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Widow of Poisoned Russian Spy on Life Under Putin; Ex-Spy Who Prepared Dossier on Trump and Russia in Hiding?; Interview with Michael Mukasey; Interview with Lanny Davis; DOJ Report Rips Chicago PD for Excessive Force, Bad Training; How White House Turns Over in Six Hours on Inauguration Day. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired January 14, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:14] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. Welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
T minus six days to Donald Trump's move to the White House. But the honeymoon seems already to have ended. Congressman John Lewis says he will skip the inauguration because he does not view Trump as a legitimate president, believing that Russia helped elect him. Never one to allow an insult to pass, Donald Trump has already responded this morning calling Lewis, who marched alongside MLK, a typical all talk, no action politician.
And then there's FBI director James Comey, now the subject of an inspector general's probe. Did his actions in the weeks before the election affect the results? Should he resign? A "Wall Street Journal" editorial yesterday said yes.
Plus, a new DOJ report charges Chicago police with excessive use of force and lack of accountability. But if Jeff Sessions gets confirmed as attorney general, which seems likely, will he embrace those findings?
And if you had any doubt that tensions are high about Russia, well, NATO just sent these U.S. troops into Poland, creating the biggest U.S. military presence in Europe since the Cold War. And as you can imagine, Russia is not happy.
And yet Donald Trump's National Security adviser, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, called the Russian ambassador to the U.S. the same day that President Obama imposed sanctions against Russia. And Trump is now saying he might remove those sanctions.
But first, here last Saturday I commented on the then just released declassified intelligence summary regarding the presumed Russian hack of our election. And many of you weren't pleased when I said I was disappointed at the lack of evidence made public. I said having a president-elect at odds with his intelligence community forces the public to have to choose sides, but we don't have enough to go on.
What I didn't know then, what none of us knew then, was that the classified version given to the president and the president-elect included a two-page summary of an unsubstantiated report, a series of unsigned memos which suggested that Russia had engaged in attempts at developing kompromat. Compromising information about Donald Trump. CNN has not published the contents of that file and reported on its existence only when it became known that it was brought to the president and president-elect's attention.
Two points. First, just like I said about the intel report, we lack the evidence necessary to make an informed judgment on the unsubstantiated file. Second, the presumed author of that dossier, Christopher Steele, a respected retired British spy, has now gone underground. According to numerous published reports, Steele was last seen in his home southwest of London last Wednesday after hurriedly asking a neighbor to care for his cat.
His disappearance was a reminder that while this story might be the stuff of partisan fodder here in the United States, the stakes when dealing with Vladimir Putin and Russia can be much more than political sport. They can be life and death. Just ask Marina Litvinenko, she's the wife of a former Russian spy Alexander Sasha Litvinenko who on November 2016 was poisoned with radioactive Polonium in a London hotel and died three weeks later. From his death bed he blamed Putin. And a year ago a British investigation came to the same conclusion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT OWEN, CHAIRMAN LITVINENKO INQUIRY: The FSB operation to kill Mr. Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr. Patrushev, then head of the FSB, and also by President Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Is it any wonder then that Christopher Steele is now MIA.
Joining me now from the United Kingdom is Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander.
Mrs. Litvinenko, you just heard the conclusion of the probe about a year ago said that probably Vladimir Putin was responsible for your husband's murder. Do you have any doubts?
MARINA LITVINENKO, WIDOW OF RUSSIAN AGENT KILLED BY RADIATION POISONING: First of all, it is very important to remind people what happened a year ago because it was first time when an official name of Putin was just saying in this context. Because before never, ever it was approved, Putin even probably could behind of this crime.
[09:05:05] And it's very important to know who you're going to deal with, particularly now when you have this problem.
SMERCONISH: Do you have any doubt that Putin gave the order to kill your husband?
LITVINENKO: It was Sasha himself who said from his death bed when he died. It's definitely Putin behind his death. I tried to prove who killed Sasha all these 10 years, and of course we have not direct evidence against Putin but we know direct evidence about two men who protected by Putin, and they refused to extradite for trial to UK. It's Lugovoy and Kovtun. Even more, Lugovoy is a member of Russian parliament and he received all support directly from Vladimir Putin.
