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Trump Team Bans Lobbyists from Serving in Administration. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 17, 2016 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Beginning of any transition like this has turmoil.
[05:58:22] KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I know the president-elect is very happy with how transition is going.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No administration is ready on day one. We weren't ready on day one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jared's someone the president-elect trusts very much.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He said, "I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you, and I still may."
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to drain the swamp.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to have any lobbyists involved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you bring in the outsider, in the end, you get a better product.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: America is worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, November 7th -- 17th. Going back in time. Six o'clock in the east. Chris has the day off. John Berman is joining me. Great to have you.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm very much in the present, just so you know.
CAMEROTA: That's good. I'm glad one of us is.
Up first, Donald Trump's transition team taking steps to, quote, drain the swamp in Washington, if you think lobbyists are the big problem. Trump announcing a ban on lobbyists serving in the administration and a five-year lobbying ban once officials leave government.
BERMAN: And as for the inner workings of the transition, the Trump team says things are going just fine, thank you. Enough with the reports of chaos and turmoil. But still, the transition has yet to officially contact some federal agencies, including the Pentagon.
This as we're learn some surprising names, including one-time Trump skeptics, names of folks being considered for key cabinet posts. We are covering this from every conceivable angle. Let's go first to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, outside Trump Tower here in New York City -- Sunlen.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, too, John.
Well, the Trump team really trying to reign in and reclaim the narrative around their transition right now, one that has been plagued by reports of infighting. Making this big move today, a ban on lobbying. That would apply to all people being vetted for a potential Trump administration and really harkens back to one of Donald Trump as a candidate's core promise: that he will shake up Washington.
SERFATY (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump's transition team now moving to uphold this campaign promise.
TRUMP: We are going to drain the swamp.
SERFATY: Unveiling a new lobbying ban, requiring anyone under consideration for a job in the Trump administration to sign a written pledge to terminate their lobbying. And when they leave office, they will be banned from being a lobbyist for five years.
MILLER: We talk about draining the swamp. This is one of the first steps.
SERFATY: But as they make headway on some aspects of the transition, other parts are still slow moving. Trump's team has not yet contacted the Pentagon, State Department or other federal agencies to inform them about the transition, with major Washington agencies saying they're still left in the dark.
But Trump's team says they're moving forward on this today, readying to announce their so-called landing teams, made up of transition staff that will deploy and interact with the Department of Justice, State, Defense and national security with other agencies to follow.
SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: We made tremendous progress in giving the president-elect some ideas about how to move forward with his core team and potential members of his cabinet.
SERFATY: Today in Trump Tower, a flurry of meetings lined up for the president-elect, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a former Trump detractor...
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: That's not who we want as president.
SERFATY: ... now under consideration for secretary of state.
Meantime, new reports suggest that Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, could likely wind up with top national security clearance and become a key adviser to Trump. Trump's team rejecting concerns over nepotism and a potential conflict of interest.
SPICER: Jared's, obviously, been a very important part of this campaign, and he's someone that the president-elect trusts very much. But what that role is, like anyone else, is going to be up to the president-elect.
SERFATY: The transition team continuing to dispute reports of internal disarray and infighting.
CONWAY: It's false to say it's not going well.
SERFATY: This as the head of the transition, Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence, sat down with Joe Biden Wednesday. Biden promising his successor that he'll be available 24/7 for advice.
BIDEN: No administration is ready on day one. We weren't ready on day one. But I'm confident on day one everything will be in good hands.
SERFATY: And later today President-elect Donald Trump will be meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe here at Trump Tower. This is notable because this is his first face-to-face, in-person meeting with a foreign leader since winning the presidency -- John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. Sunlen, thanks so much for all of that.
We want to talk about it now. Let's bring in our political panel. We have CNN political commentator and political anchor for Time Warner Cable News, Errol Louis. We have "Washington Post" reporter Abby Phillip and CNN political analyst David Gregory. Great to have all of you.
Abby, I'll start with you, since we were just having this conversation. Donald Trump says he's going to ban lobbyists from serving in the White House. Isn't that already a law?
ABBY PHILLIP, REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": It is. He's basically just extending a policy that's been in place throughout the Obama administration.
