tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN February 2, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST
all right, so time to hand it over to don lemon for "cnn tonight." i'll see you tomorrow night. president trump's warning for iran. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. the president planning additional sanctions on ter sxn refusing to rule out military action saying "nothing's off the table." that in the wake of the political firestorm with one of our closest allies, australia. and trump's complaint to mexico's president about that country's handling of what he called tough hom brees. and trump's long time friend howard stern said this on his sirius xm show. >> i personally wish that he had never run. i told him that. because i actually think this is
something that -- it's going to be very detrimental to his mental health too because he wants to be liked. he wants to be loved. >> we're going to talk a lot about that this hour. but let's get right to cnn's dana bash, david gergen, jim acosta and jim sciutto. a lot to get to. good evening to all of you. jim sciutto, i want to start with you. after a week and a half of abrupt changes coming from this administration today, they moved closer to embracing positions long held by the obama administration on israeli settlements, on sanctions for iran, and even towards russia. put this into some perspective for us. >> well, i think we should temper that thought, at least for now. yes, you had for instance his u.n. ambassador today at the u.n. security council nikki haley her first comments before the u.n. security council criticizing russia for its military aggression in eastern ukraine. that is news, there's no question. but we have to balance that against really weeks and months of public statements by president trump. is it a real change?
we'll have to see. it still remains to be seen. on israeli policy yes, a mild statement of criticism against settlement building but in the midst of a promise still not realized on moving the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. central to that debate, what will happen there. similar on the iran deal. yes, they're not abandoning it. and we've seen president trump back off that promise to tear it up over time. but we know that there are power centers in this administration that might want to be more aggressive. so are we seeing a move toward the center or are we seeing an expression of differing power centers in the administration expressing themselves with the result of those battles still uncertain? it's hard to say. some of this is genuine confusion in the messages and the policy positions coming out of this administration. >> but at least what officially we know it appears they're softening at least. and as you said, there are different factions in the white house and we'll have to see at the end of the day, we'll have
to see how it all plays out. but dana, speaking to, that secretary of state rex tillerson first day in office today, the new secretary of defense james mattis, his first official international trip. do you think we're going to see some steadying of the helm? especially if you look at these -- this is sort of moderating statements. not so far -- >> absolutely. and i think to jim's point we do have to be careful about ascribing what -- some of what they're going to say to the president himself, which is kind of unusual -- not kind of. it is a highly unusual thing to say. because a cabinet is historically by definition the people who go out and speak for and execute the policies of the president. right? in this case just for example, i was told earlier tonight that nikki haley when she made the -- u.s. ambassador to the u.n., when she made the speech that she did today at the u.n., sounding like kind of a typical republican or a hawkish democrat
on russia, she did contact the white house. she gave them a heads-up. but that she wasn't necessarily speaking for president trump. she was speaking as somebody who has had these long-held positions, just as she told the white house and president privately before she was picked. and she told the committee that confirmed her she would stick with her more aggressive stance on russia. >> this is what she was speaking, her first remarks in open session at the united nations security council. she said, "we do want to better our relations with russia. however, the dire situation in eastern ukraine is one of the demands clear and strong condemnation of russian actions." which sounds pretty much like the obama administration. >> like the obama administration. like republicans in congress. and it's the reason why president trump and candidate trump was criticized so heavily for being too weak or too soft on russia for the ukraine and crimea.
>> stand by, david. i want to go outside now because he's standing out there and i'm sure it's cold. but i want to talk to jim acosta in front of the white house. jim, you have some new reporting tonight on the president's testy phone calls with world leaders. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that's right, john. they appear to be trying get over this great barrier rift, if you will, between the u.s. and australia. the australian ambassador joe hockey was over here at the white house earlier today. he met with the white house chief of staff reince priebus and the chief strategist steve bannon who apparently passed on the president's admiration for the australian people. that comes after this very big diplomatic dust-up with a key u.s. ally after it was revealed in this phone conversation with the australian prime minister malcolm turnbull that donald trump had some very tense moments with the prime minister conveying his concerns about this plan to bring these refugees from australia into the u.s. but you heard the president earlier today, and we can play that sound, saying this is really no big deal.
