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National Emergency for Wall Funding; Trump Now Comments on American Accused of Espionage in Russia; U.S. Pullout in Syria to Protect Kurds; Possible Second Summit with North Korea; Farmer Affected by Trade Wars and Shutdown; A Divided House on Impeachment; Suspect in Custody in Murder of a Texas Girl; CNN Original Movie Three Identical Strangers; High Alert in Flu Season. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired January 6, 2019 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being here. President Trump doubling down on his threat today, his threat to declare a national emergency if he doesn't get exactly what he wants from Congress, money to build a Mexican border wall.

A national emergency, that means money set aside only for times of war or a massive natural disaster when human lives are in unavoidable danger. The president is putting a political argument on the same level of extreme urgency as hurricane Katrina and 9/11.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happen over the next few days.


CABRERA: He said the same thing yesterday, that he may declare a national emergency. That's the president's idea to leapfrog the established political process. Compromise, give and take, something that should come easily to a man that says this about himself.


TRUMP: I'm going to make the great deals.

I make deals. I negotiate.

Everybody wants me to negotiate. That's what I'm known as, a negotiator.

I'm so anxious to negotiate. I mean, what I do is I do deals. I deal.


CABRERA: If the president declares a national emergency to get a border wall -- to get that money through a national emergency, that means the great negotiator has failed, bigly. President Trump and people who are close to him are even still talking up a hypothetical plan to make Mexico pay for that wall, as the president has boasted since the early days of his campaign. But listen to his chief of staff telling CNN that even if Mexico just hands over the money, there's still a process.


MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We will be taking in more money as part of our relationship with Mexico, and that could be available to us to build a wall. Now, it still requires appropriation, as does all money. If Mexico actually wrote us a check, OK, it would still have to go into treasury and be appropriated by Congress. That's how our system works.


CABRERA: And of course there's the shutdown, now in its 16th day. About 800,000 American men and women, federal workers, still not getting paychecks because the president is unhappy with the way the negotiating is going.

President Trump today made a puzzling statement saying he can relate to all those people who are wondering how they'll support their families if the shutdown drags on. He also believes that furloughed workers are big fans of what's going on. And I spoke to someone this weekend who begs to differ.


CABRERA: Are you one of the biggest fans of this shutdown?

ERIN KIDWELL, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: No, I'm not a fan of the shutdown.

CABRERA: Do you know anyone who says, I don't care about my paycheck, I care more about the wall?

KIDWELL: No, I haven't heard that.

CABRERA: The president was also asked about safety nets. I just want to play his answer for you there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're saying months and possibly a year for this 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.


CABRERA: Does that put you at ease, Erin?

KIDWELL: No, that doesn't help me at all.


CABRERA: Let's get right to CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez. So Boris, the president now back from a gathering of staffers at Camp David today. You had a short back and forth with him as he came back to White House. Tell us about it.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, the president confirmed some reporting that we got last night. A White House official telling me that President Trump was inclined to declare a national emergency if these talks between Republicans and Democrats continue to stall. The president confirmed that and went a bit further.

Before I get into that, I did want to point out we're now hearing from some aides that were in that closed door meeting today between top administration officials and aides to lawmakers. The president actually just tweeted that it was a productive meeting. We're not hearing that from the folks that were actually behind those closed doors.

As we understand, Democrats got a detailed list of proposals from Republicans that outlined the president's plan for border security spending. But the Democrats didn't make a counter offer. Democrats insisted that the federal government should first be re-opened before any serious discussion about funding a border wall or border barrier, as the president called it today, could take place.

It seems both sides are still far apart. The silver lining is that they are at least still talking. As these talks continue to stall, though, the president apparently is now having conversations about potentially declaring this national emergency to secure funding for his border wall.

[17:05:03] He said it's something he's considering very strongly. Then he justified it by saying this, listen.


TRUMP: We're looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency. Just read the papers. We have a crisis at the border of drugs, of human beings being trafficked all over the world. They're coming through. And we have an absolute crisis, and of criminals and gang members coming through. It is national security. It's a national emergency.


SANCHEZ: I asked the president if he had a deadline for declaring that emergency and what it would take for him to get there to use that drastic option. He said we would have to wait and see. I also wanted to point out President Trump shifted from his previous position that we saw him state on twitter last week, demanding a concrete barrier between the United States and Mexico. President Trump today saying that it should be a steel barrier because in his words, Democrats don't like concrete, Ana.

CABRERA: And he says he's going to call the American steel companies to make or to build that border slat fence. Thank you very much, Boris Sanchez at the White House. President Trump earlier vowed to take the mantle in this government shutdown blame game, but it's a very different spin from the president's new acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.


MULVANEY: I'm forced back to the conclusion again and again that the Democrats for better for worse think that they are winning this battle politically and they're really not interested in opening the government because they think the president is paying a price politically and that's unfortunate.


CABRERA: With me now, CNN politics senior writer and analyst Harry Enten. So, I guess the bigger question here is whose side is the public on? Who are they blaming?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I think Mick Mulvaney is hinting at the right answer there, and that is the public is blaming President Trump and Congressional Republicans. I've looked at the polls, averaged them since the shutdown began. And overwhelmingly, by about a 20-point margin, they are blaming the congressional GOP and Trump. A majority are blaming them.

CABRERA: And is there support for this border wall?

ENTEN: Yes, no. I think this makes a lot of sense, right, because a majority of Americans have consistently said they do not want this border wall, and they do not want a shutdown in order to build this border wall. So it makes sense of course that a majority of them are blaming the congressional Republicans and President Trump for the shutdown.

CABRERA: Who stands the most to lose here because I know you also looked at some new data regarding how popular Nancy Pelosi is and how popular President Trump is currently, right?

ENTEN: Right. And what's so interesting is for pretty much the entire Trump presidency, President Trump, despite being unpopular was more popular than Nancy Pelosi. That, in fact, has now shifted where by neither one of them is tremendously popular, but Nancy Pelosi is slightly more popular than President Trump is and that's a big shift.

And I think obviously, Nancy Pelosi is going to need the backing of Democratic voters nationwide to continue to have a mandate from them, and what we are seeing is that this will probably help.

CABRERA: We're showing the numbers there, Harry. And you say she's more popular than the president. A lot of people are looking at that and saying, wait a minute, that doesn't make sense to me. She's got 38 percent favorability. He's got 40 percent favorability. Isn't 40 higher than 38?

ENTEN: Right. So, there's a little math that's going on here and that is his unfavorable rating in that poll is a 58 percent. Hers is only at 48. I'm using something called net favorability, which over time has tended to be a better understanding of where the public stands on each figure.

And it should be pointed out, Nancy Pelosi's net favorability rating in that poll is at minus 10. It used to be minus 20 or 25. So she's come up tremendously, while the president has been stuck right around minus 15, minus 20 in his unfavorability ratings.

CABRERA: All right. Harry Enten, thanks for all the information.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: I appreciate that. The president has appeared to some as not empathetic enough when it comes to his concern for the federal workers who are going without paychecks. He was asked this morning whether he can relate to those workers. Here's his answer.


TRUMP: I can relate and I'm sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustment. They always do and they'll make adjustment. People understand exactly what's going on. But many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent.


CABRERA: The president has yet to provide any evidence to support that claim that many unpaid federal workers support him shutting down the federal government over his wall. And you heard earlier from the one federal worker we spoke to this weekend who definitely doesn't support it 100 percent.

Joining us now, "New York Times" politics editor Patrick Healy and Republican strategist and former communications director for ht RNC, Doug Heye. So Doug, a large part of the shutdown is opt How much will voters take? Is the president doing a good enough job defending a shutdown over his border wall and appearing sympathetic?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the short answer is no and I would say neither side is doing a good job of this. If you go back to 2013 when we had a fairly long shutdown, I worked in the House of Representatives at that time. Patrick will remember because he was covering a lot of this. Republicans and Democrats would have events every day trying to define the shutdown in their own terms.

[17:10:01] Were they political stunts? Absolutely. But we were trying to define the news of that day. Win a new cycle. The Democrats were trying to do the same. During the holidays, you had the Democrats basically not participating in the conversation at all and despite Trump being in Washington, you didn't see him demonstrating to the public every day, I'm in Washington, here to negotiate.

It was crickets from the White House and from the Democrats. Obviously Trump gets more of an onus on this, but that's because he had said, I'll own this and call it the Trump shutdown.

CABRERA: Now based on those poll numbers, Patrick, that we just heard from Harry Enten that he laid out for us, do Democrats have any reason to concede right now?