SMERCONISH: Do you know whether our president-elect, President-elect Trump, has been accepting of the conclusion of that UK inquiry into the murder of your husband?
LITVINENKO: It's difficult to discuss about this subject right now public inquiry was based fully on evidence of Sasha's murder and fully investigated this criminal case, but how we know. Public inquiry was based on a two part and secret part was we don't know the material and we don't know what was behind of closing door when there was a hearing about this closing material. And we don't -- I can't say exactly what was more than we heard in this public inquiry.
SMERCONISH: I know that you're paying close attention to the case of Christopher Steele. Do you think based on what you know of this case he has reason to be fearful of his safety?
LITVINENKO: Of course it is not difficult not to be close to this because all newspaper about this case. It immediately was linked to name of my husband. I can't say and use this person or Sasha make him at all, but a situation now, what happened to this man, it's -- all this, he started to be frightened of his life, particularly all stories about my husband shows how dangerous when you prove some serious material or when you cross the line, your life became in danger.
SMERCONISH: Your husband's death was a decade ago. Your husband's murder was a decade ago. And you've already explained to me that you believe Vladimir Putin was responsible for his poisoning. Do you think that Putin today still has the ability to extend beyond Russia's borders and carry out incidents such as the one that killed your husband?
LITVINENKO: First of all, I need to remind, it was not a simple poisoning, it was a radioactive material used to kill my husband, and this material, you can't simply buy from Internet to buy in a pharmacy, it is from nuclear reactor. And what was important to talk is about high profile people who could order this murder. And now even more, it was a lot of policy and discussion. People who served for Russia might make operation abroad. And now we never know who would be next victim and what was this operation will be taken against.
SMERCONISH: A final question. In the United States I think there's a tendency to regard matters concerning Putin as political sport. I invited you here today because I wanted to underscore your point that these sometimes are life and death matters when you're dealing with Vladimir Putin. Is that a fair characterization?
LITVINENKO: Not in political games, and what I try to say every time, when we investigated our case, we had not any political motivation. It was a criminal case and murder of using radioactive polonium. And when I heard comments of Mr. Trump about this case and about (INAUDIBLE), I realized Mr. Trump doesn't realize how serious. Again, it is not a political game, it was a murder of using radioactive material. It was proved in a British court. SMERCONISH: What comments by Donald Trump are you referring to?
LITVINENKO: You need to be sure who you're dealing with. And president of Russia for the last 17 years just shown he plays the dirty game.
SMERCONISH: Marina Litvinenko, we wish you good things. Thank you for being here.
LITVINENKO: Thank you.
[09:10:05] SMERCONISH: Now more on the man who prepared the dossier on Trump. Former British spy Christopher Steele who worked undercover in Russia and Paris.
Joining me now, retired CIA agent, John Sipher, a 28-year veteran who was stationed in Moscow, in the '90s, ran the CIA's Russia program for three years, and former CIA counterterrorism official, CNN's Phil Mudd.
John Sipher, I know that by reputation you know Mr. Steele. What is his reputation within the Intelligence Community?
JOHN SIPHER, FORMER CIA OFFICER IN MOSCOW: I reached out to friends who know him both in the British service and our service and he is a very credible person. He's a serious person. He's lived in Russia, he worked on the Russian issues in London. So his credibility is not in doubt as far as I'm concerned. It's the credibility of the sources of the information that we can talk about. This is the bigger issue.
SMERCONISH: Well. speak to that issue because would Christopher Steele have been in the position where he could have gleaned that intelligence firsthand or would he have been relying on others?
SIPHER: In this case he would have been relying on others because he was out of power. And so he didn't have the resources of the Intelligence Community, the British intelligence community, SIS, behind him. They're working for a private company and having been in Russia, the Russians were very focused on him. He could not travel back to Moscow and meet sources there without full time surveillance, people paying attention to him. Anybody he would meet would be in danger of being questioned or in more serious danger.
So the report that we have seen is a report of a private company trying to collect information on sources. And the art of intelligence collection is not the intelligence report or the report you see here. I don't mean to suggest it's an intelligence report, but it's the stuff that's not in that report, it's the information about the sources. His report says source A said this, source B said that. Without knowledge who those sources are, we just can't decide.
What we would do in the Intelligence Community, for every one page of an intelligence report that might go over to people like Phil Mudd to read, there might be 100 pages or more of information on that person, on their motivation, on their access, who are their sub-sources, why is this person talking. This is the type of information we would have to know, if that source
really has the information access that they say they have and can they be trusted, long before you put out a report. And then even then when we put out an intelligence report, we would then cross check it and reference with other information from other sources to see if that makes sense, and then throw it over to folks like Phil to take a look at.
SMERCONISH: Phil, so let's assume that this had come your way. What then are the considerations as to whether it should rise to the level of a briefing of a president and a president-elect?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look, let's be clear here . This is gossip, it's not intelligence. So then your question obviously is appropriate. Why do you pass gossip onto the president of the United States? I think this is a decision that's debatable. Let me give you two facts that we should be considering. Number one, the most significant national security issue in this country in the last couple of months has been Russian intervention in the election.
Number two, we have maybe the most prominent senator in the U.S. Senate, that is John McCain, passing this file onto the FBI. An FBI that's been attacked and sometimes ridiculed by the president-elect of the United States. So we have a decision to pass this on.
Let's flip the tables for a moment there, Michael. Let's say that the FBI director didn't pass this on and the president-elect who has been suspicious of the FBI finds out the other channels, that the FBI is investigating information that Mr. Trump had a relationship with the Russians. What do you think would happen in that circumstance? I think that would be painful at best for the FBI. So I think debatable decision. But the fact that this is under questioning of the United States and Russian involvement and the fact that Mr. Trump has questioned the FBI must have driven federal officials to say if we don't tell the president-elect that this is swirling and he finds out elsewhere, we've got a bigger problem.
SMERCONISH: I will accept Phil Mudd's characterization that this is gossip, and yet I still want to ask John Sipher, does it nevertheless fit the M.O. of Putin that he seeks to gather this kind of data on business leaders, for example, who come to Moscow?
SIPHER: Yes. So this is where I might disagree a little bit with Phil. I do think that information is completely unvalidated and unvetted information that the public has no way of finding out whether it's credible or not. However, the FBI and professional investigative intelligence services can look at that information, and cross reference it, interview people, find out who the sources are and find out what that information is.
But to your question, yes, those of us who lived and worked in Russia and have been under the thumb of the Russian services, the one thing -- this isn't just gossip. This information smacks -- it sounds very real to people who have been there. This is exactly how the Russians operate. Whether that salacious stuff about Mr. Trump is true or not, I doubt it. There's no way of knowing without knowing who those sources are.
[09:15:07] But the feel of this is real. This is how the Russians operate. The Russians -- it's a police state, it's been a police state for hundreds of years. They're the best in the world at this kind of compromising information, of using -- potentially using blackmail, of collecting information on people. When visitors come to Moscow, they can expect to have their hotel rooms bugged, audio, video.
For those of us in the Intelligence Community who worked in places like this, we would go through a long training process to include psychological testing to prepare for having our houses bugged, audio, or having our houses bugged with 24-hour video, being followed everywhere we go. Dogs coming behind wherever we walked to check what we had done. Everybody we talked to being interviewed.
This is how the Russians do this. It's how they have done it forever. And so the strange details that people had read in there that they might make them think this is crazy are not so crazy in the Russian sense.
SMERCONISH: Phil Mudd, take my final 30 seconds. I hope you'll speak to the serious way in which Putin takes these matters, thinking of the Litvinenko case, which is why I wanted the wife to be here -- the widow.
MUDD: Look, I know the widow. I've met her personally. A remarkable human being. Let's be clear here. We're involved in a conversation about whether to remove sanctions against a Russian entity, that has not interrupted the process for a Republican Party or a Democratic Party. They interrupted the Americans' right to vote in a free and fair election that is unimpeded by a foreign security service.
