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Trump's Treasury and Energy Picks in Hot Seat Today; U.S. Bombers Strike ISIS Camps in Libya; Counting Down to Trump's Inauguration. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired January 19, 2017 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:00] BOBBY KNIGHT, RETIRED AMERICAN BASKETBALL COACH: And she came to me one time, we were just kind of sitting there, and she said, I have paid attention and I agree, how you feel about Mr. Trump.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Coach.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Coach Knight, great to talk to you. Thanks so much for being here with us on "NEW DAY."

KNIGHT: Well, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about Mr. Trump because I think he is going to be exceptional when it comes to what we as Americans need.

CUOMO: Well, we will see. The future begins tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: That does it for us. We'll see you tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. Eastern.

CUOMO: NEWSROOM with Carol Costello begins right now.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much. And NEWSROOM does start right now.

And good morning. And thank you so much for joining me from Washington, D.C. A beautiful city, right? I'm Carol Costello.

A busy day for Donald Trump. One day until his swearing in, the President-elect leaves New York on a military jet bound for Washington. He's among hundreds of thousands streaming into the Capitol for tomorrow's inauguration. Some to celebrate, others to protest.

Just minutes from now, Trump's incoming Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, will deliver his first on-camera briefing. We'll bring that to you live.

Also this hour, another round of hearings kicking off on Capitol Hill. First up, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Trump's pick to lead the Energy Department.

And then Steve Mnuchin, the nominee for Secretary of the Treasury. The Wall Street veteran will be grilled over his personal dealings and the fiscal policies of a Trump White House.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill for those hearings, but let's begin with Jason Carroll, shall we? He's outside of Trump Tower in New York.

Good morning, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Carol. The President-elect will be heading your way very, very soon. He's got a packed day ahead of him with three inaugural events starting at about 2:45 where he will attend a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

At 4:00, then he will be attending a "Make America Great Again" concert. He's expected to make some remarks there.

At then at 7:30 tonight, he'll be attending a candlelight dinner. And that's going to be at Union Station.

Looking forward, once Trump does take office and is sworn in, one of their first orders of duty will be to begin repealing and, as Mike Pence says, replacing Obamacare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think you can expect that President Donald Trump's going to hit the ground running on Day 1, come Monday morning.

And the first week, there will be a series of executive actions, both putting executive orders into place, repealing some executive orders, and continue to work very energetically with the Congress to both repeal and replace Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Now, we've heard him say repeal and replace many, many times before. We've heard the President-elect say it many times in the past.

What's unclear, Carol, is specifically what they'll replace it with, but Mike Pence says that they will be coming up with that plan very soon.

Looking ahead to the President-elect's inaugural speech, it will touch on a few different themes, first, creating jobs, also defeating terrorism, and touching on America's shared values. Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Jason Carroll reporting live from Trump Tower in New York City. Thanks so much.

In minutes, those hearings continue on Capitol Hill. More of Donald Trump's Cabinet picks facing a grilling from lawmakers.

First up, as I said, Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry. That will happen in just about 20 minutes. And then Trump's Treasury pick, Steven Mnuchin. He's on the hot seat

at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is following this for us from Capitol Hill. Good morning.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning too, Carol. Another big day up here on Capitol Hill for the incoming Trump administration, this after four key confirmation hearings yesterday where we saw Trump's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, questioned over these allegations of insider trading, his investments, and clearly his intentions here put on the spot by Senator Elizabeth Warren.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Did you buy the stock and then did you introduce a bill that would be helpful to the companies you just bought stock in?

TOM PRICE, NOMINEE FOR SECRETARY OF UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The stock was bought by, directed by, a broker who was making those.

I knew nothing about those purchases.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: But you couldn't have a diversified portfolio while staying clear of the six companies that were directly affected by your work on that issue?

PRICE: Well, as I said, I didn't have any knowledge of those purchases.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: And in another hearing, Trump's pick to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, was grilled on his views on climate change, breaking with his future boss, Donald Trump, saying he doesn't believe that climate change is a hoax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: Why is the climate changing?

SCOTT PRUITT, NOMINEE FOR ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Senator, in response to the CO2 issue, the EPA administrator is constrained by statutes --

[09:05:01] SANDERS: I'm asking you a personal opinion.

PRUITT: My personal opinion is immaterial --

SANDERS: Really?

PRUITT: -- to the job I'll carry out. SANDERS: You are going to be the head of the agency to protect the

environment, and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is immaterial?

PRUITT: Senator, I've acknowledged to you that the human activity impacts the climate.

SANDERS: Impacts.

PRUITT: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: And today on Capitol Hill, two more confirmation hearings where we'll likely see additional fireworks, Rick Perry to be Energy Secretary and Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary.

And later today, we do expect President-elect Donald Trump to nominate former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be his pick to head the Agriculture Department. This marks, Carol, the final pick of the Trump Cabinet.

COSTELLO: All right, Sunlen Serfaty reporting live from Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.

With me now to talk about all of these, CNN Congressional Correspondent Phil Mattingly; CNN Senior Political Commentator and former Pennsylvania Governor Rick Santorum; Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Frank Sesno; and CNN Political Commentator Maria Cardona.

Welcome to all of you.

MARIA CARDONA, FOUNDER, MESTIZOINOVATIONS: Good morning.

COSTELLO: OK. So we have a lot to unpack as usual. I'll start with you, Rick. Are you ready?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR PENNSYLVANIA: I'm ready.

COSTELLO: He's ready to go!

SANTORUM: I'm ready.

COSTELLO: OK. So Mr. Trump's Cabinet picks have what used to be debilitating problems, and I'll just give you a few examples.

Betsy DeVos, there are concerns about her lack of knowledge. Tom Price, who is up for Health and Human Services, pushed a bill that helped a company he owns stock in. The man up for the Budget Director neglected to pay taxes for a household employee.

Is this the change America wants?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, you know, Tim Geithner was in the same situation that --

COSTELLO: Yes, but Donald Trump says he wants to drain the swamp.

SANTORUM: Look, yes, I know you're going to be surprised at this but very few people are perfect and don't have little things in their lives that pops up under the stress --

COSTELLO: Lacking a base of knowledge about --

SANTORUM: Look, Betsy DeVos is not an education expert, but what she is, she is an education reform crusader. And she's done an amazing job in pushing for the principle thing that Donald Trump wants to do, which is give young children, particularly poor children, the opportunity to get a good quality education.

And no one can question whether Betsy DeVos has had her heart, her soul, and by the way, her money to make that happen. And so I don't see why that is a disqualifier, that she's not an educational professional.

COSTELLO: OK. Well, let me give you another example. And, Marie, I'll pose this question to you. Governor Rick Perry, he'll be on the hot seat today. He wants to be the Energy Secretary, right?

CARDONA: Yes.

COSTELLO: :According to "The New York Times," Mr. Perry thought he was going to be the ambassador for the American oil and gas industry, you know, back when he forgot the name of the Energy Department.

CARDONA: Yes.

COSTELLO: This is from "The New York Times," quote, "In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas Governor, discovered that he would be no such thing," an ambassador for the oil industry, "that, in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States' nuclear arsenal" -- because that's a part of what the Energy Department is responsible for.

CARDONA: Yes, absolutely. And I do think it's a concern. And it's a concern mainly because what we have heard the Trump team say over and over again in the face of having a President-elect who is really an expert about nothing when it comes to government and policy making, they kept saying he's going to surround himself with the best people that have the best knowledge about all of these things that affect the American people.

And what we have been learning is that the people that he has picked as his Cabinet have nothing of the sort. And when you have people that are going to deal with the day-to-day issues that are going to affect American families, it is a huge concern.

Rick Perry not only doesn't know what the Energy Department did, not only did he forget that it was one of the departments that he wanted to eliminate it, he wanted to eliminate it. And he's not the first one of this Cabinet.

COSTELLO: Well, he does say now that regrets saying that.

CARDONA: Well, of course, and that's an easy thing to say. And I'm sure he will say that today.

And, look, a lot of people are coming to these jobs with a learning curve so that is not as much as a concern. But the bigger concern is that you have a President-elect with a huge learning curve, and then you have all of these people who were supposed to be the people that were going to surround the President-elect as policy experts with a huge learning curve as well.

COSTELLO: Well, Frank, let me put it to you this way. Mr. Trump wants change. He wants to bring in people who will shake things up. Perhaps some of these people will do exactly that. So what's wrong with that?

FRANK SESNO, DIRECTOR OF THE SCHOOL OF MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Nothing. That's what he ran on. That's what he promised to do. That's what people voted for him to do.

So if you look at these candidates, there are legitimate questions about their personal backgrounds, their financial backgrounds, whether they paid taxes, whether they fired a domestic worker or not. There are legitimate questions about their level of expertise.

But what they are projecting through the hearings as well is they really do have a different approach to things, and we shouldn't lose sight of the fact of that.

They want to turn some of the responsibility from this wonderful city back to the states where they come from. They believe that the states should be driving policy more.

[09:10:02] They believe less in top-down regulation. They believe more in highlighting if they fall in line with Donald Trump, more about jobs and individual responsibility. So that's a very big part of where they're coming from.

And we've had plenty of people who have been brought into these jobs with great expertise who failed.

COSTELLO: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

SESNO: And others who have been clueless who have succeed. They failed, too. So it's a mix and I think that that's what we're seeing now.

COSTELLO: OK. I know you have new reporting on Steve Mnuchin, the guy who is up for Treasury Secretary because there are concerns about him, too, Phil. PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot of concerns.

And, look, when you've been talking to Republicans, there's no question they've had some wounded nominees going forward.

But because of the dynamics at play on Capitol Hill right now, because Democrats don't have enough on their own to block anybody, all of these nominees are expected to make their way through so long as no major developments that --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: So you think that at least six nominees will be confirmed by inauguration day?

MATTINGLY: Well, that's another interesting behind the scenes dynamic. But first, to Steve Mnuchin, when you talk to Republicans, he's the individual they've been most concerned about and for a couple of reasons.

First off, there's his background, which, you know, kind of a long convoluted story, but a bank that he purchased in the midst of the financial crisis which had, when he purchased its assets, one of the worst mortgage portfolios in the business -- obviously, a really terrible moment for the country, terrible moment in the housing market -- that bank was forced to foreclose without some of the promised modifications they said they would make on a number of different individuals.

A lot of those individuals have come up, talked about how they were abused throughout this process, made a lot of allegations about how the bank operated. Democrats have seized on that and think that they have kind of a winning argument there. They brought some of those individuals up to Capitol Hill yesterday.

But the bigger issue with Steve Mnuchin is, nobody is really sure he's ready for what's about to happen today. He's a very mild-mannered individual. The one-on-one meetings, I've been told from sources, that he's had with Senators have not been positive.

Flip that on its head, Rex Tillerson's one-on-one meetings -- he had a very tough confirmation hearing -- those one-on-one meetings had been sensational. Democrats say that as well.

So I think there's a lot of concern with Republicans right now that if any one nominee is going to be sunk, it could be Steve Mnuchin if he doesn't handle himself well today. And that's not coming from Democrats. That's coming from Republicans and individuals inside the transition.

But to your point, behind the scenes, what's going on right now, there's negotiations. Republicans want to get as many Cabinet officials through on the first day of President Trump's administration they possibly can.

2009, President Obama had seven nominees through. And this is crucial. You want these individuals in these seats -- COSTELLO: Ready on Day 1, right.

MATTINGLY: -- to start moving the administration forward. Here is the state of play right now. Democrats, because they're uncomfortable with a lot of these nominees and because they simply don't have power to stop them on their own, their only leverage is to try and draw out the process.

So as it currently stands, negotiations going behind the scenes, three are expected to move kind of non-controversially, National Security picks -- Mike Pompeo at CIA, John Kelly at Homeland Security, James Mattis at Defense.

What Republicans want is more, and what they say they deserve because of 2009 is more. What Democrats want, in order to let that actually happen, they want more documentation from some of the remaining controversial nominees. They want more hearing time for some of the remaining controversial nominees.

