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Trump Family Business Versus People's Business; Fake News; Real Gunshots; Ben Carson to be Nominated HUD Secretary; Death Toll Rises to 36 in Oakland Fire. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 5, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight a busy night with new questions about Donald Trump's family ties and how he will do the people's business as president without any conflict of interest with his own family business.

Today, we learned that daughter Ivanka who Trump says will run the business without his input will be moving to Washington along with son-in-law Jared Kushner who's already a close Trump adviser and could end up with a West Wing job. Also today, Ivanka Trump met with former Vice President Al Gore to talk about global warming and there's more.

CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash reports.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like most Trump projects, the Washington hotel opening this fall was a family affair.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: Two years ago when we promised the city of D.C. that Trump would be coming to Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016, we had no idea what we were foreshadowing.

BASH: It turns out Ivanka Trump had no idea what she was foreshadowing. And now, her plan to move her family to D.C. is raising a slew of questions about one of the more fascinating aspects of what we know will be an unconventional presidency -- the role Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner will play.

In an interview last month, this was Ivanka's prediction.

IVANKA TRUMP: I'm going to be a daughter, but I've said throughout the campaign that I'm very passionate about certain issues and that I want to fight for them.

BASH: That explains her sit-down with former Vice President Al Gore on climate change, but she also took the unusual step of attending a meeting last month between president-elect Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe which "The New York Times" reports took place as representatives of Ivanka Trump products were in Tokyo work on a licensing deal with a company backed by a bank owned by the Japanese government. That brings up another conundrum, Trump's businesses. During his

campaign, he said he would hand over control of the Trump Organization to its children, but if that includes Ivanka, it could pose a conflict if she's also an active participant in the Trump White House.

Trump told "The New York Times", if it were up to some people, I would never, ever see my daughter, Ivanka, again."

It was tongue in cheek, but revealing about how inextricably linked Ivanka is to the president-elect's professional life. It was as true on the campaign trail as it is in business as he told us at the opening of his hotel in D.C.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I want to back my children. My children work very hard, Ivanka in particular. And at the opening of the hotel, I want to back my children.

BASH: And as president, his children want to back him especially Ivanka's husband, Jared, who played a leading role leading the Trump campaign and now the transition. He's asked lawyers to look into whether he can get around a nepotism law prohibiting children and in- laws from administration jobs.

DONALD TRUMP: Jared's a very smart guy, a very good guy -- the people who know him. He's a quality person. And I think he could be very helpful. I would love to be able be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians.

BASH: Trump said his son-in-law would be good at helping make that happen.

Having Ivanka and Jared in Washington, maybe even in the West Wing, could pose conflicts and certainly would be unprecedented, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

IVANKA TRUMP: He will fight for equal pay, for equal work, and I will fight for this, too, right alongside of him.

BASH: It was what Ivanka Trump promised, and it was a selling point for many Trump voters.


BASH: According to sources familiar with the discussions, it's more likely that Jared Kushner gets a formal role inside the White House than his wife, Ivanka. But regardless of any official titles, they're both key advisers to the president-elect and their planned move here to D.C. means that's not going to change -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Dana Bash. Dana, thanks.

So, this is clearly some place we have never been before, at least not to this degree. By comparison, Jimmy Carter's peanut warehouse was peanuts and that was put in a blind trust.

Here to talk about it, CNN political director David Chalian, CNN political analyst David Gregory, host of "The David Gregory Show" podcast, Matt Lewis, senior contributor to "The Daily Caller", "Wall Street Journal" senior special writer, Monica Langley, who also happens to be CNN's newest political analyst.

Welcome, Monica.


COOPER: You spent a lot of time in Trump Tower. How involved is Ivanka Trump in this transition at this point?

LANGLEY: Completely.

COOPER: Completely?

LANGLEY: Completely. She's there every day. She does have a business, her own fashion brand. She's also a senior executive of Trump Organization. But right now, it's all hands on deck for the transition and she's completely involved.

COOPER: And is it clear what's going to happen down the road once Donald Trump is president?

LANGLEY: OK, so right now, the thinking is, I would say there's about an 80 percent chance that Jared Kushner will go and take a formal role inside the White House. If -- he's working out the details for legal and ethical concerns with his multibillion dollar real estate company and media holdings.

Ivanka is so involved with advising her father that there's been a lot of questions, can she really be a real estate executive at Trump Organization if she's doing this?

[20:05:00] So, I understand today she's really come up with what will be her title and it won't be a formal role. She'll be first daughter and public advocate for the causes she believes in.

So, she's going to make this very clear before the December 15th announcement.

COOPER: Matt, is that enough of a separation? I mean, for those who say, look, Donald Trump needs to separate himself from his business, he's always said his kids are going to run the business, there's been a lot of, you know, observers, Republicans and Democrats who said there has got to be a wall between his kids and him when it comes to business operations, but if Ivanka Trump is running the business but also a public advocate -- I mean, a public advocate pushes for policy positions.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. No, look, I think that first of all, Donald Trump really values his family's advice very clearly.

