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Trump's Shutdown Plan Fails, Senate Voting on Dem Plan; Interview with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D), Virginia; Senate Votes Down both Proposals to Reopen Government; Elizabeth Warren to Propose New "Wealth Tax" on Richest Americans; Venezuela's Maduro Closing Embassy, All Consulates in U.S. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 24, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right. So the first vote, the Trump vote on his proposal has failed. Now the Senators are voting on the House backed plan. The Democrats plan to end this government shutdown and to come to some sort of agreement. That is expected to fail. In the meantime -- Manu Raju is our senior congressional correspondent and has been reporting on all these House Dems who have come over to the Senate floor to show solidarity. And he has one of the members of Congress standing with him. Manu, the floor is yours.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Abigail Spanberger from Virginia, a freshman Democrat who did just talk to Democrats and Republicans I believe on the House -- on the Senate floor. Tell me what happened when you went on the floor, did you interact with any members and what was the message you tried to send?

REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D), VIRGINIA: Well I think for many of us -- and I can't speak for everyone -- but our whole goal was to say on the House side, we have now voted 11 times to fund the government to get people their paychecks for the work that many of them are doing and for others to get them back to work. For you know, I think it is so clear to us that this is an economic emergency at this point. It is national emergency in addition to the tremendous impact that the shutdown is having on the lives of individual people. And so the House has voted time and time again every time our bills have passed with bipartisan support and I think we want it to be over on the Senate side and show them it's your turn, it's your turn to continue this.

RAJU: Did you interact with any Senator on the floor just now?

SPANBERGER: I talked to a couple of Senators.

RAJU: Any Republicans?

SPANBERGER: I did not talk any Republicans. When you go on the Senate floor, they had us seated in a specific place. And so a number of the Senators who recognized us or who are from our home delegation came over and said hello. But you know, it was really just about being there and watching them vote and making sure that they're aware, I think. That we've been working hard to get the government open and we need them to vote.

RAJU: I also need your speaker to make a counteroffer to the President, sit down with the President, make a counteroffer before the government is reopened?

SPANBERGER: So the government needs to reopen. I mean, can full stop. That's what needs to happen. How we get to that point I think every discussion point should be on the table, every option should be available. I do know there have been a variety of different conversations happening on the preparation side within kind of leadership to leadership, talking about how it is that we can get past where we are right now.

[15:35:06] RAJU: Should she be more flexible, Pelosi?

SPANBERGER: You know, I can't honestly speak to how flexible she has or hasn't been. I do know that she's been talking cross leadership on the House side, on the Senate side. I know that other members of specific committees that do have tie-ins directly to homeland security and appropriating dollars for homeland security have been working hard to try and end this impasse.

But it all boils down to the most important thing, which is we are -- I mean, we are approaching an emergency. When you listen to air- traffic controllers' sort of sounding the alarm bells of what's happening nationwide. When we hear about FBI agents not being able to fully continue with particular cases. It is an emergency and we need the shutdown to end because the impact is just -- it is too tremendous and it's getting worse and worse by the day.

RAJU: Congressman, thanks so much for your time. Welcome to Washington and, Brooke, back to you.

BALDWIN: Thank the Congresswoman for us. Manu, thank you.

And just a quick break. When we come back, we will talk about 2020 contender, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and her plan that we're just getting word of to tax the richest American. We're calling it the ultra-millionaire tax. MJ Lee with that next.


BALDWIN: All right, while the Senate is 0 for 2 now. We now have the results from the House backed Democratic proposal on this government shutdown and that has also now failed. So the question is, so what now? David Chalian is our CNN political director. And, David, I'm wondering now, might this showed failure create room for talks and compromise?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It could. I mean, I think we'll see the two leaders engage in conversation now that we're passed these votes, the leaders in the Senate, Schumer and McConnell. What is, of course, going to be noted by everyone as you look at these vote results is that there was more crossover of Republicans supporting the Democratic plan to open the government than there was the other way around. The Democratic plan actually got more votes here than did President Trump's plan in a Republican controlled United States Senate and, by the way, one with a greater majority than they had just a couple months ago.

So what we're seeing, of course, folks like Corey Gardner of Colorado who's up for re-election in a blue state or Susan Collins from Maine, they crossed over as they said they would. But we're seeing some other names too, like Lamar Alexander, who is retiring. Announced his retirement from Tennessee. He supported the Democratic plan to open up, as did Mitt Romney of Utah, Brooke. He also voted with the Democrats here. So what I do think the takeaway is going to be is that, yes, what is clear is that there are not enough votes for either of these proposals to move forward. But did enough ice breaking just to concur with these votes and show a hunger among -- a bipartisan hunger to actually get the government back open? I think that's what may create a path here and then a more sense of urgency to get the government back open.

BALDWIN: And this is precisely what Kaitlin was telling us. That the White House will be really paying close attention to, is which proposal gets more votes, the Democrats. David, thank you.

Let me turn another corner here. Because where following this breaking story involving this new tax plan to be proposed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat, running -- now she wants to be President. The tax would be imposed on the wealthiest American. So MJ Lee is reporting this out for us today. She's our CNN national political correspondent. And so talk to me about this ultra-millionaire tax.

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so this is a wealth tax on everyone with a net worth of over $50 million. There would be a 2 percent tax on households with a net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and then a 3 percent tax on Households with net worth exceeding $1 billion. They are calling the billionaire surtax.

They have a ready run this by at least two economists who work at UC Berkeley, this is what the Warren team is telling us. And they estimate that this wealth tax would affect some 75,000 American Households, less than 0.1 percent of American Households. And would raise around $2.75 trillion over a ten-year period.

While we go through sort of the nitty-gritty details of this draft plan. I think it's important to talk about the political significance of this. This is everything to do with the concentration of wealth in this country. That has been a key message that we have heard from Senator Elizabeth Warren for a very long time. We expect this to be at the very core of her progressive platform as she eventually we expect her to formally announce her presidential campaign. So in a lot of ways it is not surprising that this would be the first sort of policy -- major policy proposal that we see coming out of her camp. And this is the Senator sort of planting an early flag, right, on an issue that we expect to really dominate the 2020 field on the Democratic side. Because so much of the battle that we see on that side is going to be between sort of the progressive candidates and how far left they are willing to go. What kind of progressive platforms and policy ideas they're willing to embrace and then the candidates who are considered more centrists.

[15:45:03] So that battle I think is the one that she is setting up with this policy proposal. And because she has planted this flag, we can expect that all of the other candidates and potential candidates are going to be asked about this. And just asked, where do you fall on this issue? Are you to the left of her, to the right of her, do you agree with this proposal and do you like this proposal?

BALDWIN: I'm curious from our Republican Ana Navarro first, what do you think of this?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't like it. It doesn't appeal to me. I will tell you that when I -- when I listen to the proposal, it almost feels to me like Elizabeth Warren is trying to somehow ride Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's coat tails. I think she's trying to get in on that brown girl magic, you know. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was Instagramming live from her kitchen. Elizabeth Warren was Instagramming live from her kitchen. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez started talking about a 70 percent marginal tax and taxing the billionaires. Now Elizabeth Warren is putting it in paper.

Look, it might be very appealing for progressives. It might be very appealing in a Democratic primary, I don't know. I can tell you for disengaged Republicans, disenchanted Republicans, Republicans in exile like me desperately looking for someone to support instead of Donald Trump -- and let me just say I will vote for a hologram before I vote for Donald Trump -- this does not cut it. This does not make her any more appealing to me.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Van.

VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Well you know, what's interesting because, this is a very popular idea. One of the things is happening is, this weird phrase called income inequality, wealth inequality, these are very academic terms, very dry terms that have now become very mainstream and very popular. It just means the rich have been getting richer, the poorer are getting poorer and the middle class is getting devastated.

And Donald Trump blew a multi-trillion dollars hole in the budget with his last tax giveaway. If you're looking at seriously how you're going to govern the country now. Do you go back and make poor people and middle-class people and working-class people pick up the tab for the Donald Trump tax cut? You say, well fine, let's figure out some way to repair America's bridges and roads and that kind of stuff and fill this hole. Who's got the cash to do it? The people who are making $50 million, a billion dollars, $20 billion those people 2 percent of their income could fill this hole -- and they probably wouldn't even notice it. So I think some people on the right would say this is socialism. I think a lot of people are going to say its common sense and fairness.

BALDWIN: But what about her whole point -- I've still got David Chalian. Let me as David on Ana's point about, you know, Elizabeth Warren, right, writing AOC's coat tails, taking a note from her from everything from her tax plan to Instagram. I don't know what Elizabeth Warren would say about that but what do you think?

CHALIAN: Yes, I don't know that that's what the Warren operation is doing. I think Ana's smart to note that Ocasio-Cortez has sort of arrived in a way and seems to have a voice in the party here. But I think Warren is cutting her own path and I think even without Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the picture this would have been part of her plan.

I think that politically step back and look at what we're talking about here. You want to see where the Democratic Party has moved over the years. This would be an unthinkable proposal for a top tier presidential candidate in the Democratic Party not that long ago to put forth. Because it would just seem so easily targeted by the Democrats, really creating electability concerns in a general election. I'm not saying this would be an easy sell to the American public at large if Warren's the nominee, Brooke.

But I just think it is such a prime example of where the Democratic Party is shifting. The fact that a top tier contender in this race feels they could comfortably make this appeal right now and then to MJ's point, I just don't think that we should miss this. This is a big old welcome to the race sign from Elizabeth Warren to Kirsten Gellibrand and Kamala Harris who have just gotten in now. Because now she wants to start drawing some contrast as this Democratic field is getting a bit crowded in these early days. And to me this is a big welcome to the race folks, where do you stand on this?

NAVARRO: I think it's more than contrast, though, David. Because -- look, you know, I'm not a Democrat but from where I stand it feels to me like Elizabeth Warren's announcement and candidacy has been greeted like a can of coke that has been opened for a day and left on the counter. It is a little stale and it is a little flat. It's lost its bubbly. And I think she needs to figure out how to reengage and reignite and bring energy to this and bring attention to herself because we have seen a Kamala Harris come out of the gate with a lot more enthusiasm and it seems to me, she's been received a lot more warmly than Elizabeth Warren. And let's ask Van, he's a Democrat on the panel.

BALDWIN: Go ahead Van.

[15:50:00] JONES: I do think it's interesting, though, Elizabeth Warren really even before Bernie Sanders and some important ways was making this case. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in some ways is borrowing from Elizabeth Warren's ideas, Bernie's ideas. They really went first and kind of made these ideas acceptable and now AOC is kind of making them exciting. And so, I do think that what you're seeing is a very healthy progressive wing in this party with a lot of personalities and a lot of people. In some ways I think Elizabeth Warren is trying to keep Bernie out of this race. I agree that her campaign has not caught fire.

I agree she's trying to have it catch fire. But her hopes really lies on Bernie Sanders deciding that there is a progressive standard bearer at this race and that having two or three or four strong progressives is just going to help the moderates. And so there's a negotiation going on among the progressives. But I think it's less about ALC and more about Bernie Sanders.

BALDWIN: OK, I'm going to thank all of you guys. I'm still back on the weekend at Bernie's wrapping to Ana Navarro. Man that's a good one. Thank you also much.

NAVARRO: Tell me that I'm wrong. Go ahead and tell me that I'm wrong.

BALDWIN: Thank you guys. Van Jones, tune in. Van jones show Saturday night 7:00 eastern with Ohio Senator --

JONES: Sherrod.

BALDWIN: Sherrod Brown and special guest.

JONES: Meghan McCain.

BALDWIN: There we go. Van Jones tomorrow night. Thank you so much.

Meantime, breaking news this afternoon. Venezuela, the embattled President Nicolas Maduro says see his closing the Venezuelan Embassy in the United States and pulling out diplomats in Venezuela. More on this in a moment. Stand by.


BALDWIN: Breaking news out of Venezuela, where the embattled president, Nicolas Maduro, has just ordered Venezuelan Embassy and all consulates in the U.S. to close. This after he tried to order all U.S. diplomats out of this country. But the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that there are no plans to evacuate American out of Venezuela as of now. Stefano Pozzebon, is live in Caracas. And, Stefano, what does that mean?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Well, that's what everybody from the average Venezuela citizen to the most senior international observer here in Caracas is trying to figure out. Are we almost getting to a dramatic diplomatic standoff that could quickly translate in an armed conflict or in an emergency evacuation of the U.S. embassy here in Caracas? Cause no sides are climbing down from their position.

Today, Maduro, yet again, has said U.S. personnel has 72 hours or until Sunday to leave Caracas. But the U.S. Department of State have already said they do not recognize the authority of Nicolas Maduro and for them the order is meaningless --Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Stefano, in Venezuela.

To Michael Cohen now. Just a day after President's former attorney postponing his testimony -- his public testimony in the House, citing threats from President Trump. He now faces a subpoena to appear next month in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That is according to a source close to Michael Cohen. Cohen reports to prison in March for his three-year sentence after pleading guilty to tax and campaign finance crimes as well as lying to Congress. Jennifer Rodgers is here with me. She's is a former federal

prosecutor and CNN legal analyst. And so, before we get into -- you think this is going to backfire on both sides. Do you think that this is a strategy at all for team Cohen to have this committee issue a subpoena?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think so. I don't think he wants to testify at all. I think that's why he backed off of his voluntary appearance in front of the House committee. But, you know, I don't think either side is going to win here. I think they're both foolish to call him at all, frankly. Because on the Democrats side, once we learned he wasn't going to be able to say anything interesting. He wasn't going to be able to testify about any of the ongoing investigations. All he's going to say is here is how badly President Trump treated me while I was working for him and here's all this dirt on him. Here's all the things that he did. Right?

BALDWIN: Didn't he also talk about the hush money?

RODGERS: I don't think so. That's the problem. He could talk probably about the medallion case if it's wrapped up.

BALDWIN: But not about the money to the women?

RODGERS: No, because we still have unnamed executives in the indictments. So that is a proceeding investigation. So I think they didn't want him to talk about that. And once it became clear that he wasn't going to fill in any of those gaps we're talking about dirt on the President and the poor treatment of the President's people. And that is not something that the House ought to be looking to do right now. They have many, many, many more important things to get to in my view.

BALDWIN: So what about just even -- you know, we talked about the threats that he says -- that played out on CNN from the President and his own attorney. He, as we mentioned, goes to prison, but what about protection for his family?

RODGERS: Well if there's a legitimate threat to the safety of any particular person, then certainly the FBI will get involved and they will receive that protection. You know, to me, the statements that the President has been making are of the sort that he has been saying all along.

BALDWIN: Just because out on the -- I mean I've also heard various opinions on this, 30 seconds, would it constitute witness intimidation, witness tampering? Does it ring alarm bells for you?

RODGERS: It definitely rings alarm bells but it's a very tough case to make. You would have to have a lot more information about what kind of threat you're talking about. It wasn't really a physical threat. It was more likely to be, oh, well the Department of Justice should look into this, you know. And I bet the Department of Justice is currently very busy ignoring that. So I don't think anything is happening there.

BALDWIN: Jennifer Rodgers, good to see you, thank you very much.

And thank you so much for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin.