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Trump Warns U.S. Government Shutdown May Go on a Year, Hundreds Working without Pay; Mueller Grand Jury Extended up to Six Months; American Detainee in Russia Has No Connections to Intel Operations; U.S. Scouts Sites for Second Trump-Kim Summit; Elizabeth Warren Tests Political Waters in Iowa; Texas Family Recalls Shooting that Killed 7- Year Old; Kidnapping Suspect Chases Woman into Karate Studio. Aired 4- 5a ET
Aired January 5, 2019 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A new year, a new Congress and now a new tactic. U.S. President Trump threatens to declare a national emergency to get his border wall.
Multiple agencies work to help this man, Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine held in a Russian jail and accused of spying.
Plus, flattery and threats: the odd relationship between President Trump and North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Our top story, U.S. vice president Mike Pence on Saturday is expected to lead talks with congressional staffers from both parties. The aim, to end the partial government shutdown, now in its third week.
The U.S. president warns the shutdown may drag on a year or more unless Congress funds his border wall and, if they don't, Donald Trump said he could get the Pentagon to pay for it. Interesting developments. CNN's Abby Phillip has more from the White House.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): A contentious meeting at the White House, leading to little progress and threats that the now two-week-old government shutdown could last much longer.
MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You said in the meeting, this is him quoting you, I just want to check, that the shutdown could go on for months or even a year or longer.
Did you say that? TRUMP: I did. I did.
GARRETT: Is that your assessment of where we are?
TRUMP: Absolutely, I said that. I don't think it will. But I am prepared. I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing.
PHILLIP (voice-over): President Trump challenging Democrats.
TRUMP: We need border security.
PHILLIP: Agree to a deal on border security, or he might take extreme measures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you considered using emergency powers to grant yourself authorities to build this wall without congressional approval?
And, second --
TRUMP: Yes, I have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you have?
TRUMP: Yes, I have. And I can do it if I want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you don't need congressional approval to build the wall?
TRUMP: No, we can use them -- absolutely. We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely. No, we can do it. I haven't done it. I may do it. I may do it. But we can call a national emergency.
PHILLIP (voice-over): And Democrats insisting the government needs to be open before they will even consider a compromise.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: It's very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government.
PHILLIP (voice-over): While not giving ground, the president says it could come down to this weekend.
TRUMP: We're going to be meeting. I have designated a group and we're going to be meeting over the weekend, that group, to determine what we're going to do about the border.
PHILLIP (voice-over): Adding:
TRUMP: We had a very, very productive meeting. And I think we have come a long way.
PHILLIP (voice-over): Democrats also hinting hope is not gone.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA.), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We made some progress.
PHILLIP: There will be talks this weekend, the president said, led by Vice President Mike Pence; his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; and his adviser, Jared Kushner. But both sides they're where they were two weeks ago, not moving one inch from their starting positions.
That could be why President Trump seemed to have very little to say to the 800,000 federal workers, who are possibly going without pay for the foreseeable future -- Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Despite the U.S. government shutdown, airport security screeners are required to report to work without pay. That may be why hundreds of them called in sick this week, that according to several sources within the Transportation Safety Administration.
They added the sickouts are at four major U.S. airports. The TSA insists the absences will not affect passenger safety.
During the news event at the White House Friday, President Trump was asked about the welfare of federal workers missing paychecks during the shutdown. His response focused on the border wall and security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You're saying months and possibly a year a shutdown.
You do have in mind a safety net for those who need their checks?
TRUMP: Well, the safety net is going to be having a strong border because we're going to be safe. And many of the people you're discussing, I really believe that they agree with what we're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: But that's not entirely true. At least one federal employee labor union is suing the government for requiring essential employees to work without pay during the partial shutdown and its union's president called the situation inhumane. CNN's Erin Burnett spoke with Democratic congressman John Sarbanes, who also slammed the president's view of the federal workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN SARBANES (D), MARYLAND: I think that's an incredibly cynical view and assertion for the president to make. He is sacrificing the livelihood of these federal --
SARBANES: -- employees to this obsession with building a wall. That's not fair. It's not respectful.
