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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Trump White House Holds First Briefing; President Trump Held Meeting with Business Leaders; U.S. Official Confirms Trident Missile Failure. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 23, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:00] SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- phone with both leaders his desire to reform it. But, obviously, his goal was to have that
discussion when they come in person.
And I think I mentioned yesterday the foreign minister of Mexico is going to come on the 25th, 26th to sort of set the table and have some of those
meetings ahead of President Pena Nieto's meeting here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . and now that he's officially in office, don't they deserve --
SPICER: Well, again, he's been -- this is his first working day. I think he's been pretty busy and robust, not just today, but in the two-and-a-half
other days that we had.
And I think you're going to see a lot more come out but, you know, there's a lot of things that have to get done and a lot of things that we're
working on as a staff to get him prepared. He's going to continue to have very, very robust weeks.
Thank you guys. I appreciate it. This was a good first one. Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sean, one more please, Sean. One more please.
SPICER: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you sir.
SPICER: Well, I couldn't leave.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations.
SPICER: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question, last two days, I have gone to a number of balls, Asian balls, including the Asian-America and Indian-American balls.
And most of those people are supporting President Pena Nieto actions and also trade, and most important for us is the -- on U.S.-India business
council (inaudible). He represents 500 Fortune companies to and from India.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His companies are supporting.
So, my question is, where do we go as far as U.S.-India and U.S.-Asia -- U.S.-India business relations are concerned?
SPICER: Look, thank you for the question.
I think that, whether it's India or other countries throughout the globe, today, as I mentioned, I mean the goal is to figure out countries and
markets that we want to access that benefit the American worker, help us grow manufacturing and the services industry.
And so that's one area that we'll continue the work with the prime minister there on. But we've got a very robust agenda.
Thank you, guys. It's been a pleasure. God bless. See you tomorrow.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Sean Spicer, the new White House press secretary, answering reporters' questions for more than an hour, an hour
and 15 minutes-plus, in fact, at the White House Briefing Room.
A very different Sean Spicer than we saw on Saturday.
Jake Tapper, the main headlines in your mind coming out of this briefing?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I think there are a bunch. And, yes, this was a much more traditional press conference, given that he didn't take any
First, he gave more details about the communications between the incoming national security advisor, General Mike Flynn, and the ambassador from
Russia than we've ever heard. He said it was one call, four topics, loss of life that some Russian soldiers had experienced, Christmas greetings, a
summit, a conference about battling ISIS, and then setting up a call between President Trump and Vladimir Putin.
He also talked -- he responded to the question about whether President Trump had spoken with any of the intelligence community leaders about
investigations into Russian connections between his team and Russia. He said he didn't believe that President Trump had talked to anybody in the
intelligence community about these investigations. And he has not made any indication he would stop an investigation of any sort.
Two that were pretty consequential in addition to those. One, he was asked if he agreed with secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson that the U.S.
should take steps to try to provide -- or try to prevent China from having access to these manufactured, manmade islands that they've built. And he
basically gave a very aggressive response.
"If they're in international waters, yes, we are going to make sure that we defend international territories from any actions."
And that's a very robust defense. And that's going to raise a lot of eyebrows in Beijing. And then, lastly, he really seemed to walk back the
idea of relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He said, "It's very early in the decision-making process." And then he said, "If there had been a decision, we wouldn't be going through a
All indications from what we had heard from the Trump team before was that there had been a decision, this was definitely going to happen. Certainly,
the incoming, assuming he is confirmed, U.S. ambassador to Israel, seems to be under the impression that the embassy is without question moving, Sean
Spicer much more circumspect on that.
BLITZER: This was the Sean Spicer that you and I have known for years as compared to what we saw on Saturday, when he came out with that statement
that was so angry.
TAPPER: Yes, that's the Sean Spicer that I think a lot of us have worked with in the last few years up until about a month ago, and let's hope that
this Sean Spicer stays with us.
BLITZER: Dana, what was the main headline out of your mind?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, since we're on that topic, the fact that our friend John Karl from ABC came at him, he was
one of the first in that front row to get a question, with the one thing that we all as reporters want to know. Are you going to tell us the truth?
Are you going be sure to tell us the truth? And --
TAPPER: Because he didn't on Saturday.
BASH: Because he didn't on Saturday. He came out with a whole bunch of facts which were not facts. They were --
[00:05:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lies.
BASH: Incorrect. They were absolutely incorrect.
And he answered yes. And he did -- he didn't do a full mea culpa, but he did enough of a mea culpa that he didn't necessarily get things right. And
I think that's important. And I think that -- I'm hoping that we are all, the White House and in the body of Sean Spicer, the spokesperson for the
White House, and the press corps are back on the right -- on the right side and on the right foot.
And it's important, because, if he doesn't say that, everything else that he said about China, about Russia, about the things that really matter, not
crowd size, would have to be in question. So that's why that was a very important exchange to happen.
BLITZER: He basically said he got some bad information that he provided on Saturday.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He did. He did. And then he said, when you have bad information it's a two-way street was his point,
that the press ought to do that and we ought to do that.
He did channel Donald Trump a lot at the end of this press conference talking about how the media seems to want to undermine his credibility,
meaning the president's credibility.