COOPER: They're probably his closest.

LEWIS: This is his brain trust and they're smart. I mean, not experienced in politics but smart, good instincts. And in some cases, I think they actually balance him quite well.

COOPER: Right. Some of Ivanka Trump's positions are ones on climate change it seems at odds with what Donald Trump, the candidate, and other Republicans think. Also on --

LANGLEY: Childcare.

COOPER: -- childcare, family leave.

LEWIS: And being president, really there's nothing more important, right? I mean, this -- when you're president, you should put everything you have into it. So, I'm with the people who say he should liquidate his assets and turn that over to a blind trust.

And I say this as somebody who's ambivalent about Trump. I think that there's a lot of things that I'm optimistic and hopeful for. I think, you know, he could have some very good -- if you're a conservative, some very good Supreme Court picks.

And I think it would be a real shame if he somehow turned out to be a pretty good president for it to be destroyed by some sort of a conflict of interest, which is bound to arise when you have --

COOPER: It's hobbling him from the get-go unless it's handled properly, David.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, without a question. And you can't have your daughter sitting in with a head of state as she did with Prime Minister Abe and have your clothing line and other aspects of your business involved in Japan and you're kind of tending to that. You have to have a real wall of separation.

I mean, look, I'm with Matt. I think these are two children and a son-in-law who are very close advisers who know him, who know his mind, whom he can trust. If he wants them there, that's fine, but he's going to have to work so much harder than he's already working to create some separation from the business.

I mean, it's the ultimate in what he decried about self-dealing and corruption in Washington, to be able to enrich the Trump brand and the advisers who he'll be relying on.

COOPER: It's also, David, impossible or very difficult to imagine how it's possible to fully separate if, you know, you're talking to your kids several times a day to not say, "What's the latest deal?" and have things blend over.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right. Well, Matt was saying about liquidating assets and putting it in a blind trust really is the only way to fully actually avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. And he's already said in advance of this December 15th press conference that's not happening.

So, shy of that, he is going to have conflicts of interest problems. He is -- day in and day out, you're absolutely right, Anderson, every time he meets with a head of state that runs a country where there's a Trump business interest in that country, immediately part of the story that day is going to be, they did discuss his business interests?


CHALIAN: There will be -- if not a real conflict of interest, an appearance of conflict of interest and he's going to have to answer to that.

COOPER: But the flip side of this, let me argue the counter to this, is voters knew all this going into it. Voters knew this.


COOPER: They knew it was complicated. He made it very clear, you know, the kids are going to run the business and voters voted for him. So, and legally he doesn't have to do a blind trust.

LANGLEY: Even more than that -- yes, the law is actually on Trump's side, you know what I'm saying? But more than that, people think he's going to be a good president, one way he is a good president and was a good candidate, perhaps, is with Ivanka and Jared. They are the two people who can reason with him more than anyone else.

You know, no other staffer will tell him, don't tweet that. And those two can do it. They're the ones that soften his edges, that know how far they can push him. And so, if he is going to do a tweet storm, he -- they are the two who can say, really, think about this.

CHALIAN: I don't think he can conceive of doing this job without them.

LANGLEY: Exactly. That's what I'm saying.

CHALIAN: The realm of conception perhaps --

LANGLEY: Yes, I agree.

COOPER: Do we know whether the other kids move to Washington or just her?

LANGLEY: No, the other two do not plan to move to Washington.

COOPER: That's very telling of their role and importance.

LANGLEY: If Jared goes, Ivanka does plan to go. I found out today she doesn't want to leave until June. Same as Melania, because a lot of people were first thinking, well, she could go and be the de facto first lady. Well, first of all, she hates that term. She says why can we have two independent strong women there, meaning Melania and herself?

COOPER: It's June because they have kids in school?

LANGLEY: Yes, exactly.

COOPER: It makes sense. Matt, it's not just with Ivanka Trump, it's not just that she's got

the Trump Organization business. I mean, as Monica pointed out, she's got her own, you know, business interests which, you know, she's got to take into consideration. I mean, it's no coincidence that when she gave the speech at the Republican Convention, she was wearing one of the dresses that then went on sale, you know, on "60 Minutes," she wore a bracelet I guess that was up for sale, you know, within minutes.

LEWIS: Right. So, she has business interests. She also has a brand interest and softening the edges. You were talking earlier about climate change.

Well, if you're a conservative who reluctantly voted for Donald Trump, the fact that she might be pushing her dad toward that is not necessarily good news. Especially if you're, like, worried about the coal industry in West Virginia or something.


COOPER: Right. Having her meet with Al Gore today is not really top on conservatives' list on what they would like to see.

