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Women Marches Worldwide Send Message to Trump; President Trump's First Full Day Overshadowed by Protests; Trump Visits CIA after Sharpe Dispute with Intel Chiefs; Anti-Trump Rally Blocks K Street Near White House; Sean Spicer's 1st Press Conference on Inaugural Crowd Size. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 21, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:19] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Marching for Women. Huge crowds turnout for 600 marches across the country, women and men taking part, sending a message to President Trump the day after his inauguration. Will he respond?
Overflow crowds, hundreds of thousands of people fill the streets, shutting down portions of major American cities. The turnout in many cases much bigger than expected. The scenes repeated in cities. In fact around the world.
"I'm so behind you." President Trump visits CIA Headquarters after weeks of disparaging the U.S. Intelligence Community. At one point accusing it of leaking information about him. And in a rambling speech, he bashes and blames the news media. What impact will his words have?
And making changes, the Trump administration hits the ground running. Issuing new orders and taking actions on multiple fronts. The Justice Department is now seeking a delay in a controversial case, does it signal a policy change on voting rights?
We want to welcome viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news, huge demonstrations here in Washington. And in cities across the country and around the world. All sending a message to the new president of the United States. The so-called women's march is drawing massive crowds. Protesting President Trump's agenda and paralyzing the heart of the nation's capital. The scene in Washington is being repeated in America's largest cities from New York to Chicago, to Los Angeles. And in cities around the world with hundreds of thousands of people voicing opposition to the new administration.
And just a little while ago, the President was over at CIA Headquarters, on a peace mission. After repeatedly questioning and denigrating the intelligence community in the weeks before assuming power, he told agency workers today that he loves and respects them. And in an unusual speech in front of the memorial honoring fallen CIA employees, the President bashed the news media accusing it of manufacturing a feud between him and the agency and of lying about the crowd size at his inauguration.
We're covering all the breaking news this hour with our correspondents. They are in key locations, our expert analysts are also standing by.
CNN national correspondent Kyung Lah begins our breaking news coverage. Kyung, you're here in Washington. At the main march. Update our viewers on how it's unfolded.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it is still going on. People are still packing the streets here in D.C. If you take a look over this way, you can still see that the pink hats are streaming all the way up some of these streets. Even though the police are still trying to clear them. Throughout the day the crowds have been simply massive. And they have had one message for the new president -- we will not be ignored.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the President is not America. We are America.
LAH (voice-over): A battle cry from a sea of pink on President Donald Trump's first full day as president.
(on camera): Why did you want to come here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I needed to come here on the turf of Donald Trump to let him know, I am not going to stand for it. I'm going to make a difference myself.
LAH (voice-over): In the nation's capital, people from coast to coast descended, hundreds of thousands of marchers filling almost every inch of the path on their way to the White House's backyard.
Similar scenes playing out across the country. St. Louis, the marchers filled the streets towards the gateway arch.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Hello women of Massachusetts.
LAH: In Boston, New York, Chicago, and around the world -- and more than 600 marches, according to organizers, the crowds were exponentially larger than expected.
WARREN: We come here to stand shoulder to shoulder. To make clear we are here, we will not be silent. We will not play dead. We will fight for what we believe in.
LAH: Some of the protesters came driven by fear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid of anybody who lacks the empathy to see their neighbor who is different than them and not treat them as equally American, as anybody else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to say to Trump that we are not afraid of him, that we are together.
LAH (on camera): Is today's march about Donald Trump? What is it about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today's march is about creating a brighter future. Despite who's in office.
[17:05:08] LAH (voice-over): A sentiment shared by celebrities, headlining the events.
AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: If we commit to what aligns us, if we stand together, steadfast and determined, then we stand a chance at saving the soul of our country.
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty. I am nasty. Like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.
LAH: But some celebrity attendees did make it political.
MADONNA, SINGER AND ACTIVIST: Good did not win this election. But good will win in the end.
LAH: Marchers pledging to remain united as a loud opposition voice for the next four years.
LAH: So what happens now? Is there a clear path forward for those next four years? Well, a lot of these women say there is indeed, that they can become more engaged at the grassroots level, Wolf. But a lot of them say that they're simply going to take this energy and try to put it forth on their issues -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Kyung, thank you. Kyung Lah reporting. Let's go near the spot now at the U.S. capital, where the march began.
