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Ninth Circuit Rules Unanimously Against Trump Travel Ban; Washington State A.G. Fires Back at Trump; Jason Chaffetz Booed at Town Hall over Conway; Tom Price Confirmed as HHS Secretary, Will Oversee Obamacare Repeal, Replace; Trump Tells Chinese President U.S. Will Honor One China Policy; Washington State Governor Talks Trump Travel Ban. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired February 10, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN 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 has just gone past 11:00.
Donald Trump's travel ban may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Right now, it's still on hold after a unanimous ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel said the government presented no evidence that an immigrant from any of the seven mostly Muslim countries had carried out a terror attack in the United States. Mr. Trump blasted the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOANLD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): It's a political decision. We're going to see them in court, and I look forward to doing it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): So you believe the judges --
TRUMP: We have a situation where the security of our country is at stake, and it's a very, very serious situation. So, we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We have full coverage this hour.
CNN's Dan Simon is live outside the Ninth Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Here in Los Angeles, we have CNN legal analyst, Areva Martin; and Democratic strategist, Robin Swanson; and CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, John Phillips.
First to you, Dan, in San Francisco.
Dan, the court delivered a huge blow to President Trump's executive order almost is the board.
DAN SIMON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. That's why you didn't have any anti-Donald Trump protesters at the courthouse. Had this gone the other way, this sidewalk would still be filled with tons of protesters.
As for the ruling, itself, the fact that two of the judges were appointed by Democratic presidents, there should be no surprise in terms of how this went. But what is striking is just, across the board, this was a clear rebuke of this executive order. The judges questioned the constitutionality. They questioned whether or not there were threats around the world that could justify this order.
It's as if part of this ruling was written by former secretaries of state, John Kerry and Madeleine Albright. They themselves wrote a declaration to this court saying they were not aware of a specific threat that could justify this kind of executive order.
From here, this is likely headed to the Supreme Court. But given the clear ideological split on the court, where you might see a 4-4 ruling, what happened here at the ninth circuit will most likely stand -- John?
VAUSE: Dan, thank you. Dan Simon in San Francisco.
Let's break down, some of the legal elements of this decision.
And Areva Martin, a civil rights attorney and CNN legal analyst, joins us.
Areva, this ruling was just on the suspended travel ban, whether or not it should stay in place. They ruled it should. The three judges did not shy away from some of the bigger constitutional issues here.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, the judges made it very clear that they doubted whether the government could ever prove that the ban would withstand constitutional scrutiny. The question of whether Fifth Amendment due process rights were violated for the people who were affected by the ban, the court talked about that extensively and said in fact that the states that have challenged the ban are more likely to prevail on the constitutional claim.
And the court did something else. The court really took the Trump administration to task. Donald Trump has been saying throughout this entire process that the country's national security is at stake. And the court said, look, you have not presented any evidence to support the claim of urgency, to support the claim that there is some threat to Americans or to our national security. And the court said you could have done that. We're accustomed to receiving classified information. So, if there is information to support your claim, then present it. And the Trump administration has not done that. And the court, quite frankly, rejected their argument that there is a need for this travel ban.
VAUSE: And so with that in mind, I want to read you part of -- this is a 29-page judgment. This is one line from it, which I thought was especially interesting to your point. "Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the executive order, the government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all."
I mean, this, to me, sounds like these three judges were incredibly critical of the case which was put forward by the Department of Justice.
MARTIN: I think the courts wanted to send also a message to the Trump administration, this notion that you can execute these executive orders and they not be reviewable by the federal court, the court said that's just absolutely categorically wrong. The courts have the right to interpret the law, and they have a right to determine whether an executive order by this president, or any president, for that matter, with stands constitutional scrutiny. So, I think the court wanted the Trump administration to know that as you're going about writing these executive orders, you have to be concerned about whether they are going to withstand any kind of a challenge in terms of violations of the constitution. In this case, the court was pretty clear, although it didn't get to the merits, pretty clear this one would not withstand that kind of scrutiny.
[02:05:09] VAUSE: Again, it did not deal with the most controversial issue here, whether or not the travel ban is, in fact, a Muslim ban, which would violate the Constitution. Why did they sort of sidestep that?
