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Report: WH Denies Wrongdoing in FBI Conversations on Russia; Ex-NC Governor Backs Trump on Transgender Debate; New Video of Clinton Speaking to Democrats. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 24, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: There is no question that the FBI leaks, Bob Woodward's source during Watergate when he was one of the cub and lead reporters of that event. It turned out later we learned his principal source was named at the time Deepthroat. And Deepthroat was the number two man in the FBI and he was leaking. And leaks are also wrong about 50 percent of what Woodward got from Mark Felt, the number two man, was not accurate information, And the place to correct that sort of thing and what did happen -- what's happened in post-Watergate presidencies is when there's been FBI inquiries, what have you it's been done in the press room, very transparently and not trying to send a private message but rather be very public saying hey, there was a leak out of the FBI, it was wrong, here is the correct information, we want to be transparent about it. Bill Clinton when we met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a big mistake, he's shrewd enough to know that, so that was not a good move on his part and did not help anything and I'm sure he regretted it later.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: She ended up having to recuse herself. Remember that, we covered that as well. John Dean, thank you.

DEAN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We have Hillary Clinton addressing Democrats. Hear what she's up to and has to say next.


BALDWIN: Just in here at CNN Hillary Clinton with a message for Democrats saying she will always be proud of the campaign she ran and thanking voters who support her, here she is.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The challenges we face as a party and a country are real. So now more than ever we need to stay engaged in the field and online reaching out to new voters and everyone who wants a better, stronger, fairer America. We as Democrats must move forward with courage, confidence and optimism and stay focused on the elections we must win this year and next. Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Let's talk about that with our CNN National Reporter. We have seen her hiking, giving a couple speeches, maybe in a brief video but this the first time seeing her, and hearing the words persist, makes me think of what Mitch McConnell said to Elizabeth Warren a couple of weeks ago.

[15:35:00] MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It's interesting she's dipping her toe back in because this is a time when the left is looking for leadership. So many of the protests has been organic, people around the country angry about the Trump administration policies but when we saw her motorcade go back to Chappaqua after that public appearance last year it was really, really interesting that we thought that the Clinton era was departing and now she's back, so she's clearly trying to figure out what her role is here in helping to encourage the resistance but there's a lot of other people who are vying to be sort of the new voice of the party, to come up with a message that could really reach out to those folks in the middle of the country who really turned away from Clinton.

BALDWIN: Choosing the next leader for the DNC down in Atlanta. What about Governor Kasich meeting with the President today, this is what he said.


JOHN KASICH, GOVERNOR, OHIO: The man is the president of the United States. It's sort of like being on an airplane, you want to root for the pilot. You don't want the pilot to screw up if you're on the airplane. Look, I've been around too long, and I feel so strongly about my faith to be, not that I succeed in it all the time, to be personal, I can have my opinions but now it's time to be constructive.


BALDWIN: This is a man who didn't endorse the president, didn't show up to the convention in his own state for the then nominee Trump. What do you

think of what he said?

RESTON: I loved how he used this opportunity at the mic right in the middle of this huge press controversy to really press his own agenda, he clearly is looking to be a player on the Republican side coming up in maybe 2020 if the Trump administration faces some challenges or potentially 2024, but he clearly is trying to say that you know, our Sara Murray asked if he had buried the hatchet with President Trump and he wouldn't quite answer that question but going for a more congenial tone trying to press his own agenda with the President and outline his own political future perhaps.

BALDWIN: He said if there are things he doesn't like the President is doing, he will tell him. Maeve Reston, thank you very much.

Still ahead Caitlyn Jenner speaking up saying the President is failing to protect LGTB rights. We'll talk to the former North Carolina governor who agrees with the President and two activists supporting the transgender community. Stay here. [15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Caitlyn Jenner is calling President's Trump's rollback of Obama-era protections for transgender students quote unquote "disaster". This week the Trump administration reversed federal guidelines issued to public schools that instructed them to allow students to use the bathroom that correspond with their gender identity. Here is what Caitlyn Jenner had to say about it.


CAITLYN JENNER, TRANSGENDER WOMAN AND REALITY TV STAR: I have a message for Donald Trump from one Republican to another. This is a disaster and you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBT community. Call me.


BALDWIN: A little while ago I had a chance to speak with Governor Mat McCrory, at the center of this national debate. Former governor of North Carolina, first allowed people the use the bathroom corresponding with their gender listed on their birth certificate not their gender identity. Here is our conversation.


BALDWIN: Governor now that you're watching this all play out from the white house and I know North Carolina argued this would protect them, you know transgender students feel discriminated against at a young vulnerable age. What do you say to them?

MAT MCCRORY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA: I think this is more of a privacy issue. And frankly we don't have a legal definition of transgender or gender identity or gender expression and have said from the very beginning when it was brought up by the political left that the Supreme Court is going to have to step in. It was not President Obama's decision not President Trump's decision through his order, he reversed the executive order as overreach, which was it's going to be either the U.S. Congress or Supreme Court that's going to further define the 1964 act is it based on the what the doctor says or what the individual says, I think it's the doctor because we ask the doctor is it a boy or a girl and it's the doctor who makes needs to make that decision.

BALDWIN: I understand you're saying it should be a legal definition even though there are a lot of young people who say this is how I feel I may have been born a boy but feel like a girl. You say it shouldn't be up to them, should be up to the courts to decide who is a boy and who is a girl just so I'm hearing you correctly.

MCCRORY: There are a lot of other ramifications, we had male prisoners who said I feel like a girl therefore I want to be transferred to the woman's ward. It's the doctor's decision to determine whether you are a male or female.

BALDWIN: Forgive me from interrupting but that's prisons, a far cry from public schools.

MCCRORY: Well we have group showers, for one boy to decide I'm a girl and want to go to the girl's shower, they should have a say so long with their parents. What is the new definition of gender? What we always had it to be a male or female based on our biological settings when we're born or on how one feels or expresses one's self-which is a brand new debate and a group just happened to make North Carolina the epicenter, but now this debate is happening in the state of Texas and Houston the voters turned it down over two years by over 60 percent of the vote in Houston, Texas so it's a very complex, very emotional issue on all sides and we need to have a clear intellectual discussion on this new privacy issue versus civil rights issue.

[15:45:00] BALDWIN: Understand. Understand. And listen, I absolutely respect your opinion and why I'm talking to you, but also talked to transgender people.

MCCRORY: With I appreciate it.

BALDWIN: On this show and it's how they feel it's not the court to tell them. Let me move on we were listening to the daily briefing and Sean Spicer was reinforcing the point about anti-pot laws and he was saying it's a federal government who should reinforce those anti-pot laws but juxtaposing that with the transgender issue being a state's rights issue, critics are saying hang on a second that's hypocritical.

MCCRORY: There's no definition of a transgender and what stage they're in so that needs to be clarified but I think this is going to be a federal issue regarding the 1964 civil rights act.

BALDWIN: I understand but the question was more on federal versus state, if he's bringing up anti-pot laws should be enforced by the federal government and yet the gender issues by states, why do you have a gray area?

MCCRORY: Well our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution -- this is that gray area on where do states' rights begin and the federal government rule? I frankly think we ought tough one civil rights act, and that's what the 1964 civil rights laws does, but I didn't think President Obama had the right to change the civil rights act and all a sudden change the way we define boys and girls, I think that's through adapting or amending the 1964 civil rights act or done by the supreme court which I think where this case will end up most likely to the Richmond case most likely to the bathrooms, but other issues locker rooms, changing rooms, and other issues based on gender identity.

BALDWIN: You lost your re-election months after this massive bathroom fight. The state of North Carolina lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, all-star game pulled out, Bruce Springsteen said I'm not coming to give my concert there. A couple months out Governor McCrory do you have any regrets?

MCCRORY: I think there's some selective hypocrisy, the super bowl was just played in Texas which has the exact same laws as issues, the NCAA basketball tournament was played where the voters rejected the same. BALDWIN: But the applications came up in North Carolina last year,

I'm just asking you personally, do you have any regrets?

MCCRORY: I don't have regrets for protecting the rights for men and women, and boys of girls in the most private of places frankly the restrooms, locker rooms and showers throughout our country and state --

BALDWIN: What happened you --

MCCRORY: And I respect what the other side is going through.

BALDWIN: Do you think the President is doing the right thing?

MCCRORY: I think President Trump is doing the right thing saying the President and the executive branch does not have the right by itself to define the gender for the nation. I never knew of a problem until the liberals brought up these bathroom rules and new definition of gender.

BALDWIN: Do you know anyone who is transgender, governor?

MCCRORY: Absolutely. I've met -- listen, I was mayor for 14 years before governor and this issue never came up. And by the way the word transgender for your audience I think you need to define it. There are many different aspects of gender identity and gender expression, and the word transgender does not show the real complexity of each individual case especially as it applies to the privacy of a shower or locker room or a restroom facility.

BALDWIN: Listen, I can't pretend what it feels like to not be in my own skin.

MCCRORY: I can't either.

BALDWIN: But as you know transgender people, I've had them on my show or been at events and I just know what they tell me which is not dictated by the law it's a gender identity issue, but when you talk to them it's not complicated at all. They feel one way and they want the government to respect that.

[15:50:00] MCCRORY: Again, we have people who feel that way during the day and might feel a different way during tonight or vice versa. There are different applications how we determine gender identity, and was on charlotte laws, I empathize with people going through this issue, but I also empathize with the 99.7 percent of the population and parents of children who go you know what I don't want a boy built like a boy to go into my daughter's showers or vice versa and those are emotional issues that tug at the heart.

BALDWIN: Forgive me for interrupting I asked you if you know any transgender people and you say yes, so from the people that you know when they tell you I want to use this bathroom because of emotional issues that tug at the heart. Are their feelings wrong?

MCCRORY: Again, I met with a transgender professor of North Carolina and he wishes they wouldn't have brought it up and they were doing just fine, but now the government officials are bringing it up and President Obama did not have the authority to bring it into -- I don't think Congress is going to have the courage to re-examine the word sex, which has always been interpreted between a man and female based upon what the doctor said when they were born.

BALDWIN: You are entitled to your opinion and there are folks who absolutely agree.

MCCRORY: We have to be careful to respect people's opinion but show respect for them but have an agreeable disagreement. That's what we have to have in our nation, more of it.

BALDWIN: Governor Pat McCrory great state of North Carolina, thank you very much.


BALDWIN: Respecting people's opinions, I always want hear from both sides. Let me bring in two guests who know the transgender community so well, Daniel Friedman is the founder of Bindle and Keep, a Brooklyn based shop the specializes in tailormade suits for the transgender community. Their shop was featured an HBO documentary. Here is a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED TAILOR: So, let's talk about what we're thinking of for the suits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mine is for my wedding and I have a lot of pictures of suits that I like for it. I want a suit that kind of makes my body as masculine as it can look. The biggest struggle is I really don't want anyone to be able to pick me out from a line of guys and be like, there's like curves on this body that don't make sense. I think if you can make a suit for me that kind of takes that, like, doubt out of my head that like someone is thinking that, then I'll feel really good on my wedding day.


BALDWIN: Called Bindle and Keep, Daniel and Rae are with me. So, nice to meet you all. Thank you so much for coming by. You sat here and listened to my entire interview with Governor McCrory. I want your response but a piece of it was he seemed to not fully understand the difference between sex and gender identity. The medical community recognizes gender identity. Can you talk about that?

RAE TUTERA, TAILOR AND PARTNER, BINDLE AND KEEP: Yes. What's interesting to me is that the former governor and so many people emphasize privacy as the real issue here. And if we're so preoccupied with privacy, I would think that someone's information that they maybe have discussed with their doctor about their body that relates to their gender or their sex would be private, and we would continue to respect that as a private matter. Someone's gender identity and expression is who they are in the world, how they feel, and how they engage with people. So, I think on a regular basis people are probably interacting with trans folk and they don't even realize it because we are who we present as. We are who we say we are. And again, I think if privacy is real, we should continue to respect people's privacy and allow them to possess whatever bodies they possess, inhabit those bodies and express their genders the way they feel is sincere.

