Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Narrows Secretary of State List to Four; Interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Trump's Potential Conflicts of Interests; Death Toll Rises in Tennessee Wildfires; Carrier: Trump Deal Includes "Incentives" To Save 1,000+ Jobs. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 30, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

In an exclusive interview tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren on whether she thinks she can work with President-elect Donald Trump and why she says her side lost the election. That's coming up in a moment.

But, first, we begin with how the Trump administration is coming together. Still no word on who will be the secretary of state, although the list is apparently down to four. But other appointments are coming in.

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins me now with the latest.

Jim, last time you spoke with you, you were in a New York City restaurant whispering to me on the phone --


COOPER: -- while watching the meeting between Mitt Romney and Trump. It looks like you paid your bill. You were able to leave. What's the latest on last night's meeting?

ACOSTA: We did pay our bill, Anderson, just for the record there. But it looked like as they were picking up their forks, they buried the hatchet. As you were hearing us described it last night, it was a very warm and friendly exchange. The question now is whether or not this was enough to get Mitt Romney the job of secretary of state.

I talked to a transition source earlier today who described this meeting as a net positive. That's if you calculate how things went last night and subtract all the negative comments that mitt Romney has had to say about Donald Trump over the past year. But, Anderson, I think the other thing that's important to note is that some of Mitt Romney's detractors like Newt Gingrich or Mike Huckabee were enjoying themselves in various interviews about Romney eating crow and groveling at Donald Trump's feet.

And so, perhaps those critics of Mitt Romney have been satisfied in terms of what they saw last night. But at this point, no final decision has been made.

COOPER: Beyond secretary of state, there were a number of appointments made today.

ACOSTA: That's right. Steve Mnuchin, who was the finance chair for Donald Trump's campaign, he was tapped as the treasury secretary. He's a multimillionaire. Wilbur Ross is a billionaire, who was tapped for secretary of commerce, and a deputy security of commerce was also named, Todd Ricketts from the wealthy Ricketts family in Chicago, that owns the Chicago Cubs. It's giving some Americans, I'm sure, a sense that Donald Trump is putting together not a team of rivals but a team of the super rich.

And we should also point out, one other name that was floated out there, Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, has been talked about has the next, potentially, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. But I've been told by sources that may be coming more from Sarah Palin's camp than the transition team.

COOPER: Donald Trump tweeted he's leaving his business in order to avoid his business operations to avoid conflicts of interest, or I should say business operations.

But did he give any real details beyond that?

ACOSTA: No, only that he's pulling out of his business, he said, in total in those tweets today. But no talk of whether he's going to put it in a blind trust. He says he's going to be talking about this in a news conference on December 15th with his children. And, Anderson, what has not been resolved is just how all of this will be handled and whether or not his children will have a role in his presidency.

Of course, that will also create conflicts of interest if they are in charge of his businesses. But then at the same time, meeting with foreign leaders and so forth, as we've seen so far during this transition process. And keep in mind, Anderson, the Constitution says Donald Trump as president of the United States cannot accept gifts from foreign governments. That is technically something he can be impeached for. And so, these are details we'll be waiting to hear from the president-elect when he holds that news conference.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta -- Jim, thanks.

President-elect Trump's choice for treasury secretary is drawing a new round of fire from Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren who has been, obviously, very vocal about several of Trump's appointments. I spoke with Senator Warren exclusively shortly before (INAUDIBLE).


COOPER: Senator Warren, earlier today, you said that the pick of Steve Mnuchin, quote, "should send shivers down the spine of any American who got hit during the financial crisis." Is that fair? I mean, should no one who worked then in finance during that time be eligible?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No. But that's not really the point.

I mean, look at it this way. What happened is the Wall Street bankers crashed the economy. They got bailed out. And nobody went to jail. That made the American people really, really furious. They're still angry about it.

Donald Trump tapped into that anger, and he promised when he was running for president that he would break the connection between Wall Street and this Congress. He said he was going to separate that from the government, no more revolving door. He wasn't going to do that sort of thing.

And then what does he do? He turns around and picks a guy who had actually been one of the people who helped do all of those lousy mortgages that not only broke the economy but broke millions of families. And then after the crash, a guy who turned around and bought a bank that then became infamous for how hard it squeezed families that had already been cheated and was the foreclosure machine following that.

[20:05:03] You know, the American people -- this is a guy who also said today that he wants to roll back the Wall Street regulations. The American people are furious over what Wall Street has done. They don't want somebody who is going to come in here and say, hey, let's help Wall Street. And what Donald Trump is doing is he's literally handing the keys to the Treasury over to a Wall Street banker who helped cause the crash.

