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Two New Major Newspapers Reports on Trump and Russia; Two Democrats to Run for President in 2020; Day 23 of the Shutdown; A New CNN Poll on Who to Blame for the Shutdown; Shutdown Affects Utah; A Promise to Coal Miners not Kept; Vice President Pence Standing by Trump. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 13, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Thanks Fred. Hello on this Sunday. You are on the "CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us. The headline today, the most alarming news on our country's leadership involves Russia and the president.
But before that, just a reminder, 22 full days and counting. That's how long the U.S. government has been partially shut down. And the people who staff it are not getting their paychecks. It is a political stalemate, a partisan fight over money and a border wall, and there's no end in sight. Again, today is officially day 23.
Now, in just a few minutes, you're going to see how some federal employees are trying to keep their heads up, but there is a very pressing matter that I want to go over first. It is President Trump. He is in the White House all day yesterday and today, watching T.V., tapping his tweets out. And all this while two separate major newspaper reports are calling into serious question how he is conducting himself with regards to Russia, America's adversary.
One of them, "The Washington Post" throwing light on the extremes President Trump has gone through to hide details of his conversations with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, swearing interpreter to secrecy and at least on one occasion, confiscating written notes after a private meeting with the Russian leader.
Another report from "The New York Times" that claims the FBI opened an investigation into whether President Trump was knowingly working with the Russians to damage this country from the inside. An FBI probe, counterintelligence agents investigating the president, unheard of in all of American history.
It was enough to prompt an interview where on Fox News, a president ally in fact, asking the president point-blank if he was or was not a Russian agent. Here's the exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone): I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written. And if you read the article, you'd see that they found absolutely nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It really is a yes or no question. And he went on for nearly two minutes, curiously without saying no, that he is definitely not an agent of the Russian government. Senior members of the U.S. Senate, very concerned. Watch CNN's Jake Tapper ask the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee if he believes President Donald Trump is working to help the Kremlin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think President Trump is wittingly or unwittingly an agent of the Russians?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Jake, I think the earlier evidence this week where the president's campaign manager -- and we're unaware if whether the president knew, where the president's campaign manager at whose direction turned over confidential polling data to a known Russian agent, a known Russian agent who has ties to Putin and Deripaska.
Why would you turn over that information? And what's curious, Jake, is that it would be that kind of information that would inform the Russians later in the campaign when they launch their social media efforts where they created these fake identities and as we've seen with, you know, clear-cut proof, a lot of those efforts were aimed at suppressing African-American vote.
Did they use that polling data to guide the Russian social media efforts to suppress African-American vote? We don't know the answer to that yet. I would hope that Mueller has got more indication, but it is a very real question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us live at the White House tonight. Boris, that is a senior senator, one with a lot of influence, saying it's a serious question whether or not President Trump is knowingly working to help the Russians. How is that and other reactions hitting the White House right now?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Yes, no direct response from the White House so far about these statements from Senator Marl Warner or other lawmakers who have weighed in on these two bombshell reports, both in the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post."
You played a piece of that interview yesterday on Fox News with President Trump where he dismisses both of these reports, but he doesn't specifically address many of the claims in them, except to say that one of those reports is insulting, the other not worth responding to. We should point out, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders put out a statement yesterday on the "Washington Post" report that was very similar to one she put out regarding "The New York Times" report.
In it, she calls the reporting absurd. She suggests that the liberal media is out to destroy President Trump. And further, she goes on to suggest that President Trump has been tougher on Russia than President Obama. The facts here don't belie with those statements.
We should point out President Obama actually publicly confronted Vladimir Putin on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, something that President Trump simply has not done publicly. We don't know if he's done it privately. And that's the gist of that story in "The Washington Post."
[17:05:06] President Trump has been tweeting a number of times today, including a tweet that he just sent out talking about the snow outside of the White House here. The president also sent one specific tweet. He's mostly been focusing on the shutdown. And he writes, "I'm in the White House waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking."
There is no indication that either side is actually talking about reopening the federal government right now, but we should point out Republicans have left town as well. So as the president claims that he's sitting here waiting for something to happen, we watched the shutdown now enter almost week four, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House. A snowy Washington tonight. Thank you. I want to bring in CNN global affairs analyst, the contributor for "The Daily Beast," Kimberly Dozier, commentator and writer and editor for the "The Washington Examiner" Siraj Hashmi, and "New York Times" editor and CNN political analyst Patrick Healy.
Guys, it's not just the records from one Trump/Putin meeting that are missing. "The Washington Post" writes, "U.S. officials said there is no detailed record even in classified files of Trump's face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. In one instance, President Trump reportedly took possession of the notes and told his interpreter not to discuss what happened. Kim, is this normal?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Not according to the Presidential Records Keeping Act and not according to a number of officials that I've spoken to prior to this, just about how President Trump holds meetings with foreign leaders in general. I've had another diplomat complain to me that in his one-on-one meeting between Trump and his particular leader, because no notes were taken, there was no follow-up afterwards.
And then I've had administration officials tell me, well, that's exactly the point. If there's no note taken, then really the meeting that counts is the one afterwards with the foreign ministers present. But that doesn't address the fact that if Greg Miller's reporting in "The Washington Post" proves out that the president wanted to make sure there was no written record. That is just odd.
CABRERA: On its own, "The Washington Post" report could be problematic, but couple it with the reporting now from "The New York Times" that the FBI questioned and even investigated whether President Trump was a Russian asset. Patrick, this one to you, given that was the reporting from your paper. Does the reporting combined lead to more questions, more suspicions, and does the president's actions in some ways validate the investigation?
PATRICK HEALY, NEW YORK TIMES POLITICS EDITOR: Sure. I mean, it's created a real crisis of trust around the president and questions that we've been living with for two years now about the president's relationship with Russia have gone to a whole new level.
I mean, look, we all remember President Trump's meeting with President Putin last summer in Helsinki when the president of the United States took the side of the president of Russia against America's own intelligence agencies. It was extraordinary. And President Trump comes out and says he's even tougher on Russia than President Obama.
You know, it defies credibility, honestly. And it takes things, yes, to another level in the sense that what we are now knowing is that the FBI, soon after the firing of James Comey in 2016, began looking at something that I think a lot of Americans could never even consider. It would be sort of a horror movie or sci-fi movie scenario that the president of the United States was an agent of the Russian government.
Our own FBI was looking at that and believed that there was enough credibility. The FBI doesn't just launch investigations, you know, on nothing. I mean, an then "The Washington Post" report, again, behavior that is baffling, frankly. Why a president would want to be so unaccountable, so un-transparent, even with members of his own government. He wouldn't want other administration officials to know what was said between him and President Putin. It creates, again, just a real crisis of trust.
CABRERA: Siraj, is there an innocent explanation for this?
SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think if "The Washington Post" and "New York Times" reports are true, it's very troubling, especially for a security apparatus because any investigative agency that investigates the sitting president of the United States for working at the behest of the Russian government.
Clearly it has to be an overreaction with no evidence being presented other than the fact he fired James Comey, which is under his own constitutional and executive authority to do so. He can fire him for whatever reason. I think we have to realize and understand is that the FBI definitely launches investigations for no reason whatsoever.
[17:10:00] I mean, think of even back to the 1960s when they sent Dr. Martin Luther king a suicide note trying to blackmail him. So yes, the FBI could launch an investigation against the president for whatever reason, but they're abusing their own authority in doing so.
HEALY: But the FBI have reason to believe -- I mean, the notion that Michael Flynn, the national security adviser, after he was let go, the notion that President Trump said to James Comey, you know, can you please take it easy on this, can you let this one go? I mean, that's just sort of one of several examples of information that apparently the FBI had and they had it from Comey.
HASHMI: But to suggest that the sitting president of the United States is literally an asset for the Russian government without any evidence to prove that he is, is patently insane.
CABRERA: The reporting though doesn't say that was the conclusion. It was that the investigation was looking into whether --
HASHMI: Again, I'm saying if that was -- the report was true --
CABRERA: -- it's possible he was working on behalf of the Russians against America's national security. And it does lay out, if you read the report in the "New York Times," it lays out the reasoning for opening this investigation.
It was in part what happened during the campaign, him calling for Clinton's e-mails, Russia, if you're listening, some of the other investigations that they had already been looking into other members of the Trump campaign prior to the election and then some of what else the president said after becoming the president, some of his actions and then firing James Comey.
There was a number of things if you read the article that explains what the reasoning was for opening the investigation. We don't just know at this time though if it is ongoing, the counterintelligence piece. But we move this conversation forward and talk a little bit more about this "Washington Post" reporting, Kim Dozier.
Because of this reporting, the idea that there's no paper trail of sorts, nothing that documents these interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russians now potentially are learning that there's no official records of these meetings. Could they manipulate the narrative about what actually took place?
DOZIER: I think we were already at risk of Putin doing that. And by Trump not sharing what happened in the meeting, we already had a certain message from Moscow that everything went well for Putin in these conversations.
The other issue that you have to look at though is from Putin's perspective. This is a weakened U.S. president and now there is the specter that he's been investigated by his own FBI. How hard can U.S. -- Trump administration negotiators drive a bargain in terms of the missiles negotiations that are coming up?
Really, this is a president whose reputation has been further weakened. So, while you might say on the one hand it means he can't push ahead with improving the relationship with Russia, on the other hand a weakened U.S. president is exactly what Putin wants.
CABRERA: Kim, Patrick, Siraj, got to leave it there guys. Thank you very much. Two more candidates announce they're running for president. They're
young. They're diverse. Who are they, and do they have what it takes to win? We'll discuss.
Plus, the top Republican in the House says he will take action against a member of his own party. We're talking about Congressman Steve King. You see him there and his controversial comments on white supremacy that sparked widespread condemnation.
And a new CNN poll tells us who Americans are blaming for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. What it means for the president's border wall fight. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."
[17:1500] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: For Democrats, the road to 2020 is getting crowded fast. Two new contenders throwing their hats into the 2020 ring just this weekend. Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro is the first Latino to enter the race. He also served as housing secretary under President Obama.
And also making her 2020 announcement right here on CNN, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. She is the first Hindu and American Samoan to serve in Congress. Senator Elizabeth Warren also on the move this weekend, visiting the all important state of New Hampshire. Warren is not officially a 2020 candidate just yet, but she has formed an exploratory committee.
Plus, a lot of eyes on California Senator Kamala Harris, who has been making the rounds on her book tour and seemingly making the case for a presidential run of her own. And I want to bring in CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, who reports extensively on the politics of identity in American life, race, religion, region, gender, class, and party.
And Nia, great to have you with us. You just wrote about Kamala Harris this week and whether she has the "it" factor. How does her being a woman, particularly a woman of color, factor into that?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, one of the things you saw at her events is she obviously is drawing a lot of support and enthusiasm from African-American women. I was at her event here. Of course, it was a book event. About 1,500 people showed up. And if you think about African-American women, they really are the backbone of the Democratic Party. That is the base you need to get to actually win.
You think about all those southern states, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, it's African-American women who really determine who wins those contests. So here she is as a black woman, as an historic figure in many ways. She was the first black woman to be a senator -- A.G. obviously in California.
And she talks about her own experiences growing up as the daughter of civil rights activists and how that came to bear on how she sees leadership. Essentially, her vision for being president, for being a leader, is to create an environment, an administration where everyone can see themselves, where everyone feels like they have a voice or everyone feels like they have a presence.
So that's one of the themes she clearly is in some ways test driving in these appearances that she has in relation to her book.
[17:20:04] It's likely that she will announce her candidacy for the presidency or some sort of exploratory committee by the end of this month. That's what all of the reporting suggests. And she joins a field, as you said, that already is pretty diverse.
CABRERA: Yes, diverse. We just mentioned Castro, we mentioned Tulsi Gabbard, now Kamala Harris. Former Vice President Joe Biden has remained on top of the recent polling. He hasn't declared his candidacy. Just how long can someone like Biden afford to wait to make a decision?
HENDERSON: You know, it's interesting, I talked to a bunch of folks down in South Carolina over this last week and their problem with Joe Biden at this point -- and these are people who love Joe Biden. They have seen him over the years stumping for Obama, stumping for other candidates.
They feel like he needs to show a sense of urgency. A lot of these folks, particularly black Democrats haven't heard from him. These are black leaders. These are activists. These are folks who might end up signing up for other campaigns because they have no idea at this point what Joe Biden is going to do.
Their feeling is that Joe Biden at this point, does he think he can essentially just waltz in at any moment and get the kind of support that Obama got. So they want to see some sort of signal from him that he's actually going to run. They also say he's a person who actually hasn't had to in this modern era of politics really form any sort of infrastructure, any sort of grassroots, you know, base in any of these states.
Sure, he was sort of the Robin to Obama's Batman, but what that actually means for his prospects in a state like South Carolina, which would probably be the first state he would really be able to compete in heavily. Iowa is probably too progressive. You've got New Hampshire, which is a state where a lot of, you know, if you're from New England, you probably have more of a shot there.
So he, you know, the window in some ways is shrinking. He's going to be on tour for his book and we'll see what kind of crowd he draws there. But yes, I mean, this idea that you can wait, I think a lot of progressives and activists feel like you got to get going quickly.
CABRERA: All right. Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you. The government shutdown, a report of a counterintelligence inquiry into a sitting president, and reports that President Trump has concealed details of his conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin. I will ask an author who's written about tyranny if he's concerned about the state of America's democracy. That's next.
[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: Two bombshell reports darkening that cloud over the White House this weekend. First, "The New York Times" reporting that the FBI opened an investigation into whether President Trump was working for Russia. Second, "The Washington Post" revealing that there are no records of President Trump's five face-to-face meetings with the Russian president because President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal them.
In at least one instance, President Trump reportedly took possession of the notes himself and told his interpreter not to discuss what happened with any other administration officials. And on top of all that, don't forget about that clock there on the bottom right side of your screen. It's been up now for 23 days.
That is how long the government has been partially shut down, and there appears to be no end in sight. Joining us now, Timothy Snyder. He is the author of "On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century." And Tim, just how concerned are you about America's democracy right now?
TIMOTHY SNYDER, AUTHOR: Well, we should always be concerned. Living in a democratic country means you're the ones who have to rule, which means you have to watch your leaders. But of course, you're right. There are two unusual things to be concerned about. On the one side, there's the concern about whether we really are a sovereign state, whether we can run elections by ourselves or whether a foreign country has undue influence.
On the other side, there's the problem we have the leader who's trying to get around the normal ways of making laws and policies and making changes and instead thinking about a national emergency, about an essentially phony issue. That's a classic way national emergencies states of exceptions that democracies become authoritarian regimes. So, we should be concerned.
CABRERA: About this new "Washington Post" reporting specifically on the meetings with Putin, we don't know what really took place, no records. The president even reportedly confiscating notes from his interpreter. That is not typical of an American president. Is that how Putin normally operates?
SNYDER: What's interesting about it is that, that is how an intelligence officer would handle his own agent. So, if you're an agent that means you're working for an officer. The agent takes orders and the agent keeps quiet. If you're the officer, what you do is you insist that your agent stay quiet.
So, in an odd way, "The New York Times" report and "The Washington Post" report look like they reinforce one another. This behavior is not typical of diplomats or leaders or presidents. It is, unfortunately, typical of the way that a handler, an officer would deal with his agent.
CABRERA: How do you think Putin is looking at this situation and this news that just broke? SNYDER: I wouldn't want to speculate about that. I think Mr. Putin
still knows an awful lot of things that we don't know. I think the hope of Russian policy is Mr. Trump. They don't really make any bones about that. There are a lot of things about the U.S. system that confound them.
But the one thing they're pretty confident about is Mr. Trump himself. So, I think they're going to stay with Mr. Trump for as long as they can. They don't really have any other major in, into the system.
CABRERA: Let's talk more about this government shutdown now, day 23.
[17:30:01] The president is saying he hasn't ruled out a national emergency declaration, as you just mentioned. Listen to Democratic congressman Jerry Nadler reacting to this idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: We would certainly oppose any attempt by the president to make himself a king and a tyrant by saying that he can appropriate money without Congress. That is perhaps the most dangerous thing he is talking about since he became president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I know you had talked about this a little bit already, but I just want to push you a little further since you are an expert on tyrants, your book on tyranny. Would you go so far as to say what we just heard from Congressman Nadler?
SNYDER: Yes, the congressman is talking about a very fundamental issue and he's right to do so. In a normal situation where you have a democracy with the rule of law, the way that things change is that our elected representatives pass laws. They spend money. They choose how the money is spent.
The traditional way and this we know for a hundred years. This is page one in the authoritarian's playbook. The traditional way to get rid of the rule of law, to get rid of democracy is find a way to make an exception. Declare a state of emergency, declare a state of war, declare a national emergency and then you use that opening and you push it and push it and push it.
This is, just to take an example, how the Weimar Republic in Germany, where I am right now, collapsed. States of exception opened the way for authoritarians to make law, to make changes without the Congress, without the parliament. So he's right about the fundamental issue. National emergencies are something to be very careful about.
CABRERA: Timothy Snyder, always good to hear your perspective. Thank you very much for joining us.
Let's go back to the shutdown now, the longest shutdown ever. Guess who the public blames for it. We have a new CNN poll that should sent a strong message to the White House. Plus, the trickledown effect, how soon the shutdown could affect you, if it hasn't already? [17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: This is weekend number one officially without pay. Payday was Friday for many people and officially no paycheck for 800,000 federal workers. That includes air traffic controllers, the very people who make sure your plane flies safely. Here's what their paychecks look like this week. Zero dollars.
Also, around 41,000 active duty Coast Guardsmen are going without pay. They have been told to have garage sales or make money as mystery shoppers. And while the president says this shutdown is over security, here's who else is working for free right now. Thousands of Secret Service agents and FBI agents.
The president of the FBI Agents Association says he's also worried the number of staff having to stay home on furlough is creating a national security issue. TSA employees aren't getting paid either. Some have taken part in sick-outs and this is having a serious effect on airports.
Miami International Airport, for instance, has had to cut the operating hours of one of its concourses this weekend because it doesn't have enough agents to staff it. And yes, don't forget, the majority of known or suspected terrorists enter the country through our airports. Border Patrol agents are also among those not getting paid. Some are actually suing the Trump administration over their missing wages.
Oh, and here's more irony. The e-Verify system is down, meaning companies can't check whether employees are in the country legally. And while the shutdown could make us less safe, it could also be deadly. At least that's what some at the Food and Drug administration are worried about.
The FDA has stopped inspecting some foods -- not exactly comforting when you realize that 2018 saw more multistate food-borne disease outbreaks like that Romaine lettuce scare than any year. Since at least 2006, food inspections or not, you still got to eat. But in the next month, snap benefits like food stamps may be curtailed.
A separate program, WIC, that provides food assistance to low income pregnant women, new moms and children, could soon run out of money as well. Let's hope there are no natural disasters any time soon. The National Hurricane Center is now off schedule for a badly needed upgrade to better track storms.
And wildfire prep work and firefighter training has been halted. Also, do you have questions about this new tax law and what it will mean for your filing this season? Too bad, no one's at the IRS to answer your questions right now.
You probably already know the Smithsonian museums are shutdown. So is the national zoo. Don't worry, though, the animals are still getting taken care of by workers who aren't getting paid, but if you want to see the panda, too bad. The panda cam has been turned off. You've probably also heard the horror stories from national parks,
overflowing toilets, trash. In fact, some Joshua trees at Joshua National Park have actually been chopped down by vandals. So when does all of this end? The president says he has no idea. But he says he may still declare a national emergency.
If he does that, funds meant for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida and wildfire victims in California could be pulled and used for the border wall. That's right, the wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for could be paid for with funds meant for hurricane and wildfire victims.
Something else, the president might just want to consider is the brand new CNN poll that shows the president is to blame, according to the public for this government shutdown, much more than they're blaming Democrats. Here's the breakdown, 55 percent of those surveyed blame the president, 32 percent blame the Democrats.
Now, Senator Lindsey Graham says President Trump, who he talked to today, is still considering declaring a national emergency to secure the funding for the wall, a border wall which is also unpopular with the majority of Americans, according to that same poll. In Ogden, Utah, CNN's Scott McLean talked to people who see no easy way out as they're struggling with this shutdown, now the country's longest ever.
[17:40:07] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sign says it pays to live in Ogden, just not these days. This panoramic former frontier town in Utah is caught in the middle of a partisan battle being waged in Washington. Ogden has one of the highest concentrations of federal workers in the west. Right now it's hurting.
WHITNEY SNITCHLER, FEDERAL WORKER: Come here, love.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Whitney Snitchler is one of more than 5,000 federal workers affected in Ogden alone. Most work for the IRS or the forest service and most are furloughed, but Snitchler is working without pay. No money but still bills to pay, a gas tank to fill, and two kids to feed.
SNITCHLER: I don't think that we should be held captive like our paycheck should be held captive just because of something that they need to like brawl out.
MCLEAN (voice-over): With no money on the way, she plans to ask the bank for a loan, and likely the food bank for help. She's hardly alone. Local Catholic pantry says 50 federal workers per day are now relying on its shelves for the first time.
LAURA THOMPSON, FEDERAL WORKER: I've never done this before.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Laura Thompson is a long-time federal worker who never imagined she would be here.
THOMPSON: I pay my taxes. I do what I'm supposed to do. I shouldn't have to be without a job.
MCLEAN (voice-over): With her savings already gone, she's registering with the food bank and lining up for the basics, canned goods, bread, and vegetables. She voted for President Trump but not for this.
THOMPSON: I agree with the law, but it shouldn't be on us federal workers' backs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not volunteers.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Adding insult to injury, workers suddenly find themselves without pay in a city that's seen the cost of housing rise 69 percent in just the last five years.
MIKE CALDWELL, MAYOR OF OGDEn, UTAH: The federal employees are part of the ecosystem that helps support all of these small business owners and shop workers.
MCLEAN (voice-over): It's a ripple effect.
CALDWELL: Correct. Absolutely right.
MCLEAN (voice-over): And those ripples are spreading. Ogden's main federal building sits smack in the middle of its normally vibrant, historic downtown. It's now almost empty. At this bookstore, the owner says sales are down by half. And this restaurant has cut back its hours. Other restaurants are just scraping by.
HOLLIE CLAVET, WAITRESS: There you are.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Waitress Hollie Clavet has seen her lunchtime tips drop by two-thirds since the shutdown started 21 days ago.
CLAVET: I have to penny pinch. I have to decide, you know, which bills are prioritized, you know, cut out all the extras.
MCLEAN (voice-over): President Trump has suggested workers are willing to sacrifice their pay to secure the border.
TRUMP: This really does have a higher purpose than next week's pay.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Clavet, an immigrant herself, agrees.
Are you willing to sacrifice personally for it?
CLAVET: I'm okay for the safety of this country to do what he needs to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to work. We want to work.
MCLEAN (voice-over): That view wasn't shared by furloughed workers protesting the shutdown in Ogden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government shutdown's got to go.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Many say they're getting desperate. LYNN STRATTON, FEDEREAL WORKER: I have enough for one more mortgage
payment. I have to go to CarMax tomorrow and sell my car.
MCLEAN (voice-over): You're going to sell your car?
STRATTON: I have to.
MCLEAN (voice-over): There's hardly consensus on who to blame for the shutdown, but there is on one thing.
STRATTON: We just want our jobs back, and we want them to make it right.
MCLEAN (on camera): Lynn Stratton there says she wasn't able to sell her car, so instead, she asked the bank to defer her next mortgage payment, which it did. Stratton is one of the very few federal workers who's found a temporary job -- 2,600 others in Utah have applied for unemployment insurance.
The IRS is planning to require a significant portion of its work force to return to work to process tax refunds. That is actually the worst- case scenario for many of these employees because they won't be eligible for unemployment because they're working even if their next paychecks are still a long way away. Ana?
CABRERA: Good point. Hadn't thought of that. Thank you, Scott McLean. Building a barrier along the southern border wasn't the president's only big campaign promise, and it's not the only one that's run into a wall either. So far, his pledge to revive the coal industry has gone nowhere fast. Why some coal workers wish he'd come clean about their future, next in the "CNN Newsroom."
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: The promise of a so-called great, great wall. That helped get President Trump elected and the reason for this unnecessary government shutdown. It's not the only promise candidate Trump made that is not panning out. In fact, experts tell us that his guarantee to save the American coal industry was absurd to begin with. It was never going to happen.
And now the reality, more coal-powered electric plants have closed in two years of Trump's presidency than during President Obama's entire first term. People who make their living in coal say they just want straight talk from the president, and they're not getting it. Here's CNN's Bill Weir.
BILL WEIR, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across America more and more coal-fired smokestacks are smoke free. The power plants beneath them, cold and dark. The mines that once fed them, abandoned, but for the past couple of years miners and their families let themselves believe a coal comeback was on the way, thanks to promises like this.
TRUMP: We are putting our great coal miners back to work.
ART SULLIVAN, COAL WORKER: He's tried to get their votes. He isn't telling them the truth.
WEIR (on camera): He's lying to them?
[17:50:00] SULLIVAN: He's lying to them.
WEIR: You used to work in this mine?
SULLIVAN: I worked in this mine. I was a face (ph) boss.
WEIR (voice-over): For 52 years, Art Sullivan worked in and consulted on mines around the world. And he bristles every time he hears the president claim to be the savior of coal.
SULLIVAN: And that really disturbs me because these are really good people. These are the people that I've spent my life working with and if they have the truth, they will make the right decisions.
WEIR (on camera): If the president was honest, he would explain to those folks that mines like this are never ever coming back to life again. Not because of regulation, but competition. Coal just cannot compete with cheaper, cleaner, natural gas, wind and solar.
That's the reason more coal-fired power plants have gone out of business in the first two years of Donald Trump than the first four years of Barack Obama. Another 20 are expected to go down this year, and if a miner is hired today, chances are he'll be digging to fill the demand in India.
Do you feel the president gave these communities false hope?
BLAIR ZIMMERMAN, FORMER COAL WORKER: In my opinion, absolutely. I mean, I'm an expert. He's not. And I -- when he was campaigning, I asked -- I talked to his people and I said what's your plan? How are you bringing back coal because it could be brought back if these plants would come back up, and deregulating stuff will help this much. It's not going to help a lot.
WEIR (voice-over): Trump's EPA now led by a former coal lobbyist in Andrew Wheeler recently moved to lift Obama-era caps on how much poisonous mercury and how much heat trapping carbon power plants can pump into the sky, which worries climate scientists like Penn State's Michael Mann.
MICHAEL MANN, GEOPHYSICIST, PENN STATE: We're already experiencing impacts of climate change that could have been avoided had we acted two decades ago when we knew already at that point that there was a problem.
WEIR (voice-over): In order to save life as we know it, Mann says rich countries need to be on carbon free electricity by 2030, which means 80 percent of current coal reserves need to stay in the ground.
MANN: I think there is enough resilience in the system that we can withstand one term, one four-year term of Donald Trump. I'm not sure we can withstand two.
WEIR (voice-over): He's among the chorus calling for an energy revolution, and Art knows a few folks people who might be able to pitch in.
SULLIVAN: If you spend several years working in coal mines, you're going to come to understand electricity, hydraulics, mechanics, geology. I see no limitation on the average coal miner's ability to transition into any other field.
WEIR (voice-over): But first, they need leaders willing to transition to the truth. Bill Weir, CNN, Monongahela, Pennsylvania.
CABRERA: Two bomb shell reports in just 48 hours rocking Washington this weekend. Raising more serious questions about how the president's relationship with Russia really is, like why would President Trump reportedly confiscate notes of his meetings with Vladimir Putin and what are lawmakers going to do about it, if anything?
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: An adoring gaze, pained eyebrows and a sigh, all actions of the vice president this week that sent social media into a frenzy. CNN's Jeanne Moos has the story of Pence standing by his man.
JEANNE MOSS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president has taken flak for his adoring gaze at President Trump, for his silent head swivel during that Oval Office confrontation, and now for his sighing --
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you --
MOSS (voice-over): And those pained eyebrows.
PENCE: That was his impression.
MOSS (voice-over): During interviews that had anchors calling him out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Mike Pence just tried to pull a fast one on us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence knows he's lying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He knows.
MOSS (voice-over): Lickspittle bootlicker tweeted onbe critic, with more than just his pants on fire. The vice president is known for his professed rectitude, prompting someone to tweet, "I'm calling Jesus because Pence just broke a commandment. The V.P. rattled off misleading border stats and was asked about his boss' statement that past presidents had told Trump they should have built a wall.
TRUMP: Some of them have told me that we should have done it.
MOSS (voice-over): Except representatives for the four living presidents said it never happened.
PENCE: Well, you, you -- I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous administrations.
MOSS (on camera): Almost hard to watch. It's bad enough getting caught in your own lies but to have to explain someone else's?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand by your man .
[18:00:01] MOSS (voice-over): Pence's performance inspired a one word tweet that sent us to the dictionary for guidance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oleaginous.
MOSS (voice-over): Meaning oily of --