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23 Democrats Not Attending Trump's Swearing In; Trump; "At First, I Trust Both" Putin and Merkel; Mexican Leaders Fire Back at Donald Trump's Threats; Sources: Six Judges on Trump's Supreme Court Shortlist; Why Hillary Clinton's Blue Wall Crumbled in Michigan. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired January 15, 2017 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:47] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We begin with major revelations from the president-elect tonight in a just released interview with the British and German newspaper. Donald Trump appears to put our European allies on equal footing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that he will trust Putin as much as he will trust German Chancellor Angela Merkel. We'll have more on that brand new interview in just a moment.
But, first, we do begin with a growing list of congress members boycotting the inauguration. Some 23 House Democrats are saying they will not attend or watch Trump take the oath of office on Friday. Some say they are skipping because of the president-elect's insults to their fellow congressman, civil rights leader John Lewis.
Trump accused Lewis of being, quote, "all talk, no action" after Lewis said he did not see Trump as a legitimate president.
Our Suzanne Malveaux is covering it all tonight from Washington and she has the latest.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy.
Trump's war of words with Congressman Lewis is especially coming during the MLK weekend is deeply troubling to many African-Americans. But Lewis is getting some strong pushback today from both the RNC head, soon-to-be chief-of-staff Reince Priebus, as well as Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Now, some Republicans are clearly trying to give Congressman Lewis his props regarding his stature in the civil rights movement, but at the same time are coming to Trump's defense because they are vehemently opposed to any notion that Trump is not the e legitimate winner of this controversial election, despite Trump's own admission that Russia did have a role in hacking it. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: Look, Donald Trump won this election fair and square. Thirty out of 50 states, including Georgia, more counties than any Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan, and to hear John Lewis, a man that I served with and that I respect to question the legitimacy of the election and to say that Donald Trump will not be a legitimate president was deeply disappointing to me and also to hear that he was not going to attend the inauguration this Friday, I hope he reconsiders both statements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Well, Poppy, so far, there's no indication that Congressman Lewis would reconsider. In fact, he's joining 22 other colleagues, House Democrats, who have announced so far that they will not be attending the inauguration. And it all comes on a day where Washington is already starting to prepare for inaugural events. We have seen dress rehearsals, band practice taking place at the capitol, and it comes amid more controversy over some of the A-list performers refusing to participate in Trump's big roll out.
We've got Broadway superstar from "Dream Girls" fame Jennifer Holliday now announcing she's no longer singing at Trump's pre-inaugural concert on Thursday. That happened after her fans complained. She wrote an open letter saying her performance was meant to heal the country, but now, she's reconsidered.
And Trump for his part has chosen not to directly respond to Holliday but instead tweeting out this, "For many years, our country has been divided, angry and untrusting. Many say it will never change. The hatred is too deep. It will change" -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Suzanne Malveaux in Washington -- thank you very much.
There's a lot to talk about with our panel of commentators. Ryan Lizza joins us. He's Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker". Symone Sanders is here, former press secretary for Senator Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, and Republican Paris Dennard, a member of the National Diversity Coalition for Donal Trump.
Ryan, time for a history lesson from you to us -- 23 House Democrats skipping the inauguration so far. The list has grown obviously in the last 48 hours. How do you see it? I mean, is this unprecedented?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is. I mean, look, I think it was very predictable once Trump responded to Congressman Lewis's statement that he was illegitimate with rather than something like Pence just said and the set up he's here. He responded to -- in a really -- in a rather acrimonious way, talking about his district that's being crime-infested and saying that he's all talk, all action, which, of course -- I mean, John Lewis is defined by the actions he took as a young man.
So, it was immediately apparent as soon as he said that that, that was going to set off a fire storm and a lot of Democrats who probably wouldn't have boycotted the election and probably wouldn't have been as outspoken have now sided with Lewis.
[18:05:09] Frankly, if Trump had said what Vice President-elect Pence just said, you know, disagreeing with the statement they weren't legitimately elected, which, of course, they were legitimately elected. I have to just add that. That's just a fact. If he had said what Pence had said with that kind of tone, I don't think it would have spurred as much outrage and done what he said he wants to do in his victory speech, which is bring the country together.
