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Trump Attacks Clinton at News Conference; Trump Have Four Candidates for National Security Adviser; Trump will Speak at Boeing Plant at South Carolina. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired February 17, 2017 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:02] KAREN FINNEY, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER AND SPOKESWOMAN, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: -- and it changes the subject. I mean, again, we're now today -- we're not actually talking about the fact that over the weekend, I mean, he mentioned North Korea, at Mar-a-Lago with, you know, Prime Minister Abe sitting there. He is talking about --

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Karen, do you think --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- classified the subject? We're still talking about Russia, which I assume he doesn't want folks to be talking about, you know.

FINNEY: We're not talking about -- we're also talking about this press conference. We're also -- we're not talking about the fact that he may have compromised classified information and having the conversation about what to do over North Korea in the middle of a dining room with full of other diners. We're not talking about, you know, the questions that have plagued him over the last few weeks, about his inability, his seeming inability to run an effective White House.

And look, I think quite frankly, Kate, that's why you're going to -- he's doing an event today. I think that's why he is going to do a campaign event over the weekend, again, to try to, you know, fire up his base and throw out the red meat and, you know, again, change the subject from some of these serious topics.

BOLDUAN: The White House, of course, saying that meeting at Mar-a- Lago there was nothing classified to discuss when they were in the dining room just (INAUDIBLE) clarification.

FINNEY: I'm sure not. I'm sure it was all very unclassified conversation.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this. The House Oversight Committee, they want to pursue charges. This is new. They want to pursue criminal charges now against the Clinton aide who set up her private e-mail server for -- and they want to pursue the criminal charges because he has refused to appear before the committee. Do you think that he should testify now that Hillary Clinton is no longer in the public eye? FINNEY: You know here is the thing. If Jason Chaffetz thinks that that is the best use of his time and the time of his committee, then so be it. Here's what I think though, Kate.

I think in a point, just as with Donald Trump continuing to bring up Hillary Clinton, it's going to backfire because, you know, what Chaffetz is doing is really setting up the argument for Democrats in 2018 or he is part of setting up the argument for why you need a check on Republican rule in Washington.

Because essentially, look, he has made it clear he is not going to go after, you know, any of these other questions that are being asked about the content in terms of the conversations with Russia, that he wants to potentially go after the leakers.

But if he thinks going after Pagliano after all of this time instead of, you know, helping to move forward an agenda that actually, again, affects people's lives, that starts to sound a lot like the last time Republicans got themselves in trouble with the culture of corruption when it was all about them taking care of each other and their cronies rather than getting things done for the American people.

And, you know, you've seen a number of Republicans say, frankly, that they don't want to challenge Trump because they've got their own legislative agenda that they want to get through, and they know they need President Trump on their side to get that done.

BOLDUAN: Well, if this is setting Democrats up for 2018, you already need to be looking past to that because tomorrow he's got campaign rally, you may be looking at 2020 already.

Karen Finney, great to see you. Thank you.

FINNEY: Take care.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. All right. The President search for a new National Security Adviser. Donald Trump reveals today he is working with a short list of four candidates now. Who wants to be the next National Security Adviser? Does that have a good show ring to it? We'll have the details next.

And we are waiting for the President to arrive there in North Charleston, South Carolina, waiting for the President's remarks for the Boeing Plant there. He is there to help unveil a new very large plane, the Dreamliner.

[12:33:25] But there are, of course, politics that will never be far behind when the President goes anywhere. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: President Trump in South Carolina today. He just arrived at the Boeing Plant. Do you see him? Just kidding. We don't see him yet. Where the company is going to be rolling out this new 7787 Dreamliner jet. He's going to help with that unveiling and the President is expected to speak at this unveiling. We'll take you there live as things get underway.

After one resignation and one hard pass on the job, President Trump is, though, still shopping for a National Security Adviser. In a morning tweet President Trump says, "Four candidates, including the acting National Security Adviser, General Keith Kellogg are quote in his words, "very much in play." One man who isn't, is retired Vice Admiral Bob Harward. Last night, he declined the offer to succeed Michael Flynn.

Joining me now with all the latest on this Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. So Jim, where does this search go from here?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question, Kate. Actually, we were told by a White House official just a few moments ago that President Trump may meet with some of the candidates for the permanent job as National Security Adviser over the weekend down in Mar-a-Lago. So that is the latest update we have on that.

For now, what I'm told by White House officials is that retired General Keith Kellogg is the acting National Security Adviser, and he may have that job for some time because, according to one White House official I spoke with last night, they really don't have a permanent candidate in sight. There are candidates that are talked about, contenders that are talked but at this point there is nobody leading the pack or imminent in terms of being named at this point.

BOLDUAN: Well, one job still unfilled. One job that they do have now filled at the White House is communications director, and this has been a long -- an ongoing conversation if it was needed to be filled or not. You broke the story. What do we know?

ACOSTA: Yeah. It's going to be Mike Dubke. We were able to confirm this overnight through a couple of senior administration officials. And then the White House confirmed it earlier this morning. Mike Dubke is somebody who has been known in Republican circles for some time.

He was part of something called Crossroads Media, which is a T.V. ad maker down in northern Virginia, has done ads for American Crossroads, which is the super PAC that is run by Karl Rove. As well as for other candidates in conservative and Republican causes.

And this is an interesting hire. We understand that he is aligned with the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. And so that sort of gives you a sense for people out there who are interested in the palace entry as to why maybe the power center is right now inside this west wing.

But I think it's an important hire because as you know, Kate, Sean Spicer was doing both of these jobs, White House Press Secretary and White House communications director.

[12:40:09] And if you talk to just about anybody here in Washington, they will tell you that is just too much for one person to handle. Recall during the Obama administration, you know, Jay Carney, Josh Ernest, they were the Press Secretaries, while Jen Palmieri who was a very well-known figure here in Washington, was the Communications Director.

So you really do need two big players in both of those jobs. And one of the criticisms for Sean Spicer in these early weeks of the administration is that he was taking on too much by trying to do both jobs at once.

BOLDUAN: So now Sean Spicer can just take a vacation because it's easy sailing from here on out.

ACOSTA: Not exactly.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Thank you, Jim. We're going to be talking to another former White House Communications Director about this issue in just a second. Great to see you, Jim. Thank you.

ACOSTA: OK. Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: So President Trump is expected to talk planes and jobs in South Carolina. This, of course, after he wraps up a tour of the Boeing Plant, a big Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. We're going to take you there for the tour, the remarks, and the planes.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:45:32] BOLDUAN: Remember this 2016 flashback?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATE: They're going to build that plant. They're going to devalue the hell out of their currency. And all of a sudden, you'll be reading a big front page story all over the place that Boeing is going to leave, right, South Carolina. They're going to make all that planes in China because that's what they do. That's what they do. And our leaders aren't smart enough to stop it, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That was one year ago today. Then, candidate Trump in South Carolina, he's back there today to tout the jobs that didn't go to China. It does a job that state. We're going to be seeing him any minute at the Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina as they will be unveiling the new Boeing 787, the newest version of the Dreamliner.

When I think Dreamliner and dreamy, I think Richard Quest. He's joining me now. He's Editor-at-large of CNNMoney, of course, an aviation enthusiast, of course also the host of "Quest Means Business". All right Quest, forget the politics. Tell me about this plane. What's new here? RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Oh, I'm glad you start here with the plane because the hash tag up kicks (ph) over there will be rising to this occasion.

We're talking about the Dreamliner 10, the 787-10. Now, it's a larger aircraft, 330 seats in three class configuration. But, it goes slightly less distance than the Dreamliner 787-9.

Now, don't let your eyes glaze over too quickly my dear. There are three variants of the 787. There's the eight, the nine, and the ten.

So far, the most popular in terms of sales and orders has been the nine, but the ten could be moving into a sweet spot in aviation where airlines want to carry more passengers. But, you don't want necessarily to need the vast distances of say, for example, the 777 LR.

So, this is why it's a significant plane for Boeing. Those who bought it, airlines like British airways are extremely enthusiastic about it. And the other important thing, of course, is where it's being made in South Carolina. The factory that is just recently voted not to become unionized, the factory that Boeing literally went to the mat to get started over its traditional factories at Everett on Renton over on the Pacific Northwest.

BOLDUAN: All right. So this is also been quite history between this president and Boeing already to this point regarding --

QUEST: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- his Air Force One multiples, two of them, and money. Does this signal that all is well now? What do you hearing?

QUEST: Oh, I think it's a very large signal. It not exactly kiss and make up. Dennis Wilberg the Chief Executive did a brilliant job of damage limitation over the Air Force One fracas. Immediately got on the phone, immediately to look at coast control, immediately suits the presidential nerves over the all presidential angle resentment whatever, over that particular plane.

Now, he's got this variety of other deals on the table as well. You've got obviously at Boeing is -- the thing to understand about Boeing is that it's like no other company in the United States because its defense contracts, it explore of civil aviation, its space business, which is why Boeing and the presidencies have traditionally got on well so far.

Boeing stopped today in a down market. It's up about a dollar. I think what you're seeing is Donald Trump today saying to Boeing, hey, play fair with me. I'll play fair with you. If we haven't exactly kissed and made up, at least we can show we are best friends for the moment.

BOLDUAN: For the moment. That's the operative word there. Richard Quest, great to see you. Thanks, Richard. [12:49:21] All right. We're keeping an eye on that stage and the great South Carolina flag where the president will be appearing really any minute. Any minute we are watching for that and the unveiling of that new plane that Richard Quest so enthusiastically describes for us always. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: The President takes the spotlight to North Charleston, South Carolina, today. We're just minutes from now. He'll be speaking at the Boeing plant there that makes the 787 Dreamliner, the latest one. We'll keep our eye there.

Let's keep turn our eye here to the panel. Caitlin Huey-Burns is here National Political reporter with RealClear Politics, Rana Foroohar, CNN Global Economic Analyst and Financial Times Columnist and Mark Preston a CNN's Senior Political Analyst.

Guys great to see you. Mark, what is today about for this White House?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's about jobs and Donald Trump talking about how he's keeping American jobs here in the United States. You know, Boeing is a huge employer here. They have a very diversified portfolio as Richard Quest talked about it.

It's not just airplanes, its weapon systems and they have a lot of contacts with the government. Now, they did have a bit of a rocky start I should say Kate as there was some effort by Donald Trump to try to keep costs down on the new air force one. And Boeing has capitulated and said they're going to try to keep the costs down on it. They are building in a new way Air Force One.

So Donald Trump is going to talk about all of his efforts today to keep jobs here in the U.S.

BOLDUAN: And, Rana, as Mark lays out, he's going to talk about his efforts to keep jobs here, Boeing keeping jobs here. One year ago today, Donald Trump was in South Carolina warning Boeing is going to send jobs to China if they don't do something about it. So is this Dreamliner has made of America success story?

[12:55:06] RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Not really. I mean, the thing is this is one of the most complexed global supply chains ever before in aviation history.

BOLDUAN: How?

FOROOHAR: So the Dreamliner 787 famously had an incredibly complex supply chain over 100 countries were involved in the various parts that make this plane. In fact, they was so complicated in the beginning, the first iteration of the plane couldn't get off the ground. It was too heavy because there were so many people talking to one another.

You know, so the idea that this is a totally made in America product is totally false. And by way, this is a great example of how if we had this import tariff come in on products. I mean, think about that, 100 different companies, parts coming in all the time, taxes on every one of those.

BOLDUAN: Which Republicans are considering right now.

FOROHOOR: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: As they consider tax reform. Caitlyn, what strikes me about this moment today is this very non-traditional president is doing something very traditionally presidential. Going to tout jobs, going to tout the work that he has done, going to tour a plant, maybe wear a strange hat and put on some strange goggles and going to shake some hands and make remarks. Does this help him?

CAITLYN HUEY-BURNS, REALCLEAR POLITICS: Well, it comes after a week of really turmoil within the administration. As we know, he's try -- he's trying to going to turn the page, go back to South Carolina for the Boeing unveiling but also South Carolina was a state that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.

He won the primary there. And he is going to be facing a crowd that is going to be very favorable to him. He's going to have a lot of fans in that crowd. And then of course, we know tomorrow he's going back to Florida to go to a rally.

BOLDUAN: To kick off the 20 election.

HUEY- BURNS: He kicked off the 20 -- as if we haven't had enough campaign. But the President finds himself needing to show some success on his part and being among his supporters for him shows that he is doing that.

BOLDUAN: Well, I'm not trying focus just be quickly but sticking on economics. The President yesterday said that he inherited a mess. And everyone of course nod well, that exactly what Barack Obama said when he became President. He actually did.

FOROOHAR: Right.

BOLDUAN: Well, that's my question, how much of a mess -- in your estimation how much of a mess is Donald Trump inheriting.

FOROOHAR: A big zero of a mess. I mean think about it, the unemployment rate right now is 3 percentage points lower, nearly half of what it was when Barack Obama took office. We're at the lowest rate of unemployment since the great financial crisis now admittedly without still have enough jobs --

BOLDUAN: But as the great Steven Moore reminded me this morning and I do -- I respect his opinion very much but look at where things are going. They're showing signs of trending up.

FOROOHAR: They are. But, let's think about where we are in the recovery. Recovery cycles take about eight years. We're actually at the end of what has been a pretty good period. Now, it's possible that we could be going back into another recession in the next few years that's up for crowd, but historically that's where we should be right now.

BOLDUAN: As Caitlyn pointed out, tomorrow marks a very interesting new chapter for President Trump, Mark maybe marking the unofficial kickoff of the 2020 election. He has had campaign -- he has -- I love your face. He has this rally that he's holding at Orlando's airport that is paid for by the campaign.

I do remember right after the election during his first kind of thank you toward Kellyanne Conway saying he does this because these crowds are his oxygen. Is that what tomorrow is about?

PRESTON: Right, the short-term gain. He's going to get from the adulation from all the supporters is really a long-term problem because after we what we saw in that news conference yesterday, he's looking for people to back him up to support him to say what he did yesterday was right. And we're going to see that tomorrow from these crowds.

But, let's talk about a year from now. You know, mark it on the calendar and see where he is and if he's been successful because if he's not successful working with Congress, getting legislation passed, following through on his promises then these crowds that he's seeing now are not going to be there.

BOLDUAN: Well, you actually you make an interesting point. A year from now -- at what point, Caitlyn, in your estimation does like the expiration date hit on I inherited a mess comment. Like how long can a president keep that up before you say I'm sorry the mess is yours?

HUEY-BURNS: Well, he's been trying to say that he's doing things but he's doing them through executive order, right. So Mark brings up a great point. He's going at some point needs some buy in from members of Congress.

His favorability rating among Republicans is sky high right now. And so, you're seeing Republicans on board with a lot of the things he wants to do.

When that number starts to change, that's when you will see some trouble, I think, but also we talk about his core base of support all the time. That base is not really going to go away but there are people that supported him somewhat reluctantly, right. It's not as if everybody that voted for him was as gung-ho has his core base of support.

So, he wants to keep up this kind of momentum but people will be looking to what he actually gets done in the form of legislation to kind of help that as a measure. But, for now, the measures that he has are the measures that he saw on the campaign trail, right? The crowds, positive feedback, certain kinds of polls and so he's using that right now to judge how he's doing.

BOLDUAN: We will see what the President has to say. He'll be heading there to that Boeing plane in South Carolina shortly. Caitlyn, Rana, Mark great to see you guys. Thank you so much.

And thank you all so much for joining me for a double dose of at this hour. Brianna Keilar will take you through the next hour. Thanks all.