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Business Conflicts Shadow Trump Transition; Texas Mother's Arrest Goes Viral. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired December 22, 2016 - 23:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:16] DON LEMON, HOST, CNN TONIGHT: An unprecedented move by the president-elect, this is CNN TONIGHT, I am Don Lemon.
Donald Trump side-stepping the White House and going public with his disapproval of an impending vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution that convince Israel's settlement activity.
Israeli government asking him to weigh in. We're going to get to that Trump's involvement in that on the U.N. in just a moment.
But I want to begin with the latest on the search for the suspect in the Berlin market attack since Erin McLaughlin is in Germany's capital for us tonight. Erin?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN: Don, we're learning new information about the 24-year-old Tunisian national Anis Amri and his ties to a pro-ISIS recruitment network that was operating here in Germany.
We understand that in November, authorities arrested five senior members of that network on terrorism-related offenses.
CNN has had the opportunity to look at the 345-page investigative file in which Amri is named several times as someone who is interested in carrying out terrorist attacks.
Something that members of this network were supportive of. They offered to hide him, raising the possibility that there could be more members of this network still out there hiding him now.
And today throughout Germany, we saw a number of raids, including a raid at a port in Denmark.
No arrests so far, though there is new evidence tying Amri to the scene of the attack. His fingerprints were found both inside the truck cabin and on the door. Authorities now saying they are certain they're looking for the right man. Don?
LEMON: Erin, thank you so much for that. And tonight there is late- breaking news in Germany.
Police in essence say that they have foiled a planned terror plot that was to be carried out in a shopping mall. Two suspects are in custody now. Police say they are brothers from Kosovo. Now I want to get to the Israeli government calling on Donald Trump to
intervene ahead of a vote on a U.N. resolution condemning its settlement activity.
I'm joined now by CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. Elise, this is really remarkable today. Walk us through what happened.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we're talking about a very controversial U.N. Security resolution that was supposed to be voted on today about Israeli settlement.
And it's really a very strong resolution, unprecedented language, that would call Israeli settlements a fragrant violation of international law.
And we understand that President Obama was prepared to let this resolution go through, either by abstaining on it or by basically voting for it.
You know that the U.S. usually, for decades, have used its veto power in the Security Council against Israel.
And so when the Israelis have been working on the U.S. with this for weeks trying to get them not to go ahead when they realized that this resolution was being voted on, the Israeli government warned the Obama administration.
In essence, an Israeli official told me they warned the administration, if you were going to let this go ahead, we're going to have no choice but to reach out to President-elect Trump to intervene.
And I'm told that's exactly what they did. There was a message, a discussion with President-elect Trump, and he in turn -- you saw that statement this morning by the president-elect saying that the U.S. should veto this resolution.
That negotiations should be done between the Israeli settlements, not by imposing at the United Nations.
And then we understand that there was a call between the president- elect and Egyptian President Fattah el-Sisi.
Now, this was an Egyptian resolution, and we understand that after this discussion between the president-elect and the Egyptian president, the Egyptians took it off the table.
So, that interference by the president-elect very welcome by Israel. Today, you saw the Israeli ambassador tweeting "a thanks", saying that they really appreciate this call by the president-elect to intervene.
LEMON: And you said unprecedented. Nothing like this has happened before, Elise?
LABOTT: Well, nothing usually a president-elect waits to take office before, you know, engaging in foreign policy. And when President Obama was the president-elect and he was asked questions about President Bush's foreign policy, he said there can only be one commander-in-chief at the time.
But as unprecedented as this seems to many, and it is in some effect, if you look at it from the Israeli point of view, they feel that this was an unprecedented move by an administration that is walking out the door to hamstring the president-elect coming in and from what he might do with the peace process.
If he was going to try to negotiate peace, which he said he would like to do between Israelis and Palestinians, that this would tie his hands in some way.
[23:05:02] And so this Israeli government feels it was abandoned by the United States, not only on the Iran deal but on this vote.
And it was pretty clear that this was a parting shot by the Obama administration as it was leaving office, not only between the two leaders.
They have a very -- Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama have a very rough relationship. But about a policy that the U.S. was vehemently opposed to on the settlements.
We understand Secretary of State Kerry was supposed to lay out a speech, laying out his vision for Middle East peace.
You remember, he had those failed negotiations. So, the Obama administration was looking to put its finger on the scale and have some outcome as it was leaving.
And the president-elect and the Israelis felt that this would tie a future U.S. president from trying to make peace.
LEMON: Elise Labott, I appreciate that. I want to bring in now defense Attorney Alan Dershowitz; author of "Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters".
And CNN political commentator Peter Beinart; a contributor to "The Atlantic".
Also with us, Dennis Prager; nationally syndicated talk show host. Thank you gentlemen.
Dennis, I'm going to start with you. You were surprised that Israel called on the Trump team to weigh in.
DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO HOST: No, I am not surprised in either direction. However, your correspondent beautifully stated it.
The unprecedented nature of all of this is really the unprecedented nature of the Obama administration leaving with a final kick at Israel.
One can only say that one wishes that the president had as loving a relationship to the democratically elected president or prime minister of Israel as he does for the -- as he did for the dictator of Cuba.
