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More Surprises From Trump's Team; Al Gore at Trump Tower; House Hunting in D.C. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 5, 2016 - 22:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: A day of surprises from Donald Trump's transition team.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Former foe, Dr. Ben Carson tapped to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And there is word that the search for the secretary of state is widening, with Jon Huntsman, President Barack Obama's first ambassador to China now under consideration.

And here is somebody you probably never expected to see at Trump Tower.


AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I found it an extremely interesting conversation and to be continued. And I'm just going to leave it at that.


LEMON: Yes, that's Bill Clinton's Vice President Al Gore talking climate change with the president-elect.

And meanwhile, first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner house hunting in the nation's capital. So will either a vote have a role in this Trump's White House.

A lot to get to this evening so we're going to get first to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, live for us at Trump Tower. Good evening to you, Sunlen. Donald Trump working on filling out his administration, what's the latest?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Donald Trump making some big decisions when it comes to his cabinet. Formally tapping his former rival Dr. Ben Carson for he has nominated to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

But as he makes some progress in some of these cabinet posts it does seems like others are almost taking a step back. Early -- late last week we reported that transition officials said that President-elect Donald Trump had indeed narrowed his list for secretary of state down to four finalists.

What we now know according to sources that that has widened. Donald Trump is now looking for some new candidates for secretary of state. So you have people like Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney still in the mix, still waiting in the wings.

But Trump reaching out to people like former Utah governor, former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman. Also ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson who will come here tomorrow at Trump Tower to meet directly with Donald Trump. A sort of, job interview of sort.

And also reaching out to Senator Joe Manchin, a democratic Senator for West Virginia who tell our folks on Capitol Hill, Don, that he will be meeting with Donald Trump at some point this week.

LEMON: And Sunlen, the president-elect also met with former Vice President Al Gore, was that planned?

SERFATY: This is what makes this meeting, Don, so intriguing, it was not planned according do transition officials. Former Vice President Al Gore, he was here at Trump Tower to specifically be meeting with Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, holding a meeting on climate change.

And after that meeting, he also took some time with the vice president-elect. It seemed like an impromptu meeting, but we know according to Al Gore that that was the lengthier meeting of the two. Afterwards, Gore said that it was productive, that the two are looking for ways to find common ground.

And that, of course, being one of the most intriguing parts. Because these two have not seen eye to eye on climate change. Donald Trump himself in the past has called climate change a hoax. But after that meeting it seemed that Gore seemed to be intrigued himself by the potential to having ongoing a continuation of this conversation. He said it was an interesting conversation, to be continued. Don?

LEMON: All right, Sunlen. Thank you very much.

Let's bring in now CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston, CNN political analyst Kirstin Powers, our chief national security correspondent Jeff Sciutto, and senior political analyst David Gergen.

We'll talk about Al Gore in just a moment. But, Mark, I want to get your take on Ben Carson, Trump's pick for Housing and Urban Development. Here's what Trump said about his former rival during the campaign. This is in the heat of the battle. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT-ELECT: He said that he's pathological and that he's got basically pathological disease. But if you're a child molester, there's no cure. They can't stop you. Pathological, there's no cure.


LEMON: So, after he dropped out of the race, he became one of his main advisers, so how is this being received in Washington?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, a couple of things, republicans are embracing it because they're embracing everything that Donald Trump is doing right now. But if you want to think of an out of the box pick, you would consider Ben Carson an out of the box pick. He's had no experience whatsoever in dealing with housing development or dealing with mortgage companies or dealing with housing stock or dealing -- you know, with low income housing.

Having said that, he is a product of that, he grew up very poor in Detroit, he has seen it firsthand. And you have to wonder if Donald Trump thinks that somehow he could bring his personal experience to it.

Democrats themselves are pointing to a specific quote from Armstrong Williams who is a close adviser of Ben Carson. Where when Ben Carson was up to be the cabinet secretary for HHS, Armstrong Williams said, you know, he's not that experienced in running an agency, so he's basically not going to do it.


LEMON: He can't run a federal agency. But I mean, he was also running for president of the United States, and yes, Armstrong Williams says, he had doubts of it whether he could, you know, run a federal agency.

PRESTON: Right, right, right. Which was very interesting. However, now clearly Ben Carson thinks otherwise than from what Armstrong was saying about him.

[22:05:01] LEMON: David Gergen, what do you this -- of this choice.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Don, I've known Dr. Carson for 15 or 20 years, we served on a nonprofit board together university board. And I've always admired him, because he was from the poverty, people told him all his life he couldn't succeed at various things. He kept persevering, and he made it.

