Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Obama to Trump: Campaigning is Different Than Governing; Former KKK Leader Praises Trump For Appointing Bannon; Source: Trump Seeks Top Secret Clearances for His Kids; Trump: Supreme Court Justice Picks Will Be Pro-Life; Legendary Journalist Gwen Ifill Dies at 61. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired November 14, 2016 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news. The President tells his party the people have spoken, but does he think Donald Trump is now fit to be president?

And new details tonight on who Trump is eying for top cabinet positions as the backlash against Steve Bannon gets bigger at this hour.

Plus, Donald Trump asks for top secret clearances for his kids as they're taking over his business empire. How does that work? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, a wake-up call. In his first press conference since the election of Donald Trump, President Obama has advice for his successor saying the presidency has, quote, "A way of waking you up."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Campaigning is different from governing. I think he recognizes that. I think he is sincere and wanting to be a successful president, and moving this country forward and I don't think any president ever comes in saying to himself, I want to figure out how to make people angry or alienate half the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: President Obama also talked about the impression he got of Donald Trump in that 90 minute. First ever meeting between the two men in the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I don't think he is ideological. I think ultimately, he's pragmatic in that way, and that can serve him well as long as he's got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: President Obama passing on a chance to speak out about controversial Trump appointee Steve Bannon. The former head of Breitbart News, an outlet that has pedaled racist, anti-Semitic and misogynistic views. The President saying, it would be inappropriate to comment on every one of Mr. Trump's appointments. Now, we're going to have more on that in a moment.

But I want to begin with Athena Jones OUTFRONT at the White House. And Athena, the President walking a fine line today in the White House briefing room.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin, that's right. It was a very different tone we heard from President Obama today in that briefing room than what we've heard from him on the campaign trail these last several weeks and longer, even. And perhaps it's not surprising not to hear him continuing to bash Donald Trump. He did not continue to question the incoming President's qualifications. At some points in the room, it felt as though he was trying to maybe send a message to the incoming president about how carefully a president should speak. He spoke in calm, measured tones, and was careful not to criticize. It seemed to be potentially a message for Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: The people have spoken. Donald Trump will be the next president, the 45th president of the United States.

JONES (voice-over): President Obama responding to questions about Tuesday's election results for the first time, urged his own party to accept the results and move on in a positive way.

JONES (on camera): Do you now think that President-Elect Trump is qualified to be president?

OBAMA: Those who didn't vote for him have to recognize that that's how democracy works. That's how this system operates. When I won, there were a number of people who didn't like me.

JONES (voice-over): After months spent campaigning against Trump, questioning his fitness for the office and sounding the alarm about the impact of a Trump presidency on everything from health care to the environment to foreign affairs, President Obama would not say whether he now believes Trump is fit to lead, but he cautioned the President- Elect on his temperament.

OBAMA: I think what will happen with the President-Elect is, there are going to be certain elements of his temperament that will not serve him well unless he recognizes them and corrects them.

JONES: And while he declined to criticize Mr. Trump for tapping former Breitbart News head Steve Bannon whose website has championed white nationalist themes to be his chief strategist and senior adviser, President Obama did offer Trump some advice telling him to try and reach out to those who didn't support him and who maybe tearful of what's to come.

OBAMA: Because of the nature of the campaigns, and the bitterness and ferocity of the campaigns, it's really important to try to send some signals of unity and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: And President Obama ended, he also talked, mentioned, that struck a hopeful note, I should say, in talking about how the presidency has a tendency to wake people up and sort of introduced them to reality that might be different from how governing is. It's the same hopeful optimistic note he struck just now a few minutes ago when he was on a call with Democratic supporters telling them, look, you know, you can mope for a little while but you got to then get it together and look ahead to the future. He said I'm still fired up and ready to go -- Erin.

[19:05:20] BURNETT: All right. Thank you.

And let's go to Jim Acosta. He is OUTFRONT from Trump Tower tonight. And Jim, a big development here. President-Elect's children, their role in the Trump White House and now security clearances?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Erin, this is a different kind of first family moving into the White House come January. I think that is fairly obvious. President Obama, his two young children obviously did not need these types of top secret security clearances. But keep in mind, Donald Trump's adult children, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are among his top advisers. We saw this throughout the course of the campaign. You recall just last week when Donald Trump was meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, Jared Kushner was taking a stroll with Denis McDonough, the current White House chief- of-staff on the south lawn of the White House.

