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The Inauguration of Donald Trump; Trump Reviews Inaugural Parade. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired January 20, 2017 - 18:00   ET


[18:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Look at how happy the president is. He is there. He is getting the briefings because a lot of the military units, they are marching in front of the president.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Including one that just passed, the United States Navy. We also saw representation from the naval academy. And a really tremendous marching band coming from the navy.

And of course, Wolf, as you know, this is just part of the day as obviously we are getting into the evening here. There is so much ahead here with the parade still going on, and going into the evening with the inaugural balls.

BLITZER: It's been a long day already and it's not over by any means, because they are going to three balls, inaugural balls tonight. But it started early in the morning. It started with a church service, right near where we are right now. And then they had coffee and tea with the outgoing president and the first lady. Then they went over to the Capitol Hill for the swearing in ceremony and the luncheon. It's been a long day already.

KEILAR: And now the parade and as they move into going to these balls, of course, the big question is going to be who did Melania Trump, the first lady decide to wear, right? That's what everyone wants to know, who has dressed the first lady, as we get to see them for their first dance of the night.

BLITZER: There you see on the bottom of the screen, on the right-hand side, she is wearing that beautiful blue outfit. It's Ralph Lauren, we're told. And you are very familiar with Ralph Lauren.

KEILAR: Of course, a wonderful designer. And, you know, so far I would say that she is getting rave reviews for what she did choose to wear. A lot of people say it evokes a Jackiesque sort of imagery with the color and with the cut that she chose. And - so we have been seeing her throughout the day. We have been seeing really I think what we are noticing so much right now with Donald Trump is just how much he is enjoying the marching bands that he is seeing, whether we see them coming from high schools. We have seen the boy scouts go by. And we have seen representation, as you said, from the military.

BLITZER: He arrives, the president, at the White House approximately about an hour or so. This is going to first night he and his family will be spending in the White House. Last night they were in Blair house across the street.

From the White House, Jim Acosta, you are there on the north lawn of the White House, not the traditional north lawn position for White House correspondents. They have let you get right in the middle there, closer to the action where that viewing stand is.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We are seeing right by the walkway that Donald Trump and Melania Trump took just a little while ago to go to that reviewing stand and watch this parade go by. We will actually have a chance to see them return inside the White House shortly.

We have also seen some other cabinet nominees for Donald Trump go by, Steve Mnuchin, his pick for treasury secretary, Wilbur Ross for the commerce department. And of course, that big news that we just had in the last hour, that James Mattis, retired general James Mattis has been confirmed by the Senate to be the new defense secretary.

Donald Trump as far as one of his first acts as president today, he signed that legislation that grants that waver to the new defense secretary to serve in that role, having been a retired general, he needed that waiver from the Congress in order to get into this position.

He had some other duties that he performed earlier today. And one of the things he did, Wolf, was to begin undoing the Obama agenda. He signed an executive order basically rolling back a premium insurance cut on mortgages that the Obama administration announced in their last days. Donald Trump basically undid that as one of his first acts as president of the United States.

Now we should point out, Wolf, and just a few moments ago, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary walked by, answered a couple of questions. And one of the questions, very interesting, Wolf, was whether or not Donald Trump, the new president of the United of the States, had been in the oval office yet. Remember, they did the parade. They went inside the White House for a short while then came out here. Sean Spicer telling us just a few moments ago that no. In fact, president Trump has not been inside the oval office yet. So he still has some business to attend to after he finishes watching this parade, Wolf.

BLITZER: And the moving out and the moving in, happened very rapidly. And it was an amazing moment, Jim Acosta. Tell us how quickly President Obama left the White House with the first lady and how quickly the new team moved in?

ACOSTA: That's right Wolf. In just a few hours, the teams here at the White House moved President Obama and Michelle Obama's belongings out of the White House. They basically brought it sort of stand in furniture, if you will for the Trumps to use. And so, the Trumps redecorate this White House. And it's an amazing sort of extreme makeover of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that we will be seeing carried out over the next several weeks.

But, Wolf, one thing we do not know yet and that is because Donald Trump has not been in the oval office yet, is what he is going to make of that letter left behind by President Obama to his successors. It's one of those sort of amazing pieces of history that we see play out every four years when one president or eight years, I should say in the case of President Obama and George W. Bush, where one outgoing president leaves a letter to the successors. So Donald Trump ought to chance to read that later on this evening.

But, Wolf, this is Donald -- it's the people's White House, but this is going to be Donald Trump's White House for the next four years. And he is going to get a chance to take a look around here later on this evening and settle into his oval office. It's his oval office now.

Couple of other things we want to point out, just a few moments ago, Steve Bannon, the White House political advisor, he just walked at us and Reince Priebus who walked out a short while ago. He went back inside the White House. So a lot of comings and goings of these White House officials.

[18:05:41] BLITZER: We are just going to show our viewers a video of President Obama before he left the White House, to go up to capitol hill and then way off to California. He left a note in the desk in the oval office where the new president, President Trump, personal note. We don't know what he wrote. Maybe someday we will know. Historians probably will find out. They, neither the president, will share that with us. But we - from the Rose Garden, a camera there, you see President Obama walking from the oval office out and then later he walked down the colony as well.

You know, Brianna, it was a historic moment just to see that.

KEILAR: It was. And on the later, you might say that's not part of the moving out. Although, that was a bit of logistics today. That is actually Pete Souza, the official White House photographer, taking a photo which I believe we actually have a picture of that to show. He took a number of pictures today that were sentimental and here's one of them. The president with his last exit from the oval office.

BLITZER: (INAUDIBLE). This is a tradition for the outgoing president to write a note for the incoming president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's also tradition for there to be a final photo as the president leaves the oval office for the last time. You can see that from previous presidents. By the way a few of the notes were just released by a couple of presidential libraries. And that Bill Clinton's note is interesting for number of reasons, one of them he says that George Bush, that burdens are heavy, but this job can be fun. It is not often the president has talked about the job is fun. But Bill Clinton loved it.


KEILAR: He loved it more than any president I think in modern times.

BLITZER: He loved every moment. There was a moment I'm sure he didn't love very much. But there you see the now former president of the United States, he is already in California. He is in Palm Spring, well-deserved time off, with Michelle Obama. They are going to be with the family for a few days after. I'm sure they'll be getting in some well-deserved time off indeed.

Meanwhile, the marching bands continue in front of the viewing stand here on Pennsylvania Avenue, outside the north lawn of the White House. The president and the first lady, the vice president and Mrs. Pence, they are enjoying and their families are enjoying as well.

Brianna, it's only 6:07 p.m. here on the east coast, 6:07. They are getting ready because they are going to be leaving fairly soon. They are going to go back inside the White House, change and get ready for these three inaugural balls.

KEILAR: That's right. Right now they are enjoying this group, the little ringlers as they are called from the great state of Texas. But they are hours and hours ahead of the president, of the vice president and their families as they do go to these balls. But there's still a number of acts, presidential watch between marching bands and other very interesting groups that we are seeing here in this inauguration parade.

BLITZER: And here come the group from the boy scouts of America. The boy scouts represented here in this inaugural parade as well. We know that Rex Tillerson who has been nominated to be secretary of state, the former CEO of ExxonMobil. He was the national leader of the boy scouts and very, very proud of that.

KEILAR: And the girl scouts will be making an appearance a little later in the parade as well. And this is, we have been talking about some of the controversies there has been with some groups where some people who are critics of president Trump, have questioned certain groups coming here to participate in the inaugural parade.

The girl scouts, one of the groups, they got some of that criticism. But of course, they responded and they are saying that this is about something bigger than endorsing a certain person for president, but it goes beyond that. And obviously, a lot of these groups feel that it's an honor, and that it's also a chance with them to represent themselves on a national stage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After all, presidential tradition.

BLITZER: This is the United States air force. The United States air force band, a representatives of the U.S. air force academy from the U.S. air force honor guard, the U.S. air force national guard.

Let's just listen for a minute.


[18:05:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's hear it for the air force band. Following the band the United States air force academy represented by 90 cadets. The United States air force academy are in beneath the colors of the cadet (INAUDIBLE) as young men and women represent more than 4,000 members of the air force cadet lane (ph). Following them is the United States air force presenting the act of

duty air force of the United States air force honor guard. (INAUDIBLE) unite has represented the air force that has ceremonies around the nation since 1948.

Following them is the United States air force color guard, proudly carrying the colors of the nation and the United States air force, our members of the United States air force honor guard. Established in 1948, the honor guard performs in a variety of ceremonies including promotions, retirements --.

[18:10:54] BLITZER: Tim Naftali, one of the things I love about these parades, you have the marching bands, the representatives from all branches of the U.S. military, and when they come by, the patriotic view, you can't help but be moved.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: And the cool fact is that the first future president of the United States to participate in an inaugural parade, with a young cadet, the U.S. army, his name was Dwight D. Eisenhower and he paraded in front of Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Who knows that there future presidents that are marching in front of president Trump today.

BLITZER: There you see the president with, you know, the representatives from the U.S. military as they observe the U.S. air force earlier. We saw the army. We saw the Navy. M Pretty soon by the way, Brianna, we are going to see the coast guard as well. They are fully represented here on this important day.

KEILAR: It is so important to president Trump. This is something that he talked a lot about on the campaign trail. That he was trying very much to be the candidate of folks in the military. We saw this after he had been elected. He went to the army-Navy game last month to quite a reception, I will say. I was actually happened to be there and he was received very well at that game. And he has been trying to carry that message through here to the parade.

BLITZER: Will you look for army or Navy, Brianna. I know our viewers want to know.

KEILAR: I am a new army wife.

BLITZER: I know.

KEILAR: So I actually has part of my vows, pledged in good times and bad, this last year was good and there's been some bad ones, but I will always cheer for army.

BLITZER: Brianna got married in Las Vegas at the end of December. I was fortunate enough to at that beautiful wedding. On behalf of all of our viewers, Brianna, congratulations once again.

KEILAR: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: And you married a really nice guy who serves in the United States military. KEILAR: I sure did. He is a lieutenant colonel in the army.

BLITZER: Congratulations again.

So there we see the first family - the new first family of the United States. The man in the front of the screen, that's Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner, married to Ivanka Trump. Jared Kushner, Brianna, is going to be playing a very significant role in the west wing of the White House.

KEILAR: Certainly. And he is someone who repeatedly, we have heard the president and talk about being key to the really the most difficult of all problems that any president or secretary of state will attempt, and that is the Mid-East peace process. So we will see. Of course, we think this is going to be instrumental in other areas as well. But this is someone that Donald Trump has relied on for months, really over the course of his run for the presidency and we expect that is going to continue in the White House.

BLITZER: Mission impossible, maybe Middle East peace. So many have tried, so many have failed, but clearly president Trump wants his son- in-law to be in-charged to see if he could get the Israelis and Palestinians to at least start talking and work out some sort of deal. That's a tough, tough assignment.

KEILAR: It is. And you can't, I think, and this is, you can speak to this, Tim. Ivanka Trump in her role, and just how unique this is going to be that as a first daughter will be so influential and in a way almost, I don't want to say a defector first lady, very much I think in her own role, but perhaps taking on some of these duties.

NAFTALI: As a first daughter has not play as prominent a local since Margaret Truman, although Julie Nixon Eisenhower was involved in a lot of ideas for her father, Richard Nixon.

I would just say about Jared Kushner. He will be the most prominent son-in-law of a president since John Eisenhower, the son of Dwight Eisenhower.

So it is going to be very interesting. We, of course, had - we had the Kennedy brothers who helped each other, but this is a cross generational situation. And we have had it before in American history, just we just haven't had it that often.

[18:15:01] BLITZER: It is sort of unusual, though, for the president to be so reliant on his son-in-law for these critically important decisions. He really trust him. And by the way, he really relies on his daughter, Ivanka as well.

NAFTALI: Well, Wolf, Brianna, the real issues - other things we just don't know is how the Trump organization actually operated in the last few years, the extent to which the sons and Ivanka and Jared played a role in shaping Donald Trump's approach to business to the last few years. So it maybe that he is just carrying over what was approach to this (INAUDIBLE) before.

BLITZER: Manu Raju is up on Capitol Hill.

We, we know that general Mattis is now the defense secretary of the United States. He has been confirmed by the United States Senate, 98- 1. What are you hearing about John Kelly who has been nominated to be secretary of homeland security?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Wolf, just confirmed by the senate by an 88-11 vote. And they -- two of Trump's nominees are confirmed on his first day in office. And that is probably the only nominees that he is going to get confirmed on day one. Because right now there's not a deal in the Senate in order to confirm more of his nominees, there needs to be some sort of a bipartisan deal in order to get that done because of the rules in the senate.

Now, one big nomination that have been moving overall, this is what to do about Mike Pompeo, who is the nominee to be Trump's CIA director. And there is now a deal that vote until Monday. This is sought by Oregon senator Ron Wyden, the civil libertarian who had concerns about some of Mr. Trump's views about surveillance matters.

Republicans have been pushing very hard for Pompeo to be confirmed today. But because of why these objections, he is holding over that voting until Monday. There is an agreement for both to have it Monday.

