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CNN NEWSROOM

Interview with Rep. Eric Swalwell; Government Shutdown Enters Day 14 with No End in Sight; Police Hope New Sketch will Lead to Arrest in Young Girl's Death; 116th Congress is Younger, More Diverse, More Female; Kevin Hart Reevaluating Decision to Step Down as Host. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 4, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00]

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: -- which we passed in the House yesterday which is to reopen government. We had hundred Republicans and Democrats vote to reopen government. We put forth the same bill yesterday in the House. And so, maybe it's going to take overriding a presidential veto. That's leadership. And I just don't understand why Mitch McConnell would not want to bring that forward, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I think you have a ways to go for that to happen but maybe. Here's what Congressman Jerry Nadler, chair of the Judiciary Committee that you sit on. Here's what he said to John Berman this morning about somewhere where he might see some compromise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: The amount for border security was $1.3 billion or $1.6 billion for security. It's negotiable, but not a wall. A wall is just a stupid waste of money.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A fence?

NADLER: Maybe, in some places. Not a 700-mile fence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: What do you think? Is a fence a deal you could get onboard with?

SWALWELL: I agree. This is a lot of money, by the way, but money is not the issue here. I think it's the values of do we -- are we a country that puts a wall between ourselves and an allied nation or do we use smart security measures? Increased border patrol agents, increased enforcement of overstay of visas, increased use of technology, and yes, fencing where there are vulnerabilities but a structural wall that Mexico absolutely will not pay for, that's not going to happen. And the American people don't want that.

HARLOW: So you don't see a fence as quote/unquote "immoral" as a wall is according to Nancy Pelosi. OK. I hear that. Maybe there's -- SWALWELL: A wall is an immoral symbol for our country.

HARLOW: OK. Term limits, interesting proposal, bipartisan proposal by Republican Senator Ted Cruz and also -- Republican Francis Rooney, not bipartisan, sorry about that, but between the House and the Senate. That would, it proposes a constitutional amendment, and it would instill term limits for both, the Senate, two terms, and three two- year terms for the House. Do you support that?

SWALWELL: I think the best term limit is to have public financing of campaigns and independent redistricting.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: So that's a no.

SWALWELL: I would beat a 40-year -

HARLOW: That's a no --

SWALWALL: That's a no and -

HARLOW: -- in the constitutional amendment.

SWALWELL: But I'd beat a 40-year incumbent in my own party because California passed - they passed independent redistricting and an open primary where any voter could vote for any candidate from any party, and I think that is a better reform, and I beat someone who had just kind of been elected without any challenges. So get rid of dirty maps and dirty money. I think that's the best term limit.

HARLOW: All right. Two more quick one's for you, 2020 -- Elizabeth Warren, her hat officially now in the ring on the Democratic side. You have not ruled out a run for president in 2020. Want to make any news on that today, and how does Elizabeth Warren jumping in change your calculation or does it not?

SWALWELL: I'm excited that Elizabeth Warren is running. The country will not be worse off, it would be better off if she were elected. I'm still taking time to make that decision. I have seen grit and want. I believe in the promise of America, which is if you work hard, you do better for yourselves and you dream bigger for kids. That's why I would do this. But right now, I'm going to do my job in the first 100 days on collaborating and investigating where we have to and expect to make a decision very soon.

HARLOW: But Joe Biden says no one is more prepared than him, better sued than him to be president. Is he right?

SWALWELL: I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that, no.

HARLOW: But you would be open to being on a Biden ticket, right?

SWALWELL: Yes, and I love Joe Biden, but I think none of us could say that we're the only person that can do that. There are so many talented people. I think this showcase of talent is going to be the best thing for our country.

HARLOW: Let's end on this. Pretty cool pictures yesterday, guys in the control room, let's throw them up. This is you with your newborn daughter, Cricket. First of all, she's beautiful. Congratulations.

SWALWELL: Thank you. Thank you.

HARLOW: Tell us all why it was so important for you to be holding her there.

SWALWELL: I wanted my 9-week-old daughter to see Nancy Pelosi, the first woman sworn in again as Speaker of the House, but also, Poppy, I have to say, my wife said to me, she said, are you kidding me? You have that kid on the floor for a couple hours and you're dad of the year. I have that kid 24 hours a day and no one ever says anything to me. All the credit truly goes to my wife, Britney.

HARLOW: Thank you for that. Amen. And that's how I feel about my husband this week, who is home with our kids so that I can be here. And then, you know, he told me he's very excited for when I get home this afternoon so that I can take over, but it's the hardest job and the most important one.

SWALWELL: It is.

HARLOW: Thanks very much, Congressman.

SWALWELL: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: All right. So, support is pouring in for the family of a 7- year-old Texas girl killed in this drive-by shooting. You see her there. Now, police have released this sketch. They hope that it will help people locate the suspected killer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:39:19] HARLOW: This morning authorities are hoping a new sketch will help them track down the person who killed a young Texas girl in a drive-by shooting. Look at her there. 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes was shot while riding in a car with her family. This happened on Sunday morning. Police have just released this sketch of the suspect that is compiled from descriptions given by Jazmine's mother and three sisters who were all in the car when she was murdered.

Our correspondent Kaylee Hartung joins me this morning from Houston. Unbelievable -- I mean, the nation has been watching this story and hoping for some answers and obviously, hoping that her killer is arrested. Her family is making a desperate plea as well.

[10:40:00] KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are, Poppy. And this mother and her three daughters understandably traumatized by what they experienced Sunday morning. And they have been forced to relive those moments that Jazmine's life was taken as they have racked their brains for every detail that could help authorities find this killer. And so this sketch has emerged. It was released late yesterday. Authorities here in Houston tell us that they have had a flood of tips come in since that sketch was released. Here you see this white man, gaunt facial features, blue eyes, possibly in his 30s or 40s, wearing a black hoodie. In addition to this sketch, authorities pointing to this surveillance video of the vehicle the gunman was driving, this red or maroon pickup truck, the make or model of that truck unclear. But these are the details authorities have at this time. You mentioned that emotional plea that this family is making. In an interview with our Nick Valencia yesterday, LaPorsha Washington begged this killer to turn himself in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, JAZMINE'S MOTHER: He took a 7-year-old life, and you can never replace that. No amount of money, no amount of gifts, no amount of support, anything can ever replace my child, our child. You're being a coward. If you don't step forward and do the right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: The Harris County Sheriff's Department saying identifying the suspect is their top priority. Understanding his motive almost becomes secondary, Poppy. But they say they will not rest until they find justice for Jazmine.

HARLOW: Absolutely. And I can just imagine given the national attention this has gotten what it means to them to have the community around them at this time. Let's hope that they find the killer soon. Kaylee, thank you for the reporting.

Still ahead, CNN catches up with one of the women who is new to Congress and remaking Washington. You'll see her story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:46:32] HARLOW: OK, picture time at the nation's capital. Right now, House Democratic women gathering for a photo op on the Hill, of course, history was made yesterday when the 116th Congress was sworn in, the most diverse class ever. That includes the newly elected 31- year-old congresswoman from California, Katie Hill.

Our national -- senior national correspondent Kyung Lah sat down with her as she made her way to Washington. She broke barriers. I don't know what I was doing at 31, but I certainly wasn't in Congress. Good for her.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I was still trying to straighten out my life. So you know the -- when you look at this picture, you're seeing a record number of women who are joining Congress. We have talked about all these women running, and now that they have won, they have been sworn in, and they're gathering for this incredible picture. A lot of these women are first-time candidates, first-time people who have never been in Washington. And among them is Katie Hill, 31 years old, from California, moving to Washington for the very first time. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. KATIE HILL (D), CALIFORNIA: Love waking up on a Saturday.

LAH (voice-over): A predawn flight for Katie Hill from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., a journey that's turning this citizen into a Congresswoman.

LAH (on camera): What is your hope when you land in D.C.?

HILL: Oh, playing nice isn't really something that's kind of in my vocabulary. I just do what I think is right. We are regular middle- class people. You know we're young. We look like and speak like the people that we're there to represent. I just think that that's different from what it's historically been like.

LAH (voice-over): The 116th Congress is different and historic -- younger, more racially diverse, and more female, a record setting 127 women elected. Among them --

HILL: This is about people showing up.

LAH: 31-year-old Hill.

HILL: Hi, it's Katie Hill.

LAH: She ran as an unknown, first-time candidate, and defeated a Republican male incumbent, flipping her California district. In true millennial form, Hill has been sharing her ride on social media since her victory.

HILL: Hey, everybody, last day of first week of training here and orientation here in D.C.

LAH: From meeting fellow new members to being selected for the House majority leadership and adjusting to fine dining while flying across country.

LAH (on camera): Does that all mean you'll govern differently? Will government be different now because of people like you?

HILL: I believe so, and I believe that we're a big enough class. We dropped the average age of Congress by 10 years, more than 10 years -- more women than ever. So the face of Congress is changing. And it literally is far, far more diverse than it ever has been.

LAH (voice-over): Hill, who had never lived outside of California or even traveled with so many bags --

HILL: Thank you so much.

LAH: -- is now sharing an apartment with fellow Democratic Congresswoman -

REP. LAUREN UNDERWOOD (D), ILLINOIS: Welcome to our home.

LAH: -- Lauren Underwood of Illinois. She also unseated a man.

UNDERWOOD: Hi, everybody.

LAH: A four-term Republican incumbent, becoming the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress.

LAH (on camera): Neither of you guys look like the traditional members of Congress.

UNDERWOOD: Isn't that something?

(LAUGHTER)

LAH (voice-over): Together, they're the third and fourth youngest women members of Congress.

LAH (on camera): What does all of this mean for governing? Moving forward, having women like you in Congress?

UNDERWOOD: I think it's going to be hard. We don't walk in and everything automatically changes.

HILL: When I walked through the door, it was definitely, wow, this doesn't feel like me.

[10:50:03] You know my office was - my two staffs apartment in this sort of shady part of town. Live like - look where I can all over the place. This is definitely different.

LAH (voice-over): Inauguration morning.

HILL: What is it? Capitol and what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you?

HILL: Hi. How are you? Great to see you.

LAH: A crush of cameras welcomed her.

LAH (on camera): From congresswoman-elect to dropping the elects.

HILL: I guess so. Soon.

It feels good. It feels like we can finally get to work.

LAH (voice-over): Hill's cross country journey ending, marking the beginning of her new role as a congresswoman.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: Congresswoman Hill is notable now for this as well. She's also the first woman member of Congress from California who identifies as bisexual. The 116th Congress notable on a number of fronts, the largest number of LGBTQ members, women, veterans, African-Americans, Latinos. So, Poppy, a number of notable firsts for the 116th.

HARLOW: That was such a good piece, Kyung. That made my week to see. And by the way, they look like college dorm mates in there together.

LAH: No kidding.

HARLOW: And they're - you know, they're part of this new class that hopefully will reopen the government and then, you know, and then get back to work. Thanks very much.

LAH: You bet.

HARLOW: Jerome Powell just addressed the president's frustrations with the Fed, as the market is up almost 600 points. Why? After falling more than 600 yesterday, stocks like the jobs numbers that we saw this morning. But the market has not liked the president's attacks on the Federal Reserve. The chairman of the independent Federal Reserve sitting down for a rare interview this morning in Atlanta, he's speaking at the American Economic Association's Annual Meeting. He was asked some very important questions by the moderator just a minute ago. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's also been discussion of a face-to-face meeting between you and the president. If invited, would you accept that kind of invitation if it were made?

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: So, again, I have no news on that. Nothing has been scheduled. I would say that meetings between presidents and Fed chairs do happen. And they have happened, I think, I can't think of any Fed chairs who didn't eventually meet with a president, but again, nothing has been scheduled. I don't really have anything to report on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the president asked you to resign, would you do it?

POWELL: No.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: People are laughing. That's really important. The head of the Federal Reserve that the president chose and appointed and then blasted subsequently because he's been raising interest rates, just said if the president asked him to resign, he would not do it. That's a big deal. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:05] HARLOW: So Kevin Hart, sounds like maybe reconsidering his decision to step down as host of the Oscars this year. The actor and comedian backed away from that role after facing an outpouring of criticism for anti-gay comments that he made on Twitter about a decade ago. He sat down with Ellen DeGeneres for an interview for an upcoming episode of her show. And DeGeneres said she actually called the academy on his behalf. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": So I called them. I said Kevin is on. I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts? They were like, oh, my God. We want him to host. We feel like that maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe we said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we can do, we would be thrilled. And he should host the Oscars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Our entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas, joins me now. So?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, I mean look, to have Ellen DeGeneres come out and endorse you, it doesn't get much bigger than that. That's like having Oprah come out and endorse you. She's basically like the Oprah for the LGBTQ community. Now Kevin Hart hasn't said whether or not he is going to host the Oscars, but here's a little bit of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN HART, ACTOR: I got over 40,000 tweets to go through 40,000 tweets to get back to 2008, that's an attack. That's a malicious attack on my character.

DEGENERES: There are so many haters out there, whatever is going on in the Internet, don't pay attention to them. That's a small group of people being very, very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars.

HART: Leaving here, I promise you I'm evaluating this conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: OK, so we don't know if he'll host. But just -- I think a lot of people don't know what he said or the severity of the comments he made.

MELAS: So let me explain. These are tweets that were between 2009 and 2011. OK? And he never even apologized, really, for the comments that he made. He called people homos. He called people F-A-Gs. I'm not going to say the word here. He said that if his son ever played with his daughter's dollhouse, that he would beat him up. He also said that if he could prevent his son from being gay, that he would. OK?

I'm pretty sure, Poppy, that in 2009, everybody knew that it wasn't OK to call people homos and to be a bigot and to make homophobic comments. So he has said, look, I'm not homophobic. I just didn't really understand. And Ellen DeGeneres says that she tried to explain to him the history of homophobia in this country. But I find it kind of hard to believe that Kevin didn't really understand that. I think if he does host the Oscars, I think that there's going to be a lot of people that are not going to be happy about it.

HARLOW: One of the questions becomes, does that become a platform for a learning experience for everyone? So we're out of time. We'll stay on this. Let us know what you hear. Chloe, important reporting. Thank you.