Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Picks Pushed Bill to Help Firm After Buying Stock; Trump Pick Declines Job Amid Plagiarism Revelations; More Dems Skipping Inauguration Over Trump Attacks on Lewis; Dem Congressmen Join Boycott of Trump's Inauguration; More Democrats Join Boycott of Trump Inauguration; Trump Takes Oath of Office in Under 90 Hours; Orlando Nightclub Shooter's Wife Arrested. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 16, 2017 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- it all begins this Friday 9:00 a.m. Eastern. That's it for me. Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And next, a special edition of OutFront, we are live from Washington. Breaking news tonight, atop Donald Trump cabinet pick facing major questions this evening, did he use his power in congress to try to line his own pockets. The breaking details coming up. And more democrats announcing they're boycotting the election as the fight between Donald Trump and John Lewis escalates. And more breaking news. The wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter, arrested. Was she an accomplice? Let's go OutFront.

And welcome to a very special edition of OutFront this evening. I'm Erin Burnett, live from the nation's capital, where Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States this week. We begin, though, with major breaking news. Red flags for one of Trump's cop cabinet picks. CNN reporting at this hour, new revelations about Trump's pick for secretary of Health And Human Services, Congressman Tom Price. CNN has learned that price purchased shares in a medical device Manufacturer days before introducing a bill that would have massively helped that company.

The company's pack subsequently then made multiple donations to price's re-election campaign. Now, Price's spokesman would not respond directly to questions about the stock purchases from CNN Today, but said, " Dr. Price takes his obligation to uphold the public trust very seriously." Now, this is just two days before price appears before congress in what was already sure to be a highly charged confirmation hearing. Manu Raju begins our coverage OutFront. He broke this story.

Manu, this certainly when you look at the date here, you look at the time line, this races significant questions.

MANU RAJU, SENIRO POLITICAL REPORTER: Indeed, it does, Erin. Remember, congress in 2012 passed the stock act, which was designed to prevent lawmakers from trading stock based on any sort of inside information they may have gleaned from the legislative process. Now ethics experts tell me that this particular case raises insider trading concerns. And that's because congressman price purchased stock as much as $15,000 in one major medical device maker, Zimmer Biomet, and that would have been hurt by a federal rule affecting hip and knee implant Manufacturers like Zimmer Biomet.

And Erin, less than a week after purchasing that stock, price offered legislation that would have helped Zimmer Biomet by delaying that federal rule until 2018. Now, the price officially says the congressman views his efforts to uphold the public trust very seriously, did not respond directly, as you noted, Erin. But price has promised to divest from 43 companies that could present a conflict of interest, if he's confirmed as a head of health and human services.

And interestingly, Erin, one of those companies is Zimmer Biomet. We did not do that when he was a member of congress.

BURNETT: Which, you know, is pretty amazing, when you think about it, Manu. And as you lay out, this example, this is not the first time, right? That price did this. Traded stock in companies at the same time he was actually going ahead with legislation that would directly affect those companies' profits.

RAJU: Yes. That's right. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that price actually traded more than $300,000 worth of stock in health companies over the past four years while working on legislation, some of the bills affecting those companies. Now, democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, in light of our report tonight is renewing calls for an ethics inquiry. But expect this to be a major focal point for democrats. And Price's first confirmation hearing this Wednesday as the party tries to stop the man. Trump has tapped to get rid of Obamacare. Erin?

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, very much, Manu. OutFront now, Mark Preston, our Executive Editor for Politics, David Gergen, former presidential Adviser to four presidents, Rick Santorum, presidential candidate in 2012, 2016. Of course senator as well. Michael Nutter, for Mayor of Philadelphia. Kayleigh McEnany, Conservative Contributor for the Hill, and David Axelrod, the former Senior Adviser to President Obama. Mark Preston, let's start with you though. You know, when Manu is doing this report, I mean, certainly the time line here is incredibly troubling.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: No doubt. And look, this story just broke a couple hours ago, so we won't know the full impact until perhaps tomorrow. But no question, when Donald Trump has said his number one domestics priority in additional to every other number one domestic priority he said is to overhaul repeal and replace Obamacare. You have your HHS Secretary up against the wall, going into a hearing on Wednesday to have to answer these questions. It's not good timing right now for Donald Trump.

BURNETT: So you've been in the position where you could have done something like this. You didn't.

RICK SANTORUM, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I was broke when I was a senator, so -- didn't have any money to invest in this --

BURNETT: We're talking up to $15,000 here and Wall Street Journal is reporting 300,000. Btu what is your take, is this a big thing or not?

