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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Awaiting Trump, Pence at Dinner on Eve of Inauguration; Trump on Inauguration Eve: Promise I will Work So Hard; Donald Trump Hours Away From Taking Oath of Office; Awaiting Tump's Arrival at Inauguration Eve Dinner; Dems Tear Into Trump's Treasury Pick; Schumer: Dems Only Ready to Confirm 2 Trump Picks; Dems Tear Into Trump Pick Day Before Inauguration; Sen. Brown: Voting No On Mnuchin For Treasury. Obama Spending Last Night in White House; Protesters Across U.S. Prepare to March Against Trump. Aired 7-8 ET
Aired January 19, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
January 19, 2017
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- Brian, very much. That's it for me. Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next. Breaking news, Donald Trump just hours away from taking the oath of office. He's about to arrive in a major inauguration dinner just blocks from where we sit this evening. We're going to go there.
Plus, new details about how Donald Trump will run America on day one. Is he ready?
And the Obamas is saying a final goodbye to America. We have the emotional images from their last day in the White House. Let's go OutFront. And good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome to a special edition of OutFront. We are live in Washington tonight. And OutFront now, breaking news, President-elect Donald Trump on the eve of his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, about to arrive at Washington Union Station for a black tie candlelit dinner.
It is a beautiful venue and it has been a day filled already with some extraordinary moments. These are live pictures; this is the red carpet such as it is, at Union Station. These are people coming into this event, as I said it's going to be a candlelit dinner. Vice President-elect Pence will be there, President-elect Donald Trump and his family, his cabinet picks will also be with him here at Union Station, Congressional Leadership will also be there, as well as -- and this has been a big theme over the past couple of days, some of the biggest donors.
The soon-to-be first family arrived in Washington earlier today. They flew in for the first time not on Trump's plane, his Boeing 757, but on a U.S. Military plane. His daughter Ivanka carrying a 10-month baby, her boy, Theo, behind her, her husband Jared, their two older children. Following them coming off that plane is Tiffany Trump coming off and then you see Donald and Melania. There they are. This is a moment ,they sort of paused. I'm sure this is -- moments as they start to see the extreme import of what has truly happened to their lives.
Trump will assume the reign of power before hundreds of thousands of people swearing in at the Capitol building in less than 17 hours just behind us. Trump will take the 35-word oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts. It is forecast to be much colder than it's been the past few days, 40 degrees and rain. Trump then today made a brief stop at Arlington Memorial Ceremony. He laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. Just a short time ago he attended a live outdoor concert in front of the Lincoln memorial, something Barack Obama had done. So he's keeping with tradition quite a bit today. Trump making a promise there to the nation.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT ELECT: I want to thank you most importantly, and I promise you that I will work so hard. We're going to get it turned around. We're going to bring our jobs back. We're not going to let other countries take our jobs any longer.
BURNETT: And just moments ago following Trump's remarks the fireworks, and it was a spectacular display. Lighting the night sky over the Lincoln Memorial. Another iconic moment from that event, the Trump family taking the moment before the statue of Abraham Lincoln, just pausing and standing there. Trump will take the oath of office with his hand on a Lincoln bible. Sara Murray has been covering Donald Trump for the past 18 months from start to this day she is OutFront live with me in Washington tonight. And Sara, as you watched this, the pause as they got off that -- on that jetway, standing in front of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, does it appear the enormity of this has sunk in to the President-elect?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Erin, one of the things you learn in covering Donald Trump for this long is that this is not someone who spends a lot of time on self-reflection, it's not someone who spend a lot of time on ceremonial events like this. We have not seen things like that this from him throughout the course of the campaign, but there were a number of moments today watching him with his family in front of these historic monuments at Arlington National Cemetery as well where it just seemed like the weight, the gravity of the responsibility he is about to take on began to finally set in.
Donald Trump is leaving his gilded Trump plane behind in New York trading it in for an air force jet as he and his family touched down Thursday in the nation's Capital. He arrived in Washington to spend his last night as President-elect at the (INAUDIBLE) Blair house, a presidential tradition. Friday he'll move into his new home for at least the next four years, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
TRUMP: I will see you tomorrow and I'm going to be cheering you on.
MURRAY: The magnitude of the duty that lies ahead as the next commander-in-chief evident at his first official inaugural event. A wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery with taps echoing in the background, Trump and his soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence looked on, hands over their hearts. The somber moment giving weigh to celebration later in the afternoon at Trump's inaugural concert. As military bands played against the backdrop of the Lincoln Memorial. Part of Trump's effort to highlight the armed forces throughout his inaugural festivities.
TRUMP: I also have to thank our incredible military talent right here. Thank you. Stand up, please. You guys were great. Thank you very much.
MURRAY: Trump, a billionaire businessman turned reality television star, is no stranger to the spotlight, and even he wasn't sure this day would ever come.
TRUMP: Who would want to leave the White House? Right? You're in there -- no, seriously. Who would want to leave the White House? Although I'm building a hotel right next door, which is also located on Pennsylvania. You know, I have my alternative. If this doesn't work out, I'll still be on Pennsylvania Avenue.
MURRAY: But Friday surely marks the biggest stage of his lifetime as he prepares to take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address. Aides say Trump is personally writing his remarks and still honing his final draft.
SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it's going to be less of an agenda and more of a philosophical document, a vision of where he sees the country, the proper role of government, the role of citizens.
MURRAY: But amid the pomp and circumstance, questions still linger about whether Trump and his team are prepared for the challenge ahead.
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) I'll tell you what, one thing we've learned, we have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever seen.
