Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

GOP Bypasses Dems, Approve Price and Mnuchin; Trump holds Meeting Honoring Black History Month. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired February 1, 2017 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:00]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me. We do begin with breaking news, face-off on Capitol Hill, and boy, it's getting ugly. Democrats and Republicans clashing over President Trump's cabinet nominees, the news is fast-breaking here. Let's first start with Manu Raju. He's breaking all kinds of news this morning. Good morning, Manu.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, Carol. Senate Republicans took a dramatic and unprecedented step today in the Senate Finance Committee by suspending the rules of the committee and sending two key nominees of Donald Trump's cabinet to the floor of the Senate. Those two nominees, Tom Price to lead Health and Human Services and Steven Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department and the reason why they took this dramatic step is because for the second straight day, Democrats boycotted the committee proceedings because of their concerns that both Mr. Price and Mr. Mnuchin did not answer their questions correctly and in a straightforward manner in their sworn testimony last month.

Now, what the Republicans decided to do was, instead of -- there were two options. They could either see Donald Trump send these two nominees, install these two nominees on his own by a recess appointment. That's something he could do under his constitutional authority or take this dramatic step of suspending the rules altogether and pushing these nominees through to the floor on their own accord. And that is the course they took.

Now, Democrats are outraged by this. They put out a letter just moments before this 9:30 a.m. hearing and said that they wanted a bunch of answers to questions that they believe that Price and Mnuchin did not answer correctly in their hearing. But they're not going to get answers to those questions as Republicans take matters into their own hands, believing that Democrats are doing whatever they can to delay Donald Trump from getting his cabinet in place.

So, expect this to get even more intense on the floor of the Senate where the votes will happen in the coming weeks and Donald Trump will eventually get those nominees confirmed because Republicans have the majority and they have the votes on the floor of the Senate, Carol. COSTELLO: All right, Manu, you stay right there. I want to bring Phil Mattingly in right now because he was in that Finance Committee hearing where this all went down and it must have been dramatic.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, Carol, I've covered the Hill off and on for pretty much the course of the last decade. I've never actually seen anything like that. But it really follows something we hadn't seen yesterday, Democrats deciding not to show up at all. Manu gave you really kind of the great breakdown of how it all happened. But you kind of need to also pull back a little bit and look at the bigger picture of what's happening in the U.S. Senate with all of these nominations.

We saw it with Jeff Sessions, the attorney general nominee, yesterday. He was supposed to be approved for a full Senate vote out of committee, but Democrats came in and more or less filibustered the committee, got his vote delayed. I was just told that the OMB director was also -- his confirmation vote, Carol, has also been postponed today because Democrats, Mick Mulvaney, because Democrats are saying that his paperwork wasn't completed. So, you're seeing Democrats really trying to pull every procedural lever they can get their hands on, to try and slow this process up.

Now, the question of why, Democrats say they have not gotten the questions answered. As you heard Manu kind of layout, Senate Finance Democrats don't believe Steve Mnuchin or Tom Price have answered very key questions. Over with Mick Mulvaney, they didn't get the FBI background check until ten minutes before this nomination was supposed to be considered. That's why they're slowing that up.

In judiciary, Democrats are just unanimously opposed to Jeff Sessions. That's why they're slowing that up. Why does it all matter? Obviously, there's a new president. He wants his team in place. Democrats are trying to slow this process down as much as possible on procedural grounds. It's worth noting, Carol. They can't actually stop these nominees. If Republicans stick together and by all accounts on every single one of these nominees they will, these nominees will be approved on the Senate floor and take their slots in the Trump cabinet.

But what you're seeing, what Democrats are doing right now is in the minority, even in the U.S. Senate, no matter how much in the minority you are, you have leverage to pull, you have some leverage, you can't block it but you can definitely slow it down. And that's what we're seeing, really kind of across the Senate over the course of the last couple of days and really kind of reaching a new kind of fevered pitch this morning. Carol?

COSTELLO: And here I thought they were much more cooperative in the Senate.

MATTINGLY: Well, the interesting part is the Senate Finance Committee always know where the Mnuchin and Price kind of debacle just occurred, if you will, is always known as one of the most bipartisan committees on the Capitol Hill. The Democrats or Republicans work very well together. This is the committee responsible that's responsible for tax policy, that's responsible for trade policy. They're known as a very bipartisan committee.

The Ranking Member Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch, the chairman, traditionally get along together, work well with one another. But what we're seeing right now is a lot of mistrust. Republicans saying, Democrats committed to doing something and then chose not to show up. Democrats saying, Republicans aren't running a fair process.

So, to your point, this is supposed to be kind of the saucer that cools the madness that may occur in the House, when you talk about the U.S. Senate. But we're starting to see that breakdown. And given how early it is in this new Congress, given how early it is in the Trump administration, and really kind of the big agenda items that the Trump administration wants to move forward legislatively, and they've got a Supreme Court pick that's need Democratic support too. This isn't necessarily a great omen. Carol?

[10:05:14] COSTELLO: Well, this is just a sample of how ugly it's gotten, Manu, Senator Orrin Hatch called Democrats idiots and as he was leaving that impromptu press conference from the Finance Committee, he said they were shameful.

RAJU: Yes, that's right, pretty strong words, a man who's never known really to mince words, Orrin Hatch. But to Phil's point, these fights over the nominations have gotten more intense Congress by Congress. You saw last Congress, Republicans refusing to give Merrick Garland even a vote or a hearing. Of course, he was Obama's pick to be the Supreme Court nominee, that ninth justice. They did not even allow for a hearing, kept that seat vacant for almost a year, a rather unprecedented move in that regard and Democrats in a lot of ways, paying back Republicans for not playing ball with President Obama's nominees, a lot of his nominees.

So, you're seeing this happening on both sides, this fight really, really escalating. The question is how Democrats also deal with some of the other big picks looming including Neil Gorsuch, could be Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. And whether they go to the length they're going to now to stop Donald Trump's cabinet. Democrats are not of one mind on that, actually divided on that key question, whether or not to give Donald Trump's nominee, Supreme Court nominee a vote.

So, we'll see. It's going to be a case-by-case basis. But one of the things that could have impact is Donald Trump's agenda if the Senate floor is tied up with these nomination fights. Because Democrats can tie up the Senate under the rules and delay the process and delay Donald Trump from getting some of his agenda through in a timely fashion. Carol?

COSTELLO: All right, Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly, thanks to both of you. I want to bring in some more people to talk about this. Lynn Sweet is here. She's the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times." Larry Sabato also joins me. He's the director of the University of Virginia, Center for Politics. OK. So -

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Hi.

COSTELLO: So, Lynn, Republicans suspended the rules and they're going to push these confirmations through. Put it into perspective for us.

SWEET: Well, I think the perspective is that you really do have to just look back to the Merrick Garland fight. We can look back to more Senate history, -- of which there is abundance, Carol and Larry. But that's the starting point, I think, for the discussion. The Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland could not get a hearing even, because the Republicans were in control.

So, for our listeners, the Trump Supreme Court nominee is going to get a hearing, -- his nominations for cabinet members do get hearings. And there will be more of an emphasis on procedure than maybe in these first weeks than on necessarily the policy underlying these nominees, because I always look at the math, OK? And if you need the 60 percent rule, which will be invoked in some places in the Senate, but we'll get back to that, or if you need 50, that's what we're seeing now.

There are many reasons why you get to the Democrats being against Sessions. But they're there. And with these other nominees not even putting in all the information and answering questions, it makes it easier for Democrats to say, we're not even going to show up. But in the end, there are a lot of procedures, the Republicans will pull the levers, and that's where we are at now in the political procedural minefield. --

COSTELLO: Right, right. And -- these men and women will likely be confirmed, Larry. So, what's the end game here for the Democrats?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well, the end game is to draw as much blood as possible from the Senate Republican leadership and from President Trump and his administration, to make everything as hard as possible, to take as long as possible. And to be fair, that's precisely what the Republicans did under President Obama for both terms, once they got control of first, the House and then Senate.

So, its tit for tat and I think it reflects the divisions in the country. And look, Lynn was absolutely right to point to the Merrick Garland precedent. For Democrats, the slogan is not, remember the name it's remember Merrick Garland, because this was truly unprecedented. That a president had a year left in his term, and his nominee for the Supreme Court, duly nominated, was not even given a hearing much less a vote on the floor.

