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Trump Has Running War with Media; More Than One Million Marched Against Trump in the U.S. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired January 22, 2017 - 05:00   ET



[05:00:05] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a running war with the media.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I have never seen a president that unhinged.

TRUMP: They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is the most effective when he sticks to the script.

TRUMP: They sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the Intelligence Community.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: If Donald Trump feels like he has been attacked, then he is going to do something to try to attack you back.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One of his main gripes about the news media was about our reporting about his crowd sizes.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I can't think of anything more important to the American people.

ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good early morning to you on a Sunday, 5:00 a.m. So good to have your company as always. I'm Christi Paul as we're here from Washington.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. Good to have you with us.

PAUL: President Trump says he is ready to get to work. He still doesn't have a Cabinet in place to work with fully, of course. So far we do know there were just two members have been confirmed. That is a historically low number for a first day in office. You see the screen there and all the people that have yet to be.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about votes tomorrow right here on Capitol Hill. First up, Congressman Mike Pompeo, nominee for CIA director. Mr. Trump -- president stopped by Langley, CIA headquarters, yesterday to speak with the Intelligence Community. Here's some of what he said.


TRUMP: There's nobody that feels stronger about the Intelligence Community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There is nobody.


TRUMP: And the wall behind me is very, very special. I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.


TRUMP: Right? 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 your number one stop, it is exactly the opposite. Exactly. And they understand that, too.


BLACKWELL: Well, soon after Nick Shapiro, former CIA deputy chief of staff and White House spokesman for President Obama, tweeted this. "Former CIA director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency Heroes. Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself."

Also upset with President Trump more than one million people who marched in Washington and other cities across the country, across the world in solidarity for women's rights.

PAUL: We just heard there from President Trump lashing out at the media again at the CIA headquarters. His press secretary Sean Spicer had even more to say about that.

BLACKWELL: CNN's White House correspondent Athena Jones joins us now.

And, Athena, this was, let's say, unusual, unorthodox. First press conference to come out, read a statement and then just walk away.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is not what you expect from a White House press secretary. This was his first meeting with the press in a formal way on the president's first full day in office. And so you don't expect such a meeting to include accusations about the media being dishonest.

He talked about how some in the media were doing deliberately false reporting, told the media what we should be reporting on. This is not what you expect from a spokesman for the White House. It speaks to what seems to be an already toxic relationship. You heard the president talk about this running war with the press. It's disheartening just to be starting out in this way. And you have to wonder, what is the long-term strategic communications plan?

I mean, part of running a government, part of getting things done, getting the president's agenda through is going to involve the press. It's going to involve getting your message out. And this seems to be a difficult way to start with the press if you're going to try to get that done.

One point that Spicer made was that he said there's been a lot of talk about holding the president accountable -- for the media to hold the president accountable. He says, well, we're going to hold the media accountable.


JONES: This works both ways. And he said point blank at the end of his remarks before he left without taking questions as you mentioned, he said that the president was going to take his message directly to the people.

This is something he's already been doing. He's sort of throwing down the gauntlet saying we're going to do this even more, try to go around -- perhaps go around the press.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Maybe an extension of his Twitter strategy that Sean Spicer in some ways will be an extension of Twitter. He's got now more than 140 characters as he's got his own press secretary.

[05:05:04] You talk about accountability, stay with us because we're going to talk more about that in a moment.

Let's talk about some of the things that Sean Spicer presented as facts. I mean, you heard from the press secretary there making several claims during his media attacks, specifically targeting coverage of the crowds at the president's inauguration.

PAUL: So we want to fact-check a few of these here. First up, floor coverings at the National Mall, Spicer and his team were heated it seemed when photos showing large spaces of white flooring there were tweeted out. Here's what he had to say.


SPICER: This was the first time in our nation's history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass in the mall. That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing where in years past the grass eliminated this visual.


PAUL: Just in transparency here, I want to show you a side-by-side view of President Obama's 2013 inauguration compared to President Trump's. If you look at the area we've highlighted for you, you can see white ground coverings. They were there back in that day as well.

BLACKWELL: And there are several reporters who also recalled the plastic ground coverings being laid to protect the National Mall there in 2013. That makes Spicer's claim about the coverings being used for the first time in history false.