SANTORUM: Well, two things. What I -- what I've heard in just -- in the information I was able to gather in the last few minutes before coming on here is that this was a broker-directed account in which he had no input into the decision making of the stock. Now, if that's the case, if it was a broker making the decision, he did not and was not aware of the -- of what was being -- these decisions being made. That's a different kettle of fish than if you go out and have money and you go invest in the stock and go ahead and introduce legislation to help that company.

So again, I think Mark's point is, let's find out a little bit more about what the facts and circumstances here. But it, you know, certainly doesn't -- it doesn't sound good. But it may not be -- it may not be the conflict that it once appears.

BURNETT: Of course, you do have, though, the troubling past, David, when you look at what Manu is reporting, you also look at the Wall Street Journal's reporting, another $300,000. In other companies while he was also pursuing legislation that impacted them.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think it all depends on the facts now. If the facts are exculpatory, he'll get through. At least on this issue. But if the facts are as they have been reported and they don't have anything, which is, you know, I'm iterating, you know, it helps to explain, then he may well withdraw. I would think the White House now would call in someone like Fred Fielding they cited the other day on the President-elect's own finances, they call someone with that sense of judgment, let him investigate and then decide what to do.

It's worth remembering that eight years ago, there was a very popular senator, former colleague of yours, Tom Daschle, very well respected in this panel, nominated for this same job, the HHS job, and he had to withdraw over something much smaller than this.

BURNETT: Car services, I kind of recall.

GERGEN: A friend of his lent him his chauffeur to drive him around town, and he didn't declare that as income on his taxes. And that cost him the job.

BURNETT: I mean, which shows you, David, the kind of focus here. But also, this job is so crucial for Donald Trump. This is -- this is -- this is the guy who is going to repeal Obamacare.

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is crucial. One thing I would say is there's been -- there was some criticism of the transition and of Senator McConnell for pushing the schedule on these -- on these nomination hearings, because some of those -- some of those people nominated hadn't been fully scrutinized and hadn't been vetted properly. I don't know if Tom Price was one of those people, but this isn't all that complicated a thing to see. And I don't know whether the transition asked him these questions, but they should have. BURNETT: And Kayleigh, you know, because -- as David is pointed out,

this isn't only the case, right? You have a Monica Crowley, the conservative commentator, now no longer going to join as the Senior Communications Aide because it had -- it was found out that she had been plagiarizing, you found that out so that she no longer is going to be a part of this team. Has there been any failures here in the vetting, when you combine that and also say you look at some of these nominees, the very wealthy ones. We do not yet have their full disclosure forms, their taxes, their ethics reports.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CONSERVATIVE CONTRIBUTOR, THE HILL: Possibly. You've seen this hiccup with Monica Crowley, now we have this new fact pattern with Tom Price. But I think we have to wait and see how this plays out. Those are really the only two hiccups I would point to or I have seen among the nominees. But with respect to Tom Price, I mean, again, I think we're jumping the gun a little bit here. I think we have to wait and see. He was an orthopedic surgeon himself.

It's not a far cry that he would put forth a piece of legislation that 18,000 orthopedic surgeons supported. So, I think there are lot of facts, perhaps he didn't have control of the stock as Senator Santorum said. And I think until we say, you know, this is a failure of the vetting process, we have to wait and allow him to testify before congress to see his side of the story.

BURNETT: Mayor Nutter, before we go there, is there anything on the judgment? Because maybe it ends up being that he didn't have control over it. But if you're going to be introducing legislation that would impact specific companies, you would check with your broker. I'm not going to be doing that. You would make sure that they're not going to be doing --

MICHAEL NUTTER (D), FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: Or direct them not to make any healthcare.

BURNETT: Any kind healthcare investments at all if that's what you're doing, right? I mean, this is easily avoidable.

NUTTER: Donald Trump believes in extreme vetting, so he says. He might want to apply the same standard to his nominees. You might want to have all of your paperwork in, you might want to have already been through all this process before you put people forward. So -- or you tell your broker, I'm a big legislator in the healthcare field. Don't buy any healthcare stock, not from me. Or these kinds of things. Or I'm getting ready to introduce something, definitely don't buy anything for my portfolio in this way. I mean, there are things you can do your best to do. Clearly, this got through.

BURNETT: All right. Well, obviously, a lot more on this -- on this coming as a story develops overnight.

OutFront next, outrage over Trump attacking the civil rights icon, of course, John Lewis. Tonight, more democrats announcing they're boycotting the inauguration and numbers rising and rising. One of them, my guest, right after this.

Plus new information about Trump's inauguration plans. My guest, the man who is actually in charge planning the big event.

And why are the labels on Don's Johns' port-a-potties being covered in tape before the inauguration? Jeanne Moos has the story.


BURNETT: Breaking news. The list of democrats boycotting Donald Trump's inauguration is growing. Just moments ago, another congressman announced he is going to skip the event. Virginia representative joins an unprecedented 26 lawmakers now who said they will not be there to witness the transfer of power. It's a pretty stunning development. It's happened very quickly as part of a bitter battle between the President-elect and civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis. Lewis says he does not view the billionaire as a legitimate president, he slammed the President-elect Trump at a Martin Luther King Day event, the hits after Trump repeatedly insulting Lewis, tweeting he's, "All talk, talk, talk, no action or results, sad." Jeff Zeleny is OutFront

JOHN LEWIS, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: Never give up! Never give in! Stand up, speak up.

JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Congressman John Lewis Remembering the legacy today of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

LEWIS: When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something to say something and not be quiet.

ZELENY: One of the last living giants of the civil rights movement, Lewis, is not being quiet about Donald Trump. And questioned his legitimacy on NBC's Meet the Press."

LEWIS: I don't see the President-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

ZELENY: Those comments sparked a firestorm from Trump, who slammed Lewis on Twitter. "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 complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk, no action or results. Sad." Trump's comments about Lewis were widely rejected by democrats and republicans, including Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who tweeted, "John Lewis and his talk have changed the world." But Vice President-elect Mike Pence said questions of Trump's legitimacy are out of bounds.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: And to say that Donald Trump will not be a legitimate president was deeply disappointing to me.

ZELENY: At a Martin Luther King celebration today in Miami, the congressman who still bears a scar from the bloody Sunday march on Selma did not respond directly to Trump.

LEWIS: You must never, ever hate. The way of love is the better way. The way of peace is a better way.

ZELENY: The controversy unfolding as the country observed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day underscored Trump's challenge on race in America, just four days before taking office. At Trump Tower, the President- elect meeting with Martin Luther King III. King said he disagreed with Trump's characterization of Lewis, but tried to lower the temperature of dispute, as he said his father would have done.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTKIN LUTHER KING JR.: No, absolutely I would say John Lewis has demonstrated that he's action. As I said, things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion.

ZELENY: And the emotion definitely running high on both sides. Now some will say that John Lewis may have started this by questioning Donald Trump. But many democrats believed it was Donald Trump who started this by questioning President Obama for all these years. But Erin, that list of democratic members of congress is growing, it is at least at 26. It could become even more this week when they come back to town, just four days right now before Donald Trump takes office on Friday. Erin?

BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much. OutFront now, the California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, she joins me, she is one of 27 democrats now at this hour boycotting Trump's inauguration. That number has gone up by one in just the past hour. Congresswoman Lee, we're showing the faces of you and your colleagues who have made that decision not to attend. Donald Trump today, of course, met with Martin Luther King Jr.'son, tweeting today is the day that we should celebrate King and all the things he stood for. Is this something that would make you reconsider? Is there anything that would make you reconsider your decision?

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR CALIFORNIA'S: Glad to be with you this afternoon. And let me just say that first of all, I respect the peaceful transfer of power, the office of the presidency, and Donald Trump will be inaugurated and sworn in as our president. But I think what's important, and I think congressman Lewis really said this very clearly earlier. Today is Dr. King's birthday. And we really should be celebrating his life and legacy. There are some of those -- some of us who must speak out.

And we know that the President-elect, as witnessed by his campaign, it was a campaign that was very divisive, based on bigotry and hatred. And we had hoped that after the campaign, perhaps he would have tried to bring the country together. That just has not happened. Facts are, when you look at the nominees that he's presented. For example, Senator Jeff Sessions. As our nation's highest law enforcement officer of the land, as Attorney General, Senator Sessions has a history of opposing civil and human rights for everyone.

And that is not acceptable. When you look at Steve Bannon, a white nationalist in the White House, how do we come together when we have a cabinet that has been proposed that is antithetical to the human dignity of all Americans?

BURNETT: How, though, do you come to terms? You're talking about trying to unite this country. If you see Trump as a divider, how is what you're doing not making it even worse? And dividing it more? Even Hillary Clinton found it in her to attend this inauguration. Even though I think we all know, it is going to be incredibly painful and hard for her to do. She's going to be there. Should you?

LEE: I am not attending because I think this for me is a celebration. An inauguration celebrates. It's a happy occasion. For me personally, I am not celebrating the swearing in or the inauguration of someone who campaigned based on such a negative campaign and who wants to govern in that way, as he has shown. I will be working to help organize the resistance to some of this agenda such as trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and trying to take away healthcare for millions of Americans.

So I'm going to continue to work and hopefully find ways where we can work together on issues that are critical. But at this moment in time, for me to celebrate this, and to -- for me to celebrate an agenda that's based on -- and we know, divisiveness, and based on not wanting to allow Muslims into the country, and deporting our dreamers, and denigrating women. I'm not celebrating that. But I do respect the transfer of power. Everyone has to come to their own decisions and follow their conscience. And for me, this is what I am doing.

BURNETT: All right. Well Congresswoman Lee, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time to explain your thoughts and feelings here. My panel is back with me. David, you know, you've been here at these moments. She is saying it's a celebration. That she respects the transfer of power, but this say celebration and so she cannot, you know, does not find it consistent with her conscience to attend. Is that the right thing to do? I mean, John Lewis has now started and really an uprising. You've got 27 people in two days who now say they're not going.

AXELROD: Well, I don't know if he started that particular uprising. I disagreed with what John Lewis said. I think that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, he will take the oath on Friday and he will be President of the United States. Some people like that. Many people don't like that. But that's our system. What started this avalanche of people not attending the inauguration was I think the ill-tempered response of the President-elect who needed that --

BURNETT: When he tweeted back at John Lewis.

AXELROD: That was to me in terribly bad taste and it was bad judgment. First of all, it was wrong. It was wrong in so many different ways. Wrong about John Lewis, wrong about his --

BURNETT: He says all talk, no action.

AXELROD: Wrong about his district. But at all, you know, he is now going to be the leader of the country, and he has to choose what he responds to, and how he responds. It was an opportunity to go the extra mile, to outstretch his hand and say, "I want to earn your support. I want to earn the support of all Americans," which he doesn't have right now. So in terms of the inaugural ceremonies themselves, they are not a celebration of the person who is taking office.

They are a celebration, a national consecration of our democracy. They are a symbol of our peaceful transfer of power. There are plenty of people sitting on that platform when Barack Obama took office who didn't agree with him, who weren't terribly excited about him taking office. Now, some people did raise the question of legitimacy. Donald Trump was one of them which is unfortunate. But I don't think the inaugural ceremonies are a party to celebrate the person who was elected. They are -- they are a -- as I said, they are a consecration of our democracy.

BURNETT: And Kayleigh, you know, that's something you would agree with. But you heard what David is saying is what started this sort of avalanche of people jumping on board to boycott was not what John Lewis said, it was what Donald Trump said in response to John Lewis.

MCENANY: Well, let's be clear what Donald Trump said because you have places like the A.P. reporting Donald Trump slams John Lewis. Donald Trump pointed out that there are problems in John Lewis' district and perhaps he should focus on those. Atlanta we know is ranked 14 in the list of 20 cities with high crime rates. So that is a factual point. And I think you have to put this in the context of republicans more broadly.

You have a republican base that for eight years was deeply frustrated with the Bush Administration, that Bush did not adequately fight back against democrats who have the criticism towards him. And for the first time, republicans have someone who is fighting for them. And so Donald Trump to merely point out a factually accurate point, in my view, at least it's debatable, in response to John Lewis, that is not -- that is -- that's not slamming John Lewis. It's making a point.

The person who did the slamming was John Lewis when he put partisanship over American interests by saying Donald Trump is not a legitimate president.

BURNETT: But is necessary -- and by the way, as you point out, there are some real issues in the facts that he pointed out in his district. And -- but even if you're going to say, he raises a point, was that the time, the place, the venue, David Gergen?

GERGEN: Which one?

BURNETT: To raise that point. Donald Trump in his response to John Lewis or should have done what David Axelrod suggested and say, I'd like to earn your --

GERGEN: I want to encode David Axelrod, I agree with the points he was making, especially. I thought John Lewis made a mistake up front. But the President of the United States is elected to sort of under a spirit of generosity and the spirit of the country in which we come together. This is the week to do that. And when he responded in kind, against -- we have very few heroes in this country. John Lewis is one of them. And it is not correct to say that it was -- Donald Trump was not insulting to him in his tweets. What about the all talk, all talk, no action, sad? You know, this was an attack on his life, what he stands for, what he did for this country. And marching across that bridge, that is exactly what's (INAUDIBLE)

BURNETT: He didn't attack --

GERGEN: He did. That was exactly what he did.

NUTTER: Insulting to his life and legacy. It's a further demonstration. David, you talk about, this is the week to do it. We've been saying that for weeks, for months, for a year-and-a-half. That when will the person who seeks to now and will be president act like a grownup and serious person, not always take the bait, show some restraint, show some dignity. There is no bottom to the depth that he will go to argue with anyone, and cause disdain.