CAMEROTA: President Obama started that.
PHILLIP: Yes. And he's continuing it. Which, I mean, he doesn't have to do that.
CAMEROTA: Wait a minute, but lobbyists can, at the same time, be a lobbyist and serve in the White House? PHILLIP: Well, not right now. But he's continuing the policy of
preventing him from doing that. He didn't have to do that to begin with, and I think there are a lot of people in the federal government who would complain that, "Hey, like, you know, you've got to have lobbyists. They know what they're talking about." But, you know, for the drain the swamp policy, I think this fits in.
BERMAN: And what he's doing is also extending the term after they leave the White House, which is they can't lobby so they can't make that money.
But David Gregory, you know, I feel like going after lobbyists is an easy target. Right? I mean, who's going to stand up for lobbyists? It's like rooting for the death star.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But it's consistent with his message. Then-President-elect Obama had a similar message, which is, I think, a reminder of the same effect that Obama had that Trump is having. A true outsider status and coming to Washington and saying, "Look, things are going to be different here."
And the Obama administration had some difficulties with that, keeping to it and keeping lobbyists outside of the fray. And I think that the Trump team will have a similar difficulty. But, this may speak to some of the discord with the Christie transition, in terms of who was brought into the fold initially and their lobbying credentials. But, again, there should be nothing surprising about this, given -- given what Trump has campaigned on and what his values were coming into Washington and wanted to shake things up.
CAMEROTA: But does that -- is that what drain the swamp means, Errol? Then is that it, or is it just all the corruption that not even lobbyists, in government?
[06:05:09] ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, politically speaking, drain the swamp means do something to push back the influence of the lobbyists. And so, you can do that a number of different ways. And so, in this case, you have one particular configuration.
Now, you know, does that mean lobbyists are going to be absent? If you have lobbyists running your transition committees, which is what Donald Trump has, and they are going to sort of set the framework and hire all the people, maybe their work is done and they don't need to actually, you know, dirty their hands with actually serving in the administration. They picked all the people who are now beholden to them to have those jobs in the administration.
BERMAN: And there are different kinds of swamps, aren't there? There is a swamp that's filled with lobbyists, and then there could be a swamp you could conceive of a swamp filled with family members, couldn't you? Because now there is this continuing notion that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law to Donald Trump, will end up in the administration.
The "Wall Street Journal" has a fascinating article this morning, which goes into great detail, saying that Kushner could end up with a senior advisor role within the White House which would be unprecedented, which some people say is against the law, though others say that the president himself would not be beholden to these nepotism laws. Still, it would be a big deal to have a family member serving in a senior role like that.
PHILLIP: I think lobbyists are one thing, and it's the easiest thing for average people and just sort of, like, rank and file and Americans to understand. But there are a lot of other ways. There is family members. There's Wall Street. I mean, we're talking about potentially senior officials who are coming straight from Wall Street into the Trump administration.
And the Kushner influence is very real and very significant right at this moment. He is the driving force of a lot of these changes we're seeing in the Trump transition, and I think that is a key signal that he's not going away any time soon. They will try to find some way for him to continue to be a part of this process.
GREGORY: But clearly, they're going to have to -- they'll have to deal with ethics laws. They'll have to deal with nepotism laws and, I suspect, you know, they will deal with that if he doesn't take any money, for example.
CAMEROTA: Then that's the loophole, right, David? I mean, if he doesn't take any money, then the nepotism law doesn't apply And he's not even a blood relative.
GREGORY: Right. And look, I mean, I actually don't think it's that unusual that an incoming president would want somebody that he really trusts, who has been a major adviser. And clearly, Kushner has been throughout this -- throughout the campaign and now in the early point of this administration.
You know, Valerie Jarrett, very close friend of the Obamas, had a senior adviser role almost without portfolio. She was a major liaison to the business community, but there was friction in the White House as a result of that, because she could go into so many different areas.
And, again, I think any president wants somebody that they're very comfortable with. If it's his son-in-law in this case, you know, he's going to find a way to bring him in.
BERMAN: But there are reasons -- there are reasons, though, that the nepotism laws are in place, and there are reasons that there has been resistance over the last 20 or 30 years or since the Kennedys, frankly, to have this in place, because you don't want the idea that you're doing business or doing government work to enrich your family.
