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Washington & The World Adjusting to Trump; Trump's Governing Style: All About Executive Actions. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired February 5, 2017 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:13] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A very busy first two weeks. A judge blocks President Trump's travel ban, as the White House continues to roll back big pieces of the Obama legacy.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Great spirit in the country right now, so we're very happy about that.

KING: But also some early cracks in Republican unity.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I don't want to see any spending, additional spending, on anything that's not paid for, any time.

KING: And on the world stage, new sanctions on Iran, or at least shifts on Russia and Israel and blunt phone chats that leave several big U.S. allies restless.

TRUMP: When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don't worry about it.

KING: Good start or rough start is debate, but there is no arguing with this -- he is different.

TRUMP: And I want to just pray for Arnold if we can, for those ratings, OK?

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.


KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John king. Thanks for sharing your Sunday morning.

The Trump administration will be back in court tomorrow after losing late last night in its latest to immediately restore the president's controversial travel ban.


TRUMP: For the safety of the country, we'll win.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: That confidence from the president last night, but his attacks on a judge who ruled against him have Republicans cringing and Democrats warning of a constitutional crisis.

Two weeks in, the president likes the image of fast action, but keeping most of his big promises from the border to Obamacare will take a lot more than the stroke of a pen.

Another early lesson, Washington and the world are on edge trying to sort through blunt talk, provocative tweets, and conflicting messages.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They should either get with the program, or they can go.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I know this was a hotly contested election and we do not all feel the same way about the outcome.


KING: And the competing power centers in the new administration are fascinating, from daughter Ivanka and the new secretary of state you saw just there, to America first Steve Bannon, whose early imprint is significant and controversial.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: It's a stunning thing that a white supremacist, Bannon, would be a permanent member of the National Security Council.


KING: With us to share their reporting and their insights this Sunday, Julie Pace of "The Associated Press", Ed O'Keefe of "The Washington Post", CNN's Manu Raju, and Ashley Parker of "The Washington Post".

It is Super Bowl Sunday. I make no secret where I stand, but the fun, and we'll have some fun, has to wait.

It's a Super Bowl tradition for the president to give an interview as part of a big show, that's a first for President Trump, and on this day, a de facto American holiday, our new president sharing his views on Vladimir Putin remarkably throws the red, white, and blue under the bus.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you respect Putin?

TRUMP: I do respect him.

O'REILLY: Do you? Why? TRUMP: Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn't mean I'm

going to get along with him. He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. Will I get along with him, I have no idea.

O'REILLY: He's a killer, though. Putin's a killer.

TRUMP: There are a lot of killers. We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country's so innocent?


KING: Now, I know, we're told to filter and just let it go, let Trump be Trump.

And if you're a Trump supporter he tells you almost every day not to believe what we in the media say. So, break out the laptop or smartphone, let's make this a pre-Super Bowl do-it-yourself fact check.

Russia in recent years has taken land from its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine. Has the United States done that to Canada or Mexico? You can look online at carnage, courtesy of Russian war planes in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. Is the United States not more innocent than that, Mr. President?

In a text exchange last night, a Republican senator to me called the president's remarks delusional and dangerous. Adam Schiff, a leading Democratic voice on foreign policy tells my colleague Jim Sciutto the president's remark is, quote, "as inexplicably bizarre as it is untrue."

It wasn't the only eye-popping he said yesterday. But let's start there.

You cover the White House. I'm the oldest guy at the table. I've been here since the final months of the Reagan administration, and I cannot recall an American president equating the United States, especially to this Russian president, this kind of behavior from another foreign leader, and I was thinking this last night reading this interview.

Can you imagine if two weeks into his administration President Obama had said this?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, if you can remember the outcry from Republicans when the president -- President Obama, went traveling around the world and would often talk about things in the U.S. history that were not so great. When he would say, you know, we have a track record that isn't always perfect. He would talk about slavery, he would talk about some of the missteps in the Iraq war, and there was such an outcry from Republicans who called this the apology tour or really criticized that president for not putting the U.S. kind of above the rest of the world in terms of moral standing.

And what's so striking about what President Trump has said here, this is a line you hear from Putin sometimes, where he will often say, you know, why does the U.S. hold themselves above everyone else when they have their own missteps?

[08:05:11] And you see President Trump now essentially buying into that line.

