tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN December 23, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
and you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm pamela brown in for ana cabrera. the white house denying a bombshell report that says during an oval office meeting back in june, the president became so enraged by the number of people receiving visas centering the united states, he began to unleash on specific immigrant groups saying that haitians all have aids and
nigerians would never go back to their huts once they have seen the united states. i want to go to boris sanchez. what can you tell us about the forceful response to the story from the white house? >> reporter: pam, the white house refuting this "new york times" reporting. this took place during a meeting between donald trump and his cabinet and the president had just finished reading a document that was prepared for him by domestic policy adviser stephen miller that detailed the visas granted to people of different nationalities and according to the sources that they had in that meeting and those that were briefed on that meeting, the president said the following about haitians. again, this is from "the new york times." "haiti has sent 15,000 people
and they all have aids, he grumbled." and the report details the president's reaction to the number of nigerians granted visas from the united states. "40,000 come from nigeria. once they had seen the united states, they would never go back to their huts in africa, recalled the two officials who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the oval office." cnn reached out to the white house on comments on this bombshell report and sarah sanders gave an identical statement that she did to "the new york times." "general kelly, general mcmaster, secretary tillerson, secretary niel sechltsen deny t claims and it's sad that "the new york times" would print the lies of their anonymous sources
anyway." this coming on the first full day of the president's holiday here in mar-a-lago. almost right away they are on the defensive but at a time when they are supposed to be basking in the dplglow of victory, sign it into law just yesterday. not a good look for a white house that has previously been accused of insensitive to minority groups, pam. >> boris sanchez, thanks for the latest. more breaking news developing in washington at this hour. fbi director andrew mccabe plans to retire and already president trump is on twitter attacking him. he writes, "how can fbi director andrew mccabe, the man in charge along with leaking james comey of the hillary clinton investigation including her 33,000 illegally deleted e-mails be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by clinton puppets
during investigation?" he put out a second tweet. "andrew mccabe is racing to retire with full benefits, 90 days to go." shimon is joining me. normally it wouldn't be news if the deputy director of the fbi retires, but given the current climate, it apparently is. >> it's certainly for people who have been looking into the clinton investigation on the hill where he has actually faced some problems, has come under scrutiny because his wife, as you may recall, the deputy director's wife ran for office for a state office in virginia and basically on the democratic ticket and since then, since that revelation was revealed, the deputy director has come under fire by the president and by the republicans on the hill because they question his involvement in the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. he was the man in charge,
basically, of the investigation. and was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the fbi. he still is, in some ways, in charge of the day-to-day operations of the fbi. nothing has changed since the new fbi director has come in but, you know, for the president, andrew mccabe has been a person that he has lobbed a lot of attacks against and not only mccabe but others at the fbi and the fbi in general and, you know, it's important that we note this, pam, that andrew mccabe is not being forced out. he's going to retire on his own will. you know, it's about that time, around march or so is when he's eligible for retirement. he's been talking about this for months. this is not just something he decided just this week, yesterday, today. it's been an ongoing discussion for months. he has told his team, he has told people at the fbi, senior members of the fbi that he plans
to retire. he told them this months ago. so i think it's just important that people understand, this is not in response to anyone that the president has done or folks on the hill has done. >> shimon, thanks so much. >> sure. i want to bring in david swerdlick, assistant editor at "the washington post" and matt visor for "the boston globe." david, first to you. your reaction to trump's tweet attacking mccabe about his retirement. >> well, first of all, merry christmas, pamela i am someone who has resisted this overall method to the president's twitter behavior but with the "new york times" story breaking earlier today and the president all of a sudden jumping out with these sort of pointless tweets about director mccabe, i wonder if he is trying to change the subject, that first week seems like a rehash of old grievances
