Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Women's March; Trump's commentary at CIA Headquarters. Aired 8- 9p ET
Aired January 21, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks very much for joining us for this special Saturday edition of 360 on this, the first full day of Donald Trump's presidency. The pictures tell a story, and the story's about women standing together, trying to make their voices heard.
The Women's March in Washington drew massive crowds -- the mission, they said, to stand together to protect women's rights and to stand with all who say they have been insulted, demonized and threatened by President Trump's rhetoric.
Organizers say the vision was "to join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore." That is exactly what happened in terms of numbers. Hundreds of marches all over the country and around the world -- women and men -- in Boston and in Denver, in Chicago and in Phoenix, from coast to coast and many cities in between.
The pictures show the turnout has been overwhelming. This is drone video from St. Louis, and the pictures are similar from marches in a number of cities around the country. Suzanne Malveaux has more on the march in Washington.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight Americans of all faiths and walks of life converging on the nation's capital, protesting the agenda of the 45th president, Donald Trump.
AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: It's been a heartbreaking time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country. Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack.
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: I'm unafraid to be nasty, because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonya, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): A powerful, eclectic group bringing their message of equal rights for all Americans directly to the steps of the White House.
MICHAEL MOORE, DIRECTOR AND ACTIVIST: Message is here we're here representing the majority of Americans. The majority of our fellow Americans did not want this man in the White House.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, SR., CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We're not anti-Trump. We're for America. We're for inclusion. We're for race.
LEA DELARIA, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: Where do we go from here? We stay here. We keep this fight up. We keep letting them know that we're not going anywhere.
GLORIA STEINEM, FEMINIST: This is a wake-up call.
MALVEAUX: And who needs to wake up?
STEINEM: We're never going to sleep again -- anybody who cares about democracy. Anybody who cares about sanity in the presidency.
MALVEAUX: And do you have a message for President Trump now?
STEINEM: It's time to leave.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): And the movement spanned well beyond just Washington, as hundreds of thousands of dissenting Americans gathered in all 50 states -- from Chicago to Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Denver and Boston.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello women of Massachusetts.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Celebrities, politicians and every-day Americans uniting --
ALICIA KEYS, VOCALIST AND ACTIVIST: (singing) This girl is on fire --
MALVEAUX (voice-over): -- in rebuke of President's Trump's past statements, standing up to say they will fight for the country they know and love.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON: President Trump, I did not vote for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My husband and I fought for 35 years for marriage, and I lost him right before Christmas, and I'm here for both of us.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Jessica Agullo's (ph) mother fell ill at 48 years old, upending her life while the old healthcare system devastated her financially and left her in ruins.
JESSICA AGULLO (ph): I hope she'd be very proud. I hope she'd be very proud, and I miss her terribly, and I'm sorry she had to go the way she went, because it was not -- it was not a righteous way to go.
COOPER: Suzanne Malveaux now joins us. I know there aren't official crowd estimates. CNN doesn't do crowd estimates. It surely seemed like a huge number of people. Probably more people have showed up in some of these cities than had been planned for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX (voice-over): It's interesting, too. The people who are in this house behind me, Anderson, have made no mention of the massive crowds, but just to demonstrate that, it was early on when they were supposed to be leaving from Independence and 4th, down Constitution, the crowd was so thick, and you could not move just getting from the truck to our live-shot location.
People were pleading with each other not to move. You could barely breathe. There was a sense of tension almost like you would be crushed or a stampede. Fortunately that feeling kind of subsided, but it took a while -- the announcers begging people not to move at that moment, and it really just underscores, Anderson, that this massive, staggering crowd was much, much more than even the organizers expected. Anderson --
COOPER (voice-over): Suzanne Malveaux. Thanks very much. Now we don't have -- as I said -- an exact count of the numbers of people who've showed up to the march today. The pictures, though, are certainly striking. Take a look at Los Angeles. And the marchers weren't just in the United States, today, it should be pointed out. They were in cities around the world.
Take a look at pictures from Barcelona, from London, Paris, Melbourne, Australia. There also were marches in cities in Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Ghana, list goes on. These are the scenes from across the country and across the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me tonight, now, on the panel -- "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, chief political correspondent Dana Bash, senior political commentator and former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, CNN political commentator and attorney Bakari Sellers, and Trump supporter Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America.
Appreciate all of you being with us. Dana, I mean how much of these marches are about, from a rejection of Donald Trump, a rejection of his presidency? How much are they about sort of diverse, larger issues? Because it seemed like there were a lot of different signs with a lot of different causes. It wasn't sort of one message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You're right. I think it was truly a combination of all of those things, but what Gloria Steinem said, she used the term, "Wake-up call," and I think that's also what Madonna said before she dropped the F-bomb. That's a different story, but the idea that a lot of people, especially young people who really only in their adult lives knew President Obama and didn't have an understanding -- these are Democrats I'm talking about, or people who tend to vote Democratic -- that things could not go their way, didn't go their way on election day, and the way it was put was "they didn't realize that bad could triumph over good, and it did."
Again, this is their perspective. I'm not saying that it's right or wrong, but that is what motivated a lot of people to get out there, to say, "You know what? We realized you can't just rely on good prevailing. You've got to get out, use your voice, and use the power of protest and the power of masses of people to do so."
The question of whether or not it is going to be the beginning of something else --
BASH: -- we don't know yet, but it certainly could be.
COOPER: And that is the question. You look at the Tea Party, which had --
COOPER: -- success at the ballot box, you know, at the next election cycle. You know, in this you've got a lot of people who are Facebooking their friends photos who are sort of like-minded people. That's not necessarily activism. Activism is actually sort of making inroads with people who sort of don't share their same philosophy as you.
The question is what happens now. Does this actually become a wake-up call as they see it?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's a big question. I think you could argue that a lot of the people who were marching felt that they had a safety net with Barrack Obama as president of the United States, so if Congress screwed up, maybe Barrack Obama would veto something or save things, and that's not there anymore.
But the truth of the matter is that at the state level and at the legislative level, the Democratic Party has been hollowed out over the last eight years. They've lost a thousand seats in state legislatures, and now the process begins of starting to win those back, and I think what you've got to start seeing at these rallies are some of those white, non-college educated, working-class women whom Trump won by 28 points.
Once those women start showing up at these marches, then I think you'll get something cooking that's a lot larger, but you have to start at the local level, and that's what they're talking about right now.
COOPER: -- Kirsten.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think one of the things about this that doesn't bode well is that this actually was a march that was called the Women's March, but it also was then told a lot of women that they weren't allowed to come and that they didn't want them there because they weren't pro-choice, and so there actually are a lot of women -- I personally know them -- who knocked on doors for Hillary Clinton, who are very progressive, but who are Catholics or serious Christians who are pro-life, but in every way would agree with everything that was being said today.
BASH: Is that right? Women who were not "pro-choice" were told not to come?
POWERS: Yes. They were told to -- Penny can probably talk more to this --
PENNY NANCE, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Yes. Yes. Yes.
POWERS: -- but they were specifically told not to come and that it was -- that being pro-abortion rights was part of this march.
POWERS: It just speaks to the same kind of, I think, tone-deafness that you've seen in the Democratic Party, and I think it's sad. I t really think there are a lot of women that -- What's so funny, Bakari?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I just -- I mean, I think that today was the beginning of something that is amazing, and I don't think anyone is giving it its due. Today we had protests and marches across the entire country. You had it across the entire world. You had women who came out. You had -- You literally had metro stations that were two-hour waits to get there, and I think that what we saw today -- it may not be the end of anything, but I do think it was the beginning of something.
And what we saw -- I mean, of course it was a collection of issues, but even more importantly there was a common theme that united everybody who protested today, and that was -- that was this theme of freedom and justice, and people came out today because they believe in those things.
And the Democratic Party is hollowed out. We did lose a thousand seats. We did lose governor's mansions. I mean, there's no question about it. People are looking at Eric Garcetti. They're looking to Mitch Landrieu. They're looking to my friend who's the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, for leadership now, but the fact is that people came out today in something that we haven't seen in this country or around this world in a very long period of time.
This is not anti-Trump, this is pro-America.
POWERS: Actually, we'll see a lot of people the March of Life. How many show up at the March for Life?
NANCE: The March for Life -- which, by the way, which has been going on for 43 years --
NANCE: -- will have about 400,000-500,000 next weekend, so I'll need all of you back here to have this same conversation next weekend, because that is ignored on a regular basis. This is not new. I welcome it, by the way. I believe in the First Amendment.
Any time men and women get together and show their beliefs and strongly support their candidates, or whatever that is, that's fantastic. It's good for America, but this was not a women's march.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hold on. Let her finish.
NANCE: Pro-life women were told, "Need not apply." We were not welcomed here. Kellyann Conway was not invited to speak at this march. Concerned Women for America was not welcome. Why are you laughing? It's a women's march. We should have been included. We are not.
SELLERS: But it's not about women.
NANCE: -- but women are not monolithic. This is the same group of progressives who have been, all-along, fighting against Donald Trump and --
SELLERS: Listen. Listen. We can --
NANCE: -- welcome to do it, but let's not misname them.
SELLERS: We can down -- We can actually cast this aside. We can castigate it as if it's something that's not --
SELLERS: Look, it's fine. I mean we're going to have 400,000 people who march here who are pro-life --
NANCE: Next weekend.
SELLERS: -- and I appreciate that.
COOPER: Penny's point is it shouldn't be called a Women's March. I mean, it seems like you're arguing past each other. Do you have any issue with what is was billed as?
SELLERS: Not at all.
SELLERS: I mean, listen, women are the backbone of this country.
SELLERS: -- civil rights movement. You don't have a Hillary Clinton unless you have a Shirley Chisholm. You don't have a Hillary Clinton or anyone else unless you have a Fanny --
NANCE: But it should have been called a pro-abortion march.
SELLERS: Women are the backbone of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POWERS: Can I just say one thing in response? It's the idea that people aren't giving them enough credit, OK? I do think part of the problem is that Donald Trump made such a spectacle today and has distracted from this march.
COOPER: We're leading this broadcast with this march. We're not being distracted by -- We're going to cover all the (inaudible).
POWERS: It's being covered, but I think it could be covered more. But I just want to say I personally tweeted out pictures from my hometown, Fairbanks, Alaska, of women marching. I think this is a wonderful march. I think that you can say that and also say that it should be more inclusive. I don't think that this is a denigrating march.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not anti-Trump.
AXELROD: First of all, just as a clinical matter, as an observer of politics, it is highly unusual to have the streets of Washington, of all these cities, jammed the day after someone takes office, so something happened, OK? And that ought to be -- that ought to be noted. It' not just like every other thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWERS: But on January 21st of every year.
AXELROD: Just, just, just let me say this. The other thing is it, it wasn't just women out there, it was men. Now one of the complications here is there were an amalgam of issues and causes represented there. How you translate that into a political movement that ends in the election of candidates when people were motivated by different things --
COOPER: How does that next step happen though, I mean?
AXELROD: Well, I think that's not clear. I think that's not clear. I suspect -- You know, I walked around the streets today. I think there was an awful lot of energy there. I suspect that energy will translate into some political activity, but there's no obvious vehicle for that, yet, and I think there's some work to be done to get there.
COOPER: We've just got to take a quick break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll have more on this and much more to talk about tonight. Coming up next, also, what Kirsten referred to as " -- that spectacle with what Donald Trump said today at CIA headquarters" --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: -- that has the former director of the CIA up in arms, actually making public, very public criticism of the president.
Also more on one aspect of it -- his focus and his press secretary's amplification of it -- that somehow these photos not withstanding that the audience for the inauguration was bigger than it actually was or was the biggest ever. We'll have details on that.
COOPER: Well, in his first full day in office, president Donald Trump put the CIA at the top of his official agenda. The intention, presumably, mending fences with the intelligence community, which he disparaged openly during the campaign. The outcome, however, might not be what the president had in mind. The reason has to do with what he said and where he said it.
What's more, the item that he fixated on -- crowd size at the inauguration -- carried over into the day, dominating the first White House press conference. Want to take the day in order, just so you can see how the issue escalated. So the CIA -- First CNN's chief national security correspondant Jim Sciutto reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I want to thank everybody. Very, very special people, and it is true, this is my first stop, officially.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day one as president, and Donald Trump visiting the CIA to face the same intelligence community he has repeatedly accused of politicizing intelligence and leaking damaging information about him.
TRUMP: There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There is nobody. Thank you.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): But Trump spent more than half his speech -- nine out of 15 minutes, to be exact, talking about issues other than the intelligence community. Standing in front of a wall honoring 117 fallen CIA officers, he took swipes at the news media, and defying the facts, blaming his feud with the intelligence community on the media.
TRUMP: As you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth, and they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community, and I just want to let you know the reason you're a number one stop is exactly the opposite -- exactly -- and they understand that, too.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Fact is, the president has repeatedly criticized the intelligence community in public comments and in tweets regarding its assessment that Russia hacked the U.S. election to help him win.
"The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange."
"Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to leak into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
The president also used the moment to accuse the press of intentionally misstating crowd sizes at his inaugural.
TRUMP: It looked, honestly, looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was, it was, but it went all the way back to the Washington Monument, and I turn on -- and by mistake I get this network, and it showed an empty field, and it said we drew 250,000 people.
Now that's not bad, but it's a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around, you know, in the little ball that we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed. So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty, and I think they're going to pay a big price.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): His assault on the press was met with some applause inside the CIA.
TRUMP: They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Trump telling the crowd that he knew the military and intelligence community had mostly voted for him.
TRUMP: Probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Mr. Trump ended on a positive tone for the gathered audience.
TRUMP: Now, I just wanted to really say that I love you. I respect you. There's nobody I respect more. You're going to do a fantastic job, and we're going to start winning again, and you're going to be leading the charge.
COOPER: And Jim Sciutto joins us now as well as the panel. Strong reaction from the former CIA director, John Brennan.
SCIUTTO: That's right. Very strongly worded statement. Former for a little more than 24 hours. Let me read it. "Former CIA director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of the CIA's memorial wall of agency heroes."
Brennan says that Trump "should be ashamed of himself." It's remarkable it gets to that point, that that -- That is, in effect, the CIA's Arlington, right, though. Hundred and seventeen stars there, many without names, though many we know the names of those who gave their lives.
COOPER: Those are CIA officers, agents, who have --
SCIUTTO: Killed in action.
COOPER: -- sacrificed their lives, and many, even now, can't be named.
SCIUTTO: Exactly right. Some we know. Johnny Michael Spann, the first American killed in Afghanistan after the invasion. The two CIA officers killed in the Bengasi attack, for instance, but I want to make this clear, because there's been a lot of talk about the politicization of intelligence, intelligence agencies.
Brennan was in the CIA for 25 years. He served as national counter- terrorism director under George W. Bush, so he's served Republicans and Democrats. Yes, he's served the Obama administration for a number of years, but he's served Republicans, and as a CIA agent he's served under multiple administrations.
So his service has been not related to party, right, although he's an Obama appointee, and this is -- when I speak to folks inside the agency, that's their mantra, right, is that, "We do our intelligence work -- often at great risk -- to presidents and administrations, regardless of party."
COOPER: Jeffrey Lord -- JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am hard-pressed, based on the clips that you've shown tonight of Donald Trump at the CIA, to understand when the man looks at these people right in the eye and says, "I love you," why this is some sort of dis of the intelligence community. I mean the disses that you talked about were from previous times. He didn't stand there and do that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He denied that he had --
SCIUTTO: He denied --
COOPER: -- that he had dissed them in the past.
LORD: Well, he clearly doesn't think that --
LORD: Wait, wait.
LORD: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. There is a problem -- and we've talked about this before -- there is a problem in the intelligence community, and it isn't just the intelligence community, it's the entire Washington bureaucracy -- of leaking things.
COOPER: There's a problem in the Trump administration of leaking stuff. They all leak. I mean they all leak.
LORD: I understand, but this is the intelligence community, and this specific leak that he was talking about or has been talking about that got them all so fired up --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You can't deny he has disparaged the intelligence community. He's putting the word intelligence in quotes and comparing alleged leaking by the intelligence community to Nazi Germany.
LORD: Did he do that today?
COOPER: No. He denied he did it in the past, today, in front...
BORGER: Jeffrey -- but Jeffrey, he did disrespect them today, and I've heard from people who were in the intelligence community and people who are in national security who said he did disrespect them because he spent most of his time during this speech in front of that hallowed wall talking about crowd size at his inauguration instead of talking about the hard work that these people do.
So he went there on a mission, but he didn't spend most of his time talking about the intelligence community. He said, "Yeah, we're all going to work off the same page. We're on the same wavelength --
LORD: But why is that -- Why are you dismissing that, though, (inaudible)?
BORGER: Because he spent most of his time talking about other things. It was inappropriate, Jeffrey.
LORD: His leadership style as an executive is to work with people, to be a leader, but also to set a fire under them. Now I think, frankly I think you're going to see -- not only today, but you're going to see a lot as he deals with all these different bureaucracies -- you're going to see more of this kind of thing, because what he's trying to do is inspire them, ignite them.
COOPER: But what does talking about crowd size at the CIA have to do with inspiring the CIA --
COOPER: Had he -- going to Arlington when he laid that wreath so beautifully on inauguration day -- had he done the exact same thing, would you say this, too?
LORD: Anderson, what he's doing is communicating --
COOPER: If he'd done this at Arlington, would that have been appropriate?
LORD: No. No, but no he didn't.
COOPER: -- at the CIA, at Langley, where, I've got to say, I worked for two summers while I was in college. That is hallowed ground in that hall.
LORD: I understand that. I understand that. What I'm trying to say is that he is communicating to them his leadership style with them. That's going to be the leadership style of the White House for four years.
SCIUTTO: Can I just say -- Last night, the president went to this ball for the Armed Services, and his first line was, "I'm glad to be here because you all voted for me," much like you saw there, and then he went on to talk to troops who were being beamed in from Afghanistan, and he asked them to ask questions.
They said "congratulations" -- most of them, that's all they said. He said, "Oh, I love your questions. You like me, not like these people -- " And never once did he say -- this is a man who now has the power to send these young people into situations that could very well cost them their lives, and how about, "Thank you for your service. We appreciate the sacrifices you and your families make for this country"?
