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Nothing is Off the Table; A Friendly Advice; Following the Track on Foreign Policy; Life hanging on Thread of Hope. Aired 10- 10:30p ET
Aired February 2, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right. So, time to hand over to Don Lemon for CNN tonight. I'll see you tomorrow night.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump's warning for Iran.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
The president planning on additional sanctions on Tehran, and refusing to rule out military actions saying, quote, "nothing is off the table."
That, in the wake after political firestorm with one of our closest allies, Australia. And Trump's complaint to Mexico's president about that country's handling of what he called tough hombres.
Meanwhile, President Trump's longtime friend Howard Stern says this on his SiriusXM show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, SIRIUSXM RADIO HOST: I personally wish that he had never run. I told him that. Because I actually think this is something that -- it's going to be very detrimental to his mental health too because he wants to be liked. He wants to be loved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We're going to talk a lot about that this hour. But let's get right to CNN's Dana Bash, David Gergen, Jim Acosta, and Jim Sciutto. A lot to get to. Thank you. Good evening to all of you.
Jim Sciutto, I want to start with you. After a week and a half of abrupt changes coming from this administration today, they moved closer to embracing positions long held by the Obama administration on Israeli settlements, on sanctions for Iran and even towards Russia. Put it into some perspective for us.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN'S CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we should -- we should temper that thought at least for now. Yes, you had, for instance, his U.N. Ambassador today at the U.N. Security Council, Nikki Haley, her first comments before the U.N. Security Council criticizing Russia for its military aggression in eastern Ukraine.
That is news, there's no question. But we have to balance against that really weeks and months of public statements by President Trump. Is it a real change? We'll have to see. I mean, it still remains to be seen.
On Israeli policy yes, a mild statement of criticism against settlement building, but again, it comes in the midst of a promise still yet not realized on moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, you know, central to that debate of what will happen there.
Similar on the Iran deal, yes, they're not abandoning it. And we've seen President Trump back off that promise to tear it up over time. But we know that there are power centers in this administration that might want to be more aggressive.
So, are we seeing a move towards the center or we're seeing an expression of different power centers in the administration expressing themselves with the result of those battles still uncertain? It's hard to say. I mean, some of this is genuine confusion in the messages and the policy positions coming out of this administration.
LEMON: But at least what officially, we know it appears that they're softening at least. And as you said there are different factions in the White House and we'll have to see, at end of the day we'll have to see how it all plays out.
But Dana, speaking to that, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson his first day in office today. The new Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, his first official international trip. Do you think we're going to see some steadying of the helm, especially if you look at this? This is a pretty -- this is sort of moderating. Moderating statements, not so far?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And I think to Jim's point we do have to be careful about ascribing what -- some of what they're going to say to the president himself, which is kind of an unusual -- not kind of -- it is highly unusual thing to say, because a cabinet is historically by definition the people who go out and speak for and execute the policies of the president, right.
And in this case, just for example, I was told earlier tonight that Nikki Haley when she made the -- U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., when she made the speech that she did today at the U.N., sounding like kind of a typical republican or a hawkish democrat on Russia, she did contact the White House, she gave them a head's up but that she wasn't necessarily speaking for President Trump.
She was speaking as somebody who has had these long held positions, just as she told the White House and the president privately before she was picked. And she told the committee that confirmed her.
BASH: That she was going to stick with her more aggressive stance on Russia. LEMON: She said, this is what she was speaking to her first remarks
on open session at United Nations Security Council. She said, "We do want to better our relations with Russia, however the dire situation in the eastern Ukraine is one of the demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions." Which sounds pretty much like the Obama administration, so, yes.
BASH: Like the Obama administration like republicans in Congress.
BASH: And it was the reason why President Trump then-candidate Trump was criticized so heavily for being too weak or too soft on Russia for the Ukraine and...
[22:04:59] LEMON: All right. Stand by, David. I want to go outside now, because he's standing out there and I'm sure it's cold. But I want to talk to Jim Acosta in front of the White House. Jim, you have some new reporting tonight on the president's testy phone calls with world leaders.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
LEMON: What can you tell us?
ACOSTA: That's right, Don. It appears to be trying to get over this Great Barrier Rift, if you will, between the U.S. and Australia. The Australian ambassador, Joe Hockey was here at the White House earlier today. He met with the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the Chief Strategist Steve Bannon who apparently passed along the president's admiration for the Australian people.
That comes after this very big dustup with a key U.S ally. After it was revealed in this phone conversation with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that, you know, that Donald Trump had some very tense moments with the prime minister conveying his concerns about this plan to bring these refugees from Australia into the U.S.
But you heard the president earlier today, we can play sound saying this is no big deal. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world is in trouble but we're going to straighten it out, OK? That's what I do, I fix things. We're going to straighten it out.
Believe me. When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don't worry about it. Just don't worry about it. They're tough. We have to be tough. It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks. We're taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It's not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: So contrast that comment, Don, with what occurred here at the White House this afternoon where the Australian ambassador came over and note who he met with today. Meeting with Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, not with the secretary of state, not with the national security adviser. It just gives you an indication as to how big a role Steve Bannon is playing here at the White House.
LEMON: Interesting. David Gergen, you heard Jim's reporting that faces of the staffers in the room that some of them, many of them turned...
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It turned white.
LEMON: Yes, be because of the language and tense moments in the phone call. Why do you think so many leaks from staffers coming out of this White House? Are they trying to mitigate damage here?
GERGEN: I'm not sure it's coming from staffers. Don, I would know more about this. But you know, but there are several days passed between the phone calls and the actual leaks. And in those intervening days transcripts are made, they do get sent around the government so it very likely that the people in the intelligence community and at the State Department and people who are career might will have seen.
And I think there is a great deal of discontent in the civil service with the Foreign Service officers, and the intelligence community and I think they're looking for ways to retaliate. I think that they feel they've been downgraded and they are going to show you, Mr. President, don't push us around too much.
LEMON: So let me take the other way here. David, I will push back. Do you think this may be strategy so that to make him appear tough or at least tough on even our allies?
GERGEN: It's possible. I mean, anything is possible here.
GERGEN: But I think it's unlikely. It is true that some people from the White House are calling its -- calling reporters. It's not the reporters calling them.
GERGEN: And leaking things. Putting things out there. I think that -- I think that it's well understood around town, isn't it?
BASH: Yes. Yes. In this particular case, though, I think that's kind of a good house of cards ideal but I think maybe it's giving them a little too much credit to be able to get this out there and from want to look tough. Because it does in fairness to them, I mean, you know, they are -- they're playing cleanup right now, so it's not like they entirely wanted it out. LEMON: And the leaks and the phone calls. I mean, it's interesting to
sit back and watch, especially if you're a reporter. I'm not even in Washington and I get the calls to watch the palace intrigue play out.
Let's talk a little bit more policy. Because Iran has vowed to continue missile tests despite the Trump administration "putting them on notice," that's a quote there. Here's the president's response when asked about military action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nothing is off the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Iran, this is for you, Jim Sciutto, "Iran," this is what the president tweeted, he said "has been formally put on notice for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them." Jim Sciutto, Iran is responding to all of this. What are they saying?
SCIUTTO: Listen, it will be, the question is, will this work, right? With Iran with the nuclear program, what worked over time were economic sanctions, right? Where you had the world on board, even some folks who are not -- some countries that not U.S. allies traditionally in policy moves like this, China included, Russia included.
So, the ballistic missile program was outside of the nuclear agreement, that was by design. You know, Iran wanted it and the Obama administration accommodated that.
So now you have them, you know, launching those missiles, rattling those sabers again. Will lone U.S. sanctions against Iran change that behavior? It's a question.
[22:10:02] The U.S. doesn't have a lot of business with Iran. You know, does it make a difference? It's an open question going forward.
LEMON: You ahead. You want to say something?
GERGEN: Yes. I think there is a lot of caution that's needed here to figure out what they're really going to do and wait for them to put on sanctions or whatever they do.
But I think the bigger question is, whether the Trump administration really wants to keep the Iranian nuclear deal or they want to get rid of it. There were some signals coming out over the last few days that maybe they would actually try to learn to live with it.
And yet, the president tweets out, "it's a terrible deal," you know, and basically saying we ought to get rid of it. That would be big, big, big stuff. If they tear that up the Iranian nuclear agreement it's going to be a big, big international...
LEMON: Despite what he says it looks like that may try to keep it in some way. Yes.
BASH: Yes. Even the president might have had a Twitter moment and it is always possible that they do end up tearing it up, but even General Mattis, who is about as hawkish as they come on Iran.
BASH: Said during his confirmation hearings to be secretary of defense, that even he thinks you can't do that because the deal is done.