So, whether surprised or not, remember the final call was made by the president of Egypt.
So, obviously, something very persuasive was stated in that phone call, and I think most Americans support, ultimately, what the president-elect did.
LEMON: Alan, I spoke with you earlier and I think you're looking at this question this way.
You don't want President Obama to tie the incoming president's hands by making policy changes in the final weeks.
But he is still the president. Shouldn't he, if he wants to change policy, shouldn't he be able to do it as he --
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAWYER: Well, he can --
LEMON: Sees fit? --
DERSHOWITZ: Change policy, he can make speeches. What he should not do is change America's policy 40 years at the United Nations.
If the Security Council resolution goes through, it completely ties the hand of an incoming president.
You can't undo a Security Council resolution. You can't take away a veto. And this Security Council resolution is an invitation to the international criminal court to go after Israel. It's an invitation to the BDS movement to start sanctioning Israel. It's a very bad resolution.
And there is a big difference between an outgoing president making a speech and changing the policy, which can then be changed by the incoming president.
And doing something permanent and irrevocable, and that's why I think Donald Trump did exactly the right thing.
He said to the president, you do what you want in the last days of your administration, but don't tie my hands. I actually wrote a piece about this before the election --
LEMON: Yes --
DERSHOWITZ: Urging the president not to tie who we then thought would be the new president, Hillary Clinton's hands.
And I'm confident, by the way, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, she would have called the president and said, do not tie my hands.
This president is acting undemocratically, 88 senators have opposed to this. The vast majority of Congress, the vast majority of the American people.
This is a parting shot by a frustrated president who thinks --
LEMON: Who wants to do that --
DERSHOWITZ: More of his own legacy --
PETER BEINART, COLUMNIST & LIBERAL POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: OK, Alan --
DERSHOWITZ: Let me just finish --
BEINART: Alan, no -- Alan, no --
LEMON: No way --
BEINART: Nothing to --
DERSHOWITZ: Then --
BEINART: Add, I don't know, Alan --
LEMON: A look at it at a time --
BEINART: Alan --
DERSHOWITZ: Let me finish my --
BEINART: You have no right --
You have no right --
LEMON: Go ahead --
BEINART: To slur the president and act (INAUDIBLE), you don't know what his motivations are and that's beyond the pale.
It's beyond the pale --
DERSHOWITZ: Let me make --
BEINART: OK? --
LEMON: OK, one at a time, please --
DERSHOWITZ: Let me just finish --
LEMON: One at a time --
DERSHOWITZ: Let me finish my --
LEMON: Hold on, Peter, hold on --
I understand that, but there are other people on the panel.
DERSHOWITZ: I understand that --
LEMON: Quickly, go ahead.
DERSHOWITZ: First, the peace process makes it much harder for the Palestinians to come back and negotiate when they think they can get a stay through the --
LEMON: OK --
BEINART: OK --
LEMON: OK --
BEINART: First of all, you're -- with all due respect, you're both wrong. This is not unprecedented.
The Bush administration, at the very end of George W. Bush's term, abstained from a U.N. resolution on ending the Gaza war which was critical of Israel.
The Israelis were bitterly upset at the Bush administration. The Reagan administration supported a U.N. resolution criticizing Israel when it attacked -- oh, Iraq, in Iraq and in fact withheld weapon sales.
DERSHOWITZ: And they would then --
BEINART: So, it's not -- and it's -- yes, but it's not unprecedented, first of all.
It's not --
It's not even -- no, in fact, the Bush administration did it at the very end of the Bush administration.
You're wrong, it's not unprecedented. Second of all, we have to understand what settlements mean.
You are entrenching Israeli control over a territory where Palestinians live under military law, lack free movement.
Are not citizens in the state in which they live and lack the right to vote for the government of their country.
LEMON: Yes --
BEINART: And we Jews have all of those rights. Many of the settlements according to the Israeli government are built on Palestinian, individually-owned Palestinian land.
[23:10:06] What settlement growth means is the U.S. essentially used the fact that they are non-citizens to take that land from them and give it to Israeli-Jewish settlers.
That's morally wrong --
LEMON: So, what's your point?
BEINART: And many of Israel's own leaders have said it's very bad for Israel --
LEMON: Yes --
DERSHOWITZ: Support to you and resolution --
BEINART: Actually, many of them --
DERSHOWITZ: You name me one, name me one who supports a U.N. resolution?
BEINART: I don't know, but what --
DERSHOWITZ: Because you can --
BEINART: Well, what I do know is that four Israeli leaders, both --
DERSHOWITZ: Yes --
BEINART: Barak, Omir(ph), they guy who hadn't -- didn't know who the head of Mossad --
DERSHOWITZ: Right --
BEINART: And this kind of -- that all have said this is leading Israel to an apartheid future. Not my words, their words --
DERSHOWITZ: Well, they're wrong --
BEINART: It's a serious problem.
DERSHOWITZ: They're wrong --
BEINART: Oh, because you know better than that --
LEMON: All right, stand by, let him just --
DERSHOWITZ: Go through Ramallah sometime and see a beautiful city without a single Israeli policeman, not a single Israeli soldier. The occupation is very complicated. Israel is not the only country
that has settlement and occupations. There are 25 countries in the United Nations that are much worse. But the --
LEMON: Right --
DERSHOWITZ: United Nation is singling out only Israel. When half a million people are being killed in Syria and Aleppo.
What the United Nations is doing is applying a double standard to Israel, and that has to stop.
BEINART: Just because other countries are doing things that are worse doesn't mean that a legal system in which one religious group has rights and the other doesn't is not morally --
DERSHOWITZ: I --
DERSHOWITZ: Am against the settlements. I am also against taking it, putting it in the United Nations which has shown that it has no capacity to be even-handed in dealing --
BEINART: Alan --
DERSHOWITZ: With Israel --
BEINART: This Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu without pressure will continue to subsidize massively the settlements, destroying the possibility of a two-state solution.
DERSHOWITZ: I don't believe that --
LEMON: All right --
DERSHOWITZ: And you can put pressure on them but don't --
LEMON: Dennis --
DERSHOWITZ: Tie the hands of the future --
LEMON: Yes --
DERSHOWITZ: President --
LEMON: Dennis, you said --
DERSHOWITZ: That's undemocratic.
LEMON: He said that it is not unprecedented, you want to respond to the conversation they've been having here?
PRAGER: Yes, I do. First of all, it is morally bankrupt -- I am sorry to use those terms to blame Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East. They're in the history of the world when there has been a conflict between the democracy and of autocracy.
There is not a single instance where the democratic and free state was the -- was the obstacle to peace.
There isn't -- this would be the unique exception in human history that the free people wanted war and the autocracy wanted peace.
It is morally sick to blame Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East.
LEMON: Yes, go ahead.
BEINART: It's in the West Bank -- Dennis --
PRAGER: That's what needs --
BEINART: Dennis --
PRAGER: To be stated.
BEINART: You and I both --
PRAGER: Wait! Who do you -- who do you blame?
BEINART: It is --
PRAGER: Whom do you blame for the --
BEINART: Dennis --
PRAGER: Lack of --
LEMON: One at a time, go ahead.
BEINART: The fallacy in your argument, talking about Israel, a country you and I both love.
Is that in the West Bank --
Israel -- sorry, Israel is not a democracy in the West Bank. In a place where the vast majority of people who are Palestinian live under Israeli control and lack the right to vote for the state that control --
DERSHOWITZ: Right --
BEINART: Their lives. In the West Bank, Israel is not a democracy --
DERSHOWITZ: But why is there --
PRAGER: Why does Israel --
BEINART: The Palestinians turned down --
DERSHOWITZ: No --
LEMON: One at a time, please.
DERSHOWITZ: The Palestinians turned down a peace offer from Ehud Barak. The Palestinians turned down repeated peace offers.
If there is anybody to blame for the continuing situation, it's the Palestinians --
BEINART: Alan -- who won't come to the negotiating table --
DERSHOWITZ: Plenty of them, there's plenty of them --
LEMON: So why blame Israel only?
BEINART: I do not blame Israel.
LEMON: Well, the U.N. does.
BEINART: The Palestinians certainly deserve blame. But it is not the Palestinians who are massively subsidizing, paying Israeli Jews to move in to the West Bank to support a settlement process that you also oppose.
Because you know --
DERSHOWITZ: But I --
BEINART: It's a very dangerous --
PRAGER: Why can't --
DERSHOWITZ: Let me finish, but I --
BEINART: Very dangerous for the future and fundamentally undemocratic --
LEMON: Meantime, many settlers have moved in, complicating this whole thing.
BEINART: Yes, making the possibility of a Palestinian state, which is the only way of maintaining Israel as a Jewish democratic state --
LEMON: Yes --
BEINART: Harder and harder. That process is very dangerous for Israel.
LEMON: Dennis? --
PRAGER: Why can't 20 percent of Israel be constituted a Palestinian Arabs? But zero percent -- BEINART: I never said that --
PRAGER: Of the Palestine can be Jewish.
BEINART: They just -- they've been living --
PRAGER: That is what to say.
BEINART: Jews can live on the West Bank absolutely, but they have to live under --
PRAGER: Yes --
BEINART: The same law, not under a completely --
DERSHOWITZ: What --
BEINART: Legal system. You're missing the point --
PRAGER: And so, Alan Dershowitz's challenge about offering the Palestinians a state which they have rejected under three presidents.
BEINART: The Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer. The Israelis rejected the Palestinian offer. You're offering a very simplified version of what happened to the --
And if you look at -- sorry, let me finish. If you look at the Kerry negotiations, if you look at what the United States government itself said about the congregation that Kerry said that the U.S. officials said that settlement building by Netanyahu was the single biggest reason that the negotiations failed in 2013-2014 --
DERSHOWITZ: You are missing --
BEINART: Between the boss and Netanyahu --
DERSHOWITZ: Missing the --
LEMON: Yes --
DERSHOWITZ: Point. The point is not who is right and who is wrong. The point is whether or not the United Nations should be where this issue is resolved.
The United Nations had 20 --
LEMON: Right --
DERSHOWITZ: Resolutions against Israel and four against all the rest of the world last year.