So, there's tremendous unhappiness, not just among the Democrats in the Senate, but among Democrats, generally. And I think this is going to set the tone, frankly, for the entire Trump administration.

COSTELLO: Interesting. I want to bring in John Malcolm now. He's the director of Meese Legal Center at The Heritage Foundation. John - thanks for joining in. -- And we want to hear from you, because what do you make of what's going on in the Senate right now?

[10:10:00] JOHN MALCOLM, DIRECTOR OF MEESE LEGAL CENTER HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Well, look, the Democrats are mad as hornets. They lost an election that they thought they were going to win and as -- your other guest just mentioned, they're certainly mad as hornets about Merrick Garland. Jeff Merkley, the Democratic senator from Oregon, is referring to this as a stolen seat and who has already vowed before nomination, you know, the nominee was even named to lead a filibuster. I'm skeptical whether they'll be able to do that successfully. But there's no question that they're going to make a lot of noise and drag this process out. And it won't be pleasant for Judge Gorsuch.

COSTELLO: Lynn, I want to pose this question to you, because I've been thinking about this, you know, throughout our discussion. So, these massive protests are going on across the country, right? And the Democrats are doing this kind of stuff in the Senate to try to slow things and make things more difficult for the Republicans and for President Trump. President Obama recently chimed in over this travel ban thing, right? --

SWEET: Right.

COSTELLO: So, what if President Obama starts to become more and more vocal?

SWEET: Well, I think if your question is what's the impact, Carol, I think it could be. I think, the -- you know, President Obama I think -- former President Obama, will weigh in when Trump deals with things that you might think of are his legacy items or the points of principles. We could scour Obama's speeches and within ten minutes come up with multiple references of how he is not targeting Muslims. He's targeting people who are dangerous. Words in a sense that Trump hasn't said, or if he said, he hasn't said it enough, that's a reason why Obama did come out with this statement.

He also -- encouraging to people to demonstrate. I'm not the only one who said this. We're in a lot of new territory here, Carol, a lot of uncharted territory. But the dragging out the nominations in the Senate will have a shelf life - of a finite time, I don't think all that could be dropped. Remember though, -- the Democrats couldn't get the Mexican ambassador under Obama passed for a year. But going to the point of the role of Obama, it's there if he chooses to use it. --

COSTELLO: Hey, Lynn, I'm going to have to interrupt you guys for just a second. Because this is President Trump, he's holding an African- American history month listening session. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did well. In the election, it came out really well. Next time, we'll triple it up or quadruple it, right? We want to get over 51, right? At least 51.

Well, this is Black History Month. So, this is our little breakfast, our little get together. Hi, Lynne, how are you?

LYNNE PATTON, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT ERIC TRUMP FOUNDATION: Hi, how are you?

TRUMP: Nice to see you. And just a few notes, during this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African-Americans throughout our country, throughout the world if you think about it, right? And this story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work, and faith in America. I've gotten a real glimpse during the campaign, I go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn't so familiar with. They're incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson who is going to be heading up HUD. It's a big job, and it's a job that's not only housing. It is mind and spirit, right, Ben? And you understand that. Nobody is going to be better than Ben.

Last month, we celebrated the life of reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who's incredible example, he's unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. And it turned out that that was fake news, fake news.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: The statue is cherished, it's one of the favorite things in the -- and we have some good ones, we have Lincoln and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have -- but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So, I think it was a disgrace. But that's the way the press is, very unfortunate.

I am very proud now that we have a museum at the National Mall where people can learn about reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today, a big impact. I'm proud to honor this heritage and will be honoring it more and more, the folks at the table, in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters.

And Darrell, I met Darrell when he was defending me on television. And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn't have a chance, right? And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community.

(LAUGHTER)

[10:15:05] TRUMP: He's all by himself, seven people and Paris. I'll take Paris over the seven. But I don't watch CNN. So, I don't get to see you as much. I don't like watching fake news. - But Fox has treated me very nice -- wherever Fox is, thank you.

