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Trump Battling His Own Party; Press Conference of Trump after Five Months; Changing of the Guard; One President at a Time; Trump and Nixon's Similarities; Russia's Hacking; Chuck Schumer Against Trump. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 3, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Excellent read. It should come as a surprise to no one that after being fully eviscerated by the social media account of a hamburger chain Thuggy-D has deleted his account. And that's what we call a Twitter beef on The Ridiculist. Come back, Thuggy-D, come back.
That does it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news. Donald Trump promising to hold a news conference next week here in New York. His first in more than five months.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Meanwhile, the president-elect battling his own party today and winning with the force of his Twitter account. That after house republicans voted Monday night to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, which did not sit well with the president-elect, who after all ran on his promise to drain the swamp.
So, Trump tweeted his displeasure and the House backed down.
Plus, the incoming republican president working behind the scenes to hamstring his democratic predecessor and no, it is not Donald Trump.
A lot to get to tonight. But we're going to start with CNN's David Chalian and Dana Bash, and New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof. Good evening to all of you. David, I'm going to start with you.
We learned just a short time ago, it is official that Donald Trump is going to hold his own press conference. You can put up what he said. So, let's about what do you think he is going to say to the press but will the press want to know.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, notice here, Don, that he says I'm having a general news conference. Remember, that we were looking for -- initially he said hold a mid-January news conference about the topic of how he is going to separate from his business and clear up any concerns about conflicts of interests with his business interests.
I am sure that will be a topic at this conference no doubt, but I think Donald Trump is indicating he is looking to have his first press conference since July. And I am sure he is going to get a lot of questions about his views on U.S./Russia relationships, his relationship with Putin, his thoughts on the Intel on the hacking. He'll get a lot of questions on the business relationships of Trump organization and how he is separating himself from them, what kind of wall is going to be built between him and his two adult son children that are going to run the business.
CHALIAN: While he is running the country. Those will be dominant topics in that. Along of course with his first 100 days agenda.
LEMON: How astute you are, David, to point out it's a general news conference. I didn't even catch up myself. And I think I'm a smarty pants.
CHALIAN: You are.
LEMON: But thus, is the problem though, with the 140 characters. You know, you don't have to answer back to you know, maybe David Chalian, what's in the news conference, what do you mean this is a general news conference, we thought we're going to talk about your business interest?
At any rate, though, weigh in on this, Dana, what do you think?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that this is wonderful news. I think we should applaud anytime we hear that somebody who we hope to ask questions of and hasn't had a press conference in, as David said, in many, many months is going to have one.
This was initially scheduled for mid-December and was delayed we were told because understandably he has a lot -- he had a lot to unpack and to kind of unravel with regard to his businesses and trying to figure out where that's going to go and how it's going to -- and how it's going to play out.
You know, hopefully even if he will take questions on general topics, he will at least present to the country how he plans to, you know, separate himself from his businesses and do so in a way that makes people feel comfortable that there won't be a conflict of interest or more importantly there won't be a potential legal issues down the road.
LEMON: Yes. And I'm sure he's going to be asked about Russia. Nicholas Kristof, he has been also casting doubt on whether Russia is responsible for hacking the U.S. election. He's even said that he knew things that he knows things that no one else did or no one else knows, and that he'd be telling us what he knew today or tomorrow.
And then just a short while ago, he said this. He said, "The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday. Perhaps more time needed to build the case." Very strange. The only issue with that as Jim Sciutto is reporting
tonight that the intelligence briefing was never scheduled for today. Trump is at odds with all of the U.S.'s intelligence agencies and many people at the highest levels of the Republican Party is raising more and more questions for a lot of people. Why is Trump going to the mat for Vladimir Putin, Nick?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Yes. Don, what you saw tonight was kind of remarkable. You had the president-elect attacking his own intelligence community and the intelligence community in turn firing back by leaking.
KRISTOF: And when you have the president-elect and the intelligence community feuding with each other before he even takes office, I mean, that's not good for anybody. And I think indeed, one of the questions that a lot of us would like to ask at that news conference is about his ties to Russia, and not just his plans.
But are there ways in which Russia and may have some leverage over him through debt, through his business ties? Any other ways. And I think that a lot of us would like to press him on that.
[22:04:59] LEMON: Even though he hasn't -- and before I ask you about its intelligence community when you said a lot of us, meaning, the press like to ask him. There are people who are sitting at home right now saying, too little too late. You should have asked about that.
KRISTOF: And they're right.
LEMON: Well, you know, before the election you think they're right?
KRISTOF: I mean, I absolutely think they're right. I mean, I do think it's a you know, a fair criticism that we, in the media spent way too much time following what glittered and not what was substantive, and the idea that a foreign country was interfering with our election, I mean, you could hardly imagine anything more substantive.
