Return to Transcripts main page


Preview of Trump Rally; Trump Speaks at Florida Rally. Aired 5- 6p ET

Aired February 18, 2017 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:17] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Pamela Brown in Washington on this Saturday. Thank you so much for joining us.

In any second now, we hear, we expect to hear from President Donald Trump, he's holding a major rally in Florida and the White House says, this is an official campaign event. It's unclear exactly what the President is campaigning for. He just took office less than a month ago. But one thing is apparent, Mr. Trump needs a boost and this could be a reason why, a brand-new Gallup poll showing just four in ten Americans approve of the job he's doing as president, that is lower than any other U.S. leader at this point in their presidency.

And this is one of the first polls taken since Mr. Trump fired his National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and right now the President is scrambling to replace him. So far at least one person has turned him down and we're told one of the reasons why, perceived chaos at the White House.

CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones is following the President. Athena, what's the vibe in the room? Do people there seem more or less enthused compared to a pre-election?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pamela. Forgive me. It's very difficult to hear. You can hear the warm-up act going on right now. Behind me. As far as enthusiasm it doesn't appear to be any less than it was on the campaign trail. I can tell you that people began lining up outside of this event many, many hours ago. Our photo journalists arrived at 10:00 a.m. And there were already at least 100 people or so in line. Someone had been in line since 4:30 a.m. When we arrived a few hours ago, the line was several football fields long.

So, there is clearly plenty of enthusiasm here and this is exactly what the President wants to see. This is the kind of thing that has energized him. This is what energized him on the campaign trail. Being on a rally stage. It's one of the places he's most comfortable. So, he's very much looking forward to coming here, speaking directly to the people. Directly to his supporters. And trying to get around the media filter. This is how the President sees it.

He wants to be able to speak directly to his crowd. We expect him to arrive at any minute. In the next few minutes, I should say. They took off a short while ago from Palm Beach, they should be arriving in the next I guess 15 or 20 minutes or so and then we'll see him take the stage -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. And as this is going on, we know the search is on for a new national security adviser to replace Mike Flynn. Who is he considering, and is there anyone standing out right now as the front- runner if you can hear me okay?

JONES: I can hear you. Yes. That is right. He's going to be having meetings with the potential replacements for his now former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn tomorrow. We just have a new name. Here are some of the names of the people he's talking too. One is the acting National Security Adviser Keith Kellogg who was a retired Lieutenant General. Also, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster is among the people the President is going to be meeting with.

He will also be speaking to a new name we just learned in the last hour or so from the White House, and that is Lieutenant General Robert Louis Caslen, who is the superintendent of West Point. The military academy. But the person that has risen on the top of the list according to sources close to the President is former U.N., former ambassador to the U.N., the United Nations John Bolton. Bolton has the support of people like Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Who said he would be a very, very strong national security adviser. Because he understands the threat from radical Islamic terrorism.

We also understand that Bolton has the support of a lot of political staffers on the National Security Council who see him as an outsider. Something they believe will appeal to the President. But also as someone who has an in-depth knowledge of Washington and of the way the foreign policy process works. We're also told that Bolton is close to both CIA Director Mike Pompeo and to the Vice President Mike Pence. Senior administration official telling us that Pence is extremely powerful at this point. And so he may have some sway when it comes to who the President ultimately picks. But of course it's going to come down to who the President is comfortable with but these are among the names that he is considering -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Athena Jones, thank you so much. We'll check back with you soon. After this rally is underway.

And let's talk it over with our CNN political commentators, Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker." Alice Stewart, Republican strategist and former Ted Cruz communications director. And Marc Lamont Hill, BET News host and Morehouse College professor. Great to see you all. Thanks for coming on.

So, Ryan, to you first. Less than a month into his presidency. Is this a sign that President Trump likes campaigning more than governing? The fact that he feels the need to go out there and be with this large crowd of supporters there in Florida?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think there's probably an element of that. But I would also say it's not really unusual for presidents in the first couple of months to go out and do these types of events. I remember covering the Bush White House in 2001. Going with Bush to South Dakota and a number of red states that he had won in the early months and weeks of his administration. But he did it for a very particular reason. He was going out because he was selling his tax cut proposal.

BROWN: Right. And that's the difference.

[17:05:28] LIZZA: And he, you know, so the White House staff was very well organized. And they went out there and they were campaigning for a legislative agenda. Barack Obama did something very similar in his first weeks for the stimulus package and then later for ObamaCare. What a little difference about this is what you hit on is there's no legislative agenda to speak of right now by the Trump administration. There's no tax reform proposal that's actually being written. There's no repeal of ObamaCare that's been written.

