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Trump Says Not in Favor of Rapid Withdrawal from Syria; Trump Laughs Off Elizabeth Warren's Potential 2020 Presidential Bid; Brother Discusses Comedian Gilda Radner; Texas Police Ask for Public Help in 7-Year-Old Girl's Shooting. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired January 1, 2019 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's probably going to be his New Year's resolution.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: So from one hot spot to another, let's go to Syria. All of a sudden, another change in tune from the president here. He told FOX last night he's not in favor of a rapid withdrawal. In fact, listen to what the president said in that interview.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): I never said that I'm going to rush out. We're going to get out. We're getting out of Syria, bringing our young great troops home after so many years. You know, we were supposed to be in Syria for three to four months. That was four or five years ago. And it's time. We have to bring them home. And we're going to do it in a very good way.


NOBLES: So the "New York Times" has actually put a number on the timeline. They're saying four months. So this is a bit slower than perhaps we thought from the president's initial comments on this. How could that impact the situation there?

VINOGRAD: First, let's talk about what the president's done with respect to why our troops are in Syria in the first place and the three to four-month timeline. Troops aren't assigned for a specific amount of time. They're assigned to accomplish a mission. What he's saying is really inaccurate. With respect to the drawdown timeline, withdrawing troops too quickly exposes them to risk. You have to remove them and their equipment and the various capability that support them on the ground. If you withdraw them in a 30-day time period, it puts them at a lot of risk. The three-month timeline or longer is what I assume military commanders are saying would allow them to remove the troops safely and coordinate with allies on who is picking up the mission perhaps while we withdraw.

NOBLES: OK. Samantha Vinograd, thank you as always. We appreciate it.

VINOGRAD: Thank you. Happy New Year.

NOBLES: Happy New Year to you. Coming up, as Elizabeth Warren inches toward a possible presidential run in 2020, President Trump is laughing her off. Does she stand a chance or has she missed her moment?


[11:36:25] NOBLES: President Trump is firing the first shots at a possible challenger for the 2020 presidential race. Elizabeth Warren has taken the first major step toward a White House run, announcing she's forming an exploratory committee. The president seemed to be almost excited by the possibility of running against the Massachusetts Senator in 2020. Here's what he said on FOX News last night.


TRUMP (voice-over): Elizabeth Warren will be the first. She did very badly in proven that she was of Indian heritage. That didn't work out too well. I think you have more than she does, and maybe I do, too, and I have nothing. So you know, we'll see how she does. I wish her well. I hope she does well. I would love to run against her.

UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS HOST, (voice-over): She says she's in the fight all the way, Mr. President. Do you really think she believes she could win?

TRUMP: Well, that I don't know. You'd have to ask her psychiatrist.


NOBLES: Not exactly sure where the president was going with that, but let's get into this now.


Joining me now, former chairman of the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C., A. Scott Bolden, and CNN political commentator and a member of President Trump's 2020 Advisory Council, Rob Astorino.

Rob, let's go to you with this first.

As you heard, he said he would love to run against Elizabeth Warren and then he talked about we needed to ask her psychiatrist if she thinks she can win. Is this the opening salvo in opening talks against the president?

ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER, DONALD TRUMP 2020 ADVISORY COUNCIL: Yes. Politically, I think she's crazy, too, so I understand what he means by that. I think most Republicans are like, please, let it be her, because of her stumble with the Native Americans. That's nonsense. And she's going to get called on that. Every time she tries to say something about President Trump, they're going to go back to that. She's not authentic. You know, even her hometown paper, the "Boston Globe," told her don't run, your time is past and we don't think you're the best candidate. I think she'll be in a lot of trouble. But it's such a crowded field. She has name I.D., and she probably has a good organization coming into it, so she's going to be in the front of the pack to start.

NOBLES: Scott, let's get you take on this. Rob kind of alluded to the timing of the announcement. First of all, New Year's Eve, and it also came in the midst of a partial government shutdown. Part of the reason you form an exploratory committee is for the purpose of raising big bucks. Are you concerned she might have an optics issue, trying to raise cash when federal workers aren't even getting paychecks?

A SCOTT BOLDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a long campaign, so I don't think she'll have a problem raising money. Maybe they give, maybe they don't. But the reality is she wanted to get out ahead. She had a day where she could cover the news cycle and what have you. She accomplished that. She has other challenges. To be honest with you, President Trump has a lot of challenges. This whole issue of Pocahontas and her Native American heritage, it's a distraction. She will be tainted with that and painted with that, but the problem is that just because she's tainted with it doesn't mean she's not qualified to be president of the United States. Because she certainly is, if not more qualified than Donald Trump, so it's a distraction more than anything.

NOBLES: Rob, you're advising the president on 2020 already. When you see the field of Democratic candidates, it could be 25, it could be 45.


NOBLES: Who concerns you the most? Who in this field right now do you think could present the biggest challenge to President Trump?

ASTORINO: Well, I think the most qualified is Joe Biden. But I just think now with the identity politics of the Democratic Party, he's a white male, so you have to toss him aside. I think Kamala Harris is probably the most uniquely positioned, certainly where the Democratic Party is right now. She comes from a big state, already Democratic, so she doesn't bring a new state to the fold, but she's got a big base to draw from, including fundraising. I think she'll be appealing to the Democratic base.

NOBLES: Scott, do --


[11:40:18] BOLDEN: Identity politics, it's rich for the Republicans to talk about identity politics because the president's and GOP are the greatest identity politics with their white, working class and their support from racist groups and the KKK and the Nazi Party. That being said, I wouldn't toss any candidate out because of the color of his skin. Biden has strong relationships with all people of color and people of all communities and all racial ilk. That's a little insulting.

But more importantly is this, right, this is going to be a long campaign, where there are 10, 20, 30 candidates. Some really viable candidates. Here's the deal. You have to have a likability factor. You have to have a message, money, and mobilize voters. That's really what this is going to come down to. We also ought to talk not just about Trump and who he is and what he's done, but look at his record, evaluate that record, and give voters an alternative. Because as he plays to his base, that's not enough for him to get re-elected. There's a gap between his core bass and his electoral base. His electoral base, the well-educated white working-class individuals or voters, they're the ones who put him over the hump, especially in the Rustbelt. It's going to be difficult for them to do that based on the way he's governed.

NOBLES: Based on that, Scott, do you think it's necessary for Democrats to find a fresh face as opposed to someone like Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden who, in many respects, have already been defined by the public. Would they be better to find someone like Beto O'Rourke?

BOLDEN: They certainly would. But right now, this is all name recognition, if you will. This isn't viability or likability and organization. So until we get everyone in the race, until the debates start -- because they'll be falling like you saw on the Republican side in 2016, so who has the staying power? That's really important.

I tell you, I would watch for a former governor of a southern state, like a Terry McAuliffe, because he can raise the money. He can mix it up with Trump. He may be connected to the Clintons and he may make an issue of it, but he has a strong record of accomplishment in the state of Virginia. That type of candidate is going to be a real problem who can reach out to a cross section of voters, black, white, yellow, brown, or whatever part of the country they're in and get those votes. If he's the man, if you will, then I think Trump and the Republicans are going to have a real problem.


ASTORINO: Scott, it wasn't insulting, it was the truth, the identity politics. What was the number-one story last --


BOLDEN: It can be both.


BOLDEN: You can be insulting and truthful. You can be both, you know.


ASTORINO: When the polls came out last week -


ASTORINO: OK, I let you speak. When the poles came out last week, and what was the number-one story? All right, worrisome Democrats because white men are at the top of the ticket.

NOBLES: We have to leave it there, gentlemen. Terrific conversation. BOLDEN: Doesn't make it true.

NOBLES: All right, thank you, A. Scott Bolden, Rob Astorino. We appreciate you being here. Happy New Year.

We should point out

BOLDEN: Thank you.

NOBLES: -- we have more than a year before anyone votes in the election.


A long way, a long way to go to this election.

Coming up, calm down and enjoy the ride. That is the message from the president of the United States heading into 2019. So what will be the administration's priorities and what will it mean for Congress as the shutdown continues?


[11:48:07] NOBLES: Gilda Radner was a comedic legend who was a member of the original cast of "Saturday Night Live," where she broke boundaries and inspired a generation of comedians. Tonight, CNN premieres a new film about her life and work. Here's a preview.


GILDA RADNER, COMEDIAN: Hi, I'm Gilda Radner. And -- OK, now.


RADNER: People want to know what made you funny. From the time I was a kid, I loved to pretend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was the very first performer chosen for the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

RADNER: Rosanne Roseannadanna.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They loved her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I basically stole all my characters from Gilda.

RADNER: I can do almost anything if people are laughing.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gilda was just not quite herself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One morning, she just said, I don't know what's wrong with me. RADNER: For a comedian, it's the most unfunny thing in the world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She felt that she could be of help. And that's exactly what she did.

RADNER: How often do we get to know exactly how brave we are?

I always felt that my comedy was just to make things be all right.

ANNOUNCER: "Love, Gilda," tomorrow at 9:00 p.m.


NOBLES: And earlier, Kate Baldwin had a chance to speak with Gilda Radner's brother, Michael. And here's that interview.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me right now is Gilda Radner's brother, Michael Radner.

Michael, it's great to have you.


BOLDUAN: Thank you.

One of the extraordinary things about the film, and you hear it there, is the main narrator is your sister. It's Gilda. Her words, her on voice, telling her own story. What is it like for to you hear her voice narrate her tale after so many years?

MICHAEL RADNER: It's very interesting. Her voice sounds so familiar. Even though Gilda has been gone for almost 30 years now, if the phone rang and I picked it up and it was her voice there, I would have to remind myself it shouldn't be there. It's wonderful to hear her voice and describe her own life that way.

[11:50:18] BOLDUAN: You were key in allowing the filmmakers to access her diaries and videos in writing. What did you want people to know about your sister in coming out with this film?

MICHAEL RADNER: I want people to know that basically though she was funny and that she was very smart and a very good person, the Gilda that people saw on the screen on the television and that they fell in love with was the real Gilda. She was the kind of person that was -- she treated the person who swept the floor as well as she treated the president of the corporation. That was the real Gilda they were saying and the reason people identified with her and fell in love with her. I like the fact that people loved her. There are two kinds of people in the world. Those that know and love her and those that don't know about her yet and will love her once they learn about her.

BOLDUAN: What made her such a good comic? MICHAEL RADNER: That's a good question. I think she loved to make

people laugh. That was very important to her. She must have had all these characters in her mind and she threw herself into it. It wasn't her putting on an act. She became whatever she was doing. It came through and it showed and obviously people responded to it.

BOLDUAN: She died after battling cancer in '89. During her battle, she kept writing and recording and a friend in the film said something that I loved. She thought she could help by being an example. What was the example that she wanted to set at that latter part of her life?

MICHAEL RADNER: Well, she knew that cancer was a battle. She was planning on fighting it. She was hoping to survive. But she wasn't going to let it get her down. Once she came to terms with it, she said I make people laugh and I'm not going to stop doing that. She pressed forward and tried to live life to the fullest and not give up. For her, it worked. Unfortunately, at the end, there was a sad ending. But in dealing with the cancer journey, sometimes it's not the ending that matters, but how good you can make the journey. You don't know what the end is going to be, but you can make the journey as good as possible.

BOLDUAN: I love that.

So many of today's comedy stars appear in the film talking about her and her influence. What do you think she would have made of all these tributes?

MICHAEL RADNER: I think she -- she was basically modest. She was not looking to pat herself on the back and pleased that all these people appreciated what she had done and she had been happy she had been an inspiration for so many young women who went into comedy and used her as an example of what could happen and looked up to her. And she made a difference in their lives by encouraging them to go ahead with a career they might want to do.

BOLDUAN: I tell you, I really enjoyed the film.

Michael, it's great to meet you and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your sister and all of that footage. I appreciate it.

MICHAEL RADNER: Thank you. I hope everybody enjoys it. Millions of people will see Gilda and millions more will learn to love her. Thank you and CNN for putting the film on.


NOBLES: Thanks to Kate and Michael Radner for the interview. You can watch "Love, Gilda" on CNN at 9:00 eastern.

[11:54:00] We'll be right back.


NOBLES: Right now, a manhunt is under way in Texas after police says a man randomly killed a 7-year-old girl. Jasmine Barnes (ph) was shot while in her mother's car Sunday near Houston. Police are vowing to catch the killer but are asking for the public's help.

CNN's Nick Valencia joins me now.

Nick, what do police know about the gunman?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What an awful way for this family to start the New Year, mourning the loss of this girl with an unprovoked act of violence.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, this suspected gunman, described has a white male, had a beard, in his 40s and he was using a red pickup truck during the time of the shooting. Beyond those descriptions from witnesses, the sheriff's office hasn't released more details.

We know this shooting happened on Sunday as Jasmine Barnes (ph)f was in the car leaving a Houston area Walmart with her three siblings and her mother. Two of her siblings were uninjured in that attack. One of her siblings was hit by shattered glass. And her mother was shot in the arm. And she was in a hospital bed and talked about what happened to our local affiliate.


UNIDENTIFIED MOTHER OF SHOT 7-YEAR-OLD GIRL: My baby came and asked me, where is my sister? Is she coming back? She is only 6 years old. She doesn't deserve to wake up without her sister. It's not fair.


VALENCIA: Just awful. The suspected shooter kept firing as he sped off. And the sheriff's office in Harris County is asking people to look at surveillance footage and any home tape if they recognized this car before to figure out who is behind this shooting -- Ryan?

NOBLES: Absolutely heartbreaking.

Nick Valencia, thank you.

VALENCIA: You bet.

[12:00:07] NOBLES: Thank you for joining me.