You know, he became director of pediatric neurosurgery of Johns Hopkins is no small feat. I think there's much to admire about him. I question whether this is the right job. I mean, his background is in health care, why not a health care appointment, possibly U.S. surgeon general.

We have a good one now, but the president can replace him if he wishes. And also with regard to Dr. Carson's views on housing. I think a lot of people who work on low income housing will object to the things he said in the past about this being social engineering that's gone terribly wrong, and it's mostly a socialist thing is going on in housing. We'll have to see where it goes from here.

LEMON: Yes. And Kirsten, I want to move on now and talk about another -- you know, some people may deem as a strange meeting, Al Gore and Trump. Al Gore, of course, you know, meeting with Trump who is a climate denier, and Al Gore is a climate champion. Did you ever think you'd see the day? KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I can't say that I did.

But it does seem like Donald Trump is kind of doing what you or I might do if we became president, which is you realize you could just talk to everybody in the entire world. Like they'll come to you, and you just can't, you know, put out word that you want the expert on everything and they'll come in and have a conversation with you because you're going to be the president of the United States.

And so, Al Gore was there to meet with his daughter, and you know, we don't know exactly how it happened. But he ended up speaking to the president-elect. And I guess for people who do care about the environment it's a positive move that he would be interested in talking to Al Gore, and at least hearing him out.

However, you have to counterbalance that with the things he has himself said and the people he's surrounding himself with. He's surrounding himself with the person who is running his transition for the EPA, he's a climate denier, you know, many of the people he's looking at for key roles are people who are -- or you know, critical of climate science I would say.

And you know, so you have to question whether Donald Trump is really open to this, or he's just like I said having interesting conversations with interesting people.

LEMON: Just because, right?

POWERS: Yes. Because he can.

LEMON: Jim, we still don't know speaking or more interesting people, we still don't know who Trump is going to pick for secretary of state. The list of people he's considering seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

Romney, Giuliani, General Petraeus, former Governor Jon Huntsman. Now, Senator Bob Corker among others. Why do you think the net for this cabinet post is getting wider now, and what does that say about the, say to the rest of the world?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It seems that he's not happy with his choices so far, right? I mean, part of this could be this idea of speaking to as many people as possible, getting as many points of view as possible.

But now you have very different people in this category, with very different world views. Some of them -- you might say more moderate, like a Romney or at least a perception of that, and others not so. And with the statements that you're hearing from Donald Trump on some very sensitive issues, particularly China, great concern at some of his statements on these issues.

You will have many countries both allies and adversaries looking to this choice as a very substantive signal as to what exactly Donald Trump is going to do in the world. But as you look at this field here, you have many different choices there. And until he makes that decision the world really is not going to have that answer. LEMON: Let's talk about China a little more. Because first, Trump

makes an unprecedented call for Taiwan's president breaking with decades' of U.S. policy on China, Jim. How he dismisses that as another congratulatory call.

But then he tweets about Chinese, he said, "Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their occurrence, making it hard for our companies to compete. Heavily tax, our products going into their country? The U.S. doesn't tax them or build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea. I don't think so." So, Jim, what are your -- what are the implications here?

SCIUTTO: So, this is either spontaneous commentary from Donald Trump via Twitter which we've seen for months through the campaign and even since his election. Or it is the president-elect signaling a substantive shift in really the primary superpower relationship of our time between the U.S. and China.

And he's taking out, you know, a very, I don't want to say belligerent but certainly a firmer position on very difficult issues here, South China Sea, trade issues, Taiwan. I mean, we have U.S. warplanes flying over the South China Sea.

I was on one of them last year flying in close proximity the Chinese warplanes, U.S. war ships in close proximity to Chinese war ships. This is an example, this is an area of great disagreement that can escalate very quickly.

And listen, I spent a lot of time in china. China is a country that is very sensitive to the statements and rhetoric of particularly the president of the United States.

[22:10:02] So those words have meaning, particularly as he and his advisers now say this is not spontaneous commentary, they're defending a new American view, a new American position as it relates to China.

LEMON: One would have to, Kirsten, you know, if the Washington Post is reporting that the call was long planned. And I'm sure the State Department and even the people who are maybe thinking about becoming the secretary of state would have to wonder, how am I going to deal with this, you know, if I am secretary, if I do become the secretary of state of if he does pick me.

POWERS: Yes. But I think that he, again, we're trying to piece this together, because we don't have the whole story. And so we're getting bits and pieces of this, that looks like it was more than -- it wasn't just a sudden call that he did without thinking about it.

And if you look at the people that are around him, he has people on his staff actually, the two people who wrote something for foreign policy. Basically, arguing that we need to be more disruptive in our relationship with China using Taiwan as a way to do that.