But the posture the president is in right now is irresponsible and, in my view, it's a failure of leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say it's time for their parties' leaders to make a deal and negotiate. CNN's Manu Raju spoke with a few of them.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Two weeks into the government shutdown and most lawmakers are digging in, while some are growing impatient and demanding a deal without funding for president Trump's border wall.
On the Republican side, Congressman Peter King sent a message to President Trump. Don't pay attention to House conservatives.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: The president should know he's been listening to the Freedom Caucus.
RAJU: King joined with six Republicans last night to reopen federal agencies shuttered over Trump's demands for billions for the border wall, but sided with Trump by opposing a separate message to reopen the Department of Homeland Security.
KING: I just thought it was wrong to haul hundreds of thousands of employees hostage. They have nothing at all to do with it. I think the president should negotiate. I think the Democrats should negotiate.
RAJU: And Republican Susan Collins and Cory Gardner facing potentially difficult re-election bids in 2020, also expressed their concerns, calling on GOP leaders to allow a vote on legislation reopening the government and let talks over the wall to take place later.
But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that won't happen without support.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The package presented by the House, its new Democratic leaders, yesterday can only be seen as a time-wasting act of political posturing. It does not carry the support of the president.
RAJU: Some Democrats also growing impatient with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's refusal to compromise over the wall.
REP. JEFF VAN DREW (D), NEW JERSEY: In my opinion. I would -- I know there are some people in my party that don't agree. But there are people that are now not working and not getting paid.
RAJU: You're worried she's digging in too much.
VAN DREW: Everybody is digging in too much. And you know who doesn't like it, in my opinion? The vast majority of the American public. RAJU (voice-over): But in a private meeting today, sources tell CNN that most house Democrats were in no mood to budge, even some of Pelosi's toughest Democratic critics standing behind her.
REP. KATHLEEN RICE (D), NEW YORK: I completely support the Speaker's position on this.
RAJU: Mitch McConnell returned to the Capitol after the White House meeting and said perhaps if there was any news, it's that the discussion would continue with the Hill staff, leadership staff over the weekend.
He said perhaps if any deal could be reached, perhaps it could be presented to the leadership by early next week. a lot of pessimism that it could get to that point. Mitch McConnell himself has pulled away from this process, saying it's up to the White House. He says he's not in involved it. It does not have the president's support.
But interestingly, at that news conference with President Trump, Mitch McConnell was not there. The president said it was because he was running the Senate.
Actually the Senate was closed until Tuesday. The real reason, according to McConnell: he was not even told about the press conference but he would have come, had he known about it -- Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about this ongoing saga -- I guess we can call it that, Natasha -- with Natasha Lindstaedt. She lectures on international politics at the University of Essex in England.
Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
So where to start?
Well, the president will meet with congressional leaders mid morning in Washington. However, Friday, he said he was prepared to keep the government shut down for months or years. A lot of people were taken aback by that statement.
Do you think he means that or is that bluster?
NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: I don't think he really means that because he tends to tweet things and say things off the cuff without thinking about the implications of it.
Remember last week he threatened to close sort of the border with Mexico and U.S., ignoring the fact that U.S. and Mexico do $600 billion in trade with one another. And he was sort of asked could this go indefinitely and he was saying it could go months or years. And he's not thinking about the implications of that.
If this went on for months and months, this would start to affect other aspects of the government like Department of Defense even. And he wasn't really thinking about what that could mean to, you know, his base and to national security in general.
But he has been very adamant about this wall and that he's going to do whatever it takes to build this wall and he wants to appear tough. So when he makes statements like this is going to go on for months and years, it appeals to his base because it's like he's going to go to bat for building this wall no matter what.
ALLEN: He also said something that kind of indicated that --
ALLEN: -- he's being tough. He said on Friday he has the power to build the wall without congressional approval, that he could declare this a national emergency.
The question is, can he and would he?
LINDSTAEDT: Right. That comment was just in response to a reporter asking him would he use emergency powers and his answer was really frightening, that he could do so. He might look into it.
That's a major abuse of power. It's very scary. This is something dictators do, they manufacture threats and then they try to will by decree. I don't think he's actually going to do it.
I mean historically, this has only happened under Franklin Roosevelt and the Depression and World War II, Harry Truman during the Korean War. This is not a national emergency going on.
Both Democrats and Republicans agree they want to improve immigration reform and that border security is important. But building a wall is not a matter of national security.
ALLEN: He has tried to convince many people that it is, you know, that there's an emergency at the border and many Americans aren't buying that argument. He likely has convinced much of his base.
But what, Natasha, is at stake for President Trump?
If he works out a deal with the Democrats that involves border security but not technically a wall, will that do irreparable harm to the president, vis-a-vis his base?
LINDSTAEDT: It depends on the way he's able to frame this. At the moment, he feels like he has to look as tough as possible, which is why he's coming out with all this rhetoric that he's going to go months or months or possibly even a year to defend this claim, that he's going to build this wall.
He really wants to appear like he has won this fight somehow. And he was able to even shift the narrative about, OK, well, Mexico was supposed to pay for the wall and now you're saying Mexico is not paying for the wall and he came up with this idea that, oh, this new trade agreement is going to pay for the wall.
And he's able to convince his voters that actually it is Mexico paying for the wall. So I think it depending on how he can frame this. If he can frame it in a way that makes it look like he won, even though he really didn't, that's really the one way out of this.
ALLEN: And meantime 800,000 federal workers are without pay and we're hearing the stories now about real problems they face because of that. So there are various scenarios to how this ends. "The Washington Post" gave these.
The president caves, concessions from both sides, maybe a big bargain, Democrats support a border wall in exchange for a path to citizenship for DREAMers or, a final scenario, it simply doesn't end.
Which of those would you put your money on?
LINDSTAEDT: I would put it on something in between the Trump caves and Democrats give him a little bit of a concession. And as I was saying, I all has to do with the way he thinks it looks to his base and to really the right wing media. He wants it to look like he's somehow won. He needs to save face some way.
The Democrats are not going to cave. They've made it very clear they're not building this wall. They have all the leverage at the moment and the Democrats are stronger on this than they have been in the previous years. They really, really are not going to compromise on the wall.
But they do have to figure out some way to make it look like Trump got something in return so that he can finally agree to this and they can move on from this because it's already a shutdown that is going on weeks now and it is really, really worrisome for those 800,000 workers, who don't know when their next paycheck is coming.
ALLEN: I can't imagine, I really can't. We know there's another meeting in a few hours. Perhaps you and I will talk again if there's anything that comes from that. Natasha Lindstaedt, also appreciate your insight. Thanks.
LINDSTAEDT: Thank you.
ALLEN: We've got another sign on Friday, the Russian investigation isn't over yet. Special counsel Robert Mueller's federal grand jury has been extended. It has been working for 18 months already and its term was to expire over the weekend. It's not clear how long the extension is for but it can be for up to six months.
A U.S. government official tells CNN an American airstrike in Yemen is believed to have killed this man, Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali al-Badawi. He's described as an Al Qaeda operative and he's believed to have helped orchestrate the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen more than 18 years ago.
That attack killed 17 American sailors and wounded 39 others. Al- Badawi was taken into Yemeni custody twice after the attack but he escaped both times.
[04:15:00] ALLEN: More diplomats join the effort to help as a citizen of a foreign country sits in a Russian prison. We'll have the latest live from Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's either going to be an engagement or a breakup. So we're either going to make progress together or we're not.
ALLEN (voice-over): Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un may seem like they're in a mutual admiration club.
But what happens when the honeymoon's over?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: A source tells CNN the American arrested a week ago in Russia for spying does not have apparent ties to any national intelligence operations. Paul Whelan is facing espionage charges but his brother denies he's a spy.
In "The Washington Post," he wrote this, "Paul is a kind and considerate brother, son and uncle and generous and loyal friend. He travels as often as he can for work and for pleasure. He is many things to many people but he is not a spy."
Let's go to CNN's Sam Kiley. He's in the Moscow bureau with the latest.
Right there, the Whelan family saying --
ALLEN: -- Russia has this wrong.
What has Russia said about Whelan's arrest?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, officially, Natalie, very little indeed. This has been the new year period, which perhaps has given officials a little bit of respite from having to engage in these issues.
But there have been reports in the local media we have not been able to verify, suggesting, according to the Rosbalt news agency, that Mr. Whelan was caught, quote-unquote "red-handed," that he was observed in receipt of an electronic memory device and his hotel was then raided by the hotel security services at the Metropol hotel next to the Kremlin.
That is only coming from a local media source. Officials here are saying he has been charged with espionage, that he's on remand. His lawyer is asking for bail because this is an investigation that could take six months before it comes to court.
And Mr. Whelan is getting various requests for consular access. He's seen already Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador here, and the U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo weighed in a few days ago, saying they're taking his case to the highest level.
But there's no real evidence coming from Russia to substantiate the claim that he is a spy. They haven't said indeed who he may be accused of spying for.
ALLEN: It's complicated. You mentioned his various nationalities. He holds four passports, Britain, Ireland, Canada and the U.S.
Does that complicate the case for Russia?
They may have to deal with a lot of countries here.
KILEY: Yes. I mean the U.K. has condemned the use of what they call a pawn in international chess games of this sort. And the United Kingdom especially and Russia are locked in a very bitter relationship following the attempted poisoning case of the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, which resulted in the death of an innocent woman in the city of Salisbury last year.
There's been tit-for-tat expulsion between the Brits and the Russians in terms of espionage agents. So there is great tension there.
The Brits have asked for consular access as have the Irish. The Canadians say they are monitoring it and he has had a visit from the U.S. ambassador. I don't think it really complicates matters too much for the Russians if they're wanting to stir things up, having various other nations, four different nations, all claiming ownership, if you like, for this problem.
It simply makes it harder for them to sort out rather than for the Russians. There is speculation inevitably here in Washington and in New York that perhaps he has been arrested with a view to having him used in a spy exchange, possibly with Maria Butina, who, of course, is still in the United States, a woman accused of trying to infiltrate, among other things, the NRA.
But also characters like Victor Boot, very famous arms dealer, with close connections to the Russian secret police here, who's in an American jail -- Natalie.
ALLEN: It's always very intriguing, isn't it?
Next hour I'll be talking with the former FBI special agent about the curious case of Mr. Mr. Whelan. We appreciate it. Sam Kiley, thank you. Sources tell CNN the U.S. is already scouting out potential sites for a second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The president is said to be encouraged by a letter he received from the North. But some say Mr. Trump is falling for Kim Jong-un's flattery. Here's our Brian Todd with that.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It just may be the oddest relationship in international relations, the American president repeatedly flattered by and flattering North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un.
TRUMP: We're doing very well with North Korea and that's based on relationship also.
TODD: Trump's positive mention of his relationship with Kim Jong-un today came only about 48 hours after the president showed off the latest personal letter he got from the North Korean dictator.
TRUMP: And they've never written letters like that. This letter is a great letter.
TODD: Sources familiar with the contents of Kim's letter tell CNN it was "predictably effusive." The view of some in the administration, CNN is told, is that Kim sends letters to Trump to --
TODD (voice-over): -- appeal to his ego and to keep Trump enthusiastic about their personal bond, especially at times when Kim feels negotiations over his nuclear weapons have hit a plateau. Analysts agree, Kim is whispering in Trump's ear.
FRANK JANNUZI, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE MANSFIELD FOUNDATION: I think what he is saying to President Trump is: you, sir, are better than all of your predecessor; wiser, smarter, more clever, the better deal maker, you can do what none of your predecessors was able to do.
TODD: Experts believe Kim Jong-un has compiled a personal dossier on how to work Trump and has mastered the dark art of flattering the president to try to get what he wants; skills, analysts say, that were on full display during the two leaders' meeting in Singapore last summer.
KIM JONG-UN, SUPREME LEADER, NORTH KOREA (through translator): I would like to express my gratitude to President Trump for making this meeting happen.
TODD: In another letter sent to the White House last July just weeks after their summit, Kim referred to Trump as your excellency four times in just four paragraphs. But experts tell CNN, Kim may be using a carrot and stick approach with Trump, mixed with personal flattery of the president over the past few months have been threats to the U.S. from Kim's regime, including in December when North Korea said it wouldn't relinquish its nuclear weapons unless the U.S. eliminates its own nuclear threat, followed by a new year's message warning that if the Trump team keeps up sanctions --
KIM: Then we have no choice but to defend our country's sovereignty and supreme interest and find a new way to settle peace on our peninsula.
TODD: Why this double game from North Korea?
JANNUZI: I think Kim Jong-un needs to see some tangible benefits himself, in the same way that President Trump would like to see some tangible steps towards denuclearization, Kim Jong-un needs sanctions relief.
TODD: But some analysts believe Kim is simply stalling, buying time to further develop his weapons program.
MATTHEW KROENIG, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: If Kim Jong-un were serious about denuclearizing, he could have taken steps since the June summit, he could have dismantled missiles, dismantled war heads and he's not doing that. So, I think what we see now is that the North Koreans are really playing the United States.
TODD: The key question tonight: what does this personal dynamic between the two men lead to?
JANNUZI: It's either going to be an engagement or a breakup. So, we're either going to make progress together or we're not. And if we're not -- and there's a breakup, then I think basically Kim Jong-un turns to another suitor.
TODD: Experts say that would leave President Trump and his team with not many options with how to deal with Kim's threat. One would be to keep up the sanctions pressure, the other would be the unpalatable option of considering military action -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Yet again, Yellow Vest protesters are gathering in Paris for more demonstrations. Here's a live look at the scene in the French capital right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): The weekly demonstrations began in November over higher fuel taxes. They grew into the movement against the French president's policies. On Friday officials dismissed protesters as agitators trying to topple the government. A leader of the movement was detained Wednesday for organizing an unauthorized protest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Thousands of U.S. government workers are feeling the pain and panic of not being paid. Coming up, some risk losing their homes, even though they're required to keep working.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you can't impeach somebody who's doing a great job.
ALLEN (voice-over): Some Democrats beg to differ with that on both counts. The latest on the U.S. impeachment debate ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
Now 800,000 U.S. government workers are working for a third week without pay and they're getting desperate for help. The Navy Federal Credit Union is offering no-interest loans to its members affected by the showdown but it's only a Band-aid to a worsening crisis.
CNN's Randi Kaye visited the home of a TSA screener, who must work without pay. He says missing a single paycheck has put his young family at risk.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brian Turner may look like he's on a leisurely walk with his wife and baby but the 28-year- old TSA worker is stressed. Thanks to the government shutdown, he has no idea when he's going to get another paycheck.
BRIAN TURNER, TSA OFFICER: I was last paid about a week ago and until the budget is passed we won't receive pay again.
KAYE: Brian has worked for the TSA for six years and is based at Philadelphia's airport. He's considered an essential employee so he still has to work but he is not getting paid.
B. TURNER: I live about a half hour from work and it's going to come to a point where you say do I put gas in my car or do I feed my family.
KAYE: And that's a hard decision.
B. TURNER: Absolutely it is.
KAYE: It's come to that and the couple says they will run out of money by the end of the month unless the government reopens. That means they could lose their house, a huge concern with five-month-old Elliot to care for.
KAYE (on camera): What do you worry about for this guy?
RACHEL TURNER, WIFE OF TSA EMPLOYEE: Our child care payment is more than our mortgage. We're already stretched thin with that and without the paycheck it's just almost an impossible situation.
B. TURNER: We are a paycheck-to-paycheck family and the reality of it, so we do depend on that constant income.
KAYE (voice-over): His wife works but that second paycheck, Brian's paycheck, is critical.
R. TURNER: I needed to fill up my car with gas today --
R. TURNER: -- and I went until I have, I think a 5-mile range left on my car before I have to really, you know, there's no other option.
KAYE: Brian says he blames both sides for the shutdown and he's frustrated that Congress is still getting paid when he's not. As a TSA worker, he certainly understands the need for security but -- what is more important? The border wall or paycheck?
B. TURNER: A paycheck, absolutely. You know, planes still need to go up and come down. You know, we need airport security. We need customs. We need all these necessary services to keep the government running.
KAYE: And you want to get paid for that.
B. TURNER: Absolutely. Of course.
KAYE: He's tired of watching the Washington blame game play out.
B. TURNER: You feel hopeless and you feel helpless, you know?
I'm not in Washington. I don't have the influence that these people of power have. And we rely on them.