We're going to need better schools, and we need them soon. We need more jobs. We need better wages -- a lot better wages. We're going to work very hard on the inner city. Ben is going to be doing that big league. It's one of his big things that we're going to be looking at. We need safer communities, and we're going to do that with law enforcement. We're going to make it safe. We're going to make it much better than it is right now.

Right now it's terrible, and I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really -- you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show. I'm ready to do my part -- it's the only time I can see him. I'm ready to do my part, and I will say this, we're going to work together. This is a great group. This is a group that's been so special to me. You really helped me a lot. If you remember, I wasn't going to do well with the African- American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting -- I won't go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now, we're going to take that to new levels. I want to thank my television star over here.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Omarosa is actually a very nice person. Nobody knows that, but - I don't want to destroy her reputation. She is a very good person and she's been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign. And I appreciate it. I really do. Very special.

And so I want to thank everybody for being here. Could we maybe just go around the room and we'll introduce ourselves. And the press can stay for that, and I'm sure they have no questions about last night because it was such a good launch. We have a fantastic, hopefully, new justice of the Supreme Court. And hopefully, that will be -- he'll be approved very, very quickly. He's outstanding in every way -- academically. He's done almost as well as you did, Darrell, in college.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Not quite, right? But he's a great man and I think he'll be a great, great justice. And he's being very well-received. It was a big evening. Very big evening. So, Paris, why don't we start with you? Go ahead.

PARIS DENNARD, GOP POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Pleasure to be here, Mr. President. Honor to be here. Paris Dennard. I'm a Thurgood Marshall College Fund represents the 47 publically supported historically black colleges and universities, which I know you are very much in support of. So it's a pleasure to be here, sir.

TRUMP: Well, I'm glad you're in support of me because I'd be all -- I'd be in the wilderness without you guys. You are so effective. I appreciate it.

DENNARD: Thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

BILL CLEVELAND, RETIRED CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: Bill Cleveland, retired Capitol police officer, former vice mayor of the city of Alexandria, and substitute teacher in the Alexandria School System. Glad to be here.

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you.

EARL MATTHEWS, VETERAN: Bill is also a Vietnam veteran, sir.

TRUMP: Oh, good. MATTHEWS: I'm Earl Matthews, sir. I work for you at the Department of Defense. I was sworn in an hour after you were. So, I'm also a veteran and a longtime supporter of yours. I've worked for you since late summer. I'm happy to be here.

TRUMP: Lieutenant Colonel -- good job.

(LAUGHTER)

BELINDA SCOTT, PASTOR NEW SPIRIT REVIVAL CENTER: I'm Belinda Scott, Darrell's wife. New Spirit Revival Center from Cleveland, Ohio, Pastor of New Spirit. Great amount of support in the African-American community where we are. We love the Lord, we love our new President, and we are praying for our President on a regular basis.

TRUMP: You know the one thing I didn't understand about Belinda -- I thought they were married maybe five or six years, because look how they look so young.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Should you say how many years you've been married?

BELINDA: 35.

DARRELL SCOTT, PASTOR NEW SPIRIT REVIVAL CENTER: We've been together for 38.

BELINDA: Been together for 38 -- but in the Lord -

(LAUGHTER)

BELINDA: -- 35, yes.

DARRELL: Two years under -- (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: That's actually amazing. I wouldn't have known.

BELINDA: But can I say this -- I am so grateful that our President gives us that ear to listen to the community -- to listen. And people like us are just here to constantly put that message out into the community. And we love you for that. We love you for listening and we thank you for that.

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much.

DARRELL: Darrell Scott, pastor at New Spirit Revival Center and black Trump supporter.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

DARRELL: But speaking of the community. Let me just say this real quick. Omarosa, I told you I'm going to try to throw it in. I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs in Chicago for a sit- down. They reached out to me because they associated me with you. They respect you. They believe in what you're doing, and they want to have a sit-down about lowering that body count. So in a couple of weeks, I'm going into Chicago.

[10:20:02] TRUMP: That's a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control.

DARRELL: Well, I let him know -- I said, we've got to lower that body count. We don't want to talk about anything else -- get that body count down. And they agreed. But the principle is they can do it. These are guys straight from the streets -- no politicians -- straight street guys. But they're going to commit that if they lower that body count, we'll come in and we'll do some social programs. So they're in agreement.

TRUMP: If they're not going to solve the problem -- and what you're doing is the right thing -- then we're going to solve the problem for them because we're going to have to do something about Chicago, because what's happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.

DARRELL: But they want to work with this administration.

TRUMP: Good.

DARRELL: They want to. They reached out -- I didn't reach out to them. They reached out to me.

TRUMP: I understand.

DARRELL: They want to work with this administration. They believe in this administration. They didn't believe in the prior administration. They told me this out of their mouth. But they see hope with you.

TRUMP: I love it.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, HOWARD STIRK HOLDING BROADCAST GROUP: Mr. President, I'm a member of what we call the media, but we try to be fair and objective.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: Not all media seems to be the opposition party. There are those that see the good that you're doing. We report it. I'm just honored to have a seat at the table today.

TRUMP: Thank you. And it is -- I mean, a lot of the media is actually the opposition party. They're so biased and really it's a disgrace. Some of the media are fantastic and fair, but so much of the media is opposition party and knowingly saying incorrect things. So it's a very sad situation. But we seem to be doing well. It's almost like in the meantime, we won. So maybe they don't have the influence they think, but they really are -- they really have to straighten out their act. They're very dishonest people. James? JAMES DAVIS, NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION: Pastor James Davis. We've been -- Mr. President, we've been a supporter of yours from the beginning alongside Mr. Michael Cohen and Dr. Darrell Scott with the National Diversity Coalition. It helped to bring out a huge number in the black community with respect to the vote. And we're still happy to be in support as we go forward.

TRUMP: Thank you. You've been great. Thank you, James. And, Lynne.

PATTON: Hi, Mr. President. Yes, I am, as you know, the former vice president of the wonderful charity that your son founded, the Eric Trump Foundation. I've been with your family for about eight years now, right, Jared? And I was an RNC speaker and I will be landing with Dr. Carson at HUD as one of his senior advisors -

TRUMP: Oh, that's great. You've got a good person.

PATTON: -- and Director of the Office of Public Liaison.

TRUMP: That's great. You did a fantastic job.

PATTON: Thank you.

GERARD ROBINSON, RESIDENT FELLOW AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Mr. President, my name is Gerard Robinson. I'm a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and I was proud to be the leader of the education policy team for the Trump transition.

TRUMP: Thank you.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT, TV PERSONALITY: Ashley Bell behind you.

ASHLEY BELL, SENIOR STRATEGIST RNC: Mr. President, good to be with you. My name is Ashley Bell, Gainesville. Chairman Priebus called me out of my little town and help run African-American outreach for your campaign. I'm glad you support Omarosa, glad to be here, and I'll be wanting to help you out at the State Department.

TRUMP: Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you very much.

MANIGAULT: Tucker was a star at the inauguration.

TUCKER DAVIS, VIRGINIA DIRECTOR DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT: I'm Tucker Davis. I ran your campaign in West Virginia, working for you in the -

TRUMP: We did well in West Virginia.

(LAUGHTER)

DAVIS: Coal miners love you.

TRUMP: And we love the coal miners. We're going to put them back to work.

DAVIS: Absolutely. LEAH LEVELL, MEMBER STRATEGIC INTIATIVES RNC: Leah LeVell. I was at the RNC and also at PIC. And I helped launch the video series every week -- the midweek message that reached out to millennials and college students and helped launch the college Republican chapter at Howard University.

TRUMP: I heard that. Good job.

MANIGAULT: That's Chris LeVell's daughter. We snagged her.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Oh, really? Great job.

MONICA ALEXANDER, EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT IN THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC LIAISON: Mr. President, Monica Alexander, executive administrative assistant in the office of public liaison, supporting Omarosa.

TRUMP: Good. Thank you. That's nice.

JA'RON SMITH, DOMESTIC POLICY COUNCIL: Mr. President, Ja'Ron Smith. I'm with the Domestic Policy Council, Andrew Bremberg's team, and I'll be focusing on urban affairs and revitalization.

TRUMP: Fantastic.

MANIGAULT: And Howard graduate.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Howard graduate. That's good stuff. Thank you everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to step away and talk about this. With me now is Congressman James Clyburn. He's the assistant Democratic leader in the House. Welcome, sir.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA AND HOUSE ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: Did you happen to hear any of that?

CLYBURN: I think I heard all of it, and watched it as well. - I know quite a few of those people.

COSTELLO: Your thoughts?

CLYBURN: I'm sorry?

COSTELLO: Your thoughts?

CLYBURN: Oh, well, you know, I hope they're successful in getting this administration to focus its attention on the African-American community. I would like to say, however, I think that people make a tremendous mistake when they look at the inner city and say there is the African-American problem. The fact of the matter is, the majority of African-Americans in this country still live in the south. Basically, in rural communities, many of which I represent here in the Congress.

[10:25:00] I always maintained that the reason we have these crises in our cities is because we have never had a successful rural development program going in the country. We have people in rural communities that will remain in those communities if we carried opportunities to them. That's what infrastructure is all about.

I've been listening to the president talk about infrastructure, big, giant infrastructure program. Well, an infrastructure program for me is more than roads and bridges. It's about water. It's about sewage. It's about broadband connection. It is about saying to those kids at Scotts Branch High School were brown versus board of education all started, even today there are less than 40 percent adoption rate in those homes when it comes to broadband.

So, if we are really serious about development of African-American community, closing the education gap, closing the income gap, then we have got to carry programs into these rural communities. I've been fighting for it ever since I've been here. If you look in the Recovery Act, you will see that I've inserted a little formula in that act called 10-20-30. It was put into four parts of the AG Bill that we had.

COSTELLO: Sir?

CLYBURN: Yes?

COSTELLO: Sir, let me ask you this, because Donald Trump has met with all these African-American people so that they could celebrate African-American history month. Mr. Trump billed this as a listening session. Did he reach out to you at all to attend this meeting?

CLYBURN: Oh, no, I don't see any African-Americans there who are in government. Armstrong Williams I know very well, who was there, he is from my Congressional district. His family --

COSTELLO: But most of the people -- I guess what I'm getting at is, most of the people in this listening session were supporters of Donald Trump during the campaign. Should he have like widened the circle?

CLYBURN: It seems to me that, to be successful within the administration, as in everything else in politics, you learn how to add and multiply. This whole thing of subtracting and dividing, so much even that appointment last night to the United States Supreme Court. That is an appointment that will divide America like I have never seen it divided before. You may think this campaign was divisive. But you just see what happens as this vetting takes place. -- I would hope that there is extreme vetting.

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: I will say that Republicans are looking at the Democratic Party at the moment and calling them obstructionist, especially in light of what just happened in just about a half hour ago. And I'm going to try to explain it to my viewers, it's very difficult, but essentially the Democrats were boycotting these committee hearings on these Trump nominees, right? So, the Republicans suspended the rules and completely cut the Democrats out because they weren't cooperating at all. And now, all of these nominees go to the full Senate for these confirmation hearings without the Democrats taking part. What do you think about that?

CLYBURN: Well, we did take part. Look, I think you know what's going on here. Rushing these things through, not allowing for a full vetting to take place, putting these names up before the paperwork is ever turned in. I think that we have a right to vet these nominees. We should know what's in their records. They're all taking their signals from a president that we just elected, who refused to show his income taxes. We learn a lot about people when we look at their income taxes. We learn a lot about people when they fill out the right paperwork and turn it in.

So, ask them to participate in an unfair, biased system, the Democrats just decided they would not be a party to that. So this is not being divisive. This is bringing attention to the fact that they're rushing these things through, not giving us the paperwork, and then with these new questions arise. You don't want them to answer the questions.

COSTELLO: Well, Congressman, Senator Orrin Hatch is not happy about this, he's called Democrats idiots.

CLYBURN: I heard that. I hate to see Orrin do that. I know Senator Hatch very well. We've worked very closely together. He has helped me tremendously with (INAUDIBLE) and other programs. But I think he got a bit miffed. But I think he's cooled down a little bit today.

COSTELLO: No, no, no, he just moments ago called Democrats shameful. He has not cooled down. He seems to be angrier than ever.

CLYBURN: Well, he may be. But I would hope he would just recognize that a lot of what's taken place today, came out of the Republican playbook. Republicans had the same thing going on with Obama in the first year of his administration.