KING: Right. No one is claiming the United States is perfect, but in the current context, in the current context of what we see happening in central Europe, what Russia's doing as we speak in Crimea, what we have seen in Syria in recent weeks, I'm waiting to see, this plays out on a weekend, I'm waiting to see -- I can see John McCain's head popping off at this one, but what about the other Republicans who are trying, trying in this early weeks to be loyal, even though they had jitters about this administration, they are trying to be loyal, but something like this has to strike them as appalling.

ED O'KEEFE, THE WASHINGTON POST: After last weekend's appalling, you know, moves on the travel ban and other things, you know, the Republicans went from being outraged on Monday and Tuesday to somewhat pleased and back to being on his side by Friday because administration officials had come to the Hill to explain what was to be done, homeland security put out clarifications and guys like Bob Corker and John McCain and others were become to being okay with everything.

This comes know and now on a Monday, you just wonder how many weeks of this -- and this will be week three -- can they take of this, you know, with him saying these things. And is it just they are OK with it because we're going to get our Obamacare fixes and tax reform and we're going to get all these other things, or at so point, are they going to step in and say, no, this has --

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Will they ratchet it up and have it pointed at Trump, which you've heard from Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, Paul Ryan, the House speaker, not to attack Trump over Russia when ask about Russia, but to say Russia's not our friend. Russia's not our ally. They are someone we need to be concerned about.

They are trading their attacks on Russia, not criticizing what Trump has said about Russia. Will this change in the leadership's approach?

We probably will hear the John McCains of the world raise concerns, but will House Speaker Paul Ryan -- Paul Ryan actually joined those criticisms. That's a question. If he does, it will be interesting, a tonal shift among the Republicans in Washington.

KING: And you hear, Ashley, some of his own people say not necessarily ignore the president, but don't take him literally, and, you know, General Mattis has that portfolio, Secretary Tillerson has that portfolio. The president is going to say things to move the debate. But the actual policy will be done at the department.

Another one of the issues we've dealt with is the president saying he believes the reason he lost the popular vote is because 3 to 5 million undocumented flooded the polls illegally and voted. Now, again, you can do this at home if you're a Trump supporter, check with your secretary of state, check online, check with your members of Congress, check with the Republican leaders Manu just mentioned, they all think it's a crock.

Here's the president.


O'REILLY: Is there any validity to the criticism of you that you say things you can't back up factually and as the president, if you say, for example, that there are 3 million illegal aliens who voted and then you don't have the data to back it up, some people are going to say that's irresponsible for a president to say that. Is there any validity to it?

TRUMP: Well, many people have come out and said I'm right, you know that.

O'REILLY: I know. But you've got to have data to back that up.

TRUMP: When you see illegals, people that are not citizens, and they are on the registration rolls -- look, Bill, we can be babies, but you take a look at the registration, you have illegals, dead people, it's really a bad situation. It's really bad.


KING: At the end, it's trademark Trump conflating. Look at the registration rolls. We have illegals. We have dead people. That's not the issue. Registration rolls, he says 3 to 5 million people voted and he says many people have come out and said I'm right, you know that.

Has anyone with credibility come out and shown the evidence that 3 million people voted illegally?

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: No. To be clear, no, absolutely no one with any credibility has come out and said that. As we know from covering him, one of President Trump's tells when he says many people are saying or some people are saying, that's sort of the way he begins floating a conspiracy theory that often has no validity to back it up.

Remember, he said that about President Obama's birth certificate and where the president was born. But sort of going back to this idea of members of Congress and his own team, they find this wildly unhelpful, because if you look at Trump's first several weeks, he's done a lot of things that his base is happy about, he's kept his pledge, he had a successful Supreme Court rollout. But when he says stuff like this, it distracts from what could be a positive core message from him of, for instance, keeping his campaign promise.

KING: A thousand percent, that's great point, in a sense that we have a chance in the city now to have real debates about education policy, to have real debates about America's place in the world, to have real debates about we should be more open about Taiwan and stand up to China. Instead, we get down these rabbit holes, as you say, know, people are saying the Easter bunny is going to distribute sugar free chocolate this year.

O'KEEFE: I want to call him out on one thing here, because this continues to be a problem that afflicts the president and other people in this debate, he continues to use the word illegals. It's about as offensive as it gets and for immigration advocates and for Hispanics in this country.

[08:10:05] And for O'Reilly to use the term "illegal aliens", that also is a no-no in journalism. The A.P. style is not that anymore. Still a legal term for the government, but that kind of talk distracts and people will just hear that and that alone is disqualifying.