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, NEW YORK TIMES: Not right now and I think Doug's right. I mean, there was a real missed opportunity by President Trump in those two weeks when he was staying in Washington. It was sort of the assumption I think on a lot of our parts is, well, he's staying in Washington to make some larger point that the Democrats aren't either taking this seriously or he's taking it very seriously.

But he didn't do anything to really kind of move the poll numbers in a way that created real pressure on the Democrats, Ana. And that's what both sides are looking at right now. It is sort of who can control the narrative this strongly enough where a large enough number of American voters sort of say, OK, I'm starting to think the Democrats are being fairly unreasonable here.

Nancy Pelosi might call a wall, you know, an immorality, but isn't this really about border security? The terms of it haven't been defined as sharply by either President Trump and the Republicans or yet ultimately by the Democrats. I mean, they are sort of trying to say, well, the president has said he'll own this, he'll own this, but, you know, what point will they be seen as too unyielding and voters will possibly turn on them?

CABRERA: The president is now throwing out an unconventional idea to get his border wall a different way, declaring a national emergency, he says, is a possibility. One of the reasons the White House says we need a wall is because terrorists are coming across the southern border. That's not exactly true. And Fox News, well, outlets checked press secretary Sarah Sanders on that fact today. Listen.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Wait, wait, wait. But I know this statistic. I didn't know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this. Do you know where those 4,000 people come -- were they're captured? Airports.

SANDERS: Not always.

WALLACE: Airports.

SANDERS: Certainly, a large number -- WALLACE: The State Department says there hasn't been any terrorists that they found coming across the southern border from Mexico.

SANDERS: It's by air, it's by land, and it's by sea. It's all of the above.


CABRERA: Doug, is the White House manufacturing a national emergency?

HEYE: Well, it's not clear if they're trying to manufacture a national emergency or what could be a negotiating tactic by threatening to manufacture a national emergency. As somebody who has worked on Capitol Hill for a long time, I know a lot of Republican offices tend to think of Fox News as a safe place to go and there are good reasons for that.

That doesn't exist when it comes to Chris Wallace. You don't go in there not expecting the tough questions. And he obviously put it very tough to Sarah Sanders. And the word airport is I think pretty significant here. If we wonder how this may ultimately gets solved and what the pressure pints is.

Look at the pictures today from our largest airports where TSA workers aren't showing up for work. If voters are trying to get to places either on vacation or work travel and are stuck in long TSA lines, that's the kind of pressure that both Republicans and Democratic members of Congress are going to feel the pinch on.

CABRERA: And again, that's not the southern border, Doug. So is it smart that to say we're going to declare a national emergency and use defense funds to build a wall in one place where there is no record of terrorists entering the U.S.? Could that actually make the U.S. less safe?

HEYE: Sure. I think if this is a negotiating tactic, it's a bit of a questionable one, but I could see how they would try and use that. If this is actually what's going to happen, you know, look at the market volatility that we've had over the past few months. That would only cause more of that. It's not a wise policy regardless.

CABRERA: I wonder, though, Patrick, on the flip side because I try to look at it from the different view points, if it could be a smart move politically for the president to go this way. Government reopens, Dems don't have to cave, there's an investment in U.S. Companies, if it's American steel companies who are building the wall and that's where they're getting the steel. And it's all in the name of national security.

HEALY: Well, it's possible, Ana. I mean, that sort of assumes a strategy that the White House hasn't often, you know, sort of shown that much advanced planning on, but you maybe seeing that. I mean, ultimately, they want to be able to say to Republican voters, we went all out to get a wall.

What we're getting is clear border security that's going to do the job that we need to, you know, stop these terrorists who they say may be coming over, even if that is not true, mainly through the border.

[17:14:59] But they need to be able to come away with this somehow, Ana, to go back to the base of Republicans who heard for a year and a half almost on a daily basis President Trump say we're going to build a wall and Mexico's going to pay for it, you know.

That's going to be remembered and they can't allow the president to be seen as caving on it. So, you know, if they were able to come away with something where they said, you know, we're clearly getting some kind of barrier or barrier defense and this is going to reap economic benefits, you know, that could be something for them at least to leave the table with.

CABRERA: Doug, one thing is for sure. Democrats are ready to battle. And we've already seen fighting words. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's comments, our case in point there. Doug, you say they're dancing with danger and Republicans are the example.

HEYE: Yes, you know, when I was in the House of Representatives serving as a staffer I should say in House leadership, the word that I would hear more often than not whenever we would get ourselves in trouble, the 2013 shutdown being a good example, was fight. We would have Republican members who would stand up in house Republican conference meetings and say we need to fight more.

