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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
What Pushed Trump to Victory?; Source: Trump Wants Bannon as Chief of Staff; Michigan Middle Schoolers Chant: "Build The Wall"; Russian Officials Reached Out To Clinton, Trump Camps; U.S.-Russia Relations Entering A New Era?; Putin Congratulates Trump, Hopes For Better Relations; Putin Wants To End "Crisis" Between Russia, U.S.; Trump: Crimean People "Would Rather Be With Russia"; Trump: "We Don't Know" If Russia Hacked U.S. Election; Trump Brands Could Pose Conflict Of Interest; Trump's Name Linked to 500 Plus Entities; Bernie Sanders Live. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 10, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:23] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
More than 59 million Americans voted for President-elect Donald Trump. Democrats today are trying to understand what drove these individuals, especially those in normally Democratic-leaning states, to the polls. States that have not gone for a Republican for president since the 1980s, like Wisconsin, or the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
I want to bring in Salena Zito. She's a national political reporter who writes for "The Washington Examiner", "The Atlantic", and "The New York Post".
And, Salena, it's so great to see you again.
You have been covering these Trump voters for months and months. Most polls before Tuesday signaled a Clinton win, but you were hip to this long before the reality of the election results came in. At what point in the race did you feel that maybe the polls and the pundits had it all wrong?
SALENA ZITO, NATONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I first got the feeling that this would go for Trump right before the convention. In my drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, I saw counties which had never voted for a Republican, let alone put signs up for a Republican, have all of these home-made -- not even professional signs, home-made signs, or the side of their house was painted. I saw someone who had painted their horse with "Trump" on the side.
And I thought, wow, this is, you know, completely different. We're talking about the Mahoning Valley in Ohio, which used to be the great steel valley up until the '70s. And Lake Erie County in Pennsylvania which has never, since Herbert Hoover has it voted for a Republican. And then right --
(CROSSTALK) TAPPER: And why -- what do you think the appeal was? Think the appeal was? Why were they so drawn to his message? Republicans have tried to get those voters for a long, long time.
ZITO: Well, he had a non-ideological campaign and message. He offered voters a tangible benefit. This was a change election. People had been building up to this. You saw it in the wave election cycles in 2006, 2010, 2014, in the mid-term elections.
So, people were unhappy. They kept switching back and forth between Democrat and Republican. They've been sending us a message for a while.
But he offered that tangible benefit. He said, "Make America great again." And while people made fun of that, it actually meant something to these voters.
And what Hillary's problem was is that she ran on her resume, which ended up just being about the past. And people wanted to move forward. And that is probably the most key thing that these voters liked about him.
It's not, you know -- these voters -- it's not just the poor voter. It's not just the one that's been economically impacted by trade or technology. It's also the upper middle class and middle class voter who feels a sense of loss of power. Not power in the way that we look at it, you know, in a boardroom --
ZITO: -- or in Washington, but power in that their life-style is going to be different for their children and their grandchildren. These are people that are not mobile --
TAPPER: And one thing --
TAPPER: And one thing that you said that was so interesting is, Hillary Clinton's ad strategy was to focus on outrageous things that Donald Trump has said. She kind of ceded the populist argument to Donald Trump.
TAPPER: You say the media took Donald Trump literally but not seriously, while Trump's supporters took him seriously but not literally. Explain.
ZITO: Well, you know, I straddle two worlds, right? I'm out there. I live in Pittsburgh. It's right between -- it's right there on the border with Ohio and Pennsylvania. And, you know, and I watched voters and I listened to voters.
And, you know, and when he would say something outrageous, they didn't take it the way we did. You know, as reporters we're like, he says something, we're going to ban all Muslims. Well, we're going to fact- check that and see if it's something you can actually do. They look at it as like, you know, he doesn't really mean that. He just means he wants to keep the bad guys out.
And they didn't take everything that they said in the most literal terms. I think that that was sort of the disconnect between us as reporters and the voters. They kept trying to tell us, those things -- he doesn't mean those things in the way you see them, in the way you hear them.
TAPPER: Fascinating stuff. I advise everybody interested in finding out more about this phenomenon, perhaps people on the coast, to the big cities confused about how this happened, Google Salena Zito.
[16:35:06] Read her writings. Very interesting stuff.
Salena, always good to see you. Thanks so much.
ZITO: Thanks so much for having me.
TAPPER: Could President Obama's own words be the reason that Donald Trump ran for president and is now replacing him? That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
We're going to stay with politics now. We have breaking news. CNN's Dana Bash just got this news in. A source telling her that President- elect Trump wants Steve Bannon, the executive from Breitbart News, to be his chief of staff. Others apparently in the Trump orbit are trying to talk President-elect Trump out of Steve Bannon.
[16:40:01] That source stressing that one of the most important skills for the chief of staff is the ability to keep the trains moving, and some in the Trump orbit do not think Bannon would be the best person to do that. Obviously, President-elect Trump might disagree.