MURRAY: Trump will head to the White House as many of his cabinet nominees are still awaiting senate confirmation and gaping holes persist in key leadership roles across the government. Trump's team downplaying those challenges as they insist the next president is prepared to kick off his agenda on day one, beginning with executive actions.
SPICER: So, it's going to be a robust, not just day one but I think day -- first week, first month, probably first term.
MURRAY: Now of course the real work begins on Friday when Donald Trump does become the next President of the United States. And we are expecting there could be executive actions as soon as tomorrow. We know that Obamacare repealing it moving the ball in that direction is high on Donald Trump's list as well as a number of immigration actions. So we will see exactly what order those come out in and just how quickly. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. And obviously that would be a break with precedent as well depending how quickly he moves tomorrow. OutFront now, Mark Preston, Senior Political Analyst, David Gergen, former presidential adviser to four presidents, Nia-Malika Henderson, our senior political reporter, Doug Brinkley, a presidential historian, John Avlon, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and author of Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations , Jamie Gangel, our special correspondent, the former senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum and Bakari Sellers, former member of the South Carolina House of Representative.
Doug, you know, I was commenting on those moments already where is you see Donald and Melania Trump pausing as they getting off that plane, pausing in front of Abraham Lincoln which is sort of a sobering moment for anyone who approaches that memorial. Never mind for them in the position they are in. 17 hour to go. Do you -- do you think it has it sunk in for him? You spent some time with them.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: You know, Ronald Reagan said about this whole inaugural that it's both commonplace and miraculous. And I think that's --
BURNETT: Sounds like giving birth.
BRINKLEY: It is. Well, there you go. We're giving birth to a new administration and it's a great American tradition. So I think first part of it, he's still being Trump but obviously it's going to set in. All of us have been looking at the Capitol, looking at the fireworks and we've all been touched by it. So, he certainly is a person who's going to be touched in. I think today at Arlington when he was there looking at Washington and recognizing he's in charge of our armed forces, the navy, army, air force, marines are counting on him, that's a heavy responsibility.
BURNETT: And, you know, it is just behind us. You heard them practicing some of the singing and, you know, sounds sort of ethereal as it comes off the Capitol and we hear them getting ready for tomorrow morning, Mark, but he it's not, you know, it's not as if he's going to just kind of enjoy the moment tomorrow. He has not ruled out coming in and starting to sign executive orders and getting straight to work which would be a break with tradition.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, in many ways. And he said today in a closed luncheon that he was going to sign some very meaningful pieces of paper. What those paper is, we have no idea. The irony is he's taking the oath here at the U.S. Capitol but his executive orders allows him to bypass congress to try exert his power as the commander-in-chief as the executive branch on many issues that Barack Obama pushed, whether it's going to be on the environment or on terrorism, or on immigration, he talks about building that wall. That will be started by executive order.
And of course internally for himself, the lobbying limits that he's going to put on those who work for him about never being able to lobby for a foreign government and also a ban on how much they can lobby once they leave.
BURNETT: And, you know, he has talked about this, not just what he's going to do when he comes in, David Gergen, but what he's going to do on day one, whether that is Monday or Saturday or actually the day he's sworn in. Here's what he said.
TRUMP: On day one, I'm going to begin swiftly removing criminal illegal immigrants from this country. Day one we're going to announce our plans to totally renegotiate the worst trade deal ever made, NAFTA. I'm also going to take a series of actions on day one to protect American workers. We will also repeal and replace the total disaster known as Obamacare. We're going to stop it day one.
BURNETT: OK. Could be a verbal tic here. What it's sounding like to me, I mean -- but in all, these are very serious and big things that he said he would do at the instant he took office.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: The day will open as ritual, as one of the most important civic rituals we have. I think all of us will show a great deal of respect, power is passing to Donald Trump. He won it and he's got precedent. And we need -- we need our presidents to succeed. I think after the parade ends and he goes inside and gets his team together inside and starts signing orders, that's when political controversy is going to break out.
Writers as reporting tonight, I haven't seen it elsewhere yet, according to Trump aides he's going to let that Dhaka, the program for dreamers, 75,000 of them.
BURNETT: People born on this country. Yes.
GERGEN: He's going to let those authorizations expire. No more. This is it. That will be hugely controversial in a community where there's been no Latino named to a cabinet. He told Israeli reporters today that he is definitely -- he's definitely going to move forward with moving the capital to Jerusalem. That is going to be very controversial if he tries to do that. He's clearly try to do the wall quickly. There are a lot of things he's going to do.
I think he's going to show the American people he's serious, he meant it, he's going to do this and a lot of his supporters will cheer because that's what they're looking for. There's going to be other Americans say, "Oh my god, he's going to be worse than I thought."
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. No. I think that's right. The 65 million essentially all of that of course voted for Hillary Clinton, tomorrow will be about Donald Trump who's been this very unorthodox candidate or really following the rituals of Washington. So that's going to be fascinating to watch. It's also going to be fascinating to watch whether or not, and we've heard from some of his advisers it is dawning on him, the weight of this moment and Obama of course talked about that, too, the sobering moment when you go into that oval office.
And it's also about is Donald Trump himself transitioning from the Donald Trump that who was the private citizen and used to certain rituals and used to certain behaviors. I remember, for instance, Obama famously thought he could go back to Chicago every six to eight weeks after he became president. Of course that didn't happen. So it will be interesting to see how he's transitioning from Donald Trump private citizen to president.
BURNETT: And of course Barack Obama had taken oaths of office before. This is -- this is amazing that Donald Trump never has, right? And this is unprecedented moment in so many ways. We're reporting outgoing administration though is concerned the Trump administration overall is not ready. They haven't had the point to contact, they haven't been talking but he isn't actually ready to assume the reins of power, which, if true, is very concerning thing. All Americans should hope that he is ready whether he like what's going to do or not, he's ready, everybody in his office is ready to go.
