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Trump Holds Press Conference as Allegations Swirls; Trump Lashes Out at CNN Reporters, Refuses Question; Former Cabinet Member and Friend on Obama Legacy; President Obama Bids Farewell

Aired January 11, 2017 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, from Washington, a furious U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hits back an allegations that

Russia has compromising material on him, but he did say for the first time that he accept the U.S. intelligence conclusion about who hacked into the

recent election.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other

countries and other people.


AMANPOUR: The former CIA deputy and acting director Mike Morell joins us.

Also ahead, President Obama's farewell speech last night, we dive into his legacy with his long-time cabinet member, friend and basketball buddy

Arne Duncan.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Washington, where controversial Trump cabinet picks are being

grilled on Capitol Hill, while in New York, Donald Trump himself face the music in his first press conference since he invited Russia to hack Hillary

Clinton's emails six months ago and he came out swinging at the press, the intelligence community and of course his political foes over persistent

questions about his relationship with Russia and President Putin.

Despite finally admitting for the first time that Russia was behind hacking in the U.S. election; although, he later went on to say it could

have been any other nation as well.


TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what folks, that's called an asset, not a liability.

I have no deals in Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we have stayed away and I have no loans with Russia.


AMANPOUR: And Trump also hit out at CNN for a story our correspondence reported last night that classified documents were presented

to Trump and to President Obama last week, which included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising financial and personal

information about Trump and also allegations of contacts between Russia and the Trump.



TRUMP: Your organization is terrible.

ACOSTA: You are attacking our news organization. Can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir.

TRUMP: Go ahead. Quite. Quite.

ACOSTA: Mr. President-elect, can you say --


TRUMP: He is asking a question, don't be rude.


ACOSTA: Mr. President-elect, can you give us a question for attacking us.

TRUMP: Don't be rude.

ACOSTA: Can you give us a question?

TRUMP: Don't be rude. We're not going to give you a question. I'm not going to give you a question.


ACOSTA: Can you state categorically --


TRUMP: You are fake news. Go ahead.

ACOSTA: Sir, can you state categorically that nobody -- no, Mr. President-elect, that's not appropriate.

TRUMP: Go ahead.


AMANPOUR: Jim Acosta there trying to get an answer from the president-elect and CNN has just put out a statement, making it clear that

it has not reported any of the most salacious claims.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump categorically denied those claims as did the Kremlin. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these

allegations, but has not confirmed any of the explosive content.

Trump also castigated U.S. intelligence services again, but he also said that intelligence was vital and very important. So which is it?

Let's turn now to Mike Morell, the former acting CIA director. Welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So what did you make of how he behave in that press conference and particularly how he has been dissing the intelligence

community again.

MORELL: I actually wrote an op-ed over the weekend in which I laid out my concerns about his disparagement of the intelligence community,

particularly the CIA and what that could mean for the capabilities of the intelligence community long-term.

On Friday after he was briefed by Jim Clapper, James Comey and Jim Brennan, I thought he stepped back from that disparagement. He put out

some, some, some comments that he accepted the conclusions and that the men and women in the community were, were very important patriots.

Today, he's now stepped back over that precipice, right, and the pressure is back on the community again.

AMANPOUR: Let me put -- let me play what he said particularly he is furious about the intelligence, he says, involvement in this material that

they -- has been alleged compromises him.


TRUMP: I think it was disgraceful -- disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so

false and fake out. I think it's a disgrace and I say that and I say that, and that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.


[14:05:16] AMANPOUR: First of all, do you think it's the intelligence community that leaks itself. I mean, how did it get out and is he right

that it's a disgrace?

MORELL: Christiane, we're talking about two different documents.

AMANPOUR: All right.

MORELL: One document are a series of 18 memos written by former British intelligence officer who claims to have talked to a number of

Russian sources that lay out these pretty explosive allegations about the President-elect.

The other document is a two-page summary, synopsis of the 35 pages, at least that's what it sounds like. We haven't seen it. And that's what was

presented to the President and the President-elect.

He seems to be complaining about that synopsis, right? The intelligence community had nothing to do with the 35-pages.

AMANPOUR: So, everybody also wants to know given that the President- elect has denied this so categorically and Russia came out immediately as it has been doing recently deny, deny, deny. What bar exists for the

intelligence community to present something to not only the President-elect less than a week before he is inaugurated, but also to the sitting

president Barack Obama.

This stuff was presented by the heads of America's intelligence communities.

MORELL: So I was a bit surprised that our intelligence community would take a private document and summarize it for the President and

President-elect if they didn't know anything about the credibility of the information in it. That would be quite frankly unprecedented to take a

private document, right? You'd be doing that every day if that's the way you are operating.

If there was some reason why they thought some part of it or certain aspects of it were credible, that they had actually done some work, then it

might make sense to bring it to his attention and say you need to know this. We're working on this. We have some reason to believe that certain

aspects of this are credible. We just don't know which one it is right now.

AMANPOUR: So that could be absolutely true and explosive or it could be absolutely false and should never be put in the public domain.

MORELL: Or certain parts of it might be true and certain parts of it might be false.

AMANPOUR: What do you think given your vast experience? Is this going to stand up?

MORELL: So interestingly I, I -- last night read the entire 18 memos, the 35 pages and I felt myself transformed back into being intelligence

analyst at CIA.

And I felt like I was reading raw intelligence reports from sources. And what I -- what I was looking at were things that I knew, some small

bits of information that I knew were true, that Sergei Ivanov was the head of presidential administration in Moscow in the summer and he got fired. I

saw stuff that was absolutely not true. Small bits.

I saw a bunch of stuff that I had no idea. I saw stuff that was contradictory. This is what you see when you look at raw intelligence.

And very important to remember that sources, even the best CIA sources get things wrong all the time. They lie to enhance their, their credibility,

right, to try to get more money. So when you are looking at raw information, when you are looking at raw intelligence, it's very hard to

make anything of it until you start investigating, until you start putting pieces together and trying to corroborate.

So my bottom line, Christiane, after reading all of the 18 memos, all of the 35 pages was I can't tell what's true here and what's not. This

needs a lot more work. And I don't know to what extent the U.S. intelligence community and the FBI are working on that and how long they

have been working on it and what they might have found. That we don't know.

AMANPOUR: The FBI says that they are investigating this matter, at least some or all of it. That's what we know at the moment.

But what is the impact on the security of the United States going forward of a president, president-elect basically denigrating the

intelligence services and actually siding with the president of a hostile power.

MORELL: So there are some very significant implications that together undermine the capability of one of the most important institutions in our

country, the intelligence community.

And the first is the impact on the morale of those officers. It will undermine their morale. You know, they go through a lot, right? They take

polygraphs. They open up their life to background investigations. They open up their finances to investigations in order to work there. They work

long hours. They put their life at risk in order to do their job. They only put up with all of that because of the impact of their work.

[14:10:05] And when, when there is no impact of the work because the president is not listening, people are going to start asking how long do I

really want to work here and start polishing their resumes. That's already happening. So that's one --


AMANPOUR: People are already working?

MORELL: Yes, already polishing resumes, already thinking about leaving, right?

AMANPOUR: That's dramatic.

MORELL: So that's one impact, right? The other impact is when we recruit spies, when we asked somebody to spy for the United States, we tell

them that their information is going to make the world a better place and their information is going to make its way to the highest levels of the

U.S. government where it is going to impact policy. They put their life at risk, right? They do it for money and they do it for the reason I just

said, because they believe it's going to make their country better, U.S. policy better, right?

If they see that the president is not listening, if they see the president is disparaging, then the chances of them working for the United

States for a green to spy for the United States go way down?

AMANPOUR: And what about giving aid and comfort to an adversarial power?

MORELL: And I think the most important aspect of that is how the rest of the world views that and what that means for Russian influence in the

world. It gives him a boost.

AMANPOUR: The President Obama slap some sanctions and other punitive measures on Russia because of the hacking into the election. You know,

obviously, Russia hopes that with what they hope would be a friendly President Trump first and foremost said get the existing sanctions any

further ones removed. And, obviously, that's why a lot of folks is being on Rex Tillerson, because of his connections with Russia.

This is what he said on Capitol Hill today at his confirmation hearing about sanctions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think now is the right time to lift sanctions against Russia?

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: I think it's important that we keep the status quo until we are able to develop what our

approach is going to be.


AMANPOUR: So he is kind of giving comfort to those who believe the sanctions should remain at least for now.

Do you think the sanctions against this hacking have gone far enough and are deterrence?

MORELL: No. I think the policy objective involved in hitting back at Russia for what they did in the election has to be deterrence, right? And

I don't see anything in what President Obama did, that will actually deter Vladimir Putin from ever doing this again -- number one.

And we also have to remember, Christiane, that the rest of the world watching. So China is watching, North Korea is washing, Iran is watching

to see to what extent we're going to push back and fight back. And if we don't push hard enough, they will think about doing something like this.

So deterrence for Russia, deterrence for the rest of the world, what we haven't done, we haven't done enough, I think, to deter him.

There are members of Congress who feel the same way. There are members of Congress who think the sanctions need to be tougher. I agree

with them.

AMANPOUR: Mike Morell, thank you so much for your insight.

MORELL: Great to be with you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much.

And as we said, Trump's pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had his Senate hearing today. Remember, one of those on the shortlist for that

same job was General David Petraeus, and yesterday he gave Tillerson his vote of confidence.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: We'll have the best interest of the American people at heart. I'm

absolutely confident. And he is going to have a department that is full of very impressive professionals, diplomats that have long experience in this

arena, who have been studying this issue, living it in many cases.


AMANPOUR: And you can see the rest of my exclusive interview with General Petraeus on tomorrow's program.

When we come back, long-time Obama cabinet member Arne Duncan reflects on the achievements of the outgoing administration. That's next.


[14:15:30] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

We are at Washington today. Hope, diversity and bridging the social divide was some of the main themes of President Obama's farewell speech in

Chicago yesterday, but he also warned of existential threats to the country's democracy and he called Americans to action.

His former education secretary Arne Duncan was there for that final address. The longest serving education secretary in U.S. history and one

of the president's closest friends in the administration. He joins me now from Chicago.


AMANPOUR: Secretary Duncan, welcome to the program.

ARNE DUNCAN, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Good afternoon. Thanks so much for the opportunity.

AMANPOUR: You must be feeling, I don't know, a mixture of claps and a lot of sadness and some sense of achievement. Tell me what you think and

how you think President Obama knocked it out of the park yesterday.

DUNCAN: Well, it was just extraordinary to be there and as you said very emotional and lots of different emotions, and I'm not ashamed to admit

that I cried last night, but just so proud of what he has done. I'm so grateful for his service, feeling so lucky to be, you know, just a small

part of his team and also frankly worried about where we go as a country now so a huge range of emotions, but just such an extraordinary opportunity

to serve with him.

AMANPOUR: Let me play you a little bit of his speech in terms of where we go now. Obviously, a lot of people loved him and then a lot of

people even his own backers and voters felt some disappointment. They felt that they didn't get everything they had expected. Maybe that's politics.

But this is what he said last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, it's always been

contentious, sometimes it's been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been

defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.


AMANPOUR: I mean, it's a very, very pointed description, really, of the situation in America right now, the division, the partisanship and the

out and out fear and loathing in some quarters of the other, of people who are different.

How do you think in the next administration, this is going to go some way towards, I don't know, healing, bridging that big divide that's out


DUNCAN: I actually don't have any confidence in the new administration that it's interested in bridging that divide. So I'm not

sure if that's going to happen.

I think one the most important moments last night in the president's speech for me was when he talked about the most important role in our

democracy is that of citizen. And I think it's incumbent upon all of us to step up individually, in groups to bridge those divides ourselves. And I

think there's so much we can do to spend time not with those who agree with us on every issue but those who disagree and maybe vehemently disagree.

And so this is not one while I'm looking for leadership for the president- elect because right now I haven't seen any interest or any capacity to do that.

But I think all of us as citizens can step up, can spend time with those who again might be on different pages on various issues and work

together to create opportunity.

I think, again, what -- what binds us together is so much larger than any of those divisions. I think there is a massive opportunity in the mass

of this to come together, to create opportunity for young people, for families that are struggling and ultimately help to continue to strengthen

our nation.

AMANPOUR: Isn't that the very heart of the matter, this idea of opportunity and, and, and more equality and less inequality.

Obviously, the whole election turned on that. People who felt they were distinctly left out of the opportunity situation and also as we said

over and over again, people who are educated versus people who had less education.

As education secretary, I want you to respond to one of the main campaign calls, if you like, credentials that Donald Trump kept touting on

the trail.


TRUMP: We won the evangelicals, we won with young, we won with old, we won with highly-educated, we won with poorly-educated. I love the



[14:20:05] AMANPOUR: So, you know, I love the poorly-educated. OK, it's a nice line. He thinks those are his supporters, but it is a problem

and you've been trying to work at it and for generations how to get Americans much better educated or rather a larger pool of them.

DUNCAN: And so, again, it's very interesting as a nation. On one hand, people say we're deeply divided. There is some truth to that. But

just like you, I absolutely saw this selection, frankly, as a cry for help and we saw that both coming from the far left and from the far right. And

I think we are a nation divided in my mind less around race and class, but around educational opportunity.

And, today, if you are not well-educated, the world of opportunity is shrinking for you. Doors are closing. And so while we are extraordinarily

proud of thousands of additional children having access to early childhood education, while we are extraordinarily proud that we have high school

graduation rates as a nation to all-time highs, while we're extraordinarily proud to have the largest investment in higher education since the G.I.

bill, this is by no means mission accomplice moment.

And there's so much more work to be done. Whether it's in inner-city Chicago here in the south and west sides, whether it's in the Rust Belt,

whether it's in McDowell County, West Virginia that I did in one of my bus tours, we have a huge sense of urgency to give every child access to world-

class education so they can build a better life for themselves. And without that, we sort of put them on the margins of society. And so the

stakes are so high to continue to get better and get better faster.

AMANPOUR: Very briefly on Trump's nominee for education sec today, a billionaire. Somebody who believes in things other than the core public

school curriculum and whose confirmation hearings have been delayed. Do you think we can expect progress or not?

DUNCAN: Well, obviously, time will tell. But I just think there are a couple goals as a nation we should unite behind. We should want to leave

the world an access to high-quality early childhood education, graduation rates for high school are up to 84 percent historic highs. The goal should

be to get those to 90 percent as fast as we can and the goal should be to leave the world in college completion rates.

And there is nothing Democratic or Republican, or left or right, or conservative or liberal about those goals. If we can unite behind those

goals, I think we can move in a positive direction. If we continue to argue about small ball, we simply hurt children, we hurt families and

ultimately we hurt our nation.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you an atmospheric question about the president? You know, many thinks he is a very elegant man, who is much more into

compromise and sort of holding back, I don't know, I'm making it up. But you see him on the basketball court. What is he like as a competitor?

What about him as a competitor formed his, his, his presidency?

DUNCAN: Well, a couple things. I do always say that, you know, if I could watch somebody played basketball for 10 or 15 minutes, you can

understand their character. You can't hide who you are.

And just a couple quick things about him. First to your point, he is an extraordinary competitor and he plays the win. I think, you know, years

and years ago before the public knew him, we knew exactly how competitive he was. He hates to lose. And, again, he's a great guy, great smile,

nicest guy in the world, but he is not out there to lose. He's not out there just to get some exercise. He's out there to win. And we saw that


I think the biggest thing, Christiane, is that he lives his values. He has the courage of his convictions. And one of the big reasons I left

Chicago to go to DC with him is he said don't worry about the politics, do what's right for children. I'll handle politics. We have to give kids a

better chance in life.

And when I saw him talk to young men and women, talk about growing up, you know, with a dad basically absent from his family, dad spent a month

with him. When he was 10, disappear and never saw him again. First Lady Michelle Obama is from the south side here, a great family, but neither

parent went to college. These two -- this couple has just been extraordinary together and they're seeing young people everywhere we went.

They see themselves in them. They can identify the down welfare, that had hard times and they are who they are, the leaders of the free world

because they had a great education, great people helping them. And so, again, the example they have set has been so extraordinarily powerful to

witness on a Native American reservation and inner-city community or in rural communities.

AMANPOUR: All right, great reminders.

Arne Duncan, thank you so much.

And after a break, we imagine a world without President Obama, the speechmaker-in-chief one last time after this.


[14:26:44] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world saying goodbye to President Obama, a man who first storm the stage with the

audacity of his rhetoric back at the Democratic convention in 2004. He spoke his way into the world's hearts and into office here as America's

first black president during that unprecedented campaign of 2008. And now he bids farewell after eight years with one last soaring call to democracy,

civic duty, political compromise and human compassion.


OBAMA: My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won't stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen,

for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you are young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President --

the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change, but in


I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit

sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to

the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:

Yes We Can.

Yes We Did.

Yes We Can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.



AMANPOUR: And over and out. Thanks for watching and goodbye from Washington.