KING: Our style is undocumented here. There are people who think you should call it out, that they did come into the country illegally, and you should continue to say so. That's a debate.


O'KEEFE: Plural, though, illegals, is the problem. That's going to get him and Republicans in trouble yet again with immigration advocates. It's offensive.

KING: Another thing, and where I thought we'd start the program until the Bill O'Reilly interview was released, is the president's reaction to the judge. Now, the administration was blocked nationwide. A judge on the West Coast, a Republican appointee, a George W. Bush appointee issued a stay, a block, on implementation of the president's travel ban.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State immediately said, boom, let's open the borders, let's start issuing visas, let's go back to as if the ban doesn't exists, while they fight this out in court.

The president tweeted the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned, so-called judge. You have a story on the wire right and other people. The original White House statement called this outrageous, the ruling, and the president's own lawyer said you cannot do that.

PACE: And it really shows the limits of influence that the president's lawyers and his staff have. They pull this word out of a statement late Friday night, by the time everyone wakes up on Saturday morning, the president himself has come out with a tweet that goes even further, that goes directly at this judge.

What I think is so interesting about what you've seen happened is I think one of the president's best moments in his early days in office were when he announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee. It was a very traditional rollout, people were impressed by Gorsuch and you see Democrats now seizing on the president's words about this judge and using it as an opening in the Supreme Court fight to say, this proves we need an even higher standard for Gorsuch because we're dealing with a president who questions the independence of the judiciary. KING: Is that a partisan statement by the Democrats, or is that real?

O'KEEFE: No --

KING: They go back to the criticism of the judge during the campaign, the judge of Mexican-American heritage who is handling the Trump University suit and the president attacked him. Now he's saying this so-called judge here.

Again, as a parent, we're going to have the so-called teacher, or the so-called police, so-called this, there's a respect question here. There's a respect question here for institutions, but Patrick Leahy, one of the senior Democrats in Congress, has been involved in these issues for a long time sees a constitutional crisis, separation of powers crisis, is that true?

O'KEEFE: Yes, Chuck Schumer sat down with my colleague Paul Kane and I on Thursday and was saying that this Gorsuch nomination now is a Trump referendum. That they are going to hang judicial independence over the neck of Gorsuch and unless he makes it clear he'd be an independent arbiter and not there to defend the president, he should expect to be rejected. He said because Trump is trifling with the Constitution, Democrats have a obligation to stand in the way of this if they have concerns.

And it is something every time he does this, Democrats will now say that. And the more he talks about it, the more difficult it may become for Neil Gorsuch to get the 60 votes he probably needs to get confirmed.

KING: It's fascinating two weeks in. To that point, though, Judge Gorsuch has written some pretty strong rulings on executive power where he's very skeptical of executive power. So, that's likely to come up in his defense of those hears.

Everybody, sit tight, lot more to talk about.

Up next, looks can be deceiving. All those executive actions don't necessarily mean all those campaign processes are being kept.

And politicians say the darnedest things. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during President Trump's calls for the Australian prime minister.

Here's "SNL" version of how that went down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, thank you for still affecting our refugees.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama said America would accept 1,200 refugees. Your country's compassion will not be forgotten.

BALDWIN: No, no, no, America first, Australia stops, your reef is failing, prepare to go to war.

Steve, I think that was bad. Was that bad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it went just according to plan.

BALDWIN: Who's plan?




[08:18:18] KING: Welcome back.

Obamacare, the wall, trade deals, and more, including the travel ban we just discussed, all executive actions taken in the first two weeks. To the president, promises kept.


TRUMP: On every single front we are working to deliver for American workers and American families. You, the law-abiding citizens of this country, are my total priority. Your safety, your jobs, and your wages guide our decisions. We are here to serve you, the great and loyal citizens of the United States of America.


KING: Without a doubt action. But, of course, it's not that easy. The travel ban is tied up in the courts. Replacing Obamacare has Republicans in fits. The wall's multibillion price tag -- too big for many conservatives to swallow.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If you only build a wall, only a, quote, "a wall", without using technology, individuals, drones, observation, et cetera, you're not going to secure the border. The taxpayers are paying a lot of money right now. One of the biggest problems we have is the enforcement of existing law.


KING: Now, there's no disputing the new president is off to a fast and disruptive start, but TBD is the real early score card for much of the Trump agenda and to that point, the conversation having earlier, anybody watching at home, Trump supporter, Trump critic -- slow down, two weeks in. Two weeks in. We're writing in pencil. We don't use ink right now, we're just going for the early parts of the process.

But the early stages of his administration can say something about the tone, especially given the deep divide in the country. I was struck by your piece this week about the skepticism about the wall. This is normally when people start saying Republican sources, Republican congressman or senator who asked for his or her name not to be named. [08:20:01] You had a half dozen Republicans on the record with their

names essentially saying, "No, Mr. President. That is extraordinary."

RAJU: Yes, they are concerned about the price tag. A lot of Republicans were unnerved coming out of there, because there are all these proposals that are flying around about adding to the deficit. Big numbers. We're talking about creating the wall $12 billion to $15 billion, likely not to be offset by spending cuts.

And this is a party, of course, that's run on fiscal discipline, that has run on the concept of pay-as-you-go, meaning budget cuts when you add new spending, so just from talking to Republicans, are you concerned about this price tag, especially with budget cuts -- a lot said, yes, I am concerned.

So, that just shows a central campaign promise of Donald Trump to build a wall. Now, he wants Congress to appropriate money first and Mexico to reverse later, that's difficult, because a lot of people don't think Mexico will reimburse the United States, including John McCain.

KING: And so, you sign the order saying speed it up, you sign the Obamacare executive action that says the federal government can do anything to slow it down. But you can't replace it, you can't get the wall, you can't do a lot of these things without Congress to vote.

Let me add this one into the conversation, replace and replace from the campaign, right? Recently the word repair has snuck into conversations about Obamacare and conservatives say, wait a minute, are you going to pull a fast one on us?

Here's the speaker of the House.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There's a miscommunication or misinterpretation what we're trying to say. Our job is to rescue the American health care system ands rescue from the collapse that it's in, and the best way is to repeal and replace Obamacare. It's not an either/or.


KING: We all need editors.


PARKER: Well, I think, you know, as we read in "The Post" the other day, no one would accuse Donald Trump of campaigning in poetry, but he's now sort of what the executive orders were good for is sort of in the broadest possible sense keeping his campaign pledges. He hit the key issues, health care, immigration, trade, but what you're seeing is he can't just unilaterally do this with a pen and phone. He has to go to Congress. He has to on any of these issues and that's where the challenge is. And so far, his congressional outreach has not been stellar. We saw

last week after the botched rollout of the travel ban that he did send people to the Hill. He even sent his vice president to the hill, who sort of came with a very conciliatory message. Look, we know there are mistakes, we'll get better, but until they do, it's going to be tough to push this stuff through when they need the help of senators.

KING: To that point, before you jump, I just want to put these numbers up. The president's approval rating, again, we're two weeks in. Everybody take a deep breath, we'll say how this goes.

But this does matter if you're a member of Congress or a senator and you want to go out on a limb for the president, his approval rating 44 percent, disapproval 53 percent. That's the election. We have not moved since November 8th. That's the way it turned out.

Look at the partisan breakdown here, 90 percent of Republicans approve of the president's job, but only 10 percent of Democrats approve of his performance, 89 percent disagree. Independents, 41 percent approve, 55 percent disagree. So if you look at it there, again, that's November 9th. We're into February, but that's the day after the election.

PACE: And in a lot of ways it's not surprising because throughout the transition and the first two weeks in office, there are few things that this president has done to try to reach out to people who didn't vote for him.

KING: But nor -- I hate to interrupt -- but nor have the people who didn't vote for him moved either. Goes both ways. People opposed to Trump haven't given him a chance either.

PACE: We're basically sitting where we were at the end of the election. I am actually not sure that Trump's strategy is going to be, to be someone who reaches out to other people. I think he likes existing in this state of not just chaos, but kind of disruption in the country and having an opposition, not only on Capitol Hill, but among people in the country. So, I don't think we're going to see him doing a lot of outreach.

But in terms of how Republicans will do this, these elections come up really, really fast. People are going to start looking at things in terms of their midterm prospects awfully fast.

KING: That's why you watch that approval rating.

One thing he can't do, Ed, he can't get Obamacare replaced without Congress. He can't do a lot of these other things without congress, the travel ban, the wall, will have some Congress action, but he can regulatory-wise do a lot of things. He signed something this week, we'll see what happens, but has Democrats mad at him. The president is essentially saying roll back much of the financial regulation after the 2008 collapse on the big banks, Wall Street, financial institutions.

Democrats say chaos is coming. The president and his team say growth is coming. Consumers will get more choices.

