Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Partial Government Shutdown Ended; Trump's Reopening the Government is Seen as Weakness by Many; Representative Steve King Breaks his Silence; Roger Stone Claims Innocence; "Three Identical Strangers" airs Tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern on CNN. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired January 26, 2019 - 11:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. It's 11:00 on the East Coast and it's Saturday. I am Fredricka Whitfield.

We start with temporary relief from the historic partial U.S. government shutdown. For the first time in 35 days, nine federal departments and smaller agencies are reopening for now. The president and lawmakers have just three weeks to hash out a permanent deal after reaching a temporary one that doesn't include border wall funding.

President Trump is trying to spin this into a win, saying he made no concessions in the deal, but the bottom line remains, there's still no funding for the president's wall. Here's his message about what could come next if no spending agreement is reached in three weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So let me be very clear. We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier. If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shutdown on February 15th, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.

(END VIDEO)

WHITFIELD: That looming threat of another shutdown is an unbearable thought for 800,000 federal workers and thier families that have gone weeks without a paycheck. CNN's White House reporter Sarah Westwood joining me now. What more can you tell us about where negotiations stand?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, President Trump is saying at the end of the three-week negotiating period if Congress does not give him money for his border wall, then he is going to find it one way or another. After 35 days of remaining defiant that the government would not reopen until he got funding for his border wall, President Trump essentially conceded to the same kind of deal he rejected in December before the shutdown started.

It's a three week continuing resolution that's going to fund the government through February 15th, give appropriators time to hash out some kind of border security package or else the government, like you mentioned, could shut down again. Trump today defending his decision to a fold(ph) writing on Twitter, "21 days goes very quickly. Negotiations democrats will start immediately. Will not be easy to make a deal, both parties very dug in. The case for national security has been greatly enhanced by what has been happening at the border and through dialogue. We will build the wall."

Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary is hinting that Trump stands ready to make additional concessions in pursuit of his wall. She took to Twitter writing, "Trump will be moving forward building the wall with or without democrats." The only outstanding question is whether the democrats want something or nothing. Yesterday's deal came after Trump caved amid mounting pressure from both sides of the aisle. Congressional republicans were showing signs of breaking ranks with the president's hard line position. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Trump that it was unclear how much longer the GOP conference could hang together.

Trump had hoped the opposite would happen, that democrats would start to peel off but they've remained united in opposition to Trump's wall. So Fred, White house aides are hoping for a deal legislatively so Trump doesn't have to use that national emergency declaration at the end of three weeks.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood thank you for that. Now that the U.S. government is reopening, federal workers wondering when they'll get paychecks. Let's bring in CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung. So Kaylee, what are we hearing from people who in some respect are very happy, you know, get back to work, then they want to know when they're getting paid more importantly.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes there was one TSA agent here in Atlanta, working at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport yesterday I spoke to who said he'll be happy to get a paycheck, but the fact is irreparable damage has been done so many people's lives. Their careers, their credit may be messed up. There's so much remaining uncertainty for so many. President Trump has said he would like federal workers to be paid as soon as possible, but the fact is there's not one magic button the federal government can press to put money back in bank accounts of 800,000 federal workers. Again, that uncertainty lingering, especially while the government is only reopen for three weeks, depending how these negotiations go.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

LANCE AVEY, EPA EMPLOYEE: My wife and I are federal employees; I was furloughed, she was working without pay. So we went a month without any sort of income or any sort of knowing what's going to happen next which kind of puts your life on hold.

BETHANY DREYFUS, U.S. EPA REGION 9: We as federal employees are not allowed to strike. Someone needs to amend that and say you're not allowed to shut us down and stop our work.

[11:05:00]

WHITFIELD: Now the National Finance Center, the agency that is responsible for paying civilians say they expect folks to be paid no later than this Thursday, January 31st. As for the coast guard Fred, one of their spokespeople said they expect to have their officers paid within the next three to five business days.

