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Sessions to Fill Attorney General Post; Election Highlights Division Among Americans; Boy Saves Brother From Falling. Aired 8:30- 9a ET

Aired November 18, 2016 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Jeff Sessions was considered too racist, too controversial in the '80s to be confirmed for a federal judgeship.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That was a while ago.


CAMEROTA: This - I mean what we've just heard is that he presented (INAUDIBLE) -

NAVARRO: Well, I'm not sure there's a statute of limitations to - for racism.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Charles, you know, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, these are people who worked for Donald Trump a lot during the campaign. Obviously share his world view. So whether you agree with it or not, why would it be surprising that he would surprise himself with people who share his world view.

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't say it's surprising at all. I'm not surprised. And at this point I think it's safe to say that I'm not surprised by anything. But I'm not surprised by this pick either.

I'm disturbed by it, however. I mean, the - it is - it is one thing to say it's the '80s, that somebody said something a long time ago that was controversial. But you have to say that you grew from it, you repented of it, you repented of it. Not - Trump has not done that. Sessions has not done that.

I have to see that you are changing and growing. I hope that I am changing and growing. And I hope that if I do something wrong, that if I say something offensive, that I come back and say, you know, that part of me, I should not have done or said that thing.

That's not what these guys are. That's not who Bannon is. That's not who Sessions is. That's not who Donald Trump is. And that should worry a lot of people.

A lot of people's only kind of interaction with the Department of Justice in recent years has been around these cases of Black Lives Matter when the Department of Justice has had to come in and take a look at these cases of unarmed black men being killed by police officers and whether or not those - that was - had violated the civil rights of those people. In fact, we just saw, you know, they were monitoring the case of Castile and there's a charge in that case. What kind of Department of Justice are you now going to see and what actions will they take if Sessions is the guy who's in charge? I don't know the answer to that. It does not bode well for that.

CAMEROTA: J.D. your whole book, "Hillbilly Elegy," is about the swath of sort of the forgotten people, poor whites who, you know, played a big role in this - or working class whites, in this election. Are these things that they are concerned about or is it just all about, God, bring me a job back?

J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLBILLY ELEGY": Yes, I don't think people are going to be concerned about this back home, partially just because people don't pay that much attention to the day-to-day of politics. I think what Trump will be judged on by the folks that voted for him who I know is whether things start to get a little bit better offer the next few years. And ultimately -

CAMEROTA: Economically?

VANCE: Exactly. And ultimately that doesn't depend on whether Jeff Sessions is the attorney general, at least for them. I think that it does show that we've got to be a little bit empathetic, though, to the concerns of other voters, right? So Charles Blow mentioned a very significant concern that exists among the black community. I happen to think Donald Trump should be given some deference because he won the election, but we also have to be careful to recognize that there are reasons that there are other - that other people are concerned.

BERMAN: It's so interesting. You - you listed, you know, some of the things that don't matter to certain Trump voters in what Charles was talking about there and what Ana was talking about was the fact that Jeff Sessions wasn't confirmed in the Senate because he had said things that people thought were racist. That doesn't matter, you say, to a large number of voters.

To other voters, it's the only thing that matters. And we saw this with some of the things that Donald Trump said during the campaign or came out during the campaign, the "Access Hollywood" tape. For a lot of voters, and I guess primarily it's on the coasts, you know, in California and on the East Coast, those comments were the only thing that matters and they couldn't get beyond that. So how do you reconcile that fact that for some people it's everything, and for others it's nothing?

VANCE: Yes. Well, I wouldn't say it doesn't matter. A lot of these comments definitely bothered a lot of the people that I know who voted for Donald Trump. They just said there were other things that ultimately mattered more. So how do you reconcile? I think ultimately depends on the president-elect. And we haven't gotten fantastic signs so far that he's ready to sort of reconcile these two sides of the country. But I'm still hopeful, because as Ana said, so far he's rewarded the loyalists who really supported him. But that list is getting shorter by the day. And unless he wants appoint Ivanka as secretary of defense, he's got to start expanding beyond the circle. We're going to see -

NAVARRO: He may.


VANCE: We're going to see if that happens.

NAVARRO: She sat in with the president of Japan - or the prime minister of Japan yesterday, so she - he really may.