here's what he had to say. >> the world is in trouble, but we're going to straighten it out. okay? that's what i do. i fix things. we're going to straighten it out. believe me. when you hear about the tough phone calls i'm having, don't worry about it. just don't worry about it. they're tough. we have to be tough. it's time we're going to be a little tough, folks. we're taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. it's not going to happen anymore. it's not going to happen anymore. >> reporter: so contrast that comment, don, with what occurred here at the white house this afternoon where the australian ambassador came over and note who he met with today, meeting with steve bannon and reince priebus, not with the secretary of state, not with the national security adviser. it just gives you an indication as to how big a role steve bannon is playing at the white house. >> david gergen, you heard jim's reporting that faces of the staffers in the room many of them turned white because of the
language and the tense moments in the phone call. why do you think there are so many leaks from staffers coming out of this white house? are they trying to mitigate damage here? >> i'm not sure it's coming from staffers. dana would know more about this than i would. but several days passed between the phone call and the actual leaks. in those intervening days transcripts are made. they do get sent around the government. so it's very likely that people in the intelligence community, at the state department, and people who are career might well have seen this. and i think there is a great deal of discontent in the civil service, foreign service officers, the intelligence community, and i think they're looking for ways to retaliate. i think they feel they've been downgraded and they're going to show you, mr. president, don't push us around too much. >> let me take the other way here. to give you a little pushback. do you think this may be strategy to make him appear tough or at least tough on even our allies? >> it's possible. anything is possible here. but i think it's unlikely.
it is true that some people from the white house are calling reporters. not the reporters calling them. and leaking things. putting things out there. i think that's well understood around town, isn't it? >> yes. yes. in this particular case, though, i think that's kind of a good house of cards ideal but i think maybe it's giving them a little too much credit, to be able to get this out there and want to look tough. because it does -- in fairness to them, they are playing cleanup right now. so it's not like they entirely wanted it out. >> and the leaks and the phone calls. it's interesting to sit back and watch, especially if you're a reporter, like i'm not even in washington and i get the calls. to watch the palace intrigue play out. let's talk a little more policy because iran has vowed to continue missile tests despite the trump administration's putting them on notice. that's a quote there. here's the president's response when asked about military
action. >> nothing is off the table. >> so iran -- this is for you, jim sciutto. iran, this is what the president tweeted, said "has been formally put on notice for firing a ballistic missile. should have been thankful for the terrible deal the u.s. made with them." jim sciutto, iran is responding to all of this. what are they saying? >> listen, it'll be -- the question is will this work? with iran with the nuclear program what worked over time were economic sanctions where you had the world on board, even some folks who were not -- some countries that are not u.s. allies traditionally in policy moves like this. china included. russia included. so the ballistic missile program was outside of the nuclear negotiations. that was by design. iran wanted it. and the obama administration accommodated that. so now you have them launching those missiles, rattling those sabers again.