I'm told by a transition source that President-Elect Trump, yes, has ask, for top Secret Security clearances for his adult children and for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Now, keep in mind, there are other things moving along inside the Trump transition. Although we are hearing that, and we reported this last week, Erin, that there have been some tensions inside the transition team. Obviously, there are factions jockeying for different positions, but as one of my colleagues, Jim Sciutto described it, there's a bit of a knife fight, as he put it, going on inside that transition.

However, we should point out this team is starting to make some progress toward making some pretty important decisions. I've been told by a transition source that both the former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton under George W. Bush that they're the two top contenders for secretary of state. And so, we're hearing about some of these tensions going on inside the transition, potentially some in-fighting, they are getting closer to some very, very significant decisions -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you very much. I'm sorry, Jim Acosta. Jim Sciutto is reporting here on the knife fight which I'm going to get to in just a second.

Senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny is with me along with Jamie Gangel, our special correspondent, former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord who supported Donald Trump, and former Clinton White House aide, Keith Boykin who supported Hillary Clinton. Former presidential adviser David Gergen also joins me.

Jeffrey Lord, let me start with what you heard Jim Acosta talking about Jim Sciutto's reporting. OK. Knife fights. He is saying that it's describing it as a knife fight, and in fact saying that the confusion, the lack of clarity over who's in charge between Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner is buffoonery.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, as somebody who worked in the Reagan administration, what Ronald Reagan did was appoint Jim Baker as chief of staff, i.e., the Reince Priebus figure, who was very controversial in the day as counselor to the president. He was very conservative, he was very Bannon like in that sense. The third part of that -- was Michael Deaver who was a long-time aide to Governor Reagan but it was viewed by the Reagans as many people said, as a son. In other words, he had that personal relationship and was sort of in charge among others things with translating Ronald and Nancy Reagan to the rest of the White House staff.

BURNETT: You managed to make the Reagan argument here, Jeffrey Lord, you always find a way.

LORD: Jared Kushner would be Michael Deaver.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I -- historian always, Reagan administration, look, this is different. What have we said over and over about this campaign? It's unprecedented. It's different. And I think this transition is very different and I'm hearing that not only within the group are there knife fights going on, but there's tremendous pressure coming from outside. You have the Senate who has to confirm some people weighing in and lobbying. You have that, our term, the GOP establishment. People -- and not in a bad way. These are professionals who have been around for a long time who are weighing in. And they want to see, a word I said I wouldn't say after Election Day, they want to see Donald Trump pivot from candidate Trump --

BURNETT: Really.

GANGEL: -- to President-Elect Trump finally. And so, putting this cabinet together is very important to a lot of people.

And on this issue, Jeff, of security clearances because this is significant and related, right? You hear about whether it's a knife fight or not, Jared Kushner being so involved security clearances for Trump's adult children. Have we seen anything like this, I guess, you know, Jamie was saying you have to go back to the Kennedys, right? To see a family like this.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Of course not, they didn't have security clearances. Now, the only person who will get a security clearance is they have a job specific that they would absolutely need that. So we have to, I think, hold on just a second, see what jobs they actually get, but adult child is not going to simply have a security clearance unless they have a job that requires it here. And if they're still running the business, that's a whole other argument.

[19:10:12] BURNETT: Which we are going to have because that's a really serious conversation.

ZELENY: Right.

BURNETT: David Gergen, you know, when President Obama spoke today, I think you could be forgiven for being completely shocked. I mean, it was not even a week ago that he called Donald Trump unfit and woefully unprepared for the office of president. And today, I mean, this is almost a ringing endorsement. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: He is coming to this office with fewer set hard and fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with. I don't think he is ideological. I think ultimately he's pragmatic in that way and that can serve him well as long as he's got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: This is the argument that Trump supporters were making for over a year, David Gergen now coming from the President of the United States. He is pragmatic and not ideological.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENT ADVISER: Well, I think the President is trying very hard to be hopeful. To be respectful. To follow Hillary Clinton's advice which was after all, keep an open mind and wish him the best as he gets started. At the same time as you would well recognize, he occasionally needled him a little bit. You know, he needed him on the question of his temperament and he needed him about the importance of speaking out and sending signals of unity and needled him, too, about the issue of remembering being respectful of norms.

