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Rep. King On Trump Cabinet Appointments, DHS Appointment, & Immigration; Trump Continues To Tweet As President-Elect; Megyn Kelly Claims Trump Threatened Her; Will Trump's Businesses Create A Conflict Of Interest? Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 16, 2016 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:25] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The president-elect is in a real Twitter mode, once again. He's been commenting throughout the morning on what's been said on the morning shows. This is a reflection, again, of maybe some type of unrest within the transition -- a lack of organization. Not really known who is going to be in these main cabinet positions.
Let's discuss what's real and what is just perception with Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King. Congressman, always a pleasure to have you on the show.
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: It's mine. Good morning, and thank you.
CUOMO: So while it is a blessing in the media to have such instant feedback from the man who will be President of the United States, I want to ask you about this mode of communication. We'll put up the tweets from the President-elect so far this morning. They've been coming in, in increasing pace. He seems to be upset about reporting coming out of "The New York Times" and the tone on the morning shows.
He's saying I never asked for top level security clearance for my children. The "Times" has it totally wrong, and the transition is going smoothly. I've taken tons of calls from many foreign leaders and he lists different countries. And he said the "Times" is just upset.
Do you advise this mode of rapid response by the President-elect going forward?
KING: You know, that's a -- that's actually an important and deliberative question. It's a -- he has said that he wouldn't be President of the United States without his Twitter account and I think he's probably right on that. And he tamped it down quite a bit over the last three or four weeks before the election. Now we're back to some pushback against the media.
I'd say this. Donald Trump is president-elect and whatever he chooses to do, I'd say go right ahead. I don't want to give him advice on which way or the other on that because he's been the one that's been right most of the time on how this worked out. But I would say to his family if Donald Trump, president-elect, wants to bring his family members into high-level positions where they would need security clearance, I do not have a philosophical or a legal or a logical reason why that shouldn't happen.
I mean, I look back at John F. Kennedy when he was elected. He appointed his little brother, Bobby, to be the attorney general. I don't remember this discussion at all and I watched it pretty closely back then.
So I think it's a matter -- and, by the way, the security clearance that Hillary Clinton had should tell us something, too. This is a new era. I think a fresh start. We should give this president some room.
CUOMO: All right, a couple of points. One, as you know, after what happened with the Kennedys, LBJ put in the anti-nepotism law, so you do have a legal reason to not want to see him put his kids in high posts because it's illegal. You're not allowed to.
The ethical question would be it's not just his kid, it's his kids who are running this company of his, and there's a concern about a conflict between what he does as president to help the country and what might happen just to help the business. Isn't that a realistic concern?
KING: Well, I think it is a realistic concern. But listening to the tone of Donald Trump when he told America that he hadn't even thought -- didn't know what the salary was for President of the United States, and he said well, no, I won't take the salary unless the law requires me to take one dollar a year.
His interests will go completely to the United States of America. He's got a huge empire that he's built that needs to be operated and run efficiently. I don't -- I don't know how you could ever get to that point where you had to assure everybody in the public that there wasn't some kind of crossover of knowledge base that would be helpful to the Trump empire. But I do not think it's unethical. I think that what's really ethical is him suspending his business endeavors to serve our country.
CUOMO: And we'll have to see what that looks like. It's hard to see how he can divorce himself from the country -- from the business based on what it is.
KING: Chris, I would -- Chris, I would -- I would say from my own experience -- I started a construction company 42 years ago. It's within -- actually, they dispatched equipment out of my house today. My mind is not in that business at all. My son runs that, he owns it, and it's completely his. And I watch equipment come and go and talk to him about some of the things they're doing, but I'm not engaged in that at all.
CUOMO: Well, point taken.
KING: And so, I can see how he's going to do that. CUOMO: Point taken. I would argue that this is different, but we'll have to see what it looks like. Let me ask you about you, Congressman. Are you considering joining the cabinet, taking a position within the administration? Have you been approached?
KING: Well, that's not -- that would have to come if there were an offer and I'm open to having discussion with the Trump administration. There's been a little bit of communication along the way and some rumors that float around. But at this point I would just say they're focused on some -- some of the cabinet positions that I think we'll see unfold here in the next few days or weeks, and then we'll see what happens after that.
But I have, I think, great relations with most of the people that are very close to Donald Trump. I like them. I've worked with them for years. I respect their intelligence and their principles and their ideology. And if there's a -- if the president calls you and asks you to serve, you have to take that request very, very seriously.