With me to discuss this extraordinary political day, my political panel, we have with us, Symone Sanders, Ana Navarro, and Kayleigh McEnany.
Obviously, we all want the nation to succeed. What do you think about the Steve Bannon pick if that's actually what's going to happen?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Do you have a match somewhere so that I can set my hair on fire? Look, I think --
TAPPER: You don't approve is I'm guessing what that --
NAVARRO: I don't approve and I suspect a lot of Republicans in Congress don't approve. I think it's a very important first step -- it's a first sign of what kind of president Donald Trump is going to be when he takes over. And the chief of staff job is incredibly important. It sets the tone. It really is.
TAPPER: What's wrong with Mr. Bannon?
NAVARRO: Do you know Steve Bannon? Have you read about Steve Bannon? What's wrong with him?
OK. He is polarizing. He has been incredibly critical of so many Republicans, even in Congress. He has led Breitbart News, which has been savage on folks. And I think it sends the message that he is not going to be a unifying president.
It is his choice, right? Chief of staff, White House staff don't have to go through confirmation. It is absolutely the president's choice.
But if he chooses somebody of that ilk, I think he is sending a very strong message that, no, he is not going to be conciliatory. No, he is not going to work in cooperation with Congress. No, he is not going to try to unify this country. No, he is not going to represent everybody, and I think it's going to put the fear that's already out there and, you know, just increase it exponentially.
TAPPER: What do you think, Kayleigh?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, we don't know who President-elect Trump will pick. That being said, I think Steve Bannon and Breitbart were on the forefront of the movement. They saw the movement of the people rising up against the government really before anyone. So, if he chooses Steve Bannon, it shows he's going to stick to his roots.
That being said, there's great value in people like Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus who do know the traditional mechanisms of working with Congress and have that skill. I trust President-elect Trump. He'd put together the team that got him to the White House, against all odds, and I trust he'll pick the right person.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It might not be a surprise to anybody, but I don't trust President-elect Trump. I'm in mourning. We're about to put the alt-right in the White House. To have Steve Bannon, the -- who -- not only led the uprising. They did I will say, they did -- Breitbart did identify some of these economic anxiety, but they also identified some of this white supremacy, some of this racism, some of this xenophobia, the sexism.
And to put Steve Bannon --
NAVARRO: You're forgetting anti-Semitism.
SANDERS: Oh, yes, anti-Semitism, that was right up there at the top. So, to put that as the chief of staff in the White House, the people's house? I just can't.
TAPPER: Ana --
NAVARRO: I will tell you, though, some of the other names we've heard like Reince Priebus would send a very positive message. Reince Priebus is a guy who led the Republican post-mortem, who wanted to see a more inclusive Republican Party, who is very good friends with Paul Ryan, who is very good friends with Mike Pence, who has got incredible relationships with everybody in Congress and who doesn't scare, you know, the bejesus out of us.
TAPPER: Speaking of scaring the bejesus, I want to bring in video from a Royal Oak, Michigan Middle School. And let's play that and I want to get the panel's reaction.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
TAPPER: That's a bunch of students. It's been described as a bunch of white students chanting "build a wall" in their lunchroom.
There are a lot of anecdotal reports of children behaving this way, in kind of a hostile way towards other children who are minorities.
I'm wondering, Kayleigh, I asked this of Reince Priebus. Do you think -- obviously, this is a wonderful day for Trump supporters. There are a lot of people like Symone and like Ana are scared about what a Trump presidency might mean for them as minorities. And there are a lot of -- I'm hearing from a lot of them as well.
Now, there's certainly -- we've certainly seen evidence of -- there is viral video out there of people being violent towards Trump supporters and that's not acceptable either. But I'm wondering, do you think the president -- president-elect should do something to send a signal to welcome, to try to be a unifier?
MCENANY: I think he did. I think the first words that came out of his mouth as president-elect of the United States were, number one, Hillary Clinton fought a tough fight. Number two, I want to lead a movement of all races for all religions, an inclusive movement.
And President Obama -- Josh Earnest indicated today saw those words and was reassured by them. That's why you saw President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump go into a room, supposed to be a 10, 15- minute meeting, ended up being an hour and a half and they came out with a unified front.
That is the type of leadership we are going to see. Someone who can speak to other side, someone who can come up with solution, someone who can get things done.
SANDERS: I would disagree. I don't think President Obama saw or heard Donald Trump's words, President-elect Trump's words and took it as a real olive branch, or took it to heart. I think President Obama has been the epitome of class, grace, of doing what you need to do as the commander in chief. And that's what he did going in and sitting with Donald Trump today.
So, I just really, really think we have to remember the marginalized in this country, we have to remember the people of color, the women, the Muslims, people who are living in fear, who are scared because Donald Trump's -- gave a platform for the alt-right.
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Jake, this is such an important point. I have gotten so many calls, so many e-mails from people who are so afraid and who are telling me things that are happening out there that should make all of us just sad as Americans. And I do think - I urge President Trump to tell his followers, to follow his suit in being conciliatory and being inclusive, in not harassing other people, because they may not sound like them, or look like them or think like them.
KELLY: And he has. He's made multiple calls in unity.
NAVARRO: We cannot do that in America.
KELLY: He's made multiple calls for unity.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Kelly, Symone, Ana, thank you so much, appreciate it.
An invitation to Moscow. That's what the Russian foreign ministry says it extended to the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign during the campaign season. So, did anyone show up? We'll go to Moscow next.
TAPPER: Welcome back. We're back with our "WORLD LEAD" now. We may soon have the Russian reset part two. With Donald Trump moving into the White House in just 71 days, Russia is hoping to end years of icy tensions with the U.S., tensions based on Russia's incursions in the neighboring countries, or with the human rights record and support for brutal leader such as Bashar al-Assad. And it appears that the Kremlin has been preparing for this day for some time now.
A Russian government official telling CNN that the Russian foreign ministry not only had been in touch with both the Clinton and Trump campaigns, but invited members of both campaigns to Moscow. Let's bring in CNN's senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward. Clarissa, it's surprisingly some campaign members actually did travel to the Kremlin during the campaign, according to this official, right?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of confusion here. We're seeing, basically, Jake, as he said, she said, with the Russian foreign ministry representative saying that the Kremlin have had contacts with the Trump campaign throughout the presidential race. That claim was rebutted by the Trump campaign. Then, later in the day, a different foreign ministry spokesperson came forward and said that they had had contact with the Clinton campaign and that the Trump campaign had only been in contact with embassy officials in the U.S.
In either case, Jake, both the Clinton and the Trump campaigns completely denying these allegations. And really, everyone now focused on what the Trump presidency means for the future of U.S.- Russian relations. Take a look.
WARD: Now, that the celebrations are over, the hard work of repairing U.S.-Russian relations begins. President Putin acknowledged the challenges even as he congratulated president-elect Trump.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): We have heard his electoral slogans when he was still a candidate. He spoke about resuming and restoring relations with Russia. We understand the way to that will be difficult, taking into account the current state of degradation of relations between Russia and the United States.
WARD: Tensions between the two countries have sky rocketed in recent years, with profound disagreements over Russia's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, NATO expansion, and most recently, alleged Russian hacking of Democratic Party e-mails.
Trump has been critical of NATO and has indicated he may accept Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, music to Russia's ears.
DONALD TRUMP: PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- look at it, but, you know, the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.
WARD: He has also refused to finger Russia for the e-mail hacks, has suggested working with them in Syria in the fight against ISIS and has spoken positively about President Putin. The big question here in Russia is whether U.S. sanctions, which have crippled the economy, will be dropped.
Still, Russian senator Andrei Klimov says there is more optimism now than there was just a few days ago.
Do you think that this new Trump era can be a better relationship for Russia?
ANDREI KLIMOV, RUSSIAN SENATOR: He declared already that he is ready for such kind of future. Who knows what's happen in reality, but I do hope that we have a chance now.
WARD: People we spoke to seem to agree.
Why do you think he'll be good?
I think he will be good, this man tells us, because he's been a businessman a long time and had a lot of success. The relationship between the U.S. and Russia depends on this president. Of course, it's very important. Everybody was watching these elections, but time will tell, as they say. And people here will be watching his first moves closely.
WARD: Today, a Putin spokesman came out and said, Jake, get this, that Trump and Putin's foreign policies are, quote, "phenomenally close," for whatever that exactly means. Jake?
TAPPER: Clarissa Ward in Moscow, thank you so much.
Before he was president-elect, Donald Trump called upon Hillary Clinton to shut down the Clinton Foundation. But should president- elect Trump close any of his 500 plus businesses now that he's about to be in the business of running the nation? CNN's Cristina Alesci joins me now. Cristina, legally, Trump doesn't have to relinquish his duties, you say, except for one caveat. What is it?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPODENT: That's right, Jake. Just to put this into context, the U.S. has just elected a president who runs a vast, complicated and a very private business, and there is nothing standing in his way if he wants to back policies that would directly enrich him and his family, according to the ethics experts I spoke with. Look, there is no law, to your point, that dictates how presidents handle conflicts of interest. There's only an expectation that the president will step away or sell the companies they own.
Then they put that into a so-called blind trust run by someone with no connections to the president. Now, that said, to your point, ethics experts are pointing to a clause in the constitution that prohibits gifts or salaries from foreign governments or state-owned companies.
Now, the lawyers call this clause the emolument clause. It basically says that no government official can accept money from a foreign government. But experts don't know whether this clause applies to Trump's businesses, because, after all, these are deals, not gifts. He has golf courses in Scotland, his name is on buildings in India, Turkey and the Philippines. So, clearly lots of business interest and very complicated to get through all of that, and see what the implications are.
TAPPER: Fascinating. A real thorny issue. Cristina Alesci, thank you so much.
He came close to defeating Hillary Clinton in the primaries, now, Bernie Sanders weighing in on president-elect Trump. He'll join us next. Stay with us.
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