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Pelosi Dared to Uninvite Trump; Democratic Field Grows to Nine; Workers Stage Protests; Nurse Charged in Arizona Case; Trump Recognizes Venezuelan President. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired January 23, 2019 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: As we go. We'll see if part of that finally comes out.

Thanks for joining us today on INSIDE POLITICS. Hope to see you back here at this time tomorrow. Have a great afternoon.

Brianna Keilar starts right now.


I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.

Underway right now, two bills to end the shutdown, both destined to fail. And as the debacle escalates, more and more Americans are blaming President Trump.

Isn't it ironic. The president says the centerpiece of the shutdown is to keep America secure, but many in charge of protecting the nation say the shutdown is actually making the country less safe, including on the border.

And she's the liberal that conservatives love to hate and she says the world is going to end in 12 years because of climate change and compares the fight to World War II.

And a male nurse arrested in the health care facility where a woman gave birth while in a vegetative state that she'd been in for years. Hear how investigators found the guy.

But up first, State of the Union stalemate. President Trump, today, vowed to deliver the annual address from the House chamber next Tuesday, essentially daring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to disinvite him. We'll have more on that in a minute.

Meantime, the stage is set for votes on two bills to re-open the government. But neither is expected to pass as this shutdown drags into day 33. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow votes tomorrow on two competing bills, including the president's proposal that includes billions for his border wall.

The Senate will also vote on a plan passed by House Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats to re-open the government with no money for the wall. All of this coming as a new CBS poll shows 71 percent of Americans don't think the wall is worth the government shutdown. Other recent polls show a majority of Americans blame President Trump and the Republicans for the shutdown. And in CNN's average of the latest polls, the president's approval rating is at 37 percent, while 57 percent disapprove of his job performance.

CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip is covering all of this for us.

So, Abby, what are you hearing from the White House about this standoff over the State of the Union?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is the latest in what has been a shutdown characterized by brinksmanship and also showmanship. Just in the last half an hour, the White House finally responding officially to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's letter asking the president to postpone his State of the Union citing security concerns.

Now, in this letter, which is really dripping with sarcasm from beginning to end, the president says there are no security concerns with the State of the Union, and he adds this, I will be honoring your invitation and fulfilling my constitutional duty to deliver information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the state of our union. I look forward to seeing you on the evening of January 29th in the chamber of the House of Representatives. It would be so sad for our country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule and, very importantly, on location.

This is effectively the president daring Pelosi to disinvite him formally from delivering the State of the Union Address, which would have been scheduled for next Tuesday, if that's what this whole thing is all about. The White House has been saying for days now that the security concerns that Pelosi cited are unfounded. The Secret Service and the FBI say it is perfectly within their ability to do this. But at the same time, the ball is in Pelosi's court. She has the ability to say that you're not invited, Mr. President. And if she does that, the White House has said that they are going to move forward with some plan b, some other options for delivering a speech to the American public on Tuesday.

KEILAR: All right, Abby, at the White House, thank you.

And we have CNN political director David Chalian with us.

So the president here is essentially -- he's daring Nancy Pelosi.


KEILAR: And this also seems like a statement, when you look at it, that it's like he wrote it himself. I mean it just seems so clearly in his voice.

CHALIAN: Well, it's scripted for reality television, right?

KEILAR: Yes. CHALIAN: I mean this president has a flair for the dramatic and he understands this move that he's making right now has just raised the stakes. It's something he loves to do, have this high-profile moment now. And, as you said, daring the speaker, who now has to make a choice. Now Speaker Pelosi has to make a choice about whether allowing the tradition of the speech to move forward, or to stick to her guns and say, this should not move forward at a time the government's shut down.

Her security argument seems to be gone, which the Homeland Security secretary made clear, the president made clear. So now the speaker would have to make her argument probably on different grounds if she does, indeed, disinvite the president.

KEILAR: But, really quickly, isn't she -- isn't he, in a way, just allowing her to show that she's the one controlling this though ultimately?

CHALIAN: There's no doubt she's in control of this. She runs the process. As you know, Brianna, she actually -- you have to pass a resolution in Congress to actually have the joint session.


CHALIAN: And so Nancy Pelosi controls what gets passed on the floor of the House of Representatives. So there's no doubt she's in control of whether or not he speaks from the House of Representatives on that night.

[13:05:07] KEILAR: Yes, whether it works for her politically may be the question.

CHALIAN: Right now she's got the political leverage.

KEILAR: That's right.

CHALIAN: You just went through those polls, yes.

KEILAR: Yes. OK, so and speaking of the polls, this puts more pressure on the president, does it, really? You look as well at the GOP. There's a large contingent that isn't in favor of the wall for the shutdown?

CHALIAN: That is true. He doesn't have his party 100 percent unified in the position. But, still, he's got more than two-thirds of his party who says do not budge according to the CBS News poll out this morning. He still has his base of support with him, Brianna, and so the question is as it has always been since you and I sat here the first day he met with Pelosi and Schumer in the Oval Office about this and said I own the shutdown. The question is, is he trying to win over the American public on this or is he simply trying to continue to fortify his base and make sure there are no cracks in it. Every move he has made thus far suggests it's the latter not the former.

KEILAR: Oh, great, let talk about 2020 contenders, because there's a lot of them, right? CHALIAN: Yes.

KEILAR: OK, there's nine who either say they're definitely doing it or they're exploring the run.

CHALIAN: And it's January 23rd and there are nine already.

KEILAR: It's insane. OK, so it's going to get wild. So Pete Buttigieg, which -- that's how you say it. That's how he said it, I should say. I checked. He's in the running. He is an openly gay Afghan War vet. Tell us about him.

CHALIAN: Yes, and he's 37 years old. He's the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. And he is young, as you noted. And that is going to be the centerpiece of his campaign. And generational argument. He said it today and it works in two ways. He's taking on President Trump quite directly by saying, we can't turn the clock back to 1950, so he's taking on the whole make America great again slogan.

But he's also taking on his own party. He says, we can't even turn the clock back to 2010. By the way, that's when Joe Biden was vice president. That was the Obama era. So to have sort of the elder statesman of the party, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, even Elizabeth Warren, clearly the congressional Democratic leadership in the House in charge of the House right now, all in their 70s, he's making the case, it is time for a new generation of leadership.

What's amazing is, he's not only -- he's not the only 37-year-old Iraq or Afghan War vet in the race already. Tulsi Gabbard is 37-years-old and served and is also in the race.


CHALIAN: He doesn't even have that -- that particular lane to himself.

KEILAR: That is saying something.

All right, David Chalian, thank you so much.


KEILAR: And let's talk a little bit more about this standoff between the president and the speaker.

I want to bring in "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter.

And you see -- I mean you heard David Chalian. He said this is made for reality television, no doubt.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think what Pelosi has been doing is speaking Trump's language. That's what was so interesting about the initial letter discouraging him from giving a speech. Of course, we know Pelosi has the power to deny him the speech, but her initial letter, this response, it was as if the speaker of the House was speaking Trump language by making this about television because essentially what is on the line for the president is his show was being canceled, right? His annual show is being cancelled. That is where we are. He wants to go on with the show. She's probably not going to let him.

But I do think it's telling that this "Apprentice" star cares a lot about this speech. He cares about -- a lot about this television event. And I think it's really important that what Chalian was saying about the polling, we've seen the president give multiple speeches arguing in favor of a border wall and arguing for his position about the shutdown and the importance of the shutdown. But those speeches he's given have not helped him sway public opinion. If anything, they've actually done the opposite effect and turned public opinion against him.

So I don't know why the White House thinks another big prime time speech will actually sway public opinion on the shutdown. That's a curious part of this. If they wanted to have a State of the Union Address to argue in support of a border wall, and argue for the president's position, the polling indicates that probably isn't going to work.

I also think, you know, I love the State of the Union. I don't know what you think, Brianna. I love the pomp and pageantry. But more Americans don't' watch. The last year, about 46 million Americans watched in a country of 300 million. So it is not -- it is not something that necessarily would even sway public opinion in the president's direction.

KEILAR: Unless he's not trying to sway public opinion because his base is with him, right? Which is concerning as we look for a resolution here.

STELTER: Right. And he'll end up probably having a rally instead, right? If Pelosi says no, he'll end up having a rally. It will only be carried on Fox. And it's not going to move the needle nationally. But, you're right, it will enflame and motivate his base. And perhaps that is the ultimate goal.

KEILAR: All right, Brian Stelter, thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

KEILAR: Meantime, federal employees call for an end to the shutdown without saying a word, gathering in the Hart Senate Office Building, more than 100 workers stage a silent protest. They held up paper plates to remind lawmakers they have families to feed.

We have CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux there following all of this.

Tell us about what organizers are telling you.


I mean it really is a very interesting and very unique way of protesting here. It was called Occupy Hart. The organizers say that it was several hundred people who were actually gathered here. A lot of federal employees, as well as union representatives who were here. They got together on FaceBook, a page, more than ten different organizations represented.

[13:10:18] And it was 33 minutes of silence. And it was 33 minutes of silence. One minute of silence for every day that the government has been shut down. They were not allowed to bring in signs, so they actually did have paper plates and they brought in. We saw them write down these messages saying things like "up against the wall" and "food for feds," things like that. And what they plan to do, what the strategy here is, is to let people know, hey, we are suffering, there's pain. Also that the government shutdown has an impact on everyone.

And then finally, and this is the final stage of this strategy when we talk to folks, is that they are going to try to pressure members of Congress to open up this government and do something.

I want to talk to Ryan Bower (ph). He is actually somebody I met two weeks ago. We had a conversation. We went to your house. You are -- you're not working. You're not getting paid. And I just want to check in with you, Ryan, because the last time when we talked, you were volunteering. And you were giving your blood platelets and you were feeding folks. And I understand now it's a lot -- it's a lot tougher for you. What are you doing?

RYAN BOWER, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: I'm trying to stay busy doing productive things. I do look for those volunteer opportunities still. I try to check on my coworkers and my friends, make sure that they're doing OK. This was an amazing experience today. I know a lot of folks that are afraid to speak out, to have their voice be heard, to say that we matter. But today we stood here in this atrium and told the world that we matter. Our work matters.

And some of these people I know. Many of these people I do not know. But we all had one message today, and that's that our work is important. We matter. Don't treat people this way. We are anxious. We don't see an end to this. We want to see an end to this. It's time.

I -- when I met you two weeks ago, I did not think we would still be here today. I don't think anybody thought that this was possible. And the other day I was walking through the snow thinking to myself, I don't see an end. I don't see an end to this long, dark hallway that we're in. And I hope that there's some leadership that helps us find some light here for over a million -- millions of families that rely on the work we do and the paychecks that we do.

MALVEAUX: All right, Ryan, thank you so much. I wish the very best. And, of course, we'll be in touch with you.

One of the things that people were saying that they're going to do, they call it bird dogging. I hadn't heard that phrase before. But essentially it is running behind members of Congress here on The Hill asking them, what are they going to do to re-open this government?

So, as you can hear, Brianna, in Ryan's voice, really, a sense of anxiety and frustration and holding their leaders now accountable that there is going to be more and more of this type of activity on The Hill.


KEILAR: Yes, definitely a lot of anxiety across the board.

Suzanne Malveaux, thank you.

Now, President Trump makes his case pretty simply. For him the wall means security. He says it will stop crime, it will stop drugs and it will stop human trafficking. And he has shown that he's willing to shut down the government to get it. But the irony is thick considering that the shutdown is actually making America less safe. Think about it. You've heard the stories of TSA agents calling in sick so they can find paying jobs. Add to that unpaid air traffic controllers, many of whom are probably distracted by the uncertainty of how they're going to feed their families. Wouldn't you be? I mean that makes air travel less safe.

So think about the food that you put on the table. What if I told you that food inspections are being affected? Fewer inspections mean more chances for a health threat to sneak through. FBI agents are also going without pay. They're having to rely on food donations from neighbors.


THOMAS O'CONNOR, PRESIDENT, FBI AGENTS ASSOCIATION: Realistically, FBI agents should not have to go work at a store stocking shelves because they can't feed their families on their government job. They're still working 50-plus hours a week, so when are they going to find time to go get that second job? It's ridiculous.


KEILAR: A new report from the FBI Agent's Association has other detail, like one joint terrorism task force coordinator who says they have lost informants at the center of terrorism investigations. They're also working without FBI translators, which is hampering investigations of the violent MS-13 gang that the president rails against. And agents say the FBI could soon run out of money for all kinds of investigations.

Now, then there's the Coast Guard, the only branch of the military not getting paid. And that is not sitting well with commanders.


ADMIRAL KARL SCHULTZ, COMMANDANT OF U.S. COAST GUARD: We're five plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay. You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden. I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day to day life as service members.


[13:15:18] KEILAR: That means that our shores could be less safe.

And, finally, what about the southern border, where the wall would go? Remember when the president was down there a couple of weeks ago? The border patrol agents around him, they aren't getting paid. Customs and Border Protection officers, they just aren't getting paid. And some of them worry that they're losing the ability to recruit good people because of the shutdown. None of that is good for the safety of this country.

And adding to all of the insecurity is the effect on the economy. One estimate putting it at right around $5.5 billion, which is nearly the same amount that the president wants for the wall.

The freshman Democrat who has become a punching bag for conservatives say climate change will end the world in 12 years and she's added to a very high-profile committee.

Plus, how the student at the center of this controversial video responds to people who call him a racist. You'll really want to hear this.

And police arresting a nurse in the terrible story of a woman giving birth while in a vegetative state while under care in a facility. Hear the clue that broke open the case.


[13:20:42] KEILAR: Authorities make an arrest in the case of a woman in a vegetative state who gave birth at a health care center. And the suspect, Nathan Sutherland, worked as a licensed practical nurse at the Hacienda Health Care Facility in Phoenix. Officials there say they didn't know that the woman was pregnant until she was giving birth last month. Sutherland faces preliminary charges of sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse.

We have Sergeant Tommy Thompson with us. He's the public information officer for the Phoenix Police Department.

Sir, thanks for being with us.

And tell us how the department was able to identify the suspect and also what's next for him?

SGT. TOMMY THOMPSON, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, PHOENIX POLICE: Well, thank you for letting me come and talk to you.

So what the process that we went through with the investigation was after we responded to the scene, determined it was a sexual assault, our detectives had been working pretty much nonstop for the last three and a half weeks to go through the process of identifying a possible suspect. That involved obtaining search warrants to serve to obtain records from the facility and then those were followed up by court orders to obtain DNA evidence for comparison.

So through that process, it was a process of going through and identifying anyone who may have had contact with the victim. And that's a laborious process. But they were going through and yesterday they got to Mr. Nathan Sutherland. And they brought him in and under court order they obtained a buccal swab, or buccal swab, which is a DNA evidence that they obtained. They went ahead and tested that with our crime lab. And our scientists in the crime laboratory were able to successfully identify and match that he was the father of the baby in the sexual assault.

KEILAR: And can you tell us about the baby? We know the family is caring for the baby. How is the baby doing?

THOMPSON: The baby is doing well, I am told.

And one of the things that we keep in mind is, this is essentially the newest member of our community here in Phoenix. And so while we don't do a lot to identify the baby, because down -- down throughout time that baby is going to have a life. But what we do as a community is we put our arms around that child and say, we're glad you're part of our community. And we're tickled that this baby is doing well.

KEILAR: Well, so are we, Sergeant Thompson. Thank you so much for being with us. And we are very glad the baby is doing well.

THOMPSON: Thank you. Appreciate that.

KEILAR: And we'll have more on our breaking news. The president essentially daring Speaker Nancy Pelosi to disinvite him to give the State of the Union at the Capitol next week.

And also, conservatives are once again taking aim at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this time for calling climate change our World War II.


[13:28:14] KEILAR: We have some breaking news.

President Trump has officially recognized a new interim president of Venezuela. And this comes after days of violent protests in the country. We have journalist Stefano Pozzebon in Caracas to take us through this.

The president, President Trump, may recognize the new president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, but the Maduro regime does not. Tell us -- tell us about what's happened, Stefano.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, exactly, Brianna. We are seeing history being made here in Venezuela in front of our eyes. The president of the legislative power, the president of the parliament of Venezuela, has sworn himself in as the new interim president, as the new chief of state of this country, in order to call for fresh -- for fresh, new elections as soon as possible.

And this comes after years of deep political divide, deep constitutional clashes between the legislative power, which is in the hands of the anti-Maduro opposition, and the executive, the presidency and the military apparatus who are firmly in the hands of Mr. Maduro. Right now what we are seeing is the opposition going all in, trying

(INAUDIBLE) and really pushing as far as they can to try to break through the situation, with the support of the White House, with the support of President Trump. We know, for example, Juan Guaido, the president of the Venezuelan parliament, has spoken with Vice President Pence and has received the support, has received words of support. He has decided to throw himself in and to go all in. And now we're waiting to see the reaction from the Maduro government, Brianna.

[13:30:002] KEILAR: Indeed. We will be watching for that. Stefano Pozzebon, thank you so much.