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President Donald Trump Denies Any Chaos in His Administration; Trump Already Back on the Campaign Trail; Vice President Pence Attended Annual Global Security Conference in Germany; President Trump Had Testy Exchange with a Jewish Reporter; Dramatic Video Captured on Police Body Camera. Aired 7:00-8:00p ET
Aired February 18, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:04] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Top of the hour now. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Pamela Brown in Washington on this Saturday.
Well, he has been in office for less than a month, but President Donald Trump is already back on the campaign trail. He just wrapped up a rally in Florida just moments ago. And from the very beginning, he made it absolutely clear rile he was there
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here because I want to be among my friends and among the people. I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: All right, yesterday, the Trump tweeted, the press was the enemy of the American people. While he didn't use such strong words today, he did say this.
All right. As we await for that sound bite -- oh, here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: -- 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 have been calling us wrong now for two years. They don't get it. But they are starting to get it. I can tell you that. They have become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: All right. Let's bring in the panel. Stephen Collinson, CNN politics senior reporter, Julian Zelizer, historian and professor of Princeton University, Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, and Jeffrey Lord, conservative writer and former Reagan White House official.
Stephen Collinson, what does this rally help more? Trump's morale or his approval rating? STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: I think most
immediately, Pamela, it will help his morale. It's has been a pretty tough month. It is a difficult place to be in a new White House. That has been under siege, really, apart from what was a very sort of effective first week in office for the president. This, I think, in many ways, was more like a speech of somebody that was running for office than who had already won the office. Clearly, Donald Trump was harking back to the campaign.
He said something quite interesting, I think, to the reporters on air force one, as he was taxing into that rally. He said, life is a campaign. And I think that we are going to see the presidency as a campaign. This is a way for him, as he said, to sort of change the narrative, to get away from Washington, to be among the people who sent him to Washington, who sent him to the White House. And from who he drive derives his power.
There was a message there, I think, standing in front of that big crowd to Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, a reminder if you like of why the president was elected and the people he has behind him. However much we in Washington and the media might talk about a White House that is under siege and that is not functioning as well as the president says it is.
BROWN: So on the heels of what you just said, Stephen, Jeffrey Lord, I mean, how much in your view was today's campaign rally, as the White House is calling it, about reassuring Donald Trump?
You know, I think it's so interesting that when he holds these press conferences, he repeatedly talks about how many electoral college votes he got, reminding people that he won and here's how many votes I received. And then he has this big rally today, where he continually puts down the media, among others.
So how much of this is about Donald Trump being reassured in his first few weeks in the White House or telling the American people, going straight to them, and telling them, you know, what he thinks they want to hear?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's -- I think it's the latter. I think he is communicating in his own fashion. President Obama did this nine days earlier than this in 2009. President Obama was in Elkhart, Indiana, for his version of this, which was a televised town hall, so he could push his stimulus program. Every president, every modern president does this differently. As I said, FDR sort of invented this with the fireside chat on radio.
But let me just say that people like Gene Huber, whom we have just met tonight, I have met lots of these people here. This is here in the middle of Pennsylvania. I lived for a long time in Washington and my friends in Washington, I have to say, thought I was crazy back in 2013, when I said that Donald Trump could win.
It's because I was home, had long since moved home, band was listening to the Gene Hubers of the world, with names like Steve and Alec and Lisa right here in Pennsylvania. And they were right. They got it! And I'm just suggesting that it's important to pay attention to these people. They are ignored too often, when we have media analysis and all this kind of thing. I understand how all of this works, but it's important to pay attention to these people. They did, in fact, elect the next president of the United States.
[19:05:00] BROWN: That is true. And that's why we have Gene Huber on, to hear his perspective.
LORD: Exactly! Exactly!
BROWN: Yes, exactly. And I mean, it's important. You know, it's interesting, because I noticed after the last press conference on Thursday, there were people saying, and I feel like I live in an alternate universe, Jeffrey Lord. There are people like you saying, I thought it was great, everything he said. And then, you know, there were the other side, those who are opponents said, you know, I can't believe this is what he said. He's unhinged.
