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Trump Team Bans Lobbyists from Serving in Administration. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired November 17, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off this morning. John Berman joins me here. Great to have you.
[07:00:08] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good to be here.
CAMEROTA: So they promised to drain the swamp in Washington. Now when Trump team says they're starting to do it. Anyone who has worked as a lobbyist before must show a, quote, "termination of lobbying form" while being vetted for a cabinet post, and if you leave the government job, there will be now a five-year lobbying ban.
BERMAN: This as we're learning some new information about who may be on the short list for cabinet posts, including some surprising names being considered.
Let's go first to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty live here at Trump Tower here in New York. Good morning, Sunlen.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John.
The Trump team really trying to reign in and reclaim the narrative around their transition right now. Not only the reports of the infighting but reports that their transition team was stacked with D.C. insiders and lobbyists. Now making this big announcement today, this ban on lobbyists, which would apply to not only their transition team, but to those being vetted for a potential Trump administration. Really trying here to return to one of the core elements that ignited his campaign as promised that he would clean up Washington.
SERFATY (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump's transition team now moving to uphold this campaign promise.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
JASON MILLER, TRUMP COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: 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, Donald Trump will be meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe here at Trump Tower. And this notable, because this is his very first face-to-face, in-person meeting with a world leader since becoming the president-elect -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Sunlen, thank you very much.
Here to discuss everything this morning is part of Donald Trump's transition team, former U.S. Congressman from Michigan and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra. Congressman Hoekstra is under possible consideration for CIA director. Good morning, Congressman.
PETE HOEKSTRA (R), FORMER MICHIGAN REPRESENTATIVE: Hey, good morning.
CAMEROTA: So, do you want the job as CIA director?
HOEKSTRA: I'd take -- I'd take the job if Mr. Trump decided that someone with my kind of background and experience is what he wanted in the job. You know, this is a decision that Mr. Trump and the transition team will make, and I'll just kind of wait until they make that decision.
CAMEROTA: Of course you will. And have they reached out to you?
HOEKSTRA: Yes. I've talked to people in the campaign about, in the transition team on a regular basis about a number of different things. But, you know, I'm not going to get into any specifics as to what we have talked about and what we have not talked about.
CAMEROTA: For the record, are you part of the transition team?
HOEKSTRA: At this point in time, I'm an informal adviser to the transition team, and we're kind of working through the details as to what role I may play in the transition team, as well.
[07:05:05] CAMEROTA: OK. So there's a lot that's undecided. Let's talk about some of the things that, if you were to be named CIA director what your policy would be. If you were the head of the CIA, do -- would you use waterboarding as a tactic, as Donald Trump has said he would like to?
HOEKSTRA: Well, I think, No. 1, if you move into the CIA and those types of things, the responsibility of the CIA, the responsibility of the national security apparatus is to provide this president with the direction and the options that he needs to keep America safe. Gathering the intelligence and those types of things to develop a level of confidence with the American people and develop a working relationship with the House and the Senate.
HOEKSTRA: And specific questions as to waterboarding and all of those types of things, you know, Congress has spoken on that. And at this point in time, you can't do it. And so if there was a decision to move in another direction and to perhaps do that, that would be a process that you'd have to work through with Congress, and you'd probably do it -- you'd probably do it in secret, and you probably wouldn't do it through the public process. CAMEROTA: But are you personally comfortable with using waterboarding
as a tactic?
HOEKSTRA: The -- you know, I was part of the Gang of Eight back in 2004, when Republicans and Democrats on the Hill were briefed about this practice. It never took place while I was on the Gang of Eight, you know.
But at that point in time, we as a Gang of Eight, Republicans and Democrats supported President Bush using those tactics at specific times where he would inform the Congress as to when he would be using it. Like I said, he never came to us and asked to use it while I was there. And so, moving forward in the future, that's a hypothetical and we'll get there...
CAMEROTA: Well, no, it's not a hypothetical. I'm actually asking what your position is. You have a position. So what I hear you saying is that you were part of the gang that supported using it. You would be OK with it.
HOEKSTRA: I was part of the gang, which included Nancy Pelosi and others, that supported that back in 2003, 2004, yes.
CAMEROTA: And do you still support it?
HOEKSTRA: Well, again, you have to take a look at specifically what is going on and what the circumstances are at any given situation as to where, where you would use it. I think that this will be a clear discussion between this administration and Congress to develop a long- term strategy in terms of how do we get the information that a president and a Congress needs to make the right decision to keep America safe.
CAMEROTA: OK, next question. Now that it has been confirmed that Russia did intervene in the U.S. election, what should the U.S. and President-elect Trump's response be?
HOEKSTRA: The -- they should -- No. 1, we shouldn't tell the Russians that we are going to retaliate. One of these days, maybe the Russians will wake up, and they'll be taking a look at something and they'll say, "Wow, I wonder what happened here? How did this happen?" And they'll be left wondering whether it was the United States, whether it was some other hacking group, or whether it was something else that caused a problem within the U.S. -- or, excuse me, within Russia.
But you don't send signals as to what you are going to do. There may be direct discussions between this president and Mr. Putin. There are a number of options. But what you don't do is you don't telegraph to the Russians and to others exactly what you may or may not do.
Cyberspace right now is a new -- is a new battlefield where the rules have not been very well defined. The boundaries haven't been very well set. And that, those boundaries, those rules are going to be set probably during this next administration.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Hoekstra, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY. Nice to talk to you.
HOEKSTRA: All right, great. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Let's get over to John.
BERMAN: Really interesting interview.
All right. You were talking about Russia. Russia is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered this move. A spokesman for his foreign ministry claims the ICC failed to meet expectations and never became a truly independent international authority. Philippines President Duterte is also vowing to pull out. He wants to join what he calls a new world order headed up by China and Russia.
CAMEROTA: The engineer of that train that crashed in Hoboken, New Jersey, appears to have suffered from an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. Federal investigators say they're considering that possibility as they work to determine just what caused Thomas Gallagher to speed up. The 18-year veteran says he has no memory of the crash. The crash killed a woman standing on the platform and injured about 100 passengers back in September.
BERMAN: Heart-pounding video out of Florida. A big brother jumps into action as his 11-month-old brother falls from a changing table. Wow! He caught the baby before he could hit the ground. Sign that kid up. Their mother said she turned her back for just a second when this all happened. The 9-year-old said he's not a hero -- he's wrong. He's just doing what any big brother would have done.
[07:10:28] CAMEROTA: Look at those reflexes!
BERMAN: I hope my sons are watching this.
CAMEROTA: That is wonderful. What a great big brother.
All right. President Obama is in Germany on his foreign farewell tour talking to Angela Merkel and other world leaders about his successor. So we will hear from the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, on the president's message. Next.
BERMAN: President Obama is in Berlin today, meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. This is part of his final international trip as president tomorrow. They're going to be joined by other world leaders, and part of the conversation will undoubtedly be about the incoming president, President-elect Donald Trump.
[07:15:04] Joining us now from Berlin, hopefully, is White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Josh, do we have you with us?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, John, can you hear me?
BERMAN: I can hear you, and you look good zoomed in and zoomed out. Josh Earnest, let me ask you this. President Obama has called Angela Merkel his closest partner, really, on the international stage. So, what is the message he's bringing to his closest partner during this time which is truly a unique time in American history?
EARNEST: Well, John, I think the message for Chancellor Merkel and for the German people is that President Obama and the American people are committed to a strong relationship between our two countries. By effectively coordinating together, we've made our citizens safer. By coordinating effectively together, we have enhanced prosperity throughout our countries. We've also been able to advance our interests around the world.
And so the president is hopeful that that long bipartisan track record of close cooperation between the U.S. and Germany will continue into the next administration.
BERMAN: He's hopeful, but the question is, does he expect it to happen, Josh? Because much of the last year President Obama has spent saying that Donald Trump wasn't fit or qualified to be president; and for much of the last year, if you believe the reports, he's been reassuring world leaders who've been asking that he didn't think Donald Trump would win.
Now, Donald Trump is the president-elect. He did win the election. So, is it an odd position to be in for President Obama to be traveling the world right now, essentially serving the sort of ambassador for President-elect Trump. Trying to convince world leaders that everything is going to be OK.