I think the sending out the signal of unity is most important right now in the domestic context. I was also taken, Erin, by the fact that the President is going to Europe and he's going to be reassuring our allies there, our friends there, that Donald Trump is still committed to NATO, committed to the trans-Atlantic Partnership. That's important. There's a lot of unrest as you know in Europe and European capitals over that very question. I thought that that was helpful.

BURNETT: Yes.

GERGEN: I want to say one last thing about Jared Kushner, if he takes a full-time in the White House, security clearance, no brainer, of course he can get a security clearance. If he's on the outside, I'm not aware of any precedent for a member of the family to have security clearance on the outside. One would have to check that. I think it's much more unlikely for the three children. The president could potentially appoint one of them to, say, something like the Defense Advisory Board. That doesn't seem like a good fit for Jared Kushner, but if you're a member of that board, as a private citizen, you can get security clearance. BURNETT: Right. That was, if I recall, an issue for Hillary Clinton

donor at one point. Keith Boykin, let me --

GERGEN: Yes, exactly.

BURNETT: When you hear the President come out and say, he's coming with fewer hard and set policy prescriptions, he is pragmatic and not ideological, is the President basically saying, give him a second chance on whatever he said about immigrants, whatever he said about Muslims, and whatever he said about NATO? By the way, the President said Donald Trump supports NATO, speaking for Donald Trump.

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Yes. I don't think that the President was complimenting him when he said that he was not ideological. I felt he was stating sort of a fact about where we are. I mean, we've elected this man president of the United States who we don't really know what his views are, we don't know what his beliefs are, we don't know what his policy actions he would take.

But I do think the President was trying to act with class and dignity today. I felt that he wanted to set an example for Donald Trump who on the other hand has been tweeting the past week complaining about the New York Times, complaining about protesters, calling them unfair. So, he's setting a standard and example for the type of behavior a president should exhibit.

BURNETT: All right. All staying with me.

Next, outrage growing over Steve Bannon, that is the former chief of Breitbart News. He's accused of being sexist, racist and anti- Semitic.

Plus, Mr. Trump asking that his children get those top security clearances but here's the thing, imagine this, they get the clearances and they get to run the Trump organization worldwide. Pretty amazing, wouldn't it be? Is that a conflict of interest?

And the internet finding a way to laugh over the results of what was a bitter election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:23] BURNETT: Breaking news, the backlash growing over one of President-Elect Donald Trump's first major appointments. House Democrats at this hour circulating a letter telling Trump to rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon as the White House chief strategist and senior counselor. This is after civil rights groups and even some Republicans have slammed Bannon, the former head of the controversial Breitbart News.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is already sparking outrage as he builds a White House team with an alt-right edge.

DONALD TRUMP (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Our work on this movement is now really just beginning.

MURRAY: The President-Elect naming Steven Bannon, campaign CEO and executive chairman of Breitbart News as his chief strategist and senior counselor. And tapping Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff. As Priebus argues, Trump wants to be president for all.

REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING TRUMP CHIEF OF STAFF: It's really important that all Americans understand that he is a president for everyone. He wants to make everyone proud. Whether he race, ethnic background, gender, anything.

MURRAY: The Bannon hire instantly drew criticism from hate watch groups who've noted Bannon's embrace of the alt-right movement made up of conservatives -- white supremacists and anti-Semites. The Southern Poverty Law Center saying, Trump should rescind this hire. The anti- defamation league voicing its opposition to Bannon because he and his alt-right are hostile to core American values. And House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi saying there must be no sugar coating the reality that a white nationalist has been named chief strategist for the Trump administration. In a move that could further fuel concern, Alex Jones, operator of the InfoWars website, says Trump called to offer his gratitude.

ALEX JONES, HOST, INFOWARS: He said, listen, Alex, I just talked to the kings and queens of the world, world leaders, you name it, who said it doesn't matter, I wanted to talk to you to thank your audience and I'll be on the next few weeks to thank them.

MURRAY: Jones' site is known for pushing many conspiracy theories including the notion that Sandy Hook, the shooting that left 20 children dead, was a hoax and that the 9/11 was an inside jobs. The move could further emboldened people who have been harassing Jews, Latinos and Muslims in Trump's names. Actions of bigotry that the President-Elect condemns in an interview with "60 Minutes."