Even Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations has been biased toward Israel. The issue that President-elect Trump stepped in on was not who is right and wrong. But whether the United Nations Security Council should tie the hands
of an incoming president and make a peace process more difficult. Trump was right, Obama was wrong --
BEINART: There is no peace process, I wish there were a different way.
DERSHOWITZ: Of course, there is --
BEINART: I wish we had an Israeli leader who was willing to negotiate seriously.
[23:15:00] This Israeli -- sorry, let me finish. This Israeli has not put a single plan on the table in terms of a map.
We know he's not put a single map on the table. He has not negotiated seriously according to American government officials.
DERSHOWITZ: He has --
BEINART: There is no other way, it is true, the U.N. is disproportionately critical of Israel.
It was also disproportionately --
LEMON: OK --
BEINART: Critical of apartheid in South Africa. It doesn't mean that what Israel is doing is not wrong.
LEMON: I've got to jump in here because Donald Trump picked --
DERSHOWITZ: You're equating Israel to apartheid --
BEINART: No, I'm not, I'm saying --
DERSHOWITZ: OK, now --
BEINART: You can be disproportionate --
LEMON: All right, hang on --
BEINART: To something and can still be wrong --
LEMON: I think this is important to discuss here because Donald Trump picked David Freedman as America's ambassador to Israel.
Freedman support Jewish settlement on the West Bank, opposes a two- state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And accused Barack Obama of anti-Semitism. What does that tell us about where American policy is going under Donald Trump administration, Dennis? PRAGER: Well, it looks like that this administration understands the reality at present, at present. At present, even liberals in Israel are aware of the fact that there is no Palestinian peace partner.
Let me -- let me just make one assertion because I know the time is limited. If tomorrow Israel announced, we are dropping all of our armaments, we are letting go of our army, no more armaments.
They would be destroyed the next day. If the Palestinians said -- Palestinians said no more war, no more terror, no more armaments, there would be peace the next day.
BEINART: I guess the --
PRAGER: That is the ultimate reality --
BEINART: With all due respect, settle down, let me respond to that. (INAUDIBLE) for years now, the Palestinian authority has been doing good security cooperation with Israel.
What have they gotten for it?
PRAGER: But that's --
BEINART: The greatest settlement growth in Israel's history --
PRAGER: They honor every terrorist.
LEMON: Quick response now --
PRAGER: Every terrorist is given the name of a --
LEMON: I am really out of time, Alan, go --
DERSHOWITZ: Homonyms against the prime minister --
LEMON: Quick --
DERSHOWITZ: Of Israel who has offered to have negotiations with no pre-conditions in Ramallah or in Jerusalem.
Let the Palestinians come --
BEINART: And never put forward a plan of his own.
LEMON: OK --
DERSHOWITZ: You don't have a plan, you negotiate. That's what you do --
LEMON: OK --
DERSHOWITZ: Then the other side presents its plan, Israel presents --
LEMON: Does anyone --
On this panel have a problem --
DERSHOWITZ: Palestinians except --
LEMON: Does anyone --
DERSHOWITZ: To negotiate --
LEMON: On this panel have a problem with moving the embassy to Jerusalem?
BEINART: I don't think moving the embassy to Jerusalem is that big a deal. The much --
LEMON: Yes --
BEINART: Bigger issue is that Netanyahu will not accept the 67 --
LEMON: OK --
BEINART: Parameters which would define every single negotiation.
LEMON: And Alan --
PRAGER: We should move the United Nations to Saudi Arabia --
BEINART: You have -- you have seven years now.
LEMON: I got to go --
DERSHOWITZ: There's been no negotiation --
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. Coming up, a major conflict of interest the moment Donald Trump is sworn in. And who knows more about draining swamps than a Newt?
[23:20:05] LEMON: The president-elect has a big real-life conflict of interest coming into the White House.
He is carrying a $300 million loan from Deutsche Bank, a bank which is under investigation by the Justice Department.
And I want to talk about that with CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, Emily Jane Fox; staff writer with "Vanity Fair", and economics reporter Patrick Gillespie from "CNN MONEY".
Emily, I want to start with you, Emily is becoming a regular on the show because you have -- you do these great pieces on this.
You wrote a piece today and it's about this Deutsche Bank issue about Donald Trump.
You said he's worth hundreds of millions of dollars that could lead to some -- this could lead to very thorny problems.
This is a quote from you. You said "if the matters aren't settled by the time Trump is sworn in, which would seem unlikely, then the investigation into the bank that Trump has personally guaranteed outstanding loans will be overseen by Trump-appointed Attorney General.
What can you tell us about that, Emily?
EMILY JANE FOX, VANITY FAIR: Well, actually tonight, Deutsche Bank settled some of its issues with the Justice Department.
But there are still issues outstanding. So, Donald Trump owes $300 million to Deutsche Bank for various properties including the new Trump Hotel in D.C.
Deutsche Bank happens to be under investigation by the Justice Department.
So, when Donald Trump appoints an Attorney General, that Attorney General will be tasked with dealing with those regulatory issues.
It's not a good look for a president who owes $300 million to a bank is being -- you know, castigated by a political appointee.
That is a major conflict of interest.
LEMON: Jeffrey Toobin.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, LAWYER: It's a total conflict of interest. I mean, it's just so obvious.