And Ambassador Huntsman, and also Jon, ambassador -- the former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. Sorry. Yes. He also is another person who has been publicly advocating for this kind of disruptive relationship. And in particular, using Taiwan in that way.

So, it's sort of interesting to look at who he was meeting with. He met with, you know, the former ambassador to the U.N. the same day that he did this. And so, to me, that suggests that this wasn't just sort of something that he did on this, you know, spur of the moment, but something that perhaps had more thought in it.

LEMON: Here is Trump senior economic adviser on the Taiwan call. Listen.


STEVE MOORE, DONALD TRUMP ECONOMIC ADVISER: Taiwan is our ally, John. That is a country that we have backed because they believe in freedom. Now we ought to back our ally, and if China doesn't like it, screw them, screw them.


SHAPIRO: David, he says screw him, what do you think?

GERGEN: Oh, my goodness. Listen, what we do know is that the plan -- the call was very calculated. It was not a casual call as what first claim by the Trump team. And she didn't exactly call him, the call was pre-arranged. And so this was -- and what we appeared to be heading into is an administration that's going to be much tougher on China and much easier on Russia.

And whether that is a wise call or not, only history will tell, but I will -- I think we know already that it's upsetting and causing some consternation among people who have been working in U.S. foreign policy for a long time.

Now, Donald Trump's since as a -- he is a disrupter, that what he believes in. He believes if you throw everything up in the air, you can get better results. People have been working for 30 or 40 years trying to keep us from going to war over Taiwan, trying to keep two sides separated and done successfully just don't agree with that for the most part.

LEMON: Jim, you want to say something?

SCIUTTO: If I could just say to David's comment there. I mean, disrupter, in theory, during a campaign in the business world. That's one thing. The thing is, as David said, the U.S. has long term relationship with Taiwan. We sell them arms primarily to deter against the Chinese invasion of the islet, right?

And China has a tremendously closely relationship with Taiwan still to this day. But it's an extremely delicate piece in that part of the world that is built on diplomatic norms and signals and balances, through time, through the years, through republican and democratic demonstrations.

It does not take a lot to throw that house of cards up in the air, and there are real consequences to this, you know, that this is not just a science experiment, right? I mean, this is real science with real consequences, and that's -- the diplomats I talked to on both sides, the Chinese and U.S. are very concerned.

LEMON: I'm particularly interested to hear what Mark Preston says about the next subject. We'll have to do it after the break. Stick around me, everyone.

When we come right back, the democratic candidate who just might be thinking about another run for the White House. And it's not Hillary Clinton.


LEMON: President-elect Donald Trump takes office in 46 days taking center stage in a world that is changing rapidly.

Back with me now, Mark Preston, Kirsten Powers, Jim Sciutto, and David Gergen. Mark, the Trump phenomenon is part of a global populace right leaning movement, we have Brexit, we have Trump's selection, and then this weekend two elections in Europe. In Austria, the movement was defeated. While in Italy, the prime minister was ousted there. What does that mean for global security particularly with our European allies?

PRESTON: You know, it's a very good question right now, because as the United States is trying to understand what happened here with the support behind Donald Trump, you know, our allies across the globe are dealing with the same thing right now.

There's an incredible amount of angst and anger right now based upon the economic conditions that people have been placed in. And I think that is something we all missed. Certainly here in the United States. But when we saw what happened in England, we thought it was an anomaly with Brexit. And quite frankly, it's something much more than that.

Look, there is a bigger problem, I think that as a community as a global community as a whole that we need to address. And that we heard Bernie Sanders talk a lot about income inequality. But that isn't just here at home, that's around the world that needs to be addressed. At the same time, trying to calm fears about terrorism or war or these other things that are happening around the globe.

LEMON: And also he said it's changing, so people just don't know. And Donald Trump is--


PRESTON: There's a heck a lot of uncertainty now not only here in the U.S. But a lot of people don't even know how to deal with Donald Trump, in and of itself in what direction he's going to try to take, you know, this country or our relations with our allies.

LEMON: And he himself has said he wants to be unpredictable. That's part of his strategy, at least he said that during our election. Don't litter.

PRESTON: Well, even if he didn't say it, he certainly every day brings something new.

LEMON: Jim, I want - I want you to take a look -- you and I went to look at these photos from April 2016. Of these five world leaders of the United States, the U.K., France, Italy, and Germany, only one will remain on the world stage and that's Angela Merkel. When the crises comes will the new leaders be unified in how to face challenges like terrorism and the economy?

SCIUTTO: Listen, it's a good question, right? I mean, because you look at Europe, right? Europe is a whole in tandem with the United States. After 9/11 Europe acted as one with the U.S. to respond to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, joning in war in Afghanistan, which continues to this day.

