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Twenty-Four Days Until Trump's Inauguration; Trump's World View; Israel's War of Words with Obama White House; Kerry to Outline Middle East Peace Plan; Trump Team Twitter Spat with NYC Mayor Spokesman; The Rockettes Had Sign On To Perform At The Inauguration; The Life and Times of Carrie Fisher. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 27, 2016 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Twenty-four days until Donald Trump becomes commander in chief. Will it be a brave new world or a world in turmoil?

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. President Barack Obama says this at Pearl Harbor today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.


LEMON: But the president-elect promises things will be different after his inauguration on January 20th. What will that mean for the mid-east peace and for the war on terror? And what about North Korea and its nuclear ambitions?

Plus, she played one of the most iconic characters in movies, but she was much more than a princess. Tonight, we remember Carrie Fisher. We'll get the whole of that. But first, I want to begin with the Trump transition and what it will mean for America's relationship around the world. Here to discuss, CNN's Dana Bash and Elise Labott. Also seen in global affairs, analyst Aaron David Miller and David Rohde joins us as well.

Thank you so much for joining us this evening. David, I want to start with you. Just a few short weeks, President Obama will be out, President Trump will be in. We're seeing an interesting dynamic right now as outgoing and incoming presidents are really jockeying for position on the world stage. Is this unusual for a transition period?

DAVID ROHDE, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST FOR THOMSON REUTERS: It is. And what's unusual and you mentioned earlier was this dispute now with Israel about this U.N. resolution that condemns settlements there. And Trump, you know, lobbied against this. He called Egypt. He had easily withdraw the resolution but still went forward. And the U.S. abstain instead of vetoing it.

LEMON: Some people are saying it is meddling, others are saying that the president-elect had to jump in, that Netanyahu had no other action. But Dana Bash, I want to bring you in, because there have been some distress on the part of both republicans and democrats about Trump's refusal to accept Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. Here's a republican senator Lindsey Graham said about that today to our Jim Sciutto.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: There are 100 United States senators. Amy Klobuchar is on this trip with us. She is a democrat from Minnesota. I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we're going to do something about it.

Along with Senator McCain after this trip is over, we're going to have the hearings and we're going to put sanctions together that hit Putin as an individual and his inner circle for interfering in our election. And they're doing it all over the world, not just in the United States.


LEMON: All right. Dana, so that's interesting. Let's play this out, shall we? Assuming that the republican led senate does pass sanctions against Vladimir Putin and his closest aides, what will Donald Trump do? I mean, will he side with his party in congress or with Vladimir Putin, who most American officials considered an enemy?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, by the time you get to the point where congress -- both house and congress would come up with legislation, pass legislation, and get it to Donald Trump's desk, presumably, there will be more evidence that he will find acceptable than what he says he has seen thus far.

What Lindsey Graham said to Jim Sciutto and said to me and others, and I think this is a very true point and I think it should be heartening to those who are looking at the balance of power saying well, it's all one party and this really going to be checks and balances, and the answer is yes, and this is a good example.

Because what he said was imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and Russia was meddling to help a democrat, allegedly. Imagine what republicans would do, which is why this is not a partisan issue, this is an issue about national security and protecting American sovereignty and trying to penalize Russia as he said not just -- and Elise knows a lot more about this than I -- but not just about America, but countries all over Europe and beyond.

LEMON: Elise, do you want to weigh in on that?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's very true. I mean, there was a concern when Donald Trump was talking about Russia and having a better relationship with Russia. What does that mean for issues like Ukraine? What does that mean for the Syrian civil war where Russia was, you know, supporting President Assad? Does that mean that president-elect Trump would side with Putin and abandon the Syrian opposition? There are a lot of questions about this, and I think the actions of Senator Graham, Senator McCain and others in the republican party do show that they are going to keep the heat up on Russia and on president-elect Trump to make sure that the foreign policy is in America's best interest.

LEMON: Yeah, and it's interesting. So maybe Donald Trump won't have it as easy with his own party as everyone thought that they might have. Elise, I have another question for you. Because I want to talk about this U.N. resolution against Israel, some are saying against Israel, condemning Israel settlement activity.

Donald Trump tweeted this today. He said, the United Nations has tweeted this the other day. United Nation is such a great potential, but right now, it is just a club

[22:05:00] for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad. How are you and members reacting to this and to the upcoming changes in U.S. leadership?

LABOTT: Well, the president-elect also said that things will be different at U.N. when he takes office on January 20th. And this happened right before the holiday weekend. I think thankfully, for some U.N. members, diplomats have been lying low about this, trying not to overreact. And I also think the world is kind of getting used to the president-elect's Tweeter diplomacy.

