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Federal Judges Grill Lawyers in Travel Ban Hearing; Cruz and Sanders Face Off on Obamacare; One-on-One Interview with Kellyanne Conway; Aired 12-1a ET
Aired February 8, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:22] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A tough grilling for lawyers tonight in the president's travel ban hearing.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
A federal appeals court hears arguments on the president's travel ban, a ruling expected any day now, but no matter what, the issue is likely to go all the way to that building right now. The folks who reside in that building, or work in that building. That's the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, another inexplicable claim from the president of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The press doesn't tell it like it is. It wasn't to their advantage to say that. But the murder rate is the highest it's been in, I guess, from 45 to 47 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, not true. So why is President Trump insisting on something that is absolutely false?
Let's get right now to the hearing on the president's travel ban. Here to discuss now legal analyst Laura Coates, constitutional attorney Page Pate, senior political analyst Mark Preston and senior political analyst David Gergen.
Welcome back, everyone, and good morning. It's one minute after midnight here.
Mark, I want to turn now to the White House. Insiders have told CNN and many other news outlets that there is turmoil behind the scenes. Jim Acosta is reporting tonight that the president is disappointed with the press secretary Sean Spicer's performance. What more can you tell us?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Don, you know, I do think that we should note that the turmoil behind the scenes is well- documented. There's clearly warring factions going on in there. We actually saw Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, and the senior adviser, Steve Bannon, go out and speak to media outlets a few days ago to talk about how there's actually unanimity. When that happens, you know there is not unanimity, right? When you
see that come together. Now in regards -- in regards to the messaging, and David himself has been in many White Houses so he can probably tell you. In regards to the messaging, there is a problem probably on the staffing side of the messaging. Sean Spicer is not only the press secretary, but he's also the communications director. That's a lot of responsibility to put on one person's shoulders.
The press secretary is really speaking to the free world. He's the voice of the free world. The communications director has got to enact the strategy. And also I think enacting strategy from Donald Trump is a losing proposition because no matter what he says, you have to go out and defend it. And as you said at the top, Donald Trump continually goes out there and puts out lies that is forcing his press secretary into a very unenviable position.
LEMON: David, Sean Spicer was not the president's first choice for that job, but chief of staff Reince Priebus pushed for him. Jim Acosta is reporting is that the president regrets it every day, blames Priebus for it. We're only in the third week. What does all this turmoil say about this administration?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's -- I don't think we have seen anything like this. All administrations as we keep saying stumbled coming out of the gate. They have a few stumbles. But the chaos of this and the uncertainty and the anxiety that is spreading. You know, his base is secure, as we all know. But I think it's becoming increasingly clear these folks are having a hard time governing. It's not only these issues, but as you just said in your last -- saw in your last hour, the whole issue of Obamacare and getting it done swiftly, there are issues now about whether he can get the tax program through that he wanted. There's uncertain how he's going to pay for the infrastructure program.
All those things that economic things were fueling that what looked like a Trump surge in the markets and that's cooled off some and now we're hearing many more voices saying hey, wait a minute, look at his trade policies, look at his fights with Mexico. You know, so he's got issues now both on the personnel side and on the substantive side, Don, that gets to be very tough.
And if Sean Spicer has to walk the plank and after that "Saturday Night Live," you know, experience, he may be close to the edge of that. I think it will be very tough for the administration.
We know that Donald Trump has gone through advisers on the campaign trail at a pretty rapid clip. That may start happening in the White House. That would not be good for governing over all. They need to get settled down. They need to -- you know, they need to get in their -- all getting in their right lanes. I think Mark is right. Sean Spicer can't handle two jobs at once, being communications director is a full time job, as well as being press secretary.
LEMON: Yes. It's interesting, I think now, you know, some of the facade may be coming off because people are starting to now realize what the facts are and that the administration doesn't have its act together as they are saying. The president said, Mark, that oh, everything is running smoothly when it comes to this travel ban. It wasn't that big a deal. Meantime, we saw before our very eyes it was chaos at airports all around the world, and I don't just mean the protests.
[00:05:05] And then, you know, saying false things about the media not reporting on terror attacks and about the crime rate being -- the murder rate being up more so than in 47 years. I think people are starting to realize that these things are just not true. Even his ardent supporters.
PRESTON: Right. And we call this terminology gaslighting. It was actually terminology and I suggest that anyone who is interested go on the Internet and look at what it means. It's when somebody just continually -- one of the things is when they continually lie to you and they look at you and then you start to doubt yourself and then you start to believe them even though you know it is a falsehood. And that's what's really happening.
We saw Kellyanne Conway on Jake Tapper's show earlier today, having to answer questions that were unanswerable because she was having to defend the president of the United States when it was indefensible. And I think what he's doing is he's putting his aides who by the way had very good reputations going into this administration. Had very good reputations. Putting them in this position of having to lie on his behalf or at least to hold up his arguments which is very difficult.
LEMON: Yes. I want to turn now to the travel ban in court. And Page -- I want to get Page and Laura's opinion on this. So what happens next? Was this -- was tonight a good night for the administration or we don't know?
PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it was a good night. I think we learned two things. One, I think these judges are certainly prepared to recognize that the states have standing to pursue this lawsuit. And the second thing I think we learned is that they're going to look behind the president's statement that this all about national security, you can't look and see what I'm doing, take my word for it.
I think the judges indicated through their questioning, like you pointed out earlier, there is article two powers that the president has and they're pretty broad, but there are all these pesky amendments that come after that. And they govern the limitations on what a president can and cannot do.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Here's the problem. We talk about the government winning in this case. You have two government that are really battling. You have the state and you got the federal government who are battling over the same rights of the same citizens. People are very confused by who to root for. And ultimately you root for the Constitution. And so the court is going to have to balance two very important things. One, the prerogative of a president. We all know we want to have national security. We all want to be safe against the very real threats to our constitutional rights. And so this is a lesson in what it takes and what's required to be on the same page. It's like watching octopus trying to put on socks in this administration. It really is.
LEMON: Interesting way of putting it. Thank you, panel. I appreciate it.
Now I want to turn to the battle over health care. You saw Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders go head to head in our debate tonight. But what are the facts here?
CNN's Tom Foreman has that for that. Hi, Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, how are you doing, Don? You know, Bernie Sanders made a big claim about the fundamental popularity of this program. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Overwhelming majority of the American people say, do not simply repeal the ACA, make improvements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: An overwhelming majority. Well, let's look at some numbers from a CNN-ORC poll from not long ago. 21 percent said they just want to see this thing repealed. They just want it gone. 55 percent said it should be replaced with something. It shouldn't just go away. And 22 percent don't want it repealed at all. So yes, that's an overwhelming majority. His claim is true.
Now Senator Cruz made a claim about how government sometimes gets in the way of health care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You know, in the last 20 years, the FDA has approved only three child cancer drugs? In 20 years. Because the burdens are so great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: That's a big claim out there. And, you know, getting any drug approved actually can be very costly and difficult. But here are some specific things you have to know about childhood cancers. First of all, they represent less than 1 percent of all cancers, which means comparatively there is a smaller pool of people to study, to develop those drugs or any sorts of treatments. They are often different than adult cancers which also means you don't have much cross over knowledge as you might think and there continued to be concerns about the long-term side effects of treatments for kids, all of which makes it just much more complicated to develop these drugs. So when he says there have been very few drugs, that is absolutely true over a long period of time. To blame it all on the government, that's false.
And lastly Bernie Sanders says something about the high cost of prescription drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: One out of five Americans can't afford the prescriptions doctors their doctors prescribed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: One out of five. 20 percent. That's a big number. But the Centers for Disease Control looked at the very same thing and they came up with only 8 percent. That's a big gap. His math is wrong, that makes his claim about this false.
You can find out a whole lot more. As you know, Don, we checked so many things here. Go to CNN.com/realitycheck any time of the day or night and get the latest readout on what we've checked out.
LEMON: Just the facts. Thank you very much, Tom Foreman. I appreciate that.
When we come right back, Kellyanne Conway's interview with our Jake Tapper.
[00:10:03] What she said about White House attacks on the press.
LEMON: President Trump has been denouncing the media, the news media, as dishonest since his days on the campaign trail, even accuses CNN of broadcasting fake news. Yet the president himself has been making false claims including saying the media doesn't report terror attacks.
One on one -- issues. Here's that interview in its entirety.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Kellyanne, thanks for joining me. And --
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR COUNSEL: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Congratulations, the president's Education secretary, Betsy DeVos was confirmed today.
TAPPER: Vice President Pence had to be the first VP ever to cast a tie-breaking vote on a Cabinet nominee, and now the reason that happened is because two Republican senators opposed soon-to-be Education secretary DeVos, the first time any Republican senators have voted against any Trump nominee. Can you understand their stated concerns, these Republican senators, about what they perceived to be a lack of experience with the public school system? CONWAY: Yes. I respect the concerns and I am glad that they made
them transparent and public. I think that's part of a healthy democracy. We run a very big tent party here in the Republican Party, Jake. There will be disagreements. I'm very pleased that Vice President Pence cast that tie-breaking vote and that Secretary DeVos will be sworn in just across the way here and the vice president -- vice president's ceremonial room at 5:00 p.m. today.
[00:15:02] And that she'll get on with the business of executing on the president's vision for education. He's made very clear all throughout the campaign and as president he wants to repeal Common Core. He doesn't think that federal standards are better than local and parental control, for example, and he respects the fact that, although public education works for many children in this country including mine, it doesn't work for everyone. And that children should not be restricted in terms of education opportunities just by their zip code, just by where they live.
We've got to look at home schooling and charter schools and school choice and other alternatives for certain students. And so I think Secretary DeVos will be a very credible voice in that progress.
TAPPER: A lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill were also upset when President Trump was asked about Vladimir Putin being a killer and the president said the U.S. has, quote, "got a lot of killers, you think our country is so innocent," unquote. And then he explained, he was talking about U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq.
Now to be clear Vladimir Putin is a human rights abuser, responsible for deaths in Ukraine, Georgia and Syria, not to mention curious murders of his political opponents and journalists. Is President Trump really equating the war in Iraq with what Vladimir Putin does?
