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Jay-Z Says Trump Misses the Point on Black Unemployment; Surprise as FBI Deputy Director Steps Down Immediately; Rubio Fires Chief of Staff Over Misconduct Allegations. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 29, 2018 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We're back, you're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. As the president prepares for his first State of the Union address he is also wading into a bit of war of words with rapper Jay- Z. Tweeting, "Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED! He says in all caps.

Now the president appears to be responding to the debut of CNN's "THE VAN JONES SHOW" where among other political hot topics, Jay-Z discussed whether the drop in the African-American unemployment rate makes the president a good leader.


SHAWN "JAY-Z" CARTER, RAPPER, BUSINESSMAN: It's not about money at the end of the day. Money is not -- doesn't equate to like happiness, it doesn't. That's missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings, and then, you know, that's the main point. You can't treat someone like -- it goes back to the whole thing. You're going to treat me really bad and pay me well. It's not going to lead to happiness, it's going to lead to like, you know, again, the same thing. Everyone is going to be sick.


BALDWIN: Van Jones is here now. And I think what we didn't get to see in the clip was your question up to that, which was look at the unemployment rate.


BALDWIN: Does the man get a little credit for it?

JONES: It was amazing to listen to Jay-Z talk about race and racism. He said, listen, we are not dealing with the issue well. Interestingly he was saying that sometimes by being so tough on people we think are racist, we're pushing them into the darkness, or whatever, and creating, he called, a superbug of racism. He said Trump is a superbug of racism. I said, woe, he's doing stuff on unemployment. And Jay-Z said, you know what, that's not enough. You can't insult people. You can't be mean to people and then just say look at my unemployment numbers. I thought it was very wise, I think that he was saying, and it was interesting the way the president responded the way did. This was my first show, the debut show, I'm interviewing Jay-Z. I'm nervous enough. And then I leave and Oprah and Trump start tweeting about the show.

BALDWIN: I think that's a good day when you have those two-people tweeting about you.

JONES: It's a good day in our business. But in some ways a bad day for the country because actually Donald Trump missed an opportunity, I think. Jay-Z also talked about criminal justice reform. Jared Kushner in the White House is working on that.

[15:35:00] He could have tweeted about that. He could have tweeted about any number of things. But of course, he took it off topic and whatever. But for me I'm excited because I got a chance to interview Sean Carter, not just Jay-Z. He talked about his family. He talked about his kids. He talked about stuff and he was confessional as opposed to braggadocios. So, it usually hip-hop is braggadocios and the politicians are supposed to be a little bit more refined. You have the political leader, Trump, being all accusatory and crazy and the hip-hop guy being confessional, being relatable, calling his wife his soul mate. I asked him why did you fight for this marriage? She's my soul mate.

BALDWIN: I heard that.

JONES: I haven't yet heard the president say about his wife or any of his wives that that's his soul mate.


JONES: I'm just saying. So, if you're a parent like I am, looking for someone who model your kid after, here's Jay-Z who's grown up, has one marriage, made mistakes, confessed to it, is trying to make it work. And we have a president of the United States who has three. I've never heard him say this is my soul mate. And instead of listening to Jay-Z and learning, he's throwing barbs. Something is wrong in America when the entertainment people are better than the politicians.

BALDWIN: Part of your conversation, and I think you made him incredibly comfortable. I think to be so open the way he was with you and so comfortable, it rose to the level where our friend April Ryan asked Sarah Sanders about your conversation. Roll it.


APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The black unemployment rate continues to be higher and it's actually two times that, more than two times that of the white unemployment rate. So, is that something that this administration is touting or they're trying to fix, make an active effort to fix in 2018?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think you can see from the steps that we've already taken that we're trying to fix unemployment for all Americans. That's the point that the president has made time and time again is that he wants it to be better for everybody. And we've made significant progress in that, both through the number of regulations that have been cut to make this a more job friendly market, a more job friendly environment, and certainly adding to that the tax cuts and tax reform legislation.


JONES: I think she missed April's point. I am happy about these numbers, 6.8 percent unemployment for African-Americans, even though it's double white, it's still good. And those numbers have been coming down for about six years now. So, Obama did most of the work, but Trump has continued that work. From a bipartisan point of view, we should be happy about that. At the same time, when you have double the unemployment in one community, you have to have a targeted effort to fix that. And what she said was we're for all Americans, tax cuts or whatever.

Listen, that's great. If you think that's going to, would, that's wonderful. But if you had double -- if you had the rate of unemployment right now in the white community that you have in the black community, we would say we're still in a depression or a recession. So, you've got some people that are still left behind. I'm glad the numbers are coming down. But let's come together and do more. Donald Trump talks about the black community all the time. Come to Chicago, come to Oakland, sit down, listen to all those mothers. Go to some of those funerals. And let's come together and get something done. But instead, you know, it's I'm proud of the numbers but not going to do anything to help your community. That doesn't make any sense.

BALDWIN: Congrats on the show.

JONES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Van jones.

Coming up next, we're live at the White House. More on the breaking news, deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe, stepping down immediately. What we are learning about his surprise departure.


BALDWIN: Following our breaking news here, hitting the FBI today, the deputy director, Andrew McCabe, stepping down effective today. He was expected to retire mid-March. McCabe has been a frequent target of President Trump's criticism of the bureau and he is one of several high-ranking Justice Department and FBI officials who have either recused themselves, been fired or suddenly retired. First Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, then FBI director James Comey was fired by the president and now McCabe retiring a tad earlier than expected. Today the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, responding to McCabe's sudden exit.


SANDERS: Look, we've seen the numerous reports as all of you have. And any specifics, I can tell you none of this decision was made by that of the White House and any specifics I would refer you to the FBI, who I believe will be making a statement later today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say that the White House was not involved in the decision, but clearly the president seemed to be involved in a public relations campaign against McCabe.

SANDERS: Look, the president stands by his previous comments, but in terms of the situation today, as I just said, we've seen the reports just as all of you have. We don't have any specific comments, and I would refer you to the FBI for any specifics on the things that are taking place today.


BALDWIN: Let's go to the White House and bring in our senior White House correspondent there, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, what more are you learning about the White House responding to this and about why McCabe is out?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, it certainly is interesting. This is one of the first days that the president and people here at the White House have not had anything to say in a negative way about Andrew McCabe. The president has made no secret of the fact that he does not trust him, does not like him. Of course, it all goes back to the investigation into the Clinton email episode that the FBI was conducting, that Andrew McCabe was involved with. The president thought it simply was not fair.

So, he has tweeted countless times over the last six months or so. The question here, Brooke, though, which we frankly don't have an answer to, is why Andrew McCabe would have waited six months through all this criticism, even more than that, you have to go to the first year of the administration but decided to leave six weeks before he was planning on retiring. So that is a question we simply do not have an answer to.

The White House is saying the president was not involved in this, was not involved in this at all. We'll find out if that's true as this shakes out here, Brooke, but again, the president not mentioning anything on social media about Andrew McCabe. He was asked about this earlier today at a lunch that he had, and he did not say anything at all about that. Of course, we remember the story from a week or so ago when it was reported by "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" and CNN that the president had asked Andrew McCabe who he voted for. He said he did not vote for anyone in the 2016 election. So again, the president has had so much to say about Andrew McCabe over the last several months, oddly quiet here today -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: The day is young still. Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much, at the White House.

Next, the #metoo movement takes center stage at the Grammys and on Capitol Hill. And it could be part of the reason behind a record- breaking number of women now running for office.



KESHA, SINGER, SONGWRITER: Because I'll bring thunder, I'll bring rain. And when I'm finished they won't even know your name.


BALDWIN: Kesha belting it out for the biggest #metoo movement on music's biggest night. And alleged sexual assault victim herself. Her emotional performance at the Grammys was backed by an all-female chorus and got a standing occasion. And singer-songwriter and actress Janelle Monet drove the message home when she introduced Kesha.


JANELLE MONAE, ACTOR, SINGER, SONGWRITER: Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist, but a young woman with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry. Artists, writers, assistants, publicists, CEOs, producers, engineers and women from all sectors of the business.

[15:50:00] We are also daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and human beings. We come in peace, but we mean business.


BALDWIN: The #metoo movement may also be prompting accountability in politics. Florida Republican Senator, Marco Rubio, has fired his chief of staff over misconduct allegations with a subordinate. The senator's office didn't provide any more details or mention his chief of staff by name, but he has been identified and confirmed as the Clint Reed. With me to talk about that is CNN national politics reporter, MJ Lee. And, you know, kudos to the senator for acting like this. Do you think he is sending a message to his other Republican colleagues?

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: I think it is notable how quickly we saw there happen. Rubio said that he found out this Friday afternoon. And by Saturday evening he had put out an announcement saying that his chief of staff was gone. So, really within one day he found out about this and determined that there was improper contact between a supervisor and a subordinate and let this person go. I think all of this speaks to sort of the changing times. Maybe I'm being a little too optimistic, but I do basically think that reporting sexual misconduct in January 2018 is different from having reported this maybe even a year ago, six months ago.

And I think important about this example, too, is that it was the accused who was let go. The accused that was reprimanded as opposed to the accuser. I know you were talking about the 2008 Hillary Clinton example where it was so notable and really sort of outrageous that the person who did the accusing was the one who was moved out of her job. And I think for so many years, that was sort of the norm. And I think particularly as it relates to Capitol Hill and all of my reporting over the last couple months, there has been so much attention on how little transparency there is on Capitol Hill. I think a lot of people actually didn't even know that the office of compliance even existed. People didn't know taxpayer dollars were going to settlements for members of Congress or senior staffers who wanted to basically hide that these kinds of things happened in their offices. And as more of this reporting comes out, people are saying look, we need more transparency.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about all the women who want to be on Capitol Hill. I mean, all levels of government, we should be fair, throughout this country EMILY's List reported that the 25,000 women expressed interest in running for office. And today some more exciting numbers here. The Center for American Women in Politics says as of last week, 396 likely women candidates for the U.S. House and 50 in the Senate. They are on track to break almost every record in the books. MJ, why is this happening? I have a guess but go ahead.

LEE: Well, two things, I think one, women are feeling like they're being heard more. I think it is obvious why we're seeing more women come out to these marches and protests wearing pins, wanting to be more visible. And then specifically, I think when it comes to serving in government, there is a recognition that there's a difference between women lobbying men to make these changes and women actually trying to be in the positions where they can make those changes themselves. You look ahead to tomorrow and the State of the Union address, it is not a coincidence that the movement the wear black to Donald Trump's State of the Union address, that's been led by women. The movement to wear the recent Recy Taylor pin. That's mostly been let by women. And I think a lot of feel like we should be in the positions where we can execute that kind of change.

BALDWIN: We'll be talking more about that tomorrow, I'm sure. Will be in D.C. MJ, thank you so much for all that today.

Breaking news at the FBI. We want to get back to our top story. The second in command at the agency stepping down a couple weeks earlier than expected. We are going to get reaction about Andrew McCabe's departure from a key member of the House Judiciary Committee coming up.


BALDWIN: The White House has just announced President Trumps invited guests for the State of the Union address tomorrow night. Among them, a welder from Ohio. Parents who lost their children to a MS13 gang. A police officer who was shot on duty and some first responders from last year's hurricanes and wildfires.

One other person who will be in that audience is Staff Sergeant Patricia King, a transgender soldier who spent 19 years in the military. That includes three tours in Afghanistan. She was invited as a guest by Congressman Joe Kennedy who is delivering the Democratic response to the president's speech. And I asked Sergeant King about that invitation moments ago.


BALDWIN: When Congressman Kennedy came to you and invited you, was it a yes or did it take a minute to convince you?

STAFF SERGEANT PATRICIA KING. UNITED STATES ARMY: Oh, absolutely it was a yes. This is such an honor the opportunity to be a part of this.


BALDWIN: We will play out my full interview with the sergeant on tomorrow's show. We'll be live from Washington, D.C. of course, ahead of the president's big night, the State of the Union.

I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much for being with me. Let's send things off to D.C., "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.