There are other non-controversial nominees they could move on Friday, but Democrats want something in return because, frankly, they don't have any other leverage at this point, Carol.

COSTELLO: OK. Besides, you know, the political play, because that's what this is, Rick --

SANTORUM: Yes.

COSTELLO: -- I mean, what's wrong with wanting more documentation? If there are all these problems with these nominees, what's wrong with that because isn't that for the good of the American people?

SANTORUM: No, look, I think they should release the documentation. I mean, there's clearly some evidence that has not been made public that needs to be made public. I mean, their financial disclosure forms haven't been provided.

COSTELLO: Yes.

SESNO: Right. Right.

MATTINGLY: Yes.

SANTORUM: I mean, that has to be done. So, really, Republicans have no beef in some of the things the Democrats are talking about. And they may not get six, they may not get seven. They may only get three or four. But I think we do need to move this process forward.

I can tell you that, unlike maybe previous administrations coming in where they were prepared, they thought they were going to win, they had everything sort of -- that's really not been as much the case here.

And I think they're waiting for a lot of these secretaries to get in so they can start filling in the rest of the Cabinet --

SESNO: That's right.

SANTORUM: -- where before, that wasn't the case. So we are actually slowing down the transition by not putting some of these people, you know, confirming these folks at the top of the departments.

COSTELLO: OK. I have to leave this conversation there, but I want you all to stick around because we have a whole lot more to talk about. So stay with us.

Oh, coming up right now, we do have new news on the national security front. U.S. bombers strike ISIS training camps in Libya in what is likely to be the last military action of President Obama's final hours in office.

CNN's Barbara Starr is working her sources this morning. She's at the Pentagon.

Good morning.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. These are the types of military operations, very short notice, that could come to Donald Trump's desk in the Oval Office right away as soon as he takes office.

[09:14:54] President Obama authorizing this series of airstrikes overnight in Libya killing it is now estimated perhaps over 80 ISIS fighters in training camps about 45 miles south of the city of Sirte.

[09:15:09] Sirte on the Libyan coastline had been the ISIS stronghold. It had been bombed by the U.S. over the months. But they believe many fighters, several dozen had fled south. And now, the U.S. taking action, sending B2 bombers, heavy bombers from the United States to strike those targets overnight.

This is really one of the last indications of the Obama military policy, relying on aircraft drones and in some cases Special Forces on the ground to go after terrorists and especially ISIS targets.

Again, it's the type of thing that is going to come to Donald Trump's desk because there is an unfinished list. And topping that unfinished list, of course, is trying to find the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the U.S. has been tracking him. U.S. Special Operations have had as we have reported a number of tips about his locations over the last several weeks.

We don't know if they're going to get him in the final hours of the Obama administration. But if they do not, they will keep looking for him, and that is going to be one very big decision coming to President Trump -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Barbara Starr reporting live from the Pentagon -- many thanks.

An estimated 200,000 women are expected to take part in the Women's March in Washington on Saturday. Women across the country, actually women around the world are joining. They're holding marches in their states and countries. This is expected to be the largest inauguration related demonstration in U.S. history. In my new op-ed, I explore the state of sisterhood in the time of Trump, drawing from interviews with Roxane Gay, Gretchen Carlson and other influential women. Be sure to check it out, CNN.com/opinion.

Also still to come in the NEWSROOM, we are on top of a busy morning in Washington. The incoming White House press secretary delivering his first briefing in just moments, and Trump's energy secretary pick in the hot seat. We're on top of all of it for you.

We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:20:53] CUOMO: We are moments away from the opening bell, and one day until Donald Trump takes office. How is the market reacting to that?

Let's head to New York and Christine Romans.

Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNNMONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. I'm right here next to you, actually. I'm here in Washington --

COSTELLO: You're in D.C.? You made it.

ROMANS: I did.

Everything happening behind me. These hearings will direct the direction of -- direct the direction of stocks today, what we hear from Steve Mnuchin, the nominee, the treasury nominee.

But I have a quiz for you because it is inauguration week, right? I've got a little presidential quiz for you. How does the stock market rally under Donald Trump compare with other election day to inauguration to stock market inauguration rallies?