LEWIS: Right.

GREGORY: Right. This is also not about voters' perceptions and this is not about how people feel about this. This is about the institution. This is about how as president, he or the office could be compromised. And there are laws on the books about self-dealing and business interests with regard to foreign affairs.

So, this becomes bigger than all that. This becomes a very big area for his staff and for others in Congress, and in Washington to be concerned about.

COOPER: Especially given his criticism of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, yes.

GREGORY: The foundation and all the rest.

COOPER: We're going to have more with the panel in just a second. A lot more tonight including the newest Trump cabinet appointment, a man the president-elect once derided, to put it mildly, who himself said would not be cut out for the job. That's coming up.

Next, keeping then honest, the connection between a completely fake news story, someone connected to the Trump transition team and a man who opened fire at a Washington pizzeria.

Later the horrific fire in Oakland. The latest on what caused it and you'll hear about some of the young lives lost.


[20:15:15] COOPER: Well, it's not breaking news that the Internet is full of unproven claims and crazy lies that's not even news. But "keeping them honest," it is when those lies almost get people killed and they're being propped up by people in positions of power. In this case, people, a person closely connected to a President-elect Trump's transition team.

More now from our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dramatic standoff captured in these photos began moments after this man, Edgar Maddison Welch, armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a hand gun, walked into this popular D.C. pizza place, police say firing multiple rounds.

SHARIF SILMI, WITNESS: He was walking straight directly to the back room. A staff member, you know, kind of look at me and indicated that this was a gunman, and, you know, we just swiftly made our way out to the exit and got out of there.

BROWN: Police quickly surrounded the building, coaxing Welch outside with his hands up.

Tonight, he's charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

What may be more bizarre than Welch's alleged actions are what led him there. Police say the 28-year-old was on a mission to stop a crime that had never been committed. An outlandish allegation made months ago online that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman were running a child sex ring in the basement of the restaurant, Comet Ping Pong.

The story has been repeatedly proven to be false by police and others. The restaurant doesn't even have a basement, and the story has been traced to a series of lies and fabrications, which first circulated on underground Internet message boards during the campaign, in part, because the owner of the restaurant has donated to Democratic causes.

The fictional story took off on Twitter and was passed around as if it were news, followed by the #pizzagate. Police say Welch told them he read online that the Comet restaurant was harboring child sex slaves and that he wanted to see for himself if they were there. And that, police say, is what motivated Welch to drive more than four hours to investigate the claims.

JAMES ALEFANTIS, COMET PING PONG OWNER: I really hope that all of these people fanning the flames of this conspiracy will take a moment to contemplate what has gone on here today and maybe to stop.

BROWN: But that hasn't happened. Even after Sunday's incident, the wild conspiracy theories continue, with some online oddly suggesting Welch was an actor, and that the police standoff was a hoax.

Even people connected to Donald Trump's transition team spread the baseless claim. Michael Flynn, Jr., who was the son and chief of staff to Donald Trump's incoming national security adviser, tweeted, "Until pizza-gate is proven to be false, it will remain a story. The left seems to forget Podesta e-mails and the many coincidences tied to it."

In a rare move today, even the White House weighed in, saying the latest incident proves fake news stories can potentially cause real harm.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We all hold the responsibility regardless of whether or not we are planning to serve in a government position or if one of our family members is planning to serve in a government position, that we shouldn't be propagating false things that could inspire violence.


COOPER: Pamela, has the Trump transition team responded to General Flynn's son's tweet?

BROWN: Well, we have reached out, Anderson, and so far, no comment from Trump's transition team. We should note, Michael Flynn Jr. does have a transition government e-mail address and his father, General Michael Flynn, who is now Trump's national security adviser, has also pushed unfounded conspiracy theories online, in fact, just before the election, you may recall he tweeted "you decide, NYPD blows whistles on new Hillary e-mails, money laundering, sex crimes with children, et cetera. Must read."

Again, that was a baseless claim. General Flynn has kept a lower profile on twitter since being named Trump's national security adviser. His son has not, after that initial tweet that was in the piece, he tweeted again saying that he's not saying the pizza-gate theory is true or not true, but just that it should be investigated and proven untrue.

Again, the Trump transition team not commenting, but as we saw here yesterday, Anderson, behind me at the restaurant, fake news stories can certainly cause real life consequences -- Anderson.

COOPER: The idea that something has proven not true as opposed to proven true is kind of a strange kind of warped way of looking at stuff.

Pamela Brown -- Pamela, thanks very much. Yes, our lights did go off for a second there.

Our next guest runs a global security and intelligence company. So, it caught our attention when his group issued a warning today about this incident. Ali Soufan is chairman and CEO of the Soufan Group. He's also a former top FBI interrogator, supervisory special agent.

It's great to have you on the show.

