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CNN NEWSROOM

Negative Impact of Shutdown Spreads Coast-to-Coast; Both Parties Telling Perspective Size to Stay United; Rep. McBath Honor Son Killed by Gun Violence with New Bill; Four Americans Killed in ISIS- Claimed Syria Attack; Chef Opens Pup Up Kitchen to Feed Furloughed Workers; Drug Trafficker Says El Chapo Paid Ex-President of Mexico $100 Million Bribe. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 16, 2019 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00] REP. LUCY MCBATH (D), GEORGIA: And in my state alone in Georgia, there about 144,000 federal workers that did not receive a paycheck in December. And that's very disconcerting. That's very concerning because we know that people have to pay their mortgage. They have to keep food on the table. And so, you know, democracy isn't working for them at this point. And that is a grave concern for not only myself, but also of us my colleagues because Americans deserve to be paid for the work they are doing. We need to open government services and government does not work when we're shut down. Democracy is failing the American people at this point.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: But what can you do about it? I mean, I know I hear you talking about compromise, but all of our reporting indicates that both Republicans and Democrats are essentially telling their respective sides, dig in, stay united, both sides are refusing to budge. And here you are, you have this fresh outlook on all of this. Is this how to govern?

MCBATH: Well, I would definitely say that governing means compromise on both sides.

BALDWIN: That's not happening.

MCBATH: It's not. It's definitely not happening at this point. I can honestly say it's not for a lack of trying. The Democratic Party has really been very transformative. We've actually, you know, created appropriations spending to get people back to work, to get government services provided for people again. And we have done so. Hr-1, that's the most comprehensive democracy reform bill ever in the last 40 years of the history of the United States. And that is to do all kinds of things such as campaign finance reform and making sure that democracy works for everyone as they send compliance. We are trying.

We are trying with every fiber of our being to make sure that democracy works. And the only thing we have done is just actually given back the very legislation that the Senate Republicans passed in committee and on the floor. The only thing that we've decided not to do is that we are not going to give spending for a border wall. We do support, you know, measures securing the border wall, absolutely we do. But we want to do it smartly and efficiently. BALDWIN: That's the lynch pin with this President. He wants his

money and he wants his border wall.

Let me move on. Let me move on to you really more specifically. So last Tuesday you cosponsored your very first bill on the House floor. A bill that would require universal background checks. You know, past attempts we have discussed in interviews past, they have been nonstarters, never brought it a vote as we explained in the intro. This is so personal for you. And I'm still so grateful you even allowed me into Jordan's bedroom over the summer after our latest interview.

But the difference between when I talked to you in the summer versus now is you are now part of the solution. You are now walking those hallow hallowed halls of Congress, passing members of Congress who vehemently disagree with you. Congresswoman McBath, do you get a sense that passing tangible gun legislation is possible?

MCBATH: I truly do. I think the fact that I am here and others like me that were gun sense champions running on campaign policies for sensible gun legislation, that speaks volumes. Even five, six years ago when I started working with Every Town for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, there was really no way that we were even beginning to have these kinds of discussions. But the fact that I was able to be an original co-sponsor of HR-8, with the sponsor of the bill, Mike Thompson, who we've worked with for many years. The fact that there was bipartisan support on the House floor for this measure. Background checks for all gun sales is huge. And it really shows that there is momentum. We are on the right side of momentum for making sure that we're keeping people as safe as we possibly can. Because that's what they deserve.

BALDWIN: Have you had conversations with the French Hills and Kenneth Bucks of the world. These are members of Congress who have taken a lot of money from the NRA and so many others. Have you looked them in the eye? Have you spoken with people on the other side of the aisle on this?

MCBATH: I have not had the ability to speak with many individuals on the other side of the aisle about, you know, common sense gun solutions because we have been dealing with the shutdown. But I do intend to reach across the aisle. That is how work gets done. We've done that in gun violence prevention. I intend to do the very same thing in every policy that I put forth solutions for, that is how we find solutions to our problems and our issues. It's reaching across the aisle.

BALDWIN: You are also sharing the hallways with Republican Congressman Steve King who recently made those racist remarks again. You voted yesterday to pass at resolution disapproving of his statements. Do you think he needs to resign?

MCBATH: well, I would definitely say that I agree with the United States Congress in the decisions that we've made.

[15:35:00] We absolutely cannot afford to have that kind of rhetoric or ideology at a time such as this. And I think that we have to always be looking at the appropriate measures to make sure that we're moving forward and working on behalf of democracy and the American people. And we can't afford ideologies or thoughts or words like this at this time, or ever.

BALDWIN: This wasn't the first time. This wasn't the first time.

MCBATH: No, it wasn't.

BALDWIN: Does he need to go?

MCBATH: Yes, I think that he needs to go at this time. I do agree with the consensus that we've made.

BALDWIN: Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her exploratory committee for president last night on Colbert. So many, you know, women contenders for 2020. Since you know a thing or o two about winning in the era of Trump, what type of candidate do you think would be the most effective against this President?

MCBATH: Well, I most definitely think any candidate that runs against President Trump has to be one that's willing to stand up for what's right. And I think someone that is willing to make our government and our governing body accountable to the American people. And that means you're going it have to make some hard choices and decisions. And I'm so excited to see so many powerful women taking their place, standing up to be bearers of truth and making the right decisions to moving the United States forward in a positive way. So I'm really excited about the ground swell of women that have decided to stand up and to make sure that democracy works for all of us.

BALDWIN: Lastly, you know, a lot of powerful women running for president but also a lot of powerful women -- including yourself -- in Congress. A lot of, you know, people of color. We've got a picture of the Congressional Black Caucus posted by Senator Kamala Harris, which now has a record number of members. You are the first African- American to represent the sixth district of Georgia, a seat once held by Newt Gingrich for 20 years. A district that is still majority white. Stacey Abrams, who would have been the first black female governor, she lost in Georgia by only 2.39 percent of the vote. Congresswoman McBath, what is changing in Georgia?

MCBATH: Well, I just think that what is considered a credible candidate, a credible person to represent a district or represent the nation is changing. My district is changing. And my vision for the district is very diverse and very inclusive. I'm called to represent Republicans and Democrats and independents and libertarians. And I intend to reach across the aisle to find solutions for all of them. I won't be able to solve everyone's problems, but I believe that the experiences that I've had, my life experience, I can speak credibility to making sure that I'm finding the solutions for as many people in my district as I possibly can.

And I think that's what you see the numbers of women and the numbers of different kinds of people that have run for office that have decide that they have the experience. They have the knowledge and they have the wisdom to make really good important decisions that represent everyone that elected them.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Lucy McBath, good luck. Thank you so much.

MCBATH: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next, new details just coming in involving U.S. service members killed in Syria. We'll take you live to the Pentagon, next.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Breaking news. U.S. Central Command has just confirmed that four Americans were killed in that suicide blast in Syria. Let's go to the Pentagon and to our correspondent there Barbara Starr. Four.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. Well, this is the attack, the suicide attack that took place earlier today in the city of Manbij in northern Syria. The horrifying video emerging of the blast and the aftermath.

We now know from the United States military four Americans were killed. There were two U.S. service members. There was a Defense Department civilian employee, expert in intelligence and security and a DOD contractor. They had been going to what the military is now calling a local engagement. Earlier they said they were routine patrol. That appears not to be the case.

They were going somewhere when you hear the phrase local engagement, it means they were going to meet with local people perhaps to gather information about what was happening in the area. That is a very typical task for military and intelligence officials to do in these kinds of areas. So we know at this hour, of course, family notification is going out. There were also three U.S. service members wounded in the attack. It's a concern to the Pentagon for so many reasons to take care of these families, of course, but to get a better understanding of who might have been behind it. ISIS claiming responsibility, but that is not verified. So who is in that region that is targeting and killing Americans -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: We'll obviously stay on this as we get more and more reporting from you and from the military. Barbara, thank you very much.

Meantime, the government shutdown is poised to do more damage to the U.S. economy than previously thought. That is according to the White House. The reason federal workers aren't spending money because they aren't getting paid. This news is coming from S&P global ratings. They estimate that more than a billion dollars will be lost for every week the government is closed.

[15:45:02] And as lawmakers in Washington dig in, those affected speak out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is earning his paycheck, but he's just not getting it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shutdown isn't just a Washington D.C. problem, it's affecting real people here in Iowa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our pay stubs on Thursday and seeing zero dollars is just very disheartening. It makes it is hard to wake up and want to go to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's important that that people maybe that aren't so affected by it, whether, you know, they don't have a government job or they've never received assistance, they need to see the faces of the people that it is affecting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: I want to share more of those stories with you. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is there in Washington, D.C. where this renowned chef has opened his pop-up kitchen just to feed these furloughed workers. Susan, what are you hearing?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, I mean it is the celebrity chef, Jose Andres, who -- he does this around the world. And usually you see him in Puerto Rico or Haiti or Guatemala really coming to the rescue here. But now he's in D.C., he's been based in D.C. He has kids that go to school in suburban Maryland. He really feels and understands what it's like here to be amongst many of the federal workers, a high concentration here. I had a chance to talk to all of them.

We're actually, Brooke, in a kitchen, it's an emergency kitchen that was opened. It opened at 11:00 this morning. There were long lines outside around lunchtime. It since died down a little bit. It'll be open until 6:00. And this is for families. The one thing that the celebrity chef said -- Andres -- was that there should be no family, federal workers, who have to worry about feeding their own children. So you show up with the federal ID, you come here, you get a hot meal. A sandwich, a cup of coffee, some soup, you can take it to go. The chef's turnaround from day day-to-day as well as the menu and many of the people behind here you see in the kitchen are actually federal workers. They are employees who want to make a difference for each other.

Had a chance to talk to many of them earlier today. A mother whose child has private school, a six-year-old, who just applied and became a substitute teacher, an Uber driver. She was online this morning as well as other who is are very similar stories. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday I took my car to the mechanic and he said, OK, it's going to cost $1,600 to fix it. And I'm saying, OK, now I have to think about it because I don't know whether to put the money in now assuming that the paycheck is going to start coming next week or wait for a few months. So some way you have to draw the line and start cutting back. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried to keep a positive, you know, this

realistic, that this will end soon. That's what I'm trying to do. You know, just keep my mind like, this will end any day, any moment. So trying to stay positive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And, Brooke, that was really the overwhelming sentiment. You saw that line. The diversity really incredible. A mosaic, if you will, of this country, of the federal employees, the people who work here who are just simply trying to support their families. I would say most people did not want to go on camera. Were a little embarrassed about being in that line. But the people that we did talk to very much just saying, look, we have to make ends meet. We'll do anything and we'll just start here with a hot meal -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: I don't blame them one bit. My goodness, 26 days. Suzanne, thank you. And Chef Andre is at it again. Helping people in need.

MALVEAUX: 4000 meals here.

BALDWIN: Amazing. Thank you.

Coming up next, a stunning accusation in the trial of notorious cartel leader El Chapo. His former right-hand man alleging that even the former Mexican President was taking bribes to the tune of $100 million. Hear how the former President Enrique Pena Nieto is responding.

[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Some just stunning testimony out of this Brooklyn courtroom where former cartel leader El Chapo is on trial. His former right- hand man testifying that the drug kingpin once paid a $100 million bribe to the former President of Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto. Pena Nieto's former chief of staff is calling the allegations false, defamatory and absurd. Let's go straight to CNN Espanol correspondent, Maria Santana. She's been in this courtroom from the very beginning. And so, Maria, have we heard anything directly from former President Pena Nieto?

MARIA SANTANA, CNN E CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, while the former President has himself denied ever taking any bribes from El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel. He has himself yet to respond to this latest jaw dropping allegation by Colombian drug traffickers, Alex Cifuentes. Cifuentes has described him as one of the most trusted men of El Chapo. And he said that on three occasions after his arrest in 2013, he told U.S. government prosecutors that El Chapo had paid $100 million to former Mexican President Pena Nieto. He said that this payment came in October 2012 when Pena Nieto was the President elect of Mexico and that he heard from El Chapo directly. That at the time Pena Nieto directly called El Chapo asking him for money saying that he would let him come out of hiding and continuing trafficking drugs if he did this. Pretty shocking. And of course, former chief of staff of Pena Nieto has denied these allegations -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Maria Santana on the L Chapo trial. Maria, thank you.

Back to one of our top stories this remarkable request from the House Speaker to President Trump. That could mean there will be no State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. We'll take you live to the White House.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just in, a star player for the New York Knicks is a wanted man and now the center of this international feud. The government of Turkey is asking Interpol to arrest and extradite, Knicks center, Enes Kanter. Accused of belonging to a terrorist organization. That is according to Turkish state news. The player has been a critic of President Erdogan. But Kanter says he's done nothing wrong. Adding on Twitter, and I quote, the only thing I terrorize is the rim.

There you have it. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much for being with me here today. Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.