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Conservative: If Trump Wins Re-election, Expect Trump Family Dynasty; Queen Elizabeth Says She Supports Harry & Meghan In Their Decision To Step Back; Third Day Of Anti-Government Protests In Iran; Biden Tweets Support For Iran Anti-Government Protesters; Sanders Campaign Hits Biden On Iraq War Record. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 13, 2020 - 13:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And in his new book, "Running With the Devil," he predicts that this dynasty will begin shortly after a 2020 victory, saying, quote, "Mark my words, even the most respectable elements of the conservative media will soon be producing think pieces on why Don Jr. is the bridge from raw Trumpism to a smoother, smarter, populist nationalism."

Rick Wilson is with us now.

This piece is funny. I can't repeat a lot of it because there's bad words in there.


KEILAR: It's very salty. I think once you start reading it, you don't stop.

Why do you think this is going to happen?

RICK WILSON, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: This is one of the chapters in my book where I warn about what's going to happen if we don't stop Trump now.

I think what's going to happen with the Trump kids becoming political powerhouses is very simple. The Republican Party as we knew it is dead. It's not about lower taxes or individual liberty or the Constitution. It's now about worshipping Donald Trump. This is basically like North Korea with slightly better buildings.

These are a family that wants to have a dynasty. They want to have their own empire. Donald Trump wants to spread this grift out as long as he can. They are making tons of money doing this. And they want to continue this.

I think the GOP is so compromised right now and they really only believe in that kind of transgressive Trumpist politics, all with the name Trump.

And all of these guys who think they'll be the bridge to President Trump, the Josh Hawleys, Marco Rubios, Ted Cruzes, all those guys who think they'll be the bridge, the minute they get into a primary race with Don Jr., the cult that follows Trump won't go with anyone else. They won't go with anyone who is imperfectly Trumpish.

And being Don Jr. is about as pure as it gets in that shallow gene pool.

KEILAR: Do you think he's Trump enough, though? Donald Trump is certainly a unique individual. And even someone who is his son is still not him, right?


KEILAR: Maybe people buy into the cult of Trump, but he would still have to earn some of that support in his own right. Do you think he can?

WILSON: Trump himself is semi-generous. But the infrastructure and the support and the name I.D. and the money that would be there for Don Jr., and the fact he's running around the country basically being a campaign surrogate for his father right now, I think this is the plan for the newly established dynasty.

KEILAR: What do you think the draw comes down to for Americans? Is it the celebrity of wanting a Donald Trump or a Donald Trump Jr.?

WILSON: Look, celebrity is an enormous element of the appeal of the Trump thing. You know, Americans watched a reality TV star for 15 years and they thought, he's a good negotiator, he's an amazing businessman, he's smart, he understands issues and people. Well, that was a scripted character on a reality show played by Donald Trump. He's an actual celebrity.

Don Jr. is less so. But you're talking about people sticking to a brand they've come to love more than anything else. They don't care about the old principles of the GOP. They care only about Trump and the live-triggering shenanigans they engage in.

KEILAR: You talk about Ivanka as well. You say, "Poor Eric is left out and but he always has been."

Let's focus on the other the other person you focus on, Ivanka. What do you see for her?

WILSON: I think Ivanka is in a weird position because she has tried in D.C. to not be a Trumpish character. She has tried the family leave and sort of -- I call it TED Talk Trumpism, where she tries to be much more smooth, much more presentable, much more acceptable, doesn't get into this vile stuff they do.

I don't think that sales as much to the GOP base. They want someone who will be like Trump and be this avatar for this tremendous anger they feel at the system.

KEILAR: Rick, thank you so much for joining us. Rick Wilson.

WILSON: Thank you. KEILAR: We appreciate it.

The royals calling an emergency family meeting to figure out their next steps following Prince Harry and Meghan's stunning announcement. A meeting the duchess called into, like on the phone.


At any moment, we'll learn about that deadly shooting on a Florida naval base. Was this terrorism?


KEILAR: An historic decision for the royal family. Queen Elizabeth now saying she supports Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's decision to step back from the royal life.

This queen calling a summit today after Harry and Meghan stunned everybody, including the queen herself, when they announced last week they wanted to leave their official royal duties behind.

Following the meeting, which Meghan didn't attend in person, but rather, she called in from Canada to speak with Prince Harry, it appears, the queen released a statement that read, in part, "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."

I want to talk more about this now with Diane Clehane. She can help decipher all of this for us. She is the royals editor for "Best Life." And she wrote the book, "Diana, Secrets of her style."


I wonder, Diane, when you look at this message, put it through the translator and tell us what's happening here.

DIANE CLEHANE, ROYALS EDITOR, "BEST LIFE" & AUTHOR: It is historic, that's for sure. If you read between the lines of the idea of the queen saying she's supporting, that the decision is very sort of hard for everyone, but yet, it's the kind of thing where she wants to make Harry happy.

So I think effectively it looks like they're pretty much going to get everything that they want.

The interesting part is that they are named -- they used their first name in the statement, so without titles. This could possibly mean a change in their title, but I think that's very unlikely.

KEILAR: So if they're getting really everything they want, that certainly shows a desire on the part of the queen to, I guess, maintain some sort of positive relationship.

You know, there were questions about whether this was going to completely break Harry away from the royal family. What do you think?

CLEHANE: Well, the queen is obviously very close to her grandson. This is the sixth in line to the throne. This is Charles' son. This is Diana's son. There's a lot of history there. So I think there was the intent that they definitely wanted to make him happy.

The discussions were described as constructive, so I think that means that they were happy to sit down face to face. I think that was where the problem started. If this had started at this point, instead of being crisis management, it probably would have gone a lot more smoothly.

KEILAR: The summit didn't seem to last all that long. And as we mentioned, Meghan Markle wasn't physically there.


KEILAR: She was calling in by phone.


KEILAR: Can you explain to us what that would have looked like? Was this a conference call?

CLEHANE: Well, the sources that I spoke to said that this was the queen, Prince Charles, Prince Williams and Prince Harry and their respect active private secretaries, with Meghan possibly being called by Harry as he would step out of the room and talk to her about the recent developments.

The queen set it up so that she allowed three hours for the meeting. She wanted to end at 5:00 p.m. for teatime. And it was supposedly about two hours and change.

The other interesting thing, I think, is that she invited everyone to come for lunch prior to the meeting, and William arrived 15 minutes before rather than sit down for lunch with his brother. I think there are a lot of hurt feelings there.

KEILAR: Definitely, you can see that.

Diane Clehane, thank you so much for translating this for all of us Americans. We appreciate it.

CNN has an inside look at the story behind the world's most famous royal family. "The Windsors, Inside the Royal Dynasty" will be shown on Sunday at 10:00 p.m., on CNN.

Still ahead, angry protesters filling the streets of Iran after the country admits it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainians airlines flight.

Plus, a day ahead of the CNN Democratic debate, bad blood erupts between the Sanders and Warren campaigns, previously very good friends. Is this feud going to spill out onto the debate stage?


KEILAR: Two American soldiers killed in Afghanistan. They are Staff Sergeant Ian McLaughlin, of Newport News, Virginia, and Private First Class Villalon from the Chicago area. Both were on their first deployments in Afghanistan, coming from Fort Bragg, members of the 82nd Airborne.

Sergeant McLaughlin, on the left of your screen, leaves behind a wife and four children. He was just 29 years old. PFC Villalon was 21 years old, just a toddler when this war started in 2001.

They were victims of a roadside bomb. A bomb that responsibility was claimed for by the Taliban just as they are restarting peace talks with U.S. officials.



KEILAR: Now to Iran, where anti-government protesters are back on the streets for a third day. Outraged over Iran's accidental shoot down of a Ukraine passenger jet. Some calling for Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, to step down. One protester was seen ripping down a poster of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

I'm joined by Tony Blinken. He served as the Deputy Secretary of State, and Deputy National Security Adviser in the Obama White House. He is currently the Senior Foreign Policy Adviser for Joe Biden's Presidential Campaign.

Thank you so much for coming in.


KEILAR: How are you reading these protests in Iran, considering only a week ago, we were seeing other protests where folks were chanting, "Death to America."

BLINKEN: Look, there have been -- before the incident with Iran, there had been protests against the government, against the regime. There's an underlying unhappiness in Iran. There are economic problems.

And now the sense that the government lied to them for three days about what happened with the shoot down of the plane, that just triggered these underlying emotions there. And very, very powerful.

KEILAR: And your candidate, Joe Biden, did tweet his support for Iranian protesters --

BLINKEN: That's right.

KEILAR: -- unlike most of his rivals. How did he come to that decision and why do you think others have not? BLINKEN: I can't speak for others, but I can say that Biden has had a

consistent line of support for people standing up and fighting for democracy around the world. Whether it's there, whether it's in Russia, Ukraine, you name it, he's been there. And this is something he feels very strongly.

Right now, one of the real fault lines in the world is between the re- emergence or emergence of autocratic regimes and democracies. Biden stands strongly and resolutely for democracy.

One of the things that's been so discouraging is to see our own president, President Trump, be much more sympathetic to autocrats than he is to Democrats. That's something that's going to change.


KEILAR: Let's talk about Iraq. Why does he, Joe Biden -- and this something Bernie Sanders is taking him to task for -- why does he keep misrepresenting where he was on the Iraq war?