Why did you issue a warning about this? I mean, why does this story rise to that level?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: You know, we always have conspiracies. We have conspiracies on the fringes on the society. We have conspiracies on, you know, the fringes of the cyber universe.

[20:20:03] But it's dangerous when we have credible people that bring it from the fringe to mainstream, and we've seen that happening in other places in the world. You know, we target every single day in the United States. We think, how are we going to target the message, of al Qaeda, the message of is here? They spread a lot of fake news, fake stories.

There is Crusader Jewish alliance to destroy the Muslim world, to kill Muslims, that we're raping Muslim women, slaughtering Muslim children all over the place. I interrogated so many al Qaeda members who basically joined the group because they read these stories, because they heard bin Laden or Zawahiri talked about these kinds of things.

And it became true. These conspiracies became true. And when they come true, people are willing to die, people are willing to kill others, people are willing to blow up themselves for them.

And we start seeing the fringe here in our society. We start seeing the fringe being taken into the mainstream by credible people --

COOPER: Right.

SOUFAN: -- by politicians.

COOPER: The son of the national security -- the next national security adviser is tweeting about this stuff. Unclear if he's going to have -- continue to have a position in the White House. He does have a position in the transition team.

SOUFAN: Right.

COOPER: I mean, that's very close to somebody who has an extraordinary amount of power.

SOUFAN: Well, exactly, and these individual going to be in the halls of national security of the United States. And we have so many different stories that came out, not only pizza-gate and a lot of these stories were totally true. And you talk about them on your show.

But unfortunately, there are millions of people in the United States who believe that these stories are not true -- are true, sorry.

COOPER: It seems especially important for somebody whose job is intelligence and, you know, giving advice to the president of the United States on national security issues. There's nothing more important. To be very careful about not only what he is tweeting out, or he believes, but also with those around him.

SOUFAN: And I'm glad that General Flynn is now not that active on Twitter. You know what, there are a lot of things that were said by him or tweeted by him that, you know, it's okay to be fearful, reasonable, I think, he said, to be fearful of Muslims.

COOPER: He came on the show, talked about attempts of Sharia law in the United States.

SOUFAN: Yes, and all these things that actually are not true at all.

So I'm glad he is not actually that active because these things will be utilized by terrorist organizations, by recruiters who are trying to recruit to groups like is, to convince individuals that there's actually against Islam. They will show them these things as evidence.

COOPER: The thing, too, also, it does muddy the water about what is true and what is not true. And after a while, you sort of throw up your -- you know, it's very understandable that people kind of throw up their hands and just start to disbelieve pretty much everything.

SOUFAN: Well, this is the environment we live in. The environment that we live in today that everything is true. When everything is true, nothing matters anymore. When nothing matters anymore, you have uncertainty.

And where do you get answers for uncertainties? On the fringe. Conspiracy theories.

So, imagine when that fringe becomes credible because people who are involved in the political process are tweeting it or retweeting. In democracies, Anderson, in our democracy, words matters. And now unfortunately we have to say that tweets matter and retweets matters.

COOPER: Yes, Ali Soufan. Good to have you here. Thanks very much.

Coming up, the Trump transition, Ben Carson is the pick for HUD secretary. Just one year ago, you probably remember, Donald Trump was the candidate attacking him in one of the most unusual moments of the campaign. That's next.


[20:27:39] COOPER: We continue to focus on Donald Trump's transition team.

Donald Trump's transition team continues to take shape with Dr. Ben Carson, the latest addition. He'll be nominated as secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD.

You may remember one year ago almost to the day, Donald Trump went on multiple Twitter rants about Dr. Carson. Just one of the tweets, "With Ben Carson wanting to his hit mother on head with hammer, stab a friend, and pyramids built for grain storage -- don't people get it?"

Trump was referring to some of Dr. Carson's more interesting anecdotes, including when he said that he tried to stab a schoolmate when he was 14 but the victim's belts buckle blocked the knife. At a rally in Iowa last November, Donald Trump asked, quote, "How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?" Listen.


TRUMP: He took a knife and he went after a friend and he lunged, he lunged that knife into the stomach of his friend but lo and behold, it hit the belt, it hit the belt and the knife broke. Give me a break. Give me a break. Give me a break. The knife broke.

Let me tell you, I'm pretty good at this stuff. So, I have a belt. Somebody hits me, the belt moves this way. It moves this way. It moves that way.


COOPER: Presidential belt theory.


COOPER: Back with the panel. It's like, yeah, chaos there.

Joining the conversation, our political commentators, Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, Rebuild the Dream co-founder and president, Van Jones, and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover.

Monica, you were actually on the plane when Donald Trump decided to go after Dr. Carson. How was that?

LANGLEY: Right. OK, so, remember, you and I talked about it at the time.


LANGLEY: It was his campaign by counterpunch strategy.

COOPER: Right.

