Return to Transcripts main page


Discussion of Sean Spicer "SNL" Treatment; Senate Dems Starting 24-Hour Protest Over DeVos; Putin Demanding Apology from Fox News. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 6, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Alec Baldwin is not the only Hollywood star taking a comedic stab at the Trump presidency. Emmy award winning actress Melissa McCarthy has joined the "SNL" administration as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. In case you missed it. Here is just one clip.


MELISSA MCCARTHY, SNL COMIC PLAYING SEAN SPICER: Before we begin, I know that myself and the press have gotten off to a rotten start. All right. All right. All right. All right. In the sense -- when I said rocky start, I mean it in the sense of Rocky the movie because I came out here to punch you in the face, and also I don't talk so good. I would like to begin today by apologizing on behalf of you to me for how you have treated me these last two weeks. And that apology is not accepted. Because I'm not here to be your buddy. I'm here to swallow gum, and I'm here to take names.

All right. You guys still aren't getting it. You need some props? My words too big? I got to show new pictures? Great OK. Here we go. When it comes to these decisions, the constitution gives our President lots of power. And Steve Bannon is the key adviser.


BALDWIN: Oh, hi, guys. Paul Mercurio, Emmy award winning comedian, Judy Gold, comedian and Emmy award winning writer and producer. Great to have both of you on. Let's talk about, you know, that, Melissa McCarthy. I got the skinny -- let me pull up, Collin Jost you may be watching, he told me and I don't think he would mind me telling everyone, it was Collin Jost, one of the head writers and Kent Sublette who I guess they had been wanting to do a Sean sketch. I guess Kent knew Melissa and they floated the idea to Melissa and she killed it.

PAUL MERCURIO, EMMY AWARD WINNING COMEDIAN: Absolutely. She was great. I didn't see it coming. You expected somebody to do Sean Spicer because he has been so front and center. And so confrontational, and I am surprised they got upset about it because that's the relationship with the press that they wanted. They called them the opposing party. If the press and the Trump administration went on Jerry Springer they would say we don't want you, too confrontational even for jerry springer. So, I don't know why they get upset about this. JUDY GOLD, COMEDIAN, EMMY AWARD WINNING WRITER, PRODUCER: I read that Sean laughed.

BALDWIN: He did. We have some of his reaction. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a White House daily briefing today but he did talk to Extra. This is what he said.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think Melissa McCarthy needs to slow down on the gum chewing. Way too many pieces in there.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about Alec and his portrayal?

SPICER: He has gone from funny to mean. And that's unfortunate. "Saturday Night Live" used to be really funny. And I think there is a streak of meanness now that they have kind of crossed over into.


BALDWIN: Go ahead, Judy. Kind of right, I think he thought it was sort of fun.

GOLD: I think he thought it was fun. Look, Donald Trump -- they have no sense of humor about themselves. They take themselves so seriously.

BALDWIN: Who is the they here? The administration.

GOLD: Yes. The Trump -- the Bannon -- we haven't done a Bannon yet, we kind of, had the Darth Vader. But Trump takes himself so seriously. And it's such a turnoff. You know, we talked about this last time. Like being on parodied on "SNL" it's like a rite of passage.


GOLD: Oh, my god. They are writing about me I am in the zeitgeist. I'm important. Hilarious. He cannot take a joke. He doesn't even know where the joke is. And the truth is funny. Unfortunately, you can say that's mean, like he was saying it's mean, gotten mean, it's truthful.

[15:35:00] MERCURIO: You know it's funny they bring up mean because his whole Trump campaign was we are not going to be PC anymore. I can read his tweets right now, we all know how mean they have been. And suddenly Spicer said she could have dialed it back a little bit and she said that Trump -- Alec Baldwin has been mean spirited. You can't do that. It is sort of like if you are at a restaurant and you want to send the soup back because there is a fly in it but you can't do that if you have burned the restaurant down. They have erased all PC lines and then suddenly applied PC standards to things that they feel --

GOLD: But they love that.

BALDWIN: The fact that they have Steve Bannon as this, do you think that's going a little far?


MERCURIO: I wish I thought of it.

GOLD: You cannot ask a comic about going too far.

MERCURIO: It's the truth.