BLINKEN: He's not misrepresenting where he was. Let's remember what happened. First of all --

KEILAR: But how is that possible? He was against the Iraq war from the start. And this is something he said in September, and even you personally had to say that he misspoke. And then he says this a couple times more recently while campaigning. How is that not misrepresenting?

BLINKEN: Two things. Two things. First of all, when Joe Biden and many other Senators voted for the Authorization to Use Military Force, that was a vote for tough diplomacy, not to go to war.

President Bush had told us at the time that he wanted a strong vote in Congress in order to go to the United Nations, get weapons inspectors back into Iraq. And that's exactly what happened.

After the vote in Congress, we got a 15 to nothing vote of the Security Council at the United Nations. The inspectors went back in, they were doing their job, they were getting access.

Biden has said repeatedly that he regrets giving President Bush that authorization, because it was misused.

Once we did go to war, Biden was immediately against the way we went into the war, as well as the way it was being conducted.

He said very immediately, that when it came to the way we went into the war, without letting the diplomacies and weapons inspectors finish their jobs, without allies, without a plan for the day after and based on hyped intelligence, that that was wrong.

But once our troops were committed to battle, he also felt it was very important to support them and make sure they had everything they needed. KEILAR: I guess I don't understand, then, then how is that not -- how

is he not misrepresenting his view, if he's saying, basically, it was from the beginning. It was from the start.

BLINKEN: From the start --

KEILAR: Because it wasn't.

BLINKEN: From the start, he made clear his opposition of the way we went to war and the way it was being conducted. And he said --


KEILAR: But he voted in a way that allowed President Bush to proceed that way. He ceded that judgment to the president.

BLINKEN: And he said, many times since, that he regrets that vote. He regrets that President Bush misused the authority that was given to him.

The other thing that's important, Brianna, is this. When he became vice president of the United States, President Obama gave him the responsibility for overseeing Iraq and overseeing the drawdown from Iraq.

When we started in office and he started as vice president, there were 150,000 American troops in Iraq. He got all of them out.


BLINKEN: So talk about ending a forever war --


BLINKEN: -- he actually did it.

KEILAR: But, Tony, the rise of ISIS and the vacuum of not coming up with a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, that is not a success.

BLINKEN: Listen, I think it was a success in the fact that Iraq wanted its sovereignty back. That was the deal that President Bush had struck with Iraq. We made good on that commitment. We demonstrated that we were good for our word.

ISIS' emergence was something that we told the Iraqis was a real danger, a real threat. If they continued their sectarian politics and if they didn't keep their foot on the throat of what was then Al Qaeda in Iraq, there was going to be a problem.

Biden was the guy who worked to bring together a coalition of more than 65 countries to deal with ISIS. And we did it very successfully.

KEILAR: But the rise of ISIS -- sure, but the rise of ISIS is not seen as just Iraq's fault. That is something that is widely perceived as to have been a huge American misstep, but you're touting it as a success. BLINKEN: Listen, at that time, if you put yourself back in that

moment, Iraq wanted its sovereignty back. There was no support in Iraq for keeping American troops in Iraq. President Bush had made a commitment to get all of them out. Obama and Biden saw that through. And that was where we were.

But we said at the time -- and I was in many of these meetings with the Iraqi leaders -- if you continue the sectarian politics, if you continue also not to keep pressure on what's left of Al Qaeda in Iraq, this is going to come back and bite. And by the time they understood that, unfortunately, it was too late.

KEILAR: As you are well familiar, there's a view, an understanding by many who have watched this space that the U.S. did not fight to stay in Iraq as hard as they could have.

And that, in a way, not coming to an agreement on a Status of Forces with Iraq allowed the Obama administration to do what it wanted to do, which was to get out of the war, and then not understand what was going to happen with ISIS rising.

So, I hear what you're saying in defense of that, but this is perceived to be a failure of effort on the part of the Obama administration.

BLINKEN: Listen, as someone who was part of that effort, I can tell you, we worked it very, very, very hard. I was there a lot. The vice president was deeply engaged.

But the fact of the matter is this. At that point in their history, Iraqis did not want American forces in their country. They perceived what had been a liberation to have become an occupation. They wanted their sovereignty back.

We needed to make good on the commitments that President Bush had made and that we continue to bring Americans home.

KEILAR: Tony Blinken, thank you so much for coming in. Thank you.

BLINKEN: Thanks. Great to be with you, as always. Thank you.

KEILAR: Thank you.


And be sure to tune in tomorrow night for the Democratic presidential debate, hosted by CNN in partnership with the "Des Moines Register," 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

And that is it for me.

"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.