WHITFIELD: I know they're glad to see that but even three to five or even a week is really painful when you have been going this long without. All right, Kaylee Hartung, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

For democrats, the deal with the president is a win. Here's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on what could come next.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaker Pelosi, did the president underestimate you politically, and can you assure the public there won't be another impasse in three weeks?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I can't assure the public on anything the president will do but I do have to say I'm optimistic. I see every challenge or every crisis as an opportunity, an opportunity to do the right thing for the American people and at the same time make people aware of what the decisions are that we have here and hopefully that will make everybody come together in a way that is unifying for our country. I can't characterize the president's evaluation of me.

WHITFIELD: All right joining me, Congressional Reporter for "The Washington Post" and CNN political analyst Karoun Demirjian and Assistant Editor at "The Washingon Post," and CNN political commentator David Swerdlick. Good to see you both.

All right, so Karoun you first. This temporarily deal; it doesn't include a wall funding. it just allows the government to open another three weeks as lawmakers try to hash out this budget for the government to keep things running. So democrats had previously asked for the very things Trump has now agreed to. There are so many federal workers asking themselves what was all this about? Was it wasted time?

Karon Demirjian: I think a lot of people are going to be asking that going into the future and the time for which the government is now fully funded, three weeks is actually less time than the shutdown was for. So that kind of cast at the scene for what we are going to be heading into in these negotiations.

Democrats always wanted to have negotiations not under the guillotine of the government shutdown. Now they have this opening to do that. It is a sticky process to negotiate wall money for other border security initiatives or other immigration initiatives. Now they have this window and the fact that Trump kind of lost this gambit means that the cost and the stakes for him are a lot higher to try to shut down the government again over the same issue. If it didn't work once, there is no reason it would work a second time.

WHITFIELD: And David, so it would seem like it's a loss for Trump because they didn't get the wall funding. However from the Rose Garden and the applase as it were a victory that government is now back open. But hours passed before the president started tweeting out and essentially threatening, you know, a national emergency, declaring some kind of national emergency in the coming weeks if there's no agreement by February 15.

You know, what is this strategy all about? He has to now sell that there's a national crisis in a very - in a very delayed manner now if you talk 21 days from now, where is the urgency if he hadn't declared it already?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND JOURNALIST WITH "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yeah, good morning, Fred. I think Karoun is right that this is going to be a sticky second round of negotiations. Just because democrats got the upper hand in the last round and the president clearly conceded and back pedaled yesterday doesn't mean democrats have smooth sailing going forward. The president is not going to give up.

That being said, as they say in sports, it is all about the matchups. The president is an effective communicator, but not a great negotiator or strategist, and by contrast, Speaker Pelosi is not the most flowery orator, but she's a great strategist and knows how to work her caucus behind the scenes and that proved to be insurmountable for President Trump in this last round of negotiations.

I think the president had no choice but do what he did yesterday but I thought he compounded problems by giving that rambling speech in the Rose Garden yesterday. He could have come out, spoke for five minutes, said we're going back to the drawing board and ended it, and instead left everybody scratching their heads.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so you know Karoun, the president did say this is a temporary agreement and in no way a concession, his words, and again leaving people confused about hearing some repeated jargon there from the Rose Garden; nothing really new. While Nancy Pelosi clearly can lead her caucus, the president doesn't really have a handle on leading the republican caucus in the House or in the Senate.

DEMIRJIAN: Right. I mean look, the truth of it, the president and congressional republicans, he never had full control of them anyway. They were working in lock step with him because it seemed advantageous to do so.

[11:10:00]

But at this point, the president's issue is not trying to shore up the GOP that he never fully had in his hand, it is his base. You saw Ann Coulter tweeting jabs...

WHITFIELD: But he will need the GOP, he'll need them in order to come up with a deal.

DEMIRJIAN: He will need them, but he has to take a cue right now that Senate republicans gave him on Thursday when six of them split off and actually joined the democrats to vote their plan. He can't push them too far. What he has to worry about doing at the same time is looking out toward 2020 and making sure he doesn't lose the base. That's where that, "I can use my emergency powers" tweet comes in as very, very relevant.

Because that's a way of kind of avoiding the - the - the situation on Capitol Hill which he doesn't have that much control over, not even in his own party and yet still kind of trying to throw something to appease, to shore up his support for the people that he knows matters most for him in the upcoming primary season because that's where he gets his lifeblood. That's where he gets his energy.

That's where he gets his legitimacy to hold on to the top spot in the GOP. It's from that very powerful base which right now is angry at him but if he can appease them in the next few weeks, then he has an argument to make to get the rest of the GOP to fall in line as they often have but right now it's not an easy situation for him.

WHITFIELD: And so David, it didn't appear as though it was hardships of federal workers and contract workers, et cetera, that really moved the president. It appears s though it's the images of air travel being disrupted. If - if that's what moved him, might recent polling also move him, that the majority of Americans according to recent polls are still not on board with a wall? So why is he fighting so hard to appeal to a minority of people?

SWERDLICK: Yes, empathy is not this administration's strong suit but I think you're right, Fred, looking at the airport slowdowns and some other government dysfunction did eventually trickle its way into the White House and say, "Look, we've got to do something about this or we at least have to take a step back."

In the last "Washington Post" poll and last CNN poll, the president dipped in the high 30s in terms of polling which is not good, but it is not that far below where he typically has been. He is usually right at, above, below, about 40%. It is that base of support that he has that sticks with him through thick and thin.

WHITFIELD: And here's the polling; just 37 percent approving how he is handling the job as president.

SWERDLICK: Right. So he's got that 37 to maybe 42 percent, depending on what week you take the poll that stick with him and that is who he played to in this shutdown, not to moderate republicans, not to democrats, not to the broader American electorate, but those folks that are with him, have been with him for two years now.

WHITFIELD: One has to wonder, however, if any of that will change, if his strategy - if his approach to all this might change in three weeks. Karoun, last word.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes, I mean possibly. But remember also, further we go into 2020 primary season, the more power the president has, if he can keep the basin line with him. If he can wield that, that can threaten some incumbent senators who are more worried about their primary contest than their general elections. That's a state by state issue. Right now, we're talking three weeks and the issue right now is a lot more short term. If the president can survive the next period okay, his position improves going forward.

WHITFIELD: You know but absent from his jargon lately has been that whole 2020 and second term, we don't hear him saying that as much as we did for awhile. One has to wonder if he is reconsidering it all. David Swerdlick, Karoun Demirjian, thanks so much. Good to see you.

SWERDLICK: Thanks Fred.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

All right and this breaking news now right now, Representative Steve King is in Iowa and he is playing defense. It is King's first town hall since being rebuked by Congress after he told "New York Times" that he didn't get why white nationalists and white supremacists were considered to be offensive. Here is what he said just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

REP. STEVE KING, (R) IOWA: It is stunning and astonishing to me that four words in a "New York Times" quote can outweigh 20 some years of public service, 20 some years of giving you my word every day, and not one soul has stood up and said that I've ever lied to you or misrepresented anything or given it to you in any spin that's anything other than what I believe to be the objective truth.

(END VIDEO)

WHITFIELD: All right King went on to say that he is not a racist and that his comments were actually quoting now, "speaking exclusively and directly about western civilization," end quote. CNN's Sara Sidner is at the town hall. We will be checking in with her once the Congressman completes that town hall.

Still ahead, a bold, unapologetic Roger Stone proclaims his innocence in the Russian investigation right here on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP AID: No senior campaign official told me to find out anything about WikiLeaks.

[11:15:00]

That doesn't mean Mr. Mueller can't induce somebody to say that, but there will be no corroboration for it and no other person in the campaign whose junior official inquired of what happened.

(END VIDEO)

WHITFIELD: All right this as six Trump associates are caught up in the probe. Is the president now more than ever in legal danger?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Long time Donald Trump associate Roger Stone will be back in court Tuesday for his arraignment. Stone was indicted on multiple counts on Friday including making false statements, obstruction, and witness tampering. Part of the indictment claims Stone lied about his ties between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. He was arrested in the very early hours yesterday in Ft. Lauderdale and then you see him in pictures there, brazenly celebrating what he says will be a victory. He says charges are politically motivated and plans to plead not guilty.

[11:20:00]

Stone was arrested during the dramatic FBI raid Friday morning. He spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo last night and down played charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: Ffirst of all, I always said there could be some process crime.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Yes.

STONE: There's still no evidence whatsoever that I had advance knowledge of the topic, the subject or source of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never received any of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never communicated with Assange or WikiLeaks other than the limited communication on twitter, direct message, which I gave to the House Intelligence Committee last September I guess it was.

(END VIDEO)

WHITFIELD: CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider joining me right now. So Jessica, Stone seems to be taking his case to the course of public opinion, but the charges are really serious.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, making a public push to say there's no collusion. But like you said the truth is, Roger Stone is facing serious charges of witness tampering, false statements, and obstruction in a seven count indictment, and importantly there's a lot in the underlying details of this indictment that is really damaging and raising those continued questions about what could be yet to come in the Mueller probe and whether perhaps there was a larger conspiracy with the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks and Russia.

Now, the part of the indictment raising the most questions here, that senior Trump campaign official in July, 2016 was directed to contact Roger Stone about any other releases or damaging information to Hillary Clinton that could be coming from WikiLeaks. Now importantly, this was about a month after the Clinton campaign had already disclosed that they had, in fact, been hacked by the Russians.

You know, it wasn't just one contact with the Trump campaign, this talks about multiple contacts where Roger Stone kept the Trump campaign apprised of possible future releases from WikiLeaks. So the questions are still there. Who exactly directed this senior Trump campaign official to contact Roger Stone. There probably weren't many people with the authority. So was it the president, was he directly involved. That's a huge question there.

Even if this doesn't turn out to be conspiracy, the question, Fredricka, maybe could there be violation of campaign finance laws if it turns out the Trump team really back channeled with WikiLeaks to schedule release of the e-mails for their maximum benefit. But really, Fred, this indictment classic Robert Mueller because it dangles out additional information, particularly about senior Trump campaign officials and leaves those questions lingering without closing the loop about what else might be out there for the special counsel's probe. Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it definitely leaves the impression of just kind of the opening chapter. There's more to come potentially. All right Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

With me now, Michael Zeldin, former federal prosecutor and former special assistant to Robert Mueller at Department of Justice and CNN legal analyst. Also joining me, James Galliano, retired FBI special agent and CNN law enforcement analyst. Good to see you both. Michael, you first. What is your greatest take away from the indictment? What screams at you in potentially incriminating detail?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO ROBERT MUELLER AT THE DOJ AND CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So there are two things, that which was said and that which wasn't said. That which was said is what Mueller has said over and over which is if you lied to me, if you obstruct my investigation, I will charge you with a crime. That's what he charged Roger Stone with.

What is not said is whether or not any of the underlying activity that gave rise to the lie is viewed by Mueller as a crime in and of itself. So we have to see going forward whether or not Mueller views contacts with WikiLeaks to be violations of criminal laws or campaign finance laws. That's not yet known from this indictment.

WHITFIELD: Stone has not only criticized after the arrest, being awakened yesterday morning, he criticized charges but he also kind of blasted the FBI for the way they showed up to arrest him. Then in the same respect, he complimented them in the way in which they conducted it with him. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: I don't have a valid passport. Either that or it is about to expire in a few days. I have no previous record. I do not own a firearm. I am not violent and there was no need to have 29 FBI agents with assault weapons and side arms and hand grenades and a battering ram to smash in my front door. They could simply have called my attorney, and I would have surrendered voluntarily. So when you don't have evidence, you use theatrics.

WHITFIELD: So then James, what is the logic behind this type of approach because there are a variety of ways in which someone can be arrested, or their home or business can be searched.

[11:25:00] But why this method? What were they calculating?

JAMES GALLIANO, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT AND CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure I mean in listening to Mr. Stone speak, I mean talk about prone to hyperbole. First of all FBI agents are not armed with grenades. That's a military weapon. That's not something FBI agents have.

Now, my understanding of it is Roger Stone's attorneys were in talks with the special counsel office, but apparently some things broke down and the special counsel office was concerned there might be potential for destruction of evidence or Mr. Stone could be a flight risk. When FBI agents serve warrants, they do them two ways. One is a no knock warrant, and that's not what this was, or the other is a knock and announce. You knock on the door; 6:00 a.m. is the prescribed time in the morning.

You give the person enough time to get out of bed and get to the door. If they don't answer the door in the amount of time necessary, then you take the door down. I have no problem with the amount of people they sent. I can tell you, Fred, the most dangerous people that I ever encountered in 25 years in the FBI, it wasn't the violent street gang member, or the Mafiaoso (ph). It was somebody with the most to lose, a Wall Street exec who had been bilking funds from pensioners, a church executive that might have been infected with pedophilia. It is people that felt they had the most to lose. You have to get in, make it happen quick so they don't hurt themselves or the agents that were there.

WHITFIELD: And Michael, even Stone has kind of celebrated that in the indictment it doesn't make any mention of collusion, that he is not charged with any criminal activity. So he is calling it a process crime as has been echoed by many but is this just an indicator to you that there's more potentially down the pipeline and this is how the Mueller team would like to trickle the more -- I guess the lesser of the offenses in the indictment first?

ZELDIN: Possibly. I mean it is very clear that he lied. Lying to me is not a process crime. It is a serious crime. And he is charged with multiple counts of that as well as intimidating a witness to lie. I think to call it, quote/unquote, "a process crime" belittles the seriousness of it. In and of itself, these are serious charges.

Whether Mueller thinks talking to WikiLeaks, obtaining documents that were seized by WikiLeaks or obtained by WikiLeaks from the hacks, we just don't know. And we'll see. Mueller could well have one step, two step process here. First they get the liars, that's straight forward, then I'll deal with the conspiracy, but we just don't know that yet Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, because there are six in Trump's inner circle, tight associates who were either indicted or have pled, et cetera, many of those offenses are about lying and I wonder, Michael, if Mueller's team is also trying to send a signal with these kinds of indictments, charges of lying, just saying look, we mean business. This is serious, and we'll get you on not telling the truth first. ZELDIN: That's right. That's right and not telling the truth to duly

constituted criminal investigators is a serious crime. You know, you just can't poo poo this and say I was just lying to the FBI. It just doesn't, in my estimation and James' estimation I'm sure, doesn't add up.

And Fred, can I just add one quick thing to James' point that I agree with. Remember the other thing here is they were armed with not just the arrest warrant but with search warrants. They took out a lot of documents from his house and from the apartment in New York. So one of the reasons that they went in the way they did was because they wanted to get the evidence before it was destroyed.

WHITFIELD: Yes, in fact James let me ask you about that. This is simultaneous, it wasn't about arresting but also about making sure that there's opportunity to collect potentially more evidence.

GALLIANO: Absolutely and in a case like this, you want to get in as quickly as possible. Obviously you want to render the scene safe. Fred, we always bring large presence because it prevents flight or fight in the subject. And obviously if there's anything that it could possibly destroy, the FBI can get their hands on it and secure it to bring that back to further the investigation.

WHITFIELD: All right. James Galliano, Michael Zeldin, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

ZELDIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, crisis in Venezuela. Amid wide- spread violence, Secretary of State - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling Venezuela, do not test us? This after threats to leave U.S. diplomats unprotected during fierce clashes over its elections.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:30:00]

WHITFIELD: Welcome back, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at the United Nations today where the Security Council is addressing the deepening crisis in Venezuela. Pompeo criticized the U.N. for not taking more action and urged more countries to call for President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela to step down.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either stand with forces of freedom or in league with Maduro and his mayhem.

(END VIDEO)

WHITFIELD: The U.S. does not recognize Maduro's regime, and is calling for new elections and for self-declared president Juan Guaido to take interim power. At least 20 people have died in protest-related violence this week, according to the U.N. CNN Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski is with me now. So Michelle, you know Mike Pompeo, he's also criticizing China and Russia at the U.N. because they have been backing the Maduro regime. Where are we now?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes,we heard strong but very predictable statements on both sides, with Russia saying the U.S. is trying to orchestrate a coup, that its behavior is destabilizing and unacceptable. Similar statements we heard from Venezuela itself today. For a long time Russia has backed up communist countries in the Americas, think of Cuba, and in the last several years, its bolstered Maduro, it propped him up. It's bailed him out with cash. It's provided loans to keep the regime going. It's provided lots of military equipment to his regime, all in exchange for oil and influence.

And we often see Russia and China take the same tact on these kinds of things. They want to keep dictators in power and keep the sort of establishment as is, similar to what we see in Syria with Assad. They don't like to shake things up, other than the by the book way because they, themselves worry about destabilization even within their own countries. This just adds another layer to this precarious struggle for power that we see happening in Venezuela with the U.S. saying Maduro isn't even the legitimate leader any more, but you have the Russian influence down there backing him up.

Now we see Europe today taking -- fundamentally they agree with the U.S. that Maduro doesn't belong there anymore that he is a dictator, but they're giving it more time. European countries, the U.K., France, Spain, Germany are saying okay, have free and fair elections within eight days, and if not, then we will recognize Juan Guaido, the opposition leader as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Michelle Kosinski thank you so much.

Still ahead. temporary relief? President Trump reopens the U.S. government. But the battle is only on pause for the next three weeks as lawmakers try to hammer out a permanent spending deal. How are furloughed employees reacting? I'll talk to one next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

11:40:00]

WHITFIELD: All right. Now that the U.S. government reopened, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are eagerly waiting to see their paychecks come in and report back to work. The shutdown a lot - it impeded food inspections by the USDA, it shut down national parks and interrupted the IRS from processing refunds. But it may have been these images of empty runways, ground stops that ultimately led to the end of the 35-day shutdown, getting the White House attention.

There were delays at major airports Friday because air traffic control staffing issues. Then came this moment hours later. President Trump entering the Rose Garden announcing a stop gap funding measure. Now the government is reopened. I am joined by Jacqueline Arrowsmith, a Commerce Department employee furloughed the last five weeks, which means she didn't go to work, didn't get paid. Jacqueline, Good to see you. How are you feeling this morning after the president's announcement that the shutdown is over?

JACQUELINE ARROWSMITH, FURLOUGHED COMMERCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE: I'm happy that we'll be going back to work next week, relieved, but I'm sure given the fact that the president said it was temporary.

WHITFIELD: And how much does that temporary part worry you?

ARROWSMITH: Well, I'm hoping it is not temporary, but it does actually worry me, given what we've gone through. You know, I haven't actually been -- I worked at Commerce for a long time, on and off but I was on leave without pay during the '95 shutdown. So I haven't lived through a shutdown almost this long.

WHITFIELD: Yes, nobody has. This has been the longest. But you know, the president didn't get the wall money in exchange for reopening the government because remember, he said without it -- without the wall funding -- he was proud to shut down the government and that was more than 35 days ago. So are you asking yourself after hearing him yesterday, that no, there's no wall funding and the government is back open, but there are still negotiations. Are you wondering what was all this for in the first place?

ARROWSMITH: Well, I was wondering what the connection was to begin with. I feel like the federal government, there are a lot of important functions that the agencies that were shut down do. You highlighted a few of them on the air a few minutes ago.

WHITFIELD: Yes, yes. the USDA interrupted, IRS...

ARROWSMITH: Right, USAD, IRS, you know and then a lot of people working, you know, without getting paid. You know the Coast Guard is the one that comes to mind. It's been in the news a lot.

WHITFIELD: No paychecks for them.

ARROWSMITH: I mean, there's a lot of political gamesmanship going on both by our president and the republicans and democrats.

WHITFIELD: So there is to be more negotiations or deal making in the next three weeks.

ARROWSMITH: Right.

WHITFIELD: Does that mean that still hanging over your head is the potential that your livelihood would be interrupted again? Is there anything you can do in the next three weeks to not only just recover from what you have been through the last 35 days but to also prepare yourself for a potential repeat?

ARROWSMITH: Well, I'm going to try to, you know, organize my finances better but I mean three weeks isn't a lot of time to plan. It leaves me, and probably my colleagues, on pins and needles.

[11:45:00] WHITFIELD: Yes. So describe for me what the last 35 days have been like for you? I understand that you are a parent.

ARROWSMITH: I am a parent.

WHITFIELD: You know most of the 800,000 federal workers and contractors after that do, so what has it been like for you?

ARROWSMITH: Well, it's been challenging. As I said, when I was here two weeks ago, I am a single mom, it is hard enough to make ends meet and have a comfortable life for my son and myself when I'm working. So i'm lucky to have a lot of support from family and I have friends I could ask if I needed to, so I'm very fortunate in that way, but it has been very challenging. First financially, I had to figure out what I was going to do. I had to take money out of savings, I actually had to borrow from my father to make sure I could pay my mortgage that's coming up.

WHITFIELD: Yes, nobody wants to do that, especially when you're a bona fide adult. You know you're a parent and the last thing you want to do is reach out to your mom or dad.

ARROWSMITH: But then more recently it has been hard just emotionally, going to work. I joined, I work for the federal government, I am a civil servant because I want to work for the American people.

WHITFIELD: And none of this has interrupted your commitment to continue to excel? You're not looking at another line of work even after this kind of interruption?

ARROWSMITH: Well, it has me wondering. I really feel like what I do is important and the job opportunities that the government offers, you know, there are a lot of very important jobs that we do.

WHITFIELD: Your job is important as is - as are the jobs of all federal workers whose lives are interrupted. Jacqueline Arrowsmith, thank you so much for being with us and all the best. Hopefully that paycheck gets to you soon and things get back in motion for you. Appreciate it.

ARROWSMITH: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A friend of 40 years and former aide to Donald Trump now facing an arraignment next week on charges brought by Special Counsel Mueller. What more do we know about Roger Stone and why is he such a big player in the Republican Party and in Donald Trump's life? Jake Tapper looks at the political operative's colorful past.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: I'm Roger Stone, R-O-G-E-R-S-T-O-N-E. JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: He's been called a dirty trickster, the Prince

of Darkness, even the cockroach of American politics by the left- leaning new republic. And Roger Stone flaunts many of these monikers as proudly as he floats his Nixon back tattoo.

STONE: I'm an agent provocateur.

TAPPER: Stone's reputation is hard earned. His notorious political rap sheet goes back to the Nixon campaign when the then 19-year-old donated money to Nixon's opponent. He said it was from the Young Socialist Alliance and gave the receipt to the press. It didn't get any more ethical from there.

In 1980, Stone began a lobbying firm with Paul Manafort that unapologetically catered to human rights abusers. Stone once boasted they, quote, "lined up most of the dictators in the world that we could find pro-Western dictators of course, the good ones."

Nevertheless, the questionable consultant's resume is filled with work for republican stars: Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Sr., and of course...

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: I'm a political adviser to Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO)

TAPPER: While working for Bob Dole, Stone's personal life caused a public stir. He was forced to resign from Dole's presidential campaign after a tabloid revealed he and his wife placed an ad for a sex partner in a paper called, "Local Swing Fever." But Stone did not go away. He continues to stir the political pot. In 1999, Stone helped Donald Trump navigate his first short-lived campaign for the presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: I've got to give my best advice but Mr. Trump makes the decision and frankly the polls so far reflect voters like it.

(END VIDEO)

TAPPER: A year later in 2000, stone took credit for disrupting the Florida recount by organizing a republican riot at the Miami-Dade elections office. All the while the Stone list of dirty tricks and black ops continued to grow. Stone took credit for the downfall of then New York governor Eliot Spitzer, saying he found out about Spitzer's penchant from prostitutes from a sex worker he met at a Miami swinger's club.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: Welcome to the Stone Zone.

(END VIDEO) TAPPER: Through his online channel, "The Stone Zone" and national TV appearance, Stone has for years peddled countless deranged conspiracy theories.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm a conspiracy realist.

(END VIDEO)

TAPPER: And through all of this there has been a main stay, his longtime friend Donald Trump who reportedly continued confiding in Stone, even after firing him from his campaign in 2015. Stone claims he quit.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

STONE: We go back a very long time. Donald Trump came to my wedding; I went to two of his. I was at both his parent's funerals. I have great affection for Trump and the Trump family.

(END VIDEO)

TAPPER: So what advice might the president have received? One passage from Stone's book of life lessons stands out. Quote, "Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack." Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: All right, much more after the short break but first here's a sneak peek of the CNN original film, "Three Identical Strangers."

[11:55:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I tell people my story, they don't believe it, but it's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always thought what would it be like if you turn the corner one day and you saw yourself? Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time the boys met, the three together, it was a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing that could keep us apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's when things kind of got funky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something was just not right. I'd like to know the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was always a question mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their parents had never been told.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to conceal what they did from the people they did it too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still so much that we don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you not tell us?

ANNOUNCER: "Three Identical Strangers," tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)