And the Trumps have got to erect some barriers, if they're going to do this. They have to make clear that Ivanka's bracelet business isn't going to be benefitted by having Jared Kushner as part of the security.
LOUIS: Some of this is new and unprecedented. I mean, what you just described of the bracelet and the family members and the almost impossibility of creating a true blind trust for the assets of this particular president-elect. That's -- that's uncharted territory. That's a whole other category.
But everybody should -- anybody can Google 5-U.S.-3110 and look at the nepotism law, and it very clearly says that it applies to sons-in-law. So he cannot be an employee of the president.
CAMEROTA: What if he doesn't take any money?
LOUIS: Well, the money is not even the issue. It doesn't have anything to do with the salary. You can't -- you can't even appoint him to various commissions, according to the law. I mean, it's really a pretty crystal clear.
On the other hand, you can have the -- the president has the right to get, you know, advice and counsel with almost anybody in the world with regard to security clearance or anything else. So he can have his son-in-law or anybody else, give him all kind of different advice.
But very much like you said with Valerie Jarrett, it would be somebody sort of with that portfolio, kind of floating around, who can sort of talk to the president and give him advice and counsel. If he wants more than that, meaning running an agency, you know, having you know, dozens or even hundreds of employees and sort of making himself felt in that way throughout the government, that's off limits for family members.
PHILLIP: The argument here is that think that I think that we'll probably see this from the Trump camp, is that you're not going to ever stop the president from going home and consulting with his spouse about -- about what's going on in the world and what's going on with his policies in the White House.
And I think that we'll start to see this argument coming from Trump camp that, you know, if Jared Kushner is advising his father-in-law, talking to him about the world, talking to him about broad strategy issues, there's no way that a nepotism law could prevent that from being the case.
[06:10:04] BERMAN: Winning lets you do a lot of things. Right? Winning the White House gives you wide latitude to get a lot done that you wanted. Also gives you the latitude to meet with people who you may not have liked very much or may not have liked you very much during the campaign.
If you look at the list of people visiting Trump Tower today, there's one name that pops out. It's Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina. She is going to meet with Donald Trump, David Gregory. All of a sudden, people have been floating over the last 20 hours that Nikki Haley could end up with a serious job like secretary of state. This is someone who was highly critical of Donald Trump during the campaign, and Donald Trump was pretty harsh on her, too.
GREGORY: Yes, well, I think this should be viewed as a positive sign. I mean, the politics is over. The campaign is over. Now it's time to lead. I think that Americans, no matter their political stripe, should be pleased to see that Donald Trump is thinking about his political opponents, as well as his friends.
He's thinking a little bit more about diversity instead of just white men around him and is looking into the pool of talented governors around the country who actually have executive experience. This should be a reassuring sign for skeptics of Donald Trump, that he is going to people that are qualified for a position to serve in his government.
Now, again, a former governor, she'll be vetted. She'll be scrutinized in terms of views of the world and how she might be as secretary of state. But again, as a sitting governor with executive experience to run a major part of the government should be, I think, a reassuring sign to people.
CAMEROTA: OK, panel, thank you. Stick around.
Hillary Clinton delivering an emotional message to supporters in her first public appearance since conceding the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What Clinton said about her struggle to recover from last week's crushing defeat. That's next.
BERMAN: All right. Hillary Clinton made her first public appearance after conceding the election to Donald Trump last week. This was an emotional speech to supporters. She acknowledged it was a painful loss, but she pushed people to keep fighting for the cause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election. I am, too, more than I can ever express.
But as I said last week, our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and abo building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted. I ask you to stay engaged. Stay engaged on every level. We need you. America needs you. Your energy, your ambition, your talent. That's how we get through this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Want to bring back our panel: Errol Louis, Abby Phillip, David Gregory. This was a speech to the Children's Defense Fund. A speech she had agreed to give before the election. It was also the first group that then-president-elect Bill Clinton spoke to in 1992. So the symbolism here. What was supposed to be the symbolism for Hillary Clinton is obvious. It didn't turn out that way.
And Abby, I mean, you know, you see Hillary Clinton there. Losing sucks. Right? I don't think there's any other way to say it. But she's trying to prove that she's fighting through it.
PHILLIPS: Yes. And this is also the place where she began her career after law school. So the meaning for her is pretty significant here. And I think that probably added to the emotion. I think she was trying to send a signal in what she's likely to be engaged with after the dust has settled from this election.
Reverting back to some of the causes of her youth and some of the causes of her early career and also sending an important message to her supporters, who she knows are devastated. Some of them, like her, didn't want to get out of bed for the last week and need some motivation to keep going. Because Democrats are really strapping in for an extended period of powerlessness in Washington.
And that's something that is going to take a lot of energy to sort of persevere through so that they can get -- go into the next cycle with some momentum.
CAMEROTA: And Errol, she talked about things we can all relate to after some setback, which is not wanting to get off the couch. So let me play for you what she says she's been experiencing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I will admit coming here tonight wasn't the easiest thing for me. There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do is just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house, again.
CAMEROTA: I think helpful and healing for her supporters and Democrats who feel the exact same way. To hear that she's going through that.
LOUIS: Well, maybe. I have to say what was missing from the speech was any sense of sort of responsibility, either for her personally. Understandable. We'll give her a pass on that.
But the Democratic leadership has got to figure out what becomes of the old Obama coalition, which clearly was not enough to sustain or transform into a Hillary Clinton winning coalition. They've got to figure out what they are going to do.
CAMEROTA: So not too soon for that in this -- in her first public appearance, she should have come out and been like, "Here's what we learned"?
LOUIS: No, no. I mean, I'm just pointing out, it wasn't in the speech, but it's a really pressing issue. I think what she signaled by leaving that out, at least in this speech, is that she's not going to be part of that discussion, and it's going to be up to others. It's going to be up to Chuck Schumer, maybe Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, the leadership of the Democratic Party. They're going to have to figure out what they stand for, where they're
going to go, how they're going to put it back together, again. And I think that's partly why Nancy Pelosi has not been able to sort of close the deal with her own conference. She appears to have the votes, but the fact that she didn't get an early and unanimous vote of support, it means that people are starting to wonder. You know, you lose four straight elections in Congress, something has gone wrong. Clearly, something went wrong in the presidential race, as well.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, David.
GREGORY: Yes, I think -- I mean, I think Errol is right. I have a slightly different view. I don't think the Obama coalition is dead by any means. I think she got very close. She underperformed, which I think speaks more to her campaign and her appeal and the negatives about her as a candidate, and I think Democrats will recognize that.
But I think to Errol's point, the Clintons, as harsh as it is to say, are now part of the past of the Democratic elites. They are not really going to chart the course to lead the way forward. That's going to go to others. Younger people in the party, different kinds of visionaries, because I think what's critical about that Obama coalition, it speaks to the demographic change in the country, that speaks to the future demography in America.
[06:20:22] That will have to be harnessed by a different later in the Democratic Party. And the extent to which Hillary Clinton has a voice, I think she will have a voice. She still has 62 million votes and a lot of supporters. I think she's going to have to very carefully calibrate how she uses that influence in the shorter term before it really, that influence tends to fade.
BERMAN: The problem, David Gregory, is where is this next generation of Democratic leaders of which you speak, because they are not right now in any elected office. I mean, you look at the Democrats right now who are in power, they're all people who have been there for a long, long time.
Chuck Schumer, who just took over the Democrats in the senate, he's not a young guy. And we don't know where he's going to choose to fight. Bernie Sanders, who spoke last night, spoke about the need to stand up to the White House on issues like the incoming White House and issues like Steve Bannon. He's not a young guy.
And Abby, I don't know that we know where Democrats are going to choose to fight. The last eight or nine days haven't really given us much of a roadmap. Yes, the Steve Bannon appointment, there seems to be near unanimity among the Democratic Party that they're going to stand up and fight for that. But they're just going to make a lot of noise, because they're not going to get anywhere on that.