that the white house has brought about the fbi even though we'll recall that a little over a year ago in the last lap of the 2016 presidential campaign, the president was praising director comey for the way he sort of brought up the clinton charges at the 11th hour in the campaign saying that it was cower vaj jous. we know what has happened since then. that sect tweet about 90 days left on the clock, that sounds like someone needs to report to hr because that's no one's business except those who work for the government and director mccabe. >> and just to reiterate, we've known that this was going to happen. he told people months ago and the fbi that he was going to retire in march because he's eligible. but matt, what does the president gain from tweets like this, attacking the deputy fbi director? >> i think it's furthering his campaign of trying to sow doubt
in the fbi, that the president has done this repeatedly and this is another instance of some of his innuendoes and tweets about the partisan nature of mccabe because his wife had run for office in virginia. and i think it's an attempt, given what we know about the mueller investigation into president trump and his own history with the campaign and collusion with russia potentially so i think it's a continuation of that campaign against the fbi and so i think that's what he's trying to gain here. >> what's interesting here, you notice the fbi has stayed mum in all of these attacks but now former fbi director james comey can speak out and he certainly is on twitter. he spoke out in defense of james baker, top lawyer at the fbi, who was recently reassigned to a different role under fbi director christopher wray. here's what he said. we're now at a point when anyone can be attacked for partisan
gain. james baker is what we should all want our public servants to be. david, your reaction? >> pamela, there's been a lot of noise about this campaign and from members of the administration and some conservative media trying to undermine the credibility of the fbi and various investigations of the president's inner circle. but when you look at comey's tweet, you realize, wait a second, these allegations have never specific said that they had done anything untoward and various comments on their phones and texts after it came to light but this story came to light after these people were
reassigned. so the point that director comey or former director comey is trying to get across there is this idea that there are servants doing a job. if someone has to bring an allegation forth, they should do so but not just smear people across the board. >> and to be clear, we don't know exactly why james baker was resigned. we know there is a new fbi director and he has every right to bring in his new leadership. but trump's comments about haitians and nigerians, in your view, matt, is there any new ground here with trump and race politics? >> the white house is pushing back on this claim, but at the same time, you know, president trump on the day that he launched his campaign referred to mexicans as rapists and murderers. it's not out of the realm and i think the widespread nature of it, now that you're sort of seeing it play out and
continuing that offensive nature. i don't know that it breaks total new ground, because we've seen this from the very beginning of his campaign. but i think the overall article and the thrust of the story, you know, is about a fundamental shift in how the united states trea treats immigrants and refugees and that has shifted quite dramatically in his first year of president trump in office. >> you know, david, normally the last 15 years before this president there has been this end-of-year press conference. sources say the president wanted to hold the traditional end-of-the-year news conference but he hasn't because he'd be over vel mwell med by questionst the tax bill. >> i think there's a pro and con to that. on the one hand, it was probably good advice politically for the president to avoid a long list
of questions from reporters on his last working day of the year about the mueller investigation and it was a lost opportunity to sort of put up an exclamation point heading into the parting shots about how good the economy has been, in his view and about his accomplishments legislatively and appointing supreme court justice neil gorsuch and attacking his political opponents in that national security address. that wasn't really quite a traditional national security address that he gave on monday and so he got those things in before he left town. >> the president said he wants to work with democrats on issues like infrastructure and wants bipartisan. do you see that happening, matt? >> you know, i think the well is
pretty toxic. to the degree that democrats are eager to work with president trump, that's been one striking thing throughout this first year, is how little democrats have felt boxed in by president trump. even democrats who are in states that president trump won, people like joe manchin and i think heading into next year the democrats don't have a huge incentive for president trump at this point. to the degree that they switch to something like immigration, you know, the dream act and trying to do something with daca kids and that -- i mean, maybe that's an area that they could work on. infrastructure is another. we're getting awfully close heading into that midterm election cycle and democrats feel like they have the upper hand off of the tax bill and so it's hard to imagine too much
from them right now. >> we have a lot more to discuss. thank you so much. coming up on this saturday, the price of partying with the president on new year's eve. a new report about prices being jacked up for a swanky party at trump's mar-a-lago report. plus -- president trump, merry christmas. >> a new ad from a pro-trump pac. thanks for bringing a holiday greeting back even though there was no ban on saying merry christmas. and who received president trump's card and why it's four times larger than any other christmas card you'll see this year.
