tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 10, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
two big breaking news stories tonight as this country prepares for transfer of power this week. president's farewell address to the american people and our exclusive report on the president-elect. this is "cnn tonight with don lemon" and i'm don lemon. president obama makes his final address and returns to his favorite call of action. >> yes we can. yes we did, yes we can. thank you, god bless you.
may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. >> that coming in the wake of our bombshell cnn exclusive, classified documented presented last week to president-elect trump including allegations that russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about him, that's according to multiple officials with direct knowledge of the briefing. get to carl bernstein and jim sciutto. jim you have exclusive reporting for us on the nation's top intelligence officials briefing last week about russian severities to compromise the president-elect. >> walk you through what we know
and how we know it. multiple officials with knowledge of the briefings tell cnn that classified documents of russian interference in the election presented to president obama and president-elect donald trump say that russian officials claim to have compromising information about mr. trump. based on memos compiled by former british intelligence operative who is considered credible. u.s. is investigating the credibility and accuracy of the allegations, from russian sources but not confirmed many of the details. classified briefings last week, presented by four of the senior-most intelligence chiefs. director of national intelligence, fbi director, cia director and nsa director.
also included allegations that there was continuing exchange of information during the campaign between trump surrogates and intermediaries for the russian government. according to two officials. cnn confirmed the synopsis was in the documents presented to mr. trump, can't confirm if in addition it was discussed with the intelligence chiefs. transition team we've reached out to many times declined to comment. but donald trump himself tweeted out what we presume is response to it, saying fake news and political witch hunt. >> fake news becoming a trend. here's how kellyanne conway responded. >> guess what hasn't happened seth, nobody has sourced it. all unnamed, unspoken sources and story says it was based on russian investigator to begin
with so -- >> i think based on mi-6 british investigator. >> right. one of those and also may have originated with russian investigator. says that hillary clinton and groups that wanted her to win may have been behind the investigations themselves and most importantly says the fbi is trying to confirm it. nothing has been confirmed and i have to say regardless of party or if you don't like politics at all as american we should be concerned that intelligence officials leaked to the press and won't gel the president-elect or president of the united states what the information is -- >> the press report was about them going to the president. >> and said never briefed him on it, appends two pages to the bottom of his intelligence briefing. >> i believe it says they did brief him on it. >> he has said he's not aware of that. >> your reporting shows this
synopsis included in the documents but can't confirm if specifically discussed. >> let's be clear, when you have intelligence briefing for president, daily briefing or circumstances like this, briefing includes both written documents and spoken conversation. right? we know this was part of the written documents and that's part of the briefing. let's be clear, intelligence agencies don't include garbage in those briefings,s this limited amount of time for the people you're speaking to and for the senior intelligence officials doing the briefing so they put in what they believe is germane and necessary to the conversation. that's one thing. let's be honest as well, some of the other things she said weren't factually correct. said no named sources. we know the name of the british agent who prepared them. didn't use his name for privacy. but we spoke -- team that i work
withed, carl, jake, and myself spoke to more than a dozen high ranking u.s. officials with knowledge of these briefings, not named because of the classified nature of the information but not coming from the ether but senior and knowledgeable sources. >> let's say they didn't discuss it, benefit of the doubt, shouldn't you read the entire report? >> for sure, that's what briefing is about. president gets daily briefing every day on threats to the country. gets a document or president obama got on ipad, get a document electronic or print and conversation for follow-up questions, greater detail on the issues contained in the written report. written materials are essential part of that briefing. >> carl, i don't know if you or jim can better answer this
question. why didn't intelligence officials share these allegations -- why share them with the president-elect? >> because of their belief and the outgoing president as well, that these allegations are serious enough to warrant real and thorough investigation. there's enough detail that they've seen they think investigations need to go forward. there's real concern i think in the intelligence community during the changeover of administrations that perhaps some of the new incoming officials might want to sweep it under the rug and not pursue a thorough and real investigation. part of calling to attention of the president-elect the way they did, makes a marker laid down, this will not go away. people, leadership on capitol hill, republicans and democrats, are prepared to have hearings on