CONWAY: No. He's just answering the question as asked. And I think a lot of this stems from the fact that there seems to be charge and accusation after charge and accusation that somehow President Trump and Vladimir Putin are BFFs. That is not true. He made very clear I think most recently and most vividly at his joint press conference with the prime minister of the UK, Theresa May, that he, President Trump, hardly knows Vladimir Putin and he said that day, Jake, and I think that's what we should all refer to here, he said that day that perhaps he'll have a positive -- it's positive we'll have a good relationship with Vladimir Putin. It's possible that he won't.
But if we can come together on big issues vexing this world like defeating radical Islamic terrorism and pushing back ISIS, which is on the advance, then he will join with other countries that wish to do that including President Putin. And they've had a couple of phone calls since he was elected president and he will continue to speak to many leaders around the globe.
TAPPER: But in that interview he seemed to be suggesting moral equivalence with Putin's Russia and the United States.
CONWAY: No, I don't think it's a moral equivalence, Jake. And what it is really is stating two different -- you know, two different opinions on two different matters. He was making the point to Bill O'Reilly and I think that you're characterizing it correctly that he was thinking about the war in Iraq. And in that regard I think people should make the judgment for themselves.
TAPPER: Have they spoken again since last Saturday?
CONWAY: Not that I'm aware of. No, I don't believe so.
TAPPER: I want to play that clip again in which President Trump yesterday was talking about media coverage of terrorist attacks. Let's roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You've seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported and in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: After he said that, the White House released a list of the attacks that he was supposedly referring to as in his words not even being reported. I want to put up some footage of CNN reporters covering the attacks on that list. I spent two weeks in Paris in 2015 reporting on the attacks. We also see on the screen dozens of my colleagues, Alisyn Camerota covering the bombings in Brussels. Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper reporting on the supermarket attack in Paris. Brooke Baldwin covering the attack in Nice. Victor Blackwell reporting on the shootings in San Bernardino.
Kellyanne, CNN and other media organizations cover terrorism around the world all the time. Saying that we don't cover terrorism, that's just false.
CONWAY: What the president is saying there, Jake, is that there were other attacks that don't get as much coverage. Obviously the very sad incidents that you related were frankly CNN did amazing coverage for weeks at a time. I saw you all there on the ground doing that and telling the human interest stories and the tragic stories, and frankly the involvement of the terrorists in those brutal attacks. Those get coverage. The other ones in the list not so much.
I think his point is twofold. One --
TAPPER: Those ones were on the list. But the ones I just recited for you --
TAPPER: -- were on the list.
CONWAY: Absolutely. Oh no, what I'm saying the ones with high casualties like Nice and Brussels and certainly Paris and the like, those are covered extensively by all media outlets as well they should be. It's the other ones on the list. I think he's making two points here. One is that we just can't allow
ourselves to become inured to terrorist attacks, to see it as the new normal. And so if we are not covering all of the -- you know, many different attacks, that they're all ISIL-inspired attacks in this case the ones that he was referring to and the list that was generated as I understand, Jake, then we don't want -- we want people to realize that then that's what leads him to one extreme vetting from seven narrowly prescribed countries in a very temporary way.
Number two, the point that he is making is according to the Tyndall Report and other sources, we have inordinate coverage on president -- excuse me, candidate Trump during the Republican primary, 333 minutes on him, and really, I mean, five times as much coverage on him as these terrorist attacks and frankly more coverage by the major networks at the very least on Prince's death, the artist named Prince --
[00:20:10] TAPPER: Tyndall covers the -- the three network evening news broadcast.
CONWAY: Well, that's right. They do.
TAPPER: That's not reflective of the -- that's not reflective of the entire media.
CONWAY: No, I understand. But I'm trying to tell you -- you're asking me why he said this, and I'm responding to the question.
TAPPER: But you're spinning about the idea that we don't want to be inured to that. That's a lovely spin, but that's not what he was saying, Kellyanne. He was saying the media does not cover these stories because we don't want to cover them because we have some sort of agenda. That's what he was suggesting and it's offensive given the fact that CNN and other media organizations have reporters in danger right now, in war zones, covering ISIS. And I just don't understand how the president can make an attack like that.
CONWAY: There's no question about that. Well, first of all, I want to tell you I don't intend a spin. I am crediting the coverage at CNN and your colleagues across the media gave to these high-profile and high-casualty, very sad, very vicious attacks.
TAPPER: They were on the list of under-covered attacks.
CONWAY: As were dozens and dozens of others. But I do know what the president's point was because I've discussed it with him directly. And we need to make sure that people understand that what was stated by Hillary Clinton -- Secretary Clinton in her convention speech that these are determined enemies. It's a really light way of referring to radical terrorists. And he's willing to name it. And it was a big piece of his campaign.
And frankly, Jake, if you look at the polls, including CNN's polls, national security and terrorism were important issues to many Americans. He made it a point to show real distinction there and he wants to show a point as president and real distinction. Because there seems to be some coverage these days, maybe not here, but definitely elsewhere that somehow terrorism is not a big problem or somehow national security is all -- it's all taken care of. And that's just not true. And I think when you're talking about extreme vetting, he is making the point that that is in response to the threat of terrorism globally.
