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Trump: "Would Almost Say Definitely" will Declare Emergency; Pompeo Delivers Mideast Speech 100 Days after Khashoggi Death. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired January 10, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Pompeo holds a major speech in Cairo where he calls the U.S. force for good in the Middle East. Did he give any clarity though on the shifting strategy in Syria. That's next.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. We are back with our panel of very smart people here. Listen, so much to digest. Dana, if I could begin with you. Senator John Kennedy's answer to us just there on the president's talking about invoking Emergency Powers and seeming to go down that path seems to show that he is not going to get opposition from Republicans in the Senate.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he'll get lip service opposition.
SCIUTTO: Right. You know I'm -- not my first choice.
BASH: Not my first choice because they don't -- they can say it. They can say this is not great for the Constitution. They can say this is not great for Congress.
[10:35:01] That this isn't the way it should be done, but they also have a political out just like the president would take. This - I mean, for the past couple of days, people I've talked to around the president have been very clear that they don't think there is any other political exit ramp other than this national emergency. And the other thing that the president said both on Twitter this morning and on his way out at the White House was that he has other tools besides declaring a national emergency. When you declare a national emergency, and we've been reporting this you can take money that are already - that's already in pots like the Defense Department which is probably why he has somebody from D.o.D. traveling with him today.
But a - and I would love to hear what Jim thinks about this because he was a White House lawyer. A smart White House lawyer texted me earlier today -- former White House lawyer, saying that there is another avenue that's called the Stafford Act. Don't want to get too far in the weeds but what this effectively means is that he could invoke this act which is from 1988 which would allow him to take F.E.M.A. Funds. So funds that come from the pot of money that is supposed to go for disaster relief. And the open question is whether that money would just run up the deficit because apparently you don't have to you know cover your tracks on that. You don't have to pay for that money that you spend.
SCIUTTO: Interesting because Congress has a good record of paying for money -
BASH: I mean it -
SCIUTTO: But Jim to you. Is that the way forward you think?
JAMES SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Look, I think there is a reason why his lawyer is with him going to the border and the reason is because they want to make a real evaluation of whether use the Emergency Powers Act, the Emergency Powers or the Stafford Act. And the Emergency Power has been invoked 55 times since 1976 and has been used in numerous circumstances. This certainly is going to get a challenge. It is likely to end up before the 9th Circuit which isn't a friendly circuit for - that's on the border. So there isn't a friendly circuit many times for the president.
So all of these things have to be taken into consideration when he is making determination to use the Emergency Powers which are broad powers, definition of emergency is certainly courts will defer to the president on what the definition of emergency is. So certainly, that is something to take into account. They have to look at the courts, look at where they're going to be challenged and if does, it can injunction does issue on this then he is put right back in the same circumstance which is back negotiating and will have lost leverage.
BASH: Except the government will be open and that is the exit strategy -
SCHULTZ: The government will be open but --
But if the goal here is to get real border security to secure our borders, to provide - you know to stop the humanitarian issues that are occurring along the border, you know the way to do that is to try to get a deal done now rather than through the courts then back to the table again and the immigration issue still hasn't been solved or there's going to be no progress whatsoever. So there has to be a reasonable approach for this.
SCIUTTO: You might have just exposed the truth of this that this is about politics, right? It's about political win more than anything, right?
SCHULTZ: I don't know. It's about securing the border. And I think -- I don't think it is just about politics. I think the politics of it are the negotiations and what is going on, on both sides. On the left, you have you know Nancy Pelosi still has to deal with the abolished ICE movement on the left. And she has -- those are part of the Democratic base. And that is something that she needs to listen to especially with all these new Congress folks coming into Congress.
HARLOW: Hey, guys. I also want to get to some of the other really important headlines that came at the end of what the president said there, OK? Kaitlan Collins to you too, really important things, he was asked by a reporter about Paul Manafort sharing that internal Trump campaign polling data externally with the Russians and with - meant to get to Ukrainian sympathizers of the Russian agenda. And also, the president not committing to or saying whether he wants the Mueller report to ever become public, really, both significant.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly significant because the Paul Manafort development was one of the biggest developments we have seen as we followed this Russia investigation throughout knowing that he tried to share that polling data with the Russian linked operative that was intended for those Ukrainian oligarchs. And that is something that president denied knowing anything about. Quite quickly there on the South Lawn when a reporter asked him did you know about this. But then, when he was also asked are you going to make the findings of the Mueller report public, the president neither committed to doing so nor declined to do so. He has essentially said one of his favorite answers which is we'll see. Well that is why we know behind the scenes. That is something White House officials are increasingly preparing for us so that report to come out and something they are increasingly concerned about, something that's kind of followed them. They feel like throughout the administration.
And ironically enough throughout the last few weeks as they have been going back and forth with Democrats debating what to do about the government shutdown, some White House aides have expressed gratitude that essentially the Russia investigation had been out of the headlines and that border security was instead the front and center fight over the president's long campaign promise to build that border wall.
[10:40:00] Now they feel that that is something that could be coming back in the headlines pretty quickly especially with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing he will leave once the attorney general nominee is confirmed if he is confirmed. But that is certainly something that has been a focus here at the White House.
SCIUTTO: So, Molly Ball, it is interesting thought here. Let's say the president declares a national emergency and you get through this and then you got Republicans and Democrats back there negotiating actual ways to fund the government, you know that's the immediate term. Is there a possibility that they actually sit down to talk about you know compromise on the immigration issue, get a real immigration reform bill along the lines of what - you know there was bipartisan support for many months ago.
MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": I think that is all up to the president. You know there were negotiations on immigration reform last year that seemed to be reaching a good point and then fell apart and also in 2017. It's been you know, 10, 12, 15 years the parties have been trying to find a way to come together on immigration reform. It was the president who walked away from a potential compromise last time. This has been such a hard issue. It has befuddled some of the savviest and most expert negotiators on Capitol Hill. So you know I'm not saying the president isn't among them but he hasn't really dug into this issue in that way.
HARLOW: Molly, your new "Time" cover piece this morning, "Trump and Pelosi are locked in their first battle. Neither can afford to lose." You end the piece by saying, "There is no end in sight for the clash of these two titanic figures." That is depressing.
BALL: Well, look, I mean this battle is such a sign of things to come because we see there is now a new world order in Washington. For two years there has been a Congress that tried its best to do everything the president wanted. That's not the case anymore and that is being revealed in various stark terms over the course of this shutdown. The president has to deal with the House of Representatives that is going to just say no to what he wants to do. And he is going to have to find ways to deal with that. He is finding it very tough to adjust to because it's not what he is used to. And it really now is the state of things in Washington that the Congress on the other end of the Capitol is counter weight to the president rather than appendage for him.
SCIUTTO: Molly, Dana, Jim, Kaitlan, thanks very much -
HARLOW: Thank you guys.
SCIUTTO: Lots to digest this morning to say the least. Coming up, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making a huge speech on U.S. policy in the Middle East, he addressed several key issues including Iran, the administration's strategy on Syria, somewhat confusing and combatting terror in the region. We're going to discuss that next.
[10:47:20] SCIUTTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is touting the Trump administration's actions in the Middle East framing them as fixes for the mistakes of President Obama. Pompeo spoke this morning in Cairo reaffirming the United States commitment to protecting the region. This after a rise of uncertainty following President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over. We will labor tirelessly alongside you to defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadists that threaten our security and yours. President Trump has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria. We always do and now is the time, but this isn't a change of mission. We remain committed to the complete dismantling of ISIS - the ISIS threat - and the ongoing fight against radical Islamism in all of its forms.
For our part, airstrikes in the region will continue as targets arise. We will keep working with our partners in the Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: Pompeo made no mention of the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi though Pompeo is heading to Saudi Arabia later this week. Today marks 100 days since that brutal murder took place, a day remembered by Khashoggi's paper the "Washington Post" with this advertisement today.
Let's discuss now. Joining me Ambassador Robert Jordan, he is the former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia for George W. Bush. He's also the author of "Desert Diplomat Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11." Ambassador thanks for joining us again today.
ROBERT JORDAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA: Good to be with you Jim.
SCIUTTO: First I want to ask you on Jamal Khashoggi because there is new video that the Turks have released showing what could be Saudi employees bringing his body out in bags from the consulate. It is 100 days since his murder. The U.S. has yet to penalize the Saudi regime. Has the U.S. lost its moment to make a stand on this?
JORDAN: I think very likely we have lost our moment and I think it is a tragedy. That video is shocking and disgusting. We have seen nothing from this administration other than canceling the visas of some of the henchman which simply means they can't come here and go to Disneyland. That is a farce, I think in terms of the kinds of sanctions we should be imposing.
SCIUTTO: What kinds of sanctions do you think the U.S. should impose to properly make a stand here?
JORDAN: Well, we talked about limiting the war in Yemen, limiting our assistance. But we haven't really seen much action in that regard, that's number one. Number two, I think we've got economic issues here that we can deal with. For example, international cooperation on economic issues needs to be feathered back, I think, at this point.
[10:50:11] The Davos in the desert meeting that occurred in October is something that I think we should not repeat. We should not encourage our business leaders to attend. I think the individual members, for example, the consul general in Istanbul clearly is someone who ought not to having travel privileges in the United States.
The Saudi ambassador to the United States who is rumored to be leaving needs to leave. We also need to have an ambassador in Saudi Arabia. There was an announcement that General John Abizaid was going to be nominated. But we haven't seen much movement on that. In fact, we have five ambassadors of the nine countries Pompeo was visiting are not appointed. So we've got a lot of work to do, I think in getting in the Saudi's faces about this and making clear that this is totally unacceptable conduct.
SCIUTTO: Do you believe that is in the Saudi view these 100 days later that the crown prince, the Saudi royal family believes they got away with this?
JORDAN: I think they do believe they got away with it. I think they want to turn the page, deflect attention. And this administration is playing right into their hands.
SCIUTTO: Remarkable statement. Other point, just broader U.S. approach to the Middle East. You saw the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming a new clarity in the U.S. approach to the Middle East and that there is no diminution of U.S. commitment to its alliances there even with this in again, out again decision from the president on Syria. Is that true based on your contacts in the Middle East? Do they see clarity from this president, this administration?
JORDAN: The clarity he is providing is designed to clean up the ambiguity that was wrecked by his president. And I think the president trying to conduct foreign policy by tweet is ample evidence right now of how inadequate that kind of an approach is. I think secretary Pompeo was probably doing the right thing by trying to shore up the complete uncertainty that has been inflicted on the Saudis on the Israelis on our allies in the Middle East to say nothing of the Kurds. And so I think we have got to give him some credit for trying to straighten it out. Making clear that we do have a commitment and the commitment is not limited to 2,000 soldiers in Syria. There are other ways perhaps to handle that. But I think it has got to be made very clear that we really are invested in the Middle East for the long term.
SCIUTTO: Ambassador Robert Jordan, author of "Desert Diplomat" thanks very much for taking the time today.
JORDAN: Thank you Jim.
HARLOW: Really important comments from someone with such experience.
SCIUTTO: He says he believes the Saudis believe they got away with it.
HARLOW: Wow. All right, so the president right now on his way to the southern border. He spoke moments ago about the shutdown and whether he would declare a national emergency of the border saying, and I quote, "I would almost say definitely this is a national emergency." That pretty much says it. Stay with CNN for the latest.
[10:58:06] HARLOW: All right. Should we talk style?
HARLOW: The way we dress doesn't just reflect our taste in clothes. It reflects what is going on in the world around us from World War II to the women's movement, to the rise of MTV. All of these forces have influenced what Americans wear to work.
SCIUTTO: And now, the new CNN original series "American Style" looks at how the social, political and economic changes of the past 100 years have defined America's unique style and identity. Here is a preview.
KIMBERLY TRUHLER, FILM AND FASHION HISTORIAN: '40s and '50s were America finding itself.
TIM GUNN, FASHION HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: Americans felt very (INAUDIBLE) when comparing ourselves to Europe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sportswear became the defining style of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bikini was the biggest thing since the atom bomb.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, AUTHOER AND PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, RICE UNIVERSITY: To the 60's, 70's our style in fashion represents freedom.
DR. TODD BOYD, PROFESSOR, STUDY OF RACE AND POPULAR CULTURE, USC: When you look at hippy culture it is really oppositional to the Vietnam War.
CHRISTOPHER REID, ACTOR, COMEDIAN AND RAPPER, "KIDS N PLAY": Disco was very important in terms of people being free to express themselves.
CHRISTIE BRINKLEY, MODEL, ACRESS AND BUSINESSWOMAN: In the 80's it was a lot of excess in every way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had our Calvin Klein and our Ralph Lauren that are --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Calvin Klein's advertising was rather scandals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These underwear ads stopped traffic in Times Square.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the '90s and 2,000's things had become less formal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Supermodels brought fashion into every household.
JOHN A. TIFFANY, FASHION HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: Now what is embraced as being yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Style gives you a voice. It's freedom.
SCIUTTO: The all-new CNN original series American style premieres Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time only here on CNN.
HARLOW: Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.
SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. It's got a little bit - a bit busy morning.
HARLOW: Yes, busy day.
SCIUTTO: "At This Hour" with our colleague Kate Bolduan begins right now. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Hello everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. I would say 100 percent, but I don't want to say 100 percent. Whatever you make of that that is exactly what the president said, that's the new threat from the president ongoing around Congress declaring a national emergency to get the money that he wants for the border wall.