So, it does have a little bit more of an element of they've had a very, very rough month, a very disorganized White House so it does have an element of, you know, a journalistic cliche, a reset trying to amp him up a little bit. Because he does feed off of these crowds. And, you know, as folks have been saying the last couple of days, it gives him a chance to talk directly to his voters, in a venue that he's very comfortable in.

BROWN: And Alice, he continues to go after the media. This morning 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. Here's what Senator John McCain just said on NBC's "Meet The Press."


CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": You believe the press is the enemy? You believe any group of Americans are the enemy of another group of Americans?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I was talking about the period as you know, of the new world order. A fundamental part of that new world order was a free press. I hate the press. I hate you, especially. But the fact is, we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It's vital. If you want to preserve, I'm very serious now. If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started.

TODD: That's how dictators get started, with tweets like that?

MCCAIN: No, they get started by suppressing the free press. In other words, consolidation of power when you look at history. The first thing the dictators do is shut down the press. And I'm not saying that that's, that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying, we need to learn the lessons of history.


BROWN: So Alice, on that note, on the heels of what Senator McCain said, does President Trump risk appearing like he doesn't support freedom of the press? ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I start off from the

heels what Senator McCain says, Pamela. I love you and I love Ryan Lizza, and I support what you do. Look, he's got a good point. In that the media is important. There's a reason why they call the media the fourth estate. It's put there to be a check and balance on the government. It has an important function in a free democracy. And it's important for elected officials to understand that.

But you also have to look at keep in mind if you recall during the Obama administration, when Anita Dunn was the communications director. Have a lot of respect for the entire team they ran a great operation. But during the time, during the Obama administration, Anita Dunn referred to FOX News as opinion journalists, disguised as news. So the fact that the media is unfair to the press or to media, is not anything new. In and the fact that the press may speak unfairly of an administration is nothing new.

Donald Trump just happens to feel that the entire press corps is not fair and is fake news. And that's his opinion. Getting in a war with the press, I don't think is a good idea. But it clearly is a way for him to distract from what he's had this week. Which is a lot of negative headlines about chaos in the White House, the White House in turmoil. Russian connections, on the campaign. And it was a good way to distract from those issues and it certainly energized his base without a doubt.

BROWN: And you know, Alice, our founding fathers put checks and balances in place for a reason. What do you have to say to the argument from those who say look, if this is clearly an example of President Trump feeling threatened by the checks and balances, not only from the media. But then when you look at the judiciary, the way that he's gone after judges because, you know, they put a halt on his travel ban. What do you have to say to that argument? That this is broader than just he has beef with the media because he doesn't like the headlines.

STEWART: In my view, it's not as though he feels threatened. He just doesn't like it. And his way to fight back and get something he dislikes is to attack. And that's what he does. That's what he did when other candidates like Ted Cruz, my boss, was a threat to him. He pushed back. And when an any candidate became a threat to him, or intimidated him or maybe caused him to feel uneasy, he would push back. That's just simply what he does.

And that's what he feels with the press, it's not as though he feels threatened by them, but as much he just doesn't like it. And so he pushes back. So, to think that it's going to change, is ridiculous. It's not going to change. It's who he is, it's how he operates, it's worked for him throughout the campaign. And he feels as though it's going to continue to work throughout the administration. So everyone just needs to get used to it.

[17:10:37] BROWN: And I will not be surprised at all, Marc Lamont Hill if he brings up the way he feels about the press at this rally. You see a large crowd there in Melbourne, Florida, at the airport hangar. What do you want to hear from President Trump during today's rally? Other than the fact that media is fake news?

STEWART: Not to say that you want to hear that but --

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Trump rallies are very predictable at this point. They're going to go very long. They're going to be largely off the cuff. And he's going to lash out against anyone who has offered a critique of him. Whether it's just the judicial branch, whether it is the media, whether specific media outlets or whether specific reporters. He'll continue to double down on claims that have been disproven. That's a Donald Trump rally. It's an articulation to the base that he is the same guy, that no one can change him.

The fact that he won the presidency under this strategy has only emboldened him. What reason does he have -- it's clearly worked for him. But I think it's a dangerous thing. And I think this is partly, not part of not liking the media narrative. I think it is about him being threatened by the media narrative. Donald Trump wants to advance a policy agenda at some point. And he can't do that if a judge is saying that it's illegal. That it violates civil rights laws, international laws or what you have. At some point, he's feeling like these outside sources are stopping him.