LEMON: Well, the policy...
KRISTOF: To cover policy.
LEMON: Not that it would make a difference in him winning but this feeling like as you said covered the glitter and the shiny objects rather than the important stuff. Because as you all remember that last press conference back in July that's when he said, you know, go ahead, sort of hack into our account.
KELLY: Give us more information. Correct, David?
KRISTOF: Yes. CHALIAN: No, I was just going to note the same thing. The last time
we were actually able to pose questions to him in this kind of environment a news conference, he invited the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails. So, it's kind of like the next news conference is going to picks up where the last one left off six months ago.
LEMON: Yes. Nick, has he damaged his relationship or hurt his relationships with the intelligence community? The question I asked you before about, you know, him firing back and saying we don't know and then the intelligence community saying, wait a minute?
KRISTOF: I think he has. I mean, I don't think it's irreparable, but I think, you know, the intelligence community these are people who are professionals, a lot of them are out in the field, in some cases risking their lives. And I think they, in some cases then kind of bewildered by the idea that the president-elect has been attacking them and raising all kinds of aspersions.
I mean, as tonight, apparently with false intelligence, saying that the briefing had been re-scheduled when in fact, as far as we can tell it was always scheduled for Friday.
KRISTOF: I mean, you know, I think that they're willing to give him a chance, I don't think they're particularly political, but certainly getting off to a really bad foot.
LEMON: Quickly, Dana. Because I want to get -- speaking of getting off the bats, I want to ask you about Congress, but go on.
BASH: Yes. I think that most people in the intelligence community are not political but as somebody who is very familiar with people who are in all of these agencies reminded me today, they know how to do things like leak if they want to.
And it is dangerous for a president-elect, even a president to be at public, in a public spat with the intelligence community, especially when they don't have a relationship to begin with.
LEMON: Yes. So, Dana, you know, Nick said he is getting off to a bad sort of rocky start with the intelligence community. And Congress is doing the same thing last night. The secret session they passed a proposal to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, then it blew up right in their faces after Donald Trump weighed in.
Many people are calling their offices this tweet by Donald Trump didn't help. He said, "With all that Congress has to work on do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watchdog as far as it may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, health care and so many other things are far greater importance." And then you know, DTS, he got that hash tag, DTS, drain the swamp. You have to ask yourself, though, what were they thinking?
BASH: I have absolute -- look, I have no idea. I've covered Congress for a long time.
BASH: And I've seen a lot of one their thinking -- what were they thinking moments. This one tops them. I mean, it really does. And you know, you think like was there something in the water, were they drinking something? What was happening to make them -- and I'm going to say to them I'm not talking about the leadership because they made clear inside this closed door meeting, this was a terrible idea.
But the kind of old bulls who are the heads of some of the key committees who thought that this was a good idea. Well, what made them think that? I mean, they clearly had not been under a rock over the past year and a half.
LEMON: But do you think they're overplaying their hands r like we got the republican House, we got, you know, we got the White House -- you know what I mean?
BASH: Maybe. Or maybe it's just, you know, with the age of Trump and you know, kind of doesn't matter. We can do what we want. Except that you know, you forget that -- and ask the 16 people who ran against Donald Trump and lost. Donald Trump is a unique individual in politics than he fortunately or unfortunately can do things that voters forgive him for, not regular members of Congress.
LEMON: Nick, go ahead.
KRISTOF: But even before Trump spoke up, I mean, a lot of ordinary citizens were speaking about.
KRISTOF: I think that they think...
LEMON: Well, that's the thing.
KRISTOF: They thought they could control the message and they couldn't.
LEMON: I didn't want to overplay the Donald Trump tweet because that came after were -- ordinary people were upset. They were calling...
KRISTOF: Absolutely. People were bombarding their congressional offices.
KRISTOF: I mean, I think they thought that they could control the message as reassuring of congressional ethics and you know, in fact, every -- you know, reporters was finally accredited to journalism.
KRISTOF: It was reported that they were gutting it.
LEMON: To that end, David, Speaker Ryan and other GOP leaders were against it but the vote was going to stand until Donald Trump tweeted that. I mean, does he deserve to take the credit for that?
[22:10:02] CHALIAN: Well, I think he certainly deserves some credit. I think it is the journalists that were calling them out on it late last night is that was happening, the constituent phone calls that were coming in this morning, the sort of media maelstrom that continued in the morning.
And then Donald Trump weighing in clearly had some weight. In fact, he got brought up in the closed conference when they scripted somebody, made clear that all the members understood.
LEMON: Was it a boneheaded idea, David?