Now, Wolf, it is significant, there were only two nominees confirmed when Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009 in his first term. He had seven nominees confirmed in his first day. And having just two on his first day is actually the least amount of nominees confirmed since George H.W. Bush in 1989. And Republicans are saying Democrats are not being fair. They are trying to slow down the Trump agenda. But Democrats are saying that these nominees need more vetting and there is concern about their record.

So this is still going to be a fight over the next few weeks over what to do with the rest of Trump's cabinet. But for now, two are in place, general James Mattis for defense, and General John Kelly as defense secretary. And we have to wait until next week for more - Wolf.

BLITZER: The 98-1 vote in favor of general Mattis become a defense secretary, Manu, the one senator did not vote, Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to be the attorney general of the United Sates. Is that right?

RAJU: He did not vote. But also, the person who voted no was Kristen Gillibrand. She is, of course, the New York Democratic senator who had raised concern about some who have been serving in the military not so long ago, to take that top civilian post at the Pentagon. She has opposed the waiver or the need to be pass a law to allow this situation to happen. But she was obviously in the minority of the minority. Most members -- every other member disagreed with her. They voted to confirm general Mattis clearly one of Donald Trump's nominees that is overwhelmingly supported in the Senate, others however, much more controversial, Wolf. BLITZER: All right, Manu. We are going to get back to you. We are

going to continue to watch the parade, the military parade, the civilians in front of the reviewing stand, Brianna Keilar is with us.

Our special SITUATION ROOM continues right after a quick break.


[18:22:32] JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to the coverage on CNN of the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. You see him and his vice president Mike Pence there in the reviewing stand, looking that the inaugural parade.

These are some helicopter pilots from the Vietnam War, driving by. President Trump having made a big issue of improving the VA, making conditions better for veterans in this country.

A few blocks away from this display of pageantry, there have been protests and riots. We were just told by the D.C. Police that there were with 217 arrests, and six officers injured. Luckily none of them seriously. We have with us the former chief of police here in Washington, D.C. and other cities.

Chief Ramsey, 217, that sounds to me as a civilian, that sounds like a big number.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it is. I mean, in an event like this, you go into it hoping you have zero. And it's unusual to have anything like this. In fact during the entire time I served here, we never had any numbers that approached this in terms of an inaugural event.

TAPPER: I remember some tough World Bank protests.

RAMSEY: Well, yes. I mean, but that was a little bit different. But you have got some of the same people, I don't want to call them protesters because this has nothing to do with the first amendment, there are some that come with the intent of causing problems, breaking windows and things of that nature. And it does a disservice to those protesters who really legitimately want to exercise their voice.

TAPPER: These are more rioters and looters.

RAMSEY: Yes, exactly right. And that is what the police have been dealing with.

RAJU: One of the other issues that we have talking about here in the panel as we have been watching this day, is that general Jim Mattis there? There is it. That is the first member of the Trump cabinet to be confirmed, retired marine general James "mad dog" Mattis. Very well regarded in Washington, D.C., very well regarded by civilians and the military. He was confirmed by a vote of 98-1. That's an overwhelming majority in the U.S. Senate. General Jim Mattis, who's only been out of the military for three years. Normally the regulation is you have to be out of the military for seven years to become secretary of defense, because civilian control of the military is important. But a waiver was passed in the senate.

Anyway, as I was saying, the size of the crowd has been something that has been debated fiercely online.

And Bakari, you have been making the point that people have not turned out for president Trump as they have for --

[18:25:18] BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's fair to say that president Trump comes in with the lowest approval rating of any president-elect and now president in modern history. I think it's also unfair to make the comparison which means today and Barack Obama. I mean, Barack Obama was the first African-American president. And people came from around the world, not just around the country. The best permits (ph) I think we are about 2000 for Barack Obama if they win the local for Donald Trump. You can see the metro even tweeted out the statistics of those who are riding the metro here.

So I think that may be an unfair comparison. But when you look even at George W. Bush's second inauguration, it still pales in comparison to that. But at the end of the day, I tell you, this may be surprising, Jake, but none of that really matters, because although they may not have come to the inauguration, enough of them came to the polls for him to be president of the United States. And so that damage is done, some of us call it damage, but that is done. So I think that his voters, they may not show up for the pomp and circumstance and enjoy that as much as my good friend David Chalian enjoys it. But they did show up on November 8th.

TAPPER: He is a patriot, what can you say?

SELLERS: -- in the places that matters. And so, Donald Trump can take some solace and maybe people didn't fill up this. In fact, they didn't fill up the mall behind us. And they didn't fill up the bleachers along the parade route but they did fill up the voting booth. And that is something that the Democrats need to not take any type of grace of solace. And the fact they didn't show up today because they showed up with in the race.

TAPPER: It is interesting, Salena, because Donald Trump was somebody who prided himself. He was so proud of how big the crowds were that came to see him and in retrospect, obviously those crowds meant a lot more than the media and pollsters suggested they did at the time. There was something about it, not necessarily that more people voted for Trump, because they didn't, but the enthusiasm for Trump in rural areas, place like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, et cetera. So it's not surprising that the trend is not as high.

SALENA ZITO, REPORTER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Absolutely. You know, he did such great pride, I mean, when every time he had a rally, and he said look at the crowds, these are the biggest crowds every, of course he says that about everything. But, you know, this is not something people gravitated towards. This is not something they attended.

You know, when I went to Obama's inaugural in 2009, I was on an Amtrak train and I took it from Chicago in just for the experience, I mean. And it was just is filled and people were dancing and singing and it was very joyous, but you know, there also wasn't probably the planning in place to set up, you know, churches and community centers for people to stay. There wasn't that sort of infrastructure as part of the planning for this inauguration.

TAPPER: Is it fair to say also, Andre, that the tone was different, not only because President Obama was historical figure, the first African-American president in the country in which slavery was the first original sin. But the tone is different because there was such promise about Barack Obama, the oceans are going to recede, and all of our problems are going to go away, whereas Donald Trump, I know some done like the word darker, but he is painting a tougher picture of America right now. And his basic message is everything is messed up. We are going to fix it. We need to get to word, that might not be a (INAUDIBLE) message as the hope and change of the baa inaugural.

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's a great point. I like it because the scene now has such a diverse crowd. That people feel better watching it at home.


BAUER: But couple of things. Obama broke the glass ceiling. There's no question people that felt that they had been left out of the process for so long saw Barack Obama and they felt like they were part of that movement and they turned out eight years ago. A lot of Donald Trump folks are happy he is there. They are excited about it. But did their journey in the Washington. Maybe not. They are sitting, you know, they are working today and happy about the new movement. But you are right, it was a bitter race between two very tough opponents. And McCain and Romney both of them elections were not nearly as divisive or as bitter and nasty as this last election.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump doesn't have a geographical base as much George Bush, of course, which is the first inauguration I went to (INAUDIBLE). He had this Texas base who saw this, you know, Senator Obama then President Obama has a Chicago base and a lot, you know, that less than 4M, the urban poor. Donald Trump's support is spread out far and wide. And it is a big drive to come here and a big commitment. They are also it speaks to his approval rating as David was saying earlier, he has a 40 percent approval rating, you voted for change, you didn't like Hillary Clinton, you didn't necessarily fall in love with Donald.

So I think that is the take away from here. Those people who wanted change now want him to deliver it.

[18:30:23] GANGEL: He also didn't have a traditional Republican base. Let's remember, former President Bush 41 voted for Hillary Clinton. Former President Bush 43 did not vote at all. We can line up so many other Republicans who were "never Trump" and didn't vote. So he didn't have that base either, along with it.

Although I think it was very impressive that all the former presidents came today, except former President Bush, who's in the hospital. Although I'm told he watched. He and Barbara, holding hands, watched the entire inauguration in the hospital.

TAPPER: Let me just say this, because this will be the first time I'll ever say this. On the right side of our screen at the bottom, you see President Trump talking to Secretary of Defense Mattis. This is the first time that this president has sat down and spoken with a member of his cabinet. As of now, only one of two members of the 15- agency cabinet. We're told that retired general John Kelly has been confirmed as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

GERGEN: I just wanted to make one point. I agree with everything that Cory said, the Obama inaugural was a one of a kind, I don't think we'll ever see that again, it's just unfair. I thought Trump had a very sizable turnout. He clearly has mobilized millions of people in this country.

I think if you were black, Latino, you might have looked at this screen today and said, "Where are people like me in the crowd?" It was a sea of white faces; and I do think that over time, I hope the Trump administration and people who are minorities in the country will feel more embraced and there will be more healing on that front.

SELLERS: And to David's point, one of the things that we haven't seen in this country, not that I know of, but you know, I'm only 32 years old. And there are people around here who's seen these things...


SELLERS: People who are more senior, like Jake, who have seen these things a few times over. But tomorrow, you're going to have 200,000, 250,000 people come to protest in the women's march, the day after you inaugurate a new president of the United States.

TAPPER: Let's see. We'll see what the numbers actually are.