MARTIN: The court didn't have to get to that. The question before this court was whether this ban should -- the stay that has been issued by the federal court in Seattle, whether that stay should have been lifted. That was really the only question before the court.
Now a couple of things could happen. This case will go back to the traffic report for a full trial on the merits. And that trial will entail depositions, discovery, and opportunity for each side to present the kind of evidence that the court said was lacking at this point. So, we'll see.
Does this mean Donald Trump will be sworn, has to give sworn testimony? The people that were involved in creating this executive order, will they be subjected to depositions and other forms of discovery?
But obviously, this case isn't over. Donald Trump tweeted right after it came out and said on national television, we'll you in court, which is kind of ironic, since already two federal courts have ruled against him. But of course, he has threatened to take this all the way to the Supreme Court, which, from what we know about the court, not likely that he will be successful even at this level.
VAUSE: OK, Areva, good to see you.
MARTIN: Thanks, John.
VAUSE: Areva Martin with insight into how the court ruled.
OK. For more on the politics of this, we're joined by Democratic strategist, Robin Swanson; and CNN political commentator, John Phillips, who is a Trump supporter. We just have to keep reminding our audience of that.
Areva mentioned this. Shortly after the ruling, the president tweeted out, "See you in court. The security of our nation is at stake."
The attorney general for Washington State fired back with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, we have seen him in court twice, and we're two for two. That's number one. And in my view, the future of the Constitution is at stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, Robin, we keep hearing from Donald Trump that he is a winner. He likes to win. In this case, he lost bigly. So how damaging politically is this to the president?
ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yeah, I think this is a big loss for the president. This is kind of the first thing out of the box. This was going to be a signature issue for him. And he clearly had a temper tantrum in all caps on Twitter today because he didn't like losing this particular battle. And I think he better be careful about how he sets himself up because this is going to go on for a while. And he could have several losses along the way. I think he is learning a big lesson in checks and balances, and civics in our country, and learning that he is going to have to work with coequal branches of government if he wants to be a successful president of the United States.
VAUSE: So, John, is the president learning on the job?
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we all expected this result from the Ninth Court of Appeals. If you were to find three people in San Francisco that support the travel restrictions that Trump instituted, then you're going to have to wait until the Arizona Diamondbacks played the San Francisco Giants, because nobody there is in his political side of the aisle. This is going to the Supreme Court whom. Who knows what will happen there.
But I do know this about the politics. This is what Donald Trump promised the American people when he ran for president. He promised that there would be an extreme vetting of immigrants who were coming here. And he was going to try to close the gaps, close the holes in the process that we have right now. The public wants him to do it. If there were legal problems with this that will ultimately have to be resolved by maybe another executive order, then I'm sure he'll end up doing something of that nature. But the American people are with him.
SWANSON: The problem with -- (CROSSTALK)
VAUSE: Sorry, Robin. Go ahead.
SWANSON: No, that's OK. The problem with him doing another executive order is that would mean he would have to admit he was wrong. And that is something he has yet to do. So, I don't have a lot of hope that he will do that.
PHILLIPS: Oh, give him time, give him time.
PHILLIPS: He'll get carpal tunnel writing those executive orders.
VAUSE: They're like signed tweets.
John, the president's executive order has been sort of chaotic and confusing from the start. One of the elements was that, which went against it was this ruling by the court, that they essentially did not prove this element of an imminent security threat to the United States.
And that's a view supported by the former director of national intelligence James Clapper. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Does the terror threat necessitate the ban from these seven countries?
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, I don't believe we in the I.C. were aware of any extraordinary threats that we weren't already dealing with. And we're using I think some very rigorous vetting processes, which we constantly improved on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:10:07] VAUSE: So, John, there is a sense here that maybe the administration is sort of exaggerating the potential terror threat out there.
PHILLIPS: James Clapper and others had the same beliefs during the campaign. They didn't support Donald Trump. And they lost. Donald Trump is being told by his national security people that we cannot trust the process when people try to immigrate here from those countries, that these countries don't have -- they don't keep proper documents, that we can't cross-check our list with their list. So, if that's what he is being told, and that's who the American people decided should lead the free world, then I go with Trump. I'm not surprised that Clapper is upset.
VAUSE: Very quickly -- sorry, we're just running out of time, Robin.
SWANSON: No problem.
VAUSE: Actually, we have a town hall in Utah. He is the Republican in charge of the House Oversight Committee. This is a very angry town hall. A lot of people are very unhappy with Jason Chaffetz. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: They're unhappy about the travel ban. They're also unhappy that Jason Chaffetz had not initiated any investigation for conflicts of interest regarding the president.
And, Robin, Chaffetz basically said the president has immunity. His hands are tied.
SWANSON: Well, I think we're learning today that the president is actually accountable for his actions, and that, you know, members of Congress are going to be held accountable for their actions, too. And I think it's going to be a rough election a couple year from now. Two years from now, we're going see a lot of the repercussions of what Donald Trump is doing. And all the folks that are standing by Donald Trump right now are going to be paying the consequences for that. I think there is a lot of people who feel like they're not being heard, no matter what party they're in, and they're expressing themselves today. And here is hoping they express themselves on Election Day in two years.
PHILLIPS: That crowd is not representative of Jason Chaffetz's district. He won his reelection. Donald Trump won the state of Utah. It's a bunch of people that didn't support Donald Trump when he ran for president. They didn't vote for him. And they still hate his guts today. I don't see what the big surprise is.
VAUSE: OK. And right now, at this very hour, it's 12 past 11:00 here in Los Angeles. It is 12 minutes past 2:00 in Washington.
On the Senate floor, they're about to vote for the confirmation of Tom Price as secretary of Health and Human Service.
John, Price will oversee repealing and replacing Obamacare. The repeal part is easy. The replace part isn't quite there and may not be there for a while.
PHILLIPS: Well, yeah, Lamar Alexander is the guy who is the point man in the U.S. Senate on these health care issues. And, yeah, it may be a while before there is something on the books. We know in the grand scheme of things what Trump wants to do. Trump wants to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Certainly, tort reform will be part of that. So, I would like to see it happen piecemeal. I would like to see them take bits and pieces of it and do it that way instead of one big bill where you try to do everything at once.
SWANSON: I think they're about to leave -- I think they're about to leave a lot of people -- the balance there is millions of people who have health insurance who have never had it before. There is millions of people with preexisting conditions that want to know what's going to happen. And Republicans in Congress haven't answered any of those questions because there is no plan. There is no plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. And they need to protect what's in place because there's millions of people whose lives depend on it.
VAUSE: OK. Final word to Robin.
Thank you, both, John and Robin for being with us. Much appreciated.
OK. Well President Trump has been talking to Chinese President Xi Jinping. They had a phone call and he said the United States will honor the One China policy. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the Chinese government as the one official government and cut official ties with Taiwan. Before taking office, Donald Trump questioned whether the U.S. should maintain that long-standing agreement.
David McKenzie is in Beijing with more on this.
David, quite a turnaround for the U.S. president.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, John, it is a turnaround. There was a lot of nervousness here in Beijing, I think, waiting for that phone call to happen. It took, after more than 20 calls by President Trump with other world leaders, to get to what is arguably the most important bilateral relationship, between the U.S. and China, of course. And, yes, he did reaffirm, which was an existing policy of the U.S., the One China policy. That is something confirmed both by the Chinese and by the Americans. And it's a shift from the earlier statements. It's certainly means that relationship can go forward on to other issues, sticky issues like trade and the South China Sea.
But when Trump had sort of mentioned that Taiwan might be negotiating in discussion, it really had people worrying here in China. Now they can breathe a sigh of relief and move on to things they can talk about -- John?
[02:15:15] VAUSE: OK. A sense of normalcy maybe settling in in the relationship between Washington and Beijing.
David, thank you.
And it looks likes Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S./Mexican border may cost much more than originally claimed. The Reuters News agency reporting a final Price tag as high as $21.6 billion. Could take more than three years to build. That's based on an internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security which Reuters says it saw on Thursday. Mr. Trump said during the campaign the wall could cost $12 billion. Top Republican lawmakers put the price at $15 billion.
Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., his state was among those leading the charge against the Trump travel ban. We'll hear from Washington Governor Jay Inslee in just a moment.
Also, White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, promoting Ivanka Trump's products during a news interview and her sales pitch has ignited an ethics storm. More on the fallout in a moment.
And later, it comes with a helicopter and roughly a quarter of a million of wine and champagne. We'll take you inside the most expensive house offered for sale in the United States.
[02:20:01] VAUSE: 20 minutes past 11:00 here in Los Angeles.
And we have breaking news. The U.S. Senate just confirmed Tom Price as the next secretary of Health and Human Service. The vote was 52-47 along party lines. Democrats fought to stop Price over his hardline on repealing Obamacare and altering Medicare, as well as ethical concerns. Republicans hope he'll be one of the primary of a replacement for Obamacare.
Updating our top story, a stunning setback for the Trump White House over its controversial travel ban. Three U.S. judges ruled unanimously against reinstating the ban after another federal judge put it on hold. In a 29-page decision, the judges unanimously rejected every argument put forth by the administration.
The Washington State attorney general who brought the lawsuit said the decision was vindication for the rule of law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERGUSON: We are a nation of laws. And as I've said, as we have said, from day one, that those laws apply to everybody in our country. And that includes the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And joining us now is the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee. His state was the first to launch a legal challenge to the president's travel ban.
Governor, this seems to be a very decisive ruling by the court against the Trump administration.
JAY INSLEE, (D), WASHINGTON STATE GOVERNOR: Well, it was a very robust and solid ruling. The president lost on multiple counts. He argued that he was beyond reproach and beyond reviewability by the courts. He lost on that. He argued that he was likely to prevail ultimately in this lawsuit. He lost on that subject. He argued that the courts could not look at his motivations, where he clearly told one faith, those Muslims to get to the become of the bus, and that the court could not review evidence about that. He lost on that. When the court asked him if he could provide evidence that there was really a national security benefit of his executive order, he could not produce any evidence. In fact, we produced lots of evidence that it actually damages national security. He lost on that. So, he lost on multiple of the issues that were before us.
I think the important part of this is twofold. Number one, it does restore our faith in the checks and balance system, which is so important in this country. And secondly, we have four judges -- we had four judges review this now. One in the district court, four in the circuit court. Half of them were appointed by Bush -- they're Bush appointees. They're appointed by Republican presidents, unanimously confirmed in judge Robart's case. These are solid decisions. And we expect the president to respect the judicial system and follow these orders to the tee.
It would be great if he now showed the wisdom of revising his strategy and rethinking this unconstitutional act. It doesn't sound like he is going do it. He issued an all caps tweet, "We'll see you in court." We just saw him in court, and he lost.
VAUSE: Actually, with regard to what the president did say shortly after the judgment came out, I want you to listen to Donald Trump right now. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's a political decision, that we're going to see them in court, and I look forward to doing it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you believe the judges --
TRUMP: We have a situation where the security of our country is at stake. And it's a very, very serious situation. So, we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: What is your response to that, especially when the president says that this was a political decision?
INSLEE: Well, a couple of things. First off, this president has an alarming attribute, if you call it that, or characteristic, when he loses, he tries to undermine respect for the judicial system. I have never seen that my lifetime. Richard Nixon never even stooped that low. It's very important. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with a court decision. But to try to undermine it, to call them so- called judges, to argue that their motivation is political rather than judicial decision making, that's way out of line. And it's dangerous to our democracy where we do have to maintain a separation of power.
In a courtroom, thankfully, two things count. It's the Constitution and it's the evidence. Tweets don't cut it. And that's what happened here in the last week in the state of Washington.
VAUSE: Well, the judges actually quoted a Supreme Court precedent that said that, "Courts have a duty in time of war as well as in time of peace to preserve unimpaired the constitutional safeguards of civil liberty."
In a way, do you think the judges were trying to send a clear message to the president?
INSLEE: Well, they did send a very clear message with the unanimous opinion and then the decision in the district court. I wish he would listen to it.
