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Supreme Court Takes No Action on DACA for Now; Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell to Introduce Dueling Bills to End Shutdown; Pop-Up Food Banks Set Up to Help Federal Workers in New York City; Supreme Court Lets Ban on Transgender Military Members Take Effect; Supreme Court Allows Mystery Company to Take Up Appeal Under Seal; Aired 10- 10:30a ET

Aired January 22, 2019 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Jessica, tell us what the court found here?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Jim and Poppy, this is something that we've been waiting on every time the Supreme Court has met in conference. We've sort of been waiting on pins and needles to see if they're going to take up this DACA issue. And we're learning this morning the Supreme Court will not be deciding this issue.

Now of course, it was in 2017 that the Trump administration announced it would be winding down DACA. Of course, this was a program that provided protection for about 700,000 undocumented immigrants here in the United States who were brought here as children. This was a policy that was put into place by the Obama administration.

The Trump administration announced that it would wind down this program. But lower courts stopped the wind down of this. And the Trump administration challenged this directly to the Supreme Court saying we want you, the highest court in the land, to decide if we have the authority to wind down this program. So we were expecting that possibly the Supreme Court might weigh in on this.

But the Supreme Court is taking no action on DACA. These decisions have been rolling in throughout the morning. We've been keeping track of this. The Supreme Court will not be taking up this issue just yet anyway. I mean, it's possible that they could take it up potentially next term beginning maybe in October. But no decision on DACA.

Of course this has become a flash point in the whole immigration debate. The president sort of issuing a new olive branch over the weekend that he would extend DACA potentially if Democrats came to the table and agreed with him on this border wall for three years. You know, but previously the Trump administration's stance was that they were going to wind down this program.

Just to note, lower courts have put a stay on that decision and they have allowed those renewals for those DACA recipients to still take place. So there's been no immediate effect. But again, Jim and Poppy, the Supreme Court will not be weighing in on this at least this term. They will not decide whether or not the Trump administration had the authority to wind down this program. So that still sort of hangs out there. And maybe we'll see it play out on the political front since it will not play out in court, guys.


SCIUTTO: That's a key question because what this does, the Supreme Court was dealing with a president's ability to grant these protections to Dreamers. This, does it, in effect punt it back to the Congress and say this has to be a legislative decision here? I mean, is that the effect?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, I mean, the effect is basically no effect here because the Trump administration wanted to wind down this program. The Supreme Court really keeping things as status quo or at least status quo as they were before the Trump administration or before President Trump took office. So perhaps the court is not taking this because maybe there could be some policy political legislative solution on the horizon here.

But interesting that the court is not weighing in at all. And perhaps yes, maybe they're sort of hoping that Congress steps in here and takes action.



SCHNEIDER: Rather than the court deciding. Because of course as we know the Supreme Court, especially Chief Justice John Roberts, you know, they believe strongly, especially the conservative members, that they should stay out of maybe political debates and wait until issues become ripe for their judicial decisions.

HARLOW: So the Ninth Circuit ruling conclusion that this was arbitrary and capricious by the Trump administration stands.

SCHNEIDER: That stands. Exactly.

HARLOW: And that will not change in the courts this year. Whether it changes in Congress is a great point.

SCIUTTO: It's a mixed bag for the Supreme Court in the last several minutes. A victory for the Trump administration on the transgender ban.

HARLOW: And a defeat. Yes.

SCIUTTO: A defeat here on DACA which is of course central to the government shutdown. Now it in its 32nd day. It's beyond a month.

Today the Senate will take up an ambitious measure that continues government funding with the president's immigration plan, among other things. The House will vote on a new batch of funding bills tomorrow. None of it will do anything to break the deadlock because one is dealing in one reality.


SCIUTTO: And the other with another reality.

HARLOW: And that is the sad reality. You've got the president and top Democrats that actually haven't spoken in more than 10 days as far as we know publicly. And Democrats aren't budging on the barrier, formerly known as the wall, especially with those 800,000 federal workers on furlough or working unpaid. That brings us to our Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill.

You know, if this goes one more day, right, it's going to be paycheck number two that those federal workers don't get.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Jim and Poppy. And I do have to say this decision by the Supreme Court even makes less of an incentive for Democrats to take up this new deal that President Trump put on the table over the weekend. You know, many of the Democrats that I spoke to over the weekend when this deal was initially pitched by President Trump were concerned with the fact that he was only allowing for temporary protection for these Dreamers, for those that fall under the DACA provisions.

The fact now that the courts have protected them essentially by not taking up this case for at least until the next Supreme Court term means that this is already protected by the courts. That the Democrats don't need to take action at least on this specific proposal.

[10:05:04] And as we put up there, the president asking for $6 billion in exchange for that temporary provision for the Dreamers and a number of other aspects that he is talking about here. This is a president feeling as though he is giving on this front. But now when you take into account that from the beginning Democrats said that they were not going to cut a deal for temporary versus permanent, a permanent wall for temporary protections. And now you have this added layer of the courts not intervening in this respect.

We'd have to imagine, Jim and Poppy, that once these bills come to the floor, that you're not going to see much Democratic support. So the legislative action that we do see here today will likely just be symbolic and there's really no indication that this government shutdown is going to end anytime soon.

HARLOW: Wow. Unreal. All right.

SCIUTTO: Symbolic action. That's what the American people are --

HARLOW: Exactly. Right?

SCIUTTO: Right. Yes.

HARLOW: Ryan, thanks very much.

So let's bring you what's happening to federal workers day to day. This is just one example. Today federal workers in New York City who aren't getting paid will line up to collect free meals and much-needed supplies.

SCIUTTO: It's amazing. We're saying this every day. But food banks for federal workers.

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: In the midst of a booming economy. This pop-up food bank, one of many efforts across the country, to help these 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich, she's been following the effects of the shutdown.

You have, Vanessa, in so many parts of the country, what are you seeing in New York today?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi, Jim and Poppy. We're seeing a pop-up food bank, something the Food Bank for New York City is doing for the first time. And we've also seen this in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

We're here today at the Barclays Center. This is a location in Brooklyn that's usually reserved for basketball games. The New York Nets play here, famous artists and singers from around the world come here to the Barclays Center to perform. But today this is turning into a make shift food pantry.

Behind me you can see it's sort of just getting underway, tables being set up, volunteers coming in. But what they're expecting is about 800 federal employees to come to the Barclays Center today to pick up food. These are cans of food. This is bread, this is meat, stuff they can use for about a week and a half going forward.

And as you guys have been mentioning all morning, that fear that that paycheck is not going to be coming on Friday is very real for a lot of federal workers. And they're turning to food banks just like this one.

Also, we spoke to the CEO of this food bank who's going to be running this operation here. And they said that in the next couple of days they are going to be implementing their disaster plan. So that is something usually reserved only for hurricanes, natural disasters or if the food stamp program completely stops. But it just sort of makes you stop and think that at this point in our government shutdown they are having to turn to methods that they usually use for disasters.

And, Jim and Poppy, you know, as you know, people are really struggling. And the food bank's fear is that more and more people are going to be turning to food banks and they simply do not have enough food to feed the amount of people that they are expecting -- Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: It's unreal. I'm glad you're there telling these stories, Vanessa. We appreciate it.

And, you know, there has been a lot written about members of Congress, many of whom are wealthy, not knowing ever in their life what it's actually like to live like this, paycheck to paycheck.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: And this is the reality.

SCIUTTO: And most American families do. I mean, let's be frank.

HARLOW: Of course.

SCIUTTO: Even folks with good-earning jobs like these full jobs.

HARLOW: Of course.

SCIUTTO: Joining us now is former manager for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Patti Solis Doyle, and a member of President Trump's 2020 reelect advisory council, Rob Astorino. We know should note that Rob has signed a non-disparagement agreement with the Trump campaign.

Rob, if I could begin with you. Because the president is staking a lot on this decision. I mean, he tweeted again that he won't cave on the wall. You're seeing the costs here. U.S. Coast Guard sailors going to sea with their families not receiving a paycheck. The FBI Agents Association coming out this morning talking about effects on ongoing law enforcement investigations, concerns about TSA screenings.

Is there any diminishing of support within Trump's inner circle to stay hard on this and not allow the federal government to open?

ROB ASTORINO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me turn it around a little bit, Jim, because I think, you know, the effects can all go away if the Democrats actually come to the table which they have not in over a week and a half.

SCIUTTO: I know. But it's the president who shut down the government for this issue.


SCIUTTO: And it's the president who believes he loses leverage if he opens the government up again.

ASTORINO: It was also the president who offered on Saturday a plan that the Democrats not too long ago said that they would support, they all voted for in the past, but all of a sudden along the way --

SCIUTTO: Well, they voted for permanent protections, not temporary protections.


SCIUTTO: We should note. But fair point that he did offer a plan and the Democrats have not come back with counter proposals.

ASTORINO: But they also -- but they also came out before he even mentioned it publicly that they were opposed no matter what he was going to say.

[10:10:03] And Nancy Pelosi has said no wall no matter what because it's immoral and so many other reasons. So if they're going to have that absolute negative nothing, nothing, nothing then this is going to go on for a long time.

The president has turned the tables in the negotiations now. He has offered things. He has compromised. It is the Democrats that now have to come to the table. What do they want? If they want to come to the table with something tell the president OK, look, that's a starting point. Let's meet somewhere else.

I think the president will be willing to do it. He's already indicated that he's willing to go big and tackle some of these problems. And I think the Democrats now have to make the next move.

HARLOW: Although he has not indicated that he will budge at all from that $5.7 billion number for the wall.

ASTORINO: But they offered $25 billion a year ago.

HARLOW: But Patti -- and I would just -- you took the words out of my mouth.

Patti, remember it was a year ago when all but three Senate Democrats did vote for a potential deal that did fund the wall, you know, and border security by $25 billion. But it was also, you know, a path to citizenship for Dreamers. The president scrapped that. And you say, your words, it's incumbent on both sides to open the government. What should the Democrats give? What would your advice be?

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, let's talk about what happened a year ago. Remember that big old fantastic meeting with both sides of the aisle where President Trump said bring me a bill, I will sign it. I will take the heat. I will take the mantle of this. And what did he do? He turned it -- they brought him a bill and he turned it down. They offered him $25 billion, five times what he is asking for now, for the wall in exchange for protecting Dreamers and a path to citizenship. And he turned it down.

HARLOW: I hear you. But I'm asking no. I mean, we are where we are now.


HARLOW: Right? For better or worse. We're here. So what should Democrats do?

SOLIS DOYLE: Correct. But please forgive the Democrats for not being Lucy with the football. You know, he says he's going to make concessions but then Anne Coulter tweets that she doesn't like it and he backs down. So the way to proceed honestly is to open the government. Stop holding 800,000 people hostage.

Comprehensive immigration reform is wildly complicated, very tough to do. And this is not the way to negotiate it. There are -- it's not only DACA, it's not asylum seekers, it's not only border protection. It's not where is the fence needed. It's so many things that are intertwined. And to hold 800,000 people hostage just for the wall is just unreasonable. Open up the government and then let's have a real conversation about how to get comprehensive immigration reform done.

SCIUTTO: Rob, and again to be fair, because you have the president and you do have Nancy Pelosi digging their heels in on their positions. We know that. But as you know, and you heard Patti say that, the Democrats' position is OK, we'll negotiate but you got to open the government first. Is that reasonable?

ASTORINO: But that's also part of -- they're also taking a very tough stand on that. And I think what happens, a continuing resolution for a couple of weeks and we're right back where we were? I think, you know, get this done. As President Obama said not to many years ago, I think during '15's shutdown, I'm not going to sign a continuing resolution. Both sides need to sit down and bring me a bill that I can sign as part of an appropriation. And it worked.

HARLOW: But it's not just Democrats, Rob. It's Lindsey Graham. It's a really conservative mainly Trump supporter Lindsey Graham who's saying do that.

ASTORINO: I think what Patti's boss said a year ago -- former boss, Joe Biden -- was correct. He was asked whether or not the Democrats should give money, at that time $25 billion, for the president's wall in exchange for the Dreamers and DACA. And he said yes. Doesn't matter who gets the credit.

We're at a point now where one side has said, OK, look, I'm going to take a little hit here because I'm going to compromise and give in. The Democrats said I don't care what you're going to say today before he even said it. We're not giving anything for a wall. So that's a hardened stance that they've got to come off if we're going to move forward on this.

In that time, by the way, the resistance has gotten very loud. You know, nothing for the president. And as such, the Democratic left now with the presidential campaign underway is under more pressure from their base which is not getting enough attention here. Everyone is saying it's the right. But just go back to a mistake that was made by a former President Bush, read my lips, no new taxes. Well, he didn't get that loud voice in his ears saying hey, you better stick to this and it cost him an election.

SCIUTTO: Well, the numbers, though, seem to support the Democratic view at least for now.

SOLIS DOYLE: That's true. Yes.

SCIUTTO: But, listen, folks get impatient with government when government doesn't make things happen.

ASTORINO: That's true.

SCIUTTO: Rob Astorino, Patti Solis Doyle, thanks to both of you. ASTORINO: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: Still to come more breaking news from the Supreme Court. President Trump's transgender military ban allowed to go into effect. This affects nearly 9,000 military volunteers.

HARLOW: Yes. It's really significant. So we'll go to the Pentagon for more on that.

Also is the growing Democratic presidential field just getting bigger? The answer to that is yes. Senator Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders offering some new hints on 2020.

[10:15:01] And the family of an American who disappeared in Syria making his story public now after he's been -- had gone for two years. We're going to speak to his children ahead.


HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. A lot of news this morning out of the Supreme Court and some really significant decisions. The high court is allowing President Trump's ban on transgender service members to serve in the military, this is while the case makes its way through the courts.

SCIUTTO: We really can't understate the effect on this. There are some -- 9,000, rather, military volunteers.


SCIUTTO: It's an all voluntary military. Anybody who's serving made a decision to do so and there are nearly 9,000 of them who identify as transgender. Certainly to be taken this news badly.

[10:20:03] Let's go to CNN's Jessica Schneider.

Jessica, do we know what it means for these currently serving service members? Are they kicked out summarily? Is there a process here? This is a real question.

SCHNEIDER: That's the big question here. And we're still working on getting information from the Pentagon. You know, our colleague Barbara Starr, she's working on getting information here to find out exactly now that the transgender ban can take effect, how exactly it will be implemented.

Now there's been a flurry of reaction here both from the Pentagon and from these LGBT advocacy groups who believe that this is a big blow. So I'll start with Lambda Legal. They've issues a statement here. They said, "For more than 30 months transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction. But now the rug has been ripped out from under them once again. We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminary ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs." So that from Lambda Legal, talking about the fact that this transgender ban can now take effect. However, I've just gotten a statement from the Pentagon via our

correspondent Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. The Pentagon pushing back on this a little bit and drawing a distinction here. So let me just read the first line of it. It says, "As always we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. DOD's proposed policy is not a ban on service by transgender persons."

Now let me sort of flush this out a little bit. So in July of 2017 President Trump took to Twitter in a hasty manner to announce this transgender ban. A blanket transgender ban. Well, it took military officials by surprise and then in 2018 then Defense Secretary James Mattis, he came up with a more nuanced specific policy. That policy banned certain transgender military members, in particular members with a history of the medical condition gender dysphoria. That is a particular condition affecting how an individual identifies as to their sex.

So really what the Pentagon is saying here is that we have never and we will not ban all transgender members.

Jim, you mentioned it, approximately 9,000 transgender members are in the military. But we have a number during the Obama administration, 937 of those members were diagnosed with gender dysphoria. So presumably this transgender ban would only apply to those people who have this condition, gender dysphoria. So again we're still trying to get a read on exactly how this will play out, how exactly it will take effect, seeing as the Supreme Court has said this ban in particular to these transgender individuals can go into effect immediately. But this is battling out here amid the statements, guys.

HARLOW: Jess, let me just ask you for clarification, OK, because as I understand it that the way that James Mattis, then Defense secretary, tweaked it as you explained gender dysphoria, it means, though, that those transgender individuals if they want to continue to serve would have to serve according to the sex that they were assigned at birth. So they couldn't be their full selves at work. That's true, right? I mean that's significant.

SCHNEIDER: That is based on a policy that was put in place by then Defense Secretary James Mattis. That would be the policy. As I mentioned, we have a number that are affecting about 937 members of the military. So that's not to downplay this.

HARLOW: OK. Right.

SCHNEIDER: This still would have an effect. But the Pentagon here saying we do not ban all transgender individuals.

HARLOW: Got it.

SCHNEIDER: So that's the distinction they're trying to draw.

SCIUTTO: A distinction drawn based on people who have a certain medical diagnosis. It's curious how they make that diagnosis and why that diagnosis is a national security concern. Because that's in effect that the president's argument that this is a national security concern. It remains to be seen how 937 people with gender dysphoria is qualified as a --

HARLOW: We'll -- yes, we'll try to get the Pentagon to learn more.

SCIUTTO: -- national security concern, and we'll certainly be following that.

Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.

We may soon find out more about a mystery company that is fighting a subpoena from the special counsel Robert Mueller. This also news from the Supreme Court this morning.

HARLOW: Yes, it's really interesting. So they want the Supreme Court to take up their appeal under seal, meaning not tell the public with this name is, the company, what country they're from, et cetera. It's fascinating and really important tie to the Mueller probe.

Let's learn more on this. Kara Scannell joins us now. Explain.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. So the Supreme Court today said that this mysterious company, the foreign government owned company can file their arguments to the Supreme Court asking them to take up their case under seal. And they can do it without revealing the information about themselves.

Now the Supreme Court is also saying that they will have to file some redacted copies of this. And that's what we'll be looking for to see what kind of clues and information we can glean about where this company -- who this company, what government owns them, and more about the legal arguments about why they think they should not have to agree and respond to a subpoena from Robert Mueller's team.

[10:25:08] Now we'll be watching to see when these filings come in. But for now, I mean, this is at least one development we're learning. The Supreme Court is not taking this up on the merits. They're not agreeing to hear their case but they're saying that this mysterious company, foreign government owned, can file their arguments under seal but will have to explain some information to the public and that filing will be coming out we believe some point today -- Poppy, Jim.

HARLOW: Really interesting. Kara, thanks for that reporting.

SCIUTTO: Yes. A lot of questions about who that mystery company is.

HARLOW: And the government.

SCIUTTO: And which country that mystery company is tied to. HARLOW: Yes. All right. Let's talk 2020 because hey, it's never too

early. Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Cory Booker hinting that their decisions imminent about 2020. What impact could they have on this race? We'll discuss next.