But I do think, as Jake was pointing out, we got some serious informing out of Sean today. One other thing in addition to Jerusalem was he did not
rule out joint military action with Russia in Syria. And he was asked about working with Assad a couple of times. And he did not rule that out.
He was also asked very directly about whether China would benefit from the withdrawal from the TPP. And he didn't seem to answer that head on either.
So I think that we did see a little bit of walking back on -- certainly on Jerusalem, and question marks being raised about whether in fact we would
participate in joint military exercises in Syria with Russia.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Adding to that list, Wolf, the whole issue of deporting the children of illegal immigrants, they have been
walking this back since the election.
And even when he talked about comprehensive immigration legislation, he seems to be hewing much closer to what is the Obama administration's line,
which is to focus on those with some kind of criminal background. I think that's significant. This is a big issue all around the country, on college
campuses and elsewhere on the issue of sanctuary cities. So I think that was important.
I'm feeling a little less generous toward him in terms of how he handled this whole Saturday business. Again, the issue is not the crowd size.
That's so unimportant. The issue is that we have a president who's obsessed with it and obsessed with ratings and who says -- and Sean Spicer
said again today the president wanted to go to the CIA because he heard about this whole rift with the CIA made up by the media.
The president of the United States suggested and compared our intelligence chiefs to Nazi Germany. Right? So, they haven't walked that back. That
still hangs out there. That's very significant.
TAPPER: They haven't even deleted the tweet. It's still there.
GREGORY: And something that Nazi Germany would have done. Again, I mean I think does the president want to spend time really examining what Nazi
Germany actually did as Hitler came to power and we can have that discussion and we can compare it?
I mean incredibly reckless and irresponsible. He's the leader of the free world and said that, and Sean Spicer didn't walk it back.
BORGER: -- intelligence.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean I think at some point he said of the whole CIA thing that he was going to the
CIA to essentially say don't believe what you're hearing.
And, of course, what they were hearing were things that he was saying about them. It wasn't spin from the White House.
It's clear that these press conferences are going to be very different in the Trump era. I mean usually, you know, a press secretary goes to the
front row. He goes to the networks early on. And this is going to be much different. He talked about adding the Skype seats, for instance.
And I think he is obviously trying to give something of an olive branch to the press. He kind of made light of the whole thing that happened on
Saturday early on. But, again, I think there is a sort of too clever by half approach to this.
He likened, for instance, the whole notion of what happened on Saturday, he said, well, papers make mistakes, too, sometimes, news outlets make
mistakes sometimes, and then you issue a correction.
This White House so far and this candidate, no corrections, no sort of apologies, no omissions of making false statements.
BLITZER: David Chalian, he did say as White House press secretary his intention was to always tell the truth. Maybe there could be a mistake
here and there, but he would quickly fix it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your intention to always tell the truth from that podium and will you pledge never to knowingly say something that is not
SPICER: It is. It's an honor to do this. And, yes, I believe that we have to be honest with the American people.
I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. There are certain things that we may miss -- we may not fully understand when we come out. But our
intention is never to lie to you, Jonathan. Our job is to make sure that sometimes -- you're in the same boat. I mean there are times when you guys
tweet something out or write a story and you publish a correction.
[00:10:06] That doesn't mean that you were intentionally trying to deceive readers and the American people, does it? And I think we should be
afforded the same opportunity. There are times when we believe something to be true or we get something from an agency or we act in haste because
the information available wasn't complete, but our desire to communicate with the American people and make sure that you have the most complete
story at the time.
And so we do it. But, again, I think that when you look net/net, we are going to do our best every time we can. I'm going to come out here and
tell you the facts as I know them. And if we make a mistake, we'll do our best to correct it.
But I don't -- I think, as I mentioned the other day, it is a two-way street. There are many mistakes that the media makes all the time. They
misreport something, they don't report something. They get a fact wrong. I don't think that's always, you know, to turn around and say, OK, you were
I think we all go and try to do our best job and do it with a degree of integrity that -- in our respective industries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What did you think?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That old Daniel Patrick Moynihan expression that you are entitled to your own opinions, but you're not
entitled to your own set of facts, that seems to be out the window if indeed you hear Sean Spicer saying that he can disagree with the facts and
bring his own facts or, as Kellyanne Conway called them, alternate facts.
So, I do think we're still in a world where it doesn't seem we're going to be able to agree on certain facts and from there be able to ask questions,
get answers for the American people.
That being said, though, as you noted, Wolf, him stating his intention is to always speak honestly, as -- was saying, that is a good baseline to
have. So I think Sean Spicer was successful today at turning down the temperature. He didn't come out there with a Hillary Clinton-style reset
button, but I think there was a bit of a reset moment for Sean Spicer and for the Trump White House there.
And on the news front, I do want to underscore something David said that I think is really important on DACA and this whole issue of dreamers. Since
Donald Trump said in that interview in "Time Magazine" when he became person of the year, they've been dialing this back.
He said four times this is not the priority, this is not the focus, this is not the priority. Now, he did come back and say, but we are going to
continue to work eventually on getting everyone that's here illegal out of the country, but could not stress enough that these young dreamers are not
-- that -- I just think that that is going to come as a surprise to a lot of the people that voted for Donald Trump.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, what's -- what jumped out with you?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Listen, if I can disagree on the reset point there, because the reset only works if it's not
just the promise to tell the truth, but if you actually tell the truth.
And I just want to take issue with his description of the CIA speech by the president, right? The key issue there was not crowd size. It was Donald
Trump saying that the dispute with the intelligence community was manufactured by the media, which is factually not true.
Many public statements by Donald Trump still out there, as Jake said, tweets not deleted yet of the president undermining the intelligence
community. His answer to that, his sole answer was, there was a five- minute standing ovation, which there was not. There were people clapping.
And it's our understanding that this was a self-selecting crowd, one, and there were many staffers who did that. But that doesn't -- regardless of
how many people were clapping, it doesn't wipe away that the president told a lie at the CIA to say that the CIA -- that the media created this
dispute, when he has repeatedly publicly undermined the intelligence community.
Just one more point I would make, there was an opportunity here, which the president missed in front of that Memorial Wall at the CIA, was to say
anything about the sacrifice of the 117 stars representing the people who died in the field for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Sean Spicer had an opportunity there to say, and, listen, the president knows the great sacrifice, right? So, it's two opportunities missed with
what became really one of the core critiques from people inside the CIA, some who have been speaking to me privately, but some publicly. John
Brennan, Ryan Crocker speaking to Robin Wright, who you had on your program earlier, they were upset that the president went there and he didn't say, I
-- at the equivalent of their Arlington and didn't make a comment about that. I think that's an enormous missed opportunity for the press
TAPPER: I want to say one other thing just to bring the viewers into the world of Washington press.
And I don't want anyone to think that I'm complaining about this. But Sean Spicer, the order in which he called on people suggests that it is a new
day when it comes to whom this White House considers to be priorities in terms of being called on.
Again, I'm not griping. But normally what happened for decades, as far as I know, is the first question goes to the Associated Press, which is front
row center. The Associated Press is an organization that a lot of media organizations, newspapers use. It's considered impartial, down the middle.
He did not call on the Associated Press first. He did call on them, but he didn't call on them first, second, third or fourth. He called on "The New
York Post," which is, I think it's fair to say, Donald Trump's favorite newspaper, the newspaper that he has used and read and provided all sorts
of interesting tidbits to for decades.
He also called on second the Christian Broadcasting Network, which is significant. That's a Christian -- that's obviously for conservative
[00:15:01] And he called on them second. He called on Univision, called on Fox. He was trying to set a tone about this is a different era. We're
going to call on different people.
He did call on the networks in the front row eventually, I think except for CBS. And I think he didn't call on "The New York Times." I might be wrong
But he definitely was trying to make a point about the media that he is going to prioritize.
One other thing I want to say, and this is much more important, although maybe not as fun, which is the Associated Press is now reporting, to your
point, Gloria, the Russian Defense Ministry says that its warplanes have been -- have flown its first combat mission in Syria with U.S.-led
So, if that's true -- that's an Associated Press report, not a CNN report, and, obviously, we want to reach out to the Pentagon on that.
BORGER: Right. And he didn't confirm that today. He just didn't -- you know, he didn't rule it out.
TAPPER: But that is incredibly significant that that is happening right now, according to the Associated Press, U.S.-led -- U.S. leading Russian
warplanes in Syria.
BORGER: Right. And maybe that would explain the need for a phone call between the president of the United States and Vladimir Putin.
GREGORY: -- to Jake's point, is that press is also -- the White House press corps has got to hang together, because, yes, fine it's a new day.
You want to call all over the room. They're making a point. They're doing that deliberately. That's fine. Nobody is going to cry for us.
But the ability to do what Jake has done and Dana has done in the White House, what I tried to, what you did, where we follow up on each other's
questions, that's how you go deeper on the issue of Syria. Are they willing to work with Assad and Russia to fight ISIS? We want to know that.
Those are substantive things we -- and you get at that by penetrating questions, not going all over the place. The White House will try to keep
the press corps off of one singular topic, so that they can move it around, but that's where the press has got to hang together.
BASH: You talked about Russia and the U.S. and Syria.
Another is the whole question of the embassy. He did clearly -- I'm sorry, the embassy moving in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He did clearly
indicate that that's going to be slow-walked, which, you know, it would be nice to also hear why, because, as we know from our reporting, that there
is a very, very a big disagreement internally, because Donald Trump, like many candidates before him, campaigned --
TAPPER: Every candidate.
BASH: Every candidate campaigned on moving the embassy, but then didn't do it. But he said, I really mean it. And he had the financial backing of
Sheldon Adelson from Nevada, who is a singular issue. And that is making sure that this embassy moves and he's got a lot of pressure to do that,
except he's also got pressure not to do it, to wait and let things settle because --
BLITZER: Dana makes an excellent point, Jim. It was significant. He had a phone conversation today, the president of the United States, with the
president of Egypt, President El-Sisi, who has improved the relationship with Israel, but like Jordan and several other countries would be pretty
upset if the U.S. were to move that embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
SCIUTTO: -- back home who might not know, why does it matter to go from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, they're both in Israel, they're both big cities, why
does it matter, because Jerusalem is fundamentally under dispute by the sides in this decades, centuries-old, right, battle over this land.
It is claimed as the holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians, by the way. And in any final peace settlement, if there's any hope of a two-state
solution, right, both sides say they need either all or part of Jerusalem.
And if the U.S. moves its embassy to Jerusalem, it's in effect saying our embassy to Israel is in Jerusalem, therefore, we view Jerusalem as an
Just sort of that's the key. And that's why you have folks in the State Department of both parties frankly and elsewhere saying, whoa, before you
do this, you know, you better think about it.
TAPPER: Can I say, I interviewed the Israeli defense minister, Lieberman, about a whole number of topics, and I asked him about this. He said it was
not a priority for Israel to have their embassy moved.
I suspect it's a priority for .
BASH: Pro-Israel --
TAPPER: -- pro-Israel people in the United States and some conservatives in Israel. But he said it wasn't --
BLITZER: Netanyahu himself says the priority for Israel is dealing with the potential threat of Iran --
TAPPER: Iran, yes.
BLITZER: -- and a nuclear --
BASH: American political pressure on Donald Trump, just like it was on other --
BORGER: And Republican presidents have promised it and taken it back. And Democratic -- Bill Clinton I believe promised to move the embassy and ended
up taking it back.
Let me just add one more issue here that I think sort of got discussed. But Sean Spicer was asked about whether in fact we would send more troops
into Iraq to take the oil, which is something that the president said or implied, I would say, on Saturday, by saying --
SCIUTTO: We may get another chance.
BORGER: We may get another chance. And he didn't venture there either. He didn't rule it out. And he didn't -- he didn't venture there.
It's clear that these are things that there -- sometimes a president says something or tweets something, and Sean Spicer I would have to say has a
very difficult job.
BASH: You think?
[00:19:58] BORGER: Because he has got to walk it back. He has got to walk it back. He couldn't say today what Jim said or what you said about the
president's tweets. Well, that didn't clarify anything about his relationship with the intelligence communities, let's say. It made it
So I think it's tough. And he didn't have answers to these important questions.
BLITZER: And, Jake, what was encouraging, I think, to all of us, he spent an hour and 15 minutes answering reporters' questions on a wide range of
issues, a very important gesture, if you will. Let's see if it stays like that.
TAPPER: A gesture for the American people, because we're just asking questions on their behalf. And so I'm glad that he took the questions.
And I hope he continues.
BLITZER: I hope he does as well.
All right, guys, everybody, stand by.
Up next, the former press secretary of President George W. Bush gives his take on Sean Spicer's first White House briefing. Ari Fleischer is with
Stay with us. Much more of our special coverage right after this.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, here we go. I'm going take to it from here. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.
You just listened to, you know, what, an hour, hour and 15 of Press Secretary Sean Spicer's first White House briefing. A variety of topics
covered. Let's begin with President Trump's biggest moves of his first Monday in the Oval Office, his executive actions, one of them his first
shot against U.S. trade deals.
Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been talking about this for a long time. Thank you. OK, great thing for the American worker,
what we just did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With a stroke of a couple of pens, America's role in TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is dead. And Mr. Trump has delivered on one of
his campaign promises, to get tough on foreign competitors, a promise he echoed in his inaugural address just on Friday, when he promised an America
first approach to his presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first.
[00:24:59] Every decision on trade, on taxes on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Today, President Trump met with some of the country's top CEOs and vowed to impose a "very major border tax" on companies that move jobs
outside of the U.S.
So let's begin with David Chalian here, our CNN political director.
And David, let's just begin with how, you know, these executive actions -- these are Republican wins. These are symbolic moves, we know, from the
president. Run through what he did today.
CHALIAN: Sure, not just Republican wins. On that first one, for TPP that we just talking about, remember that was --
BALDWIN: Bernie, Hillary.
CHALIAN: Exactly, through the entire campaign.
This is where the overlap was between Sanders and Trump supporters. And as you noted, even Hillary Clinton came out against this. This was a sort of
dominant economic theme in the 2016 campaign from all sides. And so delivering on that --
BALDWIN: Forgive me, David Chalian. We've got Donald Trump meeting with union leaders. Let's dip in.
TRUMP: This is a group that I know well, whether personally or just because I have hired thousands and thousands and thousands of you as you
can say, Sean (ph), right? You know that better than anybody. We just officially terminated TPP.
I just signed a document, very powerful document. And we're going to have trade, but we're going to have one on one. And if somebody misbehaves,
we're going to send them a letter of termination, 30 days, and they'll either straighten it out or we're gone, not one of these deals where you
can't get out of them and it is a disaster.
So we're going to have plenty of trade. But TPP wasn't the right way. So we're going back to those countries one on one and that will be beautiful.
But we're going to have a lot of building going on. We're going to have a lot of plant expansion, and a lot of brand-new plants.
We met with the head of Ford today, the head of many of the great companies, Johnson & Johnson. They're very, very excited about what we're
doing. You guys will be responsible for getting those plants built in nine months, instead of 18 years. You know the process today, when they put in
for a plant, it takes so long.
And, by the way, you all know our great vice president, Mike Pence. I think you know some of the folks in the room. I know almost all of the
folks in the room. So, it's just a great honor to have you here. It's a great honor.
You've been very special to me. I have told you for -- whether it's sheet metal workers, how you've been?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
TRUMP: I've hired a few of them over the years, haven't I, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
TRUMP: Yes. We just finished a big one right over down the street. And you guys did a great job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's good to hear.
TRUMP: You did a great job.
So, we're going put a lot of people back to work. We're going to use common sense and we're going to do it the way it's supposed to be done.
We're going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that are taking everybody out of our country and taking companies out of our country, and it's going
to be reversed.
I think you're going to have a lot of companies come back to our country. Companies that left are going to come back to our country. And they're
going to hire a lot of people.
It's inconceivable to me that this was allowed to happen in the first place. And I'm not blaming President Obama for this. I'm blaming many,
many years long beyond Obama. Believe me. This has been going on for decades. And it is a trend that we are going to stop cold. And we started
today, which is --
BALDWIN: That was a loud beep. Here's what you were just listening too. President Trump is sitting around the room. You saw his press secretary
over his shoulder talking to these union leaders, talking about jobs, talking about -- he mentioned the ridiculous trade deals.
David Chalian, I know I still have you on the other side of this. You know, you were just talking about TPP as an executive action he signed
today -- let's go back.
[00:30:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will you begin to renegotiate NAFTA?
TRUMP: At the appropriate time. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President not a question, but just a statement.
BALDWIN: OK. Now we'll take it. David Chalian, I think I still have you with me?
CHALIAN: You do.
BALDWIN: Let's talk -- let's talk about -- you were talking about TPP and how withdrawing the executive action which that's what Bernie Sanders and
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump all were at one on this and, you know, this notion of America first. Listen, the point he's making resonates with
so many Americans.
CHALIAN: It does, Brooke. And we've seen sort of the expectations of the Trump presidency from the American people really are all in the economic
bucket. And it is because of issues like this that they have high expectations that he's going to deliver on this economic components of what
he campaigned on. That's sort of where the country expects him to deliver.
So that TPP was not -- I mean, listen, you and I both know we followed this progress through the Hill. It was dead. It wasn't going anywhere.
President Obama sort of read the tea leaves and it never got pushed legislatively on the Hill. But the symbolic and important removal of the
United States from this partnership that it had sort of entered into is a significant first step for Donald Trump and a delivery on a campaign
BALDWIN: What about, just quickly since I have you, you know, on the executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy on abortion?
CHALIAN: Yes. This is a policy that deals with NGOs, non-governmental organizations doing work in foreign countries. If they are doing anything
to promote abortion services they will not get any U.S. funding. This is something that we've seen sort of Ping-Pong back and forth depending on
whether Republicans are in control of the White House or Democrats.
George W. Bush had this rule in place. Barack Obama did away with it. Donald Trump is bringing it back. And then the other thing he did was put
a total freeze on federal hiring. No federal employees are to be hired other than the military he said until they sort assess where their
priorities are in terms of federal bureaucracy.
BALDWIN: Meeting with business leaders this morning, just walked out of the meeting with union leader meeting, day three of President Trump.
David Chalian, thank you very much.
CHALIAN: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, we do have more reaction from Sean Spicer's very first official White House briefing. We'll talk live with President George
W. Bush's first press secretary --
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking away from our friends at CNN U.S.A. I'm Hala Gorani. Welcome to the WORLD RIGHT NOW. You've been watching CNN's
Other new extraordinary afternoon at the White House, not long ago the new White House Press Secretary held his first official briefing. It was
highly anticipated after a fiery performance on Saturday, you'll remember. Sean Spicer on that day insisted Trump drew "the largest audience ever to
witness an inauguration, period." And remarks that were widely ridiculed afterward. As you can see there was plenty of room on the national mall.
Spicer also accused the media of faking low attendance. When asked about that today, he said the administration's intention is never to lie. This
is him walking up to the podium in the press briefing room today. But sometimes and this was a key phrase that people remembered and quoted, we
can disagree with the fact. Here is Sean Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: There are points in which we have a right to make sure that we correct the record.
I mean, you're talking about integrity and you're talking about telling the truth and facts. I don't know that it wasn't malicious at all, and I'm not
saying. But there's a point at which we have a right to go out there and correct the record. And I think that over and over again, there is this
attempt to go after this president and say, well, that can't be true and that's not right and the numbers weren't there.
And there's a rush to judgment every time. And it's a two-way street. We want to have a healthy and open dialogue with the press corps and with the
American people --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So what was the atmosphere like this afternoon at the White House and did Spicer do anything to ease the nerves of the press corps? He talks
about -- he talked about policy but then was asked a few pointed questions about whether or not he'd commit to telling journalists the truth every
time he walk up to that podium. Let's bring in for that Jeff Mason. He's the president of the White House Correspondents Association and the White
House correspondent for Reuters.
Jeff, thanks for being with us.
JEFF MASON, PRESIDENT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS ASSOCIATION: It's nice to be with you.
GORANI: First of all, what compared to Saturday when he essentially berated the press for misrepresenting the facts and walked off without
taking questions. Compare Saturday to today.
MASON: Well, there was a much different tone in the room, that's for sure. Sean came in, smiled a little bit, tried to make some jokes at the top of
the briefing about himself and how he wouldn't be winning spokesman of the year anytime soon. And then he of course -- the biggest difference between
Saturday and today is he took questions and he took questions for over an hour and got to many reporter which is good and something that we certainly
support and encourage.
GORANI: And this may sound like inside baseball but the order in which he took the questions was rather significant, usually traditionally. The
first question goes to AP in the front row.
[00:35:05] Here, he went to the "New York Post" first for instance. Talk to us about what journalists in the room were saying about that?
MASON: Well, I think that that's just a sign that the Trump administration wants to shake things up a little bit. And Sean Spicer as the press
secretary did that a little bit in the briefing by rearranging he calls on people and not necessarily following the tradition that has been ser before
about AP getting that first question or Reuters, the organization I work for, getting the second.
MASON: But he did ask a lot -- or he did take questions from a lot of reporters in the room and that really is the biggest principle is that a
lot of people have a chance to ask.
GORANI: And he was asked once again by Jonathan Karl of ABC. He was also asked by our own Jim Acosta about that Saturday briefing, where he was
disputing the journalism, the media's version of how many people attended the inauguration and he again defended his position. So what is that tell
us about how the relationship between the White House now and the press might evolve in the future?
MASON: Well, he defended his position but he walked back a little bit on a few things. One of the figures that he had shared on Saturday were the
number of people who took the Metro which is the D.C. subway system on Inauguration Day and he conceded that those numbers were not exactly
accurate and that he suggested that he gotten them from an agency. So he sort of blamed it on
So he did walk away a little bit from that. But otherwise, yeah, he talked about how it's been demoralizing for him and others in the new Trump
administration to not see more positive stories. So of course and I think it was Jim Acosta, although I can't remember now exactly, pushed back and
said well they're not always going to be positive and sometimes they're going to be negative and that's certainly true.
Listen, it's the job of the press to report the facts. It's the job of the press to report aggressively on the new administration just as it has on
previous administrations and that's what I think will continue to do.
GORANI: And, Jeff, he was also of course asked about policy specifically Obamacare, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, about
whether any executive order would be issued on NAFTA, when will construction began on the wall. What was the big headline there on policy
today from Sean Spicer in that briefing room?
MASON: Well, I like how you summarized all those. It's kind of difficult to decide what the big headline is because he really did hit a lot of notes
and talk about a lot of issues. He -- one thing that was asked at the end that I asked actually was when President Trump would be coming up with a
Supreme Court nominee and he suggested that would be in the next week or two. So that's interesting.
As far as Jerusalem and the movement of the U.S. Embassy in Israel goes, he didn't give a whole lot of details about that, about a timeline or even --
he suggested that that decision had not been made which is a little different from the impression that was given prior to them coming into
GORANI: All right. So a lot there it was discuss. I understand you had an opportunity to speak with Sean Spicer as well yesterday about -- I mean
you're obviously the president of the White House Correspondents Association. What was that about? What typically do you discuss with the
press secretary at the White House?
MASON: Well, I actually I'm keeping the content of those conversations private but I do have regular discussions with him in my role as the head
of the White House Correspondents Association and it's important to us to have an open dialogue with this team as we work to have a constructive
relationship going forward.
GORANI: Are you worried at all about access?
MASON: You know, access is always a worry for the White House Correspondents Association. It's one of our main issues that we push for
is having access for journalists and we've been pushing for that since the election just as we were doing still at the end of the Obama
I have to say though that in the first couple days of the Trump administration, the access has been pretty good. I mean they've had pool
spray. The pool is the group of reporters and journalists that cover the president wherever he goes. They've had pool sprays today. They had pool
sprays over the weekend of the events and the signings that the president has done and that something that we're pleased to see.
GORANI: All right, Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, joining us from the White House. Thanks very
much. We appreciate it.
MASON: My pleasure.
GORANI: Let's get more on the first full-scale White House press briefing and the often tense relationship between the Trump administration and the
media. Brian Stelter joins us from CNN New York and from Washington, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, who's the assistant editor of the
Brian, let me start with you. What did you make of this press briefing? What's today compared to Saturday?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There may be some grading on a curve happening here because Saturday was so unusual, so astonishing to the
reporters in the room for Spicer to come up, give angry statement and walking without taking questions. Today, clearly Spicer wanted to restart
this brand-new relationship with the press corps. He spent been more than an hour up there. He went pretty far in a variety of topics. Given a lot
of detail on various topics and he defended his own credibility saying he would seek to tell the truth from the lectern.
[00:40:08] You know, time will tell here but clearly this was a restart for Sean Spicer even if there is some grading on a curve happening giving him a
lot of credit for doing the basics today.
GORANI: Right. I'm not sure he would have gotten away with a similar performance this Saturday just walking off without taking questions. That
would not have gone down well at all.
David Swerdlick, when you listen to this press -- were you -- you were not in the press briefing room?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No.
GORANI: No. But when you listen to the Q&A between Sean Spicer and the reports, what went through your mind initially?
SWERDLICK: Well, like Brian I think that it was, you know, a much better, much more familiar dynamic than what we saw on Saturday. But at the same
time, I think Brian is right that there was little bit of grading on a curve.
You know, in terms of the confrontational nature of Saturday, what was cleared up a little bit were the motivations behind why the Trump camp, the
Trump administration is spending so much time on crowd numbers. Press Secretary Spicer spent a lot of time explaining why they feel frustration
about the way their campaign and now their administration are being covered.
That being, Press Secretary Spicer never actually explained why at the CIA on Saturday President-elect Trump throw out the numbers million, million
and a half as he looked out from the day as, as if to say, you know, that that was his own estimate.
So I think that this issue is probably going to fade away but there are still some questions about who's covering what and who's giving what
numbers to whom.
STELTER: Can I add one thought --
STELTER: I'm sure viewers watched this. I thought that was the most interesting part. A long monologue from Sean Spicer, explaining how
demoralizing it is to constantly turn on the television and hear negative coverage. He was speaking for his boss there. He was speaking for the
president who has been frustrated for over year and a half ever since Trump is campaigning. The people would count him out. The press would be very
critical, at least skeptical of him.
This campaign according to Trump was about the forgotten men and women. Spicer saying now we are the unrespected, disrespected men and women
seeking the respect now and I thought that was really insightful about the president's mind.
GORANI: And Brian, in fact, we have that sound bite lined up if our viewers want to refresh their memories who are watching the briefing. On
that very sound bite where Sean Spicer uses the word demoralizing twice. Let's listen to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why worry about a couple of tweets about crowd size?
SPICER: Because it's not -- because that's what I'm saying, you're minimizing the point here, Jim. It's not about one tweet. It's not about
one picture. It's about a constant theme. It's about sitting here every time and being told no. "Well, we don't think he can do that, he'll never
accomplish that, he can't win that, it won't be the biggest, it's not going to be that good. The crowds aren't that big, he's not that successful."
The narrative -- and the default narrative is always negative and it's demoralizing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, there you have it. And David Swerdlick, though, there were some policy questions, in fact quite a few. And some of the
interesting ones were about reports that Russia and U.S. warplanes are cooperating and targeting ISIS over Syria. He referred the reporter to the
Department of Defense on that one. He was asked about Obamacare, about moving the embassy to Jerusalem --
GORANI: -- or when will construction begin on the wall. I mean, without going through each one of those.
GORANI: What should we remember from this first briefing in terms of the policy questions?
SWERDLICK: Yeah. The thing that jumped out at me the most and it was probably the question that was asked the most times and that Press
Secretary Spicer devoted the most time to was his issue about the U.S. Embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He clearly pushed back on the
idea that this decision had already been made. He presented it in the face of several questions as an issue that was under discussion, not yet decided
and that reporters and the public should stay tuned. I think that's an interesting issue when you consider that.
You know, just a few weeks ago, we -- there was a lot of talk from the Trump camp in the Trump transition about how this was going to be a
priority move from President Trump's incoming administration.
GORANI: And last one to you, Brian. You saw the order of the questions. It was very unusual, typically the first question goes to the A.P. I asked
Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents Association about it. This is a sign of things to come, isn't it? I mean everything
really is being shaken to its core even very long-standing traditions like going to the front row first for a question.
STELTER: Yeah, and I'm not here to complain about it. You know, the front rows are there. The reasons why CNN and NBC and ABC and the A.P. and
Reuters have those front row seats are partly because they represent the biggest news organizations in the country. But clearly, Spicer wanted to
send a message, going to the back rows first.
I also think he was sort of going to Trump voters first. Not that every Trump voter reads the "New York Post" or watches the Christian Broadcasting
Network or watches Fox News but he was sending a signal in the same way the Trump speeches have been targeting or have been aimed at Trump voters and
not so much the rest of the United States. I think Spicer was doing that a little bit too.
[00:45:11] To his credit though, he also did take questions from most of the major networks, most of the major papers as well.
GORANI: Right. We were all waiting for that moment. I think it came about 40, 45 minutes.
GORANI: Yeah. Thanks very much Brian Stelter and David Swerdlick from the "Washington Post" for joining us.
SWERDLICK: Thanks, Hala.
GORANI: We appreciate it.
Well, there's big news here in the U.K. and some of it was confirmed by a source in the United States because CNN has confirmed that a Trident
missile test in 2016 did go quite wrong.
A U.S. Defense official tells us that the British missile was not armed with a nuclear warhead and headed toward the U.S. coast as part of its
automatic self-destruction. OK, so, essentially, the missile was a test missile, it was not armed in any way but it went in the wrong direction.
The fact that that confirmation came from Washington and not London, seems to have frustrated some members of Parliament in the U.K.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The secretary of state has advised not to believe everything we read in the Sunday newspapers. But should we believe the
White House official who, while we have been sitting here debating, has confirmed to CNN that the missile did auto-self-destructed off the coast of
And if that is the case, why is the British Parliament and the British public the last people to know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not in this House, nor has any previous government, given operational details of the demonstration and shakedown
operation of one our submarines conducting a test with one of our Trident missile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, so just to reiterate, you had this U.K. program called Trident, which is a nuclear deterrence program. That was an unarmed
warhead. It was meant to go in one direction and went in another.
U.S. sources telling us that was a mistake and it appears as though Theresa May, the prime minister, was in fact briefed on that before she asked
Parliament to renew the program. That's created quite a bit of a stir in this country.
Well, a short a time ago, I spoke to prominent U.K. politician and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke. I asked him how much M.P.s
should be entitled to know about all of this.
KENNETH CLARKE, FORMER CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Down the street confirmed this morning she was told until she was briefed. I don't think
any nuclear power in the world would need to go back and stop briefing the media and its bottom until Congress about problems that having in testing
any missile system. And I don't would affect the parliamentary vote in the slightest.
The question is do we believe in being a nuclear power as a deterrent against nuclear blackmail at sometime in the future? And we didn't claim
this 100 percent effective, it's also worrying. If you have a problem -- but that is in secret resolved inside the Armed Forces, it's not a question
or public debate.
And the people raising it and making a fuss about it. In the United Kingdom are old people who are in principle against United Kingdom having
GORANI: Why shouldn't lawmakers know about a failed test? I mean and it was an unarmed missile obviously but rather than being going to West Africa
in that direction. It veer toward the United States. That's a major issue, isn't it? Shouldn't they be made aware before voting for the
renewal of the program?
CLARKE: But these missiles can be made to self-destructive if anything goes wrong with them. And I hadn't heard this obviously come out during
your program. The White House apparently and to also American correspondent that that's what was done with this missile. This was not to
an incident which will be fierce for anybody at risk. Has there been a serious accident with people injured or with some really calamities
diplomatic or other consequences that be very difficult and different.
But the idea that we are independent nuclear power and that we are one of the military pass in the Europe or the continent of Europe that we stop
holding press conferences and so on about any problems have risen in testing systems. And I don't think that's I think some --
GORANI: But not press conferences but just lawmakers involved --
CLARKE: ... it will raise the objections, they're not giving of a straight face.
GORANI: Lawmakers involved in the vote not giving press conference, not necessarily giving a press conference or making it public by informing the
people who need to know in parliament.
CLARKE: Well, I don't want that. I don't understand. That making two light of it. Obviously, I trust they've found what malfunction then that's
why you have tests from time to time to make address any problems. And then, make sure that you absolutely minimize the consequences of it
All I can say is the issues in Britain which have been debated for 40 years about whether we should have a nuclear deterrent or not? Would not in my
opinion have been remotely affected by the announcement being made about this problem in a test a week or two before. And one does maintain a
certain amount of security about your defense potential and systems if you're intending to be a serious foreign policy plan.
[00:50:09] GORANI: Can I ask you about Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to Washington D.C. She's going to of course be meeting with a new American
President Donald Trump who was always very pro-Brexit, sees in fact Brexit in terms supporters as well. We heard that a lot from them. He will
consider his victory to be Brexit plus, plus, et cetera. What should -- what message should she bring to the U.S. president do you think?
CLARKE: Well, she will be -- be a (ph) great benefit from the issue. We delighted with the first foreign leader that are going is very important to
her. The message she wants be able to take back home is it our relationships with the United States are as closest ever. The British as
you know are extremely fond of this phrase about special relationship.
But, we're not being isolated in the world. There's also Brexit and she would also want to hit it strongly that this most protectionist of new
presidents may still enter into a trade deal with this -- will not have access to both their markets once we resolve these long negotiations with
the other Europeans.
The message that otherwise she'll bring I think is she want some reassurance about NATO. And she wants some reassurance about pressure on
Putin when he misbehaves in Europe. Probably issue a press the case for maintaining the sanctions against him after his military intervention in
Ukraine because we're very worried over here about more Putin-type adventures probably in the Baltic States next.
And the so, she will want reassurance on that. But, mainly, she want to come back to Britain and saying we're still going to be very close to the
new president and there's a bright new future for us out to the wider world outside the E.U.
GORANI: I think were running out of time sadly. But, I wanted to ask you about the Supreme Court's decision tomorrow ruling on whether or not
Article 50 can be triggered without Parliament by Theresa May. Do you think Parliament should be consulted and should Parliament be have the
power to disapprove or vote down any deal it doesn't like?
CLARKE: I think Parliament should obviously have that power. I also think Parliament should hold the government to account the oldest policy once the
governments decided what is new relationship with the European Union is going to be or the triumphalist Brexit it is here a bit like the Trump and
his Trump supporters in the United States.
They have orders from the people to do almost what they wish and Parliament should play in their part. Now, I know how far President Trump would get
if he have tried to sell the American Congress that he's not accountable to name the policy and doesn't need their approval from now on. I hope in the
British Parliament gives the same answer to Theresa May if she's tempted to go down that way.
I think the Supreme Court tomorrow make it quite clear that parliamentary sovereignty remains the key of the British Constitution. The politics
referendum, of course, all the M.P.s will have to take into account.
GORANI: Ken Clarke. There are important data tomorrow. The Supreme Court will tell us if Theresa May can trigger Article 50 without asking
Parliament first. Quick break, we'll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have chosen the Syria's civil defense best better known around the world as the White Helmet.
[00:55:02] They wear those helmets when they rescue civilians and people trapped in the rubble of buildings bombed by war planes.
And first, when you look at the definition of the word "Hero" it fits because it's admiring somebody for bravery and courage. Being a White
Helmet in Syria has been called the most dangerous job in the world.
There is nothing more dangerous than running toward a building that has become a pile of rubble.
Some of the more iconic images and video of the last several years was of these White Helmets pulling out people who'd survived against all odds
under these piles of just concrete. They used to be tailors and electricians and then bakers and civilians living pretty ordinary lives in
And I think that some of them, a handful of them decided that whether or not it would kill them that they would help their countrymen and women.
And that's what they're doing. And I think that's what makes some pretty special.
It has changed in the public's perception because it puts a spotlight on the fact that so many civilians, I mean there's no more innocent human
being on the planet than a baby. And we've seen those rescues with our own eyes.
They're making a difference potentially save tens of thousands of lives. It would be very easy for them not to do it. And yet, they do it. I think
that's real bravery.
GORANI: This is "The World Right Now", I'm Hala Gorani. "Quest Means Business" with Zain Asher is up next. I'll see you tomorrow.