TAPPER: I don't -- I don't know who was making the case that terrorism is not a serious problem, though, I do appreciate your citing a CNN poll.
President Trump was clearly saying that the media does not cover terrorist attacks that we clearly cover and he was saying we don't do it because we don't want to do it and because we have some sort of ulterior motive in there. That's not what you are saying right now but that is what he's saying.
But while we are on the subject of not addressing a terrorist attack, I want to ask you, in Quebec City last week, a white right-wing terrorist opened fire on a mosque, a mosque filled with innocent men, women, and children. Six people were killed. President Trump has not said or tweeted one public word about this. You want to talk about ignoring terrorism? Why hasn't the president offered his sympathy to our neighbors in the north?
CONWAY: I know he's sympathetic to any loss of life. It's completely senseless and it needs to stop regardless of who is lodging the attack. We of course are very sad about loss of life here. And he is talking about trying to stop terrorism and people who want to do harm to this country and I'm sure in the case of our neighbors to the north -- I'm glad that the prime minister of Canada is coming here next year -- next week, excuse me, I'm sure they'll talk about that if he is coming soon as I understand.
But the fact is that he -- I will ask him, he doesn't tweet about everything, he doesn't make the comment about everything, but I can tell you that the entire point that I do think has been misinterpreted on many places about why he wants extreme vetting in this case temporary and through seven very narrowly prescribed countries that the Obama administration -- President Obama's administration and Congress thought needed more, quote, "serious screening."
He is doing that in response to what he sees and he hears in his briefings as the advance and the continued threat of terrorist acts, not unlike the one that you're citing to our friends in the North and of course put us on record as always being sad about this as a senseless loss of life.
TAPPER: He tweeted when there was an attack at the Louver Museum where nobody was killed. I don't understand why he wouldn't tweet when six Canadian citizens were murdered expect for the fact that the undercovered documents that the White House distributed the other day -- last night, rather, also did not mention any attacks other than those committed by Muslim terrorists and obviously radical Islamic terrorism is a big problem, but there are all sorts of kinds of horrific terrorism that take place.
TAPPER: We saw some of that in South Carolina recently and I guess the question is, are these victims any less dead than the ones killed by Islamic radical terrorists?
CONWAY: No. Not at all. And of course, Jake, you are right if you look back at Orlando, Omar Mateen was born in this country and that was an incredible unspeakable tragedy. 49 innocent lives taken at the Pulse nightclub. But I'm glad they were all at east in the agreement it seems that this is an issue that will continue that this president says and whether it's the lawsuits currently pending, the hearing tonight or really litigation on the merits ultimately, that he believes his executive order is not just within his authority, but also his duty and responsibility to do what he sees best to try to protect the lives and the safety of Americans.
[00:25:05] It's temporary, it's narrowly prescribed. There are some 43 or more countries that are majority Muslim that are not on the list and this is a list that was put forth first by the previous administration and Congress.
TAPPER: By the Obama administration and Congress. Absolutely.
CONWAY: Well, only because they thought that they needed, you know, quote, I think it was, quote, you know, stricter screening or something or --
TAPPER: Right. But they didn't say shut down immigration from those countries. They just said they needed stricter screening and they put stricter measures into place. I guess what I'm getting at there is a larger campaign being waged by President Trump and by the White House to undermine the credibility of everybody in the news media except for certain supportive outlets and for instance, earlier today president Trump made a quote about the murder rate being at the highest level it ever has been in 47 years.
He said that and he said nobody in the media reports on that. There is a reason that nobody in the media reports on that. It's not true. The murder rate is not at the highest rate it's been in 47 years. It spiked a little, it went up a little, but it's still much, much lower. It's 4.9 people per 100,000. That's dwarfed by the murder rates in the 1990s and before that in the 1980s.
Facts are stubborn things and to say that we're not reporting something that happens not to be true therefore we are not to be trusted, that's a problem.
CONWAY: Well, Jake, if I can take the broader issue of our relationship with the media, I mean, I'm among if not the most open press person in the White House. I'm now being attacked by the media including networks that are familiar to you. And I'm just going to keep soldiering on. I mean, I came to this White House to serve this president who is serving people. I had in my portfolio here veterans, I have women and children, I have opioid use, and we are working on all of that. I sat in on the Sheriffs Roundtable today set in on the Veterans
Affairs. And I know that that's something near and dear to your heart and you often give voice and visibility, lend your considerable platform.
TAPPER: I do.
CONWAY: To our fallen soldiers and to our brave men and women in uniform. On that we agree, and if we can find areas of agreement, give me a call because I sat in on a similar meeting at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays, a working session, we had some of the top minds. The top minds and leaders in health care here to the White House today. So they can advise specially on veterans affairs --
TAPPER: You -- you're not --
CONWAY: Not a single person there said oh, you know, President Obama didn't -- nobody said that. It was basically how do we move forward so that the structure is better, the responsiveness is better. I can't imagine anybody disagree that president Trump when h says if we don't take care of our veteran, who are we really as a nation. So we can areas of disagreement.
TAPPER: It's not -- that's addressing what I just talked about. What we're talking about is the fact that the White House is waging war on people who are providing information, sometimes risking their lives to do so saying that nothing we say is true, all of it is fake.
I would much rather be talking to you about veterans issues. In fact I would -- when it comes to the Trump administration, I would be much rather covering immigration. I would much rather be covering trade and I would much rather be covering draining the swamp and counter terrorism, but instead every day there are these sprays of attack and sprays of falsehoods coming from the White House. It would be better if they were not coming from the White House for me and for you.
CONWAY: Agreed. And let me just say it has to go both ways. I mean, I do, Jake. I certainly don't see a lot of difference in coverage from when he was a candidate. And when he became the Republican nominee, the president-elect and the president. Some outlets some people cover him the same way and it doesn't have a great deal of respect I think for the office of the president and its current occupant.
All I would say is, you know, biased coverage people talk about that. I think bias is easy to detect and it's really in the eye of the beholder. What I would put an olive branch out to you and your network is how about more complete coverage. In other words he's issued 20 or 21 executive actions since he took office and it seems like we're covering one of them most days. I would like to talk to you about the --
TAPPER: One of them?
CONWAY: -- the human impact of opening up the Dakota and Keystone Pipelines, of taking -- TAPPER: It caused tremendous chaos and confusions at airports around
the world. There is now a court case with your Justice Department. It's probably going to take that is probably going to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Of course it's a huge story.
CONWAY: No, it is, but there are others. And I'm just to again, reach out and say, when we start doing opioid abuse, you know, in a very meaningful way along with the legislature, law enforcement, the governors, talk about a nonpartisan issue. The veterans. Then I feel like, you know, my big comment is that this White House and the media have joint custody of our country for perhaps the next eight years.
And count me as somebody who very much wants to find a way to make that work. But at the same time I do have to say when we read certain words being used to describe the president of the United States, it's never been done. It wasn't done about President Obama, it wasn't done about either President Bush, President Clinton, because people have a certain respect for and a recognition, the dignity for the office of the president. And so I am beseeching everybody to cool look it down a little bit here and there. There are -- look, there are some stories, that are false. There are some stories -- I read them and like --
[00:30:00] KELLYANNE CONWAY, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S COUNSELOR: -- recognition and a dignity for the Office of the President. And so I am beseeching everybody to cool it down a little bit here and there. There are -- look, there are some stories that are false. There are some stories - I read them, like, where -- who are they talking about? Where did this happen? You know, we're here serving in the White House --
JAKE TAPPER: Have you or President Trump ever said anything incorrect? Have --
CONWAY: Absolutely, I did --
TAPPER: -- there any false that's coming from your mouth?
CONWAY: Well, I did this past weekend. I regretted it tremendously, because I used the wrong word to describe something several times and I'm sorry because I have spoken literally millions of words on T.V., I'm sure. I've been on CNN over 1,000 times in my career, I'm sure. And --
TAPPER: You're referring to the "Bowling Green massacre?"
CONWAY: Yes, I am because I felt really badly about that, but I am glad that I -- I felt badly about that. And I apologize and I rectify, but I want to say something else about that. I'm very happy to have raised awareness. I'm told by colleagues at ABC that by Friday, the highest trending article there was an article from three years ago on ABC.com because it was what I was referring to when I was referring to two Iraqi nationals who came to this country and are still in jail, you know, part of Al-Qaeda. We -- I'm glad to raise awareness and sorry that I did it inartfully. I never meant to mislead -- TAPPER: But you cited a massacre that didn't happen. You said the --
CONWAY: That's right.
TAPPER: You said the media didn't cover it.
CONWAY: No, no. What I meant is the media didn't cover the masterminds. The massacre happened in Iraq. The masterminds were here.
TAPPER: The media did cover the masterminds.
CONWAY: A little bit at the time, but, again, when you're -- but we're not covering it in terms of the extreme vetting. In other words, the judge, you know, this judge -- this is an important point. Yesterday, the A.P. had a fact-check story. I thought it was really well done. And I'm sure CNN covered it, Jake. But it's really important because the judge in this Seattle case showed Robart asked the attorney, "Hey, how many -- how many people have been arrested since 9/11 from these seven countries?" You know, it would have been subject to this extreme vetting. And she said, "I don't know." And he said, "I'll tell you, the answer is zero." That's false. It is not zero. The two guys at Bowling Green qualify, a guy in Texas is not true.
TAPPER: But, Kellyanne, I guess the problem is it is very difficult to hear criticisms of the media for getting -- for making mistakes and certainly the media makes mistakes, but it's very difficult to hear those criticisms from a White House that has such little regard day in, day out for facts, for truth and who --
CONWAY: That's not completely fair.
TAPPER: -- who calls us -- and who calls us fake news for stories that they don't like.
CONWAY: Well, Jake, let me just say. We have a very high respect for the truth and I can only speak for me and I'm sorry that I misspoke. It wasn't like I was trying to get people to believe something existed that didn't. That's easy to figure out. Even though the network I was on --
TAPPER: You cited it a couple of times before that one interview. You know that.