TRUMP: I am so saddened to hear that, and I say stop it. If it helps, I will say this, and I'll say it right to the cameras, stop it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, many of Donald Trump's top aides and his family members have spent much of the day here in Trump Tower going through this transition. We know that they have narrowed down some folks for some other key cabinet slots. But we're also expecting Governor Mike Pence to be both here in New York as well as in Washington, D.C., later this week. He took the helm of the transition last week but pretty clear that there's a little bit of work to be done to make sure everyone is still on the same page about where this transition is headed going forward -- Erin.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Sara, thank you very much. And OUTFRONT now, senior advisor to the Trump transition team, Boris Epshteyn. And the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center Mark Potok.

Thanks to both. Boris, let me start with you. You heard some of the reaction here from Mark's group, Democratic leaders, the anti- defamation league, backlash also from CAIR, which is the Council on American Islamic Relations. There's real fear out there over Bannon.

BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM: First of all, thank you so much for having me, and second of all, Steve Bannon is somebody who was chosen for this role because of his instrumental wall in the Trump campaign. It's shocking that this is even a surprise. Here's who Steve Bannon is. He's somebody who has a lifelong success, who's worked with people of all backgrounds and ethnicities in business, in politics, in media. Someone who is instrumental in organizing the trips to Detroit, to Flint, then- candidate Donald Trump made, as well as the meeting with the President of Mexico, as well as the meeting with the President of Egypt and the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.

Personally, somebody -- let me tell you that Steve Bannon has been nothing but amazing to me, supportive, and he is far from what he's been described by the Democrats who are really just crying into their soup right now and all this is sour grapes. We are so excited to form a government, so excited to unite this country and truly make America great again which is not just a slogan but it's something that we're going to be working every day to do.

BURNETT: So, all right. Mark Potok, so you hear Boris say this is sour grapes. What is he so wrong about?

MARK POTOK, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, I think he is entirely wrong from beginning to end. The reality is that Stephen Bannon has led Breitbart News into becoming one of the major racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, gay bashing, websites on the internet. And Bannon has very much personally led that. His own ex-wife has described him as an anti-Semite. His own former senior editor, Ben Shapiro is described him as both an anti-Semite and racist.

[19:22:20] Other former employees talk about the place being a cesspool of white supremacy. And there is a long history of headlines and claims made on that site under Steve Bannon that are outrageous. Mere two weeks after Dylann Roof murdered six people in a church in South Carolina, in Charleston, this site ran a piece describing the confederate battle flag in which Dylann Roof had wrapped himself before the murder as a glorious symbol. Bannon, himself, has described a civil war as for the south, the war of Independence.

BURNETT: So, Boris --

POTOK: I think the record is pretty clear on what Bannon is really about.

BURNETT: So there's that article, Boris, there's also one about Bill Kristol, the Republican spoiler renegade Jew, another, birth control makes women unattractive and crazy, which I read and actually thought was a poof, it contains a line about how women should go off birth control because that's the only way to prevent Muslims from overrunning the country.

EPSHTEYN: So, you can pick and choose headlines all you want but if you look at the story and if you look at the background of Steve Bannon, who he is, he is somebody who's been extremely inclusive and who made our campaign inclusive and there are people of all backgrounds working on this campaign. And again, this was a campaign for everybody, people in Michigan, people in Pennsylvania, people in Florida of all backgrounds. That's why we received 29 percent of the Latino group higher than Mitt Romney.

We received the higher percentage of the African-American vote than Mitt Romney. And that's why we won this election and that is why we will govern this country and unite this country going forward. And this kind of race baiting by the left and the left talking points from Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Democrats, are not helpful. All they're doing is dividing this country which is the opposite of what we're doing.

BURNETT: So, Boris, let me give you a chance to respond to David Duke, former imperial wizard, of course, of the KKK. He talked about Steve Bannon and very specifically his ideology. Here he is today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID DUKE, FORMER IMPERIAL WIZARD: I think that's excellent. You have an individual Mr. Bannon, who's basically creating the ideological aspects of where we're going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Boris?

EPSHTEYN: Network would play the words of David Duke, and this -- our campaign, in this transition, President-Elect Donald Trump disavowed and denounced David Duke time and time again and it's awful that this network would play those words on here. They have nothing to do with what we as a transition team and what the administration of Mr. Trump will do going forward, which is unite this country, lower the tax rates of this country, make sure that this country prospers and is secure. That's what we're focused on. And not his fringe elements from the left or the right.

