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Source: Fierce Infighting As Trump Builds Cabinet; Sources: Trump's Son-in-Law at the Center of "Infighting"; Business Ties Muddy Giuliani's Secy. of State Bid; Sen. Reid Calls on Trump to Cut Ties with Bannon; Obama Reassures Europe on Final Overseas Trip; World Reaction to President-Elect Trump. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 15, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us tonight.

There's breaking news. Efforts to get the new Trump administration up and running apparently stalled by infighting and turmoil in the transition team. That and new reporting on the source of it, someone very close to president-elect, someone inside the family circle.

Also fresh outcry from the floor of the Senate, where a leading lawmaker just took to the floor and implored Donald Trump to rethink his hiring of Steve Bannon over charges of racism. The feelings are raw. It would be an understatement to say emotions are running high.

So, again, that backdrop today, President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence met at Trump Tower to hash things out even as the transition itself saw a string of high profile departures.

More on all of that now from our Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't tell Mike Pence vice presidents don't have much power. The new chair of Donald Trump's transition team now has a critical mission, to end the infighting over who will snatch up some of the most powerful positions inside the administration.

Among the front-runners for key cabinet spots, Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Senator Cotton for Defense, Trump campaign finance chair Steve Mnuchin and Congressman Jeb Hensarling for Treasury, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani for secretary of state.

Giuliani is publicly jockeying to become the nation's top diplomat.


INTERVIEWER: Is there anybody better?

GIULIANI: Maybe me. I don't know. ACOSTA: But Giuliani may not be a lock, as some transition officials

worry about his past business dealings overseas and Bolton could put Trump in an odd position. Bolton was a strong supporter of the Iraq war, which Trump insisted he opposed.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Does everybody believe me? I was against going into Iraq.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You want to have a diplomat in charge of diplomacy. You don't want a bomb thrower.

ACOSTA: Inside the transition team, one source describes a knife fight as high level adviser, former congressman and CNN contributor, Mike Rogers, has stepped down, along with a slew of officials who worked for the team's ousted chairman, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

One former Bush administration official tweeted after his own exchange with the Trump transition team that "applicants you should stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming you lost. We'll be ugly."

Sources say Christie may be blocked from the cabinet altogether and Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson says he's also out.

DR. BEN CARSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I've had lots of offers, but, you know, I don't particularly want to work inside the government.

ACOSTA: Another headache, Democrats are howling over Trump's selection of Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as chief strategist, accusing the president-elect of putting a white nationalist in the West Wing.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I just want to underline something that every one of you know: bigotry is bad for business.

ACOSTA: After once criticizing Trump for using racist language during the campaign, House Speaker Paul Ryan is defending Bannon.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is a person who helped him win an incredible victory and incredible campaign. The president is going to be judged on the results of this administration.

ACOSTA: But Trump appears to be sensitive to critics who point out he'd be the fifth president who have lost the popular vote. After once slamming the Electoral College, Trump has changed his tune, tweeting, "The Electoral College is genius, in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different.

"And if the election were based on total popular vote, I would have campaigned in New York, Florida, and California, and won even bigger and more easily."

One victory Trump can point to, he appears to now have much of the GOP on board. REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: We got these hats at conference today and it's not just a great slogan. But inside the tag you see, "Made in the USA."


COOPER: Jim Acosta joins us now from Trump Tower.

Ted Cruz met with president-elect today. Do you know the details of that meeting?

ACOSTA: Yes. One of the more remarkable meetings Donald Trump had here at Trump Tower today, as a matter of fact, a Cruz spokeswoman put out a statement after Ted Cruz left here, saying that Ted Cruz is essentially embraced what they're calling this mandate to drain the swamp in Washington.

Anderson, for Ted Cruz to use that kind of catch phrase from Donald Trump, it shows you just how far that relationship has come.

And I should point out, there's a little bit of late breaking news. Earlier today, we were reporting that the transition process from the Obama administration to the new Trump administration had frozen because the White House did not have the proper signature on key transition documents. They had Chris Christie's signature on those documents. I'm now told by a White House official that, yes, Mike Pence has signed those documents. Now that process, which was frozen earlier today, can start moving forward again.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta --

ACOSTA: So, one piece of good news for this new administration, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jim, things are moving. Thanks very much.

Digging deeper, we got new information from several sources on who is behind the friction inside the transition efforts.

CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us with the latest on that.

What are you learning, Phil?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it really all goes back to Jared Kushner. You want to know who Jared Kushner is? He is the husband of Ivanka Trump, and he is a crucial component of Donald Trump's inner circle.

If you want a sense of why or how, take a look at this.

[20:05:01] When Donald Trump was meeting one on one with President Obama, chief of staff Denis McDonough was walking one on one with Jared Kushner. That's his role inside this team.

Now, what multiple sources are telling CNN right now is he has been at the center of this infighting. He's been described as overbearing and played a key role in something Jim just laid out, Anderson, the decision to purge Chris Christie as the transition chairman but also several of Chris Christie's top advisers and allies along with him. That has rubbed staffers the wrong way, people who are cognizant of the fact that they need to move quickly and throwing up roadblocks because of perhaps personal issues is only moving to set the Trump transition back, Anderson.

COOPER: Why would Kushner be intent on pushing out Christie loyalists?

MATTINGLY: Yes. You have to look at the history here. It goes deep and is very personal. Now, a couple of Trump advisers I've spoken to have said, look, part of the reason this has happened is because Donald Trump himself was not happy with the progress of the transition team.

But if you look at the history between Jared Kushner and Chris Christie, Chris Christie, as the U.S. attorney from New Jersey, prosecuted Jared Kushner's father back in 2004, sentenced him -- ranged a sentence to two years in prison for his father.

Now, throughout the course of this campaign, Chris Christie, one of the biggest early endorsements for Donald Trump, he and Kushner have had to work side by side. You talked to advisers and they said, look, they managed it. It wasn't always comfortable. It was often awkward. But they managed a way to do it.

Now, it appears Jared Kushner was finally in a position whether because of performance or other reasons to push Chris Christie out. He has done just that. A lot of his closest allies have gone with him, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly -- Phil, thank you very much.

More now on Rudy Giuliani's potential foreign business entanglements. You'll remember during the campaign, he was especially critical of Hillary Clinton in this regard, specifically her ties to Clinton Foundation, her tenure, the State Department.


GIULIANI: The Clinton Foundation to me is a racketeering enterprise and State Department was a pay-for-play organization.

The Clinton Foundation is a fraud.

That's classic pay-to-play.

She did favors for those very people who gave money to the Clinton foundation.

I think it's a racketeering enterprise.

I would probably indict the Clinton Foundation as a racketeering enterprise.

Turning the State Department into a play-for-pay operation.


COOPER: That was Rudy Giuliani during the campaign. Now, he's leading contender for her job as secretary of state and facing tough questions himself.

The question tonight for senior investigative reporter Drew Griffin, is there any substance to them? Drew, what have you learned?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: There seems to be, Anderson. You know, he became America's mayor on September 11th, 2001, he credited to keeping New York together on the path to healing in those final months of his term as mayor.

But once out of the mayor's office, Rudy Giuliani became very rich, giving speeches worldwide, setting up a law practice and a consulting firm and doing business around the globe. Some of that business involved questionable actors in foreign countries that could now come back to haunt him if he should be chosen as the nominee here, Anderson.

We've digging into the list of contracts tied to Giuliani. They are extensive. One matter that has already haunted him back in 2007 when he ran for president, what his critics call a link between the state- run Venezuelan oil company and Giuliani's law firm. That client was CITGO Oil in Texas. It's a subsidiary of the oil company owned by Venezuela. It's come up before. It's going to come up again.

He'll also likely be criticized for his work for the government of Qatar, which hired Giuliani to help with intelligence security. His former law firm also had office in the United Arab Emirates, worked on financial deals for Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman.

Giuliani's law firm, Anderson, was massive. Hundreds of attorneys employed across the U.S. and the world. And among the contracts they had, he was hired to combat crime in Mexico City, El Salvador, Columbia, Chile. He signed on to help political candidates in Ukraine and the Dominican Republic. It adds up to a lot of relationships. Some countries who aren't always on the best of terms with the United States, it also added to tens of millions of dollars in fees for Rudy Giuliani.

COOPER: Can a secretary of state come into office with all those formal business deals around the world?

GRIFFIN: You know, it is the biggest strike against Giuliani right now. And some of it coming from Republicans. This is what Senator Rand Paul said earlier today.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think it is worrisome, some of the ties to foreign governments, because that was a big complaint about many of us with Hillary Clinton and her ties and the monies she received from foreign governments. So, whether or not you have divided loyalty obviously is very important.


GRIFFIN: The other big problem Giuliani may have, Anderson, is over the Iraq war. Giuliani, of course, supported it. Donald Trump famously campaigned that he did not. Moving forward, will these two men see eye to eye on foreign policy that Giuliani would be asked to carry out? Anderson?

COOPER: We're bringing the panel. They've all been very carefully vetted by our transition team. "Atlantic" contributor Peter Beinart, editor in chief Carlos Watson, Sirius XM host and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.

[20:10:07] Margaret, what about these Giuliani business ties? I mean, a lot of people have business ties around the world. Is it a problem?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think, I have a hard time with the apples to apples comparison with the Clintons. I mean, the hit against Hillary Clinton, which is running for president is that as secretary of state, her husband was taking donations for their family foundation from foreign governments, OK?

