Return to Transcripts main page
Source: Infighting, Rivalries Brew among Stump Staff; Senate Democrats to Protest Against Betsy DeVos' Education nomination; Maxine Waters Talks Trump Impeachment. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired February 6, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] MAEVE RESTON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: -- listening in and taking part in these kinds of decisions. And one thing --
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: As a political operative.
RESTON: As a political operative.
One thing that is interesting, David Axelrod did an op-ed for us at CNN saying that he had sat in on some of those meetings but did not have a seat at the table. You know, obviously, didn't have that kind of background experience. So, Trump was not prepared for the reaction to this.
BALDWIN: So there is that reporting from Jeff Zeleny. There is also, you know, the Trump tweet earlier today where he says he's calling his own shots. There is reported rivalries between say Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus.
But, Tim, you wrote about this last week in your column. My question is, does Trump thrive in chaos?
TIM O'BRIEN, AUTHOR: Trump has existed and thrived in chaos for a very long time. This is a 70-year-old man who has basically been this way since he was 25 years old. And he ran his business, the Trump Organization was always marked by chaos, seat-of-the-pants decision- making, inability to focus, a lack of intellectual and emotional discipline. We saw that through the campaign. He cycled through advisors. People were pitted against one another. They had random outcomes and now you are seeing it in the presidency.
BALDWIN: You talk about how productive he's been and all these executive orders he's sign. I thought maybe this was a really successful businessman taking town targets left and right. For someone who never had governing experience, maybe you would want to slow it down and take it in. But he is approaching it like a business person.
O'BRIEN: Successive business people are - they make plans. They build teams. They listen to other people. That's common in any big organization. You have to have a sense of purpose and you have to have an open mindedness to other's pints of view. That's never been Donald Trump.
BALDWIN: Also for someone, Maeve, who has chosen to take on the media and, for whatever reason, wants to be at war with us, this is someone who watch as heck of a lot of cable news.
RESTON: He does. Remember during the campaign that famous comment that he made about getting a lot of his information from the Sunday shows.
But what we are seeing in the Trump presidency so far is that they are obviously doing a lot of things but he's still very much up to his old behavior. You know, as the "New York Times" reported today, he is in his bath robe watching Don Lemon and other cable shows. That's a difference from President Obama, for example, who would, you know, study up in the evenings as we know.
But it is showing you sort of how different Trump's approach is to all of this and how sensitive and thin-skinned he still remains about how he is portrayed in the media.
And I was talking to some sources about how you know this might actually be a very fast first wave of staff because they have taken such a hit, you know, in the first week, that a lot of times presidential aides don't last that long. And this may be, you know, a quick first and second wave of aides that we see here.
BALDWIN: That's quickly what you were pointing out, Tim, before we came on, that he could cycle lieu people and they could be gone. We talk so much about Trump being loyal, or he cares about people being loyal to him. If they cycle out, would that be Trump behavior?
O'BRIEN: That would be typical Trump behavior. The reality is, if you are on the left or the right, if you are Republican or Democrat, you have to have a process, you have to have an organization to get things put through in a disciplined way. And he's got a very shoot- from-the-hip mentality. And he is a loner. He is a profound loner. You know, one of the images in the "Times" story of him walking around in the White House late at night in the dark in his bath robe had this whole Citizen Kane-esque taste to it. It's very familiar to anybody who has covered Trump for any period of time.
BALDWIN: Would it be lonely? His wife and son is not there.
O'BRIEN: His son is not there. I think Donald Trump has been a lonely person for a long time. This is a little bit of psychobabble, but I think one of the reasons he craves the spotlight and one of the reasons he thrives on attention is because he is very needy.
BALDWIN: OK. Tim O'Brien, who wrote the book, "Trump Nation, The Art of Being the Donald," thank you so much.
Maeve Reston --
O'BRIEN: Thank you, Brooke.
[14:34:03]BALDWIN: -- thank you.
Next, we have breaking news from Capitol Hill. The Senate Democrats launching a 24-hour protest on the floor. Senator Warren still up there speaking. Their whole mission, they don't want Betsy DeVos to be Trump's next education secretary. The question is, will this work.
My next guest ahead also floated the word impeachment in talking about the president. And the White House has now responded. We will talk live to Congresswoman Maxine Waters after this quick break.
BALDWIN: As we have been showing you live pictures up on Capitol Hill Senate Democrats are in the midst of taking the chamber floor for the next 24 hours. Essentially, they are hoping to derail this nomination of DeVos, Trump's choice to become the next education secretary. This is all coming as the U.S. Senate gets ready to hold a full vote on her confirmation tomorrow.
Manu Raju is our senior congressional correspondent, live on Capitol Hill.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has been speaking for quite a while, Manu. What ultimately is this about.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are hoping to flip that one Republican Senator. Remember if you look at the vote breakdown right now in the Senate it is 50/50, meaning because two Republicans of Alaska and Maine both said they would vote against DeVos tomorrow meaning Vice President Mike Pence will have to come and break a tie tomorrow to confirm her to that cabinet post. This will be the first time that the Senate historian can remember that the vice president of the United States has had to come to help confirm a cabinet post. So, what Democrats are hoping for is perhaps over the next 24 hours that someone will change their mind. We are not getting any indication that's going to happen quite yet.
Patty Murray, a top Democrat on the Health and Labor Committee, who was in charge of the nomination trying to make the case of why they are doing just that, speaking on the floor moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:40:15] SEN. PATTY MURRAY, (D), WASHINGTON: I come to the floor today to kick off the final day of debate on this nomination. Now, I spoke at length on Friday making my case for why the Senate you this oppose Betsy DeVos. And Democrats will hold the floor for the next 24 hours until the final vote to do everything we can to persuade just one more Republican to join us. And I strongly encourage people across the country to join us, double down on your advocacy, keep making your voices heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Brooke, this is not a filibuster because actually on Friday the Senate voted to cut off a filibuster in the Senate successfully moving towards that final vote which is going to happen. This is basically just an effort to give speeches, draw attention to the issue, stay in all night. But they cannot delay that final vote from happening.
Now I've spoken to a number of top Republicans and they are very confident that nothing is going to change, that they will have the votes tomorrow. Even some who were late to saying they will support Mrs. Devos' nomination, including Senator Pat Toomey of pennsylvania. His spokesperson telling me he's absolutely going to support DeVos tomorrow. So right now, this may be nothing more than theatrics, an effort to draw attention to the issue. DeVos likely to get her job by sometime tomorrow.
BALDWIN: Quickly, since I have you, Neil Gorsuch, Manu, the Trump Supreme Court nominee, I know he is on the Hill today. What's he doing?
RAJU: This is an effort to try to introduce himself not just to Republicans. Now begins the effort to sell him to Democrats. Later today meeting with California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, which will be hearing Gorsuch's nomination. Also, meeting with John Tester, a red state Democrat from Montana, somebody up for re-election in 2018. And in order the meet that 60 vote threshold to break a filibuster, he will need support of people like Tester. Today's meeting will be interesting to see how Tester responds. Later this week, Brooke, he will be meeting with Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill, two red state Democrats, also up for re-election in 2018.
BALDWIN: Manu, thank you, on Capitol Hill for us.
Coming up next, strong words from Maxine Waters, responding to the Trump travel ban by invoking the "I" word, impeachment at it related to the president. Has her response gone too far? We'll talk to the Congresswoman coming up.
The Trump White House responding today to his new-found fame. The "SNL" parody that went wild, it was epic, Melissa McCarthy over the weekend. Can the White House take a joke? Let' let's talk about that. You are watching CNN.
[14:47:08] BALDWIN: As someone who was born and raised in Atlanta, this is difficult for me. Here we go. More than 111 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots came really from hyped to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.
One of the reasons so many people tuned in was, of course, the halftime show. Lady Gaga fans said the singer killed it. Her halftime performance boosted her iPhone sales to number one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Now that song is going to get stuck in your head just like mine for the rest of the day. You are welcome. Hours after that performance, Lady Gaga announce she is going on a tour that kicks off August 1st.
Back to the news, Senate Democrats holding the floor of the Senate, they are debating the nomination of Betsy DeVos.
Let me bring in California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Congresswoman Waters, a pleasure to have you on thank you so much.
[14:50:01] REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you. Delighted to be with you.
BALDWIN: Let me begin with your colleagues in the Senate. You have got -- protesting for 24 hours. I mean, Congresswoman. Out of all the Trump nominees is Betsy DeVos the one that you would have picked to protest?
WATERS: Well, I picked three. As a matter of fact, when I spoke at the women's march I talked about Jeff Sessions. I talked about Betsy DeVos. And I talked about Mnuchin. I think they are all bad. I think Betsy DeVos is a joke. She doesn't know anything about education. Matter of fact I kind of said she had not seen the inside of a classroom meaning she went to private schools, children went to private schools. She is all about doing away with public education. She has no experience, no background, has never been you know on a school board, et cetera, et cetera. So, I think she should have been targeted. I'm disappointed we can't get that third vote. I don't want there to be a time I want her to be denied confirmation. So, all of the -- many of these appointees by the president are just not good. Mnuchin, he is the king of foreclosures. He was part of the business of foreclosing on all of these families in Los Angeles about 36,000 of them. He ran one west bank. And his track record is not good. Of course, you know about Jeff Sessions. He comes from a background where he was denied confirmation in 1986 because of his racist remarks and actions, et cetera. He is a throwback. I think the same person now as he was then. So, I mean this president has just come up with some awful nominations.
BALDWIN: I understand. Just, again, on Betsy DeVos, let me just -- we'll see if the Democrats are able to flip another Republican. That obviously is what they are hoping to do. Congresswoman Waters, we wanted to have you on because you are making news today saying Donald Trump's actions are leading himself to possible impeachment. Explain to me why you are going there two weeks into his presidency.
WATERS: First of all, just let me say these are not normal times. We have a president who is creating chaos and division. So many questions about his conflict of interest. Lies about whether or not he separated himself from the businesses he claimed he would separate himself from. Not showing his tax returns. Putting his arms around Putin, defending Putin, working with the Kremlin. I want to know, and a lot of people want to know was there collusion between Putin and the Kremlin and this president as they hacked our DNC and our dccc and some of us. We want to know how deep does that go.
BALDWIN: Congresswoman, what's the evidence. Forgive me for jumping in, but what is the evidence that would lead to impeachment here? WATERS: That's what I'm telling you. We have investigations that
have already started there is an investigation in the Senate intelligence yes, in the House you have investigations going on in several places in several ways. This man is questionable. And what I'm saying is because we are suspicious, many of us about who he is, where he came from, what his actions are and all of his conflicts and this business of loving Putin and the Kremlin so much, we have to find out more about him. And some of that I think leads to the possibility of impeach men. And I think that's legitimate to say given everything we know at this point.
BALDWIN: I understand on the investigation. But you know, you do have to find evidence before using such a huge word, such a tremendous word as the "I" word, the impeachment.
WATERS: No, no, no. No, no, no. Let me tell you what you are saying is this. You are saying that you don't ordinarily hear members of Congress who would do what I'm doing, who began to talk about impeachment because they would fear that perhaps they were not going to get the information other people would think they are acting too hastily.
BALDWIN: Two weeks, Congresswoman. The man has been in the Oval Office two weeks.
WATERS: It doesn't matter how long it is. Do you know anybody that said on television yesterday that & said that Putin was a great leader? When he was asked about him being a killer he said so what. There are other killers. And said that there were killers in the United States. Don't you think that's unusual?
BALDWIN: Not for me to answer the questions. You are the member of Congress. So, I get to ask, I do know, Congresswoman Waters. I know where you are going, but hang on. The White House is slamming your comments. They are calling it extreme rhetoric, completely out of touch with -- from a completely out of touch party. How would you respond back to the White House?
WATERS: Well, you know, if the White House, who has a leader in the president of the United States, can lie, distort, confuse, and cause polarization they should ask me about whether or not I'm outrageous or that somehow I'm doing something that's so quite unusual? I think that's for them to ask themselves. This is a president in a two-week period of time has acted in an abnormal way. This is a president who has not only said he was going to do things and then did not do them, who has attacked a judge -- two judges now, and talked about, you know, this judge because of the temporary order that's put on the travel ban. And I don't know, he called him a so-called judge. Now, when John Lewis called him illegitimate everybody got upset and he got upset. But literally, that's what he's saying about this judge. When he called him a so-called judge he's questioning his legitimacy. So, they dare not ask me whether or not I'm being outrageous. I ask them, don't you think this president is outrageous?
[14:56:08] BALDWIN: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, just quickly, before I let you go, Senator Mitch McConnell famously saying he wanted Obama to be a one-term president.
BALDWIN: Won't this be you? Let's look at it the other way, as Democrats overreaching here, final question?
WATERS: Oh, no. As I said to you, I don't feel I'm overreaching at all. I don't speak for all Democrats. I speak for Maxine Waters. I don't think I'm overreaching. I think I'm very reasonable. I have a long list of everything from lawsuits to investigations that have been done on this president. You ask the Attorney General Slaterman (ph) up there in New York about the fact that he used his found days in a political way and he has used the money from that foundation in a political way to fund one of his friends in Florida. You ask some of those people who have been cheated who were his contractors building his buildings and casinos who he has not paid and they have lawsuits out against him. Ask them about what they think about this president.
BALDWIN: Trust me, Congresswoman, we're doing our job. We are asking the questions and I hear you. I appreciate you.
I appreciate you, Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Thank you so much for the time. Thank you.
WATERS: Thank you. You are welcome. Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
WATERS: All right.
BALDWIN: Coming up next here, moments ago, President Trump there in Tampa, Florida, addressing troops for the very first time as their commander-in-chief. And he suggested the media is downplaying the terror threats facing the U.S. You will hear his words, coming up.