JON AVLON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Absolutely. And that should concern. Now we've had chaotic transitions before. We've always gotten through them and we will again. But I think with a -- so many senior positions still open and Donald Trump uniquely among American presidents not having a civic background, whether it's elected political, military, or cabinet appointed, that raises the bar to surround himself with people who are really connected to government.
And many of the cabinet people also share with Donald Trump a lack of executive or government experience. So that raises the onus, especially as we just saw if North Korea starts to test the new administration from day one as well. You can sign a lot of executive orders. The mandate he has, he still needs to unite the American people and he has to do it beyond just the inaugural address. So, when politics and policy come after that inaugural address, that's going to be where the rubber meets the road.
BURNETT: And do you expect, Senator lots of signing to go on tomorrow or will he perhaps just do a couple things for ornamentation?
RICK SANTORUM, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it all depends on whether they want to do shock and awe or whether they want -- and I like shock and awe.
BURNETT: By nature, he would do shock and awe.
SANTORUM: And I like it because it just befuddles everybody because what do you focus on? Yet so much you can't really focus on anything and I actually think that's a good idea but even if they -- if they just do what David suggest, number one, he's keeping his campaign promises, number two, he's following the law. The thing you just mentioned are the law. It's just Barack Obama's decided not to enforce the law.
And so with Donald Trump, if you listen to the folks who came up here on Capitol Hill, one after another said, I'm just going to follow the law, sir. That's what Sessions said, all these nominees said, you know, we're not going to do what this other president did, which is if the congress doesn't do what I want I'm going to make it up and do it myself. I'm actually going to follow the law and if you want to change the law, you want to do immigration, then change the law. But until that law is changed I'm going to follow it. And that's what his people are looking for.
BURNETT: We hit pause until of course republicans won't work with him and he has to govern the same whey Barack Obama governed but -- all right. Next, democrats threaten to slow down the hearings for Trump's cabinet picks. None have been confirmed so far. None. We're going to talk to one leading democrat with breaking news tonight. Plus, and a special preview of what to expect and when. It all starts as I said in 17 hours, less than that as Donald Trump becomes the next President of the United States.
And for second day both President Bush 41 and his wife Barbara remain hospitalized in Texas. The latest on their conditions tonight.
BURNETT: And welcome back to a special edition of OutFront. Breaking news, we just hours away from the moment President-elect Donald Trump will become President Trump. And any moment, he will arrive with the Vice President-elect Pence for a candlelit dinner at Union Stattion here in Washington. Moments ago, Caitlyn Jenner arrived at that dinner. We've also seen some big donors, Ken Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot. Langone is a big long-time Trump donor.
Also attending tonight Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president, the face of the NRA. Just hours ago on Capitol Hill, though, it was a rough hearing for one of Trump's most controversial nominees, democrats warning that Trump's administration will be missing many of his picks on day one. Manu Raju is OutFront.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: President-elect Donald Trump says he wants his team to hit the ground running on day one but senate democrats have other ideas. Agreeing to confirm just two cabinet nominees on inauguration day. Retired General James Mattis to lead the defense department. And retired General Jon Kelly to head homeland security. And they're threatening to block eight other nominees, accusing them of ethical lapses and pursuing policies out of the mainstream.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: If republicans continue to stonewall and cover up the serious issues that many of these nominees are trying to avoid, they should be prepared to have those debates on the floor of the full senate.
RAJU: if only two nominees are confirmed on the day Trump takes office, it would be the fewest of any new president since George H.W. Bush in 1989. And it would be a far cry from January 2009 when the senate confirmed seven of Barack Obama's nominees.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) MAJORITY WHIP: I'm more worried about the impact it will have on the country. It serves no useful purpose for democratic colleagues just to delay for delay's sake.
RAJU: But some Trump nominees have self-inflicted wounds, including Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who acknowledged that he failed to pay taxes on a sitter taking care of his triplets. Even some top republicans are warning Mulvaney's nomination as Trump's budget director could be in trouble.
SCHUMER: It could create problems. I haven't studied it so I don't know for sure. RAJU: Republicans are trying to quickly confirm Rex Tillerson as
Secretary of State. Warning they'll try to advance his nomination next week. Even if GOP Senator Marco Rubio joins democrats to reject him in committee.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Yes, I mean, I plan to move Tillerson to the floor.
RAJU: No matter what happens in the committee.
RAJU: But democrats and some republicans are concerned about Tillerson's ties to Russia. And his record as the Head of ExxonMobil and plan to drag it out. Also under fire from democrats, Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick to head the treasury department, who faced a grilling on Capitol Hill today.
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE: We unfortunately did foreclose on certain people in the military. It was quite unfortunate. It was inappropriate. We responded to those people and made them whole as --
SHERROD BROWN, SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OHIO: Well, I wouldn't be proud of all these findings.
RAJU: But democrats seem more willing to accept ormer Texas Governor Rick Perry. Nominated to run the energy department, an agency he once promised to eliminate.
RICK PERRY, ENERYGY SECRETARY NOMINEE: After being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.
RAJU: Trump will eventually get all -- most if not all those nominees confirmed but any one senator can delay the process and we actually saw that happening today and tomorrow when Congressman Mike Pompeo, the CIA Director, was expected to be confirmed by republicans, but one senator -- Oregon Senator Ron Widen has some concerns about Mr. Pompeo's views on surveillance issues and he wants to delay that nomination until sometime next week. Erin?