I think that is a clear conflict of interest. It's clearly problematic. It would be problematic if Rudy, as secretary of state, were somehow continuing to have business deals with foreign governments.

But there's no indication -- clearly, that would cross a line. That would be improper. That would represent conflicts of interest potentially. And you don't want that.

COOPER: Is that a problem for Donald Trump and his family, to have business dealings overseas?

HOOVER: Yes. Yes. That is going to be very clear --

COOPER: That seems like something they do have and will have.

HOOVER: This is something they're going to have to unravel. They apparently are looking at it. But it is something that -- boy scouts on this, my great grandfather, Herbert Hoover, actually turned every gift he got as president back to the government, believing it was a gift to the American people, before that was even legislated, OK, before they had to by law. That is the law.

Anything -- so there is a lot that's going to have to be unraveled and worked out on the Trump team. But when it comes to Rudy, I don't see any reason why he couldn't be secretary of state so long as he doesn't have any contemporary or current ties or business relationships with foreign entities.

COOPER: Carlos, do you see an --

CARLOS WATSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, OZY.COM: You know, a number of countries have been raised, Venezuela, Qatar. I think the real problem could come if there are serious issues with Iran. You heard how strong Trump was during the campaign, talking about the Iranian deal.

I think if there's real problems, even if it's just appearance wise, I think that will be difficult. But the reality is that Donald Trump's win was so unexpected he has a lot more flexibility. He owes very few people. So, if he decides to take a risk on behalf of Rudy Giuliani, the reality is he'll have more flexibility than Barack Obama or George W. Bush would have had.

COOPER: The other question, Jeffrey, is, you know, at this point for President-elect Trump it's about been expending political capital. Every decision he makes expends a little bit and he's got to pick and choose where he wants to expend that capital.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is the way of the world. I mean, the only thing as I said to somebody in the Trump circle, I said the only thing worse than losing is winning. Remembering as I do the Reagan situation, you got immediately into a situation where you had Reagan loyalists -- I mean, this is very similar to this situation. People who were loyal to Ronald Reagan forever and a day, they were very anti-establishment in the establishment of the day, and if you were a Bush person, you were suspected. He was the vice president.

And so, there is this to be expected here. I don't really see anything different. He is going to expend political capital. He will find ways, particularly being Donald Trump, to use the presidency to gain some.

COOPER: It is interesting, though, Paul. I mean -- I mean, obviously, there's the irony of Giuliani's criticism of Hillary Clinton and here now people are raising this question about him. But for anybody who has been in business life or government life, there's going to be red flags.


COOPER: I mean, you look at Newt Gingrich who has a whole business, you know, talk about Clinton, Inc, there's Newt Inc. that has a lot of -- probably might raise questions for him as well.

BEGALA: Rudy has been spending this time raising millions of dollars to help poor people fight AIDS. Oh, no, that's Clinton Foundation, unfairly maligned --


BEGALA: It is apples to oranges.

HOOVER: No, everything I said was true.

BEGALA: It is apples to oranges, because what he's got are these business entanglements now that are going to be hard to unwind and so does President-elect Trump. The thing about political capital, though, is he should be gaining political capital from his appointments.

George W. Bush elected in a very contentious election, right, country is very divided, he brought in Colin Powell as secretary of state. Even the most partisan Democrat had to say, OK, that's a revered figure, I'm really honored and proud that a man like that wants to serve in the Bush administration.

These are the sorts of signals that President-elect Trump needs to be sending, honestly. I like Rudy. He's a very able guy, you know? But somebody is putting this out, by the way.

Can I take it behind the scenes? It ain't the Democrats, OK? You know, the campaign is about screwing your enemies.

COOPER: Somebody is putting it out there that Rudy Giuliani --

BEGALA: Somebody inside Trump land is stabbing Rudy in the back. Campaign is about screwing your enemies. Transition is about screwing your friends. And Rudy is being screwed by his friends.


LORD: (INAUDIBLE) Washington.

COOPER: Peter, how do you see this transition?

PETER BEINART, CONTRIBUTOR, THE ATLANTIC: Beyond the ethical questions, the question is, first of all, Donald Trump, maybe his biggest foreign policy attack on Hillary Clinton was her support for the Iraq war and his supposed opposition to the Iraq war, right?

Here's the guy who ran against lobbyists, and now has lobbyists brought in his transition, ran against the Iraq war, brought a fervent supporter of the Iraq war supposedly now to be secretary of state. So, you know, it does raise the question whether Donald Trump believes in any of this stuff.

The second question is, what qualifies Rudy Giuliani to be secretary of state? I can see, OK, attorney general maybe. He has been in law enforcement. He has never been a diplomat. He was a mayor.

[20:15:01] Yes, he did rally the country and the city to some degree after 9/11. But that's not foreign policy. He has now been a security consultant dealing with terrorism, I guess, homeland security.

But is there anything in his record that actually shows that he has dealt with the panoply of issues that you have to deal with as secretary of state, especially when you have a president who is as ill-informed as Donald Trump and desperately somebody who has that background?

COOPER: Margaret?

HOOVER: Look, Peter raises a very fair point that a lot of Republicans are raising now, too. I mean, "The National Review" is saying this much. Rich Lowry, the head of "National Review", tweeted the same thing today. I mean, this is -- as Paul says, this is a fight on the Republican side about who's going to be the best Republican to serve Donald Trump.

WATSON: The reality is that it's not even a fight, because Trump won, as he said, unshackled by Paul Ryan and all the other classic Republican support. So, I think it's clear absent there being some real criminal misdoing or something that looks so bad that he thinks it's going to meaningfully retard his efforts, he's going to take his chances, he's going to be unconventional. Why stop now?

COOPER: It is interesting how it seemed that -- how important loyalty is to Donald Trump.

LORD: Yes.

COOPER: I mean, we've seen this time and time again. We learned this on the campaign trail, but we're seeing it. I mean, Rudy Giuliani was an early backer of Donald Trump. And part of any transition is rewarding those people who have been loyal, whether it's --

LORD: That's right.

COOPER: -- good or not.

LORD: There is nothing unusual here about what's going on. Dold Trump is in the moment of putting his stamp on the government of the United States. It's going to be a Trump government. That's the way it works.

The old saying from the Andrew Jackson days goes, to the winner goes the spoils. This is how it works.

COOPER: What do you make of Kushner, the stories now that Kushner is sort of at the center of a lot of this infighting, that some people describe things as a knife fight? There's clearly a purging of Chris Christie.


BEGALA: I never met Jared Kushner. I really hate going after family. I don't. Those kids are impressive. I'm sure the son-in-law is impressive.

They're not children. They're the adult children who are now assuming real power and influence. I suppose that makes him a target.

But I'm not ready to cast stones at him. This is clearly coming from inside Trump land. People are attacking the president-elect's son-in- law.

COOPER: How common is that in a transition at this stage?

BEGALA: Never happened.

COOPER: It's never happened? BEGALA: Nobody was attacking Bobby Kennedy when JFK was bringing him into the government. That was a different era. But he's got two jobs, the president-elect. He needs to unite our country and staff his government. And he can do both with some of those standings. That's why Colin Powell is the gold standard, or President Reagan reaching out to James Baker, his opponent.


BEINART: Can I respond to something Jeffrey said? This claim that to the winner goes the spoils. That's not actually the way our political system works. These positions have to be confirmed by the Senate, right?

We have three branches of government and what we have to hope and pray, given the Republicans control everything, is that we have more people like Rand Paul who are actually asking tough questions about whether Rudy Giuliani is qualified to be secretary of state. I think most Republicans, if you gave them a truth serum, would say, no way in heck is he qualified to be secretary of state. No matter how loyal he was to Donald Trump.

LORD: I do know Jared Kushner and think he's terrific. And the way I can see this working out, to model the Reagan troika, is that Reince Priebus has the Jim Baker, Steve Bannon has the Ed Meese role, and Jared Kushner has the Mike Deaver role, because personally is very close to the family and he understands Donald Trump's interest and he's loyal to him.

COOPER: All right. A lot more to talk about. Glenn Beck joins us ahead. He's got plenty to say about Donald Trump's choice of campaign CEO Steve Bannon to be his top White House strategist. See why Beck calls Bannon a nightmare, his words, to the country.

Later, how the world sees the new president. Very strong statements coming from the high places. You'll hear them when we continue.


[20:22:24] COOPER: Our top story tonight is the infighting over who will be asked to serve in the new Trump cabinet and sources telling us that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the source of some of the friction. Our next story is about someone who has already gotten the call to serve, Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counsel to the president.

Bannon, you'll recall, was Trump campaign's CEO. Before that, he run website and has been accused of using the site to essentially mainstreaming white nationalism.

In a moment, Glenn Beck, conservative critic of the Bannon appointment. But first, a Democratic voice, Senate minority leader Harry Reid who spoke out sharply today.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now with that.

Reid certainly didn't hold back today. He actually was speaking on the Senate floor. Specifically, what did he have to say?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was Senator Reid's first speech on the Senate floor since Donald Trump was elected a week ago tonight. How so much time seems to have gone by.

But Senator Reid wanted to bring it back to the very beginning here. He called on Donald Trump to get rid of Steve Bannon. He said he has no place just being steps away from the Oval Office. But then he turned the Senate floor speech into a personal speech, and he explained why he said children are terrified.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: On Wednesday, 7th grade girl awoke feeling frightened being a woman of color in America because Donald Trump was president-elect. If we ignore her voice and other voices, this seventh grader will be left to conclude that we, as a nation, find her fear acceptable.

Healing the wounds he inflicted will take more than words. Talk is cheap and tweets are cheaper. Healing wounds is going to take action. But so far, Mr. President, rather than healing these wounds, Trump's actions have deepened them.

And one of his very first, if not his first official act, he appointed a man seen as a champion of white supremacy as the number one strategist in the White House. Number one. Everybody else under him.


ZELENY: Anderson, he also called on Donald Trump to rise to the dignity of the Oval Office and tell the country that he is going to be a unifier there -- in very stark language that we seldom hear on floor of the U.S. Senate.

COOPER: Jeff, obviously, President-elect Trump doesn't have to run Bannon's appointment by Congress. What is Harry Reid's end game here? Does he -- I mean, does he really think Trump is going to listen to him?

ZELENY: Listen, Harry Reid has been in this town a very long time. He knows that the president-elect is mot going to listen to him. What Senator Reid is up to, I believe, is trying to send a message to Democrats that it is okay, in fact proper, to fight Donald Trump, to push back on these things.

[20:25:06] There's a lot of consternation among Democrats I'm talking to here in Washington and elsewhere that President Obama -- his tone has been too measured, that Hillary Clinton said, you know, give him a chance. Many Democrats want to hear these fighting words.

Harry Reid is taking his leave from the Capitol. He will never have to work with this president. That is why he is trying to leave with these fighting words here. It was really a message and clarion call to other Democrats.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff, thanks very much.

Our next guest has this to say about Steve Bannon, quote, "He's a nightmare and he's now is chief adviser to the president of the United States."

Nationally syndicated radio host Glenn Beck is founder of "The Blaze". He joins us now.

Glenn, great to have you on the program.


COOPER: Before this election, obviously, you made it clear you were not a Trump supporter. You were out there campaigning, first time you ever campaigned for a candidate, I think Ted Cruz --

BECK: Yes.

COOPER: -- who actually visited Donald Trump today, I'm told, at Trump Tower. Late last week, you said that President Trump deserves a chance and that you're going to stand with him.

Has something changed in your mind? Or are you saying that the president-elect deserves that chance?


BECK: We have two responsibilities when it comes to an election as citizens. We have the responsibility to vote and then to honor that vote, even if we disagree with it. That doesn't mean that we blindly follow. It just means we can't afford the president to fail. We can't afford any president to fail.

It's getting worse and worse. And, Anderson, you know, you and I have talked several times -- I am concerned about the tenor of the nation and especially when it comes to the press on this particular issue when it comes to Bannon.

The alt-right is real. It's maybe -- I don't even know. Maybe 1 percent, 3 percent of the Trump vote. So, we're talking anywhere between 300,000 people to 1.5 million people maybe. That's a lot of people. But it is not the Trump crowd.

COOPER: Right.

BECK: They are being influenced without knowing it, and for the media, who is distrusted on both sides but mainly on the right, to be talking about Bannon and to be talking about the alt-right -- now, I really, truly fear that this is going to be something that they don't listen to and they don't hear the warning. In fact, they dismiss it.

So, I want to be really careful on what is said, because this needs to be heard.

COOPER: Well, let's talk about the alt-right and what you -- how you see them, because, look, a lot of conservatives, you know, when they hear particularly, you know, folks on CNN or elsewhere or anybody talking about the alt-right, an understandable inclination is to believe, well, look, you're trying to brand all conservatives as being far right, alt-right, you know, bigoted, racist. That certainly is obviously not the case.

BECK: Correct.

COOPER: So, to you --

BECK: And it's the mistake -- it's the mistake that I made by throwing around the word "Marxist". There are Marxists and there are people that are socialists. But the label of Marxist takes on a whole new meaning. Even socialist for a while took on a whole new meaning.

Now, that's OK. I made this mistake and nobody on the right -- or nobody on the left would listen. So, let's not make this mistake and I don't want to be part of that mistake. I want to make sure that everybody understands that the alt-right is real. It is truly terrifying, in my opinion. I --

COOPER: Who are they?

BECK: Anything that I would say about Bannon --

COOPER: Explain to people who --

BECK: Anything I would say about Bannon is --

COOPER: Go ahead.

BECK: OK, let me just -- let me do this.


BECK: I just wrote a couple of notes down, because I want to say them exactly right. I want to quote. Bannon said that Breitbart is a platform for the alt-right. This is 2016. He did an interview with Sarah Posner, he describing Breitbart as a platform -- this is a quote -- of the alt-right.

