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Feinstein to Barr: If You Want My Vote, Make Mueller Probe Public; Some Republicans Join Democratic-Led Vote to Stop Administration from Easing Sanctions on Russians; Sanders Urged Not to Run as Gillibrand Makes Women's Issues Center of Campaign; Group Launches Video Asking Beto O'Rourke to Run in 2020; Pelosi to Trump: Delay State of the Union During Shutdown. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 16, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That the attorney general's report would be more fulsome?

GEORGE TERWILLIGER, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL & FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: It could be. It's up to him what he wants to put in there. As you see, he committed very forcefully to as much transparency as the law would allow. And that last phrase is important. That's not a dodge. Mr. Mueller is investigating things that apparently, apparently, touch on some national security concerns. And he may well have access to classified information and classified evidence. And I think when Mr. Barr was saying, well, there may be things I can't disclose because the law won't allow me as long as they were classified, he was leaving himself room to make those decisions.

KEILAR: You think they would have to rise to that level before he would decide to redact it?

TERWILLIGER: I don't know. I think -

KEILAR: Because my point being is you don't know. There was a lot of wiggle room I saw there.


KEILAR: I asked but you don't know.

TERWILLIGER: Yes. You're right, I don't know, because I don't know what's going to be in the report. He doesn't know what's going to be in the report. As he said yesterday, he would like to talk to Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Mueller, assuming he's confirmed, about what they may have discussed or agreed upon already. The important thing is I think he made a commitment to that kind of transparency. And I think, frankly, it's kind of the common sense that you would want to, after all this, get as much information out there as you possibly can.

KEILAR: George Terwilliger, thank you very much. We really appreciate your time on the program today.

TERWILLIGER: My pleasure, Brianna. Thank you.

KEILAR: Breaking news from the Senate floor, several Republicans are breaking from the Trump administration. They're joining Democrats to stop the easing of sanctions on some Russians. We'll talk about what just happened.


[13:36:16] KEILAR: This just in to CNN. A key Senate vote has just wrapped up. This was a Democratic-led effort to head off the Trump administration from dropping sanctions on some Russians.

And our Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.

Manu, tell us what happened here.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic-led effort to reimpose sanctions on companies linked to a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is a close ally of Vladimir Putin. His firm had been hit by sanctions by the Treasury Department last year. Since then, he had worked behind the scenes with the Treasury Department to rearrange the structure his shares in the firm. And in December, the Treasury Department decided not to move forward with those sanctions. As a result, Democrats tried to move forward and tried to ensure those sanctions stayed in place and pushed for a vote that just occurred on the Senate floor to try to prevent the Treasury Department from easing those sanctions. In a vote that just happened, it was 57 to 42, meaning they fell three votes shy of the 60 that they needed to break a filibuster and move forward on this effort. And 11 Republicans broke ranks and joined the Democrats, because of their concerns about Deripaska, concerns that he may get wealthier from this deal. But nevertheless, the Trump administration moving behind the scenes to shore up Republican support and try to kill this effort. But still, Brianna, watch for the House Democrats to move on this as soon as tomorrow. This is a symbolic rebuke of what the Trump administration is doing here -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill for that, thank you.

And with the 2020 race under way, there's mounting pressure on Bernie Sanders to avoid another presidential run, as fellow Senator and Democratic candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand, puts gender at the heart of her pitch to voters.

And we're staying on top of stunning request from the House speaker to the president: Either reschedule the State of the Union or deliver it in writing to Congress is the shutdown continues. How will the president respond?


[13:42:55] KEILAR: Well, it's clear which women are going to have a historic effect on the 2020 race. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is jumping into the race saying she feels she's being called to serve.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D), NEW YORK: I believe the urgency of this moment now is we have to take on President Trump and what he is doing. I believe he's literally ripping apart the fabric of this country, the moral fabric. And you've got to restore that decency and our leadership in the world. And so that's why I feel so-called right now to take on that battle.


KEILAR: CNN political director, David Chalian, here with us now.

So Gillibrand actually made her decision public last night on late night. That was her venue. And I wonder, as she makes this pitch, it is very clear she's running as a mom. She's running as a woman. She has picked the role from which she is running in. Is this the moment for that role?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: You are 100 percent correct in your analysis of it, Brianna. I think what Kirsten Gillibrand is pitching to Democratic voters is, I'm the logical extension of 2018. What we went through as a party, Democrat, it was a female-powered election for the House of Representatives and we won 40 seats, and I am the bridge to 2020 for that. I saw a stat today, 60 percent of grassroots Democratic donors were female in the last cycle. Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to tap into the female power.

KEILAR: Let's talk about Bernie Sanders. There's a newspaper in his home state that says, please don't run. Don't run for president again. You'll fracture the Democratic Party. I want to point out, this is the "Burlington Free Press." But it's a paper that endorsed him for the Senate. They wanted him to be Vermont Senator. They say don't run for president.

CHALIAN: And they endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. So they haven't always been for Bernie Sanders.

KEILAR: That's right. So they haven't. But at least they want him to be a guy for the state, for the state level, right? Is there growing pressure on him to stay out of the race or is that a one off?

CHALIAN: You've seen some quotes here and there and stories of past supporters of Bernie Sanders who are questioning now, is this really going to be the same sort of lightning in a bottle? Is he going to capture the magic in a Bernie 2.0? That question lingers over him. He's obviously facing these questions about the 2016 staff who have complained about sexual harassment and pay inequity. He's dealing with that. And he's meeting behind the scenes with folks. And he knows he doesn't have an easy path. But, Brianna, the context is totally different. He doesn't have the one-on-one battle with the establishment behemoth that was Hillary Clinton. He has a very crowded primary field that has a lot of folks joining him on the progressive wing.

[13:45:27] KEILAR: It's going to be insane. It's going to be wild and so huge.

OK, so there's a group right now trying to draft Beto O'Rourke into the race. And he lost the Senate race to Ted Cruz. They're meeting in Iowa tonight. And they've released a video in an effort to get Beto onboard. In an interview -- or let's listen to that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need someone who can lift us up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My support is growing behind Beto to run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have our support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beto, your country needs you.





KEILAR: So in an interview with the "Washington Post" -- I like the homemade nature of that video.


They should all cost 10 cents to make.


KEILAR: That's right. It's pretty cheap, right? Or in the dentist chair, as he did.

CHALIAN: Exactly.

KEILAR: He was interviewed by the "Washington Post," and he was asked how he would handle immigrants who overstay their visas, and he said, I don't know. On withdrawing troops, he said there may be a good reason, but he doesn't necessarily understand. He seemed to be passing on a lot of stuff. The Constitution, he quested whether a 300-year-old document can be used as a guide for today's issues, especially international issues. Is he ready? You have to be able to have something of substance and have formed opinions on these things.

CHALIAN: Yes. That's a question I think Democratic primary voters, should he get into this race, will have to answer, is he ready. Is he ready for prime time? Remember, we've seen that question asked before. Barack Obama in 2007 was getting criticized for many in the Democratic Party for not issuing white papers. He made clear, he wasn't a candidate on white papers. So what you see O'Rourke doing here is trying to preserve as much flexibility as possible, be a blank canvas. But you're right. When you do that and you answer questions that way in a two-hour interview, inevitably that will raise questions in Democratic circles of, does he have what it takes. And only Beto O'Rourke will answer that in future interviews with how he conducts himself.

KEILAR: It's a fine line to walk between being a blank canvas and empty vessel. Not you, collectively, just to be clear. You are a very full vessel, full of very important knowledge.

CHALIAN: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: David Chalian, thank you.

The president has called climate change a hoax, but his A.G. nominee saying the crisis is an eight or nine on a scale of 10. We'll have details on that interesting tidbit ahead.

Plus, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the president to move his State of the Union over the shutdown, I'll speak with a Democrat who was invited to the White House.

And any moment now, British lawmakers will vote on the fate of Theresa May as Brexit hangs in the balance.


[13:52:35] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivering a message to President Trump about his State of the Union speech. She tells him to reschedule the January 29 address or submit his thoughts in writing, submit his report in writing to Congress. Pelosi pointing to security concerns stemming from the government shutdown, now in its 26th day.

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy is a Democrat from Florida. She's co- chair of the moderate House Blue Dog Coalition.

Thank you for being with us.


KEILAR: What do you think of this request from Speaker Pelosi?

MURPHY: Well, the State of the Union is a time when we bring together not just the president but both chambers of Congress. That's the bulk of our government. So it's incredibly important we have the security to ensure the safety of those individuals and the continuity of our government. Unfortunately, in a shutdown, the most important people providing those securities aren't getting paid. So it's important that we focus on reopening the government and -- before we take on any kind of event that brings together all these people without adequate security personnel.

KEILAR: Critics will say it's grandstanding. What do you say to that?

MURPHY: It's all of the Senators and members of the House and the president. We have to ensure the safety and security of those folks and the continuity of government. So I do think that that is a reasonable thing when you cannot pay the people who are supposed to be providing that security. I don't think it's grandstanding.

KEILAR: Let's talk about the shutdown. There's a group of seven Democrats that arrived at the White House for a bipartisan meeting. You were among Democrats invited to a meeting at the White House yesterday, but you declined. Why?

MURPHY: I was invited on short notice to a meeting yesterday at the White House, but I had a conflict with my subcommittee assignments. It's important for me to receive subcommittee assignments so I can serve my district, so I was not able to make it to the White House. But I have been to the White House to speak with the president. And I do believe we need to have bipartisan conversations about how to ensure the best national security and border security. But first, we have to reopen government. Because as a former national security specialist at the Pentagon, I know that when we make national security decisions, it can't be within the context of political brinksmanship.

[13:55:04] KEILAR: Congresswoman, we really appreciate you being with us. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, thank you.

MURPHY: Thank you.

KEILAR: I just want to correct the record on something I said on the program Monday when we were talking about the announcement of Tulsi Gabbard running for president and how controversial parts of her record are going to become an issue on the campaign trail. One of them being her visit to Syria two years ago where she met with Syria Dictator Bashar al Assad when the civil war there was already in full swing. I said she apologized for the visit. She did not apologize. Her office touched base with me after the show to emphasize she's offered no apologies for making that visit, which bipartisan critics said legitimized a ruthless leader who has gassed and dropped barrel bombs on his citizens. She stands by her assertion that finding peace in the region requires being open to sitting down not just with allies. But certainly, this is a visit she's going to have to answer for on the campaign trail. In fact, even before she entered this bright 2020 spotlight, she said President Trump was Saudi Arabia's "B" word, as she put it on Twitter, and there was a lot of critics who said she was hypocritical because she visited with the leader of another oppressive regime. Just setting the record straight on that.

Coming up, the Brexit battle. British Prime Minister Theresa May facing a vote of no-confidence just a short time from now. We are live standing by in London.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

We begin with breaking news out of Syria. American servicemembers killed today in a blast that was carried out by a suicide bomber. ISIS has claimed responsibility.

I want to warn you, the video of the explosion that we're about to show you is graphic.

[14:00:00] But this is the first major attack inside Syria since President Trump shocked the world last month with his plans to withdraw U.S. troops there.