CONWAY: Yes. Well, I was - I was misquoting. I should have said masterminds. And I -- I've talked about all of that. But let me just say this on a broader point, that we have a high regard for facts, that I want you to see some of the other facts that we're doing. I mean, the wages that are being boosted and the jobs that are being created, the people that text and write and e-mail and stop us everywhere just to say "thank you," it's a big country out there, you know that, you have covered it. It's a huge country out there of people, not just voted for him, but believed that he's going to improve their lives.
TAPPER: Sure. Millions of Americans. Absolutely.
CONWAY: And I believe -- I believe when you and I, perhaps, sit down, do the first 100 days, or first six months, or first year in office, you will find very quickly that there are people in this country who feel like their lives have improved because Donald Trump was the president. That's how presidents are judged overtime. And that's how - and that's how -- I think it's just based on the accomplishments. We're here -- I'm personally here, and a lot of other places because of those people. And so, look, I hear you completely. And Sean Spicer is out there every day doing his press briefing. I'm happy to have the platform in CNN and other places to explain and to talk about what we're trying to do inside the White House.
TAPPER: Are we fake news, Kellyanne? Is CNN fake news?
CONWAY: No, I don't think CNN is fake news. I think there are some reports everywhere, in print, on T.V., on radio, in conversation that are not well-researched and are -- and are sometimes based on falsehoods. All the palace intrigue stories, I can even tell you. Think about how small our staff was and how small our budget was for a presidential campaign, Jake, that succeed, and saw things other people didn't see. We breathe each other's oxygen in a fox hole. We are all very close. And all the palace intrigue stories for a White House that's just constant action, constant movement, they're just not true and they're actually beside the point and hurtful. But I just -- I do want to say that I --
TAPPER: You think people behind you don't leak -- I'm sad -- I will sadly disabuse you of that notion.
CONWAY: No, I'm sure -- I'm sure that - I'm sure that's the case. But let me say something I think more pointedly since you're talking to me, and I'm taking responsibility for something I said, and I'm trying to reach out and say, I am very open press. I've put out the olive branch among your show, very much appreciate you having me and inviting me to be here. On just last week -- just last week while I was surrounded by a firestorm, a very prominent editor -- very prominent editor whose a contributor on a different cable news station -- right from an editor of a left leaning site -- outlet, e-mailed me and said I'm about to run a story about your tweet on the holocaust remembrance statement, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond.
[00:35:12] And I literally -- I was at my daughter's play and she was (INAUDIBLE) she was very good. And I -- and I e-mailed back and said "Did I tweet about that?" And then he e-mailed back and he said, "I'm so sorry. I'm hanging my head in shame. You carry on helping to run the country." That was a fake account. There's like -- I'm told there's 10, 12 or 15 parody accounts on Twitter about me and people, you know, responsible -- now, I could have (INAUDIBLE)
TAPPER: So it did -- so it did never air? They never ran? CONWAY: Right, but remember, because I stopped.
TAPPER: On the bigger issue with the holocaust remembrance day statement, of course, was that it didn't talk about Jews.
CONWAY: But, you know, you're talking about fake news. It's the presumptive negativity about us. It's always believing there's something negative, there's some nefarious motives.
TAPPER: It didn't run. I can't really -- I can't really work out much sweat about a story that didn't run.
CONWAY: Hold on, it didn't run because I got in the middle of it, but I'm not revealing his name because I know first-hand what it's like to have all the haters descend upon you. And I --
TAPPER: I'm glad that reporter did his job and reached out to you before publishing anything. But, I mean, I'm --
CONWAY: Well, not everybody does. It was an article in the (INAUDIBLE) it was an article (INAUDIBLE) this week that I commend everyone, which basically says, the media's errors are starting to pile up, and the Trump administration lists six or seven things that were said is fact, that are just wrong. And people had to retract them, that's human nature but it has to go both ways.
TAPPER: How about the president's statements, Kellyanne? How about the president's statements that are false, like the murder rate is the highest it's been in almost half a century -- false. How about the fact that the media doesn't report on terrorist attacks? False. I mean, you can talk about some jerk with some website making a mistake or almost making a mistake. This is the threat.
CONWAY: He was kind of jerk. He's a friend of ours.
TAPPER: All right. He's a very sweet guy. But you can talk about somebody make -- almost make a mistake and not doing it. I'm talking about the President of the United States saying things that are not true, demonstrably not true. That is important, and arguably, more important than whoever reached you at your daughter's play.
CONWAY: Well, are they -- are they more important than the many things that he said that are true that are making a difference in people's lives? I just think we want coverage of that as well.
TAPPER: They distract -- they distract from them. They distract from the things he says.
CONWAY: If they're covered, they do. And I think -- look, I think I was handed a fact sheet that perhaps the president was referring to when he talked about that today with the sheriffs, which by the way, it was an unbelievably productive moving listening session that I attended. When he talks about the 47 years and the rate, I'm handed the information, I think you referred to it as well, that we have had an increase from 2014 to 2015 --
TAPPER: Yes, I said that.