O'KEEFE: Yes, that's going to be an interesting one to watch. It's one that I think is harder for everyday Americans to understand, but it was a bedrock achievement of the Obama years and certainly folks like Elizabeth Warren and progressives up on the hill who are going to be furious about this. I would -- you talk about Republicans being upset, there are three names in the House I think that are worth watching as the president tries to do things on Obamacare and the wall.

[08:25:00] Will Hurd and Martha McSally, Republicans from border districts in Texas and Arizona, and John Faso from the districts o at the retreat a few weeks ago was saying we can't go after Planned Parenthood. If we do, it's going to create thousands of new donors for them and Democrats and turn out people in 2018.

It's those types of Republicans in swing districts that are going to be a problem for the president on the border, on Obamacare, and other issues and if his legislative affairs office aren't dealing with them, those are the people that lose or face tough re-election fights.


KING: And you add those in, swing districts, which are not a lot of them, but you add in the swing district and then you add in the conservative Tea Party guys who are going to get the budget arc going that way.

O'KEEFE: It's a real problem.

KING: Math, we'll be doing math as we go forward.

Next, attacking a federal judge just one example of a president who communicates his way, like it or not.


KING: Welcome back.

We all know old habits die hard. President Obama he tried and mostly succeeded we're told in kicking his smoking habit. But President Donald Trump, his Twitter addiction shows no sign of waning. He wake up just about every morning this past couple of weeks. First to the new presidency to the most powerful man on the planet sending tweets that all to the course of the world's day.

Whether he's justifying an executive order like this one on Monday, "If the ban was announced with a one-week notice, the bad would rush into the country during that week, a lot of bad dudes out there." Or he's favorite type tweet. Attacking what he sees as the biased mainstream media. Like this, just yesterday after being forced to apologized for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the fake news at New York Times is still lost. Not exactly accurate but that's OK, it's a fun. The Oval Office has not changed how President Trump communicates online or the presidency changed the new president's pension for injecting a little New York attitude into stately Washington.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we had tremendous success on the apprentice, and they hired a big, big movie start, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes and I want to pray for Arnold if we can for those ratings.

KING: That was at an annual event, the National Prayer Breakfast. He also said what the hell at that event to his critics. That's galling, they say not presidential to Trump supporters especially his insiders, they say that's who he is, it's part of his appeal, he throws pc out the window, and that's why he got elected because he talks in a way that mainstream America can understand. What have we learned in the first two weeks about -- a lot things are transactional to this president, what is he try -- what was this about? I mean, your former newspaper and your current newspaper have come under fire from him in the past couple of weeks. It must be fun.

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I mean, I think -- I think several things. Trump is going to be Trump but this is a real asset to him with the voters and with his base. His advisors are frustrated because they worked very hard to modulate something to strike up, professional or presidential tone and he undoes it all with a well- time drilling morning tweet. But one problem that sort of average Americans have with politicians is you get the sense that when they're on stage or they're in public, they're not saying what they would say when they get in the car with their aides or their advisors.

You specialty thought that with Hillary Clinton in part because her aides were always saying, if you could see her in private, she is a different and funny person. But what people like about Donald Trump is with his tweet and with some of his public pronouncements, you get the sense that this is who he is. When he gets back in the residence, when he gets in the Oval, when he's in the motorcade, he is saying the exact same stuff and they like that authenticity even if they don't always like the tone or the language.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: But it's still a risk that Twitter, -- using Twitter, I mean, of course you look at some of the polls, a lot of voters don't want him to continue the tweets. They -- a lot of even younger voters in particular. So, you know, he says that he's talking directly to the voters but the things that he's saying --

KING: Talking to his voters.

RAJU: He's talking to his voters.

KING: I think this is going to be -- this is going to be a conversation throughout the Trump presidency and you made this point earlier I think, Julie, that he thinks and people around him think, you know, if he can keep his 40 plus, he's OK. Can you govern with 40 plus.

ED O'KEEFE, THE WASHINGTON POST: You can't -- you can't get republicans reelected in 2018 with for 40 percent approval ratings. I mean, that could -- that could lead to big democratic gains in the House and the senate. But he's keeping his promises. He said he was going try to make changes on Obamacare, start building a wall, you know, making all these other changes, talk trough to Iran, he's doing it.

