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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Trump Warns He'd Let Shutdown Continue "Months or Even Years"; Vice President Pence to Host Meeting with Congressional Staff This Morning; Mueller Grand Jury Extended for Up to Six Months; Rep. Rashida Tlaib Defends Her Explicit Language; Elizabeth Warren Tests Political Waters In Iowa; Ellen DeGeneres Urges Kevin Hart To Host Awards Show. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired January 5, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: "Love Gilda." It is the incredible story of comedy great Gilda Radner in her own words, that's tonight at 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE 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-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: 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 those things already pre-budgeted. So, when something like this happens and you're not going to get your next check, it's like, OK, what do I do?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY WEEKEND" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. It's now week three of the government shutdown. But President Trump says, he'd rather call it a strike.

PAUL: Whatever you call it, he says if a deal isn't reached this could last for months or even years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 for the safety of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Well, later this morning, Vice President Pence will host a meeting with house and Senate staffers. It's a follow up to yesterday's meeting which reportedly started with a 15-minute profane tirade from the president where he cursed several times at congressional leaders.

PAUL: The president later called the meeting productive. Democrats called it contentious. After that meeting, the president warned that he'd go around Congress if he wants and build a border wall using military funding.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now with the latest from the White House, CNN White House Reporter Sarah Westwood. Sarah, what are you hearing this morning? Good morning to you.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, good morning, Victor and Christi. And what we heard yesterday emerging from that meeting in the situation room is two very different messages from Democratic congressional leaders and from the president. We heard Democrats say they wanted to the government reopen while negotiations continue and the president signaled that he'd be willing to keep the government partially shuttered indefinitely, until he gets money for that border wall.

And the president is as dug in as ever, he's inflexible on his demand for border wall funding even as he's increasingly flexible about what might actually constitute a wall: whether that's a fence, whether that's steel slats, nobody quite seems to know. But the president has reprised his demand for that $5.6 billion sum that House Republicans passed in a spending bill as one of their last orders of business in the majority right before the shutdown. But President Trump is now saying that he's considered declaring a national emergency in order to get funding for his border wall, if he's not able to get it legislatively. Take a listen to what he had to say yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: 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 and build it very quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, Congressional Democrats are already pushing back on this prospect. Democratic Congressman Adam Smith, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement opposing that the move last night: "by abusing this authority, President Trump would be saying that he does not actually believe all the money he requests for our country's defense is needed for legitimate national security purposes. That would raise major questions about his credibility when he requests his next defense budget from Congress."

So, Trump is likely to face a lot of headwinds if he attempts to get money by declaring a national emergency. But heading into this meeting today, here on the White House complex with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary Nielsen at Homeland Security, and Jared Kushner negotiating on behalf of the president with the staff of congressional leaders, there's not a lot of expectation that we'll see a breakthrough given that both sides are very entrenched, Victor and Christi, and Democrats right now are not feeling the political pressure to compromise.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, we appreciate the update. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now to discuss this: Wesley Lowery, National Reporter at The Washington Post; and Steve Rogers, Member of the Donald Trump Campaign Advisory Board. Gentlemen, welcome to the show.

STEVE ROGERS, MEMBER OF THE DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISORY BOARD: It's a pleasure being here.

BLACKWELL: Steve, let me start with you. Two officials said the Pentagon believes there is roughly a billion to $2 billion that could be set aside for construction of the wall. Do you believe that the president should consider declaring a national emergency and going around Congress in this process to build the wall?

ROGERS: Yes, without a doubt. I spent my entire life in the United States Navy, military intelligence, and in law enforcement. This is indeed a national emergency. It's a national emergency because of what is crossing that borders. The FBI recently in their report said that there were 3,000 criminals that were apprehended, and some of them could have had terrorist connections. So, indeed, he must do what he has to do in order to protect the people of this country --

BLACKWELL: Some of them could have or some of them did?

[07:05:05] ROGERS: Well, some of them did, and some of them could have. Keep in mind that there are still investigations going on. But the point is, there are criminal elements crossing that border and he has been very consistent from day one that he is going to protect the people of this country whereas the Democrats, they have not gone down that road. He has been consistent, he's going to keep his word in protecting the American people.

BLACKWELL: Wesley, we heard something similar from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen yesterday, talking about 3,000 people that had been flagged by Homeland Security or by ICE, actually, coming into the country. Set us up with the facts on what's happening at the border and who is being apprehended there.

