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Trump Settles $25 Million Trump University Lawsuits; Immigrant Fears Intensify Ahead Of Trump Presidency; Protests Turn Violent Near Dakota Pipeline Site; Repealing Obamacare & The Effect On Children. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 21, 2016 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'd say so.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Michael, we can't wait to see the headlines that come out of this segment. Thank you very much.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Smerconish curries favor.
CAMEROTA: That's not going to be it.
SMERCONISH: Oh yes, thanks for that.
CUOMO: That's my headline.
SMERCONISH: Yes, thank you, right.
CAMEROTA: Michael, thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So, there's more than just politics on Donald Trump's mind as he prepares to assume the presidency. There's a large number of legal issues still facing the president-elect -- business, so-called philanthropy. How serious are these and what could they mean going forward, to the presidency?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's something I could have settled numerous times. I just don't believe in settling, especially when you're right. I don't like to settle. When I'm right about somethingI like to go to court, so I'll go to court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. That was President-elect Donald Trump back in March, saying he -- in case you couldn't hear him -- does not settle lawsuits. He does not believe in settling them. Well, he's now defending his decision to settle a $25 million suit to end the fraud cases against Trump University. He's tweeted, "I settled the Trump University lawsuit for a small fraction of the potential award because, as president, I have to focus on our country." [07:35:05] Joining us with more is Timothy O'Brien. He's executive editor of "Bloomberg View". And Richard Painter, former White House ethics lawyer. Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us to help us understand what's going on here.
So, Timothy, Donald Trump just settled, as we said, for $25 million. He says he never settles when he's in the right. Can we assume he was not in the right here?
TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: I don't think that he was in the right here. I don't -- I think he would have had a very tough court case if it went to court -- if it went to trial. I think he risked humongous fines in excess of $25 million. I think he was anxious to get this out of the way because it was a -- it's a blot on his business record and it was baggage coming into the White House.
Now, he's also got the Trump Foundation issues still outstanding.
CAMEROTA: Yes, and we'll get to those in a second, but one more thing about the Trump University so that everybody understands, Richard. There were 7,000 students who were involved in these class action suits. They're now going to split the $25 million, whatever that math is. So does that mean that the fact that he has settled -- does that -- he's not admitting wrongdoing but does that mean that 7,000 students were defrauded by Trump University, Richard?
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: I don't think that it necessarily means anything with respect to the merits of the case, the fact that you settle. These types of suits are filed all the time and sometimes they have merit and sometimes they don't. But the fact of the matter is if he holds onto this business empire he is going to be hit with a lot of these frivolous suits and also some genuine suits. And I don't know whether this one was frivolous or genuine but he's going to have to deal with a lot of it.
In Jones v. Clinton, the Supreme Court made it very clear --
PAINTER: -- that the president could be sued in his personal capacity and he's going to have to deal with that going forward. And I think if he doesn't sell this business empire there's going to be nothing but litigation for the next four years, and we went through that with Bill Clinton and we don't need to have that again.
CAMEROTA: Let's look at some of those because there are pending lawsuits right now. The things that you're talking about, Richard, that could crop up sooner than later, so here are some them.
There are lawsuits against celebrity chefs who backed out of the Trump D.C. hotel. They didn't like when Trump was saying inflammatory things about immigrants so they backed out. There's now a lawsuit against them. Trump Florida golf course members are suing over their fees. There's a former employee who alleges she was fired for reporting sexual harassment. Protesters at some of his rallies claim that Trump security assaulted them -- there's a lawsuit. And Republican consultant -- there's a libel lawsuit.
Timothy, what do you think is going to happen with these?
O'BRIEN: Look, a big portion of these are lightweight cases and he should just clear the decks with these.
CAMEROTA: Meaning settle. He will settle, though he says never settles.
O'BRIEN: He should -- he should settle them.
CAMEROTA: Because he is now president he should settle to get these off the deck.
O'BRIEN: Especially the ones that are garbage cases. I don't think the Trump University case was a frivolous case. It was a very serious case that had serious allegations of wrongdoing.
CAMEROTA: That 7,000 people were defrauded.
O'BRIEN: And that -- and that was essentially a grift. The promises were made to people and those promises weren't delivered upon, and Trump used his reputation and his brand to scam people. And I think in the Trump Foundation investigation you have a similar set of charges in a different area -- or a similar set of issues in a different area.