PHILLIPS: Yes, and I think it's actually very symbolic. One of the things that I heard in the last week talking to a lot Democrats is that they feel like Bannon and everything that he represents is a huge road block for what they know they have to do, which is compromise on some things that they need to put on the table so that they can move forward in the next cycle. And those are economic issues. They can't get to economic issues if they are constantly being bombarded with this perception that the Trump White House is racist or xenophobic or sexist or what have you.
So you have labor leaders basically saying, "Look, we need to deal with this first so that we can talk about trade, so we can talk about infrastructure, so we can talk about taxes." And I think that's where they're headed. Not a lot of Democrats are going to be very enthusiastic about this posture of compromise. But it's something that I think congressional Democrats believe that is not only necessary, but they have no choice at the end of the day.
CAMEROTA: Errol, very, very quickly, you know New York politics better than most anybody. What's Chuck Schumer and Donald Trump's relationship going to be like going forward?
LOUIS: Chuck Schumer is going to be focused, I think, like a laser on trying to make sure that his marginal members, some of the people who are now in what were Trump states can survive 2018. I think that's going to be 100 percent of what he's worried about for the next 24 months. His relationship with Donald Trump will consist of, I think trying to steal some issues from them. There actually is a fair amount of common ground on trade and a lot of other issues. If it could help Schumer maintain his caucus, that's what he's going to do.
SCHUMER: It means compromise, perhaps. All right, guys. Thanks so much.
BERMAN: So it was a deadly police shooting that shocked the country as it unfolded live on social media. Now, a Minnesota police officer will appear before a judge to face charges. We're going to get the family's reaction next on NEW DAY.
CAMEROTA: Time now for the five things to know for your new day.
Donald Trump's transition team pledging to continue the Obama ban on lobbyists and impose a five-year lobbying ban on anyone leaving the administration. Today he's set to meet with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Japan's prime minister.
BERMAN: Hillary Clinton urged supporters to stay engaged for the sake of children and families. This was at a dinner in Washington. Secretary Clinton acknowledged returning to the spotlight was not so easy. This was her first public appearance since conceding the election.
CAMEROTA: A second day of air strikes by the Syrian regime, unleashing a blood bath in Aleppo. At least 87 people, including four children, killed in the bombings. Russian officials claim they are not involved.
BERMAN: The man accused of setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey has been formally united on federal charges. Police say he planted bombs in September, injuring 31 people. He was captured two days later after that dramatic shootout with police. He is expected to be arraigned tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: Bob Dylan says he felt honored winning this year's Nobel Prize for Literature but not enough to make it to the ceremony next month in Sweden. The 75-year-old singer cites preexisting commitments in a letter to the Swedish Academy as the reason he is unable to attend.
BERMAN: You show up for the Nobel Prize.
CAMEROTA: I would...
BERMAN: I would, too.
CAMEROTA: ... Nobel Committee.
BERMAN: All right. For more on the five things to know, go to Newday.CNN.com for the very latest.
CAMEROTA: Well, his death horrified the country. Philandro Castile, you'll remember he was shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer during that routine traffic stop last summer. The deadly encounter was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend.
Now the officer faces charges, and the victim's family is speaking out. CNN's Rosa Flores is tracking all of the latest developments.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, good morning.
The Ramsey County attorney being very, very confident that he can prosecute for a second-degree manslaughter charges and also two secondary charges. And he says that one of the key pieces of evidence not that viral video that actually started recording 40 seconds after the seventh shot was fired, but the dash cam video of the police officer that captured everything. The before, the during and the after of that traffic stop.
JERONIMO YANEZ, POLICE OFFICER: I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand up.
FLORES (voice-over): Philandro Castile's final words to police officer Jeronimo Yanez, according to court records, "I wasn't reaching for it." Meaning his gun.
DIAMOND REYNOLDS, GIRLFRIEND OF PHILANDRO CASTILE: He let the officer know that he was -- he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm.
FLORES: His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed the tense traffic stop this summer. Her 4-year-old daughter sitting in the back seat.
REYNOLDS: Oh, my God. Please don't tell me he's dead. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!
FLORES: Castile's death sparking protests in Minnesota and across the country, demonstrators asking for justice.
YANEZ: Keep your hands where they are.
REYNOLDS: I will, sir. No worries. I will.
FLORES: Wednesday, Officer Yanez was charged with second degree manslaughter...