We need a rational, cool-headed logic. The logic is that they did not present evidence that this was this the interest of national security at all. They just kind of wanted to ignore the court and says that the presidency has somehow become royalty. And the court said, look, we can't find a rational basis for what you have done here.
So, I wish the president would reconsider this. If he doesn't, our state is going to keep fighting for our rights. And I'm proud our state is the first one to do it in the country.
[02:25:34] VAUSE: OK, Governor, thank you so much for being with us.
INSLEE: Thank you.
VAUSE: Obviously, this is not the end of the legal battle. But it is just the first step.
Governor Inslee, thank you for being was.
INSLEE: We're ready. We're ready.
VAUSE: Well, still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, White House counsel, Kellyanne Conway, tells Americans to go out and buy Ivanka Trump's products. And that sales pitch has ignited an ethics storm.
And a major loss for President Trump. His travel ban is not being reinstated. Up next, what are the legal options for the White House.
[02:30:07] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. It has just gone 11:30 here on the west coast. I'm John Vause.
And we are following breaking news. The U.S. President Donald Trump has been handed another setback over his travel ban. A panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against reinstating it. This after another federal judge put the executive order on hold.
But Trump's adviser, Kellyanne Conway, says the legal battle is far from over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does he see this as a setback?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: He sees it as what he has always seen as the statute provides the president with great latitude and priority to protect the citizens and protect the nation's national security. This was not argued on the merits. Now we'll have an opportunity to argue it on the merit. We look forward to doing that. I think his tweet is perfect when he said we'll see you in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Now to Lisa Bloom.
Lisa, the court unanimously rejected the administration's claim of presidential authority, questioned its motive, concluded the travel ban was unlikely to survive legal challenges. Was there any good news in this ruling for the Trump administration?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, there really wasn't. And it's so funny that he tweets, "See you in court," because, over and over again, he has been losing in court. He has only been in office for three weeks. And not only did the lower court in this case and then the appellate court unanimously reject the Trump travel ban, but other courts across the United States have done so as well. He is not doing well at all in court.
VAUSE: The president has indicated he'll continue with this legal battle. How difficult would it be for the government to appeal directly to the Supreme Court?
BLOOM: Well, they can appeal directly to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court will make a decision about whether to take the case. Our Supreme Court is one justice short right now. There is only eight. And so, there is four liberals and four conservatives. If there is a 4-4 split, the Ninth Circuit decision will be upheld.
But more importantly, I think it will be upheld because Mr. Trump and his team don't have a good justification for this executive order in the face of the constitutional challenges. You can get away with bluster and bluff when you're in politics or you're in the press or on Twitter but, in court, you actually have to have evidence to support your claims. And the Constitution is paramount in court. And that's the problem he's been having in all of the court battles.
VAUSE: And that's the criticism of the Department of Justice lawyers in this case is that they didn't really have any evidence. They didn't really have a case.
BLOOM: The lawyers, maybe because I'm a lawyer myself, and you can only argue the case that's handed to you. For example, Mr. Trump says this is all about national security. But in court, the judges have said, over and over again, tell me the name of one terrorist from any of these seven countries who has come to the U.S. and done harm here. And nobody is able to do it, because that fact, that evidence just does not exist.
VAUSE: Is there an option here for the administration to take this to the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit?
BLOOM: Yes, and on bank review, is what that's called. But that's unlikely. Why? Because this was a unanimous decision. It's called per curium, which means a 3-0 decision. Usually, a matter to will go on bank to the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals if it's a 2-1 split, but that's not the case.
VAUSE: The three justices did say the president's past statements, his tweets, calling, for example, for a total shutdown of Muslim immigration, can actually be used as evidence.
VAUSE: How significant is that?
BLOOM: That's very significant. Because, listen, again, in court, we're dealing with logic and evidence. We all know Donald Trump, during the campaign, called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims coming to the U.S. We have that on video. We have his statement. We know that more recently, Rudy Giuliani said that President Trump wanted to do a Muslim ban, and asked him how can I do it in a way that's legal? As a civil rights lawyer, I would call that a smoking gun.
