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Trump to Meet with President Obama Today; Trump Appointing Team; Protests Flare Against Trump's Victory; Author Provides Insights into the Trump Voters. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 10, 2016 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Clinton turf protests. Like what's on your screen right now. This is actually a good example. This is just blocking a highway. We saw worse examples. There were pockets of problems. People chanting, "Not my president." Hopefully, temporary blowing off of steam or proof of a larger movement at hand.

[07:00:20] Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Athena Jones, live at the White House -- Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. These are two men who have said some not-so-nice things about each other, to put it mildly. So it could be an awkward meeting this morning. President Obama has spent months saying that he didn't think President -- that Trump would become president. Well, now, he is set to become president, so the focus shifts to this peaceful hand-over of power.

We know the president has talked about how much he appreciated the way that George W. Bush's team handled the transfer at that time, in 2008 and 2009. It was smooth; it was professional.

He's instructed his team to follow that example. And he also talked yesterday in the Rose Garden about the need for the country to come together.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we're actually all on one team. This is an intermural scrimmage. We're not Democrats first. We're not Republicans first. We are Americans first.


JONES: Americans first. A few echoes from about -- from Obama's 2004 speech about red states and blue states. And we know the White House has said that it's too early to say how Trump's election will affect President Obama's top policy priorities. But we also know that Trump ran on a promise to undo much of Obama's legacy.

So we expect him to get to work right away on repealing and replacing Obamacare, also reversing some of the president's executive action on things like immigration and regulations. He also says that he wants to withdraw from things like the nuclear --

the Iran nuclear deal, the Transpacific Partnership trade deal and the Paris climate accord. We've also gotten indications from Congress already that TPP, that trade deal is likely dead. There's a lot to discuss, and there's a lot that could change under a Trump presidency. After Trump meets with President Obama here today, he and Vice- President-elect Pence head over to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan -- Chris.

CUOMO: You know, look, in most ways the campaign is the easy part. You get to say whatever you want. Now, you have to do it.

Athena, thank you very much.

And Donald Trump has only two months before he has to fill thousands and jobs and assume the presidency. The inauguration is in 71 days. So how's he going to fill those top cabinet posts? Who are those big names that are being floated?

It's a good assignment for CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, this favorite parlor game of who's being considered for the cabinet. What do you know?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure is, Chris. There are so many possibilities. And we know that President-elect Donald Trump has really, with his team, been hunkered down and huddled up behind closed doors, going through all the potential candidates for all these top jobs in a Trump administration.

And many of the names just won't surprise you, because many are -- that are being considered are pulled from his circle during the campaign and now might fill out his cabinet positions and his new inner circle in the White House.


SERFATY (voice-over): On day two as president-elect, Donald Trump now looking to turn his promises into policy. Beginning with his call for unity.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division.

SERFATY (voice-over): Words echoed by President Obama and Hillary Clinton, both pledging a peaceful transition of power.

OBAMA: We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

SERFATY: Trump now in the throes of building his administration.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We have to get ready to form a government. SERFATY: Potentially rewarding some of his top supporters, RNC chairman Reince Priebus one prospective option for Trump's chief of staff.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIR: I haven't thought about it. And right now I'm chairman of the party. I'm excited about that job.

SERFATY: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has led his transition team, also being eyed for top posts. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani under consideration for attorney general or secretary of homeland security, while Newt Gingrich is being floated as the prospective secretary of state.

Other possible cabinet picks: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for defense secretary, billionaire businessman Carl Icahn for treasury secretary, and retired Army General Michael Flynn for national security adviser.

When Trump takes office in January, he'll have extraordinary power to push through his agenda with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He heard those voices that were out there that other people weren't hearing. And he just earned a mandate.


[07:05:05] SERFATY: And certainly new attention is being looked at what candidate Trump said during the campaign trail about what his first 100 days in office would potentially look like. He made several broad, sweeping proposals. Things like cleaning up Washington, protecting American workers, and restoring the rule of law, but, of course, he made very specific promises throughout the campaign, as well. Things like repealing Obamacare, renegotiating some of these trade deals and perhaps the biggest promise of the Donald Trump campaign, of course, building that wall along the Mexican border.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Sunlen, thank you for all that.

So thousands of people taking to the streets, mainly in Hillary Clinton territory to protest President-elect Donald Trump. They set fires; they blocked traffic in some major cities, and they were chanting not my president.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick is live outside of Trump Tower in New York with more. What was the scene there, Deb?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, we can tell you it was really surprising just how quickly the crowds grew. They started with a couple hundred people and then expanded to thousands. All of them marching in various cities across the country. Here in New York City, they marched up Fifth Avenue against traffic,

shutting down traffic for quite some time. And you could tell in the crowd there's a lot of anger, but there's also a lot of fear. People are fearful that advances made over the last couple of years will, in fact, be turned back. And that basic human rights that they value, those in the crowd, those are being threatened. And in that crowd, along with the fear, there was a deep sense of disbelief.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not my president! Not my president!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not my president! Not my president!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not my president! Not my president!

FEYERICK (voice-over): Protests breaking out in at least 25 cities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!

FEYERICK: Hundreds of demonstrators stopping traffic in Los Angeles on the busy 101 Freeway.




FEYERICK: While thousands more protested on the streets of L.A., burning Trump's head in effigy. Police arresting dozens of protestors across the country.

In Chicago, thousands marching down an eight-lane highway to the site of Donald Trump's hotel. The disappointment of some voters turning to anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary had more votes. More human beings voted for Hillary. This isn't fair. This country needs you to stand up and walk into the Supreme Court and say one vote equals one vote.

FEYERICK: In New York, at least 5,000 people, including pop star Lady Gaga, protesting outside Trump Tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw this incredibly qualified woman to be president being superseded by a man who has no qualifications at all for the office.

FEYERICK: Thousands more targeting Trump's newest hotel in Washington, D.C., just blocks from the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Trump, no KKK. No racist USA!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Trump, no KKK. No racist USA!

FEYERICK: The march turning to peaceful demonstrations and vigils. Most of these protests erupting in major cities where Hillary Clinton won. Like Portland, Oregon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Trump, no KKK. No racist USA!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Trump, no KKK. No racist USA!

FEYERICK: And Denver, Colorado.



FEYERICK: And along with chants of "not my president" and "dump Trump," there was, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go."

Speaking to those in the crowd, you heard a lot of comments being made, people disagreeing with Trump's views on women, on immigrants, on minorities and especially the sort of hateful rhetoric that characterized this whole campaign season -- Alisyn, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Deb, thank you very much. A lot of people are angry. This is going to take time. No question about it.

All right. We have a great guest for you, no better person to get perspective on what's going on with Donald Trump than Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, special counsel to Donald Trump. Maybe there will be a new title soon. We'll discuss that later in the interview, because you'll probably duck it. Congratulations to you.


CUOMO: It's good to have you here. Good luck going forward.

You'll remember the very first interview that I did on CNN with you, you said to me, when there were 17 individuals on the stage, "Where do you think Donald Trump is going to, you know, fare out at the end of the day?"

And I said not only is he going to win the primary, you'll remember, I said he's going to win the election, as well. And I just felt that confident at the time that he's the right man for the time.

CUOMO: And something you've been consistent with, and I also think there's a little bit of an explanation for some of the trouble you get yourself into, is your passion about who Trump really is.

Full disclosure: most of the time Michael calls me, it is to correct an assertion that you believe is an unfair portrayal as Trump, because you -- you knowledge of him as person, not politician.

So, for instance, we're now facing this question about Trump. Which Trump do you get? Some suggest it's a Jekyll and Hyde. Is he the guy that's going to say, "I'll get business back to work. I'm going to be there for you. Whatever you need, I'll figure out how to get it. That's what I do." Or someone who seeds division.

So when he goes with the president today, how do you think President- elect Trump presents himself to President Obama?

COHEN: Like a president should. And I think he's going to demonstrate class. He's going to be incredibly respectful, as I'm sure President Obama will be. And I actually believe in the future that they will have a better relationship that people believe.

[07:10:13] CUOMO: You've got a lot of friends. Not all of them are Trump supporters. When people say to you...

COHEN: I've lost a lot of friends.

CUOMO: Look, this is an ugly process. You know that. But he comes out as president-elect. He says, "Enough. Time to heal, bind the wounds. I have to be president for everybody." That's what you want to hear from a president.

The trick here is that Donald Trump is blamed by many for creating those wounds, enhancing that division. So, which is it? What's your answer?

COHEN: When you say that he's being blamed for it, I'd throw the blame, truthfully, on the liberal media. And I believe that they've distorted his words from the moment that he came down the escalator all the way up and through the election.

I think that there's an inherent bias towards the Republican candidate. And I think Donald Trump was, unfortunately, the recipient of that bias.

He is going to, without exaggeration, heal the divide. He wants to heal the divide. His message was never, let's make America great again for special interests. Let's make America great for Republicans. No, it's for all Americans, because whether you're Republican or Democrat, and I'm a registered Democrat. I've said that, obviously, on every show. For every American, he wants to make sure they have a job. He wants to put America first.

He's going to be the president for every single person, regardless of race, religion, creed, color. And that's why I even started that National Diversity Coalition. It was to combat the negative rhetoric that the liberal media was portraying of Mr. Trump.

Because, you're right. I know Mr. Trump better than the media does. They get a ten-second snapshot of him. I have ten years of shoulder to shoulder with the man. I've seen his compassion. I've seen his heart, and I know what -- I know what he's thinking. And I know what he wants to do for this country.

CUOMO: There's no question, in my mind, that the president-elect deserves the opportunity that the election delivered. Even Hillary Clinton said yesterday, he's going to be the president. Have an open mind. Let's see what he does.

I also think the relationship between President Clinton, Secretary Clinton will heal in time. And I do think that that animus that the media has created between the two or that they've created between each other as basically combatants for a position, I think that will also resolve itself.

CUOMO: But how you fight matters, also. And I get the whole theory that Trump says what he has to say to get where he wants to get, and you know, he takes the game he finds it. But you know how I feel about media bias. The president-elect has to own what he said in the past, because when people are saying to him, "I'm gay. I'm a Muslim. I'm an 'other,' as was defined in this election. And I think you don't like me." He's going to have to find a way, if he wants to unite this country, to make people feel that he's not the source of the problem. How does he do that?

COHEN: Well, obviously, he will create the solution and he's created the solution even in the Trump Organization, which is a, obviously, a great indicator on how he's going to be as a president for this country.

Take, for example, the gay community. You think that there aren't people that are gay who work for the Trump Organization? There's no animus and bias. There's no hatred towards this community. He employs them. As it relates to Hispanics, as it relates to Muslims, as it relates to African-Americans. I mean, in all fairness -- and I've said this on other shows -- he's been called every negative word in the American dictionary and then in other dictionaries, as well. I think he's a sexist, misogynist, racist.

CUOMO: But didn't he earn a lot of that criticism for what he said.

COHEN: I don't believe he earned it. I think that he made statements and, again, he's not a politician. Now he is, clearly. But he speaks off the cuff. He speaks from his heart. And it was never coming or supposed to come out as a animus towards a group, when he was talking about we need to stop the Syrian refugee influx, because we don't know who they are. That's not being an Islamophobe. That's not anti- Muslim. That's pro-American.

CUOMO: He also say he has a problem with Islam. I'm all about a clean slate.

COHEN: And by the way, there is a problem, but it's not Islam. Right? It's what it is, radical Islamist terrorists.

CUOMO: It's anger and disaffection. COHEN: What happens is he's not scripted, he's not reading off the

script. He doesn't have 20 different people figuring out what's the right way to say for the largest group of people. The American people have decided who they want, who they believe, who they trust will be able to take America off the path that we're currently on.

CUOMO: What does he say to those protests? I don't want to overstate their significance. These are big cities. They're Clinton territories and a lot of kids. And we don't understand the population of these protests and what it means going forward. But what does he say to those groups of "others"? Self-identified "others" now, because this was an election that was largely decided by white people, specifically white men.

COHEN: Well, that's not really true. I saw some numbers yesterday that Mr. Trump captured over 30 percent of the Hispanic vote.


COHEN: Even yesterday I spoke with a gentleman who I had had some rough conversations with in the past, who represents a very large group of Hispanic coalitions. And we made peace yesterday, and I've actually asked him if, in fact, I do go to Washington, I do want him to be involved and engaged, because of his representation to the Hispanic community.

There is no animus towards the Hispanic community at all. First of all, when I first spoke to him, he had said, you know, "There could be animus even by you."

I said, "How? My grandmother was born in Argentina. My grandmother was, you know, Spanish." So how? I don't understand. You're imposing upon me...

CUOMO: It's what was said during the election. But hopefully, there's a fresh start. I just heard you say something.

COHEN: There will be a fresh start. And that is what I would say to the protesters. Please, give him a chance. Wait to see before you make your decision. The American people have decided. That's our democracy. What are you protesting? It just doesn't make sense. Let him be the man that I know that he can be, and he'll prove himself...

CUOMO: He's won that chance. He deserves it. Let's see what happens.

You just said something. "If I go to Washington." We're trying to figure out who is going to go.

COHEN: I haven't been asked.

CUOMO: You haven't been asked? How have you not -- that can't be true. You would be the first person that he would want by his side.

COHEN: I agree with that. But I have not been asked.

CUOMO: You would be on the political side, not the governmental side, right?

COHEN: It would depend on the role that they're asking me to play. It has to be a role that I feel comfortable with.

CUOMO: Is there a chance?

COHEN: That he'll ask me to go to Washington?

CUOMO: Oh, there's absolutely a chance he'll ask you.

COHEN: Will I go? One hundred percent.

CUOMO: Then who runs the company?

COHEN: The children. Don, Ivanka, Eric. There's a large executive team that's there, that's been with Mr. Trump for decades.

CUOMO: And are you guys working on how to make people satisfied that there's enough of a separation from the president to the company.

COHEN: We're going to do it legally. It's going to be placed into a blind trust. The children, Don, Ivanka, Eric, they're really intelligent. They're really qualified. That's why he really didn't run in 2012. Because they were younger by four years. And they didn't have, I guess, the experience maturity that he felt he wanted to leave a $10 billion company to. Now he does. He's very comfortable with them at the helm and the people that will surround them.

So, will we be able to appease everybody? The answer is no. No matter what the man does, he can't appease everybody. But everything will be done legally. He's not interested in the company anymore. He said it yesterday in front of a whole group of people.

He's interested in fixing America. He wants to make America great, again. He wants to put Americans back to work. He wants to fix the economy. He wants to create jobs. And he wants to ensure national security for everyone.

CUOMO: Michael Cohen, I look forward to seeing what your future is. Congratulations.

COHEN: Hopefully, it will be in Washington.

CUOMO: Well, let me know.

COHEN: I sure will.

CUOMO: Let me know first.

COHEN: You can break the story.

CUOMO: Be well, Michael Cohen. And congratulations, again.

Coming up in our next hour, another big Trump player. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, again, one of the top advisors, rumored to be in the cabinet, not just on the political side. What does he have to say about the way forward? Coming up -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Chris, the white working class voters leading Donald Trump to victory. What motivated them the most? We have the author of the "New York Times" best seller, "Hillybilly Elegy." He's going to join us, next.



TRUMP: The politicians have proven, folks, have proven they do nothing. For years they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment. Many of these areas have still never recovered and never will unless I become president.


CAMEROTA: Donald Trump made that pitch to working-class voters. That was in June at a plant in Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, white working- class voters in that state and throughout the Rust Belt helped propel him to victory.

So let's talk more about Donald Trump's America with J.D. Vance. He's the author of "New York Times" best seller, "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis."

J.D., great to see you.

J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLBILLY ELEGY": Thank you for having me.

CAMEROTA: I'm really enjoying your book...

VANCE: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: ... as are millions of people, because you know better than most anybody that Rust Belt working-class voter. You grew up among them. They are your family. Yet even you were surprised on Tuesday night by Donald Trump's victory. How do you explain what happened?

VANCE: Well, I explain what happened in a couple of ways. One, I think we underappreciated how durable Trump's support was. So even though Hillary's support was maybe pretty volatile, Trump had the solid base of support. And if you catch it at the right moment, you catch it when Hillary's support is low enough, which is what happened with the slightly depressed turnout, Donald Trump won; could win and did.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk about the Rust Belt voters that helped propel him.

VANCE: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Because you know, if you live on the coast, or if you live in the cities, you don't quite have your finger on the pulse of them, obviously, the way you do. You write in your book, "They're divorcing more, marrying less,

experiencing less happiness, because their economic opportunities have declined. If they only had better access to jobs, other parts of their lives would improve, as well." That's something that you hear them saying.

VANCE: Sure.

[07:25:03] CAMEROTA: There, but what do you think of that premise?

VANCE: Well, I think it's partially true. I mean, I definitely think we have to recognize that these regional economies have been hit especially hard.

But it's also true that this, as I write in is a social crisis. This is a crisis of family. It's a crisis of turning to drugs instead of to turning to other outlets to vet some of your frustrations. And that's really what's going on. It's not just that the economy is on the down swing. It's that there are some cultural issues, I think, that exist, too.

CAMEROTA: How do you explain those cultural issues? How did the start? What's at the root of those?

VANCE: Well, I believe there's a certain amount of despair at the root of them. Right? So if you look about my grandparents, who moved from Eastern Kentucky to Southern Ohio, they had this incredible optimism, as long as they worked hard. They'd just do their fair share of the American dream, and everything would go pretty well.

But by the time my generation came around, it was pretty hard to believe that, pretty hard to believe that the next generation would do better than the one before it.

CAMEROTA: Why? Because things had fallen apart for them in terms of work?

VANCE: Yes, I think that's definitely right. Things had fallen apart for them in terms of work. The community had started to struggle. You saw, you know, shops closed down. There aren't as much -- isn't as much vitality in the community. So it definitely breeds a certain sense of hopelessness.

CAMEROTA: You know, people say, why did they like Donald Trump when there was his rhetoric?

VANCE: Sure.

CAMEROTA: You know, when there was all the denigration of Muslims and immigrants and the sexually predatory language that he used against women, and some Democrats chalk it up to racism.

VANCE: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Is that how you see the Rust Belt voters? VANCE: That's not how I see it at all. I definitely think there's an

element of racial anxiety to Trump's support, but I think it would be a real mistake to chalk it all up to that or even most of it up to that.

The people that I know who are voting for Trump, a lot of times they don't like the rhetoric that he uses. But they say, "Look, we don't like his rhetoric, but he's the only guy who's come along in a very long while who's actually talked to some of those issues like we saw in the clip earlier.

CAMEROTA: And what do you think they believe he's going to do for them?

VANCE: Well, it's interesting. I think a lot of folks are actually relatively pessimistic about whether Trump can solve all of their problems. There is this recognition that there isn't necessarily a political solution to a lot of these issues. But at least he recognizes them. He sees them. He shows compassion towards some of their problems. And I think people had a pretty low bar that Trump had to clear. They were already so distressed about the process that Trump just had to see them.

CAMEROTA: but isn't that empowering? I mean, that is fascinating, because regardless of whether or not he solved the problems, the fact that they had a voice in this election and that he heard them and saw them is empowering and healing.

VANCE: Yes, that's definitely right. And it's vindicating in this moment, right? Because so many people said that he was out. So many people said he had a chance. And a lot of these folks stuck by their man. They refused to listen to the so-called mainstream media, and look what happened.

CAMEROTA: You know, one thing that I heard Republicans say a lot in the last eight years and before was the concept of personal responsibility. You know, for people certainly in the inner cities, people on welfare, what about their personal responsibility? Why don't they work harder to take care of their children?

But, now, with this swath of unemployed or angry Rust Belt former coal miners, say, or that group of white workers, you don't hear Republicans saying that as much. Like, you don't hear them say pull themselves up by their bootstraps. You hear them saying they have an actual beef. They're angry. We need to pay attention to them. What do you think that shift is?

VANCE: Well, I think the shift is a mistake. Because, you know, I'm a conservative guy, and I think that we can recognize that life can be unfair to a certain group of people but also say we have some role of personal agency in solving our life's problems.

It's difficult to strike that balance to recognize that the regional economy can be hit hard, but on the other hand that you still have some role in improving your circumstances. So I think the Republican Party will get back to some of that rhetoric of personal responsibility, because it affects the culture, and it affects how people in Iraq with their lives in the neighborhoods and so forth.

CAMEROTA: But what do you think the answer is for the people that you know so well in the mountains of Kentucky and elsewhere? I mean, what -- you know, since there is so much rampant drug abuse and families falling apart, what's the solution?

VANCE: Well, there isn't any easy solution. I don't think that there is a simple government program that's going to make everything go away. I definitely think we should focus on building better pipelines to the middle class, better education policies and so forth. We would definitely help if we brought some good -- good jobs back to these areas or created new jobs and new sectors because I think there's a lot more promise in that.

But I don't think that this problem is going to go away. In 20 years, I think progress is that things have gotten slowly better, not that things have completely turned around.

CAMEROTA: Well, the book, again, is "Hillbilly Elegy." It is just great to get a sense of what's going on in large swaths of the country there that did turn out for Donald Trump. Thanks so much, J.D. Great to meet you.

VANCE: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: Let's get over to Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Donald Trump about to get presidential-level intelligence briefings but after Trump's intense criticism of the military, including calling the battle for Mosul a disaster, is he going to have to win over that community? A live report, next.