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McAllen, Texas, Mayor Discusses Shutdown/Border Fight Ahead of Trump Border Visit; House Judiciary Chair Threatens Subpoena If Acting A.G. Won't Voluntarily Appear Before House Panel; Supreme Court Reinstates Fine Against Mystery Company as it Challenges Mueller Investigation Subpoena; High-Ranking TSA Official Warns Absences by Unpaid Officers "Adversely Impacting Security Operations"; Woman in Coma for Over a Decade Gives Birth. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired January 9, 2019 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:00] JIM DARLING, (R), MAYOR, MCALLEN, TEXAS: I think the president's style of negotiation, unfortunately, it does hurt people. We have our friend and neighbors, our federal employees down here not working. I hate to see that. By at the same token, I think the way to do this is compromise. We're not seeing that from anybody.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's see what can come from his visit with you and visiting the border tomorrow.

Mayor, thanks for coming in.

DARLING: You're welcome. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us still, a mystery foreign company tied to the Russia investigation must now pay up big, $50,000 a day to be precise. It has to do with the Russia investigation. The Supreme Court just weighed in. That's next.


[11:35:20] BOLDUAN: Is a new subpoena fight coming? The now chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat Jerry Nadler, is doubling down on a threat to force the acting attorney general, Matthew Whittaker, to answer questions before his committee. That is, if Whitaker doesn't pledge to answer voluntarily this month.

CNN congressional correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty, is joining me now with much more on this.

Sunlen, what is behind the threat from Nadler and what's likely to happen here?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps Jerry Nadler best putting it himself, Kate, when he said one could conclude that Matt Whittaker is stalling here. Back in November, when he was chosen as the acting A.G., he agreed to appear before the committee at some point this month. That simply has not been set up yet between him and the members up here on Capitol Hill. It's very clear that Chairman Nadler is getting very antsy here and that's why he issued this very clear subpoena threat here on Capitol Hill yesterday. He said, quote, "He will come before our committee in January. If we don't reach a date in the next day or two, we will subpoena him. If it's important enough that they can find a couple of hours sometime in January, especially since they were on notice since November and told us they would."

The Department of Justice, Kate, has blamed the government shutdown, they have blamed his travel schedule on the reason this date has not been set up.

Keep in mind, Whittaker's replacement, A.G. nominee, William Barr, he's up here on Capitol Hill today and he heads into his confirmation hearings next week. But it's clear it's not going away for Whittaker, even if he's not at the helm of the Department of Justice. Nadler intends to send him a letter today of his intentions and they still want to get him up here on Capitol Hill, even if he does not head the Department of Justice.

BOLDUAN: And surrounding a lot of things, conversations with the president over Sessions' firing, his past comments about the Russia investigation. There's a lot that Jerry Nadler says he has questions for Matt Whitaker about.


BOLDUAN: Sunlen, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

The Supreme Court has sided with the special counsel over a mystery foreign company in that company's fight to resist a subpoena by Robert Mueller and his team. Now the company is facing a $50,000 a day fine until it complies with the special counsel.

CNN Supreme Court reporter, Ariane De Vogue, is joining me now.

Ariane, this whole mystery company -- a mystery company from a mystery country only referred to as "country A," this whole thing is fascinating. What more did we learn from the Supreme Court here?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: You're absolutely right. It's not very often that the Supreme Court gets a petition that is so shrouded in mystery.

Here's what we do know. We know that this lower court ruled that an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation had to comply with a subpoena. And if it didn't, if it didn't turn over the information, it had to pay $50,000 a day. So that unnamed company raced to the Supreme Court and said, look, please right now block these fines while we ask you to look at the bigger case. Chief Justice John Roberts stepped in by himself a week ago and said, OK, I'll block these fines for now until the full court considers this. Then the company waited. Finally, the Supreme Court came out yesterday and said, look, we are not going to step in here. That meant that the fines would have to continue. But what we learned is that the company has gone back to the Supreme

Court and said, OK, they've lost on that emergency petition but they want the Supreme Court to take up the whole case. And that's where things are.

It was interesting. One of the filings we got at the Supreme Court was almost completely blacked out. That doesn't happen very often there.

BOLDUAN: Let's hope they used the correct form of Adobe, as what we're now learning, so people can't get through it.

DE VOGUE: That's right.

BOLDUAN: But, Ariane, did the Supreme Court signal in any way, the justices, on how they might ultimately lean on this question now that it's back before them?

DE VOGUE: On that emergency order, there were no noted dissents. We don't learn a lot. The Supreme Court said we're going to stay out. But the fact that no other justices chose to write or to say something or to say we disagree with this, that's a bad sign for the company. We'll have to wait. We'll have to wait and see how the court now deals with this other petition asking it to look at the whole case. But so far, the court seems to be signaling it wants to stay out.

BOLDUAN: Yes, maybe understandably.

Ariane, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

DE VOGUE: Thank you.

[11:39:49] BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a new warning from a high- ranking TSA official as the government shutdown enters day 19. Next, how some airport security operations are being impacted and why some TSA employees are being put on notice.


BOLDUAN: There's new information into CNN about how the government shutdown is hurting airport security. According to an internal e-mail obtained by CNN, a high-ranking TSA official says excessive absences has adversely impacted security operations -- that's how it's termed -- at a southern California airport.

CNN's Rene Marsh is joining me right now.

Rene, you've been doing some very important reporting on this. What more are you learning?

[11:45:00] RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is the assessment, Kate, of this high-ranking TSA official at that airport in southern California -- we're talking about Palm Springs International Airport -- that these excessive callouts have had an impact on security operations at the airport. I want to read to you a portion of that internal e-mail sent from this

high-ranking official who's in charge of security at this airport to the employees there, which includes screeners. It says, "Due to excessive unscheduled absences recently experienced at Palm Springs International that has adversely impacted security operations, if you have an unscheduled absence, you will not be placed in an intermittent furlough status."

Plainly speaking, Kate, what they are saying here is that the absences got to the point where they felt it was necessary to send out this e- mail warning TSA employees at this airport that if they call out sick, they could face some sort of disciplinary action.

It's significant because it's the first time you're hearing any acknowledgment from a TSA official that this government shutdown is having some impact on some airport security operations, at least at this airport. We did reach out to TSA. They point out that this is a small airport and this e-mail was merely suggesting that because their staff is so small, it needs to be all-hands-on-deck even during the shutdown. The agency is saying they're not seeing any negative impacts on operations as far as wait times and such.

But of course, this comes at a time where this week all eyes are going to be on these federal workers. This is going to be the week that they miss their first paycheck. Everyone is wondering, what will that mean as this shutdown drags on and on. How will these employees react? Will they all show up for work or will they look for cash- paying jobs to continue to pay their bills that are continuing to come in the mail -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: You're also hearing that this isn't over even when the government reopens. How so?

MARSH: Yes. You know, the union that represents the majority of these TSA employees say they've been hearing from their members about the financial hardships they're going through. I heard from TSA employees here that -- one guy told me, I only have a week to go before I have to start dipping into savings. Many of them are opting, according to the union, now to leave the force all together. That is what the union is saying that they're seeing. People are quitting the work force, leaving the federal government, and going to look for other jobs because they just need a steady paycheck. What kind of problems could that create? Well that means TSA is going to need to find more people to replace individuals who may end up leaving, they have to be trained. We're in January now. A very busy time for the agency is spring break. If you don't have your staff in place and trained by spring break, it is going to be a nightmare scenario at airports.

BOLDUAN: Rene, thank you so much so much. I really appreciate it. Day 19 and no end in sight.

Coming up for us, there's outrage and absolute shock over a baby's birth in Arizona. Why? Because the mother has been in a coma for more than a decade. Now police are demanding DNA samples. We'll have the latest on the investigation, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:52:53] BOLDUAN: A woman in a coma for more than a decade has given birth at a health care facility in Arizona. And today, authorities are collecting DNA samples from every male employee at that facility.

CNN's Sara Sidner is live in Phoenix with more on this.

Sara, it is a horrible story that is playing out -- that we are now learning about. What are you learning about the investigation under way?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So police are being very, very, very careful with the information they give out. They will only tell us they are doing an investigation. They won't tell us exactly what they are investigating. But you talk to anyone in the legal community, and if this woman was in a vegetative state and ended up pregnant and having a baby, then she would have been raped because she would not have consented.

What we know so far is coming from Hacienda Health Care who said that police have obtained search warrants and that the search warrants were specifically to get DNA from all of the male employees inside their health care facility.

What we also know is a little bit about this woman, and that just came out yesterday officially from the San Carlos Apache tribe, of which she is a member. They say she is 29 years old and has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade. And this all happened in the last few days. She became pregnant nine months ago and had a baby in the last few days. But there are a lot of questions as to how exactly this happened and if anyone noticed that this had happened to someone who is in the care of this health care facility. The CEO of this facility has resigned and the health care facility has said that this is a horrifying situation and they're cooperating with police -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: To say the least, Sara. The woman's family is speaking out as well, as now other people who have loved ones at that very same facility. What are you hearing?

SIDNER: Yes. They are traumatized. And they did send a statement out because there's so much attention. And this is actually a story that was broken by a local reporter here and that is how everyone, including people who have patients who are still in this facility, learned of all this. The family obviously is outraged, telling us they're traumatized by the abuse and neglect of their daughter. But she had a baby boy, they say, and that child will be taken care of in a loving family -- Kate?

[11:55:21] BOLDUAN: I can only imagine what that means for any family who has another loved one who has been in that same facility under the same care of these same people.

Sara, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Coming up, all eyes are on Capitol Hill as President Trump is heading

there to meet with fellow Republicans over the shutdown standoff. Is anything different today after last night's Oval Office address?