We elect them to these positions to get a job done, I feel like it should be done in a way where we can still have conversations about border security and keep the government open.
When you don't have a paycheck coming in and you don't have a guaranteed source of income when you thought you did, it's disheartening and it kind of makes you feel a little panicked.
KAYE (on camera): Do you have a backup plan?
B. TURNER: Right now I don't have one. And my backup plan is to hope that the two sides can reach across the aisle and come to an agreement.
KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Newark, Delaware. (END VIDEOTAPE)
ALLEN: And, again, he's one of 800,000 federal workers who aren't getting paid.
Well, President Trump says he can't be impeached.
Because he's doing such a good job.
But many Democrats flat out disagree with that and now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives, the impeachment debate is stirring again. Our Jeff Zeleny reports.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some Democrats have been calling for President Trump's impeachment for months.
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: I said he should be impeached and they said don't use that word.
ZELENY (voice-over): But now they're part of the House majority, making that word carry far more weight and political peril. At a celebration after being sworn in as a new congresswoman from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib renewed her cry for impeachment with the F word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: When your son looks at you and says, "Mama, look, you won, bullies don't win."
And I said, "Baby, they don't because we're going to go in there and we're going to impeach the motherfucker."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY (voice-over): Fallout from that crass epithet echoing around Washington, from the White House...
TRUMP: I thought her comments were disgraceful.
ZELENY: -- to the Capitol, highlighting a generational and ideological divide over the wisdom of impeachment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm absolutely convinced that impeachment is not dead.
ZELENY (voice-over): House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler is trying to put the brakes on all this impeachment talk.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D): I don't really like that kind of language but, more to the point, I disagree with what she said. It's too early to talk about that intelligently. ZELENY (voice-over): It's one of the first and perhaps most consequential tests for Democrats in the new era of divided government. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly called impeachment premature and yet she's not ruling it out.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CALIF.), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn't impeaching for a political reason and we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason.
ZELENY (voice-over): Last month, a CNN poll found 43 percent of Americans think Trump should be impeached and removed from office while half say he shouldn't be. But among Democrats, a whopping 80 percent favor impeachment, which presents a conundrum for the wide field of potential 2020 presidential candidates.
We caught up with California congressman Eric Swalwell, who's among those eying a presidential bid and prefers Trump leave office by defeat.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: I just think it's better for democracy that he loses at the ballot box. If he is somehow made himself a martyr, then I think we've lost.
ZELENY: Made himself a martyr?
SWALWELL: Yes. I don't want to see him make himself a martyr by saying, oh, you know, they tried to impeach me and he comes out more popular.
ZELENY (voice-over): The president believes impeachment isn't warranted and hopes it backfires on Democrats.
TRUMP: But 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.
ZELENY: Of course the president doesn't have final say on whether there was collusion or whether he will be impeached. That is in the hands of Congress. It is also one of the central questions hanging over the 2020 Democratic presidential race.
Will this wide field of candidates listen to their base or urge their base to follow their political instincts? -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: One of those hoping to replace Mr. Trump, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. She's in Iowa, kicking off her bid for the White House. It's her first trip to that pivotal state since announcing an exploratory bid for president. Our MJ Lee reports.
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator Elizabeth Warren has started her three-day swing in Iowa with an event in Council Bluffs. This was a packed crowd --
LEE: -- inside of a bowling alley and restaurant, where actually a lot of people couldn't even get inside the event room.
She started her remarks by talking about how childhood in Oklahoma. She talked about her father suffered a heart attack when she was a little girl and how her mother had to get a minimum wage job and he ended up working as a janitor.
Now she transitioned from that story into her adulthood and why the issue of middle class economic mobility is so important to her. Take a listen to what she talked about here.
(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: Now Senator Warren also took a number of questions from the audience. And one issue that came up was the topic of foreign aggression. That topic is so important right now because of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Take a listen to what she had to say.
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WARREN: I believe that you should know the difference between your friends and your enemies.
WARREN: Deep, deep, deep foreign policy insight. Work with your friends and keep your guard up against your enemies.
