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Orlando Shooter's Wife Arrested; Trump Plans to Evict Press Corps from White House West Wing; CNN Stands Behind Jim Acosta; Michelle Obama Known for Fashion Choices. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 16, 2017 - 14:30   ET



[14:33:09] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The widow the Orlando nightclub shooter has been arrested in San Francisco today. Federal authorities charged Noor Salman with aiding and abetting her husband in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. He was ultimately killed last June by a SWAT team after he pulled out his gun and just started shooting in this popular guy nightclub killing 49 people. Remember, he had sworn his allegiance, in part, to ISIS.

CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is following this one for us -- Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we are learning Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, was arrested this morning in san Francisco on federal charges of aiding and abetting his husband's attempted material support the ISIS and obstruction of justice. Authorities we spoke with say she acted of her own free will and actively did something to obstruct the investigation. Her attorney claims she was coerced through her husband's abusive behavior. Another source says she was complicit and knew her must was going to do something bad.

We previously reported she went with him to scout potential target and went with him to buy guns as well. Though it was unclear how much she knew about her husband's intentions. In fact, she claimed to investigators she didn't know about her husband's specific plans. Investigators also learned that Mateen went on a spending spree and bought his wife a very expensive piece of jewelry before the shooting.

The news of her arrest was first reported by "The New York Times." We do expect her initial court appearance to be in California tomorrow. We have reached out to her attorneys and have not received a response back -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: All right, Pam, thank you so much.

Coming up next here, will the White House press corps be forced out of the White House? Can they do that? Why would they do that? We'll talk to a former White House correspondent and our senior media correspondent for the scoop there.

[14:35:06] Also ahead, Michelle Obama's message on what she wore while in the White House. How her fashion choices marked a new approach to dress and powerful messages.


[13:39:41] BALDWIN: After CNN unearthed multiple instances of plagiarism from conservative author and TV personality, Monica Crowley, Crowley, says she will no longer be taking a senior communications role in Donald Trump's incoming administration. Crowley was appointed to become the senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council. Just within the last couple of weeks, CNN uncovered Crowley plagiarized in her book columns in "The New York Times" and her PhD dissertation for Columbia University.

In a statement to "The Washington Times," Crowley said, quote, "After much reflexive decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunity and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration. I greatly appreciate being asked to be part of President-elect Trump's team and I will continue to enthusiastically support him and his agenda for American renewal."

While the Trump transition team hasn't responded to comment from CNN at the time of the reporting they stood by Crowley, wrongly claiming that Kosinski's reporting is a politically motivate attack. More on that in a second.

Also this. This new report is now raising the possibility that the Trump administration could evict the press corps from the White House. Sources tell "Esquire" that media could be moved from the press room to the executive building next door, a departure of how journalists for decades have been covering the president of the United States. The incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, downplayed the move to CNN, saying the goal would be to keep media work space in the White House and that, quote, "While no decisions have been made, there is enormous interest in covering Donald Trump and his agenda to improve the lives of every American."

Let's talk this over with Kelly Wallace, CNN editor-at-large and formerly longtime member of the White House press corps; and Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and the host of "Reliable Source."

This is going to be a great conversation.

Brian, let me begin with you.

I read the "Esquire" piece over the weekend. When you read quotes from unnamed senior officials calling the press the opposition party and get them out of the building, what?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, REALIABLE SOURCES: It's helpful insight into at least some of what Trumps aides are thinking. This Esquire story seemed to be an art of the deal move. You put a proposal on the deal that's pretty extreme and maybe have a compromise afterwards. By Sunday evening, the head of the White House Correspondent's Association, Jeff Mason and Sean Spicer had a long two-hour meeting. BALDWIN: Had a long meeting.

STELTER: They talked through this. They didn't reach a total understanding but they did hear each other out.

According the Spicer, no decisions have been made. But there are a lot of possibilities. One option is to move the daily briefings to a different building, next to the White House, where there is more room for more journalists.

BALDWIN: This is serious. But on a lighter note, let's play a clip.




LOWE: You got my note?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: About moving the press room to the EEOB? I did.

LOWE: And?

UNIDENTIFIEDE ACTRESS: Don't let anyone ever know that you wrote it and don't ever mention it again under any circumstances.

LOWE: Moving the press room?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: See what you did? You mentioned it.



LOWE: No, I didn't.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You were about to.

LOWE: Just the EEOB, just across the street.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: We're not getting a swimming pool, Sam.

LOWE: No, we're not getting a swimming pool but we can get much- needed office space. And we can put a little physical distance between the press and the president. And we can put them just across the street in a state-of-the-art facility.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: By state-of-the-art, you mean?

LOWE: A room with electricity.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: The press doesn't want physical distance from the president. And the American people would prefer the president didn't have physical distance from the press. LOWE: C.J.?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: We can't exile the press.


BALDWIN: That was totally like in the '90s. We're now in 2017.


BALDWIN: You sat in that room for years and years covering Clinton and then W. Can you imagine not sitting in there?

WALLACE: No. I'm wondering maybe the Trump team has been watching too much "West Wing" on Netflix. No. I think I know the American people hate when the press whines, right.


WALLACE: But what this is, is access is important. You can go into the press room., talk to the press secretary, talk to the deputy press secretary.


BALDWIN: Right behind that wall.

WALLACE: Right there behind the wall. They are not returning your calls, you go in, you sense a mood, talk about access, you sense who is coming out of the West Wing.

There's two things. It's one thing to move the briefings to a larger space to accommodate more reporters.

BALDWIN: What if that's what it is?

WALLACE: That is potentially OK. But if you are talking about removing office space, no longer having working press on -- in the West Wing, that is a completely different story.


STELTER: Spicer says he is not doing it.

WALLACE: I know.

STELTER: The concern is that a year or two or three from now this is a slippery slope. And no one wants to give any ground because of the potential of a further erosion in the future.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you, as we are following up on that news conference, and he was parodied over the weekend on "Saturday Night Live," is Jim Acosta who got shut down wrongfully so. And if I were the press, I would have waited and let him get his question answered. CNN has responded. STELTER: Yes. Jim Acosta doesn't like to be the story, but over the weekend, Sean Spicer continued to call for an apology from Jim Acosta for his attempt to get a question to Donald Trump. Here's a CNN statement that came out defending Acosta, definitely not apologizing. CNN said, "As we've learned many times, just because Sean Spicer said something, doesn't make it true. Jim Acosta has experience in covering both the White House and the president-elect." And the at the same time went on to say, "being persistent and asking tough questions is his job and he has our full support."

But it's nothing worthy that we are seeing CNN stand up, stand behind Acosta saying this is exactly what we want him doing at press conferences, demanding answers from the president-elect.

[14:45:29] WALLACE: It's something we've talked about, we talked a little behind the scenes. It's hard. The press is, in some cases, probably going to have to work together in ways we may not have worked together before in the White House. If someone is asking a tough question of the president or someone else is the press going to wait to try and get that question answered or is someone else going to then take that question and say, excuse me, Mr. President, I would like to ask you that question that didn't get answered. There may need to be, not collusion --


WALLACE: -- but more team work as opposed to moving on and going to the next issue.

BALDWIN: I was leaving lunch yesterday. A woman grabbed me, Ms. Baldwin, your job is more important than it ever has. She said, do not let them bully you. You need to keep asking the tough questions and stay on it. That's all of us. Whoever is in that office, that's all of us.

STELTER: Trump voters want that also. Trump voters want him held accountable to his promises, not just those who didn't vote for him.

WALLACE: What's important to say is each administration has new rules regarding the press. Bill Clinton had all the time in the world to take questions.

BALDWIN: But it was different.

WALLACE: It was different when the Bush team came into power.


BALDWIN: You have to respect that.

WALLACE: You do have to respect that. But we would shout questions at then President Bush and the Bush team didn't like that felt it was disrespectful felt you should be called on to ask a question. There are differences that the --

(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Growing pains.

WALLACE: Yes, growing pains, but I still think you have got to keep asking and asking hard.


All right, we have got to go.

Thank you very much appreciate it.

