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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Source on Trump Transition Chaos: No One Thought He'd Win; Nearly 200 Dems Call on Trump to Oust Bannon; Trump's New Hotel Sits on Gov't Land, Poses Conflict of Interest; Hillary Clinton Arrives at First Post-Election Speech; Mayors Rise Up to Fight Trump on Deporting Residents. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 16, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:07] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Trump fights back as his transition is going smoothly. But sources tell CNN there is infighting and chaos and the Trump insiders didn't care about the transition because no one thought they were going to win.
Plus, Steve Bannon on tape coaxing Trump. Just how influential is Bannon? And Melania Trump's hometown fiercely proud of America's new First Lady. Wait until you hear what they are saying about her husband.
We're live on the ground. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight a troubled transition. Donald Trump fighting back against reports that his transition team is racked by infighting and disarray. Trump firing off a series of tweets insisting all us well inside Trump Tower and attacking an old enemy. Quote, "The failing New York Times story is so totally wrong on transition, it is going so smoothly."
Also, I have spoken to many foreign leaders. To be clear the times never questioned whether Trump spoken to foreign leaders. The paper does report though that some allies are having trouble reaching Trump. Some calling the switchboard at Trump Tower in an effort to get through to him. One person causing the internal stripe reportedly Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, this is according to multiple sources.
A source also admitting to CNN the transition has been disorganized, that no one cared about it because no one thought they were going to win. Mike Pence is running the transition team now. Pence and his wife met with the Bidens today. The Vice President giving his successor a little cover over the transition trouble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: No administration is ready on day one. We weren't ready on day one. I've never met one that's ever been ready on day -- when I'm confident on day one, everything will be in good hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT at Trump Tower. Jim, a lot of pushback from the Trump team against stories of turmoil but there are signs and we are all hearing it from various sources inside the campaign.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right Erin, it looks like Donald Trump is still trying to master the art of the transition, you might say. But we saw sort of an image reset today. You have prominent advisors for the President-Elect. Newt Gingrich who was down outside the D.C. transition office saying, hey, wait a minute, we don't need to appoint cabinet positioned based on the media's timetable. We have plenty of time to work with here yet.
Jason Miller, the senior communications advisor here at Trump Tower saying that there is no knife fight inside the Trump transition as we have reported earlier this week. But the other thing that Donald Trump tweeted about Erin that is interesting. He also tweeted that he is not trying to get security clearances for his children. But the person he left out of that tweet is his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is one of his closest advisors. Remember last week at the White House he was taking that stroll with the chief-of-staff Denis McDonough.
Well, we understand from reporters talking to Kellyanne Conway, the former Trump campaign manager, still senior advisor to Donald Trump, she was talking to reporters earlier today, she was asked the question well as Jared Kushner going to get the kind of top level security clearance that's required to be involved in a presidential daily briefing. She said that she's not aware of that and then the follow- up question was, well, would that be appropriate? And she said, yes, absolutely. Anybody who is going to be in a presidential daily briefings needs that kind of clearance.
Well, that kind of talk has prompted a letter now from Elijah Cummings, a ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee to Mike Pence, the Vice President-Elect who is in-charge of that transition team saying, hey, wait a minute, this is outrageous. This is not something that a son-in-law should be entitled to receiving in terms of that kind of clearance to be involved in the presidential daily briefing.
So, Erin, as we're getting through some of these conversations about infighting and so forth inside the Trump transition, there is a very key question to be answered here in the coming days and weeks as to whether or not Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, close advisor is going to be involved in those presidential daily briefings and that is obviously something we'll be waiting to get an answer on in the days to come -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jim Acosta, thank you very much.
And of course as we await the answer to that crucial question, there are multiple reports that the campaign is going to ask formally for the top secret security clearance for Jared Kushner. So who exactly is he?
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
TRUMP: Jared is a very, very successful real estate entrepreneur in Manhattan.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jared Kushner, son- in-law to the President-Elect, critical in his successful campaign, now a key player in Donald Trump's transition team.
JARED KUSHNER, SON-IN-LAW OF DONALD TRUMP: I always thought Ivanka don't worry about the things she can't control.
MARQUEZ: The 35-year-old with no government experience taking his own advice. Multiple sources tell CNN he's now at the center of infighting in the transition, something the Trump transition flatly denies.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Good morning, everybody.
MARQUEZ: Gone. Chris Christie who was abruptly removed as head of the transition team. Christie's hires including former Congressman Mike Rogers also sent packing. A clear preference for those not associated with Chris Christie.
MIKE ROGERS, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO TRUMP TRANSITION: The people who have been asked to move on have some relationship with Chris Christie. In my case I was hired by him. And so there is a whole series of about five that fit the criteria that were asked to leave in the last few days.
[19:05:18] MARQUEZ: Christie and Kushner have a long fraught relationship. In 2010 Christie then U.S. Attorney put Gerald's father, Charles Kushner, then a high profile Democratic fundraisers in prison for two years after he pled guilty to 18 counts of illegal political donations, tax evasion and witness tampering. The Kushner versus Christie fight is something the Trump team continues to deny.
JASON MILLER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM: The way to be described is completely inaccurate. We're making sure we're bringing folks to -- (INAUDIBLE).
MARQUEZ: Kushner also said to be key in ousting former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and selecting Indiana Governor Mike Pence for vice president. With Kushner now likely to get a top national security clearance, a source tells CNN at least during the transition the President-Elect has as one of his closest advisors a member of his immediate family.
MARQUEZ: One important distinction to make here is that until Donald Trump puts his hand on that Bible in January he is still the President-Elect, still a private citizen. Has a bit more leeway do what he wants. If Kushner then goes to the White House and takes a position that is something entirely different and the questions we're hearing already will get much louder -- Erin. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Miguel.
OUTFRONT now. Ben Ferguson, conservative radio host. Keith Boykin was the White House aide under President Bill Clinton. David Chalian is our political director and Gloria Borger is our chief political analyst.
So, Gloria, let me start with you. Is there a precedent for someone like Jared Kushner, 35-years-old, son-in-law, without any government experience to be so powerful?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it is hard to think of one. First thing that comes to mind of course is JFK appointing his brother Attorney General. But that was why we have nepotism rules now. And so I think it is pretty much unprecedented. But then again the President-Elect doesn't have political experience. He's never been in government. He's never held elective office. So the kind of old standards that we use to judge administrations by, I think go by the wayside in the incoming Trump administration. I think he prices his family's loyalty, loyalty is the issue number one to Donald Trump. And what we see forming is a very kind of insular group that will be his kitchen cabinet and one of those people is clearly going to be Jared Kushner.
BURNETT: It's very obvious as we've said, not reports that they are going for top security clearance for Jared specifically but not for Trump's actual children. Jared of course is his son-in-law, Ivanka's husband.
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Right. And I think that is a subject of concern because not only does Donald Trump have no foreign policy experience but Jared Kushner has no foreign policy experience. The idea that you'd have these two people who were making decisions about the national security of our country who neither one of them have their relevant experience to make those decisions should be alarming to people. It's not only alarming because of that but because of this entanglement that keeps going on. These conflicts of interest.
BOYKIN: This is a guy who promoted this whole idea of transparency and he's not acting with any sort of transparency. He's acting with the sense of crookedness you might say.
BURNETT: Crookedness. Ben?
BEN FERGUSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": How is this not being transparent? He asked for his son-in-law to get security clearance. Everybody needs to relax for a moment and realize Donald Trump has people around him, who have been around him since day one in this campaign. Who are advisors that helped him win the White House. Who is going to bring to the White House with him in some capacity. To somehow imply, you know what Eric Kushner's job is and that he's going to be advising him a national security issues, that is complete speculation. We don't know exactly how his role was going to be in this White
House. What we do know is Donald Trump trusts his advice and he wants to be able have to have conversations with them. That is something that liberals were saying they were terrified of Donald Trump. That he would never listen to anyone else. That he wouldn't take advice from others.
BURNETT: So --
FERGUSON: He obviously is looking at people and taking advice. This is a huge over reaction to somebody and we're a week and one day after election. Everybody needs to chill out on this.
BURNETT: Okay. David, Trump famously said Huma Abedin, OK? Shouldn't have access to classified information because as the wife of Anthony Weiner, she would go home and tell him state secrets. OK? He said this. It's on tape. Now, Jared Kushner, he is asking for top secret security clearance. He's married to Ivanka Trump who is on her own right. Obviously and advisor to her father, right? But he's supposedly going to be the one running the business with no conflict of interest under Trump administration. How do you square that circle?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you are not going to be able to find a lot of success at taking everything Donald Trump said about Hillary Clinton's campaign and her advisors and apply that to himself. I don't think that -- you can't square certain circles. But I do think Ben is right about this notion. We're a week and a day after the election. He is in the process of actually just formulating a transition. Donald Trump was not paying attention to this at all during the campaign.
So he's in the process of formulating a transition. He won the election. He has the right to surround himself with the people whose advice he trusts. I do think as Miguel noted in the end of the peace, Erin, this becomes a whole different conversation if indeed Jared Kushner is being -- given a job inside the west wing of the White House after January 20th when he becomes president and is indeed the senior advisor. At that point I do think you are going to see this resolved in the courts as to whether or not that is violating the anti-nepotism law.
[19:10:44] BURNETT: But shouldn't we be asking those questions now? Because we're certainly going in that direction.
CHALIAN: Of course.
BURNETT: Maybe he won't but I mean --
BOYKIN: We should be asking the questions. And one there is the issue of the nepotism issue with the idea of having somebody who is in your family business also working in national security role. Two, there is a question of exactly what type of experience does the person have and then three there is a whole hypocrisy. And I guess David doesn't really think that we can hold Donald Trump to that standard. But I think the American people want him to be held to the standard. First of all, he's had, what is it now, two different transition directors and three campaign managers in one year. This is the type of chaos we can expect from the Trump administration --
FERGUSON: This is not chaos. Hold on.
BOYKIN: Reince Priebus won't make it a year as chief of staff.
FERGUSON: Hold on. It's amazing to me that all these things that you are trying to throw at Donald Trump when we are one week and one day after the election and you keep asking questions about national security and is Kushner going to work for the Trump family and also working for the White House? Let's be clear about it. If he takes a job at the White House, he's not going to be able to work for the family business at the same time so --
BOYKIN: But his wife will be. But his wife will be.
FERGUSON: Somehow that is going to happen. You know what? And we should be empowering women to continue to have a job.
BOYKIN: Yes. But there's a conflict of interest though.
FERGUSON: Give me a break.
BURNETT: That is a creative one. Final word. Final word, Gloria.
BORGER: Well, look, I think that it is going to become a full time business to talk to compliant lawyers --
BORGER: -- and find out exactly how you -- Donald Trump can navigate this if we can with not only his son-in-law -- and again we don't know what job he's going to have and we have no idea what his relationship with his business is going to be. But how Donald Trump navigates the blind trust issue with his family. I mean, we've never had somebody like this assume the presidency. So these are going to be questions that I'm sure Congress will be interested in. And I'm sure lawyers will be debating.
And I think that it's kind of uncharted waters at this point. And that Donald Trump will have to make the point and show the American public that he is not conflicted in any way, shape or form. And I think it is going to be -- it is going to be a matter of real, real debate as we head into this administration.
BURNETT: And we'll continue that debate, all staying with me next. The lightning rod Steve Bannon on tape coaxing Trump. How much power does he really have over the President-Elect.
Plus, Trump's newest luxury hotel. Remember the one -- I don't know what it was, 750 bucks a night. One of the biggest conflicts of interest he's actually facing on Pennsylvania Avenue. Can he be both the landlord and the tenant.
A New Yorker celebrating as Trump's name is stripped from their building today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me think of the song I'm going to watch that man right out of my hair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:16:58] BURNETT: Demands for Donald Trump to cut ties with Steve Bannon, his top White House advisor tonight. One hundred sixty nine Democrats have now sent a letter to the President-Elect advising him to or asking him to resend Bannon's appointment safe to say Trump will not do so because of that letter but Bannon is a controversial figure. He had been running Breitbart News, a website known for its inflammatory headlines. And tonight there are new clues into Bannon's closed relationship with Trump and just how influential he is.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the next President of the United States, Donald Trump!
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): November 2015, while Donald Trump's rallies draw thousands, political insiders question his staying power. But not Steve Bannon, then host of a Breitbart News radio show.
STEVE BANNON, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, BREITBART NEWS: They were laughing at me when I was saying, hey this guy Trump is going to be -- this is going to be very serious. So, it's good to see that you are in the heat of a combat now.
TRUMP: I remember that you looked and you said boy, those are big crowds you're getting.
FOREMAN: From an early cheerleader, Bannon transformed into a facilitator, helping to find the candidate's positions. After the Paris attacks, for example, Trump said he'd consider closing mosques.
TRUMP: We're going to have no choice. He is absolutely no choice.
FOREMAN: When headlines erupted, Bannon came up with a less explosive interpretation.
BANNON: Were you actually saying you need an NYPD intelligence unit to get a network of informants.
TRUMP: At a minimum.
BANNON: You are not prepared to allow an enemy within, a fifth column within this country to try to tear down this country.
TRUMP: That's not going to happen.
FOREMAN: And Bannon kept at it. Praising the candidate's knowledge of world affairs, trade, terrorism.
BANNON: There is no doubt in your mind that if these had the access to chemical, biological, even nuclear weapons that they would use them against the Judeo Christian west and civilian populations.
TRUMP: You know how much doubt is in my mind? Zero. OK? Zero.
FOREMAN: At times that took the form of leading questions.
BANNON: I say every day, these working class of men, middle class men and women are ten times smarter than this intellectual group --
TRUMP: I say that too.
FOREMAN: Through it all one can glimpse Bannon's world view. More of what you express during a Vatican conference in 2014 where he talked about lawyers, bankers, accountants and investment firms that profited from the government bail outs in the recession.
BANNON: And they're never been held accountable today. Trust me. They are going to be held accountable.
FOREMAN: Political battles at home.
BANNON: The Tea Party in the United States biggest fights is with the Republican establishment.
FOREMAN: And more ominous conflicts too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're now I believe at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism.
FOREMAN: Listen to all of these interviews and you don't hear a lot of disagreement between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. And that's what troubles some of these critics of this partnership. Because while the President-Elect may not be on exactly the same page as his lightning rod advisor, they certainly seem as if they are on the same script -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Tom. Ben Ferguson, David Chalian are back with me, along with Basil Smikle, the executive director for the New York State Democratic Party.
David, let me start with you here. Steve Bannon described Breitbart as the voice of the alt-right with pride. The Oxford dictionary today defined it as, "That is an extreme conservative reactionary viewpoints which many will say are misogynistic racist and bigoted." As you just heard he built Trump early on in this campaign. How important is this history and Bannon's support to Trump now?
CHALIAN: Well I think it's clearly been in support for the Trump campaign was hugely important and then came on board in the summer into the fall election as a critical advisor. We see now how critical. We knew how critical but we see now because he's named him as a co-equal to the chief-of-staff in the White House. It doesn't get much higher than that. So the importance of the relationship can't be overstated. I do believe that.
But what is amazing to me, Erin, is in listening to those radio clips, how malleable Trump is to sort of whatever -- Bannon is leading him down the road. This gets back to how non-ideological Trump has been in his past. And so when you allow someone like Bannon who's affiliated with white nationalism, racism, misogyny and you allow him to take you down the path of your world view thinking, of course that's going to raise questions for people because he wasn't, it's not like Donald Trump was defining his own world view there, he was allowing Steve Bannon to define it in this interview.
And you heard it again and again. And Ben, and you know, Ben in approved headlines like these. I read a few yesterday but here is a few more. Young Muslims in the West are ticking time bomb increasingly sympathizing with radicals in terror. Planned Parenthood's body count is up to half a holocaust. There is no hiring bias against women in tech. They just suck in interviews." How much is Bannon shaping Donald Trump's views, Ben?
[19:21:44] BURNETT: I don't think he's shaping them near as much as people are acting like. Look, I know Steven and know Breitbart pretty well. Radio world is a pretty small and here is what I can tell you. He walked, he had Donald Trump walk back his comments on Muslims as you heard there in that interview. If anything I think he understands optics and he understands that you have to have a message that can resonate with the majority of the American people if you are going to be successful in the White House or successful in a campaign which he was able to get Donald Trump to do that.
So, to imply that somehow he's going to be this extremist that is going to take Donald Trump to extreme violent viewpoints. He also walked back some of Donald Trump's oops' during this campaign. I don't think Steve nearest scary as everyone is making him out to be. I think he is very savvy. He's understood the business world well. He has had some pretty good investments and some pretty big products that some people are overlooking as well. This guy has been successful whether serving this country or the afterwards and I think it's going to be a good advisor.
BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I think the issue for me goes to the earlier point, which is this malleability. To me Donald Trump at least in politics and government is an empty vessel and Bannon seems to be of sorts a Trump whisper in this regard. Because that malleability, that ability to sort of be able to put words into his mouth is what's concerning. He is with equal footing with the chief-of-staff at least with respect to the public -- in terms of the press release at least --
FERGUSON: Donald Trump though --
SMIKLE: The fact of the matter is, my tax dollars are paying for this individual. And there have been, I would say, members of the cabinet --
SMIKLE: Well, there have been cabinet members in past administrations that have not made confirmation for saying a lot less.
FERGUSON: Here is what's interesting though. You can criticize Donald Trump for a lot of things but to now somehow imply this an empty suit with an empty brain that doesn't know anything and people are just going to regurgitate lines to him and therefore, he is going to walk out there and say them is insanity. Donald Trump ultimately decides what Donald Trump says. And to imply that somehow Donald Trump is going to sit back and go tell me what to say now or tell me what to think now --
BURNETT: Ultimately, Donald Trump is accountable for everything that Donald Trump says.