BURNETT: Many, thank you. And OutFront now, the democratic senator from Ohio, Sherrod Brown, he is the ranking member on the senate banking, Housing And Urban Affairs Committee, also sits on the Senate Finance Committee. I appreciate your time, Senator. And, you know, we just saw part of a heated exchange between you and Steve Mnuchin. Where do you stand on him tonight?
BROWN: I'm going to vote no on his confirmation. We're seeing, you know, the President-elect talked about draining the swamp but what we're seeing increasingly is the White House, it looks like a Goldman Sachs executive retreat. Too much influence in Wall Street, too many people who were connected with the housing crisis and all that happened. My -- the ZIP code my wife and I live in in Cleveland, Ohio 10 years ago had more foreclosures than any ZIP code in the United States and I know how it turns families upside down, long term and what foreclosures mean and I don't want more of the same from this administration.
BURNETT: So you're going to vote no on this nomination. I want to play something about -- I guess think how you really put your reasoning to Steven Mnuchin today. Here you are, Senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I don't want to talk about your situation. I understand your defensiveness both in individual meetings, mine and others, and in this committee about what happened at Onewest, but let me lay this out. In 2006, businessman Donald Trump responded to a question about the possibility of a real estate crash by saying, "I hope so -- I hope -- I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy." Now, you didn't just buy properties, you bought the bank, you bought the ability to help families stay in their homes. That's not what you did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: At the depth of the financial crisis of course, Senator, the country was at risk of falling apart as you were saying, people literally losing their homes, put out on the street. At that time there was only one buyer for IndyMac which of course was one of the largest lenders in the United States, to take that risk and possibly saving many people's livelihood. So, I guess I'm trying to understand, does the actual act of making money during the crisis in real estate make him unfit to serve in your view?
BROWN: No. The -- his purchasing the bank was one thing. I frankly I'm not particularly quarrelling with that. That may have been the right thing to do. It's what he did after purchasing the bank. The procedures they followed, the foreclosures that they accelerated, their unwillingness to do modifications the way that they could have to keep people in their homes, they apparently made -- it seems to us, made more money by encouraging people or by foreclosing on people than they did helping them stay in their homes.
And that's one of the disagreements that Mr. Mnuchin and I had. Then when he sold the bank most of the profit he made from selling it came from the federal dollars that he was -- that the bank attracted if you will from FDIC and others to, you know, to supposedly help these homeowners.
BURNETT: So of the eight nominees, the democrats are going after in particular, can you support any of them, Betsy DeVos, Steve Mnuchin, obviously you're a no there, Mick Mulvaney, tim price, scott Pruitt, Andrew Putzer, Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, at this moment, are you a yes on any?
BROWN: Well, I'm - I've only made a commit -- I've only made a decision on three of them now. And a negative decision on three, I'm going to vote for the Secretary of Defense, I'm going to vote for the Secretary of Homeland Security, I'm going to vote for Secretary of the Department of Transportation. I lean to voting for the Secretary of HUD. I expect there will be -- I like very much the pick for Secretary of the VA, I think he's the best pick of all.
So I assume I'll vote for more than half of them. But when he nominates somebody doesn't -- that's a climate-denier for EPA or nominate somebody to run Medicare who believes we should raise the eligibility age for Medicare, thinking about the arber, the person that works retail, the construction worker, the restaurant, the restaurant worker, wait until they're 67 or 70 to get on Medicare is just cruel.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator. I appreciate your time tonight. Thanks again.
BROWN: Always. Thanks. Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. My panel is back with me. Bakari, let me start with you. You know, democrats, you know, you heard him say he'll vote for some but there's eight nominations that they are actively trying to stop. Are they being obstructionist just for obstructionist sake just to stop Trump nominee?
BAKARI SELLERS (D), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I mean, that's a -- that's a rich question when you look at the last eight years of Barack Obama, are you being obstructionist for obstructionist sake? But let's look forward, I think that General Mattis, General Kelly, I think Mike Pompeo outside have some issues with the collection of data. I think if look at Nikki Haley and even ben Ben Carson, to a certain extent and Rick Perry are going to will have the easier time in the United States Senate than some would imagine. Tom price has problems.
Tom price not just -- he doesn't just have ethical problems. I like Chuck Schumer believe that he may have legal problems. I think Rex Tillerson has problems. You also look at Mr. Mnchcin there and I hope I got his name correct because the card gets butchered all the time, thank you. If you look at -- if you look at Mr. Mnuchin he has problems, he is -- he is part of the reason that we face the economic and crisis and the housing crisis that we did. And so, yes, democrats, we don't have the ability to stop much over here but to not fight is a greater sin. And so you're going to see the democratic leadership, you're going to see many democrats who are going to fight and many of these individuals have issues and to not raise I think is counterproductive.
BURNETT: So, are we going to end up in a position tomorrow? As Senator was pointing out, you can't get confirmed until he's president. So if he becomes president in the morning, the senate can start voting, they can start voting. You're not going to have seven confirmations tomorrow, it doesn't seem like it like Barack Obama
JAMIE GENGEL, CNN SPECIALIST CORRESPONDENT: Two. Maybe two.
BURNETT: Right. So how troubling is that that you're going to have so many vacancies still on day one?
GENGEL: So, there are going to be vacancies, but I want to go back to what Bakari said about it's one thing to fight and there's no question, they're going to bloody them up and they're going after them and they're going to delay and they're going to try but I've spoken to a number of people who still think that all of these nominees are going to get through. At the end of the day it's math and the republicans have the votes, and David wants to fight with me about it, but that's what we're hearing that, you know, it's going to be ugly but he can get them through.