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and the first lady, tech kets are now $600 for members and $750 for guests. that is a price hike from last year. a fact the critics argue helps him boost the bottom line at the trump organization and trump has spent 107 days of his presidency at one of his properties. my panel is back with me to discuss. david, does this raise any conflict of interest concerns for you? >> the president is spending a lot of time at his properties and the line is blurred between him conducting official government business and profiting from having people gather at his various clubs and resorts and the actual price hike itself, i don't think that really changes the equation too much for me. it was a good report and it's good to know and makes sense when you think about the overall big picture but i don't think that's a game changer. >> matt, looking at mar-a-lago
which, by the way, has been the center of the big decisions made by the president, there are no visitor logs or other systems for the president to keep track at mar-a-lago. is that a problem? >> the more transparency the better. under president trump, we've seen an erosion not only at mar-a-lago but at the white house. visitor logs of who is entering for meetings there. and i think that's valuable information wherever the president is, you know, we have as much information as we can possib possibly get and if there's access issues, we need to do the investigative reporting that so many journalists are doing right now. >> you know, david, there is this pro-trump nonprofit associated with a super pac, america first priorities. it just released an
advertisement reflecting on president trump's first year in office and let's play a piece of it. >> thank you for keeping my family safe. thank you for putting america first. >> thank you for supporting israel. >> as veterans, thank you for standing for our national anthem. >> thank you, president trump. >> thank you, president trump, and merry christmas again. >> president trump is allowed to say merry christmas again? didn't you just say that to me on the show? >> i'll say it to you again. ma merry christmas. happy hanukkah. there was never a prohibition on this. it's always been a fake issue. and it suggests they've gotten some traction with this among people who have this sort of grievance about what they perceive as politically correct language. i'll also say, happy holidays
because that will cover everybody i just missed. >> cover your bases. matt, what's your take? >> merry christmas. clearly to both of you as well. i think president obama often said merry christmas as well and said happy holidays. he covered all americans in sort of whatever people are celebrating at this time of year and i think that president trump says happy holidays. so i think it's something that is done to drive a wedge in people at a time when we shouldn't. we should be celebrating each other and each other's different holidays and enjoying this time of year. >> yeah, good point. >> i can't let you go before we talk about this christmas card that president trump sent to lawmakers. a source close to the congressman said it's bigger than my computer monitor.
david, the bigger the better for trump, it seems. >> all i can say is it's glitzy and big and gawdy but that's par for the course. >> matt, final word for you. >> the white house is decorated different this year, too. it was more elaborate and more christmas trees. that's fine. they are putting their stamp on how they want to celebrate christmas. >> nothing wrong with that. matt, david, thank you. >> thank you. coming up, donald trump jr. taking heat after saying there's a government conspiracy to take down his father, something the president has also claimed. and then later, controversy at disney world. was that you, president trump?
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the president's son says there are people at the highest level of government trying to undermine president trump and his political agenda, an accusation that the president himself has echoed. michael hayden calling those comments, quote, scary. this is certainly not the first time donald trump jr. has pedalled conspiracy theories.