CONWAY: -- in rapes, to murders and assaults. I'm probably looking at the same data that you are. And so, he may have heard that about --
TAPPER: It's FBI crime reports. But it's FBI -- it's -- to say that there was a spike in murder rates in between 2014 and 2015, is true. To say -- and to say we need to bring that down and we need to have law and order, all of that, fine. He said it was the highest murder rate in 47 years, and the media doesn't report it. And again, Kellyanne, the media doesn't report it because it's a lie. Because it's not true. And for the president to say that, is -- I can't even -- I can't even wrap my head around it. I'll give you the last word and then I know you have to go.
CONWAY: Well, I'm fine. I'm having a good time. Thanks again for having me. I think that the -- I will discuss it, but I think he is relying upon data, perhaps, for a particular area. I don't know who gave him that data, but I will tell you about the sheriffs around table. I mean, this is the part where I'm talking about complete coverage. That was just an amazing -- some of those sheriffs, it was -- we allowed the media in the entire time, it was the president's idea. He even invited the media into the Oval Office while the sheriffs came in there to take some pictures.
But at the actual listening to round table which was the most important piece of this, we heard from sheriff who said they sat in those exact seats, six months ago, in a different administration and they felt this time there was a president who actually asked them, "What do you need? What is rankling you in your communities?" And we heard to a person everything from asset forfeiture to opioid use, probably the most commonly stated thing, which, of course, I'm happy to have a piece of that in my portfolio here. We're going to be rolling that out very soon. It's something that the president made a centerpiece of his campaign. He's greatly concerned about it. We'll be walking with law enforcement, people on both sides of the aisle, families who have victims, who talks about issues that --
TAPPER: I would love to cover all of that, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: Thank you.
TAPPER: I would love to cover all of that. The attacks on the press, the attacks on judges, the falsehoods, all that makes it very difficult, but I would love to -- I would love to cover all of that with you. Kellyanne Conway, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: Up next, they have been in Kellyanne
Conway's shoes. Communications directors to top political leaders react to what you just heard in that interview.
[00:40:00] LEMON: All right. So, you just heard Jake Tapper's interview with President Trump's Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway. Now, I want to get reaction from the experts. Three people who have been in her shoes -- well, kind of, I don't know, in this, specifically, in the same boat. But here to discuss; our CNN Political Commentator Jen Psaki, a former Communications Director in the Obama at White House -- Obama White House, Alice Stewart, former Communications Director for Ted Cruz, and Kevin Madden, a former Senior Adviser to Mitt Romney. Show of hands, you guys know where she's coming from. Have you -- do you feel a certain sort of like "Oh, my god it's," no, yes, no, no?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: You do -- you do feel a kindred spirit with staff, no question about that. And Rahm Emanuel used to have this old saying, he'd say when he was the chief of staff, which was, "the fish rots at the head." And so, what that means is a lot of this blame is being placed on staff. Maybe they deserve some, maybe they don't, but ultimately, the decisions about whether to communicate accurate information, false information to push story lines come from Donald Trump. And we've seen that from the campaign trail.
LEMON: What did you think of that interview?
[00:44:47] ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER TED CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think it was -- first of all, I commend Kellyanne for coming out there and speaking. This has been a tumultuous couple of weeks. Especially for her, the last week has been difficult with the massacre story that came out. I commend her for coming out there and addressing the issues and speaking about it for 25 minutes and addressing a lot of those concerns. It's commendable for her to do that. It's been a difficult time and, look, I think both sides need to sit back and take a look and realize, "Hey, we are all humans. We all make mistakes and let's not beat each other over the head when we do make mistakes." But at the same time, you have to -- if you're going to beat someone over the head, you need to expect that you're going to be beat over the head, if you make a mistake as well.
LEMON: And a lot (INAUDIBLE). Kevin, and what'd you think?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think anybody who's been around with Kellyanne Conway knows that she's a pro. I mean, we may have our differences but everybody knows that she gives her -- gives her all to the principal. I think the big problem -- I think we all -- and look, you know, Jen and Alice and I, we've all had our frustrations with the press. I think the problem here is when your frustrations with the press becomes your message. I think my media bias is a fact, but I don't think it's a very good message. When you think about the reasons that Donald Trump got elected, because people have frustrations about Washington and its priorities, people are, you know, they may be -- they may have a job and they're worried about losing it, or they don't have a job and they can't find one. You know, media bias is not really what they want to hear about. It's not what should be front and center. The president has a very ambitious agenda. He has a focus on some economic issues and national security issues. When the focus is there, the White House and the president is better served.
MADDEN: So, you know, I'm in full belief that I sort of understand those frustrations. But you can't really get to the point where you have an entire 20-minute interview on CNN talking only about your grievances with the press, and those folks at home don't really care.
LEMON: Why are they so insistent on that message? Because it seems like it's coming from the top either from -- well, it's not -- seems like it's -- it is coming from the top.
MADDEN: Yes. I think every organization --
LEMON: The president is out there saying it every single day.
MADDEN: Yes. And Jen had the Rahm Emanuel quote, the one I always remember was every organization is a reflection of its principal. So, I think a lot of the, you know, the frustrations that they have and that they -- and those grievances that they air against the press every single day, are largely the result of those that -- or grievances that are being communicated to them by the president.