And I'm only saying this because that is the role of the commander in chief, and that should -- and when he went to the CIA today and stood before that wall, he should have known this is not the place to talk about crowd sizes or to talk about votes, this is serious business in front of an audience of people who have committed their lives to protect this country. That is part of being president.
That is part of being commander in chief. He has to pick up this role.
LORD: But with all due respect, and you know I'm not yelling at you here, but part of being commander in chief is not withdrawing troops from Iraq.
LORD: Well, no. No, no, no, no, because that was an action -- a direct action of the commander in chief -- that wound up killing some of these kids.
SCIUTTO: I am not -- I am not -- I am not going to dignify that, Jeffrey. I am trying to make a point about what the role of a president, and you are making a political --
LORD: I am saying if that's the role of the commander in chief, then it should have been executed.
SCIUTTO: If you feel that the president was appropriate last night and today, you should say so. Do you think that he behaved appropriately?
LORD: I think that we are making --
LORD: I think that the entire question is a needle out of a haystack, and it's a typical media (inaudible) --
COOPER: But you get --
SCIUTTO: But I've got to pin you down. You said it's inappropriate what he did at Arlington, but you can't say -- you won't directly criticize what the president did today.
LORD: He's standing in front of a group of people. He got applause, at least in the clips that we -- Did he not?
BORGER: Yes, yes he did, but do you think had a sense or was adequately prepared about the meaning of that space in the CIA? Do you think he knew?
LORD: Of course, I'm sure he did. I mean, it's pretty common, general knowledge what that wall represents, right?
SCIUTTO: That doesn't mean that he knew.
BORGER: Well, but then he started talking about himself.
LORD: Guys. Guys. I know.
COOPER: But for the larger point is, there's no reason to believe -- I mean, people can express shock. People can defend it. Whatever. This is what, this is who Donald Trump is is. This is the way it's going to be moving forward.
I mean, John, that's just more clear than ever.
JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We live in interesting times. Yes, it's who he is, and part of it is we're going to have to get used to this, but part of it -- to David's point, and I don't want to get into the back-and-forth -- part of it is he's going to have to get used to it.
And we'll see. Maybe he's right. Maybe he can say all these things as president that he said as a candidate or that he said as the president elect and it won't cause trouble. Maybe it won't move markets. Maybe it won't offend world leaders, but we do know part of those demonstrations today, especially the ones overseas, were people who --
He has the world's attention right now. He has the world's attention, and we'll see what he does with it, but last night, at the ball we were at, when were sitting at the ball last night and he came out and he asked the rhetorical question, "Should I stay on the Twitter," he went on to talk about the enemies.
He didn't say his critics. He didn't say his political opponents. He didn't say the Democrats. He didn't say, "Those who don't agree with my policies." He said the enemies. That is unusual language -- I'm being polite. That is unusual language in our American political discourse, to call someone who disagrees with you your enemy, as opposed to your critic or your opponent.
COOPER: So then, there was that at the CIA today, and then I moved over to the White House, and we're going to report on that, why the administration's focus, with everything that's going on, everything that's happening today, the first day, remember, day one, essentially, all the things they could be talking about -- The focus for them seemed to be on the crowd size yesterday, which frankly we didn't report much about yesterday.
We didn't really talk much about it because of the importance of the day, but they have made, now, a big story today. We'll have more on that ahead.
2030 ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: With protesters lining the streets, most notably in Washington, White House spokesman Sean Spicer gave his first press briefing from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and he did not take any questions.
It was, in a word, brief, and in another, combative could be an adjective to describe it. CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta was at the briefing. He joins us now.
So this was an unscheduled briefing. Explain what happened.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. It was an extraordinary scene. Obviously Donald Trump does not like the news coverage that he's gotten over the last 24 hours, and some of that news coverage has shown how the attendance at his inaugural does not measure up to past inaugural attendances, most notably Barrack Obama's in 2009.
As you heard, he lashed out at the CIA earlier today, and then Sean Spicer, his press secretary, at his very first briefing inside the White House, used that opportunity to go right after the news media. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. Even "The New York Times" printed a photograph showing that a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original tweet in their paper, which showed the full extent of the support, depth and crowd and intensity that existed.
These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong. The president is committed to unifying our country, and that was the focus of his inaugural address. This kind of dishonesty in the media -the challenging the bringing about our nation together -is making it more difficult.
There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways. We're going to hold the press accountable, as well. The American people deserve better, and as long as he serves as the messenger for this incredible movement, he will take his message directly to the American people, where his focus will always be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And Anderson, that final message that we just played there from Sean Spicer, I think, is critical, because he said that they're going to hold the news media accountable. I talked to a Republican source right after he made that comment who said that, "Make no mistake, that was a threat from the White House press secretary at his very first briefing aimed at the news media."
