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Congress Punts Government Shutdown to New Year; Explosion Turns NYC Skyline Blue; House Dems Scooping Up Staff, Lawyers to Aid Investigations. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 30, 2018 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats are dug in. It looks like we could be in for a very long-term shutdown.

[05:59:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is in the middle of another temper tantrum. He fed misinformation to his base, and now he's trying to save face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think they want to give Trump a victory. This is to go past the State of the Union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God! Look at the sky!

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: A transformer explosion in New York lighting up the sky and forcing a ground stop at LaGuardia Airport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You looked in the sky, and it was bright blue. It was insane. I was, like, "Aliens are here."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, December 29, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me.

And the good news is, there's no evidence of extraterrestrial activity.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: That is -- that is something, because I woke up, and I had no idea what had happened overnight.

BERMAN: The NYPD actually put out a statement, a message on Twitter, saying that there were no aliens coming --

HILL: Cute.

BERMAN: -- even though someone painted the sky blue last night. Look at this. So that's a transformer explosion. That's really remarkable. The good news is, again, no one was hurt. No lasting significant power outages. That was last night.

I just want to show people what "Ghostbusters" looked like, at the end of "Ghostbusters." This is "Ghostbusters." Right?

HILL: I mean, there's some parallel.

BERMAN: Are you with me?

HILL: I'm with you. Sort of. The colors are a little different.

BERMAN: So that's what it looked like last night.

The good news, though, again, this is not the second coming of Zuul.

HILL: That is excellent.

BERMAN: The bad news is, is the government is shutdown until 2019. The House and Senate both adjourned yesterday, and pretty much everyone went home, with no agreement to fund the government. Not even close.

That means about 800,000 federal workers remain on furlough or are working without pay, even as the politicians who can't make a deal, they are collecting their paychecks.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats have given the White House three options to end the shutdown. None of them, though, include funding for the border wall. The president says he still wants $5 billion.

HILL: And the other big headline on this Friday: the volatile markets. The president, we know, follows them, especially the Dow, and follows them very closely. In fact, CNN has learned Mr. Trump got a boost from the Dow's record gains on Wednesday, making enthusiastic calls from Air Force One on his way home from Iraq.

The Dow roaring back again yesterday to finish higher. A prolonged government shutdown, though, could rattle Wall Street.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Boris Sanchez, who's live at the White House.

Boris, good morning.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Erica.

Yes, the House and Senate reconvened yesterday. They gaveled in and gaveled right back out. Not much progress being made on a deal to end the shutdown.

Democrats attempted to bring this stop-gap measure that was passed in the Senate to the floor. That did not work.

The likelihood now: that we won't see much progress until Nancy Pelosi, the likely speaker, is gaveled in, sworn in next Thursday. Democrats have promised to immediately bring up those three potential solutions to the government shutdown that John mentioned, none of which contained funding for the border wall.

Pelosi's office put out a statement yesterday. They write, in part, quote, "Democrats have offered Republicans three options to reopen government that all include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security, but not the president's immoral, ineffective and expensive wall. With the House majority Democrats will act swiftly to end the Trump Shutdown."

Now, President Trump yesterday did not have any public appearances, except for that return from his trip to Iraq and Germany, where he didn't answer reporters' questions.

He did make his presence felt on Twitter, though. The president tweeting nearly a dozen times, mostly focused on the issue of immigration.

At one point, President Trump retweeted former president, Barack Obama, in a call he made years ago for comprehensive immigration reform. The president also tweeting about this fatal police shooting in California, the suspect, allegedly, an undocumented immigrant. The president here suggesting that his border wall, if he'd gotten his way on immigration, could have potentially prevented that shooting.

As you said, John, about 800,000 federal workers remain furloughed or without pay, and we add yet another day to that government shutdown clock -- John and Erica.

BERMAN: Going on until next year. That seems certain now. Boris Sanchez, thanks so much for being with us.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

BERMAN: Let's bring in former South Carolina Democratic House member, Bakari Sellers; Republican strategist Alice Stewart; and op-ed columnist for "The New York Times," Frank Bruni.

Frank Bruni did not even know that Zuul had returned.

HILL: He had no idea. It's a good thing you're here to tell him.

BERMAN: He had no idea that the night sky was lit up last night, but he saw it on our show this morning.

FRANK BRUNI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, didn't observe that.

BERMAN: I'm glad you survived.

BRUNI: Thank you. I'm glad you survived, too. Yes.

BERMAN: Look, this shutdown is lasting until 2019. There's no solution over the next few days, and I don't see how it ends. But you do see, ultimately, a capitulation here?

BRUNI: I think ultimately, Trump has to capitulate. He's not going to get -- listen, I don't have a crystal ball. But he's not going to get his $5 billion. And he's going to have to come down from that figure. And then the question is whether Democrats come at him with something that allows him to save some face.

And you know, maybe in the end, it doesn't need to be that much, because whatever it is, you know, Donald Trump will say that he won. He'll just twist the facts. His fiercest critics won't buy it. And Ann Coulter's head will explode. That's what's going to happen.

HILL: All of that. I mean, how far into 2019 does all that happen? Just out of curiosity? That's a lot that you just packed in there.

BRUNI: Especially -- yes.

HILL: Yes, especially the exploding head at the end.

In all seriousness, Alice, as we look at this, that is part of it, right? The president needs to be able to latch onto something. This is the way he operates. Just in his tweet, he's calling this all about a win. Not a win for anybody right now, especially the 800,000 federal workers.

But what do you think the president could find here that he could latch onto and ultimately swallow this and move forward?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he could latch onto his experience as the dealmaker and start making a deal, really.

And look, he is dead set on $5 billion. The Democrats have said 1.3. Now there's talk of between 2 and 2.5 billion. They have to find some kind of agreement in the middle and -- and move forward.

The further the shutdown clock on our screen continues to go, the six- day, seven-day, eight, the closer Democrats get to taking over the House, and their incentive to make deals dwindles. There's no incentive for them to make a deal at that point, unless they get something in return.

[06:05:14] And I've always said the president needs to give Democrats something to work with, whether it is protections for DREAMers or lowering that number. That's the way you go about making progress on this.

Ideally, this would have been worked out before the government shutdown, but that's certainly not going to happen.

Mark Meadows is working very close with the president on this, and he has been really firm on making sure that the president does hold his ground on making sure that he gets funding for the wall, regardless of whether or not there's a shutdown. And Mark indicated yesterday that the president is willing to back off that 5 billion and start making a deal. Now it's time to put those words into action.

BERMAN: Yes, here's a quote from Mark Meadows, in fact. "So at this point, it looks like it could be in for a very long-term shutdown, a very long-term shutdown," Bakari.

And let me just show another thing here, which is the public opinion on the border wall, because we asked, and pollsters asked repeatedly, "How do you feel about the border wall between the United States and Mexico?" And there's not support for it. Fifty-seven percent oppose it. That's according to the latest CNN poll from December 6 through December 9. Fifty-seven percent oppose a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Not even really that close. Thirty-eight percent support it.

Nancy Pelosi will be the speaker of the House in just a few days, Bakari. This is not what she wanted to do on day one. She did not want to have to keep the government funded on day one. She had other plans. Does this muck up Democrats' agenda in the new year?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not at all. Because if anyone can lead, if anyone can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time, it's Nancy Pelosi. And so you can push forward other initiatives, while you are trying to negotiate with the president of the United States.

But one thing I will say is that Donald Trump, I believe -- and I think many people would find this view to be correct -- is terrified of Nancy Pelosi. I think all of their interactions with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, you see someone who doesn't necessarily want to get into those type of battles with someone as shrewd who has the legislative chops as Nancy Pelosi.

But what the Democrats have on their side is something quite simple. One, it's the irony of this. You have -- you have Border Patrol agents who are now out of work and being furloughed. We have Coast Guard members who are out of work and being furloughed.

But take, for example, on New Year's Eve, you'll have a party at Mar- a-Lago. And who's going to be patrolling the waters? You're going to have our Coast Guard members, furloughed, patrolling the waters, making sure the president's family is safe, while they celebrate New Year's Eve.

And so you have these -- you have these juxtapositions, which put Democrats in a very strong position. And they're offering alternatives that now it's up to McConnell and Trump whether or not they take it and whether or not they care about our government being open.

STEWART: There's a --

HILL: Go ahead, Alice.

STEWART: No. I think Democrats, in my view, have made it quite clear that they're going to come in. And they want to open up the government, and they want to fund some type of border security.

But they've already laid out what their legislative agenda is, which is anti-corruption and voting rights bills. And they're going to put those on the floor and try to make some progress.

So look, I have -- for all the criticism I have of Nancy Pelosi, I don't doubt that she's going to get in there and really work to get her agenda put on the table and start working on that. But we have this big huge elephant in the room of funding the government.

I applaud the president for standing firm on a major campaign promise that he said that he would get the wall built, but the moment we realize that Mexico is not paying for it, it put a whole new spin on it. And I think his priorities for that should have taken a drastic turn, because I'm all about, you know, something that someone else is paying for, but when it comes out of my -- my pocketbook and taxpayers' pocketbooks, it puts a whole different priority on this wall.

BERMAN: You're laughing.

BRUNI: I'm laughing, because Mexico was never going to pay for it.

STEWART: Right.

BRUNI: And I mentioned -- I joked about Ann Coulter before. I did a long interview with her not that long ago on all of this, and she said, even in real time, none of them took that "Mexico is going to pay for it" as a real promise.

STEWART: Right.

BRUNI: But they took the wall as a real promise. And, you know, as much as we've criticized those people on the right, you know, who are holding Donald Trump's feet to the fire and are, in some cases, in some ways, the engines of the shutdown, they're just taking him at his word. He's said this again and again. And that's the real problem here, which is he welded himself to this position during the campaign; and then he spent the first part of his presidency, when he had the maximum amount of political power he would have, doing absolutely nothing about this.

And now he's about to see the House go into Democratic control. It's the final hours, and he's trying to salvage something from a promise that he was never going to be able to keep in the first place.

HILL: Although we know -- he does like to -- and who wouldn't, as a politician, to be able to look back and say, "Look at all these promises I made. Look what I kept." So he wants it to work for that reason, in addition, obviously.

What's fascinating, though, is you know, his tweet yesterday. It's not about the wall. It's about -- it's about, in his view, it's all about winning and that Democrats want to keep Donald Trump and Republicans from having a win.

[06:10:11] No. 1, once again, no one's winning here. Because there are 800,000 workers who are certainly not winning. But the fact that the president is now trying to say it's not about the wall, and we know it is about the wall.

BERMAN: The third person's winning. I will note that Donald Trump, the president, tweeted himself in the third person. "This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump and the Republicans have a win." HILL: So it's like "Seinfeld."

BERMAN: Right.

BRUNI: He's got one more problem, and Democrats have one more advantage, which is the truth here is on the Democrats' side. All of the problems that President Trump says the wall is going to fix, it's not grounded in reality.

The wall -- the absence of the wall is not the major problem in the war on drugs, which is not even the war on drugs that it was yesteryear. Illegal immigration is not rising; it's falling.

So all of these things that he says that are happening and justify the expense of the wall and the defiance of public opinion to build the wall, it's all -- it's not grounded in reality.

STEWART: The truth is that there was bipartisan support. Republicans and Democrats both supported the Secure Fence Act in 2006. So Democrats have supported the idea of a wall or some type of fence along the border.

But now the fact this has Trump's name on it, they're not quite as excited about spending the money on it. And that is completely understandable. That's why they need to come together and determine how much they want to spend on this idea they want to be a fence, steel slats or, as has been stated, a beaded curtain. It doesn't really matter.

But everyone can agree we want security at the border, but we also want protections for DREAMers. So right there, we can have a win-win.

SELLERS: That's the point.

STEWART: When they come together and have a conversation.

BERMAN: Go Bakari.

SELLERS: I think that's the point. I think, for a long period of time, Democrats have been pushing and a very few Republicans. I mean, Lindsey Graham was one. John McCain, may he rest in peace, was another. Pushing these comprehensive immigration solutions that usually, especially from the far right, got poo-pooed on.

So when you look at the fact that Democrats actually put $25 billion up for a wall, but that came for protections for DREAMers and making sure that they could gain citizenship, now that was rejected by the president of the United States. And now he wants $5 billion for a wall.

First of all, that's not going to build any type of wall of any substance on our southern border. And second, even if the wall is up, to Frank's point, that doesn't fix our immigration problem. Net migration from Mexico is zero. The fact is that most of the illegal immigrants in this country are here because they've overstayed visas. And the No. 1 -- No. 1 contributor to our surging drug problem in the

United States of America or our points of entry and our pharmaceutical industry.

And so when you look at all of these things, I think the facts are on the side of Democrats first. But second, we're not just going to give the president $5 billion for a wall that's not going to fix a problem, just so that he can say that he did it; and Ann Coulter and the Rush Limbaughs of the world feel excited that they've kept their campaign promise.

BERMAN: Very quickly, though, Bakari, if it's not 5 billion, if it's 2 billion and it's for the same things that Democrats are now OK with, this border security that would include fencing and repairs to existing structures; if the only difference is between 1.3 and $2 billion, how far do you think Democrats should fight for that?

SELLERS: Well, I think it's going to be about -- I said it yesterday. I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. I think it's going to be around $1.6 billion or whatever that number's going to be.

But I think a lot of those -- a lot of those funds that the Democrats are pushing are going to make sure that we have a very efficient asylum centers and very efficient asylum process along our border, going to make sure that we actually have more Border Patrol agents, making sure they're paid what they need and get the resources they need and the technology they need.

So it's more than just a wall. It's about actually having some comprehensive approach to the way that we tackle immigration in this country.

Friends, stick around. We have a lot more to discuss with you, coming up in just a couple of minutes.

HILL: First, though, more on this transformer explosion that created a spectacular sight over the New York City skyline last night. The fire at a Con Ed power plant turning the night sky blue. It also caused a power outage at LaGuardia Airport and lit up social media into a frenzy of speculations.

CNN's Cristina Alesci is live in Queens with more this morning.

Cristina, good morning.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Yes, that blue light certainly sparking a lot of speculation, a lot of worry, possibly of an alien invasion. That was what the rumor that was circulating on social media. And the NYPD had to put that rumor out with a tweet last night.

But that blue light could be seen as far as Long Island, and residents here were -- were shaken by this -- the explosion that happened in the power plant just behind me. That's where it all started. Residents here reported windows rattling, buildings shaking. There

was, as you said, temporary power outages. There was a temporary ground halt at LaGuardia Airport, but certainly, that blue light catching a lot of attention.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[06:15:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that can't be good.

ALESCI (voice-over): A transformer explosion at a New York power plant illuminating the city's skyline. The eerie, pulsating blue glow confusing and frightening onlookers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED)! Oh, my God! Look at the sky!

ALESCI: And sending social media into a frenzy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is the sky blinking? Yo, does anybody see this?

ALESCI: The flickering lights from the blast visible from across the city and parts of New Jersey and Long Island, leaving Manhattan's bridges silhouetted in blue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a giant bang. I thought it was fireworks going off, and I looked to my right, and I saw just the yellow sparks in the sky. It looked like blue fire.

ALESCI: A spokesperson from Con Edison tells CNN that an electrical fire broke out after the transformers tripped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a high-voltage emergency going on at the Con Ed plant.

ALESCI: But it was quickly put out, and no one was injured.

Residents pouring into the street as smoke billowed overhead. The explosion causing temporarily outages and grounding airplanes at LaGuardia Airport for an hour, according to flight tracking company FlightAware. The FAA reports that every terminal in the airport was impacted, briefly leaving passengers in the dark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are at our gate, and then --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then the lights started flickering and the lights went out. And then, it was like, "Everyone run," and and so everyone ran out.

ALESCI: New Yorkers speculating that the strange phenomenon was something out of a Spielberg movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looked like it was daytime. You looked in the sky, and it was bright blue. It was insane. It was a really weird blue color, too. I was like, "Aliens are here."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, yo, look at the sky. It's blinking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's aliens leaving (ph) Earth, Mommy. I'm telling you, Mommy.

ALESCI: The head of a New York Police Department nearby in the Bronx attempting to put rumors of an extraterrestrial invasion to rest.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALESCI: Local authorities are still investigating the cause of the actual explosion. But they are describing the incident as unsuspicious, suggesting that there was no foul play involved. And of course, local politicians trying to reassure New Yorkers that everything is back to normal. But we'll have to see what the investigation ultimately bears -- John, Erica.

BERMAN: Unsuspicious, as long as you're OK with the apocalypse, I think, is the way that they should have said it, because there's no denying what it looked like last night, Cristina Alesci. I appreciate your reporting on this.

ALESCI: That's right.

BERMAN: But this was sketchy. I mean, I will say, this was sketchy.

HILL: And it lasted for a little bit, too. That blue glow.

BERMAN: Yes. It lasted for long enough for everyone who works at CNN to pull out their cameras and film it.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: I will note that all of the footage here -- that's Lenny Bourin, who's a CNN producer there. Jim Murphy, a CNN producer also. Also has shots in this video. Lenny's is really good, though. Look at that.

And just because, I just want to compare this once again to "Ghostbusters," because I think this is important.

HILL: Because we can. That's why.

BERMAN: Not just because we can. Because I think it's important. Look. You're going to tell me that these two aren't connected?

See?

HILL: Did you bring your suit? Like, are you ready --

BERMAN: This is what happened last night.

HILL: -- in case you're called into service?

BERMAN: Yes, I have that. I have the flux capacitor --

HILL: One of my -- one of my kids was a Ghostbuster once for Halloween.

BERMAN: Oh, wait. Is that them?

HILL: I should have brought that. Yes.

BERMAN: Really?

HILL: I could have brought you Sawyer's pack.

BERMAN: I needed it. All right.

HILL: Next time.

BERMAN: So the new year will hopefully bring us safety from Zuul, and a new reality and dynamic to Washington. Up next, we discuss the challenges ahead for President Trump with a divided Congress. And Vince Buertho (ph).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:22:18] HILL: When the 116th Congress convenes next week, it will be the first time in 108 years the Democrats have the power to set the agenda in the House, while Republicans in the Senate widen their majority.

And in case you're wondering just what Democrats are trying to do in the House, CNN has learned committees are hiring lawyers, laying the groundwork for investigations.

Let's welcome back Bakari sellers, Alice Stewart and Frank Bruni.

Listen, in a lot of ways, this is not surprising. But it is interesting that this is the reporting, that the job descriptions are out there. This is what is needed in the House. And specifically, we can put up this recent House Judiciary Committee job posting that was reviewed by CNN.

Here's the focus. Here's the variety of expertise that is being looked at: "Criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, I.P., commercial" -- I mean, I don't know, Bakari, is there anything that's not on the list?

SELLERS: It looks as if we're going to -- we're going to take a few young people out of law school and create some hires and some job openings in the legal field.

But let me just -- let me just remind people that Democrats aren't just going to be focused on oversight and investigations. Yes, that's a part of it. But we're going to have some voting rights bills, some civil rights bills, a wide variety of things that are going to hit the floor of the House in the first month or two, which are going to run parallel -- on parallel tracks with investigations.

So yes, we are hiring a bunch of lawyers. We will be doing a bunch of oversight. It will be, especially Elijah Cummings will be a thorn in Donald Trump's side. However, that will not be the only thing the Democrats will be doing.

Because House Democrats have to do much of the work, because as Frank and Alison know, most of the Democrats in the Senate are running for president of the United States.

BERMAN: Yes. Can we just put that job posting up again? Can we just put that job posting up once again? Because this can't be real. This almost seems like a joke --

HILL: It does.

BERMAN: -- job posting from the House Judiciary Committee. They want people with expertise in "criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, commercial and administrative law (including antitrust and bankruptcy), and oversight work."

Also plumbing. I mean, that --

STEWART: John.

Berman: That's, like, everything.

STEWART: John, that answers the question. Before the midterm elections, a lot of Republicans were asking the questions: Well, what are Democrats' plans when they -- if they were to take over the House or the Senate? Are they going to legislate or are they going to investigate? Clearly, they plan to investigate.

And look, I'm not saying there's nothing there to take a look at. And I have confidence they can walk and chew gum at the same time.

But while that is happening, I am fully confident this president and the administration will do what they've been doing and cast that off as -- as more of a witch hunt, just like Mueller, and say that it is part of a left-wing conspiracy, and convince his base that is the motive behind this.

I'm truly, as a Republican, I'm concerned about that. But I'm also keeping my eye on what will happen with the Mueller investigation. In my view, that will be a bigger concern for this president heading into 2019, as to distractions that this may cause in terms of getting things done.

[06:25:18] So we're not just keeping an eye on what the Democrats will be looking into, but this Mueller probe is -- is still looming in the background.

BERMAN: I get the sense that Nancy Pelosi is focused like a laser beam, though, on the criticism that all Democrats are going to do is investigate, and that on day one that the plan has always been to start passing legislation, to show that the Democrats are governing. That is what she is doing, or going to do, for the next four years -- or two years, depending on what it is that she's speaker of the House, Frank. Nevertheless, you suggest that when she does take over in just a few days, what changes is, not to overstate it, everything. BRUNI: The entire atmosphere of Washington, D.C., changes. I think

this is as much a psychological question as a political question when you're talking about the president. He has felt like a martyr and portrayed himself as a victim for the last two years, even while Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.

If that's how he felt and if that's how he talked when he had everything going his way, what's it going to be like over the next year? I was going to say over the next two years, but we don't know that it's going to be the next two years.

I'm hearing more and more talk and speculation, do we really know that he'll make it that far? I mean, when you look at the last month, you know, the amount of turmoil, in particular we're talking about Democrats taking over the House, which is the big new reality. What we've seen in the last couple of weeks is more Republican revolt -- revolt is maybe too big a word -- against the president, than I think we saw at any previous point in his two years.

So that's the other dynamic here, is how firmly and strongly will Republicans stick by his side if the stock market continues to have convulsions or if it swoons again, you know, if more things happen along the lines of Mattis's exodus, I mean, these are really turbulent times for Donald Trump, and I think he's more isolated than he's ever been.

HILL: Alice, what I think is interesting, you know, the reporting is that he is isolated. We know he's increasingly going with his gut, which I don't think is necessarily something new for Donald Trump, but we're hearing more of it. But surrounding himself, Alice, with more people who are obviously "yes" men, and who may not challenge him as much.

That in itself is a challenge for this president in terms of how he's going to react to what is coming down the pike.

STEWART: Sure. And he has said before many times that he trusts his gut more than he does other people's brains at times. And I feel like that's gotten us into some situations that very easily could have been avoided.

And to Frank's point with regard to members of the House and Senate who are closely aligning themselves with the president, they're doing so, specifically in the midterm, because they're looking at where the base is. The base is still 80 percent, 85 percent in line with this president. And if that's where their base is, that's where they're going to go. And so that's why we're seeing a lot of them still staying strongly in line with the president.

But they also realize, with Democrats in control of the House, they're going to have to start working across the aisle to get things done, and the slow wheels of Washington do not turn without some bipartisanship. And many of those that have been there for quite some time realize that's going to start having to happen, now that Democrats are in control. BERMAN: Hey, Bakari, can I lean on your legal expertise now,

Counselor, as well as some of your P.R. experience, which is that Rudy Giuliani yesterday, in an interview, started talking again about WikiLeaks and suggesting that, "You know what? The president didn't talk to WikiLeaks, but even if people in the campaign or connected to the campaign did, even if they knew that WikiLeaks had these stolen e- mails and was going to release them, what crime was committed?"

Now, I don't believe in coincidences. So if Rudy Giuliani is saying this now, is that foreshadowing that he's trying to pave the way to explain away possible contact between Trump campaign associates, maybe Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, with these stolen e-mails?

SELLERS: So I don't think you need a law degree to say that Rudy Giuliani is really doing a disservice to his client. I think that's the mildest way I could put it.

I'm not sure that anyone after this will ever hire Rudy Giuliani to do them any legal services again, because his foot is all the way down his throat all the time he opens his mouth.

But what we do know is no, collusion is not a crime. I think most people know that. But what is a crime is conspiracy. And what you're seeing is you're starting to see some elements of conspiracy between Donald Trump's campaign and some foreign actors to engage in a subversion of our democracy, to engage in a violation of federal election laws and on and on and on.

And so yes, there are a lot of elements of conspiracy. And then you would have Rudy Giuliani. You can go back and look at the tapes of when he goes and says that everything that happens in Donald Trump's orbit he knows or plays a part of it, because he's that large of a personality. So you can't have it both ways.

I think that, as Alice said, the largest danger to a Trump presidency is not Nancy Pelosi, is not Chuck Schumer. It's not what happens in Washington, D.C., on the Capitol. But it's actually what happens in Mueller's office. And people just have to wait and see, because I think that he --