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Kushner to Have Adviser Role; Trump Cabinet Hearings; Nominees Prepare for Hearings; Manhunt Underway in Orlando; Trump Fires Back at Streep; Clinton Gets Standing Ovation. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 9, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:20] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me this Monday. You are watching CNN.
Count them with me, 11. Eleven days to go until Donald Trump's inauguration. But many are looking ahead at this week as really the launch of his presidency.
The president-elect has multiple major events in the coming days critical to his administration. You have nine of Trump's cabinet nominees facing confirmation hearings this week. And one, if not the most contention nominee, up to bat first. I'm talking about attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions. That confirmation hearing is tomorrow. When you talk to critics, they say the senator from Alabama has showed racial bias in the past.
Then, to Wednesday. Mr. Trump holds his very first news conference since July 27th. Earlier, he gave a bit of a teaser going before reporters at Trump Tower for a split second exchange. Beside the president-elect, one of China's richest men, Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: They're going great. Confirmation is going great.
QUESTION: Which of your nominees are you most concerned about?
QUESTION: Well, but they haven't started yet.
TRUMP: I think they'll all pass. I think every nomination will be - they're all at the highest little. Jack was even saying, I mean, they are the absolute highest level. I think they are going to do very well.
JACK MA, CEO, ALIBABA: Yes.
QUESTION: There is some concern about Jeff Sessions in particular -
TRUMP: No, I think he's going to do good. High quality man.
Thank you, Jack. MA: Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Blink and you miss it. That was actually one of two times he did that today.
By the way, it's not just a big week for the incoming administration. The outgoing president will give his farewell address tomorrow. President Obama will deliver that from his adopted hometown of Chicago.
So let's begin the hour with Sara Murray, our CNN politics reporter there for us along the National Mall.
As we look to the, you know, big week ahead for the president-elect, first huge, huge news on someone who's been named to the Trump administration who is married to a Trump. Tell us about Jared Kushner.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, that's right, a source is confirming to us that Jared Kushner will get the title of senior adviser to the president. And there was a lot of back and forth about whether the Trump transition folks felt like they would be able to give him an official title, whether he was going to have to stay some kind of informal adviser. So this suggests they believe that they can get around the anti-nepotism laws somehow and give Jared Kushner this official title.
It's not exactly clear yet how they're going to do it because they haven't officially around it. So maybe he will decide not to take a salary and that's how they believe they can get around it. Maybe they will go to Congress and ask them to waive the anti-nepotism statute for a couple key family members. We're still waiting to see exactly how the Trump transition and Donald Trump, the president-elect, plans to do this without running afoul of these anti-nepotism rules, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Maybe that will be answered on Wednesday during the newser.
But let's talk about this week. You know, we alluded to the - to the potentially contentious, right, confirmation hearing of Senator Sessions. Run through the rest this week, Sara, and who do you think will actually face the biggest battle?
MURRAY: It is going to be a very busy week, Brooke. And, of course, the Trump transition team is watching all these closely. You saw Donald Trump very optimistic that all of his nominees will get through. That does not mean there are not going to be some fights.
So let's get some of the less contention ones off the table. We have Betsy DeVos coming up later this week for Education. Elaine Chao, who is Senator Mitch McConnell's wife, for Transportation. Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development. Wilbur Ross for Commerce. Now, all these people may face tough questions, but not as tough as some of the folks we are seeing on the defense and national security side. So let's look at those folks. We have James Mattis for Defense. His
hearing is this week. John Kelly for Homeland Security. Mike Pompeo for CIA. And Rex Tillerson for secretary of State. Brooke, you can bet that anyone who is in intel, anyone who is in national security is going to be used as a referendum for how Donald Trump views Russia and how he views this declassified report on Russia.
And I think the biggest fight on those is going to be Rex Tillerson. He is the only one we've really seen Republicans raise alarm bells about. So we'll see if he can woo them in the hearings and in private meetings. But I think he's the one who could actually face a battle when it comes to getting confirmed by the Senate, Brooke.
BALDWIN: We will take all of those hearings live. The viewers can follow along.
Sara Murray, thank you.
You know, Mr. Trump isn't the only Republican leader confident that his nominees will succeed and get past those confirmation hearings. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Yes, everybody will be properly vetted, as they have been in the past, and I'm hopeful that we'll get up to six or seven of particular national security team in place on day one.
QUESTION: Senator, did you speak about -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Well, let's go to our senior political reporter, Manu Raju, on that note of everyone will be properly vetted.
