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Trump Thanks Military and Boasts of His Administration's Achievement; Talking Politics with Family and Friends During Thanksgiving; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 23, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] KAREN FINNEY, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: It is a good thing to do and an important thing for the commander-in- chief.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Everyone, stay with us. Thank you for those comments. We're going to take a quick break and we'll talk about much more in the political arena with you all when we come back.


CABRERA: Congress on Thanksgiving break, the president talking about everything but what's happening on Capitol Hill right now.

Let's discuss with our panel, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, CNN political commentator Alice Stewart and former communications director for the DNC and former senior adviser for Hillary Clinton's campaign, Karen Finney, back with us.

So, Ron, with Congress again on break, they still can't escape the scandals that are developing on Capitol Hill.

[10:35:06] We have Barton today, we've been talking about Senator Franken, Conyers, Moore. It's starting to feel like each day brings a new name and a new allegation.

Do we now live in an environment where a congressman's naked photo is relatively tame?


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Ha. Interesting way of putting it. Look, I think the -- I think obviously there's a social change we're living through that is affecting many industries and walks of life that go far beyond politics, Congress or the media, but I also think that within the context of Congress, there is a change and that the public that were moving toward an era of far greater transparency than members of Congress have been willing to impose on themselves in the past and I think that the idea, for example, of settlements that are kept hidden, paid for with taxpayer dollars is just going to be completely untenable for either party to defend.

And I think we are going to see significant changes in the transparency, the process of dealing with harassment on Capitol Hill is also incredibly byzantine and it's something that is also going to face I think pressure to change and that may be a tougher fight. But the question of transparency, I think, is one we are -- the barn door is, you know, already closed.

CABRERA: Alice, we heard from Sunlen Serfaty there in the last block about Congressman Barton and now apparently a Capitol Police investigation under way. Do you think he can survive his scandal or is it something that's, you know, a scandal or just embarrassing?

STEWART: It is embarrassing. I think he could have, if he would have just left it alone right after his apology and gone about his business, but the fact that he's now encouraging Capitol Police to investigate this I think is going to be problematic. He's asking them to look at this as a case of revenge porn.

Look, of all the crime prevention tips out there, note to the folks that are doing this, the best way to avoid being a victim of revenge porn is to not to take nude selfies and send them to people. So he could have done himself a favor by just letting this lie at the first incident but he's continuing to bring it on.

And the troubling thing, as Ron said, now we're looking at taxpayer funded, covering the hush funds of members of Congress. That is going to be really problematic and I applaud Senator Gillibrand and Representative Speier for the me too act which will look at doing away with taxpayer funded paying off sexual harassment claims. I think that is a critical step in all of this process.

CABRERA: And this is not a partisan issue. I mean, it's not just Republicans involved in these controversies. Democrats, too, Karen. We have Senator Al Franken, now Representative John Conyers. Franken has been largely silent about his controversy especially this week and it's not going away. And there are even calls now from at least one Democrat on Conyers to resign. How much pressure are Democrats under to make an example that says no tolerance?

FINNEY: You know, I think it's larger than that. I think we have -- this is an American issue. I think we have to recognize that on the one hand, this is a watershed moment in American society and culture because this is cutting across so many sectors and because women are coming forward and speaking up and speaking out about this, so I think number one, from a political perspective, you know, it is incumbent on both parties to understand the gravity of this moment.

I mean, this is about the character of our country and I think that's part of what makes the Roy Moore situation so devastating potentially, not just for the Republican Party, be but again, for the country and when it comes to how do we hold Democrats and Republicans accountable, I think we've got -- I agree with Alice, I mean, we've got to set very high standards and hold everybody to those standards and that means -- that includes the president of the United States of America, by the way.

And I think it's -- so it's not about one member or another member, I think, again, the character of this moment demands that we are -- we take this very seriously and we recognize there is a bigger question on the table about who we are, are we going to allow someone who is an alleged child molester? Are we going to continue to allow people who have, you know, again these hush funds? Are we going to allow that to continue to happen in secret or are we going to stand our ground and say no, not anymore? This is a change moment and I think we've got to recognize that from our politics to our culture.

CABRERA: All right. Karen Finney, Alice Stewart, Ron Brownstein, thank you all. Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that you spent some of your day with us.

Ready to talk politics over pumpkin pie today? Does that sound good to anybody? Well, guess what? Most Americans aren't. We'll talk about how to get through those awkward conversations next.



[10:43:58] JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": Trump is spending the holiday down at Mar-a-Lago where they have a big buffet. It has gourmet stuffing, vegetables and turkey for the adults, and then they have chicken fingers, grilled cheese and curly fries for the president.


CABRERA: Well, Jimmy Fallon, not shy about mixing politics and Thanksgiving. But that's not exactly the case for most Americans. A new poll shows that 58 percent of people celebrating the holiday are dreading the topic of politics coming up. So how can you avoid those fights between family and friends?

Here to help, Elizabeth Suhay is a professor of government at American University and Jeff Gardere, clinical psychologist.

So, Elizabeth, your take, is it good or bad to bring up politics at the dinner table?

ELIZABETH SUHAY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Oh, gosh. Well, the first thing I want to say is that, you know, this is a personal decision. So you don't have to talk politics. But I'll tell you, you know, I'm a political scientist, I talk about politics all the time, I teach it, and I actually see this as a great opportunity to repair some civic wounds, to find some common ground with people across the aisle.

CABRERA: And Jeff, you say you'll be talking politics at your family dinner table. Why are you looking forward to that?

[10:45:05] JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, because this country is fractured and there is such divisiveness and this is an opportunity to be in a safe place and to sit with people who may agree or disagree with you, but that you can have an intelligent, fun, positive conversation and can agree to disagree, can learn some things, but I believe as a psychologist in the catharsis of not keeping this stuff inside. There's too much stuffing with the turkey to begin with, right, and

really talking about it because I believe this is where we begin to heal the wounds that have been opened up under this political environment that we're in.

CABRERA: So if that's the case, though, I wonder, Liz, if it's different this year than years past, given what seems to be such a divided nation right now and we're talking about some really tough topics right now in our political conversations when we're dealing with these sexual harassment allegations. The Alabama Senate race, of course, the controversy surrounding the fight between President Trump and LaVar Ball, the Russia investigation. I mean, these things don't conjure up good feelings.

SUHAY: Right. Right. You know, I guess I would say a couple of things about that. I mean, first of all if you are talking about some of these issues such as sexual harassment that may really be deeply personal to some people at the dinner table. I think it's really important to be incredibly empathetic and to listen more than you speak. But I also want to say that, you know, Democrats and Republicans in particular disagree a lot over who they vote for. They disagree over President Trump.

But, you know, the data shows, if you look at the public opinion data that Democrats and Republicans do not disagree nearly as much as they think they do. I think that there's a lot of room for common ground. I think that there's -- people agree on -- people share a lot of values, more than they think.

And so I think this is an opportunity to explore that common ground, talk more about the values, talk more about policy, maybe talk less about some of the politicians who have been in the news.

CABRERA: Jeff, a lot of people find common ground around sports, but even this year it seems like that's not a safe subject?

GARDERE: Well, it's not a safe subject because we're growing and when you're always in the comfort zone, then you don't change. You're not able to diversify and we know this is what helps us as a species to be able to be smarter, to be able to survive, to be able to thrive.

We should be able to sit down with people who have different ideas than we do, who have different notions as to how they want to deal with the American flag, which is why I feel it's OK to kneel for the flag and some who don't want to kneel, it's absolutely fine. They're expressing themselves.

But, Ana, there's also something else going on. There are life and death situations going on. For example, the loss of federal deportation protections for Haitians who are part of the earthquake. We know that's coming to an end. So as a Haitian American, I can tell you at my table, we're going to talk about that. What are the empowerment strategies that we can save lives?

CABRERA: That there are some substantive issues that you can talk about and even work through potential solutions. GARDERE: Absolutely. Look, I mean, you can't have a turkey on the

table but also have that white elephant in the room. These are the topics, items of our times and we've got to discuss them, but we can do it in a positive way and begin to bring this great country together.

CABRERA: Jeff Gardere, Elizabeth Suhay, thank you for your inspiration and your help as we approach these conversations. We definitely appreciate it. Happy Thanksgiving to both of you.

GARDERE: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

CABRERA: And what is turkey without football? The NFL tradition continues today. And the "Bleacher Report" is next.



[10:53:19] CABRERA: NBA superstars and former teammates go face-to- face in the latest Warriors versus Thunder matchup.

Coy Wire is joining us with this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana, and Thanksgiving, right? And don't you just love how you get together with friends and family, a whole bunch of love but sometimes you have that one person who in the past maybe they were a jerk to you and you confronted with them.

Well, that's the case in Oklahoma City last night. This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

The champion Warriors and former MVP Kevin Durant returning to boos in front of fans that used to cheer him, facing former main man and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook who was shaking his head, still must be bitter the way Durant left.

Well, Durant gets in Westbrook's face and then on his face, they bump foreheads. Westbrook had never beaten Durant until last night. 34 points a season high, Russ and OKC roaring past the Dubs 108-91. But Durant insists after the game there is no beef between him and Westbrook.


KEVIN DURANT, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: The story is about the game. We lost, they kicked our (EXPLETIVE DELETED). They played a great game. We should give them credit for how they played and we should be better. It's not about who is in each other's faces. That stuff is not real. So please don't believe it. All the fans they are lying to you all. It's about basketball. They played a great game and we didn't.


WIRE: I hope we see that matchup again.

Thanksgiving, that means family, food and football. First helping 12:30 Eastern, the Vikings at Detroit. Who you got? It's going to be a good day.

Speaking of good, Ana. We -- you've got to love this, right. I mean, I'm going to come eat so much turkey today that if you're on with me tomorrow they're going to need the wide angle lens. That's how much turkey I'm going to eat.

[10:55:03] I'm thankful for you. Good to see you this morning.

CABRERA: Great to have you with us as well this morning, Coy. Happy Thanksgiving.

WIRE: Happy Thanksgiving.

CABRERA: The president calling American troops serving overseas on this Thanksgiving morning. So how did the economy come up?

Stay with us here on CNN. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.