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Trump, Pence Swear In Senior White House Staff; trump Meeting With Leaders Of U.K., Canada, Mexico, Soon; Priebus: Trump Exec Actions To Cover Trade, Immigrations; Top Aide: Trump Will Not Released tax Returns. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 22, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:04] POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Top of the hour, 5:00 Eastern, 2:00 p.m. on the West Coast. This is a special live edition of CNN Newsroom from the Nation's Capital, I am Poppy Harlow. Still glad you are with us this Sunday. We are seeing a new face, in a familiar setting, moments ago President Trump wrapping up an event in the blue room of the White House. He met with FBI Director James Comey at an event honoring the first responders. You see the two gentlemen meeting there, shaking hands, obviously, point of history between the two of them through the election. Earlier today, the president spoke to the media in the East Wing as he invites Vice President Mike Pence swore in the White House Senior staff. This includes Jared Kushner, his son in law, Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, also taking the oaths today, Omarosa and Kellyanne Conway. As Trump's administration is beginning to take shape so are his foreign policies priorities. Here's what he told reporters this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have set up meetings with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister May will be coming over to the United States shortly. We're also meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, and we will be meeting with the President of Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: President Trump will also receive a call from his Russian counterpart in the coming days, that is according to the Kremlin, but first, his Chief of Staff says, the Trump will continue following through on his pledge to reverse many of President Obama's executive orders by signing more of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHIEF OF STAFF: I think we're going to talk about trade a little bit more tomorrow. I think we're going to talk about immigration this week and we're going to have a time for national security, a conversation about that, obviously with General Mattis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will he undo some of the Obama executive orders?
PRIEBUS: I think you are going to see more of that coming perhaps this week, executive orders on those three topics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Meanwhile a pivotal week for some of Trump's most controversial cabinet picks, including his choice to head the CIA. Some Democrats are doubling down on the refusal to confirm some of those nominee's. One demand from the Democrats that will not be met over the next four years is Trump's tax returns. His top aide saying today, that even when the audit is complete, Trump will not release his tax returns to the public. For more on all of this, let me bring in CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny and CNN Phil Mattingly. Jeff let me begin with you, and let's begin with those executive orders of the Friday executive order on Obamacare. It wasn't an instant all over repeal of the law. This was bits and pieces and saying, you can look at many of these in the most relax way possible. Do you expect that some of these other executive orders on immigration, national security, trade will have more teeth?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Probably that is definitely a good likelihood, look Obamacare, the affordable care act was such a complex piece of legislation, which is one of the reasons it will be so difficult to replace it. The order he signed on Friday was more of intent. More of what a statement to his agencies and officials of what's to come, but specifically on immigration, he could do much more here alone at the White House. Think back to all the executive actions that President Obama signed, much to the consternation of many members of congress, particularly Republicans. Donald Trump is eyeing some of those exact executive orders and can unsign them, undo them, if you will. And immigration is a top point of that, I do not expect that specifically tomorrow, but we do expect it here in the coming days.
I'm also told by a senior administration official, they simply have not yet decided the order in which they're going to do all of these executive actions, they certainly want to have to -- sort of have as much flexibility here as possible. But some of the ones he signs in the coming days certainly will have more teeth than the Obamacare ones he signed on Friday. And when we saw him on the east room, earlier today, Poppy, we really saw a different tone has we saw yesterday at the CIA, he was talking about sort of the gravity of this, and how this is not about a party anymore, as he swore in his senior advisors. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is not about ideology. This is about country, our country. And it's about serving the American people. We will face many challenges, but with the faith in each other, and the faith in God, we will get the job done. We will prove worthy of this moment in history and I think it may very well be a great moment in history. So, be proud. Be very proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ZELENY: Saying we will prove worthy of this moment in history,
probably that sounds like a night and day from what he was saying, exactly 24 hours ago at this time, at the CIA and after that. So a different tone, you could tell he was reading every word he spoke, clearly his advisors trying to get him back in a more presidential frame work.
[17:05:10] HARLOW: I mean just settling into this job, the biggest job in the country, it obviously takes some time. Stay with me, Jeff, I want to get to Phil who just broke some news for us. I understand you have learned a little bit about congressional leaders that are going to come to the White House tomorrow? Is that right?
PHIL MATTINGLY, NEW YORK BASED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is exactly right. Poppy, just learning according to a person from (inaudible) bipartisan congressional leaderships, Republicans and Democrats in the house and senate will head to the White House for the first meeting with President Trump tomorrow night. It is technically a reception, but according to this person, there is almost a certainty that of President Trump, the congressional agenda of President Trump will be discussed, obviously a lot of ground to cover, a lot of issues to focus on. One of those issues, right now Poppy, nominations. Obviously President Trump is heading into this week with only two of his cabinet nominees confirmed. And on Capitol Hill, this is really devolved into a kind of a divisive negotiation back and forth between Republicans and Democrats. And I will walk you through a little bit, what this week will entail on that front.
Tomorrow, Mike Pompeo, the nominee to be the CIA Director is expected to be confirmed. Now, the Trump administration and Republicans wanted him to be confirmed on Friday, a key piece of the national security team. That was pushed off, because Democrats, want at least have some kind of floor debate about that nomination going forward. What's most important that was looking forward to other nominees, Secretary of State pick, Rex Tillerson, he will get a committee vote on Monday, obviously a step before the full senate vote, now he likely will be confirmed by the full senate, but in the committee, still a lot of questions whether or not Marco Rubio, a crucial vote in that committee will come around and support that nomination.
Then you move on later in the week on Tuesday, there's expected to get committee votes on people like Betsy DeVos, for Education, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, a number of different picks, Ben Carson for HUD, these are all obviously, Poppy, very key players to a Trump administration, this committee votes are kind of the step before the step, if you will, but they will give an indication that some of these controversial nominees, where they stand. Heading in to the floor vote will also see the first hearings for people like Mick Mulvaney who will be the Budget Director, if he is confirm, again the big question now, not necessarily will these individuals be confirmed. Republicans can confirm them just with Republican votes. It's how long it will take for President Trump to get his picks into place to run those crucial agencies, Poppy.
HARLOW: And right now he has only two of those picks so far confirmed. Thank you both, gentlemen, very much. We have a lot to get to this hour, because the president will begin meeting this week with world leaders, we know that this afternoon that he spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in what Trump is calling a quote, very nice call. Those are all the details we have. He is set to hold his first face-to-face meeting with the foreign leader on Friday. That is one he will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, she will travel to Washington. CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is with us from London. Our Oren Liebermann is live for us in Jerusalem. And Oren let me begin with you. The Trump team says that the White House is in the beginning stages of one of the big promises that Trump made near the end of the campaign and that is to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. An incredibly controversial move, some love it, some hate it. Do we know if the Prime Minister and President Trump discussed that today?
OREN LEIBERMANN, CNN CORESPONDENT: It seems to the indications we have, both from the Israeli's just a few moments ago from the White House that, it may not have come up in the conversation. The answer we heard from Sean Spicer was really leaving open any possibility that it was just at the very beginning stages, an announcement could come in the coming weeks, it could be months away, he really left open every possibility there. What Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear, earlier today's in this week's cabinet meeting and then in the read out of the call of afterwards is that Netanyahu's primary concern here is the Iran deal. He was the deals biggest critic from the very beginning, for the final months of the Obama administration. He effectively went quiet seeing that there was very little he could do.
Now in Trump is in office, he sees a new possibility to rollback or change or repeal the Iran deal in some way. Here is what the Prime Minister's office said about the phone call. Let me read this to you. Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to President Trump this evening in what was a very warm conversation. The Prime Minister expressed his desire to work closely with President Trump to forge a common vision, to advance peace and security in the region with no daylight between the United States and Israel. The two leaders discussed the nuclear deal with Iran, the peace process with Palestinians and other issues. President Trump invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to come to Washington to meet him in February. The final date for the visit will be set in the day ahead. And the White House says it will be early February so it looks like it will come, right after these meetings with the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.K.
HARLOW: Wow, Oren Liebermann, no daylight between the two says so much when you compare that relationship to the President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu relationship. Thank you very much, Nic to you now, Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May, she will travel to Washington, she will meet with President Trump on Friday, what is she hoping to get from the meeting and by the way, this is fascinating that she is now the first that he will meet with, given the fact that some saw it as a dis to her that he meet with Nigel Farad for example before her, that, that is already happened.
[17:10:18] NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure and after he was elected, she was not sort of first, second, third through the eighth person in line to get the phone call. This is very important to Theresa May, hugely important. She wants to get a better trade relationship with the United States. She wants to get a trade agreement with the United States, why? Really simple for her, she wants to take Britain out of the European Union. Brexit, she may get a loss of building a strong relationship here. She is -- she has told the European Union leaders that no deal is better than a bad deal, she will essentially turn Britain into a tax haven if she doesn't get what she wants, but she needs something in her back pocket before she begins those talks with 27 European leaders. Those talks begin in a couple of months, so getting some promises. Some understanding with President Trump is going to go a long way to do that. She is framing this as strengthening the special relationship, this is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, I'm going to go at the end of the week and I should be meeting with him on Friday and talking to him on Friday. There will be many issues for us to talk about. Because obviously the special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. has been strong for many years, we'll have opportunity to talk about our possible future trading relationship, but also some of the world's challenges that we all face, issues like defeating terrorism, those conflict in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So she sees eye to eye with President Trump on Brexit, on defeating terrorism, but there's other issue where is they're not sort of seeing year to eye, NATO would be one of them and some elements of the European Union as well, Poppy.
HARLOW: Absolutely, thank you very much, Oren Liebermann and Nic Robertson. We appreciate the reporting tonight, we got a lot to talk about with my panel, CNN Political commentator, Ryan Lizza, here is also Washington correspondent for the New Yorkers, CNN political analyst, Kirsten Powers he is here. She is also a columnist for USA today and David Drucker is with us as well, he is a Senior Congressional Correspondent for the Washington examiner, thank you guys for being here, nice to be in your house this time.
DAVID DRUCKER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Welcome to Washington.
HARLOW: Thank you my friend. Kirs let me begin with you. I was listening this morning to State of the Union, Jake Tapper and Chuck Schumer said something really interesting, right off that one when it comes to Pompeo and his picks, lets' listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK SCHUMER, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I'm worried that he is using populous rhetoric to cover up a hard right agenda, if you look at his cabinet appointment, so many of them are not populist, but hard right, you know Dr. Price, he wants to end Medicare as we know it. Mulvaney wants to cut even research into healthcare. DeVos cut public education, Puzder go against protections of labor. So he's cabinet is very troubling and that is actually what I discuss with him (END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Do you think he has a point in the inaugural address was not her (inaudible) it was not particularly conservative who is all populous, but he's cabinet picks many of them are.
KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST USA TODAY: I guess I would quibble with the idea that they are hard right. I mean Betsy DeVos has a position to not that part of the mainstream of a lot of conservatives in terms of being for, what they would call school choice. Tom Price has a pretty mainstream deal among Republicans which to repeal Obamacare. So to Chuck Schumer, it's hard right, I don't know, they're more to the right of Donald Trump, there's no question, and I think we have all been waiting with baited breath to see what's going to happen when he finally has a cabinet, are they going to institute what he has said on the campaign trail, or are they going to be listening to the views they are expressing? I don't think we know at this point.
HARLOW: Well when you look Ryan, listen for example at Mike Pompeo. They're expecting to vote on him tomorrow. This is someone who has been supportive of waterboarding. And then he said in his congressional testimony, I would never be asked to do that by the commander in chief, he is been talking about metadata, and using peoples quote, lifestyle is the way to collect data on people obviously scaling up what President Obama scaled backs after the Snowden leak. So do we know where some of these picks really stand?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well on Pompeo, those two issues are what have caused a lot of Democrats to say, wait a second, we need to pause here. In his hearing, if you remember Widen, Ron Widen the metadata program and privacy is very important to him. He really pressed Pompeo on that. And I think at the end of that exchange, he got a satisfactory answer. But Pompeo issued some written statements and response to Senator's question and two things, not long ago. They're posted on the senate website right now. And two things are concerning Democratic senators. The two issues brought up. One is he appeared to leave the door open for enhanced interrogation, the euphemism for torture, and suggested that he would talk to the CIA agents and ask them if the current system is working and suggested that if it weren't, maybe he would ask for something more. That has a lot of Democrats has concern.
[17:15:15] And two, on metadata, he essentially said the same thing. He would leave the door open if it seemed like the CIA needed further authority, then he would be open to that. Now, you could review the lines and say, well he probably need to go back to congress for either of those, because the law is the law on both of those issues, but that is what Democrats seized on and pushed that vote up a little bit. It looks like he is going to be confirmed, because I don't see any Republicans opposing him. They have 52 votes to put him through.