[07:35:10] CUOMO: All right, so we'll wait and see what comes your way. You can get back to us on that. Last issue for us this morning. Kobach, one of the guys -- Secretary of State out of Kansas, architect of immigration laws. He's helping out the administration in its transition planning on immigration.
One of the ideas that he has put forth that may come back into the American legal system is a registry for Muslim immigrants. Now, that is a big red flag for a lot of civil liberties people. That's why it was taken out in 2011. The registry was put in place after 9/11 -- taken out in 2011 because it was seen as potentially abusive of people's rights.
Do you favor a registry for Muslim immigrants in this country?
KING: You know, it's not that hard to do.
CUOMO: I know it's not that hard to do. Is it -- is it right to do?
KING: Yes, I think under these circumstances. I haven't -- I haven't digested this thing and looked at the aspects of it. I'd want to be careful before I walk into something because I don't want to be stepping into unintended consequences. But on its -- on its face, if we're bringing refugees into the United States and the U.N. has the records that say these are Muslim refugees and we deny that knowledge to ourselves, I think that's --
CUOMO: Not just refugees. They're saying any immigrants --
KING: I understand.
CUOMO: -- from target countries who they believe may sponsor terrorism, who are Muslim, would have to register here. And the men would have to come forward and have interviews on a regular basis. Does that sound like the America to you?
KING: I'd say this. If the choice is to shut down all immigration from countries where -- that sponsor -- I'll say countries that spawn terrorism. If that's our choice -- or to register Muslims coming in -- take a look at the balance of this and see what the results are. I don't want to think that's a crazy idea.
CUOMO: But that is not the choice, Congressman.
KING: I know.
CUOMO: We don't have to shut it all down or have them all register. Those are just two potentially bad choices.
KING: OK, then the -- then the third choice is leave ourselves vulnerable without any knowledge base or any way of tracking, and have these terrorists pop up in this country in city after city killing the American people. So, I --
CUOMO: But you do have a way of tracking them, Congressman, and they don't pop up killing American people on any kind of measurable, you know, threatening basis.
KING: Except to the families who are grieving their loved ones. And -- no, I think this is significant and it's growing. And we should always be heading off these problems early, before they get big and before they get out of control, and before they have a political support base in them.
So -- and I spent time in Geneva working the UN High Commission on Refugees. I've been -- gone down through their data and been briefed by them and we can do a lot better job. I moved this to the refugee side of this discussion, but I think that's where America is focused right now. We can do a lot better job of making sure that we don't bring refugees into this country that are likely to turn into terrorists.
Europe is a model. If we look at Europe, the mistakes -- for the model of mistakes that have been and now you're seeing the backlash all over that country. You're seeing violence in the streets all over Europe because they did too much of this and left themselves too vulnerable. I don't want America to be vulnerable.
KING: But I do want to take a good look at Kris Kobach's idea.
CUOMO: Nobody wants America to be vulnerable, but there are unique problems in Europe. They have contiguous borders. They have -- they let in, exponentially, more refugees than we do so there's a lot still to be figured out.
Congressman Steve King, thank you very much for joining us, as always.
KING: Thank you, Chris, appreciate it.
CUOMO: Poppy, just a point for the audience. There is no significant growing trend of refugees --
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Exactly.
CUOMO: -- killing people in America.
CUOMO: Just so we know that.
HARLOW: Exactly, exactly, point of fact. Can't dispute that. Chris, important conversation. Thank you very much.
Coming up, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is one name being floated as Donald Trump's press secretary. With her history of controversial comments, what kind of White House spokesperson would she make? We'll talk about it, next.
[07:42:50] HARLOW: Donald Trump back on Twitter this morning and taking another hit on one of his favorite targets, the media. This morning it is "The New York Times".
Here to discuss, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter and CNN media analyst Bill Carter. Good morning, gentlemen.
BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Good morning.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Morning.
HARLOW: So, let's pull up the tweets. He is up early. He is watching the programs. Here is what he says. "The failing @nytimes story is so totally wrong on transition. It is going so smoothly. Also, I have spoken to many foreign leaders."
Then he tweets, "I am not trying to get 'top level security clearance' for my children. This was a typically false news story." And, there's many more.
This, in the context of the fact that last night Hope Hicks, his spokeswoman, said he's down for the night. Then he takes his family out to dinner at the 21 Club, leaving the press behind for the second time in the week and one-half that he's been president-elect. Why should this matter, Brian, to the American public?
STELTER: Yes, he might enjoy irritating the press by ditching us and heading out without us. But, normally, presidents and presidents- elect travel with a protected press pool because those journalists are keeping track of the president on behalf of the American people.
It doesn't matter that he went to dinner with his family, but it is good to know where he went, how long he was out for, and if anything happened while he was out. If anyone confronted him, if there were protestors, if there were fans. All of that information is helpful to know. These reporters keep track of the first draft of history and that's why it matters not just for us, but for the viewers. CUOMO: He seems to be having a struggle, the president-elect, separating what matters to him personally versus what matters to the position. These tweets this morning are irrelevant. He's good at pushing back against the media but this is not what we've seen a president-elect do. And it's not because of Twitter as a mechanism of communication, it's what he focuses on. Is this something that's going to be a legitimate point of concern for his ability to focus on what he needs to, going forward?
CARTER: Well, it's been the same, pretty much, throughout the campaign. This is -- he's sort of a mercurial personality. He's not paying attention to the big picture very often. The small picture gets him -- gets his attention enormously. Plus, he's not particularly fact-based. So if something comes out and he says it isn't true, we don't know whether that's true or not because we've seen him constantly saying things -- that didn't happen and that didn't happen and that did happen. So --
[07:45:10] HARLOW: To Chris' point about the office that he now holds versus the person, right? He was -- it was personal for him when he was the candidate.
HARLOW: Now he's the president-elect. It's a totally different ballgame.
CARTER: It should be. You would think it's going to be. I think he's still kind of in that mode. We'll see if he can transition. Everything is about a transition, though.
CARTER: There's nobody that's ever been in this position before, I don't think, where he has had no experience at all in dealing with this kind of thing.
CUOMO: And he's got people around who don't have any experience --
CARTER: And they have no experience.
CUOMO: -- so it makes the people you put around you very important.
HARLOW: So important.
CUOMO: Brian, one of the positions that's getting a lot of buzz is press secretary. Laura Ingraham -- I've known her a long time. You know, I think she's very formidable, especially with certain political base identity that she has. But why do we care so much who the press secretary is?
STELTER: She is the conduit -- the liaison between the press corps -- the people in the White House press briefing room and the White House administration. So she will be the public face of this White House, along with Donald Trump and a few others. She has indicated she is interested in the job. She's also interested in the White House communications job, which is more strategic.
One way or another, though, it seems like she will end up in the administration, unless there's some surprise coming down the road. She's been out there in interviews indicating her interest.
CUOMO: Big deal?
HARLOW: Yes, what's the big deal?
STELTER: The big deal is because she's been bashing the media for years.
HARLOW: But what does the American public know about her?
CARTER: Well, it underscores the fact that there's going to be a combat, I think, with the media because she has said that media that criticizes conservative point of view -- not just that they're wrong, but they're anti-American. So she has really attacked people for disagreeing with her.
STELTER: And questioned the patriotism of journalists.
CARTER: And the patriotism of journalists. I mean, it's a signal that this is going to be combat and hostility.
STELTER: And we've seen half a dozen signs of this so far. In the week since he was elected we've seen half a dozen signs --
STELTER: -- whether it's tweeting about "The New York Times", ditching the press pool, not giving interviews or having a press conference in the first week. Half a dozen signs that he is going to continue to be hostile.
CUOMO: He won't stop doing that until it stops working for him, so we'll have to see what happens.
STELTER: It's all about the approval ratings, right?
CUOMO: Absolutely, and we'll see what the first --
STELTER: We'll see what his approval ratings are --
CUOMO: Megyn Kelly making her rounds, on with Anderson Cooper tonight. In this book there's a lot of buzz about the victimization of Megyn Kelly, as she sees it, by Donald Trump. Is there any truth to this suggestion that in the book she tells a story about hearing that Trump was upset about what he was supposedly going to be asked in a debate early on about him and women? Is that story in the book?
STELTER: Yes. It seemed like he was working the refs ahead of that famous first debate where she asked him, in the first question, about his record --
CUOMO: Sure. STELTER: -- of misogyny. So it seems like he had some indication of what the question might be.
CUOMO: She puts that in her book --
STELTER: That's right.
CUOMO: -- but she never mentioned it.
HARLOW: She also says --
CUOMO: She never mentioned it to her audience, though.
STELTER: That's right. It was --
CUOMO: And when she was going after CNN about Donna Brazile, and rightly so, she never brought this up in context of balance about what Trump may have known about questions.
STELTER: That is right. It seems like she was withholding it for the book. Now, Bill and I both worked for "The New York Times" and we both wrote books. We both had to give up details we were learning for our books --
STELTER: -- before we went and said, oops, in "The New York Times" because that's how it works. If you've got a scoop, you've got to share it with the audience.
CUOMO: If you're a journalist. If you're a journalist.
STELTER: But, Megyn Kelly chose not to share it.
CUOMO: If you're a journalist. The question is, is that not her standard because she's really a commentator?
CARTER: Well, she -- yes. Look, she's crossed over as a pretty serious interviewer, but in this context you really have to say what was her motivation? Is her motivation to sell books, to make herself more famous, to get a big contract? All the -- all of these are questions.
And I also wonder why doesn't she point out that she had every opportunity when she did a one-on-one with Trump later -- a personal interview -- that she could have brought up these facts. She could have said why did you bully me, why did you try to degrade me, and she didn't do it then. She didn't do it then. She did it in the book, instead.
STELTER: I think you're being too tough on her, though. She's been a voice of reason on "FOX". She is a journalist and she's been doing a standout job, speaking out about what the consequences of a bullying President Trump are.
CUOMO: I'm just saying when you know something about one side and you know something about the other, you say both.
CUOMO: You don't play to advantage and you don't play to advantage for yourself and make yourself the story. That's not what journalists do, either. Anyway, gentlemen, as always, appreciate it.
CUOMO: Thank you very much. President-elect Donald Trump facing conflicts of interest as soon as he heads into the Oval Office. But remember, we've never had a president like him before with the kind of business interests that he brings in that go all around the globe. What is the right level of disclosure -- next.
[07:53:05] HARLOW: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Donald Trump is facing several potential conflicts of interest due to his many, many businesses and his business ties around the globe. How could his new title, President-elect and then President, affect all of that?
Susanne Craig is a government and politics reporters at "The New York Times" with a fascinating new story out about exactly this. She joins me now.
We're going to play with the magic wall. So, let's talk about -- there you have Trump and his family and all of the businesses. So let's begin with the glaring one -- the brand new D.C. hotel that they opened up that he went and cut the ribbon at just a few weeks before the election. They've leased it from the government. They pay $250,000 a month in rent a month -- that's a lot of money -- and he rents it from the General Services Administration.
The issue here is guess who's in charge of appointing the head of the General Services Administration -- him.
SUSANNE CRAIG, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS REPORTER, NY TIMES: The president is. It's this incredible situation where you've got a property -- a Trump property where they're going to be having to negotiate with an -- with an agency where the president appoints the head of the agency.
And the GSA, the agency involved, has already said that they're looking at this and that they're going to be putting things in place and just sort of putting it on their radar in order to avoid and try and avoid any potential conflicts. But it's already right there, just blocks away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue --
CRAIG: -- this new hotel.
HARLOW: All right. He's been in a number of legal discussions with lawsuits around unionization, right, and the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB, which runs -- represents these unions, basically. They've been in a legal battle now for a long time, especially in Las Vegas. The culinary union there, Trump lost that battle. They're going back and forth with them.
It's not the only one. There are other labor union disputes.When you look at what could happen there in terms of who oversees and staffs and heads the NLRB, again, his business interests are directly tied to them.
[07:55:00] CRAIG: Yes, and this is a hotel in Las Vegas that he owns with another individual. The National Labor Board -- it's appointed by the president and involvement in their ruling. They have rulings, potentially, before and against various of his workers. In this case, they ruled against him just days before the election.
HARLOW: So what will happen as president? I mean, it's not all sorted out yet.
CRAIG: It's not all sorted out, which is going to be interesting and I'm sure all these agencies and government entities are looking at it and trying to put things in place. But it's going to be -- it's going to be messy.
HARLOW: Is it fair to say these agencies have never had to deal with something like this before in a president?
CRAIG: Pretty safe to say.
HARLOW: Pretty safe to say, all right. Let's move on to -- we've heard this a lot, the family --
HARLOW: -- and the blind trust. Who will run the businesses? You know, Rudy Giuliani, on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper this weekend, said, basically, you've got to trust the president. You've got to have trust in him and that he will do right by this because he said he can't put his kids out of work.
Now, here's the thing. Federal law actually exempts the president and the vice president, right, Susanne, from not profiting from their own businesses. They can, they just don't have to disclose it. But there's something else called the emoluments clause. What is that? Why does it matter?
CRAIG: Well, that -- it's interesting and you mentioned something at the outset, which was the word "blind trust". There -- right now, the way it's being discussed, there will be no blind trust or the children will be in charge of it and that's not blind. In order for the trust to be blind --
CRAIG: -- you've got to -- you have to not know what's in it. It's like somebody once said to me --
HARLOW: They're all serving on his transition team. CRAIG: Exactly. It's like somebody said to me it's like putting a gold watch in a box and then pretending you don't know the gold watch is there. You know it's there. But there are still things even though there won't be a blind trust come. He's not subject to that while other lawmakers and government employees potentially are if they have these massive holdings.
But there are other federal laws that potentially could come into play, including bribery law. And then, the one that you mentioned which is the receiving of payments not only from foreign governments but from individuals with ties to foreign governments.
HARLOW: For example, China.
CRAIG: For example, China. One just immediate -- one mediate point of interest that we were looking at was the Bank of China as a tenant in the -- at the Trump Tower. And also, partnerships that Donald Trump has with real estate ventures.
CRAIG: But one of them has a massive loan in from the Bank of China.
HARLOW: And rent ain't cheap in any Trump Tower, I can tell you that. Hey, before I let you go, there are these three big buildings on the Upper West Side of Manhattan right by the Hudson River and I've seen them for years driving up the highway. They say Trump -- they're all Trump buildings.
HARLOW: Now, the name is no longer?
CRAIG: No longer. That's an interesting situation where it's buildings that are managed by Donald Trump. He doesn't own them and the tenants have decided they want the names off. They want the Trump name off the building.
HARLOW: And so that's happening?
HARLOW: All right. It's a fascinating read in the "Times". Susanne, thank you very much.
CRAIG: Thank you.
HARLOW: We appreciate it. We are following a lot of news this morning. Let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people who are in and people who are out.
HARLOW: Power struggle at Trump Tower. SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You want to have a diplomat in charge of diplomacy. You don't want a bomb thrower.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be an honor to serve the country again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anybody better?
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Maybe me, I don't know.
CUOMO: Is Jared Kushner behind the transition trouble?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president is going to be judged on the results of this administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump needs to banish the Bannons of this world from his administration.
SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Talk is cheap and tweets are cheaper.
GLENN BECK, NATIONALLY-SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: The alt-right is real. It is truly terrifying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, November 16th, 8:00 in the East. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow joins us and we have our competing lists of President-elect Trump's --
CUOMO: -- tweets this morning.
HARLOW: Four, so far.
CUOMO: We have different ones circled. We think they mean different things. Very interesting immediate feedback from the top leader in our country.
Up first, there are no new cabinet hires coming out of President-elect Trump's transition so far, but there are a lot of pink slips going around. Why? Are there problems with the transition? Is it personality based, is it ideologically based? We have a lot of new reporting for you on that and we're going to get to it right away.
HARLOW: We are. Also, meanwhile, the president-elect went to dinner last night with his family in Manhattan. He can do that. Nice restaurant, 21 Club. But he did not let us know -- did not let the press know. This matters because it is the second time since he won the election that he breached that longstanding protocol. We'll get into all of it ahead this morning.
CNN has every angle covered, starting with Sunlen Serfaty, outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan. Good morning. SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Poppy. Well, this continues to be a rocky transition for President- elect Donald Trump.
Among those on his transition team who are now out is former congressman and a current CNN contributor, Mike Rogers, who had been one of the leading national security voices on the transition team for months. But he was closely aligned to former transition head, Chris Christie. But amid all of this, top transition officials are pushing back hard on all these reports, denying they're in disarray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: President-elect Donald Trump's transition team continues to turn over, now purging key members of their staff.
MIKE ROGERS, FORMER MEMBER OF TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: Sometimes in politics there are people who are in and people who are out.
SERFATY: Multiple sources saying Trump's son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, is at the center of the infighting.