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CNN NEWSROOM

Pence Meets with House, Senate Staff as Shutdown Enters Week 3; Trump Says Federal Employees Not Getting Paid Are Cheering Him On; Trump: Unpaid Federal Employees Will be Safe with Wall, Agree with What I'm Doing; Trump Opened Shutdown Meeting with Profane Tirade; Dem Committee Chairs, Pelosi Get Tough on Trump; Trump Makes 3 Claims on Funding Wall; Trump Slams Dem. Congresswoman over Profane Impeachment Comment; Warren Criticized on Likeability, Comparison to Hillary Clinton; Al Gore, Mitt Romney Said to Have Likeability Problems; Bernie Sanders Apologizes After Criticized for Sexual Harassment by Campaign Staffers; Paul Whelan Arrested as a Spy in Russia Had No Ties to Intelligence Community; Community Mourns 7-Year-Old Shot in Houston. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 5, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[15:00:00] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Knox, Indiana.

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FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, amazing family. Amazing journey.

Thanks so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Frederica Whitfield. So much straight ahead right after this.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks for being with me on this Saturday.

President Trump figured out a way to make the government shutdown go away. His solution? Just call it something else. People who are inside the White House meeting with congressional leaders yesterday said the president prefers the term "strike" instead of "shutdown." Never mind it is a shutdown and the total opposite of a strike. More on that in just a moment.

First, in Washington, today, Vice President Mike Pence leading what is called a working group of congressional aides, Oval Office advisers and Homeland Security firms, including DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. That meeting lasted two hours. It was more discussions how to get the government fully restarted again.

The shutdown has forced about 800,000 American men and women even to stay home from their federal jobs, without pay, or even perhaps more challenging, continue to work, without being paid. Two weeks now, no paycheck.

Friday, at the White House, the president and congressional leaders. The president reportedly launching into a profanity laced speech, refusing to budge from the dollar amount he wants on the Mexico border wall. And as I said earlier, President Trump reportedly told the people at the meeting that he wants to use the word "strike," not "shutdown," which he has the power to end. Instead, he says it is a strike. You know, when workers are so unhappy with their employers that they don't go to work. What is happening now, it could not be further from a strike.

Here's the president yesterday suggesting that the people without their paychecks, now for two weeks, are cheering him on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And many of those people, maybe even most of those people, that really have not been and will not be getting their money in at this moment, those people, in many cases, are the biggest fan of what we're doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: CNN's Boris Sanchez is with us now.

Boris, the president believes that the people affected by the shutdown are with him. What does he have to support that?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No indication yet, Ana. The president was asked specifically who he was talking about. He didn't really answer the question. I should point out last week, the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, suggested to me that the president had heard from a number of those federal workers, who are furloughed or unpaid at this point, and they told him that he stand behind his efforts. Well, the president on Twitter continues suggesting that most of the federal workers not being paid are Democrats. Take a look at this tweet the president sent earlier. He writes, 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. I am in the White House ready to go. Where are the Democrats?"

The president obviously asking that question for effect, because as we know, Democrats have been here several times this week, including top aides to some lawmakers, who are here at the White House, just a short time ago.

As we're speaking on it, we're getting some reporting from our colleague, Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, who indicates that sources say that, in that meeting today, baby steps were made, but Democrats are now asking for an official justification from the White House as to why they should allow $5.7 billion for border wall funding. Apparently, the administration is going to produce some sort of answer for them between today and tomorrow. They're set to meet again tomorrow. According to an aide to Vice President Pence, who put out a readout of this meeting a short time ago, they said there's no in- depth discussion about a specific dollar figure for border wall funding. So it appears that progress is being made, because these two sides are at least talking, but not specifically on a dollar figure. As you know, Ana, the president has demanded $5.6 billion, $5.7

billion in funding for a wall. Just yesterday, he said the government would remain shut down for months, potentially years, until he got his funding -- Ana?

CABRERA: And, now Boris, we are looking at a picture of that meeting just this morning. Again, important to note, no Congress members at that meeting. It was their staffers who were set to meet with the vice president. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Jared Kushner also there. We will see where it goes from here.

Boris Sanchez, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

CABRERA: Keep us updated.

President Trump was asked, what kind of assurances can you can give federal workers who aren't getting paid right now and are worried how they will pay their mortgages, or maybe even buy food for their children? Here is the exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You're saying months, and possibly a year for the shutdown. Do you have in mind a safety net for those who need their checks?

TRUMP: The safety net is going to be a strong border because we will be safe.

Many of the people you're discussing, I really believe that they agree with what they're doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Let's discuss with CNN political commentator and senior columnist for the "Daily Beast," Matt Lewis, and CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein.

Ron, is that what federal workers, who aren't sure when they will get paid again, want to hear that their safety net is a border wall?

[15:05:06] RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Obviously not. I mean there are elements of the Border Patrol, the Border Patrol is a pretty conservative union and you saw them support the president the other day. But I think the vast majority of federal workers, obviously, have to feel enormously put upon to be, in effect, made hostages over a policy dispute that is, in most cases, completely unrelated to their daily jobs. And, look, in some ways, this is existing, this impasse persists only because of the sufferings of federal workers. I do believe the CNN reporting of TSA officers calling in sick at higher numbers really is a lever point that could really force this to be resolved much quicker than the president anticipates. If, in fact, air travel is disrupted in any significant way, that would be a much more, a much greater kind of encouraging intrusion in people's lives than anything we have seen so far and Mitch McConnell wouldn't stomach that many days.

CABRERA: And TSA officials say this is not impacting air travel.

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

CABRERA: And TSA officials are reporting so are calling in sick because they are trying to get second jobs so they can be making money.

I want to home in more, Matt, on the second part of what we just heard from the president there, that these unpaid workers support him. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It is very important that we have great border security. I think it's going to be over with sooner than people think. But I will do whatever we have to do, if we have to stay out for a very long period of time, we're going to do that. And many of those people, maybe even most of those people, that really have not been and will not be getting their money in at this moment, those people in many cases are the biggest fan of what we're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you know that? How do you --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: All right, please, Major, go ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The president not offering evidence, Matt.

LEWIS: No.

CABRERA: We know he really wants to frame this as a strike, not a shutdown.

LEWIS: Yes, look, are there some government workers who are happy with this? I'm you're sure there are some. I would not suspect a majority as he suggested. But ultimately, I really think this is about Donald Trump and Democrats, really have two different goals here. I think the Democrats believe they're on the right side of public opinion, that they're going to win in the media, and that most Americans are going to side with them. So why should they change? Why should they cave? And I think Donald Trump believes that his base supports him standing firm for the wall and that's what he cares about. So why should he cave? And so really --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: The latest polling shows the majority of Americans do side with Democrats.

LEWIS: Right.

CABRERA: That they think the border wall is not something that is worth a government shutdown.

LEWIS: Right. But again, Donald Trump doesn't care.

BROWNSTEIN: That's right.

LEWIS: He cares about his base and they like this. And so that is why this is maybe an intractable problem. Except for what -- I think Ron actually is right. I hate to go back to the airline thing, but there needs to be something that delivers pain to one side or the other. Right now, there isn't.

CABRERA: Let's talk about how we get out of this then. Because we have this picture from the meeting yesterday between President Trump and lawmaker, both Democrats and Republicans, and you can see it there, his arms are folded defiantly, and we're told the president opened the meeting with a 15-minute-long profanity laden tirade and made clear he was not budging on that $5.6 billion demand for a wall.

Ron, is it "The Art of the Deal?"

BROWNSTEIN: Look, the president, I think, had the window for this deal a year ago and he let it pass. I mean people forget that last February, all but three Senate Democrats voted for a bipartisan Senate proposal that would have given him $25 billion, much less than we are talking about now, including money for the wall, in return for legal status of young people brought here illegally by their parents, the DACA recipients, and he ultimately torpedoed that because the White House demanded in addition the largest cuts in legal immigration since the 1920s. There's much less stomach for the Democratic coalition for anything that would consecrate the wall. The DREAMers themselves want no part of a deal in which they would be tied to approval of the wall. The public opinion, as you note, a majority of the country in essence every poll taken during the presidency, opposes the wall. And that rises to 60 percent and more in key groups that empower the Democratic majority. I think it is very hard to imagine the Democrats, who view the wall ineffective and expensive, but as a symbol, frankly, of racism, many of them, to go along with anything that gives him, you know, the ability to say he's building a wall. Could they find some sort of semantic middle ground between fencing and wall that allows, you know, allows a way out? Possibly. But I think his chance for "The Art of the Deal" was a year ago and he let it pass.

CABRERA: I have talked to a number of Democrats who say there does need to be an improvement in border security. But to your point, the wall does seem to be a sticking point. The wall, the word, the idea of it. Trump made three claims this week alone: That Mexico would pay for a border wall through a trade deal that hasn't been approved yet. That he could build the wall by declaring a national emergency. And that much of the wall was already built.

Matt, if all of these things were true, why does he need $5 billion?

(LAUGHTER)

[15:10:23] BROWNSTEIN: Good question. LEWIS: Right. You know, this is like self-contradictory, right?

They can't all three be right. And he is throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing which thing sticks. Obviously, they can't all, obviously they can't all be right. There's some elements of truth, to all of these things. But look, I think Ron overall is actually correct. There was a chance about a year ago where Donald Trump could have actually declared victory. He could have gotten a wall, mission accomplished. He could have kept that campaign promise, and he could have cut a deal to allow DREAMers, who were brought here through no fault of their own, to stay. And I think there were some nationalistic elements within his administration who wanted more. Maybe they got greedy or they actually didn't want any resolution to this. And so here we are. And now, Democrats, I do think -- I will throw this warning out, even though I think right now, public opinion is on their side, I don't think the idea of securing the border, in and of itself, is a horrible idea.

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

LEWIS: And if there's a chance to have a compromise, where we can do something, a pathway to citizenship, in exchange, Democrats may find themselves on the wrong side, if they hunker down and refuse to have any -- make any deals.

CABRERA: We got a couple of Democrats that are coming up, a couple of Congress members, throughout our show this afternoon, so we will ask them some of those questions to get specifically into what they may be willing to compromise on, what kind of border security sounds good to them.

Matt Lewis, Ron Brownstein, stand by. Much more to discuss.

In just a moment, the president says he can't be impeached. Why? Because he is doing such a great job. Hear him make his case.

Plus, Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, amid constant comparisons to Hillary Clinton. Is it fair or just sexist?

And Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes on the critics who went after her for this dancing video from college.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:15:29] CABRERA: They have made it clear. They are not playing around. The new Democrat-controlled House is gearing up. Take this photo featured in "Vanity Fair" showing the new House of Representatives committee chairs looking more like a teaser for an episode of "Law and Order," from the halls of Capitol Hill. Representatives Richard Neil, Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, those are the names to remember. They're vowing fresh scrutiny of the president. And their leader, Nancy Pelosi, also vowing a tough stance against President Trump. And this week, ahead of her new speakership, leaving the door open when it comes to the president being impeached or even indicted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Everything indicates that a president can be indicted after he is no longer president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: What about a sitting president?

PELOSI: A sitting president, when he is no longer a president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: A president in office --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHR: Could Robert Mueller come back and say, I'm seeking an indictment?

PELOSI: I think that is an open discussion. I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CNN's Kristen Holmes is joining us now.

Kristen, walk us through who those five committee chairs are and their agendas.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, I think a big question is, what is not on the agenda. Democrats have said that they will comb through every single aspect of the Trump administration.

And let's meet key players. The Ways and Means Committee first, starting with Representative Richard Neil. Now this is one of the most powerful committees, and he wants to use this power to seize President Trump's tax returns. He may not do it immediately. He wants to make the case to the public first on why President Trump should voluntarily turn over his taxes. We know President Trump promised in the past to turn over his taxes. I don't know what could be said to the public to try to compel him. But if that's what they said they will do, that's what they will do before they move forward on some sort of legal action.

Next, Maxine Waters. Maxine Waters will be the incoming Financial Services chairman. But she had a contentious relationship with President Trump. He had called her Low-I.Q. Maxine. And she has called for his impeachment since 2017. Her big thing on Financial Service will be follow the Trump money trail. That means looking into the Trump Organization, as well as President Trump's finances, the ties to Russia, included in that.

Let's move on to third one here. You got the Oversight Committee, Representative Elijah Cummings. This is incredibly broad. They can cover a lot here. And he re-sent letters to the administration, 51, that he sent while in the minority, telling the administration they needed to comply by January 11. In this, this is what he covered, the cabinet secretary travel, immigration, security clearances, hurricane recovery efforts. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Again, 51 letters here that he sent in already. And we haven't even had the committees actually formed.

Moving on here to intelligence, Representative Adam Schiff, obviously, not a stranger. He's made himself a rival to President Trump, a rival to Devin Nunes. And says that Republicans slacked on the Russia investigation. So this is what he is going to do, he is going to be focused on that, using his new subpoena power, which he obviously did not have when he was in the minority, to look into those Russia ties.

And last, but not least, we have the Judiciary chair, Jerry Nadler. This is interesting. He has been an adversary of President Trump since back in New York in the 1980s. They clashed when Nadler was a local politician and Trump was a real estate mogul. This committee is really going to handle Special Counsel Mueller's report, how it is going to be portrayed in the public. Is it going to be released to the public? And they are also going to be in charge of any kind of Democratic impeachment.

So this is really interesting. Obviously, they're hitting the ground running. And the committee assignments are expected to be made next week.

CABRERA: Thanks for laying it out.

Kristen, good to see you.

President Trump says he can't be impeached. Here's why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, you can't impeach somebody who's doing a great job. That's the way I view.

And she said, we're not looking to impeach you. I said, that's good, Nancy, that's good. And you know what? You don't impeach people when they're doing a good job, and you don't impeach people when there was no collusion, because there was no collusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The president referring to what he says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him at the White House on Friday.

And while there are high-profile Dems who want to pump the brakes on the impeachment talk, one freshman Democrat clearly won't be deterred. I'm talking about freshman Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who stirred controversy by saying this, hours after she was sworn in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [15:20:13] REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, (D), MICHIGAN: And when your son looks at you and says, mama, look, you win. And I said, baby, they don't, because we're going to go in there and we're going impeach the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Ron Brownstein and Matt Lewis are back with us.

Matt, our Chris Cillizza, editor-at-large for CNN Politics, had a very intersting take on that moment. He says, quotes, "What Tlaib did on Thursday night might feel good for Democrat, it might make them feel as they are regaining some of the fire and fight they lost when Trump won in 2016, but it almost certainly is the wrong strategy if Democrats want to beat Trump in 2020. Why? Well, put as simply as possible, never wrestle with a pig, because you both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

Matt, what do you think?

LEWIS: Well, right. I mean look, a couple of things here are clear. On one hand, if you want to run against somebody, often times you want to be their opposite. If you're running against Donald Trump and you want to be the opposite, civility is something to offer voters and this is clearly the opposite of that. I think the Democrats are going through what Republicans went through a few years ago. It is called the tragedy of the commons. And basically, what it means is that it is in the best interest of individuals to do things that actually harm the collective group. So right now, if you're a Democratic congressman, newly elected Democratic congresswoman, let's say, it is in your best interest in terms of getting publicity and buzz and attention to say or do things that actually would collectively hurt the brand of the Democratic Party, heading into the 2020 elections. Nancy Pelosi -- this isn't the only time this is going to happen. This is an entire trend. I think it's finally hitting Democrats. Republicans went through it several years ago.

CABRERA: And they're still going through it perhaps.

Here was the president's reaction to Tlaib's comment. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I thought her comments were disgraceful. This is a person that I don't know. I assume she's new. I think she dishonored herself. And I think she dishonored her family. Using language like that, in front of her son, and whoever else was there, I thought that was a great dishonor to her, and to her family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Another new member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had this to say. She tweeted, "Republican hypocrisy at its finest. Saying that Trump admitting to sexual assault on tape is just locker room talk, but scandalizing themselves into faux outrage when my sis says a curse word in a bar? GOP lost entitlement to policing women's behavior a long time ago. Next."

Ron, fair argument?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, the nature of our -- the political -- the way the political system is evolving, as Matt said, there's an incentive to try to get noticed by being the most outrageous. And it is the nature of Congress, no matter which party is in control, that members who say this, can make life difficult for members from swing states, because they push to the edge. I think to focus on what she said, this is by far to me the larger point, which is how few other Democrats are in this boat. I mean Pelosi -- Speaker Pelosi doesn't seem to have nearly as much trouble as people would have anticipated in holding the party from really seriously discussing impeachment until after Special Counsel Mueller produces a report. And the larger picture --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Although, although --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: -- let's just say Congressman Sherman actually introduced articles of impeachment already on day one of the new Congress.

BROWNSTEIN: They need 217 more votes. I mean, I don't think there's going to be a really loud and difficult drumbeat. And the larger point is, if you compare this Democratic majority to the last time she was speaker in 2009, it is vastly more ideologically and geographically cohesive. At that point, they still had a third of their members were from rural small-town districts, blue-collar districts, that were trending away from the party. This majority maybe the most geographically and ideologically cohesive they ever have, because it is built on suburban districts that are trending toward the party. And I think you are going to see that on a lot of issues, whether it's gun, or DACA and immigration, or LGBTQ rights, that Speaker Pelosi talked about in the town hall. There are more issues where Democrats are much more united than they have been in the past because they are a more cohesive coalition than they have been in the past.

CABRERA: Ocasio-Cortez was targeted by a right-wing Twitter user who posted part of a video of her dancing when she was in college at Boston University, a video that played off a trend at the time and re- enacting dance scenes from Brat Pack movies like the "Breakfast Club." And here is Ocasio-Cortez's response to the critic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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[15:25:11] CABRERA: Still dancing. If that is the goal, to make her look bad, it appears to have back-fired. LEWIS: Yes, look, she may have, from my standpoint, horrible

economics, but she's charming and charismatic. The video makes her look great. I actually -- I don't know who would put that video out thinking it would hurt her. And I don't know anybody other than this one anonymous Twitter feed that mocked her over it. Almost every conservative I've seen is saying, like, it makes her seem likeable. I don't know why this is a big deal. Let's talk about the fact that she wants to tax, you know, people at a 70 percent rate, rather than the fact she is young and fun. Like I don't get why that is a problem.

CABRERA: Ron, final thoughts?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I do think that all of this energy on the left is something that the Democrats are going to have to figure out how to manage. Because, on the one hand, as Donald Trump showed, in 2016, an energized base is an important part of winning in modern politics. On the other hand, there are millions of voters in the center who have traditionally voted Republican, as Matt knows, who have been disaffected by Trump and many of them moved to Demcorats in 2018. Which one of those paths is the best way to beat him in 2020, mobilizing the base or reassuring the center is an open question. And the party likely has to do some of both. So they has to find room for Cortez and more centrist voices as it navigates the next two years.

CABRERA: Ron Brownstein, Matt Lewis, good to have you with us. Happy New Year, guys.

BROWNSTEIN: Happy New Year.

LEWIS: Happy New Year.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Now to the race for 2020. The race is on. Elizabeth Warren speaking to voters in Iowa this weekend as she battles the headlines that she's not likeable. Fair criticism or just plain sexist? We'll discuss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:03] CABRERA: Happening now, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren barnstorming the state of Iowa after announcing an exploratory bid for president this week. An Iowa voter confronted Warren just a short time ago over her controversial decision to use a DNA test to prove her claim she has Native American ancestry. Here's Warren's response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I am not a person of color. I'm not a citizen of a tribe.

When I first ran for public office, the first time was in 2012, and the Republicans homed in on this part of my history and thought they could make a lot of hay out of it, a lot of racial slurs and a lot of ugly stuff that went on. And so my decision was I'm just going to put it all out there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Joining us now, Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic governor of Michigan, and Symone Sanders, former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders' 2016 White House bid.

Symone, what is your take there on Warren, having to point out, quote, "I am not a person of color?"

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's exactly what she should be doing. You know, full disclosure. I spoke to Senator Warren about this, a number of times, because I am someone who was vocal when she put out the DNA test. I think I tweeted, and then I had an opportunity to speak with her about it, and I said, when I tweeted, that it's unfortunate that she felt she had to do this, because this is something that Republicans, Donald Trump included, just continued to bring up. And I do believe that Senator Warren understands the sensitivity around it, the issues around it. But I think it is important that while she's out on the campaign trail, that folks understand that, one, she knows that she has to marry her message with the real issues that folks are dealing with every single day in their lives. And there are issues that people of color in this country deal with that non-people of color do not. And Elizabeth Warren, I think, in a lot of the policies she has put forth since being a United States Senator understands that and demonstrates via policy. I think it is important she says that. And that is why she is saying, I am not a person of color, it is an acknowledgment that a number of people across this country need to hear. I'm not a person of color, but I understand the plight, and I am willing not only to be an ally but an accomplice. I was happy to hear her say that.

CABRERA: She is not a person of color but she is a woman, and that seems to be causing a little bit of a kerfuffle. This Iowa trip comes amid the headlines of ones like this, "Politico," warning, "Warren battles the ghosts of Hillary." "Washington Post," "If you run against Trump, you have to run against Hillary if you're a woman." That article going on to way that women looking at the White House continuing to shoulder gender criticism and demands not placed on the male counterparts, to be a strong but not too tough, to be assertive without being pushy, lest voters turn away for reasons that they may not acknowledge are sexist but researchers say are."

Jennifer, is it sexist to compare Elizabeth Warren to Hillary Clinton?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, every woman is going to be compared to Hillary Clinton, and every woman is going to be expected to be likeable, and have that -- try to prove themselves to be likeable in a way that men don't have to. And there's research after research after research that shows that if a woman seeks an office, if a woman looks like she is too ambitious, all of a sudden, she is not likeable anymore. And women running for office have to deal with this all the time. Women have to worry about the tone of their voice. People don't necessarily equate power with a woman, the timbre of a women's voice. Those are issues women have to deal with. I say this to women running. You know it's out there. To the media commentators and those covering it, you should know it is out there, too, and check yourself, check your own biases. But for the women who are running, just recognize that that underlying bias is there, and know that people don't want to elect someone they see as -- that they believe see themselves as a victim. They want to elect a warrior. So know that the stuff is out there. But be their champion. Be their warrior. Don't be a victim. And run like you believe that wholeheartedly, because you want to be their voice, and their fighter, rather than someone who sees themselves as a victim.

CABRERA: And advice coming from somebody who has claimed victory in one of these races even despite some of the sexism that exists in our culture.

Well, Warren and Clinton, not the first candidates however to deal with issues of likeability, right? Here is what was said about former Vice President Al Gore in 2000 and Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, both of whom are men. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vice president really faces the challenge of communicating to people of the United States that he is a likeable, affable, affective personality.

[15:35:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what we want to see is whether or not Al Gore can take the coat hanger out of his jacket, hang loose, and appear very warm and credible, and be more likeable than George W.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney, he just can't be so stiff. He has to be more likeable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): He's got to be more likeable, connect with people.

ANA NARVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He needs to also smile, be likeable. He's got a likeability gap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So it is not just about women here, Symone, likeability, something that has influenced voters in presidential elections for decades?

SANDERS: The fact that people often say that folks want to elect somebody that they want to be their champion, but somebody that they want to have a beer with, somebody that they like, that's why oftentimes you will hear people talk about a number of different elections being popularity contests which, frankly, I don't think that's what this 2020 presidential, Democratic presidential primary will be. With that being said, when folks talk about likeability when it comes to women, it's often under -- they're talking about it in a way that says she is not likeable because she's too strong, she comes off too shrill. These are things that, if you are a man, nine times out of 10, folks do not say that. So I think you need to retire phrases like likeability, like electability, viability, because often times, when we talk about being likeable and electable and viable, and we are talking about what is normal, and what we think is possible, we are what we think is possible, given what has previously happened in the past. These are not forward looking or forward-thinking terms that allow us to stretch our imagination, that allow us to elect the first black president of the United States, to allow Hillary Clinton to be the first woman to be the party -- the nominee of either party. So that's why I think these terms are archaic terms that we just need to get rid of. And we need to start talking about values, issues and ideas.

GRANHOLM: Can I just say --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Governor, go ahead.

GRANHOLM: I agree that we want to talk about issues, but I also think that the likeability, whether you're a man or a woman, is an important issue and there's a sense of people wanting to relate. The beef that I had about this particular, the initial part of this conversation was that she was being compared to Hillary Clinton, like all women are going to be compared to Hillary Clinton, because just because they're a woman. It is not like Bernie Sanders is being compared to, you know, is he as likeable as Barack Obama. The bottom line is, women and men are going to be running. This is going to be an awesome primary. You are going to have so many people, it is going to be such a chance to have conversations about how people will help every day citizens, the middle class, et cetera. That is super-exciting. Regardless of their gender. I hope the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina, who are the first primary states, have a really great chance to vet and see and have these conversations. I wish I were an Iowan in these days because it would be so awesome to have those conversations. And, hopefully, people will take people for who they are and not for the shape of their plumbing or the color of their skin but what is it that they're going to do for them and if they're likeable, great.

CABRERA: Symone, because I have you here, I got to you ask you about the Bernie Sanders news this week, since you served on his 2016 presidential campaign. Senator Sanders was criticized about his response in the allegations that came out in the "New York Times" article, allegations of sexism and sexual harassment by staffers during the 2016 campaign. And here's how he responded to the allegations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT: So I certainly apologize to any woman who felt she was not treated appropriately and, of course, if I run, we will do better next time.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "A.C. 360": And just to be clear, you seem to indicate that you did not know at the time about the allegations, is that correct?

BERNIE SANDERS: Yes, I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Among the allegations, one woman claims supervisors, or a supervisor, I should say, marginalized her after she declined an invite to his hotel room. Multiple women claimed they were asked to sleep in rooms along with male co-workers they didn't know. And one woman claims she was paid thousands of dollars less than her male counterpart.

Symone, does this hit home for you? Did you feel mistreated?

SANDERS: I never experienced sexual harassment. I think one of the terms that was used was sexual violence. It's not about what I experienced. The fact that there are women out there who worked on the 2016 campaign, who were mistreated, who said they felt marginalized, who did experience harassment, and they deserve to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed and elevated and addressed. And I believe the Bernie Sanders campaign arm took all of this information into consideration, that came out, prior to being reported in the media, I do believe, during his mid-term campaign.

Now, if you ask me about the Senator's response, I don't think he should have said that I was a little too busy running around the country, and I think --

(CROSSTALK)

[15:40:09] CABRERA: What should he have said?

SANDERS: If you asked him directly, I think he would also regret. That's I think what Bernie had said about some of these types of issues in the past, that, frankly, we as campaign managers, it is not acceptable. That it shouldn't have happened. And that they have taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen in the future. And even regardless of Senator Sanders, if he runs for president or if he doesn't, I think this is an opportunity to elevate the conversation and continue to elevate the conversation around the issues of sexual harassment, sexual violence, around the issues of pay equity, so that they can continue to be addressed throughout the -- not just in politics, when we talk about business education, everywhere, because these things are, in fact, still happening.

CABRERA: Symone Sanders and Governor Jennifer Granholm, thank you both for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Great to have you with us in the New Year, the first week in the New Year. Thanks for being here.

New details about the former U.S. Marine detained in Russia accused of spying. Sources tell CNN he had no connections to the intel community. So why was he targeted? We will ask an expert what his background tells us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:44:22] CABRERA: Welcome back. New today, Russia says it's not the time to discuss a prisoner swamp with the American detained in Moscow on charges of espionage. A Russian news site reports that Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was arrested in his hotel room after just receiving a flash drive containing confidential names of Russian intelligence agents. However, sources tell CNN Whelan does not appear to have any connection to any national intelligence operation.

Notable, his arrest comes less than a month after the alleged Russian spy, Maria Butina, pleaded guilty for spying against the U.S. She now faces years behind bars.

I want to bring in Steve Hall with his insights. He's the former chief of Russian operations at the CIA.

Steve, from what you have read, from what you have read about Paul Whelan's case, a military veteran, in the security business, goes to Russia pretty often, on Russian social media sites, and the timing with the Maria Butina case, what does your gut tell you?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: My gut and my previous experience in the intelligence agencies, in the Intelligence Community here in the United States indicate this is not a guy who is an intelligence officer or really in any way associated with intelligence. This is something that myself and my former colleagues who I am in touch with seem to agree on. This is more akin to a hostage situation where you have Vladimir Putin, who has certain things that he would like to see done in the United States, wants to have a little more leverage over the United States, and so has taken this individual hostage. You mentioned the Butina sort of commonality here and I think that's important. I think Putin is probably interested in getting Butina back into Russia as soon as possible out of U.S. hands. And I think that it is his way of reminding us that, hey, I've got a little bit of leverage here so let's see if we can't figure out a way to make this work.

CABRERA: The fact that Whelan has four passports, that he had a Russian social media page, any red flags there?

HALL: Not really. He's got a family that covers a number of different places. His brother lives in Canada, his parents were British, so he has legal -- you know, legal reasons to have all of those passports. And, indeed, I've met a lot of people over the years who have multiple passports for no nefarious reasons. So that does not necessarily cause any pause. Really, there's nothing about his behavior. His presence on the social media is a little interesting in the sense that you have to have pretty good Russian to be on that page and I'm not sure how good his Russian is. But besides that, there's nothing remarkable at all. As a matter of fact, he falls into a pattern that past Americans and other Westerners have fallen into, when Moscow wants something, they get sort of scooped up and a story is created out of Moscow as to why that happened, usually involving some sort of alleged spying activity. Which is not what happened here.

CABRERA: If he is innocent, then why do you think he was picked? Out of all of the Americans who may be working and visiting in Russia right now, why him?

HALL: One possibility, it is pretty much random. He is an American. He was in Russia at the time that Butina was being sentenced. And that may have played a role.

I think though that it is also the case that the Russian internal service, the FSB, probably was looking at him in the past, for a number of different reasons. They look at a lot of different people. And he did have some elements about him that makes for a good spy-like story if you're about building propaganda. So he's a former military guy, all military guys in Russia, at least, are sort of suspected of being spies. He has this moniker of being a former security guy or responsible for security in the company that he worked for. In Russia, security is also sort of short for spying. The "B" is FSB stands for the Russian words for security. It is easy to pick up a guy like this and make it look like to Russians and to the West that this guy was up to no good and, indeed, I think it is all fabrication on the Russian's part.

CABRERA: The president has been surprisingly mum on Whelan's detainment. My colleague, Frederica Whitfield, spoke to Whelan's brother about the government's efforts, and here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID WHELAN, BROTHER OF PAUL WHELAN: We urge Americans to contact their Congress people, to contact Ambassador Huntsman, and let them know there's concern in America, that Americans can be arrested in this sort of manner, in foreign countries. And push whatever lever we can to bring Paul home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Steve, are you surprised that we haven't heard publicly from the president on this?

HALL: Well, not really. And there's sort of two ways that you can sort of explain that. The first is, under normal circumstances, when you have a situation like this, a lot of it is dealt with behind the scenes in diplomatic channels or in quiet back channels to the Russian government. You know, a negotiation happens, conversations take place, and it is all out of the public eye because it makes it easier for both sides that way. That said, it is also interesting, given President Trump's background toward Russia and his behavior toward Putin in the past, it does seem a little strange that he has said absolutely nothing on this. I think, as this goes forward, how the president chooses to talk about this, or not, will also give us a strong indication as to his concerns, perhaps, about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and with Russia.

CABRERA: Steve Hall, great to have your perspective and expertise. Thank you.

HALL: Thank you.

[15:49:43] CABRERA: She was 7 years old and she had her whole life ahead of her. Coming up, the manhunt in Texas for who gunned down Jazmine Barnes. We will hear from the little girl's family, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: The Houston community coming together today mourning the killing of Jazmine Barnes and calling for justice. The 7-year-old was killed Sunday when a gunman opened fire on her family's car near a Walmart. A manhunt continues at this hour. Police have just released this composite sketch of the suspect and they're pleading for help to find him. The sheriff is asking businesses to review their security cameras.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us now from Houston.

Kaylee, give us the latest.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, this community in east Harris County galvanized by this tragedy. We saw hundreds if not a thousand people in this parking lot for the better part of two hours here to show Jazmine Barnes family their support and call for justice. Now, people here telling me they are nervous, they are on edge. And while that's the case, they recognize that it was important to be here today to support that family, because it could just as easily been them driving that car. It could have been their daughter, their niece, their next-door neighbor in the backseat. That feared road that leads to this Walmart where Jazmine was killed, a familiar path for so many in this community. Jazmine's family expressing their appreciation for so many people turning out. But as you'll hear from her grandmother, that emotion still very raw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENDA JOYCE, GRANDMOTHER OF JAZIME BARNES: It go like this, that I know, knowing I could die today or tomorrow and I'll never know. Please help me. Please.

(CROSSTALK)

JOYCE: Help me get him. Help me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:55:07] HARTUNG: Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez also among those who addressed this large crowd. He continues his commitment that he won't rest until justice is found for Jazmine.

But here we are, Ana, six days after that little girl was killed. There are no suspects. They say tips have been flooding in since they released that composite sketch on Thursday and yet authorities are not ready to discuss any of those specific tips with us or any of those leads that they might produce. Federal, state, local authorities working together.

And Houston area Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is calling on the Department of Justice to create a federal task force to give all of the resources of our government despite the shutdown to support this investigation with the killer on the loose -- Ana? CABRERA: All right, Kaylee Hartung, in Houston, thank you.

Coming up, President Trump threatening to declare a national emergency and go it alone on the wall. So whatever happened to Mexico paying for it?

Plus, experience the incredible story of comedy great, Gilda Radner, in her own words, "Love, Gilda." The CNN airs tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:59:52] CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks for rolling with me this week.

This makes it official. The government shutdown keeping hundreds of thousands of federal workers from their paychecks is in its third week, going on day 15 here. And today, a new group of people got together to try to end. Not the president, not speaker of the House, no Senators.