CAMEROTA: Meaning what? What are -- because this -- there was an investigation --
O'BRIEN: By the New York state attorney general.
CAMEROTA: -- by the New York state attorney general into the Trump Foundation. What are the big issues there?
O'BRIEN: That it, essentially, wasn't really a charitable foundation. That Trump was soliciting donations and then using those donations for political purposes or business purposes but wasn't using them for authentically philanthropic purposes.
CAMEROTA: Richard, so how does -- I mean, if he's going to follow your advice, and that is clear the deck because the American public doesn't need to go through more litigation as they did, say, during Bill Clinton's presidency, what does he do? How does he get out from under this?
PAINTER: Well, it's a very difficult situation and, as I said, I don't know whether the Trump University suit was a suit with good merits or not. But he's going to get hit with a lot of these and he needs to, I think, do everything he can to avoid it, which means getting rid of -- selling off his business empire, which will at least reduce some of the litigation. And he's going to have litigation --
CAMEROTA: So, not a blind trust. A blind trust doesn't work for you, Richard. He has to actually sell it outright. PAINTER: Well, of course, a blind trust can work but you have to sell the assets. You can't just put the assets in a blind trust and pretend you don't own them. That's not a blind trust. You have to dispose of the assets first through an initial public offering or some other plan and that will reduce the exposure to litigation. But the other thing is if he's going to be in litigation don't make the mistake that President Clinton made, whether it's with respect to deposition testimony, or the mistake that Donald Trump already made, which is to make bigoted comments about a federal judge.
[07:40:04] You know, we really do not need to get sidetracked in this presidency. He has a job to do and he shouldn't be having to deal with this type of thing coming up out of the Trump business empire.
CAMEROTA: OK, let's see what happens, obviously, in the next coming weeks. Timothy O'Brien, Richard Painter, thanks so much for all of your expertise. Let's get to Chris.
PAINTER: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So there's some immigrants in America overcome by fear as President-elect Donald Trump heads to the Oval Office in less than two months. They have a message for him and they have a plan. We'll tell you what both are, next.
CUOMO: There is fear among many in the immigrant community. It's as palpable as you can get, especially as the days tick closer to Donald Trump's presidency. Trump's hard-hitting, often ugly rhetoric about immigrants has families scrambling and putting together worst-case scenarios. The what if's of the potential future.
CNN's Rosa Flores has more about this from Oklahoma City.
LILI, "DREAMER": I want him to have one day of the life that I live. (Making breakfast) Lucky Charms --
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This immigrant mother challenges President-elect Donald Trump to feel her biggest fear, being ripped from her children because she could be deported.
LILI: Break families. Would he want to leave his family?(Fixing daughter's hair) Tie or just loose?
FLORES: Lili, who is only sharing her first name, has lived in Oklahoma for 20 years. She was brought to the U.S. as a child and now has five U.S.-born children.
[07:45:05] LILI: You have a dream. When you buy a house you want your grandchildren to come visit. Bye, guys. Have a good day.
FLORES: But in a Trump America she says that that dream may not come true. She is selling her home and preparing her children for her possible deportation. Lili is not alone, says immigration attorney Melissa Lujan. Her clients haven't stopped calling, wanting to know how they can survive a Trump presidency.
MELISSA LUJAN, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: The fear is absolutely real. We have no idea what is going to come from the next administration but there's a lot of scary rumors and the president completely has the control to take some pretty significant action.
FLORES: This is isn't the first time that fear has taken over the immigrant community here. Something very similar happened when a state immigration law passed in 2007. The fear of deportation turned to panic and that panic turned into an exodus of immigrants. The law made it illegal to transport or house undocumented immigrants. Homes in immigrant neighborhoods sat vacant. Businesses closed and people like Lili fled to other states.
LILI: I was sleeping in my car.
FLORES: What about your kids?
LILI: I had to leave them her with my mom.
FLORES: The other unintended consequence, according to police, crimes in immigrant neighborhoods went unreported.
PACO BALDERRAMA, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OKLAHOMA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: The root fear is that the police are going to become, basically, that door-to-door extension of immigration laws and, historically, that's never been our role, never.
FLORES: As Trump's inauguration draws near Lili cherishes every little moment with her children.
LILI: I wish Donald would see what we have to go through, that's all.
FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Oklahoma City.
CAMEROTA: Look, there's a ton of cases like that and it's people -- there are some people like Lili -- I don't know if this is her case -- but who were brought here as children who didn't even know that they were undocumented until they became adults.
CAMEROTA: And they've already put down, obviously, roots and they believe that they're American and they have families, and then what do you do about them?
CUOMO: The -- not the majority of cases -- I mean, look, I think one of the problems here is that when you say a lot of things that sound good to a certain base in the country that feels disenfranchised by immigration, it works. We just saw that here.
But what will the reality be? Will he be able to deport them, probably not, and you're hearing him say more of that now, the president-elect. But that doesn't mean that if you're in that position you're not petrified every day of how you're going to be able to take care of your kids, and that part matters as well and that's why we're covering it.
CAMEROTA: Well, he has said first, secure the borders. That that's his first priority, so they don't have to worry today.
CUOMO: He's said a lot of things so they're going to have to see what happens.
CAMEROTA: Right. One of President-elect Donald Trump's promises, repeal and replace Obamacare. This, as children nationwide are facing a desperate health care situation. We'll talk about that ahead.
[07:52:00] CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news for you. Hundreds of protesters and police clash near the site of the proposed Dakota pipeline. Officers, as you can see, using tear gas and water cannons in freezing temperatures. Demonstrators setting fire to cars and parts of a bridge. CNN's Paul Vercammen has the breaking details. What's the latest, Paul?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, very aggressive is how the demonstrators are being described. We understand right now that 100 to 200 of these demonstrators remain on this bridge where police are holding a line. Authorities saying that this was an ongoing riot at one point. The sheriff's department saying that the demonstrators threw rocks, shot rocks from slingshots, and tossed burning logs. One officer hit on the head with a rock. No word on his condition at this time.
Now, authorities also responded with the water cannons, as you pointed out, and tear gas. And the Standing Rock Sioux tribal leaders, medics, and healers saying that in 20-degree temperatures there's a risk of hypothermia. They're calling for a stop to the use of water cannons, saying this could cause a risk of life.
Tribal leaders also saying this pipeline could destroy sacred sites. They're also worried about water contamination, eventually. But the backers of this $3.7 billion project say it is safe and an efficient way to transport oil. Back to you now, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, you got the politics but then you've got the practicalities on the ground, Paul, and we've got to keep an eye on why they're using that water cannon. Hopefully, they're using a very high bar given the destructive nature of it in these temperatures. Thank you for the reporting this morning.
All right, so switch a topic here. Most of President-elect Trump's campaign rhetoric focused on repealing and replacing Obamacare. This is very popular among the GOP and members of the political right, but our next guest says if that happens children are going to suffer.
Joining us now is president and co-founder of the Children's Health Fund, Dr. Irwin Redlener. Now, he's here to exclusively unveil a new report that he's hoping will convince the incoming administration to keep the ACA intact. All right, it's good to see you, Mr. Redlener.
DR. IRIN REDLENER, PRESIDENT/CO-FOUNDER, CHILDREN'S HEALTH FUND: Good morning, Chris.
CUOMO: This is in "The New York Times" as well if people want deeper detail on it. What is the headline of the report?
REDLENER: So the headline is that even though we've done a much better job now in insuring more children, that's somewhat of a misconception that we're making progress. We still have about 20 million children in America, even with insurance, who are not getting the kind of health care that they need and that's really a big problem, and it would have been for any administration. But we're concerned now because there's some threat that if we do eliminate the Affordable Care Act it will put millions of children at risk, so you have to be careful.
CUOMO: So you have 20 million kids. What age range are we talking about?
REDLENER: We're talking zero to 18, and these are children who may not be able to get primary care even though they have insurance. And many kids who actually get primary care -- regular doctor visits -- when it comes to actually getting a specialist when they really need one, it becomes extremely difficult and those kids are simply not getting the care they need and we need to be attentive to that.
[07:55:02] CUOMO: And the common sense pushback that well, these kids are young, they're healthy anyway. They don't need health care, it's older people who need it. What does that ignore?
REDLENER: Well, what that ignores is the fact that tremendous numbers of children, especially lower-income children, but all children really, have health care needs that must be addressed and must be addressed in a timely manner. They need their immunizations on time, they need the guidance they need to get, they need to have identification of the chronic illnesses that they may have.
There's just many issues that are on the table and they're vital because for many of the children who are experiencing unrecognized or untreated health conditions, those are conditions that can affect their performance in school, so we have a double whammy here. Kids are not getting the health care they need and then having that be a barrier to getting educated.
