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Supreme Court Reinstates Fine Against Mystery Company that Challenges Subpoena Related to Mueller Investigation; Trump Not Expected to Declare Emergency for Wall; Two Federal Correctional Officers Sue The Trump Administration; Colorado Swears in The Nation's First Openly Gay Governor; A Family Attorney Says Georgia Prosecutors Are Investigating R. Kelly. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 8, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Breaking news from the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices have just ruled on the case tied to the Mueller investigation. So, Shimon Prokupecz is on it for us, our CNN crime and justice reporter and so, Shimon, give us me some context. Explain what just happened.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: We've been waiting for word from the Supreme Court on this. This is certainly a case that has gotten a lot of attention and a lot of intrigue because it's a foreign company that's been resisting a subpoena from the Mueller investigation. They've been fighting and litigating, appealing it, they finally took it took it to the Supreme Court after losing here in a D.C. Appeals Court and initially they had asked that the Supreme Court stay these fines. They're paying fines each and every day because a court hearing in D.C. has held them in contempt for not complying with a subpoena from the Mueller team and as a result, they've had to pay a fine each and every day in the thousands of dollars.

And briefly the Supreme Court, justice Roberts said, OK, I'll stay the fine, but just now moments ago, Justice Roberts issuing orders saying that the fines will continue. Now today also the company is asking that the entire Supreme Court hear this appeal. We don't have a decision on that yet from the Supreme Court if they're going to hear it, but this gives us some indication, perhaps, that this could put a lot of pressure on this company to finally cooperate with the Mueller team. Certainly, if they lose in the Supreme Court, but this is just going to continue to sort of accumulate, these fines and the pressure on this company which is now probably facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines and we'll see. This company is continuing to resist this subpoena. We don't know much about this company, only that it's from a foreign nation owned by a foreign nation and that's about all that we know about this company.

BALDWIN: Sounds like the pressures on no matter what. Shimon, thank you very much for that.

We have more breaking news this afternoon. What we just learned about President Trump's primetime speech, will he or won't he declare a national emergency over what his administration has deemed a crisis at the southern border?


BALDWIN: So just in, sources are telling CNN now that as the President is readying to address the nation this evening, that he is not expected to declare a national emergency to build his wall, but we are told the door will remain open as long a shutdown negotiations stall. So as the shutdown enters its 18th day the White House is now facing legal challenges. A union representing thousands of federal employees is suing the Trump administration alleging that the shutdown violates the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing more than 400,000 employees to work without pay. The White House has not yet returned CNN's request for comment, but this suit is being brought by two federal correctional officers in West Virginia, one of them, Justin Tarovisky is with me now. He's executive vice President of the union at the federal corrections complex in Hazelton, so welcome, to you, sir. His attorney in this case is also with us, Heidi Burakiewicz, and so, Justin, let me start with you because I understand -- Hazleton, we talked about this recently when it was in the news, already understaffed. You're being asked to work overtime. You worked 16 hours straight on New Year's Eve. I understand there have been several assaults on prison staff just in the last couple of days.


BALDWIN: Tell me more about that.

TAROVISKY: Yes, ma'am. After this last weekend, we had four staff assaults just at the prison alone. As you stated, we are severely understaff and to accompany that with the low morale of that, officers being stuck to work not just eight hours but 16, it's kind of -- it's hurt us and to now to [14:10:00] have a shutdown where we are essential employees and we represent the government and we have to show up for work for the American people to keep the community safe, to keep staff safe and keep the inmates safe, that shutdown it's not helping us.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: I'm still back on the four staff assaults since Friday. Do you believe that is directly related to the shutdown?

TAROVISKY: I can't speculate on that.


TAROVISKY: I really don't know, but it doesn't help.

BALDWIN: It doesn't help. It doesn't help. This Friday's payday, if and when paychecks are not issued, Justin, what happens then?

TAROVISKY: Well, just take Hazleton, for example. It's an off the grid. It's out in the middle of the country in West Virginia and a lot of staff drive real far away whether it be 50, 60, 70 miles to get to work and now you're telling them that they got to budget gas, if they got kids, they have to pay for day care and mortgage payments. It caused a major strain on an already dangerous environment we work in already and to add all that, it's just -- it's not a good situation.

BALDWIN: Heidi, Justin's job has been deemed essential which means he still has to show up for work without pay. So, with this lawsuit against the Trump administration, What are you trying to achieve with this lawsuit for folks like Justin?

HEIDI BURAKIEWICZ, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF IN LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: The preliminary matter, all of my clients want to send a message that this is no way to treat the federal workforce, Justin just talked about the staff assaults that have happened at Hazleton. There were staff assaults at federal prisons all over the country on Friday. There was an inmate that was murdered in a low security prison and two staff were injured responding, trying to stop that stabbing. The employees at Hazleton, at prisons all over the country as well as the rest of the essential staff who traditionally fill these type of public safety roles are going to work in dangerous jobs and now on top of it, they have the stress no one knows how long the shutdown will last or when they'll start to get paid again.

BALDWIN: You won a similar case against the federal government during an Obama era shutdown. This was back in 2013, Heidi, but 25,000 employees are still waiting to receive those damages. Do you know why and if you win this suit with the Trump administration, how do you prevent the delay in pay from happening again?

BURAKIEWICZ: Well, unfortunately, litigation never moves fast. However, from my perspective, the legal issues in the 2013 case are identical to the legal issues that we're facing now. The government's violating the FLSA just like the judge ruled in the 2013 case. She also ruled that the government was liable for liquidated damages because the government failed to act in good faith and they're doing exactly the same thing now. So, the legal issues are resolved from our perspective and although the government had delays in calculating damages on behalf of those individuals who opted in to the 2013 case, we have a road map, a framework for how to do the damage calculations and I'm optimistic that the government is almost at the end of that process in the first case.

BALDWIN: Justin, back to you. Will you be tuning in to the President tonight?

TAROVISKY: Absolutely, you know. I've been falling it all along because obviously it effects my family and it affects a lot of family within the bureau of prisons 800,000 employees and as my fellow brother Ray Coleman Jr. stated on CNN earlier this week, we're going to do our job, you need to do yours and if that means getting that room and getting this settled, whatever dispute on all sides, let's get it done for the 800,000 working blue collar families that go to work and want to provide a service for the American public.

BALDWIN: Hum. Grateful for what you do, Justin. Thank you. Heidi, thank you, as well.

TAROVISKY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Appreciate it. More on our breaking news now, what our guest a moment ago, Garrett

Graff just called a bombshell, new court filings accidentally revealing what Paul Manafort had with the Russians including information he shared related to the 2016. Stay here.


BALDWIN: In 2019 it is not just women who are breaking down barriers in politics. Today history is being made in Colorado where Democrat Jared Polis has been sworn in as the first openly gay governor in the nation.


JARED POLIS, NEW GOVERNOR, COLORADO: I'm honored by this great responsibility and I'm humbled by your trust and I must begin by saying, I'm very conscious of the fact that there were many brave people over the years who made it possible for someone like me to be standing here giving a speech like this. And I'm grateful and indebted to those who came before me, who's struggle for equal rights, who stepped up for public service in all its forms, who made difficult sacrifices and worked faithfully to a brighter future for our state --


BALDWIN: Fresh from that stage, the now official governor of Colorado, Jared Polis. Governor, welcome. Congratulations.

POLIS: Thank you. I'm excited to be with you, Brooke.

[14:20:00] BALDWIN: So, governor, obviously your name will forever be associated with this superlative and we should also add you're the first Jewish governor of Colorado, but what does this moment, what you experienced today mean for you personally?

POLIS: I think it's exciting to celebrate the diversity of America and the fact that in our country anybody can get ahead whether that's in the private sector, the public sector and, of course, we'll be judged by the job that I do as governor and whether we can succeed in our goals to create full day kindergarten and protect our environment and way of life and make Colorado more affordable to live in and thrive.

BALDWIN: I was reading a couple of the Colorado papers this morning including the "Colorado Sun" dubbing you America's first pot governor. You have worked on several pieces of marijuana legislation as a congressman specially to legalize it at a federal level. President Trump recently signed the farm bill which legalized hemp in this country which will soon lead to an entire new industry of CBD products. Do you think federal legalization of recreational marijuana is plausible at all?

POLIS: Colorado is one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana.

BALDWIN: When? POLIS: We found the federal laws inhibiting. Federal actions

potentially getting in the way.

BALDWIN: What is the time line?

POLIS: It is a matter who and when. I think we had a cold memo that was in place that decriminalized it. I think it is a matter over years, two, three, four years. It is close to 60 votes to get the federal government out of the state's business with regard to how we choose to regulate marijuana.

BALDWIN: Your predecessor vetoed a number of marijuana bills that advocates a hoping. He said he is leaning towards a run for President of the United States. As a fellow Coloradoan would you support him?

POLIS: He hasn't mentioned that to me. I know I am so thrilled to be able to inherit a strong economy. A thriving growing state. It is Hickenlooper's --

BALDWIN: I'm not hearing a yes.

POLIS: I look forward to hearing from John, what he wants to do.

BALDWIN: It is what he told CNN. I can tell you one thing. I will be very happy to support the Democratic nominee, whoever it is to get Donald Trump out of the White House.


BALDWIN: How about this? I got to press you on this. Democrat told the New York Times that Joe Biden believes he is Democrats' best hope for 2020, best hope. Do you agree with that?

POLIS: I would anticipate, brook, and I think you know this it is probably everybody on the Democratic side. It is the best way because what do they want? Somebody to defeat Donald Trump. I focused on bringing Colorado forward and savoring people money on health care. I look forward to working with the next President who I hope is not President Trump.

BALDWIN: How about all of the beautiful national parks in your state? Looking ahead to the President and his primetime address. It is in day 18. What has been the biggest impact in your state?

POLIS: The national renewable laboratory. So, like a lot we have a lot of federal workers doing important work. We also worry that if this government shutdown continues it would hurt the ability of Colorado to enjoy our public lands.

BALDWIN: It is beautiful there, beautiful. Governor, thank you. Good luck.

POLIS: Come on and visit Colorado. We'll see you here.

BALDWIN: I was there a few months ago.

POLIS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

News just in that CNN learned prosecutors in Georgia are looking into accusations against singer R. Kelly. This is days after some of his accusers were featured in a "Lifetime" documentary series.

Standby for that.


BALDWIN: A seven-year-old tragically killed in a drive by shooting.


LAPORSHA WASHINGTON, MOTHER OF JAZMINE BARNES: I'm just so grateful for everybody in here. You just don't understand. I didn't think it would be this big. It is this big. It is a celebration. And I just want to thank everybody.


BALDWIN: Jazmine's casket was topped with purple and white flowers with a tiara placed in the center there. Her murder made national headlines when police initially feared the shooting was a hate crime. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity according to prosecutors.

[16:00:00] They have charged two suspects with capital murder.

A development now involving R&B singer R. Kelly. The district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia is apparently now conducting an investigation following the release of the "Lifetime" series called "Surviving R. Kelly." This is according to an attorney representing one of the women featured in this film. That attorney says prosecutors asked him for list of witnesses regarding alleged events that happened in 2017. Kelly's home in the Atlanta area. CNN reached out to the Fulton County district attorney and they are not commenting on the matter. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me here in New York. We go to Washington now. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.