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Spicer Blasts Media in War over Inauguration Crowds; Trump White House Pushing Alternative Facts; Trump to Withdrawal from TPP; British Prime Minister to Visit Trump; Trump Possible Meeting with Putin; U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; Trump Reaching out to World Leaders. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired January 23, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] BRIAN FALLON, FMR. PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Said at the podium on Saturday was just not true. And, to me, there's no defense for that. I've heard only a couple of points made in the last 48 hours to try to sort of excuse what he did. The first was that, oh, it was his boss, Donald Trump, that sent him out there because it was Donald Trump, thin-skinned as he is, that wanted his press secretary to go out and make this false argument about crowd size. Well, to me, that just makes Sean's sin even more egregious. Your job, the code of a press secretary or a spokesperson is to have the utmost fidelity to the truth. And if his boss instructed him to go out there and lie before the cameras, then the -- what you're told to do in those circumstances is -- is refuse to do it. And if it comes to it, resign rather than go out and give a lie from the podium where you're not just speaking for Donald Trump anymore --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
FALLON: You're not just a campaign spokesman. You are a spokesman for the U.S. government. What you say from that podium moves markets, it affects what other nations do diplomatically --
FALLON: And your -- and your salary is paid for by the taxpayer. So he had an obligation in that instance, if Donald Trump was the one telling him to do it, to refuse.
CAMEROTA: But, Brian, I mean, it's not as easy as you're making it sound because, look, as press secretary, you know, as well as anybody, you are tasked with giving the narrative of your boss. And that may be different than the narrative of the press. I mean obviously I don't want to re-litigate everything that happened when Hillary Clinton was running for president, but there were times that she said things that turned out to be falsehoods and you had to support that.
FALLON: Well, your job is to -- always to defend your principal, but you do so within the parameters of what's true. And for Sean Spicer to go out and say that this was the most watched inaugural in all-time history is just a demonstrably false statement among many other statements he said that turned out to be true, including, he said, that there were magnetometers that the Secret Service had set up, up and down the mall, and that's what prevented a larger crowd from forming.
But, look, here's the point that I think bears repeating. A lot of people have said in the last 48 hours, you know, who cares about this. This is an argument about crowd size. It may bother Donald Trump because he's so insecure, but why do the rest of us spend the last two days talking about Sean Spicer talking about crowd size at the podium? And that's a fair point except that I think that this is just the tip of the spear of an approach that we're going to see from the Trump administration. In other words, they have declared war on the press. Donald Trump actually said so at the CIA appearance that he made earlier in the day on Saturday. And the reason that they're going after the press is because it's the press's job to stand up for objective truth. And Donald Trump and the Trump administration is not interested in allowing there to be an objective truth around which we can all agree. And if we can't agree on certain fundamental facts, we can never agree on the solutions to the challenges we face. But the Trump administration is dead set on creating an alternative reality, a bubble if you will, that allows their supporters to continue to hear what they want to hear. This is what Breitbart sort of propagated over the course of several years and now Steve Bannon, the brainchild behind Breitbart --
FALLON: Is inside the White House trying to promote a false reality. And this --
CAMEROTA: So --
FALLON: Sorry. Go ahead.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but just want to hear what you think's going to happen next because Sean Spicer's going to have another press briefing a few hours from now. Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary, had a suggestion, some advice for him, and said, just come out and say that you made a mistake. Say that you got it wrong. As simple as that. What do you think's going to happen?
FALLON: I agree with Ari, that would be the right course. But I would be skeptical that that's what's going to happen. I think, like I said, that this is going to be the new approach. You heard Kellyanne Conway on Sunday. She had an opportunity to go out there a day later and clean up what Sean did on Saturday and she didn't take that opportunity. Instead, she doubled down and came up with this term "alternative facts." And, to me, that is just a signal that they are intent on creating this sort of Orwellian atmosphere where they refuse to admit that the sky is blue. And it's a very convenient construct for them because in Trump's alternate reality, he's not entering the White House as an unpopular president, it's just the -- the media's way of serving his favorability is rigged. And in Trump's alternate reality, he's going to be able to replace Obamacare and still insure everybody, even though he can't tell you what his plan is.
So this is a construct that I think that they are committed to nurturing throughout these next four years and it's up to all of us, including the press, including those White House correspondents that are sitting in that briefing room today who will finally have the opportunity to ask questions of Sean Spicer, to hold the line and not roll over in the face of this.
CAMEROTA: Brian Fallon, thank you. Great to get your perspective on all of this.
FALLON: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.
Let's get to Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're just learning that President Trump's first executive order today will be withdrawing from the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership. What else is the president planning to do? What will be the reaction from this? We'll get "The Bottom Line."
[08:38:37] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."
President Trump set to meet with congressional leaders today, kicking off the first full week of his presidency. The president will also meet with business leaders this morning.
CUOMO: At least 19 people were killed after a deadly tornado outbreak that carved a path of destruction in the south. President Trump promising federal aid for those devastated by the violent storms.
CAMEROTA: And out west, a heavy rain triggering floods across California, killing at least two people. Officials ordered hundreds of people to evacuate in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles.
CUOMO: United Airlines up and running after a computer glitch forced the airline to ground most of its domestic flights Sunday night. United is waiving fees for flights rebooked between now and Wednesday.
CAMEROTA: Super Bowl LI is set. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots ending the Pittsburg Steelers' championship dreams. In a 36-17 blowout, the Pats will face the Atlanta Falcons, who crushed Green Bay 44-21.
CUOMO: Two games that were supposed to be close, were both blowouts. What's your favorite Super Bowl food quickly?
CAMEROTA: Nachos. Come on. That's easy.
CUOMO: For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to newdaycnn.com for the latest.
CAMEROTA: President Donald Trump's off to a combative start, waging war with the press over the size of his inauguration crowds and directing his press secretary to reprimand journalists for what he called "deliberately false reporting." Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political director David Chalian.
[08:40:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: OK, so it was a rocky start with the press, as well as with the CIA, Mr. Trump's visit there. What do you make of everything?
CHALIAN: There's no doubt it was a rocky start and there's no doubt that, as you said, the relationship with the press is off to a bad -- a bad start because the credibility now is in question of official words coming from the White House podium. That's not -- that is something that, of course, can be corrected and we'll see when Sean Spicer comes out today at 1:30 this afternoon, I think, for the first full White House press briefing, where he takes questions from reporters, to see if they can get sort of back on course.
I think the president's trip to the CIA may be more troubling because he clearly just was sort of winging remarks and -- while standing in front of that memorial wall. And I think that raises the larger question of sort of how Donald Trump is going to manage the messaging of his presidency. And it seems that that was not as sort of tightly controlled the way they would want, which led to all these headlines that they clearly didn't want. So you'll see today, I think, a much busier day, a more former schedule and we'll see if the White House can sort of put the rocky weekend behind them.
CUOMO: Is what got him here the same thing that will get him where he wants to be as president? That will be a pressing political question.
CHALIAN: That's right.
CUOMO: On the policy side, executive orders will be the demonstration of what he does as president. He wants to sign an executive order that will get rid of membership in TPP. This is something that Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, has to disagree with. How is this going to play?
CHALIAN: You guys remember, this is -- this was one of the sort of currents that was coursing through the entire election on both sides, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, even Hillary Clinton sort of stepped away from TPP. So this was one of the animating features of the 2016 electorate was getting rid of these kind of trade agreements that many people across the country felt were hurting them economically.
You were right, Chris, this is going to be one of those divides with the Republican establishment, but it was exactly exploiting those kinds of divides with the establishment, and we heard it again in the inaugural address, that brought Donald Trump here. So I think this is an early win for him with his supporters to get out there, be able to show he's serious about this trade stuff. We also learned he's talking with the leaders of Mexico and Canada to start the renegotiation of NAFTA, another promise from the campaign.
And this gets to the heart of what I see voters are most hopeful and expecting from this White House, is on the economic delivery. And so starting out of the gate with that as your first executive order, that's a strong place for Donald Trump to be, I would say.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but, David, remember when Republicans railed against executive orders. They were end runs around democracy. You know, I guess now they're OK.
CUOMO: He's undoing them.
