Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Pelosi To Trump: No State Of The Union Speech During Shutdown; NYT: Trump Called Reporter, Argued Putin Didn't Interfere In Election; Interview with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 16, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: Out front next, Pelosi versus Trump. The House Speaker upping the anti and her shutdown battle with President Trump. Has Trump finally met his match?

Plus Trump reportedly calls journalists to argue Russia has been falsely accused of election interference. The call from Air Force One on the way back from a meeting with Putin himself. Is Trump doing Putin's bidding?

And the draft Beto O'Rourke movement gurgling louder tonight. So why is he talking tonight about being in a funk? His word. Let's go out front.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, Pelosi's big power play. The House Speaker firing the latest shot against Trump in their face-off on the wall. Pelosi telling Trump to delay his State of the Union Address or just submit it in writing. You don't get all of the cameras that he wants. That is, if the government shutdown continues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: This requires hundreds of people working on the logistics and the security of it. Most of those people are either furloughed or victims of the shutdown, the President's shutdown. But that isn't the point. The point is security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. Well, the President hasn't formally responded, but his Secretary of Homeland Security, right, Kirstjen Nielsen responded for him tweeting, "The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union." But the Democratic Senate Leader, Chuck Schumer, you know, the other half of Chuck and Nancy, says it's quite simple. If there is a shutdown, there is no speech for President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Secretary of Homeland Security says that her agency, and specifically the Secret Service, is prepared to handle the State of the Union. So do you think that it should go forward as planned?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: Well, what is the State of the Union? The government is closed because of President Trump. If it continues to be closed on the 29th, I think it's a good idea to delay it until the government is open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: As for the President, he's trying to counter strike. He tried to pick off Democrats underneath Pelosi's nose today inviting the group of them to the White House, just seen as moderates. At least seven House Democrats on the list and they went to meet with the President.

Before they even got there, they thumbed their nose at him slamming President Trump, standing by their speaker releasing a statement saying the government must be reopened before any negotiations with Trump can begin which as we all know has been their point of view. The Democratic, Nancy Pelosi's point of view since the beginning. And Trump has said I'm not reopening it until I get my 5.6 billion for my wall.

And to add insult to injury, well the President failed to turn the Democrats against Pelosi. Some Republicans seem to be turning on the President. Republican Senator Susan Collins saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I am sympathetic to strengthening our security at the border, but shutting down government is not the way to achieve that goal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Collins, along with fellow Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Rob Portman are part of a bipartisan group circulating a letter to urge the President to reopen the government while border negotiations continue, right? The Democratic view. Two sources telling CNN today White House officials privately doing everything they can lobbying senators not to sign this letter, and for his part the President is not budging trying to fund raise today off of the fact that he hasn't moved a millimeter citing CNN's reporting, in fact.

Republican Senator John Kennedy said he spoke to the President for two hours this week about the shutdown. His take away is that the President is dug in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: He's a carnivore and on this one I can tell you, he's -- he believes he's right. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Carnivore. Well, carnivore's like blood, the other guy's blood. And as the President wrote in his book, "Art of the Deal", "The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood and then you're dead." For Trump reopening the government is a desperate move.

Kaitlan Collins is out front at the White House. And Kaitlan, hours since Pelosi made that threat about the State of the Union and still no direct response from President Trump.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: None. And that's pretty unusual especially from this White House. But, Erin, we were told by sources who debriefed us on the President's meeting with that group of bipartisan lawmakers that you referenced, that the President didn't even bring it up during that lunch either. But this letter from Pelosi does put pressure on the White House, of course, because as we reported, this White House speech writer has been working on what the President is going to say at the State of the Union for weeks now. And they were even prepared to craft it around the government shutdown if it's still going on then.

Now, of course, the President can still give a speech that night if he wants to, but if Nancy Pelosi doesn't introduce this resolution and it doesn't pass the House and the Senate, then the President will not be addressing the body of Congress. That still something is not for debate here, but we're on day 26 of the deadlock of the shutdown right now. And no progress has been made. And, you know, the President signed a bill today behind closed doors, not in front of the cameras that would pay back those furloughed federal workers their back pay. When the government does reopen, Erin, it's still pretty unclear when that's going to be.

[19:05:10] BURNETT: Yes. I mean, certainly it doesn't seem like anybody has moved a millimeter. And they're proudly ensconced in their quarters.

All right, Kaitlan, thank you very much, live from the White House. It is uncharacteristic, obviously, his silence. Makes you wonder what he's thinking.

Out front now, Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas, member of Congress with a largest stretch of border in his district. So, Congressman, great to have you back with me. I appreciate it. So, I guess the bottom line here, should the President agree to reopen the government and then negotiate or not?

REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: Look, I think having a shutdown and negotiating on the backs of almost 1 million employees who are working hard to keep this, you know, keep this government operating shouldn't happen, right? I think this is a conversation that should have happen months ago.

And honestly, I think this solution can be done pretty quickly of having a solution on strong border security, address immigration, deal with root causes in Central America and open up the government and make sure these employees get back pay. That can actually be done I think fairly quickly. It's going to require folks to get out of their in trench positions and recognize that there is a lot of second and third order effects that is happening because of the shutdown that I think were unexpected.

BURNETT: So, you know, you've been very clear. You're against the wall. And you've got standing to have a point of view, unlike a lot of people. You've got the longest stretch of border in the country in your district, right? So, you live it and your point of view is we don't need the wall. Why don't you think the -- or why do you think the President is so dug in on this? He proudly will not move a millimeter and his fundraising today off of that.

HURD: Well, I think he made it clear that this was a promise, a campaign promise that he made and he feels like he is making, you know, following through on a campaign promise. Ultimately, building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive -- the least effective way to do border security. There are some area of the border where a barrier make sense.

But the only way we're going to solve this problem -- and, look, we don't have operational control of our borders 2019. You don't know everything that's coming back and forth across the border. The only way we do that is by looking at all 2,000 miles of border at the same time. And the only way you can do that is with technology and manpower.

And ultimately I think, you know, there was the Security Fence Act. A lot of people talk about that.

BURNETT: Yes.

HURD: But we're still operating with that and within the wall. We can work within the confines to the Security Fence Act. We can take some of the smart wall ideas out of the USA Act. We can streamline immigration around DACA and TPS and then double down on our ports of entry where --

BURNETT: Yes.

HURD: -- you know, most of the drugs that are coming in this country are coming from. We can do all that and reopen the government and get on with our work.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, you know, you give such sound ideas here. When you mention one thing though, Congressman, you say technology. And the President was asked about that recently. I want to play for you exactly what he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can have all the technology in the world. I'm a professional in technology. But if you don't have a steel barrier or a wall of some kind, strong, powerful, you're going to have human trafficking, you're going to have drugs pouring across the border, you're going to have MS-13 and the gangs coming in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And he also one time, you know, make the drones motion over his head and he said he knows more about drones and drone technology than anyone else. I mean, what's your response? He said he's the professional in technology.

HURD: Well, the response is that you have to have people there to apprehend, right? In some areas, border patrol's response time is measured in hours to days. A physical barrier -- a wall is actually not a physical barrier in that case. So you need to make sure you have the technology to track and then be able to deploy the most important resource we have, the men and women in the border patrol to make sure that they're able to stop the threat that's coming in.

That's the complete picture that we need along our border. And every mile of border is different than the other and we should have a mile by mile assessment.

BURNETT: Why do you think he doesn't listen when you sit here and say these things and instead he said, you know, he knows more than anyone else about the issue?

HURD: You've got to ask him that question. Ultimately, you know, I spend a lot of time down on the border. There's a reason -- there's only a handful of people the border patrol has actually endorsed. The President if one of them. On the other, Senator McSally was the third in recent election.

I spent my -- almost my entire adult life chasing bad guys and to cover office around the CIA. This is something that I've committed most of my adult life to I spent almost my entire adult life to dealing with and having almost half of the border between the U.S. and Mexico. This is something that people and I see people living with every single day.

[19:10:06] BURNETT: Now, the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, she said the President let her today. Congressman, of course, you're aware of it, right? Says delay your State of the Union or give it in writing instead. You know, if the government shut down and, you know, she's sighting security concerns specifically. You know, should the President stick with the plan to go the Capitol on January 29th and deliver the speech no matter what?