SELLERS: Regardless, I mean, you do have that -- you do have that movement coming in. I don't recall, in reading the history and having not necessarily lived it, that you have that type of movement immediately after you have a new president get sworn in.

TAPPER: We're going to take a quick break. We're going to more coverage of the Donald Trump inaugural. There he is again with Secretary of Defense Mattis. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back. The parade, the inaugural parade is now over, you see the president and the first lady walking on the North Lawn of the White House back. They're going into the White House.

Jim Acosta, you're there right in front of them as the president and first lady, they lead this procession of their family and friends.

ACOSTA: That's right, Wolf. Just a few moments ago, I asked Donald Trump, president, what he plans to do first, now that this parade is over and he is getting about the business of being president of the United States. He said he's going to be signing some orders, and then there's going to be a swearing in for Defense Secretary James Mattis, retired General James Mattis. That is what he just told us a few minutes ago.

Another reporter who was standing alongside me asked, "Well, what are those orders, sir?" And he said, "Well, you'll see soon enough." And then he went past us and started heading inside the White House, but just behind him was Vice President and Mrs. Pence and the rest of the first family. They are now heading inside the White House, Wolf, for the beginning, now that all the pomp and circumstance is over, of the Trump administration, and you're watching it live as it unfolds, Wolf.

BLITZER: Two members of his cabinet have now been confirmed by the United States Senate: General Mattis, who will be the defense secretary; John Kelly, who will be the secretary of homeland security.

Brianna, both confirm overwhelmingly, very impressively, it looks like Mike Pompeo will be overwhelmingly confirmed on Monday. They hoped he would have been confirmed as CIA director today, but that's been put off because of the Democrats until Monday.

KEILAR: That's right. And so obviously, Donald Trump has a lot of work to do, not just to get his cabinet members confirmed but also to fill a number of other positions at lower levels, as well. So that is really the work that I think they are going to start back up with tomorrow morning, pretty early, we would expect.

But for the rest of the evening, the pomp and the circumstance is going to continue, because the first family going inside of the White House. And they have three inaugural balls that they are going to be attending tonight. These are huge galas. And I'll tell you, coming over here, I came over on the Metro, and I was walking through downtown. And you could see people who are going to these events, and they're already in their gowns. They get there hours and hours before the president and the first lady, and they're just hoping to catch a glimpse of him on this very special evening.

And also, Wolf, as they're going inside, we have some reporting about whether Donald Trump has been to the Oval Office. Right? It turns out he has not.

BLITZER: Not yet, at least.

According to Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, he has not yet been -- maybe he'll walk in there now before he goes upstairs.

KEILAR: Just check it out, you know? It's pretty cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Might want to open the letter. You know?

BLITZER: The letter from President Obama, a letter that he left there. I'm sure he will at some point. He's had a lot going on today. He's been a very busy, busy guy.

These balls are special for this new president and the first lady.

KEILAR: They are special. And this is -- it's really the first moments that you see them. And there's almost this first act in a way, where we saw the as of this morning, the president-elect, and the soon-to-be first lady Melania Trump, and you catch your first glimpse of them. And we're going to have a bit of a repeat of that this evening, where you see them in their formal wear. And, of course, you're going to see what designer Melania Trump chose, which is something that will have a lot of people buzzing.

BLITZER: Let's get a little preview. Katie Anderson Brower is over at the Washington Convention Center, the site of one of these balls. So set the scene over there, Kate, for us.

[18:40:08] KATIE ANDERSON BROWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are three balls tonight, Wolf. Two of them are here at the convention center. The crowd is starting to fill in. We heard them practicing some Frank Sinatra music. So expect some very traditional Frank Sinatra tunes later.

And people are coming. They're excited. And this is really a night that is kind of the pageantry of the day. It kind of caps off the day.

And I do think that Melania's dress is going to be the center of focus. And we'll see if she's wearing Ralph Lauren. And I think, looking back to 1961, when the Kennedys were driving to the ball, President Kennedy made sure that the lights were turned on in the limo so on so that everyone could see Jackie.

And I could see something like that tonight, because Melania really is coming into her own as the first lady. And this is the first time we'll get to see her. And also Ivanka, I think she's got -- it's tough for her, because Ivanka is such a style icon, also. We saw her wearing Oscar de la Renta. But we don't know yet what Melania is wearing tonight.

BLITZER: Are we going to see the president and the first lady dance tonight at these balls? Do we know, Kate?

BROWER: Yes, I mean, we should. It would be unprecedented if they didn't. There are only three balls tonight. I mean, there were several balls. With the Obamas, you would see them for, you know, a few seconds, 20, 30 seconds at each ball.

But there are only three tonight. The tickets, actually, for this ball were actually only $50 and they were made available to the public. And the inaugural committee has made point that this is a ball open to the American people. The other ball is at the National Building Museum, and that's for military families. That was by invitation only to military veterans.

BLITZER: Kate, these are formal. These are black tie, aren't they?

BROWER: Yes. Tuxes, ball gowns. And again, a really celebratory atmosphere here. These are all Trump supporters, and they're looking forward to celebrating his victory.

BLITZER: I'm sure they will be celebrating all three. Kate, stand by. We're going to get back to you. I want to take another quick break. Brianna and I will be right back.


[18:46:11] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

The first family there in the White House right now, following the parades, Brianna, the parades were nice, I enjoyed them thoroughly. But now, they're getting ready for these three balls that are being held tonight.

Kate Andersen Brower is with us once again.

Kate, you're at the Washington convention center. The folks I guess are beginning to come in. There will be entertainment at these balls as well, right?

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. The Rockettes are going to be here. It's not as star studded as Beyonce, but, you know, it's more on line with what we saw with the Bushes, you know, where there was a lot of country music.

But there's really excited crowd here tonight. And, you know, a lot of beautiful floor-length dress, ball gowns, men in tuxes, and again, this is really part of capping off this day of festivities for them. And it's interesting there are only three balls, compared to Obama's ten. So I think we might see more of the Trumps at one of these balls.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And this, Kate, is really the first time as we speak that the first family is getting a chance to spend time inside of the White House as president and first lady. You wrote a "New York Times" best selling book, "The Residence", where you talked about how as presidents come and go, actually the staff in the residence, they stay for decades and decades, these are really esteemed positions and they're in the position of helping the first family become accustomed to life in the White House.

So, take us through some of what that will mean for the Trumps?

BROWER: Well, right now, the Trumps are probably having a snack that the resident staff has made for them. And it's the old family dining room in the state floor, and it's the resident staff who makes sure that everything is unpacked within a span of five hours after the Trumps left this morning and when they return tonight.

So, they're going to come to a home where their toothbrushes are in their toothbrush holders, everything is unpacked neatly and drawers, their family photos are out on dressers and there's really no visible sign left of the Obamas. And that's the point of the resident staff. These are maids and butlers, about 96 of them. And they grow very close to the family.

There's a really emotional goodbye that happens in the state dining room in the morning. That happens around 7:30 in the morning and I'm sure that tears were shed probably this morning between President Obama and Michelle Obama and the staff. They stay on from one administration to the next and I think that's really a wonderful part of our democracy.

You know, they will be -- they're staying, I have talked to some folks who are there who say they are staying on and they -- you know, whether or not they support Donald Trump's policies doesn't matter, they're there to serve whoever is president. So, that's a really beautiful thing, I think.

BLITZER: I spent seven years as a White House correspondent, Kate, I got to know some of these members of the resident staff, and they are so lovely, so dedicated, so devoted.

And, Brianna, the Trumps are really blessed that the folks are staying for the new administration.

KEILAR: That's right, and as you hear Kate talking about it, there is not a need that is not attended to.

I had a friend sent me a photo looking kind of down towards the White House, and you could see the moving vans, as all of us were up there at the Capitol. I mean, this is a logistical feat. You talk about a busy day that the Trumps have had today, they may have had a busier day there at the resident staff just pulling off this logistical feat of moving one family out and another family in.

BLITZER: And they anticipate, Kate, they anticipate all the needs of the first family. You say just going to get snack ready, they know what they would like in that snack.

BROWER: Exactly, the executive pastry chief made sure that the Clintons had their freshly baked bagels ready the morning after the inauguration. They went out, the head housekeeper bought Hillary Clinton's favorite brand of shampoo and she bought 20 bottles of it.

[18:50:01] And Hillary Clinton said, you know, who told you I like this stuff? I don't like it.

But they always try to please the first family. Sometimes it doesn't work. But they know the family is comfortable when a butler can walk into the Oval Office during a high-level meeting and nobody stops talking. That's when they all breathe a collective sigh of relief, you know, that they are really invisible, and that's why, you know, they don't like to share a lot of personal stories, and when they do talk about the family, they do it in a really respectful way.

And they just really -- they're very close to them, especially to Bush 41 and Barbara Bush, they are very close to them.

BLITZER: I want to show a picture, Kate. This is the final picture of President Obama in the Oval Office, his official photographer Pete Souza took him walking out of the Oval Office. And there is a tradition, Kate, that even the Oval Office, the decor, the furniture, that potentially could change with the new president. BROWER: Yes. I mean, it usually does. President Obama -- former

President Obama got into some trouble when he switched out that Winston Churchill for the Martin Luther King Jr. bust that he put in the Oval Office. People scrutinize what's done in the White House.

There are certain rooms they can't change like the yellow oval room, the Lincoln bedroom, the queen's bedroom on the second floor. And then a lot of the rooms on the state floor like the red room, the blue room, you need to get approval from the White House curators. As you know, they guard the White House. They're art historians. They know where every piece of furniture is in that house. You can't really go in and make huge changes, especially not to those public spaces.

BLITZER: We're going to have special coverage throughout the night of these inaugural balls. Our viewers will be interested. We will watch very carefully.

Everybody, stand by. Much more right after a quick break.


[18:55:49] BLITZER: Welcome back.

The president and the first lady there now inside the White House, Brianna. They're getting ready to go to these three inaugural balls. Everybody can't wait to see what the first lady will be wearing. He'll be wearing a tuxedo. I'm sure they will be very excited then when they do their special dances at these balls.

What a day it's been, given -- it started early when you were president-elect, went to church, met with the outgoing president, had the inaugural swearing-in ceremony, went to a luncheon, paid special tribute to Hillary Clinton at that luncheon, now, the parades, and now, the inaugural balls.

KEILAR: And all of these moments, these are iconic moments that we have seen today that we are going to be seeing over and over again here in the days to come, in the months to come, in the years to come, and in the decades to come, let's be honest. And not only is this a busy day, but tomorrow, they get down to brass tacks here at the White House. It is going to be getting to work very early.

I mean, we know, Tim, even when you're just talking about -- the White House staff rises very early. This is something that some people may not know. A lot of them are getting up at 4:00 a.m., starting their days in the 4:00 a.m. hour to really get a jump on things. We don't necessarily think tomorrow is going to be an exception. And this is the pace, the breakneck pace that is continuing here.

BLITZER: One thing we note, Tim, about Donald Trump -- he has a lot of energy. He's 70 years old, the oldest man ever to be inaugurated as a president in the first term, but he has a lot of energy.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He is about six months older than Ronald Reagan was when he was inaugurated the first time. Yes, he has a lot of energy. One of the challenges for the residential staff is to get to know the new family, what do they like and what do they don't like.

But I want to put in a plug in for the National Archives staff, because all that packing, all that amazing packing, such as the resident staff. It's the National Archives.

When George W. Bush left office in 2009, he took 800,000 pounds of official gifts and clothes and books and papers. It took three planes to move everything to Texas. And I don't doubt that the Obama library is about to get three or four planes worth of materials. All of that was moved out today. Quite remarkable.

BLITZER: And you were telling us that the gowns that the first lady will wear tonight, wore earlier, will wear throughout the next four years, they will go into the National Archives?

NAFTALI: They will go to the -- they will go to -- I can say it now for the first time, the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library Museum, just as Michelle Obama's went to -- will go to the Obama library and we at the Nixon Library had Pat Nixon's dresses.

Yes. They belong to the American people. And they will be on display eventually.

BLITZER: And you'll be looking, like everybody will be looking closely at the first lady to see what she's going to be wearing.

KEILAR: That's right. She chose Ralph Lauren for her day wear.

BLITZER: She looked fabulous.

KEILAR: Phenomenal. I think she received accolades for what she chose. But I would -- some would say, oh, that's the frivolous part of the day, but it's not necessarily, right, Tim, because there is a message that is being sent by who she chooses to wear and what she chooses to wear.

NAFTALI: You know, what's frivolous? The point is the first lady and the president of the United States represent us and what they wear represents us and how they conduct themselves represents us. So, it's part of the package.

So, the dresses matter. The gift apparently that the Trumps gave to the Obamas as they entered -- as they said good-bye to each other, that will go to the -- I suspect to the Obama Libray. It's all part of the history that is the American presidency.

BLITZER: It's a special day indeed. And all of us, we were very lucky to be able to cover this historic day, whether or not you like Donald Trump, don't like Donald Trump. This is a special day. We saw a very smooth, peaceful transfer of power.

KEILAR: We sure did. It will continue into the evening certainly into the evening, Wolf, as we see the final phase of the evening with these inaugural balls.

BLITZER: And as you say continue through the evening, our special coverage is about to continue with the very special "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".