts, the point is how can Trump make policy decisions without anyone ever questioning whether he's considering his bottom line.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: What he is describing does not resolve the conflicts of interest. And I want to be clear. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is a good government issue. We count on the president of the United States to be working 24/7 for no one except the American people. No efforts to try to line his own pocket to make a little more money for his family. And that's the reason we say for a president of the United States and for others in high government office.

Listen, once you take that solemn oath, once you move into that position, you make sure that your financial interests are handle totally by someone else. And I want to be clear, someone else who, to you, is behind a wall.

[19:25:24] ALESCI: How will you get him to sell his assets?

WARREN: Well, I have a bill pending right now with several others in the Senate to say that anyone, Democrat or Republican, who is in the presidency has got to divest their assets, put them away, let an independent money manager manage but not someone that's a family someone that you know.

ALESCI: What risk is president-elect Trump taking by not following that advice, by ignoring that advice?

WARREN: I would very much like to see the bill pass and then there will be a legal standard making it clear he must (INAUDIBLE). There is the constitution and the (INAUDIBLE). But more than anything else, what does he risk? He risks losing the trust of all of the people of the United States who are counting on him to be able to separate himself from his business interests.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALESCI: Warren argues that Trump's conflict are not a partisan issue. The problem, she is a powerful brand and personality for the Democrats and most Americans probably don't see her as an unbiased voice. But the office of government ethics, which is not a political machine and led by a civil servant, agrees with Warren. The agency's head said Trump's plan is nowhere close to meeting the standards that presidents before have met - Poppy.

HARLOW: Cristina, great interview. Thank you for that.

Coming up, Trump taking on the intelligence community. What do they think of this comment from the incoming commander in chief?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a disgrace and I say that and I say that and that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:18] HARLOW: In the week before he becomes president, Donald Trump appears to be escalating his battle with the intelligence community. First, the president-elect tweeted this. Quote "intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to quote leak into the public. One last shot at me, are we living in Nazi Germany."

And the president-elect was reacting to news reports about classified material that he received that summarized unsubstantiated allegations that Russia had compromising material that could harm him. Trump followed that tweet with this statement during his news conference on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it's a disgrace. And I say that, and I say that and that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it's a disgrace. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: All right. Let's talk about where this leaves the next administration and the intelligence community that will serve it.

CNN global affairs analyst Kimberly Dozier is with us.

You are the perfect person to talk about this because you are so deeply source within the intelligence community. What do you think this means for the intelligence community when the commander in-chief does make a comparison to the time of living in Nazi Germany? Obviously anyone who knows anything about this these very brave men and women who serve this country know that they will still do their jobs to their full capacity, but how does it complicate things, make it more difficult?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it is certainly a bad way to start. I spoke to members of the intelligence community, current and former this past week. And they had different reactions, mostly along the lines of, you know, he really didn't have to go there. Maybe he doesn't like some of this information that was shared. Maybe he is blaming basically director of national intelligence Jim Clapper and CIA director Brennon because they are also Obama appointees. And he is casting soft of a political fall over. But the comments are hitting the entire community and it's got some people pretty upset.

HARLOW: So what do they want to see him do or hear from him?

DOZIER: When his people get put in place, his DNI, Dan Coats, the senator who has yet to have his confirmation hearing.

HARLOW: Pompeo.

DOZIER: And the CIA nominee Mike Pompeo. When they get in, they will want to hear that, OK, now that he has got his leadership in that they are going trust the conclusions of the community. Because especially right now when you have got allegations that Russia tried to influence the election and you have Trump saying things publicly that sound very cozy and friendly towards Russia, what the intelligence community fears is has he been -- the expression is case-offered. Has Putin managed to get in his head, flatter him and win him over? If so, what kind of underhanded campaign could follow the one to influence the election? And they're worried that when they bring evidence of the future campaigns that they are sure will happen to the president's desk, that he might not believe it.

HARLOW: This is not the first time, though, as you know, Kim, that we have seen a president at odds with the CIA, with the intelligence community. But as with everything else, you know, this is certainly all playing out in public as we have seen lately. What are some other historical examples that we have seen, you know, head-butting, even akin to this?

DOZIER: Well, George W. Bush didn't like what he heard from the intelligence committee about how the war in Iraq was going. We had -- Nixon didn't like the intelligence from the CIA saying that the war in Vietnam was going poorly. So there is a history of this.

And I did speak to some people close to the Trump campaign, the administration who have actually sat down with Trump and they have said, he's skeptical towards intelligence. He's going to be a consumer who demands as many facts as he can get before he believes. He is going to be a show me type president. And at least the intelligence committee knows that going in that a regarding is going to have hold more sway with him of a conversation than say a report that's stamped high confidence. They are going to have to win it every step of the way.

HARLOW: I should note that, Kimberly, quickly, that he did wait more than seven week to meet with the heads of all of the intelligence agencies whereas most presidents, including President Obama met with them, you know, within two or three weeks of being elected.

[19:35:01] DOZIER: He did. But again those people that he would have met with were closely associated with the Obama administration. We are really going to have to wait and see until after he is in-charge and see how he responds to what they bring him there.

HARLOW: Kimberly Dozier, nice to have you on. Thank you.

DOZIER: Thank you.

HARLOW: Coming up an emotional farewell to an Orlando Florida police officer gunned down in the line of duty. A city's grief and the manhunt for her killer is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:38:35] HARLOW: Today, police officers from across the country came together in Orlando, Florida for the funeral of master sergeant Debra Clayton, a 17-year-old veteran at the police department was shot and killed on Monday in the line of duty trying to arrest a murder suspect. Her killer is still on the loose.

Our Nick Valencia is in Orlando.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has been a solemn week in Orlando, punctuated Saturday by perhaps the saddest of them all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, we are mourning. But we are also here to honor a beautiful life, an extraordinary person, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, police officer, leader.

VALENCIA: Master sergeant Debra Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the Orlando police department, laid to rest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have all struggled this past week to come up with the words to soft your loss and there really are not any. Words cannot begin to express our heartache. VALENCIA: More than 1,000 people attended her funeral at the first

Baptist church of Orlando. Officers from all over the country came too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was courageous.

VALENCIA: Before the service began, two of her colleagues and friends reminded everyone just how big of a void was left behind by her death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sad. It's senseless death. She loved her job. She was a strong-willed woman with a contagious smile. She is going to be missed but never forgotten.

[19:40:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a passion to make Orlando better. She like myself grew up here in Orlando. For her to be taken away by someone in the community she loved, someone was from the same area as her is just hard.

VALENCIA: She was murdered by a man police say was already on the run for allegedly killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend in December. In an exchange that lasted less than 30 seconds, police say fugitive Mark Keith Lloyd took the life of Sergeant Debra Clayton. At one point they say he stood over her body and continued to fire even though she laid on the ground defenseless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we celebrate the life and the legacy of master sergeant Debra Clayton --

VALENCIA: Of the more than 700 officers in the city, Clayton was one of the most engaged in the Orlando community, an officer, yes, but also a community activist determined to bridge the gap between police and the public. Her friends and colleagues have only one message for the man suspected of killing her.

Any message to Mark Keith Lloyd. If he could hear you guys, and you could speak directly to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, I don't have something nice to say right now. You won't get away with this. I'm confident in our department and we will turn over every stone to find you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you guys so much. We're all very sorry.

VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN Orlando, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Nick, thank you so much for that.

All right. Coming up next, the number one movie at the box office this week. It is not "Star Wars." It's not fiction. It's a true story I would bet not many of us have ever heard about. It's about three African-American women who helped NASA win the space race.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quite a few women work in the space program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:45:08] HARLOW: In this week's "American Opportunity," a movie about the forgotten women who helped NASA win the space race and now it is number one folks at the box office this week.

"Hidden Figures" tell the true story of three African-American mathematicians who played pivotal roles in sending astronauts into space, bringing them back safely even as segregation was enforced. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what we're doing here? We are putting a human son op of a missile shooting on the space and it has never been done before. I need a mathematician to come up beyond the numbers. A math that doesn't exist before the Russian plant a flag in the damn moon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have someone?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Katherine is the gal for that. She can handle any numbers that you put in front of her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't embarrass me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn't empty last night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry I wasn't --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would he be doing that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dorothy. You already have a slice of pie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They let women handle that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. They let women do some things at NASA, Mr. Johnson and it is not because we are wearing skirts. It's because we wear glasses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Joining me now is Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of the book that inspired it all, "Hidden Figures," also founder of the human computer project which is recovering the names and the accomplishments of all of those women who worked as mathematicians, scientists and engineers at NASA through the 1980s.