But I do think that there is some genuine concern from the international community about what they see as a president who doesn't really see the benefits of multilateral organizations like the U.N., like the European Union. The U.N. does count on U.S. leadership, but member states also don't take too well there too in your face approach. U.S. has always done better at the U.N. when they try to work through consensus.

And then there is the Israel issue. Now, Trump is using this as a slam on the U.N., members of congress like Senator Graham promising to defund the U.N. So if that vote on settlements is not overturned, we could be headed to a showdown. Is the security council going to back down and repeal the resolution? I don't know if they will. Or is Trump going to leave the U.N.? I tend to think neither will happen but we'll have to see, Don.

LEMON: Aaron, I want to go to you now because you're out with the piece today in the New York Times saying that Trump shouldn't move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I want you to speak to the broader idea that Trump is challenging a number of long-held U.S. policies and what that could mean over the next four years?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, I think both in style and substance, whether it's trying to reverse the current administration's efforts to constraint the Russians and create a new relationship, or abandoning or at least the practice of changing the practice of a one China policy, or in the middle east, Don, where I think you're gonna see the most market change of all. On the Jerusalem issue, I think there is a very high probability that in fact the embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Having advised half a dozen secretaries of both political parties, my advice was always don't, because I couldn't, nor could anyone else, divide a compelling American national interest that would outweigh the downsides and the risks.

So, I think Dorothy was right, when she landed in Oz and said we're not in Kansas anymore. All presidents are blind dates to a certain extent, but on foreign policy where matters get very tricky, I suspect we're in for a few surprises.

LEMON: Can you explain the downsides and the risks?

MILLER: Of the embassy?

LEMON: Yeah.

MILLER: Yeah. I mean, look, Israelis deserve a capital in west Jerusalem. Their seed of government is there. Their parliament is there. Their supreme court is there. It just the Israelis have extended heir own law over the entire city, both east and west, and expanded the limits of the city, thereby prejudging Palestinian claims.

The Arab states who have a stake in this particularly the Saudis. And here is the paradox, Don, at a time when Israel's relationship with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the emirates are really getting much more close together, this could, I think, risk alienate them.

Finally, it's going to feed every Jihadi talking point in the world. You threw Jerusalem into the mix and in many respects, you're pouring gasoline on a fire, and the middle east clearly is burning.

LEMON: Dana, you want to weigh in?

BASH: Can I just add one thing to that? Politically, it is pretty boilerplate, I think, at this point for president-elect during the campaign to say, we're going to do this in both parties. And then when they get to office, they listen to people like Aaron David Miller and they don't actually do it. This is a case where the president-elect very well could follow through.


MILLER: Don, could I just add one point? Because Dana's point is right. And part of the reason is that once presidential advisers, and in this case both Tillerson at state and Madison at defense, I suspect understand this issue, and will perhaps lobby free heavily in order to at least acquaint the president with the downsides of doing so. So I'm not sure it's for ordain (ph), it's just that the signals that are being sent now are quite powerful.

LEMON: I want to talk about other regime (ph) possibly seeing the opportunity to take advantage of Donald Trump's first year in office and this is for you, David, because North Korea (inaudible) South Korea says that Kim Jong-Un is racing to develop nuclear weapons by the end of 2017.

And here's the quote, the Defector said, due to domestic political procedures, North Korea calculates that South Korea and the U.S. will not be able to take physical or military actions to deter North Korea's nuclear development.

So again, this regime (ph) is taking advantage of Donald Trump's first year in office. Is nuclear proliferation going to be a major threat in the coming year?

ROHDE: I think it will be and North Korea will be an early test. What will be interesting is how all these are going to react to Donald Trump.

[22:10:00] He's gonna be more aggressive with China. Will the Chinese push back? You know, he will be more aggressive in the middle east. He'll move the embassy. Will there be Palestinian protests?

And we don't really know. And I think he will make bold moves like this. I think his political base expects him to do this. But the question is, is he miscalculating? You know, he thinks Obama is weak. The U.S. can talk tough and the world will back down? Will these other countries back down?

LEMON: What about him saying that he wants to expand the United States' nuclear capability and that he welcomes a nuclear arms race with Russia. I mean, do you think that's dangerous or strategic?

ROHDE: And to be fair to Trump, maybe this tough talk, this unpredictability will work, that other countries won't cross United States because they fear Donald Trump will react somehow. Or, you know, you could have this nuclear arms race. Russia will push back and call Trump's bluff. We don't know what is going to happen. He could succeed spectacularly or he could back down or this could be a disaster. And I do think he will push many new policies.