STEWART: I think one of the disappointing parts of all this conversation about facts matter and the truth, which is important. Facts do matter, and the truth is important. They've done some really good things over the last 19 days. They've had executive orders that are following through on campaign promises, I think they had a stellar roll out of Supreme Court nominee. They've done some really good things. Unfortunately, this is -- as Kevin mentioned, attacking the media, it distracts from focusing on their message.
LEMON: They've done some good things if you're a Donald Trump supporter. Because remember, executive order is bad, Obama. Executive order is good, Donald Trump. Depending on which side of the aisle you are on.
STEWART: Well, that's true. But the fact is they've -- it's following through on campaign promises, and as Mike Pence said, they are going to be promise keepers, and that's what he's doing. Unfortunately -
LEMON: If we would have been speaking about those things, had it -- if it were not for the distraction of falsehoods that were told by the person who holds the highest office in the land. We're going to talk about that and much more when we come right back. We'll be back.
[00:50:00] LEMON: I'm back now with my panel. Let's turn to the senate and let's turn to Elizabeth Warren. Everybody is here now. Elizabeth Warren, she's reading a letter on the senate floor tonight, a letter from the late Coretta Scott King and it was to Strom Thurmond when Jeff Sessions was now trying to be confirmed as attorney general. This was back then when they wanted to make him a federal judge. She did not. Coretta Scott King didn't think it should happen. She wrote a letter to Strom Thurmond, and Elizabeth Warren was reading that letter now that she's trying to be confirmed. And they shut her down. Now, she's on every major news network. Kevin, should they have let her speak because now they're bringing more attention to it if nobody would care.
MADDEN: Yes. This was a very -- a clear violation of rule 19. If you read rule 19, it says not to have any indirect or direct impugning of a fellow senator. And I think this was calculated on Senator Warren's part and Senator McConnell took action to enforce it. This is definitely an under-enforced rule in the senate. But as a result, now Senator Warren has probably a larger rostrum to make this case against Senator Sessions than she would have if she had just read the letter in that -- in that short statement on the senate floor. So, there is a potential here that it essentially backfired, but I hope that this sets a new precedent for this rule being enforced. Because everybody bemoans, you know, the lack of decorum in politics. And the senate is a good place to start that.
LEMON: Again, how is she supposed to offer criticism to him without - you know, isn't that up interpretation?
MADDEN: Oh, you can - no, you can absolutely do that. I mean, you can make a very substantive case on why you disagree on the merits, but when you have a direct or indirect impugn, you indirectly or directly impugn a senator, it's breaking the rules.
LEMON: So, who wins in this case? Who wins here? Does she win or does McConnell win?
MADDEN: Well, I think right now, what you're going to have is Senator Warren is going to get a lot more of a much wider audience for her remarks than she would have.
LEMON: Yes. Can we move onto someone who is YOLO, you only live once? Can we put up these pictures? This guy is enjoying himself more than -- he's like, "Hey, what you guys are doing back in the States have at it, because he's enjoying. This is the president on -- the former president on vacation who's with Richard Branson, and kite surfing. So, what do you think?
STEWART: I think good for him. I mean, I think this is fantastic. Whenever you finish a campaign or certainly eight years in the White House, I could imagine let it all hang out, have a good time, and I think he clearly is doing that. In my understanding, when you're president, either you're restricted from doing certain things that might be a high-risk behavior because you're kind of a big deal. And so, now he's free to do what he wants to do.
PSAKI: Who knew he was such a good kite surfer. I feel like we all learned that.
LEMON: Jen Psaki has got to know this. Somewhere John Kerry is watching this, so he's saying, "It's OK to - it's OK to kite surf now?"
PSAKI: Well, it's OK post presidency to be -
LEMON: Well, because they made him out to be - to be this elitist kite suffer back in the day, and he made fun of how -- they said he looked goofy, but Obama looks pretty cool, I should say. The former president looks pretty cool. By the way those --
[00:55:02] STEWART: Not only is it - it's now OK to kite surf, but doing it with Richard Branson, that's even more OK.
LEMON: Who knew there was such - there was such a bromance going, right?
PSAKI: I mean, they have documents of photos now, so now we know.
MADDEN: Those photos - those photos, Jen, it was like the type of photos that you post after you break up with somebody to show them you're like -- you're living a better life without them now, you know? Look at that.
LEMON: I think that's what it is. Kevin, I have to tell you that I am a terrible surfer. I am a very good paddle boarder, so I'm kind of jealous of the president. I can't believe that he's like - he's, you know, he's older than me, he's doing better.
MADDEN: And in a way, it looks like he's in pretty good shape, too. I don't know, Don, if you could hold up with those photos. I don't know.
STEWART: Yes, he's going to say, forget the golf. I'm going to be about kite surfing from here on out.
LEMON: I think I'm going to take up kite surfing in the next vacation I take, which will be in like four years. Because I haven't had one since 2014, by the way.
STEWART: Just sucker (INAUDIBLE)
LEMON: All right, guys. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. It was a very interesting show. We stayed on an hour later because there's so much breaking news. So, our coverage is going to continue here on CNN, but that is it for me for this show tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow. Good night.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles, where it is 10:00 on a Tuesday night on the West Coast.