BURNETT: Whoever gives him the idea or whether the idea comes to himself. But you talked Ben about how Bannon seemed to be pulling him back on in some, in a piece there that we have for Tom Foreman. That was true. But on immigration he actually upped to the ante. And let me just play an exchange here between Bannon and Trump on the same radio show. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, we have to keep our talented people in this country. I think you agree with that. Do you agree with that?
BANNON: Well -- I got to -- tougher, you know, when two-thirds or three quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think on occasion, on my point is that a country is more like a sessions. A country is more than an economy. We're a civic society. I want to see --
TRUMP: Well, in any event you have to keep them legally.
BANNON: Yes. Yes.
TRUMP: When people come in, they have to come in legally. I want people to come into the country.
BANNON: You have to remember, we're Breitbart. We're the know- nothing vulgarians. So, we've always got to be the right of you on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is that where you, Ben?
FERGUSON: No, because I think his point there was, hey, I'm standing up for the American worker first and foremost and I have a concern with a lot of workers coming to this country illegally are people coming taking good jobs from Americans.
BURNETT: But he's talking about CEOs of Silicon Valley that he doesn't want them to be from South Asia.
FERGUSON: Well, I think his point is, I'd rather have CEOs that are United States citizens that are from this country. I think a lot of voters also have no problem with saying, put American workers first. It worked in this election and they got Donald Trump elected here. He also didn't do terrible with Hispanics. He did better than Mitt Romney did. So, to say the American worker, we don't want you to be passed over and we want American workers to be the best and have chances to being CEOs. I'm OK with that.
SMIKLE: But here is the problem that I have. The problem that I have is that with this hire he has enshrined in American government the alt-right and the hateful rhetoric of Steve Bannon. That to me is a problem.
FERGUSON: Steve is not that scary of a guy.
SMIKLE: And in never called Donald Trump an empty suit. What I did say was that in a context of government and understanding government and reports to suggest that he didn't even know how many people he needed to hire through his appointments. If that is the case, then to me he is open to a lot of dialogue, a lot of suggestion from people around him. Because what he likes are people that are -- I don't want to say sycophant because I think that's derogatory. But people that want to pledge their loyalty to him and in doing so, the question is, is he going to bring people around him that are going to push him back? Is he going to bring people around him that are actually going to bring folks together?
FERGUSON: Let's be clear though.
BURNETT: All right.
SMIKLE: I don't see that yet.
FERGUSON: It's very normal to hire people around you -- it's very normal to hire people around you that support you. It would be crazy to expect any politician to go out and hire people that don't like you, that don't support you, this is a very normal process.
SMIKLE: Life is one thing --
BURNETT: -- can deliver you the tough message when you're doing something wrong.
SMIKLE: Life is one thing being able to push back as another.
[19:26:41] BURNETT: OK. Thanks to all. And next. Businessman Trump versus President-Elect Trump. Unprecedented conflicts of interests. The most pressing one is what you're looking at right now. That is the newest luxury hotel in Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania, Avenue.
And big city mayors bonding together to stand up to Trump. Can they stop him on one of his biggest and most important promises?
[19:30:58] BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump may be forced to give up the latest edition to his empire because the Trump International Hotel which is owned by Donald Trump sits on land owned by the federal government which will soon be run by Donald Trump. And federal law says that is just an absolute no.
Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the latest crown Jewel in Trump's empire, the Trump International Hotel, located in historic old Post Office pavilion in downtown Washington, D.C.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: This is the most coveted piece of real estate in Washington, D.C., the best location.
MATTINGLY: And tonight, it's a conflict of interest staring him straight in the face. Come January 20th, the incoming president will be both tenant and landlord of this federal property, leased by the General Services Administration or GSA to the Trump organization for $180 million.
TRUMP: This was the GSA and that was one of the most heavily bid projects ever in the history of GSA.
MATTINGLY: But Trump's claim to the property might be short-lived. Federal contracting laws specifically prohibit awarding a government contract to a government employee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just imagine for a moment a poor GSA employee having to negotiate the annual rent escalation with a family member of the president of the United States. This is incomprehensible.
MATTINGLY: Trump has said he will hand the reins of all his companies over to his adult children during his presidency. But he can't just sign away his hotel. The sixty-year lease personally guaranteed with Trump's own signature now puts him in a quandary. It states, quote, "No elected official of the government of the United States shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom." But a limited liability corporation owned solely by Trump controls 77 percent of the property, and represents the only equity stake placed in the project.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's very comfortable with them at the helm and the people that will surround them. He can't appease everybody. But everything will be done legally.
MATTINGLY: But when it comes to the government lease, that may not be enough. Federal law allows the government to unilaterally get out of any
federal contract. But the GSA waived this provision in the Trump deal that. That means the only way out is for the government to breach the contract, potentially making them liable for monetary damages to Trump, to the tune of more than $42 million.
An even worse prospect? President Trump or his family could sue one of his own agencies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had GSA known Trump was considering running for president, they never would entered into this agreement.
BURNETT: And, Phil, it's a pretty stunning situation, right? Why can't Donald Trump just sign away his stake to his children? Just sign the paper and it is theirs and not his anymore.
MATTINGLY: Yes, it's how the lease is written. The government deliberately wrote the lease to make it difficult for the primary owner to get out of said lease.
Now, the reality is this. The Trump organization and the GSA are making very clear that they are working to block any conflict of the interest that may arise. That means, Erin, the kids eventually are going to get ownership of the hotel. They already own 22 percent total.
But the reality remains this, the Trump name will still be on the hotel. The Trump children will be the ones negotiating with the GSA, and who oversees the GSA? Donald Trump -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Phil Mattingly.
OUTRONT now from Trump Tower, the communications director and chief strategist for RNC, Sean Spicer.
Sean, good to have you with me tonight.
SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: You know, you just heard Phil's piece. Look, one of the many potential conflicts of interest for President-elect Donald Trump, how can a president of the United States make tax policy, real estate policy, anything, without it being a conflict of interest? Even if he signs away his interest in that company, his own children, of course, will directly benefit.
[19:35:00] SPICER: Well, look, first, everybody is well aware of Donald Trump's success and his holdings. This is part of why he was elected. I think people have looked at him as a successful businessman, somebody who's built great things. He was very open about it during the campaign and that was one of the hallmarks of why what he campaigned on, it's his ability to make America great, to rebuild our infrastructure. So -- and I think everybody is very well aware of the Trump name and its location on these buildings. So, look, they're going to do everything in accordance with the law, as Phil pointed out in his package, and I think that we're going to have a great presidency, that he will do whatever it takes to make sure that all of those conflicts of interests are resolved properly and legally, and that the assets are handed down to the company that's run by the kids, as he mentioned.
BURNETT: I mean, you know, someone said the only way to have there'd be no conflicts of interest would be to sell the company, take the proceeds, put it in a blind trust. The kids live off the interest. They are great at what they do. They can work for other real estate companies in the meantime if they wanted to do.
I would imagine you put the odds of that happening at zero?
SPICER: I read a story said that even just doing that in itself would be unbelievably difficult. Look, Donald Trump ran -- when he ran for this in the first debate, he brought up exactly what he would do and how he would do it. He's been crystal clear how the process would work since he announced he was running for presidency. That his kids would take over the companies. They would run it.
The American people and everyone who came out and tens of millions to vote for him were well aware of how this process would work. He's going to continue to abide by all the proper regulations to ensure that all happens with accordance with the law.
But, look, I think, frankly, this is a narrative that's been well explored. He's been very open about it. He's going to continue to make sure he does everything he can.
We're focused right now on getting good people, some of the most high caliber quality people in to meet with him to talk about his vision, and implementing his vision to make this country great.
BURNETT: So, I want to talk you do about that, but, of course, you are coming to us tonight from Trump Tower. Good luck getting outside. The new security restrictions are snarling traffic here in Manhattan.
Take us inside though. What is the mood like there? What is Mr. Trump's mood? I mean , is it sort of a line of people waiting outside the office in and out, in and out? How is it operating right now?
SPICER: Very well. In fact, there are some times that I wish I could get out because I want to read -- the stories I read aren't what I see inside. What I see inside is a team that's unbelievably committed to taking the vision that he articulated on the campaign trail and making it happen, and the quality and caliber of the individuals being brought in to Trump Tower to share their ideas and thoughts and opinion with Mr. Trump on how we can reform government to make it work for every American in a much more efficient and effective way is unbelievable.
You are seeing some pretty amazing people come in into this building to sit down with the president-elect and the vice president-elect, to share their ideas and their thoughts and their policies about what think they could do contribute their idea, their thoughts to the president, vice president-elect.
And then from a transition standpoint, I think we've made tremendous progress in giving the president-elect some ideas about how to move forward with his core team and potential members of his cabinet.
BURNETT: And so, Reince Priebus obviously, your boss at the RNC, obviously the incoming chief of staff also for Donald Trump. Said that Jared Kushner will obviously be very involved in decision making and now, of course, we understand that he may be getting top secret security clearance. Is he going to have a role in the administration itself?
SPICER: Well, that's going to be up to Mr. Trump to decide. Jared's obviously been a very important part of this campaign and someone that the president-elect trusts very much because he's been very successful at business himself. He has great instincts. He's very helpful of the campaign.
But again, what that role is, like anyone else, is going to be up to the president-elect.
BURNETT: And final question, your name reportedly on the short list to be the press secretary in the White House. If you were offered, would you take it?
SPICER: I don't know that anybody can turn down the president-elect's request to help this government in any way. I think the people that are here and I mentioned some of the quality and caliber of the folks that are coming in to talk. People are excited about part of the administration and helping this president and this vice president- elect do great things, improve this country for every American.
So, I don't know. I haven't been offered anything. But I don't think there's very few people that I know of that wouldn't want to help this team move forward.
BURNETT: All right. Sean Spicer, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT next, massive protests around the country, as big city mayors are rising up against Trump. But are they powerless or can they stop him on one crucial thing? Our report.
And the town where Melania Trump grew up, even over 4,000 miles away, the locals saw Trump's "Access Hollywood" tape.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For every woman, these are not some easy words to hear from her husband.
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(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:43:35] BURNETT: Breaking news: Hillary Clinton just arriving at an event in Washington, D.C. This is her first public speech since her concession a week ago. She's about to speak at the Children's Defense Fund dinner in the nation's capitol. The group which, of course, Clinton worked for in the 1970s is honoring her for her lifelong work on behalf of children's issues. As you see there, she's entering that speech. We'll have more as that continues tonight.
But at this hour, thousands of students from coast to coast have been walking out of class to protest Trump's immigration proposals. These protests coming as mayors from some of the biggest cities in the country are now joining forces to take on Donald Trump on one specific issue.
Can they do it?
Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For millions of undocumented immigrants across the United States, a Donald Trump presidency is a new reality.
TRUMP: We will enforce all of our immigration laws.
VALENCIA: And the fear of mass deportations has mayors from Seattle, to Chicago, Los Angeles to New York taking a stand against Donald Trump.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: New York believes in liberty. We stand behind Lady Liberty with open arms to welcome immigrants and refugees. We always have and we always will.
VALENCIA: There are hundreds of so-called sanctuary cities in the U.S. that choose not to enforce national immigration laws to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.
[19:45:06] MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: You are safe in Chicago. You are secure in Chicago.
MAYOR ED MURRAY (D), SEATTLE: These are our neighbors. And we will continue to support our neighbors. That is what community is about.
VALENCIA: But Trump making it clear on the campaign trail what he plans to do when he's in the White House.
TRUMP: Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars.
VALENCIA: At a rally at East L.A. College today, the school's president says many protesters feel that they are fighting for their future. MARVIN MARTINEZ, PRESIDENT, EAST LOS ANGELES COLLEGE: We have a
little bit over 30,000 students on the campus. About 5,000 of them are undocumented. So many of them, they do fear as to what could happen to them.
VALENCIA: Some are even encouraging university presidents to make their colleges sanctuary campuses. This open letter to the president of the University of Southern California was circulated in a petition this week to USC alumni and students. Thousand have already signed.
ATTORNEY RANDY KESSLER, EMORY UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: There's going to be a tension between the federal government and the federal law enforcement and the local law enforcement.
VALENCIA: Attorney and Emory law professor Randy Kessler says, legally, sanctuary cities can't stop potential deportations.
KESSLER: The local and state municipalities don't have to do anything over and above enforcing their own laws. And if they are not interested and motivated to go collect immigrants and deport them, then they are not going to make it easy on Donald Trump or the federal investigators who want do that.
VALENCIA: Attorney Kessler went on to say that he foresees this fight going all the way to the Supreme Court. The tension between the federal government and the sanctuary cities is just that fierce. The more immediate concern, however, is federal funding. President-elect Donald Trump has said that he's going to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities and, Erin, that could be devastating. San Francisco gets up to a billion dollars in federal aid and New York City, where you're there now, it could be up to $6 billion if president-elect goes through with his plans.
BURNETT: Which, of course, would be devastating. Thank you very much, Nick.
Jeffrey Lord is with me, White House political director under President Ronald Reagan.
Six billion dollars to New York. A billion to San Francisco. Everyone could see that map dotted across the country.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
BURNETT: Look, he said this is important to him, OK? Is he going to do this on day one. You heard Nick said this could end up going all the way to the Supreme Court.
BURNETT: Is he going to do it on day one, cut the federal funding and take this issue on?
LORD: He might, he might. I mean, I don't know what his priorities for day one are, but he might. I mean, the issue here, Erin, is federal law reigns in the country. I mean, what if some pro-life mayor here in America declared his or her city to be an abortion-free zone and then said, OK, from now on, no abortions are allowed and we'll criminalize them? I mean, you could run through a whole list of subjects on this and you can't -- you can't do that.
The way do this if you don't like immigration law is get the votes in Congress and change the law. Now, an election has just been held. He's going to do I'm sure with some version of what he promised to do.
BURNETT: Now, of course, what they are doing is they're not trying to criminalize or decriminalize. What they're doing is not enforcing.
LORD: Well --
BURNETT: It's sort of a passive aggressive. A little bit different --
LORD: But by not doing it. If you remember during the course of the campaign, we all got to know Jamiel Shaw (ph), Sr., who's an African- American, whose 17-year-old son was shot to death in Los Angeles by an illegal immigrant, who's someone who had no right to be there. I mean, people -- you know, someone died on the streets of Los Angeles who should have been alive today and going off to college because this guy was allowed in the country.
BURNETT: Of course, there -- the way for Donald Trump, two ways here, though, to say he's going to rid of everybody who's undocumented. As you heard, one school, 5,000 students.
BURNETT: But maybe none of the 5,000 would ever do what that man did. So, is he going to go with one brush and sweep everybody out because there are some --
LORD: I think he said repeatedly he was going to zero in first on the gangs and undocumented --
LORD: Right, criminals. That's exactly where you should start. I mean, these people are dangerous.
BURNETT: I mean, what do you? I mean, I know you're not an immigration expert, but what do you do when they -- he wants to send them home and the country says we don't want to take them home? They're bad people. Nobody wants to take the criminals home. They're pedophiles, it's one of the reasons they get stuck here.
LORD: This is where -- I mean, this as a country we have to come to grips with accountability here. I mean, every country has borders. Sergeant Tahmooressi made a wrong turn, going and wound up in Mexico, and said, you know, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be here. They held him for almost a year.
I mean, it was -- every country does this. Mexico included. And as I understand during the campaign, Mexico was even thinking of building a wall on their southern border to protect their own citizen. So, I mean, I need an attitude adjustment here I think.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeffry Lord.
And next, Jeanne Moos on the New York City buildings where Donald Trump's star is not on the rise.
[19:50:00] This is what the scene was today.
BURNETT: Just blocks away from our studio here in New York City, some New Yorkers have voted to dump the Trump name, literally. Let me just show you what happened today with Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His name may be on everyone's lips.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump.
MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, Donald Trump.
MOOS: But it is no longer on three Manhattan apartment buildings.
Give me a K. Give me an R. Give me -- they're getting rid off it?
Off they came, letter by gold letter. Silver letters too. How do you spell relief?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at that, is that beautiful?
MOOS: Linda Gottlieb lives at the former Trump Place, luxury rentals overlooking the Hudson River. She started the "dump the Trump" name petition because she considers the president-elect to be a racist and a misogynist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who wants to live in a label like that? And every time you come home, you see it.
MOOS: The petition to remove Trump's name --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it's been sort of a little bit of a joke.
MOOS: -- got almost 700 signatures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't want to live in the Trump building but then we got -- hey, Teddy -- we got a really good deal and --
MOOS: You don't want to leave. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's like no. The apartments are nice.
MOOS: The company that owns the building, Equity Residential, says the petition didn't cause them to use Trump's name but rather an agreement with Trump to use his name for free expired and they are assuming a more neutral building identity will appeal to all current and future residents.
[19:55:05] It didn't appeal to this guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is unpatriotic.
MOOS: But what do they do --
Can I give you a hand?
-- with the spurned letters?
Can I have some letters? Where are you going to take 'em?
No longer spelling anything.
They seemed forlorn, kind of hollow. Oh there he is. What do you think this is worth on eBay?
Donald Trump powered his way to America's highest office but his name is being power washed off the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't this great? It makes me think of the song I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair --
MOOS: But you can't shampoo him out of the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And send him on his way --
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: You know, no amount of power wash is going to take that shadow away when there's fog or anything. It's still going to be there, people.
We'll be right back.
BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you again here tomorrow night. Have a great day and don't forget you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere on CNN Go.
"AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.