He -- Donald Trump was wrong. John Lewis is an icon. He can say whatever he wants. In the context of his comments about legitimacy, I would almost liken to -- you know, in track and field there is something called wind assist. John Lewis said that Donald Trump was assisted by the Russian effort. Which no one disputes. But Donald Trump. Right? So that's all he was saying. And he has a right to say what he wants to say. He's a member of congress. He's 70-some odd years old. He can say whatever he wants.

BURNETT: But the issue is, though, Senator, should Donald Trump have responded. I think that's what they're saying. Should he have just risen above it?

NUTTER: There's no restraint.

SANTORUM: The answer is -- what would I have done it differently, yes. Would -- just about everybody I know in politics have done it differently? Yes. But Donald Trump is the president, because he did things like this.

NUTTER: He doesn't get a pass, Senator.

SANTORUM: But John Lewis doesn't get a pass either.

NUTTER: We're not norm -- we're not normalizing ignorance behavior in this country. We're not normalizing ignorant behavior in this country.

SANTORUM: John Lewis does get a pass for calling a president legitimately elected an illegitimate president.

NUTTER: In his context. Listen to the whole statement. Listen to the whole statement.

SANTORUM: Doesn't matter. He called him an illegitimate president.

BURNETT: Is there any situation in which a lawmaker should be saying he's illegitimate?

SANTORUM: He should not. And of course -- and of course, people --

NUTTER: He gave it -- he gave it -- well, why doesn't Donald Trump apologize for questioning the credibility of Barack Obama, the first black President of the United States of America, as to whether or not he was born here when no one else was asking that question. Why doesn't he address that?

SANTORUM: I think --

BURNETT: Donald Trump was a private citizen asking the question in this hearing. He's allowed to do that.

SANTORUM: Oh, come on. He was a big public citizen.

AXELROD: Kayliegh says republicans were frustrated for eight years because George W. Bush didn't hit back. Rick says, well, most everybody I know would react differently. But this is how he got elected. The point is, the election is over.


AXELROD: He's the President of the United States now. He's the President of all of the United States. And all of the people of this country. And his goal should not be to satisfy republicans who want him to hit back harder. His goal should be to try and bring this country together and bring progress to this country. And if he proceeds down a road that says this is how I got elected so this is how I'm going to govern, he's going to have a very rough four years.

MCENANY: But David, one of the reasons he was elected was because he called out politicians. I agree with you -- I agree with you to the extent, look. Calling out a local union leader, not good, don't do that. Calling out a politician and holding him accountable and holding him accountable for the progress in his district, that is entirely fair. We can -- we can respect -- we can respect John Lewis.

NUTTER: He should respond to every inch of --

MCENANY: Wan respect John Lewis and his civil rights record and still ask questions of our politicians in this country. It's the United States of America and we hold people to the fire.

NUTTER: How about if we acts like an adult and just doesn't respond. He will soon be an elected official.


PRESTON: Let's button this up very quickly. The bottom line is John Lewis shouldn't have said that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. I agree with David and I agree with David. No question about that. Donald Trump is now the leader of the free world. Whatever Donald Trump says carries weight. Donald Trump should stop going on Twitter. Donald Trump should stop attacking people that he feels that are attacking him, because he feels that he's been attacked personally. He has got to be the bigger person. He is the President of the United States. He is the one who is supposed to bring freedom and he's the one who is supposed to make America great again. Going on twitter, attacking Saturday Night Live because he feels like they attack him too much, that is not what a president does.

BURNETT: All right. And we're going to pause there because we're going to be talking about that in just a moment. You'll see that. And next, the breaking news, the wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman who killed 49 people, she is under arrest tonight.

And on a lighter note, the star power or lack thereof plan for Trump's inauguration.

ALEC BALDWIN, AMERICAN ACTOR: We've also got some huge a-list actors coming, like Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence. They were all at my inauguration, courtesy of Madame Tussauds.


[19:30:23] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Well, at this moment, the countdown is on. Less than 90 hours away from the moment Donald Trump will take the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States. Starting tomorrow, official inaugural events begin. It starts tomorrow, but it has, of course, not all been smooth-sailing so far.

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.


ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Hillary is excited for my inauguration day.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The countdown to Donald Trump's big day.

REPORTER: The inauguration --

MATTINGLY: Historic event not immune to controversy or ridicule.

BALDWIN: We've also got some huge a-list actors coming, like Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence. They will all be at my inauguration, courtesy of Madame Tussauds.

MATTINGLY: Unlike years past, much of Hollywood is sitting this inauguration out. The latest example, Jennifer Holliday. The Tony Award-winning singer who reconsidered her own performance, saying it would be a political act against her own personal beliefs. But the entertainers who are showing up, organizers say, reflect the wishes of the man who will be the 45th president of the United States.

The program begins in earnest on Thursday night, the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a concert, headlined by country star, Toby Keith, and the early 2000s rock group, Three Doors Down. Leading revelers right in to the first day of the next administration, from tea at the White House with the 44th president, Trump and his wife, Melania, will head Friday to the west front of the U.S. Capitol building, even past opponents and ridiculers will be in attendance. It's a group that includes President George W. and Laura Bush, President Jimmy Carter and, yes, President Bill Clinton, and 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

But even as more than 20 Democrats are pledging to boycott the event, hundreds of thousands are expected to be in attendance, treated to performances by "America's Got Talent" star, Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and in true Trump fashion, New York's Rockettes.

Those skipping the event will also miss Trump's speech to the nation, just after his historic swearing in. A speech which aides say he's been hard at work on for weeks with top advisers.

By 12:30, as the Obama family choppers away from the Capitol and off into life as private citizens, Trump will be off to the traditional inaugural lunch hosted in the capitol. Then to the parade, from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue and even swinging by Trump's own brand-new D.C. hotel they'll go, settling in front of this grandstand in front of the White House. It's the breather of sorts before the partying.

The inaugural balls which if tradition holds, will last long into the night, the final respite before reality sets in. Donald Trump now has a country to run.


MATTINGLY: And, Erin, while Friday will obviously be the main event, there's actually a lot of chatter in Washington right now about an event tomorrow night. A black tie affair, very exclusive event, only 500 or so invitations handed out. And here's why it matters -- inside that group of 500, there's about 150 to 200 foreign diplomats representing embassies, ambassadors, kind of across the board here.

Now, why is that important? Well, there's been a lot of tea leaf reading about what the Donald Trump administration plans on doing, but not a lot of relationships. Tomorrow night will be the first effort to change that. Among the visitors, among the individuals that will also be at that dinner, Donald Trump's cabinet or at least the prospective cabinet and vice president-elect, Mike Pence, really the first effort, if you will, of a multi-multi-step process to make those relationships, those crucial relationships work in the weeks, months and years ahead -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, very much, Phil.

And just before the show, I had a chance to speak with Tom Barrack, the chairman of the presidential inaugural committee. He's been a close friend, business associate of Donald Trump's for more than 30 years. And I asked him, given that "SNL" skit you saw about Madame Tussauds and other performers backing out of the inauguration, if he is disappointed in the situation with celebrities.


TOM BARRACK, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION COMMITTEE: No, I love it. What a country. You've got an inauguration which is this only peaceful transition of partisan power, where this happens. And you can have a TV show, which is hilarious, by the way, that criticizes the process of that inauguration. It's a beautiful tribute to the country.

But, you know, it's not about that. I mean, we had the opportunity to have plenty of A-list celebrities, which the issue was.

[19:35:06] And the inauguration (ph) of the president-elect was simple. Make it great, make it for the people. And we have three of the greatest celebrities in the world here already. We have President Obama, number one celebrity in the world as it exists today. We have this Washington, D.C., which is a stage that is incomparable to anywhere in the world and we have President-elect Donald Trump, who certainly on everybody's list is one of the top celebrities in the world.

So, I respect the celebrities, they're all friends of mine. I just tell everybody, get over it. Get on side, let's give this man a chance. He's now the president for all of us.

And I have to tell you, in the last week, I've gotten hundreds of calls from lots of my friends saying, can I get tickets? And the bottom line is, they can't. We're sold out --

BURNETT: So, now, you're saying the celebrities now want in?

BARRACK: Yes. As a matter of fact, in the high-end dress stores, three weeks ago I went -- because it's my job being concierge and personal valet now. So, dress stores were overstocked with gowns on both coasts, elitist coasts. Today, they're almost sold out.

So, the tide is turning. Nobody wants to admit it. I understand, emotions ran high. It was a vociferous election.

And now, it's time for Americans to unite. We can never be attacked from what's outside. And instead of being divisive, we need to be inclusive.

BURNETT: Now, there's one celebrity I have to ask you about in particular, because he said a lot of positive things about Donald Trump. You and I talked about Kanye West before.


BURNETT: But, you know, people have now said Kanye would maybe want to perform. Will he?

BARRACK: No, we haven't asked yet. I mean, he's been great. He considers himself a friend of the president-elect. But it's not the venue. The venue we have for entertainment is filled out. It's perfect.

It's going to be typically and traditionally American, and Kanye is a great guy. We just haven't asked him to perform and we move on with our agendas.

BURNETT: So, in terms of all of the people coming, and you're talking about people now calling and wanting to come, you have raised nearly double the record for an inauguration. It's a pretty stunning number, right? And this is your work, $100 million.