LEMON: David, thank you. Aaron, thank you. Dana as well and Elise Labott. I appreciate it. When we come back, Israel's war of words with the Obama administration. Why they blame the White House for a critical U.N. Security Council vote and why they're threatening to turn over sensitive information to Donald Trump.


LEMON: President Barack Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry, making a big speech on the middle east tomorrow, but what will happen in the region after Donald Trump takes office? Let's discuss now with Yousef Munayyer. He is the executive director of the U.S. campaign for Palestinian rights. Also attorney Alan Dershowitz. He is the author of "The Case for Israel."

Gentlemen, thank you so much. This is going to be an interesting conversation. Now, I'm going to start with you. As I said in the introduction, Secretary of State John Kerry making announcement tomorrow about this controversial U.N. resolution and about middle east peace plan. [22:15:00] The U.S. didn't veto it, it abstained. So, why do you think the Obama administration is taking these actions now?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, AUTHOR: First of all, I think it's fine for Secretary Kerry to make a proposal for peace. What was wrong was tying his successor's hands by having the United Nation Security Council take the issue and issue a very broad resolution which would make it illegal for Jews to pray at the western wall, to send their children and Arab Israelis to Hebrew University or the treatment at Hadassah Hospital. It was too broad. It was a badly constructed resolution. But...

LEMON: It would make it illegal to settle on the land, it would make it illegal to go there to visit.

DERSHOWITZ: No, a settlement means any building. Take, for example, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. So the Jewish Quarter have been inhabited by Jews for hundreds of years. The Jordanians captured illegally during a genocide war against Israel in 1948. Israel recaptured it after the Jordanians attacked Israel in 1967. The Jewish moved back into their homes. The synagogues have been desecrated. The cemeteries...

LEMON: But no state recognizes that. No state recognizes that.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, that's up for negotiation, but the U.N. should declare it.

LEMON: Jerusalem has always been under negotiation for a two-party.

DERSHOWITZ: That's right, but the U.N. shouldn't resolve it. It should be subject to negotiation. Israel wants to offer land for peace. But if there is no land to offer, if the U.N. has already said, this is illegal when it's subject to negotiation, it has concluded what should be concluded only after negotiation.

LEMON: Go ahead, Yousef.

YOUSEF MUNAYYER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF U.S. CAMPAIGN FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS: The legality of it is not subject to negotiation. In fact, this is not controversial. The entire world, with the exception of Israel and, actually, within Israel, it's the right wing in Israel that does not agree with this.

LEMON: There is no country that recognizes this.

MUNAYYER: Right. It's one of the least controversial things in the world that settlements and occupied territory are illegal. And it's actually been well established U.S. policy...

LEMON: It's part of the Geneva Convention.

MUNAYYER: It is part of the Geneva Convention, and the United States has recognized as much not just this past week, but historically in many different resolutions. I would disagree very much with Alan is on this notion that somehow this is tying Donald Trump's hands. You know, there have been many resolutions like this in the past, which frankly, presidents have ignored when it comes to enforcement.

LEMON: There have been many resolutions during the Obama administration. This is the only one that they have abstained from, and the only one where they did not back Israel.

MUNAYYER: The only time that the Obama administration has ever used its veto at the United Nation Security Council was to prevent a resolution criticizing settlements. And I think what you're seeing today, this hysteria in response from the Israelis, is an attempt really to exact costs on any elected officials in the future from ever deviating even an inch from the Netanyahu right wing line.

DERSHOWITZ: First of all, there is no Israeli leader who believes that the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, Hebrew University, Hadassah Hospital, the western wall is illegally occupied. Nobody believes that. President Obama went to the western wall and prayed and put a prayer in it. Up until now, it's always been believed that whatever the resolution is going to be, these areas will remain part of Israel.

But now, Israel's negotiating position has been undercut by saying that this area has been unlawful. Now, who did Israel take it from? It didn't take it from the Palestinians. It took it from the Jordanians...

LEMON: Jordanians.

DERSHOWITZ: ... who have taken from the Jews. Remember, the Jews controlled...

MUNAYYER: It doesn't matter.

DERSHOWITZ: It matters a great deal. The Jews had controlled those areas, and then as a result...

LEMON: It doesn't matter in terms of international law. It doesn't matters in terms of the Geneva Convention.

DERSHOWITZ: I'm a lawyer. Let me tell you. The international is very, very unclear.

LEMON: I understand -- I understand that is a legal argument, but according to the United Nations and according to the Geneva Convention, the argument you're saying does not stand.

DERSHOWITZ: According to the United Nations, Jews kill babies and take their organs. The United Nations has rendered thousands of resolution against Israel. Most of them totally phony and based on phony facts. Nobody should take seriously what the United Nations ever says about Israel.