tom foreman has more. >> reporter: call it another chorus for the conspiracy crier. this time led by donald trump jr. who is once again suggesting there is a secret plot to take the president down. >> my father talked about a rigged system throughout the campaign and people are, what are you talking about? but it is and you're seeing it. >> reporter: this is about the impeachment of the president. at the center of the claim, pushed by some of the president's reporters, that the possible kol clucollusion durin election is an attempt to delegitimatize that vote. >> there is and there are people at the highest levels of government that don't want to let america be america. >> for a former cia director, michael hayden -- >> that was a little scary. that is -- that is an appeal to the heart of hypocrisy and challenging the patriotism of those folks who work in the united states government. >> reporter: but this is not the
first time donald trump jr. has embraced the idea of sinister forces trying to hurt his father and help his foes, especially hillary clinton. trump jr. once said that clinton wore an earpiece. >> the politicians won't talk about them. >> reporter: like his father, he routinely accuses the media of pushing fake stories to help the president, allegedly concocted by democrats, tweeting that journalists couldn't careless about the truth. he's routinely suggested that clinton has broke laws and others have covered her tracks. >> if he did the same thing she did, he'd be in jail for 30 years. >> reporter: he even resurrected old, false claims linking the clintons to the death of a white
house aide. a common theme is the idea that there is a permanent clan descent group in d.c. for populist movements for change. the irony, the russian investigators are considering the possibility that there was a conspiracy at work and team trump, including don jr., might have been involved. >> our thanks to tom foreman for that reporting. joining me to discuss all of this, a trump biographer, author of "the trumps: three generations that built an empire." gwenda, on this issue of conspiracies, it certainly seems like, like father, like son. has it always been this way? >> yeah, in a word. his father, you know, that's bread and butter to him, blaming somebody else, there's someone else who's responsible. whoever it is, certainly a lot of people think that's really
why he won the presidency, channelling america's anger saying someone else got in line in front of you, somebody's taking it away from you, somebody sells to blame and he's done that consistently throughout the presidency so far. whenever anything goes south, someone else is to blame and his son is doing exactly the same thing. >> going after the media for trying to hold the administration accountable. by the way, we do care deeply about the truth. i want to talk to you about the president's daughter ivanka. there is this new reporting in vanity fair talking about this heated exchange that she allegedly had with steve bannon. she reportedly blamed bannon for leaks. bannon was then quoted as saying, she's the queen of leaks to which ivanka responded, you're an expletive liar. we're used to seeing this polished ivanka, but is there another side? >> she is very polished and very composed, absolutely. we did get a little bit of a crack in that facade during the
campaign. she had an interview with cosmo poll continue when they asked her about the child care proposals that she was suggesting, and why was he embracing these now, what was the timing, what was going on, he hadn't always felt that way. and she got very chilly, said you're being very negative and didn't like that at all. so -- >> i remember at the time. >> yeah. we have seen that. she's -- there have been cracks occasionally and here was another crack. >> so vice president mike pence was criticized or made fun of online for lavishing praise on the president. in fact, according to "the post," he praised him once every 12 seconds for three seconds straight. here's a taste. >> i'm deeply humbled as your vice president to be able to be here. because of your leadership, mr. president, and because of the strong support of the leadership
in the congress of the united states, you're delivering on that middle-class miracle. >> as we see, trump sitting there stonefaced, arms crossed, what do you see there? >> he loved it. he absolutely loved it. he's eating it up. but people who -- they think that's loyalty. it's very important. an interesting thing about him, he also will sometimes pull in people that he's not sure of because he wants to keep them close. >> it feels like mike pence feels that he has to continuously lavish praise. >> well, in business, all throughout his career, which is what i covered in my book and even during the apprentice, chaos and conflict, having everybody at each other, fearful of their jobs, not -- never
being quite sure, being unable to have really sort of horizontal alliances everybody has to be loyal to the main guy, to trump. if there's any hint -- >> but he doesn't have to be loyal back? >> no. it doesn't go that way. it's only a one-way street. so pence is a smart guy. he gets it. >> it's interesting, too, what you point out, i was talking to someone recently who said that the president likes to make sure everyone is kept on their toes and he doesn't have job security. he's always questioning what they are doing so they can't ever feel sort of too kwom to comfortable. >> i remember a woman named blanche who said really her job is to go around and rile people up, make sure nobody was secure, nobody was really could sit back. that's what he likes to do. he likes that kind of conflict
zone because that is trump's comfort zone. >> right. >> he feels comfortable when things are riled up. >> comfortable. >> he doesn't want things to go back to normal, to smooth. huh-uh. he wants them to be riled up and fearful because then he's the strong guy in the room. he's the one in charge and that's the role he likes. >> gwe inda blair, thank you so much. we're talking about president trump's long-time personal secretary who gained a reputation as his gatekeeper during her 30 years of working with the mogul. cnn's alison kosik has more. >> reporter: for three decades, rona has been one of donald trump's key gatekeepers. if you want to get to him, you have to go through her. >> thank you. good job. >> reporter: even on tv --
>> hi. he asked me to call you and tell you to meet him tomorrow morning at the new york stock exchange. >> reporter: in "the art of the comeback," trump called her my very loyal secretary. >> she might have been present in his offices for some of the conversations that took place, even sensitive conversations. >> reporter: discrete, efficient, loyal, a trump confidant. as senior vice president of the trump organization, she's so much more than his secretary, according to trump biographer. >> she's been keeping track of his schedule for 30 years. she's the go-to person if you want to connect with the president through his business enterprises and even today people will still go to her if they want to reach the president in a channelled way. >> reporter: originally from
queens, she hold as masters in education. after working in sports marketing, an employment agency got her a job with trump, according to real estate weekly. in 1993, she married the commissioner of transportation for new york city. the mayor presided over the ceremony at the plaza hotel which trump then owned. today, both in their 60s, they live on the upper east side of manhattan with a daughter in high school. she's the reason she chose to stay at her job in trump tower even when her boss moved to the white house. but as trump's right-hand woman, she's caught in the crosshairs of a congressional investigation. her name was found in this e-mail from rob goldstone to donald trump jr. promising dirt on hillary clinton. i wanted to send to you first
because it's sensitive. house intelligence committee staff wants to know what she knows. >> i would say if there are bodies buried somewhere in the organization and somewhere else in donald trump's campaign or even in more distant past, rhona would be able to point out where they lie. >> and that was alison kosik reporting. coming up on this saturday, an alleged christmas terror plot foiled. the popular american tourist spot that the feds say the suspect tried to target. (avo) when you have type 2 diabetes, you manage your a1c, but you also have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. non-insulin victoza® lowers a1c, and now reduces cardiovascular risk. victoza® lowers my a1c and blood sugar better than the leading branded pill. (avo) and for people with type 2 diabetes treating cardiovascular disease, victoza® is now approved to lower the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death. and while it isn't for weight loss, victoza® may help you lose some weight.
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plot on a popular tourist spot in san francisco. authorities say the suspect, a former marine, was inspired by isis. cnn's jessica schneider reports. >> reporter: the fbi has thwarted a plot that targeted san francisco around the holidays. authorities say everett james son was planning an attack on pier 39 in san francisco sometime over this christmas holiday and the fbi agents who were tracking him online say he was modeling his planned attack over the past few years, including san bernardino and, most recently, in new york city. in fact, he voiced his support for that truck attack on october 31st when eight people were killed on a bike path and then the complaint says that he recently became a tow truck driver in his hometown of modesto, california, leading to concerns that he could have replicated that same type of attack in new york city. authorities found a letter inside his home under a search
warrant this week. the letter said things like, you all brought this upon yourself and you've allowed donald j. trump to give away al quds to the jews and we've penetrated and infiltrated your disgusting country. officials have been warning about this danger of a possible uptick in isis-inspired attacks right here in the u.s., especially with the collapse of the islamic states caliphate. the fbi did a search of jameison's home and found firearms, empty magazines and fireworks. he's now in custody. jessica schneider, cnn, washington. and coming up on this saturday, it may be the season for giving but it's also primetime for thieves taking holiday packages right off doorsteps. what they are doing to stop these so-called porch pirates,
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this is a story for anyone who has ordered a last-minute holiday gift online. police are warning so-called porch pirates are making the rounds, snatching packages off your doorstep. cnn's dab lieberman reports. >> as you can see, he's thinking about it, thinking about it and he walks right up to the front there. and -- there he goes ahead and -- >> wow. >> takes the package. >> it's something that's happening all across the country. some of it caught on camera.
