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Trump Meets with MLK's Son; Trump Clashes with John Lewis; Steve Harvey Backlash; Growing List Boycotting Inauguration; Trump Hints of Lifting Sanctions; Trump Slams CIA Director; Trump Talks about German's Merkel; Kushner Mideast Peace Broker.. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 16, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:12] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you so much for joining me on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
As the nation, of course, honors the civil rights leader, his son, Martin Luther King III, just met with President-elect Donald Trump. Pictures from just inside the Trump Tower lobby there. It is a remarkable face-to-face in the wake of Mr. Trump going toe-to-toe with another icon in his own right when he marched with Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. He marched with Dr. King back in the '60s. Spoke at that march in Washington as they, of course, fought for equal rights for African-Americans.
The president-elect attacked Lewis saying he was, quote/unquote, "all talk and no action." This after the Georgia congressman said that Trump's presidency was not legitimate, and that the Russians helped Trump win.
Here is Martin Luther King III just moments ago from Trump Tower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: Let me briefly, not just reiterate, but state that we did have a very constructive meeting. The seminal right of the modern civil rights movement was the right to vote. And my father fought so diligently for it. Certainly Congressman John Lewis and many others, Jose Williams, fought for it as well.
It is very clear that the system is not working at its maximum. And through an op-ed that you may have seen, we provided at least a solution to begin to address a broken voting system. That was the dialogue - most of the dialogue that we talked about constructively. We believe we provided a solution that at least will give everyone an I.D.
QUESTION: Mr. King, you know Representative Lewis has - still has the scars from the march on Selma. Were you offended by the president- elect's tweet that Representative Lewis is all talk and no action? KING: First of all, I think that in the heat of emotion a lot of
things get said on both sides. And I think that at some point I am, as John Lewis and many others are, a bridge builder. The goal is to bring America together, and Americans. We are a great nation, but we must become a greater nation. And what my father represented, my mother represented through her life, what I hope that I'm trying to do, is always bring people together.
QUESTION: Sir, do you know many African-American -
QUESTION: Do you think Donald Trump will be your (ph) president? Sir -
QUESTION: Sir, many African-Americans are very concerned about a Trump presidency. A woman came in here last week and told me, he's going to have black people up against the wall, both literally and figuratively. Did he allay your concerns that he'll be a president for all people, black and white?
KING: Well certainly he said that, that he is going to represent Americans. He said that over and over again. And I think that we will continue to evaluate that. I think that the nation supports - I believe that that's his intent. But I think also we have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure. It doesn't happen automatically. My father and his team understood that, did that. And I think that Americans are prepared to do that.
QUESTION: But, sir, if I may follow-up, isn't there something that just cuts to your core when you hear the president-elect refer to John Lewis as all talk and no action? I mean nothing could be further from the truth, isn't that right? John Lewis is not all talk and no action.
KING: No, absolutely I would say John Lewis has demonstrated that he's action. As I said, thing get said on both sides in the heat of emotion. And at some point this nation - we've got to move forward. We can't stay on - I mean people are literally probably dying. We need to be talking about, how do we feed people, how do we clothe people, how do we create the best education system? That's what we need to be focused on. On this day -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That last voice there you heard asking the question, I recognize that, that is Mr. Jim Acosta, who's now outside of Trump Tower.
And, so, Jim, you know, we'll talk about what Dr. King's son said in a moment, but just - can you give us some context for the meeting? Who called whom? What was discussed?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know that is a very good question. We don't have all the details in terms of who called who.
ACOSTA: But we do know that this follows what were some plans for Donald Trump to go down to Washington today. He was set to go down to Washington today according to his counsellor, incoming White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway. And then we found out late last night that that trip was being scrapped, that he was no longer coming. And then we heard this morning that Martin Luther King III was going to be meeting with the president-elect.
We should point out to our viewers, Brooke, that Donald Trump did emerge from those elevator with Martin Luther King III for just a few moments, paused to, you know, get the cameras rolling and so forth, and then he went back into the elevator, went back upstairs in Trump Tower and did not answer any questions. And then, for a few moments, Martin Luther King III, as well as one of Trump's aides, Omarosa Manigault, started walking away. We started shouting down the corridor there inside of Trump Tower asking Mr. King to come back and talk to us, which he did do, and that's when you heard him make those remarks there, saying that he does not agree with the president-elect's tweet that John Lewis is all talk and no action. He said that he's demonstrated that he is action but that he believes things are said in the heat of the moment.
[14:05:21] You get the sense, from listening to Martin Luther King III there, Brooke, that he would like to see this country come together. I asked him at one point, you know, there was another reporter who asked, you know, can Donald Trump be a president for all Americans? And he said, well, that is his intent. That is his intent. And I asked, well, do you think that's how it's going to - that's how it's going to be? And he did not really answer that question.
And so, yes, Martin Luther King III came up to talk about poverty programs, saying that is what his father, the slain civil rights leader, would be talking about today, would be advocating for today. And so they did discuss that during this meeting.
But, you know, in terms of whether or not Martin Luther King III believes that Donald Trump will be a president for all Americans, I thought it was interesting he did not definitively answer that question and said, you know, it's up to him and other civil rights figures to really keep Donald Trump accountable on that score.
BALDWIN: Yes. All right, Jim, thank you so much.
ACOSTA: You bet.
BALDWIN: Hearing words like I'm a bridge builder, I need to build bridges there from Dr. King's son. Today, Vice President-elect Mike Pence defended the president-elect, while at the same time paying deference to Congressman John Lewis' role in American history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE (D), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: You'll see President-elect Trump take the oath of office, speak to the nation in his inaugural address surrounded by four of the five living presidents. It is a - it is a testament to the world of the vibrancy of our democracy. And for someone of John Lewis' stature to lend credibility to the baseless assertions of those who question the legitimacy of this election is deeply disappointing. I hope he reconsiders it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With we now, Marc Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League.
It's so nice to always have you on. Thank you so much for swinging by.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Thank you, Brooke. Thanks for having me. Yes, happy Martin Luther King Day.
BALDWIN: Thank you. Same to you.
You know, first just beginning with Congressman Lewis and, you know, yes, he is this, you know, this civil rights icon, but he's also a Democratic politician, and he called the president illegitimate - the president-elect illegitimate with a week to go before he's inaugurated. I mean Congressman Lewis started it. He knows what he's doing. Do you think that he was looking to start something?
MORIAL: I think that people have gotten hung up on terminology and on the use of a word and have forgotten the essence of the discussion. The essence of -
BALDWIN: What's the word?
MORIAL: The word "legitimate." The essence of the discussion is the role of Russia in the recent presidential campaign. And the need to have a full, complete investigation and airing of the facts so we can determine once and for all the role of Russia and whether anyone here in the United States was involved in aiding and abetting, spying and espionage. So I think, and would encourage the president-elect to embrace a select committee, a bipartisan commission or something that would bring all of this to light because all of this back and forth has at its root the Russian involvement in the election.
BALDWIN: And that's what Congressman Lewis pointed out on "Meet the Press," but, you know, if you talk to Democrats they would say it could be more than that, right? Democrats would actually say, it wasn't Congressman Lewis who started it, it was Trump who started it years ago with the birther movement and the birther conspiracy.
MORIAL: Well, look, there's no question it would -
BALDWIN: Do you think that there is a piece of that at play here?
MORIAL: There's a - there was a kick in the gut for so many of us to see the effort to destabilize and discredit Barack Obama by suggesting he wasn't an American citizen after - after he was elected president of the United States. And Donald Trump did associated himself and became one of the spokespersons and leaders of that. So that - that may - this may be part of that continuum as well.
BALDWIN: Do you think it's a piece of it for Congressman Lewis?
MORIAL: I don't know. I really think - I take Congressman Lewis really at his word that the concern over Russian involvement is what's driving this. Those of us who focus on and work on voting rights want the democracy to be clean, to be pure, to be open, to be transparent. And if foreign nations are now involved in our elections, if foreign leaders are now involved in our elections, whether they impact it or not, it's espionage, it's spying, it's inappropriate, it's illegal.
BALDWIN: No. And finally at the news conference Trump acknowledged it, but, you know, you talk to a lot of people and he didn't go far enough. And we're waiting to see if he puts mightier words behind that.
But, you know, when you look, Marc, bigger picture, black community, and I was sitting here as we were watching on Friday, you had Steve Harvey, you know, talk show host comedian Steve Harvey role through Trump Tower and he said he was invited by the Obama administration and by the Trump transition team to go in there. And he says he's passionate about, you know, helping out, improve urban blight in inner cities in this country.
[14:10:04] BALDWIN: He mentioned Chicago and Detroit. But since he went in there, if you jump on social media, he has been eviscerated by a lot of African-Americans in this country. And so he addressed it on the radio. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE HARVEY, COMEDIAN, RADIO & TV PERSONALITY: I have an obligation to take a seat at the table when invited. You know, change can only happen when we sit at the table. If we sit at the table, then we can have a say-so on to what's to be eaten on the menu.
On a personal note, a lot of you all hurt me. You really did. I didn't expect the backlash to be so vicious. If I'm going to keep getting stabbed at, then at least while you're stabbing me, you should understand my intent for even taking the meeting in the first place. It ain't about me and my personal gains. It's only that I care about the inner cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORIAL: So here's what's important, Brooke.
MORIAL: There are a lot of raw feelings, a lot of emotion. People who want and - want to be part of public resistance. And there's going to have to be public resistance. But I think sitting at the table and having dialogue around public policy -
BALDWIN: That's what he wanted. That's what he said.
MORIAL: So to the extent that that conversation was about young black men, unemployment and economic opportunity, it was certainly a good conversation. But I think now I would encourage the president-elect to have conversations with mayors, with leaders of organizations who work on solutions, to meaningfully engage.
BALDWIN: What about you? President-elect Trump calls you up, Marc, says, I want you to have a seat at the table?
MORIAL: If I - if it's a real seat, what - I'm not interested in as a photo-op.
BALDWIN: It's a seat. No, it's a legit seat as part of a conversation.
MORIAL: I'll talk it. There's no - I will always take a seat at the table. And I will be forceful and I'll be forthright and I'll be -
BALDWIN: And when you get slammed like Steve Harvey was?
MORIAL: I've been slammed many, many times.
BALDWIN: Russia. Russia.
MORIAL: So you've got - you've got to be tough enough. You have to take it. But it's important to understand that so much of this is that people still have raw feelings about this election. It's not going to easily go away.
BALDWIN: But it's the gut punch, Marc, that you mentioned a second ago, I think, from years of feeling punched by the about to be - the man who's about to be president, right? And then you factor in -
MORIAL: That is a conversation during the campaign. It's all of the rhetoric that went on during the campaign combined together.
BALDWIN: Absolutely, but it's a - because he's about to be president in like four days. And it's a conversation we need to have. And I know a lot of people reached out to me and my colleagues of mine. And when you think about even like black entertainers, for example. If you jump on D.L. Hughley's Instagram, I mean I can't show you all what he's saying. Essentially he's saying, you know, if you didn't accept my president, why should I accept you? Even Snoop Dogg is saying, if a black person thinks about performing for Trump, he will roast them.
MORIAL: Let me tell you something. I understand the way they feel. And I think that their feelings are real and they are genuine. When the president is seat, we've got to work to save the nation. We've got to work to advance our cause. So we're going to be part of both the resistance -
BALDWIN: But what does Trump need to do? What does Mr. Trump need to do?
MORIAL: I think - I think what Trump needs to do in his proposals, in his early proposals, is make a commitment to the enforcement of civil rights. I think it would be powerful if he made a commitment to a new voting rights bill. If in his plan to rebuild America's infrastructure, if there were significant components in there which included opportunities for people in urban communities, opportunities for small business owned by people of color. Look, I am looking for the ideas and the proposals. So if those are what are advanced, then there's an opportunity to work together. If they're not advanced, we're going fight to get it included.
MORIAL: If it isn't included, we can't support it.
BALDWIN: Marc Morial, thank you.
MORIAL: Thank you, Brooke, always.
BALDWIN: Appreciate it so much.
MORIAL: Thank you. Good seeing you.
BALDWIN: Coming up here on CNN, we do have breaking news tonight involving that Pulse Nightclub shooting down in Orlando from last summer. The wife of that attacker has just been arrested in California. We have details on that coming up.
Also ahead, President-elect Trump ramping up his feud with outgoing CIA chief John Brennan, suggesting Brennan might have been responsible for leaking classified information about him.
And all of this as Trump is asked, who do you trust more, in this interview, Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, or Russia's president, Vladimir Putin? His surprising answer next here on CNN.
[14:18:36] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
The standoff between President-elect Donald Trump and the intelligence community just got a whole lot more intense here because the outgoing CIA chief, John Brennan, told Fox News that Mr. Trump should trust his agency when it comes to matters, as we were just discussing, like Russia, and that Trump's words can affect national security. He also didn't care for the president-elect comparing the intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: But what I do find outrageous is equating an intelligence community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that. And there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The president-elect firing back, suggesting that Director Brennan may have been behind the leak of the unsubstantiated dossier about him. Tweeting, quote/unquote, "not good. Was this the leaker of fake news?"
The president-elect is also ruffling some feathers on the global stage, hitting NATO once again, calling - Trump called it "obsolete," his word, in this incredibly revealing interview with German newspaper "Bild." He was also asked who he trusts more, Russian President Vladimir Putin or German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a long time U.S. ally.
[14:20:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you trust more if you talk to them, Angela Merkel or Vladimir Putin?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, I start off trusting both. But let's he see how long that lasts. May not last long at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I want to bring in CNN international correspondent - senior international correspondent Matthew Chance, who is in Moscow for us.
And so, Matthew, as part this mega interview over the weekend, we know Mr. Trump also indicated he could lift sanctions against Russia. Tell me more about what he said in that "Bild" interview.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean it was "Bild" and it was "The Times of London" as well, did it jointly -
CHANCE: And it was an absolutely, you know, astonishing sort of tour de force by Donald Trump. He spoke about all sorts of, you know, very contention issues. I mean from a Russian perspective - and I was watching it from a Russian perspective being based in Moscow, I mean he talked about NATO, the Western Military Alliance being obsolete, which is - I think, you know, it's - it's music to the Kremlin's ears. I mean this is what they've been saying for decades, since the end of the Cold War, that NATO is no longer a relevant military alliance, that it's expansionist and it's confrontational and no longer relevant to the relationship between Russia and the United States, of Russia and the west.
It's what the Kremlin says all of the time and Donald Trump is going to be the president of the United States in the next few days, is he saying exactly that. He also talked about the idea of lifting sanctions. He said sanctions, which remember were imposed on Russia because of its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine in its war - it its implementation of war in Ukraine in 2014, they could be lifted if there's a nuclear deal with the United States. And so, you know, I get the impression that the Russians don't know really what to make of this. They're saying, look, we're going to wait until Donald Trump actually becomes the president before we evaluate these remarks. But behind the scenes they're quietly confident things are going to get better.
BALDWIN: That wasn't it. There was so much else in that interview we'll get to in my next panel. Matthew Chance, thank you so much, in Russia.
David Chalian, let me bring you in, CNN political director, and also CNN military analyst and retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
Gentlemen, so good to have you both on.
But, David Chalian, I want to go back to a point I made a second ago with this - you know, the outgoing CIA chief on Fox yesterday and then the tweet response from Mr. Trump. You know, implying that Brennan could be the leaker of this unverified dossier. I mean this kind of allegation, unprecedented, yes?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think that word is going to get a lot of exercise throughout this Trump presidency, the unprecedented.
BALDWIN: It's becoming cliche.
CHALIAN: No, not cliche, it's just - it's true, he does a lot of unprecedented things. And we are going to sort of need to get used to that, I guess, to some degree. But, Brooke, you're right, there's zero evidence. Donald Trump has not provided a shred of evidence that John Brennan is responsible for this leak. And the notion of the incoming - four days away from the inauguration - the incoming president of the United States, who has spent the better part of this transition period basically at war with the intelligence community, now putting out there this totally unsubstantiated charge that John Brennan may be responsible for the leak. I don't see how that is going to begin to heal what is clearly a fractured relationship with the intelligence community.
BALDWIN: Yes. Yes.