And the other thing that is extraordinary about this statement that Sean Spicer gave in the briefing room is that if you go down the list of these metrics that he's laid out, you can fact-check nearly all of them, which is something we've done.
COOPER: You know, it's interesting, because I mean he keeps talking about how his focus is just the American people, but Donald Trump talks about himself, and he did this today -the size of his crowds - more than many people do -how smart he is. I think he talked about that again today.
COOPER: And Trump -Spicer seemed like he was reading directly from a statement, a statement that certainly seemed to be carefully worded.
ACOSTA: It was carefully worded, but he was careless with the facts. Keep in mind he talked about how this was the first inaugural where they used white ground coverings to protect the grass on the national mall. That is not true, Anderson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: We found photographs from 2013. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA (voice-over): Actually, those are different from photographs, but we have photographs from 2013 that show ground crews laying those white ground coverings on the national mall. There it is right there. You can see those crews doing that work at President Obama's second inaugural.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: He also said, during the briefing, Anderson, that magnetometers were used around the mall, and that that prevented people from getting to the inauguration site and hearing Donald Trump. We asked the Secret Service about that claim, and the U.S. Secret Service tells us that magnetometers were not used around the mall, so that is not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA (voice-over): And then finally he cited Metro numbers, Anderson. He talked about incomplete metro numbers that were not encompassing for the full day. Let's put this up on screen and tell you that according to Metro, Donald Trump drew 570.5 thousand people, in terms of riders on the Metro system, from 4 in the morning until about midnight.
In 2009, it was 1.1 million for Barack Obama at that first inaugural and 782,000 in 2013. So Anderson, those are three different metrics, right there, that are just incorrect -factually incorrect. So either Sean Spicer is deliberately misleading us and giving us bad information, or he went into this extraordinary briefing earlier today totally unprepared, which is something you can't do as White House Press Secretary.
There're going to be days where we're going to be talking about things --
ACOSTA: Yes, go ahead.
COOPER: That's even the weird thing, though, about the numbers he gave on the Metro -the numbers he gave were actually lower than the real numbers. Actually more people were riding the Metro, according to the Metro --
ACOSTA: That's right.
COOPER: -than Sean Spicer said there actually were. So even in his argument, he was giving -His numbers were wrong, but they were wrong in a way that did not favor Donald Trump, who seems to care about how big the numbers are.
ACOSTA: That's right, Anderson. And there's going to come a day when we're going to be talking about more important things than Donald Trump's crowd size, and on those days the White House press secretary has to be accurate with his information.
Now everybody makes mistakes. Everybody flubs and slips over a word and that sort of thing, but I think this should be a teachable moment for this new administration. They can't come out and just blast the news media with bad facts, and that's what they did today.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Back to the panel. John, I mean, we would not even be talking today about crowd sizes. It's the most ridiculous thing to be focusing on, but this is what the White House was actually focusing on today.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've seen this throughout the campaign, and to his credit, candidate Trump drew some amazing crowds. To his credit, candidate Trump used those crowds to build a political movement that surprised everybody, first to win the Republican nomination, and then to win the presidential election. He's the president now. He's the president now.
He gave a speech yesterday. The Democrats disagree with it. The Conservatives at the table probably liked most if not all of it. He says he's going to completely irradiate ISIS from the Earth. He says he wants to revive the inner cities. He says he wants to cut taxes and create jobs. He's about to make a Supreme Court pick that is going to send this town into a tizzy.
Why we're talking about crowd size, to me, is just absurd, but again, he's the president of the United States. He has a bully pulpit and he proved again today that if you get under his skin that -Look, no doubt he saw the marches going on in the country today. I don't remember us talking about crowd size on CNN yesterday.
KING: A "New York Times" reporter tweeted out the back and forth, 2009 and yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): If one tweet is going to send the president of the United States off, this is -Hillary Clinton tried this in the debates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): So if she's watching from home tonight -
KING: So Maybe Donald Trump is right, but if one tweet can so get under the president of the United States' skin, I just hope he finds a better use for his time.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You have to believe that Sean Spicer didn't go out there on his own.
KING: You saw him looking down. That was not from the heart. That was from a piece of paper.
BORGER: Well, and clearly you had a president who was agitated, who had spoken about it earlier -inappropriately, I believe -at the CIA, who was mad about this because he saw this pictures. He didn't like these pictures. And this is day one of the administration. This is day one.
