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"Like Seeing a Ghost," Jayme Closs Found Alive; Rep. Steve King Under Fire for Racist Comments; Democrats Try to Rein in Rep. Ocasio- Cortez; Furloughed Sisters Start Business to Makes End Meet. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 11, 2019 - 13:30   ET



[13:32:43] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: "It was like seeing a ghost" -- that is how one person described seeing 13-year-old Jayme Closs. The young girl vanished nearly three months ago on the same night police found her parents dead in their Wisconsin home. Yesterday, she was found alive.

The couple who called police talked about the moment they recognized her.


PETER KASINSKAS, NEIGHBOR WHO FOUND JAYME CLOSS: It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but when the door opened up and her dog came through and Jeannie walked in and said, this is Jayme Closs, call 911, I was in absolute shock.

KRISTIN KASINSKAS, NEIGHBOR WHO FOUND JAYME CLOSS: She looked really tired like she's been fighting a battle for weeks.


KEILAR: CNN correspondent, Martin Savidge, is following the story.

Martin, tell us how Jayme was found.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This all happened at 4:00 yesterday afternoon in a town in northwest Wisconsin called Gordon, about eight miles outside of town. There are a lot more trees than there are people out there. And she comes stumbling out of the cold and snow and went up to a woman walking her dog. She identified herself and said she needs help. They went to a neighbor's house and they called 911. And that's the miracle where the rest of the world finds out Jayme Closs is alive and well. She was sent to a hospital. She underwent a physical evaluation. Medically, she seems to be OK. Mental evaluation is going on right now.

She was able to give authorities the identity of a vehicle and the name of the person, the suspect she says kidnapped her and murdered her parents. He was apprehended minutes later and a short distance away. He's been identified as 21-year-old Jake Patterson. No criminal record. Apparently had no one helping him. Planned this very carefully according to the authorities. And they still don't understand what connection, if at all, he may have had to her family or to her. They do believe she was the target. He is in custody, charged with murder, charged with kidnapping.

And right now, the long road of recovery for this young woman lies ahead, Brianna. But of course, let's celebrate the great news for law enforcement, for her family, for everyone who went looking for her. She's alive and she will soon be back with family.

KEILAR: And her extended family awaiting her.

Martin Savidge, thank you for that story.


[13:34:55] KEILAR: A Republican Congressman once again under fire for racist remarks. But while his own party condemns him, why isn't Steve King being censured? We'll have S.E. Cupp on that, next.

Plus, she's been a target of FOX News and the right, and now a new report says Democrats are trying to rein in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most vocal freshman Democrats.


KEILAR: Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King is under fire again for controversial comments, and now members of his own party are taking him to task. King, who has defended racist speech in the past, told the "New York Times," quote, "White nationalists, white supremacists, western civilization? How did that language become offensive?"

[13:40:09] Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney fired back on Twitter. She said, "These comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse."

Let's listen to King because he spoke moments ago on the House floor.


REP. STEVE King, (R), IOWA: Today, the "New York Times" is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear. I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, I condemn everyone who supports this evil and bigoted ideology, which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of six million innocent Jewish lives. It's true that, like the founding fathers, I am an advocate for Western civilization's values and that I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the world has ever seen. Under any fair political definition, I am simply an American nationalist.


KEILAR: All right, S.E. Cupp here with us. She's the host of CNN's "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED." And also, John Bresnahan, the congressional bureau chief for "Politico," with us.

King, S.E., says he is just an American nationalist. What do you think about his cleanup? What do you think about his original remarks? What do you think about the Republican backlash?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CNN HOST, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED": It's not much of a cleanup. Unfortunately, the president of the United States gave him permission to use that word proudly. He said it in a rally not long ago. Trump said, call me a nationalist. It used to be a bad word, but I want you to use it. It's still a bad word. It still doesn't mean anything good.

Steve King is a bigot, he's a homophobe, he's anti-Semite, he's a racist. He's a cancer on the country. If you're the Republican Party, you don't cure cancer with vitamins. You cure it with radiation, by blasting it into obsoleteness. And what I've heard from Republicans has been vitamins. Kevin McCarthy echoed what Liz Cheney said, that there's no place in society or discourse for this kind of language. There's no place in Congress for it. Let's start with Congress. We can't get him out of society. We're not going to kill Steve King. You know, we're not going to jail him for free speech or even for being a racist bigot. But we can start with Congress. So if you think he's a cancer and a scourge is country, then you should want him out of elected office. There's a mechanism for that, and Republicans should take it up immediately.

KEILAR: John, he was reelected. He was just reelected in November.


KEILAR: By a near margin but, nonetheless, he had enough support in his Iowa district to come back to Washington, D.C. Is the leadership seriously looking at anything here? Do they have any concerns? Are they considering options and what options do they have?

BRESNAHAN: The Democrats are looking at a center motion. They would take a look at the floor criticizing King and the House could vote on that. Tim Ryan, the Democrat from Ohio, is trying to put together the votes on that. There's a second thing they could do. Next week the House Judiciary Committee, and King serves on that, is going to pick its subcommittee chairman and ranking member, and he's senior enough he should get a ranking member spot, which gives you some staff. You know, they won't say whether or not they're going to bar him from any kind of position on a subcommittee. So they could take action that way. They also could primarily support someone else for a primary. It's a long way off, but we tried to talk to Tom Emmer, he's the chairman of the National Congressional Committee. We asked them about that and they said we don't get behind primaries, but they could get behind another candidate. You could take some steps now, you could take some steps later, but I think King has a real problem here. He'll have to do more than he did today.

KEILAR: He has a real problem. So you think this could go somewhere?

BRESNAHAN: I think we could see a center motion. I think we could see that. In a Democratic-run House, they could censure him. There's clearly some Republicans who would vote with that also. Justin Amash, from Michigan. We were talking with him and he said if it's worded correctly, he would vote for it. We could see some Republicans vote for it. If you're voting against racism, that's not a hard vote, or a racist statement. I think there would be some members who would support King, but we'll see what happens there. That could very definitely happen.

KEILAR: What do you think about that, S.E.?

CUPP: It shouldn't be a hard vote. Voting against racism shouldn't be a hard vote. Voting against an accused child predator, like Roy Moore, should not have been a hard vote. But we've seen far too little courage out of this Republican Congress.

[13:45:09] To John's point, you might not be able to get Steve King out until he is primaried in 2020 perhaps by Randy Feenstra, who has indicated he might run. But every Republican should be forced to be on record saying this person should step down. And that's not hard, either. Every single one of them, including leadership, should come up and say, this person does not represent us, he should not represent our party, and we want nothing to do with him. Congress wants nothing to do with him. Again, that doesn't do anything automatically, but at least it has Republicans on the record that they do not support what Steve King has said. Let's not forget, this isn't new. Steve King has been saying this kind of stuff for a long time. Just last year, you know, five minutes ago, he was defending his association with an Austrian far-right organization with Neo-Nazi ties, saying if they were in America, they would be Republicans. Is this a person the Republican Party is proud of? If not, Republicans need to say so.

KEILAR: I do want to switch topics since I have both of you here. You're hearing, and I should say, "Politico," your publication, is reporting that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is ruffling some feathers because she's criticizing people within her own party. Democrats, who are part of the establishment, are trying to rein her in. Is this the opposite of the House Freedom Caucus problem for Republicans? I'm stilling that. I should give Doug Heye credit, one of our contributors, a former --


BRESNAHAN: She has talked about primarying other Democrats, which is -- that is a declaration of war against another member. If you're saying, I'm going to support an opponent to you, that's a declaration of war. And these are members, and some of them are in swing districts, tough districts that could go Republican or Democrat. If you're a popular, high-profile figure, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez clearly is, if you say you're going to support their opponent, the rest of the Democratic caucus is not going to stand there and take that. They're going to fight back. There are complaints. This is an interesting phenomenon. You've had members come into Congress with this sort of standing before. We have Mitt Romney in the Senate. This is a 29-year-old celebrity, basically, OK? She's a community organizer. She's clearly totally equipped to be a member of Congress. She clearly has the credentials and the capacity to do it. But she's also sought controversy. She protested Nancy Pelosi's office. She attacked the Democratic rules package, and how they actually run the House. So she sought some controversy, so she shouldn't be surprised that Democrats are swinging back.

KEILAR: Guys, thank you so much.

John Bresnahan, S.E. Cupp with us.

Remember to watch Saturday night. You can see S.E. at 6:00 Eastern on "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" right here on CNN.

Next, I'll be speaking to two federal employees who are not getting paid, and they had to create a business to try to make some of their ends meet.


[13:52:48] KEILAR: Some federal employees are doing something they should not have to. They are getting creative to make ends meet. Like the Furloughed Sisters -- not their real names, that's what they dubbed themselves -- from Maryland. They have started a cheesecake business on the side. But this still isn't enough. Nikki Howard works for the FDA. Here sister, Jaqi Wright, works for the Department of Justice.

I spoke with them yesterday.


KEILAR: Jaqi, just give us a sense of where your mind was and then how you thought about how to kind of make an adjustment and take care of things yourself.

JAQI WRIGHT, FURLOUGHED DOJ EMPLOYEE STARTS SIDE BUSINESS: Actually, it was not more so my mind than it was my stomach at the time. On New Year's Day, we were sitting there drinking coffee eating cheesecake. We had two slices a piece. And then my sister called us and we were telling her how good it was and how nice it went with coffee and that's when mom said, you know, this thing is so good you could sell it.

KEILAR: So, Nikki, where was your mind set and tell me how able you are to cover the bills you need to cover with this venture?

NIKKI HOWARD, FURLOUGHED FDA EMPLOYEE STARTS SIDE BUSINESS: Thank god things have taken a turn. Initially, we were facing a bit of a dilemma having to get our bills paid. You get your furlough letter and they tell you to take your letter and you can use it with your creditors. But not so much. So we had our electric bill due. I have a college student who is going back to school in a couple weeks. That bill is due. So it's a whole lot of pressure trying to figure that thing out. So when Jaqi and I our mom said, hey, we can do this, I was all ready to do it and we jumped right in. So it's been a blessing all the love and the outpour that's been coming in and we hope to be able to encourage people in this time. KEILAR: What do you think, Jaqi, what do you want to say to Congress?

What do you want to say to President Trump? Because, while it's commendable that you and your sister have done this. It's certainly not a situation you should be in.

[13:55:05] WRIGHT: It absolutely is not. There are people behind this furlough. There are people with families. There are people that have bills that creditors really even though everyone knows what's happening, my sister says you can't take the letter into the grocery store. You can't take it to the gas station. Unfortunately, sympathy goes so far before they -- I was even told, if you don't pay your mortgage by this amount of time, we will report you to the credit bureaus. That's just disheartening. There are a lot of people out there that are paralyzed with fear. I just say, you know, you can't relate unless you have experienced this. They don't know what this feels like.


KEILAR: I know you're wondering, how is that cheesecake so I tried it. It's the best that I have ever had by far. Just want to say that about the furloughed cheesecake.

A dramatic new development of a disturbing story of the woman who gave birth while in a coma. We'll have the 911 calls just in. Standby.