LEMON: I got to move, I have to get Jim Acosta. And Jim, I want to ask you this question before we get to the break.
LEMON: The president promised a major voter fraud investigation, debunked claim that that three to five million people voted illegally. He is scheduled to sign an executive order, or at least was, he said last week. What more can you tell us about that?
ACOSTA: It's not on the front burner anymore. Our indication are over here from talking to our sources, Don, that this is no longer a top priority for the president. Now having said that, perhaps he'll tweet overnight tonight that this is back on, per your conversation with Dana and David there.
But our indication at this point is that he has moved on from this, he's moved on to other things. And you know, as you were just discussing there with the Iran sanctions and this potential impact on the nuclear deal.
I can tell you I was sitting in on a briefing yesterday, and a top national security official said that that Iran nuclear deal stays for now, it stands for now. It doesn't stay forever, he didn't say that, but stands for now.
As for voter fraud last week it sounded like something that was coming immediately, that was -- that was eminent and that's just no longer the case anymore.
LEMON: Yes, It's interesting how he tweets to response to stories on a network that he says he never watches right after we discuss it right after we discuss.
BASH: Say hi. Say hi.
LEMON: And he's clairvoyant or something. Yes. Hi.
When we come right back, a heartbreaking story on the immigration debate ban. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. A immigration ban, a baby in desperate need of life-saving surgery is barred from entering this country. [22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight there are signs that Donald Trump's White House may be moving towards some policies of the Obama administration.
I want to bring in now Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. Interesting conversation, I'm sure you've seen this New York Times article their lead story tonight. It says, "Trump's embraces pillars of Obama foreign policy."
And I'll read part of it of what it says. "President Trump after promising a radical break with the foreign policy of Barack Obama, is embracing key pillars of the former administration strategy including warning Israel to curb construction resettlements, demanding that Russia withdraw from Crimea and threatening Iran with sanctions for ballistic missile tests."
Given the developments that's happened around the world in the past few days, do you agree with this?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Yes. There's clearly been a shift. I would -- I would guess that there is something going on here with the structure of the foreign policymaking that's interesting. The adults are moving in at some level. By which I mean, Mattis, Secretary of Defense, Tillerson, Secretary of State, and the process is becoming somewhat more institutionalized.
So my guess is when some of these things are now happening, they now include, you know, the national security advisor maybe sends a message to the State Department, to Tillerson, saying how should we respond to Israeli settlements, and the State Department looks at it, and says, well, for 50 years we've responded by saying we're against it.
And maybe that's being factored into the process. you know, the Nikki Haley comments at the U.N. where she condemned Russia and Russian aggression, and talked about how sanctions wouldn't be lifted until Russia got out of Ukraine, all that feels very much like it's, you know, foreign policy continuity.
Now we shouldn't really even -- jinx this by calling it embraces the pillars of Obama's policy because, you know, then he's going to -- he'll say, oh, my God, I can't do that.
It's really it's emphasizing continuity in foreign policy which we want. The country, you know, particularly in foreign policy, the rest of the world depends on the United States for some consistency.
LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about Iran, nothing is off the table, that's how the president has responded, that's how we said about Iran. Others in the administration when it comes to these missile tests they said the same thing. Nothing is off the table. Used the same language. What does this mean for the president? What's the next step?
ZAKARIA: Again, I don't want to jinx it but this is what the Obama administration often said, this is what Obama often said. He always pointed out he was never ruling out use of force and these additional sanctions that have been in place, the Obama administration did put in some additional sanctions when they would see this kind of behavior.
But it's important to understand the Iran nuclear deal was about freezing Iran's nuclear program and relaxing the international sanctions against Iran. That worked. Iran's program is frozen by every independent analysis, 98 percent of his missile material was destroyed. That's great thing. We want to preserve that.
This is about Iran's foreign policy and defense policy. They do it, they do develop missiles. They do, I mean they are allowed to in a sense like any country can do what they want. And the U.S. is punishing them or trying to deter them from doing it. It's again as I said, it's part of a policy that President Obama has been following. I don't know why Flynn drew a line in the sand. You know, there are...
LEMON: He said Iran it's on notice, he's the national security advisor.
ZAKARIA: Professor of mine when I was in graduate school you had this line which I think is exactly s right, in international affairs two things are very expensive, threats when they fail and promises when they succeed.
So when you make a threat be sure you're willing to be called on it. So, I don't know exactly what he means. Iran has continued to test missiles, if it does this what are we going to do?
