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Donald Trump Become America's 45th President; Defense And Homeland Security Nominees Will Get Vote Today; Crowds Arriving For Historic Inauguration; Trump TO Meet With President Obama At White House; Democrats Vow Threaten To Stall Trump Cabinet Nominees. Aired: 6:30-7a ET
Aired January 20, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: The one good news is it's a lot warmer. For all the difficulty it's easier to take it when you're not freezing.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. How are you feeling today?
ISSA: I'm feeling very good. I probably have one concern which is that the vast majority of the cabinet has not been confirmed. And that's very, very, very concerning. And it's something that --
CAMEROTA: And why is that? Why haven't they -- why was this process more stalled or delayed?
ISSA: Well, that's a good one. Because one side would say that it was -- there wasn't enough information soon enough, although, that doesn't account for members of Congress who have been filing their -- these kinds of things all the time. But clearly there has been, sort of, where we're going to make sure it's absolutely right because we can't stop it. And, you know, I'm disappointed in Senator Schumer for not making an effort to try to, at least, get, sort of, the Gang of Six or Eight through as it was done, obviously, during President Obama's Inauguration.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, so, let's -- you have that comparative balance. And that's -- let's take a beat on this and then we'll get into the other feelings of the day. President Obama got a group through. But if they vote today, if they vote tomorrow, they get something done by Monday. They're not really off in terms of that stall. And you do have a different dynamic this time. You have some ethical considerations and you have a different complexion of who's been put up for Cabinet positions than last time. You have a lot more controversy this time and even members of your own party. Have suggested there's some real ethics questions here and those take time.
ISSA: Well, certainly ethics questions are always called by one side more than the other. But there are some concerns and that explains some of the individuals. You know some of them, like, Congressman Price. There's no question that his trades were legal. They -- you can -- you can have a discussion about it. The fact is he did nothing wrong. And he's --
CUOMO: Illegal and wrong are very different. ISSA: No. No. No. Really it isn't the --
CUOMO: One is about ethics and one is about legal responsibility.
ISSA: No. The House Rules and the rules for a member of the Cabinet can be different. But he complied with all the House Rules, and that's just an example. Now, it doesn't happen to be the critical one. The critical ones, of course, is the National Security. And I think to that extent, assuming --
CUOMO: Well, Schumer said, " Mattis, Kelly they want to get votes on those two and get them on to Pompeo."
ISSA: Well, Pompeo is also equally important and he's getting through by the skin of his teeth. And there were no questions on him. But that's -- where I am concern is, we certainly needs political line up succession and, you know, candidly, you know, because if the president and the vice president for some reason, for the first time in history, something happens. We start looking at those issues. Having said that we got enough and we'll be able to -- with rest of governor for the next couple of weeks. This is 50 percent a normal Cabinet. And this is 50 percent, I would say very, very interesting picks including billionaires which you don't normally see willing to give up their private lives, almost never. As a matter of fact, I can't name one. This is really, sort of, the first time multiple extremely rich people willing to get --
CUOMO: Helicopter overhead, by the way just so people understand. You're going to hear some unusual sounds today when you're watching television. It's because it's a very intense secure environment and that should always come first.
CAMEROTA: And let's talk about this day, I mean, already as Chris and I we're trying to get here to you this morning. Hundreds and hundreds of people, American, already waiting in line at these gates because they wanted to be a part of it. What does it's saying to you?
ISSA: Well, the ones that are here want to be more than a part of it. They want to get the best seat, the best section or the best standing. But people are here, before 6:00 in the morning lining up they got -- they've got tickets and they want to be queued at the very front. Because there's a lot of excitement. Now, this is my fifth inaugural and I will say that this is very much like President Obama's first one. Those who wanted to be here badly are here. They're excited. I've seen Trump hats and Trump pins that I know don't exist anywhere except wherever they have been made. A lot of excited people. This is also going to have protest. We have no doubt about it and that's part of America.