HURD: Well, I think technically you're supposed to be invited. Ultimately I think this whole scenario is an example of how there's such a lack of trust between the people negotiating this deal and with this kind of lack of trust, you're not going to be able to negotiate and find a solution for the American people. We need to stop thinking about what is a Republican solution or what is a Democrat solution. What is good for the American people. And I think this recent, you know, problem is an example of that lack of trust.

We should be talking -- now we had a number of U.S. military killed last night from an ISIS attack. We still have people and drugs coming across the border. We have, you know, this impact that this shutdown is having on our economy. We have the people that are defending our digital infrastructure. We only have about 60 percent of people in DHS that are dealing with that with the threats happening all the time. These are the things that we should be focusing on.

BURNETT: All right. And I thank you very much, Congressman Hurd. Good to have you with us.

HURD: Erin, it's always a pleasure to be with you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, "The New York Times" reports Trump called one of its reporters, picked up the phone call and say -- and to defend Vladimir Putin personally from accusations of election meddling. We're going to tell you the details there.

Plus four Americans killed in Syria. ISIS claiming a credit (ph). You know, the congressman talk about this. Did anyone tell the Vice President before he said this this morning?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And growing security concerns at America's reports. TSA reporting skyrocketing callouts due to the shutdown.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:35] BURNETT: New tonight, Trump defending Putin, this after two meetings between the two leaders. One of them lasting more than two hours. "The New York Times" reporting that Trump called a "New York Times" reporter from Air Force One, so think about that for a second.

The President of the United States is on Air Force One, picks up the phone and calls "The New York Times" which he ostensibly hates and he does this call after the meetings in Hamburg. And he argues Vladimir Putin's case directly. Telling that reporter that Putin was falsely accused of election interference. Making the case to "The New York Times" reporter, that Putin is innocent.

The "Times" report comes as the man in charge of the Senate's investigation into Russia and Trump says he is not asking for notes from interpreters who were in any of the five face-to-face Trump/Putin meetings we know of. Chairman Richard Burr telling our Manu Raju, point blank no, he isn't asking for the notes, more in that a moment. So, will Mueller have them these crucial notes are not or any information exactly what was said at the other face-to-face meetings between Trump and Putin, including one where Trump was literally the only American present, right? It was only Putin, Putin's interpreter and Trump.

Sara Murray is out front. And Sara, this new information from the "New York Times" right, that the President gets on Air Force One calls the "New York Times", makes Putin's case directly after meeting with Putin? He said no (ph).

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I know. I think that it confirms a lot of people's worst suspicions. Look, we've seen President Trump out there, you know, cast doubt on the idea that Russia actually meddled, but the fact that he would, you know, parrot Putin's line to a reporter is a totally different level of buy-in. So, I think, you know, that's one concern.

The second is what exactly happened in these meetings? We don't have a clear indication of that. And what I've learned from covering the Mueller investigation event, really no fraction of what Robert Mueller knows. So, it certainly impossible he knows a lot more than what the American public does, about what went on in those meetings. But I think we have to remember what Robert Mueller was tasked with at the beginning of this investigation, which was to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether there was any collusion between, you know, members of President Donald Trump's orbit, member of his campaign at the time with Russian officials.

And I think once we get those results, it kind of is in the hands of Congress. You know, if Mueller comes back with something to suggest that there is a reason that now President Trump is so sympathetic to Vladimir Putin, is so likely to buy into his version of events, then it's really up to Congress to decide what they want to do with that. And, you know, that could certainly be a very uncomfortable position for his Republican majority in the Senate to be in and obviously we'll see how Democrats in Congress handle that if we ever see the findings of this Mueller report, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, which of course is a big question now that, you know, likely incoming Attorney General William Barr is saying that he doesn't know how much he'll put out there. It will be very consistent with the law. So very unclear, we would see. And how that would happen. All right Sara Murray, thank you very much.

I want to go now to the Former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama, Juliette Kayyem. And Author of the "Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror", Garrett Graff.

All right Garrett, on this issue of the notes, as Sara said, we do not know what Mueller knows. I mean, one need only look at 189 pages yesterday in the Manafort filing to see all the stuff in black that's redacted to see how little we know even in that slice of this, but you say you have virtually no doubt that Mueller does know what happened in these Trump/Putin meetings. Why?

GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR, "INSIDE ROBERT MUELLER'S FBI AND THE WAR ON GLOBAL TERROR": Well, we were -- and Sara sort of touched on this bleakly. But, you know, Bob Mueller has an enormous amount of access to classified intelligence, not just from our own U.S. intelligence agencies but foreign intelligence partners through the five Is, intelligence sharing, alliance, the five English speaking countries Australian, New Zealand, U.K., Canada and the United States. And as well as presumably German and Dutch intelligence which has been great partners throughout this entire Russia probe as well.

And so, you know, Mueller probably had some access to information from the Russian side about what has transpired in some of these conversations. And certainly any time you have two heads of state talking together, you know, that's a conversation that's going to be targeted by any number of foreign intelligence agencies.

BURNETT: Right. I mean Julia, obviously, I know that you're saying you understand why that the chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the Senate might not ask for it, because he doesn't want to set a precedent, rather the President is not be able to have these sorts of private conversations. But it would be crucial, wouldn't it, for Bob Mueller to know what happened, I mean, to the best of his knowledge, to know what the interpreter says occurred, you know, if the President is going to leave one of those meetings and call the "New York Times" and say hey, Putin is telling the truth let me tell you why.

[19:20:09] JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT UNDER OBAMA: Right. So -- and, you know, Burr is -- Senator Burr is complicated. He's really tried to keep his head down from all of the politics going on and we really do have to commend him on this.

BURNETT: Yes.

KAYYEM: Him and Senator Warner have had a united front. And so his statement today did seem sort of unfortunate. And I think it's the best take on it. But taking a step back, my sense would be that the senator does not want to have a constitutional crisis with the White House over what the meaning of executive privilege is. And he's probably more than happy to have Mueller do that. And that's fine. I mean, there's a lane for the Senate to investigate the election, which is what they're doing. Mueller has a bigger mandate, which we've now seen, which is a counterintelligence and a criminal mandate.

And so I wouldn't make too much of what Burr said even though I think it was really sort of unfortunate because he really shouldn't be making those legal conclusions.

BURNETT: You know, it's -- but, obviously, it is important someone know. In fact, to my point, we don't know what Mueller knows. But God knows if the Senate is not asking for it, we hope the Mueller has it. I mean, Garrett -- you say --

KAYYEM: Yes.

BURNETT: -- right now, there are only two scenarios left in the Mueller probe, you wrote an op-ed today. And you said either Trump goes down in history as "the world's most famous useful idiot or that he is, in fact, a Russian agent".

GRAFF: Yes. And I said that at this point given what we know, it'll almost be more embarrassing for the president if it turns out that he's not a Russian agent because simply then what we're left with is a scenario where the president has so compromised our alliances, our democratic institutions, basically to satiate his own personal insecurities and ego.

BURNETT: Juliette, which do you -- do you agree with the analysis?

KAYYEM: Oh, yes. I've been of the school that President Trump knows exactly what he's doing at all times. I have never bought the bumbling fool presidency. And I think the proof is in sort of what Sara was reporting. Look, it's not just that Trump called the "New York Times" reporter with the Russian talking points, what else is he doing on that flight? He is drafting the excuse for his son about the meeting on Trump Tower.

Now, I am done believing in coincidences at this stage. There are too many things around that first July meeting, 2017 meeting between Putin and Trump to have any other understanding that the cover up becomes an issue -- becomes part of the conspiracy. In other words, they discuss what to say about that Trump Tower meeting. And if there is anyone who would have been -- I mean, I guess put it this way, Trump knows everyone believes that he's a Russian asset so why are you throwing away notes? Why are you not bringing your team in? If you have self- preservation, you're going to be open about it with your team.

BURNETT: Right.

KAYYEM: His lack of self-preservation makes it -- you know, makes it seem that there is something much bigger than -- that he's just a sort of bad politician.

BURNETT: I mean, and Garrett, just to be clear, right, not only does he not want anyone to know what happens in those meetings, right? He had one of them without anyone present who is an American citizen, right? It was Putin, Putin interpreter and Trump.

But in another, he wanted -- he asked for those interpreter's notes to be confiscated even from members of his own administration, right? I mean, we're not even talking about public release of this. He also told the "New York Times", when he was making the case, right, for why Putin couldn't possibly have done this, he said Putin also told him, "If we did, we wouldn't have gotten caught because we're professionals." The "Times" write, Mr. Trump said, I thought that was a good point because they are some of the best in the world at hacking. Garrett.

GRAFF: Well -- and Juliette understands this from her time in government. You know, the reason that two heads of state have a conversation is to try to push forward policy goals, and the reason that you then report out to your own government what was said in that conversation is for the follow up, to try to push forward those policy goals.

What we have right now is an incredibly bizarre scenario where the president is having these lengthy conversations with the leader of Russia and there appears to be no purpose to them inside the U.S. government. There's no follow up. There's no policy coming out of them. There's no further action taken by any other part of the U.S. government because no one knows what he's saying. And that's just an incredibly insane -- an incredibly strange decision at this point. KAYYEM: Can --

BURNETT: All right, yes, go ahead, Juliette, just one more, yes.

KAYYEM: Can I just have one more thing why you do that? Yes, just quickly, is that you have these memcoms, these memorandums of conversation because you want to also, just picking up on here, you want to protect the integrity of the United States' interests, period. That is why you're doing it because even your allies are going to have interests that are different than your own. So if you think about it as the purpose of having other people in the room is to protect the integrity of our interests, Donald Trump failed to do that.

[19:25:07] So, there's a lot of reasons why you want other people in the room. But, that's essentially the core reason, the U.S. interest, and Trump has ignored it in all five meetings with Putin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, both of you.

And next, ISIS claiming responsibility for a brutal attack in Syria. Four Americans killed. Does Trump still believe that ISIS has been defeated?

And rising star, Beto O'Rourke, being urged to run for president. Does he have the chops?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is he ready to be president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, four Americans killed in an attack in Syria. ISIS claiming responsibility. The Pentagon has identified them as two U.S. service members, a defense contractor and a Department of Defense civilian.

This next video, I warn you, is graphic. It is the moment that we understand is the explosion. It's a busy market street. Suddenly, that blast. A massive fireball. You can see how crowded it was. That horrific scene. And yet, more than three hours after that deadly attack happened, the Vice President, Mike Pence, said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: We are bringing our troops home. The caliphate has crumbled and is has been defeated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Pence made no mention of the attack in that speech. Again, an attack that had happened more than three hours before, an attack that the coalition against ISIS which is run against the United States tweeted out to the public about an hour before, saying U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today.

Pence, of course, was focused on echoing the words of his boss. Remember, President Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops out of Syria because of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have won against ISI. We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.

And, Jim, does this attack fly in the face of what the president and the vice president have both been saying in such direct word echoes?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, the president and White House, they're creating their own false reality here. And the starkest rebuttal to that is four dead Americans today.

But we already knew that based on the Pentagon's own assessment. Late last year, the Pentagon said 20,000 to 30,000 ISIS fighters still present in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon's own assessment said it would take years to defeat them, again, contradicting the president. Those are the hard numbers there.

And this president doesn't have to look far back for previous presidents who made the same mistake and were proven wrong. George W. Bush on mission accomplish carrier, following the Iraq invasion, or Barack Obama when he pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq, helping spawned the resurgence of ISIS, something that this president himself criticized. So, it just flies in the face of reality and it's unbelievable to find the vice president repeating that, claimed even as Americans were dying.

The final thing I will say, Erin, is it puts deployed U.S. forces in really an impossible position now, because they're continuing this fight when their own allies on the ground can't trust them because they know they're leaving. And when their adversaries smell blood and are already looking to take over the territory that the U.S. has fought for, it's really an impossible position for those deployed forces to telegraph in effect their departure before they're leaving. So, it puts them in a tougher position.

BURNETT: Of course, the president said he would never telegraph but he has done so in this case.

Jim, thank you.

SCIUTTO: Thanks.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia who sits on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee. And, Senator, thanks for your time tonight.

Your colleague, Senator Graham, said the president's comments on Syria emboldened ISIS, your Republican colleague. The president of Turkey said the attack is related to Trump's decision to pull out American troops. Are they right?

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: You know, Erin, when the American troops are killed in action, and I've got a kid in the Marine Corps, my first thought isn't about, you know, can I pin it on a public official? It's just, I feel grief for these family members, what a horrible thing, that's my first thought.

But I think what's really clear in this though is that any claim that ISIS is defeated is just wrong. ISIS is not defeated. Their space on the battlefield has shrunk, but they still intent to do us harm and that's something that we have to keep at the front of the mind. It also needs to inform our decisions about the timing of things like withdrawal.

BURNETT: Senator, the vice president this morning very clearly said, ISIS has been defeated. The caliphate has crumbled and our troops are coming home.

When it comes to Vice President Pence this morning, do you think he did not know about the Americans dying in Syria, even though the attack had happened hours before and had been announced publicly?

KAINE: I have no way of knowing what he knew. I'll go to the content of the statement, which was also what the president said, ISIS is defeated. When the president tweeted that out, we knew at the moment he tweeted it out that he was wrong, in our military leadership.

I'm on the Armed Services Committee, so we get briefings from the military all the time. I'm on the Foreign Relations Committee, we get briefings from our diplomats all the time about the situation in Syria. It's good that the ISIS battlefield space has shrunk, but to suggest that they're defeated, it's just -- it's inaccurate.

BURNETT: House Speaker Pelosi today says that President Trump should not come to the Capitol Hill for the State of the Union during the shutdown, Senator. And she says that's because the Secret Service, which will be in charge of security, hasn't been funded for 26 days.

Is anyone's security in jeopardy?

KAINE: Well, look, I think it would be very, very odd, very, very odd to be having a State of the Union speech when big chunks of the government are shutdown, 800,000 plus people aren't getting paid and millions of Americans are without critical services.

[19:35:05] My goal, though, Erin, on the shutdown is to get the government reopened. I hope we can get it reopened so on the State of the Union day, this will be a non-issue and that's where I'm focusing my attention.

BURNETT: We are on the day 26 of the shutdown, though, Senator. I mean, it doesn't seem like there's been anybody budging on either side. The president fundraising off his position, right? And Nancy Pelosi not moving off of hers.

You don't want the Senate to recess until the government is open? Are we days away or could it be longer?

KAINE: Yes, look, I will say about Speaker Pelosi, the House has acted. It's not that they're refusing to budge, they acted and passed a bipartisan spending bill to the Senate. Now, it's the Senate. It's on the Senate.

The Senate has previously passed these bills less than a month ago, and so, what I've done, as you point out, as I have objected to adjourning for the recess. And I'm saying, we shouldn't go away until these are vote on these bipartisan bills that are sitting on the Senate desk right now. That doesn't make me the most popular guy in the Capitol when you object to an adjournment that peple want to take, you're not popular.

But with so many people hurting, it infuriates me that my colleagues are unwilling to go on the record and vote yes or no to government funding to sort of hiding behind Mitch McConnell, protecting them, that they should go on the record and vote yes or no on the funding bills that they voted yes to less than a month ago.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator Kaine. I appreciate your time tonight.

KAINE: Absolutely.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, voters in Iowa pushing Beto -- Beto O'Rourke to run. But is the man who lost to Ted Cruz really ready for a White House run? Wait until you see those close to him have to say.

And major concerns about the impact of the shutdown on air safety. TSA agents calling out of work in droves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say it is less safe today than it is a month ago. Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:40:34] BURNETT: New tonight, the draft Beto movement growing louder. You can see there, live pictures just outside of Iowa. Beto O'Rourke supporters urging him to run. Run, Beto, run.

But O'Rourke's been out of a job since January 2nd, writing publicly today about being, quote, in and out of a funk. Is this man ready for a White House race?

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Beto O'Rourke is running for president, he's not saying so yet. He's also not saying what he would do as president.

That's hardly stopping a frenzy among Democrats searching for a candidate to believe in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Run, Beto, run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Run, Beto, run.

ZELENY: But will the former Texas congressman heeds the passionate call of those three words featured in a new draft Beto video today is feeling one of the biggest questions of the 2020 presidential primary.

O'Rourke is popping up everywhere these days, embarking on unannounced road trip, airing his own uncertainties along the way. Today from Kansas he posted, have been stuck lately. In and out of a funk. He added the journey might clear my head, reset, I'll think new thoughts, break out of the loop I've been stuck in.

He's trying to create his own narrative, one viral video at the time, making the border and immigration a centerpiece of a potential candidacy. If he jumps into the race, a decision his friends say he'll be likely to run in unconventional way, as he did this time walking to the border.

BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: We're going to take you to the rec center and then right after show you where the border is.

ZELENY (on camera): Here in El Paso, O'Rourke is selling his authenticity in his own backyard. But all of those social media videos don't answer an essential question. Is he ready to be president?

(voice-over): He's blasted Trump's border wall through a video seen more than 5 million times.

When asked by "The Washington Post" this week about what should be done for those who overstay their visas, he said, I don't know.

Steve Ortega served with O'Rourke in the El Paso City Council. He said his friend is flattered by calls for him to run.

(on camera): Why is he ready to be president?

STEVE ORTEGA, FRIEND OF BETO O'ROURKE: I'm not sure he is, and I think that's why he's still deciding what he wants to do. He's going to have to justify himself if he thinks the best person for the job and that's a very deliberate process he's probably going through right now.

ZELENY (voice-over): The Draft Beto Movement feels more like a campaign in the waiting, with O'Rourke's national appeal surprising others like Howard Campbell, a friend who teaches at the University of Texas, El Paso.

HOWARD CAMPBELL, PROFESSOR AT UTEP: I think he has the charm. He has the talent. He has the ego. He has the appeal. Beto is a four- letter word. It resonates very nicely.

ZELENY: Should he run, questions about his experience will be front and center, and they were 12 years ago for this freshman senator from Illinois, who at the time was one year younger than O'Rourke. O'Rourke and Obama met privately last year.

While the former president isn't backing any candidate in the 2020 race, he says he admired the O'Rourke Senate campaign, despite losing by three points to Ted Cruz.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: It didn't feel constantly poll- tested. It felt as if he based his statements and his position on what he believed.

ZELENY: The 46-year-old O'Rourke has become a familiar player on the Texas stage, even appearing alongside Willie Nelson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Beto.

ZELENY: If he steps onto the presidential campaign, that campaign will provide the toughest test yet for how far his star can rise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: Tonight, O'Rourke is on the road but it's not entirely clear if that will lead him into the 2020 race. Friends here we talked to today said he's surprised and flattered that he's even being talked about in this way, but he'll only make the decision to run if he believes he's the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump.

But, Erin, if he does that, he must first do something else. Convince Democratic primary voters he's ready to be president -- Erin.

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

I want to go to Mark Preston, our senior political analyst.

So, Mark, look, the fervor of others wanting him to be run is real. I mean, there are plenty of people who know he does. But, you know, you heard what he said, in and out of a funk now. Trying to decide what he can do. Can he deliver?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, a couple of things, can he deliver and win the Democratic nomination? I absolutely think he can. But I do think if he does that, if he were to become the Democratic nominee, then most certainly his running mate would have to be a woman.

Having said, you can see the scenario flipped. Basically what I'm saying is, is that Beto O'Rourke has captured the hearts of Democrats right now and he's captured the hearts of many Democrats. [19:45:04] And I do think that he's somebody that young people are looking at, not necessarily somebody who has all the answers, Erin, but somebody they see as a vessel for their beliefs for the next generation.

BURNETT: So, you know, Jeff there at the end alluded to the similarities between O'Rourke and Obama, right? Age, green (ph), although Obama less green than Beto. He had a job when he was running. Beto's point is he's out of the job technically, right?

What do you make of the comparisons? Are people trying too hard or not?

PRESTON: I think so. You know, in many ways, we all deal with it. It's an easy comparison. Look, you go back to John F. Kennedy and say, who's going to be the next John F. Kennedy and then Barack Obama came along. And he's had that Camelot captured, that Camelot spirit.

I think people are looking at that way with Beto O'Rourke. I don't think that's fair to Barack Obama who broke history, you know, made history, nor is it fair to Beto O'Rourke, who's a different type of candidate than Barack Obama.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Mark Preston. So much more to come on that.

And next, is the shutdown affecting America's security? Flight attendance, air traffic controllers tonight say yes, it is. It is less safe.

And Jeanne Moos on comedians taking on one of President Trump's pet projects.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The space force, the space force.

Space force.

Space force.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:01] BURNETT: Tonight $5,000, that's how much "The New York Times" is estimating the average furloughed worker has missed in pay since the shutdown began. And there's no end in sight tonight.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The shutdown impact is spreading, sparking protests from thousands of airport workers across the country who are going without pay. And there is also growing security concern for air travelers. The TSA is reporting skyrocketing absences, 6.1 percent yesterday compared with 3.7 percent the same day last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, I'm mostly concerned about security. After September 11th, the flight attendants cannot be expected to be the first point of security every day.

LAVANDERA: The air traffic controllers union is worried about unpaid overworked employees staffing control towers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say it is less safe today than a month ago. We do not have the professionals on the job.

LAVANDERA: But the effects could be even more widespread. CNN has learned an estimated 2 million contractors could be losing their paychecks as well. And they would not be eligible for government back pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be no back pay for this. This is unpaid time off for me.

LAVANDERA: In Washington, celebrity chef Jose Andres' foundation is feeding some of the unpaid federal employees who are turning to charities for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't have any money going almost two pays not having any money, so why not take advantage of getting a free meal?

LAVANDERA: And then there's the coast guard, the first branch of the military to miss a paycheck during a shutdown. Every American will feel the economic impact now projected by the White House to be worse than expected. Some analysts estimate a $1.2 billion loss each of the first three weeks the government was closed. And if it continues, growth could slow to zero.

As the shutdown stretches on, more people are being called back to work without pay. The IRS is recalling over half of its staff totaling 46,000 workers to process tax returns. Even the FDA is running low on funding, potentially delaying new drug manufacturing and, therefore, treatment for patients. Public health and environmental cleanup is threatened as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sites are not being cleaned up. Inspections are not being conducted. Permits are not being issued. We're not outreaching to the community. We're not processing grants for contracts. So it has a spillover effect.

LAVANDERA: In the meantime, some workers say they're looking for new jobs in the private sector and hoping for some compromise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't understand why we as government workers are being penalized for a wall that we have nothing to do with.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: And, Ed, the workers have already missed one paycheck, but you're talking about at least three full weeks of pay they didn't get, an entire paycheck and a half. What are they telling you is their biggest worry now?

LAVANDERA: Well, now they say it is because of that lack of money and, quite frankly, the uncertainty of what is going to happen and how long they're going to be without a paycheck. They say that's one of the reasons you're seeing the high number of callouts, TSA agents, for example, not coming to work. They say those are financial reasons, some don't have money to put gas in their car to be able to get to work and those sorts of issues.

It is the uncertainty for how long they have to prepare for all of this which they say is really starting to take a toll. They're not sure if they're going to miss one more paycheck or three or four paychecks, Erin.

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

And next, Jeanne Moos on how comedian Steve Carell will be the first if fictional commander of President Trump's space force.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:50] BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's space force is getting a show, it's just not produced by President Trump.

Here's Jeanne.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can tell President Trump likes the ring of it.

TRUMP: The space force, the space force. Space force.

MOOS: His supporters like chanting it.

AUDIENCE: Space force, space force --

TRUMP: Space force.

MOOS: But even though the real space force --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ignition, liftoff.

MOOS: -- has barely gotten off the ground, already a comedy series is launching to make fun of it. As if president Trump hasn't already been sufficiently mocked about the sixth branch of the armed forces, here comes Steve Carell.

He and the developer of the U.S. version of "The Office" are teaming up with Netflix to tell the story of the men and women who have to figure out how to create space force. Fans were stoked, though this sounds like a blast. Carell's previous experience in space -- STEVE CARELL, COMEDIAN: Mother of god --

MOOS: -- was as commander of the space station in an "SNL" skit, an air log blew in the bio lab that housed the monkey experiment.

CARELL: She is cold. Wave hello, everyone.

MOOS: Sadly, it sounds like the show space force will take place mostly on earth.

You know what's really out of this world? Steve Carell's reported salary, likely to be over a million per episode of "Space Force" according to "The Hollywood Reporter".

Carell has imitated Trump in "The Office" --

CARELL: You're fired. You're fired. He just makes people sad and an office can't function that way.

MOOS: Up on the space station, things weren't functioning so well.

CARELL: Look at that beautiful marvel. Isn't that spectacular? Oh my god!

MOOS: Real professionals will be building a space force at the same time that actors will parody building a space force.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, kids. This is a bad day for kids.

TRUMP: Space force.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

CARELL: She's breaking like a saltine.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MOOS: All right. Thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. Just go to CNN Go.

Anderson is next.