I mean, is he -- the Justice Department is either going to be tough with Deutsche Bank or they're going to be easy with Deutsche Bank.
And there is no way for anyone to say, well, it has nothing to do with the $300 million.
And it may well have nothing to do with the $300 million loan. But the whole idea of conflict of interest is that the appearance of conflicting interest, you know, renders any decision suspect.
That's why people have -- presidents have had in the modern era, blind trusts, so that their personal financial interest cannot be bound up with what the government does.
LEMON: Seeing that money has been running about these conflict of interest as well.
What has been the response from the Trump campaign? Have you gotten any from them regarding this?
PATRICK GILLESPIE, REPORTER: They have said that they're going to do their best to avoid conflicts of interest to really flush out as much as they can.
But we haven't really received those details yet.
LEMON: So, what they're -- but they're -- are they saying and doing -- what they're saying and doing different than -- are they saying something that they're doing --
GILLESPIE: They're saying we're not seeing a lot of doing. What is concerning is that we're seeing over and over with each new pick, a new conflict of interest.
You have Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary who has investments in U.S. steel, and he could be putting tariffs on Chinese steel.
That would be a big conflict of interest.
TOOBIN: And Carl Icahn, who is the new regulatory czar, owns among many other things an oil refinery that's publicly traded.
As soon as he was named head of regulations, the stock went up because they thought, oh, the regulations are going to go away.
Well, oil companies -- you know, oil refineries don't like environmental regulations.
I mean, these are obvious and egregious --
LEMON: So, what --
TOOBIN: Conflicts of interest --
LEMON: Is it? Meaning, we, meaning the country. What have we gotten ourselves into here? What is -- what's going on?
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, I think, you know, with at least some of the cabinet appointees, there are laws about what they must disclose and how they must deal with their conflicts. The president, and this is an important point to make, the president is not covered by these rules.
So, it's only a political problem for the president, it's not a legal problem.
LEMON: But some -- these things have to be taken care of before the things that he's got to be before --
TOOBIN: No --
LEMON: The 20th, no?
TOOBIN: No --
LEMON: This is not even the business part of it?
TOOBIN: I mean, under the law, he could have two deaths in the Oval Office, one for president, the other for the Trump -- you know, Trump organization.
I mean, legally --
LEMON: Yes --
TOOBIN: There is no requirement that he divest. But you know, it is a political problem when the whole world can see that he has all these business interests that are affected by what he does as president --
GILLESPIE: And it raises so many questions about how he's going to deal -- how diplomacy will deal with the administration, business.
Are foreign diplomats going to feel pressured to stay at the Trump hotel in D.C.?
[23:25:04] Will companies feel that they need to, you know, peddle interests with his Commerce Secretary, with his State Treasury pick of Rex Tillerson.
He has major -- you know -- he has major investments in Russia. Is that going to influence his decision-making?
Are these leaders going to affect -- are they going to use their new power to use that for decision-making that will benefit the American people or deepen their own pockets?
LEMON: Speaking of business interests, Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's original campaign manager just set up a shop as a Washington consultant.
In other words, he put his relationship with Donald Trump up for sale. Lewandowski promises -- and this is a quote from him.
"I will not be a swamp creature." But what can you -- what else can you call him?
TOOBIN: You know, drain the swamp has become sort of a joke. I mean, you know, also when you -- when you think about how much Donald Trump criticized Hillary Clinton for the pay-to-play situation.
That, you know, people paid -- you know, they contributed to the Clinton Foundation and sought meetings with the State Department, which they didn't get.
Now, we have situations like Mrs. McMahon who run -- who gave millions of dollars to Donald Trump's Foundation, getting -- appointed head of the small business administration.
We have other campaign contributors and big money people getting apparent rewards. I mean, it does seem like pay-to-play. LEMON: It's not really draining the swamp, is it? From just listening
to our conversation, it sounds more like the "Wizard of Oz".
Like what's going on behind the curtain --
FOX: It's like taking a big cannon ball off a diving board into the swamp, more than draining the swamp.
LEMON: Simple as that. All right, more to come with this panel next. Don't go anywhere.
[23:30:05] LEMON: Back to my panel, I have Jeffrey Toobin, Emily Jane Fox and Patrick Gillespie. OK, so, it was an awkward moment.
Remember this, when Newt Gingrich said drain the --
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Back with my panel now, Jeffrey Toobin, Emily Jane Fox and Patrick Gillespie. Ok. So, this was an awkward moment. Remember this, when Newt Gingrich said drain the swamp was off the table. Now listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I want to report that I made a big boo-boo. I talked this morning with president-elect Donald Trump and he reminded me, he likes draining the swamp. I mischaracterized it the other day. I'm going to be straightforward and tell you, I blew that one. Draining the swamp is in. President-elect Trump wants to do it, and you're going to get to be part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Given our conversation and everything that we've been talking about, what exactly does draining the swamp mean at this point? Do you have any idea?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST AND STAFF WRITER "THE NEW YORKER": Getting rid of Democrats. Really, I think that's what it means. I think it means that his people will be in charge, and anyone associated with Barack Obama or the Democratic Party will be out. -- I'm not being facetious. I think that's what it means.