COOPER: Mnuchin, though, speaking about himself and also about Wilbur Ross, who's Trump's pick to run Commerce, said and I quote, "One of the good things about both Wilbur and I, we've actually been bankers, we were the only two people during the financial crisis that were issued licenses by the government. We've been in the business of regional banks and we understand what it is to make loans."

I mean, Donald Trump talked about not wanting Washington insiders. You can argue Mnuchin has never held a government post. I know he's obviously a financial insider. Isn't Trump doing what he promised?

WARREN: No. Donald Trump promised he was not going to have a government that was going to work for Wall Street. He promised he was not going to have a revolving door. He criticized how close the connection is between Wall Street and this government. And he promised he would stand on the side of the American people, he was not going to stand with Wall Street.

And then he turns around and his first big economic appointment is to appoint a Wall Street insider, a guy who made millions of dollars off mortgages that crushed families financially. That's who it is he's putting in charge here.

COOPER: Do you approve of any of the president-elect's cabinet picks today?

WARREN: Well, you know, I don't know. Today he just talked about having the U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara, down, and I think Preet is a pretty terrific guy. So, maybe it will turn out that he'll have one of these appointments. I don't know at this point.

COOPER: But no one he's selected so far?

WARREN: Well, look, so far, what we have seen is that Donald Trump has doubled down on racism and bigotry. He's got as his strategic adviser, a person who is a white supremacist and he's now doubling down --

COOPER: Wait a minute. There's no evidence he's a white supremacist. He obviously -- you know, there's people who are white supremacists who support Donald Trump and who support like Breitbart or Steve Bannon. But --

WARREN: Come on.

COOPER: Well, I mean --

WARREN: Are we really -- I mean, Steve Bannon has certainly associated himself with white supremacists. Will you go that far?

COOPER: I mean, I don't know that you can say, though, he's a white supremacist.

WARREN: Well, he has associated himself with white supremacists, is that close enough?

I mean, this is a guy whose appointment is applauded by the KKK. I mean, what Donald Trump is doing is he's putting, so far, he has said that he's going to go forward on bigotry and that he's going to go forward on wall street insiders. And I think this is a real problem for the American people. I don't think this is where the American people want to go. You know --

COOPER: Weeks ago, though, you called on Donald Trump to get rids lobbyists in his transition team.


COOPER: Subsequently, they did purge lobbyists. Do you give Trump any credit for that because --

WARREN: Of course. I'm very glad to see that they got rid of lobbyists, or at least made them dropped their lobbying affiliation while they were there. We're never entirely clear on the details. But, yes, of course. It is better when they're not using lobbyists, and it would be even better if they were not using Wall Street insiders to run the economic system of the United States.

COOPER: Is there a chance for common ground between you and other Democrats and a Trump administration? I mean, things like infrastructure spending, opposition to TPP, support for reviving Glass-Steagall, which is an old law separating commercial investment banking? I mean, would you work with Donald Trump on these and any other issues?

WARREN: Look, I think the real question is, how does Donald Trump want to run his administration? If he wants to run his administration on bigotry and on Wall Street insiders' trickle-down economics that helps a handful of people at the top and leaves everybody else behind -- I can't be part of that. And I don't think that's where Democrats are. But to your question --

COOPER: So, even if there are certain issues that you agree with? That you can make progress on? Because a lot of Americans are sick of gridlock.

WARREN: You know, I think what a lot of Americans are sick of is a government that works for those at the top. I think that Donald Trump tapped into that anger. And now, Donald Trump is doing a 180 degrees on it, and he's putting Wall Street insiders into exactly the jobs where he criticized Wall Street insiders before.

COOPER: You've asked --

WARREN: We need people if the government here who work on behalf of the American people, who aren't caught up in a Wall Street mentality and certainly not people who made their fortune by turning families upside down on lousy mortgages that tricked and trapped people.

[20:10:04] COOPER: You've asked the GAO, the Government Accountability Office, to look into Trump's overseas business ties and potential conflicts of interests.


COOPER: Earlier today, President-elect Trump said he would take steps to separate himself from what he's called the business operations of the company. What would be enough from your perspective? Because, again, we don't know the details of what that means. Is him maintaining ownership OK? As you know, legally, he doesn't have to have a blind trust.

WARREN: Yes. Well, look, the question is, how is he really going to separate himself? I'm glad to hear that he has said he's going to move in that direction. I think, obviously, he was feeling a little heat about that and felt like he needed to respond.

But it is as so often the case, the devil is in the details. Is he really going to have a separation where had he doesn't know what advances Trump interests? And foreign governments, for example, don't know what would advance Trump interests. If they both know what advanced Trump interests, this isn't about formal ownership. This is about whether or not you have got a conflict of interest. Whether or not Donald Trump is actually working for the American people or just working for Trump enterprises.

COOPER: What about the Carrier deal? I mean, again, we don't know details about how it came about. The company announced it would keep about a thousand jobs in Indiana. Is that a step in the right direction? Do you give Trump for credit that?

WARREN: Look, jobs --

COOPER: And, I guess the question is, why isn't that something President Obama could have done?

WARREN: Yes, jobs are good. The question is, what exactly is the deal? I mean, the first thing you learn when you're talking about deals is let's read all of the details. Let's read the fine print. You know, how much government money has gone into this. What kind of jobs are they?

I just want to know the details.

COOPER: Right.

WARREN: This -- you just don't know enough yet to know how this one has worked out.

COOPER: I want to ask you about the recount efforts led by Jill Stein.


COOPER: She formally filed for recount in Michigan today. Do you support this? Because she offers no actual evidence of fraud. I mean, she admits she doesn't have any actual evidence of hacking or fraud. Potential hacking is something the FBI is already investigating. So, is this really necessary?

WARREN: Well, look, if -- I think that it is important for all of us to have confidence in the electoral system and ensure that --

COOPER: But is she raising -- I mean, is she raising doubts unfairly about the electoral system?

WARREN: How is it raising doubts to do an audit? You know, if that's what comes out of this is they re-audit and they say, here are the numbers and we double and triple checked them and we're absolutely positively sure that these are the right numbers -- I don't see how that raises doubts. I think what that raises is confidence.

COOPER: Laurence Tribe from Harvard, a Harvard professor, recently said that even though recounts are within the law, Stein is most likely doing in his opinion, quote, "to gain attention and establish herself as a national player." She's raising millions of dollars for recount. She's building probably a mailing list of those who donate.

WARREN: Yes. Look, if what she's going to do is say, let's double and triple check the numbers and people want to contribute to that effort, then they should be able to. And I think that should boost our confidence in the electoral system.

I'd like to know that every vote in America was counted. I'd like to know that every one of those votes gets counted. I think that helps on credibility overall.

COOPER: Looking back at the election, was Secretary Clinton simply the wrong candidate for the moment? Could Senator Sanders have been the right candidate? Could he have possibly won?


COOPER: Well, in a momentum we'll have Senator Warren's answer to that question. The rest of our exclusive interview when we come back.

Also ahead, the death tool climbing in Tennessee where wildfires have destroyed hundreds of buildings, families are desperate to find missing relatives.


[20:17:15] COOPER: In the wake of Hillary Clinton's defeat, one of her biggest campaign surrogates, Senator Elizabeth Warren has made it clear that she's prepared to wage battle with the Trump administration and the new Congress come January.

Here's part two of my exclusive interview with the senator.


COOPER: Looking back at the election was Secretary Clinton simply the wrong candidate for the moment? Could Senator Sanders have been the right candidate? Could he have possibly won?

WARREN: You know, I -- this is not about looking backwards. This is about what we're going to do now.

But let's keep in mind that Senator Clinton got about 2.3 million more votes than Donald Trump did and that Democrats took seats in both the House and Senate away from the Republicans. So, I think what happens next is how it is that we drive forward on a message about economic growth and actually come up with the ideas and work for the American people?

We've had enough of Republican trickle-down economic works for people at the top and doesn't work for anyone else.

COOPER: But as Democrats, I mean, is this --

WARREN: We need to make this economy work.

COOPER: But as Democrats, it is disingenuous to say you're not going to look back. Obviously, Democrats are going to look back very closely what happened. Many of the Senate candidates you in fact backed, Feingold in Wisconsin, McGinty in Pennsylvania lost. I mean --


COOPER: To many Democrats, even the party seems in disarray.

What is your message to those who didn't vote for Donald Trump about the next four years? How are you approaching these next four years? And I guess it goes back to the question of common ground. You are essentially saying even if there's areas, the TPP, Glass-Steagall, infrastructure, that you might agree with Donald Trump on, are you saying you will not work with him on those issues? WARREN: No. What I have said and what I'll say about how we go

forward is you start with core principles.

And I think it means to be a Democrat. I think it means that we believe in respect and dignity for every human being. And I also believe that it means we believe in building economic opportunity. Not just for those at the top but economic opportunity for everyone. I think those are the principles on which the Democratic Party stands and those are the principles on which we will go forward.

COOPER: But there are also politics obviously involved and you as a party and you as a senator have to figure out, you know, do you confront every step of the way? Do you work with? Do you reach a hand across the aisle when you think there are issues you can do good on?

WARREN: Look, I've been doing that for the four years I've been here. I have worked with Republicans -- I have worked with Republicans on different bills. Right now, we've got a 21st Century Cures Act that's on floor. I took to the floor on Monday to talk about how terrible I thought that bill was. And at least there is some good in it.

[20:20:00] The bill is now -- the bill is now better than it was. Yes, this is part of what we do.

COOPER: So, would you be willing to work with the Trump administration?

WARREN: Like I said, it depends on what's happening here. If Donald Trump wants to run an administration based on bigotry and he wants to follow through on trickle-down economics, run an economy that only works for those at the top, and doesn't work for anyone else, then I can't help on that. Those are not the things that I stand for, and I think those are not the things that Democrats stand for.

COOPER: So, even if there's more infrastructure spending, which is something you support, in general, if it's not done in the way -- you know, if it's done through lowering taxes or corporate incentives.

WARREN: If it's done to try to help -- if it's done to try to help those at the top and it's not actually going to provide jobs and economic growth and opportunity for the rest of America -- you know, you can't just slap a name on something and say, gee, would you automatically sign up for this. What it's really about are those core principles.

You know, we believe in dignity for everyone. That's what it's about. That's where you start. That's the stuff you don't negotiate over.

And the rest of it, we really believe in building economic opportunity. We now have an economy that is working great. It's working great for those right at the top.

And everybody else in this economy is being left behind. This isn't just about the poor. This is about working families. This is about middle class families. This is about upper middle class families. This is about people who worry that they can't afford to educate their

children. This is about people who worry that they can't afford to retire. This is about people who see no economic future for themselves and others like themselves.

We have to do better than that as a country. We once built an America that worked, not just for those at the top. It worked across a full range. We weren't perfect. But we were bending it in the right direction.

And for 30 years now, we've done trickle-down economics and it has been an ugly mix of deregulation and just writing one law after another that helps those at the top.

COOPER: But --

WARREN: Tax cuts for the big guys, no spending for anybody else.

COOPER: As you know, though --

WARREN: We have to reverse that.

COOPER: When you take a look at that electoral map, I mean, there's blue on both coasts, basically, and a lot of red in the entire rest of the country. Do you feel like you're out of touch? That's what the Republicans say about you, that you're out of touch.

WARREN: Out of touch, when 2.3 million more people voted for the Democratic candidate than the Republican candidate? When the Democrats picked up seats in the Senate and the Republicans lost? When the Democrats picked up seats in the House of Representatives and the Republicans lost? You know, let's be clear. We are not the minority here. We are the party of opposition.

COOPER: But it sounds like you're saying you won but you didn't. What went wrong?

WARREN: Look, what I'm saying is that more Americans agreed on -- with the Democratic candidate for president than agreed with the Republican for president. And not by a little bit. She won by a substantial margin. Indeed, as the numbers keep coming in, that margin continues to grow.

COOPER: But you're talking about an economic message that is not resonating with voters in Rust Belt States, even the term Rust Belt is offensive. But in those states, where people are hurting, your message is not resonating.

WARREN: And that's what I was -- that's what I was just talking about. We're talking about an economy that for more than 30 years has been effectively a trickle-down economy. This economy has been full of deregulation, so Wall Street could do better.

And what's happening? Donald Trump's turning around and appointing the ultimate Wall Street insider -- I think he's called "Mr. Wall Street" -- to come in and have the keys to the Treasury. We need an economy that works across the range, that produces good jobs, produces a future.


COOPER: But it sounds like you're telling those workers --

WARREN: -- opportunity all across the range.

COOPER: Sorry to interrupt.

It sounds -- it sounds like you're telling those workers who are out of jobs who voted for Donald Trump in Ohio and other places that they just were mistaken, that they were sold a bill of goods, that they don't understand what's in their best interests.

WARREN: Well, I'm sorry, Anderson. Did you just hear what we said about Donald Trump? He promised he was going to run this government for the American people and not for Wall Street. And what he's just done is he's just put a Wall Streeter in charge of the Treasury, and not just a random one. A guy who actually helped package all of those toxic mortgages. A guy who bought a bank that made its fortune by squeezing people hard on foreclosure.

That's the person who is going to be the chief economic officer of the United States. I mean, Donald Trump is the one who said one thing during the campaign and now has reversed that by 180 degrees by what he is actually doing.

[20:25:10] COOPER: Senator Elizabeth Warren, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

WARREN: You bet.


COOPER: Well, lots to talk about with the panel.

Joining me tonight, CNN political commentator, Peter Beinart, contributor at "The Atlantic". National spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist, Kirsten Powers, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" national political reporter, Alex Burns, and CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Alice Stewart.

Peter, I mean, it is difficult obviously a position for the Democrats to be in and for Senator Warren. Now, the Democrats trying to figure out are they now just the party of opposition? Do they try to find common ground with Donald Trump and the Republicans? Because there are some issues where they theoretically could?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think there are going to be a lot frankly. I mean, I think, even if you look at the Trump infrastructure, given what we know of the Trump plan, which is basically a give away in terms of tax incentives to wealthy developers rather than government money, I don't think there is going to be a lot of overlap. But I do think that Elizabeth Warren has an opportunity because she's an authentic populist. She, for her entire career, has been in genuine opposition to the powers that be in the American financial and corporate system.

Donald Trump is a sham populist. He's a bogus populist. He's a guy who made all kind of claims how much he hates Goldman Sachs during the campaign, final commercial of his campaign, and lo and behold, he's got a treasury secretary from Goldman Sachs, he's got a senior counsel from Goldman Sachs. And now, we hear that his OMB head maybe from Goldman Sachs.

Elizabeth Warren has an opportunity because she's a real deal and Trump is a fake.

COOPER: Karine, is it hypocritical for Donald Trump -- is he going back on campaign promises?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Yes, it's easy question to answer. Look, stepping on the Goldman Sachs thing for a second, they had a -- their stock went up nine-year high. It went up 3 percent today. Why did they go up? Because, now, they have access to the White House now. Three executives that are going to be part of the cabinet.

And I think yes. He was supposed to be a man of the people. He was supposed to make sure that, you know, there wasn't going to be a revolving door, and he's doing the complete opposite of what he promised his own supporters the last, you know, 18 months.

COOPER: Kayleigh, is this a betrayal?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think so at all. Just because someone has Goldman Sachs on their resume doesn't mean they are a bad Wall Street person who should never be qualified to run anything in government, solely because they happen to work at a certain organization or bank. So, no.

Just because he appointed people that have this as part of their pedigree, that doesn't mean that they're not going to implement the policies that he promised. Namely, the fact they are going to be tax breaks for all. He's going remedy some of the trade imbalances.

And just quickly to Peter's point, you say that Elizabeth Warren is an authentic populist and I find it hard to believe that when she was pushed on Hillary Clinton by Anderson and she never pointed out the fact that the DNC rigged the election in favor of the Hillary Clinton. If you're an authentic populist, I would think you would take -- have the guts to stand up for Bernie Sanders who should have -- been given more of a chance and the powers that be shouldn't have suppressed him and his supporters the way that they did. And for her not standing up for that, it doesn't quite ring authentically.


COOPER: Kirsten, what do you make -- BEINART: It's all a red herring but OK.

COOPER: Kirsten, what do you make of Steve Mnuchin, some of the other choices he's made?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I think it is true that these people are -- he did specifically attack Goldman Sachs. He attacked Hillary for her ties to Goldman Sachs. He attacked Ted Cruz for ties to Goldman Sachs, claiming that basically Goldman Sachs owned Ted Cruz.

So, I think that perhaps he should address this. What does this mean?

But I also think, Kayleigh, as to your point, that it does ultimately depend on what these people are going to do in terms of policies and Steve Mnuchin has said, it's going to be across the board tax cuts, it's not just going to be tax cuts for rich people. It's going to be tax cuts for the middle class as well.

So, we have to wait and see what the actual policy is going to be.

COOPER: I know the supporters of the Steve Mnuchin point out is that he hasn't held government office before, so that he's not viewed as a Washington insider, though clearly he's a financial insider.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and I think one of the things that we found during the campaign is that there are a lot of different kinds of insiders that the American people don't care for, right? That there were people during the Republican primaries who thought that because I've only been a governor, I've never been to Washington I don't count as an insider. And, in fact, if you are Scott Walk or Jeb Bush, voters still see you as a part of the political class.

I do think that -- you know, everybody is pretty much acknowledging here that the American people don't care for Wall Street, and they don't care for people who come out of the belly of that particular beast, and I do think this Trump has set a pretty high bar for himself to clear in terms of how he's perceived as treating industry relative to regular people.

COOPER: They did move off the lobbyists who they had in the transition, which is one of the criticism Senator Warren had made.

But do you think this is a mistake to reach out to Goldman Sachs folks?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think these are men who are extremely accomplished in the business and financial world. They helped to craft Donald Trump's populist economic reforms that he's going implement in the White House and reforms he outlined to the American people that voted for him and now, he's the president elect. And for Warren to be critical of their Wall Street insider, as she calls it, that is just experience they have coming to the table.

[20:30:02] They know how the system works. And they know how the system is rigged. COOPER: She's very critical though of Mnuchin's particular experience at a small bank where he took over and also -- but we're going to talk more with the panel right when we come back, after this short break.

Also ahead the president-elect tweeted that he's going to step away from running the business operations of his company to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. Is that may enough to satisfy critics? We'll talk about that ahead.


COOPER: We've been talking about Senator Elizabeth Warren's strong opposition to Donald Trump's pick for a treasury secretary. She says the way Trump's administration is coming together, shows he has no intention of draining the swamp as he promised. Here again is -- some of what Senator Warren said just a short time ago.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: He promised when he was running for president that he would break the connection between Wall Street and this Congress. He said he was going to separate that from the government. No more revolving door. He wasn't going to do that sort of thing. And then what does he do? He turns around and picks a guy who had actually been one of the people who helped do all of those lousy mortgages, that not only broke the economy but broke millions of families.

[20:35:11] And then after the crash a guy who turned around and bought a bank that then became infamous for how hard it squeezed families, that had already been cheated. And was the foreclosure machine following that. The American people are furious over what Wall Street has done. They don't want somebody who's going to come in here and say hey let's help Wall Street. And what Donald Trump is doing is he's literally handing the keys to the treasury over to a Wall Street bank who are helped cause the crash.


COOPER: And back to the panel. Karine, you know, a lot of Democrats obviously criticize Republicans for just completely trying to block then President Barack Obama in his first term. Just from the get-go, isn't them same -- I mean is it fair now to make the same criticism, it sounds like what Democrats are planning to do -- I mean whether they're able to do, because they don't have power in either House.

JEAN-PIERRE: I got to tell you Anderson, I'm all for it. I mean on January 20th of 2009 Republicans met at some steakhouse in D.C. talked about how they were going to make President Brarack Obama a one term president. So -- and ...

COOPER: But they got huge criticism from Democrats ...


COOPER: ... the time, they said look that not how government. You know, that's not how we function.

PIERRE: I hear you, is how government work, but this is a guy who, you know, there is no two Donald Trump. There is one Donald Trump which is the campaign Donald Trump. We see this from the cabinet picks that he is chosen.

COOPER: So payback is OK?

PIERRE: It's more about being part of the resistance and being part of saying to the American people we have your back. Because like Elizabeth Warren said, 2.3 million vote -- more votes ...

COOPER: Kirsten?


COOPER: She say is having a back. Tell theirs ...

KRISTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's what I say. People just want to own up to the hypocrisy then that's OK. But move -- it's Democrat have been talking about this non stop for the last eight years. Basically that this was a strategy.

So I think that it's actually -- it is a good strategy and that is what Democrats saw and that -- because what happens is the president is the one who wins if there's bipartisanship. So if Democrats start working with Trump then people will say oh Washington is functioning and that's good for the president. So I then to say a good strategy, it's extremely electoral strategy, it's not good for the country. It's a good electoral strategy.

COOPER: Peter?

PETER BEINART, THE ATLANTIC CONTRIBUTOR: I actually don't think it's hypocrisy. I think there is an important different (ph), the question is what is the agenda the president is pushing. Barack Obama's agenda if you look at his healthcare plan was basically largely taken from a Republican plan in Massachusetts, his infrastructure plan, right to his stimulus plan had huge number of tax cut which is Republicans liked and the Republicans still opposed it. If Donald Trump comes forward with that kind of ideological centrist proposal on infrastructure, he'll get Democratic support. But if he comes up with proposal which is a hard write proposal, that's different then what Barack Obama did.

COOPER: Is it hypocrisy?

STEWART: Warren, talking about the building economic opportunities and great passion she had. If the Democrats would have won -- run on that and had a candidate that wasn't flawed they might have won, let's -- her ideas she put forward tonight, those are great ideas, they should have them in the campaign. But look moving forward and she shouldn't be looking at what these guys have done in the past, she needs to look at what's the plan for the future and as Kayleigh had mentioned, the economic plan that is on the table that Donald Trump has with regard to pro growth tax, unleashing American energy. Renegotiating trade deals and looking at bilateral agreements with other countries. These are plans that will work and they will grow and that look there are 1,000 employees that Carrier in Indiana who have seen the benefits of these plans.


ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well look, this is a real debate that's going on within the Democratic Party right now. Right, that they there are folks like Elizabeth Warren who feel like just draw the line in the sand and do not let him step across it. There are other folks are who -- no, I think Chuck Schumer had signaled that he maybe among them, who see Donald Trump as not a conventional Republican. As a guy who's been extremely idealogically flexible over time. He's a negotiator. He's a guy who doesn't like being unpopular and doesn't particularly like, you know, facing blow back face to face from people.

So if you get in the room with him, this is the alternative theory of the case, I'm not saying it's a better theory in the case, but the alternative theory in the case is get a table with him and talk him into a different position or at least just appeal to his kind of natural negotiating tendencies.

MCENANY: To Kristen's point, you know, Kristen mentioned and she's absolutely right, that when you have bipartisanship the president wins, the governing party tends to win. So I think every Democrat is going face an important choice, to what do you prioritize? Policy or politics. He's prioritize policy, he prioritize getting rid of the bad trade deals if you will put your money where your mouth is, you're going to side with Donald Trump on something, if you prioritize politics then you are going sit on the side lines and probably pay the debt for that.

COOPER: All right, I want thank everybody. Trump tweeted that he'll have a press conference with his kids in a few weeks to discuss stepping away from operating his businesses, to non ownership but operating them to avoid the appearance of the conflicts of the interest as president.

[20:40:00] We'll talk about that next.


COOPER: The potential conflicts of interest between business and the presidency or unprecedented obviously in the upcoming Trump administration. Today, Trump signaled he's aware of that, tweeting, "I will be holding a major news conference in New York city with my children in December 15th to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total, in order to fully focus on running the country, in order to make America great again, while I'm not mandated to do this under the law, I feel is visually important as president to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses, hence legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The presidency is a far more important task."

Joining me to discuss, Michael D'Antonio, author of the "Truth About Trump", Timothy O'Brien, executive editor of Bloomberg View and author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald. Also CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany.

Tim, I mean you said that the only way President-elect Trump can really avoid a financial conflict is to also insulate and isolate his kids. What do you mean by that?

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, BLOOMBERG VIEW EXECUTIVE EDITOR: There so deeply embedded in his business, he said that he would create a blind trust and lead them in charge at the business, but that's of course it's not a blind trust, it is real that his children are involved in the business.

[20:45:04] He's also said that he's son-in-law Ivanka Trump's husband is a candidate for senior White House advisory position and there's just going to be this great conflation of information between policy making apparatuses in the White House and Trump Organization deal making, and there's no real buffer being established between the children, the business and Donald Trump's White House activities.

COOPER: So you're saying the children, if they were running the company, would not be -- would have to not have any role in the White House at all or any kind of advisory role.

O'BRIEN: Correct. And they already do. They're on the transition team. Ivanka Trump has sat in on meetings with foreign dignitaries and diplomats. Jared Kushner's obviously been in important force in -- on the Trump team.

And as long as that presence exists, there not a -- there's always going to be a conflict of interest looming over this White House that every step of the way in any policy decision. And I think it really comes down to Donald Trump either getting a fully independent third party to run his businesses or selling them off.

COOPER: Kayleigh, the other question I guess is about ownership of the properties. Does Donald Trump continue to own them? He said he's going to remove himself from business operations which sounds like just David Day (ph) kind of running of a company but not the ownership itself. Is that enough you think?

MCENANY: I think that's enough. Look, the American people elected him knowing that he had $10 billion brand. They elected him ...

COOPER: And knowing that it was a complex structure.

MCENANY: Knowing that it was a complex, that's exactly right and knowing that the children were advisors and we're going to take over the company. That was what was always said. My kids are going to take over. It's unprecedented situation. We've never seen anything like it before and that's why the onus is on Donald Trump to consult with White House counsel which he said he's going to Reince Priebus has said he's going to do to ensure every step he takes is not in conflict with ...

COOPER: So to Tim's point though, do you think that the adult children should not have an advisory role if they are running the company?