Thank you for being here.

MARGOT LEE SHETTERLY, AUTHOR, HIDDEN FIGURES: Thank you, Poppy. It is great to be on the show.

HARLOW: I'm so glad you wrote this book. I'm so glad you told this story. I can't wait for any daughter to see this history come to life one day when she can see it.

Where do we begin? You know, you have said that part of the reason this story was lost for so long was because the central figures weren't just black, it's because they were women.

SHETTERLY: That's correct. I mean, you know, there are any number of reasons why we are only getting around to tell the stories of these women and celebrating these women. But I think one of the most central reason is the fact that this kind of work, this computing essentially calculating was women's work. So the men by and large were engineers and the women were the computers. The men did the (INAUDIBLE) analytical work and the women did the calculations that were necessary to make these engineering fetes come to free sigs. It was women's work and we didn't value it the same way.

HARLOW: No. I mean, these were jobs that were considered really sub- professional. But yet you have women like I mean, like Katherine Johnson, for example, that literally are the reason that John Glen was able to do what he did and come home safely and they were referred to as girl.

SHETTERLY: Yes. Si we have to remember this is, you know, the women started working at the what was then called the Langley memorial air nautical laboratory, the thermal (ph) of NASA back in the 1930s. The first black women showed up in 1943. So the 1940s and '50s and 60s, these was, you know, a mad men work situation.

But despite that and, you know, despite the fact that we are talking about Virginia and the Jim Crowe south, so segregated bathrooms, segregated cafeteria, segregated work room. These black women were in segregated room and yet these women were providing the calculations that fuels America's dominant over the Soviet Union in the space race.

HARLOW: In the movie, obviously, the very famous talented (INAUDIBLE) plays Katherine Johnson. She is the one who calculated the trajectories for John Glenn to be the first American orbit the earth. He wanted her. He said, I want her to double-check the computer and make sure this darn computer is right. What kind of fete was that back then?

SHETTERLY: It's pretty significant fete. I mean, first of all, what we do want to remember is that it took thousands of people to send humans into space and bring them back safely. Thousands of people. Everyone had their role. And Katherine Johnson's role in this particular case was to double-check the math of the computers. Computers were really being used in a much more integrated unprecedented way for this orbital flight of John Glenn in 1962 and she was asked to basically double-check the output, to take all of the equations that had been program into the computer, run all of the numbers through it and do this by hand with her desktop calculator and make sure that she got the same thing as the computer, you know, with the idea that if those two things were in agreement, those two sets of calculations then this was another one of the checklists that said OK, we are ready to go.

[19:50:04] HARLOW: First lady Michelle Obama recently hosted a screening of "Hidden Figures" at the White House. Here's how she described the story's lesson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I want you to see that it does not matter what you look like, it doesn't matter how much money your parents have. None of that matters. Skin color, gender is the most ridiculous defining trait that we cling to. It doesn't matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: I should note for our viewers, this is your first book, correct?

SHETTERLY: This is my first book. That's right.

HARLOW: I don't know how you're going to top it. But what did that mean to you coming from the nation's first African-American first lady?

SHETTERLY: It meant everything. I mean, the fact is, you know, the American dream, there's a reason why this is in the subtitle of the book. This really is about those American values and about the times when America's fallen short of those values and the times when America's lived up to those values. And I think the first lady, you know, for a lot of us really said somebody like me who is multigenerational African-American can find herself in the White House, in that position, you know. Somebody like Katherine Johnson, who was the smart girl, not just the girl, can be the right person at the right time. That's what this is all about.

HARLOW: Right. And let's remember, this is from a first lady who, you know, brilliant at Princeton, whose own roommate moved out rather than, you know, to live with a black woman. Who did you write this for?

SHETTERLY: Honestly, I wrote this book first and foremost for myself. I wrote the book that I had been waiting to read since I was a little girl. I love big American stories. I love great sweeping history. I wanted a protagonist who looked like me, you know. I wanted that protagonist to be the one to go on the huge adventure. So -- and it just turns out that a lot of other people apparently were interested in having a story like this as well. But I really wrote it first and foremost for myself.

HARLOW: Yes. And I think encouraging to see the reception. It's the number one movie in America. So a lot of people want to hear this untold story. Thank you for writing it, for the service you have done to all of us and our children for generations. Congratulations.

SHETTERLY: Thank you. It's been my pleasure. HARLOW: All right. Coming up next, in our America, a big-hearted

principal goes bald for a very good cause. The story of how he backed up a bullied student, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:00:41] HARLOW: Barring any new additions, Donald Trump will become the first president in 150 years without a pet. His vice president, on the other hand, is big on animals and even has a rabbit named Marlon Bundo.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet the VPP, the vice presidential pets. The Pence's bunny actually got to deplane before the vice president. This is Marlon Bundo. One political strategist tweeted, "OK. I have been a Pence skeptic. The fact that he has a rabbit called Marlon Bundo has softened me."

The family's two cats, Oreo and Pickle, were carried out by the vice president-elect's wife and daughter. Pickle, the beige and white one, got air sick aboard the plane but at least the cat didn't nip anyone.

President George W. Bush's Scottish terrier Barney nailed a Reuter's reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got bit by Barney.

MOOS: And Bill Clinton's cat Socks had a turf war with buddy.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did better with the Palestinians and Israelis than I did with Socks and Buddy.

MOOS: Franklin Roosevelt was so close with his dog (INAUDIBLE) that they are together forever as statues.

LBJ got flacked from animal lovers for picking up his beagle by the ears.

And President Bush once accidentally dropped Barney.

You never know with presidential pets who's going to take whom for a walk. But we know where Beau wasn't sleeping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to be in a bed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in my bed.

MOOS: The wise stop at dogs and cats. Woodrow Wilson used sheep to mow the White House lawn during World War I.

First lady Grace Coolidge is seen here with her pet raccoon Rebecca at an Easter egg roll.

And Teddy Roosevelt had a virtual zoo at the White House.

The Pences also have a pet snake. Though we didn't see any snakes on the plane. For Pickle and Oreo and Marlon Bundo this was their first VPP motorcade.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Jeanne Moos, you do it like no one else can. Thank you for that.

Now in "Our America," at a time of so much division in this country there are moments of unity all around us every day. And we want to make sure we show you those on this show as well.

So tonight in our America we want you to meet Jackson Johnston, a sixth-grader in Packwood, Iowa. His grandfather was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and started losing his hair. So Jackson shaved his own head in support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMBER JOHNSTON, JACKSON'S MOTHER: When we got down to papa's that day his hair hasn't all come out yet but it's patchy and he didn't want to shape it. He didn't want to spook the kids. Sew was going to wait. And then Jackson comes in and takes his hat off and says hey, Papa, I thought we'd start a new club. And just the emotion that went over his face. And just amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: But Jackson's show of love for his grandfather soon drew some pretty mean comments from some of his classmates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON JOHNSTON, SIXTH GRADER: I was going to my first class and I had someone walk by me and say, well, you look like you have cancer. And I'm just like, actually, I'm not the one that has cancer. I did this because my granddad has cancer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: But when Principal Tim Hadley heard about how Jackson was being treated he decided to take action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM HADLEY, PRINCIPAL, MIDDLE SCHOOL: My mother had thyroid cancer. I have a mother-in-law who had uterine cancer. I have a grandfather who didn't finish the battle against cancer. And it was something that resonated deeply with me. And I know so many people that have gone through what Jackson's going through. I mean, to be a young man and find out that a family member has potentially a life-threatening illness it's a difficult thing to handle. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: And so principal Hadley allowed Jackson to shave his hair, explaining to his students that judging someone else for their reaction to cancer or anything is just plain wrong.

Soon after Jackson said even the students who teased him the most came up to him and complimented his new haircut. Pretty great to see.

Thank you so much for being with us tonight. Coming up on CNN after this, CNN Special Reports, Fareed Zakaria speaks with President Obama about his legacy. That is right now on CNN.

Have a great night. I'll see you back here tomorrow.