>> are you seeing more packages being stolen this year? >> absolutely. i think it's becoming quite the epidemic. >> one survey found 23 million americans have had a package stolen. in this holiday season, maybe the biggest heist yet with more than a billion packages being delivered as more people do their shopping online. >> that one as well. we're going to be running two teams. make sure everybody is vested up. >> this police unit is trying to catch package thieves in the act. >> a flat-screen tv. >> it's made to look like a blu-ray player. >> someone trying to steal this will be disappointed when they open it up. >> absolutely. >> there's nothing in here. >> as you see someone try to steal this, you'll jump out and arrest them. >> we have two surveillance teams on packages placed at people's doorsteps. the chances of one of them being stole suspect possible. >> lieutenant rhinert says it's
all too easy for thieves to snatch up these packages. >> this is a prime example of how easy it is to commit one of these thefts. >> the package is clearly visible from the road on a high-traveled street. >> so far his department has recovered more than 100 items this season, they hope to return to the rightful owners. >> we've got a blend centre. >> we got blenders, makeup, sneakers. we have some higher-end items. >> packages have been returned, but a lot of people are still missing their gifts. >> we all have families and we want to put smiles on our children's faces christmas morning and just to find out that you know the individuals stole packages really, you know, it's heartbreaking. >> now the police didn't catch any package thieves, but we did talk to some of the biggest shippers around the country and they say if you have a packable stolen to get in touch with them and file a police report. pam this is a big issue and it's
only growing. >> and it seems like the thieves are becoming more brazen. >> yup, even with the camera that people have outside of their homes. how do we stop them? >> but police are clearly on it. thanks so much, dan lieberman. coming up, robot donald trump and disney world's hall of fame of presidents? but why doesn't he look like the real thing? jeannie moos looks for answers. directv has been rated number one in customer satisfaction over cable for 17 years running. but some people still like cable. just like some people like pre-shaken sodas. having their seat kicked on an airplane. being rammed by a shopping cart. sitting in gum. and walking into a glass door. but for everyone else, there's directv.
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george washington -- introduced robotic donald trump at disney world's hall of presidents. >> with three simple words -- we, the people. >> yeah, well, we, the people, all seem to be noticing the same thing. west described in two words -- jon voigt an uncanny resemblance to this trump supporter. >> he will save our america and he will make it great again. >> read one tweet, congratulations to jon voigt for being elected to disney's hall of presidents. every one in the hall of presidents looks like they were designed by a guy who lost his glasses. some imagined the other presidents' reactions to president trump's presence. >> to stand here among so many great leaders of our past. >> there is one other theory on why president trump doesn't quite look like himself.
it he looks like disney world expected hillary to win. noted someone else -- i'm not saying disney made a hillary robot and last-minute changed it into trump clothes -- but -- >> a petition with more than 15,000 signatures asked disney not to let trump's figure speak. it was ignored. they recorded the audio at the white house. >> the best days of our great nation are still ahead of us. >> tweeted one critic, anyone who can hack into this and replace the audio with the "access hollywood" tape is a national hero. while someone did dub in the "access hollywood" audio as well as sound from a trump/rubio dust-up over hand size. >> he referred to my hands, if they're small, something else must be small. i guarantee you there's no problem, i guarantee you. >> we can guarantee what lincoln would say -- >> all men are created equal. >> but not all robots. >> look at those hands, are
those small hands? >> jeannie moos, cnn, new york. i'm pamela brown, i'll see you an hour from now, "smerkonish" is next. ♪ ♪ i'm michael smerkonish in philadelphia. we welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we know what the president wants for christmas -- credit from all the media for all of his achievements. he tweeted -- sadly, the fake mainstream media will never talk about our accomplishments. in their end of year reviews. we're compiling a long and beautiful list. well, mr. president, stick around, i'm about to talk about your impact. plus, with 750 million packages delivered by u.p.s. this holiday season, a growing number are being stole bin so-called porch pirates.