MCENANY: I think they can maintain an advisory role. Look, the special situation we set up with the Clinton Foundation was that the onus was on her to draw the line. Now, the same onus is on the Trump children to draw the line between their role in advising their dad and their role in working in the company. I do think that it's doable. I do think it's possible. And I do think that Donald Trump is the person that can make this work in the way the Clintons did not.

COOPER: Mike, I know you've been -- Mike, have you been very focused on the overseas component of Donald Trump's businesses, which are many -- and we don't, frankly, a lot about -- a lot of them. You've argued that the real estate intercalary in other countries can be swamps to put Trumps words unto themselves.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Well absolutely. So there's nothing more political than the real estate business especially when you go to a place like India or Turkey. In India just about every real estate developer has a member of parliament that -- his or her member of parliament. There is nothing here that's comparable to the Clinton Foundation which did charitable work overseas. This is a for profit -- really hundreds of for profit entities.

COOPER: You need politicians to grant you licenses ...

D'ANTONIO: Yeah. Zoning. There's so much in the real estate business that is politically fraud and corrupt. I mean, you know, there are so many payoffs that take place ...

COOPER: And you believe that his children also, if they are running, cannot -- I mean you agree with Tim?

D'ANTONIO: Oh there's -- right. There is this whole problem of appearance. Even if there's not approved conflict and someone is not taking money. How can you be engage with a public official in the Philippines in a real estate project but also do diplomacy with them? I just think that this is incredibly complicated. And the onus is on Donald Trump and he's going to have to go a little bit further than just saying it's OK.

COOPER: I mean, would it be possible for Donald Trump or incredibly difficult for Donald Trump not just to get out of business operations as he says he will do but to -- which seems relatively easy, but to get out of actual ownership? To actually sell stuff?

O'BRIEN: We've talked about this before and it actually isn't complex. I've noticed before anything on your show, the media routinely says that Donald Trump has a vast real estate empire, but it's neither vast nor an empire. It's a very lucrative set of holdings he owns outright and independently only one commercial building in the United States. He owns 12 golf courses. Three of them are overseas. He's got other hotel or real estate partnerships where in many cases he's a minority investor.

Almost everything he does overseas are licensing operations. You could easily set up a third person, third party to oversee all of those licensing deals. And the holdings in the U.S. could be liquidated relatively painlessly. And Trump himself has said he got in to this campaign to make America great again, not to make money. And I think we're now at a moment where he can demonstrate that to the public.

[20:50:00] COOPER: Michael, Kayleigh, Tim, thanks so much, I appreciate it.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Anderson.

MCENANY: Thanks.

COOPER: We'll going to have more on the breaking news, the death toll rising in Tennessee. Wildfires rain is finally falling tonight in the area but is it helping fire crews? We'll look at that, when we continue.


COOPER: More breaking news from Gatlinburg, Tennessee tonight with the death toll from the wildfires has risen to seven. It could climb even higher. A lot of families say they cannot find loved ones. Take a look at what firefighter's face on Monday night when the fire first quickly spread.




COOPER: OK. Seeing more than 700 structures are destroyed or damage so far. The flames have been fueled by high winds, but tonight a shift in the weather may help firefighters.

Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray is in Gatlinburg tonight. So I know the area has received some rain. Has it helped?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's helped but it's also hurt, and the reason is because you're getting this rain. Of course it's been official but at the same time you're getting really high winds that come in ahead of these storms.

[20:55:02] We've also gotten a lot of cloud-to-ground lightning as well during the next -- for the last 24 hours. And so while the rain has helped contain those fires, the high wind and the lightning has helped spark a few new ones

We think, overall, the number of fires has gone down dramatically. The rain has definitely helped but of course this area still needs much more. People have hiked up to these areas that have been charred where the fires were in areas that are no longer burning, they can still feel the heat underneath their feet. And so, even though the fire is out, Anderson, a lot of these areas are still smoldering right underneath the ground. COOPER: I mean, have people started to return to their home in some areas?

GRAY: Some people have. But for the majority, people haven't. There are still a couple hundred people in this evacuation center where we are, and unfortunately, tomorrow morning they're going to wake up on day three still not knowing when they can return home and if they can return home, they are not going to be sure if there's even going to be a home. As you said, the 700 or more structures have been burned. This has been a living nightmare for people who had to flee with just the shirts on their back, Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, a lot of people may need help after this. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.

There's much more ahead in the next hour of "360" including breaking news on the Trump deal to save Carrier jobs here in the U.S. The president-elect keeping a campaign promises, a success story for the incoming administration. How the Trump team made it happened and what we know about the deal so far.


[21:00:10] COOPER: Thanks for joining us for a second hour of "360."