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Democrats Call for A.G. Jeff Sessions' Resignation; Sessions Responds to Russia Allegations; Russia Reacts to Drama in Washington; ; Trump Speech Tone Praised, Facts Questioned; Liberals: Trump Exploited Wife During Speech; Oprah Winfrey Rethinks Presidential Run; Trump Speech Sends Markets Soaring; Uber's P.R. Disaster Video. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 2, 2017 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:08] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles. It's now just 11:00 on a Wednesday night.

SESAY: We're following breaking news out of Washington where a growing number of Democrats are calling for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.

VAUSE: The Justice Department says Sessions met device with U.S.'s Russian ambassador last summer while an advisor to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Sessions denied any such contacts during his confirmation hearings in January. And now he says he never discussed the campaign during the meetings.

SESAY: Joining us in L.A., Republican consultant, John Thomas; and Democratic strategist, Robin Swanson.

Thank you for being with us.

All of this is essentially focused around Al Franken, the Democratic Senator's question during the confirmation hearing in January to Jeff Sessions about contact he had with anyone from the Russian government. Listen to this.


SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D), MINNESOTA: And if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians.


VAUSE: John, how is it that he can remember listing meeting with 45 ambassadors but fails to recall a meeting with a man who is described by U.S. Intelligence as a top spy and a top spy recruiter for the Russian government?

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, Senator Sessions is -- was a top-level Senator. I'm sure he's met with hundreds of diplomats from all over the world. If it did slip his mind, and I hope that it actually didn't. But if it did, there needs to be an investigation to figure out what was said at the meeting and whether or not the meeting truly happened. I mean, this does seem bizarre. I'll give you that. I don't want to jump to conclusions has Senator Franken seems to be doing.

SESAY: Let's be clear, Jeff Sessions released a statement. He's denying any wrong doing, saying, "I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues or the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false."

Robin, a very category rejection. Is it going to hold water?

ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You're seeing the drips. That's the worst way to handle crisis communications. They'd better get their act together before tomorrow morning. Right now, you've seen them about whether the conversation was over the phone, when, in fact, the conversation was in the office. I would think a high-level meeting like this would be something that Senator Sessions would remember, and he was the only member of the Armed Services Committee to meet with this particular ambassador.

SESAY: If he did meet under the guise or in his capacity as a Senator, as opposed to being a member of the Trump campaign, would that -


SESAY: -- is there still an issue here?

SWANSON: Absolutely, there's an issue. Because he was serving as a member of Trump's campaign. So -- but he was a member of the Armed Services Committee. I would think if it was an important meeting, he would remember why he had that meeting. Because he was the only member of the Armed Services Committee to do so. And I think that's a really relevant point that people are missing right now. Why was that that he chose to have that meeting? I think there's a lot of questions to be answered about the nature of that meet, and why he had that meeting, and perhaps his recollection will come back to him once he understands the gravity of it.

VAUSE: John, what was a Russian spy doing attending the RNC? Why was the spy there?

THOMAS: You're asking me the to speculate. I couldn't answer that question. VAUSE: OK. I'll give you something easier. As a Republican

consultant, somebody who revises campaigns, and is all about what to do in a situation like this, what should the Trump administration be doing right now, and what will the Trump administration be doing right now?

THOMAS: Well, if I were advising them, I would say have Sessions recuse himself of the process. Look into it to see what happened. You have to be transparent. Pull memos and communications and make it public and quickly.

VAUSE: Are you going to do that, though? Given the track record of the past 41 days?

THOMAS: Probably not. But I imagine you see Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rubio, Senator McCain have been very vocal on the issue of Russia and the U.S. I suspect other Republicans will force the issue.

SESAY: You do see rank-and-file Republicans taking a stand here and basically --


THOMAS: Yeah. Not accusing him of wrong doing, but just trying to figure out if there's smoke there.

[02:05:12] VAUSE: Further to attorney general Sessions' statement, "The Washington Post" is also reporting that a Senator had a written question. It said several of the president-elect's nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election either before or after the election day?" Sessions replied with a no.

