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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Son-in-Law WH Adviser: Atty. Says Move is Legal; Official: Trump Son-in-Law Will Not Take Salary as WH Adviser; Trump Team Gears Up For Nine Confirmation Battles This Week; Congressional Black Caucus Vows To Derail Sessions Nomination; Condoleezza Rice Endorses Sessions For Attorney General; Congressional Black Caucus To Re-hang Painting of Police as Pigs; Obama Not Welcome By All in Hometown Amid Violence; Obama Giving Farewell Address To Nation Tomorrow; Montel Williams on Torture Video Suspects: "Life in Prison - No Parole"; Meryl Streep's Speech Sparks Trump Twitter Tirade; Kremlin: Putin-Trump Meeting in the Works. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 9, 2017 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's all the time we have. Thanks very much for watching. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next, the breaking news tonight. Donald Trump's son-in-law gets a big title. A new job in the White House. The Trump team says nepotism laws don't apply. Plus a painting depicting police as pigs setting of a firestorm in the U.S. Capitol tonight. Why are some lawmakers fighting to keep it on display. And Donald Trump's Hollywood problem by the reality TV star is not seeing eye-to-eye with his fellow celebrities. Let's OutFront.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett OutFront. Tonight, the breaking news, a family affair. We have new details tonight here at CNN about how Donald Trump can legally name his son-in-law Jared Kushner a senior White House adviser without breaking any laws against nepotism. Kushner's attorney tonight says the president has "Unfettered and sweeping ability to select his advisors." Kushner is married to first daughter Ivanka Trump. He's a New York real estate developer and newspaper editor. And in his new job, Kushner's lawyer says, he won't take a salary. Kushner will resign positions at his various companies including the newspaper The New York Observer. He's also divesting himself of what's called a significant number of assets. Ivanka Trump's title likely just going to be first daughter according to a Trump transition official but she too supposedly selling many of her assets, quitting business although at this time it is unclear which one.

This comes as Trump faces the biggest test of his transition tonight. In just a few hours the senate will begin hearings into Trump's cabinet picks, at least nine of them scheduled to testify this week. And we're going to have a lot more on that in a moment. I want to begin that with Sara Murray, OutFront with the breaking news. And Sara, the Trump team say it's sure, Jared Kushner ethically cleared to work in the White House. He and Ivanka are selling assets and severing some of these business roles.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, that's right, Erin. And the lingering question for a while now is would Jared Kushner get a formal title? And they were clear today, not only is Jared getting a formal title, it's a big one, Senior Adviser to the president. And while he is not taking a salary in his position, they feel like they're on solid legal ground not because of that but because they don't believe the White House is a federal agency. They believe that Donald Trump has the ability to pick who he wants to be on his staff in the White House without running afoul of these anti-nepotism laws. But it is worth noting that of course that Jared Kushner is a businessman just like Donald Trump is.

And so, he runs into many of the same conflicts, they have potential conflicts that Donald Trump does. And his lawyer was very clear that he's going to move, has already moved to divest himself from many of these. He's selling off, divesting a substantial number of assets, all of his foreign investments. Now, he's not fully divesting from the Kushner Companies of which he is the CEO, but he's resigning from that role as well as reigning from his role at The New York observer. Now, you know, of course, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, a package deal here, of course they are married. They are both moving to Washington. The other thing made clear today is at least for now Ivanka Trump is not going to be taking a formal title in the Wash -- in the White House.

We know they're both coming to Washington but for now she is going to focus on moving their family here, getting their children settled here. But of course she's still going to have her father's ear. We know she's already been advising him and advising his transition on a number of issues she's interested in, for instance paid leave. And so she's also divesting from a number of her assets, stepping back. She will not play a management role in the Trump organization or for her fashion brand.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. And important, obviously people are aware she does have that fashion brand. Let's go to David Chalian now in front of Washington. Because David, you know, look, Jared Kushner is going farther than his father-in-law here. Ivanka Trump also, but it's unclear of the full extent in either case. And they're trying to get around the fact that there are laws against doing this, against nepotism here.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's true, Erin. There are those laws. But as Sara just noted, the Trump transition team is completely confident that those laws do not apply, those anti-nepotism laws, to this scenario, on two different grounds. One, that the president has a wide ability to appoint White House staff irrespective of those anti-nepotism laws that congress actually enacted a law dealing with this. And secondly, that the White House is not a federal agency and so therefore they think on both of those grounds, they're on solid ground here. But you are right to note, Jared Kushner is going a lot farther than Donald Trump suggested he would.

Now, we haven't heard how Donald Trump is going to deal with this business the way we now have heard with Jared Kushner, which is divesting from a ton of stuff, Erin, if not entirely. Remember, every conflict of interest, expert said anything shy, a full divestment for Donald Trump may create conflicts of interest, this is going to be question number one out of the gate at the Wednesday press conference because as you know, Donald Trump told The New York Times right after the election he doesn't think conflict of interest applies to the president. And he actually may have the law on his side even if he doesn't have the ethics watch dogs on his side.

BURNETT: So, do we read anything into what's happened? And again, they have not been clear yet, exactly, what assets are being sold, what titles are being -- what titles are lost for either Jared or Ivanka. However, so far, much more detail and far to the Donald Trump has gone himself. Is that going to force him to go further or an indication that he will go further?

CHALIAN: Well, again, I think the only indication we have thus far, Erin, is that Donald Trump doesn't think he has to do a think at all because he just doesn't see the law applying to the presidency, but I think question number one out of the gate is going to be if your son- in-law feels he is sitting in the law office in his meetings and he needs to rid himself of all these business interests, then why don't you, even if the law doesn't require it? So, I do think that they're going to have to come up with an answer to that question and we haven't heard it yet.

BURNETT: All right. There's a letter and spirit and intent of the law, often obviously not the same thing and you want the spirit and intent to be observed. Thank you very much, David Chalian.

CHALIAN: Take care.

BURNETT: Also tonight, the Trump team gearing up for nine confirmation battles on Capitol Hill this week. Nine, they are jamming them all in. Manu Raju OutFront.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: They are the absolute highest level, I think they're going to do very well.

MANU RAJU, CNN REPORTER: President-elect Donald Trump, confident the senate will approve his cabinet picks, even as democrats vow to stop them. This week alone, senators will question nine nominees including Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General. General James Mattis to lead the defense department. And former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Tillerson's ties to President Vladimir Putin have become a flashpoint for republicans, who want to take a tough line on Russia. But the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee tells CNN that Tillerson is privately reassuring the GOP hardliners that his views on Russia are mainstream.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: One of the reasons that, you know, Tillerson is going to have so many questions on Russia, no doubt he's going to be because the President- elect has expressed some views that have been somewhat out of the mainstream here. My guess is that Tillerson is going to express a much harder line on Russia than we've seen coming from the President- elect. My guess is over time, I hope so, anyway, that the President- elect will evolve some in that regard too.

RAJU: Trump officials say the nominees have spent more than 70 hours in mock hearings answering more than 2600 questions, all to help republican leaders accomplish their goal, to confirm at least a half dozen nominees by the time Trump is sworn into office on January 20th. Republicans say they gave President Obama's nominees a similar courtesy in 2009.

SEN. MITCH MCCONELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Everybody will be properly vetted as they have been in the past. And I'm hopeful that we'll get up to six or seven, particular a national security team, in place on day one.

RAJU: But democrats say Trump's cabinet is filled with multimillionaires and billionaires and several have yet to complete the process to be clear of potential conflicts of interest. On the senate floor Monday, democratic leader Chuck Schumer said republicans held Obama's nominees to a similar standard.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) MINORITY LEADER: There's a big difference between 2009 and today. President Obama's nominees may met all the standards laid out in -- then Minority Leader McConnell's letter. President-elect Trump's nominees have not.

RAJU: Now, democrats can't stop Trump's nominees because they changed senate rules in 2013 making it a lot easier to overcome a filibuster, just 51 votes are needed when 52 republicans will control the chamber, that means that they'll need to see some republican defections siding with them in the opposition of Trump nominees and there's really no sign that's going to happen on a widespread basis. But that could change if they trip up in these confirmation hearings, which is why it's so significant these hearings this week, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you. OutFront now, Ben Ferguson and former Clinton White House Aide Keith Boykin. Let me start with you, Keith. The head of the congressional black caucus said it may be tough but he -- they're going to do mat to try to stop the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions. This is one they care deeply about. Sessions though has been the senate for 20 years. He's got friends. Today Condoleezza Rice, obviously the first black woman Secretary of State, told CNN she endorses sessions and said in part, Keith, "Senator Sessions and I were born not too many years apart in the State of Alabama. Our state was a place of prejudice and injustice against the decedents of slaves. Senator Sessions has worked hard to heal those wounds." She is now endorsing him. What's your response?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this a part of a carefully orchestrated plan on the part of the Trump transition team, they have a group of African-Americans that they want to roll out to show that Sessions is not a racist, which is the charge against him. But the reality is he has a racist history. It doesn't matter what a few people who were African-Americans in the Republican Party say, you have to look at long history. His opposition to the voting rights act, his support for the Ku Klux Klan, for god's sake. His idea that he was going to prosecute African-Americans who try to register people to vote in the south.

This is a troubling history of a man who shows little regard for the rights of African-Americans. And to have him succeed, not only the first and second African-Americans to be Attorney General but to then come and reverse the policies of the -- of the current administration. I think it's going to be a really devastating blow for civil rights.

BURNETT: Ben, you know, when you refer to the history -- he refers to the history, let me just make sure people understand. Senator Sessions was denied a federal judgeship. This was 30 years ago because of testimony where colleagues said -- black colleagues said that he referred to them as Boy and made jokes about the Ku Klux Klan. So that's part of what we're talking about here.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Let's also be very clear that that individual had a huge beef with this individual. The second issue is he did not support the Ku Klux Klan. This is part of the play that the democrats are trying to do which is anyone that they don't like who's going to be up for confirmation, they're going to try to turn into some racist or bigot because that's the only play they have left in the playbook and they're going to use it against Sessions, roll it out in full force.

The congressional black caucus, I think it's embarrassing that they're spending this much time going after someone who has a very long history in Washington of actually supporting issues on civil rights. But they forget and negate all of those instances where it's actually voted on different things.

BURNETT: So I want to show you because you mentioned the congressional black caucus. I want to show you a picture people, first though just for the record, I want people to understand Condi Rice is referring to some of those things. She said he spearheaded the effort to award a congressional gold medal to Rosa Parks, among other things that she says are pro-civil-rights. But you mentioned the congressional black caucus again, so let me just show you something here that -- they are going to have a big event tomorrow morning and I don't know if you guys know about this but they're going to be hanging this picture on the walls of congress. It had actually been removed by Congressman Duncan Hunter.

And the reason he actually went physically removed it, I mean, he got pins and pulled it out of the wall was because he said law enforcement was complaining about it. If you look carefully you will see a police officer, this is Ferguson, Missouri that's portrayed, a police officer which is a -- with a pig head, a boar, shooting at a protester on the other side of the car. So when you look at that, Keith, what do you say? Should this picture be hanging or not hanging? They're going to re-hang it tomorrow morning against law enforcement wishes.

BOYKIN: Well, this is the first time I've seen the image. It's an interesting image. I'm from St. Louis, Missouri, so I see the arch in the background. But the City of Ferguson, which is next door to St. Louis blew up into flames because of the issue of police brutality. I think it's a legitimate concern for people in the congressional black caucus to have artistic expression of the African- American angst that was present about that issue and I think this art may reflect it.

Now, actually, I haven't seen the art up close so I don't know every detail in it. So there might be something in it that might be different, but from what I can tell, if this is just an expression of art, I don't think that it's terribly troubling to have that hanging if it has been hung before in the White -- in the -- in the congress.

BURNETT: It has been hung but, Ben. And then there's free speech.

FERGUSON: Yes. It also should have been taken down, because the men and women that protect us, protect these congressmen that put their lives on the line that had been gunned down should not be treated this way by anybody this in congress. And congress's job is to make sure they have the back of the men and women who have their lives on the line every single day. This is also I think a very potent point that people should be looking at. This is what the congressional black caucus has become, they've become antagonistic, they've become extremists, they're fighting right now to put up a picture of a police officer. Also let's not forget, based on a lie of hands up, don't shoot, which never happened in Ferguson. This is the same group that also implied that he was shot in the back of the head and he was not. The autopsy shows it was wrong.

BOYKIN: Ben, you're getting ahead of yourself. You're getting ahead of yourself. Just one quick point. The people who are brutalized by police are also citizens and the congresses has a duty to protect them too. People in this congress --people --

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: You said that people in congress have a duty to protect police officers and law enforcement, which I agree with. But the people in congress have duty to protect everyone, we're all citizens. And police are held to the same standards as every other citizen. That's the way the law should work in this country. Not that we elevated

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: We'll pause -- we'll pause there for a moment. Let's pause there for a moment. Before, next, President Obama's goodbye speech, it his last huge moment as the President of the United States. So why do some people from his hometown feel so let down by him? Montel Williams is my guest. And the strong man summit, new tonight, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are going to do it. They are going to meet. And Donald Trump fires back after Meryl Streep said this.