This is serious business led by a dictator in Russia who murders opponents. Let's not take this lightly, Michael. In your first interview this morning highlighted that. This is not a political game, this is real life.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate you being here.
Up ahead, did FBI Director James Comey's actions and inactions change the results of the U.S. election, and should he now resign?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: It's classified. And we can't tell you anything. All I can tell you is the FBI director has no credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:20:07] SMERCONISH: Should FBI Director James Comey resign? That's what "The Wall Street Journal" urged in an editorial yesterday, quote, "If the FBI director has demonstrated anything in the last year, it's that he has lost the trust of nearly everyone in Washington along with every American who believes the FBI must maintain its reputation as a politically impartial federal agency.
The Justice Department inspector general now reviewing how Comey comported himself with regard to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail servers. Among the areas of inquiry, how just 11 days before the election Comey sent to Congress notification of newly discovered e-mails, only to then say eight days later they haven't amounted to anything.
And there's now evidence that while he was doing that, the FBI was also investigating Donald Trump's ties to Russia, but Comey never made any of that public. And on Friday when he met behind closed doors with members of Congress, he refused to answer their inquiries.
Joining me now, former United States attorney general under President George W. Bush, Michael Mukasey.
Judge, there are three areas of inquiry by the inspector general. And one pertains to FBI Director Comey's July press conference. Let's watch this video and remind us all of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: He said that the circumstance called for unusual transparency, hence he stood up and he offered that explanation. Did he cross a line?
MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think he crossed several lines. And I've said it before. I think it was not his function to call to question of whether she should or should not be prosecuted, that was something for the attorney general or her designee, and I think he went way out of his lane.
SMERCONISH: In the second instance it was 11 days before the election, and we now know it was the whole Anthony Weiner e-mail cache. He wrote to Congress notifying that there was newly developed information. Was that also beyond the line -- over the line for what he did?
MUKASEY: I think part of the problem is that when he held the press conference and remember that Secretary Clinton's campaign billed that as a clean bill of health, you know, he was exonerating her, that he then felt he had to correct the record because there might be more, then he had to re-correct the record. It's kind of like watching a car gradually go out of control. But I think focusing on that is missing the point here. This investigation I think was mismanaged from the get-go. There was
no grand jury empanelled. The -- the records of Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, their computers had to be consulted at their behest and on their conditions. And one of the conditions was that they wouldn't look at anything past a certain date, and that they would then destroy the computers and the FBI allowed that.
There was an e-mail in March of 2015 that was leaked by WikiLeaks that showed that John Podesta was very concerned that the president of the United States had communicated with her on her e-mail -- her illicit e-mail server, and that perhaps they should claim executive privilege. That was in March of 2015. A condition of turning over Heather Mills' computer was that the FBI not look at anything past January of 2015.
So investigating the press conference and investigating the letter is kind of like investigating a bank robbery by focusing on whether the bank robber passed a red light on the way to the bank. That's a little bit off the point. This was mismanaged from the get-go.
SMERCONISH: So big picture. Big picture. Do you agree with "The Wall Street Journal," he should resign?
MUKASEY: Big picture, I think probably so. And even bigger picture, I think we ought to get a complete soup to nuts account of what happened in this investigation. And maybe at the end of it President Trump will pardon Secretary Clinton which would be poetic and prosaic justice and we can then all get on to things like the economy, Russia, and Iran.
SMERCONISH: Judge Mukasey, thank you. Appreciate your time, as always.
Whether FBI Director Comey resigns, the question remains, did his actions affect the election results? Joining me now, Hillary Clinton supporter, former White House counsel -- special counsel in her husband's administration, Lanny Davis.
Lanny, the president-elect has been tweeting on this subject. That won't surprise you. Let me put up on the screen a recent tweet of his on the subject. "What are Hillary Clinton's people complaining about with respect to the FBI? Based on the information they had, she should never have been allowed to run. Guilty as hell. They were very nice to her. She lost because she campaigned in the wrong states. No enthusiasm."
[09:25:05] To Donald Trump, this is all sour grapes.