Again, if this turns out to be true, Robin, are we looking at a situation that he's committed perjury and we know that attorney general Sessions takes perjury seriously?

SWANSON: I think John has given good advice about being recused. That's the least of his worries. If he doesn't do that, there have been perjury issues with him and other members of the administration. Who is not telling the truth and why, and what are they trying to cover up. As you know, the cover up is always the worst.

SESAY: The White House put out a statement a little while ago, as we talk about responding to this. Let's put that up on the screen. They said, "This is the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats. General Sessions met with the ambassador as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony. It's no surprise Senator Al Franken is pushing this story immediately following the successful address to the nation."

Is that the statement you'd have asked them to put out?

THOMAS: They do make a good point. Democrats are trying to step on the bounce of the White House. Trump not just gave a good speech last night. It was a transcendent speech. Even CNN's snap poll said over 70 percent of Americans liked the tone and what Trump said. So, of course, Democrats wanted to distract from this. And their point that Senator Sessions met with a lot of different people in an official capacity is probably fair as well.

SWANSON: But Democrats didn't do this. Republicans did. They did this to themselves.


SWANSON: But that wasn't the question that Senator Franken asked, actually. Jeff Sessions went above and beyond to answer this question that wasn't asked of him. So he created this problem for himself.

VAUSE: John, last year during the campaign when former President Bill Clinton met with Loretta Lynch and the Republicans exploded and set their hair on fire because they were alleging wrong doing and Donald Trump was leading the charge, and that in many ways. How is this situation different?

THOMAS: Well, the Trump administration isn't under investigation by the FBI, so there's that.

VAUSE: Yes, it is. It's being investigated for ties to Russia.

THOMAS: But not for criminal wrong doing. Hillary Clinton was in deep, having -- it would be the equivalent of having Ivanka or Melania meeting with Russian ambassadors. It's different having a senior Senator doing their job and a family member of the president.

VAUSE: Robin?

SWANSON: This has only just begun. The investigation hasn't even started yet, and we've already got potentially somebody perjuring himself. I think we're going to see a lot more to this story. And this is the beginning.

SESAY: How do Democrats play this? Let's share some of the tweets we've had coming out. Nancy Pelosi, "Jeff Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign." This is what Elizabeth Warren tweeted, "We need Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who should have never been confirmed in the first place, to resign. We need it now".

Also, hearing from the likes of Elijah Cummings, a top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. Take a listen to what he had to say with don lemon.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D), MARYLAND (voice-over): People have to ask the question where is the integrity? Where is the rule of law? Where is the obedience of law? All the excuses over and over again. And the last one I'll leave, when these kinds of issues came before our committee, in the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, if Hillary Clinton, if they thought she lied, they were referring it to the Justice Department.


SESAY: Top Democrats coming out in full force, basically, ranging from, he must recuse himself or resign. Do they have a fine line to walk so it doesn't appear they're politicking?

SWANSON: I think that's part of it, but I also think the attorney general of the United States of America is a position where we expect them to conduct themselves in the most honest way possible. And we're not seeing that. And the American people have to be able to trust the attorney general to enforce the laws of our nation, and if he's not following them, how can we do that?

[02:10:02] VAUSE: The Democrats can demand resignations and recusing and say whatever they want, they don't have a lot of options to make anything happen, do they?

SWANSON: Democrats have power in Congress, and Republicans have to get elected every two years, just like the Democrats do. And I think you're seeing a lot of reaction in the town halls across the nation. And I think you're going to see more of that as these kinds of things appear.

SESAY: John?

THOMAS: This seems like crying wolf. Those tweets you read could have been written during the confirmation process. Senator Sessions is a racist. He loves the KKK. He has to go because he loves Russia.


SWANSON: You can't dismiss this.

THOMAS: No. The problem is it's the wrong messenger. They need a more serious credible messenger. When you cry wolf so often, if something serious and real does occur, it's just partisan blabber.

