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CNN NEWSROOM

Interview with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); President Trump to Present Missile Defense Review Today at the Pentagon; Ohio Voters Split Over Support for Continued Government Shutdown; President Trump Continues Shutdown Negotiations by Reaching Out to Problem Solvers Caucus; Rudy Giuliani's Collusion Comments. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 17, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Before you go, we saw Steve King reprimanded by everyone except for one member of the House. So you voted to reprimand him as well this week for his racist remarks. And you called it an overwhelmingly bold message.

There was one member of Congress, a fellow Democrat, Representative Bobby Rush, who voted against that because he said, "Look, this doesn't go far enough. This is not a censure. We need to say more on these racist remarks." He said it was not worth the paper it was written on.

I wonder, Congresswoman, what do you think? Do you think that Representative Steve King should be censured?

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D), MINNESOTA: Yes. I think it's really important in a moment -- in a time in our nation's history where racism and bigotry is rampant, that we take a bold stance.

I am one that is for restoration and one that believes in restorative measures. And I hope, now that we -- that wasn't followed through with, that this serves as an opportunity for the congressman to make amends and move away from the hateful speech that he has partaken in.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Congressman Ilhan Omar, thanks very much and congratulations on your election to Congress.

HARLOW: Thank you.

OMAR: Thank you for having me.

SCIUTTO: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:36:13] SCIUTTO: In moments, President Trump will head to the Pentagon. Sources tell CNN that the president is expected to unveil his administration's long-awaited Missile Defense Review.

HARLOW: This is the president's first visit to the Pentagon since announcing that U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria about a month ago. Our Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne is following the latest. Look, we're going to get to Syria in just a moment. It is critical

right now. What are we expecting today from the president's trip, Ryan? What's the purpose of this? What will happen?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Poppy, we're expected to hear from the president about his Missile Defense Review, his administration's policy with regards to missile defense.

This is something that he actually ordered his first month in office. It's been long-delayed. We're expecting the report to look at things like basing sensors out in space, satellites to help detect new missile technologies being developed by countries like Russia and China, hypersonic missiles, very fast cruise missiles.

But again, this is -- it's a policy review that's been some time coming. We expect the president to go into some detail in it. But, again, this has been long -- kind of a long process, and we don't know exactly how much detail the president will say.

Again, his first trip to the Pentagon since ousting his first secretary of defense, James Mattis. So he may wade into other issues. It's definitely something we're going to be looking for.

SCIUTTO: This is, of course, a day after four Americans were killed in Syria. The president himself has not made a statement about this specifically.

To your reporting, has this attack changed in any way or slowed the administration's plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria?

BROWNE: Well, Jim, we're hearing that there are no plans to adjust the administration's plans to withdraw from Syria at this time.

Now we are hearing that there have been some senior lawmakers who have been advocating the president change his mind on this, Lindsey Graham being one of them.

But, again, there is no indication that the withdrawal has changed. In fact, we've previously reported that some equipment has already come out of Syria as part of this withdrawal. And U.S. officials telling me that the U.S. believes ISIS was behind this attack in Manbij, the deadliest for U.S. personnel since the U.S. first became involved on the ground in Syria.

And again, so clearly, ISIS remains. There's fighting ongoing into various parts of Syria. But, again, not clear what the timeline of withdrawal will be, but no plans to change the overall intent, which is to get U.S. troops out of Syria, something President Trump has been quite clear about.

HARLOW: He has. Ryan Browne, thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: And also expressing more doubts about Afghanistan as well.

From the East Coast to the West Coast, everywhere in between, you cannot go anywhere without feeling the impact of this government shutdown. We're going to be live in Ohio, and that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:43:31] SCIUTTO: Day 27 of the government shutdown, nearly a month. Eight hundred thousand federal workers still not getting paid. Many struggling, as you would understand, to make ends meet.

HARLOW: The impact being felt coast to coast --

TEXT: Spotlight on Shutdown; Feeling the Effects; California (San Jose) Federal workers given short-term loans;

Ohio (Cleveland) Food Stamp benefits sent out early; Maryland (Baltimore) TSA workers stage protests;

North Carolina (Near Durham) School lunches reduced in one district; Florida (Miami) Coast Guard not getting paychecks;

Georgia (Atlanta) Long lines as TSA workers call out sick; Colorado (Denver) Denver helps workers pay mortgages;

California (Joshua Tree Nat Park) Trees destroyed in National Park

HARLOW: -- as you hear every day on this network from people living it. A lot of folks trying to help. Short-term loans going out in California, food stamp benefits sent out early in Ohio.

SCIUTTO: All this as TSA protests and long security lines -- you may have seen them -- continue at airports around the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FABRIZIO SASSO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SACRAMENTO CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL: These families are struggling. It's hurting our communities. They're having -- they're having a hard time keeping the -- paying their bills and putting food on the table. And it's about time that government does something about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: CNN's (ph) Vanessa Yurkevich is in Ohio. That's a state that Trump won by eight points in 2016.

So when you're there, you're asking people about they're -- what they're going through. What are they telling you? And who do they blame?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Trump supporters in this area are still very much behind the president, Jim and Poppy. This is an area that, like you said, overwhelmingly supported the president in 2016. The president even came to this area of Canton, Ohio and campaigned.

He was also able to deliver on some promises here. People are feeling a little bit more money in their paycheck. They're seeing more money in their 401(k).

[10:44:57] Right now, we're at a local restaurant and ice cream shop, Taggart's, which is getting ready to open for lunch. But we caught the dinner crowd last night, and we spoke to some Trump supporters about how they're feeling about the president and how the shutdown is affecting their take on him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD PERO, RETIRED DAIRY FARMER: I support him hanging in there as long as he can, until we can see what see what (ph) happens. But I think he's going to be successful at it too, in the long run. I don't know. We'll see.

I thought he was going to be president, and that worked out.

TAMMY CORREGAN, WORKER, ELECTRIC COMPANY: Yes, I want security. I do. But not at the price of what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other (ph) people (ph)?

CORREGAN: Yes. Of their lives, you know? Yes. I like -- I'd like the border, you know, be secure better, whether it's a wall or more -- hire more people to help, you know, patrol it.

That's great, but we have to get our fellow Americans back to work.

YURKEVICH: So would you say to the president, "Let's table this for a second until we can get the government back up and running" --

CORREGAN: Yes.

YURKEVICH: -- and then let's start with this fight again?

CORREGAN: Yes, yes. Yes. Let's come together as Americans. We can figure this out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YURKEVICH: And you heard from Tammy there, that she's really feeling for her fellow Americans.

But President Trump won here largely because he promised to bring back the steel industry, and he was able to do that in many ways, by providing more jobs in the area.

But I asked Richard and Tammy how they felt about 2020. Would the president get their support? For Richard, it was a definite yes. For Tammy, she said she was willing to look at the field, Jim and Poppy, and might even vote for a Democrat.

And that is important because this state is a swing district -- excuse me, swing state -- and this county has swung back and forth between elections. So when you hear people like Tammy saying that they might vote for the other party, that might raise a little bit of concern for the president -- Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: That's how he won a lot of the rust belt, right, Vanessa? It flipped the other way in favor of the president. So can he maintain that, or does it flip back?

SCIUTTO: Well, a lot of it is showing up in broader national polling as well, some of those questions. Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks very much.

HARLOW: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls on President Trump to wait until the government shutdown is over to hold the State of the Union address. We'll hear from her any moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:51:37] SCIUTTO: Any moment now, we will hear from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She sent a letter, you'll remember, to the president, suggesting that he wait until the government is open before holding his annual State of the Union address. She says there has been no response yet from the White House.

Here with me now to discuss, CNN political communicator -- commentator, rather, and former director of legislative affairs inside the Trump White House, Marc Short, a lot of experience dealing with this administration as it speaks to the Hill.

Marc, first question to you, just the simplest one. Are there any useful, valuable, substantive negotiations going on right now between the White House and the Hill to get this shutdown finished?

MARC SHORT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think yesterday was an important development, of the White House reaching out to the Problem Solvers Caucus.

In that caucus, you have many Democrats who, frankly, are in districts that President Trump won in 2016, who expressed a willingness to support elements of the president's border security plan, and I think will come to the table with their own suggestions to say, "If you want my support for a wall, here's what I need in exchange."

And so, yes, I think that that's a very productive development, and probably the pathway forward. Because it's not going to be working through leadership at this point --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

SHORT: -- because they're so politically entrenched.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. You've seen the numbers, the polling numbers here today. Large majority of Americans blame the president for this shutdown more than Democrats there.

There's a "New York Times" story that quotes people who have been speaking to the president, and saying that he's feeling the pressure here. He's feeling backed up against a wall. Do you sense that as well? Are there concerns with this president, that he's losing the shutdown battle?

SHORT: Jim, I had the opportunity to be at the White House last week, and was able to meet with the president, the vice president. And I did not sense any sort of concern, that sort of point.

I think they're very concerned about people who are out of work and feel like they need to be returned to work, and they want to restore order here and get appropriations bill passed. But, no, I think the president's very resolute and determined in his campaign to deliver border security.

SCIUTTO: Yes, but you know, this president, he's a poll-watcher and he's an economic indicator-watcher. And both those things are negative, Kevin Hassett saying that the economic effects of the shutdown about double what the White House had initially estimated.

Those are two big barometers for this president that are turning against him.

SHORT: Absolutely. Nobody wins in a shutdown, Jim. Nobody does. And a lot of Americans are hurt because of it.

I do think, though, the Democrats also risk the reality of when this is over --

SCIUTTO: Right.

SHORT: -- will Americans look at this and say there was one side that was pushing for border security and one side that wasn't. Because we hear Democrats say again and again, "I'm for border security. I'm just not for the wall." But they've not put forward a plan to say, if it wasn't a wall, what is it that they would support.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Let me ask you this. You're aware of the president's lawyer's comments on CNN last night. I'm sure you're aware. After months -- years, really -- of denying not just collusion with the president, but denying unequivocally any collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia.

Last night, Rudy Giuliani couldn't utter those words again. Seemed to move the goalposts. Why?

SHORT: I have no explanation for Giuliani's comments last night, Jim. I think that there was an explosive report that came out a few weeks ago that talked about Paul Manafort leaking polling data to Russia in the hopes it would get to Ukrainians.

And there's no excuse. There's no excuse whatsoever to share polling data outside the campaign, much less with a foreign adversary.

Having said that, I think what was later reported is that Paul Manafort was owed over $2 million by Ukraine, and he was hopeful that leaking that information would help get that money to him.

[10:55:06] It's one of the reasons that Paul Manafort is in jail today. And again, there's absolutely no excuse for it. But I think it's another step to say the president was aware of polling data that was being shared with Russians. I do not believe that he ever was aware, and I have no way of understanding why Giuliani said what he did last night.

SCIUTTO: Marc Short, thanks very much.

SHORT: Thank you, Jim, for having me. HARLOW: Important. All right. So we're watching some significant

live events this morning. Take a look. On the left, you have the Pentagon. The president, moments from now, will be there to lay out his plan for missile defense.

On the right, Capitol Hill where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will speak to reporters as she waits for the president and the White House to respond to her request to delay the State of the Union.

We're monitoring both. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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