will lone u.s. sanctions on iran change that behavior? it's a question. the u.s. doesn't have a lot of business with iran. does it make a difference? it's an open question going forward. >> go ahead. you want to say something? >> yeah. i think there is a lot of caution that's needed here to figure out what they're really going to do is wait for them to put on the sanctions, whatever they do. but i think the bigger question is whether the trump administration really wants to keep the iranian nuclear deal or whether they want to get rid of it. there were some signals coming out over the last few days that maybe they would actually try to learn to live with it. and yet the president tweets out it's a terrible deal. and basically saying we ought to get rid of it. that would be big, big, big stuff. if they tear up the iranian agreement, it's going to be a big, big international -- >> despite what he says, it looks like they may try to keep it in some way. >> yeah. look, even the president might have had a twitter moment. it is always possible that they do end up tearing it up. but even general mattis, who is about as hawkish as they come on
iran, said during his -- during his kocconfirmation hearings to secretary of defense that even he thinks you can't do that because the deal is done. >> i've got to move on. i have to get jim acosta. jim, i want to ask you this question before we get to the break. the president promised a major voter fraud investigation, a debunked claim to 3 to 5 million people voted illegally. he is scheduled to sign an executive order or at least was last week. what more can you tell us about that? >> it's not on the front burner anymore. our indications are over here from talking to our sources, don, that this is no longer a top priority for the president. now, having said that, perhaps he'll tweet overnight tonight that this is back on. per your conversation with dana and david there. but our indication at this point is that he has moved on from th this, he's moved on to other things. and as you were just discussing there with the iran sanctions and this potential impact on the iran nuclear deal i can tell you i was sitting in on a briefing yesterday and a top national
security official said that that iran nuclear deal stays for now, it stands for now. it doesn't stay forever. he didn't say that. but stands for now. but as for voter fraud, last week it sounded like something that was coming immediately, that was imminent. and that's just no longer the case anymore. >> yeah, it's interesting how he tweets a response to stories on a network he says he never watches, right after we discuss it. he's clairvoyant or something. hi. when we come right back, a heartbreaking story on the immigration debate ban. thank you so much. immigration ban. a baby in desperate need of life-saving surgery is barred from entering this country. adios, honey, hasta la vista, baby. (sing-songy) fat guy in a little coat. that rug really tied the room together. any questions? bueller? bueller?
that's the unlimited effect. stream your entertainment and more with unlimited data when you switch to at&t wireless and have directv. plus, get the amazing new iphone 7 on us. afoot and light-hearted i take to the open road. healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine. the north and the south are mine. all seems beautiful to me.
tonight there are signs that donald trump's white house may be moving toward some policies of the obama administration. i want to bring in now fareed zakaria, the host of "fareed zakaria gps." interesting conversation. i'm sure you've seen this "new york times" article. their lead story tonight. it says "trump emarbitrations pillars of obama foreign policy." i'll read part of it. "president trump after promising a radical break with the foreign policy of barack obama is embracing deep pillars of the strategy including warning israel to curb construction of settlements, demanding that russia withdraw from crimea and threatening iran with sanctions for ballistic missile tests." given the developments that's happened around the world in the past few days, do you agree with this? >> oh, yeah. there's clearly been a shift. i would guess that there's
something going on here with the structure of foreign policy making this interesting. the adults are moving in at some level, by which i mean mattis, secretary of defense, tillerson, secretary of state, and the process is becoming somewhat more institutionalized. so my guess is when some of these things are now happening they now include -- the national security adviser maybe sends a message to the state department, to tillerson saying how should we respond to israeli settlements and the state department looks at it and says, well, for 50 years we've responded by saying we're against it. and maybe that's being factored into the process. the nikki haley comments at the u.n. where she condemned russia, russian aggression, talked about how sanctions wouldn't be lifted until russia got out of ukraine. all that feels very much like it's foreign policy continuity. now, we shouldn't really even jinx this by calling it embraces the pillars of obama's policy
because then he's going to say oh, my god, i can't do that. it's really emphasizing continuity in foreign policy, which we want. the country -- particularly in foreign policy the rest of the world depends on the united states for some consistency. >> yeah, let's talk about iran. nothing is off the table. that's how the president has responded. that's what he said about iran. others in the administration when it comes to these missile tests have said the same thing, nothing is off the table. use the same language. what does this mean for the president? what's the next step? >> again, i don't want to jinx it but this is what the obama administration often said, this is what obama always said. he always pointed out he was never ruling out the use of force. and these additional sanctions that have been put in player, the obama administration did put in some additional sanctions when they would see this kind of behavior. it's very important to understand the iran nuclear deal was about freezing iran's nuclear program and relaxing the international sanctions against iran. that worked. iran's program is frozen by
every independent analysis. 98% of its fissile material was destroyed. that's a great thing. we want to preserve that accomplishment. this is about iran's foreign policy and defense policy. they do develop missiles. they are allowed to in a sense. like any country they can do what they want. and the u.s. is punishing them or trying to deter them from doing it. it's part of a policy that president obama has been following. i don't know why flynn drew a line in the sand. >> he said iran is on notice. >> a professor of mine when i was in graduate school had this line which i think is exactly right. in international affairs two things are very expensive -- threats when they fail and promises when they succeed. so when you make a threat be sure you're willing to be called on it. so i don't know exactly what he means. iran has continued to test missiles. if it does this -- >> they vigorously responded saying we're going to -- they responded saying we're going to
vigorously test more missiles. the question is you said, you know, how quickly can this escalate? because it can escalate. >> it can escalate partly because we're dealing with unknown entities, particularly in donald trump, which is how does he react when it is highly unlikely that the iranians will back down because mike flynn said they were on notice. they have been developing missiles for a while. they're a serious country. they want to have a serious defense policy. and they live in a dangerous neighborhood. so in that circumstance if they continue to develop -- if they do another missile test, what is he going to do? are we really going to go to war because of this? are we going to have an attack? and to complicate this further, which is why you want carefully thought through, coherent policy, iran is probably the principal force outside of the united states and iraq that's battling isis. it's iranian militias that go into syria and fight isis. iran is -- much more than the
russians. it's the iranians who have been fighting isis. o'so do you really want to pick a fight with them when trump says his number one objective is to destroy, completely destroy isis. >> this is why it's interesting when people say things on the campaign trail and then they actually sit in that seat and it's a completely different story. speaking of russia, there's news today that the treasury department may start easing some sanctions. what can you tell us about that? >> we don't know for sure. these are proposals that are floating out there. frankly, as with israel, the administration has sent somewhat contradictory signals. initially on israel they seemed so encouraging that netanyahu took that as an opportunity to announce new settlements. on russia they've been very soft. and now nikki haley made this very tough statement. so it's possible that nikki haley's statement now contradicts the reports we got that they were going -- >> can we play that? because there have -- there's been fierce fighting between russian separatists and
ukrainians and the trump administration has said nothing about it until today. here's nikki haley. and then we'll discuss. >> i must condemn the aggressive actions of russia. it is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which united states representatives have needed to do that. it should not have to be that way. we do want to better our relations with russia. however, the dire situation in eastern ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of russian actions. >> so what's your reaction, and what message will that send to vladimir putin? >> this is a message of real continuity. nikki haley's statement was excellent. it was entirely in keeping with not just american foreign policy for the last few years but western foreign policy. remember, we have helped organize a coalition of countries, the european union, that have imposed sanctions on russia. one of the great -- the two great fears that have come about because of trump's kind of
flirtations with putin was the eastern europeans were going crazy. i was in ukraine. poles, eastern europeans, baltic states, they were worried that they were going to be sacrificed on the altar of some kind of trump-putin deal. and the other is that the europeans had been worried that they had managed to unify and maintain a kind of united front against russia and that if america weakened then a lot of european countries were going to say, well, i -- we want to do business with russia, we want to be first to the exits. so the whole structure of western policy toward russia had been eroding. this statement could bring it back online as long as they now stay consistent. >> it's interesting. i feel like i'm talking to you about an obama policy rather than a trump policy. >> this policy, absolutely. >> just in the past couple hours at least today pitch want to ask you about this immigration ban. i want you to take a look at this picture, fareed. this is 4-year-old fatima, an iranian baby -- 4-month-old i should say, iranian baby in
desperate need of heart surgery. her family was trying to get a top pediatric hospital in oregon, trying to get there, where she has relatives who have become u.s. citizens. they were set to begin their trip on saturday before they were shut down. what message is the u.s. sending to the world when we deny a life-saving operation to a 4-month-old baby? >> what message are we sending to the world and what message are we sending to our own citizens? remember, she has many relatives in america who are american citizens. and i think this is one of the things to understand about these blanket bans. when you ban an entire nationality or entire religion or whatever it is. iranian-americans, for example, the iranians here who are american citizens are amazing people. they're a wonderful community. they're all deeply pro american. they for the most part despise the regime, or at least are neutral toward it. they are here because they love america, because they love freedom. so one of them, there are three
i think, three american citizens who tried to get this baby, i think it's a grandchild, to be able to save her life. what are we -- what message are we sending to them? what message are we sending to americans who happen to come from a foreign country, that because they came from somewhere, because they fled a tyrannical regime they are know -- there's a double standard that any other american would have been able to bring their relative in and save their life but they can't because they happen to have the accident of coming from a country that they don't like? >> yeah. as you were talking to me i don't know if you saw the picture, we can put it back up. 4-month-old. she's adorable. i couldn't take my eyes off her. i'm not sure i heard anything you said when they had a picture. look how beautiful she is. we wish her luck and the family luck as well. thank you so much. and our thoughts are with them. thank you so much, fareed zakaria. please stay with me. ahead radio shock jock howard stern has some surprising things to say about his old friend, president donald trump.
fareed zakaria is back with me and we're joined by dana bash. selena zito as well columnist for the "new york post." and presidential historian douglas brinkley who by the way is author of "rightful heritage: frankly d. roos sxrelt land of america." thank you for joining us. good to have you back, fareed. so the president, dana, spoke at the national prayer breakfast. he was introduced by mark burnett, the producer of "the apprentice," and he began by talking about his replacement on that show. >> they hired a big, big movie star, arnold schwarzenegger, to take my place. and we know how that turned out. the ratings went right down the tubes. it's been a total disaster. and mark will never, ever bet against trump again. and i want to just pray for arnold if we can for those ratings. okay? >> so then arnold schwarzenegger hit twitter with this response. >> hey, donald. i have a great idea. why don't we switch jobs?
you take over tv because you're such an expert in ratings. and i take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortably again. hmm? >> wow. everybody's laughing. i mean, it is funny. that was a good zinger. so that happened. you've been at prayer breakfasts before. was this a first? >> yes. >> okay. we'll be right back. >> no question. no question. i mean, where do we even start? it was obviously meant in jest. i mean, let's just -- it was meant as a joke. but it is definitely traditionally more of a sacred kind of event where you don't make jokes like that. it was in part because the executive producer, who is a very religious man, mark burnett, introduced him. the other part that i thought was maybe even more kind of jaw-dropping is when again he
was joking, he was telling the chaplain that he wanted to give him another year and he said oh, the hell with it. talking to the chaplain. i was guessing the chaplain probably wanted the earth to open up himself. not usually what you'd say to a chaplain. but that's donald trump. >> the day before he had the sort of odd statement about frederick douglass. just for the record, when we're talking about ratings here, this is for season 1. "the apprentice" i don't think was ever number 1. the ratings were not as big as he said. season 1, 7, season 3 number 15. season 4 number 38. season 5 number 51. season 6 number 75. season 10 number 113. so -- >> next you're going to point out that his book "the art of the deal" was not in fact the number 1 best-seller of all time and that the buildings are not in fact the tallest buildings in the world. >> so why then at the prayer breakfast? >> he's a fabulist. this is part of his shtick for
his whole life. and i think when it's so engrained i think it's a reflex. i don't think it's something he can change. i think at this point, look, i have pointed this out during the campaign. and it was distressing because you know, the president -- he was running for president and people would tell us oh, no, no, you shouldn't take him literally. but now he is president and when he institutes a ban, you know, against seven countries it is actually a literal ban. it's not a figure of speech when he says something. it's not something you can take -- it is who he is. and i think at least with the lighter moments maybe we should just give up. trump has his pathological problems. we shouldn't have pathological responses to trump's pathologies. >> selena, you're the literal -- you coined that. his brash style, is it translating to the oval office? it worked on the campaign trail. >> i mean, i thought today was funny. i've been to plenty of prayer
breakfasts. it feel felt like arnold was in on the joke too whenever he responded to it. i mean, does it translate -- we're just -- he's just combusted how we think of the white house and how you behave there. and it's not like people didn't understand that's what they were voting for. they knew he was going to be different. they knew he was bringing something different. that's a large part of why they voted for him. >> yeah. >> and by the way, part of it is pulling the curtain back. don't you think? >> oh, absolutely. >> richard nixon did -- hell would have been a very low level word for richard nixon. he used four-letter words all the time. >> harry truman. >> but what trump is saying -- >> just maybe not to a chaplain. >> not to a chaplain, not in public. trump is behaving publicly the way a lot of other presidents behaved privately. >> using his inside voits. >> outside. >> no. he uses his outside voice inside. douglas brinkley, i'm wondering
