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Sen. Warren to Make First Trip to Iowa this Weekend; Trump Invites Congressional Leaders to the Situation Room; Acting Defense Secretary Warns of Threat to U.S.; The Power of "Time's Up:" One Year Later. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 2, 2019 - 10:30   ET




HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Elizabeth Warren's a progressive hero. If you look at her voting record, she in fact, has the most progressive record according to

Hillary Clinton, of course, I think had to fight some charges that she wasn't progressive enough from the left. I'm not sure those were necessarily right, but they are very different politicians.

HARLOW: You write, this morning, an interesting piece everyone should look up on Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar score high on electability. Elizabeth Warren, you write, not so much. Why?

ENTEN: Yes. So if you look, Elizabeth Warren won her reelection 2018 by 24 points, which seems pretty high. But remember, of course, she was running in Massachusetts. And if you look at how the House Democrats did in that state statewide if you accumulate all their votes, you see that they won by about 36 points. And so that's a 12 point underperformance. First, just Klobuchar and Brown, who over performed the House Democrats in their states by double digits. So by that metric, Elizabeth Warren perhaps didn't do as well as you might expect otherwise.

HARLOW: OK. We have a long way to go.

ENTEN: A long, long, long way to go.

HARLOW: Iowa. Iowa. Iowa. We will be saying it endlessly. Thank you, Harry. Happy New Year.

ENTEN: Thank you, to you as well.

HARLOW: One day before Democrats take over the House, President Trump is about to hold a key meeting in the Situation Room with Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle.


[10:35:43] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. Just hours away from a major meeting in the Situation Room at the White House between Congressional leaders from both parties and the president. The government shutdown now is on day 12, no end in sight yet. Will that change this afternoon? We'll see. A Hill source tells us this could be more of a stunt than a real effort to hash out a deal.

Let's discuss with Charlie Dent former Republican congressman of Pennsylvania. Good morning, my friend.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, good morning, Poppy. Great to be with you.

HARLOW: Good to be with you and Happy New Year. You said this morning, let me quote. "There is an easy way out of this mess and Democrats could actually cut a deal if they are smart about this." So, what should they do?

DENT: Well, first, they need to reopen the government, Poppy. So they're going to have this meeting today. I don't think much will come of it. But tomorrow, speaker -- soon to be Speaker Pelosi will pass two bills, a six-bill package to fund the government for those six appropriation bills through the entire fiscal year. And then a continuing resolution for the Homeland Security bill, appropriations bill through February 8th. I actually think that is a very smart and prudent strategy. Send it to the Senate. Force the Senate to reopen the government.

Once the government is reopened and this may fail, and we have to keep fighting about reopening government but once the government is reopened, then they have to engage in a very serious negotiation with the White House. What they should do there, if I were the Democrats I'd easily -- I would happily trade $5 billion border security funding for an agreement on the Dreamers, the TPS population and maybe the Mueller protection bill. And I'd start there and force the president to decide, make a decision.

HARLOW: Do you think it is in a good faith effort to propose something that as Nancy Pelosi said in her letter last night to all Democratic members of the House does not have a single dollar toward the wall? And I ask you that because you know Republican Congressman Mike Quigley who I had on last hour - Democratic congressman, I should say - sorry -- he said to me, no, the president won't sign this. So can that fall in the category of a good faith compromise effort from Democrats?

DENT: What the Democrats can do is insist on you know reasonable border security measures. I really don't think anybody seriously believes the 2,000 mile concrete barrier on the entire southern border makes sense. Nobody believes that. Even General Kelly has said that they have taken that off the table. So the question is what type of border security enhancements could they do for a few billion dollars?


HARLOW: I think President Trump believes that.

DENT: I mean they could provide access roads.

HARLOW: I think he believes it and he has to sign it.

DENT: Well, he may believe it -- that's part of the problem. The president is very difficult to negotiate with because his positions change all the time. You remember the Senate initially passed a continuing resolution that extensively had the administration's support but not the president's. So nobody can speak on behalf of the president. That's what is largely contributing to this crisis in leadership in Washington that we're all faced with.

But I think there is a way to do a border security deal that Democrats can support that's not going to fund the wall. I mean they've already voted for up to 700 miles - many of them - 700 miles of barriers on the southern border. And so they could easily -- I think they can actually come to an agreement here. And I don't know they can spend $5 billion in this fiscal year on border security. Not likely to happen, by the way.

HARLOW: Let me ask you about Romney's op-ed - Mitt Romney is incoming senator. All right, he's going to assume his seat this week. He got the president's endorsement when he ran for president in 2012. Since then there has been a lot of love lost between the two of them, shall we say. But I'll just read you part of it.

"With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring."

In response to that, his niece who by the way is also the chairwoman of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel, tweeted it is "disappointing and unproductive." How do you see it as a Republican former member of Congress?

DENT: Well, I believe Mitt Romney actually is correct. He has diagnosed this problem absolutely the right way.

[10:40:02] That the president's material nature, his name calling, his insulting of allies is all very destabilizing for government and also creating this crisis of leadership both at home and abroad. And the real challenge is who else besides Mitt Romney will speak up and say what needs to be said. I said earlier today that I think at some point we are long past the time for an intervention down in Washington where I think you know top leaders, top Republican leaders are going to have to sit down with the president along with members of his family and senior White House staff and you know try to straighten this situation out because currently I think the presidency right now is -- we are in an unsustainable situation with this president.


HARLOW: But Congressman - you did say that. I mean, I was watching this morning when you said that. You said quote, "somebody has to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and say this is an unsustainable situation." But the president's approval rating within your party is still over 80 percent.

DENT: Well, yes, but you are also - Poppy, I hear that number floated around quite a bit. But those are people who often self-identify as Republicans. What I'm concerned about that there are fewer people self-identifying as Republicans. So the percentage of the president's support looks larger that I believe it actually is because I talk to Republicans all the time who are deeply concerned about this erratic behavior and this conduct in office.


DENT: That is really contributing to this crisis. And even if they may agree with the president as I do on some policy issues. I disagree with him on health care and his travel ban and other issues. But there are other issues where I would agree with him on. But the point is it is the conduct in office, it's the behavior that is so destabilizing. Look at the market turmoil and other situations we're seeing around the world. People are just you know justifiably alarmed.

HARLOW: Alarmed. Yes. Indeed. Charlie Dent, appreciate your time. Thanks very much, Congressman.

DENT: Thank you Poppy, great to be with you as always.

HARLOW: Of course.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has a strong message for senior leaders today in his first day on the job replacing - temporarily at least -- General Mattis. What he thinks is the most major threat to the United States right now.


[10:46:48] HARLOW: All right. You're taking a look at the market, Wall Street opened in triple digit declines in the first trading session of the year. In an hour into trading, the Dow is off about 139 points.

Let's go to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Alison Kosik joins me from there. Same problems, New Year, same problems, right?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New Year, same problems but we are seeing stocks off the lows of the session. We did see the Dow down more than 350 points. So we are seeing a bit of a comeback for stocks. We did see oil move higher. That is helping to take some of the pressure off stocks.

The big catalyst for today is a down beat report out of China showing the manufacturing sector there contracted. This is the second report in a week showing that there's huge manufacturing sector is contracting. So that slowdown really spooking U.S. markets.

You know you look at the U.S. economy. It is strong though many economists agree we will see the U.S. economy slow down this year. The big question is will it turn into an all-out recession or could fed policy somehow allow for a slowing of the economy, kind of a soft landing with that slowing for the U.S. economy? Also sort of aggravating the volatility that you have been seeing in the markets lately is politics. It's the White House. It really is part of the play book here on Wall Street now. Specifically today, cabinet meeting at the White House, you are seeing investors really wait to see what comes out of that meeting. And this is unusual because it is not usual that you see Wall Street pay attention to Pennsylvania Avenue so closely. But there is so much uncertainty as to what comes out of these meetings involving President Trump. You know, what's going to happen with the Mueller investigation. These things are hard to trade on. And so, you are not seeing investors really go all in and looking to buy the dips that we used to see in the markets. Poppy?

HARLOW: Alison, thank you. Keep us posted.

Meantime, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is getting straight to work. It is his first day on the job there at the Pentagon in this capacity. And according to a defense official, he told leaders in a closed door meeting this morning, remember China, China, China.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is with me now for the latest. What more do you know about this meeting?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, how interesting is it that Patrick Shanahan arriving at the Pentagon in the early morning hours still in darkness. Listen to what Alison just had to say from Wall Street. Patrick Shanahan reminding his top team, remember China, China, China.

Shanahan is a guy who comes from corporate America. And he looks at China holistically, not just their military program, but their economic efforts, their trade efforts, their position in the world both military, economically and financially. It's not that he isn't concerned about Russia, as well, as a potential adversary but Shanahan looks at China and sees the situation there that he thinks needs to be looked at across the board.

Today, meeting with top officials here, he will go to the White House at mid-day for that cabinet meeting. Typically the defense secretary sits next to the president. We will have to wait and see what they both have to say. Mr. Shanahan also making a number of phone calls throughout the day to congressional leaders and to his counter parts around the world, touching base, saying that he is here, hearing what they have to say, offering his views, as well. Poppy?

[10:50:08] HARLOW: Absolutely. And Barbara, before you go, there is significant growing backlash over President Trump's tweet about retired General Stanley McChrystal notably from retired four star admiral William McRaven. His words, significant in the defense of McChrystal, right?

STARR: Well, very significant in the ranks. I mean, now we have the president who has -- through Twitter lashed out at Mattis' general and the secretary of defense lashed out at McRaven and lashed out at McChrystal. And Admiral McRaven everybody recalls the man who led the raid and organized it that got Osama bin Laden coming to the defense of his long-time colleague, General Stan McChrystal. After McChrystal suggested that he could never work for Mr. Trump because of his character. Admiral McRaven putting out a statement to our Jake Tapper, saying in part, "Stan McChrystal is one of the great generals of this generation and the finest officer I ever served with."

Make no mistake, Popp, underneath all of these tweets and statements, there is may in the ranks that President Trump is politicizing and bringing in too much of his own personal-political influence into the ranks. The U.S. military, not a political organization in this country, I serve the people not the politicians. Poppy?

HARLOW: Absolutely, a very important point especially this morning. Barbara, thank you for the reporting from the Pentagon.

Ahead for us, Time's Up. It has been one year since women across the world began a massive campaign to change things finally, to try to put an end to work place harassment and assault. So what is next for the Time's Up movement?


HILARY ROSEN, CO-FOUNDER, TIME'S UP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: Time's Up has a big platform and we're going to use that platform but we are also working in alliance with so many other advocates for change.



[10:56:30] HARLOW: One year ago, more than 1,000 brave women rallied together to bring an end to sexual misconduct at work. One by one these women delivered a single, powerful and unified message that time is up. Each of them sharing stories of assault, inappropriate advances and the fear of what may happen if they spoke up. And now their mission is not just awareness but real change.

Our Entertainment Reporter, Chloe Melas has been working on this for a year. She spoke with a number of women, the most powerful voices of the movement and she joins me now. Good morning and great reporting.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Thank you so much. I felt like this was really an important thing to do because the one year anniversary only comes once.

HARLOW: Once and it is now. It is this week. You spoke to everyone from Emma Watson, Eva Longoria, Shonda Rhimes and they tell you about this sense of community that they built through this and the unity and the power of unity in this movement.

MELAS: Yes. I was really surprised to hear that because you think of Hollywood as this close knit circle of friends so many people want to be a part of. And I had Emma Watson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Eva Longoria, all echoing the same thing that Hollywood always felt so isolating. And now "Time's Up" brought so many women together all for the same cause. And here is a little bit about what Eva Longoria said and also Fatima Goss Graves who started the "Time's Up" legal defense fund.


EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: There is an amazing sisterhood that has formed for me and making sure women aren't alone no matter what industry has been really eye didn't opening and really unifying and inspiring.

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES, CO-FOUNDER, TIME'S UP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: I think people have awareness of the problem, have scratched the surface on that. What we really need to do next is make sure that the sorts of changes that will be necessary to make sure that this sort of change is lasting, but the changes really start to happen.


HARLOW: Right. So it's the question of sort of what happens now in year two. The accountability for all of this, that's something that you spoke to Shonda Rhimes about.

MELAS: Yes. And that is something that I spoke to actually many of these women about, Poppy. And Shonda Rhimes, you know her because she created "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," "How to Get Away with Murder." She had some really strong thoughts on this.

She said, "Accountability looks like men taking responsibility for the changing the damaged culture they have benefited from. Accountability looks like a day when women of all kinds are treated equally and believed equally no matter what the circumstance of the assault or harassment. Or maybe that is just what I hope the future looks like for my daughters."

I thought that was powerful.

HARLOW: So what about action now? I mean, if last year was the year of these accusations and women speaking up, you know, year two seems to be the year of action, accountability, the law playing a role here.

MELAS: Well, so many men were accused of abusing power over the last year, Poppy. And now we're going to see Harvey Weinstein face trial in March after he tried to get all of the counts of rape and assault dismissed against him just recently in criminal court here in New York.

HARLOW: Right.

MELAS: Kevin Spacey after being MIA for an entire year. He was one of the first to be accused in this Me Too movement. He is going to be arraigned on January 7th. And you know he is being forced to show up in court even though he didn't want to. So I think that we're going to see maybe some justice for a lot of the men and women that spoke out about this misconduct.

HARLOW: Chloe thank you. It's a great project. Where can everyone see all of it?

MELAS: They can go to under the entertainment section.

HARLOW: Important reporting. I appreciate it very much. MELAS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow, in New York. I will see you back here tomorrow morning.

"AT THIS HOUR" starts now.