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Record Government Shutdown continues; Teen in MAGA Hat Has Confrontation With Native American; Kamala Harris Announces Presidential Run. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired January 21, 2019 - 15:00   ET




SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know that we have not yet reached those ideals, but our strength is that we fight to reach those ideals.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Harris joins a growing field of Democrats looking to take on Trump.

Among them, you have four women who have either announced exploratory committees or full-on campaigns.

So, with me, CNN senior national correspondent Kyung Lah, who is in Washington, D.C.

And so, Kyung, there had been talk that perhaps she would throw her hat in the ring. She is certainly capitalizing on her experience as a prosecutor. What is her pitch so far to voters?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you heard it there, in talking on "GMA" today, that she's going to make sure that her biography is front and center, that she is the one who embodies the candidate that is essentially anti-Trump, she comes from a diverse state, that she is a woman of color, she has been a prosecutor, and she is ultimately a fighter.

When asked, what is it about her that puts her uniquely in the position where she could take on Trump, here's what she said:


HARRIS: We are a diverse country, yes. And some people would suggest that, in diversity, when there is a diverse population, one cannot achieve unity.

I reject that notion, because this is my belief. Yes, we are diverse, and we have so much more in common than what separates us. And when we emphasize that commonality, when we recognize that commonality, we will achieve greater unity. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Big themes, broad themes on this Martin Luther King holiday, as she launches her presidential race.

Something we should point out, Brooke, is that when it comes to the specifics, there's not a whole lot of apparent daylight between her and the other candidates that are putting themselves out there as progressive candidates. She says that she's looking forward to getting into those specifics and the full debate in the future -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: You mentioned, of course, she's announcing here on Dr. King's day, but she is also honoring another civil rights icon by announcing now. Tell me who.

LAH: Yes, it was 47 years ago this week that Shirley Chisholm declared her candidacy for president. She was the first black woman to seek the presidential office, to declare her candidacy.

So in a nod to Shirley Chisholm, she is also declaring her candidacy on this week, on this very special day. But, also, if you look at her campaign video, her announcement video today, she's also borrowing some of the themes and the colors and a nod to that history, so some powerful messaging.

As she pushes forward on this, we're anticipating to see many of these continue as she pushes further into her presidential campaign.

BALDWIN: Kyung, thank you so much.

Meanwhile, other potential 2020 contenders are stumbling across the country here on MLK Day. Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden are in Washington. Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders are in Columbia, South Carolina.

CNN's Rebecca Buck and Arlette Saenz are following those Democrats for any big announcements there -- Rebecca.


Well, no big announcements here in Columbia, South Carolina, today, but Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker sending a very clear message by being here today at the NAACP's MLK event that they are taking South Carolina seriously.

Of course, this is the home of the first-in-the-South primary, a key Democratic contest in the primary process. And so these two candidates showing that they are seriously giving a look at running for president in 2020, Cory Booker telling us today that he's very close to making a decision, but he did not go after President Trump directly in his remarks today.

He said he wants to focus on what Democrats are for, not what he's against. Bernie Sanders, though, taking a very different approach. Listen to what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Today, we talk about justice and today we talk about racism. And I must tell you, it gives me no pleasure telling you that we now have a president of United States who is a racist.


BUCK: Now, the key constituency here in South Carolina is the African-American vote. They made up 60 percent of the electorate in the 2016 election.

Bernie Sanders struggled with those voters last time around, his appearance here today trying to make inroads with this key community. And Cory Booker, of course, an African-American candidate himself, also trying to rally those voters ahead of his presidential decision -- Brooke.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm our Arlette Saenz in D.C., where this morning, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg both spoke at an MLK breakfast hosted by the Reverend Al Sharpton.

The two men both talked about carrying on Martin Luther King's legacy, but they also each acknowledged political mistakes they have made in the past. Here's former Vice President Joe Biden.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been in this fight for a long time. It goes not just to voting rights. It goes to the criminal justice system.


I haven't always been right. I know we haven't always gotten things right. But I have always tried.


SAENZ: In a similar light, Michael Bloomberg said that he can't say every decision he made as mayor of New York was perfect.

These acknowledgments come as the two men are both considering White House bids in 2020. Neither of them offered any clue into their current thinking. But Bloomberg said that, no matter what the next year brings for him and Biden, they will both be focused on electing a Democrat to the White House -- Brooke.

Arlette, thank you.