He didn't do that. He attacked an icon of the civil rights movement at the start of Martin Luther King weekend and the result, frankly, is fairly predictable. And I think it's just another lesson that, you know, when you're president-elect words and tone actually matter. And, you know, his vice president set the right tone here, in my opinion.
HARLOW: So, Symone, despite these 23 Democrats that are not attending, some pretty big names will be there, including Hillary Clinton, including obviously President Obama. And President Obama is the one who said in November, three days after the election, we all have to support this next president. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Most of all, I want to emphasize to you this president-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Symone, I know you're supportive of those Democrats who are not going. How does skipping the inauguration help unify this country?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think today is a really good example. Today, all across the country, in places from Richmond to Warren, Michigan, to Baltimore, there were rallies, progressive rallies of Democrats who are standing up saying we're taking our stand. It was about the Affordable Care Act, save the Affordable Care Act.
People are looking for signs and messages from elected officials that are telling them that they are not going to just go along with the get along.
HARLOW: That's acting, I hear you on that. But what about skipping? How does skipping help unify the country?
SANDERS: They are not showing up. Look, Poppy, I think it is, again, the onus is on the president-elect and the incoming Trump administration to do their due diligence to unify the country. As Ryan noted, perhaps many members wouldn't be skipping had Donald Trump not attacked John Lewis, a civil rights icon. So, I don't think the onus is on these members who are really doing
what they feel they need to do. I think the onus is on the president- elect and his administration to say, hey, we want this country to be together. We are going to extend an olive branch. We're going to do everything we can do. If the president-elect is going to stop tweeting, and if you guys will please come to the table, perhaps we can mend these fences.
Fences are not mending because Trump folks aren't doing their part.
HARLOW: Symone, you know as well as I know, as well as all our viewers know, the president-elect is not going to stop tweeting.
However, I'm interested in the thoughts whether or not you would have like to see a different tweet from the president-elect in response to John Lewis.
PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Poppy, I'll answer the question that Symone didn't. It doesn't help unify the country by the 23 members of Congress not showing up to the inauguration. But I will say this.
HARLOW: My friend, that's not the question I asked you.
DENNARD: And I'm going to say I wish two things would not have happened this weekend. Number one, I wish that Congressman John Lewis would have never called President-elect Donald Trump's candidacy or his presidency illegitimate. And I wish that President-elect Donald Trump would not have tweeted at John Lewis.
But I do believe that they both have a right to say what they want. But words have consequences. And some of the consequences that come with what Representative Lewis said are the facts that the president- elect can come back at him and defend his own presidency. So, he's not immune from criticism.
And the criticism I think is somewhat justified because the "Atlanta Journal of Constitution", the newspaper there, just last year talked about how Atlanta was one of the top crime cities in America. And so, what we want to do is come together.
HARLOW: "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" today and pull it up because, I mean, Paris, just to be really accurate and fair here, his district is not just include some struggling neighborhoods in Atlanta. It includes a much broader area, including the corporate headquarters of Coca Cola, Delta Airlines and CNN.
DENNARD: That's true, and Washington, D.C. has huge corporate headquarters here and airports and things of that nature, and we see the condition of the educational system and a lot of the poverty that is in Washington, D.C., especially in urban neighborhoods.
And so, we have a president who wants to bring people together and solve some of these issues that are plaguing urban America. I believe what we see in Representative Lewis not extending the olive branch and missing the moment, missing the teachable moment here by saying, "I don't want Donald Trump to come to Selma.
[18:10:07] I would not invite him to come to Selma."
HARLOW: All right, guys --
DENNARD: Congressman Lewis has the opportunity to bring the country together and he should attend the inauguration.
HARLOW: I want to get your take on other key issues. Obviously, one of the breaking stories tonight is this interview that the president- elect just gave, a joint interview to "Bild", the German newspaper, and "The Times of London".
Here's what he said when he was asked about his trust level for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Who do you trust more if you talk to them? Angela Merkel or Vladimir Putin?
TRUMP: Well, I start off trusting both. Let's see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Ryan, your assessment?