if democrats are going to need to change strategy because they're dealing with someone who has a very charismatic personality and they're having trouble galvanizing the opposition here. i want you to listen to what nancy pelosi, her description of the president today. >> a public outcry toward the president's dangerous ban over the weekend was massive. and the president is clearly eager to shift attention away. you notice that anytime something gets hot he changes the subject. he changes the subject. he's an illusionist. if you -- now you see it, now you don't. >> yeah. so do they need a charismatic personality to sort of go up against trump now? she has said he's a disruptor, everyone has said, even he has. you never know what's coming. can he sustain that for four or eight years? do they need someone else, a big personality? >> well, to connect to the previous conversation we were just having, i think today when you heard trump about
schwarzenegger it reminded me of ronald reagan. and he would conflate things like "star wars," strategic defense initiative and he would quote from movies as if they were real policy issues because reagan spent his career in hollywood. donald trump does reality tv. this is what he does. he did world wrestling federation. and i don't think in the first role of reality is never be boring. we are a hyper-energized public. you need to have distractions all the time. and hence he does that. at the cia ceremony and at the national prayer service when he does it it's startling but in reality tv world it's don't be boring for an hour, throw something in so guys like us are talking about it. as for pelosi i think the democrats have to start building that bench very quickly. they're going to have to -- 2018 isn't as far away as we think. and they're going to have to have somebody that beats donald trump. what trump's doing cleverly is meeting like today with the
united steel workers union and he's really trying to steal the democratic party's base, the unions from the democrats. and if he can pull that off we don't get -- democrats don't have somebody from the heartland who can step up to the plate, and it's only hard anti-trump voices. it could be like nixon winning in '72 against george mcgovern. it can't just be the far left right now. we've got to find moderate democrats that are willing to start really going after trump. >> can he keep it up, though, for the next four or eight years? being a disruptor, at this pace? >> i don't know because we can't predict. but i think he wants to own every single media day and make sure he has a tweet or an outrageous sound bite that gets average people's attention, maybe makes them laugh, maybe makes them shake their heads or makes them fuhrious. he's a master of keeping the spotlight on himself every day. i'm reminded that john adams was
once said, "the greatness of washington is he knew the power of silence." he knew when to be silent. trump does not know silent. he's going to babble and babble and babble for the next four years, and the question is whether the routine goes badly and the ratings go down like they did on "the apprentice" or whether he can keep it as a popular storyline in america. >> it does stand the risk of becoming chicken little, the sky's falling, the sky's falling. >> and john adams didn't have twitter. >> but i think it's a very interesting point. i've got to get to the break. but if he suddenly became silent everyone would say what is going on. right? it would freak everybody out. okay. we'll discuss more. we'll be right back. don't go anywhere. audi pilotless vehicles have conquered highways, mountains, and racetracks.
as we know from the campaign months ago, donald trump and howard stern go way back. but now the shock jock is speaking out on trump's presidency. back with me now fareed zakaria, dana bash, salena zito and douglas brinkley. so mr. brinkley, howard stern talked about donald trump on his radio show. and as you know, they're old friends. trump appeared on his radio show many times.
and stern expressed some concerns about donald trump. >> i personally wish that he had never run. i told him that. because i actually think this is something that -- it's going to be very detrimental to his mental health too because he wants to be liked. he wants to be loved. he wants people to cheer for him. >> you think this could take him down? >> yeah. >> so you guys may not know this. i'm a howard stern super fan. i think he's one of the best interviews in the business. >> amen. >> and i think he's pretty much always right on. what do you think, douglas? >> well, i wonder why he didn't say it during the middle of the campaign when the stakes mattered. he kind of was silent about his friend donald trump throughout the year, and now he's saying it now when it's a fait accompli. howard stern is an american icon of radio, and i think he's touching on the problem we're all dealing with with donald trump. there are seeds of destruction looming in him.
we see it happening incrementally every day. he may implode. he may not. but we're playing with fire with this presidency right now. >> i think he feeds off of this. i mean, i think he could not -- this is like breathing. he needs this. it's like oxygen. he loves the attention. and i think it helps him. but the question is do you think his desire to be loved or liked will help him back off and maybe moderate himself to -- >> this is a very -- it's an interesting question because i think douglas brinkley's analysis of him was exactly right. but if that were true, what trump should have done after he was elected was reach out to the public, send all kinds of reassuring signals. this is what every president does. which is after every election you get this honeymoon, your approval rates go up, they usually are in the 50s. trump did none of that. he decided instead to go and continue in campaign mode, going and thanking his voters, making
fun of hillary clinton. he's done that ever since. he's really pursued a strategy that is somewhat unusual, which is really targeting his base, ridiculing the opposition, and ferociously attack the media. now, that piece i think is really to delegitimize and pre-emptively insulate himself from any kind of negative coverage, criticism, investigation. but it's a puzzle to me for somebody who clearly wants to be liked, wants to be at the center of things, why he hasn't moved more even just in tonal ways, why he hasn't moved more to the center. i wonder whether either it's being -- he's being who he is or whether steve bannon and people like that have told him, your path in is to remain this angry person who represents this frustrated, angry american out there in michigan and pennsylvania. >> but i think strategy only works -- that strategy only works for so long.
any strategy only works for so long and then you have to evolve. otherwise, you become a one-trick pony. he has fixations about the size of his electoral win. i've got to get them all in here. size of his crowds at the inauguration. his anger at the press about the ratings. right? and he goes back to those over and over and over and not necessarily at the appropriate time or place, as we have been witnessing here. do you think that these fixations, as howard stern says, that ties into it? >> look, i think we're getting into, you know, sort of -- >> analysis. >> psychiatry. which can be dangerous. but you know, we might as well because we're all trying to figure out how this is going to go -- >> strategy. >> it's totally about strategy. but on that i think that fareed is exactly right, that he definitely has people around him saying you've got to keep going and you've got to keep delivering for the people who brought you here and those are the people who want you to be the disruptor, they want you to
not do business as usual, they want you to do things that are different, that's why they were so excited about the notion of you being in the white house. having said that, this is also a 70-year-old man who as you were saying earlier has been this way, as we have seen him on pages of the newspaper and in our living room for decades. he has this kind of -- these two personality traits that seem to be contradictory. one is what howard stern talked about, that he really wants to be liked. but the other is that he also wants to win. and sometimes, many times to win you can't be liked. >> and that's going to have to be the last word. your contribution's going to have to be this and -- thank you, everyone. i appreciate it. when we come right back the movie "the new york times" calls life altering. it may make you rethink race in america. mom, i just saved a lot of money
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you're going to really enjoy this conversation. so sit back and watch this. it's black history month. and this country's grappling like never before with race and how to think about it, like never before. one of the most profound writers and thinkers on the subject was james baldwin. he's the subject of a new movie.
it's called "i am not your negro." and the director, raul pett, skroinz me now. i watched this today. it was fascinating. it's great. and you know this is one of my heroes. why did you make this documentary? and we'll talk about what it's about. why did you do this? >> well, i felt i had no choice than to make this film. i felt that it was time that we hear again this rich voice of james baldwin. we have started somehow to forget him, to forget the role he plays in the life of many people in this country and throughout the world. personally, he changed my life. i read -- the first book i read from him was "the fire next time." and i never left him since then. >> god gave no nor rainbows, signed no more water. the fire next time. that was my second book. my first was giovanni's room and the second was "the fire next time" with "letter to my nephew" and then "another country" and then price of the ticket and
then tell me how long the train's been gone. but he got me interested in writing and also got me interested -- or at least as they say he sort of awakened the learning part of me about race and issues in america. >> and he saw beyond race. he never saw race as a reduced agenda. he taught us to see the whole world and to see each other as human being and not to be reduced by the color of our skin. >> i was just watching your film today. he said, "they say i'm a racist. i'm not. or i'm not a racist. malcolm x is a racist. at least what they say." which was interesting. right? he said they call me a racist but i'm not a racist. it's in his own words. these are notes that he had before he died. and he only got about 30 pages in. and then you took that and you ran with it. >> well, he wanted to write that book about three of his friends, all three assassinated.
medger evers, martin luther king, malcolm x. and it was supposed to be a book about america, and like the definite baldwin book. and he never wrote it. so when i discovered that document, those notes, i thought, well, this is the film because knowing all baldwin i know that somewhere this book was around somewhere buried in his body of work. so the film for me was finding that book. and the film is only with baldwin's words that i got throughout his whole body of work thanks to the estate, who gave me total access to everything, published, unpublished, private letters. and that's unprecedented. that's never happened. >> this is a clip from the movie. and it's about dr. martin luther king jr.'s funeral. >> the church was packed. in the pew before me sat marlon
brando, sammy davis, eartha kitt, sidney poitier. i saw harry belafonte sitting next to coretta king. i have a childhood thing about not weeping in public. i was concentrating and holding myself together. i did not want to weep for martin. tears seemed futile. but i may also have been afraid, and i could not have been the only one. that if i began to weep i would not be able to stop. i started to cry, and i stumbled. sammy grabbed my arm. the story of the negro in america is the story of america. it is not a pretty story.
>> it's unbelievable. he witnessed so much. the death of malcolm x. the death of martin luther king jr. and medger evers. he was alive during the civil rights movement, got to witness and write about that. when i say witness, i mean in his writing. he was ahead of his time in explaining race, took a lot of risks. even his own life. >> absolutely. and he was prescient. he felt all the fundamentals of this -- of those issues. and imagine he wrote all those words 50 years ago. and you feel that as if he sat down this morning and wrote about them. it's incredible that you can use any type of image between the time of the civil rights to today. it will fit -- >> i was watching in the film when he did the interview with dick cavett and there was -- was it a harvard professor? >> from yale. >> yale professor who came in and said why do you keep dividing people by race and whatever. and he just read the guy and explained it to him.
and i felt like you know, i'm still having those conversations. we're still having the same conversations today. >> absolutely. because a big part of the population is in denial. they refuse to acknowledge this common history. and until we are able to do that we will continue to have the same conversation again and again. >> yeah. part of my favorite quote when i go out and i speak to students usually, i read the quote from the book "letter to my nephew." and he says at end of the letter to my nephew he says it will be hard, james -- his nephew is james, younger nephew and he's trying to explain to him about the world. and that he wants him to have strength and there are certain things he's going to have to overcome and he says, it will be hard, james, but you come from sturdy peasant stock, men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroad in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity. you come from a long line of great poets, some of the greatest poets since homer. one of them said the very time i thought i was lost, my dungeon
shook and my chains fell off. and that's an old kneeing negro spiritual there. you know and i know our country is celebrating 100 years of freedom 100 years too soon. meaning the emancipation proclamation. we cannot be free until they are free. god bless you, james, and godspeed. and that is the thing that awakened me. and i try to read it every time i go and speak to students. your film is fascinating. i thank you for doing it. and i would recommend that all people watch, it not just african-americans. congratulations on your work, and good luck. thank you so much. when we come right back, is president trump drawing a line in the sand on iran? and what does he mean when he says tehran is on notice? afoot and light-hearted i take to the open road. healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine. the north and the south are mine.
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