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Report: Trump Says Obama Likes Me; Obama on Vacation at Branson's Island; Tonight, Appeals Court Hears Arguments on Travel Ban. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 7, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump has criticized the Obama administration, but during that pre-super bowl interview Trump said he and former President Barack Obama have a good relationship. In fact, he took it a step further and he said they like each other.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: You guys seem to get along, all right, would that be accurate?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's a very strange phenomenon, we get along, I don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me.

O'REILLY: How do you know he likes you?

TRUMP: I like him because I can feel it. Because that's what I do in life, like I understand.


BALDWIN: Brianna Keilar is with me, a senior white house correspondent, such a rich sound bite. President Obama would not like a single thing that President Trump has done these last two weeks but there's something to be said about these two having a friendship.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: To hear Donald Trump say apparently, they do, I mean I will tell you having interviewed Donald Trump in person you do have this other side of him that is very charming and engaging. And we heard about the first meeting that President Obama and President-elect Trump had in the oval office, and it seemed very civil. That seems to be the done, of course, he would not be very happy with what has been going on. And I think you see that by the fact that President Obama has weighed in, this was quite the extraordinary step, Brooke, as you noted on your program, he weighed in through a spokesperson on the travel ban. And basically, did this because it met that litmus test for him that he felt it violated American values, he was pretty civil in his criticism but weighed in nonetheless.

[15:35:00] And that is significant.

BALDWIN: Staying on President Obama and looking at these pictures of him, Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson's island. Can we say on TV that President Obama is jacked?

KEILAR: Well, you just said it. He seems to have had some time to perhaps to spend some time in the gym. He did make a regular habit of that as President, he has been relaxing but come on if you were on Richard Branson's private island and spending days kite boarding how excited and relaxed are you going to look?

BALDWIN: I just wonder where is Michelle?

KEILAR: She was there but not kite boarding.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. We are hours away from legal arguments over President Trump's travel ban, we will speak to a conservative Republican who has welcomed Muslim refugees in his Virginia home. He and his daughter share their eye-opening experience with us.


BALDWIN: Welcome back, you're watching CNN I'm Brooke Baldwin a couple of hours from now federal appeals court will hear arguments on whether to lift

the temporary restraining order against President Trump's travel ban and as this moves forward a number of families affected by the ban in recent weeks are finally reunited with their loved ones, here is a look.


HANI AMRANI, REUNITED WITH 3-YEAR OLD SON: I was so worried about my family. I cannot send them back to Yemen, it's a war zone. My family is here.

[15:40:00] Just like I said in the beginning nobody above the law, even the President.

FARZANEH KALINIFAR: DAUGHTER OF IRANIAN IMMIGRANTS: We're not here to harm you, I'm immigrant, I'm Muslim but I think there are bad people, good people in every religion.

MUSTAPHA MOHAMED: FORMER U.S. MILITARY INTERPRETER: I'm very tired from the trip, but when I see the people, I'm very, very happy and I feel I'm home really.

MATTHEW ASSALI: DETAINED IN PHILADELPHIA, SENT BACK TO SYRIA: We don't know what happened. We played by the rules, we don't do anything wrong.

FUAD SULIMAN, FORMER U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERPRETER: Please allow me to thank all the people of America that supported me, especially my fellow --


BALDWIN: That is a look at some of those reunions and now refugees have been receiving help for years, one man has been taking in families in for decades long before any talk of a travel ban. He is a lifelong Republican with strong Christian values and sharing the stories of these refugees.


RICH MCKINLESS, REPUBLICAN WHO HOSTS MUSLIM REFUGEES: One thing we learned that I didn't expect was how difficult the decision to leave was for many of these families. Raheem and Rahana both come from big families, they have six and seven respective siblings that they said goodbye to earlier this year maybe forever. They are paying a price most of us couldn't imagine in choosing a new home.


BALDWIN: I have Rich joining us along with his daughter Ashley, she's the associate editor with "America, The Jesuit Review" she recently wrote about her dad's generosity, so it is wonderful to have you on. Nice to meet both of you.


RICH MCKINLESS: Thanks for having us, Brooke.


BALDWIN: Rich, to you first, why did you do this for years and years?

RICH MCKINLESS: Well, we're blessed to have four children, so once they started leaving the home, we had lots of space to take in anyone who night need space and more recently because my wife Kathy works for the Catholic Church we learned to volunteer for host families trying to resettle here in the Washington area and seemed like a natural way to offer help.

BALDWIN: Let me read a little bit more about you according to your dear daughter. "My parents are no bleeding-heart liberals, they are not protesters, did not vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, but they are Christians, and they love the United States and for them that has always meant welcoming the lonely, the homeless, the foreigner. I can scarcely remember a time growing up when we did not a cousin or friend of a friend or a complete strange living in the guest room."

What did you, Ashley, just as a young American girl learn from these families?

ASHLEY MCKINLESS: I learned hospitality, welcoming the stranger is not a burden, it's really a joy, an opportunity to learn about people who are different from you and to create lifelong friendships with those people. Raheem and Rahana who lived with us recently, we became friends and they came to my sister's wedding and we decorated Christmas cookies with them in December and I really feel like I've been enriched by this experience.

BALDWIN: It's wonderful. But, Rich, I have to ask, this may be a tough one to answer, did you ever when you took these families in year after year, did you ever get any funny looks from neighbors or anyone at church wondering why you were doing this? RICH MCKINLESS: Honestly, never, in fact, it was a village

experience, our neighbors always helped out. In the case of Raheem and Rahana and their kids when they were ready to move from their short stay with us to their own apartment in Manassas, neighbors donated furniture, we collected video tapes to help their youngsters to learn English, so everybody saw as an opportunity to jump in and welcome new Americans.

BALDWIN: So, as I mentioned, you all have been doing this for years.

[15:45:00] And now it's all in the bloodstream with this conversation about the President's travel ban, and when you look at the polling, it's nearly 47 percent support this travel ban, a lot of them are your fellow Republicans who think this ban is indeed necessary to keep people out of this country who maybe want to do bad things to Americans, Ashley what would you say to them?

ASHLEY MCKINLESS: I would say there has been a lot of fear driving the conversation around migrants and refugees over the past year or two. And I think this election showed us that you don't address people's fears by calling them irrational or even throwing facts even if the facts are true, I thought the best way to kind of change the direction of the conversation about refugees was to show faces and tell stories which demonstrate our common humanity, which is why I wanted to share my dad's story. Because it not only challenges Republicans or others who are afraid of these refugees, who do not want to welcome them into our country but also people on the other side that might demonize Republicans as xenophobic instead of trying to get to the root of the fear and address that.

BALDWIN: Ashley, quite the assignment for you reporting on your family, good job, Ashley and Rich McKinless. Thank you.

Coming up next, here is a quote," I will destroy his career." A warning from the very top to an unnamed Texas state senator.


HAROLD EAVENSON, SHERIFF, ROCKWELL COUNTY, TEXAS: I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.

TRUMP: Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We'll destroy his career.



BALDWIN: So, today President Trump met with local sheriffs from all around the country at the White House and now a Texas state senator's career could be in the crosshairs of president. So, while taking questions around this table, this sheriff from Rockwell county, Texas complained to the president that unnamed Texas state senator wants to make it harder for law enforcement in the state to get control of assets forfeited by drug traffickers. Here is the exchange. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAROLD EAVENSON, SHERIFF, ROCKWELL COUNTY, TEXAS: We have a state senator in Texas that was talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we can receive that forfeiture money. And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.

TRUMP: Who is the state senator? Want to give his name, we'll destroy his career.


BALDWIN: We'll destroy his career. Todd Gillman, Washington bureau chief of the "Dallas Morning News." Do you even know who this state senator that he is calling out?

TODD GILLMAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: We have been trying, my colleagues in Austin have been working for the

past several hours to figure it out, we have to down to three or four state senators. There are two, one Republican and one Democrat who have supported legislation of the sort that the sheriff was complaining about. One of them is a woman which narrows it down because the sheriff who is very clear I spoke with the sheriff a few hours ago. It is definitely a man. There are two other male Republican senators, all of these folks -- and we're pretty sure it's one of those two. All of these Republicans are civil libertarians who say it's terrible the government can come in and take your assets before you've even been convicted and the sheriff feels like, you know, we're usually pretty sure the dog is alert on this money, it's been around drugs. You saw his exchange with the President. The President kind of called out the senator whoever he is.

BALDWIN: And whoever this mystery state senator is, we'll have to wait and see how or, you know, if he responds to what the President said around that round table. What did you make of that conversation today at the White House with those sheriffs, Todd?

GILLMAN: I thought it was a very interesting joke. It's very hard to imagine President Obama or President Bush or the previous President saying I will destroy someone's career even as a joke. On the other hand, does anyone really think that President Trump is keeping kind of Nixonian enemies list as result of this brief encounter with the leadership of National Sheriffs Association? I don't think so. It does help project this tough guy persona that President Trump likes to project. Is he going to follow through on these sorts of threats? Probably not to this level.

BALDWIN: While I have you, just quickly, ahead tonight we have this face-off between Senator Sanders and Senator Cruz. You know, you being with the "Dallas Morning News," I just wanted to ask you, there is this great clip of our Manu Raju walking with Senator Cruz on Capitol Hill yesterday just before the elevator shut. He was saying, listen, on Obamacare President Trump made a promise to the Americans repeal and replace this year whereas President Trump the last couple of days has said, maybe 2018. What do you think Senator Cruz says tonight?

GILLMAN: I think Senator Cruz is going to back up President Trump because what we've seen since they made up a few months ago, and Cruz jumped back on board the Trump bandwagon is that Cruz has really been a wing man for President Trump. We saw very early in the primaries that they were closely allied. There is virtually no upside for Cruz to be sniping at Trump. They are aligned politically. I think he is looking forward to this debate tonight going back to his college debate days. He doesn't really speak for the white house, but my suspicion is that he will speak in favor of the white house.

BALDWIN: We'll see tonight here on CNN. Todd, thank you. Todd Gillman at the White House with "Dallas Morning News." Still ahead hear on CNN, President Trump's senior advisor Kellyanne Conway joins CNN for a live interview. Stay right here.


BALDWIN: House Speaker Paul Ryan insisting today he intends to pass legislation this year to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something else. The speaker's announcement though contradicts suggestions by President Trump that such a move may have to wait until next year.


PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So, we do have plans. Our committees are busy underway doing this, and yes, we're going to have a great conversation with our fellow citizens about how it is our mission to rescue the health care system from its imminent collapse, and to give people something better. And we hope to get this done as fast as possible because families are counting on us.


BALDWIN: Speaker Ryan maintains getting Congressman Tom Price confirmed as the next secretary of health and human services will help the process and called on the Senate to vote on his nomination. Quick reminder again tonight here on CNN, senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz will be debating the future of Obamacare. Join Jake Tapper and Dana Bash for that, 9pm eastern and pacific. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me, "The Lead" with Jake Tapper is next.