GOLD: We say things to one another we would never say to other people.

MERCURIO: But it's the truth.

GOLD: It is the truth. That's -- this is how people see them.

BALDWIN: Not all people. Not all people.

GOLD: A lot of people. Enough people that they would laugh, most of these audience.

BALDWIN: Do you think this will become thing, will Melissa come back.

MERCURIO: I hope so.

GOLD: I cannot believe she didn't laugh.

BALDWIN: And as a woman.

GOLD: Even better.

MERCURIO: The other thing is sort of like Trump made fun of a disabled reporter, if they tried to do a sketch on "SNL."

BALDWIN: Which he denied.

MERCURIO: I think he did it.

GOLD: He did do it so he can deny whatever he wants.

MERCURIO: Suddenly, we are applying standards to comedians that we are not applying to the most powerful man in the free world. He essentially made fun of a disabled person. If "SNL" had they done that, people would have been fired. There is a line that they create when they want to create it, and they apply standards to comedians that they don't apply to elected politicians. It seems like they are trying to turn the tables.

GOLD: Right.

BALDWIN: You know that -- you know, some other people would say that "SNL" skews left and you look at what they did with Sarah Palin versus let's say singing the ode to President Obama the other week. I mean --

GOLD: You know look what they did to Clinton, to Bill Clinton. It skewed right during that period. It's really what is in pop culture, what is on everyone's mind, and what the general, you know feeling is about what is going on. And they grab that. They grab what is --

BALDWIN: What is it do you think -- she was hilarious. Picking out the power cord and the key and the mousse and the lamb, who thought of that.

MERCURIO: You look at his first press conference. It was 45 minutes, no questions were taken, and he yelled at the press about the pictures of the inauguration. That's the tone that they set.


MERCURIO: So, you can't set that tone and so you can't set that tone and be upset when you pick out all these nuances of him with that high voice, even the jacket -- the jacket gap in the back.

BALDWIN: Little too large.

MERCURIO: Everything was perfectly done.

GOLD: The fact she didn't crack up. I was waiting for her to break. But it is, it's true, comedy is about the truth. Those little tiny things that you might not notice and then you see it and you are like oh, my god that's exactly he what he does. And it was -- it was brilliant. And it was, yes, it was an exaggeration, but it's based on the truth.

MERCURIO: Aren't you both concerned? He gets upset about -- he gets his feelings hurt about an "SNL" sketch. That's what happens now. If North Korea -- that's -- when you make people your enemy, they don't say nice things about you. When North Korea points a missile at us is he going to like --

BALDWIN: I have a feeling everybody at "SNL" gathers around and they are waiting.

GOLD: I'm sure they wait until the last minute to finish writing the show.

MERCURIO: We talked about this when I was on before, the predominant jokes are about him now because he has been elected. He gives the funny. I've been in a writer's room. We don't go and say we need 40 percent to be about Trump. It's what rises to the level that's the best stuff that you can do. That's the standard.

BALDWIN: Melissa McCarthy, she is a brilliant girl.

GOLD: Hilarious.

BALDWIN: Great to see you.

Now to this, they may have pulled off the greatest Super Bowl victory ever. At least one Patriots player is saying he is not taking part in the time honored traditional of visiting the White House. Hear his reasons ahead. And a bit of breaking news on Capitol Hill. You have the Democrats

they are starting a 24 hour protest this afternoon. They are holding the Senate floor over the vote for Trump's education nominee. What they need is one more Republican to flip, one more Republican to oppose Betsy DeVos ahead of that full confirmation tomorrow. We'll take you to Capitol Hill. This is CNN special live coverage.


BALDWIN: Escalating violence in Ukraine following Russia's violation of a cease-fire is bringing home the important role President Trump is playing in the region. Vice President Mike Pence says the Trump administration is, quote, unquote, very troubled and watching how Russia responds n. A phone call over the weekend President Trump pledged to help restore peace with Russia but Trump's hopes for good relations with Russia and his stated respect for Putin is stoking fears in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding an apology from Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for calling him a killer. This comes after this interview just yesterday with the President where once again he defends Vladimir Putin.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you respect Putin?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I do expect him.

O'REILLY: Do you? Why?

TRUMP: Well, I respect a lot of people. But that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him. He is a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.

O'REILLY: He is a killer though, Putin is a killer?

TRUMP: Lot of killers. We have got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?


[15:45:00] BALDWIN: Joining me now, CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty. Jill, explain the me why the President keeps defending Putin over and over and over again.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FORMER MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, I can't do that as you probably know. I think that is a question. It is pretty extraordinary what we have going on. I mean, right now you have the spokesperson for Vladimir Putin asking for an apology from Fox News for calling Putin a killer. I mean, you could not make this up. This is like a novel. But it actually is happening. And I think you know, Brooke, to be a little bit more serious, what you have is that extraordinary statement by the President, President Trump, saying essentially the United States kills too, so kind of we're all equal.

And then you have the more serious part, which is Ukraine. And that's what you were talking about. This -- the administration, the Trump administration is now taking, at least in public statements by officials, a pretty tough line. And that is something that Russia probably is not that happy about. There's no sign of sanctions being relieved or anything like that. And I was just on line on twitter, of course, what else, and there is an official that we often quote. He is a Russian official. Tweets a lot. He is a member of parliament. He said, in English, he said Vice President Pence says that he is watching Russia. And that's as Russia is watching the United States. A lot of mutual watching. So, there is a little bit of pushback now from the Russians as reality sets in.

BALDWIN: On that, on everyone watching one another and the violence in Ukraine, Jill, what is the possibility that this is Russia testing the administration?

DOUGHERTY: I definitely think they are. Part of it is testing. There are things that are happening that could be under the control of Russia in Ukraine. Some of it is not actually under Russian control. But this is a test. I mean, does the United States President say -- actually not react? That's one thing. And initially they didn't really -- this administration didn't really say that much in a statement by the state department and then that was followed by the Nikki Haley statement, which was quite strong, blaming Russia, and you know, again, very strong, very critical. And then there was another statement which was a little bit more in the middle talking about the fighting along the border. So, you have got a lot of, I would say, mixed messages coming out from the Trump administration.

BALDWIN: What is the result of that?

DOUGHERTY: I think the Russians are standing back and saying hmm we liked what he said during the campaign. We liked some of the things that he says, especially that comment about aren't we all killers. But then they are not sure what he is going to do with policy. The, rubber will hit the road with what policies are you going to pursue.

BALDWIN: Jill Dougherty, as always, thank you so much on all things Russia.

Now to this. The Super Bowl. I don't have to tell you, that it's about more than just football this. Year's commercials getting post game buzz because of their political messages. There was one in particular that was filmed live that had a lot of us reaching for the tissues.


UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I've got my wife Emily, my 4-year-old daughter Hadley. The hardest thing about this deployment, can't really explain it too well. Just daddy's got to go to work again.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I have my fiance Danielle and my 2-year-old son are the world to me. It's tough for him to understand because he is used to me just being there.

TRICIA STROUCH, CORPORAL, U.S. ARMY: I'm corporal Tricia Strouch. I've been on four years now. Being away is pretty rotten just worried about my son growing up and missing daily things that he does. Oh, my god!


BALDWIN: Oh, I just got goose bumps all over again.

[15:50:00] Peter Berg is on the phone with me, the man who directed that ad, who also directed "Patriots Day," Mr. Friday Night Lights. Peter I am a fan. Thank you for jumping on the phone with me as you are leaving Houston. First of all, just wow. How -- just, to me seeing the one service member, the woman, reaching out to her toddler, it brings tears to your eyes. What was the response from the soldiers and their families?

PETER BERG, FILM DIRECTOR: Well, we were all crying. I mean, it was -- first of all, thanks for having me on and talking about this spot, and helping you know bring more attention to what our soldiers and our military families are going through. I appreciate that. I made a lot of films, and I had my crew with me. And we were in this big TV truck at the Super Bowl cutting live between Poland where the soldiers were and in Houston stadium where the families were. And when we -- and I have some big old jaded guys that have been doing this for years and when those soldiers started crying I looked to my left and right and all the big tough guys were crying along with them in the truck.

We were all very emotional. And it was just a very genuine moment and a genuine experience. It's hard to find those. But it was really emotional to see, you know, what these soldiers are going through, living in bases that we've never even heard of, in ice cold Poland while we all get to watch the Super Bowl. Moment and a genuine experience. It's hard to find those. But it was really emotional to see, you know, what these soldiers are going through, living in bases that we've never even heard of, in ice cold Poland while we all get to watch the super bowl. So, it felt great to be able to bring the soldiers together with their family. Emotional.

BALDWIN: Peter, how did you pull this off? What did you guys do?

BERG: It was fairly crazy from a technological standpoint. Everybody was joking because they knew I was at the super bowl, and they were asking me how I enjoyed the game. And I was -- I didn't really -- I don't even know that there was a game. I heard that New England won. But we were -- we were -- had a couple satellites and had a hundred people, a hundred crew members in Poland on the base. We had these virtual reality pods on the base that the soldiers could sit in. We had flown their families into Houston and put them up in a sky box with virtual reality cameras in the sky box.

We had everything all set and ready to go, and then we just crossed our fingers, said a prayer and went live and hoped it all worked. Fortunately, it did. I had a great team. I have a lot of respect for Hyundai, for that company, because you really wouldn't even know it was a car commercial. They weren't about that, you know, they really wanted to create this experience. It was deeply emotional for all of us involved. BALDWIN: I appreciate your work. Obviously, you know, huge props to

your team. Just to reiterate the men and women in uniform who serve and protect each and every day, we are so grateful for them. Thank you for doing this and for hopping on the phone with me. I truly appreciate it.

BERG: I appreciate it. Have a great day. Thank you.

BALDWIN: You got it. Same to you. Safe travels home.

Next, we have a bit of breaking news from Capitol Hill. Democrats starting this 24-hour protest holding the Senate floor over the vote for President Trump's education nominee. Will this work? You're watching CNN special live coverage.


BALDWIN: Senate Democrats are in the midst of taking to the chamber floor for the next 24 hours. They're hoping to derail the nomination of Betsy DeVos, President Trump's choice for the next education secretary. This is coming as the Senate gets ready to hold a vote tomorrow. Phil Mattingly is on The Hill for us, our Congressional correspondent. I imagine this is all about getting one more Republican, Phil, to flip.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the goal, right. On their own, Democrats don't have the capacity to block the nomination, despite the outcry they have seen from outside the Capitol Hill over the last couple weeks. Because of that fact they're trying to delay the process as long as possible, hope that the thousands of calls pouring into Capitol Hill and thousands of e-mails pouring into Capitol Hill could quite possibly flip a Republican senator to their side of things. As it currently stands, according to Republican aides I have been talking to all day, there is no indication of that happening. Despite Democrats' best efforts and the long, final broadside they have directed at Betsy DeVos on the Senate floor over the course of today, it's unlikely or at this point not at all possible that they'll block the nomination. What you are seeing is a reaction to a very strong outcry from outside the capital. Democrats trying to ride the wave to block the first nominee. As it stands now, Betsy DeVos still will be confirmed tomorrow with vice President mike pence deciding -- casting the deciding vote, Brooke.

BALDWIN: What about, Phil, Neil Gorsuch, the supreme court nominee. Who is he meeting with today? Why is he there?

MATTINGLY: He is making the rounds. This is par for the course for a supreme court nominee. Why today is different is he is starting to meet with the so-called red state Democrats, the Democrats up for re- election in 2018 who come from states Donald Trump won handily. These are important. If Senate Republicans are not going to have to use that nuclear option, are going to be able to get 60 votes, they'll need eight Democrats to come along. The eight Democrats that outside groups are targeting with advertising campaigns, that the white house is targeting as well for pressure tactics are the eight Democrats in those red states. Neil Gorsuch sitting down with those senators today. These are incredibly important meetings, and part of this incredibly important process. If he wants these Democrats to come along with him, these closed-door meetings are often what can help to seal the deal before the actual confirmation hearing, brook.

BALDWIN: Phil Mattingly, thank you very much there for us on Capitol Hill. Appreciate you.

Reminder on CNN it's debate night tomorrow with two former Presidential candidates, Senator Bernie Sanders faces off with Senator Ted Cruz over the future of Obamacare. 8:00, 9:00 eastern here on CNN.

We'll send it to "The Lead" early, shall we? I am Brooke Baldwin here in New York. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.