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Aviation Unions Say Airline Safety "Deteriorating by the Day"; Wilbur Ross "Disappointed" Air Traffic Controllers Calling in Sick; Dueling Bills in Senate to End Shutdown Expected to Fail; 8 Scenarios that Could End the Shutdown; House Democrats Visit Senate to Show Support for Votes Under Way; Bank of America CEO Warns of Long-Term Damage from Shutdown & Trade Uncertainty. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 24, 2019 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: What is the biggest challenge to your job right now?

ALBERT NAVARRO, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER WORKING WITHOUT PAY: Well, I'd like to quote President Paul Rinaldi last night when he said that the national air space system is an economic engine for this country, so why not keep it oiled, keep it going, keep it running. It does no good to just shut it down. We are civil servants. We have veterans who have left their branch and have joined the agency. We have men and women all throughout the country who have gotten hired and want to pursue their dream job. But we've had some who have resigned simply because there's no paycheck coming. That's their welcome present.

BALDWIN: Have you thought about that?

NAVARRO: I'm sorry?

BALDWIN: Have you thought about that?

NAVARRO: No. I love my job and all of us love our jobs. We just want to get paid for what we do.

BALDWIN: Let me play some sound for you. This is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNBC earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED CNBC REPORTER: Do you worry about safety at this point?

WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, I do worry about safety. And it's kind of disappointing that the air-traffic controllers are calling in sick in pretty large numbers, depending on the --


UNIDENTIFIED CNBC REPORTER: Many of them can't afford to support their families, though.

ROSS: Remember, this, they are eventually going to be paid.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: What do you say to that?

NAVARRO: I say that we need to have this end as soon as possible. This is not a political game. The safety of the public is at stake. We ask everybody to just get involved with the numerous campaigns that NACA is holding. I encourage everyone to log on to That is our union's web site. Log on there and start to participate. Make your voice be heard.

BALDWIN: Albert Navarro, thank you for your voice. Good luck. Thank you.

NAVARRO: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Speaking of the shutdown, moments from now, two key Senate votes will be held to address the shutdown, both, by the way, are expected to fail. So we'll -- we'll stay through that and monitor what happens live.

Also, a new tell-all book by a former White House aide accusing Kellyanne Conway of being one of the biggest leakers in the White House. Hear how this aide says he found out.

And Senator Joni Ernst making emotional revelations about abuse in her past. You will hear the Republican in her own words.


[14:36:51] BALDWIN: Moments from now dueling proposals will be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. President Trump's plan offers temporary extensions for DACA recipients and those with temporary protected status in exchange for full border wall funding. And then the House-passed bill that would reopen most of the government through February 8, no money for the wall but money for disaster aid. So these are the two plans with one common outcome, it's all for show because neither is expected to pass. So what will end the longest shutdown in U.S. history?

I turn to CNN politics reporter, editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.

With six scenarios that could end this whole thing.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: OK, my friend. Let's go through them because there's a lot. I don't know, if any, of them will work. They have a better chance than these two Senate votes which we know won't pass.

Here we go. Number one, the Senate Republicans revolt. You've seen Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Cory Gardener, say we'll vote for both of these proposals in the Senate. What you need is a big group going to Mitch McConnell and saying we are taking a political hit for this, we need you to solve this problem. McConnell goes to Trump, maybe that happens.

Number two, massive lines at airports. That's the opposite. This is an insider sort of play. Outsider play. If you start seeing huge lines at major connecting airports, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, LAX. We've seen lines at LAX but not too bad. That becomes a big problem. People get up in arms. People pay more attention. Politicians react.

Number three, a security breach. This isn't pleasant to talk about but you just had the national air-traffic controller on talking about they're tired and worn down, they need help. We need to oil the engine to make sure it works right. Secret Service, TSA, air-traffic controllers, there could be a breach here and that would obviously get everybody to the table. No one wants that.

Freshman Democrats panicked. I don't think this is likely but there are 23 Democrats who are freshman, just got elected, Brooke, who represent districts Donald Trump won in 2016. It's not great for them to have all of this back and forth because lots of their constituents want the government open and some may support the wall. Do they go to Nancy Pelosi in bulk and say, solve this problem? It's the reverse of this one. Senators go to McConnell. Both things good happen.

Let's go to five, national emergency declaration. I went back and looked at this. If you read the clips from January 10th or watched CNN on January 10th, everything Donald Trump was saying, Lindsey Graham, everyone was pointing to declaring a national emergency, take the money, the already allocated military funding, government would reopen. There would be a long legal fight over but it can be done. I don't think he'll do this anymore. Very unlikely.

Sixth, I mean, Trump gives up. You laugh and I sort of agree with you. Because everything suggests, well, he's in it -- he just said we're never going to cave. And he even capitalized "C" in cave for some unknown reason today in a tweet. But it's Donald Trump, so he's incredibly unpredictable. And he can spin on a dime. He wouldn't paint it as giving up. It is possibly to see his poll numbers falling. He's low for his approval rating has been since he became president. Majority of people don't think the wall is effective and don't believe the government should be closed because of. Maybe, just maybe, he changes his mind.

[14:40:15] Put seven on here, can't fit it on here, but sevens on here, these two votes fail, Republicans and Democrats come together in the Senate, figure out a compromise along the lines of spending money for border security but not the wall, and they convince Trump. So that's --


BALDWIN: My money's on option seven.


BALDWIN: My money's on options even or maybe the national emergency declaration, which we did talk so much about, and maybe they just do that and Democrats can say, see, we didn't give him any money and he can say he didn't give up.



BALDWIN: Chris Cillizza, thank you so much for your seven possibilities here.

As Chris and I were talking about, any moment, the Senate will be voting on these two shutdown bills and the chamber just received some surprise guests. Stand by.

And in a noteworthy move, John Kelly, who was chief-of-staff when this whole thing began, the shutdown started, he's now urging the president to "end it." His words.

Plus, former Vice President Joe Biden responds to criticism that he supported a Republican last year.

We're back in a moment.


[14:45:38] BALDWIN: The first of a pair of key Senate votes to end the government shutdown, both of which are expected to fail, under way now.

Lauren Fox, our CNN Politics congressional reporter, is joining us live from Capitol Hill.

And before you even talk about these votes, for all of our viewers, all these members of Congress who are standing, tell me about this field trip. These are 30 House Democrats. Tell me what they're doing.

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That's right. They went over to the Senate to try to make a statement to end this, what they're calling, the Trump/McConnell shutdown. Of course, this is just a messaging exercise. They can't actually vote in the Senate. This is to send a message to Democrats and to Republicans, you know, for the Democrats, it's, look, we're here, standing with you. For Republicans, it's, look, how much support there is, we're hoping that you vote for the Democratic version of the bill, which is to reopen the government temporarily along with some disaster aid.

Of course, what we do know, Brooke, is there aren't just enough votes in the Senate to pass either the Republican proposal or the Democratic proposal. But certainly a sight to behold there on the floor. And my colleague, Phil Mattingly, was reporting earlier that John Lewis is among them and that Democrats on the Senate side are going up to him, shaking his hand. So obviously, just one of those -- not bipartisan but bicameral moments there on the Senate floor.

BALDWIN: Lauren, thank you.

David Chalian, what do you think of the scene?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: I think that there's, you know, some optics here and pressure that the House Democrats want to put on to the Senate Republicans here, Brooke. What is astounding is how you started this segment, which, hey, there are two votes on the floor of the United States Senate aimed at opening up the government and they're both expected to fail.


CHALIAN: So if that doesn't spell Washington to everyone watching, I'm not sure what does. What is unclear at this moment, even as these votes are taking place, is what is going to break this stalemate.

BALDWIN: Lisa Lerer, national political reporter for the "New York Times" and CNN political analyst, how would you characterize what we're all about to witness?

LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, this is not an unusual process for Capitol Hill. Often times, they put things up just to show that there's no support as a starting point for negotiations. But it is fairly extraordinary to rely on such a normal process in times that are anything but normal. We're well -- we're into the fifth week of the shutdown. The economic pain, as you showed earlier in the show, is real and its spreading. In Davos, we're hearing about global concerns, the economic ramifications from the shutdown. It does show that despite all the pressure, Congress really still is at a stalemate and, as David points out, nobody knows how this gets resolved.

BALDWIN: And I would add to the column of extraordinary, these are the first, you know, floor vote that we have seen, as Phil Mattingly pointed out, since this whole thing began back on December 22nd.

Tim Neftali is with me, CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library.

TIM NEFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's political theater. And I think it's important for folks at home to understand that it's not like we have two different approaches to a new budget. What we have is the president's approach, which is supposed to be a compromise but, in fact, isn't, and we have the Democrats saying, listen, let's talk about border security, let's reach a compromise, let's reach a win-win compromise, but let's not do it on the backs of federal civil servants. Let's not hold them hostage. Let's fund the government until February 8th. During that period between now and February 8th, let's meet behind the scenes and come to some conclusion over what kind of budgetary commitment we want to make to border security. These are the two visions that will be voted on and both are likely to lose today.

BALDWIN: Hopefully, through this assumed failure, compromise will happen, right, making it something on paper.

Stay with me, everyone.

[14:49:41] With votes now under way on the Senate floor, this is the dire warning just in from the CEO of Bank of America about the long- term damage this shutdown combined with trade uncertainty could cause to the U.S. economy. We're watching it.

We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: Coming back to live pictures of the Senate floor here. Voting under way of these one of two proposals. This is the Trump/Republican proposal right now to end this government shutdown. And of course, that includes all of the money he wants, the $5.7 billion for his wall.

As we watch this voting under way -- and spoiler alert, they're both supposed to fail -- we've just gotten some sound into CNN. The CEO of Bank of America is warning this shutdown could cause long-term damage to the U.S. economy.



BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: Well, the effect, I think, will be felt as it continues. And that's why all of us think let's resolve it as fast as possible. And so, for the actual people, we have customers who are government employees. We let them know we're helping them with zero-interest loans. But the real question will be the operation and the economy the government facilitates will not be done as smoothly and we need to get this fixed. The real question is the uncertainty of the trade situation, the uncertainty of the -- what's causing the shutdown delay, the uncertainty of getting government processed. That is potentially more damaging the economy long-term than a quarter's change because of an outcome that's solved.


[14:55:37] BALDWIN: David Chalian, what he just told Richard Quest is so significant. You couple that with what Kevin Hassett told Poppy earlier this week, zero percent economic growth in this country. Isn't that --


CHALIAN: If it were to last this whole quarter, yes.

BALDWIN: Yes. Isn't that something that the president, who touts the U.S. economy, should be really concerned by?

CHALIAN: There's no doubt about it. I don't think that there's anybody in the White House that could suggest, including the president, that somehow this is benefiting the economy. So you have the hard facts of what this is doing to the economy, you have the hard facts of what this is doing to every day real American who are working without a paycheck, and you have the sentiment of the American people that the White House is facing every day now, which is clearly against the grain of the president. He is losing support across the country because of his position on the shutdown for his wall.

BALDWIN: Lisa, on the economy angle, the "Washington Post" this morning has been reporting that the administration was actually inquiring about the impact if this shutdown lasted until April.

LERER: Yes, the impact would grow more intense as the shutdown continues. But I think David makes a really good point, which is that, the president is losing this fight politically. It's unclear whether he realizes that but he is. There's a number of polls that came out this week that showed his approval rating at an all-time low. And even more significantly, when voters were asked whether they think there's a crisis at the southern border, whether they support building a wall, whether they think building a wall will slow the flow of illegal drugs into the country, they largely disagreed with the president's argument. A majority of the population and majorities of Independent voters disagreed. But also we saw some cracks in Republican support. While they still support the wall, they do question whether it's worth -- whether the shutdown is worth getting that goal. So that's all very dangerous territory for the president. You know, historically, shut downs don't decide elections but they do set in place certain narratives. And Democrats are hoping that this shutdown really undercuts some narratives about this president, particularly, you know, a key part of his political brand, which is that he is this master negotiator.

BALDWIN: How could he not be aware of this P.R. battle that he's losing? He is, indeed, aware. He's back at the White House looking at all these numbers and he has to know this does not look good for him.

Stand by for me, Lisa and Tim and David.

I want to bring in Zack Wolf. He's the digital producer at CNN Politics.

And so just, Zack, what happened? This is President Trump, Mr. "Art of the Deal." I thought he's the king negotiator. Is that a thing of the past?

ZACK WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL PRODUCER: Well, we haven't been seeing a lot of negotiating. We've seen some tweets, we've seen some letters. We saw four letters between Trump and Pelosi. This had to do specifically with the State of the Union. She asked him to delay it until after the shutdown, he canceled her trip to Afghanistan. He came back and informed her that he was going to give the State of the Union, and then she totally shut him down. We have a couple of letters going between them.

We've had a couple of tweets between Trump and Pelosi. He basically said uncle, that she was right, he wouldn't be giving the State of the Union. She then retweeted that. So that they've communicated sort of, I guess, through Twitter.

It's been however two weeks since Trump and Pelosi were in the same room together, since they have an active meeting. There were only really three meetings about this shutdown before it happened and afterwards. There was that December 11th meeting where they met in the Oval Office. It was essentially televised on TV kind of unexpectantly and they got into a shouting match about the shutdown. That's the one where Trump said he would be proud to own the shutdown. It was a little bit before they met again. It was right after the beginning of the year, just before Democrats took control of Congress. This is after the shutdown had started. They really dug into their positions and another week before they met again. That was a really short meeting where Trump literally walked out on Schumer and Pelosi. That, of course, came right after the two sides had delivered dueling speeches on national television to the country.

They've spoken basically to the people indirectly.