The United Nations is a center for anti-Israel activities. It's silent over Syria, but it has resolution over resolution. It's silent over Tibet, it's silent over the Ukraine, it's silent over everything except Israel. Nobody should take the U.N. seriously at all on this issue.

LEMON: Go ahead, Yousef.

MUNAYYER: The Israelis have for the past 50 years been building these illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. And the world has said to the Palestinians, be patient. Eventually the Israelis will change. And if you were in a relationship with anybody, and they have a bad habit for 50 years.

[22:20:00] Let's say, you know, yelling over people during arguments or something, right? And they refuse to change. And someone said to you, look, just be patient, they will change. Would you put up with that? It's not just the United Nations that has this position.

It's every country in the world that's speaking at the United Nations, the British, the French, the Russians, the Americans, everybody around the world except for the right wing radical fringe in Israel believes that they need to stop colonizing Palestinian territory.


DERSHOWITZ: In 2000 and 2001, Israel offered to end all settlements and the occupation, give the Palestinians a state. Arafat said no and responded with (inaudible) which killed 4,000 people. In 2008, Omar said to the Palestinian leadership, we'll give you even more. The Palestinians said no. When the Palestinians refuse decent offers from the Israelis, you can't put the blame on the Israelis.

LEMON: But it was the offer of the Israelis, it wasn't a mutual offer to be agreed upon.

MUNAYYER: One side and building settlements on the other side.

DERSHOWITZ: But Israel offered to stop the settlement.


DERSHOWITZ: ... 10 months and the Palestinians refused to come to the bargaining table.

LEMON: Right. I spoke with (inaudible) about that this morning.

DERSHOWITZ: Palestinians don't want a Palestinian state. What they want is there not to be a Jewish.

LEMON: I want to play this. Because this is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing Americans of pushing this resolution through.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording, and demanded that it be passed.


LEMON: The administration denies categorically that it is behind the resolution. (START VIDEO CLIP)

MARC TONER, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: We reject the notion that the United States was the driving force behind this resolution. That's just not true. The United States did not draft this resolution, nor did it put it forward.

We also made clear at every conversation, in every conversation, that the president would make the final decision and that he would have to review the final text before making his final decision. So the idea that this was, again, precooked or that we had agreed upon the text weeks in advance is just not accurate.


LEMON: Do you view the actions of the United States here as a victory for the Palestinian cause, Yousef?

MUNAYYER: Look, this is not about a victory for the Palestinians or a victory for the Israelis. The United States whether they were behind this or not behind this should not have any reason to be ashamed at all for standing up for international law. It's something that they have stated for years now from bipartisan administrations that the entire world agrees on.

This is not controversial. It's only a problem for one person: Benjamin Netanyahu, who stakes his entire career on building in the right wing of Israeli politics. And he's vested, deeply vested in the settlement enterprise. What you're hearing from him today is all about him making sure he can stay in power. In fact, he reminds me of somebody that just got elected here in the United States.

LEMON: Alan, I want to play this for you. This is Ron Dermer. I spoke with him. The Israeli ambassador to the United States. Listen.


LEMON: What's the evidence that the United States is behind this?

RON DERMER, ISRAEL AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: We heard that a lot. We have clear evidence of it. We will present that evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels, and if they want it shared with the American people, they're welcome to.

LEMON: Why not present it now?

DERMER: Like I said, we will present the evidence to the new administration, and if they want to share it with the American people, they're welcome to do it.


LEMON: Making a charge like that, shouldn't you show the information while the person is in office to respond to it, or at least to embarrass them because they were actually behind it. If you actually do have the evidence, if they did, why wouldn't they say, I have it. Here it is, Mr. Obama, here it is.

DERSHOWITZ: Here's what's going to happen. They're gonna give it over to congressional leaders. There gonna be hearings. And the truth will come out. If the United States is not behind it, that shows even greater weakness. The United States should have been responsible for this. The whole idea that the United States advocates responsibility even...


LEMON: Even in New Zealand who's behind it.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, but, there were meetings between the United states and New Zealand and meetings between the United States and Great Britain. The United States' hand is clearly in this, and this is revenge by Obama. This is not about Netanyahu because Netanyahu on this issue represents all of Israel.

The entire Israeli government is against this resolution because it doesn't limit itself to building settlements in the west bank. It also includes Jewish Jerusalem which Yousef thinks is part of of Palestine, but nobody in Israel thinks that. And nobody in America thinks that. This is not between America and Israel.

[22:25:00] Americans are not behind this resolution. Eighty-eight senators are against it. All congress is against it. Much of the Obama administration was against it. This is one man, Obama, and his cabinet against the Israeli government.

