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Giuliani Gives Mueller An Ultimatum, Put Or Shut Up; Another Pay Without Pay; L.A. Times, Hack Appears To Have Come From Outside U.S.; California Firestorm; Tabloids Take Aim At Meghan, Duchess Of Susse; Kellyanne Conway Defends Donald Trump over Government Shutdown; Arizona Shelter Staffers Accused of Child Abuse of Migrant Children; Time Magazine Reveals Paul Manafort Pressured by Russians to Pay Debt During Campaign; Aired 5-6 pm ET
Aired December 30, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:08] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Martin, thank you. You are in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ryan Nobles, in today for Ana Cabrera and we are in New York. Sunday in Washington, D.C., another day of a partial government shutdown, day number nine, another day when around 800,000 federal employees will wonder again when they will be paid.
You've seen here on CNN many of those people telling us that their bank accounts are now empty or frighteningly close to it. They have to cover their rent, their bills, and buy food. Remember the reason, two words, the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We are going to build a great border wall. We will build a great, great wall. We're going to build a wall. Don't worry about it. Oh, we'll build it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: President Trump wants money to build it. Democrats in Congress say, OK, but the amount they offered does not make the president happy. So President Trump allowed the money for nine cabinet level departments to dry up, and there we stand. Both sides are saying they won't budge, no further negotiations scheduled. The shutdown, no end in sight.
I want you to hear now from one of the president's closest adviser, Kellyanne Conway. She was on CNN earlier today, echoing her boss' sentiment, that it's not their fault, that the Democrats are being stubborn, not the White House. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: They failed to pass --
DANA BASH, CNN HOST: The government has been shut down for nine days over a wall.
CONWAY: They failed to pass -- they failed -- no. BASH: It has been shut down over a wall.
CONWAY: No, no. That is incorrect. That is completely false.
BASH: The president said it in the Oval Office. He said very, very clearly --
CONWAY: It is shut down because of border security. No, no, no. The House later passed $5.6 billion for border security. They didn't pass it for a wall --
BASH: Is it border security or is it the wall?
CONWAY: We have a drug crisis at our border.
BASH: Is it the border --
CONWAY: It's all of the above because the border security --
BASH: I'm sure you're hearing this. Republicans and Democrats are frustrated because they say the goalpost keeps changing. They --
CONWAY: No, where are they? The president has said -- the president tweeted yesterday, where are they? He wants to make a deal on border security. Where are they? Nancy Pelosi is in Hawaii. She's got --
BASH: They argued they haven't heard from the president in 19 days.
CONWAY: -- to reopen the government.
BASH: They haven't -- they haven't gotten a phone call from the president in 19 days, waited to hear from --
CONWAY: That's not fair. They know where he is. They know where he is. He's exactly where he's been the entire time, working in Washington, D.C., in the White House. He tweeted that yesterday --
BASH: But he wants to get this wall. Then you invite people to the White House and you sit down and you do the art of the deal. That's not happening.
CONWAY: He wants all types of border security. The House passed his package. It went to the Senate. It was tendered to the Senate and the senate did not counter offer. Dana, why aren't they countering offer with something that means something to them? We haven't heard from them. It's complete crickets for partisan political reasons.
BASH: One of thing the Democrats say that they will do when they take over the House on Thursday is pass a bill to reopen the government, which may end up on the president's desk.
CONWAY: All of the government, including Department of Homeland Security?
BASH: Yes, that will fund the Department of Homeland Security, not the border wall. If the president gets that on his desk, will he veto it?
CONWAY: It depends what's in it. What is it going to say? In other words, they're not even discussing it over the Christmas and New Year's break, Dana, what could possibly be in that package. I don't think Speaker Pelosi --
BASH: If he got something the Senate already passed, would he -- would he veto it or not?
CONWAY: It depends what's in it. If the Senate -- the Senate -- if the president likes the 5.6 billion that was in the House package, his incoming acting chief of staff has -- and his vice president have offered less than that as a compromise, we've heard nothing in return. A negotiation by definition has to include both sides. He's in the White House. He's in Washington ready to negotiate. This is important for border security and keeping the government open. But if you keep saying wall, wall, wall because you want wall to be a four-letter word and we're not being honest --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And there's something else, the soon to be former White House chief of staff telling a reporter that an actual physical wall was never really a practical option for the entire border with Mexico. John Kelly, in an extensive interview in today's "Los Angeles Times," saying, quote, "To be honest, it's not a wall."
The article goes on to say, asked if there's a security crisis at the southern border or whether Trump has drummed up fears of immigrant invasions for political reason, Kelly did not answer directly but said, quote, "We do have an immigration problem."
Now to the White House, CNN's Sarah Westwood is standing by. Sarah, the president hasn't made a personal appearance this weekend or yesterday or today, but he's been busy on Twitter accusing Democrats of not caring about border security, congratulating his administration, and promoting Fox News programs.
Senator Lindsey Graham did have lunch with the president. He told reporters afterwards that the president is in a good mood. What more can you tell us about that?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ryan. Senator Graham suggested that President Trump remains optimistic despite the stalemate that has dragged this partial government shutdown into a ninth day.
[17:05:07] Now, Graham said he pitched the president on what he describes as a potential breakthrough, if it were to gain traction, and that's a deal that would trade some funding for the border wall for temporary protections for the so-called Dreamers, the young people protected under DACA.
Now, Graham said the president didn't commit to that deal but described it as interesting. But keep in mind that budget director/acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, had already signaled the president was willing to back off that demand for $5 billion in border wall funding. And in fact, Vice President Mike Pence pitched the Democrats on a deal that would involve the president settling for about half of that.
Just last week, the Democrats rejected that deal. But nonetheless, Graham said if the president were to line up his trade of DACA protections for wall funding, the president should hold firm at $5 billion. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: One thing we talked about is making deals. Now, there's a lot of distrust in town. And I guess you can blame both sides for that. But after lunch, I've never been more encouraged, if we can get people talking, we can find our way out of this mess and that would include around $5 billion for border security/wall/fencing, whatever you want to call it, in areas that make sense and deal with another problem that's looming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: It's important to note that deals that would trade temporary or even permanent protections for the Dreamers in exchange for $5 billion or even $25 billion of wall funding, those have failed in Capitol Hill already. So, it's unclear if this is something that has the opportunity to blossom now. Mulvaney has said Democratic congressional leaders have not yet been invited back to the White House for further talks, Ryan.
NOBLES: Senator Graham made news on another front as well today, Sarah. He said that he and the president spoke about the U.S. troop pullout from Syria. This was something Senator Graham had been very critical of. Now, early this morning, Senator Graham told CNN he wanted to change the president's mind. Was he successful?
WESTWOOD: Graham seemed to suggest he might have been, despite the president promising what critics feared would be a swift withdrawal of the troops from Syria. Graham suggested that perhaps the president would be willing to hit the pause button on the removal of troops while he assesses the situation, particularly with the Islamic state.
Even though when the president was in Iraq earlier this week, he said that the generals had come to him to ask for more time in Syria, and he had denied that request. Graham saying the president might be willing to reconsider. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: I think the president has come up with a plan with his generals that make sense to me. The goal is to make sure ISIS doesn't come back. We left Iraq too soon. We had them on the ropes in Iraq, left too soon. I think the president's very committed to making sure that when we leave Syria that ISIS is completely defeated and we're inside the 10-yard line and the Iran/Kurd situation has to be dealt with.
So, I think we're in a pause situation. We're re-evaluating the best way to achieve the president's objective of having people pay more and do more.
WESTWOOD: Now, remember, Ryan, that despite Graham suggesting that Trump may consider leaving the troops in Syria until ISIS is defeated, the president had already declared victory on the war on ISIS. In fact, he cited that as his reasoning for bringing the troops home. So Graham's comments may signal a shift in the president's thinking when it comes to the troop withdrawal from Syria, Ryan.
NOBLES: Of course, we haven't heard that from the president himself yet, which is an important distinction, but Senator Graham saying a pause on the pullout from Syria. Sarah Westwood from the north line (ph) of the White House, Sarah, thank you very much.
All right. Let's talk about all this. We'll talk about the stalemate on Capitol Hill and other things. We've got a great panel with us, former Trump campaign insider, Steve Cortes, and Guy Smith, who served as a special advisor to President Clinton during his impeachment battle and has an incredible life story that we're not going to be able to get into at all today, Guy, but we appreciate your expertise being here.
Steve, I want to go to you first because you know as well as anyone about the president's deal making skills. This is what he pitched to the American people. Is this an opportunity for President Trump to cut a deal, and why hasn't he invited Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to the White House to get it done?
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Well, it is. First of all, it takes two to tango, right? So, he can't negotiate by himself, which unfortunately is what he's doing right now. So, while he's working in Washington, D.C. and not on vacation, Nancy Pelosi is at a luxury resort in Hawaii, quite far from Washington, D.C.
But the president, as Sarah just told us in reporting and other people reporting, the president put a very serious offer on the table, which is he would take half of the money he requested. So, that's literally meeting in the middle. He wants 5 billion.
The Democrats initially offer $1.6 billion. He said, 2.5, which isn't even really quite the middle of those two numbers, but regardless, $2.5 billion for DACA, something that the Democrats claim they very much want to protect young Americans who broke our immigration laws but not by their own doing. Crickets from the Democrats, no response.
So, that's not negotiating on their part. So, it's hard to have the art of the deal when the counterparties are, number one, out of town, but number two, disingenuous and unwilling to actually negotiate.
[17:10:09] NOBLES: Do you buy that, Guy? Do you think the Democrats have not done enough to be a part of the deal making?
GUY SMITH, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I think that's very lame and here's why. This whole thing is an artificial, made-up thing. Remember, you didn't -- when you played those tapes, none of them said, and Mexico is going to pay for the wall and Mexico's going to pay for the wall. Mexico's not even in the conversation now. The American taxpayer is.
And here's the other thing. You can't -- the Republicans can't trust the president because the Senate passed this bill on voice vote, and the House passed it, and then the president reneged on it. So, this art of the deal have indicated --
CORTES: Well, they passed -- Guy --
NOBLES: They never actually did pass in the House. The House passed a different version.
CORTES: They passed a bill that had no border wall funding. And thankfully, the president -- and by the way, we don't know. That's all reporting. We don't know what he was considering or not considering. But thankfully, he came down on the side of --
SMITH: But he said he would support this bill --
NOBLES: He says the vice president -- the vice president told senators -- we know that -- in a close door meeting --
CORTES: We don't know that.
NOBLES: The vice president told senators he was going to --
CORTES: It wasn't public. OK. Here's the point. The president made -- the promise for the wall was a foundational promise of 2016, perhaps the foundational promise of his campaign. He was unambiguous about this, right? The people handed him that mandate. The Mexicans can still pay. That's easy to do down the road, very easy. It is. I mean, we -- tax remittances, there are all kind of way --
SMITH: You know more about the wall than anybody.
CORTES: -- that we can get that done. And let me tell you this. If the president does not hold the line on this, people like me, people who worked hard for his 2016 election, are going to have a hard time talking -- NOBLES: OK. Well, that's a perfect entry into my next question then, Steve, because it is people like you that would probably raise their eyebrows as to what his outgoing chief of staff told "the Los Angeles Times" today saying --
NOBLES: -- that it's not a wall, it's never really been about a wall. Do you believe the chief of staff or is that one of the reasons he's leaving?
CORTES: No, I'm glad you asked me that because, look, I have enormous respect for General Kelly. And I've been invited with him into a lot of conversations in the White House to talk about this very issue as part of the president's Hispanic council, about the wall, about immigration. And he's probably, I would say, more hardline than the president on issues of immigration. Remember, he was head of DHS before he joined --
NOBLES: And head of southern command as well, right?
CORTES: -- before he became chief of staff. So, he's hardly a permissive open border or porous border guy, quite the opposite. But the semantics of a wall, I mean, how do we define wall? I think a working definition is something that's hard to get through, OK, whether it has slats, whether it's glass, whether it's a fence.
NOBLES: But the president himself has said physical barrier. I mean is that --
CORTES: Right. Physical barrier. Sure.
SMITH: Now, here's what happened. When you played that clip of Kellyanne Conway, the White House blinked. She said twice --
SMITH: -- it depends what's in the bill.
NOBLES: Right. Right.
SMITH: But you know what you guys ought to do? The House, the Democrats, should pass a bill next week when they take over put $6 billion in for the wall, and permanent protection of Dreamers and permanent protection of Mueller's investigation. Would you guys sign that?
CORTES: Absolutely not.
SMITH: Yes, Steve.
CORTES: Mueller, that's apples and oranges.
(CROSSTALK) NOBLES: It's like DACA for wall.
CORTES: Absolutely. OK. That's a sensible trade, which by the way, Guy, neither side likes. That's the definition of compromise.
SMITH: You're afraid of Mueller.
CORTES: Mueller has nothing to do with the border. Come on. That's apples and oranges.
NOBLES: Let's talk about the Democrats, OK? Let's talk about how the Democrats should play this. You've kind of already opened that door here. But this is what Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chairman, former Virginia governor, said this morning on "State of the Union."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What should Democratic leaders in Congress do?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Not give an inch. Democrats should not give an inch. Donald Trump owns this. He said he wanted to own it in the December meeting in the Oval Office. They had a deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Interesting position from Terry McAuliffe. I covered him for all four years of governor in Virginia. He was a great deal maker there. He worked with Republicans. Much different perspective he's presenting here. Why?
SMITH: Well, once you're in leadership, you have to lead. And the Democrats are going to be in leadership. And in my view, the people that senators and congressman are at home talking to right now about this shutdown, which is about the wall, they don't like shutdowns. And Donald Trump, when Schumer and Pelosi went to the White House, Donald Trump got stung by Pelosi. And he says there'll be so many tapes and so many TV commercials of him saying I'm proud to own the shutdown, well, OK. Now, let's have a deal. Let's cut a deal.
CORTES: I believe in the deal, but this is --
SMITH: But you got to give something.
CORTES: By the way, what McAuliffe was just saying was no deal, no negotiation. And that's the opposite of leadership, Guy. This is -- this is the problem with the Democrats getting control of the House is that their agenda is antagonism, is resistance. Resistance is not governing. I mean that is --
[17:15:05] SMITH: You don't know. They haven't even taken office yet.
CORTES: Whatever opposes -- they were for the wall before they were -- they were for the wall before they were against it --
SMITH: The Democrats --
CORTES: -- to channel John Kerry, because they voted for --
SMITH: The Democrats are going to have a target rich environment starting next week.
CORTES: They voted for 700 miles of border barricades. Senators named Obama, Clinton, Biden, Schumer, all voted for serious border barricades before it became an issue of Donald Trump.
NOBLES: All right. Let's move on to a different topic now because I got you both here. You're both experts on a lot of these topics and I want to move on to something in -- Guy, you've already kind of hinted about it -- this kind of new phase of the investigation into Russia. Once Democrats take over, they're going to have a ton of subpoena power. Impeachment is in the background. You know a lot about impeachment because you advised President Clinton during his impeachment situation. I know you're not a fan of president Trump.
NOBLES: But if you were advising him like you were advising President Clinton, how should he handle this potential flurry of investigations from Democratic committees?
SMITH: Right now, the conventional wisdom is, well, the House controlled by the Democrats could pass articles of impeachment, but the Senate, because they're controlled by the Republicans and it takes 67 votes, would never get there.
The danger there is what if a smoking gun comes from the Mueller investigation or one of these other investigations? I mean a real smoking gun where there is real collusion. He says there isn't, but what if there is? He's going to need every friend he can find in the Senate and there are only two rules in politics, get elected and let nothing get in the way of being re-elected.
Put everything for senators coming up in 2020 through that lens and he might have a very serious problem because impeachment in a trial in the Senate is for all the marbles. And all those senators are at home right now talking to people, and they can't keep on accepting this stuff that you guys do, like turning the migrant children that died into pawns. It's --
NOBLES: We can't go into another tangent on that but, Guy, thank you for the -- Steve, I'm sorry I can't give you the last word on that. We're out of time. Thank you guys both. Terrific conversation, who smart gentlemen, we appreciate you being here.
Meantime, in Arizona, allegations of child abuse are focusing new attention on the treatment of migrant children. This is based on videos of the Arizona Southwest Key Shelter, which have led to troubling allegations and the videos are disturbing.
CNN correspondent, Nick Valencia, is live in El Paso, doing a terrific job reporting down there by the southern border. Nick, what can you tell us about this latest development?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This video was first reported by the Arizona Republic, Ryan. They filed an open records request with the Arizona Department of Health Services. As you noted, we have to warn our viewers that some of you may find this disturbing.
What it shows are three alleged incidents, three separate incidents of staffers dragging, pushing, even shoving some of these child migrants at the Hacienda Del Sol shelter in Youngtown, Arizona. As we understand it, Southwest Key did report these incidents to the local law enforcement as well as federal officials. The Maricopa County sheriff's office, they launched an investigation and they determined no criminal charges would be brought forward, but that has seemed to have changed.
Overnight, we got a statement from the Maricopa County sheriff's office. They're recommending child abuse cases to the Maricopa County attorney's office. Here's what they said in a statement, "Based upon the evidence gathered during this thorough investigation, MCSO executive command has made the decision to submit the case to the Maricopa County attorney's office for its review and determination of criminal charges." They go on to say this case will be submitted on Monday and further questions should be directed to the county attorney.
Now, we should note to our viewers that this shelter, the Hacienda Del Sol Shelter, was closed down in October. And a spokesman for the facility, the Southwest Key, that runs this facility, they said they welcomed the decision by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, but they didn't go into the details. Now looking at this video, we can perhaps tell why. Ryan?
NOBLES: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you for that update live from El Paso.
VALENCIA: You bet.
NOBLES: Up next, pressure on Paul Manafort, how a powerful Russian may have leveraged the president's former chief of staff -- or campaign chief, I should say, during the White House race.
And also ahead, the president's lawyer tells Robert Mueller to put up or shut up and suggests the special counsel is embarrassed that he lacks evidence of collusion. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NOBLES: Another apparent connection has been uncovered between a top Trump campaign official and a Russian billionaire. Time magazine now reporting that former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, allegedly owed Russian oligarch and Putin ally, Oleg Deripaska, millions of dollars. In the story, they called a man by the name of Victor Boyarkin as saying he pressured Manafort during the height of the 2016 presidential race to pay it back, and that Manafort offered ways to do so.
So, what does that mean? Essentially, a powerful Russian may have had leverage over the future of the president's campaign chairman, the same campaign now being investigated for possible collusion with the Kremlin.
Matthew Chance is live for us now in Moscow and Matthew has unique insight into this because you have attempted to ask Deripaska questions about these reports before. How well did that go?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It went quite badly, actually, Ryan. Thank you very much for asking. It was in Vietnam though last November, and it was just important to try and, we felt anyway to try and sort of get some of these issues to Oleg Deripaska, who is one of Russia's richest men. He's a massive businessman in this country. He's been sanctioned by the United States. He's an aluminum magnate, actually. And he's very close to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
But of course, he was in this disastrous business deal with Paul Manafort. Manafort ended up owing him millions of dollars, or at least that's the contention of Deripaska. You know, Manafort then offered these private briefings to Oleg Deripaska when he was the campaign chairman for Donald Trump as a way of getting whole, in his words, with Oleg Deripaska. I tracked down Oleg Deripaska, a very difficult guy to meet, in Vietnam last November, put some of these questions to him. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Did Manafort owe you billions of dollars when he was the head of the Trump campaign? We just want the real news. We want the real truth. Did he owe you millions of dollars?
OLEG DERIPASKA, RUSSIAN OLIGARCH, FOUNDER OF BASIC ELEMENT: It's news for idiots.
CHANCE: Did he offer those private briefings to try to repay that debt, Mr. Deripaska? Can you just answer me that, please? It's a big issue in the United States, sir. Did he offer you those private briefings to try and repay some of that debt to you? Is that why he offered them?
[17:25:14] DERIPASKA: Get lost, please. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Yeah, just let that hang there. I couldn't come back with a snappy response. I decided to just let it hang there and walk away. But you know what? They said Time magazine has now revealed who they're reporting is that this guy, Victor Boyarkin, a former intelligence officer who basically now works for Oleg Deripaska, was the debt collector, sent to try and extract those millions of dollars from Paul Manafort at the time when he was the campaign chairman for Donald Trump. So it's an extraordinary connection, Ryan.
NOBLES: Yeah, Matthew, good thing you were there to ask those tough questions. Also pretty remarkable that Deripaska used the term fake news in his response to you. Terrific reporting. Matthew Chance, thank you, live from Moscow.
And with us now to discuss this, former U.S. assistant attorney for the southern district of New York, Elie Honig, who is also a CNN legal analyst, and is knee deep in all the reporting on this Russia situation.
I mean, what you have here are allegations that Paul Manafort owed this Russian oligarch, who is connected to Vladimir Putin, millions of dollars and that one of the ways he may have been offering to pay that off was to get meetings with then candidate Trump. I mean, is this the smoking gun? Could this be the collusion conspiracy that Robert Mueller may be looking for?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could lead us there. It's a reminder of just how deeply compromised Paul Manafort was when he was named the campaign chairman in March of 2016. Think about it. Here's this guy who is a bizarre selection.
He's essentially a busted out, failed political consultant who had spent roughly the last decade operating in the Ukraine representing pro-Russian politicians and he failed a the that. His candidates lost and were swept out of office. He's not just bankrupt, he owes millions of dollars to these shady Russian oligarchs, former spies, and he comes in and is given the job as campaign chair for no salary.
Now, I think we can fairly readily understand why Manafort wanted the job, right? He said it himself in the e-mail that we just referenced, to get whole.
HONIG: He's on his way to leverage his influence and his access to potentially work himself out of debt. But the big question that could lead where you're talking about, Ryan, is why would Trump want him?
HONIG: There are so many highly qualified, veteran Republican strategists, political operatives, who would have gladly taken that job. Why Paul Manafort right there?
NOBLES: Right. And I guess that could be what makes or breaks Donald Trump, right? I mean, if it turns out this was just Manafort operating on his own and President Trump just selected Manafort because he knew him for a long time and appreciated his political acumen, could this be the exit strategy Donald Trump is looking for?
HONIG: Yeah. I mean, look, maybe it's a coincidence, maybe Trump just said, I want this guy. We failed in the Ukraine, but let's give him a second chance to run my campaign or maybe there's a why. And I think what we'll be seeing heading into 2019 is a lot of the answers to the why, why is the president still trying to build a tower in Moscow well into the campaign and why is everybody lying about it, why is he bringing in this deeply compromised guy with deep connections to the Russian state to run his campaign. And If Mueller brings any of those home, if he lands the plane on any of those, then I think we could see the landscape shift quite a bit.
NOBLES: Right. Let's see how the Trump camp is responding to all of this. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, touched on collusion today. He gave Mueller this ultimatum. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: My ultimatum is put up or shut up, Bob. I mean, you know, what do you have? There are those of us who believe you don't have anything on collusion. And by the way, if you did, it's not a crime. So what the heck are you doing? Do you have anything that shows the president of the United States was involved in a conspiracy to hack the DNC with Russia? Of course, you don't. But if you do, put out a report or give it to the justice department, let them review it, make sure it's not classified or whatever. Put out a report. We're ready to rebut it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Is Rudy Giuliani in a position to offer Robert Mueller ultimatums?
HONIG: I don't think so. I don't think Robert Mueller gives what Rudy says more than a passing thought. Look, this is typical Rudy bluster and distraction, the bluster put up or shut up, it's taking so long. This investigation is nowhere near the length of name it, Whitewater, Watergate, Benghazi, Levy (ph). And look at the results Mueller has already put on the table, Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Padopoulos, on down the line.
This is what we call putting the prosecution on trial. I remember it well from my days as a prosecutor, when you have a really strong case and the defense has nowhere to go, what do they do to try to put you on trial. And this isn't about what my client did. This is about the evil government.
And so, Rudy is clearly going down that road. Now, it doesn't often succeed, but it's better than nothing. And I think what Rudy is trying to do here is appeal politically to the Republican Senate --
HONIG: -- and to the popular support for the president and give them at least something to say. You need -- they need something to hang their hats on. And this is something, which is more than nothing. I mean -- and Rudy has really showed his hand in that respect, right? He said before that he doesn't necessarily need to make a legal argument on the president's behalf, that it is really more than about the political argument because the court is essentially going to be the United States Senate, right?
NOBLES: Yeah. He's been quite transparent about his motives. Rudy does seem to be a --
[17:30:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: -- Right? He said before that he doesn't necessarily need to make a legal argument on the President's behalf, that it is really more than about a political argument, because the court is essentially going to be the United States Senate, right?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, he is been quite transparent about his motives. Rudy does seem to be assuming the indictment is off the table. I think he is probably right about that given the current DOJ guidance on that. Now remember, that is not -- the idea that you cannot indict a sitting President is not in our U.S. constitution.
NOBLES: Right. It's an interpretation, right? Yeah.
HONIG: It's not a -- It's an internal policy that DOJ has adopted.
HONIG: I've seen those policies come and go and change in my time at DOJ. I don't think this is likely to change at this late point. But I think the big battle ultimately will be a political one. And Rudy has been, to his credit, pretty transparent about the fact that I'm just trying to throw political bombs here.
NOBLES: Right. OK. Elie, great for your insight. Thank you. I appreciate it.
HONIG: Thanks, Ryan. All right.
NOBLES: Thank you so much.
As a partial government shutdown enters its ninth day and with neither side blinking, how are affected federal workers getting by so far? We're going to talk to one woman who's been furloughed, when we come back.
NOBLES: Adding insult to injury. That's maybe the best way to describe Friday's decision by President Trump to freeze federal workers' pay for 2019. An automatic 2.1 percent pay raise was supposed to take effect in January, but now that is off the table. Of course, with the shutdown threatening to last well into January, some workers would probably be happy to know if they'll get a paycheck at all.
One of them is Lorie McCann, she joins me now. She is an IRS programmer and a Furloughed Federal Worker. She is also president of Chapter 10 of the National Treasury Employees Union. Lorie, first off, just tell me, how are you and your colleagues doing right now as you deal with this partial government shutdown? LORIE MCCANN, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: Well, you know, it's a very
stressful situation, especially during this time of the year. You know, the uncertainty of not knowing when we will go back to work and whether or not we will get paid is very stressful.
[17:35:08] NOBLES: And then, you know, you're worried already about how long this furlough could last, the shutdown could last, and then you learned that the President's decided to freeze your pay increase. I mean, if you could tell President Trump one thing right now to describe what you're going through, what would you tell him?
MCCANN: Well, what I would like to say, especially regarding the shutdown and not receiving a paycheck, it's not even -- even though we have to make our necessary living expenses and we're trying to figure out how to do that, but it's also expenses beyond that.
For example, I recently had total knee replacement surgery and I have physical therapy. So at this point, I have to make the hard decision this week, do I continue to pay the $90 a week co-pay or do I pay a bill? Do I buy food? What do I do? We have those types of things. You know, I represent 700 members in Illinois in the Chicago land area. And I'm hearing from them and the issues they're having.
You know, one has a spouse with expensive medicine, prescriptions, $200 a month. Do you pay the $200 a month? Do you cut down on the prescription? What do you do? You have to provide food for the table, for your children, for your family. What do you do? It's very difficult out here, you know. And what I would like to say is that as federal employees, we are committed to servicing the American people, but we can't do that if we're sitting at home.
NOBLES: And you know, I wonder too, it seems as though you're in a state of constant uncertainty. This is the third shutdown in one year. Even if they get through this impasse, there's a chance it's only going to be for another short period of time. What is it like to be living under that constant cloud of worry that at any point you could be put -- be told that you aren't going to be getting a paycheck for the near future?
MCCANN: Absolutely. As you stated, earlier this year, we had two. They were shorter. You know, there's a whole government shutdown procedures that you have to go through. You have to figure out who's accepted, who has to come in.
Then you do have to figure out, OK, what am I going to do? How long is this going to take? Am I going to be able to pay my mortgage or rent? Can I pay my car note? What about my utilities? You know, what about my credit cards? There's so many things that, you know, that you're questioning at that point, and it's so uncertain. So you can't plan for anything.
NOBLES: Yes. All right. Lorie McCann, we wish you well as you wait for the politicians to make up their minds, as how they want to move forward. We appreciate your service to the United States government, and we wish you luck going forward.
MCCANN: Thank you so much.
NOBLES: Some of America's most influential newspapers have found themselves under siege in a cyberattack that may have come from abroad. We'll have the latest details next.
[17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NOBLES: Some of the country's best-known newspapers may have been the victims of foreign cyber hackers. Several papers, including "The Los Angeles Times," "The Wall Street Journal," and "The Chicago Tribune" had printing and distribution delays over the weekend because of the malware.
And that's not all. CNN's Kaylee Hartung is tracking this story for us now as she joins us with the latest. Now, Kaylee, "The L.A. Times" says that the cyberattack may have originated from outside the United States, but Tribune Publishing couldn't confirm that. What do we know about these hackers and what their potential motives might be?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello Ryan. At this time, who's responsible for this attack and why they did it, is information we don't have. Very few details have been shared about where this attack came from and the motive behind it. In situations like this, it's very difficult to determine where an attack like this could originate from.
But The San Diego Union Tribune is reporting that the intention of the attack is believed to have been to disable infrastructure, particularly servers, as opposed to trying to steal information. So if that was, in fact, the intent of the attack, the hackers were very successful.
Now, Tribune Publishing says this malware was detected in their servers on Friday. That means any newspaper using Tribune software was impacted. There were printing problems. At "The Baltimore Sun," for example, the puzzles and comics were not included in Saturday's paper. But for "The San Diego Union Tribune," the impact was much more dramatic. They say it was one of the greatest disruptions they've ever experienced in publishing is only 15 percent of their subscribers received the Saturday edition of their printed paper.
And that impact actually extended deeper into the newspaper offices when folks tried to call "The L.A. Times" to inquire about where their paper was. On Saturday morning, the phone lines were on the fritz. There was no customer service to be had for those people. Yet now, in recent years, we have heard about similar Malware attacks or ransomware attacks.
They have happened to home computers, they've happened to hospitals, global shipping companies. This new experience for a newspaper organization, the real irony here for some, Ryan, is to think that a digital bug could be responsible for impacting a printed paper, but it is our Brian Stelter reports, there is some real concern for the effectiveness of this attack.
NOBLES: Now, is there any way to confirm that a foreign cyber hacker was potentially behind this?
HARTUNG: You know, again, in a situation like this, tracking who specifically was responsible for it is incredibly difficult. As we've said, you know, "The L.A. Times," they're citing a source with knowledge of the situation who says they believe that this attack came from outside of the country. Tribune Publishing is not ready to confirm that. They have alerted the FBI to this case, but again, we're very low on details of where this all originated.
[17:45:06] The good news though Ryan for a subscribers to any Tribune Publishing papers is that none of their personal information and their credit card information, there's no evidence that any of that was compromised.
NOBLES: And you know, so many people were upset by this. It impacted them, it shows just how important printed newspapers still are to many Americans in this culture because this was a major disruption. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much for that report.
California's largest utility could face murder or manslaughter charges for its alleged role in the deadliest wildfires the state has ever seen.
Plus, new video captures migrant children being pushed and dragged at an Arizona shelter. This as the incoming head of the Senate Judiciary Committee promises an investigation into the deaths of two migrant kids in Texas. We will have the details next.
NOBLES: An astonishing development in the aftermath of some of this year's horrific California wildfires. Murder or manslaughter charges could be possible. Not against an arsonist or careless camper, but a power company, California's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric. Miguel Marquez joins me now. Miguel, this is not the first time this particular utility company has faced controversy.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not. I mean, it's one of the biggest in the country. There's a lot of if ands buts and a few maybes in there as well with this.
[17:50:02] When a federal judge overseeing PG&E's probation for an earlier conviction has asked for an opinion on possible California charges in the event of recklessness on the company's part is found in this year's campfire which killed 86 people. That's the deadliest in California history.
The California Attorney General recommended a range of possibilities here. Everything from misdemeanors, for example, if PG&E didn't maintain vegetation in powerlines in fire prone areas or possible felonies and misdemeanors that PG&E actually started the fire. Finally, there could be manslaughter or even homicide charges for what they called implied malice murder.
All this depends on the degree of recklessness on the company's behalf if it is found in an investigation. Now, a Federal Judge William Alsup (ph) oversees PG&E probations for six felonies, the company was convicted of in 2010. That was the San Bruno gas line explosion where eight people died. PG&E did not respond directly to the A.G.'s opinion, but said in statement, PG&E most important responsibility is public and work force safety. Our focus continues to be on assessing our infrastructure to further enhance safety and helping customers continue to recover and rebuild throughout our service are. We are committed to doing everything we can to help further reduce the risk of wildfires.
There are enormous stakes at play here for PG&E. One of the -- it's one of the nation's largest gas electric utilities. The company faces potential $15 billion liability for the 2017 wine country fires and could face much more for this year. PG&E already says it already implemented new enhanced safety measures including upgrading its vegetation management efforts conducting accelerated safety inspections and in some cases turning off electric power when extreme fire conditions are forecast.
All this is happening against a very, very stark background, as California, PG&E and all the utilities and all players in California looking at a future of increased and more extreme fire activity as the West becomes hotter, drier, and much more combustible. It's going to be a full on out there.
NOBLES: So, you mentioned the possibility of increased fines, but what does this mean for PG&E in totality in the near and long term?
MARQUEZ: It means that they are going to have to have as robust, if not even more robust plans for mitigating the risk of fire. They have thousands and thousands of wood electric poles. They have thousands of thousands of miles of line that go through forested area. They are going to have to get very, very tough in cutting down trees around them, kind of vegetation around them, and replacing those poles probably with steel poles or something fire resistance.
NOBLES: So, they could face this millions of dollars in just straight fines, but then also millions in upgrades.
MARQUEZ: They say they already -- in the last 10 years they put $15 billion into their infrastructure. They may have to do that plus in the years ahead.
NOBLES: A fascinating angle to this important story. Miguel Marquez, thank you.
MARQUEZ: You got it.
NOBLES: She is one of the most famous women in the world and one of the most envied. But now the British media is taking aim at Meghan. The Duchess of Sussex, and the knives are out.
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NOBLES: The glamorous American TV star, who married a British prince, is now making headlines again. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has become a favorite target of the British media. CNN's Max Foster has more on why the press continues to scrutinize her every move.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Just seven months after her fairy tale marriage to Prince Harry, noted by commentators as a celebratory reflection of modern prism, the knives are out in certain sections of the British media.
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN WORLD COMMENTATOR: There's been almost shockingly quick turnaround. One minute, Meghan, it's her royal wedding. It's marvelous and fantastic. The next minute, there are all these negative stories in the press, stories about Duchess at war. It really is within a few months Meghan seems to have move from the nation's heroine to someone who is actually being discussed in ways almost make her seem as if she is the nation's villain.
FOSTER: Sources close to Meghan and Harry tells CNN, they saw it coming. The wives at war narrative that they say speaks to female stereo typing in the media more than it does to the reality of royal family dynamics. Sad and predictable are two words I heard used for the coverage.
WILLIAMS: In the past, you have seen a lot of criticism of people who marry into the royal family. We saw it particularly with Diana. And Diana, she suffered badly. The press criticized her, they criticized her weight, they criticized what she did, and they criticized her fashion.
FOSTER: Elements of the reporting are undeniably true. The Sussex's are moving out the palace they share with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in London, a decision that seemed to have added to rumors of a rift. Other stories are completely made up according to sources. An article suggested that Meghan is a vegan when she famously revealed she was roasting a chicken when her husband Harry proposed.
AYESHA AZAREKA, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think race is a factor in this. I think there's a lot of commentators and many parts of the British press that are saying, right, we're going to try to box her in. There's already a gender discount against this. So, there's already the classic stereo type which is, you know, if she is a strong woman, then she is strident woman, she is a bossy woman, she is a difficult woman.
And of course, being a woman of color there on top of that is another layer of stereo typical cliches, you know, disadvantage which are. She is the angry woman. You know, she just doesn't fit in. She doesn't understand how we do things.
FOSTER: Traditionally, British Royals don't respond to negative media coverage and their coaches can't speak on their behalf. So many of the more personal attacks on Duchess about her behavior, for example, has gone unanswered.
The Duchess doesn't read all of the articles written about her. I'm told by sources here at Kensington Palace, she is far more focused on selecting charities that she is going to support going forward. She is renovating a new home and she is having a baby in the spring. The British monarchy is an ancient institution and the feeling behind palace walls is that this new latest storm is going to pass. Max Foster, CNN, Kensington Palace, London.
NOBLES: You are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ryan Nobles in tonight for Ana Cabrera in New York. Finally this weekend, some words from the president about the pressing issues facing the country today.