Donald Trump's world view is that he's right all the time and if someone disproves him, challenges him or tries to undermines, anything he's trying to do, there's something wrong with him. They're just not a different opinion. They're the wrong kind of person. And so, for me it's not just about an individual person with an axe to grind against the media. It's a very irresponsible, ultimately dangerous moment in history.

Almost a proto fascist moment in history where he is laying seed beds in the minds of the American people that the media itself is broken. They've always been critiques of Fox News. I don't think that it's a wild critique to say that they are parts of Fox News that are the communications of the Republican Party. There's something wrong with critiquing -- with CNN or whatever. But there is a difference between critiquing a particular journalist or particular network and saying that media as such doesn't work. And that is what Donald Trump has said. And he's saying, don't trust the facts, don't trust the media, just trust me. There's nothing scarier than that.

BROWN: Thank you so much, Ryan, Alice, Marc for coming on and sharing your perspective and your thoughts. Stay with me. We have more to discuss. We're waiting for President Trump's rally in Melbourne, Florida. This is a live look right here at the airport hangar. Where he'll deliver his speech when it begins. And of course, we'll bringing that to you live.

When we come back, a White House on shaky ground apparently as the President's search for a National Security adviser causes concern for lawmakers. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:16:30] BROWN: We're waiting to hear from President Donald Trump, he is holding a campaign rally in Florida. And of course, we will listen in as soon as he takes the stage. Well, aside from holding this rally, however, Mr. Trump is also scrambling to find a new national security adviser after firing Michael Flynn. The White House says, the President is meeting with these four men this weekend right here.

CNN's Dan Merica is at Trump's rally. And Dan, we're learning there's growing pressure on the President to name a new adviser. What can you tell us about that?

DAN MERICA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, as Donald Trump is making his way here right now, people in his White House and frankly him are, they're dealing with the fact that he has no national security adviser. This is a critical position and he knows it's a critical position. Because of the fact that he assigned Mike Flynn to it so early on. It's kind of a black eye for the White House, frankly. They don't have, Flynn had to step down. And their second pick, Harderman said that no, he didn't want the job.

But he's considering four people. I think we have their names to put up. Four people. One of which is Keith Kellogg, who is acting as the current national security adviser. He's formerly the national security chief of staff. And he's actually traveling with Trump this weekend. Handling the duties of national security adviser. Even though he's in the acting role. John Bolton is a former U.N. ambassador, he is being pushed not only by people like Ted Cruz, but also Vice President Mike Pence and others, the CIA director inside Trump's administration. And that's why Bolton has kind of vaulted up as possibly the leading candidate because of that, those powerful forces behind him.

And then there's H.R. McMaster, a career army officer and a military strategist. And lastly, a name that we just learned about today, is Robert Caslen, he is the superintendent of West Point. Now there's four names, Trump will meet with all of them tomorrow. Talk with all of them tomorrow. While he's at Mar-A-Lago. His private club in Palm Beach. But what the White House is trying to do is pick somebody to move past this story about Michael Flynn. And the uncertainty in his administration about how they would handle a crisis if they had no national security adviser.

BROWN: And the fact that someone he wanted, Bob Harward turned down the job as well. So, of course, the search will continue and you'll keep us up to date.

Dan Merica, thank you so much. Dan there in Melbourne, Florida, as we await the rally there with President Trump. And as we await for him to speak, let's bring back our panel, CNN commentators, Ryan Lizza, Alice Stewart and Marc Lamont Hill.

So Ryan, what can President Trump say at this evening's rally that will reassure America and its allies in your view?

LIZZA: And its allies?

BROWN: Yes, and its allies? LIZZA: Well maybe he'll talk a little bit about how he's closing in

on actually having a national security adviser. If you read any of the reports that are coming out of this conference in Munich, this is an annual conference known as the Munich Security Conference. You know, Vice President Pence is over there. A lot of senior American officials are over there. A lot of senators. The headlines from that conference is really one of the first gatherings where a lot of European leaders and American colleagues are there together. It's alarm, right?

It's a fundamentally questioning whether or not the United States wants to play the same role in the world that it has played since the end of World War II. Frankly Europe is worrying whether we still have their back. Angela Merkel, as foreign minister talked about how the new administration seems to be -- want to be equidistant between Europe and Russia and that's terrifying to a lot of our allies. There's not a lot of words coming from Donald Trump's mouth about Europe as an indispensable ally.