[22:20:01] More recently, Europe together has imposed sanctions on Russia. Economic price for invading the Ukraine, that unity showing the relevance right of NATO, even to this day long after we thought the Cold War was over.

Now you have, I mean, you have divisions in Europe that are driven largely by economics. But not just by economics but by politics as well that's dividing Europe and dividing the U.S. from Europe in ways that they had not been.

And that has real consequences for national security as well as economic issues.

And the thought just occurred to me. As you look at that photo there. I met the other day with Nigel Farage who was one of the architects of Brexit.


SCIUTTO: You know, him, Donald Trump, I mean, these are the faces that are replacing those faces. And when this photo was taken, the Farages and the Trumps were dismissed by many, right? And they are the ones that had the surprising victory. In the Brexit in the U.K. in the presidential election here in the U.S. it is a changing world order.

LEMON: Yes. But the current president-elect hasn't even taken office yet, Kirsten, and on the democratic side, there are some pretty remarkable comments today from outgoing Vice President Joe Biden. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you're going into your final days of your time in office--



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- does that add to the emotion you feel?

BIDEN: No, I haven't thought about it in that rational way. But I guess so. I mean, my staff always kids me, every time I come up here, I feel invigorated. I love this place. And this is -- this is where I spent my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to run again?

BIDEN: Yes, I'm going to run in 2020. And so--


BIDEN: For president. You know, so, -- what the hell man anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to run with that, sir, you know. You dropped that.

BIDEN: That's OK. That's OK. No. But I've enjoyed every minute of my time in the Senate. And it's a great feeling to come back. I love this place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, were you kidding about running for president in 2020?

BIDEN: I'm just -- I'm not committing not to run. I'm not committing to anything I learned a long time ago.


LEMON: Quick response because I want to get David to weigh in as well. Kirsten, what do you think?

POWERS: I mean, what 70's is the new 40. So, I guess he's - I guess -- you know, look, the democrats are looking to some sort of leader fighting to be the counter to Trump. He's age wise not the ideal, but I think in every other way he's pretty good.

LEMON: David Gergen?

GERGEN: Well, he's 74 years old. Strange things have happened in politics recently. It's unpredictable but it's very unlikely that at 78 he will run for office. I think he was kidding. He's very that this bill just passed by Congress today. It includes over a billion dollars for this cancer moon shot that is really named after his son Bowe.

So, it's a good moment. But I do think when a party is out of power, it's hard to locate the leader of that party. Joe Biden clear to merge over the next four years as a unifying force of the Democratic Party and that would be important.

LEMON: Yes. Because the party needs -- I've just been given an extension, a little more time. Jim, what do you think?

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, on Joe Biden it would be remarkable. But I guess Winston Churchill ran when he was older, so maybe David Gergen will get a surprise in 2020.

LEMON: Mark Preston?

PRESTON: Hey, look, he said he would help Donald Trump out if he ever needed anything and he was one phone call away.

One thing about Joe Biden as much as he is, he is a democrat, you know, through and through. The fact of the matter is, I mean, he is an American, he is a patriot, he's somebody I think that really wants to see good things happen here. So, don't be surprised if you see his name emerge in the next couple years, helping out the Trump administration.

LEMON: He's very young 74. I never even think about it as you mention Joe Biden, right. Because, you know, he's Joe Biden.

Thank you. That made sense, right? Do you understand what that meant.

Up next, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are planning to move from New York City to Washington, where it is? They are house hunting in the nation's capital where one or both of them have a role in the White House?


LEMON: CNN has learned that Ivanka Trumps and her husband Jared Kushner are house hunting in Washington. A hint that one or both of them could play a role in the Trump administration.

Joining me now, Emily Jane Fox, a staff writer at Vanity Fair, Kate Anderson Brower, author of "First Women," and Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian and executive producer of Presidential Suite.

Good to have all of you. Let's have this discussion now. Emily, what can you tell us about the potential move to D.C. and what Ivanka and Jared will be doing there?

EMILY JANE FOX, VANITY FAIR STAFF WRITER: So, the Trump organization and a source close to Ivanka have said she has officially not confirmed that she is moving to Washington, D.C. A source close to Ivanka told me that they're strongly considering the move. So I just say that outright.

I think it says something larger about the role that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner will play when Trump take off that's in January. I think the big question here is how big of a role they will play. But Ivanka has been very clear all along that she wants to advocate for policies related to women and children, and working women in particular.

And Jared as we now has played a tremendous role in the campaign, and now in the transition. And having them closer to the White House suggests that there will be more to come.

LEMON: And if she was going to -- if she's buying a house there, and to give that she's a wealthy woman. She's buying a house there. It does signal something, because if she's just going to visit she could just stay at the White House or at a hotel which is just down the street. Am I wrong with that?