Then he has the ban from seven Muslim majority countries, but he accepts the Christian minority. So, the court says, look, obviously, this is a Muslim ban. And we think when we hear the entire case, it's going to be considered a Muslim ban, which is unconstitutional.
VAUSE: Well, the court didn't -- did not actually address the issue of religious discrimination here in the Constitution.
BLOOM: Right. So, well, this is a temporary restraining order, a TRO. We're very early in the case. So, the court is not making final rulings. But the court is indicating which way it's going to go. The court has to find a likelihood of success on the merits. So, they're not saying with finality this is a Muslim ban, but there is enough evidence that we can find that. And they're essentially saying to the government, look, it sure likes a Muslim ban. You're probably not going to win that argument at trial, if we get to that point.
VAUSE: Lisa Bloom, thank you so much for being with us. Thanks for the insights.
BLOOM: Thank you.
[02:34:56] VAUSE: On page 600 of the federal ethics regulations, subpart G, titled, "Use of Public Office for Private Gain, "Federal employees shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a non-governmental capacity." So, with that in mind, listen to White House counsellor, Kellyanne
Conway, on the FOX News channel reacting to a decision by retailer Nordstrom to drop Ivanka Trump's fashion line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: They are using her, who has been a champion for women in power and the workplace. to get to him. I think people can see through that.
CONWAY: So, go by Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you.
CONWAY: I hate shopping. I'm going to get some myself today.
It's a wonderful line. I own some of it. I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it, today, everybody. You can find it online.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It's a wonderful line of clothes. OK, well that comment set off a firestorm of criticism. Traffic to the Office of Government Ethics website surged to the point it was inaccessible much of the day. The O.G. also tweeted their website, phone system and e-mail system are receiving an extraordinary volume of contacts from citizens about recent events.
So, amid all of the outrage and what appears to be a clear violation of the ethics rules, this was the response from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Kellyanne has been counselled and that all we are going to go with. She's been counselled on that subject and that's it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us is Norm Eisen, special council for ethics during the Obama administration, and a man who earned the nickname Mr. No.
Norm, thank you so much for being with us.
We just heard from Sean Spicer saying that Kellyanne Conway had been spoken to. Is that the typical disciplinary action for this type of ethics violation?
NORM EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNCIL FOR ETHICS & GOVERNMENT REFORM: John, thanks for having me. And, no, this is not the typical disciplinary action. There is nothing typical about the Trump administration approach to ethics. This is the latest in a series of actions by Mr. Trump himself, by his wife, by his children, to capitalize on his election, and now his service as president of the United States. It stems from Mr. Trump's own refusal to do what every president has done for four decades, Democrat and Republican, give up ownership interests, appoint a trustee. Everybody is getting in on the unethical act, and the latest was Kellyanne Conway.
VAUSE: If something like this had happened during the Obama administration, what would have happened to that staffer?
EISEN: I can tell you one thing, that, for sure, you would not have had this tap on the wrist where a couple hours later the White House press secretary gets up and says she's been counselled, that's all I have to say about it, go away, don't bother me.
VAUSE: Clearly the president believes this decision by Nordstrom to drop the fashion label, which his daughter owns, was politically motivated. Does that have any bearing here?
EISEN: John, that's nonsense. Nordstrom said it's not politically motivated. They've said it's a result of declining sales of the line.
You know, with his tweet, Mr. Trump has attacked the core of the American capitalist free enterprise system, which is to let business function. This kind of bullying is a signal to those who do business with him, including the foreign governments who are making payments and giving him benefits, in violation of the United States Constitution Emoluments Clause. It's a signal to them, don't cut off our supply we're going to punish you. It's wrong, it's unethical, and I think illegal.
VAUSE: The House Oversight Committee has written to the Office of Government Ethics and wants to recommend disciplinary action against Conway, because -- and this is what they say -- "Her statements clearly violate the ethical principles of federal employees and are unacceptable."
But I guess the keyword here is "recommend" because any action, it's ultimately up to the White House, isn't it?
EISEN: Well, on this specific instance, the ethics issue will be up to the White House with respect to the violation. And even the White House agrees, she had to be counselled. The White House did not dispute there was a violation.
There is appropriations law that comes into play here. You are not supposed, to under our rules for spending the taxpayer dollars, you are not supposed to use it for an unauthorized purpose. An infomercial for Ivanka's line is an unauthorized purpose.
So, we may see more congressional oversight. And, more importantly, this is part of a pattern and practice where people are litigating, going to the courts, like with the Muslim ban case that Mr. Trump lost tonight. I am part of litigation to cut off foreign government payment to the administration. This big pattern is going to be looked at by courts and other bodies.
[02:40:26] VAUSE: And it's still the third week. (LAUGHTER)
Norm Eisen, thank so much for being with here. We really appreciate it.
EISEN: Thanks for having me, John.
VAUSE: Well, this is the scene right now in Tehran as Iranians are celebrating Revolution Day. There's a big party on the street. But anti-U.S. sentiment is alive and well with Donald Trump in Washington. More on that in just a moment.
VAUSE: Live pictures from Tehran where celebrations are under way for Revolution Day. As you can see, they've crammed the streets. It's quarter past 11:00 in the morning on Friday. This is the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Parades have lined the streets, and right now President Hassan Rouhani is making a speech to the nation.
Fred Pleitgen joins us from Iran's capital with more on this.
Fred, I guess with President roughen making a speech right now, we can expect some pretty fiery anti-U.S. rhetoric, given the state of relations between these two countries.
[02:45:22] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that's absolutely true. That's absolutely what we have seen here, John. The Revolutionary Day always draws big crowds, like you're seeing here behind me right now. But it feels like this year the crowds are even bigger than usual.
Of course, one of the reasons for that is the new administration of Donald Trump. There is a lot of anger with that new administration. Iran's supreme leader, Hassan Rouhani -- Ayatollah Khomeini has come out and said this will be the day that Iranians give Donald Trump his answer. This is what we're seeing here. We're seeing a lot of anti- Trump poster, a lot of anti-Trump rhetoric. We've spoken to a lot of people who say they're very angry at the new Trump administration.
But the one thing you always hear is they talk about their resilience. They say they're not going to back down from any of their positions. They are going to stay strong in the face of this new administration. So, there is a lot of that, a lot of stubbornness and, of course, a lot of anger at Donald Trump that really is causing the crowds here to swell even more so than they would usually on this Revolution Day -- John?
VAUSE: Fred, we've just heard from a court here in the United States that the travel ban, which included Iran will remain on hold. Tehran was very upset, very angry about being included in that travel ban. Has there been any reaction now to this court decision?
PLEITGEN: Yeah, there has. People here are saying they're obviously very happy about that decision. One of the things we have to keep in mind when we talk about this,
John, the travel ban, if it were still in place, hits Iranians harder than pretty much any other country. There are many, many Iranians who have family over in the United States, who come and visit, especially around the Los Angeles area. And a lot of them were affected by this. A lot of them couldn't visit their families, a lot of people couldn't go to the holidays to their families. So it was very, very tough on them. Many people very angry about it.
And one of the demonstrators here I spoke to said, look, Donald Trump can't even do politics in his own country. let alone politics for the entire world. So, it really adds to the anger that we hear here. But, of course, also adds to the stubbornness here of a lot of the people we see on the ground that are coming out here to voice their anger, especially with the administration and at the U.S. in general -- John?
VAUSE: OK, Fred, thank you. Fred Pleitgen on the streets of Tehran with a few thousand of his closest friends.
A short break here. When we come back, if you thought Los Angeles real estate could not get any more ridiculously extravagant, you have not seen this mega mansion. It's on the market for a quarter of a billion dollars. We'll take you inside and meet the man who built it on spec.
[02:51:44] VAUSE: So if you're looking for a mega mansion, I have good news. In Los Angeles, a 38,000-square-foot home here in Los Angeles complete with helicopter and exotic car collection, it's all yours for $250 million. Yes, $250 million.
Paul Vercammen takes us inside the priciest home for sale in the United States.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This would be the ultimate man cave or maybe man cavern.
BRUCE MAKOWSKY, HOME BUILDER, MAKOWSKY HOMES: On the lower level, it's almost 11,000 feet of pure entertainment. So, what I wanted to do is create the ultimate auto gallery.