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: To Donald Trump, Barack Obama was not a citizen and created that myth and continued after it was proven otherwise, and for Donald Trump to ignore the constitutional presumption of innocence, pronounce someone guilty as hell and lead cheers to lock her up without any indictment, trial, due process or anything is the word of a person who thinks like a fascist.
You don't pronounce guilt without trial. And one of the reasons that I have respect for attorney general -- former attorney general Mukasey is that he recognizes that a law enforcement officer has no right, it is unethical and a violation, supreme violation to offer an opinion on evidence. That is not James Comey's role. Donald Trump doesn't care about the Constitution and due process, but James Comey was a great prosecutor, a courageous deputy attorney general who stood for the rule of law in a hospital room with Attorney General Ashcroft as we all know.
I do not challenge his motives, I challenge his extremely careless judgment. And I use extremely careless ironically because he had no right, no role to express an opinion. He is not allowed to as a law enforcement officer. Indeed a prosecutor is not allowed to opine on evidence before due process in a trial with everybody following the rules.
SMERCONISH: But, Lanny, you'd have to acknowledge Comey was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. If he had made a decision that he wasn't going to recommend charges against Secretary Clinton without saying a word, people would have questioned his motives. Then he stands up and he offers an explanation and he uses verbiage extreme carelessness, and everybody gets on him for that, too. I mean, there was no way that he could play this.
I want to show you something else, though.
DAVIS: But you've got to let -- I fundamentally disagree with that, Michael. But go ahead.
SMERCONISH: Quickly, though, because I've got ground to cover. Quickly.
DAVIS: Quickly. There was no rock in a hard place. Following ethics has nothing to do with political considerations. He acted unethically and improperly, not only when he opined on extremely careless, he has no right to do that, but he had no obligation to write a letter and you left this out in your characterization of the October 27th letter, in which he said I know nothing about the evidence.
He did not have to write that letter. There was no pressure to write a letter where he knew nothing. He could have waited 10 days out until he had something, it turns out four days before the election he said I have nothing. So there was no difficulty in his resisting political pressure. That's not his job.
SMERCONISH: Congressman John Lewis is questioning the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. Donald Trump, never one to let a slight past without response, has tweeted this morning. Put it up on the screen. Let me read that allowed so that Lanny and everybody else can see it.
"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested. Rather than falsely claiming about election result, all talk, talk, talk, no action or results. Sad."
Donald Trump not getting the honeymoon to which presidents-elect are usually accustomed.
DAVIS: Not getting a honeymoon. Donald Trump inviting disrespect to the office of the presidency by attacking a legendary and iconic hero of Selma who whites and blacks remember and still to this day is a legend in the Civil Rights Movement. He has a right to say illegitimacy when we now know that the intelligence community says the hacking weighed in in favor of Donald Trump, whether that caused his opponent Hillary Clinton to lose is impossible to prove. But one half a percent change in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, certainly there's a strong case to be made that the October 27th Comey letter and the Russian hacking caused one half a percent change in those three states.
I can at least say there's a strong inference, the same way if you go to bed at night and there's no snow on the ground, and you wake up in the morning and there's snow on the ground, can I prove that it snowed? No. But the strong inference is that Hillary Clinton would have been president, but for James Comey's October 27th letter and but for Vladimir Putin.
SMERCONISH: And I would simply add that I agree with the part where you said we'll never know definitively because there were so many other intangibles, it's hard to say that she lost just because of this.
Lanny Davis, thank you as always. I appreciate it.
DAVIS: Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Keep tweeting me @smerconish.
[09:30:02] Love hearing what you think. Put one up on the screen. Let's all see it together. "Smerconish, if rightwing Republican was refusing to accept a Clinton victory, you and the rest of CNN hacks would be going out of your minds."
See, Tony, here is where you're wrong. It matters not whether it's from the rightwing, from the leftwing, from liberals, from conservatives, my thought process is evidentiary. And that's my focus. And the chips they can then fall where they might, harming conservatives, harming liberals, that doesn't matter to me. I want the truth.
Coming up, Friday, the Department of Justice slammed the Chicago police with a 164-page report about the use of force and lack of accountability reforms are in the works. How will that sit with incoming attorney general Jeff Sessions' very pro-police views? We'll discuss.
