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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  November 14, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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presidential debates. she hosted a major political talk show, when she took over pbs's washington week in review. she had been battling endometrial cancer, she was just 61 years old. breaking news, questions swirling tonight about donald trump's children will be granted access to the nation's top secr secrets. >> at the same time, sources telling cnn about severe infighting within trump's transition team. one calling it a knife fight. >> my team stands ready to accelerate in the next steps that they're required to ensure
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a smooth transition. >> president obama calling on americans to give trump a chance. >> i think it's important for us to let him make his decisions, and i think the american people will judge over the course of the next couple years, whether they like what they see. >> mr. obama offering some sober advice to the president-elect. >> they're going to be certain elements of his temperament that will not serve him well unless he recognizes them. and corrects them. >> the president refusing to appoint steve bannon as his chief strategist and senior council. there's a lot to get to tonight, i want to begin with cnn's chief national security correspondent. >> there is word tonight that donald trump is trying to get top secret security clearance for his three oldest children
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and son in law? >> it appears this decision is not fully baked. one source telling my colleague jim acosta, this is something the president-elect is seeking for ivanka, eric and donald trump jr. as well as his son in law, jared kushner. it appears to be something he's considering requesting. and keep in mind this sounds very plausible. his children, ivanka in particular, jared kushner have been very close advisers. donald trump jr., eric as well. if they're not formal adviseadv will they be involved in situations where classified material would come up? that's possible. this appears to be something the president-elect wants to consider and see if that's possible. but has not made by decision yet as to where he's going to pursue this. >> there's been talk of palace
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intrigue and infighting among transition officials. >> i'm talking to officials inside the transition who said there are very sharp decisions right now. knife fight is an expression i've heard. as well as more colorful descriptions. one on the one side, more establishment gop people, keep in mind you have reince priebus, who is the choice for chief of staff, against less establishment more alternative figures. nonconventional, you have steve bannon as a senior adviser to the president. conflicting over some key appointments. secretary of state, my understanding is that mainstream conservatives they want they're considering john gbolton as the secretary of state nominee. you have others, trump loyalists who are considering rudy giuliani, who has been for quite
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some time a close supporter. unwavering supporter of donald trump. because you have these -- this -- quite a confusing diffusion of responsibility, you have steve bannon as a senior adviser. reince priebus as the chief of staff, jared kushner as the son in law. all playing a chief in staff role. a lot of chiefs, not many indians, someone tied to the transition told me it's buffoonery as this decision making process is going-forward. there is always disagreement, there are going to be battles, people who want these jobs, some of that is natural, in this case, it seems to be that the divisions are particularly sharp. >> jim sciutto, thank you. i want to bring in ari fleischer, the u.s. press secretary for george w. bush, david gergen, an adviser to four
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presiden presidents, and ron meacham. let's hash out this conversation right now. what's your take on whether donald trump's children should be granted top security clearance? >> that gives me a lot of pause, don. i don't understand why. i understand they're advisers to the president-elect. and that's fine and good. you have to make a sharp line when you enter into the government. particularly when you deal with the most important secrets, only the people who need to know should know what the secrets are. if his children are not working in full time positions, they should not have access to clearance. >> is there any precedence for this? >> i don't think so. there may be something i'm not aware of, but most presidents manage to keep -- particularly since president kennedy, managed to keep this compartmentalized. they keep family close, and informal advisers close, but the actual flow of classified information is something that's
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institutionalized. david would know well. >> do you think this is likely to happen, especially given the children are meant to be running the president elect's business affairs? >> well, i think at this stage, he makes a request, once the inauguration, he's the president, he can decide on his own if he wants to do this, the question is whether it's prudent or not, and i think on that issue, first of all, it is normally restricted. there are one or two members of the white house staff who mostly are on the domestic side who get clearances, the chief of staff, the council to the president. i would assume steve bannon and mr. priebus will have national security clearances, after that, you don't do it as a rule. and a nepotism rule prevents mr. trump from bringing in members of his family. you could put jared kushner on an advisory board, in which case he could get clearance.
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i think it's a bad idea to have four members of your family to come in. it's a horrible idea to have those same people running your business. you can't have people running a massive business with lots of international connections, at the same time getting national security, top secret materials. the conflicts are so deep and so obvious, especially in the wake of all the controversy of the clinton foundation. you would think this would be the last thing they would be thinking about. >> i ask you again, you think it's likely to happen? at this point it's just a request. but once he becomes president, he can do if himself, do you think it's likely to happen. >> i wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the four gets security clearance, i would be dumbfounded -- the fact that ari fleischer is having real pause tells you a lot about the wisdom of this. >> ari, let's move on, i think all of you are in agreement that it's -- it gives you all pause.
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ari, donald trump's top aides are fighting it out, is that a good way to start out, when there are so many important positions that need to be filled? >> well, it depends on how the thing settles out and who gets appointed to what position. i think you're going to get used to this, a politician who had been around for 20 or 30 years who knew everybody, who knew every insider, to do it the same way it's always been done, yeah, there probably wouldn't be any infighting, you have an outsider who has not gone through this before, and many people are jockeying for position to influence that outsider. i would much rather, given all the circumstances and facts, have the outsider, who is intent on changing washington, go through this temporary infighting so long as it comes out right at the end of the day. don't expect everything to work the way it always has worked in washington. that's one of the reasons donald trump got elected. good, better or worse.
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some days it's going to be uglier, some days it's going to be prettier. >> rudy giuliani is being considered for secretary of state. >> given his diplomatic skills in the campaign, i suspect -- >> that was sarcasm? >> yeah, that was sarcasm, sorry. it would, but i didn't think we would be sitting here six days after the election talking about any of this. so what do i know? one of the things i think is the larger story here, and david is in some ways the embodiment of this. he was once in the clinton administration. administrations have seasons of chaos and orders. one of the things that's going to be true, because mr. trump went to the country basically selling his gut and his intuition. that doesn't lend itself to neat
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staffing decisions. neat staffing arrangements. so we all have the vices of our virtues, he's someone -- i think this has been pointed out the past couple days, it's very critical who's in that room, so many people. the last person who speaks to him, seems to have a disproportionate effect. these are very important decisions. >> listen, it's often messy, as he said, you know, you see campaigns in an administration, they have their seasons of turmoil, is it unprecedented at this point? are you concerned about infighting at this point? >> certainly not impressed to have this kind of infighting, coming less than 24 hours after we had the two appointments of mr. bannon and mr. priebus, as co partners in a great harmonious team. to have reports of knife fights gives you -- as ari would say, great pause. >> let me say one other thing,
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in terms of who they're fighting over. the very idea that john bolton would be considered the mainstream moderate candidate tells you a lot about what's going on. he is -- you know, there was a time when he was -- he's very conservative, very outspoke ing, a lot of people love him, but he had a -- he faced impossible odds going through a very -- there are a lot of people in the republican party in the past in the national security group who thought he was a wild card on the outside edges. the fact that he's mainstream, and he's the mainstream choice, that tells you a lot. >> you, woulded with bolton, didn't you? >> yes, eni think what david has just reflected is the thinking of the '80s and '90s. john bolton served our country very ably. i think he would make an outstanding secretary of state. i think rudy would make an
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outstanding secretary of state. things are changing. america is changing. you know what, we need to shake up things around the world a little bit too. only 5 of the 28 nato nations spent money on their defense. 28 should pay 2% of their defense or more. america keeps paying for these nations, they don't do it, because nobody does ever shake them up. >> this is the minor stuff that ari's talking about. of course they ought to pay up. >> minor, but they never do. >> past presidents have accepted for the most part that when their predecessors make agreements in the international arena, they try to honor those agreements, to have john bolton come in here at the time we're coming in here, tearing up the agreement. treating nato as maybe we don't need it any more, it's
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auxiliary. cozying up to vladimir putin. telling the japanese, maybe we're going to put huge tariffs on. building a wall on the mexican border. do you really want to add more lightning. >> quickly, because i have to go. >> i think you're seeing someone who has moved the goal post, so he can end up with a much better resolution than we've had in the past. >> john, you have to speak up with these guys, they'll just keep talking. >> i think the new motto of the trump era should be, never a dull moment. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> i appreciate it. >> the chief of staff and the chief strategist has equal partners in the trump white house? will that set up work? up next, i'll ask the man who was president ronald reagan's chief of staff.
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we have some breaking news here. hillary clinton will make her first public appearance this coming wednesday. she'll be honored in washington. president-elect trump already has a big fight on his hands over steve bannon. together with reince priebus who will be the chief of staff. chief of staff in ronald reagan's white house. >> there's always chaos. >> what does the chief of staff do? >> staff, not chief.
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he's not elected the president is. his job is to make sure that everything is fully staffed before it gets to the oval office. no decision is an easy decision if it gets to the president. the hillary ad from eight years ago, who don't want to answer the phone at 3:00 in the morn g morning. the funny joke is, it's not the president, it's the chief of staff. you're usually the last person he sees at night before his spouse. and the first person in the morning. >> rahm emmanuel had a heavy hand. >> you are supposed to be making sure everyone's on the president's agenda, not their own agenda ah, what you're really focused on is making sure every option is staffed. and everyone adheres to the
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president. >> you think reince priebus is the best person for that job? >> yes. he's trusted, he's someone who can bring consensus, not necessarily just at the west wing, but on capitol hill. >> what kind of chief of staff does donald trump need. >> he needs somebody he has total confidence in. he needs someone who's going to be reality therapist. everyone walks into the office and tell the president what they think he wants to know. the chief of staff tells the president what he needs to know. >> he will have reince priebus
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and steve bannon. they'll have equal roles. >> it's the same way as valerie has with dennis mcdonagh or with rahm emmanuel. karl rove had with andy card. we had in the beginning of reagan, meese, beaver and jim bakker as chief of staff. it, woulded, you're getting everybody together. >> is it going to work with these two individuals? especially given steve bannon's resume or history? someone who is on the alt-right side? >> it can work, but the chief of staff has to be primary. what steve bannon's role is, i think, is to reassure those people in the trump coalition, who are the true believers that
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gives president-elect trump the opportunity to make some compromises and deals and win things for america without his base going off the deep end. >> you think steve bannon is there for the base? >> i think he is there to give the president the flexibility to put together some compromises and deals, things don't happen overnight. >> there's a lot of hand ringing about steve bannon. how can he appoint someone like that? >> does that give you pause? >> of course, if the personal stories are accurate. we have to figure those out. there's a way of clearing the deck on those. being in government compared to being in a campaign are far different. when you're in government, every word you say, every belief you have has to be for the american peop
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people. the question is, is someone like steve bannon worthy of the oval office? >> he's not in the oval office. he's worthy as lee atwater was for bush 41. as karl rove was for 43. as valerie jarrett was. i'm not talking about their personal beliefs. what i'm talking about is their ability to help the president govern. and that's what steve bannon has to be about. but reince priebus is primary as the chief of staff who makes everything flow. he is the control mechanism as every other chief of staff has been. >> thank you. pleasure. >> up next, we'll look at steve bannon's background and why he's such a controversial figure. a decadent crab cake, and a lobster tail topped with white wine butter.
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donald trump taking a lot of heat tonight for choosing steve bannon for his chief strategist. before he became involved with trump's campaign, few knew
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anything about bannon. but he has a track record. >> for some of the people that are concerned about this new administration. there are two names that strike fear more than any others, breitbart and bannon. >> behave yourself. you are freaks and animals. >> from the beginning, breitbart has been all about confronting liberals, the media, the political establishment, anyone believed to be shouting down or shutting down conservative voices. >> do you even know what you're protesting zm. >> how much are you getting paid? >> that's the late andrew breitbart, a blogger who built the right wing media empire before his unexpected death in 2012. and these are the kind of headlines breitbart churns out these days. birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. gay rights have made us dumber.
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would you rather your child had feminism or cancer. at the helm of breitbart news until recently, steve bannon. >> we need to have a fight in the republican party -- >> he's a former navy officer, former investment banker, the most dangerous political operative in america. and now adviser to the president. >> look, the media is the guard of the permanent class consultants, they're all in bed together. >> how did he get there? >> early investment in the seinfeld tv series, led bannon to a cash of wealth and experience which he transformed into political battering rams. >> producing films to promote the right. the birther controversy around
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obama. >> you have to understand how the clintons, who proclaim that they support all your values, essentially have sold you out for money. >> bannon's aggressive use of the breitbart brand is under scruti scrutiny. bannon is pushing a white supremist right wing agenda, while his allies brush the complaints aside, they claim. >> anything that anybody ever published on breitbart is steve bannon. that's bologna. >> with his role loosely defined, it's hard to guess at his impact. it's a heddy time for bannon. after years of sniping at the government from the outside, he's now as inside as anyone can be. don? >> tom form an, thank you very much. i want to bring in a former spokesperson for breitbart --
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pardon m pa joel who is steve bannon, a white sellite, a massagenist. >> he's a national hero. because of steve bannon and kelly anne, they saved donald trump's campaign, they helped him win the white house, as a result of that, we're going to see supreme court appointments of individuals who will uphold the constitution. for that, america owes steve bannon a great dead of gratitude. he's not an anti-semite. you can see i'm an orthodoxed jew, i keep the sabbath, all the or dochled holidays. he's always been sensitive to jewish concerns. he's probably the most pro israel adviser ever in the white house. 23 you're going to report something, you have to get the
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facts right. breitbart news has nothing to do with birtherism. i can tell you that, i am the person that reported on some of that phenomenon. >> we'll discuss that with kurt in a moment who is also here. is he bigoted in anyway that you know of? >> not at all. steve bannon does not have a bone of prejudice in his body. he went out of his way to look for talent among none traditional conservatives. he brought people on board, i see kurt there on television, he's an asian-american conservative. here we are an asian-american conservative, orthodoxed jew who worked for steve bannon. >> then why traffic in that? >> can you name for me one white
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nationalist article at breitbart? just one. >> there's an article defending the outright. he praises breitbart, he said he's a platform for the alt-right. why traffic in that if he doesn't support it? >> it's important to draw a distinction between covering something and defending something. we published an article several months ago, talking about the alt-right, that's not defending the alt-right, it's explaining it to mainstream conservatives. that's journalism, it's important to understand the distinction between those two, and that's a distinction we made clearly at breitbart and still make today. >> i want to bring in the other part, the other members of the panel now, so they can get in on this. >> you work with breitbart, you
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know steve bannon, this is a man who said the website is a platform for the alt-right, can you separate the man from the website, a similar question i asked joel before. can you separate the man? >> well, whether he holds these views or not i think they're one in the same. they're going to go from being the propaganda arm of the donald trump campaign to being the arm of the federal government. for the first time, you're going to have a white house co chief of staff, being able to run a media enterprise out of the west wing. i think it's troubling, given the content breitbart tends to publish. if we take joel with his experience, and say, okay, joel, maybe he's not any of those things, the audience that you are catering to are those things, you're deliberately playing to the worst decisiveness, the worst racial divides to either get traffic or
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motivate people to support you, and i think that's despicable. >> is this simply being too cute, you're an asian-american, he's a jewish-american? >> just because you treat one person who happens to be associated with a particular gender, race, or religion, doesn't mean that's how you treat everybody. >> the new york times has a new interview with bannon tonight. he rejected what he called ethno-nationalist tendencies of some in the movement. it has to do with curbing american nationalism. these people are patriots, they love their country, they just want their country taken care of, he added, it's not that some people on the margins as in any movement aren't the bad guys, racist anti-semites, but that's irrelevant. >> bannon is someone who's
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called breitbart a platform for the alt-right movement. if that wasn't the case, i think we'd be having a different discussion. he can say what he wants now, but the fact is the kkk and american natzi party are all celebrating his victory. the alt-right movement is a white supremacist movement that involves racism. it is what it is. if you're the president-elect, it's -- you know, it should be high on your list of priorities to unite the country especially after such a divisive campaign. we just don't see that, with bannon picked as chief strategist. >> hear's what my colleague ana navarro said. good, decent inclusive americans do not get praise by the american nazi party and the kkk. so the question is, why does
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president-elect trump want bannon in the white house? joel? >> well, let's put it this way, you have the new black panther party praise iing barack obama. you have barack obama sitting in jeremiah wright's church for 20 years, he disassociated himself with -- >> none of those people were advisers to the president. >> you're not applying the same standard to both people. barack obama was the president and came from this environment. steve bannon does not come from this environment. ana navarro and macmullan have lied openly about steve bannon. evan is on your show tonight. he can't defend that statement. >> sure i can. >> kurt bardella didn't try to say whether steve bannon is an anti-semite. evan can't defend it, kurt can't defend it. and it's not true. i think that when you do this, this is what the media does --
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they throw out a bunch of innuendo to try to smear someone. the most offensive thing steve bannon did was win the white house with donald trump. if it was up to these people, it would be hillary clinton picking the supreme court and con signing our democracy to decline. steve bannon deserves the praise of these folks, not their condemnation. >> i don't know how you can talk about decline on clinton's behalf. one of the first things trump did was tweets out something that was false about the new york times. if we're going to play let's be fact checkers, tell both sides of the story. where's the breitbart story highlighting inaccuracies in many things donald trump has said that are not true. >> the question that steve bannon is a white nationalist
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and anti-semite. >> i don't think we put it to bed. just because you say it doesn't mean he's not. he certainly traffics in it. >> he made a business of it. >> yes. >> he certainly did not. you can't throw out lies like that, and ask me to prove a negative, when you can't prove a positive. your network had a commentator the other night that said the vote for donald trump was a white lash. are you a black national network -- >> that's apples and pears. >> no, it's not. it's exactly the same thing. >> it has nothing to do with anything. you're doing it, someone who makes a comment on television, in a discussion, van jones does not own a website that traffics in white nationalism or admits that it traffics in black nationalism, your comparison makes no sense. don't go anywhere.
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for those who voted against donald trump but are willing to give him a chance is the appointment of steve bannon a step backwards?
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back with me kurt, evan and joel. kurt, i want to ask you about this, this is kellyanne conway. >> i worked very closely with steve bannon, people should look at the full resume. he has a harvard business degree. he's a naval officer. and he was a goldman sachs managing partner. i'm personally offended you think i would manage a campaign where that would be one of the philosophies. it has not. >> i heard several trump surrogates on the air today almost in the exact order she said it. do you think donald trump is being tone deaf to millions of americans who are tone deaf to a trump presidency? >> i don't think trump cares at all about those people. the paradigm that steve and trump view the world through, they won the election, and the onus is on everyone else to
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adapt to how they think. not to them to evolve or change based on the enormity of the president of the united states. i think they think everyone else needs to come around, they don't need to do anything else. >> that's not usually what works. >> that's one of the real concerns. >> any sort of politician. >> that's where they're setting themselves up for failure, not having that hugh millity, and understanding the gravity of the job that's going to be before them. at some point, a president like trump is going to be in over his head. mr. obama wants to spend time with mr. trump to prepare him. it was obvious in their conversation he wasn't up for it yet. >> donald trump told his supporters who are harassing minorities to stop it. you say that doesn't mean much when he brings in someone like bannon to the west wing. should he address these concerns? >> if you're going to continue with steve bannon, that -- those actions speak louder than any
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words you might give. i will say, don, i i this the discussion about whether bannon is an anti-semite or a white supremacist. all of that is off the point. the real question is, what are the ideas in a our leaders advance. and our leaders now are advancing ideas at least with the appointment of steve bannon who advanced the ideas of the alt-right as a part of breitbart are advancing ideas which are destructive. it's hard to say, to look into a man's heart and say exactly what they believe or feel, we'll never know, but it's about the ideas that they advance. one thing is very clear, steve bannon has advanced ideas of the alt right, he knows his business has been setting up or furthering a platform for their ideas, and donald trump has got to repudiate that, and it's not possible to do that, if steve bannon's your chief strategist.
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>> and also, i realize that by doing that, he may have normalized the alt-right in some way. normalized white nationalism, which should not be normalized. >> absolutely. >> joel, earlier we spoke about the article on, an establishment conservative's guide to the alt-right. meanwhile, the alt-right ultimately cracks jokes about the holocaust, expresses its horror at race mixing and denounces a did he again rascy of homosexuals. what gives? if you're this far down the article you'll know some of the answers already. but the mean brigade, it's just about having fun. they have no real problem with race mixing, homosexuality or diverse societies. it's just fun to watch the may hem and outrage that erupts when
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those secular shivalets are mocked. >> making fun about the holocaust, race mixing and it's just fun. how is that okay? >> it's not okay. that's called journalism. it described some of what was going on in the alt-right, you just said that's the first time you read that article. i would have expected you would have read the entire article before coming on the air and making outrageous claims like -- >> let me -- hold on here. i don't read a lot of breitbart, because quite frankly i'm offended by what they put up there. i have read it. my question to you is, is that he is promoting this, he is saying that his website is the platform for the alt-right, and
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this article on that website is part of the thing that's saying, hey, this is what they do, they make fun of people, and they really don't care about it. >> you should read the entire article, i think the article stands for itself, it goes through the different components of the alt-right, it's called journalism. cnn occasionally does it, for evan macmullan to sit there and not apologize for his lie about calling steve bannon an anti-semite. and then to say he advocates for the alt-right. i want you to give me one time -- >> has steve bannon ever said that breitbart was a platform for the alt-right. >> i think he said that to mother jones, but i can tell you this, there's a distinction between covering the alt-right and defending it, people on the alt-right are sharie ing articl
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>> he didn't say we cover the alt-right, we are the platform for the alt-right. >> he said that, i defy you to explain what that means. >> what else could it possibly mean. >> what you guys have said, the suggestion is that breitbart is a white nationalist website. we have disproved that. >> no, you haven't. >> you have had a lot of time to do research, and you haven't come up with one white nationalist article at breitbart. you said, that steve bannon is -- >> hold on. >> no, let me finish. >> this is a headline from breitbart. hoist it high and cloud, the confederate flag claims a glorious heritage. you should hoist it high and proud. from every church and everywhere. what is that? >> that's not what the article said, but the article is a defense of the confederate flag as a historic symbol.
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there are other newspapers that have made the same argument. that is an argument that this deserves to be seen as separate from the charleston massacre, that's a legitimate argument. you can go to david french and read the same argument. it happens to be an argument that lost -- >> here's what it said. >> that's not -- >> every tree, every rooftop, every picket fence in the south should be festuned with the confederate battle flag. >> that's not white nationalist. it's not something that i think -- kurt, you know that steve bannon is not a white nationalist, you know that he's not an anti-semite. that's the premise you've come on the air to smear him. now that we've established -- >> i've never heard kurt say that. >> an organization has come out in defense of steve bannon and
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said he's pro israel and has empathy for the jewish people, you guys have had no answer to that. you used up this precious air time to smear a man and a website. now that you can't prove it -- >> if you -- >> excuse me, kurt, you would do better to listen with your ears and not your mouth. >> we're all going to have to listen to the commercial break. 13% of black men voted for donald trump, how will race relations change under his administration. ♪ trintellix (vortioxetine) is a prescription medicine for depression. trintellix may start to untangle or help improve the multiple symptoms of depression. for me, trintellix made a difference. tell your healthcare professional right away if your depression worsens, or you have unusual changes in mood, behavior or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children,
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one journalist would tell you like it is on a subject we just discussed was gwen ifill. we have lost her voice. the co anchor of pbs news hour died today from applications of uterine cancer. her accomplishments are too many to mention. she moderated presidential deba debates. she was part of the first all anchor team on nightly news and on and on. i first met gwen at a convention in the mid '90s when i was trying to become an on hair reporter. the woman i watched and loved
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from afar, agreed to critique my first demo tape. i hung on to her every word. now i have a few words for her. gwen, you were a black woman who thrived in this brutal business, you transcended race and gender. you were simply brilliant and powerful. a quiet storm, professional, understated, humble. i won't give your age, because i was taught to never tell or ask a ladies age, i won't say good-bye. good-byes are so hard, but i will say so long and thank you.
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breaking news, donald trump's children, will they be granted top security clearance when he becomes president? sources telling cnn about severe infighting within trump's transition team. one source calling it a knife fight. president barack obama urging americans to give the president a chance. >> i don't think he's ideological.


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