PAUL: Let's talk, too, about Spicer's claim about metal detectors. Listen to this.


SPICER: This is was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the wall preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.


BLACKWELL: Well, here's the fact. The Secret Service says the secure area for this year's inauguration was larger than in years past. But the extra measures included only fences and bag checks, not magnetometers.

PAUL: So Spicer's claim that metal detectors deterred crowds that also is proving to be false.

BLACKWELL: And now let's just talk about the crowd size because that's what much of this moment in the press room was about. Here's what Sean Spicer had to say about the media outlets reporting the number who showed up at the swearing in.


SPICER: No one had numbers. Because the National Park Service which controls the National Mall does not put any out.


PAUL: Now it's accurate that the National Park Service does not provide an official crowd count for the inauguration. Spicer's claim there no one had size -- crowd size numbers, that is absolutely true. And we're doing this just out of transparency. We're not trying to attack anybody, trying to put him in check, we're just making sure that we have the facts out there.

BLACKWELL: Accountability is a god thing. Fact-checking is a good thing. But when Sean Spicer says that X, Y and Z are true, we are going to do our job and tell you indeed if they are. You can't present them as facts if they are not.

PAUL: That's our job.


PAUL: And speaking of crowds, because crowd numbers have been on topic over the last 24 hours. BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: The Women's March on Washington, we're talking about massive crowds with celebrities, with activists, with politicians, with men. It wasn't just a bunch of women as well. They all sent a message to incoming President Donald Trump on his first full day in office there.

BLACKWELL: Their message? They will not be ignored, they will protect women's rights and other issues as well. From coast to coast and beyond our coast, around the world, people poured into streets to galvanize support for, as I said, not only women's rights but equality in general. And let's talk about London, Paris, Barcelona, Sidney, they held similar sister marches in solidarity as well. More than a million people took to the streets around the world to protest Donald Trump's agenda in what may have been the largest organized political demonstration in our nation's capital in some time.

PAUL: Yes. CNN's Brynn Gingras was there. She joins us now.

What struck you? Because you were out in the middle of all these people. What struck you the most?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Honestly, my team and I walked much of it, even from where the buses parked which was two miles away from where the march was even going to begin. We were shuffling. I mean, that's how many people were there. So shuffling for miles. What really struck me were people who were in wheelchairs, who were trying to navigate even grassy areas to get just through the crowds. People on crutches. I mean, if you have a sprained ankle and you're coming to this, and marching two miles, this is important to you.

But of course as you guys said, this was headlined by politicians, there were celebrities, and their voices were just collectively heard -- excuse me -- with hundreds of thousands, millions of people, around the world, sending, as you said, Christi, a clear message, to Donald Trump, just his first day into the presidency.


AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS: The president is not America. We are America.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Marches for women's rights in the United States and around the world on President Trump's first full day in office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.

[05:10:04] GINGRAS: One of the biggest in Washington where protesters filled Pennsylvania Avenue and then headed for the White House. Some of the protesters there came driven by fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid of anybody who lacks the empathy to see their neighbor who's different than them and not treat them as equally American as anybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to say to Trump we are not afraid of him, that we are together.

GINGRAS: On the National Mall, celebrities rallied the crowd.

FERRERA: If we commit to what aligns us, if we stand together steadfast and determined, then we stand a chance at saving the soul of our country.

ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty. I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonya, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.

MADONNA, SINGER: Good did not win this election. But good will win in the end.

GINGRAS: Organizers said there were 600 marches across the globe. People gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and in London with the message for the new American president -- your decisions will affect the whole world.

KATE ALLEN, DIR. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL U.K.: I'm here, Amnesty International is here, amongst all of these thousands of other people, because we are concerned that rights that have been fought for and rights that we have been used to are under attack now.


GINGRAS: And there were so many different reasons as to why people were protesting, these men, women and children. But one thing is clear, there were many promises being made. And that was that some saying they're going to continue protesting in their own neighborhoods, sometimes even in some cases they said within the first 100 days of his presidency.

BLACKWELL: And some people even suggesting they're going to run for office after Michael Moore asked that question.

PAUL: Yes. Exactly. Now, Brynn, stay with us. We're going to talk to you more. Athena is going to stick around as well.

We're also inviting our CNN Politics reporters Eugene Scott and Tom LoBianco back. We'll have more on this after a short break. Stay close.


[05:15:22] BLACKWELL: Welcome back. 15 minutes after the hour now, and we are continuing our deep dive on the president's first full day in the office. And we have our panel back with us.

PAUL: Let's talk about it, of course, with Brynn Gingras, Athena Jones, Eugene Scott and Tom LoBianco. We were all surprised, I think, all taken aback, as I'm sure a lot of people were to be talking about crowd numbers yesterday as we just watched Sean Spicer's press conference -- his first press conference, where he walked off, he didn't take any questions.

Tom, unpack for us, would you please, what tone that set moving forward?

TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, we were just talking about this, but coming back from the break, it's kind of like Trump is the Howard Stern of presidents here. Like he loves watching us be stunned and shocked by this.

Now if you go and talk to his supporters, they love this stuff. You know, they don't care whether or not, you know, we're focused on the first thing as a crowd count that they talk or the first thing they talk about is some sweeping economic policy.

Now we care about that because we knew that, you know, there's important issues out there. There's big questions about what he's going to do. We still don't know. You know, yes, it is incredibly early. We're 48 hours in. Not much has happened. We do have an Obamacare executive order.


LOBIANCO: But that's what we're looking for. We're looking for the meat. It is so hard to track Donald Trump based on what he says. It is -- you know, we've all covered many politicians over the years. He has to be the toughest.

PAUL: Well, he's not a politician. I mean, he is real.


BLACKWELL: Well, he is now.

PAUL: People voted for him. He is now, you're right. You're right, he is now.

BLACKWELL: He's a politician.

PAUL: But are we witnessing a learning curve to some degree on his part, so to speak as well?

LOBIANCO: Possibly. Yes. Sure. You know, look, he's going to attack us. That's fine. OK? That's what -- that's his style. Politicians do of all stripes do that to a degree. He does it to a greater degree. That's normal. That's fine. You know, and -- but we need to give a little bit, too. And yes, there is a learning curve. You could see Sean Spicer reading off a statement. You know, we've all dealt with Spicer before in various capacities. I'm sure that, you know, that might not have been the first thing he would have said if it was up to him, but it's not up to him.

BLACKWELL: You point out that it's easy to attack the media. And I will point out that there were applause after the president said that the media are some of the most dishonest people he's ever met. There were applause in that room.

JONES: Right.

BLACKWELL: But when we talk about where the president has taken the focus, he's been a politician now since he came down that escalator and ran for president. They know that by bringing this up especially in front of the CIA, in front of that wall, that that will be the story. He has to know that by now.

JONES: You hope that he knows that. But one point about the applause in that room, that room wasn't just long-time senior CIA staffers and operatives. It also included staff who entered a lottery in order to win a spot to come into the room. So that is a self-selecting group. You would expect people to be Donald Trump fans if they are willing to go to the trouble to enter this lottery.


JONES: And so it's important to know that in the crowd, yes, there was some applause, but I can tell you from our producer, White House producer, Kevin (INAUDIBLE), who was in the room on pool duty, that those senior staffers were stone faced as he described it. They were stoic. They were not clapping. And that is another area when it comes to stagecraft, they really got this down. I mean, if you're looking -- if you're a viewer on television at home, you don't know who is in the crowd. We weren't allowed to shoot video of the crowd, of course, being the CIA. So that kind of worked to their favor.

But we're not talking about here, I mean, you said, fine, there's a learning curve. OK. Well, here's the question, was the President Trump prepared? Was he briefed? He didn't seem to be --


BLACKWELL: He has people making remarks for him now. He just went up there and spoke extemporaneously.

JONES: And that's what a president has to do, you have to be able to speak in a clear, concise way at times when called for and say the right things, hit the right notes.


JONES: He could have spoken for five minutes about thanking the CIA for all their work, talking about being -- looking forward to working and how important they are, the contributions they made. Instead, he's talking about crowd sizes. He could have been talking about the Obamacare executive order and then highlighted the fact that --


JONES: He's complying with that promise.

BLACKWELL: It didn't have to be very long.