LIZZA: Look, we have been through a lot of cycles where Trump says something that is if you take that at face value and any other politicians saying that, you want to slam your head on the desk, because it will be shocking to our European allies for him to equate Putin with our most important NATO allies. To be honest, I don't know if he is necessarily aware of those sensitivities, and so, we might be reading too much into it to assume that he's going to be as dismissive as that statement suggest.
I will say that his nominees for secretary of state and secretary of defense in hearings last week, they made it very clear they will be 100 percent committed to the NATO alliance, that they believe Russia is one of the major strategic threats to the United States and so, you either have a massive disagreement between Trump and his nominees or you have Trump not quite understanding these complexities. The worst case scenario is that he really, really does believe that Putin is as important an ally as Merkel and that he's going to shift is our policy is in a pro-Putin direction that will terrify our European allies.
But I would -- I am slightly more optimistic that he's just speaking there a little carelessly and doesn't actually mean that.
HARLOW: Is that how you see it, Paris?
DENNARD: I see -- what I saw there is someone who understands the world stage and knows how to be diplomatic and he's about to be the president of the United States of America. And so, when he says, I'm going to trust them both and we'll see how long the trust lasts, it reminds me of what Reagan says, trust yet verify. He will verify that --
LIZZA: Paris, Paris, President Reagan never, ever would have sold out our German leader and said that he trusted even Gorbachev, someone he dealt with a lot, more than a German leader. So, if that's your analysis of that --
DENNARD: He didn't say -- no, no, be accurate. If you're going to yell back, be accurate.
LIZZA: I'm not --
DENNARD: He didn't say, I trust them more. He said, "I trust them the same."
LIZZA: No, but that's what Reagan said. He said trust but verify when he was doing nuclear arms negotiations. That's very, very different.
DENNARD: I'm talking about what President-elect Donald Trump just said, he said, "I will trust them the same and we'll see how long that goes." And I liken that back to the fact that President Reagan said, "Trust yet verify." What Mr. Trump, our president-elect is saying that he will trust them now.
LIZZA: It's not comparable, Paris. It's not comparable.
DENNARD: It is comparable.
LIZZA: Reagan never said that he would trust the Russians equally with the Germans.
DENNARD: And what I'm saying is that President-elect Donald Trump will trust them and then verify. That's why he said we'll see how long it lasts.
Your problem is the fact that you can't understand that this president-elect has the business acumen and a political acumen to be a fantastic world leader. And you don't like the fact --
HARLOW: I think that's another debate for another time. I have to leave it there. You'll have it on this show. Thank you very much to all of you. Symone gets the answer next time. Thank you, guys.
Coming up live for us this hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, President-elect Trump and Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump arguing the benefits of a strong relationship with Putin. My next guest says, think again.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:16:51] HARLOW: A previously secret dossier compiled by a former MI6 agent was certainly the talk of Washington this week. And it pitted the president-elect against a lot of the media and intelligence agencies once again. This dossier claiming that Russia had some sort of compromising information about the president-elect, and despite that information being completely unsubstantiated, it did become a major issue.
A Sunday op-ed in "The New York Times" puts it this way, "The dossier has zero public evidence behind it and should be treated with skepticism. But it reflects an unprecedented uncertainty. There's a disorienting kernel of doubt about whether we can fully trust the man who will occupy the Oval Office."
Also in the op-ed, a single sentence, "Is our new president a Russian poodle?"
Nicholas Kristof penned the column and he joins me now.
So nice to have you on.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Good to be with you.
HARLOW: You asked that question. Is our new president a Russian poodle? But when you read the entire opinion piece, it's not because you think the dossier with these embarrassing allegations against the president-elect is in any way based in fact. It is to this point unsubstantiated, as we know.
Your argument is the American public needs to look more at the facts that are undisputed. And you think we're not focusing enough on that. Explain.
KRISTOF: Sure. I mean, there are these arguments in the dossier. We don't know it if they are true. There are some concerning signs. I mean, what I'm told by my source is the intelligence community would not have decided unanimously to brief the president and the president- elect on these allegations if they didn't find them credible.
But in any case, one can put that aside and one does have a pattern of troubling information in which you have the president-elect, if you will, taking Russia's side. And announcing policies or making comments that seem to be defending Russia from allegation of interfering with the U.S. election, for example, that are critical of NATO. I mean, he often seems to be embracing President Putin even he's dissing his own intelligence community.
And so, I guess, I think what a lot of intelligence professionals, a lot of foreign policy professionals are wondering is, what on earth is going on that put aside the dossier. Why is the president-elect seemed to be favoring Russia over his own team? And the latest comments to the European press seem to be one more example of that.
HARLOW: So as you know, the counterargument to that that Trump has made a number of times is why wouldn't we want to have a better relationship with Russia? CIA Director John Brennan was very critical of Trump this morning on "FOX News Sunday" saying -- basically saying, "Stop disparaging your intelligence community." But he also said this, "I very much hope that our relationship with Russia improves in the coming administration." That is from John Brennan this morning.
Your response to the counterargument that look, the reset under Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Obama failed. Why not try again?
KRISTOF: And -- I mean, clearly, we would be at an advantage if we had better relations with Russia.
[18:20:04] But I think what we learned over decades is that almost every new president comes in wanting to have a reset with relations with Russia. President Carter did way back when before the invasion of Afghanistan. President Obama did for that matter. And that's healthy and if President Trump can engineer a new and more trusting relationship with Russia to help deal with Syria, with Ukraine, that could be great.
But the lesson from the past is simply going in naively expecting a reset doesn't work. And one gets walked all over by Putin and we have seen that with Syria talks between Kerry and Lavrov over the last year or so. So, and it also doesn't explain, frankly, the comments disparaging NATO, disparaging America's own intelligence community. That's not necessary to build a former relationship with Putin.
HARLOW: Right. And something that General Mattis was on a completely different page in his confirmation hearings this week with the president-elect, though, when it comes to NATO and the value of NATO. Before I let you go, I want to take a walk down memory lane and I want to listen to the 2012 final presidential debate between Mitt Romney and then President Obama about the issue of Russia. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Romney, I'm glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago, when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al Qaeda. You said Russia. And the 1980s or now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War has been over for 20 years.
I know you haven't been in position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you've offered an opinion, you have been wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Mitt Romney's opinion looks a lot more correct now with the four years behind us.
Is there a lesson in underestimating Russia from President Obama that this next president could gain from?
KRISTOF: Yes, I mean, I think you're right that Romney looks a lot more pressing on that issue than before. I mean, I think it is true that Russia doesn't matter very much from a global economic sense, but what we have seen is that Russia matters enormously from a geopolitical sense. And they have the capacity to throw a wrench in the works in the Ukraine and Syria.
And the nightmare that everybody worries about is them throwing a wrench at Baltic countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. So, I think -- I hope the Trump administration listens to Governor Romney back in those 2012 comments and just is very careful not to empower Putin to take further steps that destabilize NATO and the entire world.
HARLOW: Nicholas Kristof, nice to have you on. Thank you.
KRISTOF: Good to be with you.
HARLOW: All right. From saying that Mexico will pay for the wall, to proposing a 35 percent tariff on Mexican goods sold in this country, President-elect Donald Trump has made some serious threats to our southern neighbor, but Mexican officials now fighting back. We will take you live to Mexico City, next.
But, but first, CNNMoney chief business correspondent Christine Romans has this week's before the bell. Hi, Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNNMONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy.
Here comes the new phase of the Trump economy. Call it the show-me- the-money phase. Trump's press conference last week left investors with some questions. They have had high hopes for big growth, less regulation, lower taxes. That drove stocks to record highs. It was one of the biggest post-election rallies in history.
So now comes the desire for details. We know what markets like. They like big promises for rolling back regulation, for slashing tax rate, for reforming the tax code to benefit companies.
We know what they don't like -- protectionism and trade wars.
In his press conference, he promised a big border tax for companies building things overseas, but selling them here. In the past, he has floated huge tariffs and a repeal of NAFTA, something that could spark a trade war or raise costs for multinational corporations, raise costs for consumer goods.
Look for some clarity on all of that in the confirmation hearing of commerce secretary pick, billionaire Wilbur Ross. That comes Wednesday, two days before the president-elect becomes the 45th president and his first 100 days begin. A period he's promised would be loaded with changes.
A repeal of Obamacare, more pressure on companies to abandon their expansion plans in Mexico, a tougher trade stance with China, and he says 4 to 5 percent economic growth and millions of new jobs.
Until then, expect scrutiny over the quarterly earnings as some of the biggest corporate names this week. Those results due from Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, General Electric, Netflix, IBM. By sheer force of personality, Poppy, Trump has goosed the stock
market. Now, investors want to see policies that go along with it. They'll have to wait until later this week, Monday, the markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Day holiday -- Poppy.
[18:25:04] HARLOW: They are indeed. Christine, thank you so much.
We're back in a moment.
HARLOW: President-elect Donald Trump doubling down this week, insisting Mexico will indeed pay for a wall along the southern border. He's also sticking to plans to slap a massive border tax on goods imported from Mexico and sold here in the United States.
As you know, Trump has threatened a 35 percent tax on all of those goods, but Mexico's economy minister shot back this week, saying it's very clear we have to be prepared to immediately be able to neutralize the impact of a measure of that nature. He also predicted that that tariff would cause a, quote, "global recession".
Leyla Santiago joins me live tonight from Mexico City.
Leyla, what is the reaction? What is the tone of Mexico's response has been to these various threats from the president-elect?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think in what he has said, the economic minister has sort of really had a very measured, very strategic tone in his response, saying, if you put down this border tax, we'll respond immediately.
How exactly they will respond, that remains unclear. But what is clear is that both sides have a lot at stake. You know, President- elect Trump really hoping that this proposed tax will save U.S. jobs from moving down to Mexico or perhaps labor is cheaper.
But, you know, I also think it's important to mention that 6 million jobs depend on free trade with Mexico. And that's coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
I had had a chance to talk to one of Mexico's top diplomats to the U.S. and I asked him about the 35 percent tariff. And he suggested I ask someone else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS GARCIA DE ALBA, CONSUL GENERAL OF MEXICO IN LOS ANGELES: Ask this to the American consumer that has paid lower prices for many different products, not just cars, if they agree to pay more expensive products with this 35 percent tariff, that will be the final effect, the final consequence of this. We need to think in a different way. That's the world. It's not just the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: And so, Poppy, there was a lot of emphasis on the need for each other. Consul General Garcia de Alba made it very clear that he wants President-elect Trump to understand how much they both need to depend on each other right now.
HARLOW: Indeed. We'll see what happens. This is a threat now, we'll see if it actually becomes a reality. Leyla, thank you for the reporting live tonight from Mexico City.
Coming up, conflict of interest. President-elect Donald Trump outlining, this week, how he will separate himself from his businesses. The head of the Office of Government Ethics, though, calling his plan, quote, "wholly inadequate." Ambassador Norman Eisen and economist Ben Stein are with me next to discuss.
HARLOW: President-elect Donald Trump's announcement this week outlining how he would step away from his businesses did little to quiet his critics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I could run my business and run government at the same time. I don't like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to. I'd be the only one that would be able to do that. You can't do that in any other capacity. But as a president, I could run the Trump Organization, great, great company, and I could run the country. I'd do a very good job. But I don't want to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: A lawyer for Trump announced that he will turn over his businesses to his sons, but the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, blasted the plan as "wholly inadequate." That prompted the Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, to summon Shaub to appear before his Committee to discuss his views on the President-elect's plans.
Let's debate it all with Norman Eisen. He is the Ambassador to the Czech Republic as well as the former White House ethics czar and a fellow at the Brookings Institution where Shaub spoke last week. Also with us, famed economist and actor Ben Stein joins us from Los Angeles.
[18:35:04] Nice to have you both on the program. And let me begin with you, Norman. Here's a part of what Trump's attorney, Sheri Dillon, said in that press conference, arguing, look, she says, he's gone way further than he even has to when it comes to his businesses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERI DILLON, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: The Constitution says officials may not accept gifts, titles of nobility or emoluments from foreign governments with respect to their office, and that no benefit should be derived by holding an office.
The so-called emoluments clause has never been interpreted, however, to apply to fair value exchanges that have nothing to do with an office holder. No one would have thought, when the Constitution was written, that paying your hotel bill was an emolument. Instead, it would have been thought of as a value for value exchange.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Is she right?
NORMAN EISEN, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Poppy, thanks for having me. No, she is not right. The so-called emoluments clause is just a fancy 18th century word. What it means is that American presidents are not allowed to accept cash or other benefits -- and this is the key words, the key set of words she left out, Poppy -- of any kind whatever.
Contrary to her assertion that it's never been interpreted to apply to profits, the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel has held again and again that what Trump is doing here is insufficient. He admits the emoluments clause apply to him. He said I'm going to --
HARLOW: But he's going to give the money to the U.S. Treasury, any foreign governments that book --
EISEN: Not the money.
HARLOW: -- and stay in his D.C. hotel.
EISEN: Yes, not the money, Poppy. If you listen very carefully to what they said, the profits. But DOJ has said, no, you have to segregate all revenues from foreign governments. And that's just at the hotels. What about his office buildings? What about the apartments that he sells, the condos? What about the huge loans he has from foreign governments? The permits, the trademarks, all those are emoluments.
HARLOW: No, so --
EISEN: So this is a comically porous plan, and it won't meet the Constitution. He's going to be in violation because he's not giving up ownership on day one of his presidency.
HARLOW: So, Ben, the counter argument that we all heard in this press conference from the Trump team was, look, if he sold all these assets in a fire sale, some entity or foreign government or a big business guy could pay way over market value for them and then, in essence, he would have sway, arguably, over the President-elect in that respect. You say?
BEN STEIN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO REALLY RUIN YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE AND PORTFOLIO": I say that he has got to do a hell of a lot more than he's done in terms of segregating himself from his business interests. It isn't even close. I mean, I hate to say this. I'm a Republican. I've never voted for a Democrat. I'm an old man now, I probably never will. But I think Trump has to go a lot farther than he's gone in terms of getting himself out of the business.
He has got himself so tied in so many different businesses, so many different lending entities, it's like the Gordian knot in Greek or Roman mythology. He has got to take out his sword, and his sword is a lot of lawyers --
HARLOW: But the thing is, Ben, he doesn't --
STEIN: -- and sever the knot. Sorry.
HARLOW: The whacky law that doesn't make the President or the Vice President of this country not have financial ties means that he actually doesn't have to do any of that.
STEIN: He doesn't have to do it in terms of not being sent to prison. I don't think Ambassador Eisen or I or anyone else is talking about sending Mr. Trump to prison. The question is, is it decent? Is it right? Does it look nice to the ordinary American guy who's worked in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota who voted for Mr. Trump to see him getting all this money from people, from businesses, that he's controlling?
And let's face facts. It's a real world out there. People are going to want to do business with the Trump Organization in order to curry a favor with Mr. Trump and his administration.
HARLOW: So to that point --
STEIN: Let's cut that knot and get it all over with.
HARLOW: To that point, here is what very liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren said to our Cristina Alesci this week when she interviewed her in Washington. Here's her proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: 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 or someone they know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: She insists, Norman, that this is not partisan. Take that for what it's worth, right. But, you know, what say you about that? Do we need that kind of legislation?
EISEN: Well, my friend Ben's explanation of the Gordian knot demonstrates that this is bipartisan, Poppy, and don't believe what Mr. Trump says that he's not legally required. He is legally required by the Constitution. Unlike other presidents, this President is getting foreign government payments, and the Constitution mandates that he do what he did not do, which is give up ownership.
[18:40:12] The Warren bill is based on that Constitutional provision, among other things, and I believe it will eventually draw bipartisan support because there has been a bipartisan outcry. Even "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page has called for Mr. Trump to follow precedent.
HARLOW: You're right, they have. They have. Quickly, before I let you go --
EISEN: But Ben Stein is more important than "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page.
HARLOW: Clearly. Ben Stein, I just want your take on this because the President-elect tweeted this today. He tweeted, "The Democrats are most angry that so many Obama Democrats voted for me. With all these jobs I'm bringing back to our nation, that number will only get higher. Car companies and others, if they want to do business in our country have to start making things here. Win!" In all caps with an exclamation point.
He is saving some American jobs with these deals, no question. Is there anything to be concerned about here with the way he's doing it?
STEIN: This is very much to be concerned about. This country was built and grew rich on free trade, not on mercantilism or government directives telling people how to behave. I believe as does "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, for whom I used to be an editorial writer, that we've got to have free trade. That's how countries get rich. Countries get to be impoverished by having government mandates telling people how to behave.
We want to be a free country in terms of how we do business. Mr. Trump is not apparently fully cognizant of that. I hope he does become and, look, I hope he learns. He's a smart guy. I hope he learns, and I hope he leaves this office as a free trade president and understands that that's a great benefit to the country.
HARLOW: Got to leave it there. Thank you, guys, Ben Stein, Norman Eisen. Nice to have you on. We'll be right back.
HARLOW: President-elect Trump will get to nominate at least one Supreme Court justice after he takes office. The seat of the late Antonin Scalia remains open after the Senate refused to hold a hearing for President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland. Who will Trump pick?
[18:45:10] We know that he has a list of 20 names, and he says the pick will come pretty soon. Sources tell CNN that Trump wants a ninth justice seated by the last sitting of the court, which is April 17th. That would mean hearings some time likely in March. CNN's Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue joins me now.
What do you think is most likely at this point? Are we getting any more indications? ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, Poppy, I think
that his speech was really interesting for this reason. For sure, he said that one of his first acts as President is going to be to name the Supreme Court justice. And he also said that his aides had already talked to some of the nominees.
But what was really interesting to me is that he said that he felt that that the Supreme Court is one of the reasons he won the election. That's a big statement. And you look at this list. He worked with two groups to put together a list of 21 possibilities.
DE VOGUE: And on the top, now sources say, it's really now shortened down. On the top of the list is always Judge Pryor and Judge Sykes. And they're on the top of the list mostly because he mentioned them during the campaign.
But there are also some Appellate Court judges on there. Judge Kethledge is one, Judge Colloton, Judge Hardiman. They're all being looked at. And there's one dark horse candidate whose name is Joan Larsen. She serves on the Michigan Supreme Court, and she would bring something different to the Court because she comes from a State Supreme Court.
So that's what we're looking at now. And she looks like she'd be an interesting choice, but maybe a little green because she hasn't been a justice for that long.
HARLOW: We know that after Trump's speech this week, Mike Pence, the Vice President-Elect, went to the Hill. And his objective, obviously, had to do primarily with this. What was his goal? What do you think he achieved up there?
DE VOGUE: So he was going up there and he met with moderate Democrats because he wants to sort of see where they are on the list, if there are anybody named on that list that maybe might interest a moderate Democrat.
DE VOGUE: And he's got a problem because of this. You remember back in 2013, the Democrats changed the rules of the Senate, and they allowed lower court judges to get through as a simple majority and they didn't have to get that 60 votes. But that didn't happen for Supreme Court justices.
So now the big question is whether Pence and the Republicans might have to change the rules if they come up with a problem and a lot of opposition from the Democrats. That's something to watch this next couple of weeks, whether or not the Senate Republicans might have to change the rules. And there are certain traditionalists on there. They're not going to want to change the rules.
HARLOW: Right, absolutely. We'll watch and you'll be on top of it all. Ariane, thank you. DE VOGUE: Thanks.
HARLOW: And we are counting down the days until Donald Trump is inaugurated, but some folks are still reflecting on Hillary Clinton's surprising Election Day loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Clinton campaign spent a lot of money on data. And they had big data that showed they were going to have a big victory on election night.
REV. CHARLES WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT OF MICHIGAN CHAPTER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: I would say to that, data don't vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Indeed. Coming up, we take you to Motown to discover how Clinton's blue wall crumbled in Michigan.
[18:51:19] HARLOW: In just five days, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Political pundits were stunned when Trump won Michigan's 16 Electoral College votes. Hillary Clinton was depending on African-Americans to turn out for her on Election Day. CNN Political Commentator Van Jones went to Detroit to find out why Clinton's blue wall crumbled.
WILLIAMS: How you doing, sister Tate (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How you doing?