MERYL STREEP, AMERICAN ACTRESS: Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if you kick them all out, you'll have nothing to watch about football and mixed martial arts which are not the arts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, President Obama writing his farewell speech, a process that's expected to go late tonight. We're told part of it could be aimed at President-elect Trump. But President Obama also wants to talk about all the progress he feels he's made over the last eight years. And that may not resonate where Obama is actually going to be delivering the speech which is hometown of Chicago. Rosa Flores is OutFront.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment changed has come to America.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eight years after his victory speech from Chicago's Grant Park, President Obama is returning to his hometown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't need no justice --

FLORES: But some are giving him a cold welcome, saying his promise of hope and change never came.

JA'MAL GREEN, CHICAGO ACTIVIST: We're not going to be saying thank you for the eight years of work that he didn't do in the black communities.

FLORES: Activist and former Obama support Jamal Green referring to the surge in violence in Chicago. Last year markets deadliest year in nearly two decades with 762 people murdered, nearly 4,000 people killed on the streets of Chicago during Obama's eight years in the White House. One flashpoint, the 2014 deadly shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by police. Which launched the largest investigation of a police department by the U.S. Department of justice.

GREEN: I would be embarrassed president to know that I've done really not much for the people that put me there.

OBAMA: I sat in Grant Park when I was declared the winner of the presidency. But this wasn't the task for one year or one term or one president.

FLORES: Some of his faithful supporters don't believe it's fair to blame the president for the city's violence.

MELVIN WORLEY, CHICAGO RESIDNT: Obama tried his best. He can -- he's only the president. He is not a dictator. He can't do what he wants to do.

SAVANNAH DEAN, OBAMA SUPPORTER: The people who criticize him really don't know better. We had a black president who served two terms and with everything that he did for us, it's just a blessing. It is a blessing.

OBAMA: I can't send the marines in to Chicago. But it is heart- breaking. Chicago is the one big city where you've seen a big spike in the murder rate.

FLORES: Which is why Jamal Green wishes the president would have done more.

GREEN: He has neglected to talk about the starve of communities. He neglected to talk about the violence. He's neglected to talk about the lack of investment into urban communities. He's neglected to talk about police brutality, issues that are plagued in the black communities all over the country. And so, we do feel neglected and we felt like he could do more and he could have possibly saved some lives.

FLORES: Now, I talked to some people here in Chicago who believe that perhaps President Obama can do more for his hometown as a former president. They say that he's already doing more, for example bringing the presidential library to the south side, which will -- which will pump money and also jobs to that area. And Erin, other people I talked to say they're just hoping for the president to speak bluntly about some of the issues plaguing the black community.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Rosa. You just heard that report, and that young man who -- an activist in Chicago who feels so frustrated -- neglected was the word he used by the president. What do you say to people in Chicago? So, this is his hometown, this should be his heart and soul and he's let us down.

MONTEL WILLIAMS, AMERICAN TELEVISION PERSONALITY: It's really strange that we can -- holding Obama has held responsible for the city of his lineage as the president know. Look at the -- you know, President Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and take a look at it, Connecticut is not necessarily one of the booming Metropolises in the country. Gurdon, Arkansas where President Clinton was born. Now President Obama has to be responsible for the city he was born in where he took office to make sure that he would be responsible for all Americans.

He made an attempt of doing that. He said something very interesting and I'm a big supporter of President Obama, I was never a big supporter of president Obama. I don't know where he got that from but I'm literally --I'm literally been a supporter of the United States of America. And I've backed programs and things that have been --

BURNETT: That he's done, but you would say not an overall supporter.

WILLIAMS: I'm an independent and I've always been an independent. I've never ever, ever stood on one side or the other like I do today. I mean, right now, we're looking at Chicago, I'm going to hold him accountable for once. So then when not recognized that the nation was held hostages by congress that he said on his first day, he was going to fail.

BURNETT: Do you think this is going to be something that -- I mean, you know, he's come out with My Brother's Keeper, right? He had said that that the plight of young black men in America is something that he is going to take on personally. Do you think -- is he going to be able to do more for that group of people now that he's out of office? I mean, you know, there are some who criticize for saying he sort of ran away from that issue and ran away from the black community.

WILLIAMS: He didn't run away. He ran -- he ran right into leading the nation. Remember, he stood up before the country and said I do solemnly swear and affirm that I will support the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestics, and I do so for all Americans, and not just Chicago, not just black Americans. Anybody who expected him to do other would have expected, you know, I don't know, let's say George W. Bush right now, Donald Trump, he's -- clearly he's going to do everything he wants for all billionaires, people that had supported him. So, if that's what we're asking Obama to do, I don't think it's kind of fair.

BURNETT: So when we talk about violence in Chicago, there is now that horrible video. A horrible video.