LEMON: Emily, do you --
EMILY JANE FOX, STAFF WRITER "VANITY FAIR": I think it may be meaningless at this point because the definition seems to have shifted, but to them I think it just means anyone who is not on team Trump. And whether that's a Democrat or not, I think it's anyone who is appointed by Donald Trump or supported by Donald Trump or who supports Donald Trump, not in the swamp. -- LEMON: Whether they are more or less qualified, that means -- supported him.
PATRICK GILLESPIE, CNN MONEY ECONOMICS REPORTER: Part of it, I think, is getting rid of some institutional norms. Trump's pick for Labor Secretary has criticized the way that the Labor Department calculates the unemployment rate. So, I think it's about shaking things up not only personnel wise, but also, you know, action and policy wise as well.
LEMON: And Patrick, I want to take a look at the editorial. This is an editorial from the "Washington Post." It's about Donald Trump and the impact these conflicts of interest could have. And it says, "His grand art-of-the-deal philosophy may have been wonderful in real estate, but in public life he will be held to a high standard. In order to satisfy that and retain public trust, he cannot leave the back door of the White House ajar for influence peddlers." Will he ever announce a plan for separating his presidency from his business interests?
GILLESPIE: Well, we're waiting for him to come forward. On the -- you know, he keeps pushing back --
LEMON: That means, so far, you don't think so?
GILLESPIE: So far, we haven't heard so. -- He had a press conference that was scheduled in December. That got pushed back into January, and -- the clock is ticking. Inauguration is January 20th.
LEMON: Is this going to be like the tax returns that never happened?
TOOBIN: -- Tax returns. You know, there is a famous "New Yorker" cartoon with a guy on the phone looking at his calendar, and he says, how is never? Is never good for you? And I think, that's about where the tax returns are.
LEMON: -- I mean, but the plan to separate these. Will we ever see a clear separation?
TOOBIN: I mean, he said we're going to see a plan, but, you know, the clock is ticking. He's going to be president in a month. You know, I mean, -- I think they'll come out with something. Remember, he was also going to have a press conference. He hasn't had a press conference since July, either, to talk about this.
GILLESPIE: A major press conference.
TOOBIN: Yes, a major press conference.
LEMON: -- He'll say that the separation. I would imagine the separation will be his children. But his children are still Trump's.
FOX: -- In fairness, he has tweeted that. He's been saying that for months that his children were going to take --
LEMON: Is that a real separation?
FOX: No. There's no question. That's not a blind trust, that's not a separation.
TOOBIN: But I think, you know -- what he will say and what he has said is everybody knew when they were voting for me that I was not going to completely divorce my family from the Trump organization. So, I ran on this platform. Deal with it. You know, everybody knew, I'm not changing. I think that's the real position.
LEMON: So, these conflicts of interest, this problem, it happens for just about every president, maybe not to this extent because he's such a big business. Even Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm back in the 1970s when Anthony Scalia was a White House lawyer. He wrote a memo about the legal angle for Gerald Ford. Scalia acknowledged then that the rules didn't cover the president. But here's his advice. He said, "Failure to observe these standards will furnish a simple basis for damaging criticism, whether or not they technically apply." Would Donald Trump be smart to listen to that?
TOOBIN: I mean, his position is, my business is too complicated to sell. Jimmy Carter could sell his peanut farm. --
LEMON: No, he's my businesses is my businesses is, really what it is.
TOOBIN: Well, it is, but he -- I mean, he's just not going to sell. I mean, yes that is the solution to the problem. The Trump organization could simply put itself up for bid, sell itself for a billion, 2 billion, whatever its worth, and then they could take that money and put it in a blind trust. That would solve this problem completely. But they're not going to do it.
FOX: If they were going to do that, he would have done that by now. And he's shown no indication that he has any intention of doing that.
LEMON: He really hates wind turbines apparently because "The Huffington Post" reports that he sent more than a dozen letters to Scotland's top minister, lobbying him to kill a plan to put a wind farm offshore from a Trump golf resort. In one letter Trump wrote, he says, "You seem hell bent on destroying Scotland's coastlines and therefore, Scotland itself. I will never be on board with this insanity." So soon he's going to be President Trump.
[23:35:16] He's going to use the force of his office to keep windmills away from his golf club?
FOX: Well, it's hard to say exactly what he will do as president, but he took a meeting with people who could lobby for these two weeks after he won the election. So, regardless of what he does, there is an appearance of being able to use his office as advancing his business interests, and the appearance of that is enough to be a problem. Whether or not it actually happens is even more problematic.
GILLESPIE: Scotland, you know, I understand that they -- might not have a lot of interests in listening to his claims now. He promised lots of jobs at that golf course and they haven't really come. Far fewer jobs have been created at that golf course than he promised. So, there isn't necessarily as much of an incentive, I think, on their part to listen to him and after they've had quite a negative experience with the golf course there.
LEMON: It seems that a lot of what we've been discussing here, you said his appearance, right? You said, because as president, he could have two desks. Do you think he really cares about appearance?
TOOBIN: Not enough to do anything about it. I mean, I think you're right, is that he has decided that it is worth keeping his business interests and getting the criticism.
LEMON: -- What does it say to you that the business means so much when you are now leader of the free world, which is you know -- unarguably a more important position to have?
TOOBIN: That it means, he thinks -- cares deeply about his business. And in his mind, or at least for public consumption, he is saying I'm concentrating fully on the job of President of the United States. It's my kids who are going to be doing the businesses. --
LEMON: He doesn't say the money means more than the service to the country.
TOOBIN: I don't think, in fairness, that's exactly what it means.
LEMON: Just asking. Go.
FOX: He's a man who's averse to change. He flies home from campaign stops to sleep in his own bed. So I think, he's 70 years old, he's been running this business for decades. It's no wonder he's having a hard time giving it up.
LEMON: Thank you very much. Coming up, a mother calls police after a man allegedly assaulted her son. But she ends up getting arrested. And it was all caught on tape.
[23:41:02] LEMON: Caught on video, an African-American mother of a 7- year-old boy in Fort Worth, Texas called police after a white man allegedly put his hands on her son because he said the boy littered. From there it escalates to a point where this happens. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREA HYMOND, JACQUELINE CRAIG'S DAUGHTER: We are on live. Don't grab her! Don't grab her! Don't grab her!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, here to discuss this is Lee Merritt, the attorney for Jacqueline Craig, the woman in that video. Good evening. Thank you so much for coming on. LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR JACQUELINE CRAIG AND FAMILY: Good evening, Don. Thanks for having me.
LEMON: So, your client -- Absolutely. Your client, Jacqueline Craig, called the police for help. She wanted to file a report of assault on her 7-year-old son. So tell us what happened next and how did you get to that point?
MERRITT: Well, the police arrived to the scene after receiving a complaint from a mom that her son had been choked by a neighbor for littering. This is her 7-year-old son. And so, the first person that the officer spoke with on the scene was the person accused of the assault, and the person accused of the assault admitted to doing it. He confirmed with the officer that he had grabbed the kid because he had littered in his yard. And so, the officer turned to Ms. Craig and said, why don't you teach your child not to litter? And as you can imagine, that incensed her.
LEMON: And then?
MERRITT: OK. And so, she told the officer, why are you so focused on whether or not my child litters and not the fact that this man is not allowed to choke my son in any circumstances? And in the video you hear the officer say, why not? And, of course, as any protective mother, her anger began to build, and even despite the sort of the circumstances, she was able to maintain her relative cool. She said, you know, what you're saying is really upsetting me. And the officer turned to her and he says if you continue to raise your voice, you're going to upset me. And at that point her 15-year-old daughter intervened and stepped in between her and the officer, facing her mother, and began to try to calm her mother down. But the officer then escalated the situation by throwing the young lady out of the way and executing a brutal arrest that we've all seen on tape now.
LEMON: OK. So before I play something, I just want to ask you, is there a prior issue, Lee, with this neighbor or is this something new?
MERRITT: This is something new. They have seen each other around, but they've never exchanged words or niceties or any previous beef.
LEMON: OK. So, Jacqueline's daughter, Brea, you know she calls her Bre, was recording this encounter. I want to play some of this video and I have to warn you, it's disturbing. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COP: Why don't you teach your son not to litter?
JACQUELINE CRAIG, MOTHER THAT WAS ARRESTED: I didn't. He can't prove to me that my son littered but it doesn't matter if he did or didn't. It doesn't give him the right to put his hands on him.
COP: Why not?
CRAIG: Because he don't.
COP: What's that?
CRAIG: Because you don't.
HYMOND: This man just asked my mom. Why this white man not have the --
CRAIG: Why would you ask me, um, why don't trach him -- you don't know what I teach him and you know whatever you teach your kids don't mean that they go by your rules when they're not in your sight.
COP: How do you know that?
CRAIG: Because you just pissed me off telling me what I teach my kids and what I don't.
COP: If you keep yelling at me, you're going to piss me off (inaudible)
HYMOND: We are on live. Don't grab her! Don't grab her! Don't grab her!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, Lee, I have to ask you, you know, as her counsel, the first question from the officer is, why don't you teach your son not to litter? What do you make of the response from that officer?
MERRITT: I mean it shows the inherent by the officer came to that scene and he saw a white man and a black woman, and he made up his mind
[23:45:16] before really asking any real questions, that the white man was not going to be guilty of anything and that he was going to find a reason to be upset with the complaining witness, the black mother.
LEMON: Jacqueline was arrested for failure to have an I.D. and resisting arrest. Brea was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and interfering with the public work. How are they doing tonight, and have they been released?
MERRITT: They have been released. They were held over -- that happened about 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. They were taken and processed down at the local penitentiary -- local jailhouse, and then transferred early, early this morning, about 3:00 a.m. this morning, to another location. And that happened only after an internal affairs investigation began into the officer's conduct.
LEMON: And they're doing OK right now because I asked you on the break and you said they're doing better now. -- But both of them are tired, obviously, and distraught about this.
LEMON: I've got to ask you quickly, was a report ever taken on the assault of the boy by the police?
MERRITT: There was no report taken for the original call. That report has not been made to date to our knowledge.
LEMON: Lee Merritt, thank you very much. I want to discuss this with my panel. So, I'm going to get to the break and do that. Thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on.
