Return to Transcripts main page


Five Dead, Six Injured in Florida Airport Shooting; Trump: No Evidence in Intel Report That Russia's Meddling Affected Election Outcome; CNN Uncovers Plagiarism by Monica Crowley; Who Will Pay for the Wall?; President Obama: Don't Rescue Republicans with Obamacare Replacement. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 19:00   ET



[19:00:10] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Pamela Brown in Washington on this Saturday. Poppy Harlow is off today.

And we have breaking news coming in to CNN. Right now, federal officials in south Florida have just charged the suspected killer of five people at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. And the charges include carry the possibility of death penalty.

This as Estephan Santiago, right here, 26-year-old, from Puerto Rico. He is now charged with performing an act of violence at an airport. He is accused of picking up a handgun from baggage claim and firing it into the crowded airport terminal as we see. Five people dead. Six wounded. And the airport packed with people not knowing that they were under a terrorist attack turned completely chaotic.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz watching this breaking developments, getting new information for us. Also, Dan Simon in Alaska where Estephan Santiago lived that was known police and the FBI.

Dan, to you in just a moment. But first, Shimon, what we have learned about these new charges?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Well, as you said, Pam, one of them has to deal with violence at an airport. A second charge of using a gun. So he is potentially facing the death penalty. We don't know if the U.S. government is going to seek the death penalty. But certainly some of these charges could potentially bring the death penalty.

But I also - I kind of want to get into a little bit into the affidavit which is attached to the document which was just filed about a half hour ago. It gives some detail of what investigators have learned. And we also learned that the alleged shooter confessed. Told detectives and told the FBI how he went about his attack. The quote methodical way in which he conducted the attack, how he came out of the bathroom and used the gun and fired it at the people he came across. Just as soon as he came out of the bathroom, the people he encountered, he fired at them shooting them in the head. He also, interestingly enough, told investigators that he had been

planning this attack. Remember, earlier, we had been reporting that investigators believed he had been planning this attack for some time. Well, we know partially why they believe that. And it's allegedly from his own mouth. He told investigators that he had been planning this attack.

He then gave some other details about how he emptied the first magazine and how many shots he thinks he fired which were about 15. And then he goes on to talk about how he surrendered and gave up, basically, when he did not have any more bullets left in his gun.

BROWN: And really quickly before we move on, did he give any indication how long he had been planning this? When he bought his plane ticket? That kind of thing?

PROKUPECZ: So, the affidavit does say it was a one way ticket. He purchased a one-way ticket. We have learned from talking to investigators that they believe it was a recently purchased ticket. Perhaps a few days before the attack. They would not specifically give us a date. But they said that it was purchased a couple days before the attack.

BROWN: All right. I want to turn to Dan Simon in Anchorage right outside the motel where the suspect once lived.

We know, Dan, you are there at the press conference with the FB and local police. And they laid out all of the interactions they had with the suspect in the past year. What can you tell us about that?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, first of all, let me explain why we are at this motel. We know that investigators were here for several hours removing evidence and talking to some people who worked here as well as some of the residents here. This is a motel for transients. And it is one of Santiago's last known addresses.

As far as the press conference, the posture that authorities seem to be taking is that they did everything according to protocol. That when Santiago went to that FBI office in November said he was hearing voices, that they did everything by the book by first, referring him to the local police department then helping preserves facility a mental health evaluation. This is what authorities had to say just a short time ago.


MARTIN L. RITZMAN, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN-CHARGE, ANCHORAGE FIELD OFFICE: In November of 2016, Mr. Santiago walked into the Anchorage FBI office to report that his mind was being controlled intelligence agency. During the interview, Mr. Santiago appeared agitated, incoherent and made disjointed statements.

CHRISTOPHER TOLLEY, ANCHORAGE POLICE CHIEF: APD was contacted by the Anchorage FBI requesting assistance with a mentally ill person with disjointed thoughts. When APD arrived on scene, they were informed by investigated agents. Mr. Santiago had arrived at the FBI building asking for help. Santiago was having terroristic thoughts and believed he was influenced by ISIS. Santiago had a loaded magazine on him, but had left his firearm in his vehicle prior to contacting agents.


[19:05:05] SIMON: Pamela, we also know that over the past 12 months that Santiago had multiple encounters with law enforcement. One of those encounters involved a pair of charges, a criminal mischief charge as well as an assault charge on his girlfriend. Those charges were set to be dismissed in March assuming Santiago lived up to the court's conditions. (INAUDIBLE) host of mental health issues. And authorities are going to be looking to see what if in fact they missed -- Pamela.

BROWN: Dan Simon and Shimon, thank you so much for that.

And a close relative of the alleged airport gunman spoke to CNN today. Bryan Santiago says his brother had mental health issues and was not well since he returned from the Iraq war.

Here now, watch what the suspected killer's brother told CNN today. Take a listen.


BRYAN SANTIAGO, ESTEPHAN SANTIAGO'S BROTHER (through translator): I want to clarify this for the Puerto Rican people and for all the people in the world. As the federal government knew his reaction. Already knew the thoughts he was having and how they weren't good. He himself went after them to ask for help and they did nothing. They had him hospitalized for four days and they let him go. How are you going to let someone leave a psychological center for four days when he said he hears voices that the CIA is telling him to join certain groups? This was in November.

He is a peaceful person. Amicable. Everyone who knew him would say the same thing. That he was an amicable person. He would always help me. He would always do favors for people.

Various people have supported me. Telling me that they know him and that they didn't treat him in enough time. These are people who know they didn't treat him, who know what veterans suffer from when they come back from the war. There are several of them who get help and several others well don't get the same follow-up. Not everyone has the same reaction when they return from war. Some are better and some not so much.

It's too early to know our family's plans. We haven't been able to speak to him. The authorities have him. A government agency has come here to give us notice that we can't speak to him. I would like to talk to him. It's the first thing I want to do. Talk to him to see how he is doing. I don't know when the trial will be. I was told soon, maybe. They are saying, well some channels are saying that he was Muslim.

What happened was when he went to Iraq, he bought a scarf. He bought it as a souvenir. He took a photo with it as a memory of what he bought in Iraq. That is it. He didn't belong to radical group. We were born under the Christian faith.


BROWN: You heard the brother of the shooting suspect speaking.

For more on the investigation in Ft. Lauderdale, I want to get straight to CNN's Boris Sanchez.

Boris, what are you hearing?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pam, yes, the details about the shooter, Estephan Santiago, are coming in perhaps most glaring what you just heard, details from his family saying that his personality changed when he returned from serving overseas in Iraq for about ten months.

Aside from the shooter, though, we are also learning more about those affected by the shooting. Not only those killed or those still trying to recover.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Operations are returning to normal here at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport in the aftermath of the gunman opening fire at the bag claim area and killing five people and wounded six others.

CNN has learned the names of two of those killed. Olga Walter (ph) was a great grandmother from Georgia. She flew in Ft. Lauderdale with her husband so that could go on a cruise. Terry Andrews was also on vacation. He was a ship worker from Virginia celebrating his 63rd birthday with his wife.

Of the six rushed to the Broward medical center, three two surgery, two of them had been shot in the face.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Of course, need to talk to family that lost a love one. You cannot imagine what they are going through right now. You know, not wake up thinking this is going to be another wonderful day in their lives and then lose a loved one.

SANCHEZ: Following the interview with the suspected gunman, Esteban Santiago, investigators revealed that the 26-year-old allegedly came to Ft. Lauderdale specifically to carry out this attack. They don't know why this airport was targeted.

Authorities say that in November, Santiago had a gun in his vehicle when he paid a visit to the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska. The former National Guardsman told agents there that he had been hearing voices that told him to watch ISIS videos. CNN spoke with the Iraq war veterans on in New Jersey over the phone

who said quote "his mind was not right when he came back from Iraq. He talked about all the destruction and the killing of children. He had visions all the time."

Investigators in Florida tell us the investigation is still in the early stages and possible ties to terrorism have not yet been ruled out.

[19:10:36] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not ruled out anything. We continue to look at all avenues and all motives for this horrific attack. At this point, we are continuing to look at the terrorism angle in regard to the potential motivation behind this attack.

SANCHEZ: Santiago will likely appear before a judge on Monday. The second floor of terminal two has been reopened to help process passengers.

And there is a bit of good news. One of the six injured being helped at Broward health is expected to go home soon.


BROWN: And that was our Boris Sanchez reporting there with his piece on the tragedy that unfolded there at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport.

And coming up right here in the NEWSROOM, I'm going to speak to a witness to this tragedy in Ft. Lauderdale who heard the screams of shooter and scrambled for shelter.

Also less than two weeks from inauguration, CNN uncovers evidence of plagiarism by one of top picks for Donald Trump's White House team. How the present-elect's team is reacting.

And then later, my exclusive interview with the director of the U.S. secret service responding to reports that there has been friction between his agents and Trump's some security team.

We will be back.


[19:14:29] BROWN: The stories continue to pour in about the shooting rampage at Ft. Lauderdale international airport Friday. Suspect Esteban Santiago now facing federal charge making him eligible for the death penalty. Investigators say he went to baggage claim and picked up his one piece of checked luggage, a case with a nine millimeter handgun inside. Chaos and sued when the shooter began firing at people retrieving their luggage in the baggage claim area killing five people and wounding six others.

David Steiger joining me now from Ft. Lauderdale.

And David, you were in terminal three when the shots rang out. How long did it take you to realize and make the connection that there is something going on and I need to take cover?

[19:15:12] DAVID STEIGER, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS: Actually it was as soon as I went from level two to level one down the escalator, I saw the people running toward me. I immediately heard people screaming shooter and everybody running in the opposite direction of terminal two.

BROWN: And so, as you saw that unfolding, what was your immediate reaction? I was talking to another witness there who said he decided to hide instead of run. I imagine that is just a very difficult situation to be in, not knowing what to do.

STEIGER: You know, honestly, I was shocked. I wasn't sure what was going on. I looked around. I looked at the security officers. They didn't seem to be -- they didn't know what was going on just yet. They didn't seem like anything was communicated among the security personnel in the airport just yet. So even though the people seemed to be panicking and was running in one direction, it was a little chaotic. I don't think they knew what was happening just yet.

BROWN: So what were they doing? Just kind of give us a sense -- were these airport security officials? Who exactly was there?

STEIGER: Yes, airport security officials. I saw the people running towards me. And then I looked around at security specifically and they weren't panicking. They didn't seem like they were talking on the walkie-talkies. I actually saw a woman, security officer, laughing to another. So they definitely did not know what was happening just yet. And you know, I, myself, I felt in shock. I was not necessarily scared. I think what I was trying to figure out was it a false alarm? And somebody screamed that (INAUDIBLE) happening. It was hard to say. And honestly, there was, the time I was there from about 12:50 to about 1:10, there was no announcements made over loud speakers or security directed in any direction.

BROWN: Yes. Because you wonder when you look at the video and everyone is running, you wonder if someone is telling them go this direction or go here. But it sounds like, from your experience that was just pure chaos and people were just running to wherever they could find cover, what was going through your mind through all of this? Did you ever see the shooter? Tell us about that.

STEIGER: I got lucky. I definitely did not see the shooter. I heard a lot of noise coming from terminal two. I actually went outside the terminal from the baggage claim area. I went outside and I tried to see what I could see. And I really couldn't see much. All I could see was that people were running from terminal two in the direction of terminal one and terminal three. And shortly after, police officers and cars started pulling up.

But there was a little bit of a lull there. And while I was outside and people were still running in that direction. I had a woman that was a little elderly come to me and say, what should we do? And she hid behind me. And I didn't have an answer for her. I wasn't sure of what to do. She just kept running in the other direction. It was, for me, luckily, it was over shortly as I was picked up at the airport.

BROWN: That just really puts it in perspective. This woman hiding behind you not knowing what to do. I mean, any of us could find ourselves in that position. So many of us go through these airports. And I'm sure yesterday was just a typical day for you, David, until this happened.

Thank you so much for coming on and sharing your experience with us.

STEIGER: Of course. Thanks for having me.

BROWN: And coming up on this Saturday, president-elect Trump vows to improve U.S. relations with Russia despite his briefing on Vladimir Putin's involvement in election meddling. I will talk to a global affairs analyst who believes Russia is playing a dangerous game.


[19:21:38] BROWN: President-elect Donald Trump says no evidence in the newly declassified U.S. intelligence report shows that Russia's meddling affected the U.S. election's outcome. A report does concludes though that Vladimir Putin directly ordered the election interference. Trump is powering ahead the plans to improve U.S. relationship with Russia when he takes office in 13 days.

Let's talk it over with CNN global affairs analyst Kimberly Dozier, senior international security correspondent for "the Daily Beast."

So Kim, you tweeted, I hope Mr. President-elect, you realize Russia is playing a dangerous game and abiding your time to respond. Guess you didn't see it that way.

So what do you mean, Kim, when you say Russia is playing a dangerous game?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I was channeling what I am hearing from U.S. intelligence officials current and former who were hoping that after Donald Trump further briefing and saw the most highly classified intelligence of how they know what they think they know about Russia did, that he would at least come out with something like, well, we know the results of the elections were valid. The ballot boxes weren't hacked, but Russia back off. Stop interfering in our politics.

He did not say anything like that. And that has led some in the intelligence community to worry that he is buying into the Russian line, that he along with some parts of the American public believe some of the fake news stories put out or at the very least believe that Vladimir Putin is on the U.S. side or at least his side when what the spies will tell you is that they are doing what is good for Russia. And the next thing they do might not be good for Donald Trump.

BROWN: Well, Donald Trump, though, tweeted today that look, it is a good thing to have a good relationship with Russia. That perhaps the two countries can work together and solve some of the world's most pressing problems. Does he have a point here?

DOZIER: Well, I have spoken to U.S. diplomats and scientists and technology experts who would have worked with Russia to do things like reduce the nuclear stockpile in the world, reduce weapons of mass destruction in places like Syria. And they say that yes, agreements can be made. This can be a somewhat healthy relationship. But you have to look at Russia's recent actions. Things like annexing Crimea, invading or making mischief inside Ukraine. Some of the actions like the shoot down of the airliner with the number of civilians in it over Ukraine.

There are things that they have done that show that Vladimir Putin when his back's against the wall or when he feels threatened or feels like his country is shrinking in power, they will take extreme measures. There hasn't been much of an answer to those measures beyond sanctions. So the worry is you have to do both with Russia. Both reach out with the olive branch but also be ready with a strong military and the willingness to make some threats to push back.

BROWN: But could it be a strategy on the part of Trump to do this so Russia doesn't feel like its back is against the wall and doesn't hold a grunge? That essentially, he is trying to make nice so that Putin could save face in a way?

[19:25:00] DOZIER: Well, that is what some of the politicians and intelligence officials I am speaking to are hoping that in the back of their minds as they -- their first fear is maybe he actually believes this stuff. But they hope maybe he is just being cagey. That he wants Russia to feel comfortable. He wants Russia to feel secure. But in the meantime, when you look at some of the people he is hiring for his team, they have a track record of being strong with Russia, even anti-Russia. People like former senator Dan Coats who has been nominated to be his director of national intelligence was actually on a list banned from travel to Moscow for his position on that country. So we really have to see what happens after he gets inaugurated and what sort of maneuvers -- what he does to both offset and reach out that hand of friendship to Moscow.

BROWN: We will be watching that closely.

Kim Dozier, thank you very much.

U.S. secret service director Joseph Clancy is speaking out for the first time to CNN since Donald Trump was elected. And my one on one interview with him as exclusive interview, he set the record straight about report that there has been friction with the secret service agents and Trump's private security team. Here is what he said.


BROWN: There have been reports out there basically saying that Trump kept his private security after he was elected. Is that true?

JOSEPH CLANCY, DIRECTOR, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: Well, first of all, let me just say secret service has the sole responsibility of protecting the president and the vice president and first family. Under the U.S. code 18356, we have the authority, we have a mandate and only the secret service has that authority to protect these individuals. And we only work with law enforcement partners. This group that you are referring to, they are not in our meetings and an advance meetings or not armed. They are more of a staff function than a security function. So we don't interact with them.

BROWN: So, if there was a threat to the president-elect, they would not interfere?

CLANCY: No. That's correct. We have our plan for protecting the president-elect and that there's no interaction at all.

BROWN: And there is no concern that there might be friction or might be --?

CLANCY: No. No friction at all.


BROWN: And he said the man who is considered Trump's personal body guard (INAUDIBLE), he will have a role in the oval office. He will act more as a liaison to the secret service and will not be playing the role with protecting the president.

Well, coming up right here on this Saturday, one of Trump's the top national security picks facing major questions over plagiarism. CNN's KFILE just broke the story. And the details are next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:30:58] BROWN: Brand new tonight, CNN has uncovered evidence of plagiarism by conservative author and television personality, Monica Crowley. Why should you care? Because Crowley has been tapped by the president-elect for a top national security communications role. The example of the plagiarism was discovered by CNN Andrew Kaczynski in Crowley's 2012 book, "What the (bleep) just happened?"

Andrew Kaczynski is senior editor of CNN's KFILE joins me now.

So Andrew, you found several examples in her book. Tell us about your investigation.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, KFILE: So this is 60 examples of plagiarism in Crowley's 2012 book, "what the (bleep) just happened?" Now, Crowley, as many of you might remember, for years served as a FOX News contributor. The examples are very extensive. Include her coping things like Wikipedia, Ivestipedia, Think Tanks, other authors, other columnists. In some cases, she actually takes the work of other columnist, basically rewrites their columns and then sort of puts different conclusions on or the same conclusion in different or similar words.

BROWN: And we are seeing this on our screen. On the left side, you see pages from Crowley's book and then on the right side, you see what you say is plagiarism from. And you actually say that some of the information, some of these plagiarized information was inaccurate. Can you give us examples?

KACZYNSKI: So, an example at the bottom. Crowley basically took this work which was a list of items that in her book she claims was in the 2009 stimulus package. Now, when we researched that and saw it was plagiarized, we are very intrigue because the first item was actually in the stimulus. It was something about tattoo removal. Crowley then was basically these 20 examples of things she says are outrageous things that are in the stimulus.

Now, we found that none of the items were actually in the stimulus. They all came from this website for a podiatrist dating back to 2004 of list of what he said was government pork. So it was as if someone had started researching stimulus items, you know, found the first one being the stimulus and then just gave up on the rest.

BROWN: And we were looking at those pages. There were a lot of pages, a lot of yellow highlights there. Has the Trump team responded? Has Crowley responded?

KACZYNSKI: Crowley did not return our request for comment. The Trump campaign, the Trump transition basically said to us they are standing by her. They actually cited her body of work as the reason for why she is would be serving. And Harper Collins, the publisher, in a very sort of unprecedented staff, did not give respond to any emails or repeated phone calls for the story. Almost always publishers when cases of, you know, agree to plagiarism to book of theirs give some sort of statement. In this case, we did not get anything at all.

BROWN: So as we talk about this and we look at what you say are examples of plagiarism, why should people be listening to the segment and caring about this? Why is this so important?

KACZYNSKI: Well, Crowley basically got to where she was, you know, being the incoming communications adviser for the National Security Council because of what she did for years. You know, being a FOX News contributor, giving opinions. And this 2012 book was sort of her manifesto for how to take back America. The Trump transition, as I said, cited it in why they hired here in their comment to us. So it shows that a lot of here, you know, body of work helped her get to where she was basically taken from other people without attributions and with sometimes minor changes, sometimes no changes at all.

BROWN: Andrew Kaczynski with that investigative reporting there right here in CNN. Thank you so much, Andrew.

KACZYNSKI: Thank you.

BROWN: Well, coming up right here in the NEWSROOM, it is one of the president-elect's biggest campaign promises to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. But that last part where Mexico boots the bill could be a tall order. More on that up next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:38:04] BROWN: And as you probably recall, it was Donald Trump's signature campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border and to make Mexico pay for it. Here is a flashback.



CROWD: Mexico.

TRUMP: Who? By the way, 100 percent.

The top person, president of Mexico said, we will never, ever pay for that wall. You know what I said? I said the wall just got ten feet higher.


BROWN: Well, the president-elect is still promising to build the wall, but taxpayers would get the first bill. Trump's transition team is hinting that the lost Congress to pay for the wall and then get Mexico to reimburse the U.S. later. Trump tweeting the dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the great wall for sake of speed, will be paid back by Mexico later.

All right, let's talk this over. Tara Setmayer, CNN political commentator and A. Scott Bolden, former chairman of the Washington D.C. Democratic party. Great to see you, both.



BROWN: Of course. So Tara, I'm going to start with you here because to be clear, Mexico has never agreed to pay to this wall. Listen to what former Mexican president Vicente Fox told CNN this morning.


VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: No way that will Mexico pay for the wall. And on the other side, he is cheating the people to his few followers in making them think that we do, Mexico will pay for it. And cheating Congress now because he wants to pull out money out of Congress out of the national federal budget to build the wall which he promised that he would get that money from Mexico. There is no way that Mexico would pay for that wall.


BROWN: He has not mince words there. Tara, is it realistic to think Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for border wall? As already said it is not paying for? What would the incentive be?

[19:40:03] SETMAYER: Right. Well, you all know that Donald Trump has never -- you can never really believe what he says. He says one thing one week and something differently another. We know that he was actually quite soft on illegal immigration in 2012. He castigated Mitt Romney for being too tough on immigration. So this whole this was a big campaign ploy to rally people, get them ginned up because he understood that something is simple the slogan, he is a master marketer. That a slogan like that which is easy to understand, played into individuals who were very upset about the fact that our border security on the southern border is terrible. Which it is. We have a lot of issues going on with illegal immigration and border crossings. We have the surge in illegal crossings since 2013 and 2014 unaccompanied minors surged. There is a significant problem.

But Mexico is not going to pay for this. Now in fairness to Donald Trump, very quickly, the idea of using remittances which is the money that gets sent from the United States back to Mexico. You have 98 percent of which is through electronic transmission, using taxing remittance or using some kind of fee on those to help fund to build the wall is actually good policy and very possible considering that $25 billion worth of remittance come from the U.S. into Mexico. So that is actually something that could happen. But Mexico directly paying for, it is not going to happen.

BROWN: Well, Scott, Trump is a dealmaker after all. Why is it not possible to think that once Trump get an office, he will be able to strike a deal or come up with something to force Mexico's hand to pay for it?

BOLDEN: Because there is absolutely no deal to be had. He has gone to Mexico during the campaign and the Mexican president told him no. He went there. He did not even raise it. And the former president said he is not going to pay for it. It is just not a deal. It is a non-starter basically.

Secondly, in regard to what Tara said, and I think it is an appealing argument about the remittances. The problem is to do that, it has to be done on the patriot - under the patriot law and that law is for terrorists. And to seize those remittances to tax them, the day he passes that policy is the day it gets challenged in court. And it is just not a good fit under the patriot act.

And so, the other ironic thing about this very quickly is that if we build the wall and we pay for it, that is America, and it works, there will be less of those remittance to seize. There will be less of these tariffs or taxes to put forth to pay $8 billion to $10 billion back.

And remember this, our economy, our budget is going to take an $8 billion to $10 billion hit if Americans have to pay for it first with no plan, no real plan in place to be reimburse. It is a non-starter.

BROWN: So then, what do you think, Tara? Do you think that Republicans, because obviously Donald Trump has that advantage having Republicans the majority in the House and the Senate, do you think that they would push something like this through given the cost, the price tag? SETMAYER: Yes. This is actually a little bit tricky when it comes to

funding. I worked on Capitol Hill for seven years. I worked on illegal immigration and federal law enforcement issues. So I know how complicated it can be.

I mean, in 2013, there was a bill proposing a $46 billion border security bill over ten years. That is about, you know, $4.6 billion a year. That was voted down in Congress. And that was with Republicans. So it is very tricky when you get to spending billions and billions of dollars are things.

You know, Congress now, though, has incentive with Republicans controlling everything to get a package put together. Whether you see a physical wall being built, I still think remains to be seen. Under President Bush, they tried with the fencing issue. Supposed to be 700 miles of fencing. And that even didn't get finished with (INAUDIBLE). So, you know, Congress has an issue. We have up to April 28th when the current spending bill runs out. So there is a possibility of a government shutdown again in April. And if this comes up and you have Republican budget hawks that are saying that they don't want to spend, you know, Donald Trump's $8 billion. Some analysts say it is up to $25 billion for a wall. You are going to run into this within the Republican Party.

So - but I think you are going to see something worked out. Because it is clear the American people want to see border security and it is way overdue. There are so many other issues besides that. Interior enforcement down. Different laws. I think you are going to something finally come together with Republicans. So I'm telling you right now, Mexico is not going to pay for it. The American taxpayer is.

BOLDEN: Or reimburse us an $8 billion to $10 billion. But he is going to start fighting with the Republican Party, not just the Democrats. Because the 20006 appropriation for this superior fence, remember this, it has been unfunded for ten years by both Democrats and Republicans.

Good luck, Donald Trump.

SETMAYER: That's right.

BROWN: OK. So let's put that aside. Where will Democrats and Republicans sort of meet in the middle and be able to come up with some solution on any topic in the first 100 days? What do you think, Scott?

[19:45:10] BOLDEN: Well, I think it is going to up to a strategy by senator Schumer and others. I think they are going to pick their fights or are they just going to do a blanket fight against the Republicans? It is going to be tough because it is going to start with these appointments to these cabinet heads and secretaries. And they are going to have to pick and choose who they are going to fight the most such as sessions.

I don't think there is going to be a blanket one because the Democrats now in the very same position as Republicans were. Do we want to be obstructionists day in and day out or do we want to get something done because the numbers, the polling numbers for Congress in the Senate are in the toilet. We all know that. And so, there is going to have to be some tension and some balance there. And I think the Democrats are going to have to go hard on things that they believe are non- negotiable like funding for the Planned Parenthood, Sessions. And take their best shots where they think they can get moderate Republicans to support them. It is going to be fun to watch if you are going see them take their shots.

BROWN: And you mentioned Sessions. His confirmation hearing is on Tuesday. As you look ahead to this next week, a lot of confirmation hearings, Tara. What do you think? What do you anticipate will happen?

SETMAYER: Well, if it is any indication with Chuck Schumer and some others Democrats said, it is going to be contentious. They are going to use these confirmations as leverage for as my colleague here just said, to get other deals passed when it comes to legislation. That is how it works up there on the hill.

I anticipate that most of Donald Trump's nominations will be confirmed, albeit some are concerning to me. But we have not had any major cabinet confirmations not confirmed in many, many years. So many administrations.

So the Democrats are definitely going to put up a good fight. There is going to be some political kabuki theater going on. But I think ultimately, almost everyone, short of major scandals. I mean, it is now being reported that some of Trump's nominees have not been fully vetted. Their financial disclosures have been fully reviewed yet which is problematic. And sometimes in that process before they get before the Senate, they bow out like Linda Chavez did a few years ago (INAUDIBLE). So it is going to definitely be interesting. There is going to be nothing dull about the confirmation hearings coming up. That's for sure.

BROWN: All right. Tara Setmayer and A. Scott Bolden, thank you both.

BOLDEN: Thank you, Pamela.

SETMAYER: Thank you.

BROWN: And coming up on Saturday, the war over Obamacare is on as President Obama tells Democrats don't rescue Republicans with a replacement. We will talk to one of the architect of the president's signature legislative achievement up next.


[19:50:47] BROWN: Just 13 days ago and President Obama has a few things to say before he hands over the White House to Donald Trump particularly when it comes to his signature issue, healthcare.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will publicly support repealing Obamacare and replacing it with your plan, but I want to see it first.


BROWN: All right. So even Republicans seem divided with some arguing for a more piecemeal approach to unwinding the policy. And others like Senator Rand Paul arguing that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced in the same vote. Paul tweeted yesterday, I just spoke to Donald Trump, and he fully supports my plan to replace Obamacare, the same day we repeal it, the time to act is now.

Joining me now is one of the key architects of the affordable care act, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel.

Doctor Emmanuel, thank you for coming on. I want to take the politics out of this for a moment. Put that aside, as someone who helped track this policy, where do you see room for improvement.

DR. EZEKIEL EMMANUEL, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I think there's room for improvement obviously on the exchanges. We have had a recent price increase, while most experts think that's a one-time increase if you continue with the subsidies. You continue with the mandate. Nonetheless, prices have been higher than Americans expected. Actually overall cost of the government have been lower. We have room, and fiscal room in particular, money, and revenue to actually increase the amount of subsidies and probably to increase more people buying insurance. So that would be one place I would improve it.

Another place again related to the exchanges is there's a lot of what the experts call term, people going from the exchange into Medicaid, people going from Medicaid into the exchange. And a large number of people who each year moving in between them, that's quite inefficient for a whole variety of reasons. And trying to reduce that term I think would be important to add to the efficiency of the system.

There's some other things that we clearly need to do on the healthcare front. Drug costs is obviously a big one on everyone's mind. And I think the president himself -- president-elect himself Donald Trump has said that he wants to address drug pricing. So those are just the few areas I think we need some improvement in the system.

BROWN: So we heard President Obama after visiting the Hill this week telling Democrats, do not rescue Republicans with no Obamacare replacement and to call any GOP replacement Trump care. Do you agree with that strategy?

EMMANUEL: I think the president's sentiment in the clip you quoted in that whole presentation actually is the strategy that I agree with. We need to get the best possible healthcare reform we can get. We should not support taking rid of the mandate, taking rid of the subsidies, repealing Medicaid expansion without a plan. That would simply throw millions, maybe tens of millions of people out of health coverage and that would be a disaster for the entire country with no alternative plan.

So I do think if we are going to reform it, you actually need to look at the reform, we need to critically evaluate, how much is it going to cost, how many people are going to be insured by it, is it actually going to expand the number of people insured.

You can't do this without -- you can't repeal elements without knowing what the alternatives are. And I would remind your viewers that the Republicans have had seven years since enactment of the affordable care act to put off a replacement, they have not done that yet. It's estimated that Paul Ryan's bill, a better way, if you actually look at it, there are a lot of blanks to support things he hasn't built in. And even his own economists suggest that it would throw four million people off of insurance. I think if you got an objective assessment, it would probably be much higher than that. So, you know, the responsibility as the president has said is on the Republicans to develop an alternative.


BROWN: And they say they're going to work on that. But let me ask you this very quickly, doctor. Trump has said he tried to keep the most popular parts of Obamacare, giving Americans of preexisting conditions access to health insurance. Is that financially feasible without keeping Obamacare's less popular stipulations like mandatory individual coverage?

[19:55:18] EMMANUEL: No. It's the short answer. There are four - you have you to get everyone into the system if you're going to have a system of no pre-existing disease exclusions. Everyone has to participate. And there are only four ways to get everyone to participate. Mandate. Continuous coverage which we know doesn't work terribly well, a penalty, financial penalty, if people buy in late, or you actually automatically opt them into coverage, even if they don't select something, and pay for it through a subsidy. Those are the four ways. You pick which one you like, or which combination you like. But we do have experience with increasing the price, when people don't siren up, you have that in Medicare part D, and you have about 21 percent of people in Medicare part D not participating. So it's not a great solution itself.

EMMANUEL: It's clearly a tough problem all around.

Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, thank you very much.

EMMANUEL: Thank you.

BROWN: Coming up, a bit of Hollywood in Washington, as the Obama's host one last star studded bash before they leave the White House.


[19:59:23] BROWN: A star studded farewell party at the White House. Everyone from Stevie Wonder and Robert De Niro to Charles Barkley and George Lucas turned out for one lash bash hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama Friday. Their host, (INAUDIBLE) last month that he was planning to throw one quote "kind of grown-up party before he leaves office." Another sign of the upcoming move, a longtime fixture of the White

House south lawn is getting a new home right here. The Obama daughter's swing set has been donated to a local organization serving those in need. It was offered to the Trump family first, but they declined.

Up next on CNN, it is the CNN special report, "THE LEGACY OF BARACK OBAMA."

I'm Pamela Brown. Have a great night.