I want to go to you, Whajahat Ali, contributor for the "New York Times." He joins us now. What was your takeaway from today's campaign rally?
WAJAHAT ALI, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, first of all, perhaps to Gene, maybe he can replace Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway. I'm glad he was enthusiastic. Be nice. So I think there might be a vacancy there. And I really appreciate that Donald Trump uses the "Rolling Stone" song "you can't always get what you want," because right now he can't get favorability ratings or an efficient government. And I think the real song should have been sympathy for the devil. Because the reason why he did this, and compared to Obama and FDR who by the way, Obama by the same time passed a federal stimulus package, which you might not like, but actually was very bold and he actually legislated.
Donald Trump is not legislating. He is not leading. What he is doing is like you said, trying to create an enemy. And the enemy he is trying to create is the free press. And he is saying, we are the enemy of the people. We are the opposition, according to Steve Bannon, who seems to be running the show. And apparently, we are doing fake news by simply reporting the facts, reporting these Russia connections which are extremely disturbing, reporting the fact that Michael Flynn lied, Donald Trump knew about it, sat on it for about a month, and then only after "the Washington Post," again, the press, reported it, then he forced the resignation of Michael Flynn.
So this is what the press is doing. We are not rolling over. We are not being state TV. And the fact that Trump did this, I think, is he is assuaging his insecurity, his anxiety, in what seems, so far, to be a very impotent administration that does not have a national security adviser.
BROWN: Alice, I'm sure you have a few thoughts on what Wajahat just said. But President Trump did say he wanted to get past the media filter and speak directly to the people. But it also sounded like, at times, throughout, that he was simply reiterating campaign promises. Now, he is only been in office less than a month. And so, of course,
it takes a while to get things done and get your sea legs. But what was new in your view? And who did he reach out to, besides his most faithful supporters today, Alice?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First and foremost, that was a priority, was to reach out to his faithful supporters, but the press and the fact-checkers weren't the ones that voted for him. But it was the Genes out there and the people like him that voted for him and the president wanted to show his appreciation.
Look, it's difficult to recall now, but back in the early stages of the Trump campaign, it was hard. It was a tough slog. And those people were in the foxhole with him, and he is very appreciative to their efforts to help get him elected. And that was part of what today was.
And yes, there was a lot of repeating many of the same themes, such as, securing the border and safe streets, from repealing and replacing Obamacare. And before he got out of air force one, he had a gaggle with the press saying that -- and the question was, why do you have these campaign events? He says, life is a campaign. Making America great again is a campaign. And we are going to continue to see that, because part of also what he did, he moved the ball down the field on some of the things, talking about how he will re-file an executive order on the travel ban. He gave us an update that the repeal and replace. We will have more details on that in March.
I think with regard to Syria, saying he will create safe zones there until it's safe for people to leave, that's important. And to piggyback on Mike Pence's message today with regard to NATO, Mike Pence said that we are firmly standing behind NATO. Donald Trump says he is a fan of NATO, but at the same time, people need to pay more of their fair share with regard with NATO.
So he did make some substantive policy messages today that will come out of that. At the same time, calling on house and Senate Democrats to work together to make a lot of these things happen, specifically. Obamacare and infrastructure packages, which are key that we have bipartisan input on that.
BROWN: Hey Julia, listen to what Trump said, Mr. Trump said about past presidents' relationship with the press. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Is that true, Julian?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. Other presidents have called the press out. That's absolutely true. They have called out certain news organizations. They have tried to work around news organizations. But it's rare to see them attack the press as an institution and to put forward facts that are not true. And that is where there is more of not just an attack on the press, but a competition in terms of telling the story of what's going on. The story about the Electoral College and the popular vote. Two claims that President Trump keeps making that aren't true is actually going after the stories that the press has reported.
So this is a wholesale attack on the media as an institution. That's very different than the examples he talked about.
[19:10:23] BROWN: All right. Julian Zelizer, Stephen Collinson, Alice Stewart, Jeffrey Lord, Wajahat Ali, thank you so much. Stick around. A lot more to discuss.
And just ahead in the NEWSROOM, on this Saturday, is there a storm brewing inside the White House? "Time" magazine takes on President Trump's tumultuous first month in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I see stories of chaos. Chaos! Yet, it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:14:02] BROWN: A portrait of chaos inside the White House. This week's "Time" magazine cover illustrates a literal storm brewing around President Donald Trump in the oval office, along with an article describing the 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 now, CNN politics time contributor, Dan Merica, "New York Times" contributor Wajahat Ali, historian, professor and author Julian Zelizer and CNN political commentator, Alice Stewart.
So, the president denies any chaos in his administration. He says that it is running like a fine-tuned machine. Julian, here is what he said, just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [19:15:30] BROWN: So you heard that the president there, Julian, saying, that look, things are going very smoothly. It's running like a fine-tuned machine. But however, you have his national security adviser Michael Flynn fired, essentially, the travel ban rollout being blocked by the judiciary. You know, these reports, from "Time" magazine saying there is chaos in the White House.
Just for perspective, how does this stack up against the first few weeks of past administrations.
ZELIZER: Well, I think the White House is struggling. If you take all the ordinary measures, national approval ratings, he is doing worse than most presidents are at this time. Having your national security adviser resign and resign as part of a scandal that is even shaking Republicans on Capitol Hill, is not something that you have in the so-called first hundred days.
And in terms of legislation, it's been very slow going. And there really isn't a big legislative initiative to speak of. So whether you are a supporter of President Trump or an opponent, I think it's fair to say that this has been a rough few weeks. And there are stories of division and discord inside the White House as all of this unfolds.
BROWN: And as you are speaking there, air force one landing back in Palm Beach following the rally there in Melbourne, Florida. Wajahat, the "Time" article I was referring to says quote "little take place in the White House these days without a complication or contradiction and points to the dismissal of national security adviser Michael Flynn, a senior aide, where he did write to announce his resignation. As we know, Kellyanne went on TV saying that Flynn -- that the president had full confidence in Flynn. Where is the disconnect, in your view?
ALI: Well, if this is a finely tuned machine, I think that's an alternative fact, and I think it resembles more a rusted broken-down machine from "mad max: fury road." That's the presidency right now. The dysfunction starts from the top. And listen. There's two major reasons why Donald Trump did today's rally and the press conference yesterday.
Two reasons. Number one, as mentioned, the dysfunction, it's leaking left and right. More leaks from this White House than anyone in this town of D.C. have seen. These are Republican insiders within the White House talking about the dysfunction, number one.
Number two, Russia, which is not fake news. And the fact that Russia, now our intelligence agencies are saying that Russia hacked this election illegally, was in contact with Donald Trump's staffers before the election, who, what, why. These questions need to be asked. And the fact that Michael Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador about the sanctions, Trump knew about it, kept quiet about it, "Washington Post" finally talked about it last week, which forced the resignation. Now there's no national security adviser. And every single type of major legislation that he promised is failing.
The Muslim ban, failed. 3-0, unanimous beat down by the Supreme Court. He wanted Mexico to build a wall. Mexico said "no" and that broke down. You know, we have seven Muslim majority countries that he put on the ban and now some of them are allies like Yemen and Iraq. They are turning their back. So this is dysfunction from top down, bottom up, domestically, foreign policy, internally, Kellyanne Conway has no idea what Sean Spicer is saying who has no idea what Donald Trump is saying who has no idea what Steven Bannon is saying. This is not the model of a finely tuned machine. And finally, he cannot gaslight America, the CIA, and the press, which is not the enemy of the American people, but our job is to step up, report facts, and speak truth to power, which is what we're doing and it is what we're going to do, especially here on CNN.
BROWN: Alice, your response?
STEWART: That is a lot, as usual, with Waj, a lot to unpack there.
But let me start with this. President Trump says that the administration is running like a finely tuned machine. The "Time" says that it's a White House in chaos. My view, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Every administration when they get going. There is going to be bumps in the road, there is going to be staff in- fighting, there is going to be people jockeying for position, fighting for access to the president. That is normal. That is not out of the ordinary.
Yes, there could be a greater degree of that in this case, but that being said, they are still operating at the pleasure of the president. He is fine with satisfied with the work they are doing, and they are getting a lot of things done.
Now, with regard to the narrative, yes, they have had a bumpy week with all of the many, many negative things that Washington has noted. I won't repeat them. But the mission for the news conference we had the other day, the campaign-style events in South Carolina yesterday and this event today was to change the narrative. And what he did is he put the focus on the media being fake news, talking about incorrect information and the repeated lies, and that became the driving force of the news for the past few days.
I, personally, think the media has an important job as the fourths estate to be an important check and plans on our government officials. They have an important role and they take it very seriously. President Trump believes they are carte blanche fake news and inaccurate information. That's how he sees it.
But from his standpoint, the last few days have been to put the focus on the fake media and news media and to attack the media and drive his message home with the base, shift the narrative to that, as well as connecting with people like gene. And for that, mission accomplished. He is done exactly what he wanted to do. The narrative has changed now to, again, talking about the media, but also, he needed this shot in the arm. He needed to connect with the people. He needed to see people like Gene out there standing behind him, in order to really hit the grounding on this next week. And I think what it did, there's clearly going to be these Russian stories continue to pop up. But this is what he needed to do to get back to a good frame of mind, to continue to do the work that he has promised the American people that he will do.
[19:21:29] BROWN: And there's no doubt, he really thrives off these crowds, off the energy of these crowds. And it is true, Julian, that the White House can be sort of a lonely, insular place. So it's no surprise that he would want to go out and reconnect with those that put him in office.
You wrote an op-ed for CNN.com, though, saying that the president's performance at Thursday's news conference is fueling fears that his presidency is going off the rails. And now you see these campaign events, as the White House is calling it today. What are your main concerns, Julian?
ZELIZER: Well, look, from the press conference, there were a number of things that bothered people. One was continuing to say things about the Electoral College victory, for example, that aren't true. Part of it was the anger and animosity that he has towards specific opponents, specific networks, specific newspapers that show a kind of disposition that reminds me a little bit of Richard Nixon. And part of it was simply refusal to engage in information we now have about Russia and the election. You know, he dismisses it, rather than arguing that he is going to provide a solution.
So all of that and simply the kind of erratic way in which he speaks, can be dangerous for a president. Because when you say something as president, it has big ramifications here in the states and abroad. So it's different than when you're campaigning. And so, I think, all of that was, as you watched it, a little bit disturbing. And for many people, frightening.
BROWN: Julian, Alice, Wajahat, thank you so much. We do appreciate it.
STEWART: Thanks, Pamela.
BROWN: And take a look at this. These are some pictures from just moments ago from right outside the Trump rally in Melbourne, Florida. You can see the Trump supporters meeting face to face with the Trump protesters there. And police right in the thick of it all. \
Much more when we come back.
[19:27:16] BROWN: Take a look at this. These are some live pictures from outside the Trump rally in Melbourne, Florida. You can see the Trump supporters meeting the Trump protesters right there with police in the middle. That rally has wrapped up. And as you see on the other side of the screen, the president, the first lady, Melania Trump, back in Palm Beach, Florida, going down the steps there moments ago.
Well, he has been in office for less than a month, but President Trump is already back on the campaign trail, as we saw there today. He wrapped up that rally in Florida just moments ago, and from the very beginning, he made it absolutely clear why he was there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm here because I want to be among my friends and among the people. I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Let's bring in CNN's Athena Jones. She joins me live from Melbourne.
Athena, what else did we hear from the president? What stood out to you?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think what stood out, Pamela, is that we heard a lot of the same things we have been hearing from him for the last year and a half. A lot of the same rhetoric we heard on the campaign trail, a lot of the same rhetoric we heard, frankly a couple of days ago. In that long, free-wheeling press conference on Thursday. So not very much that was new.
But in this case, it's kind of like he spent all these last four weeks tweeting about a lot of these things, and now he was able to put all of those tweets into one speech and talk about all of his priorities. Hit everything from Obamacare to the border wall to making America win again.
Let's play a chunk of what he was talking about when it came to the other party, the opposition party, to the Democrats on Capitol Hill. Let's play that and talk about it on either side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's also time for the Senate Democrats to take responsibility for Obamacare and to work with us to replace it, with new reforms that reverse this nationwide health care tragedy. It's a tragedy. It's unaffordable. It doesn't work. And I said to the Republicans, I said, you want to do something great, politically? Don't do anything. Sit back for two years, let it explode, the Democrats will come and beg for us to do something, but we can't do that to the American people. We have to fix it and we will. We need members of both parties to join hands and work with us to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to build new roads and bridges and airports and tunnels and highways and railways, all across our great nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So, I thought that was interesting. We have been talking a bit leading up to this rally about how it was a bit unusual, not for a president to hit the campaign trail or go out into the country and appear before crowds this early in a presidency. But the fact that he wasn't really pushing one specific policy area. For instance, by this time at the beginning of President Obama's first term, he had signed this massive stimulus package.
Meanwhile, President Trump wasn't really pushing one particular piece of policy. But what was interesting just now, what you heard there is that he was ostensibly selling bipartisan cooperation, trying to urge bipartisan cooperation to pass his agenda. Calling on Republicans Democrats to work with Republicans on Obamacare. To work with Republicans on infrastructure. That is something that Democrats have been indicated they are interested in doing. He also called on Democrats to work to pass his Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Neil Gorsuch.
So it was interesting to hear him tell this crowd of 9,000, we were told by the Melbourne police. And what's interesting also, Pamela, I want to say, before he came off of air force one in this grand entrance, he was asked, why have this campaign rally so soon after taking office? And he said, life is a campaign. Making our country great again is a campaign. It is clear this is something that he very much enjoys, that he's very much energized by. And the crowds seem to love it - Pamela.
BROWN: Athena Jones, thank you so much. We do appreciate it.
And still to come right here in the NEWSROOM, vice president Pence weighed in on the relationship between Russia and the U.S. on a trip to Munich. His direct message to President Putin.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. We will be right back.
[19:34:39] BROWN: For the Trump White House representative overseas today by vice president Mike Pence attended an annual global security conference in Germany. The vice president telling European leaders that despite fears to the contrary, Russia is not getting a pass from Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And know this. The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable. Even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:35:07] BROWN: Matthew Chance is our senior international correspondent in Moscow, and Bob Baer, former CIA operative in our intelligence and security analyst.
Thank you both for coming on, gentleman.
Matthew, first to you. Vice president Mike Pence reassuring NATO allies in Munich, but during President Trump's rally, he said, I'm a fan of NATO, but, and went on to talk about countries paying their fair share.
How do you think that this will play with the international community, particularly there in Moscow? MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think
the issue of paying their fair share is a long-standing American complaint about the contributions that NATO members most of them make to the NATO budget. The United States wants each country to pay at least two percent of its national budget to defense spending in NATO.
In terms of the other remarks from Mike Pence, regarding Ukraine and regarding how Russia will, you know, be held to account for its actions, I mean, I think from a Russian pint of view, this is not the kind of language that they are expecting to come from the Trump administration. Remember, Donald Trump campaigned, effectively, on a platform of thawing the relationship between the United States and Russia. He promised that he would look again at recognizing Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 from Ukraine, as a legitimate part of Russia. And he spoke about cooperation in all sorts of spheres, including the security sphere, the fight against international terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.
And so I think Russians are very disappointed and very disillusioned with what the Trump administration is offering them at the moment, which is very little.
BROWN: Well, let's take a listen to what the vice president said this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The promise to share the burden of our defense has gone unfulfilled for too many, for too long, and it erodes the very foundation of our alliance. When even one ally fails to do their part, it undermines our ability to come to each other's aid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So you square that, Bob Baer, with what Donald Trump said during the campaign, which was not very flattering of NATO, saying that it was, the alliance was obsolete. And even today during his rally, in Melbourne, Florida, as I pointed out earlier, he basically said, you know, NATO is a good thing, but each country has to pay their fair share. So not exactly squaring up with what we heard from the vice president, saying we have unwavering support of NATO. Is there a danger in these mixed messages, bob?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: There's definitely a danger. I mean, the question is, who speaks for Trump's foreign policy? And there are so many people that it's confusing whether it's Bannon, who sits on the national security council, whether it's his son-in-law, who has told world leaders he's making policy on the Middle East, to Tillerson, and now to Pence. I think Europe and NATO is -- was welcome comments by mike pence.
The question is, will Trump himself come around and support Pence and no one's got an answer for that, and I think the Europeans at this point are very worried. And as Mathews said the Russians are disappointed, because they don't understand American foreign policy. And certainly in this first month, it is not clear to me. BROWN: Matthew, Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, clearly did
not like what he heard from Mike Pence. That the U.S. will continue to be firm with Russia. He says quote "the U.S. cannot be the only power." I know he sort of pushed on this earlier, but is there any sense in Moscow that relations with the U.S. will be different moving forward under President Trump?
CHANCE: Of course, that was the big expectation. And there was a lot of hopes here, although the Kremlin always said it never had a rose- tinted view about what Donald Trump could bring to the relationship between the United States and Russia.
You know, the Russian media was full of praise for Donald Trump, full of high expectations about deals on issues from NATO expansion to Syria to the situation in Ukraine. And the whole situation, though, the whole mood as changed dramatically, with the recent remarks, not just from the vice president, but from Nikki Haley, the Trump- appointed ambassador to the United Nations, with Sean Spicer, calling on Russia to hand back Crimea, and indeed, a tweet from Donald Trump himself, a couple of days ago, saying that Russia had taken Crimea and criticizing the Obama administration for not being tough enough on Russia.
Look, here is an excerpt from a prominent Russian newspaper, from just today. It's time, the newspaper says in the editorial, for us to end our love affair with Donald Trump. Trump's plans to improve the relationship with Russia are crumbling for our eyes. And that's very much the attitude that Russians, once very hopeful of this Trump administration, now have.
[19:40:18] BROWN: All of this is happening, Bob, as there's still a help wanted sign for the national security adviser to the president position. There are some big names that are being floated. So let's look at this list. There's the current acting national security adviser, retired army general Keith Kellogg, former U.S. general ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, and lieutenant general HR McMaster as well as lieutenant general Robert Caslen. What do you think of those candidates?
BAER: I think they are inadequate to the job, with this kind of president who needs a lot of minding. The purpose of the national security adviser is to get all the squirrels into one tree. And it's going to take quite a personality to do that in this administration. These people all have careers in the military. You know, but what do you do about somebody like Bannon, who has staked out a major voice in foreign policy.
And that's really the problem. And I think that's -- people are reluctant to take that job until it's clear this president, you know, has no political experience, doesn't understand to this point that he needs somebody in the White House with a strong hand. And it's -- and he's got to -- by the way, he could keep the secretary of state on the same policy and it's not easy to do, but a national security adviser who's very strong and has the ear of the president, is absolutely essential.
BROWN: Right. All right, Matthew Chance, Bob Baer, thank you both.
Coming up on this Saturday, this week President Trump has a testy exchange with a Jewish reporter, this as concerns in the Jewish community over anti-Semitism are growing. The story up next.
[19:45:33] BROWN: Well, during his much-talked about news conference earlier this week, President Trump had a testy exchange with a Jewish reporter from "Ami" magazine who questioned him in the rise over anti- Semitic attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to --
TRUMP: I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism. The least racist person. In fact, we did very well, relative to other people running as a Republican -- quiet, quiet, quiet! See, he lied about -- he was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question, so, you know, welcome to the world of the media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: That reporter, Jake Turx, didn't get to finish his question. Turks spoke to our John Berman last night and John asked him to repeat the question he had for the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TURX, REPORTER, AMI MAGAZINE: Simply put, I would like to know, I get clarification on what is it that his administration's position is that the executive branch of the federal government of the United States can and would be doing to try to curb anti-Semitism and try to address that issue and work together with leaders of the community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And for more on the rising concerns over anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S., we turn to CNN's Gary Tuchman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hail, Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "Hail victory," translated into German, sig heil. This surreal scene happened just days after the presidential election and just steps from the White House, a gathering of a so-called alt-right group cheering Donald Trump's victory with Nazi absolutes.