So, you know, there is this formal complaint, Manu, by the Office of Government Ethics here that's essentially saying maybe not everyone's gone through the proper channels ahead of this week.
[14:05:14] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORT: Yes, that's right. This is actually a letter that came out over the weekend. A rather extraordinary letter from Walter Shaub, who's the director of the Office of Government Ethics, saying in this letter that he has, quote, "great concern" over several Trump nominees who have not been officially vetted and approved by the Office of Government Ethics to ensure that none of their holdings, none of their assets present any sort of conflict of interest if they were confirmed to their positions.
Now, there are four nominees in question who have actually not been officially signed off yet by this office. That includes Betsy DeVos to head the Education Department, John Kelly for the Homeland Security Department, Wilber Ross for Commerce, and Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development. Now, the Trump transition team says that the paperwork has been submitted to the Office of Government Ethics and the - Senator McConnell suggested that they will be approved by the time - the ethics work will be done by the time the Senate actually votes on these nominees.
Now the Democrats say that is not sufficient. They actually want this to be done before the confirmation hearings. And as we - as Sara just pointed out, there are a number of hearings that are taking place this week regardless - even though the fact that some of this paperwork has not come finished yet. So this is one of many flash points we're going to hear in the coming days, Brooke.
BALDWIN: All right, Manu, thank you.
Through the election you heard about mock debates, right? Well, now the practice of mock hearings is well underway. I want you to listen to what Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said to CNN about how the transition team has been prepping these nominees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP'S SENIOR ADVISER: Seventy hours so far of mock hearings, 2,600 questions fielded by our nominees and our designates. And we've met with 87 U.S. senators, including 37 Democrats. We'd like to meet with the remaining Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: On top of Kellyanne there, the online news site Axios reports nominees have been confronted with fake code pink demonstrate just to help them practice if and when their testimony is disrupted.
So how do they prepare? With we now the man who oversaw this publication, "The Survivor's Guide for Presidential Nominees." He is Dan Blair, the president and CEO Emeritus of the National Academy of Public Administration.
And I should also add that Dan has been through a confirmation hearing himself when he became commissioner of what used to be the Postal Regulatory Commission.
So, Dan, nice the see you, sir, welcome.
DAN BLAIR, UNDERWENT TWO SENATE CONFIRMATION HEARINGS: Thank you, Brooke. Good afternoon.
BALDWIN: All right. So, you know, in reading about all of this, they actually call these murder boards, which I have a feeling is a surprise to our viewers. Could you please explain why they're called that.
BLAIR: Well, they're called that because they're tough boards to go through. Sometimes these murder boards are tougher than the hearings themselves. You're going to be peppered by questions from 360 degrees. And this is part of the preparation process that a nominee needs to go through in order to put his or her best foot forward when they come before the Senate. BALDWIN: All about putting the best foot forward. And part of that, I
imagine, and, you know, the number one rule, Dan, is, if you're sitting there in the hot seat, you never, ever, ever say anything bad about, in this case, Donald Trump.
BLAIR: That's right. And, you know - you need to know who your boss is and you need to remember who your audience is. And your audience is definitely the senators presented before you, but also the audience are the viewers who are watching the hearing and the senior administration officials who are seeing how well you're going to do during these what has oftentimes been called the wire brush process of Senate confirmation.
BALDWIN: You talk about the 80/20 rule, how only 20 percent of the testimony should actually be from you. What's the rest of it?
BLAIR: Well, the rest of it is that you want to be able to answer the questions succinctly, forthrightly and don't answer more than the question that has been asked. You know, these hearings are for your - are for the senators' benefits. And you need to realize that when you walk in the room, there's a reason that you're sitting down at the table and the senators are higher up on the dyas (ph). They're the ones in control. And as long as you recognize that, and as long as you are prepared, you will do fine in those hearings.
BALDWIN: That's a great point. Just even the optics of the room, how you're looking up at the people doing the grilling. And then you talk about - I mean this is hours upon hours upon hours of grilling. How do you have the stamina to go through this?
BLAIR: Well, these aren't people who have just been picked off and plucked from the street. These are people who have demonstrated expertise and/or demonstrated success in their own business and personal lives. So these folks are used to having a very - are used to the rough-and-tumble of a business environment or a political environment. They're ready, and the stamina is there.
[14:10:06] I mean you saw with Secretary Clinton last fall go through, what, 12, 14 hours of a hearing?
BLAIR: Well, I hope none of these last that long. I don't think that you'll see any of the nominees unprepared when it comes to stamina.
BALDWIN: What - last question, Dan, what's the telltale sign that something isn't going well?
BLAIR: Well, it's the 80/20 rule. If you spend 50 percent or 60 percent of your time talking and explaining, that's not a good sign. And so you want to let the senators do all the talking. And it's when the senators start leaving the room, that's a good sign because that means that they've gotten their point across and they don't see any other reason to continue to conversation with you.
BALDWIN: Dan Blair - BLAIR: So, let them leave the room and let there be - the fewer the senators showing up, the better that is for the candidate, the nominee.
BALDWIN: We'll look for all of this. We'll look for all of this starting tomorrow. Dan Blair, thank you so much.
BLAIR: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
We are also, this afternoon, following the breaking news out of Orlando where this massive manhunt continues for a suspect accused of killing a police officer. A local deputy also died while trying to track down this gunman.
So Polo Sandoval is on this for us today.
Polo, what are police saying?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is personal, Brooke, for police there in Orlando. Not only did they lose two officers, one of them in the shooting and then the second one, an Orange County sheriff's deputy that was involved in a traffic accident in the ensuing manhunt, but also a police captain did survived a shooting as he tried to confront the man who is described by police as armed and extremely dangerous.
And this is a police - these are the pictures that have been released by investigators of 41-year-old Markeith Loyd. He was a man who was wanted even before today's shooting, suspected of murdering a pregnant woman. In fact, investigators believe that Sergeant Clayton may have recognized him early this morning, attempted to make contact with him. That is when he allegedly pulled out a gun and shot her several times.
And we have seen this incredible show of support for law enforcement there in Orlando who are basically torn between grieving the loss of their fellow officers and also this massive manhunt.
SANDOVAL: You see these powerful pictures here outside the hospital, Brooke, early this morning as Sergeant Clayton's flag-draped body was removed from the hospital. Her family members following close behind. She was a mother, a wife, and an active member of the community. And so today, as this manhunt continues, police in Orlando are remembering somebody who was active in the community, both in and out of uniform. Her death marking the first gun-related officer fatality of 2017.
BALDWIN: Bless them. They will find this person. They will. They will. Polo, thank you.
SANDOVAL: You bet. BALDWIN: Coming up next here on CNN, Meryl Streep. Were you watching the Golden Globes? Meryl Streep called out Donald Trump. And Trump fires back. What this and Hillary Clinton's moment on Broadway last night tell us about America right now.
Also ahead, the man accused in that Fort Lauderdale airport rampage is in court for the very first time. The back story, the red flags, were they ignored?
And just 11 days before Trump takes the oath of office, a U.S. Navy ship firing warning shots at Iranian boats. We'll tell you why.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:17:09] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
President-elect Donald Trump on another Twitter tirade, this one taking on Hollywood in particular, firing back at the one and only Meryl Streep, a known Hillary Clinton supporter. This was when she spoke back in July at the Democratic National Convention this summer in Philadelphia. Without mentioning his name at all and also fighting back tears, Streep delivered a scathing speech during last night's Golden Globes. She criticized some of Trump's most controversial moments during his campaign, all while she was accepting the Cecil D. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Here she was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It - it kind of broke my heart when I saw it. And I still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it's modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That speech there was praised by many, but Donald Trump was not thrilled, unleashing a series of tweets this morning. Let me just read what he tweeted. Quote, "Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never mocked a disabled reporter, I would never do that, but simply showed him groveling when he totally changed a 16-year-old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media."
Let's talk to someone else who's lost their voice here, Scott Mantz, a film critic with "Access Hollywood" and a co-host of last night's official Globes red carpet pre-show.
Scott, thank you for coming on and not sleeping through all your post Golden Globes partying. But I wanted to understand, I mean when Meryl Streep gave that speech last night, what was the - we were looking at the faces of reaction. What was the mood in the ballroom?
SCOTT MANTZ, FILM CRITIC, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Well, the mood in the ballroom, sorry, was this, everybody was so happy with her speech. No surprise. Everybody knows that Hollywood leans to the left. She got a tremendous amount of support for her speech, which was delivered with grace and class.
[14:20:12] Now, this morning, after everybody woke up and saw President-elect Trump's tweets, the reaction now among the executives that I've been around is that Trump is acting like a baby. He is not taking the high road. He is not proving himself to be a class act. He should just not engage. You know, I don't see - a lot of people don't see Obama name calling on Twitter like Trump has been doing. When Trump announced his inauguration and a lot of Hollywood people were not going to the inauguration, instead of letting that go, Trump had to call out the Hollywood celebrities for not going to the inauguration. And that just draws more bad attention to it. So, you know, the overall feeling is that Trump should take the high road, just focus on his job and stop with the name calling.
BALDWIN: It just shows the further divide I think of this country, what we saw in Hollywood last night.
Quickly, I mean, in all these after parties, did you hear from anyone who disagreed with Meryl Streep? Any conservative voices who favor Mr. Trump in Hollywood?
MANTZ: Not from where I was. And between the ballroom and the after parties, a lot of people were talking about Meryl Streep's classy - their words, not mine, although I do agree with that - her classy acceptance speech during that Cecil B. DeMille Award. And as if she didn't already have the admiration and respect of Hollywood, that just went up a big notch with that acceptance speech.
BALDWIN: OK, Scott Mantz, go get your voice back. Thank you so much for taking the time.
MANTZ: Thank you.
BALDWIN: It was important to just feel the flavor in the room here. And while you have a number of members of Hollywood, right, slamming Mr. Trump in the wake of what Merrill said at the Golden Globes, there was another scene on Broadway, a much different atmosphere, for Trump's former rival, Hillary Clinton, because she received multiple standing ovations at the final performance of "The Color Purple."
The audience erupted at the sight of Hillary Clinton, former president and also their daughter Chelsea was there. So many people tried to get close enough during the show to just give her a hug, a thank you, a selfie.
My next guest, Jordan Serpone was actually in the crowd. He got a chance to meet Hillary Clinton.
Jordan, what a night, what a show, first of all, I saw it a couple of months ago, but my goodness what a scene to be in the thick of. Did you have any idea she was going to be there?
JORDAN SERPONE, MET HILLARY CLINTON AT FINAL PERFORMANCE OF "THE COLOR PURPLE": No, not at all. We got kind of tipped off a couple minutes before the show started that there was going to be a major celebrity sitting near us. And I said to my partner, what if it's Hillary. And we thought, no, and then she walked in.
BALDWIN: So you shook her hand?
SERPONE: Yes, she walked in. The crowd went berserk. It was full of so much, I think, love and support. And it went both ways. Hillary was so - wasn't trying to be private. She was waving back at everybody, hugging people, shaking hands and I got to shake her hand on the way down. And then at the intermission, I asked her - I told her what she meant to me. I asked her to take a photo with me and she happily obliged. It was really remarkable.
BALDWIN: Now you juxtaposed the scene which you got to be in the thick of with, you know, that "Hamilton" show recently where Vice President- elect Mike Pence went to attend. I want to say he was booed by members of the audience. And he was - he also got a talking to by that "Hamilton" cast. Why do you - why -
BALDWIN: Why do you think the total dichotomy of reaction?
SERPONE: Listen, I think Hillary ran on a - I mean the point of "The Color Purple" is, it's a story about overcoming adversity and racism and sexism. I think Hillary Clinton ran on a platform of, you know, bringing the country together. I think all of those people responded to it. I think right now we're trying to hold on to some hope. And I think, in that moment, that's what it meant to people. I think we saw Hillary and said, you know, there she is, there's this woman that was trying to bring us together.
And I will say, it was also hard for me that, although it was an honor to meet her, I wish I hadn't met her. I wish she was planning her - getting ready for confirmation hearings for her cabinet. I think as one of the most qualified people to ever run for the highest office in the land, it's an incredible waste that she is not getting ready to be sworn in, in a couple of weeks.
[14:25:08] BALDWIN: But she's not. The other guy won. I mean, having seen "The Color Purple" recently myself, did you take the message away, too, for you, Jordan?
SERPONE: Yes, I did. And I'm going to - you know, the message - at the end of the show they said, you know, please take this message away and hold it in your heart and try and, you know, put a little more love in the world. And I looked at Hillary at that point and she was nodding. And I certainly will. And, you know, we're ready to move forward and fight where we need to fight and keep making forward progress.
BALDWIN: Jordan Serpone, thank you so much for the time, appreciate it, here on CNN.
SERPONE: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, the prosecution and defense both resting their case today in Charleston, South Carolina, as the penalty phase of that church shooting trial nears an end. What this convicted murderer said today in court. We'll take you live to Charleston.
Plus, warning shots fired at sea involving the U.S. Navy and Iranian boats. The latest from the Pentagon when we come back.