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New Years In Time Square Will Be A Wet One; NYPD Preparing For A Large Busy Evening and Night; Senator Elizabeth Warren Contemplating A 2020 Election Run. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired December 31, 2018 - 10:00   ET



JORDAN WALKER-PEARLMAN, AMERICAN FILM DIRECTOR: That would've made her really - really happy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: I can only imagine. Thank you so much ...

WALKER-PEARLMAN: Thank you very much.

HARLOW: ... for being with us.

WALKER-PEARLMAN: I appreciate it.

HARLOW: Appreciate it.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And Gilda airs tomorrow night at 9 Eastern right here on CNN. Well, 2019 will get a soggy start in New York City tonight. Thousands of people are expected to crowd into Time Square for the ball drop.

But they'll have to contend with extremely tight security and heavy showers as well. We start with CNN's Chad Meyers who has the forecast. So, I guess it's rain, but it's going to be warmer this year compared to last year, right?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Fifty degrees warmer in New York City will be the feels like temperature today compared to 365 days ago. It felt like five below zero lasts year.

It's going to feel like 45 today, so much better, yes. But Gore-Tex and duck boots are going to be the order today because we see rain into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and then even severe weather from Nashville, through Memphis, all the way down to almost New Orleans.


BROWN: All right, sounds good. Chad Meyers, thank you so much. And now let's go to Miguel Marquez. Miguel, revelers are preparing for the rain, while New York police are preparing for a massive crowd.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh my gosh, it's going to be giant as usual, a million, maybe 2 million people they are planning for out here in Times Square. That's the spot where everybody is focused on right now. That's the pole where that famous ball will drop at midnight, and preparations are well under way.

They're going to have everything here. Entire Times Square will be blocked off. You'll have to enter through certain areas. There will be magnetometers you'll have to go through. There'll be no alcohol, no backpacks, no coolers, no large packages, no lawn chairs, no umbrellas.

Doesn't sound like much of a party, does it? They'll also hundreds and hundreds of officers and agents from different law enforcement agencies, local, state, and federal. They're going to have drones out here.

They'll also have anti-drone technology out here. Just in case you want to bring your drone out here and try to fly it around the ground. They'll be able to bring it down -- bring it down or mitigate it somehow.

They're not saying how exactly, being tight-lipped on that, but it is interesting. They will also have bomb sniffing dogs and officers embedded in area hotels just to make sure nothing goes strange there.

And then these bits, these are all the - the areas where the public will eventually be ushered into. They will open up soon. They may be opening some of them further up. If you come in here, though, you can - you can check in, but if you leave, you can't get back in.

So you better figure out your restroom plan because it's going to be a long, long time. And there's about a ton of confetti that will come down at New Year's, to ring in the New Year. If it's raining at that time, I really want to see that because it's going to be like confetti mud, basically, all over people, should be an interesting one, Pam.

BROWN: Sure thing. All right, Miguel Marquez live for us in Times Square. Thank you so much for bringing us the latest as we look ahead to this evening. Meantime, Senator Elizabeth Warren isn't waiting for the New Year to make a big announcement.

She said this morning she's exploring a 2020 presidential run, timed with the release, along with that announcement, a video playing up her Oklahoma roots. This makes the Massachusetts Democrat the first big name in what's expected to be a flood of Democrats in the coming weeks and months. CNN National Political Correspondent M.J. Lee joins us live from Boston. Good morning, M.J.

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, Pam. Well, every expectation now is that Senator Elizabeth Warren will run for president. And now, we also have a pretty good blueprint of what her campaign will look like, and sound like in a 4.5 minute video.

She talked about some of the very themes she has talked about for so many years, like fighting economic inequality, taking on big banks and big corporations, and as you said, she also talked about her personal childhood stories, and how her own family was able to overcome a lot of hardships.

[10:05:00] Now, she also had in this video a very pointed message about what she said was an echo chamber of bigotry and hatred. Take a listen to this.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), OKLAHOMA: Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead, it has become a tool for the wealthy and well connected.


The whole scam is propped up by an echo chamber of fear and hate designed to distract and divide us. People who will do or say anything to hang on to power, point the finger at anyone who looks, thinks, prays, or loves differently than they do.

LEE: Now, it is not an accident that we see images of President Trump in this video message from Senator Warren. It is just one reminder of what an outspoken critic of the President Senator Warren has been, and why that is such a big appeal

to so many potential voters and supporters for her going forward.

And as you know, Pam, very well, the president has been very eager to hit back as well. He has mocked Senator Warren's Native American ancestry and nicknamed her Pocahontas, frequently calling her that on Twitter.

And she responded, as you know, in part to that criticism just a few weeks ago by releasing the results of a dna test showing she does in fact have distant Native American heritage, but that effort was widely criticized as being insensitive.

So, it will be interesting to see whether she addresses that in the coming days. Now, the reason we are in the Boston area this morning is because this is where we expect her presidential campaign to be headquartered.

We are also told that she will begin the travel to some of the early states very - very soon. But all of that is going to depend on what happens in Washington in the coming days with the ongoing government shutdown, Pam, back to you.

BROWN: All right. M.J., thanks for bringing us the latest from Boston. And let's discuss this with Ron Brownstein, Senior Editor for the Atlantic, and Jackie Kucinich, Washington Bureau Chief for the Daily Beast. Thank you both for coming on.

Ron, first to you, the CC poll from earlier this month shows that she is fairly low on the list of front-runners in Democrats' choice for their nominee. Is this easily overcome or is this troubling for her?

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Well, look, polling this far out on the presidential races, primaries in particular, have not been especially predictive. But she does have an issue, and that she's extremely well known, and she has high favorability. That's something that's good for her, but her actual support in the horse race test is - is, as you point out, really backed in the middle of the pack.

I think the question for her is really encapsulated very well by - by this video, because like Bernie Sanders, the core argument she wants to make is an economic one. She wants a populist argument against big corporations, the wealthy.

In many ways, I think the energy in the democratic party now is tilting toward a different place, more toward defending the diverse changing America against what

Democrats widely perceive as Trump's efforts to instill racial division.

I compare Elizabeth Warren's message with the 5 million views that we've already seen in just a few days for the Beto O'rourke video criticizing the border wall. So I think that will be her challenge, whether the 2016 argument that Bernie Sanders used so effectively is still where the center of the party is in 2020.

BROWN: We shall see. And Jackie, does this earlier announcement help her in that respect? Can she get a jump on her rivals by being the first big

Democrat name right out of the gate?

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR THE DAILY BEAST: It gives her more ability to fund raise. It gives her an ability to start hiring people, and who - they have been having conversations with key operatives. That said, I think her main challenge is going to be not getting drawn into the gutter with President Trump as well.

We've already seen her - her release of her genetic test. It was seen by a lot of Democratic operatives as Trump getting in her head, and her not being able to walk away or put aside that criticism because he - he will go lower.

If - if, you know, he thinks he can draw someone down and take them off message. Can she keep - what Ron points out in the video, can she keep her message on what this video is about? About income inequality, even if the Democratic Party, as Ron said, is shifting their focus, can she keep on message?

And I think that's not only going to be her challenge. It's going to be a challenge for everyone in the Democratic field because of the nature of how this president campaigns and is.

BROWN: Right, and on that note, the Boston Globe actually urged her not to run. Saying that she should do what Deval Patrick did, test the waters and stay on the beach. Here's what they said - here's what they said here, while Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has become a divisive figure.


BROWN: A unifying voice, is what the country needs now after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump. So Ron, what do you think? Are they right?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I think there are Democrats who worry, as Jackie I think alluded to, that Senator Warren is in fact too polarizing. It really kind of gets to a core choice democrats face.

On the one hand, you have a point of view in the party that says look, what we need to do is mobilize the coalition that is deeply alienated from Donald Trump. Young people, minorities, in particular, who don't normally vote. There's another school that says what the Democratic Party has to do is reassure millions of center right, mostly white voters who normally vote republican but are alienated from Donald Trump.

Obviously, Elizabeth Warren is better suited for the first than the second and I think many of the other candidates kind of fall along that spectrum. And that will be part of the debate the party has. But I do think that concern that she is not well positioned to take advantage of the cracks in the normal Republican coalition will be a hurdle for her with portions of the primary electorate.

BROWN: All right, thank you so much, Ron Brownstein, Jackie Kucinich. Stay with us, a lot more to discuss.

And still ahead, the President contradicts his outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly on the border wall. He said he never abandoned the idea of a concrete wall. Plus the President's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has a New Year's message for Robert Mueller; put up or shut up.

And tragedy at a wildlife preserve in North Carolina. An intern is killed by a lion during a routine cleaning. We're live with an update.



BROWN: Well, this morning, President Trump is pushing back against his outgoing Chief of Staff, John Kelly. Kelly saying over the weekend in an interview that the White House had given up on this idea of a concrete wall along the southern border a long time ago. Something President Trump is flat out denying this morning.

All of this as the Federal Government shutdown enters day 10. The White House, along with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, at a stalemate with no deal to end the shutdown in sight.

Joining me now is CNN's Boris Sanchez who is live at the White House with the very latest. Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there. Good morning, Pam. Yes, there is disagreement over how to reopen the Federal Government between democrats and republicans and there's apparently also disagreement within the administration over what a border wall actually means.

Take a look at this quote from outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly to the L.A. Times over the weekend. He's talking about the President's belief that there needs to be a border wall between the United States and Mexico. He says, quote, "to be honest, it's not a wall. The President still says wall. Oftentimes, frankly, he'll say barrier or fencing. Now he's tended towards steel slats, but we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration."

Kelly there revealing that at some point in discussions, the President left behind the idea of a concrete wall between the U.S. and Mexico. But the President this morning not allowing John Kelly to define his definition of wall.

Here's a tweet from the President in which he writes, quote, "an all concrete wall was never abandoned. And has been reported by the media, some areas will be all concrete, but the experts at border patrol prefer a wall that is see-through, thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides. Makes sense to me."

Further, the President tweeted after that that the only way to have good border security is with a strong and powerful wall. He also called on democrats to return to the Nation's Capitol to continue discussions over a deal to reopen the Federal Government.

Unclear that that will happen, but what we have seen over the past few days is that some of the President's surrogates have tried to argue that semantics is what's separating the two sides.

Kellyanne Conway yesterday on "State of the Union" speaking to our colleague, Dana Bash, said ultimately, it was just semantics that really held up discussions over a border wall, whether it was a barrier or wall, steel slats. Clearly, the President is determined to have a concrete wall somewhere. Unlikely that democrats are going to be willing to give it to him without some major compromise, Pam.

BROWN: Boris Sanchez, thank you for bringing us the latest there from the White House.

And let's get to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux who is on Capitol Hill. Suzanne, what are you hearing? Is there any progress on ending the shutdown?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, it's interesting. As we begin with the new year, there's old ideas that are being recast as new right now. You have Senator Lindsey Graham emerging from a two- hour lunch with the President yesterday, essentially saying he's got this compromise, this new idea in exchange for the $5 billion for the President's border wall, allowing DREAMers or DACA recipients, those who came to the country legally through their parents as children, work permits to be renewed every three years as some sort of new type of idea.

He said that the President thought it was an interesting one. But you might recall it was earlier this year, there was a Grand Bargain that was made between the democrats as well as the President, $25 billion for the border wall in exchange for some sort of path to citizenship for these same individuals. Ultimately, that blew up. The President rejected that. And so we are where we are at this point

with Senator Graham saying potentially this might be a breakthrough or something that the President would listen to. It is far from clear.

What are the options? Well, today, you've just got the House and Senate in session; Proforma. There's really nothing that's going to be done until they come back in town. That's going to happen on Thursday. The democrats on the House side now will be the new majority, and Nancy Pelosi says she will go ahead and introduce legislation to open the government. Far from clear whether or not the Senate side will take up that measure.

There are some particular compromises or scenarios still looking at the six-bill spending measure which would fund the government, aside from Homeland Security, through September. And the possibility of you got some sort of compromise with that figure between $5 billion and $2 billion that the president might find acceptable, but right now, Pam, very much a stalemate.


BROWN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much. And back with us now, Ron Brownstein and Jackie Kucinich to discuss this. So as we heard there from Suzanne, one of the potential deals on the table is one that involves DACA and TPS fixes. Is that something, Jackie, that Democrats could work with the president on?

KUCINICH: Sure, but I think the problem is it just goes down to trust, and it's not just Democrats that don't really trust what the president is doing. It's Republicans because they don't know what the president will sign and when he - if and when he'll go back on anything he seems to agree to. He had that meeting with Lindsey Graham yesterday, and Lindsey Graham is the one, of course, who floated (ph) that - the DACA-TPS deal. That said, who will get to the president next? Will it be Stephen Miller who's one of his more hockish immigration advisors? Is that who the president will end up listening to? That is the answer to the question. Or will they end up somewhere in between? We just have to wait and see.

BROWN: So Ron, what do you make of these mixed signals? I mean, first of all, as Jackie pointed out, Democrats and Republicans seem to have no idea what the president will sign, and then there are these shifting definitions of the wall.


BROWN: You know, you have Chief of Staff, John Kelly, saying the idea of a concrete wall ended long ago, then the president's tweeting today that, no, that's actually not true, and then Kellyanne Conway said it's all semantics. What is going on?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, the level of confusion in legislative fights that we have seen on other issues where people don't really know where the president is or more importantly where he will stay. Look, Lindsey Graham in one sense is right. The path toward a comprehensive immigration is really the only reform (ph), is the only pathway toward an agreement on significantly enhancing border security. We saw that in 2006 with the Immigration Reform bill that passed the Senate. We saw it in 2013. We saw it in the Board of Negotiations (ph) last year that tied a fix on DACA to enhance border security. If the administration and Senate Republicans and House Republicans are serious about wanting enhanced border security, they, I think, know from the history pretty clearly that it requires a broader package that deals with elements of the immigration system that are priorities for Democrats. It's not clear at all that the president is ultimately willing to go there. Last year when there was that possible deal on DACA for the wall, the White House blew it up by demanding the largest cuts in legal immigration since the 1920s. So the desire to signal toughness to the part of his base (ph) that is the most hostile to immigration really may be the driving factor here, and that makes it very hard to find an agreement.

BROWN: And that, again, as they're trying to figure this out, there are 800,000 federal employees who are impacted by this, but Jackie, what do you make of the change in language about that wall? How significant is it? Does it matter?

KUCINICH: I mean, of course it matters, but it just seems like there's an attempt to muddy the waters here. I don't know if they're trying to create room for the president to maneuver, to negotiate, but he's the one who keeps on coming out. He's undermining his own advisors again, again, again by coming out and saying, "no, the wall is the wall. It's concrete," because he doesn't like to look like someone like John Kelly is undermining him from the outside. He didn't like when he was undermining him from the inside of the White House as Chief of Staff when he would say - or even as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security when he would say the president doesn't quite know what he's talking about when it comes to -

BROWN: He's evolving. His views are evolving. Remember when he said that on Fox?

KUCINICH: Yes, exactly. The president didn't like that either. So it's really - it's making life tougher for the president's advisors who are really trying to, it seems like, give the president some room to negotiate here.

BROWN: All right, Jackie, Ron, thank you both.

BROWNSTEIN: Happy New Year.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

BROWN: Happy New Year.

KUCINICH: Happy New Year.

BROWN: Well, meantime President Trump's personal attorney issues an ultimatum to Special Council Robert Mueller. Lay your cards on the table or put an end to the Russia probe.



BROWN: Well, this morning President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is issuing an ultimatum to Special Council, Robert Mueller, put up or shut up. Giuliani is pressuring Mueller to submit his report on whether the Russia investigation has found evidence of collusion. And by the way, even if it has, Giuliani says collusion is not a crime. Now, this comes as a new Time Magazine report shows the leverage the Russians apparently had over Paul Manafort at the time he was Trump's campaign chair.

Joining me now to discuss, former Trump White House lawyer, Jim Schultz. Jim, thanks for coming on.


BROWN: So let's talk about this Time Magazine report. Paul Manafort was pressured by a Russian ex-spy to pay back millions of dollars in debt that he apparently owed during the time that he was running Trump's 2016 campaign. That Russian ex-spy was Victor Boyarkin reportedly contacted Manafort on behalf of a Russian billionaire who has close ties to the Kremlin. What does this suggest to you about the influence the Russians may have had over Manafort at this time where he was part of the campaign.

SCHULTZ: Anytime you have that kind of leverage over someone like Paul Manafort, it's concerning.