LEMON: There were 14 countries who voted for it, and...

DERSHOWITZ: They'll vote for anything. If Algeria (ph) introduced a resolution that the earth was flat, that Israel flattened it, it will win a 143 to 26 with 14 (inaudible).

LEMON: I got it.

DERSHOWITZ: That's the way it goes.

LEMON: Yousef, quickly if you can.

MUNAYYER: I will just say what you're seeing now is an attempt by the Israelis. They for a number of years have been aligning themselves with the GOP, with the Republican Party. We saw it.

You know, there are fewer and fewer people who are thinking and talking like you, Alan, because the reality is Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israel he represents, the values that he represents are looking less and less like the values that liberal democrats continue to hold dear.

DERSHOWITZ: It happens so many liberal democrats are opposed to this resolution. Democrats in the United States senate are opposed to this resolution. This is bipartisan opposition. Tell me somebody who supports it in the senate. Tell me somebody who supports it in the senate.

MUNAYYER: Look, it's not about the senate. You look at American public opinion on these issues. People do not support Israel settlement enterprise.

DERSHOWITZ: But we do support Jews praying at the western wall.

MUNAYYER: This is not about Jews.


LEMON: ... poll taken and two-thirds of Americans are against settlements.

DERSHOWITZ: Of course they're against settlements, but they're not against Jews praying at the western world...

MUNAYYER: That is not what this resolution is about...


LEMON: All right. We're going around and around here. Alan, I've read the resolution, and it doesn't say anything about Jews praying.

DERSHOWITZ: Of course. What it says is any change since '67. And in '64, '67, these areas, Jews were not allowed to pray at the western wall, now they are. It's a change.

LEMON: But this does not say that.

DERSHOWITZ: Yes, it does.

LEMON: It doesn't say that.

DERSHOWITZ: It says that any change since 1967. That's what it means. I want to ask the Obama administration what they think it means. Do they think it means that Jews can pray at the western wall or not? They haven't answered that question.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Always interesting. When we come right back, President Barack Obama says he could have defeated Donald Trump. Guess what the president-elect thinks of that.


LEMON: Donald Trump's team in a twitter spat tonight with a spokesman for the New York mayor, Bill de Blasio. Here to discuss now, senior political commentator Kayleigh McEnany, Michael Nutter, the former mayor of Philadelphia, Symone Sanders, former press secretary for Bernie Sanders and senior political commentator Matt Lewis. I can tell you the lesson here is just, you know, don't do it. Write it and don't hit send.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never tweet, #nevertweet.

LEMON: #justdontdoit. So mayor, I don't get it. I learned my lesson a year after twitter started, just don't respond. So mayor, I have to ask you, there was a suspicious package at Trump Tower -- this is a back story tonight -- NYPD responded and there was a bag of toys then a twitter feud ensued.

First Sean Spicer tweeted shortly after the scare, it said, "back to work here at Trump Tower after a false alarm. Thanks NYPD." And then Eric Phillips, the spokesman for Mayor de Blasio tweeted in response, "No problem. We'll send you the bill." Then Trump's director of social media, Dan Scavino retweeted the exchange and added, "Eric Phillips, spokesman for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, you are an embarrassment to the New York City's mayor's office and the amazing NYPD."

And then finally Eric Phillips responded linking a story to Trump -- a story on Trump's security cost and tweeted, "That's not very nice, Dan. But about that bill, work on it with us?" So, as a former mayor of Philadelphia, what's your reaction?

MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: Yes. Some of the comments from earlier, someone literally needs to remove that device from his hands, from any room that he's in. You know, I mean we're still in this, you know, president-elect period, but they really got to get a lot more serious about what's going on. I think its costing New York City about a million dollars a day, 300-plus police officers with this whole Trump Tower security.

But they respond to every little thing. President Obama said something in an interview, you know, that any candidate would say if they had the opportunity to run, and of course, Mr. Trump has to respond. There is no discipline here whatsoever.

Now, at some point in time, he might actually have a real press conference like normal people and talk with the press about actual serious things that are important and on the minds of many Americans as opposed to the silly twitter stuff. You can't run a government on twitter. No disrespect to twitter.

LEMON: Kayleigh, let me ask you. I mean where is the high road? Should Dan Scavino have made a personal attack?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITCAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Dan Scavino can do what he'd like. I think, you know, twitter is being used in this period now. He is currently the president-elect. I do suspect that when he becomes president of the United States there will have to be some amendments of the twitter usage by him and also by his staff.