CUOMO: What do you do to deal with this? There's a duality going on. OK. We're dealing within the media. You're dealing within the political side. And that is -- you have the respect of the process. This is a fundamental tradition or transfer of power that is peaceful and done efficiently. And then you have feelings about the legitimacy of the election, feelings about the animosity about the outcome of the election. And those two are getting confused in the minds of many. Do you distinguish the two and how so?
ISSA: I do. Because the Joe Biden of the world who -- he's no more happy about this than anybody else in the Democratic party. But Joe when he said it at the -- in the House at the final vote where the -- the Electoral College, you know, said it's over. And I think as an adult in the room, he reflects something where you can be quietly unhappy but it's now time to celebrate the peaceful transfer of power. I think that's the adult part of it. I'm disappointed in number of people who are vocalizing things that I think go beyond what is fair to do, and it destroys some of the confidence we all have in the process.
CAMEROTA: I was struck yesterday watching the concert at the Lincoln Memorial. I mean, the majesty, the fireworks, the majestic moment there, looking up at Lincoln. I mean, you know, it's hard not to go patriotic when all, you know, here in Washington D.C. and watching the peaceful transfer of power. What do you think today is going to be like?
ISSA: Well, it's going to be whatever Donald Trump makes it. And I think that's the important point. We all have to see, does he set a tone that says, "Look, I'm not a conventional Republican. I'm certainly a former Democrat. Am I going to make the speech that talks about bringing America together?" There's no American that disputes that we can do better. There's no American that fails to want America to do better. And that was through President Obama. So, can he make that, you know, formative speech of -- I don't have an opinion. I look forward to listening to it because that's what I want.
CUOMO: What is your suggestion to the president, the incoming president? For whether or not to stay with what (Inaudible) which is an openly and unqualified aggressive disposition towards any decent or do you think it is time to let the office -- the office of being president overwhelmed some of his own natural inclinations and create a different sense of decorum with how he deals with decent.
ISSA: Well, Chris, that -- that's a great question. It doesn't matter what I want. This is a man who's going to talk in a 140 characters to people. The same as you and I might do back there in the make-up room. That's not going to change. Do I want him to give up what he's been doing since he wrote The Art of the Deal? The he never, never, never said -- let something lie. Yes, I would like once in a while for him to let others respond on his behalf. But I think when it's really important to America, he's going to respond directly. And I think that's just going to be the way it is. One of the challenges is he is communicating with American people in a 140 characters. We have to figure out how to legislate with that same clarity. I always look at vice president and the secretary of state in Davos, Switzerland at The World Economic Forum and they had two questions for me. Why did Donald Trump say it was obsolete? And how do we get to where NATO pays their fair share?
CAMEROTA: How did you answer those? ISSA: Well, I said, obsolete is what you do in a 140 characters.
Still relevant but needing an overhaul to deal with ISIS and the other global threats, and the resurgence of Russia. It just takes more characters. Does Donald Trump mean obsolete means thrown away? Or does he mean obsolete means it's time to overhaul NATO to make it relevant? I take the latter. I think Donald Trump believes the latter. And I believe between NATO that now willing to pay more into their own defense and have a discussion about what NATO's role should be in Ukraine, but also in North Africa.
CUOMO: The most powerful voice in the world needs to be as little a function of guess work as possible. Congressman Issa, always good to have you on the show. You're always welcome --
ISSA: Just remember walk him softly and carry a big stick. It takes the last guy to came into town like this.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, Congressman.
ISSA: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thank you so much.
ISSA: Thank you.
CUOMO: You know, inaugurations are a consecration in a way that has a big religious (inaudible) on it -- that word, and it is sacred to us in our democracy. It would be interesting to see what the weight of the office when he actually holds it. What that will do to Donald Trump? There's no question that there are a lot of people who are anxious to see it. Nobody knows that better than Alisyn and I do. They're already lining up. We have CNN's Brian Todd live outside the National Mall near the parade route. We'll be joining you there later today when it gets going. How is it right now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chis and Alisyn, I don't need to tell you what your experience this morning. People are having a little bit of trouble getting in here. This checkpoint hasn't opened yet. It was supposed to open a little more than a half hour ago. But people are patiently waiting here. The weather isn't too bad and there's just a lot of energy and enthusiasm. This is really what we love about covering an event like this. People coming in on the street. We saw it at the rallies. We saw it in the Primaries. And it's Trump leading here today. This is historic and a lot of people are excited to be here. Here's a family that came all the way from Charlotte, North Carolina. Check out this cutie. This is Reagan Brock. He's three-years-old. What's your name, buddy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cory.
TODD: Cory. He's eight. What's your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard.
TODD: Richard. He's 14.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TODD: And Spencer. This is all the same with hundred family. Spencer, this is your first inauguration. Everybody's first inauguration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is.
TODD: What drew you here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have really been excited for the Republican Party and changes in America to happen for all classes. And we've been following the campaign trail and we're just -- wanted also to be a part of history.
TODD: Yes. I was just going to ask you about that. How excited are you? You got your whole family here. Your kids are -- you really want to take in the spectacle of the inauguration? What do you want to see? What you've been looking forward too?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just looking forward to being part of history and having them experienced it with us. I know she's only three but -- and I debated if she should come or not. And I thought, "Why am I even debating this?" Of course, she should be here to experience something so amazing and --
TODD: Good luck. She gets my vote for the cutest inaugural attendee. Look at her. She's darling. Anyway, guys, look at the crowd here. I'd estimate about 300 people. They've been here since -- some of them since Three o'clock in the morning. Very enthusiastic to be here as are we and I'll throw it back to you, Chris and Alisyn.
CUOMO: Brian Todd, once again a witness to history. You got a great seat there and, again, we'll be joining you on that parade route later on.
CAMEROTA: I wish we had big onesies like that (inaudible) that we could have worn that too.
CUOMO: Matching hats.
CUOMO: That would be nice. Those were American hats as opposed to Americans.
CUOMO: All right. So Donald John Trump is going to be sworn in as the 45th president. Mike Pence will be the 48th Vice President. Those numbers are accurate. You can Google it and find out why there's a discrepancy. So what can we expect from his first few days in office? There are answers and our panels are going to weigh in.
CAMEROTA: But first here's a look back at former President George H.W. Bush's Inaugural Speech. GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do not
fear what is ahead for our problems are large but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great but our will is greater.
CUOMO: Only hours away, President elect Donald John Trump will meet with President Obama at the White House before the inauguration. The two men are going to ride together from the White House to the U.S. Capitol. It wasn't always that way but it is that way today. They're going to discuss in this historic moment, who knows. Let's discuss with Senior Political Adviser to President Obama, Dan Pfeiffer. This is an interesting day. You saw it on the other side.
DAN PFEIFFER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
CUOMO: You knew what it was like to come in and those expectations. So give us a sense of where the Trump people are when they come to this meeting. Because you know that side.
CUOMO: And then we'll talk about how you feel President Obama will leave this day.
PFEIFFER: I think people don't fully understand what it's like when we have a transition of power for the White House staff. They will see their president -- their boss give a speech, accept the -- accept the Oath of Office. Get it in a -- go hop on a bus, go to the White House and they will walk in. It would be empty. They'll be logged -- first log with their password by the computer and they'll be in-charge of the worlds. And it is a -- like, you know that and they tell you that in the briefing but until you get there and realized that if something happens anywhere in the world; a natural disaster, international incident and economic problem. That's on you.
CUOMO: What was the first thing you did when you sat down there?
PFEIFFER: Try to log in to my computer.
PFEIFFER: Barely. Yes.
CAMEROTA: I mean, that is staggering. I mean, phrasing it that way and helping everybody understand the weight of the world literally. That is staggering. What happens this morning when the new president comes to the White House and the old president welcomes him and the first ladies. What is that exchange? What did they talk about?
PFEIFFER: I think it, you know, that White House will be basically empty. Almost all of the staff other than a tiny skeleton -- they had their last day yesterday. So, it would be -- it's mostly a social calling. And it's a moment that, sort of, soaking the history. That would be the last time that, you know, the Obama's walked out of that building, you know, as president and first lady. I think the president will -- I'm guessing here, but he will do what he (inaudible) continue to take the responsibility of the smooth transition of power very seriously. If Mr. Trump wants any advice, I think president would offer that. But, you know,to give -- they give him the support that George H. W. Bush gave President Obama when he came in.
CUOMO: And where do you think the outgoing president's head is?It seems to be a little bit of feel of isolation. You know, he comes out. There's a conciliatory. We're doing everything we can and then he writes a letter. That seems to have more of an admonition in it. He seems to have feelings about what he doesn't want to see happen as much as what he does want to see happen. What can you say?
PFEIFFER: I had the -- I had the opportunity to talk to the president about this on Thursday. A chance to go to the White House for our last day. See lots of former colleagues. And it - I mean, he -- and he was very -- what he's saying privately is what he said publicly in his speech in Chicago last week. Is he has very real concerns about surge in real threats to our democracy. Donald Trump is -- this is a symptom of those threats necessarily . Not the exact threat, not the threat in and out of itself. But having said that, it's very important for the president that the White Housework and the government work. And in order to do that he has to get all the support he can to help them succeed.
Because we are -- there's going to be partisan battles on immigration,Affordable Care Act. But when a disaster happens, when something happens to the world. You need that building to work and for -- and government can't work if the White House doesn't work. So he has instructed -- he's taken that role with President-elect Trump. He has instructed his staff, take that role with their staff. To try to do what they can to give them the best start they can.
CAMEROTA: I don't know, Dan. It's hard to know,I think, where President Obama's head is. Because he privately says things to you and he seems to be issuing an admonition. But then publicly, he also says it's going to be OK to America. He had said many times, "Everybody is going to be OK. It's going to be OK." And it's hard to know if he's just saying that. If he feels that. He also said they had very constructive conversation. It would be great to know what those are.
PFEIFFER: Well, you know, obviously I'm not going to talk about the conversation with the president and President-elect Trump as he's not talked about those publicly. I think those conversation had been more productive and constructive that you would guess given the history of this -- when the two men given the -- say the nature of the election. Look we-- you want America to succeed. You want to give -- you want President-elect Trump to have the opportunities to lead the country in a way that allows everything to work for the American people. We'll have ideological battles but George W. Bush and his team went out of their way in -- to do a transition in the most professional and classy way possible. And President Obama believes he owes that to President Trump.
CUOMO: So on that note and with the nod towards history. What do you make of what's going on with the confirmation process right now?The Republicans will say, "We gave you guys -- we gave the Obama people, seven, eight of their main ones within a day or two of him taking office. You're tryingto delay ours. It's not fair."
PFEIFFER: Well, we had our paperwork in order, right? That probably the -- Trump had determine even the most (inaudible) source to say has been bumpy and best. And the ethics paper works -- Mitch McConnell laid down a set of very specific things, he wanted before our nominees be confirmed. We adhered to that. The Trump team has not done that. They're behind in that way and it's even more important in the sense that they have very -- that he's appointed people who have been very successful in business. They have a large number of potential conflicts of interest and that paperwork has not been done.
CUOMO: So you think it's pro forma not political?
PFEIFFER: I think -- look there's always politics in this town.
PFEIFFER: But there's a real substantive reasons for why this is proceeding at the pace that it has that are different from 2009.
CUOMO: Dan Pfeiffer, a little bittersweet for you today.
PFEIFFER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
CUOMO: Thank you for the insight. Appreciate it.
CAMEROTA: Thank you so much.
PFEIFFER: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: So when Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office. He will do so without most of his Cabinet in place. The Senate is expected to vote today on the confirmation of Mr. Trump'sDefense and Homeland Security Secretary. Let's discuss this and more. The Senior Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner and host of the podcast Examining Politics, David Drucker and CNN Political Analyst and Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast, Jackie Kucinich. Great to see both of you.
DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: So, he won't have much of his Cabinet in place. Does that a calls for concern?
DRUCKER: I don't think so. Look, I think one of the things that works in his favor is the Democrats cannot filibuster his nominees. All right. They don't have the votes. They don't have 60 votes.
CUOMO: Remind people why.
DRUCKER: Well, because a couple of years ago, 2014, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, decided that they were tired of what they deemed as unfair Republican obstruction. And so they used what we called in town, The Nuclear Option. They broke the rules of the senate. Meaning they used fewer votes to change the rules than what the rules said. Now these are the rules of the Senate not the Constitution. So they were perfectly capable of doing so. And they changed the rules so that it only takes 51 votes to confirm an executive branch nominee except for the Supreme Court.
CUOMO: Supreme Court.
CAMEROTA: Thinking the tables would never turn back.
DRUCKER: They were very short sided. Right, Jackie? You remember those --
CUOMO: That's what McConnell said.
DRUCKER: How angry -- by the way, Republicans were not thinking to themselves,"No big deal. We'll get our revenge in a couple of years." They were very angry about it and for the institutionalists on both sides of the alley were very concerned.
CUOMO: ButMcConnell did give them a,"You will rue the day."
DRUCKER: And they are ruing the day because had they not done that.
CUOMO: Rue. Rue. Rue.
DRUCKER: All of these nominees that they think are so damaging to the future of the country that they have policy and ethical issues with. They could have had -- they would have the votes to blockthem, hold them up, force concessions from the administration and the Republicans they can't do a thing which is why most of them will sail through even though some of them do have a couple of issues.
JACKIE KUCINICH, POLITICAL ANALYST: So sail is a little bit -- is a little bit optimistic. They are -- Democrats are going to try to delay this. That's the only thing they can do. They can make it harder. They can make it bumpier. So, particularly for someone like a Rex Tillerson, for example. He has some other arsenals even with Republicans. But there's -- but there's a -- and you saw this actually with Congressman Pompeo, the nominee to be the CIA head. He was supposed to be one of the -- like Kelly and like Mattis. But Senator has a problem with him. So now they're kicking him to next week. So, again, it's prolonging it and making it a little bit more difficult. But doing it right, I mean, at the end of the day.
CUOMO: Does today help -- I mean, you know, we had a little bit of a bumpy start this morning. But even still there is a an excitement to this day. You know, inauguration comes from the word that means to consecrate. There is a sacredness to this. Forget about, you know, any kind of religious philosophy. This is religion in this country. It's us coming together under a common law. How big is this day?
CAMEROTA: (inaudible). CUOMO: And could it change a little bit the dynamic once it becomes real entity. DonaldTrump is the President of the United States.
DRUCKER: Well, look, I think it is a very important day and it's a very really wonderful day. In terms of how our democracy works. And in how we celebrate it. And I think people will see President Obama just behind us with President Trump as he is inaugurated and to see the families together and to see the two leaders together, I think, helps diffuse a lot of tensions. However,as we saw eight years ago. It's back to business rather immediately. There are some unresolved issues both emotional and substantive from the campaign that are not going to go away. One area where Trump becoming the actual president today could make a difference is with his National Security Team. You want a president that be able to keep the country safe. Have his National Security Team in place and that could move quicker.
CAMEROTA: God, thank you. We will rely on you all day long. Thank you very much. The stage is set on those steps of the Capitol where Mr. Donald Trump will make history today. The crowd are starting to build on the National Mall. We're live with all of the pageantry of the Inauguration next.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It may rain, it may not rain. It doesn't matter. This is a celebration of victory.
CAMEROTA: We are just hours away from history.
TRUMP: You remember, we cannot get to 270. They were right we got to 306.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're ready to go at 12:01.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump is going to hit the ground running.
TRUMP: We are going to make America greater than ever before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today a new era begins.
TRUMP: This journey began 18 months ago. You had much more to do with it than i did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is New Day and what a day it is. It is Friday January 20 at 5 o'clock -- here in Washington? No, it's not.
CUOMO: No, it's 7:00.
CAMEROTA: It's already 7 o'clock in Washington.
CUOMO: It was 5:00 when we were supposed to be on and we were in security checkpoint for an hour and a half.
CAMEROTA: It's inauguration day.