SMERCONISH: Chicago police officers are poorly trained, too quick to use excessive force, and too apt to use that force against blacks and Latinos. That's according to a blistering report 164-page report released by the U.S. DOJ on Friday. The report describes, quote, "A culture in which officers expect to use force and not be questioned about the need for or propriety of that use."
[09:35:03] The report also confirms a longtime contention of black and Hispanic Chicagoans that police unfairly target minorities. The city has signed an agreement to work with federal officials and an independent overseer. Among the remaining questions, will the decidedly pro-police incoming attorney general Jeff Sessions embrace the findings.
Joining me now, former Chicago police officer Brian Warner, who's the chair of Chicago Police Survivors, and civil rights attorney Areva Martin.
Let's look at some of the data. The date first relative to police stops. If we can put that up on the screen because unquestionably what has gone down by 80 percent are the number of Chicago police stops between August of 2015 and August of 2016.
And now let's look at the murder rate. The murder rate of Chicago in 2016 in comparison to New York and Los Angeles, in fact, I should say New York and Los Angeles combined from a distance, it looks, Areva, like there's a choice. Either you let the police take the gloves off and the murder rate comes down or you put them in short pants and then you've got this explosion of crime. Respond to that logic.
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Well, that's a completely false narrative, Michael. You're making the assumption that making unconstitutional stops of African-Americans and Latinos somehow impacts the murder rate, and that you're conflating things that have not been appropriately analyzed and should not be conflated.
Look, what that report did was show what Chicagoans have known for decades. I was a college student in Chicago in the '80s. And the reputation, the racist reputation of the Chicago Police Department was known widely in that city. African-Americans and Latinos in Chicago have known for decades that they were targeted by police officers, that their rights were violated, and some of the facts in that report are really too hard to imagine.
Taking young black men into gang territories, threatening them by saying we're going to expose you to other gang members, using the F word repeatedly, using excessive force when there was no purpose or justification for using it. And now the question becomes what happens to that investigation, what happens to those findings when we have Jeff Sessions saying he doesn't believe that the federal government should investigate police departments, nor should it file the kind of civil rights lawsuits that we've seen under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.
I am terrified for the African-American men and women that live in the city of Chicago because there's no guarantee their rights will be protected under this attorney general.
SMERCONISH: I'm going to come back to Jeff Sessions in a moment. But, Brian, first respond to the way in which I looked at that data and said well, maybe this is what happens when the police feel inclined to take it down a few notches. BRIAN WARNER, FORMER CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER: Well, let me first start
by saying my worst nightmare has just been confirmed because we're using this report as not a tool to grow and learn from and move forward. We're using it for another example to vilify the police. If we can take this report and look at it in its entirety and implement all these things that the -- the DOJ is recommending, we have the best trained police department.
We put cameras on everyone, we put tazers on everybody's hip, we train in de-escalation, we train in crisis intervention, and we have the best trained, best equipped police department money can buy. Great thing, right?
SMERCONISH: Well, I'm not vilifying -- I'm not vilifying the police.
WARNER: No, no, no --
SMERCONISH: And I don't think that Areva vilified the police but wait a minute. To look at the data -- to look at the data is to conclude that when there are fewer encounters with the public by the police, there is a dramatic increase in the murder rate.
WARNER: Sure. We talked about that last week, we talked about the reasons. But I can finish my sentence, the -- so we get the best trained police department. We put out -- change our practices and policies. We do everything that you're asking us to do. What has not changed is what's happening in the communities. You have -- the real epidemic here is young black men killing each other at a rate of 800 a year. You have 4,500 people shot. The police were involved in only 25 of those shootings.
I say only because that's what happens on an average weekend in Chicago with the crime that young black men perpetuate on one another. 25 people shot and two murdered.
MARTIN: But, Michael --
WARNER: I'm sorry?
SMERCONISH: Go ahead, Areva.
MARTIN: No, I'm just going to say, black-on-black crime has nothing to do with the findings in that report. We can deal with black-on- black crime but we also have to deal with what the report tells us. It is unambiguous that the Chicago Police Department has violated a pattern and practice of violations of African-American and Latinos' rights for decades in the city of Chicago. That has to be dealt with. It has to be dealt with very separately from the fact of what you're talking about which is African-Americans who are killing other African-Americans in Chicago.
Let's deal with the police. The police are hired to protect and serve. They act under the authority of the government.
[09:40:09] That's a very different issue than the crime that you're describing that's happening in some communities in Chicago and we can't conflate the two.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Brian, I'm going to let you respond to that. Let me say to Areva, if I might.
Areva, I hear this criticism from radio callers. Don't we spend more time evaluating the police conduct than we do investigating and discussing some of the underlying problems that create the murder rate to Brian's point? Will you respond to that?
MARTIN: Yes, let's talk about the underlying problems but let's talk about them realistically, Michael. The issues of unemployment, the issues of poor schools, the issues of a lack of jobs and lack of opportunities in those communities. When pundits want to talk about black-on-black crime, they want to talk about thugs, they want to talk about the causes, but they don't want to talk about the things that are happening in the communities that perpetuate that crime.
I want to have a conversation about lack of economic opportunities. I want to have a conversation about the poor school systems, the inability of African-American men, the criminalization of small crimes like marijuana. Let's talk about the privatization of the prison population.
MARTIN: There are so many things we should be and we'd love to talk about but we can't ignore the things in that report that justify a really deep dive into the violations of the rights of African- Americans in Chicago.
SMERCONISH: Understood. Let's me -- let me give Brian. Brian, you've got the final 30 seconds. Go ahead.
WARNER: I certainly think we're being shortsighted by saying these things are not all connected, that the breakdown of the family unit in the black community, the lack of positive black male role models, all these things we talked of. The 52 percent unemployment rate of black males between the ages of 18 and 24. These are not police issues. And these are the root or the cause of why this hopelessness leads to senseless violence that we have on the streets today.
We all need to step up and stop pointing fingers and saying you're the problem, you're the problem. We need to get together, the judicial system, law enforcement, our politicians, most importantly the elected officials, the mayor. Can't stand up there and say this report and blame it on the police and say OK, we're going to fix the police department, everything is going to go away. We know that's too shortsighted. Everybody has to step up and do their part. And stop blaming.
SMERCONISH: Brian, I wish I had more time. It is an important subject. I wish we had more opportunity. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Areva, as always.
Up next, imagine -- imagine that you're moving in just six days but didn't have to worry about packing. Next Friday White House staff will handle all the details of getting the Obamas out and the Trumps in and they will do it all in just about six hours. How do they do that?
[09:46:43] SMERCONISH: Next Friday at 10:30 a.m. begins a moving day like no other. After eight years of living in a posh 132-room mansion, one family picks up and leaves and from the other side of the driveway the next family moves in. The entire process must be completed in just six short hours.
It's just one of many abrupt transitions sure to rock the White House including having a nonresident first lady.
Joining me now, Kate Anderson Brower, who spent four years covering the Obama White House for Bloomberg News, and is the author of two relevant books on "The Residents: Inside the Private World of the White House" and "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies."
Kate, if it were my house or your house, it would be in cartons right now, anticipating six days from now what will transpire. What makes this move most unique?
KATE ANDERSON BROWER, AUTHOR, "FIRST WOMEN": Well, by this time in 2009, you know, the Obamas' interior decorator had already walked around the residence with the chief usher of the White House, who's essentially the general manager of the White House, and got into details like where, you know, mattresses and headboards should go and dressers.
And right now we're seeing a White House that's a little bit more undefined. You know, there has been no social secretary named for Melania, there's been no interior designer named. So it's really a questioned mark how involved the Trumps are going to be in redecorating and this sort of aspect of it. I think it's because they were surprised that they won. So this specific issue is getting -- taken kid of a backseat to some of the bigger parts of this administration. But it's an incredible feat and it will happen on Friday.
You know, this five-hour period between -- around 11:00 a.m. in the morning and around 5:00 in the afternoon when the six-hour period when the staff has to move the new family in and the Obamas out. It will be happening in some capacity on Friday.