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: At the same time, we are -- the first couple of weeks of a presidency are always chaotic. Particularly chaotic but you have a lot of churn, you do have a lot of new policy proposals coming out. What will be interesting to watch is when Trump has a big legislative push where you are trying to work something complicated through congress. And there is an art to selling that to the public. You have to consistent generally, you have to try to stay off of distractions. And you have to try to reach out to people beyond your base. When we really get into the push to repeal or replace Obamacare, when we get into tax reform, how will those efforts line up with a president who can't seem to stay focused and stay on message?

RAJU: And will twitter be used to his advantage there, will he go after some people who are wavering, maybe that won't work but maybe some people won't waiver because they're worried that Donald Trump's 20 million followers will start to attack them on Twitter, so maybe it work is a discipline tool in that regard but at the same time, it could put off some folks, he's already been attacking John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Twitter. Will they be on some of the key issues when they ask him to make big decisions.

KING: In the Obamacare today, my one piece of advice -- no, not the advice, was don't say if you like your doctor you keep the doctor. The world is digesting this as well. I want to show the cover of Der Spiegel, German magazine that have an American first cover up, if we could put it up on the screen there, it's not -- it's not a nice thing, it's not a nice characterization, depiction of the new president here, but even at home as the world is trying to digest Time this week, puts on the cover, Steve Bannon.

Donald Trump likes to brag about how many times he's been on the cover of Time. Steve Bannon as the great manipulator. Everybody here has done reporting on the competing factions within this administration, the great story in the post today about this, Steve Bannon is clearly the America first. Steve Bannon is clearly the person, he was in room when the Australia call was made. He was telling the president this is a bad deal taking these refugees in. But then you also hear of Ivanka getting to her father because there were some talk, they were going to reverse LGBT protections.

And so, what are we seeing in this White House, is it -- is it, you know, Steve Bannon goes to the bathroom, Ivanka runs into the oval office? I mean --

PARKER: What -- I mean, there are several different ways these factions break down and the Trump administration really went out to say nothing to see here, folks, everybody gets along. And even if you accept that at face value, which you shouldn't necessarily do, another interesting way they lines divide are ideological, Donald Trump, you know, was a pragmatist, he was a businessman and he has stocked his White House accordingly.

And so he's taking advice from social conservatives like Vice President Mike Pence. And then he also has a huge Wall Street faction, you know, who hail from Manhattan and they come sort of that progressive liberalism on social issues and that's where you'll see sort of the impulse of Ivanka or someone like that or some of these other advisers who may push him to the left and depending on the day, you don't know who Trump is going to go with.

KING: It's a feeling out process, the first two weeks. Everybody sit tight. Next, what's a Trump-State democrat? Things Supreme Court fight and any effort to replace Obamacare.


KING: Welcome back. No, not a flashback, it's February, not November but the question is we go through the big policy debates of 2017 is how much will this, the map of 2016 affect the results. Supreme Court nomination coming up, replacing Obamacare coming up. If you are President Trump in the White House, you might need democratic votes. These are 10 democrats to watch closely as we go forward.

All on the ballot in 2018. All from states President Trump carried in the November election. Now if you're Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Bill Nelson in Florida, Trump just barely won your state. So maybe he doesn't have as much sway over you as he would like. We'll see going forward.

But Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, we move this way, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, look at these Trump margins in these states. They probably have to worry about the people back home and the president's popularity. So watch as the Supreme Court justice plays out. Do you need 60 votes? Well, republicans have 52 votes in the senate, that means they need eight democrats.

This is where the president is going to look. Votes to replace Obamacare, this is where the president is going to look. Right now, the democrats are holding on many of these big fights. The question is, can the president sway them? Here is how his press secretary looks at it.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECETARY: The judge also met with democrat senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Recently, Senator Manchin express his belief that Judge Gorsuch could you win enough democrats to his 60 votes, I agree with the senator there on that one. I mean, we have to have a few Trump-State democrats who want to run re-election.

KING: Trump-State democrats. It's a -- it's a -- it's a smart , we've said some things the White House has done that haven't been so smart that they've debunked, that's a smart way to put things to start this conversation about people if the president can hold his supporters in those states when it comes to the Judge Gorsuch, when it comes to replacing Obamacare, when it comes to trade deals. Eight or ten of those people are going to be the key votes. O'KEEFE: Yes. Most immediately, it's the Supreme Court fight. In that interview that we did on Thursday with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he stalks about the big five, Manchin, Heitkamp, Tester, Donnelly, and McCaskill. He actually is not dining with them on a regular basis, to talk strategy, to make sure that they're getting the space they need and some -- just to ensure that he's conscious of whatever it is they need to do back home.