Carol, I can show you. He has more than 6.5 percent gain in stocks since Donald Trump was elected. You can see where he fits in, John Kennedy 8.8 percent or Herbert Hoover at 10 percent.

Calvin Coolidge since 1900, those are 1924, '25, he's had the biggest bump post-election. So, Donald Trump -- this Trump rally has been impressive. It's better than recent presidents. But that's where it stands in terms of history.

So, there you go. There's your cocktail party trivia for tonight, Carol.

Let me show you what global markets are doing as we wait for the stock market to open. Dow futures are down a little bit. Again, I feel as though there's a little bit of a ceiling on the Trump rally as we wait to see who gets in his cabinet, how they do today, particularly the treasury nominee. And, quite frankly, when policies begin.

So, here are the global markets, London down, Paris down, Tokyo closed up a little bit and oil is up about 1 percent.

Carol, back to you.

COSTELLO: I was looking at your bump numbers and I was wondering, doesn't that really show that a pump means absolutely nothing?

ROMANS: Well, what happens from here is what's important, right? What policies. Now it's the show me the money phase. Show me the money. We've had the rally. Now, show us the policies.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: I know, I know.

COSTELLO: Christine Romans thanks so much. All right.

ROMANS: He's from Iowa, be nice to Herbert Hoover.

COSTELLO: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be cruel. I didn't, because, you know, it's the happy time.

Christine Romans, thanks so much.

Any minute now, we'll get the first briefing from Sean Spicer, the man Donald Trump has tapped to be his White House press secretary. These are live pictures from the Trump transition headquarters where Spicer will speak to reporters in a short time.

Today's event comes after Spicer announced that Monday's briefing will be held in the White House after all. Team Trump floated the idea of moving the press out of the West Wing where they have been stationed since 1970 to accommodate, quote, "massive demand".

With me again to talk about that and more is Phil Mattingly, Rick Santorum, Frank Sesno, and Maria Cardona.

So, Phil, I'm just curious, why is Sean Spicer holding a press conference today?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is the process, right? This is transition into reality which is tomorrow. And I think what's the most interesting thing, I covered the White House for a year in a prior organization, in understanding and talking with a lot of the Obama guys that are leaving right now, you need to get your head around the rhythms of things, kind of the most basic protocols, how briefings work, how Marine One -- how getting to Marine One takes off, when the absolute happen, all that type of stuff.

And I think this is kind of the final move to transition your way adequately into the White House. I think this is Sean's role. From here on out, Sean Spicer will be the public face of the administration, wherever he decides to hold his briefings.

So, I think every day that he gets to do this is an opportunity to kind of settle into that role. It's a different thing holding a briefing call, which the transition team has been doing on a daily basis since they won the election, and those have been helpful, than it is standing in front of reporters with live cameras on you, answering questions that could come from absolutely anywhere about absolutely anything, from really kind of any organization, depending on who sneaks into the White House Brady Room.

So, I think that's what you're seeing today. You're seeing that all over from the Trump team, the transition team, trying to finalize what becomes very real tomorrow.

COSTELLO: OK, let's talk about this massive demand which means President-elect Trump will invite other entities into the briefing, especially when he holds his own briefing. Who do you suppose he means by inviting other entities in?

[09:25:00] FRANK SESNO, DIR., SCHOOL OF MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV.: Just about anybody who wants to come. He means bloggers. He means talk show hosts. He means people from Breitbart News. There will be an entirely different dynamic in that press room.

I was fascinated, having covered presidents myself, at the news conference that he held with 250 reporters in the room when there was applause when he walked in. There was a crowd, there was an audience for that.

COSTELLO: That is strange.

SESNO: It's important that the White House press corps who cover the president on a day to day basis remain in that building.

COSTELLO: Yes.

SESNO: That is something that drives the dynamic, drives accountability.

COSTELLO: Let me ask you this, and I'll get to you two in a moment --

SESNO: You have to wait your turn.

COSTELLO: You have to wait your turn.

(LAUGHTER)

COSTELLO: Frank has been at this a long time.

