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AT THIS HOUR

Undecided Races if California, New Mexico Could Produce Blue Wave; Will Trump's Call for Border Wall Funding Trigger Government Shutdown; G.M. Closing 5 Plants, Cutting Jobs; Trump Buries Climate Change Report He Doesn't Believe; New Attack in Afghanistan Kills 3 U.S. Servicemembers. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 27, 2018 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER & ANALYST: Let's put this in context in California. And that is, there were seven districts that voted for a GOP representative in 2017 but also voted for Hillary Clinton. All seven of those districts, the Democrat is ahead or we have projected that Democrat is going to win.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're also seeing in other states, the Hillary districts the Republicans held. A lot of Democrats are seen picking those up?

ENTEN: Yes, and there were 25 of those heading into the election, 22 of them, at this point, look like the Democrats are going to win.

BOLDUAN: That seems to be beating expectations that anybody had on that.

ENTEN: It's beating expectations all over the place definitely for Democrats in these districts.

BOLDUAN: Put his in the broader context of the House, Harry. What does this mean for the seats Democrats are actually picking up?

ENTEN: Right now, Democrats are 233, a net pickup of 38. Two seats remain in the New Mexico race, California 21. If Democrats win both of those seats, they get a net gain of 40. That's a big blue wave.

BOLDUAN: That's a big blue wave.

Harry, it's great see you. Thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Joining me to talk more about this, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.

As Harry said, that's a big blue marker, that's a big blue wave. This could be 40 seats. If this is a blue wave, what kind of blue wave are we talking?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Look, Kate, Harry is 100 percent about the nature of this. I think we will see 40 seats. That will be the largest Democratic House pick-up in a midterm since Watergate, significant. Third largest since Watergate of any seats. Democrats lost 54 seats in '94 and 63 in 2010. This is a significant achievement for Democrats, particularly when you look at the raw House vote. That tells you how many votes for the Democratic candidates get and how many votes the Republican candidates get. That's a margin of nine million vote differential. Democrats, nine million more votes. In percentage, in terms of national vote, it's over 8 percent difference. It's approaching one of the largest percentage point margins in history. So, you could have seen even bigger seat changes if not for a nerdy but true redistricting. In 2010 and 2011, Republicans controlled a lot of the congressional line drawing. They drew districts that were favorable for their side. Some of that line drawing insulated some of the Republicans who might -- you might have seen 50, 60 seats, if not for that, given the raw numbers that you look at from the election earlier this month.

BOLDUAN: That's why controlled of state legislatures as well --

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: Hugely important.

BOLDUAN: That's why the headlines are very, very important. We're talking about, isn't it more than 300 state legislature seats that flipped Democrats and is it seven governor mansions were also flipped as well?

CILLIZZA: Exactly right. You're exactly right that we don't focus on it because there's 6,000 state legislative seats in the country. It's kind of hard to track all of them while also tracking the House races, Senate races, governors' race.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: That sounds super easy. Keep going.

CILLIZZA: But that's Harry Enten's stuff. He handles all of that for me.

You're talking about a gain that's going to be over 400 state legislative seats for Democrats.

I'll tell you one of the untold stories, ask any Democratic strategist, one of the untold stories of the Obama presidency was the gains Republicans made at the state legislative level. In 2010 and 2014, two very good midterm elections for Republicans, they gave away 1,000 state legislative seats in those two elections. Which means policy comes out of there. As you point out, redistricting and line drawing comes out of there. Future stars for the party come out of there. Incubators for policy, personalities, for politicians. All of that stuff, we don't see it until it bubbles up to the national level, but that's where it starts. And that's where, in terms of raw political calculation, it really does matter.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Let's see what happens with the final two races.

CILLIZZA: Yes. BOLDUAN: And also in Mississippi, in the Senate, really the final

vote of this election.

CILLIZZA: Right.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's a good midterm when we're still voting three weeks later.

Coming up next, as Congress get back to work, lawmakers facing a major spending fight and a crucial deadline. You're heard this before. Will the president's demand for a border wall trigger a shutdown showdown?

[11:34:06] We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Stop me if you heard this one before, Congress is now once again racing towards a government shutdown. Yes. With 10 days before funding expires, both sides of the aisle are so far not showing any compromise in the making. That's why we always have deadlines with these people. The president has drawn a line in the sand saying he wants something like $5 billion to fund his border wall, short of what Democrats are willing to spend on that. That's just one issue that they have to deal with right now. In a few hours, Republican leaders will be meeting with the president to try to map out a strategy and a path forward at least for them. So where are things headed?

Here with a bit of a gut check is CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, and CNN political analyst, White House reporter for the "Washington Post," Seung Min Kim.

Manu, in the piece you and the team wrote overnight, you said that Republican leaders have been expressing some level of confidence that they can avoid a shutdown. How confident are they?

[11:39:37] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Really, it's all up to President Trump. You talk to Republicans on the Hill, Democrats, too, there's actually confidence that if they're able to get a deal among themselves, they'll be able to accomplish that. There's several billion dollars between what the House has approved for Trump's border wall and what the Senate has approved, $1.6 billion on the Senate side, $5 billion on the House side. Republicans believe that if you look at ways to reprogram some of that money, look at money that has not yet been spent on a border wall, to spit it out over a couple years, that could be enough to satisfy those who do want the wall. But is that enough for the president? That's why today's meeting between the president and House Republican leaders can be significant to determine whether the president has any flexibility whatsoever. But on other issues, Kate, in which Democrats have demanded, such as moving forward with a bill to protect the special counsel, possibly attacking that to the spending bill, Democratic leaders tell me that they're not necessarily going to push so hard as to force a government shutdown showdown on that issue. They expect that vote on the Mueller protection bill to come up separately and a stand-alone from this spending. But we'll see if that issue is resolved. But the border wall funding still a big question about how the president is going to come down on that -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Seung Min, if you look at the pure raw, often brutal politics here, President Trump would benefit from saying Democrats are blocking his wall. Democrats would benefit from blocking funding for a wall, saying it's being misspent. And saying Trump is blocking their efforts to, I don't know, protect Mueller. Republicans benefit from saying the Democrats are holding everything up. Where is the incentive to compromise here?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there isn't a lot of insensitive to compromise here. I will note we're 10 days out from a government shutdown but that is forever in Congress --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Forever.

KIM: Yes, we do have some time here.

But you make a good point about what is the Democratic incentive for compromise here. Look, Republicans are still insisting on that $5 billion. It's actually lower than what President Trump would want if he had his own way on border wall funding. Remember, House Democrats just took back the majority in resounding numbers. They're in no mood to compromise. And the president couldn't even get the border wall funded when Republicans were solidly in charge in the House and Senate. And you're looking at comments from Republican Senators, particularly, they say, look, we would love to get the president his border wall funding if possible, but, you know, we don't want a government shutdown. And that is not a good idea, particularly three weeks before Christmas.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

Manu, part of this, to remind folks, government funding bills, spending bills, they can't pass with that simple 51-seat majority in the Senate. That's why the Democrats are really important here.

RAJU: Yes. That's why they need Democrats. But the challenges that Seung Min was alluding to is getting Democrats on board on the Senate side and the House Republicans aligned on the House side. You have a number of Republicans on the House side who would probably vote against this for a variety of reasons, perhaps it spends too much money, maybe not enough on the border wall. And you need Democratic support. And Democrats in the House, knowing they're in the majority next year, perhaps to get their votes, there are going to need a lot of incentives that they'll need to come over to the side to back whatever the White House is endorsing. So, that is the challenge navigating this over the next week and a half or so. And that's why it could come down to the wire. But ultimately, the president's call, and who knows where the president stands on this issue, at this moment. We know he's the one person in town who has said, perhaps, it will be good to have a shutdown. Virtually, everybody else in this building, Kate, did not want to go where the president is going. But he's the person who signs this into law. We'll have to see where he comes down in the meeting this afternoon.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Maybe one of the biggest motivators for the president to avoid this shutdown or to get something done is a January deadline of when he has Democrats in control the House, when this is going to get even less easy to come to a deal.

Great to see you guys. I appreciate it.

RAJU: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next, frustration and anger after General Motors announces it's shutting down five plants. And losing thousands of jobs so why is President Trump bragging about finding the, quote, unquote, "magic wand," last night when it comes to manufacturing?

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:48:23] BOLDUAN: General Motors is set to slash 15 percent of its workforce, close down five plants. That's thousands of people out of work. That announcement came yesterday afternoon. But last night, President Trump had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They said manufacturing's never coming back. It's gone. You'd need a magic wand. Well, we found the magic wand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: What is that magic wand when it comes to manufacturing? President Trump doesn't say.

That rosy outlook also isn't sitting well with a Democratic Congressman representing one of the areas being hard hit by this announcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TIM RYAN, (D), OHIO: When the president says everything is fine, he's got the magic wand, it's insulting.

This president did not lift one finger. He's got executive time all day. He spends time on Twitter. He does nothing but try to divide the country and start culture wars and, behind the scenes, the American people are getting screwed by a company that got one of his huge tax cuts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Joining me now is former Trump economic advisor, now CNN's senior economic analyst, Stephen Moore.

Good to see you, Stephen.

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Hi, Kate.

BOLDUAN: What is this magic wand that President Trump was announcing as G.M. is announcing these painful layoffs and closures?

MOORE: Well, he's referring to a comment that Barack Obama made a few weeks before the 2016 election where President Obama said, how is Trump going to bring back all of these manufacturing jobs and get the 4 percent growth, does he have a magic wand? Here we are. It's really terrible news that these plants are closing down. Your heart goes out to the families and the workers affected. But, Kate, since the election, we created just short of one million additional manufacturing and construction jobs. Those jobs were on the decline before Trump arrived. This is a terrible thing. And I hope that G.M. reverses its decision. But for every plant being closed down, we are seeing dozens and dozens of them opened up. Blue collar workers are back big time.

[11:50:23] BOLDUAN: G.M. is saying they are eliminating these product lines because they are not selling. Ford and Chrysler made the similar announcements in the last year. The way is president is responding to this, Stephen, is he is telling G.M. it's bad, we want you going back in, you better be going back in to Ohio. Do you want President Trump or any other official telling a business what products it should be selling and what states to make them in?

MOORE: Certainly not. We do have seven million more jobs than people who filled them. When you talk to people in the manufacturing and construction industry, what they told me is -- because I talk to them a lot, Kate -- we can't find enough workers. If there's a silver lining for the workers who are going to lose their jobs, there are a lot of other manufacturing jobs out there. The economy is red hot for blue collar workers, especially workers who have special skills who move from one job to the other. That's a positive thing.

Incidentally, you mentioned Chrysler and other car companies that might be shutting down factories. The auto industry is changing very radically, Kate.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: That seems to be -- my point is, that seems to be what the president doesn't get. The industry is changing.

MOORE: No doubt about it. What's likely to happen is these plants are going to shut down but they'll open up additional plants for electric cars. And they are talking about driverless cars, which is the future, of course. They're talk about new technologies that they can use. And, frankly, people's tastes and what cars they want to buy changes a lot, too. BOLDUAN: Yes.

MOORE: I'm really bullish on the U.S. auto industry right now. I think they have a bright future. G.M. is talking about investing billions and billions in new technologies and new factories over the next few years. I don't think this is a dire warning. It's the natural course of events.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you about the different topic we were talking about last night, about the government's climate change report that was released. I want to quote what you said. You said, "We have created a climate change industrial complex in this country with billions of dollars at stake. A lot of people are getting really rich off the climate change issue."

MOORE: That's right.

BOLDUAN: This morning, Stephen, one of the scientists who wrote a part of that report responded. I want to give you a listen.

MOORE: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHARINE HAYHOE, DIRECTOR, TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY CLIMATE SCIENCE CENTER: I got paid zero dollars to write this report. My salary would have been the same if I had or hadn't. If I was studying astrophysics, as I used to, I would get the same salary. The reality is that people often accuse us of doing what they would do themselves in our position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Do you feel the same way this morning after hearing that?

MOORE: She runs the Climate Change Center at the school in Texas. What keeps those centers alive is the climate change industry. My only point is the government in the United States and around the world spent billions and billions of dollars on climate change. It has become an industry. That calls into question some of the partiality of this research, I think. But the bigger point is --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You still don't think she is just motivated by science?

MOORE: She may be. I'm not calling out any single person.

BOLDUAN: OK.

MOORE: I'm just saying that the industry is very, very well-funded, and in the billions of dollars. People have a vested financial interest in talking about Armageddon and these things.

I'm not saying climate change is not happening, Kate. What I'm saying is it's very unlikely that the government is going to find a solution. They can't tell us what the weather is going to be eight hours from now, let alone 80 years from now. I'm skeptical that these scientists can tell us -- the same with the economy, Kate. This report said that, by 2100, GDP will be 10 percent less. I'm an economist. They can't tell us what it's going to be next year. How can they tell us what it will be in the year 2100?

BOLDUAN: You and I just spoke on the job report next month.

Great to see you, Stephen. I appreciate it --

MOORE: OK. Thanks.

[11:54:29] BOLDUAN: -- very much. Thank you.

Coming up for us, we have the latest on a new attack in Afghanistan that killed three U.S. servicemembers. We'll have that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Horrible news out of Afghanistan. A roadside bomb there has killed three U.S. servicemembers, wounded four other Americans.

Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon with more.

Barbara, what are you picking up?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. This is, according to the Pentagon, the single-largest loss of life in ground combat in three years, in the last three years in Afghanistan. Three Americans killed, three additional wounded, as well as a contractor. They hit an IED while in their vehicle, we're told, in the area south of the capital of Kabul. This is an area where the Taliban had been resurgent and, in recent weeks, the U.S. has sent troops in the region to try to help local Afghan forces get a handle on the security situation there. Of course, this is the general area where just last week we saw the top U.S. commander, four-star general, Scott Miller, carrying his M-4 carbine as he moved through this area, an area where security, as in so many areas of Afghanistan, has been problematic. Three American families getting the worst possible news this holiday season -- Kate?

[12:00:08] BOLDUAN: Absolutely right.