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LEE: On Saturday Senator Warren will continue her Iowa trip, making stops in Sioux City, Storm Lake and Des Moines. This is the first time Senator Warren is visiting Iowa since 2014, when she came here to campaign with former Congressman Bruce Braley. Obviously a very important visit to the state for Senator Warren. And it's going to be an important early test of her political
charisma, whether she has the raw talent, whether she can get the crowd excited. And obviously a lot of the potential Democratic contenders who have not yet jumped into the race, they're going to be watching her very carefully to see what kind of enthusiasm there is right now at this moment, so early on and even two years out from the 2020 election, what kind of enthusiasm there is right now for the Democratic primary. Back to you.
ALLEN: Still on the loose. The man who gunned down this young girl in a drive-by shooting in Texas, we'll hear from her family next.
ALLEN: Authorities in Texas are searching for the gunman who killed this little girl, 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. Tips are pouring in but the suspect has been on the loose since the shooting on Sunday.
Jazmine was riding in a car with her mother, who was going out for coffee. And her sisters were also in that car near Houston when they were ambushed with gunfire.
Investigators have released surveillance video, showing a red or maroon pickup truck driving away. They also released a composite sketch of a suspect, a white man in his 40s wearing a black hooded sweatshirt. Neither investigators nor Jazmine's family know why the man shot into the car.
But through tears, Jazmine's mother and sister recall the attack.
LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, JAZMINE'S MOTHER: And the next thing you know, I didn't even hear the first gunshot. All I remember is my glass shattering on my window and then I heard the gunshots go off, pow, pow, pow, pow.
I turned the light on in the car and turned around and looked at my baby. And she was leaned over on the door and blood was everywhere. I hopped back on the beltway and I was flying down the beltway until my car started to shake.
And when my car started to shake, I told my babies, I was like, oh, the tire is out, I was like, I can't make it no further, I'm sorry, I can't make it no further.
And my babies was like, Mama, please, we can't lose you, we can't lose you, Mama, please, wake up, we can't lose you. I was like, baby, I can't make it no further. I was like, y'all get help.
ALEXIS DILBERT, JAZMINE'S SISTER: And Jazmine, she didn't say nothing. And like I was scared to move her because I knew, like she didn't say nothing, like I knew.
WASHINGTON: He took her life. He took a 7-year old's life and you can never replace that. No amount of money, no amount of gifts, no amount of support, anything can ever replace my child, our child. She means so much to everybody.
ALLEN: We'll keep you posted. Again, they're still looking for the shooter in that case. There's now a $100,000 reward for the killer and her memorial is set for Tuesday.
As a storm weakens and moves away from Thailand, it leaves behind a deadly path and the danger isn't over. Derek Van Dam will have the latest for us from the Weather Center next.
ALLEN: A would-be kidnapper clearly wasn't thinking when he allegedly chased a woman and tried to abduct her in North Carolina. As Mark Barber of WSOC TV tells us, he could not have picked a worse spot.
MARK BARBER, WSOC CORRESPONDENT: Police tell us that man followed the woman inside this karate school after he tried to force her into his car out here right around 9 o'clock last night. After that man made it inside this karate school, he ran into one of the instructors.
Police tell us that instructor fought the man off. And as you can see, the suspect ended up on a stretcher. Officers say the man also fought with them before he was taken into custody. They said the suspect did not know the woman he tried to force inside his car.
ALLEN: Mark Barber again, reporting there. The CNN affiliate reports the suspect was taken to jail after he was released from the hospital.
Tropical storm Pabuk has been downgraded to a tropical depression but not before it delivered a deadly punch in Thailand. The disaster management agency blames at least three deaths on the storm. Two people drowned. A third was killed when his fishing boat capsized. Though the rain has eased, flash floods are still a threat. (WEATHER REPORT)
ALLEN: Finally this hour, Britney Spears surprised her fans Friday with disappointing news. The pop singer announced she's putting her career on hold indefinitely to take care of her ill father. She was schedule to start a new series of shows in Las Vegas in February and had been getting a lot of buzz. But her father suffered a ruptured colon two months ago. He is expected to recover.
That is the first hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. We'll be back with another hour and we'll kick it off with our top stories. See you in a minute.