WILLIAMS: I'm good. I'm good. It's really --
JONES: Reverend Charles Williams thinks he has some answer as to why the Democrats lost Michigan. He's going to give me a tour of his town to help me understand what motivates Black voters here and what that means for both parties.
Given everything Obama did for Michigan, given everything that Obama did for Black folk, why didn't Detroit come out as strong for Hillary Clinton?
WILLIAMS: I think there's a disconnect between what the White House can do on the ground and what we feel connected to. That connection didn't happen. What they didn't do is they didn't build an organization to actually talk to people.
JONES: But the reality is that the Clinton campaign spent a lot of money on data, and they had big data that showed they were going to have a big victory on election night.
WILLIAMS: I would say that, data don't vote. (LAUGHTER)
WILLIAMS: I mean, I'm serious, man. If you don't build an organization that is based on relationship, understanding the issues, then you can model and data and statistic your way through a losing campaign. And that's exactly what happened with the Clinton campaign.
JONES: I think a lot of folk in the Democratic Party thought Michigan is in the bag. You know, we have this blue wall.
WILLIAMS: I tell people all the time -- matter of fact, I told Hillary Clinton to her face when we met -- I said, look, I appreciate it. It's good to meet you, but I've never voted for a Clinton before. I know Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton about as well as I know George Clinton. I mean --
JONES: People don't recognize the '70s, '80s.
WILLIAMS: I got to turn to the oldies station to get to you. I mean, that's the reality. They had the infrastructure of a lot of old relationships.
JONES: Where was the energy put in the Democratic Party this time around?
WILLIAMS: The energy was with Bernie Sanders. The fire was put out by the DNC. That energy was kind of cut off at the knees.
There is an ethos that was being built behind the Bernie Sanders campaign that felt infectious enough to actually people on these streets. And some people, they thought, in their infinite wisdom, that we can just kind of shift that over to the Clinton campaign, and it didn't happen.
JONES: My next stop is here at Whitlow's. Barbershops help form the bedrock of political discourse in the Black community. Vonzie Whitlow has been here since Barack Obama was born. Leslie Curtis is a lifelong Republican who voted for Obama in 2008, but this election, he voted for Donald Trump. And Jewell Jones is a Democrat, 21 years old, and just elected as the youngest Michigan state representative in history.
I'm looking at you, but over your head is a picture of Barack Obama, and it says, "This is our moment." Was the past eight years the moment that you expected it to be when you put that sign up?
[18:55:03] VONZIE WHITLOW, MICHIGAN CLINTON VOTER: I was so happy. It was great to see a Black man run for President of the United States of America. I think he's in line with a lot of people across the country.
JONES: In 2008, you voted for Obama. But you didn't vote for him in 2012.
LESLIE CURTIS, MICHIGAN TRUMP VOTER: Correct.
JONES: What did Obama do to disappoint you in the first term that you wouldn't vote for him again?
CURTIS: Well, the disappointment came when he didn't address Black America. To me, his agenda was focused directly on the LGBT community and immigration and Obamacare. Whenever you're the first Black anything, you have to put it out there on the line, and I don't feel like Obama did that. I don't think he put it out there on the line.
JONES: I look at you. You know, you're the youngest elected state representative in the state. Maybe in the country, maybe in the universe, we don't know. Obama ran into a lot of hostile fire. I mean, you're young and you're hopeful, and I remember when Obama was young and hopeful. Do you think that some of the resistance against Obama had to do with the color of his skin?
REP. JEWELL JONES (D), MICHIGAN: Black people have been doing so much for so long with so little. You know, we can do almost anything with nothing. So, after a while, like, you learn how to play the game and how to navigate, so, of course, the color of skin was an issue.
JONES: When you think about a Trump presidency, how do you think that's going to impact you?
J. JONES: I think the election was actually refreshing because, especially in, like, the Democratic Party, I think we needed something to wake us up. Because for a long time, engagement's really been declining over the years. I think this is something that could really open people's eyes and tell them, like, it's time to get involved. I'm excited about it.
HARLOW: And a programming note, tonight, CNN explores the first lady's journey from Chicago to the world stage. CNN's special report, "HISTORY MADE: THE LEGACY OF MICHELLE OBAMA," that's tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here.
Quick break, we're back here in a moment.