SANTORUM: It's also about leverage. I mean, Marco Rubio, and I haven't talked to Marco about this so I'm not -- I'm just putting it as an example, Marco Rubio is making a point and he's trying to --
BURNETT: On Tillerson.
SANTORUM: On Tillerson.
BURNETT: Yes. Right.
SANTORUM: And I'm sure Widen is making a point on collections. This is what senators do. You plant your seed, you get leverage, you get concessions from the -- from the nominees so you have a working relationship with them. It looks like they're fighting, what they're actually doing is making a deal.
BURNETT: Is making a deal. And which of course very appropriate given the situation when. OK. We are waiting the President-elect black tie candlelit dinner as I said, Union Station in Washington. Moments ago Trump spoke after a concert at Lincoln Memorial and he spoke about uniting the country.
TRUMP: We're going to unify our country and our frays, you all know it, you -- half of you are wearing the hat, make America great again. But we're going to make America great for all of our people, everybody, everybody throughout our country. That includes the inner cities. That includes everybody.
BURNETT: Big question though remains, what is will tomorrow, the big day, look like? Will he be divisive or inclusive or what? Tom Foreman is OutFront. And Tom, we're expecting a lot of people to show up right behind where I'm sitting. Right there. We can see the grand stands for Donald Trump's inauguration.
TOM FOREMAN, AMERICAN BROADCAST JOURNALIST: Hey, Erin. Take a look at these numbers, between 700,000 and 900,000 people are expected for this inauguration. That's smaller than what we saw at Barack Obama's first swearing-in, but about equal to his second or another way of looking at it, it's like two Woodstocks.
All those people coming together in a few square miles here in downtown D.C. where they will be met by 28,000 security officers -- local police, federal police, members of the National Guard, the coast guard. What are they trying to do? They want to set up a secure perimeter around everything here.
Inside this red zone, there will be a lot of people but they're not letting any vehicles in. How are they keeping them out? They're putting up barricades, buses across intersections, trucks packed full of sand, and then they're closing the air space, of course, and even have plans in place to make sure that no drones can come in and do something untoward.
The most severe security for the people who get in beyond the vehicles will be right down here in front at the capitol. There you'll need a ticket to get in and even if you're in an unticketed area, you'll have to pass through one of 300 different magnetometers or many of the checkpoints out there, past bomb-sniffing dogs, all of which will also play a role after the swearing-in as the procession leaves the capitol, goes down Pennsylvania Avenue and back up to the White House up there.
Now, for all this, authorities say they want to make sure that protesters can also do what they need to do. That includes the marijuana advocates who want to hand out some 4,000 marijuana cigarettes for free that day. That includes the people who generally just object to Donald Trump's policies out there. It includes the bikers who say they're going to come in to help stand up for the pro- Trump forces.
In all, there are going to be about 99, 100 different groups expected to take action, including a big rally the day after the inauguration for women out there. It's a lot of people. It's a lot of officers and a lot of security to keep an eye on the whole weekend -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman.
The panel's back with me. Jodi Kantor, author of "The Obamas" also joins me.
You know, David, you have been at so many inaugurations, right? You've seen this. You've seen the tradition of it, which is I think part of what makes, you know, people get goose bumps. Donald Trump has been the kind of guy that wants to throw tradition away.
But today, he's really stuck with it. He did that at the Lincoln Memorial. He had the concert there. He's been very traditional.
Where do you expect him to be unconventional tomorrow, to break tradition?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, for all sense, I think this is my 11th inauguration. And, listen, I think in general, he showed today a solemnity we haven't ordinarily associated with Donald Trump. It did seem as Doug said earlier on, that it was now beginning to hit him, you know, because you can't be surrounded -- you're surrounded by so many soldiers. That in part gives you a sense of the enormous authority that goes with the office.
But he was still Donald Trump today. I mean, you know, the preposterous statement that --
GERGEN: Highest collective IQ of any cabinet in history? Really? I think even Rick Perry would say, look, he was preceded in this office by the chair of the physics department of MIT and his predecessor was a Nobel Prize winner. Rick Perry had a somewhat upbringing and different professional place.
I don't think we're going to see Donald Trump disappearing, the old Donald Trump. And I also think that there's going to be an enormous amount of controversy as he starts down this --
BURNETT: And what about the speech himself? He tweeted out a picture of himself that he was writing in Mar-a-Lago. And a lot of people said, oh, there's nothing on that paper. They're not giving him the credit for it. You talked to him about the speech. He is writing it.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I talked to him early in December down at Mar-a-Lago and he made it very clear he wanted to write it and keep the draft of it. He didn't like the idea that people were going to be ghost writing it for him. I think maybe because he's being beat up so much as being a nonintellectual, jokes of him writing with a crayon and the like.
I think he said, I can do this, and I'm going to do the first draft. He also said he wants to keep it pretty short. He said people don't need to stand out and listen to long, winded, boring speeches. He told me, my long career of going to rubber chicken dinners and things, I never heard anybody say, God, I wish that speech was longer.
So, I think you're going to --
BURNETT: Well, he's right about that. Anybody disagree? Go ten, it should be five. If you go 15, it should be 10.
Yes, the weather is also --
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: The weather is probably not going to be so good. It was horrible for Obama's first inaugural.
You know, Donald Trump is someone who likes a show, who hikes to feed off the crowd.
[19:35:02] It will be interesting to see if he's trying to feed off that crowd, or if he's imagining sort of larger American community, that crowd of people.
GERGEN: Or the international community.
HENDERSON: The international community, something we haven't seen him do.