SESNO: I'm sorry about that.

COSTELLO: So if you invite talk show hosts into the briefings, doesn't that elevate them to the same level as independent journalists?

SESNO: It could and it could be confusing. It's one of the things confusing about media when you put commentators next to reporters. And are reporters still reporting and are they reporting the facts or are they now commentators, too?

COSTELLO: So, you're putting like a Bill O'Reilly and a Wolf Blitzer on the same plane if you do that, right?

SESNO: I want to see that conversation.

COSTELLO: I would, too.

SESNO: But it already exists. I mean, Bill Press is on this network and as a talk show host and has a very strong opinion and has a White House press pass and he goes as it is.

So, this is -- look, this is sausage making, OK? You know, Phil, right, it is not always polite or calm or anything like that. The White House is first and foremost a political brawl, and the reporters who are there are political brawlers themselves.

And when the public looks at that they say oh, my God, that's noisy and ugly, yuck. But it is how it happens. It will be up to Sean Spicer and the others to figure how to navigate that.

COSTELLO: OK, another question --

SESNO: I hope they don't open it up so much that they move the whole thing out of the White House. That would really change the dynamic. That's more than about real estate. It really is.

COSTELLO: The other thing, the president chooses which reporters ask him questions. If everyone is invited and Donald Trump has partisan entities also participating in these briefings, who might he call on?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that's going to be the big question. Because what we've seen so far is that he loves to talk about who covers him well, loves to also hit back at who doesn't cover him well, right? So I think it's going to be very telling at his first press conference who he's going to be calling on.

But I do think this is one of the key conversations that we need to have, because the American people are very concerned about the things Trump has said and the things his team has said about the press, right? The press is -- President Obama talked about this very clearly yesterday in a not-so-subtle way to make sure as he was leaving that the American people understood and hopefully the Trump people understood that having a traditional press is so important for our American democracy.

That is a big question for Americans right now because they are concerned whether this administration is going to keep people out that perhaps aren't going to cover him, that perhaps don't represent all of the people which right now is a big concern. We saw today, Carol --

COSTELLO: I want to bring Rick into the conversation, too. Do you really think that will happen? Will Donald Trump totally never ask a "New York Times" reporter a question or never ask a CNN reporter a question?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Maybe for a while.

COSTELLO: Isn't that bad for democracy? SANTORUM: I heard President Obama say, well, we have to have a press

that is open --

COSTELLO: He wasn't great to the press either.

SANTORUM: They had their problems with the press. But he had a press that 90-some-percent of them voted for him. And, you know, Republicans generally --

COSTELLO: We don't know that.

SANTORUM: Oh, yes, we do, from surveys in the past. The Washington press corps is overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly in favor of liberal --

COSTELLO: Look at Phil's face.

CARDONA: That's a Republican talking point.

SANTORUM: There were surveys done in presidential elections when they would respond to them --

COSTELLO: OK. So, the president of the United States will only choose reporters who voted Republican or for Donald Trump.

SANTORUM: I didn't say that. I'm saying is, it's easy for President Obama, it's easy for liberals to get up there and say, oh, we need to work with the national press corps which is generally favorable to them, as opposed to President Trump who has had a national press corps that let's just --

COSTELLO: But isn't there a difference between "Washington Examiner" and Breitbart? Isn't there a difference? Or a talk show host?

SANTORUM: There is a difference, but as Frank was saying, and he's right, they've been conflated. I mean, you're seeing a lot more news analysis and commentary on the front page of "The New York Times." It's not just the editorial pages that you find an opinion anymore. That's the problem.

COSTELLO: I want to let journalists --

MATTINGLY: A couple of important points. One, the president-elect still calls "The New York Times" seemingly on a daily basis. So, they seem to have good access.

I think what's an important point, we talk about who has access to these briefings. There are conservative publications that have White House press passes that sit in all these briefings right now. Do they get called on as much as they want? Probably not. Will that dynamic shift with the new administration? Probably.

But I think this idea that the Brady press room, the White House press corps is some exclusionary group that doesn't allow individuals in that are there to do real reporting and cover the administration is false.