BALDWIN: His whole point is the law recognizing that assuming it goes to the Supreme Court.


BALDWIN: It goes to the Supreme Court, I was giving the opposite side. That's why we wanted to make sure we had you on as well. Should the law dictate how somebody feels?

TUTERA: Of course, not. You know, of course, not.

BALDWIN: Daniel?

DANIEL FRIEDMAN, TAILOR AND PARTNER, BINDLE AND KEEP: Part of the thing -- I'm a straight male.

[15:55:00] I have a very different perspective on it in terms of, you know, what we do for a living and we put suits on people who come from all backgrounds. And everyone has struggled with their bodies. And if people actually meet people who are transgender, people say I have a friend who is transgender. We know hundreds of people who have really struggled with their bodies and this isn't a way to get into other people's or the other gender's bathroom as some kind of ruse to invade other people's privacy. This is something that's very serious. People don't feel like they belong in their bodies.

BALDWIN: That's what I was asking. I said, governor, do you know anyone who is transgender and he said yes. And I followed up and he referenced the professor who said he wished the liberals would just get out of this whole conversation. But back on this whole issue with regard to President Trump and rolling back the Obama era guidelines, if you're rolling back guidelines and you're saying, all right, it's up to the states to decide, what do you think of that?

TUTERA: I think the idea that states should be deciding this is more political than a legal concept. I think that we have politicized so many things that should just be frankly black and white, human rights are at the center of this and I don't think that we should be letting states choose whether people can lead their full lives or not. If trans folks, gender nonconforming folk have trouble using the rest room in the state they live in or the state they're from, then they can't participate in public life. So, we can't have that be a reality in one state, you know, someone can't participate in public life --

BALDWIN: It needs to be uniform is what you're saying.

TUTERA: Uniform.

FRIEDMAN: If we let the states run civil rights, we wouldn't have the civil rights we have today. This has to be -- this is a fundamental right. These are human beings. One of the big things about this country is that, you know, human rights is not a bipartisan issue, and I think that people need to realize that trans people are human and if we understand, you know, what -- what it means to be a trans person and what that struggle is about, if we really fundamentally under, this debate would be over and nobody would be talking about this.

BALDWIN: We've got one minute left. I saw Suited on a plane flipping through, what's this, watch it. I had no idea that someone who is trans to walk into your shop in Brooklyn for the first time be fitted, tailormade, feel his gender identity and what that does for someone. Can you talk about that experience before we go?

FRIEDMAN: Sure. A big thing is that people want to feel like they have -- that they're heard. They spend their entire lives going into different stores, you know, and nothing fits them right. The very binary retail environment, they have no place there. And now suddenly they come to a place where someone says, let's talk about how you feel in your body. Let's talk about how you feel about your chest or your struggle with your hips. Is it a trigger for you? Is that something that makes you feel strong? Everyone wants to feel like they can walk into a room and feel like they belong, that they have armor on. And that's what we're trying to do, is make people feel like they're strong enough that they can be and they can exist in our society.

BALDWIN: Okay. Rae and Daniel, thanks for swinging by. Appreciate it very much.

More now on breaking news, CNN and other news organizations denied entry into today's White House media briefing. This gaggle that was held with Sean Spicer, we're back in 60 seconds.


[16:00:00] BALDWIN: So good. That's a clip from the Oscar nominated best picture "Lion". If you're looking for an underdog to win, Dev Patel. The main character in slum dog millionaire and now in an exclusive CNN digital Creators, he talks about the critically acclaimed role of his in Lion and what's next for him.


DEV PATEL, ACTOR: Every character, if you look at a lot of my work, there is a generic theme which is a sort of underdog from Slum Dog to Mary Gold, to even Chappy. Someone who has to rise to adversity to achieve something others deem impossible. I hope there is going to be more material out there so I can stretch myself and spread my wings further.


BALDWIN: For more information check out's Oscar video project called Creators. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.