Also, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rallied with Boston airport workers today to highlight the government shutdown on this MLK holiday. Here's part of her message today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The path to economic security is steep and rocky for millions of working people in America. And it is steeper and rockier for black and brown Americans.


WARREN: When we ignore that fact, when we turn a blind eye, then we don't move this nation toward greater equality. And it isn't just black and brown people who suffer. All of us suffer, all of us lose when we allow the powerful to use race as a tool to divide us. We will not stand silently by and be a party to perpetuating discrimination for another generation.


BALDWIN: And New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is in her home state of New York.

CNN's Athena Jones is there -- Athena.


You can see the speeches are still going on at this event in a jam- packed room with an enthusiastic crowd. It's an event hosted by the Reverend Al Sharpton in honor of Dr. King. So, perhaps not surprisingly, we heard Senator Gillibrand talk about her own faith, quoting from the Bible, even though she made the case for her candidacy.

She said that Dr. King's legacy calls on us to ask ourselves, what am I doing with my time here on Earth to serve others? And she said that she's going to run for president of the United States, because, "As a person of faith, as a mother, I cannot sit idly by and not fight for your children as hard as I fight for my own."

Now, she also touched on the need to fight institutional racism. She slammed President Trump for what she calls his divisive rhetoric, sowing division, tearing at the moral fabric of the country.

But listen to what she said about fighting racism as a community. Take a listen.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fighting against this will take all of us. It cannot be left to people of color alone.

White women like me must bear part of this burden and commit to amplifying your voices.


JONES: She went on to talk about the many biases that minorities, different kinds of minorities face. She talked about black and brown men being 10 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possessions.

She talked about New York women, black women in New York being 12 times more likely to die in childbirth. And it was a direct appeal to the black community and something we have heard her do over the weekend as well, as you mentioned, Brooke.

At the women's march in Des Moines over the weekend, she gave a shout- out to the black women who helped Alabama Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, beat Roy Moore, saying that they made sure that a credibly accused pedophile did not win Alabama.

So we heard her make her case again to this crowd, quoting the Bible and talking about the need to work together to fight institutional racism -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got you, Athena. Lively room there in New York.

Athena, thank you very much.

Let's discuss all of the above, all these various contenders.

Tiffany Cross is the co-founder and managing editor of The Beat D.C., and Sahil Kapur is a political reporter for Bloomberg.

So, thank you, guys, for joining me here on this holiday Monday with such important conversations to be had.

Sahil, I just want to start with you and Senator Harris and her announcement today.

I was reading -- of course, I read your piece. I read Astead Herndon's piece in "The Times." And I was struck by how he referred to Kamala Harris something of a bridge. Right? So he was saying she's a bit of a bridge between the potential contenders in their 70s, like the Bidens and the Bernie Sanders, and then the 40-somethings, O'Rourke and Cory Booker, in a party that is definitely going through some, shall we say identity challenges.

So what did you make of his assessment of a bridge, and might that be what the Democrats need right now?

SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG: Well, the country is certainly changing demographically, Brooke.

The Democratic Party represents that. It's becoming younger. It's becoming more non-white. It's becoming more socially liberal. And, yes, Kamala Harris, at 54, represents something of that, being a daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian immigrant mother.

So she kind of represents this so-called rising American electorate, and I think African-American voters in particular are going to be her ace in the hole. She's not necessarily going to win them. But, if she can, and she's very formidable, then this community could power her path to the Democratic nomination. They were instrumental in nominating Barack Obama in 2008.


They were instrumental in making sure Hillary Clinton was the nominee in 2016. And they're formidable presence within the party. And she was speaking directly, Senator Harris speaking directly to this community by announcing on MLK Day, by speaking to reporters at Howard University, her alma mater, which is a historically black university.

So I think this is the message, this is the path that she's trying to follow to the nomination.

BALDWIN: It make senses that she will be in South Carolina this Friday, to your point, Sahil.

But, Tiffany, she's -- obviously, she's capitalizing on her prosecutorial skills and her past in law enforcement. But she's already getting some criticism about her record as A.G. in California. There was a dramatic increase in the state's prison population.

And some people are arguing that she wasn't tough enough on big banks. Do you see this perhaps as the beginning of attack lines from her competitors against her?

TIFFANY CROSS, THE BEAT D.C.: I don't know if the pushback is going to come from her competitors. I think it's going to come from the rank and file progressive movement itself.

I mean, listen, she does have a criminal justice background in California that she's going to have to reconcile with. She's going to have to have a very compelling story to get over that hump.

But I don't think that will be enough to put a blanket on the enthusiasm of a very important voting demographic. And that's black women. I think the progressive movement will raise these issues, but black women, I don't think that's going to be enough to break them from some of her most loyal people.

I think it says something that Kamala Harris -- Senator Harris, I should say, went to Howard University first, her alma mater, like Sahil said, and HBCU. I think it says something that she's not going off to Iowa or New Hampshire, but she's going to South Carolina, the first of the Southern primary states, a sizable African-American population there.

We also have to consider, though, that the way the primaries are set up, California has moved up, Texas has moved up, so that March 3 primary has repositioned California. So, if you have somebody like Eric Garcetti get in, and he's going to be pitted against Kamala Harris in that state, it's going to be a battle.

And that's a very expensive primary. So you're talking baseline $5 million to be competitive there. I have got to say, I think Senator Harris has the advantage. Her sister is Maya Harris. She's a very recognizable in political circles. She's married to Tony West. He's a very senior executive at Uber. He can shore up some of that tech money. Her good friend, godfather to the children of Reggie Hudlin. He's

very senior talent executive and director and Oscar-nominated director in Hollywood. I think he can shore up some of that Hollywood money. So I think she's going to be quite the force to reckon with.

BALDWIN: So that's Senator Kamala Harris.

Sahil, back over to you. What about Senator Bernie Sanders? Because we just heard -- we played the clip a second ago where Senator Sanders calls President Trump racist at this event in South Carolina, and we certainly -- we know why Senator Sanders would want to be in South Carolina.

But my question to you is, if he were to do this again, what would be different for Bernie Sanders this go-round?

KAPUR: The single biggest thing that Senator Sanders would try to do different if he runs this time is appeal more directly and do better with African-American voters.

As I was saying before, this community overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. And this was probably the singular reason that he did not win the 2016 presidential nomination, which I think is why you hear him speaking so directly on issues like racism and systemic racism in the country.

I think, in terms of Bernie Sanders, and I would say Senator Elizabeth Warren, this is going to be one of the bigger challenges for someone like Kamala Harris, because they have captured the economic populist wing of the Democratic Party because they have been crusading on issues like expanding the safety net and tackling income inequality for decades now.

And Senator Harris has a thinner paper trail on that, not as much of a record. So this is -- this is a significant challenge that I think Senator Harris and many other candidates are going to have, that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are very strong with this part of the party.

BALDWIN: And so it begins.

Sahil and Tiffany, thank you guys so much. I am sure we will be talking again about more and more people throwing their hat in the ring on the Democratic side.

And all to you watching, a programming note here. As we're talking about this California Democratic senator, CNN will be hosting a town hall with Senator Kamala Harris. And it's Jake Tapper who will be moderating this one. It's next Monday 10:00 p.m. Eastern from Des Moines, Iowa, right here on CNN.

Coming up next, tomorrow marks one month in this government shutdown. And the last food stamp payments just went out. President Trump and the Democrats both seem to have a lot to say about it, but not to one another. Where do the negotiations stand as people across the country face more and more hardships? Those hardships certainly include air travel. TSA officials now say they are in unchartered territory, with more and more employees calling out sick.

And there's another new piece of video showing what happened between this Native American elder and a group of Catholic school students from Kentucky, a lot of outrage to go all around in this story. And so now we're getting new insight into how this whole situation turned ugly and what, if any punishment there should be.


You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.


BALDWIN: More than a month has passed since the government partially shut down.

And despite the mounting financial and emotional costs, the needle doesn't seem to be moving much in Washington, D.C., where President Trump's pitch to reopen the government is hitting a blue wall of resistance.

President Trump says he will offer temporary protections to DACA recipients and immigrants, something he actually got rid of about a year-and-a-half ago. Democrats say they weren't consulted on this plan and that they won't vote for it either.


Their message to the White House? Open the government first.

So "Washington Post" White House reporter and CNN political analyst Josh Dawsey is with me. He wrote about this -- what was your headline, that the dealmaker who can't seem to make a deal.

So, Josh, you write about that this shutdown has brought out several fundamental traits of the Trump presidency. Like what?


So, one month into the shutdown and two years into the presidency, making a deal here has proved very elusive for the president. We're basically right where we started. He came out Saturday and pitched a temporary reprieve, as you said just as I was going to go on your show.

And Democrats rejected that before he even started. They're essentially saying, you're holding the government hostage over a wall. We're not making any terms, we are not coming to any deal with you, other than reopening the government.

So, 30 days in, Brooke, we're nowhere close to having anything done. And I think both sides are digging in for this to continue on and on and on. BALDWIN: But, Josh, what about the Democrats? And this is something

your own paper's editorial board points out.

It was saying as much, that you have these -- he's offering -- the White House is offering these protections for dreamers lasting three years. And I know a lot of people are saying that's not good enough.

DAWSEY: Right.

BALDWIN: But where are the Democrats when it comes to just giving an inch? They didn't even counteroffer.

DAWSEY: Well, they didn't counteroffer. In fact, they rejected the president's plan before he even announced it on Saturday.

They're not negotiating with him at all. Nancy Pelosi, I think, has a lot of restive more liberal members of her caucus, new members who don't want to give a dollar for the wall, who say it's immoral, who would actually probably put her in political peril if she compromised with him at any level.

And right now, the Democrats and their caucus are saying that the public is blaming the president for the shutdown, according to the polling, and they're just not feeling a lot of pressure to negotiate with him.

Now, whether that can continue, it's unclear. We're going into another paycheck that's going to be missed for 800,000 or so people. Some of the real-world effects I think are going to keep to keep going more and more. And whether that stance is permanently palatable, I don't know.

But, for now, Democrats tell us they're not interested in negotiating with him at all.

BALDWIN: But it sounds like from one of your sources in the piece saying -- you ran -- you ran through the polls on he's not -- the president isn't exactly winning the P.R. game, that he's fully aware of the numbers.

And you talk to Trump's 2016 campaign pollster, a guy by the name of John McLaughlin. And he told you that there's something that the White House should be dangling every single day. This is what he said.

"We need to remind the voters every day that the president is willing to compromise and give legal status to DACA recipients in exchange for increased border security. But the Democrats are too intent about trying to defeat Trump right now."

Is this something that you think we will be seeing dangling? And might this work when Mitch McConnell brings us to the floor this week?

DAWSEY: Well, the president and his team are certainly looking for a way out of the shutdown. And I think, according to our sources and our reporting inside the

White House, Brooke, they would be willing to take some sort of compromise to basically end this. It's gone on and on for them. And it's not been a good story. It's not been good for the polling. It's not been good for their data.

So they're looking to dangle things out there to make Democrats come to the table. Whether or not that will move the numbers in any sort of way, it still seems a little unclear to me. But what they're trying to do is change the perception from the president.

Remember when he was in the Oval Office with Chuck Schumer saying, I'm proud to shut down the government, I will take the mantle?

BALDWIN: Yes. I will carry the mantle.

DAWSEY: I'm very happy to do this.

They're trying to change that perception from where the president is owning was shutdown to, look, we're being reasonable, we're giving proposals, we're giving compromises, and the Democrats aren't there.

So far, the public polling and private polling by the presidency inside the White House show that that's not been successful gambit. So I think you're going to see more and more that as they try to change how people view the shutdown.

BALDWIN: I was talking to Phil Mattingly up on Capitol Hill last hour.

And I can't remember how many days it's been, but neither side is like literally talking to one another, which is problematic.

DAWSEY: Right.

BALDWIN: There's this issue of a lack of urgency.

And you end your whole piece with this quote from Jon Tester, Democrat from Montana, who told you what?

DAWSEY: Jon Tester essentially said the president's life of privilege meant that he didn't understand the pain of government workers and people who live paycheck to paycheck and needed their money to survive.

I don't know that that's true or not. I think the president certainly has been briefed extensively on the number of folks who are out of work. But what he's telling his advisers is most, a lot of these folks are Democrats. He doesn't understand why all of these people are necessary. Some of them, obviously, he knows are necessary.

But I think they're trying to mitigate some of the effects of a shutdown. Now, whether the president actually does empathize with these people, he hasn't really shown that much. He's posted a couple of tweets saying they're patriots and -- but, really, most of his public comments have had a lack of -- a lack of bringing up and concern for those who are out of work.

BALDWIN: Josh Dawsey, "Washington Post" thank you, sir, very much.

DAWSEY: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: Coming up next here on CNN is a story that grew more complicated by the hour. What happened between this group of Catholic school students and this Native American elder?


We have new details and new video that's just surfaced. Let's take a step back and just see how this whole thing actually unfolded.


BALDWIN: Not what it seems.

That's how so many people are describing this now viral video that shows this teenager from Kentucky with this "Made America Great Again" red ball cap staring down a Native American elder near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Social media was quick to call the students involved racist.