Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Senate Democrats Considering Blocking All Bills that Don't Reopen Government; Trump to Appeal for Border Wall in Prime-Time Address Tonight; Government Shutdown Enters Day 18 with No End in Sight; Elizabeth Warren Makes 2020 Campaign Debut in Iowa; Joe Biden to Announce 2020 Presidential Run Soon; Turkey's Erdogan Slams Bolton's Comments on Syria; Dow Set to Jump at Open, Up 8 Percent Since Christmas Eve. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired January 8, 2019 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:00]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Tuesday morning to you, I'm Jim Sciutto, Poppy has the day off. Eighteen days into the partial government shutdown, three days before some 800,000 government workers will miss a paycheck. President Trump is about to do something that he has not done before and that is to address the nation from the oval office, he will attempt to make the case that the southwest border is in crisis while the White House counsel is looking into the legal grounds for declaring a national emergency. However, to do so, the President and his advisers have repeated a host of misleading and sometime flat out false claims. Raising hard questions of whether the President will attempt to mislead the American people tonight on national television. The aim of course is getting money for what the President is now calls a steel barrier in face of iron clad opposition from democrats, but as the second longest government shutdown on record drags on, almost certain to become the longest, it is not just democrats at the White House that they have to worry about. I want to bring in CNN's Joe Johns, Joe oval office speeches have gravitas that tweet tweets do not. Does the president believe that tonight will turn things his way? I mean the polling's been very consistent on this. A minority of Americans support the wall. Will the president be able to change that?

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: That is certainly the million dollar question, and that is certainly what the President is hoping with the administration is hoping, Jim. I think that you do have to say that there is a perception and it is borne out by the reporting of my colleagues here at the White House for CNN that, that perception is the administration is not winning the argument on this issue, they needed to do something to change the dynamic, and this is it, a speech from the oval office. Seven to eight, seven to nine minutes in which the President seeks to change the dynamic. Of course it goes without saying that with this president all of the guidance on issue's like that can change, and who knows how long it will be. Now, why are they not winning this argument? Certainly, there is a question about candor, about whether the administration has been putting out misleading statements and not only in the numbers of people arrested in the southern border but also how they characterize people in general who are arrested trying to come into the United States. Many, many questions about things that are being said. So I just wanted to show you a couple of graphics that we put together that are very instructive, and one about the southern border crossing so you have some base of analysis. Fiscal year 2018, roughly a dozen individuals entered the country, half stopped at legal ports of entry, half apprehended illegally crossing the border other. And then there's this other one that shows 2000 to 2018, if there was a crisis, Jim, you could arguably say that the crisis would have occurred around 2000 to about 2006 where a million or so almost people were arrested at the border. Nowadays, it is down to 300,000 to 400,000, so the question is when was the crisis, then or now? Back to you.

SCUITTO: Well facts matter, and the facts contradict the White House message here. Joe Johns thanks very much. To Capital Hill now, CNN's Manu Raju, he's been covering the story from there. Manu, key bell weather really is republican law makers because a handful of them have been abandoning on the shutdown. Is that group growing and is that a driving force for the White House now?

[09:05:00]

MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR: No, we'll have to see that in coming days, the democrats are planning to move forward in the house individual appropriations bills to try to push back on the President, try to reopen individual agencies, take this, separate the fight from the ongoing border fight, opening agencies such as the transportation department and the agricultural department, as well as the IRS and the treasury department, the interior department. Those individual bill will move through the house, and the question is whether or not there will be enough pressure on the senate republicans to move forward. Right now, Mitch McConnell, the majority there, says he will not put the bills on the floor unless it has the President's support. Now that's one reason why the Vice President Mike Pence and the Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Neilson are expected to go to the house republican conference meeting tonight to try to make sure that the republicans don't defect in large numbers, large enough to overcome veto-proof majority. That's, un - right at the moment they are okay from sustaining a veto. The question is does that number grow, now at the same time if President does move on the emergency declaration side, they need to convince republicans that that is the right thing to do and won't tied up in court. I had a chance to talk to the Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the republican leadership team who is concerned that moving forward on the emergency side could complicate efforts to secure the border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN CORNYN, SENATE REPUBLICAN: I am confident that he could declare a national emergency, but what that means in terms of adding new elements to this in terms of court hearings and litigation that may carry this on for weeks and months and years. To me injecting a new element into this just makes it more complicated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So, Jim, that is the big question today, what will the administration say to their allies on Capitol Hill to prevent defections, whether it's on this emergency declaration move or just to prevent them from voting in large numbers for these democratic efforts to reopen the government. Those are big questions and big reason why the President has a major test before the American people later today. Jim.

SCUITTO: Manu Raju we know you're going to be following it, thanks very much. Joining me now to talk about this CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston and CNN Alex Burns, also national political correspondent for "The New York times". Mark Preston, cutting through much of the fog here, are we seeing the outlines of how this is going to resolve itself with the President going on the national television just declares a national emergency, gets the money from somewhere else without Congress' which by the way is I think the way constitution says it's supposed be done, regardless does that and then you open the government again.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: How dare you use facts when you talk about the Constitution Jim. You know I think there's a lot of fear right now amongst republicans on Capitol Hill, amongst republicans across the country and amongst democrats for him to declare if he goes out and does this tonight. It will be a very unprecedented step, it would result certainly in legal challenges and then you bring in all of the three branches of government together fighting over whether the government should be open or not open based upon the President's unwillingness, quite frankly, to negotiate on this money. If he does this tonight, we have now entered into another chapter of really has been a very confusing, in a very chaotic administration.

SCUIITTO: Alex just for folks at home, the way it is supposed to be, right, is that Congress passes legislation or doesn't pass legislation which involves spending money on national priorities. What kind of precedent would this set here if the President, he's not getting what he wants from Congress. So he say's OK it's a national emergency and I have to take money from somewhere else, conceivably a President could do that every other day, right, if he wants something done and then bypass the Congress.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well would see what the courts would have say about that, right? And that is what Senator Cornyn was raising that maybe this gives the President just sort of political fig leaf to say, look I've declared national emergency, I'm taking this money from the military and using it for basically civilian purposes and the courts will have their say. But I'm going reopen the government, it gets him out of the sort of box that he is in right now. The precedent that this would obviously shatter is the notion that national emergency and that kind of instrument to the presidency should not just be used for tactical political purposes, right? And this is something that makes basically everybody in Washington pretty nervous, although the President's hard right supporters on the Hill are entirely with him on this, and it makes even sort of very close allies of the President concerned, because it's entirely possible that if he does go down this path he ends up losing in court, right? And then what have you gain odd fore your trouble and what have you done to define essentially the entire back half of your presidency in terms of the wall.

SCUITTO: And nervous is one thing, you saw John Cornyn there say well it would be complicated, not exactly a spirited offense to the Constitution of the United States but in the midst of this, the White House, the President, Vice President continue to use falsehoods and misleading statements to make the case for the necessity of a national crisis border and we saw even though it's been debunked 1,000 times the idea that somehow 4,000 terrorists are going to be stopped if you have this border wall, when we know the facts are that all of last year, there were 12 who were on that terror watch list, not 4,000. Vice President Pence today repeated the 4,000 figure on ABC news. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means last year.

ABC ANCHOR: When were we were at airports, not at the border.

PENCE: Last year alone 17,000 individuals with criminal histories were apprehended at our southern border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCUITTO: The point is that you just keep repeating it, right, regardless of what the facts are Mark. Who is the Vice President who are the President speaking to when they do that?

PRESTON: He's certainly speaking to his bases as Alex was talking, as we talk about the really hard right on Capital Hill, the Mark Meadows of the world, the freedom caucus and those folks who see them as really hard Donald Trump supporters think this is a good idea, and they think that it's OK. Here's the greater problem though about President Trump lying consistently everyday and then being backed up by his Vice President. What happens when they leave office, what happens when we look back and say, oh, is it OK to lie, was it OK for them to lie in office, but when the next administration comes in, they can or they can't lie. And this whole idea of him calling a national emergency, in some ways he all ready has, right? He sent down 5,800 troop's right before the election for a political play to say that the caravan was going to come storming across the border and what happened right after the election? He sent those troops home, we all ready had about what, 1,500 or 2,000 National Guard troops down there. You know how much it costs everyone out there, just so everybody knows over $200 million Donald Trump did that for political purposes.

[09:10:00]

SCUITTO: And we know that that was one of the decisions that Jim Mattis disgreed with that help lead to his resignation. A final question though Alex Burns, I wonder if we're all ready seeing the consequences of the President's lies and misleading statements. Is it when he attempts to make a case for a national emergency, the fact is that most Americans don't believe him, even if some in his base do, already he has deluded his own credibility.

BURNS: I think that's dead-on, and I think it will be one of the enormous stories coming out the of the President's address tonight, is does he have the capacity to persuade anybody both because of his record of just making stuff up and saying things that aren't true. But also because of the record that he has assembled on immigration policy where he has really emphasized sort of elements of his hard- line agenda that are not popular at the expense of elements of border control and immigration security that actually command broad support. There are things that the President could be pushing right now that would be pretty broadly popular in terms of the additional immigration enforcement across the country and interior and at the border, the wall isn't one of them.

SCUITTO: It doesn't appear that the strategy is - that the strategy appears to be making political points for a 2020 run for re-election, I mean it just seems to be clearer every day. Mark Preston, Alex Burns, thanks as always. Some democratic senators are putting the pressure on their colleagues to consider blocking all legislation that does not immediately reopen the government. Is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, on board, we're going to ask him, he's next? Plus mixed messages sparking backlash, Turkey's President slammed the President national security advisor John Bolton this morning, saying he made a serious mistake with his latest comment on Syria. This as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo denies that allows are confused about the U.S. troop withdrawal. Hard to see how he makes that case. And a stunning surge in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions over the last year but is the U.S. doing anything to stop it? You can probably guess the answer to that question.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCUITTO: This morning the shutdown showdown entering new territory, Senate democrats now consider blocking all legislation that republicans introduce to keep focus on reopening the government, including a serious sanctions bill that comes up for a vote today. Joining me is the Democratic Senator from the great state of West Virginia, Joe Manchin. Senator thanks for taking the time this morning.

JOE MANCHIN, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR, WV: Thank you for having me, Jim.

SCUITTO: First question regarding the shutdown, you said again this morning and last night that the President declaring a national emergency would be an acceptable solution to the shutdown and his desire for the border wall funding. I wonder though, as you know, it's Congress' job constitutionally to approve spending including on national priorities such as this one. Why isn't Congress doing its job?

MANCHIN: I can't speak for all of Congress, and I'm willing to vote immediately and get this government back open. But, Jim, if it's the only way forward to keep this absolute horrendous shutdown which affects so many thousands of West Virginians, children that depend on food, just the basic necessities of life, and if that's what the President believes he has the right to do, it'll be fought in courts. Mr. President, please, move on with that, let us open government back up, let's pass the six appropriations bills we have, have a temporary extension to the Homeland Security DHS funding and then let the courts fight it out, I'm fine with that, I'm just looking, so how do you break the impasse Jim and move on.

SCUITTO: Let's think about the precedent here, Fox News analyst Judge Napolitano, he made the point, he said if Trump bypasses Congress on the border in his words, he's not a President, he's a prince. Wouldn't this set a precedent where by a President, if he can't get Congress to act, we'll declare, could declare anything a national emergency, declare health care national emergency and push through money for health care legislate. He could literally declare anything, doesn't that precedent concern you?

MANCHIN: Oh, it sure does, but I believe you can only cry wolf so many times, and you can't continue this because you can't get your way or can't get the votes that you need. Keep declaring an emergency in order to satisfy what your desires are. That's not how our government's set up. Why Congress is given away so much of the powers of Congress over the years, I can't explain that. Why we've advocated to the executive branch, I can't explain. Why the leadership in the republican party on the Senate side is not willing to the take up the votes that we know that we can pass and put 90 percent of this government back working again, restore the funding that takes care of to run the country. I don't know why they're doing that, I really can't. But if this is what it takes to get him off of the dime, it's going to be in the courts, and we'll fight it out in the court system I'll assure you. But basically, we can put people back to work, we can take care of the services that make the country strong, feed our children and take care of our responsibilities.

SCUITTO: As you know the President is going to, for the first time, address the nation from the oval office tonight. As you also know the President, his advisers have used sometimes misleading, sometimes outright false claims to justify the necessity of a border wall and the Vice President was on television again this morning talking about this 4,000 terrorist figure as if the border wall will some how stop that, when in reality last year 12 folks on the watch list were actually stopped at the southern border. Are you concerned that the President will lie to the American people tonight on national television?

MANCHIN: Jim, I'm concerned that someone is totally misinforming, and you never want to think that your President would lie or people of high positions that we depend on, on for day-to-day operations of our government and for the protection of our lives would ever lie to us. Someone is drastically misinforming him, and I would find out who that person is, and fire them.

SCUITTO: Are you concerned about the kind of advice that this President is getting

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:15:00] JIM SCIUTTO, HOST, NEWSROOM: This morning, the shutdown showdown entering new territory as Senate Democrats now considering blocking all legislation that Republicans introduce to keep focus on reopening the government, including a serious Sanctions Bill that comes up for a vote today.

Joining me is Democratic Senator from the great state of West Virginia, Joe Manchin. Senator, thanks for taking the time this morning.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Thanks for having me, Jim.

SCIUTTO: First question regarding the shutdown.

MANCHIN: Yes --

SCIUTTO: You said again this morning and last night that the president declaring a national emergency would be an acceptable solution to the shutdown and his desire for border wall funding. I wonder though, as you know, it's Congress' job constitutionally to approve spending including on national priorities such as this one. Why isn't Congress doing its job?

MANCHIN: Well, I can't speak for all of Congress, I'm willing to vote immediately and get this government back open. But Jim, if it's the only way forward to keep this absolute, horrendous shutdown which affects so many thousands of West Virginians, children that depend on food, just a basic necessities of life.

And if that's what the president believes he has the right to do, it will be fought in court. Mr. President, please, move on with that, let us open government back up, let's pass the six appropriations bills we have, have a temporary extension to the Homeland Security DHS funding and then let the courts fight it out, I'm fine with that.

I'm just looking into how do we break the impasse, Jim and move on.

SCIUTTO: But let's think about the precedent here, "Fox News" analyst Judge Napolitano, I mean, he made the point, he said if Trump bypasses Congress on the border, in his words, he's not a president, he's a prince.

Wouldn't this set a precedent whereby a president if he can't get Congress to act, will declare -- could declare anything a national emergency, declare healthcare national emergency and push through money for healthcare legislation -- he could -- you know, literally declare anything. Doesn't that precedent --

MANCHIN: In my --

SCIUTTO: Concern you?

MANCHIN: Oh, sure, it does, but I believe you only cry with so many times, and you can't continue this because you can't get your way or can't get the votes that you need, keep declaring an emergency in order to satisfy what your desires are.

That's not how a government is set up. Why Congress has given away so much of the powers of Congress over the years, I can't explain that. Why we've abdicated to the executive branch, I can't explain that.

Why the leadership and the Republican Party on the Senate side is not willing to take up the votes that we know that we can pass and put 90 percent of this government back working again, restore the funding that it takes care of the running the country.

I don't know why they're doing that, I really can't. But if this is what it takes to get him off the dime, it's going to be heard in courts and we'll fight it out in the court system, I assure you. But basically, we can put people back to work, we can take care of the services that keep our country strong, feed our children and take care of our responsibilities.

SCIUTTO: As you know, the president is going to -- for the first time, address the nation from the Oval Office tonight --

MANCHIN: Yes --

SCIUTTO: As you also know, the president, his advisors have used sometimes misleading, sometimes outright false claims to justify the necessity of a border wall --

MANCHIN: Yes --

SCIUTTO: And the vice president was on television again this morning talking about this 4,000 terrorist figure as if the border wall will somehow stop that, when in reality last year, 12 folks on the watch- list were actually stopped at the southern border.

Are you concerned that the president will lie to the American people tonight on national television?

MANCHIN: Jim, I'm concerned that someone is totally misinforming, and you never want to think your president would lie or people of high positions that we depend on, on day-to-day operations of our government and for the protection of our lives would ever lie to us.

[09:20:00] Someone is drastically misinforming him, and I would find out who that person is and fire him.

SCIUTTO: Are you concerned about the kind of advice that this president is getting from his advisors --

MANCHIN: I'm concerned --

SCIUTTO: A shrinking circle as we know.

MANCHIN: I'm concerned about the type of spin that's being taken off of the facts. I have said this many times, in my state of West Virginia, we're all entitled to our opinions. We're just not entitled to create our own facts to support our opinion.

That's the bottom line. And if someone is misinforming and basically the president is buying a lock, stock and barrel, and repeating it, something is drastically wrong. So we need to have Democrats and Republicans. Mitch McConnell put a working group together, Chuck Schumer, put a working group together.

Let's make sure that we have a set of facts that are verified and quantified that that's basically the truth. And then everybody will go from there, we haven't even done that.

SCIUTTO: Amen. I want to ask you about 2020 now, as you know --

MANCHIN: Yes --

SCIUTTO: A number of your colleagues, Democratic colleagues, if they're not already in the race, are seriously considering entering the race --

MANCHIN: Sure --

SCIUTTO: And as you see this happening, you see what's going to be a battle within the Democratic Party, right, between its more liberal left-wing --

MANCHIN: Yes --

SCIUTTO: Other centrists in the mold of say a Vice President Joe Biden. From your position in West Virginia, a state which is as you've noted before benefits from Democratic policies, but voted for Trump. Who is the candidate, the ideal candidate for the Democratic Party in 2020? What kind of candidate?

MANCHIN: I really don't know, I can't -- you know, you're going to have to have someone that's a realist and centrist. You can't -- West Virginia is not going to accept the extremes. Here is a state, my little state of West Virginia has benefited percentage-wise from more Democratic policies over the years ever since FDR to present than any other state percentage-wise.

But yet, it's a state that has flipped and voted most for President Trump. So I would say that if I was running for president, I want to know how do I go to an area and find out why people who are voting against their own best interests will continue to do so at a detriment to themselves and their family.

SCIUTTO: Yes --

MANCHIN: So I'm saying if you want to know why national politics and national Democrats aren't inning and in rural America, come to West Virginia, I'll be happy to host you all and let you see for yourself Appalachian.

Let you see basically when there's an overreach and overreaction and extremism on either side, how it affects real people that depend on a paycheck day-by-day, week-by-week to feed their family. Happy to have you.

SCIUTTO: When you say a centrist is the way forward, that does not sound like an Elizabeth Warren for instance.

MANCHIN: Elizabeth will have a hard time in West Virginia, she really would. But she is welcome to come down, maybe she can change her positions. These are all my friends, I've worked with everybody from the right to the left to the -- I'm able to work with everybody.

But I want them to see the real world, to see rural West Virginia, to see real rural America, see people who really get up and work hard and don't ask for anything, just give me a chance to provide for my family. They want to come, I'm happy to show them and entertain them.

I'm happy to do a whole forum that basically that I will say anybody that wants to find out what rural America is all about, come to West Virginia and we'll show you hard working people that just want government to be their partner, not their provider, but not their antagonist either.

SCIUTTO: Senator Joe Manchin, thanks very much this morning.

MANCHIN: Thanks, Jim, good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: Well, a crucial U.S. ally says that the national security adviser John Bolton just made a serious mistake on Syria, the latest on those growing tensions between NATO allies.

And we are moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, the Dow based on futures, you could see there should jump at the open as Wall Street recovers some from its big December losses, cautious optimism over trade talks between the U.S. and China.

And the health of the world's two largest economies has seen the down surge 8 percent since Christmas eve.

[09:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: This morning, Turkey's President Erdogan is calling comments by President Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, quote, "a serious mistake." While in Jerusalem on Sunday, Bolton said that as part of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, Turkey needs to agree to protect Kurdish forces who helped in the fight against ISIS, hundreds of them died in fact.

That is a guarantee that Turkey says it is unwilling to make. Joining me now Arwa Damon; she is Cnn's senior international correspondent live from Istanbul, Turkey. So quite a difference here, of course, the president made his withdrawal decision on a telephone call with Erdogan, seem to make him happy, and now with the reversal, Erdogan not so happy.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Beyond not so happy, Jim, he's absolutely incensed it would seem, especially looking at the comments that he made earlier today, calling Bolton's remarks a grave mistake.

Emphasizing the fact that he had spoken directly to President Trump on two occasions, saying that even though this administration does have a tendency and a history of sending out mixed messages that Turkey was at the very least going to take Trump's word at least at this stage.

Here is some of the comments that Erdogan made earlier today, saying "we reached a deal with Trump, we are going to keep taking Trump as our reference point. We always kept our promises, we expect this from our allies." Turkey of course views that Kurdish fighting force inside Syria, the YPG that has been America's main ally is being a terrorists.

And to effectively one and the same as the PKK with whom Turkey has been for decades at war, that being a Kurdish separatist organization. We also heard from the presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin who met with Bolton while he was here in Turkey.