BURNETT: All right. Quick final word, Mark.

POTOK: Well, I mean, the idea that this is a concocted story about Bannon is just ridiculous. Stephen Bannon, in fact, ran an article in which he defended the alternative right. A fundamentally racist movement. A white supremacist movement as being led not by racists, but by intellectuals. Bannon was referring to people like Jared Taylor, the editor of "American Renaissance" who has described black people in America as psychopathological and black people in general as incapable of sustaining any kind of civilization. It goes on and on and on from there, but let me also add that the idea that Donald Trump --

EPSHTEYN: Let me respond.

POTOK: -- has renounced these people is false. That is the weakest disavow I've ever seen.

BURNETT: He did disavow multiple times including in an interview to me at one point.

EPSHTEYN: And in "60 Minutes," and on "60 Minutes" last night.

POTOK: Yes, he also pretended that he didn't know who David Duke was.

EPSHTEYN: Very clear denounced, and we renounced these people and the left should stop crying and you should be doing is figuring out why you cannot reach those working class people in Michigan and Pennsylvania, why the left is completely now lost any touch with American people. But we are excited to work with everyone on all parts of the political spectrum to make this country stronger for the future.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, both, very much.

OUTFRONT next, President-Elect putting his businesses in the hands of his children. It's legal but it's the right thing to do especially specially as he asks for them to get top secret security clearances tonight?

And one issue Mr. Trump will not seek to overturn in the Supreme Court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean, it's done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:41] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: sources are telling us that Trump has requested top security -- top secret security clearance for his adult children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. His push to give them access to America's most classified information comes as Trump says he's transferring his business to Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.

Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.

(BEGN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I have Ivanka and Eric and Don sitting there.

Run the company, kids. Have a good time. BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President-elect Donald

Trump's self-proclaimed multibillion dollar empire and who will control it now under the microscope and what Trump will do with that empire is unclear.

TRUMP: I have made billions of dollars in business making deals.

GINGRAS: His business dealings reaching far past the borders of the United States. The Trump Organization has holdings in at least 22 countries that we know of, including Panama, India, Turkey and Dubai. By law, a president is not required to step down as CEO of a business. So when it comes to what to do with the Trump Organization, the president-elect's options are limited says attorney Kenneth Gross who advised past presidents.

KENNETH GROSS, PARTNER OF SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER & FLOM: Because of the breadth of his holdings and the nature of his holdings, they're not easily sold. It's not like owning a thousand shares of IBM and you can sell them and rid yourself of a conflict that could arise.

GINGRAS: The one option Trump says he'll adopt is setting up a blind trust. A blind trust involves having an independent trustee manage the company's assets without direct involvement from the CEO. But in Trump's case, a blind trust is complicated.

GROSS: He would have to not know what he's putting into the trust and if you own Mar-a-Lago or you own the Trump Tower and you put it into a blind trust, you don't get amnesia and forget that you've owned this property.

GINGRAS: Another shade of gray.

TRUMP: Ivanka, Don and Eric run it, but is that a blind trust? I don't know.

GINGRAS: Trump says when he takes office, he will hand over the management of his empire exclusively to his children instead of an independent trustee -- children who arguably have the same business interests as their father.

ERIC TRUMP, SON OF PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: We'll be in New York and we'll take care of the business.

GINGRAS: Rudy Giuliani a top adviser to Trump who will likely serve in the administration told CNN there will be a clear separation between the Trump Organization and the Trump presidency.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: There will have to be a wall between them with regard to government matters.

GINGRAS: But that wall already blued as Trump's oldest children along with Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner, currently have roles on the president-elect's transition team. And Ivanka told "60 Minutes" while she won't serve in a formal administrative capacity, she will be involved with her father's presidency. IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: I've said

throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues and that I want to fight for them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: And about those businesses, Donald Trump said in the "60 Minutes" interview that they mean peanuts to him compared to the huge responsibility he's about to take on as president -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Brynn. Thank you very much.

My panel is back with me.

So, Jeff, let me just see if I understand this. His children could get top secret security clearance, that's what he's asking for. Then they would get to run a global Trump-branded business without there being a conflict?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me pick up on something our friend David Gergen pointed out, that individual who serve on Presidential Intelligence Advisory Boards, et cetera, are usually private sector people. So, presumably, they have the same conflict. I mean, they have business "A," "B" or "C "in their private life but they also have a security clearance.