Then you have, though, General Hertling, let me pose this to you, Bob Woodward, you know, the, you know, veteran journalist, talking also on Fox saying, Trump has every reason to be, you know, upset at the release of the dossier. Essentially he said, quote, "I've lived in this world for 45 years where you get things and people make allegations. This is a garbage document. It never should have been presented as part of an intelligence briefings. And when people make mistakes, they should apologize." Does he have a point, general?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I'm not sure he understands the complete reason that it was put in as part of the dossier. I think it was just to inform. It doesn't mean that it's hard, fast intelligence. It's been explained over and over again that this was just to let the principals know that this document was out there and it would probably be released. There was no one saying that this information is true, that this is 100 percent accurate. It was just, the press has that.
And I've got to tell you, Brooke, my role, when I was a commander, I would have loved to have people keep coming up to me and telling me of rumors that were swirling that were about to come true because then you can prepare for it a little bit.
BALDWIN: Get ahead of it.
HERTLING: Yes, that's the key issue. BALDWIN: What about - general, let me just stay with you on, you know,
Angela Merkel in Germany here, a key U.S. ally and western alliance. Not only is Trump refusing to say whether or not he treats our friend more than our foe, but he also said this about Chancellor Merkel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I had great respect for her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TRUMP: I felt she was a great, great leader. I think she made one very catastrophic mistake. And that was taking all of these illegals in - you know, taking all of the people from whatever they come from, and nobody really knows where they come from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:25:08] BALDWIN: So there's that. And now we have this response from John Kerry - Secretary of State John Kerry when he talked to Christiane Amanpour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I thought, frankly, it was inappropriate for a president-elect of the United States to be stepping in to the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner. And he'll have to speak to that. As of Friday, you know, he's responsible for that relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Inappropriate, he says. I mean, General Hertling, how much of a threat does that sort of language from Trump pose, you know, not only I think on the relationship between U.S. and our friends over in Germany, but also her standing for re-election and public perception?
HERTLING: Yes, you're talking about attempting to influence other people's election. I certain think some of those things may influence the election in Germany, which is upcoming, as well as other places.
Now, what I would say, too, Brooke, is, you know, as a guy who had to deal with other governments, there are four key rules you play by when you're engaging, not as a diplomat, but even as a soldier, when you're engaging with other governments. First of all, you have to use your intelligence community. You have to find out what's going on.
Secondly, you have to understand that words are important. You must be precise. Because the context - and that's the third thing, the context in which words are taken can be skewed sometimes based on the culture of the government you're talking with.
And then finally, the last thing I'd say is, strategy is hard. And you better get some input from other people before you start making pronouncements because it affects things not only the diplomatic relationships, but the businesses, the economy, the diplomacy and the intelligence flow. So these are some of the things that are increasingly concerning me about some of the things that Mr. Trump is saying.
BALDWIN: One more just quickly as we've talked about, you know, sanctions and Russia and then Germany is, you know, Middle East peace, David Chalian. And we've actually heard this before, but Trump reiterated it in this joint interview, that his son-in-law, who we know now will have a post in the West Wing, he's thinking Jared Kushner could lead the Middle East peace effort. What experience does he have?
CHALIAN: Well, obviously, he doesn't have experience in negotiating Middle East peace or those kinds of relationships, governmental relationships like that, but, you know, Jared Kushner also had no experience in running presidential campaigns and he helped get his father-in-law elected president. It's not that he can't learn. But, no, he certainly doesn't come with experience to that particular assignment that Donald Trump may have in store for him.
I will say, Brooke, though, to be fair here, you know, President Obama also, when he was overseas, he didn't come right out and endorse Angela Merkel, but he got pretty close to really trying to bucker up as the German elections were approaching in his last visit there.
BALDWIN: Yes, he did.
CHALIAN: He also weighed in on Brexit. You know, American leaders have had their different ways of trying to delve in -
CHALIAN: Without looking like they are fully delving in.
BALDWIN: And maybe this is the Trump example. I got you.
David Chalian, thank you. And General Mark Hertling, thank you as well.
Next here, the wife of that Orlando nightclub shooter was arrested this morning in San Francisco. Why police are now giving her a hard look. That is next.
Also ahead, a senior job position is suddenly available in the Trump administration. A Trump appointee now turning down the role after a CNN investigation. We have those details coming up.