LEMON: It says if -- they vigorously responded saying we're going to vigorously -- they responded saying that we are going to vigorously test more missiles. The question is, what you said, you know, how quickly can this escalate? Because it could escalate.
[22:20:04] ZAKARIA: It can escalate partly because we are dealing with unknown entities, particularly in Donald Trump, which is how does he react when -- it is highly unlikely that the Iranians will back down because Mike Flynn said that they were on notice.
They have been developing missiles for a while. They're a serious country, they want to have a serious defense policy and they live in a dangerous neighborhood. So, in that circumstance and they continue to develop. They do another missile test.
What is he going to do? Are we really going to go with war with Iran because of this? Are we going to have an attack? And complicate this further, which is why you want carefully thoughtful coherent policy, Iran is probably the principle force outside of the United States and Iraq that's battling ISIS.
Its Iranian militias that go into Syria and fight ISIS. Iran is much more than Russians. It's the Iranian who have been fighting ISIS. So do you really want to pick a fight with them when Trump says his number objective is to destroy, completely destroy ISIS. LEMON: This is what's interesting thing, when people say things on
the campaign trail and then they actually sit in that seat, and it's a completely different story. Speaking of Russia, there's news today that the Treasury Department may start easing some sanctions. What can you tell us about that?
ZAKARIA: We don't know for sure. I mean, again, this is a proposal floating out there. Frankly, as with Israel, the administration has sent somewhat contradictory signals. Initially on Israel they were so -- they seemed so encouraging that Netanyahu took that as an opportunity to announced new settlements. On Russia they've been very soft.
And now, Nikki Haley made this very tough statement. So, it's possible that -- Nikki Haley's statements now contradicts the reports that we got that they were going to...
LEMON: Can we play that because there have -- there's been fierce fighting between the Russian separatists and Ukrainian's. And the Trump administration have said nothing about it until today. Here's Nikki Haley and then we'll discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. It is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States representatives have made it to do that.
It should not have to be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what's your reaction and what message will that send to Vladimir Putin?
ZAKARIA: This is a message of real continuity. Nikki Haley's statement was excellent, it was entirely in keeping with not just American foreign policy for the last few years but western foreign policy.
Remember, we have helped organize a coalition of countries, the European Union, that helped impose sanctions on Russia. One of the great, the two great fears that has come about because of Trump's kind of flirtation with Putin, was the Eastern Europeans were going crazy.
I was in eastern Ukraine, falls eastern Europeans Baltic States they were worried that they were going to be sacrificed on the altar of some kind of Trump/Putin deal and the others, the Europeans have been worried that they had manage to unify and maintained of kind of United front against Russia. And that if America weakened, then a lot of European countries were going to say, well, I want to do, we want to do business with Russia, we want to be first to the exits. So, the whole structure of western policy toward Russia had been eroding. This statement could bring it back on line as long as the mouse stays consistent.
LEMON: It's interesting. I feel like I'm talking to you about an Obama policy rather than a Trump policy.
ZAKARIA: Yes. This policy, absolutely.
LEMON: Just within the past couple of hours today. I want to ask about this immigration ban. I want you to take a look at this picture, Fareed. This is 4-year-old Fatimah, an Iranian baby in -- 4-month-old, I should say, an Iranian baby in desperate need of heart surgery.
Her family was trying to get a top pediatric hospital in Oregon, trying to get there where she has relatives that could become U.S. citizens. They were set to begin their trip on Saturday before they were shut down. What message is the U.S. is sending to the world when we deny lifesaving opportunity to a 4-month-old baby?
ZAKARIA: What message are we sending to the world and what message are we sending to our own citizens. Remember, she has many relatives in America who are American citizens. And I think this is one of the things to understand about these blanket bans when you ban entire nationality or entire religion or whatever it is.
Iranian-Americans for example, the Iranian-American or the Iranians here who are American citizens are amazing people. They set a wonderful community, they are all deeply pro-American, they, for the most part despise the regime or at least they are neutral toward it. They are here because they love America, because they love freedom.
So one of them, there are three, I think three American citizens who tried to get this baby, I think it's grandchild.
[22:25:01] ZAKARIA: To be able to save her life. What do we -- what message are we sending to them? What message are we sending to Americans who happen to have come from a foreign country? Because they came from some -- because they fled a tyrannical regime, they are now, you know, there's a double standard that any other American would have been able to bring their relative in and save their life but they can't because they happen to have the accident of coming a country that they look.
LEMON: Yes. I know that you were talking to me I don't know if you saw the picture, so if you put it back up. I mean, it's a 4-month-old, and she is adorable. I can't take my eyes off of her. I'm not sure I heard anything you said when they had a picture. But look how beautiful she is.
LEMON: So, we wish her luck and the family luck as well. Thank you so much.
ZAKARIA: As always.
LEMON: Our thoughts are with them. Thank you so much, Fareed Zakaria.
Please stay with me. Straight ahead, radio shock jock Howard Stern had some surprising things to say about his old friend, President Donald Trump.
LEMON: President Trump getting into a war of words today with of all people Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Fareed Zakaria is back with me, we're joined by CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, contributor Salena Zito is here as well as columnist for the New York Post, and presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, who by the way is the author of "Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America."
[22:30:06] Thank you for joining us. Good to have you back, Fareed. So, the president, Dana, spoke today at the national prayer breakfast. He introduced -- he was introduced by Mark Burnett.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Douglas Brinkley, who by the way is the author of "Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America."
Thank you for joining us. Good to have you back, Fareed. So, the president, Dana, spoke today at the national prayer breakfast. He introduced -- he was introduced by Mark Burnett, the producer of "The Apprentice" and began by talking about his replacement on that show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place and we know how that turned out. The ratings went down the tubes. It's been a total disaster and Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again, and I want to just pray for Arnold if we can for those ratings. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So then Arnold Schwarzenegger hit Twitter with this response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: Hey, Donald, I have a great idea. Why don't we switch jobs, you take over TV because you're such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Wow. Everyone's laughing. It is funny. That was a -- that was
a good zinger. So that happened. You've been at prayer breakfasts before, was this a first?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
LEMON: OK, we'll be right back. No.
BASH: Yes, no question. No question. I mean, where do we even start? That was obviously meant in jest. I mean, let's just...
SALENA ZITO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER STAFF: Yes.
BASH: I mean, it was meant as a joke. But it was -- it is definitely traditionally more of a sacred kind of event where you don't make jokes like that.
BASH: You know, it was in part because the executive producer who is a very religious man Mark Burnett introduced him. The other part that I thought was maybe even more kind of jaw-dropping is when again, he was joking, he was telling the chaplain that he wanted to give him another year, and he said, the hell with it. Talking to the chaplain.
BASH: I thought the chaplain, I was guessing the chaplain probably wanted the earth to open up himself, because not necessarily, but usually say to the chaplain, but that's Donald Trump.
LEMON: Yes. I mean, the day before, you know, he had the sort of odd statement about Frederick Douglass. Just for the record that we're talking about ratings here, this is for season one, "The Apprentice" I don't think was ever at number one. The ratings were not as big as he said.
LEMON: Season one, 7, season two, 11, season three, number 15, season four, number 38, season five, number 51, season six, number 75, season 10, number 113, so.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Next we're going to point out that his book "The Art of the Deal" was not in fact the number one best seller of all time and that the buildings are not in fact the tallest in the world.
LEMON: But why, so why then at the prayer breakfast?
ZAKARIA: Look, he's a fabulous. This is part of his shtick for his whole life. And I think you know, when it's so engrained I think it's a reflex. I don't think it's something he can change. I think at this point. Look, you know, I have pointed this out during the campaign and it was distressing because, you know, the president -- when he was running for president and people tell us, no, no, you shouldn't take him literally.
But now he is president and when he institutes a ban, you know, against seven countries it is actually a literal ban, it's not a figure of speech. When he said something it's not something you can take -- but you know, it is who he is.
And I think at least with the lighter moments maybe we should just give up. I mean, Trump has his pathological problems, we shouldn't have pathological responses to Trump's pathologies.
LEMON: Salena, you're the literal, you know, t versus seriously, you coined that. Is this trans -- is his brash style is it translating to the Oval Office? It worked on the campaign trail.
ZITO: I mean, I thought today was funny.
LEMON: Yes. That's he just said.
ZITO: I've been to plenty of prayer breakfasts. Actually I felt like Arnold was in on the joke, too.
ZITO: Whenever he responded to it. I mean, does it translate -- this -- we're just -- he's just combusted how we think of the White House and how you behave there. And it's not like people didn't understand that's what they were voting for.
ZITO: They knew he was going to be different. They knew that he was bringing something different. That is a large part of why they voted for him.
ZAKARIA: And by the way, part of it is pulling the curtain back, don't you think?
ZAKARIA: Which is, I mean, Richard Nixon did, you know...
ZITO: Talk it to me.
ZAKARIA: ... hell would have been a low level of word for Richard Nixon. He used four-letter words all the time.
ZITO: Harry Truman.
ZAKARIA: So, what Trump is saying is, look.
BASH: Just maybe not to a chaplain.
ZAKARIA: Not to a chaplain and not in public.
ZAKARIA: Trump is behaving publicly the way a lot of other presidents behave privately.
ZITO: He uses his inside voice outside.
LEMON: Doug -- outside. No, he uses his outside voice inside. Douglas Brinkley, you know, I'm wondering if democrats are going to need to change strategy, because they're dealing with someone who is a very charismatic personality and there, you know, they're having trouble galvanizing the opposition here.
[22:35:02] I want you to listen what Nancy Pelosi her description of the president today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: The public outcry towards the president's dangerous ban over the weekend was massive and the president is clearly eager to shift attention away.
You know that every time something gets hot he changes the subject. He changes the subject. He's an illusionist. If you -- if you -- now you see it, now you don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes. So, do they need a charismatic personality to sort of go up against Trump now? And you know, she has said, he's a disrupter. Everyone has said, even he has. You never know what's coming. Can he sustain that for four or eight years? The first do they need someone else, a big personality?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: You know, to connect to the previous conversation we're just having -- I mean, I think today, when you heard Trump about Schwarzenegger, reminded me of Ronald Reagan and he would -- he would conflate things like "Star Wars" its strategic defense initiative and he quote from movie as if they were policy issues because Reagan spent his career in Hollywood.
Donald Trump does reality TV. This is what he does. He did World Wrestling Federation. And I don't think in the first rule of reality is never be boring. We are a hyper energized public; you need to have distractions all the time. And hence he does that. So, at the CIA ceremony, and at the national prayer service when he
does it, it's startling but in reality TV world it's don't be boring for an hour. Throw something in so guys like us are talking about it.
As for Pelosi, I think the democrats have to start building that bench very quickly. They are going to have to, you know, 2018 isn't as far away as way as we think and they are going to have to have somebody that beats Donald Trump.
That what Trump is doing cleverly is meeting today with the United Steelworkers union, and he's really trying to steal the Democratic Party's base, the unions, from the democrats Trump. And if he can pull that off, we don't have democrats or somebody from the heartland who can step up to the plate and it's only hard anti-Trump voices.
It could be like, you know, Nixon winning in '72 against George McGovern. It can't just be the far left right now. We got to find moderate democrats that are willing to start really going after Trump.
LEMON: Can he keep it up though for the next four or eight years do you think being a disrupter at this pace?
BRINKLEY: I don't know because we can't predict. But it's a, I think if he wants to own every single media day and make sure he has a tweet or an outrageous sound bite that gets average people's attention, maybe makes them laugh, or maybe makes them shake their heads or makes them in fears.
He at all, he's a master of not -- keeping the spotlight on himself every day. You know, I'm reminded that John Adams once said, "The greatness of Washington is he knew the power of silence, he knew when to be silent."
Trump does not know silence. He's going to babble and babble and babble for the next four years. And the question is whether the routine goes badly and the ratings go down like they did on "The Apprentice" or weather he keep it as a popular, you know, storyline in America.
LEMON: Where it does stand the risk of becoming Chicken Little, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.
BASH: Yes. And John Adams didn't have Twitter.
LEMON: Yes. But I think that's a very -- I think it's a very interesting point. I got to get to the break, but i he suddenly became silent everyone would say what is going on, right? Because it sort of freaks everybody out.
OK. We'll discuss more. We'll be right back. Don't go anywhere.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: As we know from the campaign months ago, Donald Trump and Howard Stern go way back, but now the shock jock is speaking out on Trump's presidency.
Back with me now, Fareed Zakaria, Dana Bash, Salena Zito, and Douglas Brinkley. So, Mr. Brinkley, Howard Stern talked about Donald Trump on his radio show. And as you know they're old friends. Trump appeared on his radio show many times and Stern expressed some concerns about Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, SIRIUSXM RADIO HOST: I personally wish that he had never run. I told him that. Because I actually think this is something that -- it's going to be very detrimental to his mental health too, because he wants to be liked. He wants to be loved. He wants people to cheer for him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this could take him down?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, do you guys made that notice, I'm a Howard Stern super fan. I think he's one of the best interviewers, if not, in the business.
LEMON: And I think he's always pretty much right on. What do you think, Douglas?
BRINKLEY: Well, I wonder why he didn't say it during in the middle of the campaign when the stakes matter. He's kind of a silent about his friend Donald Trump throughout the year. And now he's saying it now when it's a fait accompli.
Howard Stern is an American icon of radio and I think he's touching on the problem we're all dealing with Donald Trump. There are seeds of destruction looming in him. We see it happening incrementally every day. And it may not -- he may implode, he may not, but we're playing with fire with this presidency right now.
LEMON: I think he feeds off of this. I mean, I think that he could not, this is like breathing. He needs this. It's like oxygen. He loves the attention and I think it helps him. But the question is do you think his desire to be loved or liked will help him back off and maybe moderate himself to it?
ZAKARIA: Well, this is a very, you know, it's an interesting question. Because I think -- I think Douglas Brinkley's analysis was exactly right. but if that were true, what Trump should have done after he was elected was reached out to the public, sent all kinds of reassuring signals.
This is what every president does. Which is why y after every election you get this honeymoon, your approval ratings go up, they are usually are in the 50s, Trump did none of that. He decided instead to go and continuing on campaign mode, going and thanking his voters, making fun of Hillary Clinton. He's done that ever since.
He's really pursued a strategy that is somewhat unusual, which is really targeting his base, ridiculing the opposition and ferociously attacking the media.
[22:45:04] Now that piece I think is really to delegitimize and preemptively insulate himself from any kind of negative coverage, criticism, and investigation.
But it's a puzzle to me for somebody who clearly wants to be liked, once to be at, you know, at the center of things, why he hasn't moved more even just in tonal ways, why he wasn't moved more to the center.
I wonder whether -- either he's just being who he is or whether Steve Bannon and people like that have told him, you know, your path in is to remain this angry person who represents this frustrated angry American out there in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
LEMON: Yes. But I think strategy only works, that strategy only works for so long. Any strategy only works for so long and then you have to -- you have to evolve, otherwise you become a one-trick pony.
Because he -- before you get to -- he has fixations about the size of his electoral win -- I got to get them in here. The size of these crowds at the inauguration, his anger at the press about the ratings, right. And he goes back to those over and over and over and not necessarily at the appropriate time or place as we have been witnessing here. Do you think that these fixations as Howard Stern says, that ties into it?
BASH: Yes. Look, I mean, I think we're getting into, you know, sort of...
BASH: ... psychiatry which can be dangerous but you know, we might as well. Because we're all trying to figure out how this is going to go...
LEMON: It's also about strategy.
BASH: ... and how it's going to affect. Yes, totally about strategy. But on that I think that Fareed is exactly right. That he definitely has people around him saying you got to keep going and you got to keep delivering for the people who brought you here and those are the people who want you to be the disrupter, they want you to not do business as usual, they want you to do things that are different. That's why they were so excited about the notion of you being in the White House.
Having said that, this is also a 70-year-old man who as you were saying earlier has been this way as we've seen him on page -- you know, pages of the newspaper and in our living room for decades. He has this kind of -- these two personality traits that seem to be contradictory.
One is what Howard Stern talked about, that he really wants to be liked.
BASH: But the other is that he also wants to win.
BASH: And sometimes many times to win you can't be liked.
LEMON: Yes. And that's going to have to be the last word. Your contribution is going to have to be this and -- thank you everyone. I appreciate it.
When we come right back, the movie the New York Times calls life altering, may make you rethink race in America.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: And you're going to really enjoy this conversation, so sit back and watch this. It's Black History Month and this country is grappling as never before with race and how to think about it like never before.
One of the most profound writers and thinkers on the subject was James Baldwin. He's the subject of a new movie and it's called "I Am Not Your Negro" and the director, Raoul Peck joins me now.
I watched this today. It's fascinating. It's great. And you know, this is one of my heroes. Why did you make this documentary and we'll talk about what it's about. Why did you do this?
RAOUL PECK, "I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO" DIRECTOR: Well, I felt I had no choice than to make this film. I felt that it was time that we hear again this rich voice of James Baldwin. We have started somehow to forget him, to forget the role he plays in the life of many people in this country and throughout the world.
Personally, he changed my life. I read -- you know, the first book I read from him was "The Fire Next Time."
PECK: And I never left him since then.