There's a lot of rhetoric about how words about how Europe and Russia are sort of on equal par and that I think, you know, I don't know if that today is the place for that kind of talk. You know, it's a rally in Florida among supporters. But, you know, that's what our traditional allies want to hear and they're getting very mixed messages, on the one hand they hear from officials like Pence that, you know, we have an unbreakable bond with Europe and NATO is important. But the President's message has been very, very mixed.

BROWN: And as you're speaking there, we're looking at a split screen there on the ground in Melbourne, Florida, a bit of a dichotomy. You have on the one side protesters and on the other, Trump supporters, they're in the airport hangar. And Marc, it's clear the President has tremendous support among his base. But the latest Pew poll, Gallup poll says that he has an 84 percent approval rating among Republicans, but just an eight percent approval among Democrats and then an overall approval rating of 39 percent. That's from Pew. How does President Trump get more Americans to support him, Marc?

[17:21:16] HILL: I think at some form he has to begin to articulate their agenda. The doctrine of the permit campaign is not news. It is not something that Donald Trump has initiated. At some extent President Obama has done it. Certainly Clinton, certainly the Karl Rove-led George W. Bush administration was constantly campaigning. But he's taken it right now to another level. Where he's coming out within 30 days, not just speaking to large crowds which other presidents have done. But doing so almost purely in a campaign moment as opposed to a policy or legislative moment. That's very disturbing to people.

When you look at all the stumbles that have happened in the last month. Combined with the fact that he's not really articulating a clear agenda and a clear set of steps, that worries the American people. That's why you see the numbers dropping so quickly. I think it has to shift that. He also has to shift perception in the international community. It's one thing for Mike Pence to speak to NATO. It's another thing for President Trump to articulate the same sense of solidarity and closeness that he has -- Ryan's language. If it seems as if he's equidistant from all of these powers, irrespective of our previous relationship, then what happens is the foreign powers particularly those have been allies feel very uneasy.

And when foreign powers feel uneasy. When people like Angela Merkel is pushing back quickly, it makes the American people particularly those who have been on the fence, very untrusting of Donald Trump's presidency. So, we need more than big words. We need more than speaking to the people who voted for him. We need him to speak to the people who didn't. Not to take his policy -- I'm not unrealistic. Just to articulate a policy one that has concrete steps, now that we're past the election.

BROWN: So, Alice, the President says his administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. But "Time" magazine says, the White House is quote in chaos, the latest cover story says some aides now refuse to communicate by email. Many have taken to using encrypted apps to get around the investigations from his order to clamp down on leaks, others are skittish to even picking up the phone, assuming that someone is always listening or monitoring calls. So, Alice, what can the staff accomplish if they're constantly looking over their shoulders?

STEWART: I think the palace intrigue stories are just that. It's a good story. It's good conversation, it's good water cooler topic. But that's as far as it goes. Every new administration has its growing pains, every new administration goes through periods of time where there's some unrest and this is more than likely a little bit higher scale than what we're used to. But it's not unusual. And Donald Trump is clearly not going to focus on that. If he says it's a well-oiled machine and he is at the helm, then that's, that's what he is going to continue to believe. He's clearly more focused on getting things done. And he feels he's been successful with regard to following through on the campaign promises that he laid out with regard to building the wall which is going to be a fence.

Working on the executive order as he said. We are going to roll out more than likely a revised executive order on the travel ban next week. Repealing and replacing Obama. He made plans to give some specifics on that. Rolling out in March. And I think what we'll hear today is more of what we heard in South Carolina yesterday. Which is following through on campaign promises and reassuring those people right there on the screen, his base, that he will make America great again. America first.

He will talk about strengthening our American military and buy American, hire American. And to follow up on Ryan's points on what he's saying and what he can say today, the next few days to our allies, it's important to show that we will continue to build our military, it's critical for him to get national security team in place. It's also important for him to allow them to build their own team. That is so important for him to have their best team around them and their loyal soldiers with them.

And Mike Pence is doing a good job of conveying the message, as Ryan said, with regard to supporting our allies in Europe. We will stand behind NATO. But also another critical message that he's delivering today. And it's getting a lot of headlines is telling Russia they will be held accountable. And that's important, there are allies know that we're not going to be a door mat for Russia. And if need be, we will take action. But I think that was an important message, also. That the Vice President delivered today.

BROWN: And Ryan, the President as Alice pointed to, he insists that his administration is operating well. And that he inherited a mess that the chaos is left behind from the Obama administration. What do you make of those claims, Ryan?

LIZZA: Well, I mean if you can compare the world that he inherited to the world that the last president inherited, it's a pretty big difference. In terms of new presidents and messes -- not so bad. You know, four, five percent unemployment. Crime at historic lows. So, it's not considered the mess that Obama inherited with the financial crisis, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan. That was a mess. I think that there's a little bit of, that was a strategic, that was some strategic communications on Trump's part.

[17:26:18] He wants, you know, he's looking for, you know, he's looking for ways to allocate blame for the very unsteady rollout of this early White House. So, I don't think historically he has inherited anything nearly as bad as some, as some new presidents. There's a period of relative peace and prosperity. With, you know, with some obvious, you know, obvious serious problems that both candidates identified during the campaign. But we're not in one of the, you know, we're nothing like where we were in 2009, when Barack Obama became president for instance.

BROWN: Right. All right. Ryan, Alice, Mark, stay with me as we await, just minutes away now from President Trump's rally there in Melbourne, Florida. We will bring it to you live when he takes the podium.

And it's not just supporters greeting President Trump. Protests are out in Florida as well. As you can see, demonstrating right outside a hangar where the President will speak. As you see, Air Force One there landing in Melbourne, Florida. So, we expect this rally to begin shortly. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.


[17:31:11] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Any moment now, President Trump will address a crowd of supporters in Melbourne, Florida, in what the White House is calling a campaign rally.

Thousands of people are waiting to hear the president speak in an airport hangar after a tumultuous week in Washington.

Trump is searching for a new National Security adviser to replace Michael Flynn who resigned after misleading the vice president about his pre-inauguration calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

FBI Director James Comey also briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee Friday on the agency's investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, and I want to bring back my panel, CNN political commentators Ryan Lizza, Alice Stewart and Marc Lamont Hill.

All right. Let's listen to what Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said again today about reports of Russian interference in the election.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (Through Translator): I've not seen one fact breaking into a site, any site of the Democratic Party, nor as far as France, Germany are concerned.


BROWN: Alice Stewart, what do you make of those comments after the events of this week?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course he's going to say that, and he'll deny it until we have evidence to prove otherwise. All we can say is that based on what we're seeing and hearing from members of the Senate Intel Committee who came out of that meeting with James Comey this week, we had Senator Marco Rubio come out and pretty unequivocally say they have what they need to have further hearings on this. And all of them understandably were tight-lipped about the information that was provided to them. Certainly classified information.

But the fact that they are even contemplating and discussing further hearings is concerning. And it does lead you to believe that there was Russian hacking and that it did influence possibly the outcome of the election. How you determine how it impacted the election would be difficult if they can even do that.

But I think the bigger concern with this is that unfortunately for the Trump administration there's so many different roads that lead back to Russia and that's a problem. Certainly we just had, you know, the Flynn situation and now this and now concerns about campaign collusion, that's a concern. But with regard to Comey and the Russian hacking, clearly there's some there-there, which is why we're going to see more investigation from the Senate.

BROWN: And Jeffrey, right now as we speak, there's a Russian spy ship just off the coast of Delaware. The Russians also deployed a cruise missile in an apparent violation of an 1987 INF Treaty. Sergey Lavrov also spoke about, quote, "post-West world order," calling NATO an institution of the Cold War, as Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement of strong support for the transatlantic alliance.

Jeffrey Lord, is Russia trying to test President Trump and how should President Trump respond to this? Jeffrey is not here. All right. I'm going to go to you, Marc Lamont Hill. What do you think about that?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first I get confused with Jeffrey Lord all the time. It's like --


BROWN: You guys are just -- you guys are just alike. Everything you say and do and think.

HILL: I think this is an important moment for Donald Trump and his administration. He ran with a level of proximity to Russia both in terms of the Russian government's perception but also many Americans' perception. He said I want to have a better relationship. He wants to sort of reset -- to use that language again -- the relationship with Russia. And it looked like he was going to be much closer.

What we've seen the last three to four weeks is the relationship to Russia and a posture toward Russian which is far more consistent with other -- and this isn't that different than other foreign policy relationships that President Trump has offered. You know, he was very much closer to Benjamin Netanyahu last week until he makes a different position on settlements or at least a different claim on settlements that's more traditionally in line with U.S. policy.

So he's beginning to move more in a traditional manner on those two issues and I think it's making Russia somewhat uneasy. So what President Trump has to do, I believe, is to sort of -- shore up his relationship with Russia without compromising the trust and investment of NATO, about trusting -- without compromising the trust of the American people and as Alice said, there's a lot of there-there, so there are lots of reasons to have a fundamental distrust of Trump's relationship to Russia.

[17:35:13] So we need some clarity, we need a light shined on that and some sort of answer from an outside investigative body.

BROWN: All right. I imagine that's the first time you were ever mixed up with Jeffrey Lord.

Marc Lamont Hill, thanks for that.

Now as you were talking, Air Force One pulling up there at that airport hangar in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump making his grand entrance for what his staff is calling a campaign rally just less than a month of being in office. He's there with a large crowd awaiting his arrival. And as we wait for him to step -- go down the stairs, I want to just quickly ask you, Ryan, what do you make of Marco Rubio's tweet yesterday after that FBI Director Comey briefing with the Intelligence Committee.

He said, "I am now very confident Senate Intel Committee I serve on will conduct a thorough bipartisan investigation of Putin interference and influence." Interference and influence. What do you make of that tweet?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it's very interesting because two things are going on. One, it's Rubio saying that he wants the Intelligence Committee to do this investigation which is not what a lot of high-profile Democrats and Republicans want. People like John McCain and Lindsey Graham want a select committee. Something outside of the current committee structure. An independent committee to do that because frankly a lot of people are worried if it's done by the Intelligence Committee, you know, it will be invisible.

The Intelligence Committee is not as open and public for obvious reasons. And a select committee could have a stronger, wider mandate. So that's one thing. He wants it to be done in-house on the Intelligence Committee. But on the other hand, he is making -- he obviously in that tweet made a very strong case for what the Intelligence Community has said, right, when Barack Obama left office. The Intelligence Community put out a unanimous report that the public version of the report was light on details.

But they confirmed that Russia instituted an influence campaign during the 2016 election and it came from the highest levels of the Russian government, I believe they named Putin as instructing his intelligence services to do this. So he's -- you know, he's fully on board with the fact that this actually happened, contrary to what Mr. Lavrov said in his comments you played.

So I think -- you know, it's -- I think it's -- for people who want a thorough investigation, that is encouraging. I still think that this is a serious enough issue, that something more along the lines of a 9/11 commission, an independent thorough body should do this because I think it's less likely that politics will get involved. But it is -- it's clear from that tweet that Rubio is taking this very seriously.


BROWN: And also the FBI -- go ahead.

STEWART: Pam, I want to follow up on one thing with regard to the Russian ship off the coast and a comment that Jeffrey -- I mean, Marc responded to about the ship. My understanding is that the plans for the ship to come to these waters have been in the works for quite some time. Prior -- several months ago before the president -- any president was named. So this idea for provoking the president could have been done for either one. Whether it was Hillary Clinton that won or Donald Trump.

So it was clear that the Russian government planned to try and intimidate or try and provoke whoever the new president was from the very beginning. And they're just testing the water, so to speak, out there. But Donald Trump made it quite clear that, you know, he's paying attention to it. Keeping a close eye on it. It's one thing that clearly they're both playing tit-for-tat. It'll be interesting to see how we respond but Mike Pence I think was very clear today that, you know, Russia is going to face the strong arm of the United States government, if need be.

BROWN: And as we await President Trump to go down there, those stairs at Air Force One, and speak to that large crowd inside the airport hangar in Melbourne, Florida, Alice, what do you -- what do you think we're going to hear from him? I mean, you know, we've seen this from past presidents where they come out, when they haven't been in office that long to speak to crowds. But normally there's a specific reason. With Barack Obama, it was to talk about the stimulus package and later on about Obamacare and past -- other presidents have also had specific reasons. What do you make of this? And what do you expect to hear, Alice?

STEWART: I expect it to be similar to the message he drove home to supporters in South Carolina. Of course that was geared more towards military and technology, given that it was at Boeing. But it will be an opportunity for him to rally the crowd, show him as confident. And I think more than anything, I think the dynamics of this event are more important to him than the actual words. And the visuals of a confident, strong, engaged president are more important than the actual words that he says.

[17:40:06] He will reinforce buy American, hire American, and his commitment to securing the border. His commitment to repealing and replacing Obamacare and in Florida. That's a big issue for Floridians and jobs, jobs, jobs. I worked for Rick Scott. And I can -- if I had a dime for every time he said jobs, it was a big deal in Florida. So his commitment to creating jobs and creating environment for businesses to grow and build the workforce is big for people in Florida. And I expect to see those messages.

BROWN: Ryan, what do you make of this? You know, it has been a rocky road the last few weeks when you look at what happen to his travel ban. When you look at what happened to his National Security adviser, Mike Flynn, and his resignation this past week, and reports of chaos in the White House. How do you think all of that plays into this campaign event in Florida?

LIZZA: Yes, look, I think he's going to use this similar to what he used the press conference the other day is to basically to push back against these reports that his administration is off to a poor start. I think that's one of the reasons he likes to have sort of unfiltered access to the air waves is to make his case of us not talking about all the problems that he's having. And look, you know, several administrations now, this is on an order of magnitude worse than the first weeks of the Obama administration, the Bush administration or the Clinton administration and the Clinton administration probably had the roughest early opening.

We don't have a functioning National Security Council. That's a big deal. The national -- the NSC formulates and coordinates all of American foreign policy. We don't have anyone running it, that's bad. We have a White House that is -- has at least four people on the top layer, without any single person in charge. Historically that kind of White House structure has not produced good results. So there's a long, you know, academic history about what kind of White House staffing works. And the best -- you know, having a strong chief of staff is your best -- you know, it's obviously had an impact.

The executive orders have been rolled out without being vetted by the proper agency which has left it open to that legal appeal on the immigration. So, you know, this is a chance for him to make a contrary argument, I guess is what I'm trying to say. BROWN: And here we see, First Lady Melania Trump and the president

walking down the steps of Air Force One to the airport hangar. You know, this is sort of reminiscent of what we saw during the campaign when he would go to these big rallies on his private jet, pull up there, walk down the steps to a big crowd. Of course this time it's Air Force One because he's president. And he's been in the White House for less than a month.

But his aides say that he wanted to come out and be a part of what they're dubbing this campaign rally. And so as we await to hear what he has to say, there's a large crowd there. But there's also been protesters, demonstrators across the street from where President Trump is speaking. And our Dan Merica caught up with one of them earlier today.


ELIZABETH FAELLA, PROTESTING PRESIDENT TRUMP'S VISIT: 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've never been afraid.


BROWN: So there you heard, a bit of a dichotomy there in Melbourne. A large crowd, thousands as we're told by our reporters on the ground inside that airport hangar. But obviously you have protesters like the woman you heard before, trying to make their voices heard. And with President Trump's presidency, less than a month in, I want to just go to Marc Lamont Hill who has also been watching this.

Marc, what do you hope to hear from the president as we await his words very shortly from now?

HILL: I hope, too, at this moment hear some word of unification. And some word of explanation and clarification. That is to say, it's past the election. You've won. There shouldn't be a 38 percent approval rating in February, particularly when very little has happened legislatively. I need to you speak to the other 62 percent who are not approval of the job that's been done so far. I need some level of transparency about what's going on. I need some humility to say, we've hit a few rough patches, but we're on track, we're on target.

And I'd like to hear some concrete policy ideas that allow people to say hey, he's not just tweeting, he's not just responding, he's not just assailing the media. But he's actually trying to move his agenda forward.

I think that is what we should expect. I think this rally, though, is not about that. I think it's about being somewhat of a security blanket and comfort zone for the president.

[17:45:02] He's had a rough week. He's had a lot of bad news come through. He's had a lot of things that he couldn't control through the media. And his typical response is to lash out through Twitter and other forms of media. And now he's saying hey, I want to come out and move back to where it all started, to where people like me, to where I was cheered, to where my ego was stroked, and that's fine. But just link it to a policy initiative. Like tech, like the stimulus plan, like Obamacare, like a new tax plan, like George H. W. Bush. Let's do something that is linked to an initiative.

BROWN: All right.


BROWN: It's tough to tell when he's about to talk. You know, I have to say as we await him, as he's walking up to the podium now, giving his wife a kiss, Melania Trump --- let's listen in.

MELANIE TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you. Let us pray. Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this days our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever, amen.


M. TRUMP: Good afternoon. It is my honor and great pleasure to stand here before you. As the first lady of the United States.


M. TRUMP: The America we envision is one that works for all Americans and where all Americans can work and succeed. A nation committed to a greater civility and unity between people from all sides of the political divide.

I will always stay true to myself and be truthful to you. No matter what the opposition is saying about me.


M TRUMP: I will act in the best interests of all of you. I'm committed to creating and supporting initiatives dear to my heart which will have impact on women and children all around the world. My husband is creating a country of great safety. And prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce the president of the United States, Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. I didn't know that Melania was going to be saying the Lord's Prayer, but I thought that was very beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. It's so great to be here in Florida. My second home with you. This

is a state I truly love. This is a state where we all had great victory together. Thank you.

It's now been one month since my inauguration. And I am here to tell you about our incredible progress in making America great again. And I'm also here to tell you about our plans for the future, and they are big and they are bold, and it's what our country is all about. Believe me.

[17:50:09] I'm here because I want to be among my friends and among the people. This was a great movement, a movement like has never been seen before in our country or probably anywhere else. This was a truly great movement and I want to be here with you and I will always be with you. I promise you that.


D. TRUMP: I want to be in a room filled with hard-working American patriots who love their country, who salute their flag and who pray for a better future.


D. TRUMP: I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.


D. TRUMP: The dishonest media which has published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases. They just don't want to report the truth and they've been calling us wrong now for two years. They don't get it. But they're starting to get it. I can tell you that.

They've become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out oftentimes on their lies. When the media lies to people, I will never, ever let them get away with it. I will do whatever I can that they don't get away with it.


D. TRUMP: They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself, he said, becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle, that was June 14th, my birthday, 1807. But despite all their lies, misrepresentations, and false stories, they could not defeat us in the primaries, and they could not defeat us in the general election, and we will continue to expose them for what they are, and most importantly, we will continue to win, win, win.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) D. TRUMP: We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live, or what to believe. We are free and independent people and we will make our own choices.


D. TRUMP: We are here today to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I hear your demands, I hear your voices and I promise you I will deliver. I promise that. And by the way, you've seen what we've accomplished in a very short period of time. The White House is running so smoothly. So smoothly. And believe me, I and we inherited one big mess. That I can tell you.

But I know that you want safe neighborhoods where the streets belong to families and communities, not gang members and drug dealers who are right now as I speak being thrown out of the country and they will not be let back in. We will have strong borders again.


D. TRUMP: And I mean that. And you've seen it in television. You've seen it on television. General Kelly, now Secretary Kelly, he's really doing the job. You're seeing it. The gang members, bad, bad people. I said it, day one, and they're going out, or they're being put in prison, but for the most part, get them the hell out of here. Bring them back to where they came from.


[17:55:11] D. TRUMP: The fact is, you want great schools for your children. You want good high-paying jobs for yourselves and for your loved ones and for the future of your families. You want a health care system and by the way, we are going to be submitting in a couple of weeks a great health care plan that's going to take the place of the disaster known as Obamacare.


D. TRUMP: It will be repealed and replaced. For those people. The people put into rooms where Republicans are talking about the plan, and it wouldn't matter what they say, for those people, just so you understand, our plan will be much better health care at a much lower coast. OK. Nothing to complain about.

Obamacare, remember, it is a disaster. You want low cost American energy also, which means lifting the restrictions on oil, on shell, on natural gas and on clean, very clean coal. We're going to put the miners back to work. The miners go back to work.

You want us to enforce our immigration laws and to defend our borders. You want fair trade deals and a level playing field. We don't have a level playing field. Because you understand that when American workers win, America as a country wins and wins big. And every country over the last long period of time has been taking advantage of the students of our politicians. It's not going to happen any longer. You want lower taxes. Less regulation. Millions of new jobs and more

product stamped with those beautiful, beautiful words made in the USA. You want to make it years for companies to do business in America. And harder for companies to leave. We don't want companies saying, everybody is fired. We're moving to another country. We're going to make the product. Sell it across the border and isn't that wonderful? Not going happen anymore.

We're going to have strong borders and when they want to sell that product back across our border, they're going to pay a 35 percent tax and you know what, they're never going to leave. They will never, ever leave. And you've seen that because I've already displayed it for the last two months even before I got into office. They're not leaving. And if they do, they're going to pay a big price for terminating the relationship with our workers.

You want a government that serves the people, not the donors and not the special interest. In short you want a government that keeps its promises. A great spirit of optimism in sweeping and you see it. It's sweeping all across the country. Look at what's happening to the stock market. Look at what's happening to the every poll when it comes to optimism in our country. It's sweeping across the country.

And, in fact, every day for the last long period of days the stock market, meaning companies, have been hitting new highs. They're going to start hiring. It's going to be a new day in America. You're going to be proud again.

Jobs are already starting to pour back in. They're coming back in like you haven't seen in a long time. Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler are bringing in and bringing back thousands of jobs, investing billions of dollars because of the new business climate that we are creating in our country.

In Arizona, Intel, great company, just announced it will open a new plant that will create at least 10,000 brand new beautiful American jobs. I followed through on my promise to withdraw from the job killing disaster known as the Trans Pacific Partnership. TPP. We have just terminated our relationship to it. We're going to have tremendous trade deals all over the world, but they're going to be bilateral or as we would say one-on-one. None of these deals where we get caught in quick sand, where we get mired into it, we can't do anything about it. Like, by the way, NAFTA and --