SMERCONISH: How much control does the incoming president have over the physical space? What -- I mean, I remember reading that President Obama wanted a bigger shower head.
SMERCONISH: Are there limits to what you can do?
BROWER: There are. I mean, for instance, the Obamas wanted a wall closing out Malia's room on the second floor of the White House in the living quarters. And something like that that's structural, you have to get permission from the White House curators to do. So there are certain things they can't do but you're right. I mean, President Obama wanted a rainfall shower head and he got one. So there are little things like that. You can do some painting.
But you can't get in there and do any of that until the family is gone, and I think that's a really important point. That the staff feels really loyal to the family who is there now, and they don't want to kind of shove them out the door. So it's not until noon on Friday, January 20th, that the new first family has temporary ownership of this house. And so with the Obamas, they moved a lot of their things into the ground floor of the White House and just kind of kept them there until the Bushes were out and they can just quickly move them upstairs. And so it remains to be seen if that's being done now.
SMERCONISH: Speaking of staff, something that we will not get to see, but one of the most poignant moments at least historically is a meet and greet that takes place next Friday between the outgoing first family and those who have worked most closely with them. Will you speak to that?
BROWER: Yes. I mean, I think it's so interesting that all of our eyes are trained on the capitol swearing in ceremony. Right?
[09:50:02] But something that's going on at the White House that we don't see, that is really touching is this meeting around 7:30 in the morning between the president and the first lady, their children, and about a hundred or so maids, butlers, painters, engineers, the people who make the residence run essentially. And these are the people who they've grown to know. I mean, their family.
When butlers pass away, the first lady goes to their funeral in some cases and delivers the eulogy, as Laura Bush did for this butler, James Ramsey, who passed away. It's incredible. So this is when the staff says goodbye. And there's usually not a dry eye in the house. And they also give the president a handmade wooden box with the American flag that was flying at the White House the day he was inaugurated and the flag that is flying his last full day in office.
SMERCONISH: Wow. Kate Anderson Brower, thank you so much.
BROWER: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, your best and worst tweets to me at SMERCONISH. Can we put one up? Who's manipulating the media more? The leftwing's questions about legitimacy or right excoriating and questioning legitimacy of the media, Smerconish?"
You know, this is why I always say clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right. I'm stuck in the middle with you. Back in a sec.
SMERCONISH: Keep tweeting me at SMERCONISH. Remember, I don't see them until you see them so let's find out together what just came in.
[09:55:02] "Smerconish, if Putin was not aware of the assassination, hacking and other things, he has completely lost control of Russia."
Jeffrey, I thought it was important to have Marina Litvinenko here to bring home the serious stakes that we're discussing when we're talking about Putin. Because in the States we tend to discuss this as if it's political sport when in fact it is political blood sport when you're dealing with Putin.
Next tweet, put it up there. "Smerconish, think you can be truthful with your CNN viewers and be clear the actual election wasn't hacked, DNC was and voter made decision?"
Look, Donald Trump this week said that he believes the Russians were responsible for the hacking. So I don't think there's any disagreement now as to Russia and the role. The only issue that's up -- subject to debate as I discussed with Lanny Davis is whether it altered the outcome. And people will be debating that forever.
One more. Put it up on the screen if you can. "Smerconish, if Comey resigns then Trump chooses FBI director, why oh why would Democrats want that?" I don't know that anyone is satisfied with the status quo relative to Comey. But the point that I was trying to make earlier in the program is that he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. You know, I'm sure when that referral came to the FBI and he realized that he had to investigate her private servers, he knew he was in a no-win situation. He probably shouldn't have had the presser. That's my take away.
One more if you can put it up there quickly. Thanks for this. "Smerconish, James Comey misled Congress, the public to help elect Trump. This is not conduct of an FBI agent. Yes, he needs to resign." You know, his conduct at different stages helped and hurt Donald Trump, Ronnie. I don't buy into it. I don't think it's so clear that you can say Comey set out to either help or hurt Trump or Clinton.
Thank you for all the tweets. I'll see you back here next week.