CHALIAN: Of course it was a bonehead idea. It just, it wasn't...
LEMON: He say he really feel.
CHALIAN: Well, it simply -- even if there's some validity to some arguments for reforms to the ethics process, this is no way to do it out of the gate, trying to start a new Congress in the dead of night as a surprise, no debate around it, no discussion, that's no way to make changes to how you're going to police yourselves to guard against corruption. That's just not the way to go about doing it.
LEMON: Lots more to discuss. Everyone, stick around. When we come right back, top democrat Chuck Schumer's message for Donald Trump and the mistakes he says his party made in the last Congress.
LEMON: A changing of the guard on Capitol Hill as 115th Congress was sworn in today with republican majorities in the House and Senate, but one top democrat has some real tough talk for the republicans and for the president-elect, specifically.
Back with me now, David Chalian, Dana Bash, and Nicholas Kristof. David, I'm struggling. I hope I don't lose my voice from this broadcast. Listen, 17 days until Donald Trump is sworn in, and today, the new minority leader, Senator Chuck Schumer -- Dana, we'll talk about your interview with him in just a moment. But Chuck Schumer took the helm as minority leader and threw down the gauntlet. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:14:59] CHUCK SCHUMER, UNITED STATES SENATOR: So Mr. President- elect, if there's one part of my speech that I hope you listen to and take to heart, it's this one. And I mean it with the best of intentions.
If you abandon change and simply embrace the shop-worn hard right pro- corporate, pro-elite policies, diametrically opposed to the many campaign themes that helped you win working class votes and get you elected, your presidency will not succeed.
Making America great again requires more than 140 characters per issue. With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So David, I mean, quite honestly, Trump and Schumer both New Yorkers, they've known each other for a long time. Some would say when they believed Donald Trump was a democrat. What do you make of Schumer's tone? Are we in for epic battle, for an epic battle for the next four years, is this an opening gambit here or is he throwing down the gauntlet or is this just it comes from the opposition every time there's new president?
CHALIAN: I mean, what we're seeing here is Chuck Schumer assuming the mantle of being the top democrat in government and now giving voice to what it is to be the opposition party. And so, I think he was sort of waving the party flag and sort of setting the boundaries for Donald Trump that he could understand where Schumer was coming from broadly.
But as you noted it, these two gusy know each other over time. Donald Trump was a Chuck Schumer donor and Chuck Schumer is going to seek ways where he can to make deals with Donald Trump. So, while I have no doubt that he will spend most of his time leading the democrats in opposition to what Trump is doing, I don't think what you saw there was some opening salvo to a four-year epic battle.
LEMON: Nick, well, Nick, think about it when you think about how long they've known each other and how weird it must be for Chuck Schumer, right, to have Donald Trump -- have once been a donor now he is the opposition and he is the president-elect of the United States. It's like, it's got to be, it's a strange world for him, and that he probably knows a lot of secrets about Donald Trump, because as you said they've known each other for a long time.
KRISTOF: I mean, it's strange vice versa. I mean, it's strange for Schumer and Trump, it's also strange for Trump and a lot of republicans. But you know, I think that the democrats and Schumer is going to probably find some ways to cooperate on issues like infrastructure, and will try like the devil to block a lot of other areas.
And I think one of the lessons one absorbed from the last eight years was that Senate obstructionism really works in Merrick Garland's case, is a case in point.
LEMON: Yes. Dana Bash, of course, always with the big scoop sat down with him today. Dana, let's listen and then we'll discuss. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: It would be derelict in our responsibility to the American people if we just let -- let's do all of these in a week and not ask him any tough questions.
BASH: Your -- but your hands are tied. Because in the last Congress your democratic leadership, you were part of it, changed the rules so that you only need 51 votes.
BASH: To confirm a nominee, not 60.
BASH: And therefore you're living by your rules. Was that a mistake in retrospect?
SCHUMER: I argued against it at the time. I said both for Supreme Court and in cabinet should be 60. Because in such important positions there some be degree of bipartisanship. I won on Supreme Court, lost on cabinet. But it's what we have to live with now.
BASH: Not the greatest situation when you're in minority.
SCHUMER: Wish it hadn't happened.
BASH: You wish it hadn't happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A regret there. So, listen, you're talking about Donald Trump's cabinet nominees. Realistically, Dana, republicans have all the cards. What can democrat do, if anything, to stop them?
BASH: Well, they can slow the trains. And they are threatening to do that, they are threatening to use the tools that they have to elongate the debate in committee and more importantly, on the Senate floor, especially if they don't get some the background information that democrats said they want to prove that these nominees don't have conflicts of interest.