BURENTT: But that's like saying other people are doing bad things so it's OK.

LORD: No, no, no. I mean, I'm assuming that there are some rules about this. I mean, I'm assuming Mayor Giuliani is right. I don't know what they are. If this is done for other people in the government which might well be the case, then why would they be, you know, not treated in the same fashion?

BURNETT: Keith?

KEITH BOYKIN, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: You know, it makes it hard to buy this argument that Trump is going to drain the swamp when he's using this whole idea of intermingling his family members and friends in the government.

BURNETT: Is it nepotism?

BOYKIN: Of course, it's nepotism. The idea that people who are selecting the United States attorneys, the SEC chairman or chairperson, the person who are going to be selecting the leaders of government, will also be then running Donald Trump's businesses. As if they had no say in the people who will be regulating them.

[19:35:03] That's an unheard of, unprecedented conflict of interest.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we're already through the looking glass here, right? And I say two words, tax returns.

BURNETT: Oh. GANGEL: We haven't seen them. We're never going to see them. They

weren't disclosed.

So, I think we're working with a whole different set of rules and traditions here with Donald Trump. I want to say, also, that, and I'm not saying this is right o wrong, but this is how Donald Trump has conducted his business for a long time. It's how he conducted his campaign. These are the people he trusts.

BURNETT: Right.

GANGEL: And putting everything else aside, these are people he wants to be able to talk to. And so, I think that's what's behind this.

BURNETT: This is what he's basically saying, anyway, whatever their role is in the business, he's going to be talking to them. He wants them to have top security clearances. He's not going to suddenly say he's going to stop -- I mean, maybe this is just him being ultimately honest.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps. But I think that's the difference of top security clearances. There are all different levels of this. I think if they have -- if Jared, for example, has a real job in the West Wing of the administration, whose job requires that, then he will get one.

I would be stunned that the White House counsel, whoever that may be, is going to allow others who are here in New York running the business to have security clearances. I just don't think he wants to invite that kind of scrutiny. We'll see, but I think that we have to be a little bit patient here as this works itself out.

BURNETT: Can that happen, David Gergen? If his son-in-law, let's just say, does have a role like this, clearly, he's very, very crucial to Donald Trump. He's married to Ivanka Trump who's going to be running the business. She's also, of course, a confidant to her father in her own right.

But this just seems too tangled for there ever to be a clear, ethical line, a barrier.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It seems to me that there's no question that Donald Trump can draw his children into his inner circles and help him with thinking through the problems or he could appoint them to positions within the government. After all, Jack Kennedy famously appointed his brother, Bobby, as attorney general. So I think the precedents, they are very clear.

What's more troubling, and I think what's more objectionable is the whole idea that these children would also continue to run this massive company while they're involved in the White House activities or decision making at the White House.

BURNETT: Yes, those who things --

GERGEN: We just went through a campaign which the Clintons were, you know, hugely and aggressively attacked by the Trump folks for having what they call pay to play with the Clinton Foundation. You know, her being secretary of state, and having this foundation. Those problems are going to be peanuts compared to the issues that are going to arise if the Trump children are running this company.

I would think that what they'd look at is the Bloomberg example, Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York.

BURNETT: Yes.

GERGEN: Had his company was run by people not in the Bloomberg family. He put the -- remember (INAUDIBLE) -- please?

GANGEL: Right. That's not happening here, and my understanding, I'm not an expert on this, is following Robert F. Kennedy --

BURNETT: The rules change.

GANGEL: The rules change. And you're not supposed to -- nepotism rules have family members in here. But there's one other thing to remember, and that is I went back and looked, Hillary Clinton who was two for one when she was first lady, she never had this kind of security clearance.

BURNETT: Interesting.

GANGEL: I reach out to the Bushes, their children didn't have -- I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: The anti-nepotism law, it clearly prohibits son-in-laws like Jared Kushner from being appointed to any position of government.

LORD: Not on the White House staff.

BOYKIN: Well, it seems to be very clear in my reading of the law it would not allow someone like that to be appointed. Go back and read it yourself.

BURNETT: Well, there's a lot more discussion to be done about this as we try to figure out --

GANGEL: The White House counsel job is going to be challenging.