You want to talk about crowd size? The numbers we ought to be talking about -six months from now -are job creation and other kinds of things, but this is incomprehensible. It is absurd, and I think, ultimately, it's self-destructive for the president to be doing this. This is not a -It makes him look smaller, not bigger.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And look. Somebody said this to me who knows these people, that Sean Spicer did this for an audience of one -his boss, Donald Trump -and going down the line, hopefully Sean Spicer, as the White House spokesperson, will be speaking to the world, not be speaking to his boss, meaning his boss clearly was angry, agitated about crowd sizes -
COOPER: Which, by the way, is something Ari Fleischer also tweeted out --
BASH: Yes, he did.
COOPER: Yes. Let's put up the Ari Fleischer tweet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He said, "This is called a statement you're told to make by the president --
BASH: There you go. Exactly.
COOPER: Ari's like the former press secretary.
BASH: Exactly, and so that's -I mean, Sean Spicer was clearly doing this because he was told to do it, and it seems as though he had two choices -do this or quit -because his boss...
BASH: -was agitated, and I mean, that's the problem. I mean, does he want to be Five O'Clock Follies or not.
BASH: Let me just finish one thing.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You mean there are no Iraqi troops in Kuwait?
BASH: Well, OK. I'm not going down the Baghdad Bob road -
BASH: But the day that Donald Trump landed here, a couple of days ago, and went to Arlington, I texted an aide who was with him, and I wanted -Because we were doing live coverage, and it was very, you know, positive, about the pomp and circumstance, and I said, "I just want a little color. How does he feel? He just did his first official act."
And the response was, "Crowd sizes are amazing. It's a very special day." It's how he measures himself. It's how he measures himself. It's how he measured himself -ratings, which is the equivalent -when he was in television. The question going forward is whether or not he can try to put that aside or, more importantly, if he can't, if the people around him who successfully rotated in and out -Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon rotated in and out through the last month and a half of the campaign, successfully keeping him calm, away from these things, and focused on the prize, which is winning.
COOPER: Let me tell you, we've got to take a quick break. We'll have insight from the panel, though, in just a -when we come back, much more talk about -on a day, fair to say, unlike any we've seen. A day one. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're talking about Sean Spicer's first press statement today from the White House -for the most part focused on the size of the inaugural crowd. Back with the panel. Also gave out, frankly, incorrect information about it. David, you wanted to --
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I did. You know, as someone who was a senior aide to a president, I still remember getting my ears singed every once in a while when I went in and said, "No, sir, you can't do that. This is a bad idea."
But I think it's important to have people around you who do do that, and so we should emphasize, it is the first day. There are many days to go, but if this president's going to be successful, then the people around him owe it to him to say, "You cannot do that. That is a bad idea," and in terms of Sean Spicer, who's a guy who's built creditability in this town over 20 years, everyone here knows him -to send him out there to do what he did tonight is to basically cripple someone, or at least lessen his effectiveness when he actually has to go out and talk to --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: Let me ask you about this, because there's probably a lot of people out in the country watching tonight who would say, "You know what? This is all just media carping about how they're treated. This is all hand-wringing. This doesn't matter."
AXELROD: Nor does the size of the crowd, I'm sure they're thinking.
COOPER: Well, but -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: How do you answer that?
AXELROD: Well the answer is that if reporters can't trust the information that they're getting from the press secretary, if they don't feel like they're getting real, honest, true facts, then it makes it much harder for them, moving forward, to do their jobs, and they begin to discount things that he says.
I just think it's extraordinarily important for the press secretary to always be in a position to deliver what he knows to be facts.
PENNY NANCE, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: If I can just say -I know Sean Spicer. Most of you do. First off, he is his own man, and I don't know if anybody here has not gotten a tongue lashing at some point from Sean Spicer, and sometimes deserved, and you know what? I have to agree that most people don't care. They don't care.
COOPER: Right, right. But because people don't care -You can say people don't care about facts, but nevertheless, facts do matter.
NANCE: Well, of course. Of course.
COOPER: So as to whether people care about it or not -
NANCE: Of course he needs to have his facts straight, and perhaps -I don't know what happened, but I do know this. Sean Spicer's not a robot. He thinks for himself. He is a very strong man, and he will be a great press secretary.
NANCE: It's a tough job.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think -I think, respectfully, that we're missing something here that a lot of folks missed for the last two years, is that there is an underlying strategy with Donald Trump when he does things. As I think I've said to you before, I think I've spoke to him three years ago now, and what you were hearing here about the press he said personally to me.
He really believes this. Now he's president, and first of all, he was a candidate, and I think he had a strategy of going after the press because he felt -and I think everybody here would agree -that the press gets, just in general, gets low marks from the American public. So when we're talking here about Sean Spicer comes out and says something that's factually not true, you've got lots of people in America pointing to the television and going -
LORD: -and saying, "You're telling us things that are not true."
Sellers: If I can, briefly, I think one of the things that we haven't discussed in this -and I think that there were many things, and I think it was Gloria that laid it out, there were many things that the president and the White House could have spoken about today.
The Affordable Care Act. They could have talked about the fact that their mortgage rates -the executive order that he signed which is going to make it extremely hard for Millennials to get their first homes, but even -or the Women's March. If you want to talk about unity, you know, he could have tweeted or talked about that -the millions of people who are in the streets.
But even more importantly, the White House lied today to the American public. I mean, we can call it whatever we want to call it. We can say that Sean may have had his facts incorrect. Sean is a great individual. I love Sean. Sean gave me a pair of George H.W. Bush socks that I wear often. I absolutely adore him as a husband a father, but today the White House lied to the American public their first day in office.
We can call it whatever we want to call it, but that is very, very dangerous, and that undermines -
BAKARI: That undermines one of our very, very credible tenets of our democracy, and you can call it whatever you want to, but today, the White House lied.
NANCY: Most of America believes Sean Spicer over all of you, You just need to know that.
BORGER: Thank you.
COOPER: But in this case -
NANCE: His credibility is higher than yours.
COOPER: Right, but in this case, what he said was actually not correct.
SELLERS: But it was a lie. Do you recognize that?
NANCE: I don't know what the numbers are, but I don't think they're important.
AXELROD: What you guys are stating is a very cynical view -
NANCE: I think we need an honest -
AXELROD: He didn't lie. He stood in front of the American public. I love Sean. I really do. He stood in front of the American public, and he said something that he know --
NANCE: I don't believe that -
AXELROD: That he should have known was not true.
NANCE: He willfully lied.
SELLERS: Do you believe that during yesterday's inauguration, the crowd size was larger than with Barack Obama? Do you believe that?
NANCE: I don't know, nor do I care, and the fact that we're even covering this --
NANCE: But nobody cares.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (CROSSTALK)
KING: What's funny is the president of the United States actually cares, and Sean Spicer seems to care, and that is the picture. I know from the other vantage points it doesn't look like that.
NANCE: You all care more because he was sticking it to the media.
BORGEN: It's my job.
BASH: No, we don't.
BORGEN: I care. That's my job. You know, my job isn't to be loved by the president. My job is to do credible, serious journalism.
NANCE: You seem awfully upset.
SELLERS: I'm upset. No, I'm upset because the president of the United States -Look, I didn't vote for Donald Trump. I think anybody watching this show knows that I didn't vote for Donald Trump. However, I do expect the president of the United States -I'm sorry. I'm not jaded by reality, yet. I expect the president of the United States to actually tell the truth.
(AXELROD): Like, "If you want your doctor you can keep your doctor," and he lied about a really big thing, and you gave him a pass?
BASH: Guys, he did an incredible thing. He won the presidency in an unbelievable way. He should own that and not worry about the crowd size. I'm not reporting it.
COOPER: OK, let's -We're going to take a break. What's next? We're going to take a look at what's next for the Obamas, former president and first lady, are taking some vacation time. They'll be back in Washington soon, not far, actually, from the White House. We'll be right back.
COOPER: In tonight's breaking news, protesters across the country and around the world, they're out in force on President Trump's first full day in office. Women and men, adults and kids turned out to voice their objections to the new president's agenda. A lot of different issues they were representing.
While images like these have flooded social media and television all day, the Trump White House team has been silent about the actual protests. Meanwhile, Barack Obama hit the links on his first full day out of office. The former president and first lady are vacationing in the California desert near Palm Springs, a first step back into private life, though they will not be going far from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, at least for the first year.
Randi Kaye, tonight, reports.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It is surreal that once he's done with golfing in California that he'll be coming right back into Trump's Washington.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't goodbye, but more of a "See you soon" for President Barack Obama. In Washington, D.C., he has plenty of unifinished business, including trying to keep the Affordable Care Act from being dismantled.
BRINKLEY: He's going to have to lead a charge on trying to save parts of the Affordable Care Act or all of it.
KAYE (voice-over): The former president already has an office in the World Wildlife Fund Building.
BRINKLEY: He's going to be working a lot on climate change, along with Pope Francis. He's one of the most potent voices on that issue, and he is deeply concerned about the planet and saving rainforest and saving ecosystems, species survival.
KAYE (voice-over): Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley says Mr. Obama will also work to curb gun violence, help African-American youth and promote literacy and the arts.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: President Obama is the first president to stay in D.C. after his term since Woodrow Wilson. President Wilson remained here after World War I because he'd had a stroke and was incapacitated, but President Obama and his wife are staying so their youngest daughter, Sasha, can finish out high school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE (voice-over): The Obamas are renting this nine-bedroom home that was built back in 1928. It's sure to be a must-stop for tourists. The president, himself, will also be a draw in town.