CHALIAN: I -- I mean --
CAMEROTA: Yes, OK, so is that the difference is that if you undo the executive orders of President Obama, then they're OK. That's OK. But if you just create your own executive orders, then that's an end run around Congress and legislation?
CHALIAN: Right. I think that is a distinction. And I think that if he starts putting out executive orders that is exactly to your point, Alisyn, to get around Congress and not have to deal with the Republican leadership on The Hill and sort of things, you'll start to see some real battles take place. But in terms of dismantling the Obama agenda by executive order, I think that the Republicans are going to be just fine with that.
CUOMO: Broccoli alert. You know, the executive order is only as good as the operative legislation underpinning it. So Congress technically, with the numbers that the GOP has, can win this battle nine times out of ten if they want to oppose the president, true or false?
CHALIAN: I don't know if the numbers add up exactly that way, Chris, because your assumption is that Republicans on The Hill all vote lockstep. There is a divide between the leadership, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, and a lot of the rank and file who are completely there because of the sort of primary electorate, the same one that delivered the nomination and the presidency to Trump, that helped them get to Congress. So I don't know that we're ever going to see sort of every Republican in Congress join forces and stand against President Trump.
CAMEROTA: It's expected that Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo will be confirmed today. Two more of Mr. Trump's picks. Are there any cabinet nominees that you think will not be confirmed?
CHALIAN: Right now it looks like I think most of them will likely get confirmed. I do think that there -- we're going to have a little bit more of a fight here over Tom Price and his history and the stock trade that we've all been talking about. And I know that the Democrats have sort of circled him as somebody that they still want to battle over.
But right now, again, the votes being where they are in the Senate, I think Donald Trump is likely to get the cabinet of his choosing.
CAMEROTA: All right, David Chalian, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."
CHALIAN: Sure. Thanks, guys.
CAMEROTA: So how is the world reacting to the first days of the Trump administration? We're going to get perspective from our CNN international correspondents around the globe, next.
[08:48:38] CAMEROTA: As President Trump begins his first full week in office, he's reaching out to world leaders. The president says he had a nice talk on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to call the U.S. president soon. All of this as President Trump plans to host his first foreign leader, and that is British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday.
CUOMO: All right, so let's get the global perspective from CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward and CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann.
It's great to have you all at these key hot-sports.
Nic, let's start with you. What was the reaction there and what is the prediction about Theresa May's visit?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The prediction is she thinks, and this is based on what Donald Trump said in a newspaper interview just last week, that she can get a trade deal, an improved trade deal with the United States. She wants that because she wants to be able to go to the European Union. And as she's told them already, no deal is better than a bad deal. She's told them she'll essentially make Britain a tax haven if they don't give her the sort of exit deal that she wants. So she believes she's going to get the type of support from Donald Trump that will allow her to be tough with the European Union. And, of course, Donald Trump says he supports Brexit and he wouldn't be surprised if the European Union doesn't split up.
Not quite the way Theresa May sees all of it, but they're seeing eye to eye on something that's hugely important to her.
[08:50:03] CAMEROTA: OK, Clarissa, let's talk about the next order of business that Mr. Trump says he wants to accomplish, and that is NAFTA, renegotiating. He's going to be having talks with the president of Mexico, as well as the prime minister of Canada. What are the thoughts about that?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, Alisyn, obviously we're here in Moscow where the focus is very much on when President Putin will actually have a conversation with President Trump. For several days now they have been saying that it should happen imminently, any day now, that it was on the cards, that President Putin is even ready to meet with President Trump. But we still have not heard that that phone call has yet taken place.
And I do think actually the Kremlin is, if anything, kind of throwing cold water a little bit on any expectations that a detente may be happening in the near feature. We saw Russia's prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who essentially said don't expect sanctions to be lifted anytime soon. And we've heard the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, saying they will meet, but it's probably not going to happen in the following weeks, more likely the following months. So I do think behind the scenes there's quite a bit of optimism, but officially, I would say, it's cautious optimism.
CUOMO: All right, and then, that takes us to Israel and Oren.
You know, this is an issue that is so complex and there's such divisions where you are and here even among the Jewish community in the United States. The move on the table is, of course, moving the U.S. offices into Jerusalem. How does that issue play where you are?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Israeli leadership is calling on Trump to move the embassy as soon as possible. One of the most vocal voices there is the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, who has -- who actually launch a campaign just days before the inauguration calling on Trump to follow through on that promise. But Netanyahu, and his readout of the conversation with President Donald Trump, as well as the readout from the White House, didn't focus on the embassy move. If that's a priority for the city of Jerusalem, it's not Netanyahu's priority.
He wants to go back to the Iran deal. He sees President Trump as a new opportunity to fight that deal once again after he lost a long lobbying effort against the deal. Now he sees a chance to repeal, change, revoke, in some way change the Iran deal. That, he says, is Israel's number one priority. That was a big part of the conversation between these two leaders, as well as talking about the Israeli- Palestinian issue. Trump has said he'd like to take a go at it, see if he can solve or see if he can find a solution to what he calls, quote, "the ultimate deal," as well as some of the other concerns in this region. All of that part of these conversations. The White House says these two leaders will meet in Washington in early February, just a couple of weeks away. Netanyahu said he's very much looking forward to this meeting, he's made it clear even in the last weeks of President Obama's administration. He'll have his chance very soon.
CAMEROTA: So, Nic, what is the feeling in Britain and beyond and the Europe about all of these shifting sands, all of the changes in international relations that Mr. Trump is already telegraphing here.
ROBERTSON: You know, there's unease and concern. We talk about Donald Trump and Theresa May seeing eye to eye on Brexit. And there's concern in Germany and France that perhaps Donald Trump, by supporting Theresa May, strongly will encourage and make -- and encourage other country, perhaps like Hungary or maybe Italy to try it, or even France to leave the European Union. And so there's real concern that his dynamic -- that President Trump's dynamic in all of this can shift the balance of strategic strength and partnership in Europe.
There's a concern that the dialogue that he may get into with Vladimir Putin in the future, a sense that this will undermine European unity, undermine his economic strength and undermine or make it more vulnerable to potentially Russian expansion into some of the Baltic states. So there's real concern. There's concern about trade. There's concern about economic future. There's concern about this sort of political integration that Europe has gone through. There's a sense that this may be up for grabs and it may change. And that uncertainty worries people.
CUOMO: So, Clarissa, that takes us to this evolving relationship between President Trump and President Putin. It seems that the one common area of interest would be ISIS. And what is the expectation where you are that that would become a major effort for the Russian government and military fighting ISIS around the world? WARD: Well, Russia has been talking about fighting ISIS for a very
long time. But the reality is, the majority of their efforts in Syria have been focused on wiping out the rebellion against Bashar al Assad. It's actually had very limited success in its fight against ISIS.
But as you mentioned, we have heard President Trump talk several times in the past about the possibility of Russia and the U.S. working together to fight ISIS, to tackle this broader issue of what Donald Trump calls radical Islamic extremism. So it's possible that there could be some type of military cooperation.
[08:55:16] But there are also larger sticking points. The issues of Syria, the issues of Ukraine, major differences of opinion between Russia and the U.S. that will take some time to fix.
CUOMO: All right, appreciate the world perspective from you guys. Thanks, as always. We'll check back with you soon.
How about some "Good Stuff" on a Monday.
CAMEROTA: Let's do it.
CUOMO: Done, next.
CUOMO: There is good in this world, fair (ph) young (ph) Camerota. There are good people and there is good luck. Dialing the wrong number ended up being a lifeline for a woman in Utah. Helene Johnson (ph) fell inside her apartment. She couldn't get up. She tried to call her son, miss dialed. Who did she call? A local cop by mistake. Dana Pugmeyer (ph). He stayed on the phone for nearly 20 minutes. Help came. A few days later, he even visited her in the hospital and brought her some flowers to brighten her day.
CAMEROTA: That is beautiful.
CUOMO: Right. Officer Pugmeyer is shy to take credit saying he was just in the right place at the right time.
[09:00:01] CAMEROTA: That is so wonderful. Usually wrong numbers don't go that well, but that was luck and grace.
Time now for "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello.
CUOMO: Speaking of luck and grace.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: That's me. The very definition.