tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN January 17, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
across america as a result of your philosophy about how we -- >> okay. we -- >> actually, i believe there's a lot that has gone right in -- >> we'll continue to monitor this hearing. right now our special coverage continues with "erin burnett out front." starting right now. thanks so much to you, wolf. we are going to keep an eye on the devos hearing. next, we have breaking news. chelsea manning, the army private sentenced to 35 years in prison for disclosing secret documents to wikileaks going to be freed. why did president obama do it? the white house responds out front tonight. plus more democrats boy catting donald trump's inauguration. we'll talk to one top democrat. is what they're doing un-american? more breaking news. donald trump arriving in washington. we'll see him momentarily as we count down to his inauguration. let's go out front.
good evening. i'm erin burnett. welcome to a special edition of "out front." we are live in washington following several breaking news stories in the nation's capital. i want to begin with the stunning announcement from the white house white house this evening. president obama commuting the sentence of chelsea manning three days before he leaves office. it's an incredibly controversial decision. it will set manning free. he served seven years of a 35-year sentence for stealing classified information and passing it to wikileaks. the outrage tonight fast and furio furious. lindsey graham issuing this statement -- "manning stabbed his fellow soldiers in the back by releasing classified information and putting their lives at risk. president obama, granting clemency, slapped all those who serve honorably in the face." and tom cotton also harshly critical of the decision saying, "we ought not treat a traitor like a martyr." manning's supporters have argued
her sentence was excessive. she tried to commit suicide twice in the past year. as a transgender was confined to a prison in fort worth, kansas. pamela brown, a stunning commutation. >> reporter: this is. this about of clemency is a surprising move far president that's taken a very tough stance on leaking during his time in office. as you mentioned, while supporters of manning are celebrating her release, criticism has been fierce from capitol hill and from those in the intelligence community who say she caused harm to national security. tonight in a shocking move, president obama is allowing chelsea manning, the army private convicted of stealing and leaking hundreds of thousands of documents and videos, to be a free woman in may. the reaction on capitol hill and beyond has been swift. >> for the president especially the president who's made so much recently about the danger that wikileaks has posed to our
national security, to commute private manning's sentence is disappointing. >> reporter: in 2007, then known as bradley manning, the 22-year-old stole hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive military files as an army intelligence analyst. manning then gave them to the website wikileaks, which published them, causing a massive verbmass ive ripple effect in the united states and around the world and putting wikileaks on the map for future leakers such as edward snowden. manning's disclosures included videos of usair strikes in baghdad that launched worldwide discussions about their morality. the stolen files included embarrassing diplomatic cables. manning confided in an online social security about the disclosures who then alerted authorities. manning was arrested in 2010 for leaking classified information. during the court-martial trial, prosecutors argued manning was a traitor to the united states. but the defense said manning was a naive whistle-blower who wanted to shed light on human rights violations. manning pleaded guilty and
delivered an apology to the court before the sentencing. manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy but found guilty on 20 other counts including violations under the espionage act and sentenced to 35 years in prison. the day after the sentencing, manning announced she wanted to live life as a woman. and a year later a judge granted manning's request for a formal name change from bradley to chelsea. tonight, the white house is defending manning's sense commutation by drawing the distinction between manning's case and edward snowden, who remains in exile. >> chelsea manning is somebody who went through the military, criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing. mr. snowden fled into the arms of an adversary and has sought
refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy. >> reporter: over the years manning, who was incarcerated at a men's military prison, had petitioned unsuccessfully to be placed in a civilian prison and to be given gender reassignment treatment. she will be released from prison may 7th after serving seven years of her 35-year sentence. erin? >> all right. thank you very much, pamela. i appreciate it. out front now, the white house communications director jen socky. really appreciate your time tonight. obviously this is probably the last time we'll be talking in this format. >> thanks, erin. that's right. my pleasure. >> manning convicted of a massive leak, hundreds of thousands of secret american documents. you've heard what republicans have said. these documents were originally leaked to julian assange.
he's come out with a statement about what the president of the united states did. he says, i welcome president obama's decision to commute the sentence of my alleged source, miss chelsea, from 35 years to time served. she never should have been convicted in the first place. she is a hero whose bravery should be applauded. should president obama be on the same side as julian assange? >> i don't think he is. chelsea manning is guilty of a serious crime. chelsea manning went through the criminal justice system, the military jus sis system, served more than six years in leavenworth. she was also sentenced to a period of time that is much longer than those who have been convicted of comparable crimes. the president made a decision to receive a commutation. he made a decision based on all
those factors. certainly we don't take julian assange's recommendation prior to this statement, the tweet from a week ago, that has not been a factor in the president's decision. >> the president has spoken about manning directly. he did in 2011 at a fund-raiser. we were able to obtain the audio. i've put lower third on the bottom of the screen so people can read if you can't hear it. let me play it for you. >> you could hear him loud and clear there, manning broke the law. the real question, of course, is is it hypocrital of him to now reverse course and have sympathy
for chelsea manning? >> well, i don't think the president would say he didn't break the law or she didn't break the law. she did break the law and she went through the justice system, has served time, has admitted guilt, has taken responsibility. so really this is a question about the comparable aspect of time served and that's big part of the reason why the president made the decision he did. >> so manning obviously leaked the documents via julian assange, and as we all know, president obama has unsuccess l unsuccessfully tried to have assange extradited to the u.s. for trial. assange says he'll come to the u.s. if manning is released. we know assange also released documents during the campaign that hurt clinton, helped trump. is part of the reason for this p pardon, jen, at all, to force trump to be the one to bring assange to the u.s. for trial? >> those are a lot of different pieces. i have no insight into julian assange's travel plans or insight into the
president-elect's plans. there is some irony that i hope isn't lost here on people that a lot of the criticism of the president's decision is coming from individuals in the republican party who supported a candidate who applauded wikileaks, who even suggested that they should release some of his opponent's information. so there are a lot of decisions or a lot of discussions that need to happen within the republican party about this. but i have no insight into julian assange's plans, into the president-elect's plans at this point in time. don't expect i will. >> jen, thank you very much. appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. now mark preston, executive editor for cnn politics, jamie gang gangel, michael
nutter, kayleigh mcenany, laura coats, former federal prosecutor and cnn legal analyst. mark, this is a stunning announcement, all right, and i think i made the point at the beginning that statement just breaking from julian assange,
you have julian assange basically saying manning is a hero and president obama, you know, by default is a hero for freeing -- >> in many ways, and we'll hear from barack obama directly tomorrow when he holds his final news conference. i was surprised and people here are probably surprised. what i find more surprising is some of the contributes, though, of the release of chelsea manning are the same ones who are not coming out and being as forceful about the russians hacking into our systems. it's just a very bizarre situation that we're in right now. democrats the law and order party, political party when it comes to the russians and quite frankly the republicans when it comes to chelsea manning, they're the ones that are law and order. very bizarre. >>
laura, what do you make about this? there is a great irony in the fact donald trump may be the one to have to deal with sang sajul assange coming here which would uncover anything julian assange was doing related to donald
trump and the russians. >> fascinating point. what they're talking about is they want to make sure that people are brought to justice and have due process, not focus on the outcome necessarily and the thought is because chelsea manning faced some form of due process, to commute it, not pardon it, to commute it is enough. with assange, we haven't had the opportunity in the united states to say whether or not this person has done something wrong, should be brought to justice. this should be telling to figure out what donald trump's plans are in terms of whether he views russia as an adversary and whether or not he wants people who have aided and abetted russia in some form to be brought to justice in the united states. >> kayleigh mcenany, that's the big question. it used to be julian assange was a bipartisan issue, although as mark points out now when it comes to russia it's a plitt l more split. donald trump won't have a lot of friends if he doesn't want to bring julian assange here.
>> i think he will. donald trump applauded the fact that the democrats and dnc were exposed for what they are, setting up the candy d.a. si of hillary clinton at the expense of bernie sanders. he applauded that. what he will never applaud and what obama's tacitly endorsed by this commutation is the leaking of sources and methods information, the most highly classified information that put american lives in danger. like tom cotton said, i was over there fighting in afghanistan while this man, private manning, this woman, private manning, was leaking information to undermine the united states. it's a sad day because obama sent a message you can do this and get away with a seven-year senten sentence. >> thank you all very much. when we come back, more breaking news. donald trump is about to arrive any moment. he's going to land at reagan national airport right here just moments away. one of the most beautiful things about washington is when you land in that airport you land right next to all of those monuments. a beautiful way to approach. and new details. a big dinner tonight. we'll have him as he arrives
tonight. and more breaking news coming up later this hour. trump's pick for education secretary, betsy devos, grilled on capitol hill at this hour. why does she want to get rid of the education department if she's going to be leading it? and lee greenwood singing his big hit at the inauguration. what's his message for those deciding not to perform? he's my guest tonight. ♪ i won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me ♪
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i have the worst cold i better take something. . dayquil liquid gels don't treat your runny nose. seriously? alka-seltzer plus cold and cough liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms plus your runny nose. oh, what a relief it is. breaking news. live pictures of the andrew w. melon auditorium in washington. donald trump will arrive there any moment. an invitation only black tie dinner called the chairman's global dinner, his first
preinaugural event. he'll land at reagan national, go there. foreign diplomats will be there, unprecedent unprecedented, alongside trump's cabinet picks and top political donors, an exclusive group that donald trump is speaking for the first time about the list of democrats boycotting his inauguration. that number has surged. it is now 50. jim acosta is with me in washington. what did donald trump say about that? >> reporter: the nation's capital will be divided when donald trump is sworn in as the 45th president on friday. more than 50 democrats, now at 52 in the house, have announced they're boycotting trump's inauguration to protest the president-elect's history of inflammatory rhetoric and most recently his comment dubbing john lewis all talk and no action. that was after lewis said trump was not a legitimate president. now trump is not backing off any of this, accusing lewis of lying when he said this would be the first inauguration he has skipped in his three decades in congress. in fact, lewis sat out george w.
bush's inaugural in 2001. trump told fox news earlier today the democrats who are boycotting will be freeing up seats for others to attend. >> i think for him to have grandstanded, because i think he just grandstanded, john lewis, and then he got caught in a very bad lie. so let's see what happens. as far as other people not going, that's okay, because we need seats so badly. i hope they give me their tickets. are they going to give us their tickets or giving them to other people? what happens to their tickets? i hope they give them to us. >> reporter: while the trump transition says it's a quote shame these members of congress won't be attending, a top democratic strategist noted most lawmakers are minorities and they feel like they are taking a stand according to the strategist against what they consider to be the president-elect's divisive language. as for tonight, as you said, donald trump will be in washington. he's going to be here shortly to attend a dinner. he'll be honoring the chair of his inaugural committee, investor tom barrick, then head
back to new york later tonight, his last break in manhattan before he becomes the next president. >> all right. thank you very much, jim. out front now, democratic congress welcome debby wasserman schultz from florida. you will be attending trump's inauguration unless you have something differently to tell me right now. 52 of your colleagues as of this moment will not. why are they wrong? >> oh, they're not wrong. i 100% respect their decision not to attend because we each have to make our own decisions. i'm completely comfortable with the members that have not decided to attend. from my perspective and the choice i'm making is that i am the representative of the constituents who live in my district and as a representative of a co-equal branch of government, the legislative branch, i want to make sure i am there.
i'm going to be sending a message i'm going to be watching every single day and do all i can to prevent him and his team from rolling back the progress we've made in last eight years. >> when you say they're not wrong, some said they would not come before congressman lewis but no doubt when he came out and said trump was not a legitimate president, that's when he started people come out in scores and say we're not coming. he said trump is not a legitimate president because the russians helped him get elected. they didn't just help trump. their hacking of the dnc cost you your job of the dnc. so let me ask you directly, do you believe trump is a legitimate president? >> i believe there's no question the outcome of this election was affected by the russian interference with the campaign and who because our intelligence community has unequivocally stated that russia's intent was
to influence the outcome of the election in favor of donald trump i believe, one, that the investigation that the united states senate is going to do into the relationship and interaction potentially between the trump campaign and russian officials, that's essential, but there's no question that the outcome of this election was affected by russian interference with the campaign. no doubt. >> so is he a legitimate president or not? is there a distinction between those two things in your mind? >> i'm not going to use -- i'm not kwoigoing to weigh in on th application of the term legitimate or not. i've run for office many times and i certainly would never want to have the credibility or confidence shaken in the outcome of any of my own elections. i think it's a cause of great
concern. it's something absolutely as i said needs to be investigated and will be investigated because, you know, the next layer of this, erin, is what contact, if any, was there between the trump campaign and russian operatives? and so, one, i believe that the outcome of the election was affected by their interference, and now we need to know to what degree if any the trump campaign was actually in collusion with russia in that effort. >> so all these are obviously crucial questions, right? there are committees now that are going to be investigating this. but with 52 of your colleagues not coming weather some americans deeply upset, the hashtag not my president on twitter, i have to say i do think whether you use the word legitimate is very important. he's either a legitimate president or he isn't. which is it for you? >> well, i think that my viewing that, i'll be able to reach a conclusion on when we hear more about these investigations.
so, i mean, when you -- when you use a term like legitimate -- and that will be one i'm prepared to use if more evidence comes out that not only were the russians significant impact on the outcome of this election but the trump campaign colluded with them to achieve his victory, then most certainly i would be able to use that term. and good for john lewis, who has spent his entire life standing up for justice and for human and civil rights and frankly i think not only what donald trump said was absolutely vile but i want to make sure that it's understood that my attendance at the inauguration has only a relationship to what i believe my role is to be able to hold his administration accountable. because i have certainly am not
attending out of respect for him. >> respect for the office. you recently -- yeah. go ahead. >> go ahead. >> i was saying that you were at the hearing obviously with james comey. some people were in the room, one of them came on the show, talking about your altercation i guess, the dispute you had with them. you had a lot of questions. you felt the fbi failed to alert you about the hacks. some, "wall street journal" among them, says chris cuoom ja needs to go or donald trump need to fire him. do you agree? >> i think director comey has taken enough actions that call into question his ability to continue to serve credibly. i would say he's no longer able to serve in a neutral and credible way. while i won't discussed what was
discussed in a classified briefing, i can assure you i was never contacted and still to this day have never been contacted by the fbi about russian intrusion on our networks while i was chair. and that likely left two russian spy agencies on our network for nearly a year with only curseor efforts to contact our organization and certainly never reaching out to me, when, erin, i am a member of congress who has the ability to be briefed in a classified setting. it just blows my mind. so i'm waiting, and we'll be following up so that i can get more information about why those decisions were made and, you know, what steps the fbi is taking to ensure that when there is a hack, particularly by a foreign nation, that the assurance that they give us on how they inform people who are the victims of hacks is
something that's applied consistently. >> all right. thank you very much. i appreciate your time as always. thank you. >> thank you. let me go to my panel. neil, i don't know if you feel how i feel, but i think the hesitancy of saying he's legitimate or not in the environment we're in is hugely signature. >> and she pointedly refused to answer a question when you asked it point-blank. there's this whole dancing around, it depends on what the definition of legitimate really is. this is the democratic party trying to figure out what it means to be out of power and is the model essentially what we saw republicans do, which is to pose a president. and let's remember also in some republican circles at least they questioned the legitimacy of obama. this is the way donald trump rose to political fame over the last five years, essentially saying -- >> a lot of payback. >> there is some payback here. i think that's what you see from
democrats, some of whom are going to stay away from this inauguration. obviously you'll see some of this on capitol hill with the grilling of some of these nominees. but the democratic party obviously in disarray because of this surprising loss and trying to figure out who they are and how they fight donald trump. >> and donald trump of course has just landed on the tarmac on his way to his first all in ral event. jamie, significant here, if you take it by extension and say some things are proven and you have these democrats saying he's not legitimate, then you end up with country in disarray. >> absolutely. i would take it back to bush v. gore. we have had many years of questioning legitimacy back and forth. it's a little through the looking glass because while you have these democrats protesting by not coming, you also have an
increasing number of republicans -- i spoke to a whole lot of people today who say, you know, is he a republican? what is obamacare? they have to get -- the republican party and the elected officials do not feel very out of step, at least privately, with what -- >> i have to say it's terrifying if they're saying what is obamacare at this point after how many times -- my gosh, i don't know where to start with that. what's your take on this issue? i think debby wasserman schultz is giving a view a lot of people feel on the democratic side. but there is this big question. we are where we are, we are all americans, legitimate or illegitimate. is it so hard to say? >> at least acknowledge houf you might feel about all of that, there will be an inauguration on friday. donald trump will be the 45th president of the united states of america.
that's just a fact. how you feel about it, what you'll do about it, last night i said it's kind of a wind assist. for me he'll have an asterisk. there are lot of things going on that are unknown but it is indisputable, he is, will be the president. let's move from there. you want to protest, protest. if you want to go or not. people have a way of expressing themselves and have a right to do that. it's not grade school, a mandatory attendance. >> we need an investigation. >> you agree with the congresswoman because that was her point. >> first of all, we've been having arguments about presidents in my lifetime back to bc fwk ill clinton in 1992. i think we waste too much to time on this. we need the investigation. but in the meantime it's important to move on and deal with the problem at hand.
this president is about to propose some of the most radical legislation and biggest initiatives we've seen and that ought to be the center of debate until the investigatory results come in. >> president obama said every vote that was cast was counted and counted appropriately. what democrat ts are trying to do is sow a narrative of this presidency being over before it begins. it's political tactic and one that harms american interests in the long run. sad that partisanship is overtaking america. >> the way mitch mcconnell said about a month or so in his number-one goal, notwithstanding 750,000 jobs that have been lost in january when the president was sworn in, his number-one goal was to make sure that president obama was a one term president. you mean like that? >> because he didn't believe in his agenda. but he showed up a t the inauguration, the republican congress e mmen and women d did not question the legitimacy of president president obama. [ talking over each other ]
>> only the birther talk -- >> name one congressman who -- >> they did very little to tamp down on that raging conversation about obama's legitimacy and birtherism. >> okay. >> i hear new hampshire and iowa and -- >> lovely. a heated confirmation under way at this point. president-elect trump's most controversial cabinet picks include betsy devos testifying at this moment. live pictures of her on capitol hill. she's being grilled by devos. democrats outraged after they were not granted time for a second round of questioning. >> you said student debt has increased by 1,000% since -- >> 980% in eight years.
>> that's just not so. increased 118% in the past eight years. if you're challenging my figure, i would ask that you get your figures straight about education policy, and that's why we want more questions. >> obviously a fiery hearing, just three days before trump takes the oath of office. manu raju is out front right now. that questioning by senator franken obviously contentious, not just questioning her on her point of view but basically saying you don't even know the facts. how big of a fight will this nomination be? >> reporter: very big, erin, probably one of the biggest confirmation fights we'll see for trump's candidate. betsy devos is one of the democrats' biggest targets right now. they're hoping they can persuade a few republicans to flip and vote her against the floor on the senate. this hearing focuses on sharp questioning, whether she's for
federal funding for public schools, if she supports bernie sanders' proposal for debt-free colleges and whether or not her advocacy and work and causes translates to her as head of the education department, none of which her answers satisfying democrats and republicans believe she's being treated unfairly. but also significantly on the floor of the senate just moments ago, senator chuck schumer, the democratic leader, saying that the democrats don't get more questions, don't get a second round of questioning, that he may not cooperate on other nominees. so potentially this could have a spillover effect for other nominees because donald trump wants to get a sizable chunk of his nominees confirmed by the day he's sworn into office on friday, maybe six or seven national security nominees. the democrats are saying they may not play ball because of this betsy devos hearing, erin. >> and you also, manu -- we're seeing donald trump going to be getting off that plane, i don't know if he just got in the back
of the suv but he is there. a huge event with foreign diplomats, his cabinet, mike pence, major donors. trump's pick for health and human services congressman tom price under fire tonight. you first reported on this, he bought sock stock in a medical device company, days later introduced a bill that would benefit that specific company. democrats are calling for his hearing to be delayed. you spoke to schumer today. what's he saying about this and what's the significance? >> reporter: he's jumping all over the report and trying to push for an ethics investigation, even suggesting mr. price may have broken the law. insider trading on capitol hill by purchasing this stock and then later introducing this bill that would benefit this company. here's a little bit of what he said. >> the he knew about it, it could very well be a violation of the law. >> reporter: you think he broke
the law. >> if he knew about it. now they say there's a broker. kind of strange this broker would pick this stock totally independently of him introducing legislation that's so narrow and specific about this company. >> reporter: trump's team is dishissing this saying it's only a small amount of money and that also that mr. price used the broker and had no knowledge when this stock was purchased. he did hold on o that stock while he was a house member continuing to push that legislation. then also recently last week announcing he would divest from that company because it presents a potential conflict of interest if he becomes health and human services secretary. so the office of government ethics flagging this going forward. schumer also believing this could be part of an effort to try to derail price's nomination. he believes it would be difficult for price to get confirmed to the post but of course that means republicans would have to vote against him. right now there's no indication that will happen.
>> all right. thank you very much, manu. my panel again. nia, what's amazing about this is you've got to think democrats at some point are going to take a stand. they're not going let all of these go through. when you look at devos and tillerson and mattis and all of them together, somebody's got to have -- >> but they're going to have to convince some republicans because they don't have enough votes. they're only 48 of them. if they ban together against everyone, that's still not enough. i think the most likely one has always been tillerson. we still don't know what mccain will do, what lindsey graham will do, what rubio will do and he's on that committee, to see if he gets out of -- >> betsy devos, this one is really contentious. you heard senator franken. elizabeth warren is questioning her, bernie sanders questioning her. here's what bernie sanders just came out and said.
>> my question is, and i don't mean to be rude, but do you think if you were not a multibillionaire, if your family has not made hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to the republican party, that you would be sitting here today? >> senator, as a matter of fact, i do think there would be that possibility. i've worked very hard on behalf of parents and children for the last almost 30 years. >> i mean -- >> i'll make this quick. i think you look at three specific confirmation hearings. look at education, because of the teacher unions, very big democratic constituency, democrats have to show they're fighting for. the environment, the environmentalists, the epa administrator, and of course no question when you look at tillerson right now given all the russian stuff. look at the rhetoric that democrats are using in those specific hearings. >> is bernie sanders right?
does this hurt her at all. i thought her answer -- she didn't deny it. she said possibly. >> what is that you say, nia, cute by a little more -- >> right. >> one, there's no way in the world she's there. but the legitimate question, back to that word, this is a person who does not believe in public education. this is a person who fought actively with money against accountability measures for charter schools. she's not even particularly liked by the charter school community in michigan so she has a problem. she wants to destroy the office of education and then lead it. >> she's also just a standard issue republican on these issues. >> school choice. >> right. >> charter schools are public schools. >> yes. >> she is not against public education unless she's got some ethics problem, unless they deny the additional hearings i think she'll go through. the person who's in most trouble i think is tom price.
"time" magazine reported today there were six additional stocks we hadn't heard of which his broker bought. two weeks later he signed financial forms saying he had them. a short time later he sponsored legislation which helped them. that's the kind of thing that will get him in trouble. i don't know if he survives. i think they nominate the other. >> next, donald trump comes to office at odds with china, germany, with nato, with the eu. will his overseas battles derail a very aggressive dpik agenda? and country singer lee greenwood speaks out on why he's performing at the trump inauguration and says other stars should too. (vo) if you have type 2 diabetes,
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he is attending the chairman's global dinner. he'll go back to new york tonight. his cabinet picks will be there, vice president mike pence, his biggest donors and in a break with precedent foreign diplomats, about 200 of them, will be attending this dinner tonight. the city will be essentially shutting down over the next 24 hours for the inauguration. road after road for motorcades like this. looks like we lost our signal. trump, though, when he's having this dinner with the foreign diplomats, interesting time because he finds himself at odds with leaders around the world. there are some exceptions, but these 200 diplomats there with him tonight obviously are hoping for a lot of access given some of the slams he has put out against countries like china, obviously russia not among them.
it will be interesting to see if the russian ambassador is there. others from the middle east will be there. jim sciutto is out front. >> reporter: tonight russian president vladimir putin dismissing allegations that the kremlin has compromising personal and financial information on the president-elect. >> translator: what do you think? we have special security services running after every american billionaire? of course not. it is complete nonsense. this is rubbish. >> reporter: even joking about some of the more salacious and substantiated details of such organization which is many news organizations including cnn have declined to report on in detail. >> reporter: it is hard to believe he ran to a hotel to meet with our girls of a low social class. although they are the best in the world. >> reporter: and attacking those who prepared and published the dossier. >> translator: people who order false information and spread this information against the elected president who fabricate
it and use it in a political fight, they are worse than prost 2002s. >> reporter: president obama's spokesman took a final shot in his final press briefing to note that putin's comments defending trump's legitimacy echoed of the president-elect. >> first of all, it sounds like he got a copy of the talking points. second -- >> from who? >> well, i don't know. it certainly sounds a lot like what the incoming administration's team is saying. but it is not the first time that the russian president has called into question the veracity of the united states presidency. >> reporter: it's unsettling u.s. allies and adversaries alike. xi jinping warning mr. trump. >> translator: no one will emerge as a winner a trade war. >> reporter: this after trump has repeatedly vowed to get tough with china on trade. >> they haven't played by the
rules. and i know it's time that they're going to start. they're going to start. they've got to. >> reporter: u.s. allies in europe also pushing back. germany expressing disbelief at trump's dismissal of nato as obsolete. >> translator: i just can't believe that an american administration would follow the thought process that europe is not somehow important to the u.s. with a look at the history of the u.s., i just can't believe this. >> reporter: i've spoke on the a number of western diplomats and the almost uniform reaction is confusion as to what exactly the u.s. policy is. one, president-elect donald trump, his public comments a departure from decades of u.s. policy regarding nato, europe, et cetera, but also the contradiction between donald trump and many of thiz cabinet appointees. general mattis, rex tillerson, and others again on issues such as russia and nato.
confusion. the truth is they don't know where the u.s. will head under a president donald trump. erin? >> jim, thank you very much. breaking news right now, senator elizabeth warren questioning the education secretary nominee betsy devos. let's listen in. >> i look forward to having a second round of questions. >> thank you, senator warren. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i cannot help but think that if my friends on the other side of aisle had used their time to ask questions rather than complaining about the lack of a second round they each would have been able to get in a second question. i've just used 15 seconds of my time to make that point. mrs. devos, first of all, let me say that i have no doubt that you care deeply about the education of all children. and i say that despite the fact
that you and i do not agree on all the issues. given your lifelong work and commitment to education, any suggestion such as -- >> that hearing going on. elizabeth warren obviously was complaining about not having a second round. you heard what senator collins had to say about that. this is a bat that will donald trump has. of course betsy devos. but also you heard jim sciutto reporting battles with other countries weather john lewis. is this a sign of weakness or strength that nobody really know where is he stands or will come down and therefore he has all the control? >> i think it's sowing a lot of doubt in the minds of peel overseas about where he's going. he seems erratic and his temperament is not one they're accustomed to. i think we saw something important. didn't start with donald trump
but that he is pulling back american leadership from the global order. he wants to come back home. you see europe is starting to unravel, under a lot of pressure, even nato under pressure now. symbolically as the old world odder is crumbling before our eyes, here today the president of china stepped forward into the breach, comes into the -- >> with a big speech. >> big speech in davos. you normally go to the world economic forum sessions in davos, and this is the first time the chinese president is there, and he is asserting he is going to become the world's champion of economic globalization, that he is going to become the world's champion for climate change. and that america is a retreat. that's his argument. and we are into a really interesting i think extraordinarily important time -- >> extraordinarily and world leaders were so critical of president obama saying he wasn't present, not on the world stage, now they're open to trump but trump's whole point is america
first, make america great. >> as two republicans said to me, one said hold on for the ride. i said is this going to be okay? and this is a very senior republican who backed trump and said, quote, i don't know. they really -- they said let's see what happens starting on monday. there's a tremendous anxiety about all of this and what's going to happen down the road with him. >> thank you all very much. we're going to take a break. when coe come back, lee greenwood performing for his fourth president at friday's inauguration. it was a decision he said was easy for him. next his message to those who turned down the chance. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis
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you walk out on the lincoln memorial and it's such an exciting time. >> we know trump's team, we've heard a lot about it. some of these stars have not been shy about expressing this on social media, they haven't wanted to come here to perform. why did you decide to sign on and do it? >> i don't know how you could say no when you've been asked to come and sing in the capitol of the greatest country of the world and you get that opportunity, my gosh, if you were just somebody off the street and said would you like to come and sing at the lincoln memorial during the inaugurat n
inauguration, they old probably jump at the chance. i'm not going to say no. >> some who have considered announcing they were going to perform or considered it faced a lot of backlash. jennifer holliday, the most recent one. she was going to perform. her fans got very upset and she dropped out citing that. she said her fans were angry. are you surprised at the backlash against some performers that they have received? >> i haven't received that in my fan base and i don't know that anyone would bow down to social media that much to say it's going to make a difference because i'm just here to watch the president be elected, the transition of power in the greatest country the in the world. i can't relate to that. >> for you that's what it's about. this will be your fourth. it's about the transition of power. about the office. not the president. >> my song's not controversial. "god bless the usa" is for all americans and i get to see the song i wrote. >> democratic representatives are boycotting.
one of the reasons they've cited is trump's treatment of women. there will be a women's march the day after the inauguration. one said he's demonstrated profound disrespect of women, calls them pigs, another, he will turn back the clock on women. are they wrong on this issue? >> i wish i knew more about it. i'm unfamiliar with that. i just know that my wife, kim, worked for the his universe organization and has for 25 years. we went to new york and saw the office there. he employs a lot of women, gives them total power and is respectful of the job they do. i have seen it from a distance but i don't know how he would ever treat a woman differently than he does those. >> in that you've seen respect. >> very much so. thank you very much. appreciate your time. good luck. everyone of course around the world will be listening to you sing that wonderful song. >> thank you, erin. >> more of our coverage after this. your insurance company
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thanks for watching. "ac 360" starts right now. good evening from washington. thanks for join us. just three days to his inauguration, the cloud of controversy surrounding donald trump thickens. he arrived at national airport for his first inaugural event, a dinner with the washington diplomatic corps. we'll bring you his remarks shortly as the tape comes in. first breaking news on perhaps the final outgoing of the president's administration. president obama granted executive clemency, commuting the sentence of chelsea manning. 3 1/2 years