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Shutdown About To Become Longest In U.S. History; Rep. Steve King Defends White Supremacy Comments; Politico: Democrats Trying to Rein In Ocasio-Cortez; Oprah to Interview Beto O'Rourke As He Mulls 2020 Bid; Missing 13-Year-Old Jayme Closs Found Alive 88 Days After She Was Abducted. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 11, 2019 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:04] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, the record looming. Trump refusing to take responsibility. The shutdown on track to become the longest in American history. But the buck stops with him.

Plus, Republican Congressman, Steve King, under fire for embracing white nationalism. Is he giving fuel to Trump's fire and vice versa?

And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fighting with her own party tonight. Do Democrats under estimate her? Let's go out front.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, a terrible record. We are now just five hours, counting down from the longest shutdown in American history. It will be 22 days at midnight.

And today, 800,000 federal workers got zero dollars on payday. Zero dollars literally right now on paychecks. So what is the person elected to lead the country doing about it? Well, late today, he blamed others.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress should do this. This is too simple. It's too basic. And Congress should do this.


BURNETT: Here's the problem with that argument and this President. Only one person can put an idea out when it comes to the Donald J. Trump administration and that is Donald J. Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the President asks, we will respond.


BURNETT: She's right, that the President must act first. Because he makes sure that no one else has the power to get a deal done. Here's that we trashed an offer to the Democrats that was made personally by his own Vice President.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you accept anything less than $2.5 billion on border security?

TRUMP: No, not 2.5 -- no. We're asking for 5.6. And, you know, somebody said 2.5. No. Look, this is national security we're talking about.


BURNETT: Wait, somebody said 2.5? To be clear, that somebody was Mike Pence. And when Trump hosted Democrat and Republican leaders to negotiate at the White House, by all accounts, he is the one who got up and walked out.


TRUMP: Bye-bye, and I left.

REP. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The President just got up and walked out.


BURNETT: OK. The President is simply refusing to accept his responsibility to lead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the buck stop with you over the shutdown?

TRUMP: The buck stops with everybody.


BURNETT: But it doesn't. It stops with Trump because we know he knows this. Because, in fact, he has said it before. When he was talking about President Obama during a shutdown, he was very clear that the buck stops with the President.


TRUMP: You have to get everybody in a room. You have to be a leader. The President has to lead. He's got to get Mr. Boehner and everybody else in the room and they have to make a deal.


BURNETT: OK. Well, this weekend, the President is not getting anybody in a room. Last weekend, (INAUDIBLE) all these meetings and in Camp David. Now, there's nothing today. Nothing going on this weekend.

In fact, Congress has left town. And the President, instead of meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders to open the government and show that America is a functional country, he's tweeting about setting up a meeting with a championship college football team.

Kaitlan Collins is out front at the White House. And Kaitlan, no meetings, nothing. What's the strategy?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's kind of a wait and see strategy at this point. Before today, before the President said that he was going to put off declaring a national emergency, White House officials have been exploring where there were unspent funds they could use. They did declare national emergency to build a wall.

While the White House legal team was prepping their justification if the case went to court. And now that the President said, essentially, I'm not going to do that right now, White House officials are just kind of waiting to see what happens, specially now since the House and Senate have adjourned. And typically over the last several weekends of this shutdown, there have been a flurry of meetings over the weekend.

And last, we can see your staff going to Camp David and meeting with the Acting Chief of Staff. Mick Mulvaney who has been shepherding these talks so far. But right now, we're told there's no meetings between White House officials and Congressional staff scheduled for this weekend and no appearances expected by President Trump, either.

Now, they're simply waiting to see what they are going to do next since the President said today he didn't want to declare a national emergency. And we're told, that was in part with these White House officials feared that there was going to be some kind sharp backlash. You've saw the comments coming from -- even their typical usual allies on Capitol Hill warning of what the President -- would said if the President did declare a national emergency.

So now they're waiting to see, Erin, what it is that's going to happen next. But, of course, that comes at midnight tonight. This is going to become the longest continuous shutdown in U.S. history. And they know that they don't really have the messaging here to say that -- to put all the blame on Democrats. That's something the White House officials are becoming worried about, how they're going to message the shutdown the longer it goes out, the longer people aren't getting paid and the longer that message is out there.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Democratic Freshman Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton of Virginia. Congresswoman, I appreciate your time. So, this is clearly stretching into next week at least, right?

[19:05:07] REP. JENNIFER WEXTON (D), VIRGINIA: Absolutely.

BURNETT: So, you know, it seems a lot of Democrats are stuck, you know, right? The President's got to lead maybe back there, right? But Democrats are stuck on this word wall, right? That's why apparently he walked out of the room the other day. And he talked about that today, Congresswoman. Here's what he said.


TRUMP: This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and to vote for money for the wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call it's OK with me. They can name it whatever they can name it. Peaches. I don't care what they name it. But we need money for that barrier.


BURNETT: Name it peaches. What's your reaction to that?

WEXTON: Democrats aren't stuck on the wall. You know, we've been moving forward. We have passed bipartisan legislation to reopen the government. We passed the big appropriations bill that would have everything refunded until September, and then we broke it down to individual departments and passed each one of those, again with bipartisan support on every one and sent them on to the Senate. But Mitch McConnell is the one who won't take any of these up and send them to the President.

So, Democrats aren't the ones who aren't moving forward on this. It's the President who is stuck on the wall.

BURNETT: When it comes to the, you know, whatever you want to call it, peaches, right? I mean, you're a fellow Democratic Congresswoman. Another freshman Congresswoman, Katie Hill of California, told us today that she would, quote, vote for some money for physical barriers. Would you, again, whatever it is called, would you vote for more of it, more wall, more fence, whatever?

WEXTON: Democrats are very supportive of border security. We always have been, that's why we passed appropriations of well over $1 billion for border security. But a giant concrete wall is a fourth century response to a 21st century problem. There are much more efficient and effective ways to stop drugs and contraband from coming over the border. And --


WEXTON: -- we certainly would be supportive of those.

BURNETT: Absolutely. Look, I mean, you know, we keep going down the border showing this left and right, right, that the drugs are coming in a legal ports, there's tunnels, all that may be true. But when it comes to a compromise here, are you open to more, fill in the blank, more barrier?

WEXTON: I am always open to compromise, as I think all of my colleagues are as well. It doesn't seem that the President is but we've been trying to move things forward with the compromise for weeks.

BURNETT: Now, you have a lot of federal workers in your district, right? And they didn't get paychecks today, or if they did, they said 0.00 on them.

WEXTON: Right.

BURNETT: And the President has been saying repeatedly, look, they're going to get their back pay. Nothing to worry about. They are on his side, in fact, in the shutdown. And he said it today, Congresswoman. Here he is.


TRUMP: I just really appreciate the fact that they have handled it so incredibly well. And many of them agree with what we're doing. We have no choice.


BURNETT: Do those you've spoken to agree with him?

WEXTON: The hundreds of federal workers who have been contacting me -- my office do not agree with this. You know, they want us to work together and find solutions. I've had a number of constituents come to me, you know, showing me the pay stub with zero dollars. And a lot of them are furloughed, but a lot of them are working and not getting paid, and having to incur expenses for child care, having to incur expenses for commuting and not getting paid. And we owe them so much more than that.

BURNETT: So, you know, Senator Lindsey Graham, you know, is encouraging the President to go this route of a national emergency which as you just heard Kaitlan reporting the President is not doing yet. Here's what Lindsey Graham said in a statement today though about why he thinks Democrats won't support a wall, all right. Senator Graham said, "They hate President Trump more than they want to fix problems, even problems they acknowledged to be real and serious in the past". That's a reference, obviously, to other votes for offense. "Democrats will do everything in their power to defeat Trump in 2020."

What's your response to this? Is this about hating the President?

WEXTON: No. It's about the fact that the President is manufacturing an emergency. Let's keep in mind that Republicans had the majority in both Houses of Congress and they had the White House for the past two years and it wasn't an emergency then. While the sudden now the Democrats have the majority in House of Representatives and it's an emergency. This is just an excuse to fabricate, you know, controversy and keep the government shutdown and try to place the blame where it doesn't belong.

