Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Agrees to Temporarily Reopen Government Without Any Wall Funding; Longtime Trump Confidant Roger Stone Indicted; Schumer: Hopefully The President Has "Learned His Lesson"; Trump To Sign Bill To End Shutdown But Congress Yet To Act; Trump Backs Down, Announces Deal To Reopen Government For 3 Weeks. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired January 25, 2019 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:00]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for being with me.

"THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-five days of a government shutdown, with absolutely nothing achieved, except a whole lot of pain inflicted on the American people.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Breaking news: President Trump announces that the longest shutdown in this nation's history is over. Thousands of people, hundreds of thousands were paid nothing because of it. And it looks like that's exactly what President Trump got out of this for now: nothing.

More huge breaking news, a major moment in the Russia probe. Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone dragged out of his house and into a courtroom today, and the indictment reads literally like a mob movie.

He cut his teeth during Watergate, has an image of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back, and was once fired for having swinger fever. Can Roger Stone convince Robert Mueller that he is not a crook?

We're taking a deeper dive into Stone's long and sleazy career.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We start with breaking news in our national lead. President Trump just announced there is finally a deal to reopen the federal government, after a 35-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

President Trump now says, hey, he's OK with a short-term deal, one that includes exactly 0.0 dollars for his border wall, the reason for the shutdown, 0.0 dollars, which, coincidentally, is exactly equal to the last two paychecks for 800,000 federal workers, proving the government has been shut down now for 35 days for absolutely no reason. President Trump upended the process of funding the government to

demand something that he never got. He inflicted pain on more than a million Americans for no reason, no result.

Adding insult to injury, moments ago, Senator Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, scolded President Trump for this long, unnecessary battle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Hopefully now, the president has learned his lesson. We cannot, cannot ever hold American workers hostage again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins me now live from the White House.

Kaitlan, this new government funding bill, it's only for three weeks. What happens -- bear with me now -- what happens if, at the end of this three-week period, the president still is not going to see any border wall money?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, according to what he told reporters in the Rose Garden today, either the government will shut down or he will invoke a national emergency to bypass Congress to then fund and build his border wall.

Now, today, he faced the political reality that Democrats do not want to pay for the president's border wall. And now he's facing down the question of what he will do in three weeks if they still haven't changed their minds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government.

COLLINS (voice-over): President Trump backing off his 35-day standoff with Democrats today, announcing a deal to reopen the government temporarily.

TRUMP: In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks, until February 15.

COLLINS: The president's endorsement in the Rose Garden paving the way for Congress to pass spending bills that would reopen the government for three weeks.

But the deal is seen as a cave to Democrats, who the president has failed to force to pay for his border wall once again.

TRUMP: I am asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put this proposal on the floor immediately. COLLINS: Trump implying if he can't come to an agreement with Democrats in the next three weeks, he will invoke a national emergency and bypass Congress.

TRUMP: If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.

COLLINS: The short-term spending bill only includes $1.3 billion for border security and no new funding for the wall, making it a remarkable comedown for a president who declared for weeks he wouldn't waver, but today framed it as a win.

TRUMP: This is an opportunity for all parties to work together for the benefit of our whole beautiful, wonderful nation.

COLLINS: The presidential announcement coming after a White House official said air travel delays that rippled across the nation Friday played a major role in his decision, telling CNN: "This is getting worse and worse. He knows this has to end."

[16:05:02]

And after members of the president's inner circle faced backlash for downplaying the financial hardship of the shutdown, Trump making a point to thank them today.

TRUMP: Many of you have suffered far greater than anyone but your families would know or understand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Now, Jake, the longest government shutdown in history hasn't yielded anything for the president. He didn't get any money for his border wall, he's frustrated Republicans, he didn't do his base any favors by caving to the Democrats' demands today, and he even took a hit in the polls.

Now, there are two things to watch over the next few days. That's whether or not the president tries to move forward with that initially scheduled State of the Union address on Tuesday, and, two, how he responds to the overwhelmingly negative response from people who are in his conservative hard-line immigration base -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thanks so much.

Well, let's chat about this.

Bill, I'll start with you. Did the president cave?

BILL KRISTOL, FORMER EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Sure.

And he had to, because he was losing support from Republican senators. McConnell held enough senators to prevent the Democratic bill from passing yesterday. But the Democrats got more votes than the Republicans, which doesn't usually happen in a 57-43 (sic) Republican Senate.

And I think they had a -- they had their regular lunch -- or maybe it's not so regular on Thursday -- of all the senators. It went two hours instead of the normal one -- or two-and-a-half-hours, I think, perhaps, with real expressions of discontent and sort of this, I can't hold this anymore, not from Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, but from Senator Boozman of Arkansas and all kinds of loyalists in the Republican Conference who were getting phone calls from their state, from the workers, but also from businessmen, from agricultural interests, saying, this is crazy. This cannot go on.

So Trump caved to reality. And he only got this three-week extension, which means that in three weeks -- what happens in three weeks?

TAPPER: Well, he will probably -- my guess would be he invokes the national emergency. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's less than not getting anything.

Like, he lost a lot here. You think about it. In the 35 days, he lost $1.6 billion that he would have had if he agreed to the legislation that would have passed before the shutdown.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: For border security, yes.

MADDEN: Yes. Right.

And he lost a critical amount of leverage. Nancy Pelosi now knows exactly when he's willing -- where he will cave and what his pain points are.

And then the other thing is, I think, to Bill's point, which he's lost -- one of the bigger problems going forward in the next three weeks, he may have lost the faith of some of his strongest supporters previously up on Capitol Hill. And that doesn't give him any sort of additional leverage going forward.

TAPPER: And, Senator Turner, let me point to this.

Perhaps not coincidentally, this morning, we saw some even more dire response. Obviously, for the 800,000 employees and the contractors, it's been awful, but this morning we saw mass flight delays. There was a stoppage at La Guardia. The FBI director released a video slamming the shutdown, the Trump-appointed FBI director.

At least 14,000 IRS workers just didn't go to work. And then it was the second day without a paycheck, the second paycheck period, a full month of no pay, the second paycheck period for the 800,000 federal employees.

(CROSSTALK)

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, this is a hot mess. The president's a hot mess. This is a hot mess.

And more importantly about who -- which side won in terms of just the pure politics, over 800,000 people -- and that's not even counting the contract workers -- have suffered through this for a president who got absolutely nothing.

He brung the pain to all of these people, and he got nothing in return for this. And all they got is grief. And then also we know, as big as the bureaucracy is, they're not going to recover from this tomorrow.

TAPPER: Right.

TURNER: If the president had any pride about himself, he would make sure that all of the people who are required to be there to process checks, where they are right now through the weekend, whatever it took to make sure that these workers got their money, but he really doesn't care.

And that was shown by him. It was shown by people who work in his administration. Some -- even his family members weighed in on this. I think his daughter-in-law said, it's OK, this is bigger than one person.

It's that kind of -- it's beyond cavalier. It's really sickening that the president would take the people impacted by this directly and then, to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., what affects one directly affects us all indirectly.

All of America was impacted by this.

TAPPER: Sure. No, you can't live in Washington, D.C., which obviously has a lot of federal workers, without hearing from cab drivers, Uber drivers, restauranteurs, food truck owners, how awful things have been for the last months.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: And, Jen, I want to get to a point that Kevin said that you brought up also yesterday, which is flash back a couple months.

Nancy Pelosi, people are saying, is she even going to be elected speaker of the House? There are enough Democrats that are wavering on her, 30-something Democrats said they weren't going to vote for her.

Where is Nancy Pelosi now when it comes to the Democratic Caucus?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's really remarkable.

I mean, if you look at where we were in November, even after the Democrats won back the House, there was so much uncertainty that we were all talking about here about, could she be elected speaker, how would she fight off the moderates, et cetera? And now the wall and Trump's insistence on the wall has actually

unified the Democratic Party. Pelosi's strength and kind of standing firm on this has unified the Democratic Party and the Democratic Caucus, at a time where it is very diverse with 40 new members.

[16:10:06]

So that has been a real gift to her. And I would say she has not -- she's never been more powerful than she is today because of that. And if you look at what has happened over the past couple of days, even Trump supporters, sort of to Kevin's point, are questioning now whether she is actually running the government, and not Trump.

And that's not a place -- that's not what is happening, but that's not a place you want your supporters and former staff to be. He looks weak, and that is something he always fights against.

TAPPER: Now, of course, there is this discussion that's going to go forward now about whether there will be sort of any border wall negotiation or immigration reform, whatever.

I don't know how it's going to happen. But Schumer talked about maybe a conference committee. We will see.

Listen to what President Trump said about what Democrats were telling him privately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They have said they are for complete border security, and they have finally and fully acknowledged that having barriers, fencing or walls or whatever you want to call it will be an important part of the solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: I don't know what he's talking about.

KRISTOL: Who knows?

But I come back to the Republican senators. I mean, this has hurt him in the polls. It's hurt him in the country, as it should have, in my opinion.

But I just think when we say Trump insists on this or Trump is handling -- is able to fight back on that, it's because he has had the Republican Senate, now that they have lost the House, behind him.

And I think that is now very precarious. They -- McConnell held his people together, at some cost to himself, when people wanted to bolt earlier. The senators kept voting loyally or refused -- supported McConnell and refusing to bring anything to the floor for four weeks.

Think about that, and then voted yesterday, except for six of them.

(CROSSTALK) TAPPER: Stick around.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: To stick with him.

So, I mean, the degree to which, going forward, he will not have the automatic support of the Senate majority leader or Republican senators, I think, can't be overestimated.

TAPPER: Yes, we will see.

And stick around. We're going to keep talking about this.

Did the Democratic leader of the Senate just double-dog dare President Trump to declare a national emergency?

Then also, there's another little story breaking today, FBI agents arresting President Trump's longtime friend and ally Roger Stone at an early-morning raid. We have Stone's very clear message to President Trump after his release.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK SCHUMER, UNITED STATES SENATOR: No one should ever underestimate the Speaker as Donald Trump has learned. Democrats stayed totally unified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, CNN: That was Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate just moments ago touting the power of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and her unified Democratic caucus. I want to go to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. And Manu, you were at that news conference, Speaker Pelosi chose her words very carefully, but Schumer was the one saying president Trump needed to learn a lesson. Is it possible, however, that we're in for a repeat of the shutdown in three weeks when this new government funding bill runs out?

MANU RAJU, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's very possible, Jake. In fact I tried to press the Speaker at this press conference whether she'd be more open now to funding for the President's border wall. What was interesting that she did not explicitly say, she's sort of sidestep the question and said that this is going to be up to the discussions and the negotiators going forward. She said to me, "Well, haven't I been clear about my position on the wall?" And I said, "Well, what about right now over the next three weeks?" And she would not say going forward, but still hard to see her coming to where the President wants and a deal that can be reached, that's why most people do expect we may end up in the same position we're on right now, Jake.

TAPPER: Manu, does this mean that there might be a new invitation for the President to deliver his State of the Union address in the House Chamber and if so when?

RAJU: That's great question. We try to ask her that at this press conference and she would not say explicitly. In fact, the State of the Union, of course, was supposed to take place initially on Tuesday, that had been delayed during the shutdown. And when asked if Tuesday was still a date that the State of the Union would go forward, she said they're going to agree on a "mutually agreeable date after the government is reopened" and so she would not say what happened Tuesday or what would happen afterwards. Reporters trying to pressure her about that after this press conference as well. She would not say so.

Another question going forward perhaps, Jake, she wants to see the ink dry on the legislation to reopen the government before she goes forward and agrees to invite the President here to House chamber, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes, you want to wait for the document to be signed. I think that's fair. Manu Raju, thanks so much. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Let's continue our conversation. Senator Turner, take a look at this new poll, a new Washington Post, ABC News poll shows who Americans blame for the shutdown more, 53 percent say President Trump and Republican legislators, 34 percent say Speaker Pelosi and Democrats, 10 percent blame both.

Now, also take a look at the President's latest job approval number, 37 percent approval. I'm sorry to laugh, but that's just really low, 57 percent disapprove. It does seem like there was political pressure really starting to build on President Trump.

NINA TURNER, FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: No, it was, Jake, and he asked for it and he got it. This is what he wanted and sometimes you got to be careful what you asked for. He was very glib about, "I'll take ownership of the other shut down. It's mine." But the pressures that mounted, especially the human suffering was more than - not necessarily for him, but more than the members of his Republican Party could stand at a certain point.

So this is his shutdown. He owns it and those polls are a clear reflection how the American people felt about it. And this is going to be his internal - eternal, I should say, failure. And too, I wanted to make a point about something Bill said about Leader McConnell. He abdicated his responsibility, so did his entire caucus, and they put 800,000 plus people's lives in peril.

TAPPER: Well, well while you're speaking McConnell - take a listen to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just moments after President Trump speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH MCCONNELL, REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER: I continuously said I wouldn't let the Senate become a theater for show votes and messaging stunts from either side.

[16:20:03]

So I was glad to see today the President's announcement that he and our Democratic colleagues have reached an agreement that will immediately reopen the government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Once again just to remind people what happened 35 days ago or a little bit before, the Senate passed a bill, a clean government spending bill, clean. And then President Trump ...

BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: For the whole year.

TAPPER: For the whole year and with the understanding that President Trump was going to sign it and then Senate Republicans had the rug pulled out from under them by President Trump and the White House decided they weren't going to sign it. But as Bill points out, Republicans were with him lockstep, was that a mistake by Senate Republicans?

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It was and I think it also - what we don't see is what's happening behind closed doors and I think behind closed doors there is a high level of exasperation with the White House and the lack of strategy here. And that it has increased a lot over the last two weeks and I think Bill alluded to this earlier that McConnell was pretty much at his wit's end with where the President was going to.

I think McConnell was finished with trying to tell the President that this was the wrong approach and decided in the last probably 48 hours or 72 hours to show him that it was the wrong approach by putting these bills on the floors that couldn't get 60 votes. And that increased - allowed the pressure. And you see, I think, the weekly policy luncheon that the Senators on the Republican side had this week, there's a lot of raised voices. People are blaming Vice President Pence trying to send the message to the White House about how this was a failed strategy.

JEN PSAKI, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I mean, if I were a vulnerable Republican in the Senate of which there are many, I would be questioning Mitch McConnell as the right person to be leading my caucus right now. He's up in 2020. I'm not going to say he's that vulnerable with Kentucky. But Kentucky loves Donald Trump. He wants to be aligned with Donald Trump. Is he thinking about the entire caucus or is he thinking about Mitch McConnell? He essentially disappeared for a month. He's the Minority Leader of the Senate. He's not a powerless actor.

KRISTOL: Mitch already.

PSAKI: I'm sorry, majority ...

KRISTOL: Your wishes got ahead of the reality there.

PSAKI: I wish. He's the Majority Leader of the Senate. He's not a powerless actor. And if you're Cory Gardner, if you're Susan Collins, I'd be questioning if he is your interest in mind.

KRISTOL: Well, this is why we're not going to be back in three weeks where we are today or where we were four weeks ago, because you now have a Republican conference that is not going to say, "Okay, let's just go back into another shutdown and that'll turn out great." So I think Trump has no leverage and I think a best case for Republicans is he just pass what the Senate passed two days before the shutdown began and worst case is they make even more concessions.

TAPPER: All right, everyone stick around because we have another big story today. What Roger Stone's indictment reveals about the Russia investigation and the Trump campaign, that's next. Stay with us.

[16:25:00]

Welcome back. Sticking with politics, President Trump's longtime confidant and political adviser Roger Stone fighting charges filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller today alleging that stone obstructed the Russia investigation, tampered with witnesses and repeatedly lied under oath.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, TRUMP ASSOCIATE: I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court. I believe this is a politically motivated investigation. But I have made it clear, I will not testify against the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: According to the seven count indictment, Stone sought emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy and this was done in coordination with Trump campaign officials. A reminder that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he was CIA Director referred to WikiLeaks as a "non-state hostile Intelligence Service" often abetted by state actors like Russia.

No surprise, President Trump responded as he almost always does on Twitter, "Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of our Country. NO COLLUSION. That's an all caps. CNN's Sara Murray joins me now. Sara, the indictment says that Roger Stone coordinated with the Trump campaign and try to get stolen DNC emails from WikiLeaks.

SARA MURRAY, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right. It's takes pains to outline Roger Stone's communications with Trump campaign officials who are not named in this indictment, but it also reveals a pattern, a pattern of eagerness on behalf of the Trump campaign to try to get their hands on this damaging information that WikiLeaks had and to try to figure out when it was going to be coming out.

(voice over) Roger Stone reveling today in the post arrest limelight after his initial appearance before a judge in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: As I have always said, the only thing worse of being talk about is not being talked about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: But only after the pre dawn raid, Stone hope to avoid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: FBI. Open the door.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: FBI agents swarm Stone's Fort Lauderdale home, arresting President Trump's long time political adviser and friend, searching stones homes in Florida and New York.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: They terrorize my wife, my dogs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Hours later Stone vowed to fight the charges against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: The indictment against Stone describes how he coordinated with senior Trump campaign officials to seek out stolen democratic emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and then he bragged about his contacts with WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: According to the indictment, Stone spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks. An information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign. Stone was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases by WikiLeaks.

[16:30:10]