He makes the argument democrats more wildly (INAUDBLE) look, these are people with bog personalities, in their own identities in their states. They can afford to be independent operators and work both sides of the isle. What he was suggesting is that democrats more broadly need to give these democrats the space to do whatever they need to do, to vote however they need to votes that it helps and get reelected in 2018. But it's a big concern and they are definitely (INAUDBLE).

KING: Are there-- are there groups going to give them that space? Because if you watch -- if you watch from the Women's March, to other things that you talk to members of congress about their phones blowing off of the hook and call some interest groups, say they want -- they say they want to block Trump on everything, the interest groups and the senators don't have the map.

RAJU: And actually I talked to Senator Manchin about this very issue and he said he gave a pretty stark warning to the base, the liberal said that if you want to play hard ball with Donald Trump and everything, we're going to be in a "super minority." That's -- that was his warning to the liberals and they did not take that very well. And that's the challenge for the democrats and the senate because they have those five democrats in very red stage who could very well loose but this is the very liberal progressive caucus.

It is -- the energies with the Elizabeth Warren wing and Bernie Sanders wing. The democratic leadership is going to be pulled to the left just as in front of the (INAUDIBLE) the guy in the middle.

KING: And we saw the Obama administration, republicans couldn't block everything. And we got the tea party because their base got mad, even though the math wasn't there, it was -- it was their mission impossible but you had the -- this revolt.

PARKER: Yes. In speaking of sort of where the democratic basis, you know, we're talking about these big five who were up in 2018, but if you look to 2020 and some of the ambitious democrats who may be want to run for president, they're should getting pulled in the opposite direction and you'll notice these democrats, Senator Billibrand, Senator Booker, Senator Warren have voted against a lot of Trump's cabinet nominees.

And this out of striking number of no votes for cabinet nominees for a president's first term and you sort of wonder if these will be the votes in a democratic primary or a presidential race that they will look, you know, where were you. So you have these two competing lanes really pulling at the senators. PACE: Well, I was just going to say, you could imagine in 2018 or you

look at some of those (INAUDIBLE) about Heitkamp, McCaskill, imagine Donald Trump showing up in your state, a state he won by 30 or 40 points and have a big rally for your opponent. I mean, these lawmakers are thinking down the road at that and that's' a really tough landscape.

RAJU: It's really interesting to think about that 18 -- this 18 cycle, I know it's a long time to 2018, but as we know, historically, the first midterm of a new president is typically very bad for the president and his own party. Trump's numbers are underwater but senate democrats have terrible math going in and if you just look at those states, it could -- very well they could lose seats in this cycle just because there are not that many republicans incumbents --

KING: The course of the -- the course of the economy and candidate recruitment are going to be the two biggest --

O'KEEFE: And Schumer said, if we can hold Trump's popularity rating, approval rating to 35 percent, around 35 percent we can win back the senate. If it hops into the 50s, we're in trouble. So that is the map for democrats and it's keeping him in that 15 percent.

KING: And the president's -- no, that's (INAUDIBLE) but the president is aware of this, and one of the things that the White House is especially, one of the questions is the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch Mcconnell changed the rules of the senate so he can pass the Supreme Court pick, but the majority as supposed to the normal traditional 60 votes, the filibuster rule, democrats would have to vote to proceed. Meaning, 60 votes to proceed, it's called a nuclear option and here's the president of the United States giving, this is unsolicited advice to the senate majority leader.


TRUMP: If we end up with gridlock, I would say if you can, Mitch, no nuclear. Because that would be a absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web. So I would say it's up to Mitch, but I would say go for it.


KING: I just love, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear.

It will be hard for him to not go nuclear.


RAJU: It's going to be hard for McConnell to not go nuclear, even if he doesn't want to, as he furiously criticized Harry Reid for doing the same thing for lower court nominees. But Donald Trump saying this and everybody else, the democrats do successfully filibuster Neil Gorsuch, he's going to almost certainly have to because of that pressure.

KING: May you live in interesting times. I think that's the old proverb. Up next, our reporters usually emptied their notebooks to close the show. This week, think playbook even for the misguided.