BURNETT: All right. And thanks to all.

Next, the Supreme Court, one seat empty, three sitting justices over 75 years old. What could a Trump-appointed court look like? Our special report.

And remembering an icon in the news business.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GWEN IFILL, PBS ANCHOR: I'm Gwen Ifill of the "NewsHour" and "Washington Week" on PBS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:43:06] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight. New details about how a Trump presidency could shape the Supreme Court. The president-elect already expected to fill one seat in his first few days in office, but with three Supreme Court justices over the age of 75, Trump could fill multiple seats over the course of his presidency.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Donald Trump giving his first glimpse as president-elect into what he wants in next Supreme Court justice.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'm pro-life. The judges will be pro-life.

BROWN: Trump signaling in an interview with "60 Minutes", he may want his next nominee to overturn Roe v. Wade, which affirmed the right to abortion nationwide.

TRUMP: If it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states. So, I mean, go back to the states --

LESLEY STAHL, CBS NEWS: Some women won't be able to get an abortion.

TRUMP: No, it will go back to the states. Well, they'll perhaps have to go -- they have to go to another state.

BROWN: But when it comes to another controversial Supreme Court decision, giving same-sex couples across country the right to marry, Trump says the case is closed.

TRUMP: It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean, it's done.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Trump is right that it's unlikely for same-sex marriage ever to return before the court again. It is settled law. But states continue to pass restrictions on abortion and those cases always wind up before the Supreme Court. So, an abortion issue is very relevant to what a Supreme Court justice does.

BROWN: CNN has learned there is a short list of potential high court nominees circulating among Republicans, pulled from the 21 names Trump released during his campaign, including conservative judge, William Pryor of Alabama who once said Roe v. Wade was the, quote, "worst abomination in the history of constitutional law."

TOOBIN: If Donald Trump gets one, two, three, four appointments to Supreme Court, this could be a very seriously conservative Supreme Court across the board for a generation or longer. [19:45:07] BROWN: Three of the current Supreme Court justices are in

their late 70s and early 80s including liberal Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

BROWN: "Saturday Night Live" poked fun at the notion Ginsburg will fight to stay on the high court as long as Trump is president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone expected you to retire soon. I mean, you're 83.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you're damn right I was going to retire. Clinton was going to win. I was going straight to the Dominican Republic. Even though last time I was there, they thought I was a Zika mosquito. But not now. Not now. Now, I got to stay alive and healthy.

Dammit, give me my thing.

Excuse me, got to take my vitamin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And Justice Ginsburg who was notoriously openly critical of Trump during the campaign treaded carefully during a public appearance today, saying Trump's election will mean a vacancy will be filled on the court after some Republicans blocked the nomination hearings for Merrick Garland for several months. It's unclear, Erin, when Trump will aim to fulfill the vacancy. But he's indicated it's a priority.

Back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you.

And Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.

And, Manu, Trump has said he'll appoint conservative judges. He says that. You've been talking to the conservatives now. So, I know one of them told you, Trump is not a conservative.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, that's right. That's Raul Labrador. He's one of the top conservatives in the House, a member of that House Freedom Caucus. I caught up with him earlier today.

He did not mean that as a criticism, saying that Trump is not a conservative. He just meant it as a fact that Donald Trump did not run as a conservative Republican. Here's a little bit more of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: He never said he was a conservative. He said that he was making this about the people of the United States, about working with the American people. I mean, we had conservative candidates in the race who didn't win. So I think we're going to be able to work very well with him.

RAJU: If he pursues just amending Obamacare, how would you respond?

LABRADOR: I'm not going to agree with that, but I think we will work with the president and I think that's the whole point of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So, then that issue of Obamacare so significant, Erin, because as we know, Donald Trump's signaling that he's willing to keep some aspects of Obamacare in law, but if he does not go full force and try to pull out the law, root and branch, he's going to have a fight on his hand among conservatives who want to start from scratch. That can go for any issue for Donald Trump if he decides to moderate in any way. He could face a battle within his own party. A real sign of the challenges ahead for Donald Trump if he tries to push forward his agenda, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you.

And next, poking fun at what Joe Biden is really thinking about Donald Trump's victory.

Plus, we pay tribute to Gwen Ifill, a pioneer in her world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:57] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, the legendary PBS newscaster Gwen Ifill has died. She was 61 years old. A veteran, an admired journalist, she'd been battling cancer while covering this year's historic presidential election. She was at work just a few weeks ago.

Ifill was a pioneer for women in journalism and for African-Americans.

Richard Roth has more on the legacy she leaves behind.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GWEN IFILL, LEGENDARY JOURNALIST: I'm Gwen Ifill of the "NewsHour" and "Washington Week" on PBS.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gwen Ifill broke racial and gender barriers for journalists across the country and her well- respected journalism made her a familiar face on TV. Ifill was half of the first all-female anchor team of a nightly network program, the PBS "NewsHour" with Judy Woodruff, where she was also managing editor.

Hours ago, the president reflected on a journalist he called a friend.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITE STATES: I always appreciated Gwen's reporting even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews. ROTH: Fellow journalists were crushed.

"Howlingly sad. Dear sweet Gwen is gone, RIP", tweeted the "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson.

Lester Holt, "Very sad to learn we have lost Gwen Ifill. Gwen represented the best of broadcast journalism. Our hearts are broken."

Ifill moderated a Democratic candidates' debate in February. Ifill also moderated two vice presidential debates first in 2004, Cheney versus Edwards.

IFILL: And the first one goes to Vice President Cheney.

ROTH: Then, four years later, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

IFILL: Welcome to the first and the only 2008 vice presidential debate.

Seriously, it's really the hardest thing I've ever done.

ROTH: At first, she said she was nervous, but then realized she was the one asking all the questions.

IFILL: The best part both times is when Queen Latifah played me on "Saturday Night Live."

QUEEN LATIFAH AS GWEN IFILL: Good evening. I'm Gwen Ifill.

(APPLAUSE)

ROTH: Ifill had been battling endometrial cancer, but kept the diagnosis private while covering this year's presidential elections.

Being a pioneer for women and African-Americans in journalism was difficult. During her college internship at the "Boston Herald" in the '70s, Ifill told the "Washington Post", "They didn't know what a college-educated black woman was and they didn't know how to treat me."

Ifill's career spanned the "Washington Post," "The New York Times" and NBC News. She became moderator of PBS' "Washington Week in Review" in 1999, the first African-American woman to host a political talk show.

IFILL: Good evening.

ROTH: She took leaves of absence this year, returning at one point for another interview with the president.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROTH: Gwen Ifill spent her last days and hours in a hospice in Washington surrounded by family and friends. She was set to receive the prestigious John Chancellor Award at Columbia University in 48 hours -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Richard Roth, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next on a much lighter note, what Joe Biden is really thinking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:37] BURNETT: When Donald Trump takes office, will the keys on the White House keyboard suddenly go missing?

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was as if President Obama was trying to wrap his lips around the name.

OBAMA: President-elect Trump's. Mr. President-elect. President- elect Trump.

MOOS: Some on Twitter elected to imagine pranks by the mischievous Joe Biden, might play on the incoming Trump, born a meme of imaginary conversations between Joe and President Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ordered huge replacement doorknobs. Huge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe, we can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President tiny hands.

MOOS: From the size of Trump's hands to President Obama's birth certificate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. You got a print a fake birth certificate, put it in an envelope labeled secret and leave it in the Oval Office desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe.

MOOS: Obama's birthplace gave birth to a lot of jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I left a Kenyan passport to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, a prayer rug in your bedroom. He's going to lose it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dammit Joe.

MOOS: That tweet was written by left-leaning Josh Billinson.

JOE BILLINSON: Just trying to be funny at a time when it's really hard to know if it's OK to be funny.

MOOS: Josh loves Joe Biden and he's authored at least ten of these memes.

And then there's the one based on a dirty trick that was actually played if real life when the White House transitioned from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush.

An investigation confirmed, missing W's in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary was saying they took W's when Bush won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe put --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took the T's. They can only type "rump."

MOOS: Josh, who also wrote the T's tweet, got an inquiry from an agent.

They wanted to know if you're interested in a book deal.

BILLINSON: I told them I'm interested in anything at this point.

MOOS: If the election's been pushing your buttons, maybe a tweet will provide relief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took a Staples red button and wrote "nukes" on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tweets to him in Russian when pressed.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was easy.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you again tomorrow night. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere on CNN Go as always.

We'll see you back here same time, same place tomorrow.

"AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.