WESLEY LOWERY, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure, it's difficult in part because there have been times where the administration has made claims about who's crossing over on the border or who, for example, is included in the caravans that were coming. Only for later upon scrutiny those claims to kind of fall apart. I mean, what is unquestionably true is that there are certainly border crossings and people who approach who have criminal records.

Now, in many or in some of those cases, the very least, the criminal records of the person is they have been previously deported from the United States of America. That their criminal record amounts to illegally crossing the border. But it's also -- certainly also true that there are folks who approach our southern border in the attempt to traffic drugs or people. I mean, it's -- there are some legitimate national security concerns.

There is a real question, though, about whether or not the amount of border crossing happening currently, which is at relatively low levels compared even to very recent history; amounts to something that the president could use national emergency power to implement his preferred policies for. You know, I think that the question of whether or not the president could declare a national emergency is one of presidential power. And it would speak to, you know, potential expansion of presidential power in a way that typically, Republicans would be opposed to.

BLACKWELL: Steve, let me ask you this. There are two bills that were passed by the House Democrats on the first day of this new session. In which, there was one specifically that was a continuing resolution for Homeland Security, the department through which that the wall would be built and funding would be handled. And then, another that would fund the rest of the departments impacted through September 30th, the HR-21.

What's the virtue of not passing that bill that deals with the EPA, with transportation, the interior? Let's put up the, on the screen, the departments that are impacted: Agricultural, all the other departments. Why not open these and fully fund all of these departments? And if you still want to fight over funding for the wall and although most people want everyone to get back to work, fight over the Homeland Security bill, but get these people back to work. Why not --

ROGERS: OK. Why not the Democrats, these are the same Democrats who were crying for border security, crying for the wall, crying for the fences before Donald Trump was elected. What changed --

BALCKWELL: But Steve, those departments have nothing to do with funding a border wall. You're not going to need agriculture to fund the border wall. Why not fully fund the EPA, interior, agriculture, state?

ROGERS: And neither does building a bridge in a desert. They attach all these pork barrel projects, they attach different things on bills in order to hinder the ability for the president to get what he needs. So, people, yes, it's -- unfortunately, these departments will suffer. People are suffering not because of the president of the United States, but because of politics as usual in Washington, D.C. Congress.

BLACKWELL: But how does this not politics, as usual? Again, puts the departments back up.

ROGERS: OK.

BLACKWELL: These departments have nothing to do with funding the border wall, short of Homeland Security, that seal is there. But you see parts of state, parts of transportation, the EPA, agriculture, interior, Hud, housing -- Health and Human Services. Why not fund those departments and continue to fight on the wall?

ROGERS: Because what the Congress is doing is holding these departments hostage. They're putting those bills attached to that border wall bill --

BLACKWELL: Yes, the Republican Senate is doing that. The House just passed a bill to fund them through September 30th.

ROGERS: The fact of the matter is, this is a national security issue that Congress has a responsibility to help the president protect the American people. Politics as usual, my friend, they've been doing this for years. There's a new sheriff in town. He's not going to tolerate this. Give them the money. They agreed to fund the wall before he got elected to office. That is an absolute fact. Go back to all your videos and you'll see they did. The difference is, he's the president, and they're using this simply to hinder his ability to do what he said he must do to protect the American people.

BLACKWELL: Wesley, two cracks in the wall for the Republican Senate. You've got Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Susan Collins saying, listen, we need to reopen the government and continue the fight over the wall. At what point does McConnell have to say if the president is thinking months, years, the 2020 election, I've got to protect my majority and we've got to get this thing moving again?

[07:10:15] LOWERY: Well, it's a logistical matter. The government, the federal work force, cannot be out of work without paychecks until the 2020 election. I mean, the implications for the economy, much less of the American people -- I mean, that's something that would be catastrophic. When you think about it -- I mean, my colleagues at The Washington Post reported last night that the Trump administration had not considered that the money for federal food stamps runs out next month. That without a Treasury Department being fully funded, tax refunds cannot be processed.

That's millions of Americans who will not be receiving thousands of dollars that many of them budget around. You have people who are now already entering their second or third week. They've have now missed a full paycheck. CNN reported yesterday, TSA agents who were not showing up because they're being asked to work without any pay and this is going to potentially cause massive slowdowns at major airports.

That as this stretches on, the real-world impact for additional Americans increases exponentially each and every day and each and every week and that is going to continue to build political pressure. If you are not only potentially vulnerable Republican, someone like Cory Gardner or Susan Collins, but even safer Republicans. If you're Rob Portman in Ohio, how long, you know, how many food stamp recipients in Ohio need to call your office before you go to Mitch McConnell and say, hey, we need to do something about this?

BLACKWELL: Steve, can we just clarify and get some truth on one of the president's lies yesterday from the rose garden? I'm first going to play what he said yesterday and then what he said during the campaign. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As far as concrete, I said I was going to build a wall. I never said I'm going to build a concrete -- I said I'm going to build a wall.

I'll tell you what it's going to be made of. It's going to be made of hardened concrete.

You know the concrete plank that goes 60, 70, 80, 90 feet, right? Concrete plank for garage floors. It's precast. You put a foundation, you put a rut, you put up, you make it beautiful. You put a little design in the concrete. You can do that easily. Because someday, you what it's going to be called, right? The Trump wall; we have to make it beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So, what he said yesterday was a lie, was it not, Steve?

ROGERS: I would not characterize what he said as a lie. Because to begin with, there are certain areas of that border which the Border Patrol officers said should be made in concrete. So, he didn't lie. There is --

BLACKWELL: He said yesterday, "I didn't say it would be a concrete wall." We just played -- I'm not reading from a document that they e- mailed. We played the president, then-candidate, saying out of his own mouth it's going to be a concrete wall. How was that not a lie?

ROGERS: Let me ask you something -- instead of focusing on something like that, why don't we focus --

BLACKWELL: Truth? Instead of focusing on truth?

ROGERS: -- the truth -- you want truth? I'll give you truth. The truth of the matter is, there is a national security crisis on that border. That is what the American people care about. There is a national security crisis. That's what we should be focusing on. He did not lie, OK. He made it very clear that areas of that border should be made in concrete as at the recommendation of the officers who put their lives on the line there.

BLACKWELL: It was a lie. And Mexico will pay for it. Steve Rogers, Wesley lowery, thank you very much.

ROGERS: Thank you very much. PAUL: We're following breaking news out of southern California this

morning. At least three people are dead and several others wounded after a shooting at a bowling alley in Torrance. Officers say, there were multiple people with gunshot wounds inside the building. Listen to what witnesses say happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA SCOTT, WITNESS: A lot of people ran into -- back into the bar area, behind the seats and on the floor, under the benches. People were crying. It was not comfortable. People were looking for their parents. This is a family league. So, you know, you've got mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. You know, everybody's friends in that league.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Authorities have not yet identified a person of interest. Of course, we will bring you more information as soon as it comes in.

PAUL: Yes. Well, it looks as though Robert Mueller isn't done with the Russia investigation. The special counsel's grand jury just gave him an extension. We'll tell you what happened.

BLACKWELL: Ellen DeGeneres is pushing comedian, Kevin Hart, to host the Oscars despite the backlash over his past remarks. So, will he host after all? We'll have more on that ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:14:35] KEVIN HART, COMEDIAN: I don't have a homophobic bone in my body. I know I've addressed it. I know that I've apologized.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: 17 minutes past the hour right now and Robert Mueller is not done with the Russia investigation yet. The special counsel's Washington-based grand jury is getting an extension. It's already been working for 18 months. Its term was set to expire this weekend. It's not clear how long the extension will go. It could be for up to six months. So far, the grand jury has voted to indict roughly three- dozen individuals and entities on charges ranging from hacking to lying to the FBI. Page Pate, Federal and Constitutional Attorney with us right now. So, what do you glean from the fact that they have gotten another six months? Does it give you any indication as to the status of this investigation?

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Clearly, the investigation is not over. This is not an automatic extension. The judge has to find that there's good cause for it, that the extension is in the public interest. Because remember, these are just regular citizens. They've been called in to serve on this grand jury, takes time away from their job, their day-to-day life. And they've been doing it for 18 months. And now, the judge says you can keep them for another, at least six months or up to six months. So, to me, it suggests that the investigation is very much ongoing. There are additional witnesses the grand jury needs to hear from. Additional evidence they need to see. And potentially additional indictments.

PAUL: Any -- I was going to say, any indictments do you anticipate coming up? Any -- what does it tell you about when you say that they have more to go on, what does it tell you that would be?

PATE: It could be Roger Stone. It could be any of the individuals that have been part of the earlier investigation. There is absolutely no reason to keep a grand jury in session unless you're going to consider further indictments. Because this investigation has been going on for over a year now. The grand jury has scene heard from many witnesses. They've looked at a lot of documents, they've returned a lot of indictments. There is no reason for the special counsel to say I need more time unless he's planning for more indictments.

PAUL: All right. I want to play some sound from the president yesterday as he is debating whether to employ the national emergency idea to try, to get funding for the wall. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: 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 and build it very quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Fact check that for us. How much truth is there to that?

[07:20:07] PATE: It's partially true. The president does have the authority to declare a national emergency. And if he does that, then he has the ability to use existing funding to build something, military construction, that's necessary to deal with the emergency. But the law says that that emergency has to be the type of emergency that needs armed forces.

PAUL: OK. So, that's my question to you -- what kind of evidence does he -- does he need to provide evidence that there is a national emergency?

PAUL: That's where this is going to get interesting. Because provide evidence to whom? I mean, he doesn't have to go back to Congress and get approval to do it under the law. He can just start doing it. So, what's going to happen is, I assume someone's going to challenge this in court, we're going to have a district judge somewhere probably along the border, determining whether or not the president has the authority under this particular law to start building this wall that Congress will not approve because he says there's a national emergency. I think a court's going to require that Trump show that this national emergency actually has to do with something like war. We need armed forces. We're under a threat, an immediate threat that requires the construction of the wall. PAUL: All right. Page Pate, we've run out of time. Thank you so

much.

PATE: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Same here. We appreciate it. Victor?

BLACKWELL: Well, in the ongoing government shutdown, thousands of air traffic controllers are working without pay. Coming up, why their union says the shutdown could threaten travelers' safety?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Vice President Mike Pence will meet with negotiators from Capitol Hill at 11:00 this morning to try to get closer to a deal to reopen the government.

[07:25:02] PAUL: Yes, the government shutdown in its 15th day as you're waking up here. There appear to be few signs Republicans and Democrats are any closer to reaching an agreement. But during a meeting yesterday, the president made it clear he would not compromise on the $5-plus-billion he's demanding for a border wall with Mexico. In the meantime, the president had this to say to those who are feeling the frontline effects of the shutdown and these people without paychecks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Among the hundreds of thousands of government employees working without pay are the thousands of air traffic controllers. And joining me now is Dan McCabe, a Representative with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. As we're having a discussion about politics, I'm forward to disclose that the union endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Dan, thank you for coming in.

DAN MCCABE, REPRESENTATIVE, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: Yes, thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: First, the president just said -- I don't know if you heard there because we were actually talking when it happened; it's that the president said when asked about the safety net for the federal workers who are working without pay. He said that, well, we're going to have a wall and so people are going to be safe, and the great majority of people who are working without pay or are not working, support with what he's doing, agree with what's he's doing, do you? MCCABE: You know, the organization that I represent, we're not really

in the game of placing blame as to what's going. And we're so busy in trying to get to a solution to get the government open that we're not listening to the rhetoric. I mean, I don't really have an opinion -- my opinion is whatever it takes to get the government open is what we need to do.

BLACKWELL: How is this affecting your members?

MCCABE: In multiple ways. Number one is the human impact. So, we've got people working who don't know when they're going to get paid. We were last paid December 31st. The next scheduled paycheck would be January 15th. We've been told that if there's no resolution by January 11th, that paycheck will not come. So, you're already in a highly stressful -- in a very stressful job. And now, when you go home, you're thinking about how am I going pay my mortgage, how am I going to pay for childcare. It changes the dynamic at the dinner table for the families of the controllers.

BLACKWELL: What did you think when you heard that the president said, he confirmed there, that this could go on for months or years?

MCCABE: I shuddered. I shuddered, absolutely shuddered at the thought of that. That's not a sustainable answer. We're in the middle of a 30-year low in staffing, in Air Traffic Control. We went through a shutdown similar to this in 2013 with the sequestration. Any time that there's a shutdown like this, the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, which is the single point for new hires to go through, it closes. And closing something like that is like stopping a freight train at 80 miles per hour and then starting it up again. We're still feeling the implications of closing it in 2013.

BLACKWELL: 5-1/2 years later?

MCCABE: 5-1/2 years later. When you miss a hiring goal, it filters down over and over and over. You can't just hire someone to be an air traffic controller and turn them loose in a week and say "go do it." It takes years of very skilled training to get them ready to go. And this is something that we won't feel today. We'll fee the paychecks today; we won't feel the staffing implications for years.

BLACKWELL: And it will go on for years.

MCCABE: And it could go on for years.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this because in Atlanta, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world. The Super Bowl is in a little more than a month, less than a month actually. And you say that that's going to be a major problem if this, this continues --

MCCABE: Huge problem.

BLACKWELL: How so?

MCCABE: So, something the size of the Super Bowl. An event like that, you plan on an influx of extra aircraft that you're not used to seeing. So, as you can imagine, having Atlanta Hartsfield and a lot of other busy metropolitan airports around, it's very busy airspace. Some of the busiest airspace in the world. We're looking at adding what we believe to be about 1,500 extra flights per day into the system around Atlanta.

And that's for a few days prior to the Super Bowl up to a day to two days after the Super Bowl. So, for the better part of a year, we've been planning: how do we get the airplanes in, how do we get the airplanes out, how do we do it at the margin of safety that's acceptable to us, which 100 percent? How do we do it without reducing the efficiency that everyone in the Atlanta neighbor has come to expect from us?

And those meetings have stopped. We can't meet with outside entities. We can't meet with the NFL, we can't meet with the airport authorities of the different airports. We can no longer meet facility to facility. We can't even train the work force in the building that I represent because there's no one to send the computer-based training to even explain what processes have been put in place. We can't even test the processes they want to put in place because the meetings have been scrapped.

[07:30:08] BLACKWELL: So, if this goes through February 3rd, that, that frame -- that, that week could be chaotic.

MCCABE: It could be absolutely chaotic.

BLACKWELL: Wow. All right, Dan McCabe. Thank you so much for helping us understand the gravity beyond Washington. Because often, we talk about this in a D.C. Metro framework beyond Washington, what this means to the people, and to all the agencies that are impacted. Thank you so much.

MCCABE: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi?

PAUL: Well, one newly elected Michigan congresswoman says, she's just being herself, "The little sass and attitude." Why she says she is not apologizing for her controversial profanity? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Welcome back. 33 minutes after the hour now. President Trump, says he's doing such a great job that there's no way he can be impeached. Well, the Democrats some of them, at least, seem to disagree with that.

PAUL: And now that they have control of the House, talking impeachment is getting louder and louder. Here's CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Some Democrats have been calling for President Trump's impeachment for months. REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: I said, he should be impeached. And they said don't use that word.

ZELENY: But now, they are 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. 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 go in there, we're going to impeach the --

ZELENY: Fallout from that crass expletive echoing around Washington. From the White House.

TRUMP: Well, I thought her comments were disgraceful.

ZELENY: To the Capitol, highlighting a generational and ideological divide over the wisdom of impeachment.

REP. AL GREEN (D-TX), HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: I'm absolutely convinced that impeachment is not dead.

ZELENY: But House Judiciary Chairman, Jerry Nadler is trying to put the brakes on all this impeachment talk.

[07:35:02] REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I don't really like that kind of language. But more to the point, I disagree with what she said. It is too early to talk about that intelligently.

ZELENY: 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. Yet, she's not ruling it out.

PELOSI: We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn't be impeaching for a political reason. And we shouldn't avoid impeachment for a political reason.

ZELENY: Last month, the CNN poll found 43 percent of Americans saying Trump should be impeached and removed from office. While half say, he shouldn't be. But among Democrats, a whopping 80 percent favored impeachment, which presents a conundrum for the wide field of potential 2020 presidential candidates.

We caught up with California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who was among those eyeing a presidential bid. And prefers Trump leave office by defeat.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE SELECT COMMITTEE: I just think, it's better for democracy that he loses at the ballot box. If he somehow has 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 have tried to impeach me and he comes out more popular.

ZELENY: The president believes impeachment is unwarranted and hopes it could backfire on Democrats.

TRUMP: 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 essential 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Well, Representative Rashida Tlaib, who you saw there in Jeff's story is standing by those comments after facing some harsh criticism. In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate WDIV, the Michigan congresswoman defended that language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TLAIB: I think, no one expects me to be anything but myself, the girl from Southwest Detroit, the little sass and attitude. I think, you know, President Trump has met his match.

I can tell you, I've talked to a number of my colleagues including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Al Green, and others, who were very -- you know, smiling and and telling me, "We love your spirit, we welcome it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: We want to forget or not forget, rather. All of the times President Trump has used some colorful language. The Washington Post reports the president apologized to Nancy Pelosi during a closed-door meeting for cursing so much.

Nadeam Elshami, he is the former chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi. He's with us now. Good morning to you, sir. Thank you for being here.

NADEAM ELSHAMI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you so much for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely. So, we know that just before we get into some other news, we know that Representative Pelosi -- Speaker Pelosi seems to be supporting representative to leave. Do you think that she should?

ELSHAMI: Well, I think what the -- what the speaker has said is she's not going to -- you know put a kind of language barrier for her -- for her colleagues. And I don't believe that's the language that the congresswoman should be use. But look, here is the issue, you don't want to be the story. And that's the most important thing for these. Especially, for these newly elected members to remember. Is that currently, we are in a shutdown fight with President Trump. The government is shut down for now, the third week.

We are dealing with a president who is committed to building a wall while the -- you know, third of the federal government and the federal workers are not getting paid.

And you don't want to lose track of that. But then, when you make yourself to be the story, and the focus is on you, look I'm here talking about that instead of talking about the shutdown, and how we could get out of the shutdown.

PAUL: OK. And speaking of the shutdown, there's a meeting today, 11:00, Vice President Mike Pence will be there.

ELSHAMI: Yes.

PAUL: Staff from the House and Senate will be there. Leadership will not -- Speaker Pelosi will not be attending that. What is her strategy at this point? Do you have any insight?

ELSHAMI: Look, I mean, I think, if you look at these types of crises, they have -- there are absent flows, right? There is a language that is contentious, there are press conferences, and so on. And then, quietly, at the end, the staff begins to meet, begins to find a way out.

It seems to me at this moment, we are just in a contentious time that this meeting is happening just to have a meeting. Democrats are not going to give the president any money for the wall.

PAUL: Is that why -- do you think, is that why Speaker Pelosi is not attending today?

ELSHAMI: No, I don't think so. I think that's -- that was maybe a decision that was made at the time of the meeting. I'm not sure why. It's only a staff, staff meeting.

But look, you know, Democrats only get stronger during this fight and Republicans seem to be getting a bit weaker. And the president is getting more and more isolated in this environment. Having the staff sit down together, maybe there will be a big breakthrough. But look, the big decisions are going to be made by the principles.

[07:40:24] PAUL: Right.

ELSHAMI: I think -- I think the president is going to Camp David with his senior staff this weekend. Except for Pence and Kushner to -- who we're going to be sitting down with the staffs to talk about this. But look, I don't -- I don't see a breakthrough.

PAUL: So, I wanted to ask you. We know that Speaker Pelosi is very adroit at many things. At fundraising, at dealing with her caucus. Time magazine has an article on her right now. And here's what they wrote, "During the current shutdown fight, she told House Dems behind closed doors that his fight for a border wall," referring to President Trump, "was 'like a manhood thing for him.' And in an interview, she compared his scale back plans for the wall to a beaded curtain."

So, she is perfectly capable of verbally punching back, it seems. You know her very well as a reformer chief of staff. President Trump, we want to remember tweeted at one point that he wanted her to be Speaker. He said, "I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be Speaker at the House. She deserves this victory, she has earned it. But there are those in her party who are trying to take it away. She will win."

Do you believe that she is underestimated in her ability maybe to be as snarky as she is? And beyond that, what does that have to do with trying to pass policy?

ELSHAMI: Look, she is very, very calculating when it comes to every single word that she says. And like I stated, she gets stronger during these types of negotiations. I believe the president really has not sat down for a true negotiation with anyone like Nancy Pelosi.

She will wear you down. And those words perhaps that were said in caucus and then later -- you know, became public are there for a reason. Every --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: So, this is -- this is a -- I'm sorry to cut you off. I only have a couple of seconds left.

ELSHAMI: Sure.

PAUL: But there is -- this is quite a significant fight right out of the gate for her and for the president.

ELSHAMI: That's right.

PAUL: Are you saying that you think she can wear the president down?

ELSHAMI: She can. Absolutely. She's done that before with other presidents. She's a capable negotiator going back to President Bush, and with President Obama, with the Republicans and with Mitch McConnell, and others. She has had this experience.

This president has only been doing this for two years and he doesn't get into details. The difference between Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump, she knows the details, he doesn't.

PAUL: All right, Nadeam Elshami, we appreciate you being here so much, sir. Thank you.

ELSHAMI: Thank you. Thanks so much.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Well, let the 2020 campaign begin. Massachusetts senator -- yes, we're going to be saying that a lot.

PAUL: I know. I know. Take a breath.

BLACKWELL: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, she is in Iowa right now. The first trip to that state since announcing a presidential exploratory committee.

PAUL: Warren addressed an overflow crowd in Council Bluffs last night. Taking on government corruption, powerful interest she said are decimating the American working class.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: If we're content with government working for the rich and the powerful, keep voting Republican. But 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: And the Massachusetts Democrat will visit four more cities today and tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, stocks get a boost after a strong jobs report and more flexibility from the Fed regarding interest rates. The state of the economy, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:47:06] PAUL: Well, stocks have bounced back. Ending the first week of 2019 in the positive. But what a volatile month it was last month.

BLACKWELL: Yes, certainly was. The rally is fueled in part by strong jobs report. Here's CNN's Alison Kosik.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. 2019 kicked off much the same way 2018 ended. With more volatility in the stock market, and several triple digit moves by the Dow in the first week of the New Year.

Investors are getting mixed messages. A surge of hiring in December suggest that the economy remains strong. But a warning from Apple raised fears about a global economic slowdown. And a U.S. manufacturing index showed activity grew in December but suffered a sharp decline.

Apple cut revenue forecasts citing slowing iPhone sales in China. Shares tumbled on Thursday, its worst day in almost six years. And now, investors are asking which companies are next?

From iPhones to autos, global brands rely on China for growth. A slowdown in China, the world's second biggest economy puts their earnings at risk. And the slowdown in global growth could be taking its toll on the U.S. economy. As the manufacturing reports showed demand for American-made products fell last month.

It could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to pause rate hikes. But the strong December jobs report makes that case harder. The U.S. economy added a much better than expected 312,000 in December. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent. But that's because more than 400,000 people came into the labor force, and wages moved higher at the fastest pace since 2009 and beat economist's expectations.

At a panel discussion on Friday at the American Economic Association, Fed Chief Jay Powell, said the economy has good momentum. But he also said, the Central Bank will be patient about raising interest rates indicating more flexibility compared to comments made last month when the Fed hiked rates for the fourth time in 2018. His comments lifted the Dow more than 700 points.

During the discussion, we got the first reaction from Powell about President Trump's dissatisfaction with Powell's decisions. Trump's constant complaints about Powell have worried investors that the president would try to fire the Fed chief. But Powell, said he wouldn't resign if the president asked him to. Victor and Christi, back to you.

PAUL: Thank you, Alison. Coming out, to host or not to host? Comedian Kevin Hart may, may host the Oscars despite backlash over his past controversial tweets. Ellen DeGeneres is now behind the push for him to do so.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:51:38] BLACKWELL: This year, our "STAYING WELL" series is taking a deeper look into each part of your life that affects your overall health and well-being. Up first is movement in how virtual reality can take exercise to a whole new dimension.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AARON STANTON, DIRECTOR, VIRTUAL REALITY INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AND EXERCISE: Virtual reality gives the ability for people to exercise in environment you simply can't do in real life. To distract you from the fact that you're exercising and letting you just enjoy the game.

MARIALICE KERN, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF KINESIOLOGY, SAN FRANCISCO STATE: We're in a different world when you put that headset on. From what we have tested in the lab here, we see indeed that you can get a great workout from virtual reality. Just like running on a treadmill, just like biking, we're actually measuring the oxygen consumption, we're measuring the metabolic rate of the person who's playing the games. And we also measure heart rate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You put in the environment that you don't normally go in like a boxing ring. I think this is a lot safer and I feel more comfortable doing this.

STANTON: But when it's first starting out, you want to choose a virtual reality experience that's comparable to your experience level. KERN: You can have people who suffer from motion sickness. And I'd say as soon as that starts to happen, you just kind of have to stop the game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The trip is a virtual interactive immersive fitness experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In regular spin classes, I usually got bored. But this class gets your attention it's an IMAX screen and -- you know, really great graphics. Going through the jungle, going through the water, going through the fire. Here I can't get hit by a car.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: "STAYING WELL", brought to you by MiraLAX. It works with the water in your body to unblock your system naturally.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:02] PAUL: Well, comedian Kevin Hart says he's evaluating things after comedian Ellen DeGeneres, told him the Academy does still want him to host the Oscars this year.

BLACKWELL: DeGeneres, tweeted she had an incredible and honest conversation with Hart on her T.V. show. And that she believes in second chances.

Now, remember, Hart stepped down amid controversy over homophobic remarks he tweeted years ago. And the Academy asked him to apologize, which he eventually did but only after walking away from the hosting gig.

PAUL: Hart also apologized during his interview with Ellen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HART: I know I don't have a homophobic bone in my body. I know I've address it, I know that I've apologized.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Here with us to discuss, pop culture commentator Lola Ogunnaike is here with us. Lola, good to see you. Thank you so much.

LOLA: Thank you.

PAUL: What kind of value -- I mean, we know that Ellen DeGeneres is a huge star. But what kind of value does she bring specifically to this conversation?

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN POP CULTURE CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's one of the biggest stars in the world. And she's also one of the most important voices in the LGBTQ community.

So, to have Ellen DeGeneres practically begged Kevin Hart to not only host this Oscars, but to say that she not only forgives him but still considers him to be one of her dear friends is hugely important both to the Kevin Hart brand and to the Oscars.

BLACKWELL: Do we know what goes into this decision-making process for Hart? I mean, I watched a portion of the interview and he talked a lot about this being an effort to destroy him. Not just the Oscars but to destroy his career. What's he thinking about over the next -- it has to be pretty soon because the Oscars is what, just a little more than a month away?

OGUNNAIKE: Yes, late February. Interestingly enough, right? Before his sit-down with Ellen, he told Variety magazine that he had no interest in returning as a host. He said that ship had sailed and that he was done. And the only time that he would appear back on that stage was when he was winning an Oscar.

But after talking to Ellen and after having Ellen spend the better part of half an hour, essentially begged him to take the job. He said that he would possibly consider it.

But again, the ball is in his court. According to Ellen, the Academy wants him to do it. Ellen clearly wants him to do it. The Ellen audience seemed to be all for Kevin Hart returning as the Oscar host. So, now, it seems to be up to Kevin Hart to decide whether or not he doesn't bead when he step back on that stage.

PAUL: You know, one of the country's leading LGBTQ advocacy groups, GLAAD, weighed in on this. Here is what they said, "Kevin Hart should not step down from the Oscars. He should step up and send an unequivocal message of acceptance to LGBTQ youth that matches the force and impact of its initial anti-LGBTQ remarks."

If he takes this gig, what do people need to hear from him?

OGUNNAIKE: Well, I think people would want to hear on that stage an apology. Now, Kevin Hart has said that the reason he stepped down is because he didn't want to be a distraction. He didn't want to distract from the winners -- from the Oscar winners, or potential people in the audience. He didn't want the night to be about him, he wanted to be about the performers and their talent.

And so, I thought that was an interesting choice for him to say, I don't want this to be about me. But should he return to that stage? It will be about him, and will essentially be an opportunity for him to use that platform to again, apologize to the LGBTQ community, and to -- and to let the people know in the world that he is indeed an ally.

BLACKWELL: So, what's plan B if not Kevin Hart, then, who steps in this host?

OGUNNAIKE: It's interesting you should ask that, Victor, because I think Whoopi Goldberg -- Whoopi, excuse me. I think Whoopi Goldberg would be a great host. She's hosted four times, she's an EGOT, she's been nominated for an Oscar, she's won an Oscar, she's won an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony.

She's hosted the Grammys and the Tony's. I think she'd be a perfect choice and she's also expressed interest in doing it. She has the view as a platform. Can you imagine all the free publicity the Oscars would have if what we talked about hosting the Oscars every day on the view? I think it would be a win. And she's also a feisty grandma. And right now, feisty grandmas are winning.

Everybody from Nancy Pelosi, to Judge Judy, is a feisty grandma. I think Whoopi Goldberg, I think it's hers.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: OK, what --

OGUNNAIKE: She should take it. If heaven's says no --

BLACKWELL: 2019, the year of the feisty grandma. OK, all right.

PAUL: What about Ellen DeGeneres?

OGUNNAIKE: I have to say when I was watching her, beg Kevin Hart to take the job, I had to say to myself, "Ellen, you take the job."

BLACKWELL: Yes.

OGUNNAIKE: Yes.

OGUNNAIKE: You take the job. I mean she's hosted twice. She was fantastic. Who can forget that epic selfie that she took with Julia Roberts and Lupita and Bradley Cooper. I mean, she could recreate that moment again. I think she'd be fantastic.

So, again, if not Kevin Hart, my first choice is Whoopi Goldberg, my second choice, Ellen DeGeneres.

PAUL: All right. We'll see. Lola, thank you so --

(CROSSTALK)

OGUNNAIKE: Wait, what do you guys doing?

PAUL: They -- no, they don't want us.

BLACKWELL: They don't want us.

OGUNNAIKE: I would tune in. I would tune in.

BLACKWELL: And we'll live it right there.

PAUL: We would get ourselves in trouble at some point. I'm sure.

BLACKWELL: Christi and I have always said that we should have like a late-night show sometimes. Because the conversations we have during the break that'd be a great show.

OGUNNAIKE: Well, share it and share them with the world in late February.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: And serve people with like -- get in and some of those --

BLACKWELL: Should I have said that -- should I've shared that?

PAUL: Too late now. Lola, thank you.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you.