FOX: Well, there is a brand new Trump hotel with an Ivanka Trump suite and spa just five blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, so it is possible. But who knows if they actually will buy a house there, but it does seem to suggest that there will some sort of more permanent place in Washington.

LEMON: If Ivanka, Douglas, this is for you. If Ivanka will be in D.C., closer proximity to her father, will she be able to continue working in the family real estate business without running into these problems of conflicts of interest that have been in the news so much?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It's going to be tricky and complicated but she could probably do it. If you're willing to pay lawyers enough to keep youut of trouble, you can probably do it.

[22:30:04] She's going to be a hostess here in Washington. She's going to be meeting, just like she did today with Al Gore, meeting with maybe people that her father wouldn't immediately meet with. She's going to cast a large shadow in Washington, because Melania will be in New York at least for the first half of the year with Baron. So, she's going to be coming here and being kind of a first daughter, maybe the friendly face of the Trump administration in D.C.

LEMON: Sort of a more of a -- the role usually of maybe a first lady, may go to the daughter this time?

BRINKLEY: Yes, you know, Don, I remember when Franklin Roosevelt was alive. I mean, his daughter Anna Roosevelt, would, for example, will go to with him, and traveled with him because Eleanor Roosevelt had her own agenda. So, was kind and always at FDR's side, and we might be seeing something where Donald Trump has Ivanka around a lot. But the conflict of interest things is going to be tricky and they better be careful with it.

LEMON: Interesting. Yes, more to discuss on that. But I want to -- I want to get your take on this, Kate. This former Vice President Al Gore stopping by Trump Tower today. Listen to this.


GORE: I had a lengthy and very productive discussion with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground. I found it an extremely interesting conversation. And to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that.


LEMON: So, this is another, this making of Ivanka Trump as she was apparently behind this meeting, something that she cares about, which is climate change. Is she taking on a role as the administration's ambassador to the left?

KATE ANDERSON BROWER, "THE FIRST WOMEN" AUTHOR: I think she's going well beyond what we've ever seen a first daughter do before, right. She's a facilitator for a democrat in this administration, just given money to democrats before, she's a lot of friends in the Democratic Party. And I thought it was really interesting that Al Gore said that the

bulk of his time he spent with President-elect Trump versus Ivanka. As the idea, you know, he doesn't want people thinking he's sidelined talking to the first daughter. Maybe seen something like this.

I mean, Julie Nixon Eisenhower where she was very much involved in our president's administration, but we haven't had a first daughter who's essentially a senior adviser, and she really is one of his core advisers. I don't see her so much taking the Melania Trump first lady role in this administration.

LEMON: Douglas, I want you to listen to what Ivanka Trump says about her role speaking to -- speaking with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes.


LESLEY STAHL, CBS 60 MINUTES CORRESPONDENT: People think that you're going to be part of the administration, Ivanka.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I'm -- no, I'm going to be a daughter, but I've said throughout the campaign that I'm very passionate about certain issues and I want to fight for them.

STAHL: But you won't be in--


TRUMP: Wage equality, child care, these are things that are very important to me. I'm very passionate about education, really promoting more opportunities for women. So, you know, there are a lot of things that I feel deeply strongly about, but not in a formal administrative capacity.


LEMON: So, Kate, what is your -- I'm sorry. Douglas, what does she mean by that? I'm going to be a daughter.

BRINKLEY: That she's going to be there to love on her father, to give him private advice, to kind of be his eyes and ears, a watchdog in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

She's going to be quite a daughter, quite a powerful daughter. She's really the person who interfaces with the women's movement in many ways. She's somebody that on the campaign trail was always seeming to be able to put her father's best foot forward. So, I think she's going to be a real Washington power broker in her own understated way.

LEMON: Yes. She -- he does rely, Emily, on her for a lot of advice. He's comfortable with his children, especially her. And maybe her definition of daughter is different than, you know, what many people think, and you said, she's passionate about the issues she's passionate about. That's what she on 60 Minutes.

FOX: I think she absolutely thinks she's going to Washington and wants to effect change in the issues she cares about, really that's women and working on them. But you're right, Ivanka Trump's role as a daughter her entire life has been different than many daughters.

She has been involved with his business she has said since she was a child on construction site. She went to work for him in her 20s. She has work for him ever since. And so, her idea of a daughter is sitting in on meetings with her father advising him on business decisions, now on political decisions. And so, it's just a different notion of what a daughter does.

LEMON: Kate, both you and Douglas have mentioned Julie Nixon and the role that she had in her father, Richard Nixon's administration. Who is going to be acting as the normal first lady role after January 20th? Will it be Melania or is it going to be Ivanka?

ANDERSON BROWER: I don't think we actually will have an official, you know, we'll have an official first lady, Melania but she won't physically be here. I think that there is going to be a very important social secretary role. I mean, they're going to have to fill that with someone who has experience.

And there are people from the Bush administration who are working with the east wing, with Melania Trump, you know, to try to staff her, and I think that's a really important point.

[22:35:07] That they are reaching out to republicans who came before them who have done this before, because, you know, Donald Trump has never held elected office.

And so, I think that we might not have a first lady in the traditional sense. But I do think Melania Trump will come down for state dinners. And she can have a campaign that she's involved in. She can do a lot from New York. But symbolically I think she'll probably move here, you know, eventually.

LEMON: So, we've talked about the role of Ivanka Trump. What about the two sons in this and what about those conflicts of interest? More on that when we come right back.


LEMON: We're back. Donald Trump's children deeply involved in his campaign. But what will happen when he moves into the White House?

Back with me now, Emily Jane Fox, Kate Anderson Brower, and Douglas Brinkley. So, Emily, Trump's spokesman, Jason Miller spoke about the role of the Trump children in his daily briefing.


JASON MILLER, DONALD TRUMP'S SPOKESMAN: Ivanka has been announced as an adviser to the transition team as well as both on Junior and Eric, and Jared Kushner as well.

[22:40:05] So, they're running a role that they'll continue to assist and help get things formed and put together. As it's been previously announced with regard to the family business, Mr. Trump, the President-elect will be holding a press conference in 10 days, on December 15th to talk about how that will work. And I would expect to hear more information about the business going-forward at that time.


LEMON: So, given that the kids are deeply involved in this, in his business and his presidency, seemingly going to be involved in the presidency, this whole situation is a mess of potential conflicts of interest. How is he going do make that work?

FOX: I think your guess is as good as mine.

LEMON: I mean, Douglas said they may have to hire -- they may have to hire a whole mess of attorneys.

FOX: I think that would be a great idea if that's what they tend to do. And I'm sure that they will hire the best people that they could possibly get--


LEMON: But the children will be involved, do you think?

FOX: I -- from all accounts and my sources tell me that especially Ivanka really has an interest in making these policy decisions. Now it's illegal for them to have an official role in the White House.

LEMON: Right.

FOX: They can't be paid, they can't have an official role. That's been illegal for almost 50 years now.

LEMON: But that doesn't mean they can't do it unofficially, correct?

FOX: Unofficially. And all the communication about it has said, we want to avoid the appearance--

LEMON: Right.

FOX: -- of a conflict of interest which is like the most Trump reality television president move and motives.

LEMON: It's interesting that all of the children are like gung-ho to do this. But, you know, do you think Donald Trump ever thought this was going to happen?

FOX: Well, I don't think--


LEMON: I'm not sure if she wants to move from the tower on Fifth Avenue to--

FOX: What's interesting to me is that, you know, there have been reports that Donald wants to stay come back to New York as often as possible. And Melania is at least staying until June.

And now Ivanka and Jared are strongly considering a move to D.C. It sort of interesting to me. I understand. Donald Trump is a 70-year-old billionaire who lives in a triplex on Fifth Avenue. His younger daughter and son-in-law are probably a little bit more gung-ho about the move to D.C.

LEMON: Yes. And his two sons?

FOX: Yes.

LEMON: Yes. So, interesting. So, Kate, in that 60 Minutes conversation that we played just moments ago, Eric Trump was pretty clear on one point. Here's another part of it.


ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: One of the fortunate things for my father, and our father, is that he was able to step out of the company to run for commander in chief. And I think he's going to rely on us more than ever.

STAHL: So, you'll stay up here?

E. Trump: So, we'll be in New York and we'll take care of the business. I think we're going to have a lot of fun doing it, and we're going to make him very proud.


LEMON: OK. So, at that point the three Trump children plan to stay in New York. Now Ivanka moves to Washington, does it means the sons will primarily be running the business empire or we just don't know yet?

BROWER: I don't think we know yet, because I think both of them, especially Donald, Jr. and Ivanka, those are, you know, they are very, very active, so I'm not really sure what will happen there.

But I think another reason why this is really interesting, is we haven't had a president this old ever. You know, Donald Trump is 70. I think Ronald Reagan was 69. So, I think is part of this is we have children in their 30s approaching 40 and they have long careers, and we've also moved forward in the women's movement where I think we do allow women to be more outspoken.

And Ivanka Trump doesn't have to play, you know, kind of coy about it if she wants to get involved. I think it's obvious that she wants to get involved than when she says she just wants to be a daughter. I think we all know that she actually wants to be a player in this administration.

And so in a way, it's kind of a nice thing to see a woman who's going to be making some major -- you know, helping her father make some major policy decisions and not kind of shy away from it.

LEMON: Hey, Douglas, I want to about this because Emily mentioned it earlier in his tweet announcing his December 15th press conference. Donald Trump says, "I feel it's visually important. Visually important as president to, in no way, have a conflict of interest with my various businesses."

My question is, have other presidents had -- have they had conflicts of interest in the office? And if so, how was it resolved?

BRINKLEY: Well, usually the media goes crazy on the children of a president if they can find conflict of interest or a family member. For example, Jimmy Carter, I don't know if you remember Billy Carter, that he started marketing Billy Beer.

LEMON: Billy Beer.

BRINKLEY: And he went over to, you know, Libya and one point urinated on an airport tarmac in doing this weird business trips, and the media just hammered on Jimmy Carter over Billy.

The three Trump children are targets of the press now. Anything and everything they do is going to be scrutinized and watched. So getting that bevy of lawyers to make sure they don't break any ethical bounds, not just visual as Donald Trump said, but period. Otherwise they're going to have a long, long winter if they start trying to use the White House for personal gain.

I would try to distance the Trump children from the official White House agenda as much as possible.

[22:44:58] LEMON: That's going to be very probably difficult considering how big the businesses are, the business is. Even if Ivanka Trump separates herself, she has her own business from her father's company. What about her own company.

For example, the New York Times reports that Ivanka Trump sat in on a meeting with the head of state of Japan, even while her company was closing a major business deal with the Japanese corporation and that corporation is mostly owned by the Japanese government. Will there be significant conflicts here, Emily?

FOX: I think sources close to Ivanka say, look, this is an adjustment period, it's just happened. There was no conflict of interest before he was elected. And now that he's elected, everyone's getting up to speed.

I think that that is their justification for her sitting in on that meeting and her sitting in on any number of meetings that she sat in on in the last couple weeks. I think everyone recognizes that that needs to change going-forward. It's just a question of if she actually will.

LEMON: Yes. It's going to be tough, Kate, to be -- to run her own businesses served as executive vice president of the Trump family business and also stay involved in the administration.

BROWER: Yes. When we saw her with that bracelet, with that $10,000 bracelet and then an aide sent out a note to people talking about it after the 60 Minutes interview. I think it showed they're kind of naivete a little bit, that they're not really, they don't have their footing yet, and they don't realize how serious these allegations are. I mean, it's very serious to mix, you know, your family. And legally there are a lot of issues that come up. So, I agree as they have to kind of figure this out.

LEMON: Not to mention Jared Kushner's, you know, business interest, Emily. And also that Donald Trump rails against the media so much and Jared Kushner is actually a member of the media because he owns the New York Observer.

FOX: He owns the New York Observer, he owns a real estate company that I think the problem with a lot of the speculation about conflicts of interests is that Donald Trump has not released his tax returns, so no one knows the scope of his business or the scope of the conflict.

So, I think there's a lot up in the air and that makes people nervous. And I think that that's what you're seeing right now.

LEMON: It's fascinating, and that's why people were questioning, so many people thought during the campaign that he should show his -- in case he became president--

FOX: Of course.

LEMON: -- that there would be no conflict of interest and here we are.

All right. So, thank you, all.

Coming up, it's no joke. A Muslim comedian walks on to a plane and finds himself seated next to Donald Trump's son. And what happens next it may surprise you. He's here to tell about it next.


LEMON: A funny thing happened on the way to Scotland, Muslim comedian Mohammed Mo Amer boards a Transatlantic flight and got this surprise flight. He was seated next to Eric Trump. And Mohammed Mo Amer joins me now to talk about it.

Certainly interesting. Before we discuss this I just want to -- here's the photo of you sitting next to Eric Trump. And I understand you get on the plane, you realize you're sitting next to the president-elect's son. And then what happened? It's a nice -- is that a selfie?

MOHAMMED MO AMER, ARAB-AMERICAN COMEDIAN: Yes, it is. It was a selfie. It was actually indeed a selfie.

LEMON: So, what happened?

AMER: I walk on the plane, people -- you know, you walk on enough planes, you know, there's something a little bit off. There's something different, a little something in the air and I walk in and I see that it's none other than Eric Trump. I'm like, you know, this is fantastic.

As a comedian who happens to be Muslim and come from an Arab family, it's like you can't ask for more as a standup as an artist who comments on the absurd that happens around you. So, it was just a beautiful thing.

