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Trump Claims Senator Blumenthal Misrepresented Gorsuch Comments; Massive Winter Storm Slams Northeast; Intel CEO Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Factory; President Trump Slams Nordstrom for Dropping Ivanka Stuff. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired February 9, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:31:20] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's Supreme Court pick is Neil Gorsuch. OK. He is now at odds with a man who tapped him to be on the high court -- kind of. Why? Well, because behind closed doors with a Democratic senator, Judge Gorsuch said that he found the president's comments about the judiciary to be demoralizing and disheartening.
Let's discuss with CNN host Michael Smerconish right now joining us.
Michael, what has made this now a point of intrigue is that the judge probably did himself a favor, may have even done the president a favor by saying what so many feel about his comments about the judiciary, but then the president tweets that Senator Blumenthal is misrepresenting the conversation but Judge Gorsuch's own comms guy said he said it, so what's going on here?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": So Judge Gorsuch absolutely did the president a favor and the president has just refused that gift, and the favor was that he diffused this issue. Of course it's going to come up in the course of his confirmation process how he feels about the president's open comments about the federal judiciary, so he said what he said to Senator Blumenthal, which was heard by the Sherpa, the person who's guiding him through the Senate quarters, and he smoothed the path for his own confirmation. That's all good news for President Donald Trump.
But, Chris, the president just can't help himself. He wakes up this morning, he fires off that tweet and what he has done by saying that the comments were mischaracterized by Senator Blumenthal is he's now set up a situation where Judge Gorsuch will be asked in public and he's going to come down on either one side or the other. He's going to repeat what he said behind closed doors or he's going to disavow it. If he repeats what he said behind closed doors then the president has just misstated the facts.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, but it's bigger than that, Michael. It's -- I mean, I think you're on to something and I think you're on the right path. But if Judge Gorsuch repeats what he said behind closed doors and what his communications director has confirmed what he said behind closed doors, then President Trump will feel that his Supreme Court nominee is at odds with him. And that can't stand. I mean, that's --
CUOMO: Well, what is he going to do? How can he -- what's he going to do?
CAMEROTA: I don't know.
CUOMO: Pull him? Pull the --
CAMEROTA: What is going to do? He doesn't like criticism in public from any of his people.
SMERCONISH: The pattern that we've seen here is one of just him the president not allowing any perceived slight to go unresponded to. Senator Coons a moment ago said that it reminds him of high school. Yes, there's a ranking. If you remember that whole process quality to this. Of name calling that is constant and never interrupted. But, you know, what's interesting is that many of the statements that the president has made that have been controversial go in the category of hyperbole and can't really be proven true or false.
This is not in that category. Judge Gorsuch is going to be asked whether he said that. Does he still continue to believe that? He's going to say either he does or he doesn't. And either the president will be telling the truth or he won't be.
CUOMO: Right. But he can't go back on the comments, especially after his comms guy said it. And I don't know that he should have. I'll take it.
CAMEROTA: I don't either.
CUOMO: I'll take -- I'll take the other side. I don't think the president should be insulted by this because saying that the comments were demoralizing and that they were disheartening is different than saying the president should shut up or he is totally wrong or he's off.
CUOMO: So, you know, maybe this is a win-win for everybody if the president can stop questioning the obvious veracity of the statements.
SMERCONISH: I think it would have been if he hasn't sent out that tweet this morning.
[07:35:02] If he could just remain silent on this issue to my original point and one that you made, Chris. He should have recognized that it was a good thing if the objective is for Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed by the United States Senate then it's a good thing that Gorsuch, politically savvy, has just diffused this issue but instead the president woke up this morning and he put it back in play. He should have said nothing.
CAMEROTA: But by the way, I mean, I think that Judge Gorsuch and any federal judge does need to, if asked, to say something about the comments because that reminds people that President Trump called the federal judge a so-called judge, thereby questioning his legitimacy. He also said blame him, that federal judge, if anything bad were to happen in this country and he also said about the Ninth Circuit Court, you know, that basically any high schooler could determine what --
CUOMO: They had surrogates out on the trail --
CAMEROTA: What they should have been able to determine it.
CUOMO: They -- and they did more than that. They had Blake out there on cable saying, you know, the Ninth Circuit really needs to be broken up. It's way too big. It operates, you know, 20 percent of the population of this country -- you know, which is odd timing for that kind of discussion. And then he said, I don't want to call the courts, the president of the United States, biased but he then said these courts are so politically which is exactly that. Calling them biased, Michael. Not good.
SMERCONISH: Well, and something else. You know, the conservative supporters of the president on this issue also are the first to thump their chests and regard themselves as strict constructionists or originalists is the verbiage of the day. Well, if you really are a strict constructionist or an originalist you need to respect the third branch of government and the independence of the judiciary and these sort of comments are at odds with a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
CAMEROTA: There you go. Michael Smerconish, thank you very much for the analysis.
CUOMO: All right. Quick programming note. The man you just saw, Michael Smerconish is going to host a live primetime special tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern. "Advice for President Trump." I wonder where on the list just stick to what's true will be.
CAMEROTA: That looks great. All right. Meanwhile our other top stories. There's a massive winter storm. It is hammering the northeast as we speak. 40 million people in its path. We have live reports and the latest forecast for you, next.
[07:40:55] CAMEROTA: All right. The snow is coming down right now. As we speak. Chad Myers is live in New York Central Park. How is it going out there, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm noticing one thing, just weather geeking out there a little bit. The wind is shifting direction, Alisyn. That means that the low pressure that we expected to bomb off the coast is starting. The snow, the wraparound, the big low pressure that's going to get bigger because the ocean is warm that is beginning to happen as expected. 40 million people under some type of winter storm warning, all the schools, the public schools in Boston, New York, Philadelphia closed for today and many more other schools in other cities as well.
Other than that almost 3,000 cancelled and more cancelling as we speak. They're just kind of rolling cancelling now. I was just looking at the Delta Web site, United Web site, JetBlue Web site, it's just going one after another after another. So I don't expect too many flights to come out of here today, probably tomorrow because this is over. This is over by 2:00 p.m. so what we see on the ground right now, that's probably -- I would say this is five inches worth of snow.
Now there's not five inches of snow here because the first two inches melted when it hit the ground. The second two or three kind of -- kind of pat down or come -- just went down into that wet stuff and so we're not seeing these snow totals so you may never seen 12 inches of snow here but you certainly have seen the slowdowns and the roads. I haven't seen the plow yet except for these guys taking case of Central Park.
CUOMO: Strong point and a key distinction you draw there. The critical question for us, though, is, one, what is the packability of the snow right now for snowballs and one is the sled effect? Are we in the right place yet? How are you feeling about packing? Can you make a snowball?
MYERS: The snowpacking is -- sure. Absolutely. No problem at all.
MYERS: It's not even -- I can't even squeeze them anymore. There's so much water in that.
CUOMO: Good. Good to know.
MYERS: It doesn't fly at all. So we know that when the wind picks up, this isn't going to blow around much but this will be a snowball fight. In fact we did see two of New York's finest have a small snowball fight off their car this morning just in case they get in trouble from their boss, they are just having a little bit of fun.
CUOMO: They better not bring Chad Everett's way because he's got an arm like a cannon and a steel jaw.
Let's go to CNN's Jessica Schneider live on I-95 in New Jersey. That's where this can get really dangerous and is anything but fun. How is it right now, Jess?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're getting inundated with snow out there on the New Jersey turnpike, Chris, and while Chad did not see a plow, we are right behind one. We're seeing a few of these out here on the New Jersey turnpike really this wet, dense snow that has really coated all the roadways out here. In fact one of the lanes out there on the New Jersey turnpike completely snow covered so we're headed northbound, people may be still heading into the city for a work day.
And you know, really what a difference a day makes. It was yesterday that we were in 60s. I was actually out walking on the streets of Manhattan in flip-flops and just a shirt, no jacket. Well, I have strapped down the snow boots now for this storm. And we're really getting pounded out here. When I got into work
around 5:00 in the morning the snow was coming down steadily. Still now 7:45. The snow really starting to whip up. A lot of people of course staying off the roads, though. Not going into work, schools have been cancelled throughout New York City and Boston and Philadelphia.
We went by Newark airport must a little while ago, things are very quiet over there because about 1500 flights cancelled in the northeast around New York and Newark and Philadelphia as well. And really slow going out here on the turnpike. Right now we're going to about 25 miles an hour. There is still traffic out here but really the roads are really rough. We passed by a few accidents already so of course as everyone is saying, if you can stay off the roads, please do but definitely a lot different than we saw yesterday. The snow pounding out here on the New Jersey turnpike and going strong throughout the day -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Jessica, that is really helpful. It is really for people this morning to see what the roads are like and to see how slowly you need to be going so they can decide whether or not they want to take mass transit or drive into work right now. So thank you for doing that. We will check back with you throughout the program.
[07:45:01] All right. One of President Trump's tweets taking aim at the retail giant Nordstrom for pulling Ivanka Trump's clothing line. Is the president defending his daughter or creating a new business conflict? We discuss.
CUOMO: Time for CNN Money Now. A big tech company unveiling a huge investment in one of its U.S. factories while meeting with the president. But is it all due to Trump's policies or something else? The answer from chief business correspondent Christine Romans in the money center. It's like the bat cave.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, an interesting past few days for tech giant Intel, Chris. On Sunday Intel told the court it believed President Trump's immigration order was unconstitutional. That was Sunday. Then on Wednesday Intel CEO stood next to the president in the White House announcing a $7 billion investment in a U.S. factory. He said that investment was due in part to Trump's policies.
The real story more complicated as it always it. Intel originally announced plans to build a factory with this guy, the former President Obama in 2011, saying it would put $5 billion into the Arizona plant. Obama even gave a big speech there at the construction site.
Now a spokesman tells us that was just to build the shell of the factory, it was never completed, there wasn't enough demand for the product.
[07:50:04] Now there is demand so the company says it's building up the rest of the plant. The president, by the way, today hosting another round of CEO
meetings. This time the airline industry. Chief executives from Delta, Southwest, FedEx among others will be at the White House later this morning. We expect them to discuss tax regulatory reform, infrastructure, airport improvements and modernizing the nation's air traffic control systems, Chris.
CAMEROTA: OK, Christine. Thank you very much for all of that.
Well, President Trump's conflicts of interest are in the spotlight again after the president fired off tweets attacking about Nordstrom Department Store for no longer carrying his daughter's fashion line. Mr. Trump tweeting, "My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. She is a great person, always pushing me to do the right thing. Terrible."
We're joined by Norm Eisen, he's a fellow at Brookings Institution and was President Obama's White House ethics czar from 2009 to 2011 and Brian Stelter, he is a CNN senior media correspondent and the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."
Gentlemen, great to have you. We have a lot to talk about with you both this morning.
Norm, let me start with you. Is there something wrong with President Trump who he says is defending his daughter and calling out Nordstrom by name?
NORMAN EISEN, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Good morning, Alisyn. good morning, Chris, Brian. Yes, there is something terribly wrong with what's been going on. It's not just this bullying where Trump is attacking an American business because they have the temerity, they say, her -- Ivanka's line wasn't selling and they made a market decision. Then his press spokesman Mr. Spicer is pouring it on, claiming apparently falsely, that it was a political decision.
That is not what American presidents are supposed to do. He's blurring the lines between the government business and his personal and family business. His daughter has apparently maintained ownership of these lines. She stepped away from management. He may be invested in these businesses, and it's part of a long pattern of doing this. It's wrong. I believe it's against the Constitution and American law.
CUOMO: But just one more beat on this. How is it against the law? You mentioned the California Unfair Comp Law, the completion law. I looked it up. And it does talk about unfair business practices that used to fall into the categories of, per se, defamatory actions. But how is he doing that? How is this construed as a business act?
EISEN: Chris, when you put together the tweet, it started in Mr. Trump's personal Twitter feed. It was re-tweeted by the White House, in his spokesman's statements. They're making claims which Nordstrom says are false. It's not a political thing, it's not a question of fairness. It's a business decision they say. Ivanka's line wasn't selling. He's essentially libeling that company, he is injuring them. And that is exactly what the California Unfair Competition Law captures.
It has the broadest in the nation -- and Nordstrom has a lot of stores there. The broadest in the nation definition of an unfair business practice. And if making up these allegedly false statements about a business and broadcasting them from the White House isn't unfair, I don't know what is.
CAMEROTA: There was also this grassroots effort, Brian, started by a woman, it's called #grabyourwallet, it's a reference to the "Access Hollywood" tape.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. Right.
CAMEROTA: Sexual assault. And basically she put up a list online of every retailer and brand that does business with the Trump brand and suggested that people boycott them. Do we have any sense of whether or not that is what was behind this?
STELTER: Yes, L. L. Bean and other companies have been named in this effort. They've said they've had some success, not a huge amount of success we can point. There's also now of course anti-Nordstrom boycott efforts. Breitbart promoting the idea that people are cutting up their Nordstrom cards and refusing to shop there.
I just wish I could go to a store and not think about the politics behind what every store in the country is having to deal with. I mean, we see these companies at the Super Bowl maybe making choices. We see restaurants and grocers and retailers making these choices. It's complicated out there and it's a shame is everything --
CAMEROTA: Diffuse everything.
STELTER: Be about politics.
CAMEROTA: Everything now.
CUOMO: But either sales are down or they're not. I mean, that's going to be dispositive for Nordstrom's decision. Not that they have to justify it.
CAMEROTA: They say that they were.
CUOMO: But it's interesting. Obviously the president feels differently. He went out of his way in that tweet to say Ivanka tries to get me to do the right thing, almost defending, don't blame her for what I do.
STELTER: And as a dad, we understand that.
STELTER: But President Trump said he would be more restrained with Twitter once he was in the Oval Office.
STELTER: And we've actually seen the opposite, less restraint.
CUOMO: Right. And again there are different opinions on this.
Norm Eisen, I like the president being on Twitter. I like getting the first-sense impression of the workings of the president's mind, good, bad and ugly on occasion. But you get down to the same fundamental proposition.
[07:55:01] There is no law, with all due respect to your California, the extract of the Federal Trade Commission Act, that argument aside, this is about what is right to do and not right to do. And people will say this is who the president is. This is who we expect him to be and people voted for him, end of discussion.
EISEN: But, Chris, 75 percent of Americans including most of his voters want to have his tax returns. Why? Because they're worried about these business conflicts. Every president, both parties, 40 years, has made a clean break with their businesses.
EISEN: And Trump's failure to do that is creating an overhang. It's very good for us. I like reading his Twitter feed as well. It creates a lot of media attention. I'm sorry Brian can't escape politics in the dressing room at Nordstrom's, but it's not good for the country, it's not good for the presidency.
EISEN: Everything he does has a conflict issue. Even the Muslim ban.
EISEN: Turns out he wasn't banning countries where he's done business which have more terror threats. So we're seeing a big scandal hangover.
CAMEROTA: OK. Brian, we need to talk about this other mini-scandal. And that is, we've talked a lot about Kellyanne Conway's claim of a massacre, a terrorist attack in Bowling Green.
STELTER: Bowling Green. Poor Bowling Green.
CAMEROTA: She got a lot of heat for that.
CUOMO: She apologized.
CAMEROTA: She apologized. There is another -- a similar claim from Sean Spicer that somehow we have not covered as much. He talked about another non-existent terror attack in trying to make his claim for the travel ban -- make his case, I should say, for the travel ban. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What do we say to the family that loses somebody of terroristic, to whether it's Atlanta, or San Bernardino, or the Boston bomber? Too many of these cases that have happened, whether you talk about San Bernardino, Atlanta. But I don't think you have to look any farther than the families that were -- of the Boston marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino, to ask if we can go further.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Over the course of 48 hours.
CAMEROTA: What's the Atlanta terror attack?
STELTER: Still unclear what he's talking about. You know, that was something "The Daily Beast" first noticed this time yesterday. These three different mentions of Atlanta over the course of 48 hours. Maybe he was referencing Orlando?
I want you to know this time yesterday I asked Spicer what did you mean, did you mean Orlando? Did not hear back from him. However, ABC News reported overnight, he says he did mean Orlando, referring to Omar Mateen and that attack last year.
It's an example of sloppiness from the White House. And if Spicer is going to correctly hold the press accountable for mistakes, certainly we need to correct the record when we make mistakes, he also needs to be very careful in his words coming from the White House podium or in interviews. I think sloppiness is not a good look for any administration.
CUOMO: Or if we did that, we'd be hearing about it, you know, from the president for days.
CUOMO: And you know what? Rightly so.
STELTER: That's right.
CUOMO: Because it raises a point. You know why he doesn't want to say Atlanta, something else has been a consistent theme. They don't want to talk about white extremism. They want to talk about all extremism being Muslim extremism. Even though, you know, you've got Camerota on the case now crunching the numbers on it, there's a much bigger threat from white extremism than Islamic extremism.
CAMEROTA: That is what happened in Atlanta, the Olympic Park.
STELTER: Yes, he could have been talking about Olympic Park bombing. CAMEROTA: Bombing 21 years ago. But that was white extremism.
CUOMO: That was Rudolph.
STELTER: I thought you're bringing up earlier this week with Duffy, what about Quebec? Why hasn't the president addressed it. Jake Tapper asked Kellyanne Conway, still no great answer to that question about the silence about that particular killing Muslims while they were praying at a mosque.
CAMEROTA: Brian, Norm, thank you very much.
CUOMO: All right. There is a lot of news. We have an interview with a man at the moment, the Senator Richard Blumenthal. What did Judge Gorsuch say to him and why is the president basically saying he's lying. Let's get to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The courts seem to be so political.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Scathing comments coming from the president aimed at the judiciary branch.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Judge Gorsuch did say that he found them to be disheartening and demoralizing.
TRUMP: I listened to a bunch of stuff that was disgraceful.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: My constitutional responsibility to debate Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The bottom line is, it was long overdue with her.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: : President Trump attacking Nordstrom for dropping his daughter's clothing line.
SPICER: This is less about his family business and an attack on his daughter.
CUOMO: Massive winter storm slamming the northeast.
CAMEROTA: 40 million people are in this path.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. You're about to look at some live pictures of a winter wonderland.
CUOMO: That's a big truck.
CAMEROTA: Or a muck truck. Going through Central Park. There's a powerful winter storm slamming the northeast at this hour. 40 million people in 13 states are in the storm's path, and snow is beginning to pile up. This -- some areas could get as much as a foot, Chris.
CUOMO: The good news for people in this city and other big cities, you saw the hacks were out. They're taxicabs in big cities. We hack taxicabs and not guys attacking your computer. So people hopefully could get around. But New York, Boston, Philly, they canceled school preemptively. More than 2800 flights are down. We're going to have much more on the storm throughout the morning. Again 40 people in the path.