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Interview with Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA); Mike Pompeo Considering Run for Senate; Clark County, Washington Declares Public Health Emergency over Measles Outbreak; Passengers Seek Answers After United Airlines Flight Held Them On Tarmac for 14 Hours. Remembering the Four Americans Killed in Syria Last Week. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 21, 2019 - 10:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN, the most-trusted name in news.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This morning, Democrats are outright rejecting the president's plan to end the government shutdown by offering temporary protections for some undocumented immigrants in return for $5.7 billion for the president's desired border wall.

Joining me now is Democratic congressman John Garamendi of California.

Congressman, thank you for taking the time this morning.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you on this very special MLK day .

SCIUTTO: Absolutely. We saw Representative Carlos Curbelo tweet at the Democrats -- he's somewhat recently left, lost his seat in Congress but has worked with Democrats before -- he said, "Why don't Democrats make a counteroffer instead of rejecting the president's -- this new White House proposal?"

TEXT: Good point by @RepLizCHeney on #MTP: If Dems really care about #DREAMers and #TPS beneficiaries, why don't they make a counteroffer instead of simply rejecting the new White House proposal?

SCIUTTO: Is he right? Why not a counteroffer from Nancy Pelosi and other members of the party like yourself?

GARAMENDI: Well, there certainly will be a counteroffer when this government opens up. It's just unconscionable that the Republicans continually hold the U.S. government hostage for something that they want.

Think back about Newt Gingrich back in the '90s, and then Ted Cruz over the Affordable Care Act, and then the various fiscal cliffs.

Every time there is some sort of opportunity for leverage, the Republicans use the American government as a hostage. And we just think that's not proper.

We're happy to --

SCIUTTO: I hear you.

GARAMENDI: -- sit down and discuss things.

SCIUTTO: I hear you, and it's a point Democrats make and I know a lot of folks who've been furloughed as well, and this is a tough time for them.

But just in terms of ending the shutdown, would Democrats back away from their demand to reopen government before further negotiations if they were to get something more from the president?

For instance --


SCIUTTO: -- instead of three years of protections for Dreamers, how about permanent protection for Dreamers? Is --


GARAMENDI: Well, that's --


SCIUTTO: -- there something the president could offer that could stop the shutdown?

GARAMENDI: Well, certainly there is. Open the government. You want a deal with Dreamers, fine. But let's keep in mind that the Dreamer problem is one that the president created all by himself.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

GARAMENDI: The Dreamers were protected in the Obama administration. The president ended that, and now he's really offering to go back and solve the problem that he had already created.

The same thing with the temporary protective status individuals that are here in the United States. He created the problem.

He's not offering anything. And by the way, the $5.7 billion is still out there for an undefined wall somewhere along the 17, 1,900-mile- long border.

TEXT: What's In Trump's New Offer; $5.7B for border wall; 3 years of protection for 700,000 DACA recipients; 3 years of protections for 300,000 immigrants with expiring temporary status; Money for drug detection technology, humanitarian assistance; More border agents, immigration judges

GARAMENDI: These are things that can be negotiated. But I cannot understand why this president would hold the government of the United States -- presumably the most important government in the world.

I've got to believe that Putin is sitting back there in the Kremlin, going, "Go with it, Mr. President. Go with it, Trump. You're absolutely right. Shut it down."

What more could Putin ask for than the shutdown of the American government? Well, I guess --

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this --

GARAMENDI: -- he could ask for the termination of NATO.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. Because the president seems to calculate that he loses political leverage, frankly. I mean just in the starkest terms, if he reopens the government and then negotiates. He considers this leverage here.

So I'm just asking if there's something that would change the Democrats' position that you must reopen first and then we'll negotiate.

I mean, is there a sweeter, as you call it, that would put things over the edge beyond the three years of temporary -- we should emphasize temporary -- protections for Dreamers?


SCIUTTO: Is there something he could offer --


SCIUTTO: -- that would change the Democrats' position?

GARAMENDI: Well, I suspect there is. And that is, let's go through the various elements. That compromise would take some time to negotiate.

I understand that Mitch McConnell -- Senator McConnell -- was going to offer some sort of a deal. Well, now he's going to hold the victims of the Paradise fire in California hostage for his discussion, in addition to the U.S. government. All of those things.

It's just unconscionable that you would shut down the government of the United States for more -- what, 31 days now, so that you could get $5.7 billion for an undefined border wall. It's just -- it makes no sense at all.

Is there something the president can offer? Sure. Open the government. Sit down and negotiate.

Tell us where you want to put that wall, Mr. President, and tell us exactly why it is necessary in that particular location.

And by the way, 80 to 90 percent of the drugs come through the ports of entry. They come on airplanes, they come on trains and cars and containers. One out of five cars is checked.

You want safety? Open up this government. If you're concerned about the security of America, put our government back to work. Put those coastguardsmen. Give them the pay that they need. The TSA. All of the people that keep us safe in ways that most people just don't appreciate until it's gone.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you on a different topic, if I can, because --


SCIUTTO: -- you've been outspoken on Syria, and we had another attempted attack on U.S. forces in Syria today, just five days after those four Americans were killed.

[10:35:07] Do you believe that the administration's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria -- leave U.S. allies there, in effect -- that that has put U.S. forces still on the ground there in greater danger?

GARAMENDI: Absolutely. There is absolutely no doubt about it, that the president's statement of withdrawing now was a great rallying cry for ISIS.

"Let's toughen up," they said to themselves. And they have. They've become much more aggressive. That war with ISIS is not over.

And when you pull out, you leave a vacuum. Who's going to take over that vacuum? Well, certainly ISIS, for starters. And then Assad from Syria, and then Russia and Turkey and Iran.

It creates a very serious problem in the area. Already we've seen the effect of that, with four Americans being killed.

But those troops on the ground were critical in eliminating ISIS or in the process of eliminating ISIS, and in setting up a negotiation for the future of Syria.

Right now, we're pulling out. It makes no sense whatsoever. There was no plan. There was no political agenda laid out. There was no diplomatic agenda.

The president woke up one morning and then God knows what he had on his mind. He said, "We're out." Well, he's the commander in chief. But it is a very, very serious and, frankly, stupid move.

SCIUTTO: Congressman John Garamendi, thanks very much.

GARAMENDI: Thank you. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Mike Pompeo. He went from congressman to CIA director to secretary of state. Could Senator Pompeo be next?


[10:42:16] SCIUTTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of the president's most ardent defenders, is considering leaving the Trump administration to run for the open Senate seat in his home state of Kansas.

A source familiar with the situation, telling CNN that Pompeo is so serious about running that he met with a leading GOP consultant just yesterday.

And one of Pompeo's biggest supporters of the potential move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, personally trying to persuade Pompeo to go for it.

Joining me now to discuss, Doug Heye, former RNC communications director and a current Republican strategist.

So this is interesting. First let's talk about the effect on the administration, if I can, because Pompeo and the president are like this --


SCIUTTO: -- in a circle of advisors, a shrinking one for this president. That would be quite a loss for Trump, would it not?

HEYE: It would be a loss personally for Trump, and then also more broadly for the administration.

You know, we see so often that we don't have secretaries any more, we have acting secretaries. This would cause not only another one of those, but one of the most -- the -- arguably --


HEYE: -- the most important position that there is. If you think this administration can't get more chaotic? Yes, it could.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And then one of the last advisors it seems the president actually listens to, right? At that level.

So what's -- what's behind this here? I mean, I hate to ask, but is it possible that Pompeo is looking for an escape --

HEYE: I think the one thing --

SCIUTTO: -- from an administration?

HEYE: Yes. The one thing we hear from administration officials all the time is, they're trying to figure out their graceful exit. And a lot of the exits haven't been so graceful.


HEYE: So if there's a way to do so, people want to try and do that.

This would be a great way for Pompeo to do so, and also tell the president, "I'm going to go back to Kansas to fight for your agenda."


HEYE: So it's a good argument for him to make.

SCIUTTO: Well, that would be the story he would tell the president.

HEYE: Right.

SCIUTTO: But let's be -- what does that say about the administration, if everybody is looking for a way out?

HEYE: Oh, it's exactly what we see playing out on TV or on Twitter, unfortunately, on a daily or hourly basis, whether the government's open or closed for business, is the constant chaos.

It is churning people out nonstop. People that we see on the front pages, people that we don't see on the front pages.


HEYE: It makes it very hard to move things forward.

SCIUTTO: Interesting. So what were -- are his chances in Kansas? I mean, is he a slam-dunk there?

HEYE: He (ph) is (ph) --

SCIUTTO: Because in the past, he has flirted with a Senate race, has he not, there? Not always with --

HEYE: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- with an automatic -- with an automatic yes.

HEYE: What I'm hearing from folks, both here and in Kansas, is that it is his until he decides that it's not. So -- and ultimately, he may not want to --

SCIUTTO: His to run or his to win?


HEYE: His to win. That he would not only be the prohibitive favorite for the race -- because it's essentially a Republican seat and Republican state -- but that he clears the field if he decides to run.

SCIUTTO: That's remarkable. So what would this mean? You look at ongoing national security priorities for this president, a chief one being North Korea.

You have a second summit, now, planned the very end of next month. And Pompeo's been a key envoy on this back and forth. What does it mean for the president's foreign policy agenda?

[10:45:00] HEYE: Well, right now it doesn't necessarily mean anything. This meeting's going to go forward. Pompeo has as much time as he wants to decide. It's actually a late filing period in Kansas, so he has no hurry on that.

But is the issue of, the longer this is out there without Pompeo making a decision one way or the other, it may not affect his chances to run for Senate, but could affect how he does his job as secretary of state. SCIUTTO: So if he does leave, who's left in the president's inner circle, other than his son-in-law and daughter?

HEYE: I mean, it becomes a family affair, essentially. And that's also where, I think, people are scratching their heads to then try and figure out who's next, which we're doing at agency and department after department.

This would be a big one where it's not clear who an heir apparent is, but we know that they'll be an acting secretary. How long is that question?

SCIUTTO: So many in those senior positions.

Doug Heye, thanks very much --

HEYE: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: -- as always.

A measles outbreak in Washington State, so serious that one county there has declared a public health emergency.

Measles. Why is this spike in cases happening now? It's a concern for all families here in the U.S.


[10:50:23] SCIUTTO: Measles was a disease thought to be eradicated here in the U.S., but officials in one county in Washington State have just declared a public health emergency after 21 people there were diagnosed with measles in just one month.

TEXT: Measles Outbreak; What We Know; Clark County, Washington; 21 patients; 20 Children, majority not immunized; County declared public health emergency

SCIUTTO: Of those cases, in Clark County, 20 are children. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen looks at the resurgence of this potentially fatal infection.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: An old disease is a comeback, and experts are blaming one group in particular.

COHEN (voice-over): The year 2000, a new millennium. The year of the hanging chads and a new show called "Survivor." And the year measles was eliminated in the United States, a disease that once killed thousands of Americans a year, gone. But now measles is back big- time.

TEXT: 2nd Largest Measles Outbreak in Two Decades; 2018: 349 cases; 2014: 667 cases; 1996: 508 cases

COHEN (voice-over): The numbers for last year are out and 2018 was the second-worst year for measles in more than two decades.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: The fact that we have had so many cases in 2018 is really quite discouraging. This is a completely avoidable situation.

COHEN (voice-over): Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institutes of Health blames the anti-vaxxers.

FAUCI: It is really, quite frankly, a tragedy. People are not vaccinating their children.

COHEN (voice-over): The biggest outbreak -- and still ongoing -- among Orthodox Jews in New York, where anti-vaccine attitudes have gained traction.

And there were outbreaks last year in 25 other states, among other communities that shun vaccines, for a total of 349 measles cases last year, nationwide.

Opposition to vaccines has been growing, fueled by misinformation on the internet and social media.

FAUCI: Parents can actually be misled into thinking that the vaccines are going to be causing harm to their children, as opposed to protecting their children.

COHEN (voice-over): Anti-vaxxers have rendered entire cities vulnerable to measles. A study this summer identified these hotspots where hundreds of kindergarteners were not vaccinated. Measles outbreaks here could spread rapidly.

Eighteen states permit families to opt out of vaccinating their children based on religious or philosophical beliefs.

In 12 of these states, the number of exemptions has risen since 2009, leaving babies vulnerable since they can't get the vaccine until their first birthday.

FAUCI: We've got to protect those people in society in the same way that a parent protects their own individual child.

COHEN: Measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the face of the earth. You can transmit it person-to-person, and also the virus can live on surfaces for up to two hours -- back to you.


SCIUTTO: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much on that important story.

Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight from New Jersey to Hong Kong want answers after getting stuck on the tarmac for more than 14 hours in frigid, wet weather with a dwindling supply of food.

The incident began shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Saturday when the flight was diverted to Canada due to a medical emergency on board. But as the flight was set to take off again, it experienced a

mechanical failure. Passengers were not allowed off the plane because the airport did not have a Customs officer on duty.

On Sunday morning, after more than 14 hours, passengers were able to get off the plane. Another aircraft then showed up to transport customers back to New Jersey.

United Airlines has, you'd expect, apologized for the incident.

Five weeks, now, into the government shutdown. We could see both the House and Senate vote on plans to reopen the government this week. Too bad they're not the same plans. In fact, they are very different plans. We'll have more, coming up.


[10:58:19] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the most-trusted name in news.

SCIUTTO: Finally this morning, we're going to take a moment to honor the four Americans who lost their lives last week during a suicide blast in Syria. They represent America, this group.

First, 37-year-old Army Chief Foreign Officer Jonathan Farmer. Farmer, a Florida native, served on six overseas combat tours, earning him a bronze star and a purple heart. He leaves behind his wife and four children.

Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent. She was just 35 years old, from Upstate New York. She joined the Navy in 2003. Her commander described her as a rock star and an outstanding leader.

Ghadir Taher was just 27 years old. Born in Syria, she later came to the U.S. in 2001. She was in Syria working with the Army as an interpreter, her company describing her as, quote, "a talented and highly respected colleague, loved by many."

Her brother says that he will remember her for her kind heard.

Finally, former Navy Seal Scott Wirtz. The St. Louis native was 42. He served in the Navy for eight years until 2005.

Wirtz's mother Sandy says that her son would always talk about his service with his dad. But when he wasn't working, he lived life to the fullest.

We thank these brave men and women for their service. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones. So many Americans paying a price today.

And thanks so much for joining me and my team today. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.