BURNETT: All right Congresswoman Wexton, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

WEXTON: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, one of President Trump's biggest supporters, Congressman Steve King, under fire, embracing white supremacists. Are they empowering each other?

Plus President Trump says the 800,000 workers not being paid are with him. OK. But are they really? We're going to talk to one furloughed employee with four kids, out front tonight.

And a 13-year-old girl who vanished without a trace three months ago after her parents were murdered, found alive. We are learning more about her escape tonight.


[19:13:43] BURNETT: Tonight, Republican Congressman Steve King, defending himself against charges that he is a racist.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Under any fair, political definition, I am simply an American nationalist. I regret the heart burn that has poured forth upon this Congress, and this country, and especially in my state and in my congressional district. But the people who know me know I wouldn't have to even make this statement because they do know me.


BURNETT: OK. So, this is what he said, which he obviously as you heard there thinks is fine. "White nationalists, white supremacists. Western civilization, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

OK. So, King has a long history of making racist comments. But this being just so blatant and direct, well, in a sense takes a new step.

I want to get straight out front now to Keith Boykin, Former Clinton White House Aide, Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of Family Leader, he has known King for decades, obviously knows Ohio incredibly well. Also with me, Patrick Healy, New York Times Political Editor. And Patrick, you're a big part of this story. So, I want to get to that in a moment.

But first, let me start with you, Bob. You're from Iowa. You known Steve King for over 20 years. White nationalists, white supremacists, how did that language become offensive. What's your reaction?

[19:15:09] BOB VANDER PLAATS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE FAMILY LEADER: Well I think what he said in his statement, is -- it's created a lot of heartburn in the district, in the state and obviously across the country. It's reprehensible, it's inexcusable. It has no place in the public discourse today. And especially with a Congressman who barely won in his district, which is a deep, red conservative district in the 2018 midterms.

And so, I've known Steve King for a long time. I was a national co- chair with him with the Ted Cruz campaign. He has spoken at our leadership summit. And the reason I tweeted out that this is a bridge too far, this has no place.

The people of the Fourth District where I grew up, they are good people. They need to be represented -- they needed to be represented well, but not with remarks like this. And that's why I wanted to speak out because that does not represent who we are. And I'm glad Representative King is taking some accountability and responsibility, but the fact is, these words --

BURNETT: But is he really? He's saying I'm sorry for the heart burn. You know, I'm an American nationalist. That what I --

PLAATS: It hasn't an apologize --

BURNETT: It's not an apology at all, Bob, just to be clear. It sounds to me like what he's saying is I'm sorry it caused you guys problems, but I meant what I said. And let me try to say it again.

PLAATS: Well, there's no doubt about that. And even when he said about the context that it was in. And I'm thinking no matter what context that's in, that's inexcusable, that's inappropriate. There's no need for it at that time.

BURNETT: Keith, you know, look, it is just pretty stunning. You know, when you think about this, why this is happening now, right? OK. Steve King has a history of saying things that are racist. But this, as Bob said, this is more -- this is not hiding behind some kind of folksy joke or something as he has done before. And it comes as Donald Trump has risen.

Donald Trump has bragged about raising more money for Steve King than anybody else has. And I just wanted to play some of the comments that both of them have said, racist things. Here we go.


TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people.

KING: For everyone who is a valedictorian there is another 100 out there that -- they weigh a 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.

TRUMP: I think there's blame on both sides. You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

KING: We have growing elements in America that want to destroy western civilization. This argument that diversity is our strength, I just wonder if anybody ever questions that.


BURNETT: The echoes are clear.

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Yes. I mean, Donald Trump has given license to the deep underbelly, the dark underbelly of the Republican Party. It's been there for 50 some odd years, but it has come out now because Donald Trump is saying it's OK. What used to be a dog whistle is now publicly stated by the President of the United States. The Republican Party has been taken over since --

BURNETT: And I can just whistle it. No need the dog whistle.

BOYKIN: Yes. It's not a dog whistle, so it's a human whistle now.


BOYKIN: And the Republican Party unfortunately has been taken under by the racist wing of the party. And what you have here is Donald Trump has focused on maybe three issues I say who primarily define his presidency and animate his base. One is this wall that he wants to get, to stop the Mexicans from coming in. Two, is the travel ban to stop Muslims from coming in and three is this NFL thing about not getting black players not to protest about police brutality. He's attacking Mexicans, he's attacking Muslims, he's attacking African- Americans.

This is orchestrated racism from the President of United States. The American people deserve better, the Republican Party deserves better.

BURNETT: Right. So now, Patrick, you are a part of the story because you assigned, you know, that the story to be written in the New York Times, right, that has ignited this national debate. Now, I showed things he said before. So people say, look, he said these things before, why give it the air? Why put this out there? This whole new level, right? This whole blatant level, what was your thinking?

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I mean, you saw over the last year, Steve King promoting neo-nazis on Twitter, you saw him endorsing a candidate who had ties to neo-nazis in a race in Canada. And we have Steve Stivers, a top Republican official in late October right before the midterms basically say that Steve King was a white supremacist.

And I was struck by the fact that we now -- we have a sitting member of Congress who has says racist things and has been a white supremacist. Now we've had that before in our history. But in terms of modern politics, you know, wanted look at Steve King's history. But also the degree to which his kind of once fringed views were embraced by people like Donald Trump, the playbook on why that any politics that Steve King wrote embrace by Donald Trump and how that helped the rise, you know, of Trump.

[19:20:07] BURNETT: Yes. And do you think, when it comes to this, you know, he's made those comments before we heard them, the cantaloupes. But this, white nationalists, white supremacists, how do that language become offensive done in the floor of the Senate? As Keith said, this is not a dog whistle. This is a human whistle.

HEALY: Sure.

BURNETT: Is Trump part of why Steve King is now felt so -- I mean embrace it, proud, put it out there? No need to hide. Isn't a --

HEALY: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, Donald Trump -- remember, I mean, he was not a professional politician. He went to Ohio in 2014, endorsed Steve King. This is before Trump started running for president. And he saw the kind of reaction that Steve King was getting with comments like these, with the scare tactics about Africans with Ebola entering the country illegally, sort of these scenarios that King was throwing out there and the way that some conservatives for responding to it.

And there was not so far later that you had Donald Trump whenever his rallies would start getting away from him, he would say things like and I'm going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it. Again, there's kind of nationalist message --


HEALY: -- that was twinned with making people of color, Mexico -- Mexicans, you know, pay for his wall. That was just a direct line.

BURNETT: I mean, Bob, you know, Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican Senator wrote in the Washington Post about Steve King's latest comments, "Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accuse of racism, it is because of our silence when things like this are said."

Now, they did denounce the comments, you know, some of them did. Plenty of them have not. But does there need to be more done, Bob, to make the point? Because when I was hearing what you said at the beginning, Bob, it sounds to me like what you're saying is, this is not OK because I don't want to confer -- have people confuse a deeply red district with because it's red it's racist, right? That's what you were worried about. But that is the conflating that can happen if other Republicans don't speak out.

PLAATS: Well, without question. I think that's why you're seeing a lot of people speak out. Me included. That's why I decided to tweet. It wasn't just about a red district, the Fourth District why I spoke out. It was about the association with the Family Leader, our ministry. We've had him at our events. I want to make sure that does not represent who we are. That's not the face that we want to have.

And in fact, I think these comments like you've mentioned, you know, Steve has said a lot of inflammatory comments before. But this one got a lot of attention. Why? Because it was kind of just right out from behind the curtain out on public stage and he said. And I think Steve taken him by surprised that people like myself and other leaders in the Republican Party in his own state are calling that out.

The people of the Fourth District deserve better than this. They are good people and they need to have that kind of representation in Washington, D.C. and on a national stage.

BURNETT: So then, Keith, what happens? Does he get censored or everyone says what they're going to say and we know it's not on Bob, he's not in Congress. But, I mean, is Congress going to step up and say he's got to be censored? This is more than just someone who say it's not OK and move along and hope it passes?

BOYKIN: I think that this is a clear case, which is deserving of censure. Somebody has blatantly stating that they believe in white supremacy on the floor -- not on the floor but unto a newspaper in the United States. But then think about this.

BURNETT: No, you just say it again then --

BOYKIN: Well, that's true. He's a nationalist today. But then think about this though. Just last week, I was right here. We were talking about receded to leave and the Republicans were creeping over themselves to condemn her because she used the curse word. Where is that same energy in zeal and attacking their own Representative Steve King when he is blatantly endorsing racist, white supremacy.

BURNETT: All right. That's a good question. Thank you all very much.

And next, Senator Lindsey Graham telling Trump to go solo on immigration, but when Obama tried to do it, here is what Senator Graham said.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is a tremendous presidential overreach.


BURNETT: Hypocrisy is beautiful.

Plus, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez making enemies. And not just with Republicans. Why are some members of her party now reportedly talking about reigning (ph) her in, already?


[19:28:06] BURNETT: Tonight, flip-flop, as the shutdown is on track to become the longest in history, which it will be in just a few hours and there's some pretty much nothing standing in that way right now. Senator Lindsey Graham is doubling down on his plea for the President to go it alone on the wall declaring a national emergency.

After meeting with the President, Graham put out a statement saying, "Mr. President declare a national emergency now. Build a wall now." All right, that Senator Graham now. Here he is in 2014 slamming President Obama for, well, taking unilateral action on immigration.


GRAHAM: This is a tremendous presidential overreach. I will try to defund the effort for him to go alone. What the President has chosen to do has done great damage to our nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: So, two wrongs make a right? I mean, Sunlen Serfaty is out front. I mean, Sunlen, Graham is not the only Republican who is majorly and publicly flip-flopping when it comes to the President and this national emergency.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. He's not the only one. And I think the feeling among some of these lawmakers is that, at this point, it seems like this is the only off ramp for them. This is most simply a complete and total stalemate continuing to be on Capitol Hill and there really is no deal to be done on the horizon.

So we are hearing from some Republicans say that. But they are not the only ones. There are many other Republicans within the party that are saying, look, we have some concerns here, including from Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Republican from Alaska. She told me today that she does not think that President Trump should declare a national emergency not only because of what Republicans have said in the past that you referenced about executive overreach, but she said because of the protected legal battle that would follow and the precedent that it would set.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I hope he doesn't. I hope he does not take that route. There is his legitimate debate about the legality of that. We, as Republicans, complained mightily in the eight years of the Obama administration about what we declared as executive overreach. But because we would now -- it would be a Republican president who is going around the Congress. Is it now somehow OK?


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Murkowski was one of the few senators on Capitol Hill today. The house and Senate adjourned this afternoon. They will be out until at least Monday, which gives you an indication of where the negotiations are at this point.

Murkowski says she is very frustrated that everyone skedaddled so quickly and are not in Washington to solve the problem, especially as tomorrow, it will hit that record as the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you very much, Sunlen.

And it all comes at 800,000 federal workers are missing their paycheck, due to the shutdown. Obviously, we're talking about three weeks, but in terms of their full pay period, 000 is what the paycheck said today.

OUTFRONT now is Rusty Long, a furloughed federal employee who works for the Department of Agriculture.

And, Rusty, I appreciate you taking the time. Look, I know you have four kids. You are a single income family. Your wife cares for your children, one has cerebral palsy. How is the shutdown affecting your family?

RUSTY LONG, FEDERAL WORKER: Well, it's been a challenge for us. Financially, you have to plan for knowing there's not going to be a check and figure out which bills you can put off and cut back on nonessentials.

BURNETT: I mean, what have you been doing? Have you been trying to pick up other jobs or side jobs, freelance or something to make ends meet? How has it been going for you?

LONG: Yes. So, I'm pretty fortunate because of what I do, I can take on freelance work. So, I have been from just about minute one.

BURNETT: You are an architect, right? Am I correct?

LONG: Yes, ma'am. Yes.


LONG: Yes, I have.

BURNETT: So, as you say, you can pick those up, you don't get paid immediately. Even though your family has, luckily, been able to make ends meet for you, how much longer can this continue? As you know, there's no movement. Nothing is happening this weekend, nothing.

LONG: Yes, that's right. And so, for us, we have a bit of savings, we've got a great support network here. And part of what we have planned on doing from the beginning is reaching out to all those lending institutions, the creditors and seeing who can be flexible with us and give us the time, and knowing we are eventually going to get back pay helps, because it means that we just have to weather the storm, so to speak. We'll be fine.

BURNETT: Rusty, the president has been asked about furloughed workers, people like you responding to how they are not getting paid. Here is some of what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people that will be paid, but maybe later, those people, many of them are on my side. They want to see border security.

Many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I'm doing.

A lot of people that you think are upset, and certainly, they are not thrilled, but they say, sir, do the right thing. We need border security. And these are people that won't be getting paid.


BURNETT: How do you feel when you hear that? LONG: Well, it's frustrating because you have a situation that we are

in that, for us, it's not political. It's personal. We are trying to make ends meet. I'm trying to do my job, serving the people of North Carolina.

So, I can't say I relate one way or the other. We just want to go back to work.

BURNETT: The White House economic adviser was on television last night, Kevin Hassett. I don't know if you heard what he had to say. Let me play it.


KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Huge share of government workers were going to take vacation dates between Christmas and New Year's. Then we have a shutdown. They can't go to work. They have the vacation, but they don't have to use their vacation days. Then they come back and get their back pay. In some sense, they are better off.


BURNETT: Better off? Vacation?

LONG: Well, it's not exactly like vacation for me, anyway. But I understand what they are saying. Personally, for me, I love being home. I love spending time with the kids, but I would much rather be at work.

And it's disheartening for the kids. They come home from school and I'm there, instead of being out, working and making money.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Rusty, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Look, really hope for you and your kids. Thank you.

LONG: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: And next, a former Democratic V.P. candidate takes on Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


JOE LIEBERMAN, FORMER DEMOCRATIC VP CANDIDATE: I certainly hope she's not the future and I don't believe she is.


[19:35:04] BURNETT: Lieberman may not be alone.

Plus, a 13-year-old girl found alive after being a hostage for 88 days after her parents were murdered. We have details on how she escaped on her own.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fighting back against criticism from her own party as a new report says Democrats are looking for ways to rein her in.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats bracing themselves for yet another round of how to deal with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of their most popular and outspoken newcomer.

Ocasio-Cortez firing back at Joe Lieberman, one time Democratic vice president candidate who criticized her unapologetic proposal to raise the top marginal income tax rate to 70 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she the future of the party in your view?

LIEBERMAN: No. I -- with all respect, I certainly hope she's not and I don't believe she is.

CARROLL: In response, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter, telling her 2 million plus followers, new party, who dis?

[19:40:06] That's a common response to an unknown number.

It's not the first time the 29-year-old has taken on Democratic Party establishment and, according to "Politico", some Dems are at the end of their rope.

RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESS REPORTER, POLITICO: A lot of people don't know where her loyalties rise, if she's going to work with the team. You know, unpredictability makes people nervous. We are seeing that on the Hill.

CARROLL: Bade talked to 20 lawmakers that want to bring the Democratic socialist into the fold. What's drawn their anger? For starters, the article says Ocasio-Cortez's threat to back primary opponents of Democrats she says are too moderate. She supported primary challengers to three other Democrats, Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a testy exchange said this, after Ocasio-Cortez upset the establishment incumbent Joe Crowley.

REPORTER: I don't have a problem, Democratic voters in New York last night seemed to express a problem?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They did. They made a choice in one district. Let's not get carried away as an expert on demographics of that.

CARROLL: What's become clear to Democratic leadership, Ocasio-Cortez is the darling of the progressive left and is not playing by their rules. Weeks before being sworn into office, she took part in an environmental protest inside Pelosi's office.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: It's not just confrontation, it's meaningful unity behind our goals.

CARROLL: Ocasio-Cortez says she's prepared for the political backlash for participating.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: We are going through a process of trying to choose committees and, you know, if I make people mad, they are going to put me on the dog walking committee or whatever. They still might. But I know that it was worth it.

CARROLL: Pelosi did not return our request for comment about the "Politico" article. New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney telling CNN: Representative Ocasio-Cortez is bringing new energy and a new approach and we should all embrace that.

What seems clear, voters in the New York district that elected her like what they are seeing so far.

ALICIA SANTIS, OCASIO-CORTEZ SUPPORTER: I wouldn't want them to do that. She's giving us a voice and inspiring more than anything.


CARROLL: And, Erin, Ocasio-Cortez through her staff, declined to be interviewed for the story. But there are signs she may be getting a message at least when it comes to backing primary challenges against colleagues.

Recently on the House floor, she said she was not interested in backing progressive against incumbent Democrats, which, of course, contradicts what she said during the midterms. Her spokesman telling CNN, quote: There has been a change in focus, but not a change in ideology -- Erin.

BURNETT: Jason, thank you very much.

Joan Walsh is OUTFRONT now, national affairs correspondent for "The Nation".

All right. Joan, look, what do you make of Democrats taking swipes at AOC?

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: I think she looks mature and they look juvenile, to be honest with you, Erin. I could not believe that article. Some quoted on the record and some off the record.

She is bringing real enthusiasm to this process. And she's also -- I think she has matured. That's condescending, I'll take it back. I think she's learned on the job since she won her primary race. I think she won the backing -- yes, she protested in Pelosi's office, she backed her for speaker.

BURNETT: That's true.

WALSH: There are several ways she moderated her stance toward other Democrats. Democrats are crazy to be criticizing this woman. BURNETT: Look, she has issues on facts. She tweeted, 21 trillion

accounting error could pay for her Medicare for all proposal. She got four Pinocchios on that. Anderson Cooper asked her about it. Here is what she said.


OCASIO-CORTEZ: If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue they are missing a forest for the trees. I think there's a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually and semantically correct than about being morally right.


BURNETT: Donald Trump could say that sometimes when people call him out for the facts. Chris Cillizza said being factually, accurate and morally right is not an either/or.

WALSH: No, she went on to say in the rest of that clip with Anderson, that, of course, she believes that being factually correct is important and also she corrects herself when she's been clumsy. I think -- the whole clip, honestly said we need both. It's not an either/or proposition.

Certainly, she's made mistakes. We have all made mistakes. But I want to point out she is already learning from them.

Joe Lieberman, I want to point out is not a Democrat. He left the party. She's a Democrat. Bernie Sanders, not a Democrat.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Democrat. That's very important to a lot of sort of center left folks like myself.

[19:45:03] She is in the party.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Joan.

WALSH: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Beto O'Rourke getting the Oprah treatment. Some say he is sharing too much.

A 13-year-old girl, her parents were murdered and she is alive. We have details about the daring escape and her kidnap.


BURNETT: Tonight, Oprah and Beto.

Oprah Winfrey is interviewing Beto O'Rourke next month in Times Square. This is three-term congressman from Texas who lost to Ted Cruz in a Senate battle, is now running -- sorry, weighing a bid or run for presidency.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT. And, Jeff, you know, Beto O'Rourke is now getting the Oprah treatment,

right? I mean, Oprah is trying to make a big push to Apple and Apple TV and her new project, right? She is picking a person to get her a big, big buzz and she picks him. This is not a small thing.


I mean, the reality is here Oprah is probably in search of an audience. That's what Beto O'Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, certainly has. He's been why many of us are looking at the shutdown. He's been celebrating the holidays. He's been doing Facebook live, Instagramming from very intimate places and getting a live audience.

[19:50:01] So, he will be sitting down with Oprah Winfrey in early February and it will be the first time he takes questions about the possibility of him running for president. I am told behind the scenes they are planning indeed for that. He is looking at making a run for 2020, not going to announce it for a couple weeks or so.

But, boy, sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, certainly in Times Square, evokes back to a former Illinois senator, Barack Obama, age 45, about the same age as Beto O'Rourke, 12 years ago now running for president. But Obama got Oprah's endorsement.

This is just an interview. We'll see what happens from there.

BURNETT: All right. When you say, you know, sometimes intimate places, OK, yesterday, he live streamed in the dentist while he was getting his teeth cleaned. I don't know, OK, so some people criticized that, obviously, but he has otherwise been a natural on social media, right, there's a video of him skate boarding at a parking lot last summer. That went viral.

And, you know, it was sort of a youthfulness, edginess, it worked.

And compared that, of course, to Senator Elizabeth Warren who's already announced she's running. Here she is on New Year's day.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Hold on a sec. I'm going to get me, umm, a beer.

Hey, my husband Bruce is now in here.

You want a beer?

BRUCE MANN, SEN.WARREN'S HUSBAND: No, I'll pass on the beer for now.


BURNETT: OK. How much is Beto's social media presence, the ease with which he uses the medium, going to help him?

ZELENY: I think it's a big deal introducing him to people. No question that the presidential race we're on the cusp of, and people say it's too early. It's actually not. This is normally when people start running for president. It's going to be different in every way. One of the first elements is getting attention.

So, Beto O'Rourke clearly mastering the role of getting attention here. Going beyond the dentist thing there, he interviewed the dental hygienist who was someone who grew up in El Paso along the border. And his point was making the point after seeing that image there that immigrants aren't scary. The border is not a crisis.

So, this is Beto O'Rourke's very soft introduction, response if you will, to what President Trump has been saying. But it is certainly unusual to say the least, Erin.

BURNETT: Maybe just leave off the actual cleaning of your teeth. All right, thank you very much, Jeff.

And next, an amazing story of survival. A teen missing for three months after her parents were murdered, found alive. We know a lot more details tonight. That's next.


[19:56:50] BURNETT: Breaking news, Wisconsin police now revealing new details tonight about how a 13-year-old girl who vanished three months ago after her parents were murdered was able to escape. Jayme Closs was found alive last night. She emerged from the woods, pleading for help, and was able to lead authorities to her captor.

Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 88 days, 13-year- old Jayme Closs alive after escaping captivity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her.

CASAREZ: Jayme identified the man she says kidnapped her and killed her parents three months ago, 21-year-old Jake Patterson. He has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. But police are still searching for why.

CNN has not been able to reach Patterson or confirm whether he has an attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing in this case shows the suspect knew anyone at the class home, or at any time had contact with anyone in the Closs.

CASAREZ: Police say Patterson worked in the same plant as her parents for a day or two, but didn't know them. On Thursday, police say Jayme escaped the home where she was held while her kidnapper was away, and approached a woman walking her dog in Gordon, Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said I'm lost and I don't know where I am and I need help.

CASAREZ: The middle school student says she was being held in a cabin in a remote area about 65 miles north of her hometown Barron.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I first saw her, did she run away, did somebody dump her off here, because she didn't have coats or gloves and then when he told me who she was I figured she must have left in a hurry.

CASAREZ: Patterson doesn't have a criminal record in Wisconsin and investigators believe he carefully planned the kidnapping on his own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things like not leaving trace evidence by changing his physical appearance, like shaving his head not to leave hair behind.

CASAREZ: Neighbors kept her safe until police arrived and arrested Patterson minutes later, pulling over his car based on Jayme's description.

Jayme has been released from the hospital and has been reunited with her family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She looked really tired, like she's been fighting a battle for weeks.

CASAREZ: The FBI and local authorities have been searching for Jayme since mid-October. That is when police discovered the bodies of James and Denise Closs. The sheriff's office responded to a 911 call from their phone. No one spoke but the dispatcher heard yelling in the background.

Police believe Jayme was in the house when her parents were murdered. They recovered a shotgun similar to the ones used in the murders at the home where Jayme allegedly was being held.


CASAREZ: And we are very close to that home tonight, 30 to 40 local, state and federal officials have been executing a search warrant. The suspect will have his initial appearance in court on Monday.

And the big question that is still looming, how did this suspect find Jayme, target her, and find the home of her family? Erin?

BURNETT: Wow, all right. Thank you so much, Jean.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. We'll see you on Monday.

"AC360" starts right now.