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CNN NEWSROOM

Democrats Vote for New House Speaker; As Trump Feuds with Jerome Powell, Fed Drops New Economic Report with Warning; Pew Report: Undocumented Immigrants Living in U.S. at Decade Low; Mother and Kids Tear-Gassed at Border Doing Fine; Trump: Manafort Pardon Not Off the Table. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 28, 2018 - 14:30   ET

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


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[14:32:36] REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: And it was so inspiring to hear my colleagues place my name in nomination once again for speaker of the House. How moving it was to hear Joe Kennedy place the name in nomination, to be seconded by Kathy Caster, a colleague who has been in the lead on climate change issues and the rest.

Of course, Joe, a friend for many years, but a leader in the Congress making his own mark. And then to have Joyce speak in her right. But to quote President Obama, it was very moving. The emotion demonstrated by my colleague, Adam Schiff, when he talked about leadership and the challenges facing our nation was a joy to behold. And the new members, to have the new members speak out with us now. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, one of the new members who spoke and placing my name in nomination about our shared values.

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BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The votes are under way for Nancy Pelosi to perhaps again become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Voting is under way.

Chris Cillizza, our CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large is with me now

A big smile. Do we think she has the votes?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, I do. There's nobody running against her, Brooke. That's the easiest race she'll probably ever run and win. That's step one. Step two is when the Democrats take over the House formally. Presumably Pelosi will win. The question is can she keep enough Democrats, get a majority, 218 Democrats do vote for her so she secures it or does it have to go to a second or third ballot.

I think in the last five, six, seven days you've seen why Nancy Pelosi has gotten to where she's gotten. She knows how to play smart politics. She got Marcia Fudge off and she has a new member, Veronica Escobar behind her. Nancy Pelosi didn't speak in her own favor.

She was nominated by Joe Kennedy III, as she mentioned, and a bunch of other members, including Adam Schiff, the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman, and others spoke on her behalf. In this clip, she talks about how this is not about her, this is about the party in the country. Very smart, "make it less about Nancy Pelosi," quote unquote, make it more about the Democratic Party and who can most effectively lead them in the final two years of Donald Trump's first term. This is why she got to where she is. This is why there isn't a serious challenger to her. She's likely to get those 218 votes she needs.

[14:35:43] BALDWIN: As we've been talking, we've been getting some statements in from the more anti-Pelosi Democrats, statements from Representative Kathleen Rice. Quote, "Moment ago, we met with Leader Pelosi and tried to engage her and, unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright. We remain united behind our goal of new leadership and intend to vote against leader Pelosi in caucus and on the floor of the House," said Representative rice. There's that.

Chris, I'm going to bet my bottom dollar you're right on all of the above and that she will be the next speaker of the House.

Thank you very much.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, as the president attacks his hand-picked Federal Reserve chairman, the Fed has dropped a report on the U.S. economy, including a firm warning about President Trump's trade war with China and news it has the market -- look at that, 500 points -- has it surging.

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[14:40:41] BALDWIN: As the president blasts his hand-picked Federal Reserve chairman, the Fed out with a crucial report praising the U.S. economy but also citing risks. Remind you of what the president said about Jerome Powell among other things, quote, "I'm not happy with the Fed. They're making a mistake. I have a gut and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can tell me." That's the president. Wall Street investors are liking what Powell had to say about interest rates today, and perhaps it's more about a potential deal with China.

We'll talk to Rana Foroohar, global business columnist and associate editor of the "Financial Times" and CNN global economic analyst.

The markets are going gang busters over this but there's this dire warning. What do you make of the two?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: I think markets thought things were going to be worse than they are now. For starters, we're seeing a little bit of movement around the president's discussions with China. It's possible he's going to cut some kind of a deal. I think it's going to be a short-term deal. On the Fed, which is more of what we're talking about now, we thought

the Powell speech was going to be more negative than it turned out to be. I think that's why I think the markets are saying, OK. That said, he did warn about corporate debt. There are a lot of companies that have taken out a lot of debt because interest rates have been so long so long. The worry is that if the rates go up, some kind of movement the markets aren't expecting, a lot of those company may be underwater. You could see bankruptcies, a spiraling domino effect that hearkens back 10 years ago when we were in the financial crisis.

BALDWIN: So what do the markets like about what he said?

FOROOHAR: They like that we have a fundamentally strong economy right now. You saw record holiday sales. You see consumers not buttoning up their wallets as much as you might think at the end of a 10-year cycle. We're actually on track for a recession. Cycles tend to last about 10 years. They rise and fall. We're due for a little bit of a slowdown. The fact that people are still spending and that you haven't seen more trouble in the market is perhaps one reason why they're robust at the moment.

BALDWIN: You said a second ago, looking ahead to the G-20 in Argentina, this potential of Larry Kudlow and this deal maybe being brokers with Xi of China. You said, if there's a deal, it would be a short-term deal. How do you mean?

FOROOHAR: I think so. I think it's going to be a head fake where you're going to see the president go in and promise China something minor so he can walk out and say, hey, I got a deal.

BALDWIN: I've got a deal.

FOROOHAR: This is classic Trump behavior, right? But if you look at the things that the U.S. and China are actually fighting about, they are existential, they're long term.

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BALDWIN: Not going to be solved over dinner?

(LAUGHTER)

FOROOHAR: Exactly, no.

BALDWIN: Not over several dinners. OK.

FORHOOHAR: We'll be here again.

BALDWIN: OK. Look forward to seeing you the next time.

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FOROOHAR: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Rana Foroohar, thank you very much. Just ahead here on CNN, this photo has become this iconic image of

what has been happening down at the U.S./Mexico border. A mother and her two children racing from the tear gas. Where they are now? We found her.

And a risk of full-scale war. Ukraine issues a dire warning over growing tensions with Russia. We have those details.

You're watching CNN.

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[14:48:15] BALDWIN: A new study calls in question President Trump's claims of growing numbers of undocumented immigrants living among us. That new study from the Pew Research Center finds the number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. is at a decade low. See the numbers there for yourself. In 2016, Pew puts the number at 10.7 million people. That down sharply from the peak in 2007. The study also looked at who is coming here and from where.

Let's go to CNN's Leyla Santiago. She has been to the border with Mexico where migrants were trying to cross into the U.S. and were tear gassed over the weekend.

Leyla, we'll get to this mother you tracked down in a second. You looked at this Pew study. What jumped out at you?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's pointing out what many of us who have studied immigration for a while already knew. You're seeing an all-time low in terms of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico. If you look at the last ten years, more Mexicans have been returning to Mexico than those who are going to the U.S. So what are we seeing in terms of rising numbers?

That is the number of Central Americans and we have been seeing that steadily rise now for years. We're seeing more Central Americans, more unaccompanied Central Americans and more family units coming in from El Salvador, Guatemala. Some say they're fleeing violence, some fleeing poverty, all saying they are looking for a better life -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Perhaps like the mother that you found. We've all seen this image of the mom and the two children running from the tear gas. How did you even find her? Where is she now?

[14:50:04] SANTIAGO: Well, unfortunately, I didn't get too much time to spend with her. I was on live TV talking to our Anderson Cooper when I noticed that she was coming my direction. I had spent all day walking around the shelter with her photo saying, do you know this woman?

So while we were live on Facebook with Anderson, I spotted her walking toward us and I asked -- I stopped her and just said, are you OK? She said, I'm fine. She had the two little girls with her but she was on her way outside. I suspect she was on her way outside because it was meal time. She was heading just outside the shelter where the Navy is feeding thousands of people a day. She is one mother of many.

I spoke to another mother by the name of Jessica who actually was recording when the tear gas was released, and you can hear her coughing. I guess what stuck most with me is you could hear the screams of her two children that really demonstrated the fear.

I know that the White House has said there were a handful of children only. That's not exactly what I'm hearing on the ground from mothers who were showing me video and telling me their experiences at the border. Jessica said she's going to have to find a way to ask her child for forgiveness for being there in that moment.

BALDWIN: My goodness. Keep asking them questions, sharing their stories. That is incredible that you recognized that woman.

Leyla, thank you so much. Leyla Santiago in Tijuana.

More on our breaking news now. What President Trump told Robert Mueller in his written answers about WikiLeaks and that 2017 Trump Tower meeting. A CNN exclusive, next.

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[14:56:19] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: You are watching CNN on this Wednesday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me.

There have been a lot of headlines this week with regard to President Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, the fact he lied repeatedly, according to the Mueller team, lied repeatedly to them. We know he and his lawyer were in communication with the White House while they were apparently communicating with the special counsel. The fact that his plea deal has been breached.

Here's the news from the president himself through all of this. He just spoke with the "New York Post." This is the lead line: He's never discussed a pardon for Paul Manafort, President Trump said

Wednesday, but it's not off the table".

Kaitlan Collins is with me, our CNN White House correspondent.

Translation -- a pardon is on the table according to the president.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Despite Sarah Sanders saying there were no conversations she was aware of about pardoning Paul Manafort, President Trump is saying he is not going to rule it out, asking "the New York post" why would I rule it out? Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, he considers them to be very brave.

He said this is like the McCarthy era. He's comparing the investigation to the era of Joe McCarthy when hundreds of Americans were accused of being Communist sympathizers. Yesterday, during an interview with the "Washington Post," in the Oval Office, they asked him about pardoning Paul Manafort, if there was going to be anything in this for Paul Manafort, and the president didn't want to talk about it on the record.

He went off the record, discussed this with them. Then they asked if there was any version of what he said off the record that he wanted to put on the record about potentially pardoning Paul Manafort, and he said no because he didn't want to get in the middle of this. Brooke, that doesn't seem to be a problem today. Now he's telling the "New York Post" a pardon for Paul Manafort is not off the table.

BALDWIN: Kaitlan, stay with me.

I want to stay on this. CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, is with me, who just broke the story on the written responses and Trump to Mueller, and CNN Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is with me, as is Harry Litman, former deputy assistant attorney general.

Dana, we'll come back to your reporting in just a second. It's fast and furious this week and it's only Wednesday. But the notion that the president would on the record say, pardon's not off the table, why would he do that?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, he's angry. That has been blatantly obvious for a while. It's escalated this week with his tweets. As we talked about yesterday, the motivator for that anger has been the fact that he was informed by his attorneys that they were informed by Paul Manafort's attorneys and have been for some time, that they feel that Manafort is being railroaded.

Now, just keep in mind here if you take a step back, that all is part of kind of a kabuki dance, that they're trying to figure out how to send messages to Robert Mueller in a Manafort world because they're going through their issues with regard to a plea deal falling through. And then you have the president hearing about the way that at least he is told Robert Mueller is, you know --