BURNETT: And you've been a speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani. I mean, what do you expect? What tone will we hear?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, normally, presidents campaign on being uniters, not dividers in W's phrase. That has not been Donald Trump's jam. And this is a real challenge for him. You know, he's promised simultaneously a short speech under 20 minutes
and also you saw Sean Spicer saying it was going to be philosophical about the proper role of government. We haven't seen Donald Trump focus on philosophy a lot.
But because he lost the popular vote by an unprecedented amount, I think the key question will be, does he generally try to reach out? Does he try to unite? Because that is an obligation of an American president.
You know, the peaceful transfer of power is nothing to take for granted. But inauguration speeches have a special place --
BURNETT: Well, the pomp and circumstance of tomorrow morning is significant, Mark. It starts off and it's going to be very much traditional, right? The Trumps will go meet the Obamas. That will be on -- the world will see it. Then, they will have a private meeting. Then, they will go together to Capitol Hill. It is going to be a very solemn meeting when you actually think about what's going to be in his head. You know, it isn't that kind of feeding off the crowd, leading.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, no doubt. I mean, he'll begin the day by going to church. I mean, right across from Lafayette Park, from the White House.
I think David said it correct, earlier in the program, is that it is going to be very ceremonial, it's going to very rah-rah America up until about 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 in the afternoon.
And when the parade ends --
BURNETT: Then pen comes out.
PRESTON: The pen comes out. People start fighting.
But you know what? That's what democracy is. You know, if you look around the world right now, there are issues where there is a -- the transfer of power is not going so well, specifically in Africa right now and specific countries. So, you know, people don't like Donald Trump but he was elected president.
JODI KANTOR, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I actually spent the evening of Obama's inauguration with his Kenyan relatives who had come for the day. They were so amazed by the peaceful of transfer of power. As you know, Kenya is a place where power has not always been transferred peacefully. They couldn't believe their eyes that George W. Bush with so much politeness and decorum was handing the keys of the White House to Barack and Michelle Obama. It took their breath away.
BURNETT: That's what we're going to see tomorrow.
And next, on the eve of an historic transfer of power, President Obama writing a poignant final good-bye to the nation.
And hundreds of thousands of women from across the country ready to march on Washington with a message for Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That we're not going away. That we're here. That we're going to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:40:33] BURNETT: Breaking news: tonight, President Obama commuting 330 prison sentences, the most ever granted by a president in a single day. It comes, of course, on his last full day in office.
Earlier today, he sent out a letter, a "thank you" letter to Americans writing in part, "You made me a better president and you made me a better man."
The first lady also saying good-bye today, posting a photo of her and the president on Twitter. It's a lovely picture there. It was a lovely day here.
And a video, she put the video of her walking to the White House with the dogs, Bo and Sonny, for one of the last times.
My panel is back with me now.
Bakari, it's a poignant moment. Whatever your politics are, it's sort of a bittersweet moment when you see this change of power, you become accustomed to it, is change.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's a whole generation of individual who is grew up on Barack Obama. That's the only president they've ever known. He served admirably for eight years.
One of the things I was looking at today is that he had no senior level executive officials who have been indicted, who have been convicted of anything. It's no drama Obama. I know that that bar is really low but --
BURNETT: I was about to say --
SELLERS: If you go back and you look at Bill Clinton, if you look at George W. Bush, if you look at H.W. Bush, if you look at Ronald Reagan, you look at Richard Nixon, they all had executive level officials who were indicted for a particular crime. Barack Obama leaves this White House scandal free.
Even more importantly, there are a ton of people who are going to recognize tomorrow that Barack Obama leaves in his Marine One, I believe it will be called Executive One, he leaves with a 60 percent approval rating.
Donald Trump tomorrow has the lowest approval rating of any president- elect in modern history. His task tomorrow is to attempt to begin to unite the country. It's something he hasn't been able to do throughout the campaign, but we can't deny that he comes in here with the backing of very few people in this country.
BURNETT: So let me ask you, Jodi, though, this moment -- it is a poignant moment. If you've been on the streets or walked in front of the White House over the past few days, as most of us have, you see tourists coming in. So many people are here watching this. For the Obamas, you see Michelle Obama's video she put out.
How emotional is this for them? Like this last night?
KANTOR: Well, so, President Obama has a really unusual writing assignment. He is going to write a letter to put in the oval office for Donald Trump to find. Think about what a complex task that is, right, keeping with who President Obama is, he'll probably be very politic, very inspiring, but this is his last chance to whisper into Donald Trump's ear and leave instructions for him and for history. So what does he say?
BURNETT: What does -- does Donald Trump listen? Because it's private, and it's a letter and he's reading, does it sink in a way that other things perhaps have not?
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It all depends what he says. If he goes out there and list a long list of things that he wants Donald Trump to do in his administration? No, he won't listen. But if he actually talks what it means to be president and the struggles that a president has and provides him really insight into the job, then yes, I think he might --
AVLON: I think that underscores the transition that's happening tomorrow. Inaugural addresses should not simply be extensions of campaign speeches. They are conversations through the generations between presidents. There is an obligation to connect two to a sweep of history and a vision for America.
And so, it's not simply sufficient to continue the campaign. This is about elevating the game.
BURNETT: So, elevating the game. And yet, David, Barack Obama, I mean, look, you know, time isn't on his side, OK? But he hasn't -- he's put these letters out, thank you letter to Americans, very poignant, but at the same time, he commuted more people in a single day than anyone has in American history. Chelsea Manning, commuted her this week.
Is it typical to see so much of this as he comes up to the final moments?
GERGEN: No. He's not leaving anything on the field. He's always been a very ambitious man.