HARLOW: Right, he also wants, you know the support of a majority of the American people behind, and you know these pics as well. It's not just about do the numbers add up, its where does the opinion of the American people lie. I want to talk with another issue that the president has talked a lot about in the past 24 hours and that is crowd size, as we know, his White House spoke person, Sean Spicer came out and gave a statement. Not no questions from the press, a statement saying you are wrong, this was a record number of people at the inauguration, we can debate that later and we will with Brian Stelter, but here's what our Jim Sciuto tweeted that a lot of people are talking about today. Let's pull it up, forget crowd estimates, what happens when the numbers actually matter, U.S. troops killed, terror cells I.D., North Korean missiles fired, because the facts do not back up what Sean Spicer said and they are not alternative facts, they are just facts. What do you make of Jim's point here?
DAVID DRUCKER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think Jim makes a very good point. I think in this case, you would probably see a different tune from the White House, because these are things that you can't quibble about. When the Americans soldiers are killed in battle, if things happen in a war, it's very hard to cover those things up. We have been through Iraq. We saw what happen, once a war is fought. And you cannot get away with hiding those things from the American people. I think we need to understand politically what the Trump administration is doing here and what Trump did throughout the campaign, if you question every fact that may undermine your standing, then nothing's true and then your partisans, the people you need to support, you never have a reason to doubt you, because the press has so little credibility among so many people.
I am not defending it, but I'm explaining the political calculus behind it. And what I am also saying is I don't think it works in a real world situation when we talking about what the U.S. is actually doing overseas, what kind of figures are coming out on the labor department, every month on jobs reports. Unless they want to start playing those kinds of games, I mean playing games with crowd size is one thing, if they want to start messing with actual statistics that come out of the government, I could be wrong on that, but I don't actually think it will work.
POWERS: I think the government is absolutely capable of lying about those kinds of things. The whole problem with the WikiLeaks, if you remember all the things that were leaks about national security, that we were not getting the full story, for example on NSA spying. There are lies on the mission and there is the overt kind of lying and so I think if you are going to lie about something where, we can actually can pull-up the pictures and look at them and they are saying, there were hundreds of thousands of people on the mall, we can see the mall, we can see that -- the people who believe Trump, they need to look at these pictures, and realize that it's just not true, you can see them all and you can see the area around the mall, there are not hundreds of thousands of people trying to get in and Sean Spicer stood there on the podium and said that. I'm sorry, a lot of people are cutting him a lot of slack, I mean, if I was ever asked to do something like that, I would quit.
HARLOW: All right guys, I got to leave it there. Stick with me we're going to get a quick break in and we'll talk about it much more after the break, a lot coming up this hour, the president's top advisor says he will not release his tax returns, ever. Despite his campaign promises to do so. Why? That is ahead, we are live from the nation's capital. We will be right back.
HARLOW: Welcome back. A top advisor to President Trump said he will not release his tax returns, even after the IRS audit he cited during the campaign is complete.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House responded that he is not going to release his tax returns, we litigated this all through the elections, and people didn't care. They voted for him. Let me make this very clear, most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office not what his look like, and you know full well that President Trump and his family are complying with all the ethical rules, everything they need to do to step away from his businesses and be a full-time president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Trump is breaking a campaign promise that he repeated time and time again, let's go back in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Not releasing tax returns, because as you know they're under audit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every president since the '70s has released their tax returns.
TRUMP: The only ones who care about my tax returns are the reporters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It depends on the audit.
TRUMP: Not a big deal. When they ordered this complete, I would release my returns. I have no problem with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Donald Trump has every intention of releasing his tax returns, once a routine audit is complete.
TRUMP: So the answer is I release, hopefully before the election. I release and I would like to release, by the way you learn very little from a tax return.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Now you will not see them. Nothing in the IRS rules by the waive that prevents anyone from releasing their tax returns even while they are under audit. My panel is back to debate and joining us Democratic strategist and Clinton supporter Maria Cardona and super delegate and Paris Dennard the member of the National Diversity Coalition for Donald Trump, thank you guys all for being here. One point of fact, it's not true that the American people don't care about the tax returns, a poll was just done by CNN and ORC, 74 percent of people say yes, Trump should release his tax returns, 23 percent say no. Doesn't mean they don't care about their own, of course they only care about their own a little bit more, but they want to see the president, Paris, to you. What do make of Kellyanne Conway arguments that the American people don't care?
PARIS DENNARD, NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION: Well, I mean, listen, I am a Republican, I support President Trump and I don't think, I personally don't care, I think that I agree with Kellyanne, I'm more concerned about my taxes, my family is concerned with their taxes more so than Donald Trump's personal taxes, because we know he is wealthy, we know he is not going to be bought up or paid for by anybody. He is his own man. That is why (inaudible).
HARLOW: How do we know that? Let's talk about what else you learn from a tax return, because every president since Jimmy Carter has released their tax returns. Only Gerald Forbes is the last one not to, you learn for example charitable contributions, you learn about any possible business ties, to say questions about whether he has any ties to Russia. So we're not going to know that otherwise.
[17:25:14] DENNARD: We also know that the president has no conflict of interest.
HARLOW: No we don't. We so don't know that.
DENNARD: The constitution said there's no conflict of interest when you're president.
HARLOW: I'm not going to debate the constitution for this entire panel, but the (inaudible) law says -- which is a different part of what you're referring to the law that says, the president can make a lot of money while he is the president. He can run businesses, et cetera. There's another part of the (inaudible) law that says that you cannot have any influence or what so ever from foreign governments. And that can be seen as influential if you have business ties to them.
DENNARD: Right and he said if he does make any money. That will be donated to charity.
HARLOW: that is through his hotel. Maria Cardona?
MARIA CARDONA, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: This is something that we have seen throughout the campaign, he doesn't care about this. And yes, he lied saying that he was going to release his tax returns, but we know that he is the candidate that has said and talked about things that are just the biggest lies in modern history.
HARLOW: Maria, you may have believe what he said he would release them, you don't know this lines.
CARDONA: Absolutely not. My own opinion, I don't think he ever had the intention to release his tax returns. That is fine. Let's all accept that he is not going to release his tax returns, right? They already told us. The American people do care about it for I think very good reasons, because we don't know what is in there, we don't know what possible conflicts are in there, I think the emolument's clause is something that a lot of experts has said, the moment that he took the oath, he was in violation of the emolument's clause. There are a couple of good government groups that have already filed suit. So we'll see what happens. But this, I think, underscores one of the reasons why, this is a man who is taking office with one of the lowest approval ratings that we have seen in recent history.
HARLOW: I will get back to you, Ryan listen, as we know the New York Times, that big front page story a few months ago, he released his 1995 tax returns, do you expect now giving these statements that we'll see more of that?
LIZZA: I mean maybe. I think Trump has had to give his tax returns to various entities over the years, especially when he was in the gambling world, so there are copies theoretically out there that aren't just under his control. I don't know, but if anyone wants to leak them, go to the New Yorker.com, we are secure. A server called strong box and you can unanimously give those to me. I hope they don't. I think the American people as you pointed out, do want to see them. I mean we would love charitable contributions, we know about any foreign sources of income. To me one of the questions it raises is through the entire campaign, he promised he would do this once the audit was over. And a lot of people went on our air and on other shows and said don't worry. He is going to do this when the audit is over, trust us. What are all those people going to do now? For his vice president, he is made liars not just out of himself by breaking this promise, but all of those people who defended him and said he would two this. So I think this is going to be an interesting moment now to all those same folks go out and say we didn't mean it? If any of you have every read or well that is a dynamic that is not healthy in a democracy.
POWERS: Yes, I think that, that is right and I think it is like giving him a benefit of the doubt and say he didn't lie, let's just say he change his mind. What about keeping your word, what about the fact that you did tell people that you were going to do this, and now the reason he is not doing it, we are being told is because nobody cares, I mean you do need to take seriously that you made a promise to do something and to stop saying that nobody cares when every poll actually shows like 2/3 of the country actually do care. And Kellyanne said something along the line. You know they're complying with all the ethical standards. How do we know that? Like how can we possibly know that?
CARDONA: There's an investigation that says there's nothing to indicate that he has done everything that he said he was going to do to separate himself from his business.
HARLOW: What do the American people sitting home, it's Sunday night for them, they're sitting down at the dinner table and they're saying what do I do with this information? How does this help me moving forward? What should they take away from?
DRUCKER: I think we need to understand that there was one candidate in the race that released 30 years of tax returns and one candidate in the race that released none. And the guy that released none won the election. There are plenty of Republicans...
HARLOW: Saying he was going to release them.
DRUCKER: Yes, but they didn't care enough, you know the American people care about a lot of things and there are plenty of Republicans that I have talked to that would prefer him to release his took returns and voted for him anyway and would vote for him anyway again. And so I think there is a couple of issues here, there is the issue of whether or not our democracy is healthier and the system is healthier if you have candidates release tax returns so we can understand where their financial ties are and things of that nature, especially with Trump and his worldwide business ties, there are plenty of questions there, but there's also the political element. American voters tend to make judgment based on their choices.
[17:30:14] HARLOW: You remember your colleague Selena Zeto wrote this line, that I will never forget and of course I can't exactly quote it right now, during the campaign and it said, something to the point of Trump supporters take him seriously not literally, those who oppose him take him literally not seriously. Is there a bit of that here?
LIZZA: Maybe, there's no way for any of us to know what single issue the voters decided was okay with Trump and what wasn't. Your argument is greatly complicated by the fact that there are 3 million people more that voted for Hillary Clinton. So if you believe the election...
DRUCKER: The system is decided by the states that matter than the Electoral College.
LIZZA: You're saying a majority supported one element of one of --
DRUCKER: This only matters in a political context of winning the election.
LIZZA: I'm just saying if you're going to use the election as decisive as any single piece of candidate's platform, it's not a great argument of one of that candidate actually got more votes.
POWERS: This is new argument that I find kind of insidious, frankly.
HARLOW: That the people don't care?
POWERS: It is just that people voted for him anything he does is ok. I do not remember this from Barack Obama when president that every time he did something, if Democrats just said, he won the election.
LIZZA: He said in the campaign he would release the taxes after the audit was over. So if you're saying that this is a referendum on that, the referendum is I support Donald Trump, because he is going to release them after the campaign.
DRUCKER: If you are the president of the United States and you won without releasing your tax returns, of course you're not going to release your tax returns. That doesn't mean it is the right thing to do.
LIZZA: Why of course?
HARLOW: Yes, why of course?
DRUCKER: Because any candidate who wins the presidency always assumes that whatever I did must from worked. That is how they all operate.
Voters have more faith in him than us and the system. He is using that to his advantage.
HARLOW: Final thought, because I think the question becomes many people will, you know, be asking why not release them once the audit is over? Is there anything to hide?
DENNARD: Poppy, I think you're absolutely right, and I think we need to dial back this conversation and look at what the question was pose to Kellyanne, that was in response to this online petition --
HARLOW: Which has 200,000 signatures and she said in response to that petition, the White House response is, we're not going to release it because of this petition.
HARLOW: I may have to quote right here. The White House response is he is not going to release his tax returns.
DENNARD: But it's in context of that petition. She did not say after the audit is done the president is not going to release his tax returns?
HARLOW: Do you think this wasn't a period statement, not releasing them, period. End of story?
DENNARD: That is the way I interpreted. We have not heard from the president himself about this situation. But this is in response to their petition.
We very often hear Trump advisors say one and he contradicts.
HARLOW: Thank you all very much. We appreciate it, Paris Dennard, Maria Cardona, Kirsten Powers, David Drucker, and Ryan Lizza.
Coming up for us, the White House today defending false statements delivered in press secretary Sean Spicer's first official briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, PRESS SECRETARY: You're saying it's a falsehood and they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary gave alternative facts to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Alternative facts, alternative facts are the number one things trending on twitter today, we're going the dive into all of it straight ahead with Brian Stelter.
[17:37:30] HARLOW: Alternative facts. That is one of the top things trending on twitter today. Why? Take a listen. Here's why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.
CONWAY: No, it doesn't. Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You're saying it's a falsehood, and they are giving Sean Spicer, our Press Secretary gave alternative facts to that. But the point really is...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute. Alternative facts, alternative facts, four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts, they're falsehoods.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: And that is a fact. Let's talk it over with Brian Stelter, Senior Media Correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources." you have been on TV all day today, my friend. Thank you very much for sticking around with me. I smile, but this is not funny at all.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: What is the alternative to facts? Alternative to facts is fictions. These are all elementary schools. Sort of we're going back to the definitions of words here. But Kellyanne Conway is really revealing some of the important when she talks about alternative facts.
HARLOW: We're talking about the crowd size at the inauguration and the points that Sean Spicer made, some of which were true and some of which were not true.
STELTER: Totally. I went to birthday parties and I could take a picture of the crowd and think I had a big party and be very popular or I could take a picture that makes me look pretty weak. I mean simply here, right there, there are pictures of Trump's inauguration that makes it look very impressive. Which I thought it was on TV. There are also pictures that the crowd was a lot smaller than from President Obama's inauguration. That is ok. Now the press was not actually talking much about that. You know on Friday and Saturday, you were on the air, they are actually not a big story, the crowd size in not a big story until Donald Trump made it a big story. Now we see a couple days later Kellyanne Conway bringing up this idea of alternative facts. But it is almost something important, I think our viewers kind of sense that Americans live in different echo chambers with different versions of reality. She is being very blunt about that, but it's been true for a while and it's becoming more and more true.
HARLOW: When you listen to what Sean Spicer said, you bring out just a few weeks ago, right? In Chicago, you have been talking about the importance of being trusted in his new position by the press.
STELTER: That is right. This was January 4th. He was actually on stage with David Axelrod in the University of Chicago. I think it's worth watching and see what he said then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:40:00] SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The one thing whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent, you have your integrity. I may tell reporter, I can't comment on something or I'm not able to discuss that. But I have never lied and I don't intend -- I would argue that anybody who's an aspiring communicator adhere to that, because if you lose the respect and trust of the press corps, you got nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: He says he is got nothing, that if you lose the trust and credibility of the press corps, right now he does have a credibility problem, and Monday will be a pivotal day. Spicer is having a press conference tomorrow.
HARLOW: Credibility problem with the press corps or credibility problem with the American public, because the administration could argue, you the media care about this, the American public do not.
STELTER: And another thing that most people do care about crowd sizes, I don't think it matters very little compared to all the issues that you were talking about earlier this hour, that said, Spicer stood at the podium and read from something that was written by someone else or Trump help him with it. And said at least five things in five minutes that weren't true, that should be concern to a lot of Americans including the Trump voters as well as Trump.
HARLOW: To Maggie Hagerman of the New York Times, who you quote in your nightly news letter, that I read religiously, this is no longer a campaign or the RNC spokesperson, this is a taxpayer funded briefing room in which several falsehoods were told. Are we approaching a post factual situation that we're going to have to deal with as the press?
STELTER: Post fact, it's one of those new phrases, like alternative facts, that we have been hearing lately. I don't think we're in a post fact, post truth world unless all of us, we as American citizens let it happen. Yes, some people reject the facts that are reported on CNN and elsewhere, it doesn't make them any less true. Like the crowd size are more important that other issues. Maggie is absolutely right, this is about the credibility of the government spokesman, Spicer is the top government spokesman, it was only day one, but it was a rough day one. Maybe Monday's brief room will be much stronger and much active.
HARLOW: We got to wrap up, but as you know the CIA, the president has a running war with the media.
STELTER: Fact check.
STELTER: True, he does believe it is a war with the media.
HARLOW: Brian Stelter, thank you very much, as always. Up next, President Trump hoax the relations with Russia, as new data shows that western countries are only starting to realize that the cold war has moved online. What are we talking about? We're going to dive into this next.
[17:45:48] HARLOW: Russian hacking, something discussed quite a bit during the election and in affront to an American democracy, a new cold war of sorts some say, being fought online. Russia's interference in the U.S. election is nothing new. CNN Money Investigator Reporter Jose Pagliery joins me now, he is a specialist in all of this, hacking, security, privacy, and his latest piece is titled "The emergence of the cyber cold war." Thank you for being here.
JOSE PAGLIERY, CNN MONEY INVESTIGATOR REPORTER: Happy to do it.
HARLOW: In your piece, you outline all of these and you pose the question many are asking, are we at cyber war? So what is the answer, are we?
PAGLIERY: Well we need to redefine what that term means. The conventional way of thinking in the hacking and cyber security field has always been cyber war is when someone dies, when something blows up. Cyber war looks like an actual war, but what we have seen Russia do during the latest U.S. elections is forcing people to redefine that, and realize that cyber war is really about manipulation of information, manipulation of public perception, when you break into something and you leak it, and you reveal it. You influence something, so what the term they are starting to use now, is that we are at a cyber cold war, we are spying on each other, we're positioning for further attacks and things could really quickly escalate from here.
HARLOW: Let us not forget, this is not something that the United States abstains from? This is something that every country partakes in the difference here is that Russia used it to try to influence the U.S. election. You reviewed a NATO assessment of a decade of Russian hacking operations, going back through, you know through Georgia, through Estonia and then recently through Ukraine and the Ukrainian election in 2014. What did you find? PAGLIERY: Well the first point is that, if you look back over the
course of ten years, you see that Russia isn't new at this. This is really just a re-emergence of the cold war. The spine, the influencing on foreign nations, this is something that they have been engaged at for a long time now. And so in Ukraine, we saw what looked very much like a parallel in the United States. When the protesters started protesting against the pro Russian leadership there, Russian hackers started to hacking the websites of protesters, choking up there communications, when Russian troops entered Crimea, the hackers in Russia started posting fake news, they hacked into government offices across Europe to buy the soldiers time so that the hackers teamed up with a propagandist - so that people are questioning whether or not they are soldiers in Crimea, when in fact they have been there for weeks or months. And so the third point here is that the Russian hackers also tried to hack into the election systems there, posting fake results, something you actually saw here, where hackers broke into election commissions here in the United States to steal voter database rolls and the hackers in Russia also targeted politicians in Ukraine and leaked embarrassing e-mails there, something that we also saw in the DNC and with John Podesta.
HARLOW: We have got some big elections coming up in the next few months in Europe. And there is concern that Russia will do the same thing to try to influence those elections, for example in France to help perhaps the far right, candidate Maria Le Pen and others. Here is what former Vice President Joe Biden had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL: With many countries in Europe slated to hold elections this year, we should expect further attempts by Russian to meddle in the democratic process. It will occur again, I promise you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Is there any evidence to back up his assertion?
PAGLIERY: Yes, and actually this is the insidious sort of nature of cyber attacks, there isn't any evidence right now, but in fact you just have to look back to 2015, when Russian hackers broke into the German parliament, you wonder what they were doing there, stealing information from that, right? This is the kind of thing where hackers will steal things knowing those years ahead, they want to resurface things in order to influence an election and so, absolutely.
HARLOW: Jose Pagliery, it's a fascinating read, go to CNNmoney.com and you can read it all there. Thank you so much, nice to have you on.
PAGLIERY: Thank you.
HARLOW: All right. Coming up, for many people here in Washington, so many people came in to witness this historic inauguration, it was that very special moment for many of them and now comes the hard work for President Trump who has promised a lot, like every presidential candidate does to his base. And what it all means to them.
[17:53:26] HARLOW: Welcome back to our special live coverage from the nation's capitol. A beautiful, a little bit rainy Sunday evening here in Washington. A live looked at the White House right there as you see it all lit up. With a new occupant indeed and there you have the capitol. Here in the nation's capital, we witnessed another piece of history, the peaceful transition from one president to another. Our very own Fredricka Whitfield spoke with people who traveled along way to get here, to be part of Donald Trump historic inauguration. She asked them, what they expect and what they want to see from the new president in his first 100 days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the President-Elect of the United States Donald John Trump.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: How does this compare to other inaugural occasions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been unbelievable. I have been to every inauguration since Ronald Reagan. Just the crowds and the people, you have to have goose bumps every time you come to one of these things.
TRUMP: I Donald John Trump.
WHITFIELD: What do you expect in the first 100 days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to see a lot of activity. That is what he is sort of promised through his campaign and what he is promised since the election. That he is going to get to work. He is a businessman and he knows you have to take action and do what you said you're going to do. So like him or not, I think you're going to see a lot of activity and a lot of things happen.
TRUMP: This moment is your moment. It belongs to you.
[17:55:02] WHITFIELD: He said this moment belongs to you. What was your interpretation of that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I just think like he said throughout the campaign, sort of the government left the people behind and it's like he is giving the government back to the people when it belongs. It was like a murmur through the crowd. That is what people want. They want to take our government back. That is what he is doing is giving it back to us.
WHITFIELD: What are you hoping to see in the first 100 days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the first 100 days of what he is promised as far as bringing work back here to the United States and all of us working together.
TRUMP: God bless America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: You are live in the CNN newsroom. We have a lot ahead tonight. President Trump seems ready to make a lot of major changes in American foreign policy, one of them, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That could have major consequences not just for Israel, but the entire Middle East. We'll delve into that, live from Jerusalem next.
HARLOW: Top of the hour 6:00 p.m. here in the nation's capital a beautiful night in Washington. You are watching a special edition of CNN Newsroom live from Washington tonight, I am Poppy Harlow, and so glad you are with us. President Donald Trump is making the White House...