Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Town Hall with Nancy Pelosi; Supreme Court with a new Justice Nominee. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 31, 2017 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[22:00:00] WILLIAM MARSH, CEO, STEEL MANUFACTURING COMPANY: For example, the abortion rights activists, the environmental ac activists, Wall Street, Wall Street lawyers.

NANCY PELOSI, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: Is that Wall Street?

MARSH: Yes. A lot of Wall Street supports the Democrat Party and not the Republican Party.

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: They don't support me.

MARSH: Right.

PELOSI: I don't know what side of the ledger that that was going on. No, we don't get much support.

MARSH: So, I can assure you, I can speak quite a lot with all sorts of industrial people in the Midwest. And that's why we're here.

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: That's the impression they have. OK.

MARSH: So, right from the Midwest. If the Democrat Party wants to recapture the Reagan democrats they need to begin speaking to come of these issues.

My question is how can a Democrat Party which is separated by political philosophy and economic reality represent the constituents of the manufacturing Midwest?

PELOSI: Well, I thank you for that question because it's the challenge that some see the party has. I question when you said Wall Street, I'm like, no, Wall Street comes out en masse with its money against house democrats every election. So, that was -- that took me down to a different path.

Here's the thing. The democrats in the Congress, people say to me, you're so good at keeping people together. Keeping the democrats together. I said I don't keep them together. Our values keep us together. That's what unites us.

And while we may have different views on some of the subjects you just named within our own party, the one thing that unifies us is our commitment to America's working family. That's who we are, that is our organized purpose to protect those American families that you just named among them.

And isn't that we failed in conveying that message, how could it be when we, the democrats and the House and the Senate with the president of the United States bailed out the auto industry.

Millions of jobs directly and indirectly saved yet Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, go for the republicans, who at the time said that what we were doing, Mitt Romney wrote op-ed to this effect, what we were doing was wrong because it interrupted the free enterprise system, because we were intervening in saving an industry.

When we worked there for collective bargaining, OSHA, NLRB, which are completely anathema to the republicans. And yet we did not convey that message. And you named some barriers, when I say barriers some priorities that people think we have over these priorities. It's not over. They're part of our values.

We're not going to give up commitment to nondiscrimination in our country, we just are not. We are not going to give up our commitment to what we believe about respecting the opinion, the judgment a woman has about the size and timing of her family.

But it is also important that we have clarity and who side we're on with America's worker. And most of us have come. I grew up in Little Italy in Baltimore, Maryland, it was only a question of democrats and republicans, we're for working families. They're not. It's still the case.

We're for -- they're for trickledown economics. You give tax breaks to the wealthy, it trickles down, somebody gets a job, that would be good, if they don't, so be it. That's the free enterprise system. That's how they talk. We're talking about trickle up. Increase those paychecks; increase the purchasing power of America's working families.

But the stagnation in wages that you've just -- that is part of the heartache of families all over the country but also in the areas that you mentioned, and I worked closely with the steel workers. In fact, they've named me woman of steel. I'm proud of that honor from the steel workers.

But that is the -- that is challenge. And it's not about choosing one over the other. It's all about we're all in this together. I told Norman Lear, I said, "you had the right title, "All in the Family" with Archie Bunker. You're too young to know what that is. "All in the Family." But it's all America's family.

And if can work in bipartisan way to say the jobs that we have to prepare our country for the jobs in the future as we consolidate those that we have and take people into the future. Some people think the election was divided into those who saw their place in the future and those who didn't. Or for their families.

And so how do we say we're all moving in this forward together. And as we have new opportunities they have to be shared. If we're going to have technology and automation we have to build buildings in which that can take place. We have to build community, community, community, in which we need schools and health care facilities and the rest.

There's plenty of opportunity for jobs that are not -- that in addition to the jobs we want to bring back or keep, but also to recognize that are the jobs of the future. But in our -- in our caucus we have this discussion.

[22:05:00] How could they -- how did they not know that we're there for them? Well, as I say to a couple, I said, if I wife says to a husband you're not communicating, and he thinks he is, he's not communicating.

So we weren't communicating. So, it's not about who we are, because who we are is to be there for America's working class and we fight that fight every day against tax breaks for the wealthy. And that's the fight we have with Donald Trump.

Right now, no matter what he said on the campaign trail, he's right there to give tax breaks to the rich. And by the way, if they overturn the Affordable Care Act, get this. The 400 -- 400 wealthiest families in America will get a tax break of $7 million every year.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So, I need to -- let me communicate this.

(APPLAUSE)

This is what we call in this business a soft landing. It's a lighter question from our friend, Trevor Hill, he's a student at NYU. He's from San Diego. Trevor.

Good evening

PELOSI: Thank you for your question. Sorry to...

(CROSSTALK)

TREVOR HILL, NYU STUDENT: Good evening, Congresswoman.

PELOSI: Hi.

HILL: Thank you for being here and thank you for taking my question. I was originally slated to ask a pretty soft question but given the dire circumstances. I'm so sorry, Mr. Tapper. Given the dire circumstances our country is in I wonder if you'd indulge me in a little bit more of serious question about the future of the Democratic Party.

What I've seen on NYU's campus and what I've seen in polls all over, I mean, CNN even, a Harvard University poll last May showed that people between the ages of 18 and 29, not just democrats, not just leftists, 51 percent of people between 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism.

That's not me asking you to make a radical statement about capitalism but I'm just telling you that my experience is that the younger generation is moving left on economic issues. And I've been so excited to see how democrats have move left on social issues.

As gay man I've been very proud to see you fighting for our rights and for many leaders -- many democratic leaders fighting for our rights. But I wonder if there's anywhere you feel that the democrats could move farther left to a more populist message, the way the alt-right has sort of captured this populist strain on the right wing. If you think we could make a more stark contrast to right-wing economics.

PELOSI: Well, I thank you for your question. But I have to say we're capitalists, and that's situated. However, we do think that capitalism is not necessarily meeting the needs with income inequality that we have in our country.

And let me just tell you this, I don't know how much time we have. About 40 years ago, a little bit more now, no less a person in terms of capitalism than the chairman of Standard Oil at New Jersey said, he talked about stakeholder capitalism.

Capitalism that said when we make decisions as managements and CEOs of the country we take into consideration our shareholders, our management, our workers, our customers and the community at large. At that time, at that time, the disparity between the CEO and the worker was about 40 times. Forty times more for the CEO than the worker.

As productivity rose, the pay of the worker rose and the pay of the CEO rose. Everything rose together. Around 20 years ago it started to turn into, maybe 15, 20 years ago, it started to turn into shareholder capitalism where we're strictly talking about the quarterly report.

So, a CEO would make much more money by keeping pay low even though productivity is rising, worker is not getting any more pay and the CEO is getting a big pay because he's kept cost low by depriving workers of their share of the productivity that they created. And as I call it, a right angle going in the wrong direction.

The disparity between the CEO and the worker into the shareholder capitalism is more like 350 to 400 to 1. From 40 to 1, to 350, to 400 to 1. That income inequality is an immorality and it is even -- not even smart from an economic standpoint because it doesn't grow the economy.

The more money you put in the pocket of the worker for the productivity he or she has produced the more money they will spend and consume with confidence and inject into the economy and grow the economy.

So, what you talked about -- you talked to the same thing, the stagnation of wages and the financial instability that families are feeling tied with seeing priorities that are not necessarily ones that they have as -- well, they care about it but it's not a job and being able to have a home and send your children to school and have dignified retirement, what we want for all Americans, and capitalism should serve that purpose.

[22:10:05] The capitalist system has been well-served by the so-called safety net. It's not just the safety net for individual workers, it's a safety net for capitalism. Because they can go through their cycles and when they don't need as many employees they have -- we have unemployment insurance or all kinds of benefits as a safety net to enable them to go through cycles.

But instead -- and there's some enlightened corporations which say I'm keeping my whole staff through thick and thin, at the end of the day I have a productive trained loyal work force.

So we have to change the thinking of people. I don't think we have to change from capitalism, we're a capitalist system. The free market is a place that can do good things.

Actually Adam Smith, "Wealth of Nations" the invisible hand he was more compassionate. He wrote two books. This other book was about our responsibilities to each another as well as "Wealth of Nations." I wish he had written one book where incorporated all of it together.

So, I hear what you're saying about young people. And may I say we have our Eric Swalwel heads up something called our future forum where young members of Congress in their 30's and late 20's, I think there are some of them graduated to 30's now, go around the country and listen to young people. Perhaps can visit you at school, as well. But thank you for sharing...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Let's thank Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

(APPLAUSE)

And all the questioners and everyone else that help this town hall possible. A especial thanks to our audience those who are asking the questions, sharing their stories, their personal stories, and also watching around the world.

Don Lemon picks it up now. Thanks again, Leader Pelosi.

PELOSI: Let's get Tapper.

TAPPER: I'm fine. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: All right, Jake, thank you very much. It is clearly an uphill battle for Nancy Pelosi and congressional democrats especially when it comes to fighting the president's Supreme Court pick.

This is CN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.

Breaking news. President Donald Trump announces his choice for the highest court in the land. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today I'm keeping another promise to the American people by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Tonight we'll show you the former -- Ted Cruz is going to react to Donald Trump's pick. His former rival there.

Meanwhile, the firestorm over the president's executive action on immigration is not cooling down. Not yet. Multiple lawsuits all across the country and dozens of former federal prosecutors blasting the surprise firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

There's a lot to get to. I want to get right to CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, and our Supreme Court correspondent, Pamela Brown. Good evening to both of you. Pamela, to you first, Donald Trump announcing his pick for the Supreme Court. What do we know about Judge Neil Gorsuch?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting here, Don, is that Neil Gorsuch was not on that initial list of names put out during the campaign of possible Supreme Court nominees. He came on the second list.

And we're told through our sources that as people within the Trump camp scrutinized scrubbed his record on the federal bench in Colorado they really liked what they saw, particularly when it came to rulings he's had on religious liberty, separation of powers case.

He also wrote a book saying that the law does not support assisted suicide. He doesn't have any rulings on abortion as well he's been on the federal bench but it's enough to keep pro-life advocates happy.