But I must tell you, you know, he's taking a strong stand on this criminal justice issue as he goes out the door. Almost all of these people have been nonviolent drug offenders and he thinks the country has changed its mind about people going to jail, and he's right at the forefront of that and saying, no, you shouldn't be in there year after year after year. You shouldn't be, you know, three strikes and you're out.
If you're a nonviolent drug offender, he wants to clean the jails out. And I think he's made a remarkable statement here in these final days.
BURNETT: In the letter to Americans Obama wrote today, "And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember, America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the world 'We'. 'We the people.' 'We shall overcome.'"
Is that a message to Trump? Is that a message to the American people?
[19:45:00] GERGEN: No, I think that's more a message to the American people. I think it was similar to where he ended his press conference of this message of hope and optimism, resilience.
You know, I thought it was one of the most moving moments of his last days when he talked about his daughters, how much he looked to their generation. I think you're going to see some of his energy go into working with the next generation. So, he thinks -- it was very poignant.
PRESTON: Yes, no doubt about that. I do agree with David, too. Look, it is a message to Donald Trump in the sense of, you know, you're not going in as a dictator. This is not a monarchy.
But at the same time, the fact of the matter is, you know, we are brought together as a nation as a "we", and it isn't just based upon the sole purpose of one person. I think that's very important as we go forward in the Trump presidency.
BURNETT: Psychologically, I think it will be interesting if Trump refers to himself less as Trump in the third person. I mean, I just -- actually, interesting. He always does and we'll see if that changes.
OK. Next, President Bush 41 still in intensive care at Houston hospital. Barbara Bush is also in that hospital tonight. We're live in Houston with the very latest on their conditions. We'll go there next.
And the largest protest of the weekend is actually going to be the women's march right here in Washington the day after the inauguration. We're going to talk to some of the women preparing to protest.
[19:50:04] BURNETT: Breaking news: you're looking at live pictures outside of the dinner in Washington. There's Kellyanne Conway, of course, senior adviser to Donald Trump. Donald Trump and Mike pence will also be attending that dinner tonight, candlelit dinner at Union Station.
A number of big names attending.
Let's listen to Kellyanne for just one moment. We can hear her I think. KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP ADVISEOR: I would like to say the very first
REPORTER: So, we should expect most of his executive actions as he promised on day one to be Monday.
CONWAY: I hope so.
REPORTER: So, he is done with his speech?
CONWAY: He's done with his speech. It's going to be a beautiful speech. Beautifully written and powerfully delivered.
REPORTER: I know you said he wrote it himself but there had to be --
CONWAY: Well, Stevie Miller, brilliant, wonderful speechwriter on the trail, really understands Donald Trump. You will recognize much of it as coming from Donald Trump.
REPORTER: Are you concerned about some of his nominees for cabinet positions not being confirmed?
CONWAY: Yes, I'm very concerned about the glacial pace of the confirmation process. I'm personally very disappointed because President George W. Bush came into office after 35 days, very hotly contested Supreme Court decisions. (INAUDIBLE)
Yes, the Democratic Senate knew that he needed a government that functions. (INAUDIBLE)
REPORTER: But Republicans are in control of both Houses, and it's not just Democrats who are dragging this out.
CONWAY: I'm sure you're aware some of these conversation hearings have been (INAUDIBLE) I think an attempt to humiliate some of our qualified men and women (INAUDIBLE). The president-elect said today at the victory luncheon, this has to be the highest IQ cabinet in the history of the country and I think he's got a point. He's nominated very successful, great, prominent and loyal (INAUDIBLE) people. We really hope the Senate will expedite the confirmation process.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) talk about Monday. Does U.S. send a representative?
CONWAY: We're not prepared to say that.
REPORTER: Tomorrow a work day for you?
CONWAY: Tomorrow is a workday. Tomorrow I turn 50 years old, and it's a workday. (INAUDIBLE)
And yes, it is a workday and those of us going to the White House will be working throughout the weekend. (INAUDIBLE)
BURNETT: All right. Kellyanne Conway there saying a few very important things coming into that meeting. Let's just start with this one, Nia.
She finished there by saying that he will be working tomorrow and he will be working through the weekend. There have been some speculation that he would really maybe have day one be Monday.
HENDERSON: Yes, yes.
BURNETT: She just said that is not the case.
HENDERSON: You know, this is Donald Trump, right? I mean, part of his work is theater, part of the work is chaos and constant tweeting and constant diversions. And so, I think it's fitting that he wants to get to work on day one and maybe sign some executive actions, undo the Obama presidency. That is what he promised Americans, the folks who voted for him are expecting that. So, it's not surprising that he wants to do that.
BURNETT: He will start right away.
BRINKLEY: Well, I think he'll start day one like he's saying, and you're going to have that. But also, we ran -- we began tonight with the North Korea report. So, imagine if North Korea tests a missile, he's going to want to show the country he is commander in chief in charge, and if we don't have people confirmed, although Mattis probably will be, it's going to be General Flynn and Flynn now is going to be the one having Donald Trump's ear.
It tells you the power of national security advisor in an immediate situation. People in the world might want might want to make havoc with America tomorrow.
BURNETT: And, Senator, real frustration in Kellyanne's voice talking about the confirmation. I really want the Senate. I sure hope they expedite the confirmations.
SANTORUM: Yes. They're not going -- they'll slow them down, but they're all going to get confirmed unless something new comes up.
I'm -- my hope is that Donald Trump really shakes it up and appoints a Supreme Court nominee next week, early next week. You want to talk change of discussion, put all these nominations in rear window. Everyone will start focusing on the Supreme Court. These nominations will sail through and a smart move.
It needs to get that clock ticking. And he needs to get the attention off, the little nitpicking.