STELTER: Thanks.

WALLACE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, Martin Luther King III paying President- elect Trump a visit at Trump Tower this afternoon. What Dr. King's son said about Donald Trump's tweets slamming Congressman John Lewis, ahead.


[14:51:15] BALDWIN: First Lady Michelle Obama, known as the closer during both her husband's presidential campaigns, and even this most recent one, has become one of the most influential women in person history. Aside from her two Ivy League degrees, her myriad accolades and her ability to really rally voters, she is also known for her fashion choices.

Watch what happened when she appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. This was back in 2008.


JAY LENO, FORMER HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW: I want to ask you about your wardrobe. I'm guessing about 60 grand.



LENO: $60,000 to $70,000 for that outfit?

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Actually, this is a J. Crew ensemble.


LENO: Really? Wow.


BALDWIN: "The New York Times" says that was the moment an eight-year obsession with Mrs. Obama's fashion influence and White House power was recognized. This op-ed entitled "What Mrs. Obama Wore and Why It Mattered, reads, in part, quote, "When Mrs. Obama understood the response to her outfit it set in motion a strategic rethink about the use of clothes that not only helped define her tenure as first lady but also started a conversation that went beyond a label or what she wore. And that is now only reaching its end." It goes on, "Clothing played a role unlike any it ever played before in a presidential administration."

The writer behind those words, Vanessa Friedman. She is a fashion director and chief fashion critic for "The New York Times."

Nice to have you on and thank you for swinging by.

We should point out that when Jay Leno was asking her $60,000, that's the time when Sarah Palin was spending mega bank on her clothes. What was the message in wearing J. Crew and labels like that, what was the message she sent?

VANESSA FRIEDMAN, FASHION DIRECTOR & CHIEF FASHION CRITIC, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The message, which is that the Republican Party had given Mrs. Palin $150,000 clothing credit. And the outfit that the president of the president was wearing was $400 while she was on TV was so extreme and it suddenly made Michelle Obama look like a woman you could relate to, someone who understood what most women had to deal with when getting dressed in the morning. Someone who had attitude and intelligence and a reality check.

BALDWIN: So much more than stripes or polka dots it's what she's saying about what she's choosing to put on her body. The diversity of Michelle Obama's dress as you pointed out. She wore a number of designers over the past eight years. You say none of that was by accident?

FRIEDMAN: I think she wore approximately 90 percent from around the New York park week schedule. Plus, a whole host of accessible designers from H&M and Ann Taylor, plus a host of European designers. There is just no way anybody can wear that many different brands without actually thinking about it and planning it. I think what we saw after the Jay Leno J. Crew moment was her understanding that everyone was going to be obsessed with what she was wearing, people were going to ask her about it. If you are dealing with that reality, you might as well make it work for you.

BALDWIN: Then looking ahead, as we will be in Washington and watching Mr. Trump put his hand on the bill on Friday, and I'm thinking whether it's Melania Trump or Ivanka will be more accessible over the next four years. Based on what she wears at home now, what sort of message should she send with her clothes, what sort of clothes should she be wearing?

FRIEDMAN: I think there is no question we will see a change in strategy. I think the question is will there be a strategy? That's not clear because Melania hasn't been present on the campaign trail, since the election it's going to be hard to think how she is going to think about her role, what agenda if any she is going to want.

BALDWIN: But what about Ivanka? FRIEDMAN: Ivanka is another question. Ivanka, she is smart, knows

fashion. She knows designers, has her own brand. But how she is going to try to use clothes remains to be seen.

[14:55:22] BALDWIN: Vanessa, thank you very much --

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: -- with "The New York Times."

Coming up next, Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King III paying President-elect Trump a visit in Trump Tower, talking to media in the lobby. What he said about Mr. Trump's tweets, in particular, when he was asked about Mr. Tweet slamming Congressman John Lewis, civil rights icon. We'll have that coming up.


[14:59:58] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

This is the start of the most important week of Donald Trump's life, staring in a bit of a cloud of controversy. The president-elect now in a standoff with the head of the CIA, the leader of one of America's most critical allies, NATO --