I think he'll still use it in an innovative way as Sean Spicer has promised us, but I do think that there will have to be some alterations. I think he gets a little bit of leeway in this period, but starting January 20th, I do think we're going to see different tone

LEMON: Kayleigh, I got to say with all due respect, you and I have been doing this for about almost two years now, and you and other Trump surrogates had been saying he's going to change, he's going to be more presidential, he's going to do this, he's going to do that and then, you know, the line keeps moving. So, what makes you think he's going to change? MCENANY: Well, the reason I think that there will have to be some

sort of change is because he simply won't have access to a personal device in the way he has that access now. You know, there are all sorts of security protocols that go into this when you're president of the United States that will bar him I think from freely using twitter.

But that being said, I do think you're right, and that there is not going to be a full-on you know, leaving behind of twitter because this is his way of communicating directly with the American people and surpassing the media, which in some ways is good if used appropriately.

LEMON: All right, I'm going to move on because we're running out of time. We have other really important things to discuss. President Barack Obama -- this is for you Matt -- spoke to David Axelrod which is a long time from having a friendly conversation. He's our CNN colleague. It was for his podcast. The audio was just released. Listen to this.


[22:35:02] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I would argue is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism. And the problem is it doesn't always manifest itself in politics, right? I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I -- if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.


LEMON: So Matt, what do you think of that statement? Do you think the president is right? Would he have beaten Donald Trump? Should he have even said it?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think he should have said it. I'm going to take up for Donald Trump here because I think in both examples tonight, the example of Bill de Blasio's staff for weighing in on the Sean Spicer tweet that seemed appropriate to me, and the case of President Obama, they're starting it.

It's not Donald Trump. President Obama is basically saying, I would have beat Donald Trump. I think maybe it would have been -- maybe that was ill-advised. Maybe we should be saying, should President Obama be going on podcasts and be talking trash about the president-elect?


LEWIS: Shouldn't he be respecting the president-elect?

SANDERS: No, no.

LEMON: Well, that was my question, I said should he say it, but I didn't say talking trash. SANDERS: President Obama is not talking trash.

NUTTER: I don't think he even mentioned his name.

SANDERS: No, he never --

NUTTER: He never mentioned his name.


LEWIS: Well, I'll be saying he's implying that he would have won. That he would have -- I would have beat this other guy. It's also bashing -- by the way, it's also attacking Hillary Clinton as well. It doesn't make her look great, either.

LEMON: One at a time. Symone, Symone, go ahead.

SANERS: Look, President Obama is enjoying the highest approval rating that he's ever had, higher than any outgoing president, so I think he's well within his rights to say, hey, I think I could have articulated a vision and run a campaign and communicated to the American people that we are better off than we were eight years ago, and we can only get better. Elect me as president.

He was within his rights to say that. He didn't trash talk Donald Trump. And to the tweets, look, Dan Scavino and Eric Phillips, who was a very nice man by the way, we just need to leave it off twitter, guys. And Sean Spicer as the incoming press secretary/communications director/whoever else because nobody wants the job in Trump Tower, he has more pressing things --

LEMON: As we say here at CNN when things get a little heated on group e-mail around the company, take it offline, guys, take it offline. Listen, here's what I have to say, I just wonder what happened to the high road because maybe President Obama should not have said that, but he's talking to a friend --

SANDERS: Donald Trump and his campaign has dragged us into the gutter, Don.

LEMON: And if you, but listen -- will you let me finish my point Symone?

NUTTER: And he was talking about himself.

LEMON: Exactly. And so if you won and you're going to be the next president, and you hear the previous president say that, you may say, you know what, maybe you shouldn't have said it but I'm going to take the high road because the guy is going out of office, and then when I get in, I'm going to do my thing because I won. I won't have to go on twitter on that. I'm wondering where the high road is on all of this. We'll be right back.


LEMON: All right, back now with my panel and we're going to discuss now the upcoming inauguration. OK, so Kayleigh, I have to ask you this. I'm sure you know about on Thursday that the Inaugural Committee spokesman, Boris Epshteyn told our Brooke Baldwin that the Rockettes had sign on to perform at the inauguration. According to the Rockettes, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Marie Claire, some of the Rockettes found out about the inauguration performance from CNN screen grabs and they were very upset about it.

That prompted a statement from the union that represents the Rockettes and it reads in part, "MSG -- meaning Madison Square Garden's announcement that the Rockettes were being included in the in Presidential inaugural has brought up legitimate concerns among our member, the theatrical community and the public at large. The community, the company -- excuse me -- has agreed that all participation in this particular event will be voluntary."

So, do you understand why some of the Rockettes might not want to perform at the inauguration, Kayleigh?

