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Government Shutdown Continues over Border Wall Funding; Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Meet with Congressional Staffers to Negotiate Reopening Government; President Trump Comments on Unpaid Government Workers being Democrats; Elizabeth Warren Goes on Presidential Campaign Tour in Iowa; TSA Employees Calling out Sick During Government Shutdown; New Technology Reduces Carbon Footprint of Cement Mixing; Police Searching for Shooter of Seven-Year-Old Girl in Houston, Texas. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 5, 2019 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:00] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: We hope they solve lots of crime, but respecting privacy at the same time.

You can catch up with us anytime at CNN Go and On Demand. See you next week.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are so glad to have you with us as we are just one hour from Vice President Pence meeting with Congressional staffers across the street from the White House.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: They will be working toward an agreement to try to end the shutdown, something their bosses have not been able to do for a little more than two weeks now. President Trump is tweeting from the White House this morning, "I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats. I want to stop the shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on strong border security. I'm in the White House ready to go. Where are the Dems?"

PAUL: Democrats were at the White House yesterday when the president reportedly started the meeting with them by cursing. He told them if a deal isn't reached, the shutdown, which he said he would rather call a strike, could last months or even years.

BLACKWELL: Joining us to talk more about plans for the meeting, CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood and CNN national correspondent Kristen Holmes from Capitol Hill. Sarah, let's start with you. The president says where are the Dems. They're next door at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. What are we expecting will happen this morning?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, expectations for any kind of breakthrough today are low after those Democratic congressional leaders and the president emerged from those high level talks in the Situation Room yesterday sounding very different tones, with those Democrats saying they'd like to see the government reopened while negotiations continued. And President Trump describing the meeting as productive while the Democrats described it as contentious, but indicating his willingness to keep the government partially shuttered indefinitely until he gets funding for his border wall. And he is holding firm at that $5.6 billion sum that House Republicans

passed in a spending bill as one of those last piece of legislation that they passed when they were still in the majority, but the president seems increasingly flexible on what qualifies as a wall. He said perhaps steel slats or a see through barrier of some kind would be acceptable to him.

As you mentioned, Vice President Pence will be leading the talks today on behalf of the administration, joined by the Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Jared Kushner. The president clearly has some other things on his mind this morning ahead of these staff level talks that he is not slated to attend at the moment. The president tweeted "Many people currently part of my opposition, including President Obama and the Dems, have had campaign violations in some cases for very large sums of money. These are civil cases. They paid a fine and settled. While no big deal, I did not commit a campaign violation."

Of course, this is not the first time the president has repeated this dubious and misleading comparison to President Obama. Obama's 2008 campaign did have a civil campaign violation, they paid a fine and settled for it after the campaign, not Obama himself, failed to report some donations on time, failed to return immediately some donations that exceed the legal limit, while the president has been accused by the special counsel of being directly involved in a willful violation of campaign finance laws when, according to prosecutors, he directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to pay off women during the 2016 race who were trying to come out with stories of alleged affairs with the president. So this is a different situation, but ahead of this meeting, the president, clearly, a lot on his mind.

PAUL: No doubt. Hey, Kristen, I want to turn to you now and ask you, as we were talking about the fact that the Dems are right next door and they're waiting for the meeting to start in about an hour, what are congressional leaders, congressional staff who are going to be in there, what is their goal today?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, there's not a lot of hope, just to be blunt. Let me explain why. You mentioned that profanity riddled intro by President Trump to the meeting they had yesterday, and during that he suggested multiple times that he would not move from that $5.6 billion for the wall. We know Democrats are also not going to move, and not going to do any funding for the wall, so they are at a standstill here.

But the other thing is, what authority does Vice President Pence actually have? That's a big question we are hearing here on Capitol Hill, because here is what we know. I'm going to take you back three weeks to when this government shutdown started. We know that Vice President Pence raced up here, he talked to Senator Schumer, and he made an offer essentially for $2.5 billion for the wall, one which, of course, Schumer rejected, again, saying no money will go towards the mall. But then earlier this week, you heard President Trump say no, there is no $2.5 billion offer. That's not on the table, it's only $5.6 billion, seemingly contradicting this offer that the vice president made. So there's a lot of questions as to how much authority Vice President Pence actually has, Jared Kushner has, as well as knowledge that what we've learned during this president's term is that he has the final say on all of this, that he is going to be the one that makes his stamp of approval or not.

[10:05:08] And we saw, what led to the shutdown, he had basically told Vice President Pence and his White House staffers that he would sign this legislation that the Senate presented to him that did not have border wall funding in it, only to change his mind at the last minute. So there's not a lot of hope and optimism going into the meeting, still at a standstill.

But I do want to mention one thing, and this is the changing dynamic here on Capitol Hill. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, we'll all remember of course, right after the shutdown, he said Republicans aren't involved with this, this isn't our problem. Well, it is about to be their problem, because we know that vulnerable Republicans running for reelection in 2020, those senators, a lot of them are starting to speak out and say we need to pass something and we need to end this shutdown. So we will see how that plays out in the coming weeks. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Cory Gardner and Susan Collins already on that list. Kristen Holmes there for us on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

PAUL: CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein with us, senior editor at "The Atlantic" of course, and CNN political commentator Kevin Madden, Republican strategist with us. Gentlemen, thank you. So glad to have you both here. Ron -- I'm sorry, Kevin, I want to lead into you with that very question, wondering how cohesive the Republican party is now in this standoff for the shutdown.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it depends on whether you're talking about in the House and the Senate. You do see some blue state Republicans starting to vote for Democrats, with Democrats on bills to reopen the government. Many of them have concentrations of federal government workers in their districts, so they have more incentive to see this thing come to a close.

I think in the Senate one of the hard parts is that you mention Susan Collins, you mentioned Cory Gardner to Democrats, to Republicans in blue states, but you don't have the same high concentration of vulnerable Republicans there to really have a breakthrough in the Senate. And Mitch McConnell is just very good at keeping his conference linked with the White House now. So it is hard to see where we really have a big rush for the exits from Republicans here to really get a deal here. And that's why it is hard for me to see where the offramp is in this entire shutdown to begin with.

PAUL: Do you see an offramp, Ron?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I agree largely with Kevin, and the reverse is true as well. Imagine this a decade ago when there were still a large number of blue dog Democrats from conservative rural and southern districts as part of the House majority. You would be hearing a lot of teeth-gnashing and concern among Democrats in the House about the president trying to portray them as soft on border security. You don't see that at all this time. In fact, Democrats are pretty confident. Looking at polls where a majority of the public has almost invariably in every poll taken in the Trump presidency has opposed the building of a border wall, including supermajorities of 60 percent plus among all of the groups that push them into control of the House. I don't really see them feeling a lot of pressure here.

The moment for the deal that the president wanted he may have squandered last year, because at that point, and people forget that all but three Senate Democrats last February voted for a wall in return, $25 billion, not $5, $25 billion in return for legal status for the Dreamers and some other undocumented immigrants. But the White House killed the deal because it also demanded large cuts in legal immigration. I don't see Democrats going back to that. The Dreamers want no part of it. They don't want to be associated with the wall. And I think it is going to be very -- I don't think Democrats feel nearly as much pressure as the president hoped when this began.

PAUL: Well, I just want to mention the video that you just saw there. We said we are just about 40 minutes away from -- or 15 minutes away from the meeting, you just saw Vice President Pence and Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen going into the building there as they're going to hold this meeting. And President Trump made it clear you cannot have one without the other. You can't have the wall and you can't have the money. They have to be connected. So Ron, I'm wondering, he went so far yesterday as to mention a national emergency.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

PAUL: Are you comfortable with the idea, and how many GOPers would be comfortable with the idea of bypassing Congress and taking money out of the military budget to pay for a wall?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, if you're asking --

PAUL: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Kevin, that's for you. I apologize. Kevin, that's for you.

MADDEN: I was like that's my question.

PAUL: Yes, it is.

MADDEN: Look, Christi, and Ron knows this, he has seen it too, partisan tribalism is a very real thing in Washington right now. So there will be folks who have always argued the principles of out of control -- argued against an out of control executive exerting its power against the will of Congress who will find a way to say sure, that's perfectly fine for this president to do.

[10:10:07] Why? Because he happens to wear the same jersey that I am wearing now. But the warning that I would offer to folks is before you start to have expanded views on executive power and broad authority of executive power, just remember this, that your party may not always be in the executive. But as Ron also knows, right, we see it all too often, people find a way to rationalize their hypocrisy, depending on who is in power.

PAUL: Ron -- go ahead. Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: In terms of the national emergency idea, it is worth noting that the best data we have on the size of the undocumented population is from Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan group. And their data shows that the undocumented population peaked in 2007. It is 1.5 million lower today than it was a decade ago. And the apprehensions on the southern border are a fraction today of what they were in the early 2000s. Obviously, any move to do this unilaterally through some sort of national emergency would face immediate legal challenge. And it's hard to imagine you would get an awful lot built while this was percolating through the courts.

PAUL: Real quickly, I just want to get both of your takes on this latest tweet from the president. "I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats. I want to stop the shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on strong border security." Your reaction, Kevin?

MADDEN: Well, I think that from the way he frames it, it seems to have a lack of empathy, and I think that's one of the problems, too, is that it's sort of hurt the president's ability to have leverage in the debates, as well as lack of clarity. We talk about wanting to declare a national emergency. Well, I think that hurts your ability to negotiated when you're trying to tell the Democrats, by the way, it doesn't matter because I'm going to do it anyway. That hurts your ability to try and get more money for a border wall. So I think that just contributes to the overall chaos of these negotiations, and again, I don't see an end in sight right now as a result of that.

PAUL: Ron, I've got 15 seconds.

BROWNSTEIN: I think Kevin is absolutely right. And this could go on awhile because it is the collision of worldviews between a Democratic majority and a Republican -- in the House, and a Republican Party that are now more separated geographically and demographically than at any point in modern times, and those worldviews are now colliding right at the border.

PAUL: Ron Brownstein, Kevin Madden, I'm telling you, there are people home watching now and they're just wondering where their next paycheck is going to coming from and how they're going to pay their bills. Thank you both so much, always appreciate your insights.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

MADDEN: Great to be with you.

PAUL: Hundreds of TSA employees calling out sick at major airports around the country. How this could impact airport security and your travel plans.

BLACKWELL: Plus Senator Elizabeth Warren is on the campaign trail, the first high profile Democratic to launch a White House run. How she's being received so far. We're live in Iowa.

PAUL: And a Texas community demands justice for the shooting death of this little girl, seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes. So is NFL star DeAndre Hopkins, what he is doing in Jazmine's honor. We have a live update for you from Texas ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:16:16] BLACKWELL: Senator Elizabeth Warren's tour of Iowa moves to a second city today in that key state.

PAUL: Yes, the Massachusetts Democrat kicked off a five-city tour last night in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She's the first major Democratic candidate to announce a potential presidential run, but a long list are expected to join this campaign in the coming months. CNN's M.J. Lee with us from Des Moines. M.J., so Warren began the tour with, as it is being described, as a fiery show. What does that mean?

M.J. LEE, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, what Elizabeth Warren is doing right now is really introducing herself to the people of Iowa for the first time in a really long time. Keep in mind, she has not been in Iowa since 2014 when she was campaigning for a Democratic Senate candidate, so what she's going to do over the course of the weekend is to introduce herself to the people here in terms of her biography, talking about her childhood in Oklahoma, the hardships that her family faced.

And then she is of course going to talk about the issues that are going to be fundamental to her eventual presidential campaign. And on that front, what we saw last night was really classic Elizabeth Warren, talking about big corporations and big banks and the economic system being rigged against the middle class, and the importance of government accountability. These are the issues that we have heard her talk about for so many years.

I do want to play a little soundbite from last night and the specific language that she chose to talk about the middle class being hollowed out. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Pretty much all of my adult career has been spent around one central question, and that is what's happening to working families in America? Why has America's middle class been hollowed out? What's happening to opportunity in this country? Why is the path so rocky for so many people, and so much rockier for people of color? Why has this happened in America?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: It is absolutely not a mistake that Elizabeth Warren singled out people of color in her speech last night. This is clearly going to be an important part of her strategy, reaching out to minority voters and getting that minority support which, of course, is going to be so, so important, particularly in some southern states, including the early state of South Carolina. Victor? BLACKWELL: All right, M.J. Lee for us there in Iowa. Thank you so

much.

Hundreds of TSA employees working without a paycheck are now calling out sick at major airports around the country. Next, how this may impact your travel plans.

PAUL: And experience the incredible story of comedy great Gilda Radner in her own words. "Love Gilda," a CNN film tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:22:45] PAUL: The vice president and Homeland Security secretary have just arrived at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as begin, or should begin within the next 40 minutes. They're meeting with congressional staffers. They're going to be working on a deal to end the shutdown.

This of course as we all wake up to the third week of this. President Trump is tweeting from the White House this morning. He says, quote, "I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats. I want to stop the shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on strong border security." The president has made that claim before. There's no evidence that federal workers are primarily Democrats. Union leaders for federal workers say their members belong to both parties.

BLACKWELL: A big part of your government, the one that you pay for, your tax dollars here, is closed for business for the 15th day. Vice President Mike Pence will lead a meeting between leadership staff from both parties later this morning.

You know the museums and the zoos are closed in Washington, but it's so much bigger than that, and it will likely affect you or someone you know or something you care about. If this is the year you wanted to started a small business, the agency that handles small loans for that is not processing loans right now. Maybe you're planning for a major life event like getting married. Congratulations, but you may have to wait, because the D.C. court that handles marriage licenses is closed.

And in just in few more days, all federal courts could be impacted because they're projected to run out of money on January 11. Or maybe you're thinking about or in the middle of buying a house. Depending on your type of loan, your closing to be delayed. The IRS is impacted, too. Most workers there are off the job. That's great, you might think to yourself, unless your refund, the one you're banking on, is processed later than usual.

And if you're a farmer waiting on further assistance because you've been dinged by those retaliatory tariffs from Trump's trade war with China, you may have to wait until after the shutdown to get a loan from the USDA. And if the shutdown continues much longer, it could delay a major January report from the USGA which farmers use to make plans for the rest of the year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MOREY HILL, FARMER: The January report has a lot to do with 2018's production and acres. And a lot of farmers and traders base a lot of what they're going to do in the coming year on what that report tells us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[10:25:05] BLACKWELL: And some environmental and food and drug inspections have also ground to a halt.

And you have probably seen pictures of national parks left mostly unopen but largely unstaffed, videos of overflowing trash, human waste, or pictures of this guy who broke his leg at Big Bend, and no first responder could come so he was rescued by strangers. Also, right now when Smokey the Bear says only you can prevent forest fires, he really means it, because the U.S. Forest Service work to prevent forest fires has stopped, as well as staffing at ranger stations.

And while the Coast Guard got their pay through the end of December, the president made sure of that, it's now harder, though, for them to enforce fishing laws and perform boating checks like the kind that catches drug smugglers. There are a lot of Americans making compromises, they don't want to go through this shutdown, which is more than we can say for the president and Congress.

PAUL: And listen, please don't blame me, but there could there be a delay if you're planning on flying during this government shutdown. CNN is learning hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers are working without pay, and now calling out sick. This is happening at major airports across the country. Officials with the TSA say at least three major airports are being impacted. CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is following the very latest. What are you learning this morning, Polo? And good morning to you.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, this morning the situation is so bad that at least two officials are telling CNN that they are now referring to this as the blue flu, that clear reference to the uniform that these officers wear in passenger and baggage inspection points all across the country. As you mention, hundreds of TSA personnel basically not showing up to work for various reasons really.

For example, here at JFK International Airport, at least 170 TSA personnel set to miss work each day in the last week. And according to union officials, yes, there many who are angry about not getting paid, but they also insist this is not part of an organized protest. They say that some of these officers are calling in sick for more practical reasons. For example, single parents just cannot afford that child care at home, so they have to stay home with their kids. Also, some could be looking to other nongovernmental jobs for some of the cash pay to try to supplement their income and take care of bills and their rent, because despite that shutdown, of course, they still have to pay that.

The union president saying, of course, answering a very key question here, what does it mean for the traveling public? According to the TSA union president, he fears that this could lead to more vulnerabilities and perhaps make air travel or other travel less safe. However, the TSA responding here, saying that that likely will not be the case. They are saying that these callouts began over the holidays. I want to read you a portion of the statement they released here in light of these call-ins that we have seen here. Again, callouts began over the holiday period and have increased but are causing, quote, "minimal impact. Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change. Wait times may be affected depending on the number of call outs." That is likely, Christi, because there will be less security lines, basically TSA will have to do more with less with some of these officers not showing up to work. So that is of course how people could potentially be impacted next time they head to the airport.

PAUL: All right. Polo Sandoval, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

We spoke with Dan McCabe earlier. He's a representative with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN MCCABE, REPRESENTATIVE, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: We're in the middle of a 30 year low in staffing in air traffic control. We went through a shutdown similar to this in 2013 with the sequestration. Any time that there's a shutdown like this, the FAA academy in Oklahoma City, which is the single point for new hires to go through, it closes. And closing something like that is like stopping a freight train at 80 miles an hour and then starting it up again. We're still feeling the implications of closing it in 2013.

BLACKWELL: Five-and-a-half years later?

MCCABE: Five-and-a-half years later. When you miss a hiring goal, it filters down over and over and over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I want to bring in CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd. She also served on President Obama's national security council. So you hear that from Dan McCabe there, Sam. Help us understand how vulnerable the system is in a situation like this.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Christi, my first reaction is that this government shutdown, which the president says is in the name of security, is actually making us woefully more insecure. The TSA is part of what we call a group of accepted government employees, which means that despite the shutdown they are expected to go to work because their functions impact human security and protection of key property. The longer the shutdown goes on, the longer it means that they're being asked to work for no pay, despite the fact that there's no pause button on their bills.

[10:30:05] If this government shutdown continues, and if the TSA has to, quote, do more with less as people call in sick, I think that we are going to see our enemies take note of the fact that we have our transportation systems without our full team on deck. And that imposes gross security vulnerabilities in the transition sector. And Christi, other key agencies that do things like secure the border are also going to be impacted, like Border Patrol and like ICE. So we could see this kind of trend spread if the government shutdown continues.

PAUL: So you had tweeted that because of the shutdown, our transportation systems are not being staffed the way experts intended. What is the compromise here? Help us understand what's not being done, if you can do that without compromising any information that we shouldn't put out there.

VINOGRAD: Certainly. Well, every TSA employee we hope is checking our bags at the airport and making us take off shoes and perform other functions is there because a security expert has determined that their job is critical to the safety and security of those traveling. If that employee is not present, or if TSA employees are being forced to work a series of extended shifts, as we saw in reporting by our colleague Rene Marsh on CNN.com, that means that the security plan for key places like airports isn't being followed. TSA is being asked to make adjustments based upon the reality that they have less staff present. And that is a clarion call for our enemies all around the world to try to probe vulnerabilities in that security infrastructure and try to take advantage of it.

PAUL: So who does it fall on then? Who does the responsibility fall on, then, to make up for that in the meantime? Are there measures being taken to make up for it by anybody else?

VINOGRAD: There may be measures being taken, or I hope there are measures being taken by TSA for any missed employees, but they're being asked to do more with less. Our enemies don't have less resources on the field. They have their full team on deck. So we are being asked to make adjustments because of this government shutdown, despite the fact that everybody else is operating as normal, which really disadvantages us going forward.

PAUL: Really, at the end of the day, with every day that goes by, everybody who's concerned about paying their bills, do you believe that once the shutdown is over, we're going to be missing a good chunk of that pool that was employed for the federal government prior to the shutdown?

VINOGRAD: It is very possible, not only because of the government shutdown but because President Trump has just announced, for example, that he is freezing federal wages. So for those that are looking ahead to 2019, they know that their wages aren't going to rise in line with private sector wage growth over the next year. And even if they get the backpay that they have been promised, again, their wages are going to remain stagnant.

And we're going to have cleanup to do, both literally and figuratively, not just to mention the overflowing trash cans in our national parks that are there because of the government shutdown. We are going to have to look back and identify where there were gaps in our security infrastructure because of this government shutdown and take the time to really remedy them after the shutdown is ameliorated.

PAUL: And it maybe a call to all of us traveling to be ever more vigilant right now.

VINOGRAD: Yes.

PAUL: Samantha Vinograd, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, ma'am.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, newly sworn in Representative Rashida Tlaib is standing by her profanity on impeaching President Trump. We'll tell you what she said in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:37:12] BLACKWELL: In just a few minutes Vice President Mike Pence is expected to sit down and meet with the staff of the leadership of the House and Senate. On the table for discussion, obviously the border wall and the government shutdown. So far President Trump is insisting he is prepared for the government to be shut down for months, years if necessary, until he gets the $5 billion he wants for the border wall, and would even consider calling a national emergency on border security to resolve the issue.

Joining me now to discuss, A. Scott Bolden, former D.C. Democratic Party chairman, and Bruce LeVell, part of President Trump's 2020 advisory board. Gentlemen, welcome back to the Newsroom.

So Bruce, let me start with you. The vice president before the shutdown went to the Hill and said that President Trump will sign the funding bill to get these departments through to the new year, and then the president didn't when he got a nasty gram from Ann Coulter and members of the Freedom Caucus. Then the vice president went back to Democrats and said $2.5 billion, how about that. But the president then in the cabinet room said, I don't know who said $2.5 billion. I want the full $5 billion. What authority does Mike Pence have walking into this room? The president has chopped his legs out from under him twice already.

BRUCE LEVELL, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 2020 ADVISER BOARD MEMBER: Thanks for having me. It is not uncommon, the president promised during the campaign trail that national security and the border and the wall was one of the top priorities in his campaign, Victor. The interesting thing about is this is not uncommon on the shutdown. This happened, what, 10 times. President Clinton did it for over a month and had an agenda item that was 10 times large on the money than what President Trump is proposing.

BLACKWELL: It was 21 days.

LEVELL: Actually, it was 27 to be exact. But it is not uncommon. So yes, it is an inconvenience, but one thing, the disturbing part about what I noticed in the press conference was that Secretary Nielsen alleded to the fact that they have uncovered some really bad folks that were trying to get through the border that she couldn't really talk about. And also, too, the leadership -- excuse me.

BLACKWELL: Bruce, excuse. I want an answer the question, Bruce. What authority does the vice president have going into this meeting to meet with Democrats, if the president twice has rejected what Pence has gone to the Democrats as with an offer?

LEVELL: I think it is an ongoing negotiation. It's all hands on deck, Victor.

BLACKWELL: But how do you negotiate if the person that's representing the president doesn't have the authority?

(LAUGHTER)

LEVELL: It is all hands on deck. Congressional leaders, Senate leaders, vice president. Victor, at the end of the day, we don't want another 9/11. If Secretary Nielsen says we need this wall put up, and we have leadership --

BLACKWELL: That's a strawman.

LEVELL: We have Border Patrol sitting there saying --

BLACKWELL: Nobody wants another 9/11, Bruce. Nobody wants another 9/11.

LEVELL: Exactly. That's all the reasons why we need the wall.

[10:40:03] BLACKWELL: The question is the vice president twice has gone to the Democrats and members of his own party with an empty promise. The president emptied it out himself. He's now sitting down with Democrats. Why should anybody take his word because we don't have the president in the room? Scott, let me come to you.

SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Listen, can I respond to that? Because this is one of the fundamental problems with negotiating with a president that changes his mind, is not reliable, he is not reliable with the vice president, he is not reliable with Mitch McConnell, and he's not reliable even with the Democratic leaders.

And so no one knows what exactly he will sign. You'll see Mitch McConnell has taken himself out of the process, whether we want to say that or not, but the reality is, what does the president want? And what he wants is always changing. The Democrats earlier this year gave him $25 billion for a wall in exchange for DACA. He didn't want that. So the Dems had to own that, and then we got the government going. Here, the wall has, whether it is political promise or political rhetoric, this has nothing to do with getting the government going. And so the Democrats passed legislation to do that. The Senate GOP may or may not send it, but the president is not going to sign it.

So this is his shutdown. It doesn't help America, but it is his shutdown. And the issue is not about money. It is about the wall. Those numbers we hear are inflated. So this is a Trump shutdown. BLACKWELL: Let me talk about what the president wants. Let's talk

about what Democrats want. I had Democratic congressman John Sarbanes on the show this morning, and we talked about -- my question was what type of border security would you support? I want you to listen here to his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN SARBANES, (D) MARYLAND: Most Americans understand that if you want to have good border security, you have to have a combination of efforts. Some physical barriers in some places. But there's a lot of other measures that need to be taken. Let's take the wall off the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: You need a physical barrier in some places, but take the wall off the table. Make that make sense for me. How is it that it is called a wall, should he call it a fence? How can Democrats come to the table and say we need a physical barrier, but take the wall off the table?

BOLDEN: Because there's fencing along the southern border at various points and times.

BLACKWELL: So is this a semantics game?

BOLDEN: Not really, because when you talk about $5 billion for a wall or $25 billion for a wall, you're talking about a lot of money. And if you look at the DOS and the Department of Homeland Security own statistics, there's no empirical data whatever, at least reliable data, that says that the wall as a barrier along 2,000 miles or 4,000 miles, whatever it is, is going to stop drugs or terrorists or gang members or illegal immigration. And --

BLACKWELL: But the president has said several times that it does not have to be a wall from sea to sea.

BOLDEN: He says everything. Who knows what he says, and what he says is reliable?

BLACKWELL: But my question is, what are Democrats saying? If this Democrat Congress says yes, we'll go for a barrier in certain areas but not a wall, don't you see the contradiction in that?

BOLDEN: It sounds like semantics, but if you're going to repair fencing, then that's a barrier. If you're use more technology, if you're going to hire more individuals, if you're going to put sophisticated technology in place in order to do that --

BLACKWELL: Are you talking about the same thing?

BOLDEN: I don't even know what a steel flat is and neither does the president --

BLACKWELL: It's a bollard wall, which is already at the border right now.

BOLDEN: We have some fencing. We may have some sections of wall, but it is a bad spend, an ineffective spend. And that's what the Democrats are talking about. And that's what the Republicans can't really respond to because it is a political promise.

You can sit down and negotiate with both sides, but the problem is, it's not about money. If you take it off the table, I negotiate cases all the time and settle them, if a nonstarter is on the table, you're never going to settle, and the Trump administration is going to own this whether it is a month, several months, or even years.

BLACKWELL: Bruce, let me get to you. And there were two bills that passed the new Democratic House, one that would just get the Homeland Security funded through February so they can continue to have the conversation about the wall, right? There was also HR21, it funded the other departments that have been affected to get them through the end of September. We're talking agriculture, interior, parts of the State Department, the Office of the Executive. Of course, the people in the White House who haven't been paid, the White House switchboard is down, almost all of these departments. Why not sign, why not have that brought to the floor of the Senate and passed to open up the departments that have nothing to do with a wall? Why hold the other departments hostage when you can get them back to work, and if you have to fight over Homeland Security funding, so be it. But why is the EPA shut down?

LEVELL: At the end of the day, the president has to protect the borders by any means necessary, Victor. The bottom line is, none of us on the panel are privileged to the sensitive information, what Secretary Nielsen and the president talk about what's going on. This is imperative that we protect our borders.

[10:45:12] BLACKWELL: Bruce, I have got to bring you back to the question.

BOLDEN: Right, exactly.

BLACKWELL: Because there are two separate bills. There's one that has to do with funding of the border wall. That's just Homeland Security. The other bill, HR21, has to do with opening the rest of the government that's been impacted. Why not get those other departments open? What's the argument for not bringing that to the floor of the Senate and getting the signature of the president, for the other people, agriculture, the inspections, the state parks, everybody can get back to work. What's the point in not bringing that to a vote?

LEVELL: I can't speak for the Senate or the Congress, they're going to all come together, hopefully work out something. But I do support the president's actions on getting this wall and getting it funded and getting it up and going.

It is interesting, years ago when the wall came up, it was $25 billion. Now that President Trump wants $5 billion, all of a sudden no one wants to support it. BOLDEN: Bruce, you're not answering the question, though. What does

shutting down EPA have to do with the wall or any of the other agencies? He asked you for the argument. Make the argument. You're making political statements instead.

LEVELL: This is the Victor Blackwell show.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: Actually, it is not the Victor Blackwell show.

BOLDEN: I'm sorry, Victor, I just got excited.

LEVELL: I didn't know who the host was.

BLACKWELL: We have got to wrap it. Bruce LeVell, A. Scott Bolden, thank you both.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Next, this is a tragic story. It was a fun night, turns into a tragedy after a man started shooting at a bowling alley in California. Three people are dead, more are wounded. We have got the latest for you on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Concrete is the most abundant man-made material on earth, but the essentially ingredient, cement, has a huge carbon footprint. In this week's Mission Ahead, a Canadian startup has invented a remedy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Concrete is a mixture of rocks, sand, water and most importantly, cement to bind it all together. But cement has a huge carbon footprint. One pound of cement releases one pound of CO2 emissions. But without cement, concrete doesn't hold up skyscrapers. But a company called Carbon Cure has developed technology to reduce cement's carbon footprint by using CO2 in the concrete mixing process.

So this is what's different about your operation here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the brains of it here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After capturing CO2 off site, it is brought to companies like Thomas Concrete. The carbon dioxide is directly injected into the concrete as it is being mixed, which actually makes the concrete stronger. When the concrete hardens, those otherwise harmful emissions are sequestered forever before they even reach our atmosphere.

This building behind us is all built using carbon cure concrete.

CHRISTIE GAMBLE, DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABILITY, CARBON CURE: That's right. It's 48,000 cubic yards of Thomas Concrete made with Carbon Cure Technology. [10:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This 12-story, $200 million

development in Atlanta is the largest structure Carbon Cure has ever worked on. And every inch of concrete you see is infused with CO2.

So how many pounds of CO2 savings are we talking about here?

GAMBLE: In this building right here, it's going to over 1.5 million pounds of CO2. If we can pretend that these were trees, it would be the same as 800 acres of forest sequestering CO2 for a year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Breaking news out of California this morning. At least three people are dead, several others wounded after a shooting at a bowling alley in Torrance. Detectives are working to find the shooters. Meanwhile, Senator Kamala Harris tweeted support for victims and their families, and added, we must do more to address gun violence. Here's what happened this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Multiple people shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The subject ran out the door of the parking lot, shooting in the parking lot also.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an active shooter situation. We have multiple subjects down inside and outside Gable House.

BLACKWELL: There was panic inside a southern California bowling alley. Police were called after reports of a shooting with multiple victims down. Police say three men were killed and at least four people wounded at the Gable House Bowl in Torrance. Dana Scott was there.

DANA SCOTT, WITNESS: Bowlers were diving under the benches. The people that were bowling on the lanes were on the floors, underneath the seats, behind the benches. Several of us ran into the bar. One of the young ladies that works there grabbed us and took us behind the bar. So we were able to go behind a closed, sealed door.

BLACKWELL: So far no one has been arrested and police say they have not identified a motive. But Scott says the shooting started just after an apparent fight.

SCOTT: The girls were fighting, they were rolling on the floor. Then security came up. And the next thing we know, there were men fighting. After that, a lot of people ran, started running around, and ran outside. Everybody ran towards the front. All of a sudden all we heard was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: And in other news here there's a manhunt going on right now in Texas for the gunman who killed a seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes. In just moments the family and community are going to be rallying for justice in her honor. We're taking you live to Texas. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:27] PAUL: The gunman who shot and killed seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes is still out there somewhere this morning. Texas authorities released this sketch. Whatever you're doing, please just take a look at the screen here, because this is the suspect. And they are asking, meaning the police, are asking for your help to track him down. The Harris County sheriff said his department will not rest until they find justice for Jazmine.

BLACKWELL: CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung is in Houston outside of the sheriff's department. Kaylee, good morning.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Federal, state, and local authorities are working in cooperation as this manhunt moves into its sixth day. The Harris County sheriff's department tells us while they have had a flood of tips coming in since they first released that composite sketch on Thursday, they are not ready to discuss any specific tips or leads that those tips have produced with us.

And so here we see the evidence they have at this point, this sketch of the gunman as described by Jazmine's mother and three sisters who were in the car when she was shot and killed, and also surveillance video of that red or maroon pickup truck that the gunman was driving.

A Houston area congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee, she is now calling for additional government resources to help in this investigation. She has written a letter to the acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker asking for the Justice Department to form a taskforce.

We have seen widespread outrage in reaction to this crime, athletes, celebrities offering their support, in particular Shaquille O'Neal covering funeral expenses for the family, and DeAndre Hopkins, the Houston Texans wide receiver, donating his playoff check to the family as well. In a discussion with Brooke Baldwin, he described what motivated this generosity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEANDRA HOPKINS, WIDE RECEIVER, HOUSTON TEXANS: It hit home, having a five-year-old daughter. It almost looked like her. So to see that picture and to see what happened, that could have been anybody. That could have been anyone in my family, anyone on the team. So it was real close to home for me. And it was a tragic accident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: We expect to hear more from members of the Houston community today as they rally together to honor Jazmine's memory. That even will be happening about two hours from now. And Victor, Christi, remember, there is that $100,000 reward on the table for anyone who can share information that can lead to the suspect's capture.

PAUL: All right. Hope that comes soon. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And thank you for spending part of your morning with us. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: There's more news in the Newsroom. We turn it over now to Fredricka Whitfield.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to you all. Happy New Year.