BAKARI: That's fine. One thing we had to talk about is everybody gets caught on the cabinet nominees and the Supreme Court justices, well, Donald Trump has jobs to fill that are undersecretary, that are deputy security, that are not filled and they're not filled, and it's not because of the Democratic senators. He hasn't even made the appointments.
So, there are a ton of vacancies out there.
SANTORUM: Some of the reasons is because the cabinet secretary --
GERGEN: No, no, no.
BAKARI: The point is it's just not done.
[19:55:00] GERGEN: There's an urgency about this we haven't discussed. If the North Koreans really are going to be testing us, there's an urgency to get --
BURNETT: By the way, the CIA is what happened either in the transition or on literal day one.
GERGEN: But the Senate needs to get cracking on his national security. That ought to be the first thing to get Tillerson in there. Tillerson doesn't have security clearance right now. I don't know that Mattis has security clearance. Pompeo doesn't security clearance. They can't come together and they can't do anything.
But there's an equal -- to go to Bakari's point, there's an equal urgency on the part of the Trump team. It is -- they are behind. They're not -- and, Senator, you'll remember when Ronald Reagan came in, the day after, put the name forward, Penn James, his headhunter, wound up on your doorstep with a notebook saying, three choices every major position, make them now and they got it moving. That's what he needs to do.
PRESTON: I want to dispel the myth, the idea of where whether he'll work this weekend or not. If he is going to take the oath of office around noon tomorrow and he's going right to work. You are the president of the United States. You work seven days a week. You do not get a day off.
You don't look to Mike Pence and say by the way, I have to go golfing, I'm handing it to you for a few hours.
So, while the Trump folks are saying we'll get right at it -- well, of course, you are going to get right at it, because you have no choice but to get right at it. The question is, does he do some things that are politically explosive tomorrow afternoon.
HENDERSON: And what happens the unexpected, right? I mean, you can script out what you want to in terms of the executive actions you want to sign, but the presidency is about dealing with unexpected things, whether it's a foreign policy, whether it's sort of violence, any of those things. Those are the things to watch he can't plan for and he's frankly not prepared for them.
AVLON: There's an obligation to expedite particularly secretary of defense, James Mattis, Kelly at DHS. These are people who are going to sail through --
BURNETT: Those seem that they will go through without a problem.
PRESTON: And they are. AVLON: But they need to be for the reason of stability of governance. You know, shock and awe is not a domestic communication strategy. We need stability in our government in a challenging time. That's the preeminent thing.
BRINKLEY: I think stability will be when Obama meets because the warmth between Trump and Obama will surprise people, I think, on their ride down to the inaugural.
BURNETT: And tonight, officials are preparing for what could be one of the biggest inauguration protests ever, the Women's March on Washington. Let's get to Kyung Lah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're, like, let's go. We've got to do this. We've got to be a part of this.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six Los Angeles women plotting their path to the other side of the country for the Women's March on Washington.
Across California, women are packing, like Yasmine Diaz.
(on camera): First time in D.C.
YASMINE DIAZ, TRAVELING TO D.C. FOR WOMEN'S MARCH: Yes, first time in D.C.
LAH: Why do this?
DIAZ: There has been a lot of apathy in the past, you know, but now, I think that's a sleeping giant that's been sort of stirred, that's enough.
LAH (voice-over): Apathy. None of these Generation-X women have felt the need to be political before. Donald Trump is not the only reason for this cross-country trek they say, but he is the spark.
WENDY WITHERS, TRAVELING TO DC FOR WOMEN'S MARCH: We don't know what else to do at this point. The vote doesn't count. The popular vote doesn't count. We have to show up in person.
ANNIE TLUSTY, TRAVELING TO DC FOR WOMEN'S MARCH: Because we're not sitting behind your computers. We're going to be physically there, willing to use sacrifice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to make them listen.
TLUSTY: We have to.
LAH (on camera): Why not just do the protest in L.A.?
ALLISON HEBBLE, TRAVELING TO DC FOR WOMEN'S MARCH: I want to be part of getting out of that bubble and letting this administration know we're not OK with the choices or the rhetoric they've been saying. LAH (voice-over): If 50,000 or more turn out, they'll match the
women's strike for equality in 1970. That march began as a labor protest. It sparked a new women's movement followed by years of progress in workplace gender equality and sexual harassment. These marchers have a wide variety of causes from climate change to reproductive rights to racial equality.
(voice-over): One thing I've heard about the women's march, too many disparate issues, it won't accomplish anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It's the start of something.
LAURA KLEINHENZ, TRAVELING TO DC FOR WOMEN'S MARCH: The women's march is a gesture of our commitment.
LAH (on camera): What do you want to tell the incoming president since you're going to be in his backyard?
MARGUERITE OLIVELLE, TRAVELING TO DC FOR WOMEN'S MARCH: That we're not going away, that we're here, that we're going to fight, and all our local levels, you know, across the country and we're going the make a difference.
LAH: Is there anything Donald Trump can do to win you over?
OLIVELLE: Listen, listen to what we're saying.
TLUSTY: And take action for what we're asking for.
DIAZ: I do hope he watches. I want him to see us out there and see, you know, the droves, the number of people that are out there and see it's going to be a very diverse crowd. I think that's really important.
LAH: It's not just women from California. It's also women from Alaska and as far away as Hawaii. Protests organizers are being so bold as to predict they're expecting 250,000 people. Erin, we should also mention there are some 600 sister marches happening in cities across the country -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you very much.
A quarter million people, obviously, a stunning size, and the day after President-elect Trump becomes President Trump.
Thank so much to all of you.
Let's hand it off now to "AC360" and Anderson.