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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Government Shutdown Continues; Lawmakers Gather at the White House to Discuss Resolutions to the Shutdown Deadlock; California Shooting Leaves Three Dead and Others Wounded; Airport Workers Calling in Sick; National Parks are Showing Signs of Wear; Robert Mueller's Investigation Extended; 116th Congress - the Most Diverse Ever; Elizabeth Warren Forms Presidential Exploratory Committee; Seven-Year- Old Houston Girl Dead After Attack; Flu is on the Increase; "Love Gilda" Airs on CNN at 9:00 p.m. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired January 5, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We really cannot resolve this until we open up government.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: We told the president we needed the government open. He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.
TRUMP: Absolutely I said that. I don't think it will, but I am prepared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us work without having anxiety over our next grocery bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of those things are pre-budgeted. When something like this happens and you're not going to get your next check, you're like, what do I do?
ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Always so glad to have you with us this morning. I'm Christi Paul. Definitely, the shutdown, let's talk about that.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yes.
PAUL: It lasted two weeks now.
BLACKWELL: We're starting the third week. The White House and congressional democrats will meet again today to try to negotiate a deal to reopen the government.
PAUL: Fourteen days into the partial shutdown, 15 really. Both sides seem entrenched; they seem unwilling to concede. Yet they're going to meet at 11:00 to see if they can make headway. CNN's Manu Raju explans there is a growing appetite for compromise on Capitol Hill.
TRUMP: I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing. I don't call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and safety of our country.
PAUL: The shutdown's lasted two weeks, as we said. President Trump says if a deal isn't reached, it could last months, it could last years.
BLACKWELL: Yeah. Later this morning, the White House has scheduled, as we said, another meeting. Vice President Pence will lead this one. It's a follow-up to yesterday's meeting which reportedly started with a 15-minute tirade from the president. Reportedly he cursed at congressional leaders.
PAUL: The president later called the meeting productive. Democrats called it contentious. After that meeting, the president warned that he could go around Congress if he so chose and build a border wall under military funding. With the latest from the White House right now, CNN White House Reporter Sarah Westwood. Sarah, what are you hearing this morning about this meeting at 11:00, and what could be different about it?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Christi you're right that what we saw out of yesterday's meeting was two very different tones from congressional democratic leaders and the president with congressional democratic leaders hinting that there is no end in sight. They didn't make any progress toward any kind of agreement to reopen the government yesterday. With President Trump calling it somewhat productive, saying perhaps there could be common ground, for example, on beefing up security at ports of entry.
The debate over border wall funding still remains contentious, even as the staffs of congressional leaders and President Trump, what he dubbed a working group, will be meeting today in the executive office building here on the White House complex. The president's group includes, as you mentioned, Vice President Mike Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and a senior adviser. And President Trump suggested, though, that if he doesn't get funding for the wall legislatively, he might be willing to consider declaring a national emergency for border security in order to secure appropriations for his wall. Take a listen.
TRUMP: I 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 and build it very quickly.
WESTWOOD: The House democrats have passed a package of bills that would reopen the government, fund most of the unfunded parts of government until the fiscal year and fund the Department of Homeland Security temporarily while negotiations go on, but that's dead on arrival in the Senate. So Christi and Victor there's no end in sight for the shutdown as President Trump remains dug in on permanent funding for the wall.
PAUL: Fingers crossed something can be happening today between all the leadership there. Thank you very much Sarah Westwood, appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: Joining me to discuss this, Daniel Lippman, reporter and author of "The POLITCO Playbook," and Tiffany Cross, co-founder and managing editor for "The Beat D.C." welcome to both of you. Tiffany let me start with you. First, it's good that both sides are talking, right that there is another meeting today but they don't seem any closer to a deal than they did three weeks ago before this started. What's your expectation for what can happen today?
TIFFANY CROSS CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING EDITOR FOR "THE BEAT D.C.": I think Donald Trump has dug in his heels. This is his shutdown; he said it in the meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and now he's trying to walk that back. I find it interesting, though Victor that the GOP who purports to support small government is going to stand by while he attempts to buck the Constitution and bypass Congress to shut down or to build this wall independent of Congress.
I think that's going to be a challenge for republicans to defend. And I want to really make this point and stress this, Victor, that we have to remember why the shutdown is happening. It's over the superfluous wall where they're stoking fear to justify this.
They're saying they're catching ten terrorists a day crossing the border. Congresswoman Judy Chu, she's Chair of the Asian-American caucus, she wants the receipts for that. She's asked Nielsen, where are the terrorists, where do they originate? Are they in military court? Are they in U.S. court? What happened with them? Of course, we've gotten no answer because there's no answer to give.
So I don't see either side bucking. I think with Nancy Pelosi having that gavel back, it's going to be hard for her to back down. And with the president doing this incite a base that, you know, I would dare say doesn't have the intellectual curiosity to choose anything other than his twitter feed or right-wing conservative media as their gospel. I don't think either side is willing to move too much at this point.
BLACKWELL: Daniel, let's talk about the element of declaring a national emergency and going around Congress in large part to build the wall. What has been, if there has been some, the congressional reaction to the potential that the president would do that?
DANIEL LIPPMAN, AUTHOR OF "THE POLITICO PLAYBOOK": Democrats would fight very hard against that. You could see a battle in the courts where people say that President Trump is going above his powers. And this is not the way things are supposed to happen. You're not allowed to just move government money from one department to something that Congress has not approved. It would be a question for people like Senator Rand Paul and Mike Lee, two major Libertarians in the Senate, who are Trump backers in some ways, but other - this is clearly unconstitutional.
BLACKWELL: There's often the line that's drawn even among members of the same party when the president and members of Congress are of the same party. It's when the president tries to usurp the powers designated to and for the -- for Congress when the line often is drawn. Tiffany let me come back to you and I want you to listen to the president's exchange with April Ryan on empathy and the hardship 800,000 workers are facing either being furloughed or asking to be working without pay. Here's that exchange.
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: 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: Well the safety net is going to be having a strong border because we're going to be safe. Many of the people you're discussing, I really believe that they agree with what we're doing.
BLACKWELL: The last segment offered without any evidence. What is the role? What have we learned from past shutdowns about the role of empathy when it comes to the potential political pain of one party or another?
CROSS: Well, first you have to have some and I think this president has demonstrated that he doesn't. The billionaire private citizen, Donald Trump, did not pay workers. And now the person whose first job in government is as President of the United States is not paying workers. I think the lack of empathy comes because he's never lived paycheck to paycheck; he's never faced hardship as evidenced in "The New York Times" article that laid out his huge investment that his father gave to him. He's somebody privileged his entire life.
He doesn't understand how government works, and he doesn't understand how a lot of the working class affords to live every day. And I know a lot of people have been saying the federal workers will get back pay, but that's not true for everybody. There are a lot of contract workers who are really struggling right now and there are going to be people who don't ever get back pay and those tend to be working class, the people who do janitorial services or in the food services industry.
I think this is going to be a challenge. I don't know who Donald Trump is talking to or how he's talking to these people. When you call the White House you can't get through because of the government shut down. So I think it's just another mistruth that he's stating that he's hearing from all these people who are saying they support this shutdown over a wall that most Americans don't want.
BLACKWELL: Daniel, the "Wall Street Journal" is reporting and CNN has matched the reporting now that the president after saying he doesn't like to call it a shutdown said that he prefers the term strike. This is not obviously a strike. What does that tell us about how the president views the 800,000 federal workers who are sitting at home or going to work and have no guarantee of pay?
LIPPMAN: It doesn't show that he has a ton of respect for them given that they want to be working and hundreds of thousands of them are actually on the job. You've seen a couple of -- maybe 100-plus TSA workers who don't want to go into work. But the vast majority of people who are keeping the government running and essential services, you know, operating, they are working without getting a paycheck while, you know, President Trump, it's a big question whether he and a couple other members of his cabinet and other senior officials, whether they're going to take that pay raise that they were supposed to get potentially thousands of dollars.
And so that contrast is going to be very damning for democrats to potentially use in 2020, and they will argue that you look at the polls, and this is not something that Americans support in terms of the majority. And you're going to see republicans on Capitol Hill eventually, and you're already seeing Cory Gardner and Susan Collins saying enough is enough, we've to stop this. We don't want a government shutdown for a whole year. This would hurt the moderate republican prospects in 2020 among both Senate and House.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about that, Tiffany. Because at what point -- Mitch McConnell has said he's not going to bring anything to the floor until there's an agreement between Congressional democrats and the president. But at what point -- hearing that the president says this could go on for months, years, maybe even up until 2020, that's unimaginable. But that is that dug in. Does Mitch McConnell have to start protecting his majority in the Senate and have to send something to the White House potentially and consider overriding the president's veto?
CROSS: Absolutely. This has been the big problem. Republicans have stood by while this president's petulant behavior has caused irrevocable damage to hundreds of thousands of workers, and people who, like I said, contractors and agencies, federal agencies, so in this effort to protect the border, border security, we're actually less safe during the shutdown.
I think what it's going to take, like Daniel said, you have Susan Collins and you have Cory Gardner bucking the party and you need more republicans like that to speak out on it. I have my doubts that that will actually happen. For the past two years we have not seen a lot of people buck the party. I'm not sure that we'll see that going into an election year. When Mitt Romney was bold enough to come out and call this president out on some of the things that we've seen, his own party attacked him, his own niece attacked him at the RNC.
I'm not sure that we'll see a lot of bold steps by the republicans on that effort. But I really do think that's what it's going to take. We have new leadership in the House. We're going to see democrats fight. It's going to take republicans on the right side to step up and -- who claim to be patriots, who care about the working man, it's going to take those people to move to force the president's hand.
BLACKWELL: All right. The next meeting is at 11:00 this morning. Tiffany Cross, Daniel Lippman, we'll see if there's progress. Thank you both.
LIPPMAN: Thanks Victor.
CROSS: Thank you.
PAUL: The following is some breaking news out of California this morning. At least three people are dead and several wounded after a shooting at a bowling alley. This happened in Torrance. Upon arrival, officers say there were multiple people with gunshot wounds inside the building. Listen to what witnesses describe.
DANA SCOTT, WITNESS: A lot of people ran into -- back into the bar area, behind the seats on, the floor, under the benches. People were crying. It was not comfortable. People were looking for their parents. It's a family league. You got mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, everyone's friends in that league.
PAUL: Authorities haven't identified a person of interest yet. We will stay on this obviously, bring you all the information as soon as we get it.
BLACKWELL: Hundreds of TSA employees are calling out sick at major airports across the country. How this could impact airport security and your travel plans.
PAUL: And it looks as though Robert Mueller isn't done with the Russia investigation. The special counsel's grand jury just got an extension for him. Details for you ahead.
PAUL: All right, please don't blame the messenger here, but you can expect a bit of a delay if you're planning on flying during the government shutdown. CNN learning mass sickouts at major airports across the country are happening. Hundreds of transportation security administration officers who are working without pay are calling in sick. Now officials with the TSA say at least three major airports are being impacted here. BLACKWELL: At New York's JFK as many as 170 employees called out each
day this week. Callouts have increased by nearly 300 percent at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. And two North Carolina airports have experienced a 10 percent increase. A TSA spokesman says, quote, "security effectiveness will not be compromised, and performance standards will not change." However, some officials say there may be a few random pat-down checks -- fewer, I should say. And some passengers may be given expedited screenings.
PAUL: I want to bring in Mary Schiavo, she's a CNN transportation analyst and former Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Good morning to you Mary; so good to have you back with us. If you were back in charge at the Department of Transportation, how would you deal with this?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Unfortunately the law sets forth how you have to deal with it and the TSA employees are very important and that's why they're excepted employees meaning that these are employees are important to the safety and security of the American public and federal law, particularly something called the Anti- Deficiency Act, strange little law, been around since 1976, says that they must go to work because they are so important. And the TSA is very important.
If you work, you are guaranteed to be paid when the government comes back, unlike folks who are on furlough. You're guaranteed to be paid. But they do have to continue to work, and the government rules still apply. You can take other employment to make ends meet, but they'll have to comply with the government ethics rules, financial disclosure rules, and technically you are not supposed to call in sick if they're not sick. They can require it. Federal law already sets it forth. By the way, you could have stopgap funding to get them back to work, but of course they're in the Department of Homeland Security so that's where the problem lies, there in the department.
PAUL: It's their department. Okay. So when you have this many out sick, you have to assume this is organized to some degree, yes?
SCHIAVO: Well, one would assume but let's hope not. Remember, there was also a lawsuit filed about the -- the furloughs and the shutdowns. So one would hope it's not organized to violate any of the requirements and the ethical standards and the employment standards of the federal department, but it would appear to be so.
You know, I prefer to think that these people are trying to find other work to temporarily pay their bills. You know, I was in the government for so long. I went through lots of shutdowns, including the longest history under President Clinton. And (inaudible) around the government, keep your furlough money on hand. If you have to go through a long furlough you're used to it. Ford, Clinton, Carter, Bush, Reagan, they all had shutdowns.
But the TSA is relatively new as a government agency goes. They were formed after September, 2001 so a lot of these people haven't been through a shutdown. And so they don't know that the possibility exists, or they're not familiar with it. But this happens a lot. The Clinton one for example was five days followed by 21 days, but we didn't have the TSA back then.
Airlines did airport security.
PAUL: Do you fear that security's going to be compromised because of this?
SCHIAVO: Oh, certainly. When you don't have your full work force there doing and putting their heart into work, of course. The TSA's extremely important. You know, a safe transportation system is what allows our nation to work. Yes it could be compromised but certainly their leadership and their supervisors will be doing the best that they can to carry on during this time. But sure, the possibility is there to have safety and security affected.
PAUL: As this continues to go on day after day and if it continues for a significant period of time, is there an expectation that these people will continue to work week after week without getting paid? People can't do that. They can't live that way.
SCHIAVO: Well the law expects it, but there can, like I said, there will have to be stopgap measures because people have to pay their bills and they will start to resign. By the way, if they work, don't pay -- aren't paid and then resign, the law says they still have to be paid retroactively if they work, aside from any stopgap measures. Everybody hears about the government voting retroactively to pay people who do not work. It's automatic if you did work. You cannot volunteer for the federal government, by the way. You have to be paid. So over time if it goes a long period of time, I would expect people to drift away to other jobs where they can have a paycheck.
PAUL: All right. Mary Schiavo, thank you very much for sharing this morning.
SCHIAVO: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Well it is a test of wills and many other things as President Trump and congressional democrats negotiate a deal to end the government shutdown. There's no end in sight so a growing number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill are calling for compromise.
PAUL: And newly sworn in representative Rashida Tlaib is standing by her controversial comments on impeaching President Trump. We'll tell you what she's saying now. That's straight ahead.
BLACKWELL: We're looking ahead to the next big meeting between the White House and congressional democrats that is at 11:00 this morning. The question is will they be able to negotiate a deal to reopen the government.
PAUL: Both sides seem entrenched and unwilling to concede here but apparently there is some room for compromise. CNN's Manu Raju has this report from Capitol Hill. MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The shutdown could take years to
resolve. Just one of the headlines that came out of that White House meeting that occurred between the president, congressional leaders on Friday, something that Nancy Pelosi described as somewhat contentious at times because of the realization that they are nowhere near a deal to reopen a portion of the government that had been shuttered for 14 days; 800,000 employees affected by the shutdown. No end in sight because of the president's demands for his border wall at the meeting.
He said that he wanted $5.6 billion for his wall. That is something the democratic leaders flatly refused to go anywhere near. They say they're willing to give $1.3 billion for border security generally but they don't want to give a dime for his wall. This leaves a big question, where does this go from here. And do the senate republicans face pressure to put a bill on the floor to reopen the government that would not fund the president's wall.
On Capitol Hill on Friday, one republican congressman, Pete King, said it's time for the president to not listen to the hard-line faction within the House republican conference.
REP. PETE KING, (R) NEW YORK: I thought it was wrong to hold hundreds of thousands of employees hostage. I would say they have nothing to do with it. I think the president should negotiate; I think the democrats should negotiate. I don't know what's going on behind closed doors. I think if Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi weren't bound by their base they'd be able to negotiate more. And the president shouldn't always be listening to the freedom caucus.
RAJU: On the democratic side, too, there's some level of impatience from at least one freshman democrat, Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who said it's time for Pelosi to negotiate, perhaps come a little bit closer to the president's number because of the pinch that people are starting to feel not getting their paychecks.
RAJU: She should cut a deal essentially?
REP. JEFF VAN DREW, (D) NEW JERSEY: Yes, in my opinion - I would like - I know that there's some people in my party who don't agree but there are people not working and not getting paid. I wish we weren't. I don't -- and the republicans are digging in too much. Everybody's digging in too much. You know who doesn't like it in my opinion? The vast majority of the American public.
RAJU: For the most part house democrats believe that Pelosi has taken a position they can support. Even some of her sharpest critics like Kathleen Rice of New York who voted for another candidate on the floor of the House for speaker told me she supports Nancy Pelosi's position and most voice that view in a closed-door meeting on Friday morning, I am told.
The question is who's going to feel pressure, who's going to ultimately cave. The president said he's willing to go for the long haul. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken himself out of the process, said it's up to the president and the democrats. The question is, will anyone budge. No sign it's going to happen any time soon. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
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. The 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.
Now if this is the year that you wanted to start 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 a few more days, all federal courts could be impacted because they're projected to run out of money on January 11th. Or maybe you're thinking about or in the middle of buying a house. Depending on your type of loan, your closing could 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. If the shutdown continues much longer, it could delay a major January report from the USDA which farmers use to make plans for the rest of the year.
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.
BLACKWELL: And some environmental and food and drug inspections have also ground to a halt. And you've probably seen the pictures of the national parks, left mostly open but largely unstaffed. The 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. While the Coast Guard got their pay and got it 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 out there making compromises they don't want to go through the shutdown which is more than we can say for the president and Congress.
PAUL: With mortgages, auto loans, credit card bills, you know, they're all due. Thousands of federal employees, they need financial help. According to the Navy Federal Credit Union, 4,500 members have applied for interest-free loans. A credit union spokesperson says as many as 100,000 of its members are eligible for those loans. Right now the program only covers one paycheck but could be extended if the shutdown drags into another pay period. Banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank Of America, and Chase are offering payment assistance, as well, for mortgages and other loans. And they're considering reversing overdraft fees.
BLACKWELL: Robert Mueller's grand jury just got an extension. And one democratic lawmaker's predicting it means there will be more indictments to come this year.
PAUL: And newly sworn in representative Rashida Tlaib says President Trump has met his match. The president calls her remarks disgraceful. Why Tlaib is standing by her controversial comments.
PAUL: Thirty-five minutes past the hour right now. Good morning to you. We have new details on the Russia investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Washington-based grand jury getting an extension which means that the special counsel is not done with the Russia probe.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Kara Scannell has details.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The grand jury hearing evidence from Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been extended, allowing the investigation to continue. The chief judge of the district court in Washington agreed to a request by Mueller's team to extend the grand jury's term. That 18-month term which began in July of 2017 was set to expire this weekend. Under federal rules, the judge could extend the term up to six months if she finds it's in the public interest. Mueller's grand jury has voted to indict roughly three dozen individuals and entities so far on charges ranging from hacking to lying to the FBI. And they've heard testimony from multiple witnesses. The extension means the grand jury will continue to hear evidence in the investigation, and Bob Mueller isn't finished. Kara Scannell, CNN, Washington.
BLACKWELL: The grand jury started meeting in July, 2017. Since then they've heard from dozens of witnesses, several indictments have been handed down, and in recent months there have been signs that they will press on. Watch.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) CONNECTICUT: What it tells me is that Robert Mueller has miles to go before he sleeps or stops. There are going to be more indictments in this new year, as I have predicted repeatedly. The record of this special counsel investigation is already extraordinarily substantial. And that's the reason why the judge concluded that it was in the public interest for this grand jury to be extended for another six months. Remember, he could have empanelled a new grand jury and transferred all the evidence to that grand jury. It's a mark of this grand jury's interest in this case that they were willing to continue to serve in this capacity, which is extremely onerous for the average citizen. There are very substantial sacrifices involved, and they are a key part of our justice system. Bottom line, I believe that we're going to see substantial work still to come.
BLACKWELL: Well that was Senator Richard Blumenthal predicting more indictments in the Russia investigation this year.
PAUL: Representative Rashida Tlaib is standing by her controversial call for President Trump's impeachment. Speaking exclusively to CNN Affiliate WDIV, the congresswoman from Michigan defended the explicit language she used.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, (D) MICHIGAN: I know that if I was a man, it might have been differently. I know that for me, I've always been this way. I mean, I think no one expects me to be anything but myself -- the girl from southwest Detroit, the little sass in attitude. I think, you know, President Trump has met his match.
PAUL: Now President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to Tlaib's words in different ways. Take a look.
TRUMP: I thought her comments were disgraceful.
PELOSI: I don't think it's anything worse than the president -- what the president has said.
PAUL: Senator Mitt Romney also weighing in tweeting, "Representative Tlaib took the politics of Washington deeper down the drain. Elected leaders should elevate, not degrade our public discourse."
BLACKWELL: The 116th Congress is making history as the most diverse Congress ever.
PAUL: It includes the newly-elected young congresswoman from California, Katie Hill. CNN Senior National Correspondent Kyung Lah saw sat down with her as she made her way to Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would wake you up on a Saturday to do this?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A pre dawn flight for Katie Hill from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.; a journey that's turning this citizen into a congresswoman. What is your hope when you land in D.C.?
REP. KATIE HILL, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, playing nice isn't really something that's kind of like in my vocabulary. I just do what I think is right. We are regular middle-class people. We're young, we look like and speak like the people that we're there to represent. I think that that's different from what it's historically been like.
LAH: The 116th Congress is different and historic; younger, more racially diverse, and more female. A record-setting 127 women elected. Among them...
HILL: This is about people showing up.
LAH: Thirty-one-year-old hill.
HILL: Hi, it's Katie Hill.
LAH: She ran as an unknown first-time candidate and defeated a republican male incumbent, flipping her California district. In true millennial form, Hill's been sharing her ride on social media since her victory.
HILL: Hey, everybody, last day of first week of training here and orientation here in D.C.
LAH: From meeting fellow new members to being selected for the House Majority leadership and adjusting to fine dining while flying cross country.
Does that all mean you'll govern differently? Will government be different now because of people like you?
HILL: I believe so, and I believe that we're a big enough class; we dropped the average age of congress by ten years, more than ten years, more women than ever. So the face of Congress is changing and it literally is far more diverse than it ever has been.
LAH: Hill who had never lived outside of California or even traveled with so many bags...
HILL: Thank you very much.
LAH: ... is now sharing an apartment with fellow democratic congresswoman ...
REP. LAUREN UNDERWOOD, (D) ILLINOIS: Welcome to our home.
LAH: Lauren Underwood of Illinois. She also unseated a man. UNDERWOOD: Hi, everybody!
LAH: A four-term republican incumbent becoming the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress. Neither of you guys look like the traditional members of Congress.
UNDERWOOD: Isn't that something?
LAH: Together, they're the third and fourth youngest women members of Congress. What does all of this mean for governing moving forward, having women like you in Congress?
UNDERWOOD: I think it's going to be hard. We don't walk in and everything automatically changes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The phones work?
UNDERWOOD: When I walked through the door was definitely a "Wow this doesn't feel like me." My office was - my two staff's apartment in this sort of shady part of town with like (inaudible) cans all over the place. This is definitely different.
LAH: Inauguration morning --
HILL: To the Capitol and what? Hi, how are you? Great to see you.
LAH: A crush of cameras welcomed her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From congresswoman-elect to dropping the "elect." How does it feel?
HILL: I guess so. It feels good. It feels like we can finally get to work.
LAH: Hill's cross-country journey ending, marking the beginning of her new role as a congresswoman.
PAUL: And potential 2020 caucus-goers in Iowa getting their first face to face with Senator Elizabeth Warren since she announced that she formed a presidential exploratory committee.
BLACKWELL: The Massachusetts democrat kicked off a five-city tour in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Her announcement on New Year's Eve kicked off the 2020 presidential primary season more than a year before the first votes will be cast in Iowa. Speaking to voters last night, Warren argued the 2020 election should be about a single issue.
WARREN: If we're content with government working for the rich and the powerful, keep voting republican.
CROWD CHEERS: No! WARREN: If you believe that government ought to work for all of us,
then I think that's what the Democratic Party should be all about, and that's what 2020 should be all about.
BLACKWELL: Warren is the first major democrat to announce a potential presidential run but a long list of candidates are expected to join the campaign in the coming months.
PAUL: And still to come, there's a manhunt going on right now in Texas for the gunman who killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. The family, the entire community, they want justice. We're talking to -- we did talk to the little girl's mother, that's ahead.
LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM:Took my baby from me, and you have no care in the world.
BLACKWELL: The man who shot and killed 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes is still out there this morning. Texas authorities released this sketch of the suspect, and they're asking for the public's help to tracking him down.
PAUL: So whatever you're doing, please just take a look at your screen.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's put it back up, actually. The Harris County Sheriff said his department will not rest, and here's the picture again -- will not rest until they find justice for Jazmine.
PAUL: Now, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said she's reached out to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to organize a federal task force to investigate this shooting. CNN's Nick Valencia talked to that little girl's mother.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sitting at home, her gunshot wound still bandaged, LaPorsha Washington is devastated.
WASHINGTON: They took a 7-year-old life, and you can never replace that. No amount of money, no amount of gifts, no amount of support, anything can ever replace my child. Our child.
VALENCIA: Washington and her four daughters were on a Sunday morning coffee run when they were ambushed.
WASHINGTON: The next thing you know, I didn't even hear the first gunshot. All I remember is my glass shattering.
VALENCIA: Her 7-year-old daughter, Jazmine Barnes, was sitting in the back of the car. She was still in her pajamas when she was shot and killed.
WASHINGTON: 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.
VALENCIA: Wounded, Washington raced to the hospital.
WASHINGTON: The hospital was seven minutes away. I was flying down the beltway until my car started to shake. When my car started to shake, I told my babies, I was like, y'all, the tire is out. I was like, I can't make it no further.
VALENCIA: Surveillance video shows the suspected shooter fleeing in this red pickup truck. He's still on the run.
WASHINGTON: You're being a coward if you don't step forward and do the right thing.
VALENCIA: Alexis Dilbert, Jazmine's 15-year-old sister, was in the passenger seat during the shooting and made eye contact with the gunman. What did his face look like?
ALEXIS DILBERT, SISTER OF VICTIM: He looked like sick. When he looked in the car, he looked sick. His face was really pale. That's like all I can remember and his eyes were blue. His face was thin and pale.
VALENCIA: The Harris County sheriff released this sketch. They've added more patrol cars on the streets of Houston focused on finding the killer.
WASHINGTON: We're scared to leave our house. We're scared to go to the store.
VALENCIA: There's been an outpouring of nationwide support including a large reward, even a Houston Texans football player has pledged to pay for the 7-year-old's funeral.
WASHINGTON: Jazmine is, when I say she's just my -- she's my love child. She always want to hug and kiss on you. And she loved the world.
VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Houston, Texas.
PAUL: Civil Rights Attorney and Activist S. Lee Merritt is with us. Thank you very much for being with us. Have you talked to the family? How they're doing this morning?
S. LEE MERRITT, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY AND ACTIVIST: The family's growing increasingly frustrated with the fact that this killer hasn't been found yet. And there's been no concrete lead. That's a difficult thing to deal with as they get closer to the funeral. PAUL: So there have been -- there's been a lot of interest in this
case, a lot of people have come forward wanting to help, you being one of them. What is it about this case in particular that makes you get involved?
MERRITT: Well, for me, it was the loss of innocent life. Jazmine herself was just a beautiful, loving little 7-year-old girl. She was completely -- her family was completely innocent. It was an unprovoked attack. Was just a beautiful, loving little was just a beautiful, loving little 7-year-old girl. She was completely -- her family was completely innocent. It was an unprovoked attack.
I think it has a lot to do with the season, as well. It was a week ago today, New Year's Eve, when a lot of us were coming together to be with our families and prepare for a new year. We were awestruck by this tragedy. And you couple the senselessness of it all with the fact that it was around the holiday season where we all want to love on each other. It became even that much more difficult to deal with.
PAUL: You said that you believe the shooting was racially motivated. What evidence do you have that would lead you to that?
MERRITT: So there's no direct evidence. Because this person hasn't been captured yet we don't know that he was a white supremacist we don't know what was going on in his head. There's certainly some indications that are difficult to ignore. You can take an inference from the fact that this was a black family that provided no other impetus for the attack at all. You couple that with the fact that a similar attack took place in this neighborhood, Houston, less than a year prior or just over a year prior where an unknown white man attacked a black family with no real motive other than race.
You couple that with the rise of hate crimes in the nation that's been chronicled by the FBI who said that hate crimes are on the rise for the third year straight. The primary target is African-Americans. Lastly, you point out that this area of Houston is known for a racial element, in particular a white supremacist element.
PAUL: You heard us say that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has reached out to the acting A.G. to mobilize a federal task force to investigate this. Are you getting any word that the A.G. will support an investigation?
MERRITT: Well, we don't know whether or not the A.G. will respond but we're certainly grateful that Congresswoman Lee is taking that this step. We believe that it's appropriate here. I think every resource available should be poured into finding the killer and dealing with the greater issue at hand.
PAUL: Social Media Activist Sean King is teaming up with you on this effort and Justin Winslow, a Miami Heat player and somebody who's a Houston native, he sent condolences to the family yesterday. So many people want to be involved in this, want to help in some way. What kind of support is being offered to this family beyond that? MERRITT: Right now we're really focused on the young women -- what's
often missed, four other victims besides Jazmine were in the car. Her mom was shot, and there were three other girls, the 15-year-old, 13-year-old in the car, and they witnessed Jazmine being slain in front of them. And they were victims of that -- those hails of bullets themselves. Luckily the other girls were not struck, but the emotional damage that came from this is something they'll be living with for a long time. So members of the Houston community from the clergy to just everyday people like one group led by a young woman named Andrea Odom is loving on this family, going shopping for them, checking on them. So the Houston community has gathered around them, and it's gone not only from celebrities like Shaquille O'Neal but average everyday people.
PAUL: You mentioned the case in 2017 that you believe this is connected to. If they couldn't find the suspect in that case now more than a year later, what makes you confident they can do so this time around? What has to change to find a suspect in this case?
MERRITT: You know, even before this incident happened, Sheriff Gonzalez admitted that his department and Sheriff Gonzalez is the sheriff of Harris County, the office that is investigating this case. He admitted that they made a lot of mistakes in that case. He pointed out that the shooting that took place near the time of Hurricane Harvey and the department was already in crisis dealing with all the tragedies associated with that hurricane. They failed to even respond to that caller and take statements until almost three months later. By then most of the leads had been cold. Witnesses at that time -- more importantly the sheriff's office was getting daily updates, was increased the patrols who has a whole task force is committed to reviewing leads. I think that, frankly, they're taking Jazmine's case seriously this time. We're hopeful that we will not have the same result, that it will go for over a year without being resolved.
PAUL: All right, S. Lee Merritt, we appreciate so much you taking the time to be with us. A reminder, there is a community rally this afternoon at the Wal-Mart parking lot where Jazmine was killed, but Mr. Merritt, we appreciate so much for being here.
MERRITT: Thank you for having me.
BLACKWELL: The CDC says flu activity has spiked across the country causing a rise in the number of children who have died. More in a moment.
BLACKWELL: Officials running the migrant shelter in Tornio, Texas say they expect all children to be held there to be released and placed in sponsor homes within weeks. According to officials at the tent city shelter, the population has been steadily dropping since the Department of Health and Human Services eased background check requirements.
PAUL: They expect to close the facility completely by the end of the month. An HHS spokesperson told CNN they have flow updates on the -- no updates on the matter.
All right, let me ask you a question, did you get the flu shot? Maybe you got the flu. Maybe you got both. New numbers released by the CDC yesterday show 19 states have high levels of flu activity, and that number more than doubled in just one week.
BLACKWELL: The CDC also reports the number of children who have died has increased, as well. At least 13 children have died this year because of the flu.
PAUL: All right, be sure tonight to tune in to see the CNN original film "Love Gilda." it is the incredible story of comedy great Gilda Radner in her own words at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.
PELOSI: We really cannot resolve this until we open up government.
TRUMP: I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing.
SCHUMER: We told the president we needed the government open. He resisted.