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Top Candidates for National Security Adviser Announced; President Trump's First Rally Since Taking Office; President Trump Slammed An Orthodox Jewish Reporter in Press Conference; Undocumented Immigrant Mother of Four Holed Up in Colorado Church; "Saturday Night Live" on a Roll with Melissa McCarthy as White House Spokesman. Aired 4:00-5:00p ET

Aired February 18, 2017 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And on the other side of your screen, you see all the people there to see Trump inside that airport hangar.

Now, while it's unclear exactly what Mr. Trump is campaigning for, two things are understood. The president is in need of a serious boost. And he wants to take a bleak control of the narrative coming out of the White House.

This morning Mr. Trump tweeting, don't believe the mainstream fake news media. The White House is running very well. I inherited a mess and am in the process of fixing it.

And we know at least one thing the president hopes to fix this weekend, and that's finding a national security adviser to replace Michael Flynn. So far Mr. Trump has already been turned down by at least one person. And we are hearing various reasons why, including concerns the White House is too chaotic. The president says he has a lot of meetings lined up however.

CNN's Athena Jones is following the president.

Athena, can we expect to see classic campaign Trump today?


I would say absolutely. The answer is yes. We know that campaign rallies are where the president has felt most comfortable. These are events that energize him. We also know that his goal here so to get around the media filter. He doesn't want to be edited or interpreted or contextualized. He wants to speak directly to his fans, to his crowd.

We expect to hear a lot of the kind of rhetoric we heard on the campaign trail. Will be talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare, the need to build a wall on the southern border. We also expect he could go through the list. We heard him detail at Thursday's press conference of the accomplishments he feels he has achieved in his first four weeks in office. This is something that we know the president is very, very much looking forward to. And as you mentioned, the White House is describing this as a campaign

rally. The campaign is paying for it and we should note that he filed a form with the federal election commission on inauguration day indicating that he plans to run again. So the campaign continues, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, that is the big question. Is this what we are looking ahead already to 2020? As all this is going on, as he is heading to Florida right now, and I know it's tough to hear at the rally. What's his latest in terms of his search for a national security adviser, the next one? The three candidates that he is interviewing, is there a front-runner?

JONES: That's right. He I talking to several potential candidates. I believe we have photos of some of them. One is lieutenant general HR McMaster. Another is the acting, the current acting national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, he is a retired lieutenant-general. But the front-runner that has emerged is the former ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. Bolton has the support of people like Texas senator Ted Cruz who told CNN that he sees Bolton as a very, very strong potential national security adviser because he understands the threat from radical Islamic terrorism.

Bolton also has the support of several political staffers on the national Security Council who say he is something of an outsider, something that would appeal to President Trump. But that he also has a deep knowledge of Washington and of the way the foreign policy process works. So those are things that are acting in the former ambassador's favor.

We also understand that he is close with CIA director Mike Pompeo and with the vice president, Mike Pence. A senior administration official saying that Pence is extremely powerful at this point and so he may have some sway over who gets the job. But of course it's all going to come down to the president himself and who he feels most comfortable with - Pamela.

BROWN: And whether they take the job.

Athena Jones, thank you very much. I do appreciate it.

Let's talk it over with Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner" and David Fahrenthold, he is a reporter for the "Washington Post."

Thank you both for coming on.

David, first to you. Just put this in the context for us. Is this unusual for a president to hold a campaign event just less than a month in office when there is no specific reason other than to want to go out there and connect, reconnect with the American people? Put it in context for us.

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, HE IS A REPORTER FOR THE "WASHINGTON POST: It's quite unusual. And most presidents want to spend their first months, their first month and maybe their whole first year focusing on the problems that they had run with the promise to solve. And to sort of take a step back from that and go back out object the campaign trail with sort of no obvious electoral goal. You know, there's no election coming up for him for the next three-plus years, that's unusual. And it's weird to hear it sort of described as kind of a psychological benefit for Trump. That President Trump is doing this because he wants to feel better about himself.

It's fine for him to do that. The question is, the things that he set out to do in office. The things that he promised to do, does this end up being a distraction from those tasks? Which is really what he's supposed to be doing right now.

BROWN: It comes on the heels of this press conference just a few days ago, Sarah, where he took a defensive posture and said I have accomplished a lot in less than a month in office and I'm inherited a mess from the previous administration. Now we are learning his approval rating according to Gallup is at 40 percent. Are campaigns rallies like the one tonight the key to turning that around or for Donald Trump to say, look, the media isn't getting my message out, I'm just going to do it myself this way?

[16:05:09] SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: It's an avenue for him to re-center the narrative on his earliest accomplishments. That's what he wants the media to be focusing on. And by all accounts, he is frustrated when the media is reporting on disarray within the west wing or intelligence community leaks and not focusing on his earlier executive orders. And that's what you can expect him to talk a lot about. He wants to bring the conversation back to where he thinks it should be which is, the things that he has already managed to put in place administratively.

BROWN: And you're talking about disarray, you know, David, Republican Senator John McCain had this criticism of the Trump team after the firing of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Let's listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think that the Flynn issue obviously is something that is, is -- shows that in many respects, this administration is in disarray. And they've got a lot of work to do.


BROWN: So David, is that a fair criticism? Or is this more typical of most incoming presidents?

FAHRENTHOLD: I think it is not typical of incoming presidents to have this level of upheaval, chaos, disruption within the White House. And usually they come in with a good team from their campaign, a good agenda from their campaign and they sort of set to work.

What Sarah said is interesting. I think she's right. If Trump was going out to do this any sort of rallies as a way of advancing particular policy goals, he was going to go out and say I really want to do x and now I'm going to get people riled up to call their congressman to support me in doing x. That's one thing. If it becomes just another chance to rant and rave at the media, I don't see how it helps Trump, the president, accomplish the things that he sort to set out to dot in office. It seems kind of like a diversion.

BROWN: Right. Because, you remember Obama did early on, after he was elected president. But it had to do with the stimulus package, pushing that, with Obamacare, and you wonder if he's going to rant about the media, Sarah, how much of those people inside that airport hangar care about that, care about the consternation that he has with the media and with other branches such as the judiciary and his travel ban.

WESTWOOD: Well I think that he is preaching to the choir when he is railing against the media in a room full of his own supporters. They distrust the media more than just about any institution and they love to hear him throw barbs at the media. I mean, by all accounts, his press conference on Thursday played really well with the exact kind of person who would attend one of these rallies. Even though it might have alienated some of the independents that ended up holding their nose and voting for him even though obviously turned off a lot of Democrats who never supported him. It's the exact kind of things that his supporters want to hear. And it can raise the morale of supporters who might be watching the failures of his early moves and thinking, you know, President Trump, can you really deliver on all the things you said you were going to. They might like to be reassured by hearing him resort to some tactics that were effective during the campaign.

BROWN: And David, President Trump is vowing to find and punish leakers. Let's take a listen to what he said on Thursday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leakers, Mr. President?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to find the leakers. We are going to find the leakers. They are going to pay a big price for leaking.


BROWN: So it was Michael Flynn who said to have misled the vice president about his conversations with Russia. Is Trump just looking to change the subject here? Or do you think it's working, David?

FAHRENTHOLD: I think he would like to change the subject from Michael Flynn. But I'm not sure he's going to be able to. The question of you know, he is going to try to find and punish leakers, obviously President Obama did a lot of things, more than past president, to prosecute or punish people who leaked from within government.

The Trump team seems -- there's a risk for President Trump, which is that by doing this he adds an extra level of chaos. First of all, mole hunt kind of chaos in the White House where everybody is under suspicion and aides are taking care as we have seen reported to make sure that their emails are not tracked. They are not talking on the phone. If he is adding sort of another level of paranoia to folks who could be and should sort of doing the jobs and carrying out his agenda.

One thing that's interesting about Trump is he seems to view a lot of the presidency as the interaction with the media. He doesn't seem to sort of see the government beneath him that could do all these things. He seems to see it as a way of getting better coverage for himself. And to improve that coverage through various means.

BROWN: All right. Sarah, David, stay with me. We have a lot more to discussion.

And coming up, is there a storm brewing inside the White House? "Time" magazine takes on President Trump's tumultuous first month in office.


