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RNC Accepts Steve Wynn Resignation; Democrats Draft Legislation to Protect Mueller After Trump Tried to Fire; Trump Aims Frustration over Russia Probe at Rod Rosenstein; Critics Rip "Amnesty Don" for New Take on DREAMers; Deadly Flu Hits the U.S.; VAN JONES SHOW" Premieres Tonight with Guest Jay-Z. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 27, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:16] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thank you for being with us.
Breaking news on CNN. The money man at the Republican National Committee, finance chairman and Trump ally, Steve Wynn, is out. It is now confirmed that the committee has accepted the resignation of real estate and casino billionaire, Steve Wynn. That's as allegations of misconduct swirl around him, allegations going back decades. Dozens of employees telling the "Wall Street Journal" about a long-running pattern of sexual misconduct while they were working at his resorts, hotels or casinos.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Las Vegas.
Miquel, Steve Wynn is not only one of the power names there in Las Vegas, but he and President Trump are close, too.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They've known each other for many years. A longtime as rivals but as business partners. It's as simple as the landscape her in Vegas. The Wynn Hotel right there, and the Trump Hotel just a few blocks from each other. Our Jeff Zeleny at the White House saying that the president was apprised at the situation with the RNC with Steve Wynn. It was the president, himself, who named Steve Wynn to the RNC. And that they have accepted his resignation from that post.
Just last week at a fundraiser, and the RNC fundraiser, for both the Republican National Committee and the Donald Trump victory campaign fund that the president was meant to attend, but he didn't, because of the shutdown, Steve Wynn was the co-host, one of the co-hosts of that event. And he spoke on the president's behalf for about a half hour, liking him to Abe Lincoln, talked about how close they were over the years, and why there was this sort of the bond of friendship and trust between the two. And the president then sent down a video to that event thanking Steve Wynn by name, and named several others, but certainly singled out Steve Wynn. So this is going to come at as certainly a shock. And certainly puts their relationship in a different light. The allegations are very serious. The "Wall Street Journal" speaking
to over 150 employees, and over a dozen of them talked about this pattern of sexual abuse with Steve Wynn. This is something that the president, with several allegations against him, has denied. So it puts that entire relationship and certainly the RNC on the offensive, or the defensive. This is something that is similar to what the Republicans have done with the Democrats with regard to Harvey Weinstein.
CABRERA: Miguel Marquez, there in Las Vegas.
We know that there is also an investigation that has begun among the board of the Wynn properties and company.
Thank you, Miguel.
I want to get to the fresh fallout over the revelations that President Trump reportedly tried to fire Robert Mueller, and new efforts to protect the special counsel and his ongoing investigation. "The New York Times" was the first to report it. Senate Democrats are taking these threats so seriously that they are pushing for new legislation to protect Mueller. The president is calling it fake news.
But in the month that President Trump allegedly ordered for Mueller to be fired, is the same that fired FBI Director James Comey released his memos and publicly testified. The revelations come as the special counsel investigation enters a critical stage. Two sources tell CNN that Mueller wants to interview President Trump specifically on the firings of James Comey and Michael Flynn.
I want to bring in CNN contributor, John Dean. Now he's in Los Angeles for us. He served as President Nixon's White House counsel during Watergate. Was later convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice for his role in the scandal and spent four months in federal custody while serving as a key witness in the trial.
So, John Dean, thank you very much for spending part of your weekend with us.
Are these new efforts by the Democrats to protect Mueller from being fired a smart move?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is a wise step. They have been rumbling around on Capitol Hill for some time with the fear that the president would remove the special counsel, and there no special counsel statute any longer. He's merely an appointee of the Department of Justice, the deputy attorney general in this instance. So I can see and understand the precaution they are taking that there might be new concern. But I must also tell you that if they did remove him, they'd have to replace him as well. I don't think that Trump can just dispose of the investigation by even removing Mueller.
CABRERA: What kind of, I guess, fallout would we see should Mueller be fired?
DEAN: Well, I think that it would be a repeat of what was called during Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, when Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor in that case, was removed because he kept insisting on Nixon releasing his tapes to the court and to grand jury and there was a subpoena for them. To try to halt that action, Nixon fired Cox. He had to also let his attorney general resign, and his deputy attorney resign. He had to swear in his solicitor general as attorney general to get the job done. It was a really startling weekend. And following that is when impeachment became a very serious matter in Washington as a result of removing Cox. It was sort of a defiance of the rule of law, and Washington reacted.
[15:05:54] CABRERA: Some Republican lawmakers have pointed out that Don McGahn, the White House counsel, did the right thing when the president asked him to order Mueller fired. Given the outcome, no action was taken against Mueller at that time, does it make any less damning for the president?
DEAN: Well, today, post-Watergate, the ethics standards have changed for attorneys. Today, the White House counsel does not represent the person of the president, but rather the office of the president, and so he has to the protect the office. And he did the right thing in protecting the office. And he might have realized that he was stepping into criminal activity himself, and was doing it as self- protection, which he was. So I don't think that -- I don't think that there is a great fallout from what he did rather than follow the rules as they now are set forth for a lawyer in that post.
CABRERA: But as far as the president's legal jeopardy, given that Don McGahn, thank goodness, stopped him from making any other move to fire Mueller, up to this point, does that help the president himself in terms of what he could be facing manage the Mueller investigation?
DEAN: Not really. There are two standards that he is going to be judged under. One is the criminal law standard, the federal criminal code. There's a section in there for obstruction. There are about 12 obstruction statutes. But the one that he is confronting is 18 USC 1503, which is the principle obstruction statute. And under that statute, if you endeavor to take an action -- and this is certainly an endeavor. And when Nixon was impeached, which is the other standard, as was Bill Clinton for obstruction, Nixon was impeached, or the bill of impeachment called for his endeavors, where he endeavored to do certain things. And now we will see and in firing Mueller, an endeavor. So this is clearly in violating the statute, if not the standard set on Capitol Hill for impeachment.
CABRERA: So you are saying that this is obstruction of justice and this could very well lead to the impeachment process beginning?
DEAN: It could. I am not sure that the Republicans would do so. I am not sure that the Republicans would impeach Mr. Trump at this point if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue.
CABRERA: That is what he has said. His own words there.
I want you to listen to what else the president said about the Mueller investigation, specifically on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): We are going to find out. We are going to find out.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you concerned --
TRUMP: Because here's what we will say, and everybody says, no collusion. There is no collusion. Now, they are saying, oh, well, did he fight back? Did he fight back?
TRUMP: It is obstruction.
John? You fight back, oh, it is obstruction.
So here is the thing. I hope so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And he was asked about what he would say in an interview with Robert Mueller. Does the president need more than ever to be careful what he says about Bob Mueller and the investigation?
DEAN: He does. The words "fight back" are not the words that you want to use in the grand jury or the prosecutor, because as a potential target or as a defendant or as somebody under investigation, fighting back can really mean obstruction. What you have to do is to respond to the process. It is not the same as being in a courtroom. It is not the same as being on the street fighting. You're subject to not -- you are not allowed to disrupt the criminal justice process. Otherwise, you are involved in obstruction of justice.
CABRERA: John Dean, I appreciate your time. And thank you very much.
DEAN: Thank you, Ana.
[15:09:54] CABRERA: Coming up, President Trump is facing some of the most serious questions yet in the Russian probe. Our political panel is going to weigh in on the potential face-off with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
And DACA deal. The White House proposes a new plan on immigration and runs into a wall of resistance from both sides of the aisle.
And he has 99 problems, but Van Jones isn't one of them. CNN's Van Jones goes one-on-one with music superstar, Jay-Z.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN has learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has provided President Trump's lawyers with a range of topics that he wants to ask about in a potential sit-down interview with the president in the Russian probe.
But let's back up for a moment as we now know, according to "The Washington Post," Mueller is looking specifically at whether there was a pattern of behavior on Trump's part, a pattern that began early in his presidency.
Let's take a look. February 13, 2017, almost a year ago now, President Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigns, admitting that he lied about conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The next day, the president meets with then-FBI Director James Comey. Comey takes notes of the meeting, and he writes that Trump said, quote, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go." Comey does not let it go. May 9, less than three months later, Trump fires Comey. And by Trump's own admission, his reason for firing Comey was his handling of the Russian investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:15:25] TRUMP: Regardless of the recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing that there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to do it, I said to myself, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, and it is an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The pattern continues with Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recused himself for matters related to the investigation after his own inaccurate statements about contact with Russians emerged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am disappointed in the attorney general. He should not have recused himself. Almost immediately after he took office. And if he was going to the recuse himself, he should have told me prior to the taking office, and I would have quite simply picked somebody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Also, this week, "The New York Times" reported that Christopher Wray, handpicked to be the new FBI director after Comey, that he threatened to quit because the president pressured him to fire or reassign Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director. We also learned that the president reportedly asked McCabe, again, the current deputy director of the FBI, who did you vote for?
And now sources tell CNN that President Trump is homing in on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The man who appointed Mueller as special counsel in the first place. And he is the man who also wrote the letter that Trump used as his original reasoning for firing James Comey.
Remember this tweet directed at Rosenstein? "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt."
Now we know that the very month after firing Comey over the Russia investigation, President Trump ordered Mueller's firing, even though the president has repeatedly denied it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President have you thought about it, considered leading to the dismissal of the special counsel, and anything that would send you in that direction?
TRUMP: I have not given it any thought. And I have been reading about it from you people. You say, oh, I'm going to dismiss him. No, I am not dismissing anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you considering firing Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: No, not at all.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to fire Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: No, I am not. No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in my panel, CNN political analyst and White House reporter for "The Washington Post," Josh Dawsey, and CNN contributor and writer for the "New Yorker," Adam Entous.
So, Josh, Democrats are calling for legislation to protect Mueller. What would it take for the Republicans to consider embracing this idea?
JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The Republicans are now saying that President Trump's intentions to fire Mueller was seven or eight months ago. They are saying that the investigation will be wrapping up soon. And the statements we saw yesterday, they think it might. And they are not embracing the idea of putting together any legislation or anything to protect Mueller. It seems on Capitol Hill, there is crickets when it comes to the Russian developments and the Russian investigations on the president. You don't hear a lot from Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell. It is hard to imagine what it would take to enshrine legislation that would guarantee that Bob Mueller could not be touched.
CABRERA: Adam, sources tell CNN that President Trump in recent days has vented about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller and the special counsel investigation, with the president reportedly gripping about wanting Rosenstein removed. Adam, how are the White House advisers handling this?
ADAM ENTOUS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They need to be very sensitive here in this climate. Any movement he makes in this direction might only raise questions, further questions about whether he's trying to obstruct justice and could end up being worse than any action that you take. We have seen a pattern where the president is frustrated. Over and over again, he lashes out privately to his aides. You know, his wording is not always as direct as what has been reported about what he told McGahn. In the case of the earlier contacts that he had with the head of the NSA and also the DNI, Mr. Coats. He was much more -- he said, could you say maybe publicly there is no evidence of collusion. So this was a communication that less than a direct order, but more aspirational. We need to know exactly how Trump worded the statements to McGahn and to some of the others before we can really understand whether this was actually a directive.
CABRERA: And presumably, Robert Mueller has a whole lot more evidence and information about exactly what was said through the interviews and the documents that he has acquired.
Josh, let's hear what President Trump has said about his willingness to talk to Robert Mueller. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:20:08] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of --
TRUMP: 100 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If Robert Mueller asks you to come and speak with his committee personally, are you committed still to doing that --
TRUMP: Yes, just so you understand. Just so you understand, there's been no collusion. There's been no crime.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you be open to it?
TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We'll certainly see what happens. But when they have no collusion, and nobody has found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Josh, what are you hearing about the White House sources about the potential Trump/Mueller showdown.
DAWSEY: Well, the president came this week to the chief of staff's office and he said that he would testify with Bob Mueller. He said he was looking forward to it. You saw his lawyers try to walk back the statement saying, we'll see, we're still analyzing this. The president is infuriated by this investigation. I think his predilection is to go in to talk to Bob Mueller. Others are concerned, because one of his closest advisers said to me that it could be a trap for him, to make a statement that contradicts others, to misinterpret a fact, and he could get in trouble. One thing we know about Bob Mueller's probe so far is, surgically put
together, even to the minute in some cases, events that have happened. They've interviewed dozens of people. They have documents and e- mails. They've put together a pretty cohesive timeline of how these things happened. For the president, he would have to go in and subject himself to investigators who know a lot. Some of our sources have said when they have gone in to talk to Bob Mueller, they have been surprised at the e-mails that they've shown to them, that they didn't know they had that or that their colleagues had wrote that. So it is a tough challenge for the president. If he does not go in, he looks like he is hiding something and not cooperating with the probe. So you go in and you face the risk, or you don't go in and you face risks.
CABRERA: So many interviews, so many developments over the past week, it is hard to keep track of them. We know that Sessions was interviewed. And next week, we anticipate that Robert Mueller is going to be talking to former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, about the firings of Comey and Flynn.
This is what Bannon had to say in September.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ROSE, FORMER HOST, CHARLIE ROSE: Someone said to me that you have described the firing of James Comey -- you are a student of history -- as the biggest mistake in political history.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: That would probably be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And so, Adam, we know that Bannon was not in the room when Flynn or Comey was fired. What type of insight could he offer about the president's mindset of this crucial time period?
ENTOUS: Well, obviously, Bannon was engaging with everyone at that point in time in the White House, and he would be able to potentially fill in some of the missing pieces that Mueller's team is trying to construct. But you know, it is maybe beyond that. Bannon might be discussing not just, you know, some of the efforts that Trump and some of the others may have done to potentially obstruct justice, but he could get to the broader questions. What were the context of the Russians? How aware was he of the Russia contacts? There's a lot of interesting, you know, Cambridge Analytica, a company he was associated with. And how was their use of activities on social media, why did it seem to be so similar to what the Russians were using and doing on social media at the same time? Those are the kinds of questions that would be given to Steve Bannon that would go far beyond what we are talking about today.
CABRERA: I have so many more questions for you guys. We will have you back.
Thank you both, Adam Entous and Josh Dawsey. We appreciate it.
CABRERA: Still ahead, immigration and Amnesty Don? Trump loyalists are lashing out after the White House revealed its proposal for DREAMers and other immigrants.
[15:28:22] TRUMP: For those who are here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only -- to return home and reapply for reentry like everybody else.
We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration. We will break the cycle.
People will know that you can't just smuggle in, hunker down, and wait to be legalized. It is not going to work that way.
TRUMP: Those days are over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Some hardline conservatives say they are wishing for that guy right now. When it came to immigration, Candidate Trump's stance was crystal clear. Now reconcile what we have just heard with the plan he has unveiled, the pathway to citizenship for one million young undocumented immigrants, including the so-called DREAMers.
"Breitbart News" and some Trump loyalists are now calling the president "Amnesty Don." Democrats are upset for what the administration gets in return, a $25 billion trust fund for a border wall, and new limits on legal immigration. But the White House though is selling it as a big compromise.
Let's talk about this with our CNN political commentators, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings, and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona.
Scott, both side are unhappy. No one gets everything they want. Is a White House proposal a true compromise?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITIAL COMMENTATOR: I do believe it is a compromise. The president ran as one of the most hardline immigration candidates that we have had in recent presidential history.
[15:30:00] And now he is coming down from his positions in the campaign to say, look, I understand that we have to compromise to get a deal to give something to everybody. I also think he realizes that doing the right thing for the DREAMers is something that most people in both party supports. I think he continues to have his hand on the pulse of the American people when it comes to border security.
I believe that the American people believe that we can do it all and fix the DREAMer issue and support security. I believe it is a complicated bid, and I believe that Donald Trump is, oh, so close, to doing something that neither of the last two presidents could do, which is to sign comprehensive legislation into law.
CABRERA: Maria, do you agree? Do you believe the president's plan is doable?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not the way it is now. For Democrats and progressives and it is a trojan horse, because it is intensive for the president to offer DACA kids a pathway to citizenship, and that is the right thing to do, and he should do it, but he is connecting it with the most anti-rhetoric and radical, nativist, draconian proposals in 50 years. And so when you see the proposals that paper over how draconian the proposals are, you have a proposal that is going to slash immigration by 50 percent, which has not been done in over 100 years. It ends family reunification, except for spouses and kids. And it is essentially going to close the borders, which is what the anti-immigrant base wants. And it is going to change the face of America. It will change the fundamental way that we do, the United States of America. I think that moving forward, progressives are going to have a real problem with that. And this proposal is not going to be something that is accepted, frankly, it looks like either side. So this big negotiator, this big "Art of the Deal" dealmaker is not seeming to be doing the deal that is going to be the one that both sides are going to want to accept.
CABRERA: Scott, the president's comments on immigration have gone through a remarkable evolution from the time he was a candidate to when he took office. We played at the top what he said before. Listen to this now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will immediate terminate President Obama's illegal executive order on immigration immediately.
What about our children? Why can't our children that are in the country, why can't they be the DREAMers? Nobody ever talks about that.
TRUMP: We are talking about DREAMers for other people. I want the children who are growing up in the United States to be DREAMers also.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Should the DREAMers be worried?
TRUMP: We love the DREAMers. We love everybody.
We will have a great heart for the folks that we are talking about. A great love for them.
This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love. Truly, a bill of love, and we can do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And, Scott, one could argue that the president plays to his audience. He has had many different messages. Why should the Democrats take the president at his word now, or anybody take him at his word for that matter?
JENNINGS: Well, the president is learning how Washington works. And in this particular case, in order to get what he wants, which is border security and reforms to some of the most broken parts of the immigration system, he understands that he has to work with the Democrats on some things they want.
I am disheartened by the rhetoric that Maria is using. I'm hearing from a lot of places in the Democratic Party, because they seem to prefer this negotiation to fall apart and for there not to be a deal, for there not to be a solution here so they can use it in the midterm elections. It is the wrong attitude. The attitude that we all ought to have right now is to get a deal for the DREAMers, which they do deserve, and get the borders secure and fix the most broken parts of the immigration system. Regardless of the politicians and the fringe and the party that you come from, that should be the total focus of the Congress and the president. The fact that the president was willing to throw out a compromised proposal to start this negotiation should be encouraging to Democrats and not discouraging, and I hope they don't try to sandbag this into failure.
CABRERA: Maria, we know that the pressure is on to reach an agreement on DACA and the DREAMers before the March deadline, but the president is open to shifting the deadline as well. Let's listen.
CARDONA: Well -- OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have DACA. More than myself and the Republican Party, we want to do what is right, and when do what is right, and solve the DACA problem. And I don't think that Democrats want to pull a shutdown. But if we need a little more time. We will take a little bit more time. I want to get the problem solved correctly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So when you were describing the president's plan as cut throat, do you feel differently after hearing that and seeing his plan where 1.8 million people that he wants to give a pathway to citizenship. We know there are about 800,000 or less than that that are the current DREAMers or the people who are benefiting from the DACA, so it is about a million more people than who are currently getting the benefits of DACA. He is reaching out partway, isn't he?
[15:35:16] CARDONA: Well -- that is -- well, that remains to be seen. To your point earlier, Ana, how can we trust what this White House is going to say or do? They put forward the proposal on Friday, but they did not run it by the people in Congress, the legislators who are actually going to have to be the negotiators first. They gave it to the press first, and so, to me, that first tells me that it is not a good-faith proposal. And they are trying to throw it out there to see what they have to contend with on both sides of the aisle. Yes, like I said earlier, I am glad that he is proposing a path of citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMers, but that is not what we promised to connect with the incredibly draconian radical proposals that go with it. If we can get the deal, we want to take the president at his original word, which is to bring me a bipartisan deal that both sides can accept, and that was done. Lindsey Graham and Durbin and other Democrats and other Republicans took him a deal that took care of the DREAMers, and took care of the border security, and Chuck Schumer even put the border wall on the table, and it was rejected.
CABRERA: They said it was dead on arrival, but there's some Democrats and Republicans who are more middle-minded, who said it is a good start. But on both sides the extremes, not the extremes, but the further right and further left contingencies who are both saying that this is not fair. So a lot more discussion to come, no doubt about it.
Scott Jennings, Maria Cardona, thank you, both.
CARDONA: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Coming up, the deadly flu emergency sweeping the country and hitting you children and baby boomers hard. The CDC is warning that the virus is going be around for many weeks to come. Stay with us.
[15:41:15] CABRERA: New evidence just released confirms what we feared, we are in the midst of a fierce deadly flu season. The Centers for Disease Control reports the deaths of seven more children, bringing the pediatric number of deaths since October to 32. And the CDC warns, hold on, a lot more flu to come.
I spoke earlier to CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
CABRERA: Sanjay, these are some high numbers and 37 children at least have died. Have we reached the peak? Is the worst behind us yet?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are close to the peak. We don't know for sure, because there is a little bit of the lag in the numbers. We are seeing the numbers a week ago. So I imagine that next week or the week after, we will hopefully see a decrease, obviously, hopefully, in the deaths and the hospitalizations, and how much activity.
As you know, Ana, this is everywhere in the country. Hawaii is the only state that has been spared. But they are starting to see the decrease in the western part of the country. So it has been awful news, and a tough flu season, but maybe a little light here at the end of the tunnel.
CABRERA: Is this year's flu activity different from years past?
GUPTA: Well, it is different than the last couple of years. In 2014 to 2015, there was a bad flu season as well. It was the same strain of flu, this H3N2. And it is not something that people need to remember, but this particular strain is a bad one. It gets people pretty sick, but as far as how widespread it is, it is as bad as we have seen in a decade. It is really gotten to about every corner of the United States and at least the continental United States.
CABRERA: We know that the children and elderly are particularly vulnerable and how do people know that it is the flu versus some other bug that they can ride out?
GUPTA: Yes, it is a good question, and I will tell you that it can be hard even for the medical professionals. So with the symptoms that you will get, the congestion and the cough and all of that stuff, it can be a lot of things. If people are starting to develop stomach symptoms, and starting to think more about flu, especially in the kids, if they are developing fevers that are high, and usually over 101 degrees, then I start to worry more about the flu as well.
In children, this is something that, you know, you may see as well. Sometimes a child will have seemed to be recovered from the flu and feeling better, on the upswing, and then a few days later, they get worse again and then it comes back fast and hard. That is a red flag to suggest a secondary infection has now come into the picture, and that is maybe time to go to emergency room.
CABRERA: And so here we are in the last week of January. Is it too late to get the flu shot?
GUPTA: It is not too late. Since I have been reporting on this this for 16 years, people are skeptical of the flu shot, and to some extent, you understand why. It is never 100 percent effective. If it is 60 percent effective, that is a pretty good year. This year, it appears to be 30 percent effective. And so, you know, depending on the perspective, it is a lot or not that much. But first of all, it is better than zero. And it is not about whether or not you get the flu. If you get the flu, having the flu shot, the severity of the symptoms and how sick you get could be affected as well. You might not get as sick. There's a couple of benefits. We are thinking that it is going into April, Ana. And so it is not too late to get the flu shot.
CABRERA: Then still more to come. So what are some other things that people can do to protect themselves besides the flu vaccine?
GUPTA: Well, the basics apply here. This is a virus that is very contagious, and people get it by touching something and then touching the mouth and nose, and potentially exposing themselves to the flu virus. It is an easy thing to say to continuously wash your hands, make sure you're not around sick people. But, Ana, in our business, we work in the NEWSROOMs, and people around one person that's sick, it can spread quickly. So if you are sick and you have the flu, you need to stay home. It is not just for you, but it is for everyone else that you work with as well to keep them safe.
[15:45:29] CABRERA: No doubt about it.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, some good practical advice and great advice, as always. Good to see you. Thank you.
GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, CNN's Van Jones sits down with the mega star, Jay-Z, for the premier of the "VAN JONES SHOW." What the superstar had to say about activism and race in the age of Trump.
[15:50:12] CABRERA: Just in case you haven't heard, Van Jones has a brand-new show. It's premiering tonight at 7:00 eastern with a mega superstar guest. I'm talking about Jay-Z, the 21-time Grammy Award winner, cultural icon, who was spotted strolling the halls of CNN just a short time ago, thrilling the staffers here in this building. Jay-Z known for his groundbreaking music, his savvy business acumen, and his role has high-profile husband to superstar, Beyonce.
And here's a sneak peek of Van Jones' conversation with Jay-Z.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, VAN JONES SHOW: We have a president who comes and says every African country is a shithole country. How does that land with you as a dad?
JAY-Z, RAP ARTIST: It's disappointing and hurtful. More so, everyone feels anger, but after the anger is really hurtful, because he's looking down on a whole population of people. And he's so misinformed because these people have beautiful people and beautiful everything. It's like this is the leader of the free world speaking like this. But on the other side, this has been going on. This is how people talk. This is how they talk behind closed doors. There was a moment where Donald sterling had been exposed as this racist on a private phone conversation that he was having, and they took his team from him. And it's like OK, that's one way to do it. But another way would have been, let him have his team, and then let's talk about it together. And let's --
JONES: Have a real discussion.
JAY-Z: Because once you do that, all of the other closet racists run back in the hole. You haven't fixed anything. What you have done is spray perfume on a trash can. What you do when you do that is you know the bugs come and you spray something and then they come, and you create a superbug. Right? Because you don't take care of the problem. You don't take the trash out. You just keep spraying whatever over it to make it acceptable. And then you know, as those things grow, you create a superbug. Now we have Donald Trump, the superbug. I'm being funny, I say that, too, but somewhere along his lineage, something happened.
CABRERA: Something happened. Something happened to him, and he's in pain, and he's expressing it in this sort of way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Van Jones is with us now.
So, Van, that was a revealing part of your conversation.
JONES: Look, I have never had a conversation like that. I mean, we talked about everything. We talked about therapy. We talked about his twins. We talked about why he fought so hard for his marriage. We talked about Mrs. Carter, Beyonce, as his soul mate. I mean, he just went there. He was beyond vulnerable. It was intimate. And --
CABRERA: How interesting.
JONES: -- I think he just has a lot to say. He's at this place in his career, getting the icon award. Eight Grammy nominations. What else is there for him to do? He's a dad and he wants to talk. It was unbelievable.
CABRERA: Why did you want to talk to him?
JONES: Because I understand what he's doing in hip-hop. Hip-hop, up until this moment with this album, has always been boastful and accusatory. I'm great, you suck. That's our politics. My party's great, your party sucks. Suddenly, he comes out with an album that's all confessional. I did wrong in my marriage. My mom is a lesbian and I'm proud of that. All confessional stuff. And it's a break. I thought to myself, if we could have what he's doing in the culture come over to politics where it's OK to be honest, to be confessional, we wouldn't have half the problems we have in Washington, D.C. I wanted to bring him out and have that conversation. But I had no idea how confessional it was going to get. It was unbelievable.
CABRERA: Did you go in preparing to ask a certain set of questions? Or were you like, I'm going to see where this conversation goes --.
JONES: Oh, no.
CABRERA: -- and then you were as surprised as anybody where it went?
JONES: Listen, I had my prepared set of questions because it's my first show, I was nervous, I wanted to do a good job. But the conversation took wings. It was unbelievable. I mean, I'm not saying that to juice up the ratings. I'm saying, like, I'm still stunned from the conversation. Like, I mean, it was an amazing -- to see somebody with that much wealth, that much power, and obviously, that braggadocios hip-hop thing, he kind of authored that.
CABRERA: Sounds like he was kind of humble. JONES: It was all gone, and he's setting an example really for all of
us. We don't have to put people down. We don't have to do these things. Let's just be ourselves. Let's be honest. What he said was tough, but it was fair. He came back and said by the way, I think Donald Trump has some pain I can identify with. I'm like, whoa. I mean, he just let it all hang out.
CABRERA: As you put it, he talked about therapy, talked about being vulnerable, talked about his marriage. Sounds like it's something that a lot of us could relate to, that he's not sort of this star up in the sky that a lot of us envision.
[15:55:03] JONES: That was the amazing part. He talked about his twins and how they're dealing with twin babies in the House. He talked about blue ivy. Talked about how his daughter reacted seeing all those fires. And what that taught him about his daughter as a father.
CABRERA: How interesting.
JONES: I mean, so I just got to say, I appreciate him coming on. But also appreciate -- I think I talked to Shawn --
JONES: I think I talked to Shawn Carter today. I think Jay-Z was there, but I think I was talking to Shawn Carter today.
CABRERA: Very cool. I can't wait to see it.
Thank you, Van Jones, for sharing with us.
JONES: Yes. Thank you.
CABRERA: We'll talk to you again here prior to your show. We'll dig in deeper into what you're going to talk about tonight.
You can catch the premiere of the "VAN JONES SHOW." It's at 7:00 eastern, right here on CNN.
We'll be right back.
[16:00:13] CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera --