Return to Transcripts main page


Tonight, The Government Shutdown Becomes Longest in United States History; Many Senators Go Home As 800,000 Federal Workers Missed Paychecks; Trump May Divert Disaster Relief Funds to Build the Wall; Senator Scott Says Steve King's Racism Damages The GOP; Missing Wisconsin Teen Found Alive, Turns Up Like A Ghost. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 11, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Hours from now the government will be on the verge of the longest shut down in history. 800,000 workers are seeing this. A big fat zero in their paychecks today. The first pay period since the shutdown began. And millions more are directly impacted. The families of these workers, the contractors who haven't been able to work, families who, like 3 out of 4 Americans, live paycheck to paycheck who are worried about paying rent, paying the mortgage, paying for groceries, medicine, gas, daycare. They are the ones worried and fearful today. Meantime, airports at risk. Food inspections, risk. America's credit rating, the work of the FBI, national parks closed, but here's the fact. This is an American embarrassment. And I want you to keep this in mind. This is a self- inflicted problem. A problem made by leaders who are playing politics. If that's not enough, the Senate is gone. Many went home as workers struggle. The bottom line, many federal employees are working without getting paid and senators are getting paid but hardly working. With me now is one of those hundreds of thousands of federal workers who did not get paid today. She's Jacqueline Maloney, a furloughed IRS agent. Jacqueline, thank you so much for being with me. Let me start with the big fat goose egg that you got today. When you looked at that, what's that like?

JACQUELINE MALONEY, FURLOUGHED IRS AGENT: It's disheartening to say the least to think that the services that we provide for the American people seem to be of so little value. That we as employees, as civil servants are valued so little by Congress and the rest of America frankly that we would be used.

BALDWIN: Do you feel worthless in the eyes of the government.

MALONEY: Some days I do. It's like going through all the stages of grief. At first around the holiday season, it was very easy to be in denial and think, oh, this is one of the shutdowns that will resolve itself in a day or two days. That I can remember on New Year's Day thinking, well, I'm sick. My daughter is sick. We need to go to the doctor. Oh, no, is my insurance any good. Is anybody making premiums? What do I do? You almost get to that point where you're a little angry. I do feel a little underappreciated.

BALDWIN: Tell me about you mention going to the doctor. I want to know about the little things about how this is affecting your cold to the credit.

MALONEY: It is affecting everything. As I said, I have been sick. I don't want to go to the doctor. School is ready to start back in Atlanta. She said, I don't have to have a snack. I have a strong credit score. I like to believe I'm a very conscientious person to call them and say, you know, is there any way I can skip this month's car payment? What happens if I don't make my mortgage? I had to go to the physical therapy service that we use and say we're not going to be in. It's we do business know it's not the quality of their services that is causing me to have to withdrawal my support. It's the withdrawal of support from me. We don't have the money.

[14:05:00] BALDWIN: How old is your daughter?

MALONEY: She's 15.

BALDWIN: How do you explain to her what's happening and obviously she understands for her to say you don't have to pay for a snack for me.

MALONEY: It's very difficult for both of my children. My husband is a schoolteacher here in Georgia. So, we're both civil servants. But him being a schoolteacher means that I am the primary bread winner in my family. My children are aware of that. They asked are you going to have to find another job? What's going to happen? Is there any way that you can find other work while this is out? What can we do? It's very scary for them and a stressful time for my children.

BALDWIN: To hear that most of the senators left Capitol Hill already and apparently don't have to report back until 3:00 on Monday, what do you say to them? How do you feel about that?

MALONEY: I would beg both houses of Congress. I would beg the American people to please look around and understand that federal workers, we have a face. We have families. We might be your neighbor, your best friend, your best friend's mom, aunt, cousin, we're a big part of the economy. It hurts everyone when we're not allowed to do our jobs.

BALDWIN: It's emotional for you, I can tell. 21 days in.

MALONEY: Very much so. I value my job. I value what I do for the American people. I took a significant pay cut to become a federal employee almost ten years ago. I was very excited. February 2nd ought to be my ten-year anniversary with the government and I might not be on o the job to celebrate that.

BALDWIN: Jacqueline, let me say thank you for your ten years of serving this great country ask we look forward to you going back to work.

MALONEY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. It makes me so angry. A U.S. official says the Trump administration is actively examining using billions of unspent dollars dedicate d to disaster relief to build this border barrier. It would be part of the President's declaration of a national emergency, an option that's still alive at this point. Senator Lindsey Graham is now advocating for Trump to do that. Now that funding talks have been broken down. During the Obama presidency while opposing his executive order on immigration, Senator Graham and Republican leader Mitch McConnell said this is about a President going too far.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is wrong. It 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.

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY 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.


BALDWIN: Joining me now, I know, I'm actually so angry after talking to Jacqueline. Chief political analyst Gloria Borger and Elaina Plott, White House correspondent for "The Atlantic." It is laughable. When you listen to these guys from a couple years ago, but then you hear Jacqueline with these two kids saying I don't have to have a snack because she knows her mom isn't getting paid. You hear these grown men playing politics, totally hypocritical. To that I say, what?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, where you stand depends on where you sit. Last time they were sitting in the minority. Now this time they have the President as a Republican in the White House. Ask they are going to support him on this. I'm old enough to remember in 2014 when we had Congressional elections, the big thing that Republicans were talking about was the so-called imperial presidency. Do you remember that? This is an imperial President who wants to govern by fiat. He doesn't want to consult Congress. He wants to go over Congress' head. Well, here we are now with the government shutdown and what are they talking about? They are talking about the declaration of a national emergency, which would go around Congress and go over Congress' head.

[14:10:00] And I might add that there are some Republicans who say this is isn't a good idea. They don't like the idea. They are being consistent about it. But there are lot who is say it's the only option left. They need to look at those tapes.

BALDWIN: But they are also thinking where can we get money? Let's go to people who are still hurting in Puerto Rico, in Texas, in Florida, in California to build this border wall. What does that tell you?

ELAINA PLOTT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE ATLANTIC": I think what we have to remember is that the shutdown is all based on politics. You had Jacqueline on. It's very difficult for federal workers to understand that largely this is not about, I think, what the American people perceive as an actual crisis at the border, but a handful of Republican senators and Congressmen and the President himself scrambling toward the end of his second year realizing that he has made no strides forward on his key campaign promise. So, when you look at it that way that this is all key end to 2020 as with everything seemingly in Congress not about legislation, not about compromise, I think that's really disheartening for federal workers today who have no paycheck today.

BALDWIN: And you say it is all about politics, but senators are going home. They apparently do not care about how this looks. When did that change?

PLOTT: What with know right now is that they come back Monday at 3:00. But there's still talk I'm hearing among White House sources that Trump could decide by the end of this day, tomorrow morning to declare this national emergency. He has a roundtable with border security officials and with a President as mercurial as this one, he could talk to border security officials. By this evening you and I are talking about something much different on the air. So, whether this actually lasts with them being gone through the weekend remains to be seen.

BORGER: We know that Republicans actually went to the President and Mike Pence with some kind of a deal they thought they might want to present to the Democrats. It contained less money for the wall. It was nixed. So, the President has even turned down some Republicans who want to cut a deal. So, the point about going home is, why not? I'm not defending it.

BALDWIN: But if nothing is going to get done, we're going to hang out with our families.

BORGER: If Trump is going to act unilaterally on Syria, why not on whether he's deciding to declare a national emergency. That's the way he operates.

BALDWIN: Ladies, standby, I've got more for you. Just in, under fire, Republican Congressman Steve King takes it to the House floor to explain and defend his latest comments. Where he asked why white nationalists and white supremacists are offensive words? Moments ago, Republican Senator Tim Scott now responding to his colleague with a stunning op-ed. We'll dive into that. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


BALDWIN: Steve King is facing major backlash after racist remarks to "The New York Times." The Iowa Congressman posed this rhetorical question. White nationalists, white supremacists, how did that language become offensive? Well, Republican Senator Tim Scott just responded to his colleague writing this opinion in the "Washington Post." Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism, it's because of our silence when things like this are said. When people open their mouths, they damage the Republican party and conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. Congressman King addressed his remarks to "The New York Times" on the House floor.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Today "The New York Times" is suggesting that I'm an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing clear. I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define. I condemn anyone that supports this ideology, which saw in its ultimate expression the systemic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives. It's true that like the found ing fathers I'm an advocate for western civilization's values and believe America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the world has ever seen. Under any fair political definition, I'm simply an American nationalist. I regret the heartburn that has poured forth upon this Congress and this country and in my state and Congressional district.


BALDWIN: Gloria Borger is back with me. Also, joining us Doug Heye, Republican strategist and CNN political commentator, spent years and years on Capitol Hill.

[14:20:00] So, Gloria, back to you. Let's just start with what we heard. That quote I read from Senator Scott. What did you think of it?

BORGER: He's 100 percent right. He stopped short of asking him to resign or saying that he ought to be censured. He asked the relevant question, why do people think the Republican party is racist? Look at king. No matter what king says on the floor of the house, his words are his words. He tried to blame "The New York Times" reporter and said that he hadn't tape recorded it himself and it was a rookie mistake. But he has a whole history of these kinds of remarks. Finally, his colleagues are coming out now and criticizing that he tried to blame "The New York Times" reporter and said that he hadn't tape recorded it himself and it was a rookie mistake. But he has a whole history of these kinds of remarks. Finally, his colleagues are coming out now and criticizing him publicly saying they are mortified. A couple are talking about taking away some of his committee assignments.

BALDWIN: Why, Doug, why is he still there? Why is he not being censored?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's still there because the voters of his district in Iowa worked for him. I worked for the Iowa Republican party so I have seen his ineffectiveness and statements in the House of Representatives and in Iowa. But obviously, Republicans have not policed themselves over the past few years as I would argue they should have. So, we have turned to a new Congress. Nancy Pelosi to do this. Follow the lead of what Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise have said. This does not serve a place in the Republican party and take it a step further and say it also doesn't deserve a place in the house of representatives. And keep in mind, Gloria uses the word history. It's relevant because we're not talking about one comment. Steve king could have a lifetime achievement award in these kinds of comments not just towards African-Americans but Hispanics, women as well. Then there's the other issue that the Republican party has more broadly, whether it's the President of the United States who questioned the first black President's birth and citizenship in the country and called for his birth certificate or Todd Aikens of the world who said awful comments about women. We have a real problem here. To minority voters, white suburban moms, they see these comments and the pattern of them. I say this with the full disclosure. My first campaign was Jesse Helms in 1990. Those are the politics of the past and that should be dead. Those voters are looking at this and seeing a Republican party with original sin. So, what we do now moving forward is critically important. Starting with stripping the committee assignments and censure is a good start. Let's be clear. That's a first step, not a last step.

BORGER: I think it has to be brought up by Republicans, not Nancy Pelosi.

HEYE: Sure.

BALDWIN: But Doug is right. Folks liken Kevin McCarthy called King's comments reckless and wrong, but on the one hand you appreciate them speaking up on this, but at the same time, what are they going to do and are they just that scared of Trump?

BORGER: This is someone who won his district. They are in the minority in the house. And I think they are a little bit scared of throwing him out. Even though his margin of victory was so substantially reduced this last time, I might add. They may get to it. When you look at the diversity in it the Democratic party in the house in particular versus the lack of diversity in the Republican party, you can see the problem. You can see it. They realize that it exists. And I think they are thinking just from listening to them that it is time to do something. Doug would know this better than I do. The question is how do they handle it because as Doug points out, he was elected?

BALDWIN: Do you expect the President to condemn him?

HEYE: I don't. There's nothing we have seen from Donald Trump that shows he's going to do that. I hope he does. But we should be realistic about that. In the meantime, as the house Republican conference is sorting out the committee assignments, they can say you're not going to have the ranking membership on the constitution subcommittee a post that Steve King loved being the chairman of when we were in the majority, would love to have the ranking position in the minority. That's the start. Censorship, a Republican from California has spoken out and called for this. These are first steps. And Gloria is right. It's important that Republicans stand up and say this. But a lot of Republicans are very worried about their base that listens to and consumes conservative talk radio and conservative media all day long and don't want to get on the wrong side of them. Where Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership can step in, I would call for them to do so. You'll see no shortage of Republicans agreeing with them not just privately but publicly.

[14:25:00] BALDWIN: Thank you both so much. Coming up next, this amazing story of escape and survival out of

Wisconsin. A teen missing for three months after her parents were murdered. She's been found. A suspect has been arrested. Find out what investigators are saying he did.

A remarkable escape, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who vanished the night her parents were murdered is alive and safe now after three months of being held captive. Her parents were found shot dead in their small-town Wisconsin home in October. Police received this mysterious 911 call from her mother's cell phone with yelling in the background. When they arrived, the door to the home was kicked in. Both parents killed and Jamie was nowhere to be found. So, for months, thousands of people have joined the search parties to track her down, but nothing until now. A woman was walking her dog when she immediately recognized Jamie. She asked can the woman for help and went to the closest neighbor to call 911. Minutes later police arrested this 21-year-old man. He's been charged with kidnapping Jamie and murdering her parents. He specifically targeted Jamie and they don't believe there was any contact before this all happened. Investigators had been hoping for a big break in the case and they say the big break came from Jamie herself.