MCENANY: I don't and I really think the whole intent (ph) with the Rockettes was much ado about nothing because in fact, the owner of the Rockettes said there were only a select number of spots open to be performed at the inauguration, and these spots were filled up within a matter of no time. So the fact that these Rockettes say they were forced to perform, that was just simply not the case.

And I really think they should get over it because the inauguration day is a day where we celebrate the incoming of a new president, and we come together under one flag as Americans, and if people have a problem with that, sit at home, but don't make the story about you, a protesting Rockette rather than the United States getting a new president.

LEMON: OK, to that point, Symone, "Marie Claire" articles reads in part, "Mary knows of three full-time dancers who have chosen to decline to perform and at least one of them is fearful of losing her standing as a result. It will be interesting to see who doesn't get their job back, Mary says. But do you really want to work for a company that supports this? I just don't know. It's become a moral issue at this point." What's your reaction? Is it a moral issue?

SANDERS: I think it is, and I'm proud of those Rockettes. And I think it's valid for some of the Rockettes to come out and say that they are fearful they won't get their jobs back. What folks probably don't know is only a handful of the Rockettes are full-time and everybody else is freelance. And so you get your job based upon if the folks want you and if the people at the top want you. And if you're not doing what the people at the top say, your job is in jeopardy.

I am proud that the resistance has made its way to the Rockettes and I think that we can't forget that Donald Trump disparaged women. He talked about grabbing them by the vagina. He used the word a little bit more stronger than that and all other kinds of things. So, we cannot wash over what happened during the general election, the words Donald Trump has used himself, because that is who he is.

LEMON: Mayor Nutter, I have to ask you, I just spoke about taking the high road. Where is the high road? Should the Rockettes take the high road in this case and come together as one America?

NUTTER: Well, I'm not sure that we know all of the details of this particular situation. Maybe there'll just be one Rockette in by --.

LEMON: The Rockette?


LEMON: Singular.

NUTTER: Before the break, Don, you said where is -- can they take the high road? Donald Trump has demonstrated that he couldn't find the high road with a GPS and a flashlight. So, I mean, it's time for him to make this shift.

[22:45:00] Kayleigh talked earlier about, well, you know, we're kind of in this period. This is the best it's ever going to get at a certain level. You're the president-elect. You won. Let stuff roll off your back. You don't have to respond to each and every little thing that happens that kind of gets you upset.

But if you're a spoiled brat bully and you're going to let these things upset you now, what happens when someone actually does something or like another country, and then you're up at 3:00 a.m. and thinking about, well maybe you'll just blow them up. I mean these are serious matters. He needs to grow up and get ready to be president of the United States of America and cut out this nonsense.

LEMON: Matt, I want you to weigh in on the Rockettes.

LEWIS: Of course you go. If the president invites you to go or his team, it's an inauguration. He's our president. I didn't vote for him, but you know what, if President Obama wanted me someplace, I would go. Patriotic duty. If I'm a performer, I'm going to put partisanship aside for the moment and go do this. It's a celebration of America.

LEMON: But I don't know if it's necessarily about partisanship. I think people could confuse partisanship with some of the actions that people take or words that they say, and that's not necessarily partisanship. Maybe the Rockettes are upset about, you know, the "Access Hollywood" tape. Maybe there are other issues than partisanship that play into that.

LEWIS: Yes, but my point is --

NUTTER: Or how they were asked or who asked, I mean, you know. How did this all really come about?

LEWIS: Yes. I would just say put all that aside. You show up if the president -- if it's something like this, you go. This is where I come from.

SYMONE: I think it's a new day. I think this is not normal and I think that folks need to stand on their principles. If you don't stand for something, you're going to fall for anything. So, these days, we have to stand up for something. LEWIS: Part of my principle is coming together as a country and

honoring the office of the president whether you voted for the president or not --

NUTTER: Doesn't mean you have to perform for the guy.

LEMON: Right.

LEWIS: No, but you don't have to get your contract renewed, either, you know, and that's a choice.

LEMON: It is America so you have a choice and then so you suffer the consequences. Thank you very much. When we come right back, she was so much more than a princess. The life and times of Carrie Fisher.


LEMON: Carrie Fisher brought sass, beauty, grit and humor to the role of Princess Leia in "Star Wars" making herself a movie icon and a beloved figure to generations of fans. Take a look.




FISHRE: Stop that. My hands are dirty.

FORD: My hands are dirty, too. What are you afraid of?

FISHER: Afraid?

FORD: You're trembling.

FISHER: I'm not trembling.

FORD: You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.

FISHER: I like a nice man.


C3PO: I've isolated the reverse power flux coupling.

FORD: Thank you.


