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AT THIS HOUR
Democrats Reject Trump's Deal to End Shutdown; TSA Says10 Percent Unscheduled Absences on Sunday, Up 3.1 Percent from 2018; U.S. Coast Guard Deploys, Leaving Families without Paychecks; Pence Slammed for Quoting MLK to Defend Wall Proposal; Giuliani Gives New Timeline on Trump Tower Moscow Talks & Says Trump Spoke to Cohen Ahead of Congressional Testimony; Kamala Harris Announces Presidential Run in 2020. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired January 21, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:12] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
It is day 31 now of the partial government shutdown and there's consensus about one thing, that the shutdown is good for no one, not for the president, not for Republicans, not for Democrats, and certainly not for the 800,000 federal employees still out of work or working without getting paid, who this week will miss their second full paycheck. With all of that, it does boggle the mind why there's still no consensus on bringing this to an end. They're not even talking. There's no urgency. The fact that there's no urgency should be most unsettling for everyone. Why?
For that, let's go to Capitol Hill, a ghost town right now, except for CNN's Phil Mattingly, who is joining me now.
Phil, there's a lot of talking past each other. It was a ghost town because you didn't pop up on my screen. There's a lot of talking past each other. Where do things stand right now? What are your sources telling you?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is still at an impasse. That's just an assessment of where things stand general. If you want to talk about things that are going to happen this week, there's going to be legislative movement. Over the course of the last four weeks, Kate, we have seen House Democrats move bill after bill after bill to try to reopen the federal government, all of which has been rejected by the president and, as such, was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican-controlled Senate. This week, the Senate is going to try to move its own proposal, one that closely mirrors what the president laid out this weekend, $5.7 billion for a border barrier or a border wall, also temporary protection for DACA recipients that are currently enrolled as well as those with temporary protective status. So there's something that's going to happen in the United States Senate. There's also going to be included in that all seven of the unpassed appropriations bills as agreed upon by the House and Senate, an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, $12 billion in disaster relief funds. Some issues in the Senate bill that they are trying to coax Democrats to come along with them. Yet, at this point in time, no Democrats have said they are interested. Their baseline has remained the same throughout the course of this process, which is reopen the government, we are happy to have a discussion about border security. The president has made clear the government will not reopen up until he gets money for the wall. So long as the baselines, which have remained completely static over the course of the last 31 days, remain the same, we remain in the same place and that is without a clear way out.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Yes, yes. You are right as always, and it still makes me depressed.
Thank you, Phil. It's great to see you. At least you're working.
An alarming new number is coming out from the TSA as we enter the second month of the government shutdown. Ten percent of TSA employees called out sick nationwide yesterday. Compare that to a year ago, it was 3.1 percent of call outs.
CNN's Rene Marsh is at Reagan National Airport with much more on this.
Rene, if you need to know, if you look no further for real-world impact than what we are really now seeing when it comes to TSA, what are you hearing?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: You're right. That statistic that you gave off the top alone is more than three times what we saw last year as far as call outs. It is clear that, as this continues to drag on, this partial government shutdown, things are not going to get better at airport security check points. It's not going to get better for TSA. Since the shutdown began, we have seen the progressively the number of employees calling out increases. On Saturday, it was 8 percent. Sunday, it was 10 percent. They are going to miss a second paycheck on Friday. We expect that those numbers will continue to climb. At least that is what people are telling me.
Look at the airports. You are seeing the real-life impacts playing out. DWI Airport is a major airport in Baltimore. They were forced to shut down the security check point because, in the words of TSA, "excessive callouts." You saw a similar situation in Miami about a weekend ago. You saw Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. They were also forced to shut down the check point because of lack of staffing. Atlanta airport, the world's busiest, also had security lines shut down because of a lack of staffing. We are talking about multiple major airports shutting down check points because they don't have the staff.
We know that TSA is answering the call for the need for staff at the check points by deploying backup officers. We know that backup officers were sent to Atlanta as well as Newark. But again, we have seen that this is getting to the point where the numbers continue to increase here as it relates to callouts. The number-one concern is what kind of impact will that have on security. The agency continues to say there's no impact on security. However, many of the TSA employees that I'm talking to say that is their number-one concern because they are clearly doing more with less. There are fewer people showing up to work, but they have the same mission every day to secure the airports and commercial aviation.
[11:05:18] BOLDUAN: Logically, it's just going to continue to get worse. It is not going to just turn around and start getting better.
Rene, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Even more real-world impact is out there. All 40,000 members of the U.S. Coast Guard are going without pay today because it is the only branch that falls under the Department of Homeland Security budget, which is where this fight is all about.
Take a look at what that means. This is video that we are showing here of members of the Coast Guard saying goodbye to their families as they left for a multi-month deployment. These are servicemembers that are not getting paid while serving their country.
The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired general, Marin Dempsey, called it, quote, in a tweet, "a harsh and avoidable burden on them. Someone may declare victory in the shutdown," he writes. "It will be a parrot victory. Responsible leaders acknowledge limits."
Joining me now is the former Republican Congresswoman from Utah, Mia Love.
Mia, it's great to see you. Thank you for coming in.
She is now a CNN political commentator.
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you. Thank you, Kate. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Of course. Of course. It's great to see you.
How bad -- it is so depressing to have to form the question this way. I think it is the only way to formulate it. How bad is it going to have to get before the fever breaks and they start talking?
LOVE: Unfortunately, the American people that the politicians in Washington are supposed to protect are the ones that are in the cross hairs while there's this political battle. Let's call it what it is. It is a political battle.
There are two points I want to make that are important. The first point is Mark Meadows, who is a good friend of mine, who is a major confidant of the president, will not let him go under the $5.7 billion border security. He is adamant about it. They talk about it all the time. He is not going to let him do that because he believes this is a promise the president made on the campaign trail, and if he lets that go, then there's no hope for him to become the U.S. president in the next term. So that is not going to happen.
BOLDUAN: But Mark Meadows is saying that. Nothing is stopping the president from doing what the president wants. We have seen that time and again.
LOVE: The president can do whatever he wants. I'm just mentioning that his allies are telling him not to give up on this.
LOVE: Yes. Look at this, because this is the long game. Here's the other thing. I think Nancy Pelosi knows that. I think Nancy Pelosi knows this is a done deal for the president if he budges on the $5.7 billion.
The other thing we have to think about is, in the last year, I was part of the Congress that voted for an $867 billion farm bill. You have to ask yourself, what is $5.7 billion? Is it just a wall or can Speaker Pelosi actually get everything that she wants when it comes to immigration reform? If that is the case, that is a small price to pay when you are giving people your paychecks and opening up government and giving temporary status relief for people here who are working and have families and are contributing to the economy. So I think that this is a golden opportunity for her to say, I'm going to get everything that I want. I think that is the only way that this whole thing goes away. Both sides get exactly what they want and the American people can get back to work.
BOLDUAN: It is so hard to believe that both sides will get what they want in how this has played out. Again, crazier things happen every day. We will see.
BOLDUAN: The president laid out a new offer on Saturday from the White House. Democrats rejected the offer outright. The thinking has been it remains today and has been all along from Democrats is that they cannot reward the president's behavior by giving in now. Do you see that?
LOVE: Well, I think that the president is not going to budge which means no one is going to budge. The people suffering are not the ones in Washington. I have always said do not let perfect be the enemy of a really good win. You have to get the pride out of the way. The president has to get his pride out of the way. Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have to get their pride out of the way and realize that the work that they are being paid
LOVE: -- by the way they get paid to do --
BOLDUAN: I hate to say this, but what is going to get their pride out of the way? I venture to guess no one is doing it voluntarily. I fear that something bad is going to have to happen to kind of scare everybody back to the negotiating table. And I hope to god that's not what it is. [11:10:00] LOVE: I hope not either. When you think about a big crisis, it usually takes a major crisis for this country to come back together. The last time that happened was 9/11. It was the worst day that I can remember in our history. But it was the thing that we got out of it was a unity that we haven't seen since. Unfortunately, that is what happened to cause us to come back together. I can tell you right now, I hope that that is not the case. I really hope that the president can get what he wants, Nancy Pelosi can get what she wants on immigration reform, and they can go on and work on other things.
BOLDUAN: On kind of -- I don't know if this is the flip side, but the president, after this weekend, was taking heat from the far right, as well, them calling his proposal over the weekend amnesty, which, of course, they hate. When you look at what he was offering, it is not amnesty. Should the president let that opposition to anything -- the opposition to him moving off his deal at all, should that rule the day?
BOLDUAN: As a Republican, what do you say to Ann Coulter?
LOVE: I can tell you, as a Republican, it was one of the major frustrations that I had, major legislation that would help us, as Republicans, over-the-counter contraceptives. I'm a pro-lifer. This is something that would have been able to allow women to make decisions before they have to make the decision of keeping or ending the life of their child, making that available. The biggest opposition I had was from Republicans. One of the things that has always been frustrating to me is having, allowing -- having Republicans allow perfect be the enemy of a really good win. I think we have had some major losses because of that. I believe we could have had immigration reform done if it weren't for some Republicans that were just sticking their foot in the ground saying, I'm not going to budge on this at all. And you are going to see the same thing here. You are going to get the Ann Coulters that say, hey, if it is not perfect, it's not good enough.
BOLDUAN: I want to play for you how Vice President Pence kind of characterized this moment, if you will, yesterday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, "Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy." You think of how he changed America, he inspired us to change through the legislative process to become a more perfect union. That is exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do, come to the table in a spirit of good faith. We'll secure our border and we'll reopen the government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: NAACP came out quickly and others calling the comparison an insult to King's legacy. Do you see it that way? LOVE: I think that anybody who wants to shine themselves in a good
light -- Martin Luther King is always going to be a great example for a person who fought for individual rights. Anytime that I can try and emulate that type of leadership and that type of love that this man had for his fellow man is a good thing. I hope that we can do it with actions more than just words. Martin Luther King was a great, great human being that all of us should take his example and move things forward and do what is right, not just for us, but for our future, our children and people that surround us.
BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thank you so much.
I'm being told in my ear, right after the break, we are being told that there wasn't anything unplanned on the schedule. We are told the president and vice president are on the move, on the way to the MLK Jr Memorial in Washington. We will bring you more on this as we have been discussing, right after the break.
Great to see you. Thank you so much.
[11:15:21] BOLDUAN: If you're joining me, you are watching as the president and vice president are at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington, D.C. We are watching joys of live television. Looks like the cameras are moving around. We know they laid a wreath at the memorial. We'll bring you anything more that we get. This is from moments ago. Let's watch this together.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you talk about the shutdown at all?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: There you have it once again. The president and vice president marking the life and legacy of the great Martin Luther King Jr on this MLK Day at the memorial. We will bring you more if there's video that comes out. We wanted to bring that to you.
We are also watching this. If you are having a hard time keeping track of President Trump's ties to Russia, you are not alone. Maybe they want it that way. Adding to the confusion over the weekend, President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, offered this new timeline of events when it comes to the Trump Tower in Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it's our understanding that they went on throughout 2016, weren't a lot of them, but there were conversations. Can't be sure of the exact date. The president can remember having conversations about it.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Throughout 2016? GIULIANI: Yes. Probably up to -- could be up to as far as October or
November. Our answers cover until the election. Anytime during that period, they could have talked about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That is not what we have heard in the past, just to be clear.
Let me bring in CNN's Kara Scannell, who is tracking the changing evolving timeline of events.
Kara, bring us up to date. What does Giuliani, his admission mean and what should folks do with it now?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Kate, you're right. This has been a confusing and often-changing timeline. What Rudy Giuliani did was say that the conversations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in the organization had continued until the election. When Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about this very timeline, they said it was until June. Now we know that this continued several months longer than we did just a few months ago.
Why is this significant, is that this opens the president up to additional scrutiny. During this time period, the candidate-then, Donald Trump, was talking about questioning the legitimacy of NATO and talking about easing sanctions on Russia and calling upon Russia to release hacked e-mails from the Democratic Party. Now Giuliani has put his client kind of in the cross hairs here going straight to the heart of the investigation of collusion.
But that's not all, Kate. Giuliani also suggested to our Jake Tapper yesterday that it is possible that Donald Trump was speaking to Michael Cohen right up until the congressional testimony. Let's take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: As far as I know, President Trump did not have discussions with him, certainly had no discussions with him in which he told him or counseled him to lie. If he had any discussions with him, they would be about the version of the events that Michael Cohen gave them which they all believe was true.
TAPPER: You just acknowledged that it is possible that President Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony --
GIULIANI: Which would be perfectly normal.
TAPPER: So it is possible that that happened, that President Trump talked to Michael Cohen --
GIULIANI: I don't know if it happened or didn't happen. It might be attorney-client privilege if it happened where I can't acknowledge it. But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him.
TAPPER: You just said you talked to him about his testimony.
GIULIANI: So what if he talked to him about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCANNEL: So what, right? I think the issue here is so what, is it does matter because that is the essence of the crime that Michael Cohen has said he lied to Congress. Of course, this all relates to the "BuzzFeed" story that broke late last week in which they said there was evidence that the special counsel has had that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie. The special counsel's office came out on Friday with a very rare statement shooting down the report saying it was not accurate -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Kara, thank you so much.
A lot to follow per usual. Thanks, Rudy Giuliani.
Thanks, Kara. Appreciate it.
Let's cut through it. CNN legal analyst, Shan Wu is with me now.
Rudy Giuliani, Shan, now with the possibility that the president was negotiating with Russia to build a Trump Tower in Moscow throughout the entire 2016 campaign. He told that to the "New York Times," to CNN and NBC. This was not a one-off when he was talking about this. This admission means what?
[11:20:10] SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It means there's certainly in hind sight a lot of basis for the counter intelligence concerns. And I think it is very important to notice what Giuliani was saying about the timeline of the answers given to Mueller. He is saying we only answered up until the time he became president. That leaves room that maybe the conversations continued after he became president. Giuliani's style here is a little mercurial and a "thrown everything and see what sticks" kind of style. It is obviously of great concern is the president's timeline for when he is involved is the Russian negotiations is moving later and later into him becoming president.
BOLDUAN: What do you make of Giuliani's argument, with both of the things he's talking about, that he may or may not remember when the negotiations about the Trump Tower or what or when he was talking to Michael Cohen about? What does that mean?
WU: He is trying to lay the defense of he doesn't necessarily recollect the specifics because he's a very busy guy. When you listen to his interviews with Jake, he's saying about how much Michael Cohen --
BOLDUAN: Now we are supposed to believe Michael Cohen?
WU: Exactly. That's exactly right. It's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to say, Trump is too busy so listen to Cohen, but we will tell you when Cohen is telling the truth and when he is lying. It really doesn't work because you have to depend upon Giuliani as being the interpreter of the truth.
BOLDUAN: Stop laughing.
What does Robert Mueller do with this new timeline about how long Trump Tower in Moscow is being negotiated throughout the campaign? More importantly, the fact we've had different dates of when negotiations ended. Does Mueller do something with this?
WU: Mueller, most likely, Kate, has already been doing something with this. I think we are a bit behind the curve in terms of learning this.
BOLDUAN: I feel like six months behind the curse when it comes to Mueller.
WU: Right. That's exactly right. They probably already know how deep into the actual presidency or right up until taking office that these negotiations continued. From a national security standpoint, that is the concern. It's most likely why the president's lawyers drew the line and only wanting to give answers written, under oath or otherwise, up until the time he became president. They are trying to protect him as much as possible by walling things off. Even though Giuliani is more of a P.R. spin right now than lawyer, he unquestionably senses the danger to his client. He is the private lawyer.
WU: He is not the office of White House counsel or -- he is trying hard to protect Trump from future danger he has talked himself into.
BOLDUAN: On this question of whether Donald Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony to Congress, Giuliani says, so what. He says it is perfectly normal. George Conway, Kellyanne Conway's husband, who is also an attorney, he calls it perfectly insane rather than perfectly normal. Which is it?
WU: It's definitely trending towards the perfectly insane. As you know from talking to many criminal defense lawyers, there are many rule number ones in criminal defense. I will say this is rule number one through 20. Don't have your client talk to somebody else who is under investigation. It makes no sense. That is absolutely not perfectly normal. It completely opens him up to allegations and suspicions that he is tampering with the testimony. And there's no reason for the president to be talking to Michael Cohen before he testifies before Congress, no reason, whatsoever. If that happened, it's very likely that Cohen would be interpreting that as some sort of a nuanced message. The president is not known for his nuance, but you just don't do that. There's no need to do that. It exposes the client to tremendous danger and it is very likely going to be interpreted by the witness as some sort of message.
BOLDUAN: The why, what the motivation was of speaking, I guess, is a huge question. That's true. Me not having been a criminal defendant, at least yet, I know, Shan, the one thing you taught me is just stop talking. Just stop talking.
BOLDUAN: There's your rules.
Great to see you, Shan. Thank you.
WU: Good to see you.
[11:24:28] BOLDUAN: It is official. Senator Kamala Harris is running for president in 2020. Where does she fit in to what is already becoming a pretty crowded field? And will her announcement move any of the undecideds, the folks toying with the idea of running, on the side of Democrats? Does she push them now to jump in?
BOLDUAN: She is running. After months of speculation, Democratic Senator from California Kamala Harris made her big announcement this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D), CALIFORNIA: I am running for president of the United States.
HARRIS: And I'm very excited about it.
I have the unique experience of having been a leader in local government, state government and federal government. What I believe the American people want in their next commander-in-chief is someone who has leadership skills, who has experience, and who has integrity, and will fight on their behalf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:29:01] BOLDUAN: Senator Harris joins a growing field of Democrats who have announced they are officially running for president in 2020.