After an uproar, Donald Trump's team released a statement two days after the incident denouncing racism. When the president himself was pressed on by the "New York Times" the day after that statement, he said he disavowed the group. Back then, many people wished he'd sent a stronger message against hate. In the three months since, a rash of anti-Semitic threats. One such bomb threat against the Jewish community center caught on audio tape the caller using voice masking technology.
In a short time, a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered. Their heads are going to be blown off from the shrapnel.
CHANCE: Just this past January, nearly 60 bomb threats were called into 48 Jewish community centers across 26 states. That according to the JCAA in association of the centers.
CHEF RICH WALLACE, AMBERLEY VILLAGE, OHIO POLICE & FIRE: There's been a number of threats at Jewish community centers throughout the United States. Unfortunately, it's what we are dealing with now, today, in the world.
TUCHMAN: The FBI and department of justice are currently investigating beyond the threats, anti-Semitic vandalism across the country. This Nazi swastika spray painted on a car in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That symbol is a symbol of hatred. That is a sign of anti-Semitism, which is violent and awful, despicable and deplorable.
TUCHMAN: And while none of these incidents has led to fiscal violence, a community is on edge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are scared. They are saying, what is next. What is this about?
TUCHMAN: The FBI, which tracks hate crimes, does not yet have national statistics for the time period since the election. But we do know President Trump's hometown of New York City, according to an NYPD report has seen a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Jews so far this year. That was the backdrop for the testy exchange from President Trump's news conference yesterday.
TRUMP: Not a fair question. OK, sit down. I understand the rest of your question.
TUCHMAN: And why even some of his most ardent supporters wish that President Trump would be clearer and unequivocal in condemn bigotry.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Los Angeles.
BROWN: And straight ahead, right here in the NEWSROOM, dramatic video of a woman being rescued from a burning car. We will show it to you, up next. You won't want to miss it.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. And we will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:53:16] BROWN: Dramatic video captured on the police body camera showing a Washington state police officer going beyond the call of duty freeing a woman from her burning car.
CNN's Dan Simon has the story.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The heart-pounding rescue captured on the officer's body cam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get there, and all you see is this car on fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got you!
SIMON: Spokane police officer Tim Schwering using his baton to break a window, trying to free a woman from a burning car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So helpless. It is just absolutely helpless.
SIMON: Kim Novak had just come from the grocery store when the car hit an ice bump and lost all power. She couldn't open the windows and even the manual door locks would not budge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's on fire?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The car!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where in the car?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the hood. Under the hood. I can smell it burning. Dear God, please get me out. Please! Please! I'm kicking. I'm kicking. God!
SIMON: Unable to kick her way out, there is little time before the smoke will render her unconscious.
TIM SCHWERING, SPOKANE POLICE DEPARTMENT: I just turned on the radio and said I'm going to that. I surveyed the scene and you have to punch this window out to be able to get her out of here.
SIMON: After several strikes, a small opening for Kim to climb out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's move it!
SIMON: And created just a big enough hole to climb through?
SCHWERING: Yes. So she was able to make it out there. And so I instructed her, you know, let's go. I grab an arm, your neighbor grabs an arm. And we pull her out of the car.
[19:55:13] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you OK? You went over that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just at the mercy of whoever was going to come and save me. It happened to be Tim and thank God for that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You good?
SIMON: Because she knows without his initiative and grit, she likely would have died in the smoke-filled car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing? Good to see you.
SIMON: Dan Simon, CNN, Spokane, Washington.
[19:59:37] BROWN: Top of the hour now. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. And I am Pamela Brown in Washington on this Saturday. Thanks so much for being here with us.
Well, after a seemingly turbulent first month in office, President Trump is doing everything he can to control the narrative. One way he is trying to do that is by rewinding to what he is comfortable with and of course that would be the campaign trail. He held a major rally in Florida tonight. The White House says it was an official campaign event.
And from the very beginning the president made it crystal clear why he was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm here because I want to be among my friend and among the people.
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