LEMON: "God gave me the rainbow sign and I will water the fire next time." That was my second book. My first was the "Giovanni's Room," right, and then the second one was "The Fire Next Time" with letter to my nephew, and then "Another Country" and then the "Price of the Ticket" and then "Tell me How Long the Train's Been Gone."
But he got me interested in writing and also got me interested or at least as I say, he sort of awakened the learning part of me about race and issues in America.
PECK: And he saw beyond race.
LEMON: He did.
PECK: he never saw race as reduced agenda.
PECK: He taught us to see the whole world and to see each other as human beings and not to be reduced by the color of our skin.
LEMON: I'm just watching your film today, he said, they say I'm a racist. I'm not. Or I'm not a racist. Malcolm X is a racist, or at least that's what they say.
LEMON: Which is interesting, right, he said, they call me a racist but I'm not a racist. So it's in his -- in his own words, these are notes that he had before he died, and he only got about 30 pages in and you took that and ran with it.
PECK: Well, he wanted to write that book about three of his friends all three assassinated. Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. And it was supposed to be about America, unlike the definite Baldwin book. And he never wrote it.
So when I discovered that document, those notes, I thought well, this is a film. Because knowing all Baldwin, I know that somewhere this book was around somewhere buried in his body of work. So the film for me was finding that book. And the film is only with Baldwin's words that I got throughout his whole body of work, thanks to the estate who gave me total access to everything, published, unpublished. Privately reproduced...
LEMON: It's great.
PECK: And that's unprecedented.
PECK: That never happened.
LEMON: All right. This is a clip from the movie and it's about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The church was packed and in the pew before me sat Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis, Eartha Kitt. (Inaudible) And so, Harry Belafonte sitting next to Loretta King. I have a childhood hand over thing about not weeping in public.
[22:55:05] And I was concentrating and holding myself together. I did not want to weep for Martin. Tears seemed futile. But I may also have been afraid. And I could not have been the only one. That if I began to weep, I would not be able to stop.
I started to cry and I stumbled. Sammy grabbed my arm.
The story of the Negro in America is the story of America. It is not a pretty story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It's unbelievable. Do you think -- he witnessed so much. The death of Malcolm X, the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Egers, he is alive in the Civil Rights movement got to witnessed and write about that. When I say witness, I mean in his writing. He was ahead of his time when explaining race -- he took a lot of risks. Even his own life.
PECK: Absolutely. And he was prescient; he felt all the fundamentals of this -- of those issues. And you know, imagine he wrote all those words 50 years ago, and you feel that as if he sat down this morning.
PECK: and wrote about them. It's incredible that you can use any type of image between the times of the Civil Rights to today. It will fit those words.
LEMON: I was watching in the film when he did the interview with Dick Cavett and there was a -- it was a Harvard professor...
PECK: From Yale.
LEMON: ... Yale professor who came in and said, "Why do you keep dividing people by race and whatever," and he just read the guy and explained it to him. And I feel like, you know, I'm still having those conversations, we're still having the same conversations today.
PECK: Absolutely. Because a big part of the population is in denial.
PECK: They refuse to acknowledge this common history.
PECK: And until we are able to do that, we will continue to have the same conversation again and again.
LEMON: Yes. Part of my favorite quote when I go out and speak to students usually, I read the quote from the book "The Letter to my Nephew" and he says, at the end of the "The Letter to my Nephew," he says, "It will be hard, James" -- his nephew is James. And his younger nephew and he is trying to explain to him about the world and that he wants him to have strength. And there are things, certain things that he is going to have to overcome. And he said, "It will be hard, James, but you come from a sturdy
peasant stock. Men, who pick cotton in Dam Rivers and built row roads in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity. You come from a long line of great poets."
"Some of the greatest poets send his homework. One of them said at the very time I thought I was lost my dungeon shook and my change got off." And that's a Negro spiritual there. "You know and I know that this country is celebrating 100 years of freedom, 100 years too soon." Meaning, emancipation, proclamation.
"We cannot be free until they are free. God bless you, James. And God speed."
And that is the thing that awakened me and I try to read it every time I go and speak to students. Your film is fascinating.
PECK: Thank you.
LEMON: I thank you for doing it and I would recommend that all people watch it, not just African-Americans. Congratulations on your work and good luck. Thank you so much.
Coming back, is President Trump drawing a line in the sand on Iran and what does he mean when he says Tehran is on notice?
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)