The next thing that happened is Breitbart told the right what the alt- right is and who is the center of alt-right thought and they said, in quote, "an establishment conservative guide to the alt-right under the heading intellectuals they identified Richard Spencer and Steve Sailer as the intellectual leadership running the websites considered to be the center of alt-right."

So let's just follow this. Steve Bannon said in 2016, to "The L.A. Times," "We are the platform giving voice to the alt-right." Then they identified the two leaders of the center of thought.

I want to give you some of the quotes. This is from Richard Spencer, "Our dream is a new society, an ethno state that would be the gathering point for all Europeans. It would be a new society based on very different ideals than, say, the Declaration of Independence." [20:30:00] Then, in 2013, "Today in the public imagination, ethnic cleansing has been associated with civil war and mass murder. Understandably so. But this does not need to be the case," end quote.

He then later went on with a salon, where he was talking about the government, partnering with the government for sterilization of races. And he said look, there's a quote, "That way you could still enjoy sex, it's not like you're ruining their life". That's the first guy that Steve Bannon identified as the center of the Alt-Rright that he gave Breitbart a platform to.

The second guy after Katrina, Steve Sailer said, "Look -- let the good times roll is especially or risky message for African-Americans. The plain fact is that they tend to possess poor native judgment than members of better educated groups. Thus, they need stricter moral guidance from society"

This is -- I do not believe that Donald Trump is a member of the Alt- right. I don't believe he believes any of this. I don't even think that Donald Trump is a racist. He is many things, but I don't think he's a racist.

Steve Bannon, I don't know him. I know several people that work for him. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but, Anderson, here is the real problem. The media doesn't have -- look, I don't have credibility with your viewers. And I know that, because I made mistakes. So the media doesn't have credibility. The media -- I just saw a new study today that said 5 percent of the people who voted for Donald Trump said there was some disturbing said, things said in the media, but they didn't believe them.

COOPER: Right.

BECK: And if they would have believed them, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton or against Donald Trump. We have this lack of transparency, honesty, integrity. And this message about the Alt- right must be heard by the conservatives. They must take it seriously. Separate and apart from any kind of politics.

COOPER: We're going to take a break. I want to talk to you more about this in depth when we come back. We'll take a short break. More with Glenn Beck after.


[20:36:20] COOPER: We're back talking with The Blaze's Glenn Beck about Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and the Alt-right. You know, Newt Gingrich said, I think it was over the weekend, that just because, you know, Bannon may habve publish some articles with provocative headlines or controversial headlines, that doesn't mean that he agrees with everything in those articles or in those headlines. You know, people -- I guess we all know websites publish that for click bait, to get people to click on it. Do you -- I mean can you draw a clear line between Steve Bannon and, you know, white nationalists and white supremacists? BECK: Just according to the "LA Times", his quote is Breitbart is a platform for the Alt-right. Then Breitbart describes who the center of thought is and they are white nationalists. They are -- they're spooky guys. You know, I don't want to speculate beyond that.

COOPER: Right.

BECK: Because I don't know firsthand. I can only take him at his word. And Anderson, I mean honestly, there are people -- there will be people that will be, tonight, mad at you because you've put me on and you are normalizing me. I've seen this, you know, on my Facebook posts. The media should stop normalizing Glenn Beck. OK.

They're mad at you for that. But how could we -- I'm not a white nationalist. I'm a guy with a strong political opinion but I'm not a white nationalist. Here's a guy who is taking his platform and saying, I'm going to give the Alt-right a voice in this country. Anderson, I would never do that. You would never do that. CNN would never do that. We would never do that ever. No responsible person would.

COOPER: So -- I mean Donald Trump has said, look, on the campaign trail, you know, his daughter is Jewish, she converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, that his grandchildren are Jewish, their children -- the idea being he would not support somebody who has, you know, anti-Semitic beliefs.

BECK: I don't make that claim on Bannon. Let me give you a scenario. I don't know what it is. I really don't. I know that he has said -- he has made it into a platform for the Alt-right and it has become that. So under his watch -- now what he believes, I don't know. He may just think this is a way to appeal -- I mean who is easy to appeal to, traditionalism, nationalism. You know, can we get a base that will really go out, you know, 5 percent that will really be excited about him. And really whip people up and use this extra 5 percent.

And then don't believe them and want to discard them? Yeah, he could be that kind of guy. People have done that before in history. I think that's just as dangerous, because if he doesn't believe it -- which I don't think he does. I don't know him, but I didn't think we even had all bunch of white nationalists around anymore, but we do.

COOPER: Yeah. Because that's the thing that, you know, conservatives traditionally and understandably have been upset about when people -- you know, it's very easy to label somebody a racist. I'm sorry easy to label somebody anything.

BECK: Yeah.

COOPER: And ...

BECK: And I don't want to do that.