But you just heard Chuck Schumer, very regretful there and pretty blunt in the fact that the main tool, which is the vote, whic is really what's most important when it comes to United States Congress, they don't have it. And it's because they themselves, the democrats when they were in the majority when they had a democrat in the White House they changed the rules to help themselves.
BASH: And now as I said earlier, shoe meet other foot.
LEMON: Yes. Davis, that should be a lesson. Especially when you're talking about -- I would think when you're talking about hacking into systems, whether it's for the election or not, when you're the party in favor then, and you have the majority, you know, you may -- you know, you may think differently but you should always think about these things as if the shoe were on the other foot, David.
CHALIAN: And that argument, Don, was made at the time. I remember not just republicans who are saying you guys are going to live to regret this to the democrats.
[22:20:01] But it's on democrats, there was internal debate. You heard Chuck Schumer discussing out there. There was internal debate whether or not they were really thinking long-term. Because no party will be in the majority forever. And so, now they have to -- you know, they made their bed, they have to lie in it.
LEMON: And let's talk about when, you know, they had more power, the democrats, because there's a showdown, Nick Kristof looming in Washington on Obamacare. We know the republicans want to repeal and replace it, 20 million people stand to lose their health insurance. Do republicans want to own that at the beginning of Donald Trump's term?
KRISTOF: Well, I mean, I think what is inconsumable is not so much that the republicans want to repeal and replace, but it seems that what they want to do is repeal and delay. So in other words, act now to repeal Obamacare and then have that be effective in say, 2019 or 2020.
And that breaks down this very intricate architecture that depends on all these pieces being together. Twenty two million people have gained health care, health insurance. And health insurance prolongs lives. We know that if you have health insurance your mortality rate drops 20 to 40 percent.
And the idea that you're going to tear down the roof today and replace with some unknown thing in a few years, I mean, even republican policy wonks are just horrified at this.
LEMON: Yes. Because what do they say, that was Obamacare which was Romney care before that which Romney care which was Hillary Clinton care before that.
KRISTOF: That's right. I mean, they're clearly a lot of elements of Obamacare that are deeply unpopular and overall, it is. But there are also areas that are popular. And the parts that are popular are only possible because of the unpopular parts like the mandate.
LEMON: Yes. And because Donald Trump has said that he likes key parts of Obamacare, keeping coverage for pre-existing conditions, keeping children on their parent's plan until they're 26. Has he boxed in republicans, David Chalian?
CHALIAN: Well, he's not the only republican that have said positive things about those aspects. But as Nicholas just getting at, Don, it is -- it is the second question. So, you have to get to the mandate. Because when you say you want to cover with pre-existing conditions how are ou going to get insurance companies to agree to that if you're not also guaranteeing the massive customer base that an individual mandate of everybody is forced to get insurance?
That was the buy-in for insurance companies to have reason and incentive to cover pre-existing conditions, or allow a young person to stay on their parent's policy until they're 26. It all went together. So that's what I think is tricky about cherry picking the popular items.
BASH: Except -- well, I don't know how far -- how far down and deeply want to get into the substance of it, that's exactly true that that was part of the patchwork of Obamacare, the problem that republicans rightly so, say that the system has is that because the penalty for not getting Obamacare isn't that high.
A lot of healthy people, I'll just pay the penalty and therefore, they're not involved in the internal system, which is...
BASH: ... which is why democrats even Hillary Clinton said that she wanted to come into office and try to fix it.
BASH: So the question is, how do you go in between that repealing it and fixing it and making sure that all those people don't keep their coverage without being...
LEMON: Dana, is there a political consequence at the polls for republicans if they continue to upset...
LEMON: ... and going to possibly lose their health insurance?
BASH: No question about it. No question there is. And you can bet that this meeting that democrats are going to have led by the outgoing President Obama whose, you know, name is on this legislation, it's his legacy, they're going to -- they're going to find every way they can rhetorically because they can't do anything with the votes, to make clear to Americans that republicans are going to potentially hurt them with their insurance by doing the repeal without, as Nick said, immediately doing the replace. But doing repeal, delay and then eventually replace.
LEMON: That's got to be the last word.
LEMON: Sorry. That's going to be the last word. Thank you, Dana. Thank you, David. Thank you, Nick. I appreciate it. Happy New Year to all three of you by the way.
When we come right back, an incoming republican president works to obstruct his democratic predecessor and surprises, it's not Donald Trump.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: With President-elect Trump weighing in on international relations from China to Israel, the old idea of one president at a time is really taking a beating. But it's not the first time a presidential contender was accused of playing politics with foreign policy.
Let's discuss, Douglas Brinkley know all about this, he is a CNN presidential historian, Timothy Naftali, he know as well, he's a former director of the Nixon Presidential Library, and John Farrel is the author of "Richard Nixon: The Life" he'll know as well. And that's why we have you, gentlemen here.
Thank you for joining us, and good evening. Douglas, I'm going to start with you. Because this idea of one president at a time is really taking a beating. The incoming White House press secretary, Sean Spicer is saying that Donald Trump is someone who is, and this is quote, "not going to sit back and wait for January 20th. There's no surprise there. He won the election." So, why wouldn't he jump in at this point in the game?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, look at the mess that Donald Trump is in because of the Russian hacking. He could have just said I'm going to wait until sworn in as president. This is president Obama's intelligence reports, I'll look at them but I'm going to give the president the courtesy of waiting a couple of weeks. In fact, that he hasn't done that puts him in this...
LEMON: Stop right there. Put your mic back on. I think it fell off, right down there in your lap. All right.
BRINKLEY: I'm moving my hand.
LEMON: Yes, yes. It was a speech transparent here, so go on and finish your sentence.
BRINKLEY: I'm holding it.
LEMON: Yes. So, what were you saying, did you finish your thought?
BRINKLEY: Yes. And so, I think that Donald Trump would be -- would have been wise to stick with one president at a time policy instead of being found in the middle of this hacking situation every minute that he's in right now.
LEMON: Yes. We'll have someone come up and fix his mic. And I'll just go -- let's go to John now. So, John, you discovered evidence of another situation where a presidential contender seemed to interfere in foreign policy.
It was October of 1968, month before the presidential election and President Lyndon Johnson was close to a breakthrough in the peace talks between North and South Vietnam, but now you found evidence that Richard Nixon intervened to mess up the negotiations.
And here's what he said. You unrecovered records from his chief aide, H.R. Haldeman that says including this note. "Any other way to monkey wrench it? Yes, Haldeman. To monkey wrench it anything, R.N. meaning Richard Nixon can do."
[22:30:06] What did Nixon do to monkey wrench with the negotaitions, John?
JOHN FARRELL, "RICHARD NIXON: THE LIFE" AUTHOR: He had envoy, a woman named Anna Chennault and she was connected to the south Vietnamese government in Saigon and sent message, several messages through the South Vietnamese and in D.C. in Washington. Telling them that the Nixon administration would play a much nicer role, a much more lenient role on the South Vietnamese government than a Humphrey administration would and they found it compelling.
The missing factor that I chanced upon doing research in Tim Naftali's file out in Yorba Linda were notes from Haldeman which show for the first time that Nixon actually countenanced this, not just countenanced it but directed it.
FARRELL: And this was something he had denied for -- he and his supporters has denied for 50 years.
LEMON: Yes. So, we'll bring, we'll talk more about Haldeman and we'll bring Timothy in because he's smiling here as you said that. But I just have one more question more for you. Because this is what you wrote in New York Times about treachery.
You said, "Nixon insisted that he not -- he had not sabotaged Johnson's 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion, my God, I would never do anything to discourage South Vietnam not to come to the table. Nixon told President Johnson. Now we know that Nixon lied.
What was the impact of the Nixon lie? How might history be different if there had been a peace treaty in 1968?
FARRELL: Well, that is an excellent question. That is right now. Now that we know that Nixon was involved personally, that's the $100,000 question. And you'll find debate on both sides. I believe that it had some effect. But we have to remember that South Vietnamese and the North Vietnamese don't act in vacuums.
They have their own political pressures in Hanoi and Saigon and it could be very well that negotiations would have failed anyway and that this breakthrough that Johnson thought he had was not really there. LEMON: Timothy, you say that Nixon's interference in the peace talks
set the tone for the whole administration. Have Donald Trump's actions set the tone for his presidency?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, we'll see about Donald Trump. But I'm absolutely convinced that the only way to understand Watergate is to understand that Richard Nixon took the kind of tools that the CIA would do and use overseas in doing covert action and applied them at home.
And the Chennault matter, that 1968 case that John Farrell gave us the key missing point the piece he gave, that was covert action done at home and Nixon would continue to do that in his presidency. And he also know that the intelligence community, our intelligence community knew he had done it. So, he was very wary of getting caught and I think this increased the
secretiveness of the Nixon administration.
LEMON: Quickly, Doug, you -- here's what John Dee in the Nixon White House counsel said. He tweeted to about John's new discovery here. And he said this, "New info shows Nixon was more than a serial liar, he was evil. His actions may have cost some 30,000 lives." Is that fair to say?
BRINKLEY: Well, we can't really make that claim. We don't know how important this is. But look, there is an argument to be made. In Jack's book, I've read it, and wrote a blurb for it. It's incredible. It's an amazing life of Nixon.
But we don't know whether if there really could have been a peace there. I mean, William Bundy was working for the Johnson administration and on the negotiations to that point, he said we're not sure whether this really matters that much. But there is an argument to be made that it's criminal activity what Nixon did. Yes, they're really is.
NAFTALI: I want to add something to that. I believe that the South Vietnamese government blackmailed Richard Nixon in 1972, and reason why we did not have peace that would have happened in October of '72 was that Richard Nixon knew that the South Vietnamese would have blown the secret of what he done in '68.
So, the peace that could have happen in October of '72 doesn't happen until after he's re-elected in January of '73. So, the war lasted for three months longer and American POWs were in jail three months longer because I believe additional affairs would did have...
LEMON: Well, hold on one second. I got to ask Jack this and we'll take a break, we'll come back here. But, John, the Logan Act which dates back 1799 forbids private citizens from negotiating with foreign government having a dispute with the U.S. When Donald Trump intervened and negotiates since around the U.N., speaking to leaders in Israel and Egypt, did he violate the law? FARELL: It is a law that is on the books, it have resulted in one
indictment that was dropped. And so it's more of a warning sign than actually a law in which guys are hauled into court and sent to jail.
My reading of what happened in the Chennault case is that Nixon came very close if not positively violated that law. I think it's going to take us years, maybe another -- you know, hopefully not in 50 years, to know exactly what Trump did and whether it would apply to the Logan Act.
[22:35:05] LEMON: All right. Everyone, stick around. When we come right back, guess who is coming to the inauguration? Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill will be there when Donald Trump takes the oath of office, a moment for the history books, but what does it say about our democracy?
LEMON: President-elect still raising questions about Russian hacking but it's not the first time there's been election interference.
Back with me now, Douglas Brinkley, Timothy Naftali, and John Farrell. So, John, you know, we spoke just a little but earlier about Richard Nixon's interference in the Vietnam peace talks, but it was Watergate that brought Nixon down. He ordered his team to break into the files at the democratic headquarters. In election Russian hackers reportedly broke into democratic files digitally. How does Russian hack compared to with Watergate, can you compare the two?
FARRELL: I think there's an absolute comparison. And in fact, the New York Times a couple of weeks ago had this wonderful photograph from the basement of the Democratic national Committee where they had the server that was broken into electronically sitting next to one of the file cabinets from the Watergate days that had been broken into by the Watergate burglars.
So, in both case it was the same kind of attack, scaled up 50 years later for differences in technology but with the same purpose to get embarrassing information that it could be spread and harm the opposition candidate.
[22:40:05] LEMON: Timothy and Doug, either one of you, you feel jump in here, you know, I have to ask you both about Donald Trump taking on the intelligence community again, tonight, saying this is a quote, "They delayed briefing him on the so-called Russian hacking to have time to build a case. While the agency insisted that it was always scheduled for later in the week." So, have we seen this before why would he do that.
NAFTALI: Bad idea. It's a bad idea.
NAFTALI: He shouldn't do that. Because the intelligence community has information about him that I'm sure he would like not to be released. I'm not saying that there's a great secret out there, but it doesn't make sense for Donald Trump to be making adversaries in the intelligence communities. Community that serves presidents regardless of party right now, why not stay silent? Why not stay silent and look at the material later on and come to his own conclusion.
LEMON: Does he -- does he realize that the intelligence community has information about him?
FARRELL: Well, he should be. At the very least it has information about some of, you know, Paul Manafort and others.
LEMON: He mentioned all of us.
FARRELL: Yes, but not necessarily.
LEMON: Yes, go ahead.
BRINKLEY: Well, you know, one of the things I'm thinking about with Nixon we were talking, you know, he, Nixon was part of the establishment. He was Eisenhower's V.P. He knew foreign affairs, he knows the intelligence community and he would never do this.
Donald Trump is really out there on his own. He has an island on his own. Using Twitter as his bully pulpit and it's the first time I know a president who is unilaterally just disagreed with the entire intelligence apparatus.
But I think the failures of George W. Bush's Iraq war and the weapons of mass destruction has allowed Donald Trump to say they were wrong about that war so they're probably about this. That's the excuse he's using.
NAFTALI: But he's going to, at some point he's going to have to use intelligence.
NAFTALI: And now he's discredited all of it.
LEMON: Go ahead, John.
FARRELL: Yes. There's an interesting parallel in that President Obama and President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 had the same sort of dilemma. In which case they had information, perhaps incomplete information, about the candidate who was running against the candidate who they hoped would be their successor and they had to decide how to use it in the volatile last days or weeks -- in the Johnson's case in the last days of the campaign.
FARRELL: In Johnson's case he decided that he couldn't use it even though he had advisers who urged him that he should, because he didn't know that Nixon was personally involved. So we don't know exactly what Obama knows about Donald Trump's knowledge of the Russian hacking but it's quite possible he faced the same kind of decision that Johnson did and made the decision for the same reason to let the election go ahead.
BRINKLEY: One point, 1980, Ronald Reagan was taking on Jimmy Carter and there was the October surprise, meaning keeping the hostages in Iran, William Casey and people with the Reagan administration were interfering in foreign policy then, saying keep the hostages in until after the election. So it's happened before. It's not just Nixon here or Donald Trump.
NEFTALI: LBJ did use the material though with Nixon.
NEFTALI: He told Nixon he knew what he had done.
NEFTALI: And he used to push Nixon to talk to the South Vietnamese to get them back to the table after Nixon had been elected.
LEMON: I'm realizing -- I'm realizing how old I am. I don't remember the LBJ, I remember the Reagan stuff.
Let's move this conversation because I want to ask you. And this went out as an alert, right, today about the main victim of the hacking, Hillary Clinton is going to attend Donald Trump's inauguration together with her husband. All the former living presidents is going to be there except for George H.W. Bush who is infirm.
I wonder what it says about our democracy, but I don't think it's -- I mean, they have to for history's sake they have to go. It wasn't a big deal to me. Was it, were you shock by this?
BRINKLEY: No. They all needed to be there. There are times in history when a sitting president didn't. Andrew Johnson wouldn't go to the inaugural of Ulysses S. Grant, for example, but I knew they would all rally and come because we're one nation, we got to stay united and we just got to be there. So, all of the ex-presidents are doing the right thing by being there.
LEMON: John, there's going to be a huge shift in policy between President Barack Obama and the president-elect. Historically have we ever seen such an abrupt shift between administrations?
FARRELL: Sure. I think that Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower hardly spoke to each other when they rode out for Pennsylvania Avenue in the car for that inauguration. And that's you know, it's the old HBO series show, John Adams has got in horse carriage and rode away from the White House and didn't even attend Thomas Jefferson's administration.
So, you know, big -- big changes happened. The presidential candidates or the presidential-elects handle these as best they can. I think that one instructive lesson we can learn from the Nixon administration is that when he came into office he was very much feared and opposed by the democratic establishment.
[22:44:58] And Pat Moynahan, who was later to become a U.S. Senator was one of his advisers and said that Nixon tried very hard in his -- in his first nine months in office to be a good president, to reach out to everybody and got no credit for it. And by not getting that credit he was hurt, he was bruised and that turned him down towards his darker impulses.
And so, that's maybe something we might want to remember as this new president comes in, that yes, if you have philosophical differences, partisan differences with him, you know, you should oppose him but you know, that constant wearing down may cause Donald Trump to decide what's he got to lose.
LEMON: Yes. But this is, maybe I should probably have phrased the question differently. This is different than a shift in policy. We've seen a shift between conservative and liberals presidents before. But this is president-elect like non other that we've seen. So, there is added factor on top of that.
NAFTALI: There is indeed. This, as Doug mentioned this man comes to office who is breaking the norms and he knows he's doing it and he's happy to do it. He has decided these are the rituals, I don't like them. This is the modern presidency doesn't need them, which means everybody is expecting the unexpected with Trump.
So that's an added layer of stress and it's not only happening here, it's around the world. That leaders around the world don't know what to expect from this man except that it's not going to be the way it was with George W. Bush or Obama.
LEMON: Let's talk about the man who is currently in office now, President Barack Obama, Douglas, is going to make his farewell speech address in Chicago next Tuesday. What do you think we're going to get from that speech to hear next week?
BRINKLEY: Well, I think cyber security issues. He might be like Dwight Eisenhower did the industrial military complex warning people about great dangers to come. You might, you know, great book of John Avlon, our colleague just to a book on George Washington's farewell address.
These are, what's unique about what President Obama's doing, he's doing it at McCormick center there in Chicago. It's going to be an audience for it. He's doing in a grand way. When you look at people like Eisenhower they would do it in front of the camera and just kind of read the teleprompter.
And he will also want to claim what he accomplished in his presidency and why we have to go on offering affordable health care to people and not repeal that. I think it's a defense to this administration.
LEMON: You spoke to the incoming president at Mar-a-Lago and you talked a bit about his speech and he said he's going to write in himself. What are we going to hear from his speech and the celebrations? BRINKLEY: I got from Mr. Trump that it's going to be short. That he
didn't want to be long winded. He was conscious of January, people in the cold. And that he said he's going to write it himself. That he's a bestselling author, he threw in there.
And that he was going to do a custom -- and obviously will be speechwriters there, but I think it's going to be very much like the unity speech he gave after when he won the election and he got pretty high praise from people for that.
LEMON: And of course, with like most celebrity books, there will be a ghost writer too.
BRINKLEY: There will be.
LEMON: Let's not forget about that. Let's be real.
BRINKLEY: There might be pulling sayings from all the speeches and piecing them together.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen.
FARRELL: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come right back, top democrat Chuck Schumer's tough talk to the president-elect, why he says he'd like to make a deal with Trump, but don't count on it.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The president-elect takes the oath of office in just 17 days as a new Congress convenes today with republican majorities in the House and Senate. But new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer -- Minority Leader, I should say, has a message for Trump and the GOP.
CNN's Dana Bash sat down with Senator Schumer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Hi, everybody.
BASH: Chuck Schumer arriving for his first day at Senate democratic leader. His new large suite still strewn with unpacked boxes.
BASH: Yes. You guys have some decorating to do here.
SCHUMER: Yes. A lot. It's not my forte.
BASH: Schumer was hoping to be the democratic majority leader working with Hillary Clinton in the White House. Instead he's leading the Trump opposition. He proudly described the recent conversation with Trump.
SCHUMER: I said Mr. President-elect, you went after both after the democratic and republican establishments when you ran. You were an anti-establishment change candidate but by your cabinet picks and your early pronouncements you seem to be embracing time-worn, shop-worn hard right.
BASH: You said that to him.
SCHUMER: I did.
BASH: What did he say?
SCHUMER: Nothing, but I said to him, if you do that, your presidency will not come close to being a success.
BASH: For Schumer, success will be even more complicated. A fine line between when to work with Trump and when not to.
SCHUMER: The only ways we're going to work with him is if he moves completely in our direction and abandons his republican colleagues. Ninety, ninety five percent of the time will be holding his feet to the fire and holding him accountable. But we're democrats, we're not just going to oppose things just to oppose them.
BASH: I've known you for a long time. You love a deal not unlike the president-elect. I find that hard to believe that you don't want to make deals.
SCHUMER: Well, here's the problem. The republicans in the Senate and the House have been run by a hard right group, an enormous tea party group. And they are so far away.
BASH: But now that he's the deal maker in the White House just like you.
SCHUMER: Well, look, we're going to look at specifics of what he proposed. Of course I'd like to make a deal.
BASH: That makes progressives in Schumer's own party nervous.
Democracy for American leading progressive groups said democratic leaders from Chuck Schumer down need to stop playing footsy with Trump and pretending we can find common...
SCHUMER: We're playing no footsy, might use exactly the same was Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
BASH: Since when?
SCHUMER: Both of them have said -- both of them have said the same exact thing. If we can work with him and be true to our principles, we're not going to reject it. But overall, we're sticking to our principles. BASH: The two New Yorkers have a history. Schumer says he doesn't
know Donald Trump well but he was one of the senators early political donors. Schumer confirmed the president-elect told him he liked him better than GOP leaders.
SCHUMER: He said something close to it.
BASH: Were you surprise to hear a republican president...
BASH: ... tell a democratic leader he likes you more than the republicans?
SCHUMER: When you get to be in my position, people do tend to want to flatter you when you take it for a grain of salt.
BASH: Trump is hardly Schumer's only concern, he is also in charge of fixing his defeated Democratic Party. His prescription?
[22:55:06] SCHUMER: A sharp edged economic message that talks about helping the middle class and people who want to get to the middle class get there more easily. We didn't have that in this election.
BASH: Just the task for the man who put himself on the map in the 1980s by being media savvy. You know, the famous line, the most dangerous place in Washington is between a camera and Chuck Schumer.
SCHUMER: Said by Bob Dole after he was mad that I passed the Brady law.
SCHUMER: Which I'm glad I did.
BASH: Now our viewers should know that when we try to talk to you in the hallway you pretend like you were on the cell phone, which you know you do. So, that has -- it changed a lot.
SCHUMER: In the early days the press was a very good way to bring out problems that needed to be fixed. Now we have other leaders of powers who are hardly inaccessible who sit in here with few and you can say a lot of bad things about Chuck Schumer and inaccessibility is never going to be one of them.
BASH: Same goes for authenticity.
SCHUMER: There's a balcony.
SCHUMER: You try to find out if we can have barbecues.
BASH: Leader are not refined, he will never be. You just put a fire escape down there it will be like Brooklyn.
SCHUMER: That's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. Dana, thank you very much. When we come right back, President Obama heading to Capitol hill tomorrow hoping to save Obamacare but can he preserve his legacy once Donald Trump takes the oath of office.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Barack Obama making a rare trip to Capitol Hill tomorrow trying to save Obamacare.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.