And I took a moment to just reflect and put my bags up. I was actually super exhausted too; I didn't know I was going to get the upgrade. I suspected the lady -- the lady who upgraded me with the airlines was a Clinton fan and wanted to have a little fun.

LEMON: Maybe this was cosmic. I mean, but for this to happen, my goodness. And for you to get the upgrade, then sitting next to him. Did you press him on serious issues? What did you guys talk about?

AMER: Yes, I immediately went into it done, it was very, very tense for the first -- no, it wasn't at all. I mean, I had to jump in like -- you know, people underestimate the value of a real conversation, you know, people just want to jump into politics and get into that.

So, I mean, I initially -- I opened up with my name is Mohammed, I happen to be a standup comedian. I'm a Muslim, I come from an Arab family, this is perfect. Like how you doing, Eric? It was all in gest and he was -- and he took it in stride. And I told him immediately, I'm look, man, we're not registering, I want to let you know.


LEMON: Well, I did -- I want to say that. Let me -- let me put this up there and then you can tell me about that. Because you wrote this on Instagram. You said, "Good news, guys, Muslims will not have to check in and get I.D.'s. That's what I was told, I will be asking him a lot of questions on this trip to Glasgow, Scotland. Sometimes God just send you the material."

So, how did he react to that when you said that to all those questions and what he said?

AMER: I mean, it wasn't that many questions, because we were talking and we had several things in common like golf, and things like that that we enjoyed to talk about and I didn't want to be overly press him.

And I know how annoying it is first of all, for people to start talking to you, much less on an airplane when you have an objective to get to. But I did jump into it to know the man--


LEMON: Or when they ask you to take selfies.

AMER: I mean, hey, Don. Hey, you know, we wouldn't be here together today, would we, sir?

LEMON: But go on.

AMER: So, yes. So, he was very cool about it, I dropped it right on him. I was like, man, we're not registering, it's not going to happen. It's going to fly. It's unconstitutional, and like we're not going to -- what is this World War II. Like haven't we learned from our previous history like, come on? We can't -- we can't be doing that?

And he was like, come on, you don't believe everything that you read, we're not going to do that? And come on, like that's not going to happen. We'll see, you know, there's a lot of things. A lot of issues that they have to tend to, so we'll see if they actually end up doing it or not.

All I know is after I told him I was Muslim, the flight attendant came by and was taken our orders. And he ordered the pork chops. I think he thought that the pork chops would essentially do a force field around him. And therefore, a Muslim can never pay or engage with particular plane because he has the pork chops, considering that the Secret Service did not have very good seats.

LEMON: Is that true or are you just messing with me?

AMER: No, that if he ordered pork chops? Yes, he ordered pork chops.


AMER: But they never came because he's passed out and never woke up for it.

LEMON: So, listen, you told BuzzFeed, though, in all seriously he seemed disconnected from the reality of some of the race related violence that we're seeing in this country now, how so?

[22:55:03] AMER: I mean, it didn't seem like in the forefront. Like, I'm just not sure if it's there. Something that was said like when I -- when I asked him about -- when I ask him about us not registering or just me making a statement actually that we're not going to do it. And this is unconstitutional, what have you.

You know, I just - I just think the whole entire campaign is really detached from it, there's no really condemning of the violence. And the hate crimes are going up dramatically, like it's really, really sad to see what's unfolding.

So for me, that was my -- that was my feeling. That was my perception. That's what -- that's what I've seen that's what I keep reading. And I hope that the Trump administration does something about that. And really addresses that properly.

LEMON: Did he say anything, Mo, that really surprised you?

AMER: No, not really. I mean, for me, like I had -- for myself, I see Donald Trump as a master publicist, somebody who knows exactly what he' doing. And that's what I felt, and he confirmed. He's like, the guy just knows what to do and how to get the attention, and how to get those votes apparently, and how to sway people's feelings, and it's just like -- you know, that's what I asked.

So, nothing really surprised me, and I really, really hope that the Trump administration ends up surprising everybody and does something great. But we're all holding our breath. And we're all worried about what's going to and we all have families that love to visit and people that come over. We have such a rich culture, we need to not segregate those cultures and separate each other. And I really hope that doesn't happen.

LEMON: Mohammed Mo Amer, thank you.

AMER: What's up, Don.

LEMON: Maybe next time I'll get the upgrade, I'll get to sit next to you.

AMER: Get out of my seat, Don? No way!

LEMON: Just don't ask me for a selfie, please? Because usually, you know, when people are tired and you blow it--


AMER: No, I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't do that.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate you waking up early to talk to us.

AMER: No problem. Thank you for having me, Don.

LEMON: When we come right back, a white police officer shoots an unarmed black man in the back, and it's caught on camera. Now, a mistrial is declared in the case. What happens next?