COOPER: Right. What you're saying is you don't want to be that person doing that. BECK: Right. And I don't want to do that even to Steve Bannon. I don't know. I do know that he has given a voice and power to that group of people. Why, I don't know. But it's important because you don't empower people like that. You just don't do that. It's not smart.

[20:40:06] COOPER: So, are you saying he should not -- not be allowed in the White House, to be an advisor, you know, a top advisor, one of the most powerful advisors to the president? Or that Donald Trump needs to come forward and state very clearly where he stands? What do you ...

BECK: Oh I think he has already stated very clearly where he stands. He doesn't -- I don't know if anybody -- I mean look, Anderson, the word racism has been thrown around, and racist, so much to good, decent people that aren't racist. They're just not. And, please, I know I'm the most imperfect messenger to bring this to you, but the word has been thrown around about everyone. And so it doesn't mean anything anymore. And the problem is, when you throw a word around like that all the time, then you begin to dismiss the actual racists. And we have to have a discussion, aside from politics, about this small group of people and how this European and really pro-Russian nationalism is seeping into our country. It's very disturbing.

COOPER: And you're concerned ...

BECK: European style. Go ahead.

COOPER: You're concerned it is going to -- we showed Harry Reid there on the floor. You're concerned it' going to be seen as OK, this is just again one thing a club being used by one political party against another?

BECK: Yes.

COOPER: And, therefore, easily dismissed by conservatives and others ...

BECK: Yes.

COOPER: ... who, by all logic, should reject this very ideology?

BECK: Yes. The 99 percent of those people who voted for Donald Trump are not Alt-righters. They are not racists. They've never even heard of the word. I never heard of it until about eight months ago and started doing my research. Most people don't even think this exists. So when they hear somebody on CNN or a Harry Reid say this, their immediate response is, oh, geez OK ...

COOPER: Right.

BECK: ... we're all racists again. And so it's really critical that we don't paint everybody with that brush, including Steve Bannon or Donald Trump unless you have real evidence. I know we have evidence that he is giving those people voice. He has empowered those people through Breitbart. But that's all we know. COOPER: I got to take another break. I'm blowing up my show. Can you stick around for one more block?

BECK: Sure.

COOPER: OK. We're going to take a quick break. More with Glenn Beck, when we come back.


[20:46:22] COOPER: And continue our conversation tonight with The Blaze's Glenn Beck. I wanted to ask you about the fear that some people in America feel tonight and have felt this past week, I think back to when President Obama first got elected and, you know, many certainly in the media were following that story very closely. You didn't see a lot of stories on the evening news, you know, the day after President Obama was elected about half the country who were in mourning or upset or angry or fearful, which the day after this election, I turned on some television show and they're interviewing a psychiatrist about what to do about the depression and the fear that you now feel.

So, I preface my question with that, but what do you say to people tonight who, you know, for whatever reason do fear what will happen next?

BECK: I understand. I hear you. I understand. I have felt that way before and didn't feel like anybody was listening to us and taking us seriously.

COOPER: You felt that way when Obama was elected?

BECK: Yeah. I'm not -- I don't think like -- I don't think as deeply as people feel that right now.

COOPER: Right.

BECK: But, yeah. You know, we were called that people that cling to our God and our guns and we just felt like, uh-oh, what is this? Now -- so I felt that way and then we were called names and then we started calling names and then it just got bad. So I hear you. I understand you. I can relate to how you feel and part of me feels the same way.

And Anderson, I read a story about California saying they wanted to secede from the union, Californian Origins ...

COOPER: Right.

BECK: ... going around that wanting to secede. And I remember everybody was mocking Texas when -- I mean but, Texas has said that since like1840. It's nothing new with Texas. But that's what Texas has been saying. And we were mocked for that.

Here is what I would really like to get. The balance of power of the House and the Senate, the three branches of government, Executive, Legislative, and Supreme Court. That's why that balance is so important. That's why people like me the constitutionalists have been saying don't give the president so much power. The president should not be able to make me or you ever worried about what's going to happen in our personal life.

He might be able to make us worried about our culture about what is he going to do to our culture. That, I understand, because of his bully pulpit. But he shouldn't be able to cause this much fear. The balance of power is out. And when the balance of power is right and the government is right sized, California still can be California. It can be, in my opinion, as crazy as it wants to be. And Texas, in other's opinion, can be as crazy as it wants to be. But we're still brothers in the union. And we're allowed to be ourselves.

COOPER: Do you think -- from what you've seen so far -- I mean, you know, it's -- there's a -- oh there was a fear early on with conservatives about Donald Trump that, you know, he was more practical than ideological, and that, you know, he, himself, has talked during the campaign about, you know, I can be anybody who I want to be. When I'm down in Palm Beach, I can be one way, in New York City in a business meeting, I can be different way, I'll be different way in the White House and things are negotiation.

Do -- does -- is that a concern of you that -- I mean I understand President Obama said, that he's more practical than he is ideological. Do you think that's true of him? And does that worry you?

[20:50:06] BECK: No, I would like a practical president, but I would like to be able to have his practicality based on principles, and not just who -- I mean the room with. And that, you know, that we wait to see that. Hopefully, he's a very practical man. You know, I think Salena Zito said it the best -- this is the best explanation of what happened last Tuesday I've ever heard, it was from Salena Zito, and she said, the people like me took him literally, but never seriously. But his supporters took him seriously and not literally. I don't know which way to take him. And only time will tell. Only time will tell.

COOPER: When you said Salena for a second, I thought you were going to quote Celine Dion, and then I thought, you know, Glenn ...

BECK: No, no.

COOPER: ... how are you possibly going to bring Celine Dion into this.

BECK: No I'm not.

COOPER: Glenn Beck, it's always good talk to you. I really as you know, I love you have on. So thank s very much, Glenn. We'll continue this discussion.

BECK: Thanks very much. You bet, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, President Obama in his last overseas trip. How world leaders view the incoming commander in chief when "360" continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:53:17] COOPER: President Obama arrived in Greece today for the first stop in his final overseas trip. He had to do something he never imagined the doing, vouch for president-elect Donald Trump. He also defended his own legacy and dismissed the notion he and other Democrats underestimated Trump's appeal to voters.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF UNITES STATES: Did I recognize that there was anger or frustration in the American population? Of course I did. I think at times of significant stress, people are going to be looking for something and they don't always know exactly what it is that they're looking for and they may opt for change, even if they're not entirely confident what that change will bring.

I do believe separate and apart from any particular election or movement, that we are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an us and of them.


COOPER: Despite the president's most pointed response yet in Trump's victory, as he meets with world leaders. This is not how, certainly, he expected to end his presidency. More now from Michelle Kosinski, who's traveling with the president.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For a year, he's been reassuring allies that a Trump presidency would not happen, that his policies would continue. Now President Obama offers reassurance in a much different form.

OBAMA: Time will now tell.

[20:55:04] KOSINSKI: As the world reacts, the Greek prime minister, who had called what Donald Trump represents evil, today didn't want to criticize.

ALEXIS TSIPIRAS, PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE (In Translation): To be honest, I know very little of Donald Trump. Not much is going to change in the relation.

KOSINSKI: Others, not so reticent. The French ambassador to the U.S. tweeted then deleted, "A world is collapsing before our eyes. Vertigo." Iran warned that the U.S. should keep the nuclear deal.

Here in Europe, one poll showed that only 9 percent of people feel Donald Trump will do the right thing in world affairs. In China, it was 22 percent. But just as President Obama has been expressing resignation, even optimism, other world leaders offer congratulations and tenuous hope. Mexico's president, who'd compared Trump to Hitler and Mussolini, now talks about opening new paths of cooperation. President Trudeau of Canada [A reference to Trudeau was removed because it was based on an erroneous report] says ...

JUSTINE TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER CANADA: I'm going to work with President-elect Trump's administration, as we move forward in a positive way.

KOSINSKI: South Korea now says it believes Donald Trump will pressure North Korea over its nuclear program, and Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump a true friend to the state of Israel. Britain's foreign minister, Boris Johnson, the Brexit's most vocal supporter, even criticized the complainers.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITAIN'S FOREIGN MINISTER: It's time we snapped out of the general doom and gloom about the result of this election and the collective win drama.

KOSINSKI: China says it wants to keep close contact, build a good working relationship, and meet with Trump soon, which Trump echoed, even though he had threatened a trade war during the campaign. But perhaps none are so welcoming as Russia.

Parliament cheered when Trump's win was announced, and Vladimir Putin's government has been in touch with Trump's people during the campaign.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (In Translation): That Russia is ready and wants to restore the full-fledged relations with the United States.

KOSINSKI: For now, publicly, the insults of the past are put aside, despite some deep concerns in private.

Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Athens.


COOPER: And there's much more to come in the next hour of "360," including our breaking news. The top Democrat in the Senate, calling on president-elect Trump to rescind the appointment of Steve Bannon as top White House strategist, calling and quoting "Champion of white supremacists"


COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. Topping the hour tonight, in fighting in turmoil inside team Trump efforts to get the new administration up in running, apparently stall that is for time that in freshen out cry from the floor, the Senate from the Democrats over top White House staff (ph) in alleged ties the so-called Alt- right. New reporting as well in the source of friction within the transition, the force behind the string of high profile departures from it. [21:00:03] Sara Murray joins us now from Trump Tower, where as I understand the President-elect just left. We are telling pretty much anyone, anything, is that right?