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Miami Airport to Close One Terminal Over TSA Absences; Trump Closer to Declaring Emergency to Pay for His Wall; Federal Employee Affected by Shutdown Speaks Out; Missing Teen Found Alive Three Months After Parents' Murder; Interview with Representative Katie Hill. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired January 11, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:05] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, Friday morning. I'm Jim Sciutto, in Washington.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. We're glad you're with us this morning.
The partial government shutdown ties the record for the longest shutdown ever now at 21 days. But trust me, that is not the number that is giving those 800,000 federal employees all over the country headaches and sleepless nights. That number is zero. Zero dollars. Zero cents showing up today on paychecks at dozens of federal agencies whose staffs have either been furloughed or required to keep showing up for work unpaid.
SCIUTTO: Yes, we're going to talk to one of those people affected shortly. For his part, President Trump seems every more likely to sidestepped the funding standoff by Congress by declaring a national emergency funding his border wall from the military. Disaster relief accounts. But that in itself would do nothing to get the FBI, the FDA, the TSA and many, many other agencies and offices back to full force.
CNN's Rosa Flores is at Miami International Airport where the effects of the shutdown are being felt by travelers in addition to screeners there. That of course affects security.
Rosa, what are you seeing there?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, good morning. You're absolutely right. Take this as a preview of coming attractions under the shutdown. We've learned from airport management that they took a look at the number of TSA agents that are coming to work every day. And they decided to close partially one of 11 checkpoints at this airport. And that checkpoint is the one that you see behind me. This is in Concourse G. And this partial shutdown of this checkpoints starts tomorrow.
So they will only be shutdown in the afternoon starting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. So what does this mean? The 12 flights that normally check in at this particular checkpoint will check in at one of the other 10 checkpoints at this airport. And then those flights will then -- and those passengers will check in and leave from the concourses that are in this same terminal.
Now here's what we've learned from airport management. What they normally see in the number of TSA agents that called in sick, that number has doubled. CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh has further learned that that number is about 80. Normally it's 40 TSA agents. Now it's about 80. So that's why airport management, they're taking these measures to make sure that those 10 remaining checkpoints are properly operated.
And the management tells us they're going to be continuing to take a look at these numbers, Jim, to make sure that these checkpoints can be operated safely. You and I travelled a lot for CNN. We see these TSA agents, you know, ask us to take off your shoes, to put your computer in a particular bin. All of those measures are still in place. It's a matter of having enough people operating these checkpoints at this particular airport -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: No question. Rosa Flores, thanks very much.
HARLOW: So U.S. official says that President Trump is looking at the possibility of unspent disaster relief funds meant for places like Puerto Rico and Texas devastated by last year's hurricanes to pay for building a border wall. That's if he decides to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress.
Let's go to the White House. Of course Abby Phillip is there.
So this would actually be taking out -- he would, you know, I guess be allowed to do this, although likely to be challenged in the courts. Money even away from Puerto Rico to do this?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, this money would have been money that was set aside for responding to disasters that hasn't been spent yet that the president would then take to use to build the wall on the southern border. That's just one of several options that officials are saying the president and aides here at the White House are mulling over. Another one that we had been discussing in recent weeks was money that might have been set aside for the Pentagon, also unspent that he could have used to do this.
But at the same time we're also hearing even other possibilities. So a top ally the presidents in the House Mark Meadows suggested this morning in a tweet that the president could use civil assets forfeiture money to fund the wall or any other fees that were discretionary. That were left unspent. So there are a lot of options being bandied about.
But what's at stake here is that Republicans are really trying to hit the escape valve. They want a way out of this shutdown. They are asking the president to use emergency powers but that is very different from what many of them were seeing just a few years ago when the president in question was President Obama. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is wrong. It's irresponsible. And will do damage to our efforts to fix a broken immigration system. This is a tremendous presidential overreach. I will try to defund the effort for him to go it alone. We will challenge him in court.
[10:05:03] SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Imposing his will unilaterally may seem tempting. It may serve him politically in the short term. But he knows it will make an already broken system even more broken. And he knows this is not how democracy is supposed to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: It is not uncontroversial for President Trump to go this route. But at the same time you're seeing many of his Republican allies saying there is no path forward through Congress, that there is stalemate. Lindsey Graham yesterday in a statement saying that there is no more negotiation to be done. He is urging the president to act on this. And -- but in the White House there is some dispute.
According to the "Wall Street Journal" both Jared Kushner and Kellyanne Conway have urged the president to put the brakes on this idea in part because it lets Congress off the hook but also because as you pointed out, Poppy, by using disaster relief money, for example, it could create a Pandora's box of other political problems for the president and for the White House.
HARLOW: Yes. Yes. To say the least. Abby Phillip at the White House. Thanks for that reporting. Jim.
SCIUTTO: I'm joined now by a 22-year veteran of the federal workforce. Jacqueline Arrowsmith is a furloughed employee of the Commerce Department. She's a single mom who identifies as a Republican but did not vote for the president.
Jacqueline, thanks for taking the time this morning. Most Americans, they may not want to admit it live paycheck to paycheck. They got weekly and monthly commitments. If and when they don't get paid that's a challenge. You have a moment here, a lot of folks on the Hill, Republican and Democrat watch our broadcast. The president might be watching. Explain to them the challenge of losing that paycheck.
JACQUELINE ARROWSMITH, FURLOUGHED COMMERCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE: Well, it's a challenge making ends meet as a single mom in Washington, D.C. even when I'm getting my paycheck. I was widowed almost six years ago. And -- so now I only have one income. So luckily I have a lot of family support. But it's still, you know, very challenging. As you know, it's an expensive place to live.
ARROWSMITH: So now without money coming in, in my paycheck, you know, I'm very concerned about every little expenditure, whether it's, you know, not going to Starbucks or whether it's, you know, certain fruit that I normally would buy that I'm not buying for my son and myself. So it's just -- it's terrifying. SCIUTTO: It hits right away. The president has said he can relate to
furloughed workers like yourself. Do you believe him?
ARROWSMITH: I'd like to believe him. It's hard to believe that he can relate to that. I mean I really would urge all members of Congress and our president to find a compromise. I really implore all of you. All of us federal workers who are furloughed and the contractors who aren't working just want to get back to work.
SCIUTTO: I can -- listen, I can feel what you're going through here. Challenging as you say on any day. There is a lot of finger pointing going on in Washington.
SCIUTTO: And I know you don't want to point fingers here.
ARROWSMITH: No. I don't want to point fingers.
SCIUTTO: You want a solution. But who do you hold responsible for the shutdown?
ARROWSMITH: I don't hold any one person responsible. I hold everybody in Congress, senators, our president, I hold everybody responsible.
SCIUTTO: Do you feel like you're being used to some degree as a pawn in a political game here as folks try to score points?
ARROWSMITH: I do feel like we're being used as a pawn. And also I -- personally I happen to be a bit more familiar with immigration debate than most people. My mother was a retired -- is a retired immigration judge so that's something that I grew up, you know, learning about and following. And I don't really see the connection between all of us furloughed federal workers, contractors and all the other people that this is hurting and this, you know, ongoing issue.
ARROWSMITH: We've needed comprehensive immigration reform for a long time.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Do -- the Office of Personnel Management which oversees federal workers like yourself.
SCIUTTO: We've been seeing this from the U.S. Coast Guard, they're making these suggestions that I can't imagine make you feel so good. I mean, OPM is saying hey, barter services in exchange for rent money. I mean, when you hear that kind of advice to get over what is clearly a challenge, what is your reaction? ARROWSMITH: Well, I thought I saw that posted on Facebook and I
thought, is that fake news? I mean, is that real?
SCIUTTO: It's real.
ARROWSMITH: I don't think Bank of America would be -- who I have a mortgage with, would be all that keen to barter services. I have actually thought about trying to rent out an extra bedroom that I have and other things that I can do, you know, to generate income, you know, as this seems to continue.
SCIUTTO: Yes. And that's not a position you want to be in right now.
ARROWSMITH: No. Not really.
SCIUTTO: It's not a decision you want to make.
ARROWSMITH: Not really. And not under duress.
SCIUTTO: A word, if you were to give advice to the folks who are duking this out right now. Republicans and Democrats on the Hill, the president. What would that be?
[10:10:05] ARROWSMITH: My advice would be to find a way to compromise. I mean, I'm a mom to an 11-year-old, I mean, we're always telling our children to find ways to get along.
ARROWSMITH: So that would be my advice. And not to hold us hostage, you know. The furloughed employees. The American economy. It's having, you know, greater, greater, effect every day.
SCIUTTO: Right. I actually think that a whole host of rules that we --
SCIUTTO: -- try to teach our children are broken every day in this kind of debate.
ARROWSMITH: Right. Felt like we need to write them out and hand them to members of Congress, and senators and the president.
SCIUTTO: Maybe they'd listen to our kids.
SCIUTTO: Jacqueline Arrowsmith, listen, I can feel it. You're going through something really tough here. And I just wish you the best of luck.
ARROWSMITH: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: All right. Thank you for joining us.
You heard it here. Listen, this is a real deal for 800,000 Americans. If you think these folks are just numbers, listen to folks like Jacqueline Arrowsmith.
Other news we're following, a young girl who disappeared after the murder of her parents has been found alive. In just minutes police are set to provide an update.
HARLOW: Yes, it's a remarkable story.
Also, a potential battle is brewing in the special counsel's probe over obstruction of justice. CNN getting new information about what Robert Mueller's investigators are focusing in on.
And Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa is feeling the heat from Republican leaders in Congress after his racist remarks about white supremacy. We'll discuss.
[10:15:54] HARLOW: A 13-year-old girl who went missing after her parents were murdered three months ago in their home has been found alive this morning. It is a remarkable story. You see her there. That's Jayme Closs. She was found about 60 miles from her home in a remote area of Northwestern Wisconsin.
CNN's affiliate WCCO spoke to Closs' aunt who said she cannot wait to be reunited with her. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER SMITH, JAYME CLOSS' AUNT: Jayme, Aunt Jen can't wait to come and give you that big hug and hold you tight because we're not going to let you go. And we'll get through this together. I can't thank everybody enough for not giving up on Jayme. For not giving up hope. And all your prayers. This is what brought her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So happy for that family. One of the neighbors who helped Jayme after she was found joins us now.
Christian -- Kirstin, rather, Kasinskas, thanks so much for joining us. She appeared at your door, this poor little girl. Tell us what you saw and tell us what your reaction was.
KRISTIN KASINSKAS, WOMAN WHO HELPED JAYME CLOSS AFTER SHE WAS FOUND: Well, around 4:00 yesterday evening, our neighbor came to our front door and she knocked on the door and then actually opened the door and came in and said that -- and helped Jayme into the room and said this is Jayme Closs. Call 911 right now. And so we went ahead and grabbed the phone and called 911 immediately.
SCIUTTO: How did she look at that moment there after what she had been through? KASINSKAS: I thought, like, overall that she looked good. I mean, I
-- we were thinking that Jayme maybe wasn't alive. So I think just seeing her was a wonderful thing. She looked kind of un-kept, kind of in rough shape. But definitely, I think she was skinnier than in her photograph, but I think healthy overall. That she was able to have a conversation with us. I think she was doing OK despite the circumstances.
HARLOW: Hey, Kirstin, it's Poppy Harlow here, as well. Can you -- I know that she was really hesitant to talk to you at first and you offered her some food and water and she didn't want any.
HARLOW: But you did introduce her to your new puppy and --
HARLOW: And hopefully that made her feel a little bit more comfortable.
HARLOW: Can she tell us about what she may have said to you about where she's been for the last three months? Or how she may have escaped?
KASINSKAS: So she didn't get into very much detail. She identified the person who had her. She said to us that this person killed my parents and took me. So she did say that. She said that this person usually hides her or hides her when others are near or when he has to leave the household. She did not go into detail about how she got out of the house or anything like that. I asked her if she knew where Gordon, Wisconsin, was, she said she did not know. But this is the person who killed her parents and took her is what she said to me.
SCIUTTO: Lord help us. Now when she said that name, I know that -- I understand that police were able to apprehend her abductor within minutes.
SCIUTTO: Did you know who this person was?
KASINSKAS: I knew of the person, didn't know the person really at all as far as -- I know the name. That's about all I know about the person. And Jayme was able to tell us the person and the color of the vehicle. And so shortly after the police arrived we heard that the vehicle was being stopped short, just a short distance away from our house.
HARLOW: What is the reaction there? I mean, I'm from Minneapolis, not too far away. That's my local news station that just interviewed her aunt. KASINSKAS: Yes.
[10:20:03] HARLOW: I just can't imagine what your entire town is saying this morning.
KASINSKAS: Yes. I think it's -- I don't know. I went to work today just briefly just to touch base with some of my colleagues and get some subplans ready for my students for today. I don't know. I think everybody is just like really shaken. Like this is not something that happens in sleepy little Gordon, Wisconsin, who never makes the news. I mean no, this is not anything that any of us could have thought would have turned out like this.
HARLOW: Yes, but wow. I mean, just the fact that she is alive.
HARLOW: As we look at her smiling face there.
KASINSKAS: I know.
HARLOW: And as Jim noted, think about all she endured and has to go through in the months ahead to recover.
HARLOW: But we're so glad she is alive. Thank you for what you did to help --
HARLOW: Help protect her in those first moments.
KASINSKAS: Thank you.
HARLOW: OK. Wow. Jim, astonishing.
SCIUTTO: No question. A relief for her. But boy, what an ordeal for a 13-year-old girl.
HARLOW: Yes. All right. We will be right back.
[10:25:54] HARLOW: So I wish I had better news, but I don't. This morning 800,000 federal employees are seeing only zeros on their paychecks as the president is closer to declaring a national emergency to get funding for his border wall as the shutdown enters day 21 now tying it with the longest shutdown ever.
Joining me now is freshman Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill of California.
Interesting note here, Congresswoman, you're the daughter of a Republican, a Republican police officer who switched parties just to vote for you. REP. KATIE HILL (D), CALIFORNIA: Yes.
HARLOW: So if your dad can do it, you know, maybe you guys can agree on something.
HARLOW: Thanks for being here.
HILL: Thank you so much for having me, Poppy.
HARLOW: Look, you used the words yesterday with my friend Ali Velshi on another network, political terrorism.
HARLOW: Those are strong words to use, but clearly you meant it.
HARLOW: But let me ask you about your party's role in this. Right? I mean, you came to Washington to change things. You have been a big supporter of Nancy Pelosi, but this week when the White House, the Vice President Mike Pence, our reporting is, came to the table and said to Pelosi, you know, where will you give on this, here's our compromise, where will you give, she offered nothing. Are you at all concerned that the Democrats are digging in too much?
HILL: No. I think the difference is that we're saying we will come to the table and negotiate, but we cannot use the paychecks of 800,000 federal workers, many of whom are law enforcement professionals, all of whom are working middle class people who have families to feed and bills to pay. That is not our negotiating chip. And that's not an option.
So we're saying open the government and we'll come to the table.
HILL: We have lots of things we want. We want border security, we want immigration reform. Plenty of things to negotiate on.
HILL: But it's not here.
HARLOW: I know that, but how can the White House, Republicans believe you 1,000 percent that you are going to give any money on the wall when this is -- when the president -- I mean, Nancy Pelosi herself said no zero dollars for the wall. So the way they see it, is if you reopen right, how do we know you're going to give us any of this?
HILL: Yes. I think it is --
HARLOW: So do you think Democrats should give any money to the wall? HILL: Look, I think that there is a lot of talk about physical
barriers of some kind. Even President Trump isn't calling it a wall anymore. So it's really so silly that we're even continuing to have this conversation about a wall. It's not going to end up being a wall. It's literally physically impossible. There are so many things that we can do in terms of technology, in terms of where we should be investing our money well on border security.
It's a high priority for my district. You know, like you said, I come from a Republican family, a law enforcement family, we understand the need for border security. 95 percent of the drugs coming into our country come through legal ports of entry. So we need to be addressing that.
HARLOW: So --yes. So, and look. In your district, you have a lot of federal workers, a third of the federal workers in this country are veterans. That's a passion point for you.
HARLOW: I know. You held a town hall with all of them and they are seeing zero in their paycheck this morning.
HARLOW: Call it steel slacks then if you will, OK, in areas where there aren't natural barriers. Call it what you want.
HARLOW: Will you as a Democrat vote for any funding for that?
HILL: I think that -- I am definitely someone who will vote for a comprehensive border security package that includes immigration reform. So --
HARLOW: But is that -- but, Congresswoman, I just want a really straight answer here.
HARLOW: Will you give -- vote for any money for a steel barrier?
HILL: I mean, I will definitely -- I don't know if it's steel. I will vote for some money for physical barriers.
HILL: But it's not going to be -- yes. It's not going to be across the entire 2,000 mile stretch and it's certainly not going to be a concrete wall.
HILL: But it will be part of the package. I can almost --
HARLOW: All right.
HILL: You know, bet on it.
HARLOW: Well, that's -- all right. Well, that's more than a lot in leadership are willing to do right now. What about your paycheck? So far 71 members of Congress have agreed to forego their paychecks while federal workers aren't getting paid but the majority of members of Congress are taking home those paychecks. Are you?
HILL: We don't get paid as freshmen until February 1st. So as far as I'm concerned, we better get this thing fixed by February 1st. But --
HARLOW: And if it goes past that, will you forego your paycheck?
HILL: I mean, I'm going to have to figure it out. I am somebody who hasn't taken a paycheck in 18 months either since campaigning.
HILL: And I'm also -- I'm currently in the situation that many others are. So really I'm here fighting for the people so we all get paid. So I'm hoping I don't have to make that decision.