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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Intelligence Officials Increasingly Concerned About Trump; Trump Sides With WikiLeaks Founder Over U.S. Intel on Russia; Obama, Pence Lead Obamacare Showdown on Capitol Hill; Black College Struggles Over Whether to Perform For Trump; Latino Leader Who Called Trump "A Buffoon" Joins Team; School Officer Under Fire After Slamming Teen Girl To Floor. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 4, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next. Growing alarm tonight among intelligence officials. Why is Donald Trump siding with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the U.S. Election PAC? Plus, a historically black college sharply divided. The school band set to march at the Trump inauguration. Will they show up?
And a surprising new theory on what sunk the unsinkable Titanic? Was it fire and not ice? Let's go OUTFRONT. Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT Tonight. Growing concern in the intelligence community about Donald Trump. U.S. Officials tell CNN they are alarmed by Trump's tweets increasingly so and his public attacks questioning their work as president-elect Trump in a stunning move sides with the WikiLeak standard Julian Assange against the CIA, the FBI, and the rest of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Assange denying that the Russian government is the source of the hacking that targeted the U.S. Election, insisting that the e-mails that were stolen from the DNC, for example, were "easily attainable."
Shortly after Assange made his case on FOX News, Trump, who once called WikiLeaks disgraceful and their actions worthy of the death penalty, took to twitter backing Assange against the U.S. Intelligence Community saying, "Julian Assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta. Why was DNC so careless?" Also said Russians did not give him the info. The U.S. officials tells CNN tonight, "It's a sad day when politicians place more stock in Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange than any Americans who risk their lives daily to provide objective non-partisan intelligence analysis." Reactions from republicans who have long considered Assange an enemy of the U.S. was swift. House Speaker Paul Ryan charged that Assange's quote compromises national security and Lindsey Graham, the senator spoke to CNN and went even further.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: This is the guy who's tried to put Americans at risk by releasing classified information during the Bush years. This is the guy who basically is a fugitive from justice, an accused rapist on the run. For heaven sakes, don't listen to him. Listen to the American intelligence community who are patriots. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto begins our coverage OUTFRONT tonight. And Jim, I guess the big question is how worried, how afraid are U.S. Intelligence officials tonight?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Enormously. There's real dismay inside the intelligence agencies because this criticism from Trump has been so brutal, so consistent and very public. And keep in mind these are folks working very hard, sometimes at great risk to handle some of the deepest national security threats to the U.S. including terrorism. And in addition to that dismay, there's also confusion, for instance, this week with Donald Trump says that this briefing was delayed when in fact the briefing was never scheduled for the beginning of the week because the review is not done and the president -- current president has to be briefed first before the President-elect. So, dismay, confusion. But I'll tell you, it's that first one that is really concerning to them. They feel under assault.
BURNETT: And, you know, part of their -- as you say feeling under assault, some of them I know are telling you they see Trump's public versus private comments, a real disparity there.
SCIUTTO: That's right. They're saying that you have the Twitter storms, right? Which we're all familiar with. When he's sitting down across from them during the presidential daily briefing which he's taking a number of days a week, though not daily, that he is more deferential, that he sometimes asks questions there that he doesn't dismiss what they tell him in those private meetings. So they have trouble rectifying that private persona and attitude with the very public criticism that they're hearing here.
The trouble is that even if the former is sincere and the latter is just republican assumption, they're concerned when you undermined confidence in the agencies and their intelligence, what happens when you need that intelligence? When they're saying imminent terror attack or North Korea is threatening us with a nuclear weapon. That's when the damage is difficult to undo.
BURNETT: Right. And you have to have that just to -- you have to have trust at those moments, right? There's no time to think it's about trust. Thank you so much, Jim. Well, Donald Trump's own party, the GOP, obviously angry, upset by his support for a man that many consider an enemy of the United States. Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Donald Trump publicly, vigorously casting doubt on the U.S. Intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the U.S. Election. And appearing to place his rust trust in WikiLeak's founder Julian Assange instead.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
MURRAY: Just days before he's set to huddle with CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Trump tweeting the, "Intelligence briefing on so-called "Russian hacking was delayed until Friday." Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange. U.S. Officials dispute Trump's claim there was any delay. The President- elect continuing his tweet storm. Julian Assange said, "A 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta. Why was DNC so careless?" Also said Russians did not give him the info." Very different from Trump's 2010 stance on WikiLeaks after the group published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. Documents.
TRUMP: But I think it's disgraceful.
ANDREW KACZYNSKI, SENDIOR EDITOR, KFILE: You do think it's disgraceful?
TRUMP: I think there should be like death penalty or something.
MURRAY: Trump's relentless skepticism towards U.S. Intelligence and praise for Assange whose site published WikiLeaks published the hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta highlighting a sharp split between the President-elect and other GOP leaders. House Speaker Paul Ryan unleashing a wave of criticism against the WikiLeaks founder.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And I think the guy is a sycophant for Russia. He leaks, he steals data and compromises national security.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MURRAY: As Senator Lindsey Graham offers this advice to Trump.
GRAHAM: Not only should he ignore Julian Assange, he should condemn him for what he's done to our country.
MURRAY: Assange insists his information isn't coming from the Russian government.
JULIAN ASSANGE, FUONDER, WIKILEAKS: Our source is not a state party. So the answer for our interactions is no.
MURRAY: As CIA Director Brennan questions his credibility.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: He's not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity.
MURRAY: And implores skeptics to wait for the upcoming intelligence report on Russia.
BRENNAN: I would suggest to individuals who have not yet seen the report, who have not yet been briefed on it that they wait and see what it is that the intelligence community is putting forward before they make those judgments.
MURRAY: Today Vice President-Elect Mike Pence is backing up his boss' leeriness of U.S. Intelligence. GOV. MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think that the President- elect has expressed his very sincere and healthy American skepticism about intelligence conclusions.
MURRAY: Now, Sean Spicer, the incoming white house press secretary, said earlier today that his boss' issue is not with the raw intelligence but it is with the conclusions intelligence officials are drawing that Russia meddled in the U.S. Election. Spicer said that when Donald Trump does get a chance to quiz intelligence officials on Friday, that's what he wants to focus on, how they drew their conclusions about Russia's involvement. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thanks you very much, Sara. And now, Dan Senor, he served as chief spokesman and senior adviser to a coalition in Iraq during George W. Bush's presidency and Jeremy Bash, who served as Chief of Staff to the CIA director, Chief of Staff to the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Jeremy, let me start with you because I know you believe Trump's behaviour slamming the intelligence community's conclusion again and again and again, that Russia hacked the U.S. Election means the U.S. is headed for a pretty big national security crisis.
JEREMY BASH, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO LEON PANETTA: I do, Erin. And I served alongside CIA officers out at Langley. All of them have dedicated their lives to collecting intelligence. Many have risked their lives, and some have even lost their lives to go into harm's way to collect intelligence and to bring the fight to our adversaries. And this is not the thanks that they should be getting. They should be listened to. Their analysis can be challenged behind closed doors. I think that's entirely appropriate. But they should not be slammed publicly.
And I think it really does set up a big crisis because if the President-elect is going to raise his right hand and become the number-one cyber target in the world two Fridays from now, if he doesn't listen to the intelligence community, he's going to be targeted by China, by North Korea, by Iran, and by Russia and when he disbelieves his professionals he's going to be defenceless.
BURNETT: What do you -- what do you say, Dan? Is there anything in Trump's interest to humiliate the National Intelligence?
DAN SENOR, SENIOR ADVISER, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: No. No, no, no. Look, I -- it seems to me he seems frustrated that there's this narrative that somehow his election was illegitimate because there are these allegations that there was hacking by a foreign power who may have had an interest in the outcome of the election. But that could be easily addressed by saying something like, of course if there was hacking or meddling in our election we should get to the bottom of it.
I look forward to the briefings from the intelligence community, I'm concerned about it, but any notion that the American voters were unwitting tools of some foreign power this election is absurd and I'm not -- I just -- I just don't believe that these millions of Americans who stood up and voted for change, their votes shouldn't in any way be, you know, sort of delegitimized by accusations of hacking. So I think you can you can strike a balance, you can raise questions and be open-minded to the intelligence, which he's not doing and should do.
BURNETT: But that's not what's done. Again and again, he's saying it wasn't Russia.
SENOR: I agree. I agree. I agree. And then also of course citing Julian Assange is just offensive I think to, you know, the intelligence community. As Jeremy is saying big to policymakers on both side of the aisle.
BURNETT: I mean, so Julian Assange, Jeremy, let me just -- let me just ask you this because obviously the crusade against the intelligence community did hit a new level with him siding with Julian Assange today. You just heard him say in 2010, WikiLeaks behavior was disgraceful and should be punished by the death penalty. And then as now Julian Assange was the guy at the helm of WikiLeaks. And today he's crediting Assange as an intelligence source saying that Assange is just proving Russia did not hack the U.S. Election. Pretty stunning.
BASH: Yes. National security republicans have long been on the record decrying the behaviour of the WikiLeaks outfit and by Julian Assange. They dumped hundreds of thousands of classified documents, they compromised U.S. Diplomatic missions, our assets overseas. It was shameful and it should be condemned by republican and democrats and everybody. So, it's a difficult day for the United States intelligence professional when the President-elect responds to and respects and trusts Julian Assange over that professional.
And I think that's going to -- that's going to have to change in the coming days precisely because the president is going to be the president of the entire government and he is going to be responsible for defending the country. And Julian Assange will not help him one single bit.
SENOR: And just that as a practical matter, it doesn't serve his interests the president as commander in chief. I mean, the intelligence community is going to be around long after Donald Trump is president. They have -- they have more information, they have more time, they have more relationships on Capitol Hill, they have more relationships with the media. You've seen in the past when a president is at war with the intelligence community, the intelligence community often has the upper hand so it's important to not, you know, I got -- I got --
BURNETT: Alienate them.
SENOR: Right. And partner with them. It's important to partner with them.
BURNETT: So, on this front, Jeremy, there's a report from the Wall Street Journal tonight, pretty saying report this, that Trump is planning to restructure the CIA and the office of National Intelligence saying Trump will be cutting back at staff headquarters for CIA in Langley, Virginia, and increase the number of people in the field. You obviously were the chief of staff to then CIA director Leon Panetta. Is that a good idea or is this just anger at the CIA?
BASH: You know, I think it may be a good idea and there's been long discussion about taking some of the functions in the office of director of National Intelligence and moving it to other agencies, having more of a forward presence. I think there could be some benefit to this. But I don't think it's -- I don't think it's should be used to change the subject from this national security crisis that I think is really brewing here.
SENOR: Well, I will just say --
BURNETT: But this restructuring, do you --
SENOR: Yes. I mean, I -- there are serious intelligence professionals who believe the DNI has caused more confusion in the intelligence community than actually led to the -- you know, addressed the problems it was designed to solve. So, addressing this sort of reorganization of the intelligence community, I think there's probably a lot of merit to it. The problem is right now it's in the frame of this story about Julian Assange and the sort of war against the intelligence community so everyone is sort of histrionic about it. But if you take a step back, I think there are legitimate policy merits to some of the issues that at least remain best.
BURNETT: Or maybe such a suggestion would be better received if you were not saying you trusted Julian Assange into that community.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, war over Obamacare, President Obama tells democrats don't rescue republicans with a replacement. Plus outrage as the marching band from a historically black college agrees to perform at Trump's inauguration. Will the college president block their doing so?
And a stunning new theory about what brought down the unsinkable Titanic. Did the ship set sail with its fate already sealed?
BURNETT: Tonight, showdown on Capitol Hill. President Obama meeting with democrats and the goal to block republicans from repealing his healthcare law. The Vice President-Elect Mike Pence holding a duelling meeting with his party on how to, well, repeal Obamacare and deliver on one of president-elect Trump's biggest campaign promises. Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Tonight, republicans taking their first steps to dismantle Obamacare. But President Barack Obama is rallying his party to defend a centerpiece of his legacy. In meetings with house and senate republicans Vice President-Elect Mike Pence making clear that repealing the law will be Donald Trump's top priority as president. PENCE: The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare. And that was our message today and it will be our message on Capitol Hill. And it needs to be done.
RAJU: In the senate, republicans voting to pave the way for repeal in a matter of weeks. But more questions than answers about what the GOP intends to replace it with and that has rank and file republicans increasingly worried. Speaking to democrats on a rare trip to Capitol Hill. Sources said Obama warned that republicans would pay a steep political price for trying to gut the law. And he told democrats not to, "Rescue the GOP by giving them votes on a replacement plan," worse than the affordable care act. The president branding the new GOP plan, Trump care.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look out for the American people.
RAJU: Would you work with them in finding a replacement?
SEN. BOB CASEY, (D) PENNSYLVANNIA: I am not going to cooperate with republicans when they try to repeal a bill that takes away healthcare for children, prescription drug cost benefits for seniors. They have no plan to protect seniors. So you're damn right we're going to fight them.
RAJU: Getting rid of Obamacare was a centrepiece of Donald Trump's campaign.
TRUMP: Repeal and replace was something terrific.
RAJU: But today even the President-elect is voicing concern, warning in a series of tweets, republicans must be careful in that the dems own the failed Obamacare disaster, adding, don't let the Schumer clowns out of the web. That last comment in reference to the new senate democratic leader Chuck Schumer who called Trump's plan, "make America sick again." Schumer has warned that his party won't work with Trump to replace the law if the GOP guts it.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) MINORITY LEADER: We are telling the republicans, show if you are repealing, show us what you'll replace it with first. They're repealing. We're not. It's their obligation to come up with replace first and I think we have unanimity within our democratic caucus on that position.
RAJU: Now, Erin, Schumer caucus is not completely united. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia democrat actually skipped today's meeting with President Obama and actually met with Mike Pence separately as he told me earlier in the day that he's willing to work with republicans in either repairing the law or if they do repeal the law in figuring out a replacement. And on the republican side they have their own problems.
Republican Rand Paul was the one republican senator who voted against the budget measure today that will pave way for repeal of the law. And the reason why he voted against it because it, Erin is because it would increase the budget deficit. Erin? BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu. OUTFRONT now, you saw her there, she was at the meeting today and she was there with Chuck Schumer, the senior democratic senator from Michigan Debbie Stabenow. Also the new chair of the senate democratic policy and communications committee, she is the fourth ranking democrat in the senate. You have a lot of power on this, Senator Stabenow and democrats obviously at this time don't have the votes to block republican repeal of Obamacare.
What is your plan? I mean, yes, you could call it a Hail Mary Plan, what's your plan to stop them from doing it?
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW, (D) DEMOCRATIC POLICY AND COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE: Well, Erin, you're right. If they want to, they can rip apart the entire healthcare system. They have the votes in the house, they have the votes in the senate. They have the new president coming in but know that they really will pull the thread that unravels the entire system. Everybody who has insurance through their employer gets new protections, they can't get dropped if they get sick, their pre-existing conditions.
Women now are not rated differently and paying more than men. You can actually have maternity care as part of every single plan, mental health help, opioid addiction help, and all of that goes away for every single person that has insurance. And so, we are going to be telling the story and fighting for people whether it's a 22-year-old who's now on their parents' insurance as they graduate from college trying to get started in the workplace or a woman who has Alzheimer's who desperately needs to have long-term care through Medicaid. So, it's -- this, you know, this is craziness, Erin, it's going on right now here with the idea of repealing and unravelling the whole healthcare system creating instability in one-sixth of the entire economy with no plan to replace it.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you though because, you know, you're listing off things that you say work about this but obviously the bottom line is of costs have surged. And the house minority leader Nancy Pelosi said she has one regret about Obamacare. One regret and here's what she says it is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, AND THE HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: If there was one thing would have done differently about the affordable care act from the start was to message it in a very -- much stronger way.
BURNETT: And that sounds like what you're talking about. You're trying to say, look, the message is this, think about this, this, and this, you're giving those examples. But there's the bottom line, the average premium for the benchmark silver plan was up 22 percent this year. If you look at North Carolina, we sent a reporter there right before the election, there's not one state-wide carrier, two others dropped out. So now there's one, it's a monopoly. 63-year-old retiree says he can't afford coverage. $900 a month increase in premiums. How is this problem one of messaging? STABENOW: And we need to fix that. No, it's -- what we need to do is fix that by adding more competition way of providing health insurance. And the way that we that can fix that, one of the ways is in areas where there's not choice in competition, it's to add a public option like many of us wanted to do at the very beginning so there was a true competition in the marketplace. Erin, I think the important thing right now is to understand I'd be willing to walk from this interview and sit down immediately with republican colleagues who have been trying for six years to say let's improve on the system, let's create more competition, lower prices.
I want to tackle issues that relate to small business. But you don't do that by burning down a house when you say you want to renovate it and make it better. You don't start it by burning it down. And that's exactly what they're doing.
BURNETT: So president Obama, you know, you met with him today and the goal is to stop this whole repeal in this way, but, you know, you just said you're willing to work with republican colleagues. I talked to you the night after the election and you came on, as awful as you felt that day, you came on and said you were willing to work with the President-elect. Senator Joe Manchin as you heard said he did not meet with president Obama today and he didn't do so because he thought it would poison bipartisan efforts to craft a replacement. Are you poisoning efforts by meeting with the president?
STABENOW: First of all, Senator Manchin voted with us in his voting against repeal without health care replacement for seniors, for children, for families. We are united as a caucus that this makes no sense and it's totally irresponsible. So what I'm saying tonight is that instead of repealing and creating chaos in the marketplace, if folks want to sit down and work on improvements, I'm all in. Our colleagues are all in.
We've been trying for the last six years rather than making it a political football to really deal with real issues. What I hate most about this is this isn't politics. This is real-life people right now, somebody with cancer, a child with juvenile diabetes, someone with leukemia who's getting better treatment without caps on their services and that's going to be ripped away. And that's real life. This is not a political game.
BURNETT: All right. Senator Stabenow, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.
STABENOW: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And next, outrage at a black college in Alabama over an invitation to perform at the Trump inauguration. Will the band show up?
And a Hispanic leader who called Trump a buffoon and fear-monger now accepting a job with the Trump administration. Why the stunning about face.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: New developments tonight, outrage at one of America's oldest historically black colleges, the marching band of Talladega College, a school in Alabama founded by former slaves invited to perform at President-elect Trump's inauguration. But a fierce debate erupted among students and alumni and now college president is under pressure to pull the band from the parade. Victor Blackwell is OUTFRONT tonight from Talladega College.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Talladega College's tornado marching band is at the center of a social media firestorm. The historically black school facing backlash after it was announced a band would perform during Donald Trump's inaugural parade. Many African-Americans still offended by Trump's campaign including his unorthodox appeal for black voter support.
TRUMP: You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. What the hell do you have to lose?
BLACKWELL: Response on the Twitter and Facebook to the participation immediate and emotional. There is no honor in performing for one of the world's most racist people, Donald Trump, one man writes. Another writhing shame on you. While others feeling the nearly 300 band members should participate in the parade. One woman writing that she's proud of this school for breaking the barriers of racism, another urging students to go for it.
SHIRLEY FERRELL, TALLADEGA COLLEGE ALUMNI: Really? Seriously? No.
BLACKWELL: When Shirley Ferrell heard about her Alma mater's potential role in the inauguration, she started a petition urging the college to withdraw. So far there have been more than 1,300 signatures. A member of the band launched a counter petition saying this parade is not about politics.
[19:30:02] It's about seeing first hand the process of a transition."
Still, Ferrill thinks it's a bad idea.
SHIRLEY FERRILL, TALLADEGA COLLEGE ALUMNA: We're the oldest historically black college in Alabama. We have a reputation of fighting for fighting for freedom and equal rights and justice. He doesn't stand for any of that.
BLACKWELL: Ferrill says she was most offended by Trump's November 2015 rally in Birmingham. A Black Lives Matter protester was beaten, punched and kicked by several white men in the crowd.
FERRILL: Trump from the podium seemed to encourage that with his words and his behavior.
BLACKWELL: Trump doubled down several days later.
DONALD TRUMP (R), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.
FERRILL: I don't want the school to look even give the appearance of supporting him.
BLACKWELL (on camera): The hashtag Talladega College trends on Twitter, but is the battle over the band such a hot topic here?
We asked people in Talladega. The center of this controversy, should the band march?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would be good exposure for Talladega College.
BLACKWELL: You think they should go? What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they should go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great to have them represent him, you know, try to put him down that he's against black people which he's not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It all boils down to what is good for the college and his students. They need it.
BURNETT: Victor, pretty amazing report. I mean, will the band actually show up, right? I mean, this is the big question. There's no answer tonight.
BLACKWELL: It's still an unanswered question, Erin. You know, despite the confirmation from Trump's inaugural committee, and the announcement on the band's own Facebook page, the president of the college, Billy Hawkins, said the final decision has not yet been made. That's what he said when the backlash started rolling in.
But we were told all morning that an announcement would come sometime after lunch from the president on camera on campus. Well, lunchtime has come and gone and most folks are wrapping up dinner and still no answer.
To make it more bizarre, we learned that the president is not even in Alabama. He's actually in Orlando huddled up with members of the board of trustees and they tonight still cannot come up with a decision.
I can tell you two things, quickly, Erin.
BLACKWELL: The band is on campus and they're rehearsing for something and someone with the inaugural committee tells us 150 members of the band have undergone that U.S. Secret Service clearance. Now, they just need to know if they're going or not.
BURNETT: All right. Amazing. Thank you very much, Victor.
OUTFRONT now, Ben Ferguson, conservative radio host, and Keith Boykin, former Clinton White House aide. Keith, let me start you, you just heard Victor's report. The president of the college said he'd make a decision today to cameras, did not do so. Said it would be by lunch. Now it's dinnertime. Hasn't done so. And he's huddled up with the board of trustees. They're struggling with this.
There's a lot of criticism about this. What should the school do?
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Well, you know, this is a tough choice. I have to say, my father, grandfather, siblings all attended historically black colleges. I understand it's a difficult question. But, you know, I think it's an opportunity for the school to send a message they won't support intolerance.
I mean, you think about this, four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court had a case in Alabama about voting rights and it struck down a part of the Voting Rights Act because of an Alabama case. Just two months ago, Jeff Sessions was nominated the U.S. attorney general by Donald Trump from Alabama and he supports that decision against the Voting Rights Act. And just today, the NAACP president was arrested protesting Jeff Sessions who is again from Alabama.
So, I think people from Alabama above all understand why it's important to stand up to Donald Trump and his bigotry.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I put this band moment in the same category with sports. We've see how sports has been able to heal communities, has been able to bring people together, has been able to get people to look past the color of someone's skin.
What an incredible opportunity for these young college students to be able to show off their talents, their heritage, their history on a national stage that in many ways is bigger even than Donald Trump. You look how hard these kids have worked. They're going to be watched by people all over the world in what they do.
And I think it's sad that politics is coming into this and people are trying to take away from this moment from them. I think they should actually look at Barack Obama. Barack Obama is going to show up for the inauguration because it's smooth transition and it's history. So, is George Bush, who did not support from what we understand Donald Trump. You show up. So is Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, even though she lost the election.
BURNETT: Four other historically black colleges, those bands perform for President Obama are not showing up. Florida A&M, Grambling University, Hampton University, Howard University. Right now, they are not slated to participate.
FERGUSON: I think that's sad. I think we should break down walls and barriers every time we get a chance, and what an incredible way to do it by showing your talents and performing.
[19:35:04] This has nothing to do with the politics, and I think some people are hijacking these college students' moments. One of the young ladies in this band talked about how she wanted to go. This is going to raise the profile not only of what they've accomplished as a group but as individuals. They get to go to the nation's capital and see a smooth transition of power, something the rest of the world is going to watch.
BOYKIN: I think one way to raise the school's profile is for the school to make a strong statement they won't support bigotry. Donald Trump -- let me finish as I let you finish. Donald Trump is not a normal president-elect. Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynist, narcissistic, xenophobic bigot.
BOYKIN: Because of that, he has been extremely divisive, especially to African-Americans. He has not yet apologized for his disruptive behavior against the first African-American president of the United States for questioning his birth certificate.
So, yes, Obama will be there because the president of the United States has an obligation to be there. These students are not obligated to attend and I support and applaud their decision if they choose not to.
BURNETT: Hold on. Ben, let me ask this first. Keith raised the issue of whether this was intolerant of intolerance or being tolerant of intolerance to attend. The Radio City Rockettes, Ben, you know them, right? They were summoned. They were scheduled to perform. Marie Claire, the women's magazine, is now releasing a transcript of an audiotape they say they have of a meeting between the dancers and the owner.
I want to read one exchange to you, Ben, because I think this is important. A Rockette, you hear her asking, "I mean, it just sound like you're asking us to be tolerant of intolerance." The owner of the Rockettes, James Dolan, responds, says, "Yeah, in way, I guess we are doing that. What other choices do we have? What else would you suggest?"
He's saying that is what I'm asking you to do.
FERGUSON: Well, one, I disagree with him. But two, I also think -- we've got to look at the message we're sending specifically to these performers, especially these kids in college. Are we saying every time you don't get your way in an election, that automatically you go to name-calling and call the other person a racist and bigot and everything else you've heard tonight coming from Keith, or do you respect the fact that there are other people in America that have a different perspective and different viewpoint and it doesn't mean they're an evil racist or bigoted person.
We need to have people come together, not sit here and say, well, I didn't get my way, so therefore, I'm going to go home with my band, take my toys with me, and I'm not going to show up for what is a pretty great day in America. And instead you name call and say he's this and he's that and he's this. Think about the opportunity for these kids.
BOYKIN: You spoke very long. Let me get in here quickly. Donald Trump is not a normal person. He's not a normal candidate.
FERGUSON: You keep saying that but he's the president-elect.
BOYKIN: Let me finish my point because you're disrupting me here. The reality is these people have an opportunity to make a statement because Donald Trump is being disruptive. He's not treating the American people, he's treating Mexicans and Muslims and African- Americans and people of color with respect.
When Donald Trump starts to act respectful towards the people of this country, we'll start to act respectful toward him. Until that time, he doesn't deserve our respect. He's behaving like an immature child, not like the president-elect of America.
FERGUSON: The young African-American girl that's in the band that says she wants to go and perform at the inauguration, are you telling her --
BOYKIN: I'm telling people can make up their own minds about going but I'm telling you this is an opportunity --
BOYKIN: It's a missed opportunity if this school doesn't stand up and say Donald Trump. And, yes, everybody has their own view but it's still a missed opportunity.
BURNETT: We're a waiting on the board of trustees and the president of Talladega College, Billy Hawkins, to make their decision and come out with it. Obviously, struggling with that, they are now at least four or five hours late with the promised decision.
Next, a prominent Latino who called Trump a buffoon during the campaign now a Trump adviser. What changed? Well, we're going to talk to him OUTFRONT right after this.
And a school officer body slams a female high school student to the floor. What happened?
[19:42:40] BURNETT: New tonight, Donald Trump building out his economic team, nominating Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton as his Securities and Exchange Commission chairman. Clayton joining a number of other white men who so far dominate Trump's top post in this administration. As of tonight, none of those nominated are Latino. Javier Palomarez
is an adviser to Trump's national diversity coalition, also the president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he made headlines earlier this year calling Donald Trump a buffoon.
So, Javier, I really appreciate your time. And I want to talk about the breakdown of this administration because it's crucial. But, obviously, given what you said about Donald Trump before, I want to ask you what's changed and I want to give viewers a chance to hear the context of said about Donald Trump back in August. Here you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVIER PALOMAREZ, U.S. HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT: Donald Trump began his political career by denouncing immigrants, denouncing the Hispanic community.
HOST: Immigrants or illegal immigrants?
PALOMAREZ: Illegal immigrants, immigrants, the Hispanic community, period. He has denounced them for the last year. They had amazing choices in Jeb Bush, in John Kasich. They elected a buffoon instead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Has your opinion of him changed?
Listen, here's where we find ourselves today. There was the rhetoric, harsh rhetoric, that took place during the campaign. Today, we're dealing with the reality that the process has taken place and at the end of this, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.
I'm going to do and our association is going to do exactly what we asked of the Trump team. We're going to honor those results and we'll try to find ways to collaborate and move this nation forward. I have offered my advice and counsel. They have taken it on a variety of issues and we're particularly interested in making sure that the voice of American small business is heard loud and clear by this new and incoming administration.
In that context, we're doing exactly what President Obama has done, offering an opportunity to give this new administration a chance to succeed. We're going to do what we can and we're going to -- you know, where it adds value we'll advise and offer the counsel that we think is needed.
BURNETT: Since you said that this summer, since Trump has won, he has come out and doubled and triple down on some of the most controversial things he has said that affect immigration, the Latino community.
[19:45:06] Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We will build a wall. You know that.
We'll build a wall. That's right. We're going to build a wall.
On immigration, we will be the administration that ended illegal immigration. We will construct a great border wall. We're going to have a great wall. We're going to have a real wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, does the wall not matter to you now or are they telling you something different when you said they're listening to you? Are they telling you something completely different in your conversations?
PALOMAREZ: Our conversation with them has been centered around the reality of what they're going to have to deal with if you're looking at the mass deportation of some 11.5 million people, you will have to incur at great expense new jobs.
You're going to have to add some 200,000 new government jobs just to get that done. You will have to charter over 30,000 buses a year to move these people from point A to point B. Detention beds will go from 38,000 where we are today to over 420,000 to house these people while they're going through the process. You will have to charter 17,000 private airplanes to move these people back to their point of origin and the list goes on.
Our counsel has been, you need to pump the brakes, you need to look at this thing. Again, there was the rhetoric of the campaign but this is the reality of the president --
BURNETT: And those are some powerful statistics that you have. Before you go, I have to ask you about the cabinet because you're advising him, he so far does not have a Hispanic nomination for his cabinet. Clayton is the most recent for the FCC.
Is this concerning to you? Does that it need to change?
PALOMAREZ: Of course, it's concerning. Listen, I'm a 56-year-old Hispanic in America today. I'd love to see a Hispanic in the cabinet.
But more important to me and my association that now represents 4.1 million Hispanic-owned firms that collectively contribute in excess of $668 billion to the American economy, what's more important to us is that he has a cabinet that understands the needs and the challenges of American small business.
And I have seen some pretty good signs of individuals who are going to take a business approach to fixing some of the thorniest problems we have, people like Rick Perry, people like Steven Mnuchin and others that I think will bring that business kind of sense to fixing some of these issues faced by American small business and I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing there.
BURNETT: Well, Javier, thank you very much for talking to me tonight.
PALOMAREZ: Thanks, Erin. BURNETT: I appreciate it.
And next, caught on tape, a female student slammed to the ground by a school officer, students looking on. When you hear the full audio on this, you will be shocked.
And Jeanne Moos with the fascinating new theory on what sank the Titanic. Could a theory believe from more than 100 years about that iceberg be completely wrong?
[19:51:05] BURNETT: Tonight caught on camera, outrage after a video shows a school resource officer body slamming a 15-year-old girl to the floor.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: You hear her hit the ground. The video does not show what led to the incident or what followed, which obviously is important. The police department says the officer was responding to a fight. Tonight, though, that officer is on paid leave.
Boris Sanchez is OUTFRONT.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This eight-second video is shocking.
A high school resource officer body slamming a 15-year-old student.
JASMINE DARWIN, STUDENT BODY SLAMMED BY OFFICER: I feel every time I look at it like -- it's embarrassing.
SANCHEZ: A second video captures the incidents leading up to Tuesday's incident involving Officer Ruben De Los Santos and Jasmine Darwin. The teenager says she was trying to break up a fight between her sister and another student in the cafeteria.
DARWIN: I see my sister fighting and I see them both on the ground and trying to get my sister. That's when Officer Santos came and he picked me up and slammed me on the ground and I was out.
SANCHEZ: De Los Santos, a local cop who's been the resource officer at the high school for four years, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations confirmed to CNN it has been called in, but they declined comment other than to say it was an ongoing investigation.
DESIREE HARRISON, MOTHER OF STUDENT: That's not how you handle a child. She's only 100 pounds. He could have killed her.
SANCHEZ: The student's mom is outraged and says her daughter suffered a concussion. HARRISON: The school is supposed to protect children when they go to
school. My child was not protected. My child was hurt by an officer that body slammed her for no reason.
SANCHEZ: The school's principal sent out a letter to writing in part, "I, like many of you, am deeply concerned about what I saw on the video. The safety of our students is always our first priority."
She also writes, quote, "Two years ago our school district enacted a unified agreement with all local law enforcement agencies that provided training and a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of school resource officers."
However, it's unclear if Officer De Los Santos received that training. Despite several attempts, CNN has not been able to reach Ruben De Los Santos so he could tell us his side of the story.
SANCHEZ: Important to point out, Officer De Los Santos was wearing a body camera and it was rolling during the incident. However, we may never see that footage. Officers have yet to release it. Part of the reason why is because last year, the state of North Carolina changed the law to make that body cam footage harder for the public to access. We would need among other things a court order, approval from a judge to be able to get our hands on that footage, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Boris, thank you very much.
And next, Jeanne Moos with the new theory behind the mystery of the Titanic. What if it wasn't the iceberg? What really brought down the unsinkable ship?
[19:57:53] BURNETT: Tonight, the world upside down. What it was not an iceberg that sunk the Titanic but a fire? Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is the world's most famous iceberg being put on ice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Icebergs straight ahead!
MOOS: Did fire and ice team up to sink the Titanic?
That's what a new documentary scheduled to air later this month on the Smithsonian Channel says.
NARRATOR: New evidence of an overlooked evidence afflicting the super ship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this anomaly in the hull.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. MOOS: Titanic expert Senan Molony says recently uncovered photos show
a 30-foot mark on the Titanic's hull.
SENAN MOLONY, TITANIC EXPERT: The first thing that struck us was this was the exact location not only are where the iceberg strikes but also where there had been a spontaneous coal fire all through the maiden voyage in 1912.
MOOS: Molony says surviving firemen from the ship spoke about the fire when they reached land.
MOLONY: One of them saying there was a serious fire on board.
MOOS: Even if we never heard about it from Leonardo or Kate.
More like frying below decks. It's believed the coal fire had burned for days as crew members tried to put it out.
MOLONY: That level of temperature is robbing the steel, it's losing 75 percent of its strength.
MOOS: Weakening the hull right where the iceberg hit.
The fire theory isn't new. It's been smoldering for years. It was addressed briefly at the official inquiry but played down.
Some on social media mock the resurrected theory. Bull. The lookout was texting at the time of impact.
Do you think the iceberg is getting a bad rap?
MOLONY: It was not the iceberg acting alone. The iceberg had co- conspirators, if you like.
MOOS: It would be ironic if fire would take some of the heat off the iceberg.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Pretty incredible and I can't wait to see that.
Thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it. We'll see you back here tomorrow.