The house comes actually with almost $30 million worth of cars. This is a 1936 540k Mercedes. This is a Spiker from Holland. It was used in "Basic Instinct."
VERCAMMEN: I find this a bit ironic because we've got $30 million in cars over here and we get 10-cent candy over here.
MAKOWSKY: It's actually more than 10 cents.
VERCAMMEN: Then you come down the steps and you can go bowling.
MAKOWSKY: You can put 16 people in here. The house comes with all the shoes. You get natural breeze off the ocean while you're playing.
MAKOWSKY: You got a nine.
MAKOWSKY: We're walking into our indoor theater. It's a 40-seat Dolby theater. We have over 7,000 music videos and movies loaded.
VERCAMMEN: We're done watching the movies and we can come around the corner and look at this.
MAKOWSKY: This TV, 28 feet long by seven feet tall. It's 4K and the clarity is unbelievable. We have two wine cellars in the house.
VERCAMMEN: What would you estimate the value is of the wine and champagne in here?
MAKOWSKY: A little bit over $300,000.
Big stainless steel sculpture we have, I think, is the crown jewel of the House. Took us over two years to build, eight months to engineer, and it's just beautiful sun-drenched.
VERCAMMEN: Now here's how you enjoy the great outdoors Los Angeles- style.
MAKOWSKY: It's an 85-foot all glass tile pool, big swim-up bar. And you can watch a video. This cost me over $2 million to build and execute. Again, you have downtown all the way into Beverly Hills and all the way to the ocean.
VERCAMMEN: What a main entrance you have here.
MAKOWSKY: I have the original Air Wolf helicopter that I had completely restored. It's a Bell 222 and it's the ultimate sculpture for putting on top of your house.
What I wanted to do is make sure that you have the feeling that you're as close to heaven as you can be, so special that you just never want to leave.
Paul Vercammen joins us now from Bel-Air.
Paul, $250 million. You know, is that negotiable? Will they throw in an extra helicopter or something? How does this compare to the comps?
VERCAMMEN: Well, Bel-Air has some rather pricey real estate. Why? Because you see these beautiful vistas and this sort of outdoor setting here with this massive television screen. But in terms of those comps that you're talking about, this would be a record. A quarter of a billion dollars.
Let me bring in Bruce Makowsky.
MAKOWSKY: Hello, how are you?
[02:55:07] VERCAMMEN: He's the builder and the developer.
I'm very well to be amid all of your opulence. This was your concept. One of the things that you wanted to kind of have a theme throughout is, I believe there's somewhat of a nautical thread.
MAKOWSKY: Yeah, there's so many big mega yachts that are $250 million, $300 million. I wanted to take that same sensibility and bring it to your home because you only use your boat maybe five, six weeks a year whereas you use your home every day. I tried to create the ultimate home, the most beautiful oasis here in southern California. It's amazing here.
VERCAMMEN: Well, good luck with your listing. Certainly, one of the more unique listings any realtor or anybody has ever come across.
And, John, you can get a sense for just how much detail and how much passion Bruce put into this ultimate spec house.
VAUSE: Yeah, I only get to use my yacht five times a year. It's awful.
I was doing the math here. 20 percent down, $that's $50 million, a 30-year fixed mortgage, maybe 4 percent, property taxes, insurance, all works out to be $1.25 million a month. So, who has that kind of money to buy this place?
VERCAMMEN: Well, they don't think that anyone's going to make payments on this place.
VAUSE: No kidding.
VERCAMMEN: What Bruce is targeting is that very affluent person I know, overseas and perhaps it's someone from the Middle East or Europe, maybe someone in the states who's going to want to come in here. And there are not too many human beings, they grant you, that could afford this. But it is a very elite, upper, upper, upper-crust person who is looking for this house, which would, indeed, make a statement to the neighbors -- John?
VAUSE: And whoever buys it, they're going to throw an awesome housewarming party.
Paul, thanks for being with us.
And with that, we'll say good-bye. I'm John Vause, in Los Angeles.
The news continues with George Howell, in Atlanta, and Max Foster, in London, after a short break.