CUOMO: We always have health professionals like you telling parents you don't know unless you go. You've got to take your kids to the doctor. So the second avenue of pushback is isn't this proof that the ACA doesn't work and we have to repeal and replace it because you still have 20 million kids who aren't getting coverage? We'll do better.
REDLENER: Well, the -- yes, so the ACA actually reduced the number of uninsured children from about 10 million to just a little over three million, so on the insurance front we're making a tremendous amount of progress. What we now have to do is figure out what are the barriers that are keeping kids from getting care, even with insurance.
For example, there are children who live in extreme shortage areas. They live in counties or communities where there's less than one doctor for 3,000 people. They're living in communities where there is no affordable transportation to allow the parents to take the kids to the doctor, even if they want to, which almost all parents do. And there's a lot of these barriers that we call non-insurance or non- financial barriers that now have to be addressed so we get those 20 million kids into an appropriate health care system.
CUOMO: So, part of Trump's campaign was we can do better.
CUOMO: Let's repeal and replace the ACA -- Obamacare -- and we'll have a plan, Ryan has a plan, the GOP has a plan. What is out there that would take care of these kids?
REDLENER: Well, unfortunately, nothing, really. Really, there's nothing that's been presented, even as a vague idea, that would actually replace the value of the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act needs amending, it needs fixing. There are issues around costs and so forth that they have to take care of. But to say blanketly we're just -- we're just going to remove it is a very unfortunate --
CUOMO: What would happen if you get rid of it?
REDLENER: Well, we'd put somewhere between two and five million children at risk of losing even the insurance that they have, and it I think that would be a disaster.
REDLENER: Because many, many children -- several million children have gotten their health insurance through programs of the Affordable Care Act. So if we pull the plug on that, that means that millions of them will be now at risk.
CUOMO: Medicaid will pick them up.
REDLENER: Medicaid, actually, won't pick them up. Medicaid is picking them up now because Medicaid was one of the things that was expanded by Obamacare and that's what we don't want to fool with. We want to say we want to leave that because we want those kids to remain on Medicaid.
CUOMO: We'll give their parents health savings accounts and they'll be able to pay for it then.
REDLENER: Health savings accounts don't work for the kinds of care that children need.
CUOMO: Why? REDLENER: Because that means you have to say I'm going to use this money to buy something that may be preventive, which is critically important for children. We don't want anybody saying we can't afford it. We're not going to use our health savings account, we're just going to hold onto it. Holding onto it means that their kids are not going to be getting care that they need.
CUOMO: You were a Clinton guy. You were going to be part of her transition --
REDLENER: I was.
CUOMO: -- team. Have you reached out to the incoming administration for help on this?
REDLENER: I have actually started to do exactly that and I think they'll be receptive. Donald Trump has five kids and eight grandchildren and I think there will be receptivity. That is -- that is my hope, that there will be. It's a question of speaking to the right people in the campaign. And really, in the same way, I would have done with inside the Hillary Clinton administration.
That is, here's a big problem. We got insurance under control, more or less, and now we have to deal with the barriers that are not insurance. Getting doctors to underserved areas, fixing the transportation systems. The other big thing is there's been a lot of talk about fixing our infrastructure.
REDLENER: That means bridges, tunnels, et cetera. Well, in some ways, children are our human infrastructure. We need investments in children at least as much as we need investment in our physical attributes, and that's one of the cases we want to make here.
CUOMO: Dr. Irwin Redlener. You can read more about this in "The New York Times". Thank you for laying it out here --
REDLENDER: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: -- and please keep us apprised of the efforts to protect these kids going forward so we can report on it responsibly.
REDLENDER: Will do, of course. Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you for being with us. All right, there is a lot of news this morning. There is an active manhunt for a police shooter. Let's get to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM MCMANUS, SAN ANTONIO POLICE CHIEF: Most families will be celebrating the holidays. The SAPD will be burying one of its own.
CUOMO: Four police officers have been shot in ambush attacks across the country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was targeted because he was a police officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make no mistake about it, this is pure evil.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOV. OF MASSACHUSETTS: Appreciate the chance to speak with the president-elect.
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's going to surround himself with men and women from diverse backgrounds.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are really great people. These are really, really talented people.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We did not have the kind of strong, bold, and pointed economic message.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cannot speak highly enough of Nancy Pelosi. She's a remarkable leader.
REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: We've got to move in another direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning.