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Former Rep. Mike Rogers Off Trump Transition Team; Backlash Growing Against Bannon Appointment; Trump Attorneys Hope to Postpone Trump University Trial; Trump's Pending Lawsuit and His Presidency; Trump: "Very Organized Process Taking Place." Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 16, 2016 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:40] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Continued changes on President- elect Donald Trump's transition team, Former Congressman and CNN Commentator Mike Rogers is out. We're moving a key establishment of national security voice from the planning process. So how will this shape, Trump's foreign policy agenda?

Our next guest has a fascinating new article out on the cover, "The Atlantic" December issue, the title "China's Great Leap Backward". National Correspondent James Fallows is with us. Good morning.


HARLOW: Great piece, we'll get to it ...

FALLOWS: Thank you.

HARLOW: ... in a moment. We will. But, let's just begin to Mike Rogers being out. You say the reason here for part of this is it Trump has a really unique challenge. And that is it a lot of sort of the establishment, the base abandoned him either before or in the case of Eliote Cohen for example after the election. So he's got a smaller pool to pick from.

FALLOWS: Right. And I think it's important to keep emphasizing how unusual the process is that we're seeing right now because in most cases when a president-elect, you know, a day or two after election and once he's recovered, they're all this teams who have their briefing memos and they say here is the choices you have to be making next week, here are the leading candidates for this job. They're just -- it does not appear to be any of that on cap for Mr. Trump right now.

And in addition, there's this -- I think unprecedented situation where a hundreds of people who have been the usual suspects for previous Republican administration said they're not going to work for him. So we'll see how that sorts itself out.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN "NEW DAY"ANCHOR: How big a deal is Bannon in that influence on the minds of Republicans? We're thinking about whether or not to put both arms around the Trump administration. FALLOWS: I think at the time when these letters were ripped mainly in June and July and August of this year, Bannon was -- he was already with the campaign. But I don't I think many people suspected he'd have a central White House role. So I think the fact that he's been given this job apparently reinforces the sense that maybe there's going to be something that if the dilemma that these Republican, life long or Republican have whether they want to serve.

I think the note yesterday from Eliote Cohen ...


FALLOWS: ... who is a long time defense experts who wanted to approach the -- new administration said, wait a minute I'm not sure we can work with them. That's a factor.

HARLOW: He actually said after meeting with the transition team, my recommendation has changed. He said they are angry, arrogant, and screaming new laws. I mean, he could have been more emphatic.

Let's talk about John McCain who came out without using Trump's name in a statement made very clear who he was talking to. Speaking about what the active administration does with Russia. Let's pull it up.

[06:35:05] "The Obama administration's last attempt at resetting relations with Russia culminated in Putin's invasion of Ukraine and military intervention in the Middle East. At the very least, the price of another reset would be complicity in Putin and Assad's butchery of the Syrian people. That is an unacceptable price for a great nation."

FALLOWS: I think there's a real split here, not only within the Republican Party but in the country as a whole of the international community. On the one hand, nobody wants actual hostility with Russia. You know, if you can get along with them fine, that's great, we're good, develop great powers. On the other hand, both in the Caribbean and in Syria and other places, you know, Putin is making big problems for the U.S. Plus there was the National Security Agency director comments yesterday.

HARLOW: Yeah, Admiral Michael Rogers.


HARLOW: Yeah, yes.

FALLOWS: Of that there would have been some kind of "nation-state" involvement directly in our election. So I think we'll see another schism between potentially Trump and some of the Republicans.

CUOMO: So let's give people some brain food on a larger concern they should have. We're all obsessed with the micro right now around the election. But if you talk to national security officials and experts about what their biggest threat profiles order to the country, ISIS is like third or fourth. Terrorism is like third or fourth. China, South Korea, how you deal with those two agencies are seen as priorities. You are taking a big look at China and what they pose as a risk of stability on their own end, what do you want people to know?

FALLOWS: So the main point I want to get across through this article is that over the last 40 years, Nixon through Obama, there was more or less a constant policy from the United States which was that it was better to keep engaging China more and more. That they were -- it was better for us that they prospered than if they didn't. You know they'd be more dangerous if they were falling apart et cetera.

And the question now is, people who have looked at China for a long time they're wondering if things have changed significantly enough and their internally with repression (ph) and externally in aggression that United States needs to basically rethink its policy. Not in the way that brings our new cold war, not that confronts China but just says there are things that are getting outside the normal band we expected over these past 40 plus years and what can we do to stir things back into a cooperative direction.

HARLOW: You're right in this piece, one line has sit out to me, "No sane American leader would choose confrontation with China." What are you ...

FALLOWS: So, you know ...

CUOMO: That code.

HARLOW: What is that code?

CUOMO: What is that code, James?

FALLOWS: Well, I had -- I wrote this obviously when we didn't know who'd be the next president came out a day or two after the election. And China has a 1.4 billion people, it's a nuclear power. The two economies are essentially one in a lot of their function.

Every university in the United States depends on Chinese students. Every company in the United States has both Chinese markets and Chinese supply lines. And there's not necessary tension between U.S. and China so it's not a fight you pick if you can avoid it. But there are also problems that are developing on the Chinese side apart from whatever problems maybe developing on our side right now. So it's a very important thing to manage for the next administration.

HARLOW: They like TPP likely not going through.

FALLOWS: They're very much so because that was seen as an anti- Chinese flanking move.

HARLOW: So, keep them in check ...


HARLOW: ... and now ...

FALLOWS: Exactly.

HARLOW: ... it's not going to happen probably. FALLOWS: Exactly.

CUOMO: There's a lot in the piece. People should read it for themselves. It's in the "Atlantic", its out right now, James Fallows is the author.

HARLOW: Thank you.

FALLOWS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Pleasure to have you.

So, there was a standing ovation for a United Airlines pilot for what he told his passengers about politics. What exactly happened? You're going to want to hear it. This is next.


[06:42:03] CUOMO: California Senator Barbara Boxer introducing a bill to scrap the Electoral College and determine the presidential winner purely on popular vote. This is in context of what we're seeing with Hillary Clinton right now. She is closing on an million more votes nationally than Trump.

Now this disconnect between the college and the popular vote, it's just the fifth time we've ever had that happened. In an election last time, of course was in 2000 when Al Gore lose to George W. Bush.

HARLOW: Meantime, a United Airlines pilot intervenes following a fight about Donald Trump on this plane, listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand everybody has their opinion, that's fine. If you support him, great, if you don't I understand. However we're out here to go to Puerta Vallarta, we are supposed to be having a good time, and what I do ask is that as people we have the common decency to respect each other's decisions.


HARLOW: A passenger says the feud broke out when a man said something racist to an African-American woman making her cry. The pilot immediately spoke up urging passengers to keep calm or choose another plane to get to Puerta Vallarta. He was met with cheers after issuing that ultimatum.

CUOMO: All right, there will be quarterback controversy in Dallas. At least not for now and that comes from the former starting quarterback Hines Ward as more in this morning "Bleacher Report" unusual. Unusual, to hear the guy who got hurt come out and weigh in, in favor of the other guy.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORT CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, very unusual. I mean, Tony Romo says that the Cowboys now belong to rookie Dak Prescott. Now, if you remember, Romo broke a bone in his back in the preseason and Dak -- while Dak take -- while he was taking over the starting quarterback job. Is this the end? The Cowboys have gone eight in one. Now Romo is healthy and ready to play but in a prepared statement yesterday, he said that Dak is the man in Dallas right now.


TONY ROMO, DALLAS COWBOYS: He's earned the right to be our quarterback. It's hard as that is for me to say he's earned that right. He's gathered our team do an eight in one record and that's hard to do.


WARD: And number 1 Duke taking on number 7 Kansas at Madison Square Garden. The score tied at 75 with 8.2 seconds left. Jayhawks' Frank Mason III race, the short jump and to take the lead. The little man came up big for Kansas but Duke inbounds the ball and he's up, a half court shot but no good. Kansas pulls off the upset 77-75.

Now this is the eight win in over number 1 ranked team in school history. So, it's all good in Kansas. So, back to you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Hines, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Coming up next. People versus the President-elect Donald Trump, facing dozens of lawsuits as he heads for the White House. We're going to take a closer look at his legal battles and how they could impact his presidency? What ends, what doesn't? When he -- this many of a lawsuit, next.


[06:49:09] HARLOW: Donald Trump's transition team has more than just a cabinet to build. It's looking at a pile of lawsuits targeting the president-elect, several about Trump University.

Our Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin has been on this story from the beginning and he said it is Trump's attorneys that are headed back to court on Friday and hopes of postponing that trial.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT-ELECT OF UNITED STATES: So I've said from the beginning ...

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The biggest lawsuit facing the president-elect are actually three, all surrounding his Trump University. Two class action suits in California, one $40 million lawsuit filed by New York's Attorney General. All basically alleging the same things. Trump's real estate university wasn't a university. Trump's handpicked real estate experts weren't handpicked by Trump and is exposed by a CNN report. Trump so called real estate experts like top Trump seminar instructor James Harris weren't really real estate experts at all.

[06:50:06] Do you remember when you said this, "I'm a former licensed agent broker. At 29, I became the top one percent broker in the country. I build homes in Atlanta, Georgia and I used to live in Beverly Hills."

JAMES HARRIS, FORMER TRUMP UNIVERSITY INSTRUCTOR: Yes. I -- if I said those things, they are true. I did live in Beverly Hills and I ...

GRIFFIN: We have no record of you ever living in Beverly Hills.


GRIFFIN: We can't find your broker's license anywhere.


GRIFFIN: And I have no idea what homes you built in Atlanta, Georgia. You build homes in Georgia?

HARRIS: I'm not prepared to answer those questions today.

GRIFFIN: Last week in San Diego, Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel urged both sides in the first class action law suit to settle the matter, given the fact Trump is about to become president. Instead, Trump's attorneys filed a motion to delay the actual trial until Trump becomes president. Political Attorney Stephen Kaufman says, the real strategy maybe to delay this suit even beyond that.

STEPHEN KAUFMAN, ATTORNEY: Who knows what's going to happen once he takes office after January 20th that might further prevent him from participating in the trial and allowing his attorneys to conduct the trial at that point in time. So I would imagine a delay at this point would lead to further delays once he becomes president.

GRIFFIN: But the lawsuits against his school are just the beginning. There are dozens of lawsuits pending against Trump and some filed by Trump. Like the two restaurants that decided they wouldn't open in Trump's new old closed office hotel in Washington after Trump made discouraging comments about Mexicans. Trump's suing them, they're suing Trump. Then there's the Republican consultant suing because she claims tweets calling her "A real dummy", ruined her reputation.

Some Trump protesters are suing Trump claiming his security team at Trump tower assaulted them last year. His company space suits involving sexual harassment allegations, golf membership battles, and even a fight over tips at a hotel. All of these going out at the same time.

The president-elect is trying to form a cabinet, set a political agenda and oh, yeah, turn over his entire business empire to his kids. Earlier this year, Trump's personal attorney Alan Garten told us he had already began that task and it wasn't going to be easy.

ALAN GARTEN, TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: There's real issues there that have to, have to be addressed.

GRIFFIN: Because lately, I don't think he can run the Trump Organization while President of the United States, correct?

GARTEN: Yeah. I can't go into details. There's obviously a lot of intelligent people who are working on these issues.

GRIFFIN: It is a lot to handle which is why Stephen Kaufman thinks Trump should move to settle any lawsuits pending. And certainly not file any new ones. No law suit against the "New York Times". No law suit against women who have accused him of sexual harassment.

KAUFMAN: If I was his lawyer, I would suggest he stay away from the courtroom as far as possible. I can't imagine any good would come out of testimony given in a court of law about the actions of the President of the United States.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


CUOMO: All right. So all these what ifs and legalities in the air, what is the bottom line impact of what these pending lawsuits could have on the presidency. Let's bring in CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin.

Here is the basic proposition you need to explain to us which is the President Trump will want to delay any lawsuits. But there is a precedent that applies to the president when it comes to these things and we learned it during Clinton. And what is it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: In 1997, the Supreme Court decided almost this identical case. Bill Clinton was sued by Paula Jones as many people remember for sexual harassment and his lawyers went to court and said, look, the presidency is too important to be distracted by something like this. So I have the right to put off my deposition, to put off my involvement with the case until I'm out of office. Bill Clinton lost. And the Supreme Court said very clearly, no person is above the law. So, a district judge can offer accommodations, can let you testify by video, but you cannot push it off until the end. So he is going to have to deal with this at one point during the next four or eight years.

HARLOW: So the question becomes, this Trump University, the main Trump University case is set to go to trial in a few weeks and Trump's team is saying, let's just wait until after inauguration.

TOOBIN: Right. I won't be very ...

HARLOW: So that won't be ...

TOOBIN: Yeah ...


HARLOW: ... as president.

TOOBIN: But I mean that that's ...

HARLOW: But do you think they'll get the delay at least?

TOOBIN: Yes. They will get at least one delay and probably several delays. I mean that Judge Curiel not withstanding to Donald Trump's criticism of him has been accommodating. It has expressed his understanding that he has under -- very unusual obligations as president.

[06:55:03] But he can't put it off forever.

CUOMO: And now people will say, "so what?" It's a civil suit over fraud. It's going to wind up being about money but what also did we learn with President Clinton.

HARLOW: Right.

CUOMO: You get to post and what happens and which what somewhat to do with deposition.

TOOBIN: Bill Clinton lied in his deposition and he was impeached ...


TOOBIN: ... because of the deposition in the civil suit that was filed ...

HARLOW: Right.

TOOBIN: ... while he was president.

HARLOW: So granted, at least for now he's got a Republican Congress on his side which would make impeachment less likely. However, why wouldn't he just settle? I mean, it's just the judge is urging him to settle.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, this now we're dealing with Donald Trump who is very proud. He says he never settles lawsuits. He does in fact, we know that. But, you know, the plaintiffs' lawyers kind of have him over a barrel here. They would love to examine the President of the United States under oath. They, you know, feel like they have the leverage here. They are apparently making high settlement demands and Trump is saying to his lawyers, don't settle.

Obviously, the rational choice would be to settle the case. I think most people would understand it's not an admission of guilt, it's just a desire to move on. But I think he also recognizes, Donald Trump does, that he's got all these other lawsuits lined up behind. And if he settles this one for a lot of money, everybody else is going to realize the cash register is open and they'll hold out for settlements and we could be dealing with this throughout his presidency.

HARLOW: You were saying something about how strong the case the New York Attorney General ...

TOOBIN: I mean ...

HARLOW: ... he has. CUOMO: You know, you've reported on the same situation. Yes, Schneiderman is a political official, he's a Democrat and Trump has used that very heavily. But, you know, Schneiderman doesn't want to lose and the word out of his office, you know, when he's been public, he's been on T.V. and everything saying, they've never felt more confident about a case before and they do with this one.

TOOBIN: And Trump University really is a big problem for Donald Trump. When you look at what a really fly-by-night operation this was and when you look at the representations that were made to students and the education that was really provided, it does seem like a fraud case really ...

CUOMO: They weren't even allowed to call themselves a school.

TOOBIN: Well, that ...

CUOMO: They had to stop dealing (ph).

TOOBIN: That's right. I mean, there are certain rules that, you know, whether you can really be a university and they were not a university by any stretch of the imagination. So, you know, you can see why Schneiderman and others who are, you know, moving in forward on the Trump University case have a lot of confidence. But, you know, obviously any sort of sane observer from the outside would say, settle this case. Look at the peril that's that, you know, that the testimony, the time. But he hasn't settled it so far.

HARLOW: That he thought his line has always been and it has gotten him to the presidency. I'm a winner, I'm a winner, I don't settle. He does, but I don't settle and I'm a winner. And so now does he want to do that in the public eye. I don't know.

TOOBIN: We will watch it unfold.

HARLOW: Either way, he's in the public eye.

COUMO: The number one request that clients have of their lawyers is to make it go away. And that's what will probably wind up happening.

Jeffrey, thank you so much ...

HARLOW: Thank you, Jeff.

CUOMO: ... for making it clear as always.

What do you think about this? Tweet us at "New Day". Post your comment on There is a lot of news, there's reporting about the transition in the presidency, let's get to it.


PAUL RYAN, U.S SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm not worried about. I'm not looking back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The transition team already facing signs of disarray.

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: The people who have been asked to move on and have some relationship with Chris Christie.

RUDOLPH WILLIAM GIULIANI, AMERICAN LAWYER: He's going to put together an extraordinary administration.

RANDAL HOWARD PAUL, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: It is worrisome. Trump should pick a secretary of state that agrees with his foreign policy.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN "NEW DAY" ANCHOR: It's nice to have your name thrown in the ring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a guy that came from zero to win the presidency.

STEVE BANNON: He knows how to put teams together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Alt-Right is all wrong for America.

HARRY REID, U.S. SENATOR: Show America that racism, bullying and bigotry have no place in the White House or in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your "New Day". Alisyn is off. My friend Poppy Harlow joining us.

HARLOW: Good morning.

CUOMO: Always good to have you.

So what do we have first? Donald Trump's cabinet, still bare. No big announcements yet but we have been hearing about people getting dismissed from the transition team and now sources are talking about Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, he's got a really big role in the transition. There's negativity coming out about him. Is it accurate? Trump is denying that there's any turmoil even though four members of the team have been fired.

HARLOW: Meanwhile, the president-elect went to dinner last night and failed to let us, the press know. Why does it matter? We're going dig into that because this is the second time since winning the election that he has breached that long-standing protocol. We have every angle covered starting this morning with Sunlen Serfaty out there at Trump Tower where the sun is up, it is a beautiful day. What are you hearing?


Well, it continues to be a turbulent transition for President-elect Donald Trump. Among those on his team who are now out former congressman and CNN contributor Mike Rogers who had been a leading voice for months, a national security voice for months on his transition team but who was closely aligned with former transition head Chris Christie. But amid all of these, top transition officials are continuing ...