CONY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: John, I'm here with some of my new friends in downtown Houston at Super Bowl live with just moments from the big game. And I got to tell you, you know I spent three years in Atlanta Falcons player and even though that they just have the greatest quarterback on Atlanta, Tom Brady with that strong jawline kind of like you, I'm going to tell you why my Falcons have a chance in this one, Julio Jones is a man amongst boys, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are like some running bulls of Pamplona. And finally, this is the 51st season for the Atlanta Falcons and this is Super Bowl LI. So this is the year the Falcons get it done, we're almost eight games high. You all, you got to have a good time. John King, I love you.


KING: We'll close the program a little differently today. There is a big game tonight, many of you may have noticed, maybe you can guess at home what team I'm rooting for, from Boston, that's what happens. Andy Scholes, CNN sports reporter down at the side of the big game for us. You know, that's not a bad outfit, Andy but, you know, you should be wearing this, my friend.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: I like that that red Brady beige New Jersey you got on there, John. And it's funny. You and the rest of Patriots nation really kind of dubbed this season for the Patriots to Tom Brady revenge tour. But Brady, he has not talked about it at all. He's like really been mewing those bands continue that march about how this is revenge against Roger Goodell for Deflategate.

And Brady later today is going to be going for his 5th Super Bowl ring. He's trying to complete the hand, a ring for every one of his fingers. And yesterday, the Patriots and Brady doing one last walk through NRG Stadium right behind me and Brady had his wife Gisele by his side as they went through the stadium one last time before the big game. And then later on Instagram, I want to show you a picture that Brady posted.

It was of him and his father kissing his mother on the check. And this is a really cool picture because Brady got emotional earlier in the week when speaking about his mom has been dealing with a health issue for the past 18 months. She has not been to one of his games this entire season but she is in Houston, she will be at the Super Bowl later today and earlier this week, Brady spoke about how special it will be if he's able to win his 5th Super Bowl.

TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: I think it's just special because it's this year. I mean, it's -- every year is different. But the fact that I've been able to do it before, you know, just means I've been part of some really great teams. And this team is trying to one of those great teams that finishes the job.

MATT RYAN, FALCONS QUARTERBACK: This is what you dream about as a -- as kid, is playing in in a game, playing in this game. And you know, winning this game. That's, you know, that's what your thoughts are when you're in your backyard and you're 10 years old and playing with your brothers.

SCHOLES: So Matt Ryan obviously would love to win the Super Bowl later today as well. He actually brought some early hardware this week's game being names as season's NFL MVP. But I got a great stat for you, John, since 2001, MVPs are 0 and 7 in the Super Bowl, so a great sign for fans like you in New England, not so great if you're a fan of the Atlanta Falcons.

KING: Andy Scholes, enjoy the game. I'm a big fan of Matt Ryan. I have a son and a brother went to Boston College, got no beef with Matt Ryan. He's just not on the right team today. Let's go quickly around the table here. Who's going to win the game and why?

PACE: Well, as a loyal fan of the lowly Buffalo Bills out of AFC East, I'm basically obligated to root against the Patriots and for the underdogs, so the Falcons. My last appearance on the show.

O'KEEFE: I got family on Plymouth, Somerville, Hartford, Hanover, Keene, Westport, Pittsville, so reluctantly I will be rooting for the New England Patriots but the real winner today, former President Bush and Barbara Bush who will be tossing the coin at the start.

I'm picking that score because it was super bowl 20 when my Chicago bearing rolled over the patriots, and the best team in NFL history --

KING: It's a great moment, it's a great moment for that and yes, old politics is local for you.

RAJU: John, I'm going to go on a limb here and I'm going to say Falcons, 46, Patriots 10, and the reason why I'm painting that score, same score as Super Bowl XX when my Chicago Bears rolled over the New England Patriots, on a both love-sided victory on Super Bowl history and the best team in NFL which cannot be defeated.

O'KEEFE: Do you think I'm working at the Washington Post?

RAJU: Exactly.

O'KEEFE: You might need to.

RAJU: That you're very a little bit better than this (INAUDIBLE)

KING: That is -- thank you. They're back into therapy for that game. Steve Grogan Patriot's back in the day, but yes, that (INAUDIBLE) team was better than the Patriots today. Not today, my friend.

PARKER: So I have always wondering what it would be like to be kicked off of a set, so I was going to go with the Falcons.

KING: Oh, you know, we're forgiving here. Welcome. We allowed diverse opinions even when they're wrong. That's it. Thanks for sharing your Sunday with us. Inside Politics. Also live every weekday at noon, hope to see you then tomorrow, Monday, Truck Day. Up next, State of the Union with Jake Tapper.