MERRITT: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
[23:50:21] LEMON: This disturbing video of the arrest of an African- American mother in Texas goes viral. Was race a factor? What went on here? I want to bring in now, a CNN political contributor Van Jones. Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, the author of "The War on Police." OK gentlemen. Good evening. Let's discuss. Van, the mother calls police for help, saying that her 7-year-old son has been assaulted, however, this woman ends up getting handcuffed, pushed to the ground and she and her daughter arrested. What is your reaction?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I think it's very, very painful. Before you got to the officer's decision to arrest her for raising her voice, which is not a crime. You had -- what has to be a traumatic episode in the life of that family in that neighborhood and for that child. To be choked by anybody, to be choked by your parent is unlawful. I bet if the call had been that the woman was choking her son, she would have gone to jail and the guy who called would have been called a hero. But somehow, the mom does the right thing. She doesn't take it into her own hands. She does call the police. And the police come, instead of putting the guy on trial for choking an innocent kid -- well not an innocent kid, but kid. She gets put on trial for how she's responding. This is the kind of stuff that happens, frankly, all too often and it goes to this whole lack of trust and respect that shown from law enforcement, all too often to African-Americans.
JEFF ROORDA, BUSINESS MANAGER ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, FORMER MISSOURI STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND AUTHOR "THE WAR ON POLICE": It doesn't happen all too often, Don. This is a rarity. Police officers -- 750,000 police officers across the country having dozens of contacts, each of them, with citizens and suspects and victims every day.
LEMON: This particular incident?
ROORDA: Millions of contacts and very rarely do we see things go ugly like this one, obviously did.
LEMON: OK. So, I'm going to your assessment of this video. It was the original question.
ROORDA: I'm with Van. This is a disturbing video. Some of the things that officer says are asinine. There -- you know, again as I always say, we don't know everything from the video. Looks like the officer had just gotten done talking to the person allegedly assaulted the kid and had already gotten his side of the story and maybe overly influenced by his side because of the way he was talking to the mother just didn't seem appropriate and seemed to escalate the situation.
LEMON: Van, I want to ask you and you've been with on with Cedric Alexander before who is a -- Dekalb County Director of Public Safety. He's on CNN -- Cedric Alexander. We asked the man on this video, obviously, the entire thing isn't on there. But I'm just going to put up a portion of what he said because he said, "This is the worst piece of police work I have ever seen in my life. There is a whole lot of protocol that is wrong in the video. The officer should have had enough experience to handle the situation much differently." And then goes on and says, "It is very -- fortunate that no one was injured in this incident."
The video tape, again, we don't know what led up to it but I mean, just looking at his first question, Van Jones, was "Why don't you teach your son not to litter? And that's really wasn't in question. The police officer never saw him littering. If you thought that he did, write him a citation or the mother a citation for littering and then also handle the person who's accused of choking the little boy as well. None of that happened.
JONES: Yes. And I agree that most of the time if you are in law enforcement, you come in contact with all kinds of situations in which maybe there was a crime committed, maybe there wasn't a crime committed. It's hard to know. But you really are in a position to be an officer of the peace. That's the whole point. You're there to try to bring peace and order and understanding to a situation because you have that authority. You have that badge. You have that gun. And so, you have the opportunity to really be the "adult in the room."
What you don't want to do is go into a food fight situation and then be on the side of one or another, when in fact, the only crime that's been alleged in that entire situation, was a crime of choking a child. So, it's just one of those situations where you know, there's some disagreement in the country about how often this sort of thing happens. But I'm going to tell you it happens enough that you have an entire community of people that tends to be very wary of law enforcement. African-Americans in particular, tend to be wary because of that whole idea that you are guilty until proven innocent.
ROORDA: Well, that's because the media have told to be, Van.
JONES: Well, I want you to respond when you get your opportunity. But I didn't need the President of United States or the media to tell me about my experience with law enforcement, growing up in this country. I'm from a law enforcement family. My dad was a cop,
[23:55:16] in the military. My uncle is a police officer. But I have had experiences where literally, just driving down the street with my wife, I was pulled over. I was taken out of the car. I was talked to in a crazy way. And I have white friends and that very rarely happens, if they're drunk maybe but I've never had a drink of alcohol in my life. So, the idea that no one would ever think this if the president hadn't pointed it out is just false comfort for people who don't want to look at facts. --
ROORDA: I'm sorry, yes, go.
LEMON: Yes, -- want to respond to that? Do you care to respond to that?
ROORDA: Yes, yes. I'm sorry, Don. I was waiting for Van to get done. Yes. So I mean, it does happen, no doubt, Van. It does. But it is the exception, not the rule. And this one bad video doesn't prove that all cops are bad or all cops are racist any more than the fact that Darren Wilson got exonerated proves that cops get things right every time. I mean, we got to look at these things on a case by case basis. This thing does not look good. This cop's got a lot of questions to answer and a lot to answer for. But we don't know that it's racially motivated. We don't know what the other person involved told him. Maybe he said that that woman assaulted him or that something preceded that.
LEMON: But that's -- we'll never know because there wasn't a police report taken according to Lee. --
ROORDA: It looked like he was wearing a body cam, Don. It looks like we might get more video later.
LEMON: We'll see. Thank you very much and we'll continue to follow, thank you gentlemen. I appreciate it. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. Good night.