LEMON: She will live on for that role, but the actress and writer died today in Los Angeles at the age of 60. Joining me now is Michael Musto, a columnist for a columnist and Anthony Breznican, the senior writer for "Entertainment Weekly" and Gentlemen, I'm so glad to have you here to talk about this. Michael, I'm going to bring you in first because you've known her for years, you interviewed her several times. How are you going to remember her?

MICHAEL MUSTO, COLUMNIST, OUT.COM: I adored her and she was one of the most hilarious people you could ever hope to meet. And I actually think the decent nice person was the real Carrie. She cloaked herself on this fake character of witheringly funny person who put everyone down.

That was her way of dealing with things and working therapeutically through all her problems. And in the process, she helped other people do the same. But what I love about Carrie is that she and her mother Debbie was so deeply bonded, they were both presented to the world as(INAUDIBLE). Debbie was singing in the rain in "Good Morning."

LEMON: Right.

MUSTO: Carrie was Princess Leia. Both of those things had nothing to do with what they really were like. Oh my gosh your bringing back memories.

LEMON: Singing in the rain, you know, forget about that.

MUSTO: I don't know you sing.

LEMON: Yes, I don't actually, but you know, I want to -- she was very open about who she was, Anthony, and we saw the chemistry that she had, you know, with Harrison Ford. Here they are, they're reunited for "Episode VII: The Force Awakens."


FORD: We lost our son forever.

FISHER: No, it was Snoke. He reduced our son to the dark side, but we can still save him. Me, you.

FORD: If Luke couldn't reach him, how could I?

FISHER: Luke is a jedi. You're his father.


LEMON: And sources say Carrie just wrapped up filming the latest installment of "Star Wars 8" which will be released next year. When I said she was very open about who she was, she raised a lot of eyebrows last month when she revealed that she had an affair with Harrison Ford while the filming the original "Star War" in 1977. What was her relationship like off screen?

ANTHONY BREZNICAN, SENIOR WRITER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, in her book "The Princess Diarist" she talked about this very issue, this relationship. I don't know if you would call it a fling, but it didn't last beyond the first "Star Wars" movie. And it generated some interest that's a tantalizing little detail, but it's one that I don't think is really key to who she was.

It was just sort of a relationship from 40 years ago. I think who she was became a part of Princess Leia, later General Leia, this tough broad. Like, she was a tough dame, Carrie Fisher. She'd been through a lot in her life. She was sort of born into turmoil with the sort of divorce of her parents, high-profile divorce since Eddie Fisher left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor.

So you know, the sort of tabloid aspect of life was nothing that was unfamiliar to her. But I think she's just so much more than that. She is the heart of the rebellion. She is the firebrand that gets all of the male heroes in "Star Wars" moving.


BREZNICAN: Right there in "The Force Awakens" telling Han Solo, "Pull it together, man." You know, take out (INAUDIBLE) when she --

LEMON: Snap out of it.

BREZNICAN: Yes, snap out of it. You're his father.

MUSTO: She pretty much dated everyone on the set. She dated a Wookie. She was very close with Obi Wan Kenobe. I'm kidding. She would have approved of these things.

[22:55:00] LEMON: I'm not mad at her. But I have to state that listen, her lasting impact on the culture might be advocacy for mental illness and also for drug addiction. She spoke with Larry King about struggles in 1991. I'll play this quickly.


FISHER: I didn't like illegal drugs, I liked legal drugs. So I liked medicine because I liked the philosophy of it. You're going to feel better when you take two or eight of these, and I always wanted to feel better.

And one of the side effects of Percodan is euphoria and I thought that was a side effect that I could easily live with. It doesn't matter that the rest of them that follow that are palpitations, heart attack, and death. I couldn't get over euphoria.


LEMON: She had helped a lot of people with that I'm sure.

MUSTO: She also --


MUSTO: -- all from her mom (ph). But she also talks about how certain loose (ph) stabilizers make you fight (ph) until you're striking (ph) some, you know, deal with the devil, which one do you go with? But in the process of working out these issues with a self-deprecating humor, she helped other people and also spun gold by writing these brilliant books about it.

LEMON: I'll give you the last word quickly Anthony. I'm sorry I'm out of time.

BREZNICAN: Well, I just think that her presence in the "Star Wars" films will be remembered forever and we wouldn't have that presence, we wouldn't have Princess Leia, this tough, galactic, warrior, spy, diplomat, general without Carrie Fisher. And I know I'm going to miss her, and my little girl who worships Princess Leia and General Leia. She's going to miss her, too.

LEMON: Legendary Carrie Fisher dead at the age of 60, sadly. Thank you everyone for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night.