LANGLEY: He was on the plane and there was a brief moment that Carson went up ahead of Trump. So, Trump's like, we can't let this happen, I'm going after him today.

And that's when he said, this belt theory is absurd. So he started playing with his belt on the plane. He got off, he did that rally and that was the first day the Secret Service joined Donald Trump. So, he actually said, you didn't show I think that little snippet but said let somebody come up here and try to stab me with the belt in my belt. The Secret Service blocked it, this man is going crazy, Donald Trump is going crazy.

But this is the way he played his audiences. And he decided as we talked back at the time, I'm bringing him down.

COOPER: And what's so interesting about that, I mean I remember the article well that you wrote for the "Wall Street Journal", because that it was him basically -- it wasn't a team of advisers saying now is the time if you look at the polls, it's a gut feeling of, you know what, we got to take him down.

LANGLEY: He was the star and strategist of his campaign.

COOPER: Right. David Chalian, I mean, does it surprise you, I mean, do you think, I mean that, you know, there's this sort of team of rivals is one of the big cliches of sort of the way some people look at having a cabinet, people who are former rivals. Do you think Donald Trump is actually trying to do that? Or -- how do you see what he is trying to do with the Dr. Carson, potential even Mitt Romney as secretary of state?

CHALIAN: Right. Well, those are two very different cases I think. I don't think having Dr. Carson in the cabinet is a huge surprise if you watch the trajectory of the relationship. Right before, about a month before this incident about the belt, remember, they were going at it over religion as well. He was questioning sort of with dog whistle language, Donald Trump never admitted to it that he was questioning, but he was saying I don't know anything about the Seventh Day Adventists and he --

COOPER: Right.

CHALIAN: -- sort of putting it out there in the ether and Ben Carson who apologized later was questioning Donald Trump's commitment to his faith. Then though if you remember after the Florida primary, when Ben Carson got on board, and they had that press conference at Palm Beach together, Ben Carson clearly was joining the Trump forces.

So I don't think it's a big surprise to see him Mitt Romney would be an entirely different thing. But remember, Anderson, when you're dealing with this large field of Republican primary, it makes sense that you go look for some talented people that have sought this job before.

COOPER: Also people who are very well liked. Dr. Carson amongst conservative Republicans extremely well liked.

CHALIAN: Without a doubt.

COOPER: It's interesting, you know, David Gregory -- you know, Armstrong Williams who is this I think technically his business manager, which I think is the only politician I know who actually has a business manager who speaks for him, but said a couple weeks ago when CNN had said that Carson had rejected a previous offer from the president-elect, William said "he's a neophyte and that is not his strength." What do you think changed?

GREGORY: Yeah. That's a good question. I don't think very much. I mean let's remember that Dr. Carson didn't feel he was capable of running Health and Human Services Department but it was then OK to be president. But not run HHS. But now he can run HUD.

Look, I think this is a loyalty play on the part of Donald Trump. This is the fact that he has a business manager who says something about his strength and potency, Dr. Carson's, among the conservative Grassroots, gives a lot of speeches, wrote terrific books and were verdicts (ph). So I think that Trump wants to keep that energy alive. It's loyalty, it's diversity and I think some of the conservative positions that he's taken with regard to dependency on the government and all of that fits a world view that Trump has articulated in the course of the campaign. COOPER: You know, Jeff, it's interesting, Kellyanne Conway over the weekend said essentially the list of contenders for secretary of state has actually grown. It's not shrinking. Romney, Petraeus, Giuliani, Corker. Newt Gingrich also weighed in on this. I want to play with Newt Gingrich said on "Face the Nation" on CBS.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: As tough as I've been in public, which has been very aggressive and deliberately about Mitt, I've gotten no blow back from anybody including Reince. I mean there's a sense of you're allowed to have your own opinion. This is like "The Apprentice." When we get to a decision, we might not all be on the same team. But until that decision is made, you know, it's a fair conversation.


COOPER: He'd been critical of Mitt Romney as secretary of state as the candidate.

LORD: Right.

COOPER: It's interesting that now Newt Gingrich is comparing this to "The Apprentice."

LORD: Right, right. Well I think there are similarities.

COOPER: And we've heard Donald Trump use the term, "the finalists", you know.

LORD: Right, right. I mean we've talked many times about the unconventional nature of what we're about to see unfold -- what we have seen unfold as a campaign, as a candidate. This is going to be an unconventional presidency and that says in the sense that we've been electing people who were politicians, sort of the, you know, traditional types, et cetera. We have not done this here quite deliberately. The country is going in other direction. So, it is going to be very different. I mean I think this is going to be a terrific thing to watch unfold. I mean the chemistry I think is very important with him, when he said about Mitt Romney that he had great chemistry.

COOPER: And the loyalty. The loyalty.

LORD: And loyalty. Right. And I think those two things plus the background of knowledge for a particular field and --

COOPER: Van, how do you see the transition as it's been going so far? And again, the idea that this potentially as the list of secretary of states has actually grown whether that be true or not.

JONES: Master showman. He's a master showman. Listen, why bring this show to an end? Like every time he adds a name and people have to try to psychoanalyze him and guess, what does it mean that he's thinking about this person and he just loves it? You can just tell Trump just loves this whole thing.

So there's no reason for him to bring it to a conclusion. He probably already knows who he wants but this is the way that he's keeping the media doing what he wants it to do.

COOPER: Margaret, you actually don't think he does, or do you?

HOOVER: I don't think there's any reason to believe that he knows who his secretary of state designate is going to be. And it seems -- I think it's pretty offensive, like, you know, if Romney and he couldn't close the deal then, you know, we can decide he's brought time of the -- he hasn't seen the candidate he likes or the finalist that he likes.

[20:35:02] I think the thing about Ben Carson that's interesting is what's changed here is Ben Carson has decided he wants a future in politics. What had happened previously is he said he wanted help from outside of government which told me and told all of us that Ben Carson was finished. I mean, you have a Republican House of Representatives, Republican Senate, Republican administration. If you want a future in politics, you take a role in that administration. Come on.

COOPER: Well, it's also interesting because I mean he sort of faces the question that Sarah Palin faced. You know, she drops out of office as the governor, she goes on the lecture circuit, makes a lot of money, she gets a TV show. Dr. Carson, I mean if you're not in the game, you know, you can do lectures, you can write books. But at a certain point your currency is diminished.

JONES: And your shelf life down.

GREGORY: I would just say. It's also not totally clear what Trump wants in terms of his face to the rest of the world. I think he is surrounding himself with alpha males so far. General Mattis is another good example of that. He may want something different from the rest of the world. I'm not sure he's clear. He doesn't have a coherent view of the world. And that's what's up in the air. Also not clear how strong the secretary of state is going to be in this White House given how strong the White House is going to be.

COOPER: We have more with the panel coming up, much more also with Van Jones, whose town hall "The Messy Truth" airs tomorrow night on CNN, that's going to be fascinating. We asked Van to go to Ohio to talk to Trump voters, many talk about the economic pain they felt as steel mills closed down like that one. Real hurt. That made their choice for president clear. More on what Van found out, next.


COOPER: If you were watching our election night coverage, you may remember Van Jones reacting to Donald Trump's victory that night.


JONES: You tell your kids, don't be a bully. You tell your kids, don't be a bigot. You tell your kids, do your homework and be prepared. And then you have this outcome and you have people putting children to be tonight. And they're afraid of breakfast.

[20:40:12] this was a whitelash. This was a whitelash against a changing country. It was a whitelash against a black president in part. And that's the part where the pain comes and Donald Trump has a responsibility tonight to come out and reassure people that he is going to be the president of all the people who he insulted and offended and brush aside.


COOPER: And the aftermath of the pain and surprise that was so clear in Van's voice, we asked him if he wanted to sit down with people who voted for Donald Trump, to sit down and just talk to them, and most importantly to listen. Here's some of what he heard. Take a look.


JONES: So here we are in Ohio, as, you know, Ohio went for Trump. We're going to go to one of the bluest counties, Trumble County, which since 1976 has always voted for the Democrat, until this year. And they voted for Trump. I'm baffled. I'm bewildered. We got to figure it out.

Farmland and factories dominate the landscape and Union Democrats dominate local politics, but over the last 40 years, well actually it's the last 4 years, especially Obama's second term, industry has been hit hard. Many steel mills, manufacturing plants have been closed, and thousands of jobs have been lost. I'm invited to dinner with the family of Trump supporters to talk politics.

Hello. How are you? Good to see you. In the flesh. I brought you a cake.


JONES: Yeah, that's good. All right. Chocolate cheesecake. Hey.

SEITZ: Come on in.

Lord, thank you for this food and thank you for bringing everybody together.

JONES: Scott is a lifelong Democrat who voted for Obama twice.

S. SEITZ: Thank you so much, amen.

JONES: Cameron, his only son who's old enough to vote in the last election, also supported Obama. This year, all four Seitz men voted for Trump.

You can't imagine two guys more different and yet you supported one and then you supported the other. What did you like about Obama and then what did you like about Trump?

S. SEITZ: I think Obama represents a lot of love, and I think that he's a good man and he did all he could. And we supported him for two elections.

JONES: Yeah.

S. SEITZ: And then when those changes really didn't come about and Obamacare actually affected me personally with my own mother, I think we need the change once again. Trump seem to come through here and he's speaking change again. So I think we still voted for change.

JONES: That's a part of the disappointment. So then you have Trump. Help me understand how even if you don't like the health care, you like Trump. I just don't understand the Trump part.

S. SEITZ: You know, Hillary's message was this, "I'm with her." Trump's message was, "I'm with you." "I'm with you." And that kind of stuck with us.

JONES: Trump has not necessarily been the friendliest to American workers. He's stiffed contractors. I mean, help me understand how you round that corner even if you want jobs.

S. SEITZ: There was the other side of the coin as well. You know, Hillary, we couldn't trust her, you know. Anybody who deletes, as I understand it, 30,000 e-mails 2 days after she was subpoenaed and then she takes her server and acid washes it and clears it, that, to me, is admitting guilt and people in this area kind of really looked at that.

JONES: You know, when the tape came out, you had the "P" word, and he's talking about assaulting women, you know, that was just him and it wasn't just the foul language. It was also foul deeds. I mean, he's saying he can grab people and that type of stuff. Again, if integrity is the thing.

S. SEITZ: Comes down to the economy.

JONES: So it's all -- it's almost like you were willing to forgive a lot of sins because he was speaking directly to that economic message.

S. SEITZ: Absolutely.

You want to get in here?

DERINDA SEITZ, ABSTAINED FROM VOTING FOR PRESIDENT: I just -- you know, I wouldn't vote for either one. I didn't like either one of their morals. I thought and I just couldn't do it. So I just went down the row and went Democrat the rest of the way.

JONES: So you voted for a Democrat all the way down but could not vote for Hillary Clinton.

D. SEITZ: No. It was just her morals and his morals, I just -- no. They both scared me.

[20:45:04] JONES: So let me give you guys a chance to respond to some stereotypes about Trump voters. All the Trump voters hate the Mexicans, they hate Muslims, they don't like black people. They're just -- it was all of his explosive kind of racial talk was what really got everybody going. How do you guys -- how did that land to hear that?

CAMERON SEITZ, OHIO DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP: I definitely heard these concerns but one of my jobs is helping, counseling individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addictions and I'm just going by the statistics at my location. Most of them are minorities. I'd probably go as far to say 85 percent. So, you know, if that were the case, and if I was racist, then I just don't believe that I'd be very good at my job. But I'm not the stereotype that individuals think we are.

JONES: So there's two different ways to look at some of the things that he said that really hurt a lot of people's feelings. On a racial line. One is to say, well, if he said it, I like it and I'm voting for him because of it. The other is to say, I don't like it and I'm voting against him because of it. So I think that's the other thing people don't understand. If you guys are, you know, raised the way that you were, I mean you know not to say some of those things to people. Why didn't it make you vote against him?

S. SEITZ: Because we hear it and we crumble it up and we throw it away and doesn't allow us to make our general decisions on what we're going to do to provide for our family. We completely ignore that crap, that garbage, and we see what he has to provide for us outside of that.

D. SEITZ: It's -- to me, it's a male thing, too. You know, it could be the makeup of our household, you know. He is the man and I'm the woman, you know, so I think they might even have looked at it that way, too, that the country should be ran by a man.

JONES: How does the male/female thing play?

S. SEITZ: Mama runs the kitchen, daddy runs the house.


JONES: Somebody might have a stereotype that just says, you know, that Trump voters just don't believe that women can do it. Is that -- how true is that with some of the Trump voters?

S. SEITZ: Mama has a master's degree in teaching, you know. Women can do basically anything they want. She gets -- Hillary could have certainly been the commander in chief. If she would have spoke to the blue-collar worker, she would be sitting there.

JONES: So how does a billionaire -- I mean, you guys are serious, like, the working class backbone of America and the industrial heartland. How does a billionaire break through to the blue-collar worker? And what's it about him? I mean, it just drives me crazy. I don't understand. I'm confused.

S. SEITZ: She wasn't even close. She never even mentioned us.

JONES: That's the --

S. SEITZ: Is she -- she heard us. We put Democrats in office and she turned around and forgot completely about us. We are what makes this world go round.

We built the tanks and bombs that won these country's wars and for you to come through here and completely neglect us, we would have rather vote for anybody instead of her. And all the other stuff that Donald said didn't seem to make a hill of beans. She hurt us. And that's what it is.


COOPER: It's so -- I'm so glad you did this and then we played a long chunk. And there's going to be a lot more tomorrow night. And that hurt is so real and it is -- so it's not political pundits talking. It's people whose lives have been affected and it's so easy, I think, for folks on the left to demonize Trump voters as being -- as painting everybody with a very unfair broad brush.

JONES: When he said that, she hurt us, camera guys teared up. It wasn't the rage and this stuff and the "lock her up" and all that stuff. That was so far from that kitchen table. And I just hope that people will watch this thing tomorrow and start to understand we've been talking past each other. We don't understand each other.

COOPER: We don't sit around that table.

JONES: We don't sit around it -- we talk about each other, we don't talk to each other, everybody gets mad, that, you know, why CNN, you know, have Van and Jeffrey Lord on? Jeffrey and I talk to each other. That helped me to be able to go and listen. I'm telling you, there are people who like all those negative things that Trump was saying and those people I don't want to deal with, but there are so many more that are hurting in America, nobody listen to them, and this is their way of speaking out.

My heartbreak is that the underdogs in the red states and the underdogs in the blue states are now mad at each other as oppose to working together. Common pain should give you common purpose and we've missed that opportunity. So tomorrow night with "The Messy Truth", we're going to see if we can get a little bit fact toward our real conversation.

[20:50:13] COOPER: "The Messy Truth" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. We're going to be on just for an hour tomorrow night. 8:00, 9:00 is Van, "The Messy Truth." Hope you'll watch that, because that's really going to be powerful.

Just ahead, 36 people are now confirmed dead in that Oakland warehouse fire. Imagine that 36 young lives lost. Dozens are still missing. The latest on the investigation. Coming up.

Plus, the terrifying scene inside the inferno Friday night. Survivors now sharing their story.


COOPER: In Oakland, California, the death toll in a fire that tore through a warehouse during a dance party on Friday has climbed to 36 and many fear it will rise. Dozens of people are still missing.

Today the Alameda County district attorney said the charred wreckage is being treated as crime scene. As investigators try to discover what caused the Inferno, survivors are now describing the terror inside that building that in a matter of minutes became a death trap. Brynn Gingras reports tonight.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a Friday night and witnesses say an electronic dance party on the second floor of this warehouse was just getting started when flames erupted in the back of the building. The smoke and fire quickly field the floors overtaking the crowd at people scrambled to escape. Bob Mule said he tried to drag out his friend, who injured his ankle.

BOB MULE, WAREHOUSE FIRE SURVIVOR: I immediately took his arm and was pulling him out. I just got to a certain point where it was there was all of this stuff like blocking my path. And the fire was just getting too hot and the smoke was just getting too bad and I had to -- I had to leave him there.

GINGRAS: The warehouse, nicknamed the Ghost Ship, was an elaborate maze of rooms. Furniture, electronics, and art filled the two-story space in what was billed as a 24-hour work studio for area artists, like Shelley Mack who made jewelry there, and she said she once live there.

[20:55:08] What did it look inside?

SHELLEY MACK, FORMER GHOST SHIP RESDIENT: It looked like a big, huge caravan, like a carnival. Because there were all kinds of crazy -- there was, you know, five or six mobile homes, all done up like old school. There was a lot of antiques. There was 52 pianos. And organs that played 24/7, and beautiful music, all night and day. I kind of like that kind of a thing.

GINGRAS: But investigators say the building was in total disrepair. There were no sprinklers, only two exit. One, witnesses describe, as a pile of wooden pallets made into stairs.

In November, the owner received a citation for hazardous trash and debris, but there are questions about why the city never shut the building down. An investigation into the recent complaints remains open.

JOHNNA WATSON, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OAKLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're looking at everything from our body-worn camera footage, how many calls we as the Oakland Police Department have gone to, what types of calls.

GINGRAS: Now the city's district attorney is also taking a look and an arson task force has been formed.

WATSON: We do request patience, time. We want to do a very thorough investigation, whichever direction that takes us, whether it's criminal.

GINGRAS: For now, focus turns to finding the victims. For Mack, it's an emotional return to her former home, now turned crime scene with a growing memorial.

What does this make you feel when you see all of these flowers here?

MACK: It makes me really mad. I am sad, because of the people that had to die.


COOPER: And Brynn joins me now from Oakland. So investigators, they had a press conference earlier. Are they any closer to figuring out exactly what caused this?

GINGRAS: Well, Anderson, you know they're just four days into this and they really have so many questions they need to answer. The DA said it is a criminal investigation. A lot of agencies are helping out. And two questions she wants to answer is, one, was there any criminal liability, and two if so, who is responsible. But she says she can't get those questions, can get them answered until she finds out other answers, such as, how did this fire even start?

At this point, investigators are literally taking out buckets of evidence, going through it methodically, trying to search for any evidence that could help answer those questions. They're also the talking to people who were there at the time, who also lived there at the time.

In the meantime, Anderson, we have been talking to a lot of people in this community, and they all really say, you know what, they knew this building was a risk. They took that risk when they went into it. And they said they did that because this building was somewhat of an institution. People went there to express themselves.

And so they're mourning the loss of that space that they had, in addition to those dozens of people that were killed, Anderson.

COOPER: Brynn Gingras, thanks so much. Appreciate it. In the next hour, we're going to tell you about some of those whose lives were lost in the fire. Much more ahead in the next hour of "360," also including president-elect's Trump tough talk about China in the wake of his phone call with Taiwan and some new information about that call. Also Beijing's response, today.