He's 49 years old. So that is of course, something that works in his favor. President like to put someone who is young on the bench so that they can have for a lasting legacy. He clerked with Justice Anthony Kennedy. So it's interesting to think about the fact that he may, if he gets confirmed, be on the bench with the judge that -- justice I should say, that he actually clerked for.

And Donald Trump praised him during this prime time announcement tonight. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This may be the most transparent judicial selection process in history. Months ago as candidate, I publicly presented a list of brilliant and accomplished to the American electorate and pledged to make my choice from among that list.

Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them when they voted for me for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And as we know, he had a very easy confirmation hearing before to the federal bench there in Colorado. He sailed through. It could be a different story this time around with many democrats still holding a grudge against republicans for not holding a hearing for president Obama's pick Merrick Garland, Don.

LEMON: Jim, I want to get to you now. Jim, you were in the room, there's plenty of drama and suspense leading up to the president's prime time reveal. What do you know about how the president came to his decision and the way they made this announcement.

[22:15:02] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It was a pretty dramatic, I guess cloak and dagger style operation in terms of getting Neil Gorsuch to Washington, Don. It's interesting.

Let's just back up and just point out that according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who was briefing reporters on all of this in the east room after we saw that introduction of Neil Gorsuch there in the east room of the White House, that Donald Trump, President Trump had six finalists, he met with four of them.

Three at Trump Tower on January 14th, and then on Monday, President Trump phoned Neil Gorsuch in Colorado and said that he was -- he was the guy, he was the pick.

And then get this, Don, members of the White House counsel office then flew to Colorado. Judge Gorsuch went to neighbor's house where apparently he was picked up by members of the White House Counsel's Office there, and then he was whisked off to a military plane where they flew him to Washington on a military. They did not allow him to fly commercial.

And then he was here in Washington until he was rolled out here at the White House. Now we should point out, there was some reporting earlier today that both Gorsuch and Tom Hardiman, the other judge who was a finalist in all of this that he was also here in Washington.

But from what we understand from talking to our sources, judge Hardiman was sort playing along with this White House rollout announcement. That's why you saw a courtesy of one of our producers Judge Hardiman pumping gas at a sheet gas station in Pennsylvania earlier today presumably on his way to Washington, but apparently he did not make the full trip.

But all a part of this cloak and dagger operation to get Neil Gorsuch here without us snooping reporters finding out about it.

LEMON: Whatever, you guys said who it was going to be early. I mean, I have to give both of you credit, you kind of knew the cat was out of the bag.

Pamela, both the president and Judge Gorsuch mentioned the deceased Justice Scalia tonight. BROWN: There are a lot of similarities between the two, which I know

was appealing to President Trump. They have a similar judicial philosophy. They're both strict constitutionalists, textualists. In other words, they believe in the literal interpretation of the Constitution.

Neil Gorsuch, Judge Gorsuch once said that it's important to look backwards not forward when you try to interpret text, that is exactly the way that the late Justice Antonin Scalia approached tax as well.

Also we're told that the two were actually friends. In fact, we have a picture of them fishing together. And here is that picture right here. And after Neil Gorsuch found out about his death he gave a speech, a very touching speech about that friendship.

And also, Don, they shared the similarity in a writing style. A lot of people who know him and have studied his different rulings say that he has a colorful entertaining type of writing style like we used to see from Justice Scalia, Don.

LEMON: Jim, I want to talk, move on and talk about this. Because we're hearing from White House sources they're telling CNN that the president was very unhappy with the way that the order, the executive order on travel restrictions was executed.

And now we're hearing that Kellyanne Conway is expected to take more control of the communication strategy. What more do you know about the executive order and about this?

ACOSTA: Yes, Don, you know, I'm also hearing that President Trump has not been happy about the way this executive order was rolled out, he's not been happy aout the way a lot of things have been rolled out since day one of his administration.

But I can tell you that at this point it does not appear the administration is backing off of that very controversial executive order on extreme vetting on refugees and a travel ban that the White House tried mightily to say is not a ban, even though President Trump used the word 'ban' and Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary used the word 'ban.' That they're not backing off of it.

As a matter of fact, earlier this evening, Don, I'm told by a source that Secretary John Kelly, the new Department of Homeland Security Secretary was up on Capitol Hill meeting with the chair of the House Homeland Security committee, Michael McCaul.

During that conversation it was indicated that they are not going to be adjusting that executive order, at least not at this point. Didn't close the door on it. But for now we're hearing from our sources up on Capitol Hill that that executive order is here to stay. Don?

LEMON: Jim and Pamela, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Here to discuss all of this now is Bryan Garner, the editor in chief of Black's Law Dictionary. He co-authored two books with his friend, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and one with Justice Gorsuch. Also with us is Tom Goldstein, the publisher of SCOTUS blog. So,

gentlemen, your expertise on this much appreciated. I'm so glad to have you here. Good evening.

Bryan, I'm going to start with you. Because you co-authored the books with both of Trump's final picks. So, let's hear from the judge tonight and then we'll talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I respect to the fact that in our legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter the work of the people's representatives.

A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.

[22:20:59] I am so thankful tonight for my family, my friends and my faith. These are the things that keep me grounded at life's peaks and have sustained me in its valleys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So Bryan, knowing him, give us inside scoop. What is the real Neil Gorsuch like?

BRYAN GARNER, EDITOR IN CHIEF, BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY: Well, in saying that, he was echoing Justice Scalia very closely. When he said, "You show me a judge who agrees with every decision he reaches and I will show you a bad judge." That was Justice Acalia.

And Judge Gorsuch is very much in the Scalia mode. A little less of a fire brand, I think than Justice Scalia, a very popular, very well- liked, extremely magnanimous, temperate, circumspect. He like Justice Scalia, he writes with a great deal of panache, he handles ideas and words with great facility. He's very eloquent and I think we can expect a great many fascinating opinions from his pen.

LEMON: Why him over Thomas Hardiman? Why do you think the president picked him?

GARNER: Well, they both would have been wonderful. I know them both well. Judge Hardiman is probably going to find his way onto the short list again if President Trump has another nomination. But Judge Gorsuch is just a wonderful pick. I think either one would have been excellent.

But Judge Gorsuch I can't be happier. In working over the last three years on our book on "Judicial Precedent" together, I can tell you he was wonderful writing colleague just as Justice Scalia was.

LEMON: I want to get Tom here. Tom, you know, is this pick more of the same? And some people may be looking at it that way. I'm sure democrats might be. Ivy League credentials, white male. Is there anything unique here? TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUS BLOG PUBLISHER: Well, he is from the west and

the Supreme Court doesn't have a lot of geographic diversity. But in terms of changing things up getting a justice in the new mold of something that comes at it from an entirely different perspective, probably not.

And that's exactly what I'm sure the president wanted. He looks out and sees a big part of his constituency who voted for him for president based on the prospect that he put somebody on the Supreme Court in the model of Justice Scalia and he did just that. So, I don't think he was looking for a lot of change here.

LEMON: Byran, the late Justice Scalia's wife, Maureen was in the audience. That was really a deaf nod to both to Scalia's legacy no matter what you think of his decision. He was regarded as a brilliant and influential legal mind, but also to the conservatives in President Trump's party who really hung in there and hung their support for him on the issue of the Supreme Court seat.

GARNER: Well, I think you could tell that both the president and Judge Gorsuch were deeply moved by the presence of Maureen Scalia. She's a great woman and she does represent the legacy of Justice Scalia wonderfully.

LEMON: Tom, according to our reporting, the Senate democrats are weighing whether to fight this particular SCOTUS pick since it doesn't change the current ideological balance of the court, they would rather or maybe hold their fire for the next pick.

The problem for them is it is highly unlikely that they're, you know, fired up base is going to see that way for them. How difficult do you think that the confirmation process will be with this one?

GOLDSTEIN: Well, it's a question of how pragmatic they want to be. Republicans have a majority in the Senate. They don't have the 60 votes that currently requires to get somebody under the Supreme Court, but they can change the rules and make it to simple majority.

So, unless there's some really unexpected revelation, that he's going to be on the Supreme Court. The question is, do democrats to show their opposition to what happened to President Obama's nominee for this seat laid down on the tracks and try and fire up their base and they'll be a big fight about that.

In the end I think they'll be a fight but they won't just go completely to the mat. As you suggest there could be in the next three or four years. One, two or three other picks that have the real potential to move the Supreme Court ideologically. This extends a conservative legacy for about 25 years. So, it's a big deal but it's not as huge.

LEMON: Tom and Bryan, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

GOLDSTEIN: Thanks.

LEMON: Up next, Judge Gorsuch has an impressive resume but how would he change the future direction of the highest court in the land?

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President tonight nominating judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Here to discuss now is CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, political director, David Chalian, senior political analyst, Mark Preston, and political commentator Carl Bernstein. The gang is all here. My goodness.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

LEMON: So, here we go. The nominees to the Supreme Court, here he is. Let's listen and then we'll discuss this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORSUCH: Standing here in a house of history, and acutely aware of my own imperfections, I pledge that if I am confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great country.

For the last decade, I worked as federal judge in court that spans six western states, serving about 20 percent of the continental United States and about 18 million people. The men and women I've worked at every level in our circuit are an inspiration to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Gloria Borger what's your reaction to this appointment?

BORGER: Well, I think that Donald Trump promised he would appoint a conservative judge and he did. And I think for the people, conservatives who were worried about Donald Trump and whether it was a candidate they could trust, now with the appointment of Gorsuch they trust him.

I think the thing about Gorsuch that made it such a smart decision on Donald Trump's point is that part, is that he was appointing someone to replace Justice Scalia, and in Gorsuch he appointed somebody who channels Scalia.

LEMON: Right.

BORGER: I mean, he did clerk for Kennedy and for White but he actually admires Scalia as his kind of role model here. And he's an originalist, he's a strong defender of religious exemption, he has not ruled on the topic of abortion but he does believe -- he does not believe in assisted suicide which Evangelicals believe is a key to what he's going to about abortion.

So, from Donald Trump's point of view and from republican point of view this was the perfect choice for Donald Trump to make it united. It united the right wing of the party with the establishment wing of the party. And I think from a democratic point of view this smart man is going to

be very, very difficult for them to filibuster if they were to decide to do that.

LEMON: And if he wasn't pro-life that they didn't think he was pro- life they would not have made this appointment.

BORGER: Exactly, exactly.

LEMON: So, let's look at his resume, OK, David. He is federal appeals judge in Denver. Ivy League credentials. His mother was the first female administrator of the EPA under President Reagan. And the president delivering on what was arguably, I mean, you know, his most important campaign promise here.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Without a doubt. I think one of the smartest things Donald Trump did politically during the campaign was put out that list of judges that he was going to choose from. And he told everyone.

And so, all the members of the republican establishment that were not comfortable with Trump's candidacy, this, you know, the Supreme Court is the ball game for so many partisans in this country.

[22:29:57] And so by having that list out there, and say this has been blessed. This has been looked at by every conservative think-tank, every republican had a chance to make it known whether or not they thought somebody in there was a potential future suitor or not.

And you know, I think that that was a really smart move politically that we're seeing pay off now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

CHALIAN: Because by then selecting this guy, who's clearly qualified, meet those credentials. Hard to really call him outside of the mainstream of judges. By picking him off the list, as Gloria said, he makes it tough for democrats, he keeps all those republicans on board who are thrilled with the pick and notice also when this is coming.

He is reading this a pretty successful rollout tonight after a pretty tough 12 days in office.

LEMON: You're reading -- you're reading my mind. As you both are sitting here saying, you know, how great of a choice this is on his part.

BORGER: Right.

LEMON: Right? After the last 12 days when there's been so much criticism.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Why do you think they moved it up today?

LEMON: Yes. I'm wondering if he is -- if Donald Trump, he watch to CNN so much, saying he's going, is this CNN who is saying -- who is saying this?

BORGER: Well, that's why they move this.

LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about the ideological makeup of the court and where he place in determining the future of this court, Mark.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, right now, I mean, if you are liberal, if you are a democrat this is what most concerns you at this point. Right now, the court is made up of nine justices and it has been four and four basically.

The fourth for the democrats of the liberal wing has been Anthony Kennedy, who has been, you know, who is appointed by Ronald Reagan but was a reliable swing vote, you know, as we know. The problem for democrats or liberals is that he's 80 years old, right.

So, eventually he will -- he will, you know, he will leave the court. Also you know, you have rate -- Ruth Bader Ginsberg -- excuse me, on the liberal side as well. She is 83 years old. Stephen Breyer is 78 years old. That is what the big issues is right as we're going forward over the next couple of years, and why this election was so important.

It wasn't just so important that republican were able to take the Ehite House back but when you're the president you can shape the court in your mold right now. And as David has discussed over the past day we talked a lot about it, this is just a one for one, Scalia is being replaced by basically another Scalia, we're not seeing the court shift necessarily in balance but the next two picks could be.

LEMON: That's why the democrats have to be very careful about their strategy moving forward, whether they want to do it here or for the next one.

The president has spoken many times before he was president and now about what kind of person he wanted to replace Justice Scalia. Let's listen and then we'll discuss it, Mr. Bernstein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia. They will have a conservative bent, they will be protecting the Second Amendment, they will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted. I'm pro-life. The judges will be pro-life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Yes. So he was not on the original list back in May of 2016, but everyone seems to agree at this table and the people have been watching in among different networks, right. They seem to think that he fits the bill. Do you agree? CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is a cunning choice.

This is Donald Trump at his most cynical. Donald Trump, who through his life has been not pro-life, it's a late conversion that he came to. And by this action he gets to keep his republican base from chipping away and running away the way they have been all week.

For a few days may be. This is part of a titanic struggle that's going on in the country. It has to be seen in the context of what is really Trumpism. And Trumpism to succeed is dependent on the republican votes in the Congress. That's why this is a smart move.

However, we have hundreds of thousands of people in the streets and they are going to be on the streets on the issue of abortion which is the underlying subtext of what we're seeing here. Because Roe v. Wade is up for grabs and this justice is one more way of perhaps overturning Roe v. Wade. And people were in the streets for the reason that they -- 70 percent, 65 percent of Americans are pro-choice.

LEMON: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: And so this is not going to satisfy those people.

LEMON: That...

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: But you got to remember interest groups, outside groups that really dominate, they raise a lot of money, they go on the airwaves on both the right and the left when it's time for Supreme Court battle.

As Carl is pointing out, there is going to be a battle. We shouldn't at all give the impression that this is not going to be hard fought battle, tough questions at confirmation hearing because there is so much vested interest from outside groups to generate their lists, get their partisans revved up. It's a huge recruiting tool.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But on the streets when you see those folks that...

CHALIAN: But I just want to say you will also see a lot of Kabuki Theater with this.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

CHALIAN: Because if indeed the pick goes as smoothly as the rollout went tonight, and if indeed nothing really comes up to disqualify him in some way, then you're going to find groups doing that not because they think that they are going to ultimately defeat him but because they are at their battle stations. That's what we see...

(CROSSTALK)

[22:35:01] LEMON: So, the challenge with the Democratic Party mostly with the people who are their base now.

BORGER: Yes.

LEMON: Which I think it's who are out there, the millions out there in the streets protesting.

BORGER: Yes. And Chuck Schumer is in kind of a tough spot. And he's got to decide whether he wants to play the long game. And the long game is that on this particular nominee, where, as Mark points out you're not talking about the ideological balance of the court.

Where the appointment is a true intellectual and thoughtful and conservative, but a true intellectual. Nobody can say that this man is not qualified, OK? Whether the democrats take the long view and don't filibuster this one in hopes that by having this man on the court, who clerked for Justice Kennedy, that perhaps Justice Kennedy as Mark points out, who is 80 years old, might decide that he could retire with somebody like that on the court.

And then in the next round, in the next round whether it's Hardiman or somebody else, then the democrats can decide to go for it.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: You will not change yet.

LEMON: Yes.

BORGER: Right.

LEMON: But here's the -- but democrats play the long game with this, when they didn't with Merrick Garland when they didn't push enough with Merrick Garland and they lost.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: And they're bitter. And they're bitter.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

BORGER: That's right. You're right.

BERNSTEIN: This is recruiting tool on the Merrick Garland question. Because democrats can now go into the streets and say you hypocrites we had exactly the same candidate. Erudite, a great judge, a great writer, and now you hypocrites have run through this and you wouldn't let the President of the United States, Donald Trump who preceded you to have his nominee.

So this only exacerbates this huge struggle that's going on in the country. And one last point, more than Chuck Schumer. The democrats need leaders from the bottom up. They don't have it.

LEMON: Yes. I've got one quick question to you. And I want to put this up. This is from Mark Cuban, you know, the billionaire Mark Cuban.

BORGER: I never heard of him. LEMON: Yes, that matters. He said, "The dems are smart, they will ask POTUS what they can get from him in exchange for a quick SCOTUS approval. Negotiate with the negotiator. Talk amongst yourselves."

PRESTON: Here's the deal. It's too easy for it to work. The democrats to the point that we're talking about their base right now.

LEMON: yes.

PRESTON: The democrat's biggest problem right now is their base. To Carl's point, they don't have leadership at the grassroots level. I would argue there is no leadership at the top either right now. I mean, there are leaders, you know, we saw Nancy Pelosi carry the message, you know, just now for democrats, but there's not a new generation right now...

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Can I say to Mark.

LEMON: I got to get to break. Can we -- you will be the first voice on the other side of the break.

BORGER: Sure.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back now with our breaking news tonight. President Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court which could change the balance of power on the court in the coming future. It depends on who is nominated and who gets on the court next.

Back with me now my panel. Gloria Borger, David Chalian, Mark Preston, and Carl Bernstein. You were in a fight with Mark Preston? No, we're talking...

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: I was never thinking...

LEMON: We're talking about Mark Cuban tweets; basically Mark Cuban is saying that democrats should probably see what they can negotiate from...

BORGER: Negotiate.

LEMON: ... republicans now from the president now to get a quick SCOTUS approval. There is the tweet right there.

BORGER: There is something, and I -- you know, Mark Cuban, great guy, smart, brilliant. There is something about negotiating for a Supreme Court seat that seems so base when you're talking about something for the ages. Somebody who sits on the Supreme Court it's not just a deal, it is

somebody who is going to change the way we live over a generation. And so...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You're saying that's not negotiable?

BORGER: It's about, actually it's about belief. Nothing in politics is really about belief except for a Supreme Court nominee which is about belief. So I don't think you can negotiate away belief.

BERNSTEIN: You can't negotiate this because he's unstoppable. You can't stop this nomination from going through.

BORGER: No.

BERNSTEIN: So, you're not going to break their pick to the extent the democrats that they are going to cut themselves off at the knees. They want to use this moment to rally the troops and perhaps even find some younger leaders...

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: And they don't have leverage.

LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. You say they're not going to stop it. But how long can they go on and to have people...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: What they want to do is present their case. Talk about Merrick Garland, talk about the dual standards, talk about abortion.

LEMON: Get the people in the streets on out there.

BERNSTEIN: But this is their recruiting tool.

BORGER: But they don't have the votes.

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: The Democratic Party has a little bit too much credit for all being on the same page.

LEMON: Right.

BORGER: Right.

CHALIAN: I think you have to separate out.

LEMON: That's my next question.

CHALIAN: I think that some portions of the party absolutely want to do that. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, even Chuck Schumer may -- but when you look at the 10 senders running in Trump states, Heidi Heitkamp or Joe Mansion or, I don't think they're as interested in that.

And that's why I think that -- I do think it will likely get through because I think the Democratic Party right now especially in the Senate -- I'm talking about is a little divided on what their goals are.

BERNSTEIN: Right now the Democratic Party is in the streets. The Democratic Party is not on Capitol Hill.

BORGER: Right.

BERNSTEIN: So its power is in the streets and a former president of the United States has said go into the streets.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Right. But they want to keep -- they want to get in control of the Senate.

LEMON: I think that's a very astute assessment. That's really where the power is, right. People out there.

BORGER: But they want to keep -- they want to get control of the Senate. So, to be on the streets.

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

BORGER: But they've got to save these democrats. And the way to save these democrats is to not put them in tough situations...

BERNSTEIN: Exactly.

BORGER: ... in red states.

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: The party is not yet picking that I think.

BORGER: And that's a problem. It's hard.

CHALIAN: To harness all that energy in the streets. You saw the republicans do this with the tea party, right?

BORGER: Right.

CHALIAN: And so the Republican Party and it was tricky, you remember 2009, 2010, it was a tricky negotiation between the Republican Party and the two party in had to bring that energy in without being singed by it in some ways, right? And it didn't always happen.

PRESTON: Right.

CHALIAN: And I think now the party, the challenge for the democrats is, Nancy Pelosi said it tonight at the town hall. The march on the inauguration weekend happened organically, it wasn't politicians organizing it. Now the democrats need to figure out how to channel that energy in the street.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: But he used it for PolitiFact back to leadership.

CHALIAN: Right.

PRESTON: Right. But if you go back a few years when they were kind of in a similar conundrum, you had Howard Dean who had these grassroots, you know, bases, and he kind of understood Washington. There was a connecting point that was able to...

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: Right now...

LEMON: Bernie Sanders understands Washington, isn't it?

PRESTON: What's that?

LEMON: Bernie Sanders understand Washington, he's got grassroots.

BORGER: Yes. Yes.

PRESTON: Correct. But will we see Bernie Sanders do what Howard Dean did? Bernie Sanders is a Senator. Howard Dean ended going up into the Democratic National Committee and building out state parties, you know, across the country. That is what work.

I don't see a grassroots activist right now, I mean, to your point, you;re right. But the power is in the grassroots but there isn't somebody there who is leading it.

[22:45:04] And quite frankly, if you look at Capitol Hill and you are a democrat in the Midwest you are looking at California and you are looking at New York as your two leaders of the party.

BORGER: Yes.

PRESTON: And to you, that doesn't necessarily represent all you...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I want to ask about this.

BERNSTEIN: The party is becoming irrelevant on Capitol Hill and needs new blood.

LEMON: OK. I want to go on. I'll do this, I'll do that later. But the interesting thing to -- no, no, we can talk about it in the next block. You guys are going to be here.

But what was interesting to me as I was out and about this weekend, people are saying, I'm surprised you're not at the airport, I'm surprised you're not at the march. And I said, you know, I do need a day off. And couple of people confided and say, hey, you know what? (CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Why do you need a day off, Don?

LEMON: There's no one -- there's no one -- no one was leading the rallies. Our information weren't sure who was the leader and what's going on. So, what do they do? And I said to them well, all of these guys go out and vote? Are you registering people to vote? What are you doing?

BORGER: Well, I think a lot of these people went out and voted. Look, if you look at the early polling that's coming out, for example, on the -- on the immigration executive order, the country is split, the country is split on it.

And yes to Carl's point, the Democratic Party needs new leadership; it's searching for new leadership. The Democratic Party can't figure out who is going to chair the Democratic National Committee. There's a fight over that. And without Barack Obama there, they have a -- they have a generational problem right now.

LEMON: That was interesting. Because that was the conversation just before the election, republicans are you know, they're trying to figure out who is the leader. What's going on at the Republican Party.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: And they went to a 70-year-old guy, right?

PRESTON: But to think Barack Obama, I agree with you. Isn't it interesting that Barack Obama, the former President, former presidents usually don't weigh in on current affairs. They go off and write books, they're quiet.

Barack Obama said he would stay engaged and then he put out a statement the other day where he called on what Carl says, people going into the streets. So, it's interesting that that, could it be Barack Obama, you know, his presence that pulls the party together?

CHALIAN: What I thought was the driving force of that statement, although he praised the protest, I think it was the Trump administration using Barack Obama as an example of defense as what he did with the refugees.

And I think what we are going to see from Barack Obama is that when his own legacy items are on the table and the Trump folks are going to try to build a different narrative around it...

LEMON: Yes.

CHALIAN: I think that's when you're going to see him engage. And I think that is what prompted him back in the debate to...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes. They were falsely saying that he's at the ban or, you know, the executive order was similar to what he did as president.

BORGER: But I was speaking to somebody yesterday who helped Barack Obama with his goodbye speech and he said it was very carefully thought out because Obama signaled it, he said, if you do anything that challenges American values like a ban -- a Muslim ban, I'm going to - I'm going to talk, I'm going to speak. And he did.

LEMON: Yes.

BORGER: But he said the president laid out a few areas and this happened to have been one of them. So, he did even though with two weeks.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: It was a quick response.

BORGER: And I was told he would rather be George W. Bush and not say anything.

BERNSTEIN: Obama has the high ground of being a moral leader right now.

LEMON: I got to go, Carl. But when we come back I want to talk about you know the conflict of interest thing that many people were concerned about, Trump, his businesses and the conflicts of interest who is going to run them. While there were some people who were spotted in the audience tonight at the announcement for the appointment to the Supreme Court and it's raising some concerns. We'll talk about that when we come right back.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And we're back now we're talking about the Supreme Court judge appointee tonight, also a political fire storm over the president's firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates. She has no signs of cooling down.

Back now with me now my panel. So, I want to ask you guys about this Trump's two sons, Donald, Jr. and Eric sitting in the audience for tonight's announcement and they both tweeted about, you know, this from the White House. Some reporters also tweeted pictures of them speaking with Orrin Hatch.

President Trump has promised that he will separate himself from businesses. Eric and Donald won't be involved in this political agenda, that's what he said, or he won't be in the businesses as well. What do make of their attendance?

PRESTON: I don't have issue with them attending, I mean, this -- I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Speaking with lawmakers?

PRESTON: No, I don't I mean, I think -- I think, you know, there are greater issues.

BERNSTEIN: Let's look at the bigger picture. If Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton and Clinton Foundation had the same arrangements as Donald Trump and his children have now with billion dollar businesses impeachment proceedings would be brewing. And that is the underlying thing.

I mean, how in the world is this president going to get away with what is beyond a conflict of interest, it is abhorrent.

CHALIAN: Yes, I'd like to call that President Trump has not yet fully resolved. That this is going to continue to come up, the conflict of interest issue with his businesses and his cons.

BORGER: Sure, it might.

CHALIAN: I think when you're the president of the United States, I don't see this very different than showing up at the inauguration or showing at the moment that marks you first 100 days. He's the president of the United States, his sons wanted to come and mark this historic moment. He doesn't get too many Supreme Court picks. It's a big deal. It's a big function of this pick...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It's not inauguration. Come on.

BORGER: Yes. But it's a historic moment.

CHALIAN: It is a big moment for a president to name a Supreme Court justice.

LEMON: OK. So, another historic moment and then another, and another.

CHALIAN: OK.

LEMON: Kind of like this is when people...

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: No, but there's...

LEMON: I'm just playing devil's advocate here when people say, and you know the criticism is, you guys are normalizing this. This is not normalize.

BORGER: His children.

CHALIAN: Yes.

LEMON: This is not normal. They should divest. If he says the people running his business. Let's just say...

BORGER: Ok.

LEMON: Let's just say it wasn't his sons but it was the people who are running his business and they weren't related to him, would you want them showing up and mingling and talking into senators?

CHALIAN: I don't think it would matter that they were at the -- at the announcement of the Supreme Court justice.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But there were people who are not -- who are not related to him.

CHALIAN: With senators and conducting business? That would be another matter. But I certainly...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: People who are not related to him who are running his businesses speaking to sitting senators?

BORGER: But he had (Inaudible).

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: I don't know that they would be as interested in showing up to the White House for a Supreme Court...

LEMON: But are you asking, but that's not the question.

BORGER: That's a hypothetic...

LEMON: I'm asking you if people running his business, they were not related to him, they showed up at this and they were talking to lawmakers afterwards and mingling, would you have a problem.

PRESTON: The bigger issue is not the reception.

LEMON: Answer my question. Would you have a problem with that?

PRESTON: I am answering your question.

LEMON: OK. But answer my question.

PRESTON: The bigger issue is not what was said today, you know, to Orrin Hatch. The bigger issue is when they're sitting down with some Pakistani businessman or some Indian businessman...

BORGER: Yes.

PRESTON: ... and there are some kind of transaction that goes down and it goes down in their favor in a very good way it's because of their...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hold on. I'm saying if they were not related to him...

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: I would not -- I would not have any problem.

LEMON: ... if these people who are just running his businesses and they showed up and they were talking to lawmakers you wouldn't have an issue? Did you have any issue with that?

[22:55:04] BERNSTEIN: I'm not -- and that's the whole picture is toxic. I think you got read David Brooks in the New York Times today. The conservative columnist who says that he is hearing and he has serious doubts that Donald Trump is going to make it through four years of this presidency.

LEMON: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: That's Donald -- that's David Brooks. So, I think we got to look at the dynamic of what's going on all this week and last 10 days. And he's had a good night tonight for his troops...

LEMON: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: ... but the game goes on, and right now that he is in a place that no president has ever been.

BORGER: But these are two different things. His kids showing up to watch their father nominate someone to the Supreme Court, to me is one thing.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

BORGER: And if I were nominating someone to the Supreme Court I think I would hope my kids might want to watch it to tell you the truth because it's a moment of importance, historic importance.

And if you can get a seat there because your father happens to be president, go for it. It is completely separate from what Carl is talking about and what everybody else is talking about, which is the conflict of interest issues.

You know, if the boys want to call up Orrin Hatch, they'll get him on the phone. Trust me. So, I think there is an apple and orange here in my humble opinion.

LEMON: If I were president of the United States and kids were running the business, I would tell them not to show up, it does not look good.

BERNSTEIN: It's clear Donald Trump doesn't give a damn. Be realistic.

LEMON: Yes, that's exactly and maybe...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: That's the theory.

LEMON: I would say don't show up. Much like Sasha didn't show up for her last speech.

BORGER: Is she running his business? LEMON: No, I think she had a conflict of interest with her homework,

right. Dad said, you do your homework and stay home. And that was a good call.

PRESTON: Remember this was the Donald Trump that said I could run my business and be president of the United States and do a great job.

LEMON: Yes.

PRESTON: And by the way, I'm the president and there are no laws that govern me. So, let's put it that way.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, everyone.

BORGER: All right.

LEMON: When we come right back, he may be the most powerful man in Washington may be the world and he's not President Donald J. Trump.

[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)