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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Source: Trump Weighing Executive Action On Border Wall; Pelosi Pull Plug On Trump's State Of The Union Plans; Source: White House Were Caught Off Guard By Pelosi's Swift Response To Trump, Pulling The Plug On His State Of The Union Speech; White House Officials Surprised By Pelosi's Swift Trump Disinvite; Michael Cohen Postpones Congressional testimony Citing "Threats" Against His Family By Trump, Giuliani; Cohen Postpones Testimony, Citing "Threats" From Trump. Aired: 7-8p ET
Aired January 23, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: All right, Barbara. Thank you very much, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: OutFront next, breaking news, President Trump considering an executive action to get the wall as Nancy Pelosi pulls the plug on the State of the Union and the shutdown no end in sight. Plus Michael Cohen saying he no longer testify to Congress claiming Trump is threatening his family. Is the President guilty? And the story you will see only OutFront, our Ed Lavandera goes underground in a newly discovered tunnel on the border to see exactly how drug cartels would get around Trump's new wall. Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news, President Trump considering executive action to build the wall. This is according to a GOP source who says the President is putting the idea back on the table if there's no deal with Democrats soon, and there is no deal tonight. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cancelled President Trump's State of the Union and the President today, late this afternoon lashing out at her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nancy Pelosi or Nancy as I call her, she doesn't want to hear the truth and she doesn't want to hear more importantly the American people hear the truth. So we just found out that she's cancelled that and I think that's a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love. It's a great, great horrible mark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Okay, one big takeaway would be this, the State of the Union is not strong just look at the childish letters that Trump and Pelosi sent each other today. Yes, they were actual letter, right? Hand delivery, not text, not emails, not calls. It started today with the President. So he sent Nancy Pelosi a letter which began this way: "Dear Madam Speaker:
Thank you for your letter of January 3, 2019 sent to me long after the Shutdown began, inviting me to address the Nation on January 29th as to the State of the Union."
Okay. Now, the President obviously is making claim that because Pelosi invited him when the government was already shutdown she can't now cancel his speech citing the shutdown. He then continued in his letter to say, "Accordingly, there are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union address. Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding our State of the Union."
He's citing the Department of Homeland Security saying there's no Secret Service issue with him going ahead of the delivery. Now, Nancy Pelosi says, "I never thought it would be shutdown this long and that's why I invited you to begin with and took the dare. She wrote him a letter and she cancelled the State of the Union.
Nancy writing in quote, "I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the present State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government is open." Cancelled, and Trump was not happy. So at least he stopped this the silly little letter, he decided to respond to the cameras.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The State of the Union speech has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi, because she doesn't want to hear the truth. She doesn't want the American public to hear what's going on and she's afraid of the truth. And the super left Democrats, the radical Democrats, what's going on in that party is shocking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This game of canceling the State of the Union and writing letters is really no joke because Trump and Pelosi spent the day doing this on their formal letter ad as 800,000 Americans are preparing to go without a second paycheck, right, and then there was a week before that. So you're now at 33 days and counting. No one is doing anything to help the 800,000 federal workers who are getting a second 0.00 dollar paycheck and now struggling desperately to make ends meet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADMIRAL KARL SCHULTZ: COMMANDANT, COAST GUARD: 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.
TRISH GILBERT, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: We have critical components to safety that are not there. We have processes not there, training not taking place, distraction in the workplace. TOM O'CONNOR, PRESIDENT, FBI AGENTS ASSOCIATION: Having to have food
brought into your FBI office to assist family members to actually bring food home so they can feed their families, that's just outrageous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It is outrageous and Kaitlan Collins is OutFront live outside the White House. Kaitlan, no deal tonight and you have new reporting that when the President wrote his letter, sort of taunting, "Hey, Nancy Pelosi, you invited me when the government shutdown, so now you can't uninvite me." He was caught off guard when she responded by doing just that.
KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. They weren't expecting this because Erin in their mind when Nancy Pelosi sent that letter suggesting to the President postpone the State of the Union, she hadn't actually formally disinvited him from giving it.
So they thought when they sent this letter today they were calling Nancy Pelosi's bluff. They thought this is a political stunt on her part and they were going to press forward with that invitation that she gave after the government had already shut down to go ahead and deliver the State of the Union. They weren't expecting that pushback from her to say, "Well, actually, I'm not going to introduce this resolution. So formally you cannot come and deliver that address in front of Congress on Capitol Hill."
And now tonight, they're looking at other venues for the President to give a speech next week. One idea that's imploded is the President doing a campaign style rally, but some of the President's advisors have urged him against it because they believe that in those settings, they're not traditional enough to mirror the very formal speech that the State of the Union is, and often it rallies the President goes off message and feeds off the crowd and it's not a State of the Union address. So they're debating what to do there and the President said that'll be announced shortly.
But in the meanwhile, beyond just the State of the Union, the White House is also trying to decide what to do about the shutdown. They're widely expecting those two bills that are going to be brought up in the Senate tomorrow to fail but they believe that once both of those fail, including the President's proposal that then they will be able to start negotiating with Democrats once again, which basically means, Erin, this day 33 of the shutdown is turning in today 34.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. I want to go now to Steve Moore. He was at the White House today with the President, right, you saw him today speaking and Steve Moore was there. He's an informal White House Advisor. Joan Walsh is National Affairs Correspondent with The Nation and Patrick Healy is the Politics Editor of The New York Times.
So Steve, you were there with the President today, a GOP source telling us tonight that the President is considering that executive action to build the wall if this doesn't end soon. Did he talk at all about that?
Stephen Moore, Attended Trump Meeting At The White House Today: It's funny. I know that subject came up about whether the President would use executive action. I don't recall him saying that. I'm not saying he didn't, but we talked about a lot of things. So I can't confirm that he said that. But I think the mood among all of these conservative leaders was that Trump has made a very reasonable offer to Pelosi. In fact, I was worried that some people would say on the right, "Oh, this is just an amnesty and we can't go along with this."
But I think Trump has certainly unified conservatives behind us and on the State of the Union, I have to say this, I mean, what is Nancy Pelosi afraid of? I mean why in the world wouldn't - is she worried that Trump is going to make his case in front a national audience? I mean it seems a little bit of a seventh grade maneuver by her.
BURNETT: I mean, both of the letters as I've said, I mean, it's pretty pathetic that we're writing letters back and forth and hand delivering them and not talking.
BURNETT: I mean, when it comes though to the President said, "I'm coming to do it," and then she wrote back and said, "Actually, it's cancelled." You heard Kaitlan saying that the President was surprised by that, that they didn't expect that. They thought they had called her bluff. Did they just not know who they're up against?
MOORE: Well, I don't understand. I don't think the American people understand even the rationale for not having the State of the Union speech. I mean does anybody really believe that we can't keep the capital safe at this point. And you're right that this is a major confrontation between our two parties, why not let the American people hear the President and, of course, Nancy Pelosi or whoever the democrat might be.
I think they're worried that Trump is going to make a really strong case that he's put on the table. You open the border and do the doc legalization and I think that Democrats are afraid to allow the American people to hear that message.
BURNETT: Afraid? Joan? Is she's afraid, is that why?
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Erin, no, she's not afraid. She's anything but afraid. He should be very afraid. I mean the President had two chances to make his case to the American people and his poll numbers continue to crater. So Nancy Pelosi is not afraid. She is showing him that we have separation of powers. She has the right to either invite him or not invite him and she has chosen not to invite him while the government is shut down.
She has said, "Open the government, you can come speak. We will negotiate." But she's saying, "You will not take these 800,000 Americans hostage to your whim of a wall." There's still more than a billion dollars that has been allocated for the wall that remains unspent. It's closer to 2 billion maybe Patrick can check me on that. So this is a stunt by the President and it's not going to end until he realizes that she means business.
BURNETT: When you talk about the stunt, Patrick, I mean these letters?
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right.
BURNETT: I mean it's ridiculous. I mean I understand someone can say, "Oh, you pick on the guy for using Twitter all the time." But I mean this is absurd.
HEALY: Yes. No, it was getting into the sandbox pretty badly. But what's interesting is President Trump for the last two years has been a norm breaking president. We can go through the list, him siding with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence agencies in questioning American involvement in NATO, him taking his talking points and his agenda from Fox News, and shutting down the government over his border wall.
Now, you have Nancy Pelosi, yes, breaking a norm not inviting the President to speak in the House. But we have to remember this is not so extraordinary given the context and the abnormal nature of the Trump presidency for so long and the reality is what would that State of the Union be like in the house, you would have had all of those new freshmen Democrats who see President Trump as, we can choose a lot of words that we're not going to say on television, but like an outrage in a lot of ways and you would have the President probably getting up there giving an unbelievably political speech about all of his accomplishments, about the shutdown, about the wall, and it would have descended into probably a lengthy amount of boos. But as it is right now at some point, they need to get out of the sound box.
BURNETT: Hopefully not a parliamentary type of altercation. Again, I say these things but not to make light, I mean the strategy for President today Joan that ...
MOORE: Could I say something about that, Erin?
BURNETT: ... I'm sorry, go ahead. Yes.
MOORE: I mean I was on CNN the night last year when Donald Trump gave his State of the Union speech and even his opponent said that was one of the best - this guy hits those out of the park and that's why I think the Democrats don't want him to give that speech ...
HEALY: Yes, but Steve it's a totally different context right now. You're in the longest ...
MOORE: ... because he's a great, great speech maker.
(CROSSTALK) WALSH: He's really not, Steve. You're doing a good job, Steve, but
BURNETT: So the strategy ...
... that there is a strategy right now?
MOORE: I have to say I'm a little surprise that you guys are ...
BURNETT: But I want to - I just want to --
MOORE: ... that you're defending Pelosi. When Trump does things that I think are juvenile or inappropriate, I'm willing to say it. I'm surprised the three of you are defending Pelosi like kindergarten classes ...
BURNETT: I think we're saying this is juvenile. What happened today was juvenile with a letter writing, could that be more clear?
MOORE: Sure. Sure. But it's not the letter, it's that she's not allowing them to speak.
WALSH: Erin has been very clear. I am defending Nancy Pelosi. I am defending Nancy Pelosi. I want to go on the record saying I am defending Nancy Pelosi. I think what she did was exactly the right thing. She's raised five children and she knows how to deal with the toddler. She has never seen anything like this.
BURNETT: Okay. Now, he is trying to separate his - Nancy and Chuck as he calls them and he's doing so by using a very specific word, and he doesn't use words randomly. I think everyone should realize that he looks like he does, but he never is. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think that Chuck Schumer sadly is dominated by the radical left and he's dominated by Nancy Pelosi, very strongly dominated. He can't move. He's a puppet. He's a puppet for Nancy Pelosi if you can believe that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Puppet and dominated. Dominated, Joan, not a random word.
WALSH: Not a random word. He is projecting wildly. He is trying to emasculate Chuck Schumer, but Chuck Schumer is man enough to know that he needs to stand by Nancy Pelosi. She knows what she's doing so there is no daylight between Schumer and Pelosi. They are doing this correctly, but the President is showing us his own sexual insecurities by saying something like that about Chuck Schumer. It's kind of gross, but we expect no different.
BURNETT: What do you say to that, Steve? I mean why dominated by Nancy Pelosi?
MOORE: Because it's clear that Pelosi is driving the agenda here and look as a Conservative Republican I'm really happy with that. I want Nancy Pelosi to be - I think this is one time that I guess we agree, I think Nancy Pelosi for the Republicans is the - she's the gift that just keeps on giving and when she pulls these stunts like today I think she doesn't just make herself look petty, I think she makes the whole party look petty.
BURNETT: Patrick, when the president said that, there were two words he did today, he also said radical, radical Democrats. He threw it out the beginning and I remember saying, "Oh, he's going to do that again nine times."
BURNETT: Right? So he's pushing that - whether that will stick as an adjective, but the word dominated, I mean that was done very purposefully and I cannot imagine it is something that Chuck Schumer will do anything other than 1910 [00:03:41].
HEALY: No, I think he'll laugh. He's a New Yorker, he gets what Trump is doing, and what he's trying to imply. But I mean the reality is Trump - he has boxed himself in around here. He doesn't have Schumer to negotiate with. He doesn't have Pelosi to negotiate with. He's been trying to sort of divide them and find daylight. And I mean this sort of the childish antics, I don't think they're going to get him very far on this.
BURNETT: All right. Well, as Kaitlan said, it's going to be day 34 and counting. Thank you all.
And next, President Trump responding to Michael Cohen's claim. Cohen says he can't have this hearing in Congress that he actually offered to do, because the President is threatening his family. Plus, the Washington Post reporting the administration is making preparations in case the shutdown lasts until April and our Ed Lavandera live on the border. Guess what he's going to show you and you're going to see firsthand, new tunnels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED LAVANDERA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This is the labyrinth of tunnels in the drainage system underneath the City of Nogales, Mexico that is often used by drug smugglers and human smugglers to get people and drugs into the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: New tonight, Michael Cohen postponing his public hearing with the House Oversight Committee scheduled for February 7th. His reason, ongoing "threats" against his family from President Trump. That's a quote and his attorney likely referring to comments like these ... (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: His father-in-law is a very rich guy, I hear. His father-in- law I thought was the guy that was the primary focus. Well, what did he do, did he make a deal to keep his father-in-law out? Did you make a deal to keep his wife who supposedly, maybe I'm wrong but you can check it, did he make a deal to keep his wife out of trouble?
He should give information maybe on his father-in-law because that's the one that people want to look at because where does that money - that's the money in the family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So I hear, right? And a tweet where Trump said of Cohen quote "lying to reduce his jail time. Watch father-in-law." So he keeps bringing it up. President Trump though is now claiming he has not threatened Cohen at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would say he's been threatened by the truth. He's only been threatened by the truth. He doesn't want to tell the truth from me or other of his lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The Chairman of the Committee insisting quote "we will hear from him," talking about Cohen. Evan Perez is OutFront. Evan, all right, tell us exactly what's going on here?
EVAN PEREZ, SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I think the undercurrent of the Cohen case has been that one of the reasons why he pleaded guilty was in order to protect his family that during the time that they were negotiating for his plea, one of the things the prosecutors mentioned to him was that his wife had some legal exposure that she could possibly face charges.
And I think President Trump is pointing to the fact that some of this had to do with tax medallions, the father-in-law, Michael Cohen's father-in-law was part of that business and so the question was, would Republican lawmakers if Michael Cohen testified, would Republican lawmakers go there and make it much more uncomfortable for Michael Cohen? I think the answer is yes.
BURNETT: And, and so, Evan, to be clear when people say this, the President keeps bringing it up. There's all kinds of reasons that someone might think that that could be an implicit threat or causing a threat, but no one is saying that Trump or Giuliani themselves are going to go after Colin's family, right? It's almost absurd to say this I feel like but I just want to be clear. I mean what are the safety concerns Cohen could be talking about.
PEREZ: Right. I don't know. Nobody is saying that the President or Giuliani would do this. But look, again, the taxi medallion business is the one that is notoriously corrupt. It is something that organized crime has been involved in, there are multiple cases by the FBI just in the last few years pointing at this. And so it's not a small thing and it's not unreasonable for Michael Cohen to be concerned that when he goes to prison in March that his family or he could face some danger. So I think that's also at the top of Michael Cohen's mind as he made this decision.
BURNETT: All right, Evan, thank you very much. And I want to go now to John Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel and the former Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Carrie Cordero. John, did President Trump just silence Michael Cohen by repeatedly bringing up his father-in-law?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It appears that's the case that is least the reason they have publicly stated because of the President and his statements. Now, he hadn't said he's going to start a Department of Justice investigation against the father or the wife, but what he's doing is he's poking a hornet's nest and I think that's what's troubling Cohen and his wife, because he's obviously trying to prevent this testimony.
BURNETT: Right and certainly trying to get somebody to think Carrie perhaps that someone is going to look into the father-in-law, "Oh, the father-in-law will squeal on other people," what Evan is referring to, right, and that there could be danger. I mean is this a legitimate fear do you think that Michael Cohen may have?
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Well, when I look at Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen's lawyer's statement, I see three different explanations of why they canceled this hearing. So first one piece of it is the President and Rudy Giuliani's statements over the last several days which I think could be interpreted as maybe trying to intimidate his testimony or perhaps be political messaging to the President's allies and Congress that they should ask Michael Cohen about these types of issues related to his family business and his father-in-law's businesses and things like that.
The second piece is matters that might affect the Special Counsel's investigation and that was always a question that I had when this hearing was even announced is whether there were certain things that Michael Cohen might be asked that perhaps those members of Congress who don't want to disrupt that investigation would see it. And then the third piece that Lanny Davis mentioned is safety and that's a separate issue, I think, and I haven't heard a lot of information about what the basis of their safety concerns are.
BURNETT: All right, so on this point of Michael Cohen's testimony, this is the first time, at least, when Lanny Davis came out and said he's worried about his safety, his family's safety and that's why he's going to postpone this. It's the first time we've heard from Cohen since December. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Here's the truth,
the people of the United States of America, the people the world don't believe what he say. The man doesn't tell the truth and it said that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds. I will not be the villain of his story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Then like John reported, right, that Cohen is going to testify, come in front of Congress. The Wall Street Journal says that at the hearing he was going to quote "tell the story of what it's like to work for a madman, why he did it for so long. He's going to say things that will give you the chills." That's what he was going to say. But John, nothing about the Russian investigation was supposedly going to be asked, so this was all going to be stuff that was going to be at the very least hugely embarrassing for Trump, but not about the Russia investigation. So, I guess, do you think Trump's response makes sense that he would do whatever he could do to get Cohen to be quiet?
DEAN: He certainly does. I remember when I testified what I tried to do is put not only the problems Nixon had with Watergate, but the larger setting in which things happen. And I was surprised to read in Nixon's memoir that he said he wasn't particularly troubled by my Watergate related testimony, but deeply troubled by the atmosphere I painted of what was going on in the Nixon White House. And that's what exactly the sort of thing that Michael was going to address of how he operated as a businessman during the campaign, and that could have been very damaging.
BURNETT: And Carrie, to that point, perhaps, that is what the President is most afraid about, right, I mean what Cohen is saying the actions of a madman.
CORDERO: See, I think the most important thing that Michael Cohen could have been asked about from the perspective of the big Russia investigation and the public's desire to understand what the motivations were of the Trump campaign had to do with the Trump Moscow project, and that might be precisely the type of information that on his advice of counsel he would not want to get into because it would affect the Special Counsel's investigation.
I think actually that this standing down of this hearing might turn out to be a good thing for congressional oversight and here's why, this hearing was going to be a complete spectacle. Maybe it was going to tell all about sort of why Donald Trump is a terrible person to work for or how he lies, but I don't think that's necessarily the type of thing that is relevant. It might be interesting and it might make good TV, but it's not relevant to what serious congressional overseers are interested in getting at if they're trying to understand whether the president or his campaign were influenced by Russia.
BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much. And next, breaking news about President Trump's meeting about the shutdown today. One person there is saying the President is digging in but does not have a plan B. Plus, a story you will only see OutFront. Our Ed Lavandera went to the border. He's live there tonight to go to the frontlines and go under those lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Border wall has never been the answer to stopping drugs or people coming across the border and it will never be the answer to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, the President meeting with Conservative leaders today and according to a person who was there, the President did not offer a back-up plan if the Senate doesn't pass two bills tomorrow, which are intended to end the shutdown.
I just have to be clear the Senate is not expected to pass either of those bills. So you need a plan B.
And the lack of one comes as "The Washington Post" tonight reports that the Trump administration is making preparations for the government shutdown in case it lasts another two months, asking federal agencies to provide a list of programs that would be jeopardized if the shutdown lasts until April.
Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.
Phil, April, and there is so much activity where you are and this voting going to happen. It seems like none of it is going anywhere.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it kind of raises the question of whether anything is ever going to happen, to be frank, at this point. A lot of people are throwing up their hands in the air. Democrats passed for the ninth time a package that would reopen a large portion of the federal government. The White House shortly thereafter issued a veto threat and Senate Republicans said they weren't going to take it up. It's basically rinse and repeat at this point in time.
The difference is, you know, the Senate will for the first time holding votes that could lead to the reopening of the government. But as you noted, both votes, the president's proposal, $5.7 billion for a wall, in exchange for temporary protections for DACA recipients, temporary protective status recipients, as well as a lot of other things that are in there, particularly an asylum that Democrats make clear is not a compromise and a Democratic proposal which is one of those House bills. Both have a 60-vote threshold.
The optimistic take right now I am picking up from staff and a couple law makers is once these fail and everybody recognizes that their two top proposals can't pass, perhaps lawmakers will get into a room and start negotiating. But you made an interesting point in the lead-in, Erin, about plan B,
whether the White House has a plan b. I talked to multiple people involved and says, once that fails, what's the next step out of this? They don't have an answer yet.
So, we'll see what happens tomorrow. We expect them to fail. What happens after that? Still anybody's guess, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.
We'll see if we can get some answers now. OUTFRONT, the freshman Democratic Representative Katie Hill of California.
And thank you for being with me, Congresswoman.
REP. KATIE HILL (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
BURNETT: So, you and other freshmen Democrats have made a point to call out Senator McConnell for not, you know, doing anything in shutdown. He hasn't brought anything to the floor, thus far, showing up outside his office. We can see you there.
Now, he is doing it. Two bills going to a vote. Both expected to fail.
You heard Phil say the big question is, then what's the next step? What's the answer?
HILL: Well, first of all, we are flood to see some bills are coming to the floor. I think this is an important temperature taker of where we stand, and which senator is going to vote to reopen the government I think is going to be an important indicator to the American people of who needs to hear from them as to the kind of pressure that needs to be put on them.
But the next step is going to be like let's see what comes from this. Hopefully, the two weeks CR, the continuing resolution, will pass and we will begin resolutions for what comes after that. And if it does not pass, then we have to keep coming back. And that's where really at this point. You know, I'm a big believer in activism as a representative in this capacity. I'm not able to tell people what they can do.
But in my -- or what they're supposed to do. But in my personal capacity, I believe this is where the activists who helped people get elected need to step up to the plate.
BURNETT: OK. So, Congresswoman, Congressman Jim Clyburn, the number three Democrat in the House, raised the possibility today, Congresswoman, of approving Trump's number the $5.7 billion specifically he says he wants for border security, but not for a physical wall. So, Clyburn saying, OK, I'm going to throw that number out there, that magic number, but I'm going to say, but not for what you want, right? The wall, the physical wall, of course, is the one thing Trump won't budge on.
Is that $5.7 billion number congresswoman a real effort to move towards the president or is it a way to mock him?
BURNETT: Well, I certainly don't think anything that we are doing is an attempt to mock the president. Right now, what we are most concerned with is figuring out how to open up the government and get people paid. I mean, my district is full of federal workers who are about to miss their second paycheck.
So, we're not interested in any kind of games. We're trying to get things done. So, you know, we need to get these appropriations bills to move forward and that's what will tell us the exact numbers. We have some incredible people who are leading this effort, including what someone from my own state --
BURNETT: And are you open to that number, that 5.7, the president's magic number?
HILL: I mean, you know, a specific number is to be determined. But I'm opened to spending money on border security. I think most Democrats are. And it just is this whole semantics over the wall has been a major barrier for us and I think we got to figure out how to move past it.
But on the Democratic end, what we need to do is say, OK, we're not for a wall, but here's what we are for and here's what we are proposing.
BURNETT: So, you know, today, you voted for a bill that would open the government, right? There's been, we said nine of them so far?
BURNETT: It was a Democrat, though, that voted against it, and it is colleague, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She did so, she says, because it funded ICE, which she thinks needs to be defunded.
[19:35:03] Do you agree with her decision to vote against reopening the government?
HILL: I mean, I certainly -- well, I voted for it. So, I don't agree with that. But I do think that we have some very distinct differences within our own caucus about the approach on border security and around immigration and that's the part we have to reconcile, right? So that's a big part of what this whole concept of negotiation and compromise is going to look like.
It means that not everyone is going to get everything that they want. But I do think that we have to come to some kind of majority consensus here.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about the Michael Cohen development because he is postponing his testimony, which is before your committee, Congresswoman.
HILL: Yes. BURNETT: He says he is scared for his family's safety because of comments made by the president. Do you believe him?
HILL: Oh. I can imagine he is scared for his family. I mean, the fact that we have a sitting president who is trying to intimidate a witness who is coming before Congress is completely unacceptable, that his lawyer is doing it is just absolutely shameful and we cannot let that stand. That is a completely amoral precedent to set by the president.
And so, one way or another, he is going to testify before Congress and we have to make it clear that this is not something we are going to tolerate, no matter what.
BURNETT: Are you going to subpoena Cohen? Would you support that?
HILL: I hope it doesn't come to that. But if it does, then, you know, we're going to make sure he testifies one way or another.
BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Hill, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
HILL: Thank you so much for having me.
BURNETT: And next, officials uncover new tunnels deep under the wall that's already there. Our Ed Lavandera is there tonight to show you a first hand how crime cartels are getting under the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it by hand, like shovels?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is almost exclusively by hand with power tools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Wait until you see these new tunnels ahead tonight.
Plus, Americans given hours to evacuate Venezuela. The country's leader breaking relations with the United States, the president responding.
[19:40:39] BURNETT: Tonight, the president selling his wall as a way to stop the illegal flow of drugs, tweeting in part: Put an end to stoppable drugs, border security and wall, no doubt.
Well, it's not really a move from the border. In just the past month alone, three new tunnels have been discovered in one border town. And tonight for the first time, we're going to take you inside for a look at what is really happening underground.
Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Leave behind the streets of Nogales, Mexico, and take a journey into a world where border security is caught in the darkness, underground.
(on camera): This is the labyrinth of tunnels and the drainage system underneath the city of Nogales, Mexico, that is often used by drug smugglers and human smugglers to get people and drug into the United States.
(voice-over): Local police guide us through the rivers of raw sewage and even down here, the international border line is printed on the ceiling.
(on camera): This wall is actually the international border line. And this black patch you see is an old tunnel that was used by smugglers. Mexican authorities have sealed it off. But this is what it looks like underground here.
(voice-over): In the last month, Mexican authorities discovered three tunnels in this border city, all designed to reach under the border what already exists here and pop up north of the border.
The most recent tunnel discovered here in Nogales actually emptied out into this area you see behind me. But it actually started deeper inside the city, about three quarters of mile away from where we're standing right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were two drug tunnels right here.
LAVANDERA: Sheriff Tony Estrada and his lieutenant, Jerry Castillo (ph), have spent decades patrolling the borderlands of Santa Cruz County, Arizona. And they've seen organized crime cartels adapt to every new evolution of border security.
TONY ESTRADA, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY SHERIFF: They have the world's records as far as tunnels are concerned.
LAVANDERA: More than 100 tunnels have been discovered in Nogales since 1995.
ESTRADA: It's opportunity. It's very practical for them. The more difficult you make it for them the more creative, they're going to be.
LAVANDERA (on camera): That's a lot of tunnels.
ESTRADA: That is a lot of tunnels. And at some point, you wonder if there are going to be a few sink holes in this side of the border.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): As the Trump administration pushes to expand the existing border walls, border securities think this will force cartels to expand the underground operations.
SCOTT STEWART, BORDER SECURITY EXPERT: When we're talking about tunnels, it's linked to the dynamics of the drug trade. We're going to continue to see drug traffickers using tunnels, corruption, drones, catapults, anything else to get contraband across that border as long as there is that money there.
LAVANDERA: Lieutenant Jerry Castillo says detecting tunnel construction is incredibly difficult. The cartels have become masters of tunneling.
(on camera): So, you could be in Mexico and not know if someone is below your feet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Two years ago, Border Patrol operations officer, Lance Lenoir (ph), took us inside a border tunnel in California. He is a part of a team known as the Tunnel Rats.
(on camera): Is it by hand? Shovels?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's mostly exclusively by hand and power tools.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Hundreds of miles away, in a New York courtroom, in the trial of El Chapo Guzman, the drug kingpin's former lieutenant have detailed how vast amounts of cocaine and weapons have been smuggled through tunnels, but that there is always more than one way to get through a border wall. Lieutenant Jerry Castillo says a wall alone won't stop it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a cat and mouse game. It's, you know, we would think that we were on top of the game and all of a sudden something else pops up.
LAVANDERA (on camera): It never ends?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It never end.
LAVANDERA: And, Erin, Immigration and Customs Enforcement here in the United States says more than 203 tunnels have been discovered along the southwest border since 1990. More of that is expected. And what every border official talks about is this idea of how these criminal organizations adapt to whatever changes are made on the U.S. side of the border. So, as more border security is expected to be deployed down here to the southwest border region, they expect these cartels to adapt accordingly -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Ed, thank you very much, incredible, because it is -- these visuals matter so much.
OUTFRONT now, Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama.
[19:45:00] So, Juliette, I just want to show again the footage, incredible footage, right? Ed has found these -- growing labyrinth of tunnels, three new ones in just in the past month, right, taking us in here for the first time. We're talking three new ones in the past month in one place.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT UNDER OBAMA : Exactly right. It's an amazing story. And remember, Nogales has some wall, right? Parts of it are actually covered by wall, suggesting even if you built the wall, there is still going to be this -- you know, adaptability.
So I think what it shows is specifically is that America's law, sort of border enforcement policies have almost no relation to the magnet that draws people and drugs and other things to the United States. And we've seen that consistently over the last 50 or 60 years. The harsher we get on immigration, it really does not impact if people come or go.
KAYYEM: And to quote, you know, the former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, the problem with our border and legal activity coming across it starts 3,000 miles south of here. So, these images are just proof not only if you bailed 50-foot wall you will find a ticket or a 51-foot ladder, but that the challenge of border enforcement is really, how do you do secure flow?
KAYYEM: How do you let the good things in and keep the bad things out.
BURNETT: And Juliette, you know, one of the things that Ed was showing, right, just how deep they are. He was talking to the county sheriff saying you would never know, you could be on top of a tunnel, in a house, and you would not know because they are that deep, that is how easily they can adopt.
KAYYEM: Exactly right. So what do you want against an adaptable enemy? So, let's the drug traders, right? Because I'm not denying that there's problems at the border. What do you want against an adaptable enemy?
You don't want stationary thing. So, one of the crazy aspects of this shutdown is we have a wall. It's called the Coast Guard, it's called CPB, it's called TSA. We have people adapting to the enemy, instead they're not getting paid and they're not showing up for work, we're spending all of our time for a wall that is not going to adapt for challenges of legal activity, which Democrats and Republicans all agree we need to stop.
BURNETT: Yes, certainly, no one can dispute it is happening. It's how to stop it.
All right. Juliette, thank you.
And next, breaking news, President Trump taking a stand against Venezuela's dictator. And now, Americans there are told they have hours to leave.
Plus, you know her name, but can you say it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, THE VIEW: Kamala Harris.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: It's Kamala. Just think of this comma and add a la.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:51:29] BURNETT: Breaking news. President Trump taking a stand against the Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, recognizing the country's opposition leader, Juan Guaido, is the legitimate and president of the country.
And tonight, Venezuela breaking all diplomatic ties to the United States in response, giving Americans 72 hours to leave the country.
Stefano Pozzebon is OUTFRONT now in Caracas.
And, Stefano, the opposition leader swearing himself in, there is unrest where you are. Tell me what's happening.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST BASED IN VENEZUELA: Yes, exactly, Erin. Right now, the whole of the Venezuela and the whole of the world are watching at Caracas to understand what will happen within the next few hours after a historic day here in the Venezuelan capital. How will the government react? Will the military side line with Nicolas Maduro and start a manhunt for Juan Guaido, who has sworn himself in as the new interim president, or will the military side line with Juan Guaido?
We have yet to hear a clear announcement from them. And many people here are going to stay awake and keep monitoring and keep watching for signs on what side of the board will eventually fall -- Erin.
BURNETT: And, obviously, when you say how important the military is, there is great fear what may happen. What is the view, Stefano, of what President Trump did where you are? From the people that you've been talking to?
POZZEBON: Right. Well, Caracas and the whole of Venezuela is a deeply divided society, Erin. The people that were on the streets today, the people who were cheering when Guaido swore himself in, and the people I was able to speak with here in the morning would say what Trump did was the conclusion of a subsequent process and actually the only way for this situation to reach a breakthrough, to reach a conclusion.
I spoke with people who are saying we welcome the support from the United States. We welcome the fact that Mike Pence, the vice president will speak with Juan Guaido. But on the other side, there is also the support from Nicolas Maduro,
and these two sides in Venezuela can't really find a common ground, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Stefano.
But again, you know, Donald Trump, the president taking a stand against the Venezuelan dictator.
And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with the 2020 tongue twisting names.
[19:57:53] BURNETT: Tonight, one new 2020 contender is called Mayor Pete for a reason. Here's Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a new Democrat looking to run for president if only we could pronounce his name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god. Pete Buttigieg.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pete Buttigieg.
MOOS: You try saying the name of South Bend, Indiana's mayor.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: I'm Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg. But around South Bend, they just call me Mayor Pete and that's fine with me.
MOOS: What isn't fine is that so many of the presidential wannabes have names that trip you up. And don't call him Julian Castro.
REP. JULIAN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: No, my name is Julian.
MOOS: And don't do what Whoopi did when she introduced --
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, THE VIEW: Kamala Harris.
MOOS: Oops, that sent the wrong syllables.
HARRIS: It's Kamala. Just think like the comma and add a la.
MOOS: Somebody forgot to tell right wing critics Diamond and Silk. Shame on Kamala Harris.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, Kamala should be ashamed of herself.
MOOS: It's really a shame when both names are tricky.
JOY BEHAR, THE VIEW: Please welcome Senator Kristen Gillibrand.
REPORTER: How many people call you Kristen Gillibrand?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: A lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I know her. That's Kristen Gillibrand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness.
MOOS: And there's this guy whose childhood name stuck.
FORMER REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS: Hey there. This is Beto O'Rourke.
MOOS: But his political foes delight in saying Beto rather than Beto.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Where's my opponent Beto O'Rourke?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Referred to as Beto.
MOOS: Campaigns sometimes go along with the joke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do I get me one of them Beto signs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beto.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not kamala.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not Kamala.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kamala.
MOOS: Mayor Pete's husband offered some tips, like Buddha-judge to help pronounce this Maltese name that translates to lord of the poultry. But even easy names get mangled.
Take Bernie Sanders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Bernie Sandwich.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
MOOS: Sometimes a name is more than people can bite off.
Jeanne moose, Moose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeanne moo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's moos, right?
MOOS: New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is she?
MOOS: She's right in front of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's you, right?
MOOS: That is taunting.
Thanks for joining us.
Anderson starts now.