Our national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is on the scene for us. Suzanne, update our viewers.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, as you can see, it's pretty much shutting down despite the fact that there's tens of thousands of people staggering number of people who are still in the city along Constitution Avenue heading to the Ellipse. But I have to tell you, at one point, Wolf, the numbers were so big here, it was quite frightening, quite scary, about 30 minutes or so, just getting from our live truck to this location here, you could not move. It was just jam-packed, and it really felt like it was on the brink, that threshold if you will of possibly of crowds just, you know, trampling each other essentially.
They told people stay in place, and that's what we did for a while. And it kind of disseminated. And eventually people moved on. But there was a lot of passion, a lot of emotion and people give all kinds of reasons for why they're here. I had a chance to talk to a lot of the organizers. And some of the speakers backstage earlier this morning. Reverend Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore, you saw Ashley Judd, as well as Gloria Steinem. And there are many people here Wolf who say they do not believe that they are not going to be able to work with this new administration. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA STEINEM, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: There is no place on earth that I would rather be than here. This is -- a wake-up call.
MALVEAUX: And who needs to wake up?
STEINEM: Never going to sleep again. Anybody who cares about democracy. Anybody who cares about sanity in the presidency.
MALVEAUX: Do you have a message for President Trump now?
STEINEM: It's time to leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Wolf, there are other people who feel like they can reach out to the Trump administration, as well as to the President. Sheryl Eiffel of the Legal Defense Fund say, look, they fight for racial and social justice. But she is willing to sit-down with him if he has something to say, his cabinet, his administration, to push for their agenda. Also talked with the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said she has had a chance to talk to him as President-elect, not as president. But she, too, says that what they want, what D.C. wants is respect from this president and the new administration. That she, too, is willing to sit-down and work with him. But a lot of emotions here. A lot of people who say look, they're worried, they have a lot of fear. And they want to make sure that their rights as women, and as Americans, is reaffirmed -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Suzanne, thank you. Suzanne Malveaux reporting. Let's talk about these rallies. The message to President Trump. We're joined by our political team. We have a real good one.
Gloria, let me start with you. The scope, the reach of these marches not only in the United States, but around the world. What are they trying to suggest to the new president of the United States?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they're trying to suggest that he needs to pay attention to them. And you know, we're on the eve of the repeal of ObamaCare. And there are lots of issues that for women in particular concerned about. The funding of Planned Parenthood, and how individual insurance policies need to cover pre- natal care for example, which did not occur routinely. Before ObamaCare. I think, though, it goes beyond that.
Obviously the people who are marching are not Donald Trump supporters. And they are saying, you know. we need to, we need to mobilize. It's late. There are lots of Millennials who didn't vote in this last election. And this could be sort of a the beginning of a call to arms. And I have to say, Wolf, that I believe this was in the back of the President's mind when he went to the CIA today to talk about his support for the CIA but then digressed dramatically into talking about the crowd size at his inauguration. Because the comparisons will be made about the crowd size here and around the country compared to the crowd size yesterday at the inauguration. In his own mind.
[17:10:31] BLITZER: Ryan, compare what we saw today as opposed to what we saw yesterday.
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: Well, I mean, to compare what we saw yesterday to 2009, right? This was a relatively small turnout for a first president's inauguration. I think it's safe to say that, based on the crowd estimates. If you just look at the pictures, the pictures don't lie. The crowd estimates don't lie. There were more people who came to Washington for the march against Trump on Saturday, today, than came to Washington to celebrate his inaugural. That's just a fact. Now Friday is different than Saturday, right?
LIZZA: It's a lot easier to get off work on a Saturday and come than it is on a Friday. So there are all sorts of factors about that. But there's obviously a very, very passionate opposition to this president. We all remember in 2009, it took a few months for the Tea Party to get going and there was a passionate opposition to Obama. So, presidents from one party, they engender backlash from the other party. What I think is historic about this is how early it's starting and just the sort of level and intensity of the backlash against him from the other side so early in his presidency.
BLITZER: Mark Preston, we didn't see level, this intensity from these women and women who showed up in Washington elsewhere around the country before the election in support of Hillary Clinton.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And Hillary Clinton is back home in New York right now. And Donald Trump is at the White House. You know a couple things. Is this movement today, that we saw, you know, know not only here in the United States but around the world, is it going to become the Tea Party movement as Ryan had mentioned? Or does it become an occupy Wall Street movement? Where it gets a lot of energy, a lot of power goes in at the beginning and then it just fizzles out?
Now if they're able to harness what they had today, and they're able to do some real grassroots politicking, then this could be very advantageous to Democrats. And if you're a Republican, you have to be a little bit concerned about that. But that's still a little ways off. And speeches today don't necessarily turn into votes a couple of years from now. So we'll see what happens.
BLITZER: Jackie, how do you think the new president is going to respond to what happened today? Not only in the United States, but in London and Paris, Sydney, Australia, Berlin, all over the world? JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: I think
Gloria already, I think she made a great point. I think he already did in part. Because he started talking about his crowd sizes at the CIA. You're standing at the CIA, an agency you really do need to mend fences with. And you're talking about how many people came to your inauguration? That's just silly and sad. There are so many other things going on in this country right now that need his attention. So his preoccupation with this is, is just, it's perplexing, frankly and you have to imagine, if this doesn't go away, who knows, maybe mall- truthers at the end of the day, people who are saying that the photographs were doctored.
KUCINICH: I don't put anything past -- at this point.
BLITZER: I want to you listen to Rebecca Berg, the new California Senator Kamala Harris. Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, they both spoke out today at these marches, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: The fact is, that the playing field has been tilted badly. In favor of those at the top for a generation now. And now President Trump and the Republican Congress are ready to ram through laws that will tilt it even harder. Now we can wimper, we can whine, or are we can fight back. Me, I'm here to fight back!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUD)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Are these are both very progressive liberal senators speaking out right now. But they're going to generate a lot of support out there. Based on what we're already seeing.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is right. And so the question is, and Mark raised this just a few minutes ago. Is this going to be another occupy Wall Street movement? Or is this the next Tea Party where they can really channel this enthusiasm into gains in the Senate and House in 2018? But I think what we heard from Elizabeth Warren kind of signals what we could expect to hear from Democrats moving forward. Which is this appeal to the working class, appeal to average Americans, appeal to Americans that Republicans are not looking out for the everyman like Donald Trump said he would.
Donald Trump promised this sort of populism and nationalism in his campaign. He promised to lift up the forgotten American. And so if Democrats can point out where Republicans and Donald Trump are not accomplishing that over the next two to four years, and they can actually persuade Americans that they care more about the working American and their policies would better care for that sort of voter, then that I think could actually see these gains in 2018 and beyond.
[17:15:06] BLITZER: You know, David Swerdlick, the whole coalition that came together today in Washington, elsewhere around the country, not just women, a lot of men were there as well. Various groups, including the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks, the head of the NAACP, they were out there as well. Is this going to be a new coalition we're going to see put together to challenge the new administration?
DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Wolf, I think it's a restructuring of what was the Obama coalition and what was supposed to be the Hillary Clinton coalition. Led by women today, but clearly with a lot of men participating. Different groups, celebrities as you said, the NAACP. I think the idea as a number of us have said here today is that progressives, folks leftist center have to reorganize and figure out how they're going to go forward. There's an ideological component that was totally successful today. Saying clearly around the world -- we are in dissent against the Trump administration. But whether that translates into votes in 2018 and 20, totally remains to be seen.
But I have to remind everybody that Donald Trump won with women. Who were less educated, and lower income, by 28 points. During this last election. And I think that's a group that Democratic Party needs to reach out to. If they're going to win in, you know, the mid-term elections and beyond. Because these were women who were voting on income inequality. And not so much on so-called women's issues. And they voted for Donald Trump overwhelmingly. So this is, this is you know, this is something that's going to dog the Democratic Party. You need to get those women to join this march.
BERG: Right. And as Joe Biden pointed out in his recent interview with "New York Times" magazine, he did at one point in the campaign hit that message.
BORGER: Oh, yes.
BERG: Of we are better for the working class. He said in that interview, I wish I had said that over and over throughout the campaign. Because things might have turned out so much differently. Democrats are realizing now that they didn't have a compelling message for those people. And they need to find that.
BLITZER: You know, Mark, a lot of people said to me today, we mentioned this, where were these women, these men before the election? And if you would have gone into the crowds, whether in Denver or Chicago or Los Angeles, and asked a lot of these people, did you actually show up? Did you vote? Did you participate? They, a lot of them were energized as a result of the winner of the election as opposed to being energized going into the election. By the Democrats who did horribly this most recent round. Not only in the Electoral College, but in the Senate, the House, the Governors' races, the state legislatures. They were energized by what they saw after November 8th.
PRESTON: You know, absent of Colorado. But if you look at where a lot of these rallies took place, states that are Democratic, where they certainly here in Washington, D.C., along the Eastern seaboard. You know, the Hillary Clinton did very well. She obviously lost Pennsylvania, which is a state had she won, it would have been a different outcome. But a lot of these folks here were supporters of Hillary Clinton. Or were Democrats. But perhaps did not vote. In many ways, also there is, there are women, you know, as Gloria puts out the statistics, there are a lot of women who are pro-life women.
You know, not just because you're a woman doesn't necessarily mean that you are for abortion rights. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are for Planned Parenthood. So, sometimes I do think we put things in boxes and try to simplify it. I would say this -- two things. One is I, wonder how many canvassers were out there trying to collect email addresses, okay? Because if you were an enterprising Democratic operative, that's what you would be doing. And in the aftermath of what we've seen. Let us see who tries to harness this movement as their movement, moving forward.
BLITZER: You know, Jim Sciutto, we're going to have much more on the President's visit to CIA headquarters. That he took on this first full day in office. We all watched it and carried it live here on CNN.
Mike Pence, the Vice President introduced the President. Mike Pence was very respectful of where they were standing in that lobby at CIA Headquarters. But when you were watching it, all of a sudden the President started speaking about all sorts of other issues.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Too many to count, really. I had trouble keeping the list straight in my head. I mean, he started with praising FOX News for good coverage. He talked about the crowd size, he talked about Mike Flynn, Reince Priebus, the weather on inauguration day, et cetera. I mean really, it was a visit during a difficult time with the CIA. One, he has publicly many times criticized the intelligence community for politicizing the investigation into the Russian hacking.
Plus we should mention, there are active investigations going on. One, continuing of Russian intervention in the election. But two, also, we know that the intelligence community is looking into other possibly more serious charges, connections. So a difficult time. The message could have been clearer. But it certainly wasn't.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to have more on this part of the important historic day here in Washington, President Trump's unusual visit to the CIA. His pledge of support for the U.S. Intelligence Community overshadowed by some rambling off-the-cuff remarks promoting himself, bashing the news media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:08] PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES: We had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks and they show -- an empty field.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:23:25] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Vast crowds of marchers across the country, indeed the world, sending a message to President Trump. We have video by the way of what the President saw when he returned to the White House this afternoon after visiting the CIA. CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia across the Potomac River. Got a look at protesters filling the streets of Washington while his motorcade ferried him across town. The demonstrations are overshadowing the President's high-profile events on this, the inaugural weekend.
Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Jim, the new president is keeping a pretty hectic schedule.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He really is, Wolf. And what you said was exactly right. The size of this march today was inescapable here at the White House. Not only could the President see it from his motorcade cutting across town over to the CIA And up to the prayer service today. We could hear marchers here on the grounds of the White House, all day long. And speaking of crowd sizes, that was certainly on the President's mind when he was speaking to the CIA earlier today.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It was down to business for President Trump as he visited the CIA to face the same intelligence community he openly accused of leaking damaging information about him during his transition.
TRUMP: There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There's nobody.
ACOSTA: But instead of addressing his previous attacks on the people of the CIA, Trump stood in front of a wall honoring the agency's fallen officers, and took swipes at the news media accusing the press of intentionally misstating crowd sizes at his inaugural?
TRUMP: We had a massive field of people. You saw that. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks and they show -- an empty field. I said, wait a minute. I made a speech. I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining. The rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and said, we're not going to let it rain on your speech.
ACOSTA: His assault on the press was met with some applause inside the CIA.
TRUMP: They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.
ACOSTA: Trump also told the crowd he knew the military and intelligence community had voted for him.
TRUMP: Probably almost everybody in this room voted for me. But I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did. ACOSTA: Earlier in the day, the President's motorcade crossed the
city, past protesters on their way to the women's march in Washington, to attend an inaugural prayer service, an interfaith ceremony featuring more than two dozen religious leaders, including an imam from Washington's Muslim community. Who recited verses from the Koran, praising diversity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And among the signs of God is the creation of heaven and earth. And the variation in your languages and your colors, verily in that are signs for those who know.
ACOSTA: It was a response to the new president, who made a point of using the term "radical Islamic terrorism" in his inaugural speech.
TRUMP: We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism. Which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
ACOSTA: In response to critics who slam Mr. Trump's speech, including conservative columnist George Will, who dubbed it the most dreadful inaugural address in history, the President thanked FOX News and other news outlets for what he called great reviews of the speech.
TRUMP: There is no games, right? No games? Right? We're not playing games.
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump continued his pugnacious tone right into the inaugural balls, taunting detractors who criticized his use of social media.
TRUMP: Should I keep the Twitter going or not? Keep it going? I think so. I think so.
You know -- the enemies keep saying, oh, that's terrible. But you know what, it's a way of bypassing dishonest media, right?
ACOSTA: And while the President will keep on tweeting, the White House appears to be cracking down on social media practices at federal agencies like the National Park Service, which re-tweeted a "New York Times" reporter comparing crowd sizes from Barack Obama's first inaugural in 2009 to more park attendance on Friday. The Park Service deleted that re-tweet and tweeted, "We regret the mistake in re-tweets from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you."
[17:28:00] ACOSTA: And Wolf, I just received an email from a former administration official at the Interior Department, which of course oversees the National Park Service, who said that this is a ban on tweeting that is being carried out by the Trump administration, call it the tip of the iceberg in terms of attempts to intimidate career public servants. All because it makes potus look bad.
So there are career public servants it appears, Wolf, inside this new administration who are concerned about this chill on free speech and on social media. And Wolf, we should point out to our viewers in just a few moments, or shortly we expect some kind of statement over here at the White House. And when we get those details, we'll bring them to you -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jim Acosta over at the White House for us. After a sharp dispute with the intelligence community in recent weeks, President Trump, he was over at the CIA Headquarters today, he is promising his 100 percent full support. He's also now blaming the feud on the news media among other things.
Let's bring back our experts. And Jim Sciutto, the criticism that the President is now getting is that the site where he went into all these other issues, today, that's hallowed ground over at the CIA Headquarters. You and I have been there.
SCIUTTO: It is. It's 117 stars, most without names attached to them. Of intelligence operatives who have given their life, the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. In fact those words are right above those stars, they were right behind Donald Trump's head. And except for a very perfunctory mention of his support for the CIA, he didn't mention that sacrifice there. He mentioned a heck of a lot of other things, but not that sacrifice. And I just want to share this because I -- as that was happening I was getting messages from people who serve inside the intelligence community.
I'll just read one of them. We on our side will all serve honorably, and ignore the politics, but they must be held accountable for believing the facts are fungible. It is hallowed ground. It is your place to call it out. Facts are fungible.
[17:30:00] This is a reference to Donald Trump, who has attacked the intelligence community for its intelligence assessments, specifically on Russia and how it interfered in the election, and call it out, questioned them associated with the past mistakes on Iraq, weapons of mass destruction. As you noted earlier, Wolf, even going further, compared them to Nazi Germany.
You know, this is a -- in a speech where you imagine the intention was to go there and say, I support the intelligence community, we stand together. For many folks, I speak with in the intelligence community, they certainly did not hear that message.
BORGER: I think people took it personally, who have worked with the intelligence community and for the intelligence community. I just heard from somebody who worked in the national security area, who called it inappropriate and disrespectful, to give any kind of campaign speech or political speech, in front of that wall.
And he went there with, I think, the best of intentions, which is to say -- which is to say as he did, we are on the same wavelength, I now want to reiterate that I'm going to have my guy at the top, and I'm going to be with you and you're going to get a lot of support from me, so don't worry about that. So, while he intended to be reassuring, he wandered. It was as if he had no preparation for this, no staffer who would say to him, just be mindful of where you are standing, and the importance of that, that wall to everybody who serves in that building.
SCIUTTO: There is reassuring to be done for the intelligence community. There is a criticism. You hear it outside of the intelligence community, as well as in the military, frustration with the Obama administration, how long it took, how many boxes you had to get checked to get things done, airstrike on a terrorist, that kind of thing. You saw in his speech, there was some oblique references to that frustration. But then, going in 1,000 different directions.
One I'll just mention. He mentioned Iraq's oil. He said, we should have taken its oil and maybe we'll have a chance again, contrary to U.S. policy, contrary to CIA recommendations, contrary to a whole host of international laws about basically ravaging a country that after invaded.
BLITZER: Mark, let me play the clip. The president today was blaming the news media for suggesting he was not in support of the intelligence community. But listen to what he said, on January 11th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. I think it's a disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And after that comparison to Nazi Germany, there was a lot of anger directed at him by intelligence community officials.
PRESTON: Right, for Donald Trump, and I think as we go through his presidency, facts are very stubborn. For him, though, facts are what he says and what he wants to you believe at the time that he says it. So, they will go back and say, oh, he was not talking about the intelligence community, which clearly he said that and was. When he realized he got backed up against the wall, he said no, no, I was talking about the leadership of the intelligence community. Because that fit the narrative that he needed at that time.
But strictly from a 50,000-foot view, looking down on this, Donald Trump needs to have the thickest skin of anybody in the world. He is the leader of the free world. He is going to be taking arrows every minute of the day. And what we see is Donald Trump getting angry at the news media because he thinks that we disrespected him talking about crowd size. Last night, he was attacking the news media, attacking his enemies and attacking the polls at what's supposed to be celebratory momentous occasion at balls honoring the military. He didn't even talk about the military at these balls. He talked about himself. I think that that is the biggest problem right now going forward for Donald Trump.
BLITZER: We're getting more information, by the way, right here in "The Situation Room." Let's take a quick break. We'll resume our coverage after this.
[17:37:45] BLITZER: We're following breaking news. Some demonstrators here in Washington. they are joining an anti-Trump protest blocks away from the White House.
Brian Todd is on the scene.
Brian, what are you seeing?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's interesting, this is a group of protesters that came from the women's march. We're going to go across the street here. We're going to show you how they have blocked K Street here.
They were people who came from the women's march. They were going to stop in McPherson Square and join this rally by a group called ResistFascism.org. They did join that rally. And they came across here. And it's kind of a dance party/protest. They're blocking K Street. A bus just got stopped as they blocked the bus. But then they allowed the bus to go through. This is a very peaceful gathering here. But they are determined to kind of block traffic and state their message.
I do have to draw a contrast from last night. Last night, we had street clashes between protesters and police, it got very violent. It is nothing like that. Very peaceful. The police have just kind of come into the intersection to watch this. We'll see how long they allow this to go on.
What's interesting here is the diversity of messages. Not just for women's rights but we have talked to people here to campaign for the legalization of marijuana, for the rights of Muslims and other minorities. I talked to one lady who was here to campaign in favor of the people of Flint, Michigan, and their water crisis.
So, here's the gathering at K Street -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Brian Todd, on the scene for us in downtown Washington.
Ryan Lizza, let's get back to the president's visit to CIA headquarters. Clearly, he wanted to repair the damage in his relationship with the U.S. intelligence community. Congressman Mike Pompeo, his nominee to become the next DIA director, he went with him. Was it mission accomplished?
LIZZA: In a word, no. Donald Trump recently compared the intelligence community to Nazis, right? He went before a small crowd there on the weekend, not a week day, when everyone is there. Stood before what is really, as others here have pointed out, hallowed ground of the CIA, stars of CIA servicemembers lost, and he did four things that would have been a major headline if he had just done one of them. One, he stood before the CIA and attacked the news media. There's a bad history between the intelligence service and the news media, if you go back far enough in this country.
[17:40:25] BLITZER: And there were people there who were applauding that.
LIZZA: They were applauding. That's fine. People will attack us. The media doesn't always get it right. It's fine to attack us. But the president encouraging attacks on the media in front of intelligence officials, to me, is a little unseemly.
Two, he talked about the crowd size yesterday in a way that is just not accurate. He talked about a million, a million and a half. I've seen no estimate that estimates --
BLITZER: By the way, CNN does not do independent analysis.
LIZZA: And, obviously, the National Park Service has done it for years and years, because there's so much controversy over the numbers. That's the second thing.
And I just think the talking about the campaign and how these were people that voted for him is inappropriate for a president to do in front of members of the intelligence community.
So, no, not mission accomplished. I think he has a lot of work to do to gain the trust and respect of the I.C. because, when you call someone Nazis, that tends to linger. And if you go there for the first time, you don't clean that up --
-- he's going to have a problem.
SWERDICK: Wolf, to the extent that fences did need to be mended, he -- President Trump can trace it back to December when he first went on the Sunday shows and dismissed the initial reports that Russia had meddled in our election process as, quote, unquote, "ridiculous." That's when this really gathered steam. And a few weeks later you have the Nazi comment. So, the idea that the media has generated this, I think is simply you know a misdirection.
BORGER: We were talking about this a bit earlier, Wolf. I do believe that what Donald Trump is trying to say is that we have a new team in town and with my guys at the helm, this is going to be different and I'm now going to trust everything you tell me, we're on the same page, as he put it, we're on the same wavelength. I think it was the message he was trying to deliver. But the people who work at the CIA, who do the hard work day in and day out, anonymously, don't change. They're not partisans. They're providing the legwork and the intelligence that goes up the chain of command. So, he has to let them know that their work is valued. So, if Mike Pompeo takes over, he's going -- he's going to be getting the same intelligence. Now maybe Trump believes they'll interpret it differently. Jim, you can speak to that.
I don't know. But what's the difference here?
BLITZER: Before we get back to Jim, Jackie, he's going to get his national security team pretty much in place. He's got his defense secretary confirmed. He's got his secretary of homeland security confirmed. Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA nominee, will be confirmed probably as early as Monday. The director of National Intelligence, Senator Dan Coates, he's going to be confirmed. He's getting his team in place.
KUCINICH: He needs to show these, the intelligence community, that he's going to support them. Talking about it, he goes back and forth so much on so many different issues, on so many different groups, on so many different agencies, I feel like he just, there needs to be more action here. Than just his words. His words have done a lot of damage. And just saying I love you and I support you, I don't think mends the damage that has been done. He can do that, through his picks. He can do that through Mike Pompeo or Rex Tillerson or Dan Coates. But I think, at some point, there has to be, OK, fine, show me.
BERG: And, you know, he will be tested on this in the near term. The Senate Intelligence Committee is going to be starting its hearings on the Russian hacking and its influence on the election. They're going to be holding some open hearings in addition to their closed classified hearings. There are going to be subpoenaing witnesses. Calling in witnesses. Trump will be tested. How will he react to whatever they find?
BLITZER: When I heard earlier today that he would be going out to CIA headquarters, like, I'm sure most of us, that was a nice gesture, he wants to fix, repair that relationship. Let him go out there see the stars on that wall. Speak to intelligence officials. And I thought that was going to be a positive gesture. But he's getting a lot of criticism, as we just heard, for the way he handled it.
[17:44:27] Everybody stand by.
More breaking news coming up next. Crowds at the women's marches across the U.S. are a lot larger than expected. We're going to have another live update. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Let's quickly go to Jim Acosta, our senior White House correspondent.
Jim, I understand Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, just made a statement where you are. Tell our viewers what he said.
ACOSTA: That's right, Wolf. A few moments ago, the new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, used this opportunity -- this is the first time he has ever been in the briefing room of the White House -- to address reporters. And I can tell you that this was entirely, almost entirely about complaints about crowd sizes at the inauguration yesterday.
I'm getting some cues in my ear. I apologize for talking about this when this is on the air when our viewers are listening. I don't know -- getting cues about talking to different cameras.
Anyway, Wolf, what happened here, just a few moments ago, is that Sean Spicer was basically complaining to all of us about news coverage about the crowd sizes. He said that there was inaccurate reporting about some of the tweets and the pictures that were put out there on the national news media, not by CNN, we did not, obviously, talk about specific crowd sizes -- we may have shown some pictures -- but he was complaining that this presented an inaccurate presentation to the world in terms of how many people were at this inauguration yesterday. At one point, he even said, Wolf, that this was the largest crowd to watch a presidential inauguration. He added that that included people watching from around the world.
But if you look at the pictures that we saw yesterday, Wolf, this was not, obviously, the biggest attendance at an inauguration in U.S. presidential history. That's certainly not the case. But for Sean Spicer to come out and launch an attack against the news media, that is unprecedented. We've not seen that before.
At one-point, he issued a warning to the news media, saying that the people in the news media talk about holding this new president accountable. He said, well, it's a two-way street, we're going to hold the news media accountable. That kind of language we've never heard the press secretary, to come out and warn the news media in that fashion.
[17:50:24] He did go on to say, Wolf, earlier today, President Trump did talk with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and the president of Mexico. And will be welcoming the British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday. So, there were other items the president was taking care of today besides that visit to the CIA and that interfaith prayer service we saw at the National Cathedral.
But, Wolf, there was really no mention of what Donald Trump said over at the CIA earlier today when he stood in front of that wall that honors fallen CIA officers, and then launched that blistering attack on the news media. Again, I think that's worth repeating, Wolf, because it seems that Donald Trump's insecurities on the reporting on crowd sizes and so forth during the inauguration yesterday is trickling down to his staff, and led to Sean Spicer blasting us. It's not something we're used to seeing from a White House press secretary going after the news media. To have that happen, in the very first briefing here from the White House press secretary, it is rather astonishing. We were expecting to see Sean Spicer on Monday. Instead, they arranged this hastily scheduled press briefing to give that statement. There were no questions from reporters. He made that statement and then left the room -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Jim Acosta with that update.
Gloria, usually, when a press secretary goes to the briefing room, they make a statement, they give some information, update reporters. I speak as a former White House correspondent. But then they stick around and answered questions, but, surprising, he just made the statement and left.
BORGER: I think this is something the president clearly wanted him to do. The president spoke about it today at the CIA event. There was a large march going on in Washington and around the country, which was not addressed in this statement that Sean made. And it's one of those statements, and you can see that the president's upset. He goes out there, he makes a statement and then he leaves. And I guarantee you that it's because Donald Trump is angry about this. And in terms of the statement, it was carefully worded, as Ryan pointed out, while we were listening. He may have included TV ratings and all the rest, but why are we arguing about how many people were on the mall?
KUCINICH: I'm glad there's no other problems in the country now.
BORGER: Why is this even a topic?
KATE ANDERSON BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & AUTHOR: You know, former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, tweeted saying, "This is called a statement you're told to make by the president and you know the president is watching."
BORGER: Could there be any other reason to do that?
LIZZA: There are different ways that White House press secretaries operate, Wolf, as you know better than other than anyone. Marlin Fitzwater described himself as a bridge from the White House. This is a very important moment because you have the White House press secretary setting down the ground rules for how he's going to operate. And that is that he is going to be an attack dog for the president, that he does not apparently see himself as a sort of bridge between us and the president. And I think it's an important moment as well that the first fight he decided to pick with the press was something that is so obviously debunked, at least if you're talking about the crowd sizes, not this other metric he seems to be talking about. If facts are behind that, maybe Sean has a point.
BLITZER: Mark Preston, CNN does not give crowd estimates. We don't do that. But we do have two pictures from 2009 and two from yesterday taken from the same location almost exactly at the same. You can see the crowd size in 2009 versus the crowd size yesterday. That picture taken from the same location along the Washington Mall, looking towards the U.S. capitol. That says something.
PRESTON: Yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words, no doubt about that. But he might be using metrics that they don't fully understand where they're getting their numbers, TV viewership, online, whatever those numbers may be. Maybe that's the case.
To the point of having to go out and make that statement, we all know Sean. We have worked with him for a very long time. He's somebody who, when he was hired by the Trump White House, there was a bit of relief because there was somebody that you can work with. And I do believe, going forward, that we are going to be able to work with him. But the bottom line is you serve at the behest of the president, right? And I think that Donald Trump said you go out there and you say this.
[17:55:17] LIZZA: Sometimes when you join a new gang, you've got to prove your colors.
SCIUTTO: We should draw -- highlight this. It's not new that Trump and his team attack the media. We should highlight, in that attack, they're willing to do and say things that defy the facts. Let's separate the crowd size because, frankly, it doesn't matter that much --
BLITZER: Let me interrupt one moment. I want to play the clip. This is Sean Spicer, moments ago. This is what he said. And then we'll assess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was the first time in our nation's history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass and the mall. That had the effect of highlighting areas where people were not standing where, in years past, the grass eliminated this visual. It's the first time that fencing went as far back on the wall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past. Inaccurate numbers were tweeted. No one had numbers because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out. By the way, this applies to any attempts to try to count the number of protesters today in the same fashion.
We do know a few things. Let's go through the facts. We know that from the platform where the president was sworn in to Ford Street holds about 250,000 people. From Ford Street to the media tent is another 200,000. And from the media tent to the Washington Monument, another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the president took the oath of office. 420,000 people used the D.C. public metro transit yesterday, which compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama's last inaugural.
This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. Even "The New York Times" printed a photograph showing that a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original tweet in their paper, which showed the full extent of the support, depth, and crowd, and intensity that existed.
These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, I interrupted you. We played the clip. There is the precise statement. Clearly, Sean Spicer was reading from a prepared statement.
SCIUTTO: Listen, they want to fight. The point I was going to make is the president went to the CIA and said something that was not true. He said the media manufactured this battle between Trump and the intelligence community when there are thousands of public statements, treats, et cetera of Donald Trump saying it himself in the last couple of weeks. They point I was going to make it that the team, the campaign of the administration were willing to say things that defied the facts in their attack on the media, when there's information either they don't like or they're uncomfortable with.
Listen, we could spend days and weeks on the crowds there. I saw a lot of pictures yesterday. And forget the mall. If you looked at the stages along the path leading up to the White House, those were pretty empty, too.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody stand by. We're going to leave it at this point. There's a lot more coming up.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, in "The Situation Room." Thanks very much for watching.
"SMERCONISH" takes over right after a quick break.