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Senate Convenes And May Take A Vote on Trump's Proposal; The White House Is Moving Forward with Plans for A Trump State Of The Union in Congress; Republicans Question Purpose of Michael Cohen Testimony To Congress; Giuliani Cannot Get His Story Straight on The Trump Moscow Project; Rudy Giuliani Interviewed by Chris Cuomo And Jake Tapper; Giuliani to CNN, I Am Not Lying for The President. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 22, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That means we have much more ahead of us for this case. We know that you'll be following it. And that is it for me. "Newsroom" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for joining me this Tuesday. Here we are day 32 of the government shutdown and it's the show part of showdown playing out right now. In Congress, these two parties will present show votes this week, one in the Senate, the other in the House. The dueling bills aimed to reopen the U.S. government and both are set for the same fate. Nowhere. Since the House proposals will not pass the Senate and since the Senate plan won't even make it to the House, you have the majority leader Mitch McConnell he will be introducing legislation mirroring the President's suggestion to end the gridlock. It also established three years for Dreamers and some asylum seekers, but that is a nonstarter for Democrats and in a second you will hear why. Remember this, though, as all these bills pass each other like ships in the night, it has been ten days, ten, since the Democratic leadership and the President of the United States have talked to each other according to aides. Hours from now, the payroll deadline will pass once again, meaning 800,000 federal workers will miss a second paycheck if no deal is done. So, let's start the hour with CNN's Ryan Nobles up on Capitol Hill for us. Before you talk to me about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's response, we have some breaking details about the President's state of the union, which is it still happening next Tuesday? What's the latest in the last 60 seconds?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reporter: It depends on how you define what the state of the union is and the President and the White House have said that they are moving ahead with plans for the President to deliver a speech of some sort next week. The big question is, will it take place here on Capitol Hill and inside the chamber of the House of representatives. As of right now Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have made no change to their original request to President Trump to postpone the date of that state of the union because of concerns over security. Now, we have no idea what the President plans. He did ask over the weekend his staff asking the sergeant of arms here to have a walk through on Martin Luther King Day which was yesterday to get a sense of what the room was like to prepare for that speech and that did not happen. There is a bit of a stalemate here. We asked speaker Pelosi about that earlier today and she did not have a direct response. Plans are still up in the air. The White House planning on giving the speech. We just don't know when or where that speech will take place. This is all against the backdrop of the shutdown. This would not even be a conversation with the government was open and all of the resources available to the federal government to protect the President and those that would attend the speech were in place. It just looks like there's no progress being made on that front. Speaker Pelosi telling us today that the President's proposal from over the weekends was a nonstarter. There's just no way the Democrats are going to trade temporary protection for the Dreamers in an exchange for what they view as a permanent barrier on the southern border, even though the numbers may be less than what they agreed to in the past. The fact is Democrats are not interested in cutting a deal on these terms. The final point, really, this conversation doesn't matter at all to Democrats. They do not want to tie the conversation about border security with a government shutdown. They want to open the government first and have the conversation about border security later, so what this means, Brooke, is as you said before, we're only going to see show boats this week and symbolism and the government will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
BALDWIN: Show votes in the show that is the shutdown showdown. Ryan Nobles. Thank you very much on the no progress front. We are getting some new details from the FBI on the serious effects the shutdown is having on national security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM O'CONNOR, PRESIDENT FBI AGENTS ASSOCIATION: Fund the FBI now. The failure to fund the FBI is making it more difficult for us to do our jobs, to protect the people of our country, from criminals and terrorists. This is not about politics or partisanship. As I have said, special agents are working and are committed to protecting our country, but we need funding to do our work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The FBI Agents Association says several operations are at risk including crimes against children and sex trafficking, drug and gang crimes, counterterrorism and officials cited this real- life example from an anonymous agent. "As a joint terrorism task force coordinator, the inability to pay confidential human sources has had a detrimental effect on our counterterrorism investigations.
[14:05:00] We've lost several who have worked for months and years to penetrate groups and target subjects."
13,000 FBI agents are working without pay. And from the FBI to the TSA, one in ten TSA workers called out Sunday. I can't say called out sick since the agency said in its own release many employees are reporting that they are not able to work due to financial limitations. So, it's -- it's finances that's forcing them out. Monday's statistics just released are a little bit better but still the number of callouts is more than double than the same day a year ago. We should point out overall that TSA average wait times are still within 30-minute standards but some airports experienced longer wait times than others and my next guest has most definitely seen that. A pleasure to have someone and the mayor of my hometown, pleasure to have you at CNN. Joining me now the mayor of Atlanta. A pleasure to have the mayor of my hometown, pleasure to have you at CNN.
KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, MAYOR OF ATLANTA: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: The busiest airport in the world, Atlanta Hartsfield, all these -- they're not even sickouts. They just can't afford to go to work, they need to make money elsewhere, these TSA folks, what do you say to that?
BOTTOMS: It's concerning on many levels, obviously. We're concerned about our federal workers across the country but as we prepare for the Super Bowl when we are expecting a record number of crowds upwards of 120,000 people going through our airport, we are extremely concerned in Atlanta.
BALDWIN: I want to ask you about the Super Bowl in a second, but recently some Republicans floated this idea to "The Washington Post" as it pertains to these TSA agents, a couple senior Republicans tell me, this is "The Washington Post," the only way this breaks open, meaning the shutdown ends, if it's TSA employees stay home and American get furious about their flights, that's the only out they say and their close to the White House. Would you agree if all the TSA folks all across the country didn't show up that this thing would be over?
BOTTOMS: I think that we've got to park the theatrics. It right now is about us reaching an agreement to get our federal government going again --
BALDWIN: Do you think that would end it? They're not being theatrical. They're like, I can't make ends meet.
BOTTOMS: By theatrics, I mean, as we're asking our federal employees to take a stance. I also hope that our federal leaders beginning with our President will begin to have reasonable conversations about how we end the shutdown. What we know in flan is we have TSA agents who are continuing to show up, although they aren't being paid and they've shown up for weeks. We're grateful for that, but we do know that when you have an event, the magnitude of the Super Bowl that there are challenges that we are going to face even if we were fully staffed. We're grateful that TSA has sent us additional agents, but certainly we will have record number of crowds coming through our airport and it's going to be a challenge if we're short TSA agents.
BALDWIN: Is the city of Atlanta prepared for that? That is less than two weeks from now.
BOTTOMS: We are prepared as we possibly can be. We've gotten additional agents in from other cities, again, working without pay. We also have many of our partners such as delta air lines stepping up to provide our employees offering services to help passengers get through. We're providing free parking for TSA agents. Also, many of our concessionaries are providing -- to pay for guess to even get to work, then obviously there are other problems there.
BALDWIN: What about the stadium? I had read that it's the NFL that's in charge of security, but I mean, I'm sure there are a number of people who want to come to Atlanta, who want to see the game, who might be hesitating because of security concerns? Should they be concerned?
BOTTOMS: We feel good about where we are with public safety. We have a coordination of over 40 agencies including local, state and federal agencies. So far, we haven't felt the impact on the shutdown on what's happening with public safety. But what we count on will be our public to make sure that if they see something that they say something. That's why we feel good about where we are with security and it's really our hope that by the time we get to the super bowl, we'll be long past the shutdown.
BALDWIN: Quickly just on the theatrics, your word, the President over the weekend put forth this deal and the Democrats outright rejected it. They didn't even put forth a counteroffer.
[14:10:00] BOTTOMS: Well, any time that you're negotiating, I was a judge for many years and I'm also an attorney. You have to start at a point of something that's reasonable and what the President put forth was not reasonable.
BALDWIN: Wasn't he at least moving an inch and the Democrats didn't mirror that?
BOTTOMS: Well, if you move an inch but you've already taken us back ten miles then what difference does it make? You have to start at a point of something that's reasonable and what the President put forth was not reasonable.
BALDWIN: Wasn't he at least moving an inch and the Democrats didn't mirror that?
BOTTOMS: Well, if you move an inch but you've already taken us back ten miles then what difference does it make? When the President puts something forth that's reasonable, then we can have a reasonable conversation on how we end this shutdown.
BALDWIN: Atlanta Mayor, thank you so much.
BOTTOMS: Thank you for having me.
Developing right now, we're learning when President Trump's former lawyer goes to testify before Congress in two weeks, his lawyers say key topics will be off limits and that has Republicans on the House Oversight Committee questioning what's the point of the Cohen appearance. Let's talk to Jessica Schneider on that. What can't he talk about?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: He can't talk about a lot, Brooke, according to this letter from two key Republicans in the House Oversight Committee who are really seriously down playing Michael Cohen's upcoming testimony on February 7th saying he can't talk about any of these ongoing investigations. So as such they're tempering expectations, there really won't be a lot that he can talk about. Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, both senior members of the oversight committee, they're saying they've talked to Cohen's attorney and Davis has said Cohen won't address anything currently under investigation, whether it's federal prosecutors in New York or anything under investigation by the special counsel's office. The letter is putting it this way, saying, we will not be hearing testimony about why Cohen intentionally provided false or misleading testimony to the United States Congress in previous appearances, we will not be able to learn more about Cohen's role in federal campaign finance law violations. According to Davis, Cohen's testimony will be circumscribed to what he and you are comfortable with him addressing.
So that really references Cohen's guilty plea to lying to Congress about his -- about how long the discussions with Donald Trump relating to Trump Tower Moscow lasted. That's a subject that has gotten considerable attention in the past few days from Rudy Giuliani. And plus, Cohen won't be able to talk about some of the financial crimes in the past that he has also pleaded guilty to. As you said at the top, that leaves the question, what will he be talking about? This letter here it does say that Cohen's answers will be limited to personal anecdotes about his time working for Donald Trump. Also, any experiences he had after President Trump became President and they put this out there, Brooke, Cohen didn't even really want to testify in open session next month. They say his attorney convinced him too. All the while they're down playing this, really making a case maybe for Cohen not to come and testify, but it seems like it is still on. He will be there in open session on February 7th. Brooke?
BALDWIN: Still got it circled on my calendar. Thank you very much. So much of this getting knocked off the table.
A question that's been echoed over the past 48 hours, what is Rudy Giuliani up to? Is the President's lawyer in cleanup mode or is he intentionally trying to create all kinds of confusion? Among the bizarre new comments, what Giuliani fears could end up on his grave stone?
Also, quote, this is the worst bleeping job I've ever had. That's just one of several anecdotes in his new book who describes an absolutely out of control staff inside the Trump White House. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Here we go. After nearly a week of baffling contradictory and hypothetical statements about President Trump and his ties to Russia, Rudy Giuliani has more than a few of us asking one question, what the heck is he doing? Anyone? Anyone? Yes. Last Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani talked to Chris Cuomo where Giuliani did this total 180 on the all-important topic of collusion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR THE PRESIDENT: I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign -- CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Yes, you have.
GIULIANI: I have not. I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, the problem is, Giuliani did say there was no collusion and he kept talking even though probably shouldn't have because a couple days later Robert Mueller's office gave the White House a big assist publicly disputing that "BuzzFeed" article claiming Trump told his former fixer to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. Let me just say this again, the special counsel which has not said a peep about a thing in two years decided to publicly knock down this report that had some calling for the President to be impeached. After that, you would think team Trump might lie low, take the "W," not Rudy. Here he is again on CNN, this time with Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: If he had any discussions with him, they'd be about the version of the events that Michael Cohen gave them which they all believe was true. I believed it was true. I still believe it may be true.
[14:20:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: But you just acknowledged that President Trump might have talked to him about his testimony?
GIULIANI: And so what, if he talked to him about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Hours later, Rudy Giuliani talked to the "New York Times" and said, Trump told him talks about the Moscow project were in Trump's words, going on from the day I announced to the day I won. The next day, Rudy walks it had back saying his comments were hypothetical and not based on real conversations with the President. And that brings us to Rudy's chat with "The New Yorker" where he declared the "BuzzFeed" story was false because, plot twist, there are tapes. You can see the whole exchange there on your screen. How does Rudy know the "BuzzFeed" reporting was wrong because he said he listened to the tapes? Wait, what tapes, the reporter asked? Just kidding. I shouldn't have said there were tapes. Rudy Giuliani later says there are tapes, and I have listened to them. They just aren't tapes about the Moscow Tower project.
OK? OK. Dana Bash is with me now and hopefully unwind a lot of this because it is baffling is one word you can use. You apparently just got off the phone with Rudy Giuliani and you can fill me in on that conversation, but did he say if Trump is upset at all about the confusion surrounding all these discussions about the Trump Tower Moscow project. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That was one of the
most interesting things we talked about. We talked a lot about what you just laid out but big picture, I asked, I said, is the President pissed about all of this? He's not. He just wants it clarified. He understands how these things happen. It happens to him all the time. I've asked whether he's gotten any sense from either the President or other people in the legal team, anybody at all whether or not they think it might be time for him to take a break for a while and his response was, I don't think so. I don't get that sense. That's where he is, which I thought was noteworthy. Then also with regard to the confusion with Moscow. He again said to me what he has said to other reporters in his clarification tour saying -- he didn't mean anything beyond what he said last month or when this first came out that the President simply did not remember any conversations with Michael Cohen after the beginning of 2016 and that is what they told the special counsel. What is interesting is what we've been batting around here and some of our reporters have said on the air all day today is an open question about whether this confusion is going to lead to Robert Mueller and his team asking for a follow-up question from the President and what Giuliani said to me is, I'm not worried about it, but if Mueller does ask the question, we have told him no other answers, but the answer is really simple, the answer is, we don't know. We don't remember. Meaning exactly when the last time the President and Michael Cohen talked about the Trump Tower project in Moscow.
BALDWIN: Just a side question f he feels like he's on a clarification tour and the President is irked by the confusion, does Rudy Giuliani think he's being clear?
BASH: Look, he said to me I'm probably being too lawyerly about this. He's trying to be too specific about it. He understands to some extent that he -- the answers he gave on Sunday and then after that to the "New York Times" in particular confused things, which is why he's trying to -- you know, clarify one more time. I'm not sure the answer to that except that -- let's just actually answer it this way. Let's be blunt. He actually doesn't care, Brooke. He doesn't care. He doesn't care about the political fallout with regard to Rudy Giuliani. What he says he is focused on and I believe this is, making sure that the President is on terra firma legally and trying to understand the political waters. He says he's not doing this but, in the past, he has churned the political waters or taken some harpoons in preparation for things to come out later. In this case he's not doing that, but that is his sensibility and, you know, people are looking at, is he confused, what's he doing? He understands the situation and he doesn't seem to really care.
BALDWIN: OK. OK. On the terra firma note, you've obviously seen this back and forth he had with "the New Yorker" and there was this one fascinating piece of it where they asked Rudy Giuliani whether he's worried about saying things for Trump and the facts that he might, quote, not always be truthful about it and he said, quote, I'm afraid it will be on my gravestone and he clarified this when he talked to you. What did he mean by that?
[14:25:00] BASH: He was joking about that, but what has come from that are questions about whether or not what he meant was that he's lying for the President and that's what I asked Giuliani about when we spoke just a short while ago and this is what he said. He said, I'm not lying for the President. The reason I said that is everybody's concerned with legacy. I can't figure out why because you don't get a chance to whatever you do in life, you don't get a chance to shape the way people see it later so you do what you think is right. He also said to me that, you know, he understood when he took this job that 50 percent -- at least 50 percent of the country would hate him for it and he said that you used to be that you defended people who were in tough situations and you got credit for it and he said he still sees his job that way as a lawyer and, of course, as somebody who's been friends with Donald Trump for decades and decades.
BALDWIN: OK. Dana Bash on the clarification of the clarification of the clarification of Rudy Giuliani. Thank you, my friend.
BASH: Thanks, Brooke.
Coming up next, now that California Senator Kamala Harris is officially in the Presidential race.