some of this, this event will go on until truth is it found out about the valid of those memos. >> jim referenced the tweet from donald trump, why tweak out fake news when you have james comey, james clapper, john brennan, mike rogers? >> why would he tweet anything? been effective in tweets and kellyanne conway effective as propaganda minister. let's talk about what's real. what is real here is serious concern by the top-most officials in our intelligence community, the top four, that they have seen information that leads them to believe there's enough there to warrant thorough, serious investigation of an incoming president. that hasn't happened before. >> i stepped on you. what did you say what i asked you -- propaganda? >> kellyanne conway is a propaganda minister. i don't think we need to take
too seriously what she said and that bit of disinformation there. look, what we need to do as reporters here is report what has occurred, let's see where the investigations go, see whether the allegations are credible or not, and we'll learn over the course of the next months or year the truth of this matter. >> some other media outlets published a memo that talks about the allegations. cnn isn't reporting these details. >> we've had this memo as well and reason we're not reporting them is some are salacious but unconfirmed. cnn hasn't been able to independently confirm them. and fbi while it's investigating it and intelligence community hasn't confirmed it either, we felt it was unnecessary to put them out there until they are confirmed. focus on these facts, that the intelligence community took the extraordinary step of including
this information in briefings with the president and president-elect, two people with a finite amount of time. one. two, that the fbi is investigating them in part because they believe the source of them, former mi-6 operative has given credible information in the past, and three, that both democratic and republican lawmakers, senators are taking this seriously as well. if you happened to watch the confirmation hearing today before the story came out because a lot of the information is classified in this, senators asking not too veiled questions. are you investigating donald trump communications with russia? james comey refused to say in public session but reason they asked, they've seen these documents as well and taking
them seriously. >> phil mattingly is joining us. there is a lot of opposition to president-elect trump's selection senator jeff sessions for attorney general, vast majority tu to concern about his record on race. heard jim sciutto asking veiled questions in regards to some of this. how did he try to address that today? >> it's interesting. first to address what everybody is talking about right now, jim made the point, issue of russia came up repeatedly in the hearing. if you want to hear what the trump transition is going to say, just tune in tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., president-elect is still as it currently stands, planning to hold that press conference to address this head-on, i've talked to reporters in the room, question one, two, three on down the
line, cnn report and ties to russia. cabinet nominees were asked about it and president-elect will be as well. but this is a hearing that wen 10 1/2 hours, first prime time hearing of the trump cabinet nominees, race has been a huge issue, jeff sessions had a judgeship sunk, shot down by the u.s. senate because of concerns about race. jeff sessions was taking it head-on. >> i was accused of failing to protect the voting rights of african-americans by presenting voter fraud case and condemning civil rights advocates and organizations and harboring, amazingly, sympathies for the kkk. these are damnably false charges. >> that wasn't in his initial
prepared remarks. decided to add this to his remarks towards start of the hearing, just before according to one adviser, recognizings this been such a huge issue around this nomination. are these issues going to sink the nomination? no. probably more importantly, was what he said enough to assuage concerns? absolutely not but willing to address it's been a real problem up to this point. >> thank you very much. when we come back, as president-elect trump prepares to take office in ten days, president obama makes emotional farewell speech to america. you know, geico can help you save money on your homeowners insurance too? great! geico can help insure our mountain chalet! how long have we been sawing this log? um, one hundred and fourteen years. man i thought my arm would be a lot more jacked by now.
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in his farewell address to nation president barack obama returning to favorite themes, change and optimism in pront of cheering crowd in chicago. van jones, douglas brinkley and david gregory, adviser -- david gergen. why do i do that? both tall and handsome, sorry about that. hope i made it up. >> insulting to david gregory. >> how much impact do you think the speech had? >> i think had more impact then we may realize. not upon the history books, it's
not another george washington or eisenhower address but he's trying really hard to rekindle the enthusiasm for the younger generation for politics. he was swept into office by the votes of young people, disappointed in election result in many cases and discouraged about politics and rather than -- affecting history, affecting the near term and helping a generation right itself, with new library he's said wants to be training social change acts of the future. that's a worthy goal for him. >> how did this compare to previous farewell speeches? >> never been anything like this. this was rock and roll concert. everything choreographed and
packaged. eddie cincinnati redd eddie redder doing the warm-up music. big success. fact he was able to remind people what is kenetic about him was helpful, appealing to young people but biggest applause was denouncing the idea of a muslim registry, that's an issue i think korey booker will be seizing on and may bet bipartisan support. and love story of barack obama and michelle obama, pictures around the hall. photogenic fam limit aily. teary eyed supporters. combination of goodbye and love fest >> i was looking at him, who is that young man. showing pictures of 2008. still young but leader of the free world weighs on you.
van jones, let's talk -- look at that. he aged right? little gray. still looks good. he talked about reaching out right, which you have been covering in the show you've been doing, "the messy truth," listen to sound bite and we'll talk. >> if you're democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in american fiction, atticus finch, who said you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. for blacks and other minority groups, that means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of
people in this country face, not only the refugee or immigrant or rural poor or transgender american but also the middle aged white guy who from the outside may seem like he's got advantages but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change. we have to pay attention and listen. >> what do you think? >> well i agree. it's a little ironic because i don't know if that position landed this past election season the way that it should have. in some ways a little bit of a confession there from obama but not in those terms, that the democrats did not do a good job of that. and i thought it was important that he said it. >> but you've been talking -- how long we've been working together, we would have
discussions. saying for a long time especially about the democratic party you've been saying, i as well but you more so. in a bubble. people live in a bubble. on the coast. not a lot of interaction from the middle of the country. >> where we're from. >> why didn't that message come faster, sooner, eight years, five years ago, three years ago? >> i think there was something happening where there were two things with obama early on, there was the beauty of the poetry and then data operation. and two came together to pull off this impossible thing. but over time it became the data over the people, donors over the voters, pollsters over the people. at certain point the democratic party started feeling kind of -- i don't know, phony. but what i want to make sure i say, tonight what i saw wasn't just looking in obama's face, it was all the people who were
there. i know all those people. and those are people whose hands had almost got frostbitten in iowa 8 1/2 years ago, young adults who became full adults in the past eight years and now they feel lost. there's grief there. >> i was in chicago back in i think one of the first to interview him nationally in 2006, before he ran for president. i was in chicago with david axelrod with barack obama was coming into prominence. there's your guy on tv, the senator from -- do we have that 2004 -- 2006 interview anywhere? it's going to take them a second to get it and we'll discuss. when we get it, difference between the man we saw tonight and man back there, whether has he lived up to the hope and change. >> i will say tomorrow we're doing this messy truth thing at
9:00, getting people together, folks, voters from detroit and crazy stuff. what we're discovering is that hope that people had in obama is still there but been eroded. >> i want everybody to listen to this. david and douglas as well. 2006, i think november. >> do you think that at this point in our country, this point in time, that a person of color stands a chance to be the president of the united states? >> absolutely. i think the american people at their core are a decent people. i think that we still have prejudice in our midst, but i think that the vast majority of americans are willing to judge people on the basis of their ideas and their character. and in the case of the presidency, i think what's most important is whether the american people think that you
understand their hopes and dreams and struggles, and whether they think that you can actually help them achieve those hopes and dreams. >> i had a lot more hair then. only been at cnn two months. but david gergen, he never wavered in believing in the american people and their goodness. >> never wavered, been disappointed by our politics and the discouragement that has sent out across the country. that was very clear. his clear warning tonight was that democracy itself is now threatened. and if that goes our economy goes, everything else, sense of nation hd, leaves us as well. and he's deeply worried about that. but you know, you can't help but feel that barack obama came in hoping to take us to a new place. franklin roosevelt said a long
time ago first and most role of a president is moral leadership. and by that he meant helping us gain higher ground. i think obama really wanted to do that, i think that's what he represents and i think he feels we haven't gotten there. >> would like to talk more but we have to go. thank you. "the messy truth" tomorrow 9:00 eastern with van jones. more breaking news, president barack obama's farewell speech with ten days to go until he hands over the reins to president-elect trump.
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xirius xf post the eagle. thank you for joining us. you've known this family and president for many years. what did you think of the farewell address? >> i thought it was phenomenal, took it back to the black church a little bit. build big sermons around three big points. king with three evils of war, poverty and racism. same thing tonight. three big threats to country. economic anxiety and racism and threats to crumbling democracy and warning the country if we don't do anything about it, tough years ahead. you watched from family session, what was it like? >> electric, a lot of policy points and political points but then he started talking about his wife, almost as if the crowd rose up because we saw the
president tearing up a little bit, and folks rose to greet him and give him strength to get through that part of the speech. when he called out joe biden and folks just roared their support for the vice president. it's almost a family experience in the crowd tonight. >> people on social media wondering where is sasha but i think at school. very important so wasn't there. >> got to make sure she graduates on time. it's important. >> bakari, the president undoubtly proud of his daughters. listen. >> with grace and with grit and with style. you have become two amazing young women. you are smart and you are beautiful but more importantly you are kind and you are thoughtful and you are full of
passion. and -- [ cheers and applause ] and bore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. of all that i've done in my life, i am most proud to be your dad. >> what do you make of the relationship between the president and his daughters? >> well i think it's oftentimes not talked about enough. one of the most amazing things about barack obama is that he's an amazing father and husband. this has been a scandal-free administration for the last eight years and oftentimes people don't talk about that fact. but way he looks at daughters and wife with admiration and love, entire building and entire country felt that. i think everyone watching this speech in tears when he went through those moments. going to miss barack obama. you may disagree with him
politically but he's good man at his core. >> speaking about the first lady. >> past 25 years not only been my wife and mother of my children but my best friend. [ cheers and applause ] you took on a role you didn't ask for, and you made it your own. with grace and with grit and with style. and good humor.
[ cheers and applause ] you made the white house a place that belongs to everybody. and a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. so you have made me proud and you have made the country proud. >> so joe, besides -- it takes a real man to cry when he's talking about his wife and kids. i loved seeing that. characterize that moment and first lady, michelle obama as the first lady. >> i must say, i sat at home and cried because you are looking at man who on martin luther king's birthday will have been married to a woman who is similar for 40 years. and i think what i appreciate most about it is the fact that he accentuated the positive of our community, the love and relationship that we don't see too often in modern culture.
too often the negative is accentuated when it comes to our community and not the loving relationships that many of us probably on this panel have with our wives. i must tell you very honestly, i shed a tear because i thought of what my wife has meant to me over these 40 years and i imagine that many of us have thought about the same things with either our wives or significant others, he's absolutely right. whoever said it is right. we're going to miss this. we're going to miss this relationship, he gave a whole new look at what the black family really is all about. but i do want to add one other thing about the speech, and that was he challenged the younger generation to do something, to get involved, that if you don't like what your elected officials are doing, you get some
petitions and run for office. and he also talked about getting involved on the local level. the precinct level, redistricting. that's what caught my attention also. >> yeah. paris, the president spoke about race relations improving. let's listen. >> now i've lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were no matter what some folks say, you can see it not just in statistics but in the attitudes of young americans across the political spectrum. but we're not where we need to be. and all of us have more work to do. >> before you answer, read this. in 2015, cnn released a race poll, people see his presidency as having hurt race relations
and almost 2/3 of americans say race relations higher. more than 2001 and 1995. where do you think we stand on race relations as a country? >> thanks for having me on the show. i think it's important to remember he's still president of the united states, president obama. think that's what he's trying to remind us of, is the hopeful optimism of when he first came into the presidency. but reality don't match the rhetoric in my opinion in terms of race relations. i think things are worse and pretty bad but in spite of that we're a country looking forward, going to have a peaceful transfer of power and i hope this next president and congress will work together to do things to uplift communities of color,
fragile communities and do things in a positive nature so we can tone down the rhetoric and be mindful that words do matter and things we say on both sides of the aisle can be painful but this is a great country and given the opportunity can rise above the partisan and racial difficulties we've seen. >> them some good words. let's hope they do that. haven't seen it so far. appreciate it. >> won't this president. >> don't start. up next breaking news. controversial pick jeff sessions gets a grilling on capitol hill.
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live pics. there's air force one on the tarmac in chicago, headed back to washington, d.c., president barack obama and his family leaving chicago tonight. president's final scheduled flight aboard air force one. end of an era and here with me to discuss -- you have sad face. >> i do. >> i remember being on the air
for his first flight. you know air force one and not the big one but there's another, first trip. so we sort of were talking and by surprise he was on air force one landing in d.c. and first trip and we -- >> bookend for you right now. making don lemon history right here. >> just sat there and watched, history, first black president on air force one. but digress, talk about jeff sessions and his confirmation hearings. with my panel. including the author of "washington's farewell," sorry i couldn't make the book launch and former govern of south carolina and jennifer grant home with us as well what did we learn today? >> if you're going to be
confirmed for something, it's good to be a senator. thy think it was a lot gentler than what it might have otherwise been because he has colleagues. what will be interesting is historic presence of cory booker to do actual testimony which is courageous when you consider the colleagueiality of the senate. we learned that. and democrats are using this as way of conscripting think him in his role as attorney general when he gets there. diane fein stein asking if release funds for women even if health care included abortions. couple of purposes going on here. >> andre, sessions testified would follow the law on issues he disagreed with.
enforce voting rights laws, abortion laws and had this exchange with senator patrick leahy. >> in 2010 you stated expanding hate crime protections to lgbt individuals unwarranted and possibly unconstitutional. still feel that way? >> law has been passed, congress has spoken, i will enforce it. >> so will attorney general sessions be more moderate than senator sessions? >> i believe he will. a public vetting is healthy part of the process and democrats are using this with an eye to fundraising. helps them back home with folks to continue to say we have to work on this. but he's going to get confirmed. good man, done a good job and will be asset to donald trump. and today with kid gloves he was treated. not going to come after him like
they acted like. they know he will be confirmed and will be attorney general. >> with the exception of al franken who did go hard at him. >> sessions made a point of saying there's a conflict between law and politics, enforce the law, even if that means confrontation with the white house. is jeff sessions someone who will stand up to donald trump? >> they certainly have walked in lock step from early on in the campaign. jeff sessions first senator and for long time the only significant elected republican backing donald trump. but of course there is a responsibility in the attorney general to occasionally stand up to the president. it's one thing in the context of the hearings, however safe they might be. i'm going to follow the letter of the law. i was talking politics and job
is enforce the law. but most feared things coming forward will be senators quoting donald trump in best or worst moments and saying do you support that? do you back that? will be tied that's teed up for conflict and job of the good attorney general to stand on the side of the law. >> and lot of times when this happens, past comes back to haunt you or lift you up. we'll discuss when we come back. , luggage tags, bumper stickers. how about foam fingers? like these? now, get 15% off making your company stand out. staples. make more happen.
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>> back with me, to governor andre bauer, thank you for coming. senator sessions wasted no time addressing charges of racism. let's listen. >> i was accused in 1986 of failing to protect the voting rights of african-americans by presenting the voter fraud case and of condemning civil rights advocates and organizations and even arguing amazingly sympathies for the kkk. these are false charges. >> governor he repeatedly said how painful it was, this racism
charge. was he sincere? >> words and actions, right? if you vote against reupping the voting rights act after the supreme court guts it when this is an important issue, the actions speak louder than words. when you vote against the violence against women act as it is, your vote speaks louder than your words. when you vote against matthew shepherd and james bird hate crimes act which protects people from hate crimes, when you vote against it, your actions speak louter than words. you are supposed to be about justice for all. it gets back to the president's speech tonight. it's about all of us. the great word, all. when people feel marginalized, they don't feel like justice is theirs. >> andre, do you think democrats allegations of racism will hurt his chances of being confirmed? >> i think he will be confirmed
and i think they were lighter than i expected. there is a decor um and he will get confirmed. at the end of the day, he has taken a few shots unfairly and we can examine anybody's record and pick a choose a few votes. overall the guy had thousands of votes and this is the best thing to come up with a couple of them. there may have been other things he was voting on at the time. i'm not sure that was fair. >> those were pretty important issues. go ahead. >> one of the problems is that when people are up for a position, they emphasize how moderate they are. that's in contrast to what leads people to cast votes that play to the extremes. this is a sign of politics. if you going to be trusted with power, you need to show an ability to unite.
he has been dogged by accusations of racism. it should be noted that arlin spector said he deeply regretted that vote because he didn't find that the accusations were consistent. if he is going to actually govern in a way that unifies, he will bend over to show communities that he will be more moderate and inclusive than his votes and accusations have indicated he might be. >> cory booker will testify and this will be the first time a sitting senator will testify against another in a confirmation hearing. thank you, everyone. as we leave you, we will look at the first family, president barack obama's last scheduled trip on air force one as he ascends the steps and boards the plane with his daughter. you see malia in tow. his wife with him as well. sasha we are told is at school.
she has a paper due tomorrow. there is the grandmother, michelle obama's mom and the press of course following them. end of an era, everyone. that's it for us tonight. thank you so much for watching. see you right back here tomorrow. be in good hands? like finding new ways to be taken care of. home, car, life insurance obviously, ohhh... but with added touches you can't get everywhere else, like claim free rewards... or safe driving bonus checks. oh yes.... even a claim satisfaction guaranteeeeeeeeeee! in means protection plus unique extras only from an expert allstate agent. it's good to be in, good hands. well you don't want to live with mom and dad forever, do you? then she says...bazang! ok, good one. uh, how do i check my credit score? credit karma. it's free.
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