TRUMP: I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.


BROWN: And we are standing by for President Trump's first rally since taking office. What will he say to the crowd? We will bring you his speech, live, when it happens.


[16:13:22] BROWN: A portrait of chaos inside the White House. This week's "Time" magazine cover illustrates a literal storm brewing around President Donald Trump and the oval office. Along with an article describing a crippling anxiety among officials inside the White House. It says in part quote, some aides now refuse to communicate by email, many have taken to using encrypted apps to get around the investigations Trump has ordered to clamp down on leaks. Others are skittish about even picking up the phone, assuming someone is always listening or monitoring calls.

Joining me, CNN contributor, David Fahrenthold who is a reporter for the "Washington Post" and Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner."

Welcome back to both of you.

Sarah, to you first. You cover the White House, the president as we heard in his press conference a few days ago, denies any chaos in the White House and insists that his administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. So which portrayal is accurate here?

WESTWOOD: You know, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. There's no question, though, that there has been some chaos in the early days of the west wing. And we don't know that that chaos isn't there in new administrations of all presidents. But we do know that this is playing out in a much more public way than we have seen in recent history.

There's so much loose chatter going on with members of the media. It's not clear if that's coming from disgruntled former campaign aides who were left out of the White House, from lingering Obama appointees, from disgruntled bureaucrats. But what's clear is that President Trump and his senior staff have to get a grip on this unsanctioned chatter with the media because it's undermining his agenda and it is painting this constant portrayed of chaos.

[16:15:00] BROWN: Right. I mean, David, for context and perspective again, because I think that is important if we are talking about disarray inside the Trump administration. I mean, how does this stack up from your experience to past administrations?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, in any administration there are obviously rival factions, ambitious people who want to push one another around. There is always leaks. The interesting thing here I think Trump himself could do a lot to reduce leaks by listening to people internally.

I will give you an example. The questions about Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser. Trump knew for days and days and days that Flynn had misled the vice president about what he talked to the Russian ambassador about. But Trump didn't actually act until that news about Flynn misleading him got into the news media. So Trump reacted to the news media in a way that he does not react to the normal internal channels. If Trump continues to behave that way, reacting to the media, rather than to what people tell him in his ear in the office, then there is going to be a lot more leaks, because that is how you influence him.

BROWN: And you mentioned Michael Flynn, the "Time" article says little takes place in the White House these days without a complication or contradiction and points to the dismissal of Michael Flynn. Trump's former national security adviser, as senior aides were getting ready to announce his resignation. Kellyanne Conway went on TV saying Flynn had the full confidence of the president. So where is the disconnect here, Sarah? Or does it just come down to what David said, that he did, and then the "Washington Post" breaks the story. And then that's what led to the resignation?

WESTWOOD: Well Kellyanne Conway an interesting case, because she has in the past not been afraid to go off-message and what seems to be an attempt to push the president one way or the other. Or recall that when President Trump was weighing who to choose as his secretary of state. She broke with the rest of Trump world and in saying publicly that she opposed Mitt Romney, who was then under serious consideration. That she thought it would be a slap in the face to Trump supporters if he chose Romney. And that was shocking to people because they were surprised to see Kellyanne Conway go rogue like that.

She did the same sort of thing again with Mike Flynn. And the following morning, she said that Flynn had resigned of his own volition and then Sean Spicer, the press secretary, again had to walk her comments back, by later making clear that it was President Trump's decision to remove Mike Flynn.

BROWN: Right. So they clearly seem to be some sort of a disconnect here. Meantime, former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki

wrote an op-ed on, offering advice to Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and the entire Trump team and here is what she said. She says among her suggestions, she says you need something to sell. The reason everyone is so spun out about who is up and who is down on the staff is because there is nothing else to talk about beyond toothless executive orders. This administration isn't making policy. Isn't laying out a plan for legislative action, simply saying you are very busy and active isn't cutting it push the need for an agenda. David, your take on that?

FAHRENTHOLD: I think it's a good way of describing what's going on in the Trump White House. Trump, President Trump promised a huge set of changes in the country. Many of them focused on jobs. The idea that you would see the results of what he was doing by primarily the improvement in the jobs situation. And what has happened instead the first few weeks seem to be a lot of focus on how he is portrayed in the media. The one really sweeping thing they have done policy wise has been this travel ban that turned out to be written in poorly, blocked in the courts, something that created a lot of sympathy for the other side rather than sort of, you know, policy outcomes that President Trump would want. So I think that's good advice.

There is a huge amount of focus on who is up and who is down, and that's detracting from the actual things that President Trump said he should be judged by which is policies that create jobs.

BROWN: And again, we will have to wait and see what he says as the Trump rally there in Melbourne, Florida. You can see the crowd there in the airport hangar awaiting his arrival.

And before we go, I want to get your best guess on what these two were talking about over dinner. That's "Saturday Night Live" comedian, Kate McKinnon, and the woman she portrayed quite often over the past year, of course, that would be Hillary Clinton.

Sarah, what do you think?

WESTWOOD: Maybe Hillary Clinton was congratulating her on her Jeff Sessions impression. I think that was almost as good as Hillary Clinton.

BROWN: David?

FAHRENTHOLD: I thought the same thing, too. It must have been a fascinating conversation. Two people who thought that their next four years were going to be based on Hillary Clinton being in the White House.

BROWN: Right.

WESTWOOD: Exactly.

FAHRENTHOLD: And both of them had to make alternative plans.

BROWN: Now, Kate McKinnon's next four years, I guess she's going to be Jeff Sessions for "Saturday Night Live," as Sarah pointed out.

All right. Thank you to you both. Sarah Westwood and David Fahrenthold, thank you. Do appreciate it.

And coming up on this Saturday, the reporter at the center of this highly-charged moment with the president speaks out.


TRUMP: It's not, not a simple question, not a fair question. OK. Sit down, I understand the rest of your question. So here's the story, folks.



[16:23:23] BROWN: When an orthodox Jewish reporter asked President Trump about a recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks - acts rather in the U.S., the president appeared to dodge the question in a highly charged moment during his often contentious news conference on Thursday. That reporter is now speaking out.

CNN's Sarah Ganim has the story.


SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one question the president seems either unwilling or unable to answer.

JAKE TURX, REPORTER, AMI MAGAZINE: Well we are concerned about it and what we haven't really heard being addressed is, an uptick in anti- Semitism.

GAMIN: For two days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic, anti- Semitic incidents.

GAMIN: Reporters have pressed Mr. Trump about a spike in Nazi-related vandalism. Online memes with known anti-Semitic tones and threats made against Jewish Americans, including 60 bomb threats called into 48 Jewish community centers since January. A rise in hate, the president has yet to denounce. It began on Wednesday, at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic, anti- Semitic incidents.

GAMIN: Trump's response? A defense of his election.

TRUMP: We are very honored by the victory that we had 306 Electoral College votes.

GAMIN: Then on Thursday, an even more bizarre exchange.

TRUMP: I want to find a friendly reporter.

GAMIN: When a reporter from "Ami" magazine, a Jewish publication, told the president he didn't believe he was anti-Semitic. But was concerned --

[16:25:00] TURX: I haven't seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. What we are concerned about, and what we haven't really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism.

GAMIN: Trump suggested the question was a personal attack.

TRUMP: He said he was going to ask a simple, easy question, and it's not. It's not. Not a simple question. Not a fair question. OK, sit down, I understand the rest of your question.

GAMIN: When reporters followed up, Trump lashed out.

TRUMP: Some of it written by our opponents. You do know that. Do you understand that?

GAMIN: So why not denounce anti-Semitism? Experts say it may be a political calculation.

BRIAN LEVIN, PROFESSOR, UCSB: President Trump views loyal supporters, as people to give the benefit of the doubt to, but there are times when his moral position is being eroded by his failure to throw overboard people --

GAMIN: Brian Levin studies hate groups and the radical right. He says whether he wants it or not, Trump has garnered the support of neo-Nazis and others.

LEVIN: We are beyond the point of abstract concern. We have holocaust Remembrance Day commemorated without even mentioning Jews. And by the same time, he puts his immigration restrictions. By the same token, he had opportunities to address these questions head-on and instead, tells an orthodox Jew to sit down.

GAMIN: Tonight, the interfaith alliance says Trump's repeated avoidance of the question can no longer be tolerated. The anti- defamation league calls it mind-boggling. The American Jewish community says it's worrisome and puzzling. But the orthodox Jewish reporter that Mr. Trump told to sit down seems depending the resident.

TURX: I was actually very hopeful because it show someone, a president who is so committed against this problem of anti-Semitism that it bothers him on a personal level, on a deep personal level. And it makes me very hopeful that he will work together with the community.


BROWN: Sarah Ganim, thank you so much for that report.

Meantime, the woman whose pseudonym is forever linked to the landmark Roe versus Wade ruling has died. Her real name was Norma McCorvy. She assumed the name Jane Roe to protect her privacy when she sued Texas County where abortion was illegal. That was in 1973. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and the 1973 decision, Roe versus Wade legalized abortion in the United States. According to a statement by a family friend, Norma McCorvy, Jane Roe, died this morning in Texas. She was 69 years old.

And coming up on this Saturday right here in the NEWSROOM, immigration officials want this woman right here, a mother of four, out of the country. But now she is holed up inside a church, seeking refuge.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long are you prepared to stay here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. It's possible days, months or years.



[16:31:07] BROWN: Welcome back. Taking a look here at some live pictures there of air force one in Palm Beach, Florida. President Trump's motorcade just pulling up and we expect air force one should depart shortly from Palm Beach and route to Melbourne, Florida for the president will be holding a quote "campaign rally." According to White House officials this is a campaign rally less than a month of President Trump being in office. There are large crowd there inside that airport hangar. And of course, we will bring that event to you live as soon as it happens. It supposed to begin at 5:00 p.m. eastern but it appears that the president is running a little behind for this event and we will keep you posted.

Bur right now, an undocumented immigrant, a mother of four, is holed up in a Colorado church to find ICE officials who want her deported. And she is vowing to stay as long as it takes.

CNN's Ana Cabrera has her story.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Demonstrators outside the immigration office in Colorado supporting a mother of four from Mexico, Jeanette Vizguerra, scheduled to check in with ICE. Unlike other check-ins, her attorney and pastor entered without her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to go in and talk to immigration. We will back in a second.


CABRERA: Vizguerra chose not to show up. Instead, taking refuge inside a church where she received the bad news by phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They denied her stay.

CABRERA: Her request for a temporary stay denied despite six previous stays that were granted. Vizguerra firs speechless, then in tears. Her nightmare coming true. We talked with her prior to the check-in about her fear.

VIZGUERRA: It's difficult. My kids are my life. My family is my life. It's my country. It's my house. It's the house and my kids. It's the country of my kids.

CABRERA: So this is your home.

VIZGUERRA: Yes, it's my home. I'm living more years here than my country.

CABRERA: Vizguerra came to the U.S. in 1997. She has three children ages, six, ten and twelve who are citizens, born in the U.S. Her oldest, Tania, is 26, with three children of her own. She has legal status through DACA, an Obama administration policy that protects immigrant youth from deportation.

TANIA BAEZ, DAUGHTER OF JEANETTE VIZGUERRA: She's basically the backbone of our family. So without her, my kids would not know their grandma anymore and they wouldn't see grandma.

CABRERA: This family's future in limbo since 2009 when Vizguerra was arrested following a traffic stop. She had a fake Social Security number on a job application in her car. She has been fighting deportation ever since.

Did they give you specific reasons for denying the stay this time?

HANS MEYER, ATTORNEY FOR JEANETTE VIZGUERRA: When you have a blanket deportation policy, you don't need to have specific reasons. You just say no. And that's exactly what they did.

CABRERA: The local ICE office provided the following response. Saying Jeanette Vizguerra-Ramirez from Mexico has two misdemeanor convictions. On November 18, 2011, a federal immigration judge originally issued her final orders of deportation to Mexico. Based on these factors, Vizguerra-Ramirez is an ICE enforcement priority.


BROWN: Our thanks to Ana Cabrera.

And to be clear, there are no laws that prohibit immigration officials from coming and arresting Vizguerra inside that church. But ICE has had a policy in placed that says they will not conduct enforcement operations inside places like churches or schools, unless there's an imminent danger. But of course, she knows that could always change under the Trump administration.

And joining me now to discuss our CNN political commentator, former Reagan White House commentator, Jeffrey Lord and Marc Lamont Hill, CNN political commentator and a professor at Morehouse College. Jeffrey, you just saw this piece, the level of fear and uncertainty

there around the Does President Trump in your view need to, what does he need to do to address this?

[16:35:22] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well Pamela, first of all a situation like this is heartbreaking. I'm mean, it is terrible. It is heart-rending. But you have to face the fact that this woman knew she quite deliberately broke the laws of the United States. She came here, then she broke them again with the Social Security law, getting a false Social Security number or whatever she did. So twice over she has done this. She came here. She had her children here.

You know, you cannot en masse, have people coming into this country or for that matter, any other country, and doing this. And I assure you, if the situation were reversed, and an American went to Mexico and did exactly as she has done, they would be in jail this minute.

BROWN: Marc, your take?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this speaks to a larger problem. And I think Jeffrey is right to say that the system as it stands is untenable. But the way to repair the system isn't to criminalize individual people or to demonize individual choices.

To understand why someone leaves Mexico and comes to the United States is typically doesn't do the opposite is to talk about the American economic policy, is to talk about trade policies, talk about all the broken systems that have driven people this way. The question for me is not should we do something about the system. The question is what do we do? And I think the answer is to not to militarize the wall. Not to avoid piecing families back together. To not give amnesty, to not give, you know, strong benefit to people who have worked hard and played by the rules once they have gotten here. I think if they do that, we can have a much more humane and realistic policy.

For decades, Democrats and Republicans have dropped the ball on immigration policy. I think now is time to do something serious, but we can't do that if we continue to prosecute a war against vulnerable which the President Trump has done.

BROWN: But let me just ask you, and to Jeffrey's point. I mean, he is saying this is someone, you know, broke the law in the United States, why should they have a right to stay here? What do you have to say to that, Marc, after seeing this grand story?

HILL: One thing we need to ask ourselves again is, are the laws fair and are the laws just. Part of why you see so many people in economic despair in Mexico is because of American trade policy over the last 20 years. Part of what you have seen is the impact of what happens when you have programs like NAFTA. What happens when you see people priced out of their own labor market and forced to buy their own stuff back above cost?

What you see here is really the cost of people being vulnerable and the cost of Americans who exploit the labor of people south of the border. So again, I'm not saying people shouldn't play by the rules. I'm saying let's give people some rules that are reasonable and fair and let's make some structures that reward good choices.

LORD: Pamela I have to say --

BROWN: Go ahead, Jeffrey.

LORD: I have to say my friend Marc Lamont Hill is sounding a little bit like Donald Trump there. I'm astonished. But I agree with him in part. The trade situation as it has been has unfortunately produced some of this.

BROWN: OK. Wow. This is a moment that you two are agreeing on immigration.

LORD: Kumbayah.

BROWN: Let me just move along to the sound that the president said when he said at this press conference on Thursday, about the DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, implemented by President Obama. Let's listen.


TRUMP: We are going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me. I will tell you. To me, it's one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids in many cases, no the in all cases. In some cases they are having DACA and they are gang members and they are drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids. I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. And you know the law is rough. I'm not talking about new laws. I'm talking the existing law is very rough.


BROWN: So Jeffrey, is the president saying he will not reverse DACA?

LORD: I'm not sure that he has made up his mind on this. I mean, this is exactly the kind of person you want to have sitting in the oval office, somebody that's got some heart, who also has some common sense, who also understands the importance of executing the law. But wants to do it in as careful a way as possible not to hurt some people. And in fact, people are going to be hurt. There's no question about this. This is why this problem has got to be resolved.

LORD: I want to read -- go ahead, Marc.

HILL: It's very difficult for me to imagine anyone framing Donald Trump's stance on immigration particularly south of the border as humane or reasonable or common sense. I mean you are talking about mass round-ups, you're talking about building a wall. There is nothing realistic or feasible about this instance. And even if they get done, they come at such a cost, not just to the American people, but to the global community. Again, we might agree on the fact that the policy is broken. That's

easy. Anybody can agree on that. The question is, what are the details in how we repair it? And that's what Donald Trump and I think most of not only Americans, but even his own party are in a whole other space.

[16:40:05] BROWN: But what do you say to the defenders of Trump's policy so far when you look at the immigration rates, if you want to call it that. You know, the ICE released a statement saying look, 75 percent of these people were criminals. I mean, this is our priority. We are going after criminals. Marc what do you have to say to that?

HILL: Well first of all, we have to ask what we mean by criminal. You know, oftentimes these are crimes of survival. Oftentimes these are crimes of desperation. These are crimes produced by these broken and unjust laws that Donald Trump just identified as such.

Should we go after murderers? Should we go after rapists? Absolutely. My problem with Donald Trump was never going after murderers and rapists. My problem is that when he created a stigma and discourse around these people that suggested they were all like that. That was the problem here.

Look, round up people who are breaking laws and try to fiction that leak, but don't go around demonizing and criminalizing everybody. And that is what the big picture of policy looks like from the Trump perspective. At least what he's articulated on twitter and his press releases.

BROWN: All right. And speaking of twitter, I want to read this tweet from Texas Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro. He said in Twitter Thursday after he attended an ICE meeting at the house. He said after attending the ICE meeting, it's hard not to conclude that President Trump has started his mass deportation plan.

Jeffrey, what's your response to the congressman tweeting the president has started a mass deportation plan?

LORD: Well, I think first of all, ICE has been doing what President Obama asked him to do. I mean, President Obama had a huge number of deportations here. So but there's no question, I'm sure there's a change of policy on the way here. We have got to get the situation under control. You just can't walk into the United States of America, and then settle in and get Social Security falsely and do all sorts of other things. I mean, if you did that, again if did you that in Mexico, you would be in jail pronto. And we can't have a situation where the guy who came in here, was deported five times, and then he winds up back in San Francisco, a sanctuary city and kills Kate Steining (ph), that's unacceptable.

BROWN: All right. Jeffrey Lord, Marc Lamont Hill, thank you for that civil discussion. Do appreciate it.

We will see you, gentlemen, again soon.

LORD: Thank you, Pamela. Thank you, Marc. BROWN: And coming up on this Saturday, air force one has taken off

headed to President Trump's rally in Florida. A huge crowd right now gathered to see him at a Florida airport. As a large crowd is also protesting across the street. We are going to go there live right after this quick break.


[16:46:11] BROWN: Well, people opposed to the president and his policies are also attending the Trump event right now in Melbourne, Florida. Those people are mostly gathered cross the street from the airport in Melbourne.

CNN Dan Merica is there right now -- Dan?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS PRODUCER: Hey, Pamela. Yes, I'm out here, outside of the hangar where President Trump will be speaking moments from now. But for about the last few hours, there have been, and you can you look over my shoulder, there have been hundreds of protesters here, protesting a number of Trump's policies, the wall, they are making fun of the fact that he has no head of the National Security Council and a whole host of things. You could note that they are along the road here, so they're getting a mixed reviews from the people along, along the street here.

You have Trump supporters who drive by and don't do exactly nice things. And you have people who are honking for them and cheering them on. Most of them that I have talked to said this is probably one of the first times in their lives that they have been this active politically. And that it's a reaction to November's election.

I want to bring someone in right here. This is Elizabeth. Elizabeth is from Orlando. And you were telling me why you were surprised you were here.

ELIZABETH FAELLA, PROTESTING TRUMP'S VISIT: Because I'm a little old for this kind of thing. This is, we did this in the '60s. But I felt compelled to come. Even though it's a little frightening, because this is not always an easy thing. But I don't want the world to think that this gentleman represents how we feel about immigrants, about our environment, about our justice system, about people from abroad because I'm embarrassed and I'm afraid. I have never been afraid.

MERICA: Can I ask you, did you vote in the 2016 election?

FAELLA: Of course I did.

MERICA: And you voted for Secretary Clinton?

FAELLA: I did, yes.

MERICA: And you told me you were surprised that, if I can say this, at your age that you had to be doing this. Why are you surprised?

FAELLA: Because I thought we were secure in certain fundamental principles. I'm a lawyer. I have worked all my life in believing in the rule of law. And I'm afraid now, because it's not operating the way I have always believed it to be. And our country can't survive if we do not if we make fun of our judiciary. If we disparage our separation of church and state.

I have children and grandchildren. And I'm compelled to come here today, instead of playing tennis.

MERICA: Do you think you are going to continue this?

FAELLA: Definitely. I have - I started a group with two people three weeks ago. I have 460. Women, men, people that are just like me that are just saying this cannot be. We cannot allow our America to slip through our fingers. This is a nation built on proud principles. And here we are, mocking everything that's been important to me.

MERICA: Thank you so much. Thank you.

So, yes. They are all out here. And if you look over here, along the road, here is -- that's the hangar where Trump will be in mere minutes speaking to. And we have to note. There are thousands of people in there right now. They were also lined up for hours. And they, the same way, were lined up on the opposite side of the street. Kind of a symbol of the split America. You had Trump supporters on that side and the protesters on this side. And so we are going to head inside in a little bit and take a look at what Trump says - Pamela.

BROWN: So again, kind of hit on that point you were just making there toward the end about the crowd sizes. As you point out, I mean, it's a packed hangar there just across the street from you. How does the crowd size of the protesters stack up to what's happening across the street, if you know?

MERICA: Well, there are less protesters here for sure than there are inside. And you know, this is supposed to be for President Trump. This is basically his first campaign rally since winning the campaign a few months ago. It's a little unusual. Most presidents, most presidents go out to sell their platform. He seems to be going out just to stoke support and sell support.

BROWN: All right. Dan Merica, thank you very much for your reporting on the ground in Melbourne, Florida.

Air force one has taken off from Palm Beach and is en route to the rally in Melbourne. Thanks so much.

And coming up right here on this Saturday, we introduce you to the guy responsible for "Saturday Night Live's" newest star. That would be the high-powered podium.


[16:50:19] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have a chance!


[16:53:59] BROWN: Well, it is often a podium takes on a starring role. But "Saturday Night Live" is on a roll with its rolling podium driven by Melissa McCarthy as she terrorizes reporters.

CNN's Jeannie Moos reports on podiums gone wild.


JEANNIE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Trump stood behind the podium and asked a reporter --

TRUMP: Are you OK?

MOOS: It reminded us about another podium and a fake reporter asking the same question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just mentally, though, are you OK?

MOOS: Melissa McCarthy drove as press secretary Sean Spicer drove her "SNL" podium into immortality. The world's most famous motorized podium.

MOOS: So did you have to teach Melissa McCarthy how to drive a podium?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did? It was a lot of fun.

MOOS: "SNL" did this small Pennsylvania company, Monkey Boys Production, less than 48 hours to create the podium. "SNL" first suggested rigging a seg way, but that was deemed dangerous. So they took a motorized wheelchair, removed the seat and build a podium on it out foam and wood. McCarthy controlled it with a joystick.

In her first rehearsal, McCarthy's driving was a little bit tentative.

[16:55:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like nothing you've ever done before. But once she got the hang of it, she was flying around and having a great time, trying to run people over.

MOOS: Of course, even non-motorized podiums have mishaps. Hillary's collapsed, and Obama's?

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot sustain -- was that my --

MOOS: Yes, your presidential seal.

OBAMA: All of you know who I am.

MOOS: Podiums are always getting abused by coaches --

Well -- makes McCarthy seem almost gentle.

But when you take the podium, try not to take it with you.

The then-prime minister of Italy tripped on a mic cord at the White House --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say -- MOOS: Silvio Berlusconi decapitated the podium but kept talking.

When you are podium, acts like a bully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been calling it the bully pulpit.

MOOS: Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Live if New York it's Saturday night!


BROWN: All right. Coming up on this Saturday right here in the NEWSROOM, one month after taking office, President Trump is in Florida for a major rally. Is the race for 2020 already on his mind?