tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 18, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
♪ that was "the end" and now the beginning, this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon here in washington. in a little more than one day donald trump will be sworn in as 45th president of the united states. is team trump ready to take the reins? >> this is a job of some magnitude that you can't do it by yourself. >> tonight saw unprecedented look of end of the obama administration as seen by inner circle. here to dus is douglas brinkley,
kirsten powers, mark preston and david gergen. david that was very intimate and incredible look inside the closing days of the obama presidency. what were your thoughts as you heard from people inside the white house? >> i thought his greatest legacy may not be in legislation or international agreements but it may be in the quality -- the principles for which he stood and decency. bill moyers were circulating a quote i loved. history will judge him as president. we can judge his character and it's sterling. important characteristic for us to have. >> absolutely. and i think that documentary was
remarkable. inside of the white house, reminded me of "the war room" documentary in 1992. inside look. and star of the film is speech writer cody keenan. he's a good speech writer, and dave and i talk about speech writers sometimes but. >> he was a student. >> he wrote the great selma speech for barack obama. we have to treat him as peggy noonan time. >> favreau. >> the loftier speeches but these are great. >> back in the beginning in 2006 when barack obama won went to valerie jarrett's office, with the reverse scene of her packing up to go to the white house and pictures here. it's been eight years.
been with him for eight years. lot long time. doesn't usually happen. >> i remember in 2009 on the mall. >> 300 degrees below 0. >> incredibly cold and different feeling back then when he was about to take office. certainly different from the feeling everybody at this table is probably experiencing with donald trump. >> do you think feel more like inauguration as the week progresses? i remember being here last two times, more people here, more festive attitude. i don't know why it's different this time. maybe people are waiting until the end of the week to come. we have a very different kind of president-elect this time. and obviously with president obama, even people that didn't vote for him, historic nature of the election, especially 2008, a
special time for most americans. had emotional feel even with conservatives, any american looking at first african-american president made it meaningful. >> put this up from the first lady tonight. being your first lady has been honor of a lifetime. from the bottom of my heart, thank you. mo for michelle obama. and touching photo of the obamas looking out toward the washington monument. feels like end of an era, doesn't it? >> it does. and i think michelle obama will go down to histories in one of the great first ladies. great partner to her husband and ended up playing a huge role, public role that coming into it, she didn't want to run for office let alone president of the united states and her as first lady. how she leaned into that, owned it and became force into her own right. >> incredible documentary. if you didn't see it, watch the
replay later on. beautiful. donald trump has been so critical of the press and today president obama had his last with full-throated approval of the press. >> you're not supposed to be sycophants. not supposed to be complimentary but cast a critical eye on folks who hold tremendous power and make sure we're accountable to the people who sent us here. and you have done that. having you in this building has made this place work better. >> mark preston, read into that, was he speaking to someone? >> go back to what you said, feels like and of an era. and in some ways it is of course. we all experienced something historic. but he also said in the news
conference he's going to speak up when he sees core values of america at stake, whethers that systemic racism, effort to try to stymie the free press, and really telling as well, when he talks about protecting dreamers, those children brought her illegally but know nothing but the united states being their home. won't get involved in every tax fight but unlike other presidents, i think barack obama is not going away. >> and he's still young. i want to get to dreamers but can we talk about the press? i thought direct message to the incoming president. especially talking about moving press corp. away from the white house. spoke to that directly. >> i think it was interesting conclusion that he came to. not only first amendment. but he appreciates the fact that
having the press corp. in the west wing of the white house, seeing who is coming and going and being able to interact with the white house staff. in the administrations i served in, he drew the same lesson i did. having the press there makes the white house staff more honest, more accountable. >> absolutely. >> if you weren't there, would feel like we can get away with this thing. but when you have to answer questions every day, have regular news conferences, forces staff to look each other in the eye and can't get away with it, let's tell the truth. >> may think in the beginning can get away with things but in the end -- >> i think reflect on the way he interacted with the press. wasn't good. repeatedly talked about lack of access. said most secretive white house
ever dealt with. waged a war on whistleblowers and remember the justice department seizing phone records. >> but don't they look rather small compared -- >> i think it affects your ability to have principled criticism of it when you behave that way. started with the bush administration. >> doesn't every administration have adversarial relationship with the press? >> they have but since the bush administration been getting worse. if you talk to long-standing white house reporters they will tell you with the bush administration and then they would say obama administration was worse than the bush administration in many ways in terms of access and transparency. >> helping barack obama's legacy with the press is donald trump. >> by comparison. >> by comparison it's like st. augustine up there. >> so true. >> and also i think josh earnest
ranks as one of the better ones. "new york times," recent series, "washington post," media loves barack obama right now. if 60% of the american people have approval rating of barack obama, press seems to have about 80% right now. >> to chris's point though, just add that mainstream media, at cnn and associated press and "new york times," barack obama and michelle obama oftentimes went around the media, go to celebrity shows to deliver the news. and their administration started at time when twitter and instant feedback came into full force. able to command their own message, put out their own news briefing every week on youtube. they understood how to manipulate the media. >> and didn't have big scandal in eight years.
>> amazing. class, very classy family. speaking of, michelle obama spoke so movingly on the campaign trail about the importance of electing hillary clinton but also of defeating donald trump. today the president was asked about his daughter's reaction to the election. spoke at length and ended on somewhat subdued note. >> man, my daughters are something. and they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. they were disappointed. they paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it's consistent with what we tried to teach them in our household. and what i've tried to model as a father with their mom. and what we've asked them to
expect from future boyfriends or spouses. but what we've also tried to teach them is resilience and tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. and so you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off, and you get back to work. at my core, i think we're going to be okay. we just have to fight for it, work for it, not take it for granted. and i know that you will help us do that. thank you very much press corp. good luck. >> those are no doubt the sentiments a lot of people share. do you think he felt the need to console the people who didn't necessarily vote for donald trump in that message right there? >> i'm sure he definitely feels the pressure of that. and also just a reminder -- we
just keep talking about how classy they are, it's a classy way to handle it, basically say we're going to be okay. and i think we know the president is probably a little worried but he's not really letting on. >> we haven't seen a young family like this in the white house since the kennedys, is that correct? >> that's true. >> young and very good-looking family. no scandals, very classy. stick around. when we come back, tough day on capitol hill for cabinet picks bun broke with the president-elect on a key policy. o broke with the president-elect on a key policy. broke with the president-elect on a key policy. president-elect on a key policy. (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even mer-mutts.
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back now live from washington, d.c., and donald trump becomes president in little more than a day and all the time saying first thing he wants to do is repeal and replace obamacare. dana bash sat down with mike pence today to press him about his promise -- his plan to replace obamacare, provide insurance for everybody. let's take a look at this. >> what does insurance for everybody mean? >> i think it means making insurance affordable for everyone but also allowing for reforms in medicaid on a state
by state basis to make sure we have health care coverage for the most vulnerable in our society. >> i'm guessing not talking about mandate but when he says insurance for everybody, you know, that sort of sends a signal that people are not going to lose the health insurance that they have. >> our commitment is orderly transition out of obamacare. don't want anybody to be anxious who has insurance through exchange or through the process of obamacare, don't want people to be concerned they're going to lose that coverage and face hardship for their families. >> so trump says insurance for everyone, pence clarifies that he meant make it affordable for everyone. and then yesterday, maybe the day before, i think it was access for everyone. >> right. >> so seriously, donald trump
probably speak to that. >> he looks like -- picture in the picture frame before you put it if it said vice president. straight out of central casting. gray hair and deep voice. >> and very smart. and i think mike pence is going to play a critical role in the administration. >> but i bet you donald trump doesn't let it be called pence care, going to want to call it trump care and may repeal the affordable care act and call it trump care and do changes to it. very much just wanting to shed the name of obama to take away the signature achievement. >> my line was, last night the night before i think, donald trump plans to get rid of obamacare with something that looks a lot like. >> scopiexcept called trump car rebranding like the buildings. >> but not what the republicans
want. they want to replace with something else. but republicans are the dog who caught the car and don't know what to do with it. they've been talking about repealing it without having replacement americans have expected, one of barack obama's great -- >> explain to the viewers, donald trump's plane back at laguardia. he was in washington, d.c., popping in and out but then white house staying at home. >> said going to start governing on monday, may go back. one never knows. >> something weird going on with the health care deliberation in the administration, donald trump seems to have pulled it back inside trump tower, planning and thinking. learned that sect for hhs was
purposefully excluded from the conversations about what the answer should be. i can't imagine. hhs secretary is pivotal, they have the team. this is complicated. you need a team to figure this out. i don't know what they're doing. contradictory signals. no idea what it's going to look like. >> heard in dana's interview, can you give us a hint, don't want to give away the surprise. why would it be a surprise. >> what have the republicans been doing? how can they not have something it replace. >> never been able to agree with how it should be done. and hhs nominee himself had legislation but not embraced by everybody on the republican side. to your point they really have caught the car and don't know
what to do with it. >> douglas did you want to get in on this? >> you go. >> exchanges between bernie sanders and scott pruitt. >> as i've indicated, climate is changing and even -- >> but haven't told me why you think it is. >> job of the administrator is carry out of the stch yuts from the body. >> why is climate changing. >> in response to the issue epa administrator is constrained by statutes. >> asking your personal opinion. >> it's immaterial to the job. >> you're going to be head of the agency to protect the environment and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and
carbon emissions is immaterial? >> kiersten, democrats want to paint him as pro energy,
antienvironment, he rejects that narrative. what do you make of it. >> i don't know why dodging the question, pretty straightforward, but feel like this is almost something any of the nominees could have said, all seem to disagree with him on fundamental things. but seems to be doesn't matter what we think, just going to do what donald trump is going to do, i presume. or unless they think going to convince him to do something different. but when you have people -- even the idea you don't have the person responsible for -- coming up with replacement for obamacare in on the discussions, just unorthodox way. >> is there a right answer? >> right answer is scott pruitt is awful choice for epa. he wants to destroy the environmental
protection agency. if you look at his record in oklahoma and what he's done for
any issue on the environment seems to be enemy not only of the climate movement but grassroots environmentalists, couldn't pick a more controversial guy but he probably will pass. >> these are interesting times. i have to run. thank you all. up next, donald trump's latest feud, this time with fashion designer tom ford all about the incoming first lady melania trump. no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors. panera. food as it should be.
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only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. download the xfinity tv app today. donald trump less than two days away from addressing the nation as 45th president of the united states. what sort of inauguration can we expect from a man unconventional from day one of campaign. discuss with author of "ronnie and nancy: their path to the white house, 1911 to 1980." thanks for joining me. covered four inaugurations up close and personal? >> jimmy carter, reagans, bush one, clinton. >> four presidents.
what do you make about the controversy ever seen this much? >> not to this degree. reagan, there was a lot of talk in the east coast press and washington establishment that reagan was a cowboy from out west who couldn't wait to push the button but wasn't this level of intensity, nobody going on strike, members of the democratic party not refusing to attend the inauguration. >> usually inaugurations are pretty glitzy and glamorous affairs. i wonder what you think the trump appeal will be. fewer balls, fewer celebrity performances in the past. what do you think the social scene is going to be like in d.c. during a trump administration? >> i hope it picks up actually from the obama and bush administrations where you didn't really have first ladies who
liked to entertain a lot. i think one of the geniuses of nancy reagan was she understood getting people together socially was a way of getting people to know each other and work together. i think trump, he and melania not social people. trump always spurned the idea of society, even in palm beach. i think ivanka and jared kushner might end up being the social epicenter of washington. >> it's interesting that you say that. if you lived in new york in the '80s and '90s, donald trump was a man about town. is it recent years he spurned the social scene? >> no donald was sort of a protege of ray kohn, a player in new york. ivana, his first wife, running
atlantic city casinos and plaza hotels, she wanted to be more social but could go to endless social parties in new york and never see donald and melania, donald part of the populist appeal is still like a guy from queens not into the society scene. >> you think would better suit -- help bring them together like nancy reagan did? >> i think ivanka will fill the role not melania. >> latest feud is with tom ford the designer. said on "the view." >> i don't know, asked to dress her a few years ago and i declined. she's not necessarily my image and first lady, other than the
fact i'm a democrat and voted for hillary and sad and disappointed she's not in office, but even had hillary won, shouldn't be wearing my clothes. they're too expensive. >> talking about dressing melania, what do you think? >> i know him from studio 54 days when he was student and look of levi's 501s. >> i go with the other designers, fervent hillary supporters and president of the fashion designers of america who said it's an honor to dress the first lady. >> and ralph lauren saying the same thing and may be a choice. we'll find out. >> melania has worn a lot of foreign designers, so has michelle actually. that's a big break. nancy reagan wore one valentino,
criticized for wearing italian designer. >> here's the response. >> tom ford is example. i will not dress the first lady. never asked. a steve wynn called me and thought it was so terrible he threw his clothing out of his hotel. not a fan of tom ford. never have been. >> when i did a profile for "vanity fair" for steve wynn, it was 11:00 at night and he's still talking. thing about this, all people who love publicity. i started out working for andy warhol, he predicted where we're at today. fame is ultimate value and we're living in reality tv world. it's funny to see the president-elect talk about steve
wynn, a casino operator throwing out tom ford's clothes from the store in las vegas. >> are you surprised? >> i can't see reagan or either bush or even bill clinton making a remark like this. and i say this as someone who likes donald. token republican at "vanity fair" but it's surreal in all things. >> he's president-elect, why would he care? tonight we send best wishes to bush family. george h.w. bush in the office for a respiratory program and former first lady has bronchitis. you knew them right? anything you want to share. >> i didn't know them well. nancy reagan and barbara bush not best of friends although when ron reagan jr. made very
antirepublican speech at democratic convention, nancy actually called barbara bush to apologize, she said we have black sheep in our family too. she was beloved first lady, barbara bush, but she was tough. people who knew her. she was tough. and nancy reagan was portrayed as tough and i don't think she was as tough. you know, people -- the perception of people isn't always what they're really like. >> don't i know that. thank you bob. of course we do wish the bushes the best. >> yeah. i think they're a distinguished couple. she's a lady and he's a gentleman. >> i appreciate it. coming back, donald trump's washington will be a very different place. what happens on day one and is trump team ready for it?
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discuss with matt lewis, hilary rosen, kailee mcenany and simone sanders. simone talk about the donald trump cabinet picks. tom price, betsy devos and scott pruitt. face tough questions from democrats. beyond putting them on hot seat anything they can really do? >> continue to ask really great questions and have really good research. we saw that betsy devos didn't know breadth of her job, know about the disabilities act and how that applied to her job. have to ask tough questions. scott pruitt, a climate denier as head of the epa. questions they have to ask and american people appreciate the questions and will inform their opinions. >> have any impact?
>> republicans are in charge and can ram through the nominations. not to say democrats shouldn't do their job. >> any impact? >> look at price he was challenged by senate democrats saying president-elect trump promised not to cut social security, take away medicare for seniors, are you going to keep that promise? and you have a cabinet secretary on the hot seat here. seen with obamacare that the democrats fighting back has changed the conversation about obamacare. the republicans thought they would ram through a repeal. guess what, totally slowed down. >> we'll discuss more, a few times the confirmation he hearings got heated. >> you can't say definitively
today that guns shouldn't be in schools? >> refer back to senator enzy and school he was talking in in wise wyoming. there i imagine a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies. >> i look forward to working with you to make sure every single american has access to care. >> access to doesn't mean guaranteed health care. i have access to buying $10 million home, can't buy it. >> you've been writing letters. how many letters to the epa? >> can't just have lawsuit if there's -- to the state. >> time is past but injury? clearly asthma is triggered and caused by
air pollutants. >> kayleigh similar to what i
asked. do you think have imsnakt. >> none whatsoever, democrats sealed deal for republicans when eliminated the fill buster for cabinet picks. and just need the votes. i think rubio will come around, mccain will come around, don't want to be the republican who stopped donald trump from getting his pick. and disagree that reason we're talking about replacement of obamacare not because of democrat but president-elect said not going to let people die on the streets. important. it's not democrats that changed conversation. >> he didn't say that until
the democrats put a huge pressure on
the -- >> said in the republican primary. >> and he got to washington and they were planning this repeal all along. if donald trump wants to work with democrats to protect americans from a radical congress, more power to him. happy to have him do it. but we shouldn't kid ourselves that he's going to be following what congress is doing in some respects. >> you made this point other night, fact we're having this conversation in the country is because of president obama, because of obamacare, that we're in the position to be able to discuss it. >> that's true. one way of looking at this is to say that obamacare is going to go away, therefore president obama's legacy is going to go away. but the fact is once obamacare passed, the paradigm shifted and there became an assumption that
government is sfonl for at least providing health care. and echoed in donald trump's statements. not libertarian but assumption that government has some responsibility to make sure this work skb work. >> this is part of the piece you wrote. these are picks intended to upset the apple cart. trump doesn't want to manage the status quo but shift the paradigm. explain that. >> if you were trying to have this ship run without scandal or problems, you would pick administrators, managers, bureaucrats to manage your bureaucracy, but in the case of pruitt and epa, guy push back against overreach in the obama years. in the case of jeff sessions, guy who clearly cares about law and order issues. price whole thing is about obamacare and flynn about isis
and for de vos about school choice. these are not safe administrators to administrator things smoothly, big gambles to change the country, i would say mostly in a positive direction, but not surprised if not a few hiccups. >> self-have no government training. that's a big learning curve. >> it is. and republicans and trump administration will own the successes and also the failures. won't have democrats in charge to push this off on. solely in the hands of the republicans. they'll be left holding the bag. >> we'll be right back.
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with the best sleep of your life. buy your tempur-pedic now for as low as $25 a month and a 90-night free trial. call or click today. a divided america counting down to the inauguration of donald trump. back now with the panel. donald trump tweeted a photo, released on instagram and twitter today says writing inaugural address at mar laggo, looking what does he need to say to bring the country together?
>> he bucked the system so far. >> do you? >> i think it's actually going ad lib it like the rallies. that's my prediction. >> i think he has some influence, but who would -- that's what speech writers are for. they are awesome. >> we were told steven miller was writing it, but at the same time a lot of america is done with the rhetoric we have done in the last several years. that's what donald trump gave us and that's why he won the election. >> i like inspiration. >> i also like something that is not focus group test and gone over and over and over again. >> what are does he need to say? >> when he came out and he won the presidency and he came out and said i want to be the president for all americans and all religions and all creeds, it was the second thing that came
out of his mouth. that's the tone he needs to hit. the cord he needs to strike. if he does so, it will be a great speech. >> he said that the night he was elected and he spent the last month and a half picking fights with people. smashing at hillary and congressman lewis and doubters and media. he needs to just rise above it and just be a president for all americans. we will hear that in his sweech whether he it k do it the next day too. >> he will get a fresh start on monday. >> because he has been so busy. >> you know, it's probably going to be big. >> he welcomes president on friday. has nobody told him that. >> he said he will start on monday. >> he will start signing bills on monday.
he hasn't even been talking to the picks for the cabinet. they all said we haven't spoken to mr. trump about that. >> he can only do better. there is nowhere to go but up. >> it's counter intuitive, but there are arguments of that. underpromise and overachieve. the fact is that if he comes out and is humble and i think kaylie is right. if he can channel what he did after the election, that first speech, people will be -- he is so eloquent and humble. the low expectations do help him. >> we asked this question before. maybe it will be like tara said. he will realize this is something bigger than he is. >> it's the thomas beckett rule. when you were thrust with the
awesome responsibility, sometimes people can rise to the occasion. >> you see and we have this amazing view of it out here, when you see the majesty of washington, d.c. and the capital behind you and the people from in front of you, if are not overcome with some humility and don't experience a moment where you recognize the responsibility you are about to undertake, then you really are not even fit to be leader. i can't imagine he won't have some moment there. the question is does it get sustained with donald trump? >> the current president, barack obama held his final press conference today. this was his departing message. >> i believe in this country. i believe in the american people. i believe that people are more
good than bad. i think we are going to be okay. we have to fight and work for it and not take it for granted. >> he said i think we are going to be okay. did you hear that as calming or sort of concerning? >> i thought it was a great message? democrats looked at this as normally president obama is optimistic and he is not as much as he typically is. this is kind of a bad prediction of what's to come for trump. i saw it as entirely the opposite. you have 50 democrats sitting out and pouting and not attending the swearing in. everything is going to be okay. i saw it as a reassuring message and i admired president obama. he has been nothing but graceful and respectful and i admire him for that. you half eclectic? >> i love my president obama. he is the epitome of grace and
class. >> can i ask you something? i saw when the bushes got on the helicopter and left. what are you going to do? >> i think i might fallout. >> seriously. >> i will be watching and it will be a sad moment, but they are coming back. they will be here for the fight. they will continue to do the work. today i think president obama sat up there and gave up a little hope and change on the way out. >> donald trump had to work for him to be our president too. he has to work at it. >> that's it for us. see you back here tomorrow. take one.
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