CAMEROTA: But in terms of the division that this election laid bare, Ana, how do you explain where we are as a country? Are we most divided by race? Are we most divided by money in terms of socioeconomic class? Geography, as J.D. Vance spells out so well in his book? How do you see where we are?

NAVARRO: You know, I think we are, as humans, a product of who we are plus our circumstances, plus our experiences. I think we are divided by experiences and circumstances and that means racial division, that means economic division, that means social division, that means geographic division. It is not just one thing.

[08:35:00] And if you would ask me to name one silver lining to Donald Trump's presidency, and God knows I'm hard pressed to find one, I will tell you that it's precisely what you just articulated. This election has laid bare, we cannot pretend not to see, we cannot continue sweeping under the carpet the racial, the divisive, social, ethnic, national, economic divisions that are out there in America. We've - we're right now at a fork in the road. They are there. We cannot deny it. We either address them, or they continue to grow larger.

BERMAN: Yes, one of the things that people like to say to make us all feel good is there's more that binds us that divides us. Charles, you know, as you sit here and look at it, is that the case? If you look at some - you know, the voters in Los Angeles, who - I mean California actually voted more for Hillary Clinton than it did for Barack Obama. They increased the Democratic vote total in California, even as in other parts of this country huge swings toward Donald Trump.

BLOW: Well, I mean, there are some things that are about us that bind us together. But some people are voting for their lives, literally, right? If you are an immigrant in this country, you're voting for your life. If you - if you look at this pick of Bannon and you look at Sessions you look at what that could mean in terms of the - of the attorney general and the A.G.'s office, that's about your life. That's not really about, you know, an ideological difference. This is about whether or not I am going to feel safe in my country, in my community, in my skin.

It's about - I voting - I'm literally - this is not like an argument to have. I don't sit here and feel like, you know, I'm just having some sort of intellectual exercise. I'm talking about the fact that I have three kids walking around this planet, walking around this country. This is about my life. And for me it - there is nothing bigger than having a place, being able to lay down at night and feel like they are at home in their own country, or not. And I am increasingly of the mind that maybe they are alien to this

kind - this administration and this country because of the kind of - the attitudes that the people in that administration may have, or that they may be turning a blind eye to people who have even worse attitudes or coddling people who have even worse attitudes. So - so it's not an intellectual exercise for me.


BLOW: I don't have the luxury of it being an intellectual exercise.

CAMEROTA: Of course, but can't J.D. Vance's relatives in Kentucky also say it's about their life? I mean if you are poverty stricken and it's about jobs, they would call it, but that's about their life, too.

BLOW: Yes. Right. So you have the - you have the layer of race being about all of those things.


BLOW: Like there's no way to separate out the pressure, the economic pressures on your life -


BLOW: Than the physical, imminent dangers to your life.

CAMEROTA: I get it. You - it's just how you define life and what you think is the top priority. I mean what do your relatives and everybody you know from the - that Appalachian region think this was all about?

VANCE: Well, they think it's about a lot of things, of course. A lot of people voted for Trump for very complex reasons. But one thing that I always try to bring up is that, if you look at the juxtaposition of the map of counties that were most affected by this opioid crisis versus counties that flipped to Donald Trump, it's really striking how the opioid crisis seems to have predicted support for Donald Trump.

So I do think there's a real sense of crisis. It's not the same sense of crisis that Charles is talking about, but there's a real divide. And I think a failure, frankly, from my folks who recognize why people like Charles are so worried, but also a lot of folks on the left, a fail to recognize why so many people were so motivated to vote for Trump because they felt very afraid for their future.

BERMAN: I think (INAUDIBLE). I can see it. There's a lack of empathy in some ways on both sides, but it's not new, right? I mean Sarah Palin, in 2008, I can't remember where she was, but she got to a campaign stop and said, it's good to be in the American part of America, right? It wasn't Harlem, I know that much. And -

NAVARRO: I don't think it was Miami.

BERMAN: And it wasn't Miami, that much. But, you know, I - Ana, do both sides see it like that? Do both sides see only their America? NAVARRO: Look, I think it's become very easy in America to be socially

and politically isolated. We can now live in a world where we can listen to thing that we - we agree with, only watch things that we agree with, only hang out with people that look like us and that we agree with. So it's become easier to be isolated, to live in a cocoon of the same type of thought, same type of experiences, same type of life that we have. And, unfortunately, I think there are politicians, on both sides of the aisle, who have exploited that division, who have made it a wedge issue for electoral purposes. And I think we see it on both sides. I wouldn't say it's just a Donald Trump or a liberal Democrats that are, you know, culprits of it. I think it goes both ways.

[08:40:04] I do want to say that I suspect today there's a lot of immigrants, a lot of Latinos who are very afraid of this Jeff Sessions appointing. He has been a brick wall against, you know, not pun intended, against immigration reform. He is very harsh on immigration. And as DOJ, as attorney general, he's going to have a great deal of jurisdiction on issues affecting immigration, and also affecting things like justice reform, and, you know, prison sentencing reforms, which he's also been an obstacle to.

BERMAN: Guys, thanks so much for this discussion. I think it's an important one to have. And I think the only thing that's going to help heal this is leadership on all sides, which we're counting on.

NAVARRO: But, you know, John, we, as individuals, have to take responsibility too.

BERMAN: I agree. I absolutely agree.

Ana Navarro, Charles Blow, J.D. Vance, thanks for being here.

CAMEROTA: We'll talk more about this next week.

BERMAN: Really appreciate it.

Up next, catching a boy, hailed as a hero. What he's say about the fast reaction that saved his brother from a frightening fall. We all need this, this morning. Come on back.


CAMEROTA: So there's this great video that has gone viral that we want to show you. A nine-year-old boy, look at this.

[08:45:03] BERMAN: That's amazing.

CAMEROTA: Look at his cat-like reflexes. He's called a hero. He leapt across the room to save his 11-month-old baby brother after falling off the changing table. His mom turning away for only a second when the baby rolls over and starts to fall. That's when big brother Joseph makes that amazing, diving catch. Both mother and son call this a miracle.

Joining us now is that heroic boy, Joseph Levi, and his mother Tila Levi.

Great to see you guys this morning.



CAMEROTA: Joseph, how could you move so fast to save your little brother?

J. LEVI: Well, I really didn't know how I ran that fast because I'm never actually able to run that fast.

BERMAN: But now, Joseph, we know just how fast you are. But what was it like? I mean what were you thinking when you were holding your little baby brother in your arms?

J. LEVI: I was really, really, really nervous because I didn't know what had happened and then I started crying because I - because then that's when I asked my mom what happened.

CAMEROTA: Now, how did you know he was going to fall off the changing table?

J. LEVI: I didn't. I just saw - I just turned for a second, and I saw him rolling and I ran.

BERMAN: I have to say, Joseph, I trust you. You're someone I need around to help out in times of need.

Tila -

T. LEVI: I think we all do.

BERMAN: Exactly, right? What was - what was your reaction after this happened?

T. LEVI: I - the first thing I did was I fell to the floor, and I hugged him. And the baby was fine. He never hit the ground. But, I really needed an explanation. I wasn't really sure exactly how everything occurred. I just kept saying to Joseph, you saved him, you saved him, you're a superhero, thank you so much. And then as soon as everybody calmed down, the first thing we did was go back to the cameras. It's an app on my phone and we just watched the whole thing happen over and over again. It was miraculous.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. I need Joseph around. I mean, babies sometimes tumble out of cribs. Mine tumbled out of a high chair, which I think is an even higher fall, when they were that age. And you can see, I think, on your vide, that there is that like little sort of protective ledge that's built on the changing table, but your baby just tumbles right over that one.

T. LEVI: Yes. The truth is, is that now I know everybody who has dropped a baby, whose baby fell off the bed, the couch, the high chair, changing tables, I'm getting all kinds of e-mails, and all kinds of stories, and confessions, really. And the truth is, I think that as parents we try our best, we try to protect our kids. Nobody wants to see an accident like that happen. And accidents happen anyways. So the purpose of this video is really just to bring awareness. And we decided that we wanted to help other people to make sure that whoever doesn't have a Joseph around can, you know, just be more vigilant.

BERMAN: Look, it's happened to roughly 100 percent of us, you know, who have had kids.

T. LEVI: Right. That's what I hear.

BERMAN: So it definitely happens. And you were lucky to have Joseph there, which probably stopped some inevitable crying.

Joseph, you know, your brother's young at this point. He probably doesn't talk very much. But is this something you intend to hold over him for his entire life? I mean, you know, if in a few years he start taking your stuff, you're going to say, yes, well, I saved your life?

J. LEVI: Yes. Let's say he would tell on me for something I did. I would tell him, I saved his life.

BERMAN: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: That is a good plan.

BERMAN: That's exactly what you do.

T. LEVI: We're just really lucky that it all turned out OK and it's a happy ending, so we're happy to share it with everyone.

CAMEROTA: Oh. Well, Joseph and Tila, thanks so much for sharing it with us. We just couldn't believe it when we saw the video yesterday. And, Joseph, you are a hero, so thanks so much for what you did for your little brother and for sharing your story with us.

T. LEVI: Thank you.

J. LEVI: Thank you.

T. LEVI: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: My God, he's also really cute, on top of everything else.

CAMEROTA: I know! Look at that head of hair.

BERMAN: Right.

Your late night laughs are next.

CAMEROTA: And, voting is now underway for the CNN Hero of the Year at Here is one of the year's top ten heroes. This is Sheldon Smith.


SHELDON SMITH, CNN HERO: Being a dad has taught me to overcome, because I didn't have any father figure around that taught me what being a dad is. Fatherhood doesn't come with a map. Fatherhood doesn't come with a manual. And sometimes you can learn from others or you learn on the fly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in this program trying to do better so my son wouldn't have to go through what I went through.


SMITH: Seventy percent of African-American children grow up in single parent households. So what I wanted to do was figure out how to provide these men with the skills and tools that they need to stay involved in their children's life and really support the next generation of children.

[08:49:54] My goal at the end of the day, when I started the Dovetail Project, was to break the cycle because I grew up in a community where a lot of young men face the same issues that I was facing and no one was doing anything about it. There aren't too many places where a father can go and get the help and support that he actually needs. Being able to have those resources that you actually need in order to make an impact on your child's life, like employment, or some type of assistance, is key and very important. And I really wanted to be the person who built the hub for that.



BERMAN: All right, we do have some breaking news this morning. Sources tell CNN that Donald Trump has selected Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo to be CIA director and has selected Jeff Sessions, Alabama senator, to be attorney general. CNN's Sara Murray reports that the two, along with Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who has been offered the position of National Security adviser, have accepted their new posts.

CAMEROTA: OK, so it's Friday. Let's have a little levity. Comics taking on President-elect Donald Trump. What a surprise. Here are your late night laughs.


CONAN O'BRIEN, "CONAN": Big news in television, Ben from "The Bachelor" has called off his wedding. Oh. Yes. Apparently Donald Trump wants to interview him for secretary of defense.

[08:55:00] JIMMY FALLON, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Ted Cruz is actually being considered by Donald Trump to be attorney general. So it will be pretty awkward when he shows up on his first day of work and Trump goes, I said Tom Cruise. He's the "Top Gun."

JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Remember they said Trump was keeping a list of his enemies? Turns out he was just keeping it so he could offer them all jobs afterwards.

SETH MEYERS, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": C-SPAN has begun live- streaming footage of the elevators at Trump Tower. Let's take a look.

O'BRIEN: During President Obama's visit to Greece yesterday, huge anti-Obama protests broke out. Yes. However, Obama was able to quiet down the crowd by saying, wait until you see the next guy. All right, settle down.

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Trump's transition continues its transitioning. I don't know a lot about what's going on, but I do know that his team has not yet called the Pentagon, possibly because he knows more than the generals. Or maybe - maybe he's just never going to call them. Maybe he'll just launch a literal tweet war. @pentagon, please bomb Syria, #lyingnewyorktimes. Lying.


BERMAN: Late night laughs.

CAMEROTA: Some of those are already dated. The news cycle happens so fast nowadays.

Have a great weekend.

BERMAN: You too.

CAMEROTA: OK. "Newsroom" with Carol Costello picks up after this very quick break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[09:00:02] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

The Trump administration kicking into high gear. Just within the past hour, we've seen the Trump White House start to take shape with several key leadership posts offered and accepted.