Donors are getting a lot of access and we just heard Phil talking about how all the events start here Tuesday night, cabinet picks, Congress, donors, some foreign diplomats all at an event with Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Craig Holman spoke to the "New York Times," he's registered lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan ethics group right here in Washington.

The quote he gave to "The New York Times" was, this is nothing short of selling access to the president, the vice president and the cabinet. What do you say to that criticism?

BARRACK: I'd say that, you know, he's entitled to say whatever he wants, but should be better educated. So, Tuesday night is a tribute to the foreign diplomatic corps. There has never been one, by the way. So, you have 200 diplomats who are based in Washington, and the inauguration has always been typically American. So, access to these events is limited just to the inaugural event itself for foreign diplomats.

So, this president, who has not had access to the foreign community, said, you know, I want to do something to create a tribute to them, to allow them to see my first fingerprints on a global canvas of diplomacy.

And so, that first dinner is really for them. It's 160 diplomats. It's the cabinet selectees. They have never met or been introduced to each other. And it's an elegant night that will be a beautiful tribute to them. And so goes the other events, which are no different than any other inauguration in history.

So, it's not about buying access. It's about how do you introduce a team that is not of the Washington establishment, which is, by the way, the lobbyists --

BURNETT: So, you're saying it's because a lot of these people are outsiders, that they need to meet these people.

BARRACK: Absolutely.

BURNETT: So, obviously you've got lawmakers now, some of them say they're boycotting this election. And sorry, the inauguration, John Lewis obviously was the one who started that. Are you disappointed in this, when he said this, and when it first came out on Friday and all of a sudden you had 17, 18 others say it? That they won't be attending? How much does that disappoint you, in your role, and as you feel about this as an American? BARRACK: I'll tell you, I have two points of view. Of course, I'm

disappointed, because I think adults should play well in the sand box. This is the president of the United States. This is not a joke. And it's not a political event. It's a tribute to America.

So, I wish all of them would get off of it, and grow up. And support the president that they have.

On the other hand, I love it, because only in America could you do this. Only in America could a group of congressmen who are supposed to support their constituencies, which involves weaving this web of tapestry, which involved the president, say I'm not going to go because I don't like your policies, I don't like the way you got elected, it's a beautiful tribute to America.

So, I'm all for it. Everybody can express themselves by voting with their feet and it's not going to affect this inauguration. It's good going to be the best and biggest inauguration in history.

[19:40:02] BURNETT: And we have a documentary tonight on Ivanka Trump. It's going to be airing for the first time. And you have known her since a child. I remember very early on in this process, you were talking about her and her brothers.

What's her role going to be in the inauguration, in the parade? Is she going to be a part of that? Will the family be a part of that?

BARRACK: Oh, absolutely. I mean, Trump is the family. So the era of this president and every demonstrable tone has been the family. And I think when you talk to the average person on the street that may not know him, that may not know of his prowess, that may not know of his accomplishments, they look at those kids, and they say, "wow." This is an awesome display of who this man and his wives must be to have raised children like this.

So, she's -- she's a big part of it. You know, Melania is the first lady is epic. And she's been an incredible partner to him, and all the other family members, including Ivanka. She is a power to be with. She's -- I think she is a role model for all women in this beautiful enrichment of talent. She'll be great.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Tom Barrack, thank you very much.

BARRACK: Thanks.


BURNETT: And the CNN special report, "First Daughter Ivanka Trump," it airs tonight at 9:00.

And, next, breaking news, the wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter has been arrested. Was she an accomplice?

Plus, Jeanne Moos of the thousands of Don's Johns port-a-potties at the inauguration. Why is their name being covered up with tape?


BURNETT: Breaking news: the widow of the Orlando nightclub shooter now facing charges connected to the terror attack.

[19:45:04] Noor Salman was arrested today outside her home, that's in San Francisco. It comes seven months after her husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Noor Salman, the widowed wife of Omar Mateen, the man responsible for the deadly rampage at Orlando's Pulse nightclub is in federal custody, facing charges of obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband's attempted material support to ISIS.

Salman's family in this San Francisco area home withdrawn curtains and closed doors, refused to comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell me if this is where it happened?


BROWN: A law enforcement official tells CNN, authorities believe Salman knowingly and willingly obstructed the investigation into the shooting.

LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We said from the beginning, we were going to look at every aspect of this case, of every aspect of this shooter's life to determine not just why did he take these actions, but who else knew about them.

BROWN: Law enforcement sources allege weeks before the attack, Omar Mateen made sure his wife had access to his bank account, and added her name to important documents, like his life insurance policy. He also bought his wife an expensive piece of jewelry. And the middle of the three-hour massacre, the deadliest shooting in U.S. history that took the lives of 49 people, Mateen and Salman exchanged texts after he asked her if she had seen what was happening. Salman also called her husband multiple times after news broke of the shooting.

Salman also allegedly told investigators Mateen was angry when he left their Ft. Pierce home the night of the attack and carried with him a bag full of guns. She claimed she pleaded with him not to leave, grabbing him by the arm. She maintained she did not know his specific plans.

Salman talked to the "New York Times" in November about the horrific attack, saying, quote, "I was unaware of everything. I don't condone what he has done. I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people."

She also told investigators her husband was abusive towards her. But according to a law enforcement official, evidence will show Salman was complicit of her own free will and her husband's actions.

Today, Salman's neighbors were shocked at her arrest.

GLAUBER FRANCHIE, SALMAN FAMILY NEIGHBOR: All the blinds are closed all of the time. So -- we don't see what happens there. Caught me by surprise knowing she was there. So, it's kind of weird.


BROWN: Noor Salman's attorney released a statement today after the arrest, saying, "Noor Salman had no foreknowledge, nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night. Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person."

Salman will have her first court appearance tomorrow morning in California -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela.

OUTFRONT now, the Orlando police chief, John Mina.

And, Chief Mina, when you heard the FBI made this arrest, obviously, it's more than seven months after the shooting that devastated the community, shocked the world, the worst shooting in American history. What was your reaction?

CHIEF JOHN MINA, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: I was extremely happy that she is in custody. You know, from the onset of the tragedy, at Pulse nightclub on June 12th, I knew was in close contact with the FBI, and I knew within days that she had some part and aided Omar Mateen in this horrific tragedy and that some day, when the investigation was complete, she would be put behind bars and ultimately answer for this horrific tragedy.

BURENTT: And, Chief, you know, though you say you knew within days, and obviously, you know, there were all those -- the reports, right, that she had been with him when he had cased possible locations that he was looking to attack, as -- as well as others, Pamela was reporting. But if you knew within days, what do you say to the victims who ask, why it took so long for these charges to come?

MINA: Well, first of all, the -- my hearts go out to the victims and their families. But these investigations take time, and it's more important to do a thorough and complete investigation so that this case is rock solid against her so that there is a successful prosecution. I think that should be the message. And, you know, if it happens two months or three months or seven months later, the important fact that is -- she's going to be behind bars for many, many years.

BURNETT: And there's no doubt that she was involved, she knew?

MINA: There's no doubt on my mind based on the information that I knew and I received from the FBI over the past seven months that she knew, that she aided and that she could have prevented this tragedy.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Chief Mina, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

MINA: Thanks.

BURNETT: And next on a lighter note, what's happening here in Washington. There's a company that makes the bathrooms, because you need those when you have hundreds of thousands of people attending an event. It's called Don's Johns. And now, someone is going up and literally covering the name with tape.

[19:50:02] Why?

Jeanne Moos has the answer.


BURNETT: Tonight, as we countdown to Donald Trump's inauguration, is the name of a port-a-potty hitting too close to home?

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don's Johns, such a catchy name for a port-a-potty. Then why is someone trying to take the Don out of John's by taping over the name?

Is it to spare a certain president-elect from embarrassment by association?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does kind of remind me of Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make America great again.

REPORTER: Donald Trump. Don's Johns. Was that set up that way really?

MOOS: Not really. Don's Johns just happens to be the name of the company supplying 2,000 port-a-potties for the inauguration. When the blue tape started covering the name --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty ironic.

MOOS: -- the jokes started to flow. Early editions of the Trump wall in D.C., "smells like a cover-up" sniffed one headline.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to insult our president-elect Donald.

MOOS: But to those who think Trump's people tapped over the name? Wrong.

The agency that takes care of the National Mall, the Architect of the Capitol, says it did it.

[19:55:05] "The AOC is covering or removing signage on the portable toilets to bring them into compliance with Capitol Grounds restrictions on advertising."

Though Don's Johns never had their name covered during previous inaugurations, and Gene's Johns still had some signage up right next to taped over Don's Johns. The company would say only that it is very proud of its logo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that's the name of their company, they should be allowed to keep the name of their company.

MOOS: Some say trash the tape. I think we have a moral obligation to remove the tape from Don's Johns. Posted another Trump critic, "move the tape and write 'The' on it as in the Donald."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's unnecessary. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought he liked his name.

MOOS: Talk about irregular, this is not the kind of movement a president wants to inspire.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: All right.

More of our special coverage counting down to Donald Trump's inauguration, next.


BURNETT: And thanks for joining us as we kick off this week in American history. Thanks for watching OUTFRONT. We'll see you back here at the same time, same place here in Washington tomorrow night.

Now, it's time for "AC360" with Anderson Cooper.