VAUSE: I could be wrong, but, so far, every scandal, I think except for the one, your controversy, exempt for the one involving Kellyanne Conway and the ethics violation of basically going on and trying to sell products for Ivanka Trump, but haven't most of the controversies involved Russia? Everyone seems to lead back to Russia. This just keeps growing and getting worse.

THOMAS: Yeah. That's something that the Democrats locked onto immediately because it's the only reason they lost the election because clearly because Russia, and the votes. It was a logical progression. They're looking to create smoke and to try to find fire. I get it. Eventually, they got to face the music that they lost on the issues not because of Russia.


SWANSON: This was created by Donald Trump and the bromance with Putin. The problem is Putin is a man who executes journalists and a man who bombs civilians. I think that bromance was where this began. Democrats didn't create this.

VAUSE: Stay with us. There's a lot more to get to.

We'll also talk about the growing questions from Republicans on the attorney general. And also, the calls for a special prosecutor.

You're watching CNN's breaking news coverage. We'll be back in just a moment.

SESAY: Stay with us.




[02:16:01] VAUSE: Welcome back. More on our breaking news. The U.S. Justice Department says Jeff Sessions, who was a top advisor to presidential candidate, Donald Trump, spoke twice with Russia's U.S. ambassador during the campaign. But Sessions did not mention those contacts during his confirmation hearing.

SESAY: Sessions has responded saying he never with Russian officials to discuss the campaign.

More now from CNN's justice correspondent, Evan Perez.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In addition to the September meeting, there was also one on the sidelines at the RNC in Cleveland. There was an event held by the heritage foundation, and apparently according to the Justice Department, there were about 50 or so ambassador there, and one of the people that was on the sidelines of it and who met with the now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the Russian ambassador.

Now, the context of all this, and obviously, the Russian post, my friends, Gregg Miller, did a great job on the story, but the context here is that the Russian ambassador is considered by U.S. Intelligence to be essentially their top spy in Washington, and not only their top spy but top spy recruiter. This is the reason why, when Mike Flynn was in routine and seemingly routine contact with him, and then lied about it and misled the vice president about meeting with the Russian ambassador, that's one reason why the FBI was concerned, because they felt that if you meet with the guy and not recall or mislead when you are asked about it, then that raises some questions.

Again, this is a case considered to be the top spy recruiter for the Russians in Washington, and that's one reason why that is a concern.


VAUSE: Back with us now, Republican consultant John Thomas; and Democratic strategist, Robin Swanson. SESAY: And from Moscow, CNN's senior international correspondent,

Matthew Chance.

VAUSE: Before the break, we talked about the implications in terms of perjury. This is a tweet from the former ethics lawyer to President Bush. And this is what he put out on Twitter, "Misleading the Senate in sworn testimony about one's own contacts with the Russians is a good way to go to jail."

John, that is from a Republican. And just in the past, Sessions, back in 1999, made it clear that anyone who committed perjury should be removed from office.

If we get to that point, would that same standard apply to the attorney general?

THOMAS: I imagine it would. There's no way getting around it. Now, put that tweet in contacts. There's riffs between the Bush and Trump clan. Probably enjoyed tweeting that, but it's a fair point.

VAUSE: Robin?

SWANSON: Jeff Sessions was out front criticizing Bill Clinton in the day and wanted to impeach him for similarly misleading, so far. I just think that hypocrisy is there.


THOMAS: Bill Clinton lied under oath.

SWANSON: He's under oath talking to the Senate as well. This is the same thing.

SESAY: Does this just overtake the White House for the next 24 hours?

SWANSON: Absolutely. I think they have not been able to control a news cycle. They really wanted to be able to do the -- just to have a ticker-tape parade for the great speech, but that's not going to happen, and I would say more than 24 hours that the Russiagate, as it's being called, is going to extend for many months if not the entirety of his presidency, because that's what he's outlined.

[02:19:55] VAUSE: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, no fan of Russia. He was asked about the situation with Jeff Sessions in a CNN town hall. He was asked if he believes there's a need for a special prosecutor, and listen to Senator Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If there is something there, and it goes up the chain of investigation, it is clear to me that Jeff Sessions, who is my dear friend, cannot make this decision about Trump. So there may be nothing there. But if there's nothing there that the FBI believes is criminal in nature, then for sure you need a special prosecutor. If that day ever comes, I'll be the first one to say it needs to be somebody other than Jeff. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: John, last night, 24 hours ago, I asked you how -- the night before last -- how long can the administration resist the push for a special prosecutor. You said they can resist it for a long time. Now that the Republicans like Graham and others are inching toward that position, does it get harder?

THOMAS: Much harder. Republicans have to tread lightly. Their integrity in this process of sniffing out what happened has to be beyond reproach. Senator Graham made the right call. He's not jumping to conclusions, but we have to make sure the process is transparent and conflicts of interest are weeded out. The American people have to trust that no matter what Congress or the investigators find is the truth.

SESAY: Who leads the charge for the Democrats in the days ahead?

SWANSON: Well, I think they're all jumping on board. I think Nancy Pelosi was one of the first out of the box calling on Jeff Sessions to resign. So I think we'll see more of that. And I think this is one of the rare occasions where I can say I agree with Senator Lindsey Graham.

VAUSE: With day 42 into this administration, we've had the national security adviser resign with another scandal involving Russia. On Tuesday, in the president's address to Congress, he never mentioned Russia at all.

Senator John McCain said that was disappointing.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R), ARIZONA: I would have liked to have a lot more about Russia. Russia is the country that tried to change the elections in the United States. I don't think they succeeded. Right now, they're affecting or trying to affect the elections in march. They've dismembered Ukraine and the list goes on. Vladimir Putin is hell bent on the destruction of the European Union. I would have appreciated hearing the president's views on these pressing initial security issues.


VAUSE: Let's go to Matthew Chance live in Moscow.

Matthew, there is another scandal involving Russia and the U.S. administration. They White House is actually using its own investigation. It is a story which, as much as this administration would like for it to go away, it keeps getting bigger.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRSEPONDENT: Yeah. The Russia issue just won't go away from the Trump administration. Already a couple of people who have had to leave his administration because of the links with Russia, and now the questions over the attorney general as well. From a Russian point of view, it's all concerns as they watch this

political drama unfold in Washington, because they're concerned about what impact this is going to have on U.S. policy when it comes to Russia. They were expecting, of course, a President Trump who was going to be sympathetic to the Russian point of view on a range of issues from Ukraine to NATO to Syria. But because the Russia issue has become toxic in American politics, that started to change, certainly the language is starting to change from Trump administration officials, particularly at the united nations security council and other areas as well. Being more critical than people in the kremlin expected. Specifically, on the latest allegations, there's been no reaction to the specifics of the alleged conversations between the Russian ambassador and the U.S. Attorney general Jeff Sessions. But there has been pushback on this idea that the Russian ambassador is the top Russian spy in the United States. Do you think this is the media bottom post the spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry or does the media have further to fall? A strong pushback there from the Russian foreign ministry on the suggestion that the Russian ambassador is a spy.

VAUSE: Thank you, Matthew. Matthew Chance, senior international correspondent with us live from Moscow.

SESAY: John, do you expect President Trump to weigh in on this personally in the hours ahead? Do you expect him to go to Twitter?

THOMAS: I should check my Twitter.


I bet you he will. It will start accusing fake news, but I think the White House will take it seriously. If they don't, it can get out of hand.

VAUSE: If he uses the fake news, that will get old.


SWANSON: Especially when people of his own party are calling him out.

THOMAS: The problem is people are jumping to conclusions before knowing the facts. That's the fake part.

VAUSE: That's true. Good point.

Stay with us.



VAUSE: There's more news to get to. Stick around.

THOMAS: Can't wait.

SESAY: You'll love it. President Trump later claims in the speech to Congress. We'll see if they add up, next, here on NEWSROOM L.A.

[02:25:13] VAUSE: And also thank Matthew Chance in Moscow. Thanks, Matthew.

VAUSE: Thanks, Matthew.


VAUSE: Just turn 11:28 here in Los Angeles. Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never discussed the 2016 presidential campaign with Russian officials. But he's under fire for new reports that he met with Russia's U.S. ambassador twice last year.

VAUSE: During his confirmation hearings, Sessions told Senators he had no contact with Russian officials while he was working as a Trump campaign adviser. A number of Democrats say he was not truthful and should resign.

SESAY: The White House says they're using the Sessions story to blunt Trump's momentum after his well-received address to Congress.

VAUSE: The president has been quiet on Twitter since making that speech, tweeting out, "Thank you," but it was in all caps.

SESAY: 47 million people tuned in to watch the speech. The president outlined a lofty agenda, from health care to immigration reform. Now he's hoping to turn his words into action. The president met with Republican leaders Wednesday.


DONALD TURMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're just here to start the process. It begins as of now and we think we're going to have tremendous success.


[02:30:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Back with us, Republican consultant, John Thomas; and Democratic strategist, Robin Swanson.

I want to talk about the overwhelming question today was the same one we had the night of the speech which is how is he going to get this through Congress, how is he going to get Republicans on side to actually make any of this happen?

So, John?

JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I think he can get most of it done. You look at his domestic agenda, Republicans are excited about repealing Obamacare and so the faster the Trump administration pushes that through with some version of a replacement, I think that will be accepted quickly. You look at slashing regulations in the EPA, I think largely Republicans get along with that. He'll have trouble on the budget lines when it comes to military spending. He'll make the argument about by his tax plan it will reduce the deficit of taxes but the stronger the military is, we'll save it on the back end.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You say Republicans will rally around the Obamacare replacement because we're seeing in town halls, the heated scenes, and a lot of consternation among constituents.

THOMAS: You're right. And it makes sense. Because the Trump administration has not done a good job of explaining what they're going to replace it with. So of course, people are concerned at this point. But I think as soon as they recognize that the replacement plan is infinitely stronger and more affordable for all Americans, I think they'll alleviate their concerns.

ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Republicans are not singing from the same hymnals. There's some Republicans that just want to appeal. Donald Trump has said repeal and replace. And the funny think now is Obamacare is trending higher than Donald Trump in terms of favorability. They have not won the messaging war because they haven't provided details about what they'll do for the uninsured.

VAUSE: His speech approved for tone than for substance. Even so, it seems maybe the White House was taken by surprise. "The Washington Post" tweeted, "Some sources in the White House are frankly surprised at how pundits are warming to the speech. Say Trump has not changed. No big shift in policy coming."

Robin, it seems everyone has been less sort of dazed and confused because Donald Trump was calm and turned up to use his indoor voice. He followed a teleprompter.

SWANSON: He's gotten a lot of accolades for giving one decent speech. It's shocking for people that he didn't offend somebody. His inaugural speech was offensive to a lot of people. And I think people are learning that it's not just -- it's not America first. It's been Trump first, it's Trump first. So we've seen Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So we don't know who's going to show up. This was somebody different who showed up so it's unique.

VAUSE: John, is he the master of low expectations?

THOMAS: There might be grading on a curve as it relates to reading on a Teleprompter, but Republicans rejoiced. The campaign promises that we saw him make on the trail, he reiterated them but in an adult tone. We were all pleased to see that he meant with what he said.

VAUSE: The tone was widely praised, but the facts came in for criticism.

Tom Foreman has a fact check for us. Listen to this.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The president's speech was filled with numbers, but did they add up to truth? Take joblessness.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited. 94 million Americans are out of the labor force.

FOREMAN: The figure is right, but the vast majority of those people don't want work, according to government data. 44 million are retired. 15 million disabled. 13 million taking care of family members. And 16 million taking college or training. Maybe because they couldn't find work. But all the adjustments bring the number way down.

How about crime?

TRUMP: The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.

FOREMAN: That's only because the murder rate the year before was really low. The overall rate is still down compared to past decades.


TRUMP: According to National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs American taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.

FOREMAN: Yes, that report says integrating first-generation immigrants is costly, but their kids contribute so much to the economy, the long-term impact is likely positive for taxpayers.

And what about all those companies pouring money into the economy now that he is in office?

TRUMP: They will invest billions and billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.


FOREMAN: Mr. Trump has encouraged some big companies with their new investments, but many he cites already had the plans underway before he was elected.

Still, President Trump isn't the first to push aside an inconvenient truth. George W. Bush ignored job losses when he told Congress in 2004 --

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This economy is strong and grower stronger.

FOREMAN: And Barack Obama bragged last year about creating --


FOREMAN: -- also overlooking new job losses under his watch, which diminished the gains.


[02:35:14] VAUSE: Our thanks to Tom Foreman for that report.

One of the other highlights, though, from the address to Congress was when Donald Trump honored the memory of Ryan Owens, the Navy SEAL killed in Yemen. There was a standing ovation for Karin Owens. The day after this, a lot of people on the left are saying Mrs. Owens was essentially exploited. Listen to Michael Moore.


MICHAEL MOORE, PRODUCER: And this poor woman, this widow who has lost her husband. She's in grief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in love with her husband still.


MOORE: And to put another notch on his belt, what's he thinking about? My ratings. Record applause.


MOORE: I'm going to get an Emmy for this. Most applause for a dead soldier on my watch. I mean, this is the -- this sickness of this man --


VAUSE: Robin, did the president exploit a grieving widow?

SWANSON: That's for her to decide. That was her moment, and I think that was definitely the most poignant moment in the speech. And it was not because of Donald Trump. It was because of her feels and her emotions. I'm not going to stand in judgment of that. I think we all related to that because it was heart breaking.

SESAY: With Donald Trump in the White House, it would seem many people are getting ideas about what they can and cannot do when it comes to being commander-in-chief. Among them, possibly, a President Oprah Winfrey? Take a listen.


OPRAH WINFREY, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: Never considered the question, even the possibility. I just thought oh, oh.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, because it's clear you don't need government experience to be elected president of the United States. WINFREY: That's what I thought. I thought I don't have the

experience. I don't know enough. Now I'm thinking, oh.




SESAY: What do you think, hey?

THOMAS: There's no doubt we're going to see copy cats across the aisle, and if you're "O", you are thinking about it?


VAUSE: Repeat your tweet. You get a government handout.

THOMAS: Yeah, you get a government handout, exactly.

Here's the thing. She's likable, I'll give her that. But I would pay money to see that stack-up between Oprah and Trump.


VAUSE: Oh, my god.

SWANSON: We're a celebrity obsessed country. You don't have to pay for name I.D. if you're Oprah Winfrey. I mean, We have Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, Jesse Ventura, and Donald Trump got where he is. We have examples of where it works.

VAUSE: Winfrey/Clooney, 2020. We'll see what happens.


John Thomas, you're being a good sport tonight.

SESAY: He really has.

VAUSE: Thank you.



VAUSE: This was a tough night to be a Republican.

Robin Swanson, thank you so much.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: When we come back, Wall Street could not be happier about President Trump's speech to Congress. When we come back, we'll look at the record-setting numbers.



[02:41:08] TRUMP: Another Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program, the building of the interstate highway system. The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.



VAUSE: All that talk after infrastructure expenditure and stimulus, the markets loved it. President Trump, his address to Congress, that sent Wall Street into a record breaking tizzy.

SESAY: It sure did.

VAUSE: A tizzy. A tizzy.

SESAY: The Dow soared more than 300 point, hitting the 21,000 mark for the first time.

VAUSE: Happy days.

SESAY: The NASDAQ and S&P 500 had big gains as well.

Richard Quest gives us his take on the market's reaction.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Isha and John, the market opened straight into record territory and never looked back. A gain at over 303 points. It went right through 21,000 over to 21,115. At 1.5 percent rise in a day at a time when everybody had been expecting the market was going to take a breather having had so many gains and records in a row. The reason is simple. Donald Trump's speech to Congress. That address gave people the hope that the expectations will come to fruition. A trillion dollars in infrastructure spending. A tax reform which eventually will arrive and greater deregulation which the president can do without Congressional approval. Put it together from what I've been hearing in the market, most traders seem to believe the rally has legs and still has got further to go. Of course, if the expectations don't arrive, well, then it's a different matter. For the time being, I would describe this market as quietly confident in the direction of travel.

Richard Quest, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Well, for more on this red-hot market, we're joined by Ryan Patel, a global business executive.

Ryan, thank you for coming in. SESAY: Yeah.

VAUSE: Everyone is optimistic, the tone is upbeat. Donald Trump did a good speech. No one is hearing the other sides of the Trump policies. Nobody is hearing about the potential trade war with China or Mexico, the billions of dollars it could cost the economy is they deport undocumented immigrants from this country, the national debt that could explode. They aren't they hearing that?

RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: What you said, he had a great speech. I would want to hear what he's doing from a policy perspective. Nothing is passed yet. There are expectations, the 21,000 with the Dow. I think what's going to happen is we're going to have a little bit of a realization of is he going to come through on the policy making? Is it going to be delayed? If there's delayed at my part, that will cause a ripple effect. And I think that's where the conversation isn't talked about in the international marks. It hasn't focused on what we're doing domestically.

SESAY: Let's look at the numbers from Asia. Ryan, I want to get your take on it as you see two green, two red. Kind of as you see the Nikkei there, Hong Kong is down, and the Shanghai Composite. How do you read those numbers in relation to Donald Trump and that speech?

PATEL: I read it as what he said. He was talking about Harley Davidson as an example about importing. How he was going to make it trade to be more fair to importing things in the U.S. But there was no meat behind what he said. So what is that signaling to the other countries? Is it going to cost more money? There's a ripple effect of if you're going to increase our tariff here, what are they doing in that country? There's a little bit of uncertainty. The markets didn't go up, but the domestic did.

[02:45:10] VAUSE: Last year, Canada, Donald Trump had a different take on the stock market. Listen to this.


TRUMP: Look, we have the worst revival of an economy since the Great Depression. And believe me, we're in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that's going to come crashing down.


VAUSE: OK. So this looks a lot like a bubble. What will it take for it to burst? And then, however will it fall?

PATEL: You know, right now, you want to stick to fundamentals analyzing these companies. Expectations are above the fundamentals per se. At tend of the day, I think what's going to happen is for President Trump to delay a week or delay a month, this can't keep going on. He's going to have to share a plan and get an action. And those companies that are not the top for the Dow 21K, one-third of them were apple. You have Boeing and Goldman Sachs that led to pretty much a third of the points. So those companies are in-between getting affected if the banks don't get deregulated and all of a sudden that's a ripple effect to other banks.

SESAY: Others are saying should I get in the market?

PATEL: You know --


VAUSE: Free advice.

SESAY: Right.


Come on.

PATEL: You know, I would say tread lightly. Warren Buffett says quite a bit. Be greedy when others are not, and he's still invest, but he's investing in certain sectors. I think there's open to buys in certain sectors that are hot and some that are probably oversaturated.

SESAY: You heard it from Ryan Patel. Any problems, go find him.


VAUSE: Ryan, thank you for coming in.

SESAY: Thank you.

PATEL: Thanks for having me.

SESAY: Time for a quick break. Uber makes another public relations stumble. Why the CEO admits he needs to grow up. That's next.




[02:51:00] VAUSE: Something that's not new, ride-sharing giant, Uber, is facing a P.R. disaster. The CEO, Travis Kalanick, already a controversial figure, was caught on dashcam video arguing with one of his drivers.


TRAVIS KALANICK, CEO, UBER: I lost $97,000 because of you. I bankrupt because of you.



KALANICK: Yes. You keep changing every day. You keep changing every day. UNIDENTIFIED UBER DRIVER: Hold on a second. What have I changed

about Black?

KALANICK: You changed the whole business.


KALANICK: You dropped the prices.


KALANICK: Yes. You did. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) $20. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) We started with $20. How much is the mile now in 275?



UNIDENTIFIED UBER DRIVER: Some people don't like to take responsibility for -- they blame everything in life on somebody else.


KALANICK: You e-mail for card.


KALANICK: Good luck to you, too.


SESAY: Kalanick apologized in an e-mail to his employees. He wrote this, "To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up."

VAUSE: Joining us now, our tech expert, Lori Schwartz.

LORI SCHWARTZ, CNN TECH EXPERT: Lori, thank you for coming in.

Great to be here.

VAUSE: Uber is already on thin ice through a number of controversies recently. How do you see this e-mail from the CEO in terms of damage control?

SCHWARTZ: I think right now we have to be transparent. The thing is that he keeps being transparent. He's continuously issuing apologies. He has to. After a while, everyone is going to be wondering, is he really capable of being a leader. And we were discussing before that Silicon Valley CEO founders are not always the best people to stay at the company at a certain point. And will some leadership guidance really be enough to take Uber to the next level?

SESAY: It seems the company for a while considered the fact they faced so many controversies have been able to withstand them. Until now. I think we have to a point where cheap fares aren't enough for the consumer. It's about more than cheap fairs and services.

SCHWARTZ: Yeah. You have to be a good leader. You to treat your people well. The recent blog posts by Susan Fowler with the sexual allegations, the fact that he hired another executive who also coming from google had actual allegations, and then just watching him treat someone badly. I mean, a leader has to be above board. And he's disrupting an entire category, and that's very exciting, but at a certain point you want him to be a grownup.

VAUSE: You mentioned the blog posting by Susan Fowler, a software engineer at Uber. She did run an extensive blog that went viral. Part of it read how she had this encounter with another male employee at the company. She wrote, "He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear he was trying to get me to have sex with him. It was also clearly out of line that I took screen shots of his chat messages and reported him to H.R." She goes on and writes that "H.R. did nothing about it. Other women had made similar complaints about the same person."

We've seen the problems on the customer side of Uber. This is on the employee recruiting side. When something like this happens, how difficult is it to recruit good employees? That's the key to success.

SCHWARTZ: Right. It's very difficult. Why would you want to go somewhere you're not going to be treated well, especially if you're a woman right now? You have to get in a good people officer. Someone who is really going to make sure that people are being managed correctly. Because right now there's so many global job opportunities through great talent. In order to be competitive in today's environment, especially in tech, you have to provide a great working environment. Not only the food and all the fun laundry services that google has, but you have to treat people well. They have to feel safe and feel like they can grow and they're being heard.

[02:50:00] SESAY: We talked about the consumer side. We've talked about the employee side. Let's talk about the investor side. How will investors be feeling at a time like this?

SCHWARTZ: They're worth about $70 billion right now. He's positioning for IPO. I think he's nervous. I would be nervous. I think investors are nervous. When you have an unstable leader, that's cause for concern. I think he's going to be under a lot of pressure to get support and other leadership. Maybe some board members to guide him.

VAUSE: Quickly, this is just the latest scandal, the allegation of not paying taxes in Britain, allegedly stealing self-drive technology.

SCHWARTZ: The lead, Uber --


VAUSE: Delete Uber because they were operating. There was a bunch of scandals a few years ago. How much bad news can a company like this continue to absorb? SCHWARTZ: They've changed people's lives for better. So -- and people are kind of in love with the service. So I don't know that you're going to see Uber go away, but there may need --


VAUSE: Lift is benefitting, right?

SCHWARTZ: Lift is benefitting, and I have a lot of people, colleagues that won't go to Uber because they know lift gives more money to the driver.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Lori, thank you for being here.

SCHWARTZ: Always fun to be here, guys.

SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause.

Rosemary Church and Cyril Vanier pick up our coverage right after this.