EARNEST: Well, John, of course, the election didn't turn out the way that we hoped that it would. But what is also true is the president has institutional responsibilities to try to advance the interests of the American people in every single possible way that he can. And that's what he's done throughout the first seven years and ten months of his presidency; and that's what he is going to do for the last two months.
What policies President-elect Trump chooses to pursue is something that he and his team can speak to. What I can speak to and what President Obama will speak to today is how the United States and Germany have been able to advance our interests by working together. And we've done that in the field of national security; certainly, the United States and Germany are close partners when it comes to sharing intelligence. That's enhanced the security of the American people. It certainly enhanced the security of the homeland here in Germany, as well. We've been able to advance our interests by working together economically.
Again, there are strong ties between businesses in Germany and businesses in the United States, and that has expanded prosperity for both our countries and workers in both our countries. So those are just two examples of how the United States and Germany have been able to work effectively together under President Obama's leadership, and based on the relationship that he has built with Chancellor Merkel.
Hopefully, President Trump when he takes office will take it from here, but that -- but that will be up to him. He will certainly have a high standard to live up to. But, you know, the American people have entrusted him with the responsibility of preserving and advancing that relationship for the next four years.
BERMAN: You've been on this foreign trip for a few days. Can you speak to what concerns or questions you have heard from Greece first and now Germany about the incoming president.
EARNEST: Well, listen, John, based on the rhetoric of the campaign trail there continue to be a lot of questions about what kind of policies President-elect Trump will pursue. Only he and his team can speak to those.
What President Obama has -- the message that President Obama is here to deliver is that the United States is vested in and has benefitted from strong relationships with our allies in Europe. We've enhanced our national security. We have strengthened our economy.
You'll recall when President Obama took office eight years ago, the global economy was in a freefall. And no country around the world was facing a tougher challenge than we were in the United States. President Obama's first month in office, he U.S. economy lost 800,000 jobs.
But by working with the international community and making the right investments early on in his domestic policy, we have -- our economy has recovered. And our -- currently our economy is going through the longest streak of private sector job growth in our nation's history. That is a testament to the policies we put in place. It would not have been possible without strong relationships with countries around the world.
BERMAN: So as the president does travel the world and, in some cases, reassures foreign leaders about the next four years in this country, there's also the question about how people feel in the United States.
And last night, really, for the first time since she conceded we heard from Hillary Clinton. I want to play a little.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: There are also children who are afraid today. Like the little girl I met in Nevada who started to cry when she told me how scared she was that her parents would be taken away from her and deported. No child should have to live with fear like that. No child should be afraid to go to school because they're Latino or African- American or Muslim or because they have a disability. We should protect our children and help them love themselves and love others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, now after the election, Josh, what's your message to that little girl or other people who might be afraid?
EARNEST: Well, John, President Obama's had an opportunity to speak to this a little bit himself. And certainly, while he has served in office, he has recognized the responsibility that the American president has to make every American citizen feel included in our country's future, that they have a stake in our country's future and to make clear President Obama's belief and our collective belief that our country is stronger when every citizen in our country has an opportunity to contribute to the success of our country. Whether that's serving our military. Whether that is pursuing the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that is built into the DNA of the American people. That makes our country stronger. That makes our economy stronger. That expands prosperity and opportunity to every American.
President Obama has made clear throughout his presidency that every American citizen has a place in this country and has a place in this country's future.
The kind of tone that we have heard from President-elect Trump in his few public appearances since his election seem to hint at a possible change in tone from what -- the kind of rhetoric we saw so frequently on the campaign trail. But that's something that only President-elect Trump can speak to in terms of how he chooses to govern the country and how he chooses to fulfill the critically important symbolic responsibility of being a president who's interested in the -- in looking out for every single American.
BERMAN: Josh, I want to talk to you about you right now and what many people this morning are considering an abuse of power. How you, the White House press secretary, chose to call Vin Scully to alert him that he was being awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom. Let me play a little bit of the sound of this conversation right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Every year the president gives out something called the presidential Medal of Freedom.
VIN SCULLY, MEDAL OF FREEDOM RECIPIENT (via phone): Oh, yes.
EARNEST: It's the highest civilian honor that any president can give. This year he's going to give it to you.
SCULLY: Oh, my gosh. No.
EARNEST: Yes. So, you've had...
SCULLY: Are you sure? I'm just an old baseball announcer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. I've heard that so many times over the last few hours and I love it every time. You're a huge baseball fan, Josh, albeit a Royals fan, not a Dodgers fan. But what was that moment like for you?
EARNEST: It was a -- it was a real thrill. And it was one of the highlights of my tenure here in the White House. Having the opportunity to call Vin Scully and inform him of the significant honor that he was -- that the president had decided he should receive. And, you know, I call him Mr. Scully. I called him Mr. Scully in the
phone call, and he corrected me and told me I should call him Vin. So Vin is somebody who has inspired generations of Americans baseball fans. His professionalism, his class. He's a true gentlemen, and that contribution he has made to our country is one that is worthy of the highest recognition. And President Obama is looking forward to welcoming him to the White House next week, and I'm looking forward to the chance to meet him in person for the first time.
BERMAN: I'm glad for you that you had a chance to talk to Mr. Scully, which is what I will call him. Josh Earnest, thanks so much for being with us from Berlin. Appreciate it.
Thanks a lot, John. Take care, man.
CAMEROTA: So New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met with President- elect Donald Trump in a closed door meeting yesterday. What did they say to each other? We speak live to the mayor straight ahead.
BERMAN: Time for CNN Money now. Chief business correspondent and star of "EARLY START," Christine Romans here with new numbers on Obamacare.
CHRIS ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's open enrollment season, John, and Americans are quickly signing up for Obamacare, quickly signing up, despite rising premiums and Donald Trump's promise to get rid of Obamacare. One million people signed up in the first 12 days. That's a faster pace than last year. That includes 300,000 right after the election. If you need insurance, logon and shop around for the best plan. Open enrollment is happening right now.
Get this, a bogus quote from the Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi, has Trump supporters on Twitter calling for a Pepsi boycott. But it's a fake quote. The supporters are citing a fake quote that says Trump fans should take their business elsewhere. Well, that never happened. She never said that. She congratulated the president-elect on his victory at a conference last week. She condemned the ugly rhetoric of the campaign. She discussed employee reactions to the election, but turns out, Alisyn, not everything you read on the Internet is real.
CAMEROTA: I'm sorry, what?
ROMANS: Yes, news flash. Not everything you read on the Internet is real.
CAMEROTA: Do we have an alert graphic for that? All right. I'm on that, Christine. Thank you for that news flash.
Well, Donald Trump has scheduled a couple of meetings with his critics. Today, Mr. Trump meets with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has called Trump an angry voice during the campaign, and yesterday Mr. Trump met with our next guest, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City. Mr. Mayor, thanks for being here.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY: You're welcome, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: How contentious was that meeting yesterday?
DE BLASIO: It was a respectful meeting. It was over an hour. It was a substantive meeting. Candid, obviously. Real differences.
CAMEROTA: I heard you say that, that it was a very candid meeting. What did that sound like inside?
DE BLASIO: Look, I think it was important for me to explain to him how fearful people are in this city, in this country that not just the rhetoric, but some of the policies proposed literally have people wondering whether their family members might be deported, whether because of their religion they're going to be discriminated against. There's a sense that, of course, we don't know what he's going to do in practice, but if you take the word seriously, this changes the nature of this country; and people are feeling it very, very personally.
CAMEROTA: Did he understand that?
DE BLASIO: I'm not going to characterize his position. I will say it was a substantive discussion, and because it was a lengthy discussion, I'm hopeful, you know, a lot of the give and take really registered. But I think the proof will be in the pudding. The question is, OK, there is that rhetoric, and it was shocking to a lot of us and unacceptable in the context of an American democracy.
Now, he's going to get to do things. The actions will tell us who he really is.
CAMEROTA: One of the things that he has said he's going to do is to deport criminal undocumented immigrants. In other words, people who commit crimes. What's -- do you disagree with that?
DE BLASIO: No, that was part of the discussion. Look, New York City already cooperates fully with the immigration authorities regarding anyone who's committed a series of substantial crimes. Anything involving violence, terrorism, major drug offenses.
What we are concerned about, there are some very petty crimes, nonviolent crimes where I think this becomes a more complicated issue. Because what we do not want to do is be in the business of our police forces being...