PAUL: And the thing is, this was a very -- this was hallowed ground so to speak, according to Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He said, you know, I go there in front of those stars and I pause and I pray like everybody does for those men and women who have died, who are represented there. And he said, and I want to get this verbiage correct, he said if Mr. Trump didn't see that, he needs to. Do you think President Trump is waking up today realizing the enormity

of that?

[05:20:02] EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I certainly hope he is listening to people within his camp and who have his best interest in mind who say that he could have handled that situation differently. National security is an American issue, it's not a media versus the White House issue. It's not a partisan issue. It's an issue that everyone cares about. And I think what's very interesting bringing in the women's march, we saw women yesterday globally across the world discussing how they are concerned about national security issues.

And that was a place where that could have been addressed with just far more gusto than what we saw. Specifically considering ongoing concerns with Russia's involvement, not just in the 2016 election, but the fact that the Russian government has made it clear that they are taking notes according to intelligence agencies on how to replicate what they did in 2016 with other governments around the world. It would have been great to hear how Donald Trump is going to work with U.S. intelligence to address that.

BLACKWELL: You know, Brynn, what we heard from California Senator Camilla Harris yesterday was, you know, when she's asked to speak about women's issues, she says, great, let's talk about the economy. Great, let's talk about national security. Because those are women's issues. And that's what we saw yesterday at these marches.

GINGRAS: Absolutely. I mean, we were talking -- it was deeply personal for everyone who came out yesterday for whichever reason, if it's gay rights, if it's abortion, if it's immigration, it is deeply personal. I was talking to a woman who just found out she was pregnant and she just found out she's having a girl. And that's what motivated her to come yesterday and walk.


GINGRAS: You know, there are all these stories about why they came. And they just want to be acknowledged and they are not being acknowledged.

BLACKWELL: You know, there's one part of the meeting, I should say, or the remarks yesterday at Langley that I want to highlight. And we get to fact-checking and accountability of what the president said yesterday when he said that the media makes it sound like there's a feud with the intelligence community. I just want to let you know that it's exactly the opposite.

Let's play the president in his own words, back on January 11th, at that news conference, and here's what the president said. The media didn't invent this. This is Donald Trump in his own words.


TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful than the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it's a disgrace. And I say that, and I say that, and that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it's a disgrace. That information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.


BLACKWELL: So that's the president invoking Nazi Germany. Also tweeted out intelligence in quotes. So when people hear the president say the media has invented this feud, he said those things.

SCOTT: He said those things and it's very important that people who are on the Trump train hear him say the things that they have ignored and that they accused the media of inventing because they did not. Those are words that Republican lawmakers themselves pushed back on, comparing U.S. intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, did that. Not the media.

And so it would have been helpful to people in the agencies yesterday to hear, I really value you, I maybe walk back those words. And I understand that I need you and you need me to make this country safe.

BLACKWELL: Athena, does he need to clean up the clean up now?

JONES: I would say so. I think that there should be some acknowledgment. I don't know that there will be any acknowledgment that he should have spoken in a different way to the people at the CIA or that Sean Spicer should have conducted himself differently in that first briefing, which by the way, we talked a lot about unprecedented this last year, that to me is unprecedented certainly in recent memory to have things start out that way.

I think the big reminder, the big takeaway here is that Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America. He is the leader of the whole country, he needs to be talking about concerns that go beyond crowd sizes and a fight with the media. We can be talking about Syria, about Russia, about all kinds of domestic issues. And so we would expect to see him shift in that direction and maybe speak a little less off the cuff.

BLACKWELL: All things he promised to talk about on the first day.

PAUL: And we'll see tomorrow.


PAUL: OK. We do not expect to hear from him today. There's nothing on the agenda publicly for him we should point out. Does not mean that we will not hear from him. We'll be letting you know if we do, but, Brynn, Athena, Eugene, Tom, thank you both -- thank you all so much for being here. We appreciate it.

But listen, one of the biggest decisions of Donald Trump's presidency, especially in these first 24, 48 hours here, the Supreme Court picks to replace the late Justice Scalia. Next, we're going to -- when we believe he may make his choice, who is on the list, who is at the top of it, we'll talk about that just ahead.