WILLIAMS: That right there is where we should be talking about -- and talking about it from around -- not just Chicago but America.

BURNETT: So, let me just play -- I know everyone has seen it, but we're talking about this horrible video where this young white man with special needs was attacked in a horrific and terrifying way. President Obama called it a hate crime. Let me play the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn, you cutting (BLEEP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll cut a whole patch out of the (BLEEP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (BLEEP) Donald Trump (BLEEP) white people.

BURNETT: You said before people charged in this should get life in prison, no parole.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

BURNETT: Why?

WILLIAMS: Because what we're not thinking about here is, this is -- this is a group of people who decided to pick on what would be what we consider one of the least of us, a person who suffers from mental illness. And this has been growing in America. A year ago, a young white teenager, a football player, took a young black male into a locker room, hugged him, while another kid should have had a hanger in his rear end and kicked it multiple times. OK? That was not even considered a hate crime then either. And it should have been against the mentally ill.

This is the point I'm trying to make. We want to turn this into just black and white. But right now, when we as a society will allow people to attack the sickest of us, the most ill of us, and won't ask for the most severe punishment? I think we got a problem here.

BURNETT: The suspects though did say, F white people.

WILLIAMS: It's actually not --

BURNETT: That's why people say this is about race --

WILLIAMS: So what? So that's -- so that's all you want to jump to. There's America right can only see black and white. We can only see black and white. We got to stop and look beyond black and white. I saw a white kid did it to a black kid but I said the point was they were both differently able -- disabled. The one young man, a year and a half ago in Idaho suffered from mental disorder, this young man is schizophrenic.

When we as a society can't even look beyond race, to say that we have people here who don't give a -- you know, enough about people to attack the least of us, we have a problem. And we should start talking about that as a problem, not just the race end. When the conversation ends at race, we've not even done the issue a service.

BURNETT: Well, it's a -- it's a powerful example that you give but I think makes a point to a lot of people. Montel, thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much, Erin, for having me.

BURNETT: We are going to be live in Chicago tomorrow night ahead of the president's farewell speech, be sure to join us. And don't miss 9:00 CNN's live town hall with Senator Bernie Sanders.

Next, new details about the man accused of killing five people at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. A friend of the suspected gunman OutFront tonight and she pinpoints the moment where she says everything changed.

And Meryl Streep takes on Trump. Trump firing back, coming up. Trump's issue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:46] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

Now playing on Twitter, Donald Trump versus Meryl Streep. The president-elect going on a Twitter tirade after Streep called him out in her speech at the Golden Globes. So, did the Hollywood legend go too far or should Trump be the one to let this go?

Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: Take your broken heart and make it into art.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meryl Streep never mentioned Donald Trump by name at the Golden Globes. She never had to.

STREEP: But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. This instinct to humiliate when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

STELTER: Streep, accepting a lifetime achievement award, slams the president-elect for mocking a reporter with a disability during the campaign. Trump responding today, calling her, "one of the most overrated

actresses in Hollywood."

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Now, the poor guy, you've got to see this guy, I don't know what I said, I don't remember.

STREEP: Someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it.

STELTER: On Twitter, Trump insisted he never mocked the reporter. Quote, "I simply showed him groveling when he totally changed a 16- year-old story."

The reporter, however, did not change his story.

It's Trump versus the media and Hollywood, stoking outrage on the right.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: When you tune into the Golden Globes awards show, is it always appropriate to talk politics? They can say what they want, but then they have to be held to account.

STELTER: Trump labeled Streep a Hillary flunky, recalling her fiery speech at the Democratic Convention.

STREEP: What does it take to be the first female anything? It takes grit and it takes grace.

STELTER: Clinton had almost all the celeb star power in the world. But Trump's star eclipsed it all. Now, the president-elect is embracing battles with "SNL."

ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Google, what is ISIS?

STELTER: Signaling to voters he's on their side, versus the so-called liberal elites like Alec Baldwin.

Contrast Sunday's standing ovations for Clinton at "The Color Purple" on Broadway, with the boos for Vice President-elect Mike Pence during a November visit to "Hamilton."

Trump said the cast was rude for addressing Pence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.

STELTER: Alarmed and anxious is still what much of liberal America is feeling. And Streep's message was meant for them.

STREEP: When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STELTER: And speaking of anxious liberal America, today at the White House, outgoing press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about this controversy. He said he thought Streep's message was thoughtful and it's what the First Amendment is all about.

So, now, as a reality TV veteran prepares to move into the White House, the culture wars continue, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brian.

OUTFRONT now, the former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord, Keith Boykin also back with me.

So, Jeff, you just heard Brian right there. The White House coming out and saying Meryl Streep's speech was thoughtful and carefully considered. Do you agree?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I don't agree. You know, the thing is, Erin, we've been at this now for decades. Hollywood personality A, B, or C stands up and says this kind of thing. No one out here in the real world takes them seriously.

Let me give you an example. If they really meant what they said, years ago, years and years ago, I wrote a column that appeared in "The Los Angeles Times." The Oscars gives out what they call a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and they give it to various people who've done, you know, they're movie stars who have done this, that, or the other thing. I want to know, it's a honorary Oscar.

I wanted to know why former actor Ronald Reagan had not gotten an Oscar for ending the Cold War.

[19:35:04] I mean, they weren't going to give it to him, because, of course, he was a conservative. This is their bent. This is what they do.

And from a purely political context, I would add, all this does is help Donald Trump.

BURNETT: Keith, I want to just play something though that Meryl Streep said, as you respond to Jeffrey. Towards the end of her speech she said something that really stood out to me. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STREEP: Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick 'em all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Does that just make Jeffrey's point? A lot of people in this country care about football and mixed martial arts. Mixed martial arts actually which requires incredible amount of skill. Did her comment just cross the line and alienate people?

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Well, you know, as a football fan and a mixed martial arts fan myself, I don't think her comment reflects on every single person in Hollywood. But she has a right to free speech. She has a right to that opinion. But there are people in the Middle America states that Jeffrey talks about who do like the arts, who do like Meryl Streep. And --

LORD: I do. I think she's good actress.

BOYKIN: Well, that's my point, the American citizenry is diverse. And the president of the United States should represent all of us. He shouldn't be a divisive bully trying to separate us. He should be a person who lifts us and embraces all of the different people.

LORD: Who are the divisive people?

BOYKIN: Listen to this, Jeffrey. We have a president who not only did he mock a disabled reporter, but he went -- let me just finish what I have to say before you tell me what you think is not true. He also went out there and he attacked John McCain, said he wasn't a war hero because he was captured. He accused Ted Cruz, his father of being involved in the assassination of JFK.

This is a guy who is somehow unstable enough that he's engaged in pathological lying behavior because he's willing to say whatever he wants and whatever his fragile ego is somehow hurt, he wants to lash out at other people. That's not healthy behavior for an American president.

BURNETT: Jeff, he lashed out this morning, he came out against Meryl Streep. So, she did what she did, OK? Patrick Healy from "The New York Times" talked to him right after, just said he was basically getting red in the face. He's getting angry and angrier by the second.

So, of course, in Donald Trump's style, he went on Twitter. This morning about Meryl Streep, tweeting that she was overrated. By the way, for the record, Jeffrey, she has won three Oscars, eight Golden Globes, and three primetime Emmys. So, let's just put that out there.

Why? Why does he do this?

LORD: Erin, Erin, I honestly think the shoe is on the other foot here. She lashed out at him. She's the one saying all these things.

BURNETT: Why is he responding?

LORD: She attacks -- she attacks him.

Well, look, we're in a new era here. And one of the things, as I think I've said before, the Bush 43 administration later regretted, at least Karl Rove regretted, not responding to the Bush lied routine, which was not true. He may have made a mistake on WMD, but it certainly was not a lie.

The problem is, if you don't respond, these things settle in. Like this business of mocking the reporter, he also mocked Ted Cruz that way. This is on videotape. He mocked a general this way, that's on videotape. Yet this morning, I read twice in "The Washington Post", the reporters saying the video doesn't exist, it didn't happen. That's not true. I can find it within 10 seconds.

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: Jeffrey, can you find the video of the Muslims in New Jersey who were cheering on the day when 9/11 happened, that Donald Trump said were out there that didn't exist? Donald Trump is a serial pathological liar and you need to stop defending his behavior and start questioning him and challenging him.

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: How is it that you and the Republican leadership and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are so much more interested in defending this person who was widely criticized even within your party last year, and you aren't standing up to him when he's engaged in crooked corruption and incivility on every institution.

LORD: Keith, did you stand up -- did you stand up to Hillary Clinton when she lied? Repeatedly?

BOYKIN: Clinton is not the president-elect of the United States.

LORD: I see.

BOYKIN: How many times do I have to tell you this? Donald Trump is about to become president. Why doesn't he start acting like it, stop getting on Twitter every day and attacking everybody?

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: We will leave it there.

LORD: -- whether you're a Hollywood celebrity or not.

BURNETT: Thank you both.

And next, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, a strong man summit. They are going to meet face-to-face. The details ahead.

And the suspect in the Florida airport shooting told the FBI he was hearing voices and having, quote, "terroristic thoughts". Then, they gave him back his gun. How could it have happened?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:43:29] BURNETT: New tonight, Russia says plans are in the works for Donald Trump to meet with Vladimir Putin.

Russia now firing back tonight at the U.S. intelligence report. That report, of course, says Putin himself ordered the hacking of the U.S. presidential election. The Kremlin calls it a full scale witch hunt.

Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President-elect Donald Trump ignoring reporters' questions about the briefing he received from the intelligence community on Russian hacking of U.S. political groups.

TRUMP: We'll talk to you about that at another time.

SCIUTTO: This as a spokesman for the Kremlin says plans are already in the works for a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man who intelligence leaders say ordered the hacks.

Over the weekend, Trump reiterated his intention to seek warmer relations with Moscow, tweeting, quote, "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only stupid people or fools would think that is bad."

Congressional Democrats today calling for an independent commission to investigate the hacking which U.S. intelligence says it believes was designed to help Trump and weaken Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Our intelligence agencies are warning us. And they are screaming, trying to tell us that if we do not respond now, the Russians will attack us again.

SCIUTTO: The Trump team meanwhile trying to turn the page on the issue, pointing to a series of other high profile hacks by China and North Korea, and arguing that the Democratic National Committee's lax cyber protections made them an easy target for the Russians.

[19:45:05] REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMIING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Granted we have bad actors around the world and cyber attacks have been happening for years. But we also have an entity that's allowed, through a wide open door, a foreign government into their system.

SCIUTTO: Other Trump advisers claiming that congressional outrage is politically motivated.

CONWAY: I just think there's been selective outrage about Russia only because some people want to conflate that with the election results.

SCIUTTO: Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan says any unwillingness by Trump to stand with the intelligence community puts the nation at, quote, "great risk and peril."

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I expect that the president of the United States will recognize that the CIA and the intelligence community were established by statute for a very important reason.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Now, the Kremlin spokesman said that this meeting between Trump and Putin will happen. He offered no timeline. But, Erin, picture this, that if it happens in the next weeks and months, it could happen as Congress is either voting on, considering, or perhaps enforcing new tougher sanctions on Russia for interfering in the U.S. election.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim.

And next, stunning surveillance video of the Florida airport shooting, the actual moment the gunman is walking along, pulls out his gun and opens fire. A close high school friend is my guest.

And on a much lighter note, Jeanne Moos with Mike Pence and his menagerie today, including a rabbit named Marlin Bundo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, the suspect in the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting could face the death penalty. He had his first court appearance today, as you can see there. Two of the three charges against Esteban Santiago are punishable by death. Authorities say he opened fire at the airport on Friday killing five.

Dan Simon is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video is disturbing. The moment Esteban Santiago pulls a handgun from his waistband and begins shooting inside the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

[19:50:02] That gun had been confiscated only months early, the FBI seizing it after the Iraq war veteran voluntarily told agents he was having terroristic thoughts and believed he was influenced by ISIS.

MARLIN RITZMAN, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI ANCHORAGE: In November of 2016, Mr. Santiago walked into the Anchorage FBI office to report that he's mind was being controlled by U.S. intelligence agency. During the interview, Mr. Santiago appeared agitated, incoherent, and made disjointed statements.

SIMON: It led to a brief psychiatric evaluation. Law enforcement hasn't shared what doctors determined. But Santiago's family says he didn't get the help he needed.

BRYAN SANTIAGO, ALLEGED SHOOTER'S BROTHER (through translator): They had him hospitalized for four days and let him go. How are you going to let someone leave a psychological center after four days when he says he's hearing voices, that the CIA is telling him to join certain groups?

SIMON: A month later, police gave him back his weapon.

KAREN LOEFFLER, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF ALASKA: I think law enforcement acted within the laws that they have. You know, we're a country of laws and they operate within them.

SIMON: To lose his gun rights, Santiago would have needed to be declared, quote, "mentally defective by a judge" and that never happened.

CNN has learned on the days before the shooting, he had been staying at this Anchorage motel. This is the exact room, more like a pod. Investigators gathered evidence from it and even took away a dumpster.

Chon Saavedra met Santiago while staying at the same motel.

CHON SAAVEDRA, MET ALLEGED SHOOTER WHILE STAYING AT SAME MOTEL: Just real quiet. I mean, the owner met him, too. And he said he was just real quiet, never caused any real problems or anything like that, you know? And so, I didn't see any weapons, nothing.

SIMON: Family members say Santiago went on a downward spiral after returning from Iraq in 2011. But whether that has anything to do with him purchasing a one-way ticket to Ft. Lauderdale and shooting 11 people is still under investigation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON: Santiago's history here in Alaska includes a domestic violence case where he was charged with assault and criminal mischief. But those charges were set to be dismissed if he stayed out of trouble. In Florida court, Santiago said he could not afford an attorney and had just $5 or $10 to his name -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dan.

OUTFRONT now, Rosemarie Zapata, a high school friend of the gunman.

And, Rosemarie, thank you very much for being with us. I know this is a hard time for you. You've known Esteban for a long time. You actually spoke to him after he came back from Iraq.

And you say he had changed. What did you notice?

ROSEMARIE ZAPATA, HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND OF ALLEGED AIRPORT SHOOTER: He had -- he's always been this smart, bright, intelligent boy when we went to school together. Once he came back from Iraq, we met. We saw each other at the local Walgreen's where we live and he was just so different.

I mean, we enlisted together. So it was, you know, common for me to ask my battle buddies how their mission went or how their experience was. Once I asked him, he was the -- the only answer he had for me was, you know, you would just go to anywhere, go to Africa, go to Kosovo, go to Guantanamo, but don't ever go to Iraq. Don't accept the mission to go to Iraq. Just don't go, it's horrible.

BURNETT: He actually was the one who convinced you to join the National Guard, to enter the service, right?

ZAPATA: During our senior year of high school, I found out that he was enlisting in the national guard, and I asked him about it. I'm like, well, it's so weird you're not going straight to college. He said, no, you know, I think it's a better option for me. I really like the Army and I want to join. And why don't you try it out? Now, I'm like, I don't think I'm material for the Army. He's like,

you should try it out. So I took the exam. Once I passed, he was the one who helped me persevere and want to join. And he actually presented me and helped me meet the recruiter that recruited us. So --

BURNETT: What did you think when you heard that he was the gunman in this horrible attack in Ft. Lauderdale?

ZAPATA: I couldn't even believe it. I mean, I was looking through my phone and I saw this news and it said, you know, active shooter, I think it was, in Florida airport. And once I clicked on the news article, I'm like, it says -- I read his full name and I was just so baffled about it. I was like, this can't be the same person.

So, I called home and I'm like, you know, mom, I think this is Esteban. She's like, no, it can't be, it's probably just a coincidence. So, I just -- during the night, I kept refreshing my Google. Once his picture came out, I couldn't believe it was the same person.

BURNETT: Well, Rosemarie, we appreciate your time and I thank you for talking to me. Thank you.

ZAPATA: Thank you, guys.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with the Pence family, making pet names great again. They have arrived in D.C. for good with Marlin Bundo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:47] BURNETT: They are about to become the most powerful pets in the world, because Donald Trump doesn't have a pet. Among them, a rabbit named Marlin Bundo.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Meet the VPP. The vice presidential pets.

The Pence's bunny actually got to deplane before the vice president. This is Marlin Bundo.

One political strategist tweeted, "OK, I've been a pence skeptic, but the fact that he has a rabbit called Marlin Bundo has softened me."

The family's two cats, Oreo and Pickle, were carried out by the vice president-elect's wife and daughter. Pickle, the beige and white one, got air sick aboard the plane, but at least the cat didn't nip anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, did he get you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Totally got me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.

MOOS: President George W. Bush's Scottish terrier, Barney, nailed a Reuter's reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got bit by Barney.

MOOS: And Bill Clinton's cat's Socks had a turf war with Buddy.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I did better with the Arabs, the Palestinians and the Israelis than I've done with Socks and Buddy.

MOOS: Franklin Roosevelt was so close to his dog Fala that they're together forever as statues. LBJ got flak from animal lovers for picking up his beagle by the ears. And President Bush once accidently dropped Barney.

You never know with presidential pets who's going to take whom for a walk. But we know where Bo wasn't sleeping.

REPORTER: He's going to be in the bed?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not in my bed.

MOOS: But why stop at dogs and cats? Woodrow Wilson used sheep to mow the White House lawn during World War I.

First Lady Grace Coolidge is seen her with her pet raccoon, Rebecca, at an Easter egg roll.

And Teddy Roosevelt had a virtual zoo at the White House.

The Pences also have a pet snake. We didn't see any snakes on the plane.

For pickle and Oreo and Marlin Bundo, this was their first VPP motorcade.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Thank you so much for joining us.

Anderson starts right now.