And whenever you heard the word fight, what it basically meant was we need to throw a lot of punches, but there's no strategy to win the round, to knock out your opponent, to win the fight ultimately. And so often we didn't win the fight. This is exactly where the Democrats could potentially be setting themselves up to do, is this urge to constantly fight.

Impeachment is a good example -- some of the language that we've heard over the past few days. It's not clear that there are strategies on how to beat Donald Trump, just strategies or tactics to fight him. That could be a fool's errand. And ultimately, I will say one very smart thing that Nancy Pelosi did that didn't get a lot of attention, was when they changed the house rules in the vote last week.

She made it harder for what was called a motion to vacate the chair. This was successfully used basically to really take a lot of power away from John Boehner and it's why John Boehner ultimately left the speakership. Nancy Pelosi has changed that.

Its one tactic that the Democrats in the House don't have right now, but the Democrats have their own Freedom Caucus and it's going to be something that's a real constant struggle for them to deal with.

CABRERA: Doug Heye and Patrick Healy, thank you both for your insights. Good to see you.

HEALY: Thanks, Ana.

HEYE: Thank you.

CABRERA: They are a part of the bedrock of the president's base, but Trump's trade tariffs hurt many farmers this summer. And now the shutdown threatens to delay desperately needed government aid. So, do farmers think a government shutdown over the wall is worth it?

Plus, President Trump breaking his silence on the detained American Paul Whelan. He says he's looking into it. So what does that mean for Whelan's case? You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."


CABRERA: It has been more than a week now since American Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow. The Kremlin says he's a spy. The claim his family adamantly denies. Whelan's arrest came 15 days after alleged Russian spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty in federal court here in the U.S. to try and to influence U.S. relations with Russia. Many think Whelan's detention was payback from the Kremlin. But through all of this there has been no comment from President Trump until today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The American detained in Russia, Paul Whelan --

TRUMP: We are looking into that. We're looking into that, yes.


CABRERA: Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is joining us now from Moscow. Matthew, this is the first time President Trump has said anything about Whelan. Will this one little comment we're looking into that make a difference?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I doubt it, Ana. I mean, it's certainly not the kind of intervention that the families of Paul Whelan have called upon the president of the United States to make. So, their relative is released and other Americans around the world aren't detained or arrested in the same way.

To be fair, there have been other U.S. officials that have made much more sort of impassioned pleas on the case of Paul Whelan, not least Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, who has, you know, spoken about the affair, as has John Huntsman, who is the U.S. ambassador to Russia at the moment.

He's visited him here in the prison here in (inaudible), a suburb of Moscow and offered him the full support of the embassy. You know, having said that, you know, you never know what President Trump is referring to. Maybe he is looking into it. There could be some kind of back door deal, behind the scenes deal being worked out as we speak.

CABRERA: All right. Matthew Chance in Moscow. Thank you for that update. Let's bring in Max Boot. Max is a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and a CNN global affairs analyst. So Max, more than a week after Whelan is detained, we now hear from President Trump, we're looking into that. He's being relatively cautious in all this. Why?

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's striking, Ana, because President Trump is not somebody who can usually be accused of being restrained in his speech patterns, right. But when it comes to Russia and Putin, he is extraordinarily accommodating.

And, you know, he is somebody who is very proud of getting U.S. hostages released from countries like North Korea, Turkey, Venezuela, and others, but he doesn't seem to be making the kind of thoughts you would expect from a U.S. president when a U.S. national is arrested on dubious charges in Russia.

CABRERA: Is it so bad, though, to wait until all the facts come to fruition?

BOOT: Well, I'm all in favor of waiting for the facts, but that is not the usual fact pattern with Donald Trump. He doesn't usually wait for the facts. He usually shoots from the hip. And I think it's very telling that he's not shooting from the hip when it comes to misconduct from Russia.

It's not only this hostage taking that Putin is engaged in but also the fact that six weeks ago, remember, the Russians attacked Ukrainian ships in international waters. They seized Ukrainian ships. They seized Ukrainian sailors. They have not given them back.

What has Donald Trump said about that? Almost nothing. He said he wasn't happy about it, but he had nothing more to say and that silence is all the more revealing given the way he unloads on others who seem to earn his ire.

CABRERA: Some people believe he was shooting from the hip when he made his decision on Syria and that announcement without consulting with allies or even giving them a heads up. But then today, you know, the National Security adviser, John Bolton, making promises the U.S. will make sure the Kurds, who are fighting ISIS who have been allies of the U.S. in this fight in Syria, that they will be protected as the U.S. withdraws.

And he made these comments during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem. Watch.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Right on your border, we have the problem of the conflict in Syria. We're going to be discussing the president's decision to withdraw, but to do so from northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again.

And to make sure that the defense of Israel and our other friends in the region is absolutely assured, and to take care of those who have fought with us against ISIS and other terrorist groups.


CABRERA: Max, will those comments now maybe appease the critics who thought the U.S. should not pull out of Syria so quickly? [17:25:01] BOOT: I think those comments, Ana, simply confuse the

entire world because it's not clear who is speaking for the U.S. government. Is it President Trump or is it National Security adviser John Bolton, because President Trump was pretty clear a couple of weeks ago. He said he's going to pull all the U.S. troops out within 30 days.

And now, John Bolton is suggesting they're not going to be pulled out within 30 days. They may not be pulled out any time soon because he wants to make sure that the Kurds will not be betrayed to the Turks --

CABRERA: And how will he be able to keep that promise?

BOOT: Well, that's a great question. I don't think there is any good way. The only way we can protect the Kurds is to keep those 2,000 U.S. troops there. And so any promises the Turks may give us as the troops are leaving are not going to be worth very much, but it's very confusing. I mean, I think this is really problematic, Ana, because we don't know what the policy of the U.S. government is.

And even if you disagree with the policy as I do, of withdrawing U.S. troops, at least there is a clear policy. But at the moment, it's not clear what the U.S. policy is. That is very dangerous, that kind of uncertainty that the Trump administration is fomenting in regard to the U.S. position in international affairs.

CABRERA: A lot of foreign policy news this week. And we have President Trump also talking about a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Watch.


TRUMP: Now, I say this, North Korea, we're doing very well. And again, no rockets. There is no rocket. There is no anything. We're doing very well. I've indirectly spoken to Chairman Kim, and when I came here, this country was headed to war with North Korea. And now we have a very good dialogue -- dialogue going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a place in mind for your next summit and could it be Europe?

TRUMP: We're negotiating a location. It will be announced probably in the not too distant future. They have made it very clear, in fact, they've actually said to the media that they would like to meet and they do want to meet and we want to meet. And we'll see what happens.


CABRERA: Max, should the president be thinking about a second summit with Kim Jong-un right now?

BOOT: Not until the North Koreans show that they're serious about denuclearization, Ana. The first summit in June was a joke, where the two sides committed to denuclearization at some intermittent point in the future. They disagree on what denuclearization means. And we've seen copious evidence that ever since then, North Korea has actually been expanding their missile program and has not been giving up their nuclear program. So, they have no intention of denuclearizing. And a second summit will only reward them for their intransigence and misbehavior.

CABRERA: You know, earlier this week, the president was in the meetings over the shutdown and he apparently threw a letter over to Chuck Schumer, the minority leader in the Senate, that was a letter from Kim Jong-un, and he called it a great letter. Do you think he's getting played by the North Korean leader or is Kim at least playing games here?

BOOT: Well, there's no question that Kim Jong-un is playing Donald Trump, calling him your Excellency and Donald Trump, you know, loves flattery, so he thinks that he's in a love affair with Kim Jong-un, but Kim Jong-un is not delivering on the basic promise, and that's the bottom line.

But Donald Trump doesn't really seem to care because he desperately needs some kind of foreign policy success to distract from all the troubles on the home front, whether it's the government shutdown or the Mueller probe, all the rest of it. So he's -- both sides are really desperate for a summit because both want the P.R. blitz.

They want the propaganda windfall that will come from a summit, but there's very little indication that there will be anything meaningful coming out of a second summit, just as there was basically nothing meaningful that came out of the first summit other than relaxation of the international pressure on North Korea, which is a bad thing.

CABRRERA: No rockets, though, sanctions are still in place as the president points out.

BOOT: Well, no rockets, but there were no rockets even before the summit. The indications are that Kim Jong-un basically made a decision when he had reached a certain point in his missile program at the end of last year that he didn't need to keep on having these tests that were very provocative.

He basically wants to be recognized as a nuclear power like Pakistan without, you know, flaunting in our face with nuclear or missile tests and he's a long way towards achieving that objective.

CABRRERA: Max Boot, good to have you here. Thank you.

BOOT: Thank you.

CABRRERA: Now, first it was the trade war, now the shutdown has the potential to hurt farmers already reeling from a disastrous summer. We'll hear from some of them and ask if they think the shutdown over this border wall is worth it to them, live in the "CNN Newsroom." Don't go anywhere.

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRRERA: Farmers battered by President Trump's trade war are now facing a second punch. Loans and aid promised by the administration, now delayed because of the government shutdown. Many of those same farmers voted for Trump, making up a critical part of his loyal base, but now their loyalty to the president is being tested in a major way.

Just last month, President Trump pledged to boost financial help for farmers whose earnings got crushed by his China tariffs, promising emergency farm aid in the form of subsidies, but then government agencies shuttered their doors, leaving farmers in farm aid limbo.

Now, they can't even apply for the assistance to help them survive the president's trade war. And it gets worse. The USDA announcing Friday it is delaying a crucial crop report due to the shutdown, leaving a farmer without vital information.

Let's get right to CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich who is talking with farmers in Illinois. Vanessa, what do these struggling farmers have to say about President Trump and this shutdown standoff?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, this shutdown could not have come at a worse time for farmers after 2018 when they were hit with this trade war with China and retaliatory tariffs. Brian Duncan, whose farm we are on here today, he's a soybean farmer, a hog farmer, and a corn farmer.

He was waiting to get that application in to get his subsidy for all of the revenue that was lost from this year's crop in his sales to China. And because he was not able to get that application in on time, he's not getting paid. He doesn't know when he'll get it. He's hoping that the deadline will get extended.

But the question that raises is the president doing what he promised, helping farmers, helping small businesses? And that leaves a lot of questions about 2020. Listen to what Brian had to say about how he thinks the president is doing right now.


BRIAN DUNCAN, VICE PRESIDENT, ILLINOIS FARM BUREAU: I do think the president is in danger of losing a significant part of his base if the economic woes continue out here, if there's no resolve to these trade disputes. My fear is and what we'll be watching in 2020 is, are we bleeding for territory we already had? We're shedding significant economic blood out here.


[17:35:00] YURKEVICH: And Brian's not the only one who feels this way. We spent the morning visiting people, local farmers at local diners, and even the staunchest of Trump supporters out here in the part of the country that is very, very red, Ana. They had some question marks. They were looking ahead to 2020.

And they were thinking, hey, if this economy is in the condition it's in for them and this trade war is not resolved and this shutdown goes on for quite a bit longer, they had some question marks on their minds. And that's a big deal as we look forward to 2020 and really taking a look at whether or not Trump's base is going to turn out once again. Many of those farmers right here in Illinois, Ana.

CABRRERA: All right, Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks for bringing us their perspective, an important one.

Now, Democrats have control of the House since Thursday and already the impeachment fight has started. But it's not with Democrats in the White House. Instead the battle is between those on the left who are turning up the heat just as others within their own party are preaching calm.

Plus, a Texas drive-buy shooting, a suspect now in the death of 7- year-old Jazmine Barnes is in custody and facing charges. We have details just ahead, live in the "CNN Newsroom."


CABRRERA: Newly empowered House Democrats are now turning up the volume on possible impeachment talks. But this is a divided House when it comes to the "I" word. Democratic leaders signaling this week, not yet, way too soon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reclaimed her gavel Thursday, and hours later, long time Democratic congressman, Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump. Here's the latest now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some Democrats have been calling for President Trump's impeachment for months.

REP. MAXINE WATTERS (D), CALIFORNIA: I said he should be impeached and they said don't use that word.

ZELENY (voice-over): But now they are part of the House majority, making that word carry far more weight and political peril.

[17:40:02] At a celebration after being sworn in as a new congresswoman for 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 to go in there and we're going to impeach the (BLEEP).

ZELENY (voice-over): Fallout from that crass expletive echoing around Washington. From the White House --

TRUMP: Well, I thought her comments were disgraceful.

ZELENY (voice-over): To the capitol, highlighting a generational and ideological divide over the wisdom of impeachment.

REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: I'm absolutely convinced that impeachment is not dead.

ZELENY (voice-over): But House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is trying to put the brakes on all this impeachment talk.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), 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 (voice-over): It's one of the first and perhaps most consequential tests for Democrats in the new era of divided government. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly called impeachment premature, yet she is not ruling it out.

REP. NANCY PERLOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: 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 (voice-over): Last month, a CNN poll found 43 percent of Americans think Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while half say he shouldn't be. But among Democrats, a whopping 80 percent favor impeachment, which presents a conundrum for the wide field of potential 2020 candidates.

We caught up with California congressman Eric Swalwell, who was among those eyes a presidential bid and prefers Trump leave office by defeat.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: I just think it's better for democracy that he loses at the ballot box. If he has somehow made himself a martyr, then I think we've lost.

ZELENY (on camera): 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 (voice-over): The president believes impeachment isn't warranted 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 (on camera): Of course, the president doesn't have final say on whether there was collusion or whether he will be impeached. That is in the hands of Congress. It is also one of the central questions hanging over the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Will this wide field of candidates listen to their base or urge their base to follow their political instincts? Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: Houston police say routine traffic stop led to the arrest of a suspect in the drive-by killing of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes. Twenty-year-old Eric Black, Jr. appeared in court today. He faces a capital murder charge. Investigators say Black confessed he was driving the vehicle, and he says a man in the passenger seat fired the fatal shot.

Jazmine was struck in the head during the shooting and died from her injury. Police say they don't believe her family was the intended target. Our Kaylee Hartung joins us now from Houston where police just held a news conference a short time ago. Kaylee, did they say Jazmine's murder was simply a case of mistaken identity?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was very careful with his language when he spoke to us, saying they believe it's very likely that this was a case of mistaken identity, that the shooter opened fire on Jazmine's car believing someone else was inside.

Who they believed to be inside, the sheriff couldn't tell us. But we learned more through Eric Black, Jr.'s probable cause hearing this morning in which his arrest affidavit was read, saying that it was a tipster who anonymously first reached out to Sean King, the activist, who then passed it along to the sheriff, who initially said that this was a case of mistaken identity.

The sheriff explained that this is an ongoing investigation. At this time, Eric Black, Jr. is the only man who's been charged in connection with this killing and until they can firm up their evidence otherwise, the sheriff is not ready to speak to Eric Black's specific role or what they're looking for from they believe to be another suspect.

Now again, in that probable cause hearing for Eric Black, it was said that there was another man in the passenger seat of that car he was driving, who was identified by the initials L.W. We are aware of a man who was arrested overnight with the initials L.W. who is being charged with possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.

And in his probable cause hearing, when the state was making the case for his bond to be greater than $5,000, which it would typically be for someone facing a charge like that, they mentioned that he is a suspect in a homicide and murder investigation. The bond for that man is now set at $100,000, Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Kaylee Hartung, in Houston for us. Thank you.

The CNN original film "Three Identical Strangers," this is a true story about triplets, getting some major Oscar buzz. It's in the shortlist now for an Academy Award nomination. We'll talk to the director, next.


CABRERA: Imagine meeting a perfect stranger who looks just like you. That is exactly what happened to triplets separated at birth. The all- new CNN original film "Three Identical Strangers" dives deeply into the miraculous reunion of the brothers who didn't meet until they were 19 years old. They didn't even know each other existed. Here's a preview.


DAVID KELLMAN: And I said, hi, is Eddie home? She says, no, who's calling, please? And OK, now I got to go into this whole thing on the phone. I said, well, my name is David Kellman and I was born July 12th, 1961, and I'm looking at a newspaper. And basically, I think I'm looking at two of me. I think I might be the third. And I think she dropped the phone, actually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I remember hearing her voice over the phone. Oh, my god, they're coming out of the woodwork.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a miracle. The first time the boys met together, the three together, was at my house. And the three of them ended up like puppies wrestling on the floor. It was the most incredible -- it was the most incredible thing.

[17:50:02] They belonged to each other. They knew each other. There was no formal introduction. I mean, when you meet somebody for the first time, you don't end up rolling around on the floor with them.

KELLMAN: It was truly not fully believable even though it was happening. It was still surreal.


CABRERA: Wow. Joining us live from London, the director of "Three Identical Strangers," Tim Wardle. Tim, this is just such an incredible story. We saw a very small piece of it there in that clip. Can you tell us a little bit more about these triplet brothers, how they found each other, why they were separated in the first place?

TIM WARDLE, DIRECTOR, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS: Absolutely. "Three Identical Strangers" tells the story of these three identical brothers separated at birth, reunited -- well, raised by three different families completely unaware of each other's existence and then reunited by coincidence in 1980 in New York when they were 19 years old.

And the film kind of explores what happens next. I mean, they become famous and there's a lot of attention around their reunion. But it also goes back into the past to look at the conspiracy really behind their separation and the people who split them up.

CABRERA: Why were they separated?

WARDLE: Well, I don't want to say too much because it's a major spoiler if I go there.

CABRERA: Don't do that. Save the suspense.

WARDLE: But, suffice to say there's a very dark reason behind their separation and part of the film is about unpicking that and trying to get to the truth of what happened because for 60 years or six decades the guys really didn't know the real reasons behind the separation or the people involved.

CABRERA: And so you had to do some serious investigating to make this film. Just how challenging was it to put the puzzle pieces together and get to the truth about what had happened to these boys?

WARDLE: It was really tough for a number of reasons. One, there wasn't actually that much information about the story, you know, existing in this kind of pre-internet era. There was a bit of information around their reunion and a bit later on.

But really, for the most part, we were kind of piecing this altogether just having to do kind of old-fashioned journalism, knocking on people's doors, searching through physical archives, that kind of thing. It's also hard because of this conspiracy of silence that exists around the reasons for their separation and the people involved in their separation and the organizations involved really didn't want to speak about it. So that was a huge challenge.

CABRERA: In telling the triplets' story, looking at their similarities and their differences as they grew up not knowing each other, the film tackles some pretty big philosophical questions about nature versus nurture, free will versus destiny. What do you think audiences will take away from that aspect of the film?

WARDLE: You're absolutely right. I mean, that's what drew me to the story in the first place. Not only is this great human interest story about these brothers separated and reunited, but it also enables you to ask these really big philosophical questions and I hope that it will make audiences think about, you know, why we are who we are.

You know, what makes us. Is it our parents and our upbringing that makes us who we are or is it our biology? Are we just predestined to be the way we are?

CABRERA: Have other siblings found each other as a result of your film?

WARDLE: That's the extraordinary thing. After the film came out and played in theaters this year in the U.S., we got a call from a woman from New Jersey who said I've just seen your film and I was adopted from the same agency around the same time.

And after seeing your film, I've taken a DNA test and I've matched with someone in California and the two of them, we filmed them meeting for the first time, at the age of 54, identical, you know, twin sisters who never met before.

CABRERA: Amazing. Tim Wardle, it sounds like an incredible film. Thank you for joining us and good luck. And we wish you continued success as we know you're up for some awards and potential nominations, even an Oscar. Good luck.

WARDLE: Thank you very much. CABRERA: Thank you. Make sure you don't miss the premiere of the

award-winning CNN original film "Three Identical Strangers" that premiers right here on CNN, Sunday, January 27th. Mark the calendar, set the DVR or make sure you tune in. That's at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

All right, after a slow start, flu activity nationwide doubled in the last week. We have more information on the hardest hit areas and we'll talk to the mother of a child who died from the flu, next.


CABRERA: The influenza virus is on the rise this season. The flu is on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control is now reporting that the number of states with high levels of flu activity have doubled in just the past week. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen spoke with the mother of one of the 13 children who have died from the flu so far this season.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say hi (inaudible).


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Allison Eaglespeaker, 6 years-old, loved her big brother Matt and little sister Daisy and Native-American dancing.

CRYSTAL WHITE SHIELD, ALLISON'S MOTHER: She was a beautiful little girl. We were blessed with her life and we miss her dearly.

COHEN (voice-over): Allison who lived in Montana died on December 1st from the flu. New numbers out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday showed that the situation is getting worse. Nineteen states are showing high levels of flu activity compared with nine states last week and 13 children have died from the flu this season.

Children are particularly vulnerable to h1n1, this year's predominant flu strain. Allison's mother wants other parents to be watchful when their children have the flu. Allison died less than 48 hours after first becoming ill.

SHIELD: This illness hit her really hard and really fast for it to just take her life. Nothing prepares you for how fast it moves.

COHEN (voice-over): While Allison had mild asthma, about half of children who die from the flu are otherwise healthy according to the CDC, mand 80 percent of the children who died last year had not received a flu shot. With months of flu season still to go, it's not too late for children or adults to get vaccinated.

(on camera): No one knows why the vast majority of children recover relatively